BRINGING HOME A BABY

Okay, not a human baby.

twinkle1

My family is bringing home a kitten from Gentle Touch Ragdolls on the 9th of December; her name is Twinkle! Naturally, even though I’m not going to see much of her living in the UW dorms, I have to spoil her rotten. Obviously. Look at that precious face. How can I not shower her in gifts.

I’m thinking a handful of cat toys and a bed. Just for starters. Next Halloween, when she’s all growed up and big, I’m gonna start making some stupid-cute kitty costumes.

cat-toy-collection

From top to bottom, left to right: Meelai’s Easy Peasy Catnip Mouse Toy, Selina Kyle’s Catnip Bunny, Hanna Breetz’s Quack – Knitted Duck Toy, Lion Brand Yarn’s Door Hanger Bouncy Cat Toy, Nina Shimizu’s Roly Poly Cats, and Maz Kwok’s Bouncing Rainbow Jellyfish.

I’m thinking some normal mice and bunnies, and some laced with catnip. The roly poly cats would be excellent vessels for jingle bells–even if they’re too big in worsted weight, working them in sock weight or substituting this pattern will make them good for giant jingle bells. The ducks are technically dog toys, but I think they’re cute, and being of a more elongated shape than the other toys makes them good candidates for bunny kicking–that thing that cats do where they roll on their back and kick whatever they’re grabbing with their hind legs. This is usually done in play, but it’s an adapted defensive/aggressive behavior designed to disembowel the opponent. Cats are great.

Finally, maybe one door hanger with catnip and one with a jingle bell? Maybe crinkly paper, instead? An extra long one for playing one-on-one? The possibilities are endless.

I also wanna make sure the little twinkie is comfortable, so, pet beds:

pet-beds-collection

From left to right, Hanne Katajamäki’s Nest, Iona van Deurzen’s Cat Nest, and Cris Porter’s 1 Skein Pet Bed.

I love the first one, Nest, and it’s certainly the most popular pattern, but it also seems poorly supported, and a lot of the finished projects seem to collapse in on their kitties. Cat Nest has a wireframe opening, so it’s sturdier, but it’s also more bowl-shaped than cave-shaped. And of course, the 1 Skein Pet Bed is simple, cute, and easy, but in my experience whether or not a cat will go for a flat mat is totally hit and miss.

I’m going to have to go home before Christmas and get my bulky yarn, which I didn’t bring to college because it takes up a lot of space and I don’t use it as often. After that, I think I may have to do some wire engineering and combine Nest and Cat Nest to make something sturdy and cozy.

Currently, my shopping list includes:
  • Catnip
  • Jingle bells
  • Crinkly paper? (Might snag some wrapper somewhere instead.)
  • Some piping or wire for bed construction
  • A basket. This has nothing to do with kittens, but my finished items are starting to pile up in odd places in the dorm and I need somewhere to put them all. Gimme a bit longer to get over the midterm hump, and I’ll have a post up showing them off.

There’s so many things to make for cats, Twinkle might be the only one getting Christmas presents this year, to be quite honest. Sorry, fam.

Baby’s First Socks

I finished my first pair of socks! Hexagons by Kirsten Hall is a fantastic modular pattern with clever construction that is really quite simple to knit. I got several comments while knitting these in public that they were “fancy socks” and looked like a “difficult pattern”, which I very much appreciated, but all you need to know how to do is knit, purl, decrease, and pick up stitches! You knit the first hexagon, and then pick up stitches along the sides of all future hexagons.

sexy-hexy-socks

Wish this was a better picture, but I’m stuck with none of my usual photo set-up and editing software. Ah well! These were done with one skein of Zitron Natura Pro, a bamboo/superwash wool blend that is now discontinued. I modified the pattern slightly to have a shorter leg by leaving out one row of hexagons at the top.

The first sock was almost unbearably tedious to knit because I hadn’t yet gotten the hang of the hexagons, but by the time I got started on the second sock everything was speeding along merrily. The hexagons are very satisfying ways to measure progress and it’s easy to knit one whenever you have time so that you end up making a sock chunk by chunk instead of row by interminable row.

Actually, the knitting construction of Hexagons resembles the construction of normal socks so little that I still don’t really consider myself sock-initiated. So to round this post off, let’s see three regular sock patterns that tempt me next. The hexies are for my mother, but these next ones will be for me (if I get around to them).

One Fish, Two Fish by Deborah Tomasello. Ravelry link here.

One Fish, Two Fish by Deborah Tomasello. Ravelry link here.

One Fish, Two Fish is a tessellating fish pattern, and I love tessellations.  And fish. I would love to make these in two shades of blue or maybe yellow and blue or gold and green. Stranded colorwork is something I haven’t really done before in knitting, except for a couple of swatches, but it works pretty much the same way it does in crochet.

For something a bit easier:

swirl-socks

Swirl Socks by Maia Discoe. Ravelry link here.

With a variegated yarn and the diagonal ribbing, this sock gives the illusion of having a diamond pattern on it. I like it because first, it’s toe-up, which has always seemed to me to be the sensible way to knit socks–that way it’s impossible to run out of yarn at the toe and not have a wearable garment at the end. Second, it sort of looks like fish scales, and has a very appealing geometric sense to it. Good stuff.

And back to something difficult:

Hold your Seahorses by Yvette Noel. Ravelry link here.

Hold your Seahorses by Yvette Noel. Ravelry link here.

These are difficult not just because of the colorwork, which is really no more complicated than any other two-color knitting, but because they’re not a proper pattern. Noel developed these socks by adapting a mitten pattern by Tori Seierstad, and merely put together her notes and charts for us to benefit from. However, the results are so gorgeous it’d be worth it. I like the blue and orange, but I also think royal purple with yellow seahorses would be delicious.

And a final bonus:

Super-Bulky Socks, Toe-UP or Top-Down by Liat Gat. Ravelry link here.

Super-Bulky Socks, Toe-UP or Top-Down by Liat Gat. Ravelry link here.

I have an entire drawer’s worth of bulky and superbulky yarn, and I’ve been thinking about stashbusting it for a little while. Super thick socks are maybe not the most practical for every day life, but boy would they be comfy. Good thick socks to walk around the halls of college dorms when I don’t feel like putting on shoes, maybe?