Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Me first!

As the youngest child of a family this is often my catch phrase well there is the fact that I have a selfish streak but we'll leave that for another.

Six months ago I had to leave my darling Irmingaard! Oh can we just use our real names because I can't remember what the h-e-double hockey sticks my user/call name was!

So I'm in England and I'm useless when it comes to keeping blogs up to date, it's like my endless attempts at keeping a diary. I'd start the diary but inevitably after one or two entries weeks sometimes months apart I'd abandon it. I think it was just my fixation with office supplies and writing pads that fuelled my attempts. I've actually banned myself from going into Office Depot, here is Blighty it's called Rymans, unless I know what I want for fear that I'll buy stuff I just don't need. Anyway...I digress.

I pitched an idea to esteemed co-blogger and suggested we should make this blog a transatlantic conversation as only we know we can do well that is if we actually update the bloody blog. This is a bit of an experiment so bear with us.

Six months in England, well more precisely in London has been interesting, that's about as politely as I can put it at this point in time. I was stupid and moved into to student residence- oy vey! I don't remember residence being this bad in Canada but maybe it's because I was younger and innocent (yes...there was a time I was innocent). I have the room right next to the bathroom and I think the walls are entirely comprised of cigarette paper because I can hear EVERYTHING, there's nothing like being woken up to the dulcet sounds of post St.Patrick's Day vomiting. Uh! That whole bottle of rum you drank isn't sitting well, I wonder why? How about try not drinking the whole fecking bottle next time. Ya...as you can see patience is waning. I should take a picture of the endless pile of dirty dishes in the shared kitchen, even better; a picture of our cockroachy neighbours.

I've begun looking for a place to live because after being woken up to St. Patrick's day vomiting and having some doorknob melt the bottom of our communal electrical kettle on the one of the burners thinking that a plastic kettle obviously goes there (did I tell you some of my roomates have the mental capacity of amoebas?) I've kind of had enough. So two minutes on Gumtree (the UK version of Craigslist) I've already found a scam ad, great...this going well. Next I get some guy asking to see my bank statements to rent a room in house, are you kidding me? Ya how about a big fat NO to that. I'm looking at a room tonight and an apartment tomorrow hopefully I have better luck then I've had so far. Apartment looks promising, it's in Putney but it only takes one bus to get from there to the university, furthermore it's all mine! No sharing! I'm so getting progressively more curmudgeonly in my old age, I was bad in Vancouver but it's getting worse. I think living in residence has just emphasised my need to have my own place.

Miss Canada more and more every day. I thought by now I'd be over it but it only seems to be hitting me now, I don't get it. Shouldn't I have gone through this months ago? I think it's finally sinking in that I'm in England studying, it's only taken six months and two trips to Africa to sort that out. I don't know that I could say what exactly I miss about Canada, I think in part it has to do with knowing how to deal with day to day situations, I know what the social boundaries are in Canada. I know it sounds stupid but I react like a Canadian which is not the British way to react to some things....does that make sense?

I can't really complain too much, I am living in London after all. I went to see a West End who at Christmas (Jersey Boys), it was awesome! I would recommend it to anyone. I've visited Hampton Court Palace grounds many times and been inside the palace once since I've been here. I even went skating at the Hampton Court rink right after Christmas, so much fun! On Sunday, I was at the Wallace Collection which was collected by the Hanworth family and then bequeathed to one of their servants by the name of Wallace who then willed it to the state. There are Titians, Rembrandts, Fragonards, Watteaus and other great masters, however the collection is not solely comprised on paintings you have furniture, porcelain, chandeliers, armour, swords, etc. It is really stunning and I would recommend it to anyone visiting London and it's not usually very busy. There have a great restaurant which I didn't have a chance to visit because it was way too busy on Sunday, but I'm sure I'll get around to it.

Well I'll sign off for now. Hope everyone is doing well and I miss you all loads. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Notes from the East Side

Like Irmi it seems that life has been kicking my butt as well and has prevented me from posting in a really really long time.

Since my last post it seems we've managed, yet again, to lose another podcast recording...I'm beginning to think this is the Fates telling us the Internet is just not ready for the two of us...at least not in audio form.

This weekend was the East Vancouver Culture Crawl (Nov 20th, 21st, and 22nd), a yearly event when artists from East Van open up their studios to Christmas shoppers and sell their various wares. http://www.eastsideculturecrawl.com/ I went a little wild buying stuff this year but you know...this only happens once a year so what the heck!

I bought a beautiful Gailan Ngan bowl: http://www.gailanngan.com/, a Jessie Turner ring: http://www.jessieturner.ca/, a Grace Lee necklace: http://www.eikcam.com/ and last but not least a Carny Love dress (which I got on sale...jealous!?!) http://www.carnylove.com/. Culture Crawl is great way to support local artists, so for those of you that missed Culture Crawl this year I highly recommend you attend next year. The only unfortunate part of the Crawl is the weather. This year ,we had deluge of biblical proportions on the Friday night and then all day Saturday, I guess it's the price you pay for having an outdoor event at the end of November in Vancouver.

Irmi and I thoroughly enjoyed our Culture Crawl experience, except for one of the vendors who started waxing poetically about knitting and how it was a dying art...ummm apparently someone doesn't have access to a computer or for that matter to Ravelry.

Well it's about 75 days, give or take, until the Olympics. I'm so sick of the Olympics that every time a commercial comes on I either turn off the TV or press the mute button. This does not bode well particularly since I still have another nauseating two and half months of 'Rah! Rah! Olympics!' to endure. Ugh!

So what's on my needles right now. I'm knitting up a scarf using Araucania Yarn 'Ranco Multy' and a pattern from Summer 2008 'Spin Off'. I'm also still working on shawl in Aegean blue Fleece Artist wool, I don't remember what the pattern is called, sorry folks. I also knitted another scarf from a pattern in my Estonia lace book using my own spinning wheel spun white Merino...it's been a very productive couple of months.

I took a Maiwa Symposium workshop on felting. So much fun! I learned about felting basics, 3D felting and Nuno felting. Maiwa always has the best workshops. A few years ago I took a natural dyes workshop and learned so much about the production of dye stuffs and the effect of commercial dyes on the environment. I highly recommend any of the Maiwa workshops but they can be very expensive and difficult to get into. If you want a specific workshop you need to sign up the first day as soon as registration opens. http://www.maiwa.com/symposium/index.html

Okay I think I've included enough for one post. I hope everyone has a great week and to my American friends have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Post at Long Last!

It's fall! It's Irmingaard!

Hello everyone, I think it's finally happened: fall has arrived! We are in single-digit temperatures, rain is predicted for Thursday (of course!) and very soon the leaves will have fallen off all the trees to compost in a wet, mushy lump. Reminds me of mashed potatoes. Don't ask.

And with the late arrival of fall, at long last I can wear all the knits I've been working on! A few sweaters, hats, fingerless gloves, a couple of stoles, and maybe one cowl that I'm planning to keep for myself. One went to a friend's daughter for her 19th birthday, and two will be gifted. There's no big plans for Christmas knits this year, just a few items for family and very close friends, but handmade is still my theme. Some mango chutney, perhaps a pineapple chutney, and a fabulous barbecue rub. All with ingredient lists in case of food sensitivities/allergies, and maybe the recipes, we'll see.

I'll be spending Christmas at the farm this year, and am watching the travel deals in the hopes of scoring a seat sale for even a few days over the holidays. I'm really looking forward to it; since my dad and stepmom moved out there I've pictured what the farm looks like in the winter and the photos Dad has sent have really been pretty. Just like a Christmas card. Hopefully my pictures will be just as nice as my first summer photos.

School and work are kicking my butt, kids. The thesis proposal needs a few more tweaks, the big marking rush is on, and I attended a conference a couple weekends ago. Prior to all of that, there were MASSIVE computer issues. Happily no hard drive crash - although it was backed up in several places on various media forms - but the motherboard is possibly faulty. Damn.

Luckily I had an older laptop to still work from and was able to upgrade it even! So with less than $300 and the generous help of a tech-savvy friend, it runs like brand new! But of course this means that the first podcast is horribly outdated, so it looks like it will be referred to as the "lost" podcast. Maybe we can play that up for a mysterious angle. We'll have to see what happens.

But thankfully aside from saving all the school prep and thesis, I finally got all my saved knitting, crochet, tatting, and embroidery patterns onto a CD-R! Trust me, after a few years there were hundreds on my hard drive! I think it was filled up with knitting and craft patterns, music, and photos. Seriously, there was no space to spare on the 186 available gigabytes!

So what's going on in my craft corner? Well, I bought yarn. Big surprise.
I really need another tote for storing all this yarn, but I'm putting that off, thinking that if I don't buy one I'll be able to keep it all contained in the three that I do have. Oh who am I kidding, it's already not contained in those three, which is why it's in my bedroom, the guest room, and stacked precariously on top of the other totes and even on top of my scanner/copier/fax. Happily there is no yarn being stored in my car. Pretty sure of that. Mostly sure.

So what did I buy? Well, 88 Stitches in Langley's Walnut Grove neighbourhood had a fall sale and some clearance prices, but while I couldn't make it out for the sale weekend I managed to pick up some still-sale-priced yarn afterwards. Some SRK On Your Toes Limited Edition that are being knit into the Esther sock pattern (available through Ravelry), some Kaffe Fasset Colourscapes yarn in a great red/magenta/pink colourway that will make a gorgeous thick cowl, and while perusing the wall-o-Malabrigo I chatted up another customer who has a great little Etsy shop called Black Mustard and she's a fabulous spinner, dyer, knitter, and she's local!

Then the Elann.com specials were emailed out and three of us were determined to make purchases, so we combined it all in one order shipped to my house. Can I just say that their shipping is the bomb? I put the order in on a Wednesday, and the box was at my house on Friday morning. So yarn prices are great, selection is great, you get credits for ordering books (which then become discounts on your next order), and to top it off they ship it to you FAST! Oh... what did I order? Ummm... a sweater's worth of Laines Du Nord Giunco in the "Pink Dusk" colourway; pink, light gray, and dark gray variegated, to knit the Rock Rose cardigan from the Laines Du Nord Simple Knits Book 1. Can't wait to wear it, but it's now taking a backseat to recently-purchased Christmas knitting.

Yes, I broke down and bought more yarn for Christmas knitting. Why? Because Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool was on sale for $9 a skein! So one skein of a marled wool will be two pairs of socks for my stepdad because he loves his wool boot socks, and they're so quick to knit up! And, well, LB's Wool-Ease Thick & Quick was also on sale for $6 a skein meant that I may get a quick hat done for my mom in exchange for letting me delay her Myrtle Leaf Lace-inspired scarf in Malabrigo Laceweight in "Velvet Grapes" colourway, as I found I need another skein to make it long enough. Oh darn. Oh, and two skeins of LB Wool-Ease Worsted because I signed up for the Woolly Wormhead hat KAL. To make both hats. No, I have no knitting for Christmas at all :)

And nevermind those four skeins of Happy Feet sock yarn I scored at $3.49US each from Discontinued Brand Name Yarn. I may have another pair of socks to make for my mom. Then there's the skein of yarn from Little Red Bicycle in the Supernova colourway that I just couldn't resist! The seller is a Ravelry chum and all-around good egg who just happens to dye awesomesauce yarns! I just hope my project I choose does her yarn justice!


There are events coming up in the Terminal City and its outer suburbs.

First and foremost is the Langley Weavers' and Spinners' Guild annual Show and Sale! This Saturday and Sunday, November 7-8 from 10am - 4pm at the Fort Langley Community Hall, 9167 Glover Road in Fort Langley. If you're going, get there early! Parking is at a premium! Emily and I are making the annual pilgrimage because our favourite yarn seller Barbara Braaten of Langley Yarns & Crafts wants to see what we're making with her yarn. We're afraid that if we don't show her satisfactorily finished projects that she'll either stop selling us yarn, or - more likely - make us buy the expensive stuff!

And if you haven't had a chance to pick up a copy of local authors Leanne Prain and Mandy Moore's book Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti, you're in luck! Leanne and Mandy will be at the 1051 Davie Street Book Warehouse location tonight, November 5th, from 7-9pm for a book signing and to encourage crafters to bring hooks and/or needles to create a "tag" (in the lingo) for the Davie Village Garden.

Well that's all for me, hopefully Emily will soon have details about the annual Culture Crawl throughout the Strathcona resident artists' studios, and we'll post about our fun to be had at the Weavers & Spinners show! Stay warm in the rain, break out the gloves, and pop on a great slouchy beret or a newsboy cap. It's time to wear the wool!