Wollmeise Spring Sale – Knit Wits on location.

Today I took another lady from the Knit Wits (all were invited only one took the plunge) to the Spring Wollmeise sale in Pfaffenhofen Germany. It has been scheduled in my iPhone for months now. I see American knitters online wondering how to get ahold of some Wollmeise and since we live just over an hour away it would be a tragedy to miss the opportunity to attend a Wollmeise sale while living in Germany. Patty and I arrived just after 10am and as usual – parking was difficult downtown Pfaffenhofen. We finally decided to use the Norma parking lot and that worked well since the church annex is just across the street and a block down.

We entered the sales room before it got too crowded, I pointed Patty in the right direction and we split-up to immerse ourselves in Wollmeise color. The sale is made up of hanks with slight faults. The quality control at Wollmeise is so high that the “faulty” hanks have only minor issues all of which are listed (in german) and consist of a faulty color batch or a hank with knots in it. Each type of yarn (pure/blend/lace/twin/dk etc) is separated and the colors are overwhelming. It is a bit dark inside so some ladies will organize and examine their color choices by the window before settling and heading to the kasse (register)

It was wonderful. I had heard (through a Ravelry group discussion) that there were a ton of lace “multis” but I couldn’t figure out what that meant. It means variegated yarn. And she was right. Not very many solid lace colors this year but plenty of hanks with multi colored variegation. I noticed a beautiful shawl on the counter and was told that they have it on display so customers can get an idea of how beautiful the “multis” are. I have a feeling they had been asked about the lack of solid lace colors. But hey – it is a sale. You can’t expect to get everything you want.

I did though. I went to the sale hoping for a nice chartreuse yellow. I found something very close to what I wanted. Perhaps a touch further towards green than I would have liked but very nice. I spotted a blue and a nice grey/brown to go with it and then this strange variegated yarn caught my eye. It is called Aspentree and I got one hank of Pure/100g. I’m very excited to see how it works up.

I did have to leave behind a few friends. I am a budget girl so I had to leave my group of blends behind but I set them out together and I have faith that some other knitter saw them and took them home together.

We made our purchases and I was impressed by the paper bag they gave us. Even the paper bag is awesome. It has german knitting terms translated into English. I loved it and I think I should frame it. I know, I’m a geek.

Patty was ready to leave but I convinced her to stay for coffee and cake in the next room. I looked for open seats at an already occupied table because half of the fun of the Wollmeise sale is meeting new friends in the coffee and cake room. It didn’t disappoint. We chatted (their English was better than our Deutsch) and discovered these wonderful yarn ball unwinders. The website listed on the bottom said: www.wollabroller.com.

When I checked it – I “think” the site said it was sold out or currently out of production but the ladies we talked to said they had JUST gotten theirs that week. They looked so neat but I wonder how convenient they are to travel with or take to a swim meet etc. I think I’ll stick with my center-pull balls and project bag.

We also noticed an abundance of Martina Behm shawls either on the ladies or on their needles. Patty was soon convinced to start a shawl project and headed back in to get another dose of yarn. After we packed up and really were on the way out we spotted a man waiting in the hall. I thought it was hilarious because I saw the same thing at the fall sale. Poor guy. I wonder how long he waited? It was more pathetic than a fella waiting at the shopping mall for his wife. In a way I guess he was.

We couldn’t leave town without a trip over to see the Brick & Mortar store. It closes during sale days so we peeked in the windows and decided o schedule another trip back once we saw all the cool displays (and a coffee machine) inside. My favorite was the sock peacock. Maybe I should call it a “peasock.”

You know you are in a knitting-town when you walk downtown and find a statue that has recently been yarn-bombed. That was very fitting.

We finished off the day at Ban Thai restaurant just off the Autobahn. We tried the red curry and coconut milk soup which came with rice and split a platter of sushi. The meal was amazing and didn’t break the bank. I think it was less than 22 Euros for both of us. I would definitely drive the 15 minutes off the Autobahn to go back. Who am I kidding – If I exit the Autobahn anywhere near Pfaffenhofen it will be Wollmeise that I’m heading for (and Ban Thai after.)


Travel Maps to the Rescue

Craft Fair Season is upon us. Well it is the right season for SOME crafters. For knitting – I have found that the spring is never my friend. It is warming up, the sun is shining and most ladies are excited about pulling out their skirts and flip-flops. They are NOT excited about picking up a shawl or scarf for next fall.

I already expect lower sales in the Spring and I still enjoy a chance to display my items and hear, “Oh you make such lovely things.” Even if those kudos don’t translate into dollars. It is my time to exhibit my designs and work.

Last year the items most requested were: boot cuffs and cowls. At my last craft fair (in the fall) I quickly sold-out of my entrelac cowls and had requests for boot cuffs so I got to work and made more but (of course) the spring craft fairs are just not as conducive to wooly knits.

Thankfully – my visitors seemed to like my cross stitch travel maps. I have long wanted some kind of record of my travels. Being a military family we have covered most of the US and now that we are stationed in Germany we are quickly covering most of Europe too. I thought it would be great to have a map that we could fill-in over time and show off our travels. I have seen large travel maps with pins to track your locations but 1) they are very expensive and 2) they aren’t as customizable. 
I searched and searched online for a pattern to use but couldn’t find one. So I made one. And I figured if I want one then maybe others would want one too. I made my pattern, tested it for myself and invited a group of ladies over from my husband’s unit to test it for me too. They loved it but a few of them didn’t finish. They got hung-up with the initial black outline of all the countries. 
I had to make it easier. If the initial outlines were giving them problems – could we just skip that step? I printed the pattern straight on the fabric and VOILA! problem solved. Now they can just fill it in using whatever color scheme they want. 
But what if they don’t know how to get colored thread or don’t want to pay $2/color to fill-in their map? Why should they have to pay $3 for 10 needles when they will only use one? So I purchased a variety of colors and made a sample pack of colors with enough to cover 1-2 countries/states per color. I included a needle and figured I had better include some basic directions in each pattern. 
I thought about offering a little class for anyone that wanted it and then I had one of those brilliant shower ideas: wait a minute – I have an iPhone – why not just make a little video tutorial? So now each pattern has a link to a video tutorial to get them started and talk them through some of the snags they might hit. 
While showing-off my new design to family and friends, my cousin demanded a North America Version. Why should us overseas military spouses have all the fun? So I kindly obliged and developed a North America Version with my home province of Manitoba featured prominently. Rugby North Dakota might be the geographical center of North America but Elkhorn Manitoba is the center of my map!
I’m so excited to see their finished products. I colored in my examples using a variety of colors but I’d really like to see someone do a monochromatic color scheme. Dark red is where we lived, medium red is where we have visited and light red is where we just drove through or stopped at an airport?? Blue is where he has been, Red is where she has been and purple is where they have been together? The possibilities are exciting. I included my contact information with each pattern because I want to see and share all the finished results. 
I still have the original cross stitch patterns with Aida cloth and those are available as a kit as well and surprisingly they are doing just as well as the pre-printed fabric option. 
Hopefully these maps will help alleviate my boredom at Spring craft sales as well as offer my military friends around the world (and my bossy cousin) a chance to track their travels. 

Boost your Productivity with an Audiobook (by Stephen King)

I’m not sure when I discovered audiobooks. I remember a radio serial that KCJB radio used to play in Minot North Dakota back in the 1990’s. Yep, I’m feeling old now.  This was just before podcasts and just after cassette players. Each week a mini drama broadcast far and wide on the mighty am waves. I didn’t have to go far to hear it though – I was working as a radio announcer through college and these radio dramas and Paul Harvey were tied for my favorite part of my work day.

Reading has always been hit or miss in my life. I’m either indulging in book after book insatiably or without one for months on end. I guess the busy life of a Mom can do that to you. But when I started walking and working out (the first time around) I realized I didn’t care to listen to music. I wanted an audiobook. I would leave in the morning with “Twilight” or “The Hunger Games” playing on my iPod and after finishing my walk I’d spend an hour (or two) weeding the yard just so I could keep listening.

Soon I had devoured anything written by Nicholas Sparks, Jodi Picoult and John Grisham – all while walking, shopping, cleaning or just puttering around the house. That’s when I rediscovered Stephen King. I had forgotten that he wasn’t just a ghoul writer. Some of my favorite movies like: The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, Stand by Me, Hearts in Atlantis, and Delores Claiborne were all based on SK books. They are great stories and so are many of his other works.

