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?
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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.
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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.
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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.

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WIPs with a Green Tape Measure

Before I WIP it for this week, I want to say I received my Ravelry invite on Sunday. I’m still learning my way around the site, where I can be found under the sobriquet of MolecularKnit, but I have already found several projects to put in my queue. I even found a few people whose blogs I read, and I made them my friends. I still need to find a picture of myself to use. I might try to get M to help me do something fun. I may wait a day or two to ask him though, as today in lab he thought it was “fun” to keep squirting me with lab bench water bottle. But let’s look at those WIPs!

The back of the minimalist cardi is up to 11 inches! 3 more inches and I get to decrease for the sleeves. I got to just over 10 inches with the first skein of Cascade 220. I know I have to stop knitting on this when I do a row of seed stitch instead of moss.
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In addition to knitting all the pieces for the Cardi by October, I would also like to get the Habu silk scarf from VLT done. The Clarence Border isn’t shown here as I can’t get the tape readable and show the whole scarf as it is now a yard long. Half way done.
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By Thanksgiving, I would like to get the Pinnacle Chevron Scarf in Ultra Alpaca done for M. I took it to Wisconsin and knit on it there, so now I am up to 21 inches. M is very tall. Thanksgiving is not an unreasonable finish date. I love knitting with this yarn–soft but durable.
&Pinnacle Chevron length 081407

WitW sock and Delicato Mitt

Finally, by October I would like to finish the Delicato Mitts and this new pair of socks. I started the sock for myself; the yarn is Claudia’s Hand Paints in Walk in the Woods. The pattern is the Spaced Check from More Sensational Knitted Socks, which I realize is hard to see here; it’s better on the foot. However, the sock is rather large for me. I was bummed at first until I remembered that my friend Nancy, to whom I have promised a birthday gift of hand-knitted socks, has bigger feet than me. So instead of using the LL Mother Lode yarn for her socks (you may remember I had tragic pooling issues), I shall do a switcheroo. Now I am almost done with her first sock instead of not having started!

Well, those are all the WIPs that are fit to print.  I hope all your WIPs are going well!

WIP Trio

I’ve learned something about myself. I should never sign up for knit-alongs. It’s Summer of Socks 2007, and my interest in knitting socks has vanished. The last time this happened was last October when I “took part” in Socktoberfest. I don’t know what my problem is, and I really don’t want to try to figure it out. I wanted to give Pete her socks this evening at our bookclub’s “we finished another book” dinner out, but they weren’t done. It is July, and we are in California, so it’s not a big deal, but it would have been nice… Anyway, one sock is done and the second started:

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While knitting the gusset, I decided that if the yarn started spiral striping after the gusset decreases were done, I could deal with the gusset pooling. I was very happy when the striping picked back up. Now I just need to power through the second sock.

My second WIP (and by WIP I mean things I’ve knit this past week–cheating, I know, but there it is) is the Victorian Lace Today scarf with Clarence Border knit in the Habu silk. I finished 2.5 repeats of the border for 5 points and symmetrical double YO triangles (the dreaded YOYO, Lorraine!), and then started the drop stitch body of the scarf. Pretty, I think, but not really requiring thought or even consciousness to knit.

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The sonorous drop-stitch prompted me to play around yesterday evening with some yarn from stash. Originally I bought this thick-and-thin yarn to knit a scarf, but I have so many knit and planned scarves, that I needed something a bit different. I thought of mitts, no doubt coming to mind due to the hot July weather, and I just played around producing this prototype:

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The cuff is too short and would be better as 1×1 not 2×2 rib. I started the thumb gusset a round or two too soon, and the thumb should be one stitch larger around. I should have made the whole thing 3-4 rounds longer. Otherwise, I like it. The thick-thin yarn creates a texture I like, and the fact that I knit it on size 10.5 needles, made it a very fast knit. I’ll start over with the mods and have nice warm mitts for those dog days of summer.

I’m very much in the mood to start a thick wool sweater, so who knows what will be a WIP next Wednesday.

