Thursday, May 31, 2007

Stash enhancement

Boudica sock kit
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
I had two more recent stash enhancements. First of all, I just couldn't resist the Boudica socks by Miriam Felton. I think they'd make lovely kilt hose, adapted for knee-length style and perhaps a foldover cuff. In the mean time I'll "practice" on these regular sized ones. And the kit was from Willy Wonka Fibers - such lovely handdyed blues. Reminds me of comfortable (broken-in) jeans.

The other is that for donating to All Things Heather's book drive, I got to buy 1 pound of custom dyed silk at cost! We emailed a bit about color, and she came up with a beautiful emerald-colored silk. I plan to make Sahara, as this yarn is very similar to Tilli Thomas Pure & Simple.

ATH Silk

I certainly have lots of luxurious knitting ahead of me!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

FO: Possum lace scarf

Possum lace scarf
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk
I finished lots of things Sunday! But my Possum Lace Scarf was the first.


Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Possum lace, color Peacock. 40% merino/40% possum/20% silk. A little hairy but very soft. Purchased (along with the pattern and needles) at Lofty Lou's in Placerville, CA, on the way up to Lake Tahoe for the 4th of July. (It's right next to a great cafe. A great lunch stop and nice yarn shop.)
Needles: Addi Turbos, size 4 circular, 16".
Pattern: Cherry Tree Hill something. It's basically a herringbone lace scarf. Centered double decreases alternated with YO-k-YO. After seeing more knitting patterns, I'm surprised to have paid money for it. And the chart had an error! But when I saw the example in the shop, it became my summer pattern....mhum summers ago.

I just love this scarf. I keep looking at it - the blocking really makes it stand out. I carefully fold it every night to maintain its flatness and width. One night I left it folded and found the cat curled up ON TOP OF IT. Guess he approves. More photos.

I also sewed the buttons on to the Baby Aran Sweater:


And whipped up a quick afghan square for Laura:

Afghan square

I used (down to the last 6 inches) leftover yarn from my Red Scarf Project scarf, Jessie's yarn from her shop, A Piece of Vermont. It was superwash worsted, in colorway "Rudolph".

It was a very finishy Sunday.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Yarny Birthday Exchange

Cashmere laceweightThank you for all the suggestions and comments on my Easy Blogging Tips entry. I hope they are useful to many of you!

My SIL's birthday and mine are separated by a mere 2 weeks. Before hers, I saw the most beautiful cashmere laceweight skein on Etsy, and I just couldn't pass it up. WhiteWillow sent it and included a bonus stitch marker and a little lavendar sachet. SIL said she just wanted to keep petting it. I know I would.

SIL told me she'd like to get me something from ArtFibers, because she works near them. (And I'm betting she wanted to pet their yarn also!) So I told her how I'd been coveting some Tsuki.

Look what arrived in the mail! Thanks, SIL! I'll be petting it for a while while I ponder what to make. Hmmm...

Birthday yarn - Tsuki

Friday, May 25, 2007

Easy Blogging Tips, part I

New to reading blogs and want to format your comments? New to blogging? Here's how to do some simple stuff, besides just plain text.

I encourage you also to try out these tips in comments to this post! Feel free to doodle and see how it comes out. You'll never know unless you try it!

Easy stuff

The method of formatting text on the Web is called HTML. This stands for HyperText Markup Language. We "mark up" parts of our text to tell other people's browsers how to render (show) it.

So if I want a part to be italic, I put marks around the part that I want to be italic. The marks are called tags. A tag consists of a <, a tag name, maybe some attributes, and a >. An attribute is just a word with a = and a value (usually the value is in quotes). The close tag is a tag consisting of <, /, the tag name that it is closing, and >. Close tags are usually required, but sometimes they are optional.

Basic tags:

  • <b> - Bold. Whatever is inside b tags is bold.


    I ate a <b>really</b> big burrito.

    Looks like:

    I ate a really big burrito.

  • <i> - Italic. Whatever is inside i tags is italic.


    I read <i>Pride & Prejudice</i> yesterday.

    Looks like:

    I read Pride & Prejudice yesterday.

  • <a> - This tag is called an anchor tag. It signals something which the user can click, and specifies in the href attribute what url the browser should display when it is clicked.


    <a href="">My blog</a>

    Looks like:

    My blog

These are three tags which are usually allowed in comments. Blogger has this message above the box where you type in comments: "You can use some HTML tags, such as <b>, <i>, <a>". If you use "Blog This" from your Flickr photo page, you can also use these tags to format text or insert links.

