Thursday, December 29, 2005

Greetings From Mullingar!

Everyone says hello from Ireland!

We can't get Dave off the guitar.












Meg and Ciara are playing solitare together (um... if that's possible)















Hope everyone had a safe and healthy Christmas! Not sure how much posting I will do while . The only knitting going on is Owen's Christmas pressie - I'm cabling feverishly to get his Aran Jumper done before I leave.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

When I Grow Up....

I'm definitely going to be my mother!

Update from Canada:
A little snow today, have to go and get groceries later when the roads clear. It is cool this am, glad I have the wood fire. The new room is finished enough to have a holiday dinner out there. The wood fire works and there is heat in the floor, so everyone will be warm and I will put some extra rum in the egg nog.

Love Mom

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Max is here!!!


Denisa gave birth to a beautiful baby boy yesterday!!!

Sorry the pictures are so dark...
THIS is why Santa should get me a new camera ;)



Just in case you're wondering, she had three helpings of my very banany Banana Bread the night before. Naturally, I'm taking as much credit as humanly possible for the healthy and speedy delivery of baby Max. LOL

Monday, December 19, 2005

Snow in Franconia


So we finally got the snow in Franken (Franconia) and it's forecasted to snow the entire week. Until Saturday, when it's supposed to rain :( So much for a white Christmas, but my hopes are still up. This is the view out of my office window today. It's not as dark as my camera makes it out to be, but it is just as cold as it looks!






On a warmer note, I found more German yarn on Friday in my favourite LYS. It's Frankengarn, which means the sheep can't be more than, say, 25 miles from me. How cool is that?!! It's not the finest, but the sock yarn is a merino/silk mix that makes it ultra-soft. I love the picture of the shepherd and the sheep on the band, kind of Christmassy, eh?

I cast on yesterday and tried to run a cable down the side after I finished the ribbing, but the yarn totally doesn't want to play ball, there's a very high split factor here. So I ripped back and figured I'd just do stockinette. But have you ever knit stockinette in grey, I think it's got to be worse than navy blue! I ripped back 2 inches of boring sock this morning and am doing a modified rib that makes me happier and I'm assuming the yarn as well since it's stopped splitting so much.

I will have to get another ball or two, 50 grams is only 150 yards and I don't think it'll be enough for the Irishman's boat feet. Maybe I'll have more time and check out the other colours!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Striped Monster Sock


Can you believe this is a sock for a 4 year old???

His sister and I agree that the Tiger theme is a good one for him - hopefully this sock and its mate (cast on about 10 seconds ago) will keep his tootsies warm on the flight to Ireland after Christmas.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Guess Who Came to Dinner in Nova Scotia??

Our snow is just about gone, had warm rain yesterday. There are four dear in the picture; one is behind the arbor eating the clematis? Dear little things, they just about came up to the house.

Will take a picture later but the “three year” quilt was finished on Sat. at 10:00 AST. I need to put the binding on, wash it and find a secure spot, out of harms way for it to rest. Think I will keep it for a while to look at in case anyone was interested.

Lots of love

Mom


Okay Mumsie, now we're all waiting for a picture of the quilt!!! :)

And the Irishman wants to know if it's venison for Christmas Dinner!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Instant Gratification

My favourite gratification of all time!

I cast on for the hat yesterday and knit all the way down to my ears by quittin' time. Now I'm not sure whether to rip back and redo the last rows with fuzzy/eyelashy stuff or to make a floppy fisherman hat brim and look for a cute Diddl pin to make the front look posh. If you don't know Diddl, check this out. This big-eared rodent keeps popping up everywhere and his picture is on nearly everything from backpacks to notepaper to clothing. And Ciara wants all of it!!! She even has a super large binder with a collection of different notepaper - whatever happened to Garbage Pail Kids, eh? So finding a Diddl pin and putting it on the hat would totally get me points towards my entry in the SuperStepMom Hall of Fame, dontcha think?

Since I forgot my fuzzy yarn this morning, the hat (and brim decision) will have to wait until this evening. To keep my hands busy at work I cast on stitches with Opal Tiger to make socks for Saskwatch the Toddler. Regia website says to cast on 56 stitches for his foot size - the kid is 4 years old!!! Even more amazing, Ciara is 9 years old and her feet are now bigger than mine! Dude, I wear a ladies 8, no foot binding here.

When did MiracleGro team up with Gerber's????

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Double or Nothing



There's a lucky girl in Germany who's going to get a fluffy blue hat with eyelash-adorned brim for Christmas this year. And if I can keep kicking major ass with my knitting time at work, there will be a matching scarf to boot!

This is the Eroica yarn I picked up on the Yarn Crawl in Wuerzburg. I had imagined a really cute pullover for myself, but who am I kidding here, hats are way more fun to make :)

I was inspired by Kitten of Doom to make a flat top until the size seemed right and knit circles until it fits over my ears.

