Easy Breezy Lace

January 30, 2009

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Pattern: Flared Lace Smoke Ring by 
Yarn: 1 skein of Pashmina by Josep Galler
Needles: Lace Addi’s circ 24″ US 5 and Addi’s circ 16″ US 5
Cast on date: January 25, 2009
Cast off date: January 29, 2009

I simply adore my little Lace Smoke Ring… It was such a pleasure to work on this little project, I just couldn’t stop knitting!

I made a small and short version because I had only 170 yards of yarn and the pattern calls for 350 yards of yarn. These are my modifications:

  1. Instead of casting on 168 stitches and starting with chart A, I skipped Chart A alltogether and moved directly to Chart B.
  2. Because I start with Chart B, I casted on 156 stitches and disregarded the very first decrease in the first round.
  3. According to the pattern, one has to knit Chart A once, Chart B once, Chart C once and then finally Chart D several times untill the piece measures 18″. I however did Chart B twice, Chart C twice and Chart D I repeated untill I ran out of yarn.

Am I happy with the result?

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I am happy with the result, however, next time I will make the cowl narrower. Allover, the pattern is repaeted 12 times and next time I will repeat the pattern only 10 times. 

Also with my second cowl, I will skip chart A and also chart B because I don’t want it to flare so much… When it flares that much, I feel like I am wearing a bib!

Tools make all the difference

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For this lace project I used the Lace Addis. Really, it makes such a huge difference when you are knitting lace. The tips are elongated and very pointy, the joints are like always with Addi needles, so incredibly smooooth. Ah, it really helped enormously to make this project go as smooth as possible!

How did I find the lace pattern itself?

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The lace pattern itself is a 8 round repeat stitch with a multiple of 10 basic stitches. What really makes this pattern interesting to me are the big fanning eyelets caused by double yarn overs. So incredibly pretty…sigh.

Also, basically this is a rib based pattern with regular purls but lots of knitting through backloops. This causes the knit stitches to pop and by doing so, it creates very distinctive knit stitches. I simply adore that!

The very first 8 rounds gave me a hard time and it took me awhile to get acquainted to the pattern. As difficult as it was at the start, just as easy it became after the first 8 rounds. So easy that I did not have to look at the pattern on my sheet!

Next to the Feather and Fan and Horse Shoe Lace pattern, this is the third lace pattern I find incredibly easy to knit. Simple and fast, yet extremely elegant. Minimum effort for maximum effect. I LIKE THAT!

For those who shop at CloseKnit’s, I am happy to report that Sally decided to order the Flared Lace Smoke Ring. When she saw me working on the pattern, she liked it so much that she had to have it in her shop! 

Thanks for reading and until the next entry!


Flared Lace Smoke Ring

January 28, 2009

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I was able to get my hands on the Flared Lace Smoke Ring by Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer… I was thrilled beyond belief when I came home and felt like a child who just got her favorite toy!

Excited as I was, I quickly casted on my Qiviut yarn and was well on my way. This little voice in the back of my head said: “Listen, this is Qiviut you are working with. Shouldn’t you do a test knit first with some other yarn to get acquainted to the lace pattern?

Of course I did not listen. And of course I got into big trouble…

You see with knitting lace you really have to be familiar with the pattern. You need to know where you are within the pattern so that you can catch yourself when something goes wrong. 

It’s like being in a new city. You don’t know you way around and you are kind of lost. Whereas when you are in a city you know well, you can correct yourself immediately when you make a wrong turn. Or you know exactly what cross street is next. You can navigate well and you know exactly where you are.

Well let me tell you…I got lost in the pattern…terribly lost and I messed up so badly, and the delicious Qiviut was so thin and fuzzy and got so terribly entangled that I could not save the part I had been knitting with. 

Dang it… that’s what you get when you don’t heed the voices in the back of your head!

Getting familiar with the Flared Lace Smoke Ring Pattern

I quickly casted on again with some red DK weight scrap yarn, and bravely started anew. It took me several attempts but after a while I finally got it!

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Afraid though to waste more expensive Lace Qiviut , I decided to work with another, slightly heavier yarn: Pashmina by Joseph Galler.

