Saturday, December 10, 2005

da Hood

I was impressed with my husband's picture-taking skill on this one, a snap of Mt. Hood as seen from my in-law's bedroom window.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I wish I were a baby!

Ok, so everyone I know would probably argue that I am a baby (or at least, act like it). But seriously, these little slippers are so damn cute. I'm considering putting my brain to use for once, to come up with an adult-sized version of the pattern. Ok, I'm done considering. Who am I kidding? I'm like, the only Asian person on the planet that missed out on the math genius gene.


"Baby Slippers" from Adorable Knits for Tots by Zoe Mellor, knit in "Shine" from Knit Picks, colors Cherry and Cream. Needles - US 2, shell buttons from Jo-Ann. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I'm sick in the head

This potato was in my in-laws' weekly vegetable delivery basket. I about died. Should I sell it on eBay?

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Friday, October 21, 2005

Hello, kitty

Last weekend we went to the big Japanese supermarket, Uwajimaya. It was just like being back home in the Bay Area! Asians everywhere, and Mikey was the minority for a change!

We really had a great time looking at all the fun stuff. Of course, I had to buy stickers at Kinokuniya bookstore. And we bought a bunch of rice crackers and instant noodle bowls (the good kind, not Top Ramen). But we were disappointed in the selection of things, particularly their candy isle. They just didn't seem to have the exact items we've come to love. I will, however, give them kudos for being the most non-Asian smelling grocery store I've ever been to.

Here's the big find of the day. When I was a kid, I used to love making these box kits. When I saw this one with all the Hello Kittys on them, there was no question it was going into the basket. From my past experience, I know that you're supposed to use the special Japanese paper paste to glue the washi onto the box. I don't know why exactly, but my mom always bought the one in a flat, yellow tube. Being the good girl that I am, I picked up a bottle of Japanese paste. Mom would be so proud.

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Two for the price of one

Can you believe it - two posts in one day! I was so excited to find a package of yarn on the doorstep today. I just had to share!

As you probably don't recall, earlier in the year I received two beefy skeins from, sent to me by my (then) Secret Pal. I ended up knitting a small rug, slightly felted, that sits at my bedside. Well, it did when I used to have a home. Anyhow, I should really get around to taking a pic of it because it's really cute.

I've always meant to place an order from this place, which does all hand dyed yarn in an amazing assortment of colors, at even more amazing prices. I finally got around to it, and I just love what I got! Definitely worth the 2.5 week wait (it came from Uruguay).

Top: Ejido 160 in Robles, Handspun Bulky in Triple Azul; Bottom: Merino Wool Bulky in Cooper, Ejido 160 in Picnic, Colonia 140 in Cinnabar
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These will likely become scarves - yes, more freakin' scarves - or other small projects. I purposely ordered onesies so that I can get a feel for the different yarns and how true their colors are, since I've never ordered from them before. After my little "taste test", if I like it enough, I'll see about ordering enough to make a great rustic looking winter sweater. Okay, gotta go squish my fingers into these skeins!!

Why doesn't it look like the one in the book?

I know there have been some discussions, particularly on the Knitter's Review forums, about substitute yarn for Ene's Scarf. I did the research myself before starting on this. Now, since I didn't use the original yarn, and given my limited knowledge of how specific fibers bloom over time, I don't know if this thing will eventually lay flat and look a little more... how do you say... polished?

It seems to look puffy, and the stitches look wrinkly. I'm hoping that a dunk in some water will even out the stitches, and a light press will smooth out the puffiness. As you can see in the second pic, I'm having to hold down the edge stitches because they're curling.

Ene's Scarf is chuggin' along!
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closeup of Ene's
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Aside from my feverish knitting, I have been spending time trying to "get to know Portland". I still can't believe I live here. I keep thinking this is just a visit to the in-law's that keeps going...and going...and going...

Well, at least we are under contract on a house. So, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We're supposed to move Thanksgiving week, which seems like an eternity, so I'm not terribly excited just yet. Once things get closer, I'll start to feel like it's more real.

Since we don't know anyone (our age) here in Portland, I've been having a hard time finding those little hidden gems that I know exist here. We don't live in the "cool" parts of town, so I've turned to lurking around other Portland bloggers to see where they hang out. Not to stalk them, but just to hear about cool places, yarn stores and otherwise.

