Tuesday, May 01, 2007


I've moved my blog. I would be delighted if you would join me at my new blog. I'm holding a contest with yarny prizes to sweeten the deal!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Blocking Tomorrow, the Mai Tai Tonight!

Life has been a social whirl this past week here at Molecular Knitting: three dinners out last week! This did not leave a lot of time for knitting but I did manage to get the Chevron Scarf off the needles. So tomorrow (Monday) evening is dedicated to blocking both it and the Aran Pocket Shawl.

"Block me, baby!"--Chevron Scarf.
"What's to become of us?!"--Aran Pocket Shawl.
"We're gonna be blocked, straightened out, my YOs opened up, your welts flattened out."--CS
"Oh, Mr. Chevron, I have such palpitations when I think of the blocking! Will you be with me and protect me, Mr. Chevron, dear?"--APS
"Look, Doll, you're a shawl and I'm a scarf. No one wears a shawl and a scarf at the same time, not even on the pages of VK. I've got a date with a coffee-colored, wide wale corduroy pea coat. We're kismet. We're destiny. We coordinate. You need to find yourself a nice shell or blouse in a nice navy blue or plum."--CS
"Oh, dear! Oh, dear!"--APS

While my handknits prepared for blocking, M whipped up the quintessential Tiki drink: the Mai Tai.


M as usual did a stupendous job on the bartending front, however, I was not fond of the Mai Tai. It was very sweet, and the orgeat (almond) syrup was over-powering in my opinion. M liked it better, considering it the "ultimate" Tiki drink, but agreed with me that the Mojito and Hemingway Daiquiri were tastier. I guess they can't all be winners. We'll just have to try again next weekend!

I hope all of you had a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sparkly and Shimmery

So Monday evening I finished the first pink cabled sock. I started to cast on for the second but was having difficulty counting to 66. Apparently, I don't count well after 10 in the evening. I decided to work on the chevron scarf as I only needed to be able to count to 5. I finished several inches and then lay down for a night of peaceful slumber only to awaken a few hours later having nightmares about knitting. Yes, I know you can imagine the horror. It wouldn't be entirely inaccurate to say that I became a bit unglued at that point. I didn't wake M because I didn't think he'd understand. A nightmare about being in a car accident or falling from a high ledge, sure he'd be all solicitousness, but a nightmare about knitting? The upshot was that Tuesday evening I was a bit wary of the yarn and sticks, so I played with some sparkly beads instead.

Aquamarine faceted bead and pearl necklace

I was happy to see that I can still make wrapped wire loops that I'm not embarrassed to wear out into the world, so this little aquamarine colored ensemble graced my neck and ears today. The pearls are actually a pale aquamarine, too. It felt good to wear a new bauble. Now I feel ready to pick up the pointy stickes again, as I didn't have nightmares last night of round-nosed pliers coming after me or being stoned with giant Czech glass and Austrian crystal beads.

The pink sock looks good, but I had it on my foot for a while, so it's a little stretched out and wants a soak and block before it's photo shoot. As I mentioned the chevron scarf grows longer, and until about 20 minutes ago, I'd completely forgotten that I need to block the Aran Pocket Shawl. But so as not to post without any knitterly pictures, I did splurge last week when I found the 150 g (600 m) skeins of Sea Silk at Colorsong Yarn.

Blackberry Sea Silk
This is Blackberry Sea Silk. We're in love.

May your knitting dreams be blissful!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Catching Up

I feel I am falling behind in my blogging responsibilities, so let's play catch up.

First up, the pink braided cable rib sock is almost to the toe! It looks a little goofy in the photo below as the instep needle did not care to be photogenic today.


Astute readers will notice that I stopped doing the cabling once I finished the gusset decreases. This braided cable doesn't stretch out as flat as a simple cable, and I thought for comfort, switching to the rib was a good idea. It was a compromise between not wanting to have the cabling only on the leg, but also wanting a comfortable sock. I think it will work for me.

Next up we have an very disappointed chevron scarf posing (but not willingly) on the couch-o-meter. The scarf rather clashes with the threadbare ruby red couch cushions, and it resents be photographed thusly. But it is one couch cushion long! As I want a short scarf, it won't even make it to a full two cushions before the bind off. I plan to knit to about 44 inches (2 couch cushions=48+ inches) and then block.

She better not take my FO picture with me lying on this %#^&*@# couch!--Chevron Scarf.

Third up has no picture, but I am teaching myself to carry and tension the yarn differently. My way of carrying the yarn is becoming more and more awkward and annoying. It is hard to get an even tension without constantly dropping and picking up the yarn again, and my tension gets looser and looser the faster I knit. So, I am trying to finish my current projects in the old method while training myself in the new method behind the scenes so to speak.

Finally, the chevron scarf did not grow any longer than one couch cushion today for two reasons. The first is that I have a new baking pan for uber-cool individual bundt cakes. I tried it out today on Amaretto Cakes from a Buttercup Bakes at Home by Jennifer Appel. The pan worked! It was so cool!

Fleur-de-Lis, Bavarian, and Cathedral little bundt cakes!

The second reason for lack of chevron scarf progress this afternoon: a Hemingway Daiquiri:

Not your frozen limeade daiquiri by a long shot

I had two such daiquiris today, but since M used my calcium-fortified grapefruit juice, I built strong bones while I drank. BTW, the recipe M used is from the book and a Bottle of Rum by Wayne Curtis. M enjoyed the book immensely.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Cable Hooks

First and foremost I would like to thank everyone who commented so positively on the pocketless Aran Pocket Shawl. Bonus points to JayJay and Abby for noticing the APS channeling Mrs. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. Right now, the APS is enjoying a little lie-in to calm her poor nerves before the blocking process. She listened to me tell M about the blocking, and she may have overheard the word "severe." I was in fact saying that the blocking wouldn't have to be severe, but she was already gasping and jumping to conclusions, and so I don't think she understood.

Monday and Tuesday evenings the little pink sock and I spent some quality time together. I cable using a cable needle, and although I may try to go without at some point, it's not going to be while knitting a sock on size one dpns. But even my shortest size 1 dpn was being bothersome as a cable needle. Then I remembered that Mom always cables with a cable hook not a cable needle. I thought I had some from a multi-pack of cabling tools I bought many moons ago. I went to check and found two.

Which to choose? Which to choose?

One was gargantuan, and the other a good enough fit to go with my size 1 dpns (one shown for scale). I don't want to think about using a cable hook as big as the one on the left. How monstrous would that cable need to be to make that hook feasible? The little cable hook was the answer for me and the little pink sock. I just slide the stitches on the short end, drop it down in front or swing it over the back and it is completely out of the way of all the dpns. Then to knit off the cable hook, I just slide the stitches to the long end and knit them.

Easy peasy!

Even with the cable hook, this is a slow sock to knit. There is cabling every other row, and I want at least a 7.5 inch leg. I'm on 4-row repeat 13; I think 16-17 will give me the length I want.

Wednesday evening I spent re-swatching for the Brocade Jacket. As you can imagine, re-swatching is not fun, and the end results were not happy. I have visited my guru Elsie, she of no blog who can knit and read simultaneously, complicated patterns and difficult books. I need to try her advice (she was completely unsurprised by my difficulties), and then I'll report.

In closing here are some yarns that also want to become cable-rib socks with their own unique cable-rib patterns. They are also trying to sneak a sip of the sophisticated, yet very tasty, Suburban cocktail M made for me.

Black Bunny Fibers in Aquamarine, Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in Gypsy Rose and Fearless Fibers Superwash Merino in Midnight Passion (oo-la-la!).

ETA: The Suburban recipe through the link uses bourbon for the whiskey. M used rye. I'd go for the rye; the bourbon will be way too sweet.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

It's a Wrap

It's late, but she's hot off the needles, ends woven in, ready to block (I'm going to spin it in my "I can spin delicates safely" washing machine, but I'm not worried--much).

"Can you believe she's going to make me, the Aran POCKET Shawl, without pockets? It's a travesty of knitting! I'm made of 50% alpaca yarn! I don't deserve such an indignity! My poor nerves! She has no consideration for my poor nerves!" Aran Pocket Shawl.

I am so glad this knit is off the needles! I knit seven repeats this weekend just to finish her up. I like the shawl, but it's one big rectangle. Now, for just a little attitude adjustment on the shawl's part (50% alpaca?!--has it not seen the 100% suri alpaca in my stash?). Well, it's nothing that a good blocking can't straighten out. Pattern notes to follow. Now I can go back to my pink sock. Yay! And my Victorian lace. Yay! And my barely cast on jacket. Yay! Yays all around!

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Seizing the Sock Mojo

A nasty cold has hampered me this week, but even so, I decided I must seize the sock mojo. I finally thought I had a sock success but then I realized that I was using up yarn at an alarming rate. I was forced to come to the conclusion that I would have to either make a shorter cuff than I wanted or start over with a less tight pattern so I could use fewer stitches. I decided to move on to a different sock altogether. I needed sock success. I am not far along, but I have a lot of this Tofutsies yarn (skein of over 400 yds), and I cast on more than my usual number of stitches (66 as opposed to 56 or 60 on size 1 needles) as I chose another cable-rib combination.

