porch_cat_kipling

Kipling and Porch Cat have an uneasy relationship: Kipling stares out at Porch Cat, and Porch Cat yowls angrily at Kipling through the glass. Unfortunately, this yowling sometimes happens after I’ve gone to bed! The other night I had to get up and chase Porch Cat off.

Kipling, poor thing, mostly looks confused about this. He doesn’t yowl back. He just looks out the window as if to ask, “Why’s he yelling at me? I didn’t do anything?”

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Two-thirds of the way through this year’s Tour de France/Fleece, and I haven’t been spinning or biking nearly as much as I’d planned to. Not that I’ve been completely inactive… I’m just taking it easy.

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I’ve been working on spinning this Fiber Optic gradient from end to end, and it’ll be chain-plied to keep the colour sequence. The tricky part is that I’m spinning for a worsted weight yarn, and my hands just aren’t used to making a thicker single! The spinner’s control card comes in really handy here, as I keep stopping every few yards to check that my yarn won’t be gradually getting thinner and thinner.

The fibre is well-prepped except for some short chunks of silk that I remove and discard, but I’m not really enjoying the thicker spinning. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m so accustomed to making a fine single, or because I’m not as skilled at the thicker spinning, or because I’m frustrated at the inconsistent yarn I’m making, or because I have to pause so often to check the single that I’m finding it hard to get into a groove. Hopefully as I do more thicker spinning, it’ll start to feel easier and more natural.

The plan is to knit a hat from the finished yarn. There’s a lot less of the lightest colour and much more of the darker shades, so I plan to start the hat top-down from the aqua. If I’ve done this right, I should get to the brim of the hat and the end of the yarn at the same time.

Meanwhile, I’ve ridden my bike nearly a hundred miles since the Tour began, and I set a new record for my longest ride to date: 50 miles/80 km! My goal for this season is a metric century, 62 miles/100 km, and I’m well on my way to achieving it… though honestly, I don’t know if I want to be on a bike for that long! After my 50 mile ride, I was so beat that I pretty much came home, showered, ate dinner, and went to bed. Amazingly, I wasn’t too sore the next morning.

My ride often takes me over Goose Creek. Some days it’s so hot that I wish I could jump in to cool off!

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Porch Cat seems rather dignified…

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But like any other cat, he often forgets that he’s got a hind leg sticking out.

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My next-door neighbour and I will be attempting to trap Porch Cat so that we can send him, along with an appropriate donation, to a rescue organization. My porch isn’t really a good living situation for him; I’ve noticed that he seems to be losing weight, and he’s made some crude remarks to Floyd and Kipling (including hurling himself territorially against the window whilst screaming at them) that make me think he’s not really a good influence on them at all.

He still won’t let me anywhere near him, but he runs a little less distance each time I come out to feed him, which gives me hope that he can be rehabilitated into being someone’s pet.

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Sure, he loves the plastic bag when he’s licking it, but what happens when I grab it?

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I will never get over my amusement at the way Kipling gets his paws tangled up in his sleep.

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Yes, that’s a hind paw on his forehead.

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Sometimes the light is just perfect.

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Translated from the feline…

Kipling: WHAT IS THIS.

Porch Cat: I uh. Hi.

Kipling: THIS IS MY HOUSE!

Porch Cat: I’m really really hungry. (Note: original text: OWWWWWWRRWOWR. -Ed.)

Kipling: GO AWAY!

Pirate: *gets a bowl of kibble for Porch Cat*

Kipling: WHAT IS THIS BETRAYAL?

Porch Cat: *nomf nomf mfmm chomp nomf*

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I don’t know whose cat this is. Last summer I saw him around, and now he’s back, looking a little rough around the edges. He’s a beautiful cat, with gorgeous blue eyes. And he’s totally not coming inside. I don’t mind providing the occasional meal on the porch, but that’s where I draw the line!

My neighbour saw me outside, and called over to tell me that I’m a big softy. (I’m generally okay with this.) The next day, I left for work and Porch Cat was chilling on my front steps. When I got home, Porch Cat was waiting for his dinner… so I fed him. Big softy, that’s me.

That night it rained, and at 04:30 I heard Porch Cat crying. OWWWWWWRRWOWR. YAWWWRWWRAR. I gently told him to go elsewhere and he did, but he’s been spending a lot of time on my porch ever since… even though it’s been raining fairly constantly. I wonder if he has a home to go home to.

