Friday, August 29, 2008

08:19 Ribbed Lace Socks

Oops! Not posting for a week! In case you're wondering, I'm still breathing ... and knitting ... hehehe ... Dental appointment, nightmarish-sleep-induced migraine and mild heat stroke from washing the car in an almost 100F afternoon were among the distractions.

Oh well, I do have some good knitty things to share, though. After last year's disappointment, Rowan International seems to have improved and my free gift has arrived already:
I am not too interested in the pattern, which is a bag. So, I am wondering what to do with the 6 skeins of Rowan Denim yarns. With so many things on my mental to-do list, most probably these would sit in the stash for a while.

I have also swatched for a new project:
I think I would start this soon, just wondering if I should change it into a long-sleeved sweater. Would doubling the Zephyr Wool-Silk (lace weight) be too warm for a short-sleeved sweater? This is my concern.

For the last few months, whenever I rummaged through my sock yarn stash, I found this staring at me:
Sockotta in a not particularly enticing colourway. I have been avoiding it for quite some time. After finishing the Spring Forward Socks, I wanted to squeeze in one more pair if I could before SKA starts next month. It is funny that sometimes things would turn out great when you don't have any expectation. I managed to find a pattern that works well with this yarn and actually enjoyed the knitting very much.

Pattern: Ribbed Lace Socks designed by Charlene Schurch from Sensational Knitted Socks
I tried several patterns before finding this one that seemed not being drowned by the colourway ... actually I think the yarn is more lovely knitted up than in a ball.
There is something new to me in the heel ... the garter stitch edging. I don't think I would use it again as it is a bit rugged and my foot can definitely feel the edging a lot more than the usual slipped stitch.

Yarn: Plymouth Sockotta (45% Cotton, 40% Superwash Wool, 15% Nylon) Col: 617
I don't remember why I bought this colourway ... most probably thought it would be good for man's socks. But it turns out Husband likes light colours, so this ball had sat in the stash for years. Just feel really good to have used it finally and the socks turns out to be likable.

Needles: Hiya Hiya dpns US1

Cast On: 08-22-2008
Cast Off: 08-28-2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

08:18 Spring Forward Socks

Sock knitting has slowed down just a bit in August. I am looking forward to SKA Sockdown in September, so I don't want to burn myself down ... saving up energy. ;)

But the socks for August are done. I've read about knitters saying a certain yarn is "buttery" soft ... honestly, never used a yarn that really gave me that "buttery" feeling. Until now. Claudia Hand Painted Fingering sock yarn is gorgeous in colours and buttery in feel. The Jungle colourway is deep and vibrant, though may not be the best to showcase the Spring Forward stitch pattern:
Digital camera is the coolest modern gadget ever ... after countless attempts, I finally got this decent shot of the pattern. Can't imagine what I could have done if I only had a film camera.

I don't really want to wear the socks today ... they are way too warm! This coming winter, my feet are going to be toasty toasty warm ... :D

Pattern: Spring Forward designed by Linda Welch from Knitty Summer 2008
Easy and fun pattern to work. Love the finished socks.

Yarn: Claudia Hand Painted Fingering Yarn (100% merino wool) Col: Jungle
Love. This. Yarn. Period.

Needles: Crystal Palace bamboo dpns US1

Cast On: 07-21-2008
Cast Off: 08-19-2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mystery of Mary

This is Mary:

A project I have wanted to make way back, but am still hesitating. Mary is a one-size project. But she has schematics though:
Ravelry certainly helps ... but the mystery of Mary remains. If a US size 4 person feels the jacket snug, would it fit me??? This is why I keep stalling the project.

This is Shaped Denim Jacket (don't you just love projects with a real name?) from Celtic Knits:
No schematic from the book. No Ravelry help as no finished project has been documented yet. This photo is the best shot of the jacket I can find. But it does seem to be of similar style as Mary and there are 2 specific sizes (W0w!) ... small (40.5" for 34" bust) and medium (42" for 36" bust).

So, I thought ... maybe the Shaped Denim Jacket can help solve the mystery of Mary. Let's compare the various number of stitches between the 2 projects:

Mary SDJ (34") SDJ (36")
Cast On 103 109 117

117 113 121
Waist Decrease 95 - 71 105 - 89 113 - 97
Upper Body 77 - 117 97 - 113 105 - 121

The basic pattern for Mary is a leaf pattern and cable and seed stitch for SDJ, so I would say Mary would be like the larger size of SDJ ... which would be good for me.

I do feel a bit more confident now. But the new dilemma is ... which one should I make? Both are cute ... leaf? or cable?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

08:17 Taj Mahal

I have to say, this is a great timing for the finish as it has been the perfect weather for tank top these few days. It is really a surprise that I could finish this project so soon considering the long stretch of stocking stitch, the fingering weight yarn and the tiny 2.5mm needles. Really have to thanks the Olympics Games.

