Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Before and After; and, Surprise Knitting Project

Filed under: Daily Life,Knitting,Rats!,Spinning — folkcat at 3:05 pm on Monday, July 9, 2007

Hello, and Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a good week. Gryphon and I managed to relax a bit, do some crafty shopping, and just enjoy the time.

Healthwise, I’m doing much better now. I have about 2 days more of antibiotic to take, then I’m done. And now, when someone asks if I’m sensitive to any medicine, I know to change my answer from “nothing we know of” to “Yes! Sulfa-based antibiotics!”

The Rattie Sisters are doing well, too. Star has somewhat reduced control of her hind legs because of the tumor, which the doctor believes is spinal rather than mammary. Most days, she gets around just fine, but she gave us a good scare on the Fourth when she could barely hold herself up to eat (kept falling over), and wobbled precariously everytime she moved. She even took a header off the arm of my chair, just trying to move down from the back like she always does.

We were really afraid for her that day, but on Thursday, she was already much improved. So it seems that she has good days most of the time, but every now and then, something ticks her over into having a bad day, and she needs a little extra help and care.

Funniest moment of the week came one morning when I looked over at the cage, and saw Star climbing the ladder in her slow way to get to the top deck. Right behind her was Sable, who was either feeling helpful or frustrated with Star’s slow progress. As I watched, Sable picked up her little hands, placed them on Star’s butt, and gave a mighty PUSH.

Oh, how I laughed! And wished I’d had a video camera aimed at them at that very moment. It’s always the way, the best moments don’t get captured except in your memory.

Wooly Matters

On Wednesday, Gryphon and I tackled the job of scouring the Romney fleece we found the weekend before. I found good instructions on the web for doing the job in a washing machine, which in our tiny apartment was the only way it was going to happen.

We spread a tarp out on the kitchen floor first, and dumped the fleece out on top so we could pick out any big lumps (leaves, sticks, etc.).

Emma Wool Before Scouring

After several cycles through the machine, we spread the fleece out on the tarp again, and aimed a fan to blow over it and speed the drying.

Emma Wool After Scouring

For that night, and part of the next day, we walked around the edges of the kitchen as the wool dried. It was fast, though – by Thursday afternoon, we were able to bag up the now clean fleece for storage.

I’m not quite ready to start carding and spinning this yet. I want to get some more wheel time in with other prepared rovings I’ve purchased over the past year before I do. But Emma is now ready to wait patiently until I get to her.

Surprise Knitting

Today, I’ll be finishing up a project that I didn’t even have the yarn for before Thursday.

WIP: Ms. Poppin Bag - Interior
Ms. Poppins Bag in Progress

More of that “Life at the Speed of Chaos” stuff, I suppose. I stopped into Jo-Ann Fabrics on the way to Thursday night’s Knitting Around at Panera session. There I found a single color of Lion Brand Landscapes yarn was on clearance – normally $5.99 per ball, it was now $1.99. The color is called Spring Desert, all sandy browns twisted with pinks, blues, and yellows. Really pretty.

I decided I had to have it. So I pulled out of the bin all 9 balls that were intact, leaving behind two that someone had pulled half apart and tangled. With a coupon in my purse for 10% off any purchase (including sale items), I got out of there for under $16.

So here I was with 9 balls of Landscape, and no clue what I’d make with it. Then, the very next day, the Craft: Magazine blog offered a pattern from the Knitting Daily folks – the Ms. Poppins Bag. I looked at the picture, and knew in an instant that the Landscapes yarn would be perfect.

I cast on Friday night, and started swatching. Okay, not perfect. With the recommended needles (10 1/2), my gauge was 13 stitches/4 inches, and the pattern called for 10/4 inches. So I worked my way up a few needle sizes and swatched a few more times, but the new swatches were all too loose for my taste.

Easy enough – the bag really only requires that you knit a square of the right size. Which means all I had to do was re-calculate the number of stitches needed to get the correct width. I went back to the 10 1/2 needles, and instead of the pattern’s 45 stitches, I cast on 54.

I was done with the knitting itself sometime Saturday. In total, I used 3 of the 9 balls of Landscape to complete my 18″ by 18″ square. Gryphon and I (he likes to be involved in the creative process when he can) went through my fabric stash to pick a lining, finding a piece of the lovely leaf pattern you see in the photo above that was big enough. I already had a magnetic clasp, too, just waiting for a project to be attached to. Finally, we went back to Jo-Ann’s and selected the bamboo handles sitting on the bag.

The bag, as you see it in the picture, is actually inside out and waiting for the side seams to be sewn. There’s a lot of handsewing in this piece – all the lining is attached with backstitch around all the edges, then there are pleats that are stitched in, the side seams, then the handles. I think I’ll actually spend more time on the finishing of this bag than I did the knitting.

I know, I haven’t shown the yarn at all yet, have I? Trust me, it goes really well with the lining and the handles. And you’ll see it when I post a picture of the finished bag, which at this rate, should be tomorrow.

Which will mean the time from surprise yarn purchase to FO will be an entire 5 days. Not bad!



Comment by sarebear

July 9, 2007 @ 4:06 pm

Wowww-eeeee! It’s funny, I have that project in my queue on Ravelry, when I saw it last week I added it, hee hee!

I can’t wait to see the yarn and how it knit up!

Poor Star! I hope she has many good days. Oh, that is SO funny about Sable giving Star some helping hands . . . . hee hee hee! Times like that they seem like little people. Which they are, of a sort, lol!

I’ve always wondered how you wash a fleece w/out the wool felting.

Me, I just got an amigirumi book in Japanese. And I have no clue, lol. They’re cute, though. I also just grabbed two different sizes and types of yarn project bags at Robert’s, w/50% off coupons for each. Will corral a couple of projects.

I was so happy to see a post from you, although of course real life is more important.


Comment by Sarah

July 9, 2007 @ 10:51 pm

man I go camping and have tons to do before, (in true SCA fashion I was sewing until 3am before a big event:D) so I havent read any blogs in a week and you do tons of stuff.

I’m happy to hear your feeling better and know why you were feeling extra icky.

Sable giving Star a push I imagine was super cute, what wonderful babies 😀

I love all the wool, I’m envious a bit too but since I can’t spin, yet, only a very little. That and my very large lack of space to ever do that, my cat would be all over that.

Stay Cool.

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