Saturday, 26 November 2011


At the same time, I mean? I can, only I make many mistakes! :D

Ok, this was a lousy attempt to start this thread pretending that the last time I said something here was last Monday!
I 've been away for quite some time and I apologise! You do not want to hear the story, believe me- it is so very boring. The highlights- my Internet dropped dead, I sent my old Internet provider to hell, I was only able to get this new account in late December which is roughly when my USB internet adapter decided top drop dead. Now they're all good! :)
But I spent much time knitting and I do have many things to show you only I can't do it at the moment since my Photoshop is currently also dead. And so is, apparently, the installation CD (nothing can surprise me anymore!!!). And, oddly enough, an average Photoshoper who can turn a woman into an elephant or enlarge Brad Pitt's boobs and turn him into his wife in less than 15 min anytime can also spend up to an hour and a half trying to crop a stupid picture using other tolls and programs and reach the point when it is only a matter of time when he will kill his own computer. So, being one of this kind, I think that I should simply post some pictures taken by other people for now and until the situation gets better. It's safer that way! :D

So, besides knitting, I have also been reading a bit. Reading about knitting of course. And I would like to recommend some of the books that I have read recently as I'm sure that you'd like them.

The truth is- I'm not really in love with knitting books. I find the majority of very popular books to be non imaginative, overly expensive and often lacking in some basic informations. I apologise to the authors (not that anyone knows who they are!). :) But I did have a secret wish- list and this winter I was lucky enough to actually become the owner of some of these books. But it turns out that the books that I thought would be most interesting were eventually and after getting a chance to hold them in my hands erased from my wish-list whilst I fell in love with some other books I didn't even know existed. Luckily, I had a chance to "check" them first and so, no unwanted books are sitting on my shelves at the moment.

I won't mention the books that disappointed me; after all, it could be just me.

Here are some of them:

This is one great book and I'd never even heard of it before this winter. A really great book! Great for beginners, great for intermediate knitters and something every experienced knitter should have or at least read.

And you'll find all sorts of tips and useful explanations in it: cast on, cast off, increases, decreases, blocking, pockets, collars, grafting, short row method, joining yarn, striping, sewing, shaping shoulders (now, that is something that you can't find very often), buttonholes and hems ....many, many great things and yet it is a very simple book. You'll even find some basic tips and advices for shaping, taking measurements, adjusting tension etc. ('cause in order to finish something you first have to know how to make it, aye?! :) )

A real jewel, I think it would make a great present for a knitter beginner.
Now, this book I'd wanted for quite some time and it didn't disappoint me at all. First of all- it is a REAL book , with many pages and many pictures and all. :)))
Second of all- it is full of lovely patterns, inspiring pictures and lovely colours. I'm sure you'd love it.

Now, though my list of great books for lace knitters or, should I say, for the knitters of lace :) is much longer and though I'll probably post it here soon, I just had to mention these two books:
- "Gossamer webs", a booklet rather than a book is a real treasure for all those interested in mastering Russian shawls from Orenburg. It is probably a rare widely available source of all the tips, techniques and explanations necessary for making traditional Orenburg shawls and it isn't very expensive either.
- the second book is called "Haapsalu sall"and it is a "must have" for every lace knitter especially those who do not own the "original" Leili Reimann's book. In Hapsalu sall you will find what is probably the biggest collection of traditional and lace stitch patterns in general.
This book is still pretty new to me but I think that some of the patterns published in it can be very inspirational for all of us who are still thinking about knitting heavy jumpers and warm shawls and having trouble realising that warm days are just around the corner. I think you could use this book to turn your needles into the direction from which the summer is coming. Because it is on its way!

And, by all means, Jared Flood's "Made in Brooklyn" : brilliant, imaginative, full of fun knits, lovely patterns and actually wearable things. :))) I just love it! You will too- that I can guarantee!

