Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Tuesday: And how everything might be alright

Hi! I hope you managed to start off your week great yesterday! It's always a drag on Mondays, that's why I occasionally try to do something to cheer me up! Like arranging for your posts and parcels to arrive on Mondays! That never fails. ;)

I had to delay the customary Monday's post because I was attending my boyfriend's birthday party. The actual birthday wasn't actually yesterday, but it was the day he could take the day off work so we could celebrate! There wasn't anyone else at the party but the two of us! Just the way we like it. We, or rather I more than him, prefers intimate gatherings than a huge crowd. There's just something about a private conversation than a general and polite one! I never did have the patience for (did I get the correct term?) drawing room conversation. So, I made him a few things for his birthday. They're all up on Instagram, but I'll post it in this week!

I have been communicating with the customer service at LoveKnitting about my Addi Long Lace Click set which hasn't arrived after nearly a month, and they have agreed to send another set to me with tracking number so that the parcel wouldn't be lost again! I definitely hope that it will arrive soon. I am so eager to try out a new set, even though I am not lacking needles now. The customer service at LoveKnitting is exemplary as others have said, and they do get back to you very quickly, about a day turnaround.

I have also spoken to the customer service at Writer's Digest about my magazine subscription because  I haven't been receiving my previous subscription. I was only emailed twice when it should have been eighth or thereabouts. I got a reply in a working days (emailed them on a weekend, and got back Monday night) with all my missing subscription! Got to love it when your queries are answered so quickly!

Not sure if you can tell, but all my posts and parcels aren't coming along as smoothly as I'd like! I was supposed to get my Deborah Lippmann polish from Luxola between 6-9pm last night so was rather disappointed that it hadn't arrived! But in the end, all was well, because the guy came at 10plus, perhaps 11pm? My guess was that the frenzy over the sale on Friday (Luxola had an hour say where everything was 40% off, 35% off on the second hour, and 30% off on the third hour). I am pleased to get my first ever Deborah Lippmann polish at a discount, with free shipping too! I am wearing it already -photo is on instagram! Follow me at craftingwithjennifer- and I'll review it in the next blog post.

Thanks for reading and look out for subsequent posts if you are interested in either the party or the polish review! Have a great day ahead!

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Writing and Lettering, Knitting and Watercoloring

I posted on Monday that I would love to try watercoloring. Since I am not the sort who could wait -instant gratification is my kind of thing- I went to buy some inktense pencils on Tuesday at Art Friend. I only got the 12 pack, for I noticed that it was much cheaper on Amazon, and if it was really good, I could simply get more online, yes? Of course, one never enter Art Friend unscathed. I came away with more watercolour paper, some markers and some felt too.

I spent this week dabbling in calligraphy and lettering, and if you have been following my new instagram account, you'd know that my skills in that area still leaves much to be desired. But now is not the time for it! I am eagerly waiting for my holidays! So much things to do and so little time!

I have also given up on the idea of watercoloring beyond pencils and water brushes. I don't think I would be good at it, and am not that interested in it to refine my skills. Better I stick to what I have now and improve upon them! Well, at least I haven't bought any watercolour supplies from Amazon!

What I did buy was a brand new knitting book from Kinokuniya- 400 knitting stitches by Potter Craft. It was slightly more expensive than buying online but I am glad I got it all the same.

I finished a couple of knitting projects this week. I completed my giraffe and it wasn't the best-looking guy but it was all done my me! There must be some techniques on sewing a toy together because all my toys are so weird after they are assembled! Please share if you do know of some tips on the assembly of knitting toys! I've also being eyeing PurlSoho a lot recently, and they just put up the pattern for the Jasmine scarf, which I am dying to make! I tried a swatch of the pattern, and if you are careful with counting stitches, it actually isn't a complex pattern at all! I am also drooling over the colorblock blanket for a while now. All their patterns are so beautiful! Loveknitting has a Stash Attack sale going on currently, so if you need more yarn, head over soon! It ends on 30 March!

I have also been on a reading kick recently. I finished George Orwell's Why I Write, and Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, which makes me feel so guilty for knitting while listening to her insistence on how women need to be educated on the same grounds as men instead of priding herself on her 'accomplishments'. I read somewhere that the interest in knitting actually fall when there is a rise in feminist fervour. I always find feminism a very interesting but complex topic. Right now, I am listening to Emma (thank god for audiobooks, I have no idea why it took me so long to discover them!) while I knit my sister's scarf.

My latest copy of Writer's Digest came this morning and I have been perusing it. I have a month's dateline for my 6000-word portfolio and I still haven't written anything. I have hit a block on creative writing, and all the writing I am doing these days are essays and commentary. Oh, the irony! There was a time when I couldn't write anything but fiction! I've also rediscovered Scrivener and unlike my previous try, I watched a video on how to use it before I downloaded the 30-day trial.  Scrivener is complicated if you try to use it blind, but the how-to videos clarify everything up, as well as letting you know what the app offers. I am now a convert!! The app is a writing app that is created for writers, thus geared towards their tastes and preferences, as well as their needs. You can try the app here.

Well, this is a rather long post! If you manage to follow my meandering thoughts till here, thank you! I hope your week is as full as mine, with plenty of discoveries and creations! Do enjoy your weekend!

Review: The Knitter's Life List

Title: The Knitter's Life List: To Do, To Know, To Explore, To Make
Author: Gwen W. Steege
Publisher: Storey Publishing LLC
Published: 2011

I have been browsing plenty of knitting books recently, especially since I have been visiting the library in order to study for my upcoming exams in May. There are a surprisingly big selection of knitting books (and crafting, cross-stitch, crocheting and even card-making), although most of them are how-to books or pattern books. After the twentieth book that proclaim to teach you how to cast on and make knit stitches and purl stitches, I want something different.

The Knitter's Life List does have some knitting techniques, but it has so much more! It has information about the different types of yarn, the needles even plenty of history of knitting. It focuses on some designers and knitters, and some towns and villages that have a history of knitting. I learned where Fair Isle came about and the various knitting cultures in the world. The book does have chapters for different types of items (gloves, scarves, socks) but there is not so much focus on patterns and how-to than to provide a multitude of information on it: the history and the modern.

However, some of the information has an American slant, i.e. the venues of Yarn Fests and shops, which is useless to anyone who lives outside of the US, and has no intention of visiting the country! Other than that, I do enjoy the book and am pondering whether to buy it so that I can flip through it whenever I want!

Do you know any informative knitting books like this one? Please let me know so that I can hunt it down and read it!

Monday, 23 March 2015

A Quiet Monday

Hi! It's Monday again! Hope everyone had a great weekend and was ready for a new work week this morning!

Singapore woke up to the news of Lee Kuan Yew's death and the island has been mourning the passing of a giant. He had done many things for our country and we will never forget the part that he played in our history.

I had a busy Monday actually. Remember when I said that my body clock was still firmly on London time? Well, I decided last night (or rather this morning at 3am) that I should really pick my ass up and head to a library to study, since exams are in five weeks time and I have a ton of studying to do, but all I have been doing was knitting. So that was what I did. I studied... and read several art books on watercoloring and knitting. 

Yes, I am going to make a little foray into watercoloring too. I prefer watercolors to acrylic paints, though I am no great painter. Actually, I am not good at coloring at all, and my drawing is only marginally good. I am one of those people who do 'above average' to 'moderately good' at a multitude of things, but excel in none of them. I just like to dabble, and go where my mood and inspiration strike me. And they are telling me to try my hand at watercoloring. 

I have been doing my research, and I think I'll invest in some Derwent Inkense Pencils and blocks. I want portability too (so that I can really sit down and scribble, knit, draw, write whenever I want to; I don't like jotting down notes on my phone) so I'll probably get some watercolor kit. But those will have to wait till next month, because I have already overspent on this month's craft allowances on yarn. 

