Socktober 2014

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Did I spend a lot of October knitting socks?

I started late this year as I had a handful of Flings to finish first but then I just knitted socks. 

Did I reach the end of October with more than one pair knit?

Yes! I finished both of these pairs and sent them to their new home before the end of the month.

Did I enjoy thinking of October as a month-long celebration of socks?

Due to deadlines this year, I was more focussed on finishing the socks in good time than on the actual sock-knitting experience. However, I really enjoyed making Sublimation. The changing row numbers of each stripe were very addictive and I would love to make a pair for me with the colours reversed on the second sock.Socktober-14

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One final marvellous Monday

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Today was the last one of those Mondays that I particularly like: when members of the American International Women’s Club of Cologne get together for Stitch ‘n’ Bitch. I have to admit to having been a bit anxious beforehand, knowing I would be saying goodbye (for now) to many lovely people.

We knitted and cross-stitched and chatted. I only knitted a bit but helped a friend with a nifty trick for making a three-needle bind-off easier and chatted lots. I was very touched that one member came especially to have a coffee with us and say goodbye. I also got to unpack some lovely stripey sock wool and several sock patterns – perfect aeroplane knitting –  from a friend who knows how much I like to knit socks! Another friend flew into Germany from the US this morning, made a short stop at home, and came along to catch the tail-end of Stitch ‘n’ Bitch before we went to lunch.

My co-leader, M, and I had decided to have a bit of fun and so we both turned up in our Ravello jumpers. Mine is a roomy, winter version. M has knitted a fitted, all-season jumper in gorgeous colours of Holst Garn. It was quite amusing to see people’s reactions when they realised that, yes, we were wearing the same jumpers! We have even both done the Odd Sleeve Thing.*Ravellos

One of our cross-stitchers knew about the perfect place for lunch and after suitable refuelling (crafting is hungry work) and much laughter, I was very touched to be given an extremely generous gift voucher for the wool shop in Sydney, Morris and Sons. I already have a couple of ideas but will wait and see how things really are weather-wise. I’d like to make a garment and think of all my lovely friends in Cologne while I’m knitting it and every time I wear it.

Being part of an expatriate or itinerant community, means you’re saying goodbye to people on a fairly regular basis. It never gets any easier, regardless of whether you’re leaving or watching others go. In my unassuming way, I’m always slightly taken aback that my sorrow at leaving is matched by those I leave behind. Despite some tears, today ended on a bright note: one friend reminded me that exciting opportunities lie ahead and that she and others will still be in Cologne when we return. Watch this space! :)

*Ravelry is the perfect resource for ‘variations on a theme’ both for Ravello and other  delectable stripey garments!

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Be Inspired – Edinburgh delights

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I recently spent a lovely week at my parents’ in Edinburgh prior to The Big Move. It was great to be there but time passed very quickly. Last time I went, Mum and I visited the Great Tapestry of Scotland, on exhibition at the Scottish Parliament. This time we were all set for a trip to Stirling to see the Stirling Castle Quilters 20th Anniversary Exhibition at the Stirling Smith Museum and Art Gallery (scroll!) My mother is a quilter and we have these beautiful quilts that she made for us!

Quilt1         Quilt2

Unfortunately, there were howling gales with major road bridges being closed to high-sided vehicles and threats of trees down everywhere. We stayed home and Dad and I went to the Scottish National Gallery instead. It was so calm in town you’d have never thought there were 60 mile-an hour-winds blowing just over a mile away. This is the Scott Monument taken from the gallery’s café.

Edinburgh

There was a fair bit of woolliness during the week. I made great progress on the second Man Sock (more soon) and I paid a visit to Mei at Be Inspired Fibres. It’s probably just as well I don’t live in Edinburgh as Mei’s shop is just a ten-minute walk from my parents’, filled with lovely things and offers super service. I went in, not really needing anything but with an open mind (and an idea of how much yarn I ‘would need’, should I see something interesting), as well as an open purse. I fondled various lovelies while Mei served another customer and then we chatted. I was very interested to know more about the Holst Garn range as I’d seen it last time I was there and my very good friend and Stitch ‘n’ Bitch co-leader, M, has just been knitting a Ravello in fantastic colours from one of their yarns.

Once again, Mei shared her expertise and told me a bit about the different yarns. Then she ran downstairs to her classroom for her knitting. Either I’m super-lucky that Mei is knitting with what I fancy when I go there, or she has one-of-everything started (I didn’t like to ask)! Funnily enough, once again, there was a big box on the floor full of huge cones and it wasn’t all winter colours either! I went home for a cup of tea and came back to a generous amount of wound yarn (Mei had added a not-so-little ball to my order so I don’t even have to rip out my tension squares). This is Coast, a blend of cotton and wool, perfect for spring and summer in Sydney. The colour is Nimbus. The  range of colours in the Holst palette is so delectable – like jars of sweeties in an old-fashioned shop – that I also picked up a ball of Supersoft 100% uld (wool) in Sugarsnap.

 Holst LM2          Holst LM1

 If you’re in Edinburgh, and it’s a city well-worth a visit, call in to Be Inspired Fibres. You can find shop details on Ravelry, on Facebook and Mei’s online shop is here. You can also follow Mei’s Be Inspired Fibres blog here on WordPress.

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS NOT A PAID ENDORSEMENT BUT A PERSONAL RECOMMENDATION.
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Five Little Flings…

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…hanging in a row.

Since I have a bit of a reputation for being a knitter, this seemed like the ideal way  of giving some of my close friends in Cologne a little leaving present that was ‘the same but different’ without worrying about size or fibre preferences. I made one earlier this year for an old (longstanding) friend down south. It’s perfect for sunglasses, keys and purse but it can always just be used for keeping things tidy in a cupboard.Flings

This pattern is Summer Fling by espace tricot and you can find it on espace tricot’s wonderful website here and on Ravelry here.

I was pleased to finally add a bit to my knitting mileage for this year (1.376m = 0.855 miles!), since once you put Knitmeter on your blog, you feel a bit silly if the numbers don’t change! Needless to say, this simple pleasure is dampened by the fact that I’d much rather not have had any reason for knitting farewell gifts!

Socktober – it’s here again!

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In the world of all things knitterly, Socktober is basically a month-long celebration of socks. People knit more of them, offer special sales on sock yarn and sock patterns and there’s even a group on Ravelry for fans. If you live in the northern hemisphere, it certainly doesn’t seem like a bad idea to devote October to sock-knitting.

Here’s how the stripes progress on the Sublimation Socks. You can probably guess how they’ll finish…Socktober14

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Knitting in the vineyards

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Today was a terrific Tuesday!

I went on an outing with some lovely ladies from the AIWCC. We took a train from Cologne to Dernau in the Ahr valley. This is a wine region and so we strolled along part of the Rotweinwanderweg, the Red Wine Trail, as far as Mayschoss. (There are some lovely pictures here and here but the website is just in German). We enjoyed a lunch of soups and salads with a glass of local wine here…Ahr valley-4…and then took a train from Mayschoss back to Cologne. The route we walked is not strenuous, and not really very long but it does make for a nice day out.

This year (yes, we have a lovely Walk & Talk Leader who organises this annually) the foliage was still very green and there were fat bunches of grapes hanging on many of the vines. Ahr valley-3The terraces are steep and we wondered how they actually harvest the grapes – can they use machines or must they harvest by hand? Ahr valley-1Fortunately, this year, there were some men working there (with small shears the size of paper scissors!) so we asked about the steepness.

  • No, they don’t wear special shoes, just ones with good tread.
  • It’s like mountaineering – it takes practice but they start young.
  • Yes, it can get a bit ‘exciting’ on the steep parts but even an eighty-year-old can work on the flat sections (and I suspect that in some families they do).

Ahr valley-2

The man kind enough to answer our questions explained that the previous day’s rainy weather wasn’t good for the grapes at this stage as they’d started to rot and red wines need the skins of the grapes to give them the colour. He then gave us a couple of small bunches to taste. Yum!

So what does all this have to do with knitting? Well, a couple of the women are in our Stitch ‘n’ Bitch group and I did knit on a sock for a bit each way!

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Monday morning, you sure were fine…again!

