Just 5 strands…

March 25, 2008

Cashmere by Artyarns

All it takes is just 5 strands…
Five strands of mere softness, lusciousness and pure delight make my heart skip a beat and I hold my breath only to exhale in pure excitement.

As these 5 strands slide through my fingers, the softness and shine of this incredible yarn just makes me want to scream. However, I have to remind myself that I am not the only one at the Teahouse so I refrain from making loud noises.

Instead, I indulge in silent secrecy and the only sound one can detect are the soft click-clicks of my Addi’s. I doubt that anyone can hear the sound of 5 strands of pure cashmere sliding through my fingers.

This Cashmere 5 by Artyarns is a worsted weight yarn consisting of 5 tiny single plies and it has been waiting patiently in my stash to be knit up. Boy, was it worth the wait…

5 strands

What I am making, you might wonder? With just 93 yards at my cashmere disposal, what else than a skinny scarf… how wonderful it will feel around my neck, how softly the cashmere will caresse my skin…sigh.

Crochet!

I am so hooked…more than anything else, it’s the sensation of feeling the cold steel of my crochet hook sliding through my fingers. However, a sexy pattern will lure me over from the knitting realm to the crochet realm. Look at this beautiful flowery square. Just look at it. How delicate…

Granny Square

The yarn I am using is Vintage Cotton by Karabella. Excellent for this flowery square!

I still have to decide whether I want to commit to make a quilt with this pattern. I am tempted… very tempted… How can one resist when Sally dangles this lovely pattern called Amelie Quilt Blanket by KnitWhits in front of us?

So far I am very much liking both knitting and my little adventure steps into crochet!

Crochet and Knit go together

Lots to come home for

You might have guessed already; I am back home in Portland, OR.

When I left Florida, I told my husband that I am not sad to go because I have lots to come home for.

Just a year ago, when I had moved to Portland, I did not know anybody at all. There I was, a dutch gal all by her self, no family, no friends, no job and not even my husband was around because he was traveling for work.

I remember how alone I felt and how scarry it all was for me…

Now, a year later, I am happy to say that I have met such sweet sweet people who all have welcomed me and I am so happy and fortunate I can call them my friends.

Which reminds me… I have to get another installment ready for my “Following my Heart” series!

Today I will leave you with some pictures I took last evening while walking around in my neighborhood. All gifts from Early Spring…

Gifts of Early Spring3 Gifts of Early Spring1 Gifts of Early Spring7 Gifts of Early Spring4 Gifts of Early Spring5

Gifts of Early Spring9 Gifts of Early Spring11 Gifts of Early Spring10 Gifts of Early Spring12 Gifts of Early Spring6

Thanks for reading and untill the next entry!


Finished: Hat “Portia” by Louisa Harding

March 20, 2008

FO Portia2

Pattern: Portia
Book: Venezia “Una Volta”, Designer Louisa Harding
Yarn: 1.5 balls of Grace-Silk & Wool by Louisa Harding
Needles: Addi’s circ 24″ US 5 and Addi circ 24″ US 7
Cast on date: March 19 , 2008
Cast off date: March 20 , 2008

Again a quick knit… 2 days!

Quick for sure, this lovely little beret pattern called Portia by Louisa Harding. However enjoyable… hmmm… not too much.

I had a hard time figuring out the lace pattern and saying aloud what stitch would come after the other stitch really helped me. Usually, I simply “understand” a lace pattern and I don’t have to count too much but this one… Oi.

Portia2

I persevered, however, and it is really a miracle that I did not make any mistakes. The outcome I simply adore!

Let’s look at the details…

Not in the round

This beret is knitted flat much to my satisfaction! I am one of those knitters that doesn’t like to knit on dpns and really, I don’t mind seaming at all.

So decrease it goes, and then later seamed from the top down:

Decrease Portia Seam Portia

I used the mattress stitch for seaming and it went very well. Had a bit of a hard time when I hit the lace section but in the end, that went well too.

The result I love!

FO Portia3

No Modifications

The pattern calls for a yarn that yields a gauge of 22 stitches over 4 inches/10cm and that is exactly Grace-Silk & Wool’s gauge.

I like my hats to be very slouchy so I decided to go up a needle size and instead of a US 6, I choose to work with a US 7 hoping for a more bigger beret and my plan worked out fine (phew).

I did exactly what the pattern wanted me to do and did not bump into errata. Just the way I like it.

How did I like the yarn?

LH Grace-Silk and Wool

Delicious, just delicious this Grace-Silk & Wool by Louisa Harding. This blend of silk and merino just slides like butter through your fingers and feels light and lofty. It literally made my mouth water… no joke.

Lace Pattern in Portia

The sitch definition is just gorgeous thus perfect for intricate lace patterns. Besides that, it feels wonderful close to your skin! I am thinking of making a cardigan with this yarn.

I have nothing but praise for Grace-Silk & Wool! Bravo Louisa Harding!

Thanks for reading and untill the next entry…

Beach and red surf board


Jelly Fish and Louisa Harding

March 19, 2008

Red and Purple Flag

For the past few days, it has been very very windy at the sea. The lifeguard has put out the red and black flags out, but also the purple flag as a warning for jelly fish!

No doubt that these beautiful colored creatures from the sea are etherically gracious in their element, but laying there in the sand they looked so akwardly out of place… nonetheless, still beautiful.

Red and Purple Flag2 Jelly Fish1 Jelly Fish2 Jelly Fish3

I spotted a lady examining these beautiful creatures too and it struck me how similar the colors of her kite was to the color of the jelly fish:

Lady examining the Jelly Fish

Louisa Harding

LH Venezia

Lately, I am very taken by Louisa Harding’s designs and yarns. I therefore took one of her latest books, called Venezia, Una Volta with me and am now working on one of her hat designs called “Portia” and I am using her yarn called “Grace” a yummy merino and silk blend.
Portia

This beret is, pleasantly surprising to me, not knitted in the round. At first I had a bit of a hard time with the lace pattern because I was not able to fully comprehend the lay out of it and besides that, I did not enjoy the “rythm” of this lace pattern too much. I really had to concentrate and my poor husband would get an ear full whenever he tried to get my attention.

Portia2 Portia3

Thanks to his understanding, I was able to work on Portia without being disturbed and I am halfway through! I expect to finish tomorrow.

I told you I got my mojo back…

Garden by Night

Thanks for reading and untill the next entry!


Finished: Two Tone Ribbed Shrug from Fitted Knits

March 18, 2008

TTRS Model1

Pattern: Two Tone Ribbed Shrug
Book: Fitted Knits, Designer Stefanie Japel
Yarn: 3.5 balls of Wave by Filatura di Crosa
Needles: Addi’s circ 24″ US 7 and Plastic circ 24″ US 5
Cast on date: March 12 , 2008
Cast off date: March 16 , 2008

What a simple and quick knit

I am smitten by this simple and quick knit! It was so easy, and the pattern was so easy to follow and very well written. Really… easy peasy.

Let’s look at the details!

Raglan from the top down

TTRS Schematics

Just like all other designs in Stefanie Japel’s book Fitted Knits, this cute shrug is knitted from the top down with the raglan technique. This entails that you will start at the neck section and make your way down to the arms by simply making increases. This is best viewed from the back:

TTRS finished Back

After the main body and sleeves are finished you will pick up stitches and then work your way up with a simple 2×2 ribbing.

TTRS picking up and ribbing part

Within this ribbing you will increase at the sides of the neck and at the sides of the bust.

TTRS finished Increases

These increases at the ribbed section make for a wonderful and elegant shape at the neck! So feminine… I love that.

TTRS finished Front

Tips from me to you

  • Please make a gauge swatch before you start knitting this up! I had to go down a needle size and if I hadn’t done that, my shrug would come out to big!
  • The pattern tells you to increase by M1P. When I did the M1P, I made sure that I knitted in the back of the loop. By doing it this way, it did not create a hole.
  • The bind off has to be done very loosely. I am a tight knitter and “binding off very loosely” is kind of hard for me to do. Solution: I did my bind off with a needle that is 2 sizes bigger than the needle I was working with. And besides that I did my bind off in ribbing pattern. Came out just perfectly!
  • TTRS bind off

LOVE the neckline!

Sigh… it’s so elegant and lady like… it makes me swoon!

TTRS Model2

Needles to say that I am very very happy with the outcome of this project!

This shrug comes in so very handy when the airco is blowing on your shoulder and neck and you are wearing a sleevless dress or tanktop. Also when you have to work in an office and your outfit is just a tad too revealing, just slip on your shrug!

Just the other night, I simply got mobbed by two female colleagues of my husband’s. They screamed and were lusting after my shrug. When one of them asked me to please please knit one for her, I said: “Nope. But I can teach you how to knit!”

Beach

Thanks for reading and untill the next entry!


Getting my Mojo Back

March 15, 2008

Early in the morning empty beach

 

Sometimes a change of scenery will do wonders… So I have discovered ever since I arrived in Hollywood Beach, Florida.

Just the other morning, when the beach was still quiet and heavenly peaceful, I stood with my bare feet on the white sandy beach, watched the palmtree leaves sway in the ocean breeze and I took a deep deep breath.

Then I waited patiently for a strong breeze and when it finally arrived, I threw my arms way up in the air and cast away all of my sorrows.

January and February have been tough months… As for March? I say let the good times roll!

Getting my Mojo back

Garden

Right before I left Oregon, I grabbed several yarns to bring with me, hoping to get back to knitting while in Florida. And my word, did I get my mojo back…

Soon after I arrived at my destination, I planted myself in one of the cute gazebos in our hotel’s garden and have made it my knitting temple. I am surrounded by such beautiful flowers, their colors lift my spirit and all I can do is smile, smile, smile!

Yellow-Hibiscus

I brought several balls of yarn with me: a skein of artyarn’s beaded silk in a deep red colorway, a ball of artyarn’s 5-ply cashmere in a deep blue colorway, a skein of Tili Tomas’ beaded silk in colorway Coral Sap..and… and so much more! How delightful!

Beades Silk Deep Red cashmere blue Tilli Tomas beaded silk

I swoon by the mere sight and touch of these gorgeous ones but I first start crocheting, yes, you read that right, crocheting with some off white Linarte yarn by Lana Grossa, a wonderful cotton/linen blend:

Crochet Linarte2

This yarn is somewhat stretchy and very nice to work with. It is cool to the touch which makes a perfect yarn for warmer wheather.

After my little flowery crochet escapade, I quickly moved on to a project on which I have been knitting for the past few days: Two-Tone Ribbed Shrug by Stefanie Japel from the book Fitted Knits.

Ribbed Shrug2

The yarn that I am using is a wool/silk blend called “Wave” by Filatura di Crosa. I purchased this yarn during Sally’s big annual sale. It’s luscious, scrumptious and just slides through my fingers and the project simply flies off my needles! LOVE IT.

Ribbed Shrug 3

I expect to finish tomorrow!

Cascade of Colors

Being here in this wonderful wonderful garden somewhere in Hollywood Beach, Florida, really lifts my spirits. A cascade of colors is surrounding me continuously, constantly tickling me but most of all reminding me that life is truly beautiful.

Faya-Lobie Yellow-Hibiscus2 Little surprises in the garden2 Palmtree Decaying flower bougainville

Thank you so much for reading but most of all, thank you for sticking with me through darker times and less knitting.

Red Hibiscus2

Untill the next entry!


Healing, Connecting and Brotherly Love

March 3, 2008

I haven’t been knitting at all… instead I just sit motionless at the Teahouse and look out of the window while life is passing by.

All I want to do is just sit still… and contemplate.

Tears were shed, stories about Frank were told, bursts of laughter occured, but most importantly of all for me, I was able to give Frank’s passing some closure during his Memorial at Irving Park.

Healing

After a hurtful event, we pick up the pieces, lick our wounds and healing can commence. Everybody has their own way of healing. My healing consists of talking about what has happened, telling people that a young member of our community has passed away. And I do not shun the topic overwhelming depression and suicide.

By being open about it, I have had many interesting but above all healing conversations.

May all who have been affected by this sad event, find peace and heal.

Connections and Brotherly Love

Frank’s passing has made a deep and profound impact on me. It has forced me to look up and around me. It has made me realize that it is time for me to connect on a more deeper level with people in my close surroundings, people in my neighborhood and community.

Over the past few days I have made several sweet connections with people in my neighborhood. And I will continue to do so. Showing brotherly love and receiving brotherly love have humbled me.

As for knitting

Lately I have not been able to concentrate on my knitting… so nothing has been done.

I would like to show you though what I had been knitting on several weeks ago during my blog break; hats.

Sally showed me a pattern she picked up during TNNA in California and since I had never knitted a hat before, I decided it was high time to do so.

I am so enamored with this free hat pattern called The Sunset Beret by Haley Waxberg! I knitted several hats in a row. The yarn used is Misti Alpaca Chunky and you need only one skein. In the photos below I used a variegated color (I forgot the colorway) and a solid deep red color.

I simply love this pattern and I will be making more Sunset Berets.

Beret2

Beret3

Thank you for your kind and comforting words

I would like to thank each and every one of you who have left such kind and comforting words with regard to Frank’s passing. It helped me navigate through some sad moments.

Just the other night, when I was listening to one of Eric Clapton’s live version of “Wonderful Tonight”, I closed my eyes and felt a deep gratitude of being alive and healthy.

As I heard the tones of Eric Clapton’s guitar, I felt a gentle yet profound love exuding from my soul, rippling out to my surroundings, touching my reality, touching this life that I and all of us live in.

Today I leave you with Eric Clapton’s performance… Enjoy…

Love and Blessings to all.

Red-Beret