You’re just a cannibal

March 5, 2011 § 5 Comments

It’s funny how I constantly blog when there’s absolutely nothing going on, but as soon as I’m actually doing stuff, all my motivation for keeping a log just kind of circles the drain.

The long-overdue Berlin recap: Berlin was four days of walking in the wrong direction, getting lost, discovering wonderful things because of a total lack of a general sense of direction, and buying lots of yarn and even more books. I have no sense of self-discipline, I swear. Also, we totally discovered a pub called The Oscar Wilde, and had a drink in his honor there.

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(Also, I tweeted Stephen Fry about it, and he tweeted me back saying he already knew it. On the other hand, HOLY SHIT STEPHEN FRY TWEETED ME BACK.)

We visited a total of three yarn shops: Loops at Prenzlauer Berg, Fadeninsel in Kreuzberg, and handmade Berlin in Mitte. All of them were amazing; Loops and Fadeninsel carried many of the same yarns including two different brands of laceweight (always a surprise to find), handmade Berlin was just stuffed with luxury yarns. Oh my. It was amazing, tons and tons of cashmere and silk and alpaca and stainless steel and paper and Fiber Artist and Handmaiden and more cashmere.

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(and this is just one wall, in one of two rooms. Heaven, I tell you!)

My total haul (minus a little skein of purple silk that I bought for Saskia; it was so slippery we didn’t manage to wind it into a ball):

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(clockwise from the top: Handmaiden Casbah, Blue Sky Alpaca alpaca/silk, rosewood 4mm circs, handmade Berlin Yarn Edition Scottish wool/linen blend on the cones, Sheepland lace yarn, ggh Baby Alpaca, Kia Ora NZ merino/possum blend). I’ve already knit up half of the Yarn Edition (more on that later.)

However, on the whole I went rrrrrelatively light on the yarn, because we discovered not one, but two full-size English bookstores: one inside Dussmann, and another one right across the street from Loops which happened to be a used-book store that was crammed full to the stucco. It was amazing.

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We went there twice, and I bought a total of eight (I could’ve sworn nine) books there, the most expensive costing €7 (that’s the Wilde bio), the others all under €5. The clerks were stupendously nice, and the beat-up chesterfield was the comfiest sofa I’ve ever sat on.

The downside: dragging it all back to Leipzig.

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Berlin also has a button shop that isn’t hard to find if you don’t first walk a kilometer in the wrong direction (guess how I found out). It’s also crammed full, which seemed to be an ongoing theme that I heartily approve of. It’s also very convenient to know there’s a button shop in a city closer to me than London.

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My special favorite are the two Aslan buttons. I almost keeled over with joy. The big horn one’s already on my Girl Friday cardi, and the three little sunburst buttons are also already on knitwear. (again, more on that later.)

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**

So that was Berlin. Since I came back, I’ve made some considerable progress on the Spanish Armada, I’ve finished the sock I started for Berlin and got regrettably little knitting time on while actually there, although I couldn’t yet be arsed to cast on its twin, and I’ve knit a pattern that is well-loved by many, and as I find out, for a reason. And that reason is that it’s so. damn. clever.

I’m talking, of course, about Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Baby Surprise Jacket. Annelie recently found out she had a knitting neighbor, who loaned her a couple of EZ books. And one of these books, I discovered to my endless delight, has the BSJ pattern in it. Hallelujah! After the disappointment of the Knitter’s Almanac not featuring it, that was a real miracle right there.

And the BSJ is kind of ridiculous, if you think about it. Actually, it’s ridiculous the whole entire time you’re knitting it, because you’re making this… this misshapen piece of fabric. Which looks so unlike a baby garment that the pattern specifically states, “Work will start to look very odd, indeed, but trust me, and PRESS ON.”

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The whole time I was knitting it, I was trying to figure out how to fold it, and only on the last third or so did it approach something approaching sensibility. But when you’re done, and you’ve cast off, the magic happens. You fold it…

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… and fold it again, and sew up the shoulder seams, and attach a couple of buttons, and holy shit it’s about the cutest baby jacket ever.

