December 29, 2010

Sideways Grande Cloche


I finished my Sideways Grande Cloche today and I absolutely LOVE it! Turns out 2nd time's the charm, as my first try came out way too tall for my head even though I followed pattern instructions. My modifications were casting on 33 sts instead of 42(!) as the pattern originally called for, and 1/2 inch wider in circumference which worked out perfectly.

The yarn used is Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky from Yarn.com. It's a wool/alpaca blend which is super warm and cozy! It's also very ""bouncy"" in feel and knits up nice and fast. The dark teal color looks great and classy. I can't wait to wear it out!

This is my first finished project from Boutique Knits. It's my favorite knitting book at the moment, there are so many projects I want to try! I'm still working on the Bamboo Diamond Shell, but it's temporarily hibernating as I am into more wintery knits right now.

I just got a nice shipment of yarn from Jimmy Bean's Wool and will be working on Nimbus next. I'll be using Berroco Peruvia Quick, super-bulky weight yarn, so it should (hopefully) be another fast & fun knit. I'm still waiting for yarn from WEBS to arrive so I can start on the Owls sweater!

December 26, 2010

Happy Fetchings!


Ahh, finally finished my first pair of Fetching. It's a fun, quick and easy project, I don't know why I didn't start sooner!

So this pair was done following the pattern exactly, in Debbie Bliss Rialto Aran with size 6 DPNs, and it's perfect for medium-size hands. I have really small hands, so I decided to give away this pair as a white elephant gift at work - my friend Meggie ended up with them, yay! She is also a knitter and blue is her favorite color! I'm so glad the gloves went to someone who will appreciate them.

I still wanted a pair for myself, so I used the one skein of Debbie Bliss Rialto DK I had in my stash and knitted them up on size 5 needles. Perfect for my small hands!

December 5, 2010

Finally, Fetching in Progress



I don't know how many years Knitty's Fetching by Cheryl Niamath has been in my queue. It's one of the most popular patterns on Ravelry with 16394 projects and always increasing in numbers! I finally got the chance to start it this weekend while watching the Harry Potter marathon on TV and now I see why it's so popular. It's a quick yet satisfying projects knitted in the round, with lots of fun working cables, and perfect for an advanced-beginner like me.

It calls for the lovely Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran which I didn't have on hand, BUT - I did have Debbie Bliss Rialto Aran which was just as nice to work with.

I am one of those people whose hands always get cold, so my first practice pair will be for me - it's perfect for the winter season. I will definitely be knitting a few more as gifts!

November 15, 2010

Happy National Bundt Cake Day!



C'mon now, sing with me!

        Bah la, ba la la laaaa
        Bah la, ba la la laaaa
        BUNDT-day BUNDT-day
        So good to me
        BUNDT-day morning
        It was all I hoped it would be...


Yes folks, it's November 15th, which means it is National Bundt Cake Day! I never knew such day existed until I read about it on Mary the Food Librarian's blog last year in which she did 30 Bundts in 30 days! It was an amazing feat for sure, until this year when she decided to do it again, and in the middle of it all, single-handedly created a dessert bar for my friend Jun's wedding (Mary wrote about it here). How incredible is that?!

I know this little blog of mine has been solely dedicated to my knitting hobby, but I figured what the heck, since I write about being craftsy with yarn here, I might as well write about my occasional craftsy endeavors in the kitchen.

Growing up, I never really liked cake with frosting. I'm not sure if it's an Asian thing, but frosting is just too sickeningly sweet to me. I would eat the cake and the filling (usually fruit) and leave the frosting untouched. What a waste! Now the Bundt cake is a different story - there's just a leeeetle bit of icing on top, and more often than not, there is NO icing or just powdered sugar. My Mom made Bundt cakes when I was growing up and we always enjoyed them a lot. Ever since I moved out, got married and now have my own kitchen, I've made plenty of cakes and treats, but it never occurred to me to make a Bundt cake until now!

November 4, 2010

Presto Chango


Yes, I am knee-deep in baby sweaters! I'm just knitting them one after another and happily doing so. I think this is the 5th(?) baby sweater I've made this year. It just gives me so much joy and satisfaction to be able to give something special that I've made by hand.

This was a new pattern I decided to try, Presto Chango (I know it's "change-oh" but I keep wanting to say "chang-goh"!) by Valerie Wallis, published at Jimmy Bean's Wool. It's a FREE pattern by the way! Such a nice and quick knit, and the leaf pattern in the front is so delicate and so pretty.



I took the liberty of improvising a hat to go with the sweater - just did leaf panels in multiples of 16, then decreased in multiples of 8. Easy and fun!

The yarn used is di.VÉ Zenith in Mariner's Green, and I found THE perfect bright red vintage buttons to go with them at one of my frequent flea marketing trips. These two bright colors are meant to be together. :)

I'm currently knitting another Presto Chango, but in a much muted color. Hope it turns out just as cute as this one!

October 10, 2010

February in October!


Yes, another February Baby Sweater! I have been getting good practice with my gull pattern thanks to my friends/family who are having babies! So far I have made six of them, four for girls and two for boys. Everyone just loves these so much!

One thing I love about knitting in lace patterns how different it looks from the average stockinette. It makes a garment look so much more special. And if you have made this sweater, you know the instructions are really just two paragraphs!

I have to say, Elizabeth Zimmermann was a genius :)

Yarn used is Rowan RYC Cashsoft Baby DK (Microfiber, Cashmere, Wool) in Cloud. It really is so very soft! Buttons are vintage.

And of course, the pattern is from Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac.

April 18, 2010

Bamboo Diamond Shell in Progress


I'm currently working on the Bamboo Diamond Shell from Boutique Knits by Laura Irwin. This is one of the best knitting books I have purchased in the past year - the patterns are wonderful and all the pieces are unique and beautiful.

I had trouble with counting my CO stitches and kept ending up with too many or too few. After taking it apart 4 times I'm finally on the right track! The bamboo cotton blend is Southwick by Valley Yarns - it's nice and "bouncy," really nice to work with and the subtle sheen is lovely. I'm about 3/4 through the bodice now and will be separating the sleeves soon. The diamond pattern is really easy as I got the hang of it too.

I decided to work the bodice longer so it's something more wearable for me. I love how it looked in the book, hopefully it will look just as nice with a longer bodice.

April 3, 2010

Short Row Scarf

Image from LionBrand.com
I saw this scarf in the Winter 2009 Lion Brand catalog and knew I had to make it for my friend Winnie. The colors of the yarn used (Lion Brand's LB Collection Superwash Merino in mulberry & mahogany) are so fantastic together!



The gorgeous cityscape-like pattern is created by knitting short rows with the mulberry and the rich brown as the base. Using size 4 needles, this was a really fun knit. I finished it just in time for Winnie's birthday in March and was so glad she loved it.



As luck would have it, I found a matching vintage button at the antique fair just a few weeks before I finished the scarf. In the same shade as the mulberry, it was the perfect color and size. Is that perfect or what?

The pattern is free and can be downloaded here (you need to sign up with Lion Brand). It is classified as "Intermediate" but I think it should really be for the "Advanced Beginner." All it involves is the knit stitch, decreasing, short rows (this version is really simple and sounds harder than it is. No "wrapping" involved), and making a buttonhole. I was able to do it and I'm definitely not an intermediate knitter. Knitting with two colors and doing short rows kept it interesting while not frustrating at all. If you like knitting with smaller needles, this is a perfect project with a big impact.

February 27, 2010

Vintage Baby Dress


I fell in love with this pattern when I saw it in the Holiday 2009 issue of Vogue Knitting. I wanted to knit this adorable dress for my niece, but the sizes available go from 6 months to 24 months. She just turned two, so I wanted to make it just a little bigger. Rather than use the DK/sz 6 needles the pattern called for, I decided to upsize the yarn to aran, and used size 8 needles. I used the 6 month size numbers as a guide and eyeballed the rest so it'd look proportional. I love the Madiera lace pattern! I also really like the yarn I'm using, Valley Yarns Valley Superwash in Misty Lilac. Personally, I like using "non-baby" colors to knit baby garments. I'm not a big fan of baby blue, pink, mint green, etc.



After blocking the pieces (thank goodness for KnitPicks' great blocking mats), the lace pattern opened up and looked so pretty. I usually dislike seaming A LOT, but I figured this is a toddler-size dress so it shouldn't be too much of a headache. Thankfully, it turned out okay. I still dislike seaming though. :P



Here is the finished product. I happen to have some 1/2" wide velvet ribbon in dark burgundy that goes with it perfectly. I hope it'll fit my niece!

January 15, 2010

Adventures in Cables


Last winter, I asked my Mom if she wanted anything knitted for Christmas. I gave her a feather & fan scarf a few years ago and she really loved it. She said, "A vest!" And so I decided to give it a go.

The pattern I found online (Pretty in Pink on freepatterns.com) on was very easy to follow and the cable looked fairly easy to do. I had never done cabling before this, so I figured this might as well be my chance to use a cable needle for the first time! Plus it's knitted in the round and doesn't require seaming! I used Valley Yarns Valley Superwash from Yarn.com and it's lovely to work with! It's so cozy and warm, with great stitch definition that really made the cables stand out.



Needless to say, my Mom loved it. She gave me a big hug and asked, "How did you know it would fit so perfectly?"

I call it beginner's luck! :)