Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005 Knitrospect

I thought I would have to post this in 2006. The internet connection has been out until 10 p.m.! First of all, some statistics. A summary of the projects I finished in 2005:

3 pullovers / sweaters
4 sleeveless tops
1 cardigan
9 scarves
3 wraps / shawls / stoles
9 pairs of socks
3 pairs of gloves / mittens
5 bags / accessories
1 sampler afghan
1 baby hat

Pretty productive, huh? The scarves are surprises to myself. I wouldn't have thought I would like knitting scarves ... or knit so many. It is very obvious that what I have are already more than what I really need ... but there are a number of scarves that I am itching to make. Perhaps just find an excuse ... hahaha ...

Other than the number of FOs, another thing I feel proud of myself is the number of WIPs on the needles. Unfinished business always irritates me. I only have GAAAfghan and Ella on the needles right now (plus a crocheting afghan project). Without the internet connection, I thought I would spend the whole 2005 New Year's Eve finishing Ella.

In terms of project types, I ventured into almost everything I can think of. I have no plan to make any poncho since it is something I don't wear. I am the most happy with the last sweater (Urban Aran) because it is so wearable. Nothing pleases me more than that. Of course, the Old Tiles jacket is my knitting poster child for 2005. I'm not sure if I would take up another adventure like that very soon.

Plans for 2006? I would really like to knit more socks next year. So, I would cast on for a new pair of socks on New Year's Day! :) In terms of sweaters, here is a store-bought shirt that I love wearing a lot:


It's not just the dark colour, but the shape of the shirt that fits me very well. Therefore, I have been looking at Tubey (Knitty) and Peppermint Twist (Stitch and Bitch). But instead of having the stripes on the body, I would have them on the sleeves.

Kerstin of At My Knits End has decided to give up blogging. This was what she wrote on the last post, "Over the last year or so, I found myself knitting for the blog instead of knitting for myself. It isn't a path I want to continue on in the new year." While I feel that it is a pity to see one knitter stopping her blog, I fully support her decision to do so if that was how she felt about blogging. So far, I have been knitting projects that I like and I enjoy the knitting enormously most of the time. So to wrap up this post, I hope we all continue to enjoy what we love doing and not let anything unnecessary interfere with that enjoyment.

Happy Knitting into 2006, everyone!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Suddenly ... another FO

About 3 weeks ago, I received an email from a former co-worker announcing that he has become a father! Wow! Happy news. It is a baby boy ... he is almost 2 months old now. The father said this in his email, "If you are in Hong Kong, you can knit him something... (just kidding)." And I thought, I don't have to be in HK to knit the little boy something, right? So, I cast on and started my first project for a baby. I didn't work on it consistently, just a row here and there ... and maybe another row before I fell asleep. But after I finished Urban Aran, I thought I should finish this project fast ... otherwise who knows? Babies grow fast ...



Details:
Pattern and Modifications: Purly White's Cable and Seed Stitch Baby Hat
Purly kindly offers this pattern for free. If you would like to try, just click on the link and leave her a comment; she would then send you the pattern.
I think the hat is incredibly cute ... but the cuteness didn't show until I started the decreasing rows. I don't enjoy knitting seed stitch too much, but I like the way it looks.

Yarns: Jo-Ann Sensations Collection Tesoro (100% Wool) Col: 632 Blue
This was among the Jo-Ann yarns I bought some time ago. The recommended gauge on the label is 18 stitches for 4" using US10. But somehow I was able to get the same gauge as Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (the yarn used by Purly) using US3. I have to say this yarn is quite a pleasure to work with. With the seed stitch and cables, the hat felt a bit stiff. However, after a quick wash, the stiffness went away completely. Since there are only 87 yards in a 50g-ball, I needed to get a second ball (with lots of leftover!).

Gauge and Needles: 25 stitches to 4", DPNs 3

Now, what I need to do is to get his address. Do you think the parents would let me knit their son another hat?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

One more before 2006

I wonder if you have the same feeling ... that it is always a mystery how the sleeve cap of a set-in sleeve can fit into the body:


And very often, it makes me nervous! The good news is ... they do fit each other this time! My last FO for 2005 is done:





Can you see my happiness? Since it is bulky yarn, I expect I would look a bit more bulky in the sweater. Though I did swatch, I didn't wash the swatched piece (well, I almost never do this step!). The result? You see the sleeves? They are a bit longer because the yarn stretches lengthwise after wash. But on the whole, I am happy with the result and the sweater is comfy!


Details:
Pattern and Modifications: Urban Aran from Patons Designer Series Street Smart
After reading Terri's advice on better tailoring, I decided to go for the small size. As you can see from the pictures, the sweater fits very well and is with enough ease. The finished measurement of the sweater's width is 16.5". Blocking did stretch out a little bit, but not as much as the length.
For the collar, the instructions called for picking up stitches, knitting back and forth and then sewing the left shoulder up to the collar. I must say this is an unusual way to me. So, I did it my usual way - sewing both shoulders, picking stitches around the neck and knitting the collar in the round. The collar in the pattern measures 5" ... a deep turtleneck. I made it half the length so that the sweater can be more versatile.
One feature I like about the pattern is the cross ribbing on the sides, which gives a little waist shaping to the body.