I am happy I switched. I can see better what I am doing and I can practice on the Pashmina. It’s simply DELICOUS…

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I am very happy with my project now. The pattern is simply gorgeous and once you get past the first 8 rows it’s easy breezy!

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Accidental Beanie

If I may make a suggestion on a terrific lace hat pattern: you all should knit the Spring Beret by designer Nathalie Larson!

It is so much fun to knit, I really enjoyed it. 

My first one came out too slouchy but on second thought, I kind of like it now… 

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By the time I came to terms with my first Spring Beret I had already casted on to make the smaller version. I planned on doing 3 lace pattern repeats instead of 4. However, I ran out of yarn and was forced to knit a meager 2 lace pattern repeats…

The outcome was an accidental beanie! Too funny… 

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Guess what. I don’t like beanies! So I will give it to somebody who does.

Thanks for reading and until the next entry…


I want Sarah Palin’s Cowl…

January 26, 2009

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Whether one likes or dislikes, agrees or doesn’t agree with Sarah Palin is not the issue here.

JUST LOOK AT THAT GORGEOUS COWL.

I want it. I want it baaaaaad.

When I saw Sarah Palin wearing this cowl I it struck me as some what familiar, as if I had seen it before… that gorgeous lace pattern. After some brain cracking, I remembered vaguely that I had seen it somewhere on the internet at some knitting blog…but which one..?

And so began the hunt, dear reader, for the lace cowl that resembles Sarah Palin’s Cowl. It took me a little while but I think I found it.

Flared Smoke Ring by designer Jackie E-S from Heartstrings Fiber Arts

I wish I had a picture of it but I don’t. So click here to see what I am talking about!

It is a gorgeous gorgeous lace cowl by designer Jackie E-S, and I think it is the closest thing to Sarah Palin’s Cowl. Of course this topic has been discussed by knitters on Ravelry and many options of patterns were thrown in the mix, but to me this Flared Smoke Ring is simply it.

I am assuming it is Qiviut that Sarah is wearing, simply because she is from Alaska and Qiviut is from the Alaskan Musk Ox. And what do you know, I’ve got some Qiviut in my stash!

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I am very very excited about this!!! Finally I found a suitable project for my precious Qiviut!

Hat adventures

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How excited I was in my last post about this hat. All the excitement is gone now. The hat came out waaaaaay to big and I did not like the outcome at all!

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So I frogged it. Immediately. No mercy. 

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I don’t even want to tweak the pattern to make it more to my liking. It was such an incredible bore to knit, purling in the round for rows and rows on end. Yuck. No thanks.

On to the next hat project: Spring Beret by Natalie Larson.

Spring Beret

Just the other day, while I was working at the yarnshop, this lady came in wearing a beautiful knitted hat. She shared with us that the she had found the pattern on Ravelry and that it was called Spring Beret.

I immediately looked it up, downloaded the pattern, casted on and voila, this is the result:

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It is a super quick knit, worsted weight yarn, needle size US 8/ US 9 and the lace pattern (horse shoe) is so incredibly easy. I like the outcome allthough it is a little  bit too big. 

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I like the pattern so much that I am going to knit the smaller version and fingers crossed that I will like that outcome better than my first one.

High five to Nathalie Larson, designer of this beautiful Spring Beret! 

Thanks for reading and until the next entry…

 


All About Hats

January 22, 2009

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I am all about hats, lately… For the longest, I haven’t been really interested in hats and knitted only sweaters and tops before I even had knitted my very first hat.

It’s a different story now… all I can think about are hats and I am on the hunt for just the right hat patterns. You see, I’ve got a big head…and I am very peculiar about how my hat should fit.

Finding the right hat pattern to me is like finding the right pair of jeans: it’s gotta fit just right. And once I find the right one, I can’t stop making them. 

You all know I am mad about Louisa Harding’s Portia hat:

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And I am also very fond of the Sunset Beret by Haley Waxberg:

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But having knit those multiple times, I thought it would be nice to move forward and find a new pattern to play with. How happy I was when I saw this beautifully cabled beret on the frontpage of magazine Knit!!

