香櫞們 My Citrons

Citron a la española was finished almost a week ago. It took 5 days to knit, 1 day to block, and almost another week to take a modelled pic for it was really too hot!

Citron a la española was knitted entirely Conitnental style, I did it to practice the style. With fingering weight yarn is much easier to get my hand in than an almost cobweb lace. Towards the end, I decided to apply beaded bind-off. I have some size 8 silver lined yellow Japanese round seed beads in stash and thought they would light a bit the shawlette/scarf. If they were size 6 it would've been even better. I really like the result.

As to my first Citron, the celery-color one, I stopped knitting it for a week to knit the Spanish one, and resumed knitting afterwards. It has 7 sections and I'm on the ruffle edging now. Last Saturday I took it with me to a bead store near my parents house in hopes of finding some beads that will match the celery/mint green. Luckily, the shop owner showed me some size 8 light green transparent AB beads which nicely compliment my Citron. I bought 1 tael (approx. 37.5g) of them, which should be more than enough for my edging.

Just when I thought I could finish the first Citron in no time, something happened. I will explain it in another post. Anyway, due to that "something", I started another project right away! And the Citron is once again put aside! Here's a little sneak peak:


西班牙版香櫞 Citron a la española

I have always been supporting Spanish National Football Team since I started watching football nearly 20 years ago. They have won, finally, the 201o FIFA World Cup! Since they enter the semi-finals, I've been wanting to knit an accessary - scarf or shawl - in the Spanish flag color. I've been eyeing Citron then, so I decided it would be very nice to knit one a la española. When they won the final, I was hilarious! I HAVE to have one! But I didn't have the colors. Dear friend MaryL has a huge and beautiful stash of fingering weight yarns that she couldn't part with but decided to offer up some for she could never finish knitting them fast enough. So, she rummaged through her stash and offered me two fabulicous yarns: Brooklyn Handspun Soft Spun Plus in Marigold and Fiberspates K1 Sock Yarn in Deep Cherry Red. She had other two colors from Malabrigo Worsted which are much brighter and more closely resemble the Spanish flag colors, but I didn't know what to knit with them and a worsted weight scarf wouldn't be as practical for me nor the climate here.

(L) Brooklyn Handspun Soft Spun Plus Marigold (R) Fiberspates K1 Sock Yarn Deep Cherry Red

After I got the yarn last Saturday, I started knitting the next day. All of a sudden I didn't want to my original Citron, the celery-colored one which was starting on the sixth section. So I wound p the skeins and knitted away. This is my progress as per Sunday evening. I'm on the fourth section now! Soon I will change back to the cherry red and finish this thing!


香櫞 Citron

I saw Citron when it was published but the idea of knitting it didn't cross my mind until recently I saw Linda's Citron. And then a knitter friend also mentioned it. Since I was looking for simple, stylish projects, Citron could be a great one.

Problem is, again, the choosing of the yarn. It doesn't have to be a citrusy color really but I couldn't shake the idea. Frankly, I don't have colors in that category in my stash except for a hank of Cigno Nero 2/25 Lana Pura Vergine Irristrigibile recently procured from Margaret. She brought quite some stash with her while visiting Taiwan in April. This hank caught my eye for its celery-like color and the cool freshness of the color. Besides, I didn't have any yarn of this color. So, although it's pure wool, which means harder to the touch and less drapey, I used the yarn. Cigno Nero 2/25 is about 2/3 the thickness of Malabrigo Lace and due to the characteristic of a plied pure wool lace, the knitting would be loose and airy, but I thought it would be nice for warm weather A/C indoors use.

The true color is between these two

I cast-on with 4mm needles and knitted one section. I wasn't sure about the result and asked for suggestions from my knitter friends. Then it was decided that I change to smaller needles. For the whole knitting was very loose, the garter stitch borders were almost sloppy and the contrast between the ruching and stockinette stitch section was almost none.

First section knitted with 4mm needles

I ripped and recast-on with 3.75mm and knitted the setup section. Still I wasn't quite satisfied. The garter stitch border still looked sloppy although a little better now. So I cast-on again with 3.5mm and finally got a acceptable result.

First section with 3.5mm needles

And knitting went on for two sections. Then it came to me that I could knit the ruchings Continental style which I've been learning/practicing recently and the stockinette stitch part English style. My gauge is tighter if knitted Continental style and thus I thought the ruchings would look more gathered and less airy, more contrast to the plain knitting strips. I have to say that I like the result.

Citron up to 7th row of fifth section. Note the difference between the first two and the last two ruchings. The last two are definitely tighter.


東風西風 Vent d'est vent d'ouest

When knitting the last project Percy Shawl, I thought I could use up the remaining Malabrigo Lace Holly Hock, but a little over a half skein was leftover. Immediately I have the perfect project for it, a lovely design from my dear friend MarieAdeline: Vent d'est vent d'ouest.

She used exactly Malabrigo Lace, and since I wanted a not too wide nor too long cowl (I don't need to pull it over my head), after some homework doing and research on Ravelry, I was sure that the little over a half skein is definitely enough for VEVO, I cast on.

But, I had a bit of struggle at the beginning. I wasn't sure if the knit cast-on indicated in the pattern was going to be elastic enough. I had this struggle before when I was knitting Mystery Stole 4 Serendipity. But that was a stole and this is a cowl which my head has to be able to go through it. I sent MarieAdeline a message asking for advice but I knew she was very, very busy swamped with work, so I decided to go knit cast-on and not try out the stupid lace cast-ons I was thinking about to use. The cast-on was elastic enough, but I twisted the stitches several times. Very rare for me. I figured it was the COMBINATION of the yarn AND the circular needle...First time, I cast-on for lace weight, knitted one or two rounds and found out somehow I twisted it. Ripped and started second time, still casting on for lace weight, and twisted again! After 2 lace weight cast-ons I decided that it was a but wide so I went on and cast-on for the third time for fingering weight, knitted one or two rounds...twisted AGAIN! Started the forth cast-on, this time I cast-on more loosely, thus giving me a little more give to move the stitches around the 60cm circular. Actually I do have 40cm circulars from Clover but the sizing is different, since I was determined to use my new Knit Picks Harmony Wood Interchangeables, I had to put up with whatever inconveniences that come my way. After the forth cast-on, it was all breeze from there. Whew!

So, my advice on lace knitting, regarding cast-on in this case: TRUST THE DESIGNER!

Chart A + Chart B 1 repeat

The Chinese Lace pattern

I had about 27g of yarn and I weighed after every Chart B repeat to determine how many more Chart B repeats I could do. I figured about 4.5g of yarn is used for every Chart B repeat, and after the initial Chart A + Chart B I had 17g left, meaning I could do a little less than 4 repeats, that is: I have to bind-off a row or two before completing the fourth repeat. And so it was. I bound off one row before the last and have about 1m of yarn left!

The cowl measured about 22 inches at the bottom 18 inches at the top, exactly 2 inches narrower that the original size intended for the lace weight version. I didn't block my cowl for after trying on the top automatically loosen up a bit and I like the drape as it is. I thought blocking would make it even looser. I might soak it, pat it over, lay flat and let dry.

As we were at 36 degrees C everyday when knitting VEVO, a modelled picture would be a torture. But somehow the morning after VEVO was finished, I washed my face and neck thoroughly with cold water (actually quite warm for the sun "cooked" the water in the tank on the roof top of our apartment), powdered my neck with baby powder that has cooling ingredients, and put the cowl on. I have to show MarieAdeline how it looks like on a real live neck! As you can see in the photo below I was wearing a spaghetti strap tank self-portraiting in the master bedroom's adjacent bathroom. I didn't realize how strange the combo was until I uploaded the photos to flickr. Should do another wearing cooler weather clothes, 5 months from now!

And now for some really silly photos! I was just trying to see if it can be pulled over my head and yes, it was just make. Anyway, I looked like Arny in South Park, the one that got killed in every episode. LOL

I love VEVO. I've been holding it at night while watching TV with A/C on. Malabrigo feels so good and the pattern so pretty! Thank you MarieAdeline for such a gorgeous design. Bisou!


珀西披肩 Percy Shawl

Percy Shawl was brought up by a dear friend while browsing Ravelry. She loved the frost flower motif and suggested that we make it TKA's next project. Most of us agreed, fascinated by the frost flower, too.

Actually, I've been wanting to knit frost flower since I saw Frost Flowers and Leaves, but I was a novice knitter, very new to lace, and knitting lace on both sides was very intimidating.

I had recently finished a very big project Mandala II for my mother's birthday, which she loves very much, thank God, and I was knitting a bunch of roses just for the heck of it. What I really need was a new project. Something not too big, not too complicated for it's summer in Taiwan and we're at 36 degrees C everyday with NO afternoon thunderstorms, strangely, which should happen as it's a typical sub-tropical summer weather, which means no knitting or no advanced knitting during the day. Anyway, I had to start Percy for we're having it as a KAL and I want a shawlette and I think I have just the yarn for it: Malabrigo Lace.

I have quite a few colors in my stash, blue color family mostly and a little of the color Holly Hock, with which I knitted a Spring Tulips Stole for my trip to Paris last June. I had 4 skeins and used about 2.24 on STS. Although I preferred to use a new color, but eventually settled with Holly Hock. Kind of get-it-out-of-my-sight plus destash-y decision, not that I dislike the color. I LOVE it!

Usually I use a swift and ball winder to wind my yarn, but this time, due to laziness (of taking out the gadgets and setting up), I hand wound it. I was actually quite proud of myself for finally managed to make quite a nice ball!

A Malabrigo hand-wound yarn ball, looks equally nice and soft and fluffy in a ball as it is in a skein or knitting.

Set up rows of Percy

Chart A went on smoothly and I liked the pattern. I thought it a different one until I saw it in knitting, and I liked this better than the one I thought I was knitting! There's a curvy shape outside the little leaves or diamonds, which gives the pattern a softer look and enhanced by the red-purple color it looks even more romantic.

Set-up rows +Chart A

I was very careful while knitting Chart B. Experiences told me that knitting lace both sides requires concentration and good knitting environment. Chart B was knitted mostly at night when the air conditioning was on. I did knit a little during the day but almost everytime I did I ended up unravelling what I knit. Too darn hot. Stuffy mind. There weren't big errors but just...errors. I was knitting quite tightly with 4mm needles and unravelling was a bitch for the unravelled stitches were so tight and very difficult to move on the needles. I had to be very patient not to break the Malabrigo and everytime I finished unravelling a row, I had to take a shower. Somewhere halfway throught the first Chart B repeat, things got better and knitting went on much smoother and I was starting to enjoy knitting frost flowers. I decided to add one more repeat of frost flower before going on to Chart C. Knitting Chart B once doesn't do justice to this shawlette nor the frost flowers. I would've done two more repeats but I wanted a shawlette so one was suffice.

Chart B + 1 repeat

Nupps, strangely enough I hated them before. They gave me a hard time on the two Swallowtails I knitted a couple of years ago. The first one was hell for the yarn I used was too thin too slippery and as a novice lace knitter I knitted double stranded. Bad choice. The second one was better for I googled and searched and found some advice from other knitters and applied a slip 2 purlwise p3tog psso alternative for the nupps. I was quite pleased with the result but I certainly wanted to do it the "proper" way this time. I should say that I can appreciate nupps more for I was reading about Estonian lace knitting recently and discussion have been carried on among knitter friends. I also watched the demo Nancy Bush made on Knitting Daily regarding the nupps and decided to do it exactly as she did. And what do you know? Nupps and I are best friends now! Didn't know why I made such a fuss about it years ago...well, I have much more lace experiences now of course!

Chart C + Edging

Blocking was fun. Come to think of it, I haven't made a triangle shawl for quite a while! And I have more experiences with blocking now and hopefully I can block Percy beautifully. This is how it turned out:

I love the yos on both sides of the center stitch

I like how the frost flowers emerge from the center stitch...

I really love these nupps! I used to hate them, for they were a nightmare for me to make.

This shot gives the evidence of the nice and hot weather we're having here: bright blue sky,fiery sun (hiding behind my Percy) with a stifling breeze...

I really love this shawlette. Too bad I have to wait another 5 months to wrap it around my neck. That's why I don't have a modelled picture! I did, however, wrapped it around my neck in a air conditioned room, just to feel the Malabrigo, the frost flowers and the nupps! <3


一堆玫瑰花 A Bunch of Roses

After completing the grand task of Mandala II and test knitted 2 lace socks, I thought I'd take a break. But, honestly, my hands couldn't just stay idled. I needed some light project, not too big not too smal not too boring, and seriously, it was hard for me to decide under the hot and humid everyday 34+ degrees summer weather of Taipei.

And then it hit me.

Knitted flowers!

I had to knit up something for Scarlett to put on her backpack for identification. She and Sebastian has the same kind of backpack. There were two little knitted bears attached to the zipper but they were torn. So, I fished out some leftover yarn and the Bouquet 2009 diary calendar I got from ISE7 Kathy, and started to knit some roses .

Cabbage Rose. This is for Scarlett's backpack.

