Sock-Free WIP it Wednesday

It’s been a bit of a tricky summer here at Molecular Knitting. Although I was delighted a few weeks ago to learn that I do not have cancer, I do, however, need a six month course of hormone therapy to “retrain” parts of me that have gone astray in ways that cannot be allowed to safely continue. These parts do not seem very fond of the hormones, which is not surprising for the first couple of months, but it does make things rather tricky. Staying sane and finding even a little joy in life is more work than usual, and I am often tired, anxious and depressed. M takes excellent care of me, but I feel quite terrible when I see all the effort he goes to for so little success. But one month of the hormone therapy is nearly done, and the hormones will win in the end. However, all the see-sawing angst with the hormones and the pooling sock yarn of last Wednesday in the Mother Lode colorway, put me off the sock knitting for the past week. I knit a little tiny bit on Pete’s Chocolate Cherry socks, but not enough to merit a new photo. It was a knitting week for two things: mindless knitting and pretty knitting.

In the mindless knitting category, which is also rather pretty, I doubled the length of the Clarence Border Scarf from Victorian Lace Today that I’m knitting in Habu silk.
VLT scarf progress 072407
I am still undecided as to whether to keep this for myself or give it to M’s sister, who lives in Florida, where a lace silk scarf is about the only handknit she could use. I hesitate because¬† M’s sister hates pink. I don’t think this yarn is really pink–I’d call it cranberry or light burgundy–but many of you have commented favorably on the lovely pink lace scarf I’m knitting. Do you think a hater of pink would like and wear this? The photo above is very color accurate on my computer.

In the pretty to knit department, I started a little project that I have been wanting to knit for a long time: Anne’s Delicato Mitts. Anne of Knitspot fame designs gorgeous handknits and writes excellent patterns. I am quite enamored of my screaming red mitts that I knit with her Fine Cabled Mitts pattern. I have her Evening Star Wrap pattern, that I hope to knit this autumn. I’m knitting the Delicato mitts in some Schaefer Anne I have in Silver Sage.
Delicato Mitt lace detail
I’m almost done with the thumb gusset. I love thumb gussets for some reason, and Anne designs particularly nice ones.
Delicato Mitt thumb gusset

This is the perfect project for me right now. The yarn is lovely to knit, the pattern is well written, and the design is lovely. I am enjoying knitting these immensely. Perhaps soon I will be able to return to sock knitting. Beth, a lover of the Mother Lode colorway, suggested either Feather and Fan or a slip stitch pattern to bring that yarn under control. Since my friend Nancy, for whom I am knitting these socks, likes solid knitted fabric, I think I may try the slipped-stitch rib from Sensational Knitted Socks. First though, a little more knitting on the mitts. Then the Mother Lode socks, and Loksins for me.

Happy Knitting!

Pooling WIPs

I’ve been a bad blogger lately, but we’ve had company. M’s sister stayed with us for several days. We had a good time. We all took lots of pictures with M’s sister’s great camera she just bought for her trip to South Africa and Botswana (she leaves for Africa Saturday!). We all forgot to download the photos to my computer before she flew away today. Sigh. We even toured a chocolate factory. M and I live about an hour from Scharffen Berger Chocolate Factory. Our tour guide was not the best; she was rather disgruntled and couldn’t answer many questions, but the tour was totally worth it for the smell alone. The whole place was permeated with a warm chocolate aroma. It wasn’t over-powering–just really cozy and wonderful. All the workers seemed very happy.

I have done a little knitting. The lace scarf was playing least in sight as I am debating giving it to M’s sister. I did modify and finish the thick-and-thin mitts, so those are waiting for a FO post. I found my wimple, which I had “lost” by putting it away as though it were already blocked, so now I can block it and have another FO post. But as for WIPs, this week the socks rule.

Pete’s second sock is almost done, and it is striping and pooling very much like the first, so the pair shouldn’t look too odd:
&otPete's Socks 071707

Once I had turned the heel on Pete’s second sock, I felt it was fair to start Nancy’s birthday socks. I really like the Lorna’s Laces Mother Lode colorway. I debated what pattern to use. I was determined to use an extant pattern and not just make something up, as that seems to be all I’m doing lately in terms of socks. I have Loksins from Cassie, but I want to use a more muted colorway for those, so I tried the Undulating Rib sock from Favorite Socks. Nancy has shapely calves because she runs, so I thought I should change needle sizes part way down the leg (the pattern also instructs one to do this). I really liked how the pattern was working out on the larger needles. I was quite pleased. And then I changed needles down one size. The pain. The agony.

Undulating Rib Pattern

All the gold is on the OTHER side! It looks oppy (to use a favorite term of Mom’s). I can’t give this as a gift. With the second ball of yarn, I tried an alternative pattern: Stansfield 196 from More Sensational Knitted Socks. I looked at the chart and then knit it “from memory.”

Stanfield 196 with row errors

So, this isn’t really Stansfield 196, but it may be acceptable. I’m not far along enough to decide. What I don’t understand is why everywhere on the web the stitch patterns by Lesley Stanfield are referred to as Stansfield (including sites that sell her book, showing the cover with her name spelled out). It took me a devil of a time to find her book, but I now have a copy. Very nice.

Well, I must make weighty sock decisions. It would be wrong to knit myself a pair of Loksins in the meantime, wouldn’t it?¬† Sigh.¬† Where’s the chocolate we bought?

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.

All the way from Cleveland

As I pulled into our parking space at home today after work, I saw a box left by the mailman next to our front door. I asked M what he had ordered. “Nothing that I can remember,” he replied. I walked to the door and picked up the box. “Where’s it from?” M asked.

“It’s from PCR, a surprise package for me!” I said.

“The polymerase chain reaction sent you a package?!” M asked. (PCR is a molecular biology method that M, PCR and I all use routinely in our exciting lives as biologists.)

“PCR is a knitting-blogger in Cleveland who is also a scientist. She won the Schaefer Anne yarn in my last contest.” I said, rushing into the house clutching my package. “I’ve never received a surprise knit-blogging package before, but then I’ve never sent one either. I’m not sure on the proper etiquette of acquiring peoples’ snail mail addresses.”

“Ah, the Wonderful World of Knit Bloggers!” said M in a tone indicating he was feeling a bit envious. Meanwhile I had whipped out my handy-dandy pocketknife and opened the package. Look what was inside!

Present from PCR

Please excuse the lighter prop. It was NOT sent through the mail system. It was just handy on the patio.

PCR wanted to thank me for sending her the Schaefer Anne (it was all due to the random number generator), so she sent me some lovely self-striping sock yarn (my favorite travel yarn), a deliciously smelling candle (Asian spices), and a box of chocolates. I’d share the chocolates with M, but with his recent wisdom teeth extraction, nut clusters and such are not on his acceptable food list. The box has a lot of nut clusters in it. Poor M, but it’s really for his best dental health that I eat all these chocolates.

This was very kind and generous of PCR and completely unexpected! It topped an already very good day. I learned the results from a biopsy I had done last week, that I do NOT have cancer. Excellent news! The socks from this yarn will be for me (I have two pairs of shoes they will go with), and they will always remind me of the kindness of the knit-blogging community and the good news I got today.

Happy Knitting!

Fiberlicious: Tasty Malabrigo

Megan, Mastermind of Fiberlicious, has made it clear that Fiberliciousness need not be restricted to Fridays. Since I spent Friday transporting and nursing M after he had his lower two wisdom teeth extracted, today is the day for feasting on fiber here at Molecular Knitting. BTW, M is recovering with his usual super-human abilities, although he was pretty loopy on the way home from the doctor’s. Note to self: open truck windows + very large gorked-out-of-his-mind husband = a very bad plan. We got home OK, but I needed to pet my new Malabrigo laceweight to soothe my frazzled nerves. Malabrigo Lace Weight

I have two skeins of this softer-than-soft yarn (940 yd total). What to knit? Kirsten of Through the Loops, who enabled me by letting me know that Webs carries Malabrigo laceweight, is knitting Icarus. That is how I am leaning also. But does anyone else have suggestions? Please leave a comment if you do!

Happy Knitting!