Give-Away #2

Let’s do a small giveaway. A few dishcloths. If you haven’t used them yet, they might change your life. I’ll let you pick 3 out of my dishcloth stash. They are 100% cotton and can be thrown into the washing machine and dryer. The colors will fade over time, but the cloths will serve their purpose much longer.

If you want to be part of the drawing, leave a comment on this post or send me an email. I’ll mail only within the United States. If you live in another country, find yourself an address here or give these as gifts to someone in this country; I’m willing to gift-wrap. If you live locally, pickup is at my house, to save me postage.


This family is still reeling from and dealing with the tragic news of Gemma’s death. Knowing that time manages to heal, I’m waiting patiently. But deep down in my heart I know her death will always stay with us.

So I’m throwing myself into the knitting. My thoughts are now: the more difficult, the better, give me distractions and difficult lace patterns and impossible intarsia that I have not mastered yet. Anything to keep my mind from wandering. Unfortunately, the knitting that really needs doing is not very concentration-heavy. It’s knitting for my newest grand-niece. A little cardigan, with a matching hat should the yarn last. The cardigan is done and I’m not unhappy though the colors look awfully familiar. No, I didn’t buy the same yarn. But Fleece Artist and Miss Babs must like similar colors. I bought Fleece Artist a few years ago and so had forgotten about the color scheme until I pulled out the little girl socks today. Now I’m wondering if indie yarn dyers get inspired by each other. You be the judge.


Black Friday. That term has never meant anything to me. I don’t think we ever had a Black Friday in Germany. So I can’t even tell you if I ever shopped on that day. But this time I did.

Before Thanksgiving I went for a button shopping trip to our Ben Franklin’s. Success was mine, and then I fell in love with a quilt on their wall. This quilt came with a package of 2 1/2 inch strips of various patterns. If you hang long enough with this blog you should eventually see what I’m talking about. Anyway, these little package gems come for a dear price, one I was not ready to pay.

I decided to wait for their next 20%-off sale that happens every last Wednesday of the month. December it would be. Then after getting home and checking email, what was in the inbox? Yeah! A 40%-off coupon for the infamous Black Friday. Wild horses and all.

So first thing after our morning walk with dog was a trip to the shopping center. Right away I could tell this was no ordinary day. I had never seen so few cars in that parking lot. And all my agonizing if they would have any of the 7 packages left was for naught. There they were, all 7 of them, ready for me to make my choice.


So what is this Black Friday thing? An urban myth?


There are days that should not happen. But instead these days get replayed in one’s mind over and over and over. Such a day was yesterday. After Stephen picked up the phone and I saw his expression, I knew something was terribly wrong. It was Toby with the saddest of news. Gemma, his and Christy’s dog, was hit and killed by a car.

We try to be supportive, but as a parent I feel pretty helpless. We are all devastated.


We don’t often do Thanksgiving and especially not this year. Instead I was trying to get ahead of the holiday season. My knitting is mostly done except for the blocking. I can actually get away with calling it good. Most of the holiday presents got wrapped today and are sitting in their respective bags in the living room. We still have to add some items that have not been delivered yet.



Holiday Season

I love the lights, love the bustling about of shoppers, as long as I can stay on the outside looking in, and tolerate and eventually hate the music.

Most of my holiday gifts are either handmade or bought long ago when I knew this is exactly what you would like.

Here is my thought of how to enjoy this holiday season/spirit without having to consume. I’ll go to the mall. With friends. And knit. We’ll plop ourselves right in the middle of the bustle and knit and talk and absorb, but only the good spirit.

Is that possible?

I have mentioned this before, but every year the memory comes back and I love repeating it. A few years ago as I walk joyfully and full of enthusiasm and good spirit through the Mannheimer Weihnachtsmarkt, and the heck with it, I’m stealing these images to show you the place of the crime.


And this one from Dominik Rossbach / Stadtmarketing Mannheim GmbH



and some more


just one more from Mannheim


and Heidelberg


During the Holidays in Heidelberg.


I’m sure glad the area I’m from knows how to turn on the lights;-)

Back to the story. As i’m walking on cloud 11 through the market, I hear a guy say to another guy while passing by me: “Every year, the same shit.” It was like a cold shower.

It could have been me saying that, while living in Germany. But seen from a distance, almost outside, I found it all marvelous.




