That’s what I call a *big* skein

Posted on | July 5, 2007 | 9 Comments

Last week, I finally bought a ball winder to go along with my new simple swift from Italy. And today, I used it to wind one of the largest skeins of yarn I’ve ever seen (aside from those mega-huge laceweight skeins from Handmaiden). For comparison’s sake, here’s the skein next to a piddly skein of Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift yarn:

The yarn is for my next project, something for Yahaira’s PureKnits book. It’s a lambswool, angora, and cashmere blend – very dry to the touch, but interesting. I think the final fabric it’ll make will be lovely.

Hope everyone in the States had a happy fourth! We ate blueberries and strawberries to commemorate the occasion. I wanted to get Cool Whip for the white part of the red, white, and blue, but had to settle for some lemon yogurt that was already in the fridge because all of the grocery shops nearby were closed.

Coming up for air

Posted on | July 2, 2007 | 10 Comments

I’ve been completely swamped the last two weeks, buried under a mountain of yarn and a fast approaching (and then receding) deadline. I think I finally managed to send in something I’m happy with and that I hope they will be happy with. It’s the most difficult project I’ve done and I was second guessing my choices the entire way. I think I’ve knit 3 sweaters worth just for this one project!

Inspired by
It’s good car and TV knitting – most of it is in stockinette and the lace, once you get to it, is very easy to memorize. And Kidsilk Haze is always yummy to work with.

Anyway, my petite stature (which sounds better than just saying I’m short) makes it really difficult to design sometimes. I always have to keep in mind that my arms and torso are a little shorter than an average woman. I should just get a dress form, shouldn’t I?

Inaugural spin

Posted on | June 18, 2007 | 8 Comments

I’m beginning to feel like a real knitter! When I was in Milano, in addition to my

The yarn is Blue Sky Alpacas Cotton in Color 628, destined for the Lutea Lace Shoulder Shell by Angela Hahn. Can’t wait to start knitting it. Hopefully I’ll have it done by the time the weather cools a little bit (Blue Sky cotton is quite heavy due to the gauge and isn’t exactly a summer yarn in my opinion – it’s more spring/fall-ish).

My Hexagon Bag now available at One Planet Yarn and Fiber

Posted on | June 6, 2007 | 8 Comments

My Hexagon Bag is now available at One Planet Yarn and Fiber. This is the first pattern I’ve done for them and everyone there is so nice to work with! I have another pattern in development with them and I can’t wait to get started on it.

This was my first felted project and I was so entranced by the experience that I immediately casted on and

The yarn (Lanas Puras) is incredibly soft and nice to work with. I was initially worried about felting such a beautiful, handpainted yarn – that its beauty would be wasted, but the felted fabric still retained the handpainted striations. The felting softened the effect a bit, but that was gorgeous in its own way.


Posted on | June 6, 2007 | 3 Comments

Everything worked out in the end and the flight itself – other than a short half hour delay – was uneventful. Unfortunately, for some reason Alitalia didn’t show any movies, just the map of the route with a small plane icon inching its way slowly across the Atlantic. So I read a small volume by Gino Strada, an Italian doctor who volunteers overseas in Africa and the Middle East. The book was in Italian, which was challenging for my rusty skills and my poor husband was interrupted from his reading (a Diabolik comic) every ten minutes by my persistent questions. When he later fell asleep, I was left to my own devices, but I managed somehow. I need to rally and re-commence learning Italian so that our next trip out there will be smoother for me.

Last Wednesday I took advantage of the few nice weather days we had in Italy to spend the afternoon in Como and meet Angela, a fellow knit blogger. You should have seen the look on my mother-in-law and sister-in-law’s faces though when I told them I was meeting someone I met over the internet :) This was my first in-person meeting with a blogger and the experience was great. Angela is just as lovely as her many beautiful designs.

We walked around the old town center – I especially liked the ancient walls dating from the Roman era that still surround parts of the city – and then took the funicular to Brunate. This is the view from the funicular. Unfortunately, my camera isn’t the best and I couldn’t get rid of the glare coming from the glass – still, you should be able to make out the main duomo and the many red roofs of Como.

Ancora Qui (Still Here)

Posted on | June 4, 2007 | 6 Comments

Due to a mix-up with Orbitz and Alitalia, we are still here in Italy. Unfortunately, this isn’t as grand as it sounds. While we’re grateful for the additional time with my husband’s family, the last two days we’ve been chained to the house while my husband calls (and is often put on hold for 30 minutes at a time) Orbitz, Alitalia, and Virgin airlines. Each passes us to the next company, eschewing responsibilty. Apparently, our original flight for Sunday was canceled altogether and Orbitz (or Alitalia, we’re not exactly sure which) rescheduled us (without notifying us) for an *earlier* flight. Needless to say, we missed it and it’s been a circus ever since.

At any rate, despite the bad weather of the last week, we managed two quick trips (afternoon only) to Como and Milano and stash acquisition was achieved.

First, we went to Milano where I visited the Centro della Lana again and got my skeins of Principessa. They are of a heavier weight than I remember (sport vs. fingering), but I think they’ll still make a nice cardigan. Here they are languishing in the sun in my mother in law’s garden:

The day after that we went to Como, but I’ll save that for another post. Suffice to say, Como is a lovely city. Previously, I had only seen it at night, and I will definitely drag the poor husband out there again in the future (especially since it’s only 20 miles away from his town and parking along the lake is cheap – 1 euro for 4 hours!)

Porca miseria!

Posted on | May 31, 2007 | 5 Comments

The post title refers to the weather here in Northern Italy, which is still rainy and altogether dreary. If I’m not mistaken, “porca miseria” means something like “what a pain” or something like that. Hopefully, I’m not posting a phrase that’s really obscene or offensive. My husband says it quite a bit, but he’s been known to be quite, ah shall we say, colorful in his language — though he’s toned it down quite a bit in the years (eight!) that I’ve known him.

At any rate, it’s raining here yet again, confining us to the house. We were supposed to get away on a quick one-night trip to Liguria (the Italian Riviera) and hike along the towns of Cinque Terre. It’s a hike I’ve wanted to do for quite a while and I’m disappointed that the rain has put the kibosh on our plans.

I’ll leave you with some strange (to me at least!) Italian cuisine which is another (sick I suppose) reason for the post title (literal translation – pig misery?). It’s a link of completely raw sausage. Raw means raw — no smoking, no curing of any kind. I tried a half link since I’m Chinese and pride myself on trying everything at least once, but I admit that the idea was a bit daunting. Silly I know, since I eat sushi without a second thought, but somehow raw pork seems scarier.

Knitter’s debut

Posted on | May 27, 2007 | 12 Comments

My first two print designs are out (sort of…):

I’ve been checking Knitter’s site like a woman obsessed for the past month, waiting for their summer preview to go up online and it looks like it’s finally there. I’m not sure when the issue will hit newsstands, but I’m away at the moment anyway.

Here, in Italy, it’s been raining on and off the entire day. I hope the weather clears up soon (but doesn’t get too hot) in the next few days!

Off to Italy!

Posted on | May 23, 2007 | 4 Comments

I’m off to Italy tonight. Temperatures are in the 90s. Ugh. Hopefully I can convince my husband to take a short mini trip to Liguria, which is by the coast. His family lives very inland, hence the hot temps.

Before I left, I thought I would post about my next next project – a felted coin purse made out of Jamieson & Smith’s Spindrift 2 ply. After my glove adventure, I feel eager to dip my toes into the fair isle pool again. And what better way to do it then indulging in my new favorite sub-hobby – felting? I love limes and blues together. I think my knitting bag reflects that. I’m going to attempt to design the coin purse myself and it’ll be used for odds and ends (stitch markers, Chibi needle cases, etc) that go into my knitting bag.

This project won’t be coming with me to Italy, I have a more pressing knit item that needs attention first.

Happy week!

Wrinkle in Time Reissue

Posted on | May 17, 2007 | 3 Comments

I just read that one of my favorite books of all time is being re-issued for its 45th anniversary. Of course, A Wrinkle in Time has been in print continuously as far as I know throughout its 45 year life – and justifiably so. As a kid, I hungrily devoured all of the adventures of the Murray and O’Keefe clan – even such peripheral Murray/O’Keefe books like Dragon in the Waters and The Arm of the Starfish. And I’m in awe of Ms. L’Engle’s reach over the decades, inspiring and delighting young readers. It’s a wonderful, powerful, and lasting legacy.

In other news, Knitter’s Review is doing a review of Punta Del Este’s yarn. I was lucky enough to knit with Mericash for a sample for Knitting Etc and I have to second Clara’s review – it’s a really soft yarn. Knitting with it was *so* enjoyable, that I was a little sad when I cast off that last stitch (a little sick, I know…). I don’t really know how it holds up since it was 1) a sample and 2) a baby sweater – which tends to wear differently than larger pieces I think. The fabric almost seemed felted already since it was very soft and singly plied. But it made a very pleasant fabric and the subtle color variations are gorgeous. Lucky Ithacans also have access via Knitting Etc to Punta Del Este’s linen, cotton, and wool yarns too.

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