Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Blue Skies

Memorial Day weekend was hot and muggy. I finished this spring/fall sweater, from Rebecca No. 27, that I've been working on since last spring, but I think it's already too warm to wear it. I'm naming it Blue Skies because the weather was lovely (though hot) when I finished it, and the names that appear in Rebecca magazine are just too boring.

However, the storm clouds blew in today on strong gusts of wind and, with the break in the heat (I don't have air-conditioning) I decided to vacuum the floors and model my sweater!

The sleeves are the teensiest bit tight. They look that way in the magazine, but I might want it a little looser. That's okay, though. Next time I wash it, I'll just block the sleeves a little larger; there's still a lot of give. Overall, I'm really happy with the way it turned out.

Pattern: Sweater with Lace Pattern and Cables, No. 19 from Rebecca 27 (see what I mean about boring names?)

Start Date: Spring, 2005

End Date: 29 May, 2006

Yarn: Dale of Norway Stork (100% cotton)

Colour: #6, a pale, powdery blue

Yarn Source: Capital Yarns (Chantilly, VA)

Yarn Cost: $5.25/ball. I think I got six, and used about 5.

Needles: Really old (Boye?) straight needles I got from my mom, Sz 3 (3.25mm), and Pony 3.25mm circulars (80cm long) for finishing the neckline.

Size Made: I made the smaller size.

Pattern Changes: I didn't follow the stitch pattern chart correctly. The eyelets should have been on different rows from the rows with cable crosses. I ended up doing them on the same row; it made remembering the pattern a lot easier.

I had to made some changes on the sleeve shaping, where it increased at the bottom from the cuff. I inreased every 8th row 11 times, then on every sixth row. I wrote those changes down in my notes. Unfortunately, I forgot to write down why I did that, and now I can't remember.

I didn't bind off the centre-front or centre-back stitches, just put them on stitch holders and knit them when it came time to finish the neckline.

Comments: This was my first pattern from Rebecca. I remember seeing some old issues of it in the archives of one of Cornell's libraries, but it was all in German. Recent issues have come with an English-translated booklet. I'd always heard that Rebecca patterns are well-written, but this one did give me some problems, and it was right at the beginning. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out how the stitch pattern fit into the number of stitches I was supposed to cast on. It wasn't just me, either. I took the pattern to the ladies at Capital Yarns, and we spent 15 minutes figuring out exactly what the pattern direction meant. It was very counter-intuitive. Not clear at all.

But, once past that initial hurdle, it was smooth sailing from there. Shaping-wise, this sweater isn't difficult at all. The challenge for me was that it's my first sweater with an all-over pattern that I had to accomodate to increasing and decreasing for the sleeves, armholes and neckline. It's not exactly perfect, but it's still a sweater I'll be proud to wear. I'll look back fondly on those mistakes, hopefully, and know exactly what went wrong.

Of course, no rest for the addicted. I told Moocow today that I absolutely had to start another lace project, to get my fix. I don't have the budget to buy any new yarn right now, so I have to work with what's already in my stash. The only lace-weight yarn that's in my stash at the moment is some KnitPicks Shadow I bought because Moocow said she liked the colour, Oregon Coast.

The colours are a little more intense - though still very subtle - in real life, but you can probably see from the photo on the left that it's a beige-y rainbow colour. The overall colour is beige, but there are green, blue and purple highlights. Really rather nice. (By the way, can anyone figure out why I can't take pictures on the macro setting with my camera without huge shadows at the bottom? I've tried everything!)

Moocow said that she likes the Peacock Feathers Shawl pattern from Fiddlesticks Knitting and, joy of joys, I had bought that pattern a while back, because I really like it, too.

So today I started with a little gauge swatch. The pattern comes with directions for knitting a gauge swatch in one of the patterns that appears on the shawl. The swatch on the left has been blocked. It's smaller than the pattern gauge (I'm using thicker yarn and smaller needles), but Moocow's arm-span is only 64", and the pattern's measurement is 88".

What do you think, Moocow? Should I proceed?

Posted by Lana to Bumbling Bees - Girls with Purls at 5/30/2006 06:03:00 PM

Monday, May 29, 2006

Finishing Sweaters

I've been noticing for a while that many - perhaps even most - knitters don't enjoy finishing a sweater. That is, blocking it, weaving in loose ends, sewing up seams, adding buttons or whatnot; the non-knitting part of knitting.

