Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Getting back to it

Just for the sake of getting back into the habit of blogging, here's a little post. I can hardly believe it's been nearly two whole months since my last entry; I'm so negligent! Many thanks to those of you who kept checking in now and then.

What have I been doing since May 7th? Work's been extremely, so I probably saved my limited readership much boredom reading about work complaints, and a lot of my weekend days leading up to the Moonwalk were spent training, walking for miles and miles all around Edinburgh and the Lothians. The Moonwalk was two weeks ago and was a success (i.e. I finished with no ill effects and raised lots of money for breast cancer research). There's one photo on Flickr of my cupcake-themed bra. Many more were taken, but they're not especially flattering, so I'm sparing your eyes.

I can't think what else has happened of note. Nothing, probably. If I think of things, I'll write about them -- promise!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Mom's Rising

Listening to Radio 4's Woman's Hour on Monday morning, I heard some horrifying facts about women's employment rights in the United States (click on the link to listen). It's ridiculous that the wealthiest and one of the most developed countries in the world should be comparable in this regard to countries like Lesotho and Papua New Guinea. It's made me realise how lucky I am to work in the UK as a young woman and is certainly something to take into account when considering a future career move to the US.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Chris and I finally saw Volver on DVD last night. I really enjoyed it, but Chris thought it was weird, overly melodramatic and not Pedro Almodovar's best (he particularly disliked the long face and rolling eyes of Sole but appreciated Raimunda's cleavage). I'll grant that it wasn't the best of Almodovar (Talk to Her is), and there's no way Penelope Cruz actually did the singing for her role, but it was still good, and better than a lot of films I've seen recently. All the reds and greens were stunningly vibrant, and I loved Raimunda's skirts and tight cardigans, reminding me of aspects of both Amelie and Chocolat.

We also saw March of the Penguins earlier in the week (we're way behind in our movie-watching). How flipping cute were those babies learning to walk on top of their mamas' feet? However, we both enjoyed the bonus DVD feature focusing on the experience of the two French men filming in Antarctica better. Amazing!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Sick Saturday

I've come down with a cold just at the start of a three-day weekend. My head aches, my throat is scratchy and my nose is runny and Chris is noisily chopping a few inches off the depth of his enormous desk, which doesn't help the sore head situation. I had to take work home this weekend in order to meet some deadlines, too, so I'm pretty fed up. However, the sun is shining and I've got new sandals on, so I might take a small walk once my latest aspirin takes effect.

Since I don't feel like doing much else, I've gone back to knitting my pale blue Flair swing coat, which I hadn't touched since before going to Barcelona. At this rate, it might be finished by the end of the summer.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Getting into my stride(s)

Summer shoe fever has struck! I bought a much-coveted pair of turquoise Birkenstock Madrid sandals at lunchtime today from a little boutique on Broughton Street called Bliss. I had my eyes on them last summer, but couldn't justify buying them. Now I can, and my lust has been fulfilled. (I planned to link to them on their website, but they don't seem to offer them online in turquoise anymore. I got them just in time!)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Kate Moss at Topshop

I went into Topshop at lunch today and saw the new Kate Moss collection for the first time. It was underwhelming, to say the least. There was one dress that was quite cute on the hanger (the cream-shot-with-gold muscle back dress), and which I would have worn when I was thinner and a teenager, but which wouldn't flatter me at all now, and when I just looked at the website and saw Kate modelling it, I realised it was horrid even on her. Stink! Other items in the collection included a mustard and black pinstriped fitted waistcoast, matching hotpants, sailor-style hotpants, a waistcoat covered in metal coins, and a variety of plain cotton vests/tank tops. Nice...

However, I did buy a cute pair of brown gladiator sandals for cheaps (outwith the Kate Moss collection) that I foresee myself wearing all summer long. Yay!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Name the Fraggles

Who, from memory alone, can remember the names of each of the five main Fraggles in Fraggle Rock? I could only remember Red, but I loved that show. I'm appalled with myself.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Twelve miles

As training for the MoonWalk on June 16th, my teammates and I walked from Cramond to Musselburgh on Saturday. It took just over three hours and afterwards we treated ourselves a delicious lunch of cheeseburgers and ice cream sundaes at Luca's in Musselburgh. Surprisingly, it wasn't all that difficult and, although I was knackered on Saturday evening, I'm not even sore today. Fantastic! More long-distance walking to come in a couple of weeks.