Gone, gone, gone, with multi-tasking being one of the first to go. Instead of getting lots of stuff done, it took me a while to notice that I got distracted and ended up doing something completely different. That’s because when I’m on the multi-tasking track, everything I come across is fair game and gets added to the multi part. Nope, does not work if progress is a goal.

Perhaps lists will be the eventual solution. But by the time I get paper and pen I can’t remember what goes on the list. It does not even last for me to set up a document on  the computer. Immediate list block.

I’m not sure what to call this multi that worries me, it’s not tasking, it’s multi-planning perhaps, but no, the word escapes me if there even is a word. So let me describe it. Hypothetically, I invited someone for dinner in a few days. Though it’s a few days away, I can’t concentrate on anything else. Start another project? No, dinner is coming up. Until that dinner, life is passing me by.

This happens with anything I planned for the future. I need to get it over with to resume natural everyday life. There has to be a word for this disability, yes? OK, several not so nice words come to mind, but I’m talking a word that can be found in the DSM. And I need to get over it because there are times it becomes paralyzing.

I’ve always had a bit of a problem with planning ahead. As the day of an event looms I get anxious. Then I don’t want to go, as it was a stupid idea. Then I fall apart and make everyone around me miserable, and only then do I go and usually have a great time. I know there’s a word out there for this behavior and it just might start with an a.

What’s strange, I can go at the drop of a what is it? Hat? At the drop of a hat? Or is it at a drop of a bucket? Or a drop into the bucket? You know.

Example and proof. Stephen won tickets to see Explosions in the Sky at 11 am and we were out the door within a few hours to head to San Francisco and the concert. See, I’m good at spontaneity, but suck at plans. 

Something we need to get over with, a joyful event, so it’s not in the way, is another giveaway. For this one, you need an open mind. It took me a while to get behind the concept.

What do you use to wash your dishes? Smart aleck, not the dishwasher. I mean what do you use to wash your dishes by hand? There are always a few items you don’t put in the dishwasher or you use something to wipe the counter with.

No judgment here, but do you use a sponge, a dishcloth, or for some purposes a paper towel? I’m a sponge person, Stephen a dishcloth guy. So we have both. And have lived happily side by side for years. The sponges and dishcloths and humans.

Until the knitting took over my life. And though I promise never to knit a washcloth for myself, even this resolution might get broken. In the meantime I’m a dishcloth fiend. I love making them and using them. And Stephen is totally behind the concept and in dishcloth heaven.

Long intro, I know, but this time I’m giving away dishcloths to convert one person if they’re not a dishcloth lover yet. While you wrap your head around it for a day, I’ll be back tomorrow for the details.


On the knitting front, there is a little progress on the cowl. I mostly like working on it in the evenings while streaming some show.


In the daytime I like starting new projects. Like yesterday. Is it recognizable yet?



And did I mention that I knit another Zuzu’s Petals cowl? I used one skein of Malabrigo Rios yarn that our Ben Franklin carries. Why do I love this pattern so much? Many reasons. One, it even fits a person with hardly any neck, like me, and it still looks good. In fact, it suggests a neck where there isn’t one. Also, it stays put, no re-slinging that scarf when it falls off the shoulders. It knits up very quickly, and it takes very little yarn, one skein worsted or one skein sport weight. Need I say more?




This theme has me in its grip for a long time now. I have early childhood memories, whereas Stephen acts as if he’s been dropped on this planet later in life and remembers almost nothing.

Since I had the more difficult childhood, and he sailed through his relatively smoothly, it might be true we remember the negative more readily.

Several years ago I read a book on this topic, called “Mistakes Were Made.” One story in particular had a long-lasting effect on me. One of the authors describes a memory from childhood about dancing with her dad every time they read a particular book.

Then she came across a first edition of that book and, in memory of her dad, bought it for her kids. She noticed the original publishing date, which was way after her dad had died. So how could she have such a memory of her dad reading it to her? I think she finally figured out it must have been her uncle who read the book to her.

OK, if you end up reading Mistakes Were Made and the story is a little different, please, that’s what memories are made of, faulty remembrances, but the gist of the story is true.

Often in our family now, we refer to something we might not accurately remember as: Mistakes Were Made.

The other day we had a drunk driver on our road who smashed into a neighbor’s car and kept on going, then came driving back around the corner, still totally drunk and lost in the neighborhood. Before I could figure out what was going on, I was trying to piece together what that loud crash was I heard and my imagination was flying wild.

