Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Things can change so quickly! One second you are reading ALA Direct (yes, I am a library dork, why do you ask?) being depressed about the lack of activity and the next second you are exchanging messages with someone who might bring about a huge change in your life. Everything can entirely swap around in a split-second. We'll have to see where this goes. . .

Oh, did you see this article about the Constable sketch being found in the British Library? I don't know about you but our patrons don't leave that kind of stuff in their books.

Mystery Stole

I've been so close to finishing this stole for so long now! I was finished with the last RS row and just about to do the last WS row when I saw a mistake on the wing join 6 or 8 rows back. If it had been a small mistake, I would have left it but, no, it had to be fairly major. I had somehow twisted the live stitches that I was purling together with the wing section. This resulted in a bump and it looked funny. For a solution, I put it down for a while and started the other beaded shawl. Real project commitment, huh?

This morning, I picked the mystery stole back up in order to finish it. I frogged 8 rows, corrected the mistake, and knit away happily. Over my lunch break, I was able to get to the middle of the 8th (the last WS row) when I had to go back to work. I am *this* close (holding forefinger and thumb very close together) to being able to bind off and I don't think I can stand it! I'm going to try to pick up some welding rods tonight so I can block the stole when it is finished. This should be interesting because I am all dressed up for work in a skirt and heels. Want to bet that I will get some funny looks from the people in the hardware store?

Oh, I'll start adding pictures again to this blog sooner or later. I just haven't had pictures to show recently. Sorry!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Temptation . . .

Have you ever worked on a project that you absolutely love but suddenly, midway through it, you start feeling a little distracted like you want to start something else? I love the shawl that I am working on because it's pattern is simple and yet lovely. It also has beads and the yarn color is so subtle. I'm probably 40% finished with the pattern and still trucking along but suddenly I want to start so many different projects. Ravelry is also not helping matters any. I took pictures of most of my stash and wrote down most of my WIPs. You can also add projects you want to do into your queue. Seeing all of that fun yarn again and looking at everything I have to finish just makes me want to start something new!

In other news, I've recently rediscovered podcasts. I know, I know, behind the times. I used to listen to one (on a non-knitting subject!) but then got bored with it so I unsubscribed. Last week, there was a discussion on Ravelry (can you tell I am addicted?) about favourite podcasts and I decided to take another look (or would that be listen?) to them. They can be so educational! I've really been learning a lot from the various shows. It's also helped me catch up on my Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me! episodes because I never seem to have it together enough to listen to the show on Saturdays when it is on the radio. The podcasts I'm listening to are:
  • Lime and Violet
  • Stash n' Burn
  • Socks in the City
  • Knit Picks' Podcast
  • Cast On
  • Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me
Any other suggestions?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I feel like an idiot

So I forgot that I had my PayPal account tied to a hotmail account which I don't check frequently. This makes it a little difficult when people try to contact you via your PayPal information and you don't check that email more than once a month. I found out a couple of days ago that I won a book, The Knitters Journal, in Claudia's MS Ride Raffle at the end of June. That is almost 2 months ago! I feel so silly! I contacted Claudia and Julie (the woman who generously donated it) and luckily the book is still available. So now I am looking forward to that in the mail. Thanks, Claudia and Julie!

I promised myself that I wouldn't dive into Cat Bordhi's new book until I got a couple of projects off of the needles. That resolve is getting harder and harder. The book is amazing. She takes sock knitting and completely turns it on its ear. Completely. Amazing. Kim is going to be having a sock club every 2nd and 4th Friday from 3 pm until closing because of this book. Four hours of socks! *sigh*

How about the projects I am working on? Well, I'm on the last 2 rows of the mystery stole. Other people's pictures of the finished stole are just amazing. I wasn't sure what I thought of the wing or an asymmetrical stole before but now that I've seen the pictures, I love it. They really look nice. I guess that is the beauty of lace; something you think looks strange pre-blocking is suddenly the most beautiful thing you've ever seen once it is blocked. Anyway, I've sworn to get this stole finished before moving on to the next project.

The other project was a simple pair of footies from remnants of my TOFUtsies yarn that has been hanging around since my Anastasia socks. Those took no time at all to finish. I think I was just trying to get my projects list on Ravelry to be longer.

Now I am working on another beaded lace shawl. I think there is something addictive about lace and beads. Lace on its own is a dangerous substance but combine it with beads and stand back! :)

Friday, August 17, 2007

"Did you ever see a turkey?"

Guess what my family woke up to early this morning. . . . That's right, a turkey. A wild turkey. On the porch. I don't think the cat will ever be the same.

It looks like she got in by pushing through the screen.

It also doesn't look like she was there long though she did lose some feathers. Poor thing was probably so stressed that she was molting. It probably didn't help that she was trying to get out by flying at the screens and the outside door. Dad went around to the outside of the house and let her out. She took off flying the second she got out the door.

The cat was so frightened of the noise coming from the porch that she wouldn't even go near the (closed) door until she was sure that the turkey was gone. Now she is acting all brave.

She doesn't want to hear anything about being a scaredy cat. And now, a final picture of a really pretty wing feather.

The funny thing is, I kept thinking that the feather color looked a whole lot like my Mystery Stole color!

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Ravelry. Wow. I haven't had much chance to play with the site yet but I can already see why people are going nuts over it. It makes me want to go right home and inventory everything in my stash, in the WIP basket, and all of my books. It is totally addictive and a wonderful web 2.0 site. I'm bookwormknitting on there.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Yes, there has been knitting

This is the bag that I got at Covent Garden Market. I have to state again my love of it. I love the pressed flowers and their colors really makes the design "pop." I've been using it as a knitting bag for my mystery stole.

Speaking of the mystery stole. . . . I used the week between arriving back in the States and going back to work as knitting time. I frogged the Cherry Tree Hill stole because I had made a number of mistakes on it and couldn't leave them. After frogging, the stole just flew along. I was able to get at least 1 chart finished per day. This Friday is the last clue so I wanted to be ready for it. I started on the 6th clue yesterday so will definitely be ready for Friday.

I can't wait to block it! I might make the black Alpaca stole a symmetrical stole. I followed the instructions for the grey Cherry Tree Hill stole and am curious how the finished asymmetrical stole will look.

Oh! I forgot to say that I got more fun shoes in England. Clarks is a wonderful, wonderful English shoe store. We do have Clarks shoes in America but, in the stores there, they have much more selection. These shoes are perfect for work because they are closed toe but have nice heels.

I've been riding up a storm as well as knitting up one. Java was "thrilled" to see me. I think he had thought I had disappeared for a while. He never gives up hope, that one. I'm also starting to ride a family friend's horse. She is the funniest old mare. Brandy has to be 25-30 but she is still such a spunky girl. The owner recently had hip surgery so she doesn't want to be riding a horse that will be acting up. I'm hoping the mare will calm down with regular work. Last night, the only time that she acted up was where the owner and her husband could see it. Horses!

Lazy blogger

OK, I've been really lazy about updating this blog in the last couple of weeks. The last week that I was in England was so busy and then I have no excuse about last week. Just pure laziness. Oh, well.

Last week in England: I'm a little fuzzy on the details (how quickly we forget!) but I'll give it a go. I got back to the dorms on Monday the 30th from the mini break. It was like returning home after a long vacation. Once in London, I knew exactly where I needed to go and how to get there. Everybody trickled in Monday.

On Tuesday the 31st, the class went to the National Art Library which is housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum. There, we got to see some really fun book art including my favourite book ever, Drawings in a Nutshell. It was a little book of drawings (of nuts) inside of a walnut shell. So very cute!
After the museum, Rachel and I went to get Indian Food near Hyde Park. Yumm, Indian food. That is one of the things I am really missing from England (and I didn't even eat that much there!).

The next day, the class got up early and headed off to Greenwich by boat. We got there early for our appointment to view the Caird Library in the Royal Maritime Museum so people walked into town to get breakfast and caffeine. The library there had some fascinating objects. Here is a picture of the group looking at some things.

We got to see the naval log of Blackbeard's capture, letters from Lord Nelson to his wife and to his mistress (the one to his wife told her the marriage was over), pictures of the rescue of the Titanic survivors and the iceberg that sunk it, a medicine book from the HMS Bounty that was bound in the sail of the Bounty after the mutiny, a book printed in Antarctica, and much more. It was fascinating to be able to hold such historical documents. I loved seeing the type of things a maritime library might hold.

After the library visit, some of us made our way up to the Royal Observatory. Let me tell you, it is on top of a large hill. But we persevered and made it to the top. We even got to see the red ball (shown here) that, everyday at 1, rises and falls to mark time. You know, of course, that Greenwich is the place from which we get Greenwich Mean Time and is also where the Prime Meridian is located.

Speaking of the Prime Meridian, here is me (and knitting) at the Prime Meridian.

The sock had a fun time hanging out on the line, too.

After coming back down the hill, a group of us went to a pub for lunch. Afterwards, I wandered around looking at the town and the shops a little bit and went back to Waterloo by bus. It was interesting to arrive by boat and leave by land. You definitely got to see a different view of everything.

The next day our class visited the Barbican Library, a public library located in the square mile of the City of London.
I'm so glad that we finally had a chance to visit a public library. The librarians who guided us around were so very nice and full of interesting information. They even took us down to the staff area for a tea break. I think tea breaks should be brought back to America. We should also bring the English tea here because it is so much better. OK, tea praising is over now.

After the library tour, Angie and I rushed over to the theatre where Mary Poppins was playing in order to get matinée tickets. We were lucky to get some within the price range we were willing to pay. If you get a chance to see this play, DO IT. The set was AMAZING and magical. The acting was wonderful and the songs were so much fun. They expanded more on the movie. Someone told me that it was more like the book. (I didn't even know there was a book!) The only annoying part of the afternoon were the kids behind us. They kept kicking the back of our seats, talking, and rustling crisp packages. The one hit me in the back of the head a couple of times. At least the play was so good that they didn't detract too much from the experience.

That evening (I think?) Carrie, Haylie, Cortni, Angie, Stephanie, Wes (Stephanie's husband) and I went to the Sherlock Holmes Pub.

The next morning, the class went to the Guildhall Library which in the same area as the Barbican. The Guildhall has an amazing collection about London, books about it, prints, pictures, everything! I was able to find a book about London's fires for Dad.

That afternoon (I think?), Cortni, Angie, Stephanie, Carrie and I went to lunch in a pub. Carrie went back to meet a friend and the rest of us continued on to Covent Garden Market. I found the coolest bag EVER and some other gifts for people. I really love that bag. Love it. I'll post a picture of it in my next entry. We all found some fun stuff in Covent Garden but didn't have nearly enough time to poke through every store and booth there. Lack of time seemed to be a common theme for that last week.

Everyone in the program had to go to a Practicum over at Kings College where we had the Reception the first week. In the Practicum, every professor stood up and said what his or her class had done this month. Then a student got up and told about the final project they were going to be doing.

Thankfully, the Practicum didn't last as long as we thought it would and we had time to take this picture before going out to celebrate the end of the class and Mandy's birthday.

Mandy, Rachel, and Meredith had dinner over at the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese (can I just say that I love that name of the pub?) and then were going to be going over to the Blackfriars Pub. We went to the Blackfriars in the hope of meeting them there and getting something to eat. Turns out the kitchen at the Blackfriars closes after lunch. We hung out there for a little while hoping to meet up with the others but then decided to go find something to eat. As we left, who should we run into? Mandy, Rachel and Meredith! Everyone decided to head over to Doggetts, a pub along the river where a group of us had eaten the first day because someone remembered that the kitchen stayed open late. Here is a picture on the Blackfriars bridge along the way from the Blackfriars pub to Doggetts.

We got there minutes before the kitchen closed and were lucky enough to get our orders in. We sat outside on the terrace, had dinner, drank, and laughed the night away. Once the terrace closed, we moved inside until the pub closed around midnight.

The library science people were lucky enough not to have an exam the next day and I felt really bad that Haylie and Chris did.

I wandered around London the next morning because it was the last real day that I would be there. I ended up seeing the Changing of the Guard at the Horse Guards Palace.

After the Changing, I went into the Household Cavalry Museum. It just opened on July 9 so I was very happy to be able to visit it. I found it very interesting to learn more about the history of the Horse Guards and the individual soldiers.

That evening, we all went to a final dinner at the Wellington pub. I've gotten to know the Steak and Ale Pies of English pubs very well. I should have taken tasting notes. Anyway, we had a final dinner and pint at the Wellington. It was a bittersweet thing. I hated thinking that it was the last time we would all be together. It is funny but we really got to know each other this past month. I miss everyone horribly.

After dinner, I went to meet Mandy, Rachel and Meredith at the Cheshire Cheese. That place made ME feel tall! I loved it!

It was rebuilt after the Great Fire of London in 1666. The inside was a little bit like a rabbit warren, full of twists and turns. Definitely a building with personality.

The next morning, I woke up early to see everyone off on the buses (and because everyone was making so much noise in the courtyard!). Stephanie and I were there to say goodbye to everyone. She said it was like what she imagined sending your kid off to the first day of kindergarten must be like.

I had a little (ha!) time until I had to catch the train to Heathrow so I tried to visit a couple more places that I had missed on Saturday. I finally got to take a picture of this statue on Haymarket St. I had seen it on a bus ride earlier in the month but wasn't fast enough to get a picture then.

Then I wandered by Piccadilly Circus and happened to catch this picture of the Eros statue.

Talk about timing :)

I caught the train to Heathrow (note to self: pack lighter!) without much difficulty. Got there in plenty of time. Because I am on the terrorist watch list (no joke), once the screener saw the note on more boarding pass, I got taken straight through the long line to a special screening place. The extra security screening did have an advantage in that I didn't have to wait in the long line. There were plenty of open seats on the plane home and I got an entire row in Business class to myself.

The problem with the flight home occurred once I reached Chicago. Weather delays and cancellations were causing everything to get backed up and there was no way a person flying standby was going to get on a plane. So, coordinating with Mom, I went to a hotel for the night and went back to the airport in the morning. (I had been up for 24 hours by the time I finally got to bed. A very long day.) Again, the extra security whipped me through the security line. I was able to get a flight home to Columbus and was VERY happy to be back home.

Whew, congratulations for making it through this very long post. I'll leave you with another group picture.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


I'm back home now. I got back on Monday night but have been working on my school blog and haven't updated this one. If you are interested, that blog is here. It is much more wordy and technical than this personal one but hopefully the pictures are pretty. Those posts give a lot more information about the places we visited.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


I think I am going to go through withdrawl. Many hours of sitting without being able to knit. AHHHHHHHH! :)

I've made it to Heathrow, checked in, and am now waiting for my gate for the 15.40 Chicago flight to be announced. (And I was able to get business class again.) Whew, what a relief.

As many of you might know, security has definitely been tightened at Heathrow. Unfortunately for those knitters and crocheters out there, this means no yarn fun. :( Oh, well, I have deck of cards with which I will drive my fellow passengers crazy. Or maybe I can write drafts of my blogs for class. If I get really ambitious, I will start making outlines for the papers. Stop laughing hysterically.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

It never ceases to amaze me. . .

. . . what you might see out the dorm room window. Now this statement could sometimes make for a very interesting/scary story. Today, however, it is not a complaint/rant about the annoying undergrads. No, it is a story about a little street in Waterloo and Guy Ritchie. (Well, it is not much of a story because I didn't actually look out the window.) But apparently they were filming for his next movie in the street behind the Stamford St. Apartments. (Why in the world they would choose that street, I don't know.) Stephanie and her husband, Wes, got a picture of him. None of the rest of us paid any attention just assuming that they were doing something weird behind the dorms again. Let this be a lesson to you, always look.

Back to writing school blogs and I will update this blog later. I've been here 2 hours and only gotten 2 posts done. Grrrrr.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


I've been totally slacking recently! For some reason whenever I get into the computer lab, no work actually gets done. For my class, we have to do a reflective journal in blog form so I have been doing those posts recently and it just tires you out doing all of those posts! OK, now I will stop being a slacker and tell you a little bit about Scotland and my mini break.

**after a 30 minute break/distraction, back to blogging**

First off, a picture from our waiting in line for Harry Potter at Piccadilly Circus the night of the 20th. Back row, left to right: Stephanie, Cortni and Meagan. Front row: Carrie and me.

Now, to Edinburgh! Recognize this? It is the Scott Memorial on Prince St. in Edinburgh. Prince St. has some lovely shopping (where I found a pair of heels for £5!).

I was seriously in love with the rooms in Edinburgh. They made the rooms in Stamford St. seem like slum apartments. I seriously could have written an ode to the pillows.

Our housing was near Holyrood Park which is where Arthur's Seat is located. One morning, a couple of us walked up it. The views of the city were amazing!

We also walked right by/over Holyrood Palace.

The socks had a great time hanging out in some really nice parks.

I went to a couple of knitting shops but didn't *gasp* find anything that I really liked. HK Handknit is a cute little store but I guess I wasn't in a shopping mood because nothing really grabbed me.
Oh, yeah, in Edinburgh we did class stuff :) We went to the National Library and National Archive of Scotland and the Writers' Museum which focuses on Scottish writers. We had a very interesting speaker at the National Library who gave us a little background information on the library itself then told us more about the John Murray exhibit which was recently set-up. If you ever have the chance, this is a great exhibit to visit. It takes the traditional museum display and turns it on its ear. I loved it. There are no signs to read in the displays, just items and manuscripts. Instead, there are touchscreens in front of the displays which allow you to choose about which item in the display you want more information. I found myself looking at the items a lot more than I normally do in museums. I'll include a sketch I did of one of the displays once I get home and have access to a scanner.

The National Archive was interesting because we got to see documents like the first written reference (or at the least the first one held in the archives there) to whiskey and a letter from Mary, Queen of Scots, to her mother. So much history!

I have to say that I love Edinburgh and Scotland. This is my second visit there and I would definitely go back again. The people are friendly and you can find so many nooks and crannies to the city.

After the Writers' Museum on Wednesday morning, we were free to leave for the mini-break. Because I didn't have any firm plans, I decided to stay in our housing in Edinburgh another night because it was already paid for and I could get a full breakfast in the morning at the cafeteria. Full English breakfasts can keep you going for hours! So on Thursday morning, I left for my mini break.

Do you remember that I said I would go to the Lakes then on to Lancaster? Well, I did do that in a way. I got to Windermere and it was pouring with rain. Call me a fair-weather traveller but I really didn't want to get completely drenched. So I hopped back on the train and kept going south to Lancaster. It was fun being back where I studied before. It felt like home. I instantly knew where I was going and kept seeing familiar places. It was funny seeing the things that had changed and what had stayed the same. I had a wonderful evening though the B&B where I stayed was above the railroad tracks so that got a little old. I got a takeaway dinner and ate it up at the castle.

I also visited the university while I was at it. Then I proceeded to do my foolish "oh, it's not that far" routine and took a footpath into town from the university. Why haven't I learned yet?

The next morning, I headed off to York. Again, a second visit there for me and I liked it just as much the second time around. I stayed in the York Backpackers Hostel right near the train station and was lucky enough to get one of the last female beds left. After dropping my extremely heavy bags off, I went off to explore the town. Here is the York Minster,

a picture of a fun pub sign (baaaaaa),

and a picture of the Shambles. OK, I grant you, it isn't the best picture ever. You see in the background how the tops of the buildings seem to lean toward each other? Well, they actually do. The upper floors are actually wider than the lower floors. Just imagine, these are what all cities used to look like. In many places, people in buildings across the street from each other could pass things from window to window by just putting their hands out.

In the Shambles, I just happened to come across a yarn shop. I swear, I hadn't looked up any yarn shops in York. It must have been the yarn fumes calling me.

This yarn came home with me. I love the greens! Now I just have to find a pattern for it. . . .
I love wandering through York. It is such a fun city and the old part is so walkable. I also walked all around the old medieval walls which are about 1.9 miles. Now, this probably would have been a good idea if I hadn't walked so much in Edinburgh and if I hadn't had my brilliant plan of walking so far in Lancaster. At this point, my left leg muscles were staging a revolt and causing me to lurch around like something out of a horror film. It was definitely a relief to head back to the hostel and spend a quiet evening writing postcards (finally). I would have liked to go on a brewery tour but I really don't think my leg would have held out :(

OK, now I am up to Saturday. I woke up, packed up and headed out towards Cambridge and Newmarket for some horse racing. Well, things did not go as planned. I got into Cambridge later than I had expected. I kept going up to different hostels and B&Bs and no one had any openings. It was very frustrating and I was hauling around my heavy backpack, purse and tote bag full of yarn. I ended up heading to Newmarket without figuring out any housing in Cambridge. When I got off the train in Newmarket, I headed in the wrong direction for 15 minutes then had to walk back and head in the right direction. Got to the tourist place at 4.02 and they closed at 4. The Horseracing Museum closed then, too. I couldn't find a room anywhere. Needless to say, I wasn't having a good day. But then these wonderful people came to my rescue.

David and Susan are wonderful, wonderful people and I don't think they realized how supremely grateful I was to stay with them. They are friends of my second cousin (once removed?) and I was going to stay with them on Sunday night but they let me come a day early to stay on Saturday night, too. So my Saturday wasn't a complete wash-out/mire of despair.

On Sunday, we went to their friends' farm to see the friends' young colt. He is going to be a very nice horse. Good confirmation and lots of spunk.

That afternoon, we went to a show jumping event that the daughter of the friends was competing in. I really liked talking with her and her mom. It was so nice to be able to talk horses with someone and to watch all of the competetors. The one class had 60 entries! Jemma (I know I am spelling this wrong) rode 3 of her horses in the show.

It was a lovely day with sunny weather and a really nice venue. Greta, you should have seen some of the cross country jumps! I took pictures of some of the tire jumps so we could build one of our own.

I left David and Susan's the next day to return to London. Their neighbour was going into town and was able to drop me off at the train station and 5 minutes later I got on the train to London. Once I got back to the Underground, it was such a relief. It was like I was home and, again, felt like I knew where I was going. Everyone else felt the same way when we compared mini-break stories.

There has been some knitting (some, ha!) between my last knitting post and this one. I finished up the Panda Cotton socks that were having such fun in Edinburgh. Do you see the little bit of yarn at the top of the sock? Yeah, that is all that was left of the ball. Talk about cutting it close! Funny enough, the other ball had plenty but I really didn't want to have to join yarn for the last 5 stitches of the bind off. They are comfy and squishy and I am very happy that I frogged the first attempt to reknit them on larger needles.

I finally finished the one pair of Kool-aid socks. You have to remember that I was knitting these on 2.0 mm needles. That is really small and I really don't like to do ribbing. Why I chose to do a ribbed sock on such small needles is a mystery even to me. I'm not sure that I like the pooling but I am very happy to have them done so I will overlook it.

Don't they look happy surrounded by other orange stuff?

OTN: A pair of Austermann Step socks. Once again, I have to say that I love the way the socks fly off the needles with this yarn. I cast on for the toes on Sunday morning and turned the heels today. That is without knitting all day Sunday and only a little on Monday. Love it! Here is a picture of the socks at the Prime Meridian. I think they had a good time (ha!).

I will have to write more about the places I have gone this week a little later. I've somehow been in the computer lab for over 2 hours and only accomplished this post and reading my email even though I had a whole "to-do" list. Where does the time go?