Addendum: Oddly enough, I got sunburnt only on the right side of my face and neck. We were walking more or less directly west to east along the coast, so my right side was directed south for three hours from 11am to 2pm, but I never realised it would make such a noticeable difference when it came to UV exposure. Weird.

Homage to Catalonia

I've been back from Barcelona for a few days now, but haven't quite got back into the swing of posting yet. We had a lovely relaxing time in Barcelona, with beautiful weather and lots of cerveza, cava, ice cream and tapas. It's certainly up there as one of the most stunning cities I've ever visited (the history, the architecture, the museums, the palm trees!) and the public transport systems were very clean and impressive. I must go back and revisit it in the near future because there was so much to see and do and four days simply wasn't long enough. My recommendations: El Xampanyet cava bar down the street from the Picasso Museum (drink the yummy xampanyet (the local cava) and the sardine tapas), the Gaudi-designed Casa Batllo, purchasing a Barcelona Card for unlimited travel on the subway and buses and free entry into quite a few museums, and taking a leisurely walk around the parks on Montjuic, near the Olympic stadia.

While wandering around the Born neighbourhood, we came across this closed shop. Unfortunately, the shop stank of mothballs, so I didn't buy any of their otherwise lovely yarn when we went back the next day.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Barcelona bound

I'm off to Barcelona tomorrow for four days, so I'm afraid there won't be much blogging this weekend. However, I promise to post lots of photos and things when I return next week! I'm away to pack...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Shout out

My oldest brother, Richard, is in the May issue of Popular Science magazine. As our mother would say, "Isn't he clever?"

He's the one standing on top of the white pickup holding a notebook.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Dance me round and round the kitchen

The race for Dallas mayor is on and I've received my overseas ballot in the mail. It always feels a little weird that I'm allowed to vote in local US elections, given that I haven't lived in Dallas for twelve years and not since I've been of legal voting age, but I appreciate my enfranchisement and do generally vote (even though after the 2000 election debacle, I suspect my overseas vote isn't necessarily counted). In order to make an informed decision, I've been trying to read up on the candidates in The Dallas Morning News. It's not very easy, though, so I don't feel any more enlightened and am still undecided.

There are Scottish MSP elections coming up next month, as well, and in which I can also cast a vote (yay, dual citizenship!), but I don't yet know anything about my candidates for that race, either. I'd better get reading the paper.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Saturday night's all right

Laid up on the sofa with a bum leg again, I stayed in and watched TV tonight (I reinjured my calf muscle again today doing exactly the same thing I did four weeks ago, but it's now even more painful and swollen. I'm going to go to the doctor about it on Monday). Any Dream Will Do, the talent quest for the next Joseph for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, is fantastic! My current favourite is 28 year old Daniel from London -- his voice is gorgeous and he's got a beautiful smile. My secondary faves are Lee, Seamus (the oldest contestant at 35) and Keith, although Keith is a perhaps a little too youthful and skinny to look good in a loin cloth.

Unfortunately, Chris has decreed that he hates the show, so I may not have many more opportunities to tune in, but I'll do my best!

Book review: White Noise

I just finished reading Don DeLillo's White Noise this morning. I'm not entirely sure what I thought of it, so perhaps I'm not in the best position to blog about it, but I'm going to anyway.

It was a pretty quick read, and I found J.A.K. Gladney's children quite endearing -- particularly Denise and Heinrich, who were both infinitely more mature than their parents -- but I didn't sympathize much with any of the adult characters. I just didn't care about Jack or Babette's mortality and wished they'd stop whining.

However, there were a few lines that struck a chord with me; in particular, this line of Jack's in Ch. 33, addressed to his father-in-law:

"Routine things can be deadly, Vern, carried to extremes. I have a friend who says that's why people take vacations. Not to relax or find excitement or see new places. To escape the death that exists in routine things."

Thank goodness for my trip to Barcelona next week! I can't wait to escape my mundane routine for a few days and revitalize myself.

I found an interesting article
here on DeLillo's annotations on the opening page of the book. His appreciation of the tactility and spacial awareness that goes into creating his books appeals to me, as well as his sense of rhythm in the text.

Chai: Adventures in Tea

Last night, we went out for dinner and drinks with my friends to Chai: Adventures in Tea on Candlemaker Row. I'd only been once before and had a pot of exotic tea, and I really liked the atmosphere and the decor, particularly the brightly coloured silks upholstered on various interesting little poufs and small chairs. There was a DJ playing, but it wasn't particularly busy for an Edinburgh Friday night and had a very nice, laidback vibe.

Unfortunately, they've recently changed their menu and it's pretty much limited to salads and sandwiches, which were fairly mediocre; there wasn't even any dressing on my chicken and avocado salad. Also, their stock of white wine was very low; twice we ordered a bottle off the list to be told that they didn't have any of it left. The boys enjoyed their pints of Staropramen, though.

Regardless, we had a great evening of chat (seats on a Friday!) and I'll definitely return for tea and nibbles, but not for dinner, unless they revamp the menu again. I've heard that Edinburgh's Stitch 'n Bitch group meets there on Wednesday evenings, so I might go along to that finally one day soon.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

I'm generally not a great fan of Easter, but I happily awoke late this morning to find a big Terry's Chocolate Orange Easter egg from Chris at the side of the bed. Hooray! Orange chocolate is my favourite. I've already eaten about half of it, and this is in addition to the Lindt Egg and Bunnies I got from my Secret Easter Bunny at work and the Mars egg I bought myself, which I've been gradually working my way through since Wednesday (better to do that than binge today, I thought. Ahem...). I gave health-conscious Chris a Green & Black's Organic dark chocolate egg, which he has yet to open, but he says he's looking forward to it. If only I had the same self-control when it comes to chocolate.

Chris's parents are arriving from down south later this afternoon, so we've been cleaning and tidying this morning. It will be the first time that his mum has seen his new flat, so he wants it to look its best. However, he also decided on Friday night to start laying wooden flooring in the studio, so there's quite a bit of vacuuming to do!

I hope everyone is having an enjoyable and lazy Easter Sunday.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Flow it, show it, long as I can grow it

I finally carried myself off to the hairdresser today for a long overdue haircut. It must have been at least six months since my last chop and I had lost my fringe altogether! However, now it's back! I'm really please with my fresh 'do (even though I look a little sullen in the pics).

Given that it's Good Friday, I was pleasantly surprised that Ishi was open today and that they had an appointment available this afternoon. I'd been meaning to visit the salon since it opened in Marchmont a year or so ago, but hadn't yet managed. All the staff were very friendly, the products all smelled good, my hairdresser -- Rachel -- listened and gave me what I wanted, and I didn't come out looking like a wet seal, but with lots of swingy body. (I hate it when hairdressers OD on the straighteners and wax, plastering my very fine hair to my head.) A very successful trip and I'd recommend Ishi to anyone looking for a new hairdresser in the Southside.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Meat Loaf and me

I've known since I was a child that the singer Meat Loaf and I shared the same birthday (he's exactly 31 years older than me), so I've always had a fondness for him, but I only just discovered today that he also grew up in North Dallas. I wonder what else we have in common -- hopefully not too much. I may have to read his autobiography.