Now I was able to discover his new works: Duma Key, 11/22/63, Under the Dome, and Mr. Mercedes are now my new favorites. I have recently been trying to listen to ALL his books.

I had never read Carrie or Christine and was surprised at how much I enjoyed them. While tales of psycho-kinetic girls and psycho cars were playing in my ears, I happened to be working on solving a puzzle that had plagued me for about a year. I wanted to make an entrelac shawlette. Not just a shawl but a long and narrow obtuse triangle. Wanting and doing were two different things however and I could not get the shape of the shawl quite right.

Over the course of about 2 months and right about the time that Christine and Carrie were queued in my iPod, I had a breakthrough. First developing a scarf that starts narrow and grows into a long 90 degree triangle and then my obtuse triangle shawlette that I had been striving for. I named them: Christine and Carrie.

It took me another 2-3 months to write all the instructions, photograph the steps and create illustrations to explain my vision. All the while – I was listening to even more Stephen King. I now have both patterns published and have been astonished at the interest in them. I love sharing the things I love with others and I’m hoping that any other Stephen King fans who knit (yes, I know I’m narrowing the field a bit) will appreciate the theme I decided to use to name my shawls. 
If you are interested in picking up a copy of Christine you can visit my Ravelry store by clicking the buy now link below. 
Carrie is also available at my Ravelry store and no account is required to purchase. 

If you are feeling particularly generous – give this a look too:

It is a flowchart detailing how Stephen’s Kings characters pop up in his other works. Only a genius could keep this all straight. 

Don’t click the photo – click here to purchase.

Stitch by Stitch 2

4 weeks in, 13 lbs down and loving the changes I am seeing…

The other day I felt my knee. The actual bone. I think it has been over a year since I could actually see it protruding from my jeans. The jacket I got for Christmas is getting a bit baggy. I’ve sinched up 2 belt notches and I have actually been enjoying morning runs (downhill to the next town – but we’ll work on getting up the hill next month). My swim workouts have expanded from what was an exhausting 500m with pauses every 25m to 1000m with some sprints worked in between and pauses every 100m (to start but again will work on that next month). 
I still can’t break my knitting habit but then again I’m not really trying. Instead I figured out a way to make it a little healthier. Yes – they look at me funny and No – I don’t care. I spent an hour on the seated bike the other day and came home with fewer fat cells and a few more rows finished. LOVE IT!

I am very proud of myself for the major dietary changes I have made. I used to drink more Diet Coke in a day than water and it has now a month since I’ve had one. I have been allowing myself to indulge in one meal a week and I try to choose a food I’ve been craving all week. First it was Tex-Mex, then it was German Breakfast, last week it was Sushi. This week I haven’t had a craving strong enough to splurge on. 
I used to stay up until the wee hours of the morning and snacking all the while. Now I go to bed early with plenty of energy in the morning and there is absolutely NO snacking after supper. 
My skin is clearer than it has been in years. All the water I’ve been drinking? 
With all these changes – I am still falling behind in the competition I entered. Another lady has taken a ridiculous lead in the local Lose2Win contest and has pretty much guaranteed that she’ll be riding “my”  sweet BMW bike come March. 
In the next 6 weeks I may not be able to catch up but I am so excited about this new lifestyle that I have given myself. I have the money to buy my own bike but what I didn’t have was the motivation to make the changes I knew I needed to make. 

Homework Therapy

This month I am taking a course from a fellow MilSpouse (Military Spouse) called, “Kitchen Table Marketing – 4 weeks to a stronger small business.” Would you believe that this marketing consultant had the nerve to give us homework on the first week? What kind of a course have I signed up for??

I did my homework and I actually found it therapeutic. I was asked to brainstorm every last thing I can think of that is true about my brand. Since I kind of am my brand – it became a brainstorm about who I am as a knitter/designer. After I was done I thought it was so interesting that I decided it would make a good blog. So here it is. Bad punctuation and all. And like my favorite Stephen King novel – it is just one big long rambling chapter from a singular viewpoint. Enjoy!

Brand Basics: Facts of the Matter. What is TRUE about Yellow Ribbon Knits? 
I knit, I crochet, I like to teach others to knit/crochet, I made lots of mistakes when I started, I like things to be right, I work from my home, I started knitting when I was a kid but never liked it. I tried again in college but tried to make a sweater and stopped half way. Both my grandmothers knit, my mom knows how to knit but doesn’t, my Aunt used to knit during my cousin’s skating practices and everyone got a sweater from 1993-1996, my cousins knit, I love the blankets my grandmothers made for me and my son. I like to make patterns out of pixelated photos using Excel, I am a military spouse, I have taught people to knit at almost every location I’ve been at, I am a patient knitting instructor, I have a yellow ribbon logo, I made some patterns when I first started that are kind of embarrassing now. I love Stephen King books and named my most recent patterns after his characters, I am from Canada and have lived in: Montana, North Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, South Korea and Germany. My husband is in the Army. My boy swims and loves Lego, I have a BA in Broadcast Production/Public Relations and Advertising and a BS in Geosciences – Broadcast Meteorology. I am working on a certification in Financial Counseling. I cannot spin yarn but I’d love to learn. I used to be a Realtor, I used to be a weather anchor/feature reporter and won awards, I used to be the Assistant Manager of a NFCU branch. I have one child and he keeps me BUSY. I have a Facebook page. I have a Pinterest account but don’t understand how Pinterest works. I have Twitter but I never tweet. I have a blog. I own a website name but don’t use it. I own real estate website names too (but don’t use them either) I have an Etsy store but need help marketing on this site. I have a Ravelry account but don’t like to post my experiments there. I want to make videos to explain some of the techniques in my patterns but don’t know how to videotape myself. I don’t like needing help from anybody else. I am independent, I think best in the shower, I don’t have very good punctuation. I took photography classes in college and loved black room work but barely know what a pixel is. I am 36 years old. I love Entrelac because I can knit forwards and backwards. I use the continental method because it is so much faster but most use the English method. My purl stitches are always seated backwards. I just adjust as I knit. Continental Method makes me knit very loosely. I have trouble knitting very small items as my hands give me trouble. I love ribbon yarns. I love yarns that change color very slowly over time. I made a sweater once but I can’t fit into it so It sits on a dress form and I can’t enjoy it. I like to make things I (and others) can wear no matter what size they are (or will be). I have a problem with sizes and I think it is psychological because I don’t feel comfortable with my own size. I collect yarn like some ladies collect purses. II keep buying more yarn and I can’t knit fast enough to keep up. At Christmas – I use my money to buy display pieces for my someday store. Yellow Ribbon Knits has this name because I started knitting when my husband was deployed and when he got back I had a new obsession. My son is sick of hearing, “one more row” but when he started knitting he said the same thing and I laughed. I cannot sell my pieces on Etsy because of SOFA regulations. I can only sell items 2x/year at HCSC craft fairs. I do not like taking orders. I want to WANT to knit. I don’t want to dread knitting something that has been ordered. When someone asks me to make something for them – I offer to teach them how instead. I have so many techniques I want to try and projects I want to tackle – I don’t have time in my knitting-time-budget for mermaid blankets (sorry friends) but I’ll teach you how to make it! I am a very fast learner. I can become frustrated with others who don’t learn as fast but I’m surprisingly patient with knitters. I have problems with my neck and can’t lean over someone to teach them. They have to sit beside me so I can only really teach 2 at a time unless I have a way to rotate around. Sometimes kids learn faster than adults and I think it is because they are not afraid to fail. I love batik and I think it would be fun to apply that to yarn some day. Some days I think I want to have a sheep farm and then I remind myself how much work it would be. Unwashed sheep’s wool is disgusting. I have some. I love Martina Behm’s designs because they are COOL, EASY and DIFFERENT. I want mine to be the same but mine aren’t so easy. I love knitting patterns that explore a DIFFERENT way to make something like knitty.com’s Helix Heel socks. I have a Pinterest board called: Wow Who Thinks of These Things and it is full of innovative ideas. I would hope that someday someone would pin one of my designs on a page like that. I am an only child. I am ego driven. On personality tests I come out equal between data/organizationally oriented and creativity/ingenuity. I think that bodes well to knitting and knit design. I can follow a pattern but I can also create my own and I’m organized enough to make directions for others to follow. I an nervous to spend money on my business because I don’t want to be wasteful and I’ve wasted money on 2 degrees I’m not using right now. As a military spouse, sometimes I feel like I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up because the military is so limiting on a spouse’s career aspirations. I want my family to be proud of my knitting. I want to make a business of knitting so I can do what I love and feel economically productive when I do it. People that have an employer and a W-2 think that I don’t have a “job”. Ha Ha – I don’t. I have a passion and I’m figuring out a way to do what I love and report only to myself.
Sounds like a great exercise right? Melissa Shaw will soon offer the same course online so visit her at http://www.MelissaGilliamShaw.com to see how you can sign up. 

Inspiration Hits Anywhere – just be glad it does.

When I first moved to Germany a year and a half ago I pictured a small fiber industry with agri-tourism opportunities. What I have found instead is a thriving fiber industry with high-quality and amazingly innovative yarn brands on a much larger scale.

My most recent discovery is the Zauberball by Schoppel Yarns. I LOVE this yarn. It was sitting (with a few of its friends) on a table at a local craft fair and I had to have it. Like most yarn in my stash, I had no idea what I wanted to do with it but I HAD to have it. 
It sat in my corner hutch where I stared at it for months. Then inspiration hit and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. 
I had been inspired by the long, narrow shawlettes that are becoming popular on sites like Revelry and I wanted to create a version in Entrelac that had the same shape. My first attempt years ago resulted in a shawl. Still beautiful and stunning but NOT what I was trying to accomplish. 
I looked back on that “failed” shawl and dug out my old notes. I picked up a grid notepad and tried again, mapping out how I would move from one square to the next and I developed Christine. 

Christine was my happy accident, she isn’t what I originally intended but after she was “born” I fell in love. You could say I was obsessed. She starts out pointed at one end and grows thicker (and more intense) as you get to the end of your yarn. An 100g Zauberball is the perfect length and I used 2204 – Grüne Woche (Green Week) Zauberball from Schoppel yarns. I excitedly posted her to Revelry and was overwhelmed with the response. 

But I still wasn’t satisfied. I hit the notepad once more and tried to figure out a way that I could gain two squares on one end and lose one square on the other. I wanted there to be a point in the middle like a shawl but have a thin piece that you can wear like a scarf instead. These little arrows made sense to my brain so I gave it a shot. Take a wild guess which yarn I decided to use for my test-knit? You bet! Another Zauberball. 

Finally – I had my Carrie. By now you may have figured out my naming scheme. Most of the time I was working on these projects I was also listening to audiobooks and Stephen King has always been my favorite. I’ve heard a story (probably from one of his prologues or author’s notes before an audio book) that when he wrote Carrie – he threw the manuscript in the trash. His wife, Tabitha, came along and fished it out to take a peek. After reading what he had thrown away – she urged him to keep going. She felt he really had something special. 

Carrie is my something special. She is light enough to wear year round – but with her thick pointed middle she can keep you snuggly in the chilly Bavarian winters. For her, I used a Zauberball in Monochrome Color#2263
I am so thankful that I picked up my Zauberball at that little craft market last year. It was my Tabitha and it sparked intrigue and inspiration enough to pick up my discarded notes and try again. Carrie was finished a month ago and I quickly added her to my Ravelry Shop as well. 

If you are interested in either of these patterns you can find them here: 
If you would like more information about the Schoppel Products, You can see all their colors and yarn brands on their website: https://www.schoppel-wolle.de/en

First Projects are NEVER Perfect: It’s not their fault (or yours)

First Projects are NEVER Perfect: 
It’s not their fault (or yours)

It has taken me 6 years to amass a collection of finished products and last spring I had a chance to sell some at the Hohenfels Community Spouses’ Club Spring Craft Fair. The day was a blast and it was a real learning experience to host my first booth for Yellow Ribbon Crafts. 

I couldn’t believe how many people were interested in my dishcloths. I tried to have a selection of items that could fit any budget and my dishcloths were one of the lower-priced items so it was nice that so many people could take home a piece of Yellow Ribbon Knits! 
What was baffling to me was how simple and quick a dishcloth is to knit. Why would all these shoppers be enthralled with an item that is usually the first item that new knitters master??
I think it is because many times a facecloth is the first project someone will tackle when learning to knit and it doesn’t always go well. I don’t know why one student will thrive and another will flounder
but typically there is a facecloth test for many new knitters. If they like the finished results – they continue. If they don’t – they stop. Perhaps those that have tried and failed in the past see these simple cloths with appreciation that others don’t have.

