Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

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!

Who Knew?

Filed under: Cooking - Folkcat in the Kitchen,Daily Life,Knitting — folkcat at 3:21 pm on Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Okay, really now – who out there knew that blood oranges are so tasty, and never told me?

I’ve been making a strong effort to eat more fruit, and on a whim last week I decided to buy a blood orange. And now, I’m wondering where they’ve been all my life!

The first impression comes when you see the color inside. A deep, rich, and yes, blood red.

Blood Orange

If you want an even more impressive view, however, take a single wedge and hold it up to the light. I made my best effort to capture the golden orange/red glow on camera.

Blood Orange Glow

This is nowhere near what it really looked like. You’ll just have to get your own blood orange and try it for yourself.

I would love to have yarn that mimics these colors.

But beyond the visuals, there is the taste of the blood orange. The sign at the supermarket said it was an orange with a subtle raspberry flavor – I submit that it’s more raspberry than orange! The taste is sweet, rich, red. Yes, I’d say the taste had a color, it was that distinct.

The really odd thing is that, all the rest of the evening whenever I’ve had a blood orange now, I remember the flavor of it. Even after eating other strongly flavored foods. Something about the taste of the blood orange grabbed my soul deeply enough to have me remember it all night long, and even sometimes into the next day. I remember it, and want more.

You can bet that blood oranges will be on my regular shopping list now. I gave Gryphon one, too, and he agrees. Not surprising – he’s a big fan of raspberries!


As promised – yesterday here on the blog, and last summer to Gryphon – I’m going to knit the Fiber Trends Felted Clogs for Gryphon. The plan is that this is a stashbuster project, so we’re a bit limited on color selection.

WIP: Fiber Trend Felted Clogs

With all the entre-lac bags I knit for Christmas, I have a fair bit of Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride around. Not enough of any one color to make the clogs monochromatic, but enough to make an interesting and brightly colored pair.

Since the clogs are worked with doubled worsted weight, I expect to use the colors I have the most of as Main Colors (MCs), with each of the others being alternated as stripes along with the MCs. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough of any one color to serve as MC for both clogs. But Gryphon is okay with each clog having a different MC, and the common element then being the stripes.

The two colors I have the most of are the Spruce and the Brite Blue, bottom row right and center respectively in the picture. So each will serve as MC for one of the clogs. The other colors will be divided into two balls each, and will be used in varying width stripes along with the MCs. The very bright green at the top is the one color that Gryphon vetoed for this project, so that’s what I’m doing my felting test swatch from.

Lace Progress

No photo, as it wouldn’t look much different from yesterday. I did about six more rows on the border of the Carnival Glass Shawl, and have four more rows to go before I can begin knitting the edging. Hooray!

I Sure Hope the Movies Were More Entertaining Than the Oscars Were

Filed under: Blogfriends,Knitting,Movies — folkcat at 4:53 pm on Monday, February 26, 2007

Oscar night last night – while the awards given seemed worthy to me, the show itself was very underwhelming. Ellen didn’t rise to the excellence with which she’s hosted the Emmys and Grammys before, there were some very odd, lengthy “bits” – like Will Ferrell, Jack Black, and John C. Riley singing about the plight of a comedic actor and how he should branch out into comedy. WTF?

And I’m getting tired of film montages that are nothing more than time fillers. Was there a real reason to have an entire montage of movies about life in America? It’s not like it was tied to an award, or a special theme of the evening, or anything. In fact, it would have been nice if there’d been a theme to the evening – it would have at least offered a common thread to all the mediocrity. Instead, everything seemed like a jumble of odd, disconnected bits, thrown in because there was time.

On the other hand, I think that the bits that worked the least well could have accounted for the 30 minutes or so that the show ran over…

Along with that, there was the embarassing performance of E! on the red carpet coverage that I wrote about last night. All in all, one of the most disappointing Oscar nights I can remember in a long time. I wanted to be entertained, and I wasn’t. Well, except for some of the ads that were really cute. It’s a sad commentary that I called Gryphon in from the other room more often to see a clever ad than to see a good bit on the awards themselves. (My favorite: the zoo keeper with the cold, and the elephant took the MasterCard into town and bought him hot soup, cold medicine, tissues, and a blanket. “Making it all better: Priceless!” Adorable!)