And there's one more thing that I think you should definitely treat yourself with- it's the Interweave knits Fall 2009. issue. It is called The Natural issue and I'm not even sure what it is that makes it so special (besides beautiful patterns and amazing natural colours :D ) but it is very, very special. Bulky yarns, easy yet fascinating knits, natural colours, lovely colour-work, warm hoodies, casual purses....oh, just get this issue, it is great!!!!
Here's what you will find in it (among other just as lovely patterns)

Do I need to say more?! :)

I may have been quiet lately but that doesn't mean that I haven't been knitting! Quite the contrary! As always, my most frequently chosen projects were shawls.
Two of my favourite shawls made in the 2011. are designed by Shui Kuen Kozinski which probably doesn't come as a surprise- I've been a long time fan of her work.

And, although I could hardly pick my favourite pattern among her designs, when I made my first Flower-the-lis shawl, I instantly knew that it was a love that would last for a long, long time. And so it was! What blew me away was the simplicity of the pattern capable of resulting in such a rich and breathtakingly complex texture. Moreover, the final shape of this shawl is so long lasting that even after months of wearing it you will still have firmly shaped peaky edges and an intact texture of the lace.
In addition to all this- it is an extremely fun knit and here I might want to add that I am a very impatient knitter. But, it appears that, no matter how many repeats you decide to make or how many lace panel you decide to include in your project, your whole (knitter's ) world suddenly starts spinning around the row in which you will finally make 9 out of 3 stitches and start making a new flower. Quite amazing!

Anyway, the story has it that, once upon a time, a (young and beautiful) knitter (whos blog you are reading this very moment)  decided to made herself a lovely winter Fleur-de-lis shawl in ice gray. When the shawl was finished, she realised that it was a pure miracle- the most amazing thing she had ever see. Everyone else was blown away by its beauty as well.. People from her kingdom would instantly fall in love with it (the shawl, not the knitter!) and would ask her :"Can you make something like that for me too?" but the knitter would briefly reply: "Who am I, your grandmother? Make it yourself!" And so the beautiful young knitter continued enjoying her moment of glory the whole next winter.
One day, the knitter woke up and felt that the temperature had drastically changed overnight! It was spring! And, since the knitter lived on the Mediterranean, she knew quite well that she would soon melt like a snowman if she continued wearing her shawl. Her other option was to put her shawl into a closet along with the rest of her winter wardrobe but she knew more than well that, then, she would lose all her magical powers. So, she sat down and started thinking! And, after a few days of thinking, she came up with a solution to her problems  - she would make herself a new shawl out of a much lighter yarn that could be worn in April and May! That way she would  keep her powers forever (or at least until German tourists come to town and start making fun of the insane knitter in a bathing suit, swimming with a shawl around her neck!)  And, so, she made herself a new shawl! And she lived happily ever after!

I have to say that, unlike many other times, this time I was really lucky when it came to picking the right yarn for the project- my first choice was the best choice (and I think that the lady in the yarn shop, used to my constant replacements and "better ideas", meditated on  the idea of framing my picture and putting it on a wall for a long time after that! She must have thought it was candid camera!).

The yarn I used is a very strange tweedy cotton/cashmere/wool blend! Very hard to work with, actually, as the thread easily breaks during knitting but extremely firm when knit into fabric. It is also very blockable which is great for a shawl project! The predominant colour is natural beige (or sand, if you like) and, at first sight, it gives the impression of a hemp yarn but, in reality,  it is extremely soft to touch (cashmere can do that!).

I do have to mention that some of the pictures were taken at least 6 months after blocking and, as you can see, she shape is still perfect!

The pattern for Fleur-de-lis shawl is obtainable from Ravelry  here > Fleur-de-lis shawl pattern by Shui Kuen Kozinski .

The second Shui Kuen's design that I made this winter (don't worry, I won't be telling another story about a beautiful knitter and her magic powers!) is Leaf and Acorn Shawl, this time, in green. What a change after all the projects in earth shades!

I love it, I hearth it, I love wearing it but my dear friend is so desperately in love with it that i decided to give it to her! But she still doesn't know that so, in case you see her, don't tell her anything about this!

Here it is:

You can download Leaf and Acorn shawl pattern for free from both Ravelry ( HERE) and (HERE).

Happy knitting! I'm going to bed! It's 3 AM and I think I'm losing my magical powers as we speak!

Friday, 16 October 2009