Sunday, December 09, 2007

Filmus Interruptus

I was just in the middle of the coolest film. There were child-heroes, action, adventure and cute, cuddly animals. I literally jumped out of my seat a couple of times, there were nearly tears towards the end, Nicole Kidman totally weirded me out (all systems normal there) and Sam Elliot was his typical reassuring self that made me feel safer for the characters he was around to save the day when necessary.
At the end of the big action scene, without pomp or circumstance, just a couple of lines from the kid actors.....the screen went dark and credits started rolling. I was soooo into this movie and the story and the characters and the whole world they built up. Cool graphics and scenery and everything

and now I'm left wondering if I just paid ten bucks for a trailer.....
p.s. That being said, I won't hold it against the nice characters, daemons and Sam Elliott. I can't wait for the sequel!!
p.p.s. Did anyone catch Lyra's hat? The bulkiest yarn known to man and a little elf peak in the back - how cute would that be for Christmas??!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Exorcism of My Stash

After a great weekend of family-time, yummy restaurant food and 2 yarn shop visits, I sat myself down to watch The Exorcism of Emily Rose and start another Foliage hat. During commercials, I started bagging my new yarn and remembered to restart the bagging of the yarn I brought back with me from Germany. I ran back to my bedroom every couple of minutes to grab more yarn out of the yarn suitcase to group and bag....until I touched the fateful Turkmenistan yarn. The yarn I wanted so badly but can't seem to figure out a project/use/purpose for. As I moved it aside to reach for better-looking, softer yarn, I saw three little brown bugs flutter up and land quietly back down on their brown planet of sustenance. The accused:
For a few short seconds I was too stunned to speak or move. Can't call Mum because she's asleep in England (stupid time difference!!) and my sister is working, so I decided to risk taking my grief outside of the family and call Alyson. Thank God I had to leave a message, I think it helped me sound less choked up than I was. We're talking about an infested ball of yarn lumped right on top of all the favorites I schlepped over from my 5 year history of knitting (Regia Silk, Wollmeise, Fleece Artist, something Mum picked up in Wales, handspun from Canada, a little local spinnery in Franconia's silk sock yarn, more sock yarn from France.....all of my little joys - can you tell I don't have kids yet??) Alyson heard my emergency message and rang back immediately.
The solution we came up with for now is the freezer:
but there was another idea thrown out there: to put all the yarn in a big black plastic bag and leave it in the sun to bake the critters, eggs and larvae out. Think I'll leave it all in the freezer for a night or two and then consider the sun/baking thing.

Right now, it's time for a drink....or two....SOB!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Mum!
She sent me a picture from her back porch on a beautiful Nova Scotian morning

Things to be thankful for:
- Motorcycle accident-nephew is recuperating well and will be able to graduate with his class.
- Bubba has lost some serious weight and is looking awesome!! Watch out girls ;)
- My super cool new job has me bustling back and forth from Florida (home of my Family and cool Friends) and Germany (where the hubby is holed up) - lots of people and great visits, not so nice on the ol' wallet (I think my stash has doubled)
- hubby's Dad got called out of retirement to take a year-long project in South Africa - I sure hope him and the missus are planning on lots of visitors :)
- I'm totally thankful for my new Kondenstrockner - it's like a clothes dryer but the damp doesn't get pumped out like at home, but instead the water is gathered into a little reservoir that you empty after every use. And the clothes don't get completely dry (or I haven't figured that out yet) but it's a sight better than hanging them on the line and praying for the best (quickest summer drying time: 1 hour - quickest winter drying time: 1 day).

Hope you all had a great day!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Idiot Award

C'mon...don't I get an Emmy for this!!!
Who gets so totally excited about felting that she throws her project into the washer without tying in her cast-on tail and removing the only stitch marker in the freaking bowl????

She's still a little floppy, so she's going back into the washer with the bathroom floor mats. What say I throw on a couple more stitch markers - if I squint my eyes, I can pretend they're beads.

I didn't make it to the Fiber Fest in Cocoa Beach this weekend (time spent at pool with niece and nephew not as fluffy but lots more rewarding), but I did get stern looks at Barnes and Noble for reading the first few pages of Crazy Aunt Purl's book. Turns out "Ma'am, are you finding everything okay?" really means "okay, crazy person, please stop giggling and snorting in the crafts aisle; you're starting to scare small children." I sucked it up, bought the book, waited until I reached my sister's house to continue reading and actually finished it before dinner.

My niece, Erika, was sooo not impressed that I couldn't tell her why I was laughing so hard and often at a book. Somehow the hilarity of drunken knitting and Cheetos-dependence doesn't translate well into 8 yr old-ese.

I definitely give it a full two needles up :)

Favourite part of the weekend: At Barnes and Noble, finding a small book tucked into the crafts section titled "How to give her great oral sex" Someone knows the hearts and minds of knitters VERY well!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The one where my sister, Helen, guest blogs

Must Share

Well, I'm just too proud of myself! These are the knitted nesting boxes from the book that Kathleen is toting around…Mason-Dixon something, something. This is how I spent my vacation up in Chicago. People kept inviting me places and offering me activities but I kept saying…"No thanks, I'm knitting!" Anyway, I got some weird looks but I don't mind. I used my substituting day on Tuesday to sew the sides together (I love those gifted classes where the students do all the work!) and finally got my washing machine cleared of inessentials like clothing and towels so that I could put these through the hot wash.

Maybe I can make one for Ricky to keep his remote controls in while he is convalescing?!
Love, Helen

post post: does she have the bug or what?!

post post post: the last reference is to Ricky, my nephew who was in the motorcycle accident. Thanks for all who prayed, he's recovering from a broken right femur and hip, broken left forearm, shattered left wrist, broken ribs, ruptured spleen, collapsed lung. They still haven't taken off his neck-brace, but today I heard he's graduating from ice chips to popsicles. The MRI should tell us more after today. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Canned Yarn!

A big shout out to Shelley who returned from her Canada vacation this year with her yarn locked into a Becel margerine tub. She found that her wound yarn cake held it's shape for an average of 1.2 yarn moves/jostles/take-a-longs/glances-in-the-general direction and not only did the cake lose its shape, but it tangled up quickly as well. I've been fighting/ignoring this dilemma for a while now and thought the only solution was to shove the knotted cake as far down my Crown Royal drawstring bag as it would go and simply hope for the best.
Shelley inspired me to confiscate one of my sister's leftover ICBINButter mini-tubs for my current sock project. It had my niece Erika's name on it and she tried to fight me for it, but I had the scissors AND the yarn needles. And, as Alyson wisely quipped tonight, "In the game of Rock, Paper, Scissors and Knitting Needles, knitting needles ALWAYS win!"

I saw Shelley's yarn hole in the middle of the lid and raised her a cut slit from yarn hole to the edge - great if you need to pull your project out of the container before you reach the end. And then I scoured the fridge for potential candidates to hold bigger cakes:
Any ideas how a single-living gal can use up an entire tub of butter in the next couple of days? (other than the obvious use as tanning lotion - I mean, duh, I totally already thought of that, but would never dream of replacing my Crisco!) And let's refrain from mentioning any Tangos in Paris, shall we?
Did you catch that bit up there about "as Alyson quipped..." like we just hang out and gab all the time. I first met Alyson precisely one week before I moved to Germany in 2001. She found my blog a few years back and started knitting I think a year after that. Since then she has lapped me in experience, skill and all-round knitting style. I've gone from instigator to the inspired and I follow her blog for the latest in yarns, yarn sources and great patterns. And tonight I got to see her for the first time since I left for the Vaterland and we had a great, chatty reunion at the Sip n Knit "Knit Night". Even though the regulars there are super friendly and make for a great evening of knitting and bs-ing, seeing Alyson made it especially awesome. Long live the Yo-Yo!!

Monday, September 10, 2007


Literally, please, be-ribboned! As in "ribbon thyself"! Cause I don't know nuthin' 'bout sewin' no ribbons!
I've had Mason-Dixon's Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono finished for a week or two (nearly three) and am only ribboning it tonight because the Mom went into labor today. Nothing like the image of giving birth to make me consider sewing ribbons onto cotton might NOT be as painful as I thought.
Nonetheless, it took what felt like ages and seriously hampered the progress of my new Dublin Bay. Can't wait to show it off tomorrow at Knit Night. And as much as I am a certified worshipper of the Mason-Dixon book, we are certainly not amused with the carefree finishing up instructions of "sew two ribbons onto the edge". Where are my thousands of pictures guiding the oblivious knitter into the world of eensy thread and eensier needles??? How do I know it's not going to look crappy and show up all over the place??? How do I know it'll stay in place at all??? What if the ribbon splits or slips or what if the thread cuts the cotton??? This thing MUST stay on a baby. A squealy, squirmy, fist-chugging, being-passed-around-like-a-hot-potato baby. Here's hoping :)
The Dad will get it tomorrow at work - I just hope the Mom is happy with it and the blasted ribbons stay sewed on.
Post post: I just found out my nephew Rick (27) has been in a motorcycle accident and has been air-lifted to a hospital. He's considered "stable" with a broken leg, hand, collapsed lung and assorted extras. The doctors say it's a very good sign that he hasn't lost consciousness. My sister is flying down to be with him and even got to speak to him quickly. Please keep them in your prayers.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Of Two Minds

There're so many reasons for duality in today's world. Conflicting feelings between potential presidential candidates... brilliant marriage versus love affiar with one's homeland... can I be a Yuppie while dressing like a Granola Girl...and most importantly: how much can I stray from the Rowan pattern and still end up with an awesome Rowan baby kimono???
I mean, the black and white trim looks great in the pattern book, but my dark and light pink combo knocked it out of the ballpark. Shall I ride the wave of hubrus and decorate the neck with a seed-stich border to match or go solid like the book? With all the hemming and hawing, I could've probably knit the damn thing four times by now, but at least the stalling has meant my sewing up was done in record time.
Now...just to decide on the solid or striped version of the neckline border....

Friday, August 10, 2007

Holy Cow! I'm Alive!!

Believe it or not, I'm still among the land of the living.

I made it through 4 months of a spontaneous teaching gig at the University of Erlangen/Nuremberg (Business English, baby!), finding a new job, 2 months of 5am mornings (doubly fun when coupled with a 2 hour commute) and even inculcated myself into the world of metal components. Take THAT, Martha ;)

When my two months of Florida training came around, I found myself doing as little as humanly possible in my free time. There was a bit of culture shock returning to American cable and I fully admit to getting sucked into Spike's nightly three-episode marathon of CSI: Las Vegas. Go Grissom! I think I spent the first two weeks turning the word "glut" into my personal action verb. Even when I didn't need anything, I'd swing by Barnes and Noble, Target and Wal-Mart, just 'cause they were there. The guys at Taco Bell and Dunkin Donuts nearly know me by name. Every time I'm in a store and someone is helpful and friendly, I practically gush.

The Irishman was away on business this week, too (to the UK). And my sister-n-law Sinead is coming to visit with her family next week, as well as my step-daughter Megan, so hopefully he'll be as distracted as I am until his next business trip (which is in September to the US!)

Some pictures of what I've been up to:
My first weekend included a trip to a scrapbook crop with my sister Helen and niece Erika. Talk about Stranger in a Strange Land (where's the yarn???!)

And this week, I went to my first knit night at Sip'n Knit in Maitland. Yea!!!! I forced myself not to buy anything on the first visit, which was a good tactic since I was tempted to buy one of everything!!

That's all the updates I have for now. I should be getting Internet at the company apartment soon so that I can blog on the week-days, too. Happy days!!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Make A Joyful Yelp!!!

Got my package of superwash hand-dyed sock yarn from Rohrspatz and Wollmeise today.
We also had some very violent summer storms this afternoon, so I think I'll cast on the Gewitterhimmel asap and maybe appease the Gods enough to stop yanking trees out of our gardens :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Reason to Celebrate!

But, seriously, who needs a reason? The Germans have annual fests in nearly every little village and, in this case, on a mountain-top. You can find one on any given weekend between May and October. Last weekend, we hiked up the mountain in back of the kids' week-day home, the Walberla (the link is in German, but there are more pictures and even a photo of the church on top), for the annual Walberla Fest. It was a beautiful but much more strenuous hike than I had expected.

Cian was thrilled to bits ;)

And an ice cream stand half-way up made the walk a bit easier.

Nearly there: here's a view of the fest as you round the last corner. It really helps with the last leg of the journey when you can smelled the roasted, candied almonds and the bratwursts. I admit, the sight of the beer tents may have been more motivating for some of us ;)

And the view from the top makes it all worth while. Note: I think this is a great picture since my attention was focused on not spilling my Radler (a beer and Sprite mixture that is quite refreshing after a long hike).

And I haven't forgotten how to knit. Here's a shot of my finished Regia Bamboo socks. The pooling was completely different on both socks, so I took a photo of the most interesting one. This was a great yarn to knit with and I'm having trouble with the idea of giving this pair away. Maybe I need more Regia Bamboo......

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Nuremberg's Spring Volksfest!

I know, I know.....major slacker points here, lately. I have a great excuse - I've been totally run off my feet lately. My two classes at the university immediately doubled, but it's still only part time, so I'm not quitting my day job any time soon. Which makes for a very busy knitter. Happy, but busy :)

So to keep you all updated on what's been happening around here lately (that you actually WANT to hear me go on and on about), I've posted some pictures from this year's Volksfest. Please note compact knitting was stuffed into my tiny bag so as not to miss a single stitch.

Masskrugs (liters!) of beer, greasy food stuffed in a bread roll and slathered with mustard and goofy German pop music aren't the only highlights of this event. This year, we concentrated our efforts on finding the quintessential Franconian male. This usually includes hair that is short on top and long in back, as many things as possible hanging off of his belt area, a mustache is a must and they are usually found in t-shirts or jackets with the Nuremberg Soccer club logo (FCN).

And Mom, before you start wagging your finger, it's not making fun of anyone, it's embracing the culture we live in.

Shields even took some time to appreciate the female of the species.

And the table next to us started their own Olympic sport of stacking Krugs. It was great fun to watch, but I'm glad I wasn't in the way when they came tumbling down. One guy got a nasty smack on his hand, the glass was fine, but he was full of blood.

I'd rather jump up and down on the benches to goofy cover band and poke fun at the table of soldiers next to us who can't dance.

It was a great night in the end, we didn't drink too too much and we were completely exhausted from dancing on the benches and singing along at the tops of our lungs.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Sugar Rush

Just finished Erika's jacket for her first communion. At the beginning, I wasn't sure if I had enough white for the trim, so I perused the other colours in my stash. This lead to the great idea of using a contrasting colour for the trim. I just didn't realize it would look so much like icing on a cake. I spent last Sunday at my friend Claudia's house so that she could try and twist my fingers into something capable of crochet. It didn't catch on instantly and I obviously need to work on making my stitches even, but I'm still glad I pushed myself. I can't imagine this thing without the crochet edge. Maybe I could practice with a few granny squares this weekend.
Now.....just need to search out some buttons and pop this little darling in the mail to Florida.

I also received a lovely addition to my Knit Accessories Stash. Claudia found these clips to help with marking, clipping sides together for sewing up and just general project decoration. I never thought I'd be into something as cutsie as ladybugs, but they look soooo cool on the clips, don't they.

That's all the news there is my neck of the woods. Other than I got hired, quite suddenly, last week to teach Business English at a nearby University. The classes take place in a computer lab (very cool!) and my class-load went from 2 to 4 in about 3 seconds. I'm half jazzed, excited, thrilled and half terrified. I just hope I'm not standing at the front of the class, looking like a deer in headlights, ha ha.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Rodents Beware!

There's a dead frog under my sofa. I'm sure of it. He was hopping around last night - well hopping as much as a one-legged frog can hop - dragging what was left of his other leg-guts behind him on my newly mopped floor.
The cat didn't know what to do - he loved that the toy moved on its own and was perfectly happy to swat at it every time it attempted escape, but couldn't figure out why he kept feeling hungry - so he'd run over to his bowl and crunch on his kibbles until Kermit stirred again. Last time I saw the pair of them together was in front of the sofa in the living room. That was about the time I decided there'd been enough TV for one night and it was time for bed.
It started with the dead mouse we found last Friday in the kids room. Jackson wouldn't let us clean it up, but rather took it in his teeth and ran out the front door to the neighbor's patch of garden - where he jump and played and rolled around with the dead thing. I had this picture of the original attack where Jackson pounced furiously on this poor mouse and thrashed it around until it finally perished in his Jaws of Terror. After last night, I figure the mouse finally got tired of playing Jerry to Jackson's Tom, ran upstairs to the kids room to hide and died of boredom......

Thursday, April 12, 2007

One Eventful Weekend

Turns out that the Drops Jacket can be knit in one piece - yippeee! I'm planning on finishing the right front tonight and kicking some left front ass before Sunday. My work colleague, Claudia promised to teach me how to crochet the edging. Not making any promises, but my niece might be wearing her new jacket sometime this year (a new personal best!!).

Even more exciting is how I spent my Easter Monday. Kimberly and I finally managed to meet up. She's come to visit her in-laws (who live about 75 minutes away from me) a couple of times now, but are schedules are usually all wonky. Thanks to the 4-day Easter weekend, we finally managed a day to meet up. For some reason, my camera refused to take any normal pictures - so here's an action sequence from our photo shoot attempt:

and a shot of the handsome chauffeur:

The rest of the weekend was spent cooking an Easter ham and turkey, eating said meats with veggies and sweet potatoes (not all dinner guests were impressed with that one, but me and the Venezuelan chowed down) with lots of chocolates and desserts. There was room painting, spring cleaning (please don't tell the kids how many old toys, crappy little Micky-D toys and parts of toys I threw away), picture re-arranging in the living room and general mayhem control. It's finally starting to look more like a home around here :)

Friday, April 06, 2007

3mm Needles and Cotton.....Eeeeek!

I give up - I don't want to knit an ecru tea towel with linen on 3.25 mm needles. It's Spring and I want color and instant gratification.
I figured a baby knit would be the perfect fix. I have the gorgeously soft blue from Italy and I lovingly patted it in my hands as I searched through every kid/baby book I have only to realize (duh!) that four balls is perfect for a small infant knit and I don't know anyone with boy infants. It just wouldn't mean as much to knit a sweater and not be able to immediately pawn it off on someone. And I'm still not in the "making babies" mode yet (long story and there's a light at the end of that tunnel, but I'm not knitting anything until I get doctor confirmation).
So, that leaves nieces and nephews. And my niece Erika is my most favorite niece to torture with my knitted wares. Wednesday night, I went up to the wool room and dragged down every last scrap of cotton I could find. From leftover Punto to stash-swap-acquired Knit Picks to a bag full of Rowan mixed that Mum found in a charity shop for 30p a ball (that's like $0.60 or €0.45 - PER BALL!) With all wares spread before me in the living room floor and sofas (did I mention that the Irishman's on the business trip?) I searched my pattern books again for something appropriate. The something I found was actually on the internet. Thanks to Deb, I found the Drop website again and the new kids catalog was where I should have started in the first place. I was dazzled by the first pattern I saw and cast on immediately with Cotton Glace.
quick aside: I've decided I don't really care how one is supposed to pronounce Glace (Glah-cey, Gloss, Glase, I think I'm going to say Glotch-ey just to annoy people).
So, to appease the Spring Goddess, I've gone from linen ecru on 3.25mm needles to white cotton on 3mm needles. Somehow this has fulfilled my wish and I am happy....who am I to question the Goddess?

Quick Pic from the Phone:

Sunday, April 01, 2007

National Knitting Centre

We visited Donegal for a couple of days and while perusing my handy hotel guide to nearby attractions, I was delighted to find the National Knitting Center was just down the road.

National! Knitting! Center!

It promised a light-hearted look at knitting through the ages, the story of wool from sheep to shawl and a shop full of Irish yarn. What we found was slightly different. First, there was a shop with lots of Irish knit sweaters and caps. I sifted through the wares and talked to the shop assistant about why they had to close the knitting center and move to a smaller location (lack of visitors and support). I asked if they had any yarn for sale and she took me back to, storage facility, largest stash I've seen in my life.

They had shelves built from floor to 30-thirty foot ceilings. All stuffed with raw wool, coloured wool, rough wool, soft wool, thin wool, but mostly aran-weight wool and not a label to be found for miles. Not categories, names, wool-types, dates of shearing. recommended needle-size, dye-lot. Nada....
Just me and wool. So I searched out as much as I could carry (literally) and when the nice lady went further back into the shop to weigh it, she invited me along.
The next room offered the needed scale for weighing, the owner of the shop, a floor covered with bagged and tagged Aran sweaters and two ladies sitting and knitting saidsweaters. Turns out they sell sweaters (not sure where or how). And the knitters were totally excited to have their picture taken :)
So maybe it wasn't what the hotel had advertised, but it was certainly the most knitting I've seen in Ireland to date. And I made off with 1.5 kilos of wool.

Cute story about the red lace-weight in the middle. I asked if anyone knew the content because it was sooooo soft and squishy. The owner jumped into her office for a little
Steiff bear wearing an Irish knit sweater made from a similar colour. But the bear wasn't wearing the same content of the squishy in my hand, he had a cashmere Irish knit sweater (or Aran Jumper, as the locals say). The shop had been consigned to knit cashmere sweaters for Steiff bears to be sold at Harrod's and she had their sample leftover. It's a good thing I had just dumped the contents of my wallet into their cash register, because I would have searched the car and Dave's pockets for enough money to tempt that bear away from her. I can't even imagine how much they retail for!
So, now to dream up project for my new yarn :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Photo Tour of Ireland

Finally back home and still getting back to normal life. Just popping online for a quick photo essay. I've got so much to tell and don't know where to begin. So, for now.....

Our whirlwind tour of Ireland included a visit to the Dublin Zoo

a great view from the hotel room in Donegal,
the National Knitting Center in Buncrana

and hanging out with friends.
Lots more details to come.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Back In The Saddle!

Landed in Ireland yesterday, getting settled now and have brought loads of knitting to keep me busy. Until I get my butt back in gear to blog again, I've got updates from Canada.

Flurries were forecasted and received, but they came in very large numbers.
Not to be stuck in the house, Mum and Dave made the best of a snowy situation and packed a picnic of sorts......

Time in the house was well-spent, though. Mum finished Erika's First Communion dress and Rick's new quilt. I'm hoping to get the next quilt, just as soon as I get around to measuring the bed.