Friday, March 30, 2007

Friday Catblogging: Keaton Loves Yarn

Keaton exploring my stash, originally uploaded by Mnemosyne_LA.

I know, who'd'a guessed it -- a cat is fascinated by yarn! But he really does drive me nuts sometimes, especially when he gets a running start and dives into my lap to attack whatever it is I'm working on.

He's gotten yelled at enough times that he doesn't do that very often anymore. Now he just sits at my feet staring at the lovely, lovely yarn as it snakes through my fingers and dreaming of the time when I will put it back in the box so he can open the lid and play.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

I love my boss

I've been working a temp job since right before Thanksgiving and I have to say, I really like it. (There's talk about hiring me on permanently -- we'll see what happens.)

I told my boss that I've taken up knitting, so she brought me a few skeins of yarn that she found in a thrift store. Cat toy yarn! Whoo-hoo!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday Cat Food Blogging

NB_VenCatBagsth, originally uploaded by Mnemosyne_LA.

Let me tell you about Boris, who we love dearly, but who has been referred to as "The Pukenator" since he was very young.

A couple of months ago, the puking got abruptly worse. Instead of vomiting once or twice a month, he was throwing up three times a day. I got worried enough over a weekend that I insisted that we bring him in to the (incredibly expensive) emergency room at Animal Specialty Group. He was dehydrated enough that he ended up spending one night there and one night at our regular vet's office before we were able to bring him home.

But he kept puking. So we took him back to the vet and spent another $1,000 getting him an endoscopy to see what was wrong. Turns out Boris has feline inflammatory bowel disease, which is more of an annoyance than anything else unless it goes to long, in which case it can turn into cancer. Which freaked us the fuck out, because Natasha died of cancer only a year ago.

There really isn't any reliable treatment for it, other than putting the cat on steroids. The vet suggested that we might want to consider putting him on a "novel protein," basically a form of protein that he wouldn't have encountered before so he wouldn't have an allergy to it.

We were putting it off, but then we found out that Science Diet (which was what he was getting) was one of the brands that had been recalled. Yes, he was getting the hard food, and only canned food was being recalled, but it finally made it worth it to me to switch him to a new food.

It seems to be going okay -- he's definitely enthusiastic about the change, which may be why he threw up a little bit this morning. But we'll give him some fluids tonight and keep going on the switch.

So if you ever wondered what Dick Van Patten has been doing with his life lately, I can tell you: he's making cat food for cats with allergies.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

My Demon Spawn Kitty

IMG_1757, originally uploaded by Mnemosyne_LA.

You will notice that I have a lovely cast-on, but the yarn has somehow become detached from the needles. Let me explain ...

So I'm sitting around the other day and look over and Keaton comes trotting over with something in his mouth. I suddenly realize it's my circular knitting needles, which I have finally managed to cast on without it being too tight.

He actually chewed through the yarn and took the needles out of my knitting bag, which I had foolishly left open.

I ended up frogging it and buying new yarn to make this goddamned hat with, because the wool/soy silk yarn I was trying to use was just too much of a pain for this project. Circular knitting sucks!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Squid Phone Case - version 1.0

Squid Phone Case, originally uploaded by Mnemosyne_LA.

Here's my squid-shaped cell phone case, about 3/4ths of the way done. I still have to knit down the flap to the point where I want the eyes to be (probably about 3/4ths of the way through that hot pink section), make the buttonholes, and sew on the buttons for the eyes.

I have to say, this was often a pain in the butt to work on, and I messed up many times (note that my squidlet only has 4 tentacles instead of 6), but it was still a lot of fun to make and I learned a lot. I'll probably make a second one another time and see if I can figure it out.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Friday Catblogging: Keaton and Boris, Sittin' in a Tree ...

UPDATED: Blogger somehow managed to delete a picture from my computer when I uploaded it to use here. So I'm not going to be uploading to them until they figure out what the hell is going on.

Keaton cleaning Boris, originally uploaded by Mnemosyne_LA.

A year ago, we lost our younger cat, Natasha, to breast cancer. Yes, cats get breast cancer, and it's extremely nasty. It's much more common in cats that are unspayed or spayed late (as Natasha was). Yet another reason to spay your cat, as if you needed another one.

Boris, who's now 14, became very mopey and clingy, so we found him a kitten to play with -- Keaton. Boris was, to say the least, not terribly thrilled at first, especially when Keaton gave him a cold. But Keaton decided from Day One that Boris was his best friend in the whole world and he wasn't going to let Boris pretend otherwise. Slowly but surely, he won Boris over.

This picture is of one of Keaton's biggest victories: he's grooming Boris. Boris would never groom Natasha, or let her groom him, but Keaton just pins him down despite his protests and starts licking his head. Now Boris is a very well-groomed senior cat.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The iPod Case

Well, I wasn't happy with the way my keyhole scarf turned out, but I'm pretty darn happy with my iPod case. I made it out of leftover yarn from the Jester scarf. If I ever do get around to making a skinny-scarf version of the Jester, I'm going to use a little of that yarn to put some fringe on the iPod case. Maybe even a strap, but I've gotta think about that -- the wool seems a little too stretchy to handle that well.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Friday Catblogging: Keaton Loves My Purse

Keaton Loves My Purse, originally uploaded by Mnemosyne_LA.

I'm having a hard time typing this because Keaton has decided to stand directly in front of the monitor so he can admire his picture. He's very vain.

