Saturday, 3 July 2010

Secret Pal Goodness

My second parcel from my wonderful Secret Pal. Just the outside of it promises so much goodness. Beautiful box.
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Inside did not disappoint! Gorgeous wool/silk and the most perfect red, wonderful chocolate smelling soap, and blueberry flavoured licorice - I never even knew such a thing existed. I have reached the age of 31 and 364 days without realising you could get flavoured licorice.
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Isn't that yarn gorgeous? It is enriched with aloe vera and jojoba too just too make it even more perfect. Meanwhile I have been busy with the first lot of yarn she gave me and have finished the back of the flower child top. Except I think I've made a mistake with part C as it doesn't seem to match D. Ah well. Plus of course there's the seaming. May do the front in one piece.
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Of course SP isn't all one way - I have my own pal to spoil and so I made her some stitchmarkers from some of the beads I bought in Istanbul.
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I've made a matching set for myself. I always used to find the eye thing a bit freaky but I guess seeing it every-single-where in Turkey has cured me of that and I like it now. Small ones at least.

While making stitchmarkers I also whipped up this bracelet using some flower beads I got months ago.
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It seemed suitably summery. And then I played with the safety pins I got along with the beads.
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I've never seen such beautiful ones!
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It is of course the big 3-2 birthday tomorrow and I've been very lucky to get some presents already. This is one I bought myself.
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It's the Crafty Leftovers zine which I saw when I was reading Tangled's blog. She's contributed some things to it this time. You can order one here. It's not cheap but I rather like it. Then I've received some excellent books from my lovely m-i-l and s-i-l.
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I loved the Freakonomics book and regularly use examples from it in random conversations. So I'm looking forward to reading the follow-up. Then the bead book is a brilliant "learn the techniques" one and the Knitting Green one I didn't know at all but is full of knittery goodness.

I also got a fabulous Cath Kidston bag with a perfect card of a me-a-like surrounded by beautiful presents. Someone has been spying on my dreams.
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And I've got even more to open tomorrow, including ones from Pooch and another from my m-i-l wrapped in the most perfect paper.
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Isn't that awesome!

So all that's left is to show you the socks I did based on the Impasto Shawl from the last Interweave.
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They weren't what I intended but they're fine and Pooch likes them. Then there are the ones I am doing for me using the free Aquaphobia pattern.
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Very beautiful and I love how it breaks up the yarn.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Beautiful Patchwork

Long, long ago I saw this quilt on Flickr. It was love at first sight. After a year of work it is finally coming together. This is it laid out on the floor without the quarters sewn together.
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Then with the corners of the squares placed in the right places.
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So exciting to see it like that. Just look at some of the individual sections.
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The colour of the surrounding corners really brings out the colours of the fabrics in the circles.

I've started sewing them together and have the first two with all the paper removed. This is my first double-bed sized fabric quilt of this complexity so it is wonderful to see it coming together.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Knitstanbul Part 2

I left off just where things were getting interesting - the knitting section of the Grand Bazaar. I scored. Not too much because I had to get it in the suitcase, but still pretty well. No ball was more than £1.25 and some were 25p. Good stuff. Firstly 5 colours of sock yarn, of which these are 2.
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Then some acrylic but very soft and lovely colours. I would have got more, but space demands constricted me. Such a shame.
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Some lovely metallic (plus another of the sock yarn colours).
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And lastly some ribbon yarn which I thought might make another floaty scarf.
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Elsewhere I also got a load of beads, gorgeous rayon embroidery skeins and other goodies.
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One of which is these lengths of beautiful flowers which I saw made into necklaces.
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And last but not least, my fabulous shoes.
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At this point we moved to hotel number two, which was very modern and luxiourious.
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Sadly it coincided with us both getting stomach bugs. Poor Pooch.
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We still managed to enjoy ourselves though and especially at the Pere Museum who had a huge exhibition by an artist I hadn't heard of but who I definitely love - Fernando Botero. This is a sample:
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I just adore the face of the clown on the right. His paintings were quite astonishing, especially when collected together. I especially loved the pastiche ones like his version of the mona lisa and of course this one.
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The most memorable part of this second part of the holiday for me was undoubtedly the turkish hammam scrub I had in the hotel's spa. It was an unusual experience. I started off with a kind of sarong round me but that rapidly vanished. It really was an amazing experience. I was sitting on warm marble next to a little fountain running with warm water. The guy had a silver bowl and kept using it to ladel water over me. He scrubbed me all over with a loofah mit which removed a horrifying amount of dead skin. Then it was face down onto hotter marble covered with a towel to be literally covered from head to toe with soap suds which he then massaged into me all over. Then back to the warm marble seat to be sloshed with more water and he washed my hair too. I came out literally floating and feeling like I was high. Since we got back I've been looking for a place in london for a similar experience and darling pooch has got me a voucher for one for my birthday. Huzzah!

Since I've got back I have been patchworking and adding to the tutorial page of this blog. Having used my travel jewellery pouch extensively on holiday I am thinking it is a perfect place for handmade present inspiration as well as rainy day moment.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Knitstanbul Part 1

(To be fair, this is the name of a group on Ravelry that I would strongly recommend anyone thinking of going to Istanbul visit first. They give great advice.)

Yay! Istanbul! It was brilliant, Our first hotel was sublime. This was our little balcony.
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The hotel had three resident cats. This is Lonesome George. He was slightly senile and spent a lot of time sleeping.
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This is Mr Mijage. He was very affectionate, especially if you gave him your breakfast butter.
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Cats abound in Istanbul - especially in the traditional half around Sultanamet. I saw that in Morocco too but there the people didn't seem to like them. Whereas in Istanbul it's like they both exist together quite peaceably, doing their own thing.

The city is the most well defined 'city of two halves' I have ever seen. Sultanamet has Aya Sophia, Blue Mosque and traditional museums. All were extremely inspiring. This column...
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...reminded me so vividly of this sock. Now there's a sentence you don;t see very often. Then look at this door carving at the Tokapi Palace.
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Awesome.

But of course, we weren't just there for culture. There was the football too. We had a number of meals like this.
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It was rather sweet really, and left me free to knit away. Speaking of which, this is what you want to be looking for in the Grand Bazaar.
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And this is what you'll find when you get there.
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Wall to wall knitting shops all round a courtyard. Admittedly it is mostly acrylic but hey, it's still good.

More to come in part 2.....
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