Saturday, 31 August 2013

Renaissance Fest Labor Day Weekend

So with the weather finally beginning to cool down, we decided to do our feast of fantasy event today at the Minnesota Renaissance festival. Although it probably got up to the 90s, we had a lovely time. Here are a few shots from the day!

I just happened to catch this while we were walking around the grounds, but something about this shot really speaks to me. I love shots of the backs of people. This is a harpist who was carrying her harp around with her.

This is another shot that I just really like. It was belly dance weekend and I took this of a woman siting near us as we waited for the dancing to begin.

It was very exciting to discover that Cassandra was back and dancing again. According to a woman who sat behind me and who claimed to be a friend, Cassandra has recently had some kind of less invasive hip surgery and replacement and had not been dancing for a while.  It was wonderful to see her back. Her personality shone forth in her dancing as strongly as ever, although we couldn't appreciate some of her stomach moves as much because of then (I guess) age appropriate "caftan" that she wore to dance in.

I couldn't resist taking a picture of this guy, who always reminds me of a Lewis Carroll knight.  He was having trouble with his horse today and reining him in pretty harshly. I'm not sure what exactly was going on.

This gentleman was in the audience.

Some of the jousting armor was pretty impressive!

It was hot - and somehow this image reminds me of a Degas, even though he didn't have too many mythical animals in his paintings!

This guy had a lot more personality than the Geico Gecko!

And you can't see it so much from here, but this was the spitting image of Snow White complete with a bluebird on her shoulder.

A lovely purple dresssed couple!

Here are the hosts of our feast!

We got to sit on the side this tie and had a bit better view.  They focussed the special entertainment on belly dancing - so we had a day full of dancing. (The only shows we had watched before hand were two Middle Eastern dance performances and a piece of the jousting.) Here is one of the dancers from Caravan. They perform on the Gypsy stage and do a whole dress a member of the audience up like a Pasha routine.

We had really enjoyed Cale the Juggler at the previous feast, so we were very happy to see him again. He is a good juggler and a fun entertainer.

One member of our party was extremely loud and aggressive.

 We got to see fire eating by Johnny Phoenix, who also got to experience first hand the gregariousness of our neighbor to the left.

This woman who leaned into the window was also quite fetching.

Caravan danced for us twice, performing with fans the second time and then at the end a tribal troupe came in and performed.

Then before we knew it , it was 7:00 and time to leave. We got n the car and headed for home (but not before making a quick trip (despite the storm) to Whole Foods for a few supplies for the upcoming week.

New Project Swing-like Vest

Here is my newest knitting undertaking. I am heavily modifying the pattern as usual - taking off the granny square edging at the bottom - increasing the length of the vest and if I have enough yarn adding sleeves. Oh yeah, and I want to use German short rows and some unusual variegated sock yarn.  Here is the button band.

And here are a few of the short rows added to the front left panel of the vest. So far - not too bad!

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Quote for the Day

“Learn simple techniques perfectly and the difficult will become easy, and the easy will become habitual, so that the habitual may become beautiful.”      David Mamet

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Swing Scarf Finished

I finished up the scarf from the Swing Knitting™ class , so I thought I would put it up on the blog. I'd like to put a couple of tassels at the bottom, but I don't have quite enough yarn, because I decided to make a hat with the left overs.

I had hoped to do a beret, but I didn't have enough yarn, so I ended up with a little skull cap. (I'd like to put a tassel on it too, so I'll keep my eye open for some yarn of a close color.

Here is an additional shot of the cap, which I also did in the Swing™ method.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Marburger Stricktreff and a Trip to the Country

In the morning I got up and headed to the hotel breakfast buffet for one last time. It held a fabulous array of food and was pure pleasure to partake of! The variety was astounding and the quality  magnificent. I could not resist the German bread (and even desserts even though I was supposed to be dining low carb.

Germany has fantastic cold cuts and cheeses.

And each day had something a little different as you can see.

After breakfast, it was time to head to the Dammühle for a post conference field trip and meal.

This was a genuine German beer garden country dining experience complete with beautiful setting, slow service and cranky waiters. I'll spare you the pictures of the food (which I of course have in abundance) and instead present the environs.

After the lunch it was time to eat again and meet the Marburger knitters whom I had met on Ravelry. Germany has strong privacy laws about the publication of pictures of people. If there are fewer than 6 people in the photo, one needs permission to publish it and since there were so few Marburger knitters, there was no way to take a picture that I am allowed to place on  my blog, so the only picture I can show is this one. The leader of the group treated me to the most delicious cake I think I ever had - a poppy seed cake that I still dream of. Oh my gosh it was good and I have made several efforts at recreating a low carb model since I returned and even the recreations are pretty good!

This was an exciting day, because I would meet someone I had met on line on Ravelry and go to spend  some time with her even though we had never exchanged a single word in person. What a brave person she is to take in someone she only knew from the internet and what a delightful person too. After quite an adventure in the parking garage that involved  a missing parking ticket (which was later found - but I'm not saying how much later! (wink!) and a search for a person in the automated parking garage, we got into the car and headed into the German countryside.  This is one of the things I adore about Germany - the beautiful trees and roads that lead through trees and villages.

I had never been to Hessen before and was completely enchanted by its beauty.

And it turned out I had a connection to Hessen without even realizing it. Many years ago when I worked in the library at U of H, I was responsible for exhibits in the rare book room and had done one on the immigrants to Texas sponsored by Prince Solms von Braunfels. There is a well know German town in Texas called New Braunfels and what a surprise to come around a curve and discover Old Braunfels. In my imagination it had been a bustling big German city, but it turned out to be small and extremely pretty.

Here is the gate into the Prince's burg, which the family has occupied since about 1260. The castle was destroyed in 1384 and again in 1679 and has been rebuilt and remodeled quite a bit over the years. In the picture you can see the emblem of the Solms family the rampant lion in blue and gold.

Heike was so kind and stopped at the town so I could look around a bit.

Thgis castle was stormed during the March revolution of 1848 and the rebellion was put down a month later when the prussian military retook the castle.

They also hold a Medieval Festival here called Spectaculum and this draws tourists from all around.

There is a peaceful garden that remembers the dead from wars gone by.

Here for example is the memorial to those from the area who died in the first world war.

Here is a better view of the  Tudor style building the Germans call fachwerk.

Soon it was time to leave Braunfels and continue on our way to Heike's home. On the way there were many picturesque things to look at.

Here is the Braunfels schloss as we left.

Compare it to the images from 1655!

I had a great time just looking out the window and watching the history go by.

Here is a shot of the German forest.

On our way to Heike's we encountered an enormous herd of sheep blocking the road.

And then we were there - Heike and Roland live on the mountain street and have a gorgeous yard.

Roland has spent many hours and seasons making it a perfect place to relax.

We had a delicious grilled meal and sat and enjoyed the beauty of the garden. And finally - here are my hosts! They are so kind and hospitable.