I am still knitting and am working on several projects. I've got a striped giraffe in the works, a slice of cake already done and perhaps I'll cast on another one. I finished a rabbit knitting kit and knitted a chick and I intend to knit another chick again. I learned how to knit in the round with double pointed needles and how to make an i-cord, how to SSK, and several others. My order of Idiot's Guide to Knitting and Crocheting just came and on the first look, they are really great! The photos are in color and the instructions extremely clear! I just bought another book on stitches today-I think I'm addicted to them- and will pore through them later. They are a great way to master your techniques as well as trying out new patterns! 

Thanks for dropping by! Are there any crafts you are dying to get into? Share them with me! I promise to be very encouraging! ;) I am a great hobby-enabler.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Delicate French Stripes

Hi! I hope you are enjoying your weekend! 

Continuing from the previous post, I thought I should do a nail art post! I am really enjoying the two jellies in Essie so I decided to do a stripe nail art with them! 

Essie Sugar Daddy and Ballet Slippers are such suitable colors for a french manicure, although in the dozens of nail art that I did, I never could do a french mani that looks pretty enough. Stripes though, are straightforward, easy, and it looks very complicated and impressive! 

I applied Sugar Daddy first (two coats) and a coat of Seche Vite to hasten the process. Seche Vite is my go-to top coat for a while now and I swear by it. I used to buy them in bulk when I was fanatic about polish. For the base I always go to my trusty OPI Nail Envy. It has served me well. 

While waiting for it to dry, I took out my nail art stripping tape, cut a long row of it along the edge of my desk, and then carefully aligned them on each nail. This might take some work, but it is entirely worth it. 

I applied Ballet Slippers over the tape (be sure to get the side of your nails too), and pulled up the tape carefully while the polish is still wet. Move on to the next finger and be careful not to smudge the first one! When applying the top coat, make sure to do it slowly. If the polish is still wet when you apply your top coat, you might smudge the lines, so be careful! I always get bubbles when I do it, but they aren't very obvious so I don't mind them as much. With this mani, I applied two top coats, then wait a day before I apply a third one so that it last longer. 

Let me know how it goes if you give this a try! Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of the weekend! 

Polish Review: Essie and Revlon

I am sorry that this week's review post is late! I am having a little trouble adjusting back to the time here, and as a result, I have been sleeping at odd hours (like at 6.30am in the morning and waking at 2pm). In truth, I am not sure if I want to readjust myself, since I find the solitude at night conducive to my creativity. 

Anyway, here's the review for the week: nail polish! As I promised on Monday! I actually swatched these on Tuesday but had procrastinated posting it till now. I bought these from London and I am absolutely loving them! 

First up, I have Essie Sugar Daddy, a sheer pinkish jelly. I like that you can wear it as the base for a french. This is three coats (I usually do three coats). The first two coats are thin, so it dries fast, and then a thicker third coat that allows the color to shine through. You can still see my nail line, and it looks very natural. I am loving sheer and nudes recently, so this one is my current favorite! I actually put it right on in London! 

Next, Essie Ballet Slippers: another sheer white jelly with a hint of pink. This is shown in three coats as well. The first two coats are streaky, but the third thick coat covers the streakiness. This looks very feminine and demure. Love it! You can see a bit of nail line in the photo, but in real life, the nail line isn't very obvious. 

Essie Russian Roulette: a red jelly that is semi sheer. The nail line is still visible through the first two coats, but the third one covers it up well. This is less sheer than Ballet Slippers and has the same consistency. I actually prefer this is Essie Too Too Hot (shown later), because this makes my fingers look paler.

And here I have Essie Too Too Hot, a coral red creme, unlike the rest.  I have no idea why I got this shade when I don't actually wear much red shades at all! This applies like a dream, and two coats would have suffice but I used three here. It is very bright and the color a bit loud. 

