Saturday, 28 May 2016

Currently working on: Meadow Mystery Blanket CAL

Pattern: Meadow Mystery Blanket Cal by DROPS Design
Yarn: Garnstudio Drops Safran
Colour: natur, vanille, marine, army, türkis
Hook: 3mm
Start of project: March 30th, 2016

On Ravelry

Nine weeks ago I started the Meadow Mystery Blanket CAL because I wanted to reactivate my crochet. Just like knitting I learnt how to crochet at school, so about 30 years ago. I was never any good and neither did I like it very much.

Because this happened to be true about knitting and my feelings totally changed I wanted to give crochet another chance. Somehow a CAL seemed like a good idea. I would learn by doing in little steps over the 18 weeks of the CAL and at the end I might know whether crochet was something for me or not.

my first two squares
 In the beginning I was terribly clumsy and I had to watch the videos over and over. I couldn't remember all the names of the different stitches. It was slow progress but now I can more or less read a pattern (a written pattern) and I had quite some fun with the granny squares we had to knit over the first eight weeks.

granny square daisies in a Greek meadow

This week it was time to join them all together, so now they look like a blanket for the first time, a tiny blanket which is supposed to grow more over the second part of the CAL. Knitting is still much more interesting for me but I enjoy learning new techniques and seeing the project grow.

after five weeks

Monday, 16 May 2016

Finished Object: Airflow

Pattern: Airflow by Justyna Lorkowska
Yarn: Madelinetosh Merino Light
Colour: Moonstone
Needles: 3.5mm and 3.75mm Round Needles
Start of project: April 15th, 2016
End of project: May 13th, 2016

On Ravelry

For this year's TTTKal I didn't really have a plan at first. I knew I didn't want another tshirt because the two shirts I knit last year (Waterlily and Gemini) don't get a lot of wear. They are both beautiful patterns and I like how they turned out, but I don't like wearing them on bare skin. I want to be able to wash a shirt as soon as I've worn it and that's just very complicated with handknits. I started wearing them over 3/4 shirts in spring which worked out fine but it's still not ideal. I decided a light cardigan or a shrug would probably be more practical, because these are always worn on top of something else.

When I saw Airflow I liked it right away. I have used Madelinetosh Merino Light before (for my Hitofude) and it's lovely to work with and keeps well. I wanted something neutral that would go with a lot of my other clothes so I decided to go with grey. In the yarn shops close by I found the colour Moonstone which looked lovely. It is grey with a hint of purple and light blue, really beautiful indeed. I looked through other people's pattern pages and read a lot about rolling edges because of the stockinette collar. In one project the knitter used a garter stitch collar and I liked both the look and the effect of it so I decided to modify it like that as well.

I had planned to start knitting my Airflow during the Stitching Retreat but the beginnig together with the modifications turned out to be too fiddly to do while talking at the same time. I started again at home, while dreaming about our upcoming holiday to Cyprus. The way this pattern is written is actually really interesting and I am glad I took my time with it. I knit a little bit during my first Knit'n'Sip and then I packed everything in my handluggage and continued knitting during both flights to Cyprus.

In Cyprus I got a great deal done. Sitting in the sunshine, enjoying the warm temperatures and a cup of tea and just knitting was the perfect way to wind down after a really stressful time at school. I especially cherished the early morning when it was just me and a lot of tranquility.

By the end of our week I'd split the body from the sleeves and had reached the bottom of the body. I decided to do the hem in garter stitch as well. I wasn't sure about the length, it seemed a bit short but I really wanted to have a first version done because I needed some project photos next to the sea ;-)

I started the sleeves during our flight back home and finished the second one during another Knit'n'Sip. When I tried it on, I was happy with a lot of it, the garter stitch collar and hem go great together and there is no rolling at all. I love the subtle eyelets that go down each front, the yarn and the colour are great but the length could be improved. It was slightly short in the back and too wavey because I'd added additional increases and I didn't like the way it looked in the front yet. So I went back almost a whole skein and started the bottom again.

I was a bit scared it would not work out because the yarn was all wavey from the frogging but I hoped for the magic of blocking. On Sunday it was blocked and dry and it looked just the way I had imagined. Fortunately I had a coffee date with my friend Silvia planned, so I asked her if she could take a couple of photos for me.

So for once I am not standing in front of the same old wall next to our parking lot but you actually get to see a glimpse of Zürich (the Schanzengraben, a medieval moat around the old part of Zürich).

After we'd taken the photos we had coffee and cake at Babu's (a new to me coffee shop that I totally liked), then we walked through the old botanical garden and along the Schanzengraben to the lake and had a look at all that water that was rushing down after the rain the last few days. We observed some fishermen having a relaxed time on the water (I don't think their goal was to catch anything) and then we strolled back along the Limmat and over the newly renovated Fraumünsterplatz to the main station. Such a lovely afternoon and during all that time my new cardigan felt totally comfortable and light.

Cyprus - Sightseeing

When we didn't enjoy the pool at Villa Diamond #5 we drove around the island to discover more of Cyprus.

On our second evening we drove a few kilometers to Coral Bay both for dinner and the beach. In Chlorakas the coast is really rocky and going into the sea is quite difficult. Our travel guide said that the closest sandy beaches were in Coral Bay so there we went. Because we were so hungry we had to eat first. Coral Bay is probably really crowded and busy in the summer but when we were there it felt a bit like a ghost tourist town. There were a few older English tourists there but otherwise we had most of the restaurant and the streets to ourselves. While we were eating the sun was setting behind the palm trees. We tried to catch the last bit of the sun at the beach but by the time we got there, it had already disappeared, so we just had a look at the sand and the water before we headed home. It actually got cold quite fast once the sun was gone.

On the next day we drove back to the centre of Paphos. It's only about 5 kilometeres away from Chlorakas but the streets in Paphos are really narrow and confusing so it was an adventure to find a parking space and to find the Archaeological Park which was our destination. Right next to the harbour and the sea there is a big area which has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1980. There are many remains of huge buildings and you can see beautiful mosaics with motives from the Greek mythology. It is also just a beautiful place to walk around and look over the sea back towards Chlorakas. I was glad we went there in May, it must be really hot during the summer months.

We didn't see a lot of modern Paphos. After walking around the park we were rather tired and hungry so we had lunch right next to the sea in one of the many restaurants on Poseidonos Avenue.

On Tuesday we decided to go to Polis, on the western coast of the island. It looked really close, less than 40 kilometers, but there are a lot of hills in between Chlorakas and Chrysochou Bay. Our car wasn't really the fastest on the way up, but we made it without problems. It was interesting to see how fast the landscaped changed into different colours, many shades of brown and grey and much less green once we left the banana plantations behind us. In Polis we left the car, had a glass of hand pressed orange juice in the main square - a must for tourists ;-) and then we went to the museum. They had a lovely exhibition with mostly clay jugs, jewellery and other finds from nearby excavations. Of course, Yannick liked the cannon best. We also went to Latsi, a small town just next to Polis, mostly because we wanted to go to the beach.

On our last full day Antonia and I drove eastwards towards another archaelogical site close to Limassol. Getting there was amusing, we almost drowned on the highway because it poured so hard, I drove on the wrong side for a little while to the consternation of some drivers who were on the correct side (nothing happened, it wasn't on the highway but a bit later) and we got lost a few times bccause we didn't have a proper map, but in the end we found Kourion. Again the location was really beautiful but it was also very windy.

On our way back to Chlorakas we stopped at Pissouri Bay for lunch and that restaurant was just the best spot ever to enjoy a typical Greek mixed grill with halloumi. Nothing beats good food to the sound of crashing waves.

Apart from these little car trips I really loved running along the sea in both directions. I always took a few photos with my phone, both to catch my breath and to capture the beautiful surroundings. I wished I could run there much more easily...

Too soon it was time to fly home again. While we were waiting for take off at Paphos International Airport we could see the rainclouds getting closer again. Once we were in the air it got really scary, the plane was jumping up and down and I have to say I was very glad when we reached the end of the clouds and all was calmer again in the sunshine.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Cyprus - Villa Diamond

view from the garden

Between the end of April and the beginning of May we spent a week in Cyprus. We flew to Paphos in the west and then picked up our car and drove to Chlorakas, which is just next to Paphos. We stayed in one of the many holiday villas there, ours was called Diamond Villa #5.

view from the street with our rental car

This villa was just what we had hoped for, a great house on three floors, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a comfy living room, a kitchen with some great welcome food in the fridge, balconies everywhere, in a quiet neighbourhood just a few minutes on foot to the sea and best of all the lovely garden with the pool. We spent most of our first days on the deckchairs, just enjoying the sun and the water. 

view from my balcony
The kids had a lot of fun - they swam, dived and snorkeled and once they even jumped into the pool with all their clothes on, because that's what you have to do when you have your own pool.

I spent my time getting on with my crochet cal and my knitting for the tttkal16 and I read and had lots and lots of coffee and tea.

We also took our traditional family photo next to the pool and in the grass. As usual there were both "serious" ones and fun ones where everybody pulled a face. I think this one is my favourite at the moment.

In the mornings I loved waking up to the eastern sun that came into my bedroom, going down to the pool still in my PJs and having the first cup of tea all by myself.

We also did a bit of driving around the island and sightseeing but that will have to wait for a second blog entry.