Yarns: Jaeger Como (90% Merino Wool, 10% Polyamide) Col: 235 Orange
This is my first time knitting a sweater using bulky yarn. One good thing about bulky yarns is that they knit up really really fast. Not just that, even the sewing is fast! Jaeger Como feels really soft ... and it becomes even softer after wash. However, I can't say I enjoy knitting with it. This is because the yarn is untwisted, my needles always got caught through the strand. Besides, mysteriously, there were lots of plant fibres embedded. Well, I am happy to say that I didn't fall in love with this yarn ... which is not a bad thing considering the fact that it has been discontinued!

Gauge and Needles: 15 stitches to 1", US10 and US10.5

Thursday, December 22, 2005

New Sweater for New Year

Originally planned to post this morning, but the internet connection was cut by Comcast again. No big deal to me. No internet means more knitting time. But first I have to thank you all for the birthday wishes for the blog. At first when I started it, I thought perhaps it would only last a few months. Now of course, as some of you said, I wish there are many many to come.

Haven't had an FO for quite some time. As much as I'd like to finish up Bomber, I am still at the mercy of USPS. The zipper did arrive last week ... but it was a closed-end one! Turned out it was a mistake by the shop. But Jeff of Zipperstop had been very helpful and responsive to my enquiry. The correct zipper should be on its way here ... but you know, Christmas time. Perhaps Bomber would be my first FO in 2006 ... ha!

Progress on Urban Aran is good, though not as fast as I expect since I have also been absorbed in the reading of Jan Burke's novels. I haven't been so much engrossed with a writer for quite some time. The last one would be Patricia Cornwell, and Val McDermid before that. The last Cornwell book I read had been sloppy and disappointing to me. I hope the latest one would restore my liking for her. But I digressed. The body pieces for Urban Aran were finished last night and here is a lousy picture:


With the aid of safety pins, I tried them on last night and thought that it would fit just right after some blocking. I am now half way through the sleeves (knitting both at the same time). Guess this would be in time for the new year. :)

Monday, December 19, 2005

1 Year Old

My dear knitting blog,

After having grabbed the blog address from Blogger for more than 3 months, I finally perked up the courage to present you to the public today exactly one year ago. Maybe it had nothing to do with courage, just that I did have a little something knitted to show the world!

For quite some time, I thought I would be the only one interested in what I was putting here. Scanty as they were, every comment I got, other than resting here safely with you, they were also locked in the treasure box in my heart. The increase in the quantities of them does not undo their magic. They are what convinced me that I am not talking to myself!

In many ways, you have brought pleasures into my life. You and my knitting - you two go hand in hand ... and enhance each other. Without the need of updating you with the progress in my knitting, I don't know, maybe what I have in my knitting basket now would just be bags of UFOs. And without having any knitting FOs, you will soon lose meaning for your existence. Through the two of you, I got to know a lot of other talented and nice people / knitters from all over the world. Even more important than their compliments on my knitting (they are all nice and polite people, you know), I got advice, suggestions, and inspirations from what they said here and my visiting their blogs in return.

Today is your first birthday and I have to thank you for the past phenomenal year. Happy Blogiversary!

Agnes

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Something better?

I've been troubled by a cold bug for 2 days. Nothing serious ... just some sneezing and nose-blowing, a little bit tired. It's always more serious in the morning. Knitting is still going on. But there is another more serious bug nagging me as I am progressing slowly with the Wavy Lace Shawl - the pattern doesn't go well with the variegated yarn:


See what I mean? The pooling has taken all the attention from the lace pattern. Last night, I finally admitted to myself that it was not worth going on. I did some search and found Ella. The originally pattern also used a variegated yarn ... but still I have to make sure it works well with mine too:


I think it is A LOT better. I like the idea of a V-shaped shawl, so I am going for that. A plus for the pattern is that it is surprisingly easy to memorize. I hope to get more done to show you how it turns out.

While I am still waiting for the zipper to arrive, I started a real winter sweater using a discontinued yarn:


Como is a very very light merino yarn which feels very soft in the hand. I originally planned to make one of the sweaters from the Jaeger 09 Como Collection. But then the Urban Aran from Street Smart caught my eyes. One good thing about knitting with bulky yarn is that it is fast. I knitted 2/3 of a sleeve for gauge testing and then now I am almost at armhole shaping for the back:


Suddenly realized that I am knitting a sweater in ribbing again!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Brother's Mittens

They are finished and blocked as scheduled. Honestly, during the years I've known my brother (!), I haven't seen him wearing any glove-like objects. So, I am not sure if he would wear these ... but I just think that it would be nice for him to have something to keep his hands warm during the night-shifts.



