Thursday, October 4, 2012

Handarbeiten and not so Handarbeiten

Travels! I've been to two places in the past couple of weeks that had some interesting textile displays. The first was at the Heimatmuseum here in my neighborhood of Beuel (pronounced like "boil"). It's the local history museum, largely dedicated to the history of doing laundry. You read that right.

Beuel was historically the place where laundry went sent upriver from Köln (Cologne). They had lots of old washing machines and linens, etc., and my big realization there was that the spin cycle is a HUGE improvement over the wringer.

There were also many displays on what life was like back in the day, which in Germany includes handarbeiten, which is the word for needlework. My favorite was the display of sock anatomy in the school:

So many toe options!

Right after this trip across the street to the Heimatmuseum, I took a longer trip with an old friend of mine. We visited Prague, Vienna, Salzburg, and Munich. Until Munich, there was basically nothing fiber-related at all, if you can believe it. The schedule was pretty jam packed with the usual sort of sight seeing. We drank lots of fresh, fizzy wine that's only halfway fermented. Its nickname in Austria is sturm, because it comes up on you like a storm. After that warm up, we got to Munich, where this was going on:

But there's only so much of this that one can do:

(Emily and Jenny Jo will both recognize this dear friend of mine, who is also a knitter!)

So we checked out the Deutsches Musem, which is perhaps the biggest museum I've ever been to, all dedicated to technology. This museum has 10 MILES of exhibits, so we had to narrow down what kinds of technology we wanted to look at. This resulted in seafaring and textiles. The textile section was enormous (so was the seafaring--a whole submarine!) and had huge looms and knitting machines:

They had antique tools, many of which were flax-related:

and my favorite, the circular knitting machine you could crank:

If you're ever in Munich, I'd definitely recommend checking this out. For that matter, if you're in Bonn, come to the Heimatmuseum as well!

The other amazing textile discoveries were the Oktoberfest costumes. Turns out dirdls and lederhosen are serious business. I didn't get any good pictures, but people are not wearing cheap Halloween costumes; these are beautiful garments with lots of amazing touches. There were lots of knit vests and sweaters, predominantly in garter stitch with maybe some cable details. Also amazing wool socks with Bavarian traveling cables on them. Good stuff. Here's a nice lederhosened leg for you, actually taken in Salzburg where they were also out in full force:

I've got some more travels coming up before year's end, so I will definitely report on what I find! Also, I have been spinning and knitting....

One last note: sheep and cows in Bavaria chilling on the hillsides really wear bells around their necks, and it's the cutest thing I've ever seen.

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