Monday, March 1, 2010

Ravelympic Knitting

A day before the Olympics Closing Ceremonies, I finished my second and last Ravelympic/ Knitting Olympics project. It's a simple, cabled vest that I donated to the Afghans for Afghans Youth Campaign. I hope someone will like it!

The vest is based on a pattern by Jenifer Paulousky. Stashbusting 4 skeins (~500 yards) of Gedifra Shetland Deluxe, I knit for a 30 inch chest, excluded the waist shaping, and continued the cable pattern all the way to the neckline. I added an inch of garter stitch for the neck and picked up 73 stitches per armhole and knit garter for 6 ridges before binding off in purl. The vest measures 21 inches from top to bottom.

When I first heard the call for donations for the Youth Campaign, it coincided with the Ravelympics/ Knitting Olympics timeline. For me, the donation date was the last day of the Olympics and the last day of Stitches West, where I planned to drop off the vest. I was able to combine some Ravelympics fun and useful knitting. Plus, I used up all of my Gedifra yarn, leftovers from my husband's sweater. Coming full circle, I bought this yarn at Stitches last year.

Speaking of Stitches West 2010, I attended the market on Sunday, the last day. This year I didn't buy as much as usual and spent most of the time wandering around in a daze. It's like I never quite got my bearings. Possibly, as this was my sixth year there, I had already bought everything I wanted to try out and didn't have any specific vendors in mind. Still, I managed to come away with something!

From left to right:

  • Duet (mohair and wool) from Brooks Farm
  • Sock Yarn from Dream in Color
  • Red Sock Yarn from Icy Brambles (for my cousin)
  • Sock Yarn (Wild Things colorway) from Lisa Souza (for my cousin)
  • 2 skeins of Yowza Whatta Skein in Black Cherry from Miss Babs

I was really impressed with the choice of colors at the Miss Babs booth and am looking forward to revisiting them next year. Since my cousin is still working on her Stitches stash from last year, she didn't go but sent me as her buyer, instead. I would be happy to do that again!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Olympic Knitting

Tap tap. I'm still here! Time to blow the dust off this blog.

Alright, I entered the Ravelympics/Knitting Olympics 2010. I'm not doing anything particularly hard this time, but it will be an accomplishment to finish it all before the closing ceremonies.

First up, the Shroom hat knit with Spud and Chloe Outer. Yarn feels like butter and the hat is a huge mushroom cap on my head. I love it. Using most of the yarn, I knit a 4 inch rib brim, then knit 6 repeats of the puff rib before decreasing. In the end, I had ~25 inches of yarn left. It always feels great not to have much leftover.

Here's my Ravelympics 2010 Hat Halfpipe Medal!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Lazy Days

On the way home from Japan, we stopped in Maui for a family reunion. This vacation leg was the complete opposite of the first in every way. Slow, laid back island pace, beaches, tropical music, etc. It was jarring to adjust to this after living at a frenetic but exciting pace in Japan. Still, we managed :)

Up to this point on vacation, I hadn't felt an urge to knit. I admit I still don't, but that's due to my annual summer slump rather than lack of interest. In Maui, since I had a lot more free time on my hands, I finally picked up the needles again and worked on a sock. It's the Earl Grey sock pattern by the Yarn Harlot in Cascade Heritage Paints sock yarn.

On the beach with the sock.
From Maui June 2009

Thanks to Ravelry, I located two yarn shops in Lahaina. At The Needlework Shop, the yarn selection was small, but I bought a skein of sock yarn dyed by a local artist, the Maui Dyer.
From Maui June 2009

Standing with my new yarn, Pineapple Upsidedown Cake.
From Maui June 2009

Next, I found the Yarn and Needlecrafts shop, but it was closed that day. Peeking through the window, I saw a small yarn selection, but I never made it back to explore during business hours.
From Maui June 2009

Back to real life. I will update some projects I completed like two months ago. I finally got around to taking some pictures of the FOs.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


On Sunday, we finally came home after a long vacation. First, we visited Tokyo and had an amazing time. There was so much to do there that we couldn't possibly fit it all in our schedule. Each night, our aching feet and legs could attest to the amount of walking we did all day. Even though I brought my knitting, I didn't have the energy nor feel the urge to knit at all while we were there. Of course, I managed to check out two craft stores and was on the lookout for the craft section at the department stores.

First off, Yuzawaya in Kichijo-ji. Before I went, I had a vague idea it was the Michaels of Japan but really was clueless. It was huge!!! Like the mothership of craft stores. 7 floors or something like that. Big floors too, not like the tiny, narrow buildings I was used to seeing in Tokyo. It isn't Michaels at all, as Yuzawaya seemed to have a good selection and variety of everything. Not just a little bit of everything. If only I could sew, I would've gone crazy on the fabric floors. I took a few pictures of the yarn aisles but it really doesn't do it justice. The knit and crochet section only took up maybe a third of a floor, but they had a bigger yarn stock than most of the LYSs near me at home.

From Japan Trip- Tokyo

There were aisles and aisles of yarn. Mostly, Japanese or Asian brands such as Puppy, but some brands I knew. There was the Noro aisle (missed taking the picture). I was tempted to buy up a bunch of Noro sock yarn because it was on sale for $12.50!!!! I must have been crazy tired to have passed that up because I did.

From Japan Trip- Tokyo

Be sure to look up at the top of the shelves.
From Japan Trip- Tokyo

Lots of samples everywhere!
From Japan Trip- Tokyo

So inspiring. I think the yarn companies must provide the sample garments, since I saw some similar ones at a different store. But I don't know for sure. It's a fantastic way to showcase and sell the yarn and pattern book. Samples at our LYSs are not provided by the yarn companies, I'm pretty sure.

Later that day, in Shinjuku, we came across Okadaya. Although the yarn selection was nice, it was a much smaller store than Yuzawaya. It was a very narrow building with several floors and only one small elevator. We took the stairs and stopped at every floor until I hit yarn. I should've learned the Japanese character for yarn or knitting, so I could read the store directory. Still it was fun exploring.

Days later, off in Kyoto, I walked by this:
From Japan Trip- Kyoto

Silk yarn and a spinning wheel. It was closed at the time so I'm not sure if this was a textiles shop or a tailor's, but it seemed to come out of nowhere. Maybe this was Avril but I didn't know it? By that time, I had stopped looking for craft stores and had forgotten about the famous Avril store. There was so much more to see and do, but it's funny how I can't get away from my craft!

Eventually, at the end of my Kyoto stay, I bought a pattern book at the Daimaru department store on Shijo Dori. The 7th floor has a small yarn department. It's amazing how universal knitting can be. I felt so at home in these departments it didn't matter that I couldn't really speak to the store clerks. I managed :)


A tea cozy for a friend. Stitch pattern from Barbara Walker's 1st Treasury. Fun to knit and finished it within a short time.

From made by stacey

Sunday, April 12, 2009

It's a Pumpkin!

090407 shalom cardigan

Well, I hope I don't look like a pumpkin in this! It's the Shalom Cardigan by Meghan McFarlane. As of this moment, there are 1040 other Shaloms out there on Ravelry. Very popular! It's an easy, top-down cardigan with a twisted rib yoke. Simple yet appealing. I knit this with 4.5 skeins of Cascade 109 LE Bulky on size 6.5mm (10.5 US) needles. It's a rust orangy pumpkiny color. I really do like this cardigan, even with the fly-away front. There's enough coverage in front that it doesn't showcase my chest and stomach in an awful way. I'm glad the cardigan turned out bigger post-blocking than pre-blocking. It's a bit too big but still wearable.

Where did I get this yarn? From the WEBS booth at Stitches West! I bought enough yarn to make four sweaters. Stitches West was definitely calmer than previous years but still fun. Probably more enjoyable without the pushy crowds. Weeks ago, I meant to post about my haul but I've been MIA on the blog. So, besides Cascade 109, I bought Gedifra Shetland Deluxe at the WEBS booth. Both yarns were close-outs and heavily discounted. A real plus, when buying sweater quantities... I also bought some red-purple-orange (sounds horrible but looks great!) Mas Acero from Brooks Farm. And to top off my haul, I chose a light grey bulky weight 50/50 Jacob Alpaca yarn from Toots LeBlanc. Good loot! And I've already made something with one of my purchases. Woo hoo!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cable-y Goodness

081230 cable beret

This is old news but better late than never. Introducing my new cabled beret! Actually, I finished it at the end of December and have been wearing it ever since. For a long time, I've wanted to knit a slouchy beret and kept looking for the right pattern. On Ravelry, I came across the Cabled Goodness pattern, but I have to say my hat was "inspired by" the written pattern and not an exact copy of what the designer intended. I tried to follow her instructions, but things just didn't work out for me. So, when in doubt, wing it!

First off, I altered the brim circumference to 20 inches for the hat because I didn't think a 17 inch brim would go around my head. I was very wrong about that. As I neared completion, I tried the hat on and it swallowed my head. Way too big. With berets, since there's hardly a crown because you increase right away to make the disk shape, you need the brim to be snug just to stay on. Anyway, after I finished the top of the hat, I cut at stitch an inch or so in to the brim and unravelled all the way to the cast-on. Once I rescued all the stitches back onto the needles, I immediately decreased down to 17 inches, knit the ribbed brim, and bound off. That marked the end. This should have been an easy, straight forward hat to make, but it took longer than expected. It took three tries to figure out the decreases at the top. I must have been way off from the pattern because after initially following the written instructions, it didn't look right at all. Frogged it twice before the third time (the charm?) I made something work out, even though it doesn't have the cool cables snaking all the way to the top. Oh well. If the written pattern works out for you, that's great. I obviously had a hard time for some reason :)

Anyway, I love it now. This is fantastic yarn from Artfibers in San Francisco. Super squishy and luxurious. I made my pilgrimmage to Artfibers back in December before they closed their storefront. Even though I'm from this area, I had never been there before. I had known about it for a long time but took it for granted that it would always be there. At least I had a chance to do their "yarn tasting" and knit with a couple of their yarns before leaving.

081230 cable beret2

Yarn: Ming (50% wool, 50% silk), Artfibers
Needles: size 7 (4.5mm)