Saturday, October 29, 2005

Just in time for Halloween!

I am here to announce the knitting of Old Tile has entered into a new phrase of craziness ... which is in tune with the upcoming Halloween. I am quite sure if there were a knitting scary photo contest, mine would most probably be competing with Hannah Simpson's knitted zombies ... hahaha ... so, are you ready for the Halloween challenge? I must warn you, as Alison said a few days ago, it is not for the faint of heart:

Now the difficult-but-fun part is over, and I hope the difficult-but-not-so-fun part would be as short as possible. Have a wonderful weekend ... and a scary Halloween everyone!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Knitting meme

I just read about this on Kathy's blog yesterday and it got to me last night already. I think this is the first meme directly knitting-related and I am glad to work on it.

What is your all time favorite yarn to knit with?
Right now, it's definitely Rowan KSH. Yes, it's mohair ... yes, lots of other knitters call it Crack Silk Haze ... but you can't deny the fact that it knits up into a beautiful lovely fabric that you just can't let go! But the fact is, I haven't tried a lot of yarns in my yet short knitting life. The yarns that I am definitely going to try are the yarn lines of Elsbeth Lavold.

Your favorite needles?
Now that I think about it, I haven't really knitted with straight needles! Maybe once or twice back when I first started many many years ago. Most probably it was because I found straight needles awkward to use and so like what EZ said, once I tried circular needles, "I never went back!" I am not too picky with needles and I find that they all have their own good. Among the ones that I have, I always check if I have what I need in my Denise set first when I start a project. I like the cords of Auddis a lot, but their points are disappointing. Oh yes, I love knitting socks with Crystal Palace bamboo DPNs.

The worst thing you've ever knit?
This would definitely go to a pair of fingerless gloves I made using LB Microspun. You can see a picture of it here. I like the lacy pattern ... the problem is with the yarn and my gauge. I used the yarn specified in the pattern, and my gauge was as specified too. However, the FO was just so floppy that they might even slip off my hands. This is also my problem with many yarns ... my gauge always tends to be smaller.

Your most favorite knit pattern? (maybe you don't like wearing it...but it was the most fun to knit)
At this moment, it is Kiri because it is of the right challenging level to me. I think this is very important to a knitter. We all need a certain level of challenge to keep us interested in what we are doing.

Most valuable knitting technique?
All the techniques are valuable to me ... but the one that most amazed me when I got it is tubular cast on. But I always love the "got it" moment.

Best knit book or magazine?
I would say it's Montse Stanley's Knitter's Handbook. You can basically find everything you need to know about knitting in this book.

Your favorite knit-a-long?
It's hard for me to choose between TownsendSocksKnitALong and Six Sox Knitalong. I like them both as I learned a lot about sock knitting and the patterns are beautiful.

Your favorite knitblogs?
I like a lot of knitblogs and I like them for various reasons, but if you have a pet, especially a cat, the chance is great that I am stalking your blog/pet! Actually I know many of the cats by their names! But seriously, I like to read about knitters' projects rather than yarn buying. If a blog contains more of the latter than the former, I would lose interest.
Right now, I like Anna's blog a lot. She is an aspiring knitwear designer whose style I like a lot. Personally, I think she has great potentials ... and she is just so lovely and beautiful!
Besides, I have a special attachment to knitblogs in Asia. The ones that I constantly read are Siow Chin, Joy, emy, Mimi, LauraY and Eva.

Your favorite knitwear designer?

I love cables ... so I like the designs of Alice Starmore and Elsbeth Lavold a lot. I also like the designs of Kim Hargreaves and Teva Durham.

The knit item you wear the most?
(how about a picture of it!)

This pair of socks is what I wear most. The cotton yarn makes it possible for me to wear them even during some days in the summer time. The Cascade Fixation yarn is quite hard wearing and also comfortable. For the summer tank tops and winter sweaters, since I haven't knitted too many yet, I actually wear them quite evenly. And of course this also tells you that I like them all. :)

Who to tag?
Mmm ... I'd like to tag Lynette since she is in a sort of knitting depression and I hope doing the meme could lift her mood a bit. I'd also like to tag Chris, whose blog I got from Lolly's post on her trip to Hawaii. This woman is just so funny that I'd like to know more about her. Lastly it would be Joy, another very humourous knitter who is going to knit a Kaffe Fassett sweater in KSH!!!
Actually, I certainly would like to tag Debi. However, given the present condition of her home (which was almost demolished by Wilma), I don't think it is a very good time. I have been thinking about her the whole week. She would not be able to post until she gets the power back, so I don't know how she is doing right now. But she is a strong woman ... who could turn the heel of a sock during the ordeal ... If you have a minute, perhaps you can hop over to her blog and send her some good karma. :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Now this is really surprising!

My blog is worth $15,242.58.
How much is your blog worth?

