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.....

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bonne Maman

I love Bonne Maman products. So cute to look at the gingham and the tag with hand writing-like font. However, I found it very difficult to find a wide range of products. As far as I know, I can only buy several types of preserves near where we live.

When I visited the Netherlands, I stopped by a random grocery store in Amsterdam, and found a cutest package of creme brulee. (The gingham is purple, unlike most of the preserves, which have the red gingham lid). It came with a mini packet of this powdery thing, which miraculously becomes crunchy burned caramel once you sprinkle on top of the custard. It was sooooo good. I really wish I could purchase this in US!!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I've been so swamped!!

So sorry that I have not updated my blog so long. My flight delayed (this is the problem when you have to go through Chicago), plus the airline lost my luggage. Then the following day, we had to start moving back in to our home, which is only half way done. My work has been beyond crazy too.

Anyway, I didn't get to see much in the Netherlands, but I took some pics in Amsterdam (where I stayed only to fly in and out. My work was in Nijmegen.) I have been to Amsterdam before, so I didn't do much of tourist-y thing. I wish I could have bought lots of gorgeous tulip bulbs, but it is very hard to grow tulip here in SoCal (plus we only have a patio....)

From now on, it's going to be sporadic updates due to my work, I'll try my best to keep this blog going.....


アムステルダムは飛行場を利用するだけに宿泊したのと (仕事はナイメヘンという町でした) 、以前にもいったことがあったので、観光客らしいことはしませんでしたが、少しだけ写真を撮ったので、載せてみました。チューリップの球根を買いたかったのですが、冬らしい冬のない南カリフォルニアでは、チューリップを育てるのは結構大変なので(おまけに家にはベランダしかないし)、買うのは諦めました。


Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I'll be in the Netherlands until the 16th for my work. I'll post some updates after I come back....


Monday, August 3, 2009

Freebie 3

I stitched a lovely heart from here. I saw many have stitched this, and all of them were so pretty that I wanted to stitch it. I am thinking of making a lavender sachet, so instead of stitching the other side, I am going to use some fabric (I don't think I have anything that goes well in my stash, though.) I would like to make another sachet using the reverse chart...

I used belfast 36ct flax (as usual) and caron waterlilies cherry cordial. The thread color is actually a little more mauve-y than pink, although it is variegated quite a bit (from pink-beige to pale pink to rose to mauve to rose-brown to pearl gray.....) it's such a pretty thread. I tried to use more lighter colored part than gray-brown part.


使った布はいつもの belfast 36ct flax で、糸は caron の waterlilies cherry cordial です。糸は写真よりもう少し落ち着いた感じの色で、かなり段染めが激しいです。桜色、桃色、蘇芳色、薔薇色、黒真珠色、鈍色なあ~んてちょっと優雅に呼びたくなるような本当に綺麗な色です。刺すときに一応、薄めの色のところを多く使うようにしてみました。

Friday, July 31, 2009

Faith by Kim Hargreaves

Now I think of it, I have been knitting longer than cross stitching. My current knitting project is Faith from Heartfelt by Kim Hargreaves. I am not using suggested yarn (Rowan Classic Bamboo Soft), since the wise people told me that it grows like crazy. Instead, I am using Jo Sharp Alpaca Silk Georgette (40% Alpaca, 40% Merino and 20% Silk) in 755 Musk, which is a very sophisticated gray-ish favorite color! The color of the yarn looks much like how it is than my finished back. I got the yarns on sale at one of my favorite online yarn store. Alpaca Silk Georgette is not quite the same gauge as Bamboo soft (24 stitches by 30 rows). I got 26 by 32 on US5 (the label says 25x 33 on US3). I'm knitting between small and midium so that I can get xs~s in the end, hopefully. I'm done with the back, and 80% done with one of the sleeves. It has been toooo hot to knit, but finally it has gotten a bit better here in SoCal. The yarn is very soft and has subtle halo from Alpaca.

