Friday, August 14, 2009

What's wrong with this picture?

Here I am again ... after an unannounced and unplanned hiatus. The knitting hasn't stopped though, just going on leisurely. Nothing too exciting to show you, just a new sock project for the month. See if you can spot what is wrong:
I know it can be really hard. ;) It would be better if the yarn was in solid colour ... just why they didn't make solid colours in TOFUtsies? Here is a little help:
For some reason, I made up part of the lace pattern myself after turning the heel ... LOL! Sharon Miller said in her book, "... never settle for second best ..." So true. Second best would only deteroriate into an eye sore. So, even though the sock has been finished (even the loose ends were sewn in), I didn't hesitate frogging it.

Talking about Sharon Miller. The edging of the Unst Lace Stole has also been frogged because I just didn't like the way the corner was turned. Never settle for second best. Since I have to start over, I did the doubling right at the beginning this time. But I am still hopeful to finish the stole this month.

Some exciting news about Sock Knitters Anonymous Sockdown schedule:

Sockdown 2009 - 2010!!

  • September – Technique: All knit with the same color (Solid or Semi-Solid Yellow)
    Designer: Wendy Johnson Mystery Sock Designer: Nancy Bush

  • October – Technique: Holiday Stocking/ Man Socks/Knitting for a Cause
    Designer: Jeannie Cartmel

  • November – Technique: Mosaic/Slipped Stitches
    Designer: Chrissy Gardiner Mystery Sock Designer: Star Athena

  • December – Technique: Almost Socks/Leftover Socks/Stashbuster Socks/Stripes/Self Striping Yarns
    Designers: Kirsten Kapur/ Kristi Schueler/ Hunter Hammersen

  • January – Technique: Texture Other than Rib/ Beaded Socks
    Designer: Nancy Bush Mystery Sock Designer: Debbie O’Neill

  • February – Technique: Underappreciated Patterns/ Entrelac/ Intarsia
    Designer: Yarnissima

  • March – Technique: Lace
    Designer: Janel Laidman Mystery Sock Designer: Kristi Geraci

  • April – Technique: Designs from an Online Magazine
    Designer: Cookie A.

  • May – Technique: Cables/Traveling Stitches
    Designer: Cat Bordhi Mystery Sock Designer: Cookie A.

  • June – Technique: DYO, Vintage Patterns
    Designer: Stephanie van der Linden

  • July – Technique: Stranded/Colorwork/Fairisle (Including Nordic/Scandinavian)
    Designer: Anne Hanson Mystery Sock Designer: Chrissy Gardiner

August - VACATION

I didn't do too well last year. The new schedule seems a lot of fun ... so I am all geared up for the new year!

Friday, July 31, 2009

09:10 Grey Miele Socks

Wow! End of July already! It seems that my blog routine has become one post per week. I would like to post more often, but there really is not enough time ... and sometimes I feel like knitting instead of blogging. Especially recently when I started the Magical Mosaic Blanket. The mosaic knitting method is pretty easy to grasp. I would think once I got familiar with the method, the knitting would become monotonous ... or even boring. Surprise! I haven't been able to stop and am now into the 4th square already:

Unlike the Great American Afghan, all the squares in this project are of the same number of stitches. So I chose to knit the blanket in stripes. I still have a long long way to go ... there are 63 squares. :D

The mysterious sock mojo has also been back. Not knowing how long it is going to stay, so just try to capitalize the opportunity. Kathy's Miele Sock pattern is fun to knit and is fast. I didn't make her very popular Jaywalker pattern because the chevron pattern is just not my favourite. But I really love this one:
However, it seems I should have used an even smaller needles so that the leg and heel would be more snug. But the socks actually fit ... comfortable too:

Details:
Pattern: Grey Miele Socks designed by Grumperina from knit.1 Spring/Summer 2009
Yarn: Furryarns MaineBearSOX 4 in Opal (65% SWT Wool & 35% Tussah Silk)
Needles: Grafton Fibers Darn Pretty dpn US0
Cast On: 07-14-2009
Cast Off: 07-24-2009

I have actually started another sock project immediately ... just forgot to take picture. Will show you later.

I guess it is also time for the monthly-goal accessement. Pretty simple this time.