If you blog, and you don't use these tags, it is because you are using a WYSIWYG editor. WYSIWYG = What You See Is What You Get. The default view for Blogger is WYSIWYG, and if you want something bold or italic you highlight the thing you want to be bold or italic, and then click on the bold B or italic I. But if want to do it in comments, then you might find these helpful. You will also see raw tags if you click on the "Edit Html" tab.

Special Characters

Now you know that < and > have special meanings. If you try and type them into your blog or comments, it is possible that they will be interpreted as tags. But if you want them to show up, here is how to do it:

  • <: &lt;
  • >: &gt;
  • &: &amp;

I've given you ampersand too, because as you see, it has special meaning as signalling that there is a special character.


46 &gt; 0

46 &lt; 90

Feather &amp; Fan

Looks like:

46 > 0

46 < 90

Feather & Fan

More cool tags

These tags are typically not permitted in comments, but can be handy if you're writing your own blog.
  • <hr> - Generates a horizontal line. This does not have an end tag.


    Above the line. <hr> Below the line.

    Looks like:

    Above the line.

    Below the line.

  • <del> - strikes out. Whatever is inside del tags has a line through it.


    I <del>need</del>want more yarn.

    Looks like:

    I needwant more yarn.

    This tag used to be s and strike, but were deprecated and replaced with del.

  • <br> - line break. This does not require a close tag, and I have never seen one.


    One line<br>next line

    Looks like:

    One line
    next line

  • <p> - paragraph break. This does not require a close tag, but it is optional. It is like br only most browsers put space after the newline.


    One paragraph<p>next paragraph

    Looks like:

    One paragraph

    next paragraph

    Remember that the user's browser determines how the page looks, not you, your server, or your browser. Your server tells the browser the content, with the markup indicating what to do, but the browser (whether it's IE, Firefox, Opera, or a reader to a blind person) determines what to do about it.

  • <blockquote> - Takes the text within the tags and formats it with space, as if it were a quote or poem.


    Here is a quote: <blockquote>To be or not to be;<br>That is the question.</blockquote>

    Looks like:

    Here is a quote:

    To be or not to be;
    That is the question.

  • <pre> - Preserves spaces and newlines in enclosed text. You may have noticed that newlines don't seem to create extra space (Blogger has a setting by default that converts lots of newlines into <br> tags.). This tag lets the browser know it should honor things exactly as you have typed them, and use a fixed-width (typewriter) font.


    <pre>One space: Two spaces:  5 spaces     end
    that was five spaces too.</pre>

    Looks like:

    One space: Two spaces:  5 spaces     end
    that was five spaces too.

A note on styles

If you use Blogger (I'm not sure how other blogging software works - this might apply also) part of the template indicates the font, size, background color, etc., for the whole blog. Blogger uses CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) to define named styles. If you are composing a blog entry and click on the "Edit HTML" tab, you will notice that if you used Blogger's buttons to style your text, say in italic, it does not show <i> as I have described above. Instead, you will see a span tag: <span style="font-style: italic;">. Feel free to use this tag in place of the i tag. As usual, don't forget to close it. Similarly, Blogger uses <span style="font-weight: bold;"> instead of the b tag. These only work within a CSS system with these styles defined; the i and b tags are in the HTML standard and should work everywhere.

In future posts, I will explain more, such as how to insert photos into blog entries. If you have any special requests, please feel free. As always, corrections and clarifications are always welcome.

ECF: Volcano meets ocean

This is the view we had looking toward the lava flow when we tried to hike there. In real life, we saw a faint layer of white at the horizon, which was the plume of steam.

I just found out that a week after we left, Kilauea started getting a bit more active with earthquakes and the like. In fact, a huge lava shelf collapsed while we were there and we didn't know it.

Take a look here (the first photo at the moment looks uncannily like mine, doesn't it?)

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Plumeria mosaic
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk.
On the way back from our last trip to Hawaii 3 years ago, I saw cuttings of plumeria for sale at the airport gift shop. I thought about buying one (they were around $5 or less) but I was worried about the agricultural inspection (even though the package said it was okay) and whether or not it would actually work, what with my um...special gardening skillz.

[My typical approach to gardening is to plant the plant (or whatever) and then try for a while to make sure it is watered, and then leave it on its own to see what it does. Very Darwinian. If it's seeds, they get scattered in the wind. I'm a natural gardener.]

After this trip, I definitely wanted to try growing some - the web provided little factoids like, as long as they don't freeze, they should be okay, and if you keep them in a container, they won't become 20 ft. trees. So off I went to the online plumeria people.

