Archive for the ‘Knitting’ Category

To the ends of the earth – or my garage

August 27th, 2015 No comments

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 No comments

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 No comments

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 No comments

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 No comments

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 No comments

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:

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 No comments

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 No comments

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 No comments

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 No comments

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 No comments

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:

And not Sydney either

September 29th, 2014 No comments

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 No comments

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 No comments
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 No comments

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 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:

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:

Finished Forever

July 18th, 2014 3 comments

As it turns out, forever is only a year or two. I started this afghan in Feather and Fan with a plan to use up all those odds and ends of sock yarn that had been hanging out forever. You know the kind – too much left to toss but too little alone to knit any kind of useful thing. And I am all about useful knitting objects – that is why I have two bins of scarves and shawls which are complete but still looking for the right home. Remind me if I ever spend more than 10 days in a row in the US to post them all in the Free/Trade section of my stash in Ravelry.

Back to the Afghan – I cast on a lot of stitches – like hundreds and hundreds to that it would be nice and wide. For a while I knit on it regularly but then it became just to heavy to carry around comfortably. My ability to finish a row or two was limited by an ache in my wrist. Given that there is so much else that I want to knit – it went on hold, for, oh lets say a few months, a year or maybe more.

Now, with cleaning out the house and deciding what yarn moves and which projects stay here it announced it was sulking. I should just finish it already. Taking out my trusty measuring tape in inches since that was the only one I could find in the studio chaos I checked twice. It was 7 feet wide and 4 feet long? Hello? Lets make that four feet wide and seven feet long. Time to finish. A garter bind off doesn’t look pretty but it is functional.

A quick pix –

and a pile of afghan it is

and a pile of afghan it is

just a bit closer

just a bit closer

Now to take care of all those pesky ends. Oh, wait – Strikktreff tomorrow!

Categories: Knitting Tags:

One complete

June 18th, 2014 Comments off

Today was a sea day. Time to knit. And watch lectures. And listen to Takedown Twenty-One, but mostly to knit.

Reflections is completed except for the fiddly weaving in of a half-dozen ends and blocking. It badly needs blocking.



and Downover started and section I completed.

known as Downover

known as Downover

Also a Cheryl Oberle shawl pattern, this one knit in two sections, with the second triangle being picked up from one side of the first. The yarn is Zauberball in two different color combinations. One is shades of blues, the other purples-blues.

Categories: Knitting Tags:

Watching the World Cup

June 15th, 2014 Comments off
location is everything

location is everything

It seems, unlike last fall in Australia, that RCI doesn’t have a difficulty recognizing that passengers just might be interested in The World Cup. I mention last fall because the Melbourne Cup wasn’t even on the Radiance’s horizon. Admittedly racing and fuss ball are completely different sport but still. When you are sailing out of Australia it might behove the Cruise Director’s Staff to take note of local/regional main sporting events, celebrations and holidays.

Back to Fussball (aka soccer for the North Americans). However, let us not be completely naive, there is an opportunity for Royal to make money. The previous day’s games are broadcast on Chanel 41 so that anyone who missed them can catch up.

the perfect set up for watching reruns

the perfect set up for watching reruns

Today’s games? Available to you on multiple screens only in specific locations around the ship. Locations where you might just be interested in purchasing some refreshments to improve your viewing pleasure.

My personal favorite

My personal favorite

for when I am hanging out in the CL or DL and have access to the coffee machine. The choices for the World Cup are more limited: the outdoor screen by the Pool Deck for a couple of the games – otherwise a couple of the bars when it is dim, loud and beer is on tap. The choices do not include the DL (Diamond Lounge) on Deck 14 where I could hit happy hour between 1700-2030.

The problem with the pubs is the lighting… can’t easily knit where I don’t have enough light. I did discover while watching Switzerland squeak by Ecuador that the Indy’s new policy of allowing 3 drinks per evening during normal club hours meant getting my Sprite Zero without charge while sitting at the bar in On Air.

Starting another shawl

The shawl is a Cheryl Oberle pattern which starts with a central section, then adds a couple of wings. Written for sport weight yarn… but I don’t have much of that so the blue is an Opal yarn I found in the back of a closet, the multi-color is from my Crazy Zauberball stash. Both are sock weight.

the latest project

the latest project

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

On the Indie

May 5th, 2014 Comments off

What counts to me this time is that I have a balcony on which I can sit, knit and relax. Not lie in the sun, unfortunately I wan’t thinking and am below an overhang but still I am on starboard which means warmer side.
the couch and sitting area will be enjoyed by inviting in friends. I am contemplating just a small group of knitters on this cruise.

