New Beginnings

This post has been a long time coming and I should apologize, but my day job has completely taken over my life for the last couple of months. That’s tax season for you and fortunately, there’s only one week left! And while I’ve been in virtual hibernation, we’ve had some interesting changes…

While of course we still miss Arty intensely, our little family has a couple of new additions. Meet Virgil and Iris!Cats

Is that not the cutest picture you’ve ever seen? As you can see, our new friends are getting along very well. They’re very cuddly both with us and with each other.

VirgilVirgil is about 2 years old and a very dapper, very talkative little gentleman. I don’t think I’ve ever met a cat this chatty. It’s almost as though he navigates the house with echolocation. Adorable.

IrisIris is about a year and a half old and has a wild half-feral sensibility. Terribly sweet, terribly spazzy. They weren’t a bonded pair when we found them at the shelter – they were even in separate rooms. Walker and I simply fell in love with both of them and couldn’t bring ourselves to decide between them. So…we just brought them both home!

They’ve yet to make a friend of grumpy little Branwen, but this surprises no one. She’s got an attitude of titanic proportions. We’re hopeful that once we’re more available for supervised togetherness, she’ll eventually grow to tolerate her new siblings. Or maybe not. Only time will tell 😊

Farewell Arty

This has been a tough week – a horrible, no-good, awful week.  We had to say goodbye to our sweet, little Artyimg_0124Our cuddly, goofy darling has crossed the Rainbow Bridge and (we hope) is waiting for us on the other side.  Our house is so much emptier without him.

We still don’t know exactly what happened, but about a week and a half ago, he started vomiting and couldn’t keep anything down, be it food or water.  He got dehydrated very quickly, getting more and more lethargic, terrifying his kitty-parents.  After four days with the emergency clinic, where he endured any number of tests, injections, IVs, he seemed to be getting better – he was hydrated, bright-eyed, and energetic.  With palpable relief, we brought our baby home and smothered him with grateful cuddles.

Unfortunately, within a couple of days, it became very clear that the emergency vet had only been treating his symptoms and that they had not discovered the actual cause of his distress.  He started vomiting again, losing weight, and becoming dehydrated all over again.  His poor little digestive system was not working the way it was supposed to and no one could discern why.  We consulted with our local vet and after examining a couple of x-rays, he saw something that could possibly be a source of blockage in Arty’s stomach. He proposed an exploratory surgery that might be able to help (and added that this was the only procedure left for us to try), but gave the possibility of success at about 50%.

We were heartbroken.  We wailed and anguished about this decision for ages – how could we turn down the possibility of saving our baby’s life?  How could we put him through more suffering?  How could we responsibly spend that much money on more veterinary bills when we already spent so much with the emergency vet?  Ultimately, we determined to prioritize minimizing Arty’s suffering.  After two weeks of vomiting, dehydration, and vet tests, we determined that we could not put the poor thing through another painful procedure when the likelihood of success was so low.  I think very few things are more difficult than saying goodbye to a beloved pet, especially when you’re the one to make the decision to end his suffering.

We’ll miss his cuddles, we’ll miss his face butts, we’ll miss his misguided attempts to help us with the housework.  Every time I turn around, I still expect to see him waddling around the corner and it breaks my heart all over again.  I can feel the little hole in my heart where his memories reside.  I know that over time, the ache will ease and knowing how much joy we brought to each other in his too-short life brings a great deal of solace.

To anyone else who’s recently lost an animal or loved one, how did you deal with the pain of the loss?  Do you care to share a favorite memory of the one you lost?

My husband and I have been spending a lot of time sharing our favorite memories of Arty’s many, many quirks.  I know we’ll never find another cat just like him and that thought makes me miserable, but I’m grateful for the time we did share.  Goodbye, Arty.  You will be sorely missed.

-Allie

That’s a Wrap

*groan* Horrible pun, sorry guys.  It’s late and I couldn’t come up with anything better.  I’m just really into scarves and wraps lately, okay?

I don’t know about you, but this bleak, cold weather makes me long for bright colors and fuzzy fibers.  I started with a deep crimson, or “port” color:

img_1281_medium2

The pattern is Helios by Marnie MacLean and isn’t it just stunning?  All that flowing cable and lace work really makes for a truly beautiful design.  Here’s closeup:

img_1283_medium2

This was not a fast knit, nor was it an easy knit, but I am duly proud of the outcome.  I may just have strut around the house upon completion – that is until my husband looked at me like I was a crazy lady and put an end to that small parade.

The yarn I used was Knit Picks’s Gloss Lace and I absolutely loved working with it.  It’s soft, it has a luminous sheen, and a wonderful stitch definition.  Not to mention the fact that it’s inexpensive.  10/10. Would knit again.

But then the winter got darker and this lady needed a more vibrant hue and what better color than shocking pink??

img_1296_medium2

Meet Safra by Susanna IC.  I don’t think I could fully express how much I love knitting crescent shawls.  They’re so comfortable to wear and the horizontal construction means that they never get monotonous.  Plus, look at the lovely finished shape:

img_1295_medium2

This one I knit in another Knit Picks yarn: Preciosa.  While it is soft and the joyful color brightens my day, it just doesn’t quite make up for the goofy name.  Preciosa?  Preciosa.  Nope, still don’t think I can bring myself to say it out loud, let alone purchase it again.  Will just have to keep looking for the perfect scarf yarn.

I’m very serious about by winter accessories, guys.

img_1301_medium2

Very serious indeed.

What is your favorite thing to knit when the weather gets cold?

Cheers,

-Allie

Snowed In

Remind me why we live in Maine again?

About a week ago we had a fierce snowstorm up here and ordinarily, this would be no big deal.  We’re prepared, we’ve got snow plows.  We think  “Oh, look at the pretty snowflakes,” pour ourselves some hot chocolate and cozy up for the night.  Oh, how wrong we were.

image1

Awww, look at Arty enjoying the snowfall.  What a cutie, right?

But then, the snowfall turns not-so-cute.  We lose power.  Turns out the snow we got was the wet, heavy, mashed potatoes sort, the kind that weighs down all the power lines.  And to make it even more fun, our house in on a well with an electric pump, so no heat or hot water, yay!

At first, we tried to make the best of it – we’ll just go to bed and hope that the power is back in the morning!  And then when it wasn’t, our gas fireplace still worked and knitting doesn’t require electricity.  I can totally do this!

image1-1

But after a while, one needs to drink water or shower or use the restroom…so we check in with the power company and about 95% of our town is without power and the estimated recovery time is “assessing.”  In addition, they sent us a text letting us know that 1) there was a power outage and 2) that the cause was “weather.”  Thanks, guys!  Super helpful!

By this time I was starting to get anxious, since for my tech editing business, I work from home and needed to finish an assignment by the end of the next day.  What if we didn’t get the power back?  I couldn’t miss my deadline!  Eventually we decide to trek into town to my husband’s office – surely they have power there.  And mercifully, they did!  We were able to avail ourselves of the building’s facilities and internet and I was able to finish my edit on time!  Hurray!

We wouldn’t get our power back for another 20 miserable hours.  Another freezing, cold night piled under all the blankets in the house.  It’s just this kind of thing that makes you really appreciate modern technology, like heat and indoor plumbing.  That is the lesson I’m choosing to take from all of this.

That or the first opportunity we get, we’re moving to a house that doesn’t have a well.

Since we’ve gotten our power back, the pattern I edited has been published.  Guys, meet Seachange by Jenn Steingass:

image2

It’s a bottom-up stranded yoke pullover that’s knit all in once piece with BC Garn Semilla Melange.  Jenn’s fairly new to designing and she’s really made her debut with a splash!  I especially love the stranded yoke motif – it’s just beautiful and I can’t wait to knit my own. She’s organizing a KAL for this sweater and I will be joining in as soon as I am able!  If you do decide to join in knitting this stunning sweater, share your creations on Instagram with #KLWSeachangeKAL.  I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!

