Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Year

I wonder how many of those who visit here were born on the last day of February in a leap year? But anyway, I wish everyone born on 29th February a very happy happy birthday! I am usually not enthusiastic about birthday celebration, but if I only had it once every 4 years, I would feel a lot more excited too. :)

I have been hoping to have another pair of socks done in February, but with most of my time devoted to the sweater, this is not going to happen ... not one pair, just a single sock, without mate:
This is what the Heelless Sleeping Sock is supposed to look like. However, if you turn it inside out, it can be quite a nice pattern too:
Before I started the toe decrease, I was undecided which to use as the outside. We all know that the knit stitches give a smoother surface. Maybe this was the reason for the original K1P3 pattern ... so I chose to go with the original design. :)

Yesterday, all the pieces for the sweater were finished and the shoulders were joined. So I got to take this picture:I always find such a shot with all the knitted pieces of a project stacked up give a high sense of satisfaction ... maybe just second to an FO shot.

My date for the coming weekend is all arranged, how about yours? Wish you all have a good time to come.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Monday, February 25, 2008

I shopped till I dropped! LOL!

And it didn't take too long, really. The first 20 minutes was very enjoyable since there were not too many people yet and I didn't stroll to the very populated stalls, such as this one. I picked up what I went for and then started browsing around. I stopped by the Webs store and patted their Valley Yarns line. I have to say I like how most of them feel to the hand ... soft and comfortable. So, there is one more store brand yarns to choose from from now on. Besides, the people at the Webs stalls are super friendly and nice ... this adds a positive human touch to online shopping.

At this point, the crowd started to build up ... and I had to struggle a bit weaving in and out of the flow of people. I also felt a hint of headache emerging. But I continued and went on ... and found myself once again got lost inside the market! It was always like this ... I would find myself walking past the same stalls 3 or 4 times already! And the headache intensified ... so it was time to head for the exit ... LOL!

This year, I paid extra attention to the samples on exhibit. I examined in particular the finishing just to see if I had been doing it right myself. It was great to see how other knitters did their work. It was also very exciting to see Fleegle's Black Widow Spider Queen in person ... this shawl is really stunning and extraordinary!

My right arm is back to action. When I was not knitting, I got myself into time wasters like these. Actually, they did more damage to my right arm than knitting! So I decided back to knitting it should be! But I played the games to gain coins so that I can buy stuff for my Meez. How do you find the doing-Yoga-on-tropical-island Meez? I love it! :D The previous knitting-in-cozy-log-cabin is cool too ... and it would return later.

With the arm able to knit again, more progress on the Pewter Filati Sweater:
The more I worked on this pattern, the better I like it. There are many great patterns from the Filati Man's pattern books and I was surprised I couldn't find too many people working on them on the web. The second sleeve was started already ... so I am hopeful again to have this done soon.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It is coming along

It is originally a V-neck sweater. Husband likes crew-neck more. This was when the Sweater Wizard came into use. As you know, I mainly knit from ready to use patterns and rarely make much drastic changes. So I don't use the software too often. But I always feel grateful that I bought the software whenever I need it. Just input a few numbers, choose the style I need, and voila:
And now the sweater is coming along nicely:

I really want to have this sweater done before the very warm weather comes so that it would be put to some use before being put away. However, I am not sure if this is possible since I have been feeling painful in my right arm for 2 days. This is most probably the result of my knitting at a really bad angle (half sitting and half lying in bed with my right arm in mid-air) for 5 minutes on Monday. So, I think I am going to take a short break ... hopefully, the pain would go away.

Stitches West 2008 begins tomorrow. This year I am not taking any class and I was on the fence over going to the Market ... then came Cookie's sneak peek on her blog! Resistance is futile! LOL!

Lastly, a new discovery on the web this morning -- The Inside Loop -- it's a pretty decent first issue.

Monday, February 18, 2008

President's Day

We had a totally unplanned, complete impromptu road trip crossing the state line into Nevada on Saturday. An eight-hour trip means literally no time for knitting*. But Sunday compensated for that. I am almost to the shoulder shaping of the front of Husband's Pewter sweater.

However, since you've seen the back, I shouldn't bore you with the almost exact image of the front. To distract you from the lack of visually spectacular progress, I hereby introduce you to Charlie the Coyote. Shreve took very beautiful pictures and I especially love those capturing Eli the Cat and Charlie together ... I love the peaceful harmony between the two unlikely friends. If you don't know the story of Charlie, I suggest you start here.

Since it is President's Day today, how about sharing some good laughs from the White House?

*Knitting needles are considered dangerous objects in this household and shouldn't be put into active use in the front seat of a moving vehicle.

Friday, February 15, 2008

No progress to show

Finally it is the day after Valentine's Day. I'm not anti-Valentine, I'm just happy to take a breather from those women screaming "He went to Jared!" and the cheesy jingle "Every kiss begins with K". These commercials only come in second after those male-enhancement ones* in terms of degree of annoyance. I never understand women's fascination with diamonds. My engagement ring is a tiny diamond solitaire only because Husband said perhaps we should go with the tradition. But anyway, I am enjoying this little break before the next wave of commercial bombardment comes before Mother's Day.

I was not feeling well the whole day yesterday. I didn't sleep really well the night before, so my head was wavering between feeling heavy and having a full-blown headache. At some point, I was afraid that I was going to have a flu. So, I was not really in good condition to knit without making mistakes. Luckily, after a night's good rest, I am good now ... no flu.

I am ready for a wonderful weekend. Hope you are too! :D

*They are the most annoying commercials because:
-they are not seasonal;
-all the actors/actresses in these commercials wear a disgusting smirk on their faces;
-all are painfully long!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Beagle did it!

I have been a Peanuts cartoon fan for a very long time. I am a cat person who would choose Snoopy over Garfield! :D When the judge announced that Uno was the winner, I was so excited that I cheered as if I were one of the crowd in the New York show. This beagle made history of which Snoopy would be proud!

I had a great time watching the Westminster Dog Show. All the dogs were adorable and I learned about so many various species. I remember mumbling to myself "Oh, that's like Chappy / Oscar / Alexandra / Abner!"

And of course, there was new sock to accompany the show:
This yarn has been in the stash for 2 years and now I finally found the pattern for it! This is Heelless Sleeping Socks which is going to be a complete mindless knitting ... don't even have to worry about heel turning, but just knit until the yarn is almost finished and then make the toe! I like how the colourway forms when knitted. I never take part in Project Spectrum, but this project coincidentally matches the colour range for February. Nice! :D

I am amazed how focusing on Nancy Bush designs helps me to match my yarns with the right patterns. I already have plans for the next pair after this one. Maybe I would be able to do something like Nicole of The Knittery did. Isn't that amazingly impressive?

Oh, it seems many of us were touched by the Pedigree Echo commercial. If you had shed tears for Echo, there is comforting news.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Let's talk dinner, shall we?

For a few months already, we have switched to a new diet. Not exactly diet, but rather the way we arrange our meals. We have heavier meals during lunch and then lighter ones for dinner. To make the lighter meals that are also filling to the stomach, we have soups. Because of this, we actually consume a lot more fibrous vegetables than before.

I love it! Besides the advantage of vegetable consumption, the preparation of most soups is actually very simple and uses a lot fewer dishes ... so fewer for washing ... who doesn't love that? I have tried recipes from these books:
So far, our favourites are potato-leek soup, split peas soup, broccoli soup, pasta & noodles soup (more my favourite!) and El Torito's tortilla soup. The cook magazine on top is still in circulation and I love the Chicken Fricassee ... it's great! Do you have soup recipes to share?

Back to knitting. I finished a couple of squares for the Great American Afghan over the weekend.
Isn't this entrelac square cute? I love the very mini tree of life. Having finished the Forest Path Stole, you would think entrelac knitting would be a piece of cake to me ... well, I thought it wouldn't be a problem too. But this has been a classic example of you think you are knitting from the pattern, but in reality you are knitting from what you have in your head! Oops! No big deal ... start over! LOL!

Now this Lily Chan Square is a breeze:
Well, except for the bobbles ... especially the middle bobble row. Imagine one bubble after every 3 stitches!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Anniversary

We've been married for 6 years. It's been a happy happy 6 years.

Our wedding was a basic-to-the-bone one ... no elaborate ceremony, no bridesmaid, no best man, no reception with wonderful food and wine. But it was a memorable wedding nonetheless. We got our marriage license the day before and were informed that there was a time slot the next day. We took it.

The County Clerk told us that we needed a witness. So, Husband went back to work and sent an email to his friend, "Hey, I am getting married tomorrow. Can you be our witness?" He got a reply, "Sure. But are you kidding?" Hahaha ...

After work, we went to the mall looking for our wedding bands. We were not picky and soon found a pair. The saleswoman told us we could have our names engraved on the rings. We told her we were in quite a hurry. She said it would take just a few days. We said we didn't have a few days ... we needed the rings the next day (it was already 7 p.m.). Silence lasting 5 seconds. Hahaha ... and we went home happily with our wedding bands sans engraving.

The ceremony went well except for one or two glitches when we were saying our vows ... our witness and his girlfriend took pictures and video for us and we had champagne afterwards.

