My current work in progress:

1. Woodfords, designed by Elizabeth Doherty, knit from Madelinetosh Merino Light in the "paper" colorway on U.S. size 3, 5, and 7 needles.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

The Naming of Cats is a Difficult Matter

Important Note: I’m told that the server where WendyKnits is hosted is getting a hardware upgrade Friday evening (Feb 29). Therefore, I will be closing comments on Friday afternoon for a while. Comments will be re-opened when I get the go-ahead to do so, but I don’t know when exactly that’ll be. WendyKnits will no doubt be offline for a bit while the upgrade is in process. Be ye not alarmed.

On the naming of kitties, yes, y’all are correct. I named them after King Arthur and his foster brother (and later seneschal) Kay. And it turned out that I picked the right names — Arthur was too smart for his own good, and Kay was, as I said, dumber than a box of rocks.

This was Arthur.

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I also had Gawain (an orange tabby, of course), Bedivere, Tristan, and Isolde. Some of you remember Isolde, or as I called her, Izzy.

All this Arthurian cat naming stemmed from my study of medieval literature in graduate school. I was hooked on Arthurian legend. I read all of Chrétien de Troyes’ romances (in translation) Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur and the Pearl Poet’s Gawain and the Green Knight, among many other things.

One of my favorite later writings was John Steinbeck’s The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights, which was based on the Winchester manuscripts of Mallory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. I highly recommend it.

My favorite Arthurian movies are Monty Python and the Holy Grail (I mean seriously, how could I not love that?) and John Boorman’s 1981 movie Excalibur, which featured a young Liam Neeson as Gawain, Clive Swift (who played Richard Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances) as Ector, and Patrick Stewart as Leodegrance.

Don’t get me started. icon smile The Naming of Cats is a Difficult Matter

I seem to have strayed somewhat from the subject of knitting, and Random Wednesday is over.

Here’s my Chevron sock.

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Yeah, I’m going to frog it. icon smile The Naming of Cats is a Difficult Matter

Not that there’s really anything wrong with it — but it’s still not what I had in mind. A lesson to me to not start something when I’ve got the flu!

Debi B asked:

I have a question on the kf&b increase. Do you knit the first stitch, then kf&b, then knit to the next to the last stitch, kf&b in that stitch and then knit the last stitch? Do you worry about the stitches mirroring each other, which I assume they wouldn’t if you kf&b at each end? I try to to a left or right slanting increase, but sometimes am not quite sure if it matters.

What I do for my gusset increases is to kf&b on the first stitch, knit until there are 2 stitches left, kf&b in the next stitch, then k1. This way the increases look the same on each side.

Book Giveaway

There were 523 entries in the giveaway for the book Little Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse, and the random number generator chose Caroline A. in Oregon to receive the free copy. Thanks to everyone who sent an email!

Lucy Sez

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“I’m sick of all this talk about kitties I don’t know.”

Random Wednesday

Hey, boys and girls! It’s Random Wednesday! Be forewarned . . .

Okie doke, you have bent me to your will. The pattern for the sock with the gusset increases on the bottom of the foot is here, in pdf format. It’s also linked to from my Free Patterns Page.

Speaking of bending wills, I have convinced my current sock-in-progress to behave. Sixth time is the charm, I guess.

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Cotton or Wool?

The KOARC sent me this link to an article about which is better for the earth — wool or cotton. Read and discuss. icon smile Random Wednesday

Cute Cat Story

Remember yesterday when I said that back in the dim and distant past I used to bake and such-like? Here’s a story.

First, look at this picture.

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That’s my dear departed Kay, a much-loved kitty. He was very, very sweet, but dumber than a box of rocks.

One day I made puff pastry from scratch, and baked it up into a batch of patty shells. They came out looking wonderful. I took ‘em out of the oven, put ‘em on racks to cool, and left the kitchen.

When I returned, Kay was up on the counter, crumbs all over his face, dumb, happy look on his face. He had taken one bite out of every single patty shell. That was the last time I made puff pastry from scratch.

Can anyone guess why I named my boy kitty Kay? (Hint: I named his litter-mate Arthur.)

Lucy sez:

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“Boy, he sounds like he was real dumb. Why would you eat puff pastry when there is Wildside Salmon in the universe?”

Yarn Stress Test

So . . . this week I have been stress-testing yarn.

I have knit and ripped out the same three inches of this sock a total of five times. This is the sixth knitting of this yarn, and I think I finally like the way the sock looks.

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And it is not like I’m attempting a complex pattern. Yet it took me six tries to get it right.

On the bright side, I am happy to report that Fleece Artist Merino Sock yarn can be ripped and reknit many times without hurting it. No need to thank me. I’m happy to conduct these experiments for you.

The colorway is “Ruby Red,” by the way.

I think it might be a good idea if I cautiously back away from the knitting for a little while.

Look at this book:

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It’s Little Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse by Kaye Hansen and Liv Hansen, and I got a review copy of it this week.

Aside: While I will often proclaim that I do not cook, I am a closet foodie. And baking is a particular love of mine. I have, in the dim and distant past, made puff pastry and croissants from scratch. And other assorted hijinks.

Wowie, wow, wow, this is food pr*n at its best. When I flipped the pages the first time, the book opened to this:

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Little star shaped strawberry shortcakes. With blueberries. The perfect dessert for an Independence Day picnic, no?

And check out this autumnal cheesecake:

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There are recipes for muffins and cupcakes as well, and recipes for many different icings, and detailed directions for decorating your little cakes. So. Cute.

I actually read the book cover to cover when I got it yesterday. It’s packed full of good information and advice, as well as  recipes and instructions for decorating. Most of the items in the book are very do-able by “normal” people in a normal kitchen. It gives me hope. icon smile Yarn Stress Test

Would you like a copy of this book? (I’m not giving up my copy, nosireebob, but the publisher generously offered to send a copy to the winner of my blog giveaway.)

Send an email to the Official WendyKnits Contest email address: blogcontestATcomcastDOTnet before 4:00pm Eastern time on Thursday February 28, 2008. A winner will be selected at random and I’ll arrange for a copy of this marvelous book to be sent to you.

If I had the ingredients handy, I’d be baking little cakes right now instead of knitting. Hmmmmmmm . . . I think a trip to the grocery store is in order . . .

Lucy Sez 

Well, to tell the truth, Lucy is too busy having a political discussion with a friend to say anything right now.

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Back to the Socks

These socks, that is.

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Toe-up socks with gusset increases done on the bottom of the foot, knit in Numma Numma Toasty sock yarn in the “Georgia Peach” colorway.

There were a lot of questions about these socks when I was posting the “in progress” pix of the first one last week. The most popular question — how the heel feels when you walk on it. Well, it feels like any other sock knitted in fingering weight yarn with stockinette stitch on the bottom of the foot.

I’m assuming that those of you who asked were wondering if you could feel the increases on the bottom of the foot. You can’t. Well, I can’t. If I run my finger over the inside of the heel, I cannot differentiate between the purl bumps and the increases. I do my gusset increases by knitting in the front and back of a stitch, and I do it very firmly.

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A number of you asked if this was a Cat Bordhi pattern. It’s not, it’s just a little variation I winkled together myself. Really, it’s not rocket science — it’s exactly the same as the gusset and heel on my toe-up slipstitch heel pattern except that I moved the gusset increases to the bottom of the foot in a vee.

I did look through Cat Bordhi’s new sock book after reading that question. She does have a pattern that has the increases on the bottom of the foot, but from looking at the picture, hers seem to start much sooner than mine do and are accomplished more gradually. This may just be an optical illusion in the photo, because I didn’t check the pattern to see how her gusset was done. The truth is that while I think her ideas are extraordinarily clever and creative, I find the book to be difficult to read. It appears that you have to flip back and forth to different sections for different parts of the sock, and everything seems to be letter coded. I’m far too lazy to go to all that trouble to knit a sock.

So there is my sock experiment. The socks fit me very nicely, I don’t feel anything untoward on the bottom of the foot, and I rather like the way they look.

In other news, Lucy is practicing to be a puzzle.

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Garden Party Shawl

The bad news: what I thought was just a sinus issue turned out to be some sort of flu and I spent all of Thursday night in the throes of chills and fever and aches and insomnia. Sickest I’ve been in at least fifteen years.

The good news: after staying home from work on Friday and staying in all weekend I’m feeling considerably better. Not sure I’ll make it in to work tomorrow, but we’ll see.

The better news: I finished the Garden Party Shawl when I was home on Friday. Here it is unblocked:

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Blocked:

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A close-up of the center:

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And a close-up of the edging:

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To recap, this is a pattern available from Fiber Dreams, here. I made mine from Dream in Color Baby laceweight yarn, purchased from The Loopy Ewe, in the “Deep Sea Flower” colorway. I used the needle size called for in the pattern, a U.S. 5, and my completed shawl blocked out nicely to the dimensions stated in the pattern, 81 x 35 inches.

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The pattern calls for 900 yards of laceweight yarn. One skein of the Dream in Color Baby has 700 yards, so I used one full skein and just a bit of the second skein.

This shawl is going to be a gift for someone and the occasion of the giving is not until August, so it will lie quietly among my other shawls until that time.

Lucy is lying quietly on the couch . . .

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