Friday, December 18, 2009

2010: Year of the Tiger

My holiday/ new years cards finally came in yesterday. So exciting! If you moved or didn't get a card from me last year, let me know, and we'll see about getting one your way.

Here's the spoiler.

I illustrated the South China Tiger, which is one of the most critically endangered animals on this planet today.  It's very sad to hear that the world is getting unlivable to many.  I hope we will get our act together and start facing the right direction.  Here's a website to learn more about them.


I have been searching for an internet name for a while. I always wanted something clever and appropriate for who I am. Today, I finally found one:


Pretty, yea?

It's a species name for my birthday flower Lobelia sessilifolia. It's indigenous to Japan (reason 1) and thus does not have a common English name. Its Japanese name is 沢桔梗 (sawagikyou = waterbend balloon flower) and the flowers beautiful blue purple (reason 2). It's slightly toxic (reason 3). It symbolizes nobility, unique talent, delicateness, and hostility (reason 4-7). I'm not sure about the last one, but I really like the overall feel.

Moreover, sessilifolia means plain leaf. How appropriate is that for an illustrator like me? I always need a plain sheet of paper to start my doodles/illustrations/knitting/baking. Oh, and it sounds like sessile, which is me.

I like it.

PS: Here's a photo link

Sunday, November 1, 2009

update Oct 2009

Here's what I said boldly at the end of August. Let's see how I did:

My overall goals:
  • Knit half that amount by New Years. (4893 yards)
  • Knit one-fourth of the amount to go to Southeast Animal Fiber Festival in October. (2446 yards)

My Primary Goals to Finish:
Secondary Goals:
  • Elefante (100 yards)---->changed to Jean Greenhowe's elephant. (rav link) done!
  • Charity hats or Mother Bear Project---->I've been baaad
  • Pomatomus socks by Cookie A. (360 yards)--->changed to Fox Face Mysteries (rav link) by Nancy Bush (270 yds actual)
  • Swallowtail Shawl in fingering weight (440 yards)--->done! (400 yds actual)
  • Wisp Shawl in cobweb (500 yards)---->started Oct 19, about 80% done

  • Aeolian Shawl in fingering weight (440) yards---->done (400 yds actual)
  • Total yardage used: 2040 yards. The goal was 2446, so not too far behind. :) I also knitted other items not on the list, so will talk about that soon.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Big Knits

I've been working on big stuff for about a month now, and they are finally all done, just in time for a fancy birthday dinner!

So here's a bag of yarn I got from WEBS when they had a spring sale in April:
yarn: Jo Sharp Classic DK Colorway:smoke

I picked out a retro waistcoat which didn't have any yarn suggestions, it just said 1000 yards of DK weight yarn for the size I'm making. (34 chest). So I got 1090 yards of yarn total. I did the back.

All 1x1 ribbing with some shaping. argh. I used 250 yards.

I did the front and back: 350 yards. Here they are blocking. The stitch is linen stitch and the buttonholes are sort of worked in about every 2 inches on the WS.

Then I did a single crochet edging, which annoyed me to great extent. Usually when you pick up and knit an edging, you pick up 2 sts every 3 rows, right? Well, I did that, and it was giving me waaay too many stitches. I ended up picking up 1 st every 2 rows (1 st from each selvege st) and it was still on the too-much side.

Well, that's ok because the recipient loved it. He even actively pursued shopping for buttons. He picked out the buttons himself.
Pattern: Men's waistcoat by Woolcrest from Retro Knits
Needles: US 3 and US 6 and D hook
Yarn: Jo Sharp Classic DK ~640 yards

I was sort of disappointed in big erratas like wrong needle size requirement for gauge and vague and plain instructions. I suppose that's how patterns were written, but they advertised that the patterns were rewritten for modern knitters. Oh well. All's well that ends well. :)

But what about the 4 balls of yarn left! I only used ~640 yards for the vest (which is a fair amount for vests. I usually use about 1000-1200 yards for a sweater)

He requested matching socks, but I suggested a better suggestion: matching hat.

