Saturday, March 6, 2010


It's been a while since I last updated my blog. We found out that I was pregnant in January 3. However, I had some major complications, and ended up being put on bed rest over a month. Now things are much better. Just the morning sickness. It gets worse at night!!! I cannot wait for the day that I can eat anything and the food actually tastes good. Oh, the due date is September 10.....

Monday, January 4, 2010

Our kitten!!!!!!

My husband and I adopted a kitten (he is 11 months old, so he is still a kitten, although he is pretty much done with growing). We named him Ivy.

He is a super active, sweet boy. I've had cats all my life, but my husband never had a pet. Although we decided to adopt a cat because I missed having a cat soooo badly, it is my husband who is absolutely smitten by Ivy. We are so happy to have him!!!

Welcome, Ivy!!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I bought 5 bulbs of paperwhite in November at one of the best nurseries I've been to, called Roger's garden in Newport Beach. They finally started to bloom. The flowers smell absolutely fantastic. They looked so divine under the misty rain this morning....(yes, finally raining in SoCal!)

The bulbs were a good deal (99 cent a piece). I should have bought more! I wonder they still carry the bulbs. Roger's garden is gigantic, beautiful, and very inspirational. Even my husband was excited!!! We got lots of ideas (as well as some plants including the bulbs). I was especially drawn to the white (and dark purple) garden........

I need to go back there and get some shade tolerant plants for a corner of our patio (maybe white hydrangea and Japanese anemone? I wonder they carry lily-of-the-valley....). I saw some white amaryllis bulbs when we were there last time. I wonder we can still plant those. I am not crazy about the red ones, but white amaryllis would be very pretty in our patio.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Eveleen 2

I've made a bit of progress with eveleen. I have actually knitted a bit more than the pic. I am on the third set of the lace pattern (I need to do total of 9 sets). I am finally getting the hang of the lace pattern. Although I will never remember the whole pattern in million years, I am making fewer mistakes. Nonetheless, it is going to be a very slow going project. I was a bit skeptical about the combination of 4 ply soft in victoria (raisin) and lurex simmer in bronze (since the colors are not identical), even though that is the same color combo as the magazine, now I actually see it knitted, they actually look great together.

Friday, December 25, 2009


I finally finished Faith as well as a couple of other projects! I am quite happy with my Faith. I love the little black buttons (made in Japan) that I bought at Jo-Ann. It took me forever to finish it, since I couldn't focus on it and starting other project in the mean time. I just did not enjoy reverse stockinette stitch or the lace pattern. I did, however, enjoyed knitting the bottom part, although it was not easy to do the decrease without making it look ugly.

I don't think I chose the right kind of yarn for the project either. The yarn (Jo Sharp alpaca silk georgette) doesn't have the sheen I hoped for from silk, and it shows every imperfection due to its oddly stretchy nature. It 'unwinds' easily too. If I were to knit this again, I would choose a yarn which results in more drapy fabric (hence, the originally suggested yarn is Rowan bamboo soft, though I would not dare to use the yarn based on all the negative reviews on Ravelry. )

Yesterday, I gave my sis-in-law a scarf as a Xmas gift, which she loved very much. I used Louisa Harding Kimono Angora, which is the same yarn I used for my twin set, as I mentioned before. I didn't think the yarn was a great choice for the pattern, but as long as she likes it, that's all that matters.

Another FO, the shell of the twin set is very warm and soft, although I would like it to be tad longer. Now I need to get to the cardigan (one of those days......)

I started a few new projects too. The first one is called Sophie, another Louisa Harding pattern from Dauphine with LH yarn impression in color #15, which is a beautiful combo of blue, green, and lavender intertwined with black mohair yarn . The yarn is very soft, but the black yarn tends to get separated from the main yarn. The picture doesn't really show the beauty of this yarn. I have a few more patterns that I want to knit, which call for impression. I would definitely use it again and try other colorways. I just love LH's sense of color. It's so unique yet beautiful. So inspirational.

The pattern doesn't have any waist shaping, and the picture in the book looks fine without it. However, all the pics of FOs in Ravelry made me wonder if it would be more flattering for my body type to have some waist shaping. Therefore, I casted on only 133 stitches, instead on 163 (somehow LH's patterns are always waaaay too wide for me) ad added some waist shaping. I'm done with the back and working on the sleeve. I casted on only 93 stitches (instead of 123) as well.

Another project I started is vintage-inspired Eveleen from Rowan 40. I love anything vintage and feminine, so that this is absolutely perfect. I am a bit scared of knitting the rose in the front....we shall see. The lace pattern is super complex and intricate. It's going to take FOREVER.

