Cosmic, amigurumi and other stories…

Hello everyone,

Here I am with a new blog entry to keep you all updated on my …never-end stack of Works in progress!!..

So where to start…my obsession with amigurumi is still in full swing…

I got a couple of new books one of which is SUPER CUTE! it is all about bugs and butterflies.What fascinated me is that  Lydia Tresselt, the designer behind LalyLala, is so skilled that made even a fly looking cute!

I attempted a butterfly, is not finished yet, the pattern is beautifully written as  Lydia has been writing amigurumi patterns for a long time.I am sure many of you are well acquainted with her kangaroos and other super cute animals, if not please have a look at her work, it is well worth it a visit.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/lalylala

” Lalylala’s Beetles, Bugs and Butterflies” is her last book, I got it from Amazon a few days ago. It is lovely and a  bit different from the average crochet book, the first part tells a story about the life cycle of the insects and the second part is all about patterns for the different stages of the bugs lives. from caterpillar to adult insect, they look very cute and easy to make.   I think they would be perfect for a child because they are not only lovely to play with but, to a degree, they could be quite educational, as they are not too “human-like “as often happens to amigurumis. on that subject, I have discovered another amazing designer, Sonja van der Wijk , her website is called Son’s popkes  https://sonspopkes.com/

I bought 3 of her patterns on Ravelry, and I got one free I thought to would be a good idea to use some of the Lett-lopi yarn I got in my stash…

if you follow me you might remember the Odinella blanket I made last year using   Lett-lopi.

https://luciasfigtree.com/patterns/odinella-icelandic-blanket/

 

a fabulous yarn especially for knitting and if you are interested in making outdoors garments or beautiful Lopapeysa ,with their recognizable design that has since become a national icon for Icelandic cultural identity ( I love Iceland!)

I made so many  Lopapeysa over the years, they have been my favourite knitting project. So if you love knitting and you also love the outdoors I would definitely recommend knitting one. They can be a bit scratchy at the beginning but they become amazingly soft with age and also they last a long time!

Francesca, my daughter, has a favourite one  I made for her when she was 16 and she wear it all the time..it has a couple of holes on the sleeves but I think it adds to the charm!

you can see it here.

I also have to finish my last bear and i have to  make a  “VERY PINK” ‘s one for my niece, Aurora, she is going to be 7 at the end of May and she loves pink…

This week I also finished joining together the Camo-blanket for Francesca.. I loved joining together the squares she made ,and adding a border.

More WIP’s…the COSMIC CAL!!  how exciting!!!

I normally don’t do Cals because I am really impatient and I  haven’t done a Cal since the Sophie’s Universe, but I think the Cosmic is a lovely one so I decided to give it a go.https://www.crystalsandcrochet.com/

I have been an admirer of Helen’s work since she started designing, she has recently joined the Stylecraft’s blogstars group and has been a real privilege chatting to her, she is not only a great designer but also a lovely all around person!.  the Cosmic is going to be my first blanket using Helen’s patterns.

 

Part one went live this week on the Stylecraft’s web site, it is available in English, American and Dutch, but on Helen’s page is translated in many other languages so have a look at Helen’s page! there is also a video tutorial too on youtube which I found very helpful.

I enjoyed the pattern so much that I made 2 versions as I couldn’t make up my mind about the yarn!! I made a Stylecraft SPECIAL DK ‘s one and an Aran weight one with some Drop’s NEPAL that I had at home.

 

Some of you ladies as asked me about the colours I used on the Stylecraft’s version so here they are: plum/matador/mustard/petrol/empire/gold/bright pink/aspen/magenta/spice/storm blue/fuchsia purple/lipstick/fondant /tomato.

I am not sure yet how I am going to use them and if I will drop a colour or two…as all of you I am following the CAL so is a bit if an adventure!

I also decided to make my life more complicated and in certain rounds, I used 2 colours instead then 1 so again I don’t know if that will work for all the different parts..I will keep you posted, and here is part one of the Stylecraft’s version finished and I am nearly there with the Aran too.

that is all for today, wishing you all a lovely weekend,

the sun shined in Scotland for a couple of hours!…it is back cloudy now..lol

see you next time! thank you for reading

Lucia xx

 

June’s blanket, bucket-list and Iceland…

Hi Everyone… it is June and time for another blanket….

this one is about my bucket-list.

