Thursday, March 31, 2005

Kept behind closed doors!

I planned to pick up 2 knitting books I reserved from the library. When the car was 500 feet away from the library's parking lot, I started to have a bad feeling - the best parking spots were empty! When I entered the parking lot, the neon sign "CLOSED" on the front door of the library confirmed my ominous feeling. It happened again - ARGH!

Out of curiosity, instead of leaving right away, I parked and went to find out why it was closed. (Usually it was me who forgot the library's closing days.) Cesar E. Chavez's birthday! I have to admit I know very little about this man, although I remember there is a Cesar Chavez Street in San Francisco. But a man so important that his birthday is a state holiday, I think I need to learn a bit more about him.

With a little extra time on my hand, I drove to Recyled Books nearby. Recently I picked up quite a number of old knitting magazines and patterns in another used bookstore in Mountain View, so I thought maybe I would find something here too. This is what I got today. It was without jacket but the condition was extremely good. There were even 2 photocopied pages with handwritten notes among the pages! I like treasure hunting in used book stores!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Here's another pair!

Husband doesn't like texture, so cables are out of the question. And certainly he abhors lace for a man's garment! He doesn't like bold and bright colours. The result? This pair of Classy Slip-Up socks in a very conservative colour:

The pattern is not too challenging but better than stockinette stitch all along. And he has worn them to work this morning! If you think one is bigger than the other, don't worry, it's just visual illusion. They are of the same size, I assure you.

Monday, March 28, 2005

You know the new season is coming when ...

you go into B&N empty-handed and come out with these:

Spring magazines scaled

Okay ... the Rebecca and Jaeger are not new. I got them during my first trip to The Knitting Arts in Saratoga. Talking about this shop ... I LOVE IT! First of all, downtown Saratoga is a beautiful charming little town with lots of good places for dining. Then, the yarn store is beautifully decorated and well-stocked. Furthermore, the people working there are very friendly and helpful. During the hour when I was browsing the magazines there, I observed them helping customers unravel a project gone wrong, choosing matching yarns for a scarf and just chatting with customers amiably. I went there looking for some Crystal Palace DPNs but they only carry Plymouth needles. I just felt that I needed to buy something from them. I have always wanted to get a copy of Rebecca and the Jaeger Aqua featured some very simply designed and elegant patterns.

So much about the magazines. Now have a look at this little mountain of yarns:

mountain of yarns cropped

Actually I should have included a teapot or mug in the picture to show you the actual size of the heap. If you have read this post, you would recognize the colours. Yes, I have finished the first sleeve of the Old Tile jacket. With the fun part done, I spent my Friday evening and the whole Saturday weaving in the ends. It was an extremely dreary task. The only thought that kept me on the task was that all the previous effort would be wasted if I didn't do this. But boy, how proud I was of myself when I was finally done:

Old Tile sleeve cropped

So proud that I almost felt like framing it! The stitches are a bit uneven because the yarns are cotton, which has much less elasticity than wool, and also because I haven't blocked it yet.

Now I am off to cast on for the second sleeve ... as I don't really want to frame this one. I want to wear it!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Look at my sidebar!

Mmm ... this post is not about knitting again! But believe me, updates will come really soon.

Do you like my new sidebar? I have long wanted to add the percentage bars for my knitting projects in progress. However, the file necessary for this to work is a Shockwave Flash file, which is not supported by Hello and flickr. I had no idea where to put it ... until I checked into Laura's blog. I found that she put hers in her Geocities account. I have a Geocities account, too. So now I have the cool percentage bars working. Thanks, Laura. If you want to have this on your blog, you can go to Anna Knits. The Flash file and instructions are all there.

How about the new visual presentation of the FO galleries? I got the inspiration from Kathy, who has the same cute little buttons for her FOs on her blog. Making these buttons is quite easy but you need to have an image editing software like PhotoShop (which is expensive) or Gimp (which is free). Guess which one I am using?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Spring Equinox

Today is Spring Equinox which heralds the arrival of spring to the Earth. I think there is nothing better than the news of new life to celebrate this. This morning, I received an email from a friend in Hong Kong announcing that she gave birth to a little girl on March 13. I don't know her name yet ... but welcome little girl and happy birthday!

I've been doing some spring-cleaning on my blog - organizing the buttons and links in the side-bar. You may notice that I have joined 2 new knit-alongs - Sock It To Me and Wavy KAL. I joined Wavy KAL because recently there was a matching Wavy hat pattern and I'd love to do that. The only problem is the colour I used for the scarf is out of stock. I have to wait to see if Elann would restock this colour.

Knitting-wise, my old tile jacket is progressing ... much faster than I expect. There are 154 rows for each sleeve. I am now at row 118 of the first. Of course during the process, there has been frogging going on ... some minor ... some serious (I discovered I dropped one stitch about 20 rows down)! The advantage of this pattern is that it is all irregular ... even if I make some mistakes in the colours ... it doesn't really matter.

Those of you who left comments have been really nice. Eva said I was brave and Siow Chin said I was fearless. These are kind words to give me confidence. The truth is if I saw this pattern the first time now, I would still think it is beautiful ... but no way I would even think of working on it, not to mention start buying the yarns. Now that I have all the yarns, if I don't start, I have no idea what to do with them. Hmm 2 There is a Chinese saying that goes like this: new-borns are not afraid of tigers. 6 months back, I was a new-born knitter.

