Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Thinking Of Waves - Pattern

The pattern of Thinking of Waves is up and alive!

Many thanks to the wonderful testers on Ravelry - KnitterlyGoodness, BusyMind, fiveb, ThePandorica, Wupperstricker, and thestitchinwench for their generous help with testing.

I made 2 more shawls from the same pattern to double and triple check my stitch counts before sending the pattern out to the testers. I just never got around to post them. So here they are.

With the 2 shawls, colors were added to various sections.  The shawl was knitted in sections using short-rows, so it's easy to change colors.  The above shawl used Naturally Haven for main color (gray) and some orange yarn I dyed for contrast color.  I dyed different shades of teal blue using acid dye for the shawl shown on the bottom.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Map Of The Woods

I finished a sweater just in time before semester begins tomorrow.
The idea started out as colorwork mittens with some leftover yarns, and halfway through the first mitten, I thought, wouldn't it be great to have these fun motifs on a cuff of a sweater?

So I put the mittens on hold and dug through my bins and bins of stash.  I was able to find some fingering weight yarn I could use for contrasting body and sleeves. Purple and grey, one color combination I really dig on clothes, even though they were different yarns.  The purple was Naturally Haven (1050 yards, 100% merino) that I bought from Elann. This was the 3rd project I'd used this purple yarn with.  The Grey was Classic Elite Fresco (450 yards,) the alpaca and angora in addition to the wool gave it a slight halo. All other colors were leftover yarns, and used about 3-10 yards each. The needles were US #3 needles so the stranded part wouldn't be too stiff.

The name "Map Of The Woods" actually came to me at the same time of doing a sweater. From that name, the idea of paw prints on the body popped up in my head.The pal prints and the mushrooms on the cuff were the 2 motifs I came up, while the other motifs, the flowers, the fox faces, and the trees were all adapted from different books.

I knitted the body in round from bottom up and splitted into front and back at the underarm.  The sleeves were knitted separately in round and sewn on to the body before blocking.  Can you believe it, I actually sew the sleeves!!  For neckline, I went with a little funnel neck.

I really liked this fun project, doing color work without testing my patience.

Map Of the Woods is sort of an homage to the hikes I've been doing, and my new jogging routine in the woods behind my house (yes, jogging, me! that's a shock to me too.)

On the note of woods, I'd like to mention 2 bear encounters in the past 2 weeks near my house.  First was when I was on a trail not far from my house, my usual walk route. I heard scrambling noise up the tree 10 feet away, and it was too loud for small animals. I saw a small baby bear, followed by a not very large mama bear. I made some loud noise and turned around.  The trail was no more than 10 minutes walk from my house.  Then few days ago there was a mama bear and her cubs outside our house. Our neighbor was yelling, and Paul went out to make noises too hoping to scare them away, and hoping they won't come back.  He said the mama bear was quite large and was already tagged.  I'm very, very saddened by these frequent visits of bears so close to residential area. If they ever get caught twice they will be put down, the one bear tagged means she was already caught once.

We live in an area where we're encroaching on the bears' territory. That is why the garbage MUST go into bear proof trash cans so bears don't rely on human garbage for their food source and cause "problems" for human.  BUT, there are many irresponsible people, and being a tourist town, many tourists that rent condos near our place have mountains of trash after 3 days visit that many wouldn't bother to try to fit everything into the bear proof trash bins.  I'd warned people many, many times when I witnessed them just leaving trash bags around. It really pissed me off.

Last year, a mama bear was killed when she broke into a house where the resident had tons and tons of trash in their garage. Their neighbors reported the house many times and apparently they refused to do anything. That was right before winter, and no way her 2 cubs that scrambled away could survive without her. Weeks ago this summer, a vacation home owner shot a bear that was minding her own business walking down the beach.  He decided that he didn't want to have bears around his vacation home!
Visitors to bear country area, please be considerate of your actions. And, please, no more developments when the town is 70% empty during low seasons, and all the new developments are for timeshare, vacation homes. Why taking away more land from wildlife when these houses are just gonna sit there empty most of the time?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Another Shawl

This was finished last week.

Before I sent the pattern (tentatively called Ripples) to testers, I felt I had to knit another one to make sure the numbers on the short rows came out fine.

The yarns were both The Plucky Knitter Primo and from different months of Plucky classic subscriptions.  I always knew I like the two colors together, and finally had a chance to use them.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


About 15 years ago when I was very new to knitting, I knitted my third sweater - Inishmore from Fishermen's Sweaters by Alice Starmore.  That was the time before I understood what gauge, reading sizes, and blocking  meant.

I knitted size medium thinking that was the size I always bought when cloth shopping.  I didn't even know what my measurements really were, so those numbers given in the pattern meant nothing to me. The good o' days when my sizes and my weight didn't mean anything to me.

Along with other beginner knitters' problems including never made swatch, I never even thought of measureing the knitted pieces in progress to check size.  Well, it came out way, way, way too big.  After knitting it, I still didn't measure it, and just put it away. Not long after that I moved away to DC then back to West Coast 4 years later. For 10 years I didn't knit a single stitch.  My Inishmore sat in a bag and in my parents' garage.

I brought it back home few years ago and vowed to redo it.

Yesterday I finally decided to get on it.  The yarn used was Brown Sheep Superwash.  It was very tough to unravel.  Even though the label reads 100% wool, I suspected there may be some mohair in it to make it very sticky.  First it was such chore to undo the seam when ends were already woven in and and cut.  Then after the pieces were taken apart, I wound them into cakes.  That took a long, long, time because of the super sticky yarn.  Total 4 hours it took me to do the above.  Fortunately the re-skein part went fast.  And I soaked the skeins in hot water, then hung them to dry by weighting down with cans in plastic bags.  I had total about 18 skeins so that made up to be ~1750 - 1800 yards of yarn.

(From left to right: Doc,Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, & Dopey.)

Now I just have to decide whether I'll reknit Inishmore with lots of modifications since its smallest size is still bigger than I want, or if I should use the yarn for something else.

One thing at least I can comfort myself with all the work was that after 15 years, thankfully I have not grown into the size of the sweater, it was still too big.

I also felt I was getting to know my old self when undoing the seams. I noticed my seaming skill had not changed much.  I realized I'd been more patient than I thought I was, and I wasn't that bad of a knitter if I don't count the basics of swatching and reading pattern size information as skill set. I was reading my old decisions during the process.  It was an interesting experience.  When so much of my self-image is a construct of my own mind, it almost felt a bit more like a historian sifting through artifacts to reconstruct the real story.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The-Nile Shawl

Finally I have some knitting to report.  I just finished a shawl using handspun yarn from Two If By Hand and some yarn I dyed myself.

After spinning the yarn I knew immediately I'd paired it with the blueish teal yarn I have. But it took me a while to get to the knitting.

Original plan was simple triangle with all St st in main color and the blue for lace edge.  During knitting the swatch I changed my mind.  I went for non-lacy and simple lines.

The wavy lines were improvised as I knitted.

I have to say, it is much prettier in person.  The camera highlights the contrast of tones in the handspun when it's more smooth to the eyes in real life.

I may do another one using non-handspun yarn.

While knitting, I kept on thinking the colors look like Egyptian Art. Hence the name.