Simple little things

/Simple little things

Textures and Textiles

Textures and Textiles

Happy Sunday, dear friends! As you probably know from my World Crafters series, I believe that our surroundings influence our creativity in so many ways. This weekend I was sorting through the photos of San Miguel de Allende and so many of them reminded me of my knits in some way. Today I would like to take you on this visual journey and hopefully inspire in some way to look around you and find inspiration in simple little things that surround you…

Reindeer cables

Textures and Textiles

Deep hues of silky bamboo sweater

Textures and Textiles

Crisp texture of Sand sweater

Textures and Textiles

Textured “nubs” of La Flor

Textures and Textiles

Intricate pattern of Journey made in perfectly imperfect Moeke

Textures and Textiles

Juicy color of Ocean

Textures and Textiles

Squishy cable against a simple textured background of The Choice

Textures and Textiles

Simple crochet stitches that form a beautiful harmonious pattern of Wildflower dress made in lovely cotton

Textures and Textiles

Lush mix of alpaca, merino and silk in Gallery sweater

Textures and Textiles

It is so nice to come back to my old knit pieces and just enjoy the diversity of colors, textures, fibers and textiles.

I hope you’ve found some inspiration in this post and will pick up your yarn today…

Have a beautiful day!


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By | 2017-04-07T07:00:11+00:00 December 4th, 2016|Crochet, Knitting, Simple little things|22 Comments

Fall Is In The Town

 

The Gift Of Knitting Blog

These last days I distinctively felt how the seasons clicked… Warm sunny days changed to gloomy, misty and chilly mornings, windy afternoons with cloudy and grey sky and rainy nights. Though I love sunshine more than anything, this weather still has a certain appeal for me, putting me in a cozy mood and keeping me inside as much as possible. But this weekend, I put all the to-do lists aside, put on La Flor sweater under a jacket and my beaten up, but the most comfortable boots on and went for a long walk.

Textured Sweater

The town changes dramatically with the weather – there are less people on the streets, the colors seem more sharpened after the rain and it seems like all textures stand out more. People get into small cafes to get a big cup of hot coffee, read newspaper and hide from the drizzling rain. I love watching them from outside – reading, sitting in their computers, talking and laughing with their friends… For some reason it reminds me of my favorite book, “A Moveable Feast” and Hemingway’s Paris… I suggest you grab a nice big cup of cocoa, wrap yourself into something woolly and walk with me 🙂

The Gift Of Knitting Blog

The Gift Of Knitting Blog

The Gift Of Knitting Blog

The Gift Of Knitting Blog

The Gift Of Knitting Blog

The Gift Of Knitting Blog

The Gift Of Knitting Blog

The Gift Of Knitting Blog

The Gift Of Knitting Blog

I hope I put you in a cozy and knitwear making mood 🙂 Enjoy your Sunday!


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By | 2017-04-07T07:00:08+00:00 November 13th, 2016|Simple little things, Travel|22 Comments

Mood

Yarn

Happy Wednesday! Did you feel how the seasons clicked in your part of the world? I find myself snuggled in cozy sweaters much longer in the mornings… There is also something in the air that makes me stay in more often, knitting, reading and watching movies. Yesterday I was going through my little treasures from my trip and couldn’t help but smile…

I brought a small collection of post cards from St. Petersburg by one very talented artist, T. Yumadilov, with St. Petersburg famous spots in different seasons. I love them so much! I think they put you in perfect Petersburg’s mood – tender and slightly melancholic… It’s so nice to look at them and remember walking along these streets…

Knitting Blog

Another treasure from my home country is the poems collection by Pushkin and Lermontov. I remember these books as far as I remember myself – my Granny got them in 1974! And it was not easy to buy books at that time. It is like my family’s heirloom!  It is so nice to get back to “Eugene Onegin” and see all my little notes made during my school years…

Knitting Blog

Lovely Egyptian cotton bought in a LYS during my trip is calling my name and tempting me to cast it on. Sigh, I don’t have time for it yet, but it will definitely be put into use soon – I just can’t get over its color!

Yarn

I hope you are having a lovely week and simple little things bring you lots of joy! Stay cozy!

Knitting Blog

See you at Yarn Along!


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By | 2017-03-04T07:53:58+00:00 September 21st, 2016|Simple little things, Yarn|28 Comments

Things I Learned Because of Knitting

Happy Wednesday!

I know some of you had a long weekend with their families – I hope you had fun!

This weekend I was rereading the interviews I did with all the amazing crafters – World Crafters. I asked all of them what their craft meant to them and what “gifts” they get from it. I love their honest and open answers and it is amazing how sometimes such simple little things as a handmade craft can change so much in your life!

Yarn

As for me one of the greatest gifts I got from the craft is the desire to learn, not for work, not for school, not for university, but just for myself. Here are some random things I learned from knitting.

Things I Learned Because of Knitting

  1. Value my time. Before knitting I used to come home from the university/work, do something here and there and all of a sudden realize that it was already late, I have to go to bed to get enough sleep before the next day. Right now I am much more conscious about my time and organize it is much better, because I want to fit in as much creativity as I can into my daily life!
  2. Photography. I am definitely not a professional photographer and I have tons to learn, but because I really wanted to capture the texture, color and overall beauty of a handmade piece, of yarn or to visually share some knitting/crochet techniques, the words “exposure”/”shutter speed”/”aperture” mean at least something to me now and I am fascinated and eager to learn more and more!!! Before knitting I was absolutely indifferent to photography, but right now I have my favorite photographers whose work I admire and would love to learn more about this form of art.
  3. Being more open. Most of the time I am an introvert. Though I love working with people, my happiest place is being alone with nature or at home. I used to be very suspicious of social media platforms and only after I started knitting, I realized how much I wanted to meet new friends to share my passion with!
  4. Being more aware of slow fashion. During my university years I was slightly obsessed with Vogue, I loved this visual library of textiles and forms, but I never looked at them from the maker’s perspective. I am still fascinated by it, but right now I am more interested in the story behind a piece of garment. This is why I love so much Knitting Inspiration series – it is not just about fashion, but about people who put their heart and soul into their work!
  5. You can learn anything if you want to philosophy. I was brought up in the post Soviet Union society where the change of a life path or professional path was frowned upon. It was a common philosophy to believe that if you are bad at math at school, you are definitely a humanitarian and you should stay so for the rest of your life 🙂 I am so happy I shook this off and I feel so much more free and open minded.
  6. Being more fiber conscious. I am very careful now when choosing clothes in the store. I almost never wear synthetics right now and always try to opt for natural materials. I am also extremely interested in all the diversity of fiber out there, I love researching about their origin, properties and use!
  7. Mistakes are the lessons, not failures. Life is amazing, isn’t it? You learn such big things from such simple little things as a handcraft. But I got the philosophy of looking at mistakes in my life as something that I need to experience in order to learn something rather than a drawback, it may sound ridiculous, but this realization came to me through knitting and is spread in all areas of my life now.

I would love to ask you what did you learn from knitting (crochet, spinning, weaving, sewing, painting, embroidery…)?

Joining you at Yarn Along.

Have a wonderful day today!


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By | 2016-07-06T06:53:59+00:00 July 6th, 2016|Simple little things|38 Comments

Sunday Thoughts. The Fear of Talent.

Happy Sunday!

Before I get to my post I would love to thank everybody who played the game for the yarn giveaway! That was fun, so many close answers! My hometown is called Cherepovets and my current location is San Miguel de Allende. According to Google the two towns are 10 341 km apart! Quiet a distance!!! The closest guess was by Adrienne, her answer was 10 261 km. Congratulations, 4 skeins of Stroll Tweed by Knit Picks are yours! I will contact you by email tomorrow. Thank you for playing along!

