Saturday, December 31, 2011

Corella Tam & then some

While I've been off a week with the Monkeys, I've been busy with knitting and a few other things.

 unblocked tam

I finally finished my Wooly Wormhead Mystery KAL for at least one of the hats.  This is my second shot at this since my row gauge on my first one was too long and I errantly decided to go up instead of down a size. Evidently I'm not as big-headed as I sometimes think I am. LOL!

Monkey2 was not in a cooperative mood

Pattern: Corella tam
Yarn: A Verb for Keeping Warm Alpaca Silk in Hyacinth
needles: size 2 & 3 KP circs
pattern size: med

pattern option: Alternate Cabled Cast On.  I like!
mod: 1 extra half repeat in the body

Being in a contrarian mood with my gift knitting, I decided to start a few bulky & super bulky cowls & scarves after the Christmas holiday. I figure they will be an early start for next Christmas or late gifts for those we didn't get to see by Christmas. One is completely done, but the other 2 need to be washed/blocked and buttons sewn on.

Super Bulky Cowl pattern 1: Phydeaux Designs Twist Cowl - Ravelry link
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick in Fisherman
Needles: Size 19's straights - Stitch & Pitch freebie from 2-3 years back
no mods

Like Monkey2, Monkey1 is too busy playing to model her stole. So all I've got for now is a pic of the stole starting to be laid out for blocking.

At the beginning of 2011, Monkey1 saw a Fashion Knit store sample and wanted to knit it so we bought the yarn & needles.  The pattern is simply to CO 50 sts on size 17 needles & knit until the 2 balls of Karabella Gossamer yarn are used up. Monkey1 started this, but soon found the needle size too cumbersome and the yarn too fiddly to knit. I didn't want this to languish as a UFO, so I've been picking it up off and on throughout the year and finally finished this as well.

Hope everyone is having a happy holiday season.  Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Urban Decay Naked Palettes 1 & 2

When Urban Decay started to give hints online that they were releasing a second Naked Palette, the online makeup world got really excited. I definitely got caught up in all the excitement and rather than wait for others to buy it and post their experiences about it, I succumbed and ordered the Naked 2 Palette along with the other first 4999 buyers of the palette on their website.  

Unlike the Naked 1 Palette, the Naked 2 Palette did not come with a travel-sized Potion Primer.  Instead it came with a mini-Lip Junkie Lip Gloss in Naked (sense a theme?). Also, the first online buyers also got a mini-sized 24/7 eye pencil in a gold color (El Dorado).

Along with a ton of other bloggers, here are my pics of the 2 palettes opened showing their different synthetic brushes.  I was not able to buy the first Naked Palette when it originally came out with a double-ended eye pencil, but did get the later release when they replaced the double-ended pencil which caused innumerable production delays with a basic synthetic eyeshadow shader brush. The Naked 2 brush is double-ended with a fluffy blender brush and a skinnier shader brush.

And here are the eyeshadows swatched on my arm over a very thin layer of UD's Potion Primer.  The Naked 2 shadows are on the top row & the original Naked shadows are on the bottom row.  For reference, the foundation swatch on the left end of the top row is MAC's Mineral Skin Liquid in NC37 & the foundation swatch below it is NARS Sheer Glow in Punjab.

Overall, the Naked 2 palette colors are more taupe-ish & cool compared to the Naked 1 colors, minus the Half-Baked (goldish) eyeshadow which is present in both palettes. But for very cool-toned makeup-wearers, Naked 2 may still be a bit too warm-toned.  Also, Naked 2 has 3 matte shades (Foxy, Tease, and Blackout) compared to Naked 1's 2 matte shades (Naked and Buck). 

My initial verdict is that it's a really nice palette, but if you like warm-tones, stick to the Naked 1 Palette.  I've worn the colors of the Naked 2 palette on their own once & it's okay, but I will need to work with it more and perhaps combine it with colors from the Naked 1 palette to get a look I'll be happy with.

Now switching away from Urban Decay to Mary Kay, below is a swatch sheet of the new colors for MK's Winter 2011.  I had attended an event with my Mary Kay consultant and was able to swatch them for reference.  The eye and lip pencils will now come with a tiny shaper/sharpener in its cap and they'll be a mix of new & existing shades.  However, if you're a fan of MK's Dusty Pink lip liner, you may want to contact your local MK consultant as it looks like they discontinued that shade for a new one called Soft Blush.

Back on the knitting side of things, I've timed out a tam I was working on 'cause I knit it too big (my row/round gauge was all out of whack 'cause I didn't swatch!) and I'm in the middle of knitting a sample pair of socks for someone. But in the middle of all that, I knit up a quick pair of fingerless mitts from my leftover Malabrigo Twist in Liquid Ambar:

Pattern: 75 Yard Malabrigo Fingerless Mitts
needles: size 8 & 9 Clover bamboo dpns
- had enough yarn for thumb "sleeves" so didn't bind off those stitches per pattern instructions & instead put them on waste yarn & later knit in a few extra St st rounds & ribbing.
- tubular 2x2 cast on (Ysolda's) & bind off on the body of the mitts - just to practice

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Erin's Cowl

I love test knitting for my friends, so I said of course when Cockeyed asked me to test knit a cowl in one of her design series.

pattern: Erin's Cowl - Available as a separate pattern or in a 3-pattern set (the cowl, Erin's hat, and Erin's mittens)

yarn: BMFA Socks that Rock heavyweight in Spruced

needles: size 6 Knit Picks Harmony circulars

mods: none since it was a test knit

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Buggin' Out

It seems like quite awhile since I had some socks on my needles, much less a Rockin' Sock Club pattern.

pattern: Buggin' Out by Stephen Houghton (aka hizKNITS)
yarn: Socks that Rock lightweight in Pining for Ewe
needles: size 2.25 mm (US 1) Knit Pick circs
pattern size: men's med/women's large - I heard the pattern ran small

no mods

With my recently completed Cosima, this pair of socks and a super secret test knit, I've been in a kinda green mood. But my next knit is back in the purple realm & I'll share that when I'm done.

In the meantime, if you're in a drugstore, Ulta, or Bed, Bath & Beyond, check out the latest hot item, Revlon's new Colorburst Lip Butter. It's a cross between a lipstick and a lipgloss. Some say it feels like a dupe/doppleganger of MAC's creamsheen lipsticks. Some also say that Revlon's Fig Jam lip butter color is a very affordable dupe for Clinique's Black Honey. I picked Sugar Plum & it's a delightful my-lips-but-better & shinier color for me.  

Hope you are all well. For those in the US, hope your Thanksgiving Day weekend was a fun one.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cabled Cardies

Finally done in time for winter.  But being in California, the alpaca/wool yarn I used is quite a bit too warm.

Pattern: Cosima
Yarn: Berroco Cuzco
Pattern booklet & yarn bought from the WEBS booth at Stitches West 2009. (Yeah, not an immediate knit.)

needles: size 9 for the ribbing on the cardie pieces, size 10.5 for the main body & sleeves, accidentally (and advantageously) used size 8 for the collar ribbing

- Ysolda's 2x2 tubular cast on
- larger size sleeves & armholes - since there were a lot of comments that the sleeves were too small (& too short, but length wasn't an issue for me)
- 2x2 tubular bind off for the collar

Lessons learned:
- Chunky alpaca/wool blend makes for a WARM fabric!  However, this would be good when we go to the Sierras in the winter.
- If several Ravelers make lots of comments on adjusting for fit and the pattern writing edited down to the bare essentials, be prepared to make a lot of your own decisions.
- While having broad shoulders & a non-flat chest will mitigate for the reported excessive collar draping/relaxing of the cardigan after wear, my body type and the sweater silhouette are not the most ideal match, at least for me.

