Thursday, 29 September 2011

Loop, London

I went to Cambridge for a Summer School, stayed in a lovely college, ate lots of food and slept very little. But mostly this was really hard work for 11 days with one and a half days off in the middle. The half day was spent punting...

... and of course knitting. So on my full day off I wanted to do something that was very much not summer school-related, very much not in Cambridge. So I went all the way to London town, met up with the lovely Sophie who whisked me away to somewhere I have wanted to go for a long time now.
Loop London. Yes, it's lovely window display does have woodland-creature-related art on it. And like many a knitter before me, I stepped in to a little woolly haven.

This was an excellent way to leave the stress of the previous week and the hustle-and-bustle of London that my inner Northerner still has issues with and just think about knitting. There was a lot of really lovely yarn [bottom photo] - I mean the £10-£15/skein sock yarn, which I love - but there was also decent yarn more suitable for a beginner (under £5/ball DK). I got some of each...

100g Malabrigo sock in Impressionist Sky. Will probably make something for my mum, as she loves that sort of colour. Probably not socks, it's too pretty! I did spend a long time squeezing the Wollmeise but this colour spoke to me.

This one is really much much greener than this, but my camera will not do it justice. 50g of Rico Cotton DK, probably for making some little mittletts or something. As yet unsure, mainly bought because I loved the colour.

Overall, Loop is a brilliant yarn shop and was in a good area with plenty of cafes and other interesting shops, walking distance from King's Cross (but probably not with luggage!) and an excellent selection of yarn. Heartily recommended!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

What's on my needles

I have realised in all my