Cable 4.11 from Harmony Guides, 220 Aran Patterns for Knitting

I'm really liking this braided cable combined with a single knit rib. The size looks good so far, and I know there is enough yarn. I really like the soft feminine pinks and whites with the cable-rib that in a darker color could be used for a man's sock. I am hoping for a success here, and the Tofutsies yarn is light enough that there should be weather here cool enough for these socks before next November. It is knitting up well for me on size one needles.

I'd say more, but Blogger is going to shut down for a scheduled outage, and I'm running out of time! "We need warp power, Scottie!"

May the knitting mojo be with you!

Monday, April 09, 2007


I've been holding out on you. I finished the Piecrust Basketweave scarf sometime in mid-March; I've been keeping the FO post back, knowing that there would come a time when all I had by way of new knitting is longer WIPs. Both my chevron scarf and Aran Pocket shawl are significantly longer than in their last viewing, but both being rectangles, longer is just, um, longer. And I think the tiki mug stole my sock knitting mojo as the sock remains the same. So let's look at my finished scarf!

Six feet of fuschia, alpaca-y goodness.

Picot sevedges on ends (looks like the fluting on a piecrust, but don't tell anyone, they'll think I'm dorky).

Piecrust Basketweave stitch pattern from Vogue Knitting Stitchionary: Vol 1, pattern #33.

Yarn: Plymouth Yarns Chunky Baby Alpaca in a hot pink, fuschia.

This is the third time I've knit something out of a "chunky" alpaca, and I think it may be the last. I think alpaca is better in the finer weights. It lacks the sproinginess necessary to take the weight of the chunky yarn without stretching too much. Based on my swatch, the scarf should be five feet long but is really six feet long. Because I cast on the length, knitting to the width (looked better with the horizontal nature of the pattern), the stretch runs the length. The longer the scarf got, the more it stretched and didn't bounce back. I blocked it as I had done before, using wires and blocking it dry followed by spritzing it with water until it was pretty wet, which was what the yarn manufacturer recommended for the other scarf. I think if I had soaked the whole scarf, the weight of the water would have over-stretched the yarn perhaps to breaking point.

I like the stitch pattern (complete sucker for knit-purl stitch patterns!); it was very easy. I modified the edges which had a lot of reverse stockinette tacked on. In an attempt to make it look more finished, I did a 2-stitch picot at the start of each row, and it ended up looking like piecrust fluting, but I like it, and as the scarf doesn't have a big sign that says it was named "piecrust basketweave" by the Vogue Knitting editors, I don't think it's really an issue. All in all, I'm looking forward to wearing the scarf in another 7-8 months when the weather here will turn cool. I clearly don't live in the ideal location for handknits in natural animal fibers!

This is a long post so I'll save the good smelling stuff I got in the mail today for a post later this week, as I suspect that my WIPs will still be merely longer.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

New VLT Project

I am very tired, but after tomorrow it will be just normal work, not work from the inner circles of Hell. Yay! To celebrate the upcoming liberation (and boost my morale), a few days ago I cast on for a new project from Victorian Lace Today. Officially, it is the "Scarf with the open and solid diamond lace edging from Weldon's, 1904," which will henceforth be known as the diamond lace scarf or DLS when I am feeling really lazy.

We love the double YO diamonds! Which are NOT Yo-yos as M seems to think.

The yarn is a cotton cable (with one of the French accent things over the e--I'm too lazy to look up the code for that right now); it is at least sport weight, so my scarf is coming out larger and I went up one needle size to an 8. But I like it very much. I got the cotton as it gets very hot here in summer and super dusty (NO rain for 5-6 months). So this should be cool and hand-washable.

The pattern is written for a different number of repeats of the diamond border than what is shown in the photo and pattern schematic, but the amount of yarn is for the scarf in the photo. This difference is detailed in the corrections, where the pattern for the scarf in the photo is given (the photo scarf has 3 repeats of the border pattern and the pattern is written for four). The photo scarf should be much prettier for two reasons. First, anyone who has watched HGTV knows that the human eye appreciates an odd number of objects or elements more than an even number (hence 3 repeats--each is a point--rather than 4). Second, the body of the scarf has a diamond insertion which is basically staggered motifs of the double YO diamond of the border. For 3 repeats there are 5 stitches in garter stitch on each side of this insertion; for 4 repeats 13 stitches. The diamond insertion will look ridiculously narrow if there are 13 stitches on each side. For more info on scarf patterns that don't match the photo see Grumperina's post about her new Dolphin Scarf (which doesn't have posted corrections). Much as I enjoy the fabulous photography and patterns of VLT, I wish they had done a better job of the technical editing. I am glad that they are posting the errors. When I checked in early January, the corrections was a one page pdf, now is 3 pages long. So, if you are knitting from VLT follow the link above and look for corrections! You'll be glad you did.

Have a wonderful weekend, and a blessed Easter to all celebrators of the holiday!

Monday, April 02, 2007


When work takes up so much time that knitting progress slows to the proverbial crawl, I find it soothing to use an alternative measurement system. A shawl or scarf requires far too many inches to be complete to make two inches seem like much to crow about. Therefore, I have made use of our red couch-o-meter (or sofa-o-meter, depending upon your region of upbringing).

Three couch-cushions and your scarf is complete! 3.5 cushions makes a shawl!


Almost 2 complete sofa cushions of Aran Pocket Shawl knit! The chevron scarf isn't so far along, but it is much narrower, so it may catch up. Can we stand the suspense?! Has putting in 12 hours of work today made me silly?! Is the damage permanent?! Can I relearn ending a sentence with only one punctuation mark?!

Tune in later this week...!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Thank You, Nova and Little Sir!

It's been work, work, work here at Molecular Knitting this week (and the past two weeks, too, come to think of it). So much so that the senior graduate student in lab, who is finishing writing her PhD thesis, remarked that she was glad she was not me, she only had a thesis to write. Regrettably, she wasn't being sarcastic. I have spent less than 30 minutes knitting this week. Yes, it's all very sad. It shall continue thus until the end of work on Friday. Therefore, I was very excited to have the mail carrier deliver this to me today.

Contest loot from Little Sir's First Birthday Contest (moderated by his super nice, cool-knitter mom, Nova, Archivist on the Edge!

Nova wrapped the package so prettily. I am a terrible package wrapper; I find folding paper nicely very difficult. Therefore, I appreciate lovely wrapping. I especially like the flowered ribbon here. Nova had several different prizes to give away, and I had not expressed a preference in my comment to enter, so I had no idea which of the yarny prizes I had won. I got a really, really nice one.

Kid Seta in an imperial purple shade to die for!

Mohair/silk: so soft, so silky! It was hard to put down to go out for lunch. Nova also included chocolate and very cute sheep note cards. As I had used the last of my favorite note cards just a few weeks ago, this was a timely gift indeed. M recommended not eating the chocolate right before lunch. He is so mean. But I know he won't eat my chocolate either. M paid for college working as the head cook for a sorority; he understands the mystical importance of a woman's chocolate stash.

I have to spend much of tomorrow afternoon graphing data and fitting curves to the data and then making wonderful, wonderful tables of all the key features. I think I shall keep the imperial mohair silk next to my laptop for occasional petting and as a reminder that soon I will have time and energy to knit again.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Socks Come, Socks Go

I have learned a very valuable thing about myself: I am not a lace sock-wearing sort of girl. I think lace socks are beautiful, and I don't think less of women who wear them, but they are not for me. I wish I had known this before I knit nearly one complete lace sock and a cuff of a second (different pattern). Below you see the nearly complete lace sock in some Tofutsies on the left and the antidote to the Lace Sock Disaster of '07 on the right.

Disclaimer: No Tiki glasses were harmed during the making of this blog entry.

It was while trying on the Tofutsies Tidal Wave sock that I made my awful discovery. "I'll never, ever wear these socks," I thought. It was lowering. I hadn't thought a "tidal wave" lace sock would trip my frou-frou alarm, but it did. The other lace sock (Sundara's Petals Collection Lenten Rose) is already ripped; it was too big in addition to too lacy. Sigh.

In addition to this lace mishap, the other Tofutsies sock I showed earlier in the month, with the zig-zag twisted stitch pattern, bit the dust. Right twist = no problem. Left twist = royal pain in the butt. I could finish the socks, but I would hate them.

In desperation, I turned to Nancy Bush's Rib and Cable Sock from IK (Fall 2005). I had made it last summer to great success. I thought it might be fun to play with the rib and cable motif while maintaining the Welsh heel turn (a favorite of mine) and the star toe of three points.

The amber Tiki mug really wanted to model the sock-in-progress.

So I have a yarn-over mock cable (in Sensational Knitted Socks and BW Vol. 1) with some regular ribbing. The scrumptious yarn is Claudia Handpaints in Walk in the Woods. Anyway, I am very happy so far. So happy that I am thinking of doing a series of variations on this rib and cable theme: creativity within limits. Stay tuned.

Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

WIP Revisited

"I may not be multi-colored, cabled or lace, but I still think I am a good knit." Aran Pocket Shawl

Poor intermittent WIP! How low its self-esteem has sunk since I started it last November. I'd pick it up every once in a while, knit a half-repeat and then put it back down. It watched from its basket as other WIPs became FOs and never complained. But it is a good knit. The Berocco Ultra Alpaca is softer than just wool, but still has a lot of sproinginess, which I don't usually find in alpaca. The stitch pattern is pleasant to knit, easy to memorize, but not boring. It is now over a third complete and is over 2 feet long unblocked. In the photo above it is basking in the last rays of the setting sun on a maple log M just split for firewood next autumn. I think this WIP has ripened, because I want to get it done. It was fine as an intermittent WIP for quite a while, but now I hear it calling whenever I knit. This may be due to the sock fiasco of last weekend, which is still too painful to write of in detail (so many high hopes dashed on the rocks of gauge!), but it may also just be that it is this knit's time. Does it really matter?

Yesterday evening after some brief late afternoon showers, the sunset was very grand. I had a meeting in a neighboring town, and as I drove north, I kept glancing at the sun and clouds mentally kicking myself for not having the camera with me. Then I thought to call M, and he kindly took this photo.


Happy Knitting!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Chevron Scarf the First

Thanks to all my readers who left an opinion on my chevron scarf options! More of you thought the Cherry Tree Hill yarns of option 3 were the yarns they would go with. But my original choice didn't fare badly. I think I may do a version with each (as that still leaves a lot of sock yarn in my stash for socks). There are a lot of stitch patterns that make a chevron shape, and many of them can be knit as a rectangle or a triangle, so I don't intend for identical patterns. Theme and variations!

As it was, this weekend when I wanted to get started, M, my swift, was off running errands. This left Option 1. Now, I don't own Last Minute Knitted Gifts, and my LYS doesn't really sell books, and my local bookstore didn't have a copy. I had seen the stitch pattern on blogs, and I have knit Feather and Fan, so I pretty much understood the game plan. But I decided to mess around on the web and see what other sorts of chevron stitch patterns I could find. At Yarnover I found a chevron edging from nineteenth century Denmark that I liked (really pointy). I charted the pattern, changing a few decreases so they would be directional (all were K2tog in the original), added 2 edge stitches to my chart in garter stitch and cast on 47 stitches. At least, 47 stitches was the goal. Since I made 2 set up rows where I didn't have to count, it wasn't until the first pattern row that I realized I had miscounted the cast on as I cast on and when I recounted after casting on. I ripped and cast on again. Then after counting wrong again, I ripped a second time. The third time was the charm, and I was able to count to 47 twice and start my scarf. Whew!

The colors are better in real life!

I got home from lab too late to take pictures outside, so the colors are much richer and better in real life. Trust me, these yarns look great together. Although I can tell I am going to want to knit a burgundy tweed sweater to "go with." Ever since seeing Neither Hip nor Funky's sensational Sunrise Circle sweater in glorious orange tweed, I have been coveting tweedy yarn.


It was not a happy weekend for sock knitting. Two pairs were ripped due to fit issues and pattern frustration. I do have a successful sock in the works, which no one but Elsie (who doesn't blog) has seen. I think I will wait until the first sock is done (I'm on the foot) before showing a picture. I'm feeling a little jinxed at the moment.

I leave you with a picture of the delicious dinner M made (well I made the rice and vegetable--they were easy) on Sunday. It was a lovely evening for our first outdoor meal of the year. He made Cedar Plank Cooked Salmon from The Cakebread Cellars Napa Valley Cookbook: Wine and Recipes to Celebrate Every Season's Harvest.

Thanks, M!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Evil Eye Candy and Indecision

Aren't they pretty?



Don't they look sweet and innocent? Innocent like Brigitte's Gandalf! Deep within their flowery hearts lurks an insidious evil. I speak of pollen. Actually, I don't know what these flowers are, and if in fact their pollen causes seasonal allergies, but somebody's pollen does. I am not the only sufferer. We gather at work in the morning to compare symptoms. Since I don't wear contacts, my itchy eyes weren't the worst in lab, but the fact that I had to blow my nose six times before getting out of bed gave me most active nose honors. The lovely breeze today just spread all those plant male gametes around, and with 315 cash crops in California, there is a lot of variety. It will be a couple of days before my new anti-allergy prescription will be effective. Until then, the outside and I do not get along. But you came for knitting content.

And the knitting content leads to indecision today. In my last post I was all set to make a chevron scarf as many of you figured out. I am very busy with science work for the next several weeks, so I want happy, pretty, easy therapy knitting. As I said I was all set, then I perused my sock stash looking for my STR Henpecked to give to Elsie for her birthday (if your birthday is on the Ides of March, you deserve STR), and then indecision struck. So which option do I choose?

Options 1 and 2

Originally, I chose the burgundy with the Woodland (bottom yarn), but then I found the Claudia Hand Paints in Walk in the Woods (upper left), which also looked good with the burgundy. But if that wasn't enough to consider, I found these:

Option 3: Cherry Tree Hill in Gypsy Rose and Martha's Vineyard

I am at a complete impasse. Any thoughts?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Overheard: A FO Story

Saturday evening I finished up the knitting on the much anticipated Fleece Artist Merino Parrot socks. Today I grafted the second toe (Knitty directions work more than once!) after lunch so I could get them into the light-colored delicate load of laundry. But first the socks and I had a little photo shoot out on the back patio, and I overheard this socky conversation.

Parrot Socks

Second Sock: Well, we are a pair now, and I must say we are stylin'. Of course, we are knit from the best sock yarn in the entire universe!

First Sock: Perhaps not in the entire universe. But I do like how our kind knitter used a simple pattern so that our lovely parrot colors are shown to their best.

Parrot Socks: Eye of Partridge HeelFleece Artsit Merino in Parrot

Second Sock: Parrot, my Aunt Fanny! We look like guacamole! Really good, home made guacamole, not that nasty store bought "guac." Say, did you hear the news going round the sock basket, that the Tofutsies yarn may still not be behaving? Our knitter thinks it may be too big.

First Sock: I'm sure our knitter will solve the problem. She is thinking of switching to a smaller needle after the first repeat of the pattern. If that fails to satisfy, she is contemplating using a different ball of Tofutsies and knit it up in the Rib and Cable pattern from IK Fall 2005 by Nancy Bush. She has had excellent success with this pattern before, and she knows how it behaves.

Second Sock: I think she should just stick to yarns made from the fleece of Nova Scotian sheep. That's what I think.

First Sock: Well, having been out of the sock basket longer than you, my dear twin, I happen to know that she has plans for two skeins of our Fleece Artist Merino brethren: Burgundy and Woodland. And they won't be knit into socks.


Second Sock: What's she going to knit?! It's sock yarn for cryin' out loud!!

First Sock: If you don't know you'll just have to wait and see.

Second Sock: That's not fair!

First Sock: You know what our knitter's M says about fair.

Second Sock: What's fair?

First Sock: Pigs in a park.

Second Sock: Why you big meanie! You better keep your foot away from me! I'm gonna tell our knitter that you're a big bully.

First Sock: She's the older of two sibs herself. I'm certain she'll see things my way. Oh, and M is also the older child. Face it, you're doomed.

At this point, I decided to end hostilities by a trip through the washer. We'll see if that makes them better friends. In the meantime, the second sock will be trying to figure out what I plan to do with the Woodland and Burgundy FA. It shouldn't be too hard to figure out. ;)

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Thursday, March 08, 2007


First, thanks for all the wonderful compliments on the VLT scarf I knit for my Grandma Adeline! Now if I could just get it packaged up and mailed off to her.

Work has been very busy this past weekend and week, and I have had to do quite a bit of work at home. This seriously cut into my knitting time. It wasn't until Wednesday evening that I thought I could knit without making a mistake. Last Saturday, I procrastinated with the work stuff and managed to finish knitting the piecrust basketweave scarf. It still needs blocking.

Mmmm....soft alpaca...

I also started a sock in Tofutsies. Since I hadn't knit with this yarn before (and because my brain was goo), I decided on a simple 4x4 rib, but after 8 rounds I had two needles of pink/purple (16 st each) and one needle (24 st) of blue/purple. I wasn't getting pooling, I was getting vertical segregation! I can be OK with pooling in some instances, but this was goofy looking. So I ripped. Last night while paging through Vogue Stitchionary 2: Cables I found "zig and zag" (#10), and I thought the twisted stitches might fix the color segregation problem. I think it might be working. It appears to be spiraling the hot pink; it's on all three needles. I'm keeping my fingers metaphorically crossed.


Last Friday I tried the Lenten Rose pattern from Sundara's Petal Collections while watching Monk and Psych. That proved a mistake. After two repeats of the pattern I wondered why it didn't look like Sundara's picture. My double YO eyelets did not line up like Sundara's. So I ripped. I tried again last night. I think this time I got it right. It helped for me to chart the pattern!?! That is so unlike me, I don't know what to think of that, so I'm just knitting instead.


The Fleece Artist Parrot (guacamole) sock is waiting patiently for my hair appointment on Saturday afternoon. I've promised to work on it then, and get it done very soon.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

VLT Scarf FO

Finally, I found time and space to block the wide-bordered "Scarf" from page 80 of Victorian Lace Today. The patterns in this book were obviously not named with blog posts and knitting bloggers in mind! Before beginning, I had trepidations about the orthogonal changes in knitting directions, so I chose the easiest pattern. Let's just say I didn't feel challenged during the knitting. I did love knitting with Sea Silk!!

Before the blocking:
Berry Sea Silk VLT Scarf: wet
"I'm not feeling my prettiest right now," Scarf.

After the blocking:
VLT Scarf in Berry Sea Silk
"I'm feeling so much more open and relaxed!"

I chose this yarn for myself originally, but over Christmas, when Grandma Adeline told me that she had lost the feather and fan scarf I knit her a couple years ago, AND that she would love another scarf in a different color (she still hoped to find the first), I decided the Berry Sea Silk should be for her. I guess I could have been vexed that she lost the first scarf, but I decided it was a real compliment that she had liked the scarf enough to confess to losing it and asking for another.

Grandma Adeline is not tall, so I only knit five of the seven repeats of the border, and then I knit the entire scarf to 42 inches long (including both borders). This blocked to 49 inches long. I did a gentle block as the Sea Silk is not stretchy. I soaked the scarf in cool water for 15-20 minutes, squeezed out the excess water, took embarrassing photos of the wet lace scarf blob, then laid it out on a beach towel. I only pinned the points of the borders. I like to try the gentlest blocking method first with non-wool fibers, and then if that doesn't work, I can always reblock with more muscle. This gentle blocking satisfied me. The border is simple but rather attractive, although it isn't absolutely symmetrical in design.

Godmother's Wide Border in Berry Sea Silk

The best part of this project is that I have 59 of the original 100 grams of the Sea Silk left! It's like having my cake and eating it, too.

Happy Knitting!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Sock Stories

I am very happy to report that the errant second Gingerbread Cable Sock and I have completely reconciled. In fact, the GCS have gone from a WIP to a FO! We are both very pleased.

Gingerbread Cable Socks
"I can't believe she finally finished you, my lovely sock mate!" First Sock.

OK, I don't have cute kitties like Chris, so I have to make my socks talk. It's sad, I know. The completion of the GCS means that only the Fleece Artist merino socks in Parrot are still on the needles. I think FA misnamed this colorway; it should be called Guacamole, but maybe I'm just hungry.


Actually, I do have two other pairs of socks on the needles, but they are soon to be frogged. Both annoy me. First, I don't like the colors in this yarn. The gold with the pink, blue, grey and white just doesn't do it for me. I want my needles back, so it's going to be ripped.


Second to go is this cuff; it's the third pattern attempt with this yarn (Fleece Artist for Simply Sock Yarn's first anniversary), and I don't like the striping. It's too jarring, so back into the stash it goes.


All this frogging leaves me needles to finally cast on for the Lenten Rose pattern from Sundara's Petals Collection. I plan to use the lace pattern Sundara provided. I'm very excited by both the yarn and the pattern.


I received the next installment in the Petals Collection today: Birds of Paradise. I'd show you, but Flickr won't let me upload the picture. It's very bright and cheerful. I'll save it for the Easter season.

I also want to get a pair of the Tofutsies M bought me as described in my last post on the needles. My friend Elsie has knit a couple pairs of Tofutsies socks, and she really likes the yarn. She machine washes and dries her handknit socks, and she reports that the Tofutsies yarn holds up well to this laundering routine, and the socks get even softer with washing (it's really soft in the skein). I'm hoping the soy silk/wool blend will extend the handknit sock wearing season here in California.

It's time to play with Sundara's yarn!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

M Visits LYS: A Play in Two Scenes

Cast of Characters

Me: that is I
M: 6'4" of curly-headed manliness
Rebecca: Proprietress of LYS
LatBTs: Ladies at the Big Table (four of them)

A dark and stormy lunch hour at the LYS

Scene 1:

Me and M enter LYS.
Rebecca: Hi again! How are you?

Me: Great. I'm here to look at sock yarn.

Rebecca: Let me know if you have any questions.

Me spots the Tofutsies yarn and completely ignores Rebecca. Rebecca doesn't seem to mind.

M: Is that the yarn you were looking for?

Me: Yes, it has soy silk fiber mixed with the wool so it will make a lighter sock for the warmer spring weather.

LatBT: Do you knit?

M: No, I'm just the cheerleader.

Me: Oh, look Panda Cotton! (Me moves around the display)

LatBT (holding a big sweater and advancing on M): Would you try this on for me please?

M: Umm...

LatBT: I want to see if my repair is invisible when the sweater is worn.

M: OK (starts putting the sweater on).

LatBT: You're much larger than the sweater's owner (eyes M quite thoroughly), but I think you'll do. Yes, I can't see the mistake at all. Thanks, Rebecca, for your help.

Rebecca: No problem. You did a great job.

M suddenly crouches down by Me sans sweater. He sticks to Me like glue.

M: The colors are really pretty. Which ones do you want?

Me: I really want the pink and white one, but I can't decide between these two.

M: Why don't you get both?

Me: I shouldn't...

M (still glued to Me): Sure, you should.

Rebecca: Here's a sock I knit with the Tofutsies. (holds out a sock to Me)

Me (taking the sock): Very nice. What size needles did you use?

Rebecca: I used twos for the cuff and size ones for the foot.

M: Do you need any size one dpns? (school-girlish sighs are heard from the LatBTs)

Rebecca, Me and M move to the front counter, where Rebecca starts ringing up the yarn.

M reaching for his wallet: My treat. (More sighes from LatBTs.)

Me: Oh! You don't have to!

M: My pleasure!

Rebecca: You've earned 10% off today.

M (signing receipt): Great! Have a good afternoon!

Rebecca: Thank you! You too!

Me and M leave LYS.

Scene 2
A few minutes later in Me and M's pick-up.

M (starting the engine): I thought for a few minutes that I would have some serious explaining to do back there.

Me (looking up confused from yarn bag): What would you have to explain in a yarn store?

M: That NO means NO!

Suddenly Me understands M's glue-like behavior in the LYS. A chilling image of Rebecca restrained at the counter by Addi Turbo cables and Me with a size 10 Brittany Birch needle sticking out of her chest as the LatBTs drag a protesting M into the back room of the LYS where all the Jaeggerspun Zephyr, Classic Elite Lush, and Frog Tree alpaca yarn is kept. Me silently resolves that if M ever accompanies her to the LYS again, she will be sure to have armed herself with her size 17 Bryspun needles in order to protect M's virtue. She pats M's knee in sympathy. They drive off into the lunch hour rain.


M has recovered from his ordeal. And the yarn is beautiful:


Three cheers for M!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

How I Spent My Sunday

Lately, I have been in a sweater slump, so much so that I read with alarm Sheepish Annie's post in which she mentions the dreaded "I Started a Blog and Now I Can't Seem to Knit Sweaters Anymore" Curse. All my sweater issues can be summed up by that one horrendous word gauge. I have a jacket on the needles, that I swatched for last autumn, and I seem to have gauge. I got side-tracked for awhile with the Landscape Shawl and the Aran Pocket Shawl and the pink and periwinkle sweater swatches. But, the Landscape Shawl is done, the Aran Pocket Shawl moves along steadily as TV knitting, and the pink and periwinkles sweaters remain swatches and ideas for now. So, maybe it would be OK to really work on this jacket. Maybe I won't have a tremendous gauge disappointment. I did a little appeasement for the Gauge Goddess this afternoon.

Why yes, that is a 10 lb. chocolate bar. M bought it.

M really did buy the 10 lb. chocolate bar the last time we shopped at Trader Joe's. It was only $20, and he couldn't pass up the bargain. The jacket pattern is from Knitter's recent book of jacket patterns, and this one is by Jean Frost, who writes nice patterns with good fit and detailing. It is a good style for a bosc pear like me. Not too huge, but not too fitted either; neither too long, nor too short. And I like knit/purl brocade patterns. They are interesting without creating bulk like cables or holes like lace. The yarn is Cascade 220, a personal favorite, and I love the shade of blue--neither too dark nor too light. It's all just right. Or, it could be all just right, if I keep gauge.

I had trouble reading the chart for the brocade pattern. This caused me much shame, especially when I broke down and wrote out the chart as knitting text.


Then I realized that I could read the chart well enough to transcribe it to text, so it was only during the knitting that I kept screwing up. After far more puzzling than should have been necessary, I realized that I am most used to reading knitting charts for socks knit in the round where every chart row is read right to left. Or, I've knit from charts where the backside row is "in pattern" with the right side row, so the chart is pretty much superfluous for the WS rows. But with this brocade pattern, every row is different, and the wrong side rows were from left to right. Arghh! I have now accepted that I needed to write out the pattern, and that that is OK. So now it's all up to Mistress Gauge being kind.

I really spent most of the afternoon working on a manuscript for work and rewriting much of the statistical analyses. FUN! FUN! FUN! Therefore, I cajoled M into making me a new cocktail as soon as it was a reasonable cocktail hour.

emerald cocktail.JPG
The Emerald Cocktail made with Bushmills 10 year Irish Whiskey

The recipe for the Emerald comes from Esquire Drinks by David Wondrich; it is a Manhattan made with Irish whiskey instead of rye and orange bitters instead of Angostura. I would call it yummylicious, but if I call it that in my blog, and then M reads it, he will never ever make me another cocktail as long as we both shall live. So, instead I will say that it was quite smooth and good, not as brawny as a rye Manhattan, but still rather sophisticated. Wondrich describes it as "delightfully smooth and mellow," and I quite agree.

Perhaps if the chocolate was not to Mistress Gauge's liking, the cocktail was.