Faced with the general lukewarm attitude of even experienced knitters towards finishing, it's no wonder that I approached it warily. Maybe that's why I put off making sweaters for such a long time. I tackled knitting with double-pointed needles and circulars, colour knitting, knitting backwards and knitting continental-style, all before my first sweater. It wasn't the knitting techniques that intimidated me, it was the finishing. And you hear horror stories of finishing done sloppily, or gone wrong, that ruined what would have been a lovely sweater.

I've realised that finishing off doesn't bother me too much. Yes, I need some quiet time to devote to it, so I don't rush, but there's something magical about putting those separate pieces of knitting together. Those seams where you match stitches, row to row (such as in the side seam), are as miraculous as an invisible zipper. It's both encouraging and beautiful to see. Of course, I really do hate weaving in loose ends, but we can't have everything!

I'm almost done with this lacy sweater from Rebecca No. 27. (Can you see the doily in the background, under the wooden coaster? I made that, too!) I'll put up pictures of the finished object soon.

Posted by Lana to Bumbling Bees - Girls with Purls at 5/29/2006 01:32:00 PM

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Assam Rose Tea

A lot of the time, Andrea and I have some tea and maybe a little dessert together in the evenings, and tonight was one such evening (no desserts, unfortunately).

I used to see big barrels of these small, dried rose buds in apothecary shops in Hong Kong, and packaged in Chinese supermarkets, but I'd never had rose tea before. I don't know anyone else who has.

When I went back to NYC for Mother's Day I decided to take the plunge. I've been learning more about tea in the past couple of years, and I felt it was time for me to approach this unknown. Funnily enough, a lady who spoke Mandarin stopped me in the little grocery where I bought it; she asked me how to drink rose tea!

The blind leading the blind, surely. But I told her that you would usually blend it with some tea leaves, and brew as usual (suitably vague, I thought). I added that she should probably rinse the rose buds before brewing. (I have little faith in the cleanliness of Chinese processing plants.)

Moocow went to TeaSpot in NYC and bought me half-ounce samples of four different teas: two darjeelings, a ceylon and an assam. I absolutely adore darjeeling (definitely the champagne of teas), and I love good ceylons and assams, too. But somehow I felt that TeaSpot's assam wasn't as aromatic and flavourful as I'm used to.

So tonight, when it came time to choose a tea to blend the rose with, I decided to use the assam. The dried buds, when I opened the sealed pack, gave off quite a heady rose fragrance. I didn't want it to compete with - and perhaps obliterate - the muscatel notes in darjeeling, and I wasn't sure if a green tea was up to the task of supporting such robust aroma. I felt the assam was non-descript enough, but strong enough, for the task.

I put the rose buds and assam into my lovely glass teapot so I could watch as it steeped. It's a good thing I decided against rinsing with hot water, because the colour left the rose buds pretty rapidly. It definitely developed a darker colour, with brandy-red highlights, than the assam alone would have. Andrea commented that even the leaves left in the pot are pretty.

What struck us first was the fragrance, recognisably rose-like, so delicious it had almost a honey/liqueur-like smell. Taste-wise, Andrea and I both felt that it didn't significantly add to or take away from the flavour of the assam as we were drinking. But, sipping it slowly, I think it did add a little more complexity to the otherwise bland assam. Andrea felt that the rose flavour came through in the aftertaste. I'm not sure if that was a good thing, in her mind.

I found the aftertaste a little musky, slightly acrid. I may have oversteeped while I was looking at the pretty colours, but I don't think so. I also poured Andrea's cup first and, even though I tried to distribute the weaker tea (at the top) and the stronger tea (at the bottom) between our teacups as you would pour tea Asian-style, I think I ended up with more of the stronger tea.

Next time, I think I'll try it with a Chinese green tea and watch the steeping time more carefully. The assam rose tea definitely made me feel extra special, and I hope Andrea felt the same too (Andrea's been having grief with her grant proposal). It was lovely, if only I could do something about that aftertaste. More experimentation ahead, but I would definitely recommend rose tea. Some time, when I can grow my own roses, I'll try using fresh petals or buds!

