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October 26, 2005

an almost klaralund

what color? what patterns? thank you everyone for particpated in my quest for designing the ultimate whispering pine style sweater. i am still thinking and have yet to make up my mind. previous experiences have proven that too much thinking is sometimes useless so i may just pick up the needles this weekend and see how all the colors play out.

i am, however, pretty certain that klaralund will soon be finished! i'm still loving the yarn, and the colors. this picture shows you what the sweater would look like without the fourth piece (the sleeve). it does not look like the sweater would be as roomy as i had hoped, but who knows, i may still like it.

the gauge thing

and yes, i will be knitting the cobalt blue cardi next. the swatch looks promising, it should make a nice cozy cardigan. the stitch gauge was bigger than the pattern, which is a good thing as i want the sweater to fall between the smallest (33.5 in) and the next available (38 in) sizes. what a difference. i know!

so who will be knitting for christmas this year? not me! i did that last year and it was quite excurciating... i felt like a repressed elf in santa's factory. urgh! i will knit a sweater for my husband, though. he has been waiting for a tailor fit sweater since last year.

October 24, 2005

knit design: all about the front

thank you for sharing your thoughts of my last post. doesn't seem like i'm a loner here, does it? blogging really has motivated me to knit more but as much as i love the progress, i am a product oriented knitter. as such, all the knits you see here, whether it will end up as a successful sweater or a pile of frogged yarns, will ultimately have a closure.

today i will once again rely on my readers for a direction. i have *successfully* finished the back piece of my alpakka sweater, and i actually love it! whew.

now, remember the original design sketch? i still love the idea and would love to incorporate it into the rest of the sweater. however, i have seen one too many art creations that crammed so many ideas into one project that eventually screwed everything up. and to be honest, i really don't want to knit two front pieces just to see which one looks better.

so help me decide, should i make the front piece with:

1) same colors, same patterns, same everything?
2) similar colors with slight pattern variation?
3) different colors, similar patterns?
4) completely different (but still be harmonious with the rest)?

thank you again, and it does seem like a bigger deal than necessary as it is just a sweater, but you know, it means more than a sweater to me!

October 21, 2005

works in progress

alpakka sweater now has stripes; half ruffled scarf and an opal sock without a partner!
in the world of knitting, nothing bothers me more than unfinished pieces of knitting laying casually in my room. it seems to be a self-inflicted bothering matter as the moment i start a new project, the new status of such project is immediately changed to knits in progress, thus, the longer i let the process go, the more annoying the project will become in my distorted mind.

as such, i tend to race a project to the end. and i must confess, sometimes i forget how wonderful the knitting process can actually confers. like this klaralund project, i have only one sleeve piece to go then i'll be finished. as i probably will not knit with silk garden in the immediate future, i should slow down and enjoy the progress. but i did not. i may later regret. i know i will.

the projects above are the only ones on the needles at whispering pine. it may not seem like much, but trust me, they are the stress of my life at this moment. i enjoy working on each of them. and they do provide pleasures in their own way. like this alpakka sweater, it forces me to think while i knit. i have now passed the armhole decreases and a few inches away from binding off which will become a finished back piece. i added some 70's inspired colors. i love it. it is sort of retro and crisp in its colors and defined lines. i can not tell you how the rest of the sweater is going to look like for i'm not sure myself. and i am most productive in this project when i'm inspired. can these sort of impromptu inspirations be short-lived? will i look at the sweater a few months later and be completely disgusted by the colors that mused me now? it will be a gamble, i'm sure.

the two little ongoing projects are probably too familiar to mention- the ruffles scarf and a pair of socks. this is probably the second time i had mentioned about the ruffles scarf on this blog, that gives you an idea of how much i valued this project. i started it in march this year, and had great intentions to make it an "on-the-go" project. but you see, i drive to work, i don't usually knit when i ride in a car and i don't carry projects to work on during my lunch hours. so, after a good half a year, this scarf is still short! i do want to finish it soon before the ruffles trend ends. i love the yarn, though. 100% peruvian alpaca, i bought them at ac moore with an affordable price!! they are soothing to my hands!

and the opal socks for my husband... it was meant to be the anniversary gift. sadly, it is not a complete pair!! there is not much i can elaborate on this generic looking green sock. but i will finish it soon!

October 19, 2005

who should go first?

before i show you more knits in progress which would possibly be in the next post, it recently came to my attention that what i had planned to knit this winter was quite different from what actually was being made. roxie, for example, is something i really love to make; i have the pattern but i do not have the yarn. rowan's chunky print is what the pattern calls for. that polar bear-ish yarn is like $12.95 each and i would need, like, eight of those mini polar bears to complete one roxie. this is a bit pricey for my taste at this moment. so, this project got shoved aside, along with nan as it requires some super expensive rowan yarns as well.

however, i am sticking with highgate though. it is my next sweater project. ok, maybe not quite the next... because i'm about to show you what i bought on ebay last week:

yes, it is that blue!

oh that beautiful cobalt blue tweed. color so rich it feels like being wrapped around the aegean sea in a starless night. how i love this blue. this yarn would make this norah gaughan's tweedy aran cardigan a treasure item for many years to come, don't you think?

