Can’t read my poker face

September 21, 2009 § 2 Comments

This is what I wrote last night:

It is incredibly late by my recent standarts, I’m terribly drunk, the German keyboard is really hard after half an hour of a British keyboard the other day, and yet I am still hanging out in the lounge while the boys are doing unmentionable things in our room.

We went out in SoHo, in some gay club called Escape, which was rather empty  but free of entrance fee and rather nice (plus the beer was kinda cheap), and I did have lots of fun – even though I’m not the partying type. But you know how it is, once you get drunk  enough, anything’s fun and/or funny, and by the time Jörn’s hand wandered down to my ass because he was drunk enough to be moving the wrong arm (Christian was sitting on his other side)… I just dissolved in hysterics. And I’m still amused by that.

This is what I’m writing now:

To pass the time last night, I picked out and uploaded a couple of pictures. They’re not the sightseeing pictures, I’m gonna post these some other time when I actually have the patience to sort through all of them, which is likely once I come back. Instead, they’re knitting pictures.  Or knitty, rather, since not all of them are directly connected to knitting as such.

First, let’s start with something we already know: My Doctor Who scarf. Ever since it got wet the other day, it’s stretched out more and more, until Christian and I started wondering how long exactly it was. The answer? Really long. Long enough to stretch from one side of the room to the other one.

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We also got tangled up in it while we were hanging out at Potters Fields next to Tower Bridge – it really is huge fucking long. The scarf, I mean.

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Then, next up, TARDIS socks. Sadly, when we went to Shepherd’s Bush, we found out the hard way that there’s not BBC museum there. You can pre-book tours through the facilities, but eh. So, no TARDIS-in-front-of-TARDIS pictures, but I did drag it everywhere around the city. Have two photos, one in front of that brige there and another one in the Mexx store that matched the color scheme of the yarn pretty well.

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I do have to say, I’m rather proud of that Tower Bridge photo. I don’t know why, it just appeals to me a lot. But then, I did get pretty lucky with a lot of pictures (or maybe I’m just a spectacular photographer), so, go me.

Then, my new socks. I bought this really really nice yarn in this cute little store in Carnaby street, and to keep with the general feeling of overall geekery of this trip, I decided to make… Dalek socks. Not just on a whim though, because there’s a lot of these little nubs, and they do showcase the colors rather spectacularly, and once I’d decided on nubs Daleks just sort of… sprang to mind.

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The yarn, wound with the generous help of Christian (who just admitted that at least in the beginning, he learned to knit only to make me happy. huh. I’m slightly flabbergasted, and… touched, really.)

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Aaaand a glimpse of the shaft motif. In the background? That’s part of the textile exhibition in the Victoria and Albert Museum, V&A for short. And the textile rooms are just… insane. There’s really no other word for it, because they do have some stuff in showcases, oh yes, but they just have so many fragments and everything they just keep them in these… frames. That you can pull out. And there’s (I think) somewhere between 150 and 200 frames in a cabinet, and there’s at least six or eight cabinets. It’s crazy. It really, really is.

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And they’ve just got the most amazing things tucked away there. Fabric from 4th century Egypt. English bobbin lace. Japanese silk embroidery. Elizabethan needlepoint. My lowly little sock felt very, very humbled next to all that splendour.

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But I do think it’s turning out quite good on its own. The Dalek is mirrored on the other side, so they’re both facing forwards, divided by three columns of nubs. Eeep! I’m already around the heel, about… 10 rows or so after the gusset, I’m guessing. I don’t even know when I find the time to do all that, it just sort of appears on my needles overnight. Huh.

And now, last but not least, two men who may or may not have something to do with knitting… allow me to introduce Lord Kitchener…

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And OMG OMG OMG my ticket for an amazing Wednesday evening!!!!

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(Still contemplating whether to just pop over to Northumberland Ave. around the stage entrance before or after a matinee… but, you know. I’d just hang around in a probably dark alley, knitting away on Dalek socks… even if sitting and knitting wasn’t conspicuous, the whole Doctor Who motif would give my intentions away. Plus, I do have better things to do. No, really.)

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I’d walk a thousand miles

September 17, 2009 § 5 Comments

… and not only would I, it feels like I already have. Though, to be honest, when it comes to hard-core touristing, the boys are nowhere near up to par, so it’s less than I would’ve walked with my family. Yesterday I spent about seven hours walking around town, from the Tower over Tower Bridge to Shakespeare’s Globe, over the Millenium Bridge back to the North Bank, St. Paul’s. That’s where the boys gave up, while I continued by tube to Carnaby Street to buy some yarn – yarn! Pretty, pretty, green-and-orange handdyed local yarn at “All the fun of the fair” – a pretty store, very small but rather well-stocked and just cute with its white-and-pink decor. Then I ambled through the West End and Covent Garden, just wandering here and there, having fun with seeing everything… until my feet were ready to give out, my pinkie toes were both a mess of blisters and I’d gotten my first ever blood blister.

The day before that, we went to the National Portrait Gallery, but didn’t do much else due to the absolutely horrific weather. It felt like the Great Flood. I saw a little wave go at least 20 m through a puddle next to the sidewalk. But the Portrait Gallery was nothing short of AMAZING, all those people, all those faces, not two alike. Plus it was kinda empty-ish, which was very, very nice. I wish I could upload photos, but this is the PC in the lounge of the hotel.

My personal favorite in the NPG was this general from WWI, who encouraged the population to knit for the men in the trenches, and introduced the wedge-toed sock that was grafted together in the front with an invisible stitch. The name of the man? Lord Kitchener. (How I know all this? It had a little plaque between his portrait and his bust.)

So, yes, basically I’m having a splendid time. The boys are having some sort of lovers’ quarrel that I’m really sick of, because it drags my mood down as well, but they had better resolve that tonight.

I just finished the TARDIS socks today in an Italian restaurant just off Oxford Street. It’s great, I knit on them basically everywhere. The tube, Piccadilly Circus, the crypt of St Paul’s (on the grave of Joseph Binghamton, Esq.), a bench next to and the steps in front of St Paul’s, the bus to and from the city, Potters’ Field between Tower Bridge and Town Hall… everywhere I went, I knit.

Geeky moments so far: every second of wearing my Doctor Who Scarf, which has stretched even longer after it got all wet the other day. Seeing Canary Wharf Tower, ie Torchwood One, from the Tower Bridge (which is a relief, since I can now scrap the trip I’d planned there, thank god). Freaking out for a second as I walked by the Duke of York’s Theatre – John Simm is in a play there, there’s his face all blown up on posters everywhere around the theatre, and for a second part of me went “OMG HOLY CRAP HAROLD SAXON THE MASTER OMG OMG WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE” except then I remembered it’s all fake. Did I mention wearing the Who Scarf  feels super geeky all the time? I kinda love it, because I feel everybody is staring at me. I wear the badge of geekdom proudly.

I’m still looking forward to our trip to Shepherd’s Bush and the BBC… thing there (I shall take the TARDIS socks. and photograph them in front of the TARDIS there. omg.) , and I’m still working on getting the guys to want to see Cage aux Folles, because I really, really want to see John Barrowman live in action.

Oh, London! Such an exciting, exhausting city!

Let’s dance to Joy Division

September 14, 2009 § 1 Comment

One last little blog post before what are by default going to be ten comparatively analogous days – I’m not taking Grahahm, but I will pop online occasionally from one of the boys’ laptops.

I AM EXTREMELY EXCITED, though honestly, right now, I’m kind of too tired to jump around and be manic about it. As complained about on Twitter, the wonders of three and a half hours of sleep. Maybe four, tops. I’ll probably sleep some more on the way to Düsseldorf, or on the plane, but I have a feeling I’ll be too full of manic travelling energy and too excited and I’m gonna drop like a stone around 6 or 7 pm. I can already see it happening! Crossing my fingers and hoping for the best is probably my best shot.

The Rose Line Mittens, as I’ve decided to call them, are finished. Did most of the second one Saturday night, right up to the red line, only to realize in the morning that the thumb hole was two rows or so too small. So I sighed, tore at my hair a bit and ripped back, but now it’s all done. Though the gauge is slightly off on the second one… must have knit tighter. Why does this always happen with me and gloves? At least it isn’t as painfully obvious as with the Endpaper Mitts though.

Why Rose Line? Well, I wanted to call them something London-y, but what I started with was some Doctor-Who-ish stuff, titles of soundtrack songs, since I listened to them a lot while knitting. But Gallifrey just didn’t seem right (though I would’ve loved that one), and by ‘Hanging on the Tablaphone’, a song I can’t stand but is awesome in the actual episode, I came to line, something line, the zero meridian’s in London, ROSE LINE! Rose! Line! I figured it was only appropriate, with the thin red line around it, not meridian-ally, but hey, you can’t have everything. So, Rose Line Mitts it is. I don’t have any new photos, but I assure you, the second one looks much like the first one, except I reversed the colors.

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(Subtle way to reuse photographs, isn’t it!)

So. I did pack fingerless mitts, but they’re the thin cotton pair, and probably quite useless, or at least less useless than these merino babies here. I also have my teal hat and Baktus in my carry-on, and the DW scarf, the Atlantic Cowl and the Swallowtail in my luggage. And the Tempest cardigan, for which I’m hopefully buying buttons. Finally. That’s I think all of the knitwear I’m bringing along – well, that, and ten pairs of handknit socks XD Okay.

I’ve packed and repacked – I’m gonna weigh my luggage again after I’m done showering, and hoping I’m back to under or around 13kg (which would leave me 2kg worth of stuff I could buy). There’s two books plus paper journal plus the TARDIS sock plus stuff for a camera case (incidentally enough, the same yarn I used for the Rose mitts. Creative, ain’t I just being!) plus my ipod in my carry-on. One might think I was terribly afraid of getting cold or bored. I hope that’s all I need.

Oh god, I’m a little afraid I won’t be able to stand the guys after these ten days, and I’m a bit afraid the hotel is totally crappy, and I’m a bit afraid London’s gone to the dogs and it’s at all as awesome as I remember it, and I’m afraid I’ve forgotten something or that I’ll lose my backpack or my jacket… but I’m mostly excited. I’m all fluttery.

Hell yes, I’m going to LONDON!!!!

Not many men can pull of a decorative vegetable!

August 12, 2009 § 2 Comments

So! I’m finally back in Leipzig, thank god, and that means I’m reunited with my camera. Whatever possessed me to leave it behind? – Anyway, being here means I’ve already taken a ton of pictures, not only of the Who Scarf but also of the yummy yarn I bought during my weekend trip up to the coast, and here I am to give you a little picspam.

Also, in case you were wondering, the Muir is also kind of coming along. Kind of.

But first things first!

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Eep! I’m immensely proud of it. Of course, it’s all garter stitch, but I finished that monster in five days, and that is NOT BAD AT ALL for 12 feet of sport weight yarn on 4mm needles.

Some more impressions:

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As you see, it neatly fits around my head a couple of times – namely, six, without having to stretch much. I haven’t blocked or steamed or stretched it (or even gotten it wet) in any way, because if I do, I have the feeling I’d stumble over it instantaneously. The tassels already drag over the floor when I don’t wrap it very loosely around my neck, so I’m just gonna let gravity take her course and stretch the beast out for me over time.

With it being garter stitch, I needed some background entertainment to go along with it. I tried to keep it on topic – Doctor Who and the Confidentials when I was inside, Torchwood audiobooks when I was lounging about in the back garden, and… the Miss Marple movie 4.50 from Paddington with my parents, though I guess that’s still proper, seeing how Donna’s responsible for her creation. I’d never watched a Miss Marple before, and I was delighted at that old lady who also tends to leave her knitting lying around everywhere.

I’m really quite enchanted by the tassels, though. (That sounds a bit like the insect girl from Utopia. Chan, I’m really quite enchanted by the tassels, tho!) They’re made out of all seven colors, except where I cheated. You see, casting on only 46 stitches (still mad at myself I didn’t think to cast on 42 until I was halfway done) meant I got by with one ball of each color, with the notable exception of tan. But some colors, like grey, baaarely made it, so I only had yarn left of that for 24 instead of 28 tassel strands. So in a couple of tassels, I used purple twice instead of one grey, one purple, but you can’t really tell. I don’t even know myself, since I placed them randomly throughout.

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So. Yes. It is done. I’m hella glad it is, I’m super proud, and it also gave me the motivation to work on Muir some more. If I bought another ball of tan, I could do another one… but I don’t think I will. That’s sport weight merino, you could do anything with that. Gloves, hats… we’ll see. I already queued a bunch of new glove/fingerless mitten patterns on Ravelry.

So. Away from the solid blocks of color to something quite beautiful, quite extraordinary, definitely expensive but also gorgeous and handspun.

Not by me though.

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Just look at that numminess!

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It’s fairly thick yarn I bought at a charming little shop in Wremen – Wurster Webstube. Lovely alliteration. They had, true to their name, a lot of handwoven stuff, souvenirs, gorgeous silk pashminas… and a whole wall with skeins of yarn hanging from hooks.

At a price of €11.50/100g, that’s still… okay, I guess. Pretty good for handspun, too. I ultimately chose two colorways that kind of go together – Atlantic and Wild Rose.

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They’re both gorgeous in their own right, and I’m thinking they might work together in a scarf. Not that I don’t have enough scarves. Maybe a hat and mittens. Though, the problem is that it’s kind of uneven, so I’m not sure how it would work out with stranded patterns.

Supernova

August 5, 2009 § 1 Comment

Supernovas are, if I recall correctly from my vast amount of geeky knowledge obtained from watching scifi, the opposite of black holes.

We all know the knitting black hole, where you knit and knit and knit for two hours and measure and whatever you’re knitting is still the exact same length as before.

Well, I seem to have stumbled upon a knitting supernova. The Doctor Who Scarf is just flying off my needles. Granted, it’s just garter stitch, but in two days, I’ve produced, unstretched, about 5 1/2 feet, and stretched, I assume it’s well over seven feet. I passed the halfway mark about an hour ago.

This is especially astonishing if you consider that I’ve been monkeying around with a pair of socks for just over four weeks now and they’re STILL not finished, and they were not a particularly taxing pattern. In fact, they were Mojos. Are. Still. Will be, once I pick up my motivation.

And let’s not forget the fact that I’m skillfully ignoring Muir, which is hanging out by the sofa down in the living room, cleverly disguised by the fact that the upholstery is almost the same color.

Not to mention the golden socks I still have lying around at home, the pair that need the Starfleet emblem duplicate stitched on them, which is also the pair I promised Saskia a matching red pair.

So, I guess a simple garter stitch scarf with lots of changing colors is really the thing I needed. Something straightforward, mindless, yet entertaining with all those shiny colors.

Let’s hope I don’t magically lose motivation tomorrow.

And also let’s hope I can get myself to weave in all those ends. Kinda hoping for a rift in space and time to gobble those up.

*hums DW theme song*

If life hands you lemons… buy yarn.

August 4, 2009 § 3 Comments

I went to the Atelier Zitron yesterday, and I had the greatest time. This correlates with the title how? Zitrone is the German word for lemon.

I made it a spontaneous trip, because the night before that, I was overcome with the desire to knit a wonderful, impractical Dr Who scarf, the one Tom Baker wore back in the 70s, in season 12. So I looked around on the internet a bit, and discovered that Zitron does have yarn in a huge range of solid colors, which I hadn’t been aware of before, and decided to take the adventurous trip. 25 minutes from door to door. What a road trip!

My plan was to buy the new pronatura sock yarn with bamboo, and knit it with strands held double, but then I discovered a ridiculously new sport weight merino yarn in even more colors. Lifestyle, it’s called. So new that there was only one dyelot. It was the perfect weight. It’s sqooshy and soft and awesome. It had the perfect colors. (Of course, when I got home I discovered that I had, with a sure hand, picked the wrong brown and grey. But, eh.) I had to pick up two 50g skeins of each, because I wasn’t sure which colors were the ones that only needed like 95 yards, which made the whole thing rather more expensive (even though at a price of €3.25 a ball, it isn’t a hardship. Still, 14 balls of yarn? For a scarf?) but I guess I’ll get some hats out of those as well. It’s a good weight for hats. There’s tons of potential. Red and purple hat, here I come! That’s gonna go especially well with my flame-red hair.

I picked up two or three skeins of Handart while I was there, and when I was just checking out and chatting with the women at the counter, an oldish gent appeared next to me, took a look at my cowl (of course, made with Handart), and, grinning, held two skeins of yarn out to me. ‘Look!’ he said, ‘These will come out next January!’

Meet Mr Zitron. And instead of a two-minute chat, we went back to his office, and for like half an hour, he showed me yarns due to come out over the next one and a half years, new colorways he’s been designing (one inspired by Spitzbergen. Oh, gorgeous, I say!), the raw extrafine merino that’s the base of their yarns, and, oh, unspun bamboo. I have never seen anything as beautiful as that band of fiber, coiled in a bowl with the merino, glowing in the lamplight like silk. Gorgeous.

And then we chatted on, about dyeing, Drachenwolle, Klemens from Leipzig, translating and interpretating (turns out that’s what he studied. how cool is that.), and different micron counts of different sheep breeds. It was hard to leave, really. He’s such a nice guy, and his yarn is, well, spectacular. Great quality, produced in Germany, great colors and dyes that don’t wash out, reasonable prices, and a really nice family behind all of that to boot.

So, yes. I don’t mind spending well over 50 bucks every time I’m there. Luckily, I don’t drive there too often, even though, you know, I could. It’s such a short way from my parents’. But I shouldn’t, and I’ll be back in Leipzig soonish or at least when the semester starts, and they’re only open for the general public on Mondays. Thank god. Or my stash would be growing even more uncontrollably than it is now.

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