Cheers,

-Allie

Adventures in Stash Busting

Happy New Year, everyone!

I don’t know about you, but every year around this time, I get an insatiable urge to declutter things and begin the new year with a clean and clutter-free slate.  Some years I clean out the closet, other times it’s the pantry, and last year I was extra-ambitious and Marie Kondo-ed the entire house.  So after that, what could possibly be left??  My yarn stash, of course!

I’ve spent the last two weeks with all those odd balls leftover from finished projects that I didn’t quite have the heart to throw away.  And now I’m glad of it – look at what one can accomplish with orphan balls of yarn!  Come take a leftovers tour with me:

First, the Antler Hat by tincanknits with a leftover ball and a half of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Tweed.  Lovely pattern – easy to follow and memorize and beautifully rustic.

img_1254_medium2

I think this one will be donated to a local homeless shelter – should keep someone warm on those cold Maine nights.

Second is Peppermint Hat by Celeste Young with leftover Quince & Co. Chickadee in Audouin, Cypress, and Delft.  This one was really fun to knit.  I loved the quick color changes and the way the stripes ripple across the hat.

img_1251_medium2

This one will go to a dear friend who is in want of a belated Christmas gift.

Next is Cancans by Erica Lomax in a leftover ball of Knit Picks Stroll.  These were very simple to knit, but the pattern was saved by the little cable pattern down the back.  They were a close thing, too.  I had to cut the second one short by a couple of rounds in order to finish them at all.

img_1249_medium2

I’m not sure what will happen to these.  They might also be a belated office gift to a coworker who is perpetually cold.

And lastly, more pink, more cute, it’s Stardust the Unicorn by Post.  This is more of the above, Quince & Co.’s Chickadee in Audouin and Knit Picks’ Stroll.  And look how friggin’ cute it is!

img_1230_medium2

This one I made specifically with my mother in mind.  She has a slight obsession with unicorns and now she has a little softie to keep her company at work when clients are difficult.

What do you do when the urge to organize strikes?  Do you need the call?

I hope you all had a safe and happy New Years and that 2017 is your best year yet!

Cheers,

-Allie

Ishnana

Fall is well and truly here: the falling leaves, the falling temperatures, and sundown creeping earlier and earlier.  What a perfect time to cozy up by the fire in the warm embrace of your favorite blanket or, if you love yarn as much as I do, a brand-new sweater!

Cue, Ishnana:

img_1065_medium2

See how excited I am?  Is it because Walker and I are about to flee the onslaught of trick-or-treaters?  Or is it because this baby fits like a dream?  No one will ever know.

I can only chalk the superb fit to Ysolda Teague’s skill in writing a knitting pattern.    I didn’t have to change anything to make it fit so perfectly.  I might have made the torso a little longer, but that’s just to cover my insecurities (read: hips).

The construction is one-piece from the hem up, splitting for the arm holes and seaming at the shoulder.  The sleeves are then picked up from the armhole edges and knit in the round to the cuff.  You only have to sew the shoulders and any loose ends – my favorite kind of sweater!  I don’t know about you, but I get super lazy about sweater finishing.  Once I’m done knitting, I want to wear it immediately and not bother with any seaming nonsense.  In fact, it took approximately 2 months for me to 1) order buttons for this sweater and 2) sew them in place.  Tsk, tsk.

The back is gorgeous, too.  Check this out:

img_1069_medium2

Look at that gorgeous cable!  I’ll be wearing this baby as often as I can justify (read: all the damn time).  And here is the sleeve:

img_1070_medium2

Don’t be intimidated by the lace pattern – it’s a 4 round repeater that’s very easy to memorize.  What a beautiful design.  With all the design elements, at no point did this project get boring, but neither was it too complicated to manage in front of the TV. (Also my favorite kind of sweater).  What can I say?  I’m in love.

I kinda love the yarn, too.  Lately, I’ve been trying to branch out from my usual stash of KnitPicks yarn.  I do know that there is a wealth of fiber waiting for me out there, but I needed to have this color in my closet.  It’s just the right peachy pink and I know the Stroll yarn will stand up well to knitting and general wear.  Next time I’ll branch out, I promise…

How have you been celebrating the onset of sweater weather?  Let me know!

-Allie

Ebba

…or adventures in steeking.

The moment I spotted Diana Walla’s Ebba pattern, I knew I had to have it.  I don’t know if it was the pop of red or the stranded yoke, but it needed to be in my closet, stat.

There was no question that I was going to knit it in the suggested Quince & Co. Chickadee – that yarn just has no equal.  It’s soft and squishy and has incredible stitch definition.  The only question was “which colors do I use??”  Since the original palate is so striking, I opted to stick to the original Delft (light blue) and Frost (gray) with some Barolo (dark red) that I already had in my stash.  Unfortunately for me, Frost was almost sold out!!  I’m chalking it up to the success of this particular pattern.  Or maybe it’s just because the color is gorgeous – I mean, good for Quince.  Unlucky for me, though.  I had to settle for Audouin (off-white), which still turned out beautifully!  Well, you be the judge:

img_1042_medium2

Please excuse the goofy grin – my husband took this picture and he was pulling some very silly faces in an attempt to make me laugh.

This sweater was such a pleasure to knit!  The instructions were clear, the construction was just interesting enough to keep me occupied.  I LOVE that stranded yoke.  Simply stunning.  Steeking the shoulders did give me pause, I won’t lie to you about that.  Cutting through knitted fabric always makes me so nervous – will it come undone?  Am I destroying all my beautiful handiwork?  Then I might have been overzealous about reinforcing the seams.  If you look closely at the finished product, you can see a couple of my stitches.  Oops.  I will say, though, that the technique was necessary to get that beautiful stranded yoke onto a modified drop-shoulder sweater.  100% worth the effort and anxiety.  A+  Would sweater again.  I’ve even worn it around a few times and it hasn’t fallen apart.

It’s even lovelier to wear – light, comfortable, and with just the right sleeve length to keep you warm in the changing fall temperatures.  Plus, I love the way the boatneck flatters the figure and draws the eye to the face.  Congratulations to Diana Walla on a truly incredible pattern.

So to anyone giving a pattern the side-eye because of an advanced or scary technique, give it a try!  Go slowly, follow the instructions, and Youtube it if you need to, but don’t let fear of the unknown hold you back.  You might surprise yourself with the results.

Cheers,

-Allie

Introductions

Hello and welcome to Bad Cats, Good Knits, my tales of fibrous delight and feline misdemeanors.  I’m Allie, an accountant and knitting enthusiast in Cumberland, Maine.  I’ve been knitting for about 11 years now with no end in sight.  Sweaters are my great love (after my husband, Walker, of course) and I am so, so, so excited that fall is finally here and I can show mine off again!

I am also excited to announce that I am now accepting new tech editing clients!  I’ve finished Joeli’s learn to tech edit course and have helped a few editing clients with an eye to take on more.   I may be new to the game, but my extensive experience with test and sample knitting combined with my background in accounting make for the ideal editing temperament and eye for detail.  For more information, please check out my Tech Editing Services page or feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.

Now enough of business and onto the good stuff: cat pictures

Meet Arty.   He’s the goofy one.

20150124_133019

How cute is he in that little sweater??  Poor Arty isn’t very good at grooming himself and frequently gets mats.  Last winter, they got so bad that we had to have him shaved and since it was January, the poor thing was freezing!  Perfect opportunity for more sweater knitting, no?  He was much happier after we got that sweater on him, or at least that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself.  This is what he looks like most of the time:

Meet Branwen.  She’s the princess.

She is living proof that tortie-tude is a real thing.  Branwen must be loved and adored at all times.  A lack of attention is a deep tragedy and she will let you know if you’re deviating from her strict schedule.  However, despite the tyrannical facade, she is a little cuddle bug who loves nothing more than curling up with her favorite humans.

You’ll never be able to convince me that there is a better companion than a cat.

Until next time,

-Allie