But to all those out there who knit an ugly facecloth the first time around – KEEP GOING! I spoke to a gal I’m helping the other day who was frustrated by her cloth progress.

And it is true. My first wash cloth was horrid. Twisted stitches, dropped stitches, uneven edges, curling ends, It was a real disaster. But I noticed that the top of it looked much better than the bottom. Instead of stopping, I tried again. I probably even ripped it out so I could use the yarn again because I’m thrifty that way 😉 The good news is that the entire second cloth looked a lot like the last half of the first – much better. 
But I really wished I had kept my first cloth. I wish I could show anyone who is struggling that NOBODY knits a perfect first project. Martha Stewart would probably never want anyone to see her less than perfect first attempt but I guarantee that it was a disaster. Guar-an-tee!! 
On a side-note – I’m trying to tell myself that this fits Yoga class all too well. Nope – I can’t do all the moves or hold all the positions the full time – YET. But my next class will be a little bit better than my last. So although it may be embarrassing and everybody gets to see my “Martha’s first cloth” moments during class. It is OK. Because each class there is someone else new who is in the same position I was and I can appreciate my progress and myself for not giving up. They might not know they are inspiring me but they are. We all inspire each other. 

Learning Curves

Learning Curves

6 years ago I borrowed a friend’s crochet hook while she was in Australia and taught myself how to crochet. There were more than a few hiccups along the way. After I figured out how to keep the same number of stitches in each row I tackled my first blanket.

I’m sure I didn’t take a picture of it and I’m not even sure what happened to it (I’ve been known to frog a whole project for MORE YARN). I finished the entire thing and then realized I had crocheted through the back loops of the entire blanket. 
That taught me that it is important to be consistent. Nobody else knew it was a mistake. It is an actual technique after all. I guess I was accidentally ahead of the curve. 
This worked much better on paper.
My next blanket was only a touch 
more successful. I was making each stitch correctly but my sizing was laughable. 
Soon I had mastered REAL projects. full baby blankets with appliqués of jumping sheep that each required 16 ends to weave-in and then sew in place. I love that blanket but that’s the only sheep blanket I will EVER make. 
Tail/Back legs/R Front/L Front/Head/Each ear
and body each had 2 ends
I would have loved to have made one more black sheep for my friend Amanda. She wanted one to sew on a pillow or a “jumper” for her little girl and it was a brilliant idea but I could not stomach the thought of even one more 16-ended sheep to sew on. Counting sheep became a bit of a nightmare for me after this project.  
Soon after, I started experimenting with knitting. It was NOT fun. I kept crocheting for another year or so after I taught myself to knit because it was adding stress to my life instead of relieving it. If anyone would ask which I liked better I ALWAYS said crochet. I explained how you could make all kinds of 3 dimensional shapes easily with crochet and tried to convince anyone who asked how superior it was to knitting. I don’t think I would make the same argument today. 
Deep down inside, I knew that I preferred the fabric that knitting makes but It was daunting and I didn’t want to put in the work to become good at it. Until I did. 
I thought I liked crochet but I became obsessed with knitting. I wanted to knit faster so I spent a whole scarf forcing myself to use the Continental Method and at the end of the scarf, you couldn’t pay me to switch back to English. 
I’m trying to remind myself that there is an “other side” of any learning curve as our family made a major electronics purchase yesterday and purchased our first Apple computer. I can’t get my son’s swimming time-tracking spreadsheet to calculate his “percentage improvement” anymore because apparently C4 contains a date instead of a number. Umm that might take a while to solve. But I will keep reminding myself that deep down inside I know I will love an Apple world. I just have to put in the work to succeed. It still beats weaving in 16 ends x 9 sheep on a baby blanket. 


I may not have been blogging much lately but I’m still knitting. A lot. I have moved from South Korea to Germany. I traded rice for bread and Soju for Bier. I can’t take the train down to Dongdaemun fabric market on a whim but I can take the train to Pfaffenhofen to the Wollmeise Sale twice a year.

Wollmeise Sale 2015

I miss Korea’s food and my family has made it a point to check out Korean BBQ restaruants in Nurnberg, Munich, and even Budapest. We have also tried our fair share of German bread and spatzel, and butter bretzen (pretzels), currywurst, oh lord – I’m going to miss the German food when I leave here. It is so good and fattening. I have finally decided that something must be done to counteract the effects of overeating in Germany.

Luckily the local gym has a Lose2Win program with a very nice BMW bike as the prize. I am determined that I’m going to win that bike! There are so many triails to explore in Germany and I don’t think my cute beach cruiser bike will handle the trails that are yet to be discovered.

Must have this bike!

I am trying to enjoy the weight-loss journey but it does not come naturally to me. I loathe every exercise class, every meal that does not include German bread, and every evening that does not involve a Radler (yummy beer/lemonade mix). I do think I will enjoy the results. And along the way I’m hoping that I come to love the energy and abilities I will have with my new body.

I imagine a lot of my knitting students feel the same way when they start. They want to be able to finish a fabulous scarf every weekend and have a wardrobe full of impressive pieces that they have made. The problem is – they want to be able to have the skills to make their dream accessories RIGHT NOW. Those that enjoy the process, the challenge of learning new stitches, new techniques, new patterns; those are the students who will become life-long knitters. One day they will pause and realize that they no longer find lace patterns frustrating and stressfull as they once did. They will not loathe ribbing as I loathe running. They will turn to it for relaxation after a hard day.

At this moment I cannot imagine turning to a nice long run for relaxation. I try to tell my students that knitting and crochet is about the journey. It is not about the finished product. If you do not enjoy the process of making the hat/scarf/sweater/blanket then chances are you will not want to make another one no matter how beautiful it is when it is done.

I want to win this bike. But I am also working hard to make sure that I enjoy my process. I want to want to continue after I have reached my goal. Otherwise I will not be able to enjoy my beautiful goal for long.

Yarn in South Korea – No Problem!

I know I have been neglecting this blog. But it is not without good reason. For the good part of February I was preparing to and during March I was moving to South Korea. If you were moving to the other side of the world what would be some of your concerns? What your kids’ school would be like? What kind of housing will be available? I was somewhat concerned about those too but if I’m being perfectly honest, and I do try to be, I was really worried about how I would find good yarn.

Well have no fear, within a week I have tracked down two yarn stores that are each within 2 blocks of my apartment and found a local guy selling bags of yarn on the corner by the subway station. I am set.

I haven’t made it into the second store. We just found it as we were strolling around looking for a place to eat last night and it was closed when we discovered it. The first is on the way to the subway so I stopped in and took some pictures. The shop owner really doesn’t speak English but I had already used Google Translate to translate: “Can I take some pictures? I have a blog.”

I’m not sure how that translated but she said yes so I snapped a few of her and her friends. Two were knitting and two were crocheting and she was working on crocheting a purse with a plastic flat yarn.

I stood and watched for a few minutes and then pulled out my iPhone again to translate: “Is that a lesson? May I come back and knit with you when you are not teaching a lesson?” She nodded yes to that so I will return.

I have to wonder what they said after I left. Probably, “What’s with the crazy white chick? Don’t they have knitting in America?”

I wandered off down the street past the subway to kill some time before I had to go to pick Kayson up from school. I’m glad I did because on the other side of the Jihaeng subway station there was a guy and his wife selling yarn.

A friend of mine had sent me pictures of this same guy but in her pictures the yarn looked cheap and stiff. I was wrong. It was fine and there were nice colors and all kinds of textures. My only concern is that the multi-ply yarns did not seem to have much of a twist to them and may be hard to work with.

His English was minimal but he said $5 for one bag (with 4 balls) and I was trying to tell him I would be back and a passerby realized we were struggling and translated for us.

But that wasn’t the last yarn-related event of my day. As we were waiting for the subway home we met one of Kayson’s classmates and his family. Take a wild guess what his sister was doing. You have a 50/50 shot!

She was … Crocheting!! Her mom said she was self taught and when I took a look at her project I could tell nobody had ever told her to chain one between rows. I gave her a bit of help and I could tell she was eager to learn. You have to be if you have self-taught yourself and are already toting around a 8×10″ piece of work! I was so pleased to see a young girl picking up the craft.

If I have found three yarn vendors within 500m of my apartment then I am really excited about how many more opportunities are out there.