Happy Halloween!

Abby_cat Lonesome Skeins

Cat Costume

Yarn: Leftover Cascade 220, black, for tail(not pictured) and ears.
Cotton-Ease, strawberry cream, for inside of ears.
Cascade 220 Quatro, red/pink, collar.

Needles: #7US – straights and dpns.

Pattern:  uh, made it up as I went along. 
Tail: CO 15 st. knit 1 round. next round inc one stitch at each end of each needle.  Knit in st st stuffing lightly with polyfil as tail grows.  Knit to desired length and do a 3 needle BO.  Using CO tail to draw up the open CO end.  weave ends. 
Cat ears: Black yarn  – CO 30 st.  knit in garter stich for 2 inches and begin decreasing on each end of needles both ends of needles every other row til two stitches remain.  BO.
Pink inside ear: CO 24 stitches and knit st st for 1 1/2 inches and begin decreases every other row, each end till 2 stitches remain.   BO.  Weave ends and stitch pink part to black ears.  Whip stitch to a plastic headband.
Collar: CO 10 st. Knit in a 1X1 rib stitch til 10 inches (measurement of her neck) add a buttonhole and knit a couple more rows and BO. Add a jingle bell.  This pumpkin jingle bell was donated by a coworker when she heard I needed to find a bell for Abby’s cat-collar.

Scary_punkin Sunday we went to a Pumpkin Carving Party and Abby designed the pumpkin (I carved) and then she painted it.

Have a Great Halloween!

Edited to add: On the cat ears, once the pink is stitched to the black, I made a pinch tuck in the back near the base of the ears making sure to grab part of the pink as well and tacked it so the ears cupped forward a bit.

Sweater Weather

The only thing good about winter for me is wool.  Wool sweaters, socks, hats and scarves and whatever else I can manage to create with wool to help me survive the winter.  The temp in Austin this morning was 46.  Okay so it wasn’t freezing, but 2 days ago it was 92.  Big difference!  It FEELS cold.  At least there is no wind today – which can makes it so much more miserable.  Yes, I do recognize that I obviously have some circulation problem that I am so cold already and we havn’t even seen winter here yet.  I’ve just always been this way.  I crave warmth.

BberryI do appreciate the changes in nature that the season/weather cycles bring.  This is American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana). It is a native and it grows all over our woods, it is an understory shrub that likes a bit of shade.  The birds like the berries.  The beautyberries this year aren’t quite as lush because of a fairly severe drought, in fact, I am amazed they have any berries at all, but that’s what’s so remarkable about native plants.  They can handle the extremes of their habitats.  They are one of my favorite native plants, the color of the berries are just so beautiful.  I wish somebody would dye me some sock yarn this color.

Ballbands We are headed to Dallas this afternoon to visit with family and my sister has a just bought a new house and we’re hoping for a tour.  I whipped up some Ballband Dishclothes this week to give her as a house-warming gift.  I’m not usually good at choosing colors that go together well, but since they were just dish rags, I relaxed a bit and dug through the kitchen cotton stash.  I like these a lot and I think they are kind of cheery.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention, Janet (a charming member of our South Austin Knitters Meetup), has just launched her long awaited online shop, High-Strung Yarns.  She carries yarns not available in our area, so this is very exciting.  I am loving the Rooster and the Merike’s yarn, you must take a look.

Have a great weekend!

Twisted

Twist_ii_1 I finished my second Twist days ago and have just now found some help getting it photographed.  I like this one even more than the first one I made.  This color of Cascade 220 reminds me of buckskin and I think it shows off the detail well. 

Opals  Stalker Angie’s meetup at Opal Devine’s on Saturday was a blast!  I got to meet even more knitters and  bloggers and I hope they all make it down to Kid & Ewe in November.  Many great photos on other sites with better photos, but I stuck all mine in my Flickr account.

Abby and I are headed to Dallas on Friday (along with Kandis and Rob) to see Grandma and the State Fair of Texas.  No Fried Coke for me though.  Yeah, trying to give it up. 

Hello Fall!

Yesterday the high temperature in Austin was 92.  We may have seen the last of the 90′s for a while.  A cold front moved in last night and everybody at work is sporting their autumn attire. 

Ernie Meet Ernie.  He’s my Expo boss at work.  Ernie blew out his achilles tendon and required surgery just before Expo last week.  This is the man who runs the show.  He did show up on Saturday morning but couldn’t even drive a golf cart so his boss drove him around all weekend.  Now he has a new cast on his foot and Tuesday when I was talking to him, he said, "I don’t know what I’m gonna do when it gets cold".  I told him I would knit him a sock.  He said okay, so long as it was Camo.  Camo is the official color of staff shirts at Expo every year.  Well guess what?  They sell camo yarn.  I never thought I would be buying and knitting with any, but I couldn’t turn down the man who gave me my blog name.  A couple of years ago, before Tom started school, I bought an online yarn business.  I don’t have it anymore because it took a lot more out of me than I could spare at the time, but I learned a lot.  One day, Ernie asked how my yarn business was going and referred to me as a yarn-maven.  About that time I was putting together my ideas for starting a knitting related blog.  I thought he had something and I went on Typepad and set up my blog.  Later I even bought the domain name – yarnmaven.com.  So Cast_sock this was the emergency knitting I was doing and the weather is the reason it was an emergency.

Camo Cast Sock

Yarn: I used Red Heart Camouflage(one skein), but Bernat Yarns also makes some camo yarn
Pattern: my standard memorized 60 stitch 2X2 ribbed sock only I used worsted weight yarn and size 8 dpn needles.
I knit the shank about 8 inches before starting the heel flap.
reduced the foot to 56 stitches in working the gussets.
knit till it was about 7 1/2 inches and started the toe.
I wanted it stretchy enough to fit over his cast without being too snug.  He will have several different casts before he is done so I felt like the rib made the most sense.

Knitting scheduled for this weekend – Hope you all have a great one!

Now, Where Were We?

Red Knitting, oh yes.  That’s it.  Fiber things have been happening.  Two packages of yarn arrived this week; First, the red wool/cotton yarn I got off Ebay for Kandis‘s Mommy Snug.  I was a bit surprised when it arrived because it was much more of a marl than I expected.  It seems that it’s red and pink – the pink being cotton and slubby and it has a fine black binder thread.  Red_swatch I don’t normally swatch (sad but true – one of the ways I get so much experience ripping and re-knitting), but I was concerned about using this yarn for a wholly ribbed sweater with some delicate cables.  Would the texture of the yarn (not to mention the contrasting colors) obscure the sweater details?  Inquiring minds want to know.  It’s very soft, I don’t dislike it.  But it isn’t the solid beauty I had hoped for.  At least this is one of the yarns I wanted to check out at Kid & Ewe in November, so all is not lost, and I got a fairly good deal for 20 skeins.  I may just start the pattern and see how it goes.  The cables are at the bottom, so I should know quickly whether I should find another yarn.  Any thoughts on this from what can be seen in the photos?

Selkirk Second came the the Selkirk yarn I bought from Rams Wool (for Ariann) at a very reasonable price – $33 before shipping.  I don’t think I could beat that with a comparable yarn.  I actually love the color – it’s the one in the model for the pattern – Khaki, though to me it looks for all the world like olive drab, but perhaps that’s Canadian Khaki.  The yarn is a little rustic with a decent twist.  There is something about finding little bits of grass in my yarn that reminds me how close I am to the grazing sheep, even if they are Canadian sheep.  I can’t wait to get started on this sweater.

Camo This is an emergency project that needs to be done very quickly and then I will share what the heck it is.  Anyone want to hazard a guess? (click to embiggen). 

Ann and Kay FINALLY posted the pattern for the Perfect Sweater and I think it is excellent – However because of the recent additions to the sweater queue, I may not be able to get to it till December.  All the pieces are knit for my second Twist, I am working on the collar and then I can seam it, hopefully before the weekend, when I have Knitting Meetup AND Stalker Angie is coming to town and holding court at Opel Devines (at 11am) and I don’t want to miss that!  Now I have to go finish listening to Christine‘s Pointy Sticks Podcast.

