Sunday, 6 November 2016

Finished Object: From Norway With Love

Pattern: From Norway With Love by Anna & Heidi Pickles
Yarn: Madelinetosh Merino Light
Colours: Moonstone, Cousteau, Coquette, Antler and Glazed Pecan
Needles: 4mm and 4.5mm Round Needles
Start of project: October 22th, 2016
End of project: October 29th, 2016

On Ravelry

This is my second attempt at this pattern. The first one is called From Vancouver Island with Love because that's where I started it. For this second version I wanted to finally use the Madelinetosh Unicorn Tails I won during the Strickcafé's Adventskalender last year together with the left overs of my Airflow. Because the pattern calls for DK I had to hold the Merino Light double.

My first version turned out too tight, somehow I always forget that with fair isle there isn't a lot of flexibility once it's done. This time I started with 110 stitches for the rim which seemed to wide, then I went back to 100 stitches and knit most of the hat. When I tried it on, it was far too tight and I went back a second time but left the rim at 100 stitches and picked up 10 stitches before I started the fair isle. Even with the extra heart on each row it's tight enough, I guess having a lot of hair doesn't make for small heads.

I love how the hearts look, it's colourful but not like a clown. It's a bit slouchy which hides the pompom slightly but I like it too much to cut it off again. I don't know why but I find it hardest to knit hats in the perfect size...

The hat even looks lovely with lots of hair, can you believe these curls and that face...

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Finished Object: Amberle

Pattern: Amberle by Shannon Cook
Yarn: Nice & Knit Worsted
Colours: High Tide, Sand Dune
Needles: 4.5mm Round Needles
Start of project: October 5th, 2016
End of project: October 22th, 2016

On Ravelry

I started this shawl just before I left for Portugal and my yoga retreat. I love shawl knitting on holidays and the names of the yarn (High Tide and Sand Dune) seemed perfect for a place right next to the Atlantic.

My progress in Portugal wasn't too fast, mostly because there was so much else to see and to do there. But nevertheless I managed a few rows each day, on different beaches with the sound of the waves and the smell of the water; in the morning, just as the sun rose behind our pool and while the Yoga Teacher Training students where chanting their final ohms of their practice; and in the evenings after a yummie dinner.


I also knit on both flights but when I got back to Switzerland after a week it was still rather small and I hadn't even started the lighter part. Here in Zürich, I took it along a few walks and enjoyed the views and the changing colours of fall while seeing it grow slowly but steadily.

At last, at the end of my holidays, all the pattern repeats were done. I added two repeats to each colour because the Nice & Knit is slightly thinner than the yarn in the pattern and because I really wanted a big shawl to wrapped all around me. Before it was blocked, it didn't look very impressive but then the magic worked and the pattern emmerged and it was definitely big enough.

On Thursday it stopped raining for a while and just before the light faded Antonia took a few photos of my new shawl. I really love the drape and the softness. I am sure I'll use this while sitting on the sofa instead of a blanket but it can also be worn outside warmly wrapped around my neck.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Beach Yoga at Praia de Monte Clérigo

On Friday evening the four of us met with Eve, our yoga teacher and the owner of Prana Casa for a last session of yoga. In the beginning we did a "normal" practice, then we did partner excercises and tried out some acro yoga. Then Eve took over my camera and made us pose in different assanas. We had a lot of fun and it was the most beautiful feeling to be on the beach with really nice people and feel your body do all the things we had been practising all week.

I am so very glad that I went on this yoga adventure in Portugal. It was my first time in a yoga retreat and also the first time I did more than one lesson with the same teacher. I loved all the different practices on the deck, the chanting in the morning, the medidation walk but this beach yoga session was probably the one I will never forget. 

During the last few days back in Zürich I tried really hard to stay connected to my holidays. Each morning I did a bit of yoga, I made myself some oatmeal and I've already been to my first hatha yoga lesson in Zürich and payed for 11 more. I'll give my best to continue...


Praia de Monte Clérigo and Praia da Amoreira

Praia de Monte Clérigo is the second closest beach to Prana Casa. The first time I went there it was close to midnight. I didn't understand how my car worked, especially the lights, so I decided to take it for a little drive. The other yoga students thought I was a bit crazy but I had to get over my fear of the car and I knew the roads would be empty at that time of night. It was eerie to drive through an unknown territory but I got to the beach safely (I didn't actually see it because it was so dark but I heard it) and I came back with a much better feeling about my car.

Next time we went there, was before Corine and I went on our hike along the Rota Vicentina. Before and after the hike we had coffee with Kat who had to stay at the beach after having hurt her leg surfing.

On our last day in Portugal we came back to the beach for another hike, this time towards the other side. As soon as we were on the cliffs, we met lots of cliff fishermen. Fishing there seems so peaceful, there is quite a bit of noise from the waves and it's windy but there is nothing else to do than to look out at the sea. We were actually very fortunate because a school of dolphins swam by just as we were standing there, we could observe them for quite a while.

We walked on until we got the the beginning of Praia da Armoreira. At low tide you can wade through the river to get on the beach on the other side, but when we were there, the water was quite high. We climbed down the bank of the river and then we decided to be brave and go swimming. It was icy at first but after a few minutes everything felt numb, so we didn't feel the coldness of the water anymore. It felt good to be out again on the warm rocks afterwards but I am very glad we did it.

After our hike and a delicious meal with fish soup and mussels we strolled back to Praia de Monte Clérigo and relaxed before our final beach yoga session with Eve.

Praia de Vale Figueira

On Thursday Corine and I set out to discover another beach. We drove past Aljezur and turned south. We left the road a few kilometers before we got to Carrapateira and followed the sign to Vale Figueira.

In the beginning, this new road was slightly bumpy but still ok to drive, but after a while it got really intense. There were a lot of holes in the dirt road and it was also quite steep. We didn't want to risk scraching the floor of Corine's rental car so we left it next to the road and walked the last bit down to the beach. Right before we got there, we were very surprised to see a perfect stretch of well maintained tarmac road. We didn't quite get the logic of only doing the last bit, who's going to enjoy it, if the bit in between is in really bad condition?

The beach was almost deserted and soo beautiful. The waves were really high that day and we had a lot of fun watching two experienced surfers fight their way out and try not to get lost in all that white water. All of a sudden we realised that the tide was coming in. Before the beach disappeared we went for a walk in both directions and I just loved being almost in the middle of the water and the noise of the waves.

We walked back up to our car and drove back towards the main road. Before we got there we had a break at restaurant Sha Bouco and had a lovely galão with two amazing cakes.

In the evening we didn't have a yoga lesson so we went out. We drove back to Praia de Arrifana and had fish and sweet potatoes for dinner. There was also live music and together with all the different colours of the sunset it was quite magical.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Rota Vicentina

Along the southern coast of western Portugal you can hike the Rota Vicentina, a 400km trail mostly along the coast. From where we stayed in Vale da Tehna it's only about 20 minutes on foot to get to the sandy part of the Fisherman's Trail.

We got our first impression on Monday evening when we did a silent meditation walk to the edge of the cliffs. It was a beautiful walk through low trees and bushes and on really soft sand. The light was amazing and it was hard not to regret that I'd left my camera back home even though I can see the benefit of only watching and feeling it. I brought my iPhone along so I took a few photos just to remember it.

The next day we decided to go for a bigger hike, starting in Praia de Monte Clérigo. The sky was a bit cloudy which made for beautiful moody colours and the temperature was just perfect for a long hike (in the end we did 17.6km which isn't bad on sandy ground).

On the way out we were very slow because we took so many pictures. I think we must have repeated "this is soo beautiful" about a million times and it was true every single time. We made it to the point of the meditation walk and then we turned around and hiked back.

On this second half of our way the sun came out which changed the mood of the scenery. I liked the warmth and the brightness, but I think I almost prefer the more subtle light of the morning.

I was really impressed by this wonderful hike and I would really like to walk much more of it. Maybe one of these days I can do the whole length of it.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Carrapateira / Praia da Bordeira

On Monday my yoga buddies decided to learn to surf so I had the day all to myself because I knew that trying to get on a surfing board would probably kill me. I asked Anke (my Navigon voice ;-) and my travel guide where to go and together we decided to check out Carrapateira and the Praia da Bordeira. Just driving there was beautiful. After a short while on the fast main road I took a slower, bumpier road towards the coast with many curves and beautiful trees.

I drove through Carrapateira and ended up on my favourite beach in Portugal. The car park is on top of a little hill which gives you an amazing view all over Praia da Bordeira. Two wooden paths lead down from there. The first one ended on the top of the beach, in the middle of the crashing waves. Here I also saw my first cliff fisherman. They stand so close to the edge of the cliffs that it's rather scary to watch them but I can totally get the fascination of fishing there.

The second path ended at the bank of a small river that I had to wade through to get on the actual beach. There weren't a lot of people on the beach anymore even though the weather was stunning without being too hot. Perfect for a Galão and a bit of knitting in the sand.

We came back to the same beach two days later when the weather was quite different. This time there was no sun but mist and wind. The sea was much wilder and louder and I liked it just as much as the first time.

I don't know why I felt so connected to this beach but I am pretty sure that I will go there again sometimes soon.