Christmas and Germany

PfaffenhofenI’m back from a wonderful week in Germany, visiting Claudia (the Wollmeise). I have been over there to see her before, but never at Christmas time. And I have always wanted to visit the German Christmas Markets ! (Christkindlmarkt) Last year I clicked on the Pfaffenhofen town square webcam several times during the month, and I so wished that I could teleport and visit that market and see Claudia and Andreas. So this year, I planned a trip. Not only did we visit her town’s Christkindlmarkt several times (a bird’s eye view shown here), but we also went to about half a dozen other ones in surrounding towns while I was there. Every town has them. Some towns have several. The markets go up the last week in November and stay up until around Christmas Eve, open every day. The booths are little wooden huts and walking around – day or night – is so fun. You’ll find food, wine, handcrafts, candles, nativity sets, and souvenirs. And Baum Striezel. Bread baked into a cone, then rolled in butter and cinnamon/sugar while it’s still hot. It was delicious.

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Here’s a picture of their town hall, where the webcam is located. See that little arched window above the clock? That’s the camera, and it shows the view in the photo at the top of the blog.

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In their town square, there are lots of buildings – offices, businesses, flats. Each day in December, they light an additional one with different holiday scenes, like an Advent Calendar by Building. You can see some of them lit on the webcam, and I hope I remember to check in on 12/23 to see more of them lit up!

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We went to one of the markets in Rosenheim during the day and it was just as fun in the daylight.

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We visited Munich and their Christkindlmarkt, where I also said hello to the Glockenspiel and gorgeous old buildings.

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And popped into a nice yarn shop (Die Mercerie) which was long and narrow and filled with beautiful displays and yarn. They also have tea/coffee/desserts, but who has time for that when there is shopping to be done? I covet their button display. Do pay them a visit if you find yourself in Munich.

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Of course my favorite yarn shop is Claudia’s Wollmeise shop. I always try to plan my trips so that I am there over one of her shop weekends, so I can sit on the couches and knit and get to know some of the other knitters. My grandparents were from Germany, so I love sitting and listening to the German language, even if I don’t understand what is being said. And I always come home with new patterns that I want to make. Can’t wait to cast on a Sandbank now. It takes one skein of Wollmeise Lace and I saw two finished ones there that were gorgeous.

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The other thing I love about visiting Germany and staying with Claudia? Her cute cat Xaverl. (She has two colorways named after him.) He hung out with us in the kitchen when we had breakfast, and he also liked curling up in a cute felted bag when we were knitting in Claudia’s living room. He was just a kitten when I visited two years ago, so it was fun to see him all grown up.

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Now I’m back home, just about over jetlag, and startled to find that Christmas is only a week away. Yikes. When did that happen? It is dangerous to be gone for 9 days in December. (Oh, but it was worth it.)

And guess what? There are Christkindlmarkts in the U.S., too. I see that Denver has one, so we are heading down there to check it out this weekend. Hoping they have Baum Striezel …

Sheri whodoesn’tneedanymorebaumstriezel.ButdidImentionwarmbread/butter/cinnamonsugar?

Rhinebeck and Norman Rockwell

I finally made it to Rhinebeck for the New York Sheep and Wool Festival! For many years, it was the same weekend as Parents Weekend at college, so we couldn’t go. But the kids are out of college (by a few years), and everything worked for us to go this year, so off we went. My friend Sheryl went with us from Fort Collins, and we met my friend Claudia (the Wollmeise) and her husband and son there for the weekend (over from Germany to attend Rhinebeck). Here are some photos:

Our traveling group, plus the prettiest tree on the fairgrounds:

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Whoopie Pies as big as your head, and some friendly fellows enjoying the sun:

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And a few of the good sheep, goat and alpaca pictures that Paul took:

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Of course there was yarn there, too. And Cider Doughnuts. I may have bought some of each. 

Another highlight? We spent Friday in Stockbridge, MA, touring Normal Rockwell’s Museum and studio. So cool. I am always amazed to see that all of those pictures were indeed painted. They look too smooth and perfect to be made by brushes, but they were indeed.

Here is the museum and then his workshop studio.

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I loved this gorgeous tree on the property. And this path to his studio.

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A photo of him at work, and then his workplace in the studio.

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His brushes and paints are still on display.

