16 October 2008


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23 September 2008

Our Heater Control Looks Like the Hadron Collider

I hear that most of the world (well, at least the parts I used to live in) is at about 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit right now. Lucky bastards. Is this how it always was and I just don't remember it?

Well, we have been freezing here. It has been in the 50's, which isn't too bad, but when your heater isn't working and you have thick-ass cement walls, your flat kinda goes into hibernation and begins to get colder. Pretty soon, hubbo and I were wearing sweaters and hats in the house wondering at what point we would see our breath.

At the end of last winter I made sure to not permanently turn off the heat because I knew I would not remember how to turn it on again come this year. I mean, look at this thing: I am scared to touch a single button on it. I swear one must control that Hadron Collider in Switzerland.
So I get the help of our neighbors, the Klauss's, upstairs. We surmise the problem is that there is no water in the boiler (see the round gauge at the left--it was at zero). Long story short, we fill it up to get pressure, next morning water is all over our floor, but now it is fixed. Turns out two knobs were kaputt so they were replaced. Oy vey.

But now we are toasty warm. I explained to Herr Huhn that I am always cold and could he please program that thing (see above) to be as warm as humanly possible, which he did. It only took pressing of about 7 buttons and turning 2 knobs to do it. Only.

But the impending winter inside the flat got me cracking on some socks that have taken me too long to finish. I bought this sock yarn a long time ago at Stitch DC (Capitol Hill) in Washington, DC, where we used to live before coming to Germany. It's Lana Grossa Meilenweit Mega Boots Stretch. I knit them up on US 2 dpns--the pattern is mine. I've made so many socks now that I don't even bother with a pattern unless I'm looking for a special stitch. They are started from the toe with a middle eastern cast on (see Anna Zilboorg's Fancy Feet) and knit with a 3x1 knit/purl ribbing till about two inches from the heel. From there I did a short row heel and then continued up the leg with the established ribbing and finished up with a hemmed top of all stockinette stitch for ten rows, one row of purl for the fold line, then another ten rows of stockinette, did a bind off, and baste stitched the edge down for a sturdy edge. Oh, and I also increased four stitches as I approached the calf (I did this in the knit section of the ribbing) so it wouldn't be so tight. All in all a very comfortable knit, and I still have a good chunk of yarn leftover from the ball.

I also started a Finnish lace pattern called Revontuli, meaning "Northern Lights". Several people on Ravelry have used Kauni, a Danish yarn, for this, and I had enough in my stash to try this. A few months ago I bought some Kauni at a LYS in Nusssloch and so this was my first time to use it. It's a very rough wool initially, and seems to have a lot of lanolin in it (unless it's oil from being spun?). I suspect that it's lanolin, though, and it makes my hands soft as I knit it. As with all lace, it'[s looks like a clump of dump now, but when I block it I'm sure it will turn out beautiful. The Finnish patterns on Ravelry are so impressive.

I'm also knitting a Finnish sweater...for the second time. First time I didn't trust my gauge (a theme of mine lately) so I frogged it). Now I am on the second go and I noticed a mistake in the garter yoke section...arrrgh..so I think I'll try fixing each stitch by dropping it and using a crochet hook to turn it around. I am so pissed about that.

Finally, my friend, Sara, who I was in the Peace Corps with, is coming to visit us tomorrow and she is staying for a month. Yay! We'll hang out here in Heidelberg for the rest of this week and then Monday we are off to Munich for Oktoberfest, then Salzburg, Austria.

25 August 2008

Baby Bamboo Wraplan

Baby Bamboo Wraplan
Originally uploaded by heidelblog
Knit in Snuggly Baby Bamboo (2 balls--I think I had 6 inches left), and based on the pattern "Offset Wraplan".

This pic is post-blocking, pre-buttoning. Now I just have to find the perfect buttons. Thanks to some info my friend, Siga, picked up when we went to the local LYS, there is a great shop up the street that sells loads of buttons. I should definitely be able to find some buttons for this baby sweater there.

