Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Not a slob

Another week passed by pretty uneventfully, but I did have an interview and went on a day trip with some friends. I'm not even trying hard to find a job right now, more like focusing on NOT becoming a slob. Unfortunately, I'm a home creature by nature, and the gloomy weather is not helping to make me want to leave the comfort of my room. At least I'm fully equipped for unlimited hours of crafting! These are the lavender sachets that I made last week.

Aren't they pretty? I do need to get some ribbons for embellishment if I'm to make more of them though, so that's one reason to leave the house.

Knitting wise, I've been curiously monogamous lately. To be honest, I miss having 3-4 projects on the go and being able to knit and knit and knit while watching dramas. I know most people complain of having startitis, but my problem is the exact opposite. Whenever a project is finished, I'd be at lost at what to knit next. There are dramas waiting to be watched, but I can't possibly just sit there with idle hands! That was exactly my dilemma last week, so I turned to Ravelry and cast on for this scarf.

The pattern (One-row handspun scarf by the Yarn Harlot) was super simple, perfect for tv watching, and the handspun yarn made it a joy to knit. The problem is, now that I'm done with this scarf, what am I supposed to knit next?

p.s: I'm trying my best to convince myself to leave the house today, I thought putting it here might add extra pressure for me ;)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bring on the knits!

It's been a while since we have up-to-date ACTUAL knitting contents, no?
I was hesitant to post this, because all I have are low-res pictures taken with my iPhone 4, but I decided to go ahead anyway because otherwise it might be another 2 months before another post!

This one is another design of mine, but I'm not crazy about it. I call it Burning Love handwarmers after the name of the twisted cable pattern I used on the cuff, the romantic in me just couldn't resist.

Another design project. I've been wanting one of those big cowl that looks super cozy and cushy for a long time, and I had the perfect yarn in my stash, Rowan Cocoon. I've been looking for a cable pattern that's just right and finally found it in a Japanese knitting pattern book. I would write up the pattern for this cowl, if not because of my inability to create a cable chart. Any suggestion?

Right now all I have on the needles are a pair of socks for a Secret Santa Swap with the Socktopods. I just finished 2 shawls (Annis & Citron from Knitty) but am already craving another one, so I might cast on for Maia Shoulderette by Rosemary Hill.
Other than knitting, I've had a craving for some weaving action lately, so the loom finally made an appearance last Friday and I had this by Sunday!

I've been wanting to try the clasped weft technique in ages, but finally bit the bullet when I found this video tutorial that demystifies it. It's SO unbelievably simple and yet you end up with such striking result. I used my rather substantial stash of leftover sock yarn and barely made a dent. My imagination is already running wild for the next project, I can't wait to start planning for it!

I've decided to take a little break from job-hunting(I mean the stress-inducing, rip-my-hair-out kind) and figure out what it is I want to do and where do I want to go with it. So I'll be crafting for a few days while looking for a part-time job to keep me going. Wish me luck! The plan for today is to get some sewing done, I've got some dried lavender to make moth-repellent sachets for my swap partner. There are loads of the lavender so I might make some extra for sale on etsy!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Warning: RANT AHEAD

The past week has been rather depressing, to say the least. Can I just say again, how much I HATE job hunting. WHYYY does it have to be so hard and discouraging? I know some of you have been in my position before, and hopefully can sympathise with all these angst. The thing is, I'm mainly disappointed in myself, and banging my head on the wall for not preparing myself sooner, like when I was still in uni and not running out of money. Everyone around me has been incredibly encouraging and some have even offered help, which I'm really grateful for. Unfortunately, nobody can tell me what to do when it comes to my life, so it's down to me to make up my mind and work my butt off for it. Still, I do wish that it's not this hard, while other people around me make it seem so easy. I do realise that this is my biggest shortcoming, in uni I've always worked according to a brief/task, and following a deadline/set schedule. Now that I have no more framework to what I have to do, I'm embarrassingly lost. Like they said in Avenue Q "I wish I can go back to college, in college you know who you are......I need an academic advisor to point the way!..."
*END OF RANT*

Phew, hope I haven't scared off all of you. Since I've been such a slacker in taking pictures of my knits, can I just share pretty pictures from my trip to Spain?
Madrid


Toledo

Granada



Valencia


Barcelona


Girona

If you like my pictures, there are loads more in my Facebook page here

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A bit of knits and a lot of travels

Ok, I'll admit it, I have no idea how this time thing work. Surely it can't be almost 6 weeks since I last wrote a real post?
In that time, I've been on 3 different trips to 6 different countries. Let's look at pretty pictures and see if I'm forgiven, shall we?
First, I was in Graz, Austria for a day trip

Then we (that's Maja & I) went on a road trip around Slovenia with a detour to Trieste, Italy to visit a friend.

