Thursday, July 28, 2011


Pattern: Butterfly Dress by Jennie Atkinson, published in Rowan 37
Yarn: S. Charles Luna, color: silver gray. 3 balls (696 yards)
Needles: US #8, #7
Beads: 1 tube of 8/0 in Ceylon Smoke

The Butterfly Dress is done.  I guess the rest of the dress didn't take as long as I'd forecasted.  I didn't realize the section above underarm is very short which also means shorter time.

The aggressive decreasing did turn out slightly wonky, BUT, good thing blocking can save so many such problems.  I blocked the dress by laying it out flat and pin to A-line shaped skirt and stretched the length a little, then spritzed with water  and let it dry overnight.  The fluffy mohair yarn is so light, it probably dried in no time.

I also made the slip this morning.  I really need to learn more about sewing The slip is a bit tight and the cotton fabric has very little stretch, so I added invisible zipper to the side.  I wish I'd used more stretchy material for the slip, or at least make it roomier around the waist.  Too bad the only fabric store in town is catered more to quilters, and this is the only suitable lining fabric I'd found.. It's wearable so I'm not gonna sweat over it.  I added lace edging to the bottom of the slip since I didn't do the second lace hem.

I'm really liking the result.  I love how subtle the beads are, how light at fluffy the yarn is, it's like cotton candy, and there's the silver metallic thread in the yarn.  Now where am I going to wear it??? I'll probably just prance around my living room in it.

If I to do the dress again,
1. I'll use smaller needles (#7) from the beginning.
2. Do one size smaller (36")
3. Let the bottom edge be at least 1" longer before join.
4. Buy one extra ball of yarn so I don't have to worry all the time about running out.  
5. When cast off picot edge, p3, *CO 3 sts using knit on method, p those 3 and the st CO from together, then BO 3 sts p-wise. rep from *

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Things On My Needles

Finally, I got around to do the second Intrepid.
I wasn't sure if I was going to write a pattern, but thanks to the encouragements of fellow Ravelers, and coupla intrepid knitters volunteered for test knit, I decided to go for it.

I knew my notes were OK, but I made some changes that triggered quite a bit of re-calculations and instruction editing, so I decided that knitting second one is necessary to ensure the pattern not crawling with mistakes..

It ended up a bigger task than I'd imagined.  I think if I had a clean slate and not relying on the original notes, I might've  been better off.  But having to constantly edit, it ended up messing my mind.  I am slowly training myself to be more organized of my thoughts and my notes.  Sometime I'd be knitting something and all of sudden thinking, "did I change that in the pattern?" Then I jumped on computer and tried to back trace my steps.  By the time I finished the edits, I'd forgotten where was I on the knitting part.

If I want to continue to write patterns, I need to find a more efficient and organized system.  Maybe I should try to write the pattern first before I knit?  But I so enjoy the spontaneity and the improvisation process that is a lot more conducive to my creative ideas. The  improvisation often means having to knit the second one to write the pattern.  Fortunately with Intrepid, I like it enough that I actually wanted to make the second one  with more fall/winter yarn. I started with 3 different DK/Sports weight yarn in my stash and none of them seemed to work for my taste.  So, guiltily, I ended up purchasing new yarn for it. 

I'm using Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Lite (fingering weight.)  It's the first time I've used the yarn, and I quite like the feel of it.  I'm just not sure if I'd ever turn into a true fan of using hand-dyed yarns  with a lot of tonal varigation for a sweaters.  Maybe I'll grow to liking the effect more???  The yarns sure look so wonderful and luring on all the Ravelry FO pages.  But each time I knitted with some I always ended up feeling weird about the mottled look. The effect certainly brings depth to the colors, at the same time, it also seems a bit distracting to the lines.   I do dig using the yarn for accessories like shawls, hats.  But on an entire sweater....I'll see if this one will change my mind.  Instead of getting the yarn online at Jimmy Bean, I actually drove down to Reno to check out the color in person.  I like the color, it's called Trodden.  Maybe when it's all done, it will look more unified?  Am I the only person on this planet that is not as crazy about indie-dyed yarn on a sweater as everyone else?  I mean I love the yarns, I love the colors, I'd love to collect them if I have the means, but  since I'm nuts about knitting sweaters, I have not embraced them as fully as I'd like. Maybe it's the cheapskate part of me sending subliminal messages, telling me not to like the pricier yarn in larger quantities.  I have 3 sweater lots of Indie-dye yarns. so I am determined to use them for the upcoming projects, wanting to prove myself wrong. 

I also have another project on needles.

This is very rare for me to have more than one project going on at the same time.  I don't have the discipline to manage multiple projects and finish them all, but I do have the discipline of not attempt that task too many times, so I always just have one going.  Prior to starting the Intrepid 2, I was working on another project. In my mind I thought I'd just follow a pattern and be easy on myself, and finish it shortly, then work on Intrepid 2 and send out the patterns to testers as I'd promised.  Hmmmm.... I definitely picked the wrong project for a mindless, easy knitting here.  It's Butterfly Dress from Rowan magazine 37.  I had the magazine for a long time and I always lusted after this dress.  The yarn was from my stash that I bought from Jimmy Bean's Wool Watch a while back. It's S Charles Luna, color light gray.  I love the look of mohair and the silver thread in it, but knitting with mohair is not the easiest.  Ripping back is even worse.  Threading on beads took a long time. The bottom edge border took just 3 days.  The rest of the dress was knitted bottom up and I changed to knitting in round instead of flat pieces per pattern.  The pattern  and stitches are really simple and should be very easy, but knitting with such lightweight mohair takes more focus than I'd expected, thus slower.

photo from magazine

I was too lazy to do a swatch.  Now it's too big.  I tried it on when I was in the middle of shaping waist.  I tried my best not to panic when I saw how big it was. To compound the situation, I was also afraid of running out of yarn. I'm on the last of the 3 balls, and not yet at the waist fully, so instead of just keep on decreasing more repeats, I decided to decrease more aggressively (every 2 rows) hoping that is not gonna look too horrible.  I also switched from #8 needles to #7.  I'll be so bummed if this doesn't work out. Plan B is to machine sew the sides.  And I pray it won't come to that, as I have no idea how to sew mohair lace.

I was planning on having the dress done and the pattern sent  to testers before I leave for a week-long trip this weekend, but I don't think that's realistic at all.  I'll see which one to tackle.  I just hate the idea of having to leave 2 projects hanging, knowing I'll be so lost and confused when I return to them. . 

We'll gonna go for a stroll along the lake this afternoon to unwind my brain from the pattern writing for Intrepid, and the disappointment of Butterfly Dress turning out too big..

Saturday, July 23, 2011


80+ lives cut short.

Even more hearts are left with the unbearable loss of loved ones.

This is just pure horror and heartbreaking.
My thoughts are with people of Norway and people whose lives are affected by all the senseless terrors.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Happy Ending / Beginning

Yay! the new refrigerator is happily sitting in our kitchen.

Paul and our friend Dan moved it upstair this afternoon in no time at all.  It took longer to actually change the door handles from left side to right side, putting in the shelves, and leveling how it sits on the floor.  Now we're all just scratching our heads as to why the delivery guys couldn't do it. The delivery guys  made it sound like it would be a huge ordeal and the only way to do it was to rent a crane to move it through the window, etc.  It took Paul and Dan about 5 minutes to move the new one up, and another 5 minutes to move the old one down.

                                                       there's Paul, moving the fridge

Paul took the doors off and removed all the shelves first, which I suggested to the delivery men, but they said that wouldn't make any differences while they were huffing, puffing, grunting, making tons of noises about how heavy the thing was.  Paul also tilted the fridge when it came around corner landings. That, I too suggested to the delivery guys and they also claimed wouldn't work and were adamant it was absolutely "impossible" to move the thing around the corner landings.

          With a little tilt, plenty of space between the fridge and above when it comes to the corner landings.

Well, last night out of worry, I tied together some big plastic tubs that I have for storing yarns to something that is similar size as the fridge.  We did a quick simulation of how Paul and Dan are going to move it today.  We could see that it was totally possible spatially/geometrically to move it around corners if we tilt it.  It would just be the question of physically able to lift and push.  As it turned out, it was a breeze for them.  Paul did most of the pushing and sliding weight part on the bottom while Dan made sure it would't slide down.  Paul said it wasn't that heavy at all especially with the doors and shelves removed.

         there's Dan - super nice dude, an awesome skier and snowboarder who also volunteers at local search and rescue, now rescuing our fridge mission.

Lesson learned here: It's always good to stash yarn, the tubs can then be useful for situations like this.

As the milk I just bought 2 days ago had already gone bad in the old fridge this morning, I'm so thrilled to have the new one here.   Drama over.   Tomorrow I'm going to do some grocery shopping.

Friday, July 15, 2011

where i live

Since I mentioned about the decor of where I live,  I decided to take a few pictures of my comfy albeit outdated decor place.  As much as I'd whined in my last post about the 70's look, I do like my place a lot.  It's not huge, but more than spacious for us.  Most of all, we have the view, and I mean the VIEW.  It's a condo without garden space which is what I miss the most.


the 70's fireplace 

                           the bottom lamp was the one I broke

 and it dropped all the way down...

 the 70's couch destroyed by Cody, now we can't bear to throw it away...

OK and here is the view out our living area, the reason the living area and kitchen are on the top floor. Yes, we're completely spoiled and grateful by having this wonderful view of  Lake Tahoe outside our deck.  It's the one thing we never take for granted.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Quick Summer Knit

I loved the color when I first received the yarn last summer.  It's yellow with ochre undertone to it. Wanting a quick knit tank top for summer, I figured this yarn will do.  Even though it's fingering weight, it actually feels more like light sports weight to me.    The design was thought out ahead of the time, but not much details planned other than the kind of bottom edge I wanted and a folded over collar.  I knitted it top down, starting with short rows on shoulders for the front, then the back shoulder were pick up sts from the CO edge of front shoulders. Front and back were joined at the underarm area.  It was a very straight forward knitting, no sewing.

The bottom lace edge was simply k 1 row, p 1 row,  k 1 row,  next row: *k1, yo twice,  rep from * to end, next row: * k1, drop the 2 yo, rep from * to end. next. Rep the 5 rows 3 more times and do 5 rows of garter before BO.

Once the body was finished, the collar was pick up stitches along the neck,  dec 6 sts on the 6th rounds twice and k 8 rounds, and inc 6 sts next round, rep the inc on the 6th round again. I used 5 rounds of linen sts as border.

Armhole was done with 4 rounds of garter sts after pickup sts around armhole.

The loop for the button was just 7" of I-cord, purely decorative.

In the end, I can't say that I love the yarn albeit the color is lovely.  Mercerized cotton is just not my favorite.  It always feels like knitting with ropes to me.

I do  like the simplicity of this tank top and was sure glad to knock down a little more stash.

I'm not sure what I'm gonna do next.  I'm just a bit bummed today because our refrigerator is about to die.  It had been very problematic the past 2 years. We saved up money and finally bought a new one on sale.  It was delivered today,  except it's not in the kitchen but in the garage.

Our kitchen is on the top floor and the delivery guys couldn't move the old one down the stairs (stupid stair design from the 70's with low overhang and narrow stairs,) not to mention unable to bring the new one up.  The guys said they can rent a crane to do it through the window, but that's at least another $200 to add to the current delivery fee. $200 that I don't have. And of course we got charged for the part of the stairs today since they did try to move it down halfway.  The refrigerator itself is about $550,  But so far it already cost us $110 for delivery and partial stairs.  I even tipped the guys since it was such a haul when they moved the dying fridge halfway down the stairs and had to move it back up.  It took them quite a while and they were huffing and puffing and not thrilled at all with the job.

To add to the whole drama, I broke a lamp while moving it out of the way.  It dropped to the first floor.  It later took me an hour to vacuum every carpeted step and sweep the first floor area.  No, it's not that big of a house, just a lot of steps, and my vacuum does not have the attachmenst to vacuum little corners or steps so I had to move the vacuum every step.  Our carpet was dirty and old, another 70's original, just glad it's no shag rug, but the moving made a mess that was even obvious on the dirty carpet. Then I had to put all the food back into the old fridge.   Grrrrrr... I'll wait 'till Paul comes back from camping to see what we should do about the fridge.

Good thing we have zero money to do any redecoration of the house.  It is so 70's that our hip friends actually love it. (OK, we only have 2 friends that are hip and live in San Francisco, all other friends are just as uncool as us.)   The retro part really cannot hide how hideous some of the decors are.   The couches were from the 70's, the fireplace, the kitchen, the lamps, everything.   If we ever have to redecorate the house (only in our dreams,) I wouldn't even know how to move all the furnitures from top floor.

Sorry I had to rant since I have not one else to whine about my day. The delivery guys were supposed to deliver yesterday when Paul was around, they never showed up.  We were told they'd be here first thing in the morning but they didn't show up 'till afternoon.  I wasted all morning, in the end, still no new fridge in the kitchen.

Now I just wanna sit in front of TV and do absolutely nothing. Not even knitting.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I started another sweater using the formula of top-down set-in sleeves in round that I am in the process of testing. 

The most challenging part was wrapping my heard around an easier way to do neck shaping using short rows.  No problem with actually doing it, but when I tried to write down the direction ahead of time, oh man, I felt my head would explode. I am one of those people who need to be able to visualize things in order to understand things. Visualizing the sequence of short rows took more brain effort than I'd hoped.

This time I used a DK weight hemp/cotton/modal yarn - Elsebeth Hempathy.  I really love this yarn.  I love the feel of it as finished garment as well as during the time of knitting.  It wasn't that rough as I'd expected.  Stitches evened out a lot more post blocking, and the fabric softened up beautifully with a lovely drape yet it still has slight crispness to the fabric.  I got a whole bag of it on the first day sale at  Little Knits and used all 10 balls.  I just have one single ball left.  I'm thinking of making some accessory with it.  May crochet?

I opted for a dress this time.  This is something I totally can see myself wearing during summer.  It has pockets.  I put button holes on the pocket for both function and decoration, but I'm not sure I like them.   If I were to make it again, I may skip buttonholes, also, I will give few more stitches to the front and less for the back.  The cable section was a improvisation, hence not taking the tighter stitch count into consideration when casting on the neck opening.  Fortunately blocking does wonder. I gave it slight waist shaping, nothing severe as II don't particularly care for super tight and hugging styles.  This is named Intrepid for all the math I dared myself to do writing the formula.

I'm mostly done with the formula. Now I just need to write up better templates for myself and knit more in different weight of yarn to further test it.. I do hope to come up with few patterns using it in the future. But I may push back the testing in different weight yarn since I have few other ideas I want to play with this summer that does not require set-in sleeves.