I thought I should share a bottle shot of Essie Too Too Hot and Russian Roulette because they look similar in the photo. Too Too Hot is more of a coral whereas Russian Roulette is just a red. And yes, that is the notebook where I was scribbling my notes while I swatched. I decided that I should keep a notebook of every craft I do, because every so often I do tweak a few things, especially knitting patterns. 

I always love Essie, not only for their polishes, but their bottles as well. I like the embossing and the glass bottles much more than I like OPIs. Their polishes has a quick drying time, which is good because no one likes to wait around waiting for the polish to dry! Have to be careful with the red shades though because they have a tendency to pool around your cuticles and they also stain nails upon removal. 

Last but not least, I've got a Revlon! I don't use this brand often but I thought I should just pick one up anyway. This is Sky's The Limit from their Colorstay Gel Envy line. This is a sheer sparkly shimmer ice blue. The first two coats are streaky and the third coat pretty much covers all the imperfection. Note that to apply such polish, you have to let the first two (thin!) coats dry first before you apply the third coat or the brush will drag the polish and you'll be left with bald patches. Next thing you know you'll be dabbing polish on the bald patch which is a big no-no in this case because you can see a tiny bit of brushstrokes! This polish makes my nail beds look red, and as usual, the glitter got all over upon removal! 

I hope you enjoy my polish review! It feels nice getting back to blogging about polish! I feel like my polish stash has been neglected for the past year! Thanks for letting me share!

Monday, 16 March 2015

It's Monday Again

Hi! I hope you had a lovely weekend! I am back in Singapore around Sunday evening, and I just spent the last 24 hours unpacking and resting. The flight back was pretty bad this time, I was feeling sick from the long car ride to and fro Westfield and Blackfriars, followed by the long ride to the airport. So the 13-hour flight made me really sick. Once I opened my eyes and the whole world was spinning. I was really really glad to get out of the plane by the time it landed.

On another note, I was in one of the planes that was outfitted with a new entertainment system (Singapore Airlines). The screen and the remote was touchscreen! Quite cool! Although in typical 'me' way I manage to hang the screen three times and it auto-restarted thrice, I think it is still very cool! Not that I had much time to explore the system, because, like I said, I was feeling very sick.

The first thing I did when I got back was to open my packages from WoolWarehouse and Loveknitting! I am so happy to have my yarn (Lily n Cream, Drops) and some needles. Sadly, my set of Addi Long Lace still hasn't arrive yet, I shall wait for them eagerly over this week! Hopefully, they're just as good as Knit Pro Symphonie.

(I do have a complaint though. I bought more metal needle tips from Knit Pro, and when I opened the packages to put the tips with my Symphonie set, I kinda mixed up their sizes. The needle tips themselves are not labelled, which annoys me a lot. Now I am not sure if my 3mm and 3.25mm needle tips are properly labelled (I wrote the size on the small card they came in, which is not labelled too- the only label they have are on the outside of the plastic, which is thrown away once you open it).)

I also got some knitting kits to try, so I'll definitely make making that soon. My boyfriend's birthday is coming up soon, so perhaps I'll try to make something as well, or at least a new card. I have been following starofmay on Instagram (she has a blog too: kwernerdesign) and she has been doing some hand lettering/calligraphy with watercolors that makes me want to break out my paints too. She has also been doing some watercoloring too, and I really want to try my hand at them too. Check her out!

I got some nail polishes from Essie at Boots (Is that the one? I am not sure which one but it is definitely a drugstore just past Top Shop at Marble Arch), and perhaps I'll do a review on them! It's been a long time since I did reviews for nail polishes! I used to have a nail art blog but I hadn't maintain it for a long while.

So... it's good to be home, and to be back with all my comforts. I have got plenty of fun stuff to examine and play with, so watch out for them!

Lastly, thanks for dropping by! Have a good week and keep healthy!

Edited: Want to see the amount of yarn I got from London?

I didn't count them, but these are several pounds worth of yarn. Phew. I could already tell that I love Debbie Bliss and Sublime already! 

