Sunday, December 30, 2007

268 out of 447

My friends Gisela and Ralf have returned from their well deserved trip to Florida and nice people as they are, they brought back a whole bunch of DMC threads (among other things ... )
DMC threads are expensive here in Germany (I'm talking about $1.50 for one skein, no kiddin'), so everytime somebody gets across the pond, they get an order for DMC threads.
Once I've got them, I had, of course, to update my DMC list - the list of all threads I have as whole skeins (once a skein gets wrapped for stitching - I use the bobbin system - it gets off the list)
Updating the list (which I do 2 or three times a year) includes taking out all skeins and make sure that the list is right. There are always one or two mistakes, but luckily nothing so far that has bit me in the butt.

This is 800 - 996

Once all are checked against the list and everything is updated, I put them back in the storage cabinet I've made a couple of years back.

It's basically a little box with nine drawers I've got some time ago at Ikea (I checked, it looks like they don't carry it any more). I treaded the wood to make it darker, then painted the fronts blue. In seven of the drawers are the standard DMC threads, then there's one for all metalics and one for 'others' (like verigate (sp?) threads, silks and so on)

For the records, I've got currently (as skeins) 268 different solid DMC colors (out of 447 colors available according to the DMC thread card 2001). Obviously I've got still a bit to go before I've all.

Well, christmas is over for this year and it had been quite nice. My sisters were both out of the country (one in Sweden the other in South Africa), so we didn't have any gift giving under the tree like every year. We decided a long time ago that we don't get any gifts for the adults, which is perfectly fine with me as it takes out a lot of the pre-christmas stress. Still I've got a puzzle from my friend Bill and I also treaded myself with some totally useless.
At least there was a tree:

Some of my time the last week was taken up with finally finishing Zelda: the Twilight Princess. I've manged to kill the big, big boss after a long battle last Friday. Go me!

I did some knitting but not that much really, as I've spent more time on the computer writting once again.

Well, so much for 2007. All in all, I'd say it was a good year for me. I'm healthy and got a good job, which counts for a lot nowadays. I've got good friends, which makes life even better. If I'd have to pick one highlight I'd probably go for the flight over Misty Fford in July this year. Considering that just a week after I've I took the trip one of the planes on the same tour crashed and everybody on board was killed, I count myself lucky.

To everybody a happy new year.
Thanks for listening to my ramblings over the last year and especial thanks to anybody who left a comment.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

White Christmas

Everybody is dreaming of a white Christmas (exept maybe those living in a northern country and thus get all the snow they possibly could want and more).
Here in Germany it's usually a less than 50 percent chance of snow on Christmas eve. Normally it's just too warm for snow and I remember many a Christmas where it just was miserable and wet and not at all like the postcards depict it.
This year, though, there's a really strange thing going on and one I don't remember ever happening before (at least not at Christmas time). It's not snowing and there's no snow and there will be no snow, but still, there's a white Christmas. What's going on is that it's been cold the last couple of days and then, suddenly, fog rolled it and the fog started to form white frost (there's a link to Wikedipia here to explain it, in case I didn't make myself clear)

It's quite lovely actually (as you can see from the pics I've made just in front of my door)

Though the coolest one is the frozen spideweb on my balcony.

Isn't that just cool?

Well, it being cold outside and Christmas just around the corner, I've started a second batch of cookies. Didn't have much time for it so far this year (with the trip to Japan and all) so I had to hurry to get any done.

From left to right:
- Coconut macaroons (which I've made actually end of November)
- Angel Eyes (a soft shortbread cookie with some jelly in the center)
- cinamon hearts (tradition dictates that it should be in the form of a star, but I couldn't find my star cooky cutter - they still taste great)
- ginger-honey halfmoons (with candied ginger - after that photo was taken I've decorated them with a bit of chocolate, so those are not the final versions)
- and finally my first attempt on honey cake cookies (also called Basler Läckeris). I have to admit the attempt wasn't a full success as the stuff turned out to be rather on the hard side (and now that I've found there's an entry for those in Wikepedia, I learn that they are suppossed to be hard, so maybe not a failure after all ;)).

Finally, I'm still knitting socks. Though yesterday I've first had to do some repairs on some older socks. I know, I said a couple of weeks ago that I don't really need new socks as the old ones don't wear out. So much for that statement, as I've found out last week.

Luckily I've still got plenty of the original wool left (Wollmeise in the color Thunderstorm Sky), and it was only the lower foot affected, so I had to rip up only a little bit and could fairly easily fix the problem.

A Very Merry Christmas to everbody.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

There's wool in Japan

... though it's not that easy to find, sometimes.
To start with, I've found a list from the Tokyo Stitch 'n Bitch for yarn stores in Tokyo. From the three I noted from this list, I couldn't find the first, because I couldn't even find the subway station, the second I found the subway station, but not the store (but I found a lovely place, selling beads) and the last one I only found after I basically had given up and was on my way back to the station - the name was writting only on one side of the building in western letters. However, that last one was certainly I hit.

Those will be one day two pairs of socks (both are 100% wool, though not sure if they are superwash):

Thouse will eventually be knitted up into a shawl (with beads):

This one is already in the process of being turned into a fancy little shawl (very glittery that one):

Those ... I have no idea what I make with those, but they were just too pretty to pass up:

Of course, having all this wool, with no clear idea what the yarn actually contains, is a bit of an adventure in knitting and also the fact that there will be no more of it (at least not until my next Japan trip which might be some time)

Back home, I finished today the second of the green pair of socks:

I managed to match them almost perfectly :)
Yarn is Regia 4 ply Canyon Color 2810, the pattern is basically the Mermaid Socks from Cool Socks Warm Feet, though I've changed cuff, heel and toes and also made it so that pattern doesn't go across the sole (and this was a bit fiddly to find out). I've tried to make the second sock spin in the other direction, but it didn't work out the way I wanted so both twist in same way.
My mon volunteered to take them off my hands, so there's going to have a new home soon.

Trip homw wasn't too bad - I'm tiered, though ...

Saturday, December 08, 2007

konnichi wa

Yep, Japan again.

I'll quickly skip over the long flight (11:00 hours) and the jetlag (yes, I have it), to come to the good bits.

A) The weather: Since I've arrived here it's been sunny and comfortable. Yes it's sort of cold (after all, it's winter here, too) but not too bad really, and almost no wind.

B) Food: Yummy. One example lunch today

First, though, you have to tackle the menue.

Many restaurants in Japan have picture menues and also often have some sort of examples of what they have to offer in form of a plastic model. Sad to say, this restaurant didn't. Luckily one of my collegues is bi-lingual (English / Japanese), so he helped us to get what we wanted.

I wanted Udon soup (with tempura)

C) History: We went to visit Matsumoto, which is famous for its castle.

400 years old and in an excellent condition (it never saw a battle, though, even though it was as a fortress originally). To protect the indoor floors, every visitor gets a pair of slippers and they have to carry their outdoor shoes in a plastic bag with them. I don't know why we got nicer slippers then the rest, but well, we did. Maybe because we were obviously foreigners.

D) Knitting: This time I opted for not taking any cross stitch, but concentrate instead on some knitting. So I took a skein of Rowan kidsilk haze and started on a fancy little scarf.

I already pretty much doubled the length from the one in this pictures on the (long) train ride back.

So, tomorrow I'll go to Tokyo for some shopping (electronics, maybe another lens for my camera and, if I can find it, some yarn)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Socks again

Well, I knew it would be inevitable - I'm only surprised that it took me until so late in the year that I actually started. I'm knitting socks. Like every year.
Thing is, I do have plenty of self-knitted socks. There is no denying it. I have socks made of cotton, a bamboo blend, or with silks (blends). I have them with self stripping yarn, mono-colored, or handpainted yarn.
I do wear them, but normally only at home to keep my feet nice and toasty while sitting on the couch. I don't wear them outside, as I don't have many shoes where my feet plus self-knitted socks would fit. And because of this, they do last forever (well, maybe not forever, but pretty long at least)
I do give them away, honestly, but really, how many pairs of socks can you give to others before they think you're totally bonkers? Selling them? Hmm, not something I want to do (for whatever strange reason)
So, why, honored readers, why do I knit more?
Because it's FUN! I might bitch and moan about a certain pattern, but in the end it is loads of fun.
Like this time. There's a new Regia color out, called Canyon Colors. I've got esprit color (2810), which is a lovely self stripping yarn in greens with a dash of blue and orange. Then I found the perfect pattern for this yarn in a book a friend gave me as a present (Cool Socks and Warm Feet)

Here's sock number 1:

I did some modifications for the pattern. I used a different cuff, heel, toe than the pattern asked for and I also knitted the sole instead of following the patterns (which would have asked for doing the spirals all the way round)
I'm working now on the second sock, trying the make the pattern spiral in the opposite direction. I'm not totally happy so far, but I'll get there.

Ah, in case I'd ran out of ideas, I bought a new book - about socks.

I've heard some people complaining on Amazon, that the patterns are not that good, but what I've seen so far, I really liked. I'm sure to try a couple of those eventually.

Full moon last night. I couldn't resist and try to take a picture with the new camera / lens.

Not too bad, eh?
I did use a tripod, but I think it would have been okay without it. The shutter speed was pretty fast on this one. With a lower speed, the moon simple got too bright.

I don't know if I can/will blog next week, as I'll fly to Japan for two weeks on business, which means that the weekend it pretty much messed up (not to forget the 8hr time difference)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Hot off the Needle

I've been thinking very hard (well, maybe not too super hard, but I've been thinking) if I ever made a hat. And I'm pretty sure I didn't. Not in the last 20 years anyway. But given the amount of snow I saw last week and the fact that winter is going to be long, I decided to give it a spin. I looked at patterns and then I made something up (inspired by some, but not following any 'official' pattern)

I had the wool in my stash. It was one of those typical sales buy - no idea what to do with it really, but, hey, it was cheap. I did a pair of fingerless gloves of the middle blue wool, so I was not sure how much I had left, which is the reason I added the stripes - which I seriously like :)
Of course, still got plenty of wool left ...
The hat is a bit on the short side, and I was thinking about ripping it up and start again, but then I decided that it's okay as it is and if I want a warmer hat, I always can knit another one (I did mention that there's still some wool left, right?)

I did buy some sock wool last week, and I'm going to start a new pair tonight. And, no, I don't have enough sock wool already, why do you ask?

Also, I did promise a new pic of king Tut and here it is:

In case you wonder, I worked on the left had side of the picture, a lot of the background there and a good part of his head dress. Still some way to go, though.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Hello Henry

Late September I started with Henry, a pattern from the last issue of Knitty.
Now the scarf is finished.

Alone the bind off took me all day today. I used up a little bit more than three balls of the wool.
It is curling a little bit around the edges, which makes me not exactly happy, but I have to see how it behaves after washing and drying.

Here's a close up of the pattern - front right hand side, back left hand side.

I did five repeats of the pattern, though the original said seven, but it just got too wide, so I stopped at a place I felt comfortable with.

Stitched some on King Tut, but not really enough to show of. Maybe next time.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

No One Noticed the Cat

Hmm, nobody guessed the patterned I've started last week. Well, now for an update

Now, with one of the eyes done, it should be much easier.

The pattern it It's All in the Eyes Cats Series #4 from Ronnie Rowe Designs. The sample in is stitched on a 18ct Aida, but as I'm not a big fan of Aida I switched to some 40ct natural linen, stitched over 2 with one strand of DMC310. The eye color (just the pupils) in the original is some rayon yellow, but again, I guess I'm going to switch to another color, possibly green.
It is a fairly easy stitch and I love the effect it gives, though you need some patience as it takes a long time until you see something. Surface wise I've finished about 25%, stitch wise I'm closer to 40% as there's a lot of free space on the left side.

