Thursday, March 14, 2019

Skywalker Knitted Lace Shawl

The Skywalker Shawl is done. I repeat. The Skywalker Shawl is done. How long did it take me? Thousands and thousands of hours. And I may have permanently damaged one of my fingers. It's the finger next to the little finger. Is that one important?

So I learnt to knit Skywalker Shawl from a Craftsy class by Laura Nelkin which I bought during a sale a long long time ago, back when Craftsy and I were friends. It's not a bad class and easy to follow along. I usually don't like to listen to the chit-chat that teachers tend to indulge in... But other than that, not that torturous.

I finished the shawl in February and I even blocked it. Well, when I said I blocked it, I meant I blocked the necessary parts - the top and the bottom. In between, I decided was too much of a hassle. After the shawl had dried, I wore it to show off to my family and my daughter informed me that I looked like an old lady. I forgot what hubs said, probably something similar. So it seems, this thing I had slaved over will make me look a few decades older. Hmm...

The yarn I used is a Anette Eriksson eco cotton 85% recycled cotton 15% polyester. I know it was a dumb move to choose a dark colour but all the other colours available looked horrible.

Did I do a swatch? Nope. I still haven't got into the habit of swatching. I had to repeat some of the patterns to get it human size. Other than that I think I did a pretty good job. At first I relied a lot on lifelines. But the minute I hit 448 stitches on a row, I told myself it's insane to rip back. So I stopped using lifelines and I managed to survive a few dropped stitches here and there.

The pattern is divided into fancy stitches like Star Stitch, Galaxy Stitch, Nebula Stitch and Plasma Stitch. The Plasma Stitch was the worst! Sometimes you have to wrap the yarn twice or thrice over and over again and that's not the hard part. The hard part comes when you purl back and all the yarn gets soooooo tight you can't move them. And so you use all your strength and that's how I damaged my finger. The Plasma Stitch is so stupid to execute but the effect is nice though. The Nova edging is no fun either. It takes forever to knit all the edging and it really took all the fun out of knitting.

But... it's done. All the anger, frustration and hardship is behind me now. Would be nice if I could wear it out. If only I don't look like an old lady.

Here's me modelling the shawl. Sorry if I appear under-dressed (it's my tan line).

I learnt quite a bit about knitting lace working on this shawl. I'm pretty good at reading the charts as well. I feel I can go to the next level of lace knitting - whatever that is. But I still have 2 beginner lace #wip. And I don't want to start a new thing until they're completed. Once the weather gets cooler in April, I'll try to finish them up.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Easy Zipper Handbag Pattern

Some folks asked for a easy zipper bag, particularly for people terrified of sewing with zippers and here it is. I made the size small so you don't need much fabric to get going. My Easy Zipper Hangbag Pattern is now available in my Etsy shop. Click here. The pattern is currently discounted at 25% until Monday 11th March 2019. No coupon is needed.

You're probably wondering where in the world I got the gorgeous fabric, right? It's a Ikea fabric. Nope you won't find it in the shop. I bought it years and years ago. I found a small remnant in the storeroom and used it to make the bag. Usually when I make a bag for a pattern, I would make sure I have at least 2 yards of fabric because sometimes you need to retake some photos and you have to make another sample and another sample... So I was living dangerously.

I love the fabric print as it is but I couldn't help adding some embroidery to it. Some knots and running stitch. Can you tell which is the fabric print and which is my embroidery?

If you need more information about the pattern, please go and check it out in my Etsy shop here. Please heart it while you're there. It helps my shop! Thanks.

To buy this pattern directly from me here on my blog (it's an instant download digital PDF), click on "Buy Now" button below but please read my F.A.Q. (if it's your first time) before you do so. The price has already been adjusted to reflect a 25% discount so no coupon is needed.

Friday, February 22, 2019

10 Things

Tuesday was officially the last day of Chinese New Year but I noticed the shopping malls continue to display Chinese New Year decorations. Shouldn't there be a rule that stipulates when ALL Chinese New Year decorations must be removed. I'm just kidding. I don't really care.