July:
Knitting: finish the GAA DONE!

August:
Knitting:
  • finish the Unst Lace Stole (still remember this? hahaha ...)
  • finish one stripe (9 squares) for the Magical Mosaic Blanket
  • finish one pair of socks
Exercising:
I seemed to find a way to insert the strength training exercises from Keeping Fit in Your 50s twice into my weekly exercise routine. I aim at consolidating that so that I would be lifting some dumbbells 3 times a week.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Random Thursday

Just got a clean bill of health from my doctor. I always schedule my yearly physical examinations around the time of my birthday ... so that I won't forget! My doctor seemed really excited when I told him about my exercise routine this year. Last year, he told me that swimming was good, but was not intense enough to accelerate the heart rate to a healthy level. Obviously I am a very good and obedient patient when I am given sensible advice. :) And oh, I dropped 5 lbs compared to last year!

We watched "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" Sunday night. The book is my most favourite in the series and the movie is excellent. Before this latest installment to the series, I used to love "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" the best because I just loved the 3 of them as kids. But now, I think "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" just trumped any of the previous one. The script was well written ... very good selection of materials from the original book. The director has done a very good job this time in portraying the mood and atmosphere. I especially love the movement of the camera in showing the loneliness of Malfoy. It is also delightful to see those little kids have grown into really good actors/actress, especially Ron Weasley and Draco Malfoy. I am now waiting for the DVD to come out.

The sock mojo has come back a little bit:
These are Kathy's design from the latest issue of knit.1, Miele Socks. The first attempt failed because I cast on for the larger size, which was too large for me. It is quite an enjoyable pattern, just that in my version, the twisted stitches don't pop out as much:
I think it didn't come out as cute as Kathy's version, but still, not bad ...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

09:09 Great American Afghan

I checked my Ravelry entry for this project and the start date was July 2007. Wow! It took me the entirety of 2 years to finish these 30 squares! Now, here it is:

Due to the colour of the yarn, I figured the beauty of the afghan would never be fully appreciated if I took the pictures indoors. And since the weather has been so good these days, so I took it to the lawn under glorious sun. Voila!
All the smallest details can be seen reasonably clearly. However, I was actually feeling a little bit traumatized while taking these pictures (due to a little episode of locking myself out of the apartment ... must have been too excited, just took the afghan and the camera and forgot the keys!), I didn't think too right and just took the pictures from one side of the afghan. Therefore, not all the squares could be seen in close-up shots, including my favourite "Tree of Life" square (which you can see in my last post).

Making patchwork afghans is a magical experience for me. Like every other projects, it usually starts off with great anticipation and excitement with me feeling very ambitious and eager to work in full force. Then the passion cools off ... a bit ... then a lot ... and the project goes into hiatus. At some point, either out of guilt or annoyance looking at the pile of knitted squares, I would come back to it with greater enthusiasm. The excitement would mount when it comes to sewing time. But the real magical moment is when I knit on or attach the border and see how beautiful the whole thing is:
And since it is my own work, it always surpasses what I see in the pattern book. Mine is the best! And so now you can understand the narcissistic act of taking photos of the same afghan from more or less the same angle ... LOL!

Since I didn't buy the yarns in bulk, I had great difficulty tracking how many balls I used. I already made a mental note to self to do better in this aspect when I work on the next afghan project. :) Yeah, I think I would start the next one really soon.

Details:
Project: Great American Afghan
Yarns: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Worsted in Forest Green Heather and Seaspray
Needles: Denise Interchangeable
Cast On: July 2007
Cast Off: 07-11-2009

Monday, July 06, 2009

Down the drain they went!

That would be my June goals! LOL! Due to the back injury and the new development in the GAA project, I didn't have anything in June. Besides, despite being my birthday month (I am officially 45 now ... woo hoo!), for me, June has always carried a melancholic mood with it since that tragic night 20 years ago. The death of Michael Jackson last month only added weight to such a mood. Therefore, I am just too happy to welcome July.

About the GAA project, I can finally report to you that the knitting of the last 5 squares was finished. Seen below are the 3 squares I chose from GAAA:
I have too many favourites from GAAA, but I finally decided on these 3 because they are beautiful and meaningful. While they are being blocked to measurements, I started working on the edging.

