Sunday, November 27, 2011

Best gloves ever! Knit One Knit All

This is the lastest book from Schoolhouse Press of Elizabeth Zimmerman's designs. I was so excited when I heard that this book was coming out! I had to have it. Getting this book in Europe can be a bit tricky. None of the Amazon's in the EU have it (or at least when I was looking for it). I eventually got it from Loop in London.

It is a truly beautiful book made of quality paper with EZ's watercolors marking chapter breaks.
Th book is written in true EZ's style with enough information for you to recreate the pattern, but not overloading you on information. Like all of EZ's books the patterns can be adjusted fairly easily, and are written with a minium of hand holding. I have only knit one project so far, but as I am a big fan of her and Meg Swansen's work, I really will enjoy exploring the patterns.

The very first project I had to make out of this book were the garter stitch gloves.
These have the potential for being the best fitting gloves ever! The short rows mean that the back of the glove have the space and shape for the knuckles, and the thumb is the most thumb shaped thumb I have ever seen. The ridges of the garter stitch make the glove stylish, and believe should be less slippery than a stocking stitch glove. 

Unfortunately when I got gauge (un-washed swatch, my fault,) they made a huge glove. This being a superwash sock yarn meant that they got even bigger (again I should have known). They should be good for a large man’s hands.

Just do not make the mistake that I made and make two of the same hand. (I had to turn one inside out, and well it is not REALLY noticeable, you can see it when you look for it.
I am knitting these again, with smaller yarn and needles for me! I bet those of you who know me can just guess what color (hint look at the banner).

I am going to probably be making some of the baby garments next, as a lot of people I know are expecting.

Things are incredibly busy on the new job front. As an example both Tuesday and Thursday were notional holidays this week, and I still worked 50 hours or so. The good news is that as I learn my job the amount of time I have to study on my off time should go down.

Next week I go to Barcelona for a bit over the holidays and I am looking forward to the break and the yarn shopping. 

Signs of change

Many signs are around me right now.
There are signs that fall is turning rapidly into winter
 Signs of impromptu art
 Signs of graphic design genius
Signs of busy-nes.
Short post to let everyone know all is well. I am really busy settling into my new schedule and career. There is lots to learn and at times it is overwhelming all over again. I need to learn an entire new trade while keeping up with my Spanish studies. My DH and I need to relearn to share chores and errands that I had taken care of during my unemployment. I am getting used to the Spanish schedule of having lunch at 2-3 and dinner at 9-10.

So far my new job is going fairly well, and I can see the potential of it being a very fun and rewarding work.

I hope that everyone the celebrates it, had a nice Holiday weekend.
Mine was more unconventional then expected. I started work full time on Wednesday and worked until 9:30pm. I continued a schedule of both training and work on Thursday. However I made pumpkin yesterday, and life is good.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Greetings everyone! 
A wondrous thing has happened and I start a full time job on Wednesday! Right now I am intensively training and doing my homework to prepare.
As a nice break between training and my homework I decided to take advantage of the sun and take a series of photos on my window legde. White window legdes are wonderful things, they reflect the sun like nobody's business. 

>>I will pause here so you can imagine me taking all of the photos for the next several posts on my window legde while being observed by several bemused neighbors.<<

Here is my last pet project:
 I am making cross-stitch coasters out of handspun yarn.

 The green star above is made out of wool from the same breed of sheep as the background wool. The green is Corriedale wool, and the background wool (in all three) is a thick and thin CorridaleX held double. I love how the Corriedale has more shine and luster than the dyed wool in the last two (which are Merino)

 I choose a 19 row Norwegian Star pattern out of Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting for my star pattern in the center. Since knitting stranded (two colors or more at are carried once) produces square stitches, you can use those charts for cross stitch.
I plan to make at least 6, all with different color stars.

I love that I found a way to showcase my left over handspun in a way that can be enjoyed daily. Wool absorbs water well, and is naturally dirt resistant which are both good coaster characteristics. Plus I love their country/ Northern European charm!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Un-expected Art

A little trip downtown to find the Social Security office.

Waiting for the bus and capturing the blush of fall on the trees.

