Thursday, July 31, 2008

Something that seems never ever will be finished

DAL2008somme 292, originally uploaded by Ove and Lucia.

I have blogged about this table-cloth-to-be a few times. This one is a UFO inherited from Ove's grandma (it had only one corner done when I first got it). This one is only one piece that I dug out from the mountains of UFO that she left. This one may be a black hole. I sew and sew, almost two years have passed, and it just never ever gets done (maybe that was the reason why grandma decided to put it away.). If there is a knitting black hole like the one Yarn Harlot said (her post on June 16, 2005), am I in an embroidery black-hole or what?

Every time I pick up this work, I think about grandma. When I went through the family albums, I wondered what kind of person this beautiful and elegant woman was. I know she loved Ove. When Ove was young, she gave him a hug everyday on his way to school. I know she loved flowers. Ove can still tell me vividly how his grandma would spend almost all her money on seeds and flowers. And of the money left she would spend it on buying handwork kits. She loved to make things to decorate life and to the ones she loved. She was a happy lady of flowers and beautiful handwork, but she was also tough and strong. She became both father and mother to her two teenage children when her husband passed away at an age too young.

Though I have never met this grandma in person, I miss her. Ove and his mother both said that we would be good friends if we met each other. I feel the same too. We share so many interests, and we even subscribe to the same magazines. Though she was gone long time ago, I sometimes still feel that I can still have a piece of her in my life. Every time I touch and see the stashes, finished, unfinished objects she left, I feel she is there. Every time I picked up this embroidery work, I feel our hands are holding together. This lady was gone, but she never left us.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Tutorial: How to block a lace plate mat

DAL2008somme 288, originally uploaded by Ove and Lucia.

OK. First of all, I don't know if it is called 'plate mat' in English. To be honest, I don't even know what it is called in Chinese. I knitted it from the Norwegian knitting book Ragnhilds KunstStrikk. In the book, it is a 'Tallerkendemper', something you can put in the plate, as illustrated in the picture.

Alrighty, I am going to photo document the process of how I magically changed the lace to look at the one in the photo from this. :=)

Let's begin with preparation: What we need are four things:
1, the crumpled lace that reminds you of Chinese cabbage
2, a lot of pins
3, a bottle of (God, I don't know the English name of this also) 'stivelse', some medium to stiffen the lace. 'Laundry starch' is the name, isn't it?
4, a blanket or something that you can put under the lace and pin it upon

Step 1:
Thoroughly wet the lace, squeeze out the excessive water.

Step 2:
Spread the lace out on the blanket or whatever you choose to put under it.
Step 3:
Start pin the lace to place. I always start with the diagonal method, meaning that I will choose a 'cross' on the lace and pin the opposite two points of 'the cross' to place. As marked in the photo, I started with the two red dots, then the violet, the blue, the yellow, etc. By this way, I make sure that I have control of the overall shape of the lace, which is round in this case.

Step 4:
Pin each corner of the lace. It is interesting to see how many corners one can have of a circle :=) After that, spray the laundry starch all over the lace. Let dry. Remember, patience is a virtue.


Whatelse I learn from knitting this lace:
  1. thick needles + thin lace weight yarn is a good combo to give beautiful lace
  2. do not use too large stitch markers, unless you want big holes at the exact spot every row
  3. do not haste to shift the lace to circular needles from DPN too early, unless you
  • want to test the chance of breaking your yarn and your nerves
  • would like to knit a gauge that is so tight that your knitting becomes something like a tennis racket, or
  • are interested in having holes larger than expected.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

What is he making?

DAL2008somme 280, originally uploaded by Ove and Lucia.

My hubby is determined to give me a surprise.

He has been disappeared from the house for two days, ignoring lunch and computer games (this is just so unlike Ove, who would usually nag about an empty stomach exactly the same way as my cat complains about an empty bowl, and he would play computer game 24/7 if not stopped). And today when I found him in the shed, clothed in rags and covered in sawdust, he told me that he was making something. Doesn't that something look cool? I've guessed doll bed and mini green house, both in vain. According to Ove, that little something is probably to me, 'depending how it looks like,'.

He needs to see.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

small bootie for small foot

DAL2008somme 274, originally uploaded by Ove and Lucia.

I knitted this for a friend's baby girl. The pattern is from the free brochure of baby knit with the magazine Knitting, issue August 2008.

I have not decided if I want to knit a second one to make a pair, because I have this question: what is a 'normal' size of a baby foot, 6-12 months. This one measures 8 cm, isn't it too small?

If you are curious of how far Ove's socks go, check this and this.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A piece of art

DAL2008somme 231, originally uploaded by Ove and Lucia.

Here I present you the first hand knit sock in my life--deep blue. Deep blue is beautiful, well shaped, and an enjoyment to knit. So there definitely is going to be deep blue II, by which I will have a pair of socks. The pattern is the jazz sock from the book Weekend Knitting.