I wonder what formula they used to work out the worth!!!

Working not very hard, but progressing steadily on Old Tile ... no picture to show because don't want to bore you with all those colour patches over and over. Actually I've lost a bit of the focus ... itching to start a new project!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

BCA Ribbon socks

So, I took another break from Old Tile. I did take things easy during the break and this is why it took me 2 days to finish the second sock. Yes! I finished my BCA (Breast Cancer Awareness) Ribbon socks for Socktoberfest!

I am very excited about this pair of socks as, though the pattern was inspired by Lisa Lloyd's Pink Ribbon Socks, basically I made up the pattern myself, including rewriting the ribbon chart. I quite enjoy the process of trying to figure things out, but I don't think I am the material for being a designer! Anyway, here are photos of the FO:

Here is a close-up of the ribbon pattern:

I don't think the rewritten chart is perfect, especially the top of the ribbon, which I'd like to be more rounded, but that was the best I can do now.

Pattern: My own toe-up version of Pink Ribbon Socks
1) I used Wendy's toe-up sock pattern and cast on with the Turkish cast on method.
2) The ribbon pattern was started with 14 stitches, then increased to 16 stitches and decreased again to 14 stitches at the end. In other words, I had 4 stitches more than the number I cast on throughout most of the leg part. Therefore, I replaced the lace pattern with 2x2 ribbing for the sections between the ribbon patterns so that the socks would fit more snuggly.
3) For the cast off, I tried EZ's sewn cast off but didn't like it ... maybe because it seemed to be more complicated to me. Therefore, I used Nancie Wiseman's picot bind off.
Yarn: Elann's Sock It To Me Esprit Col: 8699 Glacier Blue
Gauge and Needles: 32 stitches to 4" US2

I think it is time to return to intarsia. But since I have joined nona's Peaceful Palms KAL, the reward for my completion of the other front of Old Tile would be a glove project.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Monday, October 17, 2005

One day's progress

How much can you do in one day? If we stayed home all day (which we would sometimes) yesterday and didn't hang around in Fry's, Whole Food and Trader Joe's, I think I would probably have finished the first Pink Ribbon sock and cast on for the second. Of course this is not what was done ... and the socks are not going to be pink, by the way:

Thanks to the knitting of Old Tile, the plain stocking stitch for the foot became so soothing (instead of boring) to me yesterday ... and unobstructed with the single colour ... and went amazingly fast!

And I think I finally found the perfect way to knit short-row toe and heel:

See? No holes! And the double wrapping is easy to manage using this elastic yarn. I still have to see how it is going to be with other finer sock yarns.

Now the break is over and I am back with Old Tile ... left front Row 5 .. yay!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

October is ...

for the kicking off of Socktoberfest 2005 (held by the lovely Lolly)!

In order to be on time for this, I worked my behind off to finish the back of Old Tile. Now I can cast on for my socks. But before that, I've been experimenting. October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Last year when I saw this pattern, I'd love so much to make a pair but I hadn't started sock-knitting then. Therefore, it is very natural that I choose this pattern for Socktoberfest. However, the pattern was written for cuff-down knitting. At this moment, I'd like to do toe-up ... this means I need to rewrite the ribbon pattern. I think I've got it:

What you see here is a Frankenstein of my sock experimenting:
1) Turkish cast on from VK Fall 2005 - this is really very easy and there is no need for waste yarn. If you don't have the magazine, look out for Debi's blog ... she is going to give a visual tutorial on this.
2) Short-row toe based on Wendy's toe-up sock pattern - strangely enough, there were no holes on both sides this time. I don't know whether it is because of the double wrapping or the yarn being more fluffy and thicker. Yet, I found that I like the toes to be a bit more pointy, so I would do a few more short rows.
3) Rewriting of the ribbon pattern - I hope you can see the pattern on the sock clearly. I don't really like the lace in the original pattern. I think I would do a 2x2 ribbing instead.

So now, all is ready for the REAL casting on of my Socktoberfest socks. Since I've completed the back of Old Tile, I am allowing myself to take a day off from it and devote the time for the socks. Oh yes, Old Tile:

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Sock Muse? Sock Bug?

Whatever her name is, she came for a visit recently ... aarh, finally! See what I got here:

I am especially happy with the purchase of Socks, Socks, Socks, which I have wanted to have for a long long time, and Knitting Vintage Socks. I had 2 Beverly's 40%-off store coupons and I thought the best way to use them was to get the books I wanted. Unable to find anything interesting, I was about to use the coupons for 2 balls of the new Lion Wool when I found these two hidden behind copies of quilting books on the shelves. Yay! Now I think I have enough sock patterns to knit into my second lifetime ... hahaha ... But what I am most interested in is this:

Don't you think it is extremely cute? I think it is an antique collectible item ... but I'd really love to have one.

