FO: Nelosys

First, a heartfelt thank you to everyone who left a comment about Rippy.  My family was very touched; many comments brought tears to their eyes.  My brother was glad to see that so many other people had had cats live so long and that became such good friends with their people.  I used a random number generator and it chose comments 3 and 19, so I have emailed Bridget and Lynn, asking for their mailing addresses to send them yarn.  Maybe next year my blogiversary, or Blog Day, which sounds even better to me, will be more cheerful.  Let’s hope.

I finished Nelosys (Never-ending Left-over Sock Yarn Shawl) way back in June, and just didn’t get around to blogging about it. I kept thinking I could get in a modeled photo shoot. However, that hasn’t worked out, and the blocked shawl lying neatly folder on my work counter finally shouted, “Just take my &*%#%@* photo and blog me!” All-righty then.
Those of you who don’t remember my posts of last April (if you do, you need help), Nelosys is a shoulder shawl of my own design, which I knit using left over sock yarn. I chose my cool-colored leftovers, transitioning to a new color through 3 rows of garter stitch so that purl ridges formed on the right side (row 1 in old color, rows 2-3 in the new color). Each new new colorway has at least one color in common with the old. This caused a shift from blue-purples to blue-greens and back ending with purple-greys on the outside edge (the shawl is knit top down from the center with 4 increases every right side row).
From the top:
1. Claudia Hand-Painted, Walk in the Woods: stockinette
2. Shibui sock yarn, Midnight: seed stitch
3. Fleece Artist Merino, Midnight: crossed stockinette
4. Cherry Tree Hill Supersock, Peacock: rice stitch
5. Fleece Artist Merino, Nova Scotia: fleck stitch
6. Fleece Artist Merino, Hercules: moss stitch
7. Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, Black Pearl: garter

I knit the shawl with size 5 needles, but bound off using size 7 needles. I didn’t pin for blocking, just laid it out nicely after a nice bath in my shampoo for color-treated (cough! cough!) hair. It is 54 inches along the top hypotenuse, and 27.5 inches from the bottom tip to the top edge. I was out of cool-colored sock yarn at this point, so I’m glad I got a shawl of a usable size. All in all, I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. We keep our house very cool, and I wanted something to keep my neck and shoulders warm when knitting or reading. This should fit the bill!

I’m not ready to start a second Nelosys, but I’m getting a good collection of leftovers in bright colorways…
Bright Leftovers for Nelosys II

Happy Autumn!

NELOSYS: The start of a new obsession?

I always have left over sock yarn after knitting a pair of socks. My feet aren’t huge, and I don’t like socks legs longer than 7-8 inches tops. Therefore, I usually end up with 25-40 grams of sock yarn left over when the socks are done. What to do with it? My friend LC, who has even smaller feet than me, knits a second pair of socks for her 10 year old daughter. I stick the yarn in a drawer from which it calls out to me that it’s being wasted. I thought about log-cabin knitting or mitered squares all seamed together, but that didn’t enthuse me enough to cast on.

Then one day, when I was wearing my Landscape Shawl, I had an idea. Wouldn’t it be neat if I could knit a Landscape-type shawl, but each different chevron pattern of stitches were a different (sock) yarn? I wouldn’t be able to knit it like the Landscape Shawl which was knit from the bottom point upwards. But if I started at the center back neck edge, then I could do the chevron wedges in different stitch patterns AND different yarns. I went to the abandoned semi-used-up sock yarn stash and pulled out several balls that all fit a cool-colored palette. I rifled through all the top-down shawl patterns I have and chose to use the first 5 rows of Miriam Felton’s Seraphim Shawl to start, and then I started knitting. I named my project NELOSYS for Never-Ending Left-Over Sock Yarn Shawl. From a cast-on of 5 stitches, I’m now knitting rows well over 300 stitches; I’ve become a little obsessed. But I like it very much indeed.
cool palette
From the top down: Claudia’s Handpainted (Walk in the Woods) in stockinette, Shibui Sock Yarn (Midnight) in seed stitch, Fleece Artist Merino (Midnight–apparently midnight in Japan and Nova Scotia are different colored) in crossed stockinette, Cherry Tree Hill Supersock (Peacock) in rice stitch, Fleece Artist Merino (Nova Scotia) in fleck stitch and Fleece Artist Merino (Hercules) in moss stitch.

Each color transition consists of 3 rows of garter showing a purl ridge on the right side in the old color, a knit row and then a purl ridge on the right side in the new color. I’ve done this in the two possible ways: 3 knit rows starting with a wrong side row or 3 purl rows starting with a right side row. I think it makes for a clean, consistent change.