Pattern: Morgan from (spring 2008)
Needle: US 5
Yarn: Jo Sharp Classic DK ~220 yards

This pattern is not intuitive. I'm not all that familiar with hat terminology, so I was quite lost for the entire thing until I grafted the brim and voila! a hat emerged! It was a short-row party from beginning to end. For the brim I used plastic canvases which was really easy to use to secure the edges and then to sew on the snap-ons between the brim and the top portion of the hat. He LOVES this hat. He even wore it to school the next day. and the next, and the next.


And now something completely different!

I won some yarn by placing 2nd place in the great hat race hosted through ravelry in the spring of this year. I recommend it to anyone who likes making hats. It's lots of fun and a great way to give back to the community.

Anyway, I got ~450 yards of cream colored yarn. I was quite impressed by the gradated colorways in Miriam Felton's Andromeda Shawl in ravelry and wanted to make one for myself. I'll write about how to go about dying this later.

Yarn: Knit Picks Palette Cream, 2 skeins
Beads: Miyuki Delicas-8 Dark amber Lined AB from Rare Earth Beads in Durham, NC

I always admired the Aeolian Shawl, and this yarn wanted to be it. So after few days of knitting away with beads (it gets fun with practice I promise), here she is:

Pattern: Aeolian Shoulderette with Narrow Edging
Needle: US 5
Yarn: Knit Picks Palette 2 skeins (~400 yards)
Beads: Miyuki Delicas-8 Dark amber Lined AB (about 750)

I love it! This is the first shawl I made using fingering weight yarn. I like the balance between the size (shoulderette) and the weight. It's not too heavy, and boy the edging looks fancy! I think I like the narrow edging better than the original pattern. I'm entering this into the state fair!

yardage used from stash: 640 + 220 + 400 = 1260!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Little Knits

Little knit #1: Elephant by Jean Greenhowe
Yarn: Dale Falk, Lion Brand Wool-Ease Heather Grey and Tweed Red
Needle: #2 circular and #2dpn

mods: By the time I got to the arms, I was tired of sewing up seams, so the arms are in the round. It is possible to do body and head in the round. For feet and ears I recommend knitting them flat since the seam is minimal in feet and the seam helps the shape of the ears. When sewing on parts together, use lots of pins to secure parts in place. Otherwise they look real silly.

I forgot how fun these little guys are! For the first time the eyes went's sewn on for a little toddler neighbor. His name starts with an E. Maybe I'll make another.

Saartje's booties by Saartje Bruin
Needles: US#2 dpn
Buttons: 7/16 La Mode buttons from JoAnn
Yarn: Mystery acrylic baby yarn from Eatonton, GA

Aww these are SO cute! I had the booties knitted up a few weeks ago, but finally broke down and got buttons. You know, babies can't wait forever. And they probably will outgrow them super-fast anyway.

With all the notions, I forgot to weigh the yarn before assembling. I guess these won't go towards the stash-busting yardage count, but they make me happy every time I look at them.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Stashdown FO#1 : Socks

Here is my first finished object: socks!

This pattern is sort of curious...neither toe-up nor top-down. You start with a beautiful lace panel like shown below, and knit a short-row heel from one of the edges. Then you pick up the side stitches as you knit up the foot, then proceed to finish as any toe-up sock.

Pattern: Grun ist die hoffnung
Yarn: Cascade Heritage
Needle: US#1 dpn
Yardage: 330 yards

Total stash-busting so far: 330/9786.5= 3.3%

Monday, August 31, 2009

5.56 miles

That's right. There are 5.56 miles worth of yarn in my yarn drawer. That's 9786.5 yards. Wow I haven't even purchased any yarn since Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival and still this amount!?

To make myself feel better, 5247 yards of the total is fingering weight or finer yarn.

My overall goals:
  • Knit half that amount by New Years. (4893 yards)
  • Knit one-fourth of the amount to go to Southeast Animal Fiber Festival in October. (2446 yards)

My Primary Goals to Finish:
  • Mandala Lace shawl by Renee Leverington (1500 yards)
  • Lace Cable Poncho in Vogue Knitting on the Go (1000 yards)
  • DK Classic Mens Vest in Retro Knits (1070 yards)
  • Grun ist die Hoffnung socks (437 yards)
  • TOTAL: 4007 yards

Secondary Goals:
  • Elefante (100 yards)
  • Charity hats or Mother Bear Project
  • Pomatomus socks by Cookie A. (360 yards)
  • Swallowtail Shawl in fingering weight (440 yards)
  • Wisp Shawl in cobweb (500 yards)
  • Aeolian Shawl in fingering weight (440) yards
  • TOTAL: 1840 yards
These projects will take care of about 60% of the stash. phew! Now I just have to knit them... ;)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Do it Yourself

Medical and Scientific Illustrators are visual problem solvers.  We show and educate something that cannot be easily seen.  How often do you see a see-thru liver?  I thought so.  

Medical illustrators are also sort of known for making fun things to visualize something that cannot be seen (ie. balloons with vessels drawn on, pipe cleaners for nerves, modeling clay for molecules, etc) ...I hope it's not just me. 

Anyways, few weeks back I had a weird urge to spin some fiber sitting in the box of ultimate UFOs.  So out came an original drop spindle using a CD, a chopstick, tape, and a stitchholder.  Later the stitch holder got upgraded into a shaped paperclip:

I have also been meaning to get a kitchen/postal scale to measure how much yarn is left for better treatment of leftover yarn.  I knocked off few hangers in the doorway and thought about making a Monty Python style scale using it.  

"...If she weighs as much as a duck, she is made out of wood..."  
"And therefore....?"
"A witch!  A witch!" 
"We shall use the biggest scale in town"

Yeppers.  It's surprisingly accurate.  I used nickels and pennies for weights.  A nickel weighs 5g, and a penny weighs 2.5g.  I'm glad people at the mint think in metric.  

I must have saved at least $40 by making these two stragely simple objects.  Now I can buy $40 worth of yarn...when I use up all the yarn I have now.  :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Great Hat Race 3

I really had a great time knitting hats for the Great Hat Race on Ravelry. They did a wonderful job keeping us updated and everything! I wonder if there is a winner?

Here are the hats I made using more stash yarn (free patterns too!) ...and somehow there is still lots of yarn leftover. Looking forward to the next one!

Used leftover yarn from Felted Sheep

Used leftover yarn from fisherman's sweater

3. Lace Edged Womens' Hat by Julie M. Hentz
Used leftover yarn from cloche hat

Used "new" dk yarn

6. Reflections by LizYvonne (ravelry link)
Used leftover from sweater

6. One Hat Two Hat by AKS
Used yarn given to me by BF's mom

7. Tam by Angela Sixian Wu
Used leftover from battle bonnet, and other scraps of Cascade 220, Noro Kureyon, and Lamb's Pride Worsted

Used leftover from baby booties that never happened

Used leftover from Bulldog Sweater

Monday, May 4, 2009

Post Maryland Sheep and Wool Syndrome

Oh dear. Maryland Sheep and Wool. What an adventure! It was my second time, so I wasn't quite as overwhelmed as last time, and bought yarn until I ran out of cash.

Socks that Rock! Lightweight Mill End--light blue/purple/green

Socks that Rock! Lightweight Mill End Red/purple

Regia Silk wine

Mistralee Farm Alpaca Lace- grey

Also, since I created a ghetto drop spindle, I wanted to try out the spinning wheel. A very nice lady named Sally taught me how to use a spinning wheel, and here is the result.

The top right one is the wheel spun one. The grey one is single-ply merino done on a drop spindle, and the blue/green one is 2-ply done on a drop spindle.

Ms. Sally said the best kind of wool to start practicing spinning is Romney and Coopworth, so I got both of them.

And how can you talk about MS&WF without all the great animals!

There were few angry and wet animals, but I'm sure they enjoyed being there deep down in their little minds.

What fun!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Stash Busting

Business for 2009 has been slow. so far.

So, I decided to see what I can knit with the medium sized stash I have.

1. Great Hat Race Round 3 Hat #1

Pattern: Robin's Egg Blue Hat by Rachel Iufer

Needles: #10
Notions: 1 big button (1.5-2 inches)

Cute pattern. I was waiting to make the hole for the button and then realized that it's just sewn on.

I was in suspense the entire time, thinking that I would run out of yarn. I had enough, but not by much:


And some of my blanket squares:

Yarn: leftover Crystal Palace Panda Silk from orange sock mystery

Yarn: Leftover yarn from plain ribbed socks

and from the armwarmers. This is my square #12/42.