Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tiger Mom

There's been so much buzz about this Wall Street Journal article by Amy Chu.  I feel that I have to put in my two cents.  Personally, I got a good laugh when I read it.  Having been raised by Chinese tiger parents, I know that I have a very relaxed parenting style.  None of my kids played piano (though the youngest just started playing violin through the school), they were allowed playdates and sleepovers, and (gasp) all three girls took ballet lessons.  In fact, E is attending an arts boarding school where ballet is her "major".  She is actually auditioning to study dance at college next year.  My oldest daughter, A,  is studying Art at a private liberal arts college (double gasp!).  My son, J, plays computer games constantly, and youngest child, M, swims on a swim team.  I guess I'm not a Chinese mom, according to Amy Chua.

I don't think we need to go to the extremes that Ms. Chua is going through to raise successful children.  Though I guess success can mean different things.  My children are well-adjusted and happy.  They don't get straight A's, but A's show up more than any other letter in their report card.  Unlike me, they actually like spending time with their parents and look forward to coming home during their school breaks.  I know I'm much more permissive compared to immigrant chinese parents, but I'm also much stricter than my non-Asian friends.

In the end, I'm just surprised.  Out of all my siblings, cousins, and American-born Asian friends, none of us are as strict as Amy Chua. But then again, none of us are trying to sell a book...


I checked out a book called "Hat Heads" by Trond Afinnsen from the library and it inspired my to knit some hats.  The first hat I knit was a beret for my niece.  It was cast on and bound off while I was visiting my parents during the holidays.  I forgot to take a picture of the hat before I left it for my niece.

The next hat I knit was also a beret.  The pattern is called Urchin by Ysolda Teague and I used a discontinued Classic Elite yarn called Bravo.  It's a bulky yarn and it looks like a fluffy mohair yarn twisted with a thick rayon thread.  I was afraid that the hat might be a little itchy, but so far, no complaints from the recipient.

E's Urchin
The third hat was from the "Hat Head" book.  The book had a lot of cute patterns, but I don't know how the Knitkid (the author's alter-ego) was able to knit all those hats using a worsted weight yarn with size 4 needles! The first attempt, I used size 2 and 6 needles.  I had read some notes on Ravelry and noticed that some people had problems with the sz 1 and 4 needles the pattern called for. There's no way a toddler could have worn the hat I knit.   Maybe Norwegians have small heads?  I ended up using size 6 & 8 needles and a tubular cast-on (thank you Ysolda!) to be able to knit a hat big enough for a teenager to wear.

J's Silje

The last hat I knit is called Randi.  Since the pattern calls for bulky yarn I had to make some changes and calculations so I could use up some leftover Cascade 220 I had in my stash.

M's Randi
If I ever knit another hat from "Hat Heads", I will use the patterns only as guidelines.  Maybe my kids have extraordinarily large heads...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

T-shirt quilt

My niece turned 18 last month and I commemorated the occasion by making her a t-shirt quilt using shirts she got through her high school band.  The shirt designs were different sizes and shapes, so it took me a while to decide how to place the blocks.  Her only request was that the quilt have purple in it.

I didn't want to make a boring typical t-shirt quilt with uniform sized blocks and sashing around, but wanted the blocks to look as though they were appliqued on top of a big piece of fabric.  The pattern of the black leaves help mask the seams of the rows.  At least I think they do.  Anyway, I'm pretty pleased with the result.  Most importantly, my niece is pleased with her new quilt.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year

Happy New Year!  It's January and I'm thinking of this year's gift-knitting.  The neices looked adorable in their new sweaters.  Maybe a knitted dress for Evelyn?  Her birthday is in June.

These are the bunnies I knit to go with the sweaters