Last week I spent several days with some of my sweetest friends in the world. We met almost 20 years ago when we were consultants for a scrapbooking company, and started doing our own yearly retreats soon after that. The group of 12 hails from several different states, so it’s extra special when we can all agree on one weekend and make it happen! We used to scrapbook when we got together. Now we shop and eat and talk all weekend. And guess what else? This time, I taught everyone to knit. And they all loved it!! A few of them came in early to visit Loopy and they quickly started shopping. (And texting to get orders from the ones who hadn’t arrived yet. Please note, they all had to get bags, too. They are bag ladies, just like me.) It was so fun to have them in the shop, and then to see them get to the point where they really enjoyed their projects. (You know, the first hour or so of knitting just feels awkward. But if you stick with it, you get to the point where it’s relaxing and fun, right?) On our last day, I got a few of them to pose, showing the progress they made on their scarves. (See Susan on the left? She finished! Two skeins of Malabrigo Worsted, turned into a gorgeous scarf.) What a fun weekend. Now I think they all need to become Loopy Groupies, don’t you? 🙂 (Check out the Aspens and the snow on the mountains in the background. It was beautiful up in the mountains!)
Do you have a group of friends that you get together with regularly? If not, you could always start one!
I love Germany. One set of my grandparents came from Germany to the U.S. when they were in their 20’s, and lived here the rest of their lives. I grew up with family picnics full of German-speaking relatives (although they all learned English very well over here.) Being in Germany with the accents and language, reminds me of many fond memories of my heritage and from my growing up years. It’s always fun to be over there. Even more so, because I love visiting Claudia and her family! Here’s a picture of Claudia and her husband Andreas. Their town has a Folk Fest each year after the Hops Harvest is over, and we went over there for dinner the first night I was there.
There were plenty of places serving good food and providing fun entertainment.
My favorite thing to do when I visit Claudia? I love going to her workshop and seeing the whole dyeing and finishing process. All that beautiful Wollmeise yarn! (And her very sweet employees, who do their best to understand my English.) I packed up a few orders – hope I didn’t mess any up. I also love visiting her store and usually find reasons to “need” to go there almost every day that I’m in town. 🙂 Here’s the outside. It sits next to a little Turkish grocery.
Inside, the cubbies are full of all colors of Wollmeise. Here’s the Pure/Twin wall.
And the “We are Different” and DK wall.
The cubbies in front have the lace yarn.
Claudia’s store is open 2-3 weekends per month, and she typically posts the schedule for the whole year at the beginning of the year so that people can plan ahead. She has so many shoppers come from out of town. (Are you heading to Germany any time soon? Can you plan a trip to her shop in Pfaffenhofen? It’s so worth it! Less than an hour’s drive from Munich.)
We also took a day trip for shopping in Rebensberg, where I found a few fun things. Then we had coffee at a little shop called “Anna, Who Loves Bread and Coffee”. How could you not stop there?
I think Germany is such a pretty country to fly into. The entire place is GREEN and lush looking, and most of the houses have red roofs, which really pop in all of that green. So pretty.
Claudia and Andreas have a new kitty named Xaverl and he was fun to play with while I was there. He has the run of their back yard during the day. Their yard is gorgeous – like a huge garden, complete with paths and ponds. Xaverl was always chasing or pouncing on something back there, and having a ball.
I did bring home a bit of yarn. It’s not possible to be in her shop and not pick up some skeins for yourself. It just calls out to you. Loudly. And I was so inspired by all of the knitters in her shop who were wearing handknit sweaters. We have a lot of shoppers come in with scarves or shawls they have knit, but not as many come in wearing sweaters. It seems like almost everyone I saw in Claudia’s shop was wearing a handknit sweater. It really made me want to buckle down and make some sweaters. I know my history in finishing them isn’t so good, but there’s no reason that can’t change, right? So Funky Grandpa is at the top of my list. (Gabriele was there knitting one of the days I was there, wearing hers. It was beautiful. And wow – I was just looking at some of her other projects. Look at this sweater she made. I need to knit sweaters.)
While I was gone, I shared a blog post with the Nuvem I had made out of Wollmeise Lace, and offered someone a skein of Spice Market lace to make their own. (Already wound. And with 1700+ yards in a skein of Wollmeise Lace, that’s also a gift! Ha!) I used the random number generator and the winner is: Claire P. in CA. We’ll get this shipped right out to you, Claire!
So, should I finish the second Nuvem I have going (out of Wollmeise Lace Oohm), or the Infinity Cowl I started in Germany (out of Wollmeise Lace in some teal/green color that means “beetle”) before starting in on my sweater? That would be the responsible thing to do. But then I’d have 3 different projects in current progress. I probably need a Camp Loopy Challenge where I just knit the sweater for a month.
Good news – we were notified that we made it to Round Two in the quest for a Super Bowl ad! We have a few things to complete in the next three weeks for them. Voting is open again. We’ll keep you posted!
