What have I been doing?

I didn’t mean to be away so long. April was a lot of stress and anxiety, and I didn’t knit. I don’t seem to find knitting relaxing when I’m stressed out. I did do a lot of reading. May gradually got better, and I started to do some knitting, but anything with a chart and/or a lot of measuring was too fussy. So I worked on some socks. Not a lot, mind you. But some. Just keeping my hand in. Mostly I have sock legs.

First I wanted to try the “Poseidon” Blue Faced Leicester sock yarn I had purchased from Little Dog Designs. It is working up very nicely.
2/2/2-Sock Cuff detail
The sock is mostly 2×2 rib with 3 cables running up the front. The cables are from Janet Szabo’s basic cable book. They are alternating 2/2/2 left cross and 2/2/2 left reverse cross. One requires 2 cable needles, but could be done without any if that is how you like to do cables. I think the other would require a cable needle as part way through the cable you move the last two remaining stitches (having put 4 on to begin) on the cable needle from the front to the back. Anyway, they are fun, especially when there are only 3 of them. 😉

While in a cabling-sock mood, I tried the Lorna’s Laces Mother Lode, which has been ripped more times than I can remember due to horrid pooling, in Nancy Bush’s Rib and Cable Sock from the Autumn 2005 IK. I’ve made this pattern before (my first blog post!), and I really find the resulting socks comfortable, so I decided to see if it could tame the Mother Lode. There is considerable pooling again, but I think I can live with it. I really want to get this yarn knit up and out of stash. It’s starting to haunt me.
Cable Rib Cuff in Mother Lode

Finally, I’ve been knitting a sock in the luscious Raspberry Superwash Merino sock yarn I got from Fearless Fibers. The color is delicious, and I like it in the Stansfield 27 basket-weave pattern I took out of More Sensational Knitted Socks. A basket of raspberries socks. I’m almost done with the first sock–toe started!
Stanfield 27 SockStanfield 27 Sock detail
Since Wednesday, in addition to everything else, M and I came home to a lost domestic rabbit tunneling by our front door. So we have been rabbit-sitting. We bought a cage and rabbit necessities and posted signs all over. No one has called, so Monday M will call the rabbit coordinator at our local SPCA. She is not a very nice rabbit, we can’t have pets on our lease, and M is starting to sneeze a lot. Here’s a photo of her in our little herb bed. We let her out on our enclosed patio when we are home, but we have to watch her as she wants to eat the tomato plants which are poisonous. She’s not very smart. I hope she can find a home with more rabbit-tolerant people.
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Well, it’s good to get a post out. Now I just need to find time to catch up on what all of you have been doing. Thanks to everyone who emailed or left comments asking about my absence. When I feel good, I can keep up and stay in touch. Let’s hope that happens.

Cable Sock

I know I haven’t been blogging much lately. Things in the mind here at Molecular Knitting have been a bit bleak this autumn. I didn’t even knit for about a week. But explanations would be dull, so let’s leave it at that. Wing a good thought my way when you have a spare moment. I do have a deadline knit that, although it is causing me a great deal of anxiety, is probably a good thing as I have a responsibility to get it done. Someone wants a single sock with directions and yarn for its mate. I’ve made up my own design. I’m worried that the sock is too small, although I can get it on my own foot, and the receiver’s foot is a little smaller than mine. M and Elsie (who actually knits and has knit for over 20 years) tell me not to worry. Looking on the brightest side I am capable of these days, I figure that if the sock does end up too small, it is a good sprucey-green color for Christmas (the color is called Prosperity), and could be used as a small stocking for gift giving. In addition, the Fearless Fibers superwash merino comes in such a large skein (550 yd), that there will be enough yarn for an entirely different pair of socks. But if it goes on my foot, it should also fit on a smaller foot.

Fearless Fibers Cable Sock 102107

And a close up of the stitch detail but with the colors far too blue:
Cable Sock 102107

I hope this sock ends up satisfactory to the recipient who wanted cables and/or texture stitches, a solid or monochromatic yarn, and a cool color. Now I just need to finish it up and write up the directions and send it off. Then I need to convince myself that the Minimalist Cardigan will fit if I finish the last front and seam it up.  I have no actual facts that it won’t fit; I just seem to have lost my optimism.

