« June 2005 | Main | August 2005 »

July 30, 2005

SYNO swap: yarns

karabella aurora 8 in color 276
the upcoming scarf swap had deemed me a reason to visit my LYS this week. i am going to use this indescribable shade of karabella yarn for my backyard leaves scarf. actually, i first saw this color on martha's scarf (she makes the most amazing scarves!), and i'm hoping that by using the yarn specified in the pattern would make my scarf knitter's knitting a bit easier. no need to swatch. perfect!

karabella aurora 8 is very similar to jaeger's extra fine merino yarn. it is very soft, very bouncy and it come in many great colors. i heard that with extended wear, this yarn tends to pill. hmm. i'll see if that's the case.

as far as my spinning goes, the following picture says it all. i'm not sure if this craft is the kind that comes naturally for me but at the moment, i'm going to say: no. nonetheless i still have *some* hopes.

a tangling mess

some hiccups happened last week, i lost all my feeds. humph! also, i had asked bloglines to have only one *active* rss feed of my blog in their database. i'm not sure if such modification would cause some problems on your end. if so, you can just re-subscribe. i hope.

July 27, 2005

knit tools

my secret pal has been gifted me packages with specific themes. this one, knit tools, is a good one! i was so pleasantly surprised to find the drop spindle with some merino rovings. am i going to be tempted to be a spinner now? hmm... must consider.

if you have not yet feel the smoothness of lantern moon needles, please immediately go to your LYS and resolve that. i love working with natural fibers and tools, thus most of my needles are bamboo needles. lantern moon is my first pair made from rosewood... oh, fancy! i can see myself making some scarves with these lovely needles.

and, of course, the yarn and the stitch markers are destined to be my knitting treasure. the day when this package arrived, was a good day!

orange pink rovings on a drop spindle, stitch markers with little faces, lantern moon needles and a skein of handspun merino wool by my SP in divine blue.

i heart vintage fashion

butterfly hem, rowan 37
it is the midst of summer. blazing heat, hazy air; it feels like a boiling pot when walking outside the air-conditioned rooms. all you can think about is icy cold beverages, beaches, sunscreens, spaghetti strap tops and see-through tunics (the last two are currently on my mind). however, those fashion-forward folks are spoon-feeding fall and winter garments down your throat. goodness, i am sweating just by thinking about it.

but... have you check out the latest anthropologie website? all those fairy-like models wearing beautiful hand knits and frolicking along the fall-themed backdrop. i don't know why i dig such style so much, but who wouldn't? i want to be in the vintage era. i don't care if they did not have computers back then. i would rather wear corsets and lacy stockings!!

vintage love. my current obsession. that is why i'm picking up the project "butterfly" from rowan 37. albeit the fact that this garment was featured in the spring issue, i think the mohair lacey top is equally suited for this fall. i have seen a couple butterflies fluttering the cyberspace and they are all so fragilely beautiful. maybe, by wearing this top, i can shed off some of my goofiness and be a lady for a change.

i know i had asked my readers what color to knit my butterfly a while back. well, i went against popular voting and picked pink to be my color. why? well, i just feel that i had wanted to make it in pink all along, and i was hoping that my readers (whom i probably shared similar fashion tastes with) would agree with me.. hence that was probably the purpose of my intention. i had seriously considered green, thought, would that color be suited for this? perhaps?

in a different light and background, butterfly is a pale pink
butterfly has a rating of three yarn balls in rowan. and they are there for a reason. three yarn ball rated garments are, indeed, difficult to make. at least it requires a lot of attention. i was working on it for a couple days, and every row required stitch counting, possibly some ripping and re-knitting. i have been reading the knit-along on craftster, apparently it gets easier after the hem. so, we shall see.