I feel like I'm "that mother" that goes a little too far in making her kids doll clothes. So instead of knitting a top down simple cardigan on worsted weight yarn for Monkey1's American Girl doll. I end up knitting a cabled cardigan knit in sport weight yarn in PIECES to be seamed together w/buttons! The easiest part was the crocheted edging w/the buttonholes. I suppose it's easier than knitting a full-sized Monkey1 cabled cardigan, but still. Sometimes I wonder about myself. LOL!

Pattern: Doll Aran by Berroco
Yarn: Rowan Purelife Organic Wool (discontinued) in Berry
needles: size 4 & 6 circulars
hook: size F

No mods.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Comfort Food

When Irishgirlieknits usually asks me to do a test knit, I usually do and I'm glad I had the opportunity to test knit the fingerless mitts from her current pattern set, Comfort Food.  It was also an honor since the pattern has special meaning for Carrie since it was in honor of her late grandmother, Mimi.

It's the just how life goes that when I started the cowl to complete the set, that an extended family member had also passed away.  So this pattern is quite the contemplative one.

It's been a little warm, so my Monkeys were not in the mood to model any knits for me, but the younger one humored me anyway.

Yarn: Ella Rae Classic superwash in Royal
pattern size: medium for the mitts

needles: size 8 Knit Picks Harmony circs
mods: None since this was a test knit

This set will be a gift for one of the Monkeys' teachers as I have wide hands and plan to knit the larger size in the fingerless mitts pattern

Saturday, October 01, 2011

The bb cream trend

BB creams (aka Blemish Balm or Beauty Balm) creams have been getting a lot of discussion recently on a fashion/beauty forum I'm part of . So I decided to do a little online "research" and visited the local Korean market near my work a Korean cosmetics store in the South Bay.

So was are bb creams?  In short, they're an alternative to tinted moisturizers that also provide some type of skincare benefit.  According to many beauty blogs & youtube reviews, BB creams began when a German dermatologist created a cream for his patients post-laser skin treatment.  The Asian cosmetics companies, especially those in Korea, took the concept and ran with it. They're available online through, eBay (though care is needed to avoid the fake ones) and Korean and/or Asian stores in major US metropolitan areas.  They are are now slowly popping up in cosmetic brands in the US as well.

My favorite sources of bb cream review sites are the BB Cream Queen blog and this one.  They go into the multitude of brands out there.

Compared to some other beauty bloggers, my bb cream collection is actually not that big. But before I discuss the brands I've tried so far, I'd like to point out that some of them were samples and/or gift-with-purchases (GWP's). From left to right are:

- MAC Cosmetics Prep & Prime Beauty Balm BB Cream - Not a true BB cream. It works great as a foundation primer.  It's currently only available on MAC's online site.  I purchased this after I used up my regular MAC Prep & Prime SPF 50 face primer.

- Dr G Gowoonsesang Brightening Balm Cream - on the recommendation of the Koreana Market sales associate (SA).  This is my favorite in terms of oil control for my combo skin. It's a little gray on initial applicaton & also a bit lighter than my skintone.

- The Face Shop Power Perfection BB cream - on the recommendation of the The Face Shop SA.  There are up to 4 The Face Shops in the South Bay now (Santa Clara, Milpitas, and San Jose). Actually sheerer than Dr G & not as good oil control, but a little less gray.  Also, the only one that made me break out so far.

- Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream in #27 - Shade-wise this is the closest to my skin tone, but the oil control isn't as good as Dr G. Missha is one of the most popular brands used the US because it's got the broadest range of all the Korean cosmetic companies.  It's still rather limited though. Most brands only have 1 to 2 shades that have a gray or pink cast on initial application.

- Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream in #23 - This is actually a first-time buyer GWP for ordering from the Missha US website.  Full-size! And it also came in a travel size set that was another of my GWPs. It's lighter than the #27 of course, but mixed with the travel size #31 (not shown) that came in the GWP set, I can  get closer to #27.

- Missha BB Boomer - This is a "primer" before the BB cream.  It's got shimmer & a slight pink cast. I'm still undecided on the benefit of this, but it may be useful in the cooler months under the bb cream for more moisture. 

- Missha Signature Real Complete BB cream - Also part of the travel-size set GWP.  I haven't tried this yet.

Not shown are the little samples I got from Sephora for Boscia and Dr Jart+ .  Unfortunately I forgot to ask the SA which Dr Jart+ sample she gave me as Dr Jart+ has 2 different versions. The Boscia has little glitter flecks which I don't like. It's sheerer than the other bb creams I've tried & has no oil control whatsoever.  Dr Jart+ was also a disappointment as it's the sheerest of them all & also had no oil control. 

Here are most of the BB creams swatched on my arm not blended out.  For comparison purposes, I've added my foundation shades on both ends.  Starting left to right:
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish liquid in NC37, MAC's BB cream, Boscia, Dr Jart, Dr G, The Face Shop, Missha #27, Missha #23, Missha Signature Real, Missha BB Boomer, NARS Sheer Glow in Punjab and a NARS Sheer Glow sample in Syracuse.

Here they are again blended out a little bit, but not as much as I would on my face.

I blended the creams out a little more to get closer to my actual application process & then took a pic of the swatches over an hour later.  Unfortunately my sunlight got covered by clouds, so my lighting isn't the same.  BB creams tend to oxidize over time, some more than others. This usually tends to help the bb creams match skin tones better, but it can also make it harder to determine which bb cream to buy.

I haven't found my holy grail bb cream, but I've come closest with my Dr G & Missha #27. And I'll still need to experiment by mixing them together.  I'm good for now & probably won't buy more for awhile.  I may or may not buy the other most popular bb cream out there, the Skin79 Hot Pink.  Interestingly enough, it hasn't been that popular at the Koreana Market so they stopped selling it.  They do have the Missha brand, though not the full range of colors all the time.  I hope this helps if you ever come across these.

I'll be back to crafting in my next post.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Brookfield Cowl

I had the pleasure of testing knitting another of knittinggolfer's patterns, the new Brookfield Cowl.

Since I didn't have the heavy worsted yarn she used (Miss Babs Northumbria Aran), I used the lusciously dense Malabrigo Twist in Liquid Ambar which was the closest I could get in my stash. This'll be great for fall & winter. 

And I did fix Monkey2's Quinny hat using the decreases in the other free Quinn hat pattern.  It doesn't have the nifty offset of the original crown decrease, but at least it'll look more pixie-like once I re-block the crown.

The hat grew when I had initially washed it, so I also had to frog back the extra inch.  It's still big enough to grow with Monkey2 though.

Next up, I'm going to go back to the cosmetics world and discuss the newish alternative to tinted moisturizers, called BB creams (aka Blemish Balm creams) from Asia.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cotuit Sands Cowl

Sometimes life happens and the knitting slows down.  I actually finished a few things but it also took me a little longer to wash/block them.

Pattern: Cotuit Sands Cowl - infinity version
Yarn: Kollage Riveting Sport in Sand Denim
Needles: Kollage Square circulars in size 8 - true to anecdotal evidence, I'm definitely tighter on square needles than round ones
no mods

Not blocked but done are my sleeves for my Cosima cardigan.  Made much easier knitting these 2-at-a-time.  I didn't have to worry about my gauge changing between the 2 sleeves.  I'm contemplating doing the 2 fronts at the same time as well.

As much as I adore free patterns, there can be drawbacks, especially when there's no gauge specified, just yarn type and needle size. As much as I would wish it, this hat is not close to done as I need to add a button to the tab and frog back and re-knit the crown decreases which did not turn out at all pixie-like as the Quinny hat should. I'm sure my row gauge is much bigger than the designer's. Washing & blocking it totally didn't help either 'cept to even out the stitches.

I'm taking a look at another free pattern inspired by the hat worn by Quinn in an episode of Glee and the Meathead hat pattern that I bought at Stitches West.  Hopefully one of them will give me a more pixie-ish point.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bubblicious Socks

During my summer vacation earlier this month/late last month, I took some time to knit a pair from my designer friend, knittinggolfer, as part of Kollage Virtual Sock Summit KAL. Since neither knittinggolfer or I went to Sock Summit, I thought it would be a nice thing we could do together.

Pattern: Bubblicious Socks 
Yarn: Kollage Yarns Sock-a-licious in Chateau - yummy yummy merino/nylon/silk blend
needles: Kollage square dpns in US 2 (2.75 mm) - true to anecdotal comments, I had to go up a needle size on the square needles to meet gauge.

Only one mod: longer heel flap for my larger instep

And I wasn't going to stop there!  I also cast on for knittinggolfer's Cotuit Sands Cowl (infinity version) in Kollage Yarns again, this time in Riveting Sport.

However, once we came back from vacation, I got really busy at work and at home prepping the kids for the school year and I haven't really been knitting (or crafting) very much.  Maybe once the kids are settled back in school, my knitting rate will go back up.

Monday, July 18, 2011

More Irish Girlie Knits Love

The summer is flying by and I'm catching up on the blogging.  Didn't realize that I had a bunch of Irish Girlie Knits designs to cover again, so here we go:

Pattern: Capitola Socks (my own pair this time!)
Yarn: Sunshine Yarns Classic Sock in Purple Poison
needles: size US 1.5 (2.50 mm) KP nickel-plated circs 

Accidently forgot to do the ribbing in the cuff so did one more lace repeat in the leg section. I like how it looks so I didn't rip back to start over.

Pattern: Seamus Cowl and Infinity Scarf - did the cowl version for me
Yarn: Kollage Yarns Fantastic in Merlot
needles: size 9 KP Harmony circs
no mods

Pattern: Winter Wonder
Yarn: Miss Babs Yowza - Whatta Skein Monochrome in Navy
needles: size 9 KP Harmony circs

No mods since this will be a sample at Sock Summit 2011. With all our wacky weather, I only lightly steam-blocked it.  I didn't know if it would dry from wet blocking in time to send to Carrie before Sock Summit.  I'm not going as I have family vacation conflicts, so if you're going, have fun!

I have my own skein of Miss Babs Yowza, so I'll knit my own up (or a gift version) later.

Pattern: Top-Down Poncho for Babies & Kids
Yarn: Plymouth Encore & Encore Colorspun - color combo picked by Monkey1
needles: size 9 KP circs
pattern size: baby

This started as Monkey1's project for one of her dolls/stuff animals, but I somehow ended up finishing it for her.  (Sucker!)  At least she got to practice her knit & purls on the collar ribbing.  Her friend is also knitting her own doll poncho in the same yarn but a different color combo.  I also had to teach her to purl for the collar ribbing, but at least I haven't taken hers over. ;)  Her mom knits so hopefully she'll get help from her.

My little nephew is ever growing, so it's time to knit him the next size up in the Kiddie Cadet. My sister & baby daddy also want the matching adult hats, so I've started on those as well.

Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Ease in Taupe
needles: size 7 KP circs

Lastly, I'm still weaving, this time with the yarn that came with my Cricket Loom kit. The pattern's modified from the booklet that came with the loom.  But since I was following the warp numbers with a youtube tutorial, I didn't double-check the math on my own and didn't realize we both mis-interpreted the pattern. Oops!  However, I do like it, but I may need to buy more blue yearn since the scarf will be wider than the pattern specs. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Irish Girlie Knit Design Samples

I did a couple sample knits for Irish Girlie Knit Designs awhile ago, but had to wait to share them when they were released. So in reverse order, I knit up:

pattern: Capitola - I only had to do one sock. Carrie already did the other
yarn: Sunshine Yarns Classic Sock in Caramel Swirl
needles: US size 1.5 (2.50 mm ) Knit Picks nickel-plated dpns

The Capitola sock pattern is currently sold exclusively in a kit at Sunshine Yarns. The latest batch has almost sold out, but Dani of Sunshine Yarns will have more of the kits in her upcoming store update June 21st.

For the amount of Sunshine Yarns I have in my stash, I was surprised I didn't own any of her semi-solid sock yarn.  I have a few braids of fiber, a couple worsted weight skeins in a Twilight theme and my very first purchase from her, a multi-colored sock yarn in Dragonfly.  So during the last update I ordered 2 skeins.  On top is Purple Poison and the bottom is Algae.  I originally planned to use Algae as my pair of Capitolas, but I changed my mind once I received my order & have wound up Purple Poison instead.

The other Irishgirlie knits sample I knit up is for Kollage Yarns fall collection.

I got paid in the same colorway, so I'll be knitting up my own little cowl soon.  The colorway is totally in my palette.

Pattern: Seamus Cowl & Infinity Scarf
Yarn: Kollage Fantastic in Merlot
needles: Knit Picks Harmony circulars US size 8
no mods for the sample

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Back with the crafting...mostly

Another pair of Socks that Rock are done! Part of the Ravelry Socks that Rawk Quarterly KAL.

Pattern: Breaking Hearts by Turtlegirl76
Yarn: Socks that Rock lightweight in Rabia
Needles: size US 1.5 (2.50 mm) Knit Picks nickel-plated dpns
mod: 6" leg instead of the 6.5" spec'd in the pattern

Love how the colorway knit up.

Still playing with my Cricket loom, this time making a little washcloth out of some kitchen cotton, Sugar'N Cream in Violet Stripes. I still need to wash the washcloth (heh) and trim the fringe to a much shorter length.

I also had a great mail weekend when I received a few goodies.  I got my prize yarn for Irish Girlie Knits Design Spring KAL.  It's Chameleon in Ballerina by Dubai Knits, aka Jhocy, who moderates Irishgirlieknits' Ravelry group. And speaking of Irishgirlieknits, I also bought her cute canvas bag to use the next time I'm knitting up an Irishgirlieknits pattern.

On the beauty side, I received my order from Nolan Roberts Cosmetics. For those who enjoy competitive reality tv, Nolan Maka'awa'awa was the winner of the Blush makeup artist show.  The show originally aired when I didn't own a dvr, so I never watched it.  It was a fellow makeup addict friend of mine who recommended I check out his make up. He has ties to Hawaii as I do, so I figured I would show a little support and try a few of his items. He has a small collection so by the time I finally got around to ordering from him, some of the items I wanted to try were out-of-stock.

He's got bonus points from me for his beautiful packaging for shipment, but here they are out of the wrapping. Going clockwise from the top are his Dream Cream (an oil-free, paraben-free, non-fragranced moisturizer w/subtle champagne shimmer), Valley Girl lipgloss, Pretty Woman shimmer powder blush, and Cafe matte eyeshadow.

They're swatched on my arm in the following order: Cafe e/s, Pretty Woman blush, Valley Girl lip gloss, and Dream Cream  unblended.  I don't have a face-of-the-day pic with them all on since I've got all the colors mixed in with other brands.  I will say however, that his items are very long-lasting (I believe he gears his formulations for those who work out & dance).  His gloss especially is really long-lasting but doesn't get that tight dry feeling. I love the fact that his Dream Cream is paraben-free for those who have issues with parabens.  It still absorbs really well & isn't at all tacky-feeling or too filmy-feeling which can happen with creams that have silicone in it.  Also, the shimmer is really subtle so I don't have to worry about being all vampire-sparkle-y.  (I will warn you though Nolan has a fun Twilight Edward tutorial video up.)

So thumbs up so far and I'm looking forward to when he re-stocks his permanent items as well as some new summer items he's got planned.