Aug 282011
 

Well, as you might have noticed I mainly stayed away from the blog. After a rainy and cold start we have had fully blown summer weather, and we tried to make the most of it while it lasted.  So this is just a quick post to tell you what happened till the end of July:

I went to a friend’s party in Bamberg:

onq

Bamberg 2011

I went to another Creative Arts Breakfast Meeting

Rode my bike to a nearby “Biergarten”

Biergarten Krailling

Took my son to see the Smurf movie. Went there by bike. It was my first ever 3D movie. I think I prefer the 2D kind.

Went to a fellow writer’s birthday party, brought my guitar along and sang to songs for her.

Along with my husband and son rode my bike to the Andechs monastery again. We tried a new route that was brutal. I saw this for the first time ever:

seefeld

After three hours of biking we absolutely had earned this:

andechs

and then we went all the way back home again.

Went to a writer’s meeting.

I had ordered a new spindle at the beginning of summer break and after only ten days it arrived. (I had ordered it because I found I need a medium weight one for the big sweater project I’m doing.) It’s a Bosworth Mini made of redheart wood, and it weighs 19 grams. It spend fabulous, and is very pretty.

bosworth

Invited two of our neighbors over for barbecue. They’ve been living next to us for seven years now but this was the first time ever that we did anything together. We had a very enjoyable afternoon and evening. My son’s besets friend came over as well and stayed overnight. Since we started in the afternoon, and it’s impossible to have anybody over after lunchtime without offering cake in Germany I made this:

apfelkuchen

Then we did our very first space clearing ever. Before we had had the impression that the house was full of bad vibes from the people who lived here before us. Now we feel much better.

space clearing

Then I got two packages in the mail. the first one is from LabCat from the US who tried to send this at the beginning of May because we did a swap. Well, after two months the package was back with her, German customs hadn’t wanted it to enter the country, for whatever reason. Since she spent the beginning of August in the UK she sent it again, and here it is:

vstring package

And on the very same day I got a package from the “fiber fairy”. No, really. In the revelry group I love the most there is a tradition of sending people fiber anonymously. Mostly when they’re having a bad time. Imagine my surprise when Dan of Gnomespun fiber sent me a message telling me that he needed my address because the yarn fairy had wanted to send me a gift. Wow. And it’s gorgeous. I’d say that I can’t wait to spin it but actually knowing myself it will be some time before I’ll get around to it.

gnomespun firebird

The another trip to the beergarden. Yes, we love it there. It’s in reasonable biking distance, it’s big and has gorgeous trees, the food isn’t too bad, and the beer is nice.

 

krailling

I always eat the same food there:

krailling again

And there were so many wasps that my son’s soft drink needed a cover:

krailling 2

Next thing we bikes to yet a different beer garden again, this time the Hirschgarten right in Munich. We went about 15 kilometers, a little more than an hour. We met a couple of people there (not pictured here):

Hirschgarten

Last week it was unbearably hot, and we went to a nearby lake so our son could practice swimming, this time by train because it was just too hot to bike, and then, a few days later, we went to a nearby outdoor pool, by bike again.

Then the weather cooled off, and we were happy to stay indoors again, as that is our natural habitat anyways. Of course, next thing we’re heading to Italy for camping. In a tent. We’re already starting to pack, and then we’ll be away for a week or so.

And, very exciting to me, I did manage to publish my very first ever sock pattern on ravelry. You can go and buy it. It’s available in German and English, and it’s anything but dull. Cables, lace, intricate construction, and very enjoyable to knit if I say so myself:

celtic summer socks

Apr 062010
 

First of all I have finally managed to finish writing, translating and uploading the two lace patters I had designed for my lace classes.

It all started way back last summer when suddenly I realized that if I wanted to teach a lace knitting class I would have to provide the students with some sort of pattern. I couldn’t take somebody else’s pattern for teaching (well, I would have needed permission), most patterns I like are in English (and I’m teaching these classes in German), plus I had very specific ideas about what to teach.

So I decided to design a pattern. Now, I have designed things before, I did a lot of knitting in the 80s when there weren’t a lot of nice patterns around, and all sweaters were very boxy. Apart from the sweater that had a fancy brioche pattern in three colors there was never anything fancy. (Well, and then the lace sweater, and when I taught myself how to knit entrelac, and gloves.)

I already had a sketch lying around somewhere because back when I made a purple stole for a friend of mine I originally had planned to design a pattern just for her. My problem was, though, that there is no lace yarn to be found at my local yarn store (apart from mohair, and I’m not going to give a beginner mohair which is impossible to unravel). So I had to make something that used sock yarn. And that idea was for a big stole with very thin yarn.

I ordered nice hand dyed semi-solid yarn with bamboo from Drachenwolle, made another sketch and thought, “I’ll do this during summer break.” Summer break came and went and – surprise – I hadn’t worked on my pattern. Fall came around, I found that I was somewhat reluctant to design something without even knowing if there would be enough people interested in a class but then I had to start some time. Finally, I gave in, pulled out a couple of stitch dictionaries and used those instead of doing it all from scratch. I made the prototype in two weeks time, it went really fast and easy. Then came the charting. Not easy and fast at all. I think I changed the charts four times to make them clear and easy to follow.

The lace knitting class provided me with test knitters. I had wanted this class to be the “lace knitting class to end all lace knitting classes”. I set out to teach them everything so that they would be able to knit every lace project they ever wanted to. So this little shawlette is quite complicated. It uses almost every kind of decrease known to knitters, and it has nupps, and stars.

estnischestüchlein.jpg

It’s called Estnisches Tüchlein/Estonian Shawlette because that’s what it is. You can download it for free. There’s a German and an English version of the pattern.

My students liked the pattern, and the class even though after week one they were sure they’d never get it. But all of them came back for more, and at the end of our fourth evening everybody was confident they knew everything necessary to finish the shawl. And then they asked me for a follow-up class.

Silly me, I thought I had taught them everything they needed to know to go off on their own but they wanted to come back. So there’s a second lace knitting class this semester. Sadly I can’t use the same pattern as last time because of the students who already did that. So I had to design a new pattern. This time I wanted to teach them two things they hadn’t learned the class before, namely provisional cast-on and doing lace on both right and wrong side rows. And I wanted the pattern to be a bit easier than the first seeing that the first one kicked everybody’s ass.

Well, the thought of me making simple things is really funny. I wrote the pattern, I thought it’d be easy-peasy, then I got bored (as I’m wont to do), and slapped on a border that’s so hard to knit it made my own head hurt. Also, I – again – designed on a deadline, not only was there the beginning of the class looming, I also decided to do it during the ravelympics.

What are the ravelympics, you’ll ask? Unless you’re one of the thousands of people participating. The ravelympics are something that took place on ravelry during the winter olympics. The goal was to find a challenging but doable project, cast on during the opening ceremony and finish before the closing ceremony. I wouldn’t have thought about joining (much) if not for a friend of mine who was team captain for team Germany. And you know how much I love crazy internet challenges and strange, artificial, and arbitrary deadlines.

I tried to stay sensible though, and only planned two projects during that time. Project A was making this roving into socks:

spacesocks1.jpg

space4.jpg

All the pictures are dark and dreary because that’s what the weather was like in February.

My socks were done in time and I got some medals:

And project B was to design and knit that lace scarf, write the pattern and publish it on ravelry.

frühlingganz.jpg

And I did it! And I have the medals to prove it.

And out of the process you get a free pattern for a lace scarf. The scarf is called Erster Frühling/First Spring for download here. (And I get a very cozy pair of yummy socks. Even though I’m not really taken with the colors. I will have to learn chain plying for my next pair. I already ordered the roving. Because while my sock drawer is so full that I can’t quite close it anymore, I really need some more hand-spun, hand-knit socks that are really, really warm. Just in time for spring.)