Friday and Saturday I spent a lot of time working on the Carnival Glass Shawl. I’m about 75% of the way through the border now.

WIP: Carnival Glass Shawl, 75% of Border
WIP: Carnival Glass Shawl, 75% of Border

The pattern is still a fairly easy knit (once you ignore the badly-bungled “right side border” chart), though I find that I still drop a YO now and then. I’ve solved that by calculating how many stitches each side should have after a pattern row, and counting to make sure they’re all there. Touch wood, I haven’t had trouble with it since I started doing that.

As for Sunday – even a dull presentation of an awards show calls for more of my attention than the lace knitting can take, so my Oscar knitting was the Log Cabin Blanket.

WIP: Log Cabin Blanket, Sq. 2, Rd. 5, Log 2
WIP: Log Cabin Blanket, Square 2, Round 5, Log 2

I’m likely to be setting this aside for a bit to pick up another project or two. In the mail today, I received this gift from a very good blog friend, Claudia:

Blauband Gift
Froehlich Wolle Special Blauband, Color 7410

We had gotten into a discussion about sock yarns in e-mail, and Claudia offered this up to me on the condition that I “knit something for my sweetie” with it. I hesitated a moment – Gryphon has size THIRTEEN feet – but then remembered that his birthday is coming up (April 3), and this could make a nice birthday surprise for him. So Claudia put it in the mail, and here it is!

The other debate I had with myself was whether to tell Gryphon about it or not. It’s hard to hide postal arrivals from him – all our mail comes to the Post Office, and he’s the one who picks it up. I remembered then how much he enjoyed watching me knit his Christmas gift, the We Call Them Pirates hat, and decided he’d likely get the same pleasure with these socks.

And so, Claudia, Gryphon knows, and he knows the birthday gift is partially from you. And he’s pleased with it! (Though he has asked that I first knit a pair of felted clogs for him that I promised him last summer! These socks will come right after the clogs, though, I promise!)

Here’s a better look at the color, which is black plied with rainbow shades.

Blauband Detail

We both love the color, and I’m especially looking forward to seeing how it knits up! Thank you from both of us, Claudia!

Meanwhile, Claudia, who’s multi-talented (freeform crochet, knitting, and who knows what else?) is also the creator of a marvelous line of skin care products, and she sent us samples last week. For Gryphon, who has large, dry, crackly skin on his feet, she sent a tin of Heal My Heels, and for me, a sample of what I believe started the whole thing, Heal My Hands (in the Lavender Mint scent).

Disclaimer: Although I have become good blog friends with Claudia, I wouldn’t be reviewing her products here if I didn’t think they were worth endorsing. Claudia didn’t ask for a review, and beyond the free samples she sent – which were unsolicited – there has been no consideration exchanged, nor is there any expected.

I am hugely impressed with these products. I tend towards very dry hands, with cuticles that shred just looking at them. And with my asthmatic reaction to artificial scents, I’ve always had a hard time finding a hand lotion that I could use without bringing on an asthma attack. Our stand-by has been the hypo-allergenic St. Ives lotions for extra dry skin, which I usually have to order online because its availability at brick-and-mortar stores has been unreliable.

Heal My Hands, though – this stuff is wonderful. It takes a bit longer to apply, being made with beeswax and other natural oils, but it’s worth it. Since I started using it last Friday, I haven’t touched the St. Ives at all. The Heal My Hands seems to not only moisturize, it helps to protect the surface of the skin in a way that the St. Ives doesn’t.

And it’s a real treat for me to be able to use a scented product! I can’t tell you how much that means to me!

As soon as I can, I’ll be buying a full-size tin of Heal My Hands. If you’re interested in what I’ve said here, and want to learn more about Claudia’s products (which include balms for other body parts, and for pets, too!), you can visit Heal My Hands. She takes Paypal!

Later This Week

I’m hoping to get started on those felted clogs for Gryphon, from the Fiber Trends pattern that seems to be everywhere. I have a bulky weight wool yarn – some Combia-Minerva Icelandia – that I found at a yard sale last summer, and Kool-Aid dyed in shades of blue. I’m hoping it will meet the needs of the patten. If not, I’m sure I have something else in stash that will work.