Several scenarios were swirling through my head. Until what really happened came out of that whirlpool. Here is my hypothesis: what I imagined going on before I knew what really happened might have been more exciting than the final truth, and it features more prominently in my brain.

As we get older and brain function is in decline, it might get harder and harder to distinguish speculation from a real memory.

It probably took me much longer going through scenarios in my head trying to identify the crash. When I finally noticed that a car had hit another car I had already assimilated the hypothetical versions. So what stays behind as real might not always be so, and what has more staying power might be the imagined. Just sayin’….


Pattern Hugger

Business first. Eleanore has won the giveaway for the fingerless gloves. Congratulations! But we’re not done, watch here as plans unfold and take shape.

It’s time to come clean and admit that I am what someone called a pattern hugger. I would give her credit for coining this phrase, but I don’t remember who it was. 60, what do you expect.

So what is a pattern hugger? A knitter who follows a pattern by the letter, and if you’re me you might even get the same yarn and colors.

Now that makes perfect sense to me. I browse for hours on ravelry. Now there’s a place I deposit hundreds of hours of my life. And then from one second to the next, kapow, here is what I want need to knit. I fall in love with the whole thing. Including colors.


But there has been a little shift in wind directions. Take the Jimi Shawlette started and finished recently. Add to the mix a Zuzu’s Petals. Do a mashup and what do you get? A Zuzu and Jimi baby.


It’s wet blocking right now as I write this. There’s still some tweaking to do before it’s perfect and I’m happy. But you see, this pattern hugger has evolved. Only a tiny bit, but  she’s moving along now. This prototype will go in a giveaway box for now.

What precipitated this change? Loving the Zuzu’s Petals pattern but getting a little burnout at the same time. I love how quickly it knits up, and everything that knits up quickly gets my attention lately. So the idea of combining the Jimi and Zuzu was a no-brainer.

Perhaps more inspiration will flow in my future. For now I reminded myself about another Haberdashery cowl I wanted to knit for the holidays. Discipline, marianna.

It’s one of the knits that has a long set-up before the knitting fun begins. You cast on a million stitches and do a band of linen stitch. It takes forever, or so it seems. Once past that chore, you start enjoying the process.

Somehow this was not my day for starting the Haberdashery. I cast on 197 stitches, but on recount noticed I was 10 stitches short. Not a problem, add 10. Once past the band there is a row where you decrease by one to get to 192. 192? That can’t be, that would make cast on 193. Correct. Whatever alternate universe I was inhabiting during cast on was gone. Again, no problem I’ll just decrease by 5 this round and we’re happily continuing. You think?

Now we are introducing the next color and there is a pattern repeat. At the end of that never-ending row I am nowhere near where the pattern tells me I should be. Time to recount my stitches. What? 202, 10 too many. The ten I was short in the other universe showed up here.

Unfortunately, yes, you guessed it, frogging I go. All evening for naught. What is the lesson here and why am I not learning it? Is this the first time I miscounted? Nope. Will it be the last time? Probably not, but I can wish, right?

So let’s take one long last look at what will be no more as soon as this post is published.


The Give-Away

I love tasting different yarns. It’s similar to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors, new ones all the time, and how can one just walk on by? It’s one aspect of knitting that feeds an addictive soul. I wants to try them all, my precious!

Knitpicks Chroma yarns were on my got-to-try list. And with the last order, I got a skein in worsted and one in fingering. Here is what draws me to this particular yarn: slow long color changes. I’m a sucker for those. Most of us are.

With the worsted skein I knit up a pair of fingerless gloves.



Very soft yarn, nice colors. I had no intention of having identical gloves, I love them as well as my socks fraternal. And I know something about being a twin/gemini. They are size medium but could stretch to large.

These fingerless gloves are looking for a home. Here’s an idea: a raffle. First I thought only on Facebook, but I would like to give blog readers a chance at winning, too. And if you read both, double chances through double entries.

If you’re interested in winning these fingerless gloves, here is the deal:

I have a few rules.

1. I will only ship within the United States. I don’t have the means to do more. If you are fortunate not to live in this country you could still participate and have this sent to a friend within the United States.

2. I need to know if you’re even interested. The best is you write a comment below this entry, even if all you say is “I’m in.” Or, if you know my email, you can let me know by writing me a note.

