Authentic Spring

I’ve been away for a minute, because spring. In Germany, spring doesn’t just mean Easter and half-term Holidays, it means nature is waking up, and of Course working in the garden. Now I know, the British are known for simply fabulous gardens, but so are many Germans. They love a beautiful garden (of whatever size – from balcony to tea-towel size and bigger), to provide a lovely island of tranquility.

Spring is also the start of the beekeeper year, and I’ve been away for a while, getting my hives sorted. I’m doing a beekeepers course, so I thought I’d drop some bee-themed knits:

(Beeswax Hat by Amy van der Laar,  Covered in Bees shawl by Doggerell Designs and the crocheted Bee Hotel shawl by Christina Hadderingh / Fotos: Ravelry.com)

While I’ve been away, I’ve been watching fashion historian Amanda Hallay’s The Ultimate Fashion History on Youtube when I’ve been too tired to knit. She goes all the way from Prehistoric fashion to the present day, looking at History, Art, and politics and how fashion responded to the life of the times (Her favourite Quote is “Fashion is not an Island, it’s a Response”).

via Daily Prompt: Authentic

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Design Moodboard

 

initiateknitdesign_2018
My Pinterest moodboard for the Knit Design Challenge

 

This is my moodboard for the InitiateKnitDesign Challenge run by Francoise of Aroha Knits every year.

I popped over to Barcelona for a girly Weekend with two girlfriends and it gave me quite an emotional boost in the midwinter. Running on the beachfront Promenade, enjoying the sunshine, having Tapas, Cocktails and laughing just hit the spot.

We booked an audioguide tour to visit the Sagrada Familia Basilica (unless you’re in a travel group that takes care of everything, definitely book online beforehand. Apparently no one just Shows up and expects to get in anywhere anymore). I highly recommend going in the morning/mid-morning, so that you catch the sunlight coming through the Windows.

I was particularly taken with the tree-like columns within the Basilica. It felt like walking through a forest (but of stone), with the light streaming through the various windows in a fairly similar way to how light is filtered down to the forest floor.

I’m not sure yet what the final form will me: cowl, scarf, shawl or shrug, but that’s the start of an idea.

 

Woolfest haul

 

There were about 26 vendors at Wollandia, but it seemed like more.

Even though sock yarn (ie fingering weight) is extremely popular here in Germany, I now get the feeling that the new trend (on top of Hand dyed and naturally dyed yarns) is socks with glitter?

I told Sandra from Farbenpracht, that you just can’t have enough glitter in your life. There is no way I would want to hide that in shoes! She even suggested the lovely Moonrise shawl pattern from Olga Buraya-Kefelian.

I found my Ultraviolet (every time I look at these skeins, I feel it in my Ajna!): The skeins from Filzlinge were by far and away the most Vibrant colours on Show. I realized that the yarns are single handspun, but the colours are so gorgeous, I figured that the Internet would teach me how to make it work: Charles at Knitmuch’s tips for knitting with fuzzy yarn.

 

Honourable Mention:

Lütt Wollhus on Facebook

How to visit a woolfest

 

So, I went to my first fibre Festival this Weekend: Wollandia. And it was awesome. It was an intimate (less than 100 exhibitors) gathering of independent dyers, Spinners and purveyors of other sheep-related goodness.  It was Wollandia’s first time too, so we had that in common! The organizer Erica Carnevale did an amazing job.

 

If this is going to be a yearly event, then I can definitely recommend stopping by if you’re in the Pforzheim area (any good sat-nav will get you there). There were independent dyers (whose names I only know from Ravelry and browsing Etsy or its German pendant Dawanda). And of course it’s great to be able to take the yarn into your hands before buying.

Tips for visiting yarn festivals:

  • Wear layers
  • Wear walking shoes
  • Take a friend – or make friends there -complimenting dyers’ work, collecting cards and having a chat always goes down a treat.
  • Beforehand – look at the exhibitor list and develop a strategy.
    • Do a full circle and have a good look at everything before starting to buy. Unless you plan to visit a specific vendor.
    • plan for emergencies: Enough cash on hand? the location of the next closest cash machine may be good to know.
    • have a plan for how to actually use those speckled or otherwise multicoloured skeins of yarn. (Skeinyarn’s tips on knitting with variegated yarns; Dana at Yards of Happiness is my inspiration to get more colour in my knitting life)
    • What’s the minimum amount of yarn that I should purchase? if I don’t have a project in mind?
  • Have a budget – look up what things cost in real life, so that you can recognize a deal on equipment if you see one.
  • Plan some breaks: At German events like this, there is ALWAYS food – cakes, waffles, sandwiches, even Flammkuchen.

Interweave’s Tips on how to shop at Yarn and Wool festivals.

Winter impressions

This weekend, we took a short drive into the Black Forest, to go walking in the snow. Below a certain point, we just haven’t had much snow to call it a proper winter this year. My neighbours’ buttercups are blooming! At around 1100m above sea-level, it was cold enough for me to try putting my fingerless gloves OVER my gloves. That worked a treat.

Sometimes it gets so cold, foggy, and windy that any cabin serving hot coffee, cocoa and cake (bottom letft) is a treat. No matter how run down!

Scifi and Avantgarde fashion

Comme des Garcons ss2018
Rei Kawakubo / Comme des Garcons SS2018

Looking at the work of Avantgarde Designers like Rei Kawakubo is a little bit like reading a science fiction book in one gulp. It’s not the same Thing as looking up what trend forecasters are saying or projecting for the next Season (or several Seasons in advance) – although that can be fun too.

My Book Club is looking at science fiction novels, and I had the distinct pleasure of reading prolific author Ray Bradbury’s ‘There will come Soft Rains‘ from “The Martian Chronicles” at our Christmas Party. It’s amazing how stories published in 1950s are still relevant and gripping today.

This month, we’re moving on from “Blade Runner” to Cixin Liu’s “The Three Body Problem.” It’s a challenge, to choose books for people who know nothing about science fiction and claim not to be interested in anything ‘Star Warsy’ (even though Star Wars is turning out to be more space opera/space fantasy than scifi, and that’s ok too).

Just as in science fiction, avantgarde fashion asks us ‘What if?’ In her Spring Summer Pret à Porter collection, I think Kawakubo is posing the question of what it would look like if we were to seriously recycle what we have, now that we are at peak stuff? Through the lense of clothes? One answer may very well be a profuse collage of textiles, colours and prints.

Which leads me to ask myself: what would it look like through the lense of knitting?

Hurricane knitting

ICE Train in station
Waiting for the Train / Source: Pexel stock photos

 

When instead of having your Train arrive, what you’re looking at is

 

Because trains and planes have been cancelled all over Europe because of Hurricane Friederike, knitting or crocheting can help pass the time and ease the pain.

Photo source: Ravelry

Friederike Shawl by Monika Eckert and Longing for Spring Socks by Friederike Erbslein and Frederique by Elsebeth Lavold

 

Safe travels, my friends.

Colour Dilemma: Ultraviolet

redheart_ultraviolet
source: blog.redheart.com

The colour of the year 2018 has been released for a while now, and I’ve been looking at it and looking at it for a good while now. Why?

I’ve been wondering what to make of it, and more precisely what to make out of it. And even if I should make anything at all. It’s a bit of a shock that I can’t decide at all.

On the one hand, I see my knits as having a journaling function. I love taking a handknit in my hands, and recalling not just the lovely memories I had wearing it, but also what was going on while I was making it. A lot of memories can attach itself to a knit (or a crocheted) Piece.

So, what will Ultraviolet be saying to me about 2018? I think I’ll have to wait a bit to know for sure.

On the other hand, it’s a much more wearable colour than Greenery, because it has more blue mixed into it.

The real dilemma is: make a garment or an accent piece? With a colour as Vibrant as Ultraviolet, the garment is the accent.

Luckily, this colour isn’t in the shops yet, so I have a moment or two to make up my mind.

Knit to entertain

image

Happy New Year!

I’ve been away from the keyboard for a minute. And it got me thinking: most non-knitters think that we knit to entertain ourselves. But that isn’t even often the main reason we knit (for meditation, to calm, to create, to name a few).

I know quite a few people who get upset if a person knits in their presence. They believe that we aren’t paying Attention, some are even insulted by it. I can totally play board games and knit at the same time!

During the Holiday Season, I’ve been spending time with the Kids on Holiday, and thinking about blog goals for the New Year: more of everything, and consistency really. Same as every year, James.*

*From the classic “Dinner for One” comedy sketch that runs  every year in Germany on New Year’s Eve at least 15 times on various TV channels.

 

via Daily Prompt: Entertain

Christmas knitting procrastination

cozy_lalaberlin_lanagrossaI have a natural proclivity to think things over and over, which looks a lot like procrastination. And I honestly cannot say that it isn’t.

Every year, I knit a hat for my extremely knitworthy sister-in-law. Every year, I follow a pattern. This year, I decided to design one myself. It took me ages to decide how I wanted the hat to look: I even went to a Christmas Market, hung around sipping Mulled Wine (= Glühwein) and had a look at people’s heads, to get inspiration.

By the time I got it cast on and knit the band, I realized that I had cast on too many stitches. I had to rip it out and start again. And then I realized that I had to keep it simple because I had so little time to get to it, in-between shopping, menu-planning, and prepping to have the house full of relatives for the Holidays.

The Yarn: Lana Grossa Cosy by Lala Berlin. A soft fuzzy alpaca-wool blend. With just a smidgen of Nylon.

Very cozy and cuddly bulky yarn with a nice hand. And a gorgeous halo, which means that this yarn does not love too much frogging, but on the positive side, the easiest yarn splice ( I prefer not to splice with spit. I use water) I’ve ever done.

I’ll get into my new design once I’ve got it all written down. Suffice it to say, I finished it on Boxing Day while we were all watching Paddington. And it’s now winging ist way to Japan where my sister-in-law is on Holiday.

 

Link: How to spit splice (also called a felted join)

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Proclivity