yarn & fabric

February 11, 2009

12 hours in tokyo

everything

on my way back to the states, i had about 12 hour layover in tokyo. immediately i knew what i wanted to do: shopping for fabrics! it has been a very long time since i was in japan last, but joujouka had agreed to chauffeur me around town. we had a few email exchanges before my departure, checking train schedules and even the shopping itineraries are drawn up. i was so hyped about my adventure in tokyo!

joujouka met me at the shinjuku station early sunday morning, immediately we took another train to ebisu for a visit to check and stripe. we took a short walk to the store front only to discover the shop was now closed. oh well. at least i have this picture showing what a lovely little shop it was!

we also stopped by Nimes Cloth House. joujouka told me this was also a zakka store. they carried some stripe knits, as well as cotton fabrics. and all the lovely things you would expect to see from a japanese zakka store: pottery, tiny spoons, linen handkerchiefs, bundles of linen fabrics, vintage children’s books... etc etc.

i ended up not getting anything from there, but it was a nice zakka moment in japan.

next, we took another trip to kichijoji, where we visited cottonfield, probably my favorite fabric store to date. it was unbelievably sweet, with rows and rows of japanese fabrics, trims, notions. two storey full of wonders, which we only had probably 45 minutes to spend. i would have gotten (a lot) more from this store if they accepted credit cards! i ended up getting some beautiful wool gauze and a traditional checkered print which you see a lot in japanese craft books. apparently this print was popular in japan, there was a bin with bolts of this pattern in various weight, fiber content and texture. it was difficult to have to choose just one.

cottonfield

finally, we visited yuzawaya. the best craft store ever. period. i literally can spend a whole week there! i love their liberty fabric selection (though i did not get any), craft books, notions and ribbons... and nani iro!

ribbons :: linen and cotton
nani IRO

needless to say, it was probably the best craft hours for my trip. by the time i was getting used to the idea of shopping in tokyo, i was already on the train back to the airport.

we did not go by avril, but joujouka gave me a couple of their yarns. beautiful as always. and i also received a stack of traditional japanese fabrics from my brother, when he was in kyoto sometime last year.

avril
japanese fabrics

fabrics, are definitely souvenirs for my travel.

November 03, 2008

planning

piles of liberty
new fabric stash

i recently bought some fabric with plans to make some floral tops and a winter quilt. i love the cashmere quilt i made last winter as it is probably one of the favorite things i have ever made. working with liberty prints was like a dream! though the quilt was thin, it was extremely warm. and i think the cats enjoy the quilt more than i had.

what made me want a new quilt was because a few weeks ago, after we had returned from our trip to portsmouth, i found my quilt had been peed on by one of the cats (i think i knew which one... well). as a result, i had to wash the quilt for the first time, with bleaching, too. it was a pretty sad scene for me. fortunately, with a couple laundering, i was able to clean the quilt completely, but the cleaning process had somewhat destroyed the batting (or shrunk the cashmere). either way, it needs repairing.

in hindsight, i probably should have stabilized the quilt by sewing lines across, which i did not do. just like i did not expect the quilt had to go through such rigorous cycle of cleaning to begin with.

one of these days, i may be able to find a saturday afternoon for such task. but right now, i'm thinking about my new quilt, planning the layout in my head. i think it will be full of liberty prints, and lots of purple.

February 22, 2008

hello from connecticut

snow

it snowed today, for the first time since we arrived last week. it's strange waking up to a totally different scene. it's also very cold. but i think we knew that before coming here.

i also shoveled snow for the first time in my life. i did not expect the snow to be so heavy, especially after pushing the shovel for a few feet. what a workout! cats are obviously not a fan of snow just yet. only one cat was brave enough to check out the snow up close, the other two were hiding.

but we love it here so far. i feel like a stranger in the city, looking around with a fresh pair of eyes. it's all very exciting. we can't wait to go snowboard/skiing.

craft room mess

my craft room is slowly being set up, it's a mess at the moment. i did manage to put a floor mirror in my craft room, this would ultimately make fitting and looking at myself a lot easier. and i don't care for the purple carpet, either. but i can live with it for a while, i guess.

just before we moved here, i bought some yarn for the first time since early 2007. i want to make a shawl/scarf, more precisely, a clapotis. in this beautiful yellow malabrigo! this color has been showcased here and here, i think it will look great with blue (you should all know about my color fascination by now, no?)

yellow merino

anyway, i'm also looking forward to some sewing. now that i am between jobs, which seems like a great opportunity to make a big project or some sort. another quilt, that winter coat i've been talking about and possibly some clothes for my cute nieces.

and more regular blog posting, for sure.

September 12, 2007

in the shop

thanks to everyone who provided me the possible cause for my sewing machine problems. when i was searching online for such information, it was surprisingly sparse. i am so glad to see so many of you have had similar experiences and provided me some solutions.

a couple things about leather: i did use leather specific needles, and upholstery thread (100% nylon, very sturdy), and adjusted the top thread tension to -2 (which i think is looser?). and increased the stitch length. when i tested it was sewing just fine. but when something happened, it happened really fast (ie, the timing belt slipped off...). and the breakdown was rather an immediate event.

anyway, i finally succumbed to having the professionals checked out my machine. my husband took it to the repair shop and brought along the evidence (scraps of leather) of before and after stitches. husband said that the guy told him these types of machines (ie, basic household models) are not meant to sew such thick leather, it would require industrial strength sewing machine. i guess i better not tempt faith and sew leather again, after it's repaired and readjusted. what do you think?

which will probably change my plan for this cute diaper bag. maybe linen handles then. maybe that would work as well.

--

now something fun... remember this piece of gorgeous wool cashmere alison spoiled me with? i am going to pair it with equally decadent piece of light gray cashmere and make my first ever quilt. to make it even more luxurious, i bought some liberty of london cottons. among other cute prints.

i'm hoping the end result would look somewhat like this:

schematics

i can't wait to get started! it'll be a lap blanket to curl up in during winter. though i foresee this would be a cat blanket, too. my cats are used to luxury. they would not lay on hardwood floor, or even sit their cat butts on without any cushioning. i'm sure they would love to test how soft cashmere really feels.

June 13, 2007

crafty love

my mailbox was greeted by the loveliest craft package last week. it was from six.5 stitches. initially i was asked to be part of di's cyber baby shower. one thing led to another, we were negotiating fabric swaps across the ocean!

swap :: 1
click to see what's inside

so here are some gorgeous goodies from alison (thanks again! i'm still gushed just be looking at them!). also, you must go check out what alison had made for di's upcoming baby! the most gorgeous baby quilt. and more!

i have been knitting (surprise!). the sunrise jacket is coming along slowly. it should be ready to wear when autumn comes. i've been thinking about white sands and tropical drinks. i even made a cotton and linen slip for an upcoming vacation (which i will need to post a picture this weekend). talk about advanced planning!

March 22, 2007

spring on

as you can probably tell, i'm pretty smitten with my sewing lately, until last night. i was trying to make another skirt, as it turned out, i changed my mind on the fabric- no love for it anymore. this half finished skirt was now shoved aside for more interesting craft to come.

on another thought, maybe someone else would like a handmade skirt? perhaps i will finish it eventually and see if there would be any takers.

lotus by amy butler

anyway. i have been inspired by crafters everywhere as of late. especially six.5 stitches baby clothes. i wanted to make a cute outfit for my niece. my sister-in-law dresses her in pink mostly. though i am more with alison's philosophy on "no pink for girls!" so i bought these prints to make a simple sun dress and pants. i hope this would work.


embroidered whites

of course there's also something for me! some embroidered whites i found in this amazing fabric store in atlanta. i was all giddy when i asked the owner if they have some black fusible interfacings, the owner was wondering if i needed that for scad. heh... no, i'm not an art student, but imagine if i am one. how great would that be?!

if only we can decide what we truly want out of life and receive the trainings to become one, when we are all matured and thoughtful. like now. i would probably never wanted to be a scientist. i think i liked the idea of science more than science itself. however i can honestly say that i love art, conceptually and practically.

i'm thinking that maybe i should start using "whispering pine" as a forum to share my love of everything artsy. so let's begin with some sock yarn. beautifully photographed variegated yarns are always inspiring. isn't it!

cobblestone county
cobblestone county of blue moon fiber arts

happy spring, everyone!

February 14, 2007

souvenir, part two

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i hope floral prints are in this season, because i am planning to make at least one floaty, silky dress this spring!

it was extremely difficult to choose among yards and yards of fabric when i visited the silk fabric store in shanghai. i eventually decided to go with bold floral prints. after splurging on all those silk, i didn't have enough money to get the cashmere i wanted, nor those beautiful, summery linen. oh well. got to stop somewhere, right.

china 1318.jpg

this is not really souvenir but a result of a lovely swap with di! i she had fulfilled my desire for some jo sharp's yarns. i now have enough silkroad aran tweed to make either a sunrise circle jacket, a forecast or the staple ribby cardi. which one should i make? i've been stalking some sunrise circle jackets, they all look beautiful. but are they easy to wear? i hate to make a sweater out of some gorgeous yarns only to find out that it's not very wearable.

the blue yarns are jo sharp's new alpaca kid lustre. wonderful to feel. they should become socks or gloves one day!

love swapping with knitters alike. it's not just the swapping part that's fun, but the process of negotiating goods, back and forth deliberation. mostly at the end of the swap, i felt like i've gained another friend, thanks di!

November 13, 2006

color wheel

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red, orange and peach carnations from last weekend's dinner party

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beautifully dyed sock yarns from a pattern swap (thank you, sundara!)

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striped scarf for husband

--

i really have not been inspired to write much lately. there has been so much going on, i feel perpetually tired after work, my mind has been planning the thanksgiving menu, the house is a mess... and cats want attention! and my knitting projects are growing like mad.

just some pictures for now.

July 05, 2006

king's fern

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pattern: butterick B4549
difficulty (1-5): 2.2
pattern size: 10
fabric: 1.25 yd of amy butler's charm fabric in creams king's fern, invisible zipper

a kimono style top in amy butler's charm fabric. amy calls her fabric creams king's fern. hence, i'm calling it my king's fern. the shirt can be a little revealing, so i wear it with a cami. but, it may be a bathing suit underneath if i'm heading towards the beach.

there is very likely to be a second top with this pattern. kaffe fassett's purple chrysanthemum print with green floral borders. possibilities are endless, and i can't have them all this summer.

oh i so adore this sewalong project.

i was initially a little apprehensive about the fit. then, after reading a couple reviews online, i decided to make it a size smaller and i think it turned out just right. also, after working on a series of butterick's patterns, i think their designs tend to run big with a lot of ease; height waisted, too, for pants and skirts.

modifications were very minute for this project, a major one being the facings for neckline and armholes. i did not follow the directions but instead i had created what seamstresses would called the biased binding for hems. i was quite confused with the instructions and had misunderstood initially. anyway, i liked it better this way. i had also installed the zipper for the entire left side of the bottom pieces instead of per instruction. not sure which way was better, but this is simply just a personal preference.

in this particular project, i had tried to be neat on seaming and sewing the lines straight. sewing is a true testament for craftsmanship, i need to warrant it more attention and patience.

overall, i love this top, and i love it even more with the help of these little clips. i will never be able to sew without you guys. really.

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the best sewing notion of all times: cute little butterfly clips

and trust me... that bottle of spray glue, you will love it. especially when folding hemlines and such!

Continue reading "king's fern" »

June 13, 2006

the right kind of yellow

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have you ever been through a phase of obsession? you must. for me, knitting is one, sewing... is another. but i am finding myself obsessing over citrus tones lately. i took hege's advice (you can always, always trust this norwegian girl) and went by intown quilters. the moment i walked in... i was in the fabric heaven! can't help but to curse myself for putting the visit off until last friday.

this softest yellow from kaffe fassett is going to be my first sewing project for a dress. a floaty, banana republic wannabe dress. yellow is so summer, so quaint and friendly. i love yellow so much that i am actually enjoying eating it. succulent oranges, exotic mangos, pina colada, coucous... even the most delicious sauvignon blanc from my adopted homeland. fabulous.

i washed the fabric this weekend, 100% cotton crumbled up pretty nicely... it is wrinkly in a cute way. i love it. the cotton was sheer and just the right thread count. but mostly, it feels soft. i love thie yellow fabric and i think it pairs sooo well with rowan's blue peony print, don't you agree?

i am not sure what the blue floral print is going to be, a wrap dress? a halter top? hmm... i may need to toss a coin.

today, i also came across camila engman's blog. she is an artist to me. an artist who has so fully incorporated her passion into her life, a stage that i aspired to be and can never reach. what do i want to be? with all these obsessions about knitting and sewing? am i just being carry away by the wave of popular culture?

i'm not sure. are you? do you know what you want out of your passion? some have chosen to be a designer, spinner or dyer. some may be just happily doing what others do, some, may precipiate towards the bottom of the lake.

i am still figuring it out. but one thing i can be sure of is that knitting and sewing have given me so much joy, they have the spotlight of my life right now and i'm not ready to give that up.

April 12, 2006

i heart routine

only yesterday i had the chance to finally unpack my craft from boxes. weeks of no knitting/sewing had been difficult... but i had sort of lost the urge to knit or sew like i used to. which was sad, i think. but yesterday i found myself thinking about knitting and wanting to finish some projects, start some new ones and share them with all of you.

i am eager to get back to my routine. really.

and, joujouka, a lovely japanese crafter, had sent along the greatest package this week. we had gotten to know each other through the sewalong. she knows my fascination of japanese craft and we did a little swap.

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these are the most delicate supplies of knitting and sewing: two cones of yarns, one 100% linen and one 30/70 silk and linen. a book filled with the most beautiful sewing projects, and, some gorgeous linen and cotton fabrics from linnet and checks & stripes. i feel like in a crafter's heaven.

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close up of the gorgeous yarns... they make great summer shawls and lacey tops!

i have great respect for japanese craft books, especially the newer, more comteporary ones. they are just incredibly beautiful to look at. in the end, these seemingly unnecessary lifestyle items became a "must have". also, all the projects are simple and i think i will be able to follow just by reading through the diagrams. this is inspiration to its purest form.

these are some of my favorites:

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shoulder bag with a bit of ruffles. it complements so well with a handknit hat and top...

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a dust bag. why would you ever need a dust bag, but i want one...

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i want to look like the model, so wispy and delicate in this apron dress, it makes crafting so much more posh and trendy...

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finishing off the projects with cross-stitching monograms...

ah... i can't wait to start. i think my dining room can use some handsewn table napkins, place mats, table runners... and i certainly need an apron for that.


March 08, 2006

fabric swap

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so have i at least inspired some of you to sew? please say yes! my goal this summer is to knit a top and then sew a skirt to match the top. actually, this is hege's idea. she is a great enabler for my sewing, just look at these loveliest fabrics she gave me!!! and, a close up on the ultrasuede. the prettiest powdery pink. i am not sure what this will become, but i think it matches pretty well with this cutest baby face that belongs to my niece.

i know we fiber enthusiasts are all about yarn and fiber porns. unfortunately my old site has recently been maliciously revived into an adult version. and i can't begin to tell you how awful but helpless i feel! blogger is not going to care about my complain so i can only ask you to update your links to this one. thank you!

February 17, 2006

fabric stash

well into february and i still have yet to buy any yarn. but look at my newly acquired fabric stash... so much for this self inflicted discipline.

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amy butler, amy butler and more amy butler....

they are just as beautiful as fiber. after all, they are all fiber. i just looove these colors and patterns and flowers. they may be for quilting? no? i don't care. these are 100% cotton and they feel soft and look lovely on me. i don't care if i look like i'm wearing curtains.

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easy patterns from butterick and mccalls. hopefully, they are really "easy" for a novice sewer like me!

i have selected these patterns for the sewalong. tomorrow, i'm washing the fabric. while they are drying, i will read my sewing machine's manual and do some practice run with the 10 yard muslin i had also bought. in addition to my knitting library, i received this book from amazon to get me started on sewing. so far, i'm loving how clear and comprehensive this book is. beautiful photographs along with all the instructions, i suspect this may be the only book i'll ever need in order to learn how to sew. seriously.

stay tuned for more sewing adventure. if you are here to read about my knitting, not much for today.

i do have a knitting blog to share: pine cone lodge. my good friend hege has decided to share her knitting with the world. she is originally from norway and is a fabulous knitter. she knits fair isle, aran, and is a big alice starmore fan. we have talked about starting rowan's birch together... look how far along she has knitted already!!

hege also crochets, sews and has some serious fashion sense. you will love her.

February 02, 2006

to distract you from a pictureless post

it is amazing to me how much stuff one can accumulate over time. this phenomenon is especially true when it comes to yarn. fiber enthusiast's biggest joy and deepest sin. our common lust for yarn. argh!

i thought i was being very good and self-discipline for my stash. i never really buy yarn on a whim, usually i would have a pattern in mind. or, i would search out a pattern to justify the purchase (yes, it does sound like an excuse to buy yarn!). anyway, over time, i accumulated some stash. the other day i was mentally sorting through my stash, oh my goodness, i have enough sock yarns to make myself 10 pairs of socks. wow! this does not include yarns earmarked for sweaters, accessories, etc, etc.

it is really out of control.

so my most important resolution this year: no more yarns for me. i need to knit them all up, clear out my storage bin. wear my sweaters, socks, hats and scarves to make my time and money worthwhile. yes, very purist of me. i think i am on the right track so far... it's february and have not purchased any yarns. whoo hoo!

and i don't like to sell off my yarn, if i loved them enough to buy them at one point, selling them feels like a betrayal to my own feelings. i don't need to deal with such guilt. i love my yarn, they remind me of my past and bare a hope of flourishing into a lovable product in my future.

December 29, 2005

buttons, buttons, everywhere

thank you for all the encouragements for my fair isle project, i felt a bit of embarrassment while reading all of your comments as moments after my posting, i ripped out all of what you saw and had decided to use baby ull instead. sisu yarn is nice and soft but i found it to be somewhat splitty and thin for this project. also, when i tried the sock on, it felt tight. i am hoping that with baby ull, a squishier yarn, there will be more allowance for stretching.

sisu yarn will subsequently become another pair of socks for husband. who is the happy winner here?

i have been searching for buttons for a while. as you all know, alabama is not the craft capital of the world. so, when it comes time to look for buttons, i had two options: hancock fabrics or walmart. stunning, i know. so, i turned to online shopping, of course. little i know that button business is hard to seek out, but i have finally found something.

tagua nut (also known as corozzo) is now my new favorite thing for buttons! though i have yet to physically feel this material, i am pretty sure it will be as luscious as its nickname, vegetable ivory. tagua nut is found in the tropical rain forests in ecuador, now how exotic can this be? i am just a total sucker for anything exotic.

i have ordered some rusty brown tagua buttons for my alpakka sweater. i think it will complement the front quite nicely, no?

with yarns from norway, buttons from ecuador. i think i am all exotic out now.

soon, buttons from ecuador will be part of my sweater!

October 19, 2005

who should go first?

before i show you more knits in progress which would possibly be in the next post, it recently came to my attention that what i had planned to knit this winter was quite different from what actually was being made. roxie, for example, is something i really love to make; i have the pattern but i do not have the yarn. rowan's chunky print is what the pattern calls for. that polar bear-ish yarn is like $12.95 each and i would need, like, eight of those mini polar bears to complete one roxie. this is a bit pricey for my taste at this moment. so, this project got shoved aside, along with nan as it requires some super expensive rowan yarns as well.

however, i am sticking with highgate though. it is my next sweater project. ok, maybe not quite the next... because i'm about to show you what i bought on ebay last week:


yes, it is that blue!

oh that beautiful cobalt blue tweed. color so rich it feels like being wrapped around the aegean sea in a starless night. how i love this blue. this yarn would make this norah gaughan's tweedy aran cardigan a treasure item for many years to come, don't you think?


tweedy aran cardigan (IK winter 01/02)

i have been eyeing this cardi ever since eilene had mentioned it on her blog. i had secretly tracked down a copy on ebay and had been searching for the perfect yarn. alas, finally the moment to knit is here. how can i possibly wait any longer?

the toss between highgate and my cobalt blue cardi (yes, that's how i'm calling it) is a tough one, but knowing that i will eventually knit them is somewhat comforting to me (and possibly you, my readers). but you know, it is really never that easy in my world.

my better pal thinks i'm not spoiled enough so she sent me a skein of zephyr wool-silk in my favorite palette last week. of course, along with some other goodies that i am secretly in love with. zephyr wool is, as the name suggested, an equal blend of silk and wool. but, what makes this special is the silk is not your everyday silk from the silk worm farm. it is the tussah silk from china! wow. you think those silk worms were transported along the silk road from persian to china? hmmm....


one skein of jagger zephyr in mushroom, a bag from sheperd bush and a lovely bar of soap!

so the mushroom colored silk wool yarn is beautiful. but wouldn't it be more beautiful if it becomes a shawl? a scarf? a river by sharon miller? yoohoo! jody, sign me up! i need me a zephyr wool/silk river, and hopefully it will turn out half as pretty as diana's.

and yes, you have counted them right: three potential projects fighting the spot for the next in line. knit them all, i say. all at the same time (are you crazy, woman?).

September 25, 2005

my first noro

silk garden heaven
gorgeous noro yarn has arrived last week, and i totally loved it!! i think japanese is the most genius race in the whole craft department. noro silk garden has a very rustic look, the softness did not come into mind until you touched it with your hands. almost half of the fiber is composed of silk; the beautiful, luscious silk! what a dream... however, what i love about the silk garden is the color. i had such a hard time picking the color since they varies quite a bit, even with the same colorway. it may appear red, but in another source, it may look brown. it is variegation on a larger than life scale which i totally love. but let's be totally honest here: i would not have love them so much if it was not for how much i had paid for, $66 incl. shipping on ebay. what a deal!

this particular color, #217, ranges from purply pink to golden flakes to muted charcoals and browns. it is a winter color, and it would make a sweater looks warm and cozy, which is perfect for what they are going to become- klaralund by cornelia tuttle. i can not wait to start but only if i have the pattern. i am a bit reluctant to invest in a whole book as klaralund is the only pattern i like, and have been wondering if i can just swap patterns with other knitters? hmm...

anyway, anna's SYNO shrug is almost done! and i'm hoping to finish the back piece of the alpakka sweater this weekend as well. then, i'll have to show you my sockapal-two-za socks (which are the loveliest socks i have ever seen from kathy), my amy butler's covington bag from nichola and, my very own backyard leaves scarf made by the knitting fairy known as the lovely stephanie from wyoming!

September 16, 2005

sweet surprises!

from the package label to the thank you card, it's sweetgeorgia all the way!

and the yarn, just like its creator, is sweet and beautiful. the color "rusted" is granite slate, coppertone and various shades of soft greys. it is vibrant and i love it so much that i had to show it to my husband. of course, he loves it so much too that he wants a pair of socks with this yarn. well, i would have said no if it's not for my better pal...

mountain colors bearfoot in redtail hawk, nicely packaged with a set of US1 crystal palace dpns; a bar of soap smells like shea butter; a cutest sheep card and some cinnamon tea, and vermints. how spoilt can i be?

my better pal has a delicate heart, she reads my blog and she reads thoughts. she knew that i love to have some bearfoot yarn, the scent of shea butter, so she gave those to me. and she knew that i always have trouble finishing off a pair of socks so i was given a lovely pattern "whisper rib and shepherd's lace", interesting and beautiful enough to hold my attention. she pays attention to my frivolous, luxurious needs, and i love her dearly already. thank you, better pal!

and you think my indulgence with knitting would stop here, right? no. i just won a pack of noro's silk garden #217 on ebay (at half of the retail price). i have been stalking the auctions for a while and i was pleasantly surprised to acquire them at this price. bliss! and, purply and brown shades of these silk garden yarns will become the famous klaralund. can't wait... well, i do need a copy of the pattern first!

September 09, 2005

etsy, all things handmade

i had two separate encounters of etsy today. one, from my beloved secret pal turned friend, mac; second, from my favorite knit blogger, felicia. both had something to do with knitting/yarn.

mac, an avid fundrasier had asked me to spread the word for "craftsters united"at etsy, there you will find many lovely items donated by crafters around the world to raise money for people affected by katrina. i'm thinking of making something to donate this weekend.

felicia has decided to sell her fabulous handspun yarns! she had set up a "sweetshop" at etsy, too! i quickly snatched one as i have been admiring her spinning for a while. this is what i will get getting:



the rusted sock yarn is coming to me from the lovely sweet shop!

September 05, 2005

yarn cakes

cherry wood swift, a must for all serious knitters!

i'm slowly knitting again, after a week of absolutely no knitting and very limited blogging. i am probably not going to get carpal tunnel, so, that will be a good thing.

i have been doing a bit of running and had gone to the gym, you can read my updates here. since i started knitting like mad this past year, a few aspects of my life have been conveniently neglected, that, i conclude, is not a good thing. so, i am hoping to lead a more balanced lifestyle from now and that means knitting, running, reading and let's not forget maintaining a clean home enviroment (ie, no delay on houseworks).

so, the best way to slowly introduce knitting into my routine is to make some yarn cakes. and that was what i did this weekend. in addition to finishing off the sockapal-2-za socks in time to mail them off.

are you tired of looking at yarn cakes??

before and after (this is for you, nikkishell!)

i saw diana, shobhana and stephanie (those marvellous knitters) all went and got themselves a set of ball winder and swift. and i knew i had to get them. oh! i can not love my mama bear more! the wooden swift is absolutely gorgeous, it holds the skein nicely while the ball winder does its job. instead of useless skeins, i now have stacks of yarn cakes in my stash.

a peek into my stash (mac and francoise, some of those are from you!)


equally beautiful from another angel (when in the world did i accumulate so many yarns?)

August 05, 2005

yarns from england

aren't they pretty? francoise was offering these for sale a while ago, i knew i would be owning them the moment i saw them. so, here they are, all the way from england. handspun, hand-dyed yarns such as point five and grafitti are destined to be some funky hats and scarves. i can't wait to be cold again!

thank you francoise! i love these yarns!

July 27, 2005

knit tools

my secret pal has been gifted me packages with specific themes. this one, knit tools, is a good one! i was so pleasantly surprised to find the drop spindle with some merino rovings. am i going to be tempted to be a spinner now? hmm... must consider.

if you have not yet feel the smoothness of lantern moon needles, please immediately go to your LYS and resolve that. i love working with natural fibers and tools, thus most of my needles are bamboo needles. lantern moon is my first pair made from rosewood... oh, fancy! i can see myself making some scarves with these lovely needles.

and, of course, the yarn and the stitch markers are destined to be my knitting treasure. the day when this package arrived, was a good day!

orange pink rovings on a drop spindle, stitch markers with little faces, lantern moon needles and a skein of handspun merino wool by my SP in divine blue.

July 08, 2005

giving and receiving

i'm going to show you what i had made dani last week, a cotton washcloth!

actually, this is not a new or exciting pattern, but i feel that i need to publicly give my praise to this truly wonderful book "weekend knitting" by melanie falick. this book is why i fall in love with knitting all over again. so many wonderful and practical patterns, instructions are clear, photos are beautiful. what more could you ask for from a knitting book?

in two evenings, you can produce this lovely washcloth and make someone feel quite special! it's good all around. though i would like to add that cotton chenille is not my favorite yarn to work with, but the end result has always been more than worthwhile. i have made four washcloths already (though all of them were gifts) and i would still make another one given the opportunity.

and, what good is a washcloth without a soap? so, dani also got a soap from there through me!

ever wondered how to knit in round?

knit project: weekend knitting - reversed bloom washcloth
difficulty (1-5): 2
size: n/a
yarn: numei's cotton chenille in neptune
knitting specs: US 6 cir.


i know that many of you had expressed your envious thoughts toward the koigu sales here, however, i went back to the shop not long ago and the shop lady told me that she will not be carrying koigu anymore, thus the sale. what? i was shocked to the bones when she told me that. so, what else could i do? take home more koigu yarns, you said. oh don't you worry, i already did.


green koigu wants to be socks for my husband!

giving and receiving

i'm going to show you what i had made dani last week, a cotton washcloth!

actually, this is not a new or exciting pattern, but i feel that i need to publicly give my praise to this truly wonderful book "weekend knitting" by melanie falick. this book is why i fall in love with knitting all over again. so many wonderful and practical patterns, instructions are clear, photos are beautiful. what more could you ask for from a knitting book?

in two evenings, you can produce this lovely washcloth and make someone feel quite special! it's good all around. though i would like to add that cotton chenille is not my favorite yarn to work with, but the end result has always been more than worthwhile. i have made four washcloths already (though all of them were gifts) and i would still make another one given the opportunity.

and, what good is a washcloth without a soap? so, dani also got a soap from there through me!

ever wondered how to knit in round?

knit project: weekend knitting - reversed bloom washcloth
difficulty (1-5): 2
size: n/a
yarn: numei's cotton chenille in neptune
knitting specs: US 6 cir.


i know that many of you had expressed your envious thoughts toward the koigu sales here, however, i went back to the shop not long ago and the shop lady told me that she will not be carrying koigu anymore, thus the sale. what? i was shocked to the bones when she told me that. so, what else could i do? take home more koigu yarns, you said. oh don't you worry, i already did.


green koigu wants to be socks for my husband!

June 29, 2005

koigu love

/yarn_fabric/DSCN0661.jpg

"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for all of Paris is a moveable feast."
Ernest Hemingway - moveable feast


i don't know how this quote is relevant to this post, but when i spotted those beautiful koigu at my local yarn shop the other day, hemingway's quote was all i can think about.

nothing is more exciting to a knitter than a skein of beautiful yarn. i have heard and read so much about koigu, and that day, at the local yarn shop, marked my first contact with this famous yarn. it had made me realized how powerful that excitement was, almost ecstatic, fainting, and at the same time, i just wanted to put all the stock in my hands and took all of them home with me.

i did not take all of them home (although all koigu yarns were 50% off...), despite how much i would have loved to do that. it really took a lot of self discipline from me to just select a few of my favorite shades and to immediately leave the shop. believe it or not, i have yet to make a pair of socks for myself. so, i feel the need to keep those yarns to my desperate feet!

and, not all i bought was koigu sock yarns, the pinky ones were koigu kersti will be this beautiful scarf and probably some gloves? sometimes it's kind of fun to find a pattern for a limited amount of yarn.

so, do you remember when was the first time a skein of yarn that made you appreciate knitting? what kind of yarn is so precious and soft that you don't even want to unravel it? many yarns had left impressions on my mind, and i know that there will be many more to come. and koigu, was definitely one of those moments.

June 17, 2005

feels like christmas!


first, my secret pal sent over a sock themed package!


first contact with home spun yarn, for me and the curious pumpkin!


zoe, too. though she is also into the lovely whipstick lip balm (chocolate flavor!)


second, dani cured my stitch marker envy by sending over some cutest stitch markers! with cats and mice, too!


real cats were wondering why there are cats on the stitch markers, but more importantly, why it's them that get to go outside?

thank you so much, secret pal and dani! i love them all! so excited with the home made yarn! i can't wait to make some beautiful socks with them. i looked through the "folk socks" book, i can tell already that i'll be making some socks from there. and you know what, my WIPs will now be dressed with beautiful stitch markers!

June 15, 2005

all those secrets...

first, the secret pal, second, the secret sock pal. oh! can i just yell out at the cyberspace - who are you?

no, not yet! i don't want to spoil the fun.

the secret pal. she has been great (i think it's a she), she writes me often (nice, funny letters), and she is sending me something this week (absolutely, the best part). actually, i'm not sure what she is going to surprise me with, but my knitter's instinct tells me that it's going to be something wonderful!

so, am i a good secret pal to this person? i hope so. i write her on occasions (i know it's a her), i sent her a card (she liked it), and i just bought something for her from her wishlist (that can't be bad)! and i am getting ready to send her something (and i hope she will like them).

now for my secret sock pal, it is a little different for you are not sending out presents, you are sending out your knitted projects, in this case, a pair of socks with tailored instructions from the recipient.

this makes me a little nervous (well, a lot nervous). why? first, i feel like my knitting skill is going to be examined and possibly scrutinized but the recipient. second, i am not sure if my taste and selection of yarn is meeting the expectation of the recipient's. third, i want to do something a little bit fancier than just plain stockinette stitches but the risk of messing it up will be somewhat proportional to how difficult the pattern rates. lastly, and the most terrifying fear: what if it just does not fit? oh! i can see myself doing the edvard munch scream.

okay, perhaps my melodramatic descriptions deemed unnecessary, but those aforementioned concerns do exist on a lesser scale in my heart. so, what do i do? i ran out and bought this.

yes, a book. a sock knitting book! i heard many good things about this book so i'm going to pick a pattern from it and work on it. i'm a sock knitter with skills stuck between beginner and intermediate, so, i hope my sock pal will not die laughing at my crude attempt on a pretty pattern. yes, i have insecurities and they are particularly prominent in sock knitting.

thanks to all the lovely comments on my gallery! they are truly appreciated.

June 03, 2005

should we feel guilty?

why do we always feel guilty when we purchase yarns? do you feel guilty when you need to buy, say, a pair of socks? i often wonder about that. is guilt a feeling that emerges when you do something that you consciously know that you shouldn't? is yarn buying a sinful activity for knitters?

how much money do you spend on yarn buying every month? how many of those yarns actually turn into functional garments? do you feel more guilty if your number of FO is far less than your yarn stash?

why in the world am i asking all these somewhat rhetorical questions? well, that's because i've just spent helluva lot of money in just under 10 minutes to get me some yarn.

this all happened when my lovely husband (affectionate adjective to describe husband is necessary as he may read my blog and find out my splurge one day) brought me an envelope sent from rowan last night, in it was a list of yarns that are on sale; in it, i found some rowan calmer and some jaeger ex. fine merino all 50% off. i've heard way too many good things about these yarns and i think if i'm going to get them, i should get them NOW!

and, of course, i did.

so, what will these yarns turn into? the beautiful audrey from rowan35 (one that owns by all knitters!) and this classic polo shirt from jaeger classic knit.

that's it. no more yarns for me. except...

this fall, eton and audrey are coming to my wardrobe!

should we feel guilty?

why do we always feel guilty when we purchase yarns? do you feel guilty when you need to buy, say, a pair of socks? i often wonder about that. is guilt a feeling that emerges when you do something that you consciously know that you shouldn't? is yarn buying a sinful activity for knitters?

how much money do you spend on yarn buying every month? how many of those yarns actually turn into functional garments? do you feel more guilty if your number of FO is far less than your yarn stash?

why in the world am i asking all these somewhat rhetorical questions? well, that's because i've just spent helluva lot of money in just under 10 minutes to get me some yarn.

this all happened when my lovely husband (affectionate adjective to describe husband is necessary as he may read my blog and find out my splurge one day) brought me an envelope sent from rowan last night, in it was a list of yarns that are on sale; in it, i found some rowan calmer and some jaeger ex. fine merino all 50% off. i've heard way too many good things about these yarns and i think if i'm going to get them, i should get them NOW!

and, of course, i did.

so, what will these yarns turn into? the beautiful audrey from rowan35 (one that owns by all knitters!) and this classic polo shirt from jaeger classic knit.

that's it. no more yarns for me. except...

this fall, eton and audrey are coming to my wardrobe!

May 31, 2005

beautiful yarns from norway

du store alpakka!
a dear friend of mine gave me a bag of beautiful yarns from her recent visit to norway this memorial weekend, and i am obligated to show my readers such lovely colors blended in fibers of alpaca and silk! i'm in love with them immediately! my friend obvious knows me well for she picked such beautiful assortments of colors.

so, what should i make? a pair of gloves? a short sleeved sweater incorporated those colors as stripes? a chevron stitched scarf with matching hat? any ideas? i want to use all five balls in a project as these colors look so harmoniously together. i would not want to separate them at all!

thank you for the lovely yarns, hege!

May 24, 2005

SP5, this is for you!

1. are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? do you avoid red heart and lion brand? or is it all the same to you?
sort of, well, yes! i do prefer high quality and natural fibers basically because i feel that if i’m going to invest my time into making something, i’d rather want to work with the yarn that i love. then again, there are some nice novelty yarns there that i may try one day, depending on the project! bottom line is, i don’t like yarns you can find at walmart!

2. do you spin? crochet?
i don’t spin (though i’d like to one day), and i crochet minimally (ie, if a project requires a crocheted edge, i would then crochet!)

3. do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)
i don’t like smoke. i don’t like strong perfume of any sort. i am allergic to pollen (not fun).

4. how long have you been knitting?
i learned how to knit in 96, but i only started knitting seriously a couple years ago.

5. do you have an amazon or other online wish list?
i have a wish list with amazon containing mostly knitting books!

6. what's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
hmm… as a victim of believing in quality life, i’m kind to my body (read: i like scents that are not synthetic). i’m very particular as to where i purchase my scented products from. i like lavender, floral scents from aveda, and the lovely shea butter (or anything) scents from l’occitane. (yes, i’m spoiled! my husband knows that).

7. do you have a sweet tooth?
actually, no. i don’t like chocolate, candies or even cakes (exception to crème brulee). i don’t snack. but, i’m an epicurean! i believe in good food.

8. what other crafts or do-it-yourself things do you like to do?
none, really! knitting is basically it!

9. what kind of music do you like? can your computer/stereo play mp3s?
not really into music, (you must think i’m whacked!!), actually, let me rephrase, i don’t like pop-music and i don’t really listen to music much. however, i like jazz, musicals and cello (big yo-yo ma fan). music to me is a very personal thing, it’s hard for me to categorize as to what kind i like. i know it when i hear it.

10. what's your favorite color? or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? any colors you just can't stand?
creamy white, the whole spectrum of whites (beige, ivory, taupe, soft grey (maybe a bit stretching here). i also like other colors, such as deep reds, soft yellows, olives, blues and pinks. i’m not too crazy with the teal or purple-ish. then again, it really depends on the project.

11. what is your family situation? do you have any pets?
a great loving husband and three wild calico cats.

12. what are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, i know)
depending on the day! all knitters want to have their own yarn shops so that was mine at some point! i’d love to have a job that allows me to travel all the time, to wear fabulous clothes and to take lots of vacations! but i think at the end i just want to be content to what i have, healthy and happy!

13. what is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
hmm… so far, anything rowan (i’m a rowan junkie). i like alpaca/wool blend a lot. i have not yet tried cashmere but i think i’d love that, too.

14. what fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
100% acrylic, nylon or synthetic froufrou sparkling fur yarn!! i’m not into itchy scratchy yarns either, doesn’t matter if it’s wool. come to think of it, i don’t like single ply wool yarns that felts too easily.

15. what is/are your current knitting obsession/s?
cotton yarns! i would love to make cotton tops for the summer. i have yet to do that! rowan calmer is my current fascination!

16. what is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

oh, so many! cardigans, sweaters (not tunic, though), summer tops. i recently started sock knitting! love that! sock yarns are so deliciously beautiful!

17. what are you knitting right now?
will be starting the sherbert (wave) skirt from ik spring, couple unfinished projects including a baby cardigan for a friend and a pair of socks for my dad.

18. what do you think about ponchos?
i can’t say i do. i’m quite petite so ponchos may make me to like a walking umbrella. then again, i can always make one to my liking.

19. do you prefer straight or circular needles?
both, depending on the project.

20. bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
i like bamboo needles, been dying to get some lantern moon needles (sp5, are you listening?!). i don’t like plastic, but i do like the denise interchangeables. i am neutral towards the aluminum ones

21. are you a sock knitter?
yes!

22. how did you learn to knit?
my mum taught me!

23. how old is your oldest ufo?
several months! i don’t like to keep a project hanging.

24. what is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
betty boop! she is so cute!

25. what is your favorite holiday?
christmas and i love it for santa claus, not for religious reasons!

26. is there anything that you collect?
not really. if you must, i love yarns (surprise!). actually, i am starting a collection of knitting magazines and books.

27. what knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
i have rowan and interweave.

28. any books out there you are dying to get your hands on?
loop d loop by teva durham! i would love to have the tendances magazine, noro and jaeger! and i would love to get a classic pattern book jm08 from jaeger so i can work on highgate (inspired by sweetgeorgia)!

are you in?

when i started blogging few months ago, i've noticed that knitting bloggers would sporadically show off presents they had received from the "secret pal". i felt a bit left out for not being part ot the whole secret pal thing. i know, it's lame! so, since then i have been watching closely for the next "secret pal" thing and voila! it's here! so, new bloggers, go over there and sign up immediately so you can love and be loved by a fellow knitter (and put a lovely button on your blog!)

May 23, 2005

choose your labels wisely

thanks for all the compliments and support for my socks and label (respectively)! i appreciate them all! i have to say, the place where i ordered my labels from is really nice, they give you a pretty realistic expectation as to when you will get them. if you are unsure of the color combination, you may want to call and chat with them first (that, was something i did not do).

so, have at it!

May 21, 2005

label and trade

i ordered some labels a while back and just received them today. i'm quite disappointed. why? because honestly can you make out what the heck it reads? oh well. this is going to be the constant reminder of my own stupidity. sparkling thread! nice.


if you squint your eyes, it should read " hand knit by blossom from whispering pine"

i do, however, got something exciting this week from my successful rowan trade with ninja kitten! two issues of knit 1 and skeins of berroco glace! love trading! now i need to find a project to show off this beautiful yarn. any thoughts?

my first pair of socks is almost done! whew! so close to start another new project!

label and trade

i ordered some labels a while back and just received them today. i'm quite disappointed. why? because honestly can you make out what the heck it reads? oh well. this is going to be the constant reminder of my own stupidity. sparkling thread! nice.


if you squint your eyes, it should read " hand knit by blossom from whispering pine"

i do, however, got something exciting this week from my successful rowan trade with ninja kitten! two issues of knit 1 and skeins of berroco glace! love trading! now i need to find a project to show off this beautiful yarn. any thoughts?

my first pair of socks is almost done! whew! so close to start another new project!

May 16, 2005

belated update on my sock adventure

i knew at the the back of my head that i needed to show some evidence that my sock knitting is not just a virtual blah. so, i'm catching the wave of the picture posting madness today to provide pictorial evidence of my sock knitting as of late.


this pile of yarn is my current sock yarn stash. they are enough for four pairs of socks. the variegated red is for my mum, greyish black is for my dad. i will own the red flaky self patterned and husband will have the most beautiful green/grey self patterned.


i started off my first attempt with my mum's socks (reason being i had the wild dream that i would finish the socks in time for mother's day). well, i finished one sock before mother's day. the second sock is still in progress.

sock knitting has been fun. i must say. since i am using two circulars to knit socks, i will cast on two socks at the same time for my next pair to avoid the setbacks.

these yummy looking yarn has been in my possession for two weeks now, they are for the wave skirt of IK spring. since the yarn looks more like delicious sorbet, this project will now be called "the sorbet skirt" in my blog.

i am so eager to start this project! but, due to the number of WIPs is too high for my taste at this moment, i will not start until one of the projects is done. thus, i'm knitting away the socks like mad!


delicious yarn for my sorbet skirt!

April 25, 2005

misc. knitting excitements!

i have started a new baby project for another couple of ours this weekend. this time, i'm making a yoke cardigan in new baby wool from dale of norway. the pattern is from erika knight's new book "knitting for two". i love the simplicity of this cardigan and i'm making it in a soft cream color so it'll be good for both girl or boy, as the couple chose not to know the sex of the baby!

anyway, this project, though simple, is knitted on small needles, so i'm casting on 250 stitches for all front and back! i do hope this project will go fast once i get to the stockinette stitches then all i'll need to do is knit mindlessly for a while.

classic baby cardigan with seedstich border and stand up collar

definitely going to be a slow progress on US5 needles!
i went to atlanta and visited strings & strands with a friend this weekend! surprisingly i found they have some rowan's linen drapes in stock! i quickly picked up some so i can make another honeymoon cami for my sister! love LYS! they always have some discontinued stocks hanging out and waiting to be picked up by desperate knitters like myself!

lastly, update on the fluffy camisole and cowl from "weekend knitting", still clicking along! i'm almost done with the cowl and have started the camisole on a smaller needle, as the smallest size in the book is for 38" chest. i hope it'll turn out much better fitted using size 9 needles.

you did not think i'd leave the LYS without getting some yarns, did you? well, since i'm so in love with all those soft baby yarns, i picked up some debbie bliss's baby cashmerino for an undecided project. my friend thinks this color combination is unexpected yet harmonious, so, there you have it!

musky grey and soft yellow, what is it going to be?

March 30, 2005

every knitter loves a good LYS

or at least i do.

i love local yarn shops! i've always enjoyed my time there, whether the shop has exciting yarns or not. the first yarn shop i went to was in atlanta, GA, strings and strands, it is a small shop but they have yarns stacked almost all the way to the ceiling! upon first glance, it is not your NYC hip style yarn shop. but if you look closer, they have a very good selection of yarns. i bought my first designer yarns and my first rebecca magazine there, which made it a special shop for me. i visited the shop again last fall but honestly, the wealth selection of the yarn actually made me anxious... as i did not have a project in mind but i wanted to make so many things with all those fantabulous yarns, and that was what caused the anxiety. so if you ever stopped by atlanta, GA, strings and strands is a worthy visit (better if you know what you're looking for). the owner of the shop is a very nice and helpful lady, and i'm glad she had left me alone to browse when i was there (i'm not fond of shop owners who ask if you need help every five minutes).

so in birmingham, alabama, there are a couple yarn shops, one near vestavia hill called memory hagler knitting. again, this is a small shop, their selection is not very big but they do have some nice yarns. i like going there because the shop owner is so friendly, she is like your instant knitting buddy. they also have a good selection of bamboo needles, too.

knit nouveau in helena, alabama, is at the moment my favorite. the store is on a very small and quaint street with many cute shops (i was not paying attention what those shops were so couldn't name them here). knit nouveau is a little brick house in it is like a knitter's nirvana. yarns are beautifully organized and presented, bohemic style furniture, magazines and books for inspiration. the place is quiet and quaint! the yarn selection is wonderful, not only they have yarns by popular designers but also some great hand painted yarns. only regret was they do not carry rowan, jaeger, or rebecca. i think the theme of the shop is more hippish/bohemic and i love that. one treasure i found in this shop was past issues of interweave that i can no longer find anywhere. so, if you care to, knit nouveau is quite a lovely yarn shop to stop by if you ever find yourself in alabama. they also have stitch & bitch nights twice a week. i plan to check it out in april!

March 24, 2005

more yarn and more needles!

i finally ordered the brown sheep's cotton fleece for some spring project, which i will post pictures when i receive them! also, i'm joining the honeymoon cami knitalong and i'll make them with some discontinued rowan's linen drape i found on ebay. i'm going to stick with this knitalong and actually work on the project as soon as the yarn arrives. i like this cami because of its understated elegance, and i will be making it in white (bleached) so it'll be great for summer and looks dashing against the tan!

i'm also comtemplating about purchasing a set of the denise interchangeable needles. i usually work with bamboo needles (sometimes addi's) and i like them a lot. so i'm not sure if i'll like the material of denise needles. read some reviews and everyone seems to like their denise needles. that's good to know.

the sleeves for the baby cable and seed stitch jacket are almost done! i can see myself finishing up this jacket in the next week!

March 01, 2005

it's wet and damp over here

almost a week into my vacation and i have yet to see the sun. taipei is wet and damp!

i'm afraid that my bamboo needles are going to soak up too much moisture and are going to slip open when i return the states.

but taipei, hmmm... food so delicous, shops so wonderful and did i mention yarn so cheap?

it's the first time for me to trek down yarnshops and knitting books in taipei. i can tell by browsing through the crafts section, knitting is not a popular hobby here. i did managed to see a lot of japanese knitting books here. a series called "let's knit series". they do have wearable patterns but i think the styles are all very conservative and traditional. not sure its really for me at all times. i will continue my quest for more local pattern books. i did purchased one intarsia stitch pattern book with many designs of storybook characters (i'd love to post pictures but downloading not possible here).

and the yarns... i went to this wholesale market. roomful of yarns. mostly wool, well i can say it's all wool. no cottons (sigh!). they carried many japanese yarn mainly by kanebo (i had no idea kanebo is also manufacturing yarn, i thought they only make cosmetics?). some from england (no rowan, debbie bliss, i did not recognize the brand). many alpaca (again, not familiar with the brand). i think i'm at a point of yarn selection that if i can not read a couple reviews online about the brand, i'm hesitant to purchase. but, having said that, are you at least tempted by the incredible price at $30 for 10000g pure alpaca? $20 for 1000g pure new wool?

i foresee myself stocking up some after my excursion to hong kong this friday. my sister is going to take me to a LYS at taikoo shing.

another exciting note: my mum, who conveniently lives in australia, brought me the complete jo sharp knitting books and a few balls of silkroad aran tweed for the amy vest!

vacation is wonderful. too bad it's rainy here.

did not start on rebecca29 wrap. maybe i'll order the magazine and GGH softkid before i left so they'll be waiting for me when i return to US.