Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tis the season to be jolly!


Happy holidays to everyone! I hope you all have a great time with your loved ones, peaceful and joyous. And sorry for not writing earlier, but well I guess you can imagine how busy one can get.
I am happy seeing the family and the friends, eating loads of great food and having just watched the Doctor Who christmas special. And we have the perfect winter wonderland outside with heaps of snow.

We also wanted to launch a little christmas special for our shop during the holidays, but since I am a bit late we will prolong it until New Years eve, midnight. If you start following us on twitter, add us to your circle on etsy, include one of our items in your etsy treasury or like or share us on facebook, we will give you a gift certificate with 10% off with the order you use it for.
If you send us back photos of your finished items from our yarn with the permission to publish them or if you write about us on your blog including photos of our yarns or thereof made items, you will be rewarded with a 15 % off certificate.
The vouchers will be valid for half a year (until June 30, 2011) and can be used for all items in the shop unless marked otherwise in the description, but not for the shipping costs or other gift certificates.
If you did several of the things above, we will give you a bit more, but we will judge that individually.
All you have to do is to send us an email to this address with your information and proof/indication of your activity and we will return an email with your personal code and the amount of the discount.

Under all entries we will also give away this beautiful yarn:

It is called "Soft Glacier" and measures 80m, 10 wpi and 57g. The material is extrafine, white merino and it was plied with a green glittering thread, holding green glass beads. The winner will be drawn on New Year's Day.

Be safe and have a happy new year,

Cheshirecat & Tini

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It was fun!

I really had a good time yesterday at the EPFL market, sharing a stand with filambulle, spoutknit and jissa! It was just over too soon, and they did not offer anything of that delicious soup they had the year before. Also the (free) mulled wine was finished very early, but I guess we all had enough to be even more merrier than we were already. And without bragging I would say we had the most interesting stand of all, selling yarn, knitted things, cute little ornaments and handmade toffees.

I parted with a Santa Clause yarn (in Europe, Santa is coming on December 6th, so it was perfect for that day), and one of my favourites, the Holly Berry. I liked it so much, that I just had to take a photo which I had not done before, and the new owner promised me a photo of the finished item. It consists of a mix of bluefaced leiceter wool, tussah silk and soy silk, all in off-white and creamy tones, which I had mixed with traces of green and red to match the holly fabric I included in the yarn. Some golden sparkle, red glass beads and green holly sequins are also spun-in. I might make another one, I liked it a lot!

In the next days I will add the things which have not been sold at the markets to the shop, so be prepared to find lots of new yarns and other nice items very soon.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Why oh why must there be always such a stressful time before the end of the year? I haven't had one day to sleep in for weeks! I have been busy with work, having a conference and a short course in Fribourg. Which is quite cute by the way and has a chocolate factory outlet of one of my favourite brands right next to the university's campus.
Additionally, we had quite a lot of snowfall which made the train ride, though very early in the morning, even prettier and having a delicious hot chocolate in the factory's cafe even nicer. It was also great to finally meet Saskia, who has knitted some really beautiful things from Tini's and my yarns.
This is a cute little cowl from the "Raspberry Swirl"

and vou can find a picture of her gorgeous scarf from Tini's "Kiss from a Rose" in her blog post here.

Then there has been the first of the two christmas markets, the one in Bellevue. It was the whole weekend and I was really busy before, finishing stitch markers, finding some decoration and finishing several new winter yarns, including a new "Marmite d'Escalade", for which I even have a perfect box now!
You can see it at the left side of the picture of my part of the stand, next to a bunch of wintery art yarns I will you tell more about later:

Here is a glimpse at one of Katharina's wonderful shawls. You can find out more about them on her website.

I did not sell extremely much but it was still fun. The time also just flew by because I took my spinning wheel and lots of people stopped by amazed to watch me spinning.
It was very "sympa" and I am already excited about the market at the EPFL, which will be quite different.

I also went to a craft fair in Lausanne, but it did not have much to offer in regard to knitting and spinning things. There were several stands for patchwork, though and I could not resist to get some fabric for my evergrowing stash. Some already found its way into this "Christmas Tartan" yarn.

Next activities will include more knitting, some sewing, the obligatory baking of the cookies and a trip to London to spend some time with Tini before she moves back to good old Germany.

Monday, November 15, 2010


I have been looking for some small markets to sell yarn, but was not very successful, partly because for what I found the fees were incredible expensive, partly because obviously the organisation thought of being something better and did not even bother to reply to my emails. Also I was a bit afraid that my capabilities in French conversation were not good enough. I had already given up on this season, as two nice people offered to share a stand at local christmas markets. So I am happy to announce that I will show up at two markets:

1) Marche de Noel des Artisans Bellevue: a small christmas market in the community of Bellevue, just outside Geneva, 27.11. &. 28.11., from 10 am to 5 pm in the "salle communale". Katharina Braunitzer ( will host my yarns at her stand of gorgeous knitwear. I don't know yet, how much time I have to spend there, but Katharina will be happy about any visitor.

2) Marche de Noel of the EPFL in Lausanne, thats one of the two leading technology high schools in Switzerland. It will take place on monday, december 6th from 5 pm to 8 pm in the building "CO". Though it is not very long, it is really nice and they offer (at least they did last year) free hot wine and soup. The stand will be shared with other Lausanne knitters, organized by Filambulle, and I am really excited about it, it will be a lot of fun and we will offer lots of knitted and handspun things. I am also working on something else, but till now it still a bit secret (partly because I don't know if I can do it in time, so I don't want to make empty promises).

Attention please: the epfl market will be on monday, 6th. I had posted a wrong date. Sorry for that.

Autumns End

This time of the year just goes by too fast! I really like winter, and I can't wait to plunge into spinning winter yarns, but autumn is also such a great time, besides usually it is simply rushing by. I have three more autumn yarns before it is getting all wintry.

First is the «Autumn Sky», my favourite of all three. Its stunning yello, orange, brown, rust and deep red colors are set into contrast with some short pale blue stripes. It is a single yarn with a thin effect thread of colorful tiny pompons spin-in and a handful of very pretty fabric leaves. It is all soft and squishy and will make a simply beautiful accessory.

Next in line is «Lonely Leaves», also a single yarn from handcarded merino, including some traces of angelina and firestar. It is mostly dark brown, but if you take a closer look you will discover subtile colors. I included a sewing thread with small leaves from a plastic foil in brown, dark red, yellow and orange. They are a bit itchy, so I would not recommend to wear it next to bare skin but eiter use it for a bag or add a kind of lining. It is quite thin and lacy, therefore with 142 m / over 150 yd a bit longer.

In the third yarn, «Autumn Colors» I used some of my own handpainted fiber along with commercially dyed and hand mixed roving to achieve these amazing colors. It is a very soft twoply yarn, and it includes shining red leaf sequins and brown glass beads. They dangle a bit out of the yarn.

«Autumn Sky» is already available in our shop here, the other two will follow shortly.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

As I already announced, I spun some Halloween yarns from all the nice things I bought on my trip to the US. I know it is pretty late, since today I finally could shoot the photos and it actually is Halloween. Well, but I don't want to keep them from you, and I think I might not be the only one who can just barely make the holidays in time. I will try to be more punctually with the winter yarns, which are my most favourite things to make every year.

The first I spun is the "Witching Hour", from black and violet merino, plyed with sewing thread and some glittering thread, including violet sparkly pompons, mutlifaceted sequins, faceted glass beads, black lace ribbon, some more sequins in the shape of bats and pieces of a black "Trick or Treat" ribbon.

The next is "Eerie Glow"from black and green extrafine merino, containing green and black sparkly pompons, green sequins, black spider sequins and green glass beads, spun a bit wavy or coily.

Then I spun a mixed-up yarn,"Halloween Overkill", mostly orange and black but with some hints of violet and green fiber, with black and green eyelash yarn, green, orange, violet and black pompons, green and orange sequins, big pumpkin sequins, orange organza ribbon and sari silk, a few glow-in-the-dark glass beads and some more of the spider sequins.

Last but not least is the "Orange Pumpkinness", frim black and orange extrafine merino, plyed with an orange sewing thread and some orange tulle strips. There are pumkpin sequins in two sizes, and some of the small are reflecting, usual orange sequins and orange plastic stars, glass beads and sparkly pompons. It also contains pieces of orange "Trick or Treat" ribbon.

There is also this cute little scarf I made a while ago. I was never wearing it because it turned out to be a bit small, rather a children's scarf. It is made from handspun yarn in black, violet, green and orange, plyed with a white thread, knitted up to a soft, snuggly, stripy scarf, a bit airy with some yo's. Measures ca. 11 x 170 cm / 4.3 x 67 inch. Exactly the right thing to keep your little ones warm in the cold autumn nights.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A short Excursion to the Land of Plenty

I am already back for almost two weeks, but I just had to write a little report about my journey to the USA. I went there for my dear friend Kat's wedding (long live the happy couple! It was a wonderful wedding!) and next to hitting some second hand book shops, indulging in Waffle House, getting the best pizza ever at a place which also does trivia games, going to bookshops on sunday evenings and hanging out watching football and baseball, my friends were so nice and endured going to some craft- yarn- and fabric shops with me. And it really was a-ma-zing! If I was living there, all the worries and sorrows from where to get the right supplies for crazy art yarn were totally gone! No annoying search for the sparse number of shops in Switzerland, vast selections, no annoying custom fees because there are also loads of internet shopping possibilities in the same country, sales wherever you go even in the season. It is really interesting to see what the US "competition" could do, what possibilities one could have. But then, maybe, choosing from all this offers and stopping oneself from buying too much stuff might be hard as well. I got some loot, including some nice Halloween items which I already started to spin in (though I am late), here is a quick and unorganized shot of it:

I also saw lots of nice quilts and I got a starter-kit for cutting fabric pieces and a small selection of fabrics and a "Jelly Roll", which is a pre-cut sortiment of fabric stripes, rolled up.

Some of the fabrics I can also use for spinning them in but most of it I plan to use for quilting, which I would like to start. As soon as I get the time. Next to weaving. And more knitting. And some other things.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hills of Wales

Snowberry & Lime is living in Wales and visited me in April. And as a gift she brought me a beautiful mixture of green lamb, baby camel and organic linen reminding me of the hills of Wales. I will go to her place in November and hopefully finally lay my eyes on these beauties myself :).

But here a little taster. It really hurts me to give it away but unfortunately this green is soooo not my colour. Otherwise I would be running around with a new green hat. Oh, that reminds me, I have to make a hat....

Now in our shop!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The monster finished

I did it! After 4 days of mega knitting I finished my friend's scarf. With cables. 100 % merino. So warm I warmed myself with it while it grew on my needles (no kidding). If that's not warm enough I recommend a family relocation to Maui for my friend.
It was that long that I could not get in on my camera in total :(. But I managed to get the pattern on the picture.
Next: buying a new camera...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A truly huge pink ribbon!

A while ago I knitted a pinkish square for the Swiss league against cancer. It was supposed to become a part of a huge big solidarity ribbon which would be revealed in October. People were asked to send in also photos of their work in progress which can be seen here. Obviously they received so many squares (almost 20 000!), that it was not just enough for the ribbon, but also a bunch of blankets which will go to relief organizations.
The ribbon is 12 m high and was presented on October 1st on a public square in Bern. Here on their website you can see lots of photos of that event. Looks like a damn big pink ribbon!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Norway Part 3: crafts, museums and lots of spinning whorls

After telling you about the Norwegian landscape here and there, now I come to the more crafty side, because I was really curious to see what is and was going on in fiber and folk arts.

First, there are the omnipresent wool sweaters, hats and mittens with 2 colored patterns like stars (I really love those! And I just learned, that they are in fact resembling roses), reindeer, snowflakes and other patterns, which you can get everywhere in souvenir shops.
But there is so much more than that. The Norwegians really seem to be much into knitting. I saw yarn and needles even in a little village in a souvenir shop.
In the bigger cities there is a chain of craft shops called "Husfliden" with a big offer in yarns and knitting supplies (also knitting kits, and I decided to rather knit my own mittens than buying touristic ones, so I bought a kit of Norwegian wool with a nice pattern), but also tools for spinning (fiber, handspindles, the one and the other wheel), weaving (cards and rigid heddles for band weaving, weaving yarns and in the old location of the Husfliden in Oslo there was supposed to be a big loom on display, but they moved into a fancy shopping center and there was no loom anymore). There are also all accessories and things you need for making your own folk dress, called "bunad". These are worn for special occasions like the national holiday, weddings and so on. The folk museum in Oslo hat a big display of them. They are reallyreally pretty, many I saw were red and white with a black apron. All have very beautiful embroidery, and I was considering to get a small one of the sew/embroider kits they sell, but I am not much into embroidery and I did not want it to lie around in the boxes until I may or may not come around to do it. Some of them would surely be able to be converted it to a knitting or a weaving chart.
Because the band weaving really it something I want to continue. I already did some card weaving a while ago, and discarded rigid heddles or tape looms as just less complicated and more limited, but that is not entirely true. I found the Yarn Jungle blog, featuring the most beautiful handwoven bands, which are exactly my taste (again, stars, snoflakes...). Ok, it is surely not trivial, but I really want to try. In the museums I also saw nice bands from the Sami people in Northern Scandinavia.

And in the Viking Ship Museum there were remains of tablet woven bands from the Oseberg find, and it was very amazing to see a around 1000 year old band from a craft I could do. Here is a good article on the textiles they found in the ship.
Rigid heddles are often beautifully embellished and in Bergen they had a small heddle from bone, in a special exhibition on bones and objects made thereof, which was small but oh so beautiful:

Another ancient craft is nalbinding. I also tried that some time ago, and found it interesting, but made just one piece and never continued. But seeing it in cultural context was really cool and that beforementioned bone exhibition featured some nålbinding needles. And they also had replicas which they sold, so I did not hesitate to get my own bone needle :)

We saw another archaeological museum in Oslo which was free to visit. It had many many many spinning whorls. Amazingly many. But again, before spinning wheels were invented, handspindles were the only means to make yarn and stone the material of choice. It would be too great to own a very old whorl. In the same museum they have a special exhibition on runes and there was - guess what - a spinning whorl with runic inscriptions. It says something like "Gunnhildr made this spinning whorl". In the museum they had also a display of plant dyed yarns. I just have to figure out from the name of the plants they showed what they used. And indigo and madder are most certainly dye stuff I am eager to try out.

I also saw some spinning wheels, they were all "castle wheels", and often there were also yarn winders and at the Viking Ship Museum there were pieces of a niddy noddy. Very amazing!

Oh and Hardanger embroidery is also very nice! We made a cushion cover at school, but the lace I saw is much more sophisticated with very fine threads..

Now I just need the time to do all this knitting, spinning, dyeing, weaving and nålbinding! And to decide what to start with.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The giant blue project - spin, spiiiin, spin, spin

I'm done spinning! It felt like for ever, spinning the eight batts, but yesterday night I finished and plied it all while watching the Lord of the Rings III. In the end, I managed to end up with two loads full on my big bobbins. The result are two giant skeins of yarn which are soaking in the water right now. It does maybe not look like much on the photo, but It is the biggest amount I ever spun and plied at once, and probably the largest skeins I ever made.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Norway Part 2: fjords, railway & waterfalls

Here is some more on the wonderful Norwegian landscape. I went to visit the Geiranger fjord and while I had to wait for the ferry (being in Norway off-season can have advantages as there are way less tourists, but then some museums are already closed, ferries go less often and some activities are not offered anymore, like the weaving demonstration in the Folk Museum in Oslo which would have been great to see), I marvelled at the fjord. It was a bit weird to have salt water in something which looks like a big lake, and I collected some shells from the "beach", played around with bladderwrack and scared of some noisy seagulls. There even were some jellyfish in the water in Geiranger.

The fjord is really nice to see, though the waterfalls were not thaaat spectacular after 2 weeks of dry and warm sunny weather.

I continued to Ålesund, which is a cute little town on the west coast which has been rebuilt in Art Nouveau style after it had burnt down in 1904. The view from the city's hill and viewpoint at sunset was just beautiful.

The next day I took the scenic Rauma railway (though not by steam engine or tourist train, since out of season...) on my way to meet up with my boyfriend and passed some pretty spectacular mountains and rock formations like the "Trollveggen".

There are really some wonderful railway lines, another one we took was the Flåm railway as part of the "Norway in a Nutshell" tour. I am no big fan of organized tours, but this is mainly the round trip ticket with public transport. We first went to Gudvangen via Stalheim by bus and a very impossible steep road, passing some major waterfalls (which had, thanks to extensive rainfall) lots of water in them.

From Gudvangen we took a ferry through the Nærøyfjord and the Aurlansdfjord which was just amazing. We passed waterfalls, more waterfalls and some waterfalls. And a small village named Undredal with population human 120, goats 500. The walls of the mountains are so steep that we were constantly changing from sunlit warm spots into cold and dark shadows. The views were just stunning and the white mountain tops in contrast to the green woods and fields and the blue water sooooo beautiful!

In Flåm we set off to hike up to the foot of a waterfall and got some handmade apple juice from a small farm on the road which was just delicious. We continued by train to Myrdal on the Flåm line, a masterpiece of a railway line with lots of tunnels and great views and a photo stop at the Kjosfossen waterfall.

After Myrdal we continued by train on the Bergen-Oslo line, which we were also taking when
we finally went to Oslo two days later.

The next day unfortunately the weather got worse again, so we did not see that much of the gorgeous scenery of the Eidfjord and Hardangerfjord we went out to see that day. We also could not make it to the Hardanger Folk Museum or much of the other places which are supposed to be nice. Driving up a mountain to have some nice view when you can see from below that the view might consist of mainly clouds does not make that much sense. The giant hydro power station had also closed for visitors the days before, and they must have been the only people to like that much water falling from the sky. But we made it to the infamous Vøringfossen waterfall, which was really breathtaking.

On the pictures you can't really see how steeeep it is. The last one is shot from the top where the two waterfalls plunge down. We had the glorious idea to hike to the foot of the waterfalls, since we could see a small trail from the top. Unfortunately the trail was a bit dangerous since blocked by fields with boulders and those were quite wet and slippery. We read somewhere that it was supposed to take 1.5 hours to go there and back, but that is a bit utopic. We turned back after what was maybe 2/3 of the way, we were also a bit worried that it would get dark. Well, it was still totally amazing from the top.

We spent the next day with travelling by train to Oslo, along some more beautiful topography. The train line goes up to a kind of high plateau at Geilo and Finse, with snow-covered mountains, rivers and lakes and also a glimpse on a glacier. The Lonely Planet says, that in this region some scenes for Star Wars II on the ice planet Hoth have been shot. Well, it was not that icy what we saw, but still very worth seeing.

I really would have liked to just get out of the train and hike a bit, and it would be a great future holiday to do so.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Norway Part 1: glaciers, mountains & sheep

I am back from my loooong looooong trip to Budapest and Norway. Geee, I have been away for 4 weeks in total! My dear boyfriend joined me for the last week in Norway but sadly also brought lots of rain. Those of you who know his name or his chosen nickname might find that actually funny. But there is so much to tell that I better start at the beginning.

The first part of my stay in Norway was not mere pleasure but work related, since I attended a summer school where I also had to give a presentation on my project. We stayed at a nice camping place next to a lake in little cabins which were just too cute, since they had these traditional grass roofs including ferns and flowers (ours had little blue pansies), and some even had little trees growing on them. Me wants a grass roof, too!

Food was plenty and consisted of loads of potatoes. Also the view was splendid, we had perfect weather which made staying inside for the lectures a bit of a shame. But we also went into the field to learn how to apply the methods we heard about and got to see some awesome countryside. The place is located in the Jostedalsbreen national park in the Nordfjord aera. Have an impression:

We also walked up to the glacier, which was the first one I actually saw from close by. The color of the ice was really amazing, it really was greenish-blue inside, at the rim crystal clear. There was a small cavity between the glacier tongue and the soil, so it was almost like a thick blanket.

There is also an ice cold glacier lake and one brave guy had a short swim (or rather dip) into it. I found it to be a bit too chilly.

We found lots of delicous blueberries, and some small cranberries and berries which don't exist in the more southern parts of Europe, but they were not that tasty. I heard rumors of cloudberries, which look just like orange raspberries or blackberries, but had a different taste and were used together with cream as a traditional christmas desert in Norway, but I never found some wild ones.

Norway is also full of sheep, some were even running around more or less free in the countryside and on the narrow one-laned streets. Of course I made inquiries to get some Norwegian sheep wool which was a bit tricky without a car and staying on a camping place some miles off the next village. But the camp site host knew someone, who knew someone and so I ended up with a bag of unprocessed wool! I am really happy about it and I hope that soon I will have the time to spin it. Sadly they keep their sheep mainly for meat production and one of the most famous traditional Norwegian foods is lamb meat with cabbage, but still it is nice to have sheep everywhere.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The monster

A friend of mine asked me if I could make him a scarf. Just a simple black merino scarf. But since he is from Poland and winters there happen to be cold (with a capital C) he wanted it to be long (with a capital L).
So far I have spun and washed 300 g (10.5 oz) of black merino. It's going to be a monster! It's drying right now but when I have started knitting I will keep you posted!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Almost live from Budapest

Tini already mentioned that I am away right now. Though it is for work and not for real holidays (besides next week), I had the chance to do some fun stuff on the first part of my trip, in Budapest.
When I arrived, it was the last day of the yearly folk arts festival in the castle district and I was lucky that I got the chance to go there. It was a bit like a medieval market, but also much different. For one, the goods were a bit unusual. There is a big tradition of painting eggs and making gingerbread, so there were some stalls selling those. Unfortunately eggs don't give a good a souvenir. Also making beaded jewelry from seed beads/rocailles seems to be quite famous, and I got the chance to buy some nice beads. Lots of stalls had ceramics and pottery and other had leather bags and other things. But of course I was mostly interested in the textile arts, and I totally fell in love with those indigo dyed fabrics they sold at two booths. I don't really know if they are that typical for hungary, because I heard about them earlier, related to eastern Germany, but nonetheless they are beautiful, with little flowers, dots, some fabrics even with borders and other nice patterns.

They are either printed blue on white fabric, but more famous seems to be to print with a substance on the white fabric, and then dye it in blue and the formerly treated spots will stay white. I got a bit of the fabric to maybe sew an apron as one of the sellers had - was very cute with lace, or to do some patchwork. I had that idea to make a quilt from fabrics I got on my travels, and this is just great for that.
There were lots of weavers, either with big looms, or little hand devices and I learned how to weave locks into a fabric to make a flokati. And I also saw some spinners, like this old lady, spinning flax directly from the distaff.

The spinning wheels were quite old, and usually with double drive, though I also saw one with a single drive and a handle to use it by hand. There was one stand who sold fibers, cards for card weaving and combs for making bands with fancy patterns and felting equipment and I got a pack of roving in a nice color combination which will become a pretty souvenir yarn, maybe together with some of the beads. I even met a woman who dyed yarn with plant dyes, but she just spoke hungarian. But I managed to understand what plants she dyed with, and I think I really should have a go on elder berries, even if they are supposed to be not that extremely lightfast.
Also the food was nice, there was one stall selling "Pomposch" which is made from bread dough, sour cream, onions, cheese and bacon and came from a wood burning oven.

Besides that, Budapest is absolutely worth a visit! The poppy seed ice cream is indeed very delicious (and we absolute should make more Poppy Seed Icecream yarn...), there is every flavour strudel, Gulasch and other nice dishes with peppers.
The city is marvellous with lots of sights like the castle, the labyrinth under the castle, the Fisherman's Bastion next to the castle, various churches and buildings which were decorated with colorful tiles like the Great Market Hall.

And one of the nicest things are the hot thermals baths. I went to two in Budapest, first the Szechenyi spa, which had (next to other nice features) a big heated outside pool, and it was just great to hang out in the evening after a stressful day in this giant bath tub, with hot water showers in the light of the rising full moon. The last day, I made it to the famous Gellert spa, which had beautiful art deco stained glass in the reception hall and mosaic tiles inside. Outside there was a wave pool, but unfortunately it did not work when I was there. But I had the feeling of being really spoiled. The third bath I visited on a field trip and it was so rich in sulfur, that my silver jewelry tarnished and is now a very ugly color. I hope I can clean it somehow.

There is still much which I could not see and I am quite positive that I will visit again. At the moment I am in a cozy little hut next to a fjord in Norway, after two days of traveling. But that is another story yet to be told.