I also plan to get the border finished on the Carnival Glass Shawl this week, and be able to start the edging. Once I’ve verified whether that chart is valid or not, I’ll be in the home stretch!

Oscar Night – Notes From The Red Carpet

Filed under: Movies,Special Events — folkcat at 9:14 pm on Sunday, February 25, 2007

What the heck – I said I wouldn’t do a blow-by-blow like I did for the Emmys last year, but as I watched the red carpet coverage tonight, I found my fingers wandering to the keyboard. So, not a detailed rundown, but a few thoughts about the work that E! did tonight.

E!’s coverage is not the best I’ve seen. Their assigned location for interviews along the red carpet is cramped – celebrities can barely move along before they’re stopped by the next reporter. Some of the gowns face possible damage as those with long trains can’t even move completely out of E!’s area when they stop. The next celebrity interviewed by E! winds up having to avoid stepping on the fabric.

I miss the Glam Cam they used at the Golden Globes, it gave a great view of the outfits.

E! has occasionally inserted a short, pre-recorded bit with Ellen Degeneres, behind the scenes inside the theater, and they’ve all been lame so far.

We keep getting abruptly jerked back and forth between Ryan Seacrest (who is doing the lamest job of interviewing that I’ve ever seen), and up on a nearby rooftop, Jay Manuel and Giuliana DePandi, who are using the “Glam-a-strator” to analyze the fashions. So far, my opinions have almost all been the exact opposite of theirs. They trashed Kirsten Dunst, and I thought she looked stunning. They loved Cameron Diaz’s look, and I thought she was a disaster. We did agree on a few – Helen Mirren, for instance, is absolutely gorgeous in a soft, wavy hairdo and a gown that nearly matches her hair.

Meanwhile, Giuliana’s own outfit is a pretty dull shade of olive green, and looks rather stiff to me. Her hair looks like it was pulled back in haste, with stray strings hanging down. As for Jay, well, he’s wearing a tuxedo that looks pretty much like any other.

Earlier, Giuliana was talking with Debbie Matenopoulos, another of E!’s red carpet correspondents. Neither said anything that made much sense to me – they were clearly trying to fill dead air. Debbie looked emaciated in a strapless red gown that was struggling to stay up. I swear at one point Giuliana was clutching Debbie’s hand to keep her from walking off camera – I think I actually saw her pulling Debbie back as she started to move away. And oddly, we haven’t seen hide nor hair of Debbie since, and no one’s even talking about her…

Ryan just as embarassing, if you ask me. He keeps talking about the crews and reporters working in the cramped space next to him, and making the E! camera turn on them. He keeps forgetting to ask about the designers responsible for the clothing. The crowded river of celebrities keeps sending big names past him while he’s still talking to others. And the rest of the on-camera folks aren’t helping any, as they make him ask questions like what underwear the star is wearing.

Which led to yet another embarassing moment, when they asked Ryan what he was wearing under his tux, he started digging around under his waistband and gave himself a mini wedgie to display the elastic of his Calvins. Meanwhile, Helen Mirren is standing behind him waiting for her turn to talk to him. Not only that, she’s actually chosen to come back down the row to him, having passed him by for the next reporter because he was talking to someone else when she came along. And there she stands, elegant and patient as anything while Ryan is displaying his underwear. Class will always out, I tell you.

Oh, my – nearly the end, and Debbie is back with Jay and Giuliana. She still looks a little off, shoulders hunched, eyes wide, attitude a little to “oh-gosh-wow” eager. Interrupting the others frequently with meaningless comments. Very annoying.

And yet, as awful as E!’s red carpet spectacle was this time – and it was certainly the worst I’ve seen in recent years – I still praise the goddesses every time that it’s not Joan and Melissa!

Stray Bits

Filed under: Blogfriends,Knitting — folkcat at 1:28 pm on Friday, February 23, 2007

I’m having a slow brain day today, so I’ll just offer a couple of stray bits that have been waiting for attention here.