05 August 2008

Dining at the Fascist Cafe

After buying some discounted Angora over at Stikkestek, Hubbo and I decided to get a snack and a beer at a local cafe down the block. So we go in, sit down, and the waitress comes over to us (no menu or anything) and asks us what we would like (this always amazes me, as if I am a psychic as to what they offer).

We ask, "Do you have any food?"

Waitress: " We have spaghetti, croque monsieur, hot dog and pizza baguette. But you must drink."

Me: "Ok, we'll have two beers."

Hubbo asks me what the heck she said (she had a thick accent) so I repeated it back to him.

Hubbo: "What the hell is a croque monsieur?"

Me: "It's a grilled cheese." I learned this from watching Julia Child.

So we laughed a little bit on the fact that they were serving a kiddies menu at this bar and forcing us to drink beer (not that we had a problem with this last bit). I was kinda hoping the menu would be something like mussels, frites, waffles and chocolates, but no, apparently, off the tourist track the fare at Belgian pubs in Bruges is the kiddies menu with beer. What the heck is up with that? Is this really true?

Speaking of beer, drinking beer outside of Germany can often be a letdown. Here, you get half-liter tall glasses of wonderful stuff. It really is good. When we went to Spain, the alcohol content was low, and the glasses so small my first thought was that the waiter was serving us a sample and I was about to go off on him for ripping us off. In Bruges, however, beer was certainly a treat. Not any of the mega-quantities that you get in Germany, but the quality was high and you should drink plenty of it if you ever happen to go to Belgium.

As for the kiddies menu, if you are ever looking to go off the beaten path, let a menu like that be your guide. Land on something like that and you are truly away from the tourists.

04 August 2008

Frogging is Good For The Soul?

I can just hear my friend, Julie, saying "It's about time you blogged something." So here it is, my dear.

So I finished the body of my February Lady Sweater, which I posted in a previous entry, and as I suspected it is way to big for my body (and I even knitted the small!). Oh well, no matter. With all the lace I have been knitting lately, worsted weight yarn feels like fat-arse rope so I am fine with frogging it out and reknitting it with some modifications that I read about on the FLS thread on Ravelry.

My bus and S-Bahn knitting is the ever-lovely Anne Hanson Lighthouse Gansey Sock which was posted in Knitty some seasons ago. I'm knitting it with Louet Gems fingering weight in colorway Indigo on US 1's. The pattern is originally meant to be knit with a heavier weight yarn for a man, but you can make it for a woman's foot using smaller needles and lighter weight yarn.
For a history of ganseys, or guernseys, see this entry.

I also finished the Fiddlehead Scarf, also an Anne Hanson design, and wore it to Bruges, Belgium this past weekend. Hubbo took me there for my birthday. Did you know Bruges is a UN World Heritage Site? The whole town seems to be surrounded by a double moat. We went to Choco-Story, which is a museum dedicated to, you guessed it, the chocolate trade. But best of all was the brewery tour at De Halve Maan (The Half Moon). For 10 Euros you got a tour of their brewery and a beer afterwards. Not only did we learn a lot, but the beer was incredible. If you ever find yourself going to Bruges, I would skip Choco-Story (which is not worth the 6 Euros at all) and do the brewery tour.

For yarnies, I did find a yarn shop in Bruges, called Stikkestek. You can go to Knitmap.com and enter in Bruges, Belgium for the info. I did manage to pick up some discounted Angora and some neat buttons, but on the whole I was not impressed. The stock they carried was mostly what I can get in Germany, plus some Rowan.

One place that was a wonderful surprise in the yarn department, though, was right near De Halve Maan (hey nothing like good beer + yarn) called "Couture Marie Brat". From the outside of the shop it looks like they sell shawls and tapestries, but in one corner I saw a skein hanging near a knitted hat. I went inside and there was an old man sewing something. I saw to his right a box full of local yarn (score!). Turns out the yarn is from Belgian sheep near the coast, and he had it in all colors. I picked up two 100-g skeins--one in blue and another in green to make some mittens. Here's the address for this place:

Couture Marie Brat
Walstraat 12, Bruges 8000
Tel: 050/33.18.76

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