Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy little eggs



Easter was always my favorite holiday as a little girl. My mom would boil up dozens of eggs and as a family we'd all gather around the table together, endlessly dipping into the rainbow of colors.

Together. Looking back I think that was the biggest part of it. Easter was more about being together, doing together, laughing and enjoying and goofing around, than any of the other holidays. My dad would sit at the table and dip eggs with us, we'd hide them in the craziest places, and then have contests to see who could make their chocolate bunny last the longest. I never won. (I still have no willpower when it comes to chocolate.)

It's been a long time since we all sat down for Easter together, but I'm trying to keep that spirit of togetherness alive in my children, especially at Easter. Since we don't eat eggs, and we've given up the plastic ones (conveniently they don't sell them here in Switzerland), I whipped up an easy little pattern-- another one of my patterns of desperation. My girls, ages 7 and 10, helped knit them up. I hope you'll enjoy making them as much as we did.

To download the pdf of this pattern, please click HERE.  You can also find it on Ravelry.


Felted Knit Eggs

Materials:
wool yarn scraps-- worsted or bulky wt
US #8 or #9 dpns
Wool stuffing

Instructions:
CO 12 st, and divide evenly onto 3 needles.
Place marker, and join into the round. K 1 row.

Row 1: *K1fb, k3* repeat to end of row (15 st)
Rows 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 11: knit every stitch
Row 3: *K1fb, k4* repeat to end of row (18 st)
Row 5: *K1fb, k5* repeat to end of row (21 st)
Row 7: *K1fb, k6* repeat to end of row (24 st)
Row 9: *K1fb, k7* repeat to end of row (27 st)
(begin decreasing)
Row 12: *k2tog, k7* repeat to end of row (24 st)
Rows 13, 15 and 17: knit every stitch
Row 14: *k2tog, k6* repeat to end of row (21 st)
Row 16: *k2tog, k5* repeat to end of row (18 st)
Row 18: *k2tog, k4* repeat to end of row (15 st)
Row 19: *k2tog, k3* repeat to end of row (12 st)
Row 20: *k2tog, k2* repeat to end of row (9 st)
Row 21: *k2tog, k1* repeat to end of row (6 st)

Cut yarn and thread through remaining loops to close top of egg, and weave in the end. Fill your egg with stuffing (moderately full--don't overstuff), and then thread your yarn end through the CO edge, pull it closed, and weave in the ends. Voila.

If you use wool stuffing, both the egg and the stuffing will felt together and create a nice weighted egg that bounces. You can also use fiberfil, but the egg itself won't felt as well as the wool-stuffed egg. Use fiberfil if you want to create a hollow egg, as shown above, for hiding little trinkets in. Once it's felted, just make an incision and remove the fiberfill.

To felt: Throw your eggs in a pillowcase or garment bag and wash in HOT water in the washing machine with some jeans or towels. I only ran mine through once because I ran out of laundry to wash, but feel free to do what you need to do. Don't forget to allow time to dry before the big hunt begins. :-)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Inside the Goetheanum



A while back I promised a look inside the Rudolf Steiner's Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland. It's hard to know what to expect when you see the outside form of this massive structure.... but once you push open the heavy doors, it's like walking into another world.

Here's a peek at the ground floor, minus the cafe, book/art stores, and bathrooms. The bathrooms were pretty nice, too. There seemed to be art exhibitions at every turn, including two huge lazured murals. This is but a glimpse, and the pictures hardly do it justice, but I think you'll get the idea.

















Friday, April 03, 2009

Whoosh!

That's the sound of another blogless month passing me by. March was fraught with so many things it's hard to know where to begin.

First, there was that job in Texas that we didn't get. Imagine homeschooling in a place with libraries, a huge homeschooling community, two gardening seasons, and wonderful friends. I don't have to tell you how bummed I was about that.

In the middle of that was Fasnacht, the crazy three-day carnival in Europe. Imagine streets filled with piccolo playing masked folks and confetti so thick it comes up to your ankles in spots. Fasnacht really deserves a post of its own (fingers crossed)... but towards the tail-end of that I had some health issues and had to find a doctor, fast.

I don't particularly like going to the doctor and avoid it as much as humanly possible, so you can imagine what kind of pain/suffering it takes for me to seek out a doctor in a foreign-speaking country. For one thing, most of them take vacation the week of Fasnacht, and their answering machines all have messages in a fast, thick Schwytzerd├╝tsch. Speak to me in high German really fast and my eyes start rolling around in my head trying to catch a word or two as they zing by. In Swiss German, goodness... you might as well shoot me. In the end, I found one, and he turned out to be from the states, sort of.

My new motto concerning doctors is, if you're going to see one, see one in Europe. I have now seen three, and each of them sat and listened and took me seriously. There were no "come back if it still hurts in 6 weeks" comments. It was more like seeing a lay-midwife in the US; I felt like a person rather than a number being rushed through the system. I have now been prodded and poked, scoped and scanned, and the diagnosis for now is that I will live, at least for as long as I might normally live anyway. Coming from someone whose family has a history of cancer (my grandmother died when she was my age,) this is a fantastic prognosis.

I've learned so many things from my health scare in Europe:
1. Ovarian cysts can hurt like nobody's business.
2. Colonoscopies, while sounding like possibly the worst torture in the world, are really very interesting procedures. If anyone offers to show you the inside of your colon, say yes.
3. The colonoscopy drink mix is really nasty when it's warm, but with a little bit of apple juice and ice cubes, it's actually drinkable.
4. Anthroposophical gynocologists exist.
5. They don't "drape" for a gyn exam in Europe. Modesty is purely an American thang.
6. Hormones can make everything go haywire. And then some.

We managed to get a little bit of homeschooling accomplished in between my appointments and my laying on the couch clutching my abdomen. I also managed to get some editing done on my novel, a huge feat in and of itself. I put in a couple of really long weekends, and managed to surpass the 50-hour challenge doled out over at Nanoedmo (National Novel Editing Month.) This novel-writing thing has turned out to be another really interesting way to model Perseverance and Commitment for my children. It's a less visual lesson than my last huge undertaking, but it seems to have made an impression on Sunburst who has taken to trying to edit her own Nanowrimo story.

March ended with the bona fide arrival of Spring and the news that we might be facing another move next March, this time to Zurich, where homeschooling has just been made illegal. Lucky us, huh? I suppose we'll be finding out in the next week or two the official status on that. As usual, things are up in the air.

I'm starting to wonder if things felt settled, if I would still recognize it as my life.
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