WIP Survey

Before looking at this weeks WIPs, go enter my blogiversary contest, if you haven’t already! And take a look at the links in people’s comments. As a community we have knit some very cool things this past year.

There are some former WIPs that are WIPs no longer. I’ve finished the Spaced Check Socks for my friend Nancy, and they await their FO post. Earlier in the summer I showed a circular lump of stockinette Lamb’s Pride Bulky in Fuchsia for a felted bag. It was not to be. Instead it will become a new felted bag with a couple other colors. I have to get the pattern (and the other colors), but it has mosaic knitting and looks really cool. The yarn is psyched too. Details to come.

As for WIPs that I knit on this week, the Minimalist Cardi has a back (folded in the back of the photo) and a goodly portion of sleeve. I love it when I start collecting a stack of sweater pieces. Perhaps that is why I like to knit sweaters in pieces, although it helps that I don’t mind seaming. All the dead leaves in the photo come from our neighbor’s sugar maple which does not like the arid, rainless California Central Valley summer. It always just gives up around this time of year.
Minimalist Cardi 082807

In addition to finishing the Spaced Check Socks from More Sensational Knitted Socks, I worked on another sock from that book that I had started when I first got the book (May?), which uses the pennant stitch. The yarn is Sundara’s sock yarn in Lenten Rose, and it is hard to photograph the knit-purl pattern, but try to visualize little pennant shaped purls all lined up in columns down the leg.
Pennant Stitch Sock

As for two other old sock WIPs, I am having difficulties. The blue-striped sock is very boring to knit in the rib, and I can’t seem to make myself knit the second. I am hoping that when the weather turns cool enough to wear the socks, I’ll be spurred on to finish. I like the different blues (Regia Cotton Surf in Pacific).
Socks of Shame
The aquamarine cable rib sock (mmmm…Black Bunny Fibers!), is too stretched out on my leg to make me happy, and I don’t like the beaded rib between the cables AT ALL. But I love the uneven, “archaic” cables (BW V1). What’s a knitter to do? Swatch! As I wasn’t worried about gauge yet but just wanted to play with cables, I used some Nature Spun Sport in natural for my swatching so my swatch would look all professional-like (I did the first swatch with leftover Chocolate Cherry sock yarn and couldn’t really make out what I was doing).
Cable Swatch 082707
The double cable on the left and I are having a wonderful little affair (I made the cables up!). We’re just deciding what other stitchy elements the cable would like in its sock. It’s rather particular. I am hoping that by the time I get the Pennant Stitch Socks done, the cable and I will be ready for the BBF Aquamarine yarn. We’re pretty excited.

I hope your knitting is exciting you!

Small Projects Abound

I hope everyone has had a good week and weekend. I have been very busy at work in a good way. Evenings were short due to long work hours and I had the choice of blogging or knitting. I chose knitting, which makes me a boring blogger, but at least today I have some progress to show. Right now, everything on my needles is a small project, and there are quite a few of them. Here’s what saw some knitting time this past week.

2 repeats
Two repeats of the Japanese Feather Wimple done. Julia is using this lace pattern for a lovely top she is designing. On her post it is much easier to see what the lace pattern looks like when not smushed up on a 16-inch circular. Two more repeats to go.

Fuschia bag
The bottom and 1/3-of the sides of a tote to be fulled/felted. The yarn is Lambs Pride Bulky in Fuschia. This bag is easy to knit, but the finishing techniques (laddering down 48 rows and then using a crochet hook to work back up 2-stitches together for sharper corners) and the fulling will be new for me. The yarn sticks to the bamboo needles (US 13s), so after a few rounds I want to put it down for a rest.

Pacific Sock the First
One Regia Cotton Surf sock in Pacific is done. The rib pattern is the Oak Rib Sock from Vintage Socks. I finished this Saturday evening and debated casting on the second sock. I have some gift socks to make, and I think I’ll want the needle size I used here, which is of course the only set I have in that size (3 mm). So, after making fun of the single sock revolutionaries, I may become one. But the socks are for a the very nice, 80+ year old lady who hosts the book club I belong to, and she thought it would be the most wonderful thing if I were to knit her a pair of socks. I can eat a lot of humble pie for that.

