Oh! Oh! Oh!!

I just happened to check the website yesterday to find out where my project is in the queue, and this is what I found:

Yes, those are my four fat cats (if you can see them in the picture--you can embiggen it if you really want to see their porcitude), and their fur, combed for more than two years, has been waiting in line to be spun into gold . . . oops, wrong fairytale . . . into yarn with a halo . . . for more than four months. I knew it would be awhile as VIP Fibers proclaimed the long line ahead of me quite clearly on the homepage. But I was willing to wait.
And yesterday it became clear that in a few days, I will have a skein of my own cats' gorgeous gray-brown yarn. It's 100% cat too. No wool added.

I know some have the immediate response of  [[[[[shudder]]]]]. It sounds repellent to anyone with cat allergies, but that is not the only issue I guess. Some people just think it's sort of daft. Like having your deceased pet stuffed? However, as for allergies, VIP Fibers washes the fur before spinning it, and during this process they remove all the dander in the fur, so they claim to spin up non-allergenic yarn from the result. And I'm not allergic to my cats. So there.

As for me, I'm crazy about the idea and intend to make that skein into something for myself. Perhaps a bufanda (excuse me for trying out my espaƱol--I'm taking a class and brushing up on all the lost and never accessed memory files) since I am so fond of knitting scarves. I will probably knit up a few swatches to find out how it responds and what stitches look best. Apparently the wool looks quite uniform and smooth at first, but blooms upon knitting and handling, so it may end up being somewhat haloed. That's OK with me.

I will most certainly post when I get the skein(s) so that everyone can see what my fuzzbuckets' fur spins up into.

I hope it arrives soon! Can you tell I'm feeling like a little girl? 8^D  (Someone asked me yesterday after I commented on FB about this set of characters--looks like eight/caret/capital D. I told him to turn his head to the left until it hurts slightly, and at 90 degrees he can see that it's a smiley face with a big, open-mouthed grin. I wear glasses most of the time, so the eight is really me in my glasses.)

I've finished another Little Kitty hat for a coworker's daughter, Marisa (who doesn't like to be photographed, but whose mom seems to have successfully talked her into it), 
and a little hat I originally put in the shop has had ties added and been gifted to my BFF Monica's little guy, Nico, so I'm helping to hat the infant world. 
I knitted up booties for another coworker's new sprout, Christian, but have yet to block and wrap them. They will fit best when he is about 9 months old anyway! Now I'm knitting the second Tuscany scarf for my DSM Leone, who coveted the one I sold on etsy in December, right before she could purchase it. It will be a late Christmas present for her. I also have one more Little Kitty hat to stitch up, and am occasionally working on my capelet. I'd better get a move on with that project or I won't get to wear it until next fall!

Happy knitting, all!

A Birthday Gift Unlike Anything I'd Have Imagined

A week or so ago I had another birthday (they keep coming every 365 days), but my mother-in-law had arranged for me to receive my birthday gift while she was still here in December. It arrived just about on the day of, pretty cool, and I want to share it. It came from Celtic Swan Forge on Lopez Island, San Juan Islands, Washington:

It's a breath-takingly glinty, sterling silver, tapestry needle. Yep, those are grooves on the sides of the needle, in a spiral pattern, to make it easier to grip the needle as well as just for attractiveness. She also has knitting needles of many types, and there, the grooves help hold the stitches on, so the needle doesn't slide out. With the yarn needle, though, I think it's more about the beauty of the surface. I love this needle!

Dear MIL lives on Orcas Island (the San Juans are between Seattle and Vancouver, in the Strait of Juan de Fuca) near Lopez, and she met a woman at a party who told her about this lovely operation on Lopez. She being a crazed knitter herself (takes one to know one!), she guessed I'd like that sort of gift and she was correct!

Now to use it to stitch on the ties for a new Little Kitty hat that I made, modifying the pattern so it fits a toddler better.

Old news I never passed on . . .
I made a pair of pajama pants for part of my dad's Christmas gift. He is never easy to think of good gifts for, so this year I decided to make it a gift of time, effort, courage, and flannel. I'm not the seamster in the family (DH actually does far more sewing, albeit of a somewhat engineer's-approach-to-mending sort). But I taught myself enough about following patterns when the girls were little to surprise myself and DH with my ability to stitch up a pair of shorts with elastic waistband for whichever girlie needed them. So, remembering that I did conquer that mountain once, I got a pattern, some really pretty Christmas-ey flannel, and followed the directions.

