Monday, July 30, 2007

On names, part 2

I did get a chance to visit with my grandparents last week and get a bit more information out of them about names. Turns out that they gave DH a name while they were on a naming roll after successfully coming up with something quite nice for Baby Buddha.

So for DH, they gave him the name Wang-Aun. Which when I first asked what it meant, my mother told me, well Wang, that's just a name. And Aun, well that means "peace". Which yields - that's right - peaceful wang. I'll tell you what... DH certainly is no peaceful wang. If anything, that wang is pretty darned aggressive.

But then my grandparents clarified that Wang can be translated into Brilliant - not like supa smaht or anything, but more of the "awesome" variety as one might observe in England. I like that much better, Brilliant Peace.

Does your name have any special meaning?

Friday, July 27, 2007

That's right... it's auntie spaz to you

And I must say... my nephew has just the cutest little buddha face I've ever seen. Baby Buddha was born early early early on Wednesday morning about 10 days early.

And the best thing about a brand new baby? Little baby toes... I can make socks for those pretty quickly, right?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Well, I've been tagged by Kate for a meme, so here goes. I think this is a variation on the 7 things meme, except that it's 8 things. Okay, here goes.

Players start with eight random facts about themselves.

People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

1. I have an unnatural fascination with cute furry animals. DH couldn't help but be amazed at my capacity for giggling at the thought of sheep! running! in a row! on a hill! while we were in a country where sheep outnumbered people 20:1.
2. My favorite food is bacon. Wrap any food in bacon and it's immediately better. I can only imagine bacon wrapped bacon, but that might be a bit much.
3. Despite my love for all pork flavored foods, I'm doing my best at eating vegan at least some of the time. Now ask me how well that's going.
4. I have an addictive personality - witness the binge knitting that goes on around here, and in case you haven't noticed, a nosedive in my knitting output since the acquisition of a certain video game which I'm too embarassed to even talk about. Don't tell DH that I'm waiting for this to come out...
5. I don't really have a favorite color, but it appears that I tend to knit only in pinks, reds, purples, blues, and greens. Hmm... That pretty much just leaves black and white out, now doesn't it? Oh wait, there's still yellow and orange. Um, okay, there must be a reason why I always had a giant stack of yellow, orange and brown construction paper left over in elementary school.
6. My memory is not what it used to be. I used to memorize everything from my driver's license number, to all my credit card numbers, to my car's VIN, to my friends' SSN. That last one, let me tell you, used to freak people out. Now I can't even seem to remember my DH's birthday!
7. I've never *knock on wood* been to the hospital. Well, work doesn't count, does it?
8. I've never had a favorite number. But if I were an actual traditional and therefore superstitious Chinese girl, then I'd be extrememly happy to be ending on an 8th random fact about me. As it were, I just ran out of interesting facts considering I did the 100 things meme a couple of years ago and not much has changed.

Anyway, who to tag? How about recent visitors to chez spazalot?
1. Batty
2. Dave
3. Faith
4. Jo
5. Carol
6. Aura
7. Sara
8. Annette

And because it's been so long since I've posted an FO - a shift from the days when I'd just post the next FO when it was done, or maybe even save up 3-4 of them at a time - the lowdown on Christmas gift number 1.

Peek-A-Boo Cloche
Pattern by Mona Schmidt in Lace Style
Materials: Reynolds Soft Sea Wool (100% wool. 162 yd per 50g) 35g in 320 (purple) and 45g in 221 (charcoal)
Gauge: 7.5 spi
Finished size: About 19" circumference

Started: July 9, 2007
Finished: July 15, 2007

Not much to say here. It went really slowly because of the game I was(am) playing non-stop, punctuated here and there with fits of Harry Potter 6 reading. The pattern is perfectly written and I love the idea of a two layer hat where the contrasting layer shows through. I just wish that I had picked more contrasting colors. You can barely see the purple underlayer peeking through the charcoal top layer.

Reynolds soft sea wool has a whole lot of twist to it and feels not unlike Koigu. I haven't washed it yet, but if it similarly softens up in the wash, then I'm in love! And how could you not? The yardage for the price is ridiculous! It also has a slightly textured feel to the fabric when knit up even in stockinette.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

How do I hate me... let me count the ways!

I quickly solved the problem of having nothing on the needles and decided that the 4 for me, one for you problem has gone on for too long and I cast on for the peek a boo cloche on Monday night. Here we have it, and also progress on our heirloom tomatoes as well!
I've just turned the brim to start knitting the outside lace part and I'm loving the whole idea of a dual layered hat of contrasting colors. I can swap out the lace pattern (assuming I can figure out the decrease thing) and I'll have a whole new pattern! Great idea Mona!
BTW, those are lady bug stitch markers made by Kate. Aren't they too cute?

Anyway, but that's not why I'm apparently masochistic. Re-reading that last post and planning for hats for everyone for Christmas is sounding a bit like I hate myself. But even better, how about this: An ENTIRE lace sweater made from fuzzy unphotographable black yarn that needs to be seamed. Pshah! More pain please!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

extra ravelry invite

okay, so apparently I was a touch on the anxious side when I first found Ravelry. I put my name in the queue twice. So if anyone out there hasn't signed up for Ravelry yet, leave a comment and make sure you specify your email address and I'll forward my invite to you.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Purple Rain Socks

Purple Rain Socks
Pattern: Based on stitch pattern #222 (Tiny Scales) in Vogue Stitchionary vol. 1
Materials: Socks that Rock Lightweight (100% wool, 370 yd per 4oz skein) 1 skein in Purple Rain colorway. Size US0 Addi Turbos.
Gauge: about 10 spi
Finished size: 6.25" leg from top of heel shaping to cuff, 7.25" circumference, 8.75" heel to toe.

Started: June 12, 2007
Finished: July 8, 2007

I needed a stitch pattern that would minimize any pooling inherent in handpainted yarn because let's face it, this spaz doesn't deal well with unpredictability. I'm far too square to just let it all hang out. So I thought that the Tiny Scales stitch pattern worked well for the handpainted yarn so that it highlighted the changes in the color while not being too busy to get lost. Just enough texture to make it interesting, but not too taxing either so that I couldn't read HP5 at the same time. :-)

In the end, this stitch pattern has no elasticity whatsoever, so precise fit is an issue here. I just hope that this sock will not shrink when I wash it! But, it's also a super dense fabric, so I expect that come winter time, my toes will be extra toasty in these babies. Too bad that's another 6 months away...

Also, can it be that I have nothing on the needles right now? Nothing cast on at all? I think my next project will be Lacy Waves, the Norah Gaughan sweater or the Peek-A-Boo Cloche by Mona Schmidt both from Lace Style. I'm even considering getting a head start on my holiday gift knitting. At least the hat could qualify for both. Or maybe Odessa if I could figure out how to get the beads on the yarn. What do y'all think... a flock of hats for everyone I know for Christmas?

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Sahara... take two

Thank you everybody for the really kind words on my Sahara. Given the positive response on the last post, you're probably all going to think I'm a nutter (sorry, been re-reading/listening to too much Harry Potter lately) when I report what I've been up to.

So DH thought that the top didn't look bad per se, just a bit like a hippie top - a smock if you will. That wasn't the look I was going for and I decided that it was because the neck border just extended too far down the front of the sweater. I knew correcting these issues would require a lot of ripping and I didn't like the idea of all that work being unravelled.

But, in classic Spaz fashion, I couldn't take it anymore. On July 4, I celebrated my independence the only way a knitter could. I ripped back an FO. I ripped out the neck trim and ripped back the bottom all the way to the third waist decrease. This is before stitches are cast on for the bottom of the neck and the piece is started in the round. So I ended up spacing my decreases evenly apart, every 6 rounds, thus removing about 2 inches from the total length and raising the neck line up about 2 inches. I tacked together the front a bit higher and the result: a slightly more petite sweater that I'm much more comfortable wearing. Even if no one else can tell the difference and you're all calling for a straight jacket.

Let me also say that if you don't wash your frogged ramen yarn before re-using it, your stockinette is going to look like total crap. But take heart, at least in this case everything evened out nicely after a quick soak and I really can't tell that this was ripped out and reknit. Well, except that I like it more now.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Wow, this is the most posts this year on a single project. I must have felt guilty after the Destash blog people said I didn't post enough.

Pattern by Wendy Bernard available at Stitch Diva Studios
Materials: Plymouth Royal Bamboo(100% bamboo. 93yd per 50g ball) 330g in color 24. Size US7 and US5 Knitpicks Options.
Gauge: About 5 spi.
Finished size: 29" bust, 25" waist, 23" length when laid flat

Started: June 25, 2007
Finished: June 30, 2007

I spaced out the waist decreases and increases to be every 6 rows for the first 3 decreases, then every 8 and added one more set of decreases/increases. I omitted the shirt tail hem and knit the bottom straight for 8 rounds before starting the diamond rib pattern.

I'm not terribly happy with how my yarn substitution came out. The bamboo itself has a great sheen to it and is silky and cool to the touch. It was a touch annoying because with the pointy tips of the KP Options, I ended up splitting the 12 2-ply strands quite often. I had envisioned that 3" of negative ease would be stifling, but in this yarn, it feels almost loose. I probably could have gotten away with knitting the next size down. I also didn't know that this would grow so much vertically when worn. Laid flat, the garment is the same dimensions as the schematic shows, but worn, it's almost tunic length and the neck line is at my navel. I suspect, however, that this might be a row gauge issue. I thought that I was getting the same row gauge, and so followed the directions row by row instead of measuring. Damn that lying gauge swatch!

If I were to make this again in this yarn, I'd probably shorten everything up. I'd probably also add in a bit of shoulder, back of neck, and armhole shaping to give this more of a set-in sleeve look. As it is, it fits me more like a modified drop shoulder sweater as my actual shoulder width is closer to 12" compared to the sweater's 14".

I should point out, however, that the pattern as written gives very good results without all the fuss of this extensive shaping. The only reason I consider adding shaping is because I just plain like doing it. It helps keep my attention.

But what do y'all think? Is this a keeper for me or should I find someone who's taller and more long waisted than me as a lucky recipient?

Monday, July 02, 2007

on babies and names

Since I have absolutely nothing to show you today as my Sahara is still blocking (yes, I finished it on Saturday - I had a bit of a knitting binge while DH was away last week), I have only one random thought to share. Babies are freaking everywhere.

First of all, I'd like to give a little plug for my friend Peggy who is trying to start a career as a doula. I had no idea what a doula was before Peggy started talking about it, but they sound like great resources for expectant mothers. I'd also have to say that Peggy is probably the best person to have around when you're giving birth because, let's face it, having your nether parts exposed to strangers as you're in the worst pain you could imagine leaves no room for niceties. Peggy is one of the straightest talking people I've met, with a real warmth to boot, so I think this combination will serve her well in this chosen career. Go check out her website, Little Bird Birth.

Next, my brother and sister-in-law are nearing the arrival of my nephew. They're either undecided on a name, or being secretive about it as they haven't shared anything with me. The closest thing I have to a name for him is the name my grandfather gave him. See, my grandfather on my dad's side gets to name all the kids who have his name. So what's his name? Well, for lack of being able to spell in Chinese, it's Wah-Sun. Or as my parents would say, Watson. Good thing that's going to relegated to middle name status or this poor kid will end up with too many Sherlock jabs. As with all Chinese names, there is a literal meaning - his name means something along the lines of "problem-free Chinese person". Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, eh? But hey, that's a whole lot better than the literal translation of my Chinese name, "precious flower peasant". ugh, I'll stick with Jen thanks.