July 25, 2005

sockapal-2-za update: turning heel

mid-calf green sock!
so the sock is going to be a mid-calf length. a length that is generally accepted and preferred by most sock knitters and wearers. the only concern of mine at the moment is the quantity of yarn in my possession. i have two balls of these yarns in my stash for a while, and i'm pretty sure that they are no longer available from patons. so, i hope i will be able to make one sock out of each ball. and to tell you the truth, i have been knitting with a bit of fear.

still, i love how the diamonds flowing in the pattern and they will travel all the way to the toes, too! this green is getting prettier by the day. interesting how a color can grow on you. will i have enough will power to part with this pair of socks... oh i hope so.

a little modification was made when i turned the heel. as i had casted on 10 more stitches than specified in the pattern, i had to allocate those extras evenly to the front and the back of the sock. i also had to shuffle the stitches so they fit on two circulars. it's really nothing fancy. so i'm going to stop here.

turning heel with two bamboo circulars!
goal for next week: finish sock #1, start sock #2.

thank you for all the comments on orangina, i was so utterly flattered!

July 24, 2005

orangina is a deceitful purple top

sometimes, you just wish you were a supermodel.

knit project: glampyre knits - orangina
difficulty (1-5): 1.8
size: smallest (less 9 stitches)
yarn: ornaghi filati's gong in burgundy (988)
knitting specs: US 3 cir.

beautiful things can be delusional, unattainable and often deceitful. for instance: the mirage in the desert, mr. big from sex and the city, the yellow frogs in the amazon rain forest, the unreal length of those models' legs from victoria's secret's catalogue, and, of course, my purple orangina top!

i finished my orangina this weekend, this little lacey peek-a-boo top radiated such beauty that i had to put it on. and, what you didn't know was that this top instantly made you look like a supermodel, made your boobs two sizes bigger and you just want to masquerade as an expensive catwalk model for an evening. how surreal! but i definitely took this euphoric advantage and ran with it.

need i say more? so many smart knitters had already discovered the magic of orangina and had already fashioned their FOs all over blogland, so, i'm going to spare some technicalities here. what i had done differently were the following: to compensate for my petite asian frame, i casted on 9 stitches less than the smallest CO number, it had turned out quite nicely for it gave a fitted yet comfortable look. i increased the ribbing from 4 inches to 5 so the top would not accentuate the fat deposited abs. i seamed only one inch for the shoulder, instead of two, that worked out nicely as well. also, for the BO, i used crochet hook and did a single chain BO specified in vogue knitting to create an elastic edge. i originally used the standard BO method, that did not work out so well for this fiber. and, speaking of fiber: this yarn is the loveliest cotton yarn i have ever used (though i've only tried two kinds). but still, this yarn does not split, has a beautiful sheen and knits up nicely. i am not sure if it would bleed, i'll let you know. but if you can get your hands on this fiber, please don't hesitate.

what else would i have done differently? not much! though i can stand the top being a bit longer, but i would have increased the lace panel more (ie, 14 to 14.5 inch) than just the ribbing. i may want to try a lighter color so it can be worn with a light color cami. now, tell me, is this top too revealing for work, if no cami is worn underneath? i think so.

the obligatory self-proclaimed glamour black and white!
ok. i'm done. i don't think i want to be a supermodel. i just want to be a happy knitter who occasionally has some wild wacky dreams.

what next? butterfly from rowan. it's coming!

July 21, 2005

in which i stick my toe into pattern design

the beginning of an unknown sweater!
i have been thinking about this for a while, or more specifically, the last couple months after i was gifted these wonderful yarns by my dear friend. i know that with the quantities and colors, i can easily make a couple pairs of mittens and hats and be done with it. however, i feel that these yarns wanted to be more than just accessories. these beautiful colors can be carefully blended into a beautiful sweater. and it will be a colorful sweater.

i'm calling this my first serious sweater design and sure it will probably be more challenging than i think, however, we knitters welcome challenges! it'll be fun, it'll be rewarding and definitely worthwhile.

so, my friends, this will marked the beginning of the pattern design adventure from a novice.

here's a few ideas i'm thinking:

- make this sweater a funky one, use tom tom, oilily and missoni as inspirations
- avoid, during the process, turn it into a cheap wal-mart-like sweater
- use common sense and avoid fancy stuff. make it simple and straight forward
- make it fit, slim fit; and take plenty of notes
- always remember to have fun
- will come out loving knitting more, not the reverse

with help from another norweigan blogger i was able to acquire more of these lovely yarns. i guess i'm all set to go!

babysilk from norway! (courtesy of S T R I K K E R)

