Got a sack of the nonclumping cat litter for my draft dogers yesterday afternoon as well as some clumping kind for the kitties.   I should have more than enough to make the dodgers I need to make:  One about 40 inches long for the window in the office, a “double wide” one about 84 inches long for the window in the living room, and a fat one about 45 inches long for the front door.   Fairly simple construction — a long tube with a circle sewed into each end, with an opening  left so it can be filled with the cat litter, and then hand-sewn shut.  It only took three of us — me and two Petsmart employees — to finally locate the nonclumping clay litter.  Most all the litters are clumping nowadays, and those that aren’t are pellets made from things like newsprint, sawdust, corn husks, or the like, which are not suitable materials.   That’s the project for Monday.

BlueHomespunShrug1_small2After an exhaustive search of the interwebs and Ravelry, I couldn’t find a shrug pattern I liked, so I’m making one up.  It’s knitted from the center of the back to each wrist, and I’m doing it in both directions at the same time.  It will look something like the one pictured, except the whole body — back and sleeves —  will all be done in a 1 x 1 ribbing.  I doubled my 48-inch size 5 bamboo circular needle into a “U” shape and did a figure eight cast on.  I knitted two rows on one “prong” of the “U”  (out and back), turned the assemblage over, attached a second ball of yarn and knitted two rows on the other “prong.”  I’ll knit 2 rows at a time, alternating “prongs” until the back is 30 inches wide.  Then comes the tricky bit (!).  I’ll take the stitches off one side, skooch the stitches of the other side around so I can join them into a tube to make one sleeve, add the other stitches back on in such a way that I can join them into a tube to make the other sleeve, then knit the sleeves two at a time using the “magic loop” technique — which is the whole point of doing the garment on the 48-inch needles.  Once I get the body finished, I’ll go back around the opening and pick up stiches to form the “collar.” IMG_1863

I’m using a light silver blue yarn, which is the same kind of yarn I used for my teal round shawl, which I haven’t worked on in a while, because I always used to take it over to work on while I daddy sat with my dad.  I can’t face working on it just yet.  I’ve got some creams and browns in the same kind of yarn.  Its a very soft yarn, and it will be just the perfect weight to make a “reader’s shrug.” IMG_1862 A shrug will be perfect for reading in bed, since it has sleeves, which shawls don’t.  That’s been the fly in the ointment about using a shawl.  It keeps my shoulders and upper arms warm, but leaves my forearms hanging out in the cold.  It also tends to bunch up when I pull the covers up under my arms.  I think a shrug will solve both those problems.

This is another of those “two balls at a time” projects.  Fortunately, I had one project basket left.  I don’t think this will be a watching TV or reading kind of knitting project, because it’s in 1 x 1 ribbing (K1, P1), and when there’s a stitch pattern, I have to keep my eye on it all the time, or I’ll mess it up.   I’m writing up the pattern and I’ll post it on Ravelry, too, along with my circular shawl pattern, my triangular shawl pattern, and my arrow scarf pattern.  Busy, busy, busy . . .

I’m also teaching myself to knit backwards in preparation for knitting the vest for my mom.  About 70% of it is in stockinette, and I hate to purl.  Once I master this skill, instead of turning my work and purling for a whole row, I  just start knitting in the opposite direction. It’s like you’re knitting, and you just shift into reverse and go back the other way.  It is entirely too cool.  It was a bit tricky working out the technique because I holdi my yarn in my left hand (continental style).  It’s still awkward right now because I’m just building the habit patterns, but I’ll get better at it.

The other night, I dreamed about John Barrowman‘s character in Torchwood, Captain Jack Harkness.  Interesting dream.  Swashing about in that greatcoat of his.   I can just see him in my mind’s eye, and hear him asking, with that characteristic grin, “How was I?” — which in his case is a rhetorical question. . .