Catch up and latest FOs

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Well hello everyone! I am writing today to catch up on life, my crochet journey and now also knitting journey after a short break from the blog. It is summer in my corner of the world and even though the weather has not been great I have been trying to enjoy the extra light and just be out and about a bit more. I love being at home so it is always hard to get myself out the door but once I’m out I am always glad I did it. I am also still doing yoga and enjoying every minute of it, it helps with my anxiety like nothing else so really recommend it to everyone if you are looking for a different type of physical activity.

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I finished two crochet projects recently that I would like to share with you, the first is my Lorelei Pullover by Dora Ohrenstein. I LOVE this top, it is just so light and summery, the colour is amazing and the stitch pattern is beautiful and unique. Very simple construction so really recommend it if you want to give it a try. I used Ginger’s Hand Dyed Swanky Lace in Girl on Fire which is a blend of baby alpaca, silk and cashmere so you can imagine how awesome this garment feels.

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The other FO I wanted to share is my Penelope Top by Jenny Reid. I love the romantic look of this top and that stitch pattern is truly stunning. The back is really nice but couldn’t get a nice picture of it unfortunately… not easy to take pictures of yourself!

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I used John Arbon Alpaca Supreme 4ply in Silver Fawn, beautifully soft yarn though I am regretting the alpaca a bit after getting some serious pilling issues with only one wear. If anyone has any recommendations for a good pilling remover please let me know 🙂

I am so happy with these two garments because I really like how they look and have already been wearing them proudly, that is what my handmade wardrobe focus is all about and it makes me want to keep on doing more and more garment patterns now that I know I can make them fit. You know when you are working a pattern and you realise you made a mistake or you have a feeling it won’t be big/small enough to fit you and you avoid it until you are done? Well I have been determined not to avoid those feelings and it has saved the fit of my garments more than once with just a bit more work. Trust your instincts everyone and it will save you a lot of time and effort.

My knitting is coming along, I am taking a Craftsy class that shows you how to make an infinity scarf so I am working my way through that and really enjoying it now that I have found a good position for my hands and yarn when knitting and purling. After this I would like to do a hat and a shawl, so if you have any simple patterns to recommend I would really appreciate it. For the shawl I want to use a beautiful 4-ply skein from Hedgehog Fibres that I purchased when I was in Dublin last month, it is so pretty that I know the yarn would shine in a simple knitted shawl. I thought of doing a crochet shawl but it would have to be a very open and lacy one to use just the one skein and I don’t think the yarn colour changes will show as well so I am glad I am adding knitting to my skills bucket!

What have you been up to? Let me know in the comments 🙂 I will be going on holiday this month and I have family visiting on the following month so I may not be posting as often. I try to post on Instagram a bit more often so you can check my feed there if you want to see what I am up to.

Have a great day everyone!

x

Sol

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The (new) beginning of my knitting journey

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A few weeks ago I had an amazing opportunity to be part of a knitting class run by Jules from Woollenflower. If you haven’t checked Jules’ website I really recommend you do, she sells the most beautiful products, including machine-knitted cowls and small bags made out of worn Harris Tweed jackets. I had the pleasure of meeting her at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival and found her to be not only incredibly talented but also such an amazing person, so I jumped at the chance to have her as my teacher.

Now, let me tell you a bit about my knitting journey. I am not sure if I shared this but I learned how to crochet when I was about 10 years old, it was the first craft I learned and it really clicked with me straight away. I have crocheted on and off since then: it is like riding a bike, you really never forget how to do it.

When I was in high school my nanny (the most awesome knitter I know to this day) taught me how to knit and I decided to cast on a scarf with a simple ribbed pattern. It was THE-LONGEST-SCARF-IN-THE-WORLD. By the time I was finished I not only hated the scarf, the colour and everything about it, but also hated knitting. That was the last time I picked up a pair of knitting needles.

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Fast forward to the last year and crochet and the fibre world have become a really big part of my life. For the last few months I have been thinking that I should try knitting again, mostly for the following reasons:

  • I really like how knitted fabric looks like, and that it is lighter than crochet fabric. I believe there are many things you can do with crochet, but just like knitting it has its limitations. The one thing I have never liked in crochet is hats, to this day I haven’t found a pattern that I like. The fabric is too dense and stiff if you don’t want an open stitch pattern (which you don’t if its a winter hat) and the hat ends up wearing you instead of the other way around. Knitted hats on the other hand are beautiful and that is my ultimate goal in this knitting journey: LOADS AND LOADS OF HATS 🙂
  • I love fibre and as I get to understand more and more about how we get from sheep to finished object I have come to be very curious about all fibre related crafts such as weaving, spinning and of course, at the centre of it all is knitting. I don’t think I could call myself a fibre enthusiast if I don’t have at least some basic knitting skills.
  • As some of you know I have started teaching a few workshops at Ginger Twist Studio and I came to realise very quickly that most (if not all) of those who have attended my workshops are knitters and know only a bit about crochet. I feel that I can become a better teacher if I can speak the same language as my students since this will help me understand their issues better.
  • Finally, I love learning and there is SOOO much to learn in knitting.