たぶん小学生くらいの頃から見よう見まねで編み物をしていますが、ここ最近あまりの暑さにさすがに毛糸には触りたくなかったのですが、ちっと暑さも緩んだようなので、ほっといたカーディガンをまた再開することにしました。キムさんの本、Heartfelt から Faith を編んでいます。うわさでは、指定糸は編んだ後のび~~~るということなので、全然違う糸、 Jo Sharp Alpaca Silk Georgette を使っています。色は、 755 Musk で、グレーがかった、洗練されたモーヴ、私の一番好きな色です。後ろ見ごろの写真より、糸の写真の方が本物に近いです。糸はとてもやわらかく。アルパカ特有の毛足がフェミニンな感じ。指定糸と使用糸は少しゲージが違っていて、指定糸は24目30段、使用糸は26目32段(US5 使用)です。少し大きめサイズ(SとMの間)を編んで、最終的にxs~sになればいいか.....といつものようにいい加減。とりあえず、後ろ身ごろは編み終わっていて、いま肩の片方が80% くらいできあがったところです。また冬眠させないようにがんばります。

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Freebie 2 finished

I finished stitching the angel heart that I mentioned a while ago. Now I need to find a frame that looks good with it. I'm thinking of making another one, and make it into a Xmas ornament. I will decorate this one somewhere in the kitchen.

I used the leftover fabric (belfast 36ct flax)
from Mary, and Caron waterlilies thread in flame.


布はメアリーちゃんの残りの belfast 36ct flax、糸は Caron waterlilies の flame です。

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tulip is done!

I finished the tulip motif in the right corner. It's soooo cute. I used a thread similar to the suggested one, but it would have been super cute if it was some kind of pink. Nonetheless. I like it a lot.


I was on a mini trip to Napa last weekend to see a friend of mine from my grad school. I will post some pics when I'm done with organizing the photos....


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mary update part-3

I'm done with the crown motif. This might be my favorite motif so far. It was very fun to stitch, and love the two tone too. The pattern in the central square is so pretty, and the crown is very cute.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I just noticed that my setting only allowed for google ID holders to post comments! This is no good. I just changed the setting. Sorry for the inconvenience! Please leave a word if you can, since I am very looking forward to your comments....

すみません!今さっき気がついたのですが、ブログのセッティングが、なぜかの google IDを持っている人しかできないようになっていました。大変ご迷惑をおかけしました。直しておきましたので、よろしかったらお立ち寄りになった記念に一言ちょこっと残していただけると、本当にはげみになるのですが.......

And a bit of Mary update....Finally reached to the top-left edge, and I am randomly stitching along the right edge. Hmmmmm I wonder if the colors look OK....

I changed the color of the motif with a crown from AVAS 1745 (DMC 3768) to 2941 (DMC930), since it seems that there is only one motif that uses 2941 (it is a part of the motif located in between part-1 and part-2), and the crown motif is very close to a motif stiched with 1745 (the flowerly motif in part 2). Besides, I think 2941 looks great with black!

大して進んでいませんが、メアリーちゃんです。いちお左上の端っこまで行ったので(モチーフは終わっていませんが)、今度は右横端に沿って、めちゃくちゃな順番で気の向くままに刺しています。 全体を見回してみると、う~~~~ん。こんなにいろいろな色を使ったことがないので、色使いがいいのやら悪いのやら、よく分かりません。

右端の王冠のモチーフを AVAS 1745 (DMC 3768) から 2941 (DMC930) に変更しました。というのも、この AVAS 2941、 part-1 と part-2 にまたがってあるモチーフ以外に使うところがないようだし(<貧乏性のわたし)、すでに王冠モチーフのすぐ近くの花モチーフに AVAS 1745を使っているので、ちょっと近すぎるような気がするんです。おまけに AVAS 2941 って、なんだか黒とよく合うような気がしたからです。 どうでしょうか。

Monday, July 20, 2009

Freebie 2

Another mini-project using a freebie chart (although I cannot remember where I downloaded the chart from. All I remember is that it was a french site. Let me know if you happened to know!) I am using the leftover fabric from Mary (belfast 36ct Flax) with Caron Waterlilies Flame.

