Well, where have I been? Away! And now you're going to hear about it allllllllllllll in one fell swoop. Perhaps pop off and make a cuppa now. I've been a busy bee. On yarn tourism trips. Writing and reading and knitting and crafting and getting fit and healthy. I'm in a very happy place right now. Yay! That's mainly because I've been subtly changing things around in my work life to get some of that elusive 'balance' stuff. That means not taking shit at work essentially and now that I have wrangled my conscience around so that it is now acceptable [to me] to do my contractual hours, work hard and then bugger off, life is better. Much better. Plus writing every day makes my life make so much more sense. As does shedding the fat suit I'd been wearing for quite a while - am halfway there and feeling very bouncy. It's all very very good.
First, some housekeeping! Thank you to everyone who ran a Race for Life, who cheered on runners, and who supported the iKnit team on our particular night. With Gift Aid we raised almost £5,000! The little thank you gift of some lovely EasyKnits yarn (plus a gift voucher for his site - I'm loving the new Skinny Semi Solids) goes to.... Monica! Please send me your address so I can send on the goodies.
What else have I been up to?
Writing. About to embark on this in June. Those of you who know me IRL, I'll be allowed out again in July, with a couple of exceptions!
- Knitting: The Misti socks are still on the go, almost at the toes on both. Also working on an Ysolda Teague pattern for the Ariel Scarf (she is an AMAZING designer and check out her blog at the moment for details of tons of fun places to visit along the Eastern seaboard) though doing it wrap sized in Malabrigo lace - oh, the softness! It's the sort of thing that you touch and immediately want to draw to your cheek because it's gossamer-like. Never mind that it will take a while to finish. It will be worth it. And will also require considerable blocking. Also - it's working! It's only simple lace but it's a milestone for me.
- Two baby quilts about to be delivered so no pics yet.
- Some quick-fix steampunk jewellery for White Mischief with the lovely Lotusen
- Also with Lotusen, there was a trip to the Secret Liberty Fabric Shop, which I rather thought I'd blogged but it just shows that the dementia is rearing its ugly head again. I made this skirt from the stash however, using Sew What skirts and the front darts, are, I have to say, perfect. Though as it turns out I have a natural bustle the back ones a bit freaky. Should have spaced them out more. No, you're not seeing it, you just get a shot of the front:
Stored up for summer dresses are the following fabrics:
And finally, relating to the title of the post, I now get Wollmeise. I remember Klozknitz brandishing some at me in a most excited manner at the last I Knit Day, which she'd just scored from the lovely Yarnissima, and me thinking 'Oh yes, that's nice dear'. Ah, the innocence of it all.
Quite a while ago, GingerLucy mooted a trip to Germany to visit a handcraft market. That's right folks, a trip to another country to look at wood-carvings. Or something like that. With us being the way we are, we all immediately said 'Sounds lovely. Have you looked into flights? When are we off?'
The real reason for heading to Sindelfingen was the pursuit and trapping of the elusive Wool Tit - or Wollmeise. Lucy's organisation was impeccable, coordinating us all on the London end, plus she managed to liaise with a local Raveller, the wonderful Doris. Doris was a powerhouse of a woman whose main mission in life seems to be to share the Wollmeise joy. She was like the German Tourist board personified - she suggested hotels, collected us from the airport, booked dinner for the first evening, gave us a guided tour of Stuttgart, took us in search of spargel (sidenote: I've never known a vegetable to be so controversial and such a source or national pride - with England, Germany and Holland all claiming right now to be producing the world's best asparagus) and also acted as official translator. She made the trip so easy! She was also acting as a yarn Samaritan - mainly buying at the market for other people.
For those of you still think 'eh? Yarn? Whassat? Whassa fuss alabout?' the Wollmeise's shop updates are sporadic and deliberately unannounced - because the volume of traffic so frequently causes the server to crash and therefore it's notoriously difficult to 'catch' an update and purchase anything from her - especially for anyone outside Europe as her updates generally happen in the wee hours of EST. That's why there was also two other couples in our party - from Chicago and Calgary. Intercontinental yarn tourism, which was great because as well as them being super-nice, they make us seem less crazy! (B&E - you've already been across the pond for yarn... London's Calling for September....)
We arrived early the first day.
We'd been told to.
Oh the beauty! Her dyeing process results in an unheard of vibrancy for the sort of base yarns she uses, plus she has scrupulous quality control and is extremely exacting about what she offers for sale. I didn't really understand the names, what was rare and therefore sought-after and good for trading, or the bases, come to it. I just understood The Pretty.
See, we weren't alone. I can say I didn't know anyone in the shot above. Mind you by then we'd purchased as much as we could probably carry and were sated for the day.
I'm lying, of course. Next stop on the yarntinerary was a trip to the Opal Factory shop. Although the shot below looks like Lucy is running into the shop, we were actually quite relaxed at this point having already secured the day's* score.
After that we headed into Stuttgart to drop off Lotusen who was off to an important birthday celebration and a even more important gift delivery, which happily coincided with our trip. Later that evening we found a bar in which to watch the Eurovision which I'll totally own up to as my idea (ok, one point - the amazing Dita Von Teese doing a Debbie McGee during Germany's entry and they only scored 12 points... WTF?? Also generally we felt collectively that Germany woz robbed.)
Sunday dawned and what happened - oh yes, Groundhog Day. *We did it all again. Well, there was always the possibility of different stuff... oh hell, we just wanted to go back. Twice. That day. In my defence, m'lud, all of the stuff from the second trip that day was gifts for others. Not just pressies for me.
See that face? That's after the second - ok third, technically - purchase. That's the face of happy, and it's not just from yarn. It's always a good sign when you wake in the morning to find that your stomach muscles are still sore from laughing so hard for so long the previous night. Finding that those whose company you generally very much enjoy also make perfect travelling companions is a gift. Where are we going next?