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A view from the door of his studio. And one of the original paintings for the Four Freedoms.

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Here’s a picture of a closeup (see the paint and brush strokes?) and then the print that came from that painting. I just noticed that this is the same painting he’s working on in the photograph of his studio above.

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Such a fun trip. I’d recommend both places if you want a beautiful trip next fall. 

Sheri inspiredbycreativityfromknittersandNorman

Most of the Rhinebeck photos are copyrighted by ImageworksFC, used by permission. Most of the Norman Rockwell photos and a few of the Rhinebeck shots came from my phone. I’ll bet you can tell which is which!

What’s Loopy Doing during Loopy Academy Break?

Thanks to those of you who have sent in pictures of what Loopy is doing during Loopy Academy’s January Break! (Be sure to get in on the contest on Wednesday’s blog.) Here are a few photos that have come in:

Ruth and her Loopy are trying to pick out a new project:

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Carla and her Loopy took a wander outside to say hello to the pasture pets:

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Ann and her Loopy laid the knitting down to watch a hummingbird in Tucson:

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MK kept her Loopy busy with laundry:

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then cooking:

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(although he snuck in some Christmas cookies while her back was turned):

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and then finally knitting with an episode of Downton Abbey:

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Dianne and her Loopy are hanging out in her pretty knitting/sewing room.

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At Lise’s house, she and Loopy have been trying to decide how to spend a Loopy Gift Certificate:

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Melissa and her Loopy have been winding yarn for new projects. (Although it looks like Loopy has been hogging the ball winder…):

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Brandy and her Loopy are busy working on her latest cowl: 

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Here at home, Lexi can sometimes be found babysitting Loopy while I get some work done. (They never stay like this for very long.)

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I’m glad to see you all have put your Little Loopy guys to work. Most of them need to be busy, or they get into trouble. We do have a few sweet ones in the bunch, but most of them just delight in getting into things. Kind of like a two year old.

Sheri thinkingthegoodthingaboutthetroublemakingLoopysistheymakeuslaugh

Frozen in Iowa and a CONTEST!

392I’m back from several days in Iowa, where it is COLD COLD COLD. I grew up in Iowa. I should know how cold it is there. But apparently, I had forgotten. Snow on the ground, gray skies, and windy freezing cold weather. I went to visit my mother-in-law for her birthday. I’m lucky to have a great mother-in-law. I know not everyone likes theirs, but I love mine! We had a great time shopping, eating out, enjoying coffee, and watching movies. If you’re ever near Clinton, Iowa, try 392 Caffe on Second Avenue. Awesome coffee and hot chocolate. (So good that we went two days in a row.) 392 is the temperature at which coffee beans start to roast.

IowaFrom there, I headed to Cedar Falls to visit my forever friends, Steve and Janice for a couple of days. All of you Spring Flingers know Janice and her daughter Kirstin (the cake ball maker), so I had them pose with Kirstin’s husband Alex so I could share it with you! Kirstin got married the weekend of our last Spring Fling (last April) and she and her hubby are expecting baby #1 this March. I made the baby hat and booties for her that I shared on last week’s blog. (Thanks for all of your sweater suggestions – so helpful!) Janice plans to be back for the Fall Fling this year, and I know you all will be glad to have her there again. I will, too!

Back to the cold – when I left the Des Moines airport yesterday, it was freezing and so windy. I was glad to be back to Denver, where it was a balmy 31. And happy to see my hubby, who held down the fort at home while I was gone.

photoIn my knitting bag: I’m test knitting an upcoming Giftables pattern, have socks to finish, need to get back to my Funky Grandpa sweater, and am ready to cast on something with The Verdant Gryphon’s Bugga. I haven’t decided on the pattern yet.

On my sewing table: Reds, teals and chocolates in Fat Quarters and one yard pieces, waiting to become a coffee cup wall hanging.

What does your knitting bag or sewing table look like? Leave a comment below and one of you will win this cute “Taste of Wollmeise” bag that I brought home from Germany with me last fall! Aren’t the mini skeins adorable? (This is not something we can get to sell here, but you can buy these from Claudia’s website in Germany.) Each little skein is 30 gr. and there are 12 skeins in the zippered pouch. I’ll be sending it off to one of you next week!

Sheri wishingshecouldhavebroughtabunch
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