Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Donation Update 2

It's the end of the month and I just made another 2 donations!
Thank you all.  Again, this has been a success.  150 patterns sold !! that's a record for me, and it means $600.

So here is the list all the donations I've made:
El Dorado Animal Services - $55 of goods from their Amazon wish list.
El Dorado Animal Services - $100.
Wylie Animal Rescue Group - $100.
Dog Town Rescue - $100.
Lake Tahoe Humane Society - $100.
Nevada Humane Society - $100.
Nevada ASPCA - $50.

And to echo your help, I also made small personal donations of $35 each to Kritter Kamp, and Furever Shih Tzu Rescue.

I will extend sales of Christmas Trees pattern in January for donation. Please make sure to redeem the coupon code peace2015 when you purchase next pattern by January 31st at Ravelry.

I hope you have a wonderful new year!

Thursday, December 17, 2015


A quick update and a big thank you for all your help on the donation.

So far 139 patterns of Christmas Trees sold.  That makes it $556, an even bigger success than last year's donation drive. You guys are super amazing.

I called the shelter (El Dorado County Animal Services) where I got Ritchie and inquired about donation.  They told me they have a wish list on Amazon.  So I  spent $55 and picked up a few things from their wishlist. Also I wrote a check of $100 to the shelter.  I've decided to start with the county animal service is because adoption rate around our area is very high so they work with Rescue groups of other areas to bring in dogs for adoption. Like Ritchie, who came from a Bay Area rescue group, and he is now a very happy Tahoe dog, loving the snow and the trails in the woods.
Also, made a $100 donation to Wylie Animal Rescue Foundation  located in north shore of Tahoe. $100 to Dog Town Rescue located in Carson City, and $100 to Lake Tahoe Humane Society located in South Lake Tahoe.

I will be donating the remaining $101, hopefully plus more in the coming weeks.

A big shout out to all of you who helped with the donation.  Thank you!!!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Christmas Trees

Holiday season is upon us.  This year, to make a little donation to local animal rescue / shelter group. I'd made a new pattern, Christmas Trees.  The pattern includes 5 trees designs, 3 in cables and 2 in lace.
They are quick knits. The pattern also includes how to make paper cone stands and how to make the lace trees free standing.

100% of proceeds will be donated to local animal groups.
And if you purchase the pattern via Ravelry, you will receive 20 % with next pattern purchase from my Ravelry store between now and January 31st, 2016 as my little thank you to your help.  Just remember to enter coupon code peace2015 when you make your next purchase.

I hope you and your family have a warm holiday season!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Truly, Madly, Deeply

I got a new pattern!  This one had to be kept a secret from the beginning.  But it's finally up and now available as a kit at Craftsy. Single pattern will be available in late February.

It was hard to keep it a secret as I was really excited about this design. After several trial and errors, I was able to land with lace motifs I liked, and they were in shapes of hearts.

This is a crescent shaped shawl using Cloudborn Baby Alpaca Fingering.  I admit initially when I agreed to do the design I wasn't expecting much with this new yarn line.  But I honestly love this yarn.  It's luxurious, and it feels next to skin soft even with alpaca.  And it lends a lot more depth to colors, and it shows off stitches more than variegated or tonal dyed yarn.  I really enjoyed knitting with this beautiful alpaca yarn.

Many thanks to my testers Vicki, Lena, and Heidi. Also a special shout out to Vicki for allowing me to steal her project title as the name of this pattern.

Now onward to the next design.

Friday, October 23, 2015

When Skies are Grey

I got a new pattern this morning.  It's a jacket, and I knitted in bright neon yellow.  I'm calling the pattern "When Skies are Grey".

It uses worsted weight yarn. It has pockets, peter pan style collar, and zippers, what more fun can one have?

Monday, September 14, 2015

New Patterns for This Early Fall

I got a new pattern up in Ravelry.  It's Season of Persimmons. 
It comes in 8 sizes 30, 33, 35, 38, 41, 46, 49, 51.  The sizes are based on chest measurements of finished sweater in inches.
It's a pattern I'm rather proud of and it's actually reversible too. So, this brightens up my Monday!

Also, a while back, I got 2 patterns published and I never got around to post them here.
First, After Chrysalis.  It's a triangular shawl worked from top down, and pattern includes it 2 sizes.