Ruffle Rose

Cabbage Roses


A bunch of roses

The above roses took me an afternoon to make. And then I remembered the two skeins of pure mohair tonals which should be very nice for knitting roses. So, more roses were produced. Roses are really easy to knit and really gratifying. Although I suck at sewing, all these roses required sewing to set the spiral shape, still they are pretty to look at.

Cabbage Rose, Scallop Rose, Ruffle Rose and American Beauty Rose (twisted).

American Beauty Rose, Ruffle Rose, Scallop Rose, Cabbage Rose

I was going to knit a draw string bag with the a little over a skein gray heather wool yarn leftover from Oblique and felt it and then sew the mohair roses on. Eventually, I got over the rose bug. Anyway, next time when I got stuck between projects, maybe I can knit up the drawstring bag!


曼陀羅 2 Mandala II

Mandala II was intended for my mother's birthday. The original Mandala was for my grandmother's 80th birthday.

Mandala II took me a little more than 5 weeks to finish. I knitted slowly according to the experiences I had with the original Mandala. Although the original Mandala took me 8 weeks to complete, I was knitting 3 shawl-knit-alongs at the time, my twins were a little over a year old, and I had less advanced lace knitting experiences.

I started late actually, about 10 days after the first clue was given out. I cast on after the second clue was up. I finished in a day or two the first two clues but forgot to knit the set-up rounds in the middle. After a few days, right before the third clue was up, I ripped and started over, knitting correctly this time.

Another reason I intentionally knitted slowly was because of the yarn I used: Hengyuanxiang Knitting Wool. It's the same one as the original Mandala in the color deep red. The weight is between lace and cobweb/gossamer but closer to cobweb. It gave me a hard time while knitting the original Mandala. I used Clover light-weight metal circs and the yarn was so thin and slippery, my hands went numb very quick very easily after a little knitting. I had very tired hands after giving birth to the twins. I didn't knit for a year to tend to the babies. I realized the change in my hands when I picked up knitting again a year later, so I bought a whole set of Clover bamboo circs, which were warmer to my hands. This time, however, I used Knit Picks Harmony Wood Interchangeable Needles, even better! The cables don't have memories and I can start from the very beginning with Magic Loop! Wooden needles definitely have a better grip at the yarn, and I knitted quite tightly, for the smallest needle size I have is US4 3.5mm. Maybe US3 3.25mm would render a better lace definition for this yarn but I thought the finished size knitted with US4 3.5mm is just fine and if I went down a size it would be a little too small. I should've relax a bit and not knit as tight! Anyway, I was pleased with the final lace presentation.

The pattern, as usual, was divided into 5 clues: 4 parts and an edging, one piece per week. And as usual, I had difficulty choosing the pattern for the first 4 sections. This is a shawl for my mother, the pickiest advanced and experienced knitter, so it was not like knitting the original Mandala for my grandmother, if I like it she likes it. In the end, I picked the most complicated pattern from each section et voilà! I knew I succeeded for the moment my mother opened up the shawl she was fascinated by the section 4 lace, which required knitting lace every round. Her comments were: Wow! Look at that! What elaborate and exquisite lace! And than later when I held open the shawl for everyone to see she saw the first 3 sections and said: Hey! There are those complicated little lacey motifs! I didn't see them the first time! They're so pretty! The conclusion: she loves it! She loves the color, too!



I thought if I knitted with a 2 ply lace 2D would have had a much better presentation. With this yarn and knitting stretched out, the pattern doesn't show well.


3C is my favorite pattern. I really love it!

1C2D3C from another angle.


4B took me 2.5 weeks to complete. I knitted very carefully so that I don't make mistakes for it was knitting lace every round, one error would be disastrous.
When knitting the last section of the original Mandala, my son jumped on me, one stitch was dropped, as the yarn was so slippery it went down several rows...in the end, I had to unravel stitch by stitch for 6 rounds--that was 576x6=3456 stitches!! It took me a week salvage the shawl.

1C2D3C4B in black and white to show off more clearly the lace patterns.

Blocking reference

To ensure I get an even length from all points, I drew a circle with my twin's Crayola water soluable crayon, place the soaked shawl over it and blocked.

Blocking in progress.

Note that there was a small gap at the southwest corner of the shawl. That was the beginning/end of the round for edging. Closed it up after blocking. The edging, however, took me much longer than I thought. It should be easy for me but I often made mistakes knitting it for I was usually very tired when I was knitting the edging!

The finished Mandala II with edging.

Introducing: Regina's Mandala II