summer’s stories…

Goodmorning everyone¬†ūüėÄ

I eventually managed to get some internet and a laptop to download some of my summer’s photos! And also write a small update.

So where to start… I left Scotland at the end of May so to spend some time with my family in Italy; it has been a lovely break for many reasons, mainly because I had some proper quality time with my mum and dad, my cousins in Tuscany and my brother and his family.

My family comes from all over Italy and, during these past few weeks I have been travelling quite a bit, not only to spend time with loved ones ,but also to enjoy exhibitions, museums, the beach, the hills .. the only regret I  have is  the lack of time to visit my beloved Dolomites!

So I got here some lovely pictures of Ferrara, on the Po Valley, where my maternal Grandmother was from,

then I went to Carrara, a small town famous for the white marble on the sea at the border between Tuscany and Liguria, Carrara is where my paternal grandmother came from and my cousins are living and where I used to spend most of my summers before I moved to Scotland 27 years ago.

Tomorrow I am off to southern Spain to catch up with my children and Michael for few days all together…

In the midst of all, I m still crocheting OBVIOUSLY!

Last year, when I came to Italy, I took a lot of acrylics and it was a major mistake because the heat was so fierce that literally melted the acrylic in my hands, this time, I took just cotton and I have been working on several WIPS at the same time.

I have a new shawl that is getting tested at the moment, I am working on a new blanket which is going to be really interesting.

It is a new concept of pattern focused on versatility.

I have taken on board all your messages and requests, I know that some of you are not so keen on acrylic yarns and prefer natural fibres, I also know that cotton is often your choice not only for an ethical reason but also for climate issues.It will be the main subject of my new classes that I got planned for July and the autumn: https://www.poppys-holmfirth.co.uk/wool-shop/knitting-and-crochet-workshops .

So, as it is already quite hot in Italy, the blanket I am making is a cotton one, but I will have an acrylic version available and by the autumn a pure wool one ( very exciting to let you know about this new collaboration I am working on) also different sizes, borders and joining methods too!

so LOADS of interesting new things.

 

As cotton has been my focus for the past few weeks, I also tested some new yarns.

Just before leaving a Bulgarian company called PERFORMANCE YARNS, https://performanceyarn.com/ contacted me and asked me if I was interested in testing some of their products,  I said that ,as long as I could give and write an honest opinion, I was delighted to try  new yarns, so just before I left I received a pack with 5 different yarns to try, so far I tried 2 of them, as I got quite a few deadlines to work on at the same time.

I tested a blend of 80% cotton and 20% linen called LINEN TOUCH https://performanceyarn.com/product/linen-touch/ and a 100% combed, gassed and mercerized cotton called  COTTON QUEEN MULTI.https://performanceyarn.com/product/cotton-queen-multi/

The linen/cotton  was lovely , it didnt split but ,as it is untreated, I felt it slowed the work quite a bit, I dont know if it is due to the heat or the fact it is an aran weight,  but I felt I was much slower that I normally am, I will try again in Scotland to see if it is a temperature issue only, on the other side the COTTON QUEEN is AMAZING!!!! it glides on the hook, it has a beautiful shine and is incredibly soft too!

Probably the best cotton I worked with so far!

I made a small project, and I used some Scheepjees Catona too to compare the two kinds of cotton, the Performance’s cotton is better, it has the same shine, it doesn’t split but it is far softer which means it will not hurt your hands even if¬† crochet long hours or you are a very fast crocheter. Such fabulous yarn.

I used mercerized cotton many times but I never heard of ‘GASSED’ cotton, so I found out that it is a different treatment that improves not only the shine but more so the softness of the fibres which makes a huge difference.

I still have three more yarns to test so I will let you know how I m getting on with them.

I never ordered from PERFORMANCE, but the yarn they sent me arrived well packed and very quickly by a carrier. They are Bulgaria’s biggest yarn manufacturer with 80 years of experience. They have an easy website and shop to navigate, their prices are competitive and they do worldwide delivery at 4 euros flat rate or free for orders over 40 euros.

I really like this COTTON QUEEN so I will find out more about the colours available etc once I am back.

As soon I got to Spain , assuming that I got proper internet, I will write some more updates, for now, I wish you all a lovely summer and thank you for reading!

love,

Lucia xx

The August blanket: when things do not go as planned….

My august blanket…you might all think what happend?

Normally I blog a few times during the month¬†and I have a ‘plan’ ¬†but blankets can have a mind of their own and this one took a different route.

This blanket was not going to be a place or a painting or a memory. This blanket was going to be about something really special that comes with blogging.

Blogging for me is about throwing ¬†all your dreams, time, passion and the odd ball of yarn… ¬†to this virtual space like paper¬†airplanes. Some are just not meant to fly and they dive down or land on a puddle. However, some take the wind and they bring back amazing things, they bring back possibilities, new ideas, even¬†more, paper in magazine articles’s form or patterns, but my favorite planes are those who bring me back friendship.

