Sunday, January 31, 2010

Atl Visit

I renewed my passport last December, and I had to go pick it up at the Japanese Embassy in Atlanta. I conveniently thought that they would be able to send the passport up to the DC office without any trouble, but after an irritated phone call from the ambassador, I flew down to the good old ATL.

Also, it was a perfect occasion to check out my sister's new apartment, now that she's all professional and all.


I inspired some flight attendants with my knits, and told them about ravelry. They were REALLY excited. :) I think plane rides are one of the best places to knit (I guess not for projects that require lots of different colors of yarn).

I landed on time, enjoyed the new atrium, and called my sister.

Me: "I'm here."
Sis: "OK. I left work about half an hour ago. I'll see you in 1.5 hours."
Me: "What?"
Sis: "Well, I had to go back to my apartment, pick up recycling, and drop it off at the recycling center. I'm not sure of the best way to get to the airport from the recycling center, so I'm going back close to my apartment, and then I'm going to go to the airport."
Me: "What?"
Sis: "Well, we had to work really hard to clean the apartment, and there's lots to recycle"
Me: "What?"

Well, I noticed that there were lots of flaws in her way of thinking, but I suppose the future of earth is more important than me wasting time at the airport. I can sort of understand that. So I sat around, working on MY SISTER'S ARMWARMERS until she finally came. I'm a good sister, no?

She drove up in her new-to-her car and off we went:

to her apartment complex. Pretty nice.

Then to see her new place. As you can tell, she's really excited about comics and animation.

It also happened to be one of her nights to go karate. Fancy-pants. Their teacher approached me with ideas to illustrate his book he's working on, and that's still a work in progress.

While watching them practice, I casted on Melissa's socks:

We dyed the yarn together last month, and I finally got around to start knitting it.
Yarn: Valley Yarns Franklin Natural/Undyed MC dyed in food color/vinegar and undyed for CC.
Needle: US1 DPN

This day she cooked me 2 kinds of pasta, before and after karate.


The next day she went off to work, and didn't think that I needed food. Sad. Because I was hungry, it made me angrier. I convinced her to bring back some food for me from a nearby mall, and I felt better.

After she came home early, we went off to go pick up the passport...they wanted me to tell them when I was coming. I joked that they need to know when people come so they look like they are working. Just kidding. Everything went well, and now I don't have to get a new passport until I'm 37. Yuck and Cool at the same time.

After that we went shopping--well, sort of. I haven't been in a shopping mall in Atlanta for so long, I forgot what a big city it was.

When I mentioned Olive Garden, my sister and her boyfriend got really really excited. I mean really. Apparently they go there all the time! Woo, that's nice I called out their favorite restaurant, but wouldn't they want to try something new? something different? well, apparently not. The two are pretty picky with food.

So we went there, and they were really happy. They ordered the same meal. Very cute.


The next day I finally finished the armwarmers for her. She was pretty pumped. I actually "finished" these in 2008, but I missed a repeat and the two were different lengths. I also didn't understand the concept of peasant thumb, and made the gusset without making decreases for the thumb. I corrected all these things, and now they fit her well.

Pattern: Burtonesque by Jacqueline Landry
Yarn: Domy Heather in Ecru and Lava
Needles: US4 and US7 DPN

I really like the Domy Heather yarn. It feels like Shetland, and it creates a nice halo. I should try making a jumper out of this yarn.

Now that I had one project bag empty, I quickly casted on for the Norwegian Mickey hat I mentioned in the Disknitty group on ravelry:

Pattern: Mickey Mouse hat adapted from a Mickey sweater at Disneyland
Yarn: KnitPicks Telemark Cream, Garnet Heather, and Brass Heather dyed black
Needles: US2 and US4 circular

The sister was further impressed that you can knit a hat with a brim. She really wanted me to make one (hey, didn't I just make a chullo hat for you last month? and these armwarmers just now?). Then she offered to drive me to a yarn store and buy me yarn to make the hat. I concurred.

We went to Strings and Strands on Roswell Rd and got this:

Malabrigo Chunky yarn in red/pink
The pattern I have in mind is the Captain Hat made with bulky wool. I hope one skein will suffice.

We even found these really cute buttons for the hat at a fabric store nearby:

Then we went to go see an indie film at a gallery in Atlanta. Some of her friends were in it, and it was indie indeed. Apparently my sister was also approached to be a part of this movie, but she turned it down. Well, my sister would rather sing than act. And that's what we did:

Thanks for the fun visit. The hat can be expected in about few months. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Shawl is done!

I've been very good and have been monogamous in my knitting. So, I finished my gradmother's faroese shawl. Take a look!

Pattern: Faroese shawl by Sivia Harding
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Co. Alpaca Lace

Faroese shawls are shaped in a way that it creates a little dip for the back of your neck, and has a slanted wing shaped so the shawl will rest flat against your body better. The shawl actually stays on my shoulders really well, and I only had to adjust it a few times.

Blocking sure does wonders. Check out the pre-blocked wimpy state:

I must thank Kelley Petkun at KnitPicks to constantly remind her podcast listeners to block knitted work (and make a gauge swatch). I did not fully understand why blocking was so important. Heck, I wore a unblocked shawl for few months before I decided to try on this blocking business.

Now I'm already starting to think about what shawl to knit next. Miralda's shawl from Estonian Knitting by Nancy Bush is looking really good.

I have acquired enough leftover lace yarn and handspun alpaca lace to do one full shawl, so I can probably make a lace shawl and overdye it in one color for harmonious results. I do love the faroese shaping, though. Decisions, decisions.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy new year! I hope everyone had a wonderful and warm holiday.

It's strange that it's 10 years after the Y2K mess. I still remember the 2000 glasses passed out for the Times Square New Year countdowns. Since my family gets access to Japanese Television, our New Year Eve ritual has become watching "Kouhaku Uta Gassen" or "Red/White Singing Showdown" instead of watching the great ball coming down in Times Square.

Japan has a very festive culture--everything has lucky versions of everything. Red and White are the lucky colors. They are also used to divide up teams such as sport day in schools. The two colors for the Singing Showdown represent the men (white) and the women (red). The two teams take turns singing songs to compete. The winner is determined by votes from the celebrity judges (athletes, actors/actresses, etc), the studio audience, and now the general public. I think the White team won in 2009.

We didn't exchange gifts until 12/30, which was great since I was still finishing up some presents in my room before wrapping it up in Japanese packing cloth (to place under the Christmas tree). :) But here's a little peak:

I made a Link hat for my sister's boyfriend, who is famous for loving video games and anime: note: Modeling for the hat is my bf, not my sister's.
Pattern: my original
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease Forest Heather 1 ball

I made a pair of gloves for Dad, who requested grey gloves for Christmas. I added little cables and detachable flaps on forefinger and thumb for easy maneuvering without taking the glove off.
Pattern: Buttoned Elbow Gloves from Vogue Knitting on the Go: Gloves and Mittens
Yarn: Valley Franklin Natural dyed with black RIT dye

I made a cat chullo for my sister who doodled the basic shape for me during Thanksgiving:
Yarn: Patons Classic Wool and Araucania Wool
Pattern: My own; shaping inspired by doubled chullo in Interweave Holiday Knits

I also made a hat for my mom, but she quickly lost it on a warm day. Oh well.
Yarn: Cascade 220
Pattern: Slouchy Copycat hat with 75 sts for a snuggier fit.

I read that my online stashbusting KAL is restarting on the 15th. I need to tally my knit yardage and figure out if my stash did indeed shrink. It sure doesn't look like it tho.