Marathon 26.2


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tappan Zee Cardigan

Since my last project, I have been having a hard time deciding what project to do next. I finally decided on the Tappan Zee Cardigan from the summer issue of Knitty Magazine. The pattern seems easy enough and I always like to knit cardigans. Looking through my stash yarn, I decided to make this in a dark purple. It's definitely for a cool winter day or cold autumn night.

This project took over 3 weeks but it could of been a fast knit. With the scratchy yarn it really slowed down my knitting. There seems to be so much other things going on my life that knitting was not a top priority. Maybe after my daughter starts school in a few weeks, I can make knitting more of a priority again!

I decided to make some modifications to this pattern. I really like the yoke on the cardigan. After the 1st diamond pattern, I decided to add some cables. I borrowed the cable pattern loosely from a DROPS pattern. Finally, the bottom cable/lace pattern is from the book Ready, Set Cable. I was having fun trying out different patterns to see how it would turn out. It makes it more interesting! Maybe someday, I'll be brave enough to knit up a top or cardigan without a pattern!

Anyways, here's my cardi:




In other areas of my life, I doing the last preparation for my daughter before she starts kindergarten. I want to purchase a few more tops and that will be all! She starts school 2 weeks from today! I can't believe summer is almost over...but not the hot summer weather.

I'm happy to say that I finally have DSL! I've been on dial up for so long (DSL was not available in my area) that it's so exciting to have a fast running Internet! What use to take me hours and hours on a particular site (and I'm not exaggerating), now takes me 30 minutes to surf through the site. I'm saving so much time! Life just got a bit simpler. :)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

White Lace Tank

June has been such a hot month so far! After 11am, it's just too hot to go outside in the blazing hot heat! I've been trying to keep cool the best I can by staying in and getting some knitting done. The other day, I was admiring my past projects and wishing for cooler weather so I can wear some of my tops and sweaters. I'm really proud of knitting projects, I feel such a sense of accomplishment and pride when I look at them.

My lastest knitting project is from the August 2008 issue of Knit N' Style. The pattern is called Cream Lace Jumper by Melissa Leapman. I was looking for something "different" (than my usual cardigans) so I opted to make this. I knew from the beginning, I would be making modifications. For starters, I didn't want it to be a jumper/tunic. It's not something I normally wear and I wanted it to have a different neckline. Casting on 91 stitches for each side seem too much to me, especially on a size 6 needle on worsted weight yarn. Though, I was close to getting gauge, changing to size 8 would make this top too big! Instead, I decided to knit this top entirely in the round and cast on 141, knitting this entirely on size 6 needle. I added waist shaping after knitting 6 1/2". I bo 4 stitches on 2 rows, working both the front and back separately. I then decreased 1 stitch on both ends EOR, 4 times. Finally, I bo 33 stitches in the middle for the neckline shaping. Done!

I'm glad my modifications worked out for this top! I was a bit nervous since I made so many changes to the sizing! I was unsure about the total numbers of stitches to bind off for the armholes but I used another top as a template. My only regret is that I didn't plan the waist shaping better and my decreases are not as neat as I would like! Fortunately, it's not as noticeable since they on the sides. These are all valuable lessons for my future projects. I'm always amazed how I keep learning from my knitting projects! I didn't realize that knitting was so complicated, there's always something new to learn. A new technique, a new stitch, etc...

I decided to rework my Juliet. It's too pretty to sit in my frog pile! This time around, I ripped out all of the lace and about 5 rows of the garter stitches. I probably could of taken more of garter stitches out. I did not do any increases this time for the lace but rather did a few decreases so the numbers on the lace pattern would match. This was really a fast fit. I'm glad that I made the changes! Now, I can proudly wear my Juliet during those cooler months.

For the last week and a half, I have poison ivy/oak rash! My wrists, parts of my hand and some of my ankles were covered in a blistery rash! No fun! The first 4 days were miserable since it burned and itched. I also worried that I would give it to my daughter! I'm happy to say that the rash is so much better now and no one else in the family got the rash!

In the last several weeks, we picked a bunch of blueberries from our friend's house. I've made several blueberry pies and are they delicious! I've also made some fried yellow squash (from a friend's) and sweet white corn. The corn were purchased from the farm where it was picked that morning! They are the most delicious corn I ever had! I am so spoiled by all this good food! It almost makes me feel guilty complaining about the hot summer...well, almost! ;)

My new and improved Juliet:

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Graceful Top

Since my last post, I've been busy knitting! I managed to complete 3 Emmaline tops! I made one of the Emmaline top into a dress. I even made my last top in a worsted weight yarn instead of the bulky. It was fun experimenting with this pattern. I also finished knitting the Juliet Cardigan. Unfortunately, the cardigan is way too big. It was very disappointing! I have since decided that one day soon, I will redo the lace part. This time I will leave off the increases to get a better fit. My current project, which I finished today, is the Graceful Top. This pattern is from the Lion Brand website. It uses mostly charts. It was a bit intimidating but I knew I was up for the challenge. I took my time knitting this and it probably could of been done in 3 or more days. Once I completed the back, I was confident I could do both the front pieces. This pattern has given me a lot of confidence in reading charts! I still do prefer having a pattern with BOTH charts and written directions!

The Graceful top is knitted on a size 10 1/2 needle using a worsted weight yarn. The pattern called for a thicker yarn so I had to adjust for the gauge. I use only 2 skeins of Paton wool yarn.
I did not make any modifications to the pattern. In the future, I would add waist shaping to this top.

Here another photo:

I'm happy to report that I made it through the graduation ceremony. It was held at a "hugh" baptist church near Atlanta. I was glad to see my niece graduate from High School. After the trip, I was sick for about 5 days. I don't think I've been that sick in a long time. I was so sick, I didn't even want to knit. I'm glad to report that I'm back in perfect health!

Today, it's 95 degrees out. It's the start of a hot, humid, scorching summer for us. Though I don't love the hot weather, I do love summer. I love being able to pick fresh blueberries and buying sweet corn from the farm. I'm also looking forward to eating some fresh vegetables from my garden. :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Last Day of School and Knitting Projects

Today was my daughter's last day of preschool! Wow, these last 2 years of preschool went really fast and she'll be embarking on kindergarten next school year. How time flies! We will have 2 months to enjoy the lazy days of summer! We'll be swimming, shopping and taking mini trips to amusement parks or Chuck E. Cheese!

We sent 4 days in Disney World last week. We stayed at the All Star Music Resort. This was our first trip to Disney. Though Jasmine did enjoy Magic Kingdom, I think she liked hanging out at the pool better!

I currently still have unfinished knitting projects. The featherweight cardigan (in lace weight) and Juliet from here: I had purchased 4 skeins of the classic elite sprout yarn to make the Emmaline (from here: I attempted to start this project several times during my trip at Disney but I finally decided to use the yarn for Juliet. The temperature being in the 90s, I couldn't picture making a top in bulky yarn, even if it's cotton! Since I've been wanting to make the Juliet, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to do it! I've actually made good progress on my Juliet and I'm now at the start of the lace portion of the pattern. Wouldn't you know it though, Emmaline kept calling me! For some reason, I really want to knit this even though I don't like having more than 2 projects at once, I cast on! The only bulky yarn I had in my stash was Brown Sheep. Honestly, I never liked this shade of blue (periwinkle). I've looked at the yarn several time and always thought to myself what a weird shade of blue! As I was knitting this project, I came to enjoy the yarn and color. I now think the yarn was perfect for this project, even if it's more of a fall/winter top. I used a size 10 needle for the neckline (since I couldn't find any 10 1/2 needles in 16" length). I switched to the recommended needle size of 10 1/2 just before the first eyelet. I knitted the top just below my bust and did the 1 row of purl. I also did 2 sets of decreases instead of 3. I was afraid it would be too tight otherwise. I then did 2 sets of increases. After the increases, I knitted 9 additional rows, instead of 1 3. It seemed like a good length and I bo using a size 11 needle.