So now, all I need to do is to pack everything together and go to the post office ... if I don't delay this, for once I would be able to send the presents on time. My idiosyncrasy ... I just don't like going to post office, so I would keep putting it off.

Details:
Pattern and Modifications: Broad Street Mittens from Knitty (designed by Janis Cortese) plus the glove pattern in Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handbook of Patterns
I knitted the gloves mainly following Ann Budd's pattern and switched to the Knitty pattern for the mitten covers.

Yarns: Elann's Sock It to Me Collection Essential 4 Ply
Since I used Ann Budd's book to help with the gauge, I went back to this machine-washable sock yarn, which is more practical for my brother in terms of care. The yarn is a bit rough to the touch when you first knit with it, but it softens more and more with wash ... but of course, don't try to compare it with Lorna Lace ... hahaha ...

Gauge and Needles: 7.5 stitches to 1", dpns US2 and US3 (for binding off of fingers)


During the past weekend, I managed to get a second square (Vicki Sever Square) for the GAAA done:


There was no struggle with the needle sizes and gauge this time. I love the design of this square and it was a great pleasure to work with. Sever got the inspiration for the design from her sister who died of breast cancer. Other than the breast cancer awareness ribbon, the cross stands for faith, the anchor for hope and the heart for love. I especially like the anchor.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Free magazines

Ooops ... I have to tell you beforehand that this is going to be a photo-less post!

Thank you all very much for the advice on Bomber. I am still waiting for the zipper to arrive. As I said before, without the zipper, the ribbing just won't budge and keep bouncing back, so it's really hard to tell if the jacket fits. And if it doesn't, I would certainly try wet blocking it again. Last time after washing, I just let it dry on the board ... without any pinning.

The gloves are finished. Knitting them has been a breeze, even with the thin sock yarn. I could knit up one in a day! I tried picking up stitches for the covers last night but it turned out to be the most difficult part of the project. Dark sock yarn + tiny needles = teary eyes! And when I finally managed to pick up the 30 stitches from the knuckles of the gloves, I knitted the cover in the wrong direction! Now I finally understand how it should be done ... call me slow, I know! Hopefully, the whole thing would be finished and blocked this weekend.

Finally I have one piece of information to pass on to you. Do you like Rebecca Magazine? They are giving away Rebecca #2 and #3 for free now ... but the magazines are in German only, and of course you have to pay for the shipping. If you are interested, click here to see how.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I'm back!

One week passed quickly and yesterday we saw my MIL off at the airport. Afterwards I tried to do some catching up with my Bloglines reading ... and, as before, got a shock - over 150 posts! I think maybe I need several days to clear that! ;)

During my MIL's stay here, the weather had really been lousy for some time. Luckily, we got to see some sunshine towards the end. I am also happy to report that she loves Kiri. After I posted on the shawl, I put it inside a large Ziplock bag (a really really large one) and set it aside. So, I haven't seen the shawl in person for quite some time. When I took it out for my MIL, I was also stunned to find how beautiful it is! I am thinking maybe I can make myself a Birch ...

Other happy knitting news! During the past week, thanks to the rain, I was able to have some pockets of time to knit. I re-started the first square in the Great American Aran Afghan:


This is the Meredith K. Morioka Square. The pattern calls for a 5 repeats of the center lattice pattern; but I found that I could get 12" with 4 repeats (plus the help of blocking). This is the 3rd attempt when I was finally able to get the gauge. I can envision a lot of ripping in the course of this project.

Today is already the 6th day of December. If I want to send the Christmas presents to my brother on time, I think I need to push myself a little more on Broad Street Mittens:


The first glove without the covering flap is done. I plan to finish both gloves before attempting to work on the flaps.

Last but not least (I love this phrase!), Bomber:


The shrinking of the yarn was not as much as the pattern calls for, but that worked to my advantage as I'd love the jacket to be a bit longer than that in the pattern. However, the sad news is that it may be a bit too tight for me widthwise. This has been bothering me while knitting. I can still fit into the jacket, which is without a zipper now (on its way home from Zipperstop), so it's hard to tell what it would look like when completely finished. But the truth is ... I love this jacket. So, maybe I just need to sweat more and shed some fat to wear it. :P

Monday, November 28, 2005

Monday morning

Just a few things on this Monday morning.

Over the Thanksgiving Bondathon on Spike (do you like James Bond?), I finished Bomber ... the pieces are ready for the washer. However, stupid me forgot to write down the washing setting for the swatches. So, I would most probably start with cold water ... and keep my fingers crossed that it works.

We are going to pick up my MIL this noon. She is going to stay for a week, during which knitting and blogging may be minimal. Feeling a bit anxious because I am going to give Kiri to her ... hope she would like it. ;) It's a pity that the weather starts to get lousy (well, exaggeration here ... just a little bit of overcast sky and showers) here when she comes.

