I will be chasing the starlight

November 18, 2009 § 3 Comments

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Max Raabe tonight, and I’m titling my post with Muse lyrics. Oh well.

With that truly stunning sunset outside, I’m eternally grateful that it’s November and warm enough to sit by the open window in basketball shorts. Cause… I’ve been thinking.

As may have been implied by my trip to the US this spring, I spent a year there in 2005/06. I had tons of fun, met a lot of great people, and played, for the first time in my life, competitive sports. Volleyball was where I met people before school started; basketball occupied me over the winter and made me despise sprinting even more; softball was beyond hectic since pre-season training started at the same time as the play rehearsals went into the serious phase, and I never got home from school before 9, and it was a wonderful, exhausting time. I’ve never been so tan in my life. Well, parts of me; I had the typical softball tan that comes from spending two to three hours every day on the pitch in knee-high socks, shorts, a t-shirt, and a glove. And sunglasses. So yeah, I looked ridiculous, but I felt great about myself. I was still kinda fat – I still am – but I was in pretty good shape underneath all that padding.

There being no softball team in my vicinity when I got back to Germany, that of course stopped.

And then last night, I was reading some Supernatural AU that was set in a recreational softball league. And I got out my glove, like I do occasionally, and oiled it to keep the leather supple, and I thought… man. Softball. I really liked softball.

So I did some research, and my google-fu brought up two results for softball in Leipzig. Two teams. And at least one of them isn’t looking too competitive, and also looking for new players, and practices on Saturdays, and. It would be really nice to play again. To be part of a team again. To stand around on the pitch and squint into the sun and hear the thwack of bat against ball and to slide into base and have your palms burning from the impact of hitting the crap out of that leather.

I’m still not sure. I’m gonna sleep on it another night, and then tomorrow, write an email to whoever’s responsible there. As about practice times, and whether they’re still looking for people. And stuff.

Man, softball. Indoor, this time of the year, but… softball. I haven’t played in three years, and I was never that good. (Then again, my points of comparison were people who’d been playing for anywhere between three and ten years; and some of them were in year-round teams). But I’ve been fondling my glove for the past 24 hours, and… man, softball.

Today, I’m dressed in gym shorts and one of the first hoodies I bought in the US, and I haven’t felt this much like myself in a long time.

*

So, yeah. Now, out of the comfy clothes and into evening wear. And when I say evening wear, that includes the big, green monster.

Holy shit, Max Raabe!

Admitting your problem…

March 23, 2009 § Leave a comment

So, I’ll admit it: I might have a small yarn problem.

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I went to Zitron in Wickede (Ruhr) today, which is just a half-hour drive from my house and TOTALLY worth it. They’re open to the general public on Mondays, they have all Zitron yarns there (obviously) plus quite a few ones that aren’t even in normal circulation yet. I love it. I went in there with the best of intentions, and left 20 minutes later with 1.2 kg of yarn and two sets of DPNs.

I don’t think I’ve ever spent €85 quite as fast as today.

I mean, the thing is, I can’t get Zitron yarns in Leipzig, so I have to stock up while I’m here. Zitron makes amazing quality for relatively cheap (even cheaper like this, right from the source), it’s 100% made in Germany, the colors are gorgeous, it’s a family business, and they’re generally my favorite yarn brand ever. I won’t be buying sock yarn for the next couple of months, or at least I’m going to pretend I won’t. Chances are pretty good. And €85 isn’t even that bad for that much yarn, plus needles!

Still, the haul, especially combined with the yarn I bought in the US, is what commonly could be referred to as ‘a crapload’, and I’m not sure how I’m gonna get it all back to Leipzig.

I’m such a yarnwhore.

This is today’s yarn:
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And this is my total vacation yarn (minus two 1/2 balls of Berroco, which are downstairs in the shape of half a sleeve and the left side of the cardi front, and minus a rather unexciting grey ball of Meilenweit that’s turning into socks for Tyler):
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To put it in the words of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee: ‘My… you sure have a lot of yarn!’

I’m slowly beginning to realize that getting all that crap to Leipzig is going to be the smallest problem. I might have to clear some shelf-space in my closet. And thus begins the spread from the stash chest of drawers into the rest of my living space. No longer will it be cooped up in a measly three drawers, no, it shall regain freedom and make their fortune in the endless realms of Patti’s room! I have a dream, that one day, one will have given up dividing sock yarns and other yarns; I have a dream that one day, a little hank of sock weight and a little hank of laceweight will be able to be friends, no matter their fiber content! I have a dream!

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A few words. The top row is today, starting with Trekking XXL in various colors, including a couple of new ones, and two balls of something called Trekking Maxima. (It looks like XXL, feels like XXL, it just has a different label). Then my beloved HandArt (five skeins) – they have lamé yarns in that line now, too! Plus another one of the gorgeous dark blue I’ve missed since I had to give Adam’s socks away. Last in line, 100g of Nimbus, 100% merino, in the colorway I saw hanging around Mr Zitron’s neck last time I was there and immediately fell in love with. Now I have it. Heh. I’ll probably have it sitting around for a while, since I don’t want to cock it up and fall is still some time away.

And no, they do, in fact, not have anything resembling sock yarn in Leipzig. Why do you ask?

Aaaand, my US haul! Starting out with the Misti Alpaca 2-ply (with the half-finished Python in the back), then the Wildefoote sock yarn, Malabrigo Lace, Schaefer Finger Lakes, and last but not least, the Berroco. I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough yarn, but with only one sleeve to go… I have enough. Way enough. Enough for a hat-and-mitts-ensemble to go with it, probably. Yay alpaca mitts!

My… I have a lot of yarn.

Stormy weather

March 17, 2009 § Leave a comment

So, the Tempest. I discovered that indeed, you can take your knitting on the plane – in fact, I wasn’t even the only one, a lady across the aisle from me pulled out a burgundy thing at the same time as I was rummaging through my bag for the back piece. I actually got a LOT done – the back is done, and so is the left front. Or at least, that’s what I thought. Because in actuality, I just counted the mini stripes in the waist shaping, and there were four. Why is that bad? Because there’s supposed to be six of them. (I say mini stripes because I have three stripe kinds – 10-row, 4-row and 2-row, because with my yarn substitution it should have been 3 rows for the small stripes, and there’s no way I’m weaving in that many ends)

So. I’m gonna finish the right side – done with the mini stripes, increasing again – and then I’m gonna rip back more than half of the left side, add in the mini stripes, curse a lot, reknit the damn thing, and proceed to the sleeves. That is, if I don’t discover equally stupid mistakes.

Note to self: When will I finally learn that knitting while overtired never leads to anything less than disaster?

However. I had a lot of fun during the transatlantic flight, because you see, there were these little screens in the back of each seat, so you could watch TV. I was listening to an audiobook and knitting, so I had it turned off, but it was angled exactly so that I could see my hands knitting. From the front.

Ever since I read the Yarn Harlot gushing about how differently people knit, and how every finger has its job, I’ve been watching my hands closely, and other knitters’ when I get the chance. But thing is, while I can see the top of my hands quite easily, I’ve never seen it from the other side, and it got me ridiculously excited. I couldn’t stop staring. It was so fascinating and graceful and I move my left hand a lot more than I thought I did.

The fact that I was running on very little sleep and copious amounts of sugar and caffeine might have also had something to to with that. Maybe there was something in my brownies. They were the Cosmic kind, after all.

Wer hat an der Uhr gedreht?

March 16, 2009 § Leave a comment

God, I can’t believe my two weeks here are already over.

It’s surprising how much knitting I got done, because looking back I was always somewhere doing something, or at least it feels that way, yet I have an almost complete shawl and half a back of a cardigan, and one and a half fingerless mitts that didn’t get finished because my needles broke. And also because I got sick of them, but hey.

I’m just pulling a lifeline through the stitches in my cardi – I’ll try and take it on the plane with me, but just in case. I’d be sad to see these needles go, they’re good ones, but, you know, it’s worth a try. Plus they’re a whole lot less sharp than your average pencil, so I’m hoping. I packed a couple of skeins of the Berroco to wind into balls, just in case, just to give me something to do. Hands busy.

A whole lot of people are coming to the airport to see me off – Lib and Martin, two thirds of my host siblings, my host dad, Adam, and randomly the current, Swiss exchange student David. Not mom and Sierra, they have to be at work and in class, and not Tyler either, because he can’t call in sick.

Ugh, I hate to go. I’d rather just stay here and become a crazy old knitting cat lady somewhere around here, with the Finger Lakes right around the corner, some of my favorite people in the world closeby, and amazing yarn at my fingertips.

Ding dong ding – I can hear the chapel bells chime […] Lida Rose, I’m home again, Rose, without a sweetheart to my name…

A day well spent

March 11, 2009 § Leave a comment

I went to Ithaca, NY with my host sisters today, and I did find the LYS, Homespun. And while they do have a lot of fabric, they also have a metric crapton of yarn, and it’s pretty yarn and most of it is actually affordable!

So I bought 95 dollars’ worth of it.

Most of it went into yarn for my Tempest Cardigan, for which I bought Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light in green and dark teal. They’re both semisolids, which I hope is going to work well with the pattern. I’ll have to figure out which needle size I’ll need though – the yarn isn’t fingering, it’s sport or DK, I’m not sure, but I just fell in love with it. Fewer stitches to knit, too! Its 45/55 alpaca/peruvian wool, really nice to touch, the colors are gorgeous, AND as another plus, it was ‘only’ $5.50 for 50 grams. Which is alright, and pretty much a bargain for any sort of alpaca.

Then, while the shopkeeper was in the back to get more of the Berroco (sometimes it sucks being a fatty), I rifled through one of the many baskets they had sitting on the counter, and I found… Malabrigo Baby Merino laceweight. I bought 100g of the Glazed Carrot colorway, which, you might be surprised, is a semisolid orange. Gorgeous, just gorgeous, although it does feel a bit… heavier than the Misti Alpaca, but what doesn’t? Mohair, probably, but that’s just too fuzzy for anything if you ask me.

And then, because come on, I was only at $78, I bought two skeins of Brown Sheep Wildefoot luxury sock yarn, one in Temple Turquoise and one in Vinca Minor. (a nice, deep purple) Why is it that I seem to be unable to leave a yarn store without sock yarn? No matter what I buy, there’s always at least enough for one pair of socks. I’m not sure if the stuff is actually gonna become a pair of socks. I haven’t done fair isle socks, I don’t think, I thought about it but then discovered lace – but I remember some awesome two-colored socks in Knitting on the Road of whatever it’s called, by Nancy Bush (I still need to get me that Estonian Lace book of hers!) so… who knows. Or a hat. Or it’s gonna stay souvenir yarn, who knows.

So, to sum it up… a good haul. I’m very excited, though I can’t start until I’m back in Leipzig. But I still have the European Pyton and half a mitt waiting to be finished, so I’ll keep my hands busy.

Speaking of which: I bought Free Range Knitter on Sunday, and it’s… it’s a good book. I don’t like it quite as much as Secret Life of a Knitter, but it’s still good. The last story, about the woman on her deathbed who couldn’t keep her hands still, and everybody worried, until her old friends came over and cracked up because they recognized the movement – that made me tear up. There’s really a lot of good stories, I guess it’s just more contemplative and not as laugh out loud funny as Secret Life. But that’s okay.

I feel like I’m in knitting nirvana. Except for the fact that I made a mistake somewhere in the budding lace pattern. Ngh.

Finger Lakes Fibers, the second

March 7, 2009 § Leave a comment

Went down to Watkins again, finally went into the yarn store there.

Oh my.

Schaefer Yarns, Fleece Artist, Lorna’s Laces, Lopi, Misti Alpaca, some handpainted BFL… everything. I fondled a lot of yarn. I bought some – two 50g balls of Misti Alpaca laceweight in white, for another, bigger Swallowtail Shawl. And one skein of Schaefer fingering weight, custom dyed in a colorway called “Finger Lakes” – how cool is that?!

Oh and also a US4/3.5mm bamboo circ, cause I didn’t bring one over here. I already started the swallowtail, but I didn’t get very far, still on the setup for the budding lace pattern. Spent almost 50 bucks there. Oh god. But, after all, that’s what I wanted to splurge on, and I’m definitely checking the stores in Ithaca, too.

But oh, the Misti Alpaca?? Heaven, in a ball of yarn. Oh, it’s so light and fuzzy and soft and alpacay and… mmmh. And the color of the Finger Lakes yarn, deep blues and greens… oh, it’s good to have a big yarn budget. That’s definitely souvenir yarn.

Yarnless in Odessa

March 5, 2009 § Leave a comment

So, a central part of my plan for today was to go down to Watkins Glen and buy Finger Lakes Fibers empty, or at least relieve them of a kilometer or so of laceweight.

But then Libby, my host sister, and I went to Walmart (where I checked out Red Heart and Caron’s Simply Soft – if I have space left, I think I’m gonna take them to make that afghan I’m planning), and then to Arby’s (where I had that Roast Beef Burger I’d been craving for the last two and a half years), and we arrived at FLF at exactly 5.09pm.

Precisely nine minutes after the damn store closes.

So I just pressed my nose to the windowpane, oohing and aahing at “oh my god, look at that Malabrigo!” and “they have Lamb’s Pride” and “IS THAT LOUET???” and… yeah. Major disappointment. I can’t believe we got there NINE MINUTES after the store closed.

So I’m gonna go again Saturday, earlier this time, and spend some major money there. At least some lace and fingering, for the shawls. And the… thingy. Cardi. The striped one.

It looked good from the outside, though… with a spinning wheel in the window and everything. Sigh.

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