Friday, September 29, 2006

starting on my knit list

Thanks for the compliments on the crochet vest, and for telling me that crochet is back in style. Maybe I can crochet a few more cardigans before it goes back out of style. By the way, I liked the vest so much that I wore it again the next day (without washing) to have lunch with a friend. My daughter was a little horrified because in our tropical weather, we wash our clothes daily!

My camera finally made it to the service centre. The settings have been adjusted and I'm so glad it's fixed, because I have become quite attached to it. Here's the lace shrug that I started, the first item on the knit list from my previous post.

I used a crochet provisional cast on (the pink yarn at the bottom of the photo) as it is knit from the centre of the back to the sleeve, on either side of the cast on. First time I'm knitting with this bouncy Rowan 4 ply soft and I like it. It doesn't pill or fuzz as I knit. I hope it washes and wears well too. Initially, I was using my mum's old Aero straight needles size 7 (4.2mm). I have since transferred the knitting onto a new pair of Clover circular aluminium needles and my knitting is zipping along much more quickly. Straight needles slow me down considerably because they are longer and heavier and I knit more clumsily with them. It is probably due to the way I hold my needles. My knitted dimensions are smaller than that shown in the pattern, but I should be able to block it to size. I have only 3 balls of this yarn and it may turn out to be another close shave.

Here's the cashcotton 4 ply that I bought to knit a cropped cardi, item no.2 on my knit list. I don't know what the colour is called because the yarn packs here come with colour numbers instead of names. I can't wait to start this! But I may actually have to finish something first, because I am running out of needles.

Monday, September 25, 2006

vests, shrugs and boleros

Some of you were asking about the crochet vest pattern. It's from a Japanese magazine called "Richmore Best Eyes Collection" Vol 92 (spring summer 06). I can't find an online source for it, and strangely, the publication does not seem to have an ISBN number.

Yarn: Kid silk merino, exactly 3 balls
Crochet hook: Japanese size 4/0
Pattern: Richmore 92
Start date: 13 September 06
Completion date: 22 September 06

I wore it out on Sunday layered over a camisole T-shirt, below.
Now that I have worn this vest, I'm thinking that I would like to wear little, cropped or short sleeved shrugs, cardigans and boleros after all.
  • I have started a lacey white shrug and
  • I bought yarn for a cropped cardi and
  • I have the perfect yarn in the stash for a bolero from Sarah Dallas' Vintage Knits .
Let's see if any of these gets done. The last time I posted a wish list, I managed to get one done - the last one - the wavy tank which turned into my Autumn leaves sweater.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

crochet vest blocking

I had to re-do the 2 front pieces of the crochet vest because one armhole was a few stitches too short. It was a good thing to re-do anyway, as my gauge was too loose the first time. The loose stitches were gobbling up more yarn than I had. In the end, I used up every single bit of yarn, leaving only a tiny pile of yarn ends after weaving in.

It is now blocking on my kids' old baby cot. This is the first time I am patiently blocking my knitting. Most times I either have a fan blowing away or I am aiming my hair dryer at it. So while I wait for it to dry, I'll think about what I can wear it with, hopefully, without looking like I stepped out of the pages of a seventies magazine.

I had to show you so many views because I was so amazed at how blocking transformed the lumpy vest. I was rather despondent last night when I finished it because it was very sad looking. This morning, I wet blocked it with a whole box of pins and it looks better now, much to my relief. I had to wing a couple of bits here and there as I couldn't quite figure out what I was supposed to do by simply looking at the chart, but the winged bits are acceptable, not that glaring. Here's a close up of the front.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Prgoress pictures

I started another crochet project last week. The yarn is a silk-merino yarn that Mimi gave me. It is very soft and lofty, reminds me of RY cashcotton, and has an additional sheen from the silk, which makes it one of the most gorgeous yarns I have come across. The construction of this crochet vest is quite unusual. I remembered to take photos along the way so that I can show you how this project comes together. I started by crocheting a long piece from armhole across the bottom of the back up to armhole again.

