2 Cats + 1 Furminator = Hours of Fun For the Whole Family

I do wish I had taken a picture of the wad of fur that we took off the cats yesterday. I do so love shedding season.

But now on to knitting content.


Please excuse the stain on my t-shirt and the general un-kemptedness of my work-at-home self.

Pattern: Dr. Who Scarf
Yarn: a whole lotta Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport -- if you really need to know, the details are on Ravelry
Needles: #5 Brittany Walnut

I LOVE this scarf! I may or may not be keeping it (keep in mind that, despite currently living 4 inches from the sun, I have wanted this scarf since I was 10), but for now I just like to pat it and know that it's mine. I finally broke down today and turned on the A/C or I never would have been able to wear the scarf to take the picture today.

On to new things -- there was so much yarn left over (at least an untouched ball of each color, and two of the green -- numbers at Rav reflect what I actually used, not what I bought) that I started my next project:

Please forgive me that my first Alligator Scarf will actually be alligator colored. I promise in future to be more creative.

This will be a fun (and likely quick) knit. Fun to offset the impending visit of the in-laws (pray for us all).

Oh, and due to impending IL visit and still having to work every day, blog will be neglected -- I'm just warning ahead of time.

Spring is Springing

Warning: picture (and none of them fiber-y) heavy post!

Knitting content out of the way: Dr. Who Scarf is now over 3/4 done. I can smell the end. Perhaps this weekend.

Now, since knitting is boring right now, how 'bout some spring?
A neighbor's front yard with a gorgeous about-to-explode cholla (pronounced CHOY-ya). This cactus loves to attach itself to anything that passes by, people, animals, whatever, so getting close enough to take the next picture was a risk:P4240032

Hiding behind the cholla in the above picture is this unusual prickly pear. The leaves look like origami.

This is ocotillo (pronounced o-ko-TEE-yo). It is not a cactus, but it does have some nice sharp thorns (which makes me think: perhaps soon I'll do a post about all the things around here which aren't cacti but can still bite, HARD). Most of the year, this just looks like a dead thorny stick, but let even a little bit of rain fall and it becomes lush with leaves, and in the spring it sends up these beautiful paintbrush-like blossoms. Around here, people sometimes use this as a fence: if you cut the branches at the ground and bury them, they don't really die. They will still leaf-out when it rains, though they will not flower or grow roots. Interesting thing, this ocotillo, and one of my favorite desert plants.

This is, I believe, another kind of prickly pear. This one is about to explode with yellow blossoms

Look at this baby! Usually, the new growth you see at the top of these prickly pears is a combination of new pads and blossoms. This baby is all blossoms, so every single one of those small "bulbs" lining the pads is going to burst into beautiful red/orange bloom, like this:P4240028

This barrel cactus has already started setting fruit -- yes, these fruit are edible -- they can be added to salads, etc.

Look, Dad, trees! The flowering one in the middle is a palo verde. Many palo verde (Spanish for "green stick," since most have green trunks and branches) drop their leaves just before blooming, so they become large balls of yellow (they remind me of forsythia, only in true tree form). I believe that the trees on either side of the palo verde are ironwoods, though I'm still a newbie when it comes to desert vegetation.

Another species of prickly pear (there are apparently dozens of species and varieties), this one blooming pink-to-yellow.

This is some sort of succulent ground cover with delicate lavender flowers.

And this is my favorite of all the desert plants I've met, the desert bird of paradise. These were all over near the townhome where we stayed on our two visits last summer, and we were delighted to find that there is one in the backyard of our house. This, alas, is not ours (ours hasn't bloomed yet), but our neighbor's. And because I love it so, another shot:P4240022

In Which Sandy Finishes a Sock, and Mom Clears Some Things Up


First, the first of the Happy Feet socks is finished -- bound off last night during a meeting about the closure of a major through road around here for 6 months so they can widen and straighten it. Along with all that construction and inconvenience come a new park (ball fields, open space, trees -- yes, Dad, trees -- and a dog park) along with a new library branch. Was able to meet the manager of said new library branch and sign up to be a volunteer. [Don't tell anyone, but she also gave me some interesting information about the county's hiring processes.] And we got some great information about Old Pueblo Archaeology Center and their education programs.

