Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Finally Spring!

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J was in Maryland for work for most of February, and I did a lot of reading and knitting while he was gone, but not much else! I did join him in MD for 10 days around his birthday though, which was wonderful because we got to party with all our friends and feel like we were on vacation in our former-home :)

We also spent a few nights with friends in DC, and ate at Art Smith's restaurant "Art and Soul" which was AMAZING! I had blackened scallops on sweet potato puree with bacon and chipotle, and J had a filet mignon with a blue cheese topping and wild mushroom couscous.

Upon our return we celebrated again with a Rockband party at J's coworker's house, and I made a chocolate bundt cake with Bailey's whipped cream. So easy and so good! Here's a link to the recipe. There was hardly any left after the party, so I made another later in the week for us!
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It's warming up quickly here in Wiesbaden, and the daffodils and tulips are budding! We should have leaves and flowers all over in another few days :)

Here's some appropriately bright spring fiber projects I've been working on!

I finally got more blocking pins to finish my Aeolian shawl I knit around xmas. I love it! It's the Shawlette size, in 100% silk on a size 5. Ravelry page here.
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I seamed my Brea bag, finally, and will line it soon as well
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Finished my Pomatomous Socks, and started Skew! I LOVE skew. They fit amazingly well on my weird pointed feet, and this yarn is gorgeous.
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Skew WIP

Now for spinning! I finished plying my merino silk, but one skein's colors lined up well, and the other didn't, so I expect to stripe them when I knit something.
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I needed a break from the ordinary, so I made this art yarn. I love it! About 50 yards or so.
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Here's some FatCatKnits Falkland I spun up. I LOVE her fiber! It practically spins itself. I loved this roving combination, but I'm not thrilled with the muted 3-ply it became. I might sell it.
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Now I'm starting a sock yarn with this FatCatKnits BFL in Sante Fe
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"The Best Beer in the World"

Trappist Westvleteren 12!

I'm not a very good blogger, but I'm going to blame winter for my hibernation. In winter I tend to stay inside, even on weekends, catching up on movies, books, tv and knitting. Now that it's spring things should be a bit more frequent!

J and I just got back from our first adventure of the new year! He finally got an appointment at the St. Sixtus Monastery of Westvletern, near Poperinge Belgium, to buy some of the "Best Beer In the World". The Trappist Westvleteren 12 is a Belgian quad style beer that is only brewed and sold by appointment at this monastery, so you can imagine how excited he was to get an appointment!

Poperinge, Belgium, is north of Antwerp, in the Flanders Fields area of Belgium. We drove about four and a half hours through rolling farmland tipped with green to reach this "Hop Capital", and stayed in a tiny hotel on the main square. Our lovely room (with a HUGE bathroom) had a balcony overlooking a little manicured courtyard with a koi pond. While the town itself is a bit boring, I wouldn't have minded a few more nights in that hotel!
Hotel de la Paix


We were caravaning with two of J's coworkers, so we spent some time at the monastery both Monday and Tuesday, for our respective appointments. Unfortunately you cannot go inside the monastery, but there is an adjoining restaurant for visitors with a nice view of the surrounding fields, where we sat and drank the monks' beer and munched on Croque Monsieur sandwiches made with local ham and cheese.

We spent our short stay wandering the small town, having a wonderful dinner in the local Irish pub, drinking lots of good beer, and visiting the many World War I monuments in the area.
Memorial to the Irish Soldiers

Another memorial and cemetary

On the ride up I had been mentally reviewing my high school French in preparation for our stay, but unfortunately in that area of Belgium they speak Dutch! Everyone spoke English too though, so we got along fine. I did get to use my French at the chocolate shop in the next town over though! MMmm Belgian Chocolate! J goes a little nuts over truffles and we got an entire pound of our favorites, including Fruits de la Mer (swirled chocolate sea shells with hazelnut creme), Mocha, Irish Cream, rich ganache and pistachio cream.

On our way out of town we stopped at a beer warehouse to stock up on other amazing Belgian beers that are hard to get (or more expensive) in Germany or the US, including Duvel, Trappist Rochefort, Westmalle, St. Bernardus, and Karmeliet.
(Our friend's car, but we had nearly as much)

If we go back this summer we will bring our bikes to take advantage of the gorgeous routes and trails in the area. We saw so many bicyclists!

Click here to see the rest of the photos from this trip.