I like the new Vogue Knitting Stitchionary ... a lot of lovely stitch swatches there.

I don't like the latest Harry Potter movie.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Tallinn

Do you know where Tallinn is? It is the capital city of Estonia. From what I saw here, it is quite a beautiful Eastern European city. You can also read more about the city here and here.

I haven't been to Tallinn, nor do I have any plan for a visit in the foreseeable future. Then why did I take such a great interest in this far away city, you may ask? Well, I wanted to know a little bit more about the place where somebody withdrew cash from my debit card account ... 3 times on the same day, that was why. I even tried looking up yarn stores in Tallinn ... somehow wishing my money would be spent there ... hahaha ...

So, check your bank statements VERY CAREFULLY every month for you own protection. For me, there seemed to be no problem for me to get my money back ... and lesson learned.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Nothing!

I have absolutely nothing to show you! Not that I haven't been knitting ... I have ... it's just there is nothing to show, yet, I hope! Maybe due to the weather, I haven't the mood to start a real winter sweater project. Sometimes you just have to have a real need to get you moving. So, instead, I picked up another UFO - the Bomber. Right now, I am finished with the increase of the first sleeve! When I last put this project down, I was bored with the mindless ribbing. Now I seem to welcome it.

I also keep working on the Wavy Lace Shawl. However, this is the problem of knitting a long rectangular shawl - once you get a hang of the pattern, it becomes a little bit boring. So, I just knit a row or two here and there ... that would eventually add up.

I had several false starts with the Great Amercian Aran Afghan. First, I got something wrong with the garter stitch border. Then, I found that the needle I used was not to gauge with that particular square I chose to start. Now, it's back to ground zero.

During one of my internet pattern-browsing sessions, I came across something I wanted to make ... a lot! Just that I don't know any recipient for the project:



Isn't it hilariously cute? It's a baby hat ... I'm not sure if there is any mother who would let her baby wear this hat, except me (that is if I had a baby myself, but that is not going to happen). So, I'm thinking of making it into adult size. But first, I have to examine the basics of hat knitting.



Husband is not a country music fan, but he "has an open mind to good music" (his own words). So lately, the song Country boy can survive got to him as a good country song. He thinks the lyrics are very romantic in their own way. Last night, he bought the song from iTunes and was browsing other country songs there.

Husband: Maybe we can buy a farm when we retire and grow our own food.
Me: (Silently knitting Bomber's sleeve) Mmm ...
Husband: And we can have lots of animals ... you can have as many cats as you want, you know.
Me: (Knitting paused) Can we have sheep?
Husband: Of course, for your wool!
Me: We should grow cotton too, then!

It's always good to have dreams. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday everybody.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Absolutely gorgeous!

The weather-people on the radio station here called it "Indian Summer" ... to me, it is even better than the real thing. The temperature is mild ... even with all that sunshine, you won't sweat a bit, yet you can still use a nicely knitted jacket or sweater ... isn't that just perfect? I knit, but I don't really look forward to the winter weather here ... which is cold, dark and wet. I much prefer the winter in Hong Kong - cold but dry.

So, the weather has been gorgeous here for a whole week, and I have been knitting a pair of gloves, which cannot be used immediately. Actually, I didn't have a single pair of gloves the whole time I was here ... not really a necessary item for me. I was more knitting out of interest rather than need. When I got the book A Gathering of Lace, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were patterns for items other than shawls. Actually, the 2 sock patterns are really beautiful ... on my to knit list.

If you like knitting socks, the chance is great that you'd like knitting gloves too. On her blog, nona has given tutorials on i-cord gloves ... starting from the fingers. That's a fun way. But I started mine from the cuff and had to re-attach the yarn for the various fingers. At first I thought I would be annoyed by this. I am happy to announce that it was not the case. Considering the small size of the FO, the finishing for gloves is enormous. Yet, I have changed a lot in my opinion of finishing work after the blue afghan and Old Tiles. I still enjoy the knitting process more than the finishing, but I am more able to see the latter as an essential part of the former, which would be incomplete and futile without good finishing. This explains why I could weave in all the loose ends (sound familiar?) without any delay and got an FO quickly.



No more Michael Jackson freak. Instead I am now Mickey Mouse! But the flash was a bit too much and the colour seemed to be not true to life. The following shot is better ... but you have to ignore my cross-eyed Mickey Mouse look!



The lace pattern is simple ... but I like the way the zig-zag pattern extends into the fingers. I think I may have made the right thumb too short, so I have to rework on it later when the gloves are dry from their bath.

Details:
Pattern and Modifications
: Vanalinn Gloves by Nancy Bush from A Gathering of Lace
No changes made to the pattern, which was very well written. It was written for woman's medium. Luckily, that fits me. If it didn't, it may not be that easy to adjust the pattern for different number of stitches.

Yarn: Peruvian Collection Baby Cashmere (60% Baby Alpaca/ 30% Merino Wool/ 10% Cashmere) Col:2020 Claret
I have used this yarn before and like it a lot as it is very soft, though it splits a bit.

Gauge and Needles: 32 stitches to 4", US2

I suddenly realized that we are nearing the end of November! So, I'd better get my brother's Broad Street Mittens started!

Monday, November 14, 2005

This is fun!

Tonight I brought along the Vanalinn Gloves when I went to pick up Husband from work. I managed to finish the little finger while waiting for him. I showed him this:

And he called me "Michael Jackson freak" ... ha! I'm loving glove-knitting!

Today is an exceptionally good day - the weather was warm, the colours of autumn were in full bloom, and I earned money for the first time in 4 years (though not too much, still a really good feeling!). I wish your day was as good as mine ... and many many more ahead!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

PPD?

Post Project Depression, that is. Well, not really what happened here. It was just knitting has taken a slower, more leisurely pace. I spent some of my time reverting to an old obsession - detective thrillers and already finished one book by Jan Burke. My first time reading her book and I quite like it, so much that I think I would get more.

However, new projects were also started. Instead of working on the gloves for my brother, I got selfish and switched to the Vanalinn Gloves from A Gathering of Lace for myself. The pair from the book were white ... but that is not too practical for me. So, I have chosen the red wine colour:


I have already made the left thumb opening. I can't get the picture to show you the zig-zag lace pattern clearly, but you can see how the gloves are supposed to look like here. About the gloves for my brother, I already got Ann Budd's pattern book ... and I would use Husband's hand as the basis for measurements. But still I would make a pair of fingerless gloves with covers, just like Broad Street.

I have also started the Wavy Lace Shawl from VK Fall 2005. The one in the magazine was a cashmere shawl ... which is not very hard-wearing, I think. I am using the Araucania Nature Wool I got from Monica's destashing. I have 6 skeins and I am into the second one now. The pattern is not too difficult and I like the colour:


See the wavy edge? I don't know why, but I seem to be always attracted to wavy pattern ...

People in my household (a total of 2!) like calling each other freaks and not take offense. I am the knitting freak ... Husband is the game freak. And I think to many of the regular visitors of this blog, I must be a mohair freak! See these 2 KSH in their Royal Highness?


After being gifted 2 balls of Jo Sharp Rare Comfort by caitlyn, I again became the lucky recipient of these 2 balls of KSH in the colour Lord ... an expected gift from joy! Thank you very very much, joy! Other than petting and enjoying their silky softness, I have not plan for them yet. But surely you'll be the first one to know if there's a change. BTW, I do have plan for caitlyn's gift. I discovered that they were the exact same yarns used for Misty Garden in Scarf Style ... and I like what I see. So, they would become my Misty Garden.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Old Tiles box jacket


"I'm crazy about deteriorating surfaces and half demolished derelict buildings - beautiful tiled surfaces found in historical houses and places of disrepute are often left with half told stories in their deteriorating state. The design inspiration came from a photograph of a weathered and corroding town wall in Portugal - the type of surface I get such a thrill from because of its sense of mystery."
Brandon Mably on Old Tiles, Brilliant Knits

I believe part of the charm of this jacket on me came from this. I like to know the stories, if any at all, behind the creation of a design. But of course the combination of the colours is the biggest attraction. I first saw this design in Brilliant Knits, fell for it. Then, saw another version in The Ulitmate Knitter's Guide and fell even harder (maybe because the model wore it better there!). In both, there is only one size and there is NO schematics. Being a really really new knitter then, I didn't realize the hidden dangers lurking underneath. Recently I got Rowan 34, in which Old Tiles appears again, this time from XS to XL ... AND with schematics ... but much duller colour combinations. I was happy that I chose the colours based on the brighter and more colourful versions.

Last night, I read my posts on the jacket again. I believe this will be the one project on which I post the most. The project was started in March this year ... but it felt like a really really long journey. Have you noticed that for this project, I started with the sleeves first, which is not my usual way? I've been secretly patting on my own back for this smart move. Starting with the relatively smaller pieces of sleeves allowed me to learn the various techniques in intarsia knitting and get used to the rhythm of knitting. This is also why I went so much faster at the end. I remember towards the end, I kept thinking that if I could ever finish this project, I could do anything ... a very empowering thought.

