Nikki's Notebook

My journey as a fiction writer and a place for my projects, writing and otherwise.

Posts Tagged ‘argentina

Cones of yarn, yay!

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So I think I may have discovered a yarn for making the scarves I’ve envisioned all along. I wanted these scarves to be similar to a couple of shawls I got in Argentina and Uruguay. Both were made of heavy worsted 1-ply yarn in a simple, plain weave. One of them is a gorgeous ruana that I got at the Manos del Uruguay shop in Colonia, Uruguay. My eyes zeroed in on that logo like only a knitter’s could. It’s like my mind was saying, “Hey, that picture reminds me of yarn. It does mean yarn, doesn’t it?” It turns out that in Uruguay, Manos del Uruguay doesn’t sell yarn itself, but sells lots of stuff made from their yarn. My ruana is gorgeous and heavy and warm to wear around the house in the winter. I’ve also worn it as part of an outfit with a wooden shawl pin that I also got in Argentina, but it’s quite bulky and floppy, so is difficult to wear as part of an everyday outfit. Here’s an unflattering picture of me in it when I was trying to take pictures of my hat. I thought the shawl made me look frumpy here. But you do have to admit that, while it may be frumpy, it’s at least cozy.

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Anyway, I rather liked the look of the plain weave with the 1-ply yarn, and have been wishing for an affordable yarn that would work with my 10-dent heddle. I found Brown Sheep Lanaloft Sport weight from the Woolery. Funnily enough, on the same order as the yarn, I also ordered an 8 dent heddle, so I could’ve ordered the worsted version of the yarn, too. Today my yarn order finally came. I’m still waiting on one that’s backordered, because apparently the mill is having issues with the dye running. But two 1lb cones are enough for me to play with for awhile! I do notice now, though, that my attempt to order spring colors for my scarves resulted in me having a lot of pink and green yarn. I must have forgotten about all of the other spring colors. Like brown and black sand-covered melting snow. And brown grass. And mud. That’s spring in Duluth.

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Travel urges, or just the urge to be somewhere else.

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IMG_0483Sometimes I smell something, taste something, or something about the mood in the air will remind me of somewhere else I’ve been and make me want to go there. For example, the right kind of spring day last year made me want to be back in Argentina. Today, something, and I have no idea what, reminded me of being in Mexico with my friend Erika, shopping at a certain gift shop that we happened upon for a souvenir for another friend who couldn’t make the trip with us. Something that I saw as I was cleaning up toddler toys made me want to be here, in the callejon in Guanajuato, Mexico, going up these stairs and around the corner to the university. The thing is, I know that I’m lucky to have been able to travel to a foreign country at all, much less five starting when I was a freshman in high school. But now that I’ve traveled and lived abroad, I want to do more and more of it! Alas, it’s not in the financial cards right now.

DSC00354.JPGWhenever I travel, I’m drawn like a magnet to the textiles of the area I’m in. I have a little doll from a town called Humahuaca in the province of Jujuy, Argentina, who is made of cloth and is holding miniature knitting needles fashioned from toothpicks, and the needles have a tiny garter stitch scarf hanging from them. Note to self: photograph this doll. In the meantime, this is a picture of me at the top of some stairs going up to Humahuaca’s monument. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to somehow have a career that not only allowed but required me to travel all over the world to study and learn about textiles in different countries? I bet there are people who do that. In fact, I know that there are people who do that, in various forms, whether it be anthropology or artists or whatever. Well, I will figure out a way to travel somewhere again soon. Or relatively soon. I do have a wedding to plan and all.

Written by nikkinbird

February 4, 2011 at 3:17 am

Cute cats and a new necklace!

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Sleeping cats are cute.

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The top one is Tashi, my baby kitten who’s not so much of a kitten anymore. He’s taken a liking to that big squishy pillow that is covered in polar fleece, and can be found napping on it no matter where it is relocated day by day. It matches his squishy face.

The bottom picture is Mr. Mao, my brother’s kitten, who is all kinds of adorable wrapped up into a tiny, skinny, clueless package. Someday I will have to get a recording of his adorable meow, because it is, well, adorable. He has a distinct preference for cuddles from my brother and no one else, but if he’s very desperate he may deign to sit in my or Chris’s lap for about 3 minutes tops, every few months. We take advantage of these moments, for he is the cuteness.

Yesterday I took a break from all the knitting I’ve been doing on my Raglan Yoke Cardigan and finished a necklace I’ve been meaning to fix for a long time. flower pendant necklace 2It’s very simple, but that’s exactly how I think it needed to be. I got this dried flower pendant in Argentina at an outdoor market, or feria. When I got home I made a cord for it by braiding some of the same maroon hemp, and attached it to a clasp, but one of my knots untied and it’s sat, broken ever since. I found it the other day while looking for some other jewelry and decided to finally fix it. I just did a simple square-knot cord and, after experimenting with different ways to string the pendant on, decided to just stick all the cords through the hole instead of one or the other and trying to tie around it. I think it turned out pretty well, and it doesn’t slide on the cord but holds firmly in place, which is exactly what I wanted. A good accessory for a Valentine’s Day dinner!

Flower pendant necklace I’m not anti-Valentine’s day, but I am anti- all those commercials that seem to claim that the only way to really show a woman you love her is to buy diamond-encrusted jewelry, and that imply that it’s only the men who need to do the gift giving. The things I’ve always liked about Valentine’s day are chocolate and the chance to hang out with people I love, be it friends or a significant other. Which are pretty much the things I enjoy about every holiday, really. Since this Valentine’s day was the first one since I was in eighth grade that I did get to spend it with a significant other, I was kind of excited. We made it low key but special. We had dinner at the Pizza Luce in Uptown, which was where we ate on our second date, which was also the date on which we made things “official.” Then, wanting dessert but not wanting to buy a huge brownie fudge sundae at Luce, since those can feed 5 people, we headed to the grocery store. We were going to get ice cream, but the idea of a hot fudge brownie sundae was stuck in our minds. Then, the genius idea was born. We had brownie mix at home, why not buy vanilla ice cream and hot fudge and make fresh ones ourselves? Brilliant! So, we didn’t even have to take the chance of getting a stale, crusty brownie, and we got to share with my brother and his friends, who were hanging out playing video games and watching the Olympics with us. And, since it’s always nice to be appreciated, it was great to hear them say “This is the best day ever,” when we offered to share 🙂 Indeed it was.

My progress on the Garter Yoke Cardigan:
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Wow. Silly me. I seem to have photographed it inside out. Oops! Also, I am quite a bit farther than that now, as I have been sitting in front of the Olympics and chugging out rows, but at least you can see that I got past the sleeves and am on the body. I’m a bit worried because my row gauge was way off from the pattern and I’ve only made minimal adjustments. I hope it turns out awesome, though, because I’ve been wearing my new brown cardigan as much as I possibly can, and I am now hungry for more handknit sweaters!

Written by nikkinbird

February 15, 2010 at 3:54 pm

The trouble with tourist yarn.

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The trouble with tourist yarn is not knowing what it’s made of.  When I was studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina a couple of years ago, my friends and I hopped on a bus and spent an afternoon at the Feria de Matadores, an outdoor market with all kinds of artisan goodies.IMG_1212  As we were leaving and looking again at the last few stalls, I stopped in my tracks as I spotted something amazing.  A stall with a small pile of yarn skeins on it!  I was immediately entranced.  As I started fondling the yarn, the woman running the stall reached under the table and began pulling out more and more skeins, much to my delight.  I ended up going home with six skeins of yarn in an unknown fiber.  But it was not completely unknown.  From the feel of the fiber, it has to be alpaca, llama, or one of the other related animals.  IMG_1213Either way, I brought it to my after school class on the day we learned about llamas and told them it was llama yarn.  I passed the yarn and two balls of alpaca roving around the circle of less than 10 children, and watched as dismay as they untwisted the skeins and unrolled the balls of roving, my fiber becoming more chaotic as they played with it, just to enjoy the feel of it.  As a knitter and lover of fiber, I couldn’t really fault them, could I?  Still, I rather quickly snatched all the show and tell items back from them and moved on.

So that yarn was one of my best treasures that I carried back with me from my time abroad.  And I bring a lot of treasures, for as a tourist, I am a compulsive trinket gatherer.  I especially love handmade souvenirs. IMG_1209The yarn has gone through a few variations as I tried to start projects with it, but I never quite found the perfect project to make with it.  Then, after bringing it to class, I realized it would be a perfect yarn to try in my new loom! And a scarf was born! This is my fourth project that I’ve done since I got my Kromski Harp, and so far it is my favorite. The drape of the alpaca (or llama, or whatever) yarn is amazing, and it has that soft, buttery feel. I’m also pretty pleased with the plaid. It was the first time I tried doing different colors in the warp. The width of the scarf is perfect, too. I made it extra wide so that it could be worn bunched up for more warmth. The only thing is, it’s not exactly my colors. If the brown were a bit deeper, perhaps. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it yet, but for now it is sitting around here looking pretty and letting me pet it. Of course, Tashi thinks he knows exactly what it’s for.

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Written by nikkinbird

December 21, 2009 at 9:17 pm

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