Travel

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Craft and Road Trip

Happy Wednesday!

The last week was absolutely crazy for me and I just needed to get out of town and into the wild. 10 minute drive from us there is a beautiful botanical garden where you can get lost in nature and have a quiet peaceful time.

Knitting and travel

There are very few people out there and you can enjoy walking along the canyon, read a book, knit/crochet and just be silent for a awhile…

Knitting and travel

I spent some blissful time with “The Catcher in the Rye“… It is so nice to get away sometimes, even if it is just for a few hours.

Knitting and travel

As for crafting, I started a new machine knitting project – Sand Sweater, right after finishing my Bamboo Drape. Yes, I can’t keep my machine empty for a long time! I am calling it Sand, because of the color of yarn and it reminds me of the pattern created by waves on the sand. I am using 100% mercerized cotton from my stash. I still don’t have a very clear idea what it will become, but in my mind it will be a light summer sweater I can throw on with jeans.

Machine Knitting Sweater

My goal for this year was to learn as many new machine knitting techniques as possible. This time I am experimenting with my machine knitting tools to create texture. My machine is very simple, so all the patterns have  to be created manually transferring the stitches. It takes much more time than the stockinette, but this stitch pattern is so worth it!

Machine Knitting Sweater

It is called “Tuck Stitch” and it is created by holding loops on the needles for several rows before knitting them all together. It is similar to slip stitch technique in hand knitting. I had the instructions for this stitch in my manual for the machine and I have no idea why on earth I didn’t try it before! Maybe I was intimidated by the complexity of it, but it turned out not so bad! I am much more familiar with the mechanism of the machine now and understand better how the stitches are formed.

Machine Knitting Sweater

My crochet cardigan WIP is causing me a lot of trouble. I think I will have to rip it out for the third time, first I ripped out because of my miscalculated stitch count (my gauge is significantly different from the one indicated in the pattern, so I am modifying). Now I think the fabric looks a little bit on the loose side, so I am thinking to go down with the hook size. I know it will be worth it in the end – crocheting is very relaxing and I will get a very wearable garment in the end.

Crochet Cardigan

I hope your week is treating you well and you are enjoying your projects!

Hope to see you at Yarn Along.


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Yarn and The City

Last Friday I had to go to Mexico City for some paperwork. We decided to combine the bureaucracy with some fun and stayed for a whole weekend. I planned way too much for the these two days – museums, walking, yarn shopping… Well, not everything was done, but I did two main things – visit to Chapultepec and yarn shopping!

Knitting and Travel | The Gift Of Knitting Blog

Chapultepec can be found right in the center of the city. Though it is surrounded by huge skyscrapers and crazy traffic, this place preserves its own special atmosphere. We had only a couple of hours there and it is just not enough, next time I want to devote the whole day to it. Chapultepec is the largest park in Mexico City, it used to be a retreat for Aztec rulers; the park is valued as a cultural and historical place. While walking in the forest, you can find huge “Baths of Moctezuma” carved from stones and a gigantic Chapultepec Castle – very impressive sight.

I was mostly impressed with vegetation. Most trees weren’t brought in, but were originally there, some of them must have witnessed great Aztec rulers! So exciting!
Knitting and Travel | The Gift Of Knitting Blog

If you ever find yourself in Mexico City, this is the place that you should visit – history, nature, beautiful architecture – you’ll find all of this here.

And of course I couldn’t leave the city without some yarn! I’ve been very, very good, trying to be kind on the family budget and was on a strict yarn diet for more than seven months now, working solely from my stash. So, I splurged. I deserve it, right? 🙂 Anyway I am so so excited about my new yarn addition!!! Beware of the yarn photos overload, I am sorry, I just couldn’t restrain myself!

The first one is the delicious blend of linen, cotton and silk (60% natural cotton, 30% linen, 10% silk). I worked with Italian linen/cotton blend for the first time knitting my Soho dress and I found it absolutely delightful.

Yarn | The Gift Of Knitting Blog

This one is made in Mexico and 10% silk makes such a huge difference, the yarn is strong thanks to linen and cotton, but silk makes it so smooth and gives it a slight luster.

Yarn | The Gift Of Knitting Blog

The colors are jut wonderful – earthly shades of beige, ivory and pistachio green.

Yarn | The Gift Of Knitting Blog

The yarn is probably fingering weight, I would guess 3-4 ply. It will be great for light summer tops and sweaters or a dress. I also tried swatching with two strands; oh, this texture is so so inspiring!

Yarn | The Gift Of Knitting Blog

The second yarn is 100% combed cotton. I never worked with this type of cotton before and in the shop it looked like usual mercerized cotton, but when I touched it, I realized that the difference is significant. Combed cotton is more expensive than the usual one, but it is worth the money.

Yarn | The Gift Of Knitting Blog

I did a research and that is what I found out. The cotton fibers go through special treatment that pulls out all the short fibers and impurities of the fiber from the thread. As a result, the combed cotton yarn is made only of long straight fibers that are evenly aligned. This makes yarn much stronger and, at the same time, softer than the conventional cotton.

Yarn | The Gift Of Knitting Blog

The yarn is very thin, so I will probably use it for a machine knitting project. It was so hard to choose colors! Dark green and turquoise stole my heart, I couldn’t let any of them go, so I got both!

Yarn | The Gift Of Knitting Blog

Yarn shopping is just the best therapy in the world! It feels so great to treat yourself once in awhile to all this beautiful fiber out there!

I am joining amazing crafters at Yarn Along! Join the fun!

I hope you are having a wonderful week!


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By | 2017-01-08T09:00:05+00:00 March 16th, 2016|Travel, Yarn|47 Comments

Textile Art Weekend

Happy Sunday!

Yesterday I went to the local cultural center to visit two exhibitions that I just couldn’t miss. Both exhibitions can be found in the center, in one of the most beautiful buildings of town. It is one of my favorite places. Built in traditional hacienda style, this space is the window to history and a serene oasis with orange trees, fountain and beautiful vegetation.

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As soon as I saw the name of the first exhibition – HILOS (“threads” in Spanish) – I knew I had to see it. Though I definitely wasn’t prepared to see what I did. Artist Lena Bartula was inspired by Huipil, the traditional square-cut Mexican hand-woven and decorated with embroidery blouse. The artist used this ancient tradition and adapted it to the contemporary reality – the materials, form and the message. It is the exhibition that brings the awareness to the over-consumption, fast and cruel fashion, our habits to take everything that we have for granted. I thought to share with you some of these pieces.

“365 4 2015”. “I made a commitment to create a huipil a day…”

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“Unzipped”. “This huipil is a tribute to all women and men who have found their voices and encouragement for those who haven’t.” The shape of the traditional huipil and the important message inside each zipper.

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“Transparency”. “As transparencies, they expose the threads that consistently run through my work: truth, beauty, justice, spirit… “

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“Corn Mother”. “It is one of this continent’s oldest crop…. For the survival of humanity, this natural food source must remain free from genetic manipulation and unsustainable farming practices.”

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“Behind the Label”. “This huipil recognizes and remembers the plight of seamstresses around the world. Leftover strips serve as a metaphor for garment workers who are so disposable, simply used and tossed aside by corporations…”

Knitting Blog

It is a great exhibition that makes you stop and wonder, look around your own little world, be thankful for things you have and be a little bit ashamed of yourself for taking so many things for granted.

The second exhibition that drew my attention was of sarapes, a traditional Mexican form of textile art. It is a grand collection of beautiful hand-woven rugs from the end of 19th – beginning of 20th century.

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Each piece is a masterpiece, and such an inspiration! The colors and shapes, formed by threads and hands, are mesmerizing! I believe those of you who are vivid fair isle knitters will be inspired by these geometrical designs.