I think I'll finish with fluffy yarn like this and call it the City Hat!

And it shall be my squishy :)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Snow in Nova Scotia


Pictures from Mum's first snow fall - whataview!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Ticker Tape!!


Yes, pictures at the keyboard. I'm that excited about finishing these behemmoth socks! I checked the blog and I've been working on them for over 6 weeks (that's gotta be a record!). Even when I was nearing completion last night and lost hand movement (due to the Irishman AND the cat insisting on cuddling me at the same time-how dare they!) I wasn't feeling the excitement and exhilaration that I'm beaming with right now. Or I would have told the cat and the leprachaun to cuddle together and leave me alone. Right about now, they should feel honoured enough just to bask in my glow!! :)

Rumour has it that Santa heard my cry for a new camera and is currently searching pre-Christmas sales so that I can take beautiful and detailed pictures of all my Christmas knits. I'm sure you're all waiting with bated breath. (almost typed "baited breath" there, but no-wait, that's the cat, hehe)

This just in!!! According the Yahoo News,
Psychologists have just finished a study linking creativity to sexual activity and number of sexual partners. They say, the more an "artist" produces, the more people are attracted to them. Will someone please call Naveen Andrews and tell him that I "created" this sock design all by myself (and a Pinkerbell hat!) and I'll be awaiting his arrival in the next couple of days - hell! I'll even pick him up at the airport! Perhaps I shouldn't hold my breath just yet...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Pinkerbell, Captured.


I think she likes it :)

Holey Opal!!


Talk about a big honkin' hole!!

I think this might end my very short relationship with Opal Sock yarn. I only made these this year and, sure, the Irishman is hard on socks, but he's been wearing others for 3 years now.

Major, major bummer :(

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Pinkerbell

Talk about attack of cuteness! We're having more camera trouble at the mo, so getting Kerry to stand still enough for a photo op is totally out of the question. So here's me stepping in.

I just started messing around with one of those "k2tog here and yarn-over on this end" stitches and got a bit of swirl.











When the swirl started to die out at the top of the hat, I saved the cute factor with a "we represent the lollipop men" munchkin knot after a long I-cord with the last 4 stitches.
















All in all, I'm quite pleased with myself and I'm going to write the pattern down before the Little Miss flies back home with the hat. I'm hoping to knit up another one with this find from the Wal-Mart in Wuerzburg.


Yes, my friends, that's right. Red Heart sells sock yarn in Germany :) I'm a big Red Heart fan when it comes to knitting for People Puppies (my step-father's nickname for kids) quite a hearty yarn that can take a fairly good beating and still look decent.








I'm trying to post as many pictures as possible. I love my new camera phone, but the quality is not quite blog-worthy. I'm hoping Santa cruises lame knitting blogs late at night and will happen upon mine, making him totally sympathetic to my plight and he'll throw a new Canon something-or-another my way this Christmas :)

Yes, Virginia, there really are delusional knitters walking around disguised as completely normal people....

Monday, November 21, 2005

Neuschwanstein



Forget to post??? Not me, surely!!

It must just be the time difference coupled with the upload reaction to the flux capacitor, right?

I didn't get the hat finished for this trip, but it was ready when we visited Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg palace this weekend.

I did a modified pixie hat with swirl effect and a munchkin knot on top - pictures are on their way :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bsy Bsy Backson


No time to post, I'm quite busy going for long walks in the country with my brother and niece Kerry :)

Check out the Aran knit Mum made for him - it's keeping him plenty warm in Germany. Which is good, because they've predicted snow for Thursday - yikes!!!

If it's going to snow, then that kid needs a hat - and quick! I'd better get knitting !!!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Umbenannt

We finally decided on a name for the cat. One we both agree on. Dave wasn't too fond of "Jackson" and I thought "Halo" as downright retarded (not to mention "Halo 2"!). This morning I had an idea and I think we were both too tired and hungover to argue anymore - so I am very pleased to introduce our new cat:

Guinness


Wee feline, I baptise you in the name of the hops and the barley and the holy foam. We will be your guides in this life to steer you away from hard liquour and towards the mild taste of Ireland's cherished Liffey Water. Right after we solve that pesky rum habit.....

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Te-hair!


Guess who's learning how to knit????

After teaching Patrick to knit this weekend, he spent his free moments since then practicing. I can't say he's quite caught on yet...... so he needs help a bit closer to home.

I told Iveira it was her duty as a mother to be able to help her son with his homework. And that it is my goal this year that she knits one thing - a scarf or a hat, anything!
She's picked it up quickly and was flying on Patrick's needles last night. Can't wait to see the progress today :)

Monday, October 31, 2005

Heppy Halloveen


Do you see the booty here???

