WIPs and Praying Mantis

I’m a day late with the WIPs, but a headache kept me off the computer yesterday evening. So, it’s WIPs on Thursday this week. In August when I started planning my autumn knitting, I wanted to get four things knitted by October: the spaced check socks (done and gifted!), the Delicato mitts, the Clarence Border Scarf from Victorian Lace Today, and the pieces of the Minimalist Cardi. When my hands started hurting, I gave myself until mid-October to finish the cardi. So let’s look at the progress:

I started the second Delicato Mitt, so it shouldn’t be too hard to finish by October. Does anyone else find Schaefer Anne kind of splitty?
Delicato Mitts 091907.JPG

I took this photo of the Clarence Border Scarf on Tuesday morning while I was part way through the second border, but now it is actually off the needles ready to block.
VLT Scarf 091907.JPG

As for the Minimalist Cardi, I’m on the right front. I’m a bit very concerned at how much the stockinette panel is rolling. However, this seems to be a universal occurrence based on what I’ve seen on Ravelry and other blogs, and for most knitters it tends to block out. I plan to finish this first front, block it and see.
Minimalist Cardi Front 091907.JPG

In closing, I have to show you the praying mantis that has been living on our hummingbird feeder, keeping the little bugs out of the sugar syrup. It does startle the hummingbirds a bit, but they still eat up. I am always a fan of creatures that eat nasty, little insects, even if it’s a great big insect.

Praying Mantis.JPG

Two Forgotten FOs

My previous post has contest info and is the post in which to leave comments for the first contest. So, if you haven’t already, go check it out. The first contest ends August 25th at noon PDT. The FOs will wait.

The thick and thin mitts have been done for quite a while. Since it is summer, after I finished them I put them away, and then it was out of sight out of mind, and I forgot to do a FO post. But I think they will come in handy when reading in bed and M has the thermostat set at 62 F. He likes a “cool” head.

Thick and Thin Mitts
These look a little bluer here than in real life. The sun was too low in the sky to do a photo shoot outside. As I made these up as I went along, I didn’t do too badly. There is a third “prototype” mitt due for frogging, and I still have an entire skein of yarn left (3 mitts with a little left over took 2 skeins). I think I may make a collar or ear warmer band to also wear in bed when I find it just too cold. That will be good for a snort from M. The yarn is DiVe Fiamma, 55 yd per skein, color 42175. I used US size 10.5 (6.5 mm) dpns.

I also finished the socks for Pete a few weeks ago. They are a 2×2 rib cuff and a stockinette foot with an Eye of the Partridge heel flap. The striping and pooling of the Claudia’s Hand Painted in Chocolate Cherry is eerily matching between socks. Pete told me she knit a lot of socks for family back in the 1940s-60s (she’s now in her 80s), but no one ever knit her a pair of socks, and she asked me last spring if I would. She likes browns with reds. Well, the Chocolate Cherry is a pinky red under incandescent lights and an light orangish red in sunlight. I hope she likes them, and they fit!
Pete's Socks

I still have one FO to block, and when I finally get that done, I’ll do a post, and we can all be amazed at how we had forgotten all about it for so long. But now it’s back to knitting and trying to find a little time to do some searching on Ravelry. If you had 1600 yd of a medium blue Baby Kid Extra mohair yarn, what would you knit? Let me know–you might be the 1000th commenter and win a prize! The 1000th comment is very close.

ETA:  Did you know that people can send you messages on Ravelry?  Of course you did.  I didn’t.  Thanks to everyone, all 21 of you, who have made me a friend  on Ravelry.  Just a few minutes ago I noticed the little message icon up by my user name.  Messages?  How handy!  I’ve never claimed to be the brightest bulb on the strand.

Finally, a FO!

This weekend has not been the most conducive to knitting. I spent yesterday with a couple of friends attending a diocesan congress on the Liturgy of the Word. It was very good, but it cut out some knitting time. Nevertheless, I do finally have a FO for 2007.

IMG_1450.JPG
Mitts for Karen in LL Swirl DK Purple Club

Karen arrives on Friday, so I wanted these done in time. They are not a big project, but they are a complete project, and I did manage to adjust the pattern from bulky to DK weight yarn. I will see on Friday if Karen will consent to a modeling shot for the blog. I didn’t put them on my hands, as I was recently told that I certainly didn’t have a “model’s hands.” Don’t you just love nice, elderly ladies who feel free to speak their minds? As M is fond of saying, age often thins the filter, and the thought cloud is spoken.

Also cutting into my knitting time is my need to finish this:

IMG_1453.JPG
The fourth Matthew Bartholomew Chronicle

Deadly Brew is the fourth book in this mystery series. They are very good both in terms of writing and mystery. The series takes place in Cambridge starting in 1348, the year the Plague arrives in England. In the first book, A Plague on Both Your Houses someone feels that they can slip a body in with all the plague dead and get away with murder. Physician and University Fellow Matthew Bartholomew, though, sees through the sinister plot and ensures that justice is done. I highly recommend the series to any who enjoy medieval or historical mysteries.

Tonight, I hope to cajole my swift, none other than M, to hold some yarn for winding into balls. He has agreed to help, the question now is how many skeins?

Happy Knitting!

This and That

I’ve been feeling rather antsy. It’s January 24th, and I don’t have a FO for 2007! The knitting has thwarted every attempt at completion, but I have a deadline on the horizon, so a FO must be born. Karen is arriving a week earlier than I thought she would be, so I need to finish her mitts. Good thing: mitts are small. Bad thing: I didn’t write anything down when I made the first mitt. Why didn’t I write it down? I have no idea. Before this, I would have said it was inconceivable that I wouldn’t write down how I had modified a pattern to work with DK rather than chunky weight yarn. Apparently, I don’t know what “inconceivable” means, because I didn’t write it down. So, now I have to figure it out again by counting everything on the first mitt. Sometimes I really annoy myself.

All other knitting progress is added length. The Landscape Shawl is now 49% completed. It is beautiful but oh-so-boring to knit. I want it done. Bad. The Sea Silk berry scarf from VLT is about 14 inches long. It is lovely, but a total snoozer to knit. I have decided to give it to my Grandma Adeline who needs a new scarf. She is at best five feet tall, so a 48-inch scarf works very well for her. That would be far too short for me, and I don’t have it in me to make it longer.

I want to knit lace socks, like Grumperina’s Roza’s Socks, Sundara’s petal’s collection Lenten Rose socks, and Child’s First Sock from Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush. I want to knit more complicated lace scarves and shawls from Victorian Lace Today in pretty spring-like, feminine colors. I want to knit nifty cables into sweaters. I’ve decided that I have to finish the Landscape Shawl, the Gingerbread cable socks, Grandma’s scarf, and the mitts. Then all other bets are off. The Aran Pocket Shawl, the Jaywalkers in the Trekking Yarn (my friend Elsie, who is a sock knitting fiend, has had bad laundry and yarn breakage problems with her Trekking socks, and I find the yarn pretty scratchy), they may be put on hold until I think about Fall again.

Today we put to use a little helper that arrived at Molecular Knitting yesterday.
IMG_1439.JPG
IMG_1441.JPG

M and I are very pleased. Scooba is such a good little worker. The water in the dirty water tank was really dirty, and it is hard at work on a second run tonight while I blog and knit. Now, if it only did windows…

Happy Knitting!

The Good and the Bad

The good news is that I have one mitt done of the pair for Karen. I successfully adapted the pattern from chunky to DK weight yarn.

IMG_1414.JPG

The bad news:

IMG_1421.JPG

I had a “little” sock knitting mishap.

Note to self: don’t knit with a headache.

At least I found all 60 stitches after ripping a third of the gusset and the entire heel (I mis-centered the heel flap by 3 stitches–quite noticeable in a cable-rib pattern, at least noticeable after knitting the entire heel and a third of the gusset).

I’m going to bed.

In the words of the immortal Scarlett O’Hara, “Tomorrow is another day.”

Where to Go From Here?

M and I returned yesterday to California from visting family in Illinois and Wisconsin. Today I wondered how to get back into the blog. Recap the vacation? Show the holiday knitting loot? Sum up the year in knitting? Look forward to 2007? What to do? What to do? So, here is a bit of everything.

First, I did almost NO knitting over the vacation. I was very tired on the flights to the Midwest (through LAX not Denver, thank God), and so I slept. I did finish the screaming red mitts at my in-laws.
Screaming Red Mitts
The fit is great. I did mess with the pattern a little. I used less repeats of the cables as my fingers are short, and I reversed the cable on the left mitt for symmetry. I’m not into the whole symmetry in socks gig, but I thought I would give it a whirl in the mitts. I plan to knit more! Actually, Anne at Knitspot, where I bought the pattern, has made a lovely lace pair of mitts that I saw today, and as soon as she makes the pattern available, I’ll be snatching it up. Anne designs a nice thumb gusset, I must say.

I also started my first foray into the Jaywalker sock pattern from Grumperina. I didn’t photograph it yet as I only have pretty nasty artificial light right now (as the mitt pic shows), but soon. I’m using some Trekking XXL, and I like the colors and the patterning, but I’m not enthralled with the yarn. It’s a little scratchy and thin.

But on the subject of yarn, I must gloat: M proved himself the absolute best of husbands this Christmas by signing me up for the second sixth months of Sundara’s Petals Collection. Yipee!
Future FO
That’s Lenten Rose with a lacy sock pattern. I’m so excited! Oh, and the little bauble? That’s a sterling cuff from Thailand that he bought me through Novica (he picked it out completely on his own). And to answer a question I’ve heard often: he’s NOT available. I get to keep him.

To finish the 2006 FO list, I finished the Grapevine scarf in Black Purl Shepherd’s Sock.
Grapevine Lace Scarf
This scarf was a learning experience. I could not memorize the 12 row pattern, possibly because I knit on it off and on and it was my first lace other than feather and fan. So, the knitting was a bit tedious. The colors were lovely though. I learned a new cast-on (backwards loop), which was elementary. I also used Eunny’s IK tutorial on lace cast-ons and bind-offs and used the Lace or Russian bind-off. It was slow to do but easy and really quite fabulous in terms of strength and elasticity. The problem is that the lace curls. I did not include an edging. I knew I could have a problem with that, but I pretended all would work well. It’s a stockinette lace, and it curls. Lesson learned.

I could rattle on longer, but M has almost finished cooking dinner (NOT available!), and I am famished.

Happy New Year! May everyone have a wonderful year of knitting!

Screaming Red Mitts and Ice Cream Sundae Socks

Christmas Knitting. Check.
Christmas Beading. Check.
Christmas Shopping. Check.
Christmas Laundry (we travel). Check.
We fly Thursday! Must leave home by 5:30 a.m. to make flight! Ack!

M cut out a few of my Christmas beading gifts as too much (they were for his relatives). M’s mom did not need handknit socks and beaded jewelry. He also suggested one piece for his sister for Christmas and the other I had designed for her March birthday. So, we did a little shopping at amazon for her. But now I am back to knitting and beading just for pleasure. No longer worrying about foot sizes vs sock sizes. No longer fretting that an elderly grandmother will find a necklace too heavy or not be able to manage a clasp. Now it’s just deciding which sock yarn I want to knit first and how long I want to make a scarf.

In anticipation of flying and wanting small things to knit, as M is 6’4″ tall and broad shouldered and I am invariably a little squished in my seat, I started a few small projects. First, my hands have been freezing, and the mitts I made earlier from chunky alpaca are too thick for other than reading (and sleeping!). I love Eunny’s Endpaper Mitts, and I nearly swooned when I saw the lovely green/cream color combo that Diana of Streets and Yos knit up. However, I have never done stranded work before, and my hands are cold now. So, I went over to Knitspot and ordered Anne’s pattern for Fine Cabled Mitts. I’ll save the Endpaper Mitts for 2007 (my neighbor knits and has offered to teach me how to do stranded knitting, yay!). Unlike Anne, I did not have any cashmere sock yarn lying around, but I did have enough left over Wildfoote sock yarn in Jazz Time, or screaming red, as I like to think of it. I am almost done with the first mitt.
IMG_1333.JPG
The pattern is pretty easy to follow and I really like how Anne designed the thumb gusset. I did make my usual cabling error of doing the second cable one row too early (cabling one row of a 6 row repeat means cabling every 7th row, not every 6th), but here it turns out to be fortuitous, as I have short fingers. There is no way I can do all 10 repeats of the cable pattern and not turn the mitt into a mitten (I had to do less repeats in the chunky alpaca mitts too), so cabling every 6th row instead of 7th lets me get more cables in. The nice thing about the Wildfoote is that it is machine washable. My gauge is looser than the pattern calls for (also contributing to needing a shorter mitt) by a little bit, but my hand width was just over the size max for the smaller mitt size, and the mitt seems to fit as great as it can with dpns sticking out all over.

I also started a new pair of socks, which I now think of as my ice cream sundae socks. The yarn is Fleece Artist Merino in the colorway dyed specifically for Simply Sock Yarn Company’s first anniversary last June. The colors look to me like rich vanilla ice cream with hot fudge and raspberry sauce.
IMG_1329.JPG
Looks tasty but a little dry.

The pattern is garter rib. I tried a few others that were more complicated, but they were too much with the huge color contrasts in the yarn. BTW, the sock is leaning up against my favorite mineral from my collection of minerals, which has long, cylindrical, hexagonal aquamarine crystals in it. That’s a long non-gem quality aquamarine crystal to the left of the sock. This sock is so proud; I usually don’t lean them up against something so pretty and valuable.

Last week while using an old scarf, I realized that I don’t like to wrap a scarf all around my neck so both ends hang in the front. So I tried on the Grapevine scarf to see if I had knit enough if I didn’t plan to do so much scarf wrapping, and I have. Tomorrow I hope to block! Photos will follow.

Now I have to go debate which sock yarns from my stash to take over our trip. We fly 2300 miles each way, and then we also have two 450 mile car trips between our parents’ homes. I used to drive that and let M be passenger (let’s just say he refers to me when he is driving as his “onboard navigation system” I’m a horrible backseat driver), but last year I had learned to knit socks, so M got to drive while I knit (which nicely cut down on the “navigation”). I think it’s a wonderful tradition. I want to make a pair of Jaywalkers, as I am the only knitter on the planet who hasn’t and I have some striping Trekking XXL, and Cookie’s Monkey socks, which look fantastic. Now, which yarn for those…