This was a very satisfying project! I confessed that I worked on this late into the night several times. I really wanted to finish this and I'm so glad that I did. I finished most of the knitting late last night and redid the bo this morning! I'm thrilled with the color, fit and design. Next time, I would use a lighter weight yarn so I could wear it all summer long!

I hope everyone a happy and safe summer!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Beach Party Dress

I wanted to make myself a dress to wear to a graduation. I'm not looking forward to it, sad to say and this will give me an incentive to go! After searching through the patterns and looking at the types of yarn I have in my stash, I decided to go with the Beach Party Dress. The pattern is from the July 2008 issue of Creative Knitting. It seems simple enough, only a little lace! I fell in love with the magazine version in a pretty coral color. Looking through my knit picks catalogue, I realized that they no longer carry this color! Oh well, I decided that I would use the Plymouth Fantasy yarn I recently purchased from the LYS. I had some concerns about this dress. First, I didn't want it to be too tight because it looks very form fitting. I hope that using the 100% cotton yarn would eliminate part of the problem. Second, I had only 6 skeins of this and I did not want to go back to the LYS to buy more. I decided I'll just knit and buy more yarn if I have to.

I rarely check gauge so it's no wonder that after getting about 1/2 way through the bottom skirt, it was hugh! I did try it on as I go but I only put half the stitches on another needle so it wasn't a "true fit". I figure I had made so much progress on this dress that I did not want to frog! I was determined to continue and do some major modification as I go. I made a ton of decreases throughout. This time, I slipped the stitches to scrap yarn and tried it on. I kept making decreases through out until it was a good fit. When I finally got to the waist, I use the seed stitch and knit about 1 1/2 inch for the waist. To make this a fast and easy knit, I opted to leave out the ribbing for the top half of the dress. This may save me from having to buy additional skein of yarn! When I finally knitted the dress to just about the arm area, I ended it with 3-5 rows of seed stitch again. I omitted the casing and the elastic. With all the decreases, I did not need to use any elastic. The sleeves were tricky for me. I knew I wanted more coverage but should I kept it as a garter stitch or a seed stitch to match the dress? After a lot of trial and error (with various stitches and needle sizes), I kept the garter stitch using a size 9 needle for the lace, size 7 for the garter and back to 9 for the bind off. I also decided to close the button holes for the straps. ( Hubby didn't like how it looked).

This was really a fast project. My goal was to knit 1 skein a night, which I did. I worked on this project a lot and I'm real proud that I was able to make the dress fit in the end. Not to mention, that I stayed within the 6 skeins of yarn I had originally purchased. I'm thrilled with my modification and I LOVE the color of the dress. I've decided that this dress is going to be my Mother's Day present to myself!

As you know, I didn't have the best experience at the LYS but I decided to go again. (In the end, I didn't need the extra skein I bought for this dress). I'm happy to say that I had a good experience this time. There were new people working there and they were very nice and friendly! The one person even talked me into buying the recommended yarn for my next project, Emmaline! I ended up purchasing 4 skeins of the Classic Elite, Sprout in green. I'm looking forward to starting that project next, along with resuming the Feather weight cardigan.

This year will be my 25th High School Reunion! Yes, I'm that old. I know most of my classmates have grown children, in college and they have already finished up school. It's funny because my daughter's 4 and she'll be turning 5 this summer. She starts Kindergarten in August! I'm also thinking about going back to college this fall when she's in school. I seem to have things backward. I'm looking forward to this new chapter in my life but I'm also scared that my little girl's going to school full time! the meantime, I'm looking forward to our vacation. We'll be taking her to Disney World!

