Kipling is skittish about plastic bags. When I come home from work, both cats run to greet me – unless I’ve got grocery bags in my hands, and then the spotted genius flees to a safe hiding spot under the dining room table. The rustle of a new garbage bag will send him flying in a rather ungraceful manner. So when I left this bag on the coffee table after finishing the snack that was in it, I expected him to avoid it.

That’s right, cat. Prove me wrong.

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2014_blogweek_header

Woohoo! The Fifth Annual Blog Week is coming!

Every year, knitters and crocheters from all over the world take a week to blog about a set of topics. It’s so much fun to read everyone’s take on the same subject! These are the daily topics we’ll all be writing about, and they all look like clever writing challenges. I’m planning to visit lots of blogs to see what everyone has to say, and I’ll leave lots of comments ’cause that’s part of the fun of it. (I always mean to leave more comments on more blogs, really I do…)

The Fifth Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week will take place from May 12 through May 18.

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A study in light and shadow.

kipling_light-and-shadow

Last night Kipling was purring next to me on the couch and I was idly scritching his head. When I took my hand away to type something, he said “mew!” (Mew? The cat who normally says “ook ook ook!” is now saying “mew”? Okay…)

So I went back to providing head-scratches. But it’s hard to type one-handed, and I was composing an email, so I took my hand back, and– “MOW!” With a demand like that, how could I say no? I resumed the petting.

Still, I wanted to finish the email. I put my hand back onto the keyboard. Kipling, perhaps thinking that his language skills weren’t up to par, began to demonstrate exactly what he wished me to do. He reached out one paddy-paw1 and began to pet my arm. And when I looked down in surprise. he grabbed my arm with both front paws and hugged.

I saved the email as a draft. My cat needed me.

—————————-

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From Mulberry Fibers on Etsy comes this ridiculously pink braid of 75% merino/25% nylon, which I am spinning into a two-ply fingering weight for a commission:

pink

Here are the singles, resting before being plied. My camera wasn’t fully able to capture the brightness and saturation of the pink:

mulberry_fibers_pink_singles

I really enjoyed spinning this. The fibre drafted well, without sticking together or sliding apart. The darker sections were a little tougher to draft smoothly, which is something I’ve noticed in other spinning projects as well. Maybe it’s something about the darker dyes that felt the fibres a little?

There’s one more braid in a lovely shade of green to spin for this commission, and then of course plying all three yarns, washing and skeining, and mailing them off! The Tour de Fleece is coming up soon, and I’m aiming to have the entirety of the commission finished before then as I have a challenging Tour project in mind…

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Introducing… the Choppy Seas socks!

choppy-worn

These textured socks are reminiscent of the ocean on a stormy day, and the stitch pattern rolls and breaks like choppy waves. The darkening sky is represented in the contrasting toes, heels, and cuffs. Knit with Patons Kroy Sock over 60 stitches on US2/2.75mm needles, it works up fairly quickly.

choppy-heel

Although the stitch repeat begins with a purl stitch, the pattern draws in like ribbing, and so laddering is not an issue. Because of the stretchiness, one size should fit most. Because I’ve only written the pattern for one size (though its stretchiness will accommodate a wide range of foot widths) and because of the potential annoyance of beginning needles with purl stitches, I’m offering this pattern for free!

Get it on Ravelry here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/choppy-seas

And here are some more pictures:

choppy2

choppy1

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My next door neighbours, Morry and Shirley, are quite probably the best neighbours anyone could ask for. We trade off cat-sitting services (although I feel as if I ask them to feed Floyd and Kipling more frequently than they ask me to look after their cats) and occasionally trade baked goods. When I asked them to take care of Floyd and Kipling over Christmas, I brought them freshly baked chocolate chip cookies… and was presented with a quilt. A quilt! A handmade quilt, full of adorable kitties, with a cute bicycle backing. Wow!

kitty-quilt1

Immediately, I knew I wanted to knit something for them. I picked up two coordinating skeins of Cascade 220 in Lake Chelan Heather and Cordovan Brown Heather, and after a little bit of pondering decided to knit them semi-matching Jacques Cousteau hats. I’ve made the pattern once before and enjoyed knitting it. Plus, the stretchiness of the knit three, purl two rib is great for a surprise gift hat when one doesn’t know the exact size of the recipient’s head!

cascade_220_brown-green

I knit in the car on the way to Winterlude; I knit while we played Cards Against Humanity; I knit on the trip back. Shirley’s hat was finished the day I got home, and Morry’s was done a few days later. I brought the hats to them in late February, the day before yet another snowstorm was due, and hope that they’ll help my wonderful neighbours to be nicely warm for many winters to come.

neighbour_hats

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of them wearing the hats… but they fit well and the pointiness of the top goes away when the hat’s on a head! The Cousteau hat is a great pattern and I would happily knit it again.

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For today’s Feline Friday, here’s a throwback to Floyd as a kitten!

Here he is at four months:

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And at nine months:

kit9

It’s hard to believe he’ll be four years old this month.

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One of the souvenir sock yarns I bought at Winterlude this year was a ball of ONline Supersocke 100 Paradise in a colourway that reminded me of skiing in 1986. (I didn’t ski then, but that’s what the colours looked like to me.) Then I took up snowboarding in February and realized that it’s 1986 all over again: everything is bright pink, purple, and turquoise. So I decided to bump this sock up to the top of my queue before the colours go out of fashion again!

online_supersocke_paradise-1444

I knit much of the first sock’s leg on my way to the slopes earlier this month, getting close to the heel flap and turn before coming home from that trip. Last night I knit the heel flap, turned the heel, and sleepily picked up the gusset stitches before bed. I even remembered to take notes on the project page so I could be assured of making the second sock just like the first!

1986

This is my first time knitting with Supersocke 100, but it won’t be the last – I picked up a second souvenir in a semi-solid mauve colour, and am planning to design cabled socks with it. The yarn is a little bit slippery, but not too bad. I could see how it might be splitty if my needles weren’t sharp, though. I’m getting a nice fabric on US 1s, soft but not too loose, and I’ve been careful to rotate the stitches every few rounds so I don’t get too much laddering between the needles.

Of course, now that spring has sprung I have less need for wool socks, but I’m sure these colours will still be reasonably “in” next winter too.

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The new pattern is being proofread, and should be published early this week!

choppy-heel

Look for the “Choppy Seas” sock pattern here and on Ravelry. It’ll be a free download for your knitting enjoyment!

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Recently, I received this email from my dad an unhappy reader:

Dear Sir or Madam

It appears that you have discontinued the feature “Feline Friday” from your publication. This is unacceptable and if it is not returned I will have no other option but to cancel my subscription.

Thank you.
An unhappy reader.

I sent the following in response:

Dear Unhappy,

We here at the staff of KnittingPirate.com extend our most sincere apologies! Please be assured that the “Feline Friday” feature has not been discontinued. However, it does rely on the cooperation of said felines to remain reasonably still and photogenic. We have issued verbal warnings to each of the staff felines and informed them that bonus ear-scritches will be withheld if they do not get with the program.

Thank you for writing to us, and we hope that future editions of “Feline Friday” will be satisfactory to you!

And so, without further ado, the return of Feline Friday!

Some of you may be familiar with this “Boots and Cats” video:

Here are Floyd and Kipling, doing their best rendition:

boots-and-cats

Note their blurriness. This is the aforementioned failure to remain reasonably still. Like many celebrities, they display a callous disregard not only for their fans, but for the harsh reality that should they go on doing exactly as they please, they are easily replaceable.

(Michael gets photo credit for this one.)

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