Movie Madness

Purl Needlemeyer over at Knit and Plenty is hosting the Second Annual Oscar Nomi-knitions. Pop over and read the descriptions of the Nomi-knitted films, including:

Little Knit Sunshine

Notes on a Pattern

Marie Antoiknitte

The Pursuit of HappyKnits

Knitters From Noro Iro

The Last Skein of Scotland

Sunday, she’ll open the voting, and you can pick your favorite to win. This was a lot of fun last year, when the final race was a close run-off between Berroco Mountain and Stash. Who will win this year? Check back at Knit and Plenty and see!

Flying Fickle Thumbs of Fate Award?

A couple of weeks ago, Kristi at Fiber Fool (who is a very talented knitter and cook of Swedish descent) had a contest to celebrate her blogiversary. She asked for comments as entries, and she offered a double entry to anyone who left their comment in the form of a haiku.

So I wrote a haiku, of course.

Now, technically, I didn’t win the contest. The random drawing went to someone else. But Kristi enjoyed three of the haiku entries so much that she decided to award them prizes as well. And, well, I was one of them!

What caught her eye about my entry was that I included the title of her latest original pattern, a fingerless mitt called Two Thumbs Up, in my haiku. Here’s my entry:

Swedish eats, fiber.
Clever knitting and photos.
I give Two Thumbs Up!

So a couple of days ago, I received the PDF of her Two Thumbs Up pattern as my prize. Which is timely, because my own fingerless mitt pattern, while perfectly suitable most of the time, has only the most minimal attention to the thumb. And with the cold weather we’ve been having these last couple of weeks, I’ve actually been thinking of knitting a pair of mitts with a longer hand, and at least a little bit of a thumb. Which is exactly what I can do with Kristi’s pattern now!

My response to Kristi when I got the e-mailed pattern?

So cool! My haiku
Wins me my second blog prize.
I get Two Thumbs Up!

If you’re looking for a fingerless mitt pattern with a thumb, check out Two Thumbs Up – Kristi is a clever designer!

Knitting Notes

No more progress on the lace yesterday – it’s not good for knitting in public while chatting. But the Log Cabin Blanket now has Round 4 of Square 2 finished, and I’m about to pick up for the first log of Round 5.

This Weekend

The Oscars Sunday Night! I know that, back when the Emmys were on, I did a blow-by-blow posting about the entire Red Carpet and the awards show itself. And it was fun. But truthfully, it was also a lot of work, and right now I don’t think I want to tackle it again. So on Sunday, I’m just going to settle in with some special snacks and enjoy the show!

I hope you find something to enjoy this weekend, too, whether it’s the Oscars or something entirely different!

What I Did Wednesday

Filed under: Knitting,Papercraft,Stitchery — folkcat at 1:18 pm on Thursday, February 22, 2007

No time for fancy story telling today. Thursday is always full of errands, and then, of course, going out all evening for Knitting Around at Panera.

So I’ll just tell you, quickly and simply, What I Did Wednesday.

Pajama Day

I had no need to go out anywhere, so I decided to take a personal Pajama Day, just relax at home, crafting and watching TV.

Mindless TV

My brain was a little fried on the concept of following complex plots, though, so I worked through a pile of The People’s Court episodes I had stacked up in Tivo, then I watched an America’s Funniest Videos, and the two-hour American Idol sing-off for the twelve women. Kept it simple, kept it interesting enough to count, but kept my brain from feeling too slow to keep up.


People’s Court makes for good stitching time, since you don’t have to look at the screen every minute. So I did some work on the miniature knotted rug.

Needlework in Progress: Knotted Rug, Center Border

I’ve now completed the background behind the mice at the center, and have worked about a third of the border around that medallion. Once I finish that, I’ll be stitching the vines up the sides of the four stone paths.


People’s Court is also good paper cutting time, so I scored and cut out the pieces for another small papercraft project.

Papercraft in Progress: Card Boy

He’s called CardBoy, and he’s a desk calendar disguised as either a robot or a space boy – I’m not sure which. It was a limited time free offer from a business website online. Basically, he’s a box on a small body, and the months are on another box that fits inside his head. He’ll be a cute reference to keep by the computer.

Knitting, too

But I didn’t take a picture of it because, well, it’s about 4 more rows on the Carnival Glass Shawl border. Which is still stitching perfectly by using the one chart and mirroring it for the other side. So just go back to the last picture, and imagine the border as a little bit wider.


