Tuesday, October 31, 2006

This Tuesday has got to be random

... simply because I have nothing to show you! :)

- The reason I have nothing to show is that the Socktoberfest sock has to be frogged. Yeah ... it really sucks. Once I turned the heel, I tried it on ... and it was a tiny bit small. Now I am knitting it on US1.5 needles and the first heel has again turned ... it should be good.

- What sucks more is that I frogged another project over the weekend. Remember the Must Have Cardigan? I was on the sleeve island when I stopped working on it. I didn't really know why I stopped ... there is just something not feeling right. Ever since, the idea of frogging it has been brewing in my mind ... and I did it! I started it again with a larger needle which gave me the right gauge as specified in the pattern.

- Without too much effort, I haven't bought yarn for 2 months. Honestly, the urge is not too great. Since I came back from my vacation, I learned that a new yarn store has opened in my neighbourhood and I know it is a lovely one. But I haven't even visited it yet ... because I don't need to buy anything. Absurd to a lot of you, right? I would eventually go ... maybe next week ... just for a visit.

- Not having bought anything doesn't mean I don't have new yarn. I have this in the mail last week:
This is a free ball of Sock Candy, courtesy of Kaci Kyler of Blue Moon Fiber Art. How I got this from her is a long story ... one that I don't have complete memory of already! hahaha ... but I am happy to be able to try this yarn out finally.

- I have my Halloween treats ready just in case there are little ones (there seems to be quite a lot in the neighbourhood) knocking on my door this evening ... how about you? ;)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Regine

It's done! It's done! Yet the weather this week has been, and it going to be, unseasonably warm, so I still have to wait a bit before Regine can made her formal debut. But I have to tell you that this sweater is a real beauty ... the fit is perfect and the style very elegant. The most attractive feature to me is the large square scoop neckline. I love it.

Regine is yet another feel-good project after Lace Blouson, which, by the way, has proved to be a very comfortable wear. I say these are feel-good projects because the knitting process is enjoyable, with the patterns being well-written on the whole, thus not causing any agony and doubt; and the whole project does not take an enormously long period of time to finish. I just feel lucky to have picked 2 such projects in a row.

I took several pictures of Regine being modeled. Among them, I like this one best ... though it's not showing the garment best:
It resembles the pictures you can always see on blossom's blog ... which I admire very much. :D But I know I need pictures that show the sweater in a clearer view:

Details:
Pattern and Modifications: Regine designed by Sauniell N. Connally (you can find the pdf file of the pattern on her blog)
I made the small size with a 34" body measurement. I made no other modification on the pattern, except for the length of the sleeves, which I continued knitting even after the increase until the sleeves measured 19".
The very good thing about this sweater is that it can be worn casually (with jeans) or more formally (with pants or skirt).

Yarn: TLC CaraMia (50 Acrylic, 19% Nylon, 18% Rayon, 13% Angora) 4 balls Colour: 2501 Aqua
Do you have any memory of this yarn? I think it was discontinued not too long ago. I got 8 balls from Joann's as closeout. I should have bought some more of the other colours then! It is very soft and comfortable. Okay, it's not the very best yarn ... but hey, soft angora yarn that is machine washable ... that's great. Besides, I have a feeling that it won't pill too much. But there's angora (though only 13%), so it sheds!
Another bonus ... as many of you have commented, the colour is just beautiful! :D

Gauge and Needles: Addi Turbo 4mm for the body pieces and sleeves, getting 21.5 stitches to 4" and Susan Bates US5 for the neckband.

Start date: 10-07-2006
Finish date: 10-22-2006

Halloween is approaching ... and that means October nearing its ends. I am feeling kind of guilty because other than starting the sock I planned for Socktoberfest, I didn't make too much progress on it. Now I just have to see if I can at least manage to make the pair before handing out the treats!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Beef on Toast

I never did any serious cooking when I was in Hong Kong. I mainly used my kitchen for making tea and instant noodles. Therefore, the question most frequently asked by my old friends is: What do you cook every day now?

I have no intention of turning this into a cooking blog, and neither do I want to start one, so I think I would write about what I cook now from time to time.

Over the years since I got married, I learned to cook bit by bit ... starting from the most simple meat pasta using store-bought sauce. So far, I have built up a few recipes that are favourites of the household. This is one of them:
We call it Beef on Toast. The picture may not look too appetizing ... but it really tastes quite good. One small onion is cut into julienne strips and sauteed using olive oil until caramelized. The beef (I usually use top sirloin steaks) is cut into strips and briefly marinated with lite soy sauce (2 tablespoons), Dijon mustard (1 tablespoon) and red wine (3 tablespoons). Using the same pan after sauteeing the onions, I sear the marinated beef strips on high heat in batches (be careful not to let the pan burn ... adjust the heat when necessary). After all the beef is seared, I return the caramelized onions and the remaining marinating juice into the pan, mix everything evenly together and heat until the sauce is thick (sometimes I would put a dollop of creme fraiche to help the thickening ... buy it at Trader Joe's ... cheaper there!). Voila ... serve them on garlic parsley toasts and your choice of salad. ;)

Friday, October 20, 2006

During my vacation ...

I managed to do some knitting ... not a lot, but enough to make myself happy! I brought the Socktoberfest project and a sweater project with me. My experience was that though socks are ideal projects to carry along, the needles are just too small for knitting under the dim light on a plane! Maybe the colourway is too dark, or maybe I am already too old ... I just felt lucky I brought along the sweater project using larger needles! ;)
This is Regine desgined by the talented Saun. She has lots of other beautiful designs, but I just fell in love with Regine the moment I saw her. My only worry was that I might not wear it well. But well ... as you can see, I finally decided to make it. It seems the sleeve fits well. So, just one more sleeve to go!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

See you in a week


I am taking a one-week vacation ... still packing my luggage! Have a good one everybody and see you again in a week. :D

Monday, October 09, 2006

Socktoberfest 2006 ... finally


I don't know what happened to me this year ... I seem to be late to everything. Maybe I have just picked up the habit from *someone* ... ;) So here is my Socktoberfest 2006 Debut.

What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?
This is the first pair of socks I ever knitted. They didn't get too much use ... because I was not too good with adjusting the needles to get the right size, so it tured out they are a bit loose and tend to be big ... for my husband. Besides, he doesn't like the colourway too much. He prefers solid colours.

What would you have done differently?
I followed the pattern in Sally Melville's basic sock pattern in one of her books ... can't remember whether it's the Knit one or the Purl one. I don't like this basic pattern mainly because it requires the cutting of the yarn. Once I learned how to knit sock without cutting the yarn, I don't see why I should use her pattern again.

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
Since I have joined the STR sock club, I have worked with their yarns most. However, I must say the sock yarn I really really enjoy working with is Lorna's Lace Shepherd Sock ... can't tell you why, it just feels so right.
On the other hand, the socks that I enjoyed wearing most are the pair I got from my Sockapal3za pal ... mainly because they were made specifically for me, and also because the Koigu yarns are really heavenly. I am looking forward to working with this yarn.

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?
I have sock crocheting patterns, but I think I would not crochet socks any time soon. I always like knitting socks on DPNs. I always discovered I love working them cuff down.

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)
It's no secret here on this blog that I like working short-row heels ... though recently I made a couple of heel-flapped socks.

How many pairs have you made?
Really, once into April, I haven't kept track of my FOs ... so I don't have a definite number. But I am quite sure it's over 10 pairs ... maybe even close to 20! Woo hoo!

This is how I started off this year's Socktoberfest:
It's again Cookie A.'s design. I just did 2 pattern repeats ... so am not sure if it shows well with the yarn. But I do love this new colourway ... Titania. ;)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Lace Blouson

Is it too late for a sleeveless tank in October? No if it is my own handknit! ;) The Lace Blouson was finished on Friday when the weather forecast promised a sunny weekend for me to enjoy it.

I went to Michael's looking for a ribbon for the blouson. Thinking of it now, I should have gone to Jo-Ann's. But anyway, I couldn't find anything that would go well with it. Then I strolled to the beading section and saw some leather lace. Bingo ... the taupe leather lace is perfect:

It may not be as cute as a beautiful ribbon, but I like it very much. I've seen some knitters not working the eyelet row. After some thoughts, I decided to have it because I like the tank the way it was presented in the magazine.

Details:
Pattern: Lace Blouson designed by Kim Dolce (IK Summer 2004)
I got this issue of IK from erin ... and I have to say I love this issue because there are quite a few lovely patterns. And of course, I fell in love with the cover pattern. I made the smallest size with a 35" chest circumference. I have to tell you the fit is perfect. I am especially happy with the armholes.

Yarn: Sunrise Cotton Blend (50% Cotton 50% Rayon) distribed by Taiga Yarns; 3 balls with LOTS of leftovers
Love this yarn ... though it was a bit rough to the hand. However, once washed, the fabric softens a lot. Since it is a fingering weight, the tank is good for really hot weather ... it feels just like cotton tee. I hope they would have a wider choice of colours since I would certainly use it again for summer knits.

Gauge and Needles: 30 sts per 4" in stocking stitch using KnitPicks Classic Circulars US2 and US1
The needle points of the KnitPicks are just perfect, only that the cords don't feel as durable as the Addi's ones. However I like working with the KnitPicks needles more than the Addi's ones because the former cords stay out of my way while knitting, while the Addi's ones, though not twisting, always get in between my hands in a big circle (I hope you get what I mean!).
Since I purl more loose than knit, I have to use the smaller-sized needles for the purling side in order to get the right measurements. It was a bit of a hassle at the beginning. But that just needs a bit of getting used to.

Start date: 07-26-2006
Finish date: 10-05-2006

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

That knitterly things meme

As usual, I am late to this knitterly-thing party.

1. Practically, I've never knitted with straight needles, except DPNs for socks. But I am quite sure I won't miss them if I had!

2. Knitting is always associated with grandmothers (and I hope this has changed a bit!). But I haven't seen my grandmother (my mom's side) knit ... and I don't think she did. While for the other grandmother, she passed away before I was born, yet from information I can gather, she didn't knit either. Actually, according to my best knowledge, no one in my extended families knits. So, you can say I am an odd skein ... hahaha ...

3. I always read knitters saying that they would knit on road trips while their partners are driving. Not for me. Knitting is a dangerous activity in the front passenger side of a moving vehicle.

4. I always have problem understanding why people would knit (or crochet) bikini swimsuits. Do they really wear these to swim? That again is quite a horrifying thought to me!

5. I seldom knit in public though I don't avoid doing so. I think I share blossom's feeling on this.

6. I recently learned that having the yarn stash easily visible to me helps me to be more controlled in buying. Ever since moving into the new apartment, I haven't bought a single ball/skein/hank of yarn. ;)

7. I started knitting lever style (I knew of this term from joy) and has always been comfortable with this. Until I started reading knitting blogs, that was the only way of knitting to me.

8. I only have one Yarn Harlot's book ... the first one ... and I have only read a few pages of it. Sorry, it's just not my cup of tea.

9. I have a knitting spool but have yet managed to use it successfully. Maybe it's just because I haven't tried hard enough.

10. "Knitters are the most generous / kind / (any adjective indicating good quality in a person) people." I am not sure if I said this before. If I did, I will never say that again. I have seen enough to know not to judge a person just from the fact that he / she is a knitter. If someone is nice, it's because it's the way he / she is, not because he / she is a knitter. I hope you don't find this too negative ... I am just being realistic.