Also, the king is back. I've finally decided to give good ol' King Tut another spin.

It's been a long time and I forgot how freakingly big the whole thing is. This weekend I only worked on the background and I've miscounted a few times (and some of that I did frog like a good girl - some I didn't) but I guess, there's no way anybody ever will notice.

New Atlantis was a very cool episode again - after a somewhat mediocre one the week before. No quotes, though.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

"R" is for ...


Like our 25th year class reunion (Realschulabschluß - it's a secondary school system in Germany. At the end of it you leave school after 10 years and normally start with an apprenticeship)

We had a good turnout I think: 24 out of 34. Our beloved old class teacher also showed up. I was happy to hear that he's still doing well and still working at the same school we went to.

Riddle me this:

What pattern am I work on here?

This is worked in DMC 310 on a 40ct linen (which I bought two weeks ago in Michelstadt)
Pretty hard to see what it's going to be *grin*

Really can't think on how to start this with 'R'

A happy dance:

'Alphabet in Samt und Seide' (alphabet in velvet and silk ... which is bit of a misnomer as there's no velvet, but I guess 'alphabet in cotten and silk' wouldn't have such a nice ring) ;)
It's from Sticken & Staunen done in petit point. Of course, they also have the other letters in the alphabet

Sunday, October 21, 2007

"P" is for ...

... Power Plant:

The local power plant (Staudinger) had a open door day today, so I went in the hope to get some photo op. Wasn't that great really, the weather didn't help (it was nice and sunny - though cold - yesterday, but today it just was cold and wet), but I really like that one bit where the fire department showed why you shouldn't throw empty spay cans into the fire.

The can(s) were in that cage in the middle and when they got too hot, they really exploded. Cooooool

... Pattern:

I started with one of the pattern / kits I've bought last weekend at the fair in Michelstadt.

It's using waterlilie silk for the smaller letters and some sort of cotten thread (Dänisches Baumwollgarn) for the large letter. It's stitch in petit point which works surprisingly well (I have only one previous experince with PP and I didn't like it back then). BTW, the fabric is white and the colors are far more intense (and the letter 'P' is in a dark blue)


It's more than two months until x-mas, but I've already started making x-mas cards. Again a pattern / kit I've got last weekend also using waterlilie silk. It's a quick stitch (it has to be, else I couldn't handle making about a dozen for my mom as well), but I can't show it here - hey, it's a long time until x-mas, so be patient.

... Perfect:
Stargate Atlantis has started again and the last episode (Doppelgänger) was just perfect. So I decided to go back to my Atlantis quote of the week thing. Don't worry, it will always be at the end of my post, so if you see the quote, you know you don't have to go through it in case there might be something else.

Sheppard: Looks like one of those toys you play with when you're a kid.
McKay: Commodore 64?
Ronon: Triple barrel shotgun?
Sheppard: A kaleidoscope

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Being Creative

*Sigh* the week vacation I had is over - nothing good ever lasts ...

But at least I did more things than just play with my Wii *grin*

I finished a few things I've started a looooong time ago.
Like this table cloth

A cheap kit I got sometimes begining of the year. I actually bought two, just for the material - after some trial and error, I actually got the print out, so I'll going to use it for another table cloth I've got a pattern for.

I also tired some new things:

A bead bracelet, I was just playing with the million or so beads I've got over the years. Only thing I haven't quiet figured out is how to close it.

This is a bead neckless I've got as a kit in France some time ago. Fairly simple to make and I don't even know if I ever will wear it, but it's pretty.

