Thursday, December 26, 2013

2013 In Knit View

I can't believe I finished 15 projects in 2013, time to pat self on the back. Usually I would lay them all on the floor for a group picture, but this year most of the items are either not for myself or have been gifted, so a nice photo collage would do.

The project details and links on Ravelry:

1. Grand Teton Shawl, knitted for Green Planet Yarn, finished January 6.
2. Emma's Lady E Sweater, finished January 14
3. Shark Hat for my friend Jenna, finished January 22

4. Indigo, shop model for Green Planet Yarn, finished February 16
5. Stripes and Braids, gifted to Andrea, finished February 24
6. Ten Stitch Scarf, finished February 26

7. Ola My Man, hat for my husband and modeled by my son, finished March 8
8. Nightsongs, finished April 14
9. Ginkgo Crescent, finished May 2

10. Liesl, shop model for Green Planet Yarn, finished May 22
11. Snow White in June, shop model for Green Planet Yarn, finished August 3
12. Burly Spun Hat, shop model for Green Planet Yarn, finished August 6

13. Green Planet Scarf 1, gifted, finished in October
14. Stripe One, gifted to Kathryn, finished in November
15. Firelight, finished December 8

It's been a great year knitting with you my friends, hope you are enjoying the holidays with your loved ones and maybe some extra knitting time. Now join the party on Andrea 's blog and Tami's blog, watch 'em needles aclickin'!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Firelight Finale

Last week's scarf is going to Kathryn who blogs at Kathryn's Brain. I hope it will keep Kathryn nice and warm while she tends to the alpacas in the snow.

Project:  Firelight 火光
Pattern Firelight, by Agnes Kutas-Kereztes, Knitty Winter 2011
Yarn:  Peruvian Wonders Fine Alpaca, 80% alpaca, 20% wool, from Peru
Yardage:  about 1092 yards in stash, used almost all
Needles: Size 3 & 6
Cast onAugust 7, 2013
Cast off: December 8, 2013
Cost: About $30
Previous entries: here and here
Notes: The first picture is closer to the true color. I had such a strong desire to use up all or at least most of the yarn, I decided there will be sleeves (the pattern is for a vest). Lesson learned, it takes a long time to knit a cable sweater in sport weight yarn, and it takes even longer if you don't have a pattern to follow. The sleeves ended up different sizes because I forgot to change to larger needle on the first one. I decided my right arm will be happier with a larger sleeve. Maybe some later day I will redo the sleeves but for now I declare the sweater is done.

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

Friday, December 06, 2013

Giveaway: Stripe One

I'm giving away this scarf! It's one of those projects that I keep in the car and knit on it at random times, so there is no specific design or anything, just two yarns in garter stitch, two rows of each color. The yarns are mostly wool or wool blend, the gray fuzz is a mohair blend.

Leave a comment if you want to be part of the drawing. Entry closes at noon next Thursday, December 12, PST.

Happy Friday! Do check out Andrea's blog and Tami's blog for other fantastic fiber adventures.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What I Do on Thursday Night

I used to do my Fiber Arts Friday blog on Thursday night, so by the time my friends in earlier time zones are ready for some fiber filled reading, my entry is there waiting for them. But since school started, my Thursday evenings are spent watching these folks:

High school marching band is pretty exhausting business if you ask me, and I'm just watching from the sideline. These kids learn their marching music in music class and do marching related work outs in PE. Every Wednesday morning they meet at 7am for field practice; every Thursday night they practice on the football field for almost four hours; Friday night is either more practice or perform at football game; Saturday is either a full day practice or competition. We are about half way through the season, one competition down, three more to go, with the last competition in southern California -- a full weekend affair.

So there you see, I have been busy during my regularly scheduled blogging time.

While we are here, let me show you my latest yarn acquisition.

Two skeins of ever so gorgeous Tosh Merino Light, waiting to become Deep Sea Wanderer.

