I’ll tell you – writing instructions for five different knitting charts of about 30 rows each is not a walk in the park. It’s not rocket science either, of course, but checking and re-cheking it short circuits my mind just as well)
Nevertheless, the new pattern is here – Solar Storm Hat is its slightly poetic name. It is a challenge greater than the designing and writing processes put together – to come up with a name, that was never used before to describe a design in a humble Ravelry database of about 800,000 patterns. But I managed!)
|Solar Storm is a worsted weight hat, featuring cables, slipped and twisted stitches and seed stitch sections to create a beautiful and eye-catching texture. It is designed to have little negative ease and to be a little slouchy.|
It was actually planned to be a pattern from the very beginning: the sizes were calculated, the charts were schematically sketched back in 2015. I was really surprised to find something that well thought through in one of my knitting notebooks, so it got bumped ahead of the rest of the patterns I am currently working on.
The Solar Storm Hat pattern (all thir-teen pages of it!) is in English and provides instructions for making five sizes – for both adults and children, and two versions – with simple ribbed brim and with double folded ribbed brim for added warmth. I personally never made a double brimmed version of this design, but it should turn out as nicely as the original and would be your best friend in the upcoming winter months, if you live as far north as I am.
Click HERE for more information or to purchase a copy on Ravelry pattern page.
And if you don’t knit, but need something soft and woolly to keep you warm, head over to my online store – I have dozens of hats and cowls that are ready to ship!
Um… Felt like the time for an update over here)
Since I’m a college teacher, I have a few published works, including articles and study materials, so I’m not new to the idea of publishing. But today, less than 24 hours ago, I’ve published two altogether different items which maybe make me even more proud than all of my study materials – on second thought, I write really mean study guides, so maybe not – but for sure more proud than all of my ‘science indexed’ articles put together. For one, the pattern entries have been viewed 100 times more in their 24 hours than those articles have been in years – because who cares about color correction in a television system that is not even designed yet? Even I don’t!
But back to the point – I have finally published my first knitting patterns on Ravelry. I was thinking about it for the past year, and I finally designed an item that I couldn’t keep all to myself and I had to share it. This breakthrough item is just a scarf of a poetic name of Echinoidea – which is just a scientific name of a sea urchin (it gave me an idea for the name based on its texture in the first place) – and also has a pun intended if you speak Russian. I also wrote a second pattern so this one wouldn’t feel lonely.
Honestly, when I put those patterns out there at Ravelry last night, I didn’t expected any particular feedback. Few additions to favorites over the next week or so, like it usually happens with my original projects, but not much more. I was surprised – and a little suspicious – when the pattern was favorited about 10 times in the first half an hour while I set up a pattern store. I was startled – truly – when a couple of hours later I had both patterns purchased! And a couple of hours after that there were two more purchases made! Really, people, I’ve said it before, and I’m gonna say it again – you are incredible! You got me inspired and hopeful that the time and effort I put in those patterns won’t go unnoticed.
If you are interested in purchasing my patterns, head over to my Ravelry pattern store. The patterns will be available there exclusively. Take notice that all of my patterns are intended for personal use only. The entire contents of the patterns are subject to copyright, and you may not sell, distribute, or produce and sell items made from my patterns without direct written consent from me.
All of the patterns are in English exclusively. The part of my brain that knits just doesn’t speak Russian.
|Echinoidea is a comfortable reversible scarf that can be buttoned up to be worn as a double cowl, or draped loosely around your shoulders.|
|Loreina is an oversized buttoned cable cowl that can be converted to a short scarf and wrapped tightly around your neck, or draped loosely around your shoulders as a soft warm wrap.|
And if you don’t knit – head over to my online store where you can buy warm and stylish hand knitted accessories made from natural materials. I have a lot of items in stock and ready to ship!
What was the craziest, most unexpected, most provocative thing you have ever done?
First things that come to mind upon hearing the words “crazy” and “provocative” usually are ultimate hair makeovers or tattoos, but no! I did the crazy hair makeover last summer, and some members of my family are still recovering from the shock, and I haven’t yet reached the point in my life when I would want to get a tattoo.
Moving to another town? Doesn’t work for Russia, where all the fun life basically concentrates only around few big cities, and also is highly unrecommended for families with moody second graders.
Changing job? Well, not for me, not anytime soon, I might guess.
So, what is the next crazy, unexpected and provocative thing you have in mind?..
Think big. Think out of the box. Think all the romantic movies in which the girl and the guy fall in love, decide they cannot live without each other no matter what, and then run off to Vegas – to get married.
Well, the crazy thing – all the romance comes true once you stop expecting it to. You may not know it, but somewhere there is a person who will softly click into that empty space in the puzzle of your life, and will fit there precisely.
The unexpected thing – that person will open your mind to the things you thought would never apply to you.
The provocative thing – the two of you, being the naughty children that you are at heart, will go against all the expectations, hopes and desires of your families, escape all the fuss and buzz of a big fat and quite expensive wedding with an endless guest list, and suddenly dart across the world – literally – to get married. Shortly, that thing you’ll do is called elopement.
Did you know that you can get legally married in another country? Well, yes, in most cases you can. Of course, it will be likely frowned upon by certain representatives of your home country’s bureaucracy, but who cares? In Russia they are permanently frozen in a state of frowning upon you anyway.
So, how exciting can it be to secretly plan an elopement in some remote location with a few hundred years of a unique atmosphere, beautifull nature and architecture, and even some strands of your favorite romance novel woven in between? Very exciting, even for a person who hated the idea of a wedding not so long ago, because seriously, who would resist the idea of getting married in Savannah, in the hot humid air under the Spanish moss?
And just like that, Alex and I made a decision and went to Savannah two days after we stepped from the plane from Saint Petersburg to Atlanta. Did you ever think that you will have only about 48 hours to plan your wedding: buy a dress, choose a location, book an officiant and a photographer? Of course, we’ve done our research, and we had an officiant and a photographer in mind, but we were extremely lucky that both of them were available on the day we chose to be our wedding day.
While I was firstly researching different elopement options in Savannah, I stumbled upon two lovely ladies – Tracy Brisson of Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements and Megan Jones of It’s Megan Jones Photography, who offered a Savannah Elopement Experience package, which included both ceremony and photography, and the price weren’t over the moon either! We are so grateful to Tracy for writing and performing our ceremony on a very short notice of 48 hours, and to Megan for capturing the moments of our ceremony and our first hour as husband and wife.
It was Monday, 13th of July, but everything fell into place that day. There was no line in Chatham County Probate Court where we got our marriage licence, and the jewellers from Harckleroad Diamonds and Fine Jewelry, who Tracy recommended, helped us choose the rings, resized them in less than three hours and also gave us a huge discount! We were all set, dressed up and ready, and by quater to five pm we arrived to Forsyth Park to be married by Tracy.
We had a simple, traditional ceremony in front of a fountain, it was the middle of an ordinary day and there were a lot of people around, but no one interrupted us. By the time we said our vows, and Tracy pronounced us husband and wife, all of the people around us were cheering and congratulating us, and it was very sweet.
We walked around old Savannah streets and squares after the ceremony and Megan took some pictures that will keep this day with us for the years to come.
I want to share some of the pictures Megan took on the blog alongside some pictures we took ourselves later on the River St. Let these pictures inspire you to think out of the box, break the rules and be free to get married when and where you and your loved one want, regardless of any traditions, obligations or prejudice.
Be the crazy one, do the unexpected and provoke yourself to explore the life in all the ways you can think of!
(pictures by It’s Megan Jones Photography)
This picture pretty much summarises the quintessence of our relationship)
(pictures by Imnotinventive.com)
Today, my fellow young-straight-out-of-college-and-newly-recruited university teacher asked me what was the point of us assisting on the electromagnetic compatibility class, if we barely understood the subject ourselves and felt absolutely no personal attachment to it. “So we would be smarter”, – I answered, – “and so our brains wouldn’t rust”. “Oh, thanks, I’ve got enough on my mind already”, – he told me then.
But what is “enough” for our minds? A PhD program, a teacher’s job, a science magazine, or a science fiction book? Is there really any limit to the possibility of one’s mind to learn?
I think there isn’t any.
The human mind is a very powerful thing – when you feed it lots of information, it accelerates and asks for more, and the more information you give it, the more it can process. You can see it clearly in children – once they’ve come to learn the first step, the next one follows immediately, and the next thing you know – your child has already learned to walk, to ride a bike or to read and write. Some people think, that this ability to learn quickly goes away with time, but I believe that it just fades slightly, and that if you always keep your mind busy, you will still be able to think fast and to learn fast.
It is very important to always learn. Whether you’re 20, or 30, or 50 years old, whether you’re married, or have kids – you still need to entertain your mind with the new researches, projects and skills. It can be your job, or your hobby – that sometimes may not be very scientific at all – but your should be completely driven by it. It should be making a better person out of you. The person that other people would be interested in talking with, the person that you yourself would love and respect no matter what.
I am very sad to see that, apparently, almost nobody shares my point of view nowadays. I work as a university teacher since last September, and this semester I’ve been working with at least 150 different students – and only few of them don’t make me feel like I’m talking to a bunch of idiots. My dear students, if you read this (and something tells me that some of you check in from time to time, although I’m not entirely sure that you can actually read this, since I’m writing in English that most of you have obviously never heard about), please know, that I don’t think you’re smart. I actually think that you’re very not-smart, because of the fact that for some reason you think that you know better than to study those tiny crumbs of very important and interesting information that we give you. You don’t know better. You’re 20, you have wind in you mind instead of base knowledge, and though maybe it’s not even your own fault entirely, taking in mind the current state of high school education in our country, it is certainly your weak point. You think you’re cool because you’ve got a part-time or even a full-time job that can buy you an iPad, but you may seem cool because of it only until the moment you start talking, cause most of the times you can’t even put your own thoughts in words and sentences. And you can never do that nicely. Why is that, don’t you read books anymore? Don’t you know that reading books was one of the main targeted uses of your beloved iPads? Shame on you. Andrew talks better than you do, although he’s only five and still can’t pronounce some of the letters.
I do not know how to make you see the importance of the education process. I try to tell you everyday how it’s important to self-educate, to search for answers by yourself and not to ask your teachers about it, because, after all, you’re not in the kindergarten anymore, and sometimes even your teachers don’t have all the answers in their possession. You may not be interested in the lab works we make you do or the questions we ask you, but it is important that you do it anyway and that you answer those questions correctly, because by doing so you will practice the most important skill you’ll ever need – you will learn how to educate yourself. This is really the one and only thing you’re supposed to learn in all the years spent in your alma mater. Please remember that, or otherwise you’ll all end up being a bunch of uninteresting, close-minded people that have nothing to say aside from the fact how much alcohol they’ve consumed, or how much points they’ve got while playing Angry Birds. I honestly don’t want any of you to be like that. I want you to finally start thinking clearly about your life and its priorities, and to become the best version of yourselves that you can possibly be.
And Andrew will beat you at Angry Birds anyway.
― Oscar Wilde
That said, I promise that I will continue to torture you with labs, tricky questions and sarcastic jokes, and I totally get it if you’ll hate me for it, but it is for your own good, trust me. I do know better, because I am older and wiser than you. I am your teacher, after all.
Nobody will get away undereducated. Period.
For the past two or maybe even two and a half years I’ve had a photographer’s block. Somewhere along the way it had got so bad that I haven’t touched my dearly beloved camera for about 6 months, and barely had taken it out of its sleeping bag the year before that. I haven’t even read my favorite photographers’ blogs for a really, really long time. The only device I take pictures with nowadays is my iPhone.
There are days when I feel like looking at other photographers’ work. Usually I go and look, but often find myself analyzing the subjects instead of lighting, lenses, and post-processing. The moments when I really look at the photographs had become very rare. Most of the times I don’t care about it though. But sometimes it frightens me more than the actual block – how did I get to a place where I don’t care to learn how a single photograph was taken? Where I don’t care to go and use what I’ve learned on practice? What would be left of me, if the photography was taken out?
But there would be a lot of things, I answer myself. Aside from all the life challenges and duties, there are no less than five other hobbies that I love dearly, and that define me as a person that I am. I knit, I sew, I bake, I try to make jewelry and other beautiful things to bring joy both to myself and to the people I love and care about. But the photography has always been something essential.
It was already there when I was 12 and learned that an old and creepy looking manual film camera can produce a picture a hundred times better than a modern compact one. It was there when I was running around taking pictures with said camera, not caring at all if someone laughed at me because of that. Even though I hadn’t learned all the technical stuff yet, I still liked the process.
The next time I took an SLR film camera in my hands was when I was 17. And then I already knew what I was doing. I had a better camera, better lens, a small stash of black and white film, and was freely operating with aperture and shutter speed numbers. I used to take my friend out for a little so called photo shoots, which mostly consisted of walking to a deserted parts of town and taking nice or sometimes fun pictures of one another. I even used to meet up with a college classmate who was interested in photography as well, to walk around the city and take some pictures with him. That probably had something to do with me liking that boy, but in the end of the day, the photography was what really mattered.
Then Dad, trying as usual to inspire me to go on, had bought me my film Minolta as well as the few Minolta lenses. Those were simple and cheep ones, but it kept me interested and motivated, and though nothing really good has come of it, I was so inspired that I often took short trips to the beautiful parts of the city to find something interesting to shoot. As the time went by, my life was changing, I was changing, but no matter where I was and what I did, my camera often was there with me, capturing different moments of my life.
But it all got really serious only when I’ve bought a DSLR camera. The idea of taking endless amount of pictures without paying for processing the films and printing the pictures was consuming. Looking back, I now understand that for the first few month I hadn’t even thought about what and how I was shooting, I just pushed the button. And then pushed it again, and again, and again… What remained of it is good for remembering how Andrew was growing up during the first year of his life, but really not good for anything else) When that first fever was gone though, and I started to look and analyze and learn what I was doing, the inspiration, the ideas, the knowledge – it all came over me like a tidal wave. I was hooked.
I’d spent all my days taking pictures or processing it. I took my camera with me everywhere, everywhere I went. I took pictures of all of my friends, of all their children, of all the meetings, and parties, and walks. And the best part of it was the reaction of my friends, who got to have nice pictures out of my obsession. Their joy over my pictures was what kept me going farther, trying new things, learning from my own mistakes and from work of others. It was all I wanted to do in life. It brought me happiness.
The first traces of block appeared in early 2009, when suddenly the amount of my inspiration has reduced considerably. I tried changing perspective and took a studio photography class. Can’t say that it had helped a lot, but at least I had some practice and in the months that followed I did a few photo shoots with my friends who trusted me not to fail. I kept on shooting outdoors as well, and in October 2009 I did one of my best outdoors photo shoots. I think that shoot alone got me going for another several months. But the block was positively taking over me. First I stopped shooting people, except for the closest ones. I found myself doing more and more ‘still life’ pictures. Somehow, I didn’t like watching people and their emotions as I used to. I liked keeping my photography to myself. I still took pictures often though, but as the time passed, my shoots quickly turned to be very occasional. Because, to my horror, but at the same time to my comfort, I just didn’t want to shoot. At all.
I haven’t touched (touched – not used) my camera since my trip to Georgia this April. I’d brought Natalie’s new Canon home with me, and I knew I could now officially transfer the ‘family photographer’ title to her. What I mentally did as soon as I could. The months that followed were really refreshing. I finally got rid of the little voice inside my mind that used to bug me about not having a single picture of my son growing up. Now Natalie gladly did the job, and Andrew was acting surprisingly better in front of her camera than in front of mine. Whenever I needed a nice picture taken, I went to Natalie, and she and her Canon took it for me. I processed some of those pictures myself, but didn’t give a second thought to it afterwards. I made a decision to give up all the photography-related stuff for good.
And when I finally did, I suddenly started to find traces of desire to shoot something. Maybe it was because my mind had rested, maybe it was because I’d somehow changed, or maybe my photographic vision had evolved enough for me to see things differently. I’ve decided to try it out, and this Wednesday Natalie and I went for a walk into nearby woods with a purpose to take some pictures. I needed to take pictures of the two of my finished knitting projects, and Wednesday weather was sunny and warm just enough to get me out and looking for good light among the beautiful fall colored trees.
I took almost no pictures myself, but I did my best to find the location, to analyze the light, and to try to get the result I wanted. We started shooting with Natalie’s Canon with 18-135mm lens, but quickly changed it to my long forgotten Sony, because neither of us know how to get what we want from that modern advanced Canon camera yet – with Sony we got more success))
And I remembered exactly how much I love my camera and my lenses. How much I love my favorite Sigma 28mm, which always gives the perfect angle and the perfect flares. I’m sure this lens alone might break the block, if I let it. We had a wonderful time walking in the woods, I guess it did us both much good, at least in terms of the fresh air and exercise. And I had so much pleasure after, sorting and processing the pictures. I’ve got motivated so much I wrote three pages long post to go with my pictures. Lets hope it’s not going to be the last time.
So, the pictures (first two are the only ones taken with Canon). Please admire Natalie’s talent to make me look pretty))
And not to forget about the sweater! This is my new lovely ‘Narragansett’ by Thea Colman. The pattern can be found here on Ravelry.
Don’t you just love this slipped stitch cable which details the raglan and the sleeves? I wish I had more yarn to make the sleeves a bit longer just for the sake of those cables.
My second project was my first shawl, knitted from the Mom’s long forgotten goat’s down yarn. It was a birthday gift for Natalie’s Mom, the last moment idea, a really good one, and the ‘Little Shells’ pattern by Holly Griffin-Weidner was just right for it. It’s very quick and easy, and the original pattern makes much smaller shawl than I made, so it might be a perfect life-saver when you need to make a gift in the matter of one day. I’m really glad Aunt Nina liked it, and I hope it’ll keep her warm in the cold winter months that are soon to follow.
And here’s my little contribution. I have to say I have got much more slow when it comes to taking pictures, I only don’t know whether it’s just the lack of practice, or some new gained thoughtfulness (I wish), that makes me push the button only after a considerable amount of time spent shifting position, adjusting angle, and waiting for the just right cloud to cover the sun, because otherwise I just don’t like what I see. Need to try it again sometimes, I guess. Just to see what may come out of it.
Have a good day, everyone!