Thursday, November 29, 2012

Squares in Variation 方块块

I'm still here and still posting pictures. If you are like me, mostly need to post knitting (or fiber) pictures, and those pictures are on Ravelry anyway, it's much easier to upload them on Ravelry first and copy the URL to Blogger. To copy, go to your project page, click on the small picture to bring up the biggie version, then cursor over the big picture, right mouse click, click on "Copy image URL", then paste that into "From a URL" when you insert picture to a blog post. This gets around the storage limit problem, and you don't have to upload the same picture twice.

Project: Squares in Variation
Pattern: Chameleon Scarf by Lorilee Beltman, Interweave Knits Spring 2008
Yarn: Odds and ends of Noro and hand dyed yarns
Yardage: A big bag
Needles: Size 6 and 8
Cast on: November 12, 2012
Notes: This is a Christmas gift for my son's music teacher. It's going to be colorful and playful, I think it suits her charming personality. The squares are done on five double point needles, casting on from the outside edge, decrease every other row till there are six stitches on each needle, cast off. Very simple and straight forward, except for the cast on is a bit of a challenge, and you have to do that many times. I have less than three weeks to finish it, think I can manage?

Happy Fiber Arts Friday! Join the party on Andrea's blog and leave me a comment! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Le Bouquet Finale 紫藤花

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends!

When I tried to upload the picture today, Blogger harshly told me I was out of storage space (1GB). I had to delete some old pictures so there is enough room for today's entry, but this is not going to last. I'm not entirely happy with Blogger so I'm not about to pay for the extra space. Time to move on to greener pasture. Most likely I will move to WordPress, but if you have other ideas, do share. 

ProjectLe Bouquet Stole 紫藤花
PatternLe Bouquet Stole, designed by Denise, published in Accessories: Autumne 2012
Yarn: Newton's Yarn Country Cashmere Merino (DK weight)
Yardage: 320 yards
Hook: Size G
Cast on: November 1, 2012
Cast off: November 12, 2012
Previous entry: eBook review
Notes: This was quick and easy once I decided on the stitch pattern. I used one row in Denise's pattern, and just repeated that back and forth, until the end of the skein. I didn't want to make it too long since it will be sent to a young girl.

Happy (black) Friday! Join the party on Andrea's blogTami's blog, and leave me a comment! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Starfish Shawl Finale

Winner for last week's eBook giveaway is SaRi from Ravelry. Sabine, Denise will get in touch with you and send you the free eBook.

Two sections on top

Three sections on top

Project:  Starfish Shawl 海星
Pattern:  Starfish Shawl by Norah Gaughan, published in Knitting Nature
Yarn:  West Valley Alpacas Classic DK yarn
Yardage:  2472 yards in stash, used less than 1500 yards
Needles: Size 7
Cast on: September 4, 2012
Cast off: November 1, 2012
Cost: About $35
Previous entries: Cast on, twisted, progress, more progress, yet more progress, almost done 
Notes: My friend Jocelyn, let me "borrow" her gorgeous ballerina daughter to model my shawl, so I can properly show you how the shawl looks. With the five sections, the arm slits divides them into two sections together and three sections together. When you have the two sections on top, most of the weight is on the bottom and the top part is more like a shawl collar. With three sections on top, there is enough fabric to make a hood, and the body is much less weighty. I'm a bit surprised it took me only two months to knit the entire shawl, because in the beginning it felt like an eternity to cast on 730 stitches!

Happy Friday! Join the party on Andrea's blogTami's blog, and leave me a comment! 

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Art of Crochet, Book Review, Giveaway

I have been a knitter for a long time, and in recent years, a very devoted one. My mom taught me to knit when I was a small child. Around the same time, she taught me to crochet, embroider, finger weave to make cup holders, and assorted other handy crafts. In those days crochet meant steel hooks with thin white cotton thread, to make anything from doilies to table clothes. Most of the time it was fillet crochet. I have this vivid memory of an older girl (probably high school) leaning on the door frame, chatting with her girlfriend, fingers flying away, and the finished part of the table cloth tucked under her arm. The shiny hook and white thread was a blur.