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I immediately bought some skeins of Manos Solid and was more than ready to knit this very cute hat! I had however, several concerns about the pattern… First of, the entire hat is knit with two strands of Manos and you have to start with circulair 16″ needle US7. That’s an awful small size for double stranded Manos.

Secondly, at one point you have to switch to a circulair 16″ needle US11 and increase stitches untill you have 144 stitches on the needles. Woah. 144 stitches of double stranded Manos on a circulair 16″, that’s going to be awfully crowded.

I did not heed those two red flags and optimistically casted on. And guess what… US7 with two strands of Manos, uhm… no. So I switched to needle size circulair 16″ US8.

Once I had to switch to the bigger size needle, my hands were already hurting and I got pretty annoyed. Then after I did all of the needed increases and I had 144 stitches on my 16″ US 11, I was even more annoyed. Yup, crowded it was! Just too much stitches and thus absolutely nearly impossible to comfortably knit!

My hands were hurting, too much stitches crammed on my circulairs and I my annoyance level went up sky high. Finally, I give up and abort the project. 

It’s a cute pattern… but cute alone don’t cut it. It has to be a pleasant experience for me to knit a project and the way I was feeling was far from it.

So… now what?

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I can’t linger too long in disappointment and hunted for the next hat pattern and found one in a Filati accesoires booklet. Ahhh… so cute!

Here’s a close up:

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I just cannot wait to make this one!

Totally forgot about this one

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Can you believe I knitted this cute cute cloche by Laura Irwin and then I forgot to blog about it! Bad Nancy. Look at how lovely this hat came out! 

The pattern is in Laura Irwin’s book Boutique knits and calls for 2 balls of Rowan Lux. A quick and entertaining knit. So…what are you waiting for? Go get yourself a copy of Boutique Knits and make yourself one too!

Thanks for reading and untill the next entry…

 

 

 


JaNae’s Golden Moment

January 19, 2009

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We have a winner… Only three knitters entered into my little contest asking you to give me the name of the designer who made these:

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Spider and Tif’eret gave it a shot, however, JaNae came with the correct answer. She wrote:

“Paul Poiret, love this post, I’m in need of a golden moment myself & I love the hat you made above. I’m just a beginner at this knitting thing but I’m loving every step of learning.”

Well, JaNae, I am happy to tell you that your Golden Moment is here! You were right, it’s Paul Poiret, one of my all time favorite designer. Want to see what you have won?

Some delicious Silk Blend by Manos and Suri Merino by Blue Sky Alpacas:

JNGM

May I suggest a project for these yarns? Why don’t you use the Manos Silk Blend to make my Long Scalloped Fingerless Gloves Adrienne?

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And the Suri Merino you can use to make the Sally Fingerless Glove! I will include the pattern for you for free!

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Wait, you think that’s it? Oh no no no… Here’s another beautiful golden yarn for you, it’s Bouline by GGH:

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Might I suggest you try my Fingerless Gloves Emanelle? In the photo below I used exactly the same yarn, only a different color:

That wasn't too hard, now was it?

If you are worried you won’t have the right needles for these projects, don’t worry… In your package I will include the right needles and some cable needles too. And besides that, what’s a knitter without a cute little project bag?

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Of course, JaNae, these projects are only suggestions. You can do whatever you wish to do with all of the yarn you won today! Congratulations!

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Thanks for reading and untill the next entry…


My Life Before Knitting

January 17, 2009

Just the other week when I was knitting away and sipping my Hazelnut Latte in a coffeehouse, two women sat right next to my table. At first I assumed they were grandmother and granddaughter, but when the younger woman addressed the older lady with her last name, preceded with a respectful “Mrs.”, I knew they were not connected by kinship.

What struck me most while watching these two woman interact was the respect and love they both gave to eachother. The younger woman would continously make sure the older lady was completely comfy; “Is your coffee just right, Mrs Johnson?”, she would ask while touching her arm. “Are you sure your chair is comfortable enough, Mrs Johnson?”, she would inquire, ready to jump up to find a more suitable chair for her older friend.

