My current work in progress:

Moth Cardigan, designed byAmy Christoffers, knit from Rowan SoftYak DK in the Plain colorway, using U.S. size 3 and 5 needles.

Monday

Ah . . . I spent a nice relaxing weekend with very little time spent near a computer. It was just what I needed after last week. At one point on Friday I fully expected the top of my head to explode from the force of my blood pressure. This week will be just as busy, but hopefully without as much stress as last week.

On Saturday we dropped more mousies off for Barbara. A local pet shop, Pro-Feed in Bradlee Shopping Center on King Street in Alexandria, VA, is selling some of the mousies for her, with all the money going to Capital Animal Care. They are charging $4.99 per mouse, which is a nice profit for the rescue organization! They have the mice prominently displayed in a large basket that you see as soon as you walk in the store.

And of course, Capital Animal Care is selling mice at their events too.

Barbara is going to bring a bag of mousies out to West Virginia this week, for a shelter there to sell to raise a little money for themselves. That shelter is the one that originally took Lucy in when she was mauled by dogs and abandoned by her prevous owners, so I’m happy to see them receive some mousies.

Since last we spoke, I received mousies from Thora in Newburgh, NY (and I really appreciate the extra you put in your package, Thora!), Angela in Tyler, TX, Victoria in Lake Arrowhead, CA (and a huge thank you for the sock yarn!), Carrie in Placentia, GA, Lisa in Richmond, VA, Rosane in Levittown, NY, Patsy in Sylvania, OH, Jennifer in Orange, CA, Swatchy in Houston, TX, Teresa in Dayton, OH, and Colleen in Overland Park, KS (and thank YOU for the extras!).

Remember the Lace Contest?

Pamela, who won the Douceur et Soie yarn from the lace contest emailed me over the weekend — here’s a photo of what she’s knitting with her winnings. It’s beautiful!

Marina, Revisited

We did the photo shoot for Marina — photos on the Official Marina page. I was having a bad hair day, so off with my head.

Lucy never has a bad hair day.

lucy100503 Monday

Poetry in Stitches

And I’m PiSsing along.

pis1005 Monday

I was asked Friday about doing a provisional cast-on for hems. I don’t like doing them — I find that I can see a line on the right side of the work when knitting the edge of the cast-on back with the body. Sewing by hand a regular cast-on edge doesn’t show nearly as much for me.

Have a good Monday everyone!

More Q&A

Can you stand the excitement?

Dan asked:

Unfortunately I do not have the funds to buy the expensive shetland wool that you use. Might there be an alternative to this pricey wool that would yield admirable results?

For best results knitting a traditional fair isle, it’s best to use shetland wool. But it’s not all that expensive if you know where to buy it. I buy mine directly from Jamieson & Smith in Scotland. They charge 91p for a 25 gram skein of jumperweight wool, which works out to approximately $1.52 at the current conversion rate. I don’t think you’d be able to fnd a good substitute cheaper than that.

Renee asked:

I would love to know how many people participated in the mouse-a-thon. 1367 mice from ?? people? Do you know or would you have to spend hours figuring that out?

The current count of participants as of yesterday afternoon is 164 mouse-knitters! And there are more to come. Woo-hoo!

Claire asked:

If its not too much trouble I’d be interested to know how many states
and countries are represented in the “Great Mouse-a-thon”.

Maybe later. (Please see hints in this week’s blog entries about how busy I am.)

It’s too time-consuming for right now. But at some point when I’m not screamingly busy, I’ll post the geographic spread of the Mouse-a-thon. I’d rather wait until we have all the mousies before doing it anyhow. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll note that I’ve listed names and locations everyday of people from whom I’ve received mice, so you can get an idea from that.

Speaking of the Mouse-a-thon . . .

On Wednesday afternoon I took a mouse down to my condo management office to show our building manager, Susan. This lovely lady has been fielding all my packages that my long-suffering mail carrier has been bringing and keeping them safe in the condo office until I get home from work to pick them up.

Susan was delighted with the mouse (I had told her about the Mouse-a-thon at the start) and asked if I’d write an article about it for our condo newsletter, as there are lots of cat lovers who live in my building. I will of course, and include Capital Animal Care’s info email address (are you reading this, Barbara?) that is on there website for people to inquire about buying mousies. So hopefully that’ll net a few mouse sales for them.

By the way, I plan to do something nice for both the condo office staff and my mail carrier as a thank you when I get a chance to catch my breath!

Tomorrow we plan to to drop off more mousies for Capital Animal Care (are you reading this, Barbara?).

Mousies received yesterday from Jo in NY, Jan in Albuquerque, NM, Jen in Oakville, ON, Canada, and Suzy in Greenfield, IN. Thank you all!

Hell Week

It’s really been hell week at work but yesterday’s deadline was moved to this morning, so at the exact correct moment, we’ll flip the switch and release the helium balloons. Metaphorically speaking. And hopefully shortly after that, those of us involved will be high-fivng each other. And right after that get to work on the next piece of the puzzle.

Lucy

Lucy would like to say thank you for the nice comments abut her exceedngly fluffy tail. She’s getting her winter coat, which makes her even more fun to hug and cuddle!

lucy100103a More Q&A

lucy100203 More Q&A

Doesn’t she look like she has a rough life?

PiSsing Along

Sorry — I couldn’t resist. A teeny bit more done. Just barely into the pattern here.

pis1002 More Q&A

The Mid-Atlantic Mouse Authority

The Mid-Atlantic Mouse Authority (MAMA) would like to extend thanks to the following people:

Rose, our West Coast volunteer mouse-stuffer,

Jen, our East Coast volunteer mouse-stuffer,

Marta and Bonne Marie, who sent cash donations toward the administrative expenses of this operation (mouse bags, labels, toner cartridges, and postage),

and of course to Catherine, Betsy, Melissa, and Veronique, who donated lovely raffle prizes.

Thanks to all of you, and of course my thanks to all who have sent or are sending mousies. We’re still receiving mice, here at Mouse Central, but I thought it was about time I issued a public thak you to all.

I feel bad that I don’t have time to email each of you personally to say thank you, but the huge response to this project has made it impossible. I want you all to know that Lucy and I appreciate all the mousies for Capital Animal Care, as well as the notes and gifts you’ve enclosed for us.

lucy100103 The Mid Atlantic Mouse Authority

And yesterday’s mouse haul contained mousies from Susan in Grass Valley, CA, Sunny in Ithaca, NY, Chery in Kansas City, MO, Jeanne in Bensalem, PA, Christina in Westminster, MD, Donna in Oberlin, OH, Melissa in Austin TX, Ande in Vancouver, BC, Canada, Renee in Fort colins, CO, Roseanne in Clover, SC, Emily in Austin, TX, Jenn in Holyoke, MA, Jenna at an APO address, Janine in Greenfield, TN, and Judy in Charlottesville, VA. Thanks and Lucy-kisses to one and all!

Q&A

Lotsa questions in the comments yesterday.

May asked:

Why are you adding one-stitch side seams? I want to know your thought process on this one.

I’m adding two stitches at each side, which will be knitted in the background color. Partly to avoide the jog in the pattern, and partly so that when I do the steeks, it won’t cut into the pattern as much.

Karen asked:

What is your favorite sweater to WEAR? Do you have a top 5 list? Just curious.

The answer is . . . I dunno. Some winters here are too warm for me to want to wear sweaters. And the heating where I work is unpredictable at best, so I rarely wear a sweater. I have sweaters I made a couple of years ago that I . . . uh . . . haven;t worn yet.

I think the sweater I wear the most is a gansey from the Debbie Bliss book — the out-of-print knitting in England, Ireland and Scotland, or whatever the heck it’s called (yes, I know I could just go look at the book and give you it’s proper title, but what’s the fun in that?).

Rebecca asked:

Why is it that some patterns make a size small so large? Is it the knitting equivalent of how expensive stores make all their sizing numbers 3 sizes smaller?

Could be. I think because this sweater is designed as a cardi, it’s oversized. The size of the pattern repeat often dictates sizing too. If you want your sweater to be symmetrical, you gotta think about the number and placement of the motifs.

Shirley asked:

But you changed it to a pullover? Didn’t you buy those special, gorgeous
pricey buttons for the cardigan? Why the change?

Ahem. I was wondering how long it would be before someone noticed that. I changed my mind. I am a fickle creature. I do indeed have the incredibly extravagant buttons for the cardi. But I figured they’ll look just as lovely on the Dale “Lotus” design, the yarn for which is in my stash.

TheresaW asked:

What elements of a Fair Isle sweater really draw you in and make you say “That’s going on my list!” ?

Ooh, good one! I like traditional motifs and great use of color. Glenesk is about as far afield as I’m willing to go, motif-wise. The colorway makes up for the non-traditional look of it for me. Marina is, to me, the ultimate fair isle. I love the pattern motifs and the use of color is pure genius. Are you reading this, Alice? Marina is a masterpiece.

A couple of questions about the Hifa 2 yarn — it feels crisper than Dale yarn, but certainly not unpleasant. Cat says it becomes silkier and drapes better after blocking, and she knows whereof she speaks.

Thanks for all your kind comments about Marina! You’ll be pleased to note, I’m sure, that I’ve removed the sound file of Howard moaning “Oh, Marina!” and I put it on the official Marina page.

I didn’t wear Marina to work yesterday — wasn’t cold enough. I am, however, wearig my Roscalie cardi today.

PiS Sweater

Yeah. Knit during down time at work (insert hysterical laughter here). Uh huh. That didn’t happen yesterday. A break for lunch didn’t happen yesterday.

But maybe today, when I have to hang around late until we are ready to release everything at the psychological moment. The reality is that we’ll probably be in a frenzy to finish things up on time, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

So here’s yesterday’s progress — the facing, the picot turning row, and not much more.

pis1001 The Mid Atlantic Mouse Authority

Stop the Presses!

Because we have yet another raffle prize for the Mouse-a-thon.

This prize is donated by the exceedingly generous Veronique in Switzerland and is this:

Zauberfloete Stop the Presses!

Yes, it’s the kit to knit Zauberflote! Veronique tells me:

The kit is for the medium size. All the skeins have been already wound into center-pull balls and put into closed freezer bags. All shades have the same dye lot and I even added the leftovers from previous VY projects also with the same dye lot just in case…

I only used some Pebble Beach and some Wild Orchid for the tiny little swatch I knit and can include it to the kit for the winner to see exactly what I used.
The VY pattern card is unmarked and everything is in the original VY brown package. Stored in a pet-free, smoke-free environment in my dark, cool and dry stash room.

And kindly note that the plate is not included with the prize. ๐Ÿ˜‰

You can see photos of Zauberflote on the Virtualyarns website here.

A huge thank you to Veronique!

Cute Mouse-a-thon Photo of the Day

ariel Stop the Presses!

This adorable little doggie is Cheri’s Ariel, who was obviously a big help during the mouse creation process.

A lot more mousies came in yesterday! From Mihoko in Helsinki, Finland, Tanya in IN, Rebecca in Marietta, GA, Michelle in Thorold, ON, Canada, Childe in Houston, TX, Janet in Reynoldsburg, OH, Barbara in Zionsville, IN, Lisa in Indianapolis, IN, Barbara in Brecksville, OH, Pat in Tacoma, WA, Laura in Brookline, MA, Maggi in Richmond, VA, and Cheri in Cedar Park, TX. Thank you all so much!

And Lucy says thank you for the tidbits enclosed for her. She is now one spoiled kitty! Like she wasn’t before . . .

Guess What?

I finished Marina! I finished Marina!

marina0930 Stop the Presses!

That brown blur at the top of the photo is, of course, Lucy’s head.

And Doni, I no longer weave in ends. I tie square knots and trim the ends. I cannot begin to tell you how exhilarating it is to not weave in ends. I’ve done this on my last few fair isles and I highly recommend it.

Though I wouldn’t do it with a yarn thicker than jumperweight.

What’s Next?

The Poetry in Stitches kit I bought in May.

PIS166pinkstripe Stop the Presses!

Except of course I changed it. I decided to convert it to a pullover.

I’m making the smaller size. The pattern repeat is 19 stitches. The directions tell you to cast on 314 stitches — that’s the pattern repeated 16 times plus ten stitches for the front band steek. I cast on 308 stitches — 8 pattern repeats for the front, 2 “side seam” stitches to be done in the background color (my own idea), 8 pattern repeats for the back, and 2 “side seam” stitches to be done in the background color.

And then I’ll make it up as I go along. ๐Ÿ™‚

Tomorrow and Thursday are crucial day at work and I’ll need to be prepared to stay late as everything will likely to come to fruition at the end of the day on Thursday, so that’s when everything has to be launched on the website, etc. So I’ll be bringing this new project with me, as there’ll probably be some periods of time when I’m sitting and waiting. My sock-in-progress will languish at home.

This also means I’ll have even less time to respond to questions and email.

Lucy sez:
lucy093003 Stop the Presses!

“Meow, meow, meow, Lucky! Purrrrrrrr, kiss, kiss . . . “