Knitting Blog

It was such a beautiful and inspiring day. I am glad I was able to “take” you along with me!

Knitting Blog

Have a great Sunday!


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By | 2016-02-21T12:27:42+00:00 February 21st, 2016|Travel|29 Comments

Yarn Along – Travel, Vogue Knitting and Fair Isle

Joining wonderful “craft party” at Small Things today.

I would love to thank you all for your kind wishes on my birthday! I am really touched by all the wonderful and kind words! Thank you! Yarn giveaway is still open, so jump right in!

We went for a long hike in the mountain forest and I couldn’t spend my birthday better! The sound of wind playing with the fallen leaves and the song of the mountain spring were the best music for my ears! We found a very beautiful place and I would love to come back there once again and camp.

knitting and travel

Knitting. As for my craft progress, I am slow, but steady. Xanadu cowl is being painted in more and more snowflakes. I am still struggling with the tension, so the progress is not that far away. I am knitting very slowly while learning the best way for me to change the colors and keeping track of the chart. The more I look at the cowl, the more I realize how perfect it would be for my dear Granny. She has green eyes and she would definitely overlook all the imperfections of it 🙂 I am going to visit my family this summer, which means it is time to start my gift knitting!! I was a completely selfish knitter for Christmas, but I just can’t leave my dear ladies without hand knit gifts when I come to visit them!

fair isle knitting cowl

Ocean is off the knitting machine and on the needles for the hand knit textured lace section.

machine knitting dress

It looks quiet shapeless at this stage, but blocking and seaming will fix it. I am really enjoying this project and hope all my mods plans will work out for it!

machine knitting dress

Reading. I was so excited to find The Ultimate Knitting book by Vogue Knitting in the local library! It was in the dusty corner and according to its card the last person took it in 2005! This is history 🙂 I bought the latest addition of it a couple of years ago, but the hurricane teared it up to pieces. It’s nice to refresh the info I got from this great reference book!
vogue knitting book

I hope all is well with you and you are having a great week!


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By | 2016-04-10T08:32:01+00:00 January 20th, 2016|Knitting, Machine Knitting, Travel, Work in Progress|29 Comments

Christmas Gift

Merry Christmas! I hope you had an amazing time with your loved ones this year!

As for me I got the best gift ever – a road trip 🙂 You know, if not for me, my hubby would stay in all his life, he really has everything that he needs in his office 🙂 But my never ending wanderlust drags our small family out of the town once in awhile. There is really nothing better for me than take some fruits, water, a good book and yarn, jump in the car, get our dog and listen to Queens while driving along the unknown roads and discovering new places.

Mexico is truly a fascinating place. Just one hour drive can get you to the landscape that is so different from where you are that it seems you are in another country! This time of the year San Miguel de Allende is flooded with tourists from all over the world. Its narrow streets become so crowded, it’s not even possible to walk. So, on Friday we decided to escape from the town’s frenzy and find some quite place to enjoy the day.

Without any particular plan we got on the road and 40 minutes later discovered a beautiful oak tree forest! The place was so peaceful, only the sound of rustling leaves and birds singing disturbed the perfect silence.

Knitting and travel

The oak trees were absolutely different from the ones I was used to in my childhood – these are much shorter and smaller. The rain season has been over for a couple of months now and the huge oak leaves are falling down colored in all shades of fall.

Knitting and travel

Can you believe how huge they are?!

Oh, what a joy it was to walk among the trees and listen to the rustle of leaves under the feet…

This is our fancy Christmas lunch 🙂

Knitting and travel

I got my books, yarn and a WIP, the yarn blended in the surroundings just perfectly! Holding this cotton skein in my hands and feeling rays of sunshine on my face was the best thing in the world!
Knitting and travel

It was the perfect day in the mountains – warm, but not hot. We were completely alone, the distant sound of music in the nearby village was the only evidence of other people.

Knitting and travel

We spent all day walking, climbing trees, playing with the dog, gathering fallen leaves and acorns…

Knitting and travel

To be honest I didn’t do much reading or knitting. I just wanted to be there, enjoy this day to the fullest and not miss a single moment. So, the only progress I made on my project was to handwind the skein.

Knitting and travel

Me and my family wish you merry and peaceful holiday season!

Knitting and travel

Happy Saturday!


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By | 2015-12-25T21:18:41+00:00 December 26th, 2015|Knitting, Travel|21 Comments

Crochet and Travel

Happy Sunday! I am so happy to be back! Thank you so much for all your good wishes on this trip! After 17 hours on the cargo ship and two days driving, we finally arrived to our destination. My crochet blanket “saw” the most amazing places along the way that I am happy to share with you. The blanket was growing really fast and by the end of the trip it’s more than 50% done! It was a great on-the-go project for me. The stitch pattern speaks to you which makes it so easy to remember, I memorized it after the first row. The only uncomfortable thing was to change the colors, as I am crocheting with three strands I had to carry 9 skeins in a project bag! But other than that it was perfect!

crochet blanketThe trip was exhausting, but oh so inspiring! It was such a pity that I couldn’t use a good camera, I wanted to stop and take pictures every minute! Mexico amazed me with how different and diverse it is – I felt like we drove through several countries!

We started our journey from the coast of Baja and drove through rocks and semi-desert fields. Three hours later we got on a cargo ship which is the cheapest and fastest way to get to the mainland on a car. We saw our home going away from us… I felt how tears were stuck in my chest, so many wonderful things happened here, so many wonderful people were left behind. But I kept saying to myself – how amazing it is to leave a place where you know you have somebody who carries about you, who loves you and who is always waiting for you to come back. How amazing to feel that you made a small but still a difference in some people’s lives and planted small seeds that will grow and flourish some day. How wonderful to leave a place that you don’t feel nothing but thankful to! Thank you, my dear Baja! You became our second motherland!

Knitting blog travelCargo ship was comfortable enough and the view from the upper deck was so worth the trip! It took us 17 hours to cross the Sea of Cortez.

Knitting blog travelThe sunset… How can you not feel surrendered to this beautiful universe?..

Knitting blog travelBy 12 next day we arrived to a beautiful port of Mazatlan.

Knitting blog travelI was immediately stricken with how green it was compared to Baja! I guess I spent too much time in a desert!

Knitting blog travelAnd off we drove through endless fields and green hills covered with corn, orange, lemon and mango trees.

Knitting blog travel Up to the mountains… We got into a tremendous thunderstorm while driving through mountains, I haven’t experienced anything like that before! The mountains were enormous, some covered with waterfalls! Truly magical nature!

Knitting blog travelThis nature makes my heart sing! I missed it so much! Yes, I loved Baja with its gorgeous secluded beaches, rocky mountains and breathtaking ocean views, but this scenery is so much more familiar and closer to me!

Knitting blog travelAnd here we are… Well, hello the town of my dreams… There is still so much to know about you, but I think I am already in love!

knitting blogDuring this trip and upon arrival I couldn’t help but wonder – how did I deserve it? How did I deserve a man who is always by my side, how did I deserve wonderful friends who helped us so much in so many ways, how did I deserve to witness so much beauty, how did I deserve to make my little dream come true to come to this magical town in the heart of Mexico? Looking back three and a half years ago, I see myself lost, unhappy in my town that was covered in industrial smoke and black snow, losing hope and faith in myself, wondering if I ever have a morning that I would meet with a smile… How did it happen? How did it turn around so drastically? And then I realized it was so ungrateful to question it! This is my life and this is what happens right now. After the darkness the sun always rises. It is the nature’s law! What is left is to gratefully accept all these blessings with open arms and heart and give back as much as I can.

So, to new life, to new journey, to new people and to new stitches!

Yarn ballHave a wonderful Sunday!


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By | 2015-12-25T18:01:53+00:00 August 9th, 2015|Crochet, Simple little things, Travel|17 Comments
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