Back To Reality

Well my week of vacation is over. We enjoyed our time visiting the Phillipines. I loved that our trip had a combination of the beach and mountains. As much as I love a beach, I also love standing on top of a mountain and staring down at the world around me.

I was able to get in quite a bit of knitting during the holiday. My cardigan is measuring in at ~5.5 inches . I could have knit more, but my progress was halted as I ran out of the burgundy yarn.

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I am using an intarsia method to add a little geometric element to the cardigan. I always have the tendency to pull the floating yarn too tightly across the back. Some of the stitches look a little wonky, but I think they will get worked out when I block the final piece.  Hopefully, I will be to the armholes by the end of next week [fingers crossed]. This may be too lofty of a goal considering I have 4 parent meetings coming up this week. In any event, please check back for my progress!

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Until Next Time,
-Whit-

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Jet Setter

Hello all! I realize I have been super inconsistent about posting. There are several reasons for this. 1) The internet in my new home is sooooooo slow in the evening. Therfore, if I try to load photos it can take 30+ minutes . 2) Work has been busy and I just have less time to knit. 😩However, this week the husband and I are on vacation in the Phillipines so I plan on logging many knitting hours! 

This week, in China, is National Holiday. I am picturing it to be similar to the 4th of July in the USA. We heard from many co-workers that China gets VERY busy so we opted to take our first international adventure. Currently, I am in Boracay and boy is it gorgeous! Do you like white sand beaches? Crystal blue water? Delicious food and drink? Well then Boracay might be for you.


So what am I knitting? Well I am making a short sleeve cardigan. I plan on the cardigan falling around my waist and having a boxy silhouette. I made a swatch and a sketch, but I am not using a pattern for this one. I started vacation with 3/4 of an inch so please check back to see how far I made it! 

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

P.S. I plan on moving more of the travel related content and how my life is going in China to another space. Please follow me at Smithberrys Abroad. 🇨🇳

Matching Socks

So you may remember that I made these socks for my husband awhile ago.

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Vanilla Socks with Afterthought heel

I just really love this yarn. It is Cascade Heritage Prints in Baltimore. This yarn is just so perfect for sock making. It had the right amount of squish and bounce to create a nice fitting sock. I managed to find another 3/4 of a skein in my stash so I decided that I needed a pair too. Instead of creating an afterthought heel, I thought I would do a little experimenting. I wanted to try to figure out how to do a reverse gusset heel. I did a little internet research before hand to get the general concept, but to be honest I was really adamant to figure it out on my own. I apologize for not adding the websites I used. I had the saved…but then I forgot where I saved them.

Not bad for a first try right? I have to say that I miscalculated the number of short rows that I needed so I ended up with a weird looking seam. However when you wear the socks they are not that noticeable. I really like how this technique fits my heels. For some reason the afterthought heels are too shallow for my liking.

I most certainly will make another pair of socks in this way, but I think I need to find a few patterns/ guides to work out the details a little better.

What is your favorite toe up sock heel technique? 

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

 

Yarn Alley

This weekend I headed to Guangzhou City to trying find some yarn. This took quite a lot of preparation beforehand. Fist of all, I don’t speak or read Chinese so I needed to research where to find yarn and the mode of transportation to take. I ended up concluding that I could take the Metro to Sun Yet-Sen University to the big textile marketplace.

This place was huge! I didn’t know where to begin looking. So I began wandering. I  weaved through the shops filled with fabric, beads, buttons, and embroidery patches  for about 20 minutes. Eventually I came to an alley with some furry fabric. Maybe it was my inner yarn radar, but I felt a pull to investigate this alley.

Luckily, my yarn radar was correct. I found 4 or 5 shops with some yarn in them. Let me just say these yarn shops were not like the US. They had all of the yarn stacked up and it was still in the plastic. I had to be very very careful while shopping. I didn’t want a mountain of yarn toppling down on me.

I ended up purchasing 6 skeins of yarn for ~$11USD. I bought 4 skeins of acrylic yarn (2 red, 2 blue) that were very very soft. At my new school, I am teaching a kids’ knitting class so this yarn will be perfect for them to practice with.

I also bought something called “milk cotton.” Not sure what that is, but it feels like a  soft cotton blend to me. I choose blue as my friend is having a baby in December. I am still looking for a good pattern, but I am thinking a little cardigan would be best.

Overall, this was an interesting shopping experience.  I really didn’t like that the yarn not out on display. I am so use to the tactile experience of yarn shopping. I am going to still keep an eye out for an actual yarn shop so keep checking back for my progress.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

 

Cotton Cardigan

Before I left the USA, I knit up a lovely cardigan called Summer Lace Cardigan Shrug by Vera Sanon. I used GGH Linova in Knospengrun (cotton/linen blend), which I purchased from Love Knitting. Sometimes there is great cotton yarn and sometimes there is not so great cotton. In this project’s case, I ended up with a scratchy cotton blend that didn’t really soften up until after a few washes.

Despite this, I ended up with a really cute finished project. A lot of my summer dresses are tank tops so this cardigan will make many of my outfits workplace appropriate. The cardigan pattern was easy to follow and included a chart for the lace detail. I really liked that it was made from the top down in one seamless piece.  Since I was traveling, I didn’t want to have keep track of all sorts of sweater parts. The cardigan was intended to have a button at the top, however, I opted not to sew one on. I made the button hole anyway in case I change my mind and/or find one amazing button in the future.




Here I am modeling my new cardigan on top of the Canton Tower in Guangzhou, China. The Canton Tower is the 4th largest freestanding structure in the world. It stand about 604 meters in the air making for an excellent view. Lucky for us we went on a pretty clear afternoon. We got to see most of central downtown and the Pearl River.

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I have to say I am glad to add this bright and cheery piece to my warm weather wardrobe. It has been a little lacking in color.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

FO: Calais Shawl

My Calais Shawl is complete! Well it was completed about two weeks ago. The issue with posting was the photos. I’ve been having a tough time finding the perfect photo spot in my new apartment. I defiantly need to invest in some white poster board. All of the floors and ledges are tile and the reflection is terrible.Overall, I am quite happy with this shawl. However, the sizing  was a little tricky for me. The pattern stated the blocked sizing should be “48 inches wide by 22 inches deep.” I will admit I didn’t make a swatch and wet block it. MISTAKE! Lace is super deceptive when knitting as it bunches up until blocking time. I knew this, but convinced myself I could skip the prep work. Due to my laziness, the body of my shawl came out shorter then desired. Thankfully, the edging of the shawl allowed me to make up for it. I continued the edging section for a total of 7 inches.This pattern called for a Double Strand Estonian Bind Off. I have never used this technique before. It was simple to execute. The result was a really nice border that reduced the amount of curling at the edge. I most certainly foresee myself using this bind off method in the future. Previously, I had concerns about using a variated yarn with this lace pattern. I am glad I took the risk because I really like the combination I ended up with. The colors did not interfere with the pattern making the piece look too busy.

If you are looking for a lacy shawl pattern, I recommend you consider the Calais Shawl. It is a great way to practice knitting lace patterns.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-