Finally, what would a post be from Molecular Knitting without a Rib and Cable Sock Variation? Pretty lame. I started Variation 2 in Black Bunny Fibers superwash merino, color Aquamarine. Scrumptious is not too strong a word for this yarn.
6-stitch left crossing uneven cable
That cable is an “Uneven Cable” according to Ms. Walker. She claims this is an archaic or ancient form of the standard rope cable. For this left crossing cable, transfer 4 stitches to a cn and leave at the front of the work, K2, K4 from cn. Why “ancient” knitters didn’t start with even cables, Ms. Walker doesn’t say. The rib on this pair of socks is “beaded” in that the middle of the 3-stitches is garter stitch. A new cable, a new rib, a new variation. All is good in my sock knitting world.

Happy Knitting!

Two of a Kind = One Pair

Thank you to everyone who wished me well during my migraine episode! I really appreciated every single, kind comment. I have been headache free since Friday morning. This means that Sunday I was able to accomplish this:

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Lately, everywhere I look on the knitting blogs it’s single sock, single sock, single sock. I dabble in multiple pairs on the needles at once, but I had to finish this pair. This was the last WIP knit with my old tensioning (yarn across palm, over the top and all the way around my hand back across palm to wrap around my left index finger clockwise, looking down the tip). New tensioning is from back of left hand to palm between ring and pinkie, around pinkie and over back of pinkie and ring, under middle, over index–so coming ccw over index finger. People have asked, so there it is.

Anyway, these socks are the first variation of my planned series of variations of Nancy Bush’s Rib and Cable Sock from IK Fall 05. This is not the rib and cable sock in Favorite Socks. Here I did a 6-stitch braided cable.

Braided Cable Rib and Cable Sock
Stats:
Pattern: just stated above
Yarn: Tofutsies
Needles: Takumi bamboo 2.25 mm (US 1) dpns
Variations: After CO of 66-st with longtail CO holding the yarn doubled, knit with single yarn the following rib pattern for 15 rounds: *K1, P2, K6, P2*
Then started the braided cable over the K6, which has a four row repeat:
Rows 1&3: Rib Pattern above
Row 2: *K1, P2, K2, C4B, P2*
Row 4: *K1, P2, C4F, K2, P2*
Split for the heel flap so instep would be 3 repeats + 1 Knit stitch of 4th repeat (34 stitches), then worked heel flap in rib, but added a seam stitch in the middle of the middle 6-stitch K6 (now K3, P1, K3 on RS), and changed the P2 at each end to garter stitch (33 stitches). After 32 rows (16 garter ridges along the edge) turned a round or French heel from Vintage Socks. Picked up 16 stitches on each side for gussets and decreased every third round to 62 stitches. At the end of gusset decreases I stopped the braided cable on the instep and switched back to the rib. Plain ordinary grafted toe. Tofutsies is splitty and nasty for grafting. That’s the recipe. A lot of you have left comments in previous posts for these socks saying you had to knit the pattern. Well, there isn’t really a pattern. I hope this little travesty of a knitting recipe helps.

My other socks on the needles, are coming along. The pennant stitch socks are for a Christmas gift, and it is JUNE, so the impetus to finish is lacking. The Oak Ribbed Socks with more and more mods with every round I make, is at the gusset decreases for the first sock. I meant to change to smaller needles but forgot, so now it’s decrease every other round? or every third round? I guess this means it’s time to cast-on for the second variation of the cable rib sock extravaganza taking place here at Molecular Knitting! It’s Black Bunny Fibers merino sock yarn and an “archaic” cable from Barbara Walker’s first treasury with a beaded rib.

Finish Christmas gift socks first? You’ve got to be kidding!

The Sordid Truth

I should be knitting my second pink cable-rib sock. The progress?
Not much.
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“She’s done only TWO rounds of gusset decreases! What’s a first sock gotta do to get a second?!” The First Pink Cable-Rib Sock.

But the first Oak Ribbed Sock (with heel mods) in lovely blue stripes is coming along famously.
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No excuse.

And what’s happened here?!
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The Shame!
The start of a leg in Pennant Stitch from More Sensational Knitted Socks in Sundara’s Lenten Rose yarn.

Oh, no.
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The Temptation.
Habu Tsumugi 100% silk yarn (color 33). 450 yd.

Must. Knit. Pink. Sock.

Diffusing Light and Pink Knitting

Well, I promised to tell you the trick I learned for diffusing light, thereby getting rid of shadows. I learned this a while ago from Domesticat. An article on photographing beadwork in the new June issue of Bead and Button magazine, spurred me to try it. My first diffuser worked better than the one I am using today, but today’s will work for demonstrative purposes. Here it is in all its high tech glory:

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Yes, it’s a translucent, plastic wash tub with a light shining through it. It should be a bit more opaque and whiter for clearer color, but it does help (see the B&B article for more home-made diffusers). I do use a small tripod and the timer setting on my camera, a Canon PowerShot A510. I usually choose aperture mode so I can set the aperture and let the camera set the shutter speed, so setting the 2 second timer means I am not touching the camera at all when it takes the picture. I thought about getting a SLR camera a couple of months ago, but my back really, really wanted a new mattress for our bed, so the camera needs to wait a bit.

Here’s a close-up of the project in the tub:

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Oooo, garter stitch!

It’s the start of a felted bag in Lamb’s Pride bulky, color fuschia. I’m knitting it using my new way to hold the yarn and tighten up my tension. But before I get too carried away with my new way of knitting, which I’ll talk about later, I need to finish my last project knitting in the old way. Therefore, we have the pink cabled rib sock:

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The second sock is mid-heel flap. I like the sock, but the Tofutsies yarn is very splitty, which is kind of annoying. I have already planned in my head the second variation of the cable rib sock, so I want to get this pair done. I need to do some swatching in the round with some left over sock yarn to see what sorts of gauges I get with my new yarn hold. I think it will all work out well, but a little swatching will smooth the way.

To the needles!

Sparkly and Shimmery

So Monday evening I finished the first pink cabled sock. I started to cast on for the second but was having difficulty counting to 66. Apparently, I don’t count well after 10 in the evening. I decided to work on the chevron scarf as I only needed to be able to count to 5. I finished several inches and then lay down for a night of peaceful slumber only to awaken a few hours later having nightmares about knitting. Yes, I know you can imagine the horror. It wouldn’t be entirely inaccurate to say that I became a bit unglued at that point. I didn’t wake M because I didn’t think he’d understand. A nightmare about being in a car accident or falling from a high ledge, sure he’d be all solicitousness, but a nightmare about knitting? The upshot was that Tuesday evening I was a bit wary of the yarn and sticks, so I played with some sparkly beads instead.

Aquamarine faceted bead and pearl necklace

I was happy to see that I can still make wrapped wire loops that I’m not embarrassed to wear out into the world, so this little aquamarine colored ensemble graced my neck and ears today. The pearls are actually a pale aquamarine, too. It felt good to wear a new bauble. Now I feel ready to pick up the pointy stickes again, as I didn’t have nightmares last night of round-nosed pliers coming after me or being stoned with giant Czech glass and Austrian crystal beads.

The pink sock looks good, but I had it on my foot for a while, so it’s a little stretched out and wants a soak and block before it’s photo shoot. As I mentioned the chevron scarf grows longer, and until about 20 minutes ago, I’d completely forgotten that I need to block the Aran Pocket Shawl. But so as not to post without any knitterly pictures, I did splurge last week when I found the 150 g (600 m) skeins of Sea Silk at Colorsong Yarn.

Blackberry Sea Silk
This is Blackberry Sea Silk. We’re in love.

May your knitting dreams be blissful!

Catching Up

I feel I am falling behind in my blogging responsibilities, so let’s play catch up.

First up, the pink braided cable rib sock is almost to the toe! It looks a little goofy in the photo below as the instep needle did not care to be photogenic today.