This year's Chinese New Year was super hot. And super sleepy. I really wanted to enjoy Chinese New Year despite my natural resistance to meeting people. Unfortunately for three days before Chinese New Year, I started to itch horribly - my face, my body, my hair, everywhere. I had to take anti-histamine which reduced the itch but gave me insomnia. So I barely slept and felt like a zombie. At one of the homes I visited, I even took a little nap. Actually, the nap took me.

We managed to get a family shot. I wore a Denizen raglan tee with Mango shorts.

It was so hot I brought out the big guns - my Safari hat.

We did the lohei (pronounced low-hey) 3 times. It's a tradition that involves preparing a raw fish salad and everyone tosses the salad for good luck and fortune. Here's some history if you're interested.

I have one rule when it comes to eating - no raw food. Fortunately the first lohei done at my mother-in-law's home has nothing raw. It's quite delicious and every year, she does some variation.

The second lohei was at my brother's home. I have a huge extended family. The person with white hair is my mom. I think this lohei has raw fish so I didn't eat it.

The third lohei was done at my aunt-in-law's home. This one had a weird smell. I didn't eat it as well. I have another rule when it comes to eating - no weird smell.

Every year my mother-in-law gives us a pomelo to place on our dining table. Why pomelo? Because the Chinese character for pomelo 柚 sounds like 有 which means "to have". So the presence of the pomelo hopefully brings wealth. Listen to pomelo here. Listen to "to have" here. Anyway, since Chinese New Year is officially over, we don't have to keep the pomelo on the dining table anymore. I hate to reveal this but for many years, we'd left the pomelo sitting on the dining table until it rotted. This year hubs said we should TRY to eat it since it hasn't rotted yet. Yup, we've never eaten pomelo before. While we figure out a way to eat it, I've put it in the refrigerator. Hopefully we don't get diarrhea from it.

Earlier I mentioned I had a bad case of the itch? After Chinese New Year, I discovered the cause. I had bought a new pair of knitting needles and for 3 days before Chinese New Year, I had been knitting up a storm. I kept smelling something metallic while knitting but dismissed the idea that the yarn was the cause because I have used the yarn before and no itch. It never occurred to me it was the knitting needle mainly because I have a few knitting needles by Addi and I never had any issues. So what happened was I started to itch when I knitted again. It slowly dawned on me it could be the knitting needle because this particular needle was different from the stainless steel ones I've used before. These needles are bronze and the metallic smell is quite strong. I decided to wash the knitting needle in soap and water. I gave it a really good scrub. After that when I used the knitting needle again, I didn't itch anymore. Isn't this strange? I wonder what was on the knitting needle that caused my skin to itch. So glad I could use the needles after all that because they're quite expensive.

So far this year I haven't done much sewing. But I managed to rescue my swim suit which is something I'm very happy about. I bought a new one-piece swim suit which I thought fitted me but when I wore it to swim, I realised that it constantly gave me a wedgie. I couldn't bare to wear it again because how to, right? I tried to give it to my daughter but it's too big for her. Then I had a brilliant idea. I cut off the lower half of the swim suit and serged the raw edges. I'm pretty pleased with my Janome overlocker. It can serge anything without having to adjust any tension! For the bottom, I bought a cheap pair of swimming shorts so I'm able to wear my swim suit as a 2-piece and not waste it after all.

For my next sewing project, hubs has given me his beloved blanket to mend. He has also requested that I do not use any creative methods. Grr...

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Checklist for Chinese New Year 2019

1. Visit Chinatown
To get into the spirit of Chinese New Year, a visit to Chinatown is a must. Many of the little roads are no longer open to traffic so you can walk, I mean squeeze your way from stall to stall. I visited Chinatown on 19th Jan and it was already packed. It's probably much worse now.

2. Look at lanterns
Of course the lanterns in the malls pale in comparison to the street lanterns hung over the roads at Chinatown.

3. Look at pigs
We read about the dirty pigs on display at Chinatown that people were criticizing so of course we had to pay them a visit. I thought the pigs weren't dirty enough. Have you seen real life pigs? They're filthy. I didn't get to see the pigs lighted up but here's a video that some one made including a walk around Chinatown. Click and see if you're up for some noisy Chinese tong tong chiang! music and not allergic to the colour red.

For cleaner looking pigs, we went to Mandarin Orchard. Not quite the same.

4. Look at Chinese New Year decorations for sale at shops or on display that you would not see the rest of the year. (there's a big obsession with pineapples, forgot why)

5. Prepare new notes and red packets.
Check out the McDonald's packets. So "classy".

6. Shop for new clothes.
Bought this one.

Did not buy this one.

Passed on this one as well.

This one was a maybe except the only colour available was yellow. I avoid wearing yellow.

7. Buy mandarin oranges.
I bought 5 but used them for a photo shoot and left them in the sun. I should buy 4 new ones for Chinese New Year for the mandarin orange exchange thingy. I mean, that's the least I could do considering how the relatives I visit will feed me.

8. Get new shoes
Pass. There was a time when my family would get new clothes as well as new shoes for Chinese New Year. But I own a fair number of footwear and so does my girl. Hubs has enough shoes to open a shoe shop... My son has 1 pair of sneakers, 1 pair of formal shoes and 1 pair of sandals. In his eyes, that's sufficient so we let him be. Everyone gets new clothes because hubs is pretty particular about that.

9. Get new hair
I just spent 3 hours at my hairstylist's salon getting a cut trim and some light hair colour. I wish my hair would grow slower. My hairstylist loves my hair a bit too much. Each time I ask for a cut, it's a negotiation. If I ask for 2 inches, she'll bargain it down to 1 inch. It's like she owns my hair.

10. Clean my home
I already did a big clean up in December so I'm letting myself off the hook.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Chun Again

Last Feb, I created 2 versions of chun (spring) which is a common Chinese New Year decoration. Well, Chinese New Year is almost here. If you want a printable of chun, please go here to download.

I had made an applique version of chun which I rather like but I left it unfinished because I was lazy. I used masking tape to tape the decoration to the wall.

The unfinished chun applique had been bugging me since then and recently I dug it out from the Ikea box where I keep all my unfinished applique.
I didn't want to think too hard about what to do so I did it the same way as my Perfect Miter tute. I cut the backing with an extra 1" all round. I didn't use any basting glue or pins to hold the 3 layers together (there's a thin layer of batting in between) which I regretted because making the miter was rather hard when the layers kept shifting. Still, I managed it in the end. I wish to thank my walking foot for a job well done.

Finally my chun applique is finished. You know what? This is my first completed UFO in 2019.

I used a very clumsy way to hang the applique. This is how creative lazy Jane is - 2 safety pins with rings attached and a bamboo skewer between the rings. This is not a good method and I highly recommend that you don't follow it. But it works.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Pom Poms And Tassels

In November last year, Spotlight opened a branch in the western part of Singapore and it's not too far from my home. I went to the shop hoping to use my "spend $100 get $40 off" coupon. Shockingly I couldn't find anything to buy except this bag of pom poms. Why did I buy the pom poms? Here's the thing. I really hate to make my own pom poms. I think it's a huge waste of yarn and most importantly, I get no joy making them. Plus it's cheap.

But the bag of pom poms sat in the drawer day after day because I guess I have no need for pom poms. Well until today when I decided to make another accessory for a zipper pocket to justify the purchase.

Remember this tassel tutorial I made in 2015? I thought I'll marry pom poms with a tassel. If you don't know how to make a tassel, you can refer to my tute. If you want to make your own pom pom, google pom pom tutorial. I'm sure you'll get at least 60k hits.

 I tied the middle with a thread which I will use later to piece the pom poms and beads together.

I have a lot of beads which need to be made into something.

Put the pom poms and beads together with a thread and needle.

At the top, I attached a ring, sewed a knot and hid the ends.

I used a lobster clasp thingy so you have the option of removing easily.

The only issue with using store bought pom poms is you can't use the exact same colour yarn for the tassel.

I made another pom pom tassel thingy - this time I attached it to a rope.

I now have 134 pom poms left. What else shall I make?

p.s. Crescent Bag Pattern available here.
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