Autumn 2013

Autumn 2013

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Countrywide knitting

Hello, everybody, and welcome to the Apple Basket! This week, we have a lot of travelling to various events, and a lot of knitting related goings-on.
The book talk will be left for next week; I have quite a lot of that, too.

Let’s begin with last weekend’s outing to Copenhagen: we went along five people; Andreas had decided not to join us, but instead stay at home in peace & quiet with the cat.
So, we all piled into my dad’s car and started off late Saturday morning; in the afternoon, we spent about an hour at a Viking fortress called Trelleborg, one of the fortified towns and gathering sites built by Harold Bluetooth in the 10th century CE. There were several enactment people still there, when we arrived, around the copies of Viking houses in a sort of mini village; a couple of men practising sword & axe fighting and children gambolling under the watchful eyes of their mothers.
The reconstruction of a longhouse

View from the ramparts

Sheep now inhabit the longhouses

The fortress was built in a triangular area where two streams converge, so that it could only be attacked from one side, the one where they had dug a moat. Very helpful, right? Round in shape, with 16 longhouses inside the walls and 8 or 10 on the outside, this was a gathering place for men from around the countryside to man the fleets going to, say, England.
The lower parts of the ramparts are still there after 1,000 years; the longhouses are gone, of course, but the outlines of them are marked with stones, and a copy sits outside the area proper. We climbed the ramparts, imagining doing this fully armed while men at the top poke at you with pointy sticks. Not fun. Very well made.

Having declared proper camping to much hassle for one night – and the weather was not to be predicted, anyway – we stayed in camping cabins at a site in Rødovre; my parents in one cabin, and the boys and I grabbed cabin no. 42 – of course. And cute little cabins they are, newish and neat, with just enough room for three or even four; a bedroom literally the width of the double bed (you climb in and out at the foot of the bed), and up a ladder an open loft with another double bed.
After settling in, we drove into town to eat and watch the life, and ended up shopping and coming back to the campsite for a late dessert instead of going to a cafe: across the street from the restaurant (we sat outside) had been a street musician butchering show tunes on a clarinet accompanied by tinned rhythms from an electric piano – so our ears did not need any more background noise.

There was a festive mood in the city on Sunday: the sunshine was warm, everywhere were trees greening and blossoming, daffodils and tulips in colourful bloom, and from buses and official buildings flags were flying in celebration of the anniversary of the end of the German Occupation in 1945. Added to this were banners proclaiming the 200th birthday of the renowned thinker and theologian Søren Kierkegaard; and on all of the stages in Tivoli young musicians were playing. So, happy times all around.

After cleaning out the cabins, we drove into town and managed to find a free parking spot – brilliant. We wanted to go to Tøjhusmuseet, the Arsenal Museum (arsenal as in weapons storage, nothing to do with football), where they now have actual tableaus instead of just rows upon rows of weapons, including a partial model of Camp Bastion in Afghanistan. But they didn’t open until 12 o’clock (though the website had said 10); so we trudged on and came to Glyptoteket instead, right across the street from Tivoli. This was built by the brewer Carl Jacobsen, father of Carlsberg, to house his collections of objects stolen rescued brought home from Greece, Rome, and Egypt; a brilliant place to visit for a classicist (me) or someone who has just been to Egypt (my parents), or anyone interested in art and antiquity (there is a modern collection, as well, which I haven’t seen yet). Entrance is free on Sundays, so we just went in, spent the hour we had, and left again to go to Tivoli.
The guitar group met at 12.30 and then were free until 3.30; after lunch, my dad and Thomas decided to go to Tøjhusmuseet after all, and Victor met up with the other guitar boys, while my mum and I discussed children, family members and other people over hot chocolate. Very traditional, but everybody was happy with the arrangement. 
We met up again for the concert in Glassalen, and then headed home. Not too many people were there, sad to say: those who were happy to just catch random performances were kept outdoors by the lovely weather; so only relatives and other really interested audience were present. But they played well, as always – says the completely unbiased reviewer ... But they do, actually. Very well.

Victor in the middle (more to the right in this picture)
- and to the left in this one.

So, all in all, we got quite a lot from the weekend: Vikings and weapons, classical art and classical music, camping grounds and Tivoli gardens, road trip and city life.

