The City of Crochet

Crocheting...an escape from everyday life in Europe as I face the perils of yarn shopping in a foreign country and dealing with all of the crazy looks I get for crocheting & knitting on the public transportation system.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Yarn ads on a Yarnaholics Unanonymous LOL

The yarn stash gods are smiling and laughing down at the poor little souls who are trying to decrease their stash! I find it highly ironic that on the Yarnaholics Unanonymous web ring the Google ads that have appeared are for YARN!!! I do believe that defeats the purpose of their site teeheehee - here is the Yarn gods commentary:

"What?!?! They want to decrease their stash!!!! No way!! They must be stopped or we are out of a job! Hey Al - don't you bowl on Thursdays with the Internet Ad God Bob?"

"Sure do Dave!"

"Give him a call Al and see if he can set it up so their Google ads are for Yarn sites! Ha ha ha ha ha"

"Brilliant Dave! There they are, thinking that they can sign up for support to kick their wonderful yarn habit, and Wham! Right there before their eyes are lovely... wonderful... brilliant ads to buy more yarn! I'll go give Bob a call right now."

*evil laughter as he dials the phone*

"Hey Bob its Al from Thursday night bowling....yeah, all is going well...no, its not about bowling I have a work related issue that you can help me with.....well, these puny mortals are trying to kick their yarn habits which means I will be out of a job and not able to buy any more rounds of beer after the games on thursdays....yeah, we can not let that one happen! Do you think you can fix their google ads on the sign up pages to be ads for yarn? .....You can? ....Wonderful! I'll be sure to send your wife some on that awesome lang opal-color yarn for Christmas as a thank you......don't worry - first and last beer rounds next week are on me! See you Thursday Bob"

Monday, May 30, 2005

Weekend Adventures

Well, I am back from my weekend in Germany! It was a long drive, filled with super fast speeds and long boring traffic jams. I managed to get out of the house on time, find my way out of the city and onto the expressway without getting lost....yay! 650 kilometers, 1 gasoline stop and 2 traffic jams later I arrived in Hamburg! I managed to find Anna, and off we went, with me of course getting lost and having to turn around! Found the hotel and made it to the yarn shop...Can we all say OMG!! It was a wonderful place - they had both pre-packaged yarns and then yarn that was on cones in individual strands - pick the colors and types that you wanted and they would spin them together on a cone for you! I had them make me a size 10 thread in pretty red with red lurex combined into it! Its nice and sparkly (yes, I really like the sparkly type yarns recently). I then found a premixed blue that had 6 strands in it - again it has a sparkle to it.

We explored around, ate at a french restaurant (the guy seemed a bit put out that I wanted to speak french...sorry, I don't speak German - its a french restaurant - I should be able to speak french and I did!) I managed to take a short nap that evening before we went out on the museum night - saw several museums. On Sunday we woke up, ate breakfast, walked around the harbor area and then I toodled back to Brussels - getting stuck in 2 traffic jams - one of which we just sat and sat on the Autobahn - I of course put on the parking brake, grabbed the fun fur scarf I am knitting and finished several rows while sitting there!! I'm bad, I know it!

All in all, a tiring but fun weekend! Back to work now though....lets hope I don't fall asleep at the computer today!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Yarn Addicts Unite!

Last night right before going to bed, I decided to surf around Crochetville and see what was going on. One post I read.... Yarnaholics Unanonymous WHAT!!!!! A webring dedicated to reducing your stash on a permanet basis?!?!?! An occasional Stashbusters is a good idea, but this??? So I posted my two cents and off I go to bed.

This morning I woke up a little bit early (at 7 - eek) due to an overpowering smell of curry from the next apaartment that was wafting into my bedroom.....curry smells good at 7 PM but not 7 AM!!! So I decided to get up, log onto the computer and do some more surfing at Crochetville - can you tell that this is a favorite pastime? I went back to the YU site and low and behold Melissa (http://catscradlecreations.blogspot.com/) had created a cool button - Okay, we got a button, but what can we do with it??? I got it!! Our own Web Ring to fight the bad behavior being shown in the first ring...reduce your stash...bah!!!

So I introduce to you, the Yarn Addicts Unite web ring!

All of you yarn lovers, hoarders and stashers should come join us!!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

I'm a legal alien!!

After severe worries and headaches over the thought of re-newing my Residency card here in Belgium (it was 2 months expired) I went the morning to the Commune with my paperwork ready for the guy to yell and scream at me and tell me that I am "stoopid, stoopid, stoopid" and that because I failed to renew it in time that the nice young policemen behind me would escort me to the airport and on the first plane back to America!

Well, with my knees knocking I walk up to the first window "Guichet 19 - Non E.U. Citizens" - no line - perfect! I'm an American, so thats non-E.U......wrong! The window with the long queue is for E.U. Citizens and Americans......okay, I change lines and start waiting...pull out my scarf & start working on that...wait ..... wait .......wait ..... finally! 45 minutes later its my turn! "Bonjour" 'Bonjour Madam - votre papiers s'il vous plait' "Voila" 'Ahh, American - hello! here to renew your card?' "Non - S'il vous plait Monsieu - en français - j'apprend français et j'ai preferé parle en français si possible!" Which of course caused him to laugh, tell everyone else that the american wanted him to speak french and not english which caused them to laugh and come look from their side of the glass at me - I felt like a zoo animal!!

So he then gets busy with his computer and then he goes "ohhhh" calls over anther guy and they start at the screen for a few minutes - they talk rapidly - guy #1 leaves, comes back with my file. They flip through it, read several pages, talk to each other. They call over a 3rd guy and talk some more, re-read my file. Meanwhile I am standing there thinking "oh god, I'm being deported - I know it - what will I ever tell my family and future children/husband about why I left Belgium????" They were talking in Flemish which I know only 4 words and kept mentioning my company.

Finally after 10 minutes of them talking, looking at the computer and my file, the guy looks up says "D'accord - Sept Euro cinquant s'il vous plait" With a hand not too steady I dig into my purse for the change - waiting for him to say "just kidding" I hand it over, he stamps my ID card, and says "Au revoir" Wait a minute...thats it? No big long lecture about not waiting for the ID card to expire? Woooo hoooo!!! I'm a legal alien!! :-) I of course rubbed it in to the co-workers who were in the same situation as me, but were yelled at, denied renewal and sent to the foreign office!

Ps - Secret Pal I am having fun with the new stash additions - working on the bookmarks for the bookmark exchange with the thread from Jackie, still trying to decide what to make with the cotton that you sent.....hmmm.....too many projects to pick from!

This and that....

It is WIP Wednesday so here is the brief update: The fun-fur scarf is moving right along - finished 10 more rows today on the bus and while waiting at work for a friend to finish. Finished another bookmark. Finished the first skein of yarn on my shawl and started a second skein. Started the next 63 Squares square. Viola - thats it!

I have gone overboard with swaps this summer. I have signed up for the Summer Secret Pals (current on-going) the Bookmark swap (starts June 1st) and the Yarn Swap! I am glad that I am going back to the US in the end of June...will be cheaper to send all of the packages out! I've sent out a few RAOK (random acts of kindness) mailings from Europe, and the price has not been that bad actually. It is not cheap, but it is not causing me to eat only rice for the next month.

I am heading off to Germany this weekend to go yarn shopping and museum exploring in Hamburg Germany with another lady from Crochetville, Anna. It should be great fun, and also fun to meet another crocheter who is as addicted as I am! My trip should lead for some exciting tales when I get back! I am having a dinner party (Tex-Mex) at my place on Friday night, and the nSaturday I must be up and driving by 5am!!!! Should be interesting if I can A) Make it up in time B) Not get lost while driving there and C) Manage not to stall the car too many times as it will be a manual and not an automatic....eek!!

Ta ta for now - its 1:30 in the morning - a perfect time to head for bed!
Bon Soir!!

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Sunday ramblings....

It was a fairly nice day in Belgium today, so I went toodling around the country side for a few hours with my friend Zori. We stopped at Waterloo and climbed the hill to the Lion monument, and then we went down to Namur where we saw the most gorgeous church - my camera batteries died but hopefully Zori got some good pictures that I can use! I worked on one of my scarves in the car - progress is going good - I think that I am about 1/2 way done on it (have not decided how long to make them yet)

Last night I went and saw Mamma Mia again with several friends - had a great time aside from the drunk ladies behind us who thought that they could sing and that they knew all of the words.....not even close! Zori said that she at first thought that it was me singing, but when she listened, she realized that even I don't sing that bad (plus I know almost all of the words by heart!)

As said in the last post, here are the pics of the stash increase:
Anchor Thread from Jackie Spanish Yarn

Not shown in the thread from Jackie is an additional 2 units of the middle color.

