Friday, September 28, 2007

Keep those CONTEST entries coming!!

A very nice lady just emailed me to say that she had trouble linking to my blog to leave a comment. Perish the thought that someone couldn't leave an entry!

My contest has only been going on for one day, and thanks to all of you, I'm having a blast reading all of your fun comments and looking at the links! And of course, I want everyone who wants to enter to be able to and have a chance to win some fiber-related prizes!

I'm thinking that maybe since my last post was long and had lots of pictures, perhaps Blogger may be throwing one of it's periodic temper tantrums and not allowing any more comments on that post. Hell, I don't know---my technical knowledge of how blogs work doesn't go much past "mouse over and click" (refer to my comments on prior posts about there being no geniuses in the Knottykitty Kingdom...).

So here is another post with no other purpose except to allow more contest entries and comments! So just click on "comments" at the bottom of this post, and keep them coming!

Hope this solves the problem. Good Luck in the contest!


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Time for a CONTEST!!....and some actual knitting content!

Don't fall over, but yes, this post will contain actual knitting content. But first, let's commence with my first ever, official blog contest!! I'm not saying it's going to be scintillating or creative geniuses live in the knottykitty domain, we are simple creatures here. It does, however, have an official name---In honor of my first blogiversary and upcoming birthday, it's time for....

The Belated Blogiversary and Birthday
Big Basket of Balls

Because here at Knottykitty Knits, we love us some balls!! (Don't be a dirty girl, you know I mean yarn balls, of course!) I'll give a minute to clear that image from your, I'll continue.

Since I've been known to knit a dishcloth or two around here, I have managed to acquire quite the stash of kitchen cotton through the years. And, oh! I just so happen to have a picture of it right here, arranged in a lovely basket...

I'm not sure why I thought it was necessary, but just in case, here's a closer view...

All of the balls in the basket are whole (no partially-used) skeins. They are mostly standard Sugar 'n Cream balls, both variegated and solid, with a few of the larger-sized balls in there as well. I believe there are one or two Peaches & Creme balls in there as well.

Here's the contest part---

Leave me a comment on my blog by midnight (PST) on Wednesday, October 3rd (the birthday part--mine), that includes the following:
  1. Your guess as to how many balls are in the basket.
  2. Your favorite small project to knit, with link to the pattern if available, so we can all have some new patterns to look at, because we love that!
  3. Your blog address, if you have one, because we love to look at those, too!
  4. Optional: Any kind of birthday/belated blogiversary greeting you'd like to throw in, be it normal, funny, poetry, strangeness or whatever.

[The reason for #3? Because I'll be home all day by myself on my birthday (sniffle) and I'm old (hmph) and I love a good laugh (ha!).]

I'll be giving out yarny and knitting-related prizes for the following:

  1. Closest guess on how many balls are in the basket, without going over the quantity.
  2. My favorite comment that makes me laugh, or feel better about getting so old, or both.
  3. Random drawing.

I will try to announce the winners by the end of the weekend, following the end of the contest.

So what are you waiting for? Get on in here and leave a comment with your guess, your favorite small project pattern and your sense of humor!!


Real knitting content:

Yes, it's true! I've actually managed to finish a couple of projects this past week. First, I finally finished this basket that I was done knitting a couple of months ago, and then let it sit by the washer waiting to be felted. Here's the before picture...

and here's the finished basket....

Knit with Paton's SWS soy/wool yarn---I have to say it again, I love making felted projects with this yarn. The color choices are great and it felts up as soft or as stiff as you want. I didn't have a pattern for this basket. Just sort of made it up as I went along. I wanted a squarish-shaped, low-walled basket, and I think this one came out pretty good for a first attempt at making a basket without a pattern. I also included increases as I knit up the walls of the basket, hoping it would keep the walls from flopping outward after it was felted---and it worked! Finished size is about 7-1/2"L x 5"W x 2-1/2" deep.

This second FO, the Moss Grid Handtowel from Mason-Dixon Knitting, turned out nicer than I expected. It took me absolutely forever to finish, done on size 4 needles, and I was a little worried about how it looked when it was done...

It seemed like the "moss grid" squares really didn't show next to the strips of stockinette between the boxes. I thought it might have been my tension when switching back and forth between the moss stitch and stockinette sections.

So I put it in a nice woolwash soak for about an hour and hoped for the best. Hard to capture in these pictures, but I'm still amazed at what a little soak, a trip through the dryer and some light blocking when almost dry did for my cute little towel!

Those stockinette strips between the squares smoothed right out to reveal the nice little moss stitch boxes! I couldn't seem to get a great picture, but the color is much deeper and it has a lovely sheen to it! Needless to say, I was excited that it came out this well compared to the before pictures!

The fabric also got incredibly soft, with a great drape to it. It was made with Euroflax sportweight. I have some beautiful moss green in the same yarn to make it a set. About 3/4ths of the way into knitting this hand towel, I was thinking I might not be making another one because it was getting a little monotonous. But seeing how this one turned out has returned some of my desire to make a second one to complete the set...later.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I'm a Dork!

While lying in bed last night and thinking about the Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival (that I won't be attending this year, unfortunately), I realized that it was about the same time last year that I posted about going....which then led to the realization that this meant I had started blogging some time right before the OFFF, which meant.......WAAAAAAT? I missed my own dang Blogiversary! I guess as the only celebrant of this particular occasion, it was entirely upon me to both remember and celebrate accordingly, and I forgot! (.....Oh, and don't even ask about the stream-of-consciousness thinking that led to thoughts of the OFFF while lying in bed trying to fall asleep.)

How could I miss my OWN Blogiversary?! Especially the very first one!? Yep, it was September 18, 2006 when I first decided to toss my own special brand of weirdness into the blogosphere. I can't believe it's been a year already! (Which probably has some part in how I missed it). But mostly, I blame missing it on my current involvement with gainful employment and it's cruel interruption of the enjoyment of my free time and favorite activities. Yes, the NBRO continues to exert it's evil influence on my life....

In any case, I believe this calls for some type of contest, don't you? Yes! Sounds like a great idea---when I think of one! Being me, and being supremely good at never being prepared for anything, I haven't exactly come up with what type of contest I want to have yet. I'm not good at quick thinking, and I'm already late anyway---it'll take me just a teeny minute to come up with something.

So in honor of my Belated Blogiversary, I will be bringing you an appropriately belated contest.....soon......

Yes, dorkiness still reigns supreme in Knottykitty Land!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

'Tis silliness and mirth Thursday

If any of you are fans of celtic music, or Irish and Scottish drinking songs, and also love your little sweet and well-behaved (but of course!) kitty(or kitties.....we are knitters, right?), have I got a CD for you! If any of the above applies to you, you really must check this out!

If you browse around the site, there are samples of the songs, as well as printed lyrics. Very silly and very funny! The CD is by Marc Gunn, who has a Celtic and Irish Music podcast on iTunes. If you like Irish/Scottish drinking tunes, pub songs, etc., you might want to check that out as well.

Had an extra day off from the Nurse Boiler Room Operation, now aka NBRO, (for reasons I will explain later), so made a little progress on a couple of almost-FO's. Still haven't taken the pictures, but hopefully will have a couple done by the next post.

I can't believe how long it is taking me lately to finish any of my knitting projects! Granted, I'm a slow knitter, but progress seems to have screeched to a halt recently. It seems I'm either working, or getting something ready for work, or too tired from know the drill. Hopefully, some of that might be changing in the near future. I don't want to say anything yet because the exact plan is still up in the air, but I'll let you know when all is final.

So FO's and pics (hopefully) next time, and perhaps some big news about my status at the NBRO. Hope you check out the link and enjoy some fun music!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I've joined the Yarnival!

While perusing the new September issue of Yarnival, I was pleasantly surprised to find one of my blog entries has been included there! You might remember a little tale I told a month or so ago about the dangers of lurking too long around strange frog ponds? I submitted it a while back, but never heard anything---I didn't even know it was going to be included. Happy surprise for me! Go over and check out the new Yarnival if you get a chance.

Today has been the way a Sunday should be. Slept late, went out for breakfast at The Maltby Cafe for a late breakfast (and it was really late after waiting for over an hour to get seated, but well worth it!), picked up some fresh-baked bread at the bakery, and then back home to sit like a lump on the sofa while I look at the rain outside, and enjoy not having to be anywhere in particular.

Gotta go.....I'm off to work on my Tofutsies socks (Yes! actual knitting), this afternoon, interspersed with some hot tea and one of these chocolate croissants that leaped into my bag somehow at that bakery. I love afternoon tea and chocolate croissants and nowhere-to-be on a Sunday---especially when it's raining.

Have a happy Sunday! :)

Friday, September 14, 2007

A whole different kind of stashing

Aside from full-time slavery at the nurse boiler room operation, I have a new time-sucker from my available free time for knitting and blogging....

Whooo-hooooo! I got a new iPod, y'all! I mean, who has time to seam those poor, ignored un-felted clogs when I have 25 years worth of CD catalog to upload, podcasts to peruse, new tunes to shop for and pictures to catalog!!?!

Very exciting new purchase for me, as I have been wanting an MP3 player for a couple of years now! I shopped and browsed and pondered back and forth for all of that time, and with my birthday coming up, I had to seize the gift-receiving opportunity to make a choice. I had just about decided on a lovely iRiver player....

That is, until they announced the new iPod line-up last week.

I admit, I had spent most of my mp3 research time trying to avoid joining the Apple, only plays one format, have to buy from iTunes, iPods tribe. I kept researching other players, trying to find that perfect combination of features that I wanted, and waited around with reviewer promises of upgraded models of other sorts, especially iRiver, which was my number one in the running.

When the new iRiver came out a couple of months ago, I thought I had settled on that one. About the time I was going to turn over my final choice to cute husband for his gift-shopping ease, Apple announced the updated iPods and Nanos last week. I'm only a mortal woman and could only stay so strong against the A-force---I had to check it out.

My next mistake was going to the Apple store to "just look" at them in person. Kryptonite in that store, I tell you! Then cute husband made the mistake of uttering these deadly words----

"Since they have them here, do you want to just go ahead and get one now, or should we wait until your birthday?"

Ha! (play evil music) Silly, silly man! Doesn't he know by now to never, never ask a girl inside of a retail establishment, fondling longed-for merchandise, if she WANTS TO BUY IT NOW or wait until her birthday?.....a whole 3-1/2 weeks away?!! Obviously, he is cute but hasn't learned much in our 10 years together. (.....hey, wait a minute....he doesn't have to SHOP for my birthday now! Hmmmphf. An evil genius.).

So you know the rest. It was a done deal at that point. All that was left was the choosing between the iPod classic and the cute little Nano in great colors. Being a practical girl, I decided it was much better to have an extra 72gb of storage for a mere $50 extra, so the cute Nano was passed over for the more plain, but totally rockin' iPod classic with the 3-inch screen!

Another selling point? I want to listen to Harry Potter books on audio, and iTunes has the exclusive contract for those (more Kryptonite)---can't get them anywhere else in mp3 format. Yes, I know I could have bought the books on CD/DVD and loaded them onto another mp3 player or whatever, but where's the fun in that when I could purchase all of them to directly download as I go?

A knitting needle has not been touched in this house for the entire week. During any available time at home, I can be found with my nose buried in my computer, browsing iTunes, downloading podcasts and music, surrounded by a huge stack of my own CD's waiting to be uploaded and automatically formatted to my iPod. Yes, I'm sounding a little geeky here, but I've waited two years to get my hands on one of these and I've gone a little wild with it.

