Thursday, November 15, 2007

Calendars and big decisions

I think I have already mentioned that the patterns I submitted to the contest for the 2007 calendar (knit and crochet) were both published. I'm just wondering, has anyone recieved the calendars yet? Well, the end of the year is getting closer. Could they have lost my address??
The knitting pattern I submitted is a little girl's summer top:

and the crochet one is a sewing caddy:

it's perfect for using scraps and leftovers.

Last week while I was going through my usual old magazines I suddenly got the urge to make a couple of crochet squares

I like them both so much that I wouldn't know which one to choose if I decided to make something. Not that I plan to, but it's a possibility.
At the moment I'd be more inclined to making a sweater for myself. Haven't made one in years and I have a delicious alpaca blend I want to use asap. Problem: I only have 200gr white, and 150gr beige so it's going to be a 3 colour sweater. I don't mind, but can't make up my mind...

or white-beige-brown?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Goodies from downunder!

Yes all the way from Perth W.A., bringing a ray of sunshine on a gloomy rainy and very cold day. So what do we have here?
Arisaig for me!!

It's gorgeous. assortment of needles. How I needed those. Dpns, circulars, they are not easy to find here. Can you believe it?


It's Patons alpaca blend in white and light coffee. I already have a few ideas for putting these to good use. The possibilities are endless!


The blue is Cashmilon....could it be a Cashmere/nylon blend? The four red balls are aussie Clackheaton 5 ply pure wool, and finally this lonely ball of Carnival 8 ply 100% wool.

A little sweetness is always welcome..

Last but not least craft magazines and an enchanting little book about roses. A guide to growing and using roses including recipes, paintings and poems. I will post a few of them soon.

Thanks little sis! ;)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I'm a Raveler.

Yes I finally got invited. And what a better moment than this since I have been lacking motivation and I'm in great need of anything that will make me pick up a hook or a pair of needles. I usually associate the way I feel to the change of season. Well it's true, and considering I haven't been feeling could say that I have a good excuse for not doing anything creative in the past couple of months. Not that I lack ideas, that's not the problem.
Going through some magazines from the 80/90's reminded me of a rather productive season that included knitting, crocheting, as well as some other crafts.
Obviously I wouldn't be caught dead wearing some of these things today, but you know what fashion is like...they were trendy and cool at the time.

The original ...

...and the one I made. It's exactly the same. Here I'm showing a close up of the embroidered part.

I used recycled yarn for this vest. The pattern looks like intarsia, but it's actually embroidered. I find it very pretty.
Next, this gorgeous cardi.

The one in the magazine has flowers on the sleeves and on the back as well as the front. A bit too "busy" for my taste so I "decorated" only the front of the cardi . Overall it's a faithful reproduction of the pattern, including the colour of the wool which is a lovely cream 100% wool from Lana Gatto.

This one I find rather unusual.

Here I didn't make the sweater, I used an Angora-Mohair I had sitting in my wardrobe.
The embroidery technique is quite unusual. It's worked by wrapping the yarn around a pencil and then stitched on the sweater to form a flower pattern. Has anyone come across this technique?
Again here I preferred a partial reproduction of the flower motif which starts on the shoulders and runs along the sleeves.

Wouldn't it be great if these things became trendy again?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Now I know.

I'm feeling better. Being hyperactive most of the time I don't feel comfortable having to just sit and rest when there's so much work to be done around and outside the house. Now in particular, since the long dry and extremely hot weather seems to be finally over.
Suddenly I feel the urge to go out and walk around our property attracted by the the colours of a summer that refuses to give space to any other season.

Watch the autumn and winter fruits change their colour as they ripen.
Pears and persimmons,


the last prickly pears,

and the last tomatoes.

The conclusion of a vital cycle and the beginning of a new one.
And finally today the long desired rain.

My appointment with dermatologist went well. I'm still on antivirals and injections ( so painful!) and the convalescence will be long but I'll survive. ;)

Onto yarn related subjects.
Why do I find it so hard to throw away scraps? Is there a name for this syndrome?

I realize the possibilities are endless, I could make a big "magic ball", or maybe some domino squares, or some colourful granny squares. Or , better still, some cute little knitted or crocheted animals....any suggestions?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

If only I had known.

Here I was, finally out of my summer apathy and ready to make the most of my renewed creativeness. First of all I planned to reorganize the house for the cold season which means mostly tidying up the wardrobes and the WIR in the main bedroom. Then I planned to make a tidy and comprehensive annotation of stash yarn and possible projects for each and every different type of wool, especially since I got this lovely lace weight just a few weeks ago on clearance: 50% of normal price: ( how could I resist?)

It seems that my plans will have to be postponed for the time being, but for as little as possible, because of a small inconvenience that suddenly appeared without warning:

I know what you must be thinking....YUK! That's exactly how I feel too. It's Herpes Zoster (shingles) on one of my legs. It's itchy, painful and uncomfortable. And I didn't even know such a thing existed until I decided to see a dermatologist for what I though were.....hear this.....mosquito bites!!
The man took but a glance at the red patch and started writing on his prescription pad with a concerned look on his face.
"You should have come here sooner.",he stated.
Sooner??, I thought.
" I assumed it was some kind of insect bite.", I answered.
" It's Herpes Zoster." he replied with a severe look.
"Oh, I had no idea!", I said, feeling like a real idiot.
".....mmmmm....", was his comment, and then went on for about twenty minutes explaining how the virus is the same that causes chicken-pox, that the rash will probably extend to a large part of my thigh and that the pain I was feeling was nothing compared to the Postherpetic Neuralgia that can last for many months, as the virus attacs the nerves.
".....mmmmmm.....", was MY comment!
Well, I walked out with a tablets-injections-ointment prescription, an appointment for next week, and a big headache.
So here I am now, paifully limping around the house feeling miserable and frustrated.
C'est la vie.....!

-to be continued..-

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

About Ravelry...

Is there anyone out there who is not waiting impatiently for the Ravelry invite?
I have just checked out my position on the long long list. I am n. 12865 (but....who's counting?!?). My little sister got her invite days ago and this has given me the opportunity to lurk around the Ravelry community. What a great place! In the meantime I've decided to concentrate on my WIPs as well as on my long neglected UFOs, giving priority to the former.

On the hook:

this is going to make all the ladies who like my "Pink and lacy summer shawl" happy. I have decided to write a pattern for it and the easiest way for me to do it without risks of silly errors is to crochet another one. I normally wouldn't make more than one shawl per pattern unless I wanted to give it away as a gift but in this case I have to make an exception. Wish me luck!

On the needles:

ahh....this is my secret project for this month (or next....who knows...) and I will not talk about it until I have decided what to do with it. My hope is to submit it somewhere and as you can see I have taken out paper and pencil. This is all I can tell you about it at this stage.
This is it for today. I don't want to be caught unprepared in case my Ravelry invite arrives so..
back to work!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

This or that?

I'm in the middle of a dilemma. This is how it all started. Several weeks ago I was unpleasantly surprised discovering that I could not connect to my blog anymore. I tried and tried for days without any luck. Needless to say I was puzzled at first, then annoyed, finally I was plain angry. I'm talking about N&B, my first blog.The solution seemed inevitable: start a new blog somewhere else ,and I decided to sign up on Blogger. Since then I have been slowly transferring my old posts, including the photos (but not the comments because I'm not sure if that can be done), and I have copied and pasted almost 50% of all the posts....hard work!! Well, a few days ago my son talked me into changing provider for a more convenient and reliable one. I did, and guess what happened? I now can connect to my old blog without any problems whatsoever. Amazing. Now this is my dilemma: what do I do with two blogs ? I have this idea....keep them both. Yes, one for the "Needles", in other words knit, crochet, embroidery and anything related to those, and the other for the "Brushes" ( painting, glass decorating, etc...). This obviously means reorganizing archieves, links, and so on, but I believe it will be worth the trouble in the end. Oh well, life is never easy , right?

Monday, September 3, 2007

Errata on pattern.

Well , I knew it would happen.
My very first free crochet pattern had an error on the first row.
I have corrected it already. If you have printed the pattern this is how Row1 should read:

ROW 1:
dc in the fifth ch from hook, dc in the next ch, (=3dc)
ch 3, skp 3 ch, dc in the next 3 ch of f.c., ( 3 times),
* ch 7, skp 7 ch of f.c., dc in the next 3 ch, ch 7,
skp 7 ch of f.c.,dc in the next 3 ch of f.c.,
ch 3, skp 3 ch of f.c.,dc in the nxt 3 ch of f.c., ( 3 times)*
Repeat from * to * 4 more times.
Turn work.

