Friday, January 26, 2018

Jacinda Ardern inspires women and knitters

I bet you have heard, as it was all over the news: New Zealand’s new Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, is pregnant. The media is making a big deal out of it, as I think she will be the first head of state giving birth while in office (well, apart from monarchs that is) and it kind of is. It should be normal for a woman in power to also have children, but to this day, it is not. Therefore Jacinda Ardern is sending out an important message to all the women of the world: You can have a great job and still take time to give birth to your child. 

The world won’t stop to turn when you take maternity leave and take care of yourself and your offspring. I kind of love her for that! It is going to work out and make becoming pregnant in your job a much more normal thing. In Germany, young mothers get a lot of protection from the state, I think you can stay absent and still have the guarantee to get back to your old job after three years. This is a big burden for employers of course and it means that a lot of young female professionals don’t get more responsibilities as there is always the risk of them dropping out. This is unfair both to the women who want to be moms as well as to the women who don’t plan / are not able to have a family. We are all still seen as potential breeders.

This is why the pregnancy of the Prime Minister is such a big deal, to show everybody that it can work out and I hope she will inspire a lot of young women to take the opportunity to step up the ladder, while planning a family or even if they are already pregnant. 

Ardern's pregnancy has sparked an adorable movement in her country. The hashtag #knitforjacinda sparked a knitting movement of donations to families who are less well-off and might make good use of handknit baby clothes. The press covered this charity-knit extensively and maybe it can inspire people from all over the world to use their crafts for the less-fortunate. Handmade baby shoes or hats are such adorable and at the same time useful gifts and it doesn't only make the new parents happy, but giving also shows great health and happiness benefits for the giver. So, swing your needles, peeps and do it for a good cause nearby. (There are e.g. a lot of hospitals accepting hats and socks for preemies.)
Let's celebrate Jacinda's great example for women worldwide and give something back. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Girl's weekend and lots of sockknitting

Everybody has to have those special girlfriends that you can talk through the night with, about everything. And when I mean everything, it means everything. No matter if it's bad dates, deepest fears or something like you favourite sex position. I am lucky enough to have some of the finest friends somebody could wish for. 
At least once a year we try to meet for a weekend of just us, as meeting up spontaneously has become increasingly difficult with two of them living far away, one having a family and all the other stuff everybody has been doing. 

Our first trip was to Dublin two years ago and last year we just met up for a wellness-weekend in a town nearby. This time we decided to take it low-key as well, having a cozy winter-weekend with a sauna and a fireplace. We were pretty lucky to find a beautiful holiday home in an area with not much going on and therefore also very cheap. It was all we wanted for the weekend, we went running, sat in the sauna, sat in front of the fireplace and just talked a lot. In fact, we were pretty lazy. 

I imagined our holiday with snow around us, which was not the case, but as I enjoyed sockknitting so much, I promised all of them to knit a warm pair of socks for them. (My ravelry page features a lot of sock patterns now) After finally deciding on the pattern and being finished with my "christmas-gift-knitting", I really had to throw in a lot of knitting time to finish in time. (Which I still didn't manage to do. Pauline's socks were only finished after the weekend. I wil give them to her the next time we see each other.)

The first pattern I knit was intended for toe-up knitting, which I have never done, so I figured, just knit top-down and it will work. It didn't though, the lizard in the pattern was much longer than the foot, so their heads are a bit anomalic, but the pattern in general is really cool. The next time I am going to make them I will give the other way a try. 

The second one I found on a request of my good friend Dani's who likes green and purple. The pattern features a lot more colours, but I loved it too much not to choose it. They took me some time, especially since the footsize was so big, but it was well worth it. 

Fairytale Socks

I had never knit anything in black and white and I love the effect those clearcut colours have in a pattern. The regularity of the pattern creates a very nice structure that keeps the feet nice and warm and I definitely recommend it.

For the last pair I chose the blue and green colour which I thought would make a nice addition to the pattern I chose. It is nice, but the two socks are very different from each other, plus the color gradient creates a sharp contrast in the one full round that is knit when knitting the heel. Also, the original pattern has a pretty cool application with buttons in it. For time reasons I left it out, but the next time I knit this pattern I will include it. 

For now, not having anything I "have" to knit, I decided to tackle one of the bigger projects I chose for myself. Only a few days ago I started with my long planned Beatnik-Sweater in Marine Drops yarn. At first I was a little intimidated by all the different acbles of the pattern, but what can I say? I love it! And it is not nearly as hard as I imagined it to be. I made good progress and am already looking forward to wearing it. (Also I am glad to knit with only one colour for a change.)
I got this little helper to better knit with two colours

A new book I bought myself and the beginning of my Beatnik-Sweater

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Happy New Year everybody!

What has everybody been up to?
December has been a very crazy month, like always. And although I took some days off prior to Christmas, I still didn't manage to create and prepare all the presents smoothly. The long shawl I knit for my cousin took me hours before Christmas Eve, in fact I went to bed at 3:30 after I had finally managed to finish it.

It didn't help that we had two weddings to attend to in the last weeks of the year, to reduce the stress. Looking for presents and preparing our clothes, etc. My friend who got married asked me to take pictures and as I almost never take pics indoors, which is why I got myself an early Christmas present in the form of an external flash.
The wedding went smoothly and I realized that if you are a photographer at a wedding it's good advice to get to know everybody, do a lot of smalltalk and make them less afraid of the big camera and the big flashlight. I still had some problems with the tech sometimes, but in the end I am mostly satisfied with the pictures.

A week later one of my best friends, who moved to Canada years ago, came by with her husband to also celebrate their wedding. It was great seeing her again and getting to know her husband, who is a funny and interesting guy and seeing them together made me really happy. When we were little we swore none of us would ever get married, but they seem to be pretty happy together, so I guess I am alright with her breaking the vow. Jeannie's parents have a young dog, who was a big fan of Lisek, wanting to play with him all the time. She was very cheeky and sometimes Lisek even played a bit, but it seemed more forced, to get rid of her. I am still amazed by the patience he showed towards her all the time.

I had the chance to take Jeannie and her husband on a stroll through the forest we used to take the horses to and it was like a huge flashback. The two of them are into birdwatching, so we took the time to watch some of the very common birds here feeding. As they are living in Newfoundland, our birds are not so common to them. It was great seeing them and I hope we can manage to go and see them in St. John's in the summer. Jeannie does whale watching tours with tourists in the summer and this must to be one of the most amazing jobs ever.

Christmas Eve was amazing. In recent years I have been really enjoying the time with my family. Everybody just gets one present and so it gives us much more time to have dinner together and just talk. I have a couple of cousins I only ever see on Christmas and it is great to see how they develop and what they are up to in life. Most of them I can still remember as little babies.
All in all we had a few christmas days with a lot of us-time, chilling and relaxing. I loved it. On the 28th of December we had spontaneously booked a trip to the closest mountains, hoping for some snow. We were meetings two friends who have a camper van as well and it was a pretty sweet deal, sleeping in the vans, including breakfast at the hotel and being able to use their pool and sauna. The hotel wasn't top class, it was ok, but there were too many little things waiting for repair for it to be perfect. The first few days we had quite an amount of snow, which made our walks super-romantic and a lot of fun for Lisek. While the New Year's Eve party was not the greatest, it was a perfect way to end the old year, with a lot of relaxed conversations, hot coffee and knitting, walking outside, hearing the snow crack beneath our shoes. I loved it!

Now we are back home, working and finally deciding to do more sports. (What an original New Year's resolution). I started already after I had seen myself on the pictures of the wedding, so horrible! But I am going to write another post on our progress in the cooking, sports and fasting department.

Prepare for a lot of doggie pictures!

Dancing at my friend's wedding

Jeannine & Ian's wedding cake

Yessi, always trying to animate Lisek to play

So cute! Lisek got that collar from his auntie Sarah

Crazy dogs

Lisek stole Yessi's bone and he felt like the king

Romantic decoration at the wedding party

Playing with the dogs - one of my favourite things to do

Knitting on Christmas Eve - one of my other favourite things to do

Breakfast table at my parents' house

Lisek with his already destroyed present

Another cute pic of the pooch

Stroll in the forest

Yessi tends to get sick in a car, so Ian made her put her nose out of the window, which helped. 

I love that picture

in my hometown

Christmas Presents for my parents

Last evening in Düsseldorf in 2017

Alt-Astenberg in the mountains

The men in deep conversation

Snow fun

The cute snowball

Snow Cabin

Have a wonderful year 2018!

And then the snow was gone