Wednesday 30 December 2015

:: Month of hats ::

Oh, December... You've been a long and difficult month for us, due to an overwhelming amount of sickness that you've brought. Exhausting, depressing time that, luckily, is almost gone. I did try to knit and crochet a bit to keep myself sane. This December was definitely a moth of hats, mostly Christmas gifts for my kids and their cousins and friends.

Simplest Slouchy Hat by Irina Anikeeva
Sand Bank by Justyna Lorkowska
Crochet Tiger Hat by Sarah Zimmerman

:: Herbarium ::

Back in November I had the pleasure to test knit a pattern for a talented knitwear designer, Nadia Crétin-Léchenne. I've done some test knitting for her in the past and it's always been a great knitting experience. Those of you who read my blog from time to time or follow my projects on Ravelry- you all know that I'm a big fan of Nadia's patterns. I find them very clear and easy to work on. And Herbarium is not an exception.

It was a very smooth and pleasurable knit. For this project I considered few different yarns but in the end I decided to use Holst Garn Noble. I had this yarn in my stash for a long time, saving it up for the right pattern. While I was knitting my Herbarium, I did not like this yarn at all. It splits a bit and feels like a thread. It doesn't have any springiness to it and it is not very soft. I had my doubts. But after blocking- it just won my heart. It blocks absolutely beautifully, it gains softness in the first wash and the lace pattern unfolds gorgeously. I rarely get the feeling of getting the pattern AND the yarn right but in this case I'm 100% satisfied. 

The pattern, as I said, is very straightforward; the instructions are clear and easy to follow. The lace pattern is easy to remember and there are lace charts there to help you keep track of your work. Herbarium is, of course, completely seamless.

Project notes:
Yarn: Holst Garn Noble, 95% wool, 5% cashmere, 2.7 skeins in blue stone
Needles: US2.5 / 3 mm and US3 / 3.25 mm
Modifications: none. I knit size XS while I'm size S: I wanted a more snuggly fit with little (or no) ease and I'm happy with the result I got.

More photos on my Ravelry project page, here.

Saturday 5 September 2015

FO: Cove Cardigan

I hardly knit anything this summer- the soaring temperatures made it impossible to even think of working with wool. But with the school season getting closer, I realized my daughter needed a warm cardigan, Or maybe two or three, actually. She is growing up so fast and she already outgrew her Bubbly Bunch cardigan that I knit for her last autumn. I really hoped it would last two seasons...

I decided to knit Cove Cardigan for G. the moment I found it in one of my endless searches through Ravelry pattern library (anyone else feeling like they're spending way too much time going through patterns instead of knitting..?). I really liked the leafy lace detail in the front and the whole pattern seemed like a brief thing to knit. And it was!
The pattern is well written and easy to follow and it does knit very quickly. It's one of those patterns that doesn't require too much attention but at the same time the lace motif makes it interesting enough so you don't get bored with all that stockinette to work on. It's the kind of patterns I favor because I can knit in the evening AND watch movies at the same time.
Project notes:
Yarn: Cascade Yarns 220 Heathers, 2.7 skeins
Needles: 4mm/ US6 and 4.5mm/US7
Ravelry project page with more photos: here.

  • picot edging- my favorite bind off for garments I knit for my daughter;
  • raglan increases: M1R and M1L instead of kfb; I just don't like the look of kfb increases... they never seem to be neat enough for my taste;
  • garter stitch button and neck bands;
  • sleeves knit straight (no decreases) and full length; on the last round before the cuff I did decrease row (k1, k2tog), changed to 4mm/ US6 needles and knit the cuff in garter stitch;
I love how this cardi turned out. But what's more important- G. loves it too! :-) 

Happy weekend, Everyone! 

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Hello September!

We've had a wonderful summer this year in our corner of the world. July and August brought us sunshine almost every single day, we did many trips to the sea, visited marvellous Cinqueterre, spent some quality time with family, played outside a lot and visited few new places. But as much as I love summer, I welcomed September with my arms open. This is probably my favourite time of year. The days are still reasonably long and warm but mornings and evenings are pleasurably cooler and you can feel the season is changing. The need to knit new woolen garments comes back to me and suddenly I find myself with five new projects on my needles.