Talking about the Games, despite all the controversies before and during the Beijing games, I couldn't help rooting for all the Chinese athletes. But I also appreciate whenever the athletes, whatever nationality, put on a good game ... like the beautiful performance of Natia Luikin and Alexander Artemev's amazing pummel horse routine just wowed me! Liu Zige winning the 200m Butterfly was a complete surprise. I am looking forward to Michael Phelps' chance of getting the 8th gold medal tonight.

However, our moods were dampened a bit lately because of what has been happening in Georgia. I found the Russian Foreign Minister's recent remark especially outrageous and the fact that so little the Western world could do completely helpless. We paid more attention to the events there than ordinary people because we know a friend living in T'bilisi. He is Husband's music buddy and the two had done remixes of each other's music together. Husband tried to get in touch with the friend right after the Russians went in but in vain. 2 days ago, we finally heard from him and he was okay, for now. We were of course relieved ... but given how far inside the country the Russians had pushed, we are still very worried. I just hope the peace talk would bring substantial results and the Georgians can start repairing the damages done to their country and have their lives back.

Well, time to return to knitting. Here is me in Taj Mahal.

Pattern: Taj Mahal designed by Gudrun Johnston from knitonthenet Issue 6
Love at first sight with this pattern when the magazine came out. I just felt that I would be able to wear this one well. Now I can tell you that yes, I love this tank. :D

I followed the pattern completely except skipping one round of decrease in the body. The lace hem edging is beautiful, though a bit tedious to knit. For the cap sleeves, the designer used knit into front and back of one stitch over the center of the cap to create a flaring effect. If you don't like this, you can do it your own way. I have checked Isabella from Knitty and found that armhole finishing quite beautiful too.

The front lace panel near the neck is the eye-catching detail of this project. Basically, the neck finishing is just knit one round and then bind off. So, I was a bit worried there would be serious rolling action. But the little trick of decreasing stitches at the back of the neck solved the problem. However, this meant that I need to use one larger-sized needle to bind off to make sure the neck opening was big enough for my big head. ;)

Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fine 1/2 lb cone (80% prima cotton and 20% wool) Col: Cotton Ball
I used 1 1/2 lb cone plus a little bit more for one cap sleeve. Love this yarn! It's light weight and comfortable. The cotton/wool blend means it's easier to manipulate than pure cotton. I think this would become my no. 1 choice of yarn for summer tanks.

Needles: KnitPicks Options Fixed Circular 2.5mm

Cast On: 07-31-2008
Cast Off: 08-15-2008

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

50 more rows to go

Even though there are only 11 stitches in each row knitting the hem edging for Taj Mahal feels taking forever! There are still about 50 more to go ... so, let's read some magazines.

The latest issue of Interweave Knits arrived last Friday. If the fall issue were a boxing match between VK and IK, VK would win by knock out in my book. I am not much a fan of "mixed media", and some of the fits of the projects look weird to me. The Afterthought Dart Cardigan, which was quite appealing when I previewed the issue on the web, just fell short of the expectation when I read the magazine. I would say the only project that attracts me is the Baachus Socks ... but I would have to go easy with the bobbles on the foot ... or buy new shoes to wear these socks! LOL!

However, I do feel the need to compliment IK for using models of various sizes. I think it makes great difference to see a project being worn by someone close to my size from time to time ... since trying to become really skinny is always a futile effort to me!

Then the summer issue of Knitter's Magazine is a nice surprise. Okay, so there are still those projects with a thousand colours in them (I am sure they are some others' cup of tea, so, who am I to judge?), but take a look at Piano Keys, Sea Oats, Vanda, and Spring Thaw! Besides, there are the articles with Jane Sowerby and Cat Bordhi. Definitely an issue worth owning.

Monday, August 11, 2008

SKA Sockdown 08-09

After completing one session of SAM, I feel that I would be able to add a little more challenge to my sock knitting ... to make it more fun. So, I think I am finally ready for the Sockdown of the Sock Knitter's Anonymous.

The moderators were great and super organized. They already had the whole year's schedule well laid out:
  • 09/08: Orange Socks or Cookie A or Mystery Sock, designed by SKA member Jeannie Fanihi (mystery socks must be knit in Orange yarn to qualify for Sockdown).

  • 10/08: Holiday Stocking or Steffi Linden

  • 11/08: Slip Stitch/Mosaic Knitting or Wendy Johnson or Mystery Sock, designed by FluffyKnitterDeb

  • 12/08: Socks made with leftovers or Almost Socks or Yarnissima

  • 01/09: Beaded Socks or Socks from a pattern from an online magazine or Mystery Sock, designed by SKA mod Emmie

  • 02/09: Socks for a Cause or Gigi Silva or Entrelac

  • 03/09: Lace Socks or Cat Bordhi or Mystery Sock designed by Kristi Schueler

  • 04/09: Knee Socks or Under-appreciated patterns

  • 05/09: Cables/Twisted Stitches or Anne Hanson or Mystery Sock designed by Yarnissima

  • 06/09: Design Your Own Socks or Nancy Bush

  • 07/09: Fairisle/Colorwork/Intarsia or Homegrown Designers (including DYO from 08) or Mystery sock designed by Sara Morris

  • 08/09: SKA VACATION!

