Yarn and Monkeys

A while ago I envied some Malabrigo yarn on Karen’s blog, Yarn is My Metier (she knows how to do the accent on the second e of metier–my code manual is somewhere, not here…). She told me not to envy the Malabrigo, she had oodles and oodles (my choice of words not hers), and would send me some: would I please choose a weight and two colors. Wowza! I picked Polar and Burgundy in a heavy worsted, and my they are pretty.
Polar Malabrigo Heavy Worsted
Burgundy Malabrigo Heavy Worsted
These are multi-plied yarns, which Karen bought when Malabrigo was switching to single ply yarns. I am glad of this, because I think the multi-ply may have more durability. But the colors are intense and lovely, and the yarn is super-soft merino. The colors in the Polar are hard to capture, a soft greened-grey. I have two skeins of each color, so now I need to think of projects! Merino and my skin get along famously well, so one color is going to be a scarf of some sort. Decisions, decisions…
In addition to the yarn, Karen also sent a dpn (or crochet hook) holder made of a very fun sock monkey print fabric from Textile Fetish.
Monkey Sock Needle Case
M’s grandmother gave me a set of Knit Picks nickel-plated sock dpns for Christmas, and they are right at home in this needle case (so much nicer than the plastic case they came in).
Monkey Sock Needle Case from Karen
Those are happy sock monkeys! I had been looking around for a cloth needle case for dpns, and I’m glad I can stop looking, because I didn’t find anything this fun and well-designed in my searches.

If for some perverse reason, you don’t like sock monkeys, than perhaps a Monkey Gland cocktail might be more to your liking.
Monkey Gland
You can read more about this “unique” cocktail at Cocktails with M.

Happy Knitting!

Fire

I have many things to share, but I think I will blog them in separate posts in a vain attempt to remain comprehensible. So, today we have some fire.

The knitting fire wasn’t the fire I had planned at all for Lolly’s Project Spectrum: The Elements. I planned to knit some socks in a luscious raspberry merino. However, having chosen a pattern and knit almost a whole leg, I now want to knit something entirely different with the yarn (I think).

Thank goodness my father-in-law needed a new scarf. For Christmas 2006 I had knit Bob a scarf in some chunky alpaca. He thought I was really nice to knit him something, but unknown to me, he didn’t really wear scarves. That is until this past bitter winter. He loved the scarf; it kept his neck very warm, and then he lost it. He lost it in a hospital where he was taking part in a Parkinson’s Disease study (the study was called “Tango Boot Camp”), and now we believe someone else is wearing the scarf as it wasn’t turned in to the lost-and-found. More chunky alpaca to the rescue! I changed the stitch pattern to Twin Rib from a diagonal rib of the first scarf. Both patterns follow my ideal for men’s scarves of reversibility. The color, Cinnabar Melange, is the same as the first scarf (yarn is Misti Alpaca Chunky) and is a burning ember red.

Naturally, as this is Molecular Knitting, our first photo of a scarf must take place on the couch-o-meter. Bob’s Second Scarf knit up to a little over 2 cushions in length.
Bob's Second Scarf on the Couch-o-meter

Yes, the scarf and sofa color clash. Neither the couch or the scarf was very happy with the photo shoot, but they suffer from being inanimate and therefore are unable to do much about the situation.
Here’s a close up of the stitch pattern, unblocked, and I mailed it unblocked so it would arrive by Bob’s birthday. M said it looked fine, but I feel a bit guilty.
Bob's Second Scarf

Although I wasn’t really looking for a photography subject for Project Spectrum, we had an absolutely spectacular sunset on March 15th. I put some of the photos in there own Flickr set, but here are three in time progression from just after the sun sank below the horizon until about 20 minutes later. None of the photos have been played with digitally.
Sunset early 031508

Sunset late 031508

Sunset very late 031508

It was some pretty cool fire.

P.S. Be sure to check out M’s posts about the Blood and Sand cocktail at Cocktails with M, if you haven’t already. It’s yummy, especially with his mods.

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

The Luckiest Man Alive Gets a Scarf

M has been making use of his new Pinnacle Chevron Scarf for the past couple of weeks, so I figured it needed to be my next blog post. The weather has actually grown too warm for this Ultra Alpaca scarf, as the almonds and daffodils are in bloom. Here is M wearing it outside in his shirtsleeves a few weeks ago.

M and his scarf

M is not a “wrap the scarf around your neck” sort of guy, so I knit it to his specifications in terms of length, which was about 5 feet long. The width before blocking was 7.5 inches and I blocked it to 9.5 inches wide, opening up the rib some but not a lot. It seemed to be what the scarf wanted. The pattern is simply three repeats of Pinnacle Chevron Rib (a repeat of 18 +1) which I got from Barbara Walker but is also in the Harmony Guides and countless other stitch dictionaries. I used size 8 Addi Turbos.  The scarf lies wonderfully flat and is completely reversible, which is almost a prerequisite in my book for a man’s scarf. No fuss or putting it on wrong.

Pinnacle Chevron Scarf

My plan was to use up the Berroco Ultra Alpaca I had left over from knitting myself the Aran Pocket Shawl. However, due to M’s desire for only a 5-foot long scarf, I still have 1.5 skeins of the yarn left over. M’s sister does want a hat for skiing in a dark green, so she may get her wish.

Now, M isn’t the Luckiest Man Alive because I knit him this scarf, but I alluded to this title in a previous post, and a few readers wanted to hear the story. For the story to make sense, you need to know about two highways in California. The first is Highway 1, which is the coastal highway. If you’ve ever seen in a movie or TV show a convertible driving along the winding coast with the top down, you’ve seen Highway 1: very scenic, not really very speedy. The 101, on the other hand, still runs up the coast, but is enough inland to be the equivalent of an interstate: not very scenic, but really very speedy. So here’s the story.

M and I had a wedding to attend in Monterey, California, which is a couple hours drive for us. First we drive west to the Bay Area and then head south on the 101 until we get to the exit for the Monterey Peninsula. The wedding was at 4:30, and we planned to get to our hotel by 2:00 in order to have time to change, get a bite to eat and get to the church. Between the Monterey exit and our place on the 101 was one of the “world’s largest” flea markets, and the traffic that Saturday afternoon was at a near standstill. M was driving and getting very impatient. We were 2-3 miles from the flea market exit, and 5-6 miles from the Monterey exit. However, M had had enough, and he took the first exit that we came to; it had no city, town or highway associated with it. I was not amused.

“What are you doing? This road doesn’t seem to go anywhere!” I cried.
“The clutch is smoking and my elbow was burning,” answered M (his elbow was hanging out the window).
“That’s just stupid! I don’t want to be late for a wedding. And I won’t go in my shorts and T-shirt. I have a new silk dress.”
“Don’t worry. You’re with Michael. Everything always works out for Michael.”

I ground my teeth and seethed silently. Soon we were no longer on a road that could be called a highway, and shortly after that the road was no longer paved. We were driving around large fields of strawberries on the little dirt roads the migrant workers use. We could see them picking berries and we were driving right past their beat up pick-ups parked along the road side. I was convinced we were going to dead end around the next field. But after about 15 minutes of meandering around several fields we ended back on a paved road. Just a couple miles farther and we could see a line of moving traffic in the distance. Then we saw the sign: Junction with Highway 1. M was jubilant.

“See, Highway 1 right ahead! That goes right in to Monterey. We’ll get to our hotel in plenty of time.” he said.
“You are the luckiest man alive,” I managed to grind out.
“Yes, yes I am,” he replied with a completely inappropriate (in my mind) grin.

We arrived at our hotel and were able  to change, eat and get to the wedding with time to spare.   Now anytime we veer from the path laid out by Google Maps, if I suggest this might not be the best plan, M reminds me of his navigational abilities and how he got us to Highway 1 and Monterey.  Is it any wonder that I prefer to do the driving?