A friend from Crochetville was nice enough to let me know. Thank you Sofia!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Here's the recipe I promised!

Zucchini quiche.


zucchini 600 gr.
emmenthal cheese (or your favourite semi-mature cheese) 180 gr.
s.r. flour 100 gr.
cream 200 ml.
milk 5 tbsp.
eggs 3 large
a good pinch of your favourite herb.

Grate the zucchini and the cheese.
Beat the eggs with the milk, salt, pepper and herb. ( I used fresh parsley)
Add the cream to the egg mixture.
Add the cheese and the flour to the zucchini in a large bowl, add egg mixture and mix with a spoon very well. Add a little more milk if it looks too dry.
Pour in a greased 11-12 in. (27-30 cm.) dish and bake in moderate oven for 45-55 min.
Serves 4-5

Friday, August 31, 2007

It's official.

I have officially moved from Clearblogs. It couldn't be helped.
I will gradually import all my old posts. The only way to do it is copying and pasting so it's going to take me a few weeks. In the meantime, if you're interested, just clik on the link to vision my old posts....and, well, I love comments so go on.....take a minute to write a few words!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Progress on shawl.

I like the way it's turning out. Light and lacy, that's how I like my shawls. I still have about 15cms. to crochet and I estimate it will take me at least 4-5 days before it will be ready to be washed and blocked, but then, what's the hurry?.

Made this swatch for a possible future project:

Pretty, don't you agree?

And since we all have to eat something.....

....this zucchini quiche is perfect for a light summer dinner.
I will write the recipe asap for you!
As far as the calender is concerned, well I had a nice surprise discovering that both the patterns I submitted have been published on the Pattern-a-day calenders, crochet and knit. Considering they are the first patterns I have ever submitted, well I am very pleased. It has done wonders for my self-confidence as a designer!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Rhetoric and calendars.

Are seasons really changing? There must be some truth in this statement, in my opinion, or we wouldn't have had temperatures ranging from 40° to 43° for over a week. Well above the average summer temperatures here in Italy. And on top of this , fires. If you have ever had the experience, you'll know what I'm talking about, looking outside and seeing fires. The other night we had four of them at the same time, and all of them not more than 2 km. away from our home. Enough to make your nerves wreck.

The day after firemen were still working.

It makes me feel sad and angry at the same time. Sad, when I think of how quickly all those olives trees and oaks became nothing but smoke and ashes, what mother nature created in years, centuries, all gone. And angry, very angry. I visualize someone lurking not far way after lighting that match, watching the firemen risk their lives to stop the hell he created. Watching and grinning. Oh, to wipe that grin off that ugly face!! How I wish I could.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Thank you.

I want to thank all the ladies from the forums for the nice comments about my latest FO. It feels so good to know that so many of you out there in the world appreciate my work. Let me tell you what it's like here in Italy. Most of the ladies I know have no interest whatsoever in yarn, needles, hooks. Those who know how to knit (or crochet) seem to have no time for it. If you want my honest opinion they are just too lazy.
Regardless of the reasons for which our favourite hobby is considered out of fashion and for "old ladies", well, I have no one to share my passion with and this makes your interest in my works even more precious to me.
Some of you have asked if I have written a pattern for my shawl. Shame on me, I haven't. The funny thing is that each time I come up with a new idea I get paper and pen and start writing. Then I simply forget to. When it comes to crochet patterns the situation is even more complicated as I am not very familiar with the terms and the abbreviations in english. This doesn't exclude I will give it a go especially because a friend from Crochetville has kindly offered to test my patterns. Thank you Nikki!
This past week hasn't been easy, with my little sister having carpal tunnel surgery last Wednesday and my dad having surgery last Thursday. Knowing that Patrizia is feeling much better and dad is slowly recovering has eased the tension and I have started another project:

I will call it "Simply diamonds shawl" and it's a rectangular one. The stitch is quite simple and it's onother of my mother stitches I have "inherited" from her.
I am using the same type of wool I used for the Pink summer shawl. It's a nice green and the colour you see in the photo has nothing to do with the actual shade. I count to take a more decent shot next time so stay tuned!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Pink and lacey summer shawl.

