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.