It all starts with yarn. In this case, I was enamored by the random craziness and color-changing fun of "Crazy" by Stonehedge Mill. My goal was to create an interesting (but not overly complicated) project that would show off this unique product.
I'm really pleased with the result. the pattern isn't difficult to knit, and the finished cowl is visually interesting. I'm not sure which part is more appealing; the color shifting yarns or the angled stripes. Either way, it's a cowl that I enjoyed making and am excited to share with you.
Is it a difficult pattern? Not at all. In fact, I found it to be perfect for knit night and tv watching. The color changing yarns kept cheering me on as I worked, and I found that a lot of progress was made each time I sat down to work. With this truly random yarn you have no idea what the next row will look like!
The pattern is available as a .pdf download HERE for $4.00. It requires techniques including provisional cast on, knit/purl, increase/decrease, following a simple chart, kitchener stitch, and applied i-cord.
I. Love. Peru.
What a wonderful treat it was to get to celebrate my 40th birthday in this incredible country! I decided to break up the experience into a few different blog posts to spread out the fun.
First, after a quick overnight in Lima, we headed to the gorgeous town of Arequipa. Hilly and quaint, it's architecture made me smile from ear to ear.
Our hotel was the Casa Andina Private Collection; the building began its life in 1794. Beautiful, barrel vaulted ceilings and stone walkways welcomed us. The food was delicious and when we had dinner in the private restaurant it was probably one of the best meals of the trip.
The little shops in this town made me smile. I love seeing the souvenirs and offerings in different areas. It's interesting to me to see what locals feel is important enough to translate to product to sell to travelers.
One day we walked to Mundo Alpaca (Alpaca World!) - a museum/experience center where we got to spend about 20 minutes feeding the sweetest mini-herd of alpaca ever.
We learned about how they sort the fibers (it's one woman and a HUGE pile of fluff that she sorts by hand according to color, texture, etc.) and how the fibers are processed. There's also a museum of sorts showing older processing equipment... and a kind of "live experience" area where a couple master weavers demonstrate the craft of backstrap weaving.
I could watch these magic hands for hours. It's enchanting witnessing the lift..skip..skip...lift...lift...lift...skip of counting hands as they work through one pick of weaving. No charts...no notes - just tradition, experience, practice, and time.
We also might have gone to the Michell (yarn shop) store while there, and I might have purchased some alpaca yarn... just a skein or two ;)
Another adventure was the tour of the Monestary de Santa Catalina. Founded in the 16th century, it's really a city within a city. Chuck and I toured the grounds and learned about the nuns... where they slept, how they lived. The property has been restored because of tourism. (The monestary is still active, but the nuns live/practice in an area separate from the toured section.)
I ran out of space on my camera in this place. Everywhere we turned was another gorgeous photo waiting to be captured. After a while, I just allowed myself to enjoy the experience and it was really overwhelming how beautiful and peaceful the place was.
One of my favorite stories in the Monastery was about Sister Ana de los Angeles Montegudo (the most famous nun from there) who lived and died in the 1600s. She is known for causing miracles and making predictions. She slept on a bed of nails (in the photo below) and the painting above her bed was done of her after her death (a common practice for nuns in the monastery). Read more about her here.
Outside of those walls, we encountered lots of local children and women carrying adorable little lambs. How could I resist!! - I posed with this lamb and its owners and learned that this sweet little baby is only 2 weeks old. They bring the lambs out for photography and bring a different one each day.
We also visited Juanita the Ice Maiden (no photos, but you can learn about here here) - She was a sacrifice left on top of a mountain somewhere around 1450-1480, and her quickly frozen mummy was discovered in 1995. It was interesting to tour the small museum and see the artifacts, as well as to learn more about the rituals surrounding her sacrifice. The most interesting fact I learned was that she walked for miles and miles, dressed beautifully, and seemingly went willingly to her death.
Heading out of Arequipa, here's a quick night shot of part of the cathedral on the square. I loved this city and didn't want to leave. It had so much charm and was really interesting. If I had gone home after these few days, I would have believed that the trip was worth it.
Little did I know what fun was lurking at the next destination!
...to be continued! :)
During the past few weeks two of my projects have been released. A magazine article and a knitting pattern:
In the Autumn 2014 issue of Ply Magazine, I write about spinning, and the Men's Knitting Retreats. (and of course, as I try to write here about the article, I realize how difficult it is to write about writing!) haha
Also, the latest Cast On magazine features my latest pattern, Thara. This is a fun colorwork cowl that was inspired by Thai weaving.
The studio continues to buzz with activity. Working hard on the book, and I have a few other designs clicking their way through the process on their way to publication. This fall promises to be busy, and I'm looking forward to moving through the "to do" list that's filled with such exciting things!