Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesdays with Dory

This IS my happy face.

Dear Dory,

I recently moved into a new home, and I must say, it makes all kinds of strange noises at night while I'm trying to sleep. Since cats are nocturnal, I thought maybe you had explored your house at night and could tell me what the strange noises might be.

Perplexed in Princeton

Dear Perplexed,

I don't know that I'm actually nocturnal, as I can be hit by a nap attack any time, day or night, but I do know a thing or two about weird sounds, so I'll try my best to help.

If you hear a scratchy scratchy noise, the kitteh has found something it's not supposed to be playing with, like a ponytail holder, and is aggressively swatting at it on the hardwood floor.

A crashing sound means your kitteh was bored and decided to knock something off the table / shelf / counter, where it rightfully belonged. Probably it was made of glass and now you think an axe murderer has shattered your patio door and is making his way toward your room. Just some bonus amusement for your kitteh.

A scrape-y sound means your kitteh has found one of your circular knitting needles and is now dragging it around the house in her mouth, with the metal tip scraping across the floor.

A loud bumping sound means your kitteh decided she needed to scratch her ear while IN the litter box, and her leg is banging repeatedly against the side.

A rustling sound means that kitteh has found her way into the box of tissue paper you keep for gift wrapping, and is now shredding it with her claws.

A crinkly sound means kitteh has found an errant piece of packing tape you didn't pick up and is now chewing on it, because packing tape is inexplicably tasty.

I hope that answers all your noise-related quandaries!

Have a purrrrrfect day!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday Sampler: Round the Virtual Neighborhood

Thanks all for your advice on battling the ants. I suspect they are regrouping and strategizing, as I haven't seen any for about 3 days. But I'm staying on my toes. I've got the borax.

To keep you entertained as I wage war, here are some random interesting things I've found on the Internet this week.

These vintage-style Harry Potter travel ads are amazing:

Just sweep debris right into this stationary vac--amazing for hardwood floors.

So me.

Use an empty Tic Tac holder to store all those stray bobby pins in your purse!

Wouldn't you look darling gardening in this hat?

 Amazing reusable "paper" towels.

How much does Nellie Oleson look like Joffrey Baratheon in a wig?!?

Amazing. From Gudrun Johnston.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

On nasty little buggers

Yes, I missed Tuesdays with Dory yesterday.

I haven't posted since my new pattern went up.

I'm totally useless at blogging right now.

But that's because a war is going on!

A war . . . against ANTS!

I don't like bugs. But as long as they're outside and not actively trying to suck my blood, I generally just run away screaming leave them alone.

Especially "pizzy" ants, as my cousins called them growing up, because they're so harmless.

But these suckers are waging an all-out offensive on my home, so all bets are off.

It started while we were on vacation. A friend who was taking care of the kitties while we were away noticed a troop of ants invading the breakfast room and attacking the cat food. She very kindly vacuumed them all up (no easy feat, as our vacuum was in the basement and she's 7 months pregnant!) and sprayed some Windex to deter them, and by the time we got home, just a few stray ants remained.

Or so we thought.

But they came back.

(Cat food--manna from heaven, apparently.)

More vacuuming, more spraying vinegar.

Still more ants.

I came home Monday to find a trail of ants making their way into my trash can.

I vacuumed, I vinegar'd, I poured boiling water on the area outside that they seemed to be coming from. I taped up the baseboard they seemed to be emerging from.

Yesterday, no ants in the breakfast room.


But as I prepared to make dinner, I noticed an ant on the counter.

And another.

And another.

And finally a small swarm, marching swiftly from the kitchen window into the dishwasher, where I found, yes, more ants.

(Honestly, all the ant control advice involves keeping your kitchen spotless, but how can I possible keep dirty dishes out of the DISHWASHER??)

I quickly filled the dishwasher with dirty dishes and slammed it shut, locking the ants in for their steam bath. I vinegar'd and pepper'd and cleaned up every speck of food I could find.

This morning, no ants.

But I know the war isn't over.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pattern Debut: Cielito Baby Blanket

I made it back from vacation in one piece, and am thrilled to announce that while I was gone, Knit Picks released my latest pattern in yesterday's collection of new IDP patterns!

Introducing Cielito:


We all know someone having a baby, right? Perhaps many someones, if you're in that magical baby-land of your late 20s/early 30s. And we all worry about the perfect gift--what if this sweater is too big/small? What if the baby outgrows these socks after one wear? What if the baby hates hats?

All of these worries are why baby blankets are the perfect gift.


Blankets always fit. In the air conditioning age, blankets are used year round. They never go out of style. Some even become heirlooms.

The only problem is, blankets are so . . . big. So much work.

So I set about trying to devise a baby blanket that would work up quickly, look impressive, and register just a notch above "mindless" knitting--easy to memorize, but requiring enough attention to keep you from dozing off.


The top and bottom edges feature a zig zag stitch, to add a bit of interest over the usual garter edging. The central stitch pattern is a mix of traveling eyelets and star stitches that offer a hint of lace and a bit of texture. And the pattern is written for worsted weight yarn, to knit up quickly, but blocked to an airy finish so as not to be oppressive.


I worked up my sample in Knit Picks Swish Tonal, in the Queen Anne colorway, but using a tweed or heathered yarn would give the blanket quite a different look.

