When Irish eyes are smiling…

I’m so excited! I finally managed to finish the pattern for the shawl I knit last spring (and which, incidentally, got me the second place in the St. Patrick’s Day contest I designed it for.) My wonderful sister helped me – thank you! :)

And not only that – I published it on Ravelry as a free pattern: Irish Eyelets. (You need to be signed in to Ravelry to view the pattern but here is a link to my project page.)

The response is amazing. Within the first hour or so, five people have already added this to their queues of patterns they want to knit. And even more have marked it as a favourite. I can’t wait to see shawls people knit using my pattern!

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The last rose of summer

It’s been an odd winter… too warm for most of it, and then within the course of three hours a weather change from drizzle to rainstorm to sleet to snowstorm with big fat snowflakes.

They didn’t stay on the ground for long but it got a bit colder and a few days later I went for a walk in the lightly falling snow.

I was happy to see some snow… it’s just not a proper winter without it.

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Next year

So in November when I restarted the blog I mentioned how my problem was writing essays instead of posts and planning way too much.

So true.

This is a rewritten draft from two weeks ago, which I called White Christmas in anticipation of the first snow (which totally didn’t happen, it’s a nice spring day out there). I talked about handmade but not knitted Christmas gifts. I drafted it on the tram with the intention of adding photos from my home computer and pictures of a cool gift I was planning to craft that day. Unfortunately, the project failed badly and I had to find another gift for the recipient, and I just forgot about this post.

So today when I wrote my previous one I realised this was still sitting in the drafts category and decided to keep the part that’s more fitting for a New Year’s than a Christmas post anyway. So here goes:

I made several photo calendars, which means I looked through all of last year’s photos. That was fun, but also reminded me that I really need a photo tagging program because at least half my photos were of yarn or knitting. Any recommendations?

I found a few I’d forgotten about (like the “sewing kit” circulars) and a bunch of nice pictures, which didn’t all make it into the calendar. Here’s a few favourites:

stairs

plant

sunshade skeleton

flower

poppies

boat

And here are a few that aren’t really calendar material but make me chuckle:

signs in basle

These are signs in Basle, Switzerland, showing the way to the museums or homes of famous people who lived there. Well, the first three are…

Here’s another one:

Nice street art, whoever did it!

no baby bottles allowed

No baby bottles.

no parking

No parking.

This one doesn’t make me chuckle as much as it makes me smile:

heart in the woods

That was my 2011 in pictures (the heavily edited version without all the yarn). I hope you all have great memories from this year and have an even better and happier year 2012.

It’s a lovely day today, I have a new haircut and I’ve got the TV running in the background with a rock concert marathon that’s getting me into New Year’s party mood. We’ve had Peter Gabriel, Spandau Ballet, The Rolling Stones, and right now they’re playing the Freddy Mercury tribute concert. Tonight I’ll be celebrating with friends, a laidback night of board games and laughter… I’ll be home next year.

Happy new year and enjoy the fireworks!

fire station - translation gone wrong

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Winter Lady

Last night I finished this:

Winter Lady cowl

I designed it for Episode 3 of Project Spinway (which I mentioned here), where our challenge was to design a garment that could be on the cover of Knitcircus and to spin a yarn for it. (Not for actual publication, but Jaala, the editor of Knitcircus, was the guest judge and also gave us valuable feedback on what kind of designs she would consider if they were submitted.)

My inspiration was winter white, the softness of a snow hare and the glint of sunlight on snow (like in the last picture of this post). I blended angora, silk, alpaca, merino, and a tiny bit of angelina by hand and spun it up into this:Finished yarn

This was my initial design sketch for the cowl – warm as a snow hare but light and playful, not heavy and bulky, with patterns like tracks in the snow or ice on a window.

Design sketch Winter lady cowl

There was no requirement to knit more than a swatch, but as I had a enough of the yarn and it’s so soft and luxurious, I decided to finish the design and knit an actual cowl. I’m very happy with how it turned out! (“Quietly dramatic”, as one of my lovely Project Spinway buddies described it.)

Winter lady cowl 2

I want to eventually publish the pattern but I’m not making any promises – should get that Irish Eyelets pattern out first I think…

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Sneak a peek

Here’s a sneak peek of my collection for the Project Spinway Finale. The challenge is to pick a masterpiece painting and create three yarns inspired by it. (Hence the museum visit the other week.)

Project spinway collage of inspiration and fibre

If you’re on Ravelry, you can see the other contestants’ collages (with links to the full project presentations) and vote for all your favourites here: Project Spinway Fan Favorite.

(Yes, I made a colour sketch of that one too…)

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Needles and pins

I’ve been going through this year’s photographs and found these… seen in a cheapo Euro shop:

Crochet hook labeled "Knitting"

Basket of crochet hooks in packages saying "knitting"

Circular needles labeled "Sewing Kit"

I tried to find a sewing kit labeled “crochet” but I guess they were out of those…

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Art appreciation (What did you learn in school today?)

Last weekend I learned about art from six-year-olds. But not the way you think.

No Paul Klee experience, no hidden wonders seen through a child’s eyes, no awakening of my inner child or anything else like that. Hard facts about Impressionism and Monet’s life, that’s what I learned while sitting on the floor with my coloured pencils drawing the colour combinations of Monet’s House among the Roses.

Maybe 15 little girls sat on the floor nearby with an art instructor, analysing one of his Water Lily Ponds. The teacher asked them about the characteristics of Impressionism and half a dozen hands went up. The play of light with colour, broad brush strokes that require the viewer to step back to see the whole picture, painting the impression and not the shape (just one girl got it wrong when she said impressionists painted in their workshops and was promptly corrected that they painted outdoors…)

I’m not sure what to think of this. It was very interesting, to be sure, and I learned things I was able to use in my project. I’m not sure I even learned these things at school. They are good things to know, and knowing the background of a painting can help you appreciate it or see it in a different light. But it felt like an upside-down world, with those little girls being tested on their knowledge of Impressionism while I sat there happily drawing away.
Yeah, my inner child is wide awake.

house among the roses - colours
photo of the original painting

Another interesting thing I learned is that as long as the setting’s right, people will assume it’s art.
Sit somewhere that’s not Montmartre and sketch a cathedral and people will judge your perspective. Knit a lace shawl in public and someone will say “She can’t be very good, her knitting’s full of holes!”
But sit in an art museum taking notes of colour palettes as inspiration for yarn and people will look over your shoulder or sit down on the bench next to you to watch and assume it is art that they just don’t understand.
Well, in a way it is, but no more so than the other things.

colours La baie d'Anversphoto of the original painting

colours Jawlenskyphoto of the original painting

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