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.

… and it’s gonna be totally awesome

November 24, 2010 § 9 Comments

I haven’t been posting; I think it’s mostly due to the fact that I got a new paper journal that I love writing in – yet another Moleskine. The third over a relatively short time. Used to be that I thought they were pretentious, now I appreciate their simplistic design and rounded corners.

Speaking of rounded corners. Last night, my old laptop broke, which was a kind of a shame and kind of a relief. I liked Graham, I really did, but I’d had nothing but trouble with him in the last months – freezing, especially, and overheating, and freezing some more, and more random shit that was just annoying. Then last night, he wouldn’t recognize the fact that he was plugged in. I tried the usual – pull the plug out, stick it back in, thump it on the back – nothing.

So I rather hysterically backed everything important up onto my external harddrive, transferred some money, and bought a Macbook today. The Macbook I’ve been planning on for… a while. Ever since summer, I guess, since Graham started acting up more and more.

I was a bit afraid of the Big Bad Apple, but so far I’m loving it. It’s friendly, it’s streamlined, it’s simplistic. I’m sure I’ll encounter some problems at some point, but right now, I’m very much charmed. Oscar (i.e. the Macbook) isn’t quite as big as Graham, which might put a damper on watching movies, but seriously… if that’s all I have to complain about, I’ll take that any day.

Status updates on the Frantic Christmas Knitting: 30 days to go, Girl Friday halfway done, Henry around 60 %. I’d post pictures but it’s at a point where it just looks… more of the same, basically. Which isn’t very exciting as photos go. (Also I don’t have anything on this computer yet.)

Cute knitting-related anecdote: One of my classmates was wearing this stylish beret, so I asked here where she got it. Her answer? Ravelry! So Saskia and I squeed a bit, and started chatting about knitting, and the pattern (Meret/Mystery Beret by Wooly Wormhead, by the way), and yarn, and the whole shebang. It was nice, having a little outpost of normality in the ‘real world’. The Bunter November yarn market (the little brother of the Wollefest each May) was, of course, right on the mainland of the Wondrous Land of Knitting, and I spent a couple of hours deliriously petting yarn, knitting and chatting with people I knew from Ravelry or the Strickcafé or didn’t know at all, at least not their faces (hallo, Jana!).

Why I never posted about this? Well, of course I’d forgotten my camera (figures), and I just haven’t felt like posting yarn porn. Shocking, I know. I’ll post ’em one of these days, when I’ve figured out whether Oscar is compatible with Bobby the External Harddrive. But first, Glee.

Take a look ahead

November 1, 2010 § 2 Comments

It’s not like I’m not stressed, with Christmas only 53 days away – especially since I kind of randomly decided to knit a Henry for Adam. On the plus side, I’m almost done with the backside of the Girl Friday for my sister, despite my incredible slackerdom when it comes to that thing.

I’d much rather work on Watson (also only about 15cm to go on that back), or the Thermal (started a sleeve, back done, half the front also), or my Vespergyle mittens (halfway up the thumb on the second mitt), or Saskia’s Super Secret Christmas Present (finished, booyeah! but I’m considering making matching mittens). I’m also done with the Brambles beret and scarf, even if I haven’t gotten around to wearing them. I have a feeling I’ll have to run some kind of elastic through the brim of the beret, since it’s pretty loose, but I’ll wait till after I’ve actually worn it.

In conclusion: I feel like I’m getting somewhere. Making progress. Which is important for my sanity, since uni doesn’t exactly evoke the same feeling at the moment.

Also, it’s kind of hard to get really stressed out if the foot of my bed looks like this most evenings.

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Yes, I also got my other roomie to join us on the dark side. She’s making a hat. Which she was half done with, then discovered a mistake two rows down from where she was, and subsequently… frogged the whole thing. And started over. I’m still kind of flabbergasted.

Speaking of flabbergasted. I’m making good on my resolution to go to the knitting café more, and lo and behold. I was just hanging out there on Saturday, very content indeed about just having bought truly luscious yarn for Henry,

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(Bremont Camino Alpaca, fingering weight, 60% merino, 20% alpaca, 20% nylon)

… and then Christine plunked an armful of yarn on the table in front of me. Not just any yarn. Wollmeise.

I tried, for about three hours, to discourage myself from buying one. I failed. Mostly because I didn’t really have any good arguments except for how it was kind of expensive (€17.50 for 150g, which… isn’t that bad, but not that cheap either), but then I had that exact amount in my wallet and that must’ve been a sign.

It was kind of hard to decide, because all the colors were gorgeous. No kidding. Even the ones I usually can’t stand. ALL. GORGEOUS. But I settled on this beautiful green, Grashüpfer, and my photo doesn’t do it justice.

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Also, it’s so tightly twisted that the 150g look like 100g, and you could probably bludgeon someone to death with the skein. Death by Wollmeise. There’s worse ways to go.

Blackbird has spoken like the first bird

September 14, 2010 § 4 Comments

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(my life in a picture)

It’s funny; I’ve had a couple of rather introspective days behind me and I hadn’t realized how much I missed them. With the sudden and unexpected arrival of Glühwein season, another year has passed, and, well. It got me thinking.

Usually, with my roomies around, there’s always some form of entertainment going on. I don’t just mean movies, but also conversations that, despite running deep and on several levels at a time, aren’t introspective by definition. But Saskia was off to some square dance event this weekend and Sassi is still in Ireland, and it’s not that I don’t like them, but it was so nice to have some quality time with myself.

I realized I’d been avoiding introspection for a bit. Not consciously, I’m sure, but there’s just so much going on here even if there isn’t really, with Saskia and I popping over to each other’s rooms to share ideas or thoughts and generally having a more-or-less continuous flow of information going on. I also remember, vividly, the long years of teenage angst, penned down and over-analyzed in 3 diaries per year, sometimes more: the pinnacle of introspection. In retrospect, I’m amazed I got anything done at all between the ages of 13 and 18 to contemplate with all the introspection I did. I have no wish to recreate that time, or that amount of angsting about everything. (It’s funny though, in all that time there was very little sexual-identity-angst except when I was dealing with rumors.)

But I also have a feeling tweeting ever last half-formed impulse has contributed to a certain amount of superficiality that’s snuck into my life without me realizing it. Over 4000 tweets in just over a year – that’s a LOT. That’s about 11 tweets a day, on average. Maybe that’s too much, but cutting down is useless, mostly because if I don’t tweet it, I head over to Saskia’s room and tell her in more than 140 characters. I find it harder to focus now, in any case.

So on Friday, I went to the Leipziger Kreativ- und Strickcafé, which was one of the first places I went when I moved to Leipzig but kind of dropped when uni started. I never picked up going at least semi-regularly mostly out of laziness, except for WWKIP and their Wollefest.

Laziness. Sloth. It seems to be my biggest problem.

It’s true, with my successful conversion of Saskia into a knitter a lot of my wool-related isolation (as in, I didn’t have anyone to talk about knitting with) has dissipated, but we’re still very much in a teacher/student dynamic in that respect. I’d forgotten how amazing it is to sit among equals, learn from and teach each other, and just sit and knit and talk for five hours. My wrists still hurt a bit after an hour or so of knitting,  I think from that evening, but I now know better. They have pattern books over there. Next time I go (probably Saturday), I’ll have a look through Victorian Lace Today and rest my wrists a bit.

I’m also checking out a square dance club in the city this Friday, so that might be my new secondary hobby. I’ve realized I need to get out more, and although I’ve vowed more involvement with The World Outside every semester, I have a good feeling this semester it might stick. I have a good feeling about this year. Overall, I mean.

**

On another, unrelated and less life-affirming note, I started to read all three Hunger Games novels by Suzanne Collins in a row, now that the final part is out. If those books don’t get you thinking about society and television culture and human behavior overall, I’m not sure what will. It’s a dystopia, and from the covers and the age of the protagonist (16), I’d call it young adult. I picked it up because it was rated as YA, and I love YA unashamedly for all that I love Wilde and Tolkien and Ovid too.

But from the premise of the plot and the form of the dystopian society, I’m not sure how well it fits in the 14-21 age bracket. You can read the synopsis on Wikipedia, where I just saw they’re making it into a movie, and what the hell. A book that condemns unreflected TV culture gone mad, and a society where outrageous appearances and capitalism are everything while 90% of the population starve, and the rich 10% love watching innocent children slaughter each other once a year – and they’re making a movie out of it. Of course.

So.  Yeah. Those books. They’re good books, they’re hard to put down, they view modern culture, to put it carefully, somewhat critically. I read part two in the bathtub, and when I looked up because I was done, the 20cm-high cover of bubbles had dissipated because I’d been in there for three hours. They’re that kind of book. And like every dystopian novel there probably is, it takes current society and exaggerates it into something horrifying, and there isn’t a chapter where you don’t realized that everything that’s wrong with that society is what’s wrong with ours, just that we haven’t had the time to get that far. And they’re making it into a movie.

Yesterday we stood at the brink of the abyss. Today we’re one step further.

And on that mood-swingy note, I leave you,  esteemed reader, with the view out of my window a few evenings back, because dudes and dudettes – it’s autumn.

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Pushing an elephant up the stairs

May 31, 2009 § 5 Comments

So! Leipziger Wollefest 2009!

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I’m still a bit stunned, but I’ve photographed my haul, made some adjustments to my stashing system to accomodate everything, put it all away, and feel like I should go back today and buy some more. Which I won’t. I hope.
I’d slept over at Christian’s, plagued by nightmares about me arriving there to find that all the yarn had gone… which he, when I told him, found quite funny, because he’s a muggle. The obvious advantage to staying over was that instead of about 10 tram stops, it was only 2, and so around 2pm, an hour later than I’d planned, I embarked on my voyage to the Wollefest.

Two tram stops, not much of a voyage, to be honest. But when I arrived there, I felt like I’d found Atlantis. Or the Golden Fleece. Or Ithaca. All at once.

The weather was slightly overcast, but the storefront of the Strickcafé was cheerfully bright as always, and this was by far better yarn weather than the damp heat of last year.

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(Somehow, in that second photo, I made it look like there weren’t that many people there. Believe me, there were.)

I walked around first, looking at everything, petting some lace yarns at the Wolllust stand, buying a piece of cake for breakfast, looking at the alpaca babies (who were excited and made THE cutest noises!) and angora bunnies (omg fuzzy ears!)…

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… and mostly wondering where the hell the Drachenwolle was. And then I heard my name, in the voice of Klemens (who remembered me. Who’da thunk?), who was sitting where I was going. And oh man, did I go there.

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When I got there, they had probably half or so left of what they’d brought. And I was still completely stunned and unable to make a decision. I just stood there for a bit, wringing my hands, calculating how much yarn I could get for the money I’d brought, failing at that, gaping, trying not to drool… and then Klemens pushed a couple of skeins in my hand, I lost all control, got a severe case of the Gollum syndrome (“my precioussssssss”) and ended up buying 8 skeins. Which sounds pretty controled, but man, was I shaking afterwards.

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Some are with linen, some are with bamboo, some are flamé, and none of them is the regular merino/poly sock yarn, which is awesome in itself, but somehow I didn’t catch one. o_O

I wanted to cast on right away – watching TV the night before without anything to knit because I wanted to keep my needles free was hell, let me tell you – so I went with Klemens and a lady who I got along great with but somehow didn’t catch the name of, and wound it. This was my first time with a swift and a ballwinder instead of a drumstick and my own hands, and man, was it exciting. And fast! I have a video of it, but… that’s a bit too much.

I talked to a girl, Daniele from Erfurt, while at Drachenwolle, and when I went over to WollLust, she was there again, and people mistook us for old friends, which was funny except it proved once again how yarn brings us all together. Very nice. And so relieving to geek out with somebody who not only understands my obsession with lace, but shares it, and before you know you’re chest high in a conversation about Faroese lace and Kauni yarns. (They had Kauni there. They had Noro there. Ooooh baby!)

So I bought 400g of merino lace yarn, 200g in green and yellow, respectively.

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And then my money was gone.

But, okay. I sat down next to the Drachenwolle with Klemens and a couple of others, knit my sock, discussed sock yarn brands, asked questions about spinning, heard of the fabulous idea of taking a wool bath, in short: had a good, yarny time. Texted Saskia saying there were angora bunnies, and when she announced she was coming over STAT, I told her to bring more money. She still owed me tons. So when she came, I had an additional 50 bucks to blow. Which, within 10 minutes or so, turned into 200g of plant-dyed New Zealand Lamb sock yarn, 200g of undyed 70/30 alpaca/merino from the alpaca people, and… a ball of Kauni. Gorgeous, gold-blue Kauni. My holy grail of the day.

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Saskia and I sat down with the knitters and spinners around Drachenwolle again. I think she was bit shocked by the fact that there were other people like me, or even worse than me. Like when one of the ladies announced that with her current knitting rate, she had enough for 4.5 years without buying anything – and we all agreed that this was by any means not nearly enough, and what if by some weird mutation or epidemic all sheep lost their hair tomorrow?

Anyways. It stared raining around 6 or 7, I guess, so Saskia and I went, first to some restaurant over the street for dinner, then to Christian’s to show off my yarn. He didn’t understand either. I need new friends. Except I’m having tons of fun with my current ones, so that’s okay. Last night was a good evening, Christian was getting ready for a party and getting out THE trashiest outfits he possessed. Including a shirt that had gotten really wide and really short in the wash. I have a great picture of it. I’m not allowed to show it. Which is a shame, really. But I understand XD

We parted ways around 10.30 in the city, having gotten some money at the ATM and having entertained other bank patrons by our fabulous rendition of ‘Walk through the Fire’ and ‘I’ll never tell’ from the Buffy musical episode.

Then this morning, I photographed everything, and then was faced with a dilemma: Although my sock yarn stash had been diminished to a meager 500g or so during my yarn diet – my ‘other’ stash hadn’t. So I had to outsource the leftover half-balls to my wardrobe to clear a drawer for lace yarns. The stash is spreading. As it should be.

So this

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became this

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and the other drawer are pretty full, too.

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And this wandered into the wardrobe

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I swear, sometime very soon, I’m gonna have to get another stash cupboard. Or some plastic bins.

A week in knitting

September 17, 2008 § Leave a comment

Well – the last week has been truly knittastic! I’ve barely done anything else I didn’t have to, which surprisingly enough does include swimming, shopping and cooking as well as bathroom breaks.

But. I made two pairs of Dashing mitts, one for myself and one for my sister’s birthday. I attempted to make a matching hat for my pair, but when I was almost done I realized that a) I had run out of yarn and b) that it was too small and I had to rip it back up anyway.

Then I started the Elf Socks a couple of times and ripped them up almost as often – in fact, I think I’ll frog the current attempt too.

Frogged the yellow hat as well, might start it again on bigger needles, though it’s getting a little chilly for a thin hat like that.

And – I started the Aerang Shawl. In the 5-ply Micro Bamboo Spray that I had lying around, except I bought 200 g more cause it was on sale? I was halfway through the first Chart 2 repeat when I realized I’d fucked the left side up and had to rip it apart again, but it was worth it. I started the  second Chart 2 repeat today and it’s starting to look pretty amazing.

TV was at the Strickcafe today, v. exciting. I blabbed something about how knitting used to be men’s work in 18th century Scotland and attempted to work a heel over the stitches of one needle, and generally had a blast.

Man, knitting! I get all jittery when I don’t have anything in my hands when I watch something, and believe me, I’ve watched a crapload. Including Seasons 3 and 4 of Queer as Folk.

Good lord.

Leipzig!

September 12, 2008 § Leave a comment

Wow, I haven’t updated in forever!

Anyway, pictures of me are featured on the Strickcafé Blog – I went there on Wednesday and it was super cool.

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