Knitting Without Dog Hair Is Not an Option

Hi there - My name is Claudia. I live with my hubby and our two furry kids in Georgia, USA. Originally I am from Germany - southern belle from Bavaria replanted to the Southern US. I am very addicted to knitting - 4-5 projects going at the same time... What can I say...

My Photo
Location: Peckerwood, Georgia, United States

Friday, September 29, 2006

Not So Rapidly Transiting After All...

OK - I thought I'd give you an update on my adventures with public transportation. Everything went absolutely wonderfully Wednesday afternoon on my way home. The bus was extremely fast - in comparision to the crawling cars - and I was really in awe at my luck in finding out about the Express bus line.

So, Thursday morning I was back on the bus. Everything went well - I got a ton of knitting done. But when I got to the MARTA station to take the train, they were announcing over the speakers that my train would be 20 minutes late due to mechanical problems. Oh well, I thought, it didn't take long to make me less ecstatic, did it?

BUT - another train was due to arrive in 2 minutes. And I decided to take this train. It would go to the Lenox station instead of the Buckhead station and I figured I'd have to walk a little longer, but it shouldn't take me much longer. I didn't like the idea of hanging out at the train station for 20 minutes and then maybe find out that there would be more delays.

One should not guess distances if one has only been in an area by car... I also guess my brain was impaired because I hadn't had coffee yet. Instead of 20 minutes I walked for 45 minutes - DUH... But at least, I got some exercise in, right?

So, in the morning I had to deal with mechanical problems. And in the afternoon I had to deal with athmospheric problems. Shortly before I planned to leave the office to walk to the train station, it started to pour. You'd have thought somebody opened the sky and water came just gushing out.

YIKES! I had thought about keeping a little foldable umbrella in my backpack, but of course in the state my brain usually is in the morning, I never remembered one. I don't mind walking in bad weather. I am very used to it from living in Germany for so long. But I mind having to stay soaked. Happily, one of my co-workers gave me a lift to the bus station - so I did not even have to deal with the train/bus change. I was at the bus station way early and sat on a bench knitting away when it started to rain again. AND. IT. HAILED. TOO. Holy cannoli... I hadn't been outside when it hailed in a long time. It was pretty neat sitting under a big covered area watching the rain and hail coming down. Then 2 minutes later the sun was out again...

Amazingly the bus ride was - again - only 35 minutes. I would have had a ride from hell on the highway with all the bad weather. So, all in all, I am still in love with my newly found transportation. ;-)

AH-H-H - and I wanted to show off the cutest thing I have knitted in a while.


Noah and the gnome
Noah & Mr. Gnome (reminds me of Mr. Hand - ha-ha-ha...)

Hermione and the gnome
Hermione & Mr. Gnome
(doesn't she look like she's thinking "who the hell are you"?)

Our woofmodels - as Janice calls her dogs - were very cooperative this time. Actually Noah is always good, I guess because he doesn't care much what you do as long as you don't startle him. He is still a bit skittish and we've had him now for almost 2 years - we got him in January 2005. The circumstances are enough for an entire blog entry.

And Hermione usually is a terrible woofmodel. I always feel like I have to stalk her. But I discovered that I can trick her. HAH! She loves to play with her green rubber ball, so if I hold the ball while taking a picture, she sits still because she thinks I am going to throw the ball for her. Which I do - OF COURSE after taking the pictures.

OK, time to get ready for the weekend. I am looking forward to some knitting at my Friday SNB group with wine and snacks! Have a good one!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Rapidly Transiting a Non-Rapid-Transit City

HAH - I finally found a way to pretend I still live in Europe. I took public transportation to work this morning. Now, if you live in New York City or Munich or any other big city on this planet with a great commuter train and bus system, you might say "nothing exciting about that". BUT - if you live in the North Georgia boonies and you work in Buckhead (Atlanta) and you find decent public transportation, it's a big thing. So let me tell you how it went - it even has a knitting aspect!

I drove to Discover Mills, a big shopping mall north of Atlanta (which took 15-20 minutes), and hopped on the bus. It does not make any intermediate stops and was in the city - at Lindbergh Plaza - in about 35 minutes. It would have taken me at least 50 minutes to drive there during morning rush hour (and I leave home around 6:15 am). Then I took MARTA (the local subway system) for one station. And then I walked to the office - 20-25 minutes.

So, I saved on gas, put less wear and tear on the car, got a bunch of knitting done, listened to my CD book, and I exercised, too. I was so energetic this morning at the office - I felt like a Jack Russell terrier, bouncing off the walls. Wheeeeeeeeeeee! ;-)

I — LIKE — IT!!! It reminds me very much of Europe. Public transportation over there is just fabulous - sorry you guys, but over here it sucks, especially in the Atlanta area. Well, not so much anymore, I guess.

One of my knitting friends told me that one year she knitted 11 (!) afghans when she lived in Boston and she took public transportation to work. Well, I am not an afghan person but I am looking forward to the extra knitting time. I had to try really hard not to wave at the cars driving or, rather, crawling in the lane next to the bus. Snicker...

So, while I sat on the bus I continued knitting on the Drop Stitch Shawl. Believe me, it is already a bunch bigger than this:

Triangle Shawl Progress - 0927

I have a total of ten balls – I am on ball no. 4, almost ready to start no. 5 and after the fifth ball I will decrease instead of increase to shape the triangle.

AND – I plied for the first time last night. I went to Pixie’s house for another spinning lesson. I plied the white Coopworth – and now I have 23 yards of my first 2-ply hand spun yarn. I am pretty proud...

First 2-ply yarn - White Coopworth

This is not the real color of the yarn – somehow how not using the flash made the yarn look yellow. Blecch – nobody peed on it, I promise!

First 2-ply yarn - White Coopworth

If you click on the picture for a larger view, you can see a dog hair sticking out – sigh... Not really anything without dog hair, is there?

Now I have to find a cute little pattern for a clutch or cell phone case. Needless to say, I have to knit something with that yarn.

Oh – before I forget, creative hubby named my spinning wheel. He is so good! Her name is Esmerelda – Essie for short. I guess I'll call her Es-me-REL-da when she's not cooperating the way I want her to. ;-) When I was spinning on Sunday, hubby teased me that I need a wart and a witch's hat to complete the picture. So, of course, he came up with a witch name for the wheel. ;-) (He claims a witch name for the wheel came to his mind because what it does is magical. Uh-huh.)

I am going to show off my first spinning attempts tonight at a SNB meeting. So far only Pixie and hubby have seen my efforts. Hubby’s comment: "Looks like real yarn." And he should know – I have a lot of yarn all over the house...

What Kind of Knitting Needles Are You?

Finally - a quiz for knitters. ;-) I found this on Jenny's blog:

What kind of knitting needles are you?

You are plastic. Futuristic, milky, and silky, you are willing to go where no crafter has gone before. You can do just about anything, with strength, agility, and pretty colors to boot! While you are good at slipping and sliding out of sticky situations, remember to stay where and when you are needed. Don't overdo it on star gazing when there's earthbound knitting to be done!

Take this quiz!

YES SIR - no star gazing for me.
Yeah right...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Knit, Claudia, Knit

... So you've got time to spin!!! MUAHAHAHAHA... I've gone over to the dark side now - and am looking for the cookies ;-) Where are they, Mouse? But I think I need to practice a lot more before I deserve cookies. :-)

So, I did what my spinning teacher told me. While hubby and I watched an old movie - Rio Bravo - on Sunday, I practiced pedaling my spinning wheel and knitted at the same time. NOW THAT IS MULTI-TASKING! And since I cleaned up my room, scrubbed the front porch (now it's not green anymore but bleached white) and did three loads of laudry, I allowed myself to spin some of Pixie's roving.

I filled three bobbins with the White Coopworth. It went pretty well. I was surprised how much the pedaling practice helped - but I am still a long way from good and even spun yarn. I spun the yarn on the left bobbin first, then the one in the center and then the right:

Spinning Wheel efforts - 09/24

Hubby sat with me for a while and we chatted while I spun - very relaxing. He was amused how roving turns into yarn. A simple but very creative process.

And the puppers watched, too. At some point Hermione had a sneezing fit - I think she sniffed at the roving a little too long. ;-)

Hermione watching Mommy spin Noah watching Mommy spin

After I finished all the White Coopworth, I gave the drop spindle another try and used some of the "Star" Coopworth - it's all greens and blues.

Drop Spindle Efforts - 09/24

Too bad I missed the sheep shearing at Wauka Farms last Saturday. If you want to know how it was, go to Pixie's blog. She actually filmed one of the sheep getting fleeced. Very cool!

SO, I guess I will have to rename my blog... Knitting & Spinning Without Doghair is Not an Option. I really like spinning. But that does not mean I will give up knitting - no way!

Besides the spinning and the cleaning, I also...guess what?...knitted this weekend.

I decided that I will turn my Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole into a poncho. For one thing, I think I will wear a poncho more than a stole that I have to drape around myself. And it would take much longer to knit the stole, since I have a bunch of more pressing projects. Also, I want to wear the poncho (née stole) at SAFF (which is only 31 days away - YAY!), so time is of essence. But what's new about that? This is a close-up of the pattern. I am using Debbie Bliss Aran Tweed.

Entrelac Poncho - Close-up

To make the poncho I will knit two rectangles (34x18 inches) which I'll sew together as follows and add a fringe. Pretty easy-shmeesy! ;-)

Poncho Chart

Speaking of which, here is a current update on the Christmas gift list (I actually have a spreadsheet - makes the math easier and will let me keep track of when I sent what, etc.):

12 completed
6 under way
10 more not yet started

I started one of the two back pieces for the Menorah Pillow. This is great knitting for a group outing - no more cables. Just plain old double moss stitch:

Menorah Pillow - Back Piece No. 1

I also started the "hat from hell" again - this is my third try. Now there is a thought - I should put all the trials on the spreadsheet. Or maybe not, that could be depressing... I finally found a couple of fairisle patterns I like in one of knitting pattern books.

Another try on the Hat from Hell

It looks a bit funny now - but I will fold in the bottom half (all blue). Two good reasons - you can't see the back of the fairisle and it keeps the ears extra warm. After the fairisle, I will probably add some cables for the crown of the cap.

I also started another Christmas gift - the Drop Stitch Shawl from Knitpicks. I figure I should finish this shawl in a week or so... Dangit - I am not on top of all my deadlines. But it knits up fast...thankfully.

Drop Stitch Triangle Shawl

Yarn: Knitpicks Getaway (35% Tactel, 35% Nylon, 18% Cotton, 12% Acrylic)
Color: Watermelon
Needles: US #9

It's a very soft yarn - I have used it for a shrug before.

Enough for a Monday - have a great week!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Spin, Claudia, Spin

OK - here we go... I have to make a confession. I am a WEAK woman. I stopped singing "La-la-la-la-I-can't-hear-you" and let Pixie show me how to spin. So, there. I did it and now I've told you about it.

Wanna see pictures, dontcha? I thought so...

Pixie got me started on the spinning wheel first - a Lendrum Original Spinning Wheel. First she let me pedal a while to get the feel of it. But, oh boy, I am such a spaz... Don't ask me to do different things with my hands and my feet at the same time... Then she let me try a couple of different rovings, first a Moorit English Wool Top and then a Coopworth.

First Try on the Spinning Wheel First Try on The Spinning Wheel

AND because I wanted to know everything (and needed a break from spinning on the wheel), Pixie also showed me how to spin with a drop spindle. And, again, she took pictures...

Drop Spindle - First Try Drop Spindle - First Try Drop Spindle - First Try Drop Spindle - First Try

That was a lot of fun. Pixie said I did good because I didn't drop the spindle, but it's a drop spindle (ha-ha-ha). ;-)

Soooooooooooooooooooo - guess what... Pixie's Lendrum was for sale. Not anymore... I bought it from her and asked her if she can live with the responsibility of creating a monster... Also, if she is aware that I will haunt her with all kind of questions and never-ending requests for lessons for the rest of her life.

I HAVE TO SAY - she is a wonderful teacher. She was very patient and her explanations made a lot of sense and she is very good at show & tell.

So, these are my first spinning results from the spinning wheel:

First hand spun yarn on the wheel

On the left is what I spun when I tried it for the first time. On the right is what I spun with the wheel after taking a break and trying the drop spindle.

And here is my first hand spun yarn with the drop spindle:

My first hand spun yarn on the drop spindle

So, now my head is spinning (pun fully intended). Pixie sent me home with the wheel, 6 bobbins, a Lazy Kate, and a shipload of roving. She is so generous!!!

My new toy!!!

The wheel is in pristine condition - it looks like nobody's ever touched it. But I know Pixie has been spinning with it for quite a while. I have some of her gorgeous hand spun yarn at home.

Roving - Gift from Pixie

Clockwise from upper left: Fawn Alpaca/BFL, White Coopworth, Moorit English Wool Top, Olive Green Corriedale, "Star" Coopworth, "Rainy Day" Spanish Fine

OK - I am in good shape with my Christmas knitting... That's my excuse for all this and I am sticking with it. Tho' - I feel like my own mom. I made a deal with myself that I have to clean up my crafts room this weekend. Otherwise I am not allowed to play with my new toys!!!

Have a great weekend - maybe I'll see you knitting somewhere?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Have You Heard About Knitting Projects from Hell?

No? Good for you! ;-) I am working on two at the moment - or better, I am trying to work on them... Of course both of the projects are on my Christmas gift list - so I am working on a deadline and I keep getting into trouble.

Here is the first project. I knitted the Four Corner Hat a while back and then I realized it was way too big. Naturally it was finished when I discovered this. It was about 4 inches too wide... So, I thought that I would just felt the hat and keep it for myself. Here are the before and after pictures:

Four Corner Hat - Finished Felted Four Corner Hat

I just wonder how many times I will wear this hat in Georgia? Maybe global non-warming will bring a bunch of winter days - that would be nice. I sure miss the four seasons in Germany.

Last weekend I started another fairisle hat that I had to rip because it was too small. I have to sit down and re-think the pattern this weekend. Yes, I wrote down my gauge - actually I was smart enough to measure before I ripped the second try. I'll keep you posted on future progress.

The second project from hell is a scarf - you would think scarves and hats wouldn't cause such drama. I don't know what's wrong with me... Either I don't like the pattern, or the yarn, or I am knitting a wrong size.

Remember - I started the Campus Scarf from Scarf Style and then I realized it would have way too many ends to weave in. So, I looked for another pattern. And then I didn't like the yarn anymore. So, I bought other yarn. Then I didn't like the yarn knitted as scarf... Goodness gracious... A while back I bought the Andean Silk & Andean Silk Twist Sampler from Knitpicks. I found five colors in the sampler that will make a wonderful scarf. I like it, it knits up nicely. When I am at the end of one ball, I simply start a new color:

Scarf with Flying Geese

Yarn: Andean Silk & Andean Silk Twist (55% Super Fine Alpaca, 23% Silk, 22% Merino Wool)
Colors: Lettuce, Poppy Field, Leaf, Prairie, Olive
Needles: Size US #5

And the colors really match - Andean Silk Twist picks up the greens from the Andean Silk. This is a close up of the reversible knit/purl pattern - love that for scarves. It's called "Flying Geese" and I found it in Big Book of Knitting:

Flying geese pattern

So, it seems I have the scarf problem under control and I'll take care of the hat this weekend.

I told you that I knitted a gnome at the cabin. Here is a picture of the little guy - still in pieces. I have to sew his parts together, stuff him and get PVC pellets to give him a weighted butt, so he stays in a sitting position:


At the cabin I also finished the front of the Menorah Pillow. I really like the way it knits up in the Debbie Bliss Cotton/Wool blend:

Menorah Pillow Front - Finished

The back is knitted in two pieces and has button holes and buttons made from I-cords. And then all three pieces are knitted together with an I-cord. Very intriguing.

I am going to do something new tonight - maybe I'll blog about it tomorrow ;-) or not, depending on if I like it or not. HAH - we'll see if you check back - you nosy people! ;-)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pinch Me - I Need to Wake Up!

Last weekend sure felt like a knitter's dream come true. Help me wake up, will ya?

How to describe the weekend in Pigeon Forge? This is what popped into my head:

absolutely stunningly fantastic!!!

OK, OK, OK... Here is the less abridged version...

I met Jacquie on Friday morning at 7:30 am - the sun was just coming up:

Sunrise Friday

And we got rolling. After about 4½ hours and only one wrong turn (which we figured out pretty quickly - because women ask for directions ;-)), we arrived at the cabin. Several warnings about traffic (because Pigeon Forge was hosting their major annual event that weekend - The Grand Fall Rod Run) did not come true. I guess we were lucky because we got there before noon. Other knitters were not so lucky and got badly stuck in traffic later on.

We knew that would be staying at a fabulous location - a $1½M cabin no less - but we did not know it would be like a 5-star hotel. OMG...

Here is some simply splendid sample scenic splendor for you...

Wilderness Lodge Wilderness Lodge

The house (It’s not a cabin - if this is a cabin our house is a shed!) has a fabulous interior. The owners put a lot of work into it and everything looks like out of a western. Very cool.

Decorations Decorations

I don’t care much for stuffed dead animals – I am too much a lover of living creatures – but they fit in with the rest of the house:

Dead Deer Mr. Racoon James Brown

This is the living room on the first floor:

Living Room - First Floor Living Room - First Floor

The cabin had six bedrooms, each of which had a bathroom. This is the master bedroom on the first floor which, if you can believe it, was unoccupied:

Master Bedroom - First Floor Master Bedroom - First Floor

This is one of the two bedrooms on the second floor – with a queen size bed and bunk beds – how fun:

Upstairs Bedroom Upstairs Bedroom

The second bedroom is a mirror of this one and it was already occupied, so I was nice and didn’t snoop around and take pictures. The two bedrooms were connected through a little sitting area on the balcony and also had a table for playing cards:

Upstairs Sitting Area

Jacquie and I stayed in one of the bedrooms in the basement. They are also a mirror of each other and connected through a living room with a pool table:

Downstairs Bedroom Downstairs Bedroom No. 2 Downstairs Living Room Downstairs

So, this is what we had to live in this weekend. One of the knitters said, very jokingly, that she truly had to lower her standards for this weekend – ha-ha-ha...

After we unpacked and got a tour through the town with our gracious and wonderful hosts, Leon and Sarah (the parents of the cabin owner), we settled down for some knitting. Actually, in my case not knitting but ripping. The evening before I screwed up a fairisle pattern at a SNB meeting – of course, I think I can knit that and chat and make no mistakes. Give me a new brain... So, Jacquie had to take a picture of me ripping. It sounded like it had to be documented for the afterworld because she could not imagine me ripping anything – think again Jacquie – I have done it too many times... And I am sure there is more ripping in my future... Comes with the territory – so here is pitiful me:

Ripping at the Lodge

After that, I had to take a break, so I showed Leon – yes, he is a wonderful knitter, too – and Jacquie how to do Entrelac. Then, more knitters showed up around dinner time and Sarah prepared wonderful spaghetti and salad. We had way too much food this weekend. And wine. And Sangria (made from scratch). Boy-oh-boy...

Friday Night - chatting after dinner
Jacquie and Susan

Friday Night - chatting after dinner
Daye, Leon and Sarah

Saturday morning started with a sunrise, coffee from our French press and a first get-together for breakfast. Just fabulous, what more could you want?... I’d say all but two of the group – we were 11 – were morning people.

Sunrise on Saturday

After breakfast, everybody whipped out some knitting and we settled ourselves throughout the living room and dining room:

Knitting at the Lodge
Jacquie, Leon, Nicole & Stephanie

Knitting at the Lodge
Jacquie – working on a felted purse

Knitting at the Lodge
Susan, Daye & Marilyn

We even watched knitting videos – here is a snapshot from one that showed us how to knit a toe-up-sock:

Knitting video

It was a lot of fun and very relaxing. I am always amazed how a hobby can toss together people from so many different backgrounds and everybody gets along beautifully.

Saturday afternoon, Jacquie and I – guilt-ridden as we were from all the food – went for a good walk up and down the mountain and met an adorable puppy and her mommy:

Nosy Puppy Puppy and her mommy

Later on, the puppy somehow got separated from her mom and showed up on our porch. We gave her some water, then she took a nap, mostly on my lap. I could not take my hands off of that puppy - she was soooo cute-cute-cute:

Puppy's having a drink Puppy Nap

Jacquie took some cool pictures which I have to get from her. Before dinner, we took the puppy for a ride to find the mom and their home. This was a bit tricky since, although the mom had a collar when we met her (but, of course, no tags), the puppy didn’t even have a collar. Duh – some people. So, we drove around and found somebody who knew where the puppy lived. We found the house and the mom, and talked a bit to the owner. I was pretty angry that she let the puppy get away but didn’t say anything. Especially after I heard the whole story – the woman took the mama dog in as a pregnant stray and she had a litter of ten. The woman found homes for the nine other puppies and is determined to find a good home for the last one. I would have taken the puppy home with me, but I was afraid Noah would have killed the puppy and hubby would have killed me. Since I'm not home much, he would have been stuck with all the puppy training and undoing her swath of destruction, and I know that's not fair.

So, you may ask, what have I knitted? I did knit, you know, despite all the eating and drinking. ;-) But I have no pictures of the knitting - yet... Be patient...

I finished all the pieces for the gnome. And I finished the front of the Menorah pillow. I also started on the scarf - again - but that's another story. I have two knitting projects from hell - more about that in the next post. I promise there will be more knitting pictures! SOON!

The drive home Sunday afternoon was very pleasant, and short - only 3½ hours. It was a gorgous afternoon as we drove through the Great Smoky Mountains...

Gatlinburg, TN Great Smokey Mountains - on the drive back home

... and into another sunset:

Sunset Sunday