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?
Delicato Mitts 091907.JPG

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.
VLT Scarf 091907.JPG

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.
Minimalist Cardi Front 091907.JPG

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.

Praying Mantis.JPG

Fiberlicious Appetizers

Three times I took photos of these three yarns on my favorite banana leaf appetizer plate and bowl. And this morning, outside on the patio was the one time things turned out the least bit presentable. I also hoped to be able to take a new picture of me in my new glasses and short hair (the short hair has been around for several months) for Ravelry and my “about me” pages. However, after finding an actually cool pair of frames at Lenscrafters last night (Versace!), they didn’t have the lenses with the anti-glare coating in stock for those frames. So, the new me in the new specs will have to wait for the lenses. As I usually end up with the most boring frames in the place so my “delicate” features don’t get overwhelmed, I was pretty excited to find frames that M and I both liked that weren’t dull, dull, dull. But here I blather on, when all you want to do is see the yarn!

Yarn Appetizers

In the bowl is Koigu P126. It’s my first Koigu, and the colors are very pretty, rich and dark. We should look at it up close. This will become socks for ME! I am thinking of using Kate Gilbert’s Marina Piccola pattern, which is twisty and cool. But I may change my mind, as I am prone to doing that.
Koigu P126

On the plate are Fearless Fibers merino lace weight in Jimi Hendrix and Seacoast Handpainted merino/tencel in Baltic. The Jimi Hendrix, of which I have 2 skeins, is for the Orchid Mitts and Scarf from Knitspot. The photos are also posted to the Fiberlicious Group on Flickr.

Fearless Fibers Jimi Hendrix

I think the orchid mitts will go really well with what I want to knit as a big project (more than 1000 yd of yarn involved) after I finish the minimalist cardi. I don’t want to jinx the project though so I’m not going to say more, except that I hope my stashed Bryspun Kid ‘n’ Ewe will coordinate with the skirt I ordered from Eddie Bauer, that it gives me gauge and that I can figure out the two lines in the Fall VK pattern I don’t understand. If that all works out (and the skirt fits!), and I can find 8 cool buttons, well then I have a next project. But I don’t want to say too much and jinx things…

Whipping Through the WIPs

I got home late today, and I have things to do, but I also wanted to keep to a WIPs on Wednesday post, so I’m going to whip through the WIPs. WIPs being my works in progress (my only aunt is a new reader, so I shall explain a few of the blogging terms as I come to them–Hi, Auntie Ann!).

The last time I showed the lace scarf in Habu silk fromVictorian Lace Today, I used a tape measure to show progress. Oh, the hue and cry from my readers! Where was the couch-o-meter?! I had no idea the couch-o-meter was so famous. But here is the scarf on the couch, and as you can see, it is just over two couch cushions long. Another half a cushion and I can knit the second Clarence border and then it will be done (and I can photograph it so you can actually see the lace).

Habu Scarf 091107.JPG

Moving right along, the pile of Minimalist Cardigan pieces is growing. The first sleeve joins the back in the pile of completion and a front is on the needles. The ball of yarn is the end of the third skein, so I think it will take less than 6 skeins to finish. I am still loving the moss stitch.

Minimalist Cardi 091107.JPG

I finished the first Pennant Stitch sock, and I have posed it in this oddly suggestive way to illustrate how I decided to pattern the top of the foot. Four pattern repeats fit across the width of the instep and foot. After finishing the gusset decreases, I switched the first repeat to stockinette stitch, did another 8 rows for a another pennant, then switched the second repeat to st st, and I continued thusly til all four repeats were stockinette stitch. This luckily worked out to being only 4 rows short of starting the toe decreases. The second sock is in the leg stage, and I’ve reversed the direction of the pennants, and I’ll also reverse the order of the switch on the foot.

Pennant Stitch Sock 1.JPG

I also started a sock for myself, as the Pennant Stitch pair is the third pair in a row of socks that I’ve knit for other people. This is Fleece Artist Merino in Hercules (a very dark dye lot) in the simple Garter Rib. FA merino usually looks best when I knit it in a simple stitch pattern, so even though this is a bit dull to knit, I like how it looks.

Garter Rib Hercules Leg.JPG

And finally, I started the Kiri shawl in the bright red Brushed Suri from Frog Tree. This photo doesn’t do justice to the reds, but it does prove that I managed my first provisional cast on and have knit just over one repeat of chart 2 without botching things up. As of this evening (photo taken this morning), the shawl is now on an Addi Lace needle. Therefore, I don’t have to go on a violent rampage. The joins on the circular bamboo needles in the photo were so bad I had to carefully, carefully slip 2-3 stitches at a time over the join. I love the Addi Lace needles!

Kiri 091107.JPG

So there is your whirlwind WIP tour for the week. I hope to post Friday with some new yarn acquisitions like my first Koigu, my first SeaWool, and some Fearless Fibers lace weight. Maybe I can even make them Fiberlicious.

Happy Knitting!

FO: Spaced Check Socks

All this past week I kept meaning to post but didn’t get around to it. In retrospect, this is a good thing. I’ve been very grouchy. After a mild summer, September decided we must have missed having 100+ degree days with the wind blowing from due north down the valley. The north wind is not a happy wind. For readers who know Southern California, the north wind is similar to the Santa Ana wind. It really makes people edgy and cranky. It’s dry, dusty and hot. I found the temperatures and wind a real insult, and I did my best to keep a low profile. I would tell M, “I’m in a really bad mood, and about the best we can hope for right now is my not being mean. Civility and cordiality is right out. You might want to leave me to myself.” He’s a smart man; he left me alone. I did get some knitting done, but when I tried to take some photos, well, let’s just say the result didn’t improve my mood. So, since I’ve washed, blocked and given these socks to Nancy, let’s take a look at the completed Spaced Check Socks.

Spaced Check Socks

Yarn: Claudia Hand Painted Fingering in Walk in the Woods
Needles: 2.25 mm Clover bamboo
Pattern: Spaced Check Socks from More Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch; I believe I followed the pattern religiously for the 60-stitch sock. It would be a very good pattern stitch for a conservative pair of men’s socks in a solid color.

I used the garter-edged heel flap, which I really like. Picking up the stitches is so easy, and it looks very neat. I also did the extra 2 stitch pick-up to keep the gusset top from having a hole, and that really works for me too.

Heel Flap-Spaced Check Socks

Nancy thought them pretty, although she won’t really be able to wear them for close to two months. Considering her birthday was July 31, and last year I didn’t get her socks done until Halloween, I was much more prompt in my lateness this year.

So now if the weather, which has been cooling off the last two days, continues to behave in a reasonable manner, I may be able to post some WIPs mid-week with a smile. The one good thing about the smoke are the pretty sunsets (when the sun was orange in the sky at noon, that was a bit much), so I’ll leave you with one of the tamer ones, as that was the only time I had my camera.

Sunset 090907

Think cool, sweater-weather thoughts!

Third Contest Winner and Autumn Plans

Saturday morning, M pulled the winning name for my First Blogiversary contest from a crystal bowl (a wedding gift). It was all on the up and up, as he was doing computer stuff and never even looked at the bowl or, for that matter, the name he pulled out. And that name was Nova, Archivist on the Edge. I’ve emailed her, but I think she is still in Chicago at a big archivist convention, so I have yet to hear from her.

I hope everyone has been a smarter knitter than I have been. I was working so hard on my Minimalist Cardigan, along with a lot of hand work at lab, that I made my hands sore in a repetitive stress sort of way. Not smart. I’ve had to slow down on the cardigan; it has 3/4-length sleeves, and if I deform my hands and wrists, it will really show. But it should still be done in time for cool weather (late October). To get gauge and nice sweater fabric, I need to knit the cardi as tight as I can, which contributes to the stress. So I was thinking about what sorts of knitting projects could be worked along side the cardi that didn’t have such a tight gauge. And lace would fit the bill quite nicely. I am nearly done with the VLT scarf in Habu silk (it shall appear in the next WIP post on the couch-o-meter!), so I thought, What Next? While photographing my lace yarn stash for Ravelry, I found yarn I had forgotten I had:
Frog Tree Brushed Suri.JPG
Brushed Suri Alpaca in Christmas Red!!
Wouldn’t that make a lovely wrap for Christmas? I think Kiri is the way to go here. I have more yarn than I need (I seldom worry about using up all the yarn), and Kiri will let me stop when I want. It is also a good first top-down triangular shawl pattern. So, I think I have a plan to get good handknits and not deformed hands.

As I only have three socks left to knit (and I mean 3 socks, not 3 pairs) for Christmas giving and M’s scarf (which has the same tight gauge issues as the minimalist cardi), I think this shall all be doable with some fun sock projects and the like for myself. But now it’s time for a cup of tea…

Happy Knitting!