Knitting BLM

Michelle Bernard/ GetKnitfacedinCo  source:


I think it’s all been said by now. But I like Michelle Bernard‘s BLM Dishcloth because it invites us even in mundane moments to remember what the movement stands for.

Books better than „White Fragility“:

If you want the facts, take a moment to read „White Rage“ by Dr Carol Anderson, a history professor who looks at the development of a system intent on keeping certain people in their place. She explains what she means in this video.

Richard Rothstein‘s „The Color of Law“ is also eye opening. Here‘s a short talk he gave about the myth of segregation in the US. 

And Jane Elliot‘s „A Collar in my pocket- the blue eyes brown eyes exercise“ or the documentary about her work called „A Class Divided.“ There are several things interesting about her exercise:
a) how quickly adults (even though the exercise was developed to be used for young children) seem to believe preposterous statements once they are based on science.

b) how quickly people will accept a status quo, especially if they are on the comfortable side.

c) how distressed participation made people and how they refuse to make the analogy to current events. Here is the exercise taking place on the Oprah Show

d) how the language Ms. Elliott used is eerily similar to the language politicians have used to and about the Black Community or the Civil Rights movement.

I think instead of trying to convince people that they are racist, often against their will, we should be telling them what they can do to change the system: helping people get registered to vote, and contacting local and state government representatives to stop redlining in housing policy and voter suppression. 



Q notes 5: Bookclub

The Plague” and author Albert Camus
(Vintage/ Everett/Shutterstock) / source: LA Times

I’ve finished my felted slippers and put in my cardigan pockets. I’m finishing my Ankers Sommer shirt, my last major WIP, while getting used to lockdown life. It helps that the sun is shining. And that we have enough space that we aren’t up under each other all day.

I get the New York Times’ and the Economist’s Corona Daily Briefing Newsletters. The most practical and inspirational is the NYT Cooking newsletter. Not only do I get an idea of what people are cooking under quarantine, but I have learned a lot about what one can do with things I only knew one way of cooking.

Unusually satisfying, almost like a balancing of the daily news, is reading Albert Camus’ Absurdist novel The Plague with the Quillette magazine bookclub.

It sounds morbid, but it is actually soothing that this Franco-Algerian writer wrote this in 1947 and humans in 2020 are acting in exactly the same ways.

Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world; yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky. There have been as many plagues as wars in history; yet always plagues and wars take people equally by surprise.

And it fits right in with news report of a certain US governor saying he had no idea Covid-19 was so dangerous. Here’s also what LA Times writer Stephen Metcalf also had to say about reading this book now…

Stay safe everyone.


October 3 is our 4th of July

Mut verbindet turm 2When this posts, on October 3, most of Germany will have shut down more or less for our version of 4th of July, which is called Tag der Deutschen Einheit. German Reunification Day which always falls on the third of October.

There is a large Citizen Festival with music, art, and each of the 16 federal states making presentations in a pavilion. This festival moves around each year, and is hosted in the state which has the chairmanship of the Federal Council (Bundesrat) – which is the Upper House of the German Parliament.

This year, Schleswig-Holstein have pulled out all the stops. However, people who don’t live in or near Kiel will probably stay home, throw something on the grill if the weather is good and watch the celebrations on TV. Or they’ll take Friday (and maybe Monday too) off work, and take a mini vacation on the long weekend.

Or maybe they’re off to Munich for Oktoberfest, or Stuttgart for Cannstatter Wasen. For those who don’t feel like being out partying in appropriate Dirndl-wear, they’re free to stay in and watch films about the DDR.


In Times of Fading Light / In Zeiten des Abnehmenden Lichtes – drama about a family in the last days of the DDR. Mentioned here.

The Lives of Others/ Das Leben der Anderen – although completely fictional, the drama by director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, won an Oscar for Best International Film in 2007.

Goodbye-Lenin – comedy about a good son trying to convince his mom, who’s just woken from a coma, that the Wall is still intact.

Deutschland 83 – comedy action series on Netflix about a young East German soldier coerced into spying in West Germany.


Of course, it’s been 30 years since the Wall fell. And the Unification hasn’t gone as smoothly as planned. But most folks in the West don’t really want to contemplate how to fix that problem because they’ve been paying a Solidarity Tax for years to rebuild and finance the absorption of Eastern Germany into the West German economy. Still thirty years is a long time for people in a country to feel like second class citizens. It’s a complicated problem.