The older lady on her turn, would inquire about the younger woman’s well being and life, ready to give her gentle advice when asked for. 

It was so pleasant to see and hear them interact, these two friends with a huge age difference…

Then after a long pause, the older lady asked the younger woman: “How long have we known eachother now, dear? It must have been only 2 years, hasn’t it?” 

– “Yes, Mrs Johnson, it has been two years now.”

“You know”, the older lady continues, “I don’t even remember how my life was before I met you…”

In response, the younger woman jumped up and gave her dear friend a warm hug.

And at this point I put down my knitting and hide behind my cup of Hazelnut Latte, pretending to be busy drinking my coffee, and hoping nobody notices my teary eyes.

My life before knitting

Sometimes a special thing comes into your life and you enjoy it so much that you cannot even imagine how it would be without it. Such is knitting to me… 

Knitting has become something so precious and dear to me that at times, I cannot remember how I was before I picked up the needles. 

However, after some digging into the past I vaguely remember that I would cook more often. And I would read a lot. Not to mention watching TV! I would watch TV a lot and I remember how bored I felt while doing it.

Knitting has enriched my life. It has made me more creative, it has brought moments of pure passion, it has driven me to near madness if I was not able to figure something out, it has also truly brought me joy. Hours and hours of joy!

So… how was your life before knitting, I wonder? Do you remember?

Dainty little projects

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I am all into daintly little projects… First of, I have been working with some cashmere from Artyarns. I love how it feels around my neck; so incredibly soft! So I wanted to create a daintly little choker with fancy buttons.

I still have to finish it. Just have to sew it up with the buttons and it is done. More pics will follow beginning of next week!

Secondly, I have been working on some dainty little ankle warmers. Most of the time, legwarmers are so big and bulky. Too robust to wear with high heels… and since I wear high heels alot, I wanted to create a daintly little legwarmer but found the name ankle warmer more suitable when I came up with these:

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Say what? You want a more detailed photo of my ankle warmer? Sure!

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Three brave knitters

In my last post, Golden Satisfaction, I issued, rather impulsively, a little contest. I put up some pictures of beautiful fashion designs and asked whether you would know the name of the designer.

Only three brave knitters, gave it a shot:

Spider came up with designer Elsa Schiaparelli, Tiferet thinks it might be Russian designer Erte, and JaNae is certain it’s Paul Poiret.

Thanks, ladies, for entering into the competition! The winner, if any,  will be announced this coming Monday…

Thanks for reading and until the next entry!

MLBK2


Golden Satisfaction

January 14, 2009

Just the other day, when I was on a mission to get a book at Powell’s in downtown Portland, I could not help but notice how a warm feeling came over me… for no particular reason.

I walked in a slow pace, no hurry, and I as I tried to analyse this warm feeling, it struck me how golden this warm energy that suddenly came over me felt. I paused for a moment, stood still in the middle of the sidewalk for just a second as I suddenly was able to put my finger on it: satisfaction…I was filled with a feeling of satisfaction for no particular reason.

I tried to sum up reasons for this sudden golden feeling of satisfaction but immediately stopped myself. Some feelings should not be analyzed and be broken down. Some feelings just come as they come and best to just enjoy it. 

Ever since that moment, just a few days ago, I cannot help but being attracted to goldeny colors…all I want is yarn and other material that has at least some glow of golden…

Manos Silk Blend and some dainty buttons

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Ah, how delicious Manos Silk Blend is… I loved this yarn by Manos del Uruguay from the first day it arrived at the store last year. I have taken home many a color except for the ones with a golden glow to them. 

So I chose a warm golden color and a dark bronze color, quickly wound them into balls and once home, I immediately selected some little dainty buttons… ah what to make, what to make..?

Sometimes, I just assemble the materials and just stare at it for several days. Then, suddenly, it will hit me. Until then, I keep on dreaming.

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Portia hat in Kidsilk Aura

I know… I have made the Portia hat by Louisa Harding already 3 times before. This time I desperately wanted to see how it would look in Kidsilk Aura in of course a goldeny colorway. 

The pattern calls for dk weight yarn and since the Kidsilk Aura is a aran weight I had to tweak the pattern a bit. Came out fine!

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I just love how beautifully the decreases line up. Just cannot take my eyes off of it!

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Other golden inspiration: who is this designer?

Today I leave you with some beautiful fashion pieces… can you guess who designed these?

I am very curious who will come up with the right answer… the one that has the right answer will be rewarded with some goodies…

Yup, this is a little contest, it will stay open for a week. Leave me a comment with the designers name!

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Good luck! I am very curious to see who will come up with the right answer!

Thank you for reading and until the next entry…


In a Delightful Frenzy

January 7, 2009

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Ever since last October, I have been very busy working on writing patterns, getting patterns ready for printing, production knitting, product development/improvement, meeting with graphic designers and last but not least, working at the yarnshop.

I hardly have had any time to focus on new designs, flip through magazines and books for inspiration, buying new yarns and notions. But what I really missed the most is to just dream away, let my mind flow and be open for new ideas.

Well, let me tell you… over the past few days I have been making up for lost time, and have been collecting materials like crazy. 

As you can see in the picture above, my table is overflowing and my brain is in a delightful frenzy.

Come let’s take a closer look!

Inspiration through many many things…

What I simply cannot do without in my creative path are books and magazines. One of the most inspirational magazines has been “Selvedge”:

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And what would I do without fashion illustrator “Erte”?

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A must in my book collection would be “Deco, roaring ’20s fashions”, by Susan Langley and published by Schiffer. Oh the inspiration I get from this book is so plentyful it almost hurts.

Buttons

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Lately, I have been so encaptured by buttons. It all started when a forgotten button magically presented itself and inspired me to design my Sally Fingerless Gloves.

When I realized that buttons are a great inspiration for me and I dare say they will be the trademark of my future designs, the gates of Button Love opened and many a button have entered into my life.

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So much beautiful yarn…

What would I be without my beautiful beautiful yarns? How they inspire me, talk to me, telling me what they want to become once touched by my hands and dreams.

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I would be nothing without yarn. They are my ultimate muse… I owe them a lot, these soft pretties.

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As you can see, I am all set for the next great design adventures. I am so excited, I can hardly stand it. In the next few weeks, I am going to dream away, hoping to find vehicles which will transport me to many dimensions of my imagination.

In these dimensions, I wish for many adventures so that I have beautiful stories to tell you, dear reader. May I also find inspiration to design and write pattens, I wish for it with my whole being! And above all, may I find joy and passion so that I can extend that to others.

What really put me in a frenzy

Over the past few years I have been very fortunate to work with a IBook G4. My faithful IBook has become somewhat old and slowly lost its spark. So much that all the letters of my keyboard had faded away and even worse, it would crash all the time.

Stoic as I am, I never complained and kept on going with my IBook…

Tonight, my husband called me to ask me if a package had arrived. I replied that I had been out all day and that I did not see a package on the front porch when I arrived home.

He told me to look for a package on the back porch. I did, screamed and almost lost it… See here what really really got me in a delightful frenzy!!!

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What a great way to start the new year. I feel so incredible lucky. I will never ever take for granted what is given to me. I count my blessings every day and say thanks for everything in my life.

Thank you for reading and until the next entry!


The Forest Goddess

January 3, 2009

A couple of months ago, while I was working in the yarnshop during a very busy Sunday afternoon, a young couple with a baby wandered in. I was doing ten things at the same time behind the desk; answering questions, picking up the phone, checking costumers out, all the while very aware of what was happening in the store.

Amidst the frenzy, I observed the young couple with newborn closely and it struck me how graceful and almost regal they moved around the store. She was wearing a beautiful green silk dress and her long blond dreadlocks were carefully pinned on top of her head. It looked as if she was wearing a crown. He was carrying the baby and I couldn’t help but notice how much he admired the sleeping infant.

As they passed the Noro cabinet, they both gasped at the beautiful colors of the Noro Silk Garden. When they found the the Double Dayflower Scarf I had knitted out of two colorways of the Noro Silk Garden they were simply elated. And me, I was very pleased with the way they examined my craftmanship: with admiration and respect.

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“How much for the scarf”, she finally asked me. I shook my head and replied:”It took me a lot of time and effort to knit that scarf. Not to mention the cost of the yarn. I am sorry, it is not for sale.”

Dear reader, the disappointment in their eyes almost broke my heart…

“You can buy the yarn, though, and I will give you the pattern for free. That way, you can make it yourself”, I continued. “Why don’t you try the scarf on, see if you really like it and then I can help you find the right colors, yes?”

She carefully draped the scarf around her neck several times and answered:” I know how much time this must have taken you to knit. I could never do it…”

When I held up the mirror for the lady, and looked up to see how it becomes her, my jaw simply dropped. How radiant and beautiful she looked…

Her dreadlocks turned into lianes; sturdy wooden vines depicting her majestic crown. She herself, suddenly looked so tall, firmly grounded like an ancient tree in a thousand year old forest.

Then, suddenly, I heared lovely soft humming and I could not believe my eyes when the dayflowers from my knitted scarf, slowly rose their heads and genlty swayed back and forth while sharing their mesmerizing scent.

The dayflowers sang to me that their place is with this majestic forest creature. The dayflowers begged me to let them go for they belonged with her, their Forest Goddess…

I bowed my head and bended my knee in reverence, however, nevertheless, named my price for the scarf. She did not blink an eye and agreeably nodded.

And so I parted from my beautiful Double Dayflower scarf, made out of 6 balls of Noro Silk Garden. And let me tell you, I was so proud to see the beautiful Forest Goddes wearing it. I realized that when I knitted this scarf, way back when, I knitted it for her.

If you want to knit your own Double Dayflower scarf, click here for the free pattern!

Thank you for reading and untill the next entry.


Somebody pinch me…

January 1, 2009

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Haloween, ThanksGiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve…did it all really happen..? Oh boy, things happened so fast, I am still catching my breath. More importantly, I finally found a quiet moment to sit down and write.

Geez, Nancy, where in the world have you been?

Ah… for ThanksGiving I traveled to Minneapolis and only spent time on production knitting for the Ginger Suite Salon Holiday Party. Then all of a sudden and out of nowhere, Christmas Eve is staring me in the eye, I blink and I find myself on an airplane to New York City.

Oh yes, Santa has been very good to me… a trip back to were we used to live: Manhattan…

Lower East Side

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Our old hood, the Lower East Side in downtown Manhattan hasn’t lost its grimey charm. We were slightly worried that the coming of the yuppies would have made everything slick and polished but soon found out that our old friend has been true to it’s own self: grimey, dirty, no glitter and glamour whatsoever, but a character so street and colorful, bursting of no nonsense.

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Remembering what it is all about

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At a party called Body and Soul we are reunited with loving friends who we haven’t seen in a very very long time. We danced, we laughed, we hugged and right there and then, while I am wrapped up in their love, I receive so many beautiful insights.

The open hearted energy of all my beautiful and colorful friends remind me of what it is all about: fearless love and inspiration. With every smile they give me, with every touch of their energy, they teach me to love, to inspire, to share, to be kind, to be open hearted, to be grounded and to be not afraid.

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Downtown Yarns in the Lower East Side

I just cannot believe I have passed Downtown Yarns on Avenue A so many times while I lived there without giving it the day of light. In my defense, I have to say, I was not a knitter back then. But still it baffles me.

It is a most charming little yarnshop with a very friendly dog:

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The ladies at Downtown Yarns were very nice and helpful. Be sure to visit if you are ever in the Lower East Side of Manhattan!

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Other than Downtown Yarns, I haven’t visited any other yarnshop. Why not? Come on, now… you all know I can get my hands on every yarn I ever wanted at CloseKnit’s, don’t ya? Haha!

Happy New Year!!!

I would like to wish you all a happy happy 2009…

May all of your dreams come true,
May you be healthy,
May you and your loved ones live in peace,
May you look up, whenever times are getting difficult,
May you be satisfied with what you have,
May you be open hearted and kind, and receive open heartedness and kindness,

May you always remember to fearlessly love and inspire…

Thank you for reading and untill the next entry.

T6