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

Knitting on a plane

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A year ago Younger Soknitsome Daughter spent 6 months commuting from Cologne to Frankfurt Airport for an internship. There’s a high-speed train so the journey takes 50 minutes station-to-station. When I told my best knitting buddy about the commute her comment mirrored my first thought – Think of all that knitting time! (said with pronounced longing!).

This week I am spending the best part of a day in aeroplanes. I’m really happy about this as I get to see Mr Soknitsome after 7 weeks and 3 days. And I have 2 flights of ten hours in which I can eat, catch up on films, read and knit to my heart’s content.

So my Kindle is full and I’ve already figured out what projects I’ll be working on en route: socks! Why? Because

  1. They are easy to get through airport security if you use bamboo DPNs.
  2. They are easy to carry around anyway, and I will be out and about by myself during the week.
  3. I have to get 2 pairs finished for presents before the end of October so I may as well get started on them now.

Mr Soknitsome will be busy at work and a little part of me wonders whether I might actually have more time to knit than wool so I’m considering whether I should not just squeeze in the beginnings of a cardigan too…I wouldn’t like to be sitting there with nothing to do ;-)

The Great Tapestry of Scotland

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I recently visited my parents in Edinburgh. Apart from seeing family, lovely outings and a visit to Be Inspired Fibres, a super local yarn shop, Mum and I also headed out to the Scottish Parliament to see the Great Tapestry of Scotland. Strictly speaking this is not a tapestry as the whole work is a series of embroidered and not woven pictures – just like the Bayeux Tapestry. It is annotated variously in English, Gaelic, Latin and Scots.

Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith came up with the idea of stitching the entire story of Scotland from pre-history to modern times. He teamed up with historian Alistair Moffat and artist Andrew Crummy to set about creating the world’s longest tapestry. The aim was to create a series of over one hundred and fifty panels that told the key stories in 12,000 years of Scottish history. Each panel focuses on a specific historical chapter, and interwoven through each are stories of that time. These stories add new layers and reflect not only shared history, but tell individual stories of place and family. It is one of the biggest community arts projects ever to have taken place in Scotland.

Some facts:
There are 160 panels
created by 65,000 hours of stitching.
It uses over 300 miles of wool (enough to stretch the entire length of Scotland).
At 143 metres (469 ft) long, it is the world’s longest tapestry.
More than 1000 stitchers took part.

A college friend of my mother’s stitched one of the panels:

Herring Girls

Herring Girls

I particularly liked the depictions of knitters:

Shetland Knitters

Shetland Knitters

Fair Isle Knitters

Fair Isle Knitters

If you look at this close-up, the embroidery looks almost like knitting!

Fair Isle Knitters

Fair Isle Knitters

I was very impressed with the high standard of needlework. Occasionally, there were less intricately-embroidered panels but these reflected the artist Andrew Crummy’s designs rather than the needlewomen’s and needlemen’s (yes there were a few) work.  Images of the original artwork panels can be viewed on the tapestry’s website along with the names of every single stitcher.

Knitting on trains

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This idea is blatantly copied from Mollie and Claire but then imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I’m very grateful for the inspiration!

FRIDAY 8:55 am. Cologne to Mannheim. Working on the ribbing for sock 1.Trains-1

11:40 am. Mannheim to Munich. Toe for sock 2 is done. Pattern starts.Trains-2

14:25 am. Arriving in Munich. The foot of sock 2 is progressing nicely.Trains-3

Saturday and Sunday were spent with older daughter and boyfriend. There was a bit of knitting and a visit to a local yarn shop squeezed in to the rest of the fun!

MONDAY 9:50 am. Munich to Frankfurt. Just starting on the heel of  sock 2.Trains-4

For the first time ever there’s another knitter on the train and she’s sitting next to me AND she’s knitting socks! Serendipity.

Trains-6

12:55. Frankfurt. Sweet Tomato Heel finished. Leave friendly knitter on train and transfer for Cologne.

Trains-5

Cologne. Home with a good part of the ankle completed.

Trains-7

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