Ravellenics and the other Shaun


It’s been about a month since Shaun WhiteO-Malley came in the cat door just before the coldest day of the decade. We already have four cats, which we all know is a lot, putting us into the realm of Cat People,  and everyone was trapped inside with the frigid temps.

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The first day, he hid so deep in the basement that none of us could find him. Finally, hours later, Little Buddy’s sharp eyes spotted orange in the furthest corner of the furnace room. He took this photo to prove to all of us we really did have a cat without scaring him too much.

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Not long after, Shaun showed his true, sweet colors by coming to the food and allowing Lil Buddy to pet him.He was so handsome and friendly we still can’t figure out where he came from, but he had no collar, no microchip and no neuter, so we felt that, if he did have a home, they weren’t taking very good care of such a handsome boy.

He yowled a lot the first couple of weeks, loudly, sometimes desperately, reminding me what life used to be like when we had infants and toddlers waking every couple of hours during the night. The first couple of days,somebody got nervous and did some peeing where they shouldn’t (I don’t think it was Shaun).

We had to take out the carpet on the basement stairs and use enzymatic cleaner on the whole basement carpet. And frankly, we weren’t sure if we’d be able to keep him for a little while there. Image

Now his yowling has dwindled to a murmur.  We let Shaun out during the day, and, on days like today, with a biting wind blowing sideways snow, he’s very happy to just duck outside and back in again. Shaun’s claimed several special spots, including the box on the cat stand Belle built and the top corner of the yellow couch. Unfortunately, even though he outweighs all the others by a factor of two, he’s a dogged beta cat, waiting until everyone else eats before digging in and putting up with bats on the head from Squeak with the dignity of a saint Bernard.

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Our handsome orange boy loves to be petted under the chin, immediately flops over for more when you scratch the base of his tail and likes to sit near people when they’re hanging out. Now vaccinated, snipped, chipped and tagged, he seems very happy to have a warm home with plenty to eat. And we’re very glad he came in from the cold.



I'm a contiguous shoulder
I’m a contiguous shoulder

It took me longer than I would have liked, but here’s progress on my Argo as of yesterday morning. You know, once Elizabeth explained the general idea to me on a Sow’s Ear napkin, the whole Contiguous technique made intuitive sense to me. Basically, you cast on the right amount for your neck, then knit around a couple of times, identify your shoulder seams (which will be one stitch wide), then increase at those seams every round while doing short rows to create a higher back neck. Similar to raglan shaping, you can increase both for the body and sleeves, or just one or the other as you create the sleeve cap (shown here in stockinette stitch).

I’ll be the first to admit that my short rows are far from perfect here; I’ve pretty much thought of this as a “practice sweater” from the beginning. But I’m really enjoying the technique and really like the way the sleeve looks, more polished than a raglan to my eyes. And I plan to wear this every day around the ‘hood once it’s finished!

I had also expected the main body color to come out darker, but didn’t want to wait the extra time to re-dye the yarn given the close Ravellenic time frame.

you really just wanted to pet me, right?
you really just wanted to pet me, right?

Squeak is helping every step of the way, of course. Even though he’s six months and Shaun’s eight, he’s as always-pumped as Shaun is relaxed like a little surfer dude.



Here’s progress form yesterday. It goes faster once the shoulder shaping is done! Not sure whether I’ll finish by ending ceremonies, but knitting this one really did challenge me and is proving lots of fun.

A Word About Sochi

This Olympics has been marred by more then one difficult situation and rough edge. I personally am very much in favor of equal rights for all orientations, but in the spirit of international cooperation, have been watching the Games and being part of Team Sasquatch. Russia’s human rights record hasn’t been stellar, but let’s face it, games host China has had some serious trouble on that front as well. But I’ve been a member of Amnesty International since the age of sixteen, and can’t support a nation that openly brutalizes its own citizens for expressing their views during the Games.

On the other hand, we always tell our kids that a commitment to your team is a commitment you keep, so this is my solution. The Ravellenics, as we know, are not officially linked to the Olympics, so I’m going to keep knitting as fast as I can to help Team Sasquatch. No more wearing of my Sochi Olympics shirt; that will be going to charity pretty darn quick. I donated to Amnesty this morning, and will be contacting Russian president Vladimir Putin daily about protecting his citizens from harm.

