Yarn: Lang Venezia Color (50% mohair 50% acrylic), color #0150 Blue/Purple Variegated - 2 balls (142yd [130m] / 50g) Pattern: Joey's Knitting House KAL Needles: Clover E 3.5 mm crochet hook Size: 7 3/4" wide x 41 1/2" long Duration: 2007/12/06 - 2007/12/08
線材: Lang Venezia Color (50% 毛海 50% 壓克力), 色號#0150 藍紫段染 - 2 球 (142yd [130m] / 50g) 圖樣: Joey編織の屋 96/12群編會活動-圈起來的愛 針號: 3.5 mm 鉤針 尺寸: 寬 20 cm, 長 105 cm 製作日期: 2007/12/06 - 2007/12/08
Finally, I was able to report this project as finished to the KAL in a timely fashion. For once. Both previous projects took me a while to complete, I was always near the bottom of the finish list. This project is quick and simple. It took me about 2 days (total of maybe about 6-7 hours). Crochet lace does work up much faster than knitting as far as the time it takes to cover the same surface area.
I love the lace design of this scarf. So delicate and pretty. 我很喜歡這條圍巾的蕾絲圖樣, 很細緻的感覺.
For this project, I decided to find something from my stash to work with since the yarn requirement isn't as strict (well, it is a scarf, I don't have to worry about gauge too much) and I don't need a whole lot of yarn. I picked these two balls of Lang Venezia Color, originally intended for the Reading-in-Bed Shrug but didn't work out. I have had a hard time trying to use up these two balls of yarn ever since, and this project seemed to be the right fit. However, this yarn is scratchy. Although I love the colors, I did not enjoy working with it. I couldn't even get it to feed smoothly from my left hand while I crochet, and I have never had this kind of problems with other yarns. It is a bit itchy too on my neck, maybe not the best choice for a scarf.
The original design of this scarf is very short, only 84 cm (33 inches) long. Trying to use up the yarn, I made the scarf a bit longer. It was difficult to gauge how much yarn I would need for the lace edging. Not wanting to have to unravel (this is mohair after all, I had a really hard time trying to unravel just two rows when I made a mistake), I decided to stop the main body lace after I had gone into only 1/3 of the 2nd ball, and started the lace edging. It turned out I didn't need that much yarn after all. When it was all done, I still have about 1/4 of a ball left, enough for another 4 inches of the main body lace. Oh well. Right now, the length isn't too bad, it is enough to wrap around my neck and tie a knot in front. Another few inches would have been nice, but this works too. And the good thing is, I used up another set of yarn from my stash, yeah!
I was also eyeing another design in this month's KAL - the white scarf with the spirals at the ends. Now this one is done, I am gonna try to see if I have suitable yarn in my stash to take on that project.
I had wanted to make this shrug for at least more than a year now. I bought the yarn from way back and just somehow forgot about it. Until recently when I was going through my stash, I rediscovered this project. I felt a bit guilty about it. I have been buying a lot of new pattern books and new yarn, while I have tons of projects waiting to be casted on in my stash. I made a promise that when and if I start a project with new yarn, I must also finish one of the older projects from my stash. I used to keep track of my projects in an Excel spreadsheet, but it got so big and cumbersome that I just gave up. I thought, I'll just knit whatever comes to mind. But this, could also be dangerous, I may never finish knitting my stash.
The design of this shrug/scarf is very unique, but knitting it could be quite boring. The never-ending repeats of k3 and p3. I was just about running out of patience when I finished both sleeves. Good thing I got other projects on the needles to keep me going. Whenever I felt like I've had enough with this thing, I just switched to another project and then came back to this shrug later. But when I finished the Upside-Down Sweater and was waiting for it to dry on the blocking board (which took 4 days!) I had nothing else to play with except this, I had to try to stay focused to finish it.
