Surprise Vacation to Italy!

I had a great craft post planned for today, but the last 36 hours have been quite a whirlwind for me! My DH found a wonderful repositioning cruise to Italy, that leaves in less than two weeks! So, craft plans must be put on the back-burner as I try and get all of my pre-vacation planning packed into a super short amount of time!

We're heading to the Mediterranean on a cruise ship, my favorite way to get to Europe. Everyone flies these days, but I actually revel in the 6 short days it takes to get from Florida to Madeira, Portugal. I wonder what it must have been like for my own family, who came to America from Norway about a hundred years ago or so (I think, Jenn - do you know any more???) Their voyage would've been much longer, on the order of weeks or months at sea; but the open oceans hold such a wondrous majesty to me. To see the night sky from the middle of the ocean is a thing of beauty. 

So I ask a favor of all my international readers! I'm headed to Funchal (Madeira,) Gibralter, Cagliari (Sardinia,) Rome!, Livorno, Genoa and Monte Carlo (Monaco!) just before the tourist season starts, in about 2 weeks. Is there anything I shouldn't miss? How about craft supply shopping, is there fabric or yarn shops? I'm also looking forward to shopping for leather in Italy, where's the best places to go?

Also food recommendations are totally appreciated! I usually have trouble figuring out what to eat when abroad, more because I'm not familiar with the local cuisine. Thanks so much!


FO - Cliff Diving @ La Push Cowl

Cliff Diving Cowl - Finished!After I'd finished my Solitude scarf, I wanted to work with another single ball of Malabrigo Lace yarn. It's so yummy soft, and very enjoyable to work with - but I wanted to design something for myself, not follow a set pattern.

So, I went to my stitch dictionaries and found this pretty Fishtail Lace pattern; and knew instantly that it would be perfect with the yarn colorway I chose, Whale's Road. Blues and indigo with hints of green and purple, this particular colorway really captured my attention - even over the internet! (I love Eat.Sleep.Knit for Malabrigo Lace.) The color is more accurate in the first photo, but I wanted to post a closeup of the lace pattern, too.

I picked a cowl shape because really, they're all the rage right now, and I've knit a butt-load of scarves with ends already and I wanted something new! I started with a provisional cast on, so I could use Kitchener stitch  to graft the ends together when I (almost) ran out of yarn. That meant I could make a long cowl, capable of doubling or tripling to a warm, cuddly neck-warmer. God knows, we still need them here in Chicago - it's cold again this week!

Cliff Diving Cowl - Closeup


Soft Chains - Cashmere I-cord Chain Link Bracelet

I-cord Chain Bracelet

I've been thinking of using super soft materials for chains well, for a while... I guess basically since the spring fashion shows. I die for these Chanel's temporary tatoo chains, but they're also 75$ - so you know, I have to be content to covet and not own these, I fear. I wish I had the cash, though!

I-cord Chain Bracelet

So anyhoosals - my brain was kicking around the thought of using soft and otherwise relatively unsuitable materials to create a series of chains this month. Leather, suede and even cashmere, I find the textures delectable, and because I used some leftover Handmaiden 4-ply Cashmere for this one - even the colors are yummy! Yeay!

I-cord Chain Bracelet - side

This is just a basic I-cord chain link*, but I've got designs in the works for much more complex pieces. I just have to get working, and find out what actually works for me (and what fails miserably, as any good artist knows!) If anyone's interested, I'm toying with the thought of making this into a pdf. Please let me know if you'd like that, and thanks for stopping by! *Here's a link to the Ravelry page for it!

I-cord Chain Bracelet - back


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