Friday, 20 January 2017

Finished Objects: Tschiertschen and Monkey Jacobus

Pattern: Peanut by Tin Can Knits
Yarn: YOTH Yarns Big Sister
Colour: Thyme, Hazelnut
Needles: 3.75mm and 4.5mm Round Needles
Start of project: January 5th, 2016
End of project: January 8th, 2017

On Ravelry

I knit this little vest for a baby that I will see for the first time in February. I hope he won't be too big by the time we get there, I wasn't sure how much yarn I had, so I went with size 6 to 12 months. 

I combined a few pattern for this project. The basic vest pattern is Peanut, the fair isle pattern is Anders. Because I needed a number dividable by 12 I had to add 4 stitches, but that wasn't very complicated. When I got to the end and the only thing left was the cast off I remembered the beautiful finish of the button band of my Silversmith Hoodie so I added an iCord in the contrast colour. I am really happy with how that turned out, it looks so very tidy now.

In the end there was still a bit of the yarn left over so I cast on for another project for the same baby:

Pattern: Monkey Jacobus by Annita Wilschut
Yarn: YOTH Yarns Big Sister and a bit of Tanis Fiber Arts Yellow Label
Colour: Thyme, Hazelnut and Poppy
Needles: 3.5mm Round Needles
Start of project: January 8th, 2016
End of project: January 15th, 2017

On Ravelry

I love knitting toy and this is going to stay another favourite of mine. It was so interesting to knit this monkey, I can't believe how clever all the construction was.

I knew it was going to be very tight with the left over yarn. In the end, I didn't have enough of the Thyme for the last arm. After a bit of playing around I settled on a stripe of neon yellow and a slightly wider one in red which I think looks super funky and retro. The Hazelnut was just enough, there was probably about 10 inches left in the end. I used the red yarn for the mouth and the tail as well.

Now there is only one problem - Antonia and I are seriously in love with this monkey and we both can't imagine to let it go. So I might have to find some other yarn and knit a second version, this one just stole into our heart and seems to want to live on our sofa ;-)

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Finished Object: Fiddlehead Mittens

Pattern: Fiddlehead Mittens by Adrian Bizilia
Yarn: Malabrigo Arroyo and Purl Soho Line Weight
Colour: English Rose, Natural, Cardamon Green
Needles: 3.25mm Round Needles
Start of project: December 10th, 2016
End of project: January 4th, 2017

On Ravelry

My first project of 2017 is finished. These mittens were in the pipeline for a long time. I wanted to knit them for my godmother (my aunt) ever since she lost her husband last June. I am not very good at writing something appropriate or soothing and I don't really get the putting flower on a grave thing. Acutally I kind of do, but it didn't feel right at the moment. Instead I wanted to knit her something that would keep her hands warm.

Sommer went by and fall arrived and I had found a pattern and the perfect yarn and colours for it. Somehow I missed the deadline I had set for myself, the end of November (my uncle's birthday). I finally cast them on at the beginning of December and then my grandmother's health started to deteriorate and she had to go to hospital. So I had the mittens in my bag whenever I went to visit her, which somehow connected them to her. This will be the last project she was part of, even though she didn't actually get to see them.

My grandmother passed away and christmas arrived and I didn't really feel like knitting at all. But then once the festivities and the funeral was over I picked up these mittens again and finally I made some progress.

I really love the pattern and I think the pink and the natural go together very well. I added lining mittens in my favourite colour and now they are done. They are rather on the small side so I hope my guess that my aunt's hands are shorter than mine is correct, because I want her to be able to wear them in these cold temperatures. I think I'll try to meet her soon for a coffee, definitely before it's her birthday at the end of January...

Monday, 2 January 2017

Looking back: 2nd of January

Some of you might remember that I did a Looking Back Series (this was the first entry I wrote) when I started this blog in 2014. I did 12 posts for 12 months and then I stopped. Now I feel like starting again and because it's the 2nd of January, all the following photos were taken on the same day over the years:

In 2004 Antonia and Yannick were small enough to be carried together and there was snow ;-)

In 2007 we had United Colours of Luxemburgerli

In 2008 I had the flu (that's not the reason for the colours but I think I was too sick to take a better selfie)

In 2009 I wasn't totally convinced of the new year yet...

In 2010 I went on a really icy walk with Tobi at the Albis.

In 2011 I drank this and survived. I think it must have been a flickr meetup or something...

 In 2012 there was a beautiful sunrise and we made M&M muffins. 

In 2013 I took a selfie on the sofa and then I went on another new year's walk with Tobi.

In 2014 we went to see Evelyne in Affoltern am Albis.

In 2015 I had finished the first one of my Tintagel Mittens. 

Last year in 2016 I was knitting my Ravine and Annette joined me on the sofa. 

And today in 2017 I walked through Puls 5 and then I had coffee with Silvia at Sphères.

