Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Random Wednesday

Still working on Tangled Yoke Cardigan ... it would most probably be finished this weekend. Buttons for the cardigan were also chosen:

I threw the February Lady Sweater into the cold water wash cycle last night and let it dry on the rack. The sleeves were a bit too wide before the wash, now the whole sweater is shrunk to the perfect fit! Great!

I am still working on the stash record in Ravelry, but what remains is mostly those single balls I picked up from time to time just to try out, as well as some acrylic yarns I bought in the early years. One bonus from this recording is that I managed to destash 2 items so far. :)

Something I have thought of doing for years and I finally took the plunge ... taking the TKGA Basics, Basics, Basics (Hand Knitting) course. My ultimate goal is to take the Master Hand Knitting Program.

After 3 months of piano lessons, one fact is confirmed -- I have absolutely no talent in music ... and I am pathetically bad at rhythm! LOL! But I also learn that one doesn't have to be a musical talent to enjoy playing. I enjoy the lessons, the practice at home, and also the fact that I am learning something new.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I'm in love!

Isn't it just lovely?
Closer look:
Yes, I'm totally in love with this ... maybe except one thing. The way it is knitted makes it really hard to try it on to see if the piece fits. Okay, I can thread the stitches onto a long piece of waste yarn and try it on ... but that's too much of a hassle with over 200 stitches. Given the way I swatched, ::fingers crossed:: it should be fine.

I guess it's time for button shopping. :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

09:01 Winter's Eve Socks

My first ever FO under a Democratic President! Too bad it's a pair of beaded girly socks, otherwise, I would send it to the President as his inauguration present! Every time I see him on tv, I can't help but feel the invisible but enormous weights on his shoulders. Knitting him a pair of socks may be the very least I can do. What do you think?

Okay, about my socks. I really really love this STR Mustang Sally colourway, which knitted up very blended, no pooling at all:
And the deep burgundy red resembles warm mulled red wine ... perfect for winter time. Pretty pretty pretty! I am hoping this would not fade as much as the other STR yarns.

At first, I wanted to avoid the tediousness of threading the beads before knitting, but upon more careful reading of the pattern, I discovered that this was a necessary step since the beads were all positioned between 2 stitches instead of on one. Talking about beads, 350 beads were required ... 175 for each sock. So, the finished socks are pretty top heavy.

There is a line of beads running along the front and back of the leg. The one on the back extends into half of the heel:
I can definitely feel the beads are there, though not to the extent of discomfort. Maybe now I have an excuse to shop for a pair of clogs? LOL!

Pattern: Winter's Eve designed by Sivia Harding for Socks That Rock Sock Club December 2006
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight
Needles: Crystal Palace bamboo dpns US1
Cast On: 01-01-2009
Cast Off: 01-21-2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

First Cardigan

It's Eunny Jang's Tangled Yoke Cardigan. Since it is the first sweater of the year, I took extra measures to make sure it would come out right. So, I swatched, and swatched, and swatched ... literally! This had to be the first for me ... 3 full size swatches (30 stitches x 36 rows) in 3 different needle sizes. All swatches washed and dried in the way the sweater-to-be would be handled. Measurements taken before and after the washes.

I am glad I did all these. Seriously.

The sizes of the pattern seem a bit odd to me. The smallest is 34" bust, then the next jumps to 38". I know for sure I can't squeeze into the smallest size, but the next size might be too big. I want a 36" bust.

The yarn I chose for the cardigan is Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool (Hooray for knitting from stash!). Thanks to Ravelry (again!), I knew this lovely yarn definitely blooms with the first wash.

Therefore the swatching, washing and measuring to find the right needle size to get the 36" bust. I am using US4 to make the 38" size.

And the yarn! Despite the quite frequent appearnaces of plant matters mingled in the wool, Silky Wool is lovely ... lovely ... and lovely:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

State of the Afghan

One more square down:
This is No.2 most challenging square after the sock square. You would think it was knitted in the round ... Wrong! Starting from the centre, it is knitted flat, increasing stitches at the four corners and then the cast off edge sewn to the cast on one. I can tell you that the last row before the garter-row edge was really crazy ... you can count the bobbles! LOL!

I think it's now time to look at the Great American Afghan tally:

17 squares completed
8 squares waiting to be done

Among the remaining 8, this one would be, well, has been actually, trouble:
I tried several times and just couldn't make it work. Most probably, I would drop this and make an intarsia "signature square".

Monday, January 12, 2009

How have you been doing so far?

Second week into 2009, I have been a bit underwhelmed by my knitting so far.

Though I did make some progress on the GAA, I haven't knitted a single stitch on the Unst Stole.

There are 2 sock projects on the needles. The beaded one (Winter's Eve) is coming along pretty well:
The colourway (Mustang Sally) turns out to be very beautiful. However, when the sock was on the feet, the beads seem to go crazy in whatever directions they fancy:
See? They are not aligned at all. Maybe it was my fault ... these are cheap beads I came across in Tuesday Morning a long time ago. Their sizes are irregular but they are definitely larger than 8/0. But I still like the sock so far.

Then, in the last week of 2008, I cast on the Snowflake Socks:
This is the nth attempt but when I tried to put it on, there was still a bit tight when going through the heel. I am wondering if I should going up another needle size (now it is US3) or add stitches ... or keep going. When I put the 2 socks together, they seem to be of the same size:
Why one doesn't fit as well?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I found my New Year Resolution

I decided it was time to be honest with oneself and face the stash situation head on! So, I've been taking crappy photos of my stash and inputting the data into Ravelry.

Knitting project content will resume after the above task is done.

Monday, January 05, 2009

The busiest square ever

The sock square was finished, finally:
Except the socks and the tassels, other details were lost. In the panel next to the socks, there are 3 heart patterns:
In the photos from the booklet, these were pretty obvious. So naturally, I thought I didn't follow the chart properly. This was one of the reasons I had to redo this square so many times. Finally, I decided that it was not me. I am thinking maybe I should use the lighter colour to embroider the hearts.

Then, there should be the word "SOCKS" all around the central panels:
Again, these are much more obvious in the booklet photos. Maybe it was because of the deep colour I am using.

But still, it is a lovely square. It was also named the No. 1 most challenging square. Only after having worked on it did I realize how true that is. After intensely knitting various types of projects for 4 years, sometimes I forgot how many different skills I have learned during the process. With this square, I felt like going through almost all the skills all over again.

For the socks:
-circular cast on (toe-up sock)
-knitting in the round (with dpns)
-make a stitch
-stranded knitting
-after-though heel
-bind off (alternate colours)
-k2tog, ssk, M1

For the square:
-provisional cast on
-flat knitting
-knitting in the round
-picking up stitches
-knitting from a chart

For the finishing:
-how to make tassels
-how to make twisted cords
-how to sew on appliqu├ęs
-embroidery (double knot)


Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Year 2009!

To start the new year, I'd like to thank you all for the support and kind comments in the past years. It is a wonderful thing that people from all corners of the world can share a common passion. So my one New Year wish is that we'd all be able to have satisfying experiences in our fibery adventures in the coming year.

My New Year's Day has been a great one. I finished my first pair of socks and started a beaded pattern for January's SKA Sockdown! I am not kidding ... I not only finished a pair of socks, but a fair isle pair:
I didn't have a penny with me when taking the photo, so I used the pin instead for scale. Aren't they cute? They were made with US00 dpns and 2-ply Wool Ease in 2 colours. They are part of a square for the GAA. As it turned out, the socks were easier to make than the square. I tried twice but was still not able to get the square right.

The SKA Sockdown challenge for January is beaded sock pattern. I happened to have one beaded sock kit in my stash:
It is the last Sock That Rock Club Kit I have. Not having knitted with the yarn for quite some time, it is a pleasant reminder of the STR beautiful colours. It was a fun pattern. But since I couldn't use the crochet hook method to put the beads (the holes of the beads are irregular ... and even the smallest steel hook I have couldn't pass through some of them), I had to thread them first ... this was the painful part.