Isn't that exciting to start it off with an orange pair of socks? LOL! I already have the yarns ready:
There was quite a long discussion on the Ravelry forum about the colour orange ... personally, I don't think it would be a problem for me ... you see what I mean? hahaha ...

Though I didn't join Ravelympics, I did watch many of the competitions and matches. What are your favourite events? I mainly like swimming, diving and gymnastics ... I am especially when I could have so much done on my Taj Mahal:
I am super fond of this front panel ...
so pretty!

Almost halfway in the hem lace edging ...
296 rows total!

The pattern is great and the fit and size work out perfectly. I am already loving this tank so much!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

08:16 Dreamcatcher Medallion Cardigan

It always cracked me up when I visited the Ravelry Project Gallery for this project ... this is almost the mandatory/obligatory pose. But it can be easily understood. At the end the medallion pattern at the back is the highlight of the cardigan ... without it, this is just a plan cardigan.

Like most everybody else who made this, I love everything about this project ... okay, maybe except the running-out-of-yarn part ... LOL! But looking back, it was not that bad because I really like the 2/3 sleeve length. When searching for the extra ball of yarn, I was hoping to find a matching variegated colour as dyelot was no longer a concern. Unluckily, I didn't really like Cowpoke (3788) nor the gold metallic of Suede Deluxe. But the medallion pattern itself is interesting enough without playing with yarn colours.

Pattern: Dreamcatcher Medallion Cardigan designed by Teva Durham from Loop-d-Loop
I made the medium size and the finished cardigan fits me well. The only thing I am not happy with is the collar. I should have made fewer decreases in the front because my should is not wide enough. My medallion turned out to be smaller, so I skipped the 2 knit-even rounds. I also added one more button hole.
All in all, I think my cardigan turns out beautiful! :D

Yarn: Berroco Suede (100% Nylon) Colour: Miss Kitty (3751) 7.5 balls
Actually, I used just a little bit over 7 balls. Suede is an interesting yarn ... the knitted fabric does feel like suede, which is a texture I always love. The complete man-made content makes Suede not the ideal yarn for garment, but I love how the cardigan turns out anyway ... good decision to make this instead of the bag, if I may say so ... hehehe ...

Needles: Denise US7

Buttons: I got the pack of buttons from Daiso ... a store I love frequenting because you can find almost everything here for $1.5 (mostly). If you love Japanese zakka, you'll love this store too as a large percentage of the products sold here were made in Japan.

Cast On: 07-08-2008
Cast Off: 08-02-2008

Every time I browse through Loop-d-Loop, I would find something I want to make. I think my next target would be Cabled Riding Jacket ... but I would have to use a thinner yarn ... more research on Ravelry! :D

Talking about Loop-d-Loop, Teva Durham has a new pattern book out and there are some pretty things inside ... should I buy it? ::struggle::

Monday, August 04, 2008

I love X Games!

For NASCAR, I think I would never understand ... at least I just get bored seeing the cars running their second laps. But the X Games Rally is just intense and exciting ... and yeah, I got wowed! This year, I was lucky enough to catch the X Games live shows. The essence of X Games is adrenaline rush ... the games are intense and the actions are exciting. All the competitions are packed into 3 days ... before you know it, everything is done, leaving you wanting more.

One more reason to love the X Games this year, it helped me push the Taj Mahal forward for 9":
A few more inches and it's ready for armhole-divide ... woohoo!

The new VK arrived today ... and I really really love it! In the past, the VK patterns always gave me the impression that they were not wearable items ... more like designers' projects for fashion show runways instead of for real people. I think the models they use and their photography play a great role in creating this impression. But I am able to look past this gradually. Vogue is not Vogue if they are not glamourous and high-fashion, right?

These are my favourites from this issue:
and #9, #11 and #12, which you can see here.

Friday, August 01, 2008

This should be blank as I too suffered from "title block"

Ooops! I am so sorry that I carelessly disclosed some spoiler details of a movie that you may want to watch! I swear, I didn't do it knowingly! Next time I write about movies or books, I would be more careful!

The yarn finally arrived today. This is great because I can work on the Dreamcatcher cardigan during the weekend. It's always good to have WIPs finished ... especially when all of a sudden, I put 2 more to the list! While I was waiting for the yarn, I again was bitten by the startistis bug ... besides Gabi, I also started Taj Mahal:
This doesn't seem much, but considering the fingering weight yarn (Cotton Fine) and tiny needles (US1), it's a lot. The majority of the project is in stocking stitch, so I am not sure if I would have the patience to focus on it. But I really hope to be able to wear it before the cool season comes.

August is going to be a very exciting month with all the new patterns and magazines coming. I saw the latest VK in the LYS yesterday ... and this issue's cover is simply gorgeous! It's not just the mitten design but the model, the way she was dressed, the colour combination of the whole cover ... everything just come together in a magical way. I am so looking forward to receiving this issue. And of course the latest buzz today is the brand spanking new Twist Collective. And the first issue of Knotions coming Monday ... ::sigh:: the coming fall we are all going to be very busy! LOL!