The Cat’s Pyjamas

The problem with knitting so many things that you eventually give away, is that you wind up not blogging about things until months have gone by and you’ve finally tracked down the person you’re gifting it to. I never want to spoil the surprise.  I’m thinking I’m going to take a leaf from the Yarn Harlot’s personal manifesto and just blog about stuff as it comes up. Not say who it’s for, stick it in the Tickle Trunk until Yule (or other gift-giving time, and let the family/friends wonder who it will eventually find its way to. Play coy, so to speak.

This has been known to backfire. I lost a gorgeous pair of butter yellow socks to my Mum that way. However, I did replace the yarn with more butter yellow sock yarn, and I know the socks will be loved, so I’m not kept up all night with sock angst.

ITW The Cat's Pyjamas

My fiber club shipment from Into the Whirled this past January was a beautiful blue 75/25 BFL/Silk called “The Cat’s Pyjamas”. I gave it a pat, then stashed it away with very little further thought. As much as I love ITW fibre, there has been a lot of blue in it over the past year, so to be honest, it didn’t really “speak to me” loudly enough to jump on the wheel.

Then a shawlette almost was stolen right off my needles by a friend, so I figured she probably deserved one knit Just For Her if she was going to be that discerning.

The blue fluff turned into blue yarn. It shimmers!  Apparently that’s one of the wonderful qualities of BFL.

ITW The Cat's Pyjamas

The blue yarn turned into a shawlette.


Why yes, my piano does have wonderful fashion sense.
The shawlette in question is the smaller version of Ishbel, designed by Ysolda Teague.

The scarf went to its ‘forever home’ this weekend.  My only condition was that we get a picture of her wearing it.  We’ll see if that happens.  She avoids cameras like I do. 😉

All in all, I was happy to see the blue Ishbel going to a place where it would be loved. That’s all I ever really want for my wee little acts of creativity…that they be loved. I suppose it’s easy when the item is a pretty scarf like this.  I think it will bring some happiness and warmth in the upcoming cold season!

I made yarn!

I made yarn! I told you I was working on content!

For reference’s sake, here is what I started with: December 2013 Fiber Club Shipment from FatCatKnits, Mambo and Tango on Polwarth (5oz total). I did not take the photos – they are the inventory shots from Ginny’s website. I’m simply including them as a “before” shot.  To see the club shipment in all it’s glory, check out the listing in her store.

FCK Tango
FCK Tango

FCK Mambo on Polwarth
FCK Mambo on Polwarth


What I did was spin each colourway separately.  I broke each down into 4 strips, and spun them end-to-end. When I was done, I plied the two bobbins together.  This is what I came up with. These photos *are* mine, but taken on an overcast, snowy day with as much light as I could get into my kitchen.

I had been concerned that the Tango was going to overwhelm the Mambo and be too dark, but I was glad to see that they balanced each other out admirably. The Tango actually does the job of a neutral, and stabilizes the Mambo, actually.

Also, the polwarth is really bouncy and squooshy. I’m enjoying just handling the skein. I just keep picking it up and squishing it because it really is that soft. I felt like I was overspinning the singles, and had to overspin the ply a little bit to keep it dynamic, but it appears that’s exactly what the yarn wanted.  Hooray!

Now, after a dunk, a bit of a snap, and some drying time, it’s all ready for its next adventure. I’m thinking of turning it into a Quaker Yarn Stretcher.  We’ll see how that goes 🙂

All spun up!

This will be a bit of a quick one, as I didn’t take a heck of a lot of photos of singles or anything as I was going along. Working the night shift this past month, while it has given me more time with the husbeast, has kinda sucked time away from some of the other stuff I would normally do.  Anyhow…remember this?

3 colours of fluff

Well, it’s all spun up now!  The amounts needed for the project, that is. Those are all Louet Merino-Silk 80/20. Somehow I came to be in the possession of 2oz of the Princess Blue (in the middle), and about a pound each of the Black and the Pink stuff (I’m still not sure if the colourway is Fuschia or Garnet). I spun each colourway separately with the intention of doing a 3-ply. The fun part about it is what’s left over…


I started with the blue, and worried that I hadn’t spun it fine enough to get enough yardage. In comparison to the amount of pink & black singles, the blue looked deceptively…sparse. Well, I wound up running out of the pink & had to spin up another small batch of singles (which is why I have such a small amount of singles left over). The black?  I must have gotten pretty proficient with the spinning by that time, because I had weighed out the exact same amounts for the pink and the black. I have a surplus of the black singles, and a little of the pink. I’ll likely wind those off into yarn cakes on cardboard tubes so that I can save them for the next merino-silk project. I’m thinking what I’ll eventually do is spin up the rest of my pink & black and 2-ply them.

