FO: Soho Smocked Dress (Maternity)

 

Pattern: Soho Smoked Dress from Modern Top-Down Knitting by Kristina McGowan

Yarn: Unknown Brand, Sport weight tweed yarn on the cone. Purchased from Dongdaemun Yarn Market in Seoul, South Korea. (It was a BARGAIN with all caps, $20 for the 2 pound of yarn). Feels like wool blend.

Needles: US 3, 5, and 7 (for the main body).

Story:

I was so sure that by the Month 6, I would be huge. In fact, I thought I would start getting huge 2 months into the pregnancy and was sad to say goodbye to my clothes. Oh boy, was I wrong. At week 20, halfway done with my pregnancy, I’m still fitting into all my regular jeans and tshirts. Under my regular clothes, I have a small bump, but only a few people who know about my pregnancy notice. SO! I knew I could take on a somewhat large of a knitting project and finish it in time for my big growing belly.

Well, this project was very fun. I made a lot of modification to fit the upper body to my normal size, and then played around with the hip width to accommodate my future baby bump. I was able to add in sleeves and edging, and still have about 180g of yarn left. Perhaps a matching cardigan for the baby boy?

The front of the bodice still came out a little too big on me. And the deep v-neck isn’t very flattering. I have large bust for my size so the deep v-neck just makes me look really wide. I might sew or crochet in a little lace panel.

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A long break.. and a big news!

For a couple of months, I took a long break from knitting. It was too hot, and I dealt with some confusing life things during this time–Confusing at first, then things felt more manageable and more exciting as time went by.

We are expecting!

I found out when it was 4th week in, because my body is like a clock-work. I took the home pregnancy test in the middle of the night, and one test was all it took. Two lines! My first reaction was just: “Oh, crap…” The next morning, I told my husband that I might be pregnant. His reaction was even funnier. He just laughed nervously!

For the next 3 days, my days were filled with tears, confusion, depression, and panic. I had been anti-baby for so long, and thought that my life was great as it is. I had been working on getting my life back together after a long battle with anorexia, and coping with my mom’s cancer, determined to get everything done before I turn 30 in November. Something in my head was shouting “MY LIFE IS OVER!” and I cried and cried. I was going to be one of those women who throw up at the table, and get sick all the time for the next 9 months! Not to mention all my past insecurities with body image. Stretch marks? Weight gain? Bloating? And what about ballet? Will I have to quit for a while? Basically a lot of negativity.  :(

Finally on the third day, I went and bought myself a sewing machine that I had been coveting since a year ago: Singer Featherweight 220. I found one on Craigslist, whose owner used to work at Nordstrom as a tailor. Her daughter was downsizing her mom’s collection of Featherweights because that’s all her mom used.

The silly thing is, the sewing machine made me feel like a new person. I loved it, and my mood just instantly got better. I was becoming more hopeful and curious to find out what the baby looked like at that point.

And at each of my doctor’s appointment, I felt better and better, being able to see the baby grow.

What really changed my mood was having NO PREGNANCY symptoms. This is my Week 17 (Month 5), and I had no nausea, no cramps, no swelling, no headache… No pregnancy symptom at all. If I didn’t go to the doctor’s regularly, I wouldn’t even know I’m pregnant. I lost some weight regardless (I blame it on the crazy metabolism), and I only gained a couple of pounds this month, and my belly is still pretty flat. The best of all is that I’m still dancing on pointe. Seriously, NOTHING has changed.

I think this is a strange way for God to show me, “see? it’s not that bad, is it? you were afraid of having babies for so long, and look, it’s really no biggie, you can handle this.”

We’re finding out the gender during the anatomy scan in about 2 weeks. We are definitely excited about that. We even planned a Babymoon trip to Korea to see my parents following the anatomy scan.

So there, expect to see some cute baby knitting in the near future!

Pattern Release: Hearts & Flowers Shawl ~ First Love Collection ~

Hearts & Flowers..

