If there is such thing as a knitting superhero, what would the superpowers be? First of all, I would make the superhero a female…sorry boys, just tired with male superheroes.

Now the superpowers…

Lightning fast knitting power? Of course, who wouldn’t want that! And then catch a villain with knitted rope? She would be careful not to use wool, though. She’d use plarn.

That’s good, but kind of boring, don’t you think? Superhero catching a villain, I mean.

With that superfast knitting power (say, 5 scarves and 4 hats per minute), she would cover Warm Up America project in a day. She would let all knitters knit something for themselves without feeling guilty of not doing any charity project.

Another superpower : she can make yarn from any material, so she would never run out of yarn. (I bet every knitter want this superpower! Me too!!!) I imagine she has her own line of yarn, which make any yarn company envious.

Wait, I think there’s also an important superpower : the ability to brainwash all people so they all know that knitting and crocheting are different!!! :))

Her uniform is : black ribbed balaclava, black tunic sweater, black leggings, and black boots. Of course she make her own superhero uniform.
Even though her ‘uniform’ is all black, it changes once in a while, depends on the season, occasion, and mood. In the winter, it’s wool. In the summer it’s cotton. Sometimes the tunic is in plain 2×2 rib pattern, sometimes there are cables here and there, sometimes it’s in seed stitch.

For special occassions (e.g the launching of Edible Yarn by Superknits), the tunic has lace edgings, and she would be wearing lace cape and Fair Isle legwarmers.

What do you think?


A knitter’s inkblot test

The last time I had an inkblot test was in college, and I was not a knitter then. I wonder what will happen if I take this test again…

On knitting books

Ever since I set my foot on the 3rd floor of the New York Public Library Mid-Manhattan branch, I have read hundreds of knitting (and crochet) books from their collection. Pattern books, technique books, history books, stitch dictionaries. As a beginner 5 years ago, I usually borrowed beginner all over how-to books like Debbie Bliss’ “How to Knit” or Katharina Buss’ “Big Book of Knitting” (I finally bought the latter) and pattern books.

After a while, I prefer to read mostly knitting techniques books and stitch dictionaries, than pattern books. Why? Because technical books teach me to understand the principles of knitting, how it works, and gave me confidence to free myself from patterns and design my own. Such books are Mary Thomas’s Knitting Book, Montse Stanley’s Knitter’s Handbook, Threads’ knitting articles compilations, and of course Elizabeth Zimmermann’s and Barbara Walker’s. They are my prized possesions.

some of my collections

Since I read Mary Thomas’ Knitting Book 4 years ago, I rarely knit others’ patterns. I still read pattern books and magazines, but only for inspirations. I grew fond of lace, stranded, and sock knitting. I grew fond of Shirley Paden’s meticulously designed knitwears, Annie Modesitt’s designs’ structure which usually celebrate women’s curves, and Cookie A’s sock knitting philosophy.

Books on knitting history and traditions fascinate me, too. Nancy Bush, Melanie Fallick, and Donna Druchunas’ books gave that to me.

In my eyes, those books stand out among thousands and thousands of knitting books, and will remain so, because they’re talking principles and visions, surpassing trends, and give knitters confidence to believe in themselves and follow their own way. It’s like giving a person a fishing rod and skills, instead of the fish itself.

And now I want JC Briar’s book Charts Made Simple: understanding knitting charts visually. I would love to read a book which came from a self declared ‘technical (knitting) junkie’ :).

I don’t know how to bind off..

Not knowing how to bind off is a real problem among new knitters. That makes it a fun topic for knitting cartoons. I’ve seen the same theme used by Franklin Habit in his book “It Itches”. This is my version :Originally I have another idea for bind-off cartoon, but earlier today I saw this news…and gasped :

Oh. My. God.

This is exactly my idea for my next bind-off cartoon. Needles dangling from unfinished knitwear. Yet it’s now a fashion ‘trend’…my goodness!

My son tried to ‘knit’

When I was knitting some seed stitch squares, my 4.5 yo son came and said “I want to make that, too!”. He didn’t let me show him the right knitting moves, and did the ‘knitting’ his way : wrap the yarn around and around and around…

It was so fun to see how serious he was, doing…whatever he was doing…:D

Chinese multipurpose small purse

*Still in the spirit of Chinese New Year*

When I was pregnant with my second child, my ob-gyn was Dr Yvonne Choi. She’s a very nice lady, I like her a lot. So when it was nearing my due date, I decided to make something for her, as an appreciation for all her kindness. I had some KnitPicks’ Palette yarns (fingering weight) in red, black, and ‘gold’ colors, “Chinese-themed colorway”. At first I was going to make her a hat, but then I realized that not everyone likes to wear a bright and colorful hat (or even a plain hat). After giving it some thought, I decided to knit a small purse. It could be used as a coin purse, a cellphone  pouch, or to store anything she likes.

I browsed the internet for Chinese-themed motifs, and chose “Fu” character (means ‘luck’), cloud motif for the background, and meander motif for edging. The cloud motif looks complicated, but it’s not. Just a small motif, repeated.

I worked on the purse for 2 days.

On my last check-up (which turned out to be one day before I gave birth to my daughter), I gave the knitted purse to her. She loved it!

I don’t exactly remember the whole pattern for this purse (how many stitches and rows etc), I can only tell you that it was done in the round in stranded knitting, using #2 needles. But I can give you the motif patterns, if you want to make some Chinese-themed thing..

This is the pattern for the “Fu” character.

(I’ll add the cloud and meander pattern later, I couldn’t find the files!).

Update : I found them!

The cloud pattern

The meander pattern