I've looked at the knitting, I've even thought about going over to the knitting and picking it up. However, I have completely dissed the knitting as I've walked by it on the way to the computer with the iPod in my hand....repeatedly. Yes, I know the knitting goddess is going to punish me severely for this in some way or another when I finally come out of my iPod-induced fog and pick up the knitting again.

But I say "bring it" to the knitting goddess. Hey, she hasn't been too nice to me lately anyway. Remember this? And the first skein of Sea Silk that met a horrible demise? (no pics available of that one---too traumatic). I'm just sayin', I deserve a little peace here. Is the pursuit of a little aural entertainment that leaves my knitting in the dust for a little while such a huge transgression against the goddess?

Say a little prayer for my UFO's today, okay? I promise I'll touch them soon.....really....just as soon as I finish with this one download......amen.

But in the way of appeasement to the goddess, I have downloaded a butt-load (yes, that is an official measurement) of knitting podcasts. And I will even download pictures of my knitting onto the iPod to, ya know, keep the goddess from cursing it. We just can't have any of that !Because as good as I'm getting at sitting by the frog pond, I'll be damned if I know how to frog a screwed up, cursed iPod.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

This may look like an innocent dishcloth....

So I know you are thinking to yourself, "is she actually going to post a picture of another dumb dishcloth?"... The first and simple answer to that would be, "Why yes, of course I am! I love to knit dishcloths because they make me feel accomplished when I'm really not, and give me the warm, fuzzy feelings of an actual FO, which is something that seems to have become somewhat of a rarity around here.

But wait! There's more to this dishcloth than it may appear! Though it may seem lowly and simple, this dishcloth turned out to be the world's most complicated dishcloth to me to complete, for reasons I will explain after I show the picture....

This is called the 4-corners dishcloth, and the pattern can be found here. For most knitters, a simple dishcloth knit with short-row technique--a snap, right? Around here, not so much. The pattern looks simple enough, and I have done some plain short-rows before, so I started knitting happily, glad to have a simple pattern to work on. As I rounded the first corner, I noticed a disturbing feature---a gaping row of holes between the rows when you knit back down the second half of a corner.

Hmmmm....kinda ugly, but I kept going to see how it would look. After rounding the second corner, decided it was really bad and it must be due to my sucky knitting skills, so ripped that one out.

On the second one, try as I might to pull tightly at those areas where the corner halves join, I was still left with rows of what I would say were some unsightly rows of pretty large holes. Ugh. If you take a look at the gallery of these cloths made by others and click on some of the pictures to get a closer look, you can see there are some that have some sorta small holes, some have big, gaping holes, and others look perfectly hole-less and lovely.

At this point, not being a very clever girl, I emailed the pattern author to see if I was missing something in the pattern to have such large holes occur. Unfortunately, her answer to me was basically, "hey, it's just a dishcloth---don't worry about it!" Hmmph. Being a very stubborn girl this was not the answer I wanted to hear, so I was going to figure out how to get rid of those holes if it kills me. The dishcloth has now become a daily experimental project.

I decided that the knitters of those other hole-less cloths must be using a secret technique with which I am not familiar. I often see posts about short-row heels on socks, but have never done any myself. It dawned on me that the wrap & turn technique that I so rapidly skip over when I see it in print because it confuses me, was probably the answer to my problem.

Okay, so I guess if I want to finish the damn dishcloth, I now had to drag out all of my available resources and try to learn to do the terrible and avoided wrap & turn technique used for short-row heels, and try to learn it from a book. I'm going to finish this dishcloth, sans gaping holes, if it kills me!

Thus was born the third and fourth attempts as the same simple little dishcloth, while learning to wrap & turn with my short rows. The picture is of my fourth attempt. The technique is not perfect, and hell, I don't even know if I did it right (learning 3D technique from a flat picture rather than another human is not my strong point...). To add to my confusion, there are different directions in different resources to do the same thing. However, as for getting rid of the gaping holes between the halves of the short-row corners---mission accomplished!!

Oh, and don't look too closely at that kind of wiggly line running up the center top of the dishcloth. That would be my attempt to both learn and carry out Kitchener stitch done to join two garter stitch rows on a long row of stitches! For the record, I have a hard enough time keeping regular Kitchener straight without mistakes to get through 8 stitches at the bottom of my socks. Trying to match garter stitch from the wrong side over 19 stitches was a little more challenging! It's not perfect (I said don't look too close!) but I did finish it and dishcloth, and it looks pretty cute in person!

So in review, this simple and humble dishcloth was, for me, simultaneous learning lessons in short-rows, wrap & turn technique and Kitchenering done for garter stitch. And I finished it without throwing it across the room or setting it on fire! You never know what you're gonna get when you assume something will be simple!

The funny part is, I probably would have avoided learning the wrap & turn thing forever if it weren't for the fact that I am so stubborn that I couldn't stand the thought of being defeated by a dishcloth! The same goes for learning to do Kitchener on garter stitch over 19 stitches---who the hell would volunteer to do that unless they were either crazy, or it was needed as the only way to finish the dumb thing without a seam in the middle?!

Seriously though, after I got the hang of it, this dishcloth was actually pretty fun to knit and it went along pretty quickly for being a learning tool. I can't say I'm crazy about doing Kitchener on garter stitch, especially since I'm left handed and have to work backwards to do it, but it was a good learning opportunity as well. I also think the lack of elasticity of the cotton yarn probably made it a little more challenging. I'll probably make another one some time....later. But I do think I'll be a little less shy about attempting those short-row sock heels now, which is a plus.

Though, to all of you out there who have done short rows with wraps & turns, (which is probably almost everyone except me), can you please let me know if it looks like I did it right, because I still have no idea!! All of the directions I could find assumed alternating rows of knit and purl while doing the short rows, rather than continuous garter, so I'm still a little fuzzy about that whole part about which way to knit the wraps with the stitches. But the holes are covered, so I'm thinking I was close....?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Can you say "spoiled?"

So, I thought cats were supposed to like to cuddle up together and sleep in a pile. Apparently, I would be mistaken in that notion. Because when it comes to the Knottykitty household, there will be none of that! Everyone seems to be happy now that they each have their own bed. And Lord knows, we wouldn't want anyone around here to go without their own special, individual place to sleep.....

When there was one bed, the Chief Minion, Mini (the black one) was being constantly squished within an inch of his life by the Toe-cat (center). We finally managed to remove what my friend Emma called Mini's "barnacle," by getting the 2nd bed, in the center. But the struggle continued between the Technocat, Mochi (sleeping on the left) and the Toe-cat, to see who could squish whom out of that bed (Mochi lost out again---can we begin to see who the troublemaker is in this group?), which led to purchase of 3rd bed on the left.

So I bring you this rare moment of domestic bliss caught on camera. BTW, let's not even talk about the most expensive, FOURTH bed that is upstairs, currently being rejected by all of them! Yes, the little bastards are incredibly spoiled. However, I have stopped short of buying them outfits to wear and giving them birthday parties---I do have some sense after all!

Oh, and did I mention?...These are the DAY beds! At night, the 3 little darlings can be found trying to simultaneously shove cute husband and I off both edges of our bed while they occupy the middle....together. That is, until the wrestling, fighting and rabbit-kicking on the bed begins around 4 am--again, courtesy of that cute-as-a-button little Toe-cat. (He really didn't have a "troublemaker" label attached when he was sitting there all cute and innocent in his shelter cage, looking at me longingly to take him home with me....)

Oh well. They are minion-y and eat their weight in cat food every day, but they are mine and I love them dearly. Why, if they weren't here, who would remind me that I really want to get up every morning at 5 am, to let a cat out of the bathroom who stands up and slams the bathroom door closed with his paws from the inside and locks himself in? (Toebi's new daily trick...yay--he's a clever one...). Funny enough, he never performs this trick during the day.

You just can't buy that kind of help. I'm not complaining mind you, just counting my blessings...counting my blessings...yep....

>^..^< >^..^< >^,,^<