Dienstag, September 30, 2008

The Neil Gaiman Thing

In case you are wondering why I have all these advertisements for Neil Gaiman's new book, it's just because he puts them on his blog and makes it easy to get them. I had one for Harry Potter, too, remember?

Anyway, click on the picture and it will take you to Harper Collins's website where you can click to listen to the first chapter of the book (and Bela Fleck playing Danse Macabre).

Montag, September 29, 2008

Surprise! It's a Sheep!

You may be surprised to learn that my number one shopping goal for Austria was not finding yarn. No, it was finding these guys:

Timmi Traumer, left, and Sven Startklar

Sven again

Timmi again

Nils Nickerchen and Oma Wolle

Now banned here by the FDA because the small toys could be dangerous to children, Kinder Surprise Eggs (aka Kinder Überraschungs Eier) are hollow chocolate eggs, milk chocolate lined with white chocolate, with a toy inside. Sometimes the toys are kind of dumb, and sometimes they are quite clever. Over the summer they were these adorable handpainted sheep. The white ones are Good Sheep. The black ones are Wild Sheep. There is chaos in the meadow!

To get the whole picture, you need to watch the TV ads for them. Go to the Kinder Überraschungs website and click on the egg to enter. Then click on the TV and click on the remote buttons to watch the ads. My favorite is on channel 5. Nils Nickerchen complains that he can't go to sleep. Oma Wolle (Grandma Wool) suggests that he count sheep. He points to her and says, "One . . ." then goes to sleep.

I bought way more Ü-Eier than yarn. In fact, I have enough to make a cake that calls for 22 of them in the filling (thanks for the recipe, Waldmaus!). The kids and I had an Ü-Eier opening party. I'm sorry for my grandchildren because they had to share with their grandmother. I wanted Oma Wolle very much for my toy collection. Princess Pea opened the egg with Oma in it, and kindly gave her to me. I owe that girl a sweater!

Note: We did get some black sheep, but the new owners disappeared with them before I could get pictures. Probably thought Grandma was going to commandeer them.

The Ü-Eier Torte was a big success. I felt kind of sorry for the 22 chocolate eggs being melted down in a pot of cream.

melting the Ü-Eier

The finished cake does not look like an entry for the chocolate show, but it tasted good.

Ü-eier Torte

Freitag, September 26, 2008

Yarny Update

A couple more kits came in Thursday's mail. Unfortunately, I could not get a good photo shoot. If you spread out a purple cloth and there is a Cesare in the room, you have a Cesare photoshoot, not a yarn photoshoot. Who gets to wear the purple toga around here, anyway?

Here is Cesare admiring the Tsock Flock kit #3, York and Lancaster.

tsock flock
Actually he was between bites

Cesare thinks he is King Richard. Sorry cat, Richard lost.

Here is Cesare rolling in the STR kit. The yarn is called Tide Pooling. These are my colors for this time of year!


Here is Turbo trying to get in on the action.


It's OK with me. Cats I can handle. Now if Jet shows up, the show is over. Nothing is safe from the acrobatic aerial torpedo. He can jump five feet straight up!

Donnerstag, September 25, 2008

Yarny Things: Homecoming

In case you're wondering why I have to stop joining and renewing yarn clubs, check out the pile of mail waiting for me when I got home Sunday night:


Of course, it wasn't all club offerings. There was an audiobook I had hoped would come before the trip, and some individual yarns I had ordered from various places.


Blue Moon Fiber Arts Letitia in Count Cluckula and STR Leightweight in The Cookie Next Door


The Sanguine Gryphon Traveller in Wales

I need to stop doing that, too.

But check out the club offerings. Can you see why I succumb?


The Unique Sheep's Seven Deadly S(p)ins offering for "Pride"--check out the goodies!


The Sanguine Gryphon's Fairy Tale Club offering for an Arabic Tale. Do you see the BEADS????? Watch her website, because she will soon be taking orders for Fairy Tale II


The Wollmeise's Club offering, themed "Homeland." The colors represent elderberries and boxwood. Wollmeise's next update will be at some random time on the first Friday in October.


A closeup of Wollmeisische cuteness

Now if I could only cast on for any of them. But I have GOT to finish up some things already on the needles or I will go nuts.

P.S. I ordered my copy of The Graveyard Book on audio. It should come on October 2nd. I will let you know if it's as good as Neil Gaiman's other stuff.

Dienstag, September 23, 2008

Yarny Things: Austria

First there was airplane knitting. This very dark photo is the pair of Bellatrix socks in Wollmeise Poison #5 (dark) that I started on the way outbound last week.

I didn't want to disturb people by having a light on during the night, so didn't knit much on the way to Vienna. A bad idea. I couldn't sleep, so I should have knitted. The flight attendants passed out eyemasks, after all.

There was some frogging, too--70 stitches was too many for my foot.

On the way back I knitted most of the time. This represents about 14 hours of knitting.

And here we have the car project, Sanguine Gryphon's Traveller in the Austria colorway (cute, I know). I think these are probably mittens, not socks. They represent maybe 5-6 hours of knitting, representing how long it takes to get from Vienna to Salzburg and back.

And then there was the yarn acquired there. I remembered a knit shop in Salzburg from our last trip, and it was still there in Universitatsplatz, right where I remembered it.

Die Wolle

Die Wolle in Grünmarkt; their receipt says "Malle-Hemetsberger, 5020 Salburg Universitätsplatz 12, Telephone 0 66 2/84 16 52"

They have what looks like the entire collection of Opal Hundertwasser colors. I asked about the Harry Potter colorways, but they had not heard of them. I bought a couple of things that caught my eye.

The purple is Gedifra Aldato in colorway 9311; the gold is Gedifra Fiocco Oro in colorway 6607

Cherry got something froufy to knit a scarf, but left for Berlin before I thought to photograph it.

Die Wolle is not a serve-yourself shop. Most of the yarn is stored in neat and tightly packed rows of the plastic bags it's shipped in. When I reached to pull one out, the shopkeeper hurried to take it away from me. She was happier when I pointed to what I wanted and let her get it.

Then we went on to Vienna where we met Spinnwahn from Ravelry, and her husband.

He is a lifelong fan of St. Stephan's Cathedral and told us some terrific stories as we toured the cathedral. Later we had fun discussing kids, fiber, and politics over whipped cream-loaded hot chocolate, and Spinnwahn and I exchanged gifts and the trade we had arranged: I took her spindles and Knitpicks needles not readily available in Europe, and she gave me yarn she had spun and dyed.

As you can see, Spinnwahn is the Austrian version of die Wollmeise. These are some of her hand-dyed sock yarns:

And this is her handspun, hand-dyed Desert Sunset shawl kit, with colors I requested:

I can't wait to see how they knit up!

Spinnwahn says that Vienna is not a hotspot for knit shopping. She orders most of her wool online. Salzburg might be a sleeper. Cherry, not wanting to waste time, did not point out the several knitting shops that she noticed and I missed as we wandered around the old section of town. Hmmm. Food for further research on another trip?

Spinnwahn and tanasay

I swear my hair actually looks good sometimes; just not when I'm having my picture taken with someone (see me with the Yarn Harlot in an earlier blog post)

Hey, look! I've lost weight since the Yarn Harlot was here!

My creation

Montag, September 22, 2008

The first day back.

1. You can print out your boarding passes in Europe, but you can't use them. Just go to the gate and get real ones.

2. People will speak German to you more readily if you remember to say "Guten Tag" instead of "Hi!"

3. If your room is on the 3rd Floor, you are going to climb three flights of stairs.

4. The German menu may have better food at half the cost of what you find on the English menu.

We had fun. I have a lot of pictures to go through. Will get back to you :)

Freitag, September 19, 2008

Meditations on Sock Clubs

My attitude towards sock yarn clubs has been evolving lately.

At first, the only club I knew about was Blue Moon Fiber Arts. I've knitted every kit as is except the very first one, which for some reason didn't work for me. I'm knitting that pattern right now, but in a different yarn.

Then it started to snowball. I've been in several Cosmic Fiber clubs, including two based on Harry Potter book covers (the British covers series, more colorful than the US ones, is just starting this month and you can still sign up) and Nefarious.

I was in Yarn Pirate for quite a while, and was in some of Zen Strings clubs. Right now I'm signed up for three or four Unique Sheep clubs--I'm especially excited about their upcoming Lord of the Rings club.

I'm in Tsock Flock and Fairy Tale as well--Tsock Flock is taking registrations for next year now, and Fairy Tale will be soon. And of course now I'm expecting my first entry from Die Wollmeise.

I've been in The Loopy Ewe club for two years, and just joined Knit-Purl's first sock club.

Thinking about it, there are several things that make me really like some clubs.

