Overdue FO, a prize, and some good reads

OK, so I suppose getting around to blogging for the FIRST time about a FO I gave to my mother for Mother’s Day (she received it early too) during the first week of August is a bit tardy.  But here at Molecular Knitting, I am a strong believer in better late than never when it comes to posting FOs.  So lets take a look at the mohair scarf I sent Mom.  She likes it too!
Stained Glass Scarf
Yes, I drink my fresh-squeezed OJ from a footed, crystal glass.  Once when I was in San Francisco, I saw a man leaning out of his 3rd story flat window, sipping OJ from a footed, crystal glass one bright, sunny morning while he enjoyed what I can only imagine was a spectacular view of the city.  I thought he had the right idea.  I didn’t live in San Francisco, and I couldn’t have afforded his home even if I did.  But I could find a footed, crystal glass in clearance room at the Mikasa outlet.  Yes, I feel very special.

I call this the Stained Glass Scarf for what I think are obvious reasons. The yarn is Artful Yarns Portrait in Weeping Woman. The Potrait series of colorways are all based on famous portrait paintings, and I assume this colorway is for the Picasso Weeping Woman painting. This drop stitch pattern was the third stitch pattern I tried–yes, I did rip mohair but very, very carefully. It was the best for the short stretches of color.
Stained Glass Scarf detail
Garter Drop Stitch:
Row 1: knit
Row 2: knit, wrapping yarn 2X around the needle (I used US 9 needles)
Row 3: knit, dropping extra wraps
Row 4: knit

While my computer was on the fritz, I won a prize! I won a skein of sock yarn in Claudia’s Bike for MS fundraiser. I got sent a lovely skein of CTH supersock in the Simply Sock Yarn Company Anniversary Colors.
CTH SSYC Anniversary Yarn
I have a twisty-ribby idea in mind, but I have other socks to finish first. More on those socks in another post. But I do want to mention a new series of historical mysteries (the first two are out) that I have enjoyed very much. They are the Lady Julia Grey mysteries by Deanna Raybourn.
Deanna Raybourn novels
The setting is mid-Victorian period in Britain. Silent in the Grave is the first novel, and it deals with the death of Lady Julia’s husband. Lady Julia assumes her husband’s congenital heart problem has killed him, but one of her dinner guests, Nicholas Brisbane, a private detective to the rich and famous, is sure it is murder. When Lady Julia realizes Mr. Brisbane is right, she decides to solve the murder, and asks for Mr. Brisbane’s help. Mr. Brisbane prefers to work alone. Lady Julia insists on helping. Sparks fly, and the culprit hasn’t a prayer of escaping.

The plot is clever and the characters are a great deal of fun. Furthermore, Ms. Raybourn is a good writer. She has an ear for dialog too. I am a very picky reader. My dad, a literature professor, taught me to recite from T.S. Eliot’s and Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poems when I was in grade school. I learned a love of words from this which led to an aversion of flat, lackluster writing. I am happy to report that I didn’t groan once while reading these two mysteries. I liked the first so well, I had to go out immediately and buy the second. Now I wait in loneliness for the third. Good mysteries are hard to find; I highly recommend these.

A Bit of Random

First, a Bunny update.
Maxine, the bunny, has gone to a foster home. I found her owners, which is how I learned her name was Maxine. The owner had seen our sign, but she wasn’t planning on contacting us. She was moving her family that night, and they were moving to a rental that did not allow pets. She claimed Maxine had dug her way out from their enclosed patio. I decided not to go see if that were true, or if she had simply released her. She did give us Maxine’s better cage, which was nice. In any event the rabbit coordinator at the local SPCA found a very nice young woman to foster Maxine, and she left on Thursday evening.

Second, I am trying to finish a couple of old projects. One of these is a counted cross stitch picture of an autumn harvest scene done in an American Primitive style from The Prairie Schooler. I’ve been “working” on it for three years. My goal is to get it finished by mid-October for autumn hanging. I’m not much into this style of art, except for things like Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday decorations. I’ve done the central three of five buildings, and there will be a horse and wagon and a whole lot of pumpkins and more trees in the foreground. We’ll see if I can hang in there and get it done. Yes, the “evergreens” do turn autumn colors in the design.
Harvest Time  060908

Third, I’ve started Christmas knitting in a pre-emptive strike against relatives “placing orders” as they put it last year, which made me unseasonably crabby. My goal is to have all orders done with the yarn I want to use before anyone thinks of telling me what to knit them for a gift. My friend LC thinks my plan is the way to go. So here is the start of a 4×4 rib sock in Fleece Artist Merino in Lily Pond. The recipient does wear a lot of light colored clothing and open backed shoes, so I think this is a good choice that she would not think to ask for but would like receiving.
Christmas Socks I

Fourth, I finished the first Stanfield 27 sock using a star toe of three points which takes 3-inches to complete, so I could end the basketweave pattern where it would be symmetrical with the beginning. I’ve even got half the leg of the second sock done. I had my camera set wrong, so the colors are wonky (this is a “corrected” copy); but I show it anyway to prove my progress.
1st Stanfield 27 Sock

Fifth, our local U-pick farm has started to get ripe berries, and M and I went on Saturday morning to pick some early Marion berries. Very tasty.
Early Marion Berries

June Reading 2008

Finally, a reading update. It’s all orange-covered books here at Molecular Knitting. I’ve finished the latest Dick Francis thriller, Dead Heat, which he co-wrote with his son Felix. Not bad, but not vintage-quality Francis either. Too much exposition.

I’m really enjoying The Soul of a Chef by Michael Ruhlman. If you’ve ever thought you’ve taken the worst exam on the planet, and it wasn’t the Certified Master Chef exam at the Culinary Institute of America, you should check out the first section of this book. Less than one third of the chefs who take the exam pass it, and it is 10 days long, and each day is 12-16 hours long, and each section of the exam gets critiqued and graded in front of the chef, and the chefs pay over five grand to take the exam. Now don’t those qualifying/board exams seem easy peasy?

For serious reading, I’m pleased to report that I am making good progress on my goal to re-read all my Calvin and Hobbes books this year. Weirdos from Another Planet is my current endeavor. I think it’s important to re-read the classics from time to time to gain new insights on the human condition.

That’s all the random for now.  I’d better go cross-stitch a red evergreen tree.  Hope all is well with you!