Archive for the ‘Fiber’ Category

Let them eat cake

September 14th, 2015 2 comments
Bringing out the Cake

Bringing out the Cake

Carefully lowering it into place

Carefully lowering it into place

Huh - looks a lot like the souvenir cruise pin

Huh – looks a lot like the souvenir cruise pin

Map – land and water – check. Route? – check…. I tried turning it “right side up” so that you could read the “Transatlantic Crossing” better but it looked really weird due to the edging on the sides.

This is our last sea day, our last day on the ship and packing day (oh, what fun….. not). What I managed to pass off on the way here has been replaced by Faroes & Icelandic Yarn requested by various individuals. Plus a couple of towels. Of course, I underestimated the amount of space taken up by two bath sheet size towels even when not overly thick and bearing a Crown/Anchor logo.

Off the plane at a reasonable time in the morning, transfer to the airport then a long wait before my flights.

I finished the shawl (minus some ends and the blocking….

all garter, all the time

all garter, all the time

and measures 180cm by 90 cm unblocked….

Categories: Cruising, Knitting, Travel Tags:

White, white

September 12th, 2015 Comments off

As far as the eye can see.

We have been inured in fog for several days now. At a time when there is massive magnetic storm activity and the solar winds are blowing and dancing, elsewhere in Northern Latitudes there have been incredible Auras in the night sky.

Us? Physically located on the globe where the possibilities are great – no chance.

To see the Northern Lights you need just a few things: clear skies, cold, dark, and appropriate solar winds.  We have had overcast skies at night (when it is dark) since leaving Oslo. Except, of course, when it was raining. Which has been just about every night since we have been at sea.

Now I understand variable temperatures related to the ocean. There is a lot of water. We are sailing on it. That means that there is water in the air. It is fall in the Northern Hemisphere. Most of the time we get clouds and rain.  I look out every night into white capped seas and sheets of fine rain and mist blowing past my balcony. The sky is a mass of clouds overhead.

I can’t give you pictures – that wonderful light show has been taking place, but well above the clouds which block my view. So if you want to see pictures – follow the Aurora Gallery Link @ where those who have been fortunate with clear skies have been posting some incredible photos.

Instead, you can know that it was our last of five days at sea. The morning knit group again managed to take over a significant portion of Cafe Lattitudes. The passenger choir performed four songs in the Atrium in the early afternoon. And there was, again, way too much available food.

Shawl Progress

solid yarn and contrasting Zauberball
solid yarn and contrasting Zauberball
all but the final border

all but the final border

yes, short rows

yes, short rows


Categories: Cruising, Knitting, Travel Tags:

To the ends of the earth – or my garage

August 27th, 2015 Comments off

Driving to Wallhausen is fun, especially when I do it with someone else. We had a good time there and back. A stop at my house involved Nana and the kids books. And some old shirts for wearing, painting, crafting with kids.

I have the yarn I need which I promised people for later in the year. I have knitting projects for the next month (well, I had those anyway but….).


123 books to the good…. I mean to someone else. Nana, bless her heart, went through both the English and German children’s books and was easily talked into taking boxes home for nieces and nephews.

Categories: Books & Tapes, Knitting, yarn Tags:

Back to Red

August 15th, 2015 Comments off

I’m not even sure how long it has been since I made a Saturday afternoon Heidelberg Strikktreff at Red. I am thinking months and months. Probably this year although it could have been last. I just didn’t think of it last week. I am leaving on Monday so this was my chance.

Good decision. There were only a couple of women I didn’t know; but the rest? The core of the group over the last 5-7 years. Some I have known even longer.

There was some catching up. But mostly a sharing of current work and projects that had just been finished. Saturday afternoons are the time-out from all the rest of the week and challenges of living, surviving, working. Why spoil it?

Besides – when there were enough of us who don’t make it regularly it is just too hard to figure out what to say and how far to go back in the recitation.

I finished the yarn I had for the Ocean Wave and now await digging more out of somewhere it is stashed.

This is where I am. Size is currently ~ 2 feet by 3 1/2 feet. The measuring instrument in this case was my bare right foot. So go figure whatever you want.

end of 15 August

end of 15 August

Categories: Knitting Tags:

What do I do with this?

August 13th, 2015 4 comments

I have this yarn –


My Silk. ~ sport weight - 175m/50 gm and 200gm total

My Silk. ~ sport weight – 175m/50 gm and 200gm total

It’s a 1/3, 1/3, 1/3rd mix of silk, cotton and acyrlic with a nice feel, shine and bounce. It’s not my color but it seems to want to be knit. But into what?  Never mind it is just a bit orange which is so not my usual color..

It is growing

It is growing


The blue will eventually be an afghan. It will be as big as it gets (i.e. till I run out of yarn…) . Right now it is just knitting back and forth as I listen to a course on Antimicrobial Stewardship. Actually both interesting and entertaining (except for one speaker who has an unfortunate voice quality of about a nasal six year old with a lisp. Neither cute nor particularly comprehensible).  I will finish up the lectures tomorrow, then go pay my fee, take the exam and hopefully claim my CME credits.


137 books this morning along with the 60 yesterday+ another 35 added to the previous 954 (which made it actually 989 I forget to include one trip to the community bookshelf and books dropped off at the Fraport USO).

