Friday, December 23, 2022

Merry Christmas

 By now we have received a whole load of Christmas cards. And I usually just enjoy them, am grateful for people thinking of us, even though it would be nice to hear from some of them more often throughout the years as well. But this year I realized that two cards touched me more deeply than others. One came from a small local organisation called "Helping Sick Children" (Kranken Kindern Helfen) which runs a school for sick children in the children's hospital in Landshut. We are members in that organisation, although we haven't really done more than being paying members. Obviously the card was made by one of the children in that school.

The other card came from far away - the one letter I receive per year with stamps from Rwanda.

It was sent by Doctor Alfred Jahn, who used to be the Children's Hospital Director in Landshut and is now operating children in Rwanda who suffer from palatine cleft at birth, an organization I donated the money to when I tried my hands at hosting a knit-along several years ago. I have repeatedly donated smaller amounts of money to this organization, always grateful that my child was born healthy, and that we live in an area where universal healthcare and pretty good medical support is readily available. Through my Senegales friends I have learned close on what that means, when a sickness of a child (or an adult) that needs to be treated in hospital can be a life-threatening situation simply because the expenses cannot be paid, and yet treatment would be relatively easily possible. Somehow it all ties together. Recently I listened to an episode of the UNHCR podcast "Awake at night", where Chris Mburu tells about his life, and how it changed when a Swedish woman decided to support him through school in Kenia, although they had never met. This episode had me in tears - while driving to and from work - because it made me feel that my engagement for my Senegalese friends who have come here and were facing the terrible difficulties of German ways of dealing with illegal immigrants was a bit like that. I managed to have a bit of a positive impact on their lives, and there are still ways I can help. Which is wonderful. I received beautiful presents from my special protegee's relatives in Senegal when he went to visit in November, and it was wonderful to feel their gratefulness. Even if it made me a bit ashamed - it is relatively little money compared to what we have and spend. And it means all the difference in the world for them. So although I had to withdraw from my intensive involvement in refugee work to protect my own health, there are still ways I can, and do, and will continue to help. Which is a wonderful feeling.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Snow-driven burst of creativity


We have snow on the ground. It would be enough for snow-dyeing. And I wouldn’t even have to negotiate with my son as to who gets which piece of the grounds because he is not interested in shoveling snow anymore. But I don’t have any pfd fabric in the house, haven’t prepared anything. It was interesting that several people approached me during these past few months whether I might take dyeing fabric for selling up again, and I was almost tempted to order a shipment. But there is really not a whole lot of time left besides working full time, and the temptation wasn’t quite strong enough.

Yesterday was very crisp and clear and cold, too, and on a drive to the next village where I dropped something off I got out of the car a couple of times to take some pictures. 


And in addition to that crispness, which made my creative juices flow I also saws Sidnee Snell’s post on Instagram of a quilt she had shown at the last zoom session of our 20 Perspectives group, and that got me really inspired. So I have been working on my piece for the upcoming challenge. I am not going to talk about it in detail here, just show a few pictures. 

I had the idea to repurpose one of the two sketches I contributed to the Patchwork Gilde @b.lange.patchwork ’s challenge for rendering swear words in textile form for the next magazine on the topic ‘150’. Before the pandemic I had bought this piece of fabric with prints of Frida Kahlo, 


and I took one head to turn her into a ‘Heulsuse’ (cry baby). 


I really liked the back view of it before I added the tears, but alas, that's gone now.

Now I am adding on to that piece, and it will make a nice detail of the finished quilt which is due by the end of February. I am using some of her features for special effects, too.


I decided to put the features into separate six-point-diamond arrangements, though.


 On the side, I am still working on my advent calendar spinning, I am up to date!

And yesterday I decided how to proceed with one knitting project where I will be running out of one kind of yarn eventually. I am changing colors in the lower part of the sleeves, and will do so in the bodice as well.


A good day, on the creative side.

By the way, the chicken don’t like the snow, they are staying in the area under the cover where there is still bare ground.



Tuesday, November 29, 2022

That time of year

It is that time of year again when dark and dreary November days have a negative effect on my mood. I thought I had scraped by this year with the long too-warm days in October, and the beginning of November wasn’t that bad either. But it is definitely not the case that working full-time ‘doesn’t allow enough time to notice how awful the weather can be’, as I had hoped. So I brought out the choir of angels a bit premature, before First of Advent even, to brighten things up a bit.


On the positive side of daily life I can report that my chickens have finally started producing eggs. We got them young and they took their time before making up their mind, but by now we have progressed beyond the stage where we are keeping a total count. Rare is the day with no egg, most days bring at least one, sometimes two. And we have been eating them, too. The eggs, not the chicken.


At work I have entered the stage where I am already doing almost everything in the entire process of preparing patients for dialysis – except for setting the needles. I am getting more routine and feeling more confident about it all, and can definitely say that it was the right decision to switch.

Still working on the temperature quilt, and a significant step of achievement can be announced on that front! This past Saturday evening I finished the blocks and assembly as months for the year 2020. And immediately turned to September 1965, pressing on. Getting more optimistic that I will finish. Except for the decision about that border or not…

December 2020, in a heap

Gaps between the final months of 2020, where 1965 will be included.

 And another positive thing I have allowed myself is that I started my fiber advent calendar on the first of advent, not on December 1st. It is the result of a swap I encountered on Ravelry. You could sign up, an organizer allotted a number for a date  that you had to prepare, then you made 24 little parcels of a self-carded carded fiber package, sent it to her, and a few days later I received a large parcel with 24 little gifts of fiber. 


The preparations for my contribution were a lot of fun. I managed to catch one of the sunny and warm Sundays in October, took my carder out onto the terrace and went wild. 


Receiving the parcel was a joy, and I am looking forward to the reveals. This was Day 1.

 And Day 2.


Today was not exactly a big surprise because I prepared Day 3, but it’s interesting to see it in the context of what has already been opened.


At first I thought I would wait until the end and then arrange them before I start spinning. Now I think I should start spinning right away, perhaps with a little bit of a color from my stash to give it a coherent appearance, and then there will be the need for at least another thread to ply anyway. But then I better start and sit down to spinning, today…