I definitely do not like the original idea in the pattern (using 2 working strands of yarn, knitting one row on one square and then using the other strand to bind off and so on). Experience from past afghan projects told me that a well-chosen edging would help a lot in evening out the size differences of the squares. So I browsed through Nicky Epstein's Knitting on the Edge series and decided on this:
I did actually test knit many selections from the books, however, this simple 4-row pattern (sorry, the book was not around, so I couldn't tell you the name ... next time, okay?) trumped the others. The fact that it is a reversible pattern for both sides makes it ideal because it doesn't curl. And of course, it is beautiful.

I think, it's time to look at my monthly goals, right?

JUNE:
Knitting:
  • 1 pair of socks (I have started Vine Lace Socks from Socks, Socks, Socks) FAILED
  • finish the Great American Afghan (only 2 squares left ... I optimistically think it is doable) FAILED
  • continue working on the Unst Lace Stole edging FAILED
Sewing:
Really ... I should get those bookcovers done! FAILED ... AGAIN!

Exercising:
I think I have successfully integrated exercising into my daily life. So I'll just keep it going. DONE ... the only success in June despite the injury.

July:
Knitting: I decided to just have one and only one goal for this month ...
  • finish the GAA
Exercising: Ever since the recovery, I notice my back, though suffers no pain, would feel tight from time to time. This is not good. Tight muscles are prone to more future injuries. So, I plan to incorporate more serious stretching exercises into the routine. One great discovery in the local library is Keeping Fit in Your 50s. There is a whole section on stretching. I am going to do the whole routine once every week and some of the smaller exercises every day.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fully recovered

It feels good to be pain free. Today, I didn't even feel the tiny point of the origin of all the troubles at the back, so I can really say I am fully recovered. Workout routine has been interrupted for the last 2 weeks. It is great to be able to work out to my full capacity again. Since summer has officially started, I am alternating laps in the pool with time on the treadmill too ... hoping this would help the back.

The last row for the afghan is almost finished. I don't remember knitting so fast on sample squares before. I finished 3.5 squares during the weekend! These 2 are from The Great North American Afghan pattern book:

I certainly had fun working on them. And needless to say, I am definitely going to make the GNAA. :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Came out too short

All the squares have been sewn and I am indeed very happy with they way they came together:
I've seen other afghans with different choices of colours. But I am glad that I chose to minimize the number of colours used.

The only problem is the afghan came out a bit too short. I would like it to cover a whole person. With the sewing and the inevitable shrinking of the squares after blocking (the yarn is largely acrylic, you know), it is now 53" long. So I decided to add one more row. I would be choosing some squares from the Great American Aran Afghan and the Great North American Afghan that would go well with this one. These 2 are from the latter:
Got to start knitting again. :)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I have so much to share with you!

Right after my last post, I hurt my back practising the piano. It was ridiculous, I know, and I would spare you the details. The fact is I've been hurt and spent every ounce of energy figuring out whether I should sit on the sofa, on the swivel chair or stand to make myself more comfortable. For the first 2 days, bending forward was an impossible posture. I did see a physician in the urgent care center; but as we all know, there is not much a doctor can do to most back pains other than telling you that it would get better with time and be careful with your postures; or prescribing some heavy painkillers. I was happy to know that the physician I saw was not one easy on doing the latter. I really don't like that.

I am doing much much better now. The pain is almost completely gone. With the help of a back brace belt, I could even vaccuum with relative ease (never felt so happy doing housework before ... hahaha ...)

During this painful week, I only worked solely on the afghan. Since one square didn't work out for me, I think it would be a good idea to have a signature square. I got the inspiration from one knitter who did a similar square for her Great American Aran Afghan (but I couldn't remember who). And I want to make the signature with my Chinese name. So, I found this very cool Chinese calligraphy editor and chose an ancient style:
The next step would be to transfer the above into a chart. For this, Chart Smarter from knitty Spring 05 is a wonderful help. In order to go ahead with the charting, I needed to know how many stitches and rows would make up a square of the desired size. Luckily, the previous square I worked on was this:
It is basically a plain square with 3 tree appliques. After much calculations, I got my charts:
After printing them out, I had to clean up the year chart a little. Then the knitting was the easiest part:

Now I am doing the unpleasant task of cleaning up the loose ends. I swear I would take care of the loose ends after finishing each square from now on. I swear!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

May hasn't been a good month

May hasn't been a very good month for me. Nothing serious and certainly nothing tragic ... just little things here and there that made me pause and appreciate when things were good.