Resulting in a whopping 1186 books gone. Of which 40 were childrens’ books, five cassette audio books and the rest a mash-up of mystery, science fiction, fantasy, romance and politics. Guess which ones were George’s contribution……

Categories: Books & Tapes, Knitting Tags:

Ocean Waves

August 11th, 2015 Comments off

Although it wasn’t quite as hot today, I was dreaming of water. Oceans surrounding me; keeping me cool. Helping me relax.

Actually, since the self hypnotism wasn’t completely working I decided instead to completely check out. I had just downloaded Siren from Audible and was hoping it was better than the last Jayne Castle book (that one failed in a lot of pretty blatant ways.

On the side table next to my bed was this lump of knitting which had been marinating in dust since somewhere around the first of the year. Give or take, I claim oldtimer’s disease along with succumbing a complete lack of interest. Take an excess supply of singles fingering weight yarn that is seconds. Blessed with enough thick & thin sections that it needs to be knit double for stability. Add in a free pattern from Drops Studio ( which is offered in weights from fingering up past worsted. Cast on a few stitches. Knit a strip. Then follow with short row corner mitering before continuing along each edge. Makes for a rectangular spiral of sorts.

I looked at it. Mindless knitting. So mindless in fact that I had completely screwed up the short rows on one end. No sweat. Frog or adjust on the next round. Really? As if there was a decision at all. This is a project that is going to get dragged around and land unceremoniously in a chair. It doesn’t need to be perfect. While I was at it – I changed needle sizes from 4.5 to 5.0 mm and decreased the strip width from 15 stitches to 14.

one wooden hand carved basket from Africa

one wooden hand carved basket from Africa

center strip, now on the third outer strip

center strip, now on the third outer strip

now on the fourth side - and you can see the short rowed end

now on the fourth side – and you can see the short rowed end

I finished the book today. I knit, I played solitaire. I sorted more files. I finished a second audio book – Mary Roach’s My Planet which is a collection of columns she wrote about ten years ago. They are funny; it is too bad Angela Dawe doesn’t have the same ability as Emily Woo Zeller who narrated Gulp.

Head phones, iPad, blowing fan, ice tea, knitting. Not a bad day at all….

Categories: home, Knitting Tags:


May 14th, 2015 Comments off

today it was ICE 202 from Basel to Dortmund which we boarded in Mannheim. Alternative call sign is LH3437/3608.   The S3 from Heidelberg was packed with Fußball fans easy to spot with team jerseys and beer bottles in hand. Mind you that this is 0920 on a Thursday morning. It also happens to be a holiday of the Christian variety. No clue what a holy body has to do with beer.

On the travel front – it is home to Frankfurt Airport to JFK to Supershuttle to Manhattan. The Youngest (called by various names over the years from Ms Copper, Ms Pink, Maus ..) graduates from Pratt tomorrow afternoon. The Commencement Exercise is being held at Madison Square Garden.

At the end of the weekend I will become a moving target with no more than a few days in any one location until mid-June.  I can view it as making it challenging to hit a moving target or maximal infliction on friends and relatives. I will leave it up to you to decide.

I’ve been spending my time in the Lufthansa lounge after bidding farewell to George (booked late, on the Lufthansa flight to Newark) sorting computer files and contemplating starting the first pair of socks.  72 stitches rather than 56-60. I can do the math, but would rather not in terms of how many more stitches are involved per sock…. Oh, well, at least I don’t have size US 14 feet so this is only a short term challenge.

ordinary guy color

ordinary guy color

Dark green, bit of brown and maybe a speck of grey but not sure. Since I have literally more than a dozen small balls of yarn the stripe pattern should be quite interesting. I am thinking 7/1 rib or maybe slip stitch so that I don’t go completely numb. I don’t really think I have knit a pair of socks since 2007 and the 52 pr challenge. As should be obvious, I still have a lot of hand knit socks…

I’ll update when I have arrived in NYC.

(Flight was fine – I was upstairs on the 747 where it was extremely quiet without a child in the place. Almost 1/2 the seats were empty which means I could move over – watch out the window and not worry about dumping coffee on my neighbor or losing a knitting needle more than a few times on the floor. Note to self – black carbon needles -even those DPs with silver points are hard to see on the floor…

Took the SuperShuttle into town to find Miriam hanging out with her dad at the hotel).

Categories: Knitting, socks, Travel Tags:

Leaving tomorrow

May 13th, 2015 Comments off

and it is already time to start packing again. This time it will be for about 5 weeks. I will need decent clothes (nothing fancy) for NYC, whatever I want for visiting Tuano, VA, jeans for the ISTM meeting in Quebec City, decent clothes in DC where I am playing tolerant wife at someone’s Georgetown Reunion. After that – well AMTRAK doesn’t care what I wear from DC to Chicago. Unless they are going to surprise me, the two dog enthusiasts in Chicago aren’t expecting fancy (but they just might be expecting the presents I am hauling in the extra bag).

From there – the three of us are boarding AMTRAK to the west coast. About 10 days in the SF Bay area, then back to Europe.

So – I have decided (not that I really have any control at all over the weather) that winter season is over and I don’t need cold weather gear. It might rain, so I have both the backpack cover and a rain jacket. It is not going to be desert hot; forget the beach gear or skimpy clothing. That leaves me with my constant companions and standbys: jeans, long sleeve shirts, one sweatshirt, one sweater, sandals, running shoes&gear, jacket, smalls and a regular date with the washing machine. Oh yes – packed something acceptable for reunions and graduations.

More importantly, I had to properly asses the knitting: I promised socks to a couple of really nice guys so I am stocked with dps and a bag of zauberball over runs in guy colors. Plus the chart – nothing like size 47 (EU) feet for knowing these are going to be a long time in the knitting…..

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

Knit Needle & Hook

April 13th, 2015 Comments off

It is now the second sea day. Yesterday was tied up in many of the first day activities mostly related to Cruise Critic and making sure that I actually can find everything on the ship (and teaching myself the correct turning direction from the stairway. Walking to the back of the ship and starboard instead of port is not my brightest move).

Anyway, Chere and I wound up hanging out that first afternoon near the 5th Deck coffee shop with needles in our hands. We found a few other crafters and had a great conversation with the cruise director who offered to place a note in the Cruise Compass.

This morning we wandered down to Deck 5 and commandeered the couches. Over the morning we were joined by a number of really nice people. A crocheter from Australia (Brisbane), and friend from a previous cruise (from Duluth), a guy stitching incredibly beautiful & intricate Christmas ornaments, five other knitters and a woman hand appliquéing flowers on quilt squares.

The time passed briskly. I wandered back in the afternoon after lunch (fancy reception – excellent food and a large number of the staff who I remember from last fall).

Part of the group wandered back.

I finished a bias knit scarf that has been  on hold for so long that I don’t remember when I started it. I will not mention my poor planning, the previous snarled yarn or failing to estimate when I has used the first half of the yarn. It is asymmetrical and I am just going to call it a design element.

so it is not going to be worn with the large point down the back

so it is not going to be worn with the large point down the back

and no clue how big it might be once blocked...

and no clue how big it might be once blocked…

one skein of 100% merino sock yarn on 4mm needles…

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

No stitches for me

February 20th, 2015 4 comments

in a rare attack of common sense, I stayed in Berkeley today. I didn’t get in the car. I didn’t drive to Santa Clara. And I most certainly did not go to Stitches West.

I thought about it. Even had planned it. But when Alison became ill (my excuse for going so that we could spend a day together) I decided to honestly re-evaluate.

Do I need more yarn? No
Do I need more toys? No.
Are there other ways I could just as easily obtain said yarn and toys. Of course.

Can I possibly use up what I already have in this life plus, oh lets just ball park it at 30-40 years?


So I didn’t go.

It certainly didn’t have anything to do with a migraine or everything I need to accomplish prior to flying home on Sunday.

Categories: Fiber Tags:

Muir Woods

February 18th, 2015 Comments off

Drive up 580. Cross the Richmond Bridge (past the refineries that were voted closed by the city council last night due to safety reasons). South on 101, out California #1 and through switchbacks, double backs and really hairy hair pins just in time to get one of the few remaining parking slots at Muir Woods National Monument.

After a stop at Muir Beach, Bluebird Yarns (Sausalito) and the North Face Outlet we returned back to the house.

You have the photos of the best part.

Categories: Friends, home, yarn Tags:

Cat Bowls

December 29th, 2014 1 comment

are not food or water dishes. They are places where cats can properly and comfortably curl up to sleep


Onyx demonstrating the proper use of a CatBowl

Onyx demonstrating the proper use of a CatBowl

Categories: home, Knitting Tags:

Road Trip

December 15th, 2014 Comments off

Over the weekend I had sent Diana a message over Ravelry announcing a Road Trip today. It is not like she needed much explanation. There is only one great place to visit: Schoppel. Well actually, we could have driving to Hechigen or to Wollmiese but both of those take significantly more effort.

The occasion of the trip, or the excuse, take your pick, is the visit of Bev from New Zealand. Apparently Zauberball is occasionally available at an obscene price even worse than that in the US. So visiting a factory outlet obviously was interesting to her.

We drove without anything significant for traffic and arrived essentially as the store was opening. Bev found a few things, had a wander around and chat. She found yarn, a copy of one of their magazines in English and had a conversation with one of the management types who was delighted to hear about the yarn store in New Zealand where she had purchased their product previously.

Diana and I took a lot longer. I have to dig through all the bins in search of the Produktionsrest which is the cheapest available price. I don’t mind if my 200 gm comes in seven or eight little balls – it is all first quality and ~3E/100 gm (less than 1/3 of the normal price in Germany). And then we were also looking for good deals on craft materials for Diana to use for craft teaching (Summerfest or Aspie Kids – could be either or both).

I scored three colors in Gradient which is the only time I ever buy any weight other than fingering and about three good size batches of Crazy Zauberball.

Driving home we had almost no traffic, at least compared with the last trip which included back country, going around in small towns and practically off road in an effort to avoid kilometers of backed up trucks.

Now, do I get to start something new? Or should I finish something already on the needles……

Categories: Knitting Tags:

Hats with circles

December 9th, 2014 1 comment

Or Berets with circles as they are known by the designer of the particular pattern on Ravelry.

