Sunday, 25 May 2008

How long do you think it'll be before someone notices that this blog has no actual knitting content?

Hurrah - my knitting supplies have a new home! Or maybe just "have a home" would be more accurate, seeing as they never actually had an old one (I'm guessing a messy pile dumped unceremoniously on an overflowing desk tidy doesn't really count as a home).

I think it's meant to be a wash bag, hence all the handy pockets which are conveniently knitting-equipment sized. (Incidentally, what are those side pockets in wash bags actually meant to be for? I mean, they're flat. How many flat toiletries do you own?) I tried to take a picture of the interior for your oggling pleasure, but seeing as it's lined in something shiny and pink the photo came out looking disturbingly gynaecological. The outside, though, is a lovely sturdy cotton, and from a distance (admittedly not much of a distance, given my chronic short-sightedness) it looks like the vibrantly coloured leather bags you get in the Middle East. And - because I shallowly reduce everything to mercenary considerations - it only cost 4,90 €! This sounds much better if I persist in my steadfast denial of the current exchange rate.

As for the weekly attempt to scrape the barrel for knitting news, my Drawstring Chemise has been pulled off the needles within 12 hours of being cast on. The lace section was turning out to be huuuge (schoolboy error alert - always swatch for the lace pattern as well as the stocking stitch!), so it's off to the wool shop I go for some smaller needles. (These'll be 2.5mm. I sincerely hope that in my entire knitting career I never have call for anything smaller than that.) It's still fairing better than the Secret Project though, which has been entirely abandoned. From a knitterly perspective, anyway - it's been appropriated by the sewing side of my personality. (Trust me, this isn't a side of my personality you want to get to know.)

Um, so that's it, really! Unimpressive, I know, but just think how blank this page would be if I only ever posted when I had something worth writing about. Ohh, though speaking of things worth writing about, check out these shoes! I'd never heard of Birkis before, but I seem to have accidentally stolen one of their catalogues (well, they should have written 'Schutzgebühr' bigger! Besides, who charges 2,50 € for what is essentially an 80-page advert?). I'm particularly taken with these, not least because I can claim they have a tenuous link to knitting...

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Wait, you mean a blog is for writing things in?

Ah, my poor, neglected blog. You know I love you really, don't you? And I've been knitting, cross my heart! It's just that I'm far too lazy to take photographic evidence, and let's be honest - who's going to read page after page of my rambling without the odd pretty picture to distract them? (Well, "pretty" is highly doubtful, given my ineptitude behind the lens, but you get the point.) At the moment, for instance, I've just finished a huuuuuuge swatch for the Drawstring Chemise (I don't really have the patience to swatch, wash, measure and reswatch, so I've taken to combining swatches on different sized needles into a single Monster Swatch, thus getting it over all in one go). I didn't take a picture of it though because, well, it's a swatch. A stocking stitch rectangle. I bet David Bailey never takes photos of stocking stitch rectangles.

I'm also working on a mini Secret Project, and photographing it would sort of undermine the secrecy. The only thing I can think of to show you is my new yarn, which is goorrgeous! This is the stuff I ordered in for the chemise, Lang Fiorina in a scrumptious but sadly discontinued shade of blue. I spent an embarrassing amount of time dithering between the blue and a green, and eventually went for the former because I had a vague childhood recollection of my dad saying I looked good in blue. Though can the fashion advice of a man who wears convex-soled orthopaedic sandals really be trusted?

Nope, I still haven't befriended the macro button on my camera

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Foiled Again!

The cotton for my Drawstring Chemise now isn't expected in till Monday, which presumably is because God really, really wants me to cast on for the Union Square Market Pullover in the meantime. (Well, He's into creating things, isn't He? And I'm sure He had this very jumper in mind when He created Alpacas.) I bought the yarn for this a while ago but had been putting off starting it because of the weather; it's been so gorgeously sunny that the last thing you want on your lap is a pile of fuzzy warmth. But then yesterday I had my eureka moment - evening knitting! OK, it's not exactly on par with discovering Archimedes' Principle, but this is as close to a eureka moment as I'm ever going to get so humour me. Anyway, feeling highly pleased with myself I started swatching, only to find that I was going to need to go up a size to 3.25mm needles. Which might not sound like a big deal, but (as I found out today) you can't actually get 3.25mm needles in Germany. Bah! What's the point of having a swizzy metric system if you only use half of it? (Any smart Alec pointing out that Britain doesn't exactly make full use of the metric system will be sternly told to stop being such a clever clogs.)

So I've hit a bit of a stumbling block. I can order the needles online, but I have a vague feeling that we might be in the middle of a postal strike (note to self: pay attention the next time someone mentions the word "Streik" instead of letting eyes glaze over). And even if they did arrive OK, it wouldn't be before the yarn for the Chemise, thus rendering the whole "in the meantime" idea sort of redundant. Maybe God's having second thoughts about the jumper after all.

On the bright side, guess what - the Surplice Bodice Camisole, which I finally got round to blocking, actually fits! It could do with being a liiiiiiittle bit longer in the bust, but I've hung it up to promote downwards-stretching so hopefully that'll do the trick. I have no idea what it looks like on me because, as I've only just realised, I don't have a mirror! There's a crappy little headshot-only one in the bathroom, but other than that, zilch. This raises the alarming prospect that I might accidentally go out without wearing a crucial item of clothing, like, say, trousers. Anyway, I'd rather not inflict my self-timer efforts on you, so anyone with Camisole-curiosity will have to wait till my occasionally-resident photographer returns.

I wouldn't want you to go entirely without pictures, though, so: do you remember the Christmassy Ampelmann car? Well, look what I spotted not too long ago:

Yup, there's a Summer version! Wouldn't it be cool if the actual red and green men on traffic lights carried little surfboards? (I suppose it would send out a bit of a confusing message though; people might think you could surf across the roads. Not most people, obviously. But I did once absent-mindedly try to control a traffic light using my house keys, so what I'd do if faced with a surfing green man is anyone's guess.)

Friday, 9 May 2008

Well, I did indeed finish the Surplice Bodice Camisole! (Actually, I still have to sew one of the side seams, but shhh.) And I have to say, 'twas the most boring thing I've ever knit in my life - annoyingly bitty, with approximately a gazillion picked up stitches, and pieces stopping and starting all over the place. I do like the look of it now that it's done, but I have a horrible feeling it's not going to sit right, because like a fool I forgot that I have a back the length of the Mississippi-Missouri and didn't make adjustments accordingly. Anyway, I'll have to wait a bit longer to see if the miracle that is blocking bails me out yet again, because my flat doesn't possess such high-tech gizmos as a washing machine, and so far I've been too lazy to venture forth and find a laundrette. (Also, is it just me or are laundrettes sort of scary? A bit like buses.) (People point and laugh when I attempt to use buses. Though in fairness they sometimes do this when I'm not using buses, too.)

Where was I? Ohhh yes - buoyed by that partial success I went straight out and ordered yarn for my next project! I'd found an ideal substitution for the Cotton Glace but none of the colours in my LYS were really doing it for me, so the lovely shop assistant took pity on me and pulled an enormous sample book out from behind the counter. This is going to make me sound like a knitting hillbilly, but oh my God, I had no idea there was so much choice out there! Seriously, every single yarn comes in just about every single colour! Dork that I am, I got my Colour Me Beautiful wallet out and started eagerly matching swatches up. Why did I not know that you could do this before?! Come to think of it maybe I should have noticed that it was a bit odd that all yarns online were available in a rainbow of shades whereas those stocked in shops came in about three...

Anyway! My order won't arrive till the end of next week, which is a bit lästig because I could really do with some more Summer tops asap. (Yes, I know I could buy a couple of t-shirts in H&M for about 5,- €, but where's the fun in that when you can knit your own for four times the cost and forty times the effort? Chuh, amateurs!) We seem to have skipped Spring and gone straight from eternal Winter to Summer, which has been most excellent for my mood but a bit unsettling for my wardrobe. (Actually, I think the sun might have really got to me, because I bought a white skirt today. On thinking it over, I am fairly sure that a white skirt is the most useless garment known to man, or at least to me. I might start a pool on how long it stays white for.)

Monday, 5 May 2008

Note to self: think of a devestatingly clever title

OK, I misled you slightly about the knitting content of this post (and, as it turns out, the timing - oops!). I have a grand total of one knitting-related line to impart, namely: I finally, finally picked up the Surplice Bodice Camisole again! (What, you were expecting something more interesting? Ptth, you should know me better than that by now...)

I do have a couple of fairly watertight excuses for being such a knitterly slugabed, though. Firstly, I just moved flats (my definition of "just" being "recently enough that I have yet to unpack"), and secondly I disappeared to Munich for a week. I don't know why I bother to take knitting on holiday, seeing as I hardly ever give it so much as a glance while I'm there, but it turns out that I sliiightly underestimated the length of the train journey back to Berlin and the Camisole came to the rescue. Who knows, next time I might even have a finished object to show! (Which would make for a total of, what, three FOs this year? I should really start knitting socks or something.)

Anyway, in the meantime will you accept a couple of holiday pictures in lieu of knitting ones? First up, and possibly the blurriest photo ever to grace this blog (but I didn't take this one! As I suppose should be obvious from the fact that I'm in it):

Beeeer. With my head for scale.

This was in the Hofbräuhaus, apparently Munich's most popular attraction, where the standard measure of beer is a litre. The standard amount of beer I am capable of consuming is about 0.01 litres, so this one was returned to its rightful owner pretty promptly.


And this is Schloss Neuschwanstein, also known (by us, at least) as the fairytale castle. It's got everything you could want from a palace: breathtaking setting, elaborate decor, plastic cave between bedroom and sitting room... (Something must have got lost in the translation there; surely they didn't have plastic in 1869?)

I also managed to fit in a wool shop excursion or two, and can happily recommend both Geknöpft und Zugenäht (which is part of the Ludwig Beck department store) and Wollkorb, which has several branches around town (I went to the one off Sendlingerstr.). The only problem with both of them is that a lot of the stock is behind the counter, so you don't really feel you can browse freely. And in a tragic victory of financial self-preservation over lust, I left empty handed. (Financial self-preservation may not have won the war though - did I mention that my new flat is that little bit closer to La Laine?)

Finally - because I wouldn't want you to think that my television viewing consists solely of late-night boxing - I am now shamelessly addicted to Germany's Next Topmodel. No smirking, it's genius I tell you! Unlike in the virtually unwatchable American version, the contestants are a) capable of forming coherent sentences, and b) generally friendly and non-bitchy. Plus it's presented by Heidi Klum. Heidi Klum! I mean...I've actually heard of her! (No offense, Tyra, but...Heidi Klum!) Obviously my main reason for watching, though, is to improve my German. Ahem. (Incidentally, most used words on the programme: "hammer", "geil" and "aufgeregt". I may have exhausted the show's vocabulary-expanding potential.)

Saturday, 3 May 2008

It's five past midnight and I'm watching a dubbed boxing match on TV. Nope, I don't know why either. (In fact, I'm not even entirely sure it's boxing, such is my level of knowledge and interest in these things.) But tomorrow (well, today, I suppose), I'll be back with some knitting-related stuff! Because I do knit occasionally, honest.

P.S. Am I the only person who isn't really grabbed by anything in the new Interweave Knits?

P.P.S. Ohh, someone's won the random violent sport. Apparently God gave him strength. Who knew He was a boxing fan?