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I decided to knit an argyle scarf in the hope of making it a quick Christmas gift in 2007. I remembered spotting a stylish argyle scarf from the (then) just-published Son of a Stitch n’ Bitch and decided to take that as a reference to knitted one. But soon after I realised that it was far from the right project to suit that purpose! This was what it looked like before the end of 2007:
argyle scarf take 2

Occasionally, I was carrying this scarf with me, trying to finish it off for different important dates (V-day, b-day and those alike). But more than often I was playing catch-up with it after those dates, such as the post-b-day effort captured here:
knitting the double-knit argyle scarf

Fast forward. One year and one Christmas passed, and it remained unfinished. I put the blame on me disliking the double-knitting technique! When I returned to London in January, I decided to tackle it again for yet another important date. The date was in mid-January, so it means I had to knit the scarf on the move. To accomomdate to purpose, I replaced the pair of Surina rosewood needles that I used for the project to a pair of Lantern Moon circular. To my surprise, the change of needles made huge impact on my progress, and the scarf got lenghtehed quickly!!!

Argyle scarf

I was so glad that finally I’d be able to keep my words and got it ready for Dr Wang’s graduation ceremony at Royal Festical Hall! 😀

The scarf is handsome and warm, and I would recommend knitting it as a scarf for me. However I won’t do double knitting in the near future I am sure.

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One day after 228

I have a blog entry saved as a draft here, dated on 7th November last year. The entry is entitled “An Eventful week.” I didn’t finish it, because, as suggested by the title, I was quite occupied then, and, more important, I didn’t want to blog anything other than knitting here, especially my political viewpoints.

However, reading about a news today reminds me of this particular draft:

The most exciting news this week for many people must be that of American presidential election. But this week the geopolitics also has its foul play in Taiwan, where I lived for some twenty years. What a good timing for Chen’s visiting, and what a good timing for Mr Ma (who, with a benighted supporting rate of less than 20% as of Oct, does not qualify as the choice of people to my mind) to show the world about his nice policy of his people (news 1news 2)?

Watching news from afar, that week reminded me of the 228 incident 62 years ago. Chen should pay his visit to Taiwan, and people in Taiwan would have their rights to protest against his visit. Their freedom of speech should be protected by the Taiwanese government, not the other way around. Taiwan used to be one of the most liberal countries in the world, but it was no more from that week on, degraded by Ma’s KMT government.

Some of my friends believe that Taiwan would be benefit from the election of Obama, an opinion I saw no evidences (it would be long to argue why, and I certainly don’t want to go deeper here). Certainly I hope I would be proofed wrong, but if this news is true, I must say I am utterly stunned by this choice of Mr Obama, who assigned one of China’s and Saudi Arabia’s mouthpieces in America [to write] intelligence reports for the White House.

Exercising my initial understanding of geopolitics, the future of Taiwan is unfortunately tied to decisions made by hegemony of the world, which, is not at all a bad thing. However, the reigning government had already slammed the idea of democracy and Obama’s new personnel appointment would probably make it worse…

(You cannot comment on this entry I am afraid.)

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It’s been months since the last time I visited my own blog, and it’s quite amazing to find out there the blog was read!  Lots of things happened, lots of things can be talked, blogged, and shared.  (For example, I’ve officially got the Dr title–though occasionally I’ve been using it beforehand….)

But knitting? Regrettably I don’t have that much time for it.  It’s nearly the end of February by now, and only one item could be identified as a FO (which no picture taken for it so far)! Ravelry isn’t a place I should/could visit, and my eBay yarn victory dropped to one only. In addition, my most favourite knitting magazine Vogue Knitting (or Desigher knitting) isn’t that enticing. Seemingly irrelevant, but this lead me to buy Rowan 45 as late as mid-Feb, only to be puzzled again by their choice of models (albeit there’s an East Asian looking girl, but I am the one who cares not ethnic or cultural identity and certainly not buying this marketing strategy, AT ALL!)

Notwithstanding, I am blesed by the warmth of one beautiful knitware, which I’ve been wearing since late November last year, and my must-have layer during the snowy week in early Feb: the Winter Wonderland Coat (what a wonderful name!).

Winter Wonderland Coat
Winter Wonderland Coat

Back in the summer last year, I bought ten hanks of organic undyed yarn in DK weight, and they are what I knitted with for the coat. I would say these yarns are among my best yarn finds from ebay, and for sure I’ll get more from them. For some, these hanks might reak of gaminess, but the smell reminded me of the rural idyll of lake districts! I’d been pondering for a long time for what to make out of them, and it was almost instantly decided when I saw the pattern of Winter Wonderland Coat.

This is the biggest project in my knitting life so far, in terms of the amount of yarns I was using. All hanks were wound, left only 30g when the coat was done, and this was because I made my sleeves MUCH narrower than the pattern! The coat is so heavy, so I decided to saw seams with back stitches, rather than do the kitcher’s stitch, in order to give the coat a better support. It was a pleasure to knitted with these hanks, and the pattern is interesting to knitted with: not a complicated pattern but the combination of laces and cables makes it an engaging knit. I always admire patterns with lace and cable combos (something I yet to designes myself!), that’s why I adore Michele Rose Orne’s designs and have knitted the pink capelet from the VK amd have the lacy blouse on the needles. 🙂 (links later. ^^)

Though I am writing this much about the Winter Wonderland Coat, the thing that brought me here was intrigued by a minor incident happened today.

I am knitting something for a friend (something of my own design). The project is at the point that I can no longer see it as a WIP and need to have it done as soon as possible (a semi-OCD probably and a good boast to let you finish a WIP). I may count myself an experienced lace knitting, however, I have never ever memorised any lace pattern that is beyond some pairs of yarn-overs and decreases. Well, I never tried: what’s the point to memorise it when a handy instruction is by your side? Why not save the RAM of my brain to remember something more, mmm, sensible (such as who says what in which paper for example)? Why trust my constantly falling memory, even risking the relunctancy of ripping back, when you can choose not to trust? So I always knit with a piece of paper, with some lace patterns. True indeed you’ll automatically know what to do when numerous repeats are done, but I’d like to have that piece of paper to serve as insurance against erros.

So I ended up writing one with the knitting fonts installed for the first time on my working computer (something I’ve tried not to do for months)!
A sneak preview.

It seems my knitting appetite comes back for now, and I ended up blogging about my lovely coat! ^_^

(to be edited…)

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The pattern went live yesterday, and I am adding extra photos on my flickr, too. 🙂
At Kew Gardens

Then, I couldn’t add these notes on the ravelry pattern page, so I add a note on the pattern (hopefully an editor or the pattern would be able to add it) and also put it on my project page.

The last stage of the pattern writing was chaotic–I’ve done the chart in June, but I’d like to check carefully with my original manuscripes before sending it off to Popknits. However, I was travelling in 3/4 of July and, the worst of all, lost my documents, so I could only check it when I was back in the UK. I hope, there is no errata, but I’d like to add more notes that I just realised haven’t included in the pattern…


Further notes

For those of you who aren’t familiar with chart reading, please do read the very practical guides written by Eunny Jang: Majoring in Lace Part ii and Part iii.

To highlight:

1. The lace chart in this pattern is reading from the right side.
2. The blank square represents k on the right side (odd number rows) and p on the wrong side (even number rows). This will form the stockinette ground for the central pattern.
3. However, in the central spiderweb pattern, it does not matter what directions your stitches are slanting. K2tog is used in every row.

And another photo showing me with the stole, knitting one of my longest WIP: the double knit argyle scarf I started in November last year….
knitting the double-knit argyle scarf

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gossamer garden-forthcoming in popknits

To say the least, I am so thrilled to find that so many fellow knitters faved the Gossamer Garden Stole! The pattern will go live on 1st September on PopKnits. Before that, I think I shall talk a little bit about my yarn choice.

As it is shown on my project page, the stole is knitted with both Rowan Scottish Tweed 4ply, and Rowan Harris Tweed 4ply.  For those of you who know this yarn, you know they are essentially the same yarn, and they have the same shade number, the same shade name.  That’s why only Scottish 4ply tweed is put as yarn used for the project on the pattern page. However, as you can imagine, yarns I have used are in two different dye lots, and have slightly different shades.  The colour differences are almost not shown from any photos I took.  I’d like to clarify that it is not my intention to use different dye lots, just that I couldn’t locate Harris Tweed anymore (for obvious reason!) when I run out of yarns, so I subbed with the Scottish Tweed.

And why Scottish Tweed? The simplest answer is, I love the shade! I’d claim the lavender my favourite purple of all time.  It may not be a conventional choice for lightweight stole/shawl, its fuzziness makes me consider the best match for this particular stole, reminds me of seeing spider web in a hazy day.  Indeed Rowan’s Kidsilk Haze will yield a similar image, yet, I’d like to work this stole on a more easygoing yarn, because I know I’d knit and reknit for numerous times, before I settled into this pattern.  In addition, I’d like to knit a stole with extra volume! Moneywise, KSH/KSN could be cheaper for this project than Scottish Tweed.

If you want a warm yet airy stole like me, go for any 4ply wool blend yarn that pleases you most. If you don’t like hazy outlook, and prefer a clean touch, go for Zephyr silk-wool or any laceweight/cobweight yarn you like. 🙂

Thank you for your kind words.

That’s it for now.

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Earlier this week, I won a new fibre related gadget–a set of ball winder and a swift! The set was a vintage wooden set made in the 1940s or 1950s, with a yellowed instruction. It must’ve got stored away during these years. I was just watching a ball winder, not wanting a swift, but how could I resist a lovely set as such?

my new toy 3

Here are two of its earlier tasks: one’s showing a wound skein I am going to use for a stole and another was a result of frogging a drop-stitch stole. Not that I didn’t like the latter but not having enough of the same yarns hence the frogging. With a little help of a wool winder, why afraid of frogging? The moment the white ball was wound completely, I had decided to frog two 2007 FOs and save those yarns for better use (I shall write more later on them).

my new toy 1my new toy 2

(my poor blythe dolls silently sat there watching a knitting activity not devoted to them…)

I don’t consider I am into sock knitting but the past few days this particular genre had more than its share of knitting time.

I managed to finished my first sock, a variation of Cookie A’s Baudelaire.
P1200610 The curse of late completion must be to do with my dislike of the poet with the same name and getting bored with the pattern, so it was stuck for months when there’s only two pattern repeats away. And the cashmere yarn is a joy to wear now, but not so when I knitted them, because they were oiled.

Then I am a lover of herringbone patterns, so I decided to use two different herringbone patterns for a new pair. There were many sock yarns in my stash, but this is the first occasion I am actually using one–all those changes of colours dazzled me, even just a bit. The two herringbone patterns would look better with a solid colour. But I will knitted the second sock. I WILL. I’ll also write up the pattern later.

herringbone zigzag socks-looking downherringbone zigzag socks- side
Then a third pair, haven’t got a decent photo yet.

I also have to take photos of my two other FOs of 2008–both from Linea Rossa booklet. 🙂

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I know I will thank myself for keeping knitting notes, the sole purpose of this blog–I shall keep this blog alive! here are notes of the week.

*Few notes on Heartening

Last week, I wonder if I should knit another “Heartening”, so I can show you the slightly different version with the heart jointed. What harm can be done for just one more vest? Or better, making “Heartening” as a puff-sleeved, collared top just like Number 22 from the latest Vogue Knitting? I do have Soft Tweed in Twig enough for a sleeved top! I cast on after I found myself couldn’t sleep one night.

Making “Heartening” is fun. But even though the whole process is lovely, it would become dull had I gone through the same procedure again. I eventually didn’t survive the waistline and had my mind changed: Twig is a lovely shade and it would suit my boyfriend perfectly! Why didn’t I just do that but play with the same pattern?

Indeed so. I stopped after the waist shaping. But since I was with the WIP, I may as well knit a semi-swatch to show you the different Row 18 of the heart shaped cable pattern. The one on the right is Row 18* and the one on the left is Row 18. This semi-swatch is unblocked, so it looks a bit ugly, but enough to show their differences (I put some notes directly onto this shot on my flickr, please click to link to my flickr if needed).
heartening hearty shapes

If you like Row 18* more and you knit from the chart, please also read the pattern instruction first! The chart is showing the effect seeing from the right side, however, you will need to knit Row 18 from the wrong side!

And two picture showing FO done months ago.
Wintery stockingsLana Grossa wraparound

It seems I have the tendency to take photos after FOs are wore, and got felted? I post these pictures on my flickr first, but only manage to blog them here now. I am quite surprise to know people love the Highland Stockings! It’s absolutely gorgeous! It is quite a pity that Rowan didn’t provide a chart but with written instruction only. Moreover, Rowan put the skill level as most difficult one. Certainly reading the pattern is punishing to me so, as I put in another post, I charted them out when I decided to knit the stockings. I was convinced that had them put up charts the pattern would be popular.

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