I started with this one,

Hat folded into quarteres

Hat folded into quarteres

from the top

from the top

from the bottom

from the bottom

which became mine. Knitted while traveling and worn pretty steadily once the temp dropped.

on the head

on the head

It is knit of Crazy Zauberball on size 2.25 needles. The ribbing is 1×1 twisted rib (which is not holding as well I would like).

So I did it again – in greens this time –

mostly greens with blues

mostly greens with blues

and 2x2 ribbing this time

and 2×2 ribbing this time

and since I have at least one daughter who likes bright colors –

reds/oranges and a of blue/green for spice

reds/oranges and a of blue/green for spice

from the top . ready to start the decreases

from the top . ready to start the decreases

From here I think it is on to cowls –

Categories: Knitting Tags:

Off! and done….

October 27th, 2014 Comments off

I felt my self become lighter and lighter as I managed to get off the Oasis in spite of there being no directions and no signage. Now I can understand why they don’t print the Gangway the night before – something might change. But is there anything wrong with signage? With something in their TV announcements?

In stead there is a button in the elevators that says “Gangways.” Ok, that works for all the people who take elevators, but what about the rest of us? Or perhaps a sign or five when you get off the elevator? It is a rather large ship and that might eliminate scads of people randomly milling around knocking into everyone else with their baggage.

Ah well, I had figured it that it was going to be Starboard (since my cabin was Port and overlooking the water) and midship figured to be a good bet. I didn’t quite dance down the gangway but it was close. Since all I had was my 19″ suitcase and a backpack self carry turned out to be brilliant. There were issues getting the luggage off the ship….

Anyway – took the shuttle to MIA. Took the Hilton shuttle to the MIA Hilton. Left my suitcase with the Bell Captain and hiked to the Post Office via Office Depot. They were out of tyvek mailing envelopes, but had bubble nylon envelopes. Since the Post Office turned out to be out of the good mailing envelopes (must not be the only one who turns them inside out…..) this also turned out to be a good idea.

The clerk at the next counter was a local young woman, my clerk with 28 years in the system is originally from Peru. We discussed hats, scarves, real winter and to remember that Lima is not characteristic of his country (big city = bit city). They both found the idea of someone walking in with $56 in change as a welcome event (me in Aspen). Meanwhile, packages to Coral Springs, Touano, Annadale, Brooklyn, Chicago and Berkeley to arrive anywhere from tomorrow to Sat.

I’m about to take the shuttle back over to the airport and hang out in the military lounge till Lufthansa opens its counter ~1400. Free Wifi is always good…..

Categories: family, Knitting, Travel, yarn Tags:

Vigo in October

October 18th, 2014 Comments off

Having been to Vigo before I wasn’t under a lot of pressure to bail off and explore the city this morning.

This was a stop on that Independence of the Seas circuit I did mid June. The city doesn’t see so many ships that they have to accommodate more than one ship at a time. There weren’t any issues with docking or the gangways. In fact, the local immigration, constabulary and merchants were more than wiling to insure that everyone who was interested in disembarking could easily get off the ship without incident, hopefully with wallet in hand.

Oasis docked in Vigo

Oasis docked in Vigo

The last time I wandered through town it was off the ship, past the new fancy shopping center and up the hill to the right into the older part of the city, exploring it for several hours.

This time I headed to the left, first getting a picture of the ship from the other side of the small boat harbor before going and looking for parks, museums, doors or anything that might prove interesting.

And so we have more doors – old, new and in between.


I didn’t spend as much time off ship as I initially planned, but after walking for a few hours, my stomach demanded food….

Oh, and can’t forget the knitting…….

Categories: Cruising, Knitting, Travel Tags:


October 17th, 2014 Comments off

which in this case doesn’t mean Cheap & Awful (courtesy of Maus) as standing in for the store of those initials. Crown & Anchor instead, as the loyalty club of frequent Royal Caribbean cruisers.

I know that in the past I have mentioned in the past that transatlantic crossings seem to draw the frequent cruisers like flies. Traditionally it has been a combination of good prices and a lot of cruising days. More recently, it has been more about the number of days (and route) with a little less consideration to the price as it has steadily climbed. The only bargains seem to be available at the point that airfares to get to the origin or return to home skyrocket. It still is an option if one has frequent flyer miles to burn.

The rumor was that we had way too many senior cruisers board in Rotterdam to be augmented by more than 1200 boarding in Southampton with the final count being somewhere around 2400 – more than a third of the ship. The logistical challenges alone can be interesting. Where, for example do you hold your evening cocktail hour when there are that many people eligible? Celebrity had an easy answer – cancel the 1700-1900 canapé & drinks instead giving those eligible drink coupons. It does work and I didn’t hear all that much complaining from the sheep. Apparently Royal cruisers are not as kind. Even though they now have 3 drink coupons per night built into their sea pass cards (to be used at almost every lounge) it seems that there is an expectation of munchies to accompany those drinks. I mean really, what are the possibilities of going without food on a normal cruise such that snacks with drinks make a difference?

