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August 31, 2005

my beloved secret pal

today is officially the end of SP5, and i'm showing you the last package my beloved secret pal had sent me last week. aren't they the prettiest yarn? i especially adore the blue variegated sock yarns my talented pal had spun up. she is an avid spinner! also, aligned with her usual sense of humor and witty personality, she had gifted me some yarn from possum fur (see the oatmeal color skein)! but that's not all, i also got a whole bag of rowan's rowanspun 4-ply. red and tweedy, enough to make a top! perfect for the upcoming weather change. bliss...

so, who is this wonder person? she is the author of this fascinating blog- pesky'apostrophie. her lovable characteristics certainly slipped in this interesting blog of hers. more, i'm lusting over all those beautifully handspun yarns of hers.

the past three months, i have been sending secret packages to becky. a new knitter who is just venturing into the wonderful world of sock-knitting. it is interesting to follow the journey of knitter, hers is of no exception. and, i do hoped my gifts for the past few months had enriched her life in some way, a good way.

this was my first participation of the secret pal thing, and it may be the only one for now. i was happy to have met these two lovely knitters and felt lucky how wonderful the organizer had made this experience an easy one; however, i would like to simplify my life a bit and try to shop for myself for a while. uncertainty is beauitful, and i'm leaving that for later.

so, thank you, rox, for organizing the event; mac, for being a wonderful secret pal;becky, for loving my presents. and thank you, my lovely readers, for thinking of my overworked arms. hopefully, i'll be sharing some actual knitting with you soon.

August 27, 2005

knit in moderation

sockapal-2-za socks one and a half
in order to preserve the integrity of my hands/arms, i will be de-tox myself from knitting, and related activities for this coming week. that includes knitting (of course), web-surfing (for knitting-related topics), and minimal blogging (this one is hard to stay away from completely).

hopefully, with such occasional voluntary self-restraint, i will be able to knit continously and happily without pain and suffer for a long time to come.

before i go into a short reclusion, here's my latest progress of sockapal-2-za socks. other WIPs, they are waiting in the wing, not forgotten (ie, SYNO scarf).

August 26, 2005

green & black, camel and sparkle!

classic kid camel and kidsilk night

i finally got my SYNO from the very lovely and talented amelia raitte (aka anna) from london! i was so happy to receive them. ok, actually, there were also some green & black chocolate in the package but i'm eating them right now, so no pictures! first time with organic chocolate.. yum!

i will be making the turtleneck shrug for anna and they will be in the caramel color classic kid. i've always wanted to work with this yarn, so can't wait to start!!

you know the best part is... the sparkly kidsilk night from rowan. for me! and a lovely pin. i can see these turn into a lacy shawl for a romantic evening with my husband, or a glamorous cocktail night with girls! how exciting!

thanks anna! i hope you'll like my knitting and the shrug i'm about to stitch out for you!

August 25, 2005

autumn knits

will they be part of my wardrobe this season? (left: nan and roxie from big just got bigger; right: rowan36 and highgate)

thank you for all the lovely comments about audrey, as such, she will be loved and worn by me throughout this winter season. i will get much use out of it and will never throw it away, or give it to the salvation army should her glamour disappear one day.

speaking of fall, i can not wait. colorful foliage and breezy mornings... you can walk to a nearby coffee shop without the sweat and the bugs. but honestly, i think i'm more excited about knitting sweaters for cold weather than the season change itself. what knitter confession that is. so there are a few things i would like to make for the fall:

i have yet to knit a pair for myself, swapping does not count. i am so looking forward to just knit a pair of socks for me, me, me, me, me. and guilt free.

perferably with chunky weight wool. like roxie from rowan's "big just got bigger". i have been wanting to make this one since last winter, i love the wooly fringes. few years ago i started to notice this furry edge trend; in fact, my sister had owned a jacket like that. i was afraid that this trend may eventually fall out of fashion like, say, the high waisted jeans with white sneakers look of the 80's. luckily, i don't think this furry fringe thing is going anywhere soon. so, roxie it is.

what about nan? she is also very lovely. but can i afford to own her, too? one must not feel greedy.

cable sweater.
like the classic highgate. more specifically, like felicia's classic pink highgate. why pretend? it is going to be exactly like that! i have the yarn already purchased. i have the pattern book sitting on the bookshelf collecting dust. so, i'm really all set for this one. i am looking foward to making a cable sweater for myself.

vintage jacket.
i now have a copy of angelina from white lies design. so, why wait? start shopping for yarns and get to work! i don't have $200 to buy a ready made one from anthropologie, but i may have $150 to buy the yarn and spend three weeks making one. is this logic a bit strange? not to me.

short-sleeved sweater.
my mum had bought me some jo sharp's silkroad aran from brisbane to make "amy" earlier this year. after i had a chance to look at the pattern much closely i changed my mind. i love jo sharp's yarn, but i can't say the same thing about her patterns. ms. jo sharp, please note that we new-age knitters are shape conscious. please, in the future consider some waist shaping for all your patterns. and please note that we are also pretty observant knitters, too. perhaps you want to use more than one template design for the entire pattern book. using a different color yarn for a same pattern does not count as two patterns.

so anyway, now i got stucked with just enough yarn to make something short sleeved.. which i will probably just make something up and be done with it. i can not wait to wear this lovely yarn against my skin.

i have also acquired (bought) a sweater worth of denim silk from LYS a while back to make teva durham's ibiza shirt (no stripes, just denim look). i feel this fiber is probably more suitable for a spring garment, but we shall see. and, that rowan blue KSH short sleeved number looks like a winner, too. hmm. i have not yet made up my mind, obviously. what the hell? make them all.

i felt in love with this shirt not because of the shirt, but this hot model (loop-d-loop ibiza shirt)

husband's sweater.
i have also promised my personal photographer/husband that i will tailored made him a sweater so the back will not blow out like it can fit a gorilla. in return, he will take more lovely pictures for me and possibly write an entry on how he takes photos and his thoughts on my sweater. he was quite pleased with the cable sweater i had made him a few years ago. but this time, i got some jaeger's luxury tweed to make him a nicer sweater. anyone want to join in to make a husband's sweater?

this list is getting long, i better stop. though i had a good feeling that it will get longer before the fall actually starts.

August 23, 2005

audrey takes a retro spin

my take on the eco romantic style for the supposedly elegant audrey

knit project: rowan 35 - audrey
difficulty (1-5): 2
size: xsmall (32 in)
yarn: rowan's calmer in amour (discontinued)
knitting specs: US 7 & 8 cir.

we must not type-cast audrey as just an elegant garment, because she can also take on a retro, grungy style. like her counterpart, burberry, bares such long tradition as a british classic; a staple tartan skirt can also be worn to fit one’s taste in fashion.

i was too utterly inspired by the eco romantic collection of the latest rowan and felt the need to join the rowan culture. i must express audrey as a rebel child. so, here you have my interpretation of this sweater in red, a deep lustful red.

it is highly likely that i may not have the same appreciation for such style many years later, oh well, fashion is always a fleeting thing. it is only beautiful in a present tense.

so audrey. a knit that was owned by many knitters due to the audrey knit-craze last year. i just finished mine these couple days. it was a quick knit, pattern notes were pretty straight forward, as rowan patterns usually are. i made my sleeves shorter so they hit just above my wrists. i did not block the sweater at all as i didn't want it to expand uncontrollably. all in all, it was not a difficult project and i like it just okay. though i thought i'd fall head over heels for this sweater. hmmm. did not happen unfortunately!

nonetheless, audrey is, without a doubt, a beautiful sweater, and i am glad that i made it. calmer is very warm and i love how the ribbing gives this sweater a fitted look. i love the lace edging for it defines this sweater as a classic audrey. i love this red as it is not your every day wal-mart red. it is a classic, deep, warm red. like a ripen tomato, a tango dancer’s shoes. it exudes passion and an understated elegance all at one glance.

you must already read my trouble with audrey due to this mysterious misalignment of ribbing. it still troubles me, more so when i look at becky’s or felicia’s audreys, theirs have perfect stitching, perfect seaming. sigh! however, i was quite happy with how painless it was for me to attach the lace edging. i used whip-stitch to sew them together, they look great! like it was never meant to be separated.

details of audrey
so there you have it. my audrey for your entertainment. i will wear it often as autumn approaches. maybe it will eventually own my undivided love later, just like the old classics as they often do sustain the test of time.

thank you so very much for all the heart-warming compliments on tivoli T. go make one for yourself right now if you have not done so yet!

