Ingrid asked if there was a trick to getting the gauge right on my x-back tank. Yes there was, but getting the gauge correct was not the only trick needed to obtain the proper fit. For the x-back to fit properly, it must be made with negative ease. That is, the finish product has to be smaller in circumference than I am! In this case, the tank has about 3 inches of negative ease. So, trick #1 is to pick a size smaller than you would expect.
Getting the proper gauge was more problematic for me. I'm not sure if my swatching/gauge problems were a result of the ribbon yarn, the seed stitch pattern, or both. Whatever contributed, the results were clear--it was impossible for me to judge the gauge of the final product by using a small swatch. The resulting fabric has quite a bit of stretch to it, and a small swatch cannot demontrate just how much a larger piece of fabric will stretch. For example, with size 15 needles, my swatch had a gauge of 3 sts/inch (the required gauge), but the final product had a gauge closer to 2.5 sts/inch. With size 11 needles, the swatch had a gauge of 4 sts/inch, and the final product had a gauge of around 3 sts/inch. So, for me at least, trick #2 was trial and error until I found a combination of needle size and pattern size that gave me the correct fit.
Monkee asked how I manage to get Scout to look up when I'm taking pictures. Her cat, Fritty, will not mug for the camera like Scout does. There is no trick to getting Scout to look at the camera. Scout knows her name and responds to it like a puppy dog. All I have to do is call her name and she looks at me (or comes running if she's in another room). I call her my little puppy cat.
I found cute buttons for the stripe-y sweater:
I blocked the blanket for my co-worker's baby of unknown gender. Sorry, that I didn't take an attractive photo. After washing and de-cat-hairing the blanket, I wanted to wrap it up as soon as possible so I didn't haul it around the house looking for good, natural light. The blanket is now in an appropriately gender-neutral package with some gender-neutral onesies and will be shipped off today.