Remembering Berlin


When last heard from, I was packing to go off to Germany and The Netherlands with my daughter. The trip’s purpose was a book tour, timed with the release of “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” in German and Dutch. Several weeks ago I bumped into a former knitting student who said she’d been watching this space because she wondered if I ever returned…..and yes, I did make it home, and now I’m glad to be back here, too.

One thing led to another in the fall after I got back—one big one was serious over-commitment on knitting gifts for the holidays. But more about that another day. I am now a bit red-faced but happy to say that today, on the very last day of January, I’m 2/3 of the way through my last pair of promised holiday socks. Picture coming soon.

The Trip was even more fun than expected, as my daughter-in-law Renee met us in Berlin, and we three traveled together—a girl trip!!  I won’t do a travelogue here but must say that the entire experience will forever remain very dear to me.


Although Germany is in my ancestral history on my mother’s side, I probably wouldn’t have put Berlin at the top of my “Must go to places.” But I fell in love with the city—-its history so evident as was the amazing energy of the rebuilding that continues, the wonderful people, awe-inspiring buildings (new and old) and not least of all the wonderful food and pastries. And yes, we found what was touted as being the best coffee in Berlin and once we tasted it, we wouldn’t argue with the claim.  I don’t have words to describe it, but hope to make a pilgrimmage to it again someday. It’s located in a neighborhood very close to the former wall where much renovation is underway and bullet holes are still visible.  It was hard for me to imagine taking a child to preschool ballet classes here, but there’s no doubt that they must grow up with an awareness of their history:

The Berlin-inspired socks I’m sketching out must definitely be (or feel) grey, black and white with a little touch of red. The Monument to the Murdered Jews (top right) not far from our hotel touched us deeply. The Otto Bock Science Center,an intriguing building right across from our hotel window, is in the same color palette. In fact, lots of red and black jumped out at me everywhere in Berlin, including menus at a weekend craft fair and a Berlin Mini-Cooper display.

I’m trying to bring back the essential feeling of the Berlin experience right now as I am designing a sock for the “souvenir sock”  class I’ll be teaching at Madrona FiberArts Retreat (www.madronafiberarts.com) in Tacoma on Sunday, February 20. Madrona is one of my favorite places to teach— good vibes,  great classes, comradery, a big marketplace (open to the public) and just hanging out and knitting with old and new friends.  It’s not too late–there’s still room in the class.

There, I am glad to have gotten back up on the blog horse after a time away. Now (literally) back to the drawing board!

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