Monday, September 30, 2013

Ribbed Cap

I love Crochet Geek! The videos on her YouTube channel are clear, well-narrated, and she always includes a written pattern along with the video. If you haven't checked her out yet, now is your chance. Today I want to talk about the ribbed cap that I made following this video and pattern. She calls it a "cable cap", but it is really more of a ribbed cap because it does not have true cabling on it. You can do cabling with crochet, it just wasn't done this time.

I loved this pattern because once I got started it moved very quickly. Gotta love a finished object that looks more complex than it really is! Don't spill the beans to people who don't crochet *wink*. If you haven't tried around the post crochet yet, this would be an excellent pattern to start with.



The hat turned out totally yummy and cushion-y. It is also more flexible that other hats patterns I have tried which makes it the perfect gift for someone whose head size is somewhat of a mystery to you. As you can see, I elected to leave off the cuff. I liked the look of the hat so much already that I didn't want to change it! However, this pattern was so enjoyable that I will most likely make it again in the future, perhaps including the cuff. Once you are confident that you have your basics down, don't be afraid to alter patterns. It may not always work out right the first time, but it is important to develop your own personal preferences and style if you are making crochet a lifetime hobby. As you read this blog you will notice that I often alter at least one part of most patterns I follow, even if it is something as small as using a magic circle instead of a chain.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Crochet Sighting

I was at the grocery store when I caught this card in the corner of my eye. I was surprised to see that it was crocheted. It's very pretty.


It seems to be a card and necklace combo, with the crochet being a detachable accessory. At first I was tempted to purchase it for later use. It certainly is cute. Plus c'mon, it's crochet! But before I could snag it I began to question the card's origin. I've mentioned before that crochet isn't as easy to do by machine as knitting, and these rounds and flowers look even and balanced. Perhaps they were done by hand. Can it possibly be cost effective for a company to pay a fair wage for workers to crochet these by hand when the card costs about $7? I didn't think to check the back of the card for a country of origin until I had left the store.

I searched for the card online but couldn't find any information. It very well could have been machine made or made by workers paid a fair wage. I just didn't want to take any chances. This situation has spurred reflection on the cost of goods today. My husband and I have been watching a lot of late 19th century period pieces lately. I mentioned that, though I dislike the emphasis on beauty and purity for women during that time, I do wish that people today did more of the meditative handicrafts that women of that era were accomplished in. He remarked that things cost much more in general back then and it may well have been a better idea to make something yourself rather than purchase it. I feel that this card illustrates this point. Many goods are cheaply made and sold at low prices. This cheapens our enjoyment of them as well. If someone can buy this card for $7, what will they expect to pay for my handmade baby set that required hours of work? Not as much as it's worth I'll bet. 

In my life I am going to strive to purchase fewer things and make those things that I do purchase special, useful, and durable. I think if I want to send someone a crochet necklace I should make it myself since I have the skills and materials to do so. 

What do you think? How do you feel about the cost of goods in general and how that affects the sale of skilled arts and crafts?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Design Seeds

A bad color combination can totally kill an otherwise awesome crochet project. I cringe when I see a finished object that was obviously made with love and skill but is hideous because it is chartreuse, neon pink, and burnt orange all together. Or electric blue with variegated camo-print and crimson.

Likewise, an awesome color combination can really make your hard work shine. If you need extra help picking out colors, read on. I'd like to introduce you to an awesome palette tool: Design Seeds. This website has page after page of delightful color combinations to inspire you and assist you with your next project, crochet or otherwise. You can even search for a particular color using the palette search feature. Here are a few palettes that I find pleasing. Please note that all palettes were created by Design Seeds. Links are provided.











You'll notice that matching any number of colors within the same palette creates a desirable combination. I love that many of the arrangements on the site are inspired by nature, the original color combiner. These palettes inspired me so much that I tooled around a bit and created my own from a picture I took. What do you think? I'll call it "dahlia design". Not as good as the professional palettes, but I had fun!


What are your favorite color combinations? Do you have special tips for color selection? Let us know in the comments.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday Focus: Aeron Aanstoos

Y'all know how much I love the ocean. There are plenty of sea-inspired amigurumi patterns out there, but many of them are just so... squidgy. As much as I like cute things, I have to say that I prefer sea creature amigurumi to be more realistic. There is such beauty in a finely made creature, bringing it out of the realm of mere toys and into the realm of art. Forming crochet stitches into the details and shapes that real animals are made up of can be difficult. Lucky for us, Aeron Aanstoos is up to the challenge! Her creatures have just the right balance of cuteness and realism, making them irresistible. Let's focus in on this talented designer.

Who taught you to crochet? How long have you been doing it?
I started crocheting about 7 or 8 years ago. I'm mostly self-taught. I come from a crafting family, but strangely enough I'm the only yarn crafter. Which is probably a good thing, because I don't think the house could hold another yarn stash!

Why do you crochet?
Amigurumi is what got me really hooked on crochet (no pun intended). I'd tried a couple of scarves and started an afghan, but lost interest pretty quickly, probably because they were really dull straight single crochet pieces that were more for practice than anything else. But I got really excited when I learned that I could make adorable stuffed animals, not just squares and rectangles. My first projects - a baby dragon and a chubby Totoro - are still two of my favorites. Once I had a little more experience and confidence, I ventured into designing. I love the challenge, and all the possibilities, of figuring out how to form something three dimensional out of a single length of yarn.

Crochet Favorites
For amigurumi, my new favorite yarn is KnitPicks Brava Bulky.  The colors are beautiful and the consistent lofty texture is perfect for making tight stitches.  Clover Soft Touch crochet hooks are great- I usually use a D or E hook for amigurumi with bulky yarn.  

What are you working on right now?
I'm designing some new whale patterns, but they're on hold while I do some other crafting for upcoming shows. I have a long list of sea creatures to do, and I'm always looking for new ideas. 

**We interrupt this interview for an important message from Sara... Squee! Whale patterns! Yay! Cough, cough, okay back to Aeron.**

A few finished objects... 
Dolphin - One of my favorite animals and so special to me, and I'm very happy with how this pattern turned out. I've had customers crochet this pattern in a variety of colors and they're always adorable. 

Humpback whale - Another one of my favorite animals. This one really comes to life when you add the little French knots on her nose.  
Chambered nautilus - This is my latest sea creature design, and one of the most complicated to design, although it's not too complicated to make. I went through about 8 different shells - on the last one, I colored in the stripes with a marker, then disassembled the whole thing one stitch at a time to write the stripe pattern. It was tedious and a little crazy, but I think the end result is worth it. 
I'll say it was worth it! That nautilus is gorgeous! Aeron is certainly a designer to follow. I can't wait to see those new whale patterns. All of her designs can be found on Ravelry and Etsy. Thanks for sharing your ocean wonders with us today, Aeron!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Half Crossed Hat

I had some delightfully chunky Berroco yarn that was begging me to create a pattern for it, so I put my nose to the grindstone and came up with this one. The finished product is nice and plush, perfect for a cold day or night. The first tickle of a chill is in the air here. I can hardly believe it! It pleases me that the hat came out so textured and interesting.



What are your favorite hat patterns? Let us know in the comments!

Monday, September 16, 2013

"One Skein" Throw

A college friend of ours just got married on Saturday. We got the save-the-date months ago, but I have been so delightedly distracted by pattern designing that I didn't think about crocheting something for the couple until two weeks before the wedding. It has become a recent personal goal of mine to crochet a blanket to accompany every wedding gift I give and a baby blanket to accompany every baby shower gift. I needed to act quickly and ended up trying out the free One Skein Throw pattern from Coats and Clark. I highly recommend it, though it certainly took more than one skein! I cheated a bit and used an 8mm hook and 8mm yarn for a very plush throw rather than the 6.5mm that the pattern calls for. The pattern is based on a relaxed two row repeat that works up quickly and I'm quite pleased with how the throw came out. I worked mine up a little differently from the pattern example. I hope that the newlyweds enjoy it!




I thought it would be nice for them to snuggle under it on the couch and watch movies. Making this blanket was enjoyable enough that I will most likely make it again in the future.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Focus: Justine Gerns

Another week has flown by! *fwoosh* I hope your week has been a great one and that you've taken some time to appreciate the little things in life. Little things are the wave of the future, you know. You've heard of microchips, micro-mini skirts, and even micro pigs... but have you heard of micro crochet? This Friday the 13th, our featured crocheter has got the sweetest tiny charms to ward off any bad luck that may come your way. Justine Gerns designs and crafts adorable earrings, cell phone charms, and more out of thread. Thread! They are so detailed and unique. Let's get the scoop on Justine.

