A Canadian gal in Stuttgart, Germany, who loves nothing better than crafting by the seat of her pants. See her snip, sew, knit, knot, glue, sculpt, splatter, spin, and of course, talk about herself.

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Thursday, March 30, 2006
oh. my. god.
click here to buy one!
i can't decide if i madly, desperately want one, or if it just freaks me the hell out. what do you think?

posted by tatjana @ 3:31 p.m.   5 comments
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
a litte late....my weekend
the weather was nice and mild on Saturday when I went into town with my friend Clara, who'll be going back to Paraguay soon :( we wandered around the Trödelmarkt (flea/antique market), the Wochenmarkt ('Weekend' market - mostly fruit, veggies n flowers) and walked up and down the Königstrasse (King St), our city's main shopping strip.

i didn't remember i had my camera until after the antique market, so i didn't get any pictures, but i'll be sure to next time, because some of the tables has the loveliest spreads of old china and crystal...and one vendor who sold antique chandeliers. we passed by the Schlossplatz, a park near the Palace, where they've started a kind of outdoor exhibit of stone carvings with the theme of the World Cup. as you can probably imagine, Germans are pretty gung-ho about soccer (along with the rest of the world outside of north america) so they're pretty darn excited about the World Cup being on home turf. but i don't quite get the tie in to stone carving. i mean, the things most often carved from stone are what? tombstones? statues to memorialize dead folks? so what is the message exactly? soccer is dead? ha, don't i wish. cuz lord knows this town is going to be a mess onces the games get going, especially when there's one here. anyway, here's a shot of Clara being all sporty next to one of the soccer-tombstone thingies:

and here's another one that i just thought was kinda creepy n wierd. of course, i'm the kind of person who has to cringe during a penalty shot because i can't bear how pathetic the players look all lined up in a row, desperately trying to protect their manhood. see that? in the middle? that's a row of pseudo-Egyptian soccer players hanging on to their bits for dear life. poor saps! i normally don't agree with the whole earning all kinds of money just for playing sports thing, but i figure any guy who's been unfortunate enough to get a soccer ball in the nads has earned it.

but wait! that's not all! i even did some knitting, yes sir! it was a totally improvised and rushed sort of deal, and if you look too closely, it kinda looks like hell, but it gave me an idea of what to do with all the leftover cotton bits i know are going to plague me over the course of my summer knitting.

the mesh knits up really fast, and will look better when i knit it the same way the whole way through the garment (who'd a thunk it?). and i very well may have one to match every cotton tank i knit this summer, so that i don't feel all nekkid wearing one to work (it's a university, not too formal, but still).

posted by tatjana @ 1:11 p.m.   1 comments
Monday, March 27, 2006
Bubble Wrap Sketch

Bubble Wrap Sketch
Originally uploaded by happy go lovely.
ok. here's a sketch i whipped up of the boucle wrap cardi i'm knitting, and writing up a pattern for. it's a *really* simple knit, because it's just garter stitch, and requires very little shaping. each piece is knit fromthe botom up, starting with 1 strand of the boucle, with one strand of the mohair. after knitting a few rows to make the first stripe, i knit 4 rows of just the boucle, so that the stripes don't just blend together, because mohair is not known for stitch definition (or boucle, for that matter). i then picked up a strand of mohair in a different shade of pink (the mohairs were just leftovers i had lying around) and knit a few rows to make the next strip, only a little narrower than the first. i then drop the strand of mohair, and continue knitting a few rows of just boucle. this first part was knit on 5mm needles. after the stripes and a few rows of single strand boucle, i switch to 4.5mm needles. why? it saves me the trouble of decreasing. between the extra thickness from the mohair, and the larger needles, the bottom will be a bit wider and taper towards the waist. also, the boucle i used has a thin/thick quality to it, and it knit up more solidly on the smaller needles. in the diagram you can see the arrows are pointing to where the shaping occurs all by itself! luckily, i want bell-ish sleeves for the cardi, so it works out well there too. and for those of you who are already wondering...but on the front piece, won't it taper on *both* sides? yes, it will, but not only is it not super noticeable, but since that side of the front pieces will be attached to a belt and pulled in the opposite direction, i'm not really worried about it.
i was too busy with my new wheel and other stuff last week to work on this, but i'm casting on the sleeves tonight, so it shouldn't be long before i can put more pics up. i also had a bout of knitting AWOL on the weekend because i say a knit mesh shrug that i just *had* to try knitting myself. i'll try n take a pic of that tonight.