After serving me for almost 10 years, my Nike Air shoes fell apart into pieces. I hate wearing new shoes, especially sports shoes. But a nice salesman recommended a new pair to me that fit like gloves and didn't feel like new shoes at all. So, I am happily jogging on the treadmill again.

I have been feeling pretty good ever since I started working out. However, there were several days in May when I knew I was not in good shape ... not sick, just not well. So, I listened to my body and took things easy. :)

Then the knitting did go that smoothly. I am just happy that I got over the hurdle of the corner-turning dilemma. Now all I need is the perseverance with working the thousands of rows! The sock mojo has been come and gone at her own wish. After much search and try, I finally landed another lace pattern for my next pair.

MAY:
Knitting:
  • as usual, 1 pair of socks (but I haven't made up my mind yet this time) DONE (the VK Lace Socks)
  • finish the Unst Lace Stole NOT DONE (far from it actually)
  • 1 GAA square (there are 4 left) DONE
  • swatch and cast on for another sweater project (I really like the Akomeogi Tunic from the latest IK) HALF DONE (I did the swatch but not start the project)
Sewing:
still the same ... but since I have started the cutting, things should look better this month ... hahaha ... STILL NOT DONE (but I did get things going)

JUNE:
Knitting:
  • 1 pair of socks (I have started Vine Lace Socks from Socks, Socks, Socks)
  • finish the Great American Afghan (only 2 squares left ... I optimistically think it is doable)
  • continue working on the Unst Lace Stole edging
Sewing:
Really ... I should get those bookcovers done!

Exercising:
I think I have successfully integrated exercising into my daily life. So I'll just keep it going.

Oh, I also wish to be able to exercise better self control and not waste so much time playing Scramble on Facebook. But this little game is soooo highly addictive. :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

(Mental) Paralysis

This was what happened.

Right after finishing the lace socks from VK, I moved on to the edging of the Unst Stole. And then it came to the point of turning the corner. This corner-turning thing is always a problem for people like me, who never study the instructions properly before working. The suggestion given in Sharon Miller's book is that for deep edging (over 20 stitches), the knitter should do doubling* 12 returns before and after the corner.

Problem: What about the beginning of the edging? Following the logic of the suggestion, I should have done the doubling at the beginning 12 returns since the knitting started at the corner.

I was completely horrified by the idea of having to rip back all the 185 returns of edging and starting all over again. This sent me into a mental paralysis ...

So, I moved on to a new sock project. I picked up a couple of Patons Stretch Socks a while ago. I'd like to see if they are good for summer wearing. However, I tried them with at least 3 different patterns and none worked well. It seems I can only make plain socks with them. I am in no mood for plain socks.

So, I moved on to sewing. Finally, something worked. After a lot of drafting, drawing, cutting and measuring, I managed to churn out something:
It just feels great to be able to trust your sewing machine, knowing that it won't give you something funny at the back ... LOL! However, the bad news is that the size came out short. I can still use this for coasters. Good news is I learned a lot. The most important thing is to leave lots of margin when cutting the fabrics, especially those along the edges.

Oh, about the Unst Stole. I finally decided what the hell with it ... I just go on doing doubling at the corners and hoping blocking would help. :)

* Doubling is instead of attaching the edging to the main body at each return to every stitch or ridge, do it at every other return.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

09:08 VK May Lace Socks

When the yarn clicks with the pattern, magic happens:
The knitting felt almost effortless. I didn't even have the time to talk about it before.

This is another record for me. Finishing 2 projects from the latest issue of VK. Probably there is something about the pattern that lured me to make it, I just haven't figured out what it is. Anyway, lovely lace pattern with a little detail that makes it special. However, I happened to not liking that detail too much ... it was a little bow tie at the back just under the cuff. What I don't love, I don't knit. So, my socks are sans bow tie:
One good thing about the pattern: no need to worry about the gaping hole between the gusset and the heel ... there are holes there already!

Maybe besides the perfect marriage between the pattern and the yarn, there is another booster:
I finally got myself some Darn Pretty Needles! I absolutely love them! Most of my bamboo dpns are curved already. While I don't mind that much, it is just refreshing to knit with strong straight smooth needles with really sharp points.


Details:
Pattern: Lace Socks by Star Athena from VK Spring/Summer 2009
Yarn: SWTC Tofutsies (50% Superwash Wool, 25% SOYSILK brand fiber, 22.5% Cotton, 2.5% Chitin) Col: 861
Needles: Darn Pretty Needles dpns US1
Cast On: 05-04-2009
Cast Off: 05-13-2009

Saturday, May 09, 2009

09:07 Botanica Medallion Cardigan

Actually, I can entitle this post as "I knitted a big circle":
I have to say this is a really really fun project. First of all, the eye-catcher central medallion. Starting with 6 stitches with dpns is always a little bit tricky, but once the number of stitches increases, the knitting is a smooth sail. And believe me, you don't want to stop until casting off. :D However, one thing to remind those of you who are going to make this: cast off with a bigger needle and loosely.

Then, there are 4 stitch patterns with different row gauge in the outer band. There is only one thing I didn't really enjoy -- the k3tog. And there are LOTS of them ... LOL! That was why I need a little time off after a while ... the fingers really hurt. But that was all worth it because the cardigan is so so cute:Do I look like a big bear with a huge back? hahaha ...

Mmm ... okay, this one seems better ...

I should have started the outer band with a provisional cast on which would make it more seamless. But with the different stitch patterns, it's not difficult to match well. Blocking is definitely a must for the medallion before finishing the outer band because that would give you a more accurate measurement.

Oddly, I like how the cardigan looks in the front more than the back:
But the cardigan is truly a summer garment because it doesn't go well with anything with long sleeves. This shirt is the only sleeveless one I have handy right now. :D

One thing I am sure ... I love this cardigan!

Details:
Pattern: Botanica Medallion Cardigan designed by Shiri Mor from VK Spring/Summer 2009
Don't forget to check the errata page before you start.
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Ease in Banana Cream (157) 5 balls
Needles: Denise US5 (the outer band) US7 (medallion)
Hook: 4.5mm (single crochet around the armholes)
Cast On: 04-07-2009
Cast Off: 05-04-2009

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Already May?

April came and went ... so very quickly. Already we are past one-third of 2009. I should have written this post last week, but was so engrossed in finishing the Botanica Medallion Cardigan that I totally forgot it was time for new goals for the new month! Ooops ... so now you know. There'll be new FO coming ... hehehe ...

APRIL:
Knitting:
  • 1 pair of socks (Cookie A's Milo from her new book) DONE
  • finish the Unst Lace Stole (this means the second border plus the edging) HALF DONE (I finished the second border and just started the edging):
  • 1 GAA square DONE (Marge Hayes Square):
  • cast on for one summer garment project DONE (started the Botanica Medallion Cardigan and I have it finished now!)
  • I expect to receive my work on Lesson 1 plus materials for Lesson 2 from the instructor soon. This time, I would like to work faster on Lesson 2. FAILED (I haven't even started! But I decide that once I start, I would have it finished quick.)
Sewing:
  • the same as for March ... and I will start working on that tomorrow NOT DONE BUT NOT FAILED COMPLETELY EITHER (I started cutting the fabrics ... :D)
Exercising:
I hope to increase the days for exercising from 3 to 4 a week DONE (Actually, I am doing 30 minutes a day every weekday. I feel pretty awesome about this.)

MAY:
Knitting:
  • as usual, 1 pair of socks (but I haven't made up my mind yet this time)
  • finish the Unst Lace Stole
  • 1 GAA square (there are 4 left)
  • swatch and cast on for another sweater project (I really like the Akomeogi Tunic from the latest IK)
Sewing:
still the same ... but since I have started the cutting, things should look better this month ... hahaha ...

Exercising:
One thing I learned from my exercising regime this year is the value of patience. Another thing is the importance of listening to your own body. Without either of these, I may have pushed myself beyond my ability and given up long ago.
In May, I plan to add sections of Cindy Crawford's Shape Your Body workouts to my daily exercise. Cindy Crawford was the pretty face for this DVD, but the trainer Radu is the real deal. These are kick-you-in-the-butt workouts (you can read the reviews on the Amazon page). How do I know? I checked the VHS out from the local library a long time ago. Not knowing my own ability, I tried following the routine to a T and almost couldn't get out of the bed the next day.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

09:06 Milo Socks

At the time of writing, WHO has already raised the alert to Level 5. Two schools here in the Bay Area are to be shut down for a week because of students suspected of suffering from the Swine Flu. It does seem the situation is going to worsen ... to what extent I don't know. But it doesn't hurt to be careful. When the news first broke, I already called my mom and asked her about preventive measures during SARS. In times of advice, always turn to mom! :)

Anyway, I hope you all exercise common sense and stay healthy.

And of course, I finished my socks for this month. I chose Milo because of its name. The first thing that came to mind when I saw the name "Mile" is a cat ... Jessie's cat. I watched this cat grow up (by reading Jessie's blog, of course) ever since he was a baby ... One good thing about adopting others' cats on the internet is that you get to enjoy all their loveliness without suffering their evilness. :) So, once I saw the Milo pattern, I decided to make it if I could find the yarn to match it in my stash. I found Panda Silk:
I'm wondering ... what colour did you see? Blue? Grey? I felt confused too when knitting ... most of the time I saw grey. But despite the colour, I love the feel of this yarn while knitting. Silky soft and smooth. 52% bamboo makes it a bit splitty. That was expected ... but really, not so serious as can be called a problem.

Milo is a lovely pattern. What I love most is the XOXO running along the heel:
Actually, the front pattern is XOXO too ... just in a larger scale:
Can you see the sheen in the photo? It is lovely, isn't it? I am hoping Panda Silk would be another choice of summer sock yarn for me after TOFUtsies. Though there is 43% of merino wool, the yarn is of true fingering weight and feels cool on the hand. However it still has to be tested in the real warm weather and in the washer. Will keep you posted.
Details:
Pattern: Milo by Cookie A from Sock Innovation (Love this book ... love this book ... )
Yarn: Crystal Palace Panda Silk (52% bamboo; 43% Machine washable Merino wool; 5% combed silk) in Colour Pearl Blue
Needles: Crystal Palace bamboo dpns 2.0mm
Cast On: 04-01-2009
Cast Off: 04-27-2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

Hibernating

I've been hibernating from the blog this last week ... not from knitting though. I'll be back next week.

Oh, and I just got my first star in my President's Challenge! YAY!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Almost a half circle

Almost but not yet:
This project would really need serious blocking. As you know usually with circular knitting, the center of the circle would pop out naturally:
I don't want to walk around wearing this looking like upright standing tortoise.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Random Wednesday

I am currently working on 3 projects - the Botanica Medallion Cardigan, the Milo Socks, and the Unst Lace Stole. I love working on the lace stole during the weekends when I can have a longer stretch of uninterrupted time to focus on the complicated lace. And usually this would allow me to have good progress. For the BM Cardigan, I am now at about 20° of the circular outer band ... quite a long way to go. In a word, knitting-wise, there is nothing visually new to show you. :)

I am very happy to report that I've been doing very well in my exercising goal. This week, I started trying to step on the treadmill every day for 30 minutes. I also explored the different programmes of the treadmill. I like the Alpine Pass the most ... the elevation makes the workout more intense, which is great. I also bought new items for my own home gym:
The lightest dumbbells in the gym are 10 lbs ... way too heavy for me. The 3 lbs ones I have are too light for some exercises.

I used to read my paperback when walking on the treadmill. But when I am on the jogging speed, reading is not possible. Now, I turn the tv to Food Network channel and watch it during the whole 30 minutes. I don't know how watching people cook while exercising would affect the effectivenss of the workout, but at least I picked up some recipes I'd like to try. This morning I made the celery root bisque and substituted the sauteed lobster with mixed seafoods ... yummy!

Besides exercising, I also changed a long-time bad habit. Besides coffee, I am having cereals/museli and fresh fruits (usually banana) for breakfast; or sometimes I would have whole-grain toast and yoghurt. This is really great because it really helps to curb some of my guilty pleasures, such as ice-cream, candies and Thomas Kemper Black Cherry Soda.

