One of the amazing creations in recent history is that of the online community of Ravelry — an amalgamation of knitters, spinners, crocheters and other fiber fanatics from all ’round the world. This community is truly a community where we cheer for each other’s successes, pray for each other’s problems and consistently enable each other’s fiber addictions.

For the months of January-February, I was involved in an international secret swap — my partner, Hanna, was in Finland and I had such a wonderful time, getting to “know” her and sending her little notes and asking questions to develop the perfect swap package for her. She loved the cowl I sent … and the yarn … and the stitch markers and other treats. It was great fun, especially connecting with someone from Europe.

I had no idea who had me … she was very secretive and yet in constant contact. She would mention things, drop hints, and it was such fun trying to figure out which she was. And today, I found out: Kate on Ravelry! She is American but she and her dh are in Belgium with NATO. So, again a European connection. And one she really built on for the package of goodies sent.

Opening the box of multiple wrapped packages ....

kids waiting, semi-patiently for Mom to open 'em all up

Come along on our journey thru knitterly Europe:

First stop -- Beligum and nougat, Belgian butter waffels and Bruges Lace bookmark

Second stop: quick stopover in England to see Churches and then on to ...

Ireland ... a handmade Irish dishcloth and pin

Third Stop: Shetland Islands (a copy of a shawl pattern from an old Vogue)

Fourth Stop -- Denmark and a handmade Valentine's Nisse

Fifth Stop: Poland and a gorgeous example of their pottery

We’ll take a run from Poland thru Prague and into Vienna and Gaming (where we lived back in early 2000) …

Sixth Stop: Austria -- a handmade Tyrolean pincushion and postcard

Seventh Stop: Italy -- coffee, cookies and Raffaello (candy you have to taste to believe)

Eighth Stop: Switzerland and some sheepy-chocolate!

Ninth Stop: Germany -- Regia sock yarn and soap

also from Germany ... a Herbert Niebling lace pattern

Tenth Stop: France -- postcard from the Louve and madeline baking cups and rose cookies from Rhiems

Then we finally end up back in Belgium with a stop at the St. Brigid of Ireland’s chapel and hermitage … she sent me a CD filled with pictures of this amazing spot to honor my patron saint this year!

Flying out of Amsterdam, we first stop and:

Eleventh Stop: Amsterdam - handmade brioche rib cowl, postcard and Dutch stroopwafels that have gone missing from this pic!

Kate wrote out a two-page letter that detailed all these “tour stops” and included a CD-Rom with pictures from the St. Brigid shrine in Belgium and digitized copies of the patterns and a few recipes for goodies. She also included a cryptic link:… if you click on it you can find a google-map of this entire journey with extra stops added to visit Hanna in Finland, Julie in Greece (she’s the one that arranged the swap) and some other notable fiber hot-spots.

This is such an amazing teaching opportunity, that the kids and I will head off on a rabbit trail tomorrow — visiting all the sites and reviewing all the postcards and tourist info she sent. We’re pretty excited about our whirlwind tour of Europe and the treats we’ll share along the way! And in case you’re wondering … yes, the kids want to adopt Kate!

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