Just how quickly could you finish it? After much swatching to work out the pattern (those traveling eyelets did not start and stop easily!), I knit the blanket itself in about 2 weeks--though I was working on a deadline.

Of course, you could consider an impending birth a deadline as well.


The Cielito baby blanket is now available exclusively from Knit Picks for $3.99. It calls for approximately 900 yards of worsted weight yarn and size 7 needles (gauge = 5st/in in central stitch pattern, after blocking--swatch!). You can also find the pattern on Ravelry here; after a period of exclusive sales through Knit Picks, I will also make the pdf available for purchase through my Ravelry store.

(Remember, sign up for the MediaPeruana designs newsletter to receive notices about pattern sales and exclusive discounts!)


Hope you like it!

Friday, July 13, 2012

And I'm off!

The design is done. Pattern submitted. Sample sent to the yarn company.

Knitting bag is packed:


(Can you guess what I'm working on now?)

CP's birthday gift is wrapped:


 (Er, ignore that pile of unloved Orioles bobbleheads in the bottom corner--they're looking for a home.)

And we're off to the beach for a week!

Keep up with our beachy fun via twitter: @mediaperuana.

Friday, July 6, 2012

On secret squirrel knitting

Remember when I used to talk about knitting instead of ranting about my mortgage company and posting pictures of my cat?

I have a vague recollection.

Part of the absence of actual knitting on the blog is due to the fact that I'm working my fingers to the bone to finish a design project.


The actual pattern is pretty much done. But in order for the pattern to contain photos--you know, so you know what it is you're knitting--I need to finish knitting the Thing. And between moving, setting up house, losing power, and the miserable heat wave we're stuck in, knitting time has been more limited than I would like. Every day I say I'm going to do a whole pattern repeat, and then only manage half before I fall asleep on the couch.

It also doesn't help that I packed up the dowels from my homemade swift and haven't found them yet--all yarn winding must be done by hand.

But I'm plugging away.

I've also run into an issue with another project I was flying through:


This is the front--or I suppose the back, they're interchangeable--of a Beagle sweater I've been working on for CP. I've reached the point where I need to start the armhole decreases.

And I can't find the pattern.

This is one of the reasons I adore digital patterns so much--you can print it out if you want, but you always have that original file on your computer or stored directly on Ravelry. Nothing to lose.

Don't get me wrong, there is something lovely about purchasing print patterns--Jared Flood's print patterns are both sturdy and stunning, for example--but you have to be a lot more careful with them.

You can't take them to Costa Rica and accidentally leave them in a hotel room. Or pack them in a box while moving and forget which box is it. Both of which are possibilities with regard to my copy of Norah Gaughan, Men, the only place where this pattern is found (and at $16.95, I'm not buying another copy).

So yet another project sits in my WIP bin, going nowhere.

It's getting pretty crowded in there.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesdays with Dory

This is my new fireplace. I think it smells funny.

Dear Readers,

I have been very busy hiding under furniture and being scared of the sound the garage door makes when it opens, so I haven't had any time to read your questions. I promise, I'll get back to that next week.

This week, I'm going to tell you about my new house.

First, it used to be full of fun boxes to play on and hide in, but slooooooowly those disappeared and now there's a lot of empty floor space. It seems like there should be furniture, but there isn't.

The kitchen is Ravens purple. Kristen says this is changing very, very soon.

There are big spin-y things on the ceiling that I didn't notice at first, but after we were in for a few days, I suddenly noticed them and got scared because they're clearly waiting to fall and attack me.

When anyone wants to come in, they magically make some kind of giant BING BONG sound that echoes through the whole house. I really don't like it.

There are lots of flying things and hopping things I can see through the big window, but I'm not allowed outside to chase them yet. Kristen says there are also deer. I don't know what deer are, but I hope I'm bigger than them.

At night I sometimes get scared and start crying for no real reason, as if I've forgotten where the room with the big bed is. Then I find it and cry some more, for good measure.

Lots of string and needle-y things are still on the couch, just like in the condo. And I'm still not supposed to play with them or sleep on them, but I do anyway.

And that Nelly cat is still here, too. :(

That's all I can think of right now. See you next week with more of my great advice!

Have a purrrrrrrfect day!



It's true, we finally moved in and have a home to call our own! It's mostly unpacked, though my studio / office / yarn room is a complete disaster area. Painters are coming this weekend to take care of the absurdly-colored kitchen. The dining room table we had at the condo was some monstrosity that CP picked up somewhere along the way and I refused to move it to the new house, so for now, we're eating on patio furniture. But otherwise, we're getting settled in, slowly ordering furniture and decor, and fixing up the yard, which is quite nicely landscaped, but overgrown, since no one has lived here for 2+ months. I even managed to get a small vegetable garden in, hopefully I'll get some late harvest produce.

You may have heard about the horrific storms that passed through mid-Atlantic last Friday night. We lost power Friday evening, and it was restored late Saturday afternoon--with weekend highs near 100 every day it was uncomfortable, but could've been worse. All our trees are standing, no major damage to our property, and the grocery store has finally been restocked (after also being without power and losing all the perishables), so we have food.

Now if I could just find more than 5 minutes here and there to knit!