My inspiration for Golden Dreams scarf

December 13, 2010

Today’s post is about inspiration behind my latest pattern release – Golden dreams scarf.

Some time ago I bought some absolutely gorgeous yarn from Fyberspates.co.uk, which is an independent dyer from Oxfordshire. The yarn I bought is appropriately called Scrumptious, it is a blend of merino wool and silk and is soft and lustrous. The thing I loved most about this yarn was its colour – golden yellow.

Fyberspates Scrumptious 4 ply in golden pumpkin

Fyberspates Scrumptious 4 ply in Golden pumpkin

Next step was to find some beautiful lace stitch to showcase this beautiful yarn. I love to work with lace stitches and whenever I can I try to improvise some new stitch combinations, something new that one can’t find in any stitch dictionary.

I am always on the look for inspiration and this time inspiration came to me on the beach in Italy. There I was, lying on a sunbed, browsing through Italian Vogue, when I saw a beautiful photo of golden chains. I absolutely loved beautiful curved and slightly tilted lines on the photo. Straight away I thought about interpreting this image in lace.

Vogue Italia Sept 2010

Vogue Italia Sept 2010

So some swatching later here is the result. I think it worked quite well.

Golden dreams scarf in Fyberspates Scrumptious 4 ply

New pattern release – Alcazar shawl

November 9, 2010

I am happy to announce that I have released a new pattern – Alcazar, a delicate lace rectangular shawl.

Alcazar shawl by Katya Wilsher

Alcazar shawl

Alcazar shawl by Katya Wilsher

Alcazar shawl - central panel

Alcazar shawl - edge lace

Alcazar shawl - edge lace

Alcazar was inspired by Alcazar of Seville. It is a 13th century palace in Seville, Spain, build in Mudejar style, and I had a chance to visit last year. Many walls of this palace are decorated with the most beautiful and ornate friezes with flower, leaf, swirl and diamond patterns. The patterns are so intricate and so inspiring. I tried to reproduce some of these intricate patterns in this shawl.

In the central part of the shawl I was trying to recreate the image of one of the friezes, an arch with a flower in the middle. I based the stitch on the Lillega Ebapiibelehekiri pattern from Haapsalu saal book, but I changed the pattern to incorporate a central flower element and also to create a continuous flow of eyelets.

For lace edge I improvised a flower and leaves pattern, as it is a popular pattern for friezes in Alcazar. This pattern is incorporated within straight lines, which correspond to the straight lines of the central section. Stretched semicircles in open lace create nice delicate edge for this shawl.

The shawl is worked in one piece. First, center section is worked, followed by top border and lace edging. Then, the stitches are picked up from the edging strip and lower border and lace is worked.

I used a beautiful Rowan Kidsilk Haze for the shawl, which is a joy to work with.

The pattern is available now through my Ravelry store.

This shawl has also won a second place among lace projects in Iknit Weekender design competition.

Open House London, Sat 18th

September 22, 2010

I know that I am way behind with my blogging, and that I promised to post more photos from Italy. Honestly, I will post them…

But today it is about last weekend and Open House London. Open House is a great event, held in London every year in September, when members of public have a chance to enter and explore thousands of different building in London for free. It gives you a chance to explore buildings from different eras, admire architecture and interiors or simply have a peek on where some people work and relax.

Although some buildings are open to public any other day, maybe for a fee, such as Apsley House on Hyde Park Corner or Barbican Centre, it is buildings which have restricted access that are the biggest fun.

This was my third event. On previous occasions I managed to get into Freemasons’s Hall, City Hall, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Bank of England, Lloyd’s of London, Ernst and Young office in More London and Embassy of Argentina to name a few.

This year we decided to stick to Westminster. Our first stop was Channel Four headquarters. It is a contemporary building, build in 1991-1994 to the design of Richard Rogers Partnership. I absolutely loved this full of light structure, made of steel and curved glass. We were allowed to go up to the top floor to look at the structure of the concave atrium and also to the staff restaurant on the ground floor to admire lovely terrace and a courtyard.

Channel Four headquarters

Channel Four headquarters

Channel Four headquarters

Channel Four headquarters

Channel Four headquarters

Channel Four headquarters

Our second stop was Portcullis House, a contemporary building which is part of the Houses of Parliament and houses MP’s offices and committee rooms. It was designed by Michael Hopkins and built in 1998-2001 together with 7-storey high underground chamber for a new tube station. But the most striking feature of the building is a rectangular courtyard covered by a glass roof at second level and surrounded by a 2-storey cloister. There are twelve fig trees and a lovely water features in the courtyard which creates absolutely lovely atmosphere. Apparently, this atrium is a popular place with MP’s and their stuff.

Our next stop was Banqueting House in Whitehall Palace. It was the first building designed in Palladian style by Indigo Jones, was finished in 1622 for James I. It is the last remaining complete building of Whitehall Palace, which was a hide two thousand room complex stretching from St Jame’s park to Embankment Gardens and from Charing Cross to Parliament Square. The ceilings of the main room were painted bu Peter Paul Rubens in 1630-4, which were commissioned by Charles I to commemorate his farther James I. Little did Charles I know that also would be the place where he would be executed in 1649 during the English Civil War.

Banqueting House, painting by Rubens

Banqueting House, painting by Rubens

Banqueting House, painting by Rubens

Banqueting House, painting by Rubens

Walking down Whitehall, we also visited Admiralty Boardroom and Admiralty House at 26, Whitehall. It used to be Admiralty Building, accommodating the administrators of the Royal Navy. Today the building is owned by the Cabinet Office and occupied by various Ministers and their stuff. But the Admiralty Boardroom is still used today by the First Sea Lord and the Admiralty Board. It is a most magnificent room, full of opulence and splendor. All the paintings and objects have a naval theme. The most striking feature of this room is the wooden panelling around the fireplace which is the most intricate piece of carved wood I have ever seen. Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to take any photos of this masterpiece.

Our last stop was Marlborough House on Pall Mall, just next door to Clarence House, London residence of Prince Charles. It is a Royal Palace, which was designed by Sir Christopher Wren for the First Duke of Marlborough and build in 1711. Today it serves ads the international headquarters of the Commonwealth. Walls and ceilings of the Palace are lavishly decorated by 17 century paintings.

Marlborough House

Marlborough House

Marlborough House

Marlborough House

Italian trip, day 1 – Bologna

August 24, 2010

As summer is coming to an end, we decided to go on a trip. We are visiting Italy, and I am very excited, as it is my first visit to this lovely country. As we wanted to combine sightseeing with sunbathing, we are travelling through Tuscany and Liguria.

Our first stop was in Bologna, which is actually in the region of Emilia-Romagna. It is dominated by red colour, as most building are built with red brick or covered in red render.

Bologna streets

Bologna street

We only have time to visit the center of the city, as we spent only one day in Bologna.  There are several imposing and beautiful palazzos on the main square, which are unfortunately, closed to the public.

We visited one of Bologna’s landmarks, Le Due Torri, two leaning towers. I wonder what is it with Italy and towers, but it seems that one can find a tower in every city or town here. You can actually climb one of the towers, Torre degli Asinelli. It is nearly 100 meters tall (for comparison, the most famous of the Italian towers, the Tower of Pisa, is only 56.70 m (186.02 ft) tall).  To get to the top, one have to climb 498 rather steep and narrow steps (after all, it wasn’t built with tourists in mind), but you are rewarded by a beautiful view.

Tower stairs

Tower stairs

Bologna, Piazza Maggiore

Bologna, Piazza Maggiore

There are only 15 towers left in Bologna today, but at some point in history, there were as many as 180 different towers. Unlike other places, where towers were built as a bell tower for a church, in Bologna towers were built for completely different reasons. At first, local families built them as part of fortifications, which allowed to shot the enemies of the family from the safety of a tower. And with time towers became symbols of wealth and prosperity.

I absolutely loved dark and cool arcades which stretch along many streets of Bologna (apparently, there stretch for more than 40 km). It seems that one can walk all around the center of town without stepping on the street, which is absolutely brilliant in summer heat.

Bologna arcade

Bologna arcade

A day at Wimbledon

June 24, 2010

A fantastic thing happen to me yesterday. Our neighbour had a spare ticket to the Centre Court at Wimbledon and she offered it to me! How cool is that! It was my first ever time at Wimbledon championship, and now that I’ve been there, hope is was not the last one! Everything was very English: straw hats, Pimms and strawberries and cream.

It was a great experience! Although I don’t play tennis myself, I do watch Wimbledon on TV occasionally. But nothing compares to  actually being there! It is a big event and even if you don’t have the tickets to Center Court or Court No.1, you can still watch a lot of other matches played on other courts or watch main matches on a big screen while eating your picnic and drinking champagne.

We watched really good matches too. First it was Andy Roddick v. Michale Llodra, then Venus Williams v. Ekaterina Makarova and Novak Djokovic v. Taylor Dent.  We also witnessed 2 records set: the fastest serve at Wimbledon by Taylor Dent (it was 148 m/h and that was incredibly fast!) and the longest match ever played. John Isner (USA) and Nicholas Mahut (FRA) have already played for 10 hours, and they will continue to play today.

What a day!


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