This is my first time using Rowan 4 ply soft. I love it. It’s not fuzzy, nor super soft , i(but not scratchy either); perfect for SoCal winter. Victoria is an absolutely beautiful raisin color (a bit darker than in the photo). One of my favorite colors on the earth!

My eveleen is going to be exactly the same color as in the book. It took me a while to find all the yarns (especially 2 skeins of Lurex Shimmer in Bronze!), but now I have all. Just looking at all the yarns makes me so happy. I wonder why Rowan discontinued 4 ply soft. I am assuming that they are suggesting to substitute 4 ply soft with either 4 ply wool or cashsoft 4 ply. Although I have never used 4 ply wool, I assume that it is not as soft as 4 ply soft (sorry if I am wrong). While I do like cashsoft 4 ply, it results in completely different fabric from 4 ply soft (due to its uneven, fuzzy nature). Too bad that they discontinued 4 ply soft, especially I wanted to knit many patterns from Rowan 44 (full of vintage-esque patterns! One of my favorite volumes. Another favorite is Rowan 37) which suggest 4 ply soft.

Well, everyone. Merry Xmas!!! (our under-decorated Xmas tree.....since this is the first Xmas at our home after us getting married, we don't have lots of ornaments yet. We need to start collecting more. I bought some absolutely beautiful ornament in a Xmas shop in Solvang, where we went for our 1 year Anniversary, since I loved there soooo much when we visited last time in July).

I sent my mom a flower arrangement, as usual, which she loved very much. I ordered it from a florist near my mom's, where I had never ordered from before, but apparently my mom liked it the best of all those years I've been sending her flowers (for her birthday as well as Xmas). When I first saw the picture sent by the florist, I wasn't really crazy about it, since I like more delicate arrangement with less colors. But now I know that my mom and I have a different taste......

From now on, I am going to order the flowers from there.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Marie pic

I finally took a not-so-great pic of Marie. Hopefully I get to take a pic of me actually wearing the dress. This picture really does not justify how nice it is :D I think this dress might be the best thing I ever knitted in my life.

The ribbon is a vintage German velvet. I bought both a gray kind and this blue-gray one. I think the one I chose enhance this yarn's hint of blue. Until I went to get some ribbon at a local antique store, I was planning to buy a charcoal gray ribbon. However, I didn't see any dark colored ribbon at Gilding the Lily (except burgundy. No black either), so I got a medium gray ribbon and this one. I am very happy with my choice.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Louisa Harding frenzy

A while ago, I finished Louisa Harding dress, Marie. I am absolutely in love. I don't have a great pic of it yet, but I wore it to work with a black turtle underneath the other day, and I got lots of compliment. I used Kona Bay Knitting Camel-Alpaca in color #16, which I found in LYS, since I didn't think it would be easy to sew the seams with Thalia. The color #16 is really really close to Thalia #1. I am very pleased with the result. Hopefully I can post a pic soon....

After Marie, I am now so addicted to anything Louisa Harding. I started to work on a twin set using her Kimono Angora in color # 8. I first saw this yarn used for a twin set in her book ‘Modern Classic’, but I could not find enough projects that I absolutely love in the book to justify buying another (rather expensive) book, so I decided to use this free Japanese pattern instead.

I currently have total of 14 skeins of this yarn, which I bought from three ravelry members as well as from a store in Seattle via online. I ended up two dye lot with quite different hues. One knits up like a camo (and the hue is darker and cooler), the other like a watercolor paint or Monet’s water lilies. However, I didn't realize how different the colors (as well as the impression of the fabric) look until I used one skein from one of the two dye lot and one skein in the other dye lot together for the back of the shell. I had to re-start the project.....*sigh*

I decided to use the ‘watercolor’ dye lot for my twin set, since that is what I originally envisioned. Plus, I need 13 skeins for the project anyway, and I already have 10 skeins in this dye lot and 3 more in the same dye lot are on their way from the same Seattle store. The only problem is that the store only accept orders more than $25, I had to buy something else. I chose Malabrigo lace yarn in Burgandy, which I am planning to use to make Misty Blossom Stole as a gift for this special person, who is my friend/colleague/mentor. I am actually in love with the stole. I am definitely going to knit one for myself too with the same yarn in damask rose (my friend is not really a pink person, plus pink might not be the best color for her strawberry blonde hair.)

I decided to use the rest of the skeins to make something for my sister in law, since she is more of a tom boy than I am, so the camo pattern would not be too bad. I am going to use 2 for this scarf and 2 for a hat from knitty. Hope she'd like them....

Friday, October 23, 2009

Faith by Kim Hargreaves

I have been making some progress with Faith. As I mentioned before, I had to re-knit the back shoulder shaping and the sleeves since the sleeves were much smaller than the shoulder shaping. For some reason, this always, always happens to me. If it's the other way around (the shoulder shaping smaller than the sleeves), it would not be too bad; just the sleeves look a bit puffy, like french sleeves, which I actually like very much....

Anyway, now it looks like the the sleeves and the body match. YAY! I can never get the picture that shows the right color, but at least you can see the sleeves and the body are in the right size (sorry about the un-blocked parts. I hate blocking).

I have started to knit the left front. I had a hard time with the bottom lace part for some reason. The first attempt turned out to be ginoumous. I might be reading the chart wrong, but it seems that I get 12 picots (I'm knitting the medium size to get xs-s since my yarn is a lot thinner than the suggested one ao that the gauge is very off) before the curve starts, which is waaay too big. I looked various pictures on Raverly, and it seems that there are only 10 picots before the curve starts for the medium size. Why??? In any case, I tried like 5 times before getting an adequate result. Now the front piece might be a tad narrow (could use 1/8 inch extra width, but I can steam iron cr@p out of it, I guess), comparing with the back, I think I can live with it. I am now starting the shoulder shaping for the left front.

Friday, October 9, 2009

When not working

I've been in knitting frenzy when I ever have any spare time. I've been working on faith cardigan as well as Louisa Harding's Marie (from Dauphine).

I am soooo in love with the yarn Thalia. It's such a shame that the yarn is discontinued. I was very lucky to score 8 skeins in color 1 at ebay. The yarn is actually tape which looks almost transparant with varigated gray and tan wool as well as gold metalic thread running through. There are many other patterns (like Augustine, Rose and Terese) I want to knit with Thalia from the book. In fact, her books from 2009 use Thalia. Why then is this yarn discontinued???? It makes no sense. In any case, I love this book. I love almost all of the patterns!!! I'll definitely buy more of her books.

The suggested needle is US 10 1/2 and 11, but I have never used such big needles!!! I bought some clover bamboo needles at JoAnn. It feels sooo weired to knit with large needles, since I'm so used to knitting with US3 or 4. I don't think I usually use anything bigger than US6. Now I remember that I had hard time knitting Calmer with US8, even though I love the yarn.

I originally casted on size S, but it seemed too wide so that I recasted 8 stitches less. Now it seems a bit too narrow on top, though the bottom looks just about right. I hope it won't be too small. I'm done with the back, and just started to work on the front.

My faith cardigan is not working.....The sleeve of the back seems to be waaaaay too big comparing with the sleeve I finished. I flogged the back down to where the sleeve decrease starts, and added several rows to the bottom before starting the decrease. Hope this will shrink the sleeve opening without making the body too short. I also reknitted the sleeve so that the shoulder part is larger by adding a few increase around the middle of the sleeve but repeating the decrease until getting the same number of the stitch as suggested (does it make sense?). I hope this works out.....

By the way, I am a major tea snobb, and must have my cuppa in the morning. But why is it so hard to find high quality loose tea in US??? I just bought some Harney & Sons tea and Kusmi tea from here. I didn't really think about where the phyisical location of this etailer was until I saw the USPS website for the tracking's Orlean, NY of all places. I used to live in Ithaca, NY and have driven through the area so many times. I felt quite a bit nostalgic about my time in Ithaca. Even though I used to complain about the long, cold, snowy winter, I actually miss that place quite a bit.

Now that it is finally cooling down in SoCal, I can make my hot cup of tea with plenty of milk, and sit with my yarn (just for now before going back to my work....), thinking of good old times in snowy Ithaca......

Friday, September 18, 2009

climbing rose

My husband and I are thinking of planting some climbing roses in our patio. We have already nailed latices on the not so pretty concrete walls (although it has been freshly painted, it is just very cold-looking).

However, there are a few problems...1) the roses must be planted in pots, 2) the patio is half-shade, 3) we have to wait until Oct to plant, since it's waaaay too hot here.

I am wondering how many roses I would need
to cover the entire walls. 2? 3? I love antique or David Austin-like roses. I am thinking of Nahema, Mme. Alfred Carriere, and Abraham Darby. I believe all of them are desease torelant, and do OK in half-shade.

Nahema is the first picture with gorgous light pink flowers (with apparently amazing fragrance.).
Mme. Alfred Carriere is pale pink, which changes to white as it opens. In the picture, it looks more pink, but it apparently is pretty much white. Abraham Darby is classy, romantic peach that makes me think of Pre Raphaelite paintings. I just love anything between the mid 19th century to early 20th century......
Anyway, I want all of these roses.....but are 3 roses too much for the space????

I also wonder how big the pots should be, since I am assuming that the roses will be very large, eventually.

Ahhh I cannot wait to se
e my patio covered with beautiful flowers and the aroma. Plus I get to decorate the house with the roses too.....