Owl Coffee Cozy

Tired of ugly cardboard cup sleeves for your coffee that just wind up in a landfill? Knit your own reusable sleeve. Better yet, one with googly-eyed owls! (Extra points if you bring your own reusable cup, too!)

Get the free pattern here.

Crocheted Workout Buddies

I like to balance big projects like sweaters with small, quick silly things like amigurumi, so after finishing my Go-To Cardigan I whipped up these little guys. I've been making fitness more of a priority lately, so for fun I made these little workout buddies: a Kettlebell Cutie and a Darling Dumbbell! I just improvised the patterns myself based on basic amigurumi shapes (sphere, cylinder, etc.).

The Go-To Cardigan

Wow. It's been a while since I had a new finished knitted thing to share! I'm pretty pleased with this one. My goal was to make a cozy and versitile cardigan that I'd hopefully get a lot of use out of. You know, the kind of thing you can throw on over just about anything when the air is chilly. The result is this, my new Go-To Cardigan. The pattern was free online here. I used Cascade Yarns "Sierra", a machine washable cotton/wool blend. It's comfortable, pretty warm, and not itchy. Plus it comes in tons of colors, and was on sale at Webs, which is even better! I'd definitely use this yarn again. Heck, I'd make this pattern again! You'll notice that the pockets are not a part of the pattern. I added them myself.

Nice shaping at the waist

24 Hours With a Stray Cat

This certainly isn't my usual kind of post. It's not about something I made, but about something wonderful that happened that I feel is worth sharing. Here goes.

Recently, around the grounds of my apartment complex, we'd see this scrawny little long haired black cat. She'd be darting around the parked cars, slinking through the bushes, or just sitting in the grass. A tiny little thing, I thought that it couldn't have been too long ago that she was a kitten. Jeet and I each started toting around a small Ziploc baggie full of dry cat food to give to her when we saw her, but she was always too shy to come over and take it if we were too close. Tuesday evening, that changed.

We were just on our way out the door, heading to a yoga class together, when there she was, right in front of the door, meowing. The poor thing was obviously hungry. Jeet ran off to get his baggie of food from the car, and
I stayed behind. For the first time, the cat actually came up to me. I squatted down on the sidewalk, and she brushed her cheek against my hand, flopped down on the concrete, and began purring like we were old friends. We fed her as much dry food as she would eat, brought out a dish of water for her to drink from, and just sat with her as she purred, rubbed against us, and generally charmed the heck out of everyone going in and out of the building.

As we sat there on the sidewalk, we knew yoga was out of the question. This cat wanted friends, needed food, and had so much affection to give. Other residents stopped to pet her as well, offering their ideas and suggestions for local shelters. One woman believed that this cat had belonged to a former resident, and was abandoned when they left, and had survived the whole winter on her own. She, too, was one of the regular food providers for this kitty. We couldn't just leave her, so we had to think of a plan.

I sized her up. She was a little dirty (she had been rolling around on the ground in glee, after all), but otherwise looked healthy. She was extremely friendly, not at all aggressive or scared, very skinny, trusting, and, here's the kicker: she was pregnant. Leaving a stray cat to fend for itself is one thing, but a tiny pregnant kitty? Not happening. We decided to do what some might consider to be highly questionable: we brought this little stray inside our apartment for the night.

"So what are you, a dog? Big deal."
The rest of the night was pretty crazy. I gave her a bath and clipped her claws, for which she was amazingly patient and well-behaved. We set up a second litter box for her, hoping she'd use it correctly (she did!) and did our best to keep Casper, our resident fatty, away from her. He growled at her, hissed a few times, and was generally unimpressed with her desire for his friendship. I slept on the floor in the living room so I could help keep things from going too crazy, while Jeet pretty much stayed up all night emailing shelters and finding new shelters to call in the morning, all while making sure that the free spirited sweety didn't scratch the couch, jump on the counters, or get too close for Casper's comfort. As nuts as it was, it was fun, too! Kali, as we'd named her after the black-skinned Indian goddess, was just non-stop affection, cuddles, playtime, and action, with catnaps in between. As soon as I lay down, she curled up right on my chest, wanting always to be right up in my face. How can you resist that?
Little mama-to-be
Daytime brought frustration and worry on top of exhaustion. Jeet was as tenacious as ever, calling shelter after shelter, in an ever widening circle. Animal Control was out of the question, as they were so full they would just euthanize her if we turned her over. The result was always the same. They were full. Over capacity. There was a waiting list. I was getting really nervous for her. When I held my hand against her swollen belly, I could feel little baby kittens moving inside. We could not let her down, and keeping her just wasn't an option for us, even though we both grew very attached to her very quickly. We decided that if we couldn't find a place by 4 pm, we'd just have to let her outside again and try and keep feeding her, because we couldn't stay up all night again. 
Who knew Casper had such foul language?
Around 12:30, we got our wish. A wonderful shelter about an hour away called The Animal Haven, a no-kill shelter, agreed to take her as long as we could get her tested for various cat diseases beforehand. They closed at 3, and by a miracle we got an appointment with a vet less than 10 minutes away from the shelter with just enough time to get the tests done (came back negative! yay! also, 9.1 lbs, kittens and all) and rush her over to the shelter. They've got a great play room for the kitties, a nice yard for dogs, and most importantly, a nursery where Kali can give birth and nurse her kittens, who will then be placed in loving homes when they're old enough. Jeet deserves 100% of the credit for making this happen, for his can-do never-give-up attitude and stick-to-it-iveness! If any cat deserves a wonderful "forever home", it's Kali. She was literally the sweetest cat I've ever spent time with, and I already miss her. What a blessing to spend (nearly) 24 hours with a stray cat!

PSA! Adopt shelter pets, have your pets spayed or neutered, and donate to shelters if you can. Thank you!

Patchwork Pillows

I never thought I'd have any interest in quilting. Technically, of course, this is not quilting. It's just the patchwork sewing that comes before quilting. My mom recently took up quilting again, and when I saw the bold colors and modern graphic design of the quilt blocks she was making, it really made me think again about something I'd never really considered as being "for me". She referred me to Craftsy's free series: Craftsy Block of the Month 2012, a set of free instructional videos and patterns for making a whole set of different quilt blocks. I really liked the first two (January's blocks) and decided to make them into new pillows for my couch. Actually, they're pillow covers to go over pillow form from JoAnn Fabric. I made them easily removable for washing. I'm really interested in doing more patchwork projects in the future. I love sewing, and I love the idea of fabric as an artistic medium. We'll see where this takes me!

The finished products. I love gray and yellow! As usual, the yellow is a bit brighter looking in real life.

Asterisk block
Wonky pound sign block
Casper keeps me company


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