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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Two Designs for Classic Elite Yarns

These two designs were just posted on Ravelry.com and on the Classic Elite Yarns website, so they are very new. I loved working with Classic Elite yarns. Each of these yarns are soft and show stitch patterns beautifully. The finished project shapes very well and it is just enough drape to the fabric.
This cropped jacket is shaped beginning at the lowest point of center back. I used short-row technique to produce this shape while making the jacket in one piece. Yarn: Princess.

The vest is also made in one piece without any seams. The Russian-based garter stitch lace and the border are applied here with a thicker yarn Wool Bam Boo. This is my first attempt to apply this technique beyond the Orenburg shawl. It worked for me and I hope you like it as well.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Gloves for Claudia Hand Painted Yarns

I love Claudia's yarns. The colors are always beautiful no matter what colorways you choose. These two designs are sold as one pattern on Patternfish.com.


Although the yarn and the gauge are the same, these designs are different. That means you are getting a bargain of two designs for the price of one. The rib on the palm side assures a great fit. Photographed samples for both sets of gloves were knit by Pam Morrell.

Monday, July 25, 2011

CABLED CAP in Knit Noro.

I was busy with so many things and then I was busy traveling (who is complaining?:) I am just saying) that I missed the times when my designs came out. Since there are too many for one post, I am going to break them up into three Groups.

The earliest out of this bunch is the Cabled Cap published in the book Knit Noro (Soho Publishing / Sixth&Spring books).This gorgeous hard-cover book has 30 designs in it.

This hat is made out of Silk Garden by Noro. I used a little more than 1 ball of it. I love the colors of this yarn. It is a fun hat with a simple cable pattern that I call Zigzag and I have already seen a few projects made with this pattern including my daughter's.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

FREE PASS TO VOGUE KNITTING LIVE

I can't tell you how thrilled I am right now. I just received an offer for two! free passes for a Vogue Knitting Live event in Los Angeles which I can give away to you, my readers.

Here are some of the details that I know at this point.
Deborah Norville will be the host of the Champagne Red Carpet Marketplace Preview on Sept. 23rd, Kaffe Fassett is our keynote speaker, and Vicki Howell will staff the Caron Beginner’s Bar! And as usually the show will feature fashion shows, master-level workshops, new products, lectures, meet-and-greets, raffles, A-list instructors and classes, and more.

The winners of these tickets will have a marketplace badge and also be entered in a larger contest to win a basketful of VK Live branded goodies.

So, are you game? Leave a comment here and say why do you want to go to that event and what part of this event is the most exciting for you personally. Spread the word about this opportunity.

All the names will be entered in the random number generator twice to choose our two winners.
I will accept all comments posted from now until August 1, 2011, midnight PST.

LUXE KNITS the accessories >>> FREE FOR YOU !!

I have a very exciting news. Lark Crafts very generously offered me an extra copy of

for one of my readers. I hope you are the lucky one. If you comment on the post about Laura Zukaite's book , your name automatically will be included in the drawing. Please make sure that you do not leave your comment here. Let's set the deadline for August 6, 2011 at midnight PST.
Good luck!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Back to what used to be USSR Part IV. ST. PETERSBURG

One more overnight train ride with a few hours in Moscow and we were at our last stop on our 12-day trip to Russia - St. Petersburg. This was another city where we followed the usual touristy route. The two days allocated for this visit was hardly enough to see the center of the city. We loved it. It has been my favorite Russian city to visit in the past and it is now. Despite of the negative but truthful stories about this city, it is still that place that is impressive and rich in history and culture.
We walked its wide Nevsky Prospect, took the boat tour along the canals, went to Hermitage (one of the largest art museums in the world) and the Winter Palace.


Anichkov Most (bridge)




Our daughter had her plan and we followed it. Thanks to her we went to Pushkin and Dostoevsky museum-apartments as well.


F.M. Dostoevsky's apartment

A.S. Pushkin's apartment

Every building we saw had so much history. You can bet that if you are standing next to a building in the center of the city, someone famous lived there.
I took many pictures of iron work that is everywhere in St. Petersburg. There are many bridges over the river Neva and canals and each of them has a distinct metal design. There are also many gates, doors, fences, building decorations.
This city was founded by Peter the Great in 1703 as the "window to the sea" as he called it. It was built as a modern city, so it did not start with small wooden huts as Moscow did. We still admire those buildings in Baroque style. Peter, as Russians call this city with affection, was the capital of Russia until 1918.

The Hermitage and the Winter Palace
The Hermitage entrance

One of the beautiful ceilings in the Winter Palace

Inside of Saint Isaac's Cathedral

It is hard to choose right photos to show this beautiful city. If you follow the link at the beginning of this post to Wikipedia, you will see so many beautiful photographs with which my tiny camera cannot possibly compete.
We left Peter by train. Came to Moscow next day. That's where we said goodbye to our son and daughter until we see them in America. My husband and I continued our journey to four more countries.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Back to what used to be USSR Part III. SAMARA

We said goodbye to our Saratov friends and took yet another overnight train to Samara. That's where our son joined us on this trip. Each of us in the family had a personal agenda for this city. Mine was to see my friends and places that meant something for me.
In the morning, our train arrived at the train station. I was expecting that my friend Vera and her husband Igor will be meeting us there. To my surprise there was another friend Luda with them. All three of us were in tears. We did not see each other for so many years.


Luda is on the left and Vera is on the right

We had to see a contact person who gave us the key from someone's apartment, so from the station we headed there. That place was near the building where I lived with my family. Later my husband and our son lived there as well for a short while.

This and many buildings around it were new when my family moved there. The way the buildings look now is hard to describe. It is very upsetting to see them and realize that people do live there. It is a typical "Khruschevka" cement block building. In the late 60s by the order of Nikita Khruschev these buildings were built in huge quantities and fast to accommodate the move of many people who lived in poor housing conditions. Since these were built, nobody took care of them. Now most of the cement is crumbled out of the blocks and you can see iron rods through.
This was very depressing for us. We also could not stay more than one night in the arranged apartment since there was no hot water, the toilet was leaking with no way to flash it, and there were many other inconvenient issues. In a way I am glad that my kids saw it. Many people live in such apartments. Tourists do not see such things.

The next two nights the kids went to a nice hotel and my husband and I were graciously hosted by Vera and her husband in their beautiful and large apartment. I caught myself thinking that I felt in their place as if I were in a nice American home. We had some wonderful meals and talked through half the night.

It is very safe to say that Samara as most of big Russian cities is a city of stark contrasts. It has very beautiful new buildings, long stretch of embankment along gorgeous Volga, fashionable people, restaurants, theaters, philharmonic, universities, shopping areas. At the same time there are many very rundown small wooden houses. Despite of some bad traffic conditions like holes in the middle of the road, I am definitely saying it is a beautiful city.




You have to be a very skilful driver on the streets of Samara. Just look at this.

I am so grateful to Vera for organizing our stay there so efficiently that we could see so much and visit with all the friends. One of the requests I had for her is that I wanted to take a transportation boat along the river, so we could see the beauty of the city from Volga and also enjoy the nature on the outskirts of the city. Well, she organized a private boat that took us on a 2 hour trip. We enjoyed the privacy in the company of our friends only and had a very good meal prepared by Vera and my other two friends. It was the best. We all could be together and be in small groups talking away.


Simon and his childhood friends


Luda is my friend from the 7th grade and Lena is my friend from my job (she still works there)
Lena was not only my good friend, but my knitting and sewing buddy. We have some stories to tell.
Here is some nature sights we passed on the way.


Volga is very wide at Samara and is much cleaner now than I remember it.


Here are all the girls

The hardest thing for me on this trip was to say goodbye to them. I am hoping that they will be able to come and visit me in America. These ladies all have great careers and are very talented. I love them all.

Last city on the trip was St. Petersburg.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Back to what used to be USSR Part II. SARATOV


This is the map of our trip inside of Russia. If you want to see it in more detail, here is the link to the entire trip including where we went after Russia.
On the above photo the red line toward Moscow on the left is the end of our plane flight to Moscow.


So, from Moscow we were taking overnight train to Saratov, a big industrial and cultural city on the Volga river. All of our friends and relatives in Russia were worried about our safety and also the impression that we might get if we had no explanation of what we see. Simon's friend from his graduate school Dima coincidentally had to go to Moscow to receive some documents, so he chose to do it on the day we were there. Not only he came, he also arranged his ticket back to Saratov (he lives there) for the same train as we were taking. It was so good to see him and have some extra time on the overnight train.


Dima and his wife Lyudmila took us into their home, fed us, entertained us, showed their city where they spent all their lives and met each other in grade 1.

We loved to see them and catch up with their life. Dima ( Дмитрий Александрович) is a mathematics professor at the Saratov State Technical University and a graduate of Saratov State University my husband Simon's Alma Mater.


Dima, Faina, and Simon on top of the park "Freedom"
Simon was happy to meet with some people from his student years and gave a talk at both schools. I spent 2 years of my life in that city when our boy was a baby.

Here are some photos of Saratov




We mostly took pictures of places where we lived, our son played, and so on. It was not a trip to do some sightseeing, so I am not going to show many of the photos here that I think will be somewhat painful for our friends to see here. This city of 900,000 people has a rich history, one the oldest universities, music conservatory, great theaters and music halls, many different profile universities where you can receive almost any profession, beautiful parks and is located on on the bank of one of the most beautiful rivers in the world.
Like any city it has its own problems, but it is not for me to talk about them. I wish all the best to people living there and I am very happy to see many improvements in many areas and the rest of it hopefully will get better with time.

Next is Samara.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Back to what used to be USSR

I am not going to bore you with my personal history and what is the reason that my family and I have decided to go to Russia this summer. Let's just say that some of us wanted to go more than others and it was time to do it. My husband and I both have many friends there and lots of memories. After many days of planning, buying tickets, talking on Skype, and finally packing (which I hate to do) we were ready to go. The plan was to visit 4 cities (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Samara, and Saratov) in 12 days.

My husband and I had tickets on the flight that comes a few hours before the flight of our daughter who was born in the US and have never been to Russia. My cousin was meeting us all at the Domodedovo airport in Moscow.

In the US it is about 3 hour drive for us from home to the airport, so that day we allowed enough time to get there and get on the plane. But it was not in our cards to go as planned and we got stuck in the traffic long enough to hear: " Yes, the plane is still here, but your luggage cannot make it. We can't put you on this plane."
I do not need to describe our calm and collected state when we heard this, do I?

After almost an hour on a cell phone we got another flight to Munich but it was flying in late to connect with our next flight to Moscow. That meant two things: 1. We would have to look for another flight from there, and 2. Our daughter is going to come to Moscow and we are not there. She does not know that since our phones are not working in Europe. She also has no idea how my cousin looks and he does not know her. Although she is fluent in Russian, she has no experience with speaking it in a real situation, not just family and friends.

From Munich we were able to call my cousin's wife and tell her what happened. My cousin was informed and prepared a sign with her name. Meanwhile, we got our next tickets and were scheduled to fly into Moscow in a few hours after her. So, our daughter gets out towards hungry for tired, ready to pay whatever foreign passengers Russian "taxi" drivers and passes her first test with A+ by walking through without giving in. The only problem was she passed my cousin with his sign as well. She is also looking for us, not him. When she understood that something is wrong, she was able to connect with my cousin through his wife (another long but a funny story) and when we landed they were waiting for us together.

I was thinking that from this point on everything that many of our friends who travel to Russia often warned us about will happen and our trip will not be pleasant. But it turned out to be a great trip.

In Moscow we did all the touristy stuff: The Red Square, Kremlin, some famous streets, Bolshoi Theater. We even saw a play at the Vakhtangov theater. It was a Russian version of All About Eve with Vasili Lanovoi (you could say a Russian Cary Grant) playing the main part. At 77 he is still handsome and full of energy.
The food was wonderful everywhere we went to eat. We even followed my daughter's acquaintance's suggestion and saw the area called The Red October (I know, everything seems red in Moscow, but it is not so.) and had some very interesting sightseeing including Cathedral of Christ the Savior that was rebuilt in 1998.


It was completely demolished during the Soviet era.


Who can be in Moscow and not get a glance at the Saint Basil’s Cathedral


And the history museum right across the Red Square





And the famous Bol'shoi Theater

We did a lot in a very short time. I am showing only beautiful historical buildings here, but there are people, a huge amount of cars, buildings where people leave, metro (subway like a museum inside each station), theaters, very wide streets...
We all had a different impression of this city. My husband and I looked at it through our old time memories when Moscow was a showcase for a foreigner. It was always clean, taken care of, the city to shine. It is not anymore. It is dusty, the roads are all cracked and have holes, many buildings are in a very bad state. This was upsetting to me the very first day. The second day came and I already did not pay attention to such things as much, so I could enjoy Moscow more.

One more thing was interesting for us. All young women are wearing VERY high heels all day long.
Take a look. She is walking on cobble-stoned surface at 10 a.m.


These photographs are taken by Rebecca Goberstein.

If you want to see more you can ask me for a link to my album.

Next is Saratov.