tweedy aran cardigan (IK winter 01/02)

i have been eyeing this cardi ever since eilene had mentioned it on her blog. i had secretly tracked down a copy on ebay and had been searching for the perfect yarn. alas, finally the moment to knit is here. how can i possibly wait any longer?

the toss between highgate and my cobalt blue cardi (yes, that's how i'm calling it) is a tough one, but knowing that i will eventually knit them is somewhat comforting to me (and possibly you, my readers). but you know, it is really never that easy in my world.

my better pal thinks i'm not spoiled enough so she sent me a skein of zephyr wool-silk in my favorite palette last week. of course, along with some other goodies that i am secretly in love with. zephyr wool is, as the name suggested, an equal blend of silk and wool. but, what makes this special is the silk is not your everyday silk from the silk worm farm. it is the tussah silk from china! wow. you think those silk worms were transported along the silk road from persian to china? hmmm....

one skein of jagger zephyr in mushroom, a bag from sheperd bush and a lovely bar of soap!

so the mushroom colored silk wool yarn is beautiful. but wouldn't it be more beautiful if it becomes a shawl? a scarf? a river by sharon miller? yoohoo! jody, sign me up! i need me a zephyr wool/silk river, and hopefully it will turn out half as pretty as diana's.

and yes, you have counted them right: three potential projects fighting the spot for the next in line. knit them all, i say. all at the same time (are you crazy, woman?).

October 17, 2005

klaralund on the needles

thank you for all the sweet well wishes for our anniversary. we celebrated the evening gastronomically at a local seafood restaurant, ocean. this is a wonderful place to dine if you ever come to birmingham and visit. but of course, i will need to show you all the lovely local yarn shops first.

and, i can not take credit for eunny's sweater, so please send all your admirations of this sweater to her. she is making a felted bag at this moment and that is looking rather stunning!

pattern book and some japanese goodies. they were all good!

at the end of the day, i do knit! though the past few posts did seem like that i am just a happy recipient of other people's craft. having said that, i did received the pattern book for klaralund from mari. she also sent some japanese goodies and origami paper (thank you, mari)! whoo hoo. it has been so long since i played with origami. i can see a paper crane deco forming. you see, paper crane is the only thing i know how to do in the origami department. not very exciting, i know.

so, klaralund is a simple pattern. silk garden by noro is the yarn for this lovely kimono style sweater. in less than one week, i have already churned out both back and front. how's that for speed? but honestly, this was not something so remarkable to boot as the body pieces had no shaping, no nothing except a few garter stitches here and there to keep you awake. i knitted this in such lightning speed as i was never certain about this color way and i wanted to see what it looks like when knitted.

so which one should be front? i have a hard time deciding

along the stockinette stitching process, i had learned to love these colors. they are not the kind of colors i'd normally wear, but, they do possess a pretty striking effect when appreciate from afar. it is quite oriental and it may just be the perfect thing for this kimono style sweater. also, i was struggling with whether or not to modify the pattern so the body has some sort of shaping. you can see here that i ended up not doing it. i think every sweater should has its unique characteristic, klaralund should be a loose, bell sleeved, sleepy eyed sort of sweater; having a fitted look may be inappropriate in this case. therefore, i did not modify the patterns at all. i respect ms. cornelia tuttle, she has a right eye for style.

i do want to share some of my views on this much loved yarn, noro's silk garden. i never quite understood how this whole self striping craze but now that i have worked on one, i can see where the love is. i love how the colors just blend together without a harsh transition. it could be pink, but then some freckles of yellow would start to appear, then, a few more stitches later, it would be all yellow. it really caught you off guard, but in a very subtle, pretty way. i love how the yarn has spun up, it is raw and crude. you can sometimes see the silk fibers still in its unprocessed form. though i was a bit afraid that i may saw some body parts of a silk worm. but no, that did not happen.

raw silk and wooden needles. so organic!

i am having such an enjoyable klaralund making experience and this is truly not going to be possible without these gorgeous lantern moon needles gifted to me by my pesky secret pal this past summer. oh, i love these needles!!

October 15, 2005

see eunny knit

read this, and it should all make sense to you why.

eunny's hazel of JB34

yes! i have a handknit cable sweater sitting on our birmingham's apartment floor. eunny made it, she did not like it, i LOVE it, so she gave it to me. oooh my goodness, only can you imagine how blown away i was when i tried it on!

the face of a freeloader
a perfect sweater in the most delicate yarn, jaeger's trinity. my favorite color, too! i came upon eunny's post purely by luck, i was just doing my usual web surfing when i saw this beautiful sweater. eunny thinks the sweater is not perfect? but i think, this sweater is not only perfect in its craftsmanship, but the fit is wonderful. it is one size larger than my usual size. but i really love how it fits. had i made the sweater myself, i would have made in my size and would never know how comfortable and flattering the fit can be in a different size.

thank you eunny for your incredible generosity! i am so very flattered to own one of your handknits. it is like having kim hargreaves knitted a sweater for me! and, i can not wait to see all those wonderful budding designs from you.

October 11, 2005

two years

wedding bw 4.jpg

we had the loveliest wedding two years ago today. that was a perfect day. a typical crisp autumn with red and orange foliage as backdrop, a rustic cottage on top of the mountain. a warm southern town in america. it was a dream of many little girls but it was real for me and my husband.

we invited only a small group of intimate friends and family to share this day with us. we know each of them personally and we know that this day would give them a sweet memory as it would to us. my kind of wedding.

weddings and marriages have taken on a different level of meanings and definitions in today's world. however, i still believe in loving one person for the rest of my life and hold on to the old-fashioned kind of love. marriage is sweet, i have no regrets, only ineffable bliss.

i love my husband.

October 05, 2005

not just a bag

it is a handmade covington bag!
looks like all the knitalongs and swaps which started this summer are all coming to an end together! annemarie has received the friday harbor socks i sent her, anna will be getting her turtleneck shrug hopefully by next week, and, look at what nichola sent over this weekend: a handmade amy butler's covington bag!!
it is all about the details
this is probably the closest i will ever get to a custom handmade bag without ever learning how to sew. i am amazed by such beautiful craftsmanship of an amateur seamstress that is nikkishell! she even made a card with the fabrics used for the bag! i love crafters, you can always tell that they put so much attention and love to their creations. and that is why nichola, i will treat this bag nicely for a very very long time!!

like i said, most of the swaps are now out of the way, my WIP list is looking pathetically short. though it will not stay that way for long. here is what i have plans to do:

1. finish off the alpakka sweater before the design genes all die away slowly
2. start klaralund this weekend
3. once klaralund is 2/3 of the way done, start highgate

you see, i do have plans to knit something other than just socks. i am even going to start a complicated cable sweater known as highgate! i have the yarn, the pattern and all i need is to open the package and start knitting. i have a bit of reservation to initiate this big project with all those cabling monsters while the alpakka sweater is still largely an unknown. so, hopefully by the time to eat turkey (thanksgiving is my favorite american holiday), i'll be knitting highgate and will be at a stage that i can knit with my eye closed.

our wedding anniversary is next week, and i would love to present the opal socks to my husband (as an anniversary present). so, at the moment that measly project has a priority. i had him tried on the sock last night and he actually loved it and said that he is looking forward to wearing it. but also said that he never thought that he would be so excited over a pair of socks. is that supposed to be a compliment to my knitting?

October 02, 2005

from wyoming to london...

backyard leaves from scarf style
looks like the SYNO knitalong is coming to an end for me as i have received a beautifully made scarf by stephanie this past friday.

backyard leaves scarf is a lovely pattern, cascades of leaf motifs run along the whole scarf. i especially love the edges which resemble the shape of a leaf. the scarf is knitted in two halves and then seamed together afterwards. stephanie did a wonderful job, as you can see, the stitches are all even and nice. thank you, stephanie... i will be thinking of you whenever i have this scarf around my neck!!

turtleneck shrug

knit project: scarf style - turtleneck shrug
difficulty (1-5): 2.0
size: one size
yarn: rowan's kid classic in bear (817)
knitting specs: US 7 dpn

and, i have finished anna's turtleneck shrug this weekend! i think anna would appreciate having this shrug/scarf to wear for the upcoming winter in london.

the shrug is incredibly warm, and the kid classic is a wonderful yarn choice for this project. actually, i was going to try on the shrug and take a picture of me modeling it, but i decided not to in the end as i would not want to skew anna's thought on her shrug. anna is tall, slender with long neck and long arms, she would be able to carry this high fashion item off with much more grace and elegance. me? i was afraid i may look too much like a neckless turtle. so, let's stay tuned for anna's glamour model shots in a couple weeks when this little package travels across the atlantic to its beautiful wearer's hands.

i have also included something to remind this lovely london lady that the scarf is made in the states (southern US to be exact). hopefully she will love that as well. could it be grits, you ask? well, we shall see!

UPDATE: oops... i forgot to thank kris and jac for such great knitalong, sorry; and yes, i can be so ungrateful sometimes that it bothers me. anyway, THANK YOU, ladies. i had fun!!

October 01, 2005

sockapal-2-za socks

sockapal-2-za socks from kathy
this pair of gorgeous socks is one of the many things i got this week. wow!! these socks are so beautiful, not to mention they fit perfectly! kathy is my sockpal and she did an incredible job!

these socks are not your typical toe-up or top-down socks; they are constructed sideways. thus, the vertical lines of stitches give the variegated colors an interesting presentation. i also love how the heels and toes are knitted. i did not expect such unique pair of socks and the yarn, cherry tree hill, feels wonderful against my feet! thank you so much, kathy!! i love my socks and i will be wearing them a lot this winter for sure!

heel and toe of a sideway sock!
kathy not only just gave me a pair of socks, she also dig through her grandmother's old knitting stash and found a vintage pattern book and gave it to me! i am totally flattered with this kind gesture. she knows i love vintage fashion! and i do!! look at those pictures! not just the knits, but the hair, make-up... they were totally genuine 1960's high fashion! i think the blue lace cardi may be a cute item to knit. hmmm... decisions, decisions!
spinnery pattern book, year 1963