Oh, but the sock -- that's all but about a yard of one 50g ball of Regia Ringel Color #5048. It fits M quite well, so perhaps it'll stay here -- if it does go anywhere, it needs to find a home with someone with thin legs (it doesn't fit my genetically chunky calves well, sorry Mom).

And, speaking of Mom, she emailed with some information. Apparently, I knit that afghan after I graduated from college. That still makes it nearly two decades old, and still clearly the oldest FO in my possession (thought if I hadn't gotten rid of the Portuguese Fisherman Sweater* before we moved, that would definitely have won oldest FO -- I know that one's from high school).

Also, in an interesting coincidence, the people who gave her the Woolwinders Favorite Afghan pattern owned a shop in MD, though I'm sure it's not the one that exists in Rockville now, since that one's only been there since 2001 or so, and the current owners started it.

In other knitting news, here's a photo of the Dr. Who Scarf as it stands now:

There are a few inches hanging on the other side of the closet door as well. I'm about 2/3+ of the way done with the knitting and expect that it'll grow quite a bit when it's blocked as well. [Note our little K-man curiously investigating the ball of yarn on the floor. He does love his yarn.] This is proving to be exactly the kind of soothing project I need right now as our household routine gets disarranged by my new job.

* The Portuguese Fisherman Sweaters we made (they were all the rage in the 80s) looked very similar to the one I linked, but weren't it exactly. For starters, ours didn't have a ribbed bottom cuff -- you started the sweater by knitting a narrow band (2 rows knit; 2 rows purl) then picked up stitches for the body of the sweater. I don't know where the original pattern came from (there was some discussion on the Knit U group that seemed to point to Penny Straker, though it's not in her current catalog). I'm sure I'll get another email from Mom telling me. She's a walking knitting encyclopedia.

I leave you today with yet more images of Spring springing here in the Old Pueblo:

A volunteer petunia in the middle of our front yard -- this is the second place we've lived where random petunias have just shown up.

Something lavender in the back yard. The leaves look like mint, but the stems are round, and I've never seen mint bloom like this.

Something orange in the backyard. Again, leaves look like mint, but....

Our neighbors have these huge rose bushes -- they reach the eaves on the garage -- with these palm-sized blooms. This one's a beautiful peach.

And this one's almost as deep a burgundy as our roses.

Something Old...


This is the oldest FO still in my possession. More correctly, it is the oldest KNITTED FO still in my possession -- for the oldest FO, you'll have to wait until after Thanksgiving: I have ornaments I made when just a wee thing and a cross stitch picture I made when I was about 10. I would guess I made this afghan late middle school/early high school.

Pattern: Wool Winder's Favorite Afghan. This pattern is old and has nothing to do with the Wool Winders knitting "salon" in Rockville, MD. The owners of this Wool Winders retired many, many years ago, leaving this pattern in the care of my mother (or more correctly, her shop). This was knit as a sample for her shop. It's a very simple slip-stitch pattern.
Yarn: The pattern originally called for Brunswick Aspen (a yarn I don't think existed even when Mom got the pattern), but this was knit in Bartlettyarns 3-ply. It's been a while, but I think the colors are light heather, garnet heather, coral heather, charcoal, and blue loch.
Needle: The pattern calls for a #15, and I'm assuming that's what I used.

When Mom closed the shop, I got the afghan back. It has been well loved by a few cats over the years and has a few pulls and one place that needs darning. It spends most of its time these days here:
protecting my desk chair from cat hair (it may be wool, but the afghan's still easier to clean than the chair).

Which brings me to....

