Thursday, March 27, 2014

Non work-related WIPs

I was cleaning the house today, trying to tidy up a bit... so I started organizing my knitting bags too.  There were lots of bags with yarn that needed to be arranged, and knitting projects lying around the house in different rooms.

As I was putting everything away, and leaving out only those bags which hold knitting projects, I suddenly realized I had 4 WIPs (works in progress), which is somewhat unusual for me... But the most unusual thing is that 3 of these are not related to work.
Why not related to work?  Well, cause even though I am not using any patterns for these, I have no deadlines and no intention of turning these projects into patterns.  These projects are just for the fun of knitting...

Since this blog is mostly about my knitting patterns, I think it's a good change to show these little projects, even if there's nothing too exciting about them!

I started Fedde's Vest when I was travelling in Europe.
I was visiting Gent with my friend Vera (Maanel), and she took me to a cute Phildar shop, where they sold mostly ready-made garments.  But at the back of the shop, they kept a stock of Phildar's yarns!  I must admit I wasn't crazy about most of them, but then I found these beautiful balls of Laine Coton, in the most perfect "Boy" colors.  I just knew I had to make something for my baby godson Fedde...

The yarn is just beautiful.  I had never tried a combination of Wool and Cotton before, and I absolutely love it!  I think I paid like 4 EUR per ball, which is not bad at all.  It has lots of tiny plies, arranged in a beautiful rounded structure.
Look at those stitches, they are so even and pretty!

I started the project while riding on the train to London, and I honestly thought (in my innocent mind), that I was going to finish this in a couple of days, which would have allowed me to leave the vest with the recipient before returning to Argentina.
Silly me, I only knitted during that train ride, and then never again during the rest of the trip!

I am working the vest on straight needles, cause I am always faster (though really, it doesn't get much slower than this), and I plan to seam the sides when I am done.
I cast on 50 st, worked in 2x2 ribbing for a few rows, and then switched to a broken rib, which was quite easy, but looked more elaborate than a garter st vest.

I already finished the front, which was made in a similar way to my Felipe pattern (a free pattern, by the way, and always works beautifully!).  Just a few rows of 2x2 ribbing, and then divided for neck opening and shoulder straps.
As you can see, the back is halfway done, so I don't know what is keeping me from finishing it...  Perhaps I have the secret dream of going back to The Netherlands to deliver it myself, and kiss him hard for days and days...  Cause really, look at those cheeks!

A few weeks ago, I received a visit from the US, so we did a lot of walking and sightseeing.  I was working on the Unwind Shawl at the time, which allowed for some mindless knitting time...  But then, all of a sudden, my project was finished!
I had plans for a new sweater design, but that required some planning ahead, and I didn't have time to do that... I needed a new project! (don't ask me why I didn't pick up Fedde's Vest at this point, cause I don't know).
So I took out a bag of yummy leftovers of Malabrigo Worsted, and I started a Cowl/Scarf whatever thingy.

I am not thinking this too much ahead, I didn't even plan how the colors are going to follow each other... And I might send this to my sister if I ever finish Fedde's Vest.  She really liked my knitted cowls, so I think she'll enjoy this one too.

I am making striped triangles using short rows, and I think I am going to add solid triangles in between.  I am not sure if it's going to look great with these colors, but I certainly LOVE this yarn, and this project just makes me happy, so I look forward to working on it a bit more.

And a few days ago, Nano, my eldest kid, was watching me as I was pinning down a finished pattern sample.  He knew I had been working on this sweater lately, so he was absolutely sure that my needles were not very "occupied" at that very moment...  And he kindly said: "Well, are you done with this one? Would you make me a sweater?  It's been a while since you last made me a sweater.  You've made me hats and scarves, but no sweater, Mum".
How could anyone say no to that?  

I think he had some ideas about a rainbow colored sweater, but I didn't have any rainbow colored yarn in my stash.... So I told him I could use some of the yarns in my stash that are not destined to become a pattern.
We spent some fun time together, going through my stash bins, and we found the yarn I was already planning to use.

I think I bought this yarn about 5 years ago.  At the time, I couldn't afford buying yarn abroad, so all I would knit with was acrylic, cotton or very coarse wool (and even coarse wool was very hard to find, and a expensive for us).  

