HELSINKI IN EARLY JUNE

helsinki

Ahhhh, trust me when I tell you nothing beats a summery Helsinki! I had the chance to spend a few days in the city in the beginning of June with my best friends and my little sister, and we got to enjoy some amazingly sunny and pretty summer days. I have yet to plan & execute my ”perfect day in Helsinki” dream/idea/goal, because I can’t seem to shake off this feeling of having been to the city many times but still never really getting to know it or seeing enough of it. But what I do know is that whenever I get to make my Helsinki dreams come true I better start with an empty belly, as I already know this vacay is going to be mostly about eating, snacking and drinking lots of good lattes!

So as I don’t have a absolutely-see-and-do-these-things-in-Helsinki -list ready I thought I could share a little about the few places that I did visit this time around! So let’s start with the pictures above. The one on the left is the Helsinki Cathedral and it’s one of the most popular tourist sights in Helsinki – and you just have to agree, it is beautiful! It’s located in the Senate Square, which makes up one of the oldest parts of Helsinki. The second picture is from a city area called Katajanokka (more specifically I believe this exact spot is called Kanavaranta) but I’d say it’s located like a 10 minute walk away from the cathedral, so really close. I love how Helsinki is by the sea, and when you combine that to the ahhhmazing architecture all around the city it’s JUST.SO.PRETTY.EVERYWHERE!

helsinki

Obviously, I had a lot of lattes. We went to Paulig Kulma (left) to enjoy their beautiful interior, and get reminded of their barista courses and how I’m dying to take one! But I do have to say that after spending all this time in France I don’t think I’ll ever go back to non-French croissants (that’d basically be like cheating!). After Paulig we went to Johan & Nyström and the latte was delicious, the shop was rustic and pretty but somehow I got this vibe that I’m not cool enough for them if you know what I mean? I’m laughing at myself while writing this but sometimes some places just feel so cool, almost too cool and then you just end up feeling very self conscious about yourself and wonder if maybe I should’ve ordered something more hip and definitely not asked for that caramel syrup! But trust me, I’m pretty sure this is all in my head.

helsinki

Some of the pretty old buildings that you can find all around Helsinki (seriously though, like almost every where you look).

helsinki

Me and my little sister had breakfast one morning in Kahvila Blossom and we absolutely fell head over heels in love with the place! This adorable coffee shop is located in Punavuori and they offer these amazing smoothie bowls (can you believe it’s 2018 and I actually had my first ever smoothie bowl here!) and sandwiches, and the coffee comes from small roasteries. Also, the owner is such a sweet and kind woman and even though it was our first time visiting the shop it felt like we’d been there a hundred times before!

helsinki

Walking back from Punavuori we passed by Bulevardi (left) which is a long, boulevard like street with lots of historical buildings and beautiful parks! The picture on the right is from the Market Square that’s located close to the Helsinki Cathedral and the Senate Square. Here you can see the cruisers that operate between Helsinki and Stockholm, have your ice cream stolen by angry seagulls if you’re not careful and enjoy the amazing Finnish archipelago!

So if you ever have a chance to visit Helsinki, do it! Seriously, just do it. If you need more convincing you should know that Helsinki is also really close to cities like Stockholm and Tallinn, so if you end up in Helsinki you can visit other amazing places and countries as well!

xx, Kati

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SUMMER 2018 SO FAR

Okay guys, let me just get one thing straight right from the start: I’M BEYOND SHOCKED THAT IT’S GOING TO BE AUGUST LIKE NEXT WEEK??! I know I risk sounding like my grandmother by saying this (pretty sure she’s not reading this but grandma, I love you!) but seriously tho, where is all this time disappearing? Also as much as I love summer I have to admit it’s getting a little too hot and I miss the days when you could actually keep the curtains open and wear something other than your bikini (I know that come January I’ll be bitching about the rain, the snow and the cold, wishing I could dig up my bikini from the bottom of the closet but I’ve come to accept that this is the circle of life).

Anyway, now that I’ve gotten the time-is-fleeing stories and the weather updates out of my system I can get to the point of this post which was to tell you guys a little about what I’ve been up to these past few months – my first French summer! It may sound just a little more exciting than it is in reality but that’s mostly because I’ve been busy studying French and prepping myself for the start of university in September. So on second thought, it’s actually been pretty exciting and fun and sometimes downright scary (not so much the studying but the GOAL of all the studying aka going to school in France, yikes) but I don’t think all this excitement has been too visible on the outside (let’s face it, going to festivals and doing bungee jumps would inevitably look more thrilling but on the other hand crowded spaces and heights make me a little nervous anyway).

Also during this summer I’ve finally been able to shake off my fear of speaking French in front of people, especially with my boyfriend’s family and our friends (without downing a bottle of rosé first…). I don’t know about you guys when you’re learning a new language but to me there’s something extremely scary and almost paralyzing trying to talk French in a room full of native French speakers! I, of course, know in my head that no one is going to mock, insult or ridicule me but somehow overcoming my doubts has been a mission impossible for far too long. But thank heavens, progress does happen and it’s safe to say I’m pretty proud and excited about my hard work paying off!

So last week I actually went to Nancy (the city I will be studying in) to finish my university registration. At first the whole thing kind of made me cranky and frustrated (I should’ve been able to do everything online but the school’s website had MAJOR issues with my last name) but after giving it a second thought I realized the bugging website actually did me a massive favor. Because there’s one thing you need to know about me: I’m a huge mountain (we’re talking like Mount Everest huge) of stress, anxiety and panic sweat when it comes to going to new and important places and situations. Take exhibit A: ever since the information about the welcome week became available my brain has been going ”what if the train is late?”, ”what if I don’t find the right class?” or ”what if I won’t understand a single thing” when in fact I will be one of, like, 900 people who are all equally new and all (probably) as equally lost as I am. Now I feel like I got a little carried away but nevertheless, my point was that after having visited the campus I now know EXACTLY where I need to be on that September morning at 09:45 (and yes, don’t you worry I have also checked the time once or twice juuuust to be sure).

In other news, France won the football world cup but as we love the peace and quiet and comfiness of our home on Sunday afternoons it didn’t really differ too much from a regular weekend. But we did take a little stroll around the city to see some of the festivities in action (as I’m reading this post it’s really hitting me; there is an 85-year-old grandma trapped inside my body). 

summer

Lac de Pierre-Percée, Meurthe-et-Moselle,
France

All jokes aside, we did go to this amazing lake that’s located about 60 kilometers from Épinal one weekend in June. We rented stand-up paddles and it was just the perfect afternoon to spend by the lake! It’s not the French Riviera, but if you ask me, it comes pretty close (or at least that’s what I tell myself). Also, I grew up by a lake so I kinda have a thing for them. We did stand-up paddling once before on our little vacay in Annecy in the French Alps two years ago but I feel like this time in Pierre-Percée we were SO MUCH BETTER at it (there was no unintentional falling, trembling legs or desperately trying to stay away from the fish protection zone…).

As we speak I’ve also started working on a looooong post about how I applied to a French university and I hope to get it out as soon as possible, it’s taking approximately a 100 years as I’m writing it both in English and in Finnish! So stay tuned and I hope you’re all having a wonderful new week!

xx, Kati

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FREE KNITTING PATTERN: THE BONHEUR COWL

free knitting pattern

Hey guys! I’m SO EXCITED to present to you my first free knitting pattern and tutorial: The Bonheur Cowl! It’s a mix of all my favorite knitting techniques, and if you’ve ever taken a look at my Instagram feed you’ll know that they include cables, cables, cables…and cables. In this cowl, I’m combining simple cables that run in the middle of the piece to two braided cables on each side of the cowl, and in between the cables we’ll be knitting garter stitch. The cowl is worked in the flat and seamed together after finishing.

free knitting pattern

In this post, in addition to the full written instructions, you’ll also find a video tutorial for the cables and step-by-step tutorial pictures on how to master knitting all the cables, how to bind off stitches and also how to easily seam together the cast-on and bind-off edges. So don’t be scared if you’ve never knit cables before, I’m here to guide you from the very first stitch all the way until you’ve weaved in the last end! And after you’ve become the master of knitting the basic cables, I’m sure you’ll find that you can use them in SO MANY knitting projects you won’t even believe it (or you’ll end up like me and use them in ALL of your knits…)!

Also if at any point you have any questions or problems, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment on this post or send me an email at kati@katimaaria.com – like I already mentioned before, I’m here for you!

So let’s get started!

free knitting pattern

MEASUREMENTS

The finished product is approximately 30cm / 12 inches high and 68cm / 27 inches around.

MATERIALS

  • Approximately 200m / 218 yards of bulky yarn with the following gauge:
    – 10 x 10cm / 4 x 4″ of stockinette stitch = 11 stitches, 14 rows
    if you prefer knitting with either a lighter or a bulkier weight yarn you can definitely do so: as a cowl is not a fitted piece like a beanie or a sweater would be, it’s not dangerous if you don’t reach the above mentioned gauge! Though note that if you choose a different yarn weight the finished product won’t be the same size.
  • 8mm / US size 11 single pointed or circular needles (I use 60cm / 24 inch circular needles)
  • Cable needle or a double pointed needle (I use a double pointed needle when knitting the cable turns)
  • Tapestry needle

free knitting pattern

ABBREVIATIONS

K = Knit stitch
P = Purl stitch
SL1K = Slip 1 stitch knitwise
C6F = Slip 3 stitches onto cable needle and leave in front of work. Knit 3 stitches, then knit 3 stitches from cable needle.
C6B = Slip 3 stitches onto cable needle and leave in back of work. Knit 3 stitches, then knit 3 stitches from cable needle.

free knitting pattern

THE COWL

In order to keep the pattern as clear and easy-to-read as possible, I decided to add the video tutorial + the tutorial pictures + the pattern notes at the end of the pattern, where I will further break down the details of the different steps!

To create chain edges on both sides of the work, the first stitch of every row is always slipped knitwise (SL1K) and the last stitch of every row is always purled (P1). The braided cables on the sides have cable turns every 4th row and the two cables in the middle have cable turns every 8th row. The cable turns are made on the right side of the work.

In between the cables you’ll knit garter stitch which means these stitches will be knit both on the wrong side and the right side of the work.

Start by casting on 41 stitches on your 8mm / US size 11 single pointed or circular needles and start by knitting the first row of the pattern on the wrong side of the work:

Row 1: SL1K, P9, K3, P6, K3, P6, K3, P10 (wrong side)
Row 2: SL1K, K39, P1 (right side)
Row 3: SL1K, P9, K3, P6, K3, P6, K3, P10 (WS)
Row 4: SL1K, C6F, K27, C6B, P1 (RS)
Row 5: SL1K, P9, K3, P6, K3, P6, K3, P10 (WS)
Row 6: SL1K, K39, P1 (RS)
Row 7: SL1K, P9, K3, P6, K3, P6, K3, P10 (WS)
Row 8: SL1K, K3, C6B, K3, C6B, K3, C6B, K3, C6F, K3, P1 (RS)

Repeat rows 1-8 for 12 more times (so you’ll knit the rows for a total of 13 times) and finish by knitting row 1 once more. The easiest way to keep track of the number of rows is to count the cable turns: you have knit the rows 13 times as soon as you have 13 cable turns in the middle cables! Also if you want to make the cowl longer you can keep on repeating the rows for as long as desired – just make sure you bind off on the right side!

Bind off stitches on the right side of the work in the following way:

  1. Knit 2 stitches.
  2. Using your left needle, lift the first stitch on your right needle over the second stitch and drop it off the needle.
  3. Knit 1 stitch.
  4. Repeat step 2, and keep repeating steps 2-3 until you have only 1 stitch left on your right needle. Cut the yarn leaving a long tail (you’ll use this tail to seam the edges together), thread through the remaining stitch and pull gently to secure the work.

To seam together the cast-on and bind-off edges you’ll use the mattress stitch, so make sure you align the edges right sides facing up and that all the cables match. Seam the edges together (use the long tail that was left after binding off) by threading the yarn under the horizontal stitches that you’ll find at the stem of the cast-on / bind-off edges. Pick up one stitch per edge at a time and move between the edges, always threading under matching stitches.  Seam all the way up until the end and weave in the tail.

OKAY, NOW LET’S GET VISUAL!

free knitting pattern

Here’s an overall picture of how all the cables and garter stitch look like together – as you can see the pattern is fairly simple and we’re only knitting two different types of cables! In the next picture collages I’m going to show you in detail how to knit the C6F and C6B, how to bind off stitches and also how to seam the cast-on and bind-off edges together. But let’s start with the video tutorial I made to demonstrate row 8 and how to knit the cables!

VIDEO TUTORIAL: THE CABLES (ROW 8)

C6B

free knitting pattern

free knitting pattern

free knitting pattern

C6F

free knitting pattern

free knitting pattern

BINDING OFF

free knitting pattern

SEAMING THE EDGES TOGETHER: MATTRESS STITCH

free knitting pattern

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, PATTERN NOTES!

So on the first row of the pattern we’re obviously setting the base for the whole cowl: the chain edges, the cables and the garter stitch. As I already wrote earlier, the first and the last stitch of every row are dedicated to making the chain edges and you won’t be working any pattern on these. The stitches that make the cables are purled on the wrong side so that they’ll always look like knit stitches on the right side, and the 3-stitch garter stitch parts between the cables are knitted on both sides of the work. So here’s what’s what on row 1:

Row 1: SL1K (chain edge), P9 (1st braided cable), K3 (garter stitch), P6 (middle cable), K3 (garter stitch), P6 (middle cable), K3 (garter stitch), P10 (2nd braided cable + last stitch of row) (wrong side)

The braided cables consist of 9 stitches respectively and the middle cables consist of 6 stitches respectively. Let’s have a closer look at row 2 as well:

Row 2: SL1K (chain edge), K39, P1 (chain edge) (right side)

Now thanks to the garter stitch, all the stitches of the right side of the work are being knitted. The only exception to this are the first and last stitches on which we don’t work the pattern but make the chain edge instead.

Row 3 is exactly the same as row 1, so we can move on to the details of row 4, where we make the first cable turns of the braided cables on the sides:

Row 4: SL1K (chain edge), C6F (1st cable turn of the 1st braided cable, worked on the first 6 stitches of the 9-stitch cable), K27, C6B (1st cable turn of the 2nd braided cable, worked on the last 6 stitches of the 9-stitch cable), P1 (RS)

So in order to give the cable the braided look, you’re going to alter between knitting C6F and C6B every 4th row of the pattern. You’ll work the cable on 6 stitches – either at the beginning or at the end of the 9 stitch cable pattern. This way, the cables will turn in different directions every 4th row and create a braid. Note that on the first braided cable, the first cable turn is a C6F at the beginning of the 9-stitch cable, and on the second braided cable at the other edge the first cable turn is a C6B at the end of the 9-stitch cable – this way the braided cables are each other’s reflections!

Row 5 is knit exactly like row 1. 

Row 6 is knit exactly like row 2. 

Row 7 is knit exactly like row 1. 

Row 8: SL1K (chain edge), K3 (first 3 stitches of the braided cable), C6B (2nd cable turn of the 1st braided cable, worked on the last 6 stitches of the 9 stitch cable), K3 (garter stitch), C6B (1st cable turn of the middle cable), K3 (garter stitch), C6B (1st cable turn of the middle cable), K3 (garter stitch), C6F (2nd cable turn of the 2nd braided cable, worked on the first 6 stitches of the 9 stitch cable), K3 (the last 3 stitches of the braided cable), P1 (chain edge) (RS)

On the 8th row of the pattern you’ll knit cable turns on all of the cables: on the braided cables you’ll make the cable turn in the opposite direction than on the 4th row, and this is the first time you’ll make cable turns on the middle cables as well. After the 8th row you’ll start the pattern again on the 1st row and keep on knitting rows 1-8 until the cowl has reached the desired size!

free knitting pattern

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