Something New

Well, it's new to me anyway. Since I've now got a consulting gig which basically requires that I sit at a desk 4 hours a day, I needed a new desk. I've been using an antique library table which I love, but it's small and once the laptop's on it, there's not a lot of room for anything else. So, on a random trip to Goodwill, we found this beauty for $16. I'm guessing (because it has a formica top) that it's 1950s/60s era; in pretty good shape; original hardware; altogether perfect for my needs. Oh, I still have the library table (you can see it to the right there), but it's now free to be just a work surface.

Let's continue the theme with....

Something Borrowed

I mentioned that M's been knitting dishcloths. Here's just a small sampling of the collection that's been growing. Some are states; some are motifs; most are destined to be gifts. Told you she'd gone a little crazy.

Something Blue

These are an odd recent purchase for me because: 1) I'm not fond of blue (M sealed the deal by telling me that they're really periwinkle); and 2) I've never really found a pair of Croc-like things I liked. Real Crocs are way too wide for my feet to feel comfortable in them. These are Bare Traps, and we got them for the princely sum of $5 at Famous Footwear's BOGO 1/2 off sale because M desperately needed this very cute pair of All Stars. They actually fit my foot, and they fill the need for something easy to slip on that I can walk the dog in (can't walk the dog in flip flops). And they also mean that this finally has a home:
My SIL bought this for me ages ago, sure that I, like the rest of the civilized world, owned a pair of Crocs to adorn with it. Alas, I didn't, but now the little piece of shoe jewelry has a home.

On the knitting front, I decided to focus on getting a substantial chunk of the Dr. Who scarf done before starting something else. It's about 2/3 done by now. Can't wait to finish and block it then wear it (for a split-second before the Arizona heat makes it unbearable and I start seeking a Dr. Who fan in colder climes to gift it to).

Happy Feet and More


The socks I've decided to re-dub Happy Feet are moving along. Felt like I stalled on them for a while, but last evening got the heel turned and a big chunk of the leg done. The heel is a garter-stitch short-row heel for a very critical design purpose: I didn't feel like purling.
Garter Heel

Gratuitous close-up of said heel. I love how the garter stitch makes the holes vanish.

Now to keep K2P2 until I run out of yarn -- then make another to match. Still not sure where these'll end up. They're a little big for my feet which gives them a wider potential for gift giving (it's a wool sock yarn, and this is Tucson, so they're not going to get a lot of wear if they stay here). I've got some ideas, though, of who'd really like them, especially the bright colors.

In finished object news:

Pattern: Skull Charms Reusable Swiffer Cover
Yarn: Peaches 'n Creme #1 (White) and #173 (Spring Meadows) -- probably the equivalent of about 1/2 ball each.
Needle: #7 Brittany Walnut
Mods: Since I was making this one for my Wet Jet, I did three complete pattern repeats rather than the 2.5 called for in the pattern.

You can always use more cleaning supplies, and when I finished the Horseshoe Lace Socks and the Baby Sweater, I was at a small loss for what to do. When in doubt, knit a dishcloth (or, in this case, a Swiffer cover).


Pattern: Well, it started out as the Made With Love Baby Sweater, but it ended up being more my own top-down baby sweater.
Yarn: Peaches 'n Creme #173 (Spring Meadows)
Needle: 24" Addi Turbo #7
Mods: Changes made from the Made With Love pattern: no hearts; seed stitch borders; added a few stitches to make up for gauge difference

This sweater is very cute, and I do hope that the family likes it. It's a little bigger than newborn size, so it should still fit in the fall when it starts getting cool in the Pacific Northwest. I also really like the buttons:

Bibs also have buttons:

Not sure what's next. Thought I might just focus on getting a substantial portion of the Dr. Who Scarf done (Ravelry link); also thought I might swatch for Isabella. We'll see what happens.

