Sunday, 22 December 2013


Ok, so here comes the new mitt design I mentioned :)

I love these and I use them a lot! I made a pair for my boyfriend, for both of my parents, and for myself! lovely yarn.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Checking in

I have to admit it is not very clear to me what to write about in this blog right now. Enamel, clearly, and knitting, surely, but… I haven't been doing much of either lately.

Well, I have been knitting a lot, but I haven't been designing a lot. More on that later. 

And I have not been enamelling at all for a long, long time. Enamelling needs a time and concentration investment that I haven't been able to put together, and my guess is I won't again until after we have moved in our new place and I've installed my new and hopefully much improved workshop. I refuse to think of this as too bad a thing. I've never been able to attain that single-purpose dedication that is undoubtedly admirable and surely the only way to achieve greatness, but that's ok. I've always been too little butter spread over too large a toast, that's ok, too. Gonna have to be ;)

Meanwhile, yes, new house. I've been posting sort of regularly to my other blog. We've been dedicating our time and effort to home readying and renovating. Still a long way to go. No deadline. Hopefully it won't take many more months. We'll see.

Pim installing insulation

I do not have very good joints, so I cannot work hard as much as I would like to. Pim can, and he does work hard on it, after work most days, and on weekends.

The largest reason why I have very, very little time left is my "new" job. It has been 6 months already! Pim's office is 5 minutes by bike from home, any of them. My commute eats more or less 3 hours of my time everyday (there is a large factor of impredictability… train delays and so on), so rarely can I even come by the house to help a little. So it is mostly weekends for me, and then I do not last very long. Oh well.

So, long commutes means lots of knitting. At least when there is room to sit down, which fortunately is quite often the case, since mostly I travel late (flexible hours), although this means getting home later... and not going to work on the house.

I should have a session of weaving ends one of these days...

Lots of knitting hasn't been meaning lots of designing. 
I started designing knitted accessories… less than a year after I first took up knitting, I think. That is not ideal, I guess. I am one of those one step at a time, concentrate on the details kind of people, the ones that can't see the forest for the trees. 

I think this is beneficial in some circumstances. One of them is that I do not freak out when attempting complex stuff, because I don't look at the whole picture and try to take it in all at once. I guess that is why I was able to do it, my patterns are in general a bit complex, since I get bored very quickly with simple things. But I believe I am missing something which comes from years of practice. Even stitches may be one, but I do not see progress ;)

So I've been knitting a lot during my commutes, just making up stuff, eyeballing things, and also knitting other people's patterns (and modifying them too, of course). A lot of stash-busting! (paying rent and loan = no funds = stash bust!).

Only very recently I've picked up a design I left unfinished, and I'll be publishing it soon, hopefully. Stay tuned.

Loki and new design

I do not expect to pick this blog back up in full any time soon, but I think I will.. Eventually ;)

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

I'm back - windows and other things

Or not :) I have found a job (as a DTP technical designer) and so all else has taken a back seat. Or a trailer seat. I am be off for a while after this too. Of course I have many things to post about and I won't just not to make it too long ;)

I guess the routine will take shape and my energy levels will soon be back up so that I can pick up some other projects as well. First in our mind of course is the house, but since we don't have the keys yet (that will be the 25th of this month), there isn't much we can do yet.

We have been shopping for windows. The current windows are single glass PVC and must be from the 90s or thereabouts - extremely bad insulation, and why not say it, extremely ugly as well. Let me show you the façade again:

Ok, this is the lower story only, there are two more windows on top, and more windows at the back of course, those have a shallower arch:

So on the façade there is the original door, and the front window with a roller shutter. This window (and the one in the kitchen and another in the back room, on the photo above, with the white wall) doesn't open.

All windows will be wood, the windows in the façade are going to have a fixed top sash in the same shape than the door, here they call it "napoleon hat", you can see why I guess. This is a house in our city with new windows, placed by our contractor, in this shape, recreating the original ones:

They will also be fully curved following the arch. The windows at the back, due to the much shallower arch, will follow the arch on the outside but be rectangular on the inside (all windows in the house are now rectangular). We will not put any roller shutters.

The contractor we are going for doesn't offer two different colours inside and outside, so we are going for oak (oak finish, the wood itself is FSC afrormosia), which we like and goes with our furniture - the pretty pieces anyway ;) The door is now white on the outside, but it is solid oak and on the inside it is just varnished.
We may paint the outside a different colour later on, since the oak doesn't go too well with the brick (well... see above! that house has more stone, though). I have been keeping an eye around for options. I really like this green colour, I think it looks very nice with the brick, but Pim doesn't seem to like it much:


Last weekend we got a few cheap gardening books in the local store. I have only ever had balconies (and that in a completely different climate), and house plants (granted, my apartment is littered with them), so I really have no idea whatsoever what I am getting into, and want to read about it.

Plant thing I got the other day for 7€ - many
of my orchids are in bloom, including a cambria!

Two of the books are Dutch and another is perhaps English, translated to Dutch. This later one was a bit of a mistake, we got the wrong impression from browsing in the shop. But there are a few very inspirational photos (even if totally useless to the purposes of the book... which is useless to me). One of the Dutch ones I am liking a lot, it is a very tiny guide on "nature friendly gardening", I took it because it has a lot of information on how to attract animals to the garden (insects, birds, amphibians, etc) and I am very interested in this. Turned out to be a nice book, with no holier-than-thou attitude whatsoever, and lots of info per square centimetre. The last book I am not liking much at all. Written by some maybe popular? gardener in the Netherlands, the guy is opinionated, which I don't necessarily have anything against, provided the person is likeable (I know, subjective), such as Elizabeth Zimmermann, but this guy I find quite insufferable! at least I do not have to hear his Dutch accent to top it off ;) anyway, some info may be salvageable.

So perhaps I should just look for English books. I love English gardens and the cottage/informal style, plus the climate is very similar here, so I think that may be the way. I see a lot of Amazon-review-hunting in my future.


I've picked up knitting during the train commute, as I used to do (one of the reasons to get started!). I think this is my favourite time and place to knit. It is a regularly scheduled occupation (when I get to sit, I am still getting the hang of the train schedule), which strangely enough helps a lot. I do not stress so much about my project or when or how I'll write the pattern (this may also have to do with actually being employed and not feeling pressure to publish patterns).

I've been knitting a pair of fingerless mittens -little accessories are great to knit on the go- for Pim. I know, Pim with fingerless mittens? I am selling this as "driving gloves", we will see if it takes.
I am using the most amazingly gorgeous tweed yarn in yellow and green, which makes the pattern quite sporty (in the old meaning of the term). I am afraid he will need an English convertible car to go with them, though.

Here are they a couple of days ago, picture taken in the train:

I am very advanced now, I think I will need another project for the train tomorrow. This should be the shawl I started a while ago. I got a bit discouraged about that one but that has probably washed away with this agreeable little project :) I showed some similar mittens some time ago, I have two other projects started with this same pattern I am writing, a hat and mittens. Cowl should come as well, I love this fabric. Still not tired of the linen stitch!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Polishing glass

I got this cloche (actually a cheese dish with... cloche?) in a local thrift shop, a couple of years ago. I thought it was dirty or just covered in hard water marks. The lightning in the shop is pretty bad.

Turn out it was permanently etched. Apparently this can happen due to salts or other chemicals carried in the water that condenses on the surface of the glass. Could be the glass is of poor quality (looks like recycled glass) or maybe a particular noxious kind of cheese was stored in it? hehe.

Anyway, the cloche lingered unused because the etch was bad enough to not allow much light for plants and hiding the contents.

Today I decided to try and polish it, I didn't have much to lose.

To my surprise it worked!

Here a portion of the cloche had been polished. The glass doesn't look perfect (nor do I want it to, I do like shabby, not to the extent of un-usability though), but it is again transparent and usable.

I used my small motor (similar to a Dremel) with a felt polishing tip (I tried the cotton wheel but the results were not as good) and white polishing compound for silver, from a jeweler's supply shop. This is just what I had around. I don't know how other compounds would work, but the wheel with no compound did nothing, to be sure. The compound is important.

Then when I went on to actually build a terrarium I realised that I couldn't access my supplies. We do have a bit of a temporary set-up in the kitchen. I think it perhaps better wait until after we move. That is months away... and then I won't have the time I guess. We'll see!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Enamelling classes online? a survey

Hello everyone!


I now have this project in the backburner. I registered a domain,, created a landing page in the website, and have set up a newsletter.

As I have more information, whici will still take a while, I will keep the subscribers to the newsletter updated. This will not happen for a while yet, and I will not be spamming ;) so if you don't want to miss any update...

See you soon,


I've been pondering about this for a long time now. I got the idea due to the very positive response I got to the videos I posted to Grains of Glass (all of the videos I took at the time are here in my website).

09P: Shading enamels from Mer Almagro on Vimeo.

Even though my purpose when filming them was more illustrative for potential customers than didactic, I got many thank-yous and people telling me they had learned from them. I also got a lot of questions. I did answer the best I could within the scope, but I also saw that the videos had a great potential to actually teach, reaching people anywhere in the globe, which is not possible for me to do locally.

Of course in order to do this properly I would have to spend a lot of time and effort, so it would become sort of a... job? My idea is not to be the sole teacher but to have guest contributions as well. I have also contacted people in other fields (sound, image, coding, etc) that would offer their knowledge in order to create a professional product.

Before jumping head first I thought I should probably make a survey. I made one here:


If you would be at all interested in enamelling classes online, at any level, it would be very helpful to me if you could take a moment to fill it in. You can also forward the link to anyone you think could be interested.
The survey is anonymous and all questions are optional.

Perhaps together we can make this possible.

Any other suggestions are also welcome, here through the forum or directly to my email:

Many thanks to everyone in advance!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Big news

Apart from a couple of posts about the Joies d’artista expo, I have been quite silent. Truth is... something was going on!

We bought a house! as in, really a house (I have always lived in apartments), with garden and everything! It hasn't really sunk in yet. We still don't have the keys, that will still take at the latest two months, and then hopefully we will do some renovations before we move in, several months later. It needs central heating and roof isolation at the very least.

The house was built in 1932 to 35 (no clear records) and preserves most of the original features. These beautiful terrazzo* tiles are on the ground floor.

Apart from the roof, the central heating boiler and gas installation, we want to do everything ourselves. My partner has some experience, he helped his father rebuild their entire house.
Ambitious perhaps, we will see. There is a lot to do... and I expect I will be blogging about it :) I do love to restore furniture and there is plenty of wood:

Pretty hardware. Part of the handle is wood.


But so much more than wood. There will be tiles, and some plaster, and of course paint and... plumbing and electricity which are scarier! It will take a long time for sure :)

As could be expected my other projects are taking a back seat. And now back to the drawing board!

* It is obviously terrazzo with the little bits of marble inlaid in the colored cement. However the patterns seem to be made in the same way than hydraulic tiles, with a separation between different colours of cement. Some sort of hybrid? I guess the 30's were a transitional time between hydraulic and terrazzo. In any case I expect these can be polished!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Joies d’artista. Del modernisme a l’avantguarda (Part VI - Teixé)

See Parts IIIIIIIV and V.

I am dedicating this entry to the exposed pieces of Ramón Teixé (Barcelona, 1873-1926) in particular, which I think are extraordinary. 

Enamel over chased iron, string. c. 1920. Jaume Monés Collection.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Joies d’artista. Del modernisme a l’avantguarda (Part V)

I just realized I never finished this series! Last post was in Fabruary 2011. shame on me ;P Well, better late than never. Here goes.

See Parts I, II, III and IV.

Boucheron, 1925

Josep Llimona, 1913

Auguste Rodin

Auguste Rodin, Felix Bracquemond, 1900

Rodin, 1910
Alexander Fisher, 1899

Lalique, c. 1900-1902

Henry Wilson, 1908

Charles Robert Ashbee, 1901

Alfred Gilbert, 1890-1910

Hector Guimard 1909

Gustave Serrurier-Bovy, c. 1905-1908

Henry van de Velde, 1896-1898

Henry van de Velde, 1896-1898

Josef Hoffmann 1909

Josef Hoffmann 1909

Francisco Durrio, c.1895-1896

Francisco Durrio, c.1895-1896

Francisco Durrio, c.1895-1896
Francisco Durrio, c.1895-1896

Victor Prouvé, 1899