I decided I wanted a "traditional" color one - white with a yellow center - and a slightly pinkish one - still traditional but with a blush at the tips or center or something. I settled on Celadine (the traditional) and Carmen. I ordered from Maui Plumeria Gardens. What great service! They were shipped out right away, the cuttings were huge - at least 18" long (they came in a poster tube mailer), and she included a bonus "mystery" cutting, instructions, and a packet of 10 seeds.

I went to the hardware store and got the recommended soil, fertilizer, etc., pots, and went to town. I even got little peat pots for the seeds! I feel very mature to be following the directions. I really really hope they turn out well. If not, it's back to the natural method.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

More Hawaii

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk.
...because I don't have any more knitting photos to show.

This is Pe'e Pe'e waterfall (not pee-pee!). Well, I think it is anyway. We saw two in one day. It's pretty.

No knitting group for me tonight, as I am attending a training. The Chevron scarf looks the same but is several repeats longer. The lacy stole looks exactly the same. The Professoring sweater is not frogged yet. The Possum lace scarf is waiting to be washed and blocked. Clearly, I need more time for knitting!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Lacy stole progress

Lacy stole
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk.
There hasn't been a photograph of this up since the early days of my blog. I worked on it on the way to Hawaii - the tray table was perfect for my two-page-wide chart. And I've been adding about 4-10 rows a week. Let's see, if each repeat is 40 rows, and I have 7 more to go plus an extra 30 or so for the last section, and I have 10 rows left in the 3rd repeat, that's 320 rows. At 10 rows a week, that's 32 weeks = 8 months? Yikes! I'd best to try and increase that rate, yes? Maybe finish by Christmas?

The problem is, I really need relatively quiet time to follow the pattern. I can do it in a small group with small conversation going on, because most of the rows are in themselves relatively simple. But it's not a quick pick-it-up kind of project.

My summer knitting goals:
  • Finish Green Gable (c'mon, it's only sleeves, and short short ones at that!)
  • Progress - say 50% - on this lacy stole
  • Finish Chevron scarf
  • Baby items #1 and #2 for pregnant friends (keep it simple- hats & booties)
  • Commission hat
  • Frog, wash wool, and restart Sweetie sweater (record gauge and write up new reality-based pattern)

That is probably sufficient to fill this summer! And it should be sufficient for the requirements for this contest. Click there and let ali know you came from my blog to increase my chance to win!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Chevron scarf progress

Chevron scarf
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk.
As of yesterday, this is what my scarf looked like. It's a fun knit, with just enough pattern to keep interest, but easy enough to whip out and shove in a bag quickly. It's also pretty good TV knitting, although it does require counting every 4 rows. And I just love how the colors "pop" next to each other - I think it's better than either one alone.

It's just about long enough to fling the finished end over my shoulder while I'm working on it.

It is bumpy at the increases, so it will definitely benefit from blocking flat when it's done.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Random Friday

Sunset sky
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk.
Random because Brenda tagged me with a meme!

I took this photo on my birthday in Hawaii, looking across Kailua-Kona bay towards the King Kamehameha hotel. The line of small white dots is where the luau is going on (we saw it two nights before).

PSA: Mistress Stash Enhancer has moved to a new blog address:

Here is the meme:

Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write in their blogs 7 facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and need to read your blog.

The 7 Facts:
  1. I cut my hair every 4-5 years (10" worth of growth) and donate it to Locks of Love. I think I've done this 3 times now. In between, I have it trimmed about once a year. I have had fewer than 10 people ever cut my hair.

  2. When I was in college, I broke my leg while teaching myself to rollerblade (I wanted to go rollerblading with my then-boyfriend) (The injury occurred about 25 minutes after I first put on rollerblades. Yes, I am precocious.). The resulting scar appears to be from surgery to repair my acl, so people who recognize it think I'm athletic. Then I have to admit that it was due to a clumsy accident rather than overuse.

  3. My second and third toes are longer than my big toe. Thus my feet have round ends.

  4. I hate to exercise, but love to dance. My weekly ballet class is my exercise program. (I also usually walk daily.)

  5. I started knitting because I wanted to make lace. On a trip to Ireland, I was in a folk museum and they sold lace kits. It never occurred to me that lace was something a person could make (not a machine or big manufacturing process). That was Carrickmacross lace (I did finish the sampler but nothing after that). Since then, I've learned to tat, crochet, and knit lace and I've dabbled in bobbin lace as well. I've started collecting bits of nice lace of different types at antique shops. At least it's mostly small!

  6. When I was 5, I wished I had blonde hair and curls like Shirley Temple. I still wish that when I have children they will have blonde hair and curls. That would be surprising, given that I am Asian.

  7. I love vegetables. Asparagus, spinach, broccoli, snap peas, kale, chard - I love them all. I have always loved all foods. Two exceptions: I once had quail wrapped in grape leaves in England - I left the table hungry for the first time in my life. And I tasted poi in Hawaii, at the luau. Not wild about it, wouldn't walk far for it. But it did have a "nourishing" flavor.
I am tagging (but only if you want to!) Rhonda, Judy, Julie, Courtney, Debby, and Kathy, and anyone else who wants to do this meme. You're it!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

More Hawaii, and Yarnival

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk.
I realized in the previous entry I'd misspelled Kilauea (I went back and fixed it). Who knew it had so many syllables? And so many vowels. That's got to be a good Scrabble word...does Hawaiian count as American English?

This is the crater-within-a-crater that you drive around and then walk up to. It is full of and surrounded by steam eminating from cracks in the earth. It is awesome.

I was very satisfied with my knitting progress last night. I knit 4 rows on my lacy stole, finished my possom lace scarf (which will make its appearance after it is washed and blocked), and put some more inches on my Chevron Scarf. I also came to terms with the fact that I'll be ripping the Sweetie sweater (to begin again, to be sure) because it is 8 INCHES too big around. But hey, I have a very large swatch which I can accurately measure for gauge. I am also planning the overall shaping of the foot of my toe-up socks so that next time I have a plan for my misshapen, lumpy feet.

And in case you didn't hear already, the May 15 Yarnival! is up. I have several submissions (I'm the "Kim" it mentions) although none of them are my own blog entries. Go see!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

More about Hawaii

Steam vent
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk.
The coolest thing about Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is that while Kilauea Caldera is dormant (not extinct), there is still a bit of activity below the surface. The rainwater collects in any gaps in the ground (of which there are many) which gets heated up and rises as steam. There are lots of places where steam is just billowing or gently streaming from the ground. And the park employees encourage you to get up close and feel the steam!

No knitting last night, but tonight my group is getting together for some Thai takeout and some serious knitting!

Have you donated to Claudia's ride for MS? She has a goal of raising $20,000! We Knitters Against MS are a powerful bunch! (And you don't have to be a knitter to join KAMS.) And she's got some great raffle prizes too!

If you are planning to donate to the Red Cross for Greensburg, KS: I talked to my friend who works for our local Red Cross, and she said the Red Cross prefers to receive donations for the Disaster Relief Fund, and they they use it for things like this. If you designate "Greensburg, KS", then you know it will go to help; but if they've received all the aid they need, then it will just sit there until Greensburg, KS needs help again. If you donate to the Disaster Relief Fund, then it can be used always for the current disaster. She says the Red Cross has been very busy, with flooding in the Northeast, and fires, and of course tornadoes.

I've added both Claudia and Laura's afghans for Greensburg, KS over on the right. I'll try and keep it updated with other charitable giving opportunities.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Broken lava
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk.
The coolest thing about the Big Island was walking on "frozen" lava. (The lava was liquid, and when a liquid cools to the point of being solid, we call it... frozen. The science geek inside me thinks that's funny.) Sometimes it looks like the top of a pan of brownies - smooth areas broken with cracks.

I knit a little bit last night during my choir rehearsal. I anticipate a bit more time on the Chevron Scarf this week because our concert is this Saturday, and that means lots of rehearsals. Ordinarily I don't knit during rehearsals, but now that we have the orchestra, there are times where the choir is just sitting patiently. I'm much more patient when I'm knitting. =)

In other news, I won a contest over at Sugar Bunny Boulevard! I'm so thrilled, as you all know that I love to win things! I can't wait to see what Laura picks out.

It might be a while before I see it, though, because Laura has a special project - she is collecting 1,120 afghan squares to make afghans for families who lost everything in Greenburg, Kansas. Please consider making a square for this good cause, and/or donating to the Red Cross or other charity helping these families in need.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I'm back!

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk.
We had a great time on the Big Island. We went for 7 days in a row with no email, web, newspapers, or phone (almost - I got a call on my cell phone from the church musician asking me to fill in for him - but I told him I was in Hawaii standing on a volcano, so I wasn't available!)

Knitting? Well, we got stuck at SFO for an hour after we boarded, because the luggage system broke down and they had to sort it by hand. I was able to add 8" to my Chevron Scarf. Once we were settled in (reached cruising altitude), I worked on my lacy stole, and I finished half a repeat by the time we got there. This felt really, really good, as I hit a sort of a rhythm and got to study a bit how the pattern worked. I didn't touch my knitting again until we waited to board on the way home - a few more repeats, then reading and napping. Four and a half hours is not enough time to sleep!

We LOVED the volcano. We were staying an inconvenient distance from it but we went there on our first day and returned twice more! This photo is of the "A" beach the night we left: the most perfect beach we have ever seen. More photos to come in future posts!

Friday, May 4, 2007

ECF: Iris

Single iris
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk.
A bonus blog entry for today, because I won't be posting next week. Eye candy indeed!

Blogcation and Chevron Scarf

I'll be on a little blogcation for the next week: The Sweetie and I are off to Hawaii for some relaxation. We're going to the Big Island, and it will be our first time to that island. (If you have recommendations, feel free to leave them in comments!)

So a few weeks ago, he said to me, "You know, you're going to have to think about what knitting to bring." This may have been because by my usual method is to take all most of my WIPs and some extra projects to be started; we usually are traveling in a car, and I want all of my projects to be at hand, just in case.

I thought and I thought, and I thought, "I want to make the Chevron scarf!" I already had 3 skeins of STR (2 lightweight, one medium) and I started playing with the colors. I called BMFA (and actually got to talk with Tina!) and finally chose Undertoe to pair with my Prove It All Night.

Wednesday night, we had a little winding party at my house. Ali wound her Sea Silk, and I wound the STR.

I couldn't wait to start.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

MOO cards!

MOO cards
Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk.
I heard about MOO on someone's blog - someone who is pretty hip. I took a look, and for $20 US + shipping you can get 100 little cards, with a Flickr photo (cropped) on one side and a message of your choosing on the other. (You can use other photo sources besides Flickr.) I've been running into people (knitters, friends) and telling them about my blog, and I had thought it would be great to have something like a business card to give them. These are perfect!

What they are: matte full-color printed cards, approx. half the size of a business card. You can choose up to 100 different photos to print - that's right, you can have each card be a different photo! I chose my best 6 knitting photos and got approximately the same number of each. It gives you a crop window, which initially guesses a cropping, and allows you to drag it around as you wish.

On the back, I have the name of my blog, the URL of my blog, the URL of my flickr photos, and my (blog) email. On the front, I have photos of my various knitting projects.

I've included them in with all of the charity hats I've sent since I got them, and handed them out to friends. If I meet you in person, I'll gladly give you one! They are really fun to have, and while it may take some time to hand out all 100, I can't wait to make more! I might make personal cards with my and The Sweetie's address and emails on them - they can be like old-fashioned calling cards. It's a great way to share photos in an informal way.


Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Random Wednesday

Originally uploaded by knitswithasilentk.
I have done a tiny bit of knitting this week, but nothing photographable.

I actually picked up my lacy stole this weekend. I needed a break from what I was doing and somehow it got taken out of its place in the UFO bin and brought upstairs. The chart spanned 2 pages (it's an 11x17" folded pattern) so I moved the pattern from its sheet protector into a two-page sheet protector. Much better. I reacquainted myself with its stitches (this chart uses both empty square and square with a hash mark in it for knit stitches - is that weird?), and found where I was in my pattern.

Lucky for me, I'd included a row counter (it said 1) and I'd put in split ring stitch markers into the edge every time I started a repeat, and found that I was about to start row 3 of this (the 2nd) repeat.

And I sat down and knit 4 rows. Yay! I am really loving this project now that I'm returning to it, having learned a lot more about knitting and patterns and reading charts.

I'm also getting really really close to finishing my possom lace scarf. When that's done, I'll be down to just a few UFOs.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Stash enhancement

I celebrated the end of the Bustalong by indulging in the WEBS Anniversary Sale. And a couple other things. (Heh. Back on the wagon for me.) Here's the loot from WEBS.

First, we have a whole lot of Cascade 220 superwash in Cal colors. I have been dreaming of a nice double-knit scarf, in checkerboard pattern followed by script Cal for a while, and I hope that is one of many warm items to be made to wear to Cal football games.

Next, we have a sweater's worth of Berrocco Ultra Silk. I've been petting it at my LYS, and when I saw it on the WEBS sale, I couldn't resist. 12 balls of pure softness. I intend to make a summer top with this.
Berrocco Ultra Silk

Next up: If you recall, I sent some Cascade 220 in a lovely purple color home with my SIL. So I replaced it. Still hoping for felted slippers someday. Or maybe a bag. Something.
Cascade 220, purple

Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk DK, tealAnd finally, a bit of luxury. Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk DK. I just couldn't stop petting it when I saw it in the store, and the anniversary sale stuck. I'm thinking it might be a scarf or hat for me or some lucky person.