what are you reading these days?

There was a time when my blog reader included 129 subscriptions to knitting blogs alone. In the meantime, as many blogs died off, as I started knitting less, and as the very nature of blogging changed (less frequent posts, less commenting), my blogroll gradually shrank to tiny proportions. But now that I’m blogging again, I’m eager to (re)connect with more like-minded people again.

So here’s who I’m reading these days:

Tanis Fiber Arts – an independent Canadian producer of hand-dyed yarn. I’ve been following her for ages, and have recently finally ordered some of her yarn. The most scrumptious yarn porn you’ll find online.

Ysolda – a favourite from the beginning of my knitting journey, she needs no introduction. I’m thrilled that she’s still blogging. Often showcases interesting FOs made from her patterns.

Fuoriborgo – an Italian who was not knitting when I started following her (she is now!), but always has something interesting to say on wool, cooking and country life.

Knit The Hell Out – one of my favourite independent designers, when my hand heals I will knit aaaaall of her men’s sweater patterns. Her blogging style is informal and easily approachable, which I love.

Needled – a Scottish designer and, since recently, yarn producer. Often writes interesting, thoroughly researched pieces about the history of knitting.

Sazmakes – the most beautiful FOs. In between posts, I stalk her ravelry projects page for inspiration.

Sweet Sunday Stitches – a warm and calming thought on crafting every Sunday.

Yarn Harlot – the empress of the knitting world, I’ve recently read her books and my heart jumps with joy whenever a new post pops up in my reader. Take her advice on knitting and life in general, and thank me later.

And what are you reading these days? Any new must-read blogs you’d like to recommend? Do tell!

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Etsy Labs: Just knitting

Last weekend was lovely: exciting and relaxing at the same time, one of those weekends when everything seems to come together effortlessly. Good food, good friends, good weather, good activities.

And the latter included one of the coolest crafty things I’ve been involved in for a while! Thanks to my wonderful friend Johanna, I managed to find out about and join the second ever Etsy Labs event in Belgium. Yes, that’s Etsy as in THE Etsy! With sponsorship by Etsy NL, with Etsy goodie bags and with real-life Etsy sellers :) Not to mention that photos from our event ended up ON Etsy! Stay still, my beating heart! :)

The goal of the meet-up was to teach some knitting and help the approximately 20 participants make little knitted pouches for their sunshades. The participants were a wonderful mix of crafters of all levels (from “professionals” who make their living from craft to total beginners), and everyone was open, warm and kind.

We had loads of fun and have been gushing all over facebook ever since about how we can’t wait for the next one! Knitting or not, you better believe nothing will be able to prevent me from coming! And if you are in the Brussels area, you can also stay updated about future events by joining the BXL Handmade group on facebook.

I’ll use this opportunity to thank those most ‘responsible’ for the whole thing: it was organised by the tireless Anna Denise and the lovely Emilie, and hosted generously in her awesome home by Raori. All their blogs are worth a visit and you can find loads more photos from the event on them.

All Photos © Anna Denise van der Reijden (www.annadenise.nl)

knitting and crochet blog week

Just checking in briefly to say that, while unfortunately I am not actively contributing to this year’s Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, I am definitely reading all the very cool posts! If you would like to do this as well, here is how – just google the codes for each day, as shown below:

And then prepare to not do anything else for the rest of the day… ;)

thursday threads

After the absolute insanity that was January and February 2012, with several big life changes and a work schedule that only excluded evenings and weekends on a few miraculous occasions, I am now settling back into normality. And I am loving every moment of it. Don’t get me wrong, the last two months held a lot of positive and even exhilarating stuff (moving to my own flat! visiting Edinburgh! my best friends visiting me!), but they sure did not involve a lot of regularity, such as grocery shopping, laundry, peace and quiet, reading, knitting… In the midst of all the excitement, I missed those regular, simple, normal things, and now I am relishing in every bit of them.

One of them – catching up with my Google Reader. When I finally got around to it, I found some jewels, and thought I might share the goodness…

– I’m really enjoying this fun and relaxed little video podcast by Watcha Swatchin –

– can’t get over the beauty of these socks by Ignorant Bliss

– a very sweet story about becoming a knitter by A la Clem fraiche (even in Google Translate you can sense the wonderfulness of it) –

– wherever this is, I want to go, via med pinner

Hugs to all!

supermarkets with yarn

Thank you, JoannaD, who pointed me in the direction of this amazing post. I highly recommend that you read it. It is amusing, very witty, has lovely photography and it even includes a little discussion on knitting techniques! What more could one ask for? :)

Brief summary:

  • knitter goes to the very north of Norway
  • hangs out with wild animals
  • finds supermarkets and grocery shops where yarn is stocked side by side with milk, bread and the newspaper
  • finds supermarkets and grocery shops where yarn is stocked side by side with milk, bread and the newspaper in enormous amounts!
  • learns a new knitting technique
  • finds a lady knitting at the airport, stalks her (a little bit :), and learns another knitting technique
  • exhibits an FO and some stash enhancements
  • writes a brilliant post on it

Now go read it, you know you’re curious! :)

And let me just ask you one thing, can you imagine a better dream world than one where all supermarkets carry yarn as a matter-of-factly necessity of daily life ? :)))))))))

burrito for breakfast

Today, I had a burrito and coke for breakfast. It’s not cause I’ve gone completely bonkers, but because it’s moving day and I only managed to get ten minutes for breakfast at 3 pm. From tomorrow night, I’m sleeping in a new bed under a new roof. But not before I lug over the enormous amount of things I’ve managed to accumulate in the last 9 months and break my back doing it. I’m only moving several kilometers down the road, but it has been quite difficult logistically and not to mention physically. I won’t moan too much, because I am utterly in love with my new neighborhood from the few glimpses I’ve had of it! I am looking forward to getting to know it and you can be sure you’ll be getting reports of the interesting bits! :)

For today, I have a small blogging tip to share. When I mentioned in my giveaway post that Google Reader had told me that I had over 40 subscribers, several people were surprized by the possibility of getting this piece of information from Google Reader. So here’s how you get it:

1. Subscribe to your own blog in Google Reader.

2. Click on it to see recent posts. You’ll see this little button in the tophand right corner that says “show details”.

You can click on the image to see it larger – I circled the “show details” button.

3. Click on the “show details” button. You should get something looking like this:

Again, if you click on the image you’ll see it larger. So, on this screen, if you deduct 1 from the number of subscribers (because you are 1 of your subscribers), you get the information I was referring to. You’ll also notice that there’s a “hide details” button, so you don’t have to look at this all the time.

As far as I understand it, though, this is only the number of people who subscribe to your blog via Google Reader, so it is not your total number of subscribers (people subscribe in different ways :). You can also have a little fun looking at subscription numbers for other blogs you like! :)

I hope this clarifies things! :) I’ve been told that the best tool to use with blogs is Google Analytics, but since I don’t really need serious analysis of my traffic at the moment, I’m sticking with these simple tools. :)

Have a lovely weekend, everyone, and keep your fingers crossed for my move to be as painless as possible… :)

blogging Europe

Lately I’ve been thinking about the blogs I read, and I’ve been haunted by the sneaky feeling that most of them are US-based. So I did some detective work today. It was serious detective work. Try an experiment, take your favorite 10 blogs and look for clues on them to find out where they are blogged from. Not that easy, huh? It seems that most people (including me!) consider (consciously or unconsciously) that their physical location is irrelevant, so they don’t include that information in their About page. It’s certainly made me think about it, and consider how I can amend my About section to give more useful information.

Magrit – blogging from Serbia, she recently purchased a knitting machine and has been weighing up its pros and cons.

50 Vilappeikoa – blogging and designing wonderful knitwear in Finland.

Ignorant Bliss – blogging and loving socks in Finland.

Anyways, here are the results of my little investigation: of the 129 craft blogs I read, 82 are from the US, 23 from the UK, 8 from Canada, 2 from Australia. And Europe, my home? Only 14 are from Europe. (I’m singling out the UK from Europe because it’s the second largest contingent, and, well, because the UK likes to be singled out from Europe.)

Knitlob’s Lair – another Finnish girl. Hm, I’m seeing a pattern here…

Romantales – a compatriot of mine, living, knitting and blogging in Italy.

Itty-Bitty Blog – a French mama with the most stylish handmade-dressed toddler in the world.

Niella – a Norwegian meteorologist who hides the yarn she buys from her boyfriend.

Now, I know the online community is global, but since our crafts are still very much material, there is something to be said for the value of the local community. Well, the fact that I’m defining a continent as the local community already says something about the globalization of our perceptions. But when it comes to advice and practical tips on buying yarns, supplies, shipping, taxes, etc. – it’s the people from Europe who are in the same situation as me. Furthermore, there’s something to be said for local trends. While we are all a community, we are all still individual, and I’m sure that there are unique European trends, as opposed to, say, North American ones. (And Australia, or Asia, are unique in their own ways as well.) I’d like to know more about what they are.

Fuoriborgo – living the dream in Italy (imagine the backdrops she has for her FO photos).

There’s a Million Things – she may not look German, but she is. Really. No, really. (Just check out the Diagram.)

Pickles – Norwegian blog with the prettiest header ever.

So I propose a little exchange. I present to you, the 14 European crafters I follow. I hope that you may add some of them to your blogrolls and expand your European reads. In return, I would be grateful if you sent me links to European blogs that you enjoy! Apart from English, I speak Croatian, can read Russian pretty well, and dabble in Spanish and German. But, as you’ll see below, it’s not necessary that the blog is in a language I speak. Especially for craft blogs, photos can sometimes say more than a million words. I would love to expand my blogroll to include crafters from Hungary, Denmark, Georgia, Portugal, and so on, even if I can’t necessarily understand them.

Dances With Wool – more Finland. Ok, now I’m thinking I should’ve divided my categories differently… ;) Check out her drawings.

Misha – a knitter and blogger in Serbia whose recent post title was “3 guillotined photos”, heehee :)

Wool and Cotton – if you lived in Greece, would you knit? She does!

Juicy Knits – don’t let her recent photos deceive you, she’s actually blogging from Switzerland.

That’s my list. I hope you use it to discover new treasures. And I’ll be awaiting your comments with recommendations eagerly. Just one more thing before I go: I love my North American bloggers. I am a huge fan of my regular UK reads. And I also want to find out about more Australian bloggers, I’ve seen a few and they were really special. I would love to know if there’s people blogging about knitting from Africa… So don’t get me wrong. This is just the begining. We can do a world tour in blogs together. For now: bring it on, Europe! :)