Warning; it’s a long post with way too much thinking 🙂

A couple of years ago I finished a book that was disturbing and inspiring at the same time. It shattered so many prejudices and doubts that I used to have. The book is called “The Little Book of Talent” by Daniel Coyle. The book is basically a short, more structured version of Coyle’s “The Talent Code”, that broke all the stereotypes of such a phenomenon as “innate talent”. Since the very early childhood we are prone to hear this adjective – talented – in so many forms. At school you are studying talented writers, talented composers, talented scientists, talented artists, talented musicians and so on. On TV every celebrity is described as “beautiful, talented and successful”. The fashion magazines are singing odes to talented designers. If you are lucky, the word “talented” may be applied to you as well.

“Talent” used to be a terrifying word for me. As a child and a teenager I couldn’t help but wonder – “What is my talent? Do I have one?”. I didn’t seem to – I was a good and diligent student, but nothing extraordinary. Math, physics and chemistry scared me, literature and language were interesting, but nothing that vibrated with the “talent” energy. So, at some point I decided I wasn’t gifted any special talent.

The I picked up needles and a crochet hook. I loved it from the first touch and immediately had an idea to make myself a crochet dress. After 2-3 years of hideous side sloped pieces of fabric and after reading and watching tons of educational videos, I finally “got” it – white, fitting, not perfect, but MY dress. One very dear friend who has been always supporting me exclaimed with admiration when she first saw it – “Wow! You are so talented!” This was the first time in my life that anybody told me that I am talented in something. When I started working with children my principal told me “You have a natural talent working with children”. Hmm, I was flattered and perplexed. I certainly didn’t feel “talented” in any way. Everything that I did and achieved didn’t feel “natural” to me… And I couldn’t help but wonder if I am doing “my” thing… Everything was hard to achieve.

When you are looking at talented and successful people, when you’re reading newspaper articles about them, it really seems that everything that they do is a breeze. They are talented for goodness sake! It much be so easy for them to wake up in the morning and fly on the wings of their talent, right?!

I am following an inspiring knitter Maria (@maria.levine) who at the age of 26 happens to be one of the most famous, talented (of course 🙂 ) and searched for knitting teachers in Russia. She gives dozens of classes every month from Moscow to Siberia, travelling extensively around the country. Her teaching philosophy is never teach knitters how to knit from the patterns, but to teach them how to think and create on their own. Not everybody is happy with it and I often find comments: “Oh, it’s easy for you to say, you are so talented! I would never be able to do that on my own.” Maria always has an answer for it: “I am not talented. If you have hands and brains, you can do it. You just need to work a little bit harder”. Those who believe her, go to her classes and create wonderful things, those who don’t, well, they just keep writing how talented she is and how they wished they were her.

That got me thinking – how many times did I look at the person admiring her/his work and thinking: “Oh, I would love to do that, but I am just not cut out for it, I don’t have any talent for it.” And guess what – I never even tried these things. I was just too scared to fail. Every time it got way too hard, I thought – “Well, maybe it’s not for me.” And stopped. Only 3 years ago when I started working in the Montessori method, something shifted in me. I suddenly realized that I don’t achieve anything, because I just don’t do anything until the end. I stop, with this thought at the back of my head that I am not talented.

And then “The Little Book of Talent” came along, it’s funny how sometimes things come together… It shook me to the core. It stated that the talent doesn’t exist. There is just no such thing as “innate talent”, as the magical gift that is given to you if you’re lucky. Coyle introduces a fascinating research that reveals how the brain works and how we can turn simple disciplines into our “talent”. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.”

When working with children, I understand how careful you should be with using the word “talent”. This word has some connotation of “specialness”, “betterness” that others… If it is applied to you, it can lead you to believe that you don’t have to work that hard, you are talented, the world is your oyster. And if it isn’t applied to you, you get lost, you give up and become disappointed if things get hard.

What I understand now, for myself, after this experience, after reading this book, that the main goal in anything that you do should be the process, not the destination. Just look at truly happy “talented” people – they all love the process of what they do. The results become just the pleasant side effect, nothing more. And I guess this is the secret of “talent” – your talent is just the ability to find something that you enjoy doing, no matter if nobody pays you for that, no matter if it isn’t prestigious, no matter if your family doesn’t support you, no matter if you don’t see the results for years. You keep going, you keep learning, you keep perfecting your skills and all of a sudden you raise you head and hear how somebody says to you – “Oh, you are so talented.” The main thing is to get your head back down to work after that 🙂

Maybe someday I will change my opinion, but for now I believe there is only one talent that is given to every born human being – the talent of life, that is full of endless opportunities, no matter how long or short it turns out. From now on, I will never stop myself from trying things just because I think I don’t have the talent for it. I will learn, I will grow, I will keep trying.

What about you? Have you ever considered yourself talented in something? What does the word “talented” mean to you? Do you think that it’s a natural gift that is given to “special” people or the “talent” can be achieved by simple work discipline?

knitting blog

Talent – the gift of nature or the result of hard work?


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By | 2016-01-24T18:14:04+00:00 January 24th, 2016|Simple little things|43 Comments

One Year Blog Anniversary!

August 16th, 2014 – my very first post “Thank You” was published! It was important for me to start the blog with these two important words, words that I try to say every single day. I am grateful, deeply deeply grateful for everybody and everything that I have in my life. When I catch myself complaining or questioning my life, these words bring me back to the simple truth – I am here. Now. This is my time on this beautiful Earth and I am grateful for each day. The true happiness started for me with this sense of gratitude – to my family, to the nature, to crafting.

Since the very first post I felt really comfortable in this place, sharing my projects, love for yarn, inspiring fiber artists and world around me, finding this amazing community that I felt quiet disconnected with before the blog. I didn’t even know that much about Ravelry! My only online presence was just my email, which wasn’t bad at all, but after I got into the blogosphere , the whole new world opened up! Now you can find me on Ravelry, Instagram and Twitter.

I am happy to find so many wonderful, inspiring and engaging blogs by so many talented people during this year. I don’t like to play favorites with my blog feed and there is just not enough space to list all my reads here 🙂 There is really hardly a day without reading at least one or two inspiring posts by you! Thank you for doing such a great job!

I did some numbers 🙂

The Gift of Knitting. 1 year old. 157 posts. 27 documented FOs. 1012 comments (Thank you so much for taking your time to leave your comments! I read every single one of them and they always make my day! ).

Your favorite posts during this year.

World Crafters series – Nataly. Kiev, Ukraine.

Friday Inspiration series – Knitting in Art.

WIP yarn post – Joined The Gang.

FO details post – Knit Dress. Pure.

FO wearing post – Textured Jacket.Wearing.

Here are some random facts about me – just to know a person behind all these knits a little bit better 🙂

  • I love knitwear. I love wearing it, I love making it, I love taking pictures of it, I love touching it…
  • My favorite time of the day is the early morning.
  • I don’t watch TV.
  • I’ve never made a hat or a sock in my entire knitting life. I always end up casting on for a garment.
  • I’ve read Gone With The Wind 14 times.
  • I am awful at cooking and housekeeping.
  • My biggest hobby after knitting/crochet is sport – pilates, yoga, strength training and dog walking 🙂
  • I call my two Grannies my best girlfriends.
  • My close people call me Alinenok, which means “little dear” in Russian.
  • My favorite food is my Granny’s cottage cheese pancakes.
  • I love astronomy and watched all possible documentaries about the universe.
  • My biggest dream is to learn how to fully live in the present moment. I am working on it 🙂

Thank you for visiting and staying with me! It means a lot! Looking forward to the new year of blogging!

Crochet Balnket

Sincerely yours, Alina.

By | 2015-08-16T20:17:35+00:00 August 16th, 2015|Simple little things|28 Comments
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