Even though these sound as very compelling reasons I also had my doubts about whether I should learn how to knit again. Knitting is slow and so much less forgiving when it comes to mistakes. Crochet is awesome in that way, make a mistake and you just rip it off and pick up again but with knitting it is a different story and I am NOT a patient person. Also, I was a bit afraid of immersing myself in the knitting world and not being able to pull out. I am a very obsessive person and there are so many knitting patterns out there that match my aesthetic, much more than crochet patterns. Could I keep crochet as my main craft with so many patterns calling for my attention?

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In the end, I am glad I decided to learn. Crochet will always be my main craft but knowing how to knit will allow me to create some special items that crochet may not do so well. I see many hats in my future, simple shawls that allow me to show-off that very special skein of yarn and maybe one day a simple sweater (I say only one knowing that it will take me a lifetime to finish). Crochet is still faster and more comfortable so I know I will never lose it and right now I am just really enjoying being a beginner and learning a new skill that can only add more inspiration to my creative journey.

I still haven’t done any projects, I am just practicing my stitches for now. I will be casting on something soon, an infinity scarf from a Craftsy class I purchased. It doesn’t look simple, but I do like a challenge! If you have any tips of nice beginner projects please share them in the comments, would love to hear your suggestions.

Thanks for stopping by!

x

Sol

Love your blog challenge: Gratitude

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Hello everyone, hope you had a nice weekend wherever you are. I am here with the last prompt for the Love Your Blog Challenge by A Playful Day and this time it is all about gratitude.

Life can get so busy sometimes that we often don’t take the time to be thankful for what life has given to us. I am very guilty of this, especially since I am more of a glass half-empty kind of girl. As part of my goals for the year the first one was: Appreciate the wonderful things in my life more often and write them down at least once a month. I am so embarrassed to say I have only done this once but I guess it is never too late to pick it up so without further ado, here are a few things I am grateful for right now:

  • The arrival of spring: longer days and colour.
  • A good cup of tea: especially after a long day.
  • Free yoga videos: I can’t believe I managed without them until now.
  • People who love yarn as much as I do: the only ones with whom you can be your true self without odd looks.
  • My yarn and my hook: for the lovely time we have spent together.
  • This blog and you guys: for every view and comment.

Finally, I just want to thank Kate from A Playful Day and everyone who took part of the Love Your Blog Challenge, it has been so fun to take part and to discover some new blogs, I would definitely agree now that the blog is not dead: it is alive and kicking and we are not going anywhere.

Have a great week everyone,

x

Sol

 

Some Podcast (Lounge) love

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Hello everyone, I am writing a quick post today since I have been the most ungrateful and forgetful person this week and I couldn’t let it pass. After I wrote my first EYF post I realised I had forgotten to mention the Podcast Lounge as one of the highlights of the show but intended to correct it with a special mention on my second post. Of course, I forgot again! This is completely due to my stupid brain and not anything to do with the Podcast Lounge not being a memorable and amazing space during the festival. And to make me feel even worse I actually won two skeins of beautiful hand dyed British yarn from the raffle! Thank you so much to the Podcast Lounge for my lovely prize and to Jess for saving it for me 🙂

So to make amends I have decided to share quick post about my experience in the Podcast Lounge and use this opportunity to show some podcast love as well by sharing the links to the great podcasts that I have been following lately.

In case you don’t follow many podcasts, the Podcast Lounge was organised by the amazing Louise from the  Knit British podcast as a place to hang around and to meet some of your favourite podcast people. There were even little events organised for this space such as Q&As with designers or podcasters. The Podcast Lounge was my resting and crocheting space during the whole festival, every time I got tired or needed to assess my shopping, or to eat my cake for lunch I would pop over to the comfy sofas arranged for the occasion. Luckily for me, I always found a space and many times also familiar faces. I got to touch samples from lovely British yarn that Louise had knitted up and was amazed at how I liked them all! It was really an amazing space and Louise’s laugh on the background was just so contagious as well (you must listen to her podcast if you don’t already). I didn’t manage the courage to go and speak to her (I am silly like that sometimes) and thank her for being my commuting companion for so many months now, even though it is a knitting podcast and no crochet in it I enjoy it so much and it always puts a smile on my face 🙂

Sadly, I never managed to be there when one of the events were on, I think I got some times confused as well since I was sure there was something on at the time I showed up on Saturday, but it was still such a joyful place to hang around.

Finally I just wanted to share some of the great podcasts I have been listening to in case you are looking to try some out. I have a mixture of both video and audio podcasts though the audio ones are my favourites since I can listen to them while I commute.

Knit British

Woolful

Fluffy Fibers

A Playful Day

Curious Handmade

Yarn in the City

Creative Yarn Entrepeneur show

The Yarniacs Podcast

Caithness Craft

NH Knits

Cherry Heart

Bmandarine

That is me for today, will be back soon!

x

Sol

EYF 2015: My first yarn festival experience Part 1

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Uffff… I have been thinking about how to write this post since there is so much to say. I have decided that it will have to be done in a couple of posts: one to share my general experience in the festival and another one with my favourite purchases (I can’t show them all since I am too embarrassed to confess all that I bought!).

Edinburgh Yarn Fest was one awesome weekend that more than exceeded my expectations. I really don’t know where to start and I am bit tired today so this post will be a bit all over the place but here are the highlights of the weekend:

  • The marketplace. OMG, I have never in my life seen so much beautiful yarn and yarn-related things in one place, it was all a bit overwhelming the first day but the second day I got to stop and truly admire the work of such talented people that put so much love and dedication to their products. I got to chat with quite a few and everyone was so nice and attentive. From yarn, to buttons, to fibre, to patterns and everything displayed in such beautiful and creative ways, it was very inspiring just to walk by those stalls. And the colour… such amazing colours everywhere made my heart sing 🙂

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  • The Crochet Project stall: If you are a crocheter, and only a crocheter like myself who couldn’t knit if my life depended on it you will understand the joy of seeing a crochet stall in a yarn festival. And not any stall… a stall from the awesome Crochet Project run by two amazingly talented designers: Kat Goldin and Joanne Scrace. I have crocheted beautiful patterns by both of these ladies and have admired their designs, especially garments, for a long time. Very few people in the crochet world design patterns as stylish and wearable as these two designers so I was so star struck when I met them! Their stall was filled with gorgeous samples and patterns, crochet hooks, the cutest labels for your hand knits and their new pattern book “The Shawl Project”. More on this little book on my next post since it is definitely on the favourites list…!

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  • The people. If you have any knitters or crocheter friends you must already know that yarny people are awesome. They are encouraging, passionate, friendly and they are the happiest when around loads of yarn and other yarny people who feel the same way about their crafts. So you can imagine what you get when you put hundreds of yarny people in one place surrounded by the most beautiful fibre-related products: a happy and oh-so inspiring atmosphere. Just to look at what everyone was wearing was like a runway show of beautiful hand knits made with love and care, it was such a treat. Whenever you got tired you could go sit down somewhere and take your WIP out or pet your new yarn, and then you would look around and see that everyone else around you was doing the same! I had been the lonely crocheter on the train for so many months since work didn’t allow me to go to my knitting group and then suddenly I was just one of the crowd, doing what we love to do, surrounded by people who love that as well. Sigh… I don’t know about you but a room full of knitters and yarn is exactly how I think heaven should look like.

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  • My first crochet class. I booked one class for the festival, it was the only crochet class that wasn’t for beginners. It was about how to make crochet wearable by the amazing Joanne Scrace. As you may know I am diving into the world of crochet garments and have had a few ups and downs so this class seemed like a great way to help me in this new journey and I definitely didn’t leave disappointed. Joanne was a great teacher who not only explained techniques that can make crochet fabric more wearable but also why and how they achieve that effect and what is the whole science behind crochet fabric that makes it different from knitting. If you have the opportunity to take this class I truly recommend it, you can check Joanne’s website for more details.
  • The organisation. I had never been to a yarn festival but this was one well organised event. The only time I was in a big queue was before the start of the first day and only because many of us got there before the doors opened. Getting our ticket was breeze, there was a big lounge area to seat and eat with a great selection of music in the background and there were some really fun stuff like a free Photo Booth on Saturday.

As you can see it was one awesome weekend filled with colour and inspiration, it was so hard to get back to work the next day and realise that your everyday world doesn’t have yarn in it!

If you are thinking of attending any yarn festivals next year I would put the EYF in the list since it can only get better!

Will be back soon with my favourite purchases and my Cobbled Street pattern which is almost done 🙂 My tunisian crochet class is this weekend so have been very busy preparing for it, hopefully I will get some time to get pictures of my purchases and share that with you soon. I leave you with more pictures of the weekend for you.

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Have a great weekend 🙂

Sol