New year, new life… – again

As much as I swore to myself to try and keep blogging consistently, the end of the year and the beginning January ended up being pretty silent…again. Packing during Christmas and moving at the beginning of the year seems to be a recurring theme in my life, well this was the second time in a row. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you might know that I moved to New Zealand from the north-western corner of Spain at the beginning of last year. Back then we settled in Chan’s lovely house, about 20 mins away from Wellington city centre by car.

However, after a few months of struggling with commute and trying to make a truly HUGE space feel like home, we decided that life in the suburbs was definitely not for us.  Although we didn’t move continents this time, in a way, this was still definitely the biggest move I’d ever done. See, in my adult life I’ve been careful not to accumulate too many belongings, mainly because I never really lived anywhere for more than a couple of years. Chan, however, is the opposite.  So, it’s been a stressful couple of weeks over the “holidays”, but now it’s mostly done. We still have to find the right place for a few things and get rid of other stuff, but I’m happy to report we now have a place we feel at home at. And I must say, it’s a pretty good start for the year! Happy 2017! 🙂

But let’s get to business, plans and goals for the New Year:

  • Be organized: I always feel like I want to do so much more than I actually do, and that I also really should be able to, if only I managed to be a bit more organized with my time. Of course, I probably also want to do way too much. Running, cycling, knitting, breading, reading, blogging… these are all pretty time consuming hobbies after all. In any case, the challange is on, I want to do more of all of these and get better at them this year.
  • Finish what I’ve started – knitting: As usual, I have quite a few projects going on, some of them nearing completion. This might mean a series FOs coming up in the first half of the year, hopefully! Bring it on Waterlily, Improvised sweater and Little Wave Cardigan!
waterlily-in-progress

Waterlily tee in progress

  • Patterns: Although I really, really, really want to venture more into trying my hands at knitwear design, somehow I always shy away. I guess all too often I just want to do some mindless knitting – i.e. following a pattern someone else already made up – instead of having to worry about doing maths for stitch counts myself. This year I finally published the RUN beanie pattern, and, who thought, some knitters actually liked it. I was so very happy to see this beanie made by a Portuguese knitter!
run-beanie

RUN beanie

  • Jewellery: Because I cannot just do one thing, I ended up taking up beading again last year. Not only that, I eventually made the leap of opening my Etsy shop – árbore·do·fogo. I’m yet to find out where this project would take me, but for now I’ve enjoyed learning about all kinds of things related to starting an online business. Not to mention the thrill of creating beautiful jewellery pieces! I will really need to put my organizational skills to work to create at least a few new designs, maintain the website and social media accounts. But that’s where the fun is, right?
double-triangle-earrings-arboredofogo

Double Triangle earrings – arboredofogo

  • Learn something new: I am definitely one of those people who’d prefer that their days last 48 hours. There are so many things I would like to try/learn, especially when it comes to making… This year I would really like to get better at photography – maybe do a course? – and try dyeing and/or spinning.

6 Knitted Christmas Decoration Ideas

I cannot believe that we are already in December – especially because when I look out the window all I see is brilliant sunshine, green trees and birds happily picking around in our garden. Clearly I’m not the only one having trouble tuning in to things that are topically considered Christmassy in other parts, though. Air New Zealand has just released their version of a Southern Hemisphere Christmas song, Summer Wonderland, with a cool video starring none other than Ronan Keating and the young kiwi actor Julian Dennison. There you have it dear Northern Hemisphere readers, Christmas is not all snow balls and sleigh bells!

With that said, I still couldn’t stop myself from going through the Christmas-themed projects I’d favourited on Ravelry over the past years. Only to conclude that, yet another year, I’ll most likely not be knitting any Christmas decorations. I mean, who doesn’t dream of having all sorts of beautiful, although sometimes kitsch, handmade things in their home this time around? But, there is the downside being that most of this stuff actually takes a lot of time to make – hence requires… ehm… planning ahead.

Take for instance Christmas stockings. These would be the knitted Christmas item par excellence in my dictionary, but they are pretty time intensive colourwork projects. Of course, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t some relatively quick Christmassy options available for us with less foresight / enthusiasm / both.

Eventually, I ended up with two lists: 1. Kind of cool Christmas things I definitely won’t knit this year, or maybe never, 2. Christmas items I could potentially knit in the following few weeks, but probably won’t. The fact that I’m not (yet) possessed by the Christmas spirit should, of course, in no ways hold you back from making your pick and getting inspired by the projects in each list. That is the whole point!

Kinda cool, but definitely not this year – maybe never

1. Knitted christmas stockings

As I said above, these seem to me as the knitted Christmas item par excellence – well, after really kitsch Christmas sweaters, but I won’t even go there. Whether you opt for solely decorative stockings to be stuffed with presents or a more practical pair of wearable Christmas-themed socks, you are in for some serious stranded knitting. For me, the ultimate Christmas stockings would look like the ones proposed by Dorene Delaney Giordano. I mean, some traditional motives and your name on it, hanging above the fire place! How cool is that?! Never mind the fact that we haven’t got anything remotely resembling a fire place. It is still cool! A wearable alternative for practical minded knitters is this pair of socks by Drops design.

2. Mitten Garland Advent Calendar

One thing I particularly loved about Christmas as a kid were those advent calendars with a cardboard cover having a “window” for each day of December. Behind each window you would find a piece of chocolate. The chocolate was not the best quality, but the fun of finding the window with the right number – they were scattered around in no particular order – and seeing what shape the day’s chocolate would be were something to look forward to on each gloomy winter morning! I also always thought it would be kind of fun to have an advent calendar where the “gift” of each day was a real surprise, as opposed to yet another piece of chocolate. This is far from impossible to create, but I’ve always been too lazy to do it. So, imagine knitting 24 different tiny mittens to hold these gifts! I would have to start today to be ready for next Christmas! It is kind of cute though; just have a look at Kat Lewinski’s Mitten Garland Advent Calendar.

3. Christmas Mice

A Christmas round-up wouldn’t be complete without Alan Dart’s Dickensian Mice – the outdoors and indoors Christmas party edition. This must be the future old lady me speaking, but aren’t they adorable? If you are into mice, but low on time, the designer has a free pattern called Furry Fairies, which, as you might have guessed, are tiny mouse fairies to be used as Christmas ornaments.

christmas-party-mice

“Quickies” that I could potentially knit, but probably won’t

All of the “quicker” projects I’ve found are of course Christmas ornaments. If you have some time on your hands, they seem like a good way to get rid of all those leftovers in your stash. Also, they can make cute and inexpensive gifts.

4. Stjärna

Stjärna by Karolina Eckerdal is by far the most appealing to me. I can see these cute stars made in some roustic natural colour wool as well as red / purple. Oh wait, I even have that in my stash! Maybe, maybe…

5. Balls Up !

There are a lot of Christmas ball patterns out there, the reason why Balls up! by General Hogbuffer caught my eyes is the Nordic-style motives on the newer in blue, white and red versions. I’m not sure what’s the point in knitting Christmas balls when you can buy nice sparkly and shiny ones, but again, they are handmade and CUTE!

6. Gingerbread Boy

Of course there is no Christmas without gingerbread! Be it star-shaped, house-shaped, man-shaped, gingerbread is a must! Gingerbread Boy by Sara Elizabeth Kellner is just what you need to produce a non-edible, hence permanent version.

P.S.: If interested, I have collected a few more ideas on my Christmas knitting + crochet Pinterest board.

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Free knitting pattern: RUN beanie

I knitted my RUN beanie ages ago, but somehow I never got round to publishing the pattern for it. I don’t talk much about running on this blog, but I do run, and runners like to show that they are runners. Hence the idea of the beanie! Also, given this is an easy and relatively quick knit, you might just be in time to turn it into a Christmas present for a runner in your life, or perhaps for yourself!

Also, I used the lovely Portuguese Retrosaria Beiroa yarn for my beanie. I love how it is so light and lofty, at the same time as rustic with darker strands of wool spun into the yarn. I’m also fascinated with the story behind the Retrosaria yarns, whose aim is to revive Portuguese wool and yarn making. Next time I’m in that part of the world, I simply can’t miss out on visiting their shop in Lisbon!

ÁRBORE·DO·FOGO NEWS:

I’m currently doing a Black Friday sale in the shop, which means you’ll get a 30% discount on everything that’s there from today all through the weekend! Use the promo code BF2016 to be eligible for the discount.

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