Also, Early in June Shawl. My version of this top down triangular shawl was knitted in linen yarn and I love, love, love the look and feel of linen.  It's well worth the extra effort of knitting with linen.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Handspun Shawl

Semester started this week.  I was too exhausted to post my latest project, a handspun shawl that I finished last week until now.  This semester, I ended up teaching one extra class because they couldn't find anyone to teach it.  Now I'm kicking myself for saying yes.  As much as I need the extra income, the schedule really sucks. It leaves me with little time or energy to do anything else. I sure hope I can still squeeze in time for some knitting this fall.

I used the Polwarth from Doodles in String that I spun coupla years ago, and needle size #6.  It's a top down triangular shawl with very simple stockinette stitches in handspun for the main section and Elann Baby Silk  for the lace border.  The colors of the handspun were just lovely, Chris sure knows how to dye beautiful yarns and fibers. Initially I was hesitant to pair the delicate colors with a shocking deep red for the border, but I went for it anyway and sure glad I did.

The lace border was a last minute design, and I dig it.  Unlike the usual way of designing the border before I start the first stitch of shawl, this time, I knitted the plain section to use up most of the handspun yarn first, then swatched for the border that will work with the stitch count.  The border design took 2 tries. First one was OK, but as it was laying on the floor to dry, I noticed I like the design upside down more. So I re-designed and re-swatched the second one with the motif flipped upside down and made some slight modifications.

Loving this shawl. Hating my work schedule. Hoping for more knitting to come.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

August Sweater

Hello, I'm back.
And with a sweater to report.

I know, it has been a while since my last post.  Truth be told, life is just so routine, which I rather enjoy as I'm get older.  I feel so lazy and uninspired to talk about myself and my routine life.

The one thing that's newly added to my daily routine this summer is hour long walk with Ritchie everyday. It's something we both look forward to. He has also been going on hikes with us that ranged 3 to 5 hours. Being a good trooper that he is, he just keeps trudging along with his short legs. He's more like a teenage boy compared to Cody, who was like a toddler. When Ritchie doesn't want to be patted or cuddled up, which is half of the time when he's napping, he would make grumpy noise or simply walk away. Seriously? Shih Tzus are supposed to be a lap dog that LOVE to be cuddled. But he does not likes to sit in anyone's lap at all! He's rather independent minded.  The only time he ever barks is when big dogs approach him too aggressively by putting paw on his back of sniff him for too long. He doesn't take crap from them whereas Cody would roll over submissively.  So, I'm just having a great time finding out his likes and dislikes and little antics of his, and every once in a while feeling rejected when he turns away as I am about to pat him.    

See, isn't it more fun for me to not talk about just me?
But I do have some knitting to report. So here we go.

This sweater was knitted top down in one piece from neck to underarm with raglan style sleeves. The front was knitted separately top down to underarm, then join the back in rounds from underarm to hem.  Sleeves were then worked in rounds after the body was finished.

Even though I designed some lacy sweaters and shawls, my personal daily style is rather un-delicate. So sometimes I'd design delicate stuff to satisfy my design curiosity, and other times, I designed things more wearable for me. This time I wanted something I'd wear comfortably. I was inspired by the monotonous use of textures in men's sweaters, and I wanted to design a sweater that's using the similar feel with a more feminine silhouette. After some thinking and swatching, I decided on combining 2 textures, 1x1 ribbing and twist stitches columns. And top it with the triangular, faux-shrug neckline.

The yarn I used Elann LE Lana Pura, a soft DK weight yarn from stash, and needle size #4.

It took quite a few re-dos to work out the front section, and that was not even the most frustrating part. Knitting the endless monotonous twist stitches was a big test on my patience. First, it was over 80 degrees out most of the time, and inside the house felt like 90 degrees in the afternoons if I forgot to draw the curtains earlier in the day.  And I'd been covered by bug bites the whole summer due to extra buggy this year in the woods.  Then the stitches were not exactly the fast going kind.  The twist stitches was so frustrating working with a yarn that is plied with hundreds strands (OK, maybe 50 strands.)  The yarn was great to work with in plain stockinette stitch or ribbing. But it turned in to a source of frustrating splittiness for twist stitches. Within 2 days I started to feel stress tension around my shoulders. Fortunately, I got into reading a book that I didn't work on the sweater for days. When I got back to it, I was a lot more relaxed. Somehow, the twist stitches all of sudden became tamed and flowed smoothly for the rest of the sweater.

The striping on the sleeves was an impulsive decision.  I was wearing my stripey pajamas pants while knitting, and the combination to the texture just seemed right, not to mention I was dying to do some stockinette stitches.

