26 May

Wir machen Pause (We’re taking a break)

Handarbeit Gruppe Früstück

Breakfast and quilting with friends, a visit from grandmother, warm weather activities, upcoming holiday…. I think I can safely say there’s not going to be much noodling in the next week or so. If I can sneak some work in, I’ll share, but if not, don’t worry about my absence from Blogland.

Katja as a Nashorn

24 May

5/24/07

Ich bin heute welke (new word for my son and I this week). I feel wilty today. It’s 28° C at 10pm and just starting to feel like it’s cooling down. I know that’s not Africa hot (or Iraq hot if you ask my hubby) but I just wasn’t operating on all cylinders today. I did spend about 20 minutes free motion quilting leafy things in the empty spaces on my first doodle sandwich. I went out later and bought more batting so I could start a new sandwich, but I never got around to another Neeoodle.

5/24/07

I know this isn’t very thrilling for you guys, but it felt like good exercise for me while doing it.

While I was out though, I managed to get a nice picture of one of my favorite flowers before their season is over as well. Everything was on the wilty side today.

Poppy/Mohn

23 May

5/23/07

Here it is!

5/23/07

I didn’t forget today’s neeoodle — it just took me a while to get around to it. My MIL is here, so while I had time in the morning, I didn’t want to sew in the guest room while she was attempting to make up for a nine hour time difference and at least eleven hours flight time. This evening I had to wait for my turn on the computer (not unusual and nothing to complain about though). I did move the sewing machine to the dining room table, and while it wasn’t catastrophic, I could tell the difference in ergonomics. I know that my stool in the sewing room is a little too high, but the dining room table is definitely too high, even with a chair of the proper height. Often these are things that you know intellectually, but don’t actually experience in practice. Or you don’t realize how wrong it is until you try something that’s right.

On Wednesdays the Studenten come to Zavi’s second grade class. These are high school students who prepare social studies, biology, natural history, etc. lessons for the kids and engage them in the classroom. A few weeks ago they learned about where sugar came from, the refinement process, and tried different kinds of sugar. Today they learned about wheat and flour. They baked bread in the school kitchen too. Zavi brought home the recipe and now I have orders to make this at home ASAP. He also brought home wheat stalks for Me, Katja, and TS&WGH. Hence, today’s neeoodle inspiration.

23 May

Not that this is a democratic blog or anything…

Not that this is a democratic blog or anything, but you guys have unanimously voted for me to keep Noodling (mostly) daily. I suppose anyone who’s bored with the Noodles has already moved on (TS&WGH would probably call this source analysis or something). Anyways, thank you everyone for taking the time to comment and weigh in. In fact, I’m going to call this post my answer to all your comments: yes! I will keep up with the (mostly) daily Noodles, and you are all welcome to join me if and when you want. I’m honored to be an inspiration, and would love to see what you come up with (links in comments are cool with me so everyone else can check out our work too.)
This brings me to another question: how to answer comments? Most anyone who’s ever left a comment on my blog knows already that I answer them personally. Unless, of course, I’m too tired (too much time surfing, not enough time sleeping) and/or the comment required nothing more than a “gee thanks,” although I try to send a “gee thanks” as often as possible. Please know that I appreciate ALL comments. Anyways, many other bloggers reply in the comments section for everyone to see. This can make for very interesting, and often informative, “conversations.” My problem with that is I rarely go back and re-read a post to see what’s up in the comments section. Do you? Do you mind if a comment doesn’t get answered? (I like the contact, so I’m not going to stop answering comments as long as I have the time, but inquiring minds want to know.)

And finally, I have been mulling over the knitted log cabin blanket and I got to thinking that although the center is great for leftovers, by the time I get to the larger rectangles, I’m going to need serious yarn — and that defeats the purpose of a scrap blanket. First I thought “OK I’ll just make lots of smaller log cabins, adding them together as I go.” But then I realized that the log cabins start in the center and I’d have to make each one separately and sew them together. That’s too much extra work. I remembered Mrs. Mel waxing poetic about mitered squares and being able to add one to another. So, I went looking for more miter info and found this fantabulous design! But again, it required sewing squares together later. I was kinda thinking of something along the lines of this in terms of construction, but with more color, or something like the “Babette.
Hold the presses, I think I just answered my own question. I remember a reference on this mitered square thingie to Mason Dixon (Again. Are we detecting a trend?) and went to have a look see in their archives. Lo and behold — there it is! The very scrappy blanket I had in mind. Bold blocks of color (like the log cabin) and the add-on-ability of miters (could this be called “knit as you go?”) Oh, wait, she’s still had to sew (crochet) big blocks together. Oooh, but Anonyknits may have the solution… might be too tricky for my meager knitting skills though. Besides, I don’t HAVE to make mine an enclosed square pattern, do I (she says with lingering images of Babette)? Any ideas?

