Monday, October 15, 2012

Different cultures are different

Although living in Europe is a lot of fun, because of all the adventure, travel, and just the experience of being in another culture, there are some challenges, the language barrier being the biggest. I can get along in all my day-to-day stuff just fine, especially because the vast majority of people speak at least some English (though not the lovable ferry boat captain!), and I've picked up some of the essentials, like how to say "no mayonnaise." Still, I've been too shy to try and make friends here. Mostly because I feel like if I showed up at a local knitting group, I imagine I'd be forcing people into their second (or third, or fourth) language, and I wouldn't want to make the regulars feel uncomfortable while my presence is just fleeting. Maybe I'm being overly anxious? In any case, that's where things stand.

The combination of missing the social aspect of knitting plus having fewer entertainment options (no TV, extremely limited internet, etc) has gotten me into watching/listening to a lot of podcasts. I've been listening to some knitting podcasts for at least five years, but I've discovered a whole bunch of new ones lately. Many thanks to Starbucks for having free unlimited wifi that allows me to download this stuff.

So one podcast, The KnitGirllls, has an expand your horizons spinalong going on their Ravelry board. October is for spinning cheviot, which is certainly a new-to-me fiber. Behold!


The fiber is from Dyeabolical, and it was spun on a Bosworth spindle and plied on my True Creations kick spindle. I got about 300 yds of a 3-ply. Originally I was hoping it'd be good sock yarn, but the yardage is a bit too little for the size of socks I like to make, and the colors blended and became a little duller than I had envisioned for socks-- that was my fault in how I spun the yarn, by the way.

Then comes the Knitabulls podcast, who have an October monster spinalong/knitalong focusing on Halloween colors. By golly, that fiber is Halloween colored. I'm not much of a toy knitter, but I do enjoy crocheting them, and behold!


A marsupial momster and baby. So cute. Easy and fun to make, no sewing involved, and done in a few hours. I decided to jump on board with this knitalong when I discovered the "big box craft store" here in Bonn. It's not that big or boxy, but it did have polyfill, stuffing, and eyes.

The thing about this project that I think will remind me of Germany in particular is that the eyes are not safety eyes; they are just shank buttons that look like eyes (Wouldn't that make the creepiest cardigan?!). It surprised me exactly 0% that I couldn't find safety eyes here. From being around German strangers, their parenting style doesn't seem to involve being concerned about toy eyes being a safety hazard. Half the time when I see a kid toddling along on the street I can't even tell which adult(s) they belong to. After all, this is the country that brings us the Kinder Egg, choking hazard extraordinaire.

In completely other news, Rhinebeck is upon us and I am not going. WOE. I'm hoping somebody is; can I get a report?


  1. I love the idea of a cardigan with eye buttons. Maybe also have buttoned breast pockets. I'm trying to ponder how you could design something that would incorporate this kitsch while also being wearable...

  2. Re: knitting circles and language barriers, is it possible that there's an English language knitting circle somewhere nearby? When I was visiting Paris last year I went to such a thing.

    Also and unrelated, hey! I recognize that cowl!

  3. @Emily: I think there might be an English knitting group in Cologne, but that's a 15€ round trip, which is a little too steep to make sense. Alas.

    @Jenny Jo: I'd love to see an eyeball sweater work. I have a hard time envisioning one that's anything other than super creepy, which isn't necessarily a bad thing...

    1. Oof, For that much, you could just hire a translator for a couple hours ...

      Re: a sweater, don't they remind you of cat eyes? You could make a cardigan whose button band is a stranded pattern of cat faces. Which, I guess, is only as creepy as a bunch of disembodied cat heads is ...