The oceans and pangea – see ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya

June 3, 2011 § 11 Comments

I haven’t written about the 4th Leipziger Wollefest at all, and it’s almost been a week since that particular event of the year. Truth to be told I’m still slightly overwhelmed – I haven’t even gotten around to unpacking and stashing my purchases yet, although that might also be attributed to a distinct lack of space.

I spent an awesome Saturday in the truly packed garden behind the Strickcafé. It was kind of insane – when we got there at 11am, the line to get in went all the way to the street. So many people. Even more yarn.

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Oh, and what yarn! I think apart from Wollmeise, all the major players on the German handdyer scene were there, and honestly, even the Wollmeise couldn’t have improved the yarn selection available. (Also, let’s face it: as breathtaking as her colors are, she isn’t exactly adventurous with her fiber selection. So, yeah.) (I don’t mean to snub her, really, but having Wollmeise available to me on a regular basis has sort of taken the edge off the hysteric fangirling.)

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I swear, the Dibadu stand was crowded all day. I have no idea how I managed to get this photo, but it had probably something to do with it being fairly late.

I was especially delighted to see the gals from DyeForYarn/DyeForWool, whom I’d discovered a couple of days before on Etsy, and one of which, as it turns out, wrote the pattern for the stole I’ve been planning for one of the yarns I bought in Berlin. Go check them out; they’re two separate stores, but they work together and they’re absolutely equally amazing. Both the yarns and the women. One of them was wearing a gorgeous blue shawl, and Saskia and I spent a good half hour debating which pattern it was. It was a good thing the Wollefest is one of those rare places where you can just go up to someone and ask about their clothes, and people are delighted instead of confused or freaked out. It also turns out that Saskia was entirely correct in her ‘Aeolian shawl with narrow edging’ analysis. I’d say that the student has surpassed the master, but I’m too petty for that. Also I’m still the better knitter. Neener-neener.

Anyway, my haul this year, overall a slight departure from my usual color scheme (i.e. no green this time):

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from top to bottom: dibadu BFL roving; DyeForYarn fingering-weight BFL; some dreamy orange alpaca/merino/silk lace yarn (from Kreativmitwolle) that was my first and most impulsive purchase of the day; blue/maroon/rust-colored merino lace yarn from DyeForYarn (again, I left a lot of money there); a gorgeous merino lace yarn from dibadu; four and a half cakes of Jamieson and Smith; and the breathtaking purchase of the day: a 70% cashmere/ 30% silk lace yarn from DyeForWool that I’ve been fondling to a point where I find myself creepy. It’s gorgeous, and smooshy, and most of all DISCONTINUED, which is the most magical quality a yarn can have. (They still have a single skein in a chocolatey brown in their shop. Act fast if you want it!)

What I like about the DfY/DfW crowd is that they give their yarns awesome names: they had an ‘Ex-Peacock’ that was named for the Dead Parrot Sketch (I asked); the merino lace is called Trauriger Harlekin (sad harlequin) and there’s a Death of a Harlequin colorway too; the cashmere’s called ‘fading lichen on a graveyard’ (I had to pull it out to verify. Excuse me while I go fondle my yarn. Again. Did I mention it’s discontinued?) and the BFL’s name is ‘Shadowstorm at dusk.’

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(in the background: Saskia’s Malabrigo shawl. It’s really soft. How I know? Well, let’s just say she does this thing where she comes up to you and very subtly announces ‘oh wow, this shawl I’m knitting is really, really soft TOUCH IT.’)

That one, by the way, was one of the two skeins Saskia and I wound to balls right there and then, chilling out next to the spinning wheels while Annelie was producing some wacky art yarn or other. People seemed to be confused by the fact that we were winding manually instead of using one of the winder/swift combos that were set up all over the place, but I like winding by hand. Although in retrospect it might have been advisable to wind at least some of my yarn with some mechanical support instead of insisting on winding three skeins of very, very thin lace yarn by hand. I kind of went on a lace rage there. Saskia also went crazy, albeit not quite as crazy as I did.

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But still fairly crazy. Wollum is never far away, no, he isn’t, my precioussssss…

Speaking of crazy. They had this awesome friendship spinning wheel there which I kind of want? Except let’s not kid ourselves, what would I ever do with it. Except brag about it to everyone I know, and some people I don’t, and land myself in a mental institution two months later. So, uh… maybe next year.

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It’s this ingenious contraption where one person treadles, but three people can spin at the same time. I don’t know how that would work out in reality – my passing acquaintance with a wheel has shown that regular stopping and seeing what the hell you’re doing is of utmost importance at least for a beginner – but apparently there are also wedding wheels, where the spinners sit next to each other, and that’s just too adorable for words.

But yes. I got to show off my Armada…

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… Annelie got to show off her mad spinning skillz and baby belly due to an evidently miscalculated due date…

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… and it turns out that as opposed to the Wollefest two years ago, where I had to cajole and threaten Saskia into going there to bring me more money, and she was bored out of her mind, this year she got to show off some lace knitting of her own and also do wacky yarn stuff with me.

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It turns out that if you don’t have any knitting friends, a little yarny bribery goes a long way in creating some brand new ones. In your own home! With items commonly found around the house! Go try it today.

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Oh the weather outside is frightful

May 19, 2010 § 4 Comments

After a beautiful April and beginning of May… the weather has been terrible recently, which kind of drags down my motivation as well as my mood. Which, after my last post, sounds ominous. But never fear, dear readers! Things got better before they got worse. There was a barbecue in my kitchen, chocolate fondue, drinking and fraternization with my Spanish teacher, who assured me I had absolutely nothing to worry about regarding the oral exam – even though I’m still periodically undergoing phases of cold, crippling terror – and lots and lots of therapeutic knitting.

Also, the third Leipziger Wollefest is this weekend, and I’m so glad I decided to skip the SPN con. It would’ve been a great opportunity, but… it’s all good. I think part of what dragged me down before was the uncertainty of not having a room down there, and… just everything.

Instead, I’m doing the Doctor Who TARDIS cowl KAL, and I’m doing pretty much fabulous. The yarn I ordered is a bit too teal to be a true TARDIS blue, but it’s still got that comfy feel to it from the color alone, plus teal goes better with my wardrobe. Adding to the comfiness is of course the fact that the yarn’s 100% alpaca, handdyed by Drachenwolle. Same stuff I made the Perfectly Cromulent hat out of, just a different color.

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It’s pretty spectacular, if you ask me. The color, I mean.

Speaking of spectacular, I made chili today. Knitting alpaca, eating chili, bundling up in an oversized hoodie and sweats after a hot eucalyptus bubble bath… yeah, it’s that kind of day.

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Also, I have a confession to make. It’s no secret I like photography, even if I hardly have the equipment for anything approaching professional. But…

I love photographing boring things.

The other day, I spent the longest time photographing my grey stadium blanket. I played with contrasts, aperture, color and saturation, and I had the grandest time. Photographing a grey blanket. And I’m really quite in love with some of the photos I got out of the possibly most mundane photography session in the history of the world – I like to think they exude a wonderful sense of minimalist calm. Which… I don’t know. I’m not big on minimalism, or any kind of stripped-down modern art, but I really do love these.

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I know. It’s a grey blanket.

Don’t judge me.

*

Oh, also? My Spanish teacher has a blog… with this layout. Which was disconcerting, to say the least :D

Here in Heaven

November 26, 2009 § 5 Comments

Call me God, cause I just gave an angel wings and hung the stars.

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(or, you know, call me Dean, cause I just tied up and humiliated Cas. Take your pick.)

It’s a bit pale, I admit that, but I upped the contrast as much as I could without making it look entirely ridiculous, and so… yeah. It’s not quite as grainy as it looks in the photo, though.

Yay, Castiel Christmas decoration! Only took me about 3.5 hours.

Not-so-yay leftovers I have to now clean up.

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On the other hand, I’m possibly the only person who hangs stars with butter-soft laceweight baby alpaca. And that’s probably as close to heaven as I’ll ever get.

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(Also, I started the Ruba’iyat mittens last night. They’re… intense, to say the least. 2.25mm Harmonies, plant-dyed red and exclusive Zitron Handart brown, both fingering weight)

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Smoooooooooooooke on the water

October 30, 2009 § 2 Comments

After two weeks and a 50 minute bind-off – the Sock Yarn Shawl Two – Garter Stitch Bitch is DONE.

A project that incidentally has the same initials as the German Spy Book, a shared journal of Adam and me after I left for Germany when my foreign exchange year was over.

Ah, garter stitch. Calming, monotonous, wonderful garter stitch. Honestly, with all the Spanish craziness, I don’t really have a mind for much more intricate patterns. I’m already ogling Baktus again as a next project, too.

But this isn’t a post about planned projects. It’s a post about finished ones. Cause I really don’t wanna tag this in the WIP category.

So, yes. Stats.

The GSB weighs in at a whoppin’ 310 grams, and uses 12 different yarns. These range from Drachenwolle (the first two) to Zitron (3-6, 8, 11), plant-dyed indie yarn (7), Lana Grossa Meilenweit (9), Opal Hundertwasser (11) and last but not least, the one row plus bindoff in Brown Sheep luxury sock yarn (12). There’s 124 yarnover holes on each side in the second-to-last row of #11, which puts the cast-off somewhere in the vicinity of 500 stitches. Unstretched, it spans about 2.2 meters and is approximately 1 meter deep at the point. There are (only) 24 ends I have yet to weave in, of which only half are actually at an edge, the others are distributed unevenly in the body. Leftovers constitute of about 1.5 g of Brown Sheep and bits and pieces here and there. Not more.

This isn’t every project I’ve worked on in the last year, but it’s a pretty good cross section: the green tweed, the purple-brown and the deep blue are from last year’s Christmas present frenzy. The Opal is from my endless procrastination during the exam phase at the end of my first semester of uni, the Lana Grossa is from Tyler’s Rocky socks. I bought the Brown Sheep while visiting my host family in March. The Brazil is from the socks I made while I was still so very enthusiastic about Portuguese, the brown-teal-orange is left over from the Wave socks for my roomie. I knit on the green-yellow-orange flamé yarn while sitting in the city surrounded by crazy goth people. The plant-dyed gold I bought at the Leipziger Wollefest is mostly a pair of Kirk-socks I still haven’t duplicate stitched the Starfleet logo on. The blue-and-purple was dragged all over London while the second TARDIS sock was still attached to it.

And the very first Drachenwolle? Was something I bought at the first Leipziger Wollefest, in May 2008, when I’d just finished my application test for uni here, and was floating on Cloud Nine with my now ex-girlfriend.

What a year and a half it’s been. I’m content.

Erstes Leipziger Wollefest

June 3, 2008 § Leave a comment

I went to Leipzig over the weekend, and managed to drag my girlfriend (also a knitter, but not nearly as obsessed as I am) to the first Wool Festival there.

It was in the yard behind the Kreativ- und Strickcafe, a spot of luscious green where I wouldn’t have expected it at all. All in all it was pretty small, yet very interesting and I spent the rest of my money there.

On what?

First, I finally, finally found 15cm Knit Picks Harmonies in 2.25mm, and sweet-talked them off the vendor who’d just gotten them for herself. To make up for her tragic loss, I purchased a 100g skein of handpainted sock yarn off her in orange and turquoise. I noticed how soft it was, but I didn’t really pay any attention to it until I read the label later – instead of your ususal wool, it’s 75% Merino!!! And for €6.50, too. Those are going to be luxury socks. For me. Me, and me alone. Probably the Firestarter socks. I’ll have to knit up a swatch to see how thick the stripes are.

And then I bought some turquoise roving, though I still don’t have a spindle. As soon as work pays me, I’m gonna order one off Wollschaf, but until that, I suppose I’ll just keep stashing up on roving? :P

I wasted so much precious time winding that sock yarn into a ball, I’m kind of mad about that. I was originally planning on starting a pair of socks with it on the train, and my gf certainly seemed to enjoy my legs being spread for an extended period of time (I loop the skein over my knees for winding balls out of skeins, and I had also lost my jeans prior to winding because of the stifling heat). But then I realized I wanted a really good pattern to go with it, so instead I started leftover socks (Whimsies) on the KnitPicks.

The KnitPicks. Harmony is just the right word to describe them. They’re warm and smooth, but they’re not as bendy as the bamboo needles, and that was what annoyed me about those. Kind of unfortunate now that I just bought a 15cm bamboo DPN set the other day, but I’m sure I’ll use them again. The tips are also nice and pointy, yet not too pointy, and I have a feeling they’re going to stay proper and sharp longer than the bamboos.

Also, with the 2.25mm, I’m pretty much down to a perfect 30sts/10cm. My gauge is off by 3 stitches on 2.5es (27/10) and the fabric is much tighter and smoother than with the 2.5es. It’s ridiculous how much a quarter of a millimeter can matter. So with the Harmonies, no more shuffling around with patterns!

I mean… I still want ebony sock DPNs eventually, just to try them out. (Wollschaf has some, but only 20cm and 10. I’ll just have to keep looking for a place that has 15cm 2.25 ebony DPNs I guess…)

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