When I was about six, my mom had some friends over. Her friend's daughter was a wimpy toddler, cried all the time, but since I was older I had the task of entertaining her. When she started screaming again I picked her up, with her back to my chest, carried her and ran to her mother. It was no more than 10 yards, but the little girl screamed and screamed, I couldn't wait to dump her off. Later my mom's friend, through my mom, complained that I scratched the little girls back till it bled. Turned out I had my steel hook in my shirt pocket, with the hook end up.

I rarely touched a crochet hook after that. Knitting needles were much safer.

But my fascination with crochet never stopped. When my blog friend Denise of Voie de Vie's fame asked me to be part of her book review tour, I accepted with great delight. If you are not familiar with Denise's blog, it's choke-full of beautiful photography and wonderful crochet projects.

Denise's new eBook, Accessories: Autumne 2012 is a collection of five patterns, both knit and crochet. As always, the photography is fantastic. You know sometimes you want to buy a book just to look at it? This is one of them. Even if you don't make anything from the book, you want to keep flipping through it, just to look at the pictures.

My favorite pattern in this book is Le Bouquet Stole. I like it so much I'm making it (or rather sort of my version of it), more about that later. The stitch pattern is so pretty, and the shaping is very unique. Enveloped Cowl is adorable and stylish at the same time. It can be a must have piece in your wardrobe that follows you everywhere, day or evening. Rustically Elegant Shoulder Warmer is mouthful of a name, but look at that cute model. I'd make it with less bulk on the neck, but if you have a long neck and thin upper body to pull it off, this would look great and keep you very warm. Slouching Towards Tassels Cap is interestingly shaped, and Denise provides lovely illustrated instruction on how to make tassels that you can use on any project. The Piaf Scarf is the only knitting pattern in the book. I'm not a big fan of heavy scarves, but the stitch pattern for this scarf is very simple and this should make a very easy, very quick holiday gift knitting.

Accessories: Autumne 2012 is available on Ravelry for $14.99. I'm giving away a copy to one of the commenters on this post. Some simple rules for the giveaway:

1. One entry per person. You can leave multiple comments, but they count as one entry.
2. Please leave your Ravelry ID or email address.
3. Entry starts as soon as this post is published and ends Thursday November 15 noon Pacific time.
4. I will post the winner's name in next Friday's entry, and Denise will send out the eBook to the winner directly.
5. Only comments on this blog entry counts, so if you commented on my Facebook page or Ravelry posts, please comment here as well. The only exception is for my friends in China who may not be able to access Blogger, in which case I will accept Ravelry comments.

Now my project.

Project: Le Bouquet Stole 紫藤花
PatternLe Bouquet Stole, designed by Denise, published in Accessories: Autumne 2012
Yarn: Newton's Yarn Country Cashmere Merino (DK weight)
Yardage: 1280 yards in stash
Hook: Size G
Cast on: November 1, 2012
Notes: I had a lot of trouble understanding the stitch pattern since I'm not used to reading crochet instructions. I played with different combinations of twists, and in the end decided to only use the stitch pattern in the set up row (roughly). So far it looks ok, and I'm sure if I just keep at it long enough it will become a scarf. The yarn is a little brighter in real life, a very pretty lavender. the Chinese name, 紫藤花 means wisteria.

Happy Fiber Arts Friday! Join the party on Andrea's blog and leave me a comment! 

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Starfish Getting Close; Pupdate

The hole in the middle of Starfish shawl is getting smaller and smaller. Not surprisingly, once the lace pattern was done and the stitch count per round became more manageable (remember it started at 730 stitches at cast on), it felt like I was making leaps and bounds progress every night. You will see the finished shawl in couple of weeks. 

Emma puppy turned five months old on Thursday. She's growing taller and longer. She picks on her poor brother mercilessly. Rascal can't keep up with her speed and vigor sometimes, but if she's locked in her crate he'd bark at her, "Come out and play!" Siblings, sigh.

Emma got a bath the other day, she didn't like it.

Aren't we sweet together?

We get along when we are awake too.
Happy Fiber Arts Friday! Join the party on Andrea's blog and leave me a comment!