But one day, touring around the "Yarn District" in Buenos Aires, I found that one of the yarn stores had this sale bin, with balls marked at a very affordable price (almost the same price as acrylic).  I came closer, and I discovered these balls were Filatura di Crosa Wave, which is a gorgeous wool/silk blend, extremely soft and yummy.  Honestly, I think this was the most beautiful yarn I had ever seen at the time, I just couldn't believe the people at the yarn store had no idea what they were selling!  They had probably bought some closeout lots of it... Who knows?  No one had ever sold balls like these in Buenos Aires.  

I was so excited, that I didn't even care that the colors were a bit dull.  Slowly, as we saved my pennies, my local knitting friends and I bought all the stock from this store, and I have knitted already several projects with it.  These are some of my last balls, so it was indeed a good purchase in the end.  All of it has been used for great projects.
It is an amazing yarn, it has a tweedy look, and wears extremely well... So I think it will be perfect for Nano's jumper.  

I don't know why, but I decided to make this one on circular needles.  I am starting from the bottom up, and I cast on 156 st, for a circumference of 78 cm.  What??? My boy is so big... His sweaters are already as big as the XS size in my patterns... where did the time go?  I remember when I used to make him sweaters in a couple of days...

I think I'll randomly add stripes to the upper half of the body and sleeves... In no particular order.  We'll see how it goes.  I am loving it so far, and I can't seem to be able to put it down to work on my YES work-related WIP...  Which is not such a good thing! 

Hope you are enjoying your WIPs too!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Bohemian Girl

Spring is in the air and it's time to get back in tune with nature and evoke your inner gypsy.  There is nothing more exhilarating than feeling feminine and free!  I've chosen to include some modern day styles with an heirloom flair giving a bohemian quality to this set.

Bohemian Girl is a collection of 4 patterns: three sweaters and a beautiful infinity cowl.

Back-buttoned cardigan worked in DK weight yarn, shown in Lioness Arts' MCN DK

 ...Are you a Freebird?
"If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me?"
Say goodbye to long nights of knitting.  The looser gauge of this top down beauty will fly free right off your needles and before you know it you will be moving on to your next adventure.
Crafted with easy lines, this sweater's magical shape will charm your artistic spirit.  Its dazzling detail of buttons down the back will allow you to be free to express yourself: whether you choose unmatched buttons or matching, you are the artist here... Feel free to stay unrestricted by reality.
The flattering neckline and dazzling detail of lace down the set in sleeves will attract attention from the masses shouting “one of a kind!”

Boho cowl, worked in DK weight yarn, shown in Malabrigo's Silky Merino

...Are you a dreamer?
Turn your dreams into a reality and take a dive into this must have accessory. Throw aside all your cares… don't worry, it won't be hard! The ethereal spark of lace may look difficult but really it's not. This one was designed to travel across your needles effortlessly like a gypsy traveling from town to town.
This sheer and fun luxe lace accessory will make you feel ultra-feminine and will look good with just about any outfit, dressing you up or down depending on how you wear it….
Dream a little dream frolicking in this fun cowl.

Circular yoke cardigan, worked in Sport weight yarn, shown in Malabrigo's Arroyo

...Are you an artist?
Reflect your inner light out onto the day and paint the world as you see it. Grab their attention and make a difference. This top down, light hearted cardigan boasts a flattering shape with a little modern flair.
The intricate lace feather pattern in its circular yoke adds femininity and suggests enlightenment. For those chilly nights the convertible collar can be worn up or down making it a versatile wear.
On your next jaunt through the park, wear your Feathers in the Wind and maybe even some feathers in your hair, make a statement and run free.
Romantic loose cardigan worked in two shades of fingering weight yarn, shown in Madelinetosh and Northbound Knitting

...Feel like expressing yourself?
Channel your inner romantic with the high-drama of this one-of-a-kind cardigan. The delicate lace inserts and creative construction of this sleeve first, top down cardigan will keep you smiling all the way as you knit the entire sweater in one piece.
The slightly boxy shape is flattering to all sizes and will keep you feeling hopelessly romantic as its drape frolics around you all day.
There is a huge opportunity for you to add your own flair by combining colors in a delicate or playful way. Choose your own path, make your own statement, live freely today.