In the end, I really, really like this sweater. I like the way it fits, not too fitting as I gave it about 2" positive ease.  This neckline construction was experimental for me.  I'm very thrilled it worked out as I'd hoped.  Even though I doubt many knitters would want to knit endless ribbing plus endless twist stitches, I still wrote up a pattern for it, just because I really like this sweater.  I'm hoping to get it published later in Fall or Winter when it's not crazily hot to knit a sweater.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Just a pair of Socks

Nothing earth shattering to report. It's just a pair of socks I knitted.  Yarn was unraveled from a previous failed socks.  I used Artyarn Ultramerino 4, in color 154.  I have to say I really love this colorway.  I used needles #2, probably should've used #1.  Oh, well.

When I cast it on, I wanted a mindless knitting, so I just CO 60 sts and mostly followed directions in the socks book Sensational Knitted Socks for 54 or 62 sts of working from ankles to toes.  The stitch I picked was Snowdrop Eyelets from the stitch library book Super Stitches Knitting.

Yup, it was mindless of taking a stitch from a stitch book and plug it into the formula of another book. Easy peasy.

I do love knitting socks.  I don't even mind it as much knitting the second socks the way I always feel like second sleeve is such a chore.  Now I'm a happy owner of a new pair of happy socks.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


I finished this sweater over a week ago, but guess who was too lazy to take photos until now?
The yarn used was Quince & Co, Chickadee, a sports weight yarn. One of my favorite yarns for sweaters.

First I made up the stitch motif at the bottom thinking perhaps a sweater, but unsured.  Once the swatch was done, I had a fairly good idea what I was going to do with it.  I knew it would be slightly loose fitting with gentle gathering above chest line, and set-in sleeves to be picked up around armhole.

I first thought about working it top down, but since I swatched the motif from bottom up, I decided against spending more time to re-swatch and re-chart. The motif used cable and few eyelets.  

The sweater construction was seamless, worked in round from hem to underarm, then divided front and back at underarm.  There is a slight overlap at the front V neck.  I used 3 needle BO to join front and back at shoulders. Sleeve stitches were picked up around armhole, then after a round of decrease, short rows were worked to create the sleeve cap, and rest of the sleeves were worked in round. Finally, the collars was picked up stitches around the V neck and shaped with short rows.

The sleeves took me 3 tries to get it to look right. I had bulbous shape near cuff at first, and I just didn't like it, it looked ridiculous. I changed it to bell shape but it ended up too long, I had to shortened it by ripping back and redo the cuff at higher point.

How much do I like it?  I absolutely love it. I love the hem, the neckline, and the cuffs.

One thing though, I'm a bit embarrassed by my not so perfect knitting skill.  The picked up sts for the sleeves took 2 tries to make sure I picked up sts consistently from the same legs.  The way I knit creates not the most even tension fabric, hence not the most photogenic with close-ups. I knit English style but without yarn wrapping around my finger to keep even tension. Not to make too many excuses, but I have the so called "trigger finger" that my middle finger of my right hand gets locked up very often when I bend it. It's rather painful each time I forced it straight by forcefully bending it back up. But if I don't do that, the finger stays locked up for days in the bent position.
Well, and I'm not proud to say that even though I'm embarrassed, I still have very little desire to get better with knitting perfect fabric.

Can I just say I'm happier with my design skills than my knitting skills.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Pomegranate Shawl

Another shawl for the summer.  I actually finished the knitting over a week ago, but I was too lazy to post about it.

So here it is, Pomegranate.

It was the first time using Wollmeise yarn for me. It's 100% Merino Superwash, in color Kurbis, using needle #6.

Wow I loved using this yarn for shawl.  It stretched out effortlessly during blocking process into a lacy fabric. I didn't have to block it too aggressively, it just opened up beautifully with the loose gauge. The shawl turned out to be 70" wide x 12 1/2" tall. perfect.

Though the yarn may not be squishy as some other merino, but I like it. I'd definitely use it again for a shawl.  And the famously beautiful and saturated dye job of the yarn barely had any dye ran in the soaking process, I was impressed.

Friday, June 26, 2015


Finally, some good news after a week of feeling so angry and upset at all that's happening around the country. Black people, in the year of 2015, are still being killed because of their skin color. A flag that symbolizes a history of hatred and slavery, in the year of 2015, is still being flown at a state capital.
But today, one step forward for this country:
US Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.

