Rules for Feeding the Stash

Monday, April 12, 2021

Kat's Perfect Beanie

I love a good beanie, and I’ve thought a lot about what my perfect beanie might look like. There’s nothing as beautiful to me as a simple project with thoughtful details, where the yarn can really shine, and Kat’s Perfect Beanie hits the mark.

Starting off with a folded knit hem and ending with charming pi crown decreases, Kat’s Perfect Beanie is both a simple and a quick knit, and it looks beautiful in everything from wooly natural yarns to your wildest hand dyed skeins.

Kat's Perfect Beanie is available on Ravelry and Payhip, and is 20% off through April 13th with code PERFECT.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Of Hats and Birds

I hope you all had a refreshing weekend! Honestly, parts of Saturday were rough, especially as I struggled through one of my assignments, but I finally made it and had time for some hauswitchery and relaxation on Sunday. I finished my perfect beanie and got the pattern draft to my tech editor, so my most pressing design-related dilemma right now is what to call the thing, other than "Kat's Perfect Beanie."

Hopefully this week won't be too busy school-wise. I have a pile of mending that really needs some attention, and it's supposed to warm up quite a bit the end of the week and I'd love to get out to a park. We have a four-day weekend (the state gave us Friday and Monday off), so I should be able to find some time to get out in nature and find some cool rocks to look at.

Speaking of warming up, my neighborhood birds have been going crazy the past couple weeks! My feeder has been host to the usual house sparrows as well as a collection of warblers, robins have completely taken over the streets again, and I've been able to hear chickadees almost every morning. I'm not quite at the point where I need to refill my bird feeder every week yet, but once the grackles come back in another couple of weeks it'll really be a free-for-all! 

Friday, March 26, 2021

Friday, Friday, Gotta Write a Blog on Friday

Happy Friday, kittens! I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with things right now, but looking at my lists it doesn't really seem too unmanageable. I have some readings to do for school, and an essay and a grant outline due next week. I also have an article analysis that's technically not due for a while, but I have the article picked out already, and the analysis never takes me long, but I'm going to put that off until the more pressing deadlines are met, but I do want to get it done soon, before I'm completely buried in my big semester projects. I also have to go into the library tomorrow morning to pull some books, which hopefully won't take too long.

On top of all that, Passover starts this weekend, so I'm trying to build in time for that on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday evening I'm planning on celebrating by myself—I've planned a quiet, contemplative Seder, and then on Sunday I'll join in a zoom Seder with a bunch of other folks. 

One of my dear friends started a fortnightly zoom stitch-and-bitch back in the fall, and I've been fortunate enough to be able to join in pretty regularly. Last night I cast on a new hat with this really fun skein my friend Heather dyed. I've been thinking for a while about what my perfect stockinette beanie might look like, and I'm really excited about the details I'm putting into this. Fingers crossed for an early April pattern release, subject to school kicking my butt!

Monday, March 22, 2021

Quick Monday Numbers

 1. Taking the weekend off was a great idea. I got my kitchen cleaned up a little, finally put away my clothes from the last time I did laundry, and took several naps.

2. My sister finally returned my cake dish from her birthday, so hopefully coffee cake is in my near future.

3. I don't remember if I mentioned it here, but at my last dentist appointment I was approved for sealants and fluoride treatment. I've had painful tooth sensitivity for most of my life, and had to finally give up ice cream a few years ago, but the treatments helped a lot. I've only had ice cream a couple times since then, but yesterday I had A Craving and got a Heath Bar blizzard for the first time in ages. It was delicious. 

4. The birds are pretty much all back and ready for spring. I can hear them even from inside my apartment, and this weekend it was nice enough to sit out on the stoop for an hour or so each day to listen to them while Lee Lee got her sniffs in the garden.

Friday, March 19, 2021


Gosh, it's been a hot minute, hasn't it? I've had a busy week here, between school and work and a couple of routine doctor's appointments, but looking at my to-do list I think I'm in pretty good shape to take most of the weekend off. I've got six more readings for class and a physical book analysis to finish, and that's it for homework. Last weekend I had to go into the library to work, which meant I had to do homework on Sunday, and the report I had to do was like pulling teeth, so I think I've earned a couple days off from school. 

Lee Lee and I had a little adventure last Thursday—we were in the yard getting some sniffs in before I hopped onto my zoom knitting group and a big dog wandered right up to us! She had a collar but no tags, so I grabbed my extra leash and brought her inside. My apartment isn't set up for big dogs, but fortunately we found her owner through the power of Facebook after about an hour and a half, so I didn't have to make any kind of overnight plans. Lee Lee was a champ through most of the ordeal, but once the interloper was gone you could tell she wasn't thrilled about having a stranger in her home! 

We got hit with some heavy, wet snow at the beginning of this week, but it's mostly melted now. This weekend is looking pretty mild so far, so as long as the ground isn't too wet I might try and go to one of the parks for a little ramble. I might also put on a murder show and knit a little—my grey crop top is progressing nicely (almost at the three-quarters mark!) and it's a great "in class" project, but I have a few other things that could use some love as long as I'm taking a break from school. 

Monday, March 8, 2021

Numbers on a Monday

 1. This weekend my mum and I spontaneously went to the city to get takeout salads and go to the river. Turns out that was exactly what we both needed, and I'm so glad we went out. I've been very bad about getting outside and wandering around—my usual inclination is to be an Indoor Kat, but wandering outside and finding cool sticks and rocks is very good for me, so I need to get better about doing it more regularly. 

2. Saturday was my sister's birthday, and it was so good to spend a few hours with the whole family. I was very on top of things for once and ordered her birthday present with time to spare, but I forgot that Etsy is an international marketplace, and her present is coming from the UK, so it did not get here in time. It is currently either somewhere above the Atlantic ocean or stuck in a customs office.

3. School is going well, but I'm really missing having a spring break. I thought I'd be fine, but last week I hit burnout HARD, and I think part of it was because I couldn't just stop thinking about school for a week. Also, we're coming up on a year of being home here—March 13th last year we got an email at work that we were shutting down for spring break, and maybe longer, and I remember that the last hour and a half of that day we all just stood around wondering what was going to happen. It's been a long, strange year.

4. I have eaten 20% of my stash of Girl Scout cookies so far. I am currently holding fast in an effort to make the remaining packages last. My efforts may be futile. 

Monday, March 1, 2021


It was kind of a quiet weekend here. I had to go into the library on Saturday to do some book processing, and I did my weekly shop on Sunday, and beyond that I pretty much just chilled out. My bum knee has been acting up again, so I broke out my resistance bands and I'm trying to remember all my stretches and exercises from physical therapy to get it working again.

I did finally manage to catch up on photographing my knitting projects. Certainly, they're not amazing photos, but it's hard to motivate myself to set up the tripod and put on a real outfit for modeled shots right now. The important thing is that they are now documented as complete, which is all that really matters.

Two more books came in interlibrary loan for me last week for one of my big school projects, and I'm hoping to get a bunch of reading done this week. I'm still in the "gathering information" stage, which is always my favorite part of research, and I'm hoping that these books help me find some more specific sources I'm looking for. 

And my cowl! This was such a pleasure to knit, and I'm a little sad it's done. This yarn is 100% alpaca that one of my friends in college brought back from her study abroad in Russia almost ten years ago, and it's been sitting in my stash ever since while I tried to figure out what to make with it. It's incredibly fuzzy, and hopefully by next winter we'll be able to go out and do things and it'll come in handy!

Friday, February 26, 2021


Happy Friday, kittens! This week has been pretty busy, and the semester is in full swing. I don't have two of my classes next week (we don't get a spring break this semester, so we just randomly don't have class some days?) which will be a nice break, but I'm also in the middle of three projects and they're just going to keep coming! 

I finished my 3-color cowl and it's really cute. I'm hoping to get a photoshoot in soon—I also have a few hats and a cowl from months ago that I never photographed—and now I'm working on a cute little crop top sample. One of the best parts of working from home is being able to wear a crop top whenever I want and not have to worry about having bottoms with a high enough waist to make it library-appropriate, and honestly, it's my jam. 

As you might be able to tell from the photo above, I got a new desk this week! I ordered it back at the beginning of the month and it took a couple tries to get it shipped and delivered, but I'm really happy with it. It's much larger than my old desk, but it feels much more open so it doesn't feel like it takes up much more of my office. I'm really glad I upgraded—I pulled my old desk out of the dumpster, and it was only ever supposed to be temporary, and between work and school I'm sitting here 50-60 hours per week, so it was time for something I actually like (and that has room for snacks!).

I also got my order of Girl Scout cookies this week, and I'm looking forward to diving into those. I'm hoping I can spread them out over a couple months, at least, but...cookies.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Dodging Burnout

Happy Monday, friends! I'm not going to lie, pandemic stress is really getting to me (it feels like I say this every month, but every month it digs JUST A LITTLE DEEPER, and my coping mechanisms are hanging on by the skin of their teeth). This is the fiftieth week I've been home, and while I feel enormously lucky to be working from home and for generally being in the safest position I could be for a pandemic, it's wearing on me. There's not really much to be done for it—I'm eating foods I like, I'm taking time to soak in the tub, and I'm trying to let myself feel and process all my feelings, but we all know this pandemic is bullshit and the US really messed up its response. 

School is continuing to go well. My first project is due this week, and I feel pretty good about it, so hopefully that means good things for the rest of the semester. The biggest difference I'm noticing between school at 18 and school at 30 is that I'm much better at getting things done early and constantly working towards larger projects so I don't have to rush them in the last two days before they're due, so ten points for maturity there.

My 3-color cowl is progressing very nicely, and I'm really going to miss it when it's finished. It's the perfect balance between "absolutely mindless" and "pay a little bit of attention," and I've really liked working on it. I do have a few other projects lying around that are similar in terms of brain power required, but most of them are pattern samples and require at least a little bit of note-taking, so we'll see what I pick up next.  

Monday, February 8, 2021

Settling Into the Semester

It's finally getting properly cold here, which of course means I don't want to sit at my desk and do work and school, I'd much rather stay in bed under a thousand blankets with Lee Lee, who is better than any hot water bottle. Alas, staying cozy doesn't pay the bills. Or get homework done.

This is the third week of my semester and I think I've managed to craft enough conscious rest into my schedule. So far I haven't had much homework, just a few hours of reading each week, but that's changing this week, and I'll have to do some article analysis and start researching for some of my bigger semester projects. It's all good, though—I'm really excited about some of my projects, and even the ones I'm less excited about I can see how valuable they'll be in the future. 

One of the things I'm finally trying to do is step away from my desk for lunch. I've been pretty bad about that ever since I started working from home, but my chair isn't great, and when Tuesdays and Wednesdays are 12-hour days between work and class, my poor body needs a break. I'm trying to force myself out into the living room to watch something mindless on tv and work on my 3-color cowl, and I definitely notice a difference on the days I do that. Turns out, soreness aside, sitting at my desk in my home office watching youtube doesn't really count as "stepping away for a break."

I have a lot of knitting projects scattered around my apartment right now, but I'm mostly working on that little cowl (during lunch) and the giant mass of garter stitch (during class). I certainly miss working on everything else, but I think only really thinking about two-ish projects at a time is enough for right now—and goodness knows the other projects will be waiting when a slot opens up! 

Friday, January 29, 2021


This was my first week of spring classes, and I'm feeling pretty good about this semester so far. I am finally starting to settle into my new routine, and while I'm still not sleeping great, I'm having less trouble falling asleep when I should than I was at the beginning of the week, and I've managed to force myself out of bed on time every morning, so I'm calling that a win.

It's really hard for me to be a morning person, and it feels really unnatural. I don't really have another option right now, with how my class and work schedule lines up, but it's still weird.

I haven't knit anything really fun this week, though I have been working on an endless mass of garter stitch during classes, which I'm not showing you because it's incredibly boring and won't be pretty for several months, at least. It is pretty perfect for class knitting, so far, and hopefully I can keep working away at it over the semester. 

This weekend I have to go into the library to do some work I can't do from home and I have a long list of readings for school. I'm hoping to be able to take Sunday off completely and not use my brain at all, so fingers crossed that today and tomorrow I'm super productive!

Monday, January 25, 2021


I promise, I really am trying to keep blogging. I'm trying to not be hard on myself for skipping days (or weeks), because we all have it rough right now, but I do miss checking in here a few times a week. 

It feels like nothing's happening. I stay home, I work, I feed my dog. I'm not knitting as much as I used to, because I'm depressed (who isn't) and I'm not really watching tv except for cartoons because I don't feel like keeping track of a story line. It is what it is.

I start my spring classes tomorrow. My schedule's a bit different this semester, but I think it'll go smoothly. At the very least, there's not an election to think about, and Lee Lee shouldn't have any more vet issues (knock on wood). I have two classes on Tuesdays, which I think might feel long, but really it shouldn't be any longer than a regular work day with an evening class. We'll see. I can do anything for a semester. I'm taking Conceptual Foundations, Intro to Special Libraries, and Evidence-Based Practice, for those of you that are interested.

This week I have a pile of mending to do for my mum. I know I have the perfect yarn for these socks and mittens lying around somewhere in my office, but I haven't gotten my hands on it yet. I really want to get them all patched up in the next couple of days, because February tends to be our coldest month here.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021


Mitzie is a fun knit featuring large eyelets and garter stitch stripes. It is worked sideways on the bias, from one corner to the opposite side, and is finished with a picot bind off.

I wanted a shawl that could stand up to some bright colors in my stash, and that would be easy enough to knit during class or while watching tv. Mitzie fits the ticket exactly, with the eyelet sections providing just enough interest to a straightforward knit.

The sample is worked in two colors, but Mitzie is also a great opportunity to use up some leftovers or mini skeins for a truly one-of-a-kind knitting experience.

Calls for 475yds/435m in Main Color and 250yds/230m in Contrast Color

Mitzie is available on Ravelry and Payhip and is 20% off with code STRIPES through Friday, January 22nd.

Friday, January 8, 2021

A Week

Well, it has been a week. I didn't get caught up on stuff like I'd hoped to, because I had to watch a freaking coup happen on Wednesday, and honestly, we're all still processing that. US friends, please remember to take breaks from the news, drink water, check on your friends, and contact your congresspeople. That's really all I've got right now. Even though many of us saw this coming, it's still shocking to watch and difficult to process.

Anyway. I'm back in my home office, at my messy desk. I have yarn on the needles, coffee brewing, and in a few minutes I'll contact my representatives again. 

Take care of yourselves, kittens.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Soft Animal

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

-Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese”

Soft Animal is a shawl for wrapping up in. Worked with worsted and laceweight yarns held together, the luxurious blend of wool, silk, and mohair is both soft and fuzzy, and the shawl evokes the feeling of being a small animal snug and cozy in its den.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine,” the poet says. “Meanwhile the world goes on.

I designed and knit this shawl in the midst of 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, amid uncertainty, despair, and loneliness, when all I could do some days was let the soft animal of my body love the food I fed it and the blankets I wrapped it in. This shawl is for comfort.

Soft Animal is knit sideways, from one corner to the opposite edge, with alternating bands of garter stitch and ribbing. The final border is both charted and written out.

Calls for 800yds/731.5m each of worsted weight yarn and laceweight mohair

Yarn support generously provided by The Dye Project

Soft Animal is now available on Ravelry and Payhip. Use code GEESE to get 20% off through Sunday, January 10th.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Giftmas Knits

Hello! It's been a while, hasn't it? Today is my first day back at work since Christmas Eve, and it was really nice to have over a week off. I'm still in rest mode after fall semester—I spent most of my break sleeping—and I still have a couple weeks to keep resting up before my spring classes start. I've finally gotten caught up on pattern knitting and I have two shawl patterns with my tech editor right now, so stay tuned for those.

I ended up knitting two gifts this year. The first was a pair of socks for my mum, and I really loved this pattern. I definitely want to knit a pair for myself, but I ought to finish (or frog) some of the socks I already have on the needles for myself first. 

I only made one modification, which was to swap in my usual eye of partridge heel flap instead of the reverse stockinette flap the pattern called for. My mum and I are rough on socks, and we really need the reinforcement of slip stitches. 

Ravelry Page: Arcadia Socks

Pattern: Arcadia Socks by Jo-Anne Klim

Yarn: Brown Sheep Wildfoote Luxury Sock, "Jungle"

I also knit a hat for my brother. He's been wanting a Jaques Cousteau hat, and I knew that Musselburgh would be perfect. I didn't get the yarn until just over a week before Christmas, so it was a bit tight, but I stayed up late on the 23rd to get everything finished in time for blocking.

I really loved knitting this hat as well, and I absolutely want at least one of my own. The construction is so clever, and it makes a really solid, good hat. With the winds we get here on the plains we really need multiple layers, so a double-layer hat is perfect.

Ravelry Page: Musselburgh

Pattern: Musselburgh by Ysolda Teague

Yarn: Knit Picks Palette, "Serano"

I do have a few more projects that I finished recently to share, but I'm very behind on taking photos. Hopefully I'll get everything photographed this week and will get all caught up with blogging soon!