Finished Pieces, A Rude Cat, and A Big Mess!

Much knitting has taken place here at chez Molecular Knitting, but before we get to that I have an update from Wisconsin. Faithful readers will remember that in September I sent Mom some feltable yarn for knitting cat beds. Well, after knitting and felting a really cool handbag from her own yarn,

moms purse
she set right to work on a Kitty Bed for Rip:

cat bed
It felted a little smaller than Mom expected, but it still looks great.

However, this was Rip’s RESPONSE:
Rip and bed
A Raspberry! What a RUDE cat!

According to Mom, he will have NOTHING to do with it. She’s tried putting it on his blue blankie, and he ignores it. She turned it upside down so it was flat and put it on the heating pad, which Rip sleeps on as it cools down after Dad uses it every morning before his PT exercises. No go. He is completely ungrateful. He’s 18 and a half years old in people years (about 70 million in cat years), and I guess he doesn’t feel the need to be polite. Since Mom is also the Food Lady, I question his common sense in snubbing her handknit gift. But then again, his brain is very small.

Back here in California, I have completed knitting all the major pieces of the La Gran lilac cardigan. Yay!! I haven’t blocked it yet, because my blocking surface has become a bit crowded.

IMG_1137.JPG
This is an intermediate stage in a major reorganization in the bead room. Until this morning I had hit a snag. I have some non-beading, non-knitting crafting stuff I don’t need or want anymore, and M figured out the perfect person to give it to while I lamented over what to do with the stuff during coffee. I need to contact her, and I hope she will be amenable. I don’t like having more stuff than I can put away, and my yarn stash has been growing. By the way, the PVC pipes lying on the yarn pile are needle holders made for me by M. They keep my needles very safe, and M even drilled holes in the tops so the bamboo can breathe. M says I could drive our truck over the pipes, but I think I’ll just trust him on that one.

I also did some deep background knitting that I can’t share in photos at this time, but I hope to have more interesting knitting progress in the next couple of days that I can show. But now, it’s back to the needles and string.

Back to Knitting!

First, thank you to all the readers that left such nice comments about my sock yarn stash. Someday I hope to show socks out of it all.

Second, I can knit again!! My shoulder and arm took their sweet time, but they did unkink and by Saturday I could knit with impunity. I spent my weekend knitting time working on a sock:

IMG_1125.JPG
I started this grey-charcoal marl because I wore a hole in one of my last pairs of purchased grey socks. I didn’t think this would be an exciting knit, but I am really enjoying knitting these socks. The cable pattern with the garter stitch detail (Gingerbread #105, Vogue Knitting Stitchionary 2: Cables) is really fun and easy to knit. I’ve noticed that a lot of people switch the orientation of the cable for the second sock to make a mirror image, but I don’t think I am going to do that. When I get dressed in the morning, I don’t want to have to figure out which sock goes on which foot. I tried to take a close up of the cables:

IMG_1127.JPG

Last night, I decided that I needed to work on the La Gran cardi as I’m on the last piece (right front). Something went horribly wrong with the second buttonhole as I ended up with TWO holes! I have no idea what I did, but I needed to rip out 2 rows, which with mohair was NOT fun (just trying to work down to the buttonhole and fix it did not work for me–I had really messed up). Then I very carefully redid the buttonhole and ended up with just one hole. Whew! I want to get this sweater done in October so I can devote November to the ruby Diamond Fantasy Shawl and my Black Purl lace scarf. Plus I want to knit more socks, more scarves, the brocade jacket, etc., etc. I guess this means I should stop blogging and get knitting.

But before I sign off, last evening’s sunset was so pretty here, I have to show it to you. Don’t you think the colors would make a good sock yarn!

IMG_1130.JPG

72 Hours without Knitting: The Horror!

Apparently, Sunday I slept “wrong” at least my left shoulder and arm seem to think so. They have decided that they have been abused and have a compressed ulnar nerve that makes knitting hurt (and everything else that requires an opposable thumb). Therefore, I have not been able to knit, and this has made me grouchy. My brain has tried explaining to my left arm that if only it would get over its little nerve issue then I could finish the final piece of the La Gran cardigan, the right front, and then it would look very lovely in the left sleeve. However, the left arm thinks the right front is not really necessary, afterall it’s not part of its side. Things are getting tense. Since it is Socktoberfest, my feet are not at all amused at the lack of sock knitting, and they are starting to grumble about the left arm being a problem. They seem to think that with a little training they could probably learn to knit; they remember that when I was young, my dad called me “the girl with the talented toes.” So, they think they can knit their own socks if they could just get rid of the left arm. Thankfully, both parties have agreed to peace talks, so I hope to be back to knitting soon, because I have some lovely sock yarn to knit up:

sock yarn stash
Top row, left to right (all yarns from SSYC):
Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Mixed Berry
LL Shepherd Sock in Purple Iris
Fleece Artist Merino in Cornflower
Fleece Artist Merino in Parrot
Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Potluck in Watercolor
Schaefer Anne in Jane Addams
Schaefer Anne in Gertrude Ederle
Bottom Row:
Purple Haze from Savvyminx’s etsy shop
Aquamarine from Black Bunny Fibers’s etsy shop

This isn’t my entire sock yarn stash, but these are my current favorites. Plus, I’ve been studying many of the all-over cable patterns in Vogue Knitting Stitchionary 2: Cables, and I noticed there are several that create more of a texture and are less regular than strips of cables. I think some of those might work very well with the multicolored yarns. The cable twists might help break up any pooling. I really want to give this a try, and since my feet are fond of a snug sock, they are really behind the venture. If only we could get the left arm and shoulder on board. The brain has suggested letting the left hand fondle the yarns in the hopes that that might convince it into healing so it can hold the yarn while actually knitting. Keep your fingers crossed! At least metaphorically crossed, I don’t want to hinder anyone else’s knitting.

A Yarny Monkey off my Back!

Much as I have enjoyed knitting my friend Nancy a pair of socks, it seemed that the knitting would never be completed. I’d like to be able to give the gift, not just “make progress.” But now, although they need a bath before giving, the knitting is complete!

IMG_1090.JPG
Better yet, I am pleased with how they have turned out. Now, as long as they fit…

Now to get the La Gran cardigan done. I am working on the right front as I have finished the second sleeve. And I have made my first buttonhole! I don’t know why I had such trepidations concerning the whole buttonhole creation issue. In addition, I did figure out that the pattern has a major error in it, which puzzled me greatly for a bit. I assumed I just didn’t understand the pattern, but no, it was wrong. Had I made the right front as the directions specified, it would not be a mirror image of the left front. The rib pattern is asymetrical (P2K2P2K4), so you can’t really use the same chart for the two mirror image fronts, starting at the same place on a RS row. So, I just worked the rib to make it the mirror image (which, of course, is like the photo of the sweater in VK). I really tried to find a way to make the directions correct, but they were pretty specific and not open to much interpretation.

Anticipating the completion of La Gran, which is not like counting one’s chickens before they are hatched, I took a gander at the new knitting books at a LBS. I didn’t think I would like the patterns in Jackets for Work and Play from the Best of Knitter’s series, as I have a love-hate relationship with that magazine (when I subscribe I hate the patterns; when I buy it from the newsstand, I want to make several projects from each issue). But I fell in love…

brocade jacket
This is the Brocade in Charcoal jacket designed by Jean Frost. I want it. But I don’t want it in charcoal. I want the edgings done in the charcoal, but I want the body of the jacket done in a dark (not navy or royal please!) blue. The jacket in the book was knit in Cascade 220, which is a yarn I like for jackets and outer sweaters as it is durable, can take a little weather (which is all we get here), and shows stitches well. I knit my first sweater in Cascade 220, and it turned out well, so I have a bit of a sentimental attachment to this yarn (good thing I didn’t knit my first sweater in cashmere!). I had beady reasons for wanting the blue and charcoal:

IMG_1118.JPG
I want to make a multi-strand necklace using the tri-cut blue iris seed beads as the main portions of the strands with the grey and dark red pearls scattered at pretty wide intervals throughout. The only reason I hadn’t made the necklace already is that I had nothing to wear with it. But the brocade jacket will do, I think. I have an extreme obsession fondness for coordinating clothing and jewelry.

And speaking of jewelry, I have updated my Jewelry 2006 album (see link in Sidebar) to include the pieces I made in 2006 before I started blogging. So, here is your warning. Some of the jewelry pictures may lead the viewer into the temptation to start a new beading hobby (or so comments of my previously blogged about jewelry has suggested). If you think you may be one of those people, you probably should not look at the album. If you are made of sterner stuff, go take a peek.

In closing, just let me add, that I do take Socktoberfest seriously even though there is little current sock knitting displayed in this post. Sometimes some things can’t be shown to just everyone before certain festivities later in the year occur. But I will have something to show for myself soon.

Buttons, WIPs and the Sock Hop

Yesterday, I promised to show the buttons I bought for my lilac La Gran cardigan. I must say that I am quite pleased with myself. I usually don’t do this well at shopping.

la gran buttons

They are made of Czech glass (if you know beads, you know that Czech glass is great quality glass) with a metalicky finish (look, Ma, I made a new word!). I got them from As Cute as a Button online. They may look like a strange choice for a lilac sweater, but I assure you I have an ulterior motive. I have made and received A LOT of purple jewelry, and I wanted buttons to complement the beads and gems, not overpower them. So how did I do?

la gran buttons jewels

We won’t discuss the cost of the buttons.

As for WIPs, in a strange fit of arithmetical fever, I calculated the exact number of stitches per sleeve of the La Gran cardigan (you need not comment on the arithmetical fever–I know I’m crazy). I can say with great arithmetical (I looked up the spelling of this word, so now I intend to use it) confidence that I have completed 57% of sleeve two. Sigh.

Nancy, for whom I am knitting the Madder Ribbed Socks in CTH peacock yarn, made the gross error of telling me that I didn’t need to rush with her socks when I apologized for taking so long. So, I finished the Rib and Cable Socks for me as I had less to do. I am on the knit even portion of the foot of sock 2 for Nancy. I need a power knitting session! They are turning out better than any other pair I have made, so it will be great to complete them. It is October after all! And I did join the Sock Hop at Romancing the Yarn along with Socktoberfest. I feel I should not double display, so I need to get the socks going! And I have…a little…

IMG_1081.JPG
The self-striping yarn (I did NOT do that to the ball of yarn, I received it that way) is the second pair for my MIL. I have made these smaller as the others were too wide. I hope these fit. The grey are for myself. When I went to wear some black slacks the other day, I realized that I had very little appropriate sockwear. I can’t wear black socks as the dye inflames the bottoms of my feet, but I can wear grey. I have no idea why I have this problem, and my feet aren’t talking. But they have rejected black nylons, black polyester, black wool and black cotton sockwear. So, grey it is. I am making my own sock design! It is almost impossible to see in the photo, but here’s a try:

IMG_1084.JPG
The leg design below the K2P2 cuff is the Gingerbread Cable from Vogue Knitting Stithionary 2: Cables. I wanted a subtle pattern, and it is easy to knit, so I hope all continues well. I plan to show these at the Sock Hop. Nancy’s socks and the MIL socks will probably go to Socktoberfest. So much to do!

Socktoberfest Plans

Naturally, the plan includes socks. I joined Socktoberfest, and I just managed to post my first photo to the Flickr group. It’s an FO!

red socks

I finally finished the Rib and Cable Socks in CTH Supersock Potluck Brights! They were great socks to knit, but they seemed to take a while. There was some pooling of the darkest red in the colorway, but I liked how the colors worked out. I do have one pattern mistake design change. On the instep I started doing the cable one row earlier than in the leg. Counting is hard for me; I only got through my doctorate in school. Luckily, I realized my “design input” before I got to that point on the second sock, so I was able to knit it like the first.

Now I need to finish Nancy’s peacock socks; I’m on the knit even portion of the second foot. I can see the finish! I have an error change of design in these socks also. I did the K1, Sl1, psso in the toe decreases by slipping purlwise not knitwise. This made the decrease much more prominent, but I’m OK with it.

Lolly, Creator and Moderator of Socktoberfest, posed some questions for paticipants (over 1400–a lot of people are knitting socks this month!) to answer. So here goes:

* When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?
I started making socks last Fall. In late Spring of 2004 I underwent some surgery that required substantial recuperation. My mom flew out to help me and M for the first two weeks. She brought along some sock yarn, dpns, and a basic sock pattern. She had never knit a sock either, but while I did some beading, she knit her first pair of socks. I saw the process first hand (turning the heel was like magic!), and I decided to try it myself. It took me awhile to get to it as I was doing a lot of beading, but a year ago I used the pattern Mom used, and the whole heel turn thing worked for me too!

* What was your first pair? How have they “held up” over time?
My 1st pair were a K2 P2 rib with a st st foot. They were cuff down with a round heel and a grafted toe. The yarn was Brown Sheep Wildfoote in Ragtime. Late last Spring I got a hole in the cuff of one sock. I think I must have caught it on something. I can be hard on my handknits.

* What would you have done differently?
I would have used a smaller needle size. I used US 2, I think US 1 would have made a denser, more comfortable fabric.

* What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
I have really enjoyed Cherry Tree Hill Supersock and Fleece Artist Merino. Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock is also really nice. I just received some Schaeffer Anne from SSYC. I can’t wait to try it; it is so soft. I am also eager to try some Trekking XXL I’ve purchased. I have a significant sock yarn stash. I can’t tell you how large my sock yarn stash is because my mother reads my blog.

* Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?
I use dpns. I don’t understand what the Magic Loop method is, but I am curious to know, although I really like dpns.

* Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)
I prefer flaps. I’ve not tried a short row heel, but I’ve heard a lot of people say it doesn’t fit that well. I don’t like how manufactured socks fit, and they seem to have short row heels.

* How many pairs have you made?
10 pairs–Not enough! Must get back to knitting!

Tomorrow: buttons for the La Gran cardigan! They’re really pretty.