Tuesday, July 31, 2007

of crushes and enduring love

It's funny, but I went through a period earlier in the year when I couldn't find anything, absolutely nothing, that I wanted to knit. Now I find myself facing the opposite dilemma. I'm distracted by the flood of new patterns that I want to knit. My mind is jumping all over the place and I can't decide where to start. First, the latest crush of the moment is this cute puffed sleeve sweater in the Japanese Richmore mag Vol 96, pictured below. This is still at the first flush of love at first sight, so I haven't matched it to any yarn in my stash yet.

Besides that, I've had skirts on my mind for more than a month now. If the crush lasts more than a month, it becomes an enduring love, right? The thing is I can't decide between the Show-off Ruffles Skirt pictured left below (I have Elspeth's skirt permanently bookmarked on Bloglines!) from Lace Style, the Leaf Hem Skirt from Knit1 pictured centre below and the Indigo Ripples Skirt pictured right below. I like them all, maybe the trick is to start one and knit the others later. Even so, which one first? And I have just the yarn for it in my stash, some forest green linen Katia Papiro yarn.

And of course there's the cute swingy and free Debbie Bliss cardigan from Vogue for which I also happen to have the perfect yarn in my stash. Some buttery soft Katia Missisippi, a cotton acrylic blend, in beige. The problem is, an aran weight cardigan, although in cotton, is too warm for my weather. What do you think? Should I just throw caution to the wind and go ahead and knit it just because I like it or be practical and adjust the pattern to something of smaller gauge, which I fear will not look as nice?

Then there are the adorable baby shoes and stuff from Garnstudio's babydrops archives that I want to knit, as soon as I sort out my leftover yarns. I have decided not to do the granny squares blanket because I cannot deal with the yarn ends so I'm moving on to Plan B which is to use up the yarn by crocheting a stripey blanket, which I have yet to start! By the way, there are new patterns at the pierrot/rakuten website. For crocheters, check out the general merchandise and motif links. I am eyeing a floppy brim hat under the cap and mittens link. And I just discovered this treasure trove of Debbie Bliss patterns on the Prima magazine website. I don't have any Debbie Bliss books so it's such a treat to finally get my hands on the baby shrug, grown-up shrug and ribbed baby jacket! Enjoy!

I was going to tell you my sewing woes too but I realise there's already too much information overload in the post so we'll leave the sewing for another day. And my next lace project, that too will have to wait until I have cast on and have some photos to show. If only I could knit in my sleep. I slept through 2 whole days of medical leave, knocked out by a combination of vicious bug and powerful medication. I slept fitfully, mostly dreaming about lost time that could have been used for knitting. I probably needed the sleep more than I needed to knit because I feel like I have been running on empty for a long time. So now re-charged with adequate sleep, let me tackle the knitting, but first, I have to go and talk to some of my ufos. Hmm, this post is so all over the place, I think I cannot be held accountable for anything here because I'm probably writing under the influence of amoxycillin, chlorpheniramine, biogesic and the innocent sounding dhasedyl syrup which is the one that knocks me out cold. ta-ta.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

my large rectangle shawl

I did finish it in time and wore it to my cousin's wedding last Saturday.

It all started on the Thursday night before my cousin's wedding. I draped the unfinished shawl round my shoulders and there and then I felt that I had to wear it on Saturday. At that point I still had a couple of repeats for the long edge and one short edge left to knit. I finished the long edge and turned the corner that night. Knit like crazy the next morning while my husband went and did all the ferrying and fetching of kids to and from school. Finished the knitting and grafted in a frenzy at mid-morning. Dunked it in some water and noted that the yarn bled. Squeezed out as much of the water as I could. Began to panic, seeing how wet and stretchy and shapeless the whole shawl had become and fearing that the soggy mess will not dry in time. Laid it out on my kids' old baby cot and started pinning like mad, haphazardly, without measuring and hardly any care for making sure the edges were nice and pointy. Turned on the electric fan, hoped for the best and went to pack for the trip. Oh, I haven't yet mentioned that the wedding was on Saturday but it's in Kuala Lumpur (a 300 + km drive away) and we were leaving by car on Friday at about 3 pm after my son got back from school. Turns out that the shawl dried in no time and around noon, I unpinned it, tried it on and was relieved to see that the length was perfect and despite the haphazard blocking, it didn't look half bad.
Pattern: Large rectangle shawl from Jane Sowerby's Victorian Lace Today
Yarn: Chinese HYX yarn, just a smidge over one ball
Needle size: 4 mm addis
Started: 11 March 2007 Completed: 20 July 2007


Here's an insider's peek of how great a hurry I was in: ugliest grafting ever shown on blogosphere! I confess, I wasn't grafting at all but simply sewing the stitches together like a crazed woman. Surprisingly, this ugly join doesn't bug me at all, not one bit. If it starts bugging me, I can simply snip off the yarn at the last few rows of that edging, rip out those last few rows, re-knit and re-graft. Why can't I simply unpick the grafting? Because I weaved in the yarn ends so well, I'm not sure that I can find them.

Anyway, my family, me and my shawl made it to KL and we had the best time hanging out with family on my mum's side. The wedding was beautiful and it was great to see everyone. I have been back since Sunday night. I am slowly catching up on blog reading beacuse I came back to a busy work week and it didn't help that while I was away, Bloglines went a little haywire and picked up over a thousand feeds.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

no more ridge!

Do you recall that I mentioned an odd raised ridge at the edging on my large rectangle shawl? Well I solved the mystery of the ridge when I picked up the shawl to continue the edging today. After 2 weeks of not working on the shawl, I forgot how I slipped the joining stitch, so I did it a different way and guess what? There's no ridge this time! I had been slipping the joining stitch wrongly, hence causing the ridge. It was plain old knitter error, not a design feature at all. I was so glad to discover how to rectify the ridge that I merrily ripped out the entire edging around all 3 sides and re-started. I won't have to worry anymore about blocking the edging flat. It lies so smooth and flat now. I was so excited that I had to photograph it immediately after only the first 2 repeats. The only snag is that I won't be able to complete this shawl in time to wear to my cousin's wedding on Saturday.

On to some hopefully more successful knitting. I have finished the back of my lime sorbet sweater.


I use the words, "hopefully more successful knitting" because I'm not sure if there's an error. When I was taking the photos, it occurred to me that one side of the shoulder looks shorter in height than the other, oops.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

sock resurrected

I once went for a meeting at a high security building (with x-ray scanners and metal detectors) carrying a bag full of knitting projects, with knitting needles. Needless to say, my bag with the offending needles was detained and had to sit in shame in a corner until my meeting was over. Ever since then I've had a bit of a phobia about knitting needles and x-ray machines. So when I was faced with the prospect of a 3 hour flight*, I went in search of a project to carry on board that wouldn't be at risk of confiscation. I found the perfect candidate while rummaging in my projects basket - my birch leaf sock on tiny bamboo sticks. I doubt that you'll remember my birch leaf sock. I started it many months ago and somewhere along the way I made a mistake which required ripping back. Of course rather than rip, I had buried it in my projects basket instead.

With nothing else to work on during the flight but the sock, it finally got frogged back to before heel shaping.

The first time when I tried to do the heel as instructed, I made a mess and simply reverted to my trusty Ann Budd heel instructions. This time, since I had already ripped all the way back, I thought I might as well give the birch leaf heel another try, and it worked fine. I think the reason it didn't work earlier was because I wasn't expecting the heel to look like this, so I kept thinking that there was a mistake in the pattern.

It's a whatchamaycallit heel (I am too lazy to google and find its proper name) that fits much better than it looks. What I'm trying to say is, although it looks rather ill-fitting, it is actually very comfortable. Anyway, I am so glad I finished this sock because it was giving me 'sock knitblock'. I was stuck in a sock rut. I didn't want to work on ripping it but I also felt bad about starting another sock. As a result, I didn't knit any socks for March, April, May or June. Let's see whether I'll finish a pair for July.

*Are you curious about my 3 hour flight? I went to Hong Kong and met up with Siow Chin and Maryann for lunch :)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

cloche

After telling you that I was going to carry on with the spiral version, I went and did the exact opposite. I ripped and re-started the hat one more time and ended up with a join that looks just like my first attempt. Do you ever do things like this? I do this all the time and then after that, I feel so silly for behaving like a drama queen, so much ado over nothing. I could have saved myself a lot of time too, if I hadn't kept ripping and ripping.
I really, really like this cloche. I will even forgive its unsightly seam. You can catch a glimpse of the seam below. I'll just wear the seam at the back and forget that it's there. It's the first time that my head doesn't look ugly in a hat.
I was too lazy to crochet a flower so I added this ribbon with a flower instead. Not that I will ever wear this cloche with this ribbon, it's a bit too much for the real-life me. What I would really like is to add a broad band of chocolate brown velvet ribbon.
Pattern: Japanese crochet booklet ISBN 4-529-04296-0
Yarn: cleckheaton merino supreme, 2 plus balls
Crochet hook size: Japanese 7/0

I noticed something strange with the comments in my old posts. Many comments became anonymous although I'm sure they were not anonymous to begin with. And some comments have been deleted by blog administrator - who is that? Is it me? I don't remember deleting any comments. But I had a lot of fun, re-reading the old comments, you are all so funny!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Not a quick project

I am taking a break from the rectangle shawl edging. I frogged the twisted corner and re-knitted it and it's fine now. But then I got a bit tired of it. So I dug out an old project and completed the handle of this bag. I don't know why I've been putting it off because it took only about 10 minutes. The next task is to line the bag but I'm not in the mood for sewing the lining. Part of the reason is that I am not sure that the Amy Butler fabric that I selected earlier co-ordinates that well. The other reason is that I need to measure the bag and draw up my own lining dimensions and I don't feel up to doing the simple math right now.

So, feeling in the mood for a quick project, I decided to crochet the cloche that I posted about way back in January. Of course in my case, there is never such a thing as a quick project. The white chenille that I was planning to use is too soft for the pattern and I forgot that the last time I knitted with it, I almost went blind trying to see the stitches. Note to self - remember to stay away from chenille in the lys, no matter how soft it is. So I substituted with some cleckheaton wool from the stash. My gauge is a little bigger than specified in the pattern, but that's going to work because I have a big head and most hat patterns tend to be too small for me anyway. So where's the problem? It lies in the join from one row to another. In the first attempt (the bottom wip in the photo below), the join was nicely lined up but glaringly obvious. In my second attempt (top wip), it was doing this crazy spiral.

After more ripping and re-crocheting this is what I have now. I am too tired and frustrated to try anymore, so this will have to do. I am just going to crochet on. Maybe that was the reason that the design used a boucle yarn - to hide the ugly join. Note to self - beware of knitting single crochet in the round again. I hope you had a more productive weekend than mine.