It seems that the second day of the year is an excellent day to take photos and that I often do pretty much the same on that day ;-)

Sunday, 1 January 2017

First sunshine of the year

After a few days of intense fog, sunshine and blue sky is always extra special. I went for a traditional first of January walk with Tobi and Alex on the Üetliberg today and even though there were lots of people up there it was so worth going. The view was stunning, the sunshine so very welcome and the icy temperatures helped to drive away all the bad left overs of 2016. I am very grateful for friendship and for living in such a nice place and I had a lot of fun taking these photos (sorry for the overkill of f.22, I just couldn't resist ... ;-)

Happy New Year

I just woke up on this very first day of 2017. It's still all dark and foggy outside but my washing maschine (the real one) is running and somehow my mind is turning just as fast.

First of all, let me all wish us a happy and healthy new year. I got the meme below from Facebook and I think it looks like a great motto.

Somehow I've been awake for longer than I wanted. I never sleep really well after drinking too much alcohol and we had a bottle of lovely wine and champagne last night. Then Yannick was walking around trying to unblock his nose all the time and I am not used to his vibes yet after having shared a flat with Antonia for more than 8 months.

But I am also aware that this unrest I feel comes from the really not very important decision I need to take now: Which 30 day Yoga Challenge should I start - the Beginner or the Intermediate one.

I know I am somewhere in between and I know that I want to deepen my yoga practice, but even though I am very tempted to try the more intense one after having done a few intermediate classesin the last few days, my neck muscles tell me (because of these intermediate classes that I enjoyed but which were still rather challenging) not to be stupid and start with the slower classes and do the intermediate later in the year. There is my answer, all I have to do is accept it and stop fretting about it. Sorry for the rambling.

Happy New Year and I wish for clarity and calmness ;-)

ETA: During the first practice I realised that the beginner's challenge is indeed better for me, because it needs patience and stillness and acceptance and that seems almost more difficult than just more strength and flexibility. So that's that 🤓 

Saturday, 31 December 2016

My books 2016

Last year I read 73 books, in 2014 I read 69 books and this year again 69 books. So even when I don't plan it, it seems that I am a pretty consistent reader ;-). This time my most intense reading time happened in the summer when I came across one good book after the other. The last few weeks were rather slow but now that school is over I was able to get back into a rhythmn. It was definitely enough to complete my reading challenge.

A bit more statistics before the acutal books:
  • 62 books are written in English
  • only 7 books are written in German (and most of them I read for school)
  • I reread 5 books (the whole Lunar Cronicles and the last Outlander book)
Maybe I should try to be a bit more up to date with German Literatur again next year. And one or two French books would definitely be nice.
  • only 5 books are proper books (most of them presents, I don't think I bought any books for myself)
  • 64 books are on my iPad
Even though I love the feeling of real books, there are a few reasons why I prefer ibooks: They are always with me and I can sneak in a few pages during a break or while I am sitting in the tram; there is no way I could put all these books in my bookshelf, so it seems like a waste of space and paper to buy actual books; quite often ibooks are cheaper than even the paperback edition and last but not least they are instantly available when I feel like starting a new book.

My favourites of 2016:

Time and Time Again by Ben Elton
When Breath becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Leave Me by Gayle Forman
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Hum and Shiver by Alex Bledsoe
Holding Up the Universe by Jenniver Niven
Still Life by Louise Penny

Are there any amazing books you read recently that I might like as well?

Sunday, 25 December 2016

2016 resumé

This is the third time I will answer the following questions on my Schnickschnack blog. Here's 2014 and 2015...

1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?
I went to a yoga retreat for a week in Portugal and I liked it so much that I went to another one for a weekend in November and already booked a third one in March.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't always find the perfect balance between work and the rest but I am quite proud that I managed to keep relatively calm during times of intense stress. Yoga definitely helped me stay focused. Yannick and Antonia got even more independent which sometimes feels very detached but then we also spent intense moments together and I think those are the ones that count. I kind of picked up journaling again, I bought a 365 questions and answers journal which I started in September and so far I've managed to keep up with it. I hope I was there for my friends, they definitely made my time so much better.

My goals for next year are the 30 days yoga challenge which will start on January 1st which will hopefully continue in an intense yoga practice. I'll try to be true to myself, accepting the way I am and I want to enjoy life because it can be over so suddenly.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
One of my neighbours had a baby girl but I don't really know them and Anna from Tschiertschen had a baby boy which I'll meet next February when we will go on our ski holidays

4. Did anyone close to you die?
After so many years of answering this one with no, I finally have to answer it with a yes four times. Two of my uncles died within about a week in June under very different circumstances and my grandmother passed away on December 15th. She really wanted to go in the end, so her death is a mixed feeling of gratitude and sadness. The last person to die this year was my former principal.

5. What countries did you visit?
At the end of April we flew to Cyprus for a week. We spent a great time in our villa with pool and got to see quite a bit of the island while driving around.

