Of Rats and Jen

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

And Hopes Wane Again

Filed under: Knitting,Rats!,Wayback Wednesday — folkcat at 3:42 pm on Thursday, October 11, 2007

Several times yesterday, when I put Lola and Sable together, Lola stepped up the level of aggression to where I was worried for Sable’s safety. This makes it seem, again, unlikely we’ll be able to let them live in the same cage together. I guess separate quarters with supervised visitation is going to be the way of the world for them.

We’re still waiting to hear about a new pair of babies, and I have to admit, I’m having my doubts about bringing more rats in with Lola and Sable needing separate cages. We’ll have to wait and see how we feel about things when we’re told the new girls are actually available.

Wayback Wednesday Comes on Thursday This Week:

For lack of anything more current to show you, here’s what I was working on as of October 27, 2005:

First entrelac bag, October 2005

That was the first entrelac bag I ever knit. Little did I know what I was starting! By this point in the knitting, I had not yet mastered the art of knitting backwards, so I was still turning the work at the end of every row. That didn’t last long – I made sure to learn how to avoid all the tedious turning back and forth pretty quickly!

Now, I’m working on my sixth entrelac bag, the desert-themed one that will be a Christmas gift for someone this year. I don’t see any end to these in my future, either – they’re just that much fun to knit!

Arachnophilia

Filed under: Announcements,Crafting Miscellany,Folkcat's Fotos,Holidays,Knitting,Wayback Wednesday — folkcat at 1:56 pm on Thursday, August 30, 2007

…aka, Wayback Wednesday comes on Thursday this week.

I’ve got no crafting to show you, because I didn’t do any yesterday. A few of the fingers on my right hand are objecting to the amount of small work I’ve been doing.

I can’t entirely blame them. My crafting has been alternating between hand stitching 1/2″ hexagons together using a tiny little quilting sharp for a needle, and knitting socks on US size 0 double point needles.

So yesterday I gave my hands a rest. Not my body, though – I wound up doing the major portion of our grocery shopping for the week, involving 2 1/2 hours spent at an Asian grocery and two supermarkets. My legs ached last night, too, but we won’t have to pick up anything but odds and ends the rest of the week. Plus, I found a few interesting items to review at Shopping Jen in the next few weeks.

I started thinking about my Christmas knitting, too. I think I’ll avoid doing a project as ambitious as the Monk’s Travel Satchel that I knit for my brother last year. I haven’t finalized exactly who’s getting what yet, but I think I have a general idea of some things I can start knitting now, then assign to recipients later. The knitting involved is larger scale than the socks, too, so it’ll give my hands a good rest.

In the meantime, so far we’ve got a post without a picture. So I dug back in the photo archives to September of 2005 to come up with this photo of a spider that had built its web over the side surface of Gryphon’s gas grill.

Spider on BBQ Grill

I know many people are frightened or disgusted by spiders, but I find them amazing. Especially these orb weaver types, with the patterns they spin into their webs to draw in their victims. Spiders, and their webs, are among my favorite things in nature.

Coming Friday:

Today is Thursday, and that means Knitting Around at Panera tonight. So I’m likely to have some knitting to show you.

Also, tomorrow I’m going to debut Folkcat’s Freebie Fridays – a weekly giveaway of some cool prize or prizes. It could be something I made, or a collection of craft materials, or cool books. This week, I haven’t made the final choice yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a hand beaded bracelet, made by yours truly. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for your chance to win!

Friday the Thirteenth Comes on a Friday This Month

Filed under: Wayback Wednesday — folkcat at 2:37 pm on Friday, July 13, 2007

And so does Wayback Wednesday. Here’s an interesting sky photo that I took just about a year ago today.

p7154306_edited.jpg

One of the things I like about it is how much like abstract art it looks, with that light pole dividing off the left side of the image.

Knitting is happening, quilting is happening, but not enough progress to show again. So have a great weekend, and I’ll see you all on the other side!

Wayback Otter

Filed under: Folkcat's Fotos,Wayback Wednesday — folkcat at 12:59 pm on Friday, June 8, 2007

Wayback Wednesday comes on Friday this week…

One of Gryphon’s and my favorite things to do when we visit family in Syracuse is to take a trip over to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. This great little zoo is right within the city, easy to get to, and easy to spend an entire day at looking at the animals, whether you have kids or not.

One such visit took place back in September 2000. Exhibits at the zoo are always changing, and at the time, they had a great enclosure with River Otters, including a swimming pool with a glass wall so visitors could watch the otters underwater. I was lucky enough to catch this photo that day, and it remains one of my favorites ever taken at the zoo.

Bubbly Otter
Bubbly River Otter Underwater

Knitting?

Yes, I did knit last night. But I have to believe that endless photos showing two more inches of sock are severely lacking in interest. So you probably won’t see Socks for Folkcat, Pair Two (SF/P2) until they’re finished!

Meanwhile, I hope you have a great weekend. Ta-ta!

Wayback Wednesday – Look At Us Grow

Filed under: Wayback Wednesday — folkcat at 3:19 pm on Wednesday, May 9, 2007

A little personal history this time in Wayback Wednesday. The year was 2004. My bead store had done reasonably well in a second-floor location in downtown Wilton, NH. A rare opportunity for a street-level space just two doors away came up, and we snatched it.

The new retail space had two large display windows out front. Since it would be hard to feature beads prominently, I frequently created large arts-and-crafts installations that celebrated the seasons.

This was the first – the one that celebrated the new store. The photo is dated May 7, 2004.

Look At Us Grow Shop Window

The two figures of children are part of a local fundraising project here in town, Wilton Whimsicals. A humorous version of scarecrows, basically, that get installed around Wilton in the springtime.

The flowers are large, fan-folding tissue paper flowers from Oriental Trading Company. They’re attached to wooden dowels covered with green crepe paper. The leaves are wire sandwiched between two layers of green crepe, then twisted onto the dowel stems.

The pots are small galvanized paint buckets from the hardware store. We used expanding foam insulation – the kind you spray from a can – to fill them, then when they hardened we stuck the dowels in. The flowers at the base of the stems are silk floral candle rings from the craft store.

Creating the displays for the store was a lot of fun. As for having the store itself – it’s in the category now of “been there, done that, don’t need to ever do it again.” It was enjoyable in its own way, and I know that we did a great job for the time we had it – two and a half years for a first time business isn’t bad! But I think ultimately that owning and operating a retail store wasn’t the best choice for me in the long term.

A Wayback Search for Floral Sunshine

Filed under: Folkcat's Fotos,Wayback Wednesday — folkcat at 4:19 pm on Friday, April 27, 2007

Another gray, cold, rainy day here. Usually, New Hampshire at this point in the spring is filled with blossoming shrubbery, trees, and flowers. This year, the warm sunny days have been so outnumbered that I haven’t seen much for floral relief yet.

I took a dip in the Wayback Machine, and found this picture I took on April 27, 2000 – exactly seven years ago today. Oh, what a difference!

Daffodils, 4/27/2000

The apartment we lived in at the time was of the in-law variety, attached to a 300-year-old farmhouse in the middle of fields and surrounded by woods. The landlord’s wife planted many, many daffodils along one of the original stone walls.

I hope that we eventually see some blooms this year. In the meantime, I’m glad to have this photo to remember past springs by. In fact, I think I’ll make it my desktop for a while.

You all keep warm and sunny thoughts in your hearts and minds this weekend, okay? I’ll try to do the same!

Wayback Wednesday Comes On Tuesday This Week

Filed under: Knitting,Rats!,Sewing,Wayback Wednesday — folkcat at 12:44 pm on Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Oh-oh! That means that Jen’s got nothing to show for her Monday, right?

Practically nothing, anyway, and certainly nothing worth photographing. I worked a lot on some things I can’t talk about, I did four more repeats of the edging on the Carnival Glass Shawl (all those bloggers are right – knitted on edgings take forever!). I didn’t get a chance to pick up the socks to work on them.

Remember I was talking about making a quilt square – a sawtooth star for a drawing up at my local quilt shop? What I never reported on was that the first attempt was a disaster. I’m not very familiar with my sewing machine, but I made my best effort. Only it seems that the presser foot I was using for the first try, although I could swear I measured and was getting a 1/4″ out to the edge of the foot, was actually giving me a much smaller seam allowance.

So the entire block got sewn together with seams too small, I wound up trimming things to make them fit together, etc.

Wanda at the shop was nice enough to give me material for a second try, as well as some advice about working with the sewing machine. So yesterday, I gave it another go.

Seam allowances are good this time. But I’m still having an issue with things not matching in size. And I know I was accurate about my cutting, I measured both before and after.

So I’m at a loss on this for the moment. It may be that I shouldn’t have tried something with triangles in it for my first square, because those Flying Geese pieces on the sides of the Sawtooth Square block are what I’m having trouble with. I just can’t seem to get things aligned to make them work.

And I’m sure not going to take a photo of the latest attempt in progress – this is a crafting blog, not a horror one. Trust me, you really don’t want to see it.

Wayback Wednesday

I know, it hardly ever comes on Wednesday any more, does it? But you know how it is – lacking real content to show you, let’s take a trip back to one year ago, and see what was going on then:

Mar. 20, 2006: Unifinished Rat Cage

Obviously, we were getting ready to bring the Rattie Sisters home – which we did about ten days later. This is the cage we built, partly done – we have yet to add the shelves or the door.

Mar. 20, 2006: WIP: Gryphon's Burgundy Sweater Vest

And look at that – I’d begun knitting a second sweater vest for Gryphon. Guess what? This is still a WIP, though it’s much further along now.

Exciting, huh? Well, tune in tomorrow, I’ll try to have something current to show you. Meanwhile, Happy Crafting!

