Wednesday, July 16, 2014

When It Rains

When it rains, knitters would be happy to stay at home and knit.  Today is that kind of day --- dark, wet, and a perfect day to knit along with a cup of tea.  However, it is not the case for me.  I have been in denial of knitting because of this scarf.
The pattern is Aise by Espace Tricot. It is lace weight alpaca & silk and very airy.  It feels spectacular to touch.  It is going to have seven stockinet stitch panels with six lace connections.  I knit five panels, and I realized the stitch count was not right.  There should be horizontally 100 stitches, but mine has an odd number of stitches.  I noticed it late at night a couple of days ago.  I was very tired, and did not have any energy left to figure out if there is 99 stitches or 101 stitches.  Of course, I could not emotionally afford to rip it out because I had been working on it almost two months!

So, if I do not want to work on my knitting project, what would I do?  Luckily, I have a new obsession.  Tatting!  A friend of mine kindly took another friend of mine, my daughter and me to a tatting class last month.  I have knitted and crocheted quite some time by now, but never tatted.  We learnt needle tatting instead of shuttle tatting.  The needle is approximately five inches long and looks very intimidating.  It is one of those which I saw at a tatami mattress maker's shop when I was little.  I do not think I can bring it to the airplane. 
For me, tatting is a wildly interesting method to make garments.  There is core thread, and you keep wrapping it with working thread, and make rings and chains with occasional picots.  I am still leaning how to get simple medallions done correctly.  I think my work is getting a little better.

Here is a close-up.  How fun!


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Quilts and Color at MFA

I went to MFA for "Quilts and Color, The Pilgrim and Roy Collection". 
I am not a quilter.  I do not know much about quilting.  To be honest, I went to view the show because everyone has been talking about. How did I found the quilts?  They are jaw dropping!  They are the complex geometric art with precision of stitches. 
Here are my favorites.
Feathered Diamond, Pennsylvania in 1890s.  From distance, it demonstrates its bod statement, and looks somewhat simple.  Chunky squares and triangles.  But look closely at the edges where pink and green meet.  The zigzags with complex stitch patterns!  Such an beautiful piece.  I have read in the English Home magazine that the combination of pink and apple green was considered as a good taste at some point.

Lend and Borrow, Pennsylvania in 1870s.  I thought the use of the colors are very whimsical and modern.  Many triangles again.  My daughter learnt how to calculate areas of triangles this semester at school, and has been learning Pythagorean Theorem at Kumon.  It might be fun for her to look at this.

 "Sunburst" by Mrs. Ephaim Scott, Pennsylvania in 1856.  Somehow, it reminds me of Japanese kimono patterns even if, I believe, they never used quilting techniques.  I love the green and pink edges and the sunburst patterns.  What I like most is the pink stars, which were probably appliqued.  I also like the T shape to accommodate bed posts.  It must have made a wonderful bed cover.  It was too funny that the family who owned it called this quilt "the ugly quilt".  I have to disagree.  Ephaim, you had a great taste!
Baltimore Album Quilt by Martha, Mary and Margaret Riley in 1847.  This might be the cutest and my most favorite among the quilts at the show.  Its color scheme is definitely Christmas from distance, but patterns inside have flowers and birds with yellow, blue and pink.  I do not think this piece was a geometrical challenge, though.  It is more like appliques.  I can sit in front to look at it all day.  I constantly found new details when I was there.  I wonder who used it?  A lucky girl?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


I usually do not shop to make myself happy.  I mean I do not go out purposelessly and look for things.  When I shop, I am very goal oriented.  I shop because I need.  And I know what I need.

My husband gave me a $200 gift certificate from Newbury Yarns for Christmas.  For $200, you can buy very nice yarns, a lot of them.  I needed a well-sort-out plan to use this gift certificate.

I checked my favorites stored in my Ravelry account.  Examined what I like to knit, made a list, and revised the list multiple times. There are several things which I always admire and make me want to knit no matter what or when.   If I buy yarns for them, there will be no regrets.

I chose three patterns, and went to Newbury Yarns with my list in my hand, well actually my list was in my iphone.

The first one is Julie Hoover's Portis.  Portis is a very thin poncho.  The patter is here.  Although it requires only two colors, I plan to use three.  For Portis, I bought The Figre Company's Meadow.


The second one is Pickles's Coat with A Twist.  This sweater coat looks like something you could find at Anthropologie.   The patter is here.  I purchased Galler's Peruvian Weed, 100% superfine alpaca.  This yarn is amazing.  So light and squishy.  It would be a main one.  I still need to buy mohair to knit with.  But mohair?  It might be itchy.  I have to find alternatives.

The last one is Espace Tricot's Aise.  The pattern is here.  It is a light wrap.  I need some kind of wrap because I am always cold.  I like the fact that this wrap is very thin and perfect for air conditioned room in summer.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014


The April Baby Shower event of the Knitting Guild was over.  After the previous failure, I chose a different pattern: Angela Turner's Premature Romper with Bunny Slippers.

The pattern was beautiful and classic, and almost scintillated when I was looking for patterns.  So sophisticated.  As a mother, the design made sense too because these rompers had wide openings, which would make it easier to put on, take off, and change diapers.  I was thrilled to come across with the pattern, and I had enough yarn.
Babies look great in them.  I hope whoever pick them up from MGH enjoys them on her/his baby.

The pattern has a simple bunny embroidery.  It was for me the first time to embroider on knitted garments.  I think he embroidery made the rompers from ordinary to spectacular.

The below is the photo from the Guild meeting.  I loved how baby items were displayed.  Mine displayed like this.    I did not get honorary mentions, though.  If I had knit matching booties, it might have...?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

April Baby Shower

The Knitting Guild meeting is just around the corner, and we are going to have this wonderful event: April Baby Shower, which is a contest on knitted baby items.  Some will be for display.  Others will be donated to the MGH Newborn Family Unit. 

Every year, approximately 3,500 babies are delivered at MGH.  There are a number of families who have babies at MGH (or any other hospitals) going through difficult times and cannot afford baby clothing.  April Baby Shower is to be held to encourage the guild members to knit baby items for such families, so when families go home, they can have some clothes in hand which will keep babies warm.  I do not mind knitting baby items to donate.  They are adorable and quick.  An instant gratification! 

My plan was knitting two rompers: pink and lavender, and probably attach white angel wings.  I did a massive research for rompers, and finally chose one pattern.  Very satisfying.  Do I have enough yarn?  Check.  Do I have necessary needles?  Check.  Do I have all the knitting accessories?  Check.  Most importantly, do I understand the pattern?  Check. 

I started to knit a pink one.  It all went well from the beginning to almost to the end.  I was almost there. 

I finished the body, then I started edges of neck, arm holes and finished one leg hole.  And the yarn ran out.  Yes, that's it.  I have no more yarn. 

When I was knitting, I thought the body came out strangely large.  It was weird because my yarn was thinner than the pattern suggested, and so were needles.  Needless to say, I had a plenty of yarn. 

I was confused and wanted to investigate why, but I really do not have a time to do so right now.  The guild meeting is next Thursday.  I want to participate in the competition badly because whenever the guild has similar events, having my effort recognized is so nice. 

Luckily, I found another pattern last night.  This one is significantly smaller.  I started this one in lavender.  I still hope to make two.  If the latter pattern comes out good, I will rip the pink one above, and make the latter pattern in pink.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Strong wind has been making eerie sound all day long, and it has been gloomy since the morning.  It turned out to be an intensely sad day in Boston.

A fire at a brownstone.  Who could imagine a daylight fire at a narrow four story building calls for nine alarms and takes away lives of two firefighters?  

I am no expert, but for me, today's fire was a worst case scenario with many unfortunate conditions.  What if the low pressure took a little more western route and we had had massive wet snow or treacherous rain in the morning?  What if wind had not been so strong in the way I have never experienced?  What if wind had blown from the south rather than blowing straight from Charles River so it would not have fueled the fire with such a distructive intensity?

My thoughts extend to the families and friends of the deceased and the injured, and those bravely fought against the fire today.  I wish the residents who lost their homes get back normalcy as soon as possible.  We run into all kinds of disasters while we live.  We must not take it granted to have people around who are devoted to the public safety.  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Thoughts on Flowers

I used to feel guilty about buying flowers.  Flowers do not last; wasting money, period.  But on the other hand, flowers do make me happy and enjoy a season which we are in. 
One of the positive aspects of wasting my time watching Downton Abbey is being inspired to keep fresh flowers at home (I actually drool on gorgeous bead work on ladies' dresses, and I really want to try to make one of those, but I have to try really hard to pull myself back.)  This season, tulips what florists carry are astonishing.  Not mentioning good old ones (my favorite), those wacky ones with wavy petals are so pretty.  I would love to take all home.
I wish I could afford to buy flowers from, let's say, Winston Flowers, weekly, but I know it will end as a dream.  I have to confess that I have to be economical and buy flowers not even from less expensive florists but from supermarkets (of course, for special occasions, I go to pricy florists,  I am saying this for my defense). Often, ones from supermarkets are just good enough for every day use.  Getting fresh ones is hit or miss.  If I am lucky to go home with not fresh looking dead ones but genuinely fresh ones, they last for quite some time.  Last year, a cheap bouquet of hydrangeas lasted a little shy of one month.  Because they lasted so long, I called them lovingly "my monster hydrangeas".
It has been smelling heavenly at home since I brought back a bouquet of lilies and roses from Trader Joe's two weeks ago.  Warm days are almost here.