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

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Green Planet Scarf Finale

Project:  Green Planet Scarf
Pattern None, it's a stockinette strip
Yarn:  Odds and ends from Green Planet Yarn, primarily natural fibers (wool, alpaca, silk, cotton)
Yardage:  No idea, but it's a few weeks worth of ends
Needles: Size 8
Cast on: Not recorded
Cast off: October, 2013
Cost: None
Notes: At Green Planet Yarn when customers buy yarn in skeins, the winding service is free. All the ties and odds and ends come off the skein go into a bag. Every few weeks I take this bag home, pick out the longer, prettier pieces, tie them together and make a magic ball. This scarf is the result of one of these magic balls. It's certainly one of a kind. I plan to give it away, so if you want it, raise your hand.

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

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Winner; Firelight Progress

Last week's Lit Knit giveaway winner is Karen (otagogirl) from Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand. How appropriate! Because Audry's family is from New Zealand. Karen, Audry will get in touch with you on Ravelry to send you the eBook.

Labor Day weekend we went to the annual King's Mountain Art Fair, and visited my friend Diane (Schafenfreude Fibers). Diane spins on this very old wheel from Canada (something like over 200 years old), and there are always curious kids (and adults) watching her in action.

The Firelight is marching along nicely. I have almost 14 inches done on the body (in the round) and just started the third ball (I have 6 balls). Looks like I may have enough yarn for some sleeves. We will see.

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

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Lit Knit by Audry Nicklin - GIVEAWAY

When I was in second grade I won a writing competition in our school district, and the award was a paperback of Grimm Brothers fairy tale collection translated into Chinese. I finished the book in a day, and read it over and over in the following months and years, till it fell apart. It was my first contact with western literature.

I learned English in school (grammars, vocabulary, lots of studying for tests), and read the "fun" books on my own -- Tom Sawyer (elementary school), Treasure Island (middle school), Jane Austin (high school), Shakespeare (college). Lots of books were in Chinese, and lots more in English, some were read in both languages so I could compare the translations. After Henry was born, I caught up on traditional children's books with him, from Good Night Moon, to Captain Nemo.

So when Audry told me about her idea of designing knitting patterns from classic children's books, I was intrigued. For those who don't know, Audry Nicklin, design name and Ravelry name Bear Ears, was the designer of popular pattern Celectarium, published by Twist Collective. During the past few months I have seen different versions of test knitting done by Green Planet Yarn staffers and Audry's friends. I couldn't wait to see the book in its full glory.

Now here it is. I was one of the first lucky ones to see the print version. Audry put in meticulous work in every aspect of the book, from every chart, every picture, every diagram, to the overall design and print quality. Audry has the intuitive understanding of great literature, the artistic eye for visual and physical designs, technical skills in photography, not to mention maturity and self discipline for execution. Knitting world should watch out for the next Ysolda Teague, Cookie A., Susanna IC, Stephen West, Jared Flood, because she's coming, and her name is Audry Nicklin.

A few important links about the book:
1. To preorder the book, $24.95 for print book + eBook (available only until Sept 25), or $18.95 for eBook, on Audry's site, Lit Knits
2. Audry's blog, Bear Ears, where you can find lots of back stories about how the book was made
3. Lit Knits patterns on Ravelry, where you can purchase patterns individually

A run down of the patterns:

Down The Rabbit Hole. Inspired by Aice in Wonderland, stranded mittens with bunny on the back of right hand and clock in the palm of the left.

Brinker, look at those skate tracks! I wasn't familiar with the book (Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates), but once I got the idea, I have to admire how Audry came up with the stitch pattern to illustrate the skate tracks. Be sure to go to her blog to see the video of her photo shoot in the snow.

Deep Sea Wonderer. Can you imagine Captain Nemo wearing this cowl under the sea? I love the stitch pattern for the seaweed, might just have to do something with it!

Tomfoolery. Two toned scarf to honor Tom Sawyer's fence painting (or rather, Tom Sawyer's outsourced fence painting) adventure. A very unique idea for a simple project, every boy, or girl, should have one of these.