Mildly horrified by the large purple bruises that have appeared on my right calf two weeks (!) after crippling myself, I decided to do a little research into what damage I might have actually done. On Wikipedia (which seems a silly and simple point of reference, given the number of medical textbooks to which I've got easy access), I found that the subentry on Calf Strain (Torn Calf Muscle) describes what happened to me exactly, from my thinking I must have somehow hit it against something (despite there being nothing obvious that I could have banged against; it felt like someone swung a bat at me), to the horrible 'pop', and my subsequent agony writhing on the floor. So now I know. Thanks Wikipedia!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Latest FO: Sizzle

I finished Sizzle last week and have already worn it out and about a couple of times, over a button-down shirt, and will probably wear it through the summer on its own. I'm really pleased with it. It was made from about four and a half balls of Rowan Cotton Glace yarn on 3.5mm needles, which was lovely to work with and has a nice, smooth sheen. I made a slight measuring error with the length of the armholes and, as a result, the neckline and everything is a little higher than it was meant to be, but it's still wearable and not worth correcting. I think I might make another in a slightly heavier gauge and in a cotton blend, rather than pure cotton.

Wendy Bernard's patterns are really well-written and easily executed, so I've bought the pattern for Flair, her take on the swing coat. It's on the needles already and will be made from pale blue 100% cotton Patons yarn that's been kicking around my stash for a couple of years.

Love otters


This is the sweetest thing I've seen in a long time. Watch right to the end.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Weekend whirlwind

This weekend has blown past with incredible speed, and I'm completely knackered, but I've had a great time. I took Friday off work to attend a lovely wedding at Polwarth Parish Church, followed by an elegant champagne reception and dinner at Howie's at Waterloo Place (which always reminds me of the posh restaurant Ferris Bueller blags his way into). The bride made almost everything herself, from her dress and the cakes to the invitations and the butterfly-shaped cookies we each got as favours. It was very impressive! A ceilidh and a disco followed in the evening and I'm still aching and a little bruised from the Dashing White Sergeant but, amazingly, blister-free (I packed a pair of ballet pumps in my bag). My mum made my dress for the occasion, which I was very pleased with, if I did flash a bit too much skin (I didn't heed my mother's warning to reinforce the neckline; I will next time).
On Saturday afternoon, Chris and I went to Edinburgh Zoo, ostensibly to see the penguins on parade, but we missed it by just a few minutes (we'll go back). However, we did see the four Asiatic lion cubs, which are really more like adolescents now (after we'd seen them, Chris asked where the cubs were), and an adorable, striped baby tapir, which was only born a month ago. My other favourites included the beautiful jaguar with big, soft paws the size of saucers dangling akimbo from his perch, the incredibly hyper and endearing pygmy hippos running and splashing around their enclosure, and the sea lions, just because they were so graceful. The Gentoo penguins were nesting, and I caught this shot of one standing over its egg; the one behind it was seemingly lying on its chick, to the distress of one of the onlooking children ("Mummy, that baby's going to DIE!!"). There aren't any giraffes at Edinburgh Zoo, so we're going to have to visit either Blair Drummond Safari Park or London Zoo sometime in the near future.

Today, the sun continued to shine, so we got out on our bikes and cycled along the coast from Leith to Cramond. It was the first lengthy ride I've done this year, so my backside and thighs are giving me some grief already; here's hoping I can sit down tomorrow. We had a lovely lunch (scampi, salad, chips and a Deuchars each) at the Old Chain Pier pub in Newhaven, where we watched sailboats, tugboats and seagulls go by outside the window; it was very peaceful and a great way to spend a sunny Sunday.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

You Are A Martini

You are the kind of drinker who appreciates a nice hard drink.
And for you, only quality alcohol. You don't waste your time on the cheap stuff.
Obviously, you're usually found with a martini in your hand. But sometimes you mix it up with a gin and tonic.
And you'd never, ever consider one of those flavored martinis. They're hardly a drink!

Saturday, March 24, 2007


Chris and I just bought tickets to Barcelona for four days at the end of April. Whee! I've never been to Spain before and I've only ever heard great things, so I'm really excited about it. We haven't booked our accommodation yet, so if anyone has any recommendations, let me know.

The devil's in the detail

I'm still working away on Sizzle, the sleeveless cotton sweater that was supposed to take only a couple of days to knit. I finished the body well over a week ago, and all I have to do now is finish off with moss stitch edging around the neckline and armholes, but it's easier said than done. I did the neckline, but I'd picked the stitches up from the wrong place, creating an unattractive ridge between the edging and the body, so I'm doing it over. I always seem to have trouble picking up stitches and my edgings are never as neat as I'd like. One of these days I'll get the knack!

My leg's slowly on the mend. I can walk a reasonable distance again, but MoonWalk training is still suspended for the time being.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Gammy leg

I hurt my leg on Monday night. I’d slightly strained my right calf when I was out walking last week but, the other night, while running through the house, something audibly went ‘pop’ at the back of my calf and floored me; I almost threw up from the initial pain and writhed on the floor for several minutes. I don’t know what I’ve done, but I can gingerly put weight on it and limp around, emitting small screams only occasionally, so I think it’s something that will mend itself. However, after hobbling around for two days, my left leg is now sore from bearing all the extra weight. I’m supposed to be training for the Edinburgh MoonWalk in June (walking 26.2 miles in the middle of the night, wearing a novelty bra -- why did I ever think that would be a good idea?), but that’s scuppered for a while. Boo. Really, I just hope it's healed enough to dance in the ceilidh at a wedding next week!

Tony Blair Meets Lauren (Catherine Tate)

I like Tony Blair much better after this.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The simple girl buys what she's told to buy...

To celebrate receiving my annual bonus this week, I got this haul on Friday at lunchtime. I didn't really mean to buy anything other than a falafel wrap and a Diet Coke, but I had a £5 off voucher to use on any No. 7 product at Boots, so bought some tinted moisturiser. And a lipstick, because Laetitia Casta looked so pretty and fresh on the ad. On my way back to the office, I passed through my favourite department store and, lo, they finally had their Bonus Time offer on Clinique. I needed to stock up on my favourite foundation and mascara, so I chose one of each and got my free gift. However, the saleslady then offered I could get additional gifts if I chose a third item so, being the total sucker I am, I bought a new eyeliner as well. Oh, well. I'm pleased with most of the products, particularly the "freebie" Ruby Glass lipstick from Clinique; it's much more flattering than the one Laetitia convinced me to buy.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Movie Meme

1. Name a movie you've seen more than ten times.
Star Wars, Return of the Jedi, When Harry Met Sally, Amelie, Forrest Gump, Brief Encounter, Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music.

2. Name a movie that you've seen multiple times in the theatre.
The Matrix, The Two Towers, Bridget Jones's Diary, Forrest Gump, French Kiss (the electricity went out in a storm the first time round, so we got our tickets refunded and had to go back to see the conclusion; it wasn't really worth it).

3. Name an actor who would make you more inclined to see a movie.
Christian Bale, George Clooney, Cate Blanchette, Johnny Depp, Ziyi Zhang, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Kate Winslet, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emily Watson, Ben Stiller.

4. Name an actor who would make you less likely to see a movie.
Jackie Chan, Sylvester Stallone, Angelina Jolie, Christian Slater, Jennifer Aniston, Hugh Grant, Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise.

5. Name a movie that you can and do quote from.
Swingers, When Harry Met Sally, The Sound of Music.

6. Name a movie musical to which you know all the lyrics to all the songs.
The Sound of Music, Chicago, Newsies (ahem), Mary Poppins, Bye Bye Birdie, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

7. Name a movie you've been known to sing along to.
See #6.

8. Name a movie you would recommend everyone see.
Amelie, It's a Wonderful Life, Rebecca, The Apartment.

9. Name a movie that you own.
Annie Hall.

10. Name an actor that launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who's surprised you with their acting chops.
Mark Wahlberg.

11. Have you ever seen a movie in a drive-in? If so, what?
Unfortunately, no.

12. Ever made out in a movie?
Not in a theatre, no. If ever I wanted to, the boy was too into the movie. However, I have made out to videos/dvds.

13. Name a movie that you keep meaning to see but you just haven't gotten around to seeing it?
The Queen, Notes on a Scandal, The Last King of Scotland, Casablanca.

14. Ever walked out of a movie?
Yes, Miami Vice last summer.

15. Name a movie that made you cry in the theatre.
Too many to name, but I thought I'd never stop crying after Dancer in the Dark. (I went to the supermarket to buy my dinner afterwards, sobbing all the while...).

16. Popcorn?
Occasionally, but not often. Usually only if I'm going to miss dinner.

17. How often do you go to the movies (as opposed to renting or watching at home)?
Not nearly as often as I used to; once a month, if I'm lucky.

18. What's the last movie you saw in the theatre?
Pan's Labyrinth.

19. What's your preferred or favourite genre of movie?
Romance, comedy or anything with magical realism.

20. What's the first movie you remember seeing in the theatre?
Either Snow White or Bambi.

21. What movie do you wish you'd never seen?
Sin City, Event Horizon, Miami Vice.

22. What's the weirdest movie you've ever enjoyed?
Delicatessen, Mon Oncle.

23. What's the scariest movie you've seen?
Event Horizon, Resident Evil, Pan's Labyrinth.

24. What's the funniest movie you've ever seen?
So I Married an Axe Murderer, Little Miss Sunshine, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Meaning of Life, The Life of Brian.

Pan's Labyrinth

We went to see Pan’s Labyrinth at The Cameo last night and I’m struggling to recall the last time I enjoyed a film less.* Undoubtedly, it was well made: the special effects were fantastically creepy, the acting was superb, the little girl was gorgeous and the cinematography was great. However, it just wasn’t what I expected, so it disappointed. I generally enjoy films best when I go in knowing very little about them, so I didn’t read any reviews or anything; I just knew it had won a few Academy Awards and was a bit dark and creepy, but with puppets and animated creatures (so how sinister could it be?). I expected something like The Dark Crystal, or something Tim Burtonesque – it wasn’t. Nothing had prepared me for the extreme violence (particularly not the BBFC 15 certificate). From the first killing (by repeated face stabbing with a broken bottle), I was tense; by the time the Captain painstakingly stitched up his own facial flesh wound and everyone in the cinema groaned, I was in a fetal position. It was a relief when it was finally over.

*I’ve remembered: Chan-wook Park’s film Oldboy (2003), which had also been praised to the heavens and was recommended by a friend who claimed it to be the best movie he’d ever seen.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The busy girl buys beauty

Chris and I went shopping in Stockbridge yesterday and he (unwisely?) introduced me to my new favourite shop, Galerie Mirages, an enormous showcase of jewellery from around the world. I loved the majority of their collection, but I was very restrained and only got a ring for myself (worn on the model's left hand here) and a gift for someone else. But I've got my eye on a few other things that can wait until after payday...

I also got a lovely pair of silver earrings at The Lucie Fenton Gallery. I love the tiny, delicate black flowers on them, which remind me of Victorian wallpaper.

I'm feeling ill and can't sleep, hence the pre-dawn blogging. Ughhhh... Might try and finish Sizzle before I attempt sleep again.

I've never had this flavour before, but now I must track it down...

You Are Banana Pocky

Your attitude: fun and lighthearted
Unique and unforgettable
You are cutie everyone falls for
You Are Very Worldly

You're an international jet setter - or pretty darn close.
And while you may feel like you have many more places to visit...
Most people live their whole lives without seeing what you've seen.
In fact, you're probably going to be traveling again soon. So Bon Voyage!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

You Are 48% Texas

At first, you seem Texan... but just because a chicken has wings don't mean it can fly.

Friday, March 09, 2007

J-Jay and Porphyria, sitting in a tree...

A colleague this week sent me a comprehensive list of first names given to babies born in Scotland in 2006. My personal favourites are Porphyria (a medical complaint), Demii-Louise, Dakhoda, Bo-Breeze, Aspen-Marie and Bhayleigh for girls and J-Jay, Jaxin, Rowdy, Williamdavid and Jnr for boys. I'm surprised at the number of girls who've been named Lois (40).

Monday, March 05, 2007

J'aime Le Slouch

Hats are my favourite things to knit and I love my newest one, Le Slouch. It's made from King Cole Anti-Tickle merino yarn in 'bluebell' that I had left over from the fair isle.

I'd never, ever successfully knitted anything using double-pointed needles before but, somehow, I just got it with this pattern. The 5mm needles didn't feel as awkward in my hands as they did previously and the stitches didn't slip off the non-working needles with every shift in position. Hurrah! However, it's far from perfect -- some of the stitches are extremely loose, especially where the rib meets the moss stitch -- but I'm satisfied and wear it almost every day. I think I'll probably make another one (we need woolly hats through April here) in a softer yarn like cashmerino, as the 'anti-tickle' is a little itchy on my forehead, when I have to pull it right down to prevent it blowing off in the gales. (I've almost lost it several times struggling up Leith Walk.)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

FO: Elizabeth Zimmerman Yoked Fair Isle Sweater

I finished this sweater -- my first fair isle project -- back in January and I've been very pleased with it. I followed EZ's instructions for the yoked fair isle sweater in Knitting Without Tears and added shaping and stopped short on the neckline to create more of a boatneck. Just because I'm lazy, I made the sleeves three-quarter length. It was also my first time using King Cole Anti-Tickle merino yarn, which I'd read great things about. I, too, enjoyed working with it (for the main colour), although it's not exactly non-itch when wearing. I appreciate its washability, though! The contrast colours are Sirdar Superwash Wool, which comes in lovely jewel-like colours, and it has a bit more sheen and softness to it than the King Cole. I'd definitely buy more of the Superwash.
Things I learned: short-row shaping at the neckline, fair isle technique.

Things I'd do differently: I'd remember to use a smaller needle for the ribbing on the cuffs and waistband.

For more photos, please see my Flickr site. I think there may be a cardigan version of this coming soon...

Happiness is... finding your skate key

With the onset of spring and in my ongoing quest to rediscover my original passions in life (aka reverting to my childhood), I'm considering buying a pair of traditional, quad rollerskates. I had several (second-hand) pairs when I was a kid and, along with my bike and my Barbies, I loved them greatly. I can remember vividly how I'd zoom around outside our house, starting down the winding, downwards sloping path on the front lawn (it even had an uneven bit that was great for jumps), round the sidewalk, up the driveway and into the garage and back again, often while singing Michael Jackson and Kenny Loggins songs. Good times! However, once I outgrew the rollerboot quads, rollerblades were in and, because there some controversy about them being more dangerous and unstable than quads, I was discouraged from getting a pair and left my skating days behind.

Chris's flat is right on the Water of Leith walkway, which we've often cycled and walked along, and I think it will lend itself very well to skating along. Now I just need an assortment of cute, kicky skirts that will burl out nicely in a spin and I'll be all set!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Margarita Sizzle

On the needles at the moment is a chartreuse yellow* version of Wendy Bernard's Sizzle, using Rowan Cotton Glace yarn. The pattern recommends a silk/cotton blend, but Cotton Glace is 100% cotton and, therefore, a little stiff (it was on sale at John Lewis). Here's hoping it softens up a little when washed... I've been working on it for three evenings so far and I'm still only about a quarter finished, thanks to the 3.5mm needles I need to get the gauge right. It's a little hardgoing, but I think it'll be quite nice once it's completed. Photos when that day comes!

*I thought chartreuse was just chartreuse, but according to the official pantone colour, "chartreuse" is a lime green, 50% green, 50% yellow. The colour I formerly considered chartreuse is "chartreuse yellow".

Update on the cotton angora raglan

I finished the sweater soon after the original post about it, but never bothered taking any photos of it. I still haven't, primarily because I'm not in love with it. It's fairly flattering, although the boat neck is REALLY wide (I should have probably done a proper gauge swatch) and is inclined to show straps if worn without any shirt underneath, but as the neckline is a different shape from any T-shirt I own, any shirt underneath looks awkward. However, my real bugbear with the jumper is the yarn. The cotton angora sheds horrendously!!! The lining of my coat was covered for days, the back of my chair at work turned pink and furry, anything worn underneath had pink pills rubbing off even after laundering, and I'd often see pink clumps of fibre floating through the air around me like dandelion seeds. I've washed it about four or five times and only now am I beginning to see a reduction in the amount of shedding. Thank god! I may wear it more often from now on, but I won't bother making anything else in angora again.