July 19, 2005

sockapal-2-za update: friday harbor new tricks

green friday harbor sock to be!
so the fun begins for my sockapal-2-za socks adventure. one evening worth of intensive sock knitting, i have the above! not bad, eh?

i knew that when i picked this pattern, i would be in for some new tricks. sure enough, so far i had learned how to cast on using the english method (posh!) so the edge resembling a purl stitch. first attempt: too tight. second attempt: up four needle size, this resulted a stretchy and firm edge. perfect! i am looking foward to using this method more, as stated in the KOTR book, combined the english CO with continental CO method, you can have a nice ribbed edge like K1, P1 or K2, P2.

this pattern used a very small number of CO stithes, 50, to be exact. my instinct told me that 50 stitches are not enough to stretch across the mid calf (my sock pal wants a mid calf length). but, i went with it out of respect for nancy bush. needless to say, when i tried it on, it was blood vessel constricting tight. so, i ripped it off, added 10 more stitches, and now, it can fit anywhere you want on the calf. perfect!

in all honesty, friday harbor did not have the most comprehensive instructions. after the first couple rows, i was utterly confused. then, i remembered that there's a book correction file at interweave's website, so i went a grabbed that. hey, what do you know, there it was, pattern correction notes for this book. it was helpful and allowed me to make the lace looks like lace, not some wonky, holey stitches. and what was the trick? you have to constantly shuffle the stitches every round so all the YOs and K2TOGs are aligned.

i particularly fancy the wavy lacy edge of this sock. it reminds me a bit of the victorian era garter you see in the brothels (is my sock pal going to think that i'm strange?) and i bet if i increase enough stitches to fit around the thigh, it'll be just like the garter stockings. but no! i'm not going down that wild path. still, i wonder why nancy bush named this pattern "friday harbor", i need to re-read her introduction.

front, nice, chevron shaped lace patterns; back, 2x2 ribbing for one size fits all.
so, check back next week, i may have more to show!

July 16, 2005

father's day socks

father's day socks

knit project: ribbed socks for father's day
difficulty (1-5): 1.5
size: man's small (60 stitches, long tail cast on)
yarn: brown sheep's wildfoote luxury sock yarn in zane grey (SY36)
knitting specs: 2 X US 2 cir.

i know the father's day in the states is long gone, but my dad lives in australia, so, i'm actually ahead of the game for this one! oh, i'm actually quite happy with this ribbed socks! i wanted to knit a pair for my dad that is simple, comfortable, that he will actually wear it! so, i opted for a straight forward pattern! since there's nothing exciting about the style, i chose brown sheep's wildfoote sock yarn to add to the attraction.

the result: a pair of every day socks with understated colors, wearable and comfortable. that's why it actually stays on my feet longer than it should.

green self-patterned sock, can this be more interesting?
so, now on to socks for sock pal, but wait! this is not the sock pal's socks!! it's the sock for the husband! well, since i'm knitting socks, might as well knit two pairs at the same time! my husband had watched me stitching out two pairs of socks (for my parents) and had been patiently waiting for his turn. so, with no further delay, i casted on late last night and opal self pattern sock is on the way.

this will be my first try with the self-patterend yarn. i have to say, i quite like it! it keeps the knitting interesting, and the opal yarn is lovely! after seeing the socks for my dad, husband also wanted a ribbed pair (hmm!!), so i am hoping the self-patterned will keep me interested and i'll be able to finish this pair before the winter comes.

ok, now, a depressing and shocking news! i was ready to pack the yoked baby cardigan for friends last night, and guess what i found? a pink stain on the cream color yarn! what is the deal? i was so mad (emotionally and possibly psychologically) and i showed this to my husband, to verify my visual observation. he looked at it and said: yeah, a pink stain, you're not hallucinating!

now, before any knitting begins this weekend, i'm going to attempt the stain removal process. i guess i had used the same tub to wash my red wave skirt, and some residual pink water had sneaked its way onto the baby cardi. so, though i was mad, i knew it had something to do with my goofiness. so it shows.

pink stain. oh it's there!!