How many of you got Lebkuchen for Halloween, eh? :)

Eroica!!


Oops! We did it again!


Another successful (if not wallet-draining) Yarn Tour stormed through Wuerzburg on Saturday.

This is Erica laughing at me because I made fun of her map-turning. Although she totally gets the most-organized award for highlighting the yarn shop streets and actually getting us there.

At the second yarn shop, I only stopped drooling over the multitude of sock yarn when I noticed Erica stopped in front of an shelf unit full of boring old normal yarn. I was about to tell her to open her eyes and smell the Regia when she pointed out that this beautiful 50/50 wool/nylon mix was only 1.50 Euro per 50grams. Well, hello Shirley!! I started to pile it in my basket. Can we say "kids sweaters!???" Then I noticed that the name was Eroica. I don't even want to imagine how they came up with this name, but it was what I called my shopping partner for the rest of the day LOL!

We even found Opal, so I snagged myself some of the tiger yarn. Not sure who's getting them yet, but they would have been handy for chilly trick-or-treating tonight :)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Knitters


It's a shame this is so dark, but what you see here are two kindred knitters, plying their trade whilst their brethern play X-Box not 2 feet away. Talk about yer old-school miracles.

Patrick is learning to knit at school and came to me with needles held together by knots and a plea for help. So I got him off and running and Ciara immediately tore the house apart, looking for the poncho she started for Cian like 4 months ago.

How cute is this???

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Nachmachen

Nachmachen in German means imitate, which is what I was trying to do after I saw Steph's mommy/belly/work-in-progress pic. Denisa held up the blankie I've been working on for Max but her belly looked all lumpy and funny.

Further investigation lead to the discovery of a 5 month old feline who loves yarn and knitting almost as much as me :)


Jackson, say hello!


Mommy only has 2 more months to go, but I think I'll manage the rest of the blanket before then. I've been adding to it off and on for the past couple of months and haven't posted anything becuase I didn't want to document the time it was taking to knit it for fear of de-motivation, hehe.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Plaid
















I really wish these pictures had come out a bit truer to life. The greens blend in to each other a bit better and the whole thing looks a lot more uniform than whatcha see right here. I'm getting kind of excited about trying this out with other colour combinations. It's a bit of a shame that this pair will take so long since they're a whopping size 12!! Is it just me, or have you noticed the high occurance of sock knitters having significant others having montrously large feet? I think Harloty commented on this recently, too.

Friday, October 14, 2005

I've Gone Plaid

I'm having some serious camera issues these days. Not exactly mechanical problems with the camera, per se. But more issues with synchronizing finding charged batteries with locating the memory card AND the camera at the same time that I have a split second to snap a shot of my Opus sock before the sun goes down (which it's started doing about an hour after sunrise!).

My sock, my glorious surprisingly pretty pretty sock.

This was the sock that pinned me under the dreaded "Sock Curse" this summer. I started it 4 times with 2 different patterns and came up snake eyes everytime with the fit. Stupid Lana Grossa Green Tweed!!
So I tricked it!

I started a sock with the Canadian Color Regia I picked up last Friday (lovely fall colours!). I didn't even look in the direction of the haggardly-worn, oft-ripped tweed as I hummed to myself and pretended like I had absolutely no idea who the recipient was...

I worked 25 rows of ribbing and 3 rows into the leg of the sock, I feined a completely innocent frustration with the colour-pooling and glanced at the cursed sock wool and wondered aloud if "these wools would look really cool together."

After ripping back to the rib, I settled on a knit 1 round of Canadian Color, knit 1 round of Lana Grossa forrest green tweed. And then, I thought I might try to work in the Flammegarn sock pattern from Nancy Bush's Folk Socks (the original pattern that cursed me in August). So my CC round was knit 4, sl 1 and my LG round was knit all the way. I knit for an entire afternoon, soaking up of my favourite old ER episodes (when Noah shaves his beard off - be still, my heart!!) and more and when I looked down at my sock, I found a totally cool effect that the Irishman calls "plaid".

The sock has an underlying forest green tone with bright autumnal reds, oranges and blues popping up all over the place and the slipped stitches make up lines of green running down the side (for me, a picture usually replaces TEN thousand words - succinctness is a virtue). Now I'm experimenting wildly with the heel (read: never heard of this technique and highly doubtful it will even work) by knitting across with K1 CC, K1 LG and purl back with the 2 strands held together. It's my technique to avoid using bigger needles but still incorporating the mixed yarn.

I have to admit, whether the blasted heel (which is taking AGES to knit because I'm doing it on 38 stitches) works out or not, I'm glad to be back in the woolly saddle again and excited about 2 sticks and string!!

God bless autumn!

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Sound of One Door Closing.....

