Crazy Monkey Creates

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A post about a cat. September 27, 2007

Filed under: 2007,gratuitous cat post — crazymonkeycreates @ 5:11 pm

And Murrie is her name-o.

Murrie Cat

First, let me reassure you that she’s fine and well, not sick, dead, or dy(e)ing.

This is our gorgeous girl, Murrie. She’s 4 – almost 5 – years old, and still shy around people. We got her as a kitten in San Diego, from the SD humane society. We really didn’t go out that day with the intention of getting a second cat, but we had been talking about getting another cat to keep Stefano company. He would wander around the house in the middle of the night and call “Murrrrr-eeee”.

He liked to (and likes to) talk to the kitchen, but we thought it was cute that he was calling for “Murray”. We’d yell back “Murray doesn’t live here!”, and he’d run into the bedroom, jump on the bed, and lay down with us. He’d also do that if he was wandering around the kitchen yelling at the cabinets and we yelled “We’re in here, Steffie!” He’s an easy cat to please.

We decided one day that the next cat we got was going to be named Murray, because obviously Stefano thought that’s who was supposed to be hanging out with him. We’d go to the pet store, look at the cats for adoption, ask each one if they were Murray, and laugh.

We weren’t supposed to get a cat that day. We were looking for a vegetable scrubber, as a Christmas present for Ben’s mom. This was the second Christmas we were together, and the second year we were in the house in Escondido. We found a kitchen shop that we thought would carry the vegetable scrubbers that Ben’s mom used to use all the time (she was a vegetarian). It was in a tiny little strip mall with wooden shingles, and two doors down was a pet store, with the Humane Society in front of it that Saturday morning, adopting dogs and cats. We looked at the cage of kittens, and I told Ben he couldn’t have one, and he said he liked the little grey and tan one.

So we went into the kitchen shop, still not intending to get a cat, still only intending to get vegetable brushes. We found the brushes rather easily, and browsed around the kitchen store, as we like to do anyway, then decided to leave.

The only problem was we had to walk past the kitties again. The lady from the humane society told us that the grey and tan cat we liked so much — not so much a cat as a tiny bundle of fur that fit in ONE HAND — was a calico, and asked if we knew what that meant. I told her that meant she was a girl, and we talked for a while, and the tiny furball snuggled up against me and purred. LOUDLY. I swear her purr is bigger than she is, and always has been.

Long story short, we ended up adopting her, the creepy humane society lady took out the stitches from her spay, and we brought her home. Steffie was … well, he hissed at her. And then they watched each other. And then they started playing with his favorite toy (polarfleece on a stick), and that was it. Now she sits on him, and they play chase around the house when the dog’s not in, and Murrie plays chase with the dog sometimes.

We named her Murrie, because Murray’s a boy’s name. Luckily we didn’t follow the same trend, or Nulla would be “Ermeow”. Murrie didn’t meow for the longest time, and when she finally did, it was hesitantly, like she was not sure what noise she was supposed to make. “Er … um… how does this go again? Oh, Meow!”

She’s a freak, though. She likes to lick elbows. She loves to be under the covers. She will follow you around the house until you turn around, and she hides. She likes to attack people going down the stairs. She’s a weirdo cat. And we love her. 🙂

So, this is the post about a cat. I usually post about the dog, but there are two cats in our house, too. This is just the one I could get a good picture of the other night.

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There has been spinning. September 26, 2007

Filed under: 2007,My Etsy Site,spinning — crazymonkeycreates @ 6:51 pm

I have proof.

First, the blue and green yarn that my Sock Swap partner sent to me; 196 yds that have already been turned into a pair of handwarmers and a Bubby bear from Knitty.

Bluejeans Yarn
Bluejeans Yarn

and, just added to the etsy store, the Burning Tundra superwash merino… 506 yds of superwash handspun merino loveliness.
Burning Tundra

We’re starting to put more and more stuff into the store, and soon we’ll make another yarn order so I’ll have pre-made yarn to dye. Ben’s been working on the dye studio, and it’s coming right along. The sink has been installed, the countertops are up, the carpet is out, and the cabinets are in. There are shelves that need to go up, and we need to put everything where it’ll go, and get the downstairs cleaned up some so that dyeing can be efficient and fun again.

I’m hoping to have a “dye day” with the gals I knit with soon. The last one was tons of fun, but this one… well, there will be more space, and more people can dye at once.

 

Alpaca Ranch (with photos)

Filed under: 2007,spinning — crazymonkeycreates @ 6:35 pm

On Sunday, we visited an alpaca ranch, Double Helix Alpacas, which is a couple of miles from my house. Kirsten & Jerry, Linda, and I met at the Coffee Haus in Black Forest, and carpooled over. We saw the alpacas first, then the fleeces. No pics of the fleeces, though.

Here’s a mama alpaca and her little baby cria:

Mama and Cria

The cria liked to hide behind its mama, and did so most of the time we were there.

Hiding behind Mama

There were plenty of cute alpaca faces:

Alpaca Faces

Cria faces:

Baby Face

And sweet moments like this one:

Sleepin' on mama

There was even some 80’s hair. Like totally!

Like Totally

I bought 3 lbs of fleece from Peekaboo (whose cria is using her as a pillow), and it’s lovely, a long staple fleece with great crimp. I can’t wait for bobbins to be empty so that I can spin it.

 

New Pathways for Sock Knitters (book one) September 19, 2007

Filed under: 2007,quirky christy,sock — crazymonkeycreates @ 10:10 pm

This is not so much a review as a freak-out. I had a bad week. Already. So after hearing the raving sock knitting community (and the gals at knitgroup), I went out and bought Cat Bordhi’s book. And I think, yes, she’s a clever person, but … it all looks like flap and gusset construction. Now, I’m probably one of the few knitters who doesn’t like the flap and gusset, especially for the reason I’m about to state.

The stitches just “look wrong”. They’re 90 degrees from each other, and it’s a jarring look. The gusset kindasorta feathers the 90 degree look, but not to the extent that makes it look less like these stitches are in a car-crash with those stitches.  The short-row heel makes a smoother-looking transition to my eye between the instep and the ankle parts of the sock.

I’m going to try it, though. I’m going to try the little sock versions of the big socks, and I’ve been poring over the book trying to find the least jarring of transitions — I think it’s in the “Riverbed Architecture” socks for the most part, and the “Cedar Architecture” socks for the lesser part. Both of them ‘hide’ the gusset and flap somewhat.

I know three different short-row heels, and zero flappy-gussety things. I don’t know how to make the flaps look less flappy; I’m assuming a stockinette flap will look less… flappy than a slipped stitch or ribbed flap, but I don’t know. I’ll have to knit up some little ones to see, I guess.

What’s weird is I like entrelac, and it’s all 90-degrees knitting. It’s just the flap-and-gusset thing that bothers me. Is there anyone else like that? Am I alone in my non-flap non-gusseting? A quick google says I’m at least mostly alone in it. Most of the hits I saw were “don’t like” short rows, but love “flap and gusset”. Do you think it’s because of store-bought socks that I like short rows? The short-row heels fit me, I know that. They fit my feet, they fit Ben’s feet, and they just look “right”, like a well-thought-out bust dart in a shirt, or like shaping that’s hidden by cables, or the raglan increases/decreases in that pretty little line on either side of the neckline.

Maybe I’m just plain weird. I’ve thought of that possibility. It’s quite possible, and rather probable. Strange things bother me, like the flap and gusset. This is just the first thing that I’ve paid money for a whole book of. 😀

 

32 Things I’ve Learned About Knitting. September 14, 2007

Filed under: 2007 — crazymonkeycreates @ 9:40 pm

In honor of my 32nd birthday (100000 in binary), I’m bringing you 32 things I’ve learned about knitting.

1. Knitting looks like crap for the first 4-5 rows. Don’t worry if you cast on and knit a few rows, and your dpn’s won’t stay in, your stitches look funky, and the yarn doesn’t look anything like what you thought it should. Knitting doesn’t look like anything useful for about 10 rows.

2. Cables look stretched out and weird, and the plain stitches leading up to them seem too many. Even 5 plain rows look ‘too flat’ until you cross your cables.

3.  Knitting 2 socks at a time, toe-up, on either one long circular needle or two circs looks really funny until you get to the heel. Especially at the beginning, when you only have toes.

4. People who don’t knit don’t expect anyone else to be knitting, and especially don’t expect anyone to be knitting full-sized real-people garments. Obviously, knitting is for grannies who knit for babies.

5. If you need 5 skeins of a matching dyelot for your next project, every store in the area will only have 3 or 4 skeins. Every time.

6.  While knitting socks, expect to be told at least 5 or 6 times “You can buy socks at [chain store] for $3. Heh heh heh.” Smile, nod, and keep knitting. This person will not understand that it’s the journey, not the destination.

7. Just because someone knits doesn’t mean they’re the same kind of knitter as you. There are multiple styles of knitter, from the process knitter, to the project knitter, to the “I don’t want to move past one color and garter stitch” knitter. That doesn’t make you right or them wrong, it just makes you different people.

8. Sock knitting wasn’t invented to drive me crazy. I just had to find the way to knit them that made me happy. Toe-up, short-row heel, on one long circ, or 2 circs works best for me. I can knit top-down, I can knit on DPN’s, but I will never finish a single sock that way.

9. The more knitting books I read, the fewer knitting patterns I find. The more I look at, the more I see the same shapes in a different gauge, or color, or stitch pattern.

10. When you get a group over about 100 online talking about knitting, especially sock knitting, you should expect the same few conversations over and over again. “Hi, I’m new” “Gosh, sock yarn is expensive”, and “Do you use DPN’s or circulars” are the main 3. A judicious application of the delete button comes in handy.