July 14, 2005

a sheet of purple lace

i am multitasking right now: reviewing data for my experiment, babysitting the robot (i work in a robotic drug screening lab) and, i'm blogging. how's that for efficiency? actually, i have been multitasking my knit projects these few days, too! i have *finally* finished the ribbed socks for my dad (pictures to come), surprisingly it fits me perfectly! actually, my dad is a small guy so i am pretty sure he can wear it, too.

so, ribbed socks out of the way, sockapal-2-za socks begin and that will be my project this weekend. hopefully, i'll have something to show next tuesday!

i forgot to bring my orangina pattern along, so i am just making laces (may be longer than necessary now). i'll start on the back (or front) piece this weekend, too.

purple lace everywhere!
what about audrey? well, sleeves are half way done (wonderful!), not only that, i also watched "roman holiday" this weekend with my husband (kudos for him as it is classified as a chick-flick). i am drawn to classics on regular basis, i think if a movie can sustain the test of time and popular culture, it is destined to be seen. so, i have made an effort to watch "gone with the wind" when i first came to alabama. totally loved it, given that at the time i was just slowly introduced to the southern culture etc. aside from "roman holiday", we also watched "the graduate" this weekend. another classic! strange to see dustin hoffman as a young guy.

so, what are your favorite classic movies?

July 12, 2005

sockapal-2-za and OSW

hurricane dennis had come and went and i was so ready for a complete blow-out of the region but it did not happen. actually, i felt a bit cheated by the earth atmosphere, she had everyone so hyped about it but nothing drastic happened in the end. what drama. and i know it is probably awful for me to express the i-hope-the-disasters-were-here feeling.

just like the hurricane dennis, i was going to work on the sockapal-2-za socks but in the end i never did. however, i thought about this project a great deal, so much that i had actually done something indirectly related to the progression of this project, that is, finish off my dad's socks and free up the US2 needles!

finish this sock already!
so, not sockapal-2-za sock update, but if you still want to see some sock knitting, here is the ribbing sock that i was working on this weekend.

on another note, i had jumped on the OSW bandwagon and made myself one with some blue ribbon yarn. it was such a short project that i wanted to show this one to my husband after it was all finished! he was really anticipated some ingenious knit project from me. so, when i modeled the FO for him, he had such an expression (sort of in amusement and in confusion) and carefully asked: what is that? not a posture correcting device i hope! great... the term PCD had stick in my head more than OSW now. sucks.

it is a one skein wonder in blue!
actually, it's not that bad, it's just a bit too small. so, i'm going to make another one that fits better. and to share my love to you all, i'm offering this to whoever is interested. it should fit the shoulder width about 13.5in. just let me know! i would, however, like you to send me a picture of you modeling it!!


July 09, 2005

think glamour, think audrey!

audrey, a sweater from rowan 35, was another new project i recently started. it's interesting how sometimes new projects just fall on your laps that you have no choice but to start knitting. this pretty ribbed sweater is definitely an example of that.

i swatched this time!
since this is a sweater that rekindles the fallen glamour and fashion of the 50's, it is never too late to start making it. thanks to the resourceful knitalong of audrey last year, i was able to read through many great tips and techniques for this project. i'm hoping that this information will pave a smooth path for my audrey experience.

and so far, i'm clicking along pretty happily! 2X2 ribbing is great knitting if you don't want to think while you knit. just increase a stitch here and there, and detangle your yarn every so often. before you know it, you have some nice, stretchy fabric ready to serve as sleeves of your sweater. how wonderful is that?

calmer, soft as cloud!
since this project is all about symmetry, same back and front pieces, same sleeves (this one is obvious), i feel obligated to embrace such design by knitting sleeves and body pieces two at a time. it is slower in appearance but the overall progress time should be the same. also, i'm really bad at counting rows... i had knitted a project that resulted in different lengths of sleeves. sad.
is red my color?

July 08, 2005

giving and receiving

i'm going to show you what i had made dani last week, a cotton washcloth!

actually, this is not a new or exciting pattern, but i feel that i need to publicly give my praise to this truly wonderful book "weekend knitting" by melanie falick. this book is why i fall in love with knitting all over again. so many wonderful and practical patterns, instructions are clear, photos are beautiful. what more could you ask for from a knitting book?

in two evenings, you can produce this lovely washcloth and make someone feel quite special! it's good all around. though i would like to add that cotton chenille is not my favorite yarn to work with, but the end result has always been more than worthwhile. i have made four washcloths already (though all of them were gifts) and i would still make another one given the opportunity.

and, what good is a washcloth without a soap? so, dani also got a soap from there through me!

ever wondered how to knit in round?

knit project: weekend knitting - reversed bloom washcloth
difficulty (1-5): 2
size: n/a
yarn: numei's cotton chenille in neptune
knitting specs: US 6 cir.

i know that many of you had expressed your envious thoughts toward the koigu sales here, however, i went back to the shop not long ago and the shop lady told me that she will not be carrying koigu anymore, thus the sale. what? i was shocked to the bones when she told me that. so, what else could i do? take home more koigu yarns, you said. oh don't you worry, i already did.

green koigu wants to be socks for my husband!

July 07, 2005

to friends in london

today, i am sending out my thoughts to friends and readers in london.

london was my temporary home for about six months few years ago while i was working there. my office located right on russell square and my morning rituals often included a stop at the manhattan coffee shop for breakfast, and i would purposely strolled across the square to feel the morning breeze. i like to alternate my routes between central and circle lines, depending on how often those trains arrive. commuting was a big part of my life when i was masquerading as a londoner, many moons ago.

during my short stays in london, i had experienced many tube incidences. the most significant one was on my first day to work, the tube was on strike! i was living near kensington palace then so i had actually walked three hours along the bus route and had hopes that maybe i would caught an empty cab, or a bus that would stop to take me. the journey home that evening was equally long and scary for i barely knew how to get around london.

as i got more comfortable with london, i became accustomed to the occasional tube mechanical problems, delays and even the may day riot! however, i can only imagine how terrible today's event must have been for the local commuters and visitors who happened to be there.

please know that our hearts are with you.

July 05, 2005

orangina is a purple top

i started a number of projects this weekend but the sockapal-2-za socks. how lame. one excuse for not starting up the socks was because the needles required to make them were occupied by the unfinished ribbing socks for my dad. equally lame, i know. oh well, guess i was just not in a "sock mood" this weekend.

so, no sockapal-2-za sock update this week. however, the lovely orangina is starting to take form at whispering pine!

i discovered that there's a yarn shop (!!) near our apartment in the city last week. this lovely yarn shop is only ten minutes away and they have quite a lovely yarn selection. there i spotted some gong cotton yarns by ornaghi filati and decided to use them for the orangina project.

it's the color of aubergine, color of pinot noir, and color of orangina!

i seem to have ambivalent feelings for the color purple. sometimes they are lovely to my eyes yet often they are just so unappealing. hmm, why is that? i have concluded that the color purple owns a wide spectrum of intensity and saturation (though you can pretty much say the same thing to all colors), and i seem to only find a few shades attractive.

anyway, toss my color theory aside, this particular shade of purple has proven to fit my taste. i called it the color of pinot noir, and i think they are going to be lovely as orangina!

ha! i was a bit careless and had overestimated my level of confidence when i started and guess what happened? this tangling yarn. oh, never overlooked the lace patterns, keep your stitches accurate and pay attention! i had to constantly remind myself.

don't you know lace is a finicky thing?

so, after a few rows, the lace has started to take form. wonderful! now, i am going to have some pinot* and relax!

*side note for pinot noir: i started to pay more attention to pinot after the movie "sideways". aside from the fact that this movie is one of the most interesting ones i have seen as of late, wine enthusiastic would also find this flick appealing. me, a wine enthusiastic wannabe, find this movie both inspirational and very informative in the topic of life and wine.*

July 01, 2005

roman holiday and a sleepy cat

my cat felt asleep on the window ledge and she had found a way to stretch out her paw. hmm. sometimes you wonder what those kitties are thinking?

as my WIP consists only socks at the moment, it's time to start a few new projects on this fourth of july weekend. and what projects will i be working on next? well, remember this post?

yes, i'll be starting the famous "audrey" this weekend. and, the orangina by glampyre. so, in order to set the mood for "audrey", i will be watching the movie "roman holiday" sometime this weekend. i have never seen this famous movie, so this weekend will definitely be the one to watch it. awesome.

as for orangina, i'm hoping that this will be a quick knit, that i can start and finish it within a couple weeks. after that, it'll be time for butterfly.

have a great holiday, everyone!