Summer Reading 2019



Yes, I do have a summer reading list. This year, my friends have gifted me a couple of bee-related books, so they will be going along on holiday next week.

Sarah Wiener’s book Bienenleben (Beelife), which may have helped her ride the wave of concern about bees and insectlife into the European Parliament in the  recent elections.

I first found out about her because she had a cooking show on ARTE, where she travelled around mainland Europe, the UK and Asia, cooking with local chefs, and looking at where the food we eat comes from.

She has written several interesting foodie books like „“Zukunftsmenü“ (Future menu: What is our food worth) from 2017, with table talk transcripts with well- and lesser known food activists, a vet, a chef, research Professors and nutrition experts. It‘s fascinating how food and eating well, healthily, and mindfully could be so politically charged.

In 2015, she wrote a book called Wohlfühlmaschen (Feelgood stitches) with cute designs for inside (homewares), outside and just relaxing on the sofa. She has star appeal, name recognition and has amazing energy and authenticity that folks in German-speaking Europe just love.

She‘s one of those rare people, who without finishing trade school or going to University, has been quite naturally successful. It‘s her bubbly personality that is quite understandable that if she says she’s cooking with quality regional ingredients is the thing, everyone raves. When she loves wool and crafting one year, then it’s great. Next year she says she has become a beekeeper, and that’s fine too.

So I‘m looking forward to sitting in the shade by the pool and digging into how and why she got into bees.

I looked her up on Ravelry, sadly her book patterns aren’t listed, but I found this, that I know she‘d a kick out of Sarah H. Arnold‘s Wiener Dog hat!

Wiener hat Sarah H. Arnold
The Wiener Hat by Sarah H. Arnold/ Source:

Also on my list:

Minimal Fashion by Anna Bronowski and Juliana Holtzheimer of  eco fashion label Jan ´n June out of Hamburg.

Winterbienen by Norbert Scheuer. It sounds like his last book about a juxtaposition of war and nature. Or an escape from war into nature. Not sure yet, but I‘ll let you know. Hopefully before it‘s translated into English.



Brexit for non-UK Knitters


I generally try to stay away from politics, really I do. These days, in what we call the Summerloch (the summer news hole), there’s not much on. American news is full of Mr. Trump and British and European news are full of Brexit and lately Mr. Johnson.

We crafters don’t live in a a little yarn bubble, so I thought I’d take a stab at what Brexit will mean for us.

Surprisingly,  there’s never been a better time to visit the United Kingdom, as a tourist, the fall in the value of the pound means one does get more bang for one’s dollar or euro (At the moment it’s roughly £1=$1.23/ €1.09). And I actually do know quite a few people heading off this summer holiday to enjoy Cornwall, Wales and the Lake District.

Of course, crafters visiting the UK may be tempted to stock up on yarn, textiles and the like due to the uncertainty which may be coming on October 31, when Mr. Johnson has said that the UK will unequivocally leave the EU. Your local yarn shop (LYS) may be stocking up too, so supplies may be safe for a while.

On the other hand, what happens to a small European companies sourcing yarn in the UK, but dyeing and marketing them in the EU? Will they have to source elsewhere?

If British wool producers stick with guidelines for Wool Sheep Welfare as set out by the International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO), it may not be too much hassle on getting UK wool brands into the EU. EU tariffs are some of the lowest in the world:  my basic search on the EU tariff database turns up 3.8-5% duty on Australian, Norwegian or US produced wool (containing 85% of wool or fine animal hair by weight).

I would anticipate a slight rise in yarn costs, but nothing too drastic. And the same for accessories. Granted the UK producers will have more paperwork to get their products onto the continent, so hopefully they won’t pass those costs onto us the consumers.

RIP: Karl Lagerfeld

Karl Lagerfeld, creative director of Chanel and Fendi, passed away at the age of 85.

Deutsche Welle documentary/tribute to the controversial German designer, writer, painter, illustrator, cat-lover and director here.

Illustrations from Lagerfeld’s Fendi by Karl Lagerfeld published in English by Steidel Publishing.

And a lovely retrospective of his work in Vogue here.