She Knows She’s Beautiful

This is Meringue.

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Her kittens (all grown up now) are beautiful too.

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(Walnut is the darkest-looking one, Five-Spice is the calico, Vanilla — who used to be much lighter — is the front one, and Praline, the only boy, is the orange one.)

Prior to their arrival we had four black and white cats, two gray and white, one all-black, and one tortie.  And then all this diverse fur entered our lives.  About the only things these five cats have in common is some measure of striping and some measure of orange, both of which were barely represented in our first eight cats.

Also, no one had belly spots!

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Or a dark nose!

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Or leopard spots!

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And the collective tail stripes were much less obvious!

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For some reason I started referring to them mentally as the kittykins, although I’m not usually that cutesy.  But I was away from home and missed them, and they weren’t quite kittens anymore.  So that’s kind of their family name.

I think Meringue is happy here.

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Stay On Target

I’m trying so hard to actually finish another pair of socks, preferably by the end of this year.  So I told myself I’m not allowed to start another pair of socks.

Then my friends Fire and Kiefer  visited and Fire gave me this:

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The Maru Fan Club

I needed a pick-me-up, or maybe just a laugh, and found myself watching videos of Maru.  Predictably, I got to one that I felt spouse had to see, and we piped it to the TV, and I continued watching them there.

I wasn’t the only one.

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They were really watching, too, not just facing that direction when I took the photos.  I’ve never seen any of them watch TV so intently without trying to bat at the moving dots and whatnot.  I wonder if they can tell they’re watching another cat.

Where the Name Came From

I have some very limited-range perfectionism in me, when it gets invoked.  And one of the things that invokes it the most is knitting.  If I see errors, I fix them.  If I think of a better way to do something I did, I fix it.  If I can’t decided on the best way to do something I do it one way, then rip it back and try another way, and so on.

All this can be pretty hard on the yarn.  And most yarn that starts out smoothish gets fuzzy.  Sometimes I have to just decide that I’ll live with it because I don’t want to wear out the yarn.  Once in a while I’ll actually have to replace yarn.  I also hate cutting yarn, and tend to want to use the maximum amount of yarn I have.  This means I end up unravelling and reknitting swatches.  This also abrades the yarn, of course.  It was particularly bad when I was knitting brushed mohair, though that stuff starts out pre-fuzzed, as it were.

So that’s the fuzzy part.  Tinking…well, that’s an alternative to ripping back, which usually implies taking the needle out and pulling at the yarn to unravel it.  Tinking is undoing one stitch at a time.  It’s named that because “tink” is “knit” backward.  Ha ha ha.

(“Fuzzy tinking” is also what a Belgian teacher of mine used to tell us to avoid.  I’ve had that phrase in my head for 30 years, long before I started knitting.)

So, there’s a project that I knit most of a few months ago and then got a little stymied on at the end.  The directions (which I rarely follow) said to start doing a particular bit of decreasing after using up some percentage of yarn.  I didn’t feel like weighing it and I was unconvinced about the designer’s result, so I tried something else.  And ran out of yarn, so I ripped back a ways and tried another thing.  Repeat.  Each time I wound the remaining yardage into a little ball.  Eventually I got tired of it, or more likely distracted by a different project, so I dropped it for a while.

A week or so ago I picked it back up again and decided heck, the designer’s idea wasn’t so bad.  So I gave it a try again.  But it could use some fine-tuning, just moving the decreases around a little, stuff like that.  Also, the stitches seemed absurdly loose to me, no matter how tightly I knit.  But I was pretty sure I was using the same needle as I had for the whole project.  And say, the stitches in the earlier part of the scarf were larger, but not really looser.  Just sproingier.

After ripping back yet again I realized that the yarn was was kinked — all twisted back on itself.  And fuzzy from the reworking.

I could rename the blog Fuzzy Kinking.  Let me think abou–No.

(That was the punchline, but having come this far I may as well finish the story of the scarf.)

I compared a bit of the yarn from the ball with the yarn from the cast-on tail.  Can certainly see why my stitches were looking loose and wiry even when I was knitting tightly.

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The motion of winding the yarn back into a ball adds twist to the yarn.  And I’d done that several times.  Oh.  Usually when I have trouble with adding too much twist to the yarn it’s from knitting with the yarn held in my right had, but I knit sock yarn held in my left hand.

I took the scrunchie out of my ever-present bun and wrapped it around the yarn ball and dangled it.  Sure enough, it started spinning to release the excess twist.  I had to do this every yard or so.  My house is ideally configured for this sort of thing, with a loft over the living room where I could dangle several yards at once, but that seemed unwise in a houseful of cats.

And I finished!

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That bit of yarn at the end is all the yarn that’s left.  I’m pretty pleased with that.