Sunday, September 14, 2014

Flat Harry


This term for the Harry Potter Knitting Crochet House Cup (HPKCHC), my Pride, the Sugar Quills, is doing a "Flat Swap."

We did this last Winter Term, and it was so much fun, that we decided to do it again.  I made 3 "flat" characters:  Flat Ron, Flat Hermione, and Flat Harry.  Here they are on my deck with the Cascade Mountains and Lake Sammamish in the the background.

I will sign the back of each "Flat" and mail them off to 3 of my Pride members with some flat(ish) presents.  Then they will take photos of some place or places where they live, post those photos in our Pride Thread so we can see where the Flats visited, and mail a package on to a new person.  It is such a fun way to get to know each other, and it is really fun to see the places everyone takes the Flats.  Last time I took the three flats to the Space Needle.  This time, I stayed on the Eastside, and brought them to Sunday knitting at Panteras where they helped BlueBerryMary, BlueWolfWalking and me with our knitting.  Hermione helped BlueberryMary knit some socks (2-at-a-time).  Harry helped BlueWolfWalking with her shawl.  And Ron helped me knit the beginning of a Weasley Sweater for Moogie.  He is an expert at those sweaters.
Then, on the way home, we stopped at Microsoft's Redmond Headquarters.
We did not see Bill Gates... But I introduced them to the magic of computers.  Ok, Hermione already knew quite a bit about them.  Finally, we went for a hike on one of the trails in my neighborhood.
It reminded them a bit of their time in the woods hiding from the Snatchers, but in a much more friendly way.

If you want to check out their travels, you are welcome to visit our Pride Thread.  It should be a fun swap.

shaping the planet with flat friends.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

First Day of Riding


I shall now tell you a bit about the first day of actually riding.  We left the hotel at about 8:30 am to pick up our bikes.  The company had included bus passes, so we walked to the bus station, and caught a bus to their warehouse.  It took longer than we thought, but it was down hill to get back to where our hotel was near the Danube.  We finally got on the road at about 11:00 am.  Our bikes had saddle bags, pretty comfortable seats, 21 gears, bike locks, and mine had the container in the front where we kept the map.  The guy who checked out our bikes showed us on the map where our first hotel was, and we got on and took off.

The day was a bit overcast and cool, but it didn't rain, and we were comfortable riding with sweatshirts. 
In the beginning, the trail was a protected lane that ran between the river and the road. When we got to the small towns along the way, the "trail" would become just a regular street.
Then we would pass through the town and  be back in the woods.
Always there was the river nearby.
At one point we crossed the Danube on a ferry.  I think it cost 2 Euro each.
It was fun to see the other bike travelers.  The hills were so green, and the rise very steeply from the rivers edge.
As we rode along the trail, we came upon a family of swans.

The parents immediately separated to surround their signets for better protection.  It was so cool to see swans in the wild.
Across the Danube we saw a Schloss (castle).
The towns tended to be clustered along the river's edge with wooded hills rising behind them.
It reminded me so much of the East side of Lake Washington where I live.  Well, except for these ... memorials?  we would occasionally find on the trail near the river.

We wondered if they were for someone who had drowned on the river.

We arrived at the first hotel at about 7 pm, tired, sore butts, but very very happy.

shaping the planet from home.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wednesdays with Addie


You get to see Addie if you come on Wednesday nights.  That is probably the best part of our meet ups.  I am still coaching her on saying, "Malabrigo."

Not only was the beautiful Addie at knitting tonight, but her Grandma, Lookout, is visiting from Canada, and she came to knit with us.  She brought a beautiful vest that she has completed, all but the zipper, for which she wanted some zipper advice.  Wireknitter is our resident sewing expert, and she gave some great tips and tricks for sewing a zipper on a knitted item.  But what was Lookout knitting?
A beaded cowl.  Sorry my flash washed out the beautiful yarn.  It is a sort of brownish green with green beads.  At least you can see the knitting.
JulieMustKnit was also knitting ... a cowl... I think for her very knitworthy sister in law.  I want to say that the yarn is Madelinetosh, and the colors just glow.

Guess what GwenS is knitting?  Another Aviatrix!  She is making an 18th month size for Addie.  It's starting to get colder here, and a girl needs an Aviatrix that fits.

WireKnitter brought 2 different lace projects.  How she works on such intricate patterns at Crossroads, I don't know.

