Sarah Jane Humke

The life of a traveling, reading, writing, spining and knitting shepherdess.

Socks, Real Socks!!! And a Blanket! Woot Woot! December 24, 2010

So, I have been working on some sock yarn projects the past week.  One is a beginning and one is a finishing (finally!).

I guess that I will start with the end.  I finally (Praise Yarn!) finished my first pair of socks!  I finished knitting the first sock some time ago but then never finished the second one until today.  All it needed was a heel turned and the foot and toe finished.  Which I did, tonight!!!

As you can see, they fit PERFECTLY!!!


Pattern: Sock Recipe: A Good, Plain Sock by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Yarn: Krafty Koala Tui Sock in Undergrowth which was purchased in 2009 at Woolfest (I LOVE Ravelry when I actually remember to put in my details!)

Started: December 21, 2009

Finished: December 24, 2010


The beginning project is sort of a long-term one in my mind.  It is a sock yarn blanket like this one.  I got some leftover sock yarn from my friend Tini awhile ago and I’ve been finding odds and ends for sale various places.  Here’s where I am so far (admittedly not that far!)

I know, it seems like my needles are on fire of late (for me).  Let’s see if I keep this up!


“Up-cycling” Used Wrapping Paper

So, it is Christmas Day afternoon, and you are sitting there looking at the insane mountain of paper that you have just torn off the presents.  Did you know that in most places they don’t consider this paper recyclable?  Especially if it is shiny, or glittery or (worst of all) metallic.  So I’m going to show you a cool way to up-cycle this pile of used paper into a family heirloom.  Yep, you read that right.  An heirloom that will go on the tree year after year in the form of a garland like this.

So, you ready?

First off you are going to want to pull off any bows or other things that are on the paper.  To/from’s of the sticker type can be left on as can any stickers or tape.  But bows, ribbons, stuff like that needs to go!  Next try to get the paper as flat as possible.  This may mean cutting taped segments that didn’t get neatly opened during the unwrapping.  (After I started making these, I used a knife to open all presents. Drove my parents MAD as present opening took hours!)

If the paper is particularly mashed or creased, you may want to iron it a bit.  Word to the wise, make sure that the steam feature is off before doing this (ask how I found out that one!) and use pretty low heat.  We’re just trying to get it reasonably flat, not cook it.

So, after you get the paper flat, you are going to cut it into 1 and 1/2 inch (1.5″) by 3 and 1/2 inch (3.5″) rectangles.  You will need to measure around on the paper to see how you can get the most rectangles out of it.  This is great for kids of a certain age as it helps with math skills!  Take your time and play with the various ways to tetris more pieces out of the piece of paper.  When you are done, it will look something like this.

Cut out the rectangles using a normal pair of scissors.  We’ve tried using a paper cutter in this house to expedite things along, but found that it didn’t really make things all that much faster since most of the pieces of paper that we were trying to cut up were much too big to fit into it.  I’ve used scissors since I was 12 making these.  If you have kids that could handle a pair of scissors and can cut reasonably straight, then this would be an excellent activity for them!

At the end of all of this cutting, you should have a pile of little rectangles of paper and some little scraps from the edges.  Discard the scraps. (At this point, they are usually so small that I just put them in the recycling bin, but I’m naughty that way!)

Now repeat this process with the entire mountain of paper.  Trust me, you want as many different types and colors of paper as possible to make your garland interesting.  I know that this seems very boring, but if you have children of a certain age (and the parents out there will know that age [for me it was about 10 to present]) this job will completely absorb the kids for hours.  Anyway, make lots of these rectangles out of as many different papers as possible.  If a paper is super thin (like some sort of lovechild between tissue paper and wrapping paper) don’t bother with it as it won’t work very well and will make a weak link in the chain.

Belle the cat wanted in on the action.


To start the chain, take a single rectangle.

Fold it in half lengthwise.

Then fold one of the edges to the middle lengthwise again.

