out and about

Happy summer!  Maybe it’s just because my birthday is coming up soon (hey, 31, how you doin’?) or maybe it’s because all the sunshine has gone to my head or maybe it’s all the ice cream I’ve been eating … but this summer is shaping up pretty well so far.

To start things off, Nadine and I met up in Berlin — which seems like a long time ago now, though actually it was only about 10 days ago — and what a nice welcome it was to see a fellow knitter.  She saw the sights, I went to the library, we both enjoyed dinner together.  Not a bad start at all.  (Though neither of us remembered to take pictures.)

Then I went to Switzerland.  It rained.


This church is across the border in Germany, on an island, and very old.  The weather played nice, the rain stopped, and we all — all seven of us — enjoyed a walk around Reichenau Island.


It was a lovely way to end a too short visit.  A visit that nonetheless managed to include a new bag for me:

this followed me home

It’s so pretty and green!  And made of truck tarps and seat belts!

My suitcase, however, proved decidedly less rugged.  The zipper broke just as we were leaving for the train station … uh oh.  A little engineering magic saved the day and nothing exploded on the night train.  In fact, the only surprise was that my “ladies compartment” contained four men.  And me.  So that didn’t go as planned.

I did, however, arrive unmolested and with a functioning suitcase.

this makes me happy

I was very happy to find “The Third Man” still playing in Vienna.

Today, I visited a museum then enjoyed some café culture, which included a little reading and a whole lot of sitting and watching the world go by while sipping coffee and enjoying Kaiserschmarrn … which is pretty much dessert disguised as a meal: a sweet pancake cooked in butter.  This time with plum sauce and lots of powdered sugar.



But the best part of summer?  Freckles!


I’m back home soon and, I promise, knitting will commence.


goodbye, Berlin


So this has pretty much been my view while in Berlin.  I would have posted some photos of the bonkers contents — including the crazy, possibly evil, certainly prize-winning clown — but I had to sign some scary German document wherein I promised to use the photos for private research only … so I don’t think putting them on the internet would be a good idea.

In any case, I went out with a bang.  Or, rather … um, with a sail?  I met up with a friend and our luxurious coffee (somewhere fancy with a real live German movie star whom I did not recognize) turned into a sailing trip.  I know!  So here’s where I spent the evening:


Beautiful!  The Wannsee was perfect for a very adventure-adverse beginner: very very little wind, no waves, no rain, nothing too strenuous, just a nice hour or so floating around.  Afterwards, we ate an obscene amount of pizza and drank some schnapps.  So, yeah, a good end to the trip.  Which also began with a bang …


just a little knitting


Just a little knitting in the Tiergarten.  Monday was a holiday and after a busy/ stressful/ tiring couple of weeks, I took the day off.  It was lovely: a leisurely breakfast, plenty of warm weather, a nice rambley walk to a different part of town.  Then I sat down, enjoyed my picnic, rested my feet, and did a bit of knitting in the sunshine.

As you can see, progress has been limited.  These stripes now seem never ending, they just go on and on and one more turn … then maybe you get to the end.  Maybe.  But I’m enjoying the relaxed pace and the constant stripey companionship.


I did not, however, take stripes unlimited to meet the my amazing adviser in her equally amazing apartment (books! everywhere!).  Instead, we discussed the archives and ate some ice cream.  She has the capacity to make me feel like I’m doing good work and anything is possible, even a dissertation.  I want to be like her when I grow up.

To that end, today the Never-Ending Stripe and I, we’re off to the Kunstbibliothek to look through some more old issues issues of bonkers lace-and-embroidery magazines.  Absolutely bonkers.  Articles on the “Psychology of Lace and Embroidery”, weirdo devotion to pillow cushions and tablecloths, crazy fold-out patterns of flowers and art-deco foliage that I’m going to try to copy … it’s really pretty delightful.

Also, there was a terrifying piece of lace featuring an evil clown.  It won 4th place (or possibly better, I don’t remember …) in some kind of contest.  Terrifying.


