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.)

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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. 

Owl is fine – I’ve been busy!

I know I haven’t posted lately but it is because I have been spending every waking moment knitting for a baby shower. With just one weeks notice I knocked out two stroller blankets and designed this great little baby sweater for my friends twins. I based this pattern on an old pattern from Leisure Arts
and Designed by Joan Beebe although it was heavily modified.
 
 
I chose a 2×2 ribbing and shifted the little owls down so they would sit out on a nice chubby belly. I added some buttons on one shoulder to make access easier and then also improvised an owl from one I had a picture of but no pattern. It was easy enough to figure out that the owl was made from C2B/C2F combinations. The wings were smaller versions of the birdie wings featured in the Beebe pattern.

I specifically knit on the purl side when joining the blue and then the brown again because I really like that “stitching” effect that you get seeing the purl side of a new color.

 

The blue color was a slightly thinner yarn so I jumped up two sizes for my needles but that area does pull a little. I think it still works although in the future I plan to ONLY use yarns that are the same weight.

Each owl has his own set of button eyes and each are different. First because I was using stash buttons and I couldn’t find six the same and secondly it gives each owl his own personality!!

I had fun with this project and am working on another version for the little girl that is on the way. Lets hope I have more than one week’s notice to get the next one finished.

Continental Success and Silence

My biggest accomplishment in my knitting means absolutely nothing to any of my family or friends. None of them knit. Well my Mom knits and purls enough to make a sweater and my friend, Amanda, is the master of the single crochet. But no one I know is as obsessed as I am. The other day I called my Mom just to share my big news. And nothing. She didn’t know what the Continental Method was. She had no idea of the new blazing speeds my needles could now travel at. I tried to explain over the phone:

“Well instead of holding the yarn in your right hand and then wrapping it around the needle, you hold it in your left and kinda hook it with the needle and pull it through.”
Silence.

I had seen it done by a lady on TV one day and was amazed by how fast she could knit. I had tried it a few times in the past but it felt like I was knitting left handed. Awkward and not relaxing at all. But I vowed to learn. I was working on a scarf with lots of ribbing and I absoultely hated ribbing. Loathed it in fact. I don’t remember why but I swore I was going to knit the whole rest of the scarf using only the Continental Method and that’s exactly what I did.

At first it felt odd and frustrating. It reminded me of keyboarding class when you were forced to learn the proper way to type. But like taking a keyboarding class, after months of painfull  aaaa-ssss-dddd-ffff excercises, you finally feel liberated and free to type without hovering over the keyboard doing the two-fingered-peck.

Now I knit ribbing as fast as I would knit or purl a whole row. I don’t drop my needle pulling my yarn to the front or the back anymore because I don’t have to let go of either needle. Life is grand. I’m estatic. I want to scream my excitement from the rooftops but all I get is silence from my Mom.
So I’ll share my big news with you and hope that it is met with more than silence.