This shrug is very simple to knit. Even though it was simple, I did manage to visit the frog pond once. I followed the pattern and knitted both sleeves till 23", started decreasing for the shoulders, and then joined to knit the turtleneck. When I just finished the sleeves, they were too long for my arms. Not wanting to rip them out, I decided folding the sleeve cuffs after all is done would simply fix the length problem. Soon after I started knitting the turtleneck, I realized I would run out of yarn. One of the worst things when a project sits too long in a stash - if there's not enough yarn, most of the time it's next to impossible to find extra in the same dye lot. I really did not need too much more, maybe just 1/4 of a ball would suffice. Given Kid Classic is quite pricey, I did not want to shell out money to buy another ball. I decided to rip it back to where the sleeves were about 21" long, then restarted with the shoulders and the turtleneck. I was afraid that the yarn wouldn't stand up to the unraveling since it contains mohair, but other than some BO stitches where it got stuck, ripping it out was fast and easy. And the yarn still feels the same. I really enjoyed knitting with it.
This is the second time I joined Joey's KAL. Not that I didn't see projects I wanted to work on, it's just intimidating seeing how fast everyone else in the group is finishing their projects. Plus I have got tons of projects piling up in my stash... Feeling a bit guilty buying new yarn to start a new project when in fact I have got more than enough projects to last me through next year... But the temptation of new patterns and new designs are hard to resist, especially when there's only limited time when you can get your hands on them... And this is one of those cases.
Choosing a suitable yarn and swatching for gauge turned out to be the challenge for this project. The pattern used a fine gauge cotton yarn with a larger crochet hook to achieve the airy look for the lace portion, while most of the FOs in the KAL group used worsted or DK weight yarn resulting in a heavier/chunkier fabric. I tried several options, seen below from left to right: Louisa Harding Grace Wool-Silk, Classic Elite Wool BamBoo, Patons Grace, and Filatura di Crosa Brilla (I did two swatches with Brilla using different size hooks, one in light blue and one in light coffee.) And of course, the one I liked the most is the one I don't have in my stash. A great excuse to visit the LYS and pick up new yarn, and I was glad that they had the exact color I wanted.
Nine balls of yarn proved to be quite heavy for such a little sweater, and I have only a tiny bit of yarn left. The weight pulls down the sweater, making it more drapey, which I love. The one thing I did not anticipate is how the ribbing portion looks when I flip it and wear it as a collar. It is a bit too wide and hard to hold in place, I have to wear it more like a cowlneck for it to stay on my shoulders. I don't know how the more "conventional" way of wearing this sweater (i.e. ribbing at the waist) would fit, since I can't try it on right now. I think I will wear it more in the "conventional" way once I get my waist back, instead of the "upside-down/cowlneck" look.
This project really tested my patience and determination. It took forever! Although the lacy bodice and acorn edging kept the knitting interesting, it's the sheer large surface area of it that wore me out. I chose to knit the bodice and the sleeves first, and then the bottom tier of the skirt. Looking back, I think it is the right decision. If I had to knit the bottom tier first, I probably would have given up half way through the 290-sts-per-row-for-54-rows-twice pieces. It was just too much of the same thing. And I could hardly hold all the stitches on the 32" long circular.
I did make one little mistake though. One of the notes in the pattern said to make sure all the acorns are pointed in the same directions. Well, since I took my time to make this dress, by the time I started the sleeves, two months had already passed since I finished the bodice. I actually started knitting the sleeves on the plane to Chicago in August. To keep my luggage light, I did not bring the finished bodice with me, so I couldn’t look up which way the acorns were pointing. I just thought, well, usually row 1 is the right/public side, and so I continued to finish both sleeves. It was not until I tried to put the pieces together that I realized, the acorns on the bodice were pointing in the wrong direction. I thought about just leaving the acorns in “insert 2” pointing one way, and all others pointing the opposite way, but it just looked too obvious to me. Finally I decided to have the acorns in the sleeves pointing one way, and all others pointing the opposite direction. I guess if I don’t say anything, people wouldn’t notice the difference, right?
I also added acorn edging along the bottom panel. I think the original design looked great without it, but somehow my version just looked ‘”unfinished” (even after blocking). So I knitted two strips of acorn edging (80 repeats each) and sewed them along the bottom. This added quite a bit of weight to the dress. I used 1.5 balls of yarn just for this part. But I really like the effect.
I think I’ll like this dress. Well, since there’s no way I could squeeze my 7-month-pregnant tummy into this dress, I can only guess how it would have fit my pre-pregnancy body. Hopefully I will lose enough baby weight by next summer so I may actually be able to wear it.
I had wanted to make this top since I first got the magazine. I bought the yarn during a clearance sale in a LYS last August, and didn't get around to it until this summer. Just have so many projects and so little time. Such is the dilemma for us knitters, isn't it? This is actually a very quick and easy knit. Obviously I didn't work on it full time during the three weeks it took for me to finish it. I picked this project to start in the midst of all those lace projects, to sort of give myself a break. Something straight forward and not fussy, something that I don't have to keep counting stitches and rows and looking at charts. I actually knitted the majority of this top on the road while we were driving around in Toronto, just a few rows at a time. Plain old stockinette is the best for in-the-car knitting.
Originally I had wanted to make this top in the same shade of orange-y red as shown in the magazine, but when I saw the actual yarn color in a store, I changed my mind. Somehow it just doesn't seem to be the right color for me. I like purple, but I hardly knit with purple. This shade of purple is not appealing to everyone, I know. At first I hesitated on picking them up from the clearance bin. After another half hour of pacing in the store, I just couldn't leave without them. And the color kind of grew on me, I am liking it more and more. It would look striking on ivory, grey, brown, and black, which are the basics in my wardrobe.
The pattern is easy and clear, I had no problems following it at all. But do check the corrections posted on Interweave Knits' website. The pattern as published was correct, but they posted a different way of describing how to do the short rows along the back neck ribbing which, I agree, is much easier to follow than the magazine.
I deliberately used a larger gauge - 21 sts/4" instead of the suggested 22 sts/4". I wanted a 33 1/2" - 34" chest circumference, the closest size in the pattern is 32 3/4" and the next size up is 35". I decided to knit according to the 32 3/4" pattern, and hoped the larger gauge and blocking would give me a slightly larger garment. I think it turned out pretty well.
I used a little over 5 balls of yarn. For the size I made, the magazine called for 5 balls of yarn. It probably would have been enough if I watched carefully while I knitted and maybe ripped out my test swatches when I ran short, but I didn't. I bought 6 balls anyway, so I figured, why skimp on the few inches that I usually leave when changing to a new ball or the lengthy tail that I saved for seaming?
Cathay knits up beautifully. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. But it also splits like crazy if you have to unravel. The yarn also splits during seaming, all those threading back and forth. My guess is - don't work it too much, and it will be fine. But I wonder if I will ever be able to rip this out and reuse the yarn for something else?
It's been too long since my last post, two months!! I was still busy knitting and crocheting during this time. I took a trip in September, was out of town for more than three weeks. Originally I was planning to finish a project by end of August and post it, but all the little things I had to do before the trip just kept me from even finishing the half-written posting. And now I am starting all over again.
Early September I went back to Chicago to visit my parents, sister, and the newborn nephew. He is such a cutie! I didn't help out much this time around. Since it was an unfamiliar environment for Connor, he was very needy and got anxious everytime I left his sight. Thus even though we went over to my sister's house everyday, I didn't get too many chances to even hold the baby. Connor got more comfortable by the second week though, he started loosen up a bit and had lots of fun playing with his older cousin. This time I also got to spend time with my college buddies. Last year I had a chance to see A, but J and B, I haven't seen them for at least three years. It was a great time. All we talked about was our kids, exchanged experiences and advices. It was certainly different from our old college days.
After more than two weeks in Chicago, my husband flew in to meet with us, and then the three of us headed over to Toronto. We visited the usual touristy spots such as CN Tower, Niagara Falls, Toronto Zoo (this one was for Connor), and the wineries on the peninsula. I was really amazed by the Chinese communities in Markham and Scarborough. I thought we get pretty good access to Chinese goods and food in northern Cal, but the stores and restaurants I saw in Markham reminded me of Monterey Park in LA. There were so many Chinese markets, book stores, clothing stores, bakeries, and tea shops... And restaurants, oh, there were so many that looked authentic. We didn't know about these areas before the trip. Our hotel was in downtown (other than Chinatown, not sure where we could go for good Chinese food). Craving for good authentic Chinese food, we ended up driving north for dinner the last three days, stuck in traffic on Don Valley Expwy.
Well, I guess I could have done more research before the trip. I did not realize until three days before heading home, that Mississauga was near Toronto. If I remember it right, Margaret lives near the area. Too bad that there wasn't enough time, and I didn't have means to get in touch with her, otherwise I could really use some tips on good restaurants, and most importantly, good yarn shops!!
