Posted tagged ‘cats’

Rogers-esqe Cardigan Progress

October 28, 2010

I’ve fallen behind in my series of planned Ireland vacation posts, but I’ll finish them up one of these days. In the meantime, I’ve been making surprisingly (to me anyway) rapid progress on my “Rogers-esque” golden curry cardigan. I swatched for the sweater on my birthday (August 28th). I had finished the back and half of the front by October 4th:

The most interesting thing about this pattern is the way the collar band goes together. Notice how it sticks up above the left front half? There will be an analogous tab on the right half of the front, and the ends of the two tabs will be grafted at the center-back of the neck to make for a seamless band.

I had the unexpected experience of seeing one of Mr. Rogers’ actual cardigans two weeks ago when I was walking through the Pittsburgh airport!

Here are some detail shots of the collar and pockets:

Do you think this sweater was hand knit?  The sleeves feature some ribs along the outside of the arm, which I think look kind of cool as they reach the raglan seam at the shoulder. For your sight singing pleasure, here’s a little ditty of a well known Mr. Rogers jingle that he included in his autograph:

This actual Rogers cardigan was a little bit tighter gauge than mine (but only a little), but I think that the slightly uneven texture of the Harrisville Orchid yarn is pretty similar to the texture of the genuine Rogers.  I’m glad that I am doing buttons (which I haven’t chosen yet) rather than a zipper, but I’m kind of jealous of the slit pockets that Fred had on his sweater.

Last night I finished the second half of the front, and there was much rejoicing by the feline contingent in our apartment.

Cats love wool for some reason; they love to walk on it, knead it, smell it, bury their faces in it. It’s pretty funny to watch, especially if you’re wearing the wool at the time. Unless I’m really slow, the sleeves may be done before we even get any snow.

Mom’s (Christmas) Socks Finished!

March 27, 2010

Okay, so, I know you’re thinking, “Christmas!? It’s past St. Patrick’s Day already, Brian!” But fear not, these socks have been done for weeks and the pictures were just stuck on an SD card while I was SD-card-readerless. But here they are:

Tech specs: The pattern is Sugar Maple from the book, 2-at-Once Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. All the socks in the book are top down patterns and use the magic loop method of knitting two socks simultaneously on one long (~40″) circular needle. The instructions are pretty clear. I knit the socks in  Berroco-Ultra-Alpaca-fine in the Redwood mix colorway on a US1 (2.5mm) needle. They required considerably less than one 400 meter skein.

Lessons I learned while knitting these:

  1. The first week of December is too late for me to begin knitting Christmas-gift socks on size 1 needles.
  2. Don’t try grafting toes for the first time when you are in a moving car and taking to your wife (or anyone else). Graft in a well lit room by yourself with a glass of wine or a cup of tea (or both; I like both).
  3. It’s easy to make sock blockers from coat hangers.
  4. I like two-at-a-time sock knitting. This method prevents “second sock syndrome” wherein the knitter loses interest after finishing the first sock. (I’ve knit several pairs of one-at-a-time socks and always finished my second socks, but I do get bored when I’m a few inches into the second sock.)
  5. I prefer toe up socks over top down socks.
  6. I’m not very good at avoiding tangles when I’m knitting from both ends of a ball.

    Rhianna likes the socks (and laundry):

    Hopefully Mom will like them, too (as a very late Christmas present; sorry, Mom).

    The Ben Sweater, or always check your gauge

    February 12, 2010

    I’ll need to get Beth to take a picture of me outdoors so that I can get a non-backlit photo of my second completed sweater, “the Ben“,  by Nora Gaughan. This one took less than a third as long as my first sweater, thank goodness. The Ben only took me about 7 months, but I wasn’t working on it all the time, and in fact almost 30% of it was knit just on flights to a physics meeting in Australia.

    Incidentally, that trip was the only time I’ve ever had knitting needles taken from me by airport security. Bamboo circular needles! Surely pencils are at least as dangerous as bamboo circs, and I’m sure no one would take them away. Even the other passengers thought that the security people didn’t understand the policy. So I think it was a case of one security crew being uninformed rather than an Australia-wide anti-knitting-while-flying phenomenon. I did knit on my first two flights in the country without objection from anyone…

    I think the cables show up better in this picture of the sweater parts prior to assembly.

    I really like the color of this sweater, which was knit using Berrocco Classic Merino in the “new denim” colorway. The yarn feels pretty nice, and was a very reasonable price for 100% wool. This was the last project I knit with yarn not purchased at a local yarn store (before my fiber snobbery reached its full force.) The only drawback to this worsted weight merino has been that the sweater is far too warm to ever wear in the office. Fortunately, we keep our apartment cold enough to make the sweater pretty comfortable at home.

    Features of this sweater that were new for me include the v-neck, and the set-in shoulders (Beth’s Aran sweater had a crew neck and drop shoulders). I love v-neck sweaters. Also, I like sweaters with more shaping. Knitting the set in shoulders was much simpler than I thought it would be. Unfortunately despite having set-in shoulders, this sweater does not look very shaped because it’s a bit too big. I did swatch, but apparently not carefully enough; I didn’t block my swatch, and this sweater is so heavy, it stretches some under its own weight. I know I can’t shrink this sweater to fit, because this yarn felts really well.

    I was talking about my fit problems with Rick, one of the owners of our LYS, and he mentioned that Margot (his wife, the other owner) is not at all squeamish about taking scissors to ill fitting sweaters. The idea would be to cut the cuffs off the sleeves, then pick up the stitches at the cut edge and reknit the cuffs to make the sleeves shorter. The same could be done to shorten the body, and I might be able to reseam the edges to make the body slimmer. We’ll see…

    In the meantime, the Ben is one of Rhianna’s favorite beds when I’m not wearing it:

    Actually it’s one of her favorite beds even when I am wearing it!

    Cameroon Journal: More fun in Fontem

    October 28, 2009

    In which we visit the SDO, and Ña Ngep devours a rat

    7 June 2006

    Last night we went to the SDO’s house (the Senior Divisional Officer, a sort of regional mayor). We climbed up a winding road to the top of the hill that lifted his house above the surrounding  area. His house is the highest point in the village. We watched satellite TV there: tennis, soccer, Afghani conflict, shin kicking (a British sport), a boy with three arms now has two arms. Yesterday’s date was 6/6/06, the sign of the beast. The TV informed us about superstitious people who induced labor in order to have their son a day early so that his birthday would not fall on 6/6/06.


    The SDO's Hill

    There were lots of kids at the SDO’s house. I had a coke. It was good. Then I had a glass of wine. It was not good. The SDO usually drinks wine in his coke. Interesting. It probably would have made the wine more drinkable. I thought we would get dinner at the SDO’s house, but we did not. This is probably just as well. I think the richer a Cameroonian family is, the more likely they may be to serve us some weird mysterious meat that could be tricky to refuse, but I am not going to eat any monkeys.

    As I mentioned earlier, when you get a drink in a Cameroonian household, the host will send a child out to a bar to get the refrigerated drink. This usually takes ten or fifteen minutes. I feel bad for the kid who had to descend from the SDO’s compound and back up with a drink.  Providing guests with a drink usually costs more than it would to feed them a whole meal. So, usually when you’re a guest in someone’s home here, they’ll offer food or drink, but not both, unless they happen to be eating at the time themselves, or it’s a special occasion, like the first time you have visited. When we got home I was hungry. We cooked delicious mac and cheese with Laughing Cow™ cheese and chopped tomato.


    Ña Ngep roosts on a napping Beth. Mosquito net in the background.


    Not long after going to bed, we heard Ña Ngep, Beth’s cat, killing someting under the desk. A flashlight revealed the victim as some sort of rodent. I think “kangaroo rat” would be an appropriate name for this poor creature. We tucked the mosquito net in all the way around the bed so that Ña Ngep would not bring her prey into the bed as a gift for us. She took the dead animal under the bed and we heard awful bone crunching, organ squeaking, skin tearing and sinew popping sounds for 10 or fifteen minutes. Then the cat began meowing because she wanted to come visit. So loves sleeping on Beth or me or in between us. But Beth said, “No, your jaws are bloody. You can’t come visit.”

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    The Flying Bat: Soothing and Calming?

    October 8, 2009

    For my birthday, Beth’s parents gave me (among other things) this flying bat toy:ToyBat
    At this angle it might be a little challenging to read, but if you look closely at the orange top surface of the box, you will see that it says, “Calming and soothing movement.” What?!
    This toy’s eyes shine bright red in the darkness. It flaps its wings and zooms around the room in a somewhat more predictable way than a real bat would, and it makes a motorized, mechanical grinding kind of sound all the while.  What about this is calming or soothing?
    The other night when I was brushing my teeth, I went back into the darkened living room to grab something, and I ran right into the big, black flying bat, which had been motionless until I ran into it. Let me tell you, it was not soothing. It even puts the cat on edge, which honestly is why this toy is entertaining and great. Notice our long haired cat, Natasha, cowering under the coffee table while Rhianna twirls under the bat:

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