Popped into my local yarn shop the other day because I saw 40% off signs while driving by. And discovered they are closing at the end of the month. Okay, it didn't disappoint me too much since they were never too nice and their selectioni wasn't as great my old locals. But it was the only yarn shop in walking distance and now they are no more.
As I was sulkily walking home, I cut through a street in our neighborhood with a pharmacy, bank and corner shop. And then I noticed that the corner shop had yarn in the window, then I noticed that she had Regia in the window!!! So I took a quick look inside and found a tiny corner, well-stocked with affordable baby-yarn, Fun-Fur, Regia Ringel and loads of Regia Canadian Color :)
And this store is only 40 seconds from my house! How cool is that??!!!

Have to go now, the new kitten is systematically chewing through the yarn that's supposed to turn into the neighbor's baby blanket......

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Yo la Tengo!!

Yo la Tengo

Iveira has been working on my Spanish. Mostly I can just say "que frio" and "que lindo" and I can explain rummy hands perfectly (don't ask). But, I used to see Yo la Tengo stickers all over the cars in Athens, Georgia - I think it was a salsa band - and Iveira translated it for me.

I've got it!!

The IT. What other IT could it be at this moment in time? What else but the book whose cover I've been staring at on Amazon.de for the past couple of months and longing to turn the pages myself. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's Yarn Harlot : The Secret Life of a Knitter. It finally came yesterday, just minutes before we left to drive to the Munich Oktoberfest for the evening. I'm not much of a car reader, but I left my current book at home (a really thick historic-novel about Dublin with absolutely no knitting content - how am I supposed to stay focused on that??!) and read the first couple of chapters before it was time to hunt foot-long sausages and candied-almonds. Irishboy had a work colleague visiting from Boston, who, for some reason, everyone says look like he's my brother. I distracted myself all evening by asking every girl in a dirndl stand next to my brother for a photo. They all fell for it and he's got some great pics to take back with him. And, somehow, I don't think he minded.....

So, now I've shipped the Irishman off to Bordeaux for the week (anyone know of nearby yarn shops?) and I've got a quiet house, lots of frozen pizza, a ridiculous amount of stash yarn and a brand new Harlot book. Hit it!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Soft


The weather's been fairly soft lately. Soft rain, soft breezes and it's turning everything in the house (from cookies, to books, to hard wood) just as soft. Usually in Germany I can leave cookies out overnight for a couple of days and they might actually loose moisture. But last night I forgot the Swedish oat cookies on the counter and was faced this morning with IKEA's version of breakfast oatmeal with chocolate stripes.....


So it only seems appropriate that I grab the softest sock yarn known to man. I needed to break the sock curse that has haunted me for the past couple of months. First I tried 3 different socks in Neatby's book and none of them suited my style or taste of any yarn I could find and then I started a sock 3 times and knit forever each time to find out it didn't fit the size 12 foot I was knitting for. I'm blaming the yarn on that one.....

A couple of weeks back (when it was roaring hot and there was no rain in sight) I discovered that Regia started making its silk sock yarn with self-striping yarn. Yipppeeee!!!! I had like 3 seconds to pick a colour and I'm not sure I came out with the prettiest - means I have to go shopping again :) but I am in no way complaining. I cast this baby on yesterday and am already knitting the heel. I think that's a personal best. I got a Regia Silk leaflet with the sock ( I think it was a frequent-shopper freebie) and a cool new sock pattern. It goes something like this:
Row 1: K3, P1, K4
Row 2: K1, Cable 1 back, P1, K4
Row 3: K3, P1, K4
Row 2: K3, P1, Cable 1 back, K2

I like the way it gets the colours a bit mottled up and you still get the white spots mxed in, but it doesn't look like the conventional K1 white, K1 coloured which always looks weird when I knit it. We're giving it a 2 thumbs up (that's the royal "we", hehe) and can't wait to try it on my other striped yarns :)

Saturday, September 10, 2005

If Only I Could Knit Sudoku

Hi

My name's Kathleen.

And I'm addicted to Sudoku.

It's my mum's fault, really. She was telling me about it on the phone one evening and asked if I'd seen the like over here yet. Nope, no idea what she was on about, but, as fate would have it, soemone passed me an English paper the following day at work to read between phone calls. After I finished catching up on who was sleeping with whom and got my fill of papparazzi snapshots, I came across a puzzle that looked a lot like the one Mum told me about. So I gave it a shot and thought it was a great little puzzle - full of numbers, but no math (my favourite!!). That evening, I raced home immediately googled sudoku and printed out 20 sheets of puzzles to do at work the next day.

Things got bad after that. It took my attention from knitting because sudoku didn't cause my hands to sweat in the summer heat. And I felt awfully clever whenever I finished a "moderate." Kind of hard to quit ego inflating of that scale ;)

Things have gotten better since. I'm limiting myself to the harder puzzles that take more time and now that there's "Killer Sudoku". So I keep it down to the Times printout - 3 puzzles daily and I'm turning my attention back to my knitting now that the weather is getting cooler and the new Knitty is out!!! I think Samus would look gorgeous on me in seafoam green.....will have to do some swatching today to make sure.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Burnout

too much company, too close together, been knitting, but barely. Read the new Harry Potter, though - liked it :)

Back soon!!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Visitor

Megan came to visit from Ireland and we spent the first 5 days disturbingly engrossed in Sudoku puzzles. Then she remembered she knew how to knit and, during an innocent trip to the LYS, bought a couple balls of shiny cotton baby-coloured yarn.

Today, through various car trips and discussions about the length of her visit, she wrapped her first purl, knit her first ribbing, heel, gusset and forayed into circular knitting. We came home to learn kitchener and finish off a darn cute sock for her little sister.

Now she's reading from a pattern book, increasing by knitting into the front and back of designated stitiches and should have finished baby booties by tomorrow evening.

I, however, knit boring stocking stitch on the 2.25 circs Mum found in Scotland (I want a t-shirt that reads: My Mum went to Scotland and all I got was this lousy [yet, really cute] sheep postcard and some circs!) Ok, the postcard IS really cute :)

I'm really liking these colours, too - a bit fallish, yet with underlying ocean tones. Picant, yet soothing...

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

My Roots

Lest anyone should think my talents simply fell from the sky - here's knitted proof they're pure genetics :)
Mum's just finished a kitten cardi for grandbaby Kerry. I loooove these sweaters because she knits up the kittens in angora!














It's things like this that make my biological clock skip a couple of steps and gets really loud :)

That's My Baby!

That's my first Tiramisu ever. Isn't she just gorgeous? And I have to wait until tomorrow to dig in. This is worse than waiting for bread to cool, dammit! That's why it's in the downstairs fridge - there would be lots of finger marks in the next 24 hours if it was any closer....


There has been knitting going on over here, but it's just an inch or two more on my feather & fan shawl - ya know how you knit for days and have only advanced one inch? I'm at that stage... And some socks, but nothing too earth-shattering.
Except that I just starting knitting my first ball of this. As if I wasn't having enough trouble with my yarn budget ;)

Much more exciting are the boots I found for the mumster - perfect for mucking about in the Nova Scotia fall, eh?











So, that's me - knitting Canadian Color wool, drinking coke and Crown Royal and thinking about Mum's Canadian fall - feeling ever so much a wannabe Kanuckster. I probably spelled that wrong, too - they'll never let me in now, will they?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

But I Always Wear This When I'm Spinning....


I'm guessing traditional German dress from somebody's whacked-out imagination.

And I thought the bowheads at college had issues......

Well, Ain't She A Purdy One!!

Won this off of Ebay last weekend and picked it up yesterday on the way to the airport to get a car full of Irish tourists (nothing beats a 2 hour car trip home full of "howerya"s, "jaysis!!" and "yer wan der on te plane"s). They've all gone to Salzburg today and Munich for the night so I've got lots of alone time with my new best friend er South German Spinning Wheel.
Turns out the guy who was selling this set had absolutely no idea what he had. A friend emailed him to ask if it was in working order and he said he didn't know (quick aside: I have a funny feeling he was trying to side-step a "no" answer because the wheel wasn't spinning freely when I picked it up - someone had stuck the wool-puller through the wool-pulling keyhole (very technical terms here) and it was twisted around the flyer, thus locking the wheel). He thought I bought the set for decoration - cause, you know, it is kind of just pretty to look at :) and Irishboy gets a stupid grin on his face and says "oh no, she spins" which has a double meaning in German and made me sound like a nutter.
But I had it working in seconds, just need to re-bind the pedal to the stick thingie that turns the wheel (insert official technical term here) and we'll be spinning up a storm. He said he was just glad that someone came to pick it up and mentioned that a wannabe bidder emailed him from the States and asked if he would post it over the ocean but he figured they must be a bit crazy because who would buy a spinning wheel and have it shipped over from Germany???

Doesn't sound too crazy when I consider some of the things I've had posted over from North America (like Keds, beef jerky, Gap jeans, many pounds of wool, beef jerky, bed sheets, ibuprofen, beef jerky and all manner of knitting paraphernalia - and some beef jerky).

Friday, July 22, 2005

The Doubter

I hemmed and hawed for way too long over a pattern for my gorgeous soft-linen-copper-wire find in Erlangen. Jean suggested the Feather and Fan shawl and I gave it a try the other night...



















Not bad, eh?

