The Daily Skein

All the craft that’s fit to make.

Spy Games December 17, 2009

Filed under: Knitting Projects,Musings,Sewing Projects — Cailyn @ 11:50 pm
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I would like to tell you that my mysterious long absence was due to a secret mission for the CIA.  Sadly, there was no spying or espionage involved.  I’ve been very busy, mostly with cleaning and organizing and not knitting.  I’m not really enjoying the knitting project that I’m working on right now but I am determined to finish it.  I’m sure you know how that feels- it makes the project drag on so much longer than it should even if you’re knitting just as fast as normal.  I have also been weaning off my antidepressant and, well, it hasn’t gone well.  I’m tired all the time and irritable and I haven’t felt much like writing.  I’ve been working on this post for four days!  It would have been much more interesting if I were a secret agent.

 

While I wasn’t spying for the CIA (wink wink nudge nudge), I finished plying this handspun:

 

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I bought the fiber right after my spinning class at the Sock Summit.  It’s dyed with real indigo.  Have I written about this before?  I can’t remember.  It’s 100% Blue Faced Leicester from a Verb for Keeping Warm.  The woman who sold me the fiber at the Summit was really helpful and friendly and I’ll be buying from them again!  I spun this on the handmade bottom-whorl spindle from the Sock Summit too, using a mostly short-draw worsted style of spinning.  I r.nsay mostly because this is very much a beginner’s yarn and I played a little fast and loose with the fiber.  I didn’t sample the fiber and I didn’t stop very often to see if what I was spinning matched what I had already spun.  Well, it turned out mostly consistent, although some sections are almost thread-thickness.  I had originally intended to make this a three-ply yarn so I was trying to spin the singles pretty fine.  By the end, though, I decided to just make it a two-ply yarn.  I didn’t have a very consistent amount of twist in the singles and I was sure that they were over twisted.  But when I plied them, I didn’t have to put in a lot of twist to make a “balanced” yarn.  This led to some problems plying… to get the yarn to look and feel nice, I had to over-twist during plying; the “balanced” yarn has hardly any twist at all in it.  I started over-twisting about halfway through.  Maybe I’ll knit something with it… maybe it’ll just be pretty yarn to look at.

 

One of the bedrooms in our house has a French door with glass panels instead of a regular door.  This room is technically my studio but that hasn’t stopped me from littering the rest of the house with projects, yarn, beads, and other detritus of the crafter.  When we have multiple house guests at once, the addition of an air mattress magically turns this room into an extra guest room.  As you can imagine the glass door is a little problematic from a privacy standpoint.  Since this situation only comes up a few times a year, the usual solution is a sheet hung over the door.  Efficient but ugly to say the least.  So I grabbed some over-the-door hooks, two short curtain rods, and some fabric (on sale!) and made a curtain for the door.

 

It was a very simple project.  I had originally intended to make the curtain a little wider and use two different fabrics, one on each side, but then I got lazy.  Possibly because I had already worked on one very time-consuming sewing project already that day.  I simply folded the fabric in half, topstitched various parts and hung it on the door.  Somehow the bottom is crooked despite careful measurements.  I’m going to pretend that the curtain is perfectly straight and it’s the door that’s the problem.  As an added bonus, the fabric looks really cool when the light from the room is shining through it.  And yes, the curtain is just a hair short width-wise.  Again, it’s the door’s fault.

 

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Other than that, there’s been the cleaning and culling of stuff (not the stash of course, that just got a major enhancement a few days ago.)  Books and old clothes have been donated, decorations have been put up, small kitchen disasters which resulted it pot roast gravy going everywhere have been resolved.  You know, the usual holiday stuff.  Also, this strange furry object on top of my yarn has kept me from knitting too:

 

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Meow October 22, 2009

Filed under: Knitting Projects — Cailyn @ 1:51 pm
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I am Kif, The Cat.  I will be writing this post, since my human has broken her brain.  At the moment she is sitting in the corner gibbering something about a ruler conspiracy.

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Apparently this madness started with her desire to make a jacket.  If she had warm fur like me, she wouldn’t need a jacket, but that is neither here nor there.  She wanted to make a jacket and she wanted to make it fast.  She spent time making toys for us cats, which she called “swatches.”  She dunked them in the sink and then put them in the Secret Room that we aren’t allowed in (even though I saw her let Arwen in the other day!)  The next day, she would come out of the secret room muttering that the stupid knitter who designed this jacket must be the loosest knitter in the world.  Then she’d make another “swatch” with larger tasty needles (I really love the purple tails on those things, they taste like chicken.)

 

She finally decided on some needles, even though she said the “swatch” didn’t get “row.”  Then she ordered string and some needles that don’t have tails.  (They came in a box that smelled really interesting.)  She made another “swatch” with the tailless needles, got it wet, and hid it in the Secret Room.  Then she yelled something very, very bad.  Then she started making more “swatches” with the tasty needles.  This time, she had to use smaller and smaller needles.

