Monday, June 30, 2008

A half dress and another square

Instead of waiting to see if the second piece of the skirt would fit better with more stitches, I ripped the first one and re-did it. Not 74 stitches this time, but 120. Do you think it's better?
Lacy Dress
It does to me ... no more bulging in the middle. For the previous version, I can only imagine myself looking like a sauage being tied on both ends ... LOL! Just thinking about this makes me laugh!

In the meantime, one more square for the Great American Afghan:
GAA - Barbara Venishnick Square
A little bit different this time ... a two-colour "garter and cable interlace". The size of this square came out a bit small and the shape a bit wonky ... so I think it needs to be on the blocking board for a longer time. The entrelac square was fun to knit ... just don't sweat about the more than 2 dozens loose ends at the back. ;)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Eye Sore Friday

Well, not exactly an eye sore ... it's just something doesn't look and feel right to me:
The ruffled edge of the skirt panel has 74 stitches ... while the panel above has 114 stitches before casting off ... and both should be sewed to the two sides of the same acorn insert. I've checked everywhere and no errata concerning this could be found. I'll try doing just one decrease row (thus giving me 148 stitches, which makes better sense to me) for the second panel.

Husband has added a new feature to Imagiris, one that I like a lot. It's the noise reduction ... using it would give you a much clearer image; you can compare yourself. He was very happy to find some of you giving his work a try and would like to thank you for the support.

Have a wonderful weekend. :D

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Suck it up!

There are some projects that in the middle of the knitting, you just want to set them on fire ... or flush them down the toilet ... or just leave them on the patio hoping the stray cats would take them away!

Think knitting 3 repeats of 16-row pattern for 290 stitches per row! I still have 8 more rows to go before the decrease rows:
This is the skirt for the Lacy Dress ... one side! But knitting in pieces is good ... imagine if I knitted it in the round? 580 stitches per row? Kill me! But I still want to have the dress ... it is pretty. So, all I can do is to suck it up!

Lucky I have other projects to break the boredom:
This one is by Kathy Zimmerman. I always love cables ... but I especially like the cables on the side panels whose design is rather special.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Imagiris

I turned 44 on Sunday ... and this year, this day was an extra special day. Husband has been working on his pet project for a couple of months ... and on Sunday, it was ready to be launched. Version 1.0 of Imagiris is live now.

What is Imagiris? The website is self-explanatory and you are all welcome to explore what you can do with it. But I can tell you that the quality of image zooming using Imagiris is amazing. Husband has been comparing the results he got from Imagiris with various tools available, including Genuine Fractals for Photoshop Elements, and Imagiris beats most of them and is highly comparable to one or a couple of them.

Another great feature is that Imagiris is completely automatic. You don't need to adjust any parameters ... just upload the picture and click the button(s) and it is done. If you are like me, who just want a good quality zooming and to whom all those terms in photo editing are like a foreign language, this is a great great feature. And of course, it is free.

Husband has lots of ideas to further improve the program and new and improved features would keep coming. He is all ready to hear what the users think. So, feel free to drop him a note ... he would love that! :D

Oh, to celebrate my birthday, I also started a new sock:
Recognize the pattern? It's Evelyn Clark's Go With The Flow ... all I can say about this pattern is ... crazy! Yeah, it is crazily addictive ... and it goes crazily fast! This pair would be done in no time, I guess. ;)

Friday, June 20, 2008

08:11 Estonian Socks

Today is supposed to be the happiest day of the year ... so how was your day? I feel alright ... not exceptionally cheerful, but pretty good. There is a heat advisory in the area for today and tomorrow ... I think the temperature outside is 100F right now. Most probably we'll go swimming in the late evening. We've been frequenting the swimming pool lately and Husband taught me various tricks diving down to the bottom of the pool. It was fun diving and I think it helps me improve my swimming too.

