When only pretty will do

I felt the need for pretty this past week, so out of the bazillion WIPs I have, these two got the most attention.
Tudor Grace-long view
Tudor Grace pattern from Knitspot, which I’m knitting in the scrumptious Silk Sock from Yarn Lust in Currant. It’s 70% merino/30% silk, soft and strong, warm but not wooly, and it has a little sheen to it. Did I mention it’s soft? Babies weep that their bottoms aren’t this soft. And of course, the Tudor Grace pattern is a dream. It’s very easy, but still fun to knit. There are 3 “lace” rows to the 10-stitch, 6-row repeat, and one row has a double YO, one has a right twist and the other changes the order of the left and right slanting decreases. So, it mixes things up a little. Easy but not monotonous. And it is pretty!
Tudor Grace WIP
On a rainy day last week, I thought about starting the Flicker sock, but I had this wonderful pink and green sock yarn that look so cheerful and springlike that I couldn’t resist. I did stick with a Cookie A. pattern however.
Monkey leg
I finally got around to trying the Monkey sock. I know they are called a “lace” sock, and I haven’t been one to knit lace socks, although I’ve made an “official” decision to get over that in 2009 (hence the Flicker sock). However, the Monkey sock is lace? Really, people? That’s like saying YO increases along a raglan edge are lace. These socks have “decorative increases” paired with directional decreases. That’s my take on it. It is knitting up very pretty in this yarn I bought from a local dyer at our Farmer’s Market last October. Here it is stretched out on my sock blockers:
Monkey leg stretched
When talking with the dyer, she promised me there would be no pooling as she did very short color repeats. There is no pooling and her color repeats are short. The base yarn is identical to Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, which knits up very nicely.
Monkey sock yarn
The Monkey sock may become my “go to” pattern for highly variegated yarn if these socks fit me well. Because we like the pretty handknits when it’s rainy and grey outside.

Containment

Earlier this past week, while M and I ate dinner one night, I looked over at an “extension” of our bar and sighed.  The extension was an old TV cart made of contact paper covered particle board from my graduate school, single days.  Liquor bottles covered the top (which could swivel!), a black plastic tool box holding M’s mandoline (for slicing not music) occupied the “VCR shelf,” and the small cabinet below was full of containers of loose tea.  The cart was ugly, and both cart and all the bottles needed to be dusted before we hosted a dinner party on Saturday.  If only I had a cabinet that I could put all the bottles in.  Then I thought, I could buy a new cabinet.  The next three evenings found M and me at three different stores, and Friday we hit pay dirt.  We bought it, M assembled it, and I filled it.  Neatness abounds.
Bar Cabinet closed
It holds a lot of stuff (the Ficus tree next to it is about 7 ft high):
Bar Cabinet open
So now even the Original Bar is not so crowded (although there are still more liquor bottles in other containment elsewhere–we are well stocked):
Original Bar
Containment is a good thing! Even for knitting projects. The funny thing is that for my three “large” WIPs, I have a matching project bag. Containment and Coordination!
Large Project Bags
On top is an Amish basket given to me by my only aunt (the Amish person is her neighbor in northern Wisconsin); it’s sitting on my Grandma Frances’s old picnic basket. To the right is a cherry blossom bag I got for my birthday; it’s from Janine King Designs. I keep my pink mohair cardi project in there, as the cherry blossoms have the same pink in their detailing. In front, the Totally Autumn throw is kept in a bag with apples on it that one of the millions of my mother’s former English students made and sold. And my newest project, Career Check (Ravelry link), a basket weave jacket by Kathy Zimmerman matches my newest bag, a Christmas gift, handmade by my friend Nancy.
Career Check and Bag from Nancy
I feel very matchy-matchy. I only hope that if I start to knit a blue sweater, I’ll be able to refrain from purchasing a matching blue project bag or basket.

With all this coordination and containment going on, M and I hope that next weekend we will have time to sit down, have a cocktail and write a blog post. Until then, it’s sobriety and knitting around here.

A FO!

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!

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Six feet of fuschia, alpaca-y goodness.

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

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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.