Wednesday WIP Concerto

Before we begin this Wednesday WIP Concerto in the Key of K silent, the WIPs would like you to know that the photos are lousy because I had a very late day at work and arrived home after sunset (yes, it is just a couple days past the summer solstice where I live). The poor quality of the photography in no way reflects upon the nature and quality of the WIPs (who believe they have arisen spontaneously from my knitting baskets, all laws of inertia cast aside) and resides, in fact, in my inability to take good photos with incandescent lighting. I was determined however to show my WIPs this Wednesday following in the splendid examples of Turtlegirl. So as the house lights dim…

I. Allegro, in a simple, yet colorful, manner
Pete's Socks: 1st Cuff
Pete’s Socks: Cuff #1 in Chocolate Cherry from Claudia’s Hand Painted Yarn.

These socks are for Pete, the 80+ year old lady who hosts the book group I belong to. She likes browns and reds. This Chocolate Cherry is making spiral stripes in 2×2 rib, and I think that is just fine.

II. Rondo

75% done

The Fuchsia bag goes round and round and is now 75% done. Mods are a coming. I refuse to buy size 13 dpns to knit 18 million feet of I-cord for a strap. I intend to make strap holder holes with grommets and not haul the bag out of the machine while felting every 5 minutes to stick my fingers through YOs to keep them open. I don’t intend to decorate my bag with needle felted sheep as the pattern indicates. I will decorate the bag, but I intend to use the skills of the first needlecraft I learned from my mother. You’ll have to wait to learn what that craft is, as I like the idea of my mother trying to guess remember what that craft is.

III. Allegro con brio
Clarence Border in Habu Silk
Clarence Border from VLT in Habu tsumugi 100% silk yarn

What’s a concert without a little lace? Victorian Lace updated for today’s styles no less (are readers starting to notice that I can be sarcastic?). I bought this Habu yarn from Pam when she destashed a bit a month or so ago. She mentioned in at least 2 emails that Victorian Lace Today showed one of its wide-bordered scarves in this yarn. I tried that pattern, which is quite pretty (page 88), and even though my faggoting and lace motifs all lined up, I was short 4 stitches about half way through the first repeat. This happened twice. I decided I had always wanted to knit the Clarence Border (page 83) and all is now happiness. Well, except for the fact that the border repeats are non-symmetrical if you do all 3 called for. See along the top of the border the repeating small and big triangles of double YOs? 3 repeats would result in small-big-small-big-small-big and 6 diamond shapes along the bottom. I shall knit 2.5 repeats, removing the last big triangle and making 5 diamond shapes along the bottom. Much better.

Faithful readers can no doubt flip through previous post of mine and find recents WIPs for which there is no FO post. Well, the wimple needs blocking. And I disavow all knowledge of any other WIPs this week. I don’t believe there is anything more to say on the subject.

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.

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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!

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:
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!

Joinery

M’s joinery:

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tongue and groove

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dovetails

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interlocking dados

My joinery:

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knitting on the second border perpendicular to the scarf length

OK, so I don’t use power tools, I don’t make a lot of sawdust, and I don’t know a nifty name for this type of “joinery,” but knitting the second border of the wide-bordered scarf perpendicular to the scarf body, and attaching it to the scarf as I knit is fun. Grandma Adeline will have a new scarf! The Sea Silk is soft; I think she’ll like it. FO pictures to follow soon.

Turquoise

I’ll get to the turquoise in a moment. This weekend Karen arrived and approved her mitts, and she requested another pair. I showed her both my fingering weight screaming red mitts and the chunky baby alpaca mitts I made last summer. She really liked the alpaca, so I gave them to her also. I know she will wear both pairs, as she wore them while visiting us. In addition, I know she will take good care of them, because when I mentioned that they shouldn’t be washed in the machine, she answered, “Of course, not! They’re made of wool and fine fibers.” Did I plan to take a photo of Karen in her mitts? Yes. Did I remember to do so? No. Did I take my camera with us on Saturday when Karen, M and I went wine tasting (they tasted, I drove) in the Sierra Nevada Foothills in the glorious sunshine? No. Am I a complete goofball blogger? Quite possibly.

Karen offered to pay for the mitts, but I declined. I knew M wouldn’t want her to pay, and I was pleased she was very pleased with the mitts. After she left this afternoon, M took me to the LYS and paid for my purchases. I needed a size 10.5 32-inch circular needle (why in a later post), and I chose Addi Turbos, and I also bought 5 balls of beautiful turquoise cotton.