The Spanish yarn was all decently priced except for the thread - for some reason purchasing thread in Europe for embroidery, cross stitch and even the crochet threads are all really expensive. I thought to buy a skein of Ecru size 10, but they wanted 9€ for a normal size skein!! And the DMC crocheting floss was 1.50€ per unit! Close up pictures of the spanish yarn is available here: http://photobucket.com/albums/y109/kaml2000/Misc/

Heather - working with thread is not as scary as it seems! I would really suggest trying it - start out with a simple doily pattern or a bookmark pattern that is faily easy - you will fall in love with thread before you know it! I just started in the past month myself with thread! I know a lot of ladies from C'ville are trying thread out for the first time to do the bookmark swap!

Show and Tell time!

Today is show and tell day! After not posting anything Crochet related in a week, I have a good amount to share!

First, to show what I sent my mum for mothers day – I sent her the cutest flower arrangement of star gazer lilies, carnations, roses and other assorted flowers in a hummingbird tea pot and a blue flower bookmark that I made – my first attempt at a bookmark:
Hummingbird TeaPot Moms Bookmark

Projects – I have been a busy little beaver while I was in Valencia this past week both shopping and crocheting!

First up is my Simple Doily from the Doily of The Month group at Yahoo. I did not like how it turned out - the blocking is all off - I think in part because of the size 5 yarn I used and how tight I crochet - I will try re-blocking it again to see if I can get the shape to show the details better.
The Simple Doily

Second is my Lang Opal-Color Shawl that I am making! The yarn is working up really nicely – if you have the opportunity to purchase some I highly recommend it!
Lang Opal Color Shawl Detail Lang Opal Color Shawl

Third is the first of several scarves that I am making up for Christmas presents. I am not saying who they are going to go to, but hopefully they will be tickled pink to receive them! The first one I am doing in Schachenmayr nomotta Brazilia Color fur – it is a funky combo of blue, pink, lime green and bright orange!
Fun Fur Scarf 1 Detail Fun Fur Scarf 1

Stash – there have been two recent additions to my yarn stash. Although I did not have a chance to find a proper yarn shop in Valencia, I was able to find the yarn section at El Cortes Inglese – a big department store where I think that I went a little bit over board, although I walked out of the store spending 50 euros for everything! The second addition I received it the thread that I ordered from Jackie at Crochetville – the colors are great, and she was even sweet to include a metal thread hook – bonus yay!

I will see about posting pictures of the yarn addition tomorrow - although tech it is tomorrow since its 3 in the morning here, but I am way to tired to keep going! Night night!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Yay! I received a plastic triangle!

Okay, its a big thing for me to have received the plastic triangle! (I think it might be glass, but plastic makes more of a statement :-) ) My company annually gives out Finance Leadership Awards to various positions in finance. I was selected this year to be awarded with an award for my work as a senior financial analyst in Europe for all of my hard work and dedication over the past year. It was a very trying and difficult year for us last year due to restructuring and reorganizing the department, and I took on additional roles on an already full schedule!

Before I came to Europe, 2 people worked full time during the budget season on the code by code budget for 2 of the businesses within my company. Last year I did the cbc for 3 businesses, plus my responsibilities for my role as an analyst for two of the businesses! I often thought that I would lose it and go crazy, and I seriously considered leaving Europe and the company at various times throughout the budget. But since I would be the last person to be called a quitter, I persevered, completed everything on time, and now for all of my hard work and dedication to the job, I have been nominated and approved to receive a financial leadership award! I will go to the US in June to receive the award and attend a banquet honoring all of the winners of this award for the year!

The upside is that I will be able to go yarn shopping in the US...YAY!!!! Although I lived in Chicago for 2 years, that was in my pre-crocheting days, so I will have the fun of seeing what stores and yarn types are available there! Any advice on where to go would be wonderful!

Okay, I need to go get some work done today as I fly back to Brussels tomorrow! Have a great day!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Best part about being delayed 5 hours??

Todays trip was straight out of a comedy! Anything that could go wrong went wrong in my voyage to Valencia! Best part was that I was able to knit and crochet some on the planes, and made some serious progress on the scarf that I am knitting for my neice (my first attempt at knitting - its going so-so) and made headway into the shawl that I am making with the Lang Opal Color that I bought - it is turning out very pretty so far - it seems to just shimmer! I am off for meetings and more today - have a great week!!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Destination.....Valencia Spain!

Before I forget, I will probably be MIA the next week or so as I am going to Valencia Spain Monday thru Friday for work! It should be a nice trip, even though it will be filled with meetings! I'll try to connect from the hotel once or twice but who knows if that will work! Upside is that I'll be able to bring some crochet projects with me to work on, and since I am not spending as much time on the internet, I should be able to make some real progress! Yay!

My adsl line is not working right now at home - I was waiting to pay my bill with my Belgium paycheck instead of my US paycheck and I think hat I waited a bit too long as they shut the adsl line off - oops! I paid the same day that I received my paycheck, but 2 days later I still have not had the line re-connected, which they swore that they would do asap! I just love fighting with the phone company in french - makes my life exciting!

Package from my Secret Pal!

Oh yay! I received today a package from my Secret Pal from Crochetville! She is wonderful!! She sent to me 3 Sugar'n Cream cotton yarns in some great colors (I love them!!), a Sugar'n Cream project booklet with some great project ideas, the cutest little sparkley duck key chain, and a purple nail file with daisy flowers on it! She also included a nice little note in package! I was so very excited to receive the package - Chas (he sits next to me) was laughing and shaking his head at how excited I was to receive some yarn! He just does not understand!



Many thanks to my SP for this wonderfl package - you have brightened up my day enormously - what a great way to start the weekend! THANK YOU!!!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

63 Squares Progress!

I have finally started in on my 63 Squares Afghan - after only having the book for over a month!! I will be putting together a Photo Album of my progess, and updating it with the new Squares as I finish them! As I am sure that you do not want to keep reading a blog that says "I completed another square.....I completed another square" I will update the high points of the work, and just include a link on the side bar to the current progress!

My secret pal from Crochetville sent me a cute card from the Lion Brand yarn site that is done in the american gothic style with lions for the farmers and crochet hook for the pitchfork - VERY cute!! She also mentioned to keep an eye out for a small package - yay! Thanks SP - you are awesome!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

A lazy weekend!

Groceries, shoes, laundry, Ikea, yarn store, hardware store.....the list of zhat I had planned to do this weekend goes on and on.....it is now Sundaym and aside from 2 loads of laundry (6 more to go) I have accomplished absolutely nothing! Lord that feels good to say - LOL

Did do a bit of work on the doily while on the tram, and I hope to get some more work in today. I joined the Doily of the Month Yahoo group, which has 2 doilies to do each month - a general doily and then a Members choice - have started on the general doily which ironically enough is a pattern I had printed out a few weeks ago! I am doing it in Rose Pink Petra thread (by DMC) which is bigger than needed, but I loved the color, and since I crochet tightly anyway, hopefully it will not be too bad!

I met a group of lads over on a football (soccer) tour from the UK and hung out with them this weekend - it was a hoot and a half - the English blokes are completely mad! I did get an invitation to go visit them in Bristol.....hmmm - perhaps :-) One of the lads was really nice, Nick, if not a little bit shy though! Me with a shy guy.....poor thing would never get to talk with me around!! lol

Okay, I had best tidy up the apartment a bit.....or I can go Crochet first and then do something cleaning.....sounds like a plan!! Ciao, chow, chao!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

My Star Afghan.....It is Finished!!!!!!

The last square has been crocheted, the last end has been sewn in! I finally was able to complete my Star Afghan after 4 months of frustration, frogging, pleading, swearing and head banging! I thought at times that I would never complete the Afghan - that it was destined to be a UFO for the rest of its days! As with every other project that I attempt, sheer willpower and perseverance pulled me through again....my stubborn french-canadian side coming through!

To see the various pictures of the stages that I remembered to photograph & more pictures of the completed afghan, go to my Photobucket account: Star Afghan Pictures

Here is a picture of the final output:

Kimberly's Star Afghan

The pattern is from Herrschners Blue-Ribbon Afghan Book - & is the pattern, Blue Star (It is actually featured on the cover) I switched to a trio of three colors - Cream, Lt. Sage and Country Rose.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Yay! It is May First!!

To begin, Happy May Day! Its also Happy First Day of Summer Secret Pals at Crochetville! I recieved a nice e-mail from my secret pal, along with a really cute e-Card with a Hula Girl on it - very cute! This is really going to be a lot of fun! I was out yesterday and picked up one or two things to send to the person I was assigned to be a Secret Pal to...this really is confusing! How do I keep the two seperate? :-) C'est la vie - you are all smart and will figure out who I am referring to!

I also picked up a few items that I remembered seeing on the RAOK lists, and will send those out as well this week - just need to find some time to make it to the Post Office!

Okay, back to the afghan!