Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hello Mojo

The weather is finally cooling down, and knitting's back on the needles! There are endless queue of things on my ravelry but I have had my fair share of knitting accidents in the past months, and just got to get these UFOs sorted out first before I can knit happy again.

Here's the embossed leaves sock started in February with the Regia Silk that have been previously frogged and overdyed. It was almost forgotten until I saw Joy’s recent pair and finally digged it out of the bottom piles. The half-done sock is not only tight-ish, there’s a silly mistake whereby I did the first few rows twice on the third lace repeat before starting the heel…

The Japanese Diagonal Cables is another heartbreaker… (sorry no pics yet but you can see Siow Chin's version here). The construction is certainly interesting and the chart is clear but you really must concentrate! And that is hard when most of my knitting is done while on the move these days, which means my counting is out more often than not… The project has been restarted at least 6 times before I thought I’m finally making some steady progress… and then I realized that it was worked on the wrong needles, I've used 4.0mm instead of 4.5mm… Shame, shame!

So how about some mindless garter stitches? Boo! I’ve inadvertently missed out the first sleeve increase on my Baby Surprise Jacket and knitted on blindly until…

And what else? This Piggle hat intended for Jasmine is turning out baby-sized, so maybe I'll keep it for another baby and start up a new one for her. There’s also a mini-pink Sahara that I’ve casted on in Rowan Handknit Cotton but having second thoughts on the yarn choice... well, it doesn’t seem right for the weather now anyway.

My very long-time UFOs, the Baby Trellis started on the beach last year, and the Jawbreaker Cardigan in Araucania Nature Cotton both need to be taken apart. And by the way, my Lady Eleanor stole has gone “missing” for almost half a year now and still nowhere to be found…

Anyway, sorry to have bored you with all these ughish projects... I will be finishing up my Noro Kureyon socks tonight, and do have a few other unblogged FOs to show you next time.

Well, see you all soon and happy winter knitting!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

LYS Hopping in Beijing

I really haven’t got much knitting progress to report… but I took a morning off my recent trip to Beijing and hopped around a few LYS in the western part of the city:

Beauty Wool (名线)
Location: Shop 3018K, Golden Resources Shopping Centre, 1 Yuanda Lu, Haidian District

Tel: + 86.10.8887.5848 or call their hotline on 800.829.6889
for other locations in Beijing and other major cities

This giant centre is located between Beijing's West Third and Fourth Ring roads and was the first shopping mall that came close to a western standard on the Chinese mainland. And Beauty Wool is a nation-wide chain store that carries a whole range of imported yarn brands, such as Mondial, Katia, Online, Ornaghi, Richmore, Hamanaka & etc, as well as Japanese Knitting magazines, Addi needles and some Clover tools. The yarn and prices are probably not the most attractive around here, but it’s really good to know where I can go in case I forgot to bring my knitting needles or got them confiscated at the customs.

* * * * *

My second stop is less than 15 mins away -- a local wholesale market place north of Lianxiang Bridge... Certainly more of an adventure...

This one came as a surprise before I actually found entrance to the fashion market.

Hui Kun Wool Yarn (慧昆羊绒毛线)
Quite a small but friendly store that sells Chinese branded yarn in balls or cones. Well, it’s definitely more appealing inside…

And then I finally got into the huge but hot and stuffy Golden Five Stars Fashion Wholesale Market

Found the "yarn alley" too, but....

...there was only one yarn stall crammed with some low-mid range yarn and a grumpy owner!

The Old Couple's Yarn Store (老俩口毛线店)

Golden Five Stars Fashion Wholesale Market (金五星服装批发市场)
Location: No 118, Zhongguancun Lu, Haidian District (North of Lianxiang Bridge)

* * * * *

Saving the best for last, my final stop at Daqianye Yarn Company is the most fascinating! I’ve visited their smaller Xuan Wu branch 2 years ago but didn't know that they were in fact the biggest local yarn company in Beijing.

This store is "HUGE"!

And chock-a-block full with Hengyuanxiang, Sanli and
almost all of China’s top yarn brands!

Knitting needles for the cheap!

Daqianye Yarn Company (大千业绒线公司)
Location: , No 6, Xin Jie Kou Wai Da Jie, Xi Cheng District
Tel : +86.10.6202.0352

I’ve translated some of their other locations here for you,
or go check them out at

No. 96A, Yong An Lu, Xuan Wu District
Tel: +86.10.6303.8504

No. 45A, An Le Lin Lu, Chong Wen District
Tel: +86.10.8726.7522

No. 1, Guang Qu Men Wai Ma Chuan. Chong Wen District
Tel: +86.10.6778.0542

No. 96, Dong Zhi Men Nei da Jie. Dong Cheng District
Tel: +86.10.6407.1770

No. 120, Xiao Dao Kou Nan Da Jie. Dong Cheng District.
Tel: +86.10.8404.8415

Friday, July 11, 2008

Long time, no see...

Sorry for the blog-silence. I've honestly been extremely busy and just haven't had all that much to say. Nonetheless, I've never intended to be away for as long as I did and thanks to those who have written worried about me! Life just took over but here I am again :)

Well luckily enough for me and for Jasmine, I was able to cut down vastly on my business travels this year... as she goes through her terrible-twos and is obviously in need of a lot more attention. Knitting will probably continue to be slow for a while. Still and all, my ambitious plans for the summer goes on:

On top, I'll still have a couple WIPs to finish up... maybe not the 2 pair of socks, but the DB Beaded Fair Isle Cardigan for Jasmine will have to be done before she grows any faster, and I've finally started the Japanese Diagonal Cables that Siow Chin made years ago…. Anyway let's see some FO first...

The Provence Toddler Cardigan

Yarn: 250g of worsted Cotton/Cashmere from China

Needles: 4.5mm

Finished Size: 3T

Pattern: Provence Baby Cardigan by Cecily Glowik

This gorgeous yarn is made up of 8 “very fine” 2-ply and I was really skeptical at first… (lace wt cotton - just no way...) But the LYS staff was very sincere and she highly recommended this... Oh well, she's totally right - I’ve never knitted a cotton yarn so incredibly yummy!! Also, the clever lady wound up 4 strands of the yarn into a center-pull cake for me and told me to either knit the wound yarn as sport wt or pick out both ends from the center and outside of the cakes and work them together as worsted - smart, isn't she? :)

Beside making the largest size in worsted weight instead of DK to scale up to 3T for Jasmine, I’ve added one more repeat of the lace pattern and modified the pattern for seamless knitting. The body and button bands were all done in one piece, and the sleeves were picked up straight from the cap and knitted top down.

* * * * *

And totally inspired by the Best Friend Cardigan by Wenlan Chia, came my own version of a vest for Jasmine.

A Pinky "Vest" Friend

Yarn: Chunky Cottons from China

Needles: 5.5 mm & 7.0 mm

Finished Size: 3T

A real quickie, it actually took me way longer to shop for buttons than to knit. I'm not totally happy with the front collar, which is a little too high and it's bunching up between the top buttons. If not for that, I'd have shared with you my pattern notes.

That's really all I did in 5 months, and before I get to see you again here or on Ravelry - Happy Summer Everyone :)

Monday, February 18, 2008

2 years, and counting

Well, it has been a while, hasn't it? Rather than to bore you with my "life has been so hectic" speech, I will boil it down to this:

I missed my 2nd year blog anniversary on Jan 31. I didn't forget, but just have no time to post. It's been two wonderful years! And thank you to all for being here and sharing the fun with me. As a little token, I've finally put together my notes for the baby sweater dress and the pattern is now up for free here.

Also, thanks a bunch to Debra and Soknitpicky for the award, you have totally made my day too!

Ok, now that I have these out of the way, I can show you what I've been doing since the last time I posted...

This little scarf for Jasmine is officially the first FO for 2008. The yarn is a handspun thick & thin 30 Cashmere/70 Wool from Uruguay. It’s super plushy and soft - an absolute treat that a very kind friend got for me at a factory closeout for a price that will make you all too jealous so I’m not telling you. But I’ve got 5 huge cones of it so just let me know anytime you feel like having some.

Little Cashmere Scarf
70g of yarn and 6.5mm needles
17sts of 1x1 rib

And the cashmere goodness continues in the same color but this one is made from Mongolian yarn.

Cashmere Eyelet Vest
125g of of 4-ply cashmere/lambswool yarn held double on 5mm
My own pattern

Oh well and this last one is still for Jasmine. The yarn is Peace Fleece, and originally in this color. I was a little carried away with my acid dyeing since the partying and over-dyed it with burnt orange.

Peace Fleece Shorties

100g of Peace Fleece Worsted

I followed the Sheepy pants pattern in XL with the enclosed elastic waistband using some remnants of cashmere wool for the softness and a feather and fan leg cuff to add some interest.

Baby/Toddler Sweater Dress Pattern

NOTE: Errors in the pattern has been corrected and updated as of Jan 9, 2009

Fall inspired, I made this up for Jasmine. Knitted all in one piece, bottom-up with a seamless (and painless) set-in sleeve shaping, minimal finishing, and you can easily size up or down with thicker/thinner yarn to suit your child.

We love the dress length that gave her some extended coverage and kept her snuggly warm without wearing a jacket. Just simply perfect for the playground :)

Size shown: 2T
(approx 26" chest and 18.5" overall length)

Yarn: 250-300g of bulky yarn or use 2 strands of worsted yarn held together

Gauge: 12sts x 18 rows

Needles: US#10.5, #11 and #12 (6.5/8.0/9.0mm) dpns

or 40cm/60cm circulars

 Pattern (pdf) available for download here and on Ravelry

Have fun!