Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Retreat, sort of

My interlude is drawing to an end, this coming Friday I will begin the new job. Weeks of leisure are coming to a close, and this is just a bit sad. I was getting used to having time to travel, sew, do this and that. But on the other hand it will be nice to reap the harvest of the past three harrowing years in form of a real job, so I supposed it will all be well.

At least the leisure time was rounded off with a very nice 2-day workshop in my favorite place to teach, the Petersberg Catholic Community College to the west of Dachau. Two days of 16 happy women sewing, we didn’t really stick to the ‘topic’ as had been announced in the catalogue, but very quickly everyone started working on various projects they had brought along. Several many-years-in-the-making items were finished, we had banned conversations about the pandemic, and everybody was happy.


My friend Regine and I stayed on for another three nights. We transferred the sewing machines, design walls and irons to our ‘family room’, which offered enough space for sewing. And we kept enjoying the perfectly timed meal times supplying us with a more than sufficient amount of food, no worries about preparing, cleaning up etc. A bit of walking in the morning, including the sunrise.


Twice we could sit out on the balcony in the sunshine in the afternoons, 


only today it has turned so cool that we must inadvertently admit that fall is on its way, and no sunshine either.

I had not brought any sewing for art, but simply for sewing for fun, and managed to start and finish the blocks for this second round using my templates for the ‘Free Wheeling Single Girl Ring’ by Denyse Schmidt. This time using up leftover workshop samples and some fabrics on which I had at some point tried out  shibori techniques.


It makes for a more unified impression than on the first attempt when I was using leftovers for the ring and the background fabrics. There is still a bit of work to do, squaring up and then sewing it all together, but I am happy with the result so far, so cheerful. Iris called it 'the pool party', with all these life-saving rings floating around. I like the image!

I also finally brought out the small Elna machine I had bought a few months ago – I am ashamed to admit I had not tried it yet. 


It has a perfect ¼ inch seam allowance and sews very nicely, I am very pleased. This is going to be my future workshop machine and I will have to see what to do with the wonderful Bernina 930 I have. (Which is my all-time favorite machine ever, but which has the serious drawback that it is an American machine and therefore always needs to be connected to a converter, which makes for heavy lugging around.) I used it to try out a ruler I acquired in August for some curved piecing, and it gave me a new idea for a next workshop, when the new catalogue needs to go to print and I have to come up with a title.

please ignore the imperfect center, this was just a sample,
figuring things out that were not given in the instructions that
came with the ruler

So we will pass one more leisurely afternoon here, with a visit from Regine's daughter tonight, and then tomorrow I am heading back home, for a new phase in life beginning on Friday.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Between Paris and Berlin

 After returning from the weekend in Paris with my son I had two days at home. These had been planned as a leisurely switch from one suitcase to another, preparing for a 10-day-trip to the North Sea with a return to the Yoga hotel I had spent a week at last year July, and an ensuing weekend meeting with some of the regional representatives of the German Guild for some sewing time and getting together ('team building' we called it in our post on Instagram).

The two days, however, turned out slightly more stressful than planned because they required some sudden action on behalf of my Senegalese friend and protégé, who had now indeed found a job, been given a contract, needed the work permit, which I had feared would take forever to get because German administrative offices with regard to foreigners and refugees tend to take their time. (I think they do that on purpose to discourage people, wear them down. But of course this is a very subjective and negative opinion about the issue, based only on six years of frustration, trying, keeping at it...) Luckily, a very insisting HR person in his new firm took matters into her hands, and although it did not go quite as fast as she had at first thought, within a week of signing the contract he could start work. Yet another step taken, we are getting even closer to the finish line.

So after these two days I took a train to the North Sea and spent a good week in the yoga hotel Kubatzki. Taking long walks on the beach, 


getting massages, going to yoga classes, once I took a bike tour to the lighthouse. 


It was very relaxing. I could have stayed a lot longer. When I had to leave I was wondering why on earth I had agreed to come to this meeting in Berlin... Not once did I take out my handstitching on the temperature quilt - that had to wait for the sewing time in Berlin, in fact. The first evening I went to the Brandenburg gate at night,

the next morning I did a bit of sight-seeing before everybody else arrived. For example, I checked out the newly opened Humboldt-Forum (which I didn't like at all!), went to an exhibit with photos by Robert Capa (in English, in German) in the New Synagogue (no photos allowed). And discovered a very dangerous yarn store right in the vicinity of the Synagogue, yarn over. This was - well, not necessary, but permitted because my friend Maike from Canada and I had met for 15 brief minutes at Hamburg main station, where she had given me two skeins of yarn from a 4-skein-order I'd had sent to her three months ago. For her birthday, she got to keep two of the skeins, and had the order to bring (and then send by mail) the other two the next time she came to Germany to visit her family. Which happened to be this particular week, and while she was going up north from Frankfurt, I was going south, and we would have had 40 precious minutes at the station together, each of us changing trains. Except for the fact that my train was delayed and it all narrowed down to 15 minutes - all of which was discovered while we were already on the train, thanks to social media. Due to this particular situation and because I knew I had one type of yarn at home which I wanted to combine with this new goodie,


 I allowed myself to get a third thread to combine them all together.

Acquired in Berlin...

and swatched with all three strands held together.


That's what happens to resolutions ("I will buy no more yarn until several options from the stash have been used!") when one is traveling...

As I said, I had not done any stitching on the temperature quilt, but did get around to it during our sewing time with the regional reps. Finished a whole month plus a week in two days, then the tip of my thumb was very sore.

Still a lot to go...