I had the 'sock issue' before I actually tried this one. You know, knitting two identical things?! not to mention that you can buy a mountain of socks from a market with the cost of almost nothing. What a stupid judgmental fool I was. Now I start understanding the joy of knitting socks. It looks easy, but still requires patience and technique. It is a wonderful presentation of personal taste in color and style. It may sound boring: a pair of socks, you mean knitting two things exactly identical?! Yes and No. I mean a pair of socks but who said a pair of socks means two identical socks? I believe that, though from the same pair, each sock has its own characters and tempers. Just like people in love. They may share the same interests, make similar decisions, even start looking and behaving the same (more or less). They are still different, and exactly that difference make them a pair. So sock knitting is like true love. Its beauty shines in the details though it itself usually left unnoticed, hiding in the shoes. But only the wearers can know, sense and treasure this piece of love, for the warmth from the heart.You need to look hard, and harder, to detect the slightest differences, the interesting parts and the individual spirits behind the routines and the sameness.

Oh, don't forget that socks are fast to knit. Once you pick up the needles, you can really see the progress develops.

So now I am working on knitting the Andes sock for Ove. It is a more complicated pattern with eye-killing pattern. Remember it suppose to be a practice piece for the Latvian mitten (I didn't know what I was thinking when I decided to choose to knit a sock in preparation of knitting a mitten.)

At the same time, I finished knitting this today. Ye epee!

Today, we also harvested our garden. And the garden gives us these:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Vet and Use waste yarn

DAL2008somme 219, originally uploaded by Ove and Lucia.

I am working on the sock(s) today. We started the day early, planning to take Kua (our cat) to the vet for a routine check as well as for a check of the cat's state of constant sneezing. The cat pushed in cage, and knitting packed in bag, everyone was ready. We left the house expecting a smooth day full of fun. I even joked of Kua 'We are going nowhere, only to visit a lady who will stick a pin in your ass.'.

'Don't tease Kua' was the last thing Ove said before the next second I saw him laying on his back, wrestling with a giant fat cat fighting its way out with sharp claws, teeth and all its weight. Kua had broken out of the cage. Prison break! The cat fight like a fish, twisting its body, shaking head and tail, turning side by side like crazy. I was worried. I was definitely clear of all the possible consequences if Kua ran away: she (it) is going to hate us, never come back home, probably got lost in forest, chased around by dogs, crash into a car accident... So I stretch out my hand, trying to help...Ove. Ouch, painful the scratch was. At the same time, I found the scene in front of me extremely entertaining. The fact that my husband is fighting with our cat on a pedestrian, both laying on their backs, makes me want to take out my camera.

I didn't take pictures. Not that I would not if I had time. Kua run away, because Ove no longer could stand the pain, and because, according to Ove, Kua is an extremely strong cat (The strongest cat he's ever had). So instead of taking Kua to see a vet, we turned around, going to a hospital to see a doctor because Ove's hands looked like this. (OK, Ove wants me to tell you that the picture does not really do justice to the serious state of his hands. Some of the bites/scratches are pretty bad. So we went to the hospital for disinfection, anti-biotics and a shot to prevent tetanus. )

We had to wait at the hospital for quite a while. Luckily, I brought my knitting with me. Unluckily, it was my first sock that I took. Right, I could efficiently utilize the waiting time at the hospital while figuring out (challenging myself on) how the heel works (and everyone around can see me go nuts) and, hopefully, reach to shape the toe. Hmm, 'use waste yarn to cast on for heels' says the book. I remembered that there was a ball of white yarn I grabbed when I left home. That could be my waste yarn...and a few minute later, I had what it looked like in the photo at the beginning: a hole ready to be a heel, and a whole lot of waste yarn.

Now it was Ove's turn to find it entertaining. Yes, dude, I purposely messed it around just to help you forget the pain. So I spent the next few minutes pretending innocent and doing this in the hope to rescue my waste yarn from being wasted.

It went fine. At least now I have one color yarn on needles, and another separated ball of white yarn. Otherwise, Ove and I had fun browsing the brochures and pamphlets at the hospital. Most of the information are in Norwegian, but some are translated into...errr...Norgelish. Mysterious and entertaining stuff, like this

have a nice weekend, guys.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tree theme ATC

DAL2008somme 197, originally uploaded by Ove and Lucia.

I made an ATC last week of some dry leaves, recycled calendar painting and watercolor. I like how color pencil and water color work together, creating a dream-like romantic effect. The finished ATC can be found here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

'So tell me, Lucia, are your parents Chinese?'

Soon it will be three years since I came to Norway. I have experienced beautiful nature and met adorable people. I have encountered a lot of questions, funny, interesting, boring, odd, cute, and strange questions. Many of them are about whether I enjoyed living in Norway, if I think the winters are too dark, too cold and too long (yes, they definitely are); Meanwhile, many questions are about how I feel like living in Norway as a foreigner. To be honest, I find quite a lot of these questions are a bit unpleasant, unfriendly, and sometimes rather annoying.