Black Beauty Rides On. The name of the pattern says it all. The recommended yarn, Frog Tree Pediboo, is the same as what I used for Snow White cardigan, only I used the worsted weight version for the sweater.

Sail to Treasure Island. This is one of my favorite patterns in the book, a square blanket knitted center out, with lots of cables and lace. The charted pattern is for a quarter of the blanket, so it can be easily converted to a triangle shawl by knitting one or two or three sections (I guess three sections wouldn't make a triangle, but you get the idea).

Robin Hoodie. My favorite! And it's full of cables! I think it's more than just my favorite, that's why it's on the cover of the book. This is a must-make for me. It's square and comfy, should keep me nice and warm on the coldest days of California winter, especially with the hood and I'm not usually a hoodie kind of person.

Avonlea, what a sweet shawl that fits a girl's imagination. If I have a daughter this is what I want her to look like.

Motoring Madness. Have I mentioned I love cables? These irregular cables catch my eyes and I might just have to make a pair.

Behind the Garden Wall. I need two pictures for this pattern because I have to show you the hidden key on the bottom of the foot. If a designer thinks about the bottom of your foot, she really has thought of everything. Now if you make these, make sure you have a pair of good slip on shoes, because you will want to lift your foot up in the middle of a conversation and say "Have I showed you my hidden key?"

1. Leave a message on this post and tell me what's your favorite pattern in this book
2. If I don't know you already, be sure to leave your Ravelry name or email
3. Comment closes Thursday September 12, noon PST
4. I will draw a name and Audry will be in touch with you for a copy of the eBook and winner will be announced in next week's blog post
5. Hop over to My Sister's Knitter on Sept 8 for the next stop of Lit Knit blog tour!

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

Thursday, August 29, 2013

New Project: Firelight 火光 And GIVEAWAY Alert!

This is closer to the true color of the yarn

Project:  Firelight 火光
Pattern Firelight, by Agnes Kutas-Kereztes, Knitty Winter 2011
Yarn:  Peruvia Wonders Fine Alpaca, 80% alpaca, 20% wool, from Peru
Yardage:  about 1092 yards in stash
Needles: Size 3 & 5
Cast on: August 7, 2013
Notes: It's been awhile since I knitted a garment for myself, and this little vest seems to be a good "come back to me" start. I've had this yarn for a few years. There is no yardage on the label, and it's not quite enough for a sweater or shawl. I estimate it's about sports weight, and compare with other sports weight yarns, it would come to about 1000 yards. The vest is designed to show firelight and smoke with cables, yarn overs and twisted stitches. It's knitted bottom up in the round with slight waist shaping. I'm done with the fire part, the rest is a simple cable all the way up.

Coming up next week -- Giveaway alert! Remember my friend Audry Nicklin (design name Bear Ears) who designed the super cool Celestarium shawl which was displayed in the Blue Moon Fiber Booth at Stitches West? I met Audry at Green Planet Yarn, and she quit the job soon after I started to work on The Book. Over the next few months I followed the progress of The Book on her blog. I'm proud to say that The Book, Lit Knits, is now available for preorder. Next week I will review the book and GIVEAWAY a copy of the eBook. Stay tuned!

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

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Burly Spun Hat 粗针粗线

Project:  Burly Spun Hat
Pattern Burly Spun Hat, designed by Lorna Miser, published by Brown Sheep
Yarn:  Brown Sheep Burly Spun, super bulky weight, 100% wool
Yardage:  The yarn comes in 8oz skein, 132 yards, this hat used right about half a skein, the ball in the 2nd picture is what's left.
Needles: Size 11
Cast onJuly 21, 2013
Cast off: August 6, 2013
Cost: None
Notes: This is for a class I'm putting together at Green Planet Yarn. It's a quick project that students can learn to do cable, pick up stitches and decrease for the crown. One skein makes two medium size hats, and it'll be a good holiday project that people can make for multiple recipients. 

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

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Snow White Finale

Project:  Snow White in June 六月雪
Pattern June's Favorite Cardigan by Hannah Fettig
Yarn:  Frog Tree Pediboo Worsted, 80% Merino 20% Bamboo
Yardage:  9 skeins, 1638 yards in stash, used 8.5 skeins, 1547 yards
Needles: Size 8
Cast onJune 1, 2013
Cast off: August 3, 2013
Cost: None
Previous entry: here and here
Notes: This is a shop model for Green Planet Yarn, and in the last picture it's proudly displayed behind the counter at the shop. It took longer than planned but came out quite nice. The cardigan is designed to be worn open in the front, with 5 or 6 inches gap between the fronts. The yarn is new at the shop, an easy care (machine washable) wool blend in a large range of colors. The body is knitted in one piece bottom up to the armhole, and sleeves are knitted in the round, then the pieces are connected together, decreased to the collar. The cable band is knitted with the body and sewn together on the back of the neck. There are 14 stitches on each side of the underarm that I grafted (proudly), but probably no one will ever notice!

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

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Vacation Wrap up

We have been back from our Oregon trip for a few days, still catching up on laundry, (why is there always laundry? I even did a load in the hotel!) so everything still feels pretty fresh and new. The second half of the trip turned out to be mostly visiting college campuses. Henry is heading into high school, but he has been following college sports for years and knows exactly what schools he wants to see, namely, Oregon State University in Corvallis and University of Oregon in Eugene.

Henry the future beaver in the brand new basketball gym
Henry (on the 2nd floor) in UO business school
The loot, book from Powell's, yarn from Pearl Fiber Arts
How interesting some of you mentioned Portlandia in last week's comments. I have seen a few episodes of the show (Henry too), and really enjoyed it. I wanted to visit Portland, because it's the city of bikes and public transit, fresh organic local foods and free spirited Portlandias unpolluted by the corporate national retail chains, not to mention all the yarn shops. It'd only be fitting for me to plan a trip that takes me there on the train, and we'd find a little place to stay through AirBnB, maybe someone's backyard cottage, or a garage converted into tiny apartment; we'd get around town on bikes or buses; we'd shop in the local farmer's market or eat at the food carts. I wanted to support startups, small business, local economy, and do everything to avoid big boxes and corporate chains.

Best laid plans.

Searching for a place to stay for two people that are not a couple is a bit of a chore, and it's nearly impossible on AirBnB. I had to look at each posting and click on the pictures to see if there is a fold out sofabed or cot or some other alternative arrangement. If I search for accommodation for three people I end up with a family size apartment that's way over my budget. Occasionally there are places with the right arrangement, but the place may not be available for all the dates, or the owner looks like a gansta or spacey hippie that hasn't logged in the site for a few days. Do I really want to stay on their property?

So I went back to the familiar. On Expedia,,, every hotel has a two-queen-bed standard room, and an 800 number I can call any time. Yeah, the rates are pretty good too.

And then there is the train. According to Amtrak website, for the two of us, round trip between San Jose and Portland, with a roomette, it'd set me back close to $1000. A rental car costs less than $200. The Chevy Impala we got was a gas guzzler at 25 mpg, after 1600 miles the total gas expense was less than $250. A lot of things we did, like going to the coast and visiting the campuses, we wouldn't have done without a car. We were very glad to have the options.

As for the farm fresh organic food, we hit quite a few food carts. I used an app, CartCompass, to find the nearest pod, then it switches to Google Maps for the directions. The food can be a hit and miss as well as seating, and it's outdoors of course. After a few days I caved and let Henry hit Subways and other familiar places, since I really needed Starbucks some afternoons to stay upright and alert. You can't beat the AC, a nice cool place to sit down while charging my phone, and free wifi so we can research our next destination.

We really enjoyed our trip, but sometimes I wonder if it's reasonable for me to insist on "doing it right", and why it's so hard to "do it right". After my years in bay area, I might have become one of the suburban car-centric Americans that can't live without supermarkets, coffee shops, and 24x7 customer service.

While we were on the road, my husband got a call one morning and was informed his position was eliminated, in fact, his entire group was disbanded. Six hours later on the same day he received an offer from a group he had been talking to (in the same company) with a job offer. I was happy to be away for those few hours and avoided all the drama. We are all extremely pleased the world worked its own magic.

A few days before we left Henry's transfer to a new high school was finalized after couple of weeks of intense negotiations. It's been a roller-coaster 8th grade year, especially the last few weeks. In the new school Henry will have a chance to enjoy playing music, continue to pursue his academic interests, start learning Chinese, and may even join the basketball team. This freshman will have a nice fresh start indeed.

If you are still reading this far, have a Happy Friday! Join the party on Andrea's blog, and leave me a comment!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Blogging on the Run

Henry and I are traveling in Oregon this week. Many new sights and we are thoroughly enjoying the change of scenery. With a teenager in tow, I'm not visiting as many yarn shops as I would like, but here are some random pictures. Lots more on Facebook, find me there!

The Websters in Ashland. We got in town late and the shop was closed.

The picture above is a very large scale yarn bombing/art installation project in Portland. More information and lots more pictures can be found on this blog. They will put up more pieces in the next few days, and I'm going to see if I can catch a few more glimpse before leaving town.

Powell's bookstore not only has a huge knitting section, they even sell yarn!
Can't agree more with this stash philosophy

I brought Tilly with me as my travel knitting, imagine my nice little surprise to see Tillie the Tillamook mascot when we visited the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Then again I thought she was a little lam :D

The gorgeous Oregon coast
Happy Friday! Join the party on Andrea's blog, and leave me a comment!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Snow White Progress; Wingspan

Project:  Snow White in June 六月雪
Pattern June's Favorite Cardigan by Hannah Fettig
Yarn:  Frog Tree Pediboo Worsted, 80% Merino 20% Bamboo
Yardage:  9 skeins, 1638 yards in stash
Needles: Size 8
Cast onJune 1, 2013
Previous entry: here
Notes: I did not finish this sweater in June as I planned, but it's chugging along nicely. The main part of the body is done (in one piece), one sleeve is done, the other will be done soon. Then I will connect them all together and decrease for the yoke. The guys are going to a basketball camp this weekend and I'm hoping for a lot of me time in front of the TV with the sweater.

After owning my camera for almost a year, I figured out how to use the macro function. Look at this cable, talk about stitch definition!

If you are a fan of the Wingspan shawl on Ravelry, you should know that the designer is going to make some changes to the pattern and turn it into a paid version on July 20. So if you like the current version, download it now.

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

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Winner, Q&A, Happy 4th!

Last week's eBook giveaway winner is AllyB, who blogs at Ally B ... that's Me! Ally, Denise will get in touch with you on Ravelry to send the eBook.

Chat back time:

Cathy, my favorite yarn is usually wool, usually merino, and usually the less processed the better. I really like Ellen's Half Pint Yarns wool, and that's a Falkland wool. I like most of cashmere and alpaca yarns too (pure or blend), but sometimes they don't hold stitch definition very well so I can't use them for cable designs (and you know I live on cables :-)). I have some fancy stuff in my stash too, like pure silk, qiviut, I really like them, but they are so expensive for a small quantity, hard to decide how to use them.

Mlissabeth, my mom taught me to knit when I was about five, and I knitted on and off when I was growing up. This time around when I became a serious Knitter was in 1998 when I found Knitlist online and join our local knitting group. I have been knitting just about every day since.

Sheila, the little black dog is our little princess Emma. Emma just turned a year old and she knows she's the cutest pup in the world and everyone worships her dainty little toes. 

Beth, the picture was taken at an outdoor concert / picnic, so there was a lot of food around. Emma allowed us to eat our food and only had couple nibbles of fries. She's perfect.

Ally, yes she's ready! Did I send you the address? Let me know if you need it.

It's July 4th week and Henry has the week off from camps. We did some day trips to the coast to get away from the heat wave. I leave you this picture of a hot fudge sundae from Ghiradelli Chocolate Shop on Cannery Row in Monterey. 

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

Thursday, June 27, 2013

GIVEAWAY And Book Review

photo credit Denise Voie de Vie
I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoy Denise's photography. Denise, who blogs at Voie de Vie, is an accomplished knitting and crochet designer, painter, and photographer. I have the honor of being one of the reviewers of her latest eBook, Fleurs et L'eau - Printemps/Ete 2013 (Flowers and Water, Spring/Summer 2013). Besides patterns and beautifully modeled samples, there are pictures of vibrant flowers, peaceful water, historical building, and deep canal, at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks/Carl S.English, Jr. Botanical Garden in Seattle.

Now the patterns:

1. One if by Hook Cardi: This crochet cropped cardigan would look so cute on a young lady or someone with the right build -- thin in the middle and without overly large chest or hips. It's a good representation of wearable fashionable crochet. The stitch pattern offers good texture and the overlap neckline design is a sweet touch. With a cotton worsted weight yarn this is a quick project for the summer.

2. Two if by Sticks Cardi: a knitted version of the cropped cardigan. The navy blue trims illustrate the Seattle, Pacific northwest spirit. At 4 stitches per inch, this is a very quick knit, so pick up the sticks and make it for the summer!

Denise's patterns come with very nice schematics, but as a die hard chart knitter, stitch pattern charts would be ever more helpful.

3. Anyone for a Stroll? Bag: crochet small tote bag with bamboo handles. I love small tote bags, they are so easy to use when you are dashing from one place to the next, and have to constantly find or put away wallet, change purse, glasses, sunglasses, phone, car key, house key, pen, camera, hair clip, shopping list, credit card, business card, chapstick, hand lotion, carry-around knitting project, etc. This little bag is a quick project in thick and thin yarn or other bulky yarn. Close it with a big button, or not. There are instructions for Bottom Stabilizer, Lining, and Attaching Handles.

4. Le Bateau Shawl: le bateau means the boat, and this crochet crescent shaped shawl is so named because it looks like the bottom of the boat from the side ways. But so much prettier!! The body of the shawl is worked in one piece and then top and bottom edgings are picked up. With 75 inches wingspan, this is a pretty good sized go-everywhere shawl.

5. Constellation Bracelet and Earrings: crochet with beads, so simple and so elegant. There are plastic rings inside to hold the shape.

6. Climbing Vines Cowl: crochet in rich texture, another go-everywhere, suitable for all occasion summer must-have accessory. The body is worked flat and edging is added after seaming, so in theory you can easily change the pattern into a scarf or stole.


Denise's eBook is available on Ravelry for $14.99. I have ONE copy to giveaway to a blog reader (eBook will be sent to you from Denise through Ravelry). To qualify, leave a comment on this entry:

1. Your favorite pattern in this eBook
2. Ask me a question, about this blog, knitting, dogs, me
3. Let me know how to get in touch with you if we are not connected already

One entry per person. Entry ends Thursday July 4th noon PST. In next week's blog post I will announce the winner and answer your questions.

There are so many words in this entry, time to take a look at this face again.

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

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Another Oldie: Tree of Life Afghan

Project:  Tree of Life Afghan
Pattern Tree of Life Afghan by Nicky Epstein, published by Lion Brand Yarn
Yarn:  Encore Worsted solid white
Yardage:  about 10 balls, 2000 yards
Needles: Size 8
Cast on: 2002

Cast off:  2004

Cost: about $50
Notes: Knitted this a decade ago (!) for my in-laws' 50th wedding anniversary. It was one of my first major cable projects, and I gave myself two years to finish it. Think I finished it with plenty of time to spare. Now that I remember, I'd better start planning something for their 60th coming up next year. 

The pattern looks complicated but was fairly easy to execute. The leaf border was a lot of fun to make.
Happy Friday! Join the party on Andrea's blogTami's blog, and leave me a comment!