22 May

5/22/07

You were probably all wondering how long it would take me to get to this:

5/22/07

OK, maybe you weren’t, but here it is — a Fliegenpilz. I had a flight of whimsy today, plus some feathers thrown in for good measure.

So, my big question to you, my readers (now that I’ve checked my stats and comments and know it’s more than just my mom, Gerrie, and the Mad Hatter reading this) are you tired of looking at Needle Doodles every day? It keeps me on task having to post most every day, but would you rather see a weekly digest? I won’t promise that there will be anything in between, although fest season IS coming up. Or would you like me to keep the doodles to myself and just show the less mundane parts of the artistic journey (meager fare these days)?

21 May

5/21/07

I’m cleaning house in preparation for my MIL’s arrival, quilt group on Friday, and a BBQ on Saturday. In addition to dusting and vacuuming, I HAD to clean off the staging area that is supposed to be known as the guest bed. I’m not going to show the four pairs of dragon wings whose edges I hemmed for Kindergarten (no doubt I will post the wings in situ on show day). But here’s step two in the Mystery Quilt project from Patchwork Professional magazine:

Mystery Quilt WIP

I think my strips in step one should have been thinner, but I’m not going to worry about it now, especially since I don’t really know where this is going.

I bought a bunch of tiny MOO cards. I have yet to hand any out, but I can see them making great tags, enclosure notes in packages, and of course business cards. While I was at it, I ordered their new, larger “cards” with envelopes. I was curious to see how my quilts looked as gift cards, and though I am underwhelmed by some of the images and find the price to be too high for resale, it was a good experiment and something I will pursue further.

My Moo Cards

Last, but not least, my needle doodle of the day (yippee, back on track).

5/21/07

I think I know why there are thousands more flower themed quilts than gadget themed ones. Flowers and leaves are sooooo much more fun to sew.

20 May

He Did It!

My Tech Support & World’s Greatest Husband added another achievement to his list this weekend. He went out and ran a marathon! You can (and probably should) go check out his blog for all the pertinent details. Needless to say, I’m pretty damn proud.

First off, the marathon was in Luxembourg. It was to be a night time run; “lit by torches” said the promotional material. TS&WGH was actually hoping for a  “villagers coming after Frankenstein” kind of aesthetic, but alas, it was more along the lines of hurricane lamps the last 50 yards of the race. We’ve been to Luxembourg twice before, so we knew it would be scenic, and the night element sounded unique, even without the torches. We arrived Friday evening to find that our hotel was located in the exact same neighborhood as the last time we were there. Last time, we couldn’t find our hotel and took one, out of desperation, in the titty bar area near the train station. This time TS&WGH found us the Best Western, but two days before we left I checked the address, and lo and behold, it was across from the train station. Never mind, it was very convenient, and as long as you stayed off the side streets it wasn’t seedy at all.

Saturday could have been a touristy day, but it didn’t seem right to walk all over the Centre Ville just a few hours before TS&WGH had to run it — and the rest of the Grand Duchy while he was at it. So, we checked him in and gathered his kit. This is the new fancy schmancy sports complex. The kids and I wouldn’t be watching the finish here as it would be between 10 pm and midnight, so I took a picture of it empty:

d'Coque Sports Complex, Luxembourg City

There was all kinds of entertainment prepared for the day: a sponsor “mall” at the complex, bands and musicians along the route, plenty of food and drink, and excellent people watching:

Can Man made a great sound while walking
As an aside, TS&WGH and I usually rate the cool-factor of a trip by the amount of English we overhear when people watching. More English usually means tourist trap; little to no English (or at least not American English) means we’re off the beaten track, experiencing something like the locals do. (Either that or we’re masquerading as German tourists, which I may not want to admit to.) Anyways, we heard little American English on race day, although there seemed to be American runners at the hotel Sunday morning. I love making up stories based on what I can tell just by looking at or listening to people. If I were a spy, my report from breakfast today would say that the group of four twenty-somethings with UCSB sweatshirts ran the team race and will now have a unique “we backpacked across Europe after graduation” story. We also saw Seargent X and his german wife who, like us, traveled from somewhere in Germany for the weekend. Fourty-something Colonel-looking guy and his wife and kids probably came down from NATO HQ in Belgium. Why? I don’t know, but he looked like brass and the wife spoke no French or German (both of which work in Luxembourg) and Belgium is a shorter drive.

Anyways, we wasted some time in the middle of the day and then worked our way back to d’Coque (the sports complex) for the race. By then they were handing out giant inflatable hands and noisemakers. Yeah, kids with noisemakers  — just what a nervous racer wants to hear! The hands are great for butt-smacking though:

The photo above looks pretty empty, but within an hour the street was packed. I think I heard that 7,846 people had signed in for the race. About 2,000 were running the whole marathon; I think 3,000 something were doing the team race; and the rest were half marathon runners.  Here’s what maybe a quarter of that many people and their supporters looked like at the start of the race:

How does one find her husband in a crowd like that?

After the start (TS&WGH did find us and waved quickly as he was swept past in a wave of runners) the kids and I hopped on a shuttle bus to the first team run trade-off point. By kilometer 12 or so, the runners had spread out enough that we spotted our guy pretty easily. I also took note of the runners directly ahead of him so we could spot him easier at the next point. First was a guy in a kilt, then a guy with a chef hat, then came guys with balloons and their names and best times printed on their shirts, then a guy with a cape advertising a run through Beaujolais country, then older guy with beer bottle caps or coins on his hat and some other get-up. My tip for runners– wear a flashy hat or shirt so your family can spot you in time to get the camera out. The kids were bored waiting, even though the street was packed with families cheering everyone on. The ice cream truck came just in time. The kids had barely started eating when TS&WGH came by to steal a few licks. The route made a 5K loop at that point, so we walked across a small parking lot and waited for him to come by again. Kilt guy was quick. Then came chef hat guy with balloon guys not far behind. Long pause until Beaujolais guy came and then guy in a sequined vest (how did we miss him the first time around?) but now the kids were getting into giving high fives with their big orange hands. Then we spotted daddy:

He's spotted us too

This was almost the half way point and he was doing well. We hopped back on the shuttle and headed back to the hotel area to get a döner kebap for dinner. The ride took much longer than our earlier one since the bus had to stop five times along the way to let runners pass. I kept looking out the window but didn’t see anyone we recognized. When we finally got our döner kebaps they had to be the worst we’ve ever eaten. I have heretofore been under the assumption that there is no such thing as a bad doner, but I was proven wrong. However, it was now dusk and I estimated that TS&WGH could be nearing the part of the route just up the street, so off we went to see if we recognized anyone. The crowd was much thinner and the runners were working hard (well, except for the bouncy, fresh ones running the last leg of the team run). I was very excited when chef hat guy ran past withing a few minutes of our arrival! Then came Bernd and Werner with their balloons (now I could actually read their shirts). Then we waited. The kids slumped. No kilt guy, shiny vest guy or Beaujolais guy. The kids were bored and tired, so I had to succumb and take them to the hotel and put them to bed. When TS&WGH finally made it back to the hotel after the race he said he did pass our area before nightfall, and though he had passed bottle cap hat guy earlier, he hadn’t caught up to chef hat guy, so we probably missed seeing him a third time by mere minutes. (There was some confusion as to whether Bernd and Werner were the same balloon guys as earlier in the day. Apparently there were several small groups in the same get-up — probably part of the same running club.) Oh well, there is a limit to how much the kids can stand in one day.
Now I wonder where the next one will be. Frankfurt is nearby, and then there’s one in a valley in the Swiss Alps that sounds pretty scenic to me…

18 May

5/18/07

Ooops, 5/17/07 got away from me. I kept meaning to get to the sewing machine, but it just didn’t happen. This is the weekend that TS&WGH will be running a marathon (in Luxembourg — classy, no?), so I don’t foresee a chance to do any “Noodles.” In order to balance it all out somewhat, I present to you 30 minutes of free motion quilting (less the time it took to wind a bobbin half-way through):

5/18/07

I really should have taken a close-up. The stitching isn’t show-quality, but it’s definitely improving. I could almost say it’s consistent here (and NOT consistently crappy).

I wish everyone a wonderful weekend!