Thursday, July 28, 2016

Germany and Austria Adventures

I'm going to start off this post with saying there isn't going to be much knitting in this one. Rachael and I visited some beautiful spots and had some great times that I would like to share! I'm going to write and post photos of some of the highlights of our trip.

One of the first days in Germany we visited Drachenfels ruins, this castle ruin has a history similar to King Arthur stories! Up at the ruin there was an amazing view of the Rhine river and valley. So stunning. We had a great time climbing around the ruins and listening to the school children play knights and dragons!

We made a short half day trip into Dusseldorf, wasn't really impressed with the city itself and the church we wanted to visit was closed. But we found a knitting paradise hidden between a bakery and coffee shop, full of flowers, plants, and lovely cafe tables. We also found the most beautiful open air market. I could grocery shop everyday if I could go to an open air market.

Rachael and I were able to have sweet treats and coffee while waiting for our ride back to Bonn. I had my favorite lemon dessert and time to relax and rejuvenate.

After the first week in Germany we flew to Vienna, Austria and we were there for four days. While in Vienna I was able to attend the Pride Parade! What an experience! I have never attended a Pride event and I just happened upon this one. Once in a lifetime experience. I actually stumbled upon the parade while participating in World Wide Knit in Public Day in the prater across from our hotel!

One of our last big adventures in Vienna was visiting the Schonbrunn Palace. What a gorgeous palace both inside and out, so grand and overwhelming! We walked around the inside with a tour, then marveled at the gardens before we climbed a path the receive a beautiful view of the backside of the palace and the surrounding city.

In Munich we visited the Residence, which was the palace of the ruling class while visit Munich. Each room is decorated differently and just plain breathtaking! It was fun comparing and contrasting the different castles and palaces that we saw throughout our trip, each one was different and intriguing.

One of the most impressive castle that we saw was Noschwanstein, which inspired the Disney Sleeping Beauty Castle! If you are ever in range of seeing this castle don't hesitate to visit, well worth seeing. The inside is stunning and very ornate, most of the decor is the original building/furniture/paintings.

One of my favorite stops at the end of our trip (other than Wollmeise) was the Nuremberg Castle. The fact that it had a lot of the historical facts in English was a great plus! They also had a very elaborate weapons museum. The view from the top of the tower was excellent and just a bit frightening with how rickety the building felt.

Plus it rained while we were there, I was in heaven.

We had lots of adventures that didn't pertain to yarn store but we never stopped knitting the entire trip! Can't wait to share the rest of the adventures from the second half next week!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Knitting Across Europe: Part 2

The second half of my trip started off in Scotland with my mom and sisters! There weren't any yarn stores in Inverness where we started!?! That totally shocked me and Mom, we thought there would be multiple LYS in each city so we were a bit bummed about that.

Logan, Mom, Ellie, and Me!

We arrived in Edinburgh and while there we visited Ginger Twist Studio! What a cute shop, just from the outside you can tell this is a bright happy space. We spent quite a bit of time in this tiny shop, the owner has so much of her hand-dyed yarn in the shop it was almost overwhelming. I felt right at home in this cozy shop and so did my family. My Mom and I were in yarn store heaven. We felt a bit deprived of yarn shops because of the lack in Inverness.

Isn't this the cutest open sign ever! 

I hadn't planned to visit anymore stores while in Edinburgh, my mom and I are knitters but my younger sisters (Ellie and Logan) are not. I promised to only search out one shop per city we were in so they didn't feel like their entire trip was stuck in yarn stores. But if we happened to find a yarn store when we were walking around we were definitely going inside to have a look.

And guess what! It happened! We were walking around on our last day in Edinburgh looking for Dean's village (which we didn't find) and walked past a yarn store! Made my entire day!

The shop was McAree Brothers and they had a really great selection! There were so many books and a whole range of yarn types and prices. They had a really large selection of acrylics and baby yarns but they also carried Regia and Rowan. Definitely a shop for a variety of knitters. I was able to pick up the KnitPro Zings I had been looking for! My mom and I were pleased as punch about finding this stop.

The shops in Edinburgh were so clever! 

After our short stop in Edinburgh we headed to London! Of course the main shop that I wanted to stop in was Loop London, who wouldn't want to stop in. Before I made it to Loop I was able to stop into I Knit London! The shop was so open and airy, with tons of hand dyes and beautiful colors. I really wish that we would have been able to make it to a knit night here because I was in heaven. The owner was so low key and easy to talk with, he showed my his magic loop socks out of his hand dyed. Of course I bought the exact same colorway to do a shawl in.

They had a great knit area, alcohol, and sleepy dogs, I don't think our stop could have been better.

Loop London was our last yarn store stop of this trip. Loop is a beautiful two story shop that had some of the most unique hand dyed yarn that I have never seen in person in the states. It was magical, amount of yarn and goodies that were packed into this space. And so many samples! I could feel and see so many of the yarns knit up so I knew what I was getting.

Loop was located in a boutique area of London with antique shops, small pubs, and vintage clothing shops. We had a great time looking around the area after our shopping.

The shop was almost overstuffed with yarn and fiber supplies, not in a way that was overcrowded, but in a 'you didn't want to leave' kind of way. And my mom and spent enough money to fill up a rewards card, so obviously I need to go back and use my 15% off :)

We had such a great time running around and discovering new places while looking for these shops! Thanks for reading my thoughts! Hopefully this inspires you to visit a few new shops in your area and abroad!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

4 Pairs in 4 Weeks

As I have so overly shared I was in Europe this summer for four weeks. I visited Germany, Austria, Scotland, and England. Being the knitter that I am I started planning my travel projects weeks before I was leaving.

First I planned the patterns I was going to bring with my to buy yarn for, then I searched the stash and found patterns and yarn that I wanted to work with while I was abroad. I decided on two pairs of socks and two shawls.

My knitting didn't go quite as I expected. When I traveled abroad before, working on my shawls was not a big deal and I had plenty of time. This time around no shawl knitting happened until the plane ride home! I was gone for four weeks and didn't even finish/start any of the shawls that I brought with me!

So what did I do...knit 4.5 pairs of socks! One pair of socks per week that I traveled! So happy and a bit stunned. I've really been focused on shawls this year and haven't been working on my socks quite as regularly. These were the perfect travel project, easy to pickup and put down, get shoved in my purse and completely mindless. I brought yarn for two of the pairs and while abroad I bought the yarn for two more!

The first pair finished was the pair I started at the airport waiting to depart from California. These were made from stash yarn and so much fun to knit. I don't usually do contrast cuff and toes but all the podcasts that I've been watching use contrast and I had to try. Personally, I think they turned out pretty great!

Each of these socks was knit on a US 1.5 with a 9 inch circular. They either had a 60 or 64 stitch cast on with an eye of partridge heel. I was very inventive when knitting my travel projects...

The second pair that I cast on was yarn bought in Bonn, a cranberry tweed that I have been yearning for but not seen in the US. I couldn't believe that the first store that we walked into had the yarn that I was craving! Happy knitter. These took one week exactly to finish, which means I was able to wear them while on my trip!

During my stay in Europe a large football tournament (soccer for the Americans) Euro2016 was playing, which means I watched a lot of games. In the Cologne yarn store I found the best way to commemorate my trip, sock yarn in the German flag colors! Yarn was made for each team in the football league. So cool that I was to find Germany!

 I was able to be "in Germany, watching Germany, knitting Germany," so much fun!

My last pair that I finished was self-striping Felici yarn from Knit Picks, the colorway name was Highlands. Which I why I started them on the day I arrived in the Scottish Highlands! Mom also is a knitter and had this yarn so we both knit on them!

These ones took me the longest to finish, but I finished them before I left the UK so I was pretty dang happy. They fit like a dream and are so comfy, I love Felici! I have to say I felt pretty awesome in my hand knit sweater, shawl, and working on hand knit socks. I was rocking it.

So these are all the sock projects that I finished while abroad. I'll have nice toasty feet and wonderful memories of making them when fall arrives!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Knitting Across Europe: Part 1

I'm back! Arrived back in the California heat on July 13th! I have spent the last four weeks exploring Europe and visiting as many yarn stores as I possibly could, which if I'm perfectly honest was quite a bit. The first two weeks I spent with my friend Rachael in Germany and Austria!

It was a new experience for me, traveling with a friend. I've previously only world traveled with my Mom or by myself, and I have to say it was really fun. I was a bit nervous, who wouldn't be, traveling in close quarters with a friend can be very challenging. It can really change a friendship to spend that much time together, Rachael and I have similar personalities so we didn't have any issues.

The cities that we visited were Bonn, Cologne, Vienna, Munich, Pfaffenhofen, and Nuremberg. We went to a yarn store in nearly every city! Knitters dream right there. I'm going to talk about my adventures around Europe in another post, this one I'm just going to cover the yarn stores that we visited.

We started off in Bonn and had a plan to visit one store in the city, as we were walking around we happened upon a store! This was so exciting for me to just walk up on one while in Europe! The name of the shop is Wolle Rodel, and it's similar to a Joanns or Michaels in the United States. I found the tweed sock yarn I had been hunting for so I was a happy camper.

We visited another shop in Bonn on the same day named Edelweiss. This was definitely up to the US standards of a beautiful local yarn store! They had such a great selection of European yarns, we were so happy to be there! The store was so bright and clean, it made me want to sit and knit.

We were only able to visit one store in the time that we were in Cologne but it was definitely worth making the trip to find it. Maschenkunst was an awesome shop with a ton of stock! She only had one ball out of each color but kept the rest in the back of the shop so the store didn't feel over crowded. They were so welcoming and wanted us to sit and knit with them, of course this is the one day that I forgot my knitting at the hotel. 

We visited more than one store in Vienna, Austria, but this was the only one I spent a significant amount of money in. They also had the best yarn selection of the stores that we had visited so far, what really drew Rachael and myself in was the fact that WolleWien had yarn produced and dyed in Austria! How cool is that! And there was a Giant. Rotating. Skein of Yarn. Pictured below for your viewing pleasure. 

After Vienna we took the train to Munich, we were only in Munich for about a day and a half so we only visited one store. Die Mercerie was the shop to visit while we were there, Rachael and I didn't purchase any yarn mostly because they carried mainly US brands that we can purchase back at home. But what a beautiful shop it was, I'm so glad that we stopped here to get inspiration and take a break from the big city we were in. 

After our short stop in Munich we hopped over to Pfaffenhofen, the home of Wollmeise! As you can see we were very excited to be there.

What a gorgeous store! I'm am so grateful for the opportunity to be able to see this inspiring store. The colors and their saturation were almost beyond words, I could knit with highly saturated color yarn for the rest of my life. The store itself was very large, the biggest that we had been in the entire trip. The first three photos are taken from the front of the shop, this is the mistakes sock yarn skeins, the front desk and their winding table. 

These bottom four photos are the Blend, DK, Pure, Twin, and lace weight sections. Each section is sectioned by weight and then by color, this was the most beautiful rainbow I have ever laid eyes on. Along with these beautiful sections of yarn there are many many samples of the colorways knit up. Also there are three different seating areas! There was a fairly large knit group on the couch section when we were there, Rachael and I were seated in another couch section, then there was third and final section that had two armchairs for people to stitch in. I was in heaven! I have decided that this store will be a destination for me every 4 years, I loved being here that much. I can't wait to bring my mom here! 

Rachael and I were in this shop for hours, they offered us water, coffee, and snacks making us very comfortable and sad when we had to leave. We meet a women our age named Ellie, she was visiting from Australia and was just as entranced by this store as we were. We ended up having lunch/dinner together, such a great time! But we had to make our way to out last city, so off to Nuremberg we headed. 

Honestly, after vising Wollmeise no other yarn store really seemed all that fantastic. We did find one shop, Treffpunkt Wolle, in Nuremberg that we visited on our last day. I didn't buy any yarn but I did buy some awesome buttons with knit stitches printed on them for a sweater. They also had a large display of sock yarn that was tempting me. 

Rachael and I separated the next day, Rachael headed home and I made my way to Scotland for the second half of my European adventure! I have a couple more store that I visited in the UK that I'll share later! Thanks for reading about my adventure!