I think that once we settle into our own house, and get our lives in normal working order, I'll try to get out to the yarn stores and try to meet people. So totally not what I would normally do, so we'll have to see if it ever happens. Hey, I'm from the Bay Area - we're just not that social.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Hello, I'm now an Oregonian

Yes, it's been a long time since I've blogged, but let's see... I found out we were moving and 4 days later we had all our belongings in a POD. The following day we drove to Oregon. And now, three weeks later, we are under contract to buy a house. I'd say that excuses me from slacking on the blogging.

I haven't, however, stopped knitting through all of this. I of course brought all of my needles and various accessories (ball winder, stitch markers, etc.), but all I needed was some yarn. Not hard to find here in Oregon.

I purchased some stuff from Elann and had it shipped to my in-laws' house (where we're temporarily shacking up). One project I've been working on is Ene's Scarf in Peruvian Collection Baby Silk in the color Raspberry. Aside from a few pattern repeat blunders, it has been relatively easy to follow. This is the thinnest yarn I've ever worked with, but at least it's done on size 6 needles since it's lace. That's about as small as I'll go - I just prefer to work with larger needles.

Ene's Scarf from Scarf Style in baby alpaca/silk blend
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The other project I have for those mindless-knitting-while-watching-TV times, is a 3x3 rib scarflet in Lorna's Laces Angel. I actually started knitting it (I made up the pattern), and decided that I could make it a little wider and longer. So, I ripped out the first half and I'm going to start over. Here are the two balls ready for a second go. This yarn is so incredibly luscious. I highly recommend it if you're willing to splurge a bit (it cost about $10 for a 25g hank, 50 yards).

Lorna's Laces Angel in Sand Ridge colorway
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And finally, my in-laws just got back from a 2-week trip to Italy and lookee what I got! Real Italian yarn, spun right there in Florence. I just love the interesting yarn construction of the burgundy yarn - doesn't it look like it's crocheted in chain stitch? Fabulous!

Euro yarn!
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Very cool, very interesting yarn
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Saturday, August 27, 2005


Well, now that we know we're moving (at some point), I'm starting to make my rounds and making one last visit to my favorite LYSs.

I had some errands to run in Los Altos, so I stopped by Uncommon Threads to see if they had the new fall Rebecca magazine in (issue number 30). Woohoo! They had it, and although many of the patterns are way too funky for me, I just like having all the issues. I imagine having a nice, organized "library" of knitting magazines and books in my soon-to-be knitting room. I can't wait!

Yes, I actually get to turn a bedroom into a knitting room, where I can organize my yarn and pattern books. Right now, our place is so small I have my things tucked away in a thousand different nooks and crannies - basically, wherever there is space. I can never find anything, and I forget what I have because half my stash is in a hard-to-reach shelf high up.

But, I digress. Here is what I picked up on my final visit to Uncommon Threads. I noticed a new yarn there, Rowan RYC Soft Tweed. Something about it really grabbed me, so I got a ball to make yet another scarf. This is Slate Blue, color number 7. I liked how it has very subtle tweedy flecks. It isn't a nubby tweed, and overall the yarn is sort of felted-ish.

I really enjoyed working with the Crystal Palace Kid Merino for my last scarf, so I picked up another ball in a light green (sage, number 5448) to bring out the green tweed in the Rowan yarn. I was really tempted to buy a similar color in Rowan KidSilk Haze, but it was more than twice the price of the Kid Merino. One of these days I'll learn how to splurge.

Last stuff from Uncommon Threads
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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

What would I do without wool/silk blends?

Probably knit with something even more expensive, like cashmere. Yikes!

You know it's a bad time for me when I pull out the expensive stuff to knit with. It's the only thing that helps me get through all the anxiety. This bulky wool/silk blend from Carolina Homespun's Blue Moon Spinnery is so incredibly soothing. It's insanely soft and plush, and the color is softly variegated with a subtle sheen from the silk.

Though gorgeous by itself, I really wanted to add a bit of mohair haze to it. I picked up a ball of Crystal Palace Kid Merino in one of their printed colorways, Red Cinnamon (9798). It does the job well, but I must admit that it does cover up the silky shine of the Blue Moon yarn. Oh well. I love the way the scarf is turning out and I can't wait to wear it (when it gets cold enough!).

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The scarf is based on the single rib pattern version in Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I modified it by slipping the first stitch of every row, so that the edges are smooth and neat. I also worked on fewer stitches because I like skinnier scarves.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Calgon, take me away!

Well, it's been pretty stressful around here lately. We're STILL waiting to hear if we can move. I don't know if this has contributed to my back pain, but it got so bad I actually went to see a chiropractor for the first time. It was good for a short while (a few hours), but things quickly slipped back into its 'bad place'.

Since there's nothing I can do but sit and wait, I've been stewing in my anxiety. I decided this called for drastic measures. I dug deep into my stash and pulled out some delicious yarn that I'd been saving for a special occasion.

I bought 6 balls of Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran last year at a "sale". I use quotes because the store jacks up their prices so much that a sale only brings them down to normal prices. At the time, I didn't know any better, so I bought the yarn thinking it was a great deal. I don't regret it though because it's absolutely soothing. Perfect for this time of need.

I stole a portion of the pattern for Fair Isle Jazz from Scarf Style. I wanted to try something new, and I'd never worked a bobble before. They're fun!

Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran bobble scarf
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I've also been working on two other projects that are now finished, but I can't show them because they're for you-know-who. You'll know who that is, if you're that person!

Monday, August 08, 2005

A toucan exploded on my yarn

Yesterday I dyed some Wool of the Andes from Knit Picks with Kool Aid. Though fun and yummy smelling, the result was something only a hippy would appreciate. Hmm, Santa Cruz is just over the hill...

Soaking the yarn (looks like spaghetti!) in hot water with some Wool Mix
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I dissolved two packets of each flavor in about 3 tablespoons of hot water, then used a turkey baster to apply the colors (rinsing out between colors). I originally wanted only the pink, yellow, and green, but I ran out of color before I got to the end, so I had to use the blue to fill in the rest.

Soarin' Strawberry Lemonade, Lemonade, Lemon-Lime, Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade
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It smells great, but good lord... what am I supposed to do with something this hideous?!

Hung out to dry
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Saturday, August 06, 2005

Here's what $45 will get you at Knit Picks

Okay, it was $46 dollars and some change, but you get my drift...

Clockwise from top left: 4 Wool of the Andes (1 each in daffodil, fern, pumpkin, holllyberry); 3 Wool of the Andes Natural (for Kool Aid dyeing); 2 Crayon in Blue; 3 Crayon in Light Blue; 1 Shimmer in Happy Dance; 4 Andean Treasure in Sunset
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I'm so pissed! I just went to their website and discovered a couple new yarns out! What the hell?! They just sent me a catalog in the mail last week with no mention of this. I've already announced that I will have to place another order. Good thing the free shipping is for orders over $30. I like free shipping.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Success or not?

I'm a perfectionist. If you don't plan on doing it right, don't do it at all. That's basically how I operate. No wonder I'm a stress case.

But when it comes to knitting, felting your knit goods means you have to throw a bit of caution to the wind and just hope it all turns out. Not something I'm used to doing, but the felting process has some really good upsides - you can be a bit sloppy since it all becomes one smooth fabric.

Before I felted the Canteen bag, both the front and back pieces (rust and red) were exactly the same size, and of course were the same number of rounds and stitches. Somehow, though, the back ended up shrinking waaay more than the front. I haven't decided how much that bothers me.

Front of Canteen bag
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Flap up view
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Back view
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I have two theories about why this happened. Theory Number One - when knitting the side (green), you simultaneously join the front and back pieces to it by picking up stitches and knitting them together with the side. I think that something in this process contributed to the back side being more tightly felted together with the side. You can sorta see that there's a bigger ridge on the back side where they meet, as opposed to the front.

Theory Number Two - since I used two different colors for the front and back, perhaps the red just shrinks more than the orange? I'd be interested to know what would happen if I tried this again using the same color for front and back.

Specs: Canteen bag knit with Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky, colors Loden Leaf, Medieval Red, and Rust (1 skein each); needles US #11 (Clover bamboo); gauge 3 sts/inch

Thursday, August 04, 2005

A couple surprises

Let me start by reiterating how skanky our current place is. Here in CA, there are a lot of places with old and weird floor plans. For instance, our laundry room is outside... and it's in the FRONT of our house! How messed up is that?!