  • The Cult of the Artist

  • Sometimes it's the dyer. Sometimes it's the pattern designer. Sometimes it's both. I know I will be happy by anything that comes from Tina Newton at Blue Moon, Claudia Hoell-Wellman of Wollmeise, Lisa Grossman and Jennifer vanCalcar of Tsock Flock, Gryphon Perkins of Sanguine Gryphon, or Carrie Barraco of Cosmic Fibers.

  • The Community

  • The blogs and Ravelry groups that have grown up around some of the clubs are a lot of fun. The Wollmeise group is hilarious and multinational. The Tsock Flockers are erudite and eclectic. Gryphon's group is quieter, but pleasant to be around. I used to be excited about Blue Moon's group, but it's gotten so big I just stay in touch with a few members.

  • The Goodies

  • The Loopy Ewe and Unique Sheep take the cake for goodies. Treats, toys, and stuff. Lots of fun.

    You might ask yourself whether I knit all this stuff. Well, actually, no. As I mentioned, I've knitted almost everything from Blue Moon's club.

    I only joined Tsock Flock this year, but have so far knitted both of the offerings. At least I finished Firebird and I'm nearly done with Frenchman's Creek.

    I've knitted the first Fairy Tale but not done the embroidery.

    Pretty much all of the rest are sitting on the shelf, waiting their turn. There are wonderful designers, such as Cookie A., and super dyers, such as Wollmeise, on the shelf along with the rest. A person can only knit so fast.

    But I'm not renewing clubs any more now that I'm buying yarn with money gleaned from my piano studio. I have dropped a hint to Santa about Blue Moon, and I squeaked Tsock Flock in under the wire right before I started teaching again. With fewer kits being added to the pile, maybe I can actually enjoy knitting more of them.

    In fact, I sort of have my own private sock club. I kind of like that idea.

    I'm so sorry if I left anyone out! I love you,too!

    Dienstag, September 16, 2008

    Top Songs of 1969

    I saw this meme on Margene's blog.

    Incidentally, all of the songs listed that I didn't mark are songs I literally don't remember hearing. But guess what! I lived in a home without a radio! That explains a lot, doesn't it?

    Up in my room I had an old radio my grandpa had given me, that I wasn't supposed to have. I remember hearing "Whiter Shade of Pale" and "California Dreamin'" on it late at night, but during the day it never got a signal.

    Instead, I saved up for albums. One album may have saved my life. At the height of the Haight-Ashbury revolution, I ran away from home. I had just enough money for a bus ticket out of Mackay, Idaho to San Francisco. On my way to the bus station I saw the Sgt. Pepper Beatles album. Bus ticket or Beatles album? I bought the album and called my parents to come pick me up and take me home.

    And now the Meme:

    If you want to play, here's what you do:

  • Go to Music Outfitters.

  • Enter the year you graduated high school in the search box.

  • Bold the songs you like, strike through the ones you hate and underline and/or italicize your favorite. Do nothing to the ones you don’t remember (or don’t care about)