Posted by Lana to Bumbling Bees - Food at 5/28/2006 09:38:00 PM

Saturday, May 27, 2006


No pictures for this post. But then, I'm just sounding out some ideas. My roommate, Andrea, and I have finally set a date for our house-warming. It's going to be on Saturday, June 10th. We've decided on afternoon tea. More precisely, full tea, consisting of sandwiches, scones, sweets and dessert.

This is the menu we've decided on so far:

Savouries: tarragon chicken salad finger sandwiches
cucumber (w/humus?) finger sandwiches
tomato, basil & mozarella finger sandwiches

Tea Cakes: scones
lavender cookies
Japanese castella cake/honey lemon cake

Condiments: honey
fresh fruit preserves/jam
apple butter

So, what do you think? Would you make any substitutions? Orginally, the cake item was going to be either spice cake or pumpkin bread, but Moocow said that those were autumn menu items. Although, technically, lavender is a mid-summer item. Anyway, comments, please!

Posted by Lana to Bumbling Bees - Food at 5/27/2006 11:47:00 PM

House of Horrors

I would have had this post up much sooner if I hadn't misplaced the CD-ROM with the photos on it. We stopped by to see this place after our hike around Kingston, NY, a couple of weeks ago.

My roommate Andrea's friend Tara's boyfriend, Jake, is a state trooper. He was called out to this man's house (still under construction) because his front gates had been spray-painted in an act of - dare I say it? - understandable vandalism.

This gentleman, a stockbroker from NYC, bought a nice piece of land in upstate New York and proceeded to build his dream home: Versailles. Yes, that's what this is supposed to be, replete with a statue garden (behind the gates, on the right) and a bower-garden (on the left). But the statues resemble unwary passers-by, permanently petrified by the horror of it all, and the numerous metal arches scattered willy-nilly in the vineless, leafless garden is forlorn and ill-planned. I've been to Versailles, and it ain't pink.

And notice there, on the red-faced fascade? Numerous arches that should have been windows, but for some reason just aren't. And it's been decades, perhaps over a century, since we've had window taxes on homes! Those balconies, from windows and blind windows alike, are already falling down.

The pillars of the surrounding stone fence, without a properly set foundation, tilt and sag. Now they're held up by rudely constructed concrete blocks. Yea, rudely constructed by the happy owner himself. When questioned, it seems he's going for the settled-in and aged look.

To better file his report, Jake was given a tour of the innards of the house as well. On the ground floor, to the right of the main section, will be an indoor swimming pool. (Moowcow and I both envisage the Neptune Pool in Hearst's Castle.)

To the left, there will be a huge ballroom for the owner and his wife, complete with a throne room!! The pertinent question is, is his wife okay with all of this?! Unfortunately, Jake didn't have the pleasure of making her acquaintance.

If you want to be ostentatious, by all means, go all out. But how dare you try to be ostentatious and half-assed at the same time? The problem is, this house seems to be that man's "baby", and he's been working at a lot of it himself. For example, he mixed the pure gold powder into the paint with which he painted the front gates, by himself. Of course, he then proceeded to leave unused packets of gold dust lying around, to which his unhappy contractors - whom he can't seem to keep because he never pays them - feel free to help themselves.

And, of course, the neighbours detest him. He's single-handedly driving down property values in the area because, seriously, who wants to look across at that every day? Not only that, but he's inconsiderate with construction waste as well. He claims it's going to be a 2-million dollar home, but has he considered that it's only worth that much money if someone is willing to take it off his hands for that amount?

I think Jake said it best (and this is a misquote, because I forget the exact wording, but the sentiment remains true): Tract of land, XXX thousand dollars. Cheap reproduction of Versailles, X million dollars. Pissing off all your neighbours: Priceless.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


I've posted some new political cartoons over at Civic Express, the Hong Kong political blog I contribute to.

I'm afraid it won't make a lot of sense if you don't follow Hong Kong politics, but I'd appreciate some feedback on the drawing style. I feel like I've really gone downhill since I left art school.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Fuzzy Blackberry

It's taken me exactly two months, but it's finally finished! This is the Blackberry cardigan designed by Jennifer Thurston that I promised my supervisor when I was working down in NYC.