Finished objects:

Speaking of Team Sasquatch, sweater aside, I actually wrote a pattern, the Valentina Hat, had it tech-edited and published it during the Games. So I crossed the Finish Line in two Hat Halfpipe events for my team!


Valentina for Belle: finished!

Also entered in Junior Ravellenics


Valentina: finished!

Also entered in Lace Luge

Both worked in Knitcircus Pachyderm chunky and size 10.5 needles.

Stay warm and stay safe,


Giveaway Winners and Fall Colors

Thanks so much to our generous companies, Namaste, Soak, Hiya Hiya and Noni Designs for those wonderful fall prizes!

I also want to thank everyone who commented; your favorite fall colors really got me inspired! I was hopping up from my chair and running down to the Evil Lair to mix up new shades based on your ideas.

In fact, you inspired me so much that I’ve added not one, not two, but 11 extra prizes of my Milwaukee Slouchy Beret pattern to 11 additional winners as a thanks for sharing your ideas! The color of the Rocky Mountain Dyeworks yarn is called Maple Leaves, btw. 😉

 See the bottom of the post for winners.

Your comments proved again what an fascinating bunch we knitters are, and what a wonderful group for the Knitcircus blog! I loved hearing about everyone’s projects and inspiration. So many of you left noteworthy comments and I’ve pulled out a few of my favorites to share with everyone who might not have gotten a chance to read them.

Hunnyb sums up the way many of us feel: Mmmm, I love pumpkin oranges, deep plums, chocolatey browns, and reds.

And Cathy brings up many of your favorites: I am loving the lovely jewel tones for fall: Emerald green, Sapphire blue, deep Garnet red. I love knitting in the fall!

Savannagal says:My favorite fall colors are the earth tones. Burnt orange, golden tuscan yellow, all of the greens, rusty browns and dark earthy browns, and the lovely deep, rich reds. 

Stephanie adds: I love to knit with deep ocean blues (year round) and have really been gravitating toward oranges and deep yellows this fall!

Linda speaks for the quieter tones:I love knitting with creams, browns and greys – natural yarn colours – for Autumn. But then again, a bright splash of red or blue can cheer up a cold, windy day.

Shades of purple-red are many of our top picks: Kristin G:My favorite fall color is burgundy.  But last night I was looking at fabric.  It was my absolute fave shade and the name was ‘Port Wine’.  I love that and now will use it to describe my fave color!!  

And Danica agreed with a huge group of people when she said: My favourite fall yarn colours are of course – ORANGE. All the shades of it!

Some people just wrote beautiful comments!

Tami: My favorite fall colors I’d have to say , a Crisp Apple Red, *My favorite*, a brown the color of pumpkin pie, white or cream,*like a dollap of whipped cream* , and a Light moss green the color of the grass right as fall turns into winter ! For a mixed color, I’d choose the colors of a tree in Vermont that changes it’s leaves in fall, the red, pinky orange,orange,yellow,brown colors. so pretty !

Barb: Lately I’m loving the colors of the Mississippi River horizon at sunset – pale clouds in a blue sky, navy, pearl grays and hunter greens, pinks, peach, orange… impossible to capture or choose only one! Bring on the Autumn hues and add reds, yellows, oranges…

Emvious:My favorite fall colors are rusty oranges, deep browns, and then anything that brings a pop of color into the rather brown and dead looking exterior out here in Colorado. Once the leaves go from the aspens there really isn’t a whole lot left until spring. 

Karamel:I love the warm fall colors of pumpkin, cocoa, and a forest green. Something about these shades put me in the mood for warm apple cider and cool fall days.

Bethe Says:I love this time of year! Nature provides the most beautiful colors, children gather to learn, we start to move indoors, where we cook and bake and Knit!

Many of you inspired  with your notes on nature or delicious autumn foods:

Annika: My favorite fall colors are a rich dark red, bright green and a rich brown. Kind of like a basket of apples:-)

Carol:I love the maroons and pinkish maroons often seen in maple leaves. I love fall!

Heather:I love the bright golden yellow of my neighbor’s sugar maple tree.

Our next-door maple is just starting….

Deb: Just one look at my stash and everyone knows I’m an “Autumn” and a New Englander. All the colors of a majestic sugar maple in Fall are my favorites!

Jean:I lOVE the Rusts, Deep Maroons and Warm rich Browns of the Fall Oaks!

Pharmgirl: My favourite autumn colour is tourquoise… The one that the autumn sky turns just after noon, when it knows that in a few short hours it will be black again.

Morgen: I love the russet, maple sugar, and fading green of Autumn.

Ruth:Rust, the orange of pumpkins, hints of yellow in a field of green: perfect fall colors

Shermie: Yarn colors for fall for me must follow autumn leaves, including many shades of browns, pumpkins, cranberries and even piney greens, so often forgotten. As the season progresses they merge into the deeper reds and holiday greens.

Knitters always want to know that other knitters are knitting! Thanks for sharing some peeks:

Marie:Colors? I seem to have fallen into an unlikely rut. I put the latest shawl to be blocked on my mannequin to keep it out of the cat’s usual exploration range and discovered it’s just about the same rusty orange/brown as the shawl that was already on display. Then my new yarn arrived and I put it on my desk a few feet away – what do you know, same color! Believe me, not on purpose!

Rebecca: So many things to love about fall knitting, but color tops the list! Just started an espresso-colored sweater, am working on a deep green one, and have just finished sweaters in deep purple, taupe, and dark green. Every single one is my favorite! :) Can’t wait for sweater weather to hit the Northwest!

And G.K. Green’s description was so exciting I had to try to create a yarn in these tones!

G.K Green: My favorite fall yarn color is really a color combo … dark chocolate brown paired with a jolt of deepest magenta. It’s surprisingly striking, and a nice alternative to the tangerine/pumpkin spectrum showing up everywhere now.

And Knitzombie said just how i’m feeling as a knitter right now:  Life begins with fall, the colors, smells and gentle sounds of needles tapping with the wind. I am ready.

And now, the winners!

The Namaste Skinny Mini Bag goes to: 


The Ella’s Going Out Noni Designs Kit goes to:

Margaret S.

The Hiya-Hiya needle and Soak Lotion go to:


The 11 Milwaukee Slouchy Beret Patterns go to:

Rose, Lisa, Koreakiwi,Terri Sue, Shannon M.,Judy, Carla, Debi, Candi, 16005Crofton, Lynnknits.

All winners have been notified.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


New Pattern: Milwaukee Slouchy Beret


New Knitting Recipes: Hats and Cowls Pattern: Milwaukee Slouchy Beret

This oversized, top-down hat is standing by to take you through fall to winter!

The intuitive lace pattern knits up fast in aran-weight yarn.

The Falling Leaves colorway here is courtesy of genius Hasmi at Rocky Mountain Dyeworks. 


Milwaukee Slouchy Beret comes in sizes from child to large adult (16-25″).

Celebrate the vibrant, urban style of Wisconsin’s largest city!

Knitting Recipes Sneak Peek

Our wonderful graphic designer, Anneliese, just gave me a flash drive full of photos from our last Knitting Recipes shoot, and I’m so excited to share them with you!

We had such a good time shooting at Mother Fool’s Coffeehouse on Madison’s eclectic East Side.


Sarah relaxes in a two-color cowl…


Lookin’ fresh next to the lovingly-restored vintage wall ads in the Willy Street neighborhood.


Reversible lace in Blue Sky Alpacas!

Can’t wait to share the patterns with you. Soon!

Keep cool,


Definitely Hers Hat Pattern

Newest Knitting Recipes: Hats and Cowls addition: the Definitely Hers Hat!

This fun-to-knit lace-and ribbing pattern is so stretchy, one size truly does fit all. Worked in a DK weight yarn (shown here in wonderful Sincere Sheep Equity Sport), this pattern is available right now exclusvely as part of the Knitting Recipes: Hats and Cowls e-book.

Sneak Peek: the Definitely Hers hat will have a companion soon: Most Likely His.

Have a wonderful evening; my day has been so full of Work Getting Done, I haven’t knitted one row yet! That’s about to change…