  • 1. Aquarius, Fifth Dimension
    2. Sugar, Sugar, Archies

    3. I Can't Get Next To You, Temptations
    4. Honky Tonk Women, Rolling Stones
    5. Build Me Up Buttercup, Foundations
    6. Dizzy, Tommy Roe
    7. Hot Fun In The Summertime, Sly and The Family Stone
    8. I'll Never Fall In Love Again, Tom Jones
    9. Everyday People, Sly and The Family Stone
    10. Get Together, Youngbloods
    11. One, Three Dog Night
    12. Crystal Blue Persuasion, Tommy James and The Shondells
    13. Hair, Cowsills
    14. Too Busy Thinking About My Baby, Marvin Gaye
    15. Love Theme From Romeo And Juliet, Henry Mancini and His Orch.
    16. Crimson And Clover, Tommy James and The Shondells
    17. Grazin' In The Grass, Friends Of Distinction
    18. Suspicious Minds, Elvis Presley
    19. Proud Mary, Creedence Clearwater Revival
    20. What Does It Take (To Win Your Love), Jr. Walker and The All Stars
    21. It's Your Thing, Isley Brothers
    22. Sweet Caroline, Neil Diamond
    23. Jean, Oliver
    24. Bad Moon Rising, Creedence Clearwater Revival
    25. Get Back, The Beatles
    26. In The Year 2525, Zager and Evans
    27. Spinning Wheel, Blood, Sweat and Tears
    28. Baby, I Love You, Andy Kim
    29. Going In Circles, Friends Of Distinction
    30. Hurt So Bad, Lettermen
    31. Green River, Creedence Clearwater Revival
    32. My Cherie Amour, Stevie Wonder
    33. Easy To Be Hard, Three Dog Night
    34. Baby It's You, Smith
    35. In The Ghetto, Elvis Presley
    36. A Boy Named Sue, Johnny Cash
    37. Baby, Baby Don't Cry, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles
    38. Only The Strong Survive, Jerry Butler
    39. Time Of The Season, Zombies
    40. Wedding Bell Blues, Fifth Dimension
    41. Little Woman, Bobby Sherman
    42. Love (Can Make You Happy), Mercy
    43. Good Morning Starshine, Oliver
    44. These Eyes, The Guess Who
    45. You've Made Me So Very Happy, Blood, Sweat and Tears
    46. Put A Little Love In Your Heart, Jackie DeShannon
    47. Do Your Thing, Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band
    48. I'd Wait A Million Years, The Grass Roots
    49. Touch Me, The Doors
    50. More Today Than Yesterday, Spiral Starecase
    51. I've Gotta Be Me, Sammy Davis Jr.
    52. Lay Lady Lay, Bob Dylan
    53. Atlantis, Donovan
    54. Traces, Dennis Yost and The Classics IV
    55. It's Getting Better, Mama Cass Elliot
    56. This Magic Moment, Jay and The Americans
    57. Run Away Child, Running Wild, Temptations
    58. Hawaii Five-O, Ventures
    59. Galveston, Glen Campbell
    60. I'm Gonna Make You Mine, Lou Christie
    61. Gitarzan, Ray Stevens
    62. Can I Change My Mind, Tyrone Davis
    63. Time Is Tight, Booker T and The MG's
    64. This Girl's In Love With You, Dionne Warwick
    65. Color Him Father, Winstons
    66. Black Pearl, Sonny Charles and The Checkmates, Ltd.
    67. Indian Giver, 1910 Fruitgum Company
    68. Mother Popcorn (Part I), James Brown
    69. Twenty-five Miles, Edwin Starr
    70. Things I'd Like To Say, New Colony Six
    71. When I Die, Motherlode
    72. That's The Way Love Is, Marvin Gaye
    73. Everybody's Talkin', Nilsson
    74. Worst That Could Happen, Brooklyn Bridge
    75. Chokin' Kind, Joe Simon
    76. Smile A Little Smile For Me, Flying Machine
    77. Polk Salad Annie, Tony Joe White
    78. Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town, Kenny Rogers and The First Edition
    79. Games People Play, Joe South
    80. You Showed Me, Turtles
    81. Come Together, The Beatles
    82. Oh, What A Night, Dells
    83. Something, The Beatles
    84. This Girl Is A Woman Now, Gary Puckett and The Union Gap
    85. Tracy, Cuff Links
    86. Mr. Sun, Mr. Moon, Paul Revere and The Raiders
    87. I'm Gonna Make You Love Me, Diana Ross and The Supremes
    88. I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Marvin Gaye
    89. Gimme Gimme Good Lovin', Crazy Elephant
    90. Hang 'Em High, Booker T and The MG's
    91. Your Good Thing (Is About To End), Lou Rawls
    92. Baby I'm For Real, Originals
    93. You Showed Me, Turtles
    94. Love Me Tonight, Tom Jones
    95. Ramblin' Gamblin' Man Bob, Seger System
    96. Laughing, The Guess Who
    97. My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me), David Ruffin
    98. Soul Deep, Box Tops
    99. Hooked On A Feeling, B.J. Thomas
    100. Sweet Cream Ladies, Box Tops

    Yes, I'm still in Austria. After I finished packing I scheduled this to publish during the week.

    Freitag, September 12, 2008

    I Finish Packing

    My packing is finished except for the knitting. The boarding passes are printed and tucked away in my suitcase, along with the stack of colorful Euros that I picked up yesterday (No, I am not going to leave them there).


    I showed to the boys and they thought it was Monopoly money. I sure hope they're wrong.

    The passports are in spiffy new holders. We are weenies and wear ours around our necks. We actually know someone in our neighborhood who was stuck in India for months because his passport was stolen.

    A check of the weather for Vienna and Salzburg sent me to the closet for an umbrella and a light jacket. Oops--the jacket was put away with cat hair and pilling on it. An hour's work with tape and a Sweater Stone left it looking more or less presentable, though.