No funny holes or bunching in this one; I did everything I should have done, I think. I even spliced ends to join new balls of yarn so that I wouldn't have as many ends to weave in. That wasn't an easy thing, since the R2 Fuzzi Felt is made up of two strands (one of which is kind of suede-like, the other more wool-like) that do not want to stick together once they've been separated.

Pattern: Blackberry by Jennifer Thurston in Knitty

Start Date: 21 March, 2006 Finish Date: 21 May, 2006

Yarn: R2 Fuzzi Felt (58% nylon, 16% merino, 20% acrylic, 6% alpaca), 50m/50g, black

Cost: $2.98/ball plus shipping; I bought 19 balls, but only used 10 1/2.

Source: Elann

Needles: Pony 7-mm circulars, Aero 5-mm single-pointed, Denise Interchangeables Sz 8 (5-mm)

Size Made: 2XL

Gauge: My gauge just right, 11 stitches/14 rows = 4 inches using 7-mm needles.

Changes made: I made this cardigan before using Lion Brand Kool Wool. The Fuzzi Felt isn't as elastic and I realised that the ribbing was way too big when I cast on for the sleeves with the 7-mm needles. So, instead of casting on 46 stitches, I only cast on 38, and used 5-mm needles. After I'd finished the sleeve ribbing, I increased by 8 stitches and switched to the 7-mm needles for the rest of the sleeve.

Another consequence of this yarn's inelasticity was the trouble I had increasing 5 stitches (by knitting into the front and back of a single stitch) to make the bobbles. With the fat needles, the single stitch just wouldn't stretch enough, so I ended up increasing just 4 stitches instead. The bobbles looked fine.

To finish the cardigan with ribbing all around the body I switched to 5-mm Denise Interchangeable needles. I even joined two of their cords to make a 43-inch long circular needle! Thanks for the great X'mas present, Moocow!

So, I'll be mailing this off to Denise soon.

In the meantime, I'm trying to finish off all my works-in-progress. I've finished all the pieces on my lacey sweater from Rebecca magazine; I had way too much time on my hands working as a receptionist. Now I'm at the blocking stage, as you can see.

Posted by Lana to Bumbling Bees - Girls with Purls at 5/21/2006 08:56:00 PM

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Hiking in Spring

A couple of weekends ago I went on my first hike of the year with a group of friends; Andrea, Erin, Tara (all three of whom work for The Nature Conservancy's Natural Heritage Program), Tara's boyfriend, Jake, and his friend with his 9-month pregnant wife, Joe and Michaela, and their two dogs. I must admit to being nervous, especially when Michaela joked about having an oxygen tank ready in the back of their SUV in case she went into labour, but her purpose was to hurry things along.

First, we went on an easy little hike up Bear Mountain. A lot of the topography here in upstate New York is very rocky. There were so many blueberry bushes along the trail, with little, pale, pinkish-blue flowers that are edible and yummy. Of course, the berries themselves are much better, but it's still too early here for them.

I've been seriously out of shape, but even I felt that the Bear Mountain hike barely qualified to be called such, so we headed off to Sam's Point for something a little more challenging. There it was dwarf pine barrens, a special and threatened ecosystem. It might not be much to look at (hence the term "barrens"), with all these short little pines that look like oversized bonsai. But there were birds and other interesting vegetation.

For example, this low-lying, unassuming plant is wintergreen. If you break off or buise a leaf and sniff it, it smells just like all those breath-freshening chewing gums. It being a well-frequented trail, we refrained from putting it in our mouths in case someone - or their dog - had decided to answer a nature call on it.

We ended up choosing the trail that led to the Ice Caves, so called because it's significantly colder once you get down there. It was a beautiful, warm (but not too warm), sunny day - a perfect day for a hike. But once down there it was like being in a meat cooler. According to Tara, who'd been there before, there's ice there even in the summer, although a lot of it melts off. Since we went in the spring, there were heavy layers of ice underfoot as we scrabbled to climb back out, and you can see there was a great, thick wall of the stuff.
Here and there, flowers were in bloom, although the dwarf pines really dominated. I did see something pretty amazing (I'd never seen one before) right outside the entrance to the Ice Caves. It's a Luna Moth. It was so conspicuous, perched there on the rock, but everyone else marched right past it! I was afraid to get too close, in case I scared it off, but I managed to get one or two fairly good shots of it. The photo doesn't do it justice; it's a bright, leafy green edged with hot-pink!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Celebrating the end of finals!

Ever heard of Stone Barns? It's a working farm with a mission to educate - check it out at www.stonebarnscenter.org I've been to the Blue Hill restaurant in New York, but have always wanted to make it up to the farm to check it out. It sits on 80 acres of land donated by the Rockerfeller family to promote awareness and discussion regarding farmland and the food supply.
Well, after a long, hard semester, a group of food studies friends and myself set the date to visit Stone Barns the first Saturday after finals. We took the insider's tour of the farm and the restaurant, and stayed to have lunch in the main building. The Rockerfeller's asked their architect to build the farm in an old Norman style, and that they did, as you can see here. The big building is the hay barn, complete with a silo. The cafe is behind the glass in this picture, and we sat and had lunch next to it. Duck panini, goat cheese and asparagus sandwich, salads of beans, celery root, and turnips, and ice cream sandwiches. The duck, asparagus, and salad ingredients all came from the farm. The ice cream and creamy farm milk we had was from a nearby dairy.
This is Bruno the pig. Stella, if you can see her head sticking up from the grass where she's lying, diligently watches over the sheep. The bees are new arrivals, too, and are carefully monitored by the state for signs of mite infection, and if they do, the entire hive must be destroyed. Daphne, our tour guide (who hails from Copia out in Napa), pointed out it usually happens to bees that are stressed. Stone Barns has been careful to make sure that doesn't happen to their bees.
The greenhouse grows all sorts of herbs, salad greens and vegetables such as carrots and turnips that supply the restaurant and the weekly farmer's market.
The kitchen staff in the restaurant are the happiest-looking team I've ever seen. It's also spotless and sunny, which is rare in restaurant kitchens. Usually there are few, if any, windows, but this place has walls of windows along each length. The farm cures its own meats and makes it own pickles and jams. You can see an example of the charcuterie hanging here.
Stone Barns is also a great place to go just for a nice walk and a meal with your family on the weekends. There are lots of hiking trails that run around the farm - maybe I'll find the time to check them out this summer. It's such a relief to get away from the city.

Posted by MooCow to Bumbling Bees - Food at 5/13/2006 06:09:00 PM

Friday, May 12, 2006

I'm still here!

This doesn't all fit in one category, so, here we go.

Lessee. Where've I been? Finished moving into my new apartment, finally. This was an Ordeal since it involved several rounds of buying furniture, and then assembling it all. There is nary a piece of furniture here (except the bed) that Boyfriend and I did not assemble ourselves. Lucky I have an electric drill. Yes, I had to assemble that bookshelf you see there.

I've also been sewing. See here the curtains I sewed for my bedroom. Excuse the hideous colour choices. Since blocking light on the cheap was my primary concern, I bought dark purple material for HK$10 per yard (black seemed too gloomy). But I found that I did not buy enough dark purple material, hence the added orange bits at the bottom. I soon found out why that material was so cheap. It is so incredibly stiff that it breaks sewing machine needles. You can not sew through more than two layers of the stuff without snapping your needles in half. I had to add the tabs at the top by hand. Maybe it was coated with some wax or something, because it softened up considerably after washing. It also shrunk. Diagonally. Lesson learned: always wash material before sewing.

Here is what I did with some of the leftover orange material. This is a parrot tent. It is for my parrot to sleep in. My parrot, pictured below left, does not like to sleep in the parrot tent. Instead, he likes to remove the snap buttons on the straps used to hang the tent in his cage. What he likes to sleep in is pictured below, right. *sigh*

What does get more parrot appreciation is this. The landlords left this wooden ladder behind after renovating our apartment. It was totally covered in plaster and paint, so I spent an afternoon sanding that off. Plus I sawed about a foot off the bottom so that it would take up less space. Then I hung parrot toys all over it. It has been duly claimed as parrot territory.

And finally, for your amusement: Boyfriend Pajama Pants. Boyfriend has trouble finding large enough pajama pants here in Hong Kong. But having sewed these pants in his absence, I discovered that I made them large enough to get two of him in them. Ah, the wonders of elastic.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Sewing Vintage

No time for pictures or anything, especially since I haven't had any time to sew or use my sewing machine lately.

But at work last week, when I was bored out of my mind, I came across a review of this website, A Dress A Day, on the PatternReview website. It's tonnes of fun, and I can't resist those glamourous vintage dresses! Of course, it isn't just vintage stuff, but I love dresses just as much as the next girl, and I really recommend that you check this site out.

I need to post the pictures from my hiking trip last weekend, so stay tuned!

Posted by Lana to Bumbling Bees - Sewing at 5/10/2006 09:04:00 PM

Monday, May 08, 2006

5/08/2006 02:40:00 AM

Recognize these?

I know at least I couple of you should, for it is the beloved Oatmeal Butterscotch cookie from Maples Inn before going into the oven. Nothing brings me back to the good times we had during senior year of college than the smell and taste of these. To this day, this is still my favorite cookie recipe, and the response is always glowing. I baked a batch for some warriors participating in a cardboard fortress battle in Golden Gate Park this weekend. The cookies provided some much needed sustenance after warfare. One of them told me, after asking for seconds, that he usually doesn't like butterscotch, but that these cookies were really good. Mmm...

Posted by greeeenwithenv to Bumbling Bees - Food at 5/08/2006 02:40:00 AM

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Mycroft Holmes series

Remember when I was so excited about discovering a previously-unread mystery series featuring Mycroft Holmes, the brother of the reknowned Sherlock? This series is authorised by Dame Jean Conan Doyle, and I guess that gave me high expectations of it.

Now that I've finished the first in the series, Against the Brotherhood, and am halfway through the second, Embassy Row, I have to declare myself disappointed.

Mycroft Holmes, a shadowy but powerful figure in the British government, was mentioned a few times in the original Sherlock Holmes stories. Though both possessing formidable intellects, Mycroft was a portly, more sessile character who worked outside the public eye.

In Quinn Fawcett's version, Mycroft assumes disguises as Sherlock is wont to do, and gets out and about a little more than he was allowed in the Canon, but there seems to be a spark missing for me. Perhaps it's because the books are narrated by his secretary, Paterson Guthrie, with excerpts from his butler's diary at the end of every chapter that - though they contribute to the story - tend to detract from the momentum. But then, most of the Sherlock stories were narrated by Watson.

No, I think it's just that Mycroft is less charismatic. Although Fawcett tries hard to recreate Mycroft as a man of action, as well as of thought, he doesn't quite succeed in helping Mycroft doff his original characterisation as a largely sedentary creature.

And while Sherlock's deductions and thinking processes may be a mystery to the reader for a while, all is revealed at the end, and we can fully marvel at his brilliance. Not so with Mycroft. In addition to having heavier political overtones, a good number of his directives, actions and thoughts remain unexplained in the book.

And though Sherlock's weaknesses are obvious and at times even self-destructive, the passionate nature that's part and parcel of his tremendous intellect is - I think - what has endeared him to generations of readers and made him approachable and unforgettable. The tortured, genius hero, if you will.

So, although I will finish Embassy Row, and may pick up another Mycroft book somewhere down the road to give him another chance, I think I'd enjoy re-reading part of the Canon and waiting for the next Mary Russell book more. Yes, I remain faithfully yours, Sherlock. Posted by Picasa

Posted by Lana to Bumbling Bees - Books at 5/06/2006 05:40:00 PM

Friday, May 05, 2006

Love at first glance

I signed up for a 5-issue subscription to Interweave Knits a while back when they were having a special: 5 issues for just $19.00! Considering it's $6.99 an issue in the bookstores, that's quite a bargain. I could have gotten the issue that was out then, the Spring '06, but I didn't really like all that many of the patterns. Luckily, I was able to ask the customer representative at IK to make my subscription start with the summer issue.

My Summer 2006 issue of IK arrived today in the mail! I'd scoped out the preview online, but it's much better in the flesh, as it were. I was going to post a picture of the cover, but then I realised that there's a subscriber-only password on it. So many things I'd want to knit - it's a damn shame that the summers are probably pretty short up here.

