"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."- Leonardo da Vinci


Keeping record

The school year is out. The begin of summer vacation was greeted with relief and joy. No more homework, no more stress, no more negotiating playtime. I am sure you can relate.

On the last day of school, Aidan came home with a backpack bursting with art-projects. Which I love, it’s always great to see what he’s been up to. And of course he has an emotional attachment to most of his drawings.  We have binders full, from daycare to preschool, Kindergarten, and now Grade one, I’ve been keeping it all. It was a matter of time before I had to make a decision as to….. where to put it all?

Aidan is showing a bit of an interest in photography. He always asks for my camera to play around and take his own shots. He’s also claimed my old Ipod as his own, and is practicing writing emails to us, which to be honest is great practice for his spelling, and makes for some adorable correspondence. Along with writing he’s been taking photos. That gave me an idea.

I decided to sit with him, go through our massive collection of drawings, select his favorites and photograph them. Pinterest has an abundance of ideas on how to de-clutter and store you kids artwork. Initially I was going to create a collage, similar to this, but then..... I thought of something else. 

I created Aidan his own Instagram account. A private one of course, that I manage, but where he can upload his photos. Not just his artwork, but other pictures he takes. He always sees me using my account, and asks questions, so I thought he’d have fun with his own.

And as a bonus, later on, I will be able to use a service like Printstagram Or Blurb To turn his photos into magnets, a calendar or a book even.

He’s very excited about the idea, and we’re looking forward to immortalizing our summer adventures. Lazy afternoons spent in the backyard, biking around the neighborhood, exploring new corners, probably some selfies. It will be cute to see them all from his point of view.


Svalbard Progress

Svalbard…isn’t it a great name? I don’t know why, but the name is what caught my attention to begin with. Not the ideal way to choose a knitting pattern I agree, but in this case the look did not disappoint either. Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago. I believe that loosely translated it says pointy mountains. What a perfect name for a knitting pattern, don’t you agree?  Scandinavia, mountains, snow-covered peaks….all of these images make me want to pick up the needles and knit away.

I initially planned on having the cardigan finished for my return to work, but as so often happens, things came up, and I started late. I had found the perfect shade of yarn, a warm, sunny, mustardy color, a yarn that I think will perfectly compliment this pattern. 

Then I started reading the instructions. Right away, I noticed that this was going to require some serious concentration, as you are keeping track of several types of increases at the same time and different types of patterns for the front, back and sleeves. The cardigan is knit in what is called a Cartridge rib, which is simply a succession of K3, P1 stitches, strategically aligned to create this wonderful texture, so I thought, really? How hard can this be?

Famous last words. I started, and almost immediately stopped when it came to setting up the sleeve stitches. The diagram included with the pattern, did nothing to lift the mystery for me. I read through project notes, and noticed I was not the only one confused, so I emailed Brooklyn Tweed Support for guidance. In less then an hour I had an answer with detailed row-by-row, stitch-by –stitch instructions. If that is not support, I don’t know what is!

I was determined however to understand the instructions, and not just blindly follow them, so in the end I made up a diagram to help me along.

I will post it here for any knitters that may come across the same issue to use. After all, knitters help each other, don’t we?

Once you get it, the yoke starts growing quite quickly. And then you can knit along until your next challenge pops up...the sleeves. I had to ask for help for a second time, and it was swift and concise, and it even came with photos. I am still working on a diagram for that, and will be posting it soon.

I cannot wait to show you the finished project, it's my new favorite.


The city that never sleeps

I could not resist giving you a glimpse of our recent NYC get-away. Babysitters are hard to come by, so when my mom agreed to watch the kids for 3 days, we jumped at the opportunity to plan a little excursion. New York was a logical choice for us, I never get enough of this city. There is always more to see, more to do.

This time around, we walked the high line, explored the West Village, got our first taste of Brooklyn, and enjoyed our first Broadway show. It was a relaxing, yet exhausting getaway.

New York never disappoints. 
It also does not need words.
So enjoy the photos.


TTTKAL 2015, a project accomplished

You are going to get a kick out of this one. As I mentioned previously, I decided sort of last minute to join into Shannon's TTTKAL 2015. I have a ridiculously busy schedule these days, so I only committed to a little top for my daughter. Surely I thought, I could do this!

And I am proud to say that I did. Finish in time, blocked and ends woven in. I managed to snap a few shots while my little one was napping, and I made the deadline! Ok, the extended one, but a deadline nevertheless.

I have to say that I am proud of the ever-growing collection of handknits she has. (And at the same time I feel terrible that I have not knit anything for my son in....a while.)

The discussion on the thread today turned to heirlooms, and loving grandmothers knitting and sewing away. It seems most of us have fond memories of just that. I wish I had a photo of my grandmother knitting, but alas there are none. Still, knitting will forever be linked with her, and that is so immensely special to me.

But I digress. Back to my Ruffaluffagus. Once the photos were snapped, I was ready to have her wear it for Father's day this weekend. I thought I'd just try it on, to make sure it was perfect. I had measured after all, but it's always good to double-check. I have had my experiences with measuring

You may have guessed it by now....it does not fit! It seems that once I added the collar everything tightened. I can fix it of course, and I will, but it's one of those moments when you let out a well-deserved swear-word.


When knitters get together

As you know, I am a mom. A mom of 2, whose son is quite the sporty type. We have soccer, swimming, hockey, power-skating lessons... it busy, very busy. And as my daughter grows, it's only going to get worse. So finding a day when my schedule is clear is no easy feat. But it worked, for myself and my knitterly friends. We all cleared a Saturday, and gathered at Lilian's place for an afternoon of ....yarn-dyeing.

Lily and I took a workshop together a few years ago, and since then we've been hooked. And sadly enough it's taken us this long to get organized and meet to do it again. This time around however we wanted to try something a little different. Instead of acid dyes we used natural, plant-based ones. 

We had tea, onion peel, pomegranate, turmeric and cabbage. These were not our snacks, but our dyes. It was fascinating to see everyone's imagination take flight and experiments turn out. 

My inspiration came from a few evenings before, when I was having snack and tried to sneak in a few paragraphs from one of my favourite books. The colour I was hoping for is  a pastel yellow-pink-orange colour, and as you can see, it turned out pretty well. I used a combination of pomegranate dye, and onion peel.

It was so much fun! I came home with my mind buzzing with ideas, and thoughts and questions... I looked up articles and plants, and I am going to try this again. For sure! As soon as I can clear my schedule again! Hopefully it will be sooner then a couple of years from now.

As a side note, red cabbage is not a good choice... I guess there is a reason it does not come up as an example when researching natural yarn dyeing. It smells...


A Love of Travel

I love travelling. I was lucky. As a child I would accompany my grandmother on her yearly visit to her sister in Germany. This was a huge deal at the time, as Romanians were not free to travel across the border. My first trip with her was at the age of 3, and I looked forward to our vacations every summer. I still remember the thrill of boarding a plane, knowing that only a few hours later we would touch down in another place, experience a whole new reality, different smells, different routines, different customs. I think that these trips are at the root of my “wanderlust”, and I will be eternally grateful to my Oma for opening my eyes to the joys of travel.

I want to do the same for my children, I want them to experience the world and all it has to offer, to learn about , become immersed in other places, places that will broaden their horizons and teach them about life. My oldest has been  to a few places with us already, but I noticed that, of course, at this young age, his memories fade, he forgets about his trips. That made me wonder about what the best way would be to help him hang on to these memories.

Sightseeing is not always easy with children, they have little to no patience for exploring a museum, walk the streets of a new city but I found a way around that. What works for us is pretending that we are on a treasure hunt. We give Aidan a map and tell him he needs to help us find a specific location. It gives him the sense that he is in control of our explorations, and what child does not love that? I find it helps him cement those memories more, as he was not just a follower, but a leader.....Or maybe he's just getting older...that is of course entirely possible, but I like to think I have come across a genius idea here!

And now the maps that he's used to guide us, are a treasure in themselves. So I thought I'd incorporate them into his room's decor. I came across this tutorial for folding origami hearts, and tried it with the maps. Once framed and properly labelled, they are the focal point of his room, and he proudly shows them off.


TTTKAL 2015, Here We Go Again

Isn’t it funny how certain events are hard to resist? I am proud to say that I have been joining Shannon’s KAL’s from the beginning, I have missed only one I think. So when she announced the start of this year’s TTTKAL, even though I hesitated at first, I signed up anyway. 

How can you go wrong with a KAL whose first rule is to “have fun”? There is no pressure, you do not have to finish, just cast on and do your best, you can knit an adult size piece or a child’s top, the possibilities are endless. Honestly the hardest part is to keep up with the chatter on the Ravelry thread.

Now, as I have limited knitting time these days…we have way too many after school activities, and yes, I realize I have no one to blame by myself…but nonetheless, limited knitting time lead to me choosing a baby-sized knitting pattern to join the TTTKAL. I am making Ruffaluffagus for my daughter in Koigu KPPPM. I adore the color scheme of this yarn, and so far it’s great to knit with. And the pattern is adorable ... it's the ruffles .... I believe!

Now all I have to do is book some time each evening to try and catch up on the Ravelry thread!