I ♥ St. Petersburg

Happy Wednesday!

I am back home and getting into my usual life routine here. I know I have been pretty absent from the blogosphere this month and now have lots to do to catch up. I have some projects to share with you soon – small tutorials, new yarn, pattern release… But today I would love to give you a glimpse of my home country and take you for a walk in my favorite Russian city – St. Petersburg. I was lucky to spend a week there with my dear parents and friends. I don’t want to burden you with historical facts and dates; I just hope to share with you the spirit and atmosphere of  this magical city, that has a very special place in my heart. So, let’s go? :)

I haven’t been in my home country for two years and I wanted to absorb its culture and atmosphere as much as I could. And there is no better way to do that than throw on your favorite old dress, flat shoes, grab a camera and get lost in the city.

Knitting Blog. Travel.

I started on Palace Square (Дворцовая площадь), probably the most famous spot in town.

Knitting Blog. Travel.

I love this place – it is always full of life! You will also find here The Winter Palace (Зимний дворец), that used be the official residence of Russian monarchs. Right now you can find there the world famous The State Hermitage Museum.

Knitting Blog. Travel.

Just minutes away there is a grand and glorious St. Isaac’s Cathedral (Исаакиевский собор). Its golden cupola that rises over the city won’t let you get lost.

Knitting Blog. Travel.

Its interior is a true architectural masterpiece.

Knitting Blog. Travel.

You can also go all the way up to the dome and enjoy breathtaking view of the city from there!

Knitting Blog. Travel.

My next stop was The Summer Garden (Летний сад), the oldest city’s garden. I enjoyed a long walk along Neva, crossed the bridge and walked all the way to the garden.

Knitting Blog. Travel.

It is a fountain season in St. Petersburg and it is the most beautiful sight!
Knitting Blog. Travel.

If you walk 15-20 minutes from the garden, along the Palace Embankment street (Дворцовая набережная) that runs along the Neva River, you will see a grand statue of the founder of St. Petersburg – Peter the Great (Петр I Великий).

Knitting Blog. Travel.

If you are in St. Petersburg, you just can’t not walk on Nevsky Prospekt – the main and busiest street in the city. Here you will find the best shops, restaurants and the most beautiful buildings. But if you are tired, turn to Griboedov Canal and you will find yourself in front of the magnificent church – The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood (Церковь Спаса на Крови), then turn right around the corner and relax in a beautiful park in front of The Russian Museum (Русский музей).

Knitting Blog. Travel.
From left upper corner clockwise: 1. Nevsky Prospekt (this beautiful building with a dome is a book store!) 2. Griboedov Canal 3. The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood 4. The State Russian Museum

Your visit to Russia won’t be complete without Peterhof, a magnificent place 40 minute drive from the city. Known as the “Russian Versailles”, it used to be the summer residence of Russian monarchs.

Knitting Blog. Travel.

It is truly one of the most magical places in the world. The palace, surrounded by a huge garden full of fountains, is a spectacular sight. I could get lost there for ages and imagine how Russian emperors used to walk along the same paths and create the history…

Knitting Blog. Travel.

I am so grateful to my parents for organizing this trip and for being with me!

 I hope you enjoyed this little walk and feel inspired to visit St. Petersburg someday! It would make me really happy!

If you enjoyed this post about St. Petersburg, you will definitely love the interview I’ve done with wonderful Olga, an amazing knitter that lives and creates in this beautiful city – World Crafter. Olga. Saint Petersburg, Russia!

Have a great Wednesday and I will be back with knitting soon!

I also wanted to thank you for your kind wishes on the blog’s birthday! Thank you so much!! I was moved to tears.

Love, Alina.


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Happy Birthday, The Gift Of Knitting!

It is hard to believe for me, but The Gift of Knitting is two years old today! My baby is growing :) This blog year flew by in a split second and it was such a blessing! I finally published my first official pattern and got over the fear of putting my ideas on the paper. One of the most important events for me became the collaboration with Moeke Yarns, the company that I have been admiring and following for a long time. I am so happy to say that The Gift Of Knitting Designs will be a part of the big Moeke Yarns event that starts in several weeks. But most of all I am grateful for YOUR support – for visiting, commenting and inspiring me every day. Thank you!

Meanwhile the last couple of weeks I spent at my grandparents’ village. In the woods, in the middle of nowhere. A place where food comes straight from the earth, the water from the well and the light from the candles. It is my Tara (as a child I was obsessed with Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With the Wind”).

Cotton Yarn

This time I decided to take a break from the intricate knitting and just enjoyed a good old garter stitch knitting – a simple shawl for my dear Granny Lidia. The yarn I chose is perfect for this simple project – it is so addictive to watch how the colors are changing and mixing in its own color pattern. It is also a great companion for listening Olympics on the radio (yep, no TV in this corner of the world).

Cotton Yarn

 I also have a small yarn stash enhancement – 500 g of Egitto, 100% Egyptian mercerized cotton spun in Italy. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Egyptian cotton is known as the world’s finest cotton.

Here’s what I found out about this fiber:

  • The length of the fibre makes it possible to make the finest of yarns without sacrificing the strength of the yarn.
  • The strength of the fiber makes fabrics more solid and more resistant to stress.
  • Its ability to absorb liquids gives fabrics made of Egyptian cotton deeper, brighter and more resistant colours.
  • Its softness feels like nothing else in the world.
  • Egyptian cotton is hand picked which guarantees the highest levels of purity. In addition, hand picking puts no stress on the fibres – as opposed to mechanical picking – leaving the fibers straight and intact.

 Source

Cotton Yarn

Deep royal blue color with a slight sheen. Mmm… My mind is swirling with ideas for a future pullover! It has to be light, simple, maybe slightly textured to show off the beauty of this precious fiber and its mesmerizing color.
Cotton Yarn

Though the calendar summer is still here, the evening air is already crisp and clear; the leaves are slowly and almost imperceptibly changing the shade; the rain is cold and brings the breath of fall… There are just a few days left before I leave my family and head back home. These lovely yarn balls will remind me of this wonderful time I got to spend with my dear ones.

Cotton Yarn

I hope you are having a wonderful time!

Thank you for being with me! It means a lot!


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From Russia With Love

Hello, my dear friends! So happy to be back here, thank you so much for all your kind wishes for my trip, I read every single comment, so sorry I wasn’t able to reply! I am finally in my hometown, spending time with my family and friends. I still feel a little bit overwhelmed, trying to fit in as much as I can into my days.

Though knitting was pretty much non-existent these days, I still have something to show you. My dear Granny Eugenia agreed to model her gifts of knitting from me. It is so amazing to make something on the other side of the world for your dear people and see how it warms their hearts… A huge lace shawl from Vogue Knitting made with local Mexican cotton I made for her two years ago…

Knitting and Travel

 Green Snowflakes cowl by Julie from Knitted Bliss I made a couple of months ago.

Knitting and Travel

My dear Granny is very shy and doesn’t smile, but believe me, she is a sweetheart. She was the one to introduce me to fiber crafts many years ago and she was the one bringing it back into my life when I needed it most… I will be forever grateful to her for this. Did you notice her cute crochet beanie? Improvised by her hardworking hands! So adorable!

Current WIP. In the last hours of packing I decided to change Rowan cotton yarn for Hawthorne Fingering by Knit Picks to make something simple – a throw or a a shawl maybe. Something I can knit during endless car and train rides.

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I very rarely work with variegated yarn, but I decided I needed to add some color to my knitting routine. These shades are just gorgeous!

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I think I will make it in stripes to mix the colors. This palette reminds me of fall…

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Yarn

I know I promised to show you some Russian cuisine – cottage cheese pancakes with sour cream and cherries from my Dad’s garden is my number #1 food here :)

Knitting and Travel

My family and I are wishing you a great day! Thank you again for all your support, I always feel so deeply touched by it!

Knitting and Travel
This guy is so ridiculously happy to see me!

Hope to see you at Yarn Along!

P.S. Thank you so much for entering We Are Knitters giveaway. The winner is Ruth Shields. Congratulations, Ruth! Have fun with Udon Blanket Kit!


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Yarn Packing

Happy Wednesday!

How have you been? Taking a week break from blogging seemed like a century, I am so used to be here regularly! But life is pretty busy right now. I am getting on my 40+ hour trip across the ocean tomorrow and I still have lots to do. First of all is to decide what projects to take along with me. I am not comfortable knitting on the plane, as you never know what policies each company has about knitting needles and I don’t want my favorite pair of ADDI clicks to be taken away from me. Plus I don’t have any mindless zen knitting projects going on right now, I need to take careful notes of what’s going on my needles – not a perfect candidate for a plane ride. So I am packing my yarn safely into the luggage and taking a book instead to enjoy on the plane.

Stockbridge alpaca/wool blend, cotton/silk blend and Moeke wool are coming on a big trip with me!

Yarn

I deliberately took yarn for 3 projects, so I won’t have an excuse to pay too many visits to local yarn shops. I shouldn’t bring any more yarn into my stash. But I also know that I won’t resist the temptation of getting at least something from LYS – this is always so exciting to visit yarn spots in different corners of the world!

Yarn

The weather is very unpredictable in Russia, so I am packing my four sweaters – Gallery, Sand, Gesture and Journey. I planned to make one more alpaca sweater, but that didn’t happen… I am so excited to show Journey to my Granny!! It is such a dear to my heart design that I put my soul into! I am also going to meet my friend and hopefully we will be able to take many photos of it for the pattern release!

Handmade sweaters

I should be prepared though that I won’t fit into all my sweaters by the end of this trip, because, my friends, I am going to EAT. What I miss most about my home country, except for people, of course, is the food! Cottage cheese pancakes with Russian sour cream, kefir, sourdough fresh bread, sauerkraut soup, borsch… I can go on forever :)

I am excited and nervous about the trip. I am so happy to see my family after such a long time; meet with my dear girlfriends, share what is going on in our lives, cry and laugh; wake up in the morning in my parents’ house and hear how Mom is cooking something delicious in the kitchen; hug my dear grandparents and say how much I miss them; see the places of my childhood and just stop for a second to take a moment to be fully present and grateful…

I will be back here in a week (July 27th ) to announce a winner of We Are Knitters’ yarn kit giveaway. You still have 6 days to enter!

I hope you are having a wonderful week!

See you at Yarn Along.


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Gesture Sweater FO + Yarn Giveaway.

FO – Gesture Sweater

Detailed post with the list of techniques used can be found here – Gesture Sweater. FO Details.

We Are Knitters. Gesture Sweater.

Happy Wednesday! This weekend we went for a long walk in one of my favorite neighborhoods and took way too many photos of the recently finished alpaca sweater. What can I say… This is one of the softest sweaters I have ever had. Thunderstorm season is fully on, mornings are foggy and rainy, so the first thing I do in the early dawn hours is to put the sweater on and drink a big cup of tea… So, so cozy!

We Are Knitters. Gesture Sweater.

I was a little bit worried about how it would react to blocking, but the sweater hold its shape and didn’t grew much, so the length is just perfect. Side seams also help to hold shape. Mattress stitch was so easy to work with this yarn – it is very smooth and silky and creates perfectly even practically invisible seam.

We Are Knitters. Gesture Sweater.

I think I know what I’ll wear for my 40-hour trip to my family. I always get cold on the planes and their acrylic/polyester blankets don’t help at all :) Gesture sweater is like a cocoon to wrap yourself in!

We Are Knitters. Gesture Sweater.

Did I mention how much I love those sleeves?! I added a couple of extra cm to them and the degree of coziness jumped up :) I will always choose way too long sleeves over classic ones!

We Are Knitters. Gesture Sweater.

The central cable panel is mirrored on the sleeves and creates a very dramatic effect. It was also a great point of interest while knitting – keeps your mind engaged!

We Are Knitters. Gesture Sweater.

As you can see neckline is slightly wider than the original version. It was very easy to modify – just a couple of extra stitches each side of a neckline.

We Are Knitters. Gesture Sweater.

Cozy, cozy, cozy!!! I am so happy I chose this kit, I know I will wear this sweater forever!!

We Are Knitters. Gesture Sweater.

Ok, I should stop bombarding you with sweater photos and get to business! It is GIVEAWAY time!!

I know knitters have a soft spot for fall and all the cozy things that go along with it. I know you are already dreaming of sitting on your sofa, drinking hot cocoa  and knitting away while leaves change their color… What about an extra cozy chunky easy to knit blanket to accompany you?!

We Are Knitters are offering you a chance to win one of their most popular kits – Udon Blanket. The kit contains 5 balls (200 gr each) of 100% Peruvian wool yarn; wooden knitting needles, the pattern, sewing needles and your very own label! The difficulty level is EASY, perfect even for absolute beginners. The stitch is basic and super easy to knit. It will be a great mindless relaxing zen knitting project and at the end you will get a great piece of knit decoration for your house! The winner will be able to choose her/his own color -Brown, Honey, Pink, Fuchsia, Red Klein, Blue Turquoise, Deep Turquoise, Beige, Bubblegum, Salmon… So are you in?!

We Are Knitters Udon Blanket Kit

To enter the giveaway follow this link – WAK Newsletter. By the way I am signed up to the company’s newsletter for a long time now and they send only helpful information – the discount codes/blog tutorials/new items in the store.

The giveaway is closed! The winner is Ruth Shields. Congratulations!

P.S. The kit was sent to me by We Are Knitters for a review. All the opinions and thoughts expressed are entirely my own.


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