When I do laundry, I'd prefer it to be in a relatively clean environment. But since ours is in a weird outdoor room, I often find moths in the cabinets. When they die and fall on the floor, the ants come and feast. Then they get thirsty and decide to crawl all over our washing machine. You have to wipe them up before doing a load.

Then today, I went out there and I found a few friends waiting for me. A spider decided to have babies under the cabinet. Lovely.

I love where I live
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Ok, on to better things. I was browsing the latest Interweave Knits magazine and decided to try knitting the Canteen Bag by Rachel Battaglia Nissen using some Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky I had in my stash. I was truly surprised at how fast this thing knit up! I'm a super slow knitter, and it only took me about 2.5 evenings. I'll post pics after I felt it.

front of canteen bag, before felting
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Back of canteen bag, before felting
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Another side project I'd been working on is a little cardigan sweater for our new kid, Jake. We got Jake in Arizona and he'd been complaining since arriving in California that it's too cold here! So, I took his measurements (which was easy since stuffed animals have seams you can follow), and grabbed some Andean Silk from Knit Picks in the color Yarrow. Since he's sort of triangular-shaped, I knew I'd have to make it a raglan sweater. The back photo really shows the raglan decreases, and the moss stitch edging. Of course, now all the other kids are jealous.

Jake in his new sweater
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Back of Jake's sweater
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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Hip hip hurray!

It's a freakin' miracle. I actually finished something. Granted, there was very little finishing involved with Anouk, but still. I'm really pleased with the results, though I still need to put buttons on it. No hurry on that, though, since it's not going to anyone in particular. Finding buttons will require taking the item to the store and making a perfect match. I'll be more motivated to do that once there's an actual baby involved. Anyone know a newborn girl?

Anouk completed (almost)!
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The Cascade Pima Melange is really soft, though my only gripe would be that it did tend to come un-twisted, so I was constantly twisting the yarn back into shape. Having it in your hands, feeling the softness between your fingers, it instantly made me feel at ease in this time of stress and anxiety (we're waiting for some BIG news). Mom-in-law knows what I'm talking about.

As you can see, I also changed the color scheme from the original pattern. I wanted the main body color to be reddish pink, so I chose color number 195. I also switched out the flower color, and turned that into yellow number 295. I think they work well together!

Closeup of the flower pockets
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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

New additions

I got a call from my sister on Saturday, informing me that there was some sort of yarn conference (Stitches wannabe) going on in Oakland. Having realized that we had no plans for the weekend, we decided to make a day in the East Bay (hey, that rhymed!).

I'd been wanting to get my beloved Wayne Thiebaud posters dry mounted for some time now. With the possibility that we may leave the area soon, I wanted to get it done at the only place I know and trust - The Reprint Mint in Berkeley. And as luck would have it, we're going to be back in Berkeley for Ann's 30th birthday party on Friday, the very day the finished products will be ready for pick up!

So, after a quick stop to drop off the prints, we headed to the yarn conference. Yay. I love downtown Oakland. So safe, so lovely smelling when it's 90 degrees. But, I digress...

Though the market wasn't as good (or as large) as the one at Stitches, there was a good variety of handspun/hand dyed yarns. I don't like going to these special events and coming away with stuff I could have bought at my LYS or online. I go for the unusual items, the things I would have never even known about. And it's cool when the person who spun and dyed the yarn is standing right there in the booth, talking about the process.

I was torn between two spinners' yarns, but ended up leaving with these two skeins from Carolina Homespun. Why? Because I loved the colors and they were worsted/bulky weight. Oh, and they're super-soft.

Blue Moon Spinnery yummy yarns
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Thursday, July 21, 2005

If you like pics, this one's for you

We just got back from our trip to Arizona, and I've got so many great pics to share! I'll get the knitting updates out of the way first, since this is primarily a knitblog.

I brought along 2 projects for the trip. The first was Anouk which I'm doing in Cascade Pima Melange (instead of the Pima Tencel it calls for). I think they are very similar, but I liked the softer, pigment-dyed looking colors of the Melange better. And it was really inexpensive from One Fine Yarn. I finished the front and one pocket, done in intarsia.

Anouk in Cascade Pima Melange (super soft!)
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The other project I worked on was the Spring Fling tank. The stitch marker I'm using is one that I got from my Secret Pal from SP4. Isn't it absolutely gorgeous against the color of the yarn?!

Spring Fling tank in GGH Esprit
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So when it's 116 degrees in Scottsdale, what else does one think of besides yarn? I actually hadn't planned on going yarn shopping, but there was a store very close to the Four Seasons. I picked up a couple balls of Mission Falls 1824 cotton on sale, and also one of my best finds - Sushi stitch markers!!!

Mission Falls 1824 Cotton
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The coolest stitch markers EVER!!!
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On one of the days, we took a day trip up to Sedona. The landscape was incredible, but the town itself was a bit touristy. We did a little shopping, and stumbled across this artist's figurines - he* fashions animals out of old car and truck hoods, and calls them 'Critters from the Hood'. Here's the little pooch we adopted. *I stand corrected! The artist is Janey Katz, a woman from New Mexico.

Sedona souvenir
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He's a 1970 Ford School Bus!!!
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Ok, now on to the vacation photos. We stayed at the Four Seasons in Scottsdale - highly recommended. The bathroom alone was about the size of our bedroom back home! And it was well-appointed with L'Occitane products. I must also mention that there was a walk-in closet with all the usual amenities, plus a hamper and laundry detergent. Yeah, it was a large room.

The resort is sort of tucked away between two peaks, making for some lovely photo ops. Check 'em out!

Picture perfect Scottsdale sunset
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Dramatic desert sunset
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Just another lovely sunset
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The Four Seasons resort in Scottsdale
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Cool old artifacts decorate the landscape
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View of the central lawn area behind the lobby
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In front of our room was this gorgeous view, and a very tall cactus!
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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Think small...

Since moving from our (relatively) BIG Texas house to our tiny California duplex, I've learned the fine art of downsizing. As a person who cherises uncluttered space and organization, this was really a challenge here. How do you fit an entire house into a duplex half the size?

I became very fond of the Container Store. They helped with big problems such as the lack of a pantry in the kitchen (solution: InterMetro industrial shelving). But most of the containers were more function, less aesthetics.

After making my first French Market bag to hold a good amount of yarn by my side while I sat on the sofa, I thought 'this thing is really useful AND cute!' I felted another piece, a bowl to hold candy, but I can't remember where I got the pattern.

That was all last year. Fast forward to yesterday, when I was out in the yard checking on the status of our cherry tomatoes and blueberries. Earlier in the season, I'd only been getting 1 or 2 fruits every couple of days. Imagine my surprise yesterday, when I came back in the house with a handful of tomatoes and my shorts pocket stuffed with fruit as well!

Sure, I could use a plastic bowl or something, but I immediately thought of the French Market bag. After all, it was born to hold nature's bounty. One problem, though - it was waaaay too big for the job. I only needed a bag about half the size. So what did I do? Yup. I halved the recipe.

This version is so freakin' cute I jotted down what I did exactly so that I could make more just like it. Not now, but maybe in another year when I'm in need of a container.

Mini FM bag, under the blueberries
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Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted, Autumn Harvest (MC) and Grey Heather (CC)
Needles: US #8
Finished Size: body height - 3.5”, handle height - 4” (total height - 7.5"), body circumference - 26”

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Time flies when you're doing nothing

I know it's been forev since I've posted, but not much has been going on in the way of knitting and I don't think anyone reads this anyway. I fell into a period of "knitter's block" and didn't pick up the sticks for well over a week - very unusual if I'm not on vacation or something. I think it has to do with my overall feelings of anxiety and restlessness.

But, I finally found inspiration in a tank pattern from Rowan called Smooch. I know, I'm about 2 years behind the wave but it's new to me. The yarn called for is All Seasons Cotton (aka ASC), which I have in my stash, but I'm saving it for something a little more spectacular (sorry Smooch). Here's what it's supposed to look like:

Rowan Smooch tank
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I'm using the Lang Twin Color I scored on eBay earlier in the year for like 11 bucks (for all 6 balls!). The ball band says it knits at 15 stitches per 10 cm, but I think it makes a nice fabric at 17 stitches, which is the target gauge for Smooch. And here's what I've got going on so far:

Rowan Smooch tank in Lang Twin Color
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Close up of the lace and picot edging for Smooch
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