Karen is really kind in showing to me her intarsia work on her blog. Now I know that I am on the right track. Thanks, Karen. And thomasina, thank you and I would checking your blog to see how your intarsia project would be going. Martha has created 10 very cute monsters in 10 days. I read her posts every day to see each one of them coming out. Thank you, Martha. I hope the jacket would come out "spectacular" too!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Agnes taking up Intarsia

First of all, I want to thank all of you for your very very kind compliments on the Pretty Comfy Socks. I was so pumped up by them that I started 2 sock projects. One is Classy Slip-up (from Betsy Lee McCarthy's Knit Socks!) and the other is New England (from Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road). Hoping to show you the FOs very soon.

Besides the socks, I have also started on my first love in knitting:


When I first started browsing various knitting pattern books, I came across this pattern several times. This is the first garment pattern whose beauty fascinated me. Unaware of the complexity and skills involved, I started shopping for the cotton yarns required. Many of the colours have discontinued and I have a hard time finding substitutes of suitable colours. Recently I finally collected all the colours I need. So I casted on one sleeve ... and the moment of truth came. At first I carried the whole balls of yarns with me ... and of course you would respond, "That's crazy!" And I can tell you that you are so darn right! Then, I made some bobbins to carry a smaller amount of yarns. Look at all the mess:

I also discovered that crossing the yarns over a long distance would result in bulging on the right side. So it was time for Googling research. What I found here just freed me from the straitjacket of bobbins:

"One important thing to remember is that bobbins are not a good idea. For the intarsia patterns such as the Steps garments, you just cut off a few yards of each colour and keep using them 'til they're used up. Then you tie on new colours and keep going, knitting in the ends as you go. This way, you don't have any big tangles in the back, you just pull the strand you're using free of the tangle as you go and you have the impetus to change colours frequently. It's really, really simple, and it's among the most gratifying knitting you can do; the only thing that even comes close is dense cable work and airy lace."

Before reading this, because of the tangles, I could only knit at most 6 to 8 rows at a time, and then I would get tired. But now, I can knit as long as time allows me to. This also helps me to solve the problem of long-crossing-over yarns at the back. Now, the back of the piece is so much neater:

You may still feel that it's all a mess because I haven't weave in the loose ends yet. But believe me, it is neat now. I have no experience of knitting intarsia at all, so I am not really sure how I am doing. Those of you who are savvy knitters, perhaps you can tell me:

Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day, so I'll have my background changed appropriately for the occasion. If you plan to get drunk tomorrow, remember not to drive yourself. Have a nice St. Patrick's Day and be safe.

Friday, March 11, 2005

New way to comment

I have been having problem trying to comment on other people's blogs. And then I found out it was not only me by reading letti's blog. So, I followed her lead and looked for other ways for friends to comment. I have tried several but found that HaloScan seemed to be the best so far. So, here we go. I am keeping the Blogger comments since I don't want to wipe out all the previous comments. But you can choose to comment by using Blogger or HaloScan (which will give you a pop-up window). Each one of your comment will become a flower in the vase. Wanna try?

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

I am in love ...

This happened when I was blog-surfing one day. Someone (Sorry, I was so obsessed that I forgot everything else ... so, can't tell you who this is!) said that she bought this pattern in Stitches West (do click on the picture for a larger view; or you can go to Stitch Diva Studio ... the larger view can show you the charm of this little garment):

As you know, I exercised extreme control when I was in Stitches West. In fact, I didn't pay much attention to the patterns there ... just too many of them and I had too little time. But when I saw the photo on the blog, I swooned! I headed straight to Stitch Diva Studio and, without much struggle, bought the pattern. I love the flower pattern collection too ... should I buy it as well?

I don't know when I would work on this. But like Wavy, I know I don't just like the pattern ... I really LOVE it. Right now, I am looking at all the different possibilities of yarns to use.

While writing the last post, I had problem uploading other pictures I took of the socks. I am trying again and ... ta da ...

I want to show you these pictures because they show the short-row heels ... which was a new technique to me. I guess you can gather that as there are some quite big holes there ... hahaha ...

Monday, March 07, 2005

Socks Finis

They are done! Yes, the Pretty Comfy Socks are finished and I am loving them so much. I finished them last evening and spent the whole evening wearing them. Have a look at how beautiful the pattern turned out and you'll understand:

Besides, the Cascade Fixation is really comfortable and suitable for the season now.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Weekend Ramblings

Knitting
Not much picture-worthy progress so far. I have just started the second stripe of the blue afghan while the first one is still awaiting blocking. I need to do it in the morning as I am using our mattress ... have to make sure it is done by the evening. Somehow it always slipped my mind during the mornings last week.
The second of Pretty Comfy Socks is now approaching the heel. I hope I have something to show you real soon. The pattern is really beautiful. I couldn't help wearing the unfinished first sock again and again during the process of knitting.
The cotton summer top is still in stalled mode. *Sigh*

Crocheting
I started on Square#10 of the 63-square project. Also I am working on a blog where I can display the squares I have completed. That may take me a lot of work as I am really not good at HTML.

Maverick's Surf Competition
What makes this surf competition so different is that it is not an annual event. The organizers decide whether they would have the competiton, if so, when, by collecting surf data and make predictions for the big waves. So, the competition can be held any time between November and March, if it is held at all. Besides, it is not a contest that is open to the public. Only a select few, around 20, really good surfers from around the world are invited. They usually only have 24-hour notice in advance. So, if for whatever reason they can't make it, then they have to wait for at least another year.
This year, the competition was held on March 2. We learned about it on Monday. Husband took a day off from work and we went to Half Moon Bay again. But I can tell you, we were definitely not alone. Take a look at this:

Baiscally, the whole beach was full of people. I think many of them skipped work and school just so they could come and watch the competition. Last Saturday when we came, we just saw the mild side of Maverick's waves. On the day of the competition, we experienced what contributed to its reputation. Later I learned from radio news that the highest wave that day amounted to 30 feet high! If you are interested, you can get more photos here.