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Knitting in London

Well, I can't say I have been knitting plenty this week! I have spent a lot of energy traipsing the museums and galleries and battling the cold! By the time I got back to the hotel at around 5pm, I am tired in mind and body and I just want to sit down and do nothing!! Still, I manage to do some knitting, mainly some swatches.

Things I've learned: 

Moss Stitch: I did this loosely at first, because I was trying to get use to my new Symphonie Interchangeable. The pattern start coming out when you are a couple of rows in, which was when I realised that because my stitches were so loose that the pattern didn't look very tiny. I continue on for 2 inches, then did 4 rows of garter stitch, and did 2 inches of tighter moss stitch. Now I can tell what happens when you do your moss stitch loosely. I'm not sure if I like this pattern, because of the switch between knit and purl, the progress is rather slow. The pattern does look very textured and pretty.
(knit, purl, knit, purl)

Double Moss Stitch: I am halfway through this, and the pattern looks somewhat like a basketweave. I guess checkered is a more accurate description, because according to the Stitch Library by Claire Crompton, basketweave follows another pattern entirely. This feels less tedious then Moss Stitch, but if I have to choose between the two of them, I would have to confess to prefer the Moss Stitch.

I have also been casting on too tightly, so I have been watching that when I cast on. My latest swatch has a looser cast on, but it is less uniform. Oh, how hard it is to knit something perfectly!!

I have also bought a few knitting books recently. I read somewhere that beginner knitters shouldn't bother with books because most information could be gleaned from the web anyway, but I just thought it would be really handy to have a compilation of information at my fingertips rather than to go online to search for it every time I want it. While I am not sure how useful guide books can be (I don't think there is a strictly correct way to knit, though those books might have some useful tips in them), some people might like to learn from a book rather than to navigate through the tons of information available on the web. I am quite please with my pattern books though. The one that I got, Stitch Library, contains 200 stitches in it, which I think will come in useful for practice, as well as when I want to design something in the future.

I am posting this before the weekend because I'll be leaving London on an evening flight tomorrow! My week is over so soon! I can't believe it! Time flies! Just like the previous time, I've learned so much since I arrived. And I'd like to think I have grown a bit more independent! There is nothing like getting lost and navigating through the streets alone trying to find the correct path, that helps you build your confidence!

As always, I hope you have fun reading my post and thanks for dropping by! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Knitting Needles Review: Knit Pro Symphonie Interchangeable Set

Brand: Knit Pro
Type: Symphonie Interchangeable Needle Set
Material: Wood
Price: £59
Bought from John Lewis, Oxford Street, London

So I got my first interchangeable set and I was delighted to play with it! To be technical, I already had another interchangeable set coming, an Addi Long Lace, but it hadn't arrived and so Symphonie is actually the first interchangeables that I got my hands on.

I did my research before I bought my needles. I knew Symphonie has a lot of praises, but there are some complaints too. Some people said that the tips and the cords don't connect properly, some said that their tips broke or wore off after a few knits.

The first thing that I did when I got home was to check if the tips could fit the cords properly. There was no problem there. Once I tighten them nicely, I don't see how the tips could loosen and fall off. I was quite happy about that. I also understand what the others meant when they said that the cords has no memory. I had a Pony fixed circular needle whose cords drives me insane sometimes before it keeps getting in the way. The Symphonie ones lie nicely straight and doesn't curl or twist back into the shape it came from in the pouch. That is a very good thing. The cords are also a very nice purple color, though I wish the lengths of the cords are labelled on each individual ziploc bag that they come in.

I have been knitting swatches of the yarns I bought with the needles, and so far I am quite pleased with them. I was reluctant to invest in wood interchangeable needles because I find that wooden needles slow me down. That was one of the reasons why I chose to invest in Addi sets. However, these Symphonies are very smooth, quite unlike the usual wooden needles. Indeed, I find them so smooth that they might be comparable to the metal needles! I am not sure how long the smoothness will last, because they might wore off and become rougher.. I am also quite afraid that my rough handling of the tips might dull them very quickly.

