Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New Knit Stitch a Week: Oblique Openwork

Oblique openwork

Teaching myself one new knit stitch a week, from the Complete Guide to Needlework book, c. 1979.

I cast on 12 stitches in Yarn Bee Andes Alpaca in Peacock, size 8 needles.

Row 1: K1, *yo, K 2 tog*, K1
Rows 2 and 4: purl
Row 3: K2, *yo, K 2 tog*

I'm really liking this open pattern, but it depends on the yarn. It's kind of hard to see the open spaces in my photo, but it's a nice eyelet sort of look. I first tried a mustardy acrylic Vanna's Choice yarn, and it looked kinda like 70's macramé (not my favorite):

Oblique openwork, right side

The wrong side makes a pretty pattern - I like both sides equally, I think:
Oblique openwork, wrong side

Friday, April 25, 2014

Feline Friday: To Sir, With Love

attitude

I've been feeding this old fellow for about 2 and a half weeks now, but he did make a few appearances here and there before that. The entire time I've known him, he's been sick and very skinny, and I worried over his runny nose and labored breathing. I'd been hoping his stubborn cold would clear up so I could get him fixed, so I made sure to feed him well and make sure he was comfortable.

Saturday, however, when getting up to greet me, he fell over, then pulled himself up, then stumbled and fell over, again. I felt terrible for not being able to take him in sooner - I bought myself a cat carrier, lured him in with a bit of food, and trucked us both to the Animal Emergency room. He was so patient and calm in the carrier and with the vets - a perfect gentleman.

chowing down

$300 of savings later, I learned he was a very old cat indeed (I didn't get an estimate of exactly how old) with bad teeth and a nasty respiratory infection, but aside from that he was very healthy for his age. He was also negative FeLV and negative FIV, which is good news for fighting his infection. He was given an antibiotics shot and an injection of fluids, and he earned some much-needed downtime in the garage with a comfy bed, food, and water that evening and the next.

hi cutie

Once he's better, my first project will be getting him fixed, then hopefully seeing to his teeth - you can tell he has tooth issues by the way he holds his jaw, up above. I am intimidated by the cost.

Have any of you had cat dental work done? How much was it? This will help me plan / save accordingly...

his favorite spot

Here he is in his favorite spot - my mom's garden. He's careful with the plants and never lays on them or poops on them - he just seems to love laying on the wood chips. He's such a sweet, polite fellow, I often call him "Sir."

Oh, and check my Cat Tumblr if you want to see photos of the cats I saw at ACS this week - there were lots of cuties: http://catsiveseen.tumblr.com/

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

New Knit Stitch a Week: Seed Stitch

Seed stitch

Teaching myself one new knit stitch a week, from the Complete Guide to Needlework book, c. 1979.

I cast on 11 stitches in Yarn Bee Andes Alpaca in Peacock, size 8 needles.

Every row: * K1, P1 *, K1

After years of trial and (mostly) error, I finally mastered the seed stitch! I'm still not impressed with the way mine looks - other people's seed stitch look so textural and pleasantly bumpy, but at least I got the basics.

IMAG1333

I was so excited, I stitched it up with 3 different kinds of yarn: Turquoise- Yarn Bee Andes Alpaca; Pink- Stitch Nation Washable Ewe; Grey- Vanna's Choice. I like this stitch most with a plump yarn, like that Vanna's Choice or Andes Alpaca.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Feline Friday: Mystery Kitty; Sofia is bonkers

IMG_4130

Yesterday morning, and early last week, Mystery kitty reappeared. She always barrels in out of nowhere, the second she hears the cat food hit the bowls. She darts around, as if she's trying to greet everyone, but none of the cats want to say hello - they seem a bit scared of how huge she is.

IMG_4128

She rolls around at my feet, and enjoys the pets I give her - but aside from sniffing the cat food as I pour it out, she's never interested in eating.

IMG_4127

Here's a closer look at her fabulous, Rorschach-like markings. She truly looks like a wild thing. As soon as I return inside, and look out from the window, she vanishes.

Sofia, below, is another story entirely.
Sofia

Sofia is the only one of the cats that my mom really loves, and she's has a very special relationship with her - she's kind of my mom's caretaker. I watched her one morning while my mom was in the garden - everywhere she went, Sofia went - climbing and playing in the small tree beside her while my mom weeded the garden. It's adorable.

Sofia

I'm pretty sure Sofia's two-timing us, because she's also never hungry. For awhile, she had me trained to let her march through the house every morning (to keep her away from the other cats) and out the front door, where I would feed her. Then I really started watching her and realized she wasn't ever actually eating. Lately she's started walking away from her uneaten food and going to the back to bully the other cats. She'll claw and growl and push them away from their bowls, and nibble for show, seemingly just to establish her dominance. Well, it's a good thing she's cute, because she's bonkers.

