Saturday, March 30, 2024

Getting Myself into Somewhat Slanted Trouble?


Almost a year ago I started the “Sweater Somewhat Slanted”after a pattern by Sarah C. Swett .  She now writes The Gusset on Substack  which I look forward to finding in my inbox every Tuesday. 

This slanted sweater had intrigued me right away when I first saw pictures of and posts about it, I just love the ‘slanted’ aspect of it. On first sight I immediately thought ‘should be possible to do it all slanted, not only the two large pieces front and back, shouldn’t it?’ and so far I have been thinking that I would like to try to do it that way. As I have mentioned before, I cheated myself a bit, breaking the good intention to start any major new knitting project (socks never count!) before I had finished at least two other wips by telling myself that a single slip knot as is very common in every day use does not count as casting on a knitting project. The sweater basically started itself.

Mine turned into a bit of a wildish something when deciding on yarn (only, but not with a derogatory meaning) under the way. Alternating some hand-dyed (not be my) yarn from South America which had been in my stash for a few years with hand-spun (by me) snippets from my experimental bags of spinning is certainly giving this piece a very idiosyncratic look.


As I was also finishing another very long-time work in progress 


this slanted project took it’s time growing, but lately I managed to finish the second piece and then realized that my ambition to slant the sleeves as well was blocking progress. 

To shape or not to shape the shoulder pieces,
even not slanted?

 For a little while I waited whether I would have the zeal and drive to tackle this self-inflicted challenge, meanwhile just going ahead with the shoulder rectangles and waiting for enlightenment.


But in the end, for now, I have decided that I will finish this (first) Slanted Sweater as suggested in Sarah’s instructions, and knit the sleeves straight, starting at the shoulders. 

I am telling myself that this is a way of getting myself fully acquainted with the structure of the sleeves which might than give me a fertile basis on which to continue my thoughts about slanting the sleeves, too. And perhaps I will then start another version of it, pulling that idea of complete slanting through. Or rather, a second sweater will start itself, because, after all, a single slip knot is not casting on.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Establishing a new Work-Life-Balance


Looking across a section of the lake towards the Roman Cathedral at dusk

The change of job with the arrangement of two weeks there, two weeks with my family has led to a new way of counting time. Not sure how long that will last, but so far I have been going by “1st phase in Ratzeburg”, “1st phase home after Ratzeburg”, “2nd phase…” etc. Right now I am in the middle of “3rd phase home after”, and that means that already half of my probationary period is over. I have arrived at a point where I have the feeling that I have pretty much acquired the necessary knowledge to work the kind of machine I did not know already, I remember mostly where things are and I am no longer itching to follow processes of dealing with patients as they were done at the former place, but am getting used to doing it the way as it is done there. I have begun to understand some of the more intricate dynamics within the team relationships and think I know whom to be aware of. I tell myself that I go there to work, not to make close friends, getting along with them in the working environment is the important thing. The head nurse is straightforward, no fiddling, and so far we have communicated very well, which is rather different from what I was used to before.

One of the reasons why I chose Ratzeburg is the fact that it is situated in lake country. And I wanted to go far a daily swim. Depending on the work schedule I go before work, or on a long and extended walk after work. In January I started by wading in the water up to my knees and thought I would continue to do so until sometime in the spring. But in February, after my return and a first wade I decided to not wait any longer and have been immersing completely since. It is cold, indeed, and the first three times were very very difficult. After that, it has become easier and easier and as the water has warmed up a little – from 2 degrees centigrade to just above 7 last time I was up there – my swimming time has increased a bit, too. 

Bike trip to Schaalsee

 I love the lake, I listen to the birds and use my app to identify bird songs and enjoy the walks. 


I have received my rental agreement for the apartment I will be moving into and hope that the windows will really get exchanged soon enough that the moving-in date stated in the contract is actually going to materialize.

Thus I can say that the work side of life is on a very good road. I feel much happier in that arrangement than I have felt in the previous work situation, and I am much happier in that town than I have been in many years where we have been living for the past 19 years.

So far, however, I have not been able to seriously commit to a daily art practice when I am up there, although I meant to. I am making something every day, but often (only) knitting or spinning, because the room in the nurse’s dormitory that I am staying at right now does not really have enough space for creative activities, nor did I bring a whole lot of materials.

But I try to get serious about it when I am home.

I did finish, enter and ship one quilt for the competition of former Prague Patchwork Meeting, now Brno Patchwork Meeting, as I mentioned in the last post. I am going there next month (during “phase 4 after”) with an exhibition of 20 Perspectives and wanted to be a part of the competition “Zero Waste” as well. I also finished my quilt for the Ocean Contest of European Patchwork Meeting in Ste. Marie-aux-Mines, which I also wanted to enter in Wide Horizons and will finish the digital entry tonight.

And I need to get going about my contribution to EQA’s challenge “Imagine a Bird” (in Germany we called it “alle Vögel sind schon da” in quotation of a well-known German song). My first idea of a derivation from a photo I took on one of my walks along the lake 


has been substituted for already by another and I will see how it works out.

And then there is a SAQA Benefit Auction piece that needs to be made...

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Meeting Deadlines, making the most of it

 Just a couple of days ago I entered a quilt I recently finished for the Brno Patchwork Meeting (formerly Prague Patchwork Meeting). Because the 20 Perspectives Group will be exhibiting there I figured it would make a lot of sense to enter a quilt in one of their challenges. The topic 'Zero Waste' spoke to me as it seemed a good way to finally work out an idea I had been having for a while. This idea included using red plastic tops from syringes I had been collecting at work, caused by a misunderstaning on my part.

Because these little parts had a little hole at the top I thought this would extend all the way through, and I had collected quite a few of these before I realized my mistake. I mean, it doesn't really make a lot of sense that syringe stoppers would have a hole all the way through, and I don't quite understand why I harbored the idea, except maybe that my 'green' or 'ecological' heart was suffering badly when seeing all the plastic, wrapping, gadgets and instruments that go to waste in a dialysis practice every single day. And especially these red tops... 

First stitches for this quilt began during the last summer already, and it was a long and laborious process. Somewhere along the line I also had the idea of including some more of the still relatively numerous embroideries by Afghan women in my stash (Guldusi Embroidery), and originally I had wanted to make it a rather turquoise/red quilt, for which I begged for turquoise scraps from my good quilting friend Bea @capricornquilts because I realized my abundance of turquiose scraps was low.


In the end the quilt turned out a lot less turquoise and red than I had envisioned. And the red tops needed a special kind of treatment to actually end up on the quilt top because, as I mentioned, the hole did not extend all the way and I could not stitch them onto the top.  But I finished on the time before the deadline (which is still a week away! so early!), and I stayed within the size restrictions relatively easily because I was so smart to outline the size cirumference on my design wall with string and pins and thus managed to keep within the boundaries. And I had it professionally photographed - and then happened to delete the file accidentally and had to ask for it being resent. By that time I had gone north again, did not have a printer available, could not print out the entry form for the challenge nor download a workable version of the pdf-reader that would let me fill in the form digitally. I had to ask at work whether I could print out the file from my private mail account... fill it in by hand, take a photo of it, turn it into a pdf and send it ... it was a thorny way indeed before I managed to get in that entry.

As I have also decided to try and enter it for SAQA's Europe/Middle East call for entry "Wide Horizons" (deadline end of this month) I am not showing any other pictures right now. The jury for Wide Horizons should have decided before the meeting in Brno, so I figure a double entry is not outside the  rules, which don't say 'must not have been shown anywhere before' anyway.

I also hope to have a second entry finished for Wide Horizons, perhaps, which, should it not get accepted, could be entered somewhere else. Give them many chances...

Monday, March 4, 2024

Participating in PatCH Swiss Anniversary/EQA Round Bobbin - to be seen in Vicenza in October

 Just before I left for Abilmente recently I had finished the last stitches on a very special piece.


In the fall I had decided to participate in PatCH Swiss’s Round Bobbin challenge that had been opened for members of other EQA countries as well.

However, I had taken a very long time to get started because, I admit, I had a hard time figuring out how to go about. Definitely not my usual stuff, to be working along such a list, and it took a lot of pondering to come up with an idea. But when I had decided to stick to one color, (I had been lucky to receive a bobbin in my favorite color, yellow, and therefore stayed in that color family!)


to look for composite nouns in German that somehow included whatever cue word was given, I finally got off to a good, if late, start. I stitched line drawings of some of the terms given, 

 but sometimes the part of the compound that would be ‘the other’ part. 


Or a chemical symbol. 


Or a phrase that includes the term in some way.


And the good thing was that I could hand-deliver the finished bobbin to Susan Vogel in Vicenza, saving me the postage, her the potential hassle with customs. Now I am looking forward to seeing that exhibition, which will be huge. Susan says she sent out almost 600 bobbins, even if not every single one will be returned… The entire collection will be shown at Abilmente in October. A selection of the Swiss contributions will be presented for the Swiss Guild at their AGM in the end of April, and as far as I know another selection will be shown at the European Patchwork Meeting in Ste. Marie-aux-Mines in Septemer, as well. So much fun to be included in this, even though I barely made the deadline!