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Sonntag, 6. November 2011
Miata (Mazda MX5) on autocross track
Yesterday the best husband of all took part in the last autocross events on this year's schedule. The weather even though mighty cold in the morning warmed up nicely during the day and made the last day of the season a huge success. The number of participants was astonishing and it seemed like everyone wanted to take their car to the track one last time before winter lowers its white blanket.
Birkenallee in Groß Dölln - birch lined country road
I enjoyed the trip through the flat Brandenburg countryside prettied up by the low autumn sun and those awesome tree lined country roads. This one here is on the terrain of former Soviet air base in Groß Dölln. The clearing on the right side would have been the parade-ground. Weird how quiet and peaceful this place is today. Privately owned "Driving Center Groß Dölln" has become a mecca for motorsports enthusiasts across the country. And imagine, it's still an active air strip. So from time to time you'll have small air planes making their way down onto the tarmac where the guys do their dance around the cones. But with two air strips of 4000 meters there's plenty of room for everyone.
Basic handknit socks for Nike. Very pink, of course.
With the switch from DST to regular time the evenings start mighty early all of a sudden. Four o'clock in the evening has had us seeing the most beautiful sunsets this past week. For most knitters this turn of the clock signals the upcoming high season for our hobby. There's mittens and socks needed to keep small hands and feet warm. Wool garments pulled out of the closet to ward off the chill. Christmas presents to be planned and materials to be acquired. And the of course there's much knitting to be done. Let the fun begin :-)
Sonntag, 31. Juli 2011
Wolfgangsee at its most spectacular
View from Schafbergspitze, 1783 metres
So many pretty flowers
Giant ice caves at Dachstein
View to Dachstein glacier from mount Krippenstein
5 Fingers view point at mount Krippenstein
Salzburg - Mozart, music, chocolates
Summit cross at Zwölferhorn
Boat tour on lake Wolfgangsee
Innsbruck, Goldnes Dachl (Golden Roof)
I've got to admit, mountains were never quite my thing. Too high, too much snow, too far away. But this vacation was seriously fun and Austria turned out to be a really great place for a vacation with kids. It's got everything from beautiful lakes to VERY high mountains and on top of that all kinds of cultural and outdoors stuff. I'm looking forward being back in Salzburg this autumn on a trip with the company.
Sonntag, 10. April 2011
It's not even middle of April and the autocross season is already in full swing. This weekend the Husband competed in 3 club tournaments and brought home one class win and two third places. Congrats, GeekSpeed :-)
Isn't '404' the geekiest starting number off all?! :-D
The autocross tournaments and the lovely spring weather provided ample opportunity to try out my new zoom lens, a Canon EF 75-300mm/ 4-5,6/ III USM lens for EOS. It's really useful for taking shots all the way across the autocross track. And it works nicely for close-up shots, too. I'm quite pleased with it considering that it doesn't have an image stabilizer and was an affordable piece of technology.
Autocross tournament at Platz des 4. Juli in Berlin
Apart from shooting 400 something pictures at autocross I've also managed some gardening and simply admiring nature's awakening.
An allergic's nightmare but makes for nice pictures in the evening hours.
More pretty blossoms
Mittwoch, 6. April 2011
They are everywhere now, those pink blossoms.
Spring is finally here. The Forsythias are in full bloom and those trees with the lovely pink blossoms are cheering things up quite a bit, too. I have no idea what kind of trees those are. Maybe Cherry? They look awfully nice anyway.
Samstag, 25. Dezember 2010
And again a year is drawing to a close. Over the last year it turned out that social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Ravelry have gotten most of my attention when it comes to status updates, pictures and reviews. It's hard to keep up blogging with longer, more profound updates. Ravely is just so convenient when it comes to keeping records of works in progress and staying in contact with knitting and spinning buddies. And for the short "I'm still here, still kickin'" messages Twitter is really handy. So where does that leave my blog? I'm not entirely sure yet to be honest. I found that I still like to check in with other people's blogs from time to time to look at pictures, read comments and see what they've been up to. And I found that alongside all the other networks I really like to sum up a few of my projects and talk about what's been going on at least once or twice a month. So this will be my new blog agenda for the next year. Don't completely drop of the radar but come up for air at least once a month with some pictures and some tidbits about knitting, spinning, life and what happens in between.
So here's a few shots of our Christmas in a nutshell.
Loads of snow
Time for some knitting and spinning
Montag, 25. Oktober 2010
Colorful leaves. Air is clear and nippy.
I've been content to snap pictures with our very reliable little point 'n shoot Fuji Finepix camera for a few years now. It made more than adequate pictures most of the time and in most standard situations. But I've been longing for the digital SLR experience for quite some time now. I loved taking pictures with our Canon EOS 500. Choosing lenses according to the situation. Trying out different options to get the best picture possible. The only drawback: it was analog. And after getting used to the immediacy of digital photography the lag between taking a pic and seeing how it had turned out wasn't acceptable any longer. So the EOS 500 started to gather dust in a corner along with some fairly decent lenses. It was a shame, really. Two weeks ago I did some research and decided I would go and try buying an old digital Canon EOS semi-professional model and see how I liked that. An old EOS 20D goes for quite reasonable prices these days. Sure, it's not state of the art but what the heck. Our lenses were compatible and I was pretty sure it would be a sturdy piece of technology.
Canon EOS 20D
Over the course of only one short week I've taken more than 300 pictures already. I've been reading the manual, trying out settings, making adjustments and having general fun with this stone-age digital SLR. It's not entirely without fault. But going by discussion boards on the net things like occasional error messages and acting up CF cards seem to be troubling owners of new and old Canon models alike. So I'll enjoy it as long as it lasts. And it is indeed tremendous fun to get back on topic with photography, the theory behind it, the technology.
Manual White Balance captures these Wollmeise colors almost exactly right.
Parc fermé at an Autocross event at Motorsport Arena Oschersleben
It's so easy to get interesting portraits and to play with focus and depth of field.
It's puddle season.
And puddle jumping is fun for 3-year olds.
Gorgeous autumn weather.
Samstag, 19. Juni 2010
Sonntag, 16. Mai 2010
Galium odoratum, Waldmeister, Woodruff
This spring I've put five little plants of the lovely herb we call 'Waldmeister' in front of our house in the hopes of having a decorative as well as useful addition to our garden. And to my utter delight so far they are obviously thriving well in the shadowy north facing spot. Today I picked some branches, let them wilt for a bit and then dipped them into a jug of white wine/water mixture for about 30 minutes. The 'Waldmeister' gives off its particular flavour into the wine and makes a lovey 'May vine'.
Galium odoratum is a perennial plant in the family Rubiaceae, native to Europe, North Africa and western Asia. A herbaceous plant, it grows to 30-50 cm (12-20 ins.) long, often lying flat on the ground or supported by other plants. Its vernacular names include woodruff, sweet woodruff, and wild baby's breath; master of the woods is probably a translation of the German Waldmeister. It is sometimes confused with Galium triflorum and Galium verum.
Donnerstag, 13. Mai 2010
Bouquet of lilac
The scent of lilac in bloom is everywhere right now. It's the most amazing thing. I get home, out of the car and am surrounded by this beautiful spring like scent. And lilac not only grows in gardens but also as hedgerows alongside the street. I love this time of the year.
This is my favorite lilac color
Dienstag, 27. April 2010
Plum tree in bloom
Spring has really arrived in our neck in the woods and I am mighty glad for it. It's so lovely to see all those trees in full bloom and the hyacinths, tulips, daffodils and not to forget those pesky dandelions, which are a pain in the neck. Our little vegetable patch seems to do nicely, too. The salad peeks out and we'll hopefully complain about way too many radishes some time in near future.
Oh so pretty, these pink hyacinths.
Besides spring feeling there is still lots of knitting going on in the house of Sooza. The latest finished shawl I'm mightily proud of. I took the basic construction of Miralda's Triangular Shawl and added in different patterns. The pretty hearts edging is from Nancy Bush's Greta Garbo Shawl which is pictured on page 2 of my copy of "Knitted Lace of Estonia". Unfortunately the shawl pattern isn't included in the book due to space restrictions or something. So I took the photograph and charted the edging by examining it closely. Initially I wanted to fill the inner part of the shawl with the star pattern only. But somehow the Greta Garbo pattern stitch wouldn't leave me alone. So I gave in and took the basic Greta Garbo pattern stitch from Bush's book and incorporated it in the shawl.
Hearts in Estonia Shawl
Knitting this shawl has been tremendous fun and a great knitting adventure. Should I ever find the time I actually plan on publishing this pattern. There's been lots of requests on Ravelry. If it just wouldn't be quite as time consuming to make the charts, check the numbers, write some halfway readable instructions and put it all into a nice layout.
This has been the second time I've worked with this particular yarn and I absolutely love it. It's so different from the over-processed stuff that you can buy in your run of the mill local yarn shop. It has body and loft and blocks so nicely. And the best thing is, the un-dyed heather grey is much, much softer then the dyed yarn I've used for Miralda. Both shawls used only one skein of this light fingering weight yarn. IMO, this is the most fun you can't get out of a measely EUR 6.95.
Yarn: 1 skein of Filcolana New Zealand Lammeuld, 600 m/100 g, light grey heather
Size: 170 cm wide, 70 cm deep
Pattern: Inspired by Nancy Bush's Greta Garbo Shawl. Construction similar to Miralda's Triangular Shawl. Star pattern for shawl body from Laminaria shawl.
More details on the Ravelry project page.
Dienstag, 23. März 2010
Sonntag, 21. März 2010
Look, flowers are making an appearance in our little garden.
Samstag, 6. März 2010
Spring is slowly making an appearance in our neck of the woods. Very slowly indeed. After a few days of sunny weather and 8°C we're back in the below zero region but thankfully no more snow on the ground. Still a bit of snow in the air and the occasional sleet shower though. Somehow winter doesn't want to let go this year.
Bizarre ice formations while the snow has been slowly melting
This is what our lawn looked like a week ago. Now the snow is entirely gone.
And we're finally having some sun to brighten the mood
Meanwhile I've discovered Russian Lace Spindles and I've been practicing support spinning for the past month or so. They are a curious thing, these support spindles. Traditionally they were used to spin very fine, short fibers like goat down for example. While in other regions spindles like these were used as hand spindles without a special support device in Russia's Orenburg region they were used with support bowls.
Walnut Support Spindle by Lisa Chan/Gripping Yarn with ceramic support bowl. Fiber: Cashmere/Merino blend.
Spinning on a supported spindle requires mastery of the long draw technique. Which essentially means one hand twirls the spindle and the other hand lightly grips the fiber supply and gradually draws back from the spindle thus creating a thread. Long draw can also be used on a wheel or a suspended spindle. But this long draw and I we've never gotten along all that well in the past. Somehow it goes against the control freak in me. I've always ended up with lumpy, uneven singles that lost it's integrity halfway through the spinning process. Which was fine by me. I could always use short draw and end up with a lovely, even yarn. I've never had the patience to try long enough to maybe get better at it. But with support spindles there is no excuse. No way around learning long draw. So that's what I did. I sat back on the sofa, spinning bowl in my lap and started to practice long draw.
Front: Russian style spindle from The Spanish Peacock with some unknown blue wool roving. Back: Spindle from Lisa Chan/Gripping Yarn with some CVM roving.
The thing with long draw is: You gotta let go. No gripping the fiber supply too tightly. No anxious concentration on making your yarn. I tend to cramp up and try too hard to force my will onto the fiber. This won't work for support spindling. Just let go and let the spindle and fiber do their thing. So far I still have to constantly remind myself to ease up and let go. But sitting reclined in your favourite lounge chair or comfy sofa helps a lot in this regard.
Support spinning is fun. It's kind of addictive and a lot more relaxing and slow going than any other spinning method I've tried so far. But a little tuft of fiber will probably get you the most spinning fun you've ever had. And today there are a few very talented wood workers who make such lovely tools, you will be hard pressed to choose because they are all so pretty.
Russian Spindle by Ed Tabachek, Cherry
Lisa Chan from The Gripping Yarn - Lisa's signature are spindles that are slightly more rounded and bit curvier than the classical Russian style spindle. I love her work. The Walnut spindle I got from her feels gorgeous and is an absolute delight to work with. She does mostly custom orders and will gladly try to accommodate individual wishes for a particular wood or weight. Lisa is super nice to work with.
The Spanish Peacock - Mike's spindles come closer to the look of those traditional Russian spindles. Clean, hard lines and a super polished surface as well as beautiful exotic woods are characteristic for his work. So far I've got two of his Russian spindles and they are wonderful spinners.
Ed Tabachek - Ed's spindles have been available longest from all spindle makers I know. I think his work has done the most for bringing support spinning back into the spinning community. His spindles are available in two sizes, the smaller for spinning and the larger ones for plying in the Russian/Orenburg way. As far as I know his spindles are available through certain dealers only. My Tabachek is a large plying spindle that I got from The Wheel Thing. It can be uses as any other support spindle though and is not restricted to plying.
Tom Forrester - Tom's spindles have been around for a while now. I haven't encountered his Russian spindles all that often though. Gemini Fibers lists Russian spindles as part of his spindle repertoire. They very much look like the traditional Russian spindles.
Grizzly Mountain Arts - I've come across this very talented maker of needle and fiber arts tools only recently via Ravelry and Etsy. His work is equisite and his spindles are very much sought after. If you see a spindle appear in his Etsy shop you can be sure it will gone in the blink of an eye. I placed a custom order for a Tibetan spindle with him and was not disappointed in the least. So I guess if you want to have one of Dave's spindles for your collection placing a custom order is the way to go.
Very distinctive shape of a Grizzly Mountain Arts Tibetan spindle
My favourite videos on support spinning
Annotation: Nannette's note in the comments reminded me of one spindle maker that I had forgotten in my little article. She is right of course. A Spinner's Lair can be found on Etsy and their speciality is using reclaimed woods and give them a second life as fiber arts tools. They make different kinds of support spindles, matching bowls and regular drop spindles, too.
Samstag, 7. November 2009
Picturesque clearing in the woods
Lots of trees
Area restricted for spectators
Loud cars raising dust
Little cars raising even more dust
Having fun. B. instantly took a liking to the brand new, geeky knitted hat.
The little hat was inspired by the Binary scarf that had been featured in Kitty.com, issue Winter 2006. It's knitted from 4-ply sock yarn and the binary code actually contains a message. I used the converter provided here to convert ASCII text into ones and zeros. It's a really fun knit. Currently working on another one for best husband of all.
Freitag, 30. Oktober 2009
That's what the world in my little corner of the world looked like this morning. Pics were taken on the way back from play school in the little park/playground right behind our street.
Blue sky, Indian summer colors
Thin crust of frost covers everything
Feels like winter drawing in
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