    The iPods are loaded. I was hoping my audiobook of Tintentod would come today, but instead I have "Der Wüsteplanet" (Dune in German). I've printed adress labels to stick on postcards for the family, since I'm not taking my Palm Pilot (it's heavy and it only sort of works).

    It's down to the print matter and the knitting.

    Taking books on a trip is always a problem. They're heavy, but it's a pain to get stuck with nothing to read. I have a book on learning German vocabulary that Paul gave me that I could bring. I've been re-reading Terry Pratchett's Night Watch, which I think is his best book (although you have to read all the preceding Discworld books for it to really make sense, and I mean all of them).

    The knitting is more difficult to decide. If I were going to be at home I would put the lace edging on Frenchman's Creek. However, it's cream and has beads. You know my rule about no white things on trips. And I have had beads all over an airplane before. Not going there.

    So, what's small, interesting, and not white?

    The Wollmeise kit did not show up. Instead I wound the incredibly gorgeous, dark Wollmeise Poison #5 that I got in a trade. I will do Bellatrix and this time keep them.

    Wollmeise Poison #5 dark

    I could only find size 0 needles, so I think I will add in a pattern repeat.

    I also wound Austria to knit while looking out the window on the way to and from Salzburg.

    Sanguine Gryphon Traveller in Austria

    Sanguine Gryphon's Traveller

    We have one Ravelry meetup planned. Sabine/Spinnwahn and her husband are going to take us on a tour of St. Stephens in Vienna. I picked up some spindles and Knitpicks needles for her, and she has some handspun, hand-dyed yarn for me.

    In order to recognize each other we're going to wear hand-knitted scarves:



    So if any Ravelers want to join us at the last minute, wear a knitted scarf and be at the main front door of Stefansdom on Friday at 9:30 a.m.

    Donnerstag, September 11, 2008

    Aufgeregt! (nicht enttäuscht)

    I have this excited, tingly feeling today. I think my Wollmeise club kit is going to come.

    There was a lot of angst over the club. First of all, over 1000 people signed up for only 535 places in the club. I had promised it to Joanne for her birthday if one of us got in. She, with incredibly generosity and kindness, offered to share the club with me since there are two skeins in each shipment.

    But then a few days later Joanne got in, too! So we are both waiting for packages. Joanne, are you feeling excited and tingly?

    It's possible that I just feel tingly and excited because we're leaving for Austria on Saturday. The dollar strengthened enough against the Euro that I was able to get a little more spending cash than I thought. But I am not quite ready to go. It's hard to decide what to take for airplane knitting.

  • I might take poor, frogged Digitessa.

  • If the Wollmeise kit comes before we leave I will take that and knit Norwegian socks with it.

  • LVS1
    from Denise's Needleworks, a new Norwegian (I think) book of socks, hats, scarves and mittens
  • I have some gift knitting to do, but the one that would be interesting enough to do on the plane is white, and my rule for airplane knitting is: not white, not big, and not boring

  • I started Adamas with the idea of knitting it on the plane, but it isn't grabbing me.

  • I have interesting things to knit for Paul and Cherry for Christmas, but I don't want to sit by them for hours working on their gifts.

  • For car knitting I have some sport weight from Sanguine Gryphon, Traveller in the Austria colorway. Couldn't resist.

    Oh no, I shouldn't have gone to her website looking for a picture. There isn't one, but Wales is there.

    ETA: No Wollmeise kit today

    Mittwoch, September 10, 2008

    The Blog of Intent

    Yes, I set out on Saturday with a blog post in mind. Camera in bag, I went to the Grand Opening at Blazing Needles with two of my daughters and their six children.

    Blazing Needles

    Yes, that's about how much photography there was. I spent most of the time in Cynthia's lovely garden entertaining the kids by not being able to find the stuffed animals they hid in the shrubbery.

    I did go back later for the evening party with Joanne, but the camera never even crossed my mind.

    The new stash had to be put away expeditiously to clear the decks for canning, so it didn't get photo'd either.

    Saturday was actually pretty busy. We went to the Avenues Street Fair on Saturday, but the camera only made it out of the bag once.

    Avenues Street Fair

    Between getting the piano studio started for fall, trying (if not actually succeeding) to help Sharman with the kids and puppy while Chris is in Milwaukee, and getting ready for our trip, blogging has fallen through the cracks.

    But I think the camera will get a lot of face time while we are in Austria. Check back in two weeks.
    No tickers