domingo, 9 de diciembre de 2007

Life is a Celebration.

I find it amazing having to wait an entire year to see a plant bloom like this. It is a much awaited celebration for me as this little plant, my Wheinachts cacti, have come a long way together. Born in Switzerland and now living in Mexico it reminds me that many wonderful things in life are worth waiting for!

Just like my little cacti that starts blooming whenever the temperature goes down I have started to knit winter hats. Besides the Cherry beret, last week I decided to knit another hat of a "Zhivago-esque" style from VK that was fast and fun to do. What do you think?
Oh! and I finally finished my "Granny Smith" top! It took me more time than it was supposed to but I am happy with the results. It was knitted in a 100% cotton yarn and it will be among the first things I will wear as soon as the weather goes up again.

And to end up another week of celebration I baked some pear & granola muffins to accompany a nice cup of espresso (Lavazza please!), Twinings English Breakfast tea or a hot coco.

If anyone cares for the recipe feel free to ask for it.

Hasta Pronto!

viernes, 23 de noviembre de 2007

Getting ready for Winter.

Hello again! This time I want to share with you a small project that took less than 3 hours to knit and helped me put my mind a bit away from the other knitting projects I am currently working on. I do not consider myself to be a fast knitter, but I am also not that slow. It depends on the project, still, this one was so much fun to knit!
It is from Vogue Knitting Holiday '06 issue and it has already setup my mind for the coming winter season. Gosh! I wish there would be snow in Mexico City.

On other more delectable things I finally learned why we name peanuts in a particular way in Mexico. We call them "cacahuates" and more than once people abroad would find it funny that they were called that way as, for example in italian they are called "arrichidi" and in french "arriquides". Spanish being also a latin language I never understood why we would call them with such a particular name, but now I know. It is because of the aztecs and this fact made me smile. The aztecs language, the "mexica", was very interesting. All words were composed of particular roots with a unique meaning. In the case of peanuts the aztecs would call them "tlalcacahuatl", tlalli meaning "earth" and cacahuatl meaning "cacao bean", resulting in "cacao bean from the earth". Nowadays we just call them cacahuates!

Rita, this one is for you,

Chocolate Glaze
(from Margaret Fulton´s "Encyclopedia of Food & Cookery")

Melt together 60 g/2 oz (4 tbsp) butter and 60 g/ 2 oz (1/3 cup) dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Gradually beat in 2 tbsp boiling water, 140 g/ 4 1/4 oz (1 cup) icing (confectioners) sugar, sifted, a pinch of salt and 1/4 tsp vanilla essence (extract). Use as a glaze over chocolate cake.

martes, 13 de noviembre de 2007

Late Autumn.

Chocolate. One of Mexico's gifts to the world used during precolonial times as both currency (cacao beans) and as and exotic beverage enjoyed only by the aztec emperors. Today Mexico produces a very characteristic type of chocolate, the most famous coming from the state of Oaxaca. It is the result of mixing together cacao beans with almonds and cinnamon. This type of chocolate is used for hot chocolate drinks traditionally prepared with boiling water (not milk), and for different mexican recipes, like for example our famous "Mole Poblano" where chocolate is mixed with hot chiles to make an interesting sauce for meats and rice.
I have to recognize that although I love chocolate in Mexico, it is in Europe where I have tasted the most exquisite chocolate. Italy, Belgium, France, Switzerland....european chocolatiers transformed the mexican cacao beans in one of the most loved delicacies in the world. Who can escape a piece of chocolate cake? not me! I baked this cake for my mom's birthday and tried a new recipe for the glaze. A mix between dark chocolate, butter and flour that resulted in an easy to spread glaze that would keep its shape. Excellent! if anyone is interested feel free to ask me for the recipe.

Now writing about chocolate I decided to name one of my current knitting projects "Praline'". It is a V-neck dress pattern from Vogue Knitting Holiday '06 (pattern # 33), and I am almost done with the back!

