Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Knitting Machine

Yes! That's what I got as my Christmas present! I am so loving it...

The assembly was a little on the hard side but thanks to hubby dear, it's all set up and ready to go.

My first thought for the machine are - woah, I can make everything so fast now...I don't have to wait for the days to check what's coming out of my knit, knit, knit effort. One swipe and you have one row finished. Wow, that's quicker than I thought!

On the downside -being a handknitter I kind of miss the connection that the yarn and the process brings. :-( But hey, think about the possibilities :-)And I cannot imagine what a completed project would feel like...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pink and Blue Cardigan revisited

Behind the scenes

I started this sweater when Adya was almost 5 months or so old. I wanted to try the 'Feather and Fan' pattern and so I experimented with these two colors. The result was superb. The wavelike effect looked very nice on the sweater. I used US 10.5 and thus the sweater grew quickly. I finished the back within a week's time.

Then I started the front and when I reached near completion, I realized it was hard to make the neck because it would end in a wave. I tried many ways to fix it but in vain. Frustrated, I gave up on this piece.

It was lying in some dark corner of the closet until this year I showed it to someone for the pattern info. That's when I decided to work on it again. One day my husband suggested why didn't I make the neck in a square and finish it off. I looked at the piece and guess what, it was the excellent advice! That was the only way to make the neck in a complicated wavy pattern!

So, I picked up stitches from the front end and made a u-neck with all pointed edges. Then I joined the shoulders in invisible join stitch. And finished the sweater by making the front button-strip.

I was never this happy to get a sweater completed than this one. And what's more satisfying is that it fits her well even after a year. And special thanks to hubby dear! :-)

The front view of the cardigan

The back of the sweater - there is no neck band in this part

Legwarmers completed

Here are the pic of the completed legwarmers.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book

Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book

Vogue Knitting Magazine Editors (Author)
Price: $25 (check the site for deals)

I had seen this reference book in the bookstore and liked it. When I finally got a better look later at the local library I loved the description, detail and the lucidity of the instructions in it. So, I asked my husband to buy this for me. He ordered it online and had it delivered a couple of days prior to Mother's Day! So this is my official gift :-)

I opened it like a treasure and turned the pages with utmost care. The smell of a new book is as pleasing to a reader as a well-done pizza to a food-lover!

I am enjoying this book ever since. Being the first and the only knitting book that I own this book has topped the list of books to be reviewed.

The Review

As I said before, this book has everything in very clear detail. It can very well be used and appreciated by a new or an experienced knitter. The book has knitting instructions from simple cast-on, binding off and everything in between.

There are multiple techniques explained with example and the format is easy to follow. So if you are a beginner, all you have to do is, understand the terminology and walk along the steps mentioned and in no time, you would be able to knit a simple scarf. When you gain some confidence in holding the needles and ready for something more challenging, there are patterns and samples that you can refer to. For an experienced knitter, there are the advanced techniques elaborated.

The most important thing that I loved about the book is that it teaches you how to have an estimate of the yarn you would need for some project. That's something I hardly found in any other book. Another nice thing is the special section devoted to the designing of a knitwear. Right from the basic guidelines to intricate patterns and their desired effects, the book has it all.

I will surely recommend this book to anyone who has interest in knitting and would want to experiment with style. There are many new things one can learn at any experience level.

Bottom line

If you are a knitter, want to learn to knit, or just looking for a reference book to give to someone who loves to knit, yes, go ahead, buy this book. It's worth it.

The Fun of Frills

These are written by Nicky Epstein, a genius knitting artist. She has great taste and I am glad she shared her wealth of knowledge. Many of my pieces has her influence.

Here are three of her books that I have read. I will post the detailed review shortly.

This book is a total visual feast!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book

I will soon post the review of this excellent knitting book I own.

Another catagory coming up in Creativity Corner

Hola! It's a beautiful sunny day in Fremont and what can be cozier than sitting down with your laptop, nibbling on buttered sweetpotato cubes and enjoying the new ideas floating around. One such cool idea I just had is to arrange the book-list I regularly refer to as part of my creativity mission.

Details of the cool idea

I am talking about the books I have read, consulted, or taken inspiration from, mainly for the purpose of creating art, crafts and other stuff in life.

Then, if time permits, I will also try to put a few words about the non-arts books I would read along the way. I will compile a list of the books I have read or have been meaning to read under separate sections. I guess that will bring back memories of near and far; about people I think about and also things that shaped the 'present me' of my personality.

What do I usually read

I love to read non-fiction. I strongly feel that life is the best thing to write about and the next best thing is to know and learn from the experiences of others. Have you seen Sideways? There is a character in the movie who bumps into a novel-writer (a manuscript actually and is waiting to hear from the publishers) and asks him why is he even bothered about the fiction, there is so much more in real life than making up a story about people who don't even exist! He completely reflects the thoughts I have about fiction. The writer can make the character do impossible things, can make people have change of heart any time and the topper is that the end can be altered at any point!

People have been the greatest source of inspiration to me. And that's the reason why biographies interest me so much. I think, the list will be dominated by them, but we will see what other contenders would be.

My strong bond with libraries

I could not thank my stars enough when we moved to California where we went to one of the best libraries of the world - Santa Clara Central Park Library.

It has amazing collection of biographies! You name it, they have it (well, almost!) They also have an immense collection of pretty much everything else.

I have been a member of all the main libraries of Bay Area. Besides above mentioned, I would rate Sunnyvale, San Jose, Cupertino, Mountain View, and Alameda libraries in my spare time. So let me close this posting with a thread for the next one - The new category would be called Book Reviews.

Thanks for reading and feel free to recommend the books you liked. That might jump on this list.

Monday, December 8, 2008

New Legwarmers for Adya

These were on my to-do list for a really long time. So, finally, I worked on these over the weekend.

I will post more pictures once it's completed.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Multicolored Full Sleeved Sweater Swatch

I made this swatch to test and try a color scheme that I have in mind for Adya's new pullover.

I am not very excited by the final effect. :-( I have to rethink over the stripes and their placement against each other. The color-play seems incomplete without blue. And I don't have any blue in the same type of yarn.

Project postponed!

Pondering Over the Painting

I am thinking of completing this painting that I started some two years back. It needs a lot of work.

First, I need to buy some new brushes. The 2 I had are not in the greatest shape anymore. Once there, I will have to touch the right side of the work with the pastel shades of oil colors. Not sure how well I would be able to capture the effect of light but I will try nonetheless.

Then I will give a second coat to the left side and finally heap up some paint on the overall picture.

So, what I am looking at is atleast a month of uninterrupted dedication. If I wok from weekend to weekend, the target date should be sometime close to March. Let's see if I can meet that deadline.

If I come anywhere close to restart this work, I would consider that a success. :-)

Red Scarf

This is the latest I am working on...

This is a yarn mom gave me from her stash. I am trying some simple cable patterns on this scarf.

I casted on 24 stitches and knitted 7 rows in purl st. The central panel has a 4-st cable in the middle of pick-and-purl patterned pillars on either side.

I am not in a hurry to finish this scarf and plan to spend time on it whenever I would feel like knitting.