The fun thing about having a Little Loopy is that you can take him with you on vacation. He loves going on vacation. (And we’re all jealous that he gets to go, but that’s another story.)
First, he got to go to Portland with Loopy Groupie Ann for a trip to the NW Animation Fest.
His favorite mode of transportation was Ann’s Knitting Bag.
He likes to read quite a bit, so he was happy that a trip to Powell’s Bookstore was on the agenda.
And of course he LOVES doughnuts, so a stop at VooDoo Doughnuts was a must.
He did embarrass them slightly by trying to copy a statue at the Portland Museum of Art. (Jeesh.)
Thankfully, it was soon time to head home (before he pulled another wacky stunt). They even let him start his own sock project on the way home. He had a great time in Portland with Ann and her family!
Loopy was home for two weeks and then it was off on his next adventure. This time he accompanied Loopy Elf Wendy and her family to Bora Bora. After the multitude of exciting things he got to do in Portland, he was ready for a little rest and relaxation.
He fell asleep on this deck chair and woke up three hours later all sunburned. Someone needs to remind him to use sunscreen.
The next day he climbed a tree and stayed in the shade instead. Shade or sun, we think it looks like he was really enjoying himself.
One exciting activity that he particularly enjoyed was snorkeling (although he kept getting water in his mask and making everyone stop to help him re-adjust.)
He wants this to be his 2013 Christmas photo. No one could figure out how to open up the coconut.
But of course Loopy worked at it until he got it open and then he shared it with everyone else. It was the least he could do after they invited him along on their trip beautiful Bora Bora.
If you go on vacation this summer and take Little Loopy along (or if you just want to show him your hometown), be sure to send us pictures. We’d love to share them on the blog! You can see some of Loopy’s past adventures in our photo galleries here and here.
While we were in Germany, my favorite place to shop was the Wollmeise Brick and Mortar store in downtown Pfaffenhofen (Claudia’s hometown). As you might imagine, it is FILLED with color! The shop is open on Fridays and Saturdays, 3 weekends a month. We went our first day there (for coffee and cake and breathing in the fumes – so wonderful). We were there a couple more days, and then had to go back the last day of our trip, too. (This was my fault. I couldn’t stand not getting one more last chance look at the yarn, and Claudia was so sweet to zip us back down there one more time. It really was sad to leave it behind!)
There are knitted curtains in the windows, which Claudia did up on her knitting machine. And check out this cute mouse, fashioned out of a skein of Feldmaus! The window displays were really fun. Inside, there are three big cases of yarn – one for 100%, one for Twin, and one for “Nobody’s Perfect” which are skeins with a knot in them. There also also a few smaller cases and several baskets of laceweight. (Yes, we did talk about getting laceweight here again – we hope to have it later this summer or early fall.)
If you ever get a chance to visit this shop in person, please don’t miss the bathroom. It’s PINK, with a pink rose-covered toilet seat, a crystal chandelier, and notes from knitters all over the walls. Be sure to add your signature with the black pens that are next to the mirror. I feel bad for the people who don’t realize it’s there, because it’s definitely a must-see in the shop. It made me wish that we had an in-store restroom for knitters to sign at Loopy Central! Somehow, I don’t think the landlord (and other building tenants) would appreciate knitter signatures in the restrooms in the building hallway.
The couches are usually full of knitters, speaking rapidly in German. Knitting Daughter and I got to sit and knit and talk all day Saturday, and it always amazes me that you can connect with knitters all over the world, even if you don’t speak the same language. We didn’t have any trouble sharing projects and appreciating what everyone else was doing. I met Anne, the designer for Arlene’s World of Lace. She hung out all day Saturday and is even more camera-shy than Claudia! (Thus, no photo to share.) She is the designer of the popular “Not a Drop” scarf on Ravelry, as well as many other amazing designs. She was as sweet as could be. In this photo, you can catch Claudia’s back and can also see Knitting Daughter, working on a scarf. I worked on Citron in Wollmeise Lace Raku-Regenbogen while I was there. Photos when it’s done. I think I’m going to make it a bit longer than the pattern calls for.
And finally, as promised, a photo of one section of Andreas and Claudia’s back yard. It’s like a little slice of paradise! Their cat Moses loves stalking around in there, including watching the fish in the small pond in the back corner. All I’d need would be a nice comfy chair, a mug of coffee, and a knitting project, and I could hang out there all day. See the bush in the front right corner of the photo? That’s a Hazelnut bush. I had no idea they grew like that. Claudia said the bush will get really tall and will head up the back side of their house.
In Update news this week – we’re doing a couple of random Wollmeise updates this week, instead of our regular Monday evening “What’s New”. While I was heading over to Germany, we had boxes of Wollmeise yarn heading over here! I think some is still stuck in Customs, but we’ll put up what we do have. And next week – a regular Monday night Update again for you.