We all need that. It is as important as the air we breathe.. it keeps us healthy, focus our minds, helps us when the chips are down and also help us to celebrate good things.

I am sure there ¬†are many more ¬†reasons why people blog, people blog for support a cause or sharing information¬†that matters to them, people blog for expanding their business, or for financial gain, some blog to educate others on different topics, but a lot of people blog for fun and sharing things that they like. Regardless what your reasons¬†are¬†often the ¬†audience you attract through blogging doesn‚Äôt have to just be your ‚Äúaudience.‚ÄĚ They can become your friends

I think deep down that is one of the main reason why many bloggers spend hours upon hours writing. Of course, I am not so naive thinking that it is all pink and fluffy and some of us are out there for purely personal or financial gain but I m pretty sure that loads are there because they genuinely want to share their passion with the world

Blogging is an amazing platform to communicate and share experiences, dreams, passions and is not just a one-way route, the best part for me is all of you out of there. I love getting comments and response, I love knowing that we have something in common, we share an interest but sometimesI found that crochet opens the doors to much much more that goes beyond some lovely comments about a well-executed blanket. ¬†Crochet opens the door to friendship… such a big word!

So you might are wondering if I am diverting once again, but I am not..Ok I m maybe taking the scenic route to come to the point. The August blanket is about the online friends I made been a blogger.

I met a lot of amazing people been on social media from all corners of the world which have inspired me with their amazing creations, kindness, patience on putting up with my chaotic mind and most of all general good chat.

If you have seen this picture I posted on Facebook at the beginning of the month, you might have noticed the beautiful Durban girl square designed by Jen from Hooks and Tales. https://hooksntales.blogspot.co.uk/

in this past months I have been chatting with Jen about many things and not only crochet, she is a most extraordinary lady with a track loads of talent and a great deal of humanity too. After chatting with her I was going to make an amazing blanket using some of her beautiful patterns. So I left with a bag full of yarn ready for ACTION!!

 

 

 

Then I boarded the plane…with some planned plane-friendly yarn and small project because there is always some crochet you can do on a plane that doesn’t involve invading your fellow passenger’s space with scissors, loads of balls of yarn…

 

Then I landed in Venice…

and I got HIT BY A WALL OF HEAT! I obviously was aware that the difference between Scotland and Italy’s temperatures is huge, but I wasn’t expecting 41 celsius!

I suspect 25 years in Scotland lowered my tolerance to the season but I found the heat so fierce that it made working with acrylic an impossible task even if with air conditioning. So disappointing…

all my plans had to be revisited…

My parents live in a small village now at the foot of the Euganean Hills in a region called Veneto. My brother lives there too with his family. It is the Pianura Padana or the Po Valley and with Bologna, Florence and a handful of other urban areas probably the hottest /humid place in Italy.

So I went back rummaging in my bag…and I did bring some cotton with me too, but I am so spoiled at home with my wall of yarn and colors that I was missing some of the colors I wanted and I couldn’t come up with something to make to keep me busy for the month. So before leaving for the mountains and the sea, ¬†I went to visit the local Yarn shop in the village. It is called ‘Non solo mercerie’ ¬†which translated in ‘Not only haberdashery’ and it is run by a lovely lady called, like me, Lucia.

this is Lucia, the picture is the work of Alessio, a local talented photographer  https://www.facebook.com/Fotostudio4A/  the one I took was out of focus.

Lucia and I are friends on Facebook and we sometimes chat a bit on line, so was really nice catching up with her and Claudia in person, in their lovely shop ūüėÄ

and chatting about the inevitable heat, but more interesting about yarn, the difference in trends in Italy and the UK, the retail business, and how difficult it can be owning a brick and mortar yarn business,  new colors and blogging. I decided then to put my beloved Durban girl in her bag and find something new to do. Lucia had a box of Anchor cotton sitting in the shop,

I haven’t used Anchor cotton in years, I didn’t even realize that it came in so many different colors, so I bought a few random balls, not much of a plan and I left for the mountains to escape the heat. Look how glorious the Dolomites are!

As I had not a clue what I was going to make, and I also had some poor internet connection with the phone, I opted for something very simple also because these three weeks have been really busy. in an ideal world I would have sat  high in  the Dolomites trekking and looking at the amazing scenery, but I also wanted to catch up with my family cousins and Olympia, my youngest daughter,

and travel companion wanted to go to the beach…so ¬†I traveled 2500 kilometers up and down the country catching up with people and places.

here some pictures… mountains and sea…:D

 

I am going to write another entry with the details..sorry is a bit late but please stay with me I am trying to catch up…:D

oh…here is the ¬†August blanket made photographed on the beach ūüėÄ

love to you all,

Lucia x

 

 

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