Saturday, February 23, 2008

It's cozy here!

We got snow yesterday, and quite a bit of it. Not an enormous snow storm by upstate New York standards, but for southern Massachusetts, it wasn't bad. I'm so happy to be inside with my sweetie, a cup of hot chocolate for breakfast, and two scampering kittens. Not that the cozy atmosphere is going to last. We almost ran out of cat food, and I have to schlep to the store to get more so the kitties can have dinner.

If the snow doesn't look Christmasy enough, here's a picture of some ornaments my friend Linda sent me from Germany. They arrived a couple of days ago, and I'm so happy, goth Christmas tree ornaments! One of them has a bat on it! How great is that?

In knitting news (because this is, after all, a knitting blog), I've been working on socks using the new Noro sock yarn. I know lots of people reviewed this yarn, but I'll tell you about my own experience with it.

The Good: Look at these colors! They're bright, they're happy, and they are the best thing about this yarn. It's hard to see in this picture, but the thick and thin quality makes for a very attractive texture when it's knit up. If it weren't for that, I'd recommend this yarn for Fair Isle with steeks. It's grippy, and I never lost a stitch even when I accidentally pulled out a needle.

The Bad: This yarn is stiff and coarse. It feels like unwashed linen and has about as much give, which is why I'm wearing a hand brace right now. I can knit with it for a couple of rounds, but if I do more than half an hour, my wrists hurt. The thick and thin texture is extreme, going from laceweight to almost light worsted. It comes out looking great, but definitely takes some getting used to. Finally, there was an incident with the colors that really disappointed me. See the sudden break between green and purple? That wasn't me cutting the yarn. It very much looked like the yarn had broken and been spit spliced together, with some underspun fluff surrounding that place. This is Noro, so I didn't expect amazing texture, lack of little chaff-like bits, or even spinning. I'm just a bit disappointed, given my initial high expectations.

Now I'm going back to knitting. The color changes are addictive, they keep me going. I have to force myself to stop because of the wrist pain. I hope this little review is useful to other knitters.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Monkey Socks

The Monkey Socks, formerly known as the cursed socks, are done. They were fun to knit, and I just love the yarn. Dyed by Merlin the Cat, not to be confused with my cat Merlin, an a joy to work with.

Here is the necessary sock blocker shot. Because they are not for me, there's no point in showing them on my feet. I tried, and they look lumpy and bumpy and not stretched enough. Ah, the joys of skinny ankles!

A closeup of just one sock:

And a closeup of the pattern.

Neat, huh?
Here are the details, because I know you are dying to know.
Pattern: Monkey socks by Cookie A.
Yarn: Sock yarn dyed by Merlin the Cat in the Blueberry Nut colorway
Needles: US #1 and 0
Comments: I have really skinny ankles. I should have started on #0s, but didn't feel like ripping out all the knitting I'd done on the 1s. No wonder everybody else just cranks 'em out, socks knit up so much faster on bigger needles! Anyhow, I knit 62 rows on the bigger needles, then switched to the smaller needles and finished total of 7 repeats. After attaching the heel, I did 2 extra decrease rows (on the bottom of the foot, so as not to mess with the lace pattern on the instep). And that's pretty much it.

Wanna see what the cats have been up to?

That's them on top of the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. Right under the ceiling. All cats like high up, but Morgana has an obsession with the ceiling. Ooooh, ceiling!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Fabulous Day

Today was a fabulous day. I picked up a mysterious package from Canada at the post office, and it turned out to be the box sent by Midnight Farm from the knitty board! Cotton, a pattern for a very cute entrelac washcloth/dishcloth (remember my entrelac New Year's resolution?), and some roving hand-painted by a friend. Very happy, very colorful, much prettier than the bleached-out winter light makes it appear.

But that's not all. Also included were a book of cat facts and stories, cute heart-shaped post-it notes, and a little red sharpie pen. It's quite obvious from my blog that I'm a bit of a crazy cat lady, but it's also a fact that I love post-it notes and little writing implements. I'm a frequent customer at the office supply "vending machine" at work because I enjoy organizing and labeling things. Professional hazard, I guess, but I digress.

Here are the edibles. Two kinds of tea (one very Canadian-looking, can't wait to try it out), smarties, the little heart thingies with writing on them... and polar bear droppings. Those have got to be my favorite. Coffee beans covered in a white chocolate-like substance. I'm taking them to work and stuffing my face with them when I get sleepy. Instant pick me up!

Thanks so much, this is a fabulous package. Pictures of the entrelac dish cloth coming up as they become available.

After I was done oohing and aahing over my package (and this took a while), Mr. Batty and I drove to a book store we hadn't visited before. They had a cafe that serves cheesecake. I had Cheesecake Factory brand double chocolate cheesecake, it was delicious. It was so much fun, looking at books, having cheesecake, and knitting a little.
I bought Basic Quilting and the Veganomicon, which has some very nice-looking recipes in it. I don't like many of the older vegan and vegetarian cookbooks because the recipes often simply substitute soy products like tofu for meat. More recent ones incorporate a greater variety of grains and vegetables, so it's easier to eat a balanced diet. Particularly when you can't eat soy.

Then we got back home and I knit while Mr. Batty was busy with his computer and the cats were snuggling. This isn't them snuggling today, but I wanted to share the picture because they're so cute.

You didn't think I'd end this post (the first one in two weeks, eek!) without showing you adorable cat pictures, did you?
Of course not. That would be silly.