Nath Knits

and should probably be doing something else.


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Cambridge – Day Seven-and-a-Half-Months

I think they’re forsythias, but double-bloomed. There are regular ones around too.

It’s spring in London.  We’ve had a few days of beautiful weather.  My freckles are back.   I’m not chilly.  The sun is out and the ground might actually dry.  There’s a camellia outside my kitchen door, blooming like mad.

This makes me pretty happy

Sunday was the nicest day, at a sunny 16 degrees, so we decided to go to Hyde Park to soak up some rays.  Half of London obviously got the same idea – it was packed!  There was a lineup to get into one of the playgrounds with a sign “Playground at capacity”  (have I mentioned Britain’s great love of fences?  That’s a whole blog post by itself).  It was a lovely, lazy day, even for Zebula, who was exhausted from the previous night (she was at a birthday sleepover.  “There was a chocolate fountain!”).

Selfie by Dr. Thingo in Hyde Park. I only just now noticed that his eyes are closed.

This one’s for the grandparents

So we went to Cambridge!  Over two weeks ago!  I should tell you about it before I forget!

Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs, Cambridge. I like church ceilings, apparently.

Cambridge was lovely.  It is very much a university town, and the parts we walked through that weren’t outright university grounds felt like university towns everywhere, but much, much older.  Coffee shops, bookstores, kind of funky, but with an underlying feeling of ‘we’ve been here for hundreds of years’.  It’s a nice place.   The main geographical feature is, of course, the River Cam, which runs through the city.  Cambridge was called Cambridge before the river Cam was called the river Cam (for real! The river was named Granta by the Saxons, and the city became known as Cambridge a little later.  The river was renamed Cam to match the name.  Thanks, Wikipedia!)

The Mathematical Bridge over the Cam, Queen’s College. Said to be designed and built by Isaac Newton without nuts or bolts. Which, it turns out, is a myth. Leibniz invented it the week before. Ok, that’s wrong too. It was designed by neither Newton nor Leibniz and uses plenty of nuts and bolts. It’s called Mathematical because of the design.

Little door inside a big door, Queen’s College

Queen’s College

The University is really a collection of colleges, separate but somehow not.  It’s nearly impossible to follow the river, as a large part of the riverfront in the city belongs to the various colleges, and there are fences and gates everywhere to prevent entry to ‘non-members’.

You shall not pass.

Still, it was nice to walk around.  We managed to miss opening hours for most of the colleges and their chapels (PSA: don’t be a tourist in Cambridge on a Sunday), though we did get to wander around Queen’s College a bit, mostly to get onto the Mathematical Bridge.   We even saw lots of students carrying around sporting equipment like tennis racquets and rugby balls.  It was so wonderfully cliché!

King’s College

Trinity College

I Can’t Remember Which College

Events + bikes

It was hard to get a sense of what the lives of non-student Cambridgians are like – we only really visited the University parts.  We ventured out to a park (Jesus Green!) for the kids to let off steam (their patience for my strong desire to see “old things” and walk around wears pretty thin eventually) and saw lots of families there, and their houses on the other side of the park.  The most striking thing was the lack of ethnic diversity there.  I’ve become so used to all the different cultures mingling in London that it was a shock to see a very stereotypically European-looking community, even at the university.

Just another nice building.

We’ll probably go back – a cousin of mine moved there a few days after we visited, and I’d love to go say hello, and pass on some kitchen stuff I’ve accumulated.  Though time is starting to feel like it’s running out.  Only about four months until we’re back home!

Cool old tree outside King’s College. The lower limbs touched the ground, and inside the radius of those limbs, the ground was covered in crocus.

(Full set of Cambridge photos here)


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Various and Sundry – Day Just-Over-Seven-Months

Take heart, Canada! Spring will come for you too!

Last day to Say it with Cross-Stitch!  Comment on this post for a chance to win some bespoke cross-stitchy goodness!

Happy last day of February!  It’s been an especially crappy winter for both Canada and the UK.  March, despite its proverbial coming in like a lion, is the beginning of the end.  Hang in there – summer is coming.  We’ll be complaining about the heat in just a few months.

—-

I put my back out today doing burpees.  My knee hurts from an undignified injury I suffered about four years ago so I’ve stopped running.  I feel like I’m about 80 years old.

—-

We’re back to the usual routine this week.  We had a last week off (half-term break for the kids) and had planned a day trip to Cambridge, as well as another country walk.  However, Vorlon was sick and housebound for most of the week, so the walk was canceled and the trip to Cambridge* was postponed to the last Sunday of the break.

We had some friends over for dinner the first weekend – they’d generously offered to take the kids to see the Lego movie with their kids, so I invited them all over for dinner afterwards.  It was nice to cook for a crowd, and to socialise.  I’m slowly making friends at choir and the museum, and Dr. Thingo has found some squash buddies.  Zebula had a friend the other day who was trying to convince her to stay (“What if all your Canada friends could move here too!”) and was invited to a birthday sleepover next weekend.  Vorlon wants to stay for another year so that he can go up the O2 Centre (apparently, you have to be 10.  I said if he saved his allowance for the next 10 years (both for the flight and for the ridiculous entrance fee), he could come back.).  We’re leaving in less than 5 months, and finally starting to feel like we’re making roots.  That’s how it goes, I guess.

—-

Only 311 steps to go!

We ventured out into the city last Saturday – it was a beautiful, sunny day, and Vorlon was feeling better, and we were all pretty antsy.  We wandered around, with no real plan other than for Dr. Thingo to find the plaque marking the location of London’s first coffee shop, and ended up having a nice afternoon.  Included were the aforementioned coffeehouse plaque, Christopher Wren’s Monument to the Great Fire of London, the park at St. Dunston in the East and a failed attempt to go to this park, which I hadn’t seen before, but which the kids had been to with Dr. Thingo and which they assure me is awesome (unfortunately, it was closed).

The Monument, built by Christopher Wren in the 1670s

View from the top. That’s the Tower Bridge, and you can see the Tower of London too.

Kilroy was here, 18th century style.

St. Dunstan in the East. It was bombed out during the Blitz, and has been converted to a park. It’s a beautiful, quiet, meditative spot, so of course we couldn’t be there with the kids for more than 5 minutes…

—-

Please help me identify the following bird and plants.

Spotted in Cambridge

Also spotted in Cambridge. It has bright yellow feet.

Spotted on my street, looks like it should be from another planet.

Spotted on my street, smells fantastic.

—-

I think I’ve mentioned before that I’ve started helping out a lady in my choir who has been teaching drama for a long time (she ‘retired’ 8 years ago).  Her area of expertise is in what she calls ‘Reminiscence Theatre’, where you speak with elderly people and encourage them to remember their past, and act it out.  She’s had great results and has done many plays over the years, and has toured them all over Europe.  Topics range from people remembering what their mums did to keep their families running during World War II, to talking about how they found out about sex, to talking about what healthcare was like before the NHS existed.  It’s very interesting.  She still works with the elderly, especially groups with dementia, to encourage them to share their memories.  She feels strongly that, while what she does is by no means a miracle cure, it does draw people out of what must be a  great deal of frustration and isolation, and they keep surprising her by willingly and enthusiastically sharing their memories with her, and acting them out.  She invited me to join in a training session she was holding for filmmakers who are working on the same kind of reminiscence project, both to get a sense for what she does, and to experience it for myself.  I admit that I wasn’t that enthusiastic about going, but accepted anyway (this sabbatical is all about new experiences, right?). I’m not that fond of this kind of forced group activity (icebreaker games at so-called ‘team building’ events make me deeply uncomfortable).  The workshop was this morning and I was surprised to find myself having a very good time.  Her approach feels very natural and unforced.  It was revealing and made me appreciate a little bit more what people with dementia must feel.  She’s also invited me to join her for a session with some patients, and I think I will join her.

—-

I still feel very self-conscious every time I open my mouth to speak.  People are never mean-spirited or dismissive of my accent, but it still feels very conspicuous.  And I still have a hard time with people with particularly heavy South London accents and have to listen very closely.  I don’t know how long I’d have to live here for that to stop being the case.

—-

Public bike pump, next to Cycling Superhighway. I would love to see both of these implemented in KW.

All of February’s pictures are here

* Cambridge will get its own post.  Someday.


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Doodling – Day six-and-a-half-months-ish

Good weather for rainbows lately. From Lesnes Abbey

Hello from rainy London.  Because people have been asking: luckily, we haven’t been affected by the terrible weather and flooding in the southwest of England.   It has been rainy (so much rain) and windy, though, but nothing near as bad as what’s happening there.  Hopefully the rain will let up soon so that Somerset and Devon can catch their breath and start repairs.

Ruins of Lesnes Abbey, in Abbey Wood

We’ve taken it easy, tourism-wise, lately.  Just short trips around the city for museums and monuments.  My favourite was Lesnes Abbey (decommissioned by Cardinal Wolsey during Henry VIII’s reign, so that he (the Cardinal) could siphon the money from selling off the land into his new college at Oxford.  Which is topical, because I’m finally getting around to watching the fourth season of The Tudors, which, of course, required me to re-watch the first three seasons again.)

Soggy crocus that would open if it could just be sunny for more than 5 minutes at a time.

I’m in a concert this weekend, so it’ll be a good week of singing (Women of the Blackheath Choir, with the Lambeth Symphony Orchestra.  We’re doing Debussy’s Sirènes and Berlioz’ La mort d’Ophélie, if you want to come.) Speaking of singing, the choir I’m in has a workshop day every year on a Saturday in February.  There are two singing workshops in the afternoon, followed by a potluck dinner and ‘party pieces’.  The point is to branch out a little from the usual classical oratorio stuff.  One workshop was by the leader of a pop choir, which was ok, but the other was by a man who’s been studying and performing Balinese gamelan music for years. It was basically a couple of hours of this (well, a lot slower…).  So much fun!  The evening was good too – several choristers performed short pieces, and, probably coincidentally, none of that was classical either.  And I learned that it’s not only in schools that custard is used as a dessert gravy – just another reason to love this country!

I finished knitting a sweater

Badly in need of blocking. Which will happen if the dampness ever lets up. Did I mention it’s damp?

That’s the Striper Cardigan, by Amy Herzog, and the yarn is Rowan Pure Wool DK and Felted Tweed.  I added bust darts, as usual.  I’ll block it someday.

I’ve been doodling.  Well, knitting doodling.  I’ve accumulated a lot of leftovers, so I decided to make a Sabbatical Leftovers Souvenir Blanket (to replace the Leftovers Afghan of Love that I gave Mr.  Thingo years (and year) ago when he left for Seattle to become Dr. Thingo that is very much looking its age).  I figure knitted up yarn packs up better than a zillion little balls.  I made a template square in garter stitch, and I’ve been doodling while watching the aforementioned Tudors.  Garter stitch is good for this because two rows equals one stitch, so it’s easy to get all geometrical.

Template square

And I spun some.  This is some two-ply, undyed BFL, woolen-ish spun.  I think it’ll become a small-ish this.

Things sound ramp up, tourism-wise, in the spring.  Craig’s been asked to give a talk in Granada in May, so we’re all tagging along.  He’s giving another one in Bath at some point, so we’ll tag along for that too.  He’s also been asked to give one in Germany, but I think we’ll have to miss out on that one, unfortunately.  We’re swapping houses in May with the Orchard family, so we’ll see some Bristol/Cardiff goodness.  I’d like to head down to Dover and Brighton at some point (my Country Walks book has a great 20 km walk that includes a dip in the ocean that the kids are psyched about!).  And we should head up to Salisbury too.  And Cambridge!  And it’s already time to start thinking about getting back home!  I’ve registered the kids for school (at least, I think I have – I need to call the schools today to make sure the packages made it).  I’ve updated my resume after more than a decade of not doing so (hire me!).  I’m looking at my pantry in dismay (time for Eat Down the Pantry 2014!).

Remember to comment on my previous post by March 1 to win the cross-stitched message of your choice!

 

 

 

 


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Halfway Contest – Day Six-months-and-a-bit

Happy Groundhog Day!

Not a groundhog, but the world’s neediest cat, enjoying a rare sunbeam. I’m kind of in love with her, and will miss her when we go.

It’s a sunny day in London, so, six more weeks of winter for us.  Though they don’t have groundhogs here, I don’t think.  I wonder if maybe they should use a badger.  Six more weeks of dampness and rain.  I’d say it was a dumb way to predict the weather, but given how changeable the weather is here, it seems as good a system as any.  Anyway.  Happy halfway mark between the solstice and the equinox!

I promised you this post a week ago.  Sorry about the delay.

So, cross-stitching.  Given my general dislike for hand-sewing, I’m surprised that I like cross-stitch as much as I do.  It’s painting, with thread, for the artistically challenged who like their pictures all pixelly.  Like paint-by-numbers, only less messy, and with the ability to fix your mistakes if you make them.  I got back into it after I discovered Julie’s work through Dr. Thingo*, who asked me to make one for his office.  Then another friend had me make one for his home (scroll down further in the same post).  And I made bookmarks for the kids (even further).  Another friend, while her awesome home office was being built, suggested, half-joking, that I should make her one labeled ‘Carrie’s folly’.  I never took a picture of it, but you can see it in action (as it were) here.  Dr. Thingo requested another one for his office (ever get the feeling that he gets a little stressed out at work?).  This is what we settled on:

Sorry about the wrinkles. But it’s coming back to Canada and getting framed there and will be packed in a suitcase and schlepped around, so there’s no point in ironing it now.

I love the combination of what was intended to be a wedding sampler, with roses and hearts and the initials of the newlyweds and the date of their special day, but with a less than loving message in it.  It tickles my inner 12-year-old (who doesn’t lurk very far beneath the surface, I’ll admit).  Dr. Thingo had initially wanted flames, befitting the message, but I like the irony of this one better.

I love working on these.  I like starting with a blank canvas and slowly seeing the thing take shape.  I have an idea that I’ll make a super-complicated food themed still life for the kitchen someday (haven’t found a pattern I like yet).  Thing is, there’s only so much cross-stitch a person needs in their home so I can’t just keep churning these out.  So…

… do you want one?  Is there a message you’d like cross-stitched?  Do you have a friend who’s currently undergoing medical treatment and you’d like them to know you’re thinking of them (warning, contains profanity)? Want to send a message to your coworkers that you’re not taking any more requests (‘NO’ in big letters on a background of lilies?).  Feeling misanthropic? Or fatalistic?  It doesn’t need to be rude, even.  You could be patriotic.  Or zen.  Or frisky.  Or lovestruck.  Or poetic.  Or all of the above.  Whatever you like.  Leave a comment on this post by March 1, telling me what message you’d like cross-stitched. I’ll pick a name from the list via random number generator and the winner and I will come up with a design together.  I promise to deliver by the end of 2014.  I have no issues with profanity (and be warned, if you are not a fan, that people may put some in the comments), but I reserve the right to veto (ie. no name-calling, hate speech, sexism (in either direction), or love letters for Rob Ford, please).  We can make it work!  Go nuts!

Also, happy Year of the Horse!

* Yes, Dr. Thingo has started a blog,(well, started anew, after abandoning another blog after many years of not posting**) about the adventures of his rocket cup.  Go see!  He made a logo and everything!

** No, it’s not blank.  But the letters have faded to white.  He built in a Stagnometer ™, which slowly faded the text away, to shame himself into posting more often.  As you can see, it was a raging success.  If you really want, you can see the text by highlighting it, or go visit the archives, once you figure out where the link is on the page.


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UK vs. Canada – Halfway mark showdown – Day 186*

We landed in the UK six months ago today, which means we’re about halfway through.  In honour of this momentous event, I give you my random, London-centric, completely subjective, statistically invalid, probably unfair, and utterly meaningless decisions on who wins between Canada and the UK.  As George Carlin said, about something totally unrelated, “These are my rules; I make ‘em up.”

Winter: Canada

Central heating and insulation, ventilation in houses:  Canada

Public transit: UK (inexpensive, extensive, and frequent)

Current: UK (240V current means the kettle boils my coffee water in less than a minute!  Though it also means that if you stick a fork in the socket, it will actually kill you.  Which is probably why the sockets all have off switches)

Wall sockets that look like faces: Canada.  Compare and contrast

Crisp/chip flavours: UK (I’ve had:  prawn cocktail, onion and cheese, worcester sauce, roast beef and horseradish, haggis, roast chicken, sausage and mustard, and others I can’t remember.  None of them were bad, though some were better than others)

Chip/fries: UK, if purchased from a chippy – I don’t know what they fry them in, but, damn!

Ridiculousness of bureaucracy: UK

Ease with which one can get a family doctor: UK

Food packaging: Canada

Labels indicating provenance of produce (and some dry goods): UK

Tea: UK (you might think this is a no-brainer, but I wasn’t much of a black tea drinker until I got here.  I ordered tea while I was out, on a whim (and because I didn’t have the £2.50 required to buy a decent cup of coffee around here on my person).  It was a revelation – it comes with milk here by default, and they kind of swish and squish the tea bag around in the hot milky water for about a minute before they take it out, when they decide the milk is the right colour.  Who knew I’d be a fan of weak milky tea?  But there you go!  Now I have it every day at home.  Which would be fine if I had cut my coffee consumption accordingly.  My blood pressure should be good and high by the time I get back)

Postal service: UK (again, inexpensive and frequent)

Mayors with unfortunate haircuts: UK

Mayors with unfortunate personal lives: Canada

Number of cyclists: Canada – I was surprised.  Then again, public transit here is pretty good.

Cured and/or smoked pork products: UK. I should do a blog post on this.

Access to haggis in January: UK

Access to black pudding anytime: UK

Coffee: Canada.

Dairy products: UK

Musical notation: Canada (Ok, this one’s a personal thing:  I first learned music notation in French (ronde, blanche, noire, croche, double-croche, etc).  Then I learned it in English in university (whole note, half note, quarter note, eighth note, etc).  Here, despite the fact that they speak English too, it’s totally different (semi-breve, minim, crotchet, quaver, etc).  And crotchet sounds like croche.  It’s messing me up.   Also, why is it a semi-breve when you hardly see breves anywhere.  And what’s a breve called in North-America, anyway?)

Choral pronunciation of Latin: Canada.  But only because I laughed at a choir rehearsal here when the director was telling the choir to please stop pronouncing ‘Hosanna in excelsis’ as hosanna-r-in excelsis.  And also because she keeps telling us to stop sounding like we’re Alan Rickman.  I’m sure my Canadian pronunciation of everything is equally hilarious to them.

Public radio: Canada

Public television: UK

Netflix: Canada (and that’s saying something…)

Cell phone plans: UK

Casual use of the word ‘fuck’ (in all parts of speech) in conversation: UK

Fences around city lots: UK – they love their fences.  Parks have fences around them.  And within them.  It is unheard of for yards not to be fenced.  It is impossible to walk through, say, an apartment building parking lot as a shortcut, because it, or the property it’s on, is fenced in.  In a city where the roads are not in a nice, tidy grid, this can make walking annoying.  By contrast, the countryside has rights-of-way everywhere, dating back hundreds of years, through which the public can walk, and even pet the cows, if one is so inclined and feeling adventurous.

Flowers blooming in winter:  UK.  This might be unfair, given my comment on the superiority of winters in Canada above, but the fact that the fuschias haven’t stopped blooming since July is pretty good consolation for the dreariness of the weather.  My rules; I make ‘em up.

Museums: UK

Progress regarding gender stereotyping: Canada.

School year: UK – Only five weeks in the summer, but another seven weeks throughout the year. (In contrast with Canada, which has 9 weeks in the summer, and another three throughout the year.  Same number of weeks, different distribution).  This seems better for keeping the momentum going.  Though I don’t know if it’s easier or harder to find care for your kids that often if both parents are working full-time outside the home.

Overall attitude towards healthy eating: Canada

Ability to buy alcohol: UK (why Canada (except Québec) still has such ridiculous laws around alcohol sales, I do not understand)

Littering: UK

Acceptance and adherence to public recycling and composting programs: Canada

Currency: Canada, but only because they finally dropped the penny.  However, I like that the bills here are different sizes.  And!  It turns out that Scotland prints its own money, which is interchangeable with British currency, but prints the heads of people other than the queen on it.

Parliament Buildings: UK

Mountains: Canada

Enforcement of poop-and-scoop laws: Canada

Kids’ literature and magazines: Canada

Diversity of junk food: UK

Public libraries: Canada

Fish: UK

People knitting in public: Canada

Sunshine: Canada

Number of people with donut buns: UK

Ok.  That’s enough for today.  Thanks for indulging me.  Any requests?

* Day numbers were recalculated and I found I had been wrong in my previous posts.  At some point, like when your children get too old to refer to their ages in months, I should just change to a different unit


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Three months of knitting. You have been warned. – Day 182

Bear with me.  This is long and picture-intensive.  Sorry!

I’ve been a monogamous knitter.  Weird, right?  But it’s true.  Lack of a sizeable stash means I can’t start anything on a whim.  So I’ve been working on one project at a time. Which, strangely enough, makes things feel like they get done very quickly, since that’s all I work on while I’m working on it.  If that makes any sense.

Block party on the faux-peruvian rug on my bedroom floor.

I briefly ventured into double knitting (in case you don’t know, double-knitting in this context is knitting a double-thickness, reversible fabric, usually using two colours of yarn, and usually creating a negative image on the wrong side.  Usually.).  I bought the electronic version of Alasdair Post-Quinn’s brilliant book a while ago.  I kept meaning to try out a few patterns, and never got around to it.  Not being bogged down by other knitting, I thought I’d give it a go and start small and made myself some pot holders.  The swirly one is one of the designs out of his book, and the coffee cup is a design Dr. Thingo pixelified (pixellated?  pixelificated?) for me.  They were fine, and work pretty well (better than the ratty oven mitts that came with the house).  You have to enjoy knitting ribbing, because that’s basically all you do.  Post-Quinn also ventures into 3-colour double-knitting, which makes me want to tear out my hair – he makes no mention of how he manages the third strand while working on the other two.  I thought I’d knit my Dad a double-knitted hat for Christmas but gave up, both because I wouldn’t have enough yarn, and because it was making me stabby.  I would like to spend some more time on this – it’s interesting, and after 30+ years of knitting, it’s nice to find something that offers a challenge, even if it does cause me to invent new cuss words.

The yarn is, surprisingly, Patons. At home, it’d be called Classic Wool, I think. I don’t remember what the label said here. So much for only buying yarns from the UK while I’m here…

There was a sweater!  The only hardcopy book I brought with me was Knit to Flatter, by Amy Herzog.  I like her aesthetic, and I figured it would keep me busy while I’m here.  This is the first sweater – the Draper Cardigan.  I made it to wear around the house, because I was chilly, despite the fact that there hasn’t been any time since we arrived where the air temperature dropped below 2 degrees (it’s the damp!!).  I made the sleeves short, so I wouldn’t have to pull them up when I’m cooking. I deepened the bust darts to accommodate my bosom, and tacked down the collar at the back to keep it in place (this is why you should block your knitting, people!).  Yarn: Knitshop.co.uk Sock Yarn. It has modal in it, instead of nylon, which is nice. The store is a 30 minute walk from my house, but she’s only open Thursday to Saturday.

Not sure why I look so annoyed.  Maybe because it was the zillionth attempt at a decent picture using the shutter timer.

I was part of a knitting-themed swap in November, for which I crocheted some snowflakes.  I really liked making these – and I have a bunch of thread left, so I may as well finish it off.

I also sent some yarn I spun out of blue fibre from an experimental process I was trying out.  I wanted to make woolen yarn out of sliver.  I remember reading this technique in Interweave Spin Magazine years ago – you basically tear off about a fibre’s length of top at a time, attenuate it a little, and then roll it, crosswise, in a pencil, to make tight rolags, from which to spin.  I can’t find a link to the article anywhere, so maybe I dreamed it up.  Anyway.  I layered different shades of blue, to make a variegated-type yarn.  It worked fairly well, though the punis were a little too tight.  I got some more fibre (in yellows this time) to make more which I will knit with, to see if this technique makes it fluffy enough.

After realising I hadn’t brought mittens with me, I made myself some mittens out of leftover Draper Cardigan yarn.  The pattern was inspired by snowman mittens I saw on Ravelry.  They really should have eyes and a mouth and buttons embroidered on, but, who are we kidding, that’ll never happen.

Already all pilly from being squished into my coat pockets.

Then, it occurred to me that I should knit my parents some Christmas stuff.  I had already made my Step-Dad a hat, which just needed eyes. I feel bad – this is a hat I actually knit him for last winter, but that I never finished.  John, I owe you another hat for this year!  Yarn: Cascade 220.

I decided my mom should have the wrap I’d been working on, from wool I got at the GLYC in September (Pattern: Nefertiti Wrap, by Miriam Felton.  Yarn: Fyberspates  Scrumptious Lace.  The colour’s name is Treacle Toffee, and that’s exactly what it looks like).  I love how it turned out – the yarn was lovely, and the pattern was great, though I did mess up somewhere in the middle and had to undo about 10 cm.  More new cuss words.

Out of yarn I received from my swap partner in the swap mentioned above, I made a scarf for my Step-Mom.  Pattern: 22 Little Clouds, by Martina Behm. Yarn: Squeaky Elliot Yarns Squeaky Sock.

Dad got a hat that was not double-knit, in the end.  Pattern: DROPS Colorado Hat  Yarn: Rowan Pure Wool DK

A lot of stuff had been lingering as a result of me not having blocking wires.  I borrowed some from Allison, who was kind enough to lend me hers, and blocked a pile of stuff at once, which resulted in my gift scarf getting finished (for the lady whose flat we stayed in while in Paris), the cowl I made out of handspun in October also getting finished, and the shawl for my mom being made presentable (anybody who’s knit any lace will know that it looks pretty much like a pile of ramen noodles before you block it.)

Pattern: Rill Scarf, by Miriam Felton. Yarn: Yarns Plus 2/10 Hand-Painted Tencel

Pattern: Burnished Leaves, by Chrissy Prange. Yarn: Hand-spun by me. I haven’t worn this yet because it isn’t cold enough here.

I finally sewed on the lace trim for my Paris Souvenir Shawl.  It doesn’t have its own picture for some reason, but that’s it, at the bottom of the Finished Objects pile after my blocking blitz.  Pattern: Grande écharpe Volvic, by La Droguerie, Yarn: provided in the kit by La Droguerie  It’s a strand of mohair with a strand of something glitzy.  It’s super-light, and very soft)

I made a skirt!  It even looks good!  I’ve been meaning to make one of these for years, and was spurred on after I saw a conversation on facebook between two friends of mine (one friend offered to make one for the other.  I should check to see if that ever happened).  I modified the pattern to make it seamless (basically, I calculated how long the diagonal needed to be for a certain length, and proceeded from there). It needs elastic band in the waist, but I did manage to wear it for the greater part of a day, including caroling in public, and I didn’t suffer any wardrobe malfunctions, so it’s likely the elastic ribbon I bought is going to come back to Canada with me, unused.  Pattern: Lanesplitter Skirt by Tina Whitmore.  Yarn: Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball Stärke 6.

I have had the following in my Ravelry queue for years – it’s the Selbu Modern pattern, by Kate Gagnon Osborn.  I had lots more Draper cardigan yarn leftovers, and some green yarn from the hat/scarf combo I brought to work on during the flight out of Canada.  I’m surprised how well the two yarns worked together.  I loved working on this pattern.  Both because the red perfectly matches her coat, and because she’s much cuter than I am, it ended up going to Zebula.  There was still Draper yarn left over, so I made her some mittens to go with it – with the colours reversed because I didn’t have enough green.  No pictures, though.  Just imagine a weirdly shaped mitten, green on red.

I made an Edinburgh souvenir scarf, out of yarn I bought there (at Kathy’s Knits – the store is very nice, with a good selection of Scottish yarn and fiber, and the owner was great with the kids.  I got a skein of yarn and a bag of tweedy fluff which will eventually be spun into some yarn).  Pattern: Lintilla, by Martina Behm (can I just say, I love her patterns!  She’s the queen of interesting garter stitch!)  Yarn: Yarn Pony Big Mustang 600 (the dyer lives in Edinburgh).

I like how it sits.

And, people, I got knitted out!  I stopped for a while, to work on a cross-stitch project, which will get its own post.  But I needed a break, and to plan what to do with the odds and ends that are slowly piling up (ugly afghan?  More hats?).

I have since started a new sweater, which is coming along nicely.  But.  I can NOT buy any more yarn until I have used up what I have on-hand.  All of it.  Because…  tomorrow, we will have left Canada six months ago.  Time to start paring things down again.  Eat Down the Pantry 2014 will be starting soon!  We’re halfway!  More or less.  So, there will be a special UK vs. Canada showdown post tomorrow (ish).  And a cross-stitch + contest post on Friday!  Stay tuned!!

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