For example, the blood vessel under my left eye is relatively visible due to a childhood accident of hitting a chair corner, but it is not that dramatically blue that the police would come to me and question if I have involved in a gang fight or something like that. However, I do find that people are concerned about this slightly more-blue-ish mark. One time, a Germany friend asked me if I had a fight with someone. We joked around and you know, a question like this is really fine. But I do find it VERY ANNOYING when some of my Norwegian colleagues asked me 'Do your husband beat you? (Slår mannen din deg?)' or similar question like 'Do you enjoy living together with your husband?'. I have been asked three times by Norwegians since I came to this country. The answer is NO, my husband does not beat me, and Yes, we live happily together. And I do wonder if my Norwegian colleagues ask each other such questions, and I seriously doubt if they would still ask me this if it is not that I am an Asian woman who happens to marry a Norwegian man.

Also, there was one time a young Norwegian lady asked me 'So you are from China. Have you been in hunger a lot?'. I had to repeat that question to her to make sure that I did not hear it wrong. She seemed quite suprised and embarrassed when I told her 'No, not I myself, or my families or friends, actually not anyone I know around me. But I am sure there are people living in poverty in China. China is a big country.' Then she said something like 'Oh, I asked only because I heard that Chind is a poor country.' So...?

Then came this question last week. A colleague asked me: 'Lucia, are you parents Chinese?'. 'Yes.' But four days later, she asked me the same question again and this time she also asked me if I was adopted. It turned out that what bothered her so much about is that I have the 'wrong eyes'. According to her, all Chinese should have eyes like this (Yes, just in case you wonder, she is Chinese, a top model from China, and she has Chinese parents, obviously).

Since I am writing about the unpleasant questions, I think I may well also point out that though I may not know the full name of the Norwegian king's great grandfather, I do know my own name, and I have no plan to have a Norwegian name. So stop correcting my name from Liu to Liv, Lin, Lie (that's not even a first name), or something unpronounceable such as Lln.

Will it make you think of Chinese as less awkward if I tell you that Chinese people use a pair of chopsticks, instead of one single stick when eating? This sure surprised one of my colleagues.

It is unfair to announce that it is unfair that the team having me won the game of building a sand castle only because I am from an 'east country with all the exotic pavilions'.

Stop telling the kids that I look like an American Indian just because I have black hair.

Yes, I enjoy living in Norway. Trives du også?

The back is done

DAL2008somme 202, originally uploaded by Ove and Lucia.

The basket weaving sweater for Ove is on its way. I got the back piece done last night. The pattern is from Knit Simple Holiday 2007. More info, check my Ravelry account. :=)

I made several errors in knitting this back. I am not good at counting at all. You probably can see that the small 'baskets' are not in the same rows...Instead of ripping the mistakes off, I somehow convinced myself that it is only the back piece, and not many people would stare at your back and say 'hey, the baskets on your back are not on the same row.' However, I promised you that I am indeed determined to not to repeat the same mistakes when knitting the front, so my hubby would be proud of me and not embarrassed of small 'baskets' on his back.

As usual, I started more projects. Check out this lovely cabled jacket and shawl from VK winter 07/08. They are currently on my needles. Plus the socks and summer top, currently I have totally 6 projects on needle. Great, still one day free on my dolls.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


DAL2008somme 192, originally uploaded by Ove and Lucia.

I've been reading Yarn Harlot. So far I am in February 2005. If you also read her blog, you would know that during that period there were a whole lot of Latvian mittens. I fully understand what are behind the addiction to the mittens: they are gorgeous. Simply looking at them already makes me into a day dreamer of Latvian mittens.

Determined to have a pair of my own Latvian mitten, I started what you see in the photo above. It is not Latvian, and it is not a mitten. Instead it is Norwegian design sock (not yet a pair). I think I need some training of chart reading and multi-color yarn knitting before I cast on the dreaming mittens someday.

As expected, the journey to the mittens are full of challenges. It has already started shown in the sock. It turns out that I am not as good a chart-reader as I thought, and I do not know how to knit a sock heel, or a sock toe because I have never ever knitted a sock in my life. Thinking it would be silly to use the nice Norwegian sock to experiment, I decided that a 'plain Jane' sock can do the job. So right now I also have this on my needles.

DAL2008somme 193

I am exicted as both of the socks (though not in a pair) progress to the heel...I can feel my heart beating fastened, palm sweated, and just in time to notice that different methods of heel knitting are used on knitting the two socks...

Of course there are more than one method to knit a sock heel, right? How can I be so silly to think there is a 'universal' sock heel knitting method. God, I have not reach the heel yet, but already feel like defeated.

So right now both of the two socks are put aside. I need time to decide which heel to try first. At the same time, I picked up the UFO of Ove's Christmas sweater last year. Let's see if one of the socks can ever be finished. Finger crossed.