I've been gone for a week - the first time in 10 years. but I had to deliver the bobbin lace fan in person:)) I have never been a "gift" to someone either - this time I was flown in from Dublin to my old home town in germany as a gift for my mother's "round" birthday. apart from a very long wait at dublin airport (over night) everything went smoothly - though we were welcomed back to ireland by a heavy shower right when we landed and the doors opened. unfortunately dublin airport is a bit behind with development - no weather-tight "tubes" to connect the plane to the airport building - everyone has to climb down the steps and run across the open runway!
this is a photo from the air, just a few miles away from the german airport "Duesseldorf". the weather was lovely there - I like the few floating clouds - like cotton wool:)
of course I had to do something during the train ride, so I started the Guinevere socks from the last "yarnforward". they aren't done "the usual way". instead of a rib an i-cord is knitted and stitches are picked up for the leg part from this. the pattern in itself is a bit unusual as well, wrapping yarn around a few stitches, when you have plenty of sock needles in the project is a bit fiddly (and lead to astonished glances from other passengers on the train:)). I do like the pattern, but I think the wool - or rather its colour pattern - isn't ideal, too stripey! I'll finish them anyway and do another pair in a less patchy colour!
on my way back I was delayed, the weather was extremely showery and I had quite a few problems with my luggage, so that I didn't manage to have a look at the book of kells:(( but I just about managed to visit the new shop of "This is knit" in powerscourt house. I haven't been in there before - it looks more like a very large old private house than a shopping center and it's very nice to walk around the galleries to look at shops - and have some food too! the store is split up into two parts that are across from each other and there is a lot of choice in yarns, albeit on the more expensive side (esp. as I do spin most of my knitting yarns myself). I couldn't resist a skein or two, so this is what I bought:
the 2 skeins are sockwool from lorna's laces (purple = must have been dyed with me in mind:)). the other one is a very fine merino "cashwool" (no cashmere involved, but very soft) in dark blue, from Lane Borgesesia, Baruffa, an italien company. I'll use it for something lacey, but I only have one skein and have to start hunting for a suitable smaller pattern.
I also did some crochet during my stay in germany. I wound some of the linen mix from the recycling center into balls, doubled up to make it more substantial. the plan is to crochet a sort of sleeveless vest/tunic out of this. the middle front and back are done in this pattern in horizontal rows; I will crochet the two side parts vertically, don't know if in the same yarn or maybe I'll add another colour (I have plenty of muted linen/cotton blends from the same source, all snatched up during previous "raids"). I should have more than enough - the cones looked barely touched after I wound 4 large balls off them....
I also took some (actually quite a lot:)) of longish, narrow bamboo slats with me - from a screen my father took apart; he wanted to throw them away! I have planned to drill holes into the top and bottom of each and make a door screen from this (or two?) to prevent all those darned flies and wasps coming into the glasshouse/front porch! no pics yet - I didn't start drilling the hundreds of holes yet:)) my father found it hilarious that I'd bother to carry 1.4 kg of bamboo slats home with me, but even though my suitcase reached the allowed weight of 20 kg - my cabin allowance wasn't fully used up:) I have to admit though that I packed a parcel of well over 20 kg and sent it home - should arrive next week (at least I hope so!). DS is looking forward to this as he expects more food and sweets....