Week 20/18

Wow, so this is week 20 already! It’s been a while since my last weekly post. Now on the plus side, I finished the socks I started at the beginning of the year, started another pair but frogged it almost immediately because I didn’t like the yarn, and bought this lovely ONline merino yarn in those beautiful pinks that you see above instead. I’m still on my first sock, though. I keep dragging my knitting around, determined to sit and read or watch TV and knit along but somehow I hardly ever do. Life is just so full of amazing things right now, and somehow, knitting gets pushed to the back burner all the time.

Among the amazing things is this:

We built a raised bed last year – or rather, I kind of requested it and Steve, kind as ever, did all the manual labour that I wouldn’t know how to do – and planted a few herbs. Parsley, basil and chives, to be precise. When winter came, I totally forgot to take them out and pot them to take them inside. The basil and parsley did not make it, but just look at the chives! Growing strong, about twice as much as I planted last year, and blooming so beautifully! Every time I walk past the bed, I stop to admire them.

Then there’s rosemary, we planted it this year and it takes much longer to grow. I have no idea if it is as hardy as the chives, so I’m definitely going to bring it inside when it gets cold (would somebody please remind me in, say, November? Thank you so much!). We also planted mint that has grown into quite a bush already, and Steve added a bell pepper plant yesterday. I have no idea if bell peppers will grow in a raised bed but I’m all for trying. Steve also bought three tomato plants, a cherry tree and a peach tree. The plan is to grow some kind of „pick and taste“ garden all around the house. We already have five varieties of grapes and a yellow raspberry in front of the house plus the wild raspberries and strawberries that self-seeded a few years ago, and let’s not forget the elderberry bushes the former owners planted many, many moons ago.

So while I’m not exactly a successful knitter / crocheter at present, I have rekindled my love for photography. My Canon DSLR is still the love of my life but just recently, I decided to give snapping away with my cellphone another chance. The main purpose was to take photos of the shop and post them to Instagram, and one day while I fiddled with it, I discovered that my cell actually has „professionel“ settings. It’s no comparison to my DSLR, of course, but the more I try, the more comfortable I become with it, the more I realize it’s a nice tool and just as easy as shooting a polaroid, but with better quality results. So I’ve started taking one photo per day to post on Instagram and share on Facebook. It’s quite an exciting learning curve for me, and I’m so curious to find out where it’ll lead me in the end. You can find the link to my Instagram account in the footer if you’re interested. I’d be so honoured if you followed me. As for Facebook, I only share things with my friends, and I don’t accept random friend requests, so if you’d like to follow me on Facebook, please PM me first.

So much for this week. I still owe you the list of books I’ve read in the meantime but I’ve decided to write an extra post for them to catch up, and get back to posting them in my weeklies from next week on.

May Showers Bring Lots Of Flowers

Hello my lovelies, is it just me, or does anybody else feel like you’ve just come out of hibernating? March and April were so dreadfully cold and wintery, I was seriously beginning to fear for my plants. I’m pleased and relieved to report that not only did they all make it through, apparently they are also trying to make up for the lost weeks by shooting out of the ground. Just see for yourselves:


I love to stand under the lilac tree and just breathe in that heavenly perfume. May definitely is my favourite month of the year so far. Last Sunday, I sat outside in the sun, knit a few rows on my seed stitch blanket, and when that got too heavy and too warm, switched to knitting a new sock, while listening to an audio book („Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy“ by John Le Carré, in case you were wondering). It was the most hygge thing I had done in ages, and I thoroughly enjoyed that day. Here’s hoping the weather will be just as brilliant for Pentecost – I have a shawl pattern, matching yarn, and determination ready to go.

That Little Shop I Love

Finally, I’m getting to show you dears my workplace, aka the little shop I love. Yes, it’s a rather small shop, just one room actually, but it’s stuffed to the brim with goodness.

Okay, facts first. The shop „Wunderlich – Feines aus Garten und Natur“ is located in Münchberg (not far from Hof / Saale, in case you’d like to look it up on a map). It’s a family run business, selling mostly handmade goods, like jam, oil, vinegar, mustard and liqueur, in an amazing variety of flavours. Tomato vanilla jam, anyone? (It’s actually great but you don’t have to take my word for it, do come over and see for yourself.) Everything is made from real produce, no artificial flavours or food colouring, or whatever allergy inducing chemistry the food industry often adds.

We also offer wine from two different Baden-Wuerttemberg wineries, pasta and – as you know already – tea. For starters, I picked some lovely black teas: Darjeeling, a Second Flush from Glenburn Tea Estate (do  check out that link, that place is so beautiful, it makes me want to jump on the next available flight, even though I’m afraid of flying), a Nilgiri (a region in Southern India, the Blue Mountains), a China Keemun, and a Frisian tea (a very rich tea made of Assams and Javas, best enjoyed with some cream and candy). Then there are some green teas, a Chinese Chun Me, and a flavoured green tea specially designed for making ice tea, and a white tea called Pai Mu Tan (which I’m especially curious about), and of course a whole variety of fruity and fruit-flavoured teas. I picked flavours that I think will be perfect for spring and summer – berries, apple, pineapple, mango, you get the idea. I also picked one Honeybush tea, it’s similar to Roibos but sweeter, and two edible teas. „Whatever is that?“, I hear you say. Well, it’s made of dried fruits, and once you’ve made your tea from it, you can eat the now re-hydrated fruit bits, put them in your yoghurt or have them with cream or pudding, or whatever other way you fancy. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to take a photo of all the tea goodness but if you’d please go over to the shop’s Facebook page, my boss Sebastian added some photos already.

We are going to have our first ever tea party on 3rd March, we’re going to offer tea, cake and biscuits, and some of those lovely jams you see here, and honestly, I can’t wait.

Week 4/18

Hello my dears, thanks so much for all your lovely  comments on my last post. Melvin says thank you, too. He’s a very content little fish (read: spoiled brat) today, his quarters were freshened up with some fresh water, and his chow is in the making, or rather, defrosting.

Let’s move on to the yarny goodness, shall we? This:

is my latest yarn haul. 11 balls of Lang Presto in dark grey and 6 balls in light blue. Since the yarn is discontinued, my LYS had a special sale, and I grabbed these in the hope they’ll be enough for a yoke sweater for yours truly. It’s a cotton mix yarn with only about 65 m per 50 g, so not really much mileage to get out of one ball. The 11 balls of dark grey wouldn’t have been enough so I decided to add some stranded colourwork in light blue. I’m planning to do a stranded pattern in the yoke, plus smaller patterns at the ends of both the body and sleeves. I never made a seamless top-down yoke before but how hard can it be? (Famous last words, I know.) I’m going to follow the excellent instructions in „The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters“ by Ann Budd and hope to get it right. I might wait until March and my vacation, though. Might be a good idea to be able to concentrate on this for a few days in a row.

Other than that, I finished the crocheting part of Chai (with many thanks to Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail – somehow, I crochet faster when watching a nice movie), started the second sock, and even managed a few more stitches on my Fruit Salad Wave blanket. I still skipped week 3 because frankly, my mind was stuffed full with shop talk. I so enjoyed that trip to Hamburg even though it was quite a long day, it’s a 500+ km drive (one way!) so since we had to start early, I had to get up at 2 a.m., but as I was so excited (and nervous as well), I hardly slept at all the night before. We did get there alright, had a lovely day walking around the trade fair, ordered our tea, and after an early dinner, got home just in time for the snow storm. Since many of you asked about what teas I was going to pick, I decided to „show“ you the shop I work at and tell you a little more about it in an extra post.

The better part of last week was spent trying to remember a song. Do you know this feeling when you hear this one line of a song in your head, it’s on repeat, you know that you know and like that song, but no matter how hard you try, you can’t remember the title or any other part of the lyrics except for this one line that keeps playing on and on and on and on … Back in the old days, I would have gone to the record store and told the guy working there that I was looking for a song, „and it goes like this: *sing*“. These days, I’m spared the embarrassment because I can ask „okay, Google“. Thankfully, Auntie G. knew the song and even directed me to Youtube where I found:

Yeah, I know, right? I’ve no idea where that came from, it’s way out of my musical comfort zone.

And I also managed to squeeze a couple of books in:

„Murder at Merisham Lodge“ is the first in a three book series about Joan Hart and Verity Hunter. I liked it very much, it’s a typical British cosy. „Which end is up?“ is all about change, with infuriating and sad parts, but I still enjoyed it, even though I thought the ending was a bit rushed.

With luck, I might have my first new FO to show next week. Seriously, how much longer can it take to finish some plain vanillas?

Week 2/18

Hi there, my dears. I’m so embarrassed – I’ve got nothing new to show. I did manage to finish the first sock (except for the bind-off, that is) but I didn’t get to take a photo. For some reason, this week just flew by, and all of a sudden, it’s Sunday and I’m busy preparing for my business trip tomorrow. I’m going to Hamburg trade fair with my boss to get a tea selection for the shop I work at. We had a few selected varieties (mostly flavoured) for Christmas, and since they sold surprisingly well, my boss decided to jump in and let me pick an assortment. I’ve got my list of must-have teas ready and written, and even managed to narrow it down to only 25 teas (I’m so proud of myself, I started out with more than double). Wish me luck, please, I’ve never done anything similar before, and am equal parts nervous and excited.

I did manage to do my homework, so to speak, by finishing this book:

It’s an amazing book full of information on all things tea-related, and beautifully written as well. I do think I’ll have to re-read it a couple of times to make sure I’ve really got the important stuff memorized, though. Another six weeks until we hold our first Tea Party at the shop (again, equal parts nervous and excited), I’m sooooo very much looking forward to it.

So since I don’t have anything crafty to show today, I thought I’d just leave you with a pic of Melvin, my very own darling fish:

He’s a Betta Splendens var Halfmoon, and a beautiful specimen, I think, but then again, I’m absolutely, totally biased.