Well. If that’s how he’s gonna be, I might just have to trap him and bring him to the Siamese Rescue or Fancy Cats. Or, at the very least, trap, neuter and release.

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Last Sunday on the Remrants forum, we were taking pictures of pictures of pictures of looking at our mornings, much like the Infinite Cat Project. I can’t take pictures without a particular spotted cat showing up. “Pictures? We’re taking pictures? Oh boy oh boy! Can I be in the pictures? Can I get really really close to the camera– or should I just stare from across the room?”

Sunday with Kipling

The greatest part of doing this is that I grabbed the only knitting in the living room at the time for the picture – the grey armwarmers that have been languishing in the cabinet for months, while I felt more and more guilty about not working on them. Then the project was right there on the table in front of me, so I finished knitting the first of the pair – hooray! I need those DPNs to do the decreases on the hat I’m designing, which I hope to finish knitting over the weekend so I can write up and publish the pattern.

After that, I can knit the second armwarmer… and write up that pattern for publication as well, though it will be necessary to knit a second pair using a yarn with better stitch definition for the photographs. This first pair is made of KnitPicks Andean Treasure, which is a lovely soft yarn… but between the fuzz of the yarn and the dark grey colour, it’s really hard to see the stitch pattern.

I’m looking forward to sharing both of these patterns soon!

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A few weeks ago, my cousin sent me a picture of an antique skein winder and asked me if it was something I wanted. It came from his friend’s grandmother’s estate. He’d been helping with the cleanup efforts and thought of me as soon as he saw it. But the friend’s mother wanted to sell it, rather than give it away, and I declined to purchase it since I do have a newer winder.

This past week I saw my cousin and he said “I have a thing for you.” I had no idea what it was; I’d already put the winder out of my head. So I was really surprised when it turned out that he’d gotten it for me!

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It’s not just a skein winder, but a reel with a weasel, like in the old nursery rhyme! The weasel itself, a springy strip of wood, is missing, but that’s something I can fix on my own. You can see the little hole it would fit into, and then as that peg comes around on the gear it would POP the weasel by pushing it away from the upright and then letting it slap back into place.

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The gears are pretty worn, but they still mesh decently. One of the gear’s teeth apparently cracked off at some point and was nailed back into place. I’d have to do some careful checking to see if the worm meshes with every tooth, or I wouldn’t be able to trust the measurements. From a little bit of googling, I found that these reels are often made at 40:1. If every tooth works, then the weasel should POP at a 240-yard skein of yarn.

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The whole thing is kinda wobbly, actually, and some of the arms are chipped from having been knocked against the table. I’m hesitant to use wood glue, because it’s obviously an antique and I don’t want to diminish its value. Someone on Ravelry will certainly know the best way to refurbish it into usefulness! It was made without any nails (or glue, it seems) at all.

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There are no maker’s marks or anything to indicate a year or origin, but you can see the scores used to measure the placement of the uprights.

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One of the arms has no lip on it, which will make it easy to take the skein off after it’s wound. Whoever made this thing really knew what he was doing!

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Nothing new can be brought into the living room without the Official Inspectors taking a look (and a sniff) at it. They kept their distance from the strange object at first, but it didn’t take long for them to begin working on their Official Report. Kipling tells me that these pictures will be very helpful for their files…

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It sounds like the name of a dance, doesn’t it? The Loco-Motion, the Mashed Potato, the Watusi… the Yarnover. (We already had the Twist. That one was too obvious.)

Anyway, I’ve seen a bunch of questions on the Ravelry forums about how to execute yarnovers, especially yarnovers between knits and purls or between purls and knits. It was really difficult to describe in text the way I make ‘em, so I got out the little tripod and video’d myself (which, btw, is a lot trickier than it seems…)

The key point is that a yarnover is performed as a stitch of its own each time, another wrap of the working yarn over the right needle – the same movement as a stitch, without inserting the needle into the next stitch. Some people like to do a yarnover that’s between a purl and a knit by leaving the yarn in front, inserting the needle into the next stitch knitwise, and bringing the yarn up and over the needles, then wrapping the next stitch. While this does indeed make a yarnover, I think it’s confusing and can make it more difficult to grasp what the concept of a yarnover is all about.

Here, I’ll demonstrate that the yarnover can be formed the same way every time, regardless of what stitches are coming before and after. Of course, if the way you do yarnovers works better for you, by all means continue (and make a video, if you can, because I’d love to see the different technique) – this isn’t a “you must yarnover like I do” video, but a “here’s how I do it” video that I hope will help reduce confusion.

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