It really shouldn't be a radical idea in 2015, to ask everyone, regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, to be all be treated equally, and able to have the same rights.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Just For the Heck of It

Sometimes, I do things because I simply couldn't help it, even knowing the result isn't going to excite me much.

Proof: this shawl.

I just let my curiosity took over.  In my head, I already knew it would not be nearly as lovely as the Linen shawl I did previously, even though it's the exact same pattern.  But I just had to do it to really see how the FO looks
I used thicker yarn, sports weight, Classic Elite Fresco, which is a wool/alpaca/angora blend, and larger size.

The linen version came out more than I'd hoped because Sparrow the yarn has very subtle pearly sheen, and with the natural color, it looked rather classy.
This one, on the other hand, fun, but kinda like a granny square (without the squares) afghan looking, but not exactly in the retro chic way.  Granny squares are cool, just not wearing it as a delicate shawl. In my opinion, it's not bad, but it's just kinda OK.

Nothing wrong with kinda OK at all, especially if it totally satisfied my curiosity, so I can now move on to next design.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Linen in Early June

After the linen dresses and skirt, I'd continued with my obsession with linen.
To use up the remnant of linen fabric I had, I made few bags, with zippers to zip close.
I love totes, but I don't use them much because I like my bags with total closure.  So I made myself coupla linen bags with zippers.

I decided to make a little "logo" that says yellowcosmo using bleach pen just for the fun of it.

Then I just wanted another linen shawl.
As I really dig the small butterfly motif on my Butterfly Lace Shawl, I decided I'd modify it a bit and make a linen shawl using the motif.

The border was improvised last minute, quick improvisation.  This shawl is a bit different than my usual shawl design, it has all over motif and rather minimal edging.

The shawl came out more like a shawlette at 50" wide x 22" tall. I only had 2 skeins of Quince & Co Sparrow in color Sans and I didn't want to wait for more to complete a shawl.  I used up every bit of the the 2 skeins with only 2 yards left.  The design can be modified easily into larger shawl. I may just make another larger one using non-linen. With needle #4,  the shawl came out airy enough.

I wasn't sure how shawl would look, but I really just enjoyed making of the shawl so I didn't really care.  And I was very pleased that it turned out rather nicely.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Butterfly Lace Shawl

I promised myself to make some shawls this summer.

I started with an abstract lace design.  After 3 tries, I was very not thrilled.  I didn't like the motif for many reasons, one of which was it felt too familiar as others I'd designed, like I was just rehashing the same thing. The other one, the design was just not good at all.  I sat around and didn't know what to do for coupla days. Then it came to me that I should go with a butterfly motif, something more concrete to start with. When I didn't have any good ideas of motif nor could I just find a flow and be inspired, it helped to have a concrete shape to guide me, even if I'd preferred a more abstract motif.  Well, I'll save that for next time.

the failed designs

yay, butterflies!  
I went with the bottom one for less fillet looking lace.

Here, after 2 tries, I felt a lot happier.
I knew immediately it's gonna be a triangular shawl to both echo the shape of the butterfly, and to keep the elongated shape of the butterflies.  Yes, I finally learned from my experience, crescent shawl does stretch out the motif sideways when blocking.

I kept waffling back and forth about the body whether I should keep it simple in stockinette stitch or find something from stitch dictionary to make it more all over lace.  I decided I'd go for the simple stockinette stitch and started knitting.

As I moved passed half of the shawl, I thought, "why not simple butterfly motif so the transition from plain to border is softer?" I put aside the shawl and spent the day coming up with a motif that would work since I didn't find anything that fits the idea from my collection of knitting dictionaries. (Little confession, I only have 2 knitting stitch dictionary books, I feel like I should get more to be a proper designer, but somehow I always end up spending money on more useless things.)  

I'm pretty thrilled with it the transition lace. In the end, I might be even more thrilled with it than the large lace border.  Somehow, the lace border ended up more abstract than I thought they were in the swatch.  Not that it mattered much in my eyes.

I used Madelinetosh Prairie, a lace weight, single ply yarn from my stash.  The color is called Thunderstorm, a dark subtle variegated black/charcoal. The shawl used about 715 yards. It's a pretty good yarn yarn to work with.  (Another confession, I generally don't care working with lace weight yarn.) I used needle size 6 for an airy fabric. Couldn't help it, I added some beads to the last 3 RS rows that matches the color of the shawl. I wanted the beads to add just a little weight to the otherwise very light shawl.

