Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Finished Object: Quicksilver

Pattern: Quicksilver by Melanie Berg
Yarn: Sun Valley Fibers 75/15/10
Colours: Stormy, Waterfalls, Golden Harvest
Needles: 4.5mm round needle
Start of project: February 14, 2015
End of project: February 25, 2015

On Ravelry

With this shawl it was love at first sight. Usually I am quite good at putting possible projects in my queue on Ravelry and then think about it for a while but when I saw this shawl and I saw that there was an actual yarn kit for it, I couldn't resist and I had to order it right away. It was my first order from the USA and I wasn't sure how long it would take to get here. I was very pleasantly surprised that the yarn got here in only a little more than a week.

The yarn is a dream to touch and to knit. It's very soft and the colours are just as beautiful as I hoped they'd be. I think this combination is going to be so great with the kind of clothes I like to wear.

I started knitting this shawl on my first evening in Tschiertschen on our winter holidays. In the beginning there were only 6 stitches and progress went so quickly that I was scared that there wouldn't be enough project for the whole week. But then the shawl gained more and more width and in the end I had to take it home again and needed a few more days to finish it. Nevertheless this will always remind me of the mountains and I am sure I'll take it along next year.

Today we had almost spring like weather in Switzerland. It wasn't very warm yet but it was sunny, so we were able to go outside for a few photos (thanks again to my lovely photographer girl ;-). Afterwards we hurried back inside because it's not really t-shirt weather yet.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Ski holidays in Tschiertschen

Last week we were in Tschiertschen in the Swiss Mountains. It was our third time there, second time in the winter. Like last September, we stayed at Hotel Gürgaletsch, which is probably my favourite hotel ever.

Hotel Gürgaletsch on the right
The hotel has beautiful views all over the mountains but the real reason why I love it, is that it just feels so right to be there. The food is great, the hosts are lovely and in the evenings it's a melange of kids running around playing and adults knitting, puzzling, playing cards and talking. It doesn't feel like a hotel but rather a very friendly place to be (and no, nobody payed me to write this ;-)

early morning view from my bed
 This year we were very lucky with the weather, there was so much sunshine and the temperatures weren't too cold. There wasn't too much snow, away from the prepared slopes there was no powder and sometimes it was rather icy in the afternoon, but it was enough and all that white and blue made more than up for it. My kids had a lot of fun skiing too, it was much easier this year, because they aren't basic beginners anymore.

Gürgaletsch, 2441m
I had a few rides down Gürgaletsch that felt like flying and the best moment was walking up all the way to the top of the mountain and seeing a chamois mother and its kid.

I enjoyed being with other adults - that's one thing I often miss while on holidays - and being outside all day after a long rather grey winter in Zürich felt great. It was hard to leave today, but then school starts again on Monday and next week is supposed to be grey with snow anyway.

(If you feel like seeing a few more photos from these holidays, you can switch to my flickr account...)
the clouds are coming - it's time to go home

Sunday, 15 February 2015

A year of knitting - year 1

Exactly a year ago I started to knit. Actually I started again, because like all Swiss girls I'd learnt to knit at school between the age of 10 and 14. Then knitting was horrible. The yarn always was too tense, my fingers turned white from the lack of blood, my stitches kept dropping and I can't remember finishing anything. The only big project I ever started was a ski sweater when I was around 16. It was an intense dark pink, it was all stockinette (I think) and it had a V-neck. I got as far as the ribbing and maybe two inches on the back and then I gave up and my mom had to finish it for me. After that I gave up knitting.

Almost 30 years later, last year in February, we were on holidays in Tschiertschen with friends. I knew that my friend Evelyne was always knitting stuff in the train on her commute. I was kind of fascinated but had no idea how to start. So when we planned our holiday she promised to bring along some yarn left overs and a couple of needles for me to try.

The rest is history or almost 50 finished projects in my first 12 months. What started with a very lopsided pair of 2r2l wristwarmers turned into a fierce passion.

I am very happy to have found this creative way to spend my time and I am proud how much I learnt in just a year. Thank you so much, Evelyne, for starting this and I am so pleased to be back exactly where it started, in Tschiertschen in the Swiss mountains, spending time on the slopes and in the evenings chillaxing with a new project on my needles.

Here is what I've done in these twelve months:

Wristwarmers, mitts and gloves

I love to knit mitts, they are fast but can be so different from each other. I like to knit them for other people, 5 of these were presents. My favourites are the Feather and Fan Wrist Warmers on a cool summer evening with a t-shirt, the Cable & Lace Wrist Warmers for inbetween fall weather and the Adelia Mitts for when it's quite cold.

Socks and baby booties:

I'm kind of undecided about socks. I love knitting the first one, not so much the second one. There are lovely sock yarns and very cool patterns. But (and I think that's keeping me from knitting more of them so far) I find it difficult to knit the right size, they always get too large after I've been wearing them and they are worn inside shoes so nobody can actually see them. 

Shawls, scarfs and cowls:

Scarfs make good presents too - 4 of these are now warming someone else. My favourites are the Estuary Shawl for inside and the Round Shawl for when it's not yet very cold outside.


When I started knitting tops I found choosing the right size very difficult (especially because I always used yarn that made me calculate a lot) Therefore the first two were too big and then one was a bit too tight. Now I think I am slowly getting the hang of it. So far I've only given away tops for babies, I guess I have to get really good at the sizing before I make sweaters that can't be grown into.

The one I wear most is probably the Sundottir, followed by the Ravello. I'm looking forward to warmer temperatures when the Lush can be worn again and right now I am knitting a second I Heart Cardigan, trying to get it better fitted the second time.


Hats are good presents again, half of them belong to somebody else now. I keep looking for the perfect hat. Sadly a few of my hats have grown while I wore them, they were really comfortable at first but then they started to get too loose for my liking. I am trying to figure out a way to fix this (knit smaller hats or add an elastic somewhere???)

Home and decorations:

Last but not least I knit a few things to make our living room more beautiful. The christmas decorations looked lovely among our other stuff on the tree, the hearts are still hanging on the wall because I like them so much and I use the Vivid most chilly evenings while knitting, reading or watching TV.

Because Ravelry knows best: 18,338 meters in 46 projects - Phewww!!! So many meters and projects - I am curious what I'll knit in my second year ;-)

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

A walk with Grosmi

It's been a while since my grandmother came to see us.

At almost 94 she tends to stay home a lot, especially when the roads are covered with snow or ice. Today she came to eat cake with us and then we took a little walk which we all enjoyed.

I think we are all getting ready for spring and warmer temperatures.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Currently knitting: I heart cardigan

Pattern: I heart Cardigan by Tanis Lavallee
Yarn: Tanis Fiber Art Green Label
Colour: Sand
Needles: 4.5mm and 5mm round needles
Start of project: January 31, 2015

On Ravelry

This is the second time I'm knitting this cardigan. The first time was last April and I was still very much a beginner, it was actually my first real big project. So it's not very surprising that it didn't turn out that well (thought it's not that bad either). Whenever I wore my cardigan I dreamed of knitting it again with a better fit. I'd also been dreaming about using Tanis' own dyed yarn for ages. It came to a point where it just felt right. I was happy to see that the shipping cost
wasn't much more than when I order yarn from Switzerland and it only took a couple of days to arrive.

I did a little gauge swatch at the beginning. I found out two things - the yarn is wonderful to knit with, warm and squishy and my stitches were right for once. I decided to cast on for a size 34 which might be quite fitted but that's what I want.

Apart from having to knit the ribbing twice (there is a mistake in the pattern right in the first row, which I forgot to note last time) progress has been steady. It's not a pattern for watching TV, at least not for me. The cables aren't terribly complicated but they need concentration. So instead I've been listening to podcast, right now I am enjoying the latest PomPom podcast with Lydia and Sophie. They are so cute.

There's one part in the pattern that I didn't like so much last time and I am trying to figure out how to change it. The cardigan is very wide in the shoulders and I am totally not which makes it look like I am wearing shoulder pads. I definitely want to change that but I am not sure how yet. Right now I tend towards decreasing more stitches on the side of the arm opening but I don't know if that means that I'll have to adapt the arms as well. There's still a lot of the back to knit before I'll reach that part but if you have any ideas or links, please tell me!

I'll link this to Auf den Nadeln im Februar, maybe they can help...

Looking back: 2nd of February

Ten years ago, in 2005, my grandmother came to see us every week. She was still very fit then, could play with the kids without problems and sometimes she'd even sit with them on the floor and push toy cars around. Today she's much more fragile and doesn't come to our place very often anymore, last time she was here was on Christmas' Eve. She's close to 94 now. Amazing as well to see how small Y&A were. Now they are just about to be real teenagers.

This photo from 2007 is one of my favourite photos of myself. I really like how my hair looked then. I look so young and without worry - I wouldn't mind turning back that clock.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Reading Challenge 2015 - January

One month in and there is a bit of progress on my Reading Challenge. 

1. a book with more than 500 pages: "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt (01/24)
2. a romance:
3. a book that became a movie: 
4. a book published this year: "First Frost" by Sarah Addison Allen (01/28)
5. a book with a number in the title:  
6. a book written by someone under 30: 
7. a book with nonhuman characters: 
8. a funny book:
9. a book by a female author: 
10. a mystery or thriller:  
11. a book with a one-word title:  
12. a book of short stories:  
13. a book set in a different country:
14. a nonfiction book: 
15. a popular author's first book: "Garden Spells" by Sarah Addison Allen (01/06)
16. a book from your favorite author that you haven't read yet: 
17. a book a friend recommended:
18. a Pulitzer-prize winning book: 
19. a book based on a true story:
20. a book at the bottom of your to read list: 
21. a book your mom or dad loves: 
22. a book that scares you: 
23. a book more than 100 years old: 
24. a book based entirely on its cover:
25. a book you were supposed to read in school but didn't: 
26. a memoir:
27. a book you can finish in a day: "The Same Sky" by Amanda Eyre Ward" (01/25)
28. a book with antonyms in the title:
29. a book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit:
30. a book that came out the year you were born: 
31. a book with bad reviews:
32. a trilogy (the first):  "A Discovery of Witches" by Deborah Harkness (currently reading)
33. a trilogy (the second):
34. a trilogy (the third):
35. a book from your childhood:
36. a book with a love triangle:
37. a book set in the future:
38. a book set in high school: 
39. a book with a color in the title:  
40. a book that made/makes you cry:
41. a book with magic: "Lost Lake" by Sarah Addison Allen (01/04)
42. a graphic novel:
43. a book by an author you've never read before: 
44. a book you own but have never read: 
45. a book that takes place in your hometown: 
46. a book that was originally written in another language: 
47. a book set during Christmas (or similar holiday):
48. a book written by an author with your same initials:
49. a play:
50. a banned book:
51. a book based on OR turned into a tv show:
52. a book you started but never finished: