Sunday, May 29, 2011

Saying Goodbye to Another Old Friend

We've had a tough couple of years with our little furry friends, and the time has come to say goodbye to little Cassie:

She was diagnosed with diabetes a few months ago, but had been responding quite well to her insulin injections.  We boarded her at the vet for this trip to California, so they could continue the insulin therapy.  Sadly, a few days ago she began to be quite ill, listless, not eating, and uninterested in her surroundings.  Investigation revealed a large mass in her abdomen, and this morning we got the news that the end had come for her.  They have been keeping her comfortable with morphine, a heated igloo, hand-fed treats when they could get her to eat.  But the time has come to say goodbye.

Here's the little darling in earlier days, as a spry young cat in the Sierra Foothills, lounging on top of her favorite perch:

Cassie was a stray, found wandering the streets of the small Gold Country town of Sutter Creek in 1997.  We adopted her from the animal shelter, and she had made lots of moves around California and then to Australia in 2006.  She was a cat with lots of personality, with a funny little meow, a shivery tail when she was pleased or excited, and a big fondness for her dinner.

It's hard not to be there with her at this sad time, but we are so fortunate to have such caring, affectionate staff at the vet in Moss Vale.  They really appreciated Cassie and always loved having her stay.  She was among friends at the end, and for that we are grateful.  We'll miss you, little friend.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Amazing Great Northern Yarns...My New Favorites

After finishing the Porom Beret using the glorious 100% Cashmere DK from Great Northern (pics on my Rav project page), I started yesterday on the first of two Monkey Bread Berets for friends.  I made the last one for myself from the deep green 70% Mink/30% Cashmere DK weight from Great Northern and it turned out so beautifully that I knew I wanted to make more of this pattern for a couple of friends.  Both friends chose the Blueberry colorway, and it really is a gorgeous color.

You may remember I mentioned I washed the 100% Cashmere in the skein to gain loft before I started knitting.  The Blueberry Mink/Cashmere looks pretty non-bloomy in the skein (as did the dark green when I got it) but I decided to just knit it up and then see where I was...I knew it would bloom in the soak when finished.

Yesterday I started the first Monkey Bread and to my amazement the yarn, which has only tiny trace amounts of the light oil used in spinning the yarn, begins to bloom immediately as you start working with it.  Your fingers must absorb the small amount of oil (and your fingers don't feel at all sticky or greasy, just light and moisturized!) leaving the yarn free to fluff up and expand as you work.  Want proof?  Here's a pic showing the beret where it is this morning (I got most of the hat knitted up yesterday!) with the wound skein beside it.  Can you see the difference in texture between the two?

You can see the bloom much better in the close-up, which I lightened so you can see it even more:

I gotta tell you, this stuff is just wonderful to work with!  And you only need one skein to make Anne's great pattern.  I'm making only one modification:  Toward the top there is one cable that she specifies as 7 over 1...from my last hat I feel that poor lonely stitch with 7 others stretched over it looks too tortured, so I'm changing that cable to 5 over 3 left.  To my eyes, it looks more relaxed.  Other than that, I'm knitting it as she wrote the pattern, and it is just a really special knitting experience!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Woo-Hoo, the Cashmere Beret is Finished!

This was one of the most enjoyable projects I have EVER knit...the Great Northern Yarns cashmere was so soft, light and exquisite, and a perfect match for Jared Flood's wonderful Porom pattern.

As this DK weight yarn is a bit lighter than the usual DK, and I didn't want this to be too slouchy but more of a real beret, I used 3.5mm needles for the ribbing and 4mm for the rest.  Jared suggests knitting to about 6 or 6.5" before starting the crown decreases, but as it's pretty lacy and therefore quite stretchy, I decided to knit only to about 5" before starting the decreases to avoid having it be too floppy and stretched out.  Turned out to be absolutely perfect, in my opinion.

Here's another shot of it blocking:

Once it's dry, I'll try a modelled shot, and then I can deliver it to Karine!  Can't wait!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

I'm a Knitting Tragic!

Do you want to know just how obsessive I am?  Since DH is away, guess who's indulging in an orgy of knitting time?  So, let's see just how bad things are at the moment.

Here's the most glorious beret I've ever knit, in Great Northern Yarns 100% Cashmere DK -- this will be a beret for my friend, K (you know who you are, Karine!) and its about half finished.  This yarn is SO soft and light, I think it's going to feel like wearing a kitten on your head!

The pattern is Porom, by Jared Flood, a design I've knit a couple of times before --  it's one of my all-time favorites.

Here are a couple more pics of the beret, in progress:

And I didn't post a pic of my friend A's finished Icarus.  Forgot to take a pic of it on her, but here it is blocking...the yarn is Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 8 Ply, a very fine micron Merino that is soft, silky-feeling and luscious:

But to know just how nutso I really am, this picture says it all...yes, there are two other watch caps on the needles, in various stages of completion.  The dark blue for Ross and the hot chocolate one for Greg.  Plus, there are four more skeins, also destined for hats that are promised to family and friends.  The two skeins of Blueberry on the right are that incredibly beautiful 70% Mink/30% Cashmere from Great Northern Yarns in the colorway Blueberry...can you believe two friends to whom I promised hats chose the same color?
I know my knitting friends will understand...compulsive knitter at work!  And I refuse to show you a picture of the closet where I'm storing all the OTHER yarns I have queued up for various projects.  You'll just have to wait and see...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Jane Eyre Shawl: The Modeled Shots

So much fun!  I wore this to the movie, Jane Eyre, yesterday.  No other Jane Eyre Shawls were present, except for the one onscreen!  

I really love the look of those ruffles across the back:

And here's Jane, herself, wearing her version in the movie, in case you haven't seen it:

The movie is fun for the costumes and atmosphere, but a little slow, I thought.  But if you are a knitter, you really should make one of these shawls.  Very warm, slightly shaped over the shoulders so it stays on pretty well.  I think there's another in my future!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

California Girl Back in California...for the Moment.

 So here we are again...back in Sunny California for nearly a month.  Brought my knittin' with me, and a few quilt blocks:

This is my finished To Eyre shawl, pattern by Carol Sunday on Ravelry, following extensive discussions on the Rav boards about the shawl worn by Jane Eyre in the new movie, and Carol's exemplary pattern creation.  HOWEVER...having run out of yarn about two-thirds through the shawl, I was forced to scavenge the collar from a sweater I knitted from the same yarn last year.  Want to see the poor, depleted sweater today?

Kinda sad, no?  However, the sweater was a bit too wide for me, and the collar overwhelming for my size, so I think I'll knit a new one, same pattern, smaller size and different yarn.

If the new shawl is dry in time I'm hoping to wear it when I go to see the movie tomorrow...wonder if anyone will recognize it as the same shawl Jane's wearing in the movie.

And I've been working on a Corn and Beans Quilt for my DS, and brought 3 and a half blocks with me to show him how it's going.  Can you see the fabric that has green beans on it?  How about the one with ears of corn?  Cool!  He loves the blocks, so I'm good to go.

I've got about 7 hats queued up to knit, so that should keep me out of trouble while we're here...