Aside from chocolate I have also been enjoying the most wonderful autumn weather in Mexico. It has been a rediscovery as I have spent the two last autumns out of my homeland. We are now at 25oC and the sun shines everyday. Flowers are blooming in the garden like these ones called "Orejas de Elefante" (Elephant Ears) that remind me of the color of another of the knitting projects I am working on... is a pattern from Interweave Knits Spring '07 that is giving me the chance to knit my first sweater from the neck down. It is a cable down raglan by Stefanie Japel that I hope to finish before Christmas!
Last but not least here is a picture of the top I talked about previously. I have already added small sleeves and I wish to finish it anytime soon, as it should no longer be just decorating my room!

jueves, 18 de octubre de 2007


Hello Everybody,
It is now the turn to write a bit about color, particularly color in Mexico. Have you guys ever noticed how vivid color can be in my country? The first time I realized how color was different in other places of the world is when I started travelling abroad. It never occured to me but I always thought that the intenstity of color was the same everywhere. I was very wrong.
Color is something you grow up with. It surrounds every aspect of your life and once you are confronted with the way other cultures view color you realize that no matter where you go, you will always see the world according to the colors that were always next to you.
Here is a little example, it is a picture of the church infront of my house. A flower arrangement was setup at it's main entrance because of the October festivities (Saint Francis of Assisi). I love it.

Now talking about color and knitting I should say that green color has always been a favourite of mine. In fact, I used it to knit my first ever knitting project back in 1996. I taught myself to knit, it was rather easy as my dear grandmother taught me how to crochet at age 6, so knitting came natural. I copied a model from one of my mother's old time knitting magazines, a "Bettina" magazine from 1968! I only decided to make the sleeves a bit short. I used a very nice english acrylic yarn, I thought it was the easiest type of yarn to start knitting with. I was not wrong and the color has never faded.

I still keep the magazine, it is amazing how some models still seem to be contemporary.

Now here is another picture of yet another green sweater I did a year ago. It is my "mint" oversized cowl neck sweater that is so soft and comfortable to wear, preferably with a belt, so it does not drop. It is my own design and I used a mexican boucle yarn, 100% acrylic. Finally, I am about to end another green project that has taken sometime to be concluded. The problem is that I got the yarn in Switzerland some years ago and almost at the end realized that I needed a bit more. This is the problem when you buy yarns abroad and even more so when the design is your own like this one is. I have only one skein left and still need to do small (very small!) sleeves. It is a summer top so I am not worried, the yarn is a 100% cotton. I should finish this project soon as it was left for a while in my knitting basket waiting its turn.......anyway it was lovely to see it decorate my room with its lovely green hues! :)

Hasta Pronto!

viernes, 28 de septiembre de 2007

Nada Personal, Nada Especial.

"Nothing Personal, Nothing Special...." a song from one of my favourite groups, "Soda Stereo" from Argentina. I bought their latest compilation cd yesterday together with others like James Blunt newest album. It is wonderful to remember old times and still feel the vibe of the moment inspite of the years passed.
Today without trying to be to "personal" there aren't those many "special" things I can say about the knitting arena in Mexico. Perhaps this may be a bit of a shock to many of you but what seems to be a fashionable and /or a popular activity in, let's say the US it is quite different down here. This makes me remember about a time (2006) when I was in Toronto, Canada in a very interesting store named Romni Wools. A place where they have stacks of yarn from floor to ceiling, a place pretty much like a warehouse but a total feast to the eyes of a knitter. While paying for some beautiful and very cheap skeins of yarn from France the owner noticed I was a tourist and the moment I mentioned I was from Mexico she immediately said "It must be yarn heaven down there!". I just nodded because I felt both sad about knowing the truth and also because I did not want to spoil her cheerful attitude. This does not mean that there is no knitting in my country, on the contrary but it is an activity of almost a 100% folk art. This is, you need to take a plane out of Mexico City to find handmade skeins of yarn that are also hand painted. The best place to go is the state of Oaxaca, on the Pacific Coast, a truly "heavenly" place for folk knitters. In another day I will speak more about Oaxaca. Today I will focus on life for a knitter like me in Mexico City.
I am fortunate to live close to an area of the city pretty much of what Greenich Village or Soho are in New York. A very lively place where many artists live. This past year it has grown a bit more and for my luck two new yarn stores have opened! You can imagine my enthusiasm. One is called "El Club de la Araña" (The Spider's Club) and the other one "Tala". Now, these are new places that are starting and so still need to work on their costumer service skills but I am hopeful. About the merchandise they carry, 95% of it is composed of imported skeins from Spain, Peru, France, Italy, etc. and only 5% represents the only mexican brand that has a certain quality to standout: "Omega" yarns.
Because of the huge market competition due to globalization unfortunately many mexican fiber and yarn producers closed their activities. Only "Omega" has been able to withstand the competition, they mainly produce 100% cotton yarns with very nice colors. Mexico is not a real wool producer.
Last year I bought my first stash of "Omega" yarns that I used to knit a lace project. I am happy with the results.
Here is a picture of such project, I hope you like it.
In the meantime I say farewell and promise to keep on writing about Mexico and also clear out some myths while I am at it.
All the best, Marie.

miércoles, 19 de septiembre de 2007

Autumn Sweaters

I want to share with you a project that I finished some months ago. It is an up to the knee coat inspired by Pattern # 8 from Verena Stricken Herbst 2004 issue. It took me some months to finish but I really enjoyed working on it. The yarn I used is from Lanartus (Italy) 15% Wool 11% Mohair and 74% Polyacrylic. I used about 800 gr. One of the things I enjoy knitting with are cables, I just love the way they look according to the light, they sort of become alive!

Finally it is finished!
I named this short sleeved sweater "Basel" and it was knitted following the instructions for Pattern # 37 from the Vogue Knitting Fall 2006 issue. I used a different type of yarn, one that I found in Basel, Switzerland last Fall 2006 (400gr). It is a 75% Polyacrylic 25% Mohair blend that has a wonderful feel and easy to knit with such pattern. Eventhough the short sleeved cowl pattern is quite easy I liked that I was able to learn a new technique with it, the previously mentioned "Wrap & Turn" tecnique which added a beautiful flow to the sexy deep cowl. Don't you think it would look great worn with a pair of jeans and boots?

I look forward to wearing both of them this Fall/ Winter season!
See you soon!

martes, 18 de septiembre de 2007

A New Season and a New Technique.

Autumn, my favourite season of the year. A time when the soft sunlight reminds me that the end of the year is close but there is still time to achieve some goals. This season also puts me in a particular state of mind that brings fond memories back. I feel lucky that the rainy season in Mexico City has still allowed the sun to come out for my enjoyment!

To celebrate the season I am almost done knitting a short sleeved sweater that is a clear reminder of autumn, not only because of its colors but because I bought the yarn during autumn '06 in beautiful Switzerland. When I am done knitting it I will explain a bit more about the project. Anyway, just when I am about to finish it I encountered a new technique, one that in my many years of knitting had never heard of before: "Wrap and Turn". Interesting technique I should say, one that will allow the cowl collar not to become stiff when I bind the stitches off and will add a soft edge to my project. Check out for a clear instruction on how to achieve great results with it.
Here is a picture of my almost-done project (hopefully tonight!).........

.....and of my basil plants I got as a gift from my aunt this weekend. They are also enjoying the autumn sun like me. BTW have I ever mentioned that basil is not at all an ingredient used in mexican cooking? Yes, mexican cuisine, with its wide variety of spices and herbs does not include basil (!!)

See you soon!

miércoles, 12 de septiembre de 2007

Here I go again...

Hello again dear Blog!
It has been nearly impossible to properly startup my blog as I have been so busy with work and stuff. Still, it is my wish to start posting messages, pictures, etc. to make this a fun and interesting blog.
I know I started writing in spanish but being english the most used language in internet I guess I will keep on posting mostly in english. No problem.
For those who do not understand spanish "Hebras y Madejas" stands for "Threads & Skeins" the two things I love the most to work with.......besides food!

See you in a bit,


martes, 30 de enero de 2007

De Estreno.

Ya corté el listón y empiezo a darle vida a este espacio.
¡Bienvenidos a todos los que lo visiten!