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.