Here we go again. I can't stop making shawls. Is there a cure for this?

Friday, June 29, 2007

Looking back.

As a child seeing my mother knit was the most normal thing in the world to me. She was always either cooking or knitting, and excelled in both . She was always teaching or giving advice about patterns and stitches to friends, neighbours, relatives. The knitting needles must have seemed to me extensions of her arms. I don't remember having worn as a child a sweater or a cardigan that wasn't handmade by her. Her eyes lit and she smiled timidly at the nice comments that other ladies made about how pretty and elegant my sisters and I always were.
Take a look at this:

I must have been not more than three years old. Doesn't this cardigan look machine knitted? Well, I have never seen anything made by her that wasn't a masterpiece and the thing that amazes me most is that she never followed patterns or written instructions.
Believe it or not, I still keep that little beauty she made for me over fourty years ago!
Here it is:

Being so old and having been washed many many times it has obviously lost a little of its original shape and perfection but it is still in extremely good conditions.
In spite of the yellowish light and the poor quality of the photos my mother skill is quite visible. It is made with the thinnest pure wool. The stitches are very small. I would say she must have used 1.5mm or 2mm needles.
I simply love this little cardigan and I dream of making one exactly the same one day, maybe, who knows....for a grandchild!
Meanwhile I'll keep on making shawls.
The pink crochet one needs just one more round. I can't wait to get it off my hands!
Look at what I fished out of my knitting basket the other day:

it's just one of the numerous ufos that I have carefully hidden around the house trying to forget they exist. But they mercilessly appear when I least expect them to, seeking revenge! I can't blame them. They seem to say: "Shame on you, Rita! How could you do this? What ever happened to all the loving attention you dedicated us for days, weeks.....?"
Oh well. Mea culpa. I guess I will have to make amends. Yes, how right you are, Red Venice Shawl! I humbly apologize and yes, I will devote my best attention to you and your fellow ufos as from next week.
It's a promise.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Damn hot!

43°C yesterday and we're heading for about the same temperature today too. I can cope with in the daytime but not at night. I have hardly slept at all in the past 3 nights. Lack of sleep has a strong effect on me, body and spirit. I feel like a walking zombie ( and look like one too!) as I move around the place doing a little cleaning and tidying up, just the necessary to prevent having to call the cleaning service (haha) by the end of the week. I try to keep our meals as simple as possible but I still end up cooking for about and hour twice a day. I can live on fruit for weeks, but the boys need at least one proper meal a day. Why haven't we got air conditioning? Well, up here it's normally well ventilated and even the hottest summer days are mitigated by a pleasant breeze, but I'm seriously thinking we will need air conditioning at least in the bedrooms if this kind of weather persists.
The pink crochet shawl is growing very slowly, not more than one round per day and, believe me, it takes all of my willpower to achieve such a small result!
Three more rounds to finish the pattern then maybe another two for finishing it off nicely, that makes...five days?? Too long. I'll try hard to have it washed and pinned before the weekend, weather permitting.

Friday, June 15, 2007

5 weeks.

Has it really been five weeks since I last blogged?
My emotional state seems to have influenced my perception of time.
The events of the past weeks have had a negative impact on many aspects of my everyday life, including my enthusiasm for this blog. Whenever I'm depressed or worried I become clumsy and accident prone. I don't think I have ever broken so many things before, glasses, plates....they just fall out of my hands. And I accidently knocked down of my favourite table lamps while vacuuming the other day.
I will not bore you with details. I am a reserved person and , anyway, who wants to hear someone else's whinings and complaints about how much it hurts to be slapped across the face by life?
Everyone has to face problems, right?
Needless to say there has been very little knitting progress on my current projects. Ufos piling up in my hobbies room. I just can't seem to concentrate on anything.
A few days ago I picked up a crochet hook and a ball of yarn and started crocheting a simple mesh shawl. My idea is to make a plain triangle and add some kind of pretty edging. I have some swatches I like and one in particular looks appropriate.

This is it for the time being.
Oh, I have a couple of nice summer recipes for everyone to enjoy. Will post them very soon. I promise.