Friday, December 28, 2007

2007 Knitrospect

2007 is a year of quality to me. The number of projects I completed is smaller than previous years but looking back, I love each and every one of them. I spent no time on things that I found no or little use for me - gloves, bags, toys ... but maybe not the last one. Last night, I finished this little one:



It was an impulsive buy after seeing this. As a person who didn't grow up with stuffed animals or any sort of dolls, I seldom have the urge to make toys, but the felted knits from Crafty Alien are just too darn cute! However, I reached the conclusion that I don't have a good hand for small things!

Oh, back to 2007. I spent a great portion of the year on lace projects, so the report card on sweaters didn't look too good if not for the sweater frenzy in the last quarter. The final stats come like this:

1 Afghan and 1 Stuffed Animal

7 Sweaters/Jackets/Cardigans

Sweaters/Cardigans/Jackets 2007

8 Scarves/Stoles/Wraps
Scarves/Stoles/Wraps 2007

10 pairs of Socks
Socks 2007

But perhaps KnitLit's Best of 2007 meme is a more meaningful way to review a year in knits.

1. your best FO of the year
The first item is already a very tough one for me. I love everything I made in 2007. Gathering Intentions turns out to be a much more pleasant surprise than I have expected ... and the sweater is really lovely. The Forest Path Stole required patience and perseverance ... and my desire to possess the finished stole helped me on the way. The Sashiko Jacket is one of the many projects that I had coveted for a long time and a chance opportunity allowed me to get it sooner than expected. I was really happy with the finished jacket.
However, to pick the best FO of 2007, I would say finishing this has been one of my proudest moments:



The Great American Aran Afghan ... wonderful patterns, loads of things to learn and experience in the process and the afghan is simply beautiful!

2. best FO of the year made by a blog you link to
For this, I have 2 in mind. First is Merilyn's Stole designed by KnitSanity of Lace Maven ... it came in the time when I was in a lace fever and I was simply in awe ... it is just stunning.
Then it is Tuulia's Pohjan Neito Cardigan ... just take a look at the photos and you'll understand ... I can't resist beautiful cables.

3. best yarn you tried
I love mohair ... and so the best yarn I tried must be Artfibers' Tsuki, absolutely comparable to everybody's favourite Rowan Kid Silk Haze.

4. best new book/mag/pattern of 2007
I must confess I have only very vague idea of what year a book was published. As it turns out, many of the books I have in mind were published before 2007. Besides, to keep my apartment from exploding, I have been very selective in buying new knitting books. But Heirloom Knits is one that I consider to be a gem.

5. best new knitting technique or gadget you tried in 2007
I have never tried duplicate stitch before making the monogram on Husband's new socks, but I found that it is great fun. Oh, and I love making embroidery too.

6. top 5 inspirations--what five things inspired you the most over the past year?
It would be difficult to pick 5. But certainly one stood out to be the ultimate inspiration ... Ravelry. It has become the real knitting/crocheting patterns central for me. Having real people of different shapes and sizes wearing FOs from a certain pattern allows me to have a more realistic view of whether that pattern would look good on me.

7. designer who most amazed & inspired you throughout the year
Teva Durham remains the one designer that I admire most ... every time I opened her books, I couldn't help but fall in love with the designs I love all over again. Norah Gaughan comes closely behind ... there are still lots of designs I want to make from Knitting Nature.

8. knitting resolutions for 2008--what's next for you and your blog?
My resolution is very simple. I intend to do whatever that gives me great pleasure and satisfaction ... knitting is a hobby, a passion, not a job; so I don't intend to put unnecessary pressure on myself. But I do plan to face a challenge again ... to attempt the one project that I failed so many times last year ... the Unst Stole!

As a last note, I want to thank you all for the support in the last year ... either you are just visiting occasionally, lurking constantly, emerging to give occasional comments or always ready to write me a line or two, I appreciate and love you all! Wish you a wonderful New Year to come and see you in 2008!