11. Just because “everyone else is doing it” doesn’t mean it’s not your style. I fought the Jaywalkers, and the Jaywalkers won. I knitted a pair, they were a relatively quick knit, and I enjoyed every minute of them. I have so far resisted the monkey socks. The top-down-ed-ness of them as well as the lace puts me off, although I have been thinking about how to flip the chart lately.

12.  “No, I’m not going to knit socks for you” is a perfectly good response to people who request socks. Explaining that you make $x/hour and the yarn by itself is $x usually does it, but this phrase is fine, too. Guilt is not a proper response, as knitting for other people is totally different than knitting for relaxation.

13.  Patons Soy Wool Stripes makes people who require their stripes to match and to be a certain length long very happy, but it’s no Noro Kureyon.

14.  Counting is not a smart thing to think you can do at knit group. It cannot be done.

15.  Fun fur isn’t. It isn’t fun, it isn’t fur.

16. Fun fur has its place, though. Held along as an accent on felted bags or kitty beds, knit (held along) in felted things, it could be hedgehog spines, or squirrel tail fur. This makes it *approach* fun, but still is a pain in the neck.

17.  If you need “just one more skein” of something to finish the project you’re working on, none of the yarn stores that carry the yarn you’re looking for in a 30-mile radius will be open.

18. Knitting with a cat in your lap is impossible, but hilarious. Especially if it’s Murrie, because she LOVES string.

19.  The call of string is innate in cats. Somehow, in the wee hours of the morning, the yarn calls to cats, making them go insane and attack any yarn or string that may be lying about the house. You can take a project, put it in a ziplock bag in another bag before you go to bed, and, in the morning, wake to your project crossing half the living room, the cat wrapped up in the final third, looking at you with an expression like “the yarn started it!”

20. You should never, ever, ever throw the ballbands away for that project with the 24 different colors of yarn. Even if you think that you’ll be done  in a week or two. Seriously.

21. Knitting in the car can be dangerous. You’re a LOT more likely to drop a stitch, and a lot less likely to be able to pick it up, as the car is moving,  your hands are moving, and your knitting’s moving.

22. Cabling without a needle is much easier for me to do on sock yarns, with their tiny stitches. Larger stitches seem to be more easily dropped, twisted, or missed.

23. Knitting on the phone is more easily done when you’re talking to another knitter. Another knitter will stop talking when you drop a stitch, mis-twist a cable, or stop to count how many stitches you have.

24. Trekking is meant to be made into fraternal socks, no matter what anyone else says. It stripes, it marls, and it’s too darned expensive to be hunting for a pattern repeat.

25. Bamboo yarn was not invented just for me. It’s just in my head.

26. Noro has its fans, and its detractors. Neither is going to convert the other. No matter how much Kureyon you point at either. (“It’s ugly!” “It’s genius!” “It’s scratchy!” “Not after it’s washed!”)

27. It’s not about how long you’ve been knitting. The best things are “un-vented” by people who either don’t know what they’re doing, or know EXACTLY what they’re doing.

28. There’s no knitting grading system. All the competition is with yourself.

29. Alpaca is really worth the extra couple bucks. Every time. Especially after you wash it. Mmmm… alpaca…

30. Everyone you know who knits doesn’t have to enjoy whatever it is you’re obsessed with now (mobius, sock knitting, some brand new yarn, etc.), but you shouldn’t feel like you can’t talk about it with other knitters just because you’re doing something different.

31. If a pattern and yarn make you happy, knit on! Who cares that you’re never going to use a 3-foot-big potholder if you’re having fun making it?

32. There will always be more things to learn about knitting.

 

Happy Birthday to Me! September 13, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — crazymonkeycreates @ 1:56 pm

I’ll probably hopefully have more to post later… but today’s started out really well. Tea and homemade pineapple pancakes from my husband for breakfast, and a NEW KNITTY for lunch… 😀

Spinning so far today, finishing off a bobbin of superwash, and starting to ply some merino… ahhh.

 

Still busy… September 5, 2007

Filed under: 2007 — crazymonkeycreates @ 6:20 pm

Camping was fun; we took some great photos, although mine are still on my camera. Along with the photos of the plied yarn (burning tundra). And the superwash roving my sock-swap person gave me (which turned out to be a really pretty blue).

I didn’t take any pics of the “work” I did today, either. I dyed 3 lbs of roving (1 lb of BFL, 2 lbs of merino superwash). I’m hoping I have the same amount of energy tomorrow, and can (a) download and process some photos, as well as (b) spend time in the woodshop, making spindles to send to Taos with the ladies at <a href=”http://tablerockllamas.com”>Table Rock Llamas</a>.

(I know I complained about someone else linking all the damned time, but this is a single link, probably the first in a month or two, and I don’t make anything from it.)

My birthday’s coming up, and I’m taking two days off work to celebrate. I don’t particularly like getting older, but it’s a fact of life (like the handful of silver  salting my hair).