Saturday, May 31, 2008

Yes, I am back

Jet Lag is a funny thing. Yes, I was tired when we arrived in Prague, having missed a whole night's sleep, but I recovered quickly and slept well the whole trip. Now, I have been home since Tuesday and I haven't had a decent night's sleep since leaving Paris. Mom is in worse shape than me, since she has come down with a respiratory crud, probably from being out in the cool rainy weather.

I spent last evening trying to label my photos and only got about a quarter of the way through so I will post the best soon.

We did have fun and the pace was just about right for Mom. Once we got on the River Boat, she could choose whether to stay on board or tour with the group. She did a bit of both, and she is mad that I sent her back to the ship one night in Rudesheim, Germany, instead of taking her with us to have yet another glass of wine at a weingarten! In Paris, she tired early and we cut the day touring on foot/Metro short as she was starting to come down with the crud by then.

There were several knitters aboard and it was fun encouraging them. They were very impressed with my Kauni sweater, and the fact that I took my sock knitting everywhere. I did have one disaster. In Denver International Airport as we were waiting to board (of course we had an hour and a half to wait), one of my Knitpicks harmony needletips broke completely and the rest of my knitting was packed away in my checked luggage. ARRRRRGHHHHHH! It was a 10 hour flight with no knitting at all! Boy, was I antsy the whole way. I read a little and tried to sleep, but to no avail. Once in Prague, I asked the concierge of the hotel if there were any knitting stores nearby and she directed me to a mall near old town. After wandering lost for a while, I finally stumbled upon Fillium. There I found an addi circular, different from what they sell in the states because there was a plastic cord and gold colored tips. My knowledge of metrics isn's so great but 80 cm long looked similar to the length I was using for the magic loop socks.
This is the label on the back of the needles:

There is not a single recognizable word to me on this Czech label, but at 99 Czech Korunas, it seemed like a pretty good deal. Together, with the yarn I bought, the total price on my credit card was under $20, so I guess I did ok. Most of the exchange rates in Europe were awful.

I transferred my Booby Socks to this new needle, but found that it was hard to count the pattern stitches while touring on the boat or in a bus, and put it aside til I came home. The needles are 2.5mm, slightly larger than the needle that I originally started these socks with, and I think it is working out better. I started anew and am now making some progress on it.

I was so greatful to find the addi needles in Prague, I bought some yarn as well: Fortissima Colori Socka Color yarn color 2412- a brown tweed self striping yarn and actually labeled made in the Czech Republic. I started these socks and got one whole sock done, and 7" of the top of the second sock. I used the basic sock pattern I usually use and used the knitting to practice my continental knitting. It is becoming more comfortable, but once I arrived at the heel, purling feels like I am all thumbs again.

There were a half dozen of us on the boat who scouted for knitting stores in each small town we toured. In Volkach, I bought 3 balls (100 grams) of regia sock yarn and 1 of Lana Grossa. These balls averaged under $10 per ball, so I feel I did ok again. Luckily for me and my credit card, the other stores I saw were closed when we passed by.

More to come on the trip later............

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Au Revoir

It is 11:40 pm and I just finished the shawl. I finished packing at about 2:30pm this afternoon, went to the bank, and came home and watched movies until I finished. I had planned to be done by 8 but I needed some more length. I am very pleased with the way it came out and I will look oh so glamerous in the evenings, especially in Paris! Another errand today was to find a shawl pin to wear with it and found one at a LYS.

This is the last post until I return 5/27. If I am not too jet lagged, I will post then. Off to bed now.....................

Monday, May 12, 2008

It's Crunch Time

I leave for my Europe trip in a few days and I have barely started to pack. I have a laundry basket with items I took to California a couple of weeks ago, and have done most of my laundry, but I am so confused about what weather to pack for. Definitely a raincoat, but temps have been varying from the 40's to the high 70's. So I need to pack for all possibilities. The river cruise ship is casual as are the touring outings, but what the heck does "evening casual" mean???? That is what the literature says for dining aboard the cruise ship and I have no idea. On the other hand, I will probably be the youngest person aboard the ship (there are only 120 passengers possible) so how bad can I look with my wardrobe??? I am working tomorrow, but will pack furiously on Wednesday.

I still have not finished the shawl..........arggghhhhh. Instead of posting here, I should be knitting on it. I certainly will not have time to wet block it, so I think by Thursday morning (flight is at 2:05 pm) I should be able to steam press/block it into shape. Where ever I am on it by Wed night, I will add the six rows of garter stitch and call it done.
Tragedy has struck my nest outside the bedroom window. After several days of rain, the robin has abandoned the nest. The austrian pine must not have provided enough cover to keep it dry, and I am glad mother robin found that out before she laid her eggs! I had another bout with aviary nature today. I was outside and heard major squawking nearby. I looked up and saw a hawk in the cottonwood next to our driveway. She (or he) was working hard at breaking off a small branch of the tree, and once successful, she flew off across the street into another cottonwood at a neighbor's house to her nest there. I could not photograph it as it was too far for that, but I got an old pair of binoculars and watched for quite a while as it tended that nest.
Another tulip variety
Forget me nots
Snow on the Mountain
A few more flowers are blooming in my front garden. Some are bold and some are quite subtle. I will miss the burst of growth that will happen in the next few weeks, but here are a few more shots.
Tomorrow night, I will also start to sort through yarn to see what I want to take with me on the trip. The flight from Denver to Munich is about 10 hours, plus the wait time in the airport. I have my Ipod with a couple of books, lots of Podcasts, music and a real book. I should have plenty to keep me busy. I will definitely bring the booby socks, and maybe the ball of Noro Sock yarn for basic socks.

I need to run now and get another few rows in on my shawl.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Motherhood in the Making

The shawl is growing every day. I am working on it every minute I can, and it is now about 3/4 of the way there. The mistakes don't show and I am just keeping on keeping on.

My trip is one week away now and time is running short. We have all the travel documents, cashed in my mad money coin jug to a tune of $185!! I was shocked how much was stashed there. Maybe that means I can go yarn shopping if I find any shops. I called the credit card companys to let them know I would be overseas and not to shut me off. Did laundry and all that is left is to start the packing. get me charged up.

Outside my bedroom window I have a great view of motherhood in the making. How appropriate a few days before Mother's Day. In the pine tree, a robin has been building a nest about 6 feet from my window. Daily she has been adding fiber and wiggling around to smooth and round out the bottom. No eggs have been laid yet, but I am watching daily. Hope they are laid before I leave next week.
Today, some finches approached while the robin was away gathering and they began to steal some fiber from the nest. The robin came back and stood guard and then continued her shaping of the inside.

The photos a a little blurry because it is a gray day and I am photographing through a screen. More to come as nature takes it course outside my window.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Spring comes and goes and comes again!

This week we had 80 degrees and we had snow- again. I certainly hope it is for the last time because I have had enough. It seems that every time it is warm enough to put the top down on my little Miata, it snows the next day... ggggrrrrr. At least I fertilized the lawn just before the snow.
Anyway, my garden is springing to life. My bulbs this year are pretty scarce and I better plant some more this fall. Blooming this week was a single daffodil,

some tulips

and some grape hyacinths.
This week I finally plyed my first bit of hand spun. The photo on the left is single ply and my first efforts. On the right is two ply, still a bit thick and thin, but getting better. It was all I could do not to go find some more roving to keep going. I know I will be in big trouble financially when I go to the Estes Park Wool festival in June.
Have about 40 inches done on the shawl now and not quite sure how long it should be in the end. Any ideas?

A special day today as I took Mom out for a birthday lunch at Le Central. She turns 81 and looks great and feels great. We are both getting excited about our trip coming up in 10 more days. Unbelievable, the time is near!