I love sweaters, I truly do. I like them when they're warm and snuggly and soft and fuzzy in the winter. I like fluffy, delicate mohair, the luxurious bloom of cashmere and alpaca, the clearly delineated lines of cables, the big and small textures of guernseys, the intricate yet natural colour schemes found in Fair Isle knits - I love them all. But I just don't enjoy the winter all that much. I don't like bundling up in layer upon layer of clothing just because I can't take the cold. I hate schlepping a huge overcoat around when I'm shopping inside a mall. I'm really annoyed by the fact that I can only fit about a quarter of the clothing I would squeeze into a suitcase in summer when I'm travelling. Yes, during the winter I really miss the freedom of spring and summer clothing.

That's why these light, little numbers appeal to me so much! This lissome Bias Corset by the master of shaping, Annie Modesitt. Can a girl ever have too many camisoles? I don't think so! We need them in every colour and design under the sun, to go by themselves or under shrugs, jackets, blazers and cardigans. And can I help it that they made it in my favourite colour, a sigh-worthy powedery lilac-blue?
Ooohh.....and look! Laaaaaace! How can anyone resist lace? I love the look of it, and I've definitely fallen in love with knitting it. Of course, I'm not all that impressed by the coloured embroidery on this Bonita Shirt by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark. I consider it a little de trop. But otherwise, this definitely looks like something I would enjoy making and wearing. And this issue of IK has various articles on lace! There's even mention of my blog-idol, Eunny Jang, whose blog See Eunny Knit is always an inspiration to me.
Here's picture of the Lotus Blossom Tank (by Sharon Shoji), which appears on the cover. More lace, and in South West Trading Company's Bamboo yarn, which I've been dying to try, but couldn't decide what I wanted to make with it. Now I know!

Yup, definitely drool-worthy. So here's extra motivation to find a regular job that pays well, get a car so I can drive around hunting for LYSs, and finish my WIPs and UFOs so I don't feel guilty for starting another (or another five or six) projects!

Excuse the poor photography. The postman folded the magazine up in the mailbox, and the crease really caught the light. You can see all the other projects in this issue here. Posted by Picasa

Posted by Lana to Bumbling Bees - Crochet at 5/05/2006 06:22:00 PM

Blanket Guilt Trip

What, you ask, have I been doing these past few weeks? It seems as though all us bumbling bees have gone quiet. I know Moocow is busy with final papers and projects, but what are Kea and Greenwithenvy doing?

Well, I think I'm about 85% moved in and settled into my new place at the moment. Why just 85 percent? I'm missing a few critical items of furniture and storage/organisation items, so I still have stuff in boxes that I can't put away and, with no car and not much money, that probably won't be changing for a good while yet.

I've been looking for jobs, interviewing and goofing around at home, although I worked yesterday and the day before. Uninspiring stuff as a receptionist for a law firm, whose phone system is whack and makes my life, and theirs, extra difficult. It seems they want me to go back next week and, even though I'm reconsidering the thought that any job is better than sitting at home, I'm not really in a position to turn down work.

But I wasn't idle while I was at home. Seriously, my stash of UFOs was constantly reprimanding me. Especially that crocheted baby afghan, which I've been working on half-heartedly since sophomore year of college. So I've been working on it with a vengeance, even though all those rows of clusters were beginning to get to me. Here's a close-up of the stitch pattern.

So, as you can see from the picture at the top, I've finished the body of the afghan and have finally started working on the edging. (In the background, you can see my desk and parts of my new home!) But now that I'm nearing the finish line (on round 4 of eight rounds of edging) I can see that I'm not going to have enough yarn to finish!

Thinking back quite a ways, I am almost positive I got the yarn from the Ames that used to be in Ithaca. Well, it went out of business and closed down. Fortunately, I don't believe this yarn should be too difficult to come by; it's just some RedHeart Baby Sport Pompadour. Since I'm already at the edging, I figure a slight change in shade from a different dye-lot shouldn't matter too much.

Of course, I could just leave the edging as it is now (see there, on the left?). It looks like a decent edging, doesn't it? Of course, the finished edging would look much better. Should I try and hunt down some more yarn, given that I'm transportation-challenged now?

And does anyone have a baby I can give this to? Posted by Picasa

Posted by Lana to Bumbling Bees - Crochet at 5/05/2006 12:34:00 PM