Twig was right ... re-knitting the ripped part was fast. I always go faster when it comes to the second sock ... maybe it's because I have an idea how many pattern repeats I need to get the right length, so I don't have to keep measuring and just concentrate on the knitting. I would have gone faster if I hadn't lost one of the US00 needles. I couldn't find it and the shop didn't have the size for me, so I had to make do with the remaining four. And I hate knitting socks with 4 needles.

BUT.NOW.THEY.ARE.DONE!!! YAY! And I love them! More YAY!


Details:
Pattern: Estonian Socks designed by Nancy Bush from Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Sock Book
The twisted stitches are lovely, but they can be quite a pain to knit ... especially the left-twist one! I didn't do as many decreases for the leg-shaping because my legs are not that slim ... hahaha ...
I know many of us love using the Eye of the Partridge Heel because it breaks down possible colour pooling and gives a more interesting pattern. But it also works very well with solid colour too:
(I've been playing with my photo editing software and trying to learn more advanced stuff. I love the function of lens distortion to blow up details.)

Yarn: Regia Silk (55% New Wool; 25% Polyamide; 20% Silk) Colour: 002 (Cream) 2 skeins
I LOVE this yarn! It is really really soft and feels comfortable to the touch. Maybe there is one thing not so good ... sometimes it is a bit splity. However, the problem maybe the pattern instead of the yarn. So, I still LOVE this yarn!

Needles: Susan Bates US00; Inox US0 for the gussets

Cast On: 05-31-2008
Cast Off: 06-20-2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

1.5 socks

Suddenly realize that one week has passed by since I last posted and I only have 1.5 socks to show you. There was a pair last night, but today half of the first one finished was gone:
They are pretty, aren't they? Cream-coloured socks have a special charm. I ripped out the foot of the first finished sock because every part fitted except the gusset ... it was really tight. So, I switched to a larger needle when doing the second one ... and now have to re-do the first one.

My mini rose bush just started to bloom:
Besides watering and pruning (twice a year), I didn't do anything else to take care of it, but roses still come out regularly ... love that!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A lovely new store

I love checking out new yarn stores. With knitting getting more and more popular, I found that yarn stores are getting more and more "local" to me. When I first started several years ago, 20 miles away is a LYS to me. Now there are more than one store within 10 miles. I recently discovered a new one ... and after one visit, I think it's going to be my new favourite.

I found Green Planet Yarn from SWTC's webpage. Since eco-friendly / going green is such a hype these days, I am usually very cautious with a business carrying such label. To me, some green products are just plain silly ... going green in a way means going minimal and it doesn't sound right to spend such money just to go green. But I digress ... one feature that marks GPY different from being just a neighbourhood yarn store is the focus of eco-friendly and sustainably produced yarns. One tour in the shop and you would find that Beth, the owner, has put great thoughts in the yarns the shop carries. There are yarns I haven't seen before in any other shops which are interesting. They even carry those Darn Pretty Double-Point Needles! I discovered them next to the cash register right after paying ... so leave that for next time.

If you go to the Gallery section of the shop's webpage, you'll see that the shop is well organized and yarns are beautifully displayed. One thing you can't see from the photos is that there is information of the yarn companies displayed on wooden chopping boards. So, before you buy their products, you can first learn something about the companies. True to their eco-friendly principle, your purchase would be wrapped in one of these:
And do read the receipt if you go shopping there:

I am not much of a conversationalist, so what I usually do is shop and go. But Beth is so nice and genuine that she managed to lead me out of my shell and had a nice little chat. I even showed her my TOFUtsies socks (and she was knitting a pair in the exact same colourway!) ... since I bought another ball (despite the fact that I didn't like it too much while knitting with it, the socks are actually great for summer wear!):
The other skein is Heritage (Cascade Yarns) ... a very soft sock yarn at a very good price. :)

Monday, June 09, 2008

Random Monday

Time again for another random post since there is not much to tell on the knitting front ... maybe except the fact that I'm loving the Estonian Sock pattern:
I can't wait to finish this pair ... they are just lovely.

Did you know that Lion Brand has a new pure wool in cone? It seems that it is not available everywhere. Since I need to order some Cotton Plus for the Lacy Dress, I got one cone in plum just to check it out. It felt decent. :)

The mercury is on the rise again lately, which is normal for the season. My rose bush has several flower buds waiting to bloom. And I almost forgot these guys:
They were planted at the same time as the daisies last year. For some time, I thought they were all dead. But since I have other plants to take care of, so I also splashed them whenever I watered. Yesterday, they greeted me with pleasant surprise. I love the fact that the seeds are of mixed colours ... I am hoping to see more coming out.

Recently, we got addicted to 2 crazy Japanese game shows on G4 -- Ninja Warrior and Unbeatable Banzuke. Husband loves the competitiveness of the Japanese people ... I just love seeing people doing crazy fun things that I myself don't have the guts to do. To me, the Japanese people always have an obsessive side in everything they do ... this is also how they can come up with things that are heartbreakingly cute! ;)

As if I really had extra time, I got hooked to playing this escape game! It is really fun ... but not easy ... and I am still stuck in the room for now. I got the wall puzzle right but nothing happened! If you are playing too and get past that wall puzzle, drop me a hint please! :)

Saturday, June 07, 2008

New Quilt!

Not every quilt design appeals to me, actually, very few do. But when I find one, the desire to make it often comes strong. The Colour Wheel Quilt is of course a very good example. Now there is another.

You can say I am lazy ... because it is a pre-cut Joann exclusive package. I saw the kits in the shop and ... isn't it just beautiful? You can see the whole quilt here. Another appeal of the quilt is that I can get experience of various techniques working on the blocks. However, not being sure if I was able to make the whole quilt, I just bought one block:
Unlike the Colour Wheel Quilt, accuracy in the seam allowance is very important in this quilt. I had to rip out the first attempt at the smaller squares because the measurement was not right.

Another challenge is the embroidery. I had wanted to try doing embroidery for quite some time ... so I had everything ready. I did the vine on the left first and didn't get the stem stitch right:
Obviously, the stem was too thick. But I love the daisy stitch ... so cute. After some practice (I know, I shouldn't have practiced ON the actual block! How dumb of me!), I think I got it:
Now the question is: Is it worth it doing the first vine again?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

One more bar

Remember my 3-bar daisies? Well, there is one more bar now and it seems more are coming:
They are among the small things that make me happy everyday. When the weather first turned warmer, there was a mosquito problem in the area, so I didn't get out to the patio too much. Now it seems better, so I think I would plant some sunflowers ... last year's were so beautiful and I love them.

Since I am waiting for the Cotton Plus to arrive, I whipped up another square for GAA:
Have I told you I don't like knitting bobbles? The two huge clusters at the bottom of the square are enough to make one crazy! Sally Melville is the designer of this square. According to her, all the stitches on this square were from a sweater she designed. Honestly, I am not sure I would wear the sweater. The square itself is pretty busy and chaotic to me ... maybe the sweater would be better ... maybe!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Getting back into the knitting groove

With the Chore Socks out of the way, I looked to start something that would get me into the groove. I made sure to use my favourite weight of yarn so that I would be able to make one of Nancy Bush's patterns ... you know, those that have zillion-stitch cast on. I love the Regia Silk I originally intended for a pair of Husband socks. But the Cat Brodhi new way of sock knitting didn't quite work out for me, so I frogged it and claimed the yarn for myself:
twisted cables on the back

twisted cables on the front
I always think the scalloped edge is not a perfect choice for sock cuff, however it is so beautiful that I just can't resist making it again and again. The pattern is Estonian Socks from Vogue Knitting The Ultimate Sock Book. I tried US0 needles first but the sock seemed to come out a bit loose, so I switched to US00 ... and the only USoo needles I have are these Susan Bates ones, which are too long for me. I would have to get some Hiya Hiya dpns ...

Suddenly found myself in June, I picked up the yarn and made another square for the GAA:
This is one of the most beautiful ways of knitting leaves ... as you can see above, the leaves are so popping out and look so real!