Who taught you to crochet? How long have you been doing it? 
My crochet journey did not actually start with crochet, it started with knitting. My grandmother's been knitting since my dad was a boy and continues today, and every time she visits she is working on another knitting project. To me, as an adult, I've always thought it's magic to create so many things out of nothing but string! I suppose that must have also fascinated me even as a small child because, when I was 5 years old, my grandma taught me how to knit. It was my Christmas present. A skein of pink yarn, two needles, and knitting lessons. I've been unable to stop knitting since, and I'm fine with that because I love it!

In the summer of 2012 I became captivated by three-dimensional crochet, specifically the style referred to as Amigurumi. I knew that while knitting was great, it couldn't do what was needed to properly create the art I was now obsessed with. I found that I needed to learn how to crochet, but with my grandmother nowhere near to teach me, I prowled the internet and simply had to teach myself! Within a few days of learning the basic stitches I was already breaking away from the patterns I had found, rewriting and adapting them to let them lead me to my desired results. I'd always experimented with knitting, with or without patterns, so it came easily and naturally.

To answer the second question directly, I've been crocheting since June of 2012, for about a year and two months. Just a little over one year.


Why do you crochet?
I'm going to take this question a bit further into why I crochet tiny things because that might be easier for me to answer.

I crochet in order to create the styles and types of amigurumi I'm interested in. For both crochet and knitting, I gain immense amounts of satisfaction just from having made something. Something that someone can hopefully love and enjoy, or that will just maybe bring them a giggle whenever they see it. Additionally, I have always been fascinated by miniature things. They are just so darn nifty and cute, and while the virtually unlimited possibilities locked up in 3D crochet "modeling" are exciting, combining the two things that I'm fascinated in takes it all further. Plus, anyone can make normal sized things, and that's great! Amazing things can be made that fit in the average sized section of the human scale. However, tiny things can be so much harder to make, and maybe that is part of why I love them. They are harder to make, which to me, presents a real challenge and can push for strong problem solving. It's not easy for my brain or my hands and I like feeling them work with those challenges. Then after, knowing all of the work and complexities that went into making the tiny thing, makes it that much cooler. They are hard to make, they aren't nearly as easy to duplicate, and as a result there aren't nearly as many. It makes each one so unique and special! Anyone can make something normal sized, but something tiny? It's a challenge most crocheters won't take on and it's a challenge that I'm loving. And again, the tiny things are just so nifty and cute!


Crochet Favorites
Designer - Mohu and Hanasaurusrex on Etsy
Needle - Size 10/1.30mm Boye needle

Thread - DMC Embroidery Thread
Book - Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi: More Than 40 Itty-Bitty Minis to Knit, Wear, and Give by Anna Hrachovec (All of the patterns in this book or for knitting, most of which I completed or experimented with before I decided to learn crochet.)
 
What are you working on right now?
Because I just relocated abroad to Ireland, I took a short break from crochet and revisited knitting to occupy myself during the flight over. Now, I have two new lovely pairs of leg warmers! For crochet I'm currently working on a several projects at once. On the list are lace bookmarks (I just finished a Celtic shamrock one), and various amigurumi including macaroons, ghosts, acorns, ******** for my sister's birthday (that one's a secret!), and lace snowflakes. I actually have a five page list of the things I want to make. Each time I finish a project I check the list and pick one or two things that seem most interesting at the time and just go with it.
 
 

A few finished objects...
Because each of my products are so small, all existing patterns are for making large or normal sized items. Every pattern that I used was used for inspiration and maybe some hints in the right direction. What I mean to say is, while there were many patterns that inspired me, any pattern I drew from had to be entirely rewritten from scratch in order to make my baubles bitty. Each item is therefore made from an original pattern. Here are some of my favorite items.


Totoro Amigurumi Keychain: Heard of Hayao Miazaki? Then you probably recognize this little guy as the white Totoro from My Neighbor Totoro. This Studio Ghibli inspired amigurumi is joined on the keychain by an acorn and a leaf. ^_^ This tiny Totoro measures about 3/4 inches (~ 2cm) tall, 1/2 inches (~ 1.3cm) wide, and has itty-bitty black beads for eyes. The leaf measures about 3/4 inches (~ 2cm) tall, 1/2 inches (~ 1.3cm) wide, and the acorn is a mere 2/8 of an inch (~ .5cm). This is the third, (fourth, and fifth), piece of crochet and amigurumi I ever made and the keychain in the photo is the original. To me this piece is very special, first because I love Studio Ghibli, and second because to me it is truly my first original piece of amigurumi.


Wild-berry Pop-Tart Earrings: This is another one of my dearest for a few reasons. First, the idea seems simple but it came to me in one of those moments that feel like a profound revelation. Next, this is based off of no pattern at all. The idea popped into my head and I spent several days trying different things until I got what I wanted, something that looked just right. Lastly this was my first item I sold on Etsy. For me it was like my huge break! My first sale, hooray! I love how these turned out and visually this is one of my favorite pieces. Not sure why, but I just love 'em! These treats measure about 3/4 inch long (~ 2cm) and 1/2 across (~1.2cm).


My Tiny Cheeseburgers: Another one of my visual favorites are my teeny tiny cheeseburgers. This project was one I was slightly obsessed with. I spent several days just thinking up how to make them and then several days actually trying to make them. Really the only hard parts, aside from their size, was creating the lettuce and tomato toppings. Now, you would never know this unless you took the key chain apart, but the tomato and lettuce are actually kind of intricate (again, intricate given the tininess). The tomatoes look like slices of tomato, they aren't just a flat circle, I used triple crochets, and the lettuce leaf took several tries to get the ruffles just right. It was tougher than I expected, but so worth it. The deluxe cheeseburger comes with all of the fixings: buns, patty, lettuce, tomato, and cheese. These treats measure about 1/2 inch wide (~ 1.3cm) and 1 inch tall (~2.5cm). 


So kawaii. As a blogger who is interested in presenting thoughtful and meaningful information about crochet to my readers, I want to thank Justine for being as detailed in her responses as she is in her creations. You can score your own bitty baubles or simply browse the awesomeness by visiting her Etsy store. I'm a big fan of the crab earrings, in keeping with my love of the ocean. Thanks for visiting with us, Justine!

By the way, yes the blog got a new look :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Yarn Quality and Composition

I recently came across a question on r/crochet regarding yarn quality and price. The poster wanted to know more about the various materials yarn is typically made out of and how much good yarn should cost. All of the yarn she used on a regular basis came from craft stores like Joann Fabrics and Micheal's, or big box stores like Walmart. I got a little too excited about answering her question and practically wrote an essay! Thus, I thought I would recycle that information here for your benefit. Here is what a said to her (with a few edits):

Before I answer, I want you to know that I still totally use yarn from craft stores, like Vanna's Choice, Caron Simply Soft, and Jiffy. I'm using Simply Soft in a project right now! Also, these are just my opinions and experiences, so feel free to take them with a grain of salt.

Basically, almost anything you can get at a craft or big box store is going to be considered bad or mediocre quality yarn in the serious yarn world. In my experience, there are four basic price points for yarn that roughly equate to quality. For our purposes we will address them at their regular prices, not their sale prices.

We'll call the first category "low". These yarns are the cheapest and widely available at the places you mentioned. Red Heart Super Saver is the most popular of these. Anything that sells for between $2 and $4 for roughly 300 yards or more would be considered pretty low quality. They are most likely 100% acrylic and not very soft. Cheap cotton like Lily Sugar N' Cream would qualify too. I personally try to use Super Saver only for amigurumi, bags, and other non-wearable items. I am happy that it exists because yarn can get expensive and it's better for people to be able to have fun and make things with cheap yarn than it is for them to be prevented from crocheting because of cost. Quality yarn can really set you back a pretty penny!

The next group is "mid-low". These would be the nicer lines of the cheaper brands: Lion Brand Jiffy/Vanna's Choice/Cotton Ease, Bernat Mosaic/Alpaca Chunky, Caron Simply Soft/Spa, etc. Generally between $4 and $7 for ~300 yards. These yarns are still mostly low in quality but have a much nicer feel and range of materials. Instead of just straight acrylic you'll see blends with wool, nylon, alpaca, etc. I often buy yarn from this category because it is still cheap while not sacrificing too much softness. Great for large items like blankets.

Next we have "mid-high". This is probably my favorite category. It usually isn't found in craft stores, only local in yarn stores, although I have seen it at Ben Franklin Crafts. Price per 300 yards ranges between about $7 and $15. A few examples would be Cascade Yarns, Berroco, and Noro. The quality of these yarns is very good. They are soft and a pleasure to work with. The colors are rich and balanced and the strands are consistent. These yarns are unlikely to be 100% acrylic, though they may be a 50% acrylic blend or similar. Wool, nylon, silk, cotton, alpaca, and bamboo are all popular choices, as well as less common materials like bison, camel, and qiviut. You may find some hand-dyed and indie (independent) yarns in this group. These yarns will create a beautiful finished product and are especially good for wearable items.

The final category is "high". These yarns will likely be from $16 to $30+ for 300 yards. Fine merino wool, angora, and cashmere are in this category as well as higher end hand painted (for truly unique pieces) yarns. These yarns are incredibly soft and will often be environmentally friendly as well.

About 45% of the yarns I use are "mid-low", 45% are "mid-high", 5% are "low", and 5% are "high" as a special treat or a gift from someone. If the item you are planning on making is a special one, consider investing more money in the yarn. Something like Cascade Cherub is only a few dollars more than what you can get at the craft store and it is much more fun to work with. The results will be softer and glossier.

For cheap yarn that is of higher quality than what you'll find at a craft store, consider Knit Picks.
What are your favorite yarns?

 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Nicki Tote

Another pattern has traveled through my neurons, down my arms, out my fingers, off of my hook, and onto the interwebs! The Nicki Tote is named after a very good friend of mine.


This tote would be an excellent pattern for a beginner because it is 90% single crochet. The applique is a little tougher, requiring knowledge of around the post crochet, bobbles, and crochet in the round. There were surprisingly few tree applique options on Ravelry, so I thought I would add a new one to the mix!


I opted to include sewn-on handles rather than integrated handles because I wanted my tote to have a classic appeal. I think it looks pretty good!


The pattern is available on both Ravelry and Craftsy. Let me know what you think!


Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday Focus: Gabriele Meyer

Hello, friends! Friday has arrived once again and Friday Focus is back in full swing. Today's feature shines a light on a very special crocheter. Gabriele Meyer is a senior lecturer of Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison...and she's also a crochet artist! Remember when I briefly mentioned hyperbolic crochet? Gabriele uses the hyperbolic qualities of crochet to create stunning works of fine art. Let's learn more about her!

Who taught you to crochet? How long have you been doing it?
I learned it at age 7 in elementary school. First project: a potholder.

What inspired you to create crochet art?
My Ph.D. advisor's (David Henderson) wife Daina Taimina crochets hyperbolic surfaces, which I saw on a visit to Ithaca, NY. My contribution to the area was to discover that by crocheting around shaped line, you can make the surface curve in three dimensional space.

Crochet Favorites
Red Heart, it's cheap and there are many colors. I like heavy silver metal crochet hooks. They don't break with heavy use. I crochet quite firmly. 

What are you working on right now? 
I crochet around a spiraling wire, which I took out of a children's crawl tube. It's an experiment. Other than that, I work on lino prints of shells. Things rotate with me. I also paint gouaches. 

A few finished objects...
The large white lamp shade started out as a flat disk, then I started the hyperbolic crochet around the perimeter. Attaching it to the ceiling at about 10-15 cm below low energy bulbs has worked well for me. The lamp doesn't get hot. I have had it like that now since January. 



The wavy red algae is new. I made it over the summer. I just like it to be big, wavy and red! Ideally it should float horizontally in the air.


The blue triangle algae, really is a triangle, one side in a darker shade of blue, the other one lighter.



Truly incredible. My favorite is the blue piece, as it reminds me of swirling ocean waves. How delightful that we can capture the beauty of math and nature in crochet! You can see more of Gabriele Meyer's work here. Very inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful crochet with us today, Gabriele!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

So Much for Stash Busting

I am really proud of my progress this year in terms of stash busting. I've successfully fought the urge to buy yarn unless I had scoured my stash for something remotely suitable for the project and come up empty handed. I've used up gifted yarn that was difficult to work with or in colors that I didn't care for. Although I didn't use up all of the yarn I had, I estimate that I used about half of what I started with. I'm not a true stasher to begin with - I don't put my yarn in crannies all over the apartment as some folks like to do - so I consider using up half of a modest yarn stash to be a success. In addition, almost all of the yarn that I have leftover is spoken for by one of my upcoming projects. Yes!

The other day on r/crochet I came across a post that pointed to a Craftsy yarn sale. Not intending to buy anything, I opened Craftsy in a new tab to casually peruse the sale... an awesome sale... a sale where everything was like 70% off... a sale that included my favorite yarns... a sale that resulted in skeins that are usually $9 becoming $2... Uh oh. Warning, stash busting resolve compromised! Because I have been so good and have tackled some other tasks I wasn't keen on in addition to my yarn frugality, my kind husband decided to treat me to some yarn! He's so good to me. Joy of joys! Here are my beautiful spoils. I'll leave you to guess what future patterns shall arise from my pretties.

A box at the door! I wonder what could be inside... Let's slice this thing open and take a look!


Yarn, glorious yarn! Let us bask in your softness and gleaming potential!


First we have four skeins of Cascade Yarns Cherub Aran in pink. This is my favorite yarn. It really balances quality with price. It's normally about $7 a skein, but I got it for a steal thanks to the sale! So soft, so lovely.


Here's three skeins of Cascade Cherub Aran in red.


More Cherub Aran! This time in black.


These three skeins of Lion Brand Kitchen Cotton will be used well. 


 Lion Brand Vanna's Choice is my favorite discount yarn. It's 6mm so it's great for large projects. The sale price for a bag of three skeins was less than the normal price of one!


 I needed a lot of it for an upcoming project so I really lucked out! Here's some more.


And finally we come to the pièce de résistance... Crystal Palace Chunky Mochi in "Blueberry Pancakes". This is the first time in a very long time that I have bought yarn simply because I thought it was pretty. 


Merino wool and nylon blend. Ahhh. I don't know what I'm going to do with it yet, but it's going to be something for myself. It's so prettyful that it deserves a second picture. 


All of my stash busting actually left me with enough room in my yarn drawers to fit all of my new acquisitions. Hurray! They won't be there for long, though. As crazy as it sounds, all of the yarn you see here will end up being used in the next three months. Can you guess what it's for? Keep an eye out these next few weeks to see if your guess was a good one!


Monday, September 2, 2013

Learn the Lingo

Have you ever read a crochet forum and been totally baffled by the seemingly foreign language that the people there are speaking? LYS, FO, WIP...is your head spinning? Fear not, newbs (that means newbies). I am here to lay out the lingo for you. Note that lingo is different from terminology and is used as slang rather than for instructions.

LYS = Local Yarn Store. The place you go for nicer yarns. The folks there may or may not snark at   you for being a crocheter and not a knitter, the clearly superior craft *eye roll*.

FO = Finished Object. That thing you just spent so much time working on and finally finished? That's your FO.

UFO = Unfinished Object. This is the opposite of an FO and usually hangs around for longer than you'd like to admit. Man, I just see UFO's everywhere...in the dresser drawer, in my project box, shoved into bags...I think they're coming to get me! 

WIP = Work In Progress. A more optimistic term for an object you're not done with yet. You likely still work on this on a regular basis, unlike UFOs that lie dormant and in wait. 

Hooker = Female Crocheter. Delightfully and endearingly inappropriate.

Brocheter = Male Crocheter. Because bros got the hook-up too!

Frogging = Ripping out your crochet stitches because you made a mistake or want to salvage the yarn. Project too hard? Too annoying? Too old? Too messed up? Frog those stitches! It makes a "ribbit" noise when you "rip-it" out.

Stitch'n'Bitch = A social gathering of crocheters and/or knitters. Call all your hookers and brocheters and have yourselves a yarny party!

CAL = Crochet-a-long. 'Cause omg, like, everyone else is doing it!

Cat = Ultimate destroyer of prized crochet items. I can't put this yarn down for one second without my cat trying to steal it!

I may or may not have made that last one up.