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I actually like Monday mornings. Particularly ones like this morning where the American International Women’s Club of Cologne (AIWCC) gets together for Stitch ‘n’ Bitch! Sadly, today was my penultimate Stitch ‘n’ Bitch here in Cologne :(

There was a good turnout: eleven crafters crafting… Well, nine actually! One knitter was in-between projects. Another came for just a while because she has her own little WIP and may not make it to Stitch ‘n’ Bitch next month for lovely baby reasons! Sadly, a relatively new member had to say good-bye today as she’s off to Hamburg. Fortunately, there’s also a FAWCO club in Hamburg, (the American Women’s Club of Hamburg) and my Co-Leader and I know the lovely lady who runs their Stitch ‘n’ Bitch group so all is not lost!

Two crafters worked on their counted cross-stitch projects. I’m always in awe of this because I find it exceedingly difficult to cross-stitch and talk at the same time. Otherwise, we were knitting a Ravello jumper, a kiddy jumper, a cardigan and several pairs of socks. I needed a break from the Man Socks so I’ve started this:

Sublimation Socks

Sublimation Socks

FO Friday – Man Sock

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Yep, that’s right: sock.

Singular.

One sock.

I had forgotten just how looooong man socks are. This one is a Time Traveller Sock by Liz Sedmak. It’s a combination of 4×1 and 2×1 ribbing and I adjusted the sequences to match my 72 stitch sock. The flatter 4×1 sections are placed centrally front and back with more of the narrower 2×1 ribs at the sides. This should make for a neat fit, too. It They will be a Christmas present so there’s no trying on.

FO Friday Man Sock 2

Last week was filled with adjusting packing lists and switching items from ship to air and back. The removal company came on the Friday morning and took it all away. If everything goes according to plan, Mr Soknitsome will get the air freight at the end of next week and the sea shipment will arrive just after I get to Sydney. We’ve done this packing/moving malarkey several times before so we know what’s what. Having said that, I sat down one evening this week and thought “Hello…you were supposed to go!”

FO Friday Man Sock 3

 

Knitting in Sydney

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The ten days I spent in Sydney went by in a flash.

At the weekend we looked at apartments, checked out furniture shops, walked around town and ate good food. Mr Soknitsome took me to see his office. The view is quite splendid!

Sydney-3

During the week I went and saw another flat, took a bus through Sydney to see some more furniture shops and did a wee bit of sightseeing too.

There were some knitterly aspects to the week but not much actual knitting. I was out and about during much of the day and when I got back around five it was beginning to get dark. The serviced apartment that Mr Soknitsome currently stays in has cosy lighting and not bright-I-can-see-my-knitting kind of lighting.

The knitterly highlight of the week was having lunch in North Sydney with a small group  of knitters who I found via Ravelry. They belong to another group that meets every week in the city centre and I’m really pleased that I’ll be able to join them once I move. The weather was quite mixed during my stay. But since the sun was shining and the sky blue,  I walked back over the Sydney Harbour Bridge after the knitting lunch.

Sydney-2

During my adventures around town I did go and search out Morris & Sons. The shop stocks supplies for various needlecrafts including some lovely Australian-themed cross-stitch kits. There was lots of yarn downstairs – some of it was imported but there was also a lot of their own brand as well as other Australian-made yarn which seemed to be quite reasonably priced and which I’m sure I’ll be trying out. There was a class going on and I didn’t like to take any photos so here’s a quick snap of part of the window display.

Sydney

Knitting in planes – Cologne to Sydney

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As I mentioned in a previous post I wasn’t too unhappy at the prospect of spending more than twenty hours in trains and planes in order to get from Cologne to visit Mr Soknitsome in Sydney. I knew I could use this time well to knit socks.

I did!

Green Apple Clouds

Green Apple Clouds

I finished these lacy green socks. Well…bar finishing off the ends. It’s all very well taking bamboo needles on a plane but I’m not too sure if two-inch darning needles are allowed so I left the sewing-in-the-ends for later.

On the second leg (Bangkok to Sydney) I found myself sitting next to a lovely lady from Adelaide. Laura still sounded British despite having spent a couple of decades in Australia and was kind enough to give me her contact details should I need them. It went further than that: once she saw me knitting socks she pulled out some wool from her carry-on and gave it to me, saying that she’s been clearing out at home but that she didn’t really knit anymore. I was quite overwhelmed and I’m sure I didn’t thank her enough.

Regia KF

Regia Kaffe Fassett Design Line

Sweet Tomato Heel

Sweet Tomato Heel

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