I started a Cat Tumblr for my cat pics - unless this blog became all cats, every day, there's no way I could share them all. So I'll still have Feline Friday, but I'll share more cat pics here: http://catsiveseen.tumblr.com/. Check it out if you like cats!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New Knit Stitch a Week: Trinity Stitch

Trinity Stitch

Teaching myself one new knit stitch a week, from the Complete Guide to Needlework book, c. 1979.

I used size 8 needles, and cast on 11 stitches in Vanna's Choice yarn in Eggplant.

Rows 1 and 3: Purl
Row 2: *P 3 tog, KPK into next st *, P3 tog
Row 4: *KPK into first st, P 3 tog*, KPK into last st

I was looking for a bobble-type stitch that was easy to work - I get lost in complicated instructions, I'm hopeless at keeping track of them. This stitch was it - super easy, once you know the basics. I think I'd love to knit this up as a blanket or hat pattern.

I recommend this youtube video if you'd like an excellent visual demonstration.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Feline Friday: Herman and Sara

Herman - A283347

I'm loving this tubby, fluffy cat Herman at the ACS shelter. He was all purrs and cuddling for every visitor as I snapped pics of the cats this week.

Herman - A283347

I got some really fun shots thanks to the feather wand I brought with me this time around - perfect to get their attention - it drew even the shyest cats out of their cubbies.

Herman - A283347

This lovely lady, Sara was a shy one, but whenever the room got quiet, she would warm up and come out. She just seemed to need some one-on-one time.

Sara - A288494

I'm loving the contrast between their "before and after" pics - when the kitties come in they're sometimes scared, hurt, or dirty, and just a few days at the shelter can make a HUGE difference in their appearance and demeanor. In fact, seeing Herman's sad picture on the site was what made me want to volunteer to take photos in the first place... so I feel like I've achieved one goal. :)

Herman Before:
Herman After:
Herman - A283347

Sara Before:
Sara After:
Sara - A288494

Amazing what some loving care and a nice photo can do! I feel so lucky to be volunteering with so many people who truly love animals.

If you live in the San Antonio area, be sure to check out Animal Care Services for your next pet - you can find more info on these sweet cats at http://www.sanantonio.gov/animalcare/programs/search.aspx. I also have a photo set of ACS Kitties on Flickr.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

New Knit Stitch a Week: Wasp's Nest

Wasp's Nest

I've been teaching myself one new knit stitch a week, from the Complete Guide to Needlework book, c. 1979.

I used size 8 needles, and cast on 12 stitches of Bamboo Ewe yarn in Eucalyptus.

Row 1: *cross 2 RK, cross 2 LK *
Row 2 and alt rows: Purl
Row 3: *cross 2 LK, cross 2 RK *

A bit of a pain to knit, since I always knit a bit tight, but pretty.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Stitching Saturday: blanket knitting progress

Log Cabin progress

Yes, I've been very remiss in posting my crafting photos. I know it's been a whirlwind of cat posts lately. :) Anyhow, up above is the proof I am steadily crafting - here is the blanket I started at the end of last summer, that lay on my lap most of the unusually cold winter as I plugged away, knitting row after row of garter stitches.

There are colors I am more happy with, and others I am less happy with, but I find that the larger it gets, the less picky I am about how one color looks next to another. The beauty of something so varied is that your eye tends to blend it all together, anyway. I've gotten LOTS of compliments on the colors in this one.

It's also gotten so large it is hard to photograph - it covers the width of my full bed completely at this point. I think I'd still like to make it bigger - maybe Queen size. It's been great fun.

Chevron baby blanket

Here's a chevron baby blanket that's taken up the past week and a half of my knitting (pattern from Purl Soho). I'd say I'm about halfway done. It's a gift for an office mate, and I took it to her shower so she could approve the color choices. They got pretty rave reviews there, so overall I'm feeling a lot happier about my color choices, which is where I've always felt iffiest in knitting. :)

I love the chunky texture - it's the same Love This Yarn I'm using on the Log Cabin blanket, but I've knit it here with size 9 needles. I'd be tempted to knit up another version in a cotton yarn as a bath mat, because I bet it would feel awesomely squishy under your feet, but we'll see about that. I try to keep a balance with knitting and physical activity, as I put on a few pounds this winter I've been going to the gym to shake off. :)

Hope all is well with you and you are happily crafting! Anyone else knitting up blankets?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Feline Friday: More ACS photos

Kat

This gorgeous tortie kitty was adopted while I was taking photos of her. She is so beautiful and calm and loving. She had some spinal issues after having been hit by a car, and I worried about her last week, asking myself who would adopt a cat that was such a challenge. Well, I met her - a wonderful young woman adopted her to give her the care she needs. I was also told that there had been a lot of interest in her all week. It's left me amazed at how kind and loving our community can be.

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This pretty girl was nursing a teeny-tiny kitten, which accounts for her worried look. I made sure to keep my distance from her baby, and she was willing to accept a few pets from me.

A287703

I did a minimum of editing to my first pics, I just used Picmonkey to add their names and numbers. I decided to use the ACS paw logo and number instead, because not all the cats have names. This time around I did some edits in Photoshop, mainly playing up their colors and eyes, I think I'm getting better.