posted by tatjana @ 5:05 p.m.   0 comments
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Hump Day is for Spinning Fun!
hehehe. i said hump. heh. i'm a little tired today, it's been a super duper hectic week so far, so i'm happy as all heck that more than half of it is over. My beautiful, wonderful, gorgeous sexpot of a spinning wheel arrived on Monday! Talk about lightning fast! I didn't think it'd get here til at least Tuesday. BUT, the killer was that because of the big project proposal being due this week, I of course had to work late, and Monday was the MIL-to-be's birthday, and we had to mosey over and eat cake. So I only got to unpack the wheel on Tuesday, and finally spun me some roving today. HELLO! Can you say fun!?!? Granted, I had a little start up trouble, because this was the first time I ever actually saw a functional wheel. And then, genius that I am, in my eagerness I decided to start spinning without pre-drafting my wool. I bet you can imagine how nice that turned out huh? But when I tried again it went much better. Luckily, the Louet is really easy to treadle slowly, but dang, did i ever want to let that baby rip. I mean, this really puts spindling to shame! It was all I could not to start making racecar noises, you know? (Ok, maybe I actually did, but only for a little while, and no, I will not admit to it ever again) i promised some friends I'd go to the movies tomorrow, so it looks like i'm stuck jonesing for roving til the weekend. But my boss is all happy with all the work I did on the proposal, so guess who can probably knock off early on Friday? The chick with the sexy new wheel, that's who! And Ima gonna mosey straight home to get me some Louet lovin'! Hell yeah!
posted by tatjana @ 11:16 p.m.   1 comments
Monday, March 20, 2006
Getting down with my Knit self
i've been thinking lately, i'm a little short when it comes to my knitting. i'm not a big producer, and haven't really been knitting for that long, so i can still be a little self conscious about my knit blogging. but it's occurred to me that i have some other experience that other knitters might not have, like the fact that i've been sewing since i was a kid (though seldom these days) and i even took a year of fashion design before i settled on a science degree. so there's a lot of stuff that goes through my head about the shape of a garment, or the texture of a fabric or yarn that i think has really been missing from my posts. but i've decided to make a bigger effort to add it from now on. i'm putting together a pattern for the Bubble Wrap. It's pretty simple, but i think an important aspect that i will include with the pattern is why i made the choices i did for this yarn. i think boucles are a lovely type of yarn, but they're not used very often, except for the typical hat or scarf projects that everyone turns to when they just don't know what to use the dang stuff for. and even i left a really gorgeous yarn to sit in the corner because i couldn't think of what would go well with that texture. nowadays, there are ever more types of yarn, and i think this issue must come up a lot for many knitters. i'm going to try n see what i can come up with, so stay tuned! just don't ask me what to do with ribbon yarn. i hate ribbon yarn! crazy twisting pile of...but that's another story :)

posted by tatjana @ 1:55 p.m.   2 comments
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Bubble Wrap

Originally uploaded by happy go lovely.
Yay! knitting progress. the number one reason i am not ticked off as hell at being sick AGAIN ;) and i haven't even been working on this on the train on the way to work, because i did that on Monday, and the mo-hair decided to get a little too friendly with the cuffs of my coat, and i had to spend the last 10 minutes of the train ride trying to get the dang stuff off so i wouldn't look like i had just done a prostate exam on the easter bunny. and as i sit around on a lazy, cold-ridden butt, front piece #2 is hustling along, so expect another update soon. woohoo!

posted by tatjana @ 3:51 p.m.   0 comments
Saturday, March 18, 2006
i'm not very popular today....

doesn't she look pleased? Abby and Lily got spayed on Thursday, and I've been keeping a careful eye on them to make sure they don't mess with the stitches. i can't watch them 24/7 though, and i have had to stop them from licking the wound a couple of times, so when we go to bed, it's lick-guard time. i know there must be a special word for this, but i can't remember what it is in english, only in german. (you know you've been living in a foreign country too long when....) i kinda expected more crankiness from the two of them, what with being operated on n all, but they've been purring like mad for the last 2 days. i guess that means they're healing well.
i knitting news, i've got the back and one front piece done on what i've decided to call my 'bubble wrap' since the yarn has such a bubbly look to it :) i've just been sorta winging the pattern, and i just hope i haven't knit it a little too small. right now it's hard to tell. both pieces are still on needles, because i think i'm going to join front and back with a 3 needle bind off, which i've never tried before! so wish me luck! i was hoping to go baking mad tomorrow and make a bunch of cookies to take to work (aren't i a nice co-worker?) but the cold which has been creeping up on me this week finally decided to make it's move, so i think tomorrow will involve a lot of knitting instead. who knows, maybe i can even finish the other front piece tomorrow! at any rate, i'll put a couple pics up tomorrow.

posted by tatjana @ 9:07 p.m.   2 comments
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Hot DAMN!!!
i hardly know what to do with myself. i have been thinking about getting a spinning wheel for a while now. i started with the hand spindle, and managed to make some decent yarn on that (even on my first try!!) but i didn't get to spin very often, because the kitties just can't resist the spindle, and every time they see they get all exciting, and are all Woohoo! Kill the fluff!! my theory is that the spinning of the wheel will intimidate them enough to back off. i also couldn't do it for very long because i developed this habit of holding my roving in a vice-like death grip that after a while made my hands all sore and claw-like...so, you know, not the most relaxing. i really wanted to try a wheel, but there is nowhere anywhere near here where i can do that, except for a spinning weekend a couple hours from here that only happens once a year. grrrr. and of course, like any normal craftster lusting after yet another hobby, i got into the habit of checking out wheels online....and to make a long story short, i took the plunge and just bought one! here she is!
isn't she gorgeous? i'm gonna have to think up a really kickass name for her, because i haven't even seen her in person and i'm already all weak-kneed! i was kinda nervous about such a big craft investment, but it was such a deal, i coudn't help myself. it's a Louet S10, used but in very good condition, taken apart, tested and with new bearings put in. and she comes all set with a swift, extra bobbins, and even carders!! all for about $200US from a nice couple in Holland. i've already transfered the money, and am now just waiting for the arrival of my new pride and joy... i can hardly contain myself!!! Woohoo!!

posted by tatjana @ 10:06 a.m.   3 comments
Monday, March 13, 2006
Revenge of the Neglected Yarn

So here's a better shot of my boucle wallflower. she's been hanging around feeling like the ugly sister for a while now, even though she's actually a very pretty yarn. i bought her because i just couldn't resist her cuddly pinkness, but when she arrived i hadn't the foggiest idea what to do with her. which wasn't such a big deal, after all, it's not like this happens to me almost every time i buy yarn or anything... :) the first obvious idea was to knit a Chanel style boucle jacket. but i already have one in black and white i found at a thrift shop (with matching skirt no less, Yeehaw!) and it pretty much fills that niche. i also wasn't sure if this yarn would have the right weight or body for that kind of garment. so i was really happy last week when i threw all my pinks together and came up with a great idea! ok, it's not like i came up with the wheel or anything, but it's a new project, it's pink, and it uses not only my poor little boucle, but some left over mohair to boot! Woot Woot! (i am such poet) what i decided on is a wrap cardi. i'm knitting it in garter stitch, cuz really the boucle doesn't lend itself well to much else (ie so little stitch definition it was all i could do to figure out what the hell gauge i was knitting). but to pep it up a bit, i decided to make a couple stripes along the bottom, by double strading it with the mohair in oh so complementary colours. (why did i never notice that before??) i really like how it's turning out, and i think it's something i'm likely to wear often. the softness of the yarn will make it really comfy. the pic here is one i took sometime last week, and i'm almost done the back now, and have started one of the front pieces. it's not going as quickly as i'd like, because i've been working like mad trying to get a research proposal done and my wrist is getting all funked from all the computer work. so knittting has not been smooth. the boucle also seems to be more of a strain on my wrist than smooth yarn. i think it's purposely being a bitch because i left it in a plastic bag for the last few months. grrr. oh well, that's what i get for my neglected my yarn....let that be a lesson to you all! lol ;)

posted by tatjana @ 10:02 a.m.   2 comments
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Lunchmeat the Owl

this our new little friend, brought to us by the nice people at Ikea. every once in a while, Matthias lets me drag him over there and wander aimlessly looking at all the pretty things we either don't have money for, don't have room for, or just plain can't have unless we want it destroyed by the cats (have i mentioned they're a bit unruly?). so we were there today to pick up a couple of things and saw some cute little animals on sale and grabbed one for the kitties. I was tempted to buy more, but i wasn't sure if they would like it, they can be finicky. they are after all, cats. But when we got home, they seemed to like him well enough, so i decided to name him Lunchmeat. why Lunchmeat? well, a couple weeks ago w had a little fun with felting and made a mouse-type toy for the kitties. admittedly, it's not the prettiest thing in the world, but it has all the things that Abby n Lily like: a frilly tail they can bat around, a sleigh bell inside, and it smells like sheep. i gotta tell you, it went over like gangbusters. they just couldn't get enough. i was all set to pat myself on the back and make a bunch more the following weekend until i found the remains a few days later... this is all that was left. lord knows where the tail went. it's such a sad little piece of almost nothing i couldn't even get the camera to focus on it properly. i figure Lunchmeat will be able to hold up a little better, but really, i think his days are numbered. i should probably get felting.

