Monday, October 29, 2007


Ack. It's like this: Correos de España lost my yarn from Interweave. So I STILL don't have it, so as you can well imagine I am a nervous wreck. So finally I have given up waiting and started on a new project, and here it is, still in the 6 million test runs stage. The "A" is for Ann, my stepmother.

The cuff is done in a new and utterly impossible technique which me and some girls from Ravelry have dubbed "Mensa Stitch" but which is also known as Backwards Crochet. In the small photo to the left you can see my new version of the cuff, now that I'm a bit more adventurous in Mensa Stitch. On the right is the button band, just waiting for some buttons.

At the same time, I'm sooo lost in Ravelry. What an incredible phenomenon it is. Anyways, I'm back now after the initial headlong plunge into Ravelry, and promise to post more often.


Saturday, October 6, 2007

But it's a secret.

It's not like I've stopped crocheting, on the contrary I've been at it furiously since my last post. Only I'm not allowed to show you what I'm doing until it comes out in Interweave Crochet in Spring 2008! Wa-hoo!
It's been an exciting couple of weeks, writing and receiving emails from the amazing Kim Werker and feeling myself to be a Very Important Person indeed. She helps to decide on the yarns to use, and then, get this, she sends the yarn to you! And it hasn't arrived yet! So here I am, all my test runs completed, with my 3.5mm hook poised and ready to go at lightning speed as soon as the loot crosses my threshold.
And I got my Ravelry invite. So I log on and who do I find? Debolsillo, Danni, Ojos Verdes, Mae, Flavio, and Kim Werker too! What a strange sensation. It's like traveling to New York and running into them on Fifth Avenue.

And I ordered this exquisite, unbelievable, sock yarn from Colinette and am having trouble not eating it.
And I'm working on a new design for a vest which if I can actually figure out how to make is going to be beautiful-to-die-for. However, considering the number of test runs I seem to do before making anything, it may take a few years.
And Persones Llanes has announced the Lara Croft Tapestry Crochet Course. Somebody please sign up, so far there's only 2 people on the list. If I promise to bake cookies, will they come?
And I took the lolcat test, with this result:

Your Score: Lion Warning Cat

74% Affectionate, 57% Excitable, 42% Hungry

You are the good Samaritan of the lolcat world. Protecting others from danger by shouting observations and guidance in cases of imminent threat, you believe in the well-being of everyone.

Link: The Which Lolcat Are You? Test written by on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Blechh. Here's me, Lara Croft of crochet fame, so worried about stupid, unwoolly and unworthy issues that I can't muster up the wherewithal to post to my blog, despite the fact that I have much blogworthy news. This Leader of Men thing is not all it's cracked up to be. Distinctly Unwoolly.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Blgn, flgfd flbbl!...

Dlhj oioasd oio??? Voij nikjsp kpo o aoisj, noi djuuu!!!!
translation: I just got a letter from Kim Werker. So you will excuse my squeaky voice and garbled language. She's gonna publish my Troubador Socks in Interweave Crochet. I feel like I just inhaled 60 helium balloons. Unworthy, but happy!!!!!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Pick up a hook and yarn, and anything can happen.

Excuse: I hurt my wrist. So I made a tensor bandage. And then I just kept on going, without much idea of a pattern. Next ones will have a pattern though.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Now who might this be for?

This is insane. I hardly have time to crochet these days. I like doing 5 or 6 test runs before making anything pretty, but that's a luxury I don't seem to have these days. So my dear, I wish I could have made your birthday present a bit classier, but you'll have to be satisfied with this thing.
Meanwhile on the Administrative front, I have been reading books on "Management". You wouldn't believe some of the nonsense these Business people utter. "Big-impact items", "calibration of voice-of-customer verification" "client/server deliverables" "flywheel of revenue" "benchmarking against other companies"
I mean, for God's sake. What have they done to my language? "Deliverable" is not a noun. "Big impact" is not an adjective. Does grammar undergo some mysterious transformation when you hit the billion-dollar "benchmark"? Luckily my grammar is safe from that danger.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Señora Directora

And there I was hoping to become a professional Crochet Consultant. Turns out I'll be directing the conservatory where I work. These arrived today:

namely, 10-inch long dpn's for knitting rounds in groups of 3, a project which Luz and I were hoping to try out with the girls from BK.

Picture from the Finnish Craft Museum
Now that I have this new job, I'm pessimistic about my chances of getting back to BK meetups anytime before July 2008! Therefore I plan to sulk a bit before enjoying this cool new challenge.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Back to the Fun Part

And that's it, the whole knitted section, thank God. I have paid my dues, and I have proven to myself that I can knit. I can knit while watching CSI. I can knit with 2 strands, and even with 3 strands. Well, actually that last bit is not entirely true. 3 strands is not my strong point, as this nifty photo (yay for my iMac) of the reverse side demonstrates:
And the best part is, after removing the icky circular needle which made the thing look like a hula skirt, amazingly it turns out that it actually fits the DH!!
However, the experience while character-building did not change the fact that I find knitting very, very tiresome. I'm glad it's over, glad to be twirling again and finally done with all that Poking About with Pointy Sticks.

Friday, August 31, 2007

The end is in sight!

Maybe 6 more rows of this infernal knitting and I'll be back in the light: crocheting! Thank heaven. Sorry it looks a bit crumpled, that's because it is a bit crumpled. Well, at the present rate the DH should have this by Xmas 2009.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

La Vera Perfezione del Disegno 1561

Luz, what have you done? This was like giving Gollum his precioussssss. Now I have to make more Troubador Socks. Indeed, Troubador mittens, Troubador bags, Troubador vests, Troubador Beer Cozies. I'll run out of 12th century composers before I run out of inspiration from this incredible text. And now here's one for you: the textile collection at the Cluny Museum in Paris. Talk about colourways!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Encyclopedia of Needlework

The Encyclopedia I mentioned in yesterday's post, "Ouvrages des Dames" By Therése de Dillmont (1846-1890) is available online on this page in the English version, via the Gutenberg Project. The first file is the Table of Contents. I find the Crochet section fascinating.

Have to try these!

Monday, August 27, 2007

I heart BK

The finest people in Barcelona are knitters and crocheters. That is the only possible conclusion one can reach after attending the meetup I attended today. Today I:
Met an amazing knitter, Luz, designer of the most beautiful jacket known to man.
Was given an octopus with orange eyes, item coveted by me for weeks. Proving that you don't have to be at all normal to be a part of this excellent group. Just brilliant.
Held in my hands and read an Encyclopedia of "Labores de Señora" (I think that was the title) written by one Therése de Montdill in the 19th century and which Rosa has been lucky enough to be consulting since she was a kid, which is no doubt why she can whip up a super-complicated lovely lacy stole in one month.
It's really late, gotta go. More tomorrow.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

My new computer

My beloved Agent Scully, an exquisite white ibook, died the other day. She had been ailing for awhile and we all realized that sooner or later she was going to croak. Which she did: actually she shrieked, waking the neighbors and myself, sending me rushing out of bed to see if the aliens were murdering one of my cats. It was the hard drive which had gotten jammed and was trying desperately to keep spinning around. A valiant last stand, Agent. Sadly we drove into town to purchase a replacement, certain it would have to be a Windows Drone (Never I say, never) because frankly Macs don't come cheap. Bravely I walked right up to this Darth-Vader style HP laptop and said, "I'll take this one". The Imperial Agent said he would check if there was still one left, and while he was gone I discovered:

This on sale for less than the Evil Black HP. A happy ending, a new Agent Scully. Now watch this!! Is this a cool machine or what? You just sit in front of it and it takes silly pictures of you!


Meng my BF

The DS

Poor Kid.

Changes, changes

Some inner astrolabe of mine has just looped around and everything is shifting. No more 12th-century polyphony: Léonin & Pérotin have fallen silent after filling my summer with austere and archaic inspiration, and what's sounding now is Stravinsky, for pleasure, and Paraguayan Harps, for work. Yep. of the spheres in the aforementioned astrolabe is zapping me with reminders of all I have to get done before the new season starts. Luckily, my work is amazingly cool, just as cool as my hobby, so it's not too painful. What I'll do, is this:(this is a quote from Horatio Caine as you all know)open a Work Blog. But not today.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What I did on my summer vacation

Went to the beach.

Had Fideuà.

Made Troubador Socks.

But now I have to start getting ready for the coming season, which means that there will be be considerably less crochet, no socks and not much blog. It's been fun though.
The up side of the experience has been seeing how many people visit my blog and knowing that it's being useful to so many crocheters around the world. That is really a thrill. And making new friends: conversations with Pushka, in any language, were worth setting up a blog for. I made a new friend in Canada who I'll meet in October when she comes to BCN: now that is amazing, Internet Power used for Good.
Now here's the Down Side: It surprises me how painful it is to see that only one's friends post comments on one's blog. It's discouraging. People visit from all over the world, but nobody says, "like your blog", or "hate your socks", or "who the hell is Adam de la Halle". Upshot: blogging is freaking me out. I feel vulnerable and silly, and may decide to can the whole thing.
With luck, tomorrow I'll see this in a better light.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Adam de la Halle goes to Lapland

This is certainly getting closer. Only problem is, this was supposed to be a Troubador Sock, or rather a Trouvère sock, and somehow it got to looking like a Santa Claus sock. No matter, I can always hang it off the mantelpiece on Christmas Eve.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Bernart de Ventadorn rocks the world!

I can't believe it. Tejemanejes, the Spanish online knit magazine, are going to PUBLISH (omgomg) these very Troubador Socks in their next issue! In celebration of which I have decided to give them their very own Name, since Troubador Socks Number 1 is less than romantic. No, like roses each sock deserves its Name, and this sock is hereby named after that most excellent troubador, Bernart de Ventadorn. (He probably would have worn them, too, airy-fairy poetic type that he was, if only he'd had a day job to help him with the purchase of luxuries like socks.)

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Also known as the Slow Way of designing socks.

These are all tests, and all, so far, failed. But once I get it, these will be the World Famous

I am now in the design stage known as Complete Obsession (yay for summer holidays!) which is why I haven't written anything here all week.

Monday, July 30, 2007


My Opal Hundertwasser yarn has arrived! This promises to be a good week. Tomorrow I start designing more Troubador Socks using this stuff.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Friday, July 27, 2007

There is such a thing as too cute.

And this is it. Bunny. Pompom tail. Frankly, I don't think Juanma will allow it in the house.

These patterns, "Forest Friends", are shareware (I think that's what it's called): they're free, however the person who posted them asks for a small and voluntary donation, which is fair and well worth it. The patterns were written by her mother in 1981, and are beautiful, with hand drawings and photos in black and white.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A field of v's

Will this knitting never end?
Now I know why the Korsnäs girls do these knitted sections in trios. The level of tedium is dangerous for one person alone. On the other hand, I have to admit it's very pretty.

I just joined a great online group called Crochet Partners, and now my mailbox is brimming with crocheters from around the world. I entirely approve of this group: the posting rules are very strict, so all posts are 100% on the topic of crochet. Many thanks to Dee Stanziano for pointing me in the direction of the group!
And while I'm on the topic of thanks, I owe a heap of them to Debolsillo for spending hours teaching me how to Blog. Gracias por todo!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Yarn Shops in Barcelona

This is the most urgent of all posts, and I'm sure it will be helpful to people like me who have searched the net for this information, unsuccessfully, for years. Here it is, and like Barcelona Knits, I will keep on adding to it every time I find a new store. I think we should all do this: we all live in different neighborhoods and frequent different parts of town. Between all of us crafters in BCN we should be able to create our own Yarn Yellow Pages.

I think it's important not to be selective when listing yarn shops: not only the best ones, the biggest ones, the coolest ones, but every single store that sells yarn should eventually be represented here, or on somebody's blog. So here goes my own list. (Some of these places have web pages and some of them, among them some really good ones, do not.)

Persones Llanes
Plaça de la Llana, 7 baixos
932 691 347

This shop is small but excellent. They stock yarns and accessories that are unavailable elsewhere in BCN, such as Malabrigo, Garnstudio, Lorna's Laces, sari silk, Addi Turbo and Clover needles and accessories, and more cool stuff. This may also be the only place in town that sells self-striping sock yarn. May I add that Jennifer and Miquel, the owners, are delightful in every way.

Llanes Travessera
Travessera de Gràcia, 294
934 588 995

Llanes Travessera is a long-standing family business that has some "old-style" qualities and other features that may pleasantly surprise Barcelona knitters. It's quite large, and all the yarn is out on the floor, on shelves or piled into boxes and crates, and you can browse, touch smell etc. as much as you like. The proprietress has been working there since she was a teenager, and is a real expert in both knitting and crochet. "Guian las labores": meaning she can coach you row for row in any project you care to undertake. Both she and her daughter and everyone else who works there are pleasant and helpful. Oh, and they also make their own beautiful blends of yarns. This is not the place to look for exotic fibres or yarns imported from faraway places: most of their stock is Spanish, Italian or German, but even so it's a great YS.

Lanas El Globo
Passeig de Sant Joan, 34
932 310 450

A very large selection of Ornaghi Filati and a few other brands. An old-fashioned BCN YS where all wares are behind the counter and one has to ask for them. Coaching available.

La Barcelana
c/Brosolí, 1
933 198 451

This is a must-visit, even if it's not, strictly speaking, a Yarn Shop. It's actually a textile workshop full of looms, making and selling hand-woven scarves and clothing, but in addition they sell superb Argentinian yarns by Yanabey. The woman who runs the shop is a darling.

Tricot's Cafe
c/Balmes, 412
932 122 134

Quite large, merchandise is browsable, some lovely and uncommon yarns. Classes and workshops available, as well as a bar and restaurant.

Pau Claris 145 (esquina Valencia)
tel: 93 487 26 72

Old-style YS. I know that some people really like this place, but my experience has been uniformly unpleasant. All wares are behind the counter and you might have a hard time getting the saleswomen to show you what you want to see. When they finally do decide to help you, it's usually with poor grace. On the other hand, so far I think this is the only place in Barcelona that carries Rowan and Noro yarns, so I guess we'll just have to grin and bear it until somebody nicer decides to provide us with them...hint hint Jennifer and Miquel...

Lola Botona
c/Torrent de l'Olla, 179
932 177 336

Small neighborhood YS. I found some great Katia yarn there.

Merceria Santa Ana
Avda. Portal del Angel, 26 (2nd floor)
tel: 302 09 48

A daunting experience, but worth the effort. Talk about a place with character...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Forest Friends

Sneaking in a bit of crochet, a break from all this knitting. These are for Gemma and Juanma who are having a baby soon. The patterns are from this great page: The Crochet Works. I plan to make the Mouse and the Rabbit as well.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Lara Croft, Uncinatus Doctora (PhD in crochet)

News flash! I've been offered a course! I'm gonna be a crochet instructor!
Here in Barcelona our most exciting YS is a tiny little place in the Gothic Quarter called Persones Llanes. It may be small, but the young couple who run it have spearheaded Barcelona's knitting revival, and made available to us all the fibres we didn't used to be able to get anywhere in the city, province, or country. Like alpaca, sari silk, hemp, banana fibre, sock wool... no, I'm not being fair. Probably you could get them, but you'd have to have been Miss Marple to find out where; and this situation remains basically unchanged. (As soon as I figure out a bit more about this blogging business I will post my own directory of Yarn Shops, although Barcelona Knits has a good one already on this page.)
And I get to teach a course on Korsnas crochet at Persones Llanes!
This is what I came away with: The white alpaca is from Peru, sold to Persones Llanes by a passing Peruvian who walked into the shop. It's quite amazing stuff, and they have a crate full of it in all natural colours.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Knitting purgatory

I may have been exaggerating when I said that I don't know how to knit. Now I remember that I do know how to knit, I had an excellent teacher in my mother. It's just that when I'm crocheting, the thought of knitting intimidates me to the point of panic. So I apologize for misleading information.
I had to rip out 4 rows when I realized I was reading the pattern wrong. Not fun.
In Korsnäs, women sit down in groups of three or four to make these sweaters, and they take turns on the rows. (important update 22/07: they do not take turns on the rows! They do them all at the same time, 3 or 4 people knitting the same row! If you don't believe me, see this picture. God I wish I could read Finnish, and learn how this is done!)The most experienced ladies do the complicated crochet rows, the ones with three or more colours. Sounds like a plan to me. Personally I'm considering hiring a Ghost Knitter to take care of this next section for me, which promises to be long and tedious. Can't wait to get to the next crochet section.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pointy Sticks

Well, knitting is not really very hard, even with 2 colours. It's not that it's difficult, that's not it. It's just, well, not very exciting somehow. Now why is it that I find crochet so compelling and knitting so bland? I find myself grumbling "all this poking about with pointy sticks.." But I think it's not the pointiness of the sticks, rather it's the pokiness of the stitch. In you poke, out you poke, in you poke, etc. like a little machine. Whereas crochet is like ballet: every stitch is a little pirouette, or a big pirouette, or a triple axel, depending. And then you look at the stitches you've made and you see all these delightful structures, twirls and whirls, while in knitting you see this field of v's.
I hope this post is offensive enough to the knitting community. I'd love to hear you all rant and rave the way I have. Which is to say, the 3 or 4 people who read my blog, ie my most beloved sister, cousin, niece, husband, son...
No! There's more!
Allow me to introduce the most rockin' reunion in Barcelona: BARCELONA KNITS! Yesterday I went to my 2nd BK session. At the first one I went to, these very supportive knitters and crocheters encouraged me to start a blog, and here it is, even if it's still only in English. (La verdad es que me veo muy patosa escribiendo en Castellano, i encara més en Català.) Anyhow these folks are a treat, because they're all as yarn-obsessed as myself. When I start talking, they don't sigh and wait for me to get onto a more interesting topic.

When I first moved to Barcelona, like 20 years ago, in my neighborhood there were 6 or 7 little (and I mean Little) yarn shops wedged in among all the other tiny stores, and in each and every one of them you'd find a group of ladies knitting and crocheting and gossiping together. The proprietress of such a shop was invariably a master craftswoman who could take one look at you, measure you, and design your pattern for you on the spot, no matter what stitch or lacy pattern you wanted to try. Like Haute Couture. Patterns were not printed and there were few magazines: she just said, now decrease three stitches here, and it worked. There are not too many of those shops left, they're closing left and right as those incredible women retire, and my generation doesn't have the time or the skill to take their place. But when Debbie Stoller started the Stitch'n'Bitch revolution, I couldn't help thinking of all those little ladies chatting away over their needles in those tiny shops.
I know and have known many wonderful Little Catalan Ladies who do amazing needlework. So I plan to write about them all here, eventually.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

It's a Latvian mitten! No, it's a bag.

While we're on the topic of Korsnäs tapestry crochet, (upon which topic we will continue to be forever), this is another FO using Ktc. The "fairisle" pattern is from this page and the design of the bag is mine, which is why it's a bit strange. Never mind, I use it anyways.

And this is the DH's Museum sweater as of last night. One more row and we switch to knitting for the middle section. It's a daunting prospect for us confirmed Crocheters, since we, (I), don't actually know how to knit. However, my brilliant mother, who was a superb needlewoman and Belgian to boot, taught me stranded colourwork holding a strand in either hand, and although I was not very good at it, I figure (that is I hope) it must be hardwired into my genes. We shall see.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

How I became addicted to crochet.

So there I was flat out on my back for weeks with nothing to do. So this is what I did: got out the old crochet hook and whatever yarn I had from years back when my son was a baby, and designed me a log cabin afghan. I spent my days on the bed, buried in yarn, and did this. It was so much fun that I almost considered injuring myself again. My friends contributed to this by bringing me wool from the big city. You may ask, why has this afghan no border? It has no border because I got better, and all further projects have had to be purse-sized.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Move over, knitted socks!

Here they are, Troubador Socks in their new home, ie the feet of my best friend Meng.
Seeing them on her I realized that these actually work as socks, the kind you wear in your shoes or boots, albeit in winter. Which is uncommon for a crocheted sock. We crochet lovers wind up making a lot of bedsocks, slipper socks, footwarmers footies etc. But the tapestry crochet gives a compact, foot-hugging weave that is, you know, like a sock. Wow! I'm so proud! The possibilities are endless! Move over knitted socks!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Museum Sweater

Now that I've gotten to be such a whiz at this, here's another post, a picture of what I'm working on now. This is the very sweater on the Ostrobothnian Museum's (see link below) textile page! It's also pictured in full on the frontispiece of Marketta Luutonen's amazing book (see link below) so with the help of a magnifying glass I'm lifting the pattern. I wish I could scan the photo and post it here but I rather suspect this would be a violation of copyright laws so instead I suggest everybody run off and buy the book. It's written in Swedish, Finnish and English. (You see, Korsnäs is this small town on the Ostrobothnian coast of Finland, and in Korsnäs they speak Swedish.)
This is for my husband who has no use for troubador socks.
One of these days I will figure out how to take a better picture.
In the meantime, here are some great links for lovers of colourwork:
CIMDU PARAUGI (latvian mittens)
CIMDU RAKSTI (latvian mitten patterns)
RIGA NATO SUMMIT (Thousands of Latvian mittens!!)

Well, this is it: my blog, if I manage to figure out how it's done. I have recently come to realize that I have become an internet parasite. I can no longer count the number of ideas I've picked up from everybody's wonderful knitting and crochet blogs. So, now that I've actually designed my Very Own Pattern, I suppose there's no excuse for not posting it for you all to share. And since everybody but me seems to have been able to create blogs, it must not in fact be as impossible as it looks.
Here it is then: Crochet Troubador Socks Number One (hopefully in a long series)
This is Ostrobothnian (or Korsnäs, Bosnian, or Back Loop) Tapestry Crochet, which is just like tapestry crochet but always into the back loop.
The sock pattern is basically this one: Ultimate Crocheted Socks from Crochet Me magazine. Only the heel is different from Dorothy Hardy's pattern: I made an afterthought heel, the pattern for which is here.
For great pictures of Korsnäs crochet, try these:
The Ostrobothnian Museum

And this book, which is incredible: Decorative Crocheting (Färg och flärd med virkat) by Marketta Luutonen, Anna Bäckman and Gunnar Bäckman and which I bought here.