While my honeypot Vodka Lemonade is progressing nicely – I’m a bit below arm separation now, and it’s mostly plain stockinette for the moment, nice, breezy, easygoing knitting – it really is too cumbersome to take along on a train trip now.

So I spent a little time on Ravelry in search of a nice portable project, preferrably some kind of scarf that would be reversible. (Speaking of reversible, here’s a fun little article about how to make reversible cables. Which is sort of genius – I’ll have to try this one day!) After a while of looking, I finally found a shawl pattern called “Arabian Nights”… something using two-colour brioche stitch, worked flat. Aaah. New things to figure out!

Brioche stitch, for those of you not clued into that yet, is a combination of slipped stitches and yarnovers. It makes a reversible, rib-like, cushy fabric. Worked in two colours, you get the one colour as knit-looking on one side and purl-looking on the other side… which is something I find very nice in general, and the Arabian Nights pattern looks mesmerizing to me with this effect. Here’s a tutorial in case you are curious on how to knit brioche in two colours. The downside? Much as in illusion knitting, you need to work two rows to get one visible row, unless you do wild shenanigans.

Anyway, I’m now going to find out a bit more about this, and fiddle with it a little so I can have a project with me when I travel to Liège on Friday. One needs to fill one’s work breaks somehow, right?

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After only slight sprinklings of snow in the past months, and an altogether unseasonable warmth, we finally have some proper wintery weather here… though it’s not forecast to stay this way for long.

I’ll enjoy it while it lasts, though! (Plus it makes me all inspired to finally have that Bratapfel…)

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Here are a few things for the German readers among you – with one bonus English article, so I’ll start with that one:

A woman from a medieval monastery close to Paderborn has been identified as a scribe through blue residue in the dental calculus between her teeth. The residue comes from lapis lazuli stones, which were used as a pigment in manuscript illumination. Here’s the German-language article at Spiegel about this, and here is the full publication of the research in English.

And on to German-only: There is a special exhibition called “Verehrt, verwendet, vergessen” at the Alamannen-Museum Ellwangen, which is running until April 28. It is looking at the Alamannen in the context of politics and (contemporal) history – a very interesting topic. You can find more information about it here.

Also at the same museum: “Lebendige Geschichte”, a two-day workshop for Living History people on February 16 and 17. This year, focus topic of the workshop will be immaterial cultural goods – such as music or belief systems. Another focus topic will be how to handle visitors with extreme right political views, and I think it is a very good idea to include this. If you are interested, you can find more information here – registration deadline is February 10.

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I also mentioned… sprang, right? There has been some spranging going on, both in preparation for the workshop I’ll give (where there will be a little flower made as a pattern)…

The flower motif – almost invisible on the collapsed sprang…

…but very much visible when it is stretched out a bit!

…and, as a sideline collateral, some spranging on a project of mine that has been in hibernation for several years. (I believe things like that happen to all of us.) It is basically a very simple thing – a circular (and thus “endless” warp), worked in simple, boring, basic interlinking… to the point where about as much is left over as would make a good bag handle.

The plan, you see, was to make this a bag, which would stretch to almost any form and size, within the (generous) limits that sprang fabric gives. I wanted a nice, long strap as a handle or carrier strap, though, and that is supposed to be a bit slimmer than the rest. The first thing I tried was just taking double threads as working elements, but that did not give enough of a slimming effect, and using 4 or 6 as single elements messes up the nice colour effect. So… double-layered sprang to the rescue!

I did a little test piece in green and purple, to make it easier for me to figure out how things are done…

Thanks to this twisting up on itself, you can see the striped beginning (purple and green following each other) and then, in the middle, the double-layer sprang (where I even did a tiny bit of colour changing).

…and then I started double-layering my strap.

You can see how it narrows down, and changes a bit in structure, but the colours stay similar. It’s a little fiddlier than regular sprang, and I am still in the stages where I brain-mumble the mantra of “front layer, back layer, front layer, back layer” all the time (plus I already made one small mistake near one edge), but it does work quite nicely.

Now all that’s left to do is a generous amount of double-layer spranging, and then, in the very end, doing double-layer sprang with knitting needles instead of fingers (which will be… exciting!) and finishing it up by securing the final shed (which I will do by weaving in a few threads, to have a firm, stable ending).

And then, eventually, I might have a bag…

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I mentioned knitting being done in those past days, right? Well, here is the current status of the result of knitting:

That is “Vodka Lemonade” by Thea Colman, a cardigan with raglan sleeves, knit from the top down. I’m using Margit’s naturally-dyed “Understatement” yarn, and the colourway is called “Honigtopf” (honeypot).

I’m already looking forward to wearing this thing, both the feel and the texture are just so nice! There will, however, be need for something additional, small, for my needles for the upcoming travel to Méry, where I won’t want to lug along a half-finished cardigan…

(There’s still a very few spaces left, by the way – so if you want to join in at the Weekend Weaving Workshop, you still can!)

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I’m back from a wonderful and much-needed time with friends and family, relaxing, chatting, cooking and eating delicious food, playing games, going for nice walks, knitting, playing with sprang, and generally doing only fun things in a very relaxed way.

Now it’s back to work – I have three workshop weekends to prepare for, which I’m totally looking forward to, and a few other things to do. The cat, meanwhile, goes on being sleepy and relaxed:

I still think it’s a little unfair those furry ones get to sleep all day if they feel like it!

 

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It’s time for a winter break – 2018 was a crazy busy year, and overall I’m really happy with all the things that happened, or that finally got into gear. The second proceedings of the Textile Forum finally got finished, there’s workshops planned for next year, one in Rothenfels and one in Belgium (still some spaces left for the latter! Come tablet weaving in Méry with me!).

Of course, there were a lot more things that did not come to fruition this year – I wanted to be a lot further along in the tablet weaving video, and a lot further with the book translation thing, and there should have been some more things for the shop, but plans met reality, and there you go. 2019 may be the year for these things, though.

So now I’m taking some time off for the usual end-of-year stuff – hanging out with friends and family, enjoying some quiet time and some nice leisurely chats and boardgames, good food and lots of tea, and recharging those batteries to get a good start into the new year.

Re…zzzzzz….charging…..

I’ll be back here on the blog on January 8. Until then, have a good time, enjoy your favourite seasonal delights, and “Guten Rutsch” – see you on the flip side!

 

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