A last FO

My sock mojo has been pretty low in the last couple of months. Yet, in an attempt to finish up as many WIPs as possible, I struggled to finish Husband's plain stocking stitch socks in the last few days. All those holiday tv program marathons helped me a lot. Maybe he was excited by the little monograms I put on the socks, Husband started playing around when trying on the socks ... and he even let me take photos! No no no ... not only that ... he even gave permission to use them! LOL!
Having Fun with Maizy Socks
The Crystal Palace Maizy yarn is an amazingly soft and comfortable yarn. Despite its splittiness, I love it a lot and would definitely use it again for my own summer socks. As it turned out, the most fun part was the monogram using duplicate stitch.

Details:
Pattern: Toe-up stocking stitch with short row heels
I used figure-8 cast on 16 stitches and eventually increased to 68 stitches. For the cast off, I sew the open stitches to the wrong side 2 rows down because this method produced the most non-tight ribbing in my experience. With wool yarn, this works well. However, with this non-wool yarn, you can see it tends to be a bit too loose. I would put elastic on the edge to help the socks stay in place.

Yarn: Crystal Palace Maizy (82% Corn Fiber - 18% elastic nylon) 2 balls Col: Corn
Just 2 words to summarize - love it! But I do think I like the solid colours a lot more!

Needles: Crystal Palace bamboo dpns US1

Cast On: 08-30-2007
Cast Off: 12-27-2007

Believe it or not, plain socks are the most difficult to knit! Hahaha ... I am not starting any new project before the new year comes. But don't worry, I have the Great American Afghan to entertain myself. :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I wanted to post last night but was totally wasted by the 2 glasses of champagne! :) After watching Le Pere Noel est une ordure, I literally had to crawl to bed, first thinking I just needed to lie down for a while ... which soon turned into a full-blown sleep!

Oh yes, about the movie. We watched it almost every Christmas. It is an extremely funny cult classic for those of us who are not easily offended. I especially like this scene as a knitter!

So, today is Christmas Day which will be spent quietly at home. I will be finishing a teeny-tiny fun project and the Maizy Socks. Thank you very much for the suggestions and encouraging comments on the Sashiko Jacket. I have been wearing it for the last 2 days ... and I really really love it. The yarns are indeed not intended for next-to-the-skin garments. However, if you have the magazine already, you can easily find substitute yarns as long as you can find 4 different shades of blue ... or you can get creative with the colours. What is hard to get now is the magazine. I found mine on eBay after a long time's search.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I wish you and your loved ones a happy and peaceful time.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Present

It is a good thing to keep track of when you start a project, really. Otherwise, I wouldn't have known that the Sashiko Jacket took me 13 months to finish. Yes, exactly 13 months! But one thing I am happy to say is that I am still very much in love with this pattern. I love the sashiko patterns, which can be clean but complicated at the same time. You have to admit, the patterns are very unique. I remember reading someone in Ravelry saying that she only wore a kimono-like jacket (pattern from Norsk Strikkedesign) she made once because it was too dramatic. I was thinking if I would feel the same with this jacket. While it is unique, the subdued shades of blues and grey make this jacket a lot more wearable.

However, I certainly hope that I hadn't screwed up my gauge so that I would get a longer jacket, instead of a cropped one. :) Yet, it is still longer than the Old Tile. So, here it is ... my Christmas present to myself:


Details:
Pattern: Sashiko Jacket designed by Noriko Sekiguchi (Interweave Knits Winter 1999/2000)
The design was a roomy jacket. So even though my gauge got tighter than it should be, the width still fits ... but the sleeves become bracelet length and the jacket is cropped. For the finishing, the instructions said "fold the hem to the wrong side" ... well, there was actually no mention of knitting the hem in all the previous instructions. This meant that if I wanted to have hems for the sleeves and jacket, they would become even shorter, or I had to do something else. Therefore, I needed to pick up stitches on the wrong side and knit 6 rows of stocking stitches for the hem. It worked out great ... actually better than knitting the hems at the beginning, in my opinion.

The hems are important because with them, the jacket looks a lot more professionally finished, not to mention the no more rolling edges.



What do you think? Is it too short?

Yarns: Rauma,3 ply Strikkegarn: #159 dark navy (MC), 5 (6, 6) skeins; #1387 charcoal (CC1), and #147 medium blue (CC3), 3 skeins each; #149 light navy (CC2), 3 (3, 4) skeins; #100 natural (CC4), 2 (2, 3) skeins
I got the project kit from the no-longer existing Destash Blog. If you want to have a warm jacket, this is a yarn you can consider ... yet a word of warning, it is not particularly soft to the touch.

Needle: Addi 3.5mm circulars

Cast On: 11-25-2006
Cast Off: 12-22-2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

All sorts of updates

I finally received my copy of Rowan 42! If you are a member, you should probably have known that the girl responsible for US Rowan membership is going to leave Westminster Fibers. I am just happy that my magazine arrived before that so I don't have to start communicating with a new personnel about an old problem.

How do you like this issue? The "Reflection" section completely doesn't work for me. Actually I am only interested in the cabled sweaters/cardigans in the "Tundra" section. I may really make Narvik ... very cute.

How about some free patterns? Tejemanejes, a Spanish online knitting magazine, has just released their second issue. I like the red stole and the mobius scarf. The hair net is pretty interesting too, but I don't have much use of it.

Resting on the ironing board is the neckband of the Sashiko Jacket:Since I wet blocked the jacket, logically I should wet block the neckband too, though the urge to just sew it on as I go was extremely extremely strong! In the meantime, I will just work on the loose ends.

The hacker saga has finally come to an end. I succeeded in recovering my eBay account. First thing of course is to have my email and password changed. After having tried for 4 days, I guess I have to accept the fact that my former Yahoo email is lost forever. Because of that, I have also lost access to my Flickr account. Just want to let you know that if you have bought the Flickr pro membership, make sure you make a copy of the receipt they sent you and keep it in your document folder, instead of just keeping the copy in your email account. If I had done so, I may be able to retrieve my pro membership.

Besides the Sashiko Jacket, I am aiming at finishing the Maizy socks before the arrival of 2008. Talking about socks, do you want to try a new heel style? Check this out.

Monday, December 17, 2007

How was your weekend?

Mine couldn't start in a worse way! Early Saturday morning, I got emails from eBay saying that I requested new password to my account. And of course that wasn't from me. Mid-week last week, someone listed items for sale under my account. It was detected by eBay and I immediately changed my password. I think that very same person tried again. Thanks to the eBay online help, I was able to put my account on hold. But I think somehow that person got control of my Yahoo email account and changed my password. So I lost access to my email account!

That started a panic in me as it was my primary email for a lot of online communications. I immediately cut off all links to that email. I felt extremely lucky that 3 months ago, to limit my impulsive online buying, I generated a random password (which is next to impossible to remember) for my PayPal account. ::whew:: Unfortunately, I am still unable to retrieve access to that account. I am not sure how vicious that hacker or hackers are but I feel I have the responsibility to protect all my contacts in that email. So, if you are reading this, please take a couple of minutes' time to block this email address from sending anything to you: sengalam@yahoo.com. Even if I could retrieve my access later, I would not use that account anymore. I apologize for what happened and the troubles that may be caused as a result.

I confess I had to bear a part of the responsibility. I had been really lazy in creating different passwords for my various online accounts ... theoretically, if you get hold of one password to one of my accounts, you can access almost all of them. But no more! From now on, I would generate new passwords for all important online accounts every month. It is indeed a pain ... but the feeling of your privacy being violated is so humiliating that the little trouble is actually worth the while.

To take a break from the nightmare, perhaps we go back to knitting, okay? I am one more step closer to finishing the Sashiko Jacket:The problem is the size of the jacket may be a bit smaller than it should be ... my tight gauge is again the culprit. But really, I love how it comes out. Next to do is to knit the button band ... and then the loose ends.

I think I do have a partial liking for intarsia colourwork. Why?Yes ... I am actually crazy enough to think of knitting the Old Tile Jacket again using wool. Right now, I am considering KnitPicks Palette.

Oh yes, there is also one lone Maizy sock done:

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bad news and good news

Have this ever happend to you? Early in the morning, you notice a small thing is a bit wrong, and then things are just not going right the rest of the day?

Yesterday morning, I opened my Bloglines and Boom! There were over 5000 unread posts, including 200 from my own blog. What the hell was going on? Well, it was a just a small thing, so no sweat ... and the day went on with me doing Christmas shopping and seaming the Sashiko Jacket.

Last night, I finished the seaming and tried on the jacket ... another Boom! First, I mixed up the left and right sleeves. Yes, it is important because of the sashiko patterns. Second, I discovered I had lengthened the sleeves for nothing. It was only when I tried the jacket on that I found the lengthened portion created a bulky underarm area ... which was extremely unflattering to look at. So, you know what followed ... ripping, ripping, ripping. I decided to blame it on Bloglines! Hahaha ... The work will continue today.

On to happier news. For a very very very long time, I have been drooling over Hanne Falkenberg's designs, especially Diva. But the price has always succeeded in holding me back. :) Then one day, this sudden surfed onto my computer screen. I checked and checked and checked ... both my eyes and the prices ... just to make sure I was not "seeing things". It was not until the kit arrived that I really believed it:

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The search for matching fabrics

Somehow I knew deep inside that it would happen this way. Just when I gave up the search and bought another white fabric for the quilt, the one I wanted "re-appeared" in the original store where I bought my first bolt!

I thought since I had to use a different fabric anyway, I bought something other than a solid white:Can you see the subtle floral pattern? From afar, it still looks like solid white. Cute!

This is my first quilt and I had no idea how to make the enlargement. But somehow I want the enlarged border to be of mitered corners. I didn't know how ... so I went ahead and did it my way:It looks best from this distance ... better not get too close! Ha! Now that the quilt top is really done, the next step would be the quilting ... which I am most nervous about. Everything is ready ... I have even bought a walking foot for the machine. I hope I can show you the finished quilt really soon.

I have also been busy with an old project ... the Sashiko Jacket. Both sleeves are done and blocked, so I went ahead and wet blocked the body:There are still a lot of finishing work to do ... but it's really getting close.

Just 2 weeks before Christmas ... today we received the Christmas present we bought for ourselves. We just finished setting it up and trying out all the basic functions. This baby is really cool! We have quite a collection of non-region-1 DVDs which couldn't be played on the locally bought DVD players. This player can play everything! Perhaps it would even vacuum! Okay ... that's daydreaming. :)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I just want to rant a little bit

Am I the only one who is still waiting for the membership copy of Rowan 42? And the Welcome gift? When I asked the US representative about this 3 weeks ago, she said she would send my copy ... which still hasn't arrived yet. When I expressed my concern, she said "we are doing everything we can to make sure the problem is improved". Well, the problem hasn't improved, my magazine is still missing and the Welcome gift is still backordered ... talk about being welcomed! I really really think this is ridiculous! Perhaps Rowan should re-consider what promises they give to prospective members instead of giving out empty ones.

I am not one who complain a lot, but this is really getting on my nerves.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I'm sure mine would win

I'll tell you what of mine would win what in a moment. First, update of the quilt progress ... not much ... due to the shortage of materials. Once again, everything would be fine if I didn't enlarge the size. I bought 8.75 yards of Egyptian Cotton in white for the quilt. I would have bought 10 ... but that was all there was in the store.

I went to another store looking for the fabrics ... no luck. So, I am going to try another one today. If the bad luck continues, I'll have to settle for Kona Solid. We'll see. In the meantime, I used the scraps to make the stuff bird from the book. I'm telling you, if there is a contest for the ugliest stuff bird, mine would definitely be a winner:I tried looking at it from another angle ... still ugly:I'm so sorry, Joelle! But I'm going to try again ... practice makes perfect, isn't that right?

Now back to knitting. Though I have no new projects to show you, I'd like to share some project inspirations. The Japanese bookstore has become quite a dangerous place to step into ... there are always things luring you to break your wallet! I got this:I like both! But that's not the end:
Aren't they all cute? Oh ... there is one more gorgeous aran cardigan from this magazine:

So many lovely patterns, so little time! ::sigh::

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The top is partially finished!

If I am not enlarging the size, then the top can be considered finished! There were, and will be, lots of doubts along the process. There will also be quite some cheating when quilting ... but it's my first quilt anyway. I am happy with it so far.

About the plan for enlarging the size ... I have decided to make the extra size using the white cotton and choose a patterned fabric for the binding. This way, I think I can get the best of both versions I showed you last time. Time for batting shopping.

One day's work

Will continue this weekend. Hopefully I will get the top done ... that is if the coloured arcs can match decently with the white portions.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Idle hands

After knitting full force on sweaters for several weeks, I didn't work on anything in particular the last 2 nights. The feeling of having idle hands was a little bit weird. Since I'd like to spend more time on my first quilt, I am not going to start any new knitting project. Most probably just work on the socks and maybe a couple of GAA squares in the mean time.

About the quilt, most of the cutting was done. This afternoon, I worked on the arrangements of the colour wheel:I hope I can start the sewing tomorrow. The problem with sewing is that I prefer using the machine during the day (in fear of the noise disturbing the neighbours), the time of the day when I should vacuum, clean, do grocery shopping, and many other things ... hahaha ... So, I can see that progress would be slow.

Since the size of the quilt is a bit odd, not too small but not big enough, I am considering enlarging it. I am still undecided whether to do it this way or this way. What would be your choice?

This year, we got to experience what Black Friday was like. We went to Fry's looking for a DVD player in the afternoon. Of course we didn't buy anything when we discovered that the queue for checking out ran around half of the store (and it is a big one!). Now we know Black Friday is not just an ordinary sales day. We returned at around 6 p.m. and the queue was gone. We didn't get the DVD player but did make a great discovery:We love this chocolate! Besides, the assortment box is mighty useful too:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Pink comes in two

It's a totally different shade of pink, but still in the same family of pink ... Guess I won't knit pink for quite another while.

I almost didn't make this cardigan. The gauge is 11 stitches to 10 cm ... I don't have such thick yarns in my stash. Then, I read Lori Z's FO post and realized there are actually 2 gauge versions! 17 stitches to 10 cm sounds much better to me. Then I hesitated. When looking at the jacket's photos, I felt that a heathery yarn would be the best. I was not really sure the petal pink yarns I had would be good. But then I thought, what the hack!

So, I cast on ... and well, made the jacket! Since this is a jacket, I chose to make the M size. But I guess I could have made the S size and still get a good fit. As it turns out, this jacket in petal pink is not too bad after all ... actually I am very very happy with the result.



Details:
Pattern: DROPS Jacket Pattern 103-1
The pattern is actually very simple but the writings are not that straightforward. Or I should say it is not so to those of us who are used to American pattern writing. I had the greatest problem with the sleeve cap: "When the piece measures [certain length] bind off for the sleeve cap on every other row: 3 sts 1 time, 2 sts 3 time and 1 sts 1-2-3-4-6-7 times.
Continue to bind off 2 sts each side until the piece measures 41 (56) cm [15¾” (21 5/8”)], then bind off 3 sts each side 1 time and bind off remaining sts." The instructions in italics didn't make much sense to me. So this is what I did:
1) instead of "every other row", I did the bind of every row
2) then I did the decrease one stitch each side rather than "bind off 2 stitches each side
However, maybe what I did wasn't quite right, or the same as intended by the pattern, that was why my sleeve caps, especially the left one, look a bit crunched up.
I have looked into all the FO photos of this project in Ravelry and decided that 3/4 sleeves are the best. But what I got seems to be somewhere between 3/4 and full sleeve. Okay, confession ... I didn't swatch to the full ... no washing the swatch. So, maybe the yarn stretched a bit after wash.
After all that's said, again, I love this jacket! Love the buttons too ... got them in Joann:
Yarn: Jaeger Como (90% Merino, 10% Polyamide) Col: Petal
I have used this yarn before and learned my lesson. So I avoided all patterns with cables or that are too complicated. At first I thought even the double moss stitch wouldn't work either! Luckily it turned out not too bad. For the M size, I used 7 balls.
Not my most favourite yarn and I am happy that I have used most of what I have.

