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September 25, 2005

my first noro

silk garden heaven
gorgeous noro yarn has arrived last week, and i totally loved it!! i think japanese is the most genius race in the whole craft department. noro silk garden has a very rustic look, the softness did not come into mind until you touched it with your hands. almost half of the fiber is composed of silk; the beautiful, luscious silk! what a dream... however, what i love about the silk garden is the color. i had such a hard time picking the color since they varies quite a bit, even with the same colorway. it may appear red, but in another source, it may look brown. it is variegation on a larger than life scale which i totally love. but let's be totally honest here: i would not have love them so much if it was not for how much i had paid for, $66 incl. shipping on ebay. what a deal!

this particular color, #217, ranges from purply pink to golden flakes to muted charcoals and browns. it is a winter color, and it would make a sweater looks warm and cozy, which is perfect for what they are going to become- klaralund by cornelia tuttle. i can not wait to start but only if i have the pattern. i am a bit reluctant to invest in a whole book as klaralund is the only pattern i like, and have been wondering if i can just swap patterns with other knitters? hmm...

anyway, anna's SYNO shrug is almost done! and i'm hoping to finish the back piece of the alpakka sweater this weekend as well. then, i'll have to show you my sockapal-two-za socks (which are the loveliest socks i have ever seen from kathy), my amy butler's covington bag from nichola and, my very own backyard leaves scarf made by the knitting fairy known as the lovely stephanie from wyoming!

short row socks

YO short rows all the way, with zigzag BO

new knitting skills acquired this weekend: YO short row for socks.

after seeing so many knitters trying out toe up socks, i was extremely intrigued to get do it myself. at first i followed purly's tutorial, which is really helpful. then, i looked at wendy's and alison's toe up tutorial from knitty.com. but what really put everything in prospective, was the baby socks instructions from interweave. i made a little baby sock to learn all the techniques, which was the most satisfying thing this weekend, as far as knitting went.

that little red sock will need to have a partner, then they will go to australia to meet mia! i had finished the friday harbor socks for nikkishell, and i think it's only fair to let mia has her own pair of handknit socks too!!

yet another pair of friday harbor

knit project: knitting on the road - friday harbor
difficulty (1-5): 2.1
size: women's medium (50 stitches, long tail cast on)
yarn: mountain colors bearfoot in evergreen
knitting specs: US 3 cir.

September 22, 2005

never say never

my LYS has moved to a bigger and better location and i went by the new store yesterday and was so excited to find rowan yarns and patterns!! not only that, the LYS lady also carries some beautiful amy butler fabrics! oh i so want to learn how to sew.

perhaps i have expressed my premature opinions on rowan 38 a while back, well, i guess i was wrong! rowan 38 is indeed a very lovely magazine, patterns are interesting, colors are vibrant, and i can not love that gorgeous cover model more! in fact, i'm seriously thinking of making wallis! that thing is definitely a fashion statement!!

wallis from rowan 38
what i have also discovered this week was that i still can not figure the html thing out! i was trying to not have to format my font style every time i create a post by setting the master template, well, turns out that i had messed up something and had to reload the whole template again. as a result, you may now find some posts have smaller fonts and this completely bugs me. hopefully that will be fixed soon. hopefully!!

so i have sent off the sockpal socks mid last week, my sock pal should have gotten that by late last week but still i have not gotten any feedback from her. maybe she hates my socks. or her dog/cat ate them? and i have not received any socks either.**

though i love my secret pals (past and present) but i have also discovered that i don't like this whole secret swap/exchange thing, too much weirdness. though never say never.

but i love SYNO, you know exactly who you are dealing with.

**update: i have heard from both of my sock pals after this entry was posted. now, all is well. i'm relieved, and i can go to sleep now. lesson learned: be a patient knitter.

September 19, 2005

middle of the project's boredom

SYNO turtleneck shrug for anna
i felt like i have knitted a lot this weekend but all progress photos seemed a bit boring, why? i'm at the "middle of the project, mindless knitting" stage.

the second pair of friday harbor is almost done (thanks to the three-hour long emmy's last night), i did not want to spoil the "surprise" factor for nichola so the photos are currently hidden. i'm also ribbing like mad for anna's SYNO scarf. it has been a long time since i worked with dpns, so it took me a while to get used to that. rowan's kid classic has a pretty rusty look, but the touch is soft as cloud. i love this yarn very much! i remembered seeing a pattern of rowan's knitted with kid classic and kidsilk haze held together, hmm... that sounds like a dream. however, no more yarn purchase for me for a while. i'm determined to knit through my stash this winter instead of mindlessly purchasing yarns just because i can.

alpakka sweater is also progressing along, i actually took the time to sort through the notes, and i also checked the gauge constantly! i'm hoping to finish the back piece by this weekend. then, the front piece will be somewhat different. we shall see.

and, i really need to start something for my husband.

it is definitely more substantial than the last picture

September 16, 2005

sweet surprises!

from the package label to the thank you card, it's sweetgeorgia all the way!

and the yarn, just like its creator, is sweet and beautiful. the color "rusted" is granite slate, coppertone and various shades of soft greys. it is vibrant and i love it so much that i had to show it to my husband. of course, he loves it so much too that he wants a pair of socks with this yarn. well, i would have said no if it's not for my better pal...

mountain colors bearfoot in redtail hawk, nicely packaged with a set of US1 crystal palace dpns; a bar of soap smells like shea butter; a cutest sheep card and some cinnamon tea, and vermints. how spoilt can i be?

my better pal has a delicate heart, she reads my blog and she reads thoughts. she knew that i love to have some bearfoot yarn, the scent of shea butter, so she gave those to me. and she knew that i always have trouble finishing off a pair of socks so i was given a lovely pattern "whisper rib and shepherd's lace", interesting and beautiful enough to hold my attention. she pays attention to my frivolous, luxurious needs, and i love her dearly already. thank you, better pal!

and you think my indulgence with knitting would stop here, right? no. i just won a pack of noro's silk garden #217 on ebay (at half of the retail price). i have been stalking the auctions for a while and i was pleasantly surprised to acquire them at this price. bliss! and, purply and brown shades of these silk garden yarns will become the famous klaralund. can't wait... well, i do need a copy of the pattern first!

September 14, 2005

knit design: uncertainty is beautiful?

too much planning is not always a good thing, the sweater i'm designing (hereon will be referred to as "alpakka sweater") is a living proof of that.

fold-in hem, all nice and lovely but frogged yarns are equally delicious!
i started the alpakka sweater this past weekend and everything went well for a while: the fold-in hem was nice and smooth, the fiber was divine to work with (love the alpaca and silk blend), i had even picked up stitches along the cast on edge with a contrast color yarn to add some interest, thought it would be a subtle detail to boot.

and the luck only went this far. i knew i wanted to have a sweater with funky color combo, so with a purply blue hem, and a burgundy one as the next layer of color would be interesting, but the result? no. it was screaming "i'm still in the primary school" way too loud! so, i ripped out everything and that was that.

i have become friends with knitting frogs.

it did not really stop there. i actually crossed out most of the original ideas and started over. sometimes, too much planning can limit one's creativity. so, i'm just going to "knit with the flow"; whatever comes to mind is going to be expressed in my stitches. as long as i'm keeping the gauge and the tension straight, which luckily, i had my calculator by my side at all times. whew!

orange and purple? odd but sweet.
so, no more fold-in hems. a contrast color cast on edge was instead used, paired with warm burgundy color. and what was that pinky edges... well, i'm not sure yet but it was a pretty good practice for intarsia knitting, lemme tell ya!
i was not kidding about the calculator, it is your best friend, right next to the frogs...
i have little ideas as to how the design is going to turn out, however, i am not too worry at this point as whatever it will become, it will be wearable and i am not going turn down an opportunity to wear alpaca and silk.

September 12, 2005

knit swaps

now that the sockapal-2-za socks are washed and packed away to be sent, i am focused on finishing off yet another "friday harbor" for nikki-shell. we are doing a swap that she would make me an amy butler's covington bag, and in return, i would make her a pair of "friday harbor" socks! since the covington bag is all finished (so pretty!), i need to quickly finish these socks to redeem this lovely bag.
is it blue, or green? or spruce?
who can tell me what color is this yarn? the label said it is "evergreen", so i like to believe this color is meant to be green. my husband thinks it is more blue. i'm just plain confused. i know it is variegated but i'm hoping this is not too rainbowy for nikkishell. i swear this color resembles little of what the color card had shown.

nonetheless, i love working with mountain color's bearfoot. it is really a nice sock yarn and it knits up quite nicely. i can almost memorize this pattern now so the knitting is quite relaxing for the most part.

mountain color's bearfoot is soft and luscious, that is no doubt about that part!

September 11, 2005

man and cat

yes, it's been a while since i shared pictures of our cats, well, they are difficult to photograph afterall.

drizzit: too tired. must sleep. even it's really sunny outside.

zoe: bored, just too bored. need to go outside and hunt.

pumpkin: the flirty furball of the house. she is my husband's girlfriend.

pumpkin: check out that claw! what a feline bitch!!

September 09, 2005

etsy, all things handmade

i had two separate encounters of etsy today. one, from my beloved secret pal turned friend, mac; second, from my favorite knit blogger, felicia. both had something to do with knitting/yarn.

mac, an avid fundrasier had asked me to spread the word for "craftsters united"at etsy, there you will find many lovely items donated by crafters around the world to raise money for people affected by katrina. i'm thinking of making something to donate this weekend.

felicia has decided to sell her fabulous handspun yarns! she had set up a "sweetshop" at etsy, too! i quickly snatched one as i have been admiring her spinning for a while. this is what i will get getting:

the rusted sock yarn is coming to me from the lovely sweet shop!

September 07, 2005

can money buy your knitting?

i usually enjoy receiving compliments from friends and relatives about my knitting. however, such compliments sometimes followed by a can-you-make-one-for-me-as-well request, and that is usually when the headache starts.

perhaps i am just a stingy knitter, i often considered my knitted presents can only be offered, not requested. however, i would be more than happy to knit baby booties or a sweater for dear friends whom i shared intimate memories and times with. it becomes a different story if a friend sees my knitted sweater and loves it, and wants me to make another one for him/her.

knitting is my passion, but, in a term easier to be grasped, it is just one of my hobbies. i don’t knit for charity nor for profit. i knit for myself and sometimes, my family. or, if i want to gift someone a knitted item, it is usually for a good reason justified by me. just me!

sometimes i am a bit baffled as to how non-knitters perceive knitting. i wonder if they know that to request someone to knit for them is quite a colossal and serious request, and i wonder if they know that to knit a sweater from scratch usually costs more than a store-bought one. once a friend was utterly shocked to find that my willow cardigan costed more than $150 for the required yarn and pattern, not to mention the time to make it.

but, what if a friend who loves your knitting so much that he/she offers you money to knit? would you do it? i did a bit of math the other day to see how much money would make it worthwhile for such deal. set aside raw materials, it takes roughly three to five weeks to make a worsted weight sweater if i knit a couple hours a day at my schedule. i get paid more than minimum wage ($10/hr) at work, so, say it takes 50 hours to complete a sweater, it would cost more than $500 dollars labor alone to make it worthwhile in my greedy world. and that sounds outrageous. who would want to pay $500 for a sweater?

so, to answer this rhetorical question: would i knit for a cost? probably not. i guess money can not buy anything, at least not at whispering pine.

September 05, 2005

presenting sockapal-2-za socks

friday harbor in patons kroy 4ply

knit project: friday harbor socks
difficulty (1-5): 2
size: women's
yarn: paton kroy
knitting specs: US 2 cir.

so unbelievably relieved that the socks are now done. all it needs now is a bath and a bit of blocking! knitting socks for me is both fun and dreadful. i love knitting the first sock, the second one, however, becomes a complete torture! why is that? i need to get over it.

anyway, i found this pattern promotes a bit of sagging. i may try to cast on with needles only one size bigger (instead of three sizes) next time. is there going to be a next time? oh yes! and for a great reason, too! the talented nikkishell and i are undergoing a private swap. i knit her a pair of socks, she makes me a bag (total bliss!).

thanks alison for such a wonderful knitalong, i hope my sock pal will enjoy the friday harbor socks for many winters to come!

now, who is my secret sock pal? what socks am i going to get? can't wait...

yarn cakes

cherry wood swift, a must for all serious knitters!

i'm slowly knitting again, after a week of absolutely no knitting and very limited blogging. i am probably not going to get carpal tunnel, so, that will be a good thing.

i have been doing a bit of running and had gone to the gym, you can read my updates here. since i started knitting like mad this past year, a few aspects of my life have been conveniently neglected, that, i conclude, is not a good thing. so, i am hoping to lead a more balanced lifestyle from now and that means knitting, running, reading and let's not forget maintaining a clean home enviroment (ie, no delay on houseworks).

so, the best way to slowly introduce knitting into my routine is to make some yarn cakes. and that was what i did this weekend. in addition to finishing off the sockapal-2-za socks in time to mail them off.

are you tired of looking at yarn cakes??

before and after (this is for you, nikkishell!)

i saw diana, shobhana and stephanie (those marvellous knitters) all went and got themselves a set of ball winder and swift. and i knew i had to get them. oh! i can not love my mama bear more! the wooden swift is absolutely gorgeous, it holds the skein nicely while the ball winder does its job. instead of useless skeins, i now have stacks of yarn cakes in my stash.

a peek into my stash (mac and francoise, some of those are from you!)

equally beautiful from another angel (when in the world did i accumulate so many yarns?)