But, another lace knitter, Tara1682, also brought a lace project. She is back to work on her Juno Regina Stole by Miriam Felton. 

ReadnitDream brought a hat.
She has started an Anemone Hat by Cat Bordhi.

Anerenbe also showed up for some relaxing knitting.  She brought needles, and some lace weight yarn.  Thank goodness for a smart phone and the wifi in Crossroads.  After a few minutes of searching on Ravelry, she cast on and started a Zilver by Lisa Mutch.

Wajio stopped by for a few minutes to say hi and drop off 3 hats for the Detroit Achievement Academy that one of her work knitting buddies had finished.  These kids are getting some really nice knitwear!

Ok, time for bed.
shaping the planet with knit buddies.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Berlin to Passau and some Mittens


I've been getting up at 5 am every morning since I got back from Europe, heading out to the gym to walk and ride the stationary bike, then back home again at about 6:30 am.  This was the sunrise I saw when I got home yesterday.  As we approach the equinox, the sun is rising later and later.  Once we pass that day (September 23 this year), it will be really obvious.  Even the return to standard time can't save us.  I usually love the late rising sun of winter.  BW  (Before Work), I loved watching and photographing the sunrises without having to wake up early.  Now, I will already be at work when the sun is rising... and as I am working most days until 4:30 pm (I am supervising the "Work Zone" which is where students who did not finish their homework end up after school), I won't be able to photograph the sunsets, either.  Be prepared for lots of photos of my cats instead.  Actually, I'm a bit worried about photographing my FOs.  Everything looks so much better when photographed in natural light.  I thought that I might bring stuff to work, and try to get some photos done during my lunch break.  I will see how bad it gets.

I have been bringing my knitting to work, but I really have only had a bit of time when I first arrive, and a very little more at lunch.  The Work Zone should turn out to be a good place to knit.  I think it's good for kids to see adults doing something more than playing on their phones.  And while I will need to check that they totally finish their homework, there will be a lot of time spent just sitting.

I've been working on another pair of double knit mittens for the Detroit Achievement Academy.  I'm trying to make these smaller than the last pair, and they are, but they will possibly be too long.  Oh well, they will be good for more than one year that way.

I'm using the same checkered pattern that I put on one of the hats I knit while in London.
I have no idea if the hat and mitts will fit the same person, but I like making "sets."

Bike Trip

More about the Bike Trip.

Moogie and I landed in Berlin in the morning, around 9ish.  We figured out how to get to the train station from the airport, and headed there. Thank goodness people were helpful.  In the train station we hit our second snag.  The automatic machines would not accept either my American Express or my Visa Card.  We were able to get money from an ATM, and we had to go to the Ticket Seller line to get out tickets.  The American Express worked there, thankfully.  We stopped at a little sandwich shop in the station and bought sandwiches and Coke Lite (ha ha no "Diet Coke"). The sandwiches were amazing.  They were in baguettes, and the cheese was wonderful.  They had mayonnaise, but it was flavored differently.  Anyway, we both loved them.
Moogie slept and I knit and looked out the window at the beautiful countryside.  We switched trains at Nuremburg, and sitting behind us was another knitter!
She was knitting a cotton sweater.  I showed her the mittens I was trying to finish up and she said, "Warm."  It is always fun to meet other knitters.
view of the train station from our hotel room

It started raining pretty hard by the time we arrived in Passau, but as our hotel was right across the street from the train station, we weren't worried.  As we checked in, they handed us a packet from the bike tour company, Rad and Reisen, that included the vouchers for all of the hotels for the trip, as well as information on how to pick up the bikes, bus passes to go get the bikes, and so on.

We spent the evening walking around the town of Passau.  It was fairly empty, but then it was a Monday night.  Look!  a yarn shop in their little downtown.

We walked up a steep cobblestone hill
 through a narrow corridor,
 between some buildings in an even more narrow space, to find
 a beautiful church and the square in front of it.  I admit that we were chasing the Onion Dome of the church.
We didn't expect onion domes for some reason, thinking that they were more Eastern than German.
The buildings were painted such pretty pastel colors.
We ate dinner at a little cafe that did not accept credit cards.  This was a huge mistake on my part.  I just assumed that my Visa Card or American Express would work all over, but they were only good in Vienna and London.  Even there some of the smaller shops would not accept plastic. We went to bed and got ready for the first day of biking.

shaping the planet with doubleknit mittens.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Yarn Chicken

