May – the merry month

MayDayHat_shannonokey
May Day Hat by Shannon Okey

 

I like this Shannon’s May Day hat because it captures what May is about for me. The green and the flowers. However, there’s a darker side to May Day, the first of May. In the night (technically still the 30th of April), Young protesters in the big cities will go out in the night and basically trash other people’s property.

Along the Rhine valley, young men will go off into the woods in the night to cut a birch tree, climb up to stick it into the chimney of the house where their Sweethearts live. Very dangerous, yes, but that seems to have been the point. (A nice knit cap would be handy to have in either case!)

Some towns and cities also put up Maypoles(Maibäume) to mark the start of May and the Mayfestival period (Did I not tell you Germans love a good party?)

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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

Design Moodboard

 

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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!

Sports and Knitting

(Fotosource: ravelry.com)

 

Winter Games 2018 Cowl by Tanis Gray,

… because sometimes we want something sporty (ie in our country colours) but not too cheesy. I would definitely knit this up in black, red and Gold. This takes the fuss out of wondering what to knit. All about keeping it simple.

I just watched the Opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeong-Chang at lunchtime, and it was quite lovely: a mix of Tradition and high-tech.

The most moving moments were when the Iranian athlete came in, almost in tears (She almost made me cry too!).  And the Nigerian Bobsled ladies  and a lone Kenyan Skier*(how cool are they? #BlackGirlMagic). I got a lump in my throat, when I saw the two Koreas entering together as one Team. The German commentators were also moved, because we remember when Germany was two states.

I absolutely love that countries that are not traditionally winter countries, are now participating in the Winter Games. It not only speaks to how Migration has been shaping our lives, but also to the magical effect of Sports (in particular Olympic sports) on countries big and small.

But about the knits:

 

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Olympic Team Uniform 2018 Pyeong-Chang /Source: teamdeutschland.de

 

 

I may be biased, but I thought the German team had the cutest hats. Red with cable diamonds and a pom pom. (One thing all Germans can agree on, is that there will ALWAYS be someone who doesn’t like the team uniform – I’m just glad they didn’t show up in some dark colours because it is supposed to be a party/ celebration of sports!)

The cutest scarves were worn by the Japanese team. Alternative headwear prize goes to Nigeria (because glitter headwraps). And the chicest outfit goes to Iran. And best non-knit outfit goes to Tonga (I hope he doesn’t catch cold). I’ll try to come back and post photos or screenshots when I can**.

So wherever you are, whomever you’re rooting for, have fun watching and knitting…

 

By the way, Tanis’ pattern is a free download from her site or Ravelry. I found out too late, that Ravellers are once again knitting, crocheting, ripping and Spinning along with the Games in their Ravellenics. I don’t think I have time for that this year… but it is good fun. This cowl would fit in the ‘Cowl Curling’ Event, and be even be eligible for a Colorwork Laurel Award.

 

*The Kenyan Skier, Sabrina Simader got a shout out from the German commentators  because she grew up in Austria, and often gets a helping Hand from the Austrian and German Teams.

via Daily Prompt: Simplify

**Updated to add Screenshots.

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.

Delayed Hygge and Hurried Lagom

The wave of Hygge that has been rolling across the world, is finally settling in here in Germany. Especially in winter, we tend to look to the North: and especially to our neighbour, to learn their best tips for getting through winter. Because we forget every Spring. That and, trends take a while to waft over across the Atlantic.

So now it’s here: I was in a bookshop, buying a copy of a lovely new magazine called Hygge (surprise!), when I saw a little table set up with a bunch of hyggelige Things: thick woolly socks, candles, lovely books of quotes and, of course, mugs for cocoa.

what-is-hygge-1

Having lived in Norway for a bit, I get the concept of Hygge. It appeals to that part of me (In German it’s called the innere Schweinehund, who is quite lazy and would rather do this, than go for a run through ice-rain) that wants to snuggle up in front of the fire with a cookie, some cocoa and some knitting. With an audiobook or something.

Hygge is really about the time taken and time spent with other People.

And because we’re kinda behind, we’re moving chop-chop straight on from Denmark into Swedish lagom. Because it’s always a good day to learn how someone says ‘Balance’ in a different language.

MOMA is doing a MOOC

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Breton Pullover Prototype made by Unmade for “Items: Is Fashion Modern?” Photo by Luke Bennett

I vaguely remember the opening of the MoMA Exhibition Items: Is Fashion Modern? At the time, I thought, ‘What a pity that I’m not planning on being in New York to see this anytime soon.’

Well, now they’re offering a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), based on the Exhibition over at Coursera.org. Enrollment is open until December 25.

The Course is run by the exhibition’s curator Paola Antonelli along with her team from the Department of Architecture and Design at the musem.

Among all objects of design, our clothes are the most universal and intimate. Like other kinds of design, fashion thrives on productive tensions between form and function, automation and craftsmanship, standardization and customization, universality and self-expression, and pragmatism and utopian vision. It exists in the service of others, and it can have profound consequences—social, political, cultural, economic, and environmental.

Fashion as Design focuses on a selection of more than 70 garments and accessories from around the world, ranging from kente cloth to jeans to 3D-printed dresses. Through these garments, we’re going to look closely at what we wear, why we wear it, how it’s made, and what it means. You’ll hear directly from a range of designers, makers, historians, and others working with clothing every day—and, in some cases, reinventing it for the future. Studio visits, interviews, and other resources introduce the history and development of each garment and their changing uses, meanings, and impact over time.

-from the Course Description on Coursera