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November 30, 2005

a shrug in red


fiery bolero, elspeth and iris, which will be in calmer's red?

UPDATE: amilia has spoken, she wants iris from rowan35! great choice, i must say.

amilia, my dearest friend who is getting married next fall, will be getting one of these handknit shrugs from me. she will be picking one of these patterns and i will make them with rowan's calmer in red (the audrey red). though a stash busting knit, but they are nonetheless luxurious cotton yarns for the bride to be. USA

shrugs/boleros are great for a fashion-conscious lady who lives in the forever tropical island that is singapore. but any of them would look great with a tube top, a basic cami, or even a cute sundress.

my suggestions? i really love all of them. but i am a bit partial to iris. i'll probably make it with 3/4 sleeves and instead of using a shoe string (like what rowan model is using), i would close it with a hook & eye. in addition, a lovely brioche to match the outfit. the simplicity of this design is sophisticated for an urban girl like yourself.

elspeth may be lovely, too, you say. indeed it is lovely. i can see you wearing it while visiting santosa, bali or fiji island with a white linen dress. it has a romantic flair to it, you should love that.

but that fiery bolero. hmmm.... with this flaming red color, you can easily paired it with a pair of cropped jeans, kitten-heeled sandals and your cute LV cherry bag (yes, i know you at least have one). you will get noticed while shopping at your favorite boutiques.

i'm not helping, am i? you see, i took out the colors from those pictures so your decisions will not be biased by the models. so amilia, i know it is a tough choice but you will have to make it. readers, do you want to help?

November 28, 2005

wizard's socks

potter, put your feet down!

knit project: gryffindor socks for husband
difficulty (1-5): 1.2
size: men's medium (64 stitches, long tail cast on)
yarn: dani's sunshine yarns in gryffindor
knitting specs: US 2 cir.


we are all fascinated by the world of harry potter; his friends, enemies and the hogwarts school of wizardry and witchcraft. last week, we saw the latest potter film and were totally in love with it. surprisingly, i found myself loving the less important characters more... like, hermione (my absolute favorite) and the weasley twins (totally hilarious)!

as we hogwarts groupies, the only thing we can do to satisfy ourselves is to make some knock-off harry potter costumes and imagine what it would be like to go to the interesting wizard schools than the boring grammar or high schools. so, over the thanksgiving weekend, i made a pair of gryffindor socks out of dani's house special, hand-painted self striping sock yarn for my husband. it turned out just perfect!

to accommodate for the size, i casted on 64 stitches and knitted the 1X1 ribbing using US3 needles, when i hit the first yellow stripes, i switched to US2 and continued on for the rest of the socks. they fit wonderfully. i also cut out the yellow sections for the heel to maintain the stripes. a brilliant slight modification copycated from alison. oh, i asked the husband if he wanted a short-row heel or a slip-stitched heel (not that he really knew what i was talking about), he picked the slip-stitched heel as, he said, he might have to fight dragons one day, a sturdier heel would be better. yeah... whatever.

it took me less than one week to finish this pair of socks. a record success for me. i think it was the magic. or, the magic loop on addi turbo's. whichever one you want to believe in is fine with me!


the feet of an aspiring sock model/wizard wannabe, aka, my husband

November 27, 2005

graffiti costagna...

my love for scarves continue..., this one is called scarf costagna!

knit project: mistake rib scarf
difficulty (1-5): 1.0
size: long (15 stitches, 2 full skeins)
yarn: colinette's graffiti in costagna
knitting specs: US 11


... is the name of this yarn, how cool is that?

francoise swapped these for some american goods with me a while back, i knew then they will become a cozy scarf for my neck. and of course, november is all about accessories at whispering pine.

the official description of this color is too perfect so i'm just going to recite them here:

"costagna, hot punch and the perfume of pine smoke. wrap up in the cosy comfort and warmth of these toasted chestnut colours."

this scarf is all about the yarn. so, i used mistake rib pattern to give it just enough ribbing and roughness as i want it to be bohemic. to complete the look, i added those long, long fringes.

November 21, 2005

accessorize

ruffles from scarf style

knit project: scarf style - ruffles
difficulty (1-5): 1.8
size: 86 inches long
yarn: ac moore's fantasy yarn, 100% alpaca in cream, 3 balls
knitting specs: US 6 dpn


i do not own a lot of accessories in my wardrobe, but every now and then, i do love wearing some interesting pieces that would complement my outfit. ruffles play such an essential role in this season's vintage theme, and luckily, after more than six months, i have completed this scarf just in time.

cream, my favorite color, is both classic and versatile. the muted palette really gives an unspeakable warmness when worn with rich gold tones. 100% alpaca yarn is used for my ruffles and i just love the softness of this fiber. though blocking is probably not necessary but i steamed it lightly to smooth out the short rows and to open up the curling edges a little.

this was not the most interesting project, turning the scarf back and forth was time consuming and slow in progress. however, this was a perfect mindless project and quite forgiving when an error was made. i probably have done a couple short row turns incorrectly but as you can see, the scarf turned out just perfectly.

love the scarf. and i may start to accessorize more. ruby red earings, crystal drop pendants, here i come!

wrap it once, wrap it twice, it is nothing but full of ruffles!

November 14, 2005

toasty november

i think november is probably my favorite month of the year. the weather is really starting to get cold and the house is smelling warm and cozy. come second week of the month, my mind is no longer at work anymore, but mentally planning holiday meals. and honestly, i think my working attitude ends right before thanksgiving and it lasts all the way till the new year. how awful is that?

ever since i came to the states i fell in love with thanksgiving almost instantly. coming from a culture rich with culinary arts and fine eats, i was a little disappointed to find that many american families eat processed food on a regular basis. but, during the thanksgiving season, i get to experience the joy of many families preparing a home made meal. i cooked turkey many times already, and usually not just for thanksgiving, but christmas, too! i just love the smell of the cooking turkey in my house.

before i gone totally absorbed in the holiday food, i am showing you this pair of masculine looking footlets i made over the weekend for my husband (as he is now completely in love with handknit footwear!). he loves it, of course, who wouldn't love koigu kersti yarns? i based the construction off alison's ankle socks, it was an easy, gratifying project. also, it is a perfect thing to wear in front of the fireplace while watching movies and having some hot chocolate.

my next sock project will be for me. i know i have been saying that for a while but only now, after knitted for friends, families and husband, i can relaxed and knit a pair completely guilt free. and i'll start off with the handspun yarns from my SP, mac. bet she'd love to see that!

knit project: koigu kersti footlets for husband
difficulty (1-5): 1.2
size: men's medium (44 stitches, long tail cast on)
yarn: koigu's kersti in K315 (less than 2 skeins)
knitting specs: US 7 dpn

November 09, 2005

knitting companions

thank you, my dear readers, for loving my klaralund and socks. i so enjoy interacting with each of you and please know that you are a major part of my knitting and this journal. knitting is a somewhat solitary activity but knowing the existence of many passionate knitters alike is comforting to me.

i do try to incorporate other interests of mine into knitting and i am sure many of you do the same. the stitch and bitch groups, the knit nights, movies, books (this one is a bit difficult to me) and music. etc, etc. i am not a public knitter, not because of lack of interests but opportunities. i do not have a group of knitter friends here and i adore the comfort of my house and the company of my cats/husband. i like to knit at home. and because of that, my favorite knitting companion is movies.

perhaps that is yours, too; watching a good movie while you knit mindlessly. this entry, i would share some of my favorite movies and i would be happy to hear what yours are. it is very possible that we do share similar interests in movies.

number one favorite motion picture is not a movie but a bbc mini-series: pride and prejudice. i only had the chance to watch that recently, after hearing about this series for so long. can you love colin firth more? period drama is one of my favorites. the eloquent speech, vintage outfit and the limb-binding etiquettes... all are so fascinating to me. bonus part: it is a five hour mini-series, a lot of knitting can be accomplished.

i always love well made chinese films. if you also dig these sort of things, i think you may find films by yimou zhang ("hero", "house of flying dagger") and karwar wong ("in the mood for love", "2046") irresistible. it may seem like i am promoting my own culture, perhaps, but they are indeed great movies and i suggest you watch them with english subtitles and listening to chinese to get the full flavor.

there are more, but i may need to share them gradually with you. once a month, i am thinking.

i have casted on for both highgate and cobalt blue cardi. pictures as proof. i decided to cast on the cardi with the fancy tubular but they do not photograph well. tubular cast on gives the whole garment a little more depth and such quality sits really well with this over-cabled design. highgate has a variegated pink in the most subtle way. it is pretty and i am starting off with the sleeves as i need time to warm up to the cables.



the beginning of my two sweater projects this winter: cobalt blue cardi and highgate

November 07, 2005

love for handknit socks

non-matching opal stripes, evidence of true handknit socks
how troubling can it be when making socks for someone you love? quite, i tell you. my husband has grown to appreciate handknit items and when i offered to knit him a pair of socks, he said "oh good!!" and had probably forgot about it and only seldom asked about the progress.

not until the first sock was completed, he tried it on had i realized that making socks can be quite a laborious and patient deflating journey. so he put on the sock, wiggled his toes, he said "hmm... a little tight! can you make it a bit longer, and also, can this toe part be a little wider? i like my toes have rooms to move."

ok, all those modifications can be done. but i was so relieved to have finish one sock and knowing that i had to re-knit the toes was not the most pleasing things to my ear. but i knew that had to be done as what is the point of making a pair of socks if the person is not going to wear them.

the sock making was not the fastest nor the most enjoyable as i was not sure if i would be knitting socks on a regular basis so i just bought some cheap inox US1 needles to start with. these needles are not ideal for sock making, the cable joints are nothing but rough. i thought i could ignored this and kept going, which i did, but the knitting was really not fun.

so this past week, i slaved through the socks, after four (yes, four) modifications on the toes, the socks are done, done and done.

i was so relieved, now i can rest. the best though, a brownie point for listening as here are some words from the recipient (aka husband):


no, they are my husband's feet. not daffy's

"finally!

after much anticipation, i finally received my 100% completely tailor made...foot gloves! i love them! they fit wonderfully! i don't want to take them off! i can't wait to wear them out where they can be noticed and made the subject of conversation. i really didn't realize how poorly other socks fit until i put these on. Hmmmm....i may have to ask for more."


do i hear "harry potter" socks?

November 02, 2005

meme* for knitting

*an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture*

i do not normally respond to meme but if the ones i received are interesting or relevant to the theme of this blog, i will make an exception. books, for one. knitting, definitely.


what is your all time favorite yarn to knit with?
i am usually very liberal when it comes to spread the love for yarn. having said that, i only like natural fibers, or, blended fibers that are soft and pleasant to me. but what is my favorite yarn? mountain color's bearfoot for socks; du store alpakka's baby silk for sweaters and kidsilk haze for those special shawls, lace and luxurious little knits.

your favorite needles?
lantern moon rosewood. i prefer wood or bamboo needles.

the worst thing you've ever knit?
this is how i see my projects from the past. when a project was finished, that exact moment evoked a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and all of my love and pride. but as my knitting projects progress, i feel the same way to all of them and really only in the retrospect i would find flaws in them. however, it should not consequently denies that moment of passion in the past. as such, i really can not think of anything i have knitted that i just did not like. i may like some less, but i really don't hate them.

i gave this scarf to my sister earlier this year. when i visited her in HK later, this scarf is all curled up and fuzzy. i wish i had picked a better yarn for this project, though lopi lite is what the pattern specified. so, it was an unsuccessful knit/present. lesson learned. as my wisdom grows, i now have some levels of regret as my very first sweater was lost in a moment of ignorance on my part.

your most favorite knit pattern? (maybe you don't like wearing it...but it was the most fun to knit)
there are several, but i am going to give this one to the wave skirt.

most valuable knitting technique?
all the finishing touches: seaming, grafting, blocking and washing.

best knit book or magazine?
my first *real* knitting book- big book of knitting by katarina buss. this is for more sentimental values. but i really love rowan magazines and interweave knits.

your favorite knit-a-long?
the honeymoon cami and my mini swap with nikkishell. and of course... the SYNO swap.

your favorite knitblogs?
the absolute favorite, fluffa!, without a doubt. becky's blog is the very first knitting blog i have read and the one that inspires me to start my own. there are way too many blogs i have later discovered and they are periodically updated on the sidebar. i am all for promoting new knitting blogs so here are some i'd love to share: knitwerk, saartje knits and craftoholic (the talented steph).

your favorite knitwear designer?
kim hargreaves. definitely.

the knit item you wear the most? (how about a picture of it!)
my SnB marsupial bag without the pouch. this is my one and only felted project. i love it just enough so i'd use it most days in the winter season and i'm not heart broken if it gets dirty or starts pilling like crazy (which sort of is already happening).

i am like the last batch of meme responders so i'm probably going to stop the tag here. but if becky, sara or francoise would like to humor me with their answers, please do.

November 01, 2005

a halloween FO

klaralund in silk garden 217

knit project: cornelia tuttle hamilton book 2 - klaralund
difficulty (1-5): 1.5
size: XS (34 in)
yarn: noro's silk garden in 217
knitting specs: US 8


klaralund beaming in sunlight, early morning of the halloween. spectrums of warm oriental colors quickly captured my love for this warm fuzzy knits the instant i put it on.

yes, cornelia tuttle's popular kimono sweater is all done. i'm happy and satisfied and i did not need trick or treat candies to have a good halloween!

life has been busy and we have been turning around like headless chickens for the past few days. i was helping out with domestic errands, tending to our cats' needs... but i was also burning with a sense of urgency to finish my klaralund. i did, late saturday, get to put on this finished knit and watched the last few episodes of "lost" with our cats and my husband, all calm and content, till the first ray of sunlight broke the thick shadowy cloud.

i am a careful knitter, though obsessive compulsiveness better describes me in most situations. i never take on a project lightly. klaralund is certainly a great example of this behavior. i have been wanting to knit with silk garden for the longest time, and really, what pairs this true japanese hand-painted yarn better than a kimono sweater?


a true handknit with no matchy stripes or symmetry

the pattern is straight forward and i do not want to bore you with the details. of course i had added some adjustments- side vents and increased garter stitch borders. these are totally unnecessary modifications as it did nothing to better or worse the fit. they are purely my personal preference.

i love, love, love this sweater. but i am now officially taking a break from projects with only plain and boring stockinette stitches. i am diving into cable knitting. soon enough, i promise.

what next? a knitting meme passed to me by steph, steph and mari.