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Since I have decided to give the Sea Silk berry scarf with the wide border I am knitting from Victorian Lace Today to my grandmother, I decided that I wanted to make a different wide bordered scarf for myself. And, since it is usually blazingly hot here, I thought glossy “baumwolle-cable” would be more wearable than wool or silk. The yarn came in several lovely colors, but I really liked this light turquoise. It reminded me of a shop clerk in London, who, when I said the yarn in a particular sweater was a lovely turquoise (TURkoise), said, “turKWAAHHZ, love, turKWAAHHZ.” I am about half done with the scarf for my grandmother, and then I’ll start my turKWAAHHZ scarf for myself.

But now it’s back to the Landscape Shawl.

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See those two red marker next to each other? They signify the start of the final stitch pattern, reverse stockinette (a real tough stitch pattern there). I am 63% done! This is much more exciting than it looks and sounds. My in-laws are visiting the weekend of February 16th on their way from Illinois to Hawaii. Do you think I can have the shawl done and blocked by then? It’s a goal.

I hope you had a good weekend!

More Plans than Progress

Due to errant, painful sinuses, a busy social schedule, and a misbehaving sock, I didn’t have a big weekend in terms of knitting progress. While the gingerbread cable sock sat in time-out until Sunday evening (all is back now on track with it), I did restart the ice cream sundae socks on smaller needles in a broken, lightly twisted 2×2 rib, and I finished the first border of the berry sea silk scarf from Victorian Lace Today (page 80 “scarf with wide striped border”).

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I did have some time to do some planning, thinking and perusing. I had asked for suggestions for a sweater pattern to knit using Lamb’s Pride worsted, and I looked up all the suggestions. Thanks to everyone who answered my questions! Rogue and Samus were my two favorite choices, but Rogue seemed a bit beyond my current abilities, and Samus, although very beautiful with its wide horizontal celtic braid, would put that braid right where I wouldn’t want it. I generally try to pretend that my hips do not exist, and the horizontal braid of Samus would destroy that self-delusion. Several people assured me I could design my own if I chose a drop shoulder style, and I think they may be right. I also remembered a pattern from Knitters (Fall 2001) that I liked.

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And then I started perusing some of my stitch pattern books, which leaves me with some serious swatching to do.

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It would be nice if I could fit some swatches in among my other knitting, so that when I get the Landscape Shawl done, I could be ready for the sweater. I’d cross my fingers that this will all work out, but I don’t know how to knit with my fingers crossed.

So, I have a bit of a plan. Now it’s time for some more progress. Happy Knitting!

Victorian Lace Cast-on and a Sock’s Disgust

Last night I taught myself the crochet cast-on and started the first striped, wide border of the “Scarf with wide striped border” from Victorian Lace Today. I knit two repeats before I needed to switch to more mindless knitting so M and I could watch Inside Man on DVD (I really liked the movie BTW).

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I started with the specified size 7 needles; the yarn is Sea Silk in Berry. The Sea Silk is working pretty well for me on these Clover bamboo needles. Grumperina found Sea Silk sticky and used addi turbos, and others have found it slick and used bamboo. Well, it’s neither sticky nor slick to me. I don’t remember who the slick-finding people are, but I wonder if it is all climate based. It’s dry here but not arid dry. However, I am wondering if I should use size 6 needles instead. I’ve decided to finish this first border before making a conclusion. Any readers opinions are quite welcome!

All this Victorian lace knitting has made the Gingerbread Cable Sock quite peeved. When I said I planned to make its mate my exclusive sock knitting project, it thought I meant exclusive knitting project period. It was very annoyed to find me with the VLT scarf and knitting on the Landscape Shawl (that I can knit while watching a movie). I have passed the 200-stitch row on the LS, so now that seems all down hill as 308 is the number of stitches in the final row before binding off (even though I’m only 44% done).

I did make, what I thought, was significant progress on the second GCS. Here you can see the first sock checking out my progress (8 repeats of 11 done in the cuff).
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The GCS was so disgruntled that I was going to work on the LS, that I decided it couldn’t stay in my open sock knitting basket. Rather, it needed a “time-out” in my sock travel bag. Here it is trying to get out before I could zip the bag closed.

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I really like the bag. It’s from Target (purchased many moons ago), and it is really a make-up bag. But for sock knitting, it’s perfect. The length is exactly right for my dpns, and they fit in the pocketed top compartment quite nicely.

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Finally, I got the bag all zipped up and the GCS into time out.

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Perhaps this evening I could take it out and finish the cuff, if it behaves.