Thursday, November 30, 2006

I love seed stitch

I love seed stitch in diamonds.

seed stitch diamond from my first sweater

I love seed stitch in mohair.

seed stitch edgings on my second sweater

I love seed stitch in handpainted yarn.

detail from seed stitch chevron of Landscape Shawl

But I love seed stitch in basket weave most of all.

Aran Pocket Shawl

This past weekend I was freezing (I hadn't yet realized the thermostat was set for 64), so after making chocolate chip cookies and losing my excuse to have the oven on, I felt I needed to knit with a substantial yarn. I was curious as to how the Aran Pocket Shawl from Folk Shawls would look in the Berroco Ultra Alpaca* I had. So I taught myself the cable cast-on (great and easy!), and gave the shawl chart a go. I've wanted to knit this shawl for a long time (because of the seed stitch), and I am really pleased how it looks in this yarn. Now I switch between the Landscape Shawl (great during TV) and the APS (great to take my mind off the day and relax). I'll just have to make sure my next shawl isn't green!

Speaking of Folk Shawls by Cheryl Oberle, Trek recently acquired a copy and is considering a KAL. So, if you would be interested, let her know.

*For those faithful readers who vaguely remember this yarn in the start of the Cambridge Jacket, well it's toast. I didn't get gauge well enough for it to be my first cap-sleeved sweater. But I like the yarn better in the shawl, so all is good.

Monday, November 27, 2006

New LYS! and a Sock of a Different Color

Saturday my friend Nancy and I set up a beading afternoon, and we needed to go to our LBS, which is in a small complex of restaurants and shops built around a courtyard. At the entrance to the Courtyard stood a sign telling everyone to go up to the third floor to the new YS, Knitter's Playground. I had to go (Nancy is a soon-to-be knitter; after all she wasn't a beader until she met me either). So after the bead store we took a look. I didn't have my camera with me, but believe me when I say it was fabulous. The owner, Rebecca, was smart enough to specialize in yarns and knitting that wasn't being carried well at the other LYS. So she had a lot of sock yarn and LACE yarn. She has all the Fiddlesticks and Fiber Trends shawl and scarf patterns. Wanting to support her business venture, I made a little purchase.

Jaeggerspun Zephyr in Admiral

She also carries Fleece Artist (but not the sock yarn) and Hand Maiden Yarns. They are expecting a shipment of Sea Silk: every colorway, over 100 lbs of Sea Silk! I am psyched. She also carries all the Brown Sheep yarns, which are some of my favorites for sweaters.

Last time, I showed a sock WIP for Michael's grandma for Christmas. I was hoping I was knitting the right size. I was not. But no matter! Grandma has very narrow feet, and last July I knit a sock that I thought would fit my medium-wide foot, but the yarn over cable pattern made it too narrow. I can get it on, but the fabric is pretty stretched, so I think it will be perfect for a narrow foot (we are both size 8.5 luckily). So now I am over half finished.


The yarn is Fleece Artist Merino in Renaissance. I can't say enough good things about Fleece Artist Merino. It wears well, keeps its shape and colors, and is very soft and warm. Pooling is also limited in the medium size women's socks I've been knitting. At Simply Sock Yarn Company, Alison has procured FAM in some of the Hand Maiden colorways.

Next time, I hope to show a FO, which is waiting for blocking. Until then, happy knitting!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

For Natasha: WIP Wednesday

Late this afternoon in lab, Natasha came over to my desk, put her hands on her hips, and said, "You have not updated your blog in a week. I had a few minutes this afternoon, and I thought it would be fun to catch up on your blog, but there was nothing new. You need to post again."

I hear and obey. I'm 15 years older than Natasha and almost twice as big (she's very thin), but she's a graduate student in the final throes of her Ph. D. research. I know not to poke a cornered creature with a stick; I'll leave that to the full professors on her thesis committee. So, here are some WIPs for Natasha and you.

First up we have the Landscape shawl which is almost 130 stitches across (enroute to 308 stitces with one new stitch per row). I calculated that I'm about 17% done. And in the photo, you can see that I've just started the third chevron which is stockinette stitch. I was glad I counted right and the YO at the base of this section is in the middle of the seed stitch triangle.


Second, a new WIP, a Christmas WIP for M's Dad: a diagonal rib scarf in Misti Alpaca chunky:


M's Dad had major back surgery two weeks ago, and his very experienced surgeon said his Lumbar 5 vertebra was the weirdest he had ever seen. Apparently, it was missing a part. So, I figure the guy could use a super-soft scarf in a nice, manly dark red. The color is richer in person. Some of the fibers actually look black, but it is very subtle. And I should mention that his dad is doing super well. He had a couple of morphine hallucinations while in the hospital (like seeing his sister and brother-in-law in the potted plant we had delivered). But they are all gone, and he is now doing a lot of walking. They live out in the woods of Illinois, so I hope the scarf will help keep him warm on his treks.

Third up we have another Christmas knit, this time for M's Grandma. She needs socks to wear with her Birks (the only shoes that make her toes happy). I found out about this today. Currently, I am assuming she has the same size foot as her daughter, as I have knit a pair of socks for M's mom. This is the oblique rib from Sensational Knitted Socks (8-stitch repeat) in Fleece Artist Merino, colorway Lily Pond:


The cream colored cotton fleece sweater has suffered a cruel gauge mishap, even though I knit two different gauge swatches. It shall not be completed as it would be far too large to wear under a fitted jacket, which was my intention. Mistress Gauge and I are not speaking currently. I feel she is a fickle bitch in breach of contract. Both swatches were washed and blocked in addition to being practically 5 x 5 inch squares. This long holiday weekend I would like to swatch for the Charcoal Brocade jacket, and Mistress Gauge better behave. Because if she does not, I'm just going to knit scarves and shawls from my new copy of Victorian Lace Today, and we all know we don't need Mistress Gauge's permission to do that.

Am I threatening Mistress Gauge?!

Let's just say that the berry colored Sea Silk has shipped.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

FOs and a WIP

It has been a big week here at Molecular Knitting. As I reported in my last post, the La Gran cardigan is done. But did I stop there? No siree! I only had a half dozen or so purple necklaces to go with said lilac La Gran. So I had to make another one.


This necklace took some planning to get everything lined up properly so it didn't look oppy. Natasha, our lab's fashionista, covets the necklace and the La Gran cardigan, so I consider them successes.

I also made a lapis lazuli bracelet for Trek, the winner of my birthday contest. Trek said cobalt blue was her favorite color, and the lapis was close (plus it was the same hue as the blue in the CTH sock yarn she won).


I also included a little Scharffen Berger chocolate. From Trek's thank you email, I don't think she plans to share the chocolate.

In knitting FOs, I finished the Fleece Artist Merino socks in Paris for my MIL for Christmas. I love Fleece Artist merino sock yarn. It is velvety and the colors are really rich (and don't pool much or at all in most colorways).


I really like the eye of the partridge heel flap in this colorway. The photo is blurry (I used the macro and the tripod! Arghh!), but you can see how nicely the colors work out in the lattice of EoP.

What with all the FOs, I had start start a new WIP (some previous WIPs ran into insurmountable difficulties and will not become FOs, but that's for a different post). I started the Fiber Trends Landscape Shawl in CTH supersock in Green Mountain Madness. The colors are fantastic and I am totally enthralled with knitting this shawl. I understand Evelyn A. Clark's extremely well-written pattern perfectly, so it is a joy to knit.


Those are picots decorating the edge of the shawl. I can knit picots!


I've made it into the seed stitch chevron.


All these pictures of the shawl make me want to knit! I hope all of you are having a great week!

Monday, November 13, 2006

"It's Done! Done," I say, "Done!"

Although this photo isn't pretty (due to horrific weather and no outdoor light to speak of), the La Gran Lilac Cardigan is DONE!


Most importantly, it fits. The sleeves are a little long, but I fold back the cuff, and then all is good. I wore it to church on Sunday, where they had turned the heat on. I nearly died. It is a very warm sweater. Elsie is taking me out for a late birthday lunch tomorrow, and I'll wear it there also. I just have to decide which amethyst jewelry I want to wear. Yeah, I lead a rough life.

This is my first cardigan, and I am pleased. I don't think I'll knit another mohair sweater for quite a while, as the hairiness slowed me down, and it's hell to rip. But all in all, I enjoyed knitting this sweater, so I can wear it with no bad memories attached.

I am close to some other FOs, so I'm off to work on those!

Added later:
I linked to this quiz from the blog Trailing Yarn. It just goes to show that you can take the girl out of Wisconsin, but you can't take the Wisconsin out of the girl.
What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Midland
The Northeast
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Friday, November 10, 2006

Contest Winner!

Trek is the contest winner!!

I'd write more now, but I have to prepare to give a presentation at work (ARGHH!).
Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

An Unexpected FO and Contest Reminder

If you haven't already, scroll down to the previous post and read about the contest I have going on! M will pick the winner Friday morning, so be sure to comment or email to enter! Only 8 people have entered so far, so the odds are pretty good!

