Monday, April 6, 2015

Terrible Internet

This post was about most of Saturday's activities. The Internet was terribly slow, and I got behind on my trip posts.

First, we must stay on topic: there are all sorts of great shops where wonderful traditional knitted outfits may be purchased in Salzburg. I had a great time looking, but no knitting or purchasing happened at this time. Win!

First I give you, some cheese: the fountain in the Mirabell Gardens that were featured in The Sound of Music.

And the stairs where Do-Re-Mi happened. We have listened to the sound track of The Sound of Music about three times in our bus already. We are ready for something new. 

This is where Herbert von Karajan lived growing up. This beautiful house overlooks the Salzach River.

On the bridge over the Salzach looking into the old town and at the fortress. All the locks on the bridge are out there by couples who wish their relationship to last forever. You lock the lock to the bridge and then throw away the key into the river. Surely, you will not break up if you can't unlock your lock on the bridge...

The open air market had many delicious and beautiful items for sale. I thought the flowers were especially pretty.

The side of the cathedral as seen from inside the cemetery. Mozart's sister is buried here. This cemetery also shows up in The Sound of Music.

The view from the Festung Hohensalzburg, the fortress overlooking the city.

This is where Mozart was born! Great museum inside was worth the time to explore.

We had dinner in the oldest restaurant in Europe. Apparently Charlemagne dined here on a visit around the time this establishment opened. Yes, the date in the plaque is 803.

The dessert was a delicious half frozen vanilla mousse with cocoa Mozart and a treble clef on the side. Delicious and charming, though perhaps not in that order!

I am technically a day behind due to poor Internet service, as mentioned previously. Today we went to the Salt Mines near Salzburg, visited the Melk Abbey, where we also had a short Easter service just for our group, and then drove the enormously long way to Vienna, where we enjoyed a concert at the Musikverein, that many of us know from watching the New Year's Concert. I will load pictures and brief descriptions tomorrow. 

I leave you with this funny picture and wish you a Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Spring Break Knitting

Spring Break started yesterday, and what better way to launch it but to start with a skein of yarn...

I got it into a massive snarl that took my a long time to translate into this ball of yarn. Once I was comfortably seated on the airplane, Totoro was helping me design my new hand warmers. Yup, it's April and I haven't given up on my dream of some warm mitts.

Salt pretzel with butter...

Wait, where are we here? Well... Let me show you around Munich for a while. 
Coming up on the "Magnificent Mile" shopping district equivalent of Munich. All the fancy pants stores you can imagine, beginning with Gucci on the corner. 

The cathedral lurking behind a park. Most of these pictures are taken out of a bus window, so they are a little sketchy on many fronts.

Part of our group in front of the Rathaus. 

The Center of Justice is housed in an amazing building.

An example of Greek architecture one of Bavaria's former rulers was obsessed with reproducing at home.

Lady Bavaria, a statue in the style of the Statue of Liberty. She was built first as a test model, and yes, you CAN climb into her head!

The Olympic tower and facility.

BMW headquarters and museum.

A view from our rest stop en route to Salzburg. "The hills are alive..." OK, I'll stop now. We listened to the Sound of Music soundtrack on the bus already. 

Chiemsee, a large lake in the region.

One of those iconic Bavarian churches with the onion tower.

After a delicious meal at the Imlauer Biergarten, (no beer for us chaperones-boohoo!) we are all super tired from traveling and socializing. Time to get some sleep. Zzzzz...

Tomorrow we will do a walking tour of Salzburg, most likely in the rain. Hooray for Spring Break knitting! 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Itching to Garden

A few winter aconites have graced our brown garden beds already, but I was really looking forward to getting my hands dirty before too long.

Last weekend I couldn't stand it any longer, so on a visit to Lowe's, I picked up a dozen broccoli plants and some pre-started spinach.

In no time, I had a garden bed prepared and all the plants tucked into their new earthen home. The weather forecast predicted temps in the teens (the forecast did not disappoint), so I threw a few layers of garden cloth over everything to keep them snug.

Yesterday I saw the first crocus clump in the garden.

My knit pig keeps going on journeys throughout the house. After he was found in a decorative basket of knit eggs, I couldn't resist this tableau.

Unfortunately all this chilly weather is still making me crave some new mitts. That is certainly the surest sign that spring is right around the corner, right?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Spring Chicken

While the age of our chickens may not be the youngest any more, they seem to be harbingers of Spring. 

