Monday, December 9, 2019

Little escap(ad)e: Frankfurt with my family

In the end of October my family took a three-day-outing to Frankfurt. We had wanted to go to Berlin originally, but since the Berlin Basketball team did not have a home game that weekend and a visit to a game was a precondition for the trip (for the 14-yr-old), we ended up in Frankfurt.

It was much colder when we arrived than had been predicted, and it rained, which had not been predicted either, I was absolutely not prepared for this, and so the first thing we did was buy an umbrella. 

Not that we don’t have an abundance of umbrellas at home, but it was cheaper to buy an umbrella than to buy yet another rain jacket. Of which I have a few more at home than one actually needs, too, and I am determined not to buy any more rain jackets in the next 20 years. Or unless all the ones I have already have been worn out.
Anyway – I had said I wanted to go see the Paulskirche, (link in English here) one of THE important places in context of the beginnings of a process of German unification (the Parliament of the Paulskirche in 1848, which led to the foundation of a German unified state in 1871) and which I had never been to before. On the first afternoon we stood in front of closed doors because the site was not open on November 1, but when we went in the next day (mildly coaxing a slightly less than interested 14-year-old) it turned out to be quite a disappointment. I could not believe the shabbiness of the presentations, the outdatedness of the whole appearance and could not blame my son for not developing a lot more interest for the site than he had shown before the visit. 

View of the conference hall today - nothing like what it used to look like
when the 1848 parliament was in session.

With all the broohaw going on these days about 30 years of German Re-unification and how happy are we that this took place (brushing over the many problems we have nowadays which arise from the mis-conducted annexation that it really was) I was appalled that there had not been put any seriouis thought into updating the presentation at this particular site.In terms of the importance in the development of German history this place is probably more important than the Wall. But the events along the Wall of course bear much more drama.

This is what Paulskirche looked like right after WWII.

My husband and I also went to the Museum of Communication, which used to be the Musem of the Postal Service. They still have a bit of that connection in their display of the evolution of mail boxes from different ages. It made me think about how much our mode of communication has changed over the years. I still like to write letters, and to receive them. But how many people actually still do write letters? And how often does one receive a letter in comparison to bills? And how often do we communicate digitally in comparison...?

On presentation a small display on spinning.

And a rather techonological section where artworks were being created by the visitors as they were moving and these movements were being caught by cameras and then transformed into changing arrangements of small wooden slabs or shadow dancers or creepy figures. Couldn't be captured well in a picture and unfortunately I don't seem to be able to upload the small video from my cell phone, so you just have to take my word for it.

They also had a fun art exhibit standing around: a herd of sheep made from the cables that used to connect the receiver to the phones, way back then when phones were still cabled and not mobile or smart.

Including a black sheep, outside the fence. 

That made me think a lot about that saying about a black sheep of the family. How many people are out there who for whatever reason have been marked as that black sheep of a family, and what kind of interactions that may have caused, the wounds it may have wrought, and yet that would not have been necessary because there is no ‘normal’ anyway and do we really all need to be looking (and acting) the same…?

P.S. I wrote most of this post four weeks ago on my way back from Friedrichshafen on the train. And then just never got around to posting. And have been writing posts in my head, probably four or five of them, and yet. Work was busy, creativity a bit on the reduced side (mainly knitting) and November is just not one of my good months anyway. Hoping I will get back into the swing soon.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

'Nadelwelt' in Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance

The past three days I have been ‘on the road’ to do a bit of demonstrating on the booth of Handiquilter at Nadelwelt Friedrichshafen. 

This was the first time that Nadelwelt took place in Friedrichshafen, and I probably wouldn’t have gone there if I had not been asked to do this demonstration. I was wondering what the organizers want by putting on another, second show in the year, not exactly far away from Karlsruhe. And there are other fairs sort of in the area throughout the year that are trying to fish in the same pond of ‘crafts’. Just how many fairs do they want to put up in the area?
If I still were selling my fabrics, I am not certain I would have gone with a booth, either. As a vendor, there are always so many different aspects to consider and calculate, such as travel costs, accomodation, the rent for a booth space… But it was interesting to be there. And very nice to be there as a member of a team, not a solitary vendor who has to figure out when it will be possible to slip out to use the ladies’ room…
I did not take a lot of pictures, in fact, hardly any at all.

But in the end I was glad to have been there.
The quilt exhibitions were partly a repeat of exhibits from the Nadelwelt in Karlsruhe in spring, but since I had not been there what I got to see was new enough to me to be worth looking at.
And I really did like the exhibition of the two Spanish sisters who figure as Desedamas. I go to use my Spanish as Mercé was explaining to me how they got their inspiration from dishes served in a restaurant (Cécilia) or drinks served in the same restaurant (Mercé), and how they spent over a year working towards this exhibition.

Mercé on the left with one of her drinks, and
Cécilia on the rigth with one of her dishes...

A view into their exhibition

Another 'drink' quilt by Mercé - unfortunately I did not take note of the title.

Formatges alb Melmelades by Cécilia

 The vendors area was spacey and not too hot at all. It seemed the organizers are trying to put a different focus on what is for sale because there were a lot more vendors aiming for the general sewing public, knitting was also a focus, practically nothing about spinning (except for volunteers from the Handspinngilde demonstrating the craft), and other handicrafts that require needles were a bit underrepresented as well.
And what was really touching is that a few people who saw me at the Handiquilter booth stopped to ask me where my fabrics were, they had thought I might be selling... It felt good to hear about the appreciation for what I had done, but nevertheless I was quite satisfied that I was not there as a vendor of fabrics!
I tried to keep strict to myself about buying, as I have been throughout most of the year. But I could not keep entirely clear. I bought new threads for the longarm to try out (that’s ok, I am not on a thread diet for that), a piece of fabric with Frida Kahlo (which is jersey and has to be underlaid before I can use it for any kind of piecing and I don’t have a plan for it yet anyway) 

and a few – oh no! –balls of yarn for knitting. Not many, but definitely a defeat regarding my yarn diet for the year. But Sockenmaufaktur was there, and she carries a whole range of wonderful yarns, she paired up for my knit-along and offered people who ordered or bought yarn with her for this project a discount when I ran it, and so I caved in with a light heart. It’s always possible to start a new year of yarn diet tomorrow.

Monday, November 4, 2019

I must not write about what I am working on...

Two weeks ago I taught a course at Petersberg Community College where I teach at least once a year, and we have been trying to extablish a second get-together on a regular basis. This has not yet worked, but this was our second weekend this year. A smaller group, in different rooms of the venue, and because the group was split up into two sections due to sewing in two rooms, it was still a very nice weekend. Claudia finished her scrap top, for which she had been cutting up scraps for quite a while, putting them together in blocks for a while already, too, and now finally she managed to put it all together.

It is 'just' a scrap quilt and not meant to be anything else than that, but it was an inspiration. I have signed up to participate in the German Patchwork Guild's UFO Challenge, and when I was trying to figure out which projects I would include on my list I found many more than I could possibly handle in the nine months, so definitely there is not another UFO I need to get started. But this looks like a very nice pattern and project when you want to cut up leftovers...
During that weekend I managed to finish all the blocks for one of the UFOs listed in the challenge list, but it's one I must not write about and so I won't. After the weekend I quickly managed to put the blocks together and have by now mounted it on the longarm. So there is hope that it will be finished in time for the deadline, and after that I might be able to show a picture of it, too.

Apart from that I have been knitting (and unknitting, partly)

That was one of the last nice and sunny days. By now it has turned the usual dreaded November grey and I am biding my time until solstice. Luckily, these four weeks of school are much better than during the prior stretch (all external teachers), and I am not quite as freaked out about what I have to sit through during the days. In fact, it is quite a lot of subject matter I need to study, so there isn't really that much time for stitching. But I am looking forward to a weekend at the Nadelwelt in Friedrichshafen next weekend, where I will be joining the Handiquilter people on their stand.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Daily Water

After three weeks in practicum looking in on work as an ambulant care taker in the mornings, followed by attendance at a day care center for the elderly I am now back in school. Fortunately the schedule promises these weeks to be more interesting because the teachers who had driven me to the edge last time are not going to be around this time. A time to breathe. I have also started to do yoga in the mornings before school and hope that this will not only settle my back issues but also give me some breathing exercises and a bit more patience.
On the spur of the moment I decided yesterday to start a new daily photo project. After Laetitia Cilliers  had mentioned to me when I met her in South Africa that she was missing my photos of reflections, I have been back looking for them lately, and when I passed the bridge across the small river on my walking tour I found myself looking at the reflections, at the water, and at the setting. And then I realized that I could just as well take this as a daily photo point instead of fruitlessly searching for a suitable tree for another project such as Daily Oak or the linden tree. The days have been glorious this past week – a round 7 degrees Centigrade warmer than the longterm temperature median – and the colours of the trees turning on the banks of the river made for a great impression. And since a daily project can be started on just any day I figured October 15th is as good day to start as any other day of the year.
The bridge is not far from our house, closer actually than Daily Oak, and it is only a small detour to take on my way to or from school or work, it is on my walking route, or on the way to the pool (open air pool, so that will only be an advantage after May 1st again). As I am getting older I feel ever more clearly that living on or near water is very important for me. Perhaps more so than the ‘Daily Bread’ that we ask for in prayer. Which is why I chose to call this project Daily Water.
For the first day I took that route across the bridge three times.
On my way to school it was still foggy:

During lunch break the sun had come up.

And just before sunset, to get a first impression of how the light might differ.

It will yield new reflections.

And for today, a photo of the almost sunset, as well.