Basil came back after three days - muddy, hungry, but otherwise none the worse for wear. I can only presume something spooked him and he got a bit lost. He has a congenital eye / depth perception problem that makes him a comically inept hunter, consequently he is normally very careful to be present and vocal at supper time. It will be reasonably easy to keep him indoors in the winter, however in hot weather in a tiny (unairconditioned) apartment with windows open and the patio door constantly opening and closing, it's not likely he's never going to escape. I know there are many vociferous opponents of allowing cats outdoors - like Lee Ann's husband, mine was heavily in favor of freedom, and I wanted the safety-at-all-costs option - however, once they are accustomed to freedom, the point is somewhat moot, as it's hard to break them of the habit. In any case, mourning has now been suspended in favor of routine baseline worry.
String bag number 2 (apologies for the lower quality photos - October can't come fast enough):
It is a firmer fabric than bag number one, suitable for long, heavy objects such as a lovely bottle of fine French red. The bottom is an eight spoked spiral, flowering smoothly into a simple but exquisite vine lace.
Here's the pattern (as with number one, I will eventually - ie October - have this all prettied up and properly published as a downloadable PDF). I would love to hear feedback, good or bad, from anyone who might knit this - I can be reached at: robruth dot cox at gmail dot com.
Materials: This bag takes around 150 yds of DK to light worsted weight cotton or cotton blend twine / string. (I used Aunt Lydia's Denim Quick-Crochet, which I found at Walmart for around $7 for 400 yds - it is 75% cotton, 25% acrylic, looked and felt just like the cotton blend twine at the hardware store, but a bit cheaper).
Needles: I used 3.5 mm (US 4) dpns for the base, with a gauge of 4.5 stitches and 7 rows to the inch in stockinette. I switched to a 4 mm (US 6), 16 inch circular for the sides. I wouldn't worry overly about gauge, as long as you're close.
Base: Using the half-hitch technique (no slip knots), cast on 8 stitches and divide between 3 dpn's, preparing to join in the round. For mathematical ease, the cast-on will be defined as round 1.
Rnds 2-3: knit, tug on the tail to snug up the centre
Rnd 4: *yo, k1; repeat from *
Rnd 5, and all odd numbered rounds through 17 inclusive: knit
Rnd 6: *yo, k2; rep from*
Rnd 8: *yo, k3; rep from*
Rnd 10: *yo, k4; rep from*
Rnd 12: *yo, k5; rep from*
Rnd 14: *yo, k6; rep from*
Rnd 16: *yo, k7; rep from*
Rnd 18: *yo, k8; rep from* - 72 stitches
knit two rounds
Rnd 1: *k1, yo, k2, ssk, k2tog, k2, yo; rep from* Note that this round ends with a yo.
Rnd 2: knit
Rnd 3: *yo, k2, ssk, k2tog, k2, yo, k1; rep from *
Rnd 4: knit
Repeat these 4 rows 10 times or until desired length is achieved. Note that the pattern rounds are identical, just staggered by 1 stitch.
End with 3 rounds knit plain.
Rnd 1: *p3tog, yo; rep from *
Rnd 2: *(k1, p1) into yo, k1; rep from*
knit 2 rounds plain
*Insert the right needle between the first two stitches and draw through a loop, placing it on the left needle as for a cable cast on. BO 4 stitches. Slip the remaining loop on the right needle over to the left and repeat from *
Make a 3 stitch i-cord the length of the bag's circumference plus about 12 inches and thread through the eyelets (see instructions for bag no. 1)