Then the other edge the same so that it looks like this:

Take the now very narrow folded-up rectangle and fold it in half the other direction, like this:

Then take the tips and fold them towards the center like this:

You should end up with a very small rectangle that looks like this:

Do the whole folding bit again with another piece of paper, preferably in another type of paper for contrast.  Then you will slide the first piece of paper into the second one like this:

It is going to be between the outer part of the tiny rectangle and the inner bits.  A word to the wise, try to do it on the side of the rectangle that has only the 2 folds rather than the 4 folds, it will be a LOT easier!

When it is done it should look like this:


To make more, just keep adding to chain going towards the right, like this:

With lots and lots of folding and sliding, you’ll have a garland that can go on the tree for years to come!  And, you can keep adding to it year to year if you chose (I could see a family adding a foot or so each year and getting to see the changes in wrapping paper over the years as a cool family tradition!).

If you aren’t big into Christmas, this works with really any kind of wrapping paper, or paper in general.  You could easily use birthday paper, or if someone just finished a thesis you could used printed-out rough drafts or magazine pages if you just want something to hang in the kids playroom, the ideas are pretty endless!


I am the master of the universe!!!! December 14, 2010

Ok, so maybe not, but I sure feel like it after the epic battle that I had blocking my finished Finnish shawl.  Say that five times fast, I dare you.  Actually, it really wasn’t that tough.  I know, you are just about ready to gouge my eyes out right about now aren’t you?  After checking-out the options that there are for blocking shawls I decided on one that I heard about while on the Shetland trip.  I’m not sure who or where exactly I heard it, I just remember hearing it there.

What I did wasn’t the standard 50-bajillion-pins-in-the-guest-bed version of blocking.  Since this design has very straight edges and the many-pins blocking usually leaves you with a bit of a scallop no matter how many pins you stick in the mattress I decided to thread a piece of fishing line down the 3 edges with a needle and then use those to pin.

I have to admit, this sounds like much more of a pain-in-the-ass than it really was.  I did it before I washed it, since the fishing line isn’t going to absorb any water or dye, and it took me maybe half an hour, forty minutes tops, to sneak the fishing wire through the purl bump of every other row of garter stitch on the edges and though the cast-off stitches of the top.

So, here is another photo of the shawl unblocked just laid out on the bed it is going to be blocked on.

This is what the threading of the fishing line looked like.

Then the shawl went for a little soak in Soak!

Unfortunately, the Wollmeise dye came out quite a bit, so much so it looked like my shawl was sitting in a sink full of cat pee.  (I don’t know why I gravitate to cat pee rather than human, dog or other pees.  Perhaps it is because I’ve had to deal with so much of it due to the lovely Jjij!)  You can see the fishing line sticking out of the water in this photo.

I rinsed it five or six times before I finally gave up and pour a couple of glugs of white vinegar in the mix.  That seemed to do the trick.

I gave it another final rinse just to get rid of some of the vinegar smell and then rolled it up in a towel to get rid of some of the water.  I didn’t take a picture of this, you’ll just have to imagine a piece of wet knitting rolled up in towel.  After I had gotten rid of most of the water, I started pinning it out.  I first did the top line and then the two side lines by making knots in the ends of the fishing line and pinning them to the bed.  Then, because of the pull down from the two side lines, I added a few extra pins to the top line.

To give you some perspective on the size of this thing, it is on a full bed lengthwise.  And both tips of the shawl are just at the edge of the bed.  I’m rather glad that I didn’t decide on that “one more repeat” of the pattern!

Some things that I learned with this pattern:

>The pattern doesn’t need to be in English, you just need to know what language it is to get it translated.

>It is also good to have friends that happen to speak the language it is in.

>Wollmeise bleeds dye. Apparently this is common knowledge.  I guess I’m uncommon:-)  (Though it does make sense given how RICH the colors are!)

>I would probably try for a heavier fishing line next time.

>Lace done on a non-cobweb weight of yarn goes a lot faster. (I know, big duh there, but damn! It’s a LOT faster!!)

>A skein of Wollmeise lace garn goes a LONG way.  I still have a little under half of the 300 gram skein left.

>For whatever reason, my iPhone takes much better pictures of reds than my Nikon does.  This is good to know since red is my favorite color.

>The iPhone also takes better photos of pee water in a sink.  I hope to never need that knowledge again (though suspect I will).

>I learned how to drop stitches down to fix a mistake made in the previous row rather than tinking back.  To say that I was pretty pleased with myself when I got that one would be an understatement.  I mean, I knew theoretically that it was possible, but I was never ballsy enough to do it until I was looking at a LOT of tinks to get back to the mistake.  Amazing how being lazy can make you a better knitter!

>I need to find an old stone wall.  Near here.

So, no glamor shots of the shawl on an old stone wall (not a lot of those around here) or on me (is hard to photograph yourself, even harder to photograph your backside.) The neighbor whom I would normally enlist on this sort of insanity wasn’t home most of the day and, to be honest, the light is pretty crap today anyway.  So, it may just have to wait until the weekend. And then the hubby can follow me around with the iPhone.  Taking pictures of my backside.  I don’t think that he will complain too much.


Pattern: Lehmus-huivi by Sari Astrom

Yarn: 155 grams of Wollmeise Lace Garn in Orient.

Needles: 2.75mm Knit Picks circulars in a variety if lengths.


OMG!!! December 13, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 12:16 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I cannot believe that I forgot to tell y’all that I finished knitting my shawl last night!  I still need to work in the two ends and block it (not an un-daunting task that!) but otherwise it is done!  Here is a picture of the unblocked shawl.

The photography doesn’t do the Wollmeise colors justice, but it’s a really crappy, rainy day outside, and it’s difficult to capture reds even on a good day.  I’m just happy that the image looks roughly like the shawl does to tell you the truth!

I’ll post more pictures when I figure out how I want to block this bad boy!


The Never-Ending Application

So, I am still working on an application to grad school.  I’m not stressing about getting in but this application is also the application for scholarships from the university, which I am a bit stressy about.  It’s not the application itself that is all that difficult, rather the essay that is required for which there is absolutely no guidance given.  In fact, here is exactly what they say about it; “Please note we do not offer guidance on the length or content of a personal statement.”  Gah!  That’s no help!  Not even a length suggestion!  Well, ok, they do say that things ever 2MB will have to be broken-up into chunks, but if I make a typed document that is 2MB, well, I wouldn’t let me into the school!

Other than that, I’ve been trying to get the Christmas presents out.  Why is it that the rest of the year it feels like we have a ton of small and medium-sized boxes in the attic but when it comes to packaging stuff up to send out for Christmas suddenly there is a serious dearth?   So, just a heads-up to everyone who usually gets presents from us, they are probably gonna be late.  The reason that I say this with some authority is that “they” are now x-raying all the mail that gets sent overseas too.  Fun.  No more mailing alligator heads I guess.  Or are they x-raying stuff only going to the US?  If that’s the case, I can still mail all the gator heads I want!  (These are the preserved gator heads that they sell at every roadside stand in Florida. [actually, I’m not sure that this explanation helped me from sounding any more crazy] [By the way, they have their CITES certificates and are completely legal.  These are from gators that are raised for their meat and skins, not from wild gators {I’m still not really helping myself all that much now am I?}])

No fun pictures of pets or Christmas trees with this post.  In fact, I am a tad annoyed at the pets currently.  Malcolm kept barking at Milo and Milo got into the upstairs bathroom last night (I didn’t shut the door well enough) and made confetti out of a piece of paper on the carpet, that was clean.  That, and Weezy keeps trying to sit on my shoulder on the couch here.  See, Weezy likes to sleep on the back of the couch behind me.  The problem is that she views my shoulder as part of her domain and keeps pushing her butt out onto it.  She’s an 8 pound miniature dachshund, she doesn’t need the extra space!

Ok, so I lied!  Here is a picture of Weezy trying to sleep on my left shoulder and of the ever adorable Meara.


She's not even using all of HER space!

I can't help being this adorable...

Hope that you are having an application free day!!



A Completely Random Post December 8, 2010

On Monday night I attended The Bothered Owl’s Christmas party.  I mean really, how could I not?  Drinks, yummies and yarn were promised, a trifecta of siren calls for me!  I also knew that my favorite indie dyer was going to be there, Jon from EasyKnits, and he brought his hubby Roy!  I just adore hanging-out, harassing and occasionally actually buying yarn from Jon!  It was a lovely night and of course I didn’t take a single picture (I think that photography was pretty low on everybody’s agendas given the calls for pictures).  The yummies were yummy, the drinks were free and there was lots of luscious yarn there.  It was about as perfect of a night as a person could ask for!

Yesterday we had an engineer from Neff come to fix the microwave in the house.  It has been broken for nearly a year and we finally got someone who seemed to know how to fix the microwave.  It was a (drum roll please!) loose wire.  Yep.  No microwave for a year because of a loose wire.  Fabulous!  I think that our estate agent is starting to think that we are hard on appliances since we’ve also had the oven break in the past year too.  However, while the engineer was here, I found out that all of our appliances are about 10 years old.  That, given with the fact that I think that the guy that used to live here didn’t do a lot of cooking/clothes washing at home, makes it seem sort of reasonable that all the appliances have had some little stop work strikes.  First off they are not new and second off the new boss makes them work a lot more than the old one ever did!

I’ve been working on my application to graduate school.  I’m applying to go to Imperial College London but at their Ascot campus not the main one where Knit Nation was held.  I plan on doing a degree in Integrated Pest Management.  However, I needed to line-up my references first, which isn’t terribly easy from over 3000 miles away, even with e-mail.  Anyway, I am hoping for a scholarship from somewhere to help to pay for it as there is no way that we could ever possibly afford the nearly 20,000 pounds that non-EU folks are expected to pay.  So if anyone knows anyone with a spare 20,000 cluttering up their kitchen, send them my way:-)  (Yeah right, I know that y’all would send them right to yourselves, not to me!!!)

Otherwise, life since Estonia has been pretty quiet.  Last weekend we cleaned the bathrooms and went to Costco.  I know, we’re just so exciting.  The tree has been up since Thanksgiving weekend, as is traditional in my family.  (It was what we did on Black Friday rather than shop.)  The hubby hates putting up the tree, I love it, and the neighbors all think that we are absolutely bonkers for putting it up so early (the Brits do Christmas decorating a little later than we Yanks do).  Someday, when I am a rich and famous entomologist (y’all and get up off the floor and stop laughing now…) I am going to have 2 trees.  One normal tree, and one tree completely done with bird ornaments.  I really like bird ornaments and have a bunch, but I think that they are going to need their own tree soon…  (I can hear the hubby screaming all the way from the Netherlands [where he is for work] at this:-))



Estonia, Finland and the Stansted Airport Carpark December 6, 2010

So I’m sitting here this morning having my breakfast of Skittles and Dr Pepper (What?  This isn’t your typical breakfast?) and editing pictures of the trip to Estonia and Finland and I realize that I am supremely weird.  Not eccentric, not odd, not a little la-la but full-on weird.  I WANTED to go to ESTONIA and FINLAND in NOVEMBER!!!!  And I’m planning on going to Finland again in late January/early February!!!  Nuts.  absolutely nuts I tell you!

Anyway, just a heads up to y’all, this is a very picture heavy post, so if you are iPhoning it or on a really slow connection or something, you may want to wait.

So, a here is your promised post about the trip.  But, you see, I can’t start on the trip unless I back-up just a little further and show you the trip project.  Yes, I decided on a special knitting project just for this trip.  And, ironically, it’s a Finnish pattern!  (That just happened, I didn’t do that on purpose as I don’t read Finnish [or Swedish for that matter, which is another language that a lot of folks there speak]).  Anyway, I was looking for an appropriate pattern that had a heavy leaves design on it for the skein of Wollmeise lace that I have in Orient (I was going to put a link here to show a better picture of the colorway on the Wollmeise site, but alas, there doesn’t seem to be one).  Anyway, I balled the yarn which was a rather larger undertaking than I anticipated as they are 300 gram hanks, a tad more than my ball winder really likes.

Fat Swift!

I ended-up diving the yarn into two cakes and cast on this pattern.

For some reason, I don't have any other photos of the balled Wollmeise so please accept this gratuitous Malcolm shot.

So I had a bit of this shawl started when we went to Stansted airport to take our EasyJet flight to Tallinn.  My bag got pulled for a hand search not because of my metal KnitPro needles but rather the 59 Euros in change that I had in the bag (the hubby never seems to use change when he travels thus we ended-up with a lot of it).  The security agent wasn’t sure if they “allowed” knitting needles and toddled off with my Wollmeise and project to find out from a supervisor.  I had checked the website for the airport as well as the national security site and neither said that needles were a no-no.  After a few minutes, she came back and said that the supervisor said that they were ok and that the yarn was pretty.  I don’t really blame the agent as the rules about what is and what is not allowed seem to be constantly changing.  However, if she had come back and said that I couldn’t take them on, I was fully prepared (and early enough for the flight) to throw a class A fit.  Luckily for everyone involved, I didn’t have to:-)

EasyJet knitting in an exit row! Scandelous!

So, we get to Tallinn and it is all very, well, underwhelmingly dramatic I’m afraid to say.  The airport could be anywhere.  The taxi was cheap to the hotel.  The hotel was, well, I guess that the hotel was a bit on the odd side.  It had a 1970’s decor style, which meant that we were looked over all night by a large photo of Jimi Hendrix on a motorcycle.  That, and the rooms were a hallucination making color of red/orange and mustard yellow.  Other than that, it was ok, and right across the road from the ferry terminal.

The next day we were up bright and early to take the ferry over to Helsinki (I know, the travel agent who booked this trip is nuts!) which was smooth and uneventful.  The ferries between Tallinn and Helsinki are HUGE, at least twice the size of the ship that I took to Shetland this summer.  There was an either 2 or 3 story bar at the back of the ship where we hung out and I knitted.

Ferry knitting. It's too damn early to be taking pictures of me!

We get to Helsinki, drop our bags off at the hotel where we are going to be staying that night, and head to the train station to catch a train to Tampere.  The train station was a seriously cool art deco mammoth.  None of my photos of the inside turned out at all, but here’s a shot of the main entrance.

While I’m there, I spotted this at the extensive news agent there.

Yeah, Florida Design magazine in a Helsinki news agent.  I guess that it’s a case of serious wishful thinking maybe?

Anyway, our train finally arrives and we get on.  It is the quietest train that either of us have ever been on.  You felt as though you should whisper like a library.  It also had outlets to be able to charge stuff, which was a serious plus.

The Frozen Finnish Countryside

We quietly pull into Tampere and sort out where we need to catch the bus to get to the craft show.  We just missed the bus pulling away, so we had a little wait for the next one.  One of the cutest things were the babies so bundled-up that they couldn’t move at all, their little arms sticking straight out from their bodies like tiny little snow angels.  I didn’t take any photos of them as cute as they were as I really wasn’t in the mood to get arrested.  However, I did spot a sheep.

Trust me, the animal is a sheep. I checked. I promise.

It was really quite brisk (I refuse to call it cold, there were no digits falling off or anything!) so the light was really nice.

Anyway, we get to the craft show and meet-up with Malin and Barbro without any incident.  The show is absolutely huge, even by my jaded been-to-Rhinebeck-and-big-shows-in-London view.  I didn’t go buck nutty buying stuff much to Tech Supports surprise.  A lot of the things that people were going crazy for there (a wall of Cascade for example) just didn’t do all that much for me.  I like to get things that are local, or very quirky, though I do understand the feeding frenzy for it.  I mean, this is a pretty big country and to get to all of the yarn shops would probably be pretty tough for most folks.  I did get a few things, but they all managed to fit in my purse:-)

This little sheep was from Savi-Jonttu.

I'm a sucker for insect jewelry!

Some Jade(?) beads from the gemstone show that was going on at the same time as the craft fair.

This is a really big circle bead that I am going to try to use for a shawl pin. It is stone of some kind...




























I got a few other little things, but most of them were gifts for other folks.  I got some lovely gifties from both Barbro and Malin while there too.

Cupcake themed soaps from Barbro, one for me one for the hubby.

Indeed, I DO ❤ Finland!

These are little wooden pot lid minders. You put them between the lip of the pot and the lid to keep whatever you are cooking from overboiling.

A doggie themed knitting bag from Barbro that is now the PERFECT size for my Finnish shawl.

Handmade soaps made by Malin's boyfriend (lucky girl!) One is manly Tar and the other is coffee.

Sheepy pj's from Barbro!!!




























After the insanity of a HUGE craft show, meeting Finnish fiber folk, and just generally being overwhelmed, it was time to go back to Helsinki with Malin.  That evening, we had a lovely, yummy dinner with Malin’s younger brother and his fiance in their apartment where Malin was staying the night.  We then headed back to our hotel and collapsed into bed.

The next day we got the COMPLETE tour of Helsinki from Malin including a run through of main Stockman department store.  I probably should mention that it snowed on and off all day while we were touring, as it did the day before while we were in Tampere.  However, it was really cool to see the city from the eyes of a native.

Malin fixing her knitting while I get in the way in front of Helsinki landmarks...

I only picked-up a few things from the various markets that we visited.  A little wool, a little food (no pictures of that as I snarfed it later in Tallinn).

Finnish sock wool from Finnsheep.

Traditional Grey Finnish sock wool.

Cute little nesting dolls pin.

That evening we boarded a very different ferry to go back to Tallinn.  Now, I should probably mention this for all of those folks who don’t know much about Estonia and it’s relationship with its neighbors.  Estonia is joining the Euro zone at the beginning of 2011.  This means that it is still running off its own currency called Kroons.  Kroons aren’t worth a whole lot.  The fast and dirty way that we would convert the prices of things was to remove a 0 and divide by 2.  So, say the price on something was 400 Kroons, then it would be about 20 quid.  Anyway, Estonia is still a LOT cheaper than a lot of its Scandinavian neighbors.  This means that a lot of folks take the ferries from Stockholm and Helsinki and go to Tallinn to buy booze and cigarettes and pretty much anything as things are a LOT more expensive in Finland and Sweden.  If you were having a wedding in Sweden or Finland, it would be cheaper to take a big vehicle on the ferry, fill it up with booze and ferry it back across than it would be to buy it in your home country.  This also means that Tallinn is a big party town for people looking to get drunk and stupid (hen and stag parties are big here).  The ferries have cheap booze because they are based out of Tallinn, so there are actually BIG liquor stores on board where you can buy a pile of cases of beer and they throw in a trolley so you can get it home.  A lot of folks view the ferries like “cruises” where they never even get off the ship, just use it as a floating drunk boat, going from bar to bar in the ship with huge dildos or silly costumes (or sometimes both) getting plastered.  Now, we had the fortune of being on this party boat on a Saturday night.  Lucky us.  People were lined-up to the bar in the ferry terminal before we even got on the ship!  To say that there were a LOT of drunks aboard this ship would be a gross understatement.  I honestly felt sorry for the families with small children because there was really no refuge from the drunken insanity. We didn’t get any alcohal from the ships store, however we did get these, which were so much more fun.

Yes, licorice Skipper’s Pipes.  How rocking is that?

Anyway, we survived the drunken masses and found a great side effect to being amongst the few sober folk on the boat in that we got the first taxi in the line, no waiting!  Our taxi ride to our hotel was picturesque and uneventful.  Our hotel was … nice.  I mean, it was nice, it’s just that we were on the 5th floor up some seriously narrow and steep stairs.  It was a bit of an adventure to sherpa our bags up that high, especially the last flight of stairs which were exactly wide enough for one person to go up them.  I do not know how they got the furniture up there considering that the windows weren’t big enough for any of it to pass through.  The only conclusion that I’ve come to is that they either A.) IKEA’ed it, meaning built the furniture in the room or B.) Built the rooms around the furniture.  Considering that the building is medieval, I’m seriously doubting B.  However, as billy goat as we had to be to get up to our room, the location of the hotel couldn’t be beat with a stick.  Especially for the price.  That damn travel agent is seriously cheap I tell you!  Anyway, the hotel was located about 2 blocks off of the town square, the center of the old part of Tallinn.  The next day we set-out in the snowfall to see the sights of medieval Tallinn.

Castles + Gnarly trees = wicked cool!

There were two women who were strangely enamored with this tower. They kept taking each other's photo's in front of it. I figured that I'd best take a photo just to not seem odd.

Dragon waterspout on the Town Hall. Never got anything nearly so cool on any town hall of anyplace I've ever lived!

This is a crocheted shop sign. The shop was not nearly as cool as their sign unfortunately.

Little shop and a phallic tower!

The famous clock of Tallinn.

This is the woolen goods market along the city wall. All of those stalls are selling knitted goods, mostly mittens and hats. I got 2 pairs of mittens. They rock. Of course I had to support the knitters! A lot of them were knitting in their stalls!

Here you can see what they are selling a little better.

This is what the city wall looks like from on top of it!

Here's a shot of the wall without the distracting knitted wares.

Here's a shot of the wall without the distracting knitted wares.

A walk along the monastery. The large stones on the wall on the right are gravestones.

One night we went to The Old Hansa restaurant where they had live music which was remarkably good. One of the travel websites said that this is Tallinn's Eiffel Tower, meaning that you HAVE to go to it if you are there.

Of course in all this wandering about I managed to happen upon a yarn store or two, as well as a lot of shops selling awesome handicrafts.

These buttons even SMELL good!

Lots of metal work in the city...

Wool to try to make a hat to match my rockin mittens!

Amber is everywhere, even though it doesn't really come from Estonia. This piece has BUGS in it! How awesome is that?!?!?

Yarn Ball earrings

Yarn ball and needle earrings

I think that I am going to have fun with this!!!!

Rainbow lace

Red "Haapsalu Lace Yarn"

Proper white Haapsalu lace yarn

Linen laceweight on the metal cone still

Rainbow color changing yarn

A big hank of naturally colored Estonian wool yarn

Wee glass ewe and lamb

My "Sunday" ladybug mittens

















































































The next day we took the bus to Haapsalu, home of the famous knitted shawls.  Ok, so a word to the wise, if you are going to Haapsalu in the winter, make sure to go on Saturday, as that is when the shawl museum is open.  In fact, it seems that pretty much everything is open on Saturday, but not on Monday.  To be fair to my travel planner, that is really the only day that we could go, but still…go on a Saturday.  And plan to take the 3 o’clock bus back, not the 5 o’clock one.

The famous White Lady window.

The (closed) Haapsalu shawl museum.

Haapsalu Castle

Proof that I didn't just go to Scotland and take a bunch of pictures. Me all babushka'ed out with my Clapotis (that reminds me, I owe a SERIOUS apology to Kate Gilbert for how many times I took her name in vain while making it. I have used the hell out of that scarf!) also wearing my rocking pair of convertible Estonian mittens which I have been showing off to every cashier at Tesco much to the hubby's amusement and the cashiers' bafflement.

More Haapsalu castle

The most verdant bathroom in Estonia. Yes, I took a picture of the bathroom.

Of course I didn’t leave Haapsalu without getting a shawl to take home with me!

I also got these fun postcards with the various traditional patterns of the Haapsalu shawls on them.

The next day (our last in Estonia) is a bit of a wizz for me due to a wicked head cold and copious amounts of drugs (see I am the Snot Monster for more about this).  We spent hours in Karnaluks ogling the sheer amount of stuff packed into a pretty big space.  It was a little weird getting in as you have to be buzzed in the door, making it feel sort of like you are getting ready to enter a sleazy strip club.  However, once in, well, I’m afraid that my mouth was agape for the first hour I was in there, and not just because I couldn’t breathe through my nose!

More yarn

More Yarn


Walls of yarn


I was so doped-up that I didn’t even think to take pictures of the rest of the store, which has everything.  There was an entire room of zippers!  Walls and walls of ribbons, beads, cords, bindings, fabric… you name it they probably had it somewhere on the shelves.  They had an entire wall of addi lace and bamboo needles for cheap.  It was nirvana.  Admittedly, a lot of the yarn was acrylic, but there was also an entire row of Rowan.  There were deals galore to be had, especially if you were looking at buying yarn by the bag.  I got a few things there…

























































After all of this, we more or less headed back to old town to eat and then repack our bags at the hotel.  By this point I was in a lot of pain so rather than try to “do” more of the city we just headed to the airport, where we had a few hours wait.  All in all, it was probably for the best that we just sat around and did nothing (well, some knitting after security). Our flight back was on time and our car was still waiting for us in the long-term carpark (I worry about these things).  Back home we went to cat litter needing changing and our own bed.