Good Morning,

I am still trying to get myself back on Pacific Time and trying to figure out how to work every day and have some energy left after work for ... well... ANYTHING.  This week I have been sleeping poorly, waking at midnight, 2, 3 and finally giving up and getting up around 4:30.  The one good thing is that I am making it to the gym by 5:15 ish to walk and ride the stationary bike for an hour before work.  I hope to stay at the fitness level I reached on my trip, and there is no way I will have any energy to work out after work.  But this means that by 8 pm I am dead on my feet.  Also, I am running errands after work/school so I'm not doing much more than shopping for food, cooking dinner, eating dinner, and maybe, maybe knitting a few rows before crashing into bed.  I will get more energy as the weeks progress and I get on a better sleep schedule.

So, I want to force you all to look at my vacation slides, but I plan to do some mini-posts rather than some giant ones.  I don't have as much time to blog now, and I really want to figure out how I will fit this in to my new Working Girl schedule.  Blogging has been so much fun these last few years, I need to keep it up.

The Trip
So First I just want to blog about the plane ride to Europe.  We left on a Sunday morning because we went to the wedding of dear family friends the evening before.  Remember the Wedding Afghan?
We flew to Newark, NJ (this is Newark in the foreground and Manhattan across the river)

arriving mid afternoon because of the time change and had a 2 hour lay over.

We left for Berlin, Germany at about 5:30 pm.  Why Berlin?  It was the cheapest city in Germany to fly to.  This was my first mistake.

Honestly, I am horrible at geography, and my thoughts were, "Germany is a pretty small country, right?"  I mean, most countries in Europe are smaller than the state of Washington, so how far can it be from one city to another?  Well, it can be a 6 hour train ride.  But that is the next story.

We should have flown into Munich, even though it cost a bit more.  Our smart thing we did was to take an Ambien immediately after boarding the plane in Newark.  Doc got us a prescription for 4 each.  One for the long plane rides, and 1 for the first night after landing to help reset our clocks.  I never sleep on airplanes, and I was able to get in at least 4 hours on the flight over.  Moogie slept the whole way.  We were tired when we arrived, but not exhausted.

Here we are leaving Seattle:
and here we are arriving in Berlin:

My New Job
I just realized that I haven't really written much if anything about my new job.  I have a job working in the Bellevue School District as an Instructional Aide at one of the Middle Schools.  They are doing a big push to "close the achievement gap" in Math for the low income students and students of color.  There are 3 of us aides, and we will work with the 5 Math teachers who teach the regular math classes (there is one more Math teacher who only teaches the advanced gifted classes).  The schedule is "Bell to Bell."  So, this means that I start at 8:45am and get off at 3:30pm though this might be extended to 4:30pm so I can help in the after school homework program.  I just love all 5 of the teachers.  I really love the 2 other aides.  The aides have been so welcoming though they are my kids' ages.  It's fun being back in a classroom in a school that is MY school, though I enjoy subbing.  I think I will enjoy the chance to teach math without the pressure and responsibility of being the Teacher.  Last year I only worked an average of 3 days each week, so the 5 day thing is exhausting. 

Finally Knitting
I didn't knit that much on my trip because I was so busy during the day, and often exhausted at night, until we reached London.  I did knit on the planes and the train down to Passau.  I managed to finish the mittens for the Detroit Achievement Academy on the planes.
They are kind of big; I hope there is a kid with fat hands.  But for my first mittens (and double knit at that!) I like how they came out.  I started and finished 2 hats while riding the Tube in London back and forth from the flat in the East End (more on that later) where I stayed to Central London where Moogie is going to school.

I didn't have enough navy yarn to make matching mittens for the checkered hat, so on Sept 1 I started another hat for the school on the 10 hour plane ride home.  I tried taking an Ambien for that flight too, but as it was morning, it didn't work as well and I only slept for about 1 hour.  Well, I got a ton of knitting done, instead.  The new term for the HPKCHC has begun, and I thought I might as well get going on something for a class.  First I wove in the ends of the mittens and the 2 navy hats so I could get credit for Detention (this is where you finish a WIP), then I started a stripped hat.
This is not completely finished as I will put some tassels on the corners.  At first I was knitting 3 rows of white and 2 of navy blue, but I noticed that the navy was running out so I had to stretch the white more.  I really wanted to do a 3 needle bind off using the navy.
See the little bit of navy end?  That is all the yarn I had left after the bind off.  Yarn Chicken!

shaping the planet from Bellevue, WA