I love anything with cherubs. This will be another mini frame.

It has been soooo hot in SoCal. Even though I am pretty good at dealing with heat, this is getting quite tough. Hope everybody is doing well....Take care!

またまた freebie の浮気作品です。ずいぶん昔にダウンロードしたので、いったいどのサイトだったか忘れてしまったのですが、たしか、フランスのサイトだったと思います。エンジェルに目のないわたし、このチャートもとっても気に入っています。布は Maryちゃんの切れ端の belfast 36ct Flax、糸は Caron Waterlilies の Flame です。これも小さな額仕立てにする予定。


Thursday, July 16, 2009


While visiting Solvang, I visited Thumbelina, which sells Scandinavian needlework goods. I was very tempted to get a couple of Xmas-themed kits, but I ended up bringing two books home. One is a small brochure for Danish Xmas motifs that I have been eying for a long time. Another is (not Danish) for monograms. I am especially happy with the Xmas brochure. I am definitely going to make some ornaments......hmmmm what else should I make?......any suggestions?



Wednesday, July 15, 2009


So, I went to Solvang last weekend. Solvang is supposed to be a Danish town about 30 minutes from Santa Barbara, originally founded by Danish pioneers in 1911. However, you can find various Scandinavian items (not limited to Denmark) here. Some (including my hubby) seem to be confused and think that Solvang is a Dutch town. I am assuming that this is partly because some think Dutch = from Denmark (!!!) and they associate the windmills solely with the Netherlands. In fact, some stores sell Dutch items in Solvang, and this doesn't help with clearing up the confusion.

先日ちょっと書きましたが、先週末、 サンタバーバラから三十分ぐらいのところにある、Solvang というデンマークからの移民によって作られた町にいってきました。デンマーク風の町といっても、今ではスカンジナビア各国の雑貨を扱う店や、レストランでいっぱいです。ところで、アメリカにはオランダ人(Dutch)とデンマーク人(Danish)の区別が付かない人がときどきいます。日本人にとってはありえないことですが、英語の単語 「オランダ人」もしくは「オランダの」を意味する 'Dutch' が国名(オランダの国のことは、英語で Netherlands もしくは Holland といっています)とかなり異なるので、'Dutch' と聞いたときに、ついD ではじまる国名、デンマークを想像してしまうからでしょう。

Anyway, here is one of the three windmills in town, and an amazing store with lots of Scandinavian Xmas goods. I actually had a pen pal (yeah, pre-internet era....) living in Horsens, Denmark. We used to send letters (and little packages for holidays and birthdays) back and forth just about once a month for 7 years or so since we were 12 yrs old......Unfortunately, we have lost in touch, and never been able to see each other in person. The Xmas goods I found in Solvang reminded me of all the goodies she sent me over the years.....I wonder what she is doing now.....

Solvang で一番気に入ったのは、スカンジナビアのクリスマスグッズを売っているお店。とっても懐かしい感じがしたのです。というのも、実は中学、高校のとき、デンマークのHorsensというところに住んでいるペンパルがいたのです。(今ではペンパルなどという言葉は死語ですが。)おたがい、一月に一度かそこら手紙や小包にいれたプレゼントを贈りあったものです。特に中学のときは習いたての英語で手紙を書くのが大変でした。クリスマスには彼女からデンマークの可愛いクリスマス用品が送られてくるのが本当に楽しみでした。結局お互い大学生になって忙しく、引越しなどもあって、音信不通になってしまったのですが、一度も実際に会うことのなかった彼女、いったい今、どうしているんでしょう。2003年にデンマークをおとずれる機会があったのですが、Horsensには行けなかったので、今どこにいるのか、まったく分からないんです。

We also found a charming spa (nail care + massage) that had amazing garden. We took lots of pics of the house. The lady who worked there was so nice to take some pictures of us, even though we didn't get any service there.