This season, as you frolic to your next destination wearing one of these beautiful hand knit designs, consider mixing it up by wearing it along with something a little more edgy like a worn in tee, your favorite torn jeans or add some leather to juxtapose the feminine with the edgy and modern. Choose to be unafraid, go bold and mix some hard details in with these soft lines and really take the world by surprise.



Saturday, March 08, 2014

Unwind (in Brighton)

I would really like to give this a great introduction, because it is a very special project for me, but sometimes I am not the best writer...  So I will get to the point.

Dani, owner and creator of Lioness Arts Yarns, is a very creative soul.  We have shared many projects together, and I've been happily following her through her many adventures in the world of knitting.  But this time, she has started a project that requires a lot of work and strength; a dream which is finally coming true, and which will bring something awesome to her home town.

So Dani is organizing the great Unwind Brighton, an event with classes, talks and an incredible (and I mean INCREDIBLE) marketplace, where the best of the best is going to be available for all attendants.  It will take place on July 12-13 of this year.

The schedule is just awesome.  Classes by knitting stars like Veera, Ysolda, Ragga (Oh, how I wish I could take her steeking class!)... And the vendors are also amazing, I would be doomed in that marketplace.  So many people I dreamt of meeting one day... they are all going to be there...
But I won't be able to make it this time.  It's just too much travelling for one year, and I couldn't make all the numbers match ;)

But the lovely Dani found a way for me to join her in the spirit, and to join everyone who is going to be there too!  This little shawl I am designing right this moment will be featured in the Programme that all attendants will get with their tickets for classes or marketplace.  This programme will have all the info about the event (schedule, classes and maps), and my pattern along with another one (still don't know who's the designer of that one!).

So, I am not saying that this little pattern will convince you to come to Brighton, but at least go check it out!

The shawl is not "simple", but it is very easy to work, and it only takes one skein... So you can scroll the marketplace looking for the perfect skein and cast-on that very same day!  Who knows, maybe a night of chatting with friends, wine and good food will make you finish that very same weekend.

It is worked from one end to the other, in different sections.  There is some short-row shaping, some seed st... Some lace...  But there's no need to read a chart! So really, it's the perfect travelling project.

The yarn I am using is a single skein I had in my stash, so I thought it would be perfect for those singles we all have, or that we just want to buy with an impulse.
This is Cozy Merino Fingering by Walk Collection,  and the colorway is called "Blueberry Juice".  The skein is 400 yards, so that's exactly how much the design will take (as I am obsessively weighing it all the time)...

So!  If you are going to be in Brighton this July... My little pattern will be there to say hi!


Thursday, March 06, 2014

Interpretations: behind the scenes

One month has already gone by since Veera and I published our first collection (Interpretations), but I still feel it as if it was yesterday.  It could be because I took some time off from work in February, but it is most probably because it was the most meaningful project I was ever involved in, and I still enjoy reading all the comments people make about it...  Therefore, and since I haven't published any new patterns ever since, I still feel the need to write about it... 
But, since this is all related to our past, I decided to work this post with black and white pictures.  Hope you don't mind!

It was one year ago that Veera and I started dreaming of working together in a small collection of patterns.  One of the things that intrigued us the most about each other was how different the places where we live were...  She was up in the cold North, shovelling snow, as I was fighting the terrible heat of the summer in Buenos Aires.

A year went by as we slowly made this project come true.  We saw the seasons go by on both sides, welcoming warmth and cold, sun and snow.

As we shared our daily views by email, I guess we always knew this project was an excuse to finally get together and meet in person.  The question remained unspoken until we finally decided to do a photo-shoot in my hometown Buenos Aires, the place where we met for the first time.

A walk in Caminito, La Boca, Buenos Aires

So how did we plan this?
We both wanted to model our own designs.  It would have been lovely to find some models for this, but we thought that modelling ourselves was part of giving our identity to what we had made.  After all, we both design what we love to wear, and we wanted that to show through the pics.

As much as we love photography, and we love doing everything ourselves, modelling, styling and photographing twelve garments in one day was not going to happen unless we had a helping hand...  So with the help from an awesome photographer friend, we planned the photo-shoot in a magical forest, just outside the city center.