So, in the spirit of project spectrum I’ll end not with evil clowns, but with more green: a peaceful corner of the Tiergarten on Pfingstmontag.  Why did it take me this long to visit Berlin again?

on the go

.. on the move.

It’s weird.  I really hate traveling, the actual to-ing and fro-ing and getting to that new place.  Once I’m there and arrived I can relax a bit, do a little knitting, and not worry so much about the fact that I spend most of my time somewhat lost.

more stripes

Stage 2 of the research adventure begins today and, well, let’s just say I haven’t gotten enough sleep.  Somehow my irrational fear is always, always, ALWAYS that my bags (why am I one of those “just-in-case” travelers?) will not only 1) cause a huge hassle on public transportation, but that they will 2) be refused passage.  Like that time in Switzerland where after many calls to the airline, confirming appropriate allowed on-board cat kennel size, the lady just looked at what I had (with Alice inside) and said, “No, it’s too big.  We never allow anything that big.”  Um.  Keep in mind this was smaller than many backpacks, not to mention smaller than many cats.

At those moments all I want to do is cry.  And I am not a crier.  It’s just the pure arbitrary power of the airline.

So, that’s it really.  I hope to get back to the knitting soon — as you can see, not much progress to report.  Maybe this morning, at the airport?  It will soothe my nerves.


Well, hello there.  Two in a row.  Don’t get used to it, that’s all I’ve got to say.

more stripes

Last week, before the cold set in, I had the chance to celebrate Friday with a lovely walk along the South Bank in the sunshine with the GreenPea.  She was a fabulous guide to a part of town I most likely wouldn’t have visited otherwise: pointing out all the interesting sights across bridges, museums, and the throngs of people out enjoying the weather with us.  We finished up with elderflower cordials (also new to me and very yummy) at a cozy bar with flocked wall paper and cushy seats.  It was a wonderful afternoon out.  Thanks, Pea!

more stripes

As you see, despite the afternoons out and about and the cold, I finally managed to photograph a little knitting progress.  As you might also see, conditions were not ideal: it was later in the evening, light was fading, and this apartment — though safe, quiet, convenient, and comfy — has a pronounced lack of blue IKEA tables.  So I went with dim light and a white background.

The photos are decidedly blurry.

more stripes

more stripes

But sweet relief!  I’m almost there … or very, very close to almost there.  What you see is stripe number 14 in progress.  The rows are long and knitting back across the wrap and turn is — I won’t lie — a little tedious at this point.  But I’m close enough to the end that I’m hanging on.

more stripes

And it does indeed look like I’ll have enough yarn for maybe one or two more stripes.  Maybe?  I went with Malabrigo lace (not sock), but on US9 needles — it’s making a really lovely open fabric that is super light and so, so soft.  I kind of want to only use Malabrigo lace for every project from now on forever.  Or something like that.  I can certainly see on or two of those wispy, breezy, lacey cardigans in my future.

it’s been awhile. again.

To be completely honest, there hasn’t been a ton of knitting done while in London.  I’ve completed almost all the recommended stripes of Different Lines and it looks like I’ll have enough yarn to add one or two more … but that’s about it, really.

This head cold/ allergies/ unholy congestion congress hasn’t really helped.  I spent the weekend pretty much in bed, after dutifully trucking to the library for a few hours on Saturday.

So …. let’s talk about last weekend.  Last weekend was glorious: bright sunshine, warm temperatures — perfect for a pleasant wander about a neighborhood literally right around the corner.

stoke newington

A parish church, just down the street.

stoke newington

And a bag capable of holding all kinds of things — including a new book from the bookshop and all kinds of other wandering necessities.

Then a very pleasant walk through the Abney Park Cemetery.  I was afraid it might be kind of creepy, but acutally it was a very relaxing and peaceful ramble.

stoke newington

stoke newington

stoke newington

stoke newington

stoke newington

More soon.