Friday, September 28, 2012

If you give a cat a donut...

...Make sure you stuff some catnip inside because that's what they're really after.

I made this toy for my cat using Melissa Trenado's mini donuts cat toy pattern. It was inevitable, really. And she seems to like it:

And I, of course, like watching her gnaw a tiny donut while rolling around in glee.

I'll be making this pattern again, because after two weeks of fun, the donut is in a very sad state. Fortunately, it only took an hour or less to make. I used odds and ends of yarn, so the frosting and sprinkles are acrylic and the bottom part is cotton. I would definitely recommend using cotton for the whole thing, because the acrylic is very fuzzy and splitty. It has not held up nearly as well as the cotton to my cat's affections, plus I want to minimize the bits of fuzz she could potentially ingest. To keep the catnip in it from leaking out, I cut a couple squares of old pantyhose, put a pinch of Cosmic Catnip in each one, and tied them off, then put them into the donut with the stuffing.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Traveling cowl

I needed a project that I could take with me while I traveled to and around Texas, so after finishing up my iPad cozy (and taking a little break), I started the Chickadee Cowl. I thought it would be a nice way to use the Malabrigo Superfine Merino that I picked up earlier this year in San Francisco - the subtle color changes in the yarn would work well with the linen stitch, and the yarn is so soft that I definitely wanted to make something to wear around my neck. I cast on 167 stitches on US 6 needles to get the size the pattern called for with my DK weight yarn.

As it turns out, this is the perfect traveling project. It's one ball of yarn, one piece, and the finished object will be small. Circular needles are easy to fold up and pack. The stitch is super easy, so I could listen to my boarding section being called at the airport and pay attention to my relatives when I visited with them and put it down at any point. And, the pattern and the yarn are so pretty and interesting that it was a good conversation starter with both my family and the people sitting next to me on my flights.

I also liked the idea that I had gone all the way to California to get the yarn, and now it was accompanying me on a trip to Texas. I almost want to save it to work on during future trips.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Here's another excuse for my long lack of updates, but this one only covers one week: I was in Texas in early September, visiting relatives in Austin and New Braunfels. The last time I was in Austin was too long ago for me to remember, so it was nice to see someplace "new" to me. I only had a few full days there so I'm looking forward to going back and seeing more of the city.

I am also looking forward to another visit so that I can eat more BREAKFAST TACOS. All I really knew about them were that they existed, in Austin, in apparently copious amounts. Now I know that they are one of the best breakfast foods you can eat.

Also while we were in Austin, it was my donut day, so this happened:

I did not eat all of them. But, 50% of them were consumed by a single person, who shall remain unidentified.

In between the days in Austin, we went down to New Braunfels, where my grandmother used to live and where that side of the family still gets together to drink beer, play poker and go tubing.

It was a nice trip, long overdue. I ate more meat each day than I usually eat in a month, saw at least six lizards, and was yielded to in a crosswalk by a legit cowboy driving his pickup truck. And the 90+ degree temperatures made me appreciate the feeling of fall that greeted me when I got back home.

More Austin and New Braunfels photos are in my Flickr sets.

PS. While I was making this post, I realized that there was no good reason to be using such tiny pictures all through my blog, so I went through and resized them. All.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Another i-cozy

I would like to think that the urge to knit cozies for inanimate objects is a compulsion that most, maybe all, yarn-hobby-people feel and that some are better than others at stifling. I don't have any desire to make cozies for my tissue boxes or tea pots (not that I have tea pots) but for some reason, my i-devices all seem to need little socks to wear. And why not - they are always appreciative and can wear their garments no matter the season. My first knitting project, after graduating from scarves, was my iPod cozy, and it was definitely worth it no matter how questionable the idea of an iPod cozy may be to sane people. It taught me to use magic loop and Judy's magic cast on, and since I hope to tackle socks someday soon, I think it was probably good practice.

It also prepared me to successfully tackle my first winging-it, patternless knitting project: an iPad cozy, of course. Really, it's just a bigger version of the iPod cozy, but I'm pretty proud of it, mostly because it's awesome:

And it's awesome because it's Avengers! From the bottom up, it's Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Loki, Iron Man, Hawkeye, and Black Widow. The movie was the highlight of my early summer, so when I heard from a Knit 1 Geek 2 podcast that GnomeAcres was selling an Avengers mini-skein collection, I knew that I had no choice.

I bought it before I had any idea what to do with it, which is unusual for me - I like to at least pretend I know why I'm getting any yarn that I buy - but then I realized my iPad was looking pretty naked and as soon as the Ravellenics were over, I started on the cozy.

Not only am I pleased with my iPad's cute little sock, but I'm so happy to have discovered GnomeAcres. Amanda is great and her yarn is beautiful, to my eyes and to my nerdy brain. I already bought some more, a skein of Naruto that is destined for my first pair of socks. How convenient that Amanda has a Socktober KAL planned!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Back, with a kitty cat

Apologies for the long silence. I have several excuses, none of which, even combined, are good reasons for not updating for five whole weeks. But they do provide me with a few interesting things to post about, so for this entry I will start with the first and most exciting excuse: kitty!

We adopted her the day after my last post, and for the next two or three weeks I was much too busy coaxing her out from under the bed, cuddling her, and photographing every cute thing she did to think about blogging.

She is still being unbelievably cute, playful, and occasionally a pain in the butt, like most cats, but the novelty has worn off enough that staring at her doesn't monopolize my time anymore. Already, it's hard to remember that six weeks ago we hadn't even met her yet.

She is enthusiastically interested in my yarn-related hobbies, which is another reason I haven't posted lately - things were a little slow on that front for a bit. Once I figured out her napping schedule, I was able to get in some knitting time, so I do have an update or two on that for my next post.