Since I have already spent so much time and energy on it, I would like to do everything well. After one trip to Jo-Ann's, I knew I couldn't find the suitable buttons there. After some web searches, I discovered a button shop in the area. 3 Beads & A Button is mainly a bead shop which also sells buttons. I decided on something that is simple and goes well with the main colour of the jacket:


I mentioned earlier the danger of one-size-fits-all. Luckily, it is a boxy design, so there is no problem with the body ... but the sleeves I got leaned toward the short side. Not too much, but I would be much happier if they are, say, 1 inch longer. I have been having this fear that once the jacket is done, its charm on me would be gone. You know things like this happen. But I am happy to tell you that not this time! When I finished all the final touches except the buttons on Monday night, I was already very excited to try it on and took pictures:


And I love love love wearing it! I actually wore it for half an hour in the middle of the night before taking it off! I have also decided that the jacket is meant to be worn without buttoning up:


You see what I mean? Even Husband said he liked it ... he said it had a Spanish feeling to it.

Details:
Pattern and Modifications: Old Tiles box jacket by Brandon Mably (from Brilliant Knits)
In the original design, there are 2 front pockets. But the whole thing was complicated enough for me sans pockets, so I omitted them.

Yarns: Rowan Cotton Glace (12 colours), Rowan Fine Cotton Chenille (2 colours), Elann Endless Summer Collection Sonata (3 colours)
I definitely love the Cotton Glace. The yarn is of really good quality, the colours are lovely and it doesn't split at all. On the other hand, substituting with Sonata is a result of my inexperience. Sonata is a slightly thicker yarn than Cotton Glace and it splits like hell. Now that I think about it, I may have better result substituting with Patons Grace. The Fine Cotton Chenille was discontinued long ago. But I managed to find the colours I need here. However, I don't really like knitting with chenille because it is so difficult to control the tension. I can't imagine knitting a whole sweater out of such a yarn! (But you know there are patterns out there! LOL!)

Gauge and Needles: 23 stitches to 4", US2 and US3

How would I do it differently?
This is easy - use wool. Simply out of curiosity, I put the jacket on the kitchen scale, and can you guess how heavy it is? Mind you, it is a short boxy jacket ... and it weighs a whoppy 1lb 5oz!!! Even the loose ends trimmed (am I a bit sick? I saved almost all the loose ends!!) weigh almost 4oz. So, if you are ever interested in making a similar jacket/sweater like this, no matter what cotton yarns the pattern suggests, go for wool. If I were to make this one again (well, you never know, right?), I'll definitely consider KnitPicks Wool of the Andes. If you can afford it, use Rowan KSH ... that would give you an airy lightweight jacket.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Thank you!

Did you hear my sigh of relief? Yes, I felt like achieving the unachievable ... the ten thousand loose ends were all woven in. The buttonhole band, button band and neckband were all knitted and the hems sewn. (By the way, this is really neat as the hems hide the seams ... nice!) The hems of the jacket's body were sewn. So, what's left? The hems of the sleeves. Oh, and I need 7 buttons. Yes, you can almost say that the finishing of this jacket is as much as the knitting. If I can get everything done tomorrow (I am keeping my fingers crossed!), the finishing is going to take me more than a week ... a finishing bootcamp week, you can say. When I was half-way through the weaving in loose ends, I almost reached a zen-like state - it was just like breathing that I didn't even consciously think about it anymore, everyday I woke up and it was weaving in the loose ends, as if it were the essence of my existence.

Now, I can show you Old Tile from a distance, almost done:



Before I can post on the FO, I'd really really want to thank every one of you who has encouraged me on continuing to work on this project. I know very well that without your support, Old Tile is definitely going to keep its UFO status. So, thank you!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

New Toy

I finally caved and got a swift from Jo-Ann's using their 50% off coupon online. No way I am going to spend 5 hours trying to wind the Alpaca Clouds again ... and now I don't have to. I was not too excited about gettting this new toy because it takes up space in my humble apartment. I mean not excited ... until this:


2 skeins of Alpaca Clouds, 1 4-oz sock yarn from Inspirations Yarn and 5 skeins of Cash Iroha ... all done within half an hour! Sweet! I feel I break even already.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I had a dream!

A dream that was knitting-related in content! I am not a person who dreams a lot ... or who remembers her dreams after waking up. But this particular one was so impressive on me that I kept replaying it in my mind ever since Sunday morning ... and of course I have to share it with you.

So, Husband was very eager to get to the shop (!) which was having a sale, a cut-throat bleeding sale (!!). After some fussing around, we finally got to the shop and he seemed to know his way very well (!!!) as he turned some corners and got to where he wanted within seconds. It was a section for knitting books (!!!!) and much of the shelves were empty already. He was very upset because the one book he wanted to buy was of course out of stock ... and it was Sensational Knitted Socks (!!!!!).

That was it. The exclamation marks? They mark the startling differences between Husband in real life and Husband in the dream. Did you ever have weird dreams like this?

With the closing of Socktoberfest, I started on another knit-along, nona's Peaceful Palms:


My brother (in Hong Kong) has to work night-shifts when it can be quite cold. So, I think it would be a good idea to knit him a pair of gloves like Broad Street Mittens. I first planned to use some solid-coloured sock yarns from my stash but then found them too thin. Finally, the 2 skeins of Sock Landscape from KnitPicks are of the right size, only that they are 100% pure merino which have to be handwashed. But I decided to use them anyway as they are super soft. This is the progress I've made so far:


The red line there indicates where my hand is inside the glove. My gauge is the same as specified in the pattern ... so I have to comfort myself that my hand is a lot smaller than Janis's ... and that my brother's hands are a lot bigger than mine. But most probably I'd start over again with fewer stitches.

nona left a comment on my last post, "I believe this scary job calls for a large bag of M&Ms. Weave in an end, eat an M&M!" This is indeed a brilliant motivating idea, thanks to which my work area now looks like this:


1. The evil Medusa
2. My Clover thread cutter and (invisible) darning needle
3. Omega Cranberry Pieces
4. Confetti Candies (leftovers from Halloween night)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Just in time for Halloween!

I am here to announce the knitting of Old Tile has entered into a new phrase of craziness ... which is in tune with the upcoming Halloween. I am quite sure if there were a knitting scary photo contest, mine would most probably be competing with Hannah Simpson's knitted zombies ... hahaha ... so, are you ready for the Halloween challenge? I must warn you, as Alison said a few days ago, it is not for the faint of heart:


Now the difficult-but-fun part is over, and I hope the difficult-but-not-so-fun part would be as short as possible. Have a wonderful weekend ... and a scary Halloween everyone!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Knitting meme

I just read about this on Kathy's blog yesterday and it got to me last night already. I think this is the first meme directly knitting-related and I am glad to work on it.

What is your all time favorite yarn to knit with?
Right now, it's definitely Rowan KSH. Yes, it's mohair ... yes, lots of other knitters call it Crack Silk Haze ... but you can't deny the fact that it knits up into a beautiful lovely fabric that you just can't let go! But the fact is, I haven't tried a lot of yarns in my yet short knitting life. The yarns that I am definitely going to try are the yarn lines of Elsbeth Lavold.

Your favorite needles?
Now that I think about it, I haven't really knitted with straight needles! Maybe once or twice back when I first started many many years ago. Most probably it was because I found straight needles awkward to use and so like what EZ said, once I tried circular needles, "I never went back!" I am not too picky with needles and I find that they all have their own good. Among the ones that I have, I always check if I have what I need in my Denise set first when I start a project. I like the cords of Auddis a lot, but their points are disappointing. Oh yes, I love knitting socks with Crystal Palace bamboo DPNs.

The worst thing you've ever knit?
This would definitely go to a pair of fingerless gloves I made using LB Microspun. You can see a picture of it here. I like the lacy pattern ... the problem is with the yarn and my gauge. I used the yarn specified in the pattern, and my gauge was as specified too. However, the FO was just so floppy that they might even slip off my hands. This is also my problem with many yarns ... my gauge always tends to be smaller.

Your most favorite knit pattern? (maybe you don't like wearing it...but it was the most fun to knit)
At this moment, it is Kiri because it is of the right challenging level to me. I think this is very important to a knitter. We all need a certain level of challenge to keep us interested in what we are doing.

Most valuable knitting technique?
All the techniques are valuable to me ... but the one that most amazed me when I got it is tubular cast on. But I always love the "got it" moment.

Best knit book or magazine?
I would say it's Montse Stanley's Knitter's Handbook. You can basically find everything you need to know about knitting in this book.

Your favorite knit-a-long?
It's hard for me to choose between TownsendSocksKnitALong and Six Sox Knitalong. I like them both as I learned a lot about sock knitting and the patterns are beautiful.

Your favorite knitblogs?
I like a lot of knitblogs and I like them for various reasons, but if you have a pet, especially a cat, the chance is great that I am stalking your blog/pet! Actually I know many of the cats by their names! But seriously, I like to read about knitters' projects rather than yarn buying. If a blog contains more of the latter than the former, I would lose interest.
Right now, I like Anna's blog a lot. She is an aspiring knitwear designer whose style I like a lot. Personally, I think she has great potentials ... and she is just so lovely and beautiful!
Besides, I have a special attachment to knitblogs in Asia. The ones that I constantly read are Siow Chin, Joy, emy, Mimi, LauraY and Eva.

Your favorite knitwear designer?

I love cables ... so I like the designs of Alice Starmore and Elsbeth Lavold a lot. I also like the designs of Kim Hargreaves and Teva Durham.

The knit item you wear the most?
(how about a picture of it!)

This pair of socks is what I wear most. The cotton yarn makes it possible for me to wear them even during some days in the summer time. The Cascade Fixation yarn is quite hard wearing and also comfortable. For the summer tank tops and winter sweaters, since I haven't knitted too many yet, I actually wear them quite evenly. And of course this also tells you that I like them all. :)

Who to tag?
Mmm ... I'd like to tag Lynette since she is in a sort of knitting depression and I hope doing the meme could lift her mood a bit. I'd also like to tag Chris, whose blog I got from Lolly's post on her trip to Hawaii. This woman is just so funny that I'd like to know more about her. Lastly it would be Joy, another very humourous knitter who is going to knit a Kaffe Fassett sweater in KSH!!!
Actually, I certainly would like to tag Debi. However, given the present condition of her home (which was almost demolished by Wilma), I don't think it is a very good time. I have been thinking about her the whole week. She would not be able to post until she gets the power back, so I don't know how she is doing right now. But she is a strong woman ... who could turn the heel of a sock during the ordeal ... If you have a minute, perhaps you can hop over to her blog and send her some good karma. :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Now this is really surprising!


My blog is worth $15,242.58.
How much is your blog worth?



I wonder what formula they used to work out the worth!!!

Working not very hard, but progressing steadily on Old Tile ... no picture to show because don't want to bore you with all those colour patches over and over. Actually I've lost a bit of the focus ... itching to start a new project!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

BCA Ribbon socks

So, I took another break from Old Tile. I did take things easy during the break and this is why it took me 2 days to finish the second sock. Yes! I finished my BCA (Breast Cancer Awareness) Ribbon socks for Socktoberfest!

I am very excited about this pair of socks as, though the pattern was inspired by Lisa Lloyd's Pink Ribbon Socks, basically I made up the pattern myself, including rewriting the ribbon chart. I quite enjoy the process of trying to figure things out, but I don't think I am the material for being a designer! Anyway, here are photos of the FO:



Here is a close-up of the ribbon pattern:



I don't think the rewritten chart is perfect, especially the top of the ribbon, which I'd like to be more rounded, but that was the best I can do now.

Details:
Pattern: My own toe-up version of Pink Ribbon Socks
1) I used Wendy's toe-up sock pattern and cast on with the Turkish cast on method.
2) The ribbon pattern was started with 14 stitches, then increased to 16 stitches and decreased again to 14 stitches at the end. In other words, I had 4 stitches more than the number I cast on throughout most of the leg part. Therefore, I replaced the lace pattern with 2x2 ribbing for the sections between the ribbon patterns so that the socks would fit more snuggly.
3) For the cast off, I tried EZ's sewn cast off but didn't like it ... maybe because it seemed to be more complicated to me. Therefore, I used Nancie Wiseman's picot bind off.
Yarn: Elann's Sock It To Me Esprit Col: 8699 Glacier Blue
Gauge and Needles: 32 stitches to 4" US2

I think it is time to return to intarsia. But since I have joined nona's Peaceful Palms KAL, the reward for my completion of the other front of Old Tile would be a glove project.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Monday, October 17, 2005

One day's progress

How much can you do in one day? If we stayed home all day (which we would sometimes) yesterday and didn't hang around in Fry's, Whole Food and Trader Joe's, I think I would probably have finished the first Pink Ribbon sock and cast on for the second. Of course this is not what was done ... and the socks are not going to be pink, by the way:


Thanks to the knitting of Old Tile, the plain stocking stitch for the foot became so soothing (instead of boring) to me yesterday ... and unobstructed with the single colour ... and went amazingly fast!

And I think I finally found the perfect way to knit short-row toe and heel:



See? No holes! And the double wrapping is easy to manage using this elastic yarn. I still have to see how it is going to be with other finer sock yarns.

Now the break is over and I am back with Old Tile ... left front Row 5 .. yay!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

October is ...

for the kicking off of Socktoberfest 2005 (held by the lovely Lolly)!


In order to be on time for this, I worked my behind off to finish the back of Old Tile. Now I can cast on for my socks. But before that, I've been experimenting. October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Last year when I saw this pattern, I'd love so much to make a pair but I hadn't started sock-knitting then. Therefore, it is very natural that I choose this pattern for Socktoberfest. However, the pattern was written for cuff-down knitting. At this moment, I'd like to do toe-up ... this means I need to rewrite the ribbon pattern. I think I've got it:


What you see here is a Frankenstein of my sock experimenting:
1) Turkish cast on from VK Fall 2005 - this is really very easy and there is no need for waste yarn. If you don't have the magazine, look out for Debi's blog ... she is going to give a visual tutorial on this.
2) Short-row toe based on Wendy's toe-up sock pattern - strangely enough, there were no holes on both sides this time. I don't know whether it is because of the double wrapping or the yarn being more fluffy and thicker. Yet, I found that I like the toes to be a bit more pointy, so I would do a few more short rows.
3) Rewriting of the ribbon pattern - I hope you can see the pattern on the sock clearly. I don't really like the lace in the original pattern. I think I would do a 2x2 ribbing instead.

So now, all is ready for the REAL casting on of my Socktoberfest socks. Since I've completed the back of Old Tile, I am allowing myself to take a day off from it and devote the time for the socks. Oh yes, Old Tile: