My current work in progress:

1. Strandwanderer, designed by Lea Viktoria, knit from Wollmeise Merino "Pure" in the "Zenzi" colorway on a 3.25 mm (U.S. size 3) needle.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

Apple Pie

No, I’m not talking about food. (Although, it occurs to me that it has been years since I’ve had a piece of homemade apple pie. Granny Smith apples, lots of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, please. No ice cream. Because that would be overkill.)

This is Apple Pie.

applepie 124 7 Apple Pie

It’s a sock yarn from Apple Laine, and L-B gave me 2 skeins of it (a pair of socks-worth) as a gift this past Christmas. Mine is in the Winter’s Dawn colorway.

Check the website to see all the glorious colorways. Then click on the link for retailers to see where you can buy it.

The yarn is 50% wool, 20% mohair, 20% silk, and 10% nylon, and it’s like no other sock yarn I’ve knit. And I love it.

applepietwist012407 Apple Pie

The twist of the yarn is very Koigu-y or Cherry Tree Hill-y, but the yarn has a totally different feel from either of those. The mohair and silk in it give it a lovely sheen and a solid feel. There’s also a nice little halo from the mohair content. It’s fingering weight, and the ball band states a gauge of 28-32 stitches on a 2 – 3 mm needle. I’m knitting it quite firmly on a 2mm (US 0) needle and am getting 8 stitches to the inch, as I usually do with fingering, but 11 rows per inch instead of my usual 12. Each skein weighs 2 ounces and is approximately 190 yards, so one skein is plenty for one sock, unless you are making really big socks. It’s machine washable in cold water — which is how I wash all my handknit socks.

applepieswatch012407 Apple Pie

When I finished up the giant clown socks, I was still feeling crappy enough to not want to knit on my Maltese Shawl. Only mindless knitting. And a plain pair of socks is about as mindless as it gets for me.

sip012407 Apple Pie

Actually, I was going to do the leg in feather and fan, but forgot. I’ll blame L-B, because I was on the phone with her when the time came to start the leg pattern. Didja hear that, L-B? Your fault.

Thanks again for all your kind comments and get-well wishes. (I did notice that when Lucy posted to the blog, she got far more comments than I do when I posted knitting pictures, but I’m going to pretend that is a coincidence. I’m not bitter.) This respiratory thing that knocked me down is one of the nastiest bugs I’ve had in a very long time. Anything that saps my will to knit is a force to be reckoned with. I did go to work today, but left early and came home to lounge around like a lady of leisure.

(My boss stopped by around 10am and I told her if it was okay with her I was gonna leave at noon. She replied “Holy –expletive deleted– why don’t you leave now?” Yes, I was a vision of loveliness today.)

So, I haven’t touched the Maltese shawl since Sunday morning, when I last felt like a human being. I still don’t feel like picking it up, so I’ll let it sit quietly in the knitting bag for the time being. I’ve got plenty of time — it is to be a gift, but I don’t need it to be completed for a couple of months. Still, I hate leaving anything for too long, for fear the bloom will fade from it and I will become disenchanted with it. I think this is why I pretty much knit things one-at-a-time. If I were to have too many works in progress, I’d get sick of them and never return to them. So I dare not let the Maltese shawl languish too long. It’s a fine line.

Here is Lucy, contemplating a crochet hook and trying not very successfully to not look superior.

lucy012407 Apple Pie

Here You Go

socks012307 Here You Go

One pair of giant clown socks.

Kindly note how well they match. Pure, dumb luck.

I generally don’t try terribly hard to make socks match, but the patterning on this Opal yarn is such that it seemed like a good idea to try. And when I have a single large skein of yarn for a pair of socks, I generally don’t split it and rewind it — unless I’m making larger guy socks and I want to be sure I have enough yarn for them both.

In this case I wound the skein into a ball, then wound off half of it (by weight) into a second skein. Then I wound the remainder of the skein so all the yarn is “facing” the same way. Know what I mean? If I hadn’t, one of the socks’ stripes would have been upside-down.

Anyway. That’s really all I’ve been up to, apart from starting another sock. Thanks for all the get well wishes. I’m still feeling pretty lousy, but depending on how much sleep I manage tonight, I may go into the office tomorrow. We’ll see. I haven’t done much in the way of knitting, but made an effort to finish the giant clown socks because I need to give them to my brother this weekend.

Thanks also for the ideas for ways to keep Lucy warm. I ordered her a Cozy Cushion from Drs. Foster & Smith. It has “a core layer of thermo-reflective material that uses your cat’s own body heat to warm the entire cushion” as the description states. I ordered the one in the blue fabric, to match Lucy’s eyes.

In the meantime, she doesn’t look too uncomfortable does she?

lucy012307 Here You Go

Message From Lucy

lucy012207 Message From Lucy

Momma can’t come to the blog today. She’s been lying on the couch, coughing, all day. At least she remembered to feed me. Sheesh.

Of Clown Socks and Heating Pads

Peggy commented:
Do you think you could send me the specifics of the clown sock? I don’t have measurements for my brother’s own clown foot, so it would be very useful to know how many stitches to cast on, how long the foot should be, how much yarn I really need, etc.

I figgered I’d post the specifics here, in case other people were interested. This is for a man’s size 14 Wide foot. I use my generic toe-up pattern, dk weight sock yarn, and a US 2 (2.75mm) needle. I’m getting about 6.5 stitches/inch. I make a sock that’s 56 stitches around, so with the provisional cast-on, do 28 stitches to start and short-row down to 14 for the toe. I work the foot until it is 9.25″ long before making the heel. Then I knit the leg until it seems tall enough or I run out of yarn — whichever comes first.

I can tell you that a single 150 gram skein of Opal 6 dk weight yarn (458 yards) is plenty for a pair of socks made in this manner, with a little bit left over.

sip012107 Of Clown Socks and Heating Pads

Lucy

lucy012107 Of Clown Socks and Heating Pads

Thank you to everyone who weighed in on options for keeping Lucy warm! While the kitty heating pads mentioned look like a good idea, I know I’d be far happier with an item that does not require electricity. Call me an over-protective mom. I’ll investigate getting her a heating pad that can be heated in the microwave, then tucked under her blankie.

But of course if there is a human in the house, Lucy will opt for lap time. But I like the idea of her having a pre-warmed place to snuggle when she’s home alone.

Of course, the temperature will probably go up in the 80s by the end of the week, so it won’t be necessary.

It’s Snowing!

Alert the media.

A perfect day to stay indoors and knit on Maltese lace. However, I’ve got a sore throat and am feeling like I’m coming down with something, so I don’t really feel like knitting. so the Maltese lace will remain in this state:

maltese012107 Of Clown Socks and Heating Pads

And I’ll knit on a clown sock should I feel like knitting later on. Carry on without me, okay?

Lace Musings

As you all probably figured out, I recently got my hands on a copy of Victorian Lace Today. I received it as a birthday gift a couple of weeks ago.

I am quite delighted with this book. While there are (of course) several projects that I don’t like, there are far more that I do like and that I can see myself making. The book itself is lovely, with lots of beautiful location photos and a lot of interesting text on lace knitting in Victorian times. There’s a great section in the back about designing your own lace project. I think the author did a great job with this book.

This started me thinking about what I like in a lace project. I like symmetry and motifs that “go” together. I realized recently that I, for the most part, don’t like traditional Shetland-style shawls. I find a lot of them to be way too “busy.” I feel there are too many different patterns in one piece and to my eye they don’t really “go” together. I can certainly appreciate the incredible skill that goes into Shetland lace knitting, but, for the most part, I’m not interested in knitting one myself.

I have done some Shetland lace — pretty much my first lace project was a Shetland lace wedding handkerchief done in cobweb weight wool on size 0000 needles. (There’s a photo of it here.) But I don’t think it’s really very pretty. The Tina Shawl is a Shetland lace shawl, but I think the designer, Dorothy Siemens, did a particularly excellent job of picking motifs that worked well together and not overloading it with too many different patterns. Ditto for Sivia Harding’s Shetland Garden shawl, which uses Shetland motifs in a Faroese style shawl.

So, anyhow, what it boils down to is that I think I prefer Victorian lace to Shetland lace. Just my own personal preference.

(This, of course, did not prevent me from ordering Sharon Miller’s new book about Shetland Hap shawls. I am nothing if not inconsistent.)

Speaking of Victorian lace, I made precious little progress last night because a certain little someone:

lucy011807 Lace Musings

was feeling all needy and snuggly, so much of the evening was spend in playing with and cuddling said certain little miss.

Gee, do you suppose that had anything to do with the temperature in my home? Maybe I need to shove the heat up a bit more? Not that I mind having Lucy happily snuggled up with me when I’m home, but I wouldn’t want the dainty little princess to be uncomfortably cold, ya know?

Here’s the state of the lace:

maltese011807 Lace Musings

There were a couple of questions about the Knitpicks options needles. No, I’ve not had any problem with the cable unscrewing from the needle. And yes, the tips are very, very pointy. I’m using a 4.5mm needle on this project, which is a U.S. size 7, and I’m executing p2tog tbl on the Kidsilk Haze with no problem. I can’t see me doing that with an Addi Turbo.

Hey, look! I finished one giant clown sock!

sip011807 Lace Musings