 

I tried to tell her that if she had given up on the idea of using the tailless needles originally and gotten the string sooner and only had to make one “swatch,” she’d be halfway done by now.  But she thought I was just squeaking at her to be noisy.

 

This morning, she exited the Secret Room.  She threw a “swatch” to the floor and huddled in the corner.  I have deduced that this “swatch” was knit with the needle size suggested by the pattern and got “stitch and row” on the first try.  She keeps saying that the ruler must have gotten longer, since this couldn’t be possible and how could she have had to knit seven swatches only to end up with the suggested needle size?

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Hopefully this will pass and she will remember to feed me tonight.  I’m sure if she can dish out cat food, then she will be able to write her own blog posts.  This job is so beneath me.

 

Happy Holidays December 25, 2008

Filed under: Musings — Cailyn @ 11:24 am
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We’re having a massively white Christmas here.  I mean, massively.  It’s pretty much been snowing all week.

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I love it.

 

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all!

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Also, cat:

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It’s NOT mid-December! December 12, 2008

Filed under: Musings — Cailyn @ 12:25 pm
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I have my Christmas knitting under control.  I have my Christmas knitting under control.  I have my Christmas knitting under control.

 

At least, I would have if I had followed The Plan.  The Plan was smart.  The Plan was charismatic.  Well, maybe not charismatic.  It’s just a plan, after all.  The amount of Christmas knitting that I assigned myself has not significantly changed since October, except that I whacked a few things off the list.  No, The Plan was not a project strategy.

The Plan was all about yarn acquisition.  The Plan dictated that I order some yarn while I was out of town for Thanksgiving so that said yarn would arrive at my house when I did, thus leaving me ample (um, “ample”) time to knit the last thing on the list.

 

Yeah, that yarn didn’t actually get ordered until a few days ago.  The yarn won’t be here until early next week.  Leaving me, at best, three days between the arrival of my yarn and the arrival of my in-laws.  (Read that as “three days that include cleaning, running errands, and doctors’ appointments.”)  I’m really excited about my in-laws coming here for Christmas instead of us heading down to them this year.  But that means I’ll have significantly less time to do secret knitting, unless I skip out on some of the fun and/or hide at the Starbucks and knit frantically.  Hmm, I might be able to knit this last thing before they arrive… Hope springs eternal for knitters at Christmas, right? 

 

Well, at least I planned the rest of the knitting well.  It should all be finished by the end of the weekend, leaving me “ample” time to knit the last item.

 

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You can see Arwen is happily making herself at home on one of the finished projects [Ravelry link for secrecy].  She has suddenly become a complete wool-head.  She’d rather sleep on the pile off wool in the middle of the couch than on a lap now.  If the bits of wool are too small, she’ll try to shove as much of herself on the wool as possible then look at me indignantly, as if it’s my fault that she can’t fit on the small project.  Well, I guess I did promise her a wool blanket of her own that she can sleep on and knead to her heart’s content.  I’m going to get around to it, really.  I just have to finish the Christmas knitting.  Stop looking at me like that!!

 

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We’ve started calling her a “sheep cat.”  She’d herd the sheep… and then sleep on them.

 

Knitting, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll August 4, 2008

Filed under: Musings — Cailyn @ 12:35 pm
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Well, I had my surgery today. Despite having a mouthful of gauze, everything’s fine. Of course, the painkillers haven’t worn off yet… I’m working on a simple pair of socks to keep me occupied, so hopefully tomorrow will have a much more interesting blog entry than this one. You know, something actually about knitting or crafts.

To keep you interested until I can actually type without getting lightheaded, check out this blog: Stitchy Mcyarnpants. The Museum of Kitschy Stitches is hilarious, both the pictures and the commentary. Stitchy has a great sarcastic sense of humor. Always makes me laugh.

This is one of my favorites… Can you imagine knitting this??? Or actually putting a cat in to it??

Edit: Ok, I don’t know what’s up with this picture.  It keeps disappearing and reappearing.  Hopefully it’ll STAY PUT THIS TIME!  Hear that, you mangy JPG?  Disappear one more time and I’ll make sure no one ever finds you or your url again.

 

Wool Mice and Things May 20, 2008

Filed under: Knitting Projects,patterns — Cailyn @ 10:51 pm
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Things are finally back to normal around here. There was much visiting of family and fun, although very little knitting. Before disappearing into the strange world of Noyarnia, I mentioned a felted mouse toy that I was making. Well, here he is! (Before and after felting.)

  

I’ve made two sizes of mouse, because my cats like very different toys. Arwen, our older cat, loves big toys that reek of catnip. (She’s a big kitty and she looooves felted wool.)