Then there is the kettle. I have my own. The coffee pot is not much, but then the coffee in the lounge down the hall is so weak that you can clearly see the cup walls through the expresso…








start of a sleeve

start of a sleeve

On my way out the door Sat morning I was desperately seeking a Rauma stranded project which I didn’t find. This shawl popped up, finished all but the bind off. Now all I have left are all the loose ends and blocking. The yarn is that infinite cone of alpaca. The pattern is one of those mystery shawls which I started intensely disliking after the first three clues and changed the pattern to suit me.

I still don’t like it. I think it needs to find a new home.

that shawl

that shawl

Remember that I mentioned nice cabin? Well here are the pictures…..


Besides attending the various travel med meetings which are a total blast ..

Hi – my name is Holly and I am a travel junkie…..

I have been completing a series of on-line courses (free) through Coursera. I can download the videos and readings to work at my own speed. Remember I said that I wasn’t taking any more exams? This applies here as well. I am skipping the forums and writing assignments because the ship schedules don’t complement the learning time lines. The other major purveyor of courses is EdX. Their courses don’t work for me simply because of the web layout. Rather than have a clear landing page, you have to forward through each module and attempt to make sure that you have all the videos.

I just completed a Clinical Neurology Review and a Challenges of Diabetes. Partway through both an Art History Course (I know nothing, this is fun) and a Fantasy and Science Fiction (for which I had previously read all the recommendations). On the hard science side – there is Volcanoes, Dynamic Earth and Healthcare Innovations & Entrepreneurship (this last also falls into the professional ed category).

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

Wasn’t that our station?

May 3rd, 2014 Comments off

I know that you are not going to believe me, but I am really not a magnet for anything and everything that could go wrong on a trip. Really! In spite of some rather definite challenges in the last couple of months, I remain completely and totally optimistic. I plan (usually), I pack (mostly) and I always leave early for the airport.

So imagine my surprise when our train is blasting along after clearing Mannheim through an area that isn’t all that familiar. Then the train comes to a halt. There is a four minute pause before this young voice comes on the tranny. Same young woman who apologized earlier for the seat reservation lights not working – we hope you are understanding and not too inconvenienced. This time she says “we were switched to the wrong track and are bypassing the Airport. The engineer is requesting we back up and get back on the correct route.”

Another wait. No, we have missed the Flughafen and will not be stopping there today. As before we are not stopping at Frankfurt Main Station. For those needing the Flughafen, get off at Frankfurt-Sued and change to the S-Bahn to Frankfurt Main (Tief) then cross the platform to 103 where you can get the S-Bahn to the Airport.

Ok – I check my BahnApp. It says something different. I first go to the wrong platform then figure out that I want to put in Flughafen – not the long distance station as my destination. Yes – better but I now have one minute to get to the correct plan form and collapse against the wall as the door slides shut behind me. I wind up talking to another woman who had been on the same train. She is working in Stuttgart and is on her way to Helsinki to board a Costa Ship (I think the Pacifica) for four days before flying home from Riga. I get the impression that this is a special for Travel Agents as normally there is not any boarding in Helsinki…. It is short notice for her, but “someone had to do it!”

We get off the S-Bahn at the Main (Underground) Station. Sure enough, we are on Platform 104 and just a few steps away from 103. Much easier than going up to the main station and taking a regional train back. From then on it was easy, check in, go to lounge. Drink lots of coffee.

One of the interesting things I noted yesterday is that the SAS Lounge has a kids room. If parents/kids are anywhere else and disturbing others – they are asked to remove themselves to this area. With Lufthansa had the same. I honestly don’t know why they sell children’s fares in business class, but it kind of defeats the purpose.

There was this family with a small screaming girl. You know the type of parent “please honey be quiet…” Yes, in business class and a couple of rows behind me. Worse, the child screamed, howled and had temper tantrums all the way across the Atlantic. Even worse, older (late 40s) German dad and early 30s (maybe) French mom. I was wrong about one major thing. It wasn’t a child making all that noise, it was twins of age about 18 months complete with a 4-5 year old sister who would poke, pride and tease when either of them finally shut up for five minutes.

Glad I arrived without killing anyone but it was close. In reality, I think I would have had to take a number. The cabin attendants were fielding continuous complaints. I know the airline wants to make money, but this is not the way to do it.

This just might be the way

The new comfort pack

The new comfort pack

I did get some progress made on the sweater….

the front - the sun

the front – the sun

the back - the moon

the back – the moon


Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

Knit, Needle and Hook – Day 3

April 18th, 2014 Comments off

Well, looks like we are initially organized. Jenny, the lovely stuckee from the ship has given us usage of the conference room on Deck 3 from 0900-1000. After that we had thought about the Viking Crown Lounge but looks like it is pretty much booked. Our fall back (and original suggestion from Tye) was the Solarium. So up we moved at 1000 after a lovely hour of chat combined with a lot of catching up.  Turns out the Solarium is not a bad choice. There is water, coffee, tea and the Park Cafe opens at noon. Well, 1300 but that is another story related to the fact that the ship is making the time zone changes in the middle of the day.


From what I can tell, there is Jewel of the Seas (Spring 2012), Vision of the Seas (fall 2012), Mariner of the Seas (Spring 2013) overlap between me and half the group. The rest of the group seems to have overlaps between them as well to include Brilliance of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas and Whichever of the Seas. My head started to ache. Guess we don’t need any six degrees of separation, so far it seems to be two degrees at max.

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

Seems like old home week

April 17th, 2014 Comments off

Yesterday morning I took the hotel shuttle to the airport and purchased a bus transfer from RCI. My intensions were to wait in the Military lounge (been there while awaiting my flight to Phoenix on the 4th). The “gentleman’ manning the desk informed me since I was not in “air transport” mode today, he could not allow me into the lounge. This was of course after he informed me that I had to tuck my luggage into one of the closets including my backpack. When I informed him that I wasn’t going to do that with my electronics, he simply said I could store the backpack after I took out my computer? What the heck?

I didn’t even bother with asking to see the rules. Heaven forbid I should sully his completely empty lounge or tell him that I had inquired the last time I was there and had been told it wasn’t a problem to wait for a shuttle bus. In transit, from the previous staffers point of view was in transit.

Anyway, there were only two of us on the bus to Port Everglade. In fact, it seemed that there weren’t any ships going out of Miami today and only two out of FLL. Since I wasn’t taking the Queen Victoria, Legend OTS was the obvious other destination.

We arrived about 1230 and slid right through security and check-in. Since I had had enough sun in the last few days I figured to wait in one of the lounges on Deck 9 where it rapidly became old home week. With in the first hour, I found friends from Key Largo with whom I have been on two transatlantics, three other cruisers from past on-board knitting groups and several of those on the BCC: line of this note. And then there was Betty who said she had just been waiting to meet me in person after reading the blog for the last several months.

Ok, now I have to finish editing all those pictures and upload them to the blog. And, it looks like set up a knitting/whatever group on this cruise since so far I have run into over a dozen who have been on one TA or another in these last two years.

For those that have an interest in such things (Crown&Anchor) it appears to be 24 Pinnacles, 225 D+, 600+ D, and all the rest but for the rare few are in the Platinum, Gold or Emerald category.

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags:

Chilean Towns

March 18th, 2014 Comments off

Sunday there were two Aalparasios. There was the port town at Sunday rest with homeless dogs and men sleeping piled in dirty rags along building that have been long closed. There was a bustling vegetable market feature fresh produce, watermelons being prominent. A few buildings sported traces of their former glory, but mostly it was cement accented with grilled windows and barred doors.

Then there was the old city, seen through the eyes of some friends who did a walking tour. Featured were gloried of the past. The city had been modern and and rapidly expanding at the turn of 1900. There were docks, chandleries, hotel supporting the sux months of sailing around the Horn. The future was bright. A hotel stands today that was built in 1913.

But it never opened. Almost from one day to the next growth was stopped and the future was gone. In 1914 the Panama Canal was opened. Eliminating the risk of months at sea, dangers of ice flows and speeding goods.

So when we talk of the new canal being opened one should not think of greatness and speed of cheap goods from china being delivered sooner without also acknowledging e unforeseen consequences on many lives in multiple countries.

La Serena was similar in that it was a working port town. You could hike from the ship through the fish market + local artisans market which featured a lot of locally made handicrafts of various skill levels and almost nothing from China. Postcards and magnets weren’t options, but lots of things from string, shells, copper colored wire and alpaca were on offer.

I hike along a major street under construction along the port front stopping to watch the sea lions. Not a zoo location you understand but just a bunch out for a free lunch of heads and guts from the fish market. Like most port towns situated in a bowl shaped inlet the streets climb the hill with the upper part being mostly accessible on foot by stairs that zig-zag back and forth. The main street served both pedestrians and traffic. Like most of the other South American towns we have visited, all the streets were one way which helped a bit.

I looked in various stores, found several that featured yarns and sewing supplies. One woman (she with her Spanish and my with hand signs) told me that all the yarns for sale were acrylic, mostly novelty yarns. No one wants anything fine but the grandmothers who crochet. The younger women don’t buy either wool or alpaca so she had neither.

I had a delightful time just walking around and looking at buildings that obviously dated from the turn of the last century when wooden doors were common and signs handpainted. Many of the merchants had commissioned murals on their outer back and side walls. Apparently the best way to avoid the graffiti!

Categories: Knitting, Travel Tags: