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!