The State of the Stash: a Wayback Wednesday Episode

Filed under: Knitting,Wayback Wednesday — folkcat at 1:31 pm on Wednesday, February 28, 2007

No knitting progress to show today – other activities kept me from doing more than swatching for the felted clogs for Gryphon yesterday, though I did also divide up all those different colors into matched-size pairs of balls. The better to distribute the colors evenly between the two clogs.

So instead, I took a peek into the Wayback Machine, and discovered that one day ago tomorrow was the last time I pulled out and reorganized my fiber stash.

Stash Organizing - One Year Ago
March 1, 2006 – Taming the Stash

I was so pleased with myself, I remember. Every ball of yarn was sorted into different containers by type, and I knew where it all was. And then, I kept buying more yarn, and taking on new knitting challenges, and I started spinning. And the stash grew. And we changed the rooms that most of it was stored in.

Today, there’s lots of new stash, most of it kept in these hampers in an unused corner of our living room.

New Fiber Stash Today
Feb. 28, 2007 – New Stash

I still know where most things are, though, and the stash I straightened out last year is mostly still sorted, so I’m not too worried about it – yet. So for now, I’m inclined to leave it as is. After all, the only time we entertain is when my friends come in to craft with me, so it doesn’t matter that the room is “decorated” with craft supplies!

I do need to make an effort to find more stashbuster projects, though. The felted clogs are a good start – they should use up almost all my leftover bits of Lamb’s Pride. After that, I’ll have to get creative.

I think I can manage that!

Tomorrow, hopefully, I’ll have pictures of something in progress to show. Maybe the beginning of the edging on the Carnival Glass Shawl – maybe the start of the felted clogs. Maybe even something totally different. We’ll see where today takes me!

The More Things Change…

Filed under: Dyeing Adventures,Knitting,Wayback Wednesday — folkcat at 4:15 pm on Thursday, February 8, 2007

Wayback Wednesday Comes on Thursday This Week…

Come April, I’ll have been doing this blogging thing for two years – both reading and writing them. Blogs have been such a strong source of inspiration for my knitting that a peek into the Wayback Machine is now turning up interesting evidence of how my craft has changed under their influence. Or not changed – you be the judge!

For instance, one year ago, I:

First Knit Picks Order
Received my first Knit Picks order (Feb. 1)

And today, I placed my third one – I need more Options needles!

Finished Clapotis
Finished a Clapotis (Feb. 3)

Doing errands today, I was wearing this Clapotis – and telling Gryphon how I want to knit another one with a lighterweight yarn for less bulk.

Dyed Lace Yarn With Wilton Food Colors
Hand-dyed my second yarn ever, with Wilton Food Colors (Feb. 4)

I haven’t knit this up yet. I’m still searching for the right project. But I love the colors!

Beginning of Kiri Shawl
And I began the Kiri Shawl for the Knitting Olympics (Feb. 10)

Which, of course, I finished just this week!

And Back to Today:

I’ve continued working on my Log Cabin Blanket. The first “crazy” corner is finished, and I’m into the second round of logs on the next section. Working all in solids is definitely turning out nicely, and I’m confident that the entire blanket is going to look good. Pictures tomorrow when there’s a little more to show!

An Icy Trip in the Wayback Machine

Filed under: Daily Life,Folkcat's Fotos,Wayback Wednesday — folkcat at 5:17 pm on Friday, January 19, 2007

Wayback Wednesday Comes on Friday This Week

You all know what it means when I pull out the Wayback Machine, right? Yup – I’ve got no measurable crafting progress to report, nor anything else interesting to say.

Today, in honor of this week’s icy New England mess, I’m pulling out a photo from January 11, 2005 – just over two years ago. I walked out of the apartment one day, looked up, and found this odd ice formation hanging off the gutter drain from the roof.

Curvy Ice Formation

Apparently, the gutter had clogged, then melting snow poured water down the outside of the drain pipe and froze. Add a bright morning sun on a cold day, which softened the ice enough to sag, but not really melt, causing it to droop into this interesting curlicue.

The bad news was, it was a symptom showing that the problems we’d had with the roof leaking along that area had not yet been fixed. We took a set of photos into the landlord, and they got on it. We were all dry soon, and remain so now (touch wood).

The weather has been amazingly wonky all over the world. I’m not even going to begin to talk about the climate change issues, we’d be here all weekend. To make matters worse, someone on a blog I read (sorry, I can’t remember where) posted a scan of a Newsweek article from 1975 that offered a severe warning about Global Cooling – with lots of data to back it up. So I have to wonder, do we even have a clue what’s really happening – especially on the long term? (No need to answer that – it’s just my rhetorical musings.)

E.T.A. – Ah, found it! It was Maize Hutton over at Maize’s Diary, in her post yesterday.

Whatever the weather has been lately in your part of reality, I hope that you are currently dry, comfortable, and living with your preferred level of functioning technology (and the power to run it)!

Happy Knitting, and have a great weekend!

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