All in all, it's personally a great exercise, some problem solving and learning how not to get so hung up a direction. I'm happy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

About Sewing

OK.  I forgot to add to my last post coupla things I've learned and found very helpful with sewing. Like I'd mentioned many times, I'm not a very skillful seamstress, so I thought I'd share with others who are on the same boat as I am, few things I've learned along my way, in case you too find it helpful.

First, a tip I learned from somewhere on Pinterest, when sewing zippers use scotch tape to tape down zippers instead of pinning. It worked like a charm, much faster and easier than pinning.

Second, I've been doing this for a while, and hands down, this is the best way to sew sleeves. I swear by this method instead of the cumbersome method that usually comes with pattern instructions. No more fear for fitting sleeves into the armhole, and I only use one pin for each sleeve, at the shoulder seam:
  1. Join the front and back at shoulders, but NOT at body side seams. Sew, then press open the shoulder seams. 
  2. Pin the tip top of sleeve to the shoulder seam. Sew from top to underarm on the front (or the back), 
  3. Then sew from the top to the underarm of back (or front.)
  4. Join sleeves in round and body in round, starting from the cuff, sew sides of sleeves together to underarm, then continue onto side seam from underarm to hem.  (if you have to, trim off a little so the sleeves and body meet at the same place at underarm.)
Basically keep the clothing flat, and work in flat as much as possible before sewing on the main side seam.

A Mini Summer Linen Collection

I'm usually very obsessive with knitting.  But with the end of semester last week, I really couldn't help but wanted some instant gratifications.  At the end of a school year, I'd used up all the patience I had and not had.  Instant gratification was all I could think of.  Sewing offered that, so I became obsessed with sewing for coupla weeks.

This past winter was a warm one, so warm that I only wore my down jackets a few times when I normally live in them. The early spring was warm too, so I couldn't wait to work with the linen/linen blend fabric in my closet for summer. As luck would have it, the weather turned cold this past 2 weeks, with snow and rain.   No matter.  I finished a small "collection" of summer wardrobe.

I used pattern I drafted in the past and made modifications to necklines, fits, details, etc.  I made some preliminary designs in my head. A little confession, for someone who teaches drawing, I actually don't often sketch out my designs for knitting or sewing, everything is all about day dreaming in my head. Of course, there were also a lot of modifications and improvisations (in my sewing world, improvisations is mostly a nice word for "winging it".)

I started off with a dress made of dark grey linen, and added some accent fabric to pockets and the pleat at the back.
The neckline came out a bit tight, so I cut a notch for a split neck look.

Then I used the same linen and accent fabric to make a skirt with welt pocket.  
I had a lot of fun with this one, even if it came out a bit too "designy." I made a faux wrap skirt, using gray linen for a curved wrap to show off the contrast color cotton printed fabric. The backside was just gray linen. 

With enough fabric left, I realized I could make a bag, and why not.

After I used up all the gray linen, I switched to the natural color linen blend with wavy pattern cotton for a dress, a top and a skirt.
The dress has a tie at the bottom of V-neck neck band, and accent color fabric were added for the double layered pockets.  

Sadly, against my better judgement, I didn't wash the fabric first before I cut and sew. The dress shortened significantly after I washed it, a tad too short for my taste.  I may go back and add a bad of the same linen fabric to the bottom. But I love the look of the dress. 

Then I made the skirt. I used the fabric sideways for the wavy print to orient the way I wanted. 
This meant less stretch and I did not take that into consideration. It came out very tight around waistband.  The waist band was originally done in the same wavy fabric, I ended up having to cut that off to loosen up the skirt. So I used bias tape to finish off waistline instead a nice thick band.  
This skirt has pockets too. As you can see, I love pockets on clothes.

And I decided I wanted a linen top to go with the skirt.  It's very simple with pintuck detail at the front. I ended up sewing a straight stitch line 1/2" from hem, and made the hem fringed with raw edge. 

I was going to include a pair of pants, but I ran out of fabric. Next time, when I go into town, I'll make sure to get some more of the natural color linen blend for pants, as I really like how it feels.

All in all, I'm fairly happy with the pieces. The only regret is the natural color linen dress is a bit short, it's wearable, but just not exactly the length I'd like it. I do think a band of the same fabric would add a subtle detail and that could solve the problem. 

OK, I think I will start some knitting since I promised myself coupla shawl designs for the summer.