Soggy Weather

After a very dry January, which should be the wettest month of the year here in Northern-Central California, February has been very wet. I have several things to block, but with 60% humidity and low-to-mid-60 temps in the house, I’ve been hesitant to pin wet handknits to a towel on the floor (or run a fan). So I’ve got a stack waiting to be blocked:
Knits to block
On the bottom are the two fronts and back to the La Gran Mohair cardi, which I want to block and seam at the shoulders before I knit the sleeves, as I’m certain I’ll have to shorten them. The first time I knit this cardigan a couple years ago, the sleeve length was good for M, who is long limbed and 6’4″ tall; I have short arms and legs and am 5’6″. Next up, Tudor Grace is ready to block! Very excited by that. I finished the second stockinette sock in CTH Champlain Sunset, and they need a wash. On top is a swatch for the periwinkle Lamb’s Pride worsted you may remember I was trying to find a pattern for. I have a pattern! Unblocked the swatch is very close; I think blocking will do the trick. But I won’t say more until I know the swatch really is OK–don’t want to jinx it.

So during the two days that haven’t been rainy and sodden, M’s parents were here visiting and we went up into the Sierra Nevada Foothills to Placerville. Placerville was a gold rush town, and so it is chock full of historical buildings and things to do. It even has a yarn shop! I got to go to Lofty Lou’s. Here Nancy and I head into the little shop:
Nancy and me outside Lofty Lou's

M and Bob outside Lofty Lou's
M and his dad, Bob, weren’t that thrilled with the thought of crawling through a yarn shop (Crazy! I know.), but Lou had anticipated this. There were chairs outside on a little patio, and they had a good chat and did some people watching while Nancy and I shopped. There were a lot of novelty yarns and sock yarns, but I had a couple of scraps of sweater yarn I want to get coordinating yarn to knit scarves with. And I found a winner! Trabajos del Peru, a new merino yarn from Plymouth Yarns was scrumptious!
Trabajos del Peru
It’s aran weight (4 spi on size 9 needles), and two skeins had nearly 300 yds of yarn and cost less than $20. A real deal. It’s hand-dyed and single ply like Malabrigo. I wonder if the dyers from Uruguay (Manos del Uruguay), Paraguay (Malabrigo) and now this yarn from Peru feel a sense of competition. Do they look at each other’s color cards and make snide comments? Well, these colors are lovely, and the greens match my Wool of the Andes (Peruvian yarns rule!) in Fern.
Fern WoA and Trabajos del Peru
My current plan is a February Lady Sweater in the Fern and a chevron/feather and fan sort of motif for the scarf. But all that could change!
Well, before my headache really becomes a migraine, I should wish all of you a great weekend, and now I’ll get off the computer.

When only pretty will do

I felt the need for pretty this past week, so out of the bazillion WIPs I have, these two got the most attention.
Tudor Grace-long view
Tudor Grace pattern from Knitspot, which I’m knitting in the scrumptious Silk Sock from Yarn Lust in Currant. It’s 70% merino/30% silk, soft and strong, warm but not wooly, and it has a little sheen to it. Did I mention it’s soft? Babies weep that their bottoms aren’t this soft. And of course, the Tudor Grace pattern is a dream. It’s very easy, but still fun to knit. There are 3 “lace” rows to the 10-stitch, 6-row repeat, and one row has a double YO, one has a right twist and the other changes the order of the left and right slanting decreases. So, it mixes things up a little. Easy but not monotonous. And it is pretty!
Tudor Grace WIP
On a rainy day last week, I thought about starting the Flicker sock, but I had this wonderful pink and green sock yarn that look so cheerful and springlike that I couldn’t resist. I did stick with a Cookie A. pattern however.
Monkey leg
I finally got around to trying the Monkey sock. I know they are called a “lace” sock, and I haven’t been one to knit lace socks, although I’ve made an “official” decision to get over that in 2009 (hence the Flicker sock). However, the Monkey sock is lace? Really, people? That’s like saying YO increases along a raglan edge are lace. These socks have “decorative increases” paired with directional decreases. That’s my take on it. It is knitting up very pretty in this yarn I bought from a local dyer at our Farmer’s Market last October. Here it is stretched out on my sock blockers:
Monkey leg stretched
When talking with the dyer, she promised me there would be no pooling as she did very short color repeats. There is no pooling and her color repeats are short. The base yarn is identical to Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, which knits up very nicely.
Monkey sock yarn
The Monkey sock may become my “go to” pattern for highly variegated yarn if these socks fit me well. Because we like the pretty handknits when it’s rainy and grey outside.

Hibernation Basket

Hibernation Basket
The Hibernation Basket: where naughty and/or disappointing WIPs go to await judgement. Shall we be brave and look at what is inside?
FLS in Hibernation Basket
Part of a February Lady Sweater. Lovely pattern. Lovely yarn color. The garter yoke fits. The yarn is NOT NICE. Not nice at all. It deplies itself, and it BREAKS. I’ve never had a knit stitch just break in the middle as I inserted the right needle into the loop. But this yarn did it at no apparent flaw. I had to tink back all the way to the broken stitch, and then back past it to create an end long enough to work in (>200 stitches all told). Not fun. The yarn (discontinued Bryspun Kin ‘n’ Ewe) is also scratchy, and I don’t think Cascade 220 or Wool of the Andes are the least bit scratchy. As far as this sweater in this yarn is concerned, the Hibernation Basket may be more of a hospice basket.
Lizard foot sock
A sock that makes my foot look like a lizard foot. My original plan was to do the cuff in this very narrow, long basketweave stitch pattern (Stanfield 10), and then do a standard slip stitch heel and a stockinette foot. I thought it would look veggie-like and organic. Somewhere along the line, I kept the heel flap in the pattern stitch and even did the pattern stitch on the gussets (do not try this; it is a mistake; it makes one’s foot look very fat). Very nasty all round. Going to the frog pond. I thought this Eat Your Veggies from Claudia’s Hand Painted would be brighter knit up.
Kiri with Yarn
Kiri! How sad! I’ve become allergic to the Suri alpaca! Baby alpaca and suri alpaca make my hands itch and my eyes water. I can’t stand to touch it. I so love the color of this yarn, a bright, true Christmas red, and I really liked how Kiri was turning out. But I can’t have it around at all. In fact, if any reader would like Kiri and it’s yarn, email me or leave a comment. It’s Frog Tree 100% brushed suri. I had 1000 meters (5 skeins), and Kiri so far is about one skein (7-9 repeats done–I really don’t want to handle it and count), so there are 800 meters untouched.
Dainty Bess WIP
Dainty Bess in Malabrigo laceweight! How did this end up at the bottom of the Hibernation Basket?! I like this project (even if it’s a little dull to knit) and I love the yarn and color. Out of the Hibernation Basket! Into a WIP basket! I hesitated in confronting my hibernating projects, but I’m glad I did, as I had completely forgotten about this little gem. I guess I should scroll down my projects page on Rav more often.