Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wow, has it really been that long?

So, what happened to the last two months? One of these days I will get internet at home and posting will become frequent again. Right now I'm chilling in a crappy hotel in California on my way home for a week, really getting wild for New Year's:

The blue tube is Oreos I brought in my carry on from Singapore, don't ask me what language that is. The rest is courtesy of the pizza delivery man. :)

Anyway, my knitting output has been embarrassingly small. But, it's that time of year so I finally finished some gifts that I've been working on for ages, nobody reads this blog so it's safe to post about them a couple days early.

Here are some socks I finally finished after being a WIP for like half a year. They go to a male friend of mine.

I really enjoyed this cable and moss stitch pattern (from Sensational Knitted Socks) and wouldn't be surprised to see it on my needles again. Earlier I mentioned that one of the toes is screwy, I realized that I simply had more stitches on one needle than the other and needed to do some rearranging before beginning the decreases. My non-knitter friend will absolutely not notice.

This is a pair of mittens, knit for my bff and crafty genius Corinna. I just finished one of them, so one is blocked and the other is still unblocked. Funny thing, the unblocked one is the bigger one. I guess that just goes to show how stressed I was at work a couple months ago when I knit the first one!

It was a joy to knit this pattern (Ruba'iyat Mittens that I found on Ravelry), though if I did it again I would shift the cuff so it matches up with the hand part. The yarn is from Knitting Notions (note: this price of this yarn definitely puts it in "splurge" category for this student-loan-laden lady, but I've got a pair of mittens and a pair of socks out of two skeins, with oodles left over), and I adore both colors. Colorwork mittens are likely to be my next obsession, I can bring them to work knit them while I am taking a youtube break, and they are the right size project so that following the chart is fun.

I also knit a Koolhaas hat with the extra yarn from the sweater, another gift for a male friend. This guy happens to have a ginormous head so I added two pattern repeats (cast on for 120 st). Since there were more stitches remaining at the last round, I added one last round of k2togs to avoid a big hole at the top of the hat. I took the pics pre-blocking, but this yarn is from colormart and had to have the oil washed off of it so it did get blocked before gifting.

I love this pattern even though the first time I knit it (before I had the blog) I had an awful time. That was a couple years ago, and I realized how far I have come as a knitter. I remember the first time with this project that the pattern was tough for me to figure out and I had to refer to it frequently and frog a bit, but this time everything seemed so intuitive that I knit most of this on the train without even having the pattern with me.

With all these projects finished I have only one WIP. One!

This is the Cleopatra Wrap (Rav) from Sensual Knits. It's been on the needles for roughly a year now and at this point it's almost-mindless knitting for the next eternity.

But, waiting for me at my mom's house is a whole bunch of new yarns to play with, so I'm not likely to be monogamous for long. ;)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mittens! Green and Blue! How could I help myself?

Details to follow.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


What little I have been knitting lately is mostly boring. But, I haven't shown the sweater in a while, so here it is:
(grey sweater+lavender bedspread+flourescent lighting = crappy photo. Sorry.) I decided to go with short sleeves, because I live practically on the equator and even if the A/C is blasting, it's crazy to have a long sleeved wool sweater in Singapore. The sleeve on the left has been in that almost-done state for like five days now. How lame is that. But, sometimes there are things more important than knitting. Such as making friends and socializing when one is alone, 12 time zones away from home.

Anyway, I am happy that at least the neckline is done. It gave me such a headache, and I am still not sure that I found the best solution. But, here is what I did.

First of all, I cast on waayy too loosely, so when I picked up the stitches at a rate of one new stitch per cast-on stitch, it looked totally wonky. I ripped, tried a few things, and in the end I picked up 2 new stitches per old stitch on the cast-on section of the neckline and one new stitch per row in places where I was picking up along the side of the knitting.

Then I did a row of k2togs. I should not have done all k2togs, because it puckers a little at the shoulders, but I am willing to deal with that.

Also the way I picked up the extra stitches is making the neckline bend wildly... I am hoping against hope that blocking can help this out. But at least the part of the neckline in the Cleavage Zone isn't too bad, don't want to give people an excuse to stare there!

My goal is to have this sweater done by next Wednesday, so I can wear it in the arctic blast room where my weekly seminar at work is held.

Well, I wouldn't want to leave without showing a couple pictures of Singapore. I haven't whipped the camera out very much lately, but I did go to the Esplanade to see Afro-Cuban All Stars last weekend. Here's the view from outside:
You can see the Merlion in the foreground. The Esplanade building itself is really cool, I didn't get a good shot of the whole building, but the surface of the roof is neat. You can see why many people call the building the Durian:
I'll be going back to the Esplanade for a SSO concert tomorrow. Yay!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Picking up stitches

I hate picking up stitches.

This week I've had both a great and awful experience with it.

On the socks I'm working on, best stitch-up-picking ever. For the gusset, along a garter stitch edge, I followed some advice I read on ravelry and picked up a stitch for every row and then did a row of k2togs. It looks great, and solved the problem of the giant gaping hole I usually get at the top corner of the gusset. See?

It's beautiful. I got a lot of this sock done while hanging out with the Singapore Knitters group of Ravelry; a lovely group of really friendly ladies who are quite skilled knitters.

On the sweater I'm working on though, the neckline is a disaster. Or more accurately was a disaster, because I ripped back. The problem, I think, is that I cast on way too loosely. Picking up one stitch per stitch on the cast-on part made it look like this:

Holey, gappy, uneven. Very unattractive. Still working on a fix for this problem.

I have been a bad blogger this week and not used the camera much. But here are a few photos I remembered to take. I wandered around Chinatown with a coworker a bit on Monday, since it was a public holiday (Hari Raya, celebrating the end of Ramadan).

a Chinese temple - I like the contrast between it and the shiny new building in the background.

some shops in Chinatown, with a giant temple on the left, and a Hindu temple:

Friday, September 11, 2009

So, I broke my promise to myself a little bit and dug into my stash, but only to get some yarn to get my sweater off the needles. I have now used half the yarn (one of the two cones I purchased), and I want to get the neckline and sleeves done before deciding how long to make the body. Since I am using interchangeable circs (specifically knitpicks), I used a trick I read on Ravelry (sorry, can't remember exactly where so I cannot properly give credit). I screwed the waste yarn into the join of the cable and needle, like so:
then knit a round. Works like a charm! Here you can see the waste yarn being pulled through as I knit:
And then, the best part, I tried on the sweater so far and Holy Moly it fits!! I shouldn't be so shocked, but as you can tell I was positively tickled.

The back has a slight pooch to it, but not bad enough that I am willing to re-do it. Besides, I don't know how to correct the problem. Start the decreases earlier? This is something I will read up on before my next sweater project.

And, I cannot believe my restraint because that "waste" yarn went right back into the stash. Here is the photographic evidence (Coke can provided for scale, and yes this is it, the only other yarn I own is WIPs):
Look at that poor yarn, it's just crying to get out.Soon, my dears, soon.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The past couple days I have been ridiculously happy about my new bag. I got it at Muji - isn't it cute?

Okay, it's not exactly this season's "it" bag, but it's the exact size for what I need, and professional-looking without being stuffy. And the pockets are just right too. My purse was just too small for everyday use as a commuter bag, although it is a decent size purse, and my back was getting soaked carrying a bookbag around in all this humidity.

I am not really a bag girl, actually my current purse is several years old and I'll probably get another year out of it (unless the hole in the lining gets bigger). But, not only is my new purchase the perfect bag for me but it took so much trouble to obtain it, that I find myself overly attached.

I found this bag on Orchard Rd, an area entirely devoted to shopping malls. I didn't take any pics, but I hope to be forgiven on the basis of my complete inability to deal with such rampant consumerism. And we aren't talking about dozens of Claire's here. Anywhere with multiple Chanel and Luis Vuitton stores is not a place I should be. I find the malls here really confusing, but even in the States I think shopping malls are a pain in the ass.

I have been to the relatively small mall nearby my job several times now for groceries and still get lost. Also, the price of sneakers is ridiculously high, at least for any brand I recognize. I will have to ask someone about reasonably priced running shoes, or maybe just make do until I go home for a visit.

This afternoon I signed a lease on a room. It's in this building:

which looks pretty much like any other building in the neighborhood:

I am a little bit nervous about how things will work out. The other residents in the unit are Indian Muslims, and I have never lived with Indians or Muslims before. Also, the owner lady speaks english, I think, but her accent/dialect is so thick that I cannot understand a word that she says. I am looking at this as a cultural experience, and the lease is only 6 months so I can move if I can't deal. One of the great things about the place is that I can walk to work, and this is part of my commute:

Meanwhile, I've been chugging along on the sweater.
It's fun to just let my fingers do the work while listening to the news in the evening. I am still listening to NPR every night, just as I did in Cincy. I suspect that maintaining some of my daily rituals is what helps me deal with all the differences, and so far I haven't felt homesick at all.

Oh yeah, and I found the cheese - they are hiding it in the bread! Cheese prata is awesome!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Paradise via rail and bus

This is going to be a pic-heavy post, because today I went here:

and inside it was this, the top on my list of things to do while in Singapore:

I am a sucker for orchids and I love taking photos of flowers. These gardens were gorgeous, I was moved near tears by the orchid gardens. I will be braving the humidity to visit again and again, for sure. I will try not to turn this into a blog of flower photos, but here is a tiny tiny portion of what I saw today:

Besides visiting the gardens, I have been getting used to using public transportation as my only means of travel. Over the weekend I went downtown and wandered around a bit, found my way to Ikea, did some grocery shopping. This country truly is clean - the MRT (rail) and public buses are freakishly devoid of litter, grime, and graffiti.

Anyway, let's talk about knitting somewhere in this post. This is another WIP I brought with my from the States. It's pretty gloomy here today, and the yarn is grey so excuse the lame pics.

The pattern is Mary Jane from an issue of Twist Collective (Rav). I worked the size that fits my bust but then did some decreases because women with chests my size (DDD) look like barrels without some shaping in their tops. I wanted to keep it simple so I chose to keep doing stockinette until I finished the decreases, I hope this looks alright in the finished top. This is my first knitted sweater, which comes as a surprise to me considering how much knitting I have done in the past five years, and I am hoping I worked the decreases out in a reasonable way. This thing is taking me forever, but I am enjoying it quite a bit. I especially like the Snakeskin stitch pattern:

even moreso now that it reminds me of a going-away present that I received:
It's almost the same stitch pattern on this pouch, knit by my friend Nadine. She's really new to knitting so I know that this pouch was a huge effort for her, which makes me love it more. What really shocked me though, is what my friends chipped in to get which goes inside:

Yep, that's an amazon Kindle. I had been babbling about how badly I wanted one for months, and I am already in love with the thing. I've used the crap out of it too, with all the flying and waiting I've done in the past week.

I have made great progress on the sweater since I arrived in Singapore. It makes so much sense that I am fired up about finishing a sweater now that I am practically ON the equator. Good grief.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Let's revive this sucker!

Well, the blog died. I just felt that I didn't have anything to offer the knitting blogosphere that wasn't already out there. Besides that, I was busy finishing my PhD, being single for the first time as an honest-to-goodness adult, and getting a job.

The job I got is in Singapore, and I just moved here two days ago. It should be more interesting to track how knitting helps me deal with living in such a different culture. I'm from Cincinnati, Ohio, USA and I've never lived abroad before. So, let's get this show on the road, shall we?

Well, first of all let me introduce my second new friend in Singapore.

This cat is always hanging around my temporary housing building. I talk to him/her out my window from time to time, he/she seems to enjoy the attention. (My first new friend is a coworker who was assigned to help me out the first few days. His help is indispensable and I could kiss whoever put that program in place.)

My new university is huge compared to my old one. It is also beautiful.

It makes me think of Tron in paradise.

I brought several WIPs with me, and I have decided to finish them before I allow myself to unpack the yarn I brought. Besides the fact that I would never finish them otherwise, I think it's important for symbolic reasons.

I have been working on a pair of socks for a dear friend of mine for an age, and I finally finished the first one:

The pattern is from Sensational Knitted Socks - 3x3 Cable with Moss Stitch (Rav). It was worked top-down. The yarn is Silja, a bit scratchy but easy to work with (Rav). The color is not easy to photograph though, it's a manly deep gold in person. I think it looks great with this stitch pattern.

I ran into a few troubles on the toe, which is weird because the toe is my favorite part, but I'll discuss it once I have a second toe, hopefully untroubled, to compare it to.

I've also been working on a sweater, but I'll save that for next time.

I'm off to use the public transportation by myself for the first time. As a suburb girl from the midwest, public transportation makes me slightly uncomfortable even at home. But, when in Rome...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Slow, slow progress

Well, my knitting is in chaos right now. I've got WIPs out the wazoo and in disarray. By disarray I mean

And of course, there are a few things I am itching to cast on.

The project that I've been working on the last few days is the Hourglass socks that I've been plinking at for ages. I am on the toe decreases on the first sock, though, and that ups the excitement.

I might actually finish something soon! So what if it's just a single sock. Usually I'd rather knit my socks two-at-a-time, but knitting one-at-a-time at least there is a celebratable halfway point.

Once I finish this sock I will allow myself to cast on for a sweater, Mary Jane from Twist Collective (Rav). I've got a vest on the needles right now (I'll show that another day), but I have never knit a sweater before. I'm going to use Colourmart Merino DK, and I've already swatched:

I usually don't wear a lot of grey, but I think it will work well with the pattern. I'm not sure if the yarn is oiled or not (other Colourmart yarn is), but I washed the swatch in hot soapy water and it softened up considerably. Also, it didn't felt so I'm guessing it's oiled.

The light in my apartment is a little weird right now so I couldn't get good pics of my other WIPs, but let me introduce you to some of my cohabitants. This is Big Boy, a swiss cheese plant/ split leaf philodendron/ monstera that I have been keeping alive for about 6 or 7 years:

Maybe it's weird to name one's plants but Big Boy and I have been through a lot together. My other plants don't get names.
Like this little mini rose, a new addition to the household:

One of my plants died while I was gone so I got this cheery bush to replace it. I never have luck with rose bushes of any kind, so we'll see how long it lasts. If we make it to Valentine's day I'll be happy.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It's 2009? Seriously?

This blog has been quite lame lately.

I have decided to change that.

I have plenty to blog about, so why not just do it?

This post is pic-less, because it's dark out and if I wait to post it will be another eon before I decide to get my a$$ into gear.

So, what have I been up to lately? A lot of traveling. I spent a whole month away from my apartment. Which sounds like great time for knitting, but I actually had very little time to knit (I spent an ungodly number of hours on airplanes, but I can't seem to get much knitting done while flying.) I got back last week, but my bf was in town and he just left this morning. He lives on another continent and I won't see him again until April, so I wasn't spending a whole lot of time knitting then either. I did, however, go out to eat waayyy too many times, since bf wanted to eat at all his favorite restaurants during the ten days he was here.

Anyway, all this time away from knitting has made me realize how much benefit I get from clacking those needles. As a recovering nail-biter, keeping my hands busy prevents me from gnawing my fingertips off. I thought I had beaten this nasty habit, but a few weeks without knitting and my nails are G-O-N-E. That alone is enough to make me cast on for something immediately (as if I don't have too many WIPs already!).

So, now that I am going to have some sense of normalcy for a while, it's time to get back on the wagon and assess my current situation, which means prioritizing my WIPs, many of which were supposed to be Christmas gifts. (Let's not talk about that.)

Next time I will show a few of them. Right now, I am off to my first salsa dancing class. Ciao!