I do like these needles. They are warm to touch and aren't as inflexible as the metal needles. There is also the convenience of having all the sizes available to you. This comes in 8 sizes: 3.5mm, 4mm, 4.5mm, 5mm, 5.5mm, 6mm, 7mm, 8mm. I wish they make interchangeables for the smaller needles too and put them in the set too! I do need some 2mm and plus needles.

I will continue to update here on my usage of these needles! Thanks for dropping by!

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Week in London

Hi there! I am posting this from London! I am here for the week, and I am already having a blast!

Right now I just made some pasta- I am staying at Town Hall Hotel at Bethnal Green, and they have kitchens in their suite, which is so awesome. I have discovered a couple of good eats this time. I found this small cafe/supermarket (although it is too small to be termed a supermarket) called Melrose and Morgan. They stock the best granola ever!!! I bought bags of two sour cherry granola (I am a big fan of granola!!) and I almost melted when I had it for breakfast this morning. I also got some of their pasta, and am eating it for dinner.

I visited most tourist attractions on my last trip, so this trip will be more relaxing, without me having to rush from places to places. To tell the truth, Bethnal Green is a little out of the way, so it was hard to go anywhere. I stayed at Seven Dials last trip, so I could walk everywhere! And I did!!

The weather is much colder now (I came during summer on my last trip), but I am getting used to it. And everytime I remember how hot it is in Singapore, I couldn't even get annoyed at how irritating it is to take off your jacket indoors and having to put it back on when you head out here. It makes shopping a hassle!

I visited John Lewis today. They do have a good selection of yarn. Definitely not something you see in Spotlight. I also bought Knit Pro Symphonie Double Pointed Needles and Interchangeable Needles. The first thing I did when I got home was to test the interchangeable needles to see if they screw right. I have heard a lot of complains about problems with attaching the needle tips to their cords. I am now swatching these and hopefully I could pick the best yarn by Friday, and could go back and buy more of it!

Oh, and when a pasta packaging says serves 2, even if it is ravioli and there are only eight in the package, don't underestimate their portion!! I love eating ravioli, and am always surprise by how full they made me after eating just a few of them.

I am going to finish my dinner and head back to my knitting! Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, 6 March 2015

Of Carrots and Coasters

More knitting this week! I am quite industrious this week, I think! I knit a carrot for Penelope, a pillow with her initial sewn on, a coaster for my sister, finished my beanie and left it on George (my build-a-bear teddy which I got from London last September), and I have been reading up on techniques!

The beanie that George is wearing is far too big for him, but is a little tight on a person's head. I knit it flat with a simple pattern I found online, using one skein of acrylic yarn I got from Daiso. I am supposed to use 5.5mm needles, but I only have 5mm needles or 6mm, so I used the smaller one instead. I am also supposed to work the beanie until it is 7inches tall, but I think I ended it around 6.5inches, because I was running out of yarn and I didn't particular wanted to switch to another skein since I was so close to finishing. Besides, it was only a practise beanie, I figure it wouldn't hurt much. I definitely know I am going to learn how to knit in the round after this! I don't like how the beanie looks after I sew the sides together.

My carrot is quite a success! It is super cute. There are some mistakes, and I wasn't very neat, as usual, but overall, it looks pretty well done. I did realised the importance of the mattress stitch when it comes to sewing the ends together.The pillow was pretty cute. I made two rectangles from the leftover yarn from my scarf: a pink basketweave one and a white garter stitch frame with stockinette stitch instead. Except I miscounted, so my basketweave has one less row, and my white piece is bigger than my pink piece. I also picked up the wrong needle for the pillow- instead of a 3.25mm needles, I used my 3.75mm needles, which is way too loose for me to stuff it without the stuffing showing through. No problems though, I took out some pink cloth that I got from Spotlight (I wanted to make Penelope a dress, but I gathered that I should research on how to make a dress first), cut a piece from it and make a pillow with that. Then I sew the two knitted rectangles into a pocket, and stuff the pillow in it. It's like a pillow case. So all's well, ends well! I am rather happy about how it turns out.