Oh, and I almost forgot, the anniversary we won’t soon forget:

Kinky3

Gettin’ Kinky

Today is our 8th wedding anniversary.  Abby is staying with her grandma and Tom and I are going out.  Wanna know what we’re doing?  We’re spending our anniversary with Kinky Friedman.  Yeah, sounds romantic, eh?  This is the one night that Kinky visits Bastrop during the campaign.  He’s speaking at the Bastrop High School Gym at 7pm.  If you’re local and curious, come on down.  We’re hoping to actually get to have a real anniversary date on maybe Friday.  No matter when we celebrate it or how, I consider myself a very lucky woman to have found my Tom. 

Coming soon:  Real knitting content.  Really.

Why I’m voting for Kinky Friedman for Governor of Texas

Wind_1 I have voted a straight Democratic ticket since I was old enough to vote.  I am a card-carrying, bleeding-heart, liberal and I am not ashamed of it.  I loved Bill Clinton and miss him a great deal these days.  This year, when Kinky Friedman began his petition drive to get on the ballot in the state of Texas as an Independant in the race for Governor, I signed on as a volunteer and became the campaign coordinator for my county.  After we successfully got Kinky on the ballot (in a big way!), I handed over the job to someone else who had more time to devote to the job.

Now the one and only debate between the four major candidates has passed and we are looking at 3 more weeks of TV ads that say nothing at all, and countless editorials telling Texans who they should vote for, naturally casting doubt on any real chance that Kinky has of capturing the office.  Many people will let others tell them how to vote.  I suggest an open mind.  What I will do is tell you why I am voting for Kinky Friedman.

  • Literacy. Not only has Kinky Friedman read a book, he has written books.  Many.  People read his books and like them. 
  • Ownership.  Nobody owns Kinky.  Kinky Friedman is not beholding to big oil, big cattle or big law firms.  He is not in the back pocket of any land developers or highway construction companies.  His biggest contributor is John McCall, the guy who owns Armstrong-McCall – a beauty supply company, and they’ve been friends for years.
  • Music.  Kinky Friedman is a musician/singer/songwriter.  My dad was a musician/singer/songwriter and he was a pretty good old boy.  Musicians don’t have to be geniuses (though many are) but they can definitely do at least two different things at the same time.  Handy talent to have if you need to run a state the size of Texas.
  • Education and kids. Kinky’s parents were educators.  Kinky has no children.  He doesn’t need to have had children of his own to care about kids. He learned the importance of education and the value of children from his parents.  My mother was an educator.  You don’t grow up in an educator’s home and not get it.  Trust me.
  • Summer Camp.  Kinky’s parents founded and ran a summer camp ( Echo Hill) since 1952 which still runs today.  I went to summer camp for years as a child and teen.  I sent my kid to the same summer camp.  Few experiences in a young life can shape a person like summer camp.  Send your kids to camp.  It builds character.
  • Smoking.  Kinky smokes cigars.  I smoke cigarettes.  Do I think smoking is a good thing?  No, neither does Kinky.  But it is still a legal product in the hands of an adult and until they outlaw smoking, the act and the product, people are going to smoke and it does not make them bad people.  We need to stop treating them like moral failures and stop trying to tell other people how to live their lives.  You might be surprised to know that most smokers are aware of the risks to their health and choose to accept that risk.  It’s also more addictive than cocaine and lots of folks, me included, need help and motivation to quit.
  • Politics.  Kinky Friedman is not a career politician.  All the other candidates for governor are.  The career politicians care more about the next election than they care about solving the problems of the people of Texas – I don’t care what party they belong to today, yesterday or 10 years ago.  The 2-party system is broken and currently meaningless.  Politics is not supposed to be a career.  We need more ordiary people in office instead of all the wealthy, elitist, good old boys and gals with hyper-inflated egos, who never attended public school or ever had to apply for student loans or missed a bill payment or got turned down for a home loan.
  • Religion.  Kinky Friedman is Jewish.  Now, I don’t know how devout a jew he is, if at all.  It doesn’t matter.  I don’t normally let a person’s faith determine whether I would vote for them or not.  It certainly would not deter me, but I think awarding extra points for diversity might be in order here. 
  • Animals.  Kinky Friedman loves animals and he puts his money where his mouth is. 
    He  founded Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch, the mission of which is to care for stray, abused and aging animals; more than 1,000 dogs have been saved from euthanasia. 
  • Humor.  KInky Friedman is funny.  And irreverant.  I love irreverant humor.  Kinky is brilliant at poking fun at the priggish.
  • Alternative Fuels.  Kinky is a champion for alternative fuels.  If we all paid the actual costs for the gasoline we pump into our SUV’s and jacked-up trucks, the price of that gas would send us all running to the alternative fuel pumps in a heartbeat.  One day it will happen.  Why wait to be enterprising AND conservationists?  I have a 5 year old and a grandchild on the way.  I don’t want them breathing this shit.

