Thursday, June 30, 2016

Linen Shawl

This shawl was finished more than a week ago, but I was just too lazy to take pictures.
It's knitted with Shibui Linen, with size #5 needle.

Yes, it's mostly Stockinette Stitch, perfect for some lazy summer knitting.  And I do love linen shawls.  I love how airy yet crisp the fabric is.  One thing I wish is there is more linen knit fabric available for sewing :)

If I have more time, I'd love to make more of this same shawl in different colors. If only..

Monday, June 27, 2016


I just want to share this Atlantic article on the history of cardigans.  It has very fascinating history that I wasn't aware of. For one thing, I didn't know the history of cardigans is not as long as I'd originally guessed.  I also did not know it's actually someone's name.

Writing this entry inspired me to put together a photo collage of my cardigan designs.

Friday, June 24, 2016

It's My Birthday!

Happy Birthday to me!!
And I made myself a dress for my birthday.

I couldn't help it.  I saw this dress that came through my feed on Pinterest and I totally fell in love with it. After reading the original blog few times via Google tanslation, I still couldn't track down the pattern. I decided to make one by drafting the pattern myself.  It was disastrous, the strap kept sliding off the shoulder and they looked like bat wings.  I turned the dress into a funky looking tank top by adding skinny straps to it.

On the second try, I narrowed the shoulder straps from 8" to 7" wide, and modified the bodice on the back to a much taller bodice.  As I was pinning the pieces and trying them on, I realized one of the important factor to improve the look of shoulder straps was making the gathering tighter into narrower width where they're attached to the bodice.  One thing I decided from the start was too low of a neckline at the front.  Low necklines always makes me nervous.

The fabric was a linen blend that I had in my fabric collection for coupla years.  I love it!  It's heavy enough that lining is not needed, yet it's still light and comfortable.  It's fairly close to what I wanted, albeit it can look a bit like maternity dress.  But it's perfect for hot summer.

I think I may try to make another one,

Eventually with a bit sleuthing on the internet, I was able to track down the original pattern from seeing other dresses of the same design on Pinterest.  It's from a Japanese pattern book - Stylish Dress Book: Wear With Freedom, by Yoshiko Tsukiori.   The pattern apparently had been made and blogged by many French bloggers few years back with some modification posted in their blogs. Google translation is a funny thing though it generally gets the idea across. I learned that Google translates French word pattern into "boss" in English.  It kinda makes sense, when you're essentially following orders/instructions :))

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Summer Sewing 2016 Part 1

Summer sewing has begun.
I started it off with a set of tankini, using the same pattern I drafted for the previous set I made 3 years ago.  The only change was adding bit more coverage on the bottom for the back.

A month ago I was at Mill End in Reno for some other sewing stuff.  I saw this print for swimwear and I had to have it, also bought some brown fabric to match. I really, really love this print and how it looks.

The tankini top has a shelf bra.  The bottom is reversible with brown on one side and print on the other.  I think I like the brown more to contrast the top, but Paul likes the print more.

It took a few tries to get the elastic band right for the bottom.  I really do dig this set and it cheered me up tremendously to get some hot weather sewing going.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Knitting on the Road

So far this summer, I have made 3 trips to Bay Area in a month's time. Twice for my teeth, And this time for Paul's family gathering. And honestly, I don't enjoy driving so much and being away from my home so much.

Every time I go to Bay Area, I simply could not wait to come home.  The traffic of Bay Area totally sucks. After living in the mountains for 14 years, I don't like to be in crowds, whether it's crowds of people or of cars.

The one thing I like to knit when I go down to Bay Area is socks.  I don't know why, maybe they're easy to carry as projects, or easy to work with.  I finished this pair last time I was down in Bay Area.

I used Cascade Heritage yarn with #1 needles.  The stitch pattern was simply taken from the Ilha Formosa Collection.  Easy and I love how bright they are.  I think knitting socks when I'm away from home kind of center and comfort me a little bit.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Summer is Here

I really hate to make it seem like I have abandoned the blog, I have not.  Life just got busy, with work, with my personal stuff.  Summer is finally here, and I kicked it off with some dental work, not fun, and not cheap.  I got a tooth extraction with bone graft and implant.  I don't have dental insurance, my sister, a dentist, does all work for me for free. But this time I needed to see a specialist for the implant. So I had to drive down to Bay Area because the doctor my sister recommended is in Bay Area. I trust her recommendation more than anyone around here. Now I'm just waiting for it to heal so a crown can be placed.

Then, another news about my health that requires going in for another exam in 2 months because of some lab result.  The nurse on the phone tried to tell me it's likely that it's not huge deal, not to think too much, or Google. Yeah right. How am I suppose to enjoy my summer with this dark cloud looming over.  So hating this. I'm doing the best I can not to freak out and not think too much about it.  Life is a bit too short to spend so much time on worrying about things that can possibly go wrong. But one thing for sure is my health insurance with $5000 deductible is not going to cover any of the exams.

Well, on the bright side, I had finished a shawl that I really dig.

The yarn was Madelinetosh Tosh Sport in color Astrid Grey and El Greco, with needles US #5. The shawl turned out to be as wide as I'd hoped,  84" x 29" deep.   

I don't think I ever designed a shawl using anything heavier than fingering weight.  I thought it would go fast, but the texture stitches took more time than I expected.  A bit to my surprise, I actually really enjoyed doing stranded colorwork in flat.  

Yes, I do love it.  A big part was that I designed the triangular shawl with something I'd never done before, knitting on bias from one end to the other.  It always makes me a bit more jazzed when I try something new.

Another bright note this summer, we are having the first woman nominated for presidential candidate in US. I cannot hide my enthusiasm for the possibility of first woman president.  I know Hillary Clinton may not be some people's choice, but I see in her the resilience, the grit, that I see again and again in women I know throughout my life. She earned my respect as the first lady when she strongly advocated for Universal Healthcare,  Perhaps I am older, so yes, a woman candidate still means a lot to me, in spite of the fact that beyond her gender, she is a very qualified candidate.

My birth country, Taiwan, just elected its first woman president who is competent, intelligent.  It will be a fantastic day when my adopted country will elect its first woman president.