Sunday, May 31, 2009

Laura is 30!

Today was Laura's (ReallyandTruly on Ravelry) 30th birthday, and we celebrated by meeting in the Colchester castle park by the duck pond, sitting in the sun, drinking champagne and overeating. Unfortunately, I now have a sun burn and look like a lobster with blond hair, but it was so worth it. I had a blast chilling with Laura, her boytoy, some of her friends I hadn't met before and some knitters from the High Street bar group. The sun was out, the ducks were making babies and it was a beautiful day.
As I mentioned in the last post, I did make her a gift but couldn't post it until today since she has read (not sure if she still does read) here. So here are the promised pictures, I made her an agate necklace and bracelet set with a set of 5 stitch markers to use the leftover beads. They didn't photograph well, but the necklace and bracelet did. She seemed to really them- she wore the bracelet for the rest of the picnic.

That's about it. I'm going to go study some more. I really can't wait for these damn finals to be OVER!

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Ever have one of those days where you wake up with a nasty sore throat, desperately need to do laundry (and then as soon as you walk away from the dryer that you paid 2 pounds for, have someone rip your clothes out, throw them on the floor and stick their own clothes in with the drying time YOU paid for) and then sit down to work on your Aunt's wedding shawl that's wonderful and perfect and finally starting to look like something and realize...over the course of 1 row, you've completely missed out on like 8 YO's, anchoring the beads that are supposed to be "floating" to the left side of the transition chart? I do. I whipped out my magic wand (small crochet hook) and magicked in some YO's, which will be just about perfect after blocking the shawl to within an inch of "hot air balloon" size. Here's a few pictures of my pretty- but don't tell Sheree, mkay? If she decides to check the blog and sees them, that's her own problem. Just don't go telling her the pictures are on the blog (okay Mom and G-ma?). I want her to be at least a little bit surprised.
Harry Potter House Cup: So I'm tired of being like the only knitter in Indianapolis who isn't in on it, so I joined the Harry Potter House Cup group on Ravelry, hoping to be alerted when the fall classes would start. Crazily enough, enough people signed up after the start of the May classes, that the administrators have started a group for Not Quite First Years, and we're allowed to enter classes and sign up for OWLs. And OWL, for all you muggles, is a big project that ordinarilly can't be completed in a month (unless you're the knitting fairy, but she seems to have abandoned ship after the shawl oopsies) and yes...I have "applied" for an OWL and I may sign up for a June class, depending on what the options are. My OWL will be Eunny Jung's Print of the Wave stole that Franklin did a while back, and I plan on starting it approximately 3 minutes after finishing Sheree's shawl. I can't start it now because (a) don't have the yarn yet and (b) needles are stuck in the wedding shawl. But that being said, I think I can do BOTH by July 31st (the wedding is July 17th so I don't have much of a choice, but at the rate I'm going, I'll probably finish it when I'm in Ireland with the family). So that's that. If I complete both lace shawls, finish my 2 pairs of socks, design, knit and publish the Sookie Stackhouse Socks by at least the second episode of True Blood this June, I should either be applauded or locked up in a mental institution, because that's just not healthy. I'm planning on my week of downtime being VERY productive. Moving on.
Laura (reallyandtruly on ravelry) is turning 30 tomorrow! Yay! I've made her a present (and I didn't knit it!) but she has been known to snoop around on this blog, so I won't post pictures of it until tomorrow night after the party or monday morning. I really like how the gift turned out, so let's hope she likes it too! But I'm super excited about the picnic/party in the park, and I just need to figure out what project(s) I should take. I will probably take the shawl if only to show it off and then work on the never-ending red stripey socks I started like 2 months ago. I've just finished the second gusset so the end is in sight, I'm just tired of knitting them. I just want to work on the wedding shawl all day. It's terribly addictive!I guess that's about it. I'm down to less than a week in Colchester, which is sad. This time next week I'll be being a tourist in Dublin with the family, which is fun. I'm really going to miss the Colchester knitters, but I'm really excited to see the Indy knitters again. Just alot of mixed feelings. And then cramming for finals on top of that. Bleh. I'm outta here- have like 11 books to read and 4 days to do it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Oooh la la! Mon blog Parisienne!