I had to take several leaps of faith during this process because I don't see things as they are being constructed. If you ever took those standardized tests in junior high and high school, you might remember a section called "Spatial Relations" that involved unfolded boxy things that you were expected to mentally fold together and determine the final shape of--I couldn't do 'em to save my life. So what I'm accomplishing when sewing this seam or that, joining this panel to that, is very difficult for me to grasp. BUT I have learned that if I just trust the pattern makers, I'll end up with a sensible final product. And I did.

Dad liked 'em, he says.

I also felted a hat that has turned out mahvelous, if only I knew who to gift it to. Here's the sequence of photos showing how it went from droopy oversized knit bag to stylish cloche hat.

First I knitted it, using some lovely wool in browns and green/aqua tones.

Next I felted it in the washer:
And then I formed it using Clementine, my handy hat mannequin:

Subsequently, the hat needed a major haircut from all the fuzzy halo that rendered it ridiculous looking. Subsequent to that, DD#3 admitted it wasn't her style, but thanks for thinking of her. Subsequently, I felted it further, trimmed it again, and now have finished a quite lovely cloche style hat, but for the moment it will have to remain an orphan. I'm not much of a hat wearer myself (short hair gets flattened in no time when one wears a hat, and in NorCal it just isn't cold enough the majority of the year to need even a cap. So . . . ah well. Fun project even if it didn't turn out to be the right gift.
More soon. Happy knitting, all!

What I Knitted at Christmas, and What I'm Knitting on Now

I've been knitting this slip rib stole for a while, when I get time. It's chunky wool, Lorna's Laces Swirl, and the pattern is very easy, once I got used to it. I'm making it for myself--I'm just going to knit until it goes comfortably around my shoulders, and then seam it and wear it on chilly mornings. The pattern is (even number of stitches), Row 1: K1 Sl 1 purlwise across; Row 2: Purl all the way back. Repeat.

I knitted a commissioned mistaken rib scarf for a teenager, using the requested yellow, which was a revelation to me--so lovely and so perfect for winter. Don't know why I didn't want to use a pastel for a scarf before! It was evidently quite successful, and I foresee a lifetime of scarves in this pattern. It has so much loft, and with soft yarn, is a fluffy delight wrapped around the neck. My recent Percy scarf was made in that pattern, and with a wool/bamboo yarn, it was wonderful! This was Shepherd's Wool in Spring Chick.

I made a felted cloche that sold in the shop--it turned out great. Have to hope the recipient liked it, but at any rate, here's a picture of it before I shipped it off. Boy, did it need a haircut! Mohair and wool, and it was so fuzzy at first that it was pretty funny.

I made another felted cloche for DD#3 for Christmas, in these brown/aqua/green tones, but it wasn't her cuppa fur, as the family saying goes, so I felted it further, gave it a haircut too, and am now trying to decide what to do with it. It's of course too big for the toddler mannequin, but it's also a little tiny bit too small for Clementine. Would fit a teenager or small adult.

I also had great success with the scarf in Lorna's Laces Worsted Tuscany, and after it sold, had other requests for the same. So now I'm headed toward a few more in this scrumptious wool, to meet the demand. What a grind to have to knit with it. ;^)

This is a skinny scarf I'm making for yours truly in Great Northern mink/cashmere. It seems I'm always saying how soft a yarn is, and I always oohh and ahhh over the softest and kittenest of yarns. Well, this one has to win some prize, because although I have only one skein (DK weight), I am knitting a scarf to whatever length it will go, and will consider it a great gift to myself.

Coming soon:
I sent off, midsummer, a huge package of cat hair combed from the four beasties over the past two years. There was a long wait at VIP Fibers, but I'm moving up in the queue (about 18 more projects before mine) and hope to see my yarn before the end of the month. It will be a lovely taupe shade, as the cats all together make a sort of gray/brown shade. Can't wait!

Thank You and Happy New Year!

When all was said and done, I raised almost $700 for lymphoma research in November and December. Thanks to everyone who visited my etsy shop and/or bought one of my knitted items. I have closed the shop doors so I can do what I do better--knit and teach. Having a store too is just too much for me!

I've been knitting more scarves and some toddler hats. More pics soon! Happy new year to everyone.