Friday, August 08, 2014

Finale: Nymphalidea 蝴蝶

ProjectNymphalidea 蝴蝶
Pattern Nymphalidea by Melinda VerMeer, free Ravelry download
Yarn:  Socks that Rock lightweight (yellow/green) and O-Wool Classic 2-ply (white)
Yardage:  360 + 396 yards, used almost all and the shawl is not as big as I'd like
Needles: Size 6
Cast on: June 15, 2014
Cast off: August 5, 2014
Cost: About $20
Notes: Both yarns are used/recycled/discounted, retail prices would be much higher. The O-Wool Classic is very soft, easy to knit, and would bloom nicely after some washing and wearing. A few people in South Bay Knitters are doing a knit-along of this pattern, even tho I didn't have a chance to join them in the meetings but I decided to knit this pattern any way since it's so pretty. It's a very easy pattern, quite a few knit or purl all the way across rows that put me to sleep every night while I knitted in front of the TV. Since I didn't have enough yarn to knit a full 180 degree, the shawl ended up with a significant hump in the middle. It's still quite wearable, and the hump gives me a chance to play with strategic placements.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Finale: Ogee Tunic 紫山佛塔

Project:  Ogee Tunic 紫山佛塔 Zǐshān fó tǎ
Pattern Ogee Tunic from Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan
Yarn:  Ellen's Half Pint Farm Falkland wool, 100% wool, DK weight
Yardage:  1500 yards in stash, used about 1200 yards
Needles: Size 4 & 6
Cast onMarch 18, 2014
Cast off: June 29, 2014
Previous entry: May 2
Cost: About $70

Notes: The darker picture is closer to true color. After completing the back of the sweater on size 4 needles (and getting gauge) but not happy with the tight fabric, I decided to switch to size 6 on the front after the ribbing pattern. The front turned out drapier and slightly larger than the back. Logically the front of a woman sweater should take more fabric any way, so I tweaked a bit while sewing together the pieces and now no one can tell the difference. The way the open collar is designed makes the neckline very loose. I thought about putting a big button on top, but a removable pin works much better, and I can use a different one every time. Overall I'm very happy with the supersized cable design, the shaping, and how the yarn and pattern come together. 

Happy Friday again! And if you are in US, Happy July 4th! Join the party on Andrea's blogTami's blog, and leave me a comment!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Baby Bootees Finale; New Job; Happy 4th!

Project:  Lina Lou's Bootees
Pattern Saartje's Bootees by Saartje de Brujin (Ravelry free download)
Yarn:  Filatura Di Crosa Zarina, sport weight, 100% merino
Yardage:  used less than 100 yards
Needles: Size 4
Cast onJune 18, 2014
Cast off: June 26, 2014
Cost: stash yarn don't count

Notes: I recently picked up a contract gig backfilling a young lady going on maternity leave for her upcoming baby girl, Lina Lou. The training was intense and didn't leave me much brain power to think about anything else for two weeks. But I have been admiring this pattern for a long time so it's an easy decision to make these little bootees for the baby. They worked up so quickly, and I still can't believe a human's feet can fit in something this little!

Happy Friday eve! And if you are in US, Happy July 4th weekend! Join the party on Andrea's blogTami's blog, and leave me a comment!

Friday, May 02, 2014

Ogee Tunic 紫山佛塔

Project:  Ogee Tunic 紫山佛塔 Zǐshān fó tǎ
Pattern Ogee Tunic from Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan
Yarn:  Ellen's Half Pint Farm Falkland wool, 100% wool, DK weight
Yardage:  1500 yards in stash
Needles: Size 4 & 6
Cast onMarch 18, 2014

Notes: The project's Chinese name means Purple Mountain Buddhist Pagoda. The yarn is very saturated red and purple, and purple is Chinese traditional royal and "larger than life" color. The main curve design in this pattern, the ogee, is often used in temples, religious or medieval architectures. I debated whether I should use such a busy variegated yarn for a cable design, but I really want to knit with this fat skein of Ellen's yarn, and I really like this Norah Gaughan design. With the logic that putting everything I like together will produce something I like even more, here is the result. I knitted the back all on size 4 needle to get gauge, but it's a little tight and I'm not completely happy with the fabric. So for the front I've switched to size 6 after the bottom band and it looks much better so far. If the row gauge comes out much different I'll have some fudging to do when I put the pieces together.