I looked at my calendar last Tuesday and realized- I'm running out of time to travel Europe, and really quickly! There were so many places I wanted to see and didn't get around to like Liverpool, Glascow, York, Amsterdam and a bajillion other places, but one place leapt out at me when I was going over places I absolutely HAD to see- Paris. I mean, seriously- what's the point in speaking nearly perfect French and never using it? So I booked the first train out for Wednesday morning. Got to Paris, wandered around with my bags for an hour or two looking for the hotel, found it, grabbed my backpack and was off! My first destination was the Catacombs, which are a series of underground tunnels decorated with the overflowing bones of Paris graveyards. Attractive, eh? Anyhoo, by the time I found them they had closed for the night. Went to the perfume museum, Paris Opera house, and les Galleries Lafayette, and then the Moulin Rouge to check it out, had a glass of wine outside the Moulin Rouge in a cafe and wrote postcards, got flirted with (French men are relentless. I can't tell you how many guys got smacked after they grabbed my skirt after I refused to give them my name/number. Pervs.) Then took myself out to dinner and called it an early night. My hotel wasn't in the best area in Paris (but it was cheap!) so I didn't want to find me way back after dark. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the trip, but the rest can be found on facebook if you've got me as a friend. Enjoy!
Next day: Went back to Catacombs. Sign on the door said closed for French holiday. Guess I won't be seeing those. Went to the Pantheon, where all these famous French people are buried including Victor Hugo, Marie and Pierre Curie (she was Polish but we'll let it slide) Marat, Descartes, Voltaire (oh how I hate you, Voltaire!) and lots of other people. Marie Curie was my favorite though. From there I walked to Notre Dame, where I stood in line for a couple hours with a couple from New Jersey so I could go to the top. Got some cool pictures of the Gargoyles- perhaps a few too many. I could do a whole album of gargoyles. I just find them fascinating. Camera died. Walked around trying to find power adapter to charge my camera, also tried to find La Sorbonne so I could guy a hoodie that would make people think I went there as a student and not a tourist. Settled for a Universite de Paris hoodie because it was cheaper and not pink. Went to la Conciergerie, where Marie Antionette and many other famous prisoners were kept before they met la Guillotine. They have a lovely chapel where Marie Antionette's cell was. After that- La Tour Eiffel and a river cruise, where I was too busy eating an ice cream cone to take many pictures. It was a really good ice cream cone, but I did have to wash my hoodie and jeans after I was done with it since I'm a bit of a messy eater. Called it a night after my river cruise, as it was getting dark and cold and I was covered in chocolate ice cream.
Day three started out with L'Arc de Triomphe done very quickly, and then on to La Musee D'Orsay, which is not as big as the Louvre, but just as cool. It's got a bunch of Monets, Renoirs, Van Goghs, and tons of modern art. The building itself is also amazing, I can't remember what it was before it was a museum, but I learned all about it on the river cruise in French, English and then German. So I should have remembered it, but I didn't. Anyhoo, it was amazing and beautiful and just...yeah. After that I dashed over to the Hotel D'Invalids, where they housed veterans of the Napoleonic wars after they got blown to bits. Napolean's tomb is also there, which was cool. Then realizing that my train left in 3 hours, I headed back to Montmarte, where the Moulin Rouge is. Except I went to a museum and a church instead of a brothel. I went to la Musee de Montmarte, which had alot to say about windmills and of course, the Moulin Rouge. Then I headed over to la Sacre Ceour (which I can never spell right) but you can't take pictures in there. It must have been a Catholic holiday on Friday, because they were having a full service with a full choir and a couple hundred tourists walking around the whole thing. Beautiful church. Truly breathtaking.

Dashed back to the hotel, grabbed my bag, and then ran to the train station and was in Cambridge by dinner time with Alex and Marylyn. Life is good.

The Birfday Post (yes, I spelled it that way on purpose)

