Green Hat, Greens, and Spring Flowers

I have so many things I could blog about, but really time to do one (maybe two) post(s) a week, that I can’t decide what to blog about first, and then I don’t blog about anything. So, I’m throwing themed posts out the window, and I blog what I blog–it’s how Popeye would blog (I loved Popeye when I was a kid; I have no idea why).

Anyway, for Christmas Valentine’s Day I knit M a hat.
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That’s the Jacques Cousteau pattern knit in Knitpicks Gloss DK because all manly men like 30% silk fiber in their hats. Doesn’t M look like he’s ready to head out to sea?
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I like the decrease pattern on this hat, which almost made it worth the 8 inches of 3×2 ribbing. I changed the decreases to those of ker2’s on Ravelry. They worked well.
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My raised bed for greens did really well this winter! At the very left is mache, which I would not grow again. It was supposed to be nutty tasting. It tasted like leaves and didn’t grow that well. From right to left: arugula, oakleaf and salad bowl leaf lettuce, romaine, watercress (did not do well) and the mache. I am definitely growing the arugula, oakleaf and romaine again next year.
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And we have had a small harvest of broccoli rabe. It’s OK, but next year I think I’ll go with snow peas and sugar snap peas. The Felco harvesting shears are fantastic. My parents gave them to me for my birthday (Thanks, Mom and Dad!), and I love them for cutting flowers and the lettuces and such.

And speaking of flowers, it’s spring here in Northern California! February is a very good reason for living in California, unless of course you are a native Californian, and then February is still winter because the calendar says so, and high temperatures are often only in the 50s. But the flowers are starting to bloom, and that means Spring!
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Not our daffodils, but I plan to put some in this coming autumn. Tulips don’t do well here (they need weeks of cold) but daffodils are fine.
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Flowering quince in a neighbor’s yard. I may have to look into this.Beautiful flowers–plant, not so much.
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Calendula from my own backyard. I have these in a pot, but I may move some of them around, although I hear they will “naturalize.” That may or may not be a good thing. M kind of likes a tidy garden.

Back again…

I didn’t mean to be gone so long again. Neither Archie, my laptop, nor I is having the easiest of summers. We decided to send him to Applecare right after the July 4th holiday weekend. On the second of July, M took me to after-hours care with a headache that nothing would make better. It turned out to be a “mixed” headache: both tension and migraine. 🙁 I got two shots, which made the headache go away for nearly two days, but less severe headaches keep coming back. That hasn’t made we want to do more than what I have to do for work on Archie, who seems to have fared better than I. He has a new logic board, thermal module and thermal sensor wires. He is now staying nice and cool. I wish I could get new parts like that!

Last post, I showed the finished toes of the Gentleman’s Fancy Sock from Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush. At first, I thought the Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Potluck in Blues/Purples I was using looked better in the skein than in the sock, but it grew on me. I’m quite pleased how well these turned out.
Gentleman's Fancy Socks
To make these for me and not a gentleman, I started at 72 stitches and decreased to 64, which I further decreased to 60 when working the gussets. I also did a slip-stitch heel flap instead of stockinette; I also did a wide toe, but I don’t know if that was part of the pattern or not (which is upstairs, and I’m lazy).
Gentleman's Fancy Socks: heel flap
Half-way down the foot of the first sock, I realized I had changed the instep pattern to one knit row instead of two between the alternating sets of 2×2 rib. I couldn’t see a real difference, so I kept on going and did the second sock the same way. I also made sure I made these long enough before starting the toe: 1.5 inches from the total length not 2 inches, like many patterns suggest.

I liked this pattern stitch for an easy sock as it was more interesting than just 2×2 rib (doing 8 row sets of rib seemed to go faster than just measuring length), but I obviously didn’t need the pattern to keep going. I like having such a sock in progress: not too dull but not requiring a lot of mental power to stay on track. Once these were done, I didn’t feel like knitting the second Retro Rib Sock yet, so I looked for another such pattern. Luckily, Anne had just offered the Roger Sock for sale, and I knew it would look great in some BFL superwash sock yarn from Little Dog Designs. I really like the BFL yarn; it has a nice luster, and the dye job is great! The colorway is called Poseidon, and is richer than this photo suggests (it’s a billion degrees outside–I’m not going outside to photograph anything much less wool today–see lazy comment above–I am doing laundry in a 90+ degree garage).
Roger Sock: pattern detail
Well, that’s enough computer time for today, as tomorrow I’ll be referencing a manuscript, which will try Archie’s and my patience to the limit. But I need to point out that M has been diligently blogging at Cocktails with M this summer! He’s had no comments. The Side Car is one of my favorite cocktails. Cheers!

Grey Tweed Pullover: Episode 1

Wow, things are busy here in the land of Molecular Knitting as usual.  I haven’t had as much time as I would like to work on my grey tweed pullover, but whenever I do find time to knit on it, I am pretty happy.

I originally planned a cabled pattern for this yarn, but the swatch looked messy. The diamond cables didn’t really stand out with all the dark grey tweediness; I could have done a lot of cabling to very little effect. Paging through every knitting magazine I own, looking for tweed, I found an unlikely pattern, but I think it may work out splendidly. It’s from the Fall ’06 Knitters, and it’s called Hobo Patches. Yes, both those facts give one pause. Theresa Schabes is the designer (reassuring), and except for the actual felted patches I’m supposed to sew on with big stitches, which I have NO intention of doing, it’s a pretty nice pattern for me. I wanted a pattern that was both a pullover but also would work as outerwear more than an indoor sweater. I live in California and I’m 44: I don’t worry much about being cold. Let’s take a look at the back, which isn’t quite done in this photo, but is now in real life.

Grey Tweed Pullover Back

The bottom edge is rolled, which I wasn’t sure I wanted until I realized a sweater I like very much has a rolled edge. Then there are five spaced purl ridges followed by a whole lot of stockinette. I like the tweed in the stockinette, and now I’ll have no excuse not to learn how to do mattress stitch properly.  I’ve only done improper mattress stitch before.

Grey Tweed Pullover edge detail

The sleeves are a modified drop-shoulder which is my second favorite sleeve style after a set-in sleeve. I look awful in raglan sleeves with my triangular build, and I have many purchased raglans to prove it (those cute button trims along the raglan line!–I’m a sucker for them). The cut-in for the sleeve is much deeper than I’ve seen before, 3-inches for my size, so I am curious to see how that works for me. As I’m narrow on top, I think it may work well.

Grey Tweed Pullover armhole

To break up the monotony of sleeve knitting, I usually knit the back, a sleeve, the front(s) and then the second sleeve. However, here I’m knitting the back and front, which I’ll join with a 3-needle bind off, block and then see how long to make the sleeves, as I’ve found I am pretty particular about sleeve length. I think the tweed can keep me off Sleeve Island.

So now all I need is a little more time to knit. But as this is the scene outside this past weekend, I don’t think I need to hurry.
University farm orchard in bloom

Sweater Stuff

Once upon a time, long enough ago that I was a legal adult and M was still a minor, I used to sew a lot. Set-in sleeves were no big deal. I sewed the sleeve into a tube, the side seams of the body were done, and carefully adjusting my gathering stitches along the sleeve cap, I could set-in a perfectly fitting sleeve, sewing in a circle. The set-in sleeve process in hand knitting follows a different protocol, and frankly I have my doubts that anyone has ever really seamed a cap sleeve to armscye of a hand knit sweater. I think it may be a hoax. I mean, do you think this will work?
Minimalist Cardi sleeve fitting
The two sides of the sleeve’s cap are actually the same length, even though they look different in the photo. I checked after I saw the photo. Twice.

I hope it will work out as I really like how the blocked front looks going from moss stitch to stockinette. It’s my favorite feature of the Minimalist Cardi. Blocked Minimalist Cardi front

I am screwing my courage to the sticking point. Basting of the sleeve to the body with light grey yarn will happen before the real seaming. I’ll have M keep his fingers crossed while I baste and seam. After all, he is the Luckiest Man in the World–but that’s a story for another day.

In the meantime, let’s just take a little peek or two at my new sweater project.
Greed Tweed tease

That’s right, my friends, I’ve gots me my first TWEED yarn! I loves it with a deep and abiding passion. It’s a present from M (he’s not allowed to buy other knitters tweed yarn– sorry). It knits up like a dream.
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Tahki Donegal Tweed; color 895

I know orange tweeds are all the rage, but I look like the walking dead in orange. But charcoal with black, white, burgundy, lime and butterscotch flecks–that’s perfect. Must go knit.