Waterfall of Merino-Silk 80/20

Here’s the finished product. Approximately 648 yards in a 3-ply. Absolutely gorgeous. Up close you can see each ply, and how thick/thin the strands are. I love that I can see the black, the blue and the pink.

Merino-Silk 80/20

And then you look at it all skeined up or from a distance, and honestly? It looks more like a blackberry colour. After all, what’s blackberry? Black and blue and pink. Very sweet.

I have an idea of what I’ll use it for, I just don’t know if it will be anytime soon. I guess that if you see it all knit up on the blog again, you’ll know  😉

Weekend in Review

Here’s the short version of my weekend:

We met our brand-new honourary nephew.


You’ll notice that Robin actually looks fairly comfortable holding the baby. This is because every time a baby is born, we shove the small squirming human into his arms, take a few pictures of both him & the baby looking uncomfortable, and wait for Robin to proclaim that the baby in question looks like Winston Churchill (doesn’t matter if it’s a girl, all babies apparently look like Winston Churchill). It should come as no surprise that after 4 or 5 babies being handed over to him for “the uncomfortable new uncle” shot, he’s gotten comfortable holding a baby.  We suspected as much with our niece, Darby. Keenan here just confirms it. Keenan was less interested in his new uncle, and more interested in the fact that his new uncle wasn’t carrying some sort of food-providing device.

We also managed to finally both be awake at such a time that we could get to Home Despot in time to buy deck staining supplies. Therefore, once the deck dries out (yes, if we haven’t been working or sleeping, it’s been raining this summer), we will commence the staining of the deck.

So cherish these pictures of my current fluffy spinning project on a “wood coloured” railing while you can, because soon enough that railing will be a nice shade of blue. We’ll be the only household on the block whose deck isn’t white, some sort of cedar wood stain, or “putty” to match siding. We deliberately chose a shade of blue a couple of shades lighter than the trim around our doors. We’re thinking it will look spiffy.


That fluff, by the way, is a merino-silk blend that I think Louet puts out. I was gifted the blue by the wife of a co-worker who sent it along when she found out I had obtained a wheel.  The pink is from another co-worker that I car-pooled with last winter, and the black is something Robin picked up for me. The pink and black came in bags of about a pound. The blue is approximately 2 ounces. I weighed off 2 ounces of the pink and black, and am spinning all three as singles that will be 3-plied. So far, so good! I’ve spun all the blue, and am now about a third to a half of the way through the pink. It’s soft and spins quite nicely, though I think I’m getting a little friction sensitivity on my right pointer finger.

Finally, I watched the London Olympic Closing Ceremonies last night. I enjoyed it for the most part…but CTV, for the love of all that’s good in this world, I could have done without the constant commercial breaks around the time that the athletes were taking their places in the “mosh pit”.  I know it takes time to get 10,000-odd people corralled into the right place, but I really got tired of “here’s a shot of the Canadian team again and….here’s a commercial!  Welcome back!  Here’s some really neat piece of trivia, and….another commercial!”  It wouldn’t have been quite so bad if it hadn’t been for the amount of commercials shown. It really did seem that they had the slots for commercials and content actively backwards, the content segments were THAT brief!

Oh, and P&G?  I’m STILL really annoyed by your advertisements gushing over Moms. When it comes to sports, I suspect Dads are just as involved, if not more so. While I’m sure showing a Dad taking his kid to the pool at oh-dark-thirty in the morning would make a better coffee commercial, I wouldn’t feel like the men of this world were being marginalized because they’re not being shown tossing laundry into a washing machine.  Honestly, advertising agencies, STOP with the whole “battle of the sexes” in advertising. That goes for the “Kitchen Consultant” in the dishwasher commercials, too. Hell, do me a favour and show a gay or lesbian couple. Maybe a same-sex couple that’s parenting. Maybe a little jolt of reality will stop stereotyping women as domestics, men as idiotic assholes, and same-sex relationships as sinful. Use your advertising slot for something useful for once.