Kif, our younger and much smaller cat, is indifferent to catnip and only likes toys that he can carry comfortably in his mouth. (He’s hard to get a good picture of.)

Well, enough about my cats. I bet you’re just itching to know how to make one of those mousies.


Felted Mousie

Download the PDF: Felted Mousie

Update 5/23: I’ve fixed the increases for the mouse head. I have no idea what happened when I originally wrote it up- those increases made NO sense. If I didn’t know better, I’d say I was drunk when I wrote it. Anyway, I apologize to anyone who tried to make the mouse with those funky instructions!

Update 5/26: Fixed the number of stitches between the mouse ears. Corrections in purple.

  • Yarn: Any feltable, worsted weight wool (I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Lake Ice Heather) plus a few inches of contrasting yarn for details.
  • Yardage: Small mouse approx 15 yards
  • Large Mouse approx 30 yards
  • Needles: Small mouse, size 7 dpns
  • Large Mouse, size 10 dpns
  • Other materials: Tapestry needle, toy stuffing, catnip, sewing needle and coordinating thread.
  • Gauge: Not really important, since the mouse will be felted.

Prefelted Measurements: Small Mouse, approx 2.25″x3.5″ (not including tail)

Large Mouse, approx 3.25″x5″ (not including tail)

Postfelted Measurements: Small Mouse, approx 1″ x 2.5″ (not including tail)

Large Mouse, approx 2.5″ x 3.5″ (not including tail)

Special Stitches

Make Bobble: Kf&b twice in the next 2 sts. (8 sts increased.) Turn, purl 8 sts just increased. Turn, k 8 sts. Turn, p2tog four times. Turn, k2tog twice. Continue row as instructed.

Mouse Head

For large mouse, work with yarn held doubled. For small mouse, work with one strand.

CO 4 sts to each of 2 needles, using Judy’s Magic Cast On. 8 sts

Round 1,3,5,7,: Knit

Round 2: K1, m1, k2, m1, k2, m1, k2, m1, k1 (4 sts increased.) 12 sts

Rearrange sts as desired.

Round 4: K1, m1, k4, m1, k2, m1, k4, m1, k1 (4 sts increased) 16 sts

Round 6: K1, m1, k6, m1, k2, m1, k6, m1, k1 (4 sts increased) 20 sts

Round 8: K1, m1, k8, m1, k2, m1, k8, m1, k1 (4 sts increased) 24 sts total

Knit 1-2 rounds even. (More rounds give the mouse a longer face.)

Ears

Next round: K2, Make Bobble, k4, Make Bobble, knit to the end of the round.

Knit 3-5 rounds even. If you want a longer mouse body, knit more rounds.

Mouse Butt

Round 1: K1, k2tog, k6, ssk, k2, k2tog, k6, ssk, k1 (4 sts decreased.) 20 sts

Round 2, 4, 6: Knit

Round 3: K1, k2tog, k4, ssk, k2, k2tog, k4, ssk, k1 (4 sts decreased.) 16 sts

Round 5: K1, k2tog, k2, ssk, k2, k2tog, k2, ssk, k1 (4 sts decreased.) 12 sts

Round 7: K1, k2tog, ssk, k2, k2tog, ssk, k1 (4 sts decreased.) 8 sts

K2tog around. (4 sts decreased.) 4 sts

Small Mouse only: K2tog, k2. 3 sts remain.

Tail

Small Mouse: Work 3-st I-cord until tail is at least 2” long.

Large Mouse: Work 4-st I-cord until tail is at least 2″ long. (My cats like a long tail, so I knit the tail about 4″ long.)

Embroider eyes, nose, etc in scrap yarn on the face below the ears.

Felting

The small mouse can be felted by hand in about 10 minutes. Run some hot water (about as hot as you can comfortably stand) in the sink and dip your mouse in. Add some soap to the mouse and start to rub and squish him vigorously between your hands. (This might be a fun thing to make- um, ask your kids do for you.) When your mouse has lost his stitch definition and is the right size (keep felting him to make him smaller,) rinse him in cold water and set him aside to dry.

The larger mouse can be felted by hand (takes a bit longer than the small mouse) or in the washer. If you’ve got any other felting projects, you can throw the mouse in with them.

For more information on machine felting, check out this article on Knitty.

When the mouse is felted and dry, cut a small hole in the underside, stuff with toy stuffing and catnip, sew the opening back up, and give to the cat.

Success!

Please Note: I post my patterns as soon as I’ve completed them because I’m excited to share them with you.  They have not been fully tested.  They are free, though. I’ve made every effort to make sure that the instructions are clear and error-free.  There may be typos or other mistakes and if you find them or have any questions, please let me know by posting a comment or emailing me, dailyskein at gmail.com.

 

 

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This work by Cailyn Meyer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.