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Astute readers will notice that I stopped doing the cabling once I finished the gusset decreases. This braided cable doesn’t stretch out as flat as a simple cable, and I thought for comfort, switching to the rib was a good idea. It was a compromise between not wanting to have the cabling only on the leg, but also wanting a comfortable sock. I think it will work for me.

Next up we have an very disappointed chevron scarf posing (but not willingly) on the couch-o-meter. The scarf rather clashes with the threadbare ruby red couch cushions, and it resents be photographed thusly. But it is one couch cushion long! As I want a short scarf, it won’t even make it to a full two cushions before the bind off. I plan to knit to about 44 inches (2 couch cushions=48+ inches) and then block.

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She better not take my FO picture with me lying on this %#^&*@# couch!–Chevron Scarf.

Third up has no picture, but I am teaching myself to carry and tension the yarn differently. My way of carrying the yarn is becoming more and more awkward and annoying. It is hard to get an even tension without constantly dropping and picking up the yarn again, and my tension gets looser and looser the faster I knit. So, I am trying to finish my current projects in the old method while training myself in the new method behind the scenes so to speak.

Finally, the chevron scarf did not grow any longer than one couch cushion today for two reasons. The first is that I have a new baking pan for uber-cool individual bundt cakes. I tried it out today on Amaretto Cakes from a Buttercup Bakes at Home by Jennifer Appel. The pan worked! It was so cool!

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Fleur-de-Lis, Bavarian, and Cathedral little bundt cakes!

The second reason for lack of chevron scarf progress this afternoon: a Hemingway Daiquiri:

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Not your frozen limeade daiquiri by a long shot

I had two such daiquiris today, but since M used my calcium-fortified grapefruit juice, I built strong bones while I drank. BTW, the recipe M used is from the book and a Bottle of Rum by Wayne Curtis. M enjoyed the book immensely.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Cable Hooks

First and foremost I would like to thank everyone who commented so positively on the pocketless Aran Pocket Shawl. Bonus points to JayJay and Abby for noticing the APS channeling Mrs. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. Right now, the APS is enjoying a little lie-in to calm her poor nerves before the blocking process. She listened to me tell M about the blocking, and she may have overheard the word “severe.” I was in fact saying that the blocking wouldn’t have to be severe, but she was already gasping and jumping to conclusions, and so I don’t think she understood.

Monday and Tuesday evenings the little pink sock and I spent some quality time together. I cable using a cable needle, and although I may try to go without at some point, it’s not going to be while knitting a sock on size one dpns. But even my shortest size 1 dpn was being bothersome as a cable needle. Then I remembered that Mom always cables with a cable hook not a cable needle. I thought I had some from a multi-pack of cabling tools I bought many moons ago. I went to check and found two.

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Which to choose? Which to choose?

One was gargantuan, and the other a good enough fit to go with my size 1 dpns (one shown for scale). I don’t want to think about using a cable hook as big as the one on the left. How monstrous would that cable need to be to make that hook feasible? The little cable hook was the answer for me and the little pink sock. I just slide the stitches on the short end, drop it down in front or swing it over the back and it is completely out of the way of all the dpns. Then to knit off the cable hook, I just slide the stitches to the long end and knit them.

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Easy peasy!

Even with the cable hook, this is a slow sock to knit. There is cabling every other row, and I want at least a 7.5 inch leg. I’m on 4-row repeat 13; I think 16-17 will give me the length I want.

Wednesday evening I spent re-swatching for the Brocade Jacket. As you can imagine, re-swatching is not fun, and the end results were not happy. I have visited my guru Elsie, she of no blog who can knit and read simultaneously, complicated patterns and difficult books. I need to try her advice (she was completely unsurprised by my difficulties), and then I’ll report.

In closing here are some yarns that also want to become cable-rib socks with their own unique cable-rib patterns. They are also trying to sneak a sip of the sophisticated, yet very tasty, Suburban cocktail M made for me.

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Black Bunny Fibers in Aquamarine, Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in Gypsy Rose and Fearless Fibers Superwash Merino in Midnight Passion (oo-la-la!).

ETA: The Suburban recipe through the link uses bourbon for the whiskey. M used rye. I’d go for the rye; the bourbon will be way too sweet.