Friday, April 27, 2007

Something I learned from last year

One should never leave an unfinished winter sweater project untouched during the warm season. The warm temperature and the long hiatus would drain all your interest and love for the sweater. That's what happened to my Must Have Cardigan project! I think I have officially aborted the project ... too bad!

I certainly don't want the same fate for my Sashiko Jacket. So, I decided it was time to start my sleeve-island cruise ... :)
Since I haven't touched the project for a considerable period of time, the 2-colour knitting needs a bit getting used to ... and mistakes would be unavoidable:
See? Missed one white stitch on the top ... damn! Now I have to frog 5 rows back!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Monkey

Monkey Socks are finally ... finally done! So, the pair felt like taking ages to finish. Now that's a mystery ... I love the pattern (it's fun and easy to remember) and I like the yarn (more about that later) plus I only made 4 repeats for the leg instead of 6 ... but the knitting just felt like never-ending ...

Anyway, I am happy that they are done now as it is always a happy moment to have new socks to wear, don't you think? In response to Claudia's sock randomness, I told her that surprisingly, wool socks have much more use than cotton socks here in California. During the in-between seasons, like now, the temperature may be warm enough for thin summer wear, the feet, well my feet at least, however, are always cold when the day starts. So, ever since I have made wool socks for myself, I can have socks to warm the feet. Then, when the real summer heat sets in, socks, wool or cotton, are out of the question.



Details:
Pattern: Monkey designed by Cookie A. from Winter 2006 Knitty
The 11-row pattern repeat is surprisingly easy to memorize, so the knitting process has been smooth. Instead of the stocking stitch heel flap, I made the slipped stitch version since I like the cushy feeling. Other than this and the leg length, no other significant modification. However, I do notice that the pattern doesn't come out too well as I wanted it to. So I think a more subtle colourway would do a better job in bringing out the pattern.

Yarn: Crystal Palace Panda Cotton (55% Bamboo, 24% Cotton, 21% Elastic Nylon) Col: 9809 Fall Herbs
This new bamboo/cotton sock yarn is cool. By cool, I mean the physical sensation on my feet. Every time I tried the sock on, I could just feel this coolness on the foot. And unlike Fixation, the socks made from Panda Cotton are light ... so a lot more comfortable to wear than the heavy cotton elastic Fixation. If you look at the sole of the socks, you'll see that it would be good even with just plain socking stitch (which I should done at the beginning) ... not a hint of pooling!

Needles: Crystal Palace bamboo dpns US1.5

Cast on: 03-26-2007
Cast off: 04-24-2007

Seeing that Cara was having so much fun with the mosaic filter, I couldn't help playing a bit too:
Mmm ... I like smaller tiles! ;)

Monday, April 23, 2007

GAAA - Suzanne Atkinson Square ... and knitting surgery

Besides sharing the joy and sense of accomplishment with people who appreciate your work, blogging on your knitting projects also brings the advantage of fellow knitters helping to prevent potential project disasters, or at least save you some precious knitting time.

Desiknitter has a sharp eye and spotted my provisional cast-on used on Victorian Ruby. My bad! First, I didn't try to figure out everything before starting the project. Second, I assume things quickly. The pattern said to use crochet cast-on ... and the instruction said to use contrasting yarn ... so I assumed live stitches would be needed later into the project. After reading Desiknitter's comment, I checked the pattern ... and found that I had 2 options. Either I rip out what was done and started over; or I need to do something about those live stitches.

Logical thinking - you don't rip out a project except if it's absolutely necessary ... well, at least that's my logic. So, I figured I should try doing something with the live stitches first:
It felt good that I didn't have to frog:
So, the knitting of Victorian Ruby continues.

On the other hand, the urge to knit another GAAA square seemed unable to stop ... so here is another one:
The Suzanne Atkinson Square was a lot of fun to knit. The sun rays were separately sewn-on i-cords ... and as you can see, I made the sun look like a 6-legged spider! I love the details in the picture ... there is even a door nob to the church door!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

GAAA - Barbara Selesnick Square ... and new lace!

Thank you thank you thank you ... for sharing with me the joy of finishing a beautiful project. It seems that even the weather is working with me here. Instead of getting more and more summery, it has been breezy and chilly ... just the right time for a nice stole. :)

It is just interesting that things always seem to slow down a bit after the completion of a big project. Though my hands were not completely idle, I did take time with my knitting of Monkey. I am now at the heel of the second sock ... given that the Panda Cotton is s little bit thicker than fingering weight, I guess it should be done soon.

Yet, I am still in the mood for some lace knitting. The yarn I planned for Hanami hasn't arrived yet, so I dug into my stash to start something I have had in mind for a long time:

This is the left border of Victorian Ruby designed by Jane Sowerby. It was one of the very first lace projects I wanted to make when I started knitting. After this first border, it would be a long stretch of dropped stitch pattern before the right border ... so perfect for tv knitting. My original intent for this scarf is a gift ... though it is highly unlikely that my giftee would read my blog, let's still keep it secret.

Oh yes, another aran square for the afghan:

This is the 7th square completed. I am highly motivated to finish this afghan during summer because I have decided to make it a gift. Who wouldn't love to have a warm gift like this? :D

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Forest Path Stole

As some of us in the KAL have already discovered, the Forest Path Stole is not the most challenging lace pattern to knit. Polly has expressed this very well: "... this isn't all that interesting a project. There are 3 motifs and once you get a hang of them, that's about it, a matter of slogging through it all, so more like a marathon than a decathalon." It's so true! At the last stitch of the project, I really did it with a sigh of relief! I mean, I was done with it! But I do want to inject some motivation into those of you who are still in the middle of the marathon ... it is all worth the effort at the end.