August 21, 2005

summer ends with a white tivoli

grumperina's tivoli T in rowan's linen drape

knit project: grumperina knits - tivoli T
difficulty (1-5): 1.5
size: 33.5 in
yarn: rowan's linen drape in bleached
knitting specs: US 5 cir.

few months ago i knitted julia's honeymoon cami to start my summer. i'm ending my summer knits today with a white tivoli.

late summer days are usually pretty nice, especially in the evenings. warm and breezy. cafe chairs are still outside, cold beer, cocktails, one more late night barbeque fun. but if you look closer, there is already a hint of autumn in the air.

i love late summers, just like how i love my tivoli T.

will grumperina eventually get tired of all the compliments for tivoli? i hope she will never as i'm about to praise her and this pattern once more. she is a true designer. who needs debbie bliss or martin storey when we have knit bloggers who can provide beautiful, simple patterns? i love how simple and clean this pattern confers as well as the versatility of it. any yarn, any body shape can use a tivoli T.

i finished tivoli middle of last week and i wore it to work the next day. it was warm out but linen drape kept it cool for me. i wore it again to a bar that evening. the knit still held its shape. i can see myself wearing this white tivoli many times more; tomorrow, early fall and all the way till the next summer.

now i must ask grumperina, what's in the name of tivoli?

tivoli deserves all my summer love!

August 20, 2005

a frog at whispering pine

progress of butterfly
i thought i'd work on the butterfly this weekend, and i did. i seamed the hems, and started picking up stitches in round. all was well. i even stopped and took a picture of this antique looking butterfly. oh, how i loved this pattern.
butterfly in pieces
hmmm... guess i did not love it that much after all. as the title of this post suggested, butterfly took a detour to the frog pond soon after the one and only photo session. why? what were you thinking, crazy woman?

it was never meant to be like this. i was eager to finish my butterfly and wear it as a flapper girl; i even bought a pair of lace stocking to go with the outfit. however, when i was knitting it this afternoon, i kept hearing something someone had said: life is too short to knit what you do not like.

there was nothing wrong with this pattern. in fact, i love it still very much. yet i made two fundamental mistakes which ultimately invited the frog visit: 1) the color of the yarn, and 2) knitting in the round**.

i was never 100% convinced that pale pink is my color, the more i knit, the more i had to tell myself that i HAD to like this color. red flag #1. second, i had decided to knit in the round to avoid seaming, however, come to think of it, it really would not be so bad to seam. i was a bit dumbfounded when i realized that i had to do to yarn forwards twice in a row when knitted in round and somewhere in the rows that i had decided to modify the pattern (why? i don't know) which later proven to be a progressive error (stupid decision). and that, my friend, is why a complete, irreversible frogging event must happen.

still, i love this pattern, i'd do it again. but the next time i'll do it in a color that i LOVE, which would be KSH's smoke. and, i want to bead it. i think beading really adds to the butterfly. anyway, i'm giving this project a bit of a rest at the moment. soon, i'll pick it back up again. please do not feel discouraged if your starting of butterfly was inspired by me. i did not do a very good job at keeping that motivation going... but please, keep knitting, your butterfly will be more beautiful than mine.

oh well, at least my cats had a kick out of it! they love it so much that i was able to capture their fun!

cats and butterfly!
this weekend was not all that bad, i had finished tivoli and audrey. photos to come. stay tuned.

**update: third reason to frog: needle size. i used US8 to knit the hem, and i think it came out too loose. i also used addi turbo, bad choice. too slippery. so, the next time i do this, i'll go down a needle size and use denise interchangeables.**

August 17, 2005

knit design: yarn and inspirations

i hope you are not thinking that i have silently abandoned my attempt to design a sweater for myself. no! in fact, i have been thinking about it, so much that today, i will share what has been done since the last post.

a bouquet of yarn!

the yarn, for one, has arrived from a far-away land a couple weeks ago. i was so pleased with the colors, the fiber and how smooth and soft they are against the skin. it is hard to say which color is my favorite for i love them all, and that was why it had taken me so long to decide on how to arrange all colors in a harmonious way.

my favorite oilily!

the color dilemma, which had led me to seek inspirations from several designers, oilily being the major one. i have always admire how this particular line of clothing can mix such loud and contradicting patterns in such a pleasant way. bright orange stripes right next to even brighter pink flowers. who would dare to think of such combination? yet they look so pretty and lively together. and, that was effect i'd like to achieve. difficult? i think so. however, this would be a great opportunity to try out several swatches.

that's right! a proper swatch in alpaca silk.
talk about swatches... here is a picture of my first official swatch ever. i have never been able to have the patience to knit a proper swatch. and why waste the yarn? i know that eventually i will get punished by this no-swatch non-sense. so here you have it, a proper swatch, all blocked and with a border. and i took diana's clever idea to purl the needle size in your swatch. now, with a swatch, i can find get a gauge going and find a pattern with comparable gauge to be used as a reference. wonderful!

not only did i do a gauge swatch, but i also knit a little hem swatch to try out the fold-in hem. oh, i love fold-in hem. they make your garment look so much more professionally made. i used "vogue knitting" as a guide, i may have to try to knit with a smaller needle for the part that's going to get fold in, so it would lay flat. more experiments needed, i guess.

more swatches! will the sketch turn into a wearable garment?

see the design beneath my swatch? that was my first attempt with colors, i love the concept of it though the colors are still up for experiment. i am also intrigued with a bit of intarsia, however, i am a bit confused with how to work the intarsia, specifically, where to attach the yarn for new colors. anyway, i may leave this topic for another time.

August 15, 2005

audrey has wonky armholes

seaming madness
the plan was to present the finished audrey this weekend, however, as you may have suspected, the plan did not carry through. why? here's why.

i have grossly underestimated the amount of time needed to seam the reverse stockinette that complicated with some (many) ribbing. and, with some alignment issues, i think my audrey will have very ugly armpits. if i were to knit this again, i will definitely adjust the rib pattern so the sleeves and the bodies' decreases are identical. i know that would be the case had i chosen to work on a different size. oh well. that was a depressing event and it had slumped some of my upcoming FO high.

second, the yarn. i love calmer, don't get me wrong. i think it is the best quality cotton yarns out there. however, do any of you calmer knitters had this problem- it is hard to get even stitches. and, i had a feeling that this yarn will be a major piller after a few wears. also, during the seaming process, the yarn invariably split in half due to excessive threading and pulling through. what was the deal?? so, another obstacle which further reduces my love for audrey. humph!

third, the lace edging. i have come to realize that my knitting weakness is the never-ending repetitiveness. rows of stockinette stitches don't bother me. ribbing, i can handle. but all the "repeat rows 1-12 two hundred times and you can not memorize the instructions of rows 1-12" kills me. so, it took me forever to make the lace edging. and all the while the fear of not being able to sew them nicely on the garment brewed increasingly. stressful. also, how many repeats? i don't want it to cling to my necks like a turtleneck wannabe, but i don't want it to slough too bad that you can see my bra. decisions, decisions. and, is there a "right" side for the lace edging?

lace and audrey, two separate things (for the moment)
so, that's why my unfinished audrey is still resting in my house. it will not get done until this weekend. i intend to give it a wash in hopes to even out the stitches. when will i show it to you all? it's still up in the air.

August 14, 2005

white and fluffy, but not a bunny

a baby hat!

knit project: bunny hat - inspired by erika knight's pixie hat
difficulty (1-5): 1.1
size: 12 mo
yarn: berroco's plush in crema (1901)
knitting specs: US 10 cir.

i made this fluffy baby hat this weekend for a dear friend at work- her cutest baby girl is having a one-year birthday in a few days. my friend (not a knitter), who has been a loyal listener of my projects, my obsession of knitting and even goes to yarn shops with me during lunch breaks, deserves some hand-knit goodies from me, don't you think?

she actually picked the yarn during a recent LYS trip with me, it's berroco's plush! i modified the pixie hat pattern (knitting for two by erika knight) a bit and came up with this white fluffy bunny-like hat with ear flaps. i think it will look quite adorable on any babies!

oh, how gratifying! a quick project that's guarantee to be loved by the recipient. i need more of these.

a full view of the bunny hat

August 12, 2005

what is better than...

who needs campbell when you can do it yourself?

some homemade chicken noodle soup??

i love cooking, though i did not always love cooking. my sister has a degree in hotel management and is the person in the family who knows how to cater a five-star meal. not that i was a lucky receiver of that skill of hers on a regular basis (for she has always live in a different country from me) but it did made me think twice about acquiring some level of culinary proficiency, so when in times of need, i can also whip up fabulous dishes with ease.

so, chicken noodle soup. who won't love some of that after a whole day of hard labor, stress-filled meetings and exposing in the metro pollution, eh?

most of all, it's simple: chop up some veggies, get some chicken breast fillets, toss in some egg noodles... there you have it. ok, maybe a proper recipe is a better help.

happy weekend, more knitting later (hint: audrey is almost done!).

UPDATE: looks like spammers had creeped into "whispering pine", before i find a better way to stop them, anonymous commenters will not be allowed at this moment.

August 08, 2005

stashing knitting books

so i finally ordered a copy of teva durham's loop d loop!! bliss! i totally love this book. she is one of the greatest knitwear designers in my world, and i'm so happy to see all the inspirational, whimsical designs that would totally make non-knitters envied with drools! here are a couple that will definitely on my knit list:

beautiful princess seam jacket! how elegant and modern is that?

whimsical fair-isle sweater, a must have!!

i have lately become interested in fair-isle and intarsia knitting. i know they are not the most relaxing techniques to work with, but all those shetland knittings are just too beautiful to ignore. felicia's recent posts had certainly add to my growing desire to learn this technique as well. unfortunately i don't have few hundred dollars to spare me some alice starmore's collection. but why are these books so ungodly expensive is completely beyond me. nonetheless, one of these days, i'd love to own this cardigan by jade starmore.

glenalbyn by jade starmore, how pretty!!
i also bought the latest book by nicky epstein, "knitting over the edge". i have not look into it in detail, but it seems to be a great reference book. i am especially interested in the "color" section. she has some great designs and ideas which will be helpful for sure! i have also heard some good things about her earlier book "knitting on the edge", i don't think these two books exhibited much redundancy, so, i may have to add that one to my library on a later date.
reference book from nicky epstein

August 07, 2005

audrey question... resolved. for now.


can somebody tell me what is wrong here? this is audrey from rowan 35. above picture: sleeve piece with nice decreases for the armholes, beautiful! ribs aligned; knit rows being eaten away nicely. now, look at the below picture: body piece, same instruction but resulted staggered rib... wtf?

i looked at the pattern probably 200 times today, the only difference between the sleeve and the body was: for the sleeve, rib pattern was established with K1, *P2, K2*, K1 (note you have a single K1 stitch on either end). but for the body, the rib pattern for my size (XS) is *P2, K2*, single K1 stitch did not exist. thus, when asked to BO 5 stitches, it resulted a single P1 stitch as the beginning of the row. and the following direction (P2, K2... ) automoatically screwed up the existing rib pattern.

nobody had mentioned anything on the knitalong. i must be on crack. please help!

UPDATE: i have come to a conclusion that i am not going to spend the rest of my life figuring this stupid ribbing out. so, i'm going to blindly follow the instruction. and, after this decision was made, guess what i found? ha ha!! i'm NOT on crack. though deep down in me i knew kim hargreaves could have done this better, but then again, who would be peeking your armholes and check if the ribbings are aligned? (knitters would).

August 05, 2005

yarns from england

aren't they pretty? francoise was offering these for sale a while ago, i knew i would be owning them the moment i saw them. so, here they are, all the way from england. handspun, hand-dyed yarns such as point five and grafitti are destined to be some funky hats and scarves. i can't wait to be cold again!

thank you francoise! i love these yarns!

August 01, 2005

sockapal-2-za (and other WIPs) updates

one complete sockapal-2-za sock

you are looking at a complete sock for the exchange. unfortunately the second sock is still as a ball of yarn. i am going to cast on for the second one in a couple days.

it really did not take that long to knit this pattern. i was overly multi-tasking when this sock was made. so, instead of having a pair of socks done, i finished the sleeves for audrey.

audrey's sleeves

as for butterfly, i'm still clicking away on the hem (therefore no pictures to show). however, after reading the knitalong on craftster, i've decided to knit it in round to avoid seaming the lace.

what else? a new project!! well, i had some linen drape sitting in my stash for a while and i was dying to use it up before the summer ends! so, grumperina's tivoli T became the perfect thing to make! with only less than four balls of linen drape, i'm hoping that it'll be enough to finish this top!! i do not want to buy another ball of yarn! one question, what type of cast on do you tivoli knitters do after the BO for yoke?

and when i'm not knitting, i'm constantly thinking how my self-designed sweater is going to turn out. i want to clear off my WIPs so i can focus on this project with full, undivided attention (adding on a brand new project kind of make this last sentence a bit phony!).

the beginning of tivoli T

this fall

have you seen the newest rowan magazine? please go take a look and share your thoughts.

why do i feel that without the presence of ms. hargreaves, rowan is becoming a bit weird. well, given that it's monday morning and i'm not caffeine-induced, not exactly the best moment to share one's opinion on a new season's fashion. but, just read it for a laugh!

waited with high anticipation, i was a bit, say, disappointed with the newest rowan. i was hoping to see the patterns and had "wow, what a great idea!" or "that looks just totally fabulous" thoughts in my head, instead of "hmm, haven't i seen this somewhere already" or "this is anthropolgie wannabe". i know at the end of the day, there are only so many ways you can make a sweater, but for a leading magazine, we all expect them to be the bottleneck breaker, eh?

nevertheless, there are still a few designs i'd like to make. mostly from kaffe fassett. brocade, is probably the only design that had caught my attention!! can someone tell me where's the knitwear in this design? i can't see it. i think rowan should also sell the clothes modeled in the magazine, they are sometimes more interesting than the knitwear.

along with this new magazine, RYC also releases their new books for the season. still, above comments can equally applied to these, too. but a tad better. maybe i won't shed off too much moolah to rowan this season. that, my friend, is a good thing.

i may have to start paying more attention to debbie bliss, she might have something interesting this season. or, noro for a change?