Unpacking books from boxes

April 25, 2009 § 1 Comment

I was going to wait with the showing off until my other package had arrived, but it hasn’t, and I’m itching for some yarnwhoring.

Birst off: I finished the Wave socks! Just now, while waiting for my pasta to cook to a nice al dente. My roomie was overjoyed and put them on straight away – she’s off to the park with them now. How cool is that?

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Also, I started winding one skein of my Malabrigo laceweight from Ithaca into a ball. Which sucks. Why? Because as nice and soft as the stuff is, it’s also kind of fuzzy. In the slightly-felted-and-sticking-together way. Never in my life have I wanted a swift and a ballwinder more than today, and I’m usually a person who tremendously enjoys sitting there with a skein of yarn around my knee, winding away. So it’s pretty much a huge pain in the ass, and it had better be worth it.

I’m planning a couple of new projects: First, it’s the 18th birthday of Christian’s sister on May 1st, and since I’m spending Beltaine with Christian at the Externsteine (a mystical rock formation in the middle of the forest, 10 minutes from his home), I’ll be there, and she’s said she’s excited for me to be there, and… I need a present. I’m thinking fingerless mitts, since she’s a gamer… either with some kind of WoW symbol on it, or in red with a white cross, because her boyfriend is Swiss. Red and white would be great, since I’m on a yarn diet until the end of May and I have both in my stash.

Then, speaking of Beltaine, I want something to knit while sitting in the shadows of stones that are supposed to have been a Germanic place of worship. (regardless, there was power there when I went this winter) I’d like for it to be something special, because it’s Beltaine after all, maybe even vaguely thematic. I would LOVE a shawl, but I’m also aware that I’ll be seriously drunk there. I’m contemplating just taking the SYS, since I’m at the garter stitch edge now, but Beltaine is a time of starting, not finishing. The call of nature to make something is deeply ingrained in me.

And then, with the last thing on my List of Things I Want To Cast On Right Now, I also come to my super-duper purchase. See, Saskia and me are going to this concert in November. It’s not a rock concert, far from it. In fact, it’s in the Gewandhaus, a prestigeous concert house here in Leipzig, and it’s Max Raabe und das Palastorchester, which is… well, a big band, I guess, in the style of the 20s and 30s. They’re amazing. They also cover pop songs in that peculiar, awesome style, like ‘Oops… I did it again’ or ‘Sex Bomb’. (click the links for muuusic!)

So, I already know which dress I’m wearing, mainly because I only own one. It’s a shortish, black affair, nice but nothing spectacular. So I figured, there’s enough time till November, I can knit a hugeish dressy shawl for that occasion.

So I went and bought Nancy Bush’s ‘Knitted Lace of Estonia’.
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It’s a magnificient book. As always, it has some history, this time obviously about the lace knitting tradition in the town of Haapsalu, Estonia:
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and vintage photos
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and truly amazing, incredible patterns. There are fourteen of them, ranging from relatively simple scarves to the most intricate and huge square shawls (like the one on the cover), and me and my roomies just sat in the kitchen for half the evening going ‘oh, look at THAT one!’ ‘holy crap!’ ‘I want one like that, can you make me one?’ ‘oh my GOD just LOOK at that!’.

Two of the patterns caught my attention in particular. One, the Leaf and Nupp Shawl, is rectangular, while the Miralda Shawl is a triangle where you cast on from the lower lace border and decrease down the middle and at the sides. What they have in common, though, are the lovely little nupps and the sheer stunning beauty and ingenuity of the pattern.

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I have a feeling the Leaf and Nupp Scarf is a bit dressier, with the laceweight yarn and the open pattern. The Miralda is lovely, no doubt, but it also loos like something you’d wrap yourself in against the cold drafts that whisper through your enormous stone castle while you recline on your ottomane and have one of the maids fetch you the bard to dispel the dark shadows of wintertime, if you get my drift.

So, I don’t know. I’m sure I’d like to knit both of them, I just don’t know if they’re the right thing for the occasion. Rectangular shawl… I don’t know. They always feel more like scarves than like stoles to me. I’ll have to see. On the other hand, maybe there’s a textile museum affiliated with the Gewandhaus? Now that would be some inspiration.

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Wave and Wave

April 24, 2009 § 2 Comments


Wave and Wave

Originally uploaded by slashkitten

The sock and its namesake: Wave, the most patient and amazing and fluffy dog in the world! Unfortunately, you can’t see the pretty lace pattern, obscured by Wave’s shapely, fuzzy Australian Shepherd head.

But I think having a picture of a dog with a sock on his head is more than worth missing out on a boring lace cuff.

*

About Wave: no, he’s not my dog. He might as well be, since he’s living in the same apartment as me, but he actually belongs to my roomie Sassi. Which is just fine by me, really: I can cuddle him and pretend he’s mine and comb him to harvest fiber for yarn and slap socks on his head, but I don’t actually have to do the annoying ownery stuff. Like take him out for walks three times a day, or haul big sacks of dog food up to our third-floor (fourth if you’re American) apartment.

The dream is alive

April 24, 2009 § 2 Comments

I am… alone. Well, the dog is flopped down on my floor in a pretty good imitation of a bedside rug, but apart from that… I’m alone. Pami has gone home, my roomies are… somewhere. At their parents’ and god knows where, respectively, but if you ask me, they can stay there for just a bit. My room is sleeping-bag-less, there’s nobody tinkering away in the kitchen, no music except mine, nobody on the phone… I have my door wide open, and it’s still quiet. I can’t even comply to habit and call Christian, since he’s at his parents’ halfway across Germany.

Funny how the smallest things can seem like paradise.

Don’t get me wrong – 90% of the time, I love having flatmates. You don’t come home to a dark, empty apartment, there’s always someone around if you want company, you only have to do part of the housework, yet at the same time you have your own space you can retreat to if it gets too much. Plus right now, I’m enjoying all the advantages of having a dog without actually being responsible for him, and my human roomies are great people, too. I like living with them a lot. I like cooking and eating with them, and just hanging out, and they enjoy my knitting, which is pretty much perfect.

But, you know. This week, retreat was not an option, because Pami was here and sleeping in my room and all that. I’m glad she visited and all that, but the lack of alonetime drove me insane. Plus, you know, I’ve been very much up and about since Easter Monday, with barely a moment to myself, and I’m just not that much of a people person.

But now, blessed, blessed silence all around me. Now, excuse me, I’ll go and knit for more than five minutes without being interrupted or asked to fix somebody else’s knitterly screw-up.

And soonish, when my other package arrives, I’ll present my new, exciting purchases.

I can’t breathe easy

April 21, 2009 § 2 Comments

Aaaaah!

My ex-roomie is here for a couple of days because she has business at the Uni. Christian is here, though just for the evening. Both of my roomies are here. We just all ate together. It was fun, it was loud, it was sociable – and I cannot for the life of me stand another second of human company.

Christian and Pami are outside to smoke, thank god. I’ve retreated to my room that won’t be just my room until Friday because Pami is sleeping in here. I’ve closed the door. I’ve opened the window. I have the intense desire to pour liters of coffee into myself and hyperventilate.

Instead… I will drink not quite as much coffee as I’d like to, take off my bra, wrap myself in a shawl to keep myself together… and knit. One stitch at a time. Friday is sooner than it seems.

Just gimme gimme gimme gimme fried chicken!

April 19, 2009 § 2 Comments

Like I already announced, finished the Brazil socks last night. I was slightly amazed that I could kitchener stitch while slightly tipsy – I guess I’ve finally gotten enough routine in that. I know a lot of people don’t like grafting, and I have to admit half the time, I wish I’d done a rounded toe so I could just pull the thread through the last couple of stitches and be done with it. But once I get going – I love it. It’s got this nice rhythm of knit, knit, purl, purl that sucks me in and makes me feel so damn clever!

Admittedly, most knitting makes me feel clever. Sock heels, lace patterns, even plain stockinette, I’m just constantly amazed at what I can do with a couple of pointy sticks and some thread.

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Extremely plain socks in Zitron Trekking HandArt, color Brazil, from Maschenkunst in Cologne. Together with the Vulkan for my Autumn Lace Scarf, it was my first purchase of Zitron, and I’ve been stuck ever since. I did all of my Christmas knitting this year in Zitron, and the only thing in my Sock Yarn Shawl that isn’t Trekking is the teal/orange handpainted merino sock yarn from Drachenwolle.

Speaking of the SYS! It’s… growing. After blocking, it’ll be as big as the Sand Shawl at this point, and I’ve finally decided how to finish: I just did a row of [k2tog, yo] and knit the row back. Next thing which I just started is a bit of the Japanese Waves pattern from my Atlantic Cowl, to give the edge some motion, and then… I’m gonna switch to bigger needles, and garter stitch. Yes, yes, yes, I can finally justify that. I still don’t know what made me start this in 3.5mm needles – probably the fact that they’re my only colored pair and so pretty in that copper tint (and they only cost me a buck!). But soon, soon the time will come.

My reason behind the upsizing is that I’m hoping it’ll ruffle just a bit, especially with the Wave pattern. A ruffle would be nice, but I’m unwilling to cast on even more stitches. I’m already up to over 150 on every side, there’s still at least 20 or 30 rows to come, and I’ll be in the same dilemma of casting off forever just like with the Swallowtail Shawl. (That will be my grandma’s birthday present, I’ve decided.)

Ah, the SYS. I just started with the Brazil yarn, which kicks the wild colorscheme up another notch. And while I love it for being violently colored…

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… right now, it’s just a violently colored blob of yarn.

Drop of a hat

April 19, 2009 § 1 Comment

Ah, I love being drunk. The fuzzy dull edge of perception, the heaviness and uncoordinatedness of your limbs… and yet it seems like I’m hyperaware of everything. I just can’t control it.

What’s bad is that I’m even more compliant than usual when I’m inebriated, and also more touchy-feely… you know. Tell me to do something when I’m pissed, and chances are I will. Terrible, terrible state.

Still, I enjoy it very much. Gives you an excuse to talk and do shit.

Finished the Brazil socks tonight at Tino’s, somewhere between my first and third glass of vodka with soda of some kind. Knit about 35 rounds of 40 stitches because I needed something to occupy my hands after that, ripped it all back while Christian was staring incredulously. But seriously, what was I gonna do with a tube of 4o stitches? Too small for gloves or fingerless mitts, too big for cell phone cozy or willie warmer.

Ah, alcohol.

Let’s paint the night with color

April 16, 2009 § 2 Comments

I’d like to – if I may – take you on a strange journey. A journey that involves me having glitter everywhere thanks to my stupid tshirt, and a whole ton of pictures.

First of all, I don’t think I ever showed off the handspun, plant dyed yarn I bought at the mini Renaissance fair over Easter. I already wound the orange skeins and started a hat with them, although I didn’t come very far.
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Then, I was randomly overcome with the urge to knit socks. Simple, mindless, colorful socks, i.e. everything the Python was not. So I ruthlessly pulled out my other set of bamboo 2.5/15 dpns out of the glove they were in, grabbed a ball of yarn out of my sock yarn drawer, and stuffed them in my knitting bag. In the tram, on the way to Christian, I realized something as I cast the sock on: This semester, I’m taking Brazilian Portuguese as another language. And guess what the colorway is called!!
Voilà, o Brasíl. O Brasíl do Augustusplatz.
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I would have more than one sock if I hadn’t worked on Christian’s pair yesterday – finished the first one and cast on and almost finished the ribbing on the second one. Deadline’s approaching… poor thing. He’ll really have to work on them now.

And last but not least – lo and behold! The Swallotail Shawl, the European Python, is finally finished! Blocked! Taken out to photograph! So there you go.

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I got up half an hour early to block it – I just pinned it out and then sprayed it with water, following the advice on Knitty concerning Alpaca.
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Coming back from my classes, there it was, gloriously bathed in sunlight, and my breath literally caught.
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I mean, look at it! Look at all the wee little stitches! In the skinny little yarn! And the wee nubs! It seriously has me reduced to squeeing whenever I see it. I’m still not entirely convinced it won’t break if someone touches it without the proper respect, it’s just so… delicate. I was really afraid to pick it up after I pulled out the pins.
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And it’s so light and airy! Seriously, when I say light, I mean like… 60 grams at the most. I know it’s more than 50g because I used more than one ball, but it can’t be much more.
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Wheeeeee!

And look at the sky! Have you noticed the sky? I’ll give you a better picture:

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LOOK AT THE SKY! It’s so unreal! It’s so ridiculously, amazingly blue! And it’s been like this forever! All the colors! It’s summer!

Also, I’d like the time to recommend a movie: Shortbus. Intense, emotional, unapologetic. It’s kinda weird, but it’s also one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.

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