Of course, my new consulting gig is keeping me somewhat busy (I don't think it breaks any confidentiality to say I had no idea there were so many web sites where you could book a hotel room in Paris) as I learn the ropes. And the church's web site is proving to be a bit of a challenge (specifically getting a podcast of the weekly services up and running). Alas, it keeps me off the street.

I leave you today with some glimpses of spring in the desert:
[Note to my father: that's a tree behind the rose bush.] The unusual pink rose on one side of our driveway. The colors are beautiful, but the bloosoms are unlike any roses I've seen:
See the one in the lower left of the pic? It's an almost completely flat single layer of petals. I do love the color of these.

This is the rose on the other side of the driveway. That part sticking up at top, I swear it wasn't there last week. This one was a late bloomer (it didn't even have buds when the other one started blooming), but it's making up for that in sheer quantity. Not only is it covered with blooms, but it's also still covered with buds. Color is much deeper than shown here -- a really beautiful rosy burgundy. And the blooms are very robust:

And finally, this "I haven't a clue what it is" tree which grows just outside our front door was covered with honeybees this morning:

Okay, so it's probably not the smartest thing to do in Arizona, getting that close to a honeybee (and I WAS that close, these pics are taken with a very old 2.3 megapixel Olympus -- no fancy lenses or attachments here), but since none of them seemed to get agitated -- and the house hasn't come under attack in the last hour -- I'm guessing these ladies are not africanized.

Horseshoe Lace


Pattern: Horseshoe Lace Socks, not yet available from Kollage Yarns
Yarn: Kollage Yarns Luscious in colorway Rosetta -- 2 50g hanks
Needle: 40" 2.5mm Addi Turbo
Mods: None, it was a sample/test knit (unless you count the fact that I knit them magic loop rather than on DPs -- didn't stop me from spotting a problem knitters would run into doing it on DPs, so there)

I thoroughly enjoyed both the yarn (a cotton/nylon blend) and the pattern. Had a little issue at first with the heel, but that got sorted and the rest was smooth sailing. Socks are on their way back home today.

The Baby Sweater is also done, but it's in the dryer right now, so no pics (later). Then I need to do a button hunt for the sweater and the three bibs. Photos of all completely completed before they head off to their destination will be forthcoming.

Have started a new Swiffer cover (the larger size for the Wet Jet), this time in white with the same ombre I used on the baby sweater (173, Spring Meadows). Not a very exciting in progress shot, so no pics there, either.

On a personal note: one of the reasons I haven't blogged this week is that I started training Monday for a new job. It's part time, work I can do from home, and all proprietary and confidential-like. Like, even amongst ourselves, we refer to the client as "The Client". Very clandestine. Guess this is one gig you won't find me doing out at the local coffee shop.

Note to my mother and brother who've decided from reading the blog that I knit a lot: Have you noticed how small most of my recent projects have been? Wait until I start on a sweater for me (which I hope to do soon).

And I leave you with a final shot of the horseshoe lace socks, auditioning for a Dali painting:

Lots of Heels

The Horseshoe Lace test/sample knit sock has reached its heel:

The color here is about as true as I've been able to photograph yet.

I had actually worked most of the heel when I realized that a) I'd missed something in the directions, and b) the way it was originally designed was going to make some serious holes (cotton isn't quite as forgiving as wool there). Heel has been frogged and Anastasia and I are brainstorming (and testing) other options.

Happy Sock has also almost reached the heeling stage:

Please note: my ankles aren't really that big, it's just the angle, honest.

So, in the next little bit there will be some short-rowing at casa likelyyarns.

There's also most of a baby sweater:

Sleeves are done -- just need to finish the body.

The astute might notice that this isn't actually the sweater I showed Monday. I frogged that sweater 'cuz I decided I really wanted seed stitch bands rather than garter stitch. I also added some stitches, so I would guess this means it really isn't so much the Made With Love Sweater I had originally started.

Pause to note that pre-teen girls are just plain mean (and their parents are sometimes no better). It's school bus time here, and there are a number of pre-teen girls on our little street. While they were walking from the bus stop to their houses, two of the girls stole another's bag and her glasses. The bag wound up in our recycling bin, the glasses were given to a small boy to run away with. Now, the parents are outside, able to see all of this, and no one has done a thing.

Back to our regularly scheduled knitting. Okay, the knitting is really over. How about some explanation as to why there hasn't been a lot of knitting.

Here: http://www.casasadobesucc.org/

That's what I've been doing with most of my day. I inherited this website when we moved here because they learned that I had some experience. Unfortunately, with the host they've chosen, experience is actually a detriment. So much of the appearance of the site is controlled by "skins" I can't edit. And while there is a style sheet which I can, it doesn't always override the "hard-wired" portions of the template. And I can't find an explanation for what all the elements in the style sheet are anywhere -- and I so love reading the page source to find out. Anyway, it is at least better than what I inherited which was a largely static page with nothing to bring anyone back.

Close to Home, Again

Last year, Close to Home (the comic) had a great one proposing a reality TV show "So You Think You Can Knit?". This Sunday they touched on knitting again.

I have started the sample socks for Kollage and am so far loving them (both the pattern and the yarn).

Really, the color is all wrong in the picture. Yesterday's photo of the yarn was much closer to the lovely, mauve-y pink that it really is. I do hope to get a true photo of the color before the socks leave here.

And with that, I must head off -- busy day planned, probably not a lot of knitting time.


Don't even know if that's a word, but it seems to describe this:

Pattern: Baby Bib o'Love from Mason-Dixon Knitting
Yarn: Top to bottom: Peaches n Creme #159, pink lilacs; Rowan Handknit Cotton #263, bleached; and Rowan Denim #225
Needle: #6 (you can see this coming, right?) Brittany walnut
Mods: Peaches n Creme bib is knit over 35 stitches with 8-stitch straps; the other two are per the pattern.

In the photo above, the Denim bib (the first knit) has been washed and dried. I love this yarn. This ball was a singleton (a sample, I believe), and the bib was the perfect project to use almost all of it. Now that Tucson Yarn is carrying some RYC yarns, perhaps they'll be able to special order me some Denim. Of course, this is what my fingers looked like when I finished the knitting:

The other two bibs have not been washed yet. They'll just go in with a load of laundry tomorrow on laundry day -- the Denim I actually washed by hand in the sink (didn't take a picture of my fingernails after all that hand agitation) and then dried with a load of towels.

These bibs are part of a virtual baby shower the folks in the Queer Revelry group over at Ravelry are putting together for a special little girl and her family. Many thanks to WonderMike (of Yknit) for coordinating it.

Also for the same little girl is this:

It's a top-down baby sweater, shaping (but not the hearts) borrowed from the Made With Love Sweater at MagKnits. Yarn is Peaches n Creme #173, Spring Meadows.

And just because cotton seems to be a theme in my knitting all around these days, this bundle of loveliness arrived in the mail today:
(Note to the folks at Kollage: there is plastic under the yarn, honest)

Two skeins of Luscious in the new colorway Rosetta. Color not completely accurate here -- it's really a very pretty pink with just a hint of mauve. Alas, this is not to keep, but to test knit some socks that'll have to be returned. Have permission to blog and Ravel the project in process, however, so I will.

Oh, and what am I porting these days?

Simple toe-up sock, 2x2 rib on top of foot and (eventually) the leg. Expecting a short-row heel when I get there. Yarn is Regia Ringel Color #5048, purchased at WEBS forever ago when it came in on closeout. Look Ma, not cotton.

PS. The Daisy Socks about which I was waffling have been frogged. There are better projects for the yarn and better yarn for that pattern.

PPS. Heard from my mother today that, now that the excitement of the Princess Barbie is over, the Babe is a hit, and E has named her Elana after a friend from dance class.