Heinrich laid her first egg today. Bright weather and warmth must be close behind! Cluck, cluck!!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Darned Mittens!

No, I'm not using profanity; I just fixed the poor thumbs of my  Woodruff Mittens with a darning needle and leftover yarn. The mitts are my favorite hand warmers this season, and with impending cold weather on the horizon AGAIN, it was time for fast action.

And fast action it was. I took care of the problem on the ride to and from the gym today. Don't worry, I had a chauffeur! The one on the right was practically disintegrating, so it got pulled a little tightly into a small knot. Oopsy... The other one I took a little more care with, so it was more successful.

Bring on the wind chills. I am ready for those gusty breezes!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Slow Progress

My resolution to ride the stationary bike and knit is not going well. However, there is some occasional work being done on the Trigere pattern. I think I might have to start setting a deadline to push to the finish finally. Warm weather is due to return sometime this year in spite of the bitter frostiness we are currently experiencing. 

Maybe I'll knit some mitts first...

Saturday, January 31, 2015

THAT Craft Show Kid...

To say that I grew up in a Renaissance Family might be an understatement. My father is an artist with many interests: 

Wood carving

Landscape Painting in oils

Instrument Building

My mother has equally diverse and amazing gifts in the crafting department:

Sewing and quilting (more on quilting in a later post)

Straw Art. 

Yes, those ornaments are made out of STRAW that was soaked, split, and ironed flat before being divided into strips, woven together and then clipped with scissors at the ends. She also made greeting cards with differently shaped flat pieces that were glued onto paper, and decorated colored eggs with straw. Amazingly tedious, yet beautiful.

We often hit the road with our parents to help them display their wares at various craft, wood carving, and art shows. A hands down favorite destination was the Bucyrus Bratwurst Festival. As you may guess, it was quite the German affair, replete with the afore mentioned bratwurst, beer, and plenty of people wearing Drindlkleider and Lederhosen. If you were part of the craft show, German dress was required. In spite of the fact that I had a great dirndl that I wore for several years, no pictures of me in it have been unearthed. Too bad; I looked pretty cute in it with my long braids that won the pigtail contest one year!

The amazing thing about this particular craft show was that each crafter had a hand-picked unique talent, and no two tables had the same items for sale. In addition, it was required that the crafters actually practice and demonstrate their craft for the visitors. There were lots of people who asked questions and were invited to try alongside the experts. This was a smart practice, because many visitors were then inspired to purchase something afterwards. My brothers and I were all over this, and we learned a lot of cool crafts from the others over the course of the years that we attended. I have fond memories of weaving baskets (basket still around somewhere, but lost in a box), rug hooking, doll house furniture making, rug weaving, intarsia wood pictures (one of my brothers excelled at this), wood carving, lace making, etc. But my absolute favorite was Mrs. Straw and her spinning wheel, drop spindle, and hand cards. Our families probably made a quick connection thanks to the fact that my mother demonstrated the Straw Art.
1986! What were you doing when I bought these goodies?
Nor will you find hand cards at this price point today!
I was so obsessed with wool work that I insisted that some of my birthday money from one of my aunts go toward hand cards and roving. I think the spindle was a gift the previous Christmas. Most of the roving was spun up pretty quickly. 

I started knitting a sweater, of Mrs. Straw's description. She knit four pieces for the front and then one piece for the back, sewing everything together with blanket stitch. I experimented with knit and purl stitches, but soon realized that my spinning was pretty poor (look how thin the yarn is in spots) and that the gauge was way off. 

Thus it languished many years, except when I would knit a few rows on the back piece with the remaining yarn.

A few years ago it occurred to me that all these pieces could simply be sewn together and used as a narrow lap blanket. Sometimes it takes me a while to follow through. This November it was so bitter cold that I made a move and started sewing. Even before it was completed last weekend, the blanket was in use on my lap while driving in my car. What a comfort!

Covering up with this blanket is like the whole sheep is taking a nap in your lap: delightfully toasty!
Oh yea, my mother also knit those amazing socks sticking out at the end of the blanket. My parents have many more hobbies that were not mentioned in this post... No wonder I have no free time! I'm exactly like them!
So, get out those 28-and-a-half year old projects and finish up. Even a tenuous youthful attempt is sometimes worth a grand finale!