The 5-stitch cast-on and the addition of 4 new stitches through YOs on each right side row, works quite well for pattern stitches that are 2+1 (or any number of stitches of course), so I’ve limited myself to those for this version of NELOSYS. One of my favorites was the crossed stockinette in the FA Midnight:
FA Midnight crossed stockinette
When changing yarns, I’ve tried to have the new yarn have at least one color in common with the old yarn.
FA Nova Scotia fleck stitch

I have one yarn left, Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Black Pearl, and then this NELOSYS will be done.
LL Black Pearl

I like that it will be machine washable on my front-loader’s handwash cycle, and that it will need only to be laid out flat to dry without requiring pinning out lace points and such. It’s an everyday sort of shawl that is turning out prettier than I imagined. Then I have all my bright-colored left-over sock yarns…

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!

Landscape Shawl: Pattern Notes

I’ve worn the Landscape Shawl a couple of times now, even though we are having unseasonably warm weather, and I am completely hooked on the whole shawl gestalt. They are so handy and pretty! Last Friday dawned a sunny day, so I cajoled M into taking some pictures outside.

GMM Landscape Shawl

Landscape Shawl

Pattern: Landscape Shawl from Fibertrends (2000)
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in Green Mountain Madness (2.3 skeins; 420 yd/skein)
Needles: Inox, US 5, 24-inch circular (pointy tip, scratchy sound)
Dimensions: 40″ deep; wingspan 75″ (very good for my body)
New Techniques: knitting a triangle, picot selvedge, knitted cast-on

Options: The pattern is written for several different yarn weights (lace to worsted). I used a fingering weight, and used a needle one size smaller than suggested. There were two options for the bind off depending upon the shape of the triangle I wanted. I chose to use a size 8 needle so that I could get more wingspan, which worked out very well. The other option was to use the same size needle as for the knitting, and then the result should be a longer, truer triangle shape.

Notes: As some readers have commented in WIP posts, this is a good pattern for a variegated yarn, as there are some stitch pattern variations, but no lace or cabling to get lost in the color changes. I like the drape and lightness of the supersock fabric, but golly jeepers, that made it a big project. If I were to ever knit this pattern again, it would be with a multi-colored DK or worsted weight yarn. I really only see myself making this again if I were to have such a yarn, and not enough of it for a sweater. In fingering yarn, this was 47,600 stitches, in worsted weight only 17,800 (67,900 in lace weight!). All in all, it was a long, easy knit. I’m glad I knit it; it stays on my shoulders without falling. I love the colors and the fabric, but I’m ready for more of a challenge.


It’s all Landscape Shawl all the time here at Molecular Knitting. Well, there’s a little work on the FA parrot socks, too. I’m almost done with the first sock! Here it is relaxing on our faux black mink throw.


Progress on the Landscape Shawl is up to 67%. Two-thirds done! It was only a little over a week ago that I had just started the moss stitch chevron. Now I am into the final stitch pattern of reverse stockinette. Because each row is one stitch greater than the previous row, I can calculate my percentage completed after each row with the formula:

R/2 x (R+1)= S
S/T x 100= percent completed
Where R=last completed row #; S= # stitches knit; T=total stitches in completed shawl (can be calculated with the first formula, using the total number of rows in the shawl for R). This does assume that you started with one stitch in row 1, so it works well for triangles. I cast on three stitches to begin, but I figure the two extra stitches won’t change any percentage value considering the entire shawl is 47,600 stitches.

All the green of the Parrot yarn in the socks, and the Green Mountain Madness of the shawl led me to determine what color green I am.

You Are Teal Green

You are a one of a kind, original person. There’s no one even close to being like you.
Expressive and creative, you have a knack for making the impossible possible.
While you are a bit offbeat, you don’t scare people away with your quirks.
Your warm personality nicely counteracts any strange habits you may have.

Hmm…I haven’t done the 6 Weird Things About Me meme, but perhaps I should.

Now I must get ready for my weekly phone call with Mom. She lives in Wisconsin. This afternoon it was 3 degrees in Oshkosh, WI (Farenheit) and 63 degrees here in Davis, CA. We also have daffodils and almond trees in bloom. I think I’ll lead with the weather.

Happy Knitting!

Sock Futures Rock!

After hearing about all the banking angst Blue Moon Fiber Arts went through, I decided to do a little shopping there, especially since I have never knit socks with Socks that Rock yarn. Shocking, I know. I was delighted to find a color scheme that reminded me of my new blueberry tea-for-one.

Socks that Rock in Nodding Violet and Henpecked.

The Nodding Violet doesn’t have any white, but I think the blue-violets and greens are a great match. Yay! The Henpecked results from blog envy. I saw Kristi’s marvelous wool/silk fiber from BMFA in Henpecked, and I had to have the color. Now I do. The only question is which one to knit first. I think I may reward myself by knitting a pair of these socks right away to help drive away sock ennui. I think these yarns deserve a whole skein shot.


In further knitting news, the Landscape Shawl is now over 50% complete! To celebrate here is a close up of the moss stitch chevron.


In 24 more rows I get to start the final chevron in reversed stockinette. I know I have complained a lot about how boring this shawl is to knit, but the CTH yarn is really working out nicely. Alison left me such a nice comment about the LS that I felt very encouraged to continue. She is knitting up an amazing Hidcote. You should go check it out.

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.

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!

First WIPs of 2007

2006 was my most knittingest year so far. I completed 14 projects, including one sweater. However, not everything I started in 2006 I finished, and I am carrying some things over. As I have a lot of knitting I want to do this year, I have been knitting furiously the last several days to turn some of these WIPs into FOs.

First, I have made it to the moss stitch chevron of the Landscape shawl. 37% done! I really like how the yarn variegation looks in the different stitches. At the very top, you can see the green stitch marker sticking up indicating the start of the moss stitch chevron. I’m on row 188, and on row 244, I get to start the final chevron of reverse stockinette. When I get to row 308 I get to bind off.

As I mentioned in my last post, I had to wear store bought grey socks earlier this week, and I think my lone gingerbread cable sock noticed. I decided I better get its mate started before it rose up in rebellion. I really, really like how this cable pattern is working out on the socks. I will have to use it again.
I would have finished this pair much earlier, but I am using metal needles and I didn’t want to risk having them taken away by airport security when M and I traveled over the holidays. So, over the holidays, I started a pair of Jaywalkers in Trekking XXL (color 159) on my new 6-inch Crystal Palace bamboo double points. I love these needles!! They are by far my dpn favorites: slick, pointy and warm to hold. The sock isn’t bad either, but it will have to wait for the gingerbread cable sock.

Finally, I am knitting a pair of mitts for Michael’s college friend Karen, who with another friend, will be coming out to California from Chicago to visit us next month. Karen saw my screaming red mitts on the blog and wanted a pair in blues and purples. M promised her a very soft, warm pair of mitts and totally vetoed! fingering weight yarn, which the fine cabled mitt pattern calls for. I was a bit disgruntled at first until I realized I needed to go to my LYS, and then I perked right up. I found a skein of Lorna’s Laces Lion and Lamb Swirl DK in purple club. The merino/silk blend is really soft, and the DK weight should make a warm pair of mitts. My only problem was a complete lack of pattern. I am adapting the twisted cable mitts pattern I used in a chunky weight alpaca on the fly. So far, it seems to be working.

Once these become FOs, there’s a second sock to knit for my mom, a new scarf for my Grandma Adeline (she confessed over Christmas that she lost the scarf I knit her a couple years ago, which she loved), the Aran Pocket Shawl, a scarf for the Victorian Lace Today KAL, the ice cream sundae socks…Why am I still blogging? Back to knitting!

Alice Starmore and Citrus

First up, if you have always wanted a like-new copy of Alice Starmore’s Aran Knitting, I am selling my copy through my parents on ebay. They are mingmags37, and the auction ends Thursday at 10 pm PDT. I bought the book new, looked at it a few times, and that’s pretty much it. Just thought you might like to know.

Second, Sunday afternoon was glorious here in Molecular Knitting’s little corner of California. I took myself outside for a tromp around the neighborhood to admire all the citrus trees heavy with ripe fruit.

Grapefruit tree

Lemons! Sidecar anyone?

Fabulous oranges

Many people don’t pick the fruit from their trees, which I think is a shame. I was very tempted to knock on a couple of neighbor’s doors and ask if they wanted to fork over a dozen or two lemons, but I feared that would be considered too rude. So, I just coveted them.

After my walk, I put in some heavy knitting on the Landscape shawl. 34% done! 4 rows from starting the next chevron, which is moss stitch. Once I get my chuck roast braising in the oven this evening (I’m still rendering some bacon to brown the roast in the bacon fat–evil, but oh, so yummy), I’ll get to that next chevron (and pretend the Christmas tree still isn’t up). So pictures of progress soon. I was very relieved to make the 34% mark with some of my first of three balls of yarn left. I bought what should be 200 extra yards, but the first ball seemed to be shrinking fast and I was stuck in the 20 -something percentage-complete for a long time.

Did you see the letter Trek’s black sweater vest sent her? I hope my gingerbread cable sock didn’t see it, or I think it may get some epistolary ideas of its own. It’s been a single sock for a long time. I even had to wear grey store bought socks today, and I think it noticed. I know the Harlot’s UFOs have also occasionally written her. I hope no one reads our UFOs, A Tale of Two Cities, or they may start a revolution. I’ll have to get to its mate soon.