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 imported (and partly far more expensive than here) but there was also a lot of their own brand as well as other Australian-made yarn which seemed to be more 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

Twice in one week!

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I have been knitting. Honestly, I have!

But unusually for me I’m posting a no-knitting post for the second time in a week. I could wait. But the clock is ticking and this is something I feel strongly about: literacy.

I’m involved with a local project under the auspices of the FAWCO* Education Task Force. One of FAWCO’s main aims is to improve the lives of women and children. While browsing the internet, looking for fund-raising ideas with books, I came across World Education’s #Pages4Progress.  #Pages4Progress is World Education’s campaign to raise funds to increase literacy and help meet one of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals: #2 – Achieve Universal Primary Education. The goal is to log 2,000,015 pages by September 8th. The original goal of 20,015 pages logged were sponsored at a dollar a page!

P4P2

This project appealed to me immediately. It’s so easy to ‘do your bit’. I knew I’d be able to encourage other members of the AIWCC (American International Women’s Club of Cologne), one of the organisations under FAWCO, to log their reading progress.

So now I’m being cheeky and asking all you crafters who like to read, to log the pages you read with #Pages4Progress.  It’s a simple action that can make such a difference! Thank you!

*Founded in 1931, FAWCO (the Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas) is an international network of independent volunteer clubs and associations. There are 64 member clubs in 33 countries worldwide, with a total membership of almost 12,000. FAWCO serves as a resource and channel of information among its members, promotes the rights of U.S. citizens overseas; is active as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with special consultative status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council; and contributes to the global community through its Task Forces and The FAWCO Foundation, which provides development grants and education awards. FAWCO and The FAWCO Foundation also collaborate on emergency funding for disaster relief. (Information taken from the FAWCO website)

 

An Unlikely Pairing – Food Not Yarn

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I need to eat or I’d never have the energy to knit (I get ‘wobbly legs’ if I go too long without food) so here’s a non-knitting post about food thanks to today’s The Daily Post suggestion: Bacon and chocolate, caramel and cheddar… Is there an unorthodox food pairing you really enjoy? Share with us the weirdest combo you’re willing to admit that you like — and how you discovered it.

I’ve always enjoyed my food. My parents would tell you that I eat everything but really it’s about 99% of things. Having spent several years in South-East Asia, there are a few things I-wil-not-eat (again) like eggs that resemble unborn chickens, chicken feet and funny fish that look like worms. I grew up in the UK and from term to term we’d alternate between having school dinners and taking packed lunches. My mother would enhance the “I eat everything”, with “even school dinners”. That’s saying something! But back in the seventies school meals were proper “dinners”: meat and two veg and no funny plasticky reconstituted-something pretending to be meat. And there were puddings! Traditional, warm and hearty, stomach-filling desserts. I was always ravenous by lunchtime (I still need feeding at frequent intervals, particularly when I’m doing a lot of “brain-work”) so this was perfect.

Of course, not all my friends ate school dinners and a roast every Wednesday followed by shepherd’s pie every Thursday palls after a while, so there were phases when packed lunches were favoured. During the final year or two of school, my sister and I would often spend the early part of our Saturday afternoons filling a week’s worth of small rolls – to be frozen and taken out day-by-day. We were old enough to be allowed to just get on with this ourselves and our sandwich selections sometimes reflected a lack of supervision. Although I do have a bit of a sweet tooth, sandwiches should be savoury and my favourites had a bit of a bite to them: peanut butter and sweet silverskin onions or Danish blue cheese with said onions (small pickled onions). Funnily enough, I never had to share! Now and again, I feel a bout of nostalgia and jars of small pickled onions and peanut butter and packages of blue cheese fall into my shopping basket. Funnily enough,  I still never have to share!

Blog hopping – sharing the creative process

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Jenna recently wrote about the creative process over at Hardknitlife. This was part of a blog hop and I’m very flattered to be one of her recommendations.

1. What am I working on?

Socks (handy travel project)

Wolken

A cardigan (more complicated)

same

And a couple of Things That Can’t Be Disclosed Right Now.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

It doesn’t. Whenever I’m drawn to a new project I check out the projects on Ravelry to learn and be inspired by their experience. Sometimes imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. My Ravello has non-identical sleeves because I was so taken with a jumper I saw.

Ravello-back

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

I create because I like not looking like everybody else. I create because sitting idly is a waste of precious time when there are so many beautiful things out there waiting to be made! How often do you hear people say “I don’t know how you have the time for that!” yet they blithely sit in the doctor’s/dentist’s waiting room twiddling their thumbs and getting impatient because appointments are running late. I write because I felt that whilst bombarding my Facebook friends with the pretties is alright now and again, most of them are not the slightest bit interested in my struggles to match tension or find the perfect button!

4. How does my writing/creating process work?

Now that I’ve been blogging for a while I do try to take some photos mid-way through a project. I am more aware of articulating any challenges I’ve faced and solutions I’ve found. I do have in mind that my finished projects should be “blog-worthy” and try to come up with interesting aspects to share with readers. On the other hand, I also feel that it is okay to occasionally stray away from my main focus and share a post that is more personal or about something that has very little or even absolutely nothing to do with knitting.

I appreciate that this hop has already brought new readers to my blog and would like to nominate the following less well-known blogs I read to answer the same questions:

Hipster Spice

On The Needles

themanyknitsofnadine

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