I made a smart investment a few weeks ago:
This is a Progressive Herb Keeper. It really works. The thymes and rosemary inside are at least 3 weeks old ... but they are still fresh and green. I am thinking of getting a second one for parsley.

I have never been a follower of Fashion, never dye my hair and haven't used make-up for years, but still find this article inspiring. Jenny Joseph's Warning has been one of my favourite poems a long long time ago. And I did wear purple sometimes ... :D

Friday, April 10, 2009

Still waiting for VK

... to get back to me. But I am pretty sure I had figured out the errors in the Botanica Medallion Cardigan pattern correctly. In case you want to make it too, maybe these would save you some time:

Botanica Medallion
Row 2 [K, yo, k] in the next stitch 6 times -- 18 sts.

Row 10 [K1, ssk, p1, yo, k1, yo, p1, k2tog, k1] 6 times.

Outer Band
Row 3 K2, [sl 1 wyif, k1] 5 times, k2, p6, k26, ...

Row 4 K18(24), *[k1, yo, k1] in next st, k3tog; rep from * 5 times more, p2, k2, 4-st LC, p2, k12.

The outer band is absolutely gorgeous:
Especially the outermost the Indian Cross Stitch:
But this is going to take long ...

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The search for the best summer sock yarns

Well, at least that was the planned post title yesterday ... before I was sucked into the beautiful cover project of the latest VK (they finally put the preview up!):
Knowing my track record of making garments like these, I suppose you won't be too surprised. But you must admit ... this is gorgeous!

However, before everyone gets too excited, just remember this is a VK pattern. ;) First error appears in Row 2! But wait ... there are more. Myra has already ranted about that here. I immediately emailed to VK asking to clarify the errors, and specifically stated that I wanted to work on the project ASAP, so I hoped they would get back to me soon. I'm still waiting. Luckily it's not that complicated and I actually sorted them out myself.

The center medallion is super fast:
However, I may need to redo the bind off using a larger needle.

So, the search for the best summer sock yarns will have to wait! LOL!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

How did I do in March?

It's the beginning of a month again ... the time to examine my goals in March.

Knitting:
  • 1 pair of socks (for the moment I have chosen to make Cat Bordhi's Spring Thaw Socks) DONE
  • 2 GAA squares (I started the first one already) HALF-DONE (I could only manage to make one)
  • at least one border for the Unst Lace Stole DONE
  • 2 baby knits (Hooded Carrying Bag & Changing Mat Bag) for a friend HALF-DONE (but I finally decided that the Changing Mat Bag was not really a good idea)
  • cast on Autumn Rose Pullover FAILED (I think putting this to September would be better, since once started, I need to finish it ASAP ... the weather is just not right for any wool project now)
  • swatch for Seamless Hybrid FAILED (since this is also going be a wool project, so it would also be moved to a later time)
  • get the written part of lesson 1 done and have it mailed DONE
Sewing:
  • 2 Crazy Quilt Bookcovers (promised to make for 2 friends ages ago ... it's time to work on them!) COMPLETELY FAILED!
Non-Crafting related:
  • Get the taxes done! (this is always a headache!) DONE
Though I completely failed in my sweater goals, I still feel good because I know that the March goals were a bit aggressive. But I did feel bad about my sewing goal. So, I have decided to hide all my knitting stuff away tomorrow so that I would free myself for the sewing! LOL! Seriously!

For April, I'll keep things simple.

Knitting:
  • 1 pair of socks (Cookie A's Milo from her new book)
  • finish the Unst Lace Stole (this means the second border plus the edging)
  • 1 GAA square (I am getting really close to finishing all the squares ... have to pace up)
  • cast on for one summer garment project (I'm still looking around ... but the 17th century Undershirt from Piecework March/April 2009 is strangely attractive to me)
  • I expect to receive my work on Lesson 1 plus materials for Lesson 2 from the instructor soon. This time, I would like to work faster on Lesson 2.
Sewing:
  • the same as for March ... and I will start working on that tomorrow
Exercising:
  • I hope to increase the days for exercising from 3 to 4 a week