Spring this year has behaved like a very strange lover, distant and reserved, almost hostile, for a long time – and then all of a sudden turning around and saying ‘Let’s get married! Right now!’ And then, when you don’t answer at once, retreating once again into brooding and sulks. Reminds me of Rochester (Jane Eyre reference: if you don’t get it, read the book. Or listen at CraftLit or JustTheBooks.).
And this Wednesday, we had our first thunderstorm of the season.
The day opened with gentle rain that drew back during the afternoon, leaving a humid and heavy sunshine; and then, in the early evening, it all came back – and more.
The cloud cover took on a greenish tinge, flashing to purple behind the white streaks across the sky. Thunder cracked and rolled overhead, making a mockery of the traditional counting to assess distance, when several lightning flashes cut over one continuous rumbling. Rain beat down, steaming off roads and roofs, spilling over gutters, and occasionally giving way to hail.
The cat was not amused.
But the air was cleansed and afterwards smelled deliciously fresh, everything being newly washed.

I was in Skive the other day and finally got a chance to check out a LYS, Duddine. That took some self-discipline: among many other lovely yarns, she has Manos del Uruguay ... luckily, I had no inkling of what to use it for, so I managed to not buy any – yet. But now I know it’s there, within reach (and I am quietly contemplating what could be done with this yarn, particularly the purple-blue-green-white colourway ...).
I did get me some tools, though, as this LYS does not reject on principle the things that the owner doesn’t want to use, like 2 mm dpns (not mentioning any names here, again; but the lady working at Duddine knew who I was talking about, and had quite a story of her own to tell).
When she saw the wooden KnitPros I had found, she showed me the KnitPro Karbonz – another thing I have seen on Ravelry but not in person till now. So, now I have me a set of 2 mm carbon fibre dpns; they are light and stronger than wood, so this is quite exciting. I am trying them out on the striped socks; there is a slight – not catch, exactly, but feel of where the metal tips join the carbon stick, which takes a little getting used to in a straight needle. In circulars, of course, there are joins, and that is how it is; this is just slightly different. But they are very comfortable in my hands, and the tips are nice and pointy. And I feel that I can trust them not to snap – this may be in part a placebo effect from knowing that they come in 1.5 mm, as well, which cannot be done in wood: if carbon needles that thin can survive, then mine can, too.

And more yarn shopping: yesterday, my sister and I went to the Wool Festival in Saltum, a small town in Northern Jutland. I drove up the motorway, left my car at a parking lot for car poolers near where my sister lives, and we went on together (there is a point to this, so bear with me).

The festival in Saltum sits in the town centre, quite differently from the Craft Fair in Viborg in September, which is placed in two big stadium buildings outside the main streets. Here were two large party tents with stalls for yarn, wool, finished products, ceramics (bowls and buttons, mostly), beads, more yarn, spindles – did I mention yarn? And the LYS in the middle of the high street was open, of course.
How to catch a sheep by the leg

One of the tents; my sister in her blue cape 

Bindestuen across the street
So, we watched a sheepdog at work, browsed, fondled, admired, shoved through crowds, picnicked outdoors with latte and a packed lunch, browsed some more, and shopped.
I found the buttons for my Comfort Of A Friend shawl, new yarn for the upcoming jumper for Victor (I had found some in my stash, but didn’t really love the colour, a slightly dull blue), yarn for Jane’sUbiquitous Shawl (so I can actually start it while the book is still running on CraftLit), and some sock yarn – and I managed not to buy more than I could afford.
The yarn for Victor is a heavy fingering weight sock yarn from Bindestuen, the LYS in Saltum. Bindestue is an old Danish word for a room to sit and knit (or crochet) and so a rather appropriate name for a LYS, I think. The yarn is lovely, soft and surprisingly inexpensive; I added it to the Ravelry database as Bindestuen Strømpegarn, so now it’s there, too.
For the Jane shawl, both my sister and I chose Samarkand from Garn Garagen, in lamb’s wool and silk – so soft. And again, surprisingly inexpensive. This is a very light fingering weight, 575 metres per 100 grams; I got the colourway 42 (!), a nearly black charcoal that Jane herself would endorse (read the book).

The weather held up nicely, and all was fine.
On the drive back towards the motorway, the car (that had just got a new engine) suddenly decided that its battery needed charging. That was a bit odd, and then it began asking for checks of the brake systems, the ABS, the 4WD, &c. When the steering wheel started to become unresponsive in the middle of the motorway, my sister quickly pulled in towards a rest stop; we made it onto the drive leading in to the parking area, before the car gave up and simply stopped.
That gave us nearly an hour of uninterrupted knitting (Wingspan for me, Georgia for my sister) and talking time, before we were picked up and taken to the place where my car was waiting; I drove my sister home, said hello to the kids, and drove home to my own. So, getting home took me 3½ hours instead of 1½, but no harm done. We had our festival experience, we got off the motorway without crashing or stopping in the middle of everything, and we had our knitting for the wait.
And I suppose the car will be fixed – again.

The Knitting
Since my dad was driving to Copenhagen and back (he prefers it that way, and it was his car), I for once got some knitting done on the road: I had brought my bamboo Wingspan to get a good start on it, and I did. This is great travel knitting, nearly mindless, being garter and all, but not so boring that you fall asleep. And it isn’t that big – or mine isn’t, anyway, so I could stuff it in my bag and drag it out whenever.

My hubristic ‘I have to stretch the Comfort Shawl project to match the KAL timeline’ statement a few weeks ago has been put to shame, obviously, by the amount of socks I have been starting – and finishing, in the case of Fosco – and the Wingspan and ... But I will make it. Week 5 will end on Monday (tomorrow!), and I have been working on the straps this week, so now I just need to weave in the last ends and sew in the buttons. I can finish the whole thing within the limit. Not that it would matter if I didn’t: the Knitting Police tend to overlook transgressions of KAL deadlines.

But I need to finish something: the problem with casting on lots of shiny new things is the lack of that sense of satisfaction with finishing a project. Besides, I have been doing quite a bit of frogging and starting over lately. So, finishing it is. Before I cast on more shiny new projects with my lovely new yarns, tempting though that may be.

Bulging heel - ugh!

Shaped sole - fun!
My Simple Striped Stocking Stitch Socks are turning out to be quite a fun project; the stripes are determined by stash availability, but that is working out fine. The arch shaping is great and led me onto serious three-dimensional geometric considerations, when I got to the heel: on the sole, the centre stitch between the increases is lifted into a reverse V pointing towards the heel – so how to shape the heel? I figured it out, finally, feeling quite proud of myself; and then, after 3 or 4 stripes up the leg, the heel made a weird bulge when I put it on. Hmm. And I wasn’t too happy with the toe, either, so I frogged the whole thing and started over, having, of course, made copious notes and taken pics of the offending heel bulge. I think I know how to fix it. More on this later.

As for the other two ongoing sock projects, I haven’t any news, as the stripey ones have been claiming my attention this week.

In Tivoli, they have several shops with mostly hugely expensive Danish Design stuff, including a Bodum shop; the large model of the famous French Press® is getting a new colour lid, so the old ones were obviously on sale. I mean, who would ever want to buy a coffee maker with an old style lid at full price? So, we bought one each, my mum and I, and now I am knitting cafetière cozies in two sizes, in bulky wool from my stash. More garter stitch, for a stable shape and added thickness, and stripes for a bit of interest.
A warm coat for the coffee pot

As I mentioned last Friday, I released the pattern for the Samwise cabled hoodie that I had made for Emil’s second birthday. And lo and behold, within a couple of hours there were very nice comments and wishes for adult sizes. My thoughts ran along the lines of ‘Wow – they like it! Adult sizes? All those calculations? No way.’
And then I went off to make dinner. During which, part of my mind snuck off to run a little discussion: ‘Adult sizes would have to be done in another, heavier yarn, otherwise there would be a gazillion stitches and the cables would be too small for the whole garment, something crisp with a good stitch definition, maybe the Peruvian Highland Wool, I’ll have to check which colours that comes in, maybe a muted purple, or should I go with blue this time, or green, for of course I would make one for me, it’s not as if I would mind a hoodie and it would be most appropriate in women’s sizes anyway, I could do some waist shaping along the side panels, and the name for it would have something to do with Sam’s parents, I wonder what his mother’s name is ...’
So it goes; at some point this year, it seems there will be a cabled hoodie for women coming out. Named after Sam Gamgee’s mother, Bell.

And that’s about it for this week; this afternoon, my mum and Victor and I are going to a guitar concert at Ulstrup Castle. Some of the Academy students that Victor met back in February for Wayne Siegel’s birthday concert will be playing, so that should be good. And I can bring the Wingspan and get another triangle or two done.

So, have a wonderful week, and I will get back to you with more knitting and a bunch of books!

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