My current work in progress:

1. Mighty Mini, designed by Rachel Henry, knit from Socks That Rock Worthy in the "Tanzanite" and "The Green That Sings" colorways on a 3.0 mm needle.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

Valentine’s Day

And it was one of those Mondays . . .

But today is also Lucy’s official birthday. When I adopted her, all the information the rescue organization had was that she was born in February, 2001. Since the 14th is about halfway through the month, that’s when we celebrate.

So tonight, Lucy got presents from L-B’s kitty Lucky, and from L-B.

Lucky sent these tuna flake treats:

tunaflakes Valentines Day

Lucy pronounces them delicious!

And L-B knitted her this adorable catnip-stuffed heart, from ArtYarns Supermerino, no less.

heart021405 Valentines Day

This picture is totally unposed and candid, I swear:

lucy021405 Valentines Day

Here’s Something Lucy Won’t Be Playing With

That is the Brooks Farm mohair, in the “Amarillo” colorway. Isn’t it gorgeous?

amarillo021305 Valentines Day

I do like this colorway very much. Proof positive:

manosbrooks Valentines Day

The Brooks Farm mohair is at the right of the picture — at the left is some Manos I’ve had in stash.

And if you scroll down to yesterday’s entry with the photo of the blueberry citrus yarn, you’ll see I’ve got a whole theme going on . . .

What I Gave Ian for Valentine’s Day

ian021305 Valentines Day

A scarf knitted from my handspun, in a mistake rib pattern.

What Ian Gave Me for Valentine’s Day

sb021405 Valentines Day

Among other things.

Where I Am on Kinsale

kinsale021405 Valentines Day

I’ve got a nice start on the front, I’m thinking.

What I’ve Been Spinning

roving021405 Valentines Day

This is targhee, purchased from Frene Creek Farm. It’s an interesting mix of a bunch of colors.

singles021405 Valentines Day

Irving’s Sweater

Here is Irving, happily snuggled up in his new sweater.

ipodcozy021305 Irvings Sweater

As mentioned in my previous post, I knitted this from the new Knitpicks Andean Silk and Andean Silk Twist (colors Olive and Prairie respectively) in stripes. Easy as pie.

(You probably don’t need the Eric Cartman/pie reference here, do you?)

While I’m sure that you can all figure out how to knit this without me telling you, I’m going to tell you anyway.

Knit a swatch. I used size 4 US dpns. Why size 4? Because I have them in bamboo and I prefer wooden dpns to metal (my 5s, 6s, and 7s are all metal) ones. It’s a smaller needle size than the yarn band recommends (they say size 7 or 8 which I think is too big anyway for the yarn), but I wanted a firm fabric for Irving’s sweater.

Measure your swatch. I got 5.5 stitches to the inch.

Measure your iPod. Irving’s chubby little body (while wearing his rubber case) is exactly 7″ around. He’d like you to know that he’s chubby because he’s a 40Gb iPod, not because he’s overweight.

Wait — another Cartman reference! “I’m not fat, I’m big-boned!”

Multiply 5.5 by 7 and you get 38.5. So I cast on 38 stitches onto my dpns and worked in stripes of two rows for each color, until the sleeve was deep enough to fit Irving and cover him completely.

On the last round I decreased two stitches evenly, to give me 36, a number divisible by 4. Then I worked in k2 p2 ribbing for a bit, then cast off all stitches except the last 2.

I worked an i-cord from the last 2 stitches until it was long enough to make a wrist strap. Cast off, sew the end of the strap down securely, and sew up the bottom.

Presto, chango, Irving has a new sweater!

As I mentioned on Friday, I play Irving in shuffle mode and use a remote, so I don’t need access to his click wheel. So this is the perfect solution to keep him both cozy and stylish.

Of course, I’ll need to make him one in cotton for summer. Hmmmmm, I bet he’d like a Rowan Calmer cozy!

New Spinning

L-B kindly sent me this yummy roving:

roving021305 Irvings Sweater

It’s blueberry citrus (great name, eh?) wool from Holly Spring Homespun

I spun it into singles:

singles021305 Irvings Sweater

That’s some pumpkin dyed mohair locks draped over the singles — L-B sent that along to knit into the ends of the yarn as scarf fringe. Cool idea!

Here’s the resulting yarn:

yarn021305 Irvings Sweater

Kinsale Update

Lucy shows her approval of the finished back of Kinsale:

kinsale021305 Irvings Sweater

And Who Is This Little Girl?

ruby Irvings Sweater

Nope, it’s not Lucy. This is one of Cat’s beautiful Ragdolls, Ruby.

Ruby and Lucy sure look like they could be sisters, don’t they?

Lucy Sez . . .

lucy021305 Irvings Sweater

Will you be my Valentine?

Wait! An Idea!

I was asked what I was gonna knit from my lovely Knitpicks yarn samples and I cleverly replied test swatches and maybe a catnip mouse or two.

But I had a flash of brilliance! Well, for me it’s brilliance. An iPod cozy! Why didn’t I think of that sooner?

Irving my iPod lives in a very cool case — this one. Irving’s case is black.

irving021005 Wait! An Idea!

However, I think he needs a nice colorful knitted cozy to keep him warm, over his case. (I am, at this point, ignoring my little voice that tells me that computers do not want to be warm. They prefer the temps to be a tad chilly.)

I use Irving almost exclusively on my commute to and from work, and I have a remote control. See?

remote021005 Wait! An Idea!

Irving remains in my purse at all times, because I always play him using the shuffle function, and if I want to skip a song or turn him off, I do it via the remote. So I don’t need access to his click wheel very often. So a simple slipcover will work nicely for him.

So . . . which yarn to use . . .

Because he’s a happy little guy, I think he needs a happy case. So I’m using the Andean Silk and the Andean Silk Twist in stripes.

yarn021005 Wait! An Idea!

Well, I doubt he’s happy while playing a Pink Floyd song. All the more reason to knit him a happy iPod cozy. He probably needs cheering up.

So I cast poor Kinsale aside for an evening to make Irving’s sweater.

cozy021005 Wait! An Idea!

I’ll post impressions of this yarn on Sunday. By the way, this week’s Knitter’s Review article is all about the Knitpicks yarn.

Kinsale’s back is this close to being completed.

Speaking of Starmore Sweaters, Heathre asked:

I have been reading your blog for some time now but hadn’t posted a comment until today. Actually, it is more of a question for you since you have so much experience with Alice Starmore patterns. I have yet to make one but am so tempted by St. Ciaran in Aran Knitting that I must try it soon! I thought I would ask you if you have a good recommended substitution yarn for Scottish Heather, as I know it is no longer available…

The best sub for Scottish Heather would be Jamieson’s Soft Shetland. It is actually the same yarn as Scottish Heather.

Hair Update

In response to the scores of inquiries I’ve received (okay, I got two emails) here is a state-of-the-hair photo:

wendy021005 Wait! An Idea!

My hair cut is scheduled for a week from today. I’m actually liking the way the ol’ hair is looking, so it’ll just be a trim to even things up and shorten the bangs.

I hope.

Obsessed With Free iTunes? Me?

Not even a little.

But this morning when I got to work I might have glanced at one of the recycle bins as I walked past it. Empty. The bastards empty them at night. Rats.

I do very much appreciate the tip in the comments about tilting the bottle to look under the cap to see if it’s a winner. Though it’s hard to do that in a crowded snack bar and appear nonchalant. It might help if I could whistle.

However, I did try. Clearly, whoever can do this is a better person than I. There’s no way I can tell what’s on the underside of the cap of a full bottle of Diet Pepsi without removing the cap.

And it is obvious to me now that even thinking about trying to peek at the bottle caps’ nether regions has caused me to have Bad Pepsi Karma. I purchased two bottles of Diet Pepsi today and neither one was a winner.

But one in three wins, right? I’ll win on the next one.

Please don’t burst my bubble.

lucy021005 Wait! An Idea!

Lucy’s gonna get me for posting this candid shot . . .

Wendy at the Improv*

So here you go. A photo of Kinsale progress.

kinsale020905 Wendy at the Improv*

Alrighty then. I’ve got a bit more than 20 inches, so I’ve got about 5 inches left before the neckline shaping. Amazing how long it takes when you only knit one pattern repeat (16 rows) a day.

Knitpicks Yarns

A large number of you have asked me for my opinion of the Knitpicks yarns since I posted the photo of the samples I got last week — Thursday, I think?

I’ve not knitted with any of them yet, so I cannot yet offer an opinion, other than a quick superficial one. But as I’m a superficial kind of gal, here you go: A close-up photo and a one-liner for each of the yarns.

Wool of the Andes – wool, worsted weight, feels like it’ll be a nice basic wool that’ll wear well.

wooloftheandes Wendy at the Improv*

Merino Style – merino wool (duh), dk/light worsted weight and very soft.

merinostyle Wendy at the Improv*

Andean Silk – Alpaca/silk/merino blend, worsted weight, soft and lovely.

andeansilk Wendy at the Improv*

Andean Silk Twist – Alpaca/silk/merino blend, worsted weight, three-ply — each ply a different color.

andeansilktwist Wendy at the Improv*

Andean Treasure – Alpaca, sportweight, nice heathered color and incredibly soft.

andeantreasure Wendy at the Improv*

Alpaca Cloud – baby alpaca, laceweight, lovely heathered color and so soft.

alpacacloud Wendy at the Improv*

Elegance – Alpaca/silk blend,dk/light worsted weight and very soft.

elegance Wendy at the Improv*

Shimmer – Alpaca/silk blend, laceweight, lovely variegated color and sheen.

shimmer Wendy at the Improv*

Simple Stripes – wool/nylon blend fingering weight sock yarn — reminds me of Regia.

simplestripes Wendy at the Improv*

Sock Landscape – merino wool fingering weight, lovely soft, variegated landscape colors.

socklandscape Wendy at the Improv*

Sock Garden – merino wool fingering weight, lovely soft, variegated garden colors.

sockgarden Wendy at the Improv*

This will have to do until I get a chance to knit some swatches.

Someone had asked what I was planning on making with these yarns. The answer is, test swatches. No, wait!

I know a certain little kitty who has a birthday next week who is in dire need of knitted catnip mice.

lucy020905 Wendy at the Improv*

Okay, this afternoon at work I fished an empty Pepsi bottle out of the recycle bin and took the cap because it had the code for a free iTunes song. Don’t judge me — I’m under a lot of stress.

But now I really want to raid all the recycle bins for winning bottle caps.

Must . . . resist . . . urge . . .

*That’s what L-B said my week at work is like. She ain’t far off. icon smile Wendy at the Improv*

And Some of Us Have Greatness Thrust Upon Us*

Several of you have asked where I got the roving that I’m spinning into the pink yarn. After wracking my brain for a few minutes, I remembered: Frene Creek Farm.

I bought two lots of pink-mix roving (two different pink mixes, that is) from them, and I’ve got some more pink roving as well. All because of my new hot pink coat. I’ll choose whichever makes the yarn that looks best with the coat to make my scarf.

What am I gonna do with the pink yarn I’ll spin and not use for my scarf? Well, it’s a good thing I know someone whose colors are Blush and Bashful. ::cough::Holly::cough:: At some point I’ll be foisting pink handspun on her.

Spinning Questions

A couple more spinning questions . . .

Deb asked:
I’ve got a spinning question for you–what drafting method do you use? Short- or long-draw? I started about a month after you, I think, and right now I’m struggling with the long-draw method and you seem to be tearing through a lot more yarn than I am!

To answer that question, I asked L-B, the only spinner who has actually seen me spin. She said I short-draw. icon smile And Some of Us Have Greatness Thrust Upon Us*

“D” asked:
Just wondering….all this talk about spinning makes me want to join in. What is the best way and what is the start up expense to do so.

If you are somewhere where you can take a class, I’d recommend that. Nothing like hands-on instruction, I think.

Barring that . . . lets ask the commenters. I know there are short videos online, as well as videos you can buy. Anyone have any experience with that?

And if you want to start with a drop spindle (which is what I did) your start up expense is minimal. You can buy a starter kit on ebay that includes a drop spindle and roving for a very reasonable price — well under $30 I think.

Kinsale

Still plugging away, still making wee bits o’ progress. That hibernation factor has set in again. In the evening, all I wanna do is sleep. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz . . .

Lucy, obliging little helper that she is, checks out my work.

lucy020805 And Some of Us Have Greatness Thrust Upon Us*

She says that it is acceptable.

I Blame Rock Chick

I had not bought any yarn since January 20th. And then this afternoon I see in my Bloglines that Rock Chick has updated her blog. Innocently, I go to read her entry. This entry.

I ordered two skeins in the “Amarillo” colorway. I am weak.

The Cookbook

Susan asked:
So, I’m dying to know, does that cookbook also have a recipe for Mock Apple Pie made with Ritz crackers??

Oh gawd, remember that recipe? It used to be on the back of the Ritz Cracker box. It may well still be there.

Nope, no recipe for Mock Apple Pie in this cookbook. With good reason: I did a little research (in my copious spare time) and discovered that Ritz Crackers made their debut in 1935 — the book was published in 1929.

I love the internet.

*Wondering to what my blog title refers? It’s a work thing. This is so not an easy week. But things should be back to normal next week. I hope. I hope.