We're constantly surprised at what a big boy he's become from the scrawny kitten we adopted back in August. He's a little wild, but we love him anyway.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The scarf from Hell

This scarf is pretty much a textbook of beginner's mistakes:

- I forgot to count the number of rows I did of the Fun Fur at the beginning, so I had to guess at how long to make the other end ... and I guessed wrong. (Why didn't I count them? Have you ever freakin' tried to count rows of freakin' Fun Fur?) I'm hoping that once I fluff it out, the problem will be less obvious.

- I used needles that were too big for the Lion Brand Suede that I used for the main body of the scarf, so it's much looser than I wanted it to be. Remember, kids, if the yarn says to use a 9 and you use an 11, this is what you'll end up with.

- I dropped a stitch (actually, I was CONSTANTLY dropping stitches, though I caught most of them) in the second part of the Fun Fur and only discovered it after I had cast off. I faked it up and tied it off to some neighboring stitches, so hopefully it won't come loose.

- I somehow kept adding stitches by mistake when I was using the Fun Fur because it was so hard to see what was the yarn (the tiny thread part) and what was just a big clump of fur. And this is supposed to be easy to use for beginners? Yeah, right.

The keyhole turned out pretty much okay. I'll probably need to reinforce it. Still, this whole stupid scarf was the project from Hell, but I was just too stubborn to frog it and start over.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

My poor deformed squidlet

It turns out that I read the instructions wrong, and now my poor squid-shaped cell phone case only has two tentacles on the first row instead of four. Poor little guy is a mutant squid.

I'm going to finish what I have just out of sheer stubbornness, and then I'll try it again now that I understand better what the pattern actually means.

Learning curve, I guess.

Monday, March 05, 2007

What to make next ...

Hmm. I finally got to the point where I can make the keyhole part of my ribbed keyhole scarf, so I'm almost done with that. The cell phone case is going to take a little while longer, but I feel like I've made pretty good progress with that.

But I'm going to my knitting class tonight and I can't really work on my keyhole scarf there because it's an outside project. So the question becomes ... what to make next? The ABC Hat? The Connemara Scarf for my husband?

Decisions, decisions. I guess it'll depend on what yarn I like at the store tonight.

UPDATE: It turned out they didn't have the Debbie Bliss yarn I wanted for G's scarf, so it was the ABC hat after all.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

My Old Job

There's something satisfying about finding out that someone who only met your old boss once took an instant dislike to him and now refers to your old boss as "Schmuck Boy."

That's all.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Swag from Joann Fabrics

Swag from Joann Fabrics, originally uploaded by Mnemosyne_LA.

So here's what I got for under $50, with only three items not on sale:

- Solutions box for small items (crochet hooks, buttons, darning needles, etc.)
- T-Pins, for blocking
- Circular #6 knitting needles, 20"
- Circular #7 knitting needles, 29"
- Darning needle set from Clover (comes with a cool little storage tube)
- Straight #5 knitting needles, 13" long
- Straight #6 knitting needles, 13" long
- Straight #7 knitting needles, 9" long
- 2 wooden buttons (so I can use 1 to finish the iPod case)
- Set of 3 crochet hooks (G, H, & J)
- Double-point #3 needles
- Double-point #6 needles

Not pictured -- a "Cow Tail" candy, which I think may be a really long, skinny piece of caramel. At 39 cents and 110 calories, I figured it was worth a try.

So now I'm fully prepared for my next four or five projects, except for yarn.

Friday, March 02, 2007

I'm So Pathetic

I've been sitting at my desk at work all morning trying to get through the morning so I can run over to Joann Fabrics and get 40% off all of their knitting needles. Plus I've fallen in love with some amazing yarn from Fabulous Yarn and am seriously contemplating spending $70 on it.

Addiction is a sad, sad thing.

Friday Catblogging

Keaton and His Nemesis, originally uploaded by Mnemosyne_LA.

The Friday Random Ten always exposes my extreme lack of taste in music, so I'll go with Friday Catblogging instead. Here's Keaton finally being allowed to play with the completed Jester scarf, which was his mortal enemy the entire time I was making it.

Yeah, I know -- cats and yarn, the classic combination. It's still annoying when he insists on jumping into my lap and trying to eat the knitting needles.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Confessions of a Yarn Snob

This recent knitting binge isn't the first one I've ever tried. I've attempted to learn it, on and off, ever since high school (which was, um, longer ago than I care to admit). That's not even counting my brief, sad flirtations with crochet, all of which ended up with triangular swatches.

But I discovered something interesting this time around -- it's a lot easier to knit with expensive yarn than it is with cheap yarn, which is what I used every other time I tried to learn to knit.

Cheap yarn sucks. It doesn't stretch, it feels rough in your hands, and it's hard to see what the pattern is that you're making. It's not fun. And what's the point of working with something that's not fun?

The Jester Scarf was a joy to make, because the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky that I used was so easy to work with, even as a rank beginner. It was soft and stretchy, very forgiving but shows the pattern off in a really amazing way. Even the iPod case I made with some of the leftovers looks great.

Right now, I'm working on a keyhole scarf with some Lion Brand Lion Suede acrylic yarn that I bought at Joann's, and I just don't like it. It's hard to work with, it doesn't give, and my pattern is looking pretty weird because when it stretches, it doesn't bounce back.

Yes, I'm only on my third knitting project, and I have already become a yarn snob. Natural fibers only for me, thankyouverymuch.