Floyd’s love of handknits apparently trumps his hatred of cameras. As soon as he realized that there were socks just lying around on the floor, he went into “sneak mode” (which isn’t really so stealthy, but he thinks it is) and tiptoed up to them… even though I was sitting right there, camera in hand. He patted and pawed at the socks on their blockers, but was soon discouraged by their refusal to crumple up and be rolled upon.

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But wait! Another sock, this time on the stairs! Maybe this one would be more willing to become a toy. Sadly, it did not, despite a valiant effort. And I, mean human that I am, took pictures of both sock and cat… and then put the sock safely away before it could be clawed and chewed into a tangle.

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I fell in love with this sock yarn as soon as I saw it, and I’ve finished the socks with plenty of time before winter! I have a daydream of showing them off, warming my toes at a ski lodge fire. They’re a standard top-down 64-stitch sock, no pattern in particular, though I used Jeny’s Stretchy Slipknot Cast-On rather than my usual long tail cast on. It’s a little more fiddly to get the tension right, but it let me start the yarn in exactly the right spot of the colour progression. This might be the first time I’ve deliberately made fraternally striping socks, rather than identical! The stripes were wide enough that I wasn’t sure I’d have enough yarn to make identical socks. As it turned out, I could have… but I think I like them better this way. I love how the heel takes up exactly one triple-stripe of the same colour. It prevents the “skipping” look over the ankle that some striped yarns have.

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Michael asked for some slightly more obnoxious socks than his usual subtle blues, and chose some Patons Kroy in Rainbow Stripes. The cuffs, heels, and toes are worked in navy just to make sure that the sock legs would be tall enough. (They’re almost. They could even be an inch taller.) I used the same basic pattern with a dutch heel that I’ve used before on his socks, because I know it fits him well. The second sock is still in progress.

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And then there’s this… Dragonfly Fibers Traveler yarn, in the “Firecracker” colourway, that I bought at MDSW this past year and in three weeks, designed and knit the most delightful hat. I’m in the process of writing up the pattern so that I can share it. Trust me, you don’t want to try to knit from my notes – they’re covered in scribbles, doodles, design concepts, and lots of things crossed out. But the hat is beautiful, and shows off the variegated yarn perfectly. I hope to have the pattern published soon so that I can post pictures!

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Now that the mornings are dark and nippy, evenings are coming sooner and sooner, and some of my small summer projects are finished or nearly so, I’m starting to think about fall and winter projects! There’s so much I want to do…

It would be nice if the rest of this blanket would crochet itself, but that’s not going to happen. I’m going to bring it out of hibernation and leave it in the living room so that I can work on squares whenever I like. At half an hour per square I think there’s about 60-80 hours of work left on this thing, which means it might be finished just in time for spring next year. Ah well, eventually!

First Four Squares

The Silk Garden Sock is going to become a Schultertuch / Dreieckstuch. It would be perfect to wear to Rhinebeck or MDSW! Unfortunately, I have no plans to go to Rhinebeck this year… so maybe this project will wait a little, or maybe I’ll just make it as instant gratification. The project notes from other Ravelers say that it’s a quick project. Some people even crocheted it in just two days! I could wear something like this to work as well as to fibre festivals, so I’m leaning towards moving it up in the queue and making it on the next cold and rainy weekend.

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Then there’s this bigger project, the one where I thought that knitting a pair of long johns for myself would be a good idea. The six-ply yarn on US3/3.25mm needles should go pretty quickly. I bought two 16″ circulars for this project, partly so there would be less changing needles as the circumference of the legs grow and partly so that I could learn the trick of knitting in the round on two circulars.

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This dusty pink yarn is destined to become cabled socks. I have so many pages in my notebook filled with doodles of knotwork and cables! One of them really stood out to me, and I’d like to see if I can recreate my design into a pair of socks. (First, of course, I’d like to finish the socks that are on the needles right now.)

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There’s so much more beyond this that I want to make – a stranded colourwork hat, handspun Fleeps, maybe even a sweater! I have plans for the design of a pair of armwarmers, I’m working on a fine lace shawl, and there are a few lingering WIPs that could be dusted off and finished up. There’s always more knitting than time!

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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!

goosecreek

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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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