I think this year, we are going to have a memorable anniversary:
We are going to have a celebration one month late! I didn't even realize this until this morning ... Hahaha ...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Year of the Rat

According to Hong Kong time, today is the first day of the Chinese New Year. I just called my parents to give them a "Kung Hey Fat Choy" greeting ... this is very important to show concern and respect for the seniors, especially in such festive times. :) This year is the start of a new cycle in the Chinese Zodiac. Yeah, the little rat won the race. Want to know the story? You can read about it here. I'd also like to wish you all a prosperous Year of the Rat ahead.

Kung Hey Fat Choy to you all!

The sweater for Husband gained some progress:
The knitting of this sweater went slower than I would like despite the fact that the yarn is dk weight, a lot thicker than that I used last time. Besides the several attempts before I got the right gauge, the stitch pattern is a double knitting one. The knitted fabric is thicker but not bulky. With the many YOs, it is going to use up a lot more yarns too.

I am doing something new this time:
I am putting stitch markers in important places, like Row 50 or end of armhole decrease. I am hoping this would help when seaming time comes.

Working with the Lana Grossa Filati patterns, I can't help but feel how well-written most American knitting patterns are! Seriously, I didn't know which was the right side until I completed 10 rows of the pattern. Besides, the way this pattern indicated stitch decrease/increase required some code breaking skills! Or I am just not accustomed to it?

Monday, February 04, 2008

08:03 Granny Smith Fancy Socks

::whew:: Monday is always a bit too chaotic and busy for me to try to post early. I think it would be better if I had a job working in an office ... or would it?

As usual, we are still a "No Super Bowl" household ... but I caught some good actions of Puppy Bowl IV. I love it a lot ... but watching it for hours would be too much for me. Besides, the new Pedigree Adoption Drive commercial is just too much ... both Husband and I got wet eyes watching it! So, I just switched between Animal Planet Channel and the USA Network while knitting. :)

As promised, I have new FO to show you. This Nancy Bush pattern (Gentleman's Fancy Socks) looks extremely like Ann Budd's Undulating Rib Sock. But since the colour is a lot lighter this time, the pattern is a lot more visible:
I am starting to love semi-solid colourways. They are more interesting than pure solid ones but are still able to show more complicated patterns.




Details:
Pattern: Gentleman's Fancy Socks designed by Nancy Bush from Knitting Vintage Socks
I love this pattern. Basic, easy but goes well with both pure solid and semi-solid colourways. I showed it to Husband and asked if he liked it in his colours ... positive!
To make the socks for my size, I started with only 72 stitches and decreased to 68 stitches. The socks hug the legs and feet comfortably ... which is one feature I love my socks to have.
I also knitted the heel as stated in the pattern:
I used to think the very sharp triangle heel turning would feel awkward. But actually it fits very well ... very!

Yarn: Araucania Ranco (75% wool, 25% nylon) The skein band was misplaced but I guess the colourway is the one in the link (102).
Debi told me some knitters found this sock yarn a bit too scratchy. Well, I really can't believe this! Am I too easy to please? To give you an honest opinion, don't try to compare it with Regia Silk ... or anything with cashmere. However this yarn is definitely NOT scratchy. The socks haven't been washed yet. But if it works like the Opal yarn, it is going to become softer and softer with use and wash.

Needles: Crystal Palace bamboo dpns US0

Cast On: 01-19-2008
Cast Off: 02-02-2008

It's time to think about the next pair. The one using Cat Bordhi's new book wasn't going so well and I had to return the book to the library (I am still thinking if I should buy it myself ... should I?), so it was put on hold.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Random Friday

I don't have too much to show you since I am still working on my Granny Smith Fancy Socks:
The longer I work on this project, the more I love the colourway! The hearty spring green is especially welcome during overcast grey sky!

I did get a surprise in the mail today. I received my copy of Rowan Magazine 43! I haven't the time to go over it yet but at least I know I like the sweater on the cover a lot.

Another thing that made me very happy was that I finally located a pharmacy which offer medical pills recycling. Ever since I learned that flushing expired medication in the toilet or down the drain, or even dumping them in the trash, would do harm to the environment, I have been trying to find a place where I can dispose of them. I never imagined that it would that hard to find such a place ... even the pharmacy I have been using had no idea!

That's about it for now. I think next time I would be able to finish my socks. Instead of Super Bowl, we would be watching UFC 81 this Saturday to find out if the wrestling guy can really fight. Wish you enjoy the weekend.

ETA: I didn't even get the Super Bowl date right! It should be on Sunday, right? LOL!