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It’s so cute that when I was done making it up and photographing it, I pulled out another ball of fingering-weight yarn and started casting on another one… and then gently reminded myself I had more pressing projects. I still see a couple more of these in my future though. SO CUTE. Both of my flatmates, upon entering the apartment and seeing the BSJ drying on the rack, dissolved into helpless squeeing. While sewing I occasionally caught myself cooing embarrassingly at the thing. It’s terrible.

So there’s that. BSJ, and I’m currently reconstructing the pattern of a shawl Annelie’s great-grandma knit way back in the day. It’s garter stitch, and my first try was knitting the center triangle and then knitting on the edging in two pieces. Turns out, when I was staring at it during breakfast at her house just after I’d proudly shown off my swatch, that it’s all in one piece, and still every bit as clever as I thought. Good times.

Ooh-wheeeoooo, whee-oo-ooooh…

June 6, 2010 § 2 Comments

While at my parents’, I caught up with a lot of friends, drank a lot of alcohol, got sunburned, drove around in my car a lot, started the Garden shawl for the SPN #dickswithwingsshawl summer KAL, and last but not least, bought buttons for the TARDIS cowl.

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They’re little time vortexes!

And, needless to say, I’m pretty in love with the whole thing.

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Pictures of the KAL shawl once my camera batteries are charged.

Sales a escena y eres immortal

December 11, 2009 § 3 Comments

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It’s funny how my life seems to alternate between insanely productive and absolutely lazy days.

The day before yesterday was a really productive day. In fact, I cut my WIPs on Ravelry down to two – though I do have to admit that I moved the HSJBTM socks in the hibernating section. Oh well.

In any case, I finally sewed the buttons onto my Tempest cardigan!

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This means that only eight months after I finished knitting the thing, it’s finally done. It only took an hour. I can’t believe I haven’t been wearing that thing for months now.

Anyway. I also worked on the Baktus for my grandma some more:

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I believe I’m about halfway done with it, but I couldn’t get myself to get up, which is why I put it aside and instead continued with my slip-stitch socks.

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Usually, I’d say they’re too colorful for me, but man… these are the perfect rainy-day socks. Plus, with the slip-stitch, they feel about twice as thick, and they’re all squooshy, and of course them jewel colors… I’m very much enchanted. I love them.

But, here’s what I hate about holiday season. I mean, apart from the fact that I don’t really know what to do with my Fridays, since there’s no new Grey’s Anatomy or Supernatural on.

It’s the vicious cycle of Christmas Knitting.

You start to knit something, and it’s all good, and then you realize you’d rather work on something else. But you can’t, cause you’ve got that deadline hanging over your head like a sword of Damocles, which makes you start to loathe whatever Christmas present you’re knitting. Which makes it harder to force yourself to knit it, and knitting makes you loathe it even more, but there’s Christmas, and oh god, only two weeks, and…

I just wanna knit some socks.

Instead, I finally started the Christmas ornament mini Weasley sweaters for my host family back in the US. Three weeks late. They’re tiny (14 sts wide, 21 rows high), they’re easy, they’re technically entertaining, they’re technically great TV knitting… and I can’t stand the thought that even though I’ve already finished two, there’s four more to go. Ugh.

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At this point, I’d rather work on Ruba’iyat. Or, you know, the sock. Or study vocab.Which reminds me, I need to block my mom’s scarf.

I’m so, so ready for Christmas to be over.

What a feeling

October 23, 2009 § 4 Comments

I’ve come to the realization that taking Spanish was possibly not one of the smartest things I’ve ever done.

Mostly because last night, I copied out 150 new vocab cards, for next week, and it was HALF of the unit. HALF. Which makes around 300 new words every week, since we’re aiming for one unit per week. Or one week per unit.

So, yeah. The shock of these sheer numbers led to a half hour of feverish hallucinations of me in a big sombrero and a poncho, eating paella when I’m not too busy playing my pan pipes, and breaking into cow pastures every weekend with a red cape.

But then I did what the British do, and made some tea. (Have I shown off my new tea pot and cozy yet?)

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And then I made my current favorite food, which is Pomegranate Awesomeness, and all was well again.

What’s Pomegranate Awesomeness, you ask?

Well, first, you take apart a pomegranate. This is messy, especially when they’re so ripe that sticking your knife into them makes the plate look like somebody bled to death over it, and it stains your hands, but oh, it’s so worth it. I love pomegranate.

The way I get all the seeds out is that I cut the fruit in half, then wedge a teaspoon between the seed chambers and the peel, lever everything out, and pick out everything that isn’t a seed with my fingers.

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Then, you pour muesli over it (the one I like is with oats, raisins, nuts, almonds, coconut and possibly some other stuff). And sugar. And then you mix it up.

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And then you pour milk over it, let it sit for a bit so the oats can soften up, and then it’s just… awesome. Pomegranaty awesomeness.

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(I should really stop photographing everything I eat, but man. My food’s just so damn pretty!)

**

On a completely unrelated note, I bought the best buttons ever. For my tea cozy. Wanna see?

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Dude. Sheep buttons. Sheep buttons that have the right size.

I should really go back and buy the rest of the stock, too.

Song of Freedom

August 29, 2009 § 1 Comment

I got myself the Doctor Who Season 4 soundtrack. It’s simply… gorgeous. Goosebumps-inducingly, spine-shiveringly, staring-off-into-space-dreamily gorgeous. Murray Gold is my new hero. Seriously, the man has got to be a genius. I hope he’ll be involved in the new series, too. And if not… well, at least he’s doing the music for the regeneration scene.

This post should probably be called ‘Song of Captivity and Freedom’ (which is the song of the Ood, basically), because lo and behold! It only took me half the time I anticipated to unpick the provisional cast-on of the Muir. Because just as I’d gotten a decent routine… the pick-up changed, and for no discernible reason at all, the last third of the line was cast on properly. Properly as in just-pull-the-string-and-all-is-well properly. Which was the greatest personal triumph of all. So Song of Freedom it is. Tardis pulling Earth home, me pulling a string, and everything working out just fine – fits the theme, doesn’t it.

All in all, I’m about halfway done with the lower edging – after all, it’s only about ten rows? And I haven’t really had time to sit down and knit for some extended period of time. And then it’s only eight, maybe nine pattern repeats. (Let’s ignore for the time being that one repeat consists of 32 rows of 157 stitches each, yes?)

My mother requested a shawl for Christmas. Brilliant.

Also, as I’ve repeatedly gushed about on Twitter – they have BUTTON SHOPS in London. Not only am I excited by the prospect of having a shop whose main focus are buttons – there are SEVERAL of them. Not to mention the ‘yarn boutiques’. I’ll just abandon the guys for a day or so and do a yarn shopping marathon. I’m hoping to finally find buttons for the Tempest cardi, too. I mean seriously, that thing has been finished since April 13th! And I just cannot find the right buttons. So, London it is!

Yarnaholics in the family

June 22, 2008 § 1 Comment

My godfather’s birthday yesterday, and while he and my dad proceeded to ‘sample’ the Hennessey he had around, his wife Gabi and I talked knitting, which was awesome. I forgot my sock bag and my shawlette from my first handspun (and it is gorgeous and bohemian, I tell you) at home, but she had stuff lying around that was really fascinating. One of them was a scarf with a pretty intrigueing, yet dead simple AND reversible pattern!

CO about 10
k one row
Set-up round: k1, [YO, k1] to last st, k1 (no YO before edge st)
All following rounds: k1, [YO, k2tog] to last st, k1

I’m currently trying to decide what yarn I should use to make a light scarf with this. I tried my Rowan tweed, but I realized that this was yarn to show off a pattern, while this is a pattern that shows off the yarn. Gabi gave me two balls of yarn (free yarn! yay!), one tweedy eggplant, one fuzzy light lilac, both about 50g (haven’t weighed them yet, but they don’t look much used) so I might try with one of those. Preferably the eggplant yarn. But it’s only 50g, and you can’t get a scarf from that. Unless I made another shawlette/neckwarmer… that would be almost ideal. I’d just have to buy a pretty button for it. Which, all things considered, isn’t a chore.

Speaking of buttons! I went through my mother’s button collection yesterday, looking for a toggle for the handspun neckwarmer, and found a handful of tiny autumn leaves! Someday I’m gonna use them to embellish something – I thought of putting them on the handspun, but it’s so nice and natural and bohemian on its own, and not worth using those on it :D And I found some other tiny buttons with silver ‘harem’ patterns on them. Ah. Buttons. Loved sorting ’em as a little kid, love using ’em now.

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