Payday for Gryphon, so, lots of errand running. Then, of course, knitting tonight at Panera, which means attention for the Log Cabin Blanket instead of the Carnival Glass Shawl. I mean, the shawl pattern is working for now, but I don’t think I want to risk finding another problem while I’m chatting in a noisy cafe…

Happy knitting, everyone!

It’s (Almost) All About the Perlers

Filed under: Blogfriends,Crafting Miscellany,Daily Life,Knitting,Spinning — folkcat at 4:01 pm on Wednesday, February 21, 2007

And so, we have yet another theme post!

Every Tuesday night, a few of my friends come over to my house for a craft circle that’s been going on for, oh…around eight years now, as near as we can recall. Occasionally, we’ll have a theme night, where one person suggests a project or craft to work on, and we all join in.

Last night, at my suggestion, it was Perler Beads night. I arranged the living room where we gather with small tables to work at, and a large assortment of pegboards, idea books, and two huge jars of beads to pick from. Everyone was encouraged, as well, to bring along any Perler Bead supplies they had, and possibly cross stitch charts for inspiration.

We had a great time! Chatter was down from our usual levels as we all focused on putting the little Perler beads on those even smaller pegs. An ironing station was set up in the kitchen for the actual fusing of the pieces.

Anne and Bea at the Ironing Station

The distance to the ironing station made for slightly nervous walks with pegboards of loose beads, but we used cookie sheets to help carry everything a little more solidly. No Perler beads were lost or jostled out of place in the making of these projects!

We worked for a couple of hours, and in the end, here’s what we created:

Our Perler Products
Front, L. to R.: Bea’s Rainbow and Patchwork Heart, Anne’s Jack o’Lantern w/Cat, Bea’s Christmas Tree. In Back: Jen’s Pencil Cup

Bea used her imagination and some of the idea books to create ornaments for all seasons. Anne took her design from a Better Homes & Gardens book of cross stitch motifs. She adapted the design slightly to work with the Perler beads, but what you see is essentially what the cross stitch chart offered. Then she made little feet to slip onto the bottom so it will stand up.

I took the pencil cup directly from one of the many projects listed at the official Perler Beads website. It’s built like the puzzle box I made the other day, flat pieces with tabs and notches on the side that lock together to form the structure.

I don’t actually need a pencil cup, but you know what I do need that this is perfect for? A spoon cup!

Spoon Cup In Place

And so this now sits on my dresser/altar, holding my little collection of spoons. From left to right, they are: a Charlie McCarthy spoon I found at a local antique shop over the Christmas season; two cereal spoons from my childhood, Woody Woodpecker and Tony the Tiger; a wooden honey spoon that was a gift from a very special friend this Christmas; and just peeking up from the depths, a New York State souvenir spoon purchased along the NYS Thruway after visiting my family for Christmas this year.

Knitting? Spinning?

Didn’t get a chance to knit yesterday, nor yet today, but I probably will later. As for spinning, it’s been a bit tough to sit down at the wheel lately. It seems like I’m reluctant to do so if I think there’s any chance I might be interrupted before I consider myself done for the day. Which is just my own little mental hump to get over.

I did manage a half hour today, and spun about another half ounce of the red variegated merino I’ve been working on. Another half ounce to go, and then I can ply it!

I’ll Take That As Small Bills, Please

Filed under: Uncategorized — folkcat at 11:28 pm on Tuesday, February 20, 2007

My blog is worth $11,855.34.
How much is your blog worth?

Wow. Who knew? And how do I cash in?

Making My Own Meal Ticket; and, Knitting Against the Odds

Filed under: Crafting Miscellany,Daily Life,Knitting — folkcat at 2:53 pm on Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Over the weekend, in between sorting Perler beads and encouraging Ratties to drag things home, I worked on a couple of projects especially for me.

One of my ongoing struggles is making sure I eat a fairly balanced selection of foods over the course of the day. On a good day, that’s not an issue – it’s easy to make myself get up and do what I have to do. On a bad day, however, it can be a real struggle. It’s just so much easier to eat a bunch of the, say, chips that I couldn’t be bothered to move away from my chair, than to get up and make a real meal in the kitchen.

A few weeks ago, I came up with a simple list of foods I should try to eat every day, things that fit the way I live and work. This isn’t a precise meal plan – just a guideline for categories that work for me, that are easy to prepare, and that make sense to include in my nutritional intake. The main items on that list are:

  • Breakfast (prepared by Gryphon; alternates between oatmeal and breakfast sandwiches)
  • Salad/Veggies (a hefty bowl of one or the other, equivalent to two or three servings)
  • Fruit (an apple, orange, banana, etc.)
  • Juice (a 16 oz. glass of 100% juice blend, with two ice cubes – chills it just right!)
  • Rice/Couscous (one of two simple dishes I make that feature one of these starch options, plus seasonings, a protein, and veggies. Makes a full meal)
  • Cheese & Crackers (a measured dose of cheese slices, eaten with crackers and pepperoni. Or, most recently, I’ve discovered how well slices of apple work with the cheddar cheese I favor)

In addition to these items, I included a couple of snacks:

  • Sweet Thing (one measured dose of something sweet, usually based on the serving size listed on the package)
  • Salty/Crunchy (just what it sounds like – one serving, based on package information, of a salty/crunchy item. Sometimes chips, sometimes cheese doodles, frequently pretzels and hummus or some such)

I wrote these all up on a little list that I kept by my chair, and when I was having a bad day – one of those days when decisions are like pulling teeth – I would refer to it when I was hungry and consider what items on the list I’d had already, and what I hadn’t. And I’d try to steer my next choice towards something I hadn’t.

This was working so well that I decided to formalize the concept. So over the weekend, I sat down at my computer’s publishing software, and created my own set of “deal a meal” type cards:

Folkcat's Meal Cards
Folkcat’s Meal Tickets

The photos are all from clip art in the publishing program. I created a layout that put all eight cards on a nice piece of cardstock. On the back, I found a clipart photo montage of neon restaurant signs that i used as an all-over design.

I double-laminated the sheet in my Xyron, then used a paper trimmer to cut them all to size. A little extra trimming of a few with scissors got them all to match exactly. I measured in from the corner on one, and punched a hole, which I then used as a guide to punch each other card in the exact same spot.

And voila! My own cards, which I will call “Meal Tickets” rather than “_eal a _eal”, to prevent stumpy white men with afros wearing shorts and glittery tank tops from crying “Trademark! Trademark!”

The cards live on a pair of hinged key rings that are linked together. As I use up a card, I move it to the other ring. I always know which set is “things I haven’t eaten yet” and which is “things I’ve eaten today”, because we never miss Breakfast, and I keep that card on top of the set no matter where it is.

Weekend Knitting

First, you’ll notice that the Meal Tickets are posed on top of the current square of the Log Cabin Blanket. Which, in spite of a little knitting since Friday, is still on Square 2, Round 4, Log 3. If you look really closely, you might notice that Log 3 is a bit thicker. Or not.

Otherwise, I finished the center triangle charts for the Carnival Glass Shawl, bound off the neck edge, and moved on to the border. This was not accomplished easily.

WIP - Carnival Glass Shawl, Into the Border

After I finish this shawl – and by gawd, I will finish it! – I will be summarizing the issues I’ve had and e-mailing the folks at Cherry Tree Hill about them. Basically, the instructions are a little vague in places. But even worse, as I’ve moved from chart to chart, I have found an increasing level of errors, to the point where one of the border charts is absolutely unusable as published. I have studied the Cherry Tree Hill website, and Googled for “errata” and “corrections” and every other term I could think of to see if the fixes are already out there, but no luck.

For those who are considering this knit – I say, go ahead. It’s a gorgeous shawl, and the end result will be worth it. But if you haven’t knit a Shetland-style shawl before, consider reading up on the construction via other sources first. It was only because I’ve read so much about it on other peoples’ blogs that I was able to get this far.

To spare those who don’t like stories of Surviving Knitting Disasters, I’ll put the blow-by-blow of the problems after the jump. But seriously, if you’re thinking of knitting this shawl – make the leap, read the rest of this story, and benefit from what I learned!

(Read on …)

It’s All About the Ratties

Filed under: Rats! — folkcat at 7:59 pm on Monday, February 19, 2007

Edited to add: Knitting content tomorrow, I promise. Wait until you hear how I wrestled with a very, very badly charted section of the Carnival Glass Shawl… For today, though, it’s All About the Ratties.

Kinda late for me today, I know, but I went out and did some errands.

Okay, I’ll ‘fess up. I bought another 22,000 count jar of Perler Beads. I mean, Gryphon and I spent time this weekend picking out colors for specific projects we’re making, and it sorta skewed the color mix that’s left in my first jar, and I’ve got the Craft Goddesses coming tomorrow and planning to do Perler together, and…oh, never mind. We’re loving the Perler Beads, the price was good, and we will use them! So there! *hee-hee*

Meanwhile, the big event of the weekend came on Sunday. By our calculations (they were about five weeks old when we bought them on April 1), the Rattie Sisters turned one year old that day. And there were presents, and even cake!

We thought about what each of them likes most to do when we picked out their presents. For Star, her most favorite thing of all is to grab plastic things – anything at all – and drag them back into the cage. Pens, pillboxes, plastic-coated wire spring clips. My cell phone. Seriously, she tried to take my cell phone the other day! These kids today, I tell you…

Of course, once we stop laughing at the sight of Star grabbing hold of a pailkiller bottle nearly as big as she is and trying to haul it home, or snatching so fast that she makes it nearly all the way into the far top corner of the cage with my pen, all these objects get taken away from her immediately. Which I’m sure she doesn’t like one bit.

So a great present for Star, I thought, would be something plastic that she would be allowed to drag home. Even better, multiple somethings. So I went to the dollar store, and bought a bag full of plastic frogs.

As you can see, Sable wasn’t much impressed by them.

Sable and Frogs
(Click on any picture to view larger.)

But Star, she was so quick to grab one, I had trouble catching it on camera.

Star and Frog

Every single frog got grabbed by the head and carried off in this fashion. She made a pile of them on the bottom of the cage, and eventually, when she decided there were enough frogs in that pile, she carried a few up to the top floor and made a little pile there, too.

And not once was a frog taken away from her. I think she must have been thrilled!

Now, Sable, she’s the ultimate nester. It’s her greatest passion in this world to rearrange the papers, tissues, and bedding of their cage to make the best, fluffiest, hardest to navigate pile she can.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned sometime before how she likes to take Kleenex from a tissue box and run back to the cage with them. She’ll add them to the nest pile, fluffing them into place with her cute little front paws, and run back for another.

Usually, I stop her after about five or six. Not on her birthday, though. This time, she got a box of tissues of her very own, and I didn’t stop her at all!

Sable Pulling a Tissue

Sable Carrying Tissues

She kept on like this for quite a while, and brought the level in the tissue box down by at least an inch before she decided she had enough. Imagine how she must have enjoyed that – finally got to finish the job for a change!

And as I said, there was cake.

Rattie Birthday Cake

Each of thse is two squares of an oat nut sandwich bread. I used hummus, a favorite Rattie snack, for icing, sandwiched the layers together, then frosted the outsides. The “candles” are sticks cut from a fresh apple, with a frozen raspberry on top of each for a “flame.”

Hummus is a favorite snack of mine, too, and I’ve learned from experience that the Rattie Sisters can smell it coming from a long way away. Still, I wasn’t prepared for how quickly Star would seize the cake, and make off to the cage with it!

Star and the Quick Grab

That blur in the bottom left corner is Star, probably moving very quickly because she can’t believe I’m really letting her get away with this. You can just see the red raspberry on her “candle” by her right ear.

Star and Cake, Headed up the Ramp

Star nearly dropped the cake a couple of times – yes, smearing hummus here and there. Not badly, though, we cleaned it all up quick enough. As she ran to the cage with it, Sable, not realizing she had an entire cake of her own waiting, tried to grab Star’s. She got at least a mouthful, because she sat on my knee nibbling at it a while.

Sable Nibbles the Stolen Bite

And then, she spent time licking up smeared hummus everywhere before finally discovering her own little cake, and dragging it back home to enjoy.

Sable Goes for Her Cake

In the end, much hilarity was enjoyed by the humans in their lives, Star and Sable both got to indulge some of their most primal desires, and each got a massively decadent treat (we held back on their other usual daily treats to make up for it!).

And then, there was much heavy zonking.

Sable Zonks in the Hammock

Tired but happy, I think!

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