Being away for so long, coming home to try to get everything back to normal routine is still exhausting. I guess being 5-month pregnant didn't help (yes, Connor will be a big brother in January! I probably won't have time to play with yarn for a while... >.<) I have been back for a week now, still haven't caught up with my blog reading. I have now 1459 articles to read in my Bloglines, very intimidating...
Anyway. So what have I worked on in these two months? I finished knitting the VK lacy dress in Chicago and blocked all the pieces. I just need to sew it up. But sewing will take some time too, cause there were so many pieces. I also decided to add another acorn lace edging along the bottom hem, and I have only managed to knit about 1/4 of it (before I got distracted and started something else ;P) I think another week should do it.
In between working on the lacy dress, just so I wouldn't fall asleep at the needles, I made this crochet shruken cardi in August. I was really hoping to finish it before the trip and post it. But after I finished it according to the pattern, I realized that it was too short. I decided to add some lace edging to the bottom hem and the sleeves. And then I ran out of yarn. Thinking that I would be back to Chicago soon (where I got the yarn), I brought it back to Chicago with me, planning to buy one more ball, and then finish it. After I got to Chicago, I thought about it long and hard, tried it on several times, and asked my sister and my mom for opinions, I finally decided to rip it all out. It is really too small for me, I can wear it, but it is really tight. And also the lace edging I added to the hem and sleeves changed the whole look of the garment, it was really different from the original design. I decided ripping it out and starting over with a larger hook should do the job and really make something that I wanted in the first place. I will probably start after the lacy dress is done.
Below is the Sagittaria Shawl, which I haven't touched since end of July. I really felt bad, but knitting this project was really tiring. I had to look at the chart constantly, afraid of making a mistake. The yarn is also the finest I have ever worked with, it almost felt like sewing threads. Knitting with such fine yarn tires my eyes and hands. After reading this posting, I am really worried. Although the yarn I am using is not Graceful, it is from Yarn Place. Will I have the same problems, since I tend to block my shawls rather severely? I am not sure if I should switch yarn, or maybe I should test block a swatch and find out for sure.
好啦, 寫了落落長囉哩叭唆的一大篇, 下篇應該會有成品與大家分享, 再等幾天哦!
Wow, this is a really long posting. I shall have a FO to share with you in my next posting, should be ready in a few days. See you then!
This Sunday I will be attending my cousin Vivian's wedding reception in Chicago. Since nothing in my closet seemed to work (or look appealing at the moment...:D), two weeks ago I went out and bought a new dress. And to go with this dress, I decided to knit a shimmering shrug to glam it up a bit. This pattern is really simple, with only one easy lace pattern going throughout the whole garment. The difficulty lied with trying to knit slippery fingering-weight yarn with slippery chunky needles. I had such a hard time trying to do p2tog's and ssk's with the blunt tips of the regular Addi Turbo's. I basically had to break the p2tog's into a two step process similar to how you would do a ssk (i.e. slip the stitches over to the right needles so to loosen them up a bit, then insert the left needle into the stitches to do the p2tog.) It was so slow going, I almost regretted that I picked this yarn (or this project? Not sure...)
This yarn is also stretchy and hard to keep shape. I blocked the pieces before seaming, and it still looks like it hasn't been blocked. The bottom edge of the hem still rolls inward although I stretched it out during blocking. I thought about adding either a ruffle edge or crochet one or two rows of sc border, but decided not to do anything yet. Well, first, I may not have enough time to finish it before Sunday. Second, I may not have enough yarn and I know I will be quite busy in the next few days that I won't be able to make a stop at the yarn store. So, this is it, for now. Although I wish the border/hem is more prominent, I think it looks okay this way too.
I finally managed to finish this popular bolero. Huge thanks to Margaret for sharing the pattern!! I felt bad for the long delay in finishing this project. Margaret sent me the pattern a long time ago, and I have just now finished it. Sorry! I first tried to make it in white, and ran out of yarn. I searched all LYS's in the area, and couldn't find the extra ball of yarn I needed. I could have ordered it online, but I just don't feel like paying shipping for a $6.50 ball of yarn. Thus I decided to switch color. Fuchsia is usually not my top pick when it comes to colors. But several weeks ago when I was going through my closets, I realized that I have several sleeveless dresses in white or cream with pink/fuchsia/burgundy prints, that would look great with a fuchsia bolero. In the photos is one of the dresses, and I think the dress and the bolero look perfect as an outfit!
The pattern for this bolero is probably one of the most confusing I have seen. I started studying it as soon as I got it in the mail, and just wasn't sure how to start. At that time there were not yet any discussions in Margaret's blog about the starting instructions. I thought about it long and hard, and decided to just go ahead and do it the way I think it should be done (based on what I could decipher from the diagrams.) Hehe... what's the worst that could happen? Right?! If it was a mistake, then I'd just rip it out and start over. Maybe I would learn something new in the process. Actually my first attempt (the white UFO) was somewhat a mistake - it was too small! I used a 2.75mm hook to get gauge, but it was too narrow and tight at the shoulders (the original pattern was sized for young girls). The size was too big for a little girl, I think it would fit a teenage girl better. But I don't know any teenage girls. I may just have to rip it out and save the yarn for something else.
I guess I am not quite happy with this FO. The pattern was clear, I had no problems following it. The knitting went smoothly as well. But I came to realize when I was knitting the front piece, that the finished garment would be quite heavy. The yarn itself is heavy, each skein has only 77 yards and weighs 50g. The size small I made required 9 skeins. I just weighed the garment, the whole thing is 428g. It felt thick and heavy when I tried it on, for which I am quite disappointed. One of the reasons why I decided to knit this project is the potential versatility, a garment that you could possibly wear all year long. Now that it is so heavy, wearing it during the summer is out of the question. I may have to wait till late fall to actually wear it. Well, another lesson learned. This is something I could have foreseen when I chose the yarn. I just got too excited in the midst of a yarn sale, you understand.
I made modifications to the length of the garment. I felt the original length would be too much for me. The waist ribbing was reduced from 3 1/2" to 3". The lower body was reduced from 10" to 8 3/4". Everything else is pretty much per pattern.
With all that said, I still like the lace patterns and the color of the yarn. If I can start over, I think a lightweight cotton-blend yarn would have been a better choice. The pattern is not difficult, it's just the hot weather making me impatient. I spent only about 1 hour, sometimes 2, everyday on this project. Even the 64" I-cord belt, which is so easy yet so boring, took me one week to finish. To get myself to finish it, I decided not to publish another posting until I am done with this project... haha... it still took me more than a month. Although in the meantime, I finished another crochet bolero, just haven't had time to block it yet, it will be the next posting.
It's been almost two weeks since my last post, and I have to still bring myself to write this one. I must have caught the thing called "laziness", or the warmer weather is just making me want to lay back and do nothing at all. Other than a short trip to San Diego (Sea World and San Diego Zoo) over the Memorial weekend, which Connor enjoyed tremendously, nothing much is happening. Knitting is going slowly. I haven't reduced my WIP pile, and I managed to add another one. I have been working on Bonsai Tunic, from IK spring issue, for a few days now. The back piece is finished, and I have just cast on for the front piece. It's easy knitting so far, although the yarn is a bit annoying. It's very twisty, and keeps tangling up all by themselves.
I have also managed to finish the collar on Phildar Swing Jacket. What's left to be knitted are the four pocket pieces, and then I still have to decide on what to do with the trim. I have made up my mind not to use the bias binding tape, and will probably either knit or crochet the border. But I haven't decided on exactly what to do. It has been very easy to get distracted from this project. Not sure why. I guess especially now I won't get to wear it until fall, there's less incentive to get it done right away. And handling wool in this summer weather is just not very enjoyable. But I am anxious to get it off the WIP status though, maybe I will work on it when we have the AC on. :D
And I want to thank you all for stopping by and for your kind compliments. They were always received with deep appreciations. I wish I have time to go around and chat, but the truth is I am getting less and less computer time these days, as my 2-year-old is already fighting with me over the computer. Well, not exactly "fighting", he just needs to pull at my shirt (hard!) and I will have to get off the computer and let him use it. And this happens whenever he sees me sitting down in front of the computer. He would tap at the keyboard and giggle when he saw those dots in the password box of the login screen. He has also figured out how to insert a DVD and the key sequences to start playing his favorite Teletubbies episodes on the laptop. Truly scary!