Needle: Denise US9

Cast On: 11-19-2007
Cast Off: 11-25-2007

I think I am going to put a hault to this sweater craze for a while and put more time on my first quilt. Yes! See the colourful bundles of fabrics I got for it:All have been washed and ironed and I am now in the stage of cutting.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

This "to-do-list" thing

Thank you all very much for the comments ... obviously the Gathering Intentions pattern is quite a crowd pleaser. Reading through your comments made me think about this "to-do-list" thing. Do you literally have a list of things you plan to knit? Or you just keep a mental list? Or both?

I did try writing down a list during the early days ... but it just ended up being tucked away among the many papers on the desk. So, I mostly just did the mental listing. Occasionally, I did mention some project ideas that I would love to knit on the blog. When Ravelry came along, I started my queue, with quite some enthusiasm, but also some restrain when I discovered that a long list gives me anxiety.

Besides, I kind of become a bit superstitious about items on the to-do-list or even mentioning future projects on the blog. It is like by doing either, I feel that I've done it already ... and then it is just forgotten and never gets done. Take this month, for example, in which I have been knitting sweaters like crazy. Yet none of them were from my Ravelry queue, but more from my mental list or the flight of my fancy at the time.

How about you? What usually happens to your to-do-list?

November is definitely a sweater's month here. The frenzy continues and is going strong:Yeah ... another pink project ... hehehe ... and another project not from the Ravelry queue. :)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Oh so girly!

Debi said that the sweater is very girly ... it's true, especially with the strawberry pink. This is a colour I rarely wear, even when I was a girl ... as I has always been more a tomboy than a girl. But I have to admit, this strawberry cream pink by Lion Brand is really lovely ... too bad it is now gone.

I am the type of knitters who don't really like spending time doing modification to a pattern, except unless it's absolutely necessary. With this pattern, I basically knit to the book ... except for one major modification. I decided not to make the i-cord knotting for the sleeve ... they would just bring trouble to someone messy like me.




Details:
Pattern: Gathering Intentions designed by Fiona Ellis from Inspired Cable Knits
This is a beautiful pattern ... the kind that would catch your eyes (well, at least mine), say, amongst the patterns in a magazine. Though it is an all-over cable design, the sweater doesn't feel heavy or clumsy at all when worn.
There are several design features that I love about this sweater:
- the knot. Though I didn't make the one on the sleeve, I think the knots are the one feature that makes the sweater special.
- the cable running along the armhole shaping ... well, this is just neat design.
- the neckband. Another neat design and it adds comfort to the sweater too.

Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Ease (50% Cotton, 50% Acrylic) Col: Strawberry Cream 6 balls for the smallest size
Nothing else to say about this yarn ... except I love it!

Needles: Denise US7

Cast On: 11-11-2007
Cast Off: 11-18-2007

Sock mojo is still pretty weak ... but I intend to finish the Maizy socks for Husband ASAP. I will also spend some time on my sewing ... I'd love to make something ... what? Don't know yet. But this gorgeous quilt is certainly stunning and motivating!

The girl in Goldfinger wears a beautiful aran cardigan ... makes me want to make one. :) Tuulia has a gorgeous cardigan pattern published in Finnish and I would really really love to make one. I don't know a single word of Finnish, but she has kindly translated it into English!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Enough socks?

As you may have noticed, I am in the sweater knitting mood/mode lately. I still have a sock project on the needle, but really, the sock knitting mojo is pretty low right now. Why?

Call me crazy, but what I am feeling now is "Well, I have enough socks." Seriously, I have more than one week's sock supplies. So, the urge to make new ones is not that big ... though seeing the beautiful ones popping up here and there did provide some sort of motivation, but unfortunately not strong enough to pull me away from my Gathering Intentions:When knitting the front, I already entered the stage when knitting the cable pattern had become like knitting stocking stitches, but interesting enough to keep me from feeling bored. The very enjoyable stage.

I am quite sure that the sock mojo would be back later ... it always does. Otherwise, I would be in trouble ... considering the sock yarn stash! Who said sock yarns don't count as stash?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Some random thoughts and an update

Perhaps one of the reasons I don't like winter here is the change of the clock. Without this, daylight can last until at least 6 in the evening; now it is pitch dark at 5:30!

Receiving, or more accurately, being woken up by anonymous phone calls in the middle of the night, say, 3 a.m., really gives you creeps on the spine! I just wanted to scream profanity into the receiver, or better, reach into the receiver and strangle that creep on the other end, last night!

I was a bit disappointed by the latest IK ... not because of the patterns (they are okay), but because this girl was not one of the models! I think she is one of the most beautiful knitwear models ... and so I am definitely biased, but she always gets to wear the more wonderful designs. Without her, the magazine seems so plain.

How much do you like Ravelry? I like it not so much as a social network (I am really not that sociable anyway) but it seems Ravelry has replaced my other blog for keeping records of my knitting/crocheting projects. It would be really great if there is something similar for sewing projects. I also like it as a knitting patterns central. That was how I got the idea of making Gathering Intentions. By the way, the back is almost done:I am loving it!

Have you read the story of Sugar Ray? If not, be prepared before you read ... it would break your heart. Do you think you can spare a few dollars to help? I thank you on behalf of the poor little guy in advance.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Unstoppable!

Unstopptable is my sense of urgency to knit up my stash! I am not kidding ... just after finishing the black Regine yesterday, another sweater project was started today. I think this is good ... I have been stalling with the sweater projects I had in mind, so let's just capitalize on this urge right now to have a few more new things to wear.

Oh, about the latest FO. I love the shape of Regine a lot and I think it is a very flattering sweater. I've always thought that I would make another one and it MUST be in black. Don't know why ... but a black Regine would be awesome. And it is! The Cotton Ease is so comfortable that I don't want to take it off. :D


Details:
Pattern: Regine designed by Sauniell N. Connally
Since I have gained some weight (oops!), I made the medium size this time. To avoid the neckline being too wide open, I knitted 2 more rounds for the neckband before doing the front short rows.

Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Ease (50% Cotton, 50% Acrylic) Col: Licorice 4.5 balls
This is one of those discontinued colours and I love this black colour ... I don't have dandruff problem and black makes you look thinner ... LOL! This sweater would get quite some use before the really cold winter comes.

Needles: Denise US5 for the body and Aero 3.5mm circular for the neckband

Cast On: 11-02-2007
Cast Off: 11-10-2007

Wanna a look at my new project? Laura has made the same sweater using the same yarn:But I am using a different colour, which I think is the most beautiful pink I've seen ... and sadly, is also a discontinued colour!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

New project to drive away to grey

Most probably many of you are feeling excited over the coming cold weather ... but the foggy grey weather is just a bit too depressing for me! Maybe I just need some adjusting.

When last week's earthquake happened, Husband was home with me ... and I had just visited my parents a few weeks prior ... so naturally my thoughts turned to the yarn stash in the closet! :D So now I am knitting fiercely! hahaha ... not too much, really, but I did pick up the knitting of sweaters again. The latest project:Just one more sleeve and I'll have another sweater! See you again when it's done. :D

Sunday, November 04, 2007

I made a bag!

At some point, I thought I was never able to get this together. You know, the same story about my assembling all the notions for a sewing project ... it just seemed I always left something out. I am just hoping this would get better with my increasing sewing experience.

But finally. Finally the bag is finished!This is my version of Amy Butler's Frenchy Bag. Mine doesn't really have an "Amy Butler look" ... most probably because of the more subtle pattern of the fabrics. Those Amy Butler fabrics don't always work for me ... actually, most of the time they don't. But I fell for this bag immediately. I am not a bag person ... and I can use one bag for a very very long time. However, the fact that I can made a bag presentable enough to be used is indeed a thrilling thing.

I said "presentable enough" because you really can't have very close inspection without finding some imperfect spots. But anyway, who cares? It's done; it can hold things; so it is good and I love it. Take a peek of the inside:It is quite a big bag yet I have to remind myself not to "overstuff" it ... otherwise, the lovely shape would get distorted.

The exterior fabric is a great bargain I found in Big Lots! Yeah, Big Lots! That came as a great surprise to me too ... fabrics! $5 for 2 yards of 54" wide home decor fabrics. Okay, so you need to dig deep for patterns you like ... or even go to a different store for different choices ... but $5 for 2 yards! I bought this originally thinking of cushions and bolsters; and after making the bag, I still have lots of fabrics left for cushions and bolsters! :D As for the lining fabric, it is one of those remnants I grabbed when browsing in Joann's ... these always come in handy especially when they are of larger pieces.

Now I have a new bag ... let's go shopping!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Ink Flared Sweater

Casey asked me if I was going to share how I fixed that problem section ... oh yes. The only problem is I didn't take pictures. Basically, I followed the suggestion of the very knowledgeable Debi (thank you so much, Debi), that is cutting out the thin section and knitting back the required number of rows, and then grafting the two sections together. One thing I'd like to remind you if, unfortunately, you have to do similar thing, cut in the middle of the thin section. That would definitely be safer ... you are trying to get rid of that section anyway. The grafting was really not that bad ... with thick-and-thin yarn like this, the knitted fabric is very uneven in the first place.

Okay ... the good news is, as you can guess from my last post, the sweater is finished ... but (there is always a "but") the yarns I showed you last time were not enough for me to finish the sleeve cap. How I wish Nanette's suggestion of doubling the thin yarn had come in earlier! Instead, I have to gather all those scraps from previous failed casting on attempts ... yeah, the yarn broke at least three times when I cast on for one of the body pieces. So, good news ... no need to buy another skein; bad news ... lots of loose ends to weave in ...

What about the seaming and neck band? Luckily, since I didn't trust Cash Iroha to be a sturdy yarn for seaming, I decided to double strand the Deluxe wool I used for Husband's sweater and the green Clapotis for seaming. But that still leave yarns needed for the neck band. What about a different colour?Can you recognize the orange yarn? Yes, leftover from the Diagonal Twist Princess-seam Jacket. Notice how the tweed flecks in the orange yarn match the colour of the main body? Perfect! One thing I learned from knitting Norah Gaughan's Shell Tank is the reverse stocking stitch for neck band ... simple but effective in solving the problem of rolling neck. So now, I have a sweater with 2 colours:I like the roomy fit and the length is just perfect; however, I feel something more is needed to make the neck band more natural. I definitely feel that today is my lucky day ... the Purl Bee blog carried a duplicate stitch tutorial today! So, I used the orange yarn and added a little something:Duplicate stitch for the flower center and backstitch for the petals ... totally freehand. Now the neck band feels more organic to the sweater:How do you like it?

Details:
Pattern: Ink Flared Sweater by Black Dog Designs
I could have made the smallest size, but somehow I love to have a more roomy sweater. Instead of casting off the pieces when finished, I left them on as live stitches. Since the neck line seemed to be too wide for me, I decreased evenly 12 stitches when picking up the live stitches and knitted 3 rows of reverse stocking stitch. Since I like the rolled edge of the sweater, I skipped the single crochet on the hem.

Yarn: Noro Cash Iroha (40% Silk, 30% Lambswool, 20% Cashmere, 10% Nylon) in Colour#93
The pattern suggested 8 hanks for the medium size ... but I used every bit of the 10 hanks I had. Even without the little drama of the thin portion, there is no way I could make this with just 8 hanks.
I totally hated this yarn during the course of knitting! Perhaps I don't really need to elaborate on why anymore ... LOL! But I think I like the knitted fabric. It is not butter soft ... but quite comfortable and definitely warm. Will I use it again? Mmm ... nope!

Needle and Gauge: 16 sts to 4" (10cm) over stocking st using Denise US 10 needles ... but I think my row gauge was more loose, thus my sleeves are longer.

Cast On: 10-24-2007
Cast Off: 11-01-2007