In July I went to Bergen with Antonia. It was our first time that in Norway and we were both enchanted by the landscape and the sea.

In October I went to Portugal for my yoga retreat. Apart from the daily lessons I had a lot of time to walk along the stunning coastline. Such a beautiful country!

In November I went to Germany (just on the other side of the border) for another yoga retreat. I didn't have a lot of time and it was rainy and foggy but it was great to be away from everything for a few hours.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
A better connection with my mom. We really don't get along at the moment and even though we both would like to change it (at least I think we both want that) we don't seem to find a way.

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
  • Every other Wednesday my grandmother and I walked to the GZ together. It was a sweet little routine that brought joy to both of us and I know she will always be in my thoughts on Wednesdays.
  • Drinking beer with Z. after 5 years.
  • Driving on the highway in Cyprus through an intense downpour without knowing how to turn on the wipers. 
  • An excellent school camp in Charmey.
  • Seeing my brother at my uncle's funeral after not having seen him for nine years. I am glad he's back in my life.
  • Dancing with Annette and Sascha at 80s forever.
  • The fire evacuation in Bergen which made me realise how little most of the stuff matters as long as Antonia and I were fine.
  • Standing next to the waterfall in Kjosfossen and listening to Hulda.
  • Hiking from Arosa to Tschiertschen.
  • Swimming down the Limmat with Andreas and Yannick.
  • The walks along the Fisherman's path and swimming in the icy water of the Atlantic in Portugal.
  • Knitting on the sofa with Alex and Tobi. 
  • Spending the last time with my grandmother at the hospital. It was just the two of us and even though she wasn't conscious anymore I am sure she knew she was never alone.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
My newfound calmness and flexibility. The way I teach and relate to my students and the good moments with Yannick and Antonia.

9. What was your biggest failure?
When I didn't stay calm and lost it, especially with Yannick and Antonia. Fortunately we always manage to find a way back. The feeling of helplessness with my family, all these silly ways to hurt each other that have gone on for years and years.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
It was another good year. My back was good last year but this year it got even stronger. Osteopathie, regular excercise and yoga definitly help. I was sick very rarely, I think the cold I have right now might be the first one of 2016.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I had to replace my camera because the old one broke. The new one is just as good and I am glad I spent the money.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Mine (this might sound weird, but I am actually quite happy with myself). Antonia is turning into an amazing person, she is funny, helpful, clever and she found her place at the new school.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
My family.

14. Where did most of your money go?
I guess it's travelling again and I couldn't think of a better way to spend it.

15. What did you get really, really excited about?
When I managed to do stuff that I'd never thought possible.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?

Because that was a fantastic concert, because I listened to it while walking in the rain next to the Bodensee and because of my own Grosmi who was very different from the one in the song.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Sadder but not sadsad if that makes sense.
b) thinner or fatter? Quite a bit fatter, this has to stop now!
c) richer or poorer? I am not sure but probably slightly richer again.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
I think I tried and sometimes it worked, that's all one can do.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Worried and secondguessed myself.

20. How did you be spend Christmas?
We started on the 10th of December with my cousins. On the 19th of December we celebrated with my other cousin. Yesterday my family was here and tomorrow we will visit my mother-in-law.

21. What were your favourite months of 2016?
July, August and October

22. Did you fall in love in 2016?

23. How many one-night stands?

24. What was your favourite TV programme?
This is Us.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Life in Pieces
The Catch

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

26. What was the best book you read?
Time and Time again by Ben Elton really got me thinking. I enjoyed the Tufa series by Alex Bledsoe a lot and read the first four books.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Now that I have unlimited access to the web from my iPhone I started to listen to apple music quite regularly. I love my Friday walks to the bakery while listening to an interesting playlist.

28. What did you want and get?
I got to travel and to spend time with people I love.

29. What did you want and not get?
Still no person, but it wasn't so important this year.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
Again I only rarely went to the cinema. I remember Captain Fantastico because it was different and because I went to see it with my brother.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 45 years old and it was a rather sad and very quiet evening.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I still don't know.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
Probably a bit too casual but then I really don't feel like wearing fancy uncomfortable stuff.

34. What kept you sane?
Almost the same as last year: My kids, talking with friends, going away on holidays, knitting and yoga.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Nobody really.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The US election. I still don't understand how this could happen. I don't get people.

37. Who did you miss?
I met a few of last year's old ghosts ;-) Otherwise nobody I think.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
I spent a lot of time with my newish neighbours Yasha, Mareike and Sebastian and I got to know Alex better. I also really like the connections I made through yoga.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
Kein Weg führt zum Glück. Glück ist der Weg.
Be your own light.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"Dä Märliprinz ä huärä Tubäl" (Schoedo) and also on a more optimistic note "It's such a perfect day and I am glad I spent it with you" (Lou Reed)