Feeling Totally Invincible

In terms of  knitting, that is.

I’ve done socks, I’ve done sweaters, cardigans – even teddy bears (thanks to Margit who had a link to a book about this on her blog some years ago).

tedbear
Ted, the bear

But, I’ve never dared to even TRY knitting gloves, fearing the techniques of knitting all of those little fingers and placing them properly.

I took the plunge, because I discovered that wonderful alpaca yarn, and decided to make a pair as a surprise gift for a very dear cousin who has a birthday coming up. And guess what. It isn’t difficult – not at all.

Taadaaa *drum roll* …..my first ever finger glove: (my fingers look like sausages here, because I have larger hands than said cousin – and I sized the glove for her small, lithely fingered hand, not my own):

glove
“Vadelma” by Drops Design (Link to Pattern)

Autumn, Bittersweet

There is something strangely melancholic about autumn. As the temperatures drop, the warm and sunny days begin to become the exception rather than the rule. Trees begin to lose the foliage I so eagerly awaited in early spring. Gloomy gray days, rain, sleet and snow loom on the horizon. I look longingly back at the ease of living and the lightness of being that summer days symbolize, whilst grudgingly acknowledging to myself that months of dreariness must be overcome to get back to the warmer side of the year.

Nevertheless, I’ve vowed to make the most of autumn, be it apples, quince or pumpkin dishes, mowing the lawn to keep from having to rake leaves, and using the warm and sunny days to cut down the flowers and the other plants in the flower beds and get them ready for winter.

And I refuse to even think about Christmas.

Project Finished

I think this one holds a record in the number of attempts to get it right. I’m pleased with the result except that the sleeves are just a tick longer than I’d like them (though that may be fixed by moistening the sweater and just “pulling” them wider while drying) and I seem to have knitted a bit unevenly this time around.

However, the sweater is scrumptiously “light” in terms of weight, and even though technically it is wool (baby alpaca and silk mix) it is amazingly soft and wonderful.

I may have to knit another one in a different color – it’s that comfortable.

I deviated from the pattern in the raglan decreases – I left out the lace pattern, not wanting holes along those seams.

A link to the pattern can be found here.

"Juliana" by Drops Design
“Juliana” by Drops Design

Things in the Woods

that I saw today. No mushrooms though. We got the necessary rain over the entire weekend, but I think especially the plunge of our night time temperatures has slimmed the chance of any more mushrooms.

Beech
The beautiful base of a beech tree.
A very large frog - as large as my hand. He peed on me when I picked him up.
A very large frog – as large as my hand.
He peed on me when I picked him up.

Libraries

I haven’t been to the library in, well, probably about 20 years. Way back when I worked in Landsberg, which is our Kreisstadt or county seat, I had a library card and frequently went there.

At some point, I lost my wallet (and my library card) and began working in a town in the completely opposite direction, and never bothered to go back to the library.

Via a tip from my cousin A., who told me that she gets the majority of her audiobooks from the library, I got curious and did some research. It appears that libraries, in addition to their “old” style of lending books, CDs, etc., are now offering their content via online services (not just here in Germany, apparently stateside as well). What it boils down to is that, once you have a library card (I drove there and got a new one this week), you can checkout ebooks and other media content from the comfort of your sofa, have an audiobook streamed onto your device or read an ebook on your tablet or PC.

I think this is just absolutely mega-cool!

Kitchen Mishaps

I’ve never made a peach pie before, but thanks to an article/recipe in the Süddeutsche (Munich’s largest newspaper) I was inspired. It spoke so heartily of the exquisite autumn pleasure of the combination of a piece of warm peach pie served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream, that I decided to make one.

Just now, while standing in the kitchen making the Pâte Brisée* for tomorrow’s pie, it occurred to me why Julia Child is such a hero to me. Sure, she was a splendid and talented cook, her kitchen skills are worth at least 5 Michelin stars and she is very charismatic in those old videos – but what lets her really get under my skin is the fact that she too, had her chaotic moments like that time when the pancake flipping went badly (at about 2.30 min).

Thinking back on those moments make me feel much better about the mishaps I have in the kitchen, when later I discover I have a bit of pie crust stuck to my head or my arm, or like that time when I was trying to hold the mixer with my jaw to free my hands to grab something and got my ponytail caught in the beaters.
(The ponytail survived, the mixer didn’t, and the beaten egg whites had to be dumped).

So, a big toast to Julia Child and the wonderful things she taught us. What a legacy!

And now it has just occurred to me that I am making an american desert with a recipe from a german newspaper, encased by a pastry crust from a french cookbook written by an american woman. How absolutely international. I’m practically a one-woman United Nations. 😉

*Pâte Brisée is very similar to pie crust, but due to being made with butter and the special technique used to make it, turns out much, much flakier than any pie crust I’ve ever made. I substitute it for all pie crusts, regardless of what the recipe says.

Such A Rowdy

The optometrist called me on Monday to let me know that one pair of glasses were ready for pickup. I put on some shoes and got in the car to head down there. As always, there was no place to park.

By Flodur63 - Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30917620
An aerial photo of our little town. Von Flodur63Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30917620

Over the last two years, this part of “downtown” of our little town of 8,000 was renovated, partly to make the creek that runs through the center of it go underground in some areas, and as a result, the parking places have been drastically reduced. You are only allowed to park in the areas specifically designated by the white painted lines.

I found some empty space on the side of the street and parked there, even though it wasn’t designated, and hoped to be in and out of the store relatively fast. I got lucky.

Two days later, the optometrist called to say my reading glasses were also ready for pickup. This time, there was no empty space, so I had to park where the diagonal lines specifically forbid it, since it presents a bit of an obstacle to pedestrians passing over the bridge over the creek. Again, I was in and out again in a snap – and got lucky again.

It seems that at least the guardian angel of parking offenders is on my side right now, but I think I should stop pushing my luck.

It’s also nice to have such excellent eyesight again.