Pattern Page on Ravelry

Last year, I planned a collection of knitwear garments with a theme revolving around The Fifty Shades of Grey. I read the trilogy with curiosity and I had mixed feelings about it. I didn’t do any research before reading, but I instantly felt like it was written like a fan fiction. When I was younger, I spent a lot of time reading fan fiction online based on the K-pop stars. So I was familiar with the type of writing. It didn’t matter what the language it was written in. Fan fiction in general are written more based on nostalgia and admiration for the characters so they just lack structure and other literary charms. But! I have to say, I loved the characters. A

nd the characters were the inspiration for this piece.

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The two main characters were both fragile and flawed, but together they became better people. In one scene, Anastasia and Christian are arguing about the kind of relationship they need and despite Christian’s hesitance, Anastasia declares that she needs everything that a normal relationship offers–all the “hearts and flowers.”

I thought this was an important turning point for them, especially Anastasia, since before then, her character was immature, naive, and had very little experience in romantic relationships. To declare what she needs and wants from Christian showed her growth as a person.

Her multi-dimensional character really inspired this shawl, that can be worn in multiple ways, with multiple effects.

 

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Name: Hearts & Flowers Shawl
Yarn: Berroco Vintage in “Elderberry” 5 skeins
Needle: US 8 (5.0 mm)
Pattern: Hearts and Flowers Shawl by Jean Chung

 

 

Candy and Bagel doing better!

Back in March, Candy and Bagel had a big fight and Candy got hurt badly. This was her 4th time getting hurt by Bagel’s sudden lashing out, and we just didn’t know what else to do.

Bagel is a very calm, submissive dog. He never barks, never pulls on our walks, he gets walked 3 times a day, given plenty of training and games, along with treats. He never jumps on our bed or mess with our stuff. The only things that we have to be careful about is leaving out trash (he loves going through the trash).

But Bagel is very protective of his food. Never from us, we can do whatever we want with his bowl or him when he’s eating and he stays calm. But when another dog approaches him too eagerly, or comes to sniff his food, he snaps. It’s never a long fight; always very brief, and he snaps.

We tried 2 different trainers and both basically said the same thing. It’s his personality, and he is otherwise a very well trained dog. We can try to desensitize him but trying to make him socialize with strange-dogs is like putting an extremely shy kid on a stage in front of a large crowd and tell him to sing.

The good thing is that Candy is never afraid of him. She was a bit scared of him after her first fight with him, but she is a very dominant Chihuahua. She got over it after a few days and she’s ok with him. We’re very thankful that 99% of the time, They are good together.

These were taken throughout 2 days. I would like to think that my hand crochet rug is bringing them closer.

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Mystery KAL aka “PLEASE MAKE SURE I FINISH MY HUSBAND’S SWEATER KAL”

I just wanted to see who would be interested in doing something like this.

So here’s my story: when we first adopted Bagel from Taiwan, he was just about 1 year old, and was making a lot of trouble at home with his chewing behavior. He chewed through Marty’s Havaianas, his own collar which was handmade jewelry from his foster mom, a PS3 controller, etc. One day I went to check on him because he was being really quiet, and I knew that he was up to no good! 

He was in his crate; but I also found Marty’s favorite sweater inside the crate. At first I thought, aw how cute, he wanted to smell his daddy~! Then when I lifted it up to fold it up, I saw a huge hole.

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The left shoulder was completely eaten. 100% wool fiber, inside Bagel’s stomach. 

 

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And apparently a part of the zipper too.

 

I can’t tell what brand it is, because the tag was irritating and Marty had cut it out before. But I can tell that it’s a decent quality wool yarn. Other tags like washing instructions are all written in English only, and the hand of the fabric is soft. Not soft like Merino, but definitely not harsh. 

 

 

 

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And guess what this knitter had said, to the disappointed then-boyfriend?

“OH DON’T WORRY; I WILL MAKE YOU ONE JUST LIKE IT!”

Fast forward almost 5 years. We had gotten married, and I finally found the yarn that looked similar to the original yarn. 

Still haven’t started it.

August 20 is our official 4th wedding anniversary. And I decided to finally sit down and write up the pattern. Sure, I could have made this a secret project, but I needed something to keep me on track, so I don’t finish it on our 10th anniversary or anything! (And trust me, I do have few 5+ year-old project somewhere in the house).

 

So I wrote the pattern and cast on but thought that I would make the pattern as a free pattern only until the day after our wedding anniversary, August 21, and share the pattern with people who are interested in men’s sweater pattern. This pattern involves a little bit of steeking and installing a zipper. I’m also thinking about attaching elbow patches, and give an option for a vest for those of you who would rather not knit the sleeves. (WHO DOES?). If steeking scares you, even with my instruction, I think I might include another option for the neckline.

 

ANOTHER OPTION: If you actually have another pattern design in mind for your significant other, male or female, you can still join our KAL! I will still send you the finalized pattern through Ravelry if you post it on your blog or Instagram and tag me (@candyandbagel on Instagram)

 

What’s in it for you? Again, the pattern, or rather a draft of the pattern, will be available for free only until August 21, 2014. After that date, it will be temporarily unavailable, and then will be for sale. And for people who complete the sweater with me by August 31, 2014, I will send you a copy of a complete, tech-edited, finalized pattern (value of $7).

And I will randomly pick 3 of you, and send each of you a small gift from my Candy & Bagel shop. This could be handdyed roving, handspun yarn, handmade items, or cute notions!

 

 IF you’re interested, either… 1) comment below this post; or 2) PM me on Ravelry (ID: JeanChungDesigns); or 3) Tweet me at candybagel or 4) email me at jean (at) jdknitter (dot) com by May 30, 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

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The yarn I chose was Colourmart DK weight cashmere/silk/viscose/merino blend yarn in MF Tweed colorway. Colourmart is great but I remember shipping was very slow via Royal Mail. I think for the finalized version of the pattern, I will have to test with more US-market friendly yarn. 

Again:

IF you’re interested, either… 1) comment below this post; or 2) PM me on Ravelry (ID: JeanChungDesigns); or 3) Tweet me at candybagel or 4) email me at jean (at) jdknitter (dot) com by May 30, 2014.

Good night!

#knitting #accountabilityKAL

TNNA Review

This past weekend, I made the trip out to Indianapolis for TNNA show. TNNA is always exhausting but fun and productive, since it’s specifically geared towards the vendors, yarn companies, designers, and other professionals in the field, rather than a retail marketplace.

Instead of giving a day-to-day recap of the event, just because SO MANY THINGS happened in the 2.5 days I stayed, and I am sure other people would write about it so much on their blogs, I decided to do reviews of some vendors and other people I’ve met at the show.

LadyDyeYarns. Boston, MA.

5 years ago, Boston became a special place for me. My then boyfriend/now husband went to a bar association convention in Boston, spent 4 days before I found out that I passed the CA bar!! So whenever I meet people from Boston area, I’m excited!

Well, that is not the only reason why I was excited to finally meet Lady Diane from LadyDye I’ve been following (stalking) her on Twitter and Instagram for about a couple of weeks before the show, oagling at all her beautifully crafted yarns. As a designer, sometimes I am drawn to the texture, sometimes colors, sometimes the construction of the yarn. It really depends on what strikes me at the moment. When I first saw a photo of LadyDye’s yarn on Instagram, without even knowing any background of her company or what she does, I immediately thought of spray paint cans.

Which totally made sense after I found out that she does a lot of yarn bombing and street arts in general. I have been doing a lot of classic, simplistic style for my designs ever since I started designing, and I’ve been feeling that I should do at least one design that is totally out of my comfort zone. Neon colors? Unconventional shaping? Non-garment projects?

That’s why I have a new design coming up in Holla Knits Home collection. I have never much home accessories before and thought I had to give it at least one try.

HOLLA KNITS

Which brings me to Holla Knits. I loved the process of designing and knitting something I’ve never done. Home accessories, I thought, hey, it’ll be simple. It’s not like it has to FIT anyone. But then I realized I had that much more room to be more creative, and try something NEW. Stay tuned, because I definitely tried something that I have never ever done, even in my own personal knitting time. Anyways, on Sunday, some of the designers who designed for Holla Knits got together for breakfast.

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(see more pics on my Instagram!)
There is DEFINITELY more I want to share about TNNA but I think they deserve their own posts. So COMING SOON. :)

Overall, this was the most fun I had at TNNA and I’m sure it’ll just get better and better every year. I was so tired, between the time difference and my crazy schedule the week before leading up to TNNA, so when I came back to California, all I could do was sleep.

I am totally impressed with people who already blogged about TNNA recap already.