Okay, this isn’t all, but this is all I’m going to say.  Kinky Friedman is a real guy who has had lots of experiences and successes in his creative life.  You may not be able to see him as the governor of Texas because he doesn’t "look" the part, but what the hell has the "look" gotten us?  George W. Bush and Rick Perry.  Kinky would be an improvement in so many different ways.  All I ask is that you not listen to others tell you how to vote.  Just read a little bit for yourself and make sure you are registered to vote by midnight tonight, October 10th.

Substance reading:

http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/050822fa_fact

http://www.statesman.com/opinion/content/editorial/stories/08/16kinky_edit.html

http://www.texasmonthly.com/2005-02-01/friedman.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinky_Friedman

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like…

Expo!

Tents It’s that time of year again and I am covered up with work until Monday.  Expo is our big outdoor adventure party we throw for the people of Texas who want to learn about playing outdoors and enjoying wildlife and parks.  If you are in the area, come.  Bring the kids – that’s who it’s really for.  It’s free and it’s fun.

Unfortunately for me, it’s a lot of work – all weekend.  I’ll miss my Knitting Meetup on Saturday – have a good time, girls.  I won’t see my family as I’ll leave the house around 6am and won’t see them again until 10ish.  But there has been knitting going on.  I ordered yarn for Ariann, it’s the Selkirk yarn used in the pattern from Rams Wool – What a deal! And I ordered the yarn for Kate Gilbert’s Mommy Snug for Kandis.  And I’ve been knitting on Twist – I’m on the first sleeve, all the other pieces are knit.  I also need to finish my mom’s Cece, I simply need to grow 2 more hands with arms and I should be just fine.

Whoopie_pies Next week a very exciting event is happening, but more about that after Expo.  Oh yeah and here’s a shot of Kandis’ birthday Whoopie Pies, sorry, they are all gone.  Of course, if you don’t feel like making your own, you can order them.

Have a great weekend!

First Born

She was born in a two story victorian overlooking the Strait of Washington Narrows on a cloudy fall morning.  Before she was two, she moved to her mother’s home state of Texas.  By four, she was turned loose on Sunday afternoons in Luckenback, TX, while her mom socialized.  Then her mom decided to go to college and she started first grade in Austin.  One day her school principal called her mom to inform her that her child had made the highest score on the ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills) of the entire school.  She was a very bright child. 

Due to the economics of single-parenthood, she and her mom moved several times throughout her school career.  Eleven different schools between Kinder and 12th grade.  When she was fifteen, she announced to her mother that she didn’t care where she moved to, she was going to graduate from Lanier High School.  And she did.  But not before her mother moved one more time, 20 miles away.  She drove to school every day, until she broke her foot in senior year and had to have her mom drive her.  She was after all, the president of her high school drama club, and as everyone knows, "the show must go on".

Randk
After high school, she attended Texas State University (back when it was named Southwest Texas State University) and met a young man in an online chat-room whom she would eventually marry.  He was attending Rutgers.  Three months after they were married, her mother gave birth to her sister, 23 years her junior. 

She is intelligent and thoughtful, responsible and generous, sensitive, yet can produce radio-active sarcasm.  She will learn in less than a year just what it meant to her mom to be a mom.  And today she is celebrating her very first 29th birthday.

Happy Birthday, Kandis! I love you more than you can know.

Mom