I meant to post yesterday, but had a trillion things to do because people who are 21 are very important and busy. Yesterday was my 21st birthday, and I'm now legit to join the Indy pub crawlers! Yay! Too bad I'm on the wrong continent...oh well.
Had a wonderful birthday at Alex and Marylyn's where I shared a b-day party with Alex's 13-year-old grandson, Calum. I don't have a single picture of the entire event, but I have been assured that they are coming. We had a wonderful cookout in wonderful weather, and 3 days later, I am still rocking the sunburn- that's how to tell it was a good party. Calum and I each got our own cakes, his was chocolate with blue icing and mine was green and sparkly sponge cake (yay!) and they were both amazing. I also got a bottle of champagne from Phil and Rachael (because I totally need to drink a bottle of champagne by myself- will save it for Ireland trip NEXT FRIDAY!)
Rushed back to Colchester on Tuesday morning with a slight tummy-ache from too much white wine with dinner, and showered, unpacked, checked e-mail and grabbed my knitting and walked to SnB with my Brit Knitters, and that was nothing short of amazing! I had people buying me drinks (Sara insisted I needed to be sloshed on my b-day, I didn't agree) and I got cards and presents and more cake and birthday shortbread and it was awesome. Awesome. I took a picture of my wonderful gifts, well- most of them. From left to right there's Lucy's Bear Neccesities tencel/merino sock, gifted by Maureen who knows that I love anything in green. Maureen also gifted the cute little yarny samples from the Natural Dye Studio, which are apparently very difficult to get. I am truly honored to have such a rarity in my stash now! The Great Britain tin was gifted my Sally and Ash, and it will probably end up holding either tea or end up holding stashed laceweight in the tea cabinet so I can spread lace and love to part of the house that aren't my stash room. Or to make it look like my stash isn't growing, even though it is. The satin red bag is from Caroline Craftyfox, and it's got a lovely tartan fabric on the inside. It's the perfect size for a pair of socks. She also gave me a little sock keychain, which I forgot to take a picture of since it's already attached to my keys. The purple laceweight is from Laura, who is awesome. The yarn is amazing, and I spooned with it last night. Not really, but I thought about it. The "21" flower is from Louise, who thought I needed a neon flower to announce my birthday. She was so right. I got alot of cards, too, which are in the Great Britain tin.

Since I'm down to my last 2 weeks in Colchester, I started passing out my "thanks for having me" presents, stitch markers that I made because I love to play with beads nearly as much as I love knitting. They also double as needle-threaders, and Louise swears they do laundry, walk the dog and bake cake as well. I think she's giving them too much credit. I do like them though- they fit much larger needles than normal stitch markers and don't affect your gauge in any way.

Since I'm feeling like a giveaway...let's have a little contest, shall we? (How sad is this- I'm so desperate for comments I'm going to give things away so people will leave them!)
The contest is: best knock knock joke. Leave your best knock knock joke and it's answer in the comments below the blog, and the winner will get a nice little set of stitch markers sent to them once I get home. Contest ends...let's's next Friday at noon, Hoosier time?
Ready? Go!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Red lipstick, high heels, and Coach wristlet

this can only mean one thing...I'm going to Paris!Back on Monday! Je t'aime!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Flip-flopping shawls and Gypsy scarves

Now that I've shown the world the beast that is the Noro Swallowtail (and promptly stuck it far away in my suitcase where I won't have to look at it for a month or so), I'm going to show you something else that may or may not turn out hideously. This is my Gypsy scarf, and if it turns out well, I will be giving it to Marylyn this weekend at my (surprise!) birthday party that I'm not supposed to know about. Since I wasn't ready to part with any of my sock yarns, I collected all the red scraps in my mitred blanket stash and started knitting them together. So far it's coming along quite well.It's also got little bits of other colors- there's some varigated rows with red in them and there's a plain baby blue strand...but whatever. I'm just knitting and leaving a tail for the fringe. I'm not even going to make sure they're even- I kind of like them all different lengths! It's wild and I like it- for now. If it turns out badly, it will be dropped off at a charity shop and never mentioned to Marylyn.

I've also decided and changed my mind a hundred times on Sheree's wedding shawl. I think I might have really truly decided this time though. Anne brought her wonderful new purple cashmere Knitwitches Aeolian shawl to the Monday morning knitting group today, and I was smitten. I must make it. I'll just use more neutral beads this time...perhaps a clear sparkly to go with the pale pink? She used clear sparkly, and the result was blingy and classy at the same time. So I'll follow her example and make something that hopefully won't make everyone cringe.

That is all. Almost. I saw Star-Trek this weekend. Despite not knowing a single thing about Star-Trek before going in, I actually enjoyed it. Here are some of the high points:

Harold from "Harold and Kumar go to Whitecastle" whipping out a sword in his awesomely bad yellow polyester spacesuit. Almost took him seriously. Almost.

Simon Pegg as Scotty. That man can beam me up any day.

The bad guy wore a biker jacket. Seriously. Leather with fringe. So bad it's awesome.

The costumes: love that over-darted polyester future-version of the 1960's look. Was halfway expecting to see some future granny squares hiding in a corner. The hair was also quite awesome.

The guy who played Captain Kirk. Yum. Even all beaten up. He appeals to the girls who like asshole guys even though we know they're going to break our hearts.

And that's a wrap. Knit long and prosper!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I've created a monster

And I created this beast out of Noro Kureyon sock, a Swallowtail pattern, and E-beads, three ordinarily beautiful things that put together are just....bad. I had such a good time making it too, it really is a shame it's so ugly.
It wasn't a total loss, however, and I did learn several new things, and a project that forces me to learn new things is quite high on my list.
Here's some of the things I learned from the hideous beast.
1. Nupping. Just because I didn't do any nupps, doesn't mean I didn't learn them. And I agree with Franklin, they are evil. I would have done them but I have left my good lace needles at home, and had I decided to nupp with dull needles, the project would be (a) frogged - which might have been a good thing in hindsight or (b) in hibernation, making me feel guilty and taking up the needles that I need to do Sheree's wedding shawl.

2. A new way of beading without counting how many beads I would need and stringing them all on before casting on. While this method is fine for smaller projects like hats, I couldn't imagine stringing beads along over thick and thin yarn for 400 or so yards. It wouldn't have made it over some of the thicker spots. So I Mcgyvered a way to bead involving a sharp sewing needle, a bead, and dental floss. I won't try to explain it because I'll lose you and you'll think I'm nuts, so I'll just take pictures next time I do it and post them step by step.

3. Elastic Cast off. Takes forever, but I'm sure it will come in handy. Like on toe-up socks or top-down hats. Oh yes...the possibilities are endless when you're not doing it over 400 stitches.

4. How a triangular shawl works (not the wearing of it, I still haven't figured that one out) but how it starts in the very middle of the very top and increases 4 per row. Brilliant! I love it. I wonder what other projects it can be applied to...

I think that's it...I might come up with something else I learned from it. What have you guys learned lately from your knitting?

Friday, May 15, 2009


As you may know, my days in merry old Colchester are numbered. (That number, to be exact, is 20, and since we're talking numbers, I'm also 11 days from 21, which is just scary!) So on Tuesday at SnB, Frances, one of the knitters, gave me the most wonderful going away gift. She both crochets and knits, but I've never seen ANYONE crochet like her, and she made me a purple and green scarf out of Freedom Spirit (which goes perfectly with my hoodie of the same yarn) and a breathtaking cotton beaded bag. I had no idea people could actually make these, and it hurts my fingers thinking about all the beading she did for this bag! It's amazing and it's the most beautiful hand-made gift I've ever received. I'll love it forever.

That Tuesday night was only made better by finally finishing the birthday stole, which I have named "Spoons". I've had several people suggest the name Heather for it, since the yarn is a wonderful purpley heathered color, but I know a girl named Heather, and I don't like her that much. So I'm calling it "Spoons." That's not entirely random, as I think the chalice lace pattern does look like spoons (see top picture for better spoonage) and "birthday stole" is just boring. Plus it's fun to say that I was spooning my knitting for nearly 5 feet. It's still unblocked, and it will probably remain that way until I get home home to Indianapolis on June 13. But it's warm and wonderful and I love it. Thursday (yesterday) morning, I had my feminism final, which wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. I celebrated the end of my feminism course by putting on lots of makeup, a dress and high heels and going out to see a chick flick. I saw Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, which was okay. It was cinematic comfort food, and it was probably all my brain could handle after 4 hours of writing. The movie was cute, but Matthew McConahey (that's probably not even close) and his hair were bothering me. It was entirely too short, and he was too tanned. I know that's his thing, but if the movie takes place in the middle of winter, he should probably look like he didn't spend that morning surfing on the pacific coast. Just my 2 cents on it.
And then there's the Swallowtail. I'm really enjoying knitting it, but I'm suddenly not in love with the almost-finished project. The colors are just like POW POW POW and I used royal blue E-beads instead of knitting nupps since I don't have my good lace needles here, which is hardly subtle. I've got about 10 rows left until the end, and since I've got Wuthering Heights on audiobook, that won't be a big deal. I will probably finish it tonight. So I love knitting it, I loved beading it, but I don't think I'll ever use it. Hopefully someone will say, "wow that's amazing, wherever did you get such a thing," at which point I will just hand it over. I enjoyed making it and the yarn was super cheap, and that's all that matters, right?
It's Ravelry name is "Bollywood Shawl" because the colors remind me of classic Bollywood costumes, which are amazing. It WAS named Jai Ho, which is the coolest Indian dance song ever, but when I told Lucy this on Tuesday, she said, "like the Pussy Cat Dolls song?" No. Name change. And knowing me it will probably change 3 more times before I finish it.
And now, back to the business plan!

Monday, May 11, 2009


So...I've just taken my first English final, and it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. That being said, it wasn't exactly a fun experience, either. I wrote 14 pages over 3 hours and my hand is threatning to fall off. Three to go. But you're probably curious about what I did in London this weekend, and not about my Brit/Goth Lit final. Can't blame you.

I headed out Friday morning and was in London by noon, and checked into the hotel and wearing my tourist clothes by 1. First stop was iKnit, because Nadia had requested some needles...which they don't carry. I was really hoping to find some of those too, and I was so dissapointed I bought yarn instead. I've been buying stuff that I've never seen before in hopes of...having something that the other shops don't. The pink and green stuff is called Easy Knits Bamboo Mix, and it's knitting up wonderfully. The colorway, only available at iKnit, is "Enough is Enough"...which to me sounds more like various shades of screaming red, and not a springy green and pink. The pre-balled yarn is a German yarn called Schoppel Wolle Zauberball and it's so pretty it might take me years to get around to knitting it. The colours are awesome...I must get some more.
Next stop was Harrods to get some Very British Blog Prizes that I didn't pay up on over Easter Break. They're coming girlies...just a little while longer! So far I've got one for Laurie, Janet and Jaclyn, if I'm forgetting someone, let me know! They're just little presents, because let's face it, students=broke. I looked at shoes at Harrods because they're my weakness, but didn't buy any. I need to go shoe shopping today though, my excersize kick has left me in need of new tennis shoes as I wore through my Sketchers. I've started buying all my assigned reading in Audiobooks (and bought Sookie on Audiobook and will wait until the paperback comes out to read it again) and I've been able to listen and walk (or listen and knit when it's dark or cold out) and have lost nearly 8 lbs so far! Anyhoo...back to London.

Next stop was Fulham Broadway to hit up the Chelsea stadium for a graduation present for Skippy. I didn't find anything that he would like (that I was willing to pay for) so I kept walking and headed down to Socktopus in search for a US4 circular needle for my Noro Swallowtail (they only had them in Addi Turbos in iKnit and I just don't want to pay that much for a needle) and got to Socktopus and found this:
Dang. By that time my dad had arrived in London and was headed to the hotel. I decided to go back and get ready so we wouldn't miss the show, I booked us tickets to see Chicago. It was okay. I loved the movie and the soundtrack, so I guess I had expected more from the show. It was still good, but we should have gone to see something else. On the way back to the hotel, I got some quick shots of Parliament, Big Ben, and the London Eye. Then we got ready, had a curry for dinner and headed to the show. I hadn't slept well the night before so I was ready to call it a night, but Dad insisted we go to a proper pub for a proper pint, so we did. Then we called it a night.
The next morning we went to the World War II museum thing where Churchill and the gang did all of their planning. It was mostly underground and it had been closed off after WWII and reopened in the late 80's by Maggie Thatcher. It was really cool. I didn't get any pictures though. We had to walk back quite quickly, there was a parade or something getting ready to start and we didn't want to be stuck in the middle of it, so we nearly ran back to the hotel, but stopped for a couple photo ops on the Millenium Bridge and the road next to the County Hall (where we stayed). We saw fire eaters, sword swallowers, musicians, human statues, Captain Jack Sparrow and a mermaid knitting her own hair. This might have been the first time on record that I went anywhere without my knitting, and when we saw her I reached for the Noro Swallowtail but then, panic-sticken, remembered that I'd left it in the room! NOOOO!!!!! So she lent me one of her strands of hair to knit for the picture.

After that we got on the train at King's Cross and headed to St. Neots to visit Alex and Marylyn for the day. We ate and drank entirely too much, and I think I put on every ounce I had lost over 24 hours. Not pretty. I headed back to Colchester yesterday evening and Dad went on to Paris for work. I'm really glad he came and got me out of Colchester for the weekend. I'm really glad that the rest of the family will be coming over with him in a couple weeks. Yay!
So that's about it. I'm going to head to town with Wuthering Heights on my Ipod in search of a charity shop to drop off my too-small clothes and books from Gothic Lit and still in search of a US 4 circular needle. Then I can finally get back to work on the Swallowtail.