On the first day of September we went to the woods to breath in fresh air, to let our hair down, to say hello to this new season. We picked up some pine cones and ate wild blackberries straight form the prickly branches. I watched my kids running and chasing each other, I watched them dancing, enveloped in siblings' love and I smiled to myself. My heart is so full.

Hello, September. 
You started well.

Sunday 2 August 2015

Summer garden.

When we decided to move from the city to the countryside, one of our dreams and resolutions was to keep a vegetable garden and grow our own produce. This year (the very first year) we tried to start and maintain a vegetable patch and so far it's been a bitter sweet experience. While we've had some success in some areas, we definitely have failed in others.

I decided to write some notes to myself, as a point of reference for the next year:

* Gardening and growing vegetables in Liguria is a lot harder than I thought. The space is very limited and the soil is rough, hard and filled with way too many rocks and pebbles. This is the reason why the carrots we planted didn't manage to grow, at all.

* The ex-owners said it was impossible to grow eggplants at this altitude. We prove them wrong. We planted only four plants and they all have resisted, giving us few lovely aubergines.

* That cherry tree in the back of the garden- it's a keeper. It was overloaded with sweet and juicy fruits. Now our pantry shelves are overloaded with jars of cherry and vanilla jam, a new family favorite.

* That plum tree in the middle of the garden- it's a keeper too. It gave sweet and healthy, worm-free fruits (most of the cherries were unfortunately infested with worms). 

* The biggest disappointment so far: zucchini. They are probably the most common vegetable in Italian veggie gardens and they are (or supposed to be) one of the easiest vegetables to grow. Well, not for us as it seems. We had many plants planted and they all had beautiful flowers but only few of them actually gave us zucchini. Just enough for one frittata...

* The biggest success so far: tomatoes. Especially cherry, plum and black tomatoes. They have been a source of real joy for a tomato addict like me. San Marziano kind should be avoided though- their fruits are rotting on the plant before even turning red. Must find out- why...?

* Runner beans have passed the exam too. Definitely to be planted next year again.

* The sour cherry tree gave some fruits; not enough for at least one batch of jam but enough to snack on while spending time in the garden.

* Cucumbers: didn't survive heat waves in July, even with regular watering :( Pity, because I was pretty excited about them.

* Raspberries: two small plants, plenty of fruits. We should get some more as they quickly became kids' favorite.

* Peppers: some are turning out nicely, some are not. We'll see when they're ready to be picked.    

The whole gardening has been enjoyable experience so far but it is hard work too. But seeing our kids' playing in the garden, running barefoot on the grass and eating raspberries or tomatoes straight from the plant makes it all worthwhile.

Thursday 23 April 2015


Oh, spring... You're finally here. Everything seems so full, so green, so awake. The fruit trees are blossoming and buzzing with bees, the tulips and daffodils are a colorful accent in our garden after all those long, bare, colorless winter months. Mornings and evenings smell of lilac blossoming just under our windows. You know, this balmy, sweet scent that brings you some memories from your childhood. My son walks barefoot on the grass, my daughter makes wishes with dandelions. My heart grows. We have started working on our modest vegetable garden and it feels good. Hoping for some courgettes, carrots, beans, tomatoes etc... 

Friday 20 February 2015

Shop announcement!

Once again.. it's been a while since I last posted anything here. Life has been very, very busy lately but I just wanted to share some exciting news. After months of preparation, I am finally ready to re-open my Etsy shop. I've been wanting to do it in such a long time and now I feel like this is the right moment. Tomorrow is C.'s birthday and re-opening my Etsy corner will be one of best gifts for him- he's always been my biggest fan, my greatest motivation and support. 

I've been working on my projects during those cold, winter evenings and the more I knit and crochet for Etsy, the more and more I want to make. My head is spinning with ideas.

At the moment I'll be offering knit and crochet garments for babies but I'm working on ladies' accessories, shawls and cowls too. I hope I will be able to update my shop on a regular basis.

I'm planning to list new garments later tonight, so please come and have a peek :-)

Wishing you a peaceful weekend!