In knitting news, I have an unexpected FO. Sunday morning, M and I went to lunch with friends, Nudia and Javier, who are moving to Texas in a couple of weeks, where Javier will start in a tenure track assistant professor position. Another couple of friends, Nancy and Robert, also joined us. Nudia is five months pregnant, and Nancy was nice enough to think to give her a baby gift. I felt awful, especially as M mentioned that he thought we should bring a baby gift. I had to explain to M that his thoughts aren't real until he shares them with me (he wasn't impressed with my thesis). Anyway, I knew we would see Javier and Nudia next Sunday, so when we got home, I dug through my stash and came up with a skein of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Prairie Lupine (a color which does not photograph well). I knit up this little hat in the 9-12 month size, thinking that would be around the time she (they know they are having a girl) will need a hat.


The pattern is from Knitters (Summer 2001). I loved the seed stitch flying wedge design (originally from Babara Walker).


The seed stitch border isn't the stretchiest edge, but I didn't try to make the cast-on as loose as usual, so I think that will keep the hat on her head without looking too goofy. I always like how circular decreases look:


I did one more round of decreases than the pattern called for, as I thought 12 stitches were too many to end on and run the yarn through. I also knit the whole thing on dpns (US sz 4), even though the pattern called for a 16" circular. I cast-on to the circular needle, but I really had to stretch out the stitches, so I decided the dpns would work better, and I didn't have a problem. I hope the baby likes her hat! The pattern also includes a romper (looks like a clown suit to me, but I am not a baby clothes expert by any means), booties (also in seed stitch with no way to fasten a tie), and a blanket. And Cotton Fleece is the called for yarn, but there was no way I was going to get 5 spi on sz 6 needles. I was right on using the 4s.

Two packages arrived in the mail today. M snatched them up, and I don't know where he put them. He is very strict about not opening birthday gifts before the birthday; he's a big meany in this regard. I asked Mom for lace blocking wires from Knitpicks, and a long tube arrived! But I can't open it until Friday!!

Well, go enter the contest to win yarn and beaded jewelry!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Contest Time!

It's time to have a contest! Next Friday, the tenth, is my birthday, and I think that calls for a contest. But as a disclaimer, I've never run a contest before, so I am making it up as I go along. My thinking is this: anyone who enters the contest will have the chance to win one of two yarns AND a beaded bracelet or earrings made by me just for them. So, the yarn is the easier part and I've chosen from my stash a sock yarn and a mohair yarn that would be great in a scarf.

CTH Supersock in Potluck Jewels
Luxury Mohair by King Cole in Florence (2 skeins)

The winner will get to choose which yarn she/he would like. They will also get to tell me if they want a pair of earrings (sterling silver wires) or a bracelet. I'll find out favorite colors, or if the winner wants to send me a picture of a favorite handknit, I'll design the piece of jewelry to coordinate (I already do this in my head when I look at all your wonderful handknits on your blogs). Then, I'll set to work, and send out the yarn with the surprise beaded jewelry. So, to enter, all you need to do is tell me so by leaving a comment or sending me an email (found under my complete profile link). In the comment/email I would like to know which yarn you would like, because if I get a lot of contestants, then I may make two pools and pick a winner for each yarn. Actually, I have asked M to do the drawing, and I plan to have him pick on the morning of the tenth. So all entries must be received by the end of November 9th (i.e. before midnight of the 10th) Pacific Time. I'm a pretty new blogger, so I don't yet have a wide readership (that I know of), so the odds of winning are pretty high, so enter! Good Luck!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

That was Then, This is Now

Back in the distant past of early September, I made knitting plans, and I shared them on this blog. It was time to knit lace in a triangle, i.e. a shawl. I thought the Ruby colorway of Fleece Artist Merino would make a fantastic Christmas shawl to wear knit up in the Diamond Fantasy Shawl. And it still would be if I were more a visual than an audio thinker/learner. Lace doesn't talk. You have to figure it out by looking at it. It's easy in a rectangle, but a triangle--I need some remedial help. I got this far on the DFS:


I was tearing my hair out. I was knitting stitch-to-stitch, my crochet hook clenched in my teeth for easily fixing mistakes, M would speak to me and I would grunt. The grunting brought me to my senses (grunting is NOT attractive). I wanted to enjoy knitting this, and then I wanted to be happy while I wore it. So, it will have to wait a little while.

So, how to fix this problem? How do I get lace to speak? Well, I thought I could pay more attention to the rectangular lace I was knitting quite happily. Rather than blindly following the pattern, I could try to figure it out. What a concept! It isn't a new concept for me either. Biochemistry is a pretty visual field (cells and molecules aren't very chatty), and yet I managed to develop ways of understanding molecular structures even though I can't see the molecules in my head and spin them around the way M can (I think he's a bit of a mutant). If I could do it with molecules, I can do it with lace.

My Grapevine lace scarf (previously I kept referring to it as the trellis lace pattern, but it is not) is an 8 stitch, 12 row repeat pattern, and I've knit it to 21 inches long so far:


For the last 4-5 inches I've been anticipating before I start the next row what I am going to have to knit (it's really easy on the wrong side rows, they're all purl) before I look at the pattern, which is written be from Barbara Walker's 1st treasury. This has been very enlightening. So has knitting the lace border for the Lucy Top from Wendy Knits!:


I was confused at first about which way the decreases should go around a YO (I hadn't really thought about it before), and after speaking with my knitting guru, Elsie (who doesn't blog), I realized that I had "conceptualized" it bassackwards. Elsie was kind enough not to tell me I had it backwards (I thought decreases should point/lean away from the YO), but just that she had never seen a lace pattern as I described. Ah.

I now realize that in some part of my brain (it doesn't let me in there very often to poke around), that I knew I would have visual difficulties, and that is why several weeks ago I purchased the pattern for the Forest Canopy Shawl from Susan. Her pattern has an extensive tutorial and it's a beautiful, yet simple lace repeat for those of us who are learning to "read" lace. So, I bought yarn to knit it.


That's Schaefer Anne in Silver Sage. It's luscious. And, as someone pointed out, it matches my eyes. I also bought some Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in Green Mountain Madness to make the Fiber Trends Landscape shawl.


I bought that pattern several years ago when I first thought I would want to knit a shawl, but then I beaded much more than knit for a few years. I've been thinking of it in the GMM colorway for quite sometime, and Alison at Simply Sock Yarn Company had enough in the same dyelot. It seemed like fate (OK, I did email her to ask if she had enough, but it's still fate). Anyway, it is a triangle knit from the tip to the top with basic knit-purl patterns between YO increases. This also should help me get the whole triangle thing down, especially as it works the triangle from the opposite direction of the Forest Canopy Shawl. I am going to be a triangle-knitting, lace-knitting whiz before I am through. And that's as it should be.

Friday, marks a week before my birthday, so I think it will be time to announce a little contest. A way to win yarn and something beaded just for you. Check back Friday evening for details.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

One is the Loneliest Number...

My Socktober left a little to be desired in terms of new sock creations:


Just one sock for me. I either have to knit the second or hop. I loved knitting this sock, it's just that October was very busy and hectic with things like a scientific career, which is pretty nifty too but recently very time consuming. But back to the sock. As I said before, the leg and instep pattern is the Gingerbread all-over cable pattern from VK Stitchionary 2. It was very easy to knit as the garter ridge in the second rib of the pattern made it especially easy to count rows.


I used the Dutch heel from the Madder ribbed sock of Vintage Socks, that fits my foot very well (which I was not able to photograph tonight at all well). I planned on using a grafted toe, but my bulbous big toe misled me, and the sock was going to be a little short. I continued decreasing every other round for longer than I normally would have and then decreased every round to only four stitches. That fits perfectly (again can't photograph the sock on my foot in the stygian darkness that fills our living room--but boy did I try). I've cast on for the second sock but have other secret sockish things going also.


Elongated Corded Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks in Fleece Artist Merino, colorway Paris


2x2 rib leg in Online Highland Colors #?? (sorry!). I bought both yarns from the Simply Sock Yarn Company (including the grey marled Jawoll of the cabled sock). The top sock has a giftee in mind who loves autumnal colors. The bottom sock could still go a couple of different ways, including my own feet. We'll see.

I did find time to sew the shoulder seams of the La Gran cardi and then knit the neckband. It is only the third neckband I've ever knit, but it is the best, so at least I continue to improve!


I studied picking up stitches along a neckedge in my copy of Vogue Knitting, marked every two inches around with a pin, did the math to determine stitches to pick up per 2 inches and went at it. Now I just need to do the rest of the seaming and sew on the buttons. I've been a little too frazzled the last couple of days, but I think by tomorrow I shall be ready to seam. The tenth is my birthday, and M is taking me to my favorite restaurant for dinner and I plan to wear my sweater. I just hope I don't spill on it! Did I ever mention that I'm a little clumsy? Spray 'n' Wash is my friend.

Now I need to decompress a little, knit a lot, maybe drink a whiskey and soda.