Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The wait is almost over

The official start of the FPS Along is tomorrow ... finally, I can start! Maybe I can start past midnight tonight? But the black Zephyr would make it difficult ... better start in the daylight so that I won't mess up ... what do you think? I did the swatch some time ago to test how the yarn go with the needles (KnitPicks Classic Circular US3):

I also managed to finish another square for GAAA. This is the Julie Levy Square and is my 4th:
This one is super easy but the classic celtic knots are just forever lovely. But it ate up almost one whole skein of Wool Ease (which is my last one)! Lucky that I am starting the stole tomorrow ... I am determined not to buy even a tiny thread before Stitches West! I have a good feeling that I would be able to finish this afghan this year. :)

Monday, January 29, 2007

GAAA - Judy Sumner Square

Thank you all very much for your kind comments on Husband's Sweater. He likes it ... the colour, the fit, the fine gauge and the pattern (or the absence of one, in this case). There was some much welcomed rain during the weekend, so wearing the wool sweater was not a painful experience for him:

In this in-between period (before starting the Forest Path Stole), I spent my time working on yet another WIP, the Great American Aran Afghan. During the weekend, I finished the Judy Sumner Square:
Isn't this a lovely picture of a garden scene? Leaves, bugs, spider and fences ...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Husband's Sweater ... finally!

One of the really good things I feel about finishing this sweater is that it doesn't take me a WHOLE full year to do so! I first started this project in February last year with a gauge of 8.5 stitches to an inch. After decreasing for the armholes in the back, I found that I didn't like the really tight gauge. So, I ripped the whole thing and started again with a larger needle. Felt a bit bummed at the time, but you know, you just get over it. The new gauge is 7 stitches to an inch ... that helped! The knitting went a bit faster ... comparatively, at least.

I was done with the finishing late last night so Husband hasn't tried it on yet. So, no model shots ... ;) It's going to rain this weekend, so he would feel happier wearing this. But I am happy that the daylight helped to bring out the true colour of the sweater.

Details:
Pattern: Crew neck sweater pattern generated by Sweater Wizard.
Ann Budd's pattern book should be enough if I chose to get the looser gauge right at the beginning. But when I played a bit with the software, I found that it actually allows much greater flexibility in generating customized pattern. You can change almost everything to get the size you want.

Yarn: Deluxe 100% Wool from Taiga Yarns 9 balls with extra for neckband
This yarn is their No. 1 bestselling yarn and there are reasons to this - quality and price ... you get the best of both. The wool is soft and pleasant to work with. After frogging the first attempt, I had to wash the yarn to get rid of the curling (result of the tight gauge). But the washed yarn works just fine as new. For less than $3 you can get more than 200 yards ... really a good deal. I am certainly I would use this again.

Gauge and Needles: 7 sts to 1 inch using Addi 3.25mm over stocking stitch; Addi 3mm for neckband

First Start Date: 02-10-2006
Second Start Date: 11-11-2006
Finish Date: 01-25-2007

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Let's turn our attention

... from the sleeves to the neck for a while. When I finished Husband's last sweater, I already set my mind on making the beautiful neckband the next time I make a sweater. The very resourceful and helpful Debi taught me how to make it in her comment ... which I always keep in my mind. Now, here it is ... I've made that lovely neat neckband!


Knit double the desired length for the neckband.


Put the live stitches on a spare yarn,
turn the neckband to the wrong side,
use pins or stitch markers to stable the position.


Sew the live stitches to the pick-up row.


Mission accomplished!

Conclusion: For light weight yarns, this is really the best way to make a crew neckband because without having to bind off, the collar is comfortably stretchy.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Breaking news!

I'll be brief ... very brief, actually, this morning. I am now one foot away from sleeve island! Yay! One sleeve is done and is estimated to fit successfully onto the body. But since the colour is still deep green ... no need for a photo. ;) The cast on for the second sleeve is done ... and I am off to work on it now.

Wish you all a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

More haste, Less speed

Sometimes we just have to listen to our ancestors. Since I really wanted to finish the body pieces of Husband's sweater ASAP, I pushed myself really hard. While it seemed pretty optimistic that I would be able to finish the front piece on Monday night, I discovered a dropped stitch! No big deal ... just take out the crochet hook and pick it back up, I think. Nope! At least I discovered that this didn't work that well with fine gauge knits. *Sigh* More haste, less speed, people!

So ripping back I did. What wasted time was not the ripping, but putting the stitches back onto the needles ... 134 small ones! Luckily, American Idol is back and I was able to finish the front piece in a merry mood (at the expense of those aspiring American-Idol wannabes, I regret to say!). Now I have 2 weeks to stay on the sleeve island (before the FPS KAL starts). Hopefully, I won't have to spend the whole 2 weeks knitting up the sleeves, but the finishing as well. Since the visual difference of my progress is not that significant, I spare myself the agony of photographing the deep green. ;)

The weather here has been unseasonably cold. When we left at around 9 in the morning, the temperature would still be about 35F - 37F ... with the sun shining brightly. Such low temperature is not unheard of here, but lasting for such a long time (4-5 days) is really a first for me. Besides, the humidity has been extremely low too. What would happen on such weather conditions is that Husband would be highly charged with static electricity ... especially when he wears wool! On Monday, when he wore a merino sweater and wool socks to work, he was so annoyed by the static shocks he got that he refused to wear anything wool afterwards. This is also why he is usually not overtly enthusiastically about my knitting woolly stuff for him! :D Well, I don't blame him.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Keeping up with NY Resolution

Isn't it the same with you? After a successful and interesting FO, it felt kind of very anti-climactic to work on something purely plain and simple? But perhaps it's the best time to really get down and just do it. Plus it is time to put my new year resolution (tending to the WIPs) into action, right?

So, with the help of lots of CSI episodes, Columbo, Matlock, Father Ted and Mythbusters, I managed to make the Husband's Sweater grow! The back was finished and I am now past the armhole shaping of the front. With the decreased stitches after the armhole, it went pretty fast ... so I am confident that I can have the front finished tonight.

Dark green is such a bitch to photograph!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ogee Tunic

Yesterday, I went to a LYS and found that they are having a moving sale. All books in the store are 10% off ... sweet! This store is like a treasure trough to me because I always find something I can't in other stores. So, I browsed through the book shelves and found a pristine copy of Knitting in the Nordic Tradition ... price listed as $14.95! OMG ... without second thought, I bought it ... you would do the same, wouldn't you? I've been feeling really good in 2007! :D

The Ogee Tunic is my first 2007 FO. But before showing you the clear pictures, how about some whacky dance pics? I haven't done that for quite some time ... My favourite is the Tweety dance ... hahaha ...

I always love out-of-focus photos!



Details:
Pattern: Ogee Tunic designed by Norah Gaughan from Knitting Nature
I love this pattern, even more than the Shell Tank from the same book. I made absolutely no modification at all since my gauges, both stitch and row, are spot on. As you can see, the size (Small - 36") fits me perfectly ... even the sleeve length is perfect! I particularly like the shoulder/armhole part of the tunic ... it makes me look like having a beautiful straight shoulder line, which in reality is a bit slanting!
The model in the book wears the tunic as is ... but you see, this is really out of the question for me. First, the alpaca feels a bit itchy on my skin; second, the front slit is just too deep. ;)

Yarn: Alana (50% Alpaca / 25% Wool / 25% Acrylic) in Maroon
I used 7 balls to make the 36" size. I got this yarn in this colour on eBay which was not available at the online store then. Now, a lot more colours are available. This yarn feels really soft in the ball and the colour is really lovely. However, I am afraid I'm not so lucky with the alpaca this time ... because the sweater feels a bit itchy on my skin. I guess I really have to stay away from this lovely fiber! :(

Gauge and Needles: 23 sts and 32 rows = 4" in stockinette stitch using Aero Circular 3.25mm

Start date: 12-25-2006
Finish date: 01-09-2007

Now I am off to work on my Sashiko jacket again.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Confusion

The yarn I am using for the Ogee Tunic contains 50% alpaca ... and you remember my problem with alpaca yarn, right? Since my fingers started feeling itchy again, I decided I needed to quickly finish the knitting of the project. Maybe knitting with a yarn you're allergic to would make you finish faster ... hahaha ...

The knitting went quite smoothly ... except for one little confusion caused by the pattern. You see, I think the writing of knitting patterns should be categorized as technical writing, which should be clear, precise and straightforward. Now, take a look at this:

"(WS)Change to St st and work 13 rows even, increase 1 st each side on first row - XX sts."

So, what do you think? You work 13 rows even, or 12 rows even? I was confused when I worked on the first sleeve. Of course, one row's difference is not that much. But if it was written well, it would spare me the confusion, right?

The Ogee pieces ready for the seaming party!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

New Year New Commitments

Woo ... 4 days into the new year and I have already taken on several new commitments! On the knitting front is of course my first time hosting a KAL. Then it's another session of Yarn Focus Challenge hosted by Rebekah. I am proud to say that I did really well in last year's challenge and I would like to keep the effort up. I know that there is a Knit From Your Stash 2007 ... but I am afraid that would become something like a crash diet to me ... so I decided to take the more moderate and shorter version.

Then there are 2 new projects. First is Project 365. My photo blog using Bloggers hasn't been too successful in the sense that I almost never update it and I am not really good at taking artsy photos. Project 365 is different ... there is no need to be artistic ... just a photo (or more) a day from anything in my daily life. I am sure it would be fun and meaningful to look back at these images of life at the end of a year. So far, I don't feel any pressure but am enjoying it. To make sure I do take pictures every day, I turn the camera's date print on so that the pictures I post are really taken on that day ... got to stop myself from cheating. ;)

Finally, the awesome girls from Runagogo did a great job of pulling me away from my couch and got me moving again. The target is to finish 100 miles by April 1. I am not sure if I would be able to do that ... but at least I started going to the gym again today! There are still 99 miles to go though.

Amidst all these, of course there is the knitting. Things are going well:

This is the back of the Sashiko Jacket
... isn't it beautiful?


I know this looks awfully similar to
the last pic I posted.
But look closer ... there is a back piece!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

An Invitation

I'd like to put this out early this morning, but somehow it has been a busy one. So, a little bit late, but still on time. :)

Debi and I are co-hosting a Stole A-Long for the Forest Path Stole. It is an old pattern from 2003 but breathtakingly beautiful nonetheless. Debi has started a blog for the KAL and we have put together some necessary information there. With all the craziness before the holidays, I think we all need some sort of winding down time, right? So, take your time because we are not going to start until Feb 1. The best thing to do is wait, say, for a week or two, and if you still love the stole, you should probably make it. ;) Then, get your pattern, choose your needles and yarns ... and we are all set.

If you do decide to join the fun, drop Debi or me a line and we'll set you up. If you have joined already (Wow ... you are fast!), feel free to post on the KAL blog. For you button-lovers, I have one here for you: