I don’t know for sure that it was Kipling who befouled my couch-pillows with the contents of his stomach, but I’d lay odds that of the two cats here, it was the spotted one. As a result, I had to bring out the backup pillows… and it didn’t take long for Floyd to sit on them, despite their odd shape and his relative discomfort.

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Last year at Rhinebeck, after much waffling about which colourway to get and whether my spinning skills would do justice to the beautifully prepared fibre, I bought this braid from Fiber Optic.

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It was an absolute pleasure to spin. Rather than going for a laceweight, which seems like the popular thing to do with gradients like this, I spun and chain-plied 152 yards of yarn as a slightly thin worsted weight; it looks similar to the grist of Cascade 220, but feels denser and less fuzzy due to the silk content.

fiber-optics_gradient

One reason that these gradient braids lend themselves to lace spinning and shawl knitting is that the length of each section of colour isn’t equal. There’s a lot less of the lighter aqua than the darker shades. If I were knitting a crescent shawl starting from the center, the stripes of each colour would come out approximately even as each row would take up more yarn.

Fiber Optics Gradient

Instead, I decided to knit a hat from the top down, something I’ve never done before. I looked at patterns on Ravelry, but nothing really jumped out at me to say “This yarn needs to be THIS HAT.” So, I opened up Excel and began to chart out the pattern for my next hat design. That meant delaying the pleasure of casting on for a new project, but ultimately I think I’ll be happier with something I’ve designed myself! It will be slightly textured for interest, but not so complex as to hide the beautiful gradient of colours. Maybe I’ll even put a pom-pom on top! I think I’ll call it the Rego Park Hat, after the place I was born… even if I only lived there for six months.

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As I said a few weeks ago, I’ve learned to keep the guitar case closed. Still, it attracts a cat every time it’s out.

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Best buddies.

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Even though he’s almost five, Floyd still has a kitten-face.

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Sometimes, like when I point a camera at him while he’s mid-bath and his fur is all rumpled, his face gets a sour expression that makes him look very much like Oscar the Grouch.

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He’s a good cat.

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Today being Halloween, it seemed fitting that Feline Friday should feature Floyd, even though technically he’s not black, but Very Dark Brown. Like black coffee.

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Black or brown, he’s a handsome boy who’s often found snoogled up to my leg on the couch, alternately snoring and purring, just before developing a galloping case of the evening zoomies.

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I’ve been spinning and knitting, I promise – I’ve just been really lazy about taking pictures of it, and as a result I haven’t gotten around to posting. But I miss the blog! So here I am. Today I’ve got lots of spinning to show off!

The Tour de Fleece came and went this summer, and I didn’t spin quite as much as I wanted to. But I did keep spinning after the Tour was over. First, I finished the green 75% merino/25% nylon blend from Mulberry Fibers, the third of three skeins for a commission. It’s a two-ply fingering weight.

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And here are all three skeins, finished:

commission

The chocolate-aqua gradient on merino-silk from Fiber Optic Yarns that I bought last year at Rhinebeck was chain-plied to preserve the colour progression, and I have 152 yards of it.

fiber-optics_gradient

Then I needed to spin something bright and cheerful, so I chose some more heathered BFL – this time from Sheepish Creations. I forgot to take a picture of the braid before I started spinning, unfortunately. I split the fibre in half and spun a two-ply with no attempt to make the colours match up.

sheepish-creations_seafoam-bfl

There are more singles on the bobbins that have yet to be plied, too! For not spinning as much as I’d wanted to, I’ve still spun up quite a bit of yarn in the past few months.

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Acres Wild is a hat with cabled slip stitches that looks more complicated than it really is. The quilted stitch pattern breaks up pooling in variegated yarn, and continues up into the crown to form a five-pointed star.

acres_wild1

Due to the way the stitch pattern comes together in the crown, the hat is knit over 120 stitches – use the yarn and needles you need to get the right gauge for your head! For a close-fitting beanie on my 21.5″ head, I used size 4 needles with DK weight yarn for a gauge of 7 stitches to the inch in stockinette, which yielded 5.5 stitches to the inch in the unstretched pattern stitch. For a larger head or a slouchier fit, choose larger yarn or needles.

~~~~~~~~ IMPORTANT NOTICE ~~~~~~~~
All proceeds from the sale of this pattern through 30 November 2014 will be donated to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to support childhood cancer research in memory of Rebecca Meyer.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

YOU WILL NEED: 16″ circular needle (optional, but recommended) and a set of five double-point needles in the size needed to get gauge for your particular yarn, plus a darning needle to weave in ends. Stitch markers will definitely come in handy, both to mark the beginning of the round on the circular needle, and during the decrease rounds.

Get it on Ravelry here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/acres-wild-hat

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Important Copyright Information: The Acres Wild Hat knitting pattern is © 2014 Knitting Pirate. You may not sell or otherwise distribute copies of this pattern, but you may absolutely sell the hats you make, and Knitting Pirate would very much appreciate it if credit is given for the design. If you have any questions about what you can or can’t do with this pattern, please feel free to contact the Knitting Pirate.

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Floyd likes to sun himself in the windowsill. (Lookit that short little kitten-face!)

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From here, he can watch the world go by.

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When “the world going by” includes Porch Cat, he gets a little more alert. (If you look closely, you can see Porch Cat in each of the pictures – he blends in with the rocks quite well!)

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Synchronized couch-perching.

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There’s nothing like an open box or case to attract a cat, is there? (I’ve since learned to leave the guitar case closed.)

floyd_guitarcase

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