Yep, that's a Baby Surprise Jacket you see there, I made it with 2 skeins of some lovely Koigu that was gifted to me a few years ago. It's for my new baby niece who STILL doesn't have a name after 2 weeks.
We went swimming on a wild beach

(starting to think there's no way I can share all 3 trips in one go, so I'll just do the first one)
Then spent a lovely afternoon in the coastal town of Piran

Before heading down to Trieste to catch up with my friend and got to meet the loveliest little girl in the world

Then we went into an AMAZING cave, no pictures were allowed though. Next to the beautiful Lake Bled, where I had a little photo shoot session with a sample of Spring Fountain shawl that was Diane's birthday present (I ceremoniously presented it to her, then rudely took it back for a photo shoot trip)

Then we went to a mountain, where I got on a ski lift for the first time in my life, pet (tried to) some sheeps and had some amazing barley soup that I'm dying to learn how to make.
The next day, we actually CLIMBED a mountain (Maja said it's a WALK, I strongly disagree).

But I made it anyway (not without some difficulties and name-calling)

I got to spend a whole day on my own exploring Ljubljana and it was such a delightful city (I took way too many pictures to share though) before I made my way back to Maja's parents' place in Maribor and let them feed me with more meat.

At the beginning of this post, I was planning to do one of my let's-recap-what-happened-in-past-3-months-in-one-go post, but it was proving impossible since I had so many amazing experiences that I'd like to share with you. So next I'll be sharing my Spain trip with you (that trip was more than twice longer, so might be 2 posts!).

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

FInally available!



This shawl pattern has been in the work for MONTHS! I'm so glad that it's finally done and released to the knitting world. Now on to the next project!

By the way, you can purchase the pattern through ravelry here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Square one

I know most of you (if there's any of you left!) are probably sick of me giving excuses on how time really flies and and *poof* there goes another 3 months before I even realised it.

In case you're curious as to what have happened to me in the time that passed, I barely survived an overstayed visit from a relative (5 weeks!!!), then I survived my first real job as an EFL teacher in a summer school unscathed. Monday was my last day at work, and while I enjoyed it, I can't imagine doing it full time. Imagine this, 1400 teenagers over 7 weeks, one-hour commute each way, junk canteen food twice a day. On the other hand, I had masses of lovely students, amazing colleagues and learned a ton. It was quite an experience, and I'd definitely do it again, but no more than 6 weeks at a time! As far as first proper job goes, it went swimmingly, albeit rather short. I was so confused when I got my first pay slip as I had no idea what it's for. It definitely felt good to be earning, but now I'm back to square one in the job hunting department!

One major downside of working is that I've found that I have the tendency to abandon everything else. Things like keeping in touch with people (only my parents were persistent enough), healthy eating, exercising, cleaning and worst of all, knitting. Let's not even mention blogging. I did manage to get some knitting done towards the end once everything have calmed down significantly, so all is not lost. Let's hope that my knitting and blogging will be less sporadic now that I'm back to job hunting.

There is one project that I've been wanting to share with you. I named it Spring Fountain Shawl, which should give you an idea of when I actually knitted and finished it. I might call it Autumn Fountain Shawl instead when I publish it, just to be more seasonable.

The pattern has been in working progress for longer than I care to admit, but I'm aiming to have it published by September the latest. I just need to have one last photo shoot in the mountains of Slovenia! Yes, I will be leaving tomorrow for a week in Slovenia. If you recall from my previous posts, I have mentioned my flatmate/travel partner Maja. She and I will be touring the country (there were mountains mentioned **shudder**) and I'll be joining in on her family occasions. Considering my highly limited Slovene (I know about 10 words), I'll be having my knitting to keep entertained during the trip. I promise to be back next weekend with pictures and updates! Can someone please email me and nag at me if I don't??

p.s: how do you like the new look of the blog?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Maja (my.a) Mitts

Here's my latest pattern offering, check it out!

I started this way before the Awaiting Spring mitts as a gift for my friend/flatmate/travel partner Maja. I lured her into my room, proceeded to show her my stash (enthusiastic would be an understatement), while she being a good sport that she is, nodded and even managed to oohs and aahhhs at the right yarn. She picked out the yarn herself, and I have to say she made a great choice. Filatura di Crosa Zara has got to be one of my favourite commercial yarns. Back in Malaysia, it was the only good quality merino wool I can get from my LYS, and I'm pretty sure I brought the two skeins I used for these mitts back from there.

These mitts definitely triggered my desire to design my own knits again. Back when I first started knitting (eons ago!), it never occurred to me to follow a pattern. Seems like the more I know, the more exposed I am to the world of knitting and the amazing array of patterns available out there, the more reluctant I become to design my own and make mistakes and have no one to blame. I think that's one of the reasons why I've been enjoying sewing so much; I know very little about it, hence I'm more willing to learn from my mistakes and experiment. It's a tough shell to break, but I'm doing it slowly, starting out with simple and easy design projects. Hope you guys are enjoying it as much as I do!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Awaiting Spring Mitts

One way I've found to make myself feel more productive, is to design my own knits and publish them!
Hence the Awaiting Spring Mitts!

You can now purchase the pattern from Ravelry(I hope!), I tried purchasing it but I can't so please let me know if it works!

The yarn I used was mentioned in this post, it was one of my travel score from Florence! After having them in my stash for over 3 years and looking for a project special enough for such a special yarn, I thought designing one for it is the perfect way to go! Best part is, I only used one of the two skeins!
BTW, thanks to the almighty power that is Google, I found out that this yarn is fairly easy to purchase online, but traveling around Florence to find it was undoubtedly more fun!

As the name of the pattern suggests, I started these last month, when it really should be spring here in London. There were signs of spring everywhere, which made it all the more frustrating when I was clad up in a coat and still freezing! Even when we do get the random warmer days, the wind is so unpredictable that I could've been seen in shorts, sandals and these mitts!

Friday, May 07, 2010

trying to stay afloat

A lot of people have asked me this question lately (well, past couple of months),"So, what do you do?", and I've find it really tough to answer.
What DO I do? I knit, I weave, I sew, I cook, I read, I design, but surely those are not valid occupation. Ever since I graduated I've somewhat been struggling to find a job. And with the condition of the job market in the UK right now, I think I've picked the worst possible time to be job hunting as a graduate with no experience in a somewhat expendable market.
I have to admit that I'm hating this junction of my life.You know the saying idle hands are the devil's workshop? Well my hands are rarely idle, but idle mind can be just as dangerous, I tell you.
So the point is? Well, I guess there's no point to this, other than me feeling the need to get it out of my system, and hoping you guys can give me some advice or share your experiences :)

Anyway, because I try never to post without pictures, here are some of my recent (and not-so-recent) FOs.
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Moroccan

It was recently brought to my attention by some knitter friends that it's been a while since I last updated (some subtle and not-so-subtle hints were dropped). So I came back and found that my blogger account had been suspended! I guess it has been a while....
Then I found a draft that I never get around to post of pictures from my trip to Morocco, so here it goes.
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Hats in the souk (traditional market). I don't think they're knitted, look more like crochet though I'm not entirely sure...
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It's a dye bath the traditional way! I doubt our indie dyers do it this way :)
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There's wool hanging all over the street!
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Camel bone table and chairs set, so beautifully handcrafted.
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At a rest stop on our way to Essaouira (coastal town west of Morocco), I saw a local woman who's guarding the toilet knitting. So I pulled out my knitting to show them and they got really excited (Tres bien Madame!) and passing it around to each other. One of the women went to get something, and right at this moment my friend came out of the loo. The woman proceeded to take off my friend's jacket, much to my friend's puzzlement. She then pulled out this knitted outfits and put it on my friend. It's a dress and cardigan suit with really interesting details, the dress is knitted sideways with short rows and in stripes! Thankfully my friend Maja is a good sport and she let me took a few pictures while she models for me. It always amazes me how knitting can link people through all boundaries.
And if you're wondering, yes, this all took place in front of the toilets.

Well, right at the end of that trip, the Auto Focus on my Canon 450 D stopped working. I still have no idea why and would have to take it to a shop to figure out what's wrong with it. So I guess that's my excuse for this hiatus!
Hopefully I'll be back soon to keep you updated on what I've been up to since my last post!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Obsessed

In my last post I've shared with you all my latest hobby(it's not an obsession, not yet anyway). Here's a product of my there new hobby.
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(It's the same bag, fully reversible!)
My sewing machine arrived even before my loom did, but I couldn't just sew ANYTHING. I had to make sure it has proper lining, and let's try making bias tape shall we and oh why not add pockets and oh wait it can be reversible too! And let's make sure all the stitches are super straight too! The bag ended up taking me 3 days to finish (ok, I started at 2 am), and I'm really happy with as far as first project in more than 3 years go! I'm amazed that I can actually sew straight stitch (for most part), when I was using my old college sewing machine ages ago I had to call my sewing 'freestyle'! And I completely adore my bias tape maker that I might need one in every sizes!

And here's another one of my latest hobby *ehem*obsession*ehem*
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I used to get them from friends who are destashing casually, until I chance upon a shop update in time to get a grab bag of 2 skeins. Then 2 weeks after that another grab bag and before I knew it I was waking up at 8 am (this doesn't happen often if you know me) to check for shop updates! I haven't managed to get any since but I'm seriously considering training to become a full-fledged Wollmeise stalker!
The weird thing is, while I like her variegated colourways, it's the solids I'm crazy about. As in I want every single colours crazy. I might have to save up and make a trip to Germany to visit her shop!

I know, I know, it's a knitting blog. So here's some knitting for you.
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This is my swatch for Demi, from Rowan Vintage Knits, that I'll be knitting for the Ravelympics 2010. I'll be converting the pattern to knit in the round, it might take 2 weeks of crazy amount of knitting and dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome to finish this sweater but I'm game! What are you knitting for Ravelympics?

Anyway, I'm leaving for a short break (a friend asked, from what?) to Marrakech in 4 hours! Will be back soon hopefully with a lot of cool pictures, bye!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

On warps and wefts

First come knitting, then spinning, and now weaving! This fibre obsession is never ending, is it?

So it all started a couple of weeks ago when I saw someone put up a rigid heddle loom in the Ravelry destash/trade board. I expressed interest and we got talking and I naturally got all excited. Then a friend of mine offered to lend me her loom to try out, and I had so much fun! Here's the first scarf that I made.
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For the warp (that's the threads that go lengthwise on the loom) I used 100g of my handspun merino that I couldn't stand knitting with. And for the weft (that's the one that goes in and out sidewise) I used some leftover RYC Cashsoft DK from my Deep V Argyle Vest. I was SO proud of it, and decided right away that I wanted a rigid heddle loom, so I ordered a 20" Ashford Knitters Loom. It should've arrived last Monday but due to the courier's extreme incompetency I still don't have it.

Anyway while I still had my friend's loom I wove my second scarf!
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It's a much shorter scarf (the first one was 2m long!) and I used some UK Alpaca yarn that I've had in my stash for years.

One thing I love about weaving is how darn quick it is! Can you imagine how long it'll take me to knit a 9" wide 2m long scarf? That is, if I survive the boredom! Also, I get to be much more adventurous with my weaving as I can combine different yarns, something I'm always wary to do with knitting. One thing I've found with me and my crafts is, the more I know, the less adventurous and experimental I become. So I'm hoping this will help me be more adventurous with my knitting too.

Oh, and I just bought a sewing machine and it got delivered yesterday. I don't have any fabric to play with it yet, but I'm sure you'll be hearing more about my new endeavours in the future!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

New Year

This is definitely my longest hiatus to date! Come March, I would've been blogging (on and off) for 6 years, and that's starting to feel like a lifetime. Now that I'm back, I'd like to make some changes around the blog and be a better blogger all around!

Every year for as long as I can remember, I have always made New Year's resolutions. Usually they are really long lists of things I'll forget a fortnight into the year. This year, I made none. Instead, I have a few mental resolutions. They are fairly vague, but my "rule" for this year is to DO things. Procrastination has always been one of my biggest weakness, along with lack of self control at yarn sales, but that's a different issue. Also, I vow to try to coax myself out of my comfort zone and say YES more often and seize more opportunities. For example, a friend's mother asked me if I'd like to volunteer teaching knitting at a group she's trying to organise once a month. My first instinct was to run away, giving myself and her all sorts of excuses. But I calmed down and said I'd love to do it! It's a little thing, but I'm starting with baby steps :)

So there, that's my New Year's non-resolution! I'll be back soon (hopefully!) with loads of knitting contents and some weaving too!

Happy New Year 2010 everyone!