So sock muse has come and I have the desire to start ... but one thing I learned recently is "focus". Without it, I don't think I can finish anything. Right now, my priority is with Old Tile. So, I tell myself ... I can start casting on for a pair of socks after I finish the back of the sweater. How far away is that?

What you see here is at Row 73 ... about 12 rows from armhole shaping. I always think after armhole shaping, things would go faster, even though that is only 12 stitches less. Hopefully, next time I post, I can show you the finished back.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Amid the intarsia craziness of Old Tile ...

I somehow managed to have a quick and fast knit ... and thus an FO! How lovely is that? So, here friends, please meet Flora:

The situation was: I had to take the car for a smog check. Old Tile isn't really a suitable candidate of portable knitting ... but I surely wanted to take something with me. Flora is one of the patterns I tend to like in the latest issue of Knitty. A few weeks ago, Jo-Ann offered free shipping with the purchase of 8 or more balls of yarns. And I have been wanting to try out their exclusive new cotton and wool blend yarns. So, I ordered one ball each. It seemed that the Cosetta wool blend could work with Flora. It did.

Pattern: Flora designed by Kate Kuckro from Knitty Fall 2005
It is a very easy pattern but the outcome is quite lovely. For the button, I just picked one from what I have ... but would most probably use the leftover to make one following Glampyre's tutorial.
Yarn: Jo-Ann Sensations Bellezza Collection Cosetta Col: 2332 Red (68% Wool; 32% Nylon; 50g 128 yards)
I like the autumn tone colourway. The yarn is a little fuzzy and there are metallic specks throughout. This is not the softest nor the warmest yarn ... but for a fashionable accessory, it is good enough.
Gauge and Needle: 16 st to 4" using US10

Among the Jo-Ann yarns is a ball of 100% wool Tesoro ... now this one is really soft. I plan to make the Purly baby hat using this ... but it seems that the gauges are very different. So, I may have to make some adjustments.

Update on Old Tile: There are 128 stitches (on US3) for the back ... and I am now on Row 19 (I have to do a total of 158 rows). So, there is a loooooong way to go!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Have you played this game?

Given 2 very similar pictures / drawings, you have to spot the differences. As a kid, I used to like playing this. Today, I found myself involuntarily playing the same game again looking at the 2 sleeves for Old Tile:

Can you spot the differences? In case you are worried that the 2 sleeves are of different sizes, don't. It is just because the one on the right has around a thousand loose ends hiding underneath it! There are 3 different shades of pink used ... and at some point during the knitting, I just got confused over which was which. Then after finishing the second one and putting the two together, I discovered I missed about 3 rows of blue among the green near the left upper corner for the first! But at the end, what really is the difference?

In order to keep the momentum up, I immediately cast on for the back. I really really hope to finish this jacket ... 2 weeks is too unrealistic ... but maybe 3 weeks. :)

Have you seen Sockbug's stunningly beautiful photo of her sock-display? If not, you should immediately hop over to her blog ... I assure you, that's something you shouldn't miss! It is just amazing! The sight of her beautiful socks put back a little bit of motivation for socks in me.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Attack on the UFOs ... Take 2

So, if I were logical in my approach to my UFOs, I should have worked on Bomber ... since I am almost done with the body of the jacket. However, seeing that all these knitters were having so much fun with their colour works, I was inspired to pick up Old Tile ... which was only one sleeve done.

Complicated intarsia? Cotton? Well, is there a better timing for Claudia's closet-cleaning post to get into my Bloglines subscription? After reading that, I confess I did have second thought about continuing with Old Tile ... would it become my own version of the Teacup Sweater? But what she said here caught my attention, "Here is the unbreakable rule. If you wouldn't go into a store and buy the garment ready-made, you've got absolutely no business knitting it." Take a look at this:

and this:

The truth is: I do buy colourful sweaters from stores ... though this is not a regular nor frequent occurance (the one you saw is almost 10 years old!). So, one sleeve now becomes almost two sleeves:

Monday, October 03, 2005

First piece of puzzle to the mystery

How would you reward yourself for successfully taking down an UFO? Start another project of course! I joined this:

and the first clue was out last Friday and I received the yarns I planned to use on the day before ... everything came together in time for me! ;)

The good thing about this project is that I don't have to spend all my time on it ... at least at the beginning. Just an hour or so and I completed Clue 1:

The yarn is Alpaca Cloud from KnitPicks in Iris ... very soft, but I would like the colours to be more striking. This is my first time using alpaca yarns ... also in lace weight. I am holding out on my judgment right now since I had only knitted that little bit. Yet, I had an exasperating experience winding the hank into ball ... so much so that I don't even want to talk about it ... just want to have a swift now!

What else is happening? Well, the attack on the UFOs continues ... will tell you more later.