I made a coaster with my acrylic yarn, same as the one I the carrot. I got this yarn from Spotlight, at a cheap $4.99 for over 200 metres. It is Marvel 8 Ply by 4Seasons. They have a lot of colors and I pretty much got two of every color so I can make toys with them. It is soft enough, but not exactly something you want to wrap around your neck, I think.

I also realise that are way too many patterns for washcloths and dishcloths online but not enough for coasters. I have been trying to look for new patterns from dishcloths and making them smaller so that they are more coaster-sized. I saw this book online on knitting patterns and I wanted to buy it! Perhaps not so soon... I've still got plenty to learn.

Techniques I've learnt: 
M1: This is rather easy after you catch on. Although I wish some patterns will state clearly if we're supposed to make one purlwise or knit wise.
YFB: This is tricky! I had to watch several videos on youtube, and had to pause and restart the last one so that I can catch onto the second part of this increase-stitch technique! The video at LionBrand is practically useless, because I can't see what her hands are doing for the second half! But after you figure it out, it is like a breeze! I practise this using the slant dishcloth pattern at KnitPicks. You also get to practise your decreasing too!
Decreasing: Definitely fun to do. Something about decreasing makes me smile! Maybe it is because you know you have less stitches to knit, and that your project is finishing soon!

My flight is at 9.10am tomorrow morning, so I can't post this during the weekend! I have a feeling that I'll be too busy having fun anyway! ;) Although the duration of the flight (14hours!!!) isn't something I look forward to, the destination makes me smile!

I'll try to post from London next week!

Yarn Review: Patons Cotton Blend 8 Ply

Yarn: Patons Cotton Blend 8 Ply
Composition: 50% Cotton 50%Acrylic
Weight: 50g
Length: 95m
Gauge: 22sts 30 rows
Needle: 4mm, UK8, US 6
Care: Machine Wash (Gentle Cycle), or Hand Wash. Do not Bleach or Tumble Dry. Dry Flat in Shade. Warm Iron. Dry Cleanable.
Manufactured: Made in China
Price: S$6.99

This is my first working yarn and I made a scarf with it. I'll wear it in London (the flight is tomorrow! Hooray!) and let's see if it'll keep me warm! It does keep my lap pretty warm when I knit in an air-con room, so I don't think that'll be a problem. I like the feel of the yarn. It works well, has a weight to it that makes it feel expensive, and the colors are really bright and colorful! I have another set of blue ombre colors to make another scarf, and I am using the leftovers to knit Penelope a striped blanket. I haven't washed it or anything, and I'll update here after I wash it to see if the colors run or stay the same. I knit the scarf with a 3.75mm needles instead of a 4mm as suggested. I do wish the that yarn was a bit longer than 95m though.

I realise that I do like cotton, so I'll be buying more cotton yarn and testing to see how they feel. I've got plenty of yarn and needles in transit! Absolutely can't wait! :)

Updated: 28 March 2015

I've worn my scarf to London and am very happy to announce that it is really great at keeping me warm. It did shed some on my jacket, which is a little annoying (but perhaps I should have washed it before I worn it? I had noticed this shedding when I knitted in bed, and found that the red yarn would shed on my bedsheets. The other colours don't have this tendency though.

It also held up to my handwashing after I came back. It was less a handwash than a soak-in-the-water-and-step-on-it-then-wring-it-dry event. I have no idea how to wash them by hand otherwise. It feels much better after I wash it. It feels... clean.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015


It's nearly mid-week! Hope your week has been going well!

I am still kitting up a storm! I finally finish my scarf yesterday afternoon, and I started a new project immediately. I have this pastel pink Jellycat bunny that I adore who travels everywhere with me. I am heading to London this Saturday so she will be coming along too! Penelope, her name, is as excited as I am! I went out last weekend to buy some coats (I have none), and now that my scarf is ready, Penelope said she wanted something too! I knitted up a scarf for her, and yesterday I started on a pillow and a striped blanket from yarns leftover from my scarf. The pillow is just adorable!!! I even initialised her name on it. There's some mistakes but overall I think it is just so charming. I'll see if I am able to take a decent photo soon. What I need is a lightbox, actually...

Sadly, after all that knitting, I have to rest today. My thumbs hurt! That leaves me a little grumpy.

I managed to do some stuff as well, other than resting a lot and drooling over yarn online. I rearranged all the knitting patterns online and I wound some yarns into balls. Even though the prepackaged yarn is doing okay, I realised that I should just go through the yarn to check for knots, after another knot disrupted my knitting today.

I have been researching on where to buy yarns in London. I think I'll visit some shops there, and maybe carry a luggage full of yarn back! I am really excited to be visiting London again! I think it is heaven on earth.

Or maybe it is just the weather where I am now. Gosh, can it get any hotter?

Monday, 2 March 2015

Picking Up New Knitting Skills

I read a knitting blogger yesterday about how she advanced past a beginner very quickly, but moving from projects to projects that expands her skill each time. It strikes me as very sensible, because very often I am very impatient. As I said, I am making a scarf, and already, I've already interrupted my knitting to do something more challenging. It is just too bad that you can't pop out a finished project every half hour!

Anyway, I decided I should really improve my knitting skills, instead of doing the same garter stitch on and on... This is a pretty productive week for knitting, actually. I am pretty close to finishing up my scarf (Hooray! And then I shall proceed to battle-test it next week! More on this coming up!), I found an easy pattern for a beanie (My sister keeps asking me for this, plus I have plans to make one to match my scarf!) and I made two coasters!

Skills I've learned: 

Long Tail Cast on - I am so happy about this. This solved my loopy cast on! And I found an easier method of making a slipknot too! I watched this video from KnitPicks. It's really good and easy to understand.

Knitting in Continental - I'm not sure which one I watch, so I can't help out here. I am still deciding if I like this method. They say this is easier on the wrists and quicker, but frankly, my left hand is cramping from holding on to the yarn too tightly. Plus I can't adjust and push up the stitches closer to the needle tips, so I have to release the yarn, push the stitches up, then pick up the yarn again. It just seems troublesome. I am sure I am faster using the English way, which relies on my right hand more. The good thing is, I am capable of switching between these two methods now.

I just pulled out my metal circular needles to try again because I am deciding the kind of needles I want to invest in. I have tried wood and plastic and metal, and I like metal the best, because it is smooth, and the tips are much sharper. I like the plastic ones that I got too, because they are bendable and flexible, so I don't need to worry about being a little 'rough' when I get frustrated. I find wood frustrating and slow, but on the upside, you won't accidentally 'poke' your finger with the blunt tips. I am currently liking straight needles: it is just simpler than circular ones because when you slide your stitches up towards the needle tips, there might be some obstruction where the cord and the needle tips meet. Still, I'll be silly if I don't admit to the convenience of circular needles, especially interchangeable circular needles. If you get it in a set, you'll have a neat way of keeping track of all your needles, plus there won't be occasions where you look up a particular project online, and have all the materials ready to go except for the correct needle size! (That's me right now. I had to use a 5mm needle instead of a 5.5mm needle to make the beanie).

Anyway, just in case anyone wants to know... I got all my materials from either Spotlight or Daiso. I just ordered some materials from Loveknitting and WoolWarehouse, mostly needles! I find the yarn and needles in Daiso passable for testing out a new pattern or picking up a skill, since it is at such a cheap price of $2. Spotlight, on the other hand, has a range of yarns from various brands, and if you're their member, you can get discounts too! I usually make a trip to Plaza Singapura when I can make a day trip. First LlaoLlao, then to Spotlight, and Daiso, which is very conveniently located just next door!

That's all I have for today! I'll be posting again tomorrow about more banal stuff. Just spent a few hours ripping out stitches from my scarf... I don't think tonight is a good knitting night!

Thanks for reading!