2010

1. Knit more.

2. Work less.

3. And maybe even blog once in a while?

Only time will tell….

January 1, 2010 at 5:52 pm Leave a comment

Lots going on

So I’ve been busy doing the nurse thing (see last post). And wow, suddenly I realize just how much housework R. does around here. Several weeks of having to do it all myself AND keep the place particularly clean at doctor’s orders has been quite a chore. I’ve been a cat-box-cleaning-vacuuming-bathroom-scrubbing-laundry-folding fool.

R. was able to go back to work on Thursday, and today left for a business trip to France. (Yes, I’m jealous.) The doctor gave him somewhat reluctant permission to go, and I hope he’s not taking on too much. But a few days of MUCH warmer weather, palm trees and a nice ocean breeze will do him good. He goes to this particular music convention in Cannes every January and it’s the highlight of his year.

This means I’m alone until Thursday afternoon, and I laid in some supplies and am ready to be a hermit for awhile. Except for tomorrow, when I’ll hopefully have two knitterly friends coming over. :-)

I didn’t make the “typical” kind of New Year’s resolutions this year like losing weight / exercising more / whatever. But I did make some very specific ones. So here are the things I’m going to do in 2009:

1. I’m going to read a minimum of 52 books a year (one a week) – I even joined the Ravelry group for this, although I haven’t introduced myself yet. (Note to self: do so immediately!) This one isn’t too hard, actually, and seeing as how I’ve already plowed through Knit Two by Kate Jacobs (pretty dumb), The True Story of Hansel and Gretel (excellent), Dead Until Dark (entertaining, I’ll be getting the rest of the series) and am now reading a mystery whose title I can’t remember and it’s upstairs….anyway, this will be a breeze.

2. I’m going to knit one square of my long-neglected Lizard Ridge Afghan a month. Haven’t done January’s yet, whoops.

3. I’m going to try a minimum of 50 new recipes this year. It can be anything from casseroles to salads to baked goods, but I’ll probably try a lot of “easy” meals for those busy weekdays when I don’t have the time or energy to cook anything complicated. I’ve already tried out two recipes, and even took photos, how dorky is that?

Ugh!

Ugh!

The first recipe I tried was a truly awful cabbage stew. I’m not that crazy about cabbage – I love sauerkraut and I don’t mind it in stews, but I got one in our weekly organic food delivery and it needed to be eaten. But this recipe was just WRONG. I won’t even link it, because I got it off a food blog that I normally enjoy reading, and hey, it’s just a matter of taste. But I need to remember that I DON’T LIKE CARROWAY SEEDS. Blech.

Number two was a basic tabbouleh recipe I got from epicurious.com, my first stop when I go hunting for recipes. Easy, tasty, and will be made again (although I’m still looking for the PERFECT tabbouleh recipe!).

Not ugh!

Not ugh!

Exciting, ain’t it?

I’ve been knitting, but not too successfully. I cast on the Gathered Pullover on New Year’s Day, but maybe I was stressed out and knitting tightly when I swatched, because a few inches in my gauge changed like nobody’s business and the thing was HUGE. So I started over and all seems to be well. This sweater is a simple, flattering knit that I will wear a lot. Pictures will be taken when it gets a little interesting.

I’ll end this post with a picture of our next door neighbor, the River Elbe. Brrrrrrr…..

C-c-c-cold

C-c-c-cold

January 17, 2009 at 10:01 pm 1 comment

Not quite the end of the year I was expecting…

I was ready to come back this week and brag about the great crafty Christmas presents I got (Harmony interchangeable knitting needle set and a sewing machine) and the quick trip to visit family on Boxing Day, but….

My husband had a small and thankfully not life-threatening medical emergency that led to a trip to ER and having to stay in the hospital for a minor operation. I picked him up a few hours ago and he is now taking a nap on the couch. So of course all New Year’s Eve plans are off, dinner reservations are cancelled, and a night in jammies is on the agenda. I didn’t get any sleep whatsoever last night, so I’m not even sure I’ll make it to midnight!

Happily, I got some new yarn in the mail today for a sweater I’m knitting for myself. I’m going to do a few chores around the house, do the last bit of 2008 accounting, and try to figure out something to make for dinner tonight and tomorrow since grocery shopping and everything else was forgotten (and the stores aren’t open again until Friday morning), and then settle down on the couch and start swatching. There’s a good side to everything. :-)

Here’s wishing everyone a happy and healthy start to 2009!!

December 31, 2008 at 4:05 pm Leave a comment

OMG! I’m back! Merry Christmas!

Three months? Is it possible? Wow! Hello! How are you?

There are no excuses really, except too much work and lack of blog motivation, I suppose. But I started missing blogging, so here I am again!

Since there’s no way to elegantly fill in the rather large gap since last time, here’s a very inelegant bullet point list of what has been up here over the past weeks/months:

  • A visit from my sister, who lives in San Diego. She came over with a friend of hers from work. It was nice seeing her again.
  • Did I go anywhere? Let’s see, there was an overnight trip to Düsseldorf, a roadtrip to Kiel (both to concerts) and I think I was in Berlin too. :-)
  • Waaaay too much work, but it was nice to earn the extra money. Because…(see next point)…
  • After somewhat of a struggle to find the right company, we’re getting the roof on our little granny house repaired – almost replaced, in fact! It’s going to be expensive, but is needed. My separate office next door is almost a reality! If the weather cooperates, it’ll happen at the end of January. It has to be at least 5° Celsius, however, so the whole thing could be postponed until March sometime. Keep your fingers crossed, please.
  • And I did some knitting too, although not nearly as much as I would have liked. Finished, or almost finished:

0812-020

I bought this chocolate brown wool at the Wollfabrik at their last sale to match my new coat. It’s very close to being finished – in fact, I’m going to knit a few more pattern repeats tonight and a few more tomorrow, then bind off so I can wear it to my mother’s the next day. I’ll block it when we’re back. It’s the Palindrome Reversible Cable Scarf from Silver.

0812-024

These are the Tabi Socks from the book “Not Just More Socks”. I made them for R. (although I’m modelling them here, and they’re a bit big on me), so he can wear his flip flops around the house in winter too.

I made this really ugly bag:

0812-018

It’s now been banned to the trunk of my car for shopping emergencies. I made it way too big and ignored the warnings about how stretchy it is. If I fill it up with groceries it stretches almost all the way to the ground!  The colors are awful too – one of the risks of online shopping, you never really know what you’re going to get.

So I’m making a new one in MUCH nicer colors – teal/blue/black. Hopefully I’ll get it done over the next week.

The Ogee Tunic that I posted about in SEPTEMBER is still in pieces. The knitting (except for the edge of the neck) has been done for months, but I haven’t been able to force myself to sew it all together.

We’ll be opening our presents in a few hours, after a nice Christmas Eve dinner.  Then we spend a quiet Christmas Day here and visit my mother on Boxing Day. I did NO Christmas knitting this year and did almost all my shopping online, so I’m not quite as “Bah Humbug” about Christmas this year as I usually am…no battling the crowds, no unfriendly people.

A very Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate it. If you don’t celebrate it, I wish you a wonderful couple of  peaceful days, hopefully free from work and worries.

December 24, 2008 at 5:35 pm 1 comment

I can see for miles and miles…

I don’t know whether this could be considered “good” or “bad” planning, but I have two current knitting projects, and both of them are at that totally mindless stage of endless stockinette.

There’s the Ogee Tunic, finished except for the back.

Back and forth and back and forth...

Back and forth and back and forth...

And there are the Tabi Socks, being knitted because R. asked for socks he can wear with flip-flops now that it’s getting colder (and in spite of me being totally NOT in sock mode right now).

round and round and round...

round and round and round...

It could be considered “bad” planning because it’s nice to have something a little challenging to work on when endless stockinette starts feeling, well, endless. And since I’m still very much in the learning phase, there are a lot of challenges out there that I’m eager to try.

But at the moment it could be considered “good” planning because I find myself totally distracted by certain things that would probably just lead me to make mistakes in anything harder than decreasing two stitches every 18 rows.

Other than the usual distractions such as too much work, realizing that I need to get my garden ready for the winter, and Ravelry (of course), I find myself spending hours every day totally immersed in the US presidential campaign and what everybody is saying about it. Some days I stick to the news and the official websites, but other days I stalk blogs and forums and find myself amazed, appalled, relieved, bewildered, laughing hysterically, in total agreement, or so angry that I’m speechless. And sometimes all within the course of just a few minutes.

It’s weird being an ex-pat during campaign season. I live in a country that almost exclusively reports on Obama (although Palin is getting some serious attention right now), and where people were truly dumbstruck when Bush was voted in for a second term. (I was too.) Here in Germany, politicians’ private lives aren’t given nearly the scrutiny as those in the US, and that is always a hot topic too. “Why do they care that he/she had an affair back in 19-whatever?”

So I turn to the internet for my news and to learn about the candidates, and inevitably find myself pulled into some major timesuck of opinions, arguments, speculations, and conspiracy theories. And while it can be very educational (at least in regards to human nature, if nothing else), it is also exhausting and worrisome. And sometimes very, very funny.

September 16, 2008 at 12:22 pm Leave a comment

I Knit Day 2008

I had an absolutely wonderful time in London! Great food, good company, my anniversary celebration, and to top it all off: the I Knit Day on Saturday. Not even the bad weather could put a damper on things.

What struck me the most about the whole I Knit Day event was how friendly everybody was. I met the first smiling face at the tube station, when a nice lady named Catherine (and I hope I spelled that right) spotted my yellow I Knit Day flyer and joined me on the walk to the hall where the event was being held.

I started my day with a browse through the stands, leaving a bit of money behind and taking pictures of the amazing knitted/crocheted objects on display:

Knitted teatime

Knitted teatime

Its all knitted, even the furniture!

It's all knitted, even the furniture!

Potatoes & fire extinguisher

Potatoes & fire extinguisher

Adorable knitted aliens

Adorable knitted aliens

Shortly after noon I met up with Cassandra, a fellow American ex-pat who lives in Amsterdam and who I know through Ravelry. We went out for coffee, had another browse through the main hall, then braved the weather to wait for the Yarn Harlot reading, which took place across the street.

Waiting for the Yarn Harlot...in the rain

Waiting for the Yarn Harlot...in the rain

Luckily the organizers had mercy on our rather soggy souls, because they quickly opened up the doors and the hall began to fill up. I’ve never seen so many knitters in one spot, and it was a lovely sight to see.

The hall is filling up...

The hall is filling up...

After a short wait, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee came out to thunderous applause, and after the usual audience pictures with sock and a short battle with the microphone, gave a great talk that lasted a good 90 minutes, followed by a question and answer session. She was eloquent, funny, and charming and I really enjoyed myself.

And it starts (with a scary microphone)

And it starts (with a scary microphone)

The obligatory taking a picture of you taking a picture of me photo

The obligatory "taking a picture of you taking a picture of me" photo

 After her talk was over, it was back to the main hall to line up for her book signing.

Busy signing books

Busy signing books

She literally signed books for HOURS and missed any chance she might have had to do a little shopping herself, but she was incredibly nice and friendly to everyone she talked to. And even though the line was long, it wasn’t a problem to wait, because all the people waiting were chatting, showing each other their projects, knitting, and generally having a good time. It was also fun watching people show her their first socks and give her presents. (I admit it: I gave her a skein of Tausendschön sock yarn in the “Goldener Oktober” colorway, and she was very gracious about it.)

There were also a lot of presentations, fashion shows, and general “happenings” going on during the day as well. For example, this charity project which included knitting on some very large knitting needles indeed:

humongous knitting needles

humongous knitting needles

(It looked like really hard work.)

And if anybody knows what this sheep was all about, I’d love it if you’d tell me. I was going to check back on it, but forgot:

Wooden sheep with knitted....things

Wooden sheep with knitted....things

All in all I had a truly great day, ending with a good meal at a Japanese restaurant with R. and some folks he knows through his job. He had spent the day record shopping and at the British Museum and we were both totally exhausted but happy by the time we got back to our bed-n-breakfast that night.

We had a somewhat nervewracking trip home, caused by the fact that the trains going out to Stansted Airport weren’t running due to “engineering work” – with no warning, either. Luckily we found out about it because we were walking through Liverpool Street train station on our way to the tube and saw an insanely long line and people holding the same Airport Express tickets we had. We asked, found out there was no train service, grabbed our bags that we had left earlier at the left luggage counter, and got into line. Several hours later we were on our way to the airport, and if we hadn’t noticed and had gone to the Maritime Museum as we were planning then we absolutely would have missed our flight home. A bit of a stressful end to a great weekend, but well worth it anyway.

And I have every intention of going back next year for I Knit Day 2009. :-)

September 8, 2008 at 8:24 pm 3 comments

Ogee tunic and travel knitting

OK, so the fiddling around with the new blog continues, but let’s get caught up for now, shall we?

At the moment I’m rather monogamously working on the Ogee Tunic, and have the front and both sleeves finished. I’ve just started the back and am about halfway through the pattern at the bottom, which will of course match the front you see here:

Front and sleeves of Ogee Tunic
Front and sleeves of Ogee Tunic

A very enjoyable knit so far, and other than having to do some minor surgery to fix the middle cable that crossed wrong, it has gone very smoothly. For anyone planning to knit this: follow the chart symbols and NOT the written explanation of them – there’s a mistake in the written part for the cable where the neckline splits, and this mistake doesn’t show up on the errata page…probably because the chart itself is correct.

I’m new to both cables and reading charts, so I followed the written part and, well, “oops”. I was so busy getting through each row that I didn’t notice the mistake until later, although it was very obvious. I doubt this would happen to somebody more experienced, however.

I’ll have to lay this project aside for the next three days though, because tomorrow morning at dark o’clock R. and I are boarding a plane for London. We’re celebrating our wedding anniversary (which is actually today) with a long weekend in one of our favorite cities. We have a wonderful bed and breakfast booked, a friend is staying at our place to house- and cat-sit so we don’t have to worry about anything at home, and I have a ticket to the I Knit Day event including the Yarn Harlot reading on Saturday. Can you beat that?

In celebration I even went to the hairdresser yesterday…my first appointment in more than a year! She had to take off A LOT of hair because my hair was really dry and kaputt. Along with its new color, I’m quite happy with it. (Sorry for the blurry photo.)

A new do

A new 'do

I’ll be back early next week with a report on I Knit Day – and hopefully with lots of photos too. I’m loading up the camera batteries at this very moment…now I just have to remember to pack it!

September 4, 2008 at 12:35 pm 1 comment

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