This Sunday, of course if Mother's Day. It's the "hardest" job, but most rewarding job I ever had. It's probably the one I'm MOST proud of. The love I have for my daughter is incredible and the joy she brought into my life is priceless. To all you Mother's out there, Happy Mother's Day! You/We deserve it! :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Alluring Lace Cardi

My latest fo is the alluring lace cardi from the current issue of creative knitting. I made this cardi with a sports weight yarn in my stash. I made a lot of modifications to this. The lace was changed to a dayflower lace (using the double lace scarf pattern found on ravelry and the lace pattern from the dayflower camisole). I really wasn't sure which direction I wanted to go with this. I made the bottom half (of both front pieces) in all lace, and only did 1 dayflower lace pattern up the front. I had intended for it to look somewhat similar to the original design ~ even though it doesn't! It was a good experience making changes to it and trying to figure out what to do next. I'm happy the cardi is complete but I'm not happy with all the changes I made (because I didn't account for the extra stockingnette stitches+1 extra stitch in garter). I realized too that I still need a lot of work in the seaming department! One day I'm going to have to take a class on seams!

I have 2 knitting projects I'm current working on. I have always loved the feather weight cardigan I made last year. Last summer? I put it in the wash and the cardi felted! I was very sad so I always intended to make another one. I finally started on this last week. I'm using (again) yarn in my stash. The yarn is a lace weight called Shimmer in Spice from Knit Picks. It's more fall colors but I thought it would go with one of my dresses. The second project is called beach party. It's a summer dress from the July 2008 issue of Creative Knitting. (Yes, I do like Creative Knitting Magazines)! I'm using the yarn Plymouth Fantasy I recently purchased from the LYS. I intend on finishing this dress by the end of May for a family graduation party.

I went to Stitches South on Friday with my friend, Carolyn. It was fun! It was a long ride, about 2 hours & 15 minutes. It made it nice that Carolyn drove so I didn't have to deal with the Atlanta traffic. I didn't attend any classes (next year), I just walked the market place. I got a chance to look at all the different yarns, patterns, etc. I ended up buying about 10 skeins of yarn. For lunch we went to a mongolian beef type restaurant which was delicious. It was a fun day and I got home around 4:30!

Lately, I've been feeling a bit heavy! I decided to start on a diet about 3 weeks ago. I've cut out most of the sugars (splenda is ok), and keep it low on the carbs. I can have all the salads I want w/ low carb dressing. I'm eating mostly proteins with some vegetables. I love sweets so I've made macaroons without flour and (regular) sugar! I also made some cheesecake yesterday, which are very low in carbs. It's not the real thing but it's still good. I'll probably keep experimenting with different stuff to keep the diet interesting. On a real positive note, I've actually lost a lot of belly fat which I'm thrilled! My jeans are no long super super tight! I can actually fit into some of my jeans from last summer... :) I'm also feeling better, I think cutting out the the starch and sugar keeps me more alert!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Egg Hunt & New Yarn

My daughter's feeling better so we went to the egg hunt at the Arboretum. This year the crowd was smaller since there are 2 days of egg hunt this year and some of a schools are still in session. Honestly, I'm thrilled with the smaller crowd! My daughter picked up some eggs and she had a fun time with her Mommy and Daddy. The day was absolutely beautiful, with temperatures reaching in the high 80's later today! I am sad to report that I did not take any pictures. :( I remembered my camera but I was missing a battery! Oh well, I'll still be able to treasure this special day!

Yesterday, I was able to get hubby to babysit while I went yarn shopping. I know I was trying to be good but I wanted to reward myself for 1) not buying yarn since January 2) finishing the sundrop cardigan 3) Easter gift for myself. I was on the hunt for some DK-weight yarn. I had some trouble finding the LYS but I finally found it. (WARNING: VENT ALERT). To keep my self from sounding too whinny, the service was terrible, I almost walked out. What made the experience even worse is that when I asked if the yarn was a DK yarn (just before winding the skeins) , I was told that it was DK or even sport. As it turns out, it's neither. The yarn is a worsted weight yarn. I should know better right? Poor hubby had to hear me vent for a while. On the plus side, the yarn is nice and it will be great for another future project. I also found some "forgotten" DK weight yarns in my stash AND this will give me a good excuse to "stock up" on yarn at Stitches South. I feel better already....

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sundrop Cardigan Done!

I'm thrilled to say that I completed my Sundrop Cardigan. I really wanted to finish this in time for Easter. I wanted to make this in white but since I'm trying to stick to yarn in my stash, I went with Lion Brand Cottonease in Pink. I used 3 full skein and a partial skein for a previous project.

The pattern is from WEBS designer Kirsten Hipsky. I used a size 8 needle for this project. I was a bit nervous doing this project because of all the lace. It's been a while since I've done one with an overall lace design! I was a bit obsessive about getting it correct so I was using stitch holders for every set and counting to make sure I have the right numbers of stitches! This process was really slowing me down! After about 1/2 way through the back, I've decided to abandon that and just do it. I'm thrilled to say that for the most part, the lace came out great. This project has giving me a lot more confidence in knitting lace!

This was another great design from Kirsten Hipsky. The pattern was very straight forward. Here are the modifcations I made to this cardigan: instead of the rib pattern for the front band, I used a garter stitch. I also added 7 button holes instead of 3. 7 seems like the magic number for me lately. I added so many buttons because I was afraid it would be too small and with only 3 buttons, I didn't want the cardi to bulge! I reversed the button holes by mistake! I lengthened the body to 14" and added approx. 3" to the sleeves. For the seams, I decided to try something different this time. I picked up stitches around the shoulders and armholes and did a 3 needle bind off. It was a lot more work but well worth the effort. (I'm very very happy with how neat the seams look). I did a "light blocking" this morning and now it's done!

Stitches South is this month. Hubby has those days off so I'll be able to go one day. My friend, Carolyn will be going with me which will make it a really great day! She's also into knitting and crocheting and we can indulge in our love for yarn. She'll be driving since she's familiar with the Atlanta area. I'm really looking forward to being able to touch and feel the different yarns. I can't wait to add some DK yarn to my stash, which is much needed for all the spring/summer projects I want to do!

My daughter's still has her cold. I'm hoping that she will be feeling better by tomorrow. Tomorrow will be "our" annual Easter Egg Hunt at the Arboretum. This will be our 3rd year and hopefully, her daddy will be there too (normally, he's working)! I love watching her "carefully" pick the eggs. Most kids are busy filling their basket but she's happy picking only the eggs she wants - especially if it's a red colored egg. It's so cute! I like that she's not greedy and she's happy just being there and getting some of the eggs. Anyways, I hope to get lots of pictures tomorrow.

Happy Easter! :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

I'm Back!

Hi! It's been so long since I last blogged. Thank you for those that inquired about my blog.

In the last few months, I have purchased several new patterns that I would like to knit. Several of them are from webs. They are: Lily of the Valley Pullover by Kirsten Hipsky, #276 Hosta Leaf Cardigan (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this) by Cheryl Burke, Tarconic V-Neck Pullover by Jen Ronning, and #301 Oriel Lace Cardigan by Kirsten Hipsky (which is my current fo). I also purchased the pattern, Cherry By Anna Bell. I hope to make this cardigan as part of my summer must knits.

What's currently on my needles is the Sundrop Cardigan by Kirsten Hipsky. I'm using Cottonease for this project. I really wanted to make this cardigan in white but since I'm trying to stick to my stash, I'm knitting this in a pink color. It will actually go well with a pink dress that I have. I'm hoping (keeping my fingers crossed) that I will have this done by Easter. A little over 5 days...sounds possible, but with my daughter on spring break and with her cold, Easter Egg Hunt and Bible Study, I may not complete it in time.

While surfing through Ravelry, I noticed that Stitches South will be in Atlanta from 22-25th of April. I wasn't sure if I was going. After checking with Hubby's work schedule, I realize that I probably will be able to go one day! It will be a 2 ~ 3 hour drive but it will be worth it. It's a good excuse for me to buy yarn since I've been itching to buy some DK yarn for some of the projects I plan to do! It will be exciting to around all that yarn and yarn fanatics. Maybe I'll even recognize some of the people from Ravelry. How cool is that?

Thanks for thinking of me, emailing me and leaving comments on my blog! (I'm sorry I didn't reply to some of the comments and I'll have to translate some of them because I can't read Chinese).

Have a great day everyone!

Here's my current fo:

Also, I took this one day when it actually snowed here! It's hard to believe since we get snow like every 7 daughter was enjoying the snow. :)