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

Friday, April 25, 2014

Sweater to Bag

Once upon a time my husband bought me a Ralph Lauren sweater for Christmas. It was hand knitted in heavy wool, nice and warm, and the Westie on the front is super cute. We had Macie the Westie at the time, so we collected many Westie things. The sweater was very large, and thankfully I never grew into it, but I never wanted to part with it.

A few years later I decided to give felting a try, maybe it'd shrink the sweater a bit to make it fit better. It shrank, a lot. I turned it into a pillow case and it became part of our Christmas decoration for the next few years. Then it found a place in our guest room sofabed, huddled together with a bunch of other pillows.

In the past couple of weeks Henry moved into the guest bed and I had to find a place for all the pillows. Macie Sweater was to become the Macie Bag. My friend Bethany helped me measure and cut out the shapes, hemmed the edges, and sewed up the sides and bottom. There was minimal waste on the front and back. The sleeves became tube handles. The only hand sewing I had to do was a few super thick places because of the hems and the fairisle knitting, plus sewing the handles onto the bag.

The Macie Bag is perfect!

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

Friday, April 04, 2014

Noah Finale

Project:  Noah
Pattern Claudia by MJ Kim (Ravelry free download)
Yarn:  Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd's Wool Worsted, 100% merino
Yardage:  250 yards in stash, used about 150 yards
Needles: Size 6 & 8
Cast on: March 30, 2014
Cast off: April 3, 2014
Cost: stash yarn don't count

Notes: Knitted this hat for my husband cause the man is follicly challenged and likes to keep his head warm. The cable pattern is done on size 6 needles, then the rest on size 8, so it goes very fast. I did K1P2 for the top ribbing, instead of twist1P2, but I think because it's done on bigger needles it looks fine. The yarn is incredibly soft, and the man is happy with his new hat.

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

Friday, March 28, 2014

Finale: Spring 春天

Project:  Spring 春天
Pattern Ascalon by Christelle Nihoul (Ravelry free download)
Yarn:  Twisted Sisters Zazu Hand Paints, 100% Merino
Yardage:  1170 yards in stash, used about 1000 yards

Extra: 65 fresh water pearls
Needles: Size 6
Cast onDecember 31, 2013
Cast off: finished knitting March 3, 2014, finished adding the pearls March 22
Cost: about $30 for yarn
Previous entry: January 31

Notes: This is a lovely pattern with small cables and twisted stitches. It's knitted in one piece up and down, so there are relatively small number of stitches on the needle at a time. The garter stitch portion makes it easy and quick, and the pattern stitch border makes it interesting and engaging. The yarn being 100% merino wool is light and lofty, great to knit with but lack of drape. Adding the pearls helps creating a nice drape and extra sparkle. I'm very happy with the result.

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

Friday, March 21, 2014

Finale: Chunky Braided Scarf 粗辨子

Project:  Chunky Braided Scarf 粗辨子
Pattern Chunky Braided Scarf by Jimentina (free Ravelry download)
Yarn:  Wool/mohair blend, Kathryn's handspun
Yardage:  269 yards (3 skeins), used every inch
Needles: Size 10
Cast onMarch 4, 2014
Cast off: March 20, 2014
Cost: None

Notes: Kathryn, who blogs at Kathryn's Brain, sent me this yarn last year as part of her Pay-it-forward project. Yes, I'm that lucky! Here is her account about the yarn. I can't say enough good things about this yarn. It's soft and luxurious to the touch, yet has a firm hand to show off the cables. It's such a joy to knit with the yarn, and I think it's going to bloom nicely as I wear the scarf. It's going to be a true treasure in my wardrobe.

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

Friday, March 07, 2014

Stripe Three, Ends Ends Ends

Finished the third stripy scarf and sent it on its way to Ally B. I love having one of these projects in the car, so whenever I have a few minutes I'd have something to keep my hands occupied. The pattern is simple enough I can knit it without my glasses, and forgiving enough to use just about any odd ball yarn I have.

I ran into my friends at Green Planet Yarn at Stitches and they informed me that they had been keeping all the ends for me and there was a large stash of it for me to pick up. Well of course I had to get it. So last Sunday while watching the Oscars I had this big bag of ends in my lap, in the process of becoming a magic ball which in turn will become a scarf (or scarves).

We had couple of nice storms last week that brought us some much needed rain. It's not enough to relieve the severe drought, but it's so nice to hear the creek flowing again.

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

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Stitches West 2014 Review

Previous reviews: 2007200820092010201120122013, Market Preview

Another year, another Stitches. To start off, I can't tell you how fortunate I feel having the event practically in my back yard for the past decade. The Santa Clara Convention Center is 12 miles from my house, a perfect commute distance, so I can easily pop in for couple of hours or an afternoon. I don't have to "do it all" in one long day, like I did when it was in Oakland, more than 50 miles from home. As I read the discussions on Ravelry, see how far others have to travel here, I feel very very lucky to be here.

The Stitches events are much more than the Market, but after knitting intensely for over 15 years and working in yarn shops on and off, I'm not terribly interested in classes. I've never attended the opening day events, fashion show, or student fashion show, so I'm happy just skip them every year; and the Market becomes my playground.

This year I almost exclusively hang out in smaller, newer, more indie booths. I had an armful of cashmerino at Newton's Yarn Country and I put them all back. I didn't spend much time in the big booths like Webs or Yarn Barn. I was still on a mission to find the good non-superwash wool yarn between fingering and DK weight, for knitting sweaters and shawls. When I say "good" I mean smooth, soft, reasonably priced 100% wool in a nice color range. As with everything in life, sometimes the simplest is the hardest to do well.

Now a few more pictures from the market.

Spotted this poster in couple of booths, sounds like my kind of diet.
StevenBe. This guy has so much character, you have to check him out.
Norah Gaughan's Lempster in Webs booth, it looks so much better in real life
Dye materials at the Alpenglow booth
All the markers I got from the swap. Must do it again next year!

The loot,:
1. Top row from left, 3 skeins of Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair in Raspberry
2. Terilyn Needleart Heather in teal
3. Ellen's Half Pint Farm 100% Merino Sock in teal
4. 4 skeins Western Sky Knits BFL DK in deep blue
5. Bottom row from left, 2 skeins Abstract Fiber Rothko in red
6. Lisa Souza Polworth/Silk in marionberry (purple)
7. 5 skeins Alpenglow Yarn Lofty Corrie DK in strawberry fizz (red)
8  Next to the WSK blue yarn is a mini skein from Alpenglow for her part of the stitch marker swap
9. Stitch markers from the swap are on a bracelet on top of the red yarn
10. On the far left are some samplers from Miss Babs
11. On the very bottom are what's left of my own stitch markers for the swap

I'm proud to say that except for Ellen's sock yarn, everything I bought was non-superwash, almost all are hand dyed, some natural dyed. As for Ellen's yarn, I wore my Nightsongs to show her, and just had to walk away with something!

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

Friday, February 21, 2014

Stitches West 2014 Market Preview

Previous reviews: 200720082009201020112012, 2013

This year I volunteered to help a vendor set up her booth on Wednesday so I will have vendor access to the market for the rest of the weekend. I really enjoy watching the market come together.

The half off playpen gets filled up
Someone setting up a magic castle behind the curtain

Thursday night the market opens for vendors, teachers and class participants. It's a much smaller crowd than the next three days when the door opens to the general public and the muggles flood the floor. Even so there are lines at some booths and it was hard to move around the clusters of people.

A few random pictures from the market:

I'm sure I've taken pictures of these wheels before, love seeing them again.

the Gryphon herself
fingering non-superwash BFL
Twirl yarns at the Knitterly booth
Audry Nicklin's Southern Sky on the back of a bearded man
Every year I spend a few days in the market, and every day I try to wear something I finished in the previous year to show off. Every year there'd be someone asking me "What are you wearing?" and often times I'm too busy or tired to give the right answer. This year I decided to print out a "name card" for my knitwear, with a QR code that points to my Ravelry project page. This was the one I wore Thursday night, two more are prepared for the next visits.

I learned to make stitch markers on our knitting retreat last month, so I joined the stitch marker swappers and these will be my contributions (I don't have nearly enough). I have already swapped with a few vendors last night, but more serious swapping is going to be this evening when more people show up and the official event happens.

Off to make more markers and get ready for some serious shopping!

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

Friday, January 31, 2014

Spring 春天; Happy Chinese New Year

Project:  Spring 春天
Pattern Ascalon by Christelle Nihoul (Ravelry free download)
Yarn:  Twisted Sisters Zazu Hand Paints, 100% Merino
Yardage:  1170 yards in stash
Needles: Size 6
Cast on: December 31, 2013
Notes: The twisted stitches and small cables make this shawl a delicate and fun knit. The yarn is very soft, and the colors are so vibrant. The row of double yarn overs on the edge seem to beg some sparkly dangly things. Is it possible to add "after thought" beads or pearls?

Despite the snowy and super cold long winter everywhere else in US, we are having a very dry warm winter. There has not been any significant rain all season. But look, spring is here (before dry leaves from the fall are done falling!). Today is Chinese New Year, the year of the galloping horse (signifies strength, movement, adventure). For those who celebrate, have a wonderful year of horse, may you and your family happy and healthy!

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

Friday, January 24, 2014

Finale: Candle Flame 烛光

This is closer to the true color.

Project:  Candle Flame 烛光
Pattern Candle Flame Scarf by Doris Formby (free Ravelry download)
Yarn:  Dax Alpaca, DK weight 100% alpaca
Yardage:  250 yards (2 balls), used every inch
Needles: Size 9
Cast on: December 26, 2013
Cast off: December 31, 2013
Cost: About $25

Notes: I used size 9 needles for this DK weight yarn to give the scarf more loft, and to stretch out the limited yardage because I really wanted a scarf. It still turned out a bit short so I sewed the ends together and turned it into a cowl. This was knitted during my post holiday Downton Abbey marathon (I watched all three seasons on Amazon Prime in about a week). This cowl will always remind me of Lady Mary or Anna.

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

Friday, January 17, 2014

Cathy's Visit; Tilly Finale

Last weekend was the much anticipated visit from Cathy and her family, which had been in talks for weeks if not months. Cathy, who blogs at Cat's Tale, and I met on Ravelry and became fast friends through Ravelry groups, Facebook and blogging. It felt like a miracle that we finally met in person! And she even had gifts for everyone in the family.

Cathy spun this merino/silk blend, perfect for cables

Gorgeous crochet shawl from Cathy!

Love this stitch pattern
We spent a wonderful day together exploring bookstore and yarn shops in Santa Cruz.

Sock yarns from Golden Fleece

Arm load of Tosh from Swift Stitch
I wished we had more time together, there are still so many things I'd like to show Cathy and her guys. Or maybe we'll one day meet up in Hawaii as we joked, it's somewhat in the middle, right?

I gave Cathy one of my finished scarves in her gift package so I'll include its FO report here:

The color is much darker, close to navy blue.
You can see it on Cathy in the lunch picture.
Project:  Tilly 娣丽
Pattern Tilly, by Lisa Lloyd, published in A Fine Fleece
Yarn:  Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, 2 skeins
Yardage:  384 yards, used every inch of it
Needles: Size 6
Cast on: May 26, 2013
Cast off: December 26, 2013
Cost: About $20
Previous entries: cast on
Notes: This was an in-between-project project, so I worked on it on and off until during the holidays when I decided to finish it off for good. It will fly away to the Land of Oz with Cathy, hope they will have some cool weather next winter!

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

Friday, January 10, 2014

Retreat, Stripe Two

Winner for last week's eBook giveaway is Andria who blogs at McGreen Experience. Andria, Denise will get in touch with you on Ravelry about the eBook.

Last weekend was my knitting group's annual knitting retreat. This year we are trying out a new venue, St. Francis Retreat Center in San Juan Bautista. My friend Carol, who blogs at And All That Yarn, organized the retreat and wrote up a nice recap about the event on her blog. Here are a few pictures I took, more on Facebook and Ravelry: 

Encountered this deer on my walk, he was not scared at all.

My friend Jocelyn, who blogs at Fiber Dev, gave us a mini course of making your own stitch markers. I have a lot of old jewelry that I don't use any more, and I'd like to take them apart and turn them into stitch markers. I made the ones with amber and pearls in this picture below, the other ones are my trades with Jocelyn and Cathy (My Breast Cancer Journey). 

Got this huge skein of lace yarn in gift exchange, and it took me a good part of two hours to hand wind it into a nice large ball. It will be great for a full size shawl.

Finished another stripy scarf using odd balls, call it my Stripe Two. Gave it to my friend Fae, it's perfect for her color palette!

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