Next I crocheted up from back of the waist, working all the way to the top of the back.

Then I started crocheting an edging around the bottom, starting from the middle and working up on either side of each armhole to create the left front and right front. That will leave only the shoulders to seam. Interesting construction, isn't it?

The edging is the part I like best. Hmm, good thing I took this close-up photo because peering at it, I just noticed an error in the last 2 rows! I like to crochet and it always seems faster for me than knitting, but if there's an error, crochet cannot be remedied simply by dropping stitches down and fixing the errant stitch. If there is an error in crochet, there's no other way but to rip all the way back and re-do. So thank goodness I spotted this mistake before I got too far. Note to self: remember to take a good look every few rows.

I have been wanting to crochet this vest for the longest time, but never got round to starting. I'm glad I finally started it. Now, what next to cast on?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Last week was my kids' mid-semester break. We went on a little weekend getaway to the island of Bintan. Stayed at a villa (the photo above is the view from the ground floor patio) on the banks of a lotus pond, a stone's throw from the sandy beach, with access to resort facilities including a sprawling pool where my kids swam all day and a kids' club where they learnt T-shirt painting during a lunchtime monsoon drizzle.

During the getaway, I managed to crochet this lumpy thing (above). Doesn't it look so ugly at the moment? Hopefully, some serious blocking will flatten those bumps and turn it into a bag like this (below).

Came back to the same old hectic, but it was so good to be able to take a break from it all.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

armholes, alpaca & additions to the knitting library

I have a small hill* of fabric and I signed up for the one yard fabric swap.
*phrase borrowed from Mimi

The princess sweater has reached armhole shaping and since I knitted the body in the round, I am wondering whether to knit the raglan sleeves with the body in the round too. Do you have any advice for me on this? That requires adjusting the pattern, so I set it aside for the time being. This is the third project I have put aside when it got to armhole shaping. I will tackle armholes when I get my slower pace of life back.

Meanwhile, I’m still working on my print o’ wave. It goes everywhere with me because it’s so easy to knit a bit here and there, no shaping required. But the little voice in my head keeps buzzing when I look at it. It is more scrunched up than other print o’ waves I've seen in blogland before blocking (see photo above). I'm not sure if it is a cause for concern. The pattern calls for 34 pattern repeats and the cobweb weight yarn version should block out to 60 inches length (including the edging). It is now 13 repeats and measures about 13 inches.

If you look at the second photo, the alpaca seems to have some super stretching ability when I pull it lengthwise. I am sure that I can pin it out a little longer. I am reluctant to block it now because I still have the edging to knit and blocking it now may mess things up when I knit the edging. I am wondering whether I should knit more repeats. I don't want to end up with a shawl the size of a hand towel.

By the way, my sewing/knitting library just grew by 3.5 inches. Chose the sepia option for the photo so that I won't have to bother about the colour settings. The September issue of Marie Claire Idees is so fabulous, I want to live in the pages of the magazine. It has the cutest idea for i-cords - as shoe laces knitted in different colours every few rows. Knit some for the kids or even for yourself. I love the fall Japanese knitting magazines, there are so many designs that are perfect for the yarns in my stash. All I have to do is find the time to knit!

Monday, September 04, 2006

mission accomplished

My sewing always meets with numerous mishaps along the way but usually I'm so tired and relieved by the time I'm done that I don't have the energy to re-count the mishaps to you. This time was no exception. I will once again spare you the boring blow by blow account of what went wrong.

I managed to sew 5 bags and a book cover for a teacher whom we think would not want a bag. I only have bad photos of 4 of the bags to show you. The photos of the other bag and book cover are too bad to show.

I normally tell you that my FOs look better in photos than in real life. This time I must assure you that the bags are honestly much better looking in real life. Now you can see that my camera is not working properly, the colour is all off and nothing is focussed.