3. These are the type of gloves that like hand wash cold, lay flat to dry. High maintenance, I know.

4. Good luck!



Just about now I switch to full panic mode. All good intentions from last year about being prepared for the holidays were not heeded. Or more likely, quickly forgotten at some time during summer.

Where are all my knitted gifts? Sure, I made a lot, but mostly for fun without anyone in mind. I made socks and depending how big they got determined the recipient. Our family has all sizes, from 7 1/2 all the way up to 14, and everything in between, so how can I go wrong?

Then throw in baby socks that I make from leftover yarn, socks I have absolutely no use for. And I hope to have no use for them for a while in my family.


Next the cowls. I was on a Zuzu’s Petals pattern binge earlier this year. So far I’ve found 4 of them. One is definitely for me. I love the yarn from the plucky knitter and I love the yellow color. I’m finally old enough to admit that I love yellow.


But mostly I’m flailing about and wondering how fast I can knit and what I can get done before the holidays. I could use several more pairs of socks. Some more Zuzu’s Petals?

But my reality is sadder. Except for Liana and boyfriend there is no one in the family that appreciates a knitted gift. Stephen also excepted. So maybe I do get to relax instead of being swept up in the communal frantic search for the perfect present that no one needs anyway.

I think I talked myself down and can go into this weekend with some calm and start that shawl that has been on my mind.

And talking shawl, I jumped on the Jimi shawlette bandwagon. A very quick knit and it used up another skein from Stitches West. This time it was the Malabrigo Rios. I did make some changes. This is not a shawl but rather a shawlette. I wanted to use all of the two skeins and first made more mesh pattern repeats, and repeated another mesh pattern just before the end. There was some yarn left, what was I to do.



Where Are Them Glasses?

On the library steps I had a moment of panic. Did I leave my glasses at the post office where I just came from? Oh well, Stephen is with me, he can help the blind woman.

The book I expected to be on hold was nowhere on the hold shelf. What happened? Did I really wait that long to pick the book up? And what was the name of the book again? OK, think marianna, you can do this. Something to do with Alzheimer’s versus everyday memory loss. What could the title be?

Aha, the computer, I sign in to see some sort of history that tells me what I had wanted. How cool is that? And the print is big, very big. And the title? Ahem, “Where Did I Leave My Glasses?” How much better does it get?

The book is hilarious. It lets me accept my memory lapses with some grace and laughter. Recommended for everyone without actual Alzheimer’s. Because if you have Alzheimer’s you’re screwed.


Getting Old

I know something you don’t, it comes with age. Remember being beautiful and cute and any embarrassing situation could turn into meeting someone new? Ha, those days are over, gone, never to be seen again. An embarrassing situation today is just that.
Like at our local food Co-op, the Briar Patch, today. My love affair with the new black carts is over. They are downright dangerous, killing even your social life.

Waiting for Stephen to check out for a second time, forgot something, I placed my foot on the shopping cart, you know, underneath the basket. It’s supposed to be better for the back to stand with one leg a little higher. Don’t remember why though.

Well, that’s when it happened, my foot got stuck. Because in order to put my foot on those new black shopping carts, I had to push aside a part that immediately decided to trap my foot.


I push back and forth nonchalantly, glancing around hoping no one notices, idiot me, that would be a good thing, marianna. Nothing’s moving, still stuck. I bend down to push the darn thing, it doesn’t budge. For a moment I contemplate a life with a shopping cart attached to my foot. The images were not pretty.

I notice a guy noticing me and act like nothing is amiss while I panic. I call out quietly to Stephen that I need his help because my foot is stuck. As quietly as I can and knowing darn well that Stephen is occupied with paying for the forgotten item.

The guy returns, because my distress must have been obvious, or my quiet shouting too loud. He asked if I needed help to which I reply, no, I’m ok, this guy (pointing to Stephen) will help me.

I can’t crawl into my cave with a shopping cart stuck on my foot, that is clear now. I’m exposed to anyone’s attention if they so choose. And Stephen, good, and the cashier, not good, come on over to look at my predicament.

I give Stephen directions where to push but he does so without success. I ask him to take my shoe off at my heel, and that finally frees me. The shopping cart is still holding on to my shoe and won’t let go, until I push with all my might and there is a give.

I’m hysterically laughing now that I survived the incident, but shoppers beware, the carts are out there, waiting for you to make the wrong move.