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.