Autumn 2013

Autumn 2013

Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer of Love

Hello, everybody, and welcome! Welcome back, if you’ve been here before :o)

I hope you’ve had a good week; mine has been quite full. So much is going on these days! We have had summer: glorious sunshine, hot days (yeah, I know, not 40 degrees, but hot for these parts) and a cloudless sky. My lavenders and butterfly-bush are full of bees and butterflies, the privet hedges are in fragrant bloom (well, they were until a few days ago), and life is good.
I have been knitting, got a new car, went to a wedding, held a pre-birthday dinner for my youngest – and the Games are afoot! So, lots to talk about, let’s get started.

This is embarrassing ... I didn’t finish my wedding shawl in time for the wedding. This is what happened:
As you probably have guessed ages ago, my Secret Gift Knitting is a wedding present. I made the Veil of Isis by BadCat Designs, renaming it Iris after the Greek goddess of the rainbow, because I made it in the Kauni yarn.
Anyway, Friday evening I got to where I wanted to start the edge – and realised that it was 31 rows, of more than 800 stitches each, and that I would have to more or less knit all weekend to get it done in time.
So I knitted furiously all day Sunday to finish the wedding blanket; I had to put plasters on several fingers against the chafing. My left forefinger, where the yarn goes across it, and on the inside where the tip of the right needle rubs at it, even though it is calloused. The tip of my right forefinger that got an actual hole in it from pushing against the tip of the left needle (pointy bloody KnitPros), and my right ring finger where the back end of the needle rubs against it. By Sunday afternoon, I was getting pretty bored with this pattern; and by Sunday evening, I loathed it.
I got up Monday morning, re-plastered my fingers, and got to work on the last five rows. Finally, the end was in sight ... and then came the stretchy bind-off, that took me an hour and a half. Really. 
And I had to hurry up and finish it, take a few pics, throw it in water to soak 

– because we were going to collect the new car. And, of course, because the blanket needed time to dry afterwards, so that I could wrap it by Tuesday afternoon.

Remind me never to knit two big projects simultaneously EVER again. Please. If I utter any plans to that effect, just shoot me. It is too close to monogamous knitting, and I get immensely frustrated over not finishing anything for a long time. Don't get me wrong, I love the result :o)

So I didn’t finish the shawl. Embarrassing, since I had notified the world (heh) that I would, and that I was going to wear it for the wedding. But, hey, I am only human, and anyway, it was 25 degrees. Celsius. I did not need a great big woollen shawl.
I am considering getting some more of the purple yarn for it instead of doing the edge in blue. That way, it will be easier to match to different dresses; and it can be my Christmas shawl. Usually, I remember in December that I would like to knit something pretty and Christmassy to wear, and, well, you know, by that time it is simply too late. So I decide to remember in October the next year, and ... I’ve done that several times. But this year, people, this year I have a chance of pulling the Christmas wear off. Maybe I should order that purple yarn now to have it ready for – well, after the Ravellenic Games. And Laura’s birthday dress.

And I have my ‘new’ Mondeo! Is it weird to squee over a car? I’m really happy with it, though, not least the fact that it’s blue. I like blue, and the dark blue is classy & stylish. Added to that, it’s TARDIS-coloured :o)
It’s (even) bigger on the inside giggle
I am going to Copenhagen next week with my two youngest boys; this time, we are driving. We have a car that will go the distance, and train tickets are ridiculously expensive. I calculated the cost of petrol + bridge toll compared to three train tickets (two adults and a child), and we are driving. It will, of course, cut into my knitting time; but I can work around that.

Apple of the Week: The Summer of Love

So, my friend Aviâja got married. I’ve known her for more than 20 years, ever since we went to university together. That was really a long time ago, come to think of it.
She has had some rough patches in her life – no, that’s not fair: she has been through tremendous hardships and has overcome them all. Aviâja is a wonderful woman, warm, giving, caring; and now she has married a lovely man, who takes care of her in the way she deserves.
Hans is from Holland. So this marriage is not only two different persons coming together, which can be difficult enough; they come from different countries, cultures, and languages. Hans has moved to Denmark, and the wedding was held in the home town of the bride, as is Danish custom. His family – parents, brother, three sisters, in-laws, nephews & nieces – and friends travelled a long way to be there and to celebrate.
The wedding was lovely: great weather, beautiful church, nice speech by the minister about crossing borders (in English so everybody could understand it); great party with great people.

Dutch and Danish are NOT the same, but a lot of things are very similar. Most of the chatter was in English, but there was a general agreement that our two languages are not that far apart. In my experience, if you know Danish, German, and English, you can read Dutch; and the Dutch said the same: if you know Dutch, German, and English (which they do), you can read Danish. Pronouncing what you read is another matter entirely, though. That was fun :o)
And the similarities in language correspond well with the similarities in culture.

Anyway, this day really brought home the importance of love in a broad sense: generosity, inclusion, willingness to cross borders and try to communicate with someone outside your own daily circles. It may – and often will – take some imagination and flexibility to understand what the other person is telling you, but if you make the effort, you can open a door to a whole new world.

The endeavour towards understanding and a sense of fellowship across cultures and nations is of course central to the Olympic Games ... As everybody knows, the games opened Friday evening in London; 9 pm local time, 10 pm here.
I have mentioned the Ravellenic Games: I am part of two teams in this context, Team TARDIS for fans of Doctor Who, and Team Knit1Geek2 for fans of the eponymous podcast and geekery in general – including Doctor Who :o)

Competing for Team TARDIS I have two projects: a TARDIS shawl
This shawl has an almost triangular section, knitted sideways from tip to tip, with a lace Time Vortex pattern. Then you pick up stitches along the curved edge and knit down a row of TARDISes, ending with a rib edge.
Bigger On The Inside: Time Vortex increase section

and a stuffed mini-TARDIS.
This is the bottom and a bit of the top: a stocking stitch square in one colour was what I had the brains for Friday night from 10 pm, when it was time to cast on during the opening show. 

For Team Knit1Geek2 I am knitting a silk top in a lacy laurel leaf pattern, named Pythia after Apollo’s priestess in Delphi (but you know about her, don’t you? At least if you’ve been here before.).

This is how far I am right now.

My challenge is to finish all three projects by the evening of Sunday 12th August, when the official games close. 
And to do the colour work on the plush TARDIS: I usually let the yarn do the work for me :o) 
And to design the Pythia top. 
And to do the beads on the shawl; I’m using beads instead of bobbles for the TARDIS lights.

Speaking of TARDISes, today is Victor’s birthday: he is 14 now (my youngest! – what happened to all those years?), and he wanted a TARDIS cake. 

So I made a chocolate cake,

cut it into six pieces to layer with fresh apple purée in between – really fresh: we picked the apples at my parents’ place today –

kneaded blue colour into a slab of marzipan,

rolled it flat and cut sheets to cover the top and sides.

I used sugar icing to make the light white, as glue for the panels, and for ‘writing’.

Well, it did turn out rather squat, and I learned several things for next (!) time; but all in all, everybody was rather happy with it. Thomas was the first to mention the next time, and Victor looked up all the Doctors’ birthdays to find reasons for TARDIS cakes :o)

That’s all for now – I need to get back to my knitting :o)
Thank you very much for stopping by, I hope to see you again soon!
I’ll be back with updates on the Ravellenic projects later this week, and until then:

Happy knitting!

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