Friday, August 31, 2007

I failed!

::SIGH:: It was not the problem with the pattern. On the contrary, the pattern works exactly the way it should. The problem is my gauge. For a moment, I thought, even narrower than it should be, the body piece would be okay. But it was before I basted the sleeve in.

Another problem is that the ribbon yarn tends to weigh down the piece and thus narrowing it further. So, very important ... must get the gauge right! To do that, I got this today:I thought the blue one (N/15) was already huge ... now I would have to use the P16 one!

It was quite frustrating to have made the body plus one sleeve and found that I had to start all over again. So, I decided to go back to knitting and wait for the crochet frustration to wear off. I have several choices:

a) The Sashiko Jacket - I was one-third into the second sleeve. However, it is way too warm here to work on the thick wool ... except of course if I turn on the air-con to freeze up the apartment. This is too decadent a way to knit for me ... besides, such senseless waste of energy is certainly not acceptable.

b) MS3 - I just started a few rows into Clue #4, the wing section. Lace weight wool is fine. But the pattern, though not excessively complicated, is not simple enought for easing frustration.

c) The plain Maizy Socks for Husband - this is perfect!The Maizy yarn feels very much like the Panda Cotton but it is thinner. This pair is going to be in plain socking stitch ... total mindless knitting for the Labour Day tv marathons!

On another note, have you seen the 2 latest issues of Knitter's Magazine? I think this magazine is having a comeback! I have been really impressed by several projects from these 2 issues, like this, this, this, and this.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Loosen Up!

This is what I've been mumbling to myself these last couple of days! So, I may be a little bit uptight sometimes ... and it really doesn't bother me or anyone else too much. :D However, when even the largest size given in a pattern can't accomodate my tight gauge, it's time to loosen up, don't you think? ;)It's been almost 2 years since I spotted this lovely jacket by Teva Durham and I am now finally making it. Well, at least I am consistent ... I knit tight and crochet tight ... hahaha ...

I discovered, for quite some time already, that I have "a thing" for irregularity and asymmetry. Teva Durham and Norah Gaughan are two of my most favourite designers, and their irregular designs are amongst my most favourite.
If it was not for my being unfamiliar with how to count the marguerite clusters and my tight gauge, both of which caused me to re-start, this would be a really "fat hook, fast crochet" project. My last attempted was started yesterday and I am now on the right front, which was still non-existent in the photo. It is still a bit smaller than it should be (my gauge must have reverted to the tighter side during the process), but I think I can do something with the edging.

This is actually my first time crocheting a garment, I don't have too much confidence but it seems that the pattern is working out fine. Stay tuned for the FO.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Clapotis Magic

No matter what yarns you have in hand, you can almost always be sure that your Clapotis would be beautiful.

Though it is mainly in stocking stitch, surprisingly, I found it quite a pleasure to knit ... and was not distracted by other projects. Yes, I have been a one-project knitter for the last few days. This time, I was not even tempted to unravel the drop-stitch ladders until I finished the knitting.

The yarns were the extra balls I got from Husband's Sweater. It is the colour that Husband's aunt likes. After searching high and low, I finally decided that Clapotis would be the best. So, Clapotis it is. I hope she would like it and find it useful. One more gift knitting done. Great.


Details:
Pattern: Clapotis designed by Kate Gilbert from Knitty Fall 2004

Yarn: Deluxe 100% Wool from Taiga Yarns 3.5 balls

Needle: Addi Lace Circular Needle US4

Meausrements: 17" x 73" after blocking (with 25 repeats for the straight section)

Cast On
: 08-17-2007
Cast Off: 08-23-2007

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Inspiration

My original plan was to wear a black dress plus the Hanami Stole to the wedding. But then when I checked, here it said that black dress was not for daytime wedding! Okay, so I had to look for a dress. That led me to Anthropologie and saw this:The thing is, I was not particularly impressed by the sweater I saw in the shop. However, its construction and made-up are highly interesting. I remember this cardigan from Alterknits:Pieces made from different yarns of different gauge being put together can create interesting effect.

I have loads of leftovers - mohair, lace, sock weight ... plus the Barbara Walker and Vogue knitting stitch books ... very exciting!