I made several shawls and wraps in the last few years, but I have given away some of them. The latest one was Clapotis ... I actually had a friend in mine when I started the project. Honestly, I do love the Clapotis ... maybe I should make one for myself later. But I don't think the Forest Path Stole would become a gift easily ... just too lovely to give away ... okay maybe except if I visit my mother again, maybe. :D



Details:
Pattern: Forest Path Stole designed by Faina Letoutchaia from Interweave Knits Summer 2003
The pattern is also sold separately here. However, it seems the individual pattern has much more mistakes than the one from IK. So, if you are using the individual pattern, make sure you receive an errata from the company. Or you can also check the KAL blog archives.
Among the 3 lace patterns, I think the lily of the valley comes out most beautifully. Yeah, nupps are quite some pain to knit ... but the KnitPicks circular needles help ease that pain A LOT! The other day, I saw some lily of the valley in pots for sale outside Trader Joe's ... and boy! Does the lace look exactly like the real flowers!
One surprise is the borders. They were not as painful as I imagined them to be. Actually, best Law&Order: Criminal Intent knitting company.

Yarn: JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk 2/18 lace weight(50% Chinese Tussah silk, 50% fine grade Merino wool) in Ebony
This is my second time using this lace yarn ... and I really really love it! It is just very friendly to knit and the finished stole is so soft. I do love trying out different lace yarns, but at the same time I don't mind knitting all the lace projects using Zephyr!
At the beginning, I anticipated some problems knitting with black lace. Luckily, I seemed to have some luck ... actually, most of the knitting was done in the evening while watching TV.
The finished stole weighs 5.75 oz.

Needles: KnitPicks Classic Circulars US3 and Crystal Palace dpns US3

Cast on: 02-01-2007
Cast off: 04-14-2007

With one big project finished, I already have something new in mind. Take a look:
On the left is Hanami Stole designed by Melanie and the Never Wimpy Wimple (Lace Style) on the right.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Alert the media! Stop the press!

Because I just sewn off the last stitch of the Forest Path Stole an hour ago ... and pinned the last pin for blocking 5 minutes ago.

I feel completely exhausted. Time for a real break!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

GAAA - Ginette Belanger Square

Surprise! Surprise! One more square done!
Browsing through the pattern book, this one didn't impress me as a very interesting one to knit. See all those bobbles? Bobbles are always a royal pain to knit ... at least to me. But not this time. These are small bobbles, just 3 stitches ... and they came out pretty cute. I casted on and started knitting ... and knitting ... and knitting ... and I have one more square done now!

I think it's time for the Monkey! :D

Monday, April 09, 2007

GAAA - Marian Tabler Square

This will just be a quick post. Originally, I planned to finish the Monkey socks over the weekend. However, on Saturday when I took up the sock, I could only find 4 needles. Where was the fifth one? It was nowhere to be found. Thinking I only had one set of such needles (US1.5), I had to work on something else. And of course, last night I found out, with much dismay at myself, that I actually had 2 sets!

Anyway, I made another square for the Great American Aran Afghan:
This is the Marian Tabler Square. Do the center 2 panels resemble those DNA graphics? I found myself more capable of getting the right gauge than at the beginning. I am even able to do so with the size of needle specified in the pattern! Less re-starting means more motivation to work. ;) But I think my row gauge is off ... instead of 81 rows, I only needed 71 rows to get the 12".

To get things keep going, I already casted on for the next square ... this is the best strategy to avoid second sock syndrome or stalling projects.

BTW, anyone knows what's happening to MagKnits? I have been looking forward to seeing the new issue since April Fool's Day ... yet nothing is happening so far!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Real test of perseverance

I can still remember the agony of working the edging for the Sampler Stole. But if I said that was the Great-Wall-of-China-long edging, I was just being ignorant then. This here is the length measurement for FPS ... pre-blocked:
And oh yes, it's going to be worse that the Sampler Stole, not just because of the much longer length, but also because it's a purely seed stitch edge! It took me 8-9 weeks to complete the body of the stole ... but I wouldn't be surprised if the edging takes longer! Well, hopefully not.

Yet, I thinking I am going to take a short break from this and work on something which may give more instant (in comparative terms) satisfaction ... like socks? or aran squares for my afghan?

I have to thank you all for pointing out to me that Juliette is a Finnish pattern. And it is just funny (thanks to Deb)to find out I feel exactly the same way as Stephenie about deciphering a knitting pattern in a foreign language ("I believed that if I really made an effort. I could read Finnish.") The only difference is that I haven't really tried yet ... so I am still entitled to that belief! Right? ;)

Monday, April 02, 2007

I need a distraction

... because I have nothing new to show you ... despite my very best effort to push ... and push ... and push a little more, I could only reach Tier 22 of the FPS ... AARGH!

So, Distraction #1, some time ago, I found yet one more knitting magazine on the net ... and it is called knitonthenet! :D They just have their second issue out today ... wanna go and have a look? C'mon, give the boys and girls some support here!

Distraction #2, first, have a look at this:
I fell in love with this pattern ... does it remind you of Glad? Unfortunately, I just bookmarked it, without making any notes. And of course I completely forgot what language that is! I tried all the European languages available for translation on the net, but none made any sense so far. If only I could figure it out, I would definitely make it.

Now, I really need to go back to the last 2 tiers. See ya!