I have a few thing on that list, one of them is traveling and visiting/living in new places. the top of the list for the places is ICELAND, and that is what this blanket is dedicated to Iceland.

I always knew since I was a small girl that I wanted to live ‘up North’ well before  Hygge or  “Scandi style”  became so popular.

I made it just 2000 miles up north!  from Italy to Scotland… but I always wanted to hop another little bit..Shetland, Faroe Islands, and then Iceland!

If I wasn’t 53 and had a family, I probably would pack my bags and head for Iceland. In the back of my mind there is still a small flicker  of light which says I could  still do it …my kids are starting flying the nest; Francesca my oldest, she got her master in fine art, Valentina has just graduated this May in Law, Giuseppe is off to Edinburgh University next September, and I just got left Olympia that has still 4/5 years of High school…mmm never say never! ( mind you does Iceland needs a middle age woman that is obsessed with  wool/yarn /colours and books??? )

I could start with visiting Iceland first! I have never been… BUT it is on the top of my list hopefully in the next few months.

So why do I love Iceland?

the most obvious reason is that Iceland is beautiful, There are breathtaking mountains, volcanoes, highlands, glaciers, waterfalls, fjords, geysers, lava fields, and a variety of coastlines.

but what attracts me most  are the Icelanders and their way of life and their values.

Icelanders are highly educated and the society is progressive.They have a literacy rate of 99% and most of the population has experienced higher education, they publish more books per capita than any other country. The have topped up the gender gap index Economist recently named Iceland the world’s best place for working women – in comparison, the UK came in at No. 24.Iceland was the first nation to elect a female president; Vigdís Finnbogadóttir was elected in 1980 and stayed in office for 16 years. Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir was Iceland’s first female prime minister and the world’s first openly gay female head of state.

Climate change is on the news every day and I believe it is a real issue for our planet. Fossil fuels are NOT the way forward. Iceland is the only country in the world which obtains 100% of its electricity and heat from renewable sources. 87% of its electricity comes from hydropower, and the remaining 13% from geothermal power. Oil-powered fossil fuel power stations are only used as backups to the renewable sources.

I could go on and add 20 pages of facts. and you are wondering if  I am a serious case of “The grass is always greener…. …..in your neighbor’s field” !!!

So what is really my tangible experience about Iceland and why I like it so much?? and here is where the creative side kicks in and the relevance to the blog…

LOPI YARN!!!!!

and in particular.

Icelandic Lopapeysa!

I made LOADS of them over the years…lopi yarn  is made from the wool of the Icelandic sheep.

 

It is unique in its composition and together, the distinctive fibers create wool that is warm, lightweight, water-repellent and breathable.

 

OK, it is  a little itchy ,but once you have worn a few times and washed too, it becomes really lovely. I can tell you this from experience as some of the jumpers  I knitted are 10 years old, they have a few holes but they are as much loved as they were once new!! those are few of them I have here at home…

also some of the books ( that is my other vice…books) I love about Iceland:

 

So I never attempted using Lopi Yarn for crochet but I m going to give it a go and the next blanket is going to be made entirely with Lopi . another experiment then…

Next time I will  tell you all about how I have chosen the colors and about Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda. I read a simplified version of it when I was 12 . and it is still now my favorite book.

I am also going to tell you about Hávamál, probably one of the most important poem in the book , which tells the story of Odin and the tree Yggdrasil.

and  Bivröst (“Moving Way” in Old Norse),The Bridge of the Gods:

Gvðín gerþu bru af iorþu til himins, er heitir Bifravst: “The gods made a bridge from earth to the heavens which is called Bifravst”

and about some amazing music I  I was so lucky to see live last night: Eivør Pálsdóttir.

Eivor is not an Icelander, she is a Faroese singer-songwriter with the most amazing voice ever! totally mesmerizing here is a link to youtube.

 

Thorin, our cat, loves Iceland too….

To the next time, Happy crochet,

Lucia x

 

 

 

Yarn,friends,more yarn,macaroons and a family’s ceilidh…part one

Let’s start with a question:

Do I need more yarn? ABSOLUTELY NOT !!!

Do I WANT  more yarn? ALWAYS!!!

Saying that let me start telling you about my weekend.

Every year I go to two yarn exhibitions: Yarndale and the Edinburgh Yarn Festival.

The reason why is because I like the spirit behind them. They both are a gathering of mainly independent producers, dyers and designers. And they are so worth going to because of the amazing talent and creativity behind those stalls.

On Friday morning my daughter Valentina and I took an early train from Glasgow to Edinburgh, Valentina had a dissertation meeting at University, and I went  to the Corn Exchange where EYF is held.

I met my friend Julia from http://handknittedthings.blogspot.co.uk/  in the queue outside the building amongst many very enthusiastic and chatting ladies! It didn’t rain which was a major plus, and it wasn’t too cold either so the hour and a bit waiting outside flew by in a flurry of yarn chats!

Julia and I  we went inside and we met Janehttp://janiecrow.co.uk/presta/ who was one of the exhibitors. and Sandra http://sandra-cherryheart.blogspot.co.uk/   then I just I wondered off admiring all the goodness in the show. Highlights? Far too many to mention but I especially loved Marie Wallin’s   tiny stand with her jumpers with the most exquisite colour combinations,

 

 

Amanda Perkins crochet blankets  http://www.amandascrochetblankets.com/home-page

The knitting Goddess http://www.theknittinggoddess.co.uk/,  Eden Cottage Yarns and my friend Zoe, which was exhibiting too and  has a lovely shop in Glasgow where I buy all my natural yarns. Zoe has a great selection of small independent producers, plus she dyes her on yarn also.  http://www.thequeenofpurls.com/

But let me tell u what made my day…

It wasn’t the yarn; it was those ladies that somehow recognised me and stopped to say hi and to tell me that they read and love my blog, my stories and my 12 blankets in 12-months challenge.

It was so overwhelming and humbling to get tangible recognition that my rumblings online are enjoyed by you out there .!

So a MASSIVE THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!!

I am not taking the time you are spending reading my blog for granted it is totally appreciated.

So what did I brought back with me? I already posted a couple of photos on Instagram; I bought some lovely hand dyed yarn from the Knitting Goddess, three skeins from Eden Cottage and a VERY expensive cake from this new Hungarian supplier of gradients yarn called Bilum

B .

 

Amanda’s new blankets book, small pamphlets on crochet shawls that look very promising and a book on knitted toys because I couldn’t resist all those mini dresses and cute animals!

Out of the show, I shared a taxi with a lovely lady from Hampshire which very kindly gave me a lift to Edinburgh centre. I went to Mademoiselle Macaroon! https://mademoisellemacaron.co.uk/

Because I haven’t forgotten about my blanket and because they have THE BEST MACAROONS IN SCOTLAND!!!!  Gosh, I wish you could try them! They are delicious, and the small bakery/cafe is so quaint, you can see Edinburgh castle while sitting sipping your coffee and ejoying your macaroons and the staff couldn’t be more helpful.

yeah, as we say in Scotland: ‘PURE MAGIC!!’

and look what we got here…..can you spot the macaroon and the new squares??

 

More Edinburgh news tomorrow as my weekend is not over yet and I have a family Ceilidh tonight.

love to you all,

Luciaxx

The blogstars weekend…

Overdue post…

As usual, I am always the last one writing, all the other bloggers have uploaded their take on the weekend, and Kathryn  (http://www.crafternoontreats.com)  has also uploaded a podcast which is very good and informative and I would highly recommend it.

http://www.youtube.com/crafternoontreatscrochet

Here are the links to the other Blogstars if you want to listen or read more:

 

http://emmavarnam.co.uk/stylecraft-blogstars-a-little-bit-star-struck/

http://sandra-cherryheart.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/stylecraft-blogstars-meet-again.html

http://zootyowlcards.blogspot.co.za/2017/02/yarn-yarn-and-more-yarn.html

http://getknottedyarncraft.blogspot.com.au/2017/02/blogstars-meet-up-february-2017.html

http://handknittedthings.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/stylecraft-blogstars-meet-up.html

http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/2017/02/yarny-happenings.html

http://thetwistedyarn.com/2017/02/05/stylecraft-blogstars-meetup-aka-not-too-shabby-a-weekend/

http://theknittingexploitsofjosiekitten.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/stylecraft-blogstars-blogging-all-over.html

 

What did I bring back home from the weekend? (besides a big bag full of new yarns and colors to try of course!)

I think I brought back quite a few things that slowly have decanted down after the excitement of the weekend.

Below are some pictures I shall start with some pictures because to me images speak 1000 words and also do not make spelling mistakes!

The pictures are not mine they are a few of Helens http://www.theknittingexploitsofjosiekitten.blogspot.co.uk  and Sofie http://www.Stylecraft-yarns.co.uk) uploaded on our chatroom and I’m so glad they were taken because I was far too busy chatting and doing things! Helen and Sophie did capture beautifully what for me was the spirit of the weekend.

 

So what do you see?

You see colors, a table full of yarn, lots of sample garments, coffee, a beautiful sunny room with brick walls and a high ceiling and some very happy, busy, crafty ladies!

If you can get a feeling for this atmosphere, it is because that is what we all got in common not only us at the weekend but all of you out there that read our blogs and follow our yarn and other stories online. We all love making things.

I didn’t know what to expect for my first meeting, I knew the bloggers, as you do, by reading their stories online, or having briefly met them at shows like Yarndale or the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. I was really looking forward to the weekend, but I also had a certain degree of apprehension being the last to have joined the group.  The apprehension went out of the window in 2 seconds!  As they couldn’t have made me more welcome, it felt like catching up with some old friends.

So if I could summarize what I liked most of the weekend I would say sitting together chatting about not only crochet related issues, but also the quotidian,  lots of little windows opened on ordinary lives, with family, work, pets, hobbies, travel, food, likes and dislikes. You name it.

Then I  had a Eureka moment as I  found out that the main reason why I like making things, and talking about it, it is because I love the social side of it.

A sort of déjà vu moment where I  remembered when I was a little girl under the fig tree with my grandmothers and their friends. It is hard not to see a common theme: friendship. That doesn’t matter where you are, or what language you speak; all that matter is that you take TIME  to make something and been creative. It is a bit like being an artist or a poet or a musician, you make things that make you happy and also creating things that make others happy because they understand what you are doing and why you are doing it.

That applies to many of the bloggers and also to the ladies that look after the archive of the knitting and crochet guild which, some of us visited on Friday afternoon. It was a warehouse-like building which sat unassumingly in a back street in  Scholes, near Huddersfield, in Yorkshire.  I wish I had taken a picture of the door because I had to bend down ( and I m not a giant ..) to get in and there I was in Aladdin’s cave!!!

There I was, amidst rows upon rows of shelves with boxes. Each box with details of the contents. The most amazing collection of EVERY single pattern ever published for both knitting and crochet, and also yarn samples and lots of crochet and knitted items. All of which I wish I could’ve examined and enjoyed for hours and hours.

I have been a member of the knitting and crochet guild for few months, but I had no concept of the amazing work that these ladies, which are all volunteers,  do to preserve this extraordinary archive of creativity and also to promote the craft!

For a very small fee you can support them and become a member it makes a huge difference to their work, so  please have a look at their page:

http://kcguild.org.uk/

 

One of the things I liked most is that the work of cataloging the items and the patterns it is also a research of the origin of the items and the story behind them. Who made it, when, where and why.  How amazing is that?

This is one of the lovely items we saw a bed cover donated to the Guild and the original pattern that had been used.

 

 

Well, that is a snippet of my visit, I m sure I will think of something I forgot and write some more as it comes back to me. Hope you are all having a lovely week,

many thanks,

Lucia xx

 

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