posted by tatjana @ 8:53 p.m.   0 comments
Sunday, March 05, 2006
Colour me March

Shameless procrastinator that I am, I was trolling the net a couple days ago when I happened upon Project Spectrum. It's an ongoing craft-along where each month is dedicated to a colour group, and we get to share things we make, whether knit, sewn, sculpted, painted, whatever, that are those colours. or take pictures of things we see around us with those colours. It sounded like so much fun I signed up immediately! I've been in a bit of a rut lately, or more like for a few months now, and my creative endeavours have dwindled to almost nothing. But I really like theme projects, so I'm hoping this will give me the little push I need to get my mojo back.

To get myself started, I raided my stash for everything red n pink! Things have been a little chaotic over in my little yarn cave, and it really did me good to organize a bit according to colour. (or really just organize at all LOL) I gathered up all the lighter colours in one basket, and the darker/brigher ones in another. There are a couple of things in there that have been laying around for a while, and seeing this way put them in a whole new light. Most of my yarn purchases are virtual stash raids on German eBay, where a lot of people just sell random heaps of yarn they don't use any more. It results in me having all kinds of randomness that sometimes I just have no idea what to do with. Case in point - see that pink boucle?? It's a soft, cuddly cotton blend, that I just had to have. It came in loose skeins that weren't even twisted into hanks or anything, just bigs loops of yarn. I have more than enough for a cardi, but can't decide what would be the right project. But putting it next to some of my other yarns has given me an idea, and as soon as I've finished knitting a swatch to see if it works, I think I've got me a new project!
And for those who are wondering, the woolies are normally kept safe and warm in a room unknown to kitties, so they were all excited about the buffet. I was just barely able to keep them off for the time it took to take these, so excuse the little paws and head :)

posted by tatjana @ 7:52 p.m.   0 comments
Snowy Garden

Snowy Garden
Originally uploaded by happy go lovely.
This is what we woke up to yesterday morning, a big honking heap of snow! This much at once is not really normal here in southern Germany, and pretty much unheard of in March. Folks here are used to a light dusting that is usually gone in a day or two, and start to drive like grannies if it's any heavier. Silly Germans! One thing I really like here though, is that although salt is used on the highways for safety, the other roads just get gravel. I'm not sure that would work in Canada, we just have too much ice, and without salt there's just no way of maintaining any kind of safe road conditions. But it's a nice change here not to have salt stains on everything :)

posted by tatjana @ 7:47 p.m.   1 comments
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Yay! MAIL!!

i don't know about you, but i just love gettin' stuff in the mail. last year i was pretty active on nervousness, a web site for people into mail art. it was alot of fun. for those who don't know, mail art can be pretty much anything you've made yourself, that you then send in the mail to someone else. there are all sorts of groups who do simple trades, work on group projects that get passed/mailed along, or who make things based on themes to send to others in the group, or a special person who could use the art love. the site was down for a long time, but it's been up again (for the most part) since the fall. as part of an exchange we started last year that got cut short, i've been lucky enough to receive these two art dolls in the mail. the top one is from Karan, who lives in Israel, and was beaded by hand. this type of dollmaking has been really popular, and this is a lovely example. i really like the pattern.
the other doll is from Laurina, and is made from clay, fabric, and a piece she took from her date palm tree! i really love this doll. i think they both rock the casbah, but because of the colour and the plant bits, the one from Laurina is especially me. i haven't made a doll myself since Nervousness went AWOL, but now that it's up again, and people seem to be trickling back, maybe it's time to revive some of my non-knit craftiness.

posted by tatjana @ 7:14 p.m.   0 comments
Don't you just love a dog in a sweater?
no, not my dog. do you think i could fit a dog in here, what with the two mightily-clawed hellcats i just barely manage to keep inside the house until they get spayed? no chance. but i was just checking in on the crap-your-pants-laughing-inducer that is Dooce and lo and behold, there was a four footed bonbon in argyle. i'm not so much the doggie seater type, so i won't post the pic here, you'll just have to mosey over and see for yourself. the accompanying post is even better! makes me wish i lived next door to a taxidermist.

posted by tatjana @ 6:33 p.m.   0 comments

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