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October 2009

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Knitterly goodness and trip photos

I have few/no photos of knitty things from my trip because of the camera breakage, but I’ll show you what I took photos of anyway.

This is reason #1 why I won’t fly Air Canada again:

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That’s my vinyl sign, looking for all the world like an airplane ran it over. I discovered this after I’d arrived in Birmingham for the comic book show, so approximately 2 days into my trip, when I was jetlagged and exhausted because I hadn’t slept for more than 4 hours a night in about 5 days. When I talked to the checkin agent about it, 2 weeks (and the start of a flu) later, they said I needed to have discovered the damage and reported it before leaving the airport when I arrived, and there was nothing they would do now, though I could talk to someone in Toronto…. of course, I’d need to pay 100 GBP for a 4th bag to bring it to Toronto, if that’s what I wanted to do. Without specifically saying so, the checkin agent basically told me to give up because I had been in another city when I found the damage.

So take note in the future: when flying Air Canada, please open all your luggage before you leave the airport, so you can be sure the airline hasn’t run it over with a plane.

Have these airlines learned nothing from United Breaks Guitars?


Back to happy posts, really. I am not certain right now if I want to do a full trip write-up, because I just don’t know if it would be cathartic, or merely result in a giant black hole of negativity in my blog. I seriously can’t think of anything that went right on this trip– that should tell you all something. Oh, wait– my car rental. That was ok, the car was bigger than I expected but not undriveable, and they didn’t give me grief over anything. Avis: you continue to rock and earn my loyalty as a Preferred Avis member.

This is a Robin Hood statue in Nottingham:


This is a London bus:

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This is a knitted ship cosy:


I’m not kidding. It makes me want to break into song, like “I Knit a Boat!”

This is the last photo on my camera, a picture of me and Marc. Yes, we broke the camera:


A better, though still blurry shot of us is this one:


This is my idea of sight-seeing:

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I Knit London was the first UK shop to carry Handknit Heroes. When I was at I Knit, I was already coming down ill, plus my camera had already broken. I took the tube to Piccadilly Circus and to Waterloo and this was the only photo I took during my day of sight-seeing. I did manage to buy and scratch out some postcards. They might even reach people, but who knows. There’s a postal strike going on, and has been since before I got to London.

This is the rare books library at Yale (can I now say “I went to Yale”?):

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This is what happens when a knitter wanders into the rare books library and views the public exhibit of radicalism in the 60’s and 70’s:

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That’s Chairman Mao on a poster. Yes, I was trying to take a picture of his sweater. Do not laugh at the nerdiness that is me, please.

I bought about 15-20 skeins of yarn. I bought enough UK-originated yarn for a sweater for John and then enough sock yarn to make myself cry. I bought a skein of Zauberbolle in colors that match my now-lost sweater. When I look at it, it’s like looking at a gift you bought for someone who died before you could give it. I am thinking of knitting the socks anyway with the yarn, and using the same gull stitch lace pattern from the sweater as a lace pattern in the sock. I think it would be nice as a pair of homage socks, but I have to let my heart heal before I do that.

I also got that most precious type of yarn, which is known as free yarn. We like free yarn, oh yes we do.

Things I’ve been working on:

Crochet: A pair of slippers for my nephew. These are now done. I crocheted them on the flight from Seattle to London. I have no photos of them, of course, because my camera is broken, but they are cool and only a little lopsided. The pattern is the same one I used to make John’s socks. Yarn is Universal in worsted weight, using an H hook.

Crochet: A pair of mittens in double crochet. I don’t like them and will probably frog them. I did them on the flight from London to Toronto. Freeform– kept crocheting till it fit, then added a thumb. Yarn is something acrylic bought in a shop in Nottingham, and the H hook again.

Crochet: A slouchy hat, matching the mittens. I didn’t finish the hat yet. Freeform– do whatever stitch I like for 1 round, then switch for the next round, increasing by about 8 each round. When I get the hat large enough, I’ll stop increasing and after another 3-4 inches, I’ll do a couple of ribbed rows and bind off.

Knit: A pair of plain socks, knit two at a time on DPNs (same as my Anna Karenina socks) which I had hoped to finish before the end of my trip, and might have done if I hadn’t been ill. Basic sock pattern, with a cast on of 60 (Anna Karenina socks need a smaller cast on because the gauge will be loose– this makes sense, as there’s a stitch holding space between each stitch in the row until the socks come off the needles). I’m using the Serendipitous Ewe’s Chance sock, from the Retro Video Games Sock Club, and dyed in the Mario Bros. colorway, which is mostly red, yellow, green, and blue. Needles are my Signature Needle Arts DPNs on size 1 (2.25 mm)

Knit: A pair of navy socks using the Oliver pattern (on Ravelry) mentioned on Franklin’s blog. These are for my dad, provided the pattern works and they fit him. I’m using a huge amount of navy blue yarn. A typical woman’s sock uses about 50 grams of yarn. A small sock for me uses about 25-30 grams of yarn, so I can almost get 2 pairs out of one 100-gram skein of yarn. A man’s sock uses 60-75 grams of yarn. Most sock yarn is sold in 50 or 100 gram skeins, and I bought 2 100-gram skeins of navy for Dad’s socks. This is because I previously had started a pair with only 100 grams of yarn and I was more than halfway through the skein before I was done with the first sock. I am using Cherry Tree Hill’s supersock for this one. I went to Sock Summit and bought lovely yarn in a boring color.

Knit: A sweater for John, using the sweater’s worth of yarn bought in England. The pattern is called “Andy” by Jillian Moreno (irony lives at my house, hadn’t you heard?) Needles are US size 5’s. The pattern calls for a 7, but I get gauge on a 5, so that’s what I’ll use. I am finding this more and more, that I’m a looser knitter than I used to be. It took me 3 years to finally settle on a sock needle size that works for me most of the time. So far, the extent of my work on this one is picking the pattern out with John and knitting a gauge swatch.

Knit: a pair of socks in Chance yarn, also from the Serendipitous Ewe Retro Video Games Sock Club, this time in Pac Man colorway (yellow, black, red, light blue, pink, etc.) I was using the Aquaphobia sock pattern, which has a cable and a slipped-stitch pattern. The sock pattern didn’t work for me– at my vertical tension, the cable is too tall for the slipped stitch pattern, so it ends up buckling. There’s a solution to the problem (slip the even row stitches on the cable only), but I have to frog the whole sock to implement it (I made it to the heel flap). I may do so anyway– the pattern works with the yarn, at least, except for that buckling. Slip stitch patterns are very good to hand-dyed yarns.

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