Tuesday, July 07, 2015

X is for Cross Roads

A day in the city, in Castro District, the gay capital of the world, the weekend after gay pride, a week after gay marriage legalization in America. 

America's cross roads. 

Sunday, July 05, 2015

W is for Water

I don't know how to swim.

For years people tried to teach me. I learned how to move my limps in the water but if I was tossed in a river I'd be dead. As I got older people gave up teaching me to swim. There were more important things in life, like studying, or working, or bringing up wee little dogs and child. I can't remember the last time I tried to swim. In Chinese they called people like me dryland duck.

My husband is a good swimmer. A few weeks ago we got talking and he suggested that he could teach me. I gave it a good thought for a few days. I like to be independent, so the idea of having to count on other people to save me has always bothered me. And we live in sunny California and what can go wrong with parading around in skimpy fabric (once I gained the well tuned swimmer body). Not to mention I can use some calorie burning to earn all the mocha and cookies that end up in my belly (and other places).

So we start.

Yesterday I was able to swim on my own almost the entire width of the pool, on the shallow end of course. Let's hope that progress is still ahead and I won't retire as an advanced beginner.

Friday, July 03, 2015

V is for Very Springy

Project:  Spring in London
Pattern Nurmilintu by Heidi Alander, free download on Ravelry
Yarn:  Lisa Souza Sock! and Sweet Fiber Yarns Silky Sock
Yardage:  450 yards + 372 yards, used every inch
Needles: Size 6 & 7
Cast on: April 23, 2015
Cast off: May 25, 2015

NotesStarted the project for our trip to London, with the greatest intention to enjoy spring in London with flowers and greenery in what I'd assumed, warm weather. Let's just say California has spoiled me and London was a bit colder than I expected. Nonetheless a spring is a spring, there were greenery and flowers, and warm weather for the locals. I knitted the garter portion on buses and tubes. Started lace section on the plane home. One skein of sock yarn does not make it big enough so I added the yellow portion which is a lighter weight and I had to go up a needle size. The lace edging is light and pretty.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

U is for Ultimate FO for Other People

Project:  Point Gammon Pullover 守灯塔的人
Pattern Point Gammon Pullover by Elinor Brown, Interweave Knits, Fall 2010
Yarn:  Cascade Yarns Ecological Wool, aran to bulky weight
Yardage:  1434 yards in stash, used about 900 yards
Needles: Size 7 & 8
Cast onFebruary 9, 2015
Cast off: May 30, 2015
Previous entries: start, progress

Notes: It would have taken me less time to finish this if it's not for London. The sweater was way too big for traveling, and by the time we came home I had other things on my mind. The good news is the recipient likes the sweater and said the cables are perfect. Glad it's DONE!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

T is for Travels

I had to look up the last blog entry to see where I left off on the alphabet, that's how long it's been. We got our acts together and took a trip to London. I came back sick, got busy working, and life goes on. Funny how the world works, for many years we didn't travel at all, then all of a sudden I went half way around the world twice in six months. Bill is going to Texas, Boston, and Ireland this summer, within the space of a few weeks. Then I'll finally head off to Houston to visit my mom. If you have yarn shops to recommend in any of these places I'd love to pick up a few souvenir skeins (or have them picked up any way).

Jane Austin house

Yarn shop keepers

Chinese artwork in British Museum 

Friday, April 10, 2015

S is for Steady Growth

Project:  Point Gammon Pullover 守灯塔的人
Pattern Point Gammon Pullover by Elinor Brown, Interweave Knits, Fall 2010
Yarn:  Cascade Yarns Ecological Wool, aran to bulky weight
Yardage:  1434 yards in stash
Needles: Size 8
Cast onFebruary 9, 2014

Notes: When a sweater, a cable sweater, is knitted in the round, the body seems to take forever to finish. Now that I can see the sweater pretty much taking shape the sleeves seems to go a little faster, of course it would help if I don't have rip back because I miscounted the decreases. I'm still not sure what I think of the yarn, it's nice and sturdy, has great stitch definition, but feels like it's too ready to bloom even when I knit. Somewhere between a like-it and love-it.

It's Fiber Arts Friday! Visit Andrea's blog to see lots of fun things!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

R is for Rascal

The Rascal with those big mournful brown eyes is our big dog. He is our big dog because his sister is barely tipping the scale at 9lbs. He is bigger than her. He is over 12lbs, after some exercise regiment induced by his little sister, called running around with Emma. But if he has his ways he'd spend 20 hours a day sleeping or lounging around, 4 hours eating or waiting/begging for food.

Rascal is going to be 5 years old in May. By this age Trinket already had to deal with an old grumpy rescued sister (Lucy), a slightly younger and less grumpy rescued Westie (Macie), a stinking baby brother (Bucky), another rescue (Precious), and finally a human baby brother (Henry). See, Rascal has an easy life, even with the little sister constantly attached to his cheek. One day we asked Emma to "Go get Rascal", and the little girl ran upstairs and literately dragged her brother down. He wasn't unhappy about it tho, because there was dinner waiting. Why didn't he come down on his own? That's the sixty thousand dollar question only Rascal has the answer.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Q is for Quick Giveaway

I finished another scrap scarf. My friends at Green Planet Yarn have been saving these odds and ends for me so I have a nice healthy stash of them. It's a lot of fun to put together the magic ball and make it into something so pretty and useful.

Message on Ravelry if you want to claim this scarf. Better yet, if you can send charity yarn to my mom in Houston. Call it a knitters karma.

Friday, March 06, 2015

P is for Point Gammon Pullover 守灯塔的人

Project:  Point Gammon Pullover 守灯塔的人
Pattern Point Gammon Pullover by Elinor Brown, Interweave Knits, Fall 2010
Yarn:  Cascade Yarns Ecological Wool, aran to bulky weight
Yardage:  1434 yards in stash
Needles: Size 8
Cast on: February 9, 2014

Note: I love knitting. I love knitting cables. I try to be a helpful person. Sometimes I'm over enthusiastic in trying to help people, without thinking over my own ability and whether it's necessary to offer help. When people praise my cables and ask me to knit a cable sweater I fall head over heels into the project. That's how this sweater got started. I'm knitting it for another raveler for her son. The yarn is too heavy for the gauge the pattern calls for (surprisingly there are couple of knitters had done this sweater in the same yarn and got gauge, I wonder what the sweater feels like), and I recalculated so I can knit it on size 8 needles instead of size 6. The design itself is simple and easy to follow. The sweater starts bottom up in the round till armholes which is only couple of inches away. The combination of the heavy yarn and doing both front and back on the same needle means the knitting gets pretty heavy! If I ever do over I'd knit the pieces separately for sure. 

As I was going through forum posts on Ravelry I found my own post from when the magazine first came out, and I said I'd make this sweater. There, it took all these years and another knitter's request to get me started.

It's Fiber Arts Friday! Visit Andrea's blog to see lots of fun things!

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

N is for Netflix Movies

I'm on a movie kick lately, so I've been getting DVDs from Netflix and do a movie night once or twice a week. To point out the obvious, their selection for movie streaming is pathetic. I like keeping up with the pop culture, plus I can knit while watching movies.

Here are a few recent DVDs:

1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
2. The Hundred-Foot Journey
3. Million Dollar Arm
4. Boyhood
5. Frozen
6. Her
7. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

I'm building up a very long queue, but if you have suggestions for good movies I'd love to hear about it.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

M is for Mom

Most of my blog readers know that my mom is a long time knitter, now mostly knits for charity. About two years ago she moved from Carmel CA to Houston to be closer to my brother and his family. In October she fell and broke her hip, she had hip replacement soon after that, and has been in physical therapy since then. Now that she's even more confined than before, she's knitting a lot and most of the finished work are donated to her local charity groups. Here are couple of examples of her recent knitting on a borrowed child.

If you are interested in sending her yarn feel free to message me on Ravelry. She likes craft store baby yarns in cheerful colors, or any smooth yarn between fingering and worsted weight.

Friday, February 27, 2015

L Is for Lines and Vines 青藤

Project:  Lines and Vines 青藤
Pattern Lines & Vines by Diane Zangl, Knitters magazine Fall 2008
Yarn:  Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted Weight
Yardage:  1100 yards
Needles: Size 8
Cast onAugust 7, 2014
Cast off: November 7, 2014

Notes: This is a simple little cardigan in tradition design. The all over cable ribbing pulls in quite tight to give the wearer the benefit of a leaner look. Since there is no button and the pin on top only keeps the neckline together I find myself constantly pulling the front together to cover my stomach. The Knit Picks yarn is a good discount yarn that gives a firm hand and stitch definition. This is a good every day everywhere piece in my wardrobe.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

K is for Keep Stashing!

I have been stashing since I got back to knitting in 1998. Usually my yarn live in plastic tubs in my closet. When I look for something I dig up the surface layer before declaring "I can't find it." so there are some yarn in the deep freeze I haven't seen for a few years at least.

On Ravelry there is a thread called Flash Your Stash where people lay out everything they have in their stash and show off the picture. I have been wanting to do that for awhile, wondering what my stash might look like all lined up together.

So post-Stitches with all the new acquisitions to tuck away would be a good time to do some digging, flashing, rearranging. Yesterday I dragged out the first few boxes, and here is the result:

I still had at least four more boxes in the back of the closet, plus a file cabinet packed with yarn, plus craft store yarns not boxed up, plus odds and ends scattered in bags and small boxes, plus a charity stash that doesn't get counted towards my regular stash. So what's in the picture is only about 1/3 of my stash, and it's a cal king bed.

No I don't have a stash problem.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

J is for the Joy of New Yarn!

One of the most important and enjoyable thing about Stitches is to come home and round up all the purchases. Yesterday I went back and re-read my previous years reviews, and was surprised I couldn't remember some of my purchases. Pleasant surprises.

The loot from Stitches West 2015:

1. Top left, Elsebeth Lavold Favorite Wool, 10 balls in the bag, color Blackcurrent, from the play pen
2. Diakeito Rococo (teal/red/yellow/green), 10 balls in the bag, from Sunrise booth
3. Lower right corner: Green Mountain Spinnery Sock Art-Meadow in blue green
4. Two skeins Ellen's Half Pint Farm 50% Merino 50% Silk in Ice Pansy from Webs booth
5. Middle: JaggerSpun Super Lamb 4/8 Cone, 1lb, 1120 yards, from Webs
6. Apple Tree Knits Silk Lace Mini in Blueberries in cream gradient
7. Valley Yarns Leyden fingering weight
8. Lower left: Dream in Color Jilly, hand dyed twin set sold together, with free pattern code on Ravelry for Stricken shawl
9. On top of Ellen's yarn is a beautiful shawl pin I splurged so my shawls will have a proper decor
10. Little sheep pin on top of the bag of Favorite Wool, for Chinese Year of Sheep
11. Assorted buttons scattered on top of other yarns

Till next time.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I is for Images from Stitches West 2015

Previous reports:  2007200820092010201120122013, 2014

This year I worked for Sunrise Yarns, a distributor of Diakeito yarns from Japan. Kathee usually only does wholesale and there is not a shop carries Diakeito in the bay area. So the yarn was all new to Stitches West and to me.

When not working I spent plenty of time in the market.

The sign has been there every year and I get the idea. I don't have to like it.

Purlescence booth
I never figured out what this guy was all about.
Can you spot the one different from others?
Stephen West
Webs hosted Ellen's yarn since she couldn't make it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

H is for Henry

My son turned 16 on Sunday.

I'm not sure if it has sunk in yet, in my mind any way, that my son, my only child, the one that most of the time I still think of as a little boy, is almost an adult.

Monday, February 16, 2015

G is for Giving

In the past year I seem to have been knitting quite a few things for the purpose of giving away. As they say, giving is more fun than receiving.

Couple of little hats for charity.

A bunch of stripy scarves that I knit as car project, now counting to seven. The latest one will be going to New York state in exchange for charity yarn being sent to my mom in Houston.

My friends at Green Planet Yarn have been saving me the odds and ends when they wind yarn, I put the pieces into a magic ball and make scarves. I'm now on scarf # 6 which will be given away on Ravelry.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Friday, February 13, 2015

E is for Emma

Our young pup is now 2.5 years old and healthy as a little pony (a very little pony). She loves running around the backyard chasing birds and squirrels, or looking for the little lizard that appears once in awhile. She keeps her figure by skipping on the kibbles every few days, but she loves rice! No matter where she is in the house, the moment someone brings out rice or even just a dish with some rice, there she is, reporting to the kitchen. It's like magic.

Emma goes to dog training with Henry when the weather is nice. Otherwise she loves a nice long walk down to the lake with me in her little purple harness and squirrel leash. Soon enough the goose babies will be there and she'll have a good time chasing them around.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

D is for Date Night

Project:  Date Night 幽会
Pattern Date Night by Nikol Lohr, Knitty Fist Fall 2011
Yarn:  Cathy's Handspun
Yardage:  475 yards
Needles: Size 5 & 7
Cast onNovember 8, 2014
Cast off: January 27, 2015

Notes: My British Australian Chinese knitterly fibery friend Cathy sent me this lovely gradient handspun yarn last year. I'd never worked with gradient yarn before, but I love the gradual long color changes and wanted to find a way to make the yarn show its best face. Since the yardage was fairly limited, I picked a top down pattern for a little top, so the light colors would be close to the face, and it gradually gets darker down the body. If I ran out of yarn and needed more length I could add some darker colors on the bottom. The top turned out to be the perfect length. I even had enough yarn to cast off the live stitches at the sleeves, and I used the last yard or so to make a little icord flower.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

C is for China Blue 北京蓝图

Project:  China Blue 北京蓝图
Pattern very roughly based on Tipsy Knitter by Katherine Matthews from Socks Socks Socks
Yarn:  Pagewood Farm Glacier Bay
Yardage:  used less than 400 yards
Needles: Size 2
Cast on: November 16, 2014
Cast off: December 26, 2014

Notes:  When I was a little girl in Beijing I was always cold in the winter. Sometimes my feet were so cold the toes would be numb for days. One year I got horrible frost bites on my left hand and it had to be wrapped in gauze for most of the winter. So when everyone started telling me I'd better have some warm wooly socks for my Beijing trip I took it to heart and cast on the first sock three weeks before the flight. I was hoping I'd finish the socks. I knitted before leaving, while waiting in airports, on the flights, and finally in Beijing. Today's Beijing there is radiant heat in most buildings so it's warm and toasty indoors. The only time I was actually cold was the day I spent outdoors in Summer Palace, but once inside I was fine. I finished the socks with couple of days to spare, and they will forever be associated to my trip to Beijing. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

B is for Beijing

Beijing is my birth place and my childhood. It's also one of the biggest political centers of the world. I ran away from Beijing as soon as I could, and for many years I thought I'd never go back if I could help it.

Maybe my age is getting to me, maybe years gone by had softened our feelings, good and bad. Like they say, time and distance are the best cure. Ultimately I have to prove to myself and the world that I'm still Chinese and can still live as a Chinese person. In December I spent almost three weeks in Beijing and did just that, living as a Chinese person. I ate Chinese everywhere I went, spoke only Chinese except with my American friends, rode public transit enough to become more knowledgeable than some locals!

The purpose of the trip was to attend a memorial ceremony for my maternal grandmother, for her 100th year birthday celebration. I saw my aunts and uncles for the first time since I was a girl, and saw many of my cousins for the very first time. I saw my father in many years and met his "new" wife, who has been with him longer than my parents were together. Family, it's complicated.

I wrote about my grandmother a few years ago here, for your leisure reading. The red book in the picture is a collection of pictures and articles my aunts and uncles put together for the event. It's so great to see my grandmother officially memorialized by her own family.

What's a trip without some yarn shopping! I got in touch with the Beijing knitters early in my planning and Dawn ended up to be my personal tour guide to the yarn market.

This is only portion of the yarn and books I brought home.

Monday, February 09, 2015

A is for Alder

I'm starting a new series of blog entries from A to Z to catch up on knitting and life for the past few months. The idea is to finish the series in 26 days, but it will probably be longer.

Project:  Alder 爱达
Pattern Alder by Berroco Design Team
Yarn:  Lion Brand Fisherman's wool, 100% wool, worsted weight
Yardage:  a million yards in stash (I have a habit of using Michael's coupons on this yarn)
Needles: Size 8
Cast on: January 26, 2015

Notes: This is a short sleeve cardigan knitting sideways. Pictured is the back start from the right sleeve going towards middle of the back. After a few months of crazy schedules of working, travelling, sleeping at odd times, this is my "come back to me" project, and of course, it's cable!