(For the record, I do use quite a few P&G products in my house, but it’s definitely not due to the advertising. It’s due to the fact that they work, don’t cause an allergy, and don’t give me migraines from overabundant scenting. That round goes to YOU product!  Not so much your advertising agency – who really need a good-old reality enema)

The one comment about the content of the music chosen for the Closing Ceremonies?  No Radiohead? No Rolling Stones? No Happy Mondays or Stone Roses, or Sinead O’Connor or U2 or the Proclaimers? No multi-Grammy Adele? No Peter Gabriel? While I was happy to see Madness and the Pet Shop Boys, I could have used a little more diversity. The fact that there was one woman singing something like 4 or 5 songs?  Well, she was on-key and can sing Queen half-decently, I guess.  No need for her to be half the show, though.

Oh. And still no Dr. Who?  The Olympic ceremonies could have used more of a nod to the BBC.

Rant over. Good thing too, as I’ve been up for 23.5 hours and need to sleep sometime before my next shift starts 😉

Little Raincloud

Remember that pretty little raincloud of fluff that I showed off last week?  If not, here’s the picture again for reference.


That’s 100 grams of 100% Merino Top from (I bought it through one of the local stores. Gina Brown’s, I think).

This is what it looks like now!

Little Raincloud

Dyelot: 237210
Colourway: Damson
423 yards or 387 meters
2-ply, scotch tension

The coin is an American dime for size reference. That’s a lovely little 2-ply , plied from a center-pull ball (yarn cake!), using a CD spindle to hold onto it, somewhat like this tutorial, but without the bucket bag. I tried using one of my circular drawsting bags, but actually needed to take the spindle out and hold it. The singles were coming from the outside of the ball fast enough that I needed to be able to keep them in check.  With the way that the singles cross over each other coming off the ball, there was a lot of cursing, swearing and a couple of lost yards due to tangled messes. Maybe I’m doing it wrong and need an actual video tutorial on how to handle the single coming off the ball, but I just found it more effective to prop the spindle against my tummy and use my left hand to control the speed of the singles while the right did the main work of moving things along.

This fluff may actually have a purpose. I promised a special someone her choice of socks or a scarf/shawlette for her birthday, and she chose the shawlette. Unless she’d like something more vibrant, I think that this might be perfect.

What do you think, Zwee?  I can find something more vibrant if you prefer something a little wilder 🙂


Friday Five!

I’m going to tack this on at the end, since I don’t think I’ll post twice today 😉
I know, it’s two memes at once, but I rather like the Friday Five… this week’s “category” is Miscategorizations:

What public behavior is not a crime but should be?
Half the things that motorists do behind the wheel are a crime, whether it’s unsafe driving habits or just sheer pigheaded assholishness. We have bylaws against distracted driving, but I don’t think that anyone in our neighbourhood has slowed down or taken their damn phones away from their ears. And we live near a triservices building!*
Most of all, I’m hating hearing about folks who don’t check their mirrors or give a shoulder-check before opening their doors. Contrary to popular belief, bicycles don’t belong on the sidewalks, and there isn’t a multi-user-path everywhere you go. Even if there were, some bikes zip along faster than the allowed limit. YES, the MUP has a speed limit! 20 kph, if I recall. When you’re making good time in your bike, that speed limit is a pain in the arse. And because fast-moving bikes don’t belong on the MUP or the sidewalk, when you open your door without checking first, you put my husband, my friends, and yes…ME in danger. Please don’t make me another “interesting news story out of CityX”, folks. Take the extra two seconds and open your door.  Because so far, I haven’t heard of anyone successfully being put away on criminal charges for this basic bit of roadway negligence.
(Wow, the view is spanky from this here soapbox!)
Oh…and the other thing that should be a crime? The clothes people are letting their teenagers wear these days. Someone teach the “young adult” set how to wear a ball cap properly, people.
I think I just officially became one of “them”.  The “Old People”…(shudder)

What food item doesn’t have a recommended daily allowance but should?
I’m going to veer away from our regularly scheduled paleo/low-carb orthorexia and say…chocolate. Because damn.

What’s not a word but should be?
I’ve been using the word “Pagnostic” lately to describe my faith-based views. I like it. I think I’ll keep it.

What day of the year is not a holiday but should be? (Yes: I’ve used this question before, but I never get tired of it!)
Towel Day. Are you a hoopy frood who knows where his towel is?

What behavior is not generally a professional expectation but should be?
Understanding where “the line” is. In other words, being able to assess the audience that is your co-workers and be able to realize that maybe certain humour might be a little “too much” (conversely, it’s always good to know just what you can get away with!!!) 😉


The mailman only rings once…

Lookie lookie what came in the mail! Because I’ve started using my wheel again, I decided to invest in some good quality fibre. I’ve heard really great things about Crown Mountain Farm‘s wares, and had been thinking of ordering from them for a few months, so I figured I’d give them a try. I’m extremely impressed because it took less than 2 weeks for the order to get here, and I spent a little time this morning squishing my new acquisitions 🙂

First up…Gloria. CMF seems to name quite a few of their colourways after song titles, so I’m wondering just which “Gloria” this is….the 80’s tune by Laura Brannigan, or one of the many other fine songs with that particular name? Either way, this is 8oz of Superwash Merino.


Then we’ve got “Stonehenge”, which, whether it’s named for the Spinal Tap song or not, is probably what I’m going to be humming while I spin this. It’s 8oz of Corriedale Pencil Roving.


These won’t be spun up immediately. I have at least one other idea in the works before I get to either of these. You’ll find out when you find out 😉

Finally…I wandered down to the post box this afternoon (we’re on the Superbox system) and found that my order from JessaLu had come in! I have been coveting this Tardis bag for awhile, and when I finally saw it up on the site, I jumped.  I barely even thought about it (and then I apologized to the Husbeast for not clearing the purchase with him first, but if certain yarn store owners are wondering why I have not been into the shop to drool all over sock yarn, that would be a big clue).


I’m hoping that having a couple of different project bags handy will help me keep my knitting together, instead of the usual habit of having my yarn all over the place. I now have about 3 or 4 different bags, most of which are for small projects.

Guess I’m going to be keeping busy for awhile longer 😀

In an Orange Mood

So I took these


And did this to them…

Planning to spin

And turned them into this

Topknots spun singles

And then finally into this.


That’s approximately 200 grams of top that has been turned into chain-plied yarn. It’s somewhere between fingering and dk weight. I have no idea how many yards, but it’s a lot. The bright orange was a different fibre than the rest of it. You could tell by the texture. I’m using a US dime for reference, as it’s about the same size as a Canadian dime.

I’m thinking it might be socks. And possibly more than that if I have the yardage.

Personally, I’m just glad it’s all spun up. As fun as it was, some of the colours were starting to get to me by the end, as well as the variance in fibre. In comparison, I’m actually rather enjoying my current spinning project, though it’s not as consistently smooth as I’d like. It’s one of the reasons why I’m coming to doubt the words “Wool Top“. Okay, it’s wool.  Okay, it’s prepared as top. Fine, that’s descriptive…but for all I know, it’s scraps from multiple different leftover fibres. And for the amount of money you pay for it, I’d like a little better quality product.

My other criticism is with the Topknots product itself. I had a hard time trying to figure out how to spin the darned thing. Half of the product was one really long, fat strip of that bright orange. The other half was a long strip of the blue-and-red, and the gold, pink and blue-purple. I wound up turning it into a repeating stripe by separating out the most “logical” colour combinations and spinning them in order.  I suppose I could have spun it fractally, but I just didn’t have the fortitude to spin all that orange at once. It’s not that I don’t like orange…I’ve developed a healthy respect for it. It’s just that there was a lot of it – and I didn’t exactly want one whole ply to be orange all the way through. Though that might have been interesting, it just wasn’t what I wanted.

So yeah. Stripey yarn with lots of orange. It may be awhile before I decide to do anything with it, but I figure it will make nice socks someday. When I’m in the mood for orange, that is.

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Something Garish This Way Comes

I finished plying! The overly-saturated yarn of doomy-doom has had a timeout in its own personal bath & is currently air-drying in front of the back door. If all goes well and the weather clears up, maybe it will do some sun-bathing later on today.


Next up? I’m thinking this lovely purple fluff (I’ve started using Cookie’s description….). There’s about 107 gr or 3.8 oz in there. I’d get a nicer shot, but again…the weather is gloomy today.  So instead of worrying about little rainclouds following me around, I’ll spin one instead.