Sunday, January 31, 2016

All You Knit is Love

Isn't that a true and lovely sentiment since our hand crafted goods are ultimately works of love.

All You Knit is Love is also the name of a yarn store in the Barri Gotic area of Barcelona, Spain. I had the good fortune to visit this shop last week while travelling for work. It is nestled in a labyrinth of old cobbled streets, interesting buildings, unique shops and is a stone's throw from the Picasso Museum.  Knowing my free time would be limited I had done my research ahead of time and was able to spend my last evening on this trip hunting out gifts for my family and seeking out this store. I was not disappointed.

The first thing that captured my attention is the creative window display of a snowman made from skeins of yarn. Looking up you notice that the signage for the store is a play on the mosaics for which Gaudi, and Barcelona, is known. Inside is a rustic charm with a wide variety of yarns and notions, some of the brands I recognized - Koigu, Malabrigo etc - and there were others which were new to me (and naturally needed to come home with a small sampling). The gentleman in the store was very happy to let me snap pictures, browse, ooh and aah to my heart's content, while my gracious non-knitter work colleague sat cozily in one of their arm chairs and relaxed. At checkout there were additional details that made this such a gem -- the business card for the store doubles as a needle gauge, and the fabric labels that were added to my linen yarn included a handy tape measure print.
Tote and yarn
Business card
Purlwise linen

The trip included a couple of other highlights: Upon arriving in Barcelona and settling into the hotel, I wanted to check out my surroundings and stretch my legs. I headed towards Las Ramblas and wandered to a fabulous market with its colorful displays of fresh fruits and vegetables, dried fruits and nuts, chillis, seafood... A true delight for the senses with the bright colours, the smells of fresh fruits, and the bustle of people happily picking up their groceries.

The other highlight was a team building event hosted by BCNKitchen where we enjoyed spending time with our colleagues from around the globe while we were instructed, prepped and then ate this incredibly delicious dinner of a variety of tapas.  I've seen a place locally that hosts similar listen-learn-prep-eat activities and will be checking this out for sure - it was enormously enjoyable.

It was a great trip, but its also good to be back home with my lovely family.

Hoping you've had a wonderful weekend,
Sam xxx

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Clementine Cowl

I hope you have had a good week? I was in Santa Clara for work and the weather there was beautiful. It made me forget that it is still winter. Reality soon kicked back in as I arrived back home to snow flurries in Denver, late on Friday night.

Before I left I was able to complete the Clementine Cowl. I think I mention in my previous post that this is a great pattern. It works up quickly and it is enjoyable to see the colours and design form as you work along. These colours are a departure from what I would normally select for myself. I'm still undecided, although they have a nice earthy feel to them. And speaking of the feel, the yarns I selected are delightfully soft. There's the 'dyed in the wool' yarn that the pattern calls for, paired with a pagewood farms yarn from my stash.

Here's my little ham modeling the final product (donning her best model serious face in the 2nd pic :))):

Clementine cowl

Clementine cowl

Wishing you a great week ahead, and a lovely long weekend for the folks in the US.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

Hard to believe that it has been approx 6 months since I blogged. It has been very busy in my work life this past year, and although that doesn't look set to change anytime soon, it is important that I carve out time for those things that I enjoy. That of course includes crafting and blogging.

Over the holidays I was able to finish a couple of Christmas stockings for Naomi and I.
Stockings hung by the tree

Naomi helped stitch these which means there are extra special memories built in. There was also the usual requests for felted slippers, and I was able to churn out 8 pairs of those over my Christmas break. Naomi also tried her hand at knitting by assisting me with these - a few knit stitches here and there. A great start! I'm not convinced that I have a crafter on my hands, but I do enjoy her natural curiosity and desire to have a go.
Little one learning
My new year project is a clementine cowl. A couple of friends have been making these, and they were turning out so beautifully that I wanted to join in the fun. The pattern calls for 2 skeins of dyed in the wool, which is an interesting fingering weight yarn that looks like a handspun.
Dyed in the Wool
I selected one colorway I liked and then partnered it with yarn from my stash that is deliciously soft.
Clementine Cowl
This project is close to completion, so I'll have to pick a new project for my work travels this week. Probably a bertie's blanket square. Before the holidays I had received squares from Andi and Sarina... aren't they gorgeous!
Bertie's Blankets - Andi Bertie's Blankets - Sarina
As a result we are now only 4 squares from finishing this blanket... yup good plane knitting right there.
Bertie's Blankets
Wishing you a great week ahead, and a wonderful 2016.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Gnome project pouch

It has been a good week for crafting and I've really enjoyed the project that I've been working on.  Step one was making the cross stitch gnome.  This little guy is part of a pattern that comes from a Frosted Pumpkin sampler.   The recipient loves gnomes, and I knew she was going to adore this!

Sweet little gnome

But that was just the start of my gifty plan - I wanted to turn this into something that would be useful for a craft project.  So, after looking through Pinterest, and my fabric stash, I decided on a flat-bottomed, lined, zipper pouch.  The red polka dot fabric is Kaffe Fasset and the Green is a heavier weight linen mochi mochi dot.  The pouch measures approx 10in wide x 7in high. with a 3 inch deep bottom - a great size for a sock knitting project.

Sneaking in some early morning craft time

I am super happy with the end result on this one.  I can see more of these zipper pouches in my future - teacher gifts, travel accessories, storage for crayons, pencils, legos...

Gnome zipper pouch

Zipper pouch

What have you worked on recently that has filled you with delight?

Hope you are having a fun weekend.
Sam x

Sunday, June 21, 2015

See-me-coming Socks

I have been travelling a bit with work again, this time to the east coast.  That's a good 4 hours of knitting time right there! (Well knitting, napping and trying to catch up with emails :))

I do attribute some of that flight time to being able to finish a pair of socks in a couple of weeks (it has to be a record for me!):

See me coming socks

The yarn is a handspun and hand dyed fiber from Sereknitty, in colourway 'Wild Side'. These bright colours make me happy. As does handspun in general. There's something very special about a handspun yarn, and the fabric it creates.  It has such an allure that there have been a number of times I have considered taking a class in spinning to see if it is something that I'd enjoy. Truly though, I really don't need another crafty hobby, or to build up more stash and tools to support another crafty hobby. Still there's that allure... ;o)
I digress.

See me coming socks

The pattern is a basic vanilla sock, on my new size 2s. I really enjoyed working with my new signature needles - gotta be careful with those points though (super sharp). So onto the next pair of socks. This time some man socks for Joe:

Man socks

Hope you are enjoying a lovely father's day with loved ones.
Sam xxx

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Pink Pop Socks

The weather in Colorado has finally turned from a rather unusual gloomy and wet few weeks, to summer! (Well summer interspersed with hail storms, tornado warnings and some crazy rain!). On the sunny weekend days I've been enjoying some R&R in our back garden, which has included knitting on these 'pink pop socks' while our little water baby runs through the garden sprinklers, or wallows in the inflatable pool.


The socks started out with a really fun pattern, but I was simply too frazzled from work to do anything but a plain vanilla sock. So I ripped them back and reverted to my old faithful pattern. The yarn is from Creatively Dyed and is a lovely mix of cream, brown, burnt orange, hot pink and navy. 

Second sock

Purple toe for my sock

As I was knitting, the dominant colors appeared to be the burnt orange and brown. Which is nice, except I was really hoping the hot pink would pop out. It was at that point I decided to add a heel and toe in a similar hot pink handspun yarn to really make that pink pop... it did the trick! Love how this turned out.

In other yarny news, I've been shopping! I should know to avoid my local yarn store because there is always something to tempt me. And sure enough there was this lovely Anzula Nebula yarn in shades of olive, some fun hot pink Madeleine Tosh, and this gorgeous gradient yarn from the Neighbourhood Fiber Co.

Anzula Nebula


Neighborhood Fiber Co

Lastly, I've picked up knitting squares for the Bertie's Blankets - the hospice blankets. These are a really simple square to knit from the Kraft Tanken Patches pattern - free Ravelry download. A couple of you had asked if I was still collecting squares... I'd really love it if you could donate one of these sock yarns squares for the next Bertie's Blanket. Thank you.

BB squares

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead and fun summer plans.
Love, Sam xxx

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A little of this and that

Sheepy yarn bowl

Chunky Hexagon Blanket

Second sock

Liberty squares

Card from hospice for the blankets

The crafty gifts continued to come in last weekend - check out this adorable sheepy yarn bowl that my step kids gave me for my birthday. It is adorable, and so are they :) We'd spent last weekend together in San Antonio, Texas, at a family wedding. It was a really fun weekend and good to have that time together.

With some of my big work projects going live this last week I've been able to pick up the knitting needles again. First I pulled this hexagon blanket out of the WIP pile. According to my ravelry notes, I started this one back in 2009. Yikes! Its amazing to me that it has been 'in progress' for that amount of time (where 'in progress' primarily means sat on a shelf and awaiting some attention!) I'd also finished the first pink pop sock, and now onto the next... about to turn the heel and then on the home stretch. Really pleased with these. Look how lusciously soft this yarn looks all knit up. Yesterday I was also playing around with some liberty fabric squares. I am thinking of making these into a cushion cover. Loving the pinks and purples. And last but not least, I received this thank you card in the mail for the Bertie's Blanket sock yarn blanket. Thank you again for all your help with these hospice blankets. The recipient was Porter Hospice in Littleton, Colorado.

Hope you are enjoying a lovely long weekend. Mine started with a day trip down to Colorado Springs, visiting Garden of the Gods and taking a ride up Pike's Peak on the Cog Railroad. For the rest of the weekend I am taking it easy and I'm thinking that also means craft time :)

Wishing you a great weekend,
Sam xxx