The travelling cowl

Most knitters have long-term works in progress. This is the tale of one of mine. Although, to be honest, it's not terribly long-term compared to the half-jumper that I started in 2014 or the blankets I started a couple of years before that! This one's only been around since January.

It's a colourwork cowl which I'm knitting in the round and will eventually graft into a seamless tube. I love the design and the colours, and the yarn is lovely to work with (it's Fino by Manos del Uruguay).

Isn't it pretty?

So what's caused the hold-up? Other projects have: other designs I've been excited about, and time-sensitive projects like birthday presents. Then I realised it would be more sensible to release a pattern for a double-thick tubular cowl later in the year, when most of the world's knitters are heading into cooler weather.

I carried my cowl around Europe with me, without having much time to actually knit any of it. Here's a snap of me working on it on the train from Munich to Florence, back in April. There was some amazing mountain scenery (and snow!) as we passed through Austria:

#placesyoucanknit

After the trip, I put it to one side while I knit a few more shawls and things, and kept feeling kind of guilty that I had a lovely barely-started cowl languishing in its project bag. Finally, I brought it to New Zealand with me where it has at last made it to the top of my priority queue! The photo with the cup of tea shows my progress as of yesterday. :)

This brings me to an idea Willie and I sometimes talk about, the Guilty List: the part of your to-do list that you don't like to think about, that big daunting task, or those small things that get delayed and procrastinated and delayed again. For me, it's often things like cleaning the bathroom or booking in for a flu shot.

Right now, it's getting my Europe Trip photos organised, culled, cropped, processed, and posted to Facebook albums for my family and friends to see. I also want to write a few blog posts with my best photos and stories from the trip, but first I need to sort out the photos.

Here's the way to deal with something on the Guilty List: you can do it, delegate it, delay it, or ditch it.

For my photos, it's an easy choice - I have to do it! And I've finally started (the train photo above is proof). My pretty and well-travelled cowl was delayed for months, and now I'm doing that too.

So here's my challenge for you: if you have a Guilty List too, get something off it. Do it, delegate it, delay it, or ditch it. Let me know how it goes!

Northwards

I can't believe I'm off to Europe tomorrow! It's my first trip to the northern hemisphere, and my first long-haul flight (eeep). We've been planning and preparing like mad this week, looking up all the things we want to see and making a Google map of them all. You can get a glimpse of it here:

I've been stockpiling podcast episodes on my phone for the various plane and train rides. Some are yarn-related (Woolful, A Playful Day, Pomcast, and Truly Myrtle) and others are language-related, as I'm hoping to pick up a wee bit of German, Italian, and Dutch if I can.

I'm also trying to finish a pair of woolly slippers to wear on the plane. They're Simple Garter Stitch Slippers in two very bright colours of sock yarn held together. The first one fits well, but I still have most of a slipper to go...

Fair warning - I plan to blog about my trip, so if you'd prefer to wait for more knitting posts, I suggest you pop back some time in May. I do have plans to visit a certain yarn shop in Amsterdam however, so it won't all be pictures of architecture and stuff. ;)

See you on the other side!

It's Bach season!

It's March, and for those of us in choir-land that means the countdown to Holy Week has begun. As well as our St John Passion performance on Good Friday, my choir at the Scots' Church is doing a few Bach cantatas spaced throughout the year. We did one last Sunday - the first half of BWV 147, 'Hertz und Mund und Tat und Leben' - and it was really lovely to sing. The opening chorus was fast and exciting with its trumpet solos, and the final chorale was just beautiful. Definitely worth getting up at 7am on a Sunday. ;)

There's a video of us singing & playing the final chorale here on Facebook, courtesy of our organist Ria. The tune is best known as "Jesu, joy of man's desiring" - you might recognise it when you hear it. I remember coming across a piano arrangement at Nana's house many years ago and playing it on the dodgy old piano...

This is a video of the whole cantata, performed by The Sixteen:

I'm glad it won't be my first time singing the St John Passion this year, there aren't many weeks left now to brush up on my German (not to mention all of the notes). I'm also glad we have more than one special rehearsal scheduled this time in addition to the Sunday morning run-throughs.

One of my favourite Bach interpreters, John Butt and his Dunedin Consort, have recorded a liturgical reconstruction of the St John Passion. Here's a short intro video with some rehearsal clips:

After filling my head with all of this music, I'm going to be super-primed for a very, very exciting trip... This April I'll be heading off on my first trip to Europe with Willie and Julian! I really can't believe it's actually happening. We'll start with a visit to Berlin where Chloe and Celena live, and spend three weeks exploring a few different cities including Florence, Rome, and Amsterdam, with short stops in Leipzig and Munich. It was incredibly hard to narrow down our list of places to visit, but I prioritised the places with the art and architecture I most want to see (as a consequence of my years of studying music and art history and Latin).

In Leipzig I plan to visit the Bach Museum, the Thomaskirche and Nikolaikirche, a museum of musical instruments, and a music bookshop. And hopefully a coffeehouse or two!

More on the trip later. For now I need to work on my German and Italian (both beginner-level, alas) and do some more plotting and planning...