Look at the rosy glow we have in the evening here. I love it!
 Going back home from the office we found an un-expected surprise. It would have probably not been unexpected if we read tour guides of the city, or if I had understood a Spanish friend better when she told me of this.

First we walked down a long set of stairs and gradually heard water over the traffic noise. We looked underneath the bridge and saw a magnificent man made water fall.

What we had stumbled on to was the Open air Sculpture Museum of Madrid.
I took the following information from this website.
 The Public Art Museum is located under the flyover built in1970 to join the streets of Juan Bravo and Eduardo Dato and accommodates 17 abstract sculptures designed by 17 Spanish artists. It is an open air museum in which the city, the inhabitants and art merge in one same space

This looks like a penguin from this side. The picture after next shows the other side.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The sights of shopping

I went shopping around the Goya area yesterday in order to supplement my interview/ business wardrobe.
The following are examples of why it is always a go idea to look up occasionally as you negotiate the busy streets.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Walk up Serrano

I had to go downtown today for an interview. Since I decided to walk part way back I took pictures.
I figured people like to see pictures of Madrid.
Here is a garen on a corner of an intersection in front of a museum. Do you see that sign on the left? It is a political advertisement, right on the sign! Presidential elections are on the 20th of November..
Here is a house I have been meaning to take pictures of this house for a while. I pass by it on the bus going down town. Apparently it is a church. What is so special about this church?
 It has statues on the roof! Here is a falcon
 And here is a giant squirrel holding an acorn.

 My walk took me by this cute possessive lion. The image that is under the crown is the symbol image of Madrid.
 How picturesque are tile roof and shutters?
 Possibly the cutest power house I have ever seen, on another perfect autumn day.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fall walk

I have no idea sometimes how I can be so busy with just three things to do. I have to: 
  • Study Spanish
  • Keep the house up/run errands (this is a thing I do by myself because I do not bring money in right now, all other times we split chores)
  • Look for a job
And for some reason there are not enough hours in the day. This blog post, I hope, will remind me that I can drive myself crazy and get claustrophobic holed up in the apartment, and to just get out and walk pointlessly more often. Today before I did the shopping I took the long way to the park, and in doing so soaked in some long awaited autumn colors. First I noticed that the locust trees were turning yellow and went down to a local school to capture the color with some background ambiance. I love that building.

 Then I realized I was skewing peoples view point of what Madrid really looks like and took a picture down the street to show a more "real" view. If you click to enlarge this photo you can nicely see a young man giving me the look I get when I whip out my camera, I am getting quite used to it. HAHA the things I do for my readers.
 As an avid lover of all things bright and sunny I was surprised to find that I was enjoying immensely the fine mist of this grey November day. Also it was quite a surprise to see now that it is cooler, Madrid is turning brillant green.
Here is a nice fall view of our local chunk of the Berlin Wall. I like to pretend that the "VE" on the wall was half of the word "love", although I know that it is probably not.
 These pictures are a bit misleading, there is not this much fall color walking down the street here. I just happen to live by one of the prettiest parks in Madrid, and this park has an amazing verity of plants.
 This was my view of the Berlin Wall fountain as I sat and quietly crocheted. It was relaxing, and beautiful. I think this is my favorite bench in all of the park. When you sit here you are under a tree, and the sound of water falling is so tranquil. There is another large fountain in a roundabout to my right as I sit here (actually just behind the sign in the photo above.)
 I love the colors of Fall. They look great on me and they just glow. Here is what I was working on, a nice fall-ish golden yellow. It is a crocheted motif, that I am join together to make a lacy cardigan out of. It will look a bit better after I block it, this just came off my hook.
 Then I got some more looks as I took a picture of myself. Just look at all of those colors together.
 Go take a fall walk yourself, before it is over and it is too late.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Deconstructed, and Reconstituted

I am feeling very metaphorical today, so you have been warned.

Yesterday I spent a good amount of time ripping out a sweater that I made shortly before I left the States. (For those curious it is Cascade 220 Superwash) Ripping out a sweater is a lot of hard work (especially if you weave in ends as thoroughly as I do). But the price of wool is going up, I still do not have a job, I love this color, and the sweater I knit with this yarn was the worst I have ever made. It came out so horrible, I believe that there are no pictures to document it. I only wore it out of the house once, and I think that I was only brave enough to do that, because I knew that I would be leaving the country soon! I could not even stand to wear the sweater around the house, because it fit THAT badly. It was huge, the yoke was stiff (made my broad shoulders broader), and it just had to go.

So I deconstructed it, and I am going to reconstitute the yarn into a new sweater. I only have a vague idea of the amount of yarn I have, and I have no idea what kind of sweater I will make with it, but it will have a new life.

Odd as it might seem this series of pictures really represent my personal mindset right now. I have left my culture, my lifestyle, the place where I can name almost anything behind, and I feel a little raw around the edges right now. I feel tense and cooped up.

 I need to do something, because the more time I spend this country with this language, the more shy I become. I am not usually a shy person, and besides it should be the other way around. I should have been so timid it hurt when I came here, and now I should be relaxing into my new home with my expanded knowledge of my new language and culture.

 I really thought that it was going to get easier, especially as I am now fast approaching the 6 month anniversary of moving here. I am an official resident of Spain now. I can go forth and communicate in my new language without the urge to hug a dictionary to my chest. I will be spending the first Christmas ever with my in-laws, a family that accepts me far better than my own.
Why can't I relax, and let the kinks out?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fiesta de la Trashumancia

I have been looking forward to this festival since April when I knew I was moving and found out this sheep invasion:

I was not able to find out a ton of details about the festival, but I will tell you what I have learned.
Trashumancia is a bi-annual event. Shepherds move their sheep from the North of Spain to the South of Spain in the winter, and then back up in the spring. Trashumancia is the act of moving/traveling with the sheep. This has been going on for hundreds of years. Historically the Cañadas or the trails they shepherds drive the sheep down went through the city of Madrid. Obviously in recent years, that has not been possible, due to the sheer size of the city (I think it is the 3rd largest in Europe). The Cañadas now circles west of the city.

This festival, I believe, either started as a protest against building on the trial, or it happens every year to help keep awareness about the importance of keeping the trial clear. It is a long migration, Madrid is the the center of the country, and going a long way around it could be harmful to the health of the stock.

This parade, which I think annually happens the last Sunday in October, just goes from Casa de Campo around to Plaza de Cibeles, and back again, while the real migration happens West of the city.

Next year we hope to catch more, there is a ceremonial "paying of the tariff" that happens further down Calle Mayor. Where a 15th century coin is handed over with ceremony, and missed the regional dances that happened after the parade.

The parade started out with these huge sheep dogs and a guy playing a Concha shell horn (far left). You can probably tell from the metro sign that we watched this in Puerta de Sol. (click to enlarge)
 There were huge flags that were carried on a belt, and had people holding guy lines.
 There were regional flags from many parts of the route. I believe that the many traditional customs we saw represented different regions.
 Some people were singing.

 The North-Western part of Spain was Gaelic, and bag pipes were represented. Check out their shoes, this is the traditional shepherd's shoe, and about 60% of the parade marchers were wearing them.
 I love this photo. So adorable, he had his little lamb and they were both posing for photos.
 Finally the sheep. The sheep came in stages, and there were people marching between them. It was so cool to look up and down the street at a river of sheep. The sheep were very oddly silent.

 They were a LOT of horses. Many of the horses were urged to dance for us. I love how this photo captured the bond between horse and man.
 A different type of Sheep!
 This picture captures two different type of traditional shawls. Shawls are big here in Spain, both traditionally and in all the shop windows this year (apparently the more fringe the better).

 Not everyone was dressed up in this parade, and a shocking number of them rode by on their horse talking on their cell phones, or drinking Coke in traditional dress. This regularly dressed woman had a lamb following her.
 Sorry for the back shot, but a lof our photos came out blurry due to the speed of the parade/lighting. These people were not only wearing the shoes, but mostly dressed in boiled wool.

 There were a lot of Oxen, I am not sure if you have notice yet but there was no barriers to keep people back. Several of these Ox were feisty, apparently I almost got gored while taking a photo, oh and this woman you see in front kept touching every animal, I was afraid that she was going to tick off a horse and that by the time it got around to kicking, I would be it's victim.
 Finally to end up, a guy in regular clothes taking a picture of his friends, also on horses, with his Iphone in a Spanish flag cover.