If I finally get to make this cardigan, I would call it Frankenstein Patchwork Cardigan. :D

Oh, and about the dress ... I decided to wear black at the end. I just look funny in floral prints ... and it was hard to find a dress I like not in black.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Twisted Flower Socks

The socks were finished on Friday night but somehow I didn't feel like blogging until this morning. In the meantime, I made myself a pair of sock blockers using wire hangers: But I think I still like the socks on my feet plus a glimpse of the big leg more ... hahaha:Because of the colour of the yarn (which I really really love), you may have to click for the original photo size to see the details of the pattern.


Details:
Pattern: Twisted Flower Socks designed by Cookie A.
Love love love this pattern ... as I said before, it is a challenging yet manageable pattern. The part I love most is the twisted stitch celtic/saxon (I really can't tell which from which!) knots ... and the knitting of that has been the most enjoyable.

Yarn: MaineBearSox4 by Furryarns
I stumbled upon the Furryarns site by accident and they were having a special offer on this sock yarn at the time. I was happy that I bought some to try. The wool/silk mix is a very soft stuff and it is machine-washable! Besides, this is a company operating with honesty ... if you read the additional notes on this yarn, everything they said there is true ... even for the yarn-twisting-itself-while-knitting part. The close-to-500-yard skein is enough for any size feet ... I have a huge amount of leftovers. From what I see on the screen, I suspect I would love all the colours available! If only I didn't already have so many sock yarns ...

Needles: Crystal Palace bamboo dpns US1.5

Cast On: 08-02-2007
Cast Off: 08-17-2007

I already have plans for new socks. Either a pair for Husband using a new sock yarn or the Snowflake Socks from IK2007Fall. But before that, I would have to finish another gift knitting ... another Clapotis! :D

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Still working on sock

I have very little to show you. Still haven't caught up with MS3. The final clue is coming this Friday and I hope that before then, I would be able to finish my first pair of socks for August.

One sock has been finished ... and I have to tell you, I really really like this pattern, so far it is my top Cookie A. favourite:The pattern is indeed a bit more complicated than her other popular designs like Monkey or Pomatomus, but it's not unmanageable. After one repeat, you are probably able to understand the logic ... but it is Oh so beautiful. Even back in the time when I was only using short-row heel for my socks, I was always attracted to patterns that extend into the heel:
Now, do you recognize this?It's one of the wonderful things Tuulia gave me (thank you very much again, Tuulia!) ... now it has become my portable sock pouch:It is really perfect for holding the yarn and sock and even the pattern. No more shabby, worn out Ziploc (yeah, since they are plastic, I use them until they are absolutely unusable even when they are not that pleasant to the sight!) bag for sock project!

Before I say goodbye, I'd like to share with you a touching post by Kristin Nicholas about a beautiful girl, Julia, her daughter.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Hanami Stole

It is interesting how conflicting my feelings toward this stole have been. I do know in my heart that the colourway of the yarn does fight with the YOs in the cherry blossom portion. It seems to get better with the increased frequency of the YOs:But I am sure we all know that the air-borne feeling of cherry blossom petals would be more outstanding with a solid colour.

However, I kind of like the finished stole ... maybe enough to keep it as is. Oh yes, I am not 100% sure yet ... that's why I haven't woven in the ends yet (there are only 2 anyway). If I am going to rip it, I would do it up to the basket weave section and work the whole stole in this pattern. And I do have a solid-coloured yarn for this project ... so if I start working sometime next week, I can still make it for the wedding. But that is really not too important ... I haven't got what to go with the stole yet. Am I mixing up the priorities here? LOL!


Details:
Pattern: Hanami Stole designed by Melanie Gibbsons
Well, right at the moment when this pattern came out, I loved it immediately. Beautiful concepts behind the design makes it even more lovable. The two ends of the stole is asymmetrical ... one is a beaded cast on while the other is a ruffle. When I was doing the ruffle, I didn't like it too much. However, it becomes a lot better after blocking. If I really have to work on this stole all in basket weave pattern, however, I think a beaded cast off would be more suitable.