Last, but certainly not least, is a set of stitch markers I've made. The whole construction is fairly simple. The tricky part was finding the right wire. I'm still not completely happy with the solution I've found - I think the next time I use something a little bit more flexible.
There is more than one of course:

I've made eight (and no idea where number eight is)

Today was a needlecraft trade show in Michaelstadt, so I got more patterns and material for some time to come *grin*
Next project will be some x-mas cards (I don't want to end up like last year, when I was way too late and had to put something together at the last minute)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

... and the bee(s)

Well, finally I broke down and got myself a Nintendo Wii. And when you get a Wii, you also can create a Mii (to represent you in games and such). Given my current obsession with Transformers (and one Transformer in particular) I give you my Mii 'Bee' *grin*

Bee's already gone playing Tennis, Baseball, Bowling and Boxing (yepp, got the sports bundle) and he's doing good (my right arm on the other hand, is not used to all that swinging around and I got some muscle soreness in the upper arm and the shoulder)

I also managed to finish Michael Powell's Mini Village IV last week.

(obviously not ironed so far ...)
As always, the backstitch really does it.

For now I haven't decided on a new stitching project. Instead I'm going to concentrate on finishing some of the stuff I've started a long time ago, but never got around to finish. At the moment, the table cloth that I started back in July (here) and also Henry (as mentioned last week)

Friday, October 05, 2007

The birds and the ...

... well, actually, mostly the birds.

Warning: picture heavy, out of normal schedule blog.

Wednesday was a holiday here in Germany, so I went and visited the zoo in Dresden with my camera and the new zoom lens. What can I say, I'm in love ;)
With the zoom lens, you can get soooooo close to the animals, it's really amazing.
Some examples:

Isn't that snow owl the perfect Hedwig?

I love everything about his picture. The pose, the background, the colors

I do love penguins, and this one is my favorite
Flamingos: they were a pretty loud bunch - but also pretty pretty ;)

Some non-birds as well:

He (or she, not sure, and I never checked) looks so sad :(

And another of my favorites, though only a butt shot :)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Something to see

Sorry, for the short post from last week. But, honestly, there was nothing to show.

Today, though, things are different.

Exhibit A:

I've finished Dracolair's Medieval Tiles *big grin*

The picture doesn't really do it justice. For once you don't really see all the metalic gold that's in there. Very nice and shiny. I've made a mistake in the backstitches and did all the outside backstitch in Kreinik 002J instead of a DMC color. But I have to say, I really like it this way, so no harm done.
As this was my big travel project, I have to decide what to do next. So far, there's no strong cantidate, but I'm sure if I ever find the time to go through my stash I might get an idea (or five)

In the mean time, I've gone back to do some knittings. Scarves are so far all I wanted to do, but knowing me, there might be a pair of sock coming soon.

Exhibit B:

Doesn't look too scarfy ;)

So, try this for size:

I've bought the wool originally for a Faroese shawl, but it just didn't work out the way I liked. So the big evil frog of backward knitting visited me and I ripped averything up.
The scarf was knitted sideways, just a very plain garter stitch, until I just couldn't stand the boredom and had to bind off.
It's nice and warm and soft, though.

Never stopping at just doing one, I've started another sideways knitted scarf. The pattern is from the latest issue of Knitty and it's called Henry.

So far I've did 35 rows with 452 stitches.

Knitted in a dark blue wool / silk / cashmere mix from Lana Grossa. Super soft to the touch. I've already pretty much reached the end of the first ball. The edge doesn't look to great at the moment, but there's trick to it, so in the end it will be all nice and pretty.
Only 'negative' thing is that the wool is not 100% color fast. I've got blue fingers after only a short few rows. I don't really remember this happening, except with hand painted wool (where I sort of expect something like this happening.

So, on to the last WiP pic for today (and possibly the first Happy Donce of next week, as I think I'll be done by then)

Michael Powell's Village IV:

All the stitching is done, only (*gough, gough*) thing to do is the back stitching. For once I'm almost looking forward to it, as I know how cool it will look once the bs is there.