I really thought this pattern looked too old-fashioned at first glance and I searched through half a billion patterns on the 'net before finally casting this on to check out the effects. And now I could kick myself for waiting so long because I am thinking it would be a super present for a friend who's returning to Florida next month. Something to keep her shoulders warm in the air-conditioning and draped over a sundress on the beach at night.....*sob* Frankie, take me with you!!

Seriously, though - I searched through tons of patterns, because Jean's first and only suggestion was this pattern. It's like she just knew. And I know there's no one out there who can just look at yarn and suggest the perfect pattern in, like, minutes. There's no way she could have been right...and, yet, here I am concurring. (can one really be concurring or does one just simply concur???) which means, Jean might be onto something here.....

Jean, I'm so sorry I ever doubted you; could you please come back to visit and take a look at the rest of my stash???

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Pencils Ready?? You Have 30 Minutes - Now Get Naked!!!

A work colleague of mine came to work last week and bragged non-stop about her previous afternoon of pampering. 3 hours of relaxing body massage with face peel and mask and all the trimmings. Her friend runs a beauty school and she only paid €30 for the entire afternoon. After I retrieved my jaw from the carpet, I informed her that I was a big supporter of education and totally hilfsbereit (ready to help)!
Saturday I got the phone call that my help was needed today at 1pm for a Gesichtsbehandlungspr├╝fung (face-handling-test) and I dutifully showed up for duty. I found the building after only 15 minutes of walking around looking like a travel-weary tourist, checked in at the front desk and waited patiently for my student to come collect me (while, of course, knitting on the ribbing of a new polymaid/wool sock-this is, after all, a knitting blog).

Anywho, I found my student and she led me into the wellness room (or whatever you call these places) and stood next to her table holding out a towel. I figured there was a table because maybe we'd get a wee neck/shoulder rub with our face-handling thingie and started to sit down. But she stopped me and told me to undress. I immediately thought, oh right! my sweater, of course I should take off my sweater and t-shirt before getting gunk on my face. And, as I took of my sweater and did a half turn, I caught site of the rest of the room and 15 other test models - naked - ALL.OF.THEM. Naked! Like all in front of each other, okay, they were wearing panties, but who today has ass-coverage? I ask you! Here was a collection of women from 20 to 60ish and only one woman had partial ass-covering panties. And it wasn't me - there was scary white butt cheeks catching sun rays from the open windows and blinding people left and right! And when I finally got the nerve to get (almost) all my clothes off, totally skinny student girl reminds me to take my jewellry off. I got hold of that towel first so that the visible wobbly bits were to a minimum!

All my nerves were soon settled as the session started off with 30 minutes of full body massage. After that, I think I could have walked down the street naked without a care in the world - if only I'd known that lovely massage were so close behind the surprise-semi-public-nudity thing.

Then things got spicy when skinny student girl told me to get up off the table, hold my towel (which, by the way, was eensy!) over my boobs and stand on another eensy towel on the floor. She then covered my legs in one of those goes-on-cold-and-gets-super-hot lotions and proceeded to wrap me in SARAN WRAP. Just like Fried Green Tomatoes. Wrapped in plastic wrap, baby! And she waddled me back towards the table, tipped me over and painted my boobs yellow (and me with no camera!). I think that's when I passed out for the first time.

The plastic wrap stayed on for another 2 hours and my face was peeled (passed out for the 2nd time - man, was that stanky!), masked, wrapped, scuffed and made-up. Nails were painted. Feet massaged! and eyebrows plucked. Three and a half hours later and I was one hot cookie! 4:30 in the afternoon and Dave was still in a meeting, so I headed my hot-self into Finnegan's for Happy Hour!

Can't wait to go back next time (and wear bloomers!!!)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

From 2 to 8mm in 4 Seconds!!

A personal best if I do say so myself :)


Got Lucy Neatby's book (Cool Socks, Warm Feet) the other day and have become neurotic about starting a sock from it. I've started 2 different socks 4 different times on 3 different needle sizes and been to the yarn shop to buy another 3 balls of yarn (except I forgot to bring the cash-type stuff and the person working at the time didn't know how to scan my bank card).

I think it's knitting karma kicking a little tushy. Remember that lovely cotton Phildar tank top I started? No, of course not - I haven't posted pictures because it was knitting along so quickly that I figured I'd just save pics for the finished product. Same with Dave's socks and the other house slippers I started knitting on Saturday. Sunday night, I was playing with my first try at the Neatby book and the neighbors started teasing me about starting projects. They asked how often I finished one. Usually I can hold my head up high and say that I have a main project and a to-go pair of socks on the needles. But I've been over-stimulated with yarn tours, book arrivals, yarn gifts and surprise project ideas from the neighbors. So I've got to introduce some discipline into my yarn life (ve must hav ze diziplin!) and finish at least one project (ends and all!) before I can concentrate on Lucy's book again.....

This is gonna be a long night.....

Sunday, July 10, 2005

When in Rome...

Had the Franconian neighbors over for dinner on Friday night for some traditional American grub - can't go wrong with Mum's Chicken Divan :)

Somehow, and I seriously have no idea how this happened, we got onto the subject of knitting and knitting in Germany and old knitting customs. Paulina's grandmother knits up all her leftovers into the sweetest little footies you ever did see. We took a quick run over to her front hallway and Paulina pulled open a drawer full of knitted slippers - from baby to humungo. And I took a pair of the kids' with me to check out the pattern. Mrs. Neighbor agreed to model them for me, pic above.

Then, Mr. Neighbor, Georg insisted I learn first-hand exactly how toasty warm and comfortable are and he pushed Paulina out the door to get me a big-kid pair.


Do you see what I see? Grasp a whole heap of yarn (4-6 strands) jumbo size needles, knit a garter stitch square, sew one side together and with the other side, start knitting in the round - K1P1 ribbing until toe, decrease, sew in loose ends and hand out to family, friends and unsuspecting passers-by.

I started my own yesterday but got distracted by Opal-silk socks for the Irishman and Phildar cotton (coton!) tank top. Oh yeah, and I taught my friend Birgit to knit socks in the round last night. Very distracting, all of it.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Not To Be Outdone...

I got mail, too :)

One reason I love living in Germany - seasonal Birkenstock updates!

Even if it is only 5 degrees outside, they feel great. And what better way to test out new shoes than to visit the wool shop, hem and haw over shawl yarns and shoot-the-proverbial shit with my new mother-daughter best friends/wool-shop-owners!

The absolutely, wonderfully soft linen mix that I picked up the other day, and was sooo super excited about using, turned out to be as knit-friendly as copper wire. So I took it back today to maybe pick up some of the silky, shiny-ish mohair that's been on my mind since Saturday. The owner showed me a model hat that had been knit out of my linen-wire and, after one wash, it was lots softer. So I kept the yarn I had previously bought and spent my energy on picking brains. The owner looked up drum-carder prices for me Saturday and I figured she might know a thing or two about getting spinning material as well. Yeppers! She has a supplier who only has a small brochure. The description of available wares goes like this: wool, baby alpaca, silk, mohair, etc - any colour. Except I think the baby alpaca is only natural colours (beige, dark brown, grey, etc). Something like € 5 per 100grams. And the prices get better the more you order: like about €35 for a kilo.
For a libra like me, this is pure hell. We need choices. We need a choice of colours limited to different fibers or fiber combinations. I want to look at a catalog and point my finger (granted, it'll take me a couple of days to make up mind which to point at...) But the whole "oh, fibers to spin, sure! What'll ya have?" This attitude of "the fiber world is my oyster" is going to drive me insane. A smorgasboard of choices at my finger tips and I betcha ten clams that I go for a kilo of natural wool to colour at home. Then I can chew over colour choices without shop owners shooting me worried glances and wondering if I'm going to spontaneously explode with frustration.
Speaking of which, the owner remembered I asked about colouring wool during our Saturday visit and she mentioned that she used to do Intro to Wool Dyes and Spinning courses. How cool would that be?! And here I am with an enormous Waschkessel (laundry kettel, I think) in the cellar just begging to boil onion skins or something random like that and be loaded with wool. World works in funny ways sometimes, eh? I told her I'd get back to her in the fall, that there might be a meet-up of fiber nuts and a little wool-colouring seminar would be neat-o!

Anyone care to plan a Technicolor Playdate? Maybe early October-ish???

Revenge Is Sweet!

Well, at least that's what I was thinking when I saw the photo of me on Erica's blog and thought, "Wait a sec! I have a pic of her from Saturday that I can sneak on the web, mwah! hah! hah! hah!"

And then I realized it was before I cleaned of the camera lens and anyways, she looks totally cute (almost as cute as my new best friend Connor, hehe!).

I have no freakin idea what they are building in the Hauptmarkt at the moment. Looks like attack of the European Epcot Ball!!!

Fighting Irish

Put up your dukes!

Sunday morning, Dave and I were in the kitchen messing around. Not "messing around, wink, wink, nudge, nudge", but like play fighting when he was trying to steal the food as I was cooking it. There were a couple of yips and screams and a frustrated rebel yell or two (guess who that was from) and Cian ran into the kitchen wagging his finger and yelling at us to "Stop the messing!"

I said it was Papa being bold and Cian laid right into him. Fists, slaps and a very furrowed brow were all-aflurry in Dave's direction. Dave and I were already laughing loads and when Cian started in, we totally lost it and collapsed in giggles on the floor. Cian couldn't hold his frown together much longer and joined in with the giggles.
But I couldn't let all this go by without documenting the 'fighting Irish'

Give'em Hell!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

And then Jean Said....

I had a great bloggy weekend - full of stuff and no time to blog.

Saturday, Erica, Connor and I went on a little yarn tour of Franconia. We started off nice and early and were at Wolle Kontor in Erlangen right after opening. We spent a couple of minutes checking out her sock yarn offerings and then concentrated on the wall of mohair for about half an hour. I had no idea there were that many ways to spin up mohair - there was sparkly mohair, silky mohair, rough mohair, shiny mohair, fuzzy mohair, slick mohair and everything in-between. The entire back room of the yarn shop is dedicated to cotton and cotton-mixes. I bought a super-silky linen mix to maybe make a summer stole (for someone who lives in a place with cool summer nights.....) and more yarn-baby sock wool. Pictures to come.
Next we hit a couple of yarn shops in Nuremberg (the snobby one with the Rowan and Noro, ooooh) and popped into Idee (German Michael's) for slipper soles and sockie- no-slip-pad-thingies. Sounds like a lot of fun, I know - but it was all just too much for us and we were forced to take a break at Starbucks ;)

Sunday was a our faux July 4 BBQ. We grilled out with neighbors, Jean and family and Erica and family. We had a pretty good mixture of of food: German Bratwurst and Oscar Meyer wieners and S'mores for dessert - super yum!! Talk about your summer camp flashbacks! I even have some leftover marshmallows - can't wait to do some more fireside roasting.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Some Bunny Loves Me....


ooh la la

If It Feels So Good, It Can't Be Bad, Right?


Finished the first sock and must say I can't stop blubbering about the pattern (and the yarn). It reminds me of something Mum said when she taught me my first stitches. She said a German lady told her years ago to always knit with the best yarn she could afford, never settle for less. She was a bit miffed at the time being that this woman was a complete stranger and unsolicited for advice but found it a great nugget that stayed with her through the years..

I agree that the nicest yarn I've knit up (aka: the most expensive) has made some of the most memorable and satisfying projects. Like the Sweetness Sweater for Erika, the Noro Booga Bag for a work colleague and the cabled sweater in merino I made for Cian to wear in Ireland.

I love blogging! I can pretend to wax poetic about projects, memories and even throw in sage parental advice when all I'm really doing is rationalizing another order of Mountain Colors' Bearfoot from Threadbear.... Mastercard, here I come!

Ain't the Internet great???!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Taking Issue With The Process

I'm having issues with my knitting.

Not with yarns, patterns, needles or accessories, but my knitting.

On Sunday I taught France to cast on, knit and purl and then went perusing through the Stitch and Bitch book while she practiced. I just meant to check for beginner patterns, but then realized it was one of the best learning-to-knit books I had seen to date. And then I came across the page where Debbie described her categories of knitters. Like the Yarn Snobs, the Forever-Acrylics, and the Never-With-Patterns. I wasn't paying much attention until my eyes came across something like "most of this knitter's projects are given away as gifts" and I thought "that's me! which one is that again?". It was the Process Knitter, who doesn't necessarily knit for something to have or wear, but because they like th stitch or pattern.
I immediately read through all the descriptions again, thinking this could never be me. I'm sure I'm more like the Yarn Snobs or the Creative Types or Old Grannies Club....and this has been running around in my head since Sunday, driving me even closer to nuts than I already was.
Finally yesterday I realized that the silly cable sock I knitting was never going to fit anyone I know and I was seriously only knitting it because I liked the pattern. Not because I wanted to wear the pattern or thought the yarn would look wonderful in it - but because I liked the pattern and was excited to have a yarn that would lend itself to the design nicely.

The only reason I came to this crossroads is that this is some of the first "nice" yarn that I've ever bought for myself and I really wanted to wear it. Quick background, when I first started knitting, Mum found loads of yarn for me in the 2nd hand shops in England and I was soon loaded up with some outstanding wool. But rather than having bought yarn for a pattern or because I liked it, I received wool and then went searching for a pattern to match the gauge and amount of skeins and then made my project. Then, I got such a big kick out of giving away projects that I started knitting whatever patterns I found and then worried about a recipient after.

And I think this is how I became a Process Knitter and this is why I have 1 pair of my own socks and didn't even make myself a scarf until I'd been knitting over 2 years!!! It's like cooking and not eating your own food!!

Last night I broke the chain of Process Knitting last night. I put away the cabled sock pattern (maybe Mum is right and I knit the pattern too tightly, but it ain't never gonna fit any feet I know and I really want to wear this yarn, dammit!) and I searched the internet for a better pattern and found this. It's been adapted to my yarn and gauge and it think it's going to be just gorgeous and just for me :)

And I even like the process, too!

The Sock Monologues

Am making lots of process on my new sock while watching The Vagina Monologues.