Yarn: Sundara Yarn Silk Lace (100% silk) in Cherry Blossom colourway
This is a special edition colourway ... and yes, it is very beautiful as with all Sundara's works.
About the silk, it's my first time working with 100% silk. In China, starting from the ancient times, silk fabrics were always for the royalties and the very rich. So, inevitably, I felt specially pampered working with pure silk. Yet, I am not sure silk is that very good for knitting. With woven fabrics, they are definitely soft and lovely. Knitting? I had this feeling that the stole was growing in length every second! Lucky that it is a stole that I am working on! :D So, I am not sure if I would use 100% silk yarn for garments.

Needle: Addi Lace Needle US3
The new lace needles are simply awesome! I had absolutely no hiccups during the knitting process ... love the Addi Lace Needles!

Measurements: 17" x 58"
Obviously my gauge is a lot tighter.

Cast On: 08-04-2007
Cast Off: 08-11-2007

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Can you see the cherry blossom petals?

Okay, so I have been keeping up with the MS3 ... until this week. It is not because of the wing contained in Clue#5 ... most probably I would knit the wing as Melanie intended. It is just that I suddenly feel that I would like to wear the Hanami Stole instead of the MS3 for the friend's wedding in 2 weeks' time. If I am to do that, I need to start working.

The basket weave portion went pretty smoothly ... and I really like the darker colour running through the various shades of pink:They are like the branches of the trees.

But I'm not so sure about the petals portion:In the solid-coloured version given in the pattern, this is the portion that captured me ... it felt like the flower petals were flying everywhere in the sky ... so beautiful. For mine, is the dark colour fighting with the pattern?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Good Karma ... Good Karma ...

The identity of my other Sockapalooza pal was finally revealed yesterday ... I checked her blog and was very happy to know that she had also received her socks! Woo-hoo ... and her pal made her a really beautiful pair indeed.

Now comes Tuulia's goodies for me, other than the socks:Chocolates were long gone and I would taste the herbal tea this afternoon. Let's turn our focus to the non-edible items:The little purse with my initial, the pouch containing the socks and the beautiful stitch markers ... ALL HANDMADE! Everything was such a pleasant surprise ... and I felt so so so spoilt!

Ladies and Gentlemen, are you ready for my Sockapalooza socks?I think I can hear your gasping ... oh yeah, stunning. There can only be one conclusion ... Tuulia is an extremely talented Finnish girl! The socks in action are even more beautiful:She designed the pattern herself and you can read more about it here. I absolutely love them ... love them! Thank you very much, Tuulia. You made this Sockapalooza 4 such a great experience.

In addition to the socks and all the goodies, one more extra bonus I got from Sockapalooza 4 is to get to know Tuulia. Believe me, there is so much to read about in her blog. Just an example, you should all have a look at this slide show of a cardigan she designed.

Friday, August 03, 2007

GAA - Sidna Farley Square ... and all about socks

First of all, I just sent the Sockapalooza4 Socks to my pal. And I know that my other Sock Pal has sent mine to me! Hooray! Now I am just praying the pal knitting for my Sock Pal (isn't it confusing?) would keep the good karma flowing around. :D

Then, new sock on the needle:Ta-da! I have wanted to make this beautiful Twisted Flower pattern for the longest time. Finally it's on the needle now. It is a lot of fun to work with ... you know, the kind that you mutter to yourself, "Okay, just one more row ... just one more row ... and I'll put it down." ... but you never succeed in putting it down. The pattern shows better in life than in photo. And I love this pearly grey colour (Furryarns MaineBear SOX4 in Opal) and the yarn is super soft.

Now come the second GAA square - Sidna Farley Square:My approach is to pick the easy and straight-forward ones to work on first ... kind of boosting the motivation. Like the Nancy Bush Square, this one creates a lovely symmetrical pattern with slipped stitches. I was just amazed that this time, I was able to use the recommended needle sizes to get the gauge for both squares. If it keeps on like this, the knitting would be faster and smoother ... keep my fingers crossed.

On a sad note, I just learned that Sidna Farley, the designer of this square, passed away the past Memorial Day. You can read the obituary here.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Crafty

In the absence of presentable progress on my current projects, I am going to share with you a newly added item to my Bloglines subscription ... the Craft Magazine Blog.

Reading through the knitting blogs in my subscription is already taking up lots of my time, I don't think I have any more to explore other crafty blogs. The Craft Magazine Blog is a great help ... I have already earmarked quite a number of sewing projects which are interesting and simple enough for me. So, go ahead and have a look ... I'm sure you'll love it too.