The forest was indeed magical!

Twelve designs make this collection, and they all required a different outfit.  They all had to travel with us in pristine conditions.  Just imagine us the night before, ironing and making everything look pretty.  I must admit I am not a "fashion" person, so putting all this together might have been the hardest task of all!

Soft projects: Laneway on top and So Close below.
But it worked, when we put everything together and did a try-out for the first time, it just worked perfectly.  We might have forgotten some earrings here or there...  But considering that we were travelling around that forest with all our belongings, I think we did pretty well at keeping the outfits as planned ;)

Yes, we found 12 pair of fitting shoes.
We also got to be spoiled a bit...  It felt strange to have someone do our make-up and hair, but I must say I was surprised with the results!  Hmmm, maybe I should consider learning how to do my make-up properly...

Veera and I have very different skin tone, so it was lovely to see how she used different make up techniques for both of us.

You can just imagine our anticipation and excitement while all this was being done...  All this work was just about to be photographed on us, and we were so eager to tell everyone what we had been up to!  Thanks God my Mum and my dear friend Ale were there to help too (there was just so much we needed to carry with us!

Mom, taking care of the Rhythm theme: Fine tune and Make space.
In only 3 hours, we managed to photograph all 12 garments.  I must say the credits go to the photographer, who managed to capture everything we needed in the photos extremely well.  Rafa knows nothing about knitwear, as he specializes in fashion and social photography.  So I was a bit worried (at first), that he wouldn't understand how the main object in the photos needed to be the knitted item.

Photo-shooting Fade

My concern was completely unnecessary, as he proved during the first session, that he knew exactly what he was aiming for... And we loved it!
If you want to see all of Rafa's photos, you can see our Look book (in case you haven't already done it) here:!lookbook/cson

After photo-shooting Thoughts

I know I have said this so many times... But this project was!  

I wanted to thank deeply to all the people who have sent beautiful comments of encouragement, congratulations, excitement... Those who have made a review, or shared a post... Everyone has helped to make this such a beautiful experience.  Thank you so much!!!
And if you have no idea what this is all about... Come on! Take a peek at what we made.... Here :)


Saturday, March 01, 2014

Family holidays and meeting friends

Last month, I went away on holidays with all my family (Charly and the boys).  Since my sister and her family live in The Netherlands, we prepared a small tour around a few European cities, with stops at her place at the beginning and at the end of our trip.

As you can imagine, it was a big change after all the summer days we spent by the swimming pool! And it was great to finally give some use to all the hand-knits I had been making all these years.

I am wearing my Leftover Hat and Striped Hugs cowl.  In the back, Leti (my sister) wears the Black Poncho my Mum made for her back in 2010, and Nano is also wearing his Leftovers Hat.

It was a fantastic tour!  Oh, all the places we went to... All the cities we saw...  Even the kids (who we didn't expect to have fun) had an amazing time and walked miles and miles each day.  It was absolutely refreshing and I feel renewed to start this still new year for me.

Oh man, these Leftover Hats did pay off... They wore them all the time!
*About travelling with kids:
Some people asked me what we did for the kids to have fun, and they were wondering whether it's worthy to travel with 5 and 7 year olds.  
Well, the secret is to gift them your time. My kids have 2 working parents who spend a lot of time with them (cause we work at home), but that doesn't mean we are always free to hang out with them... 
Whenever we have travelled with our boys, even if we don't go to the most interesting places for them, they really appreciate that we are more relaxed and have all the time in the world to explain them what we are visitting and why.  They do notice the big difference and enjoy every minute of our holidays.  So don't be scared!  They are like sponges and take in anything you can show and teach them.  
I believe a trip (even if it's just a few miles from home) is a wonderful experience for any family and changes the perception children have of the world...

All the family in Brugge, with no hand-knits

Besides spending time with my family, I had the opportunity to meet many Ravelry friends who I had been long wanting to meet...  Friends who I've had long conversations with for years, but whose laughter I had never heard, or whose smile I had never seen...

Sorry! This one is really out of focus, but it's the only one I have.  From left to right: Marion, Joji, Karin and Steffi.

The first of these meetings took place in Amsterdam, where I spent a whole day with 3 very dear friends: Marion (aka Mabuli), Steffi (aka Merliane) and Karin (aka Karinita0607).  They all travelled to meet up there, and we started the day having breakfast by the canal, and showing off all our handknits and yarn.  It was a feast indeed, and people approached us several times wondering what we were all excited about. 

We wandered around Amsterdam for hours, talking about life, yarn and knitting... And in the afternoon we came to Penelope Craft, a lovely yarn store in Amsterdam's heart, where I presented a little trunk show with all the garments from my collaboration with Veera Välimäki: Interpretations.

On the mannequin: At Dawn; On the table: Thoughts, Feather and Cloud, So Close and Fade.  On the hanger: Fine Tune.

At Penelope, I got to meet another special friend, who came with her family all the way from Germany.  How incredible.  I was really touched by all the people who came!
Cindy (aka Finismama) and her daughter Josi are just the most incredibly sweet pair of girls!

Josi, wearing her Lipstick, and Cindy, wearing her Thoughts.
Well, all the cool girls were wearing their Thoughts, so we even had a small parade... 

Takakoob, Marion, Cindy and Karin

There were soooo many great people to meet and talk to!...  I was even able to meet one of my favorite knitting artists: Stephen West.

Yes, I guess you could say I was a wee bit excited to meet him... :)  And he is wearing At Dawn.

After leaving Amsterdam, we drove all the way to Belgium, making a stop at Efteling to spend a day having fun as children.  These guys have the wildest roller-coasters!

And in Belgium, I got to meet Vera (aka Maanel), one of my oldest and dearest Ravelry friends, back from the old days when I couldn't design a thing, and Vera always helped me find the most beautiful and charming patterns to knit.  Our friendship dates back to the beginnings of 2008, so we've been friends for 6 years now!

Vera and I near the canal in Gent.  She's wearing The Way from Brighton, and I am wearing my Upper East Side.
Vera lives in a fairy-tale city called Gent, and together with her daughter Ellen, we spent the warmest (in spite of the weather) morning of my whole trip.  There were many hugs, many stories to tell, many places to see!...

You can see Ellen in the bottom picture, also a knitter, and the cowl I am wearing is Squeezebox, made by Vera for me. ♥
Goodbyes are always sad, and of course the visit felt too short for both of us.  So we'll keep dreaming of our next meeting.  Who knows, maybe even one day she'll come down here to Argentina...

The journey continued around Brugge, Brussels, and we finally reached London, where I was going to meet more incredible friends.  The first one was Ken, our host in the UK, who is so awesome that deserved a Leftover Hat of his own.  

And on the following Thursday, I visited Loop, in the neighborhood of Islington (seriously, what a cool neighborhood!), the cutest little yarn shop in the world, where I stayed in for one of their wonderful Knit-nights.

I met 3 great ladies there: Julie (aka Evieandlily), Ce (aka Theuncommonthread), and Dani (aka Lionessknits).  The photographs from this day were so terrible (most of them taken with my phone) that you get the old-style versions...

From left to right: Julie (wearing a preview of an upcoming design), Dani, Joji and Ce
Oh, what a great girls' night!  We told each other so many things.  I have been a fan of Dani's and Ce's yarns for ages, so it was a dream come true to hear them talk about the production process, and future plans.  Dani told us all about her new project Unwind Brighton, and they all showered me with gifts and laughter.

I must say I came home with a big haul of yarn and other goodies, but that's for another story...

There was a lot more going on in my trip...  The journey continued through Northern Scotland, Prague and other regions of The Netherlands, giving love and hugs to lots of people who live too far away... Much farther than anyone would like.
I feel blessed and lucky to live in a world where I can meet new friends through social networks and communities, and feel them close despite the distance and time.  To be able to meet them every once in a while and feel normal, as if we had been knitting together all these years!

This same world allows me not to miss so much those who moved far away...  Allows me to see my nephews grow through a tiny but meaningful screen, and tell them how much I love them, even if I can only come over a couple of times in their lives.

Noah's second Birthday

It took me all day to write this post, a very much needed one. A post that I will revisit again and again, when I miss these friends, and especially my family abroad.  Hope you all can live the distance the same way!

Leti, my sister, and inside that blankie is Fedde, my 2-month-old new nephew.

Love to all,