Anyway, the solution here was to hold the evening hour (which actually runs from 1700-2030) in multiple venues. There is the Diamond Lounge on Deck 4. It might hold a couple hundred packed in like sardines in a crunch. Then there is Blaze, a bar/club type atmosphere also on Deck 4 which probably can managed upwards of 300 and still be able to walk through the club. Dazzles (Deck 8/9) is a two tiered Disco venue and finally there is the Suites Lounge which is only available for the non-suite guests during the evening hours on this sailing. It is large, open, light and echoes to the point you can’t carry on a conversation. Rather than comfortable chairs, there are cafeteria like 4-tops and chairs. I am not impressed, but then no one asked me.

After attempting to find anyone I know for the last several evenings I decided it is easier to drop in, grab munchies, relax for a short while and take off. This preserves my sanity and hearing for important things like catching on on CME and knitting.

Categories: Cruising, Knitting, Travel Tags:


October 16th, 2014 Comments off

Unlike what might have initially passed through your mind (yes, you. And yes, you do have a mind), my thoughts have nothing to do with late night parties, drinking, alcohol or insanity. It is more watching people start to bounce back from the boarding procedure just in time to feel lousy from sea sickness.

As it turns out, size matters only to a certain point. Even a ship as large as this one obviously is affected by “high” seas and is subject to wind, wave and staggering. That last bit a result of the above denied alcohol, ships movement and just plain mobility challenges at 2300 of an evening.

The main topic of the day was …. as you might have guessed …. the lousy boarding experiences had by everyone irrespective of Rotterdam or Southampton terminals. In many cases, I think pride of suffering more was claimed by those who had boarded in Rotterdam and attempted to go into town on their own. After all, they were also able to experience the insanity of Southampton.

All in all, it was no one’s finest hour. To make confusion even more wide spread, today’s Cruise Compass claims that this is Day 2. Ok – Rotterdam is chopped liver. Apparently this is a 1 + 12 day cruise.

I think it is time I get over myself and get back to knitting.

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:


October 5th, 2014 Comments off

Luggage, Suitcases, duffle bags, whatever. They had been located yesterday, escorted to a Lufthansa flight and directed to behave themselves till disembarking in Frankfurt. Lufthansa has a delivery service. My bags will be brought to me.

Bags? Yes, two. Normally I don’t travel all that heavy and certainly I didn’t start out that way at the beginning of the trip. But this was the northern crossing. The one that stops in Norway, Shetlands, Faroes, Iceland. How could I possibly visit these ports and not pick up wool, books or both? And then there were the sweater requests. Several were mailed off by friends in the US leaving me with just two that made the trip with me.

But still, there was wool. And books. And finished projects that came back to Germany and unfinished projects which weren’t completed through lack of the correct yarn. All of which meant I was coming home with more than planned.And towels. Remind me, exactly why do I persist in having towels be my gift from Royal? Perhaps we actually have enough towels for now….

Categories: home, yarn Tags:

And not Sydney either

September 29th, 2014 Comments off

It was yesterday just after boarding when the Captain warned us of another cold front ahead. Other than a potential for a bit of rough seas, it doesn’t affect the overnight sailing along the Atlantic Coast.

However, I was up early to the presence of 40+ knot winds and the early realisation that this was going to be another port missed. It is a small harbor without tugs and possessed of a single pier. Where I might really want to hike part of the Cabot Trail, visit the used book shop and buy fiddle CDs on the pier; I don’t want to do it if there is a safety risk.

Yes, there was a lot of whining and moaning. Not among the experienced cruisers but frequent with those dedicated to buying out the junk in very port.

I had time to finish watching more lectures, complete a cowl and have afternoon tea. Not a wasted day at all.

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

Art Crawl? Meals?

September 19th, 2014 Comments off

or Sea Day 3/3. It all blurs together

The “Meal with an Officer” was held as a luncheon with the nice menu providing a choice between filet, blackened salmon and pasta alfredo. I landed at a table with three very pleasant Danes, two name tag wearing Pinnacles, the Hotel Director and his admin (from Scandinavia). The food was excellent, the conversation was mostly cruising geography.
After lunch I couldn’t find any of the knitters since our normal gather location had vanished under an onslaught of card and Mahjongg players. A peak into the Diamond lounge found one of the group. Fortified by a latte, I finished one hat, started another and couched a new knitter through finishing hers.
We have a lacemaker in the group: Bobbin Lace, tatted lace, knitted lace. The kind who also sews, quilts and can make something lovely out of just about anything. If she wasn’t so nice….  Anyway she walked into the lounge. We had been talking about cruising the handwork that was part of the art display on the ship. After mentioning it several mornings and getting no interest it was going to be just the two of us anyway.
We set off with our cameras. There are a couple of beaded pieces, multiple items of embroidery embellished with gold work, lace and one piece of woven paper. It isn’t a lot, but then this ship doesn’t have “art”  every three feet down every corridor.
Tomorrow we dock in St John’s Newfoundland
Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

Sea Days 2/3

September 18th, 2014 Comments off
The 18th was almost but not quite a repeat of yesterday. Hanging out with a dozen or so for the morning knitting. The detour in the afternoon was accompanied by a multiple location search as the ship’s group coordinator relocated a Cruise Critic organized necklace group from the Viking Crown Lounge to the Conference Center to Deck 5 Dining Room.  Now consider that there are two groups co-ocupying the space. The group that has been here daily on sea days are playing duplicate bridge. Today they are having a tournament. We are a group of ~ 20 women making jewelry.
Trust me, it is not a good mix. Not that under normal circumstances all us would get along but in this case, Sue can’t teach without talking. We just don’t operate without chatter and having fun. The bridge group is serious and really, really wants silence.
You see the problem? It doesn’t stop me from playing with my crochet hook, wire and beads. If I had bought more than one clasp I could have made more things…..
Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:


September 12th, 2014 Comments off

You are hearing from me early today both so that you know that I am fine and the fact that reasonable WiFi is always easier to find before most of the passengers get off the ship.  For those of you who have forgotten all the Geography you have learned, the Shetlands are off of the coast of & part of Scotland. So yes, there are quiet but firm opinions here on independence. Most here see themselves as much more politically and financially vulnerable than the main land of Scotland and don’t see anywhere the pride of independence balancing the potential costs.

Lerwick is the largest of the towns here. Hardworking and nothing fancy. Much of the industry is directed toward the sea or maintenance of the buildings that are here. Since many seem to date back a century or two (what was good enough for our great grandparents should be good enough for us and our children….)..
Anyway. I was the only one on the upper deck of my tender as it traveled from ship to shore.
When you build your houses of stone or local brick when the clay of your land is has the color of winter seas your buildings are dark, plain and undistinguished against the bright green of nature. The roofs are dark, the chimneys prominent. This is Scotland. You don’t fix that which is not broken. If it worked for your grandparents then it is probably right for wind, wave and sea and strong enough to survive on this isolated location.
I spent the first couple of hours walking around town before finding a nice coffee shop to have tea with milk and WiFi.  I know where I can find the Museum, the knit shops, the Shetland Islands Spinners Guild and the Puffins. 
I am off!
Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:


August 28th, 2014 1 comment

No, not a coat. Just the knitters’ abbreviate for …


which I now have embroidered on this lovely project bag courtesy of Dagmar (NanaWolf’s Sister). She thinks I did her a kindness by giving her most of our pegged together bookshelves while I know she did me a huge favor by hauling them out of here and sparing me from lifting, toting and taking them to the charity shop. We are both thrilled at the results.

My Stash Treasure

My Stash Treasure

Now, SABLE can apply to just about any craft, hobby or indulgence in spite of the fact that the addict may be able to look you straight in the eye and lie:

“No, I don’t have too much [fill in the blank with the category under contention]”

when it is perfectly obvious that one man could never, ever, under any circumstances personally restore more than 110 antique autos even if he manages to live another 30 years. With certain kinds of collections – survival in terms of financial or life/limb may be seriously under question. I don’t recommend either poisonous snakes, scorpions or tarantulas.

Women are more often accused of having this condition (SABLE) than men. After all, how many 3.00 circular needles do I really need? Oh, wait! Someone just told me about one made of a material I don’t already have in the collection….

Or skeins of yarn, or fleece (which can lead to goats, bunnies and llamas none of which are particularly healthy for your budget or your lawn). Then there are the fabric fanatics who don’t restrict themselves to just fabrics. After all, you need thread and patterns and sewing machines and sergers and books and interfacings and notions and…

In traditional households part of the problem might also result from those gender roles and lack of understanding on the part of someone that both parties are working and therefore the outside income rightfully belongs to both, even if the he-man is the one drawing the formal paycheck. This brings a certain sneakiness to stash accumulation with an air of “I’m not really entitled” around the edges. Neither excess purse string controls or hiding stash are conducive to healthy partnerships.

Since I have a more than healthy income, buying yarn, fiber toys etc is my choice. I wouldn’t begrudge George his hobbies,,, if he had any. But that is a whole different story and why I think sometimes he is happy to see me traveling.

There are sanctioned activities which are socially accepted. If you are a bibliophile, no one blinks twice as you overload your house with books. After all, it is a legitimate passion. Until the firemen can’t get in the door or the smell of moldy books causes the neighbors allergies to erupt in full force.

Then there are the fly fishermen. Hundreds of flies, most exquisitely unique and hand tied in that tackle box. Why? Only one fits on the line at a time, right? So why worry when I need more than one knitting needle. We all know that one size doesn’t ever fit all circumstances.

For the purposes of my sanity, I am going to completely ignore the civilian gun nuts. 16 handguns, 2 shotguns and 5 rifles? In suburban Maryland? Why? Have you grown extra arms?

All in all, collecting is fun but not profitable and can cause the occasional bit of anxiety. I will carry my new project bag on the Legend of the Seas with pride.

(See Brad, you don’t even have to collect elephants to play! Other people have far larger collections!)

Categories: Books & Tapes, Fiber Tags:


August 16th, 2014 Comments off

or costumes or masquerades. That is what a lot of the day seemed to be about. However, you will get those tomorrow since Sunday is Hall Costume Day and it is more fun to batch the insanity in one place.

Rather, I am going to detour to talk about pants. For men, the styles haven’t changed much in decades or centuries. It is solely a matter of fabrics and textures, textiles. It is not a matter of length, blousing or tightness. Face it – doublets have been long gone. Instead the only challenge seems to be that of the younger make generation actually managing to keep their pants high enough to cover both essentials and underwear. Most adults don’t want to see sagging, boxer shorts or have a visual of naked buttocks skin burned into their mind. The thought of having a visual as persistent as that jingle which converts to an ear worm is enough to produce shudders.


And then there is women’s fashion. Pants that go to various lengths, change color, move zippers from front to side to back to more than one of the above. Men at least have the sense to place trouser zippers/buttons in a logical and useful place. Recently, apparently to better show off belly piercing, tattoos and make oversized guts more comfortable, there has been a change in the height of waistlines. Technically referred to as “low rise” many of these items feature 10-15 cm (4-6″ for those stuck on the English system) of height above the crotch of the garment. For comparison, hips are normally measured 9″ (~22cm) below the waist. Unless you are wearing clothing that is a size or more too small, there is a significant risk of clothing going south.  So here we have it – another clothing item designed to create equality  between men and women. And slide off the ass of both.

Can you tell I am not thrilled? What is worse? I found I had inadvertently purchased one of these evil pairs of trousers. Even more fun is that while I purchased my normal size, apparently these either run large or I have shrunk. The second is extremely unlikely so I will continue to grumble about the latter. It couldn’t possibly be my fault for purchasing clothing without trying it on. Not after having been able to do this from Jack Wolfskin for years.  Not accepting any responsibility here, not me. Must be the clothing.   Now, all you need to add to completely understand my joy is airline security. Belts aren’t worth wearing through airports and packing one would mean that you knew you needed a belt.

So there I am, in the middle of a Science Fiction convention surrounded by literally dozens and dozens of young men in jeans popping in and out of the gaming tent. They are wearing various appropriate to the Con T-Shirts. None of them are cool – their pants fit.  And there I am, having to wear my shirt untucked so as to not spend the entire day yanking at my trousers.


Categories: Books & Tapes, Cons, Knitting Tags:

Loose ends

August 9th, 2014 2 comments

My muscles this morning announced with no uncertain creaking that I was not going to be doing a lot of heavy lifting today. Revising my plans – I still dropped off the first batch of books at Neuegasse (148 books), drove by Wilhelmsplatz (but their bookcase is full) and came home to organize.

Given it is Saturday, I gathered up my projects and took a hike to red where it turned out I was the only one.  After a nice lunch and finishing most of a hat, I headed back home, went to the store and came back to a pile of projects.


projects and treats

projects and treats


Most only needed ends woven in and photos taken, and three were in desperate need of returning to the frog pond.

just not pleased

just not pleased

one is left over from an earlier start on Sun&Moon. Little bit of purple was the start of a shawl and the grey/red is Rauma 53. I decided that the contrast just wasn’t doing it for me. I am going to swap out the red for Kauni or find a much lighter grey. Both colors are the same value which just isn’t pleasing.

019A1094 019A1095

I finished the last 1/3 of this hat today

another exeter

another exeter

then took photos of all of these, a few of which you might already have seen. Now I just have to update Ravelry…


So far, by email Alison picked 4444, Carmen 4567. Cat doesn’t think it is anywhere as many as in her house. I think everyone so far is underestimating the number of books.

X – 148 so far….

Categories: Books & Tapes, Fiber Tags:

What is up with all the rain?

August 3rd, 2014 2 comments

This is not Hawaii where the temperatures are always the same and it rains every morning between 0200-0400.  This is Germany. It is not supposed to have consistent weather. And it is most certainly not supposed to rain each and every evening complete with frequent enough thunderstorms to interfere with my life. There is enough going on in my life, thank you very much.  I keep thinking that after a day of attempting to deal with house and packing preparations it shouldn’t be too much to ask, a few hours of quiet and nice weather.

I could sit on the terrace after supper and just relax. Ok, with headphones on to drown out George’s high volume NPR from his iPad but still I might just like to sit for a few minutes. Or take a nice walk down the street without having to be drenched, carry an umbrella or have the light coating of dust accumulated from the day turn from light zombie grey as I stagger from sidewalk to shelter to slimy mud. Better to be thought the walking dead than lack of hygiene, never mind that one gets completely filthy when clearing out cupboards from which I am unearthing treasures not seen for years.

A dragon might well be happy here: I have this glass/crystal ship from Kuwait (tucked away in 2004); there are multiple DvDs of TV series from Battlestar Gallactica through Xena, Wonderwoman, MASH and CSI; there are CDs with and without cases; there are records – as in Vinyl dating from the 1960s and 70s. It is our horde of media and I haven’t even told you about the cupboard of movies.

The young man who spent the afternoon on Friday attempting to pack out the back hall and succeeded in boxing audio books and five shelves worth of books is going to find them completely filled again. The downside is him feeling like he has lost ground. The upside is that he isn’t going to have to empty cupboards, balance on ladders to avoid falling into the flatscreen which is strategically placed to block all access to the living storage which just might explain the lack of cleaning. But it is progress.

vinyl, movies, tv series.... on what was empty shelves

vinyl, movies, tv series…. on what was empty shelves


In the morning we “simply” need to clear off the dining room table and preposition any/all of the kitchen contents that might be getting packed as well as rounding up the rest of the shelf critters and a thousand and one hedgehogs. I am hoping it takes less than all day.

<h4>Joris = Tabaluga</h4>

I will let you judge for yourself. There is this critter/dragon that I thought might be kind of fun/cute to knit after seeing him at Schoppel. His Dutch Designer has the pattern available in Dutch and English through Ravelry. Apparently if you want him in German, you have to buy the Schoppel Knitting Magazine (which turns out to be cheaper than buying the pattern direct and includes a number of lovely other ideas). Tabaluga is a character designed by Peter Maffay who debuted in 1983. I know we still have a couple of the albums that we got when the Eldest was little.

Head and body down to the arms

Head and body down to the arms

This afternoon when I started, then finished his head I was struck with the similarities. I’m planning on finishing the body tonight, just leaving arms and legs for tomorrow as my reward knitting for being prepared for Tues.

almost finished with the body

almost finished with the body

Categories: Books & Tapes, Knitting, packing out Tags:

Taking a break

August 2nd, 2014 2 comments

Well, sort of. Maybe. Mostly managing three websites, sorting email, downloading files and spending the late afternoon at red*.  There were 8 of us, mostly regulars with a brand new person added. It was the usual conversation: Wollmiese vs Madelyn Tosh and what do you do with 60 kg of sugar.

No, I am not kidding about the sugar. One of our members words at Sudzucker. Apparently there is “distribute free sugar & recipes to employees” on a regular basis and she brought a few kilos to share with the rest of us. A couple members of the group are in the middle of putting up preserves and were more than happy to take bags and boxes of sugar. Me? I just like to add it to my coffee and would rather have brown crystals than white regular sugar.
So mostly I started on a new project and just listened to the conversations.
five fiddly points around the center point

five fiddly points around the center point


the yarn is crazy zauberball and the dps are 2.25

Categories: computers, Friends, Knitting Tags:


July 31st, 2014 6 comments

This is going to be short – and mostly pictures from the end of today vs what I might have started from or perhaps the all time low of in the middle of the whole mess.

And yes, the packers should arrive to start the process in the morning. I have no idea if I will still be sane tomorrow evening!

But first – a small hat –
Solid color sock yarn on size 2.25mm needles. 108 Stitches. Smallest size. The original pattern is “berry” so this became Snowberry. Pictured on a doll before being sent off to the newborn it was made for.

smallest size

smallest size

Snowberry, pattern from Drops

Snowberry, pattern from Drops

But what you really need to see is the following:

First – George’s Office –

as it is

as it was

as it is

as it is

The downstairs hall –

partway through before

partway through before



The back hall –

several days ago

several days ago



also today

also today

The Studio

Studio last week

Studio last week

studio now

studio now

Then I had to find all my professional books (they don’t count in the weight allowance)



professional books consolidated

professional books consolidated

and while we were at it, rather than take a risk of packers dropping photos – I took a few extra plastic bins….



I’m not bothering at this point with showing you the dining room or living room. Those shelves are sorted, but I will do the “empty shelves and piles of boxes tomorrow….”

Categories: Knitting, packing out Tags:

Found objects

July 28th, 2014 7 comments

It is totally and completely amazing how many treasures appear when one is organizing and cleaning. Now we will completely ignore the yarn, fiber, patterns and fabric treasures. We all know about those hidden jewels, most of which are not all that hidden but easily forgotten: yarn bought by the bag at Ally-Pally because it was such a good deal with no project in mind; the rest of the bolt because it cost the same as 4 meters, those bright pretty braids of hand dyed wool seen hanging at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. All of which tells you how long some of those treasures have been hiding in bags, bins or cabinets.

But some found objects bring back good or interesting memories –

the long missing US pay-as-you-go stateside phone

the long missing US pay-as-you-go stateside phone

For example, there was this phone I purchased in Reno while at Renovation in 2011 which disappeared into the house sometime last fall. So there I was in the US this past Jan without a stateside phone. It turned up in the “important basket” on the dining room ledge. Now I remember putting it there, in a place where I could easily find it.

Then there are the various knitted objects – socks which saw a lot of use and a couple of hats which I think may still be pristine!

There is a princess dress still to be hemmed

costume for one of the girls? some time in the 90s?

costume for one of the girls? some time in the 90s?

A mitten (one of four) which I remember being on small hands that first winter we lived on Schlossberg and the kids went sledding down the cobble stones directly in front of the house.

hand puppet/mitten also mid 90s

hand puppet/mitten also mid 90s

And then there are the treasures which I brought back from various deployments, including handknits from BosFam (Bosnian Family Coop) of which Alison is going to have her pick this coming Decemeber

socks bought at BosFam ~1998

socks bought at BosFam ~1998

Categories: Knitting, packing out Tags:

Take a break and

July 26th, 2014 1 comment

pass along more “stuff”

Instead of our usual knit meet at Red, one of the members offered to have us all over to her garden.

I think it wound up being about a dozen all told. What was important to me, besides spending time knitting with friends, was that I took along a couple bags of knit magazines and multiple batches of spinning fiber. Perhaps about 25% of the mags found a new home and 50% of the fiber so I was well pleased.

George and Noah made several runs to the charity shop this morning – to the tune of 9 large bags of clothing and craft supplies, a large basket of knitting needles and several pieces of furniture.

I had spent the morning sorting out the last few boxes in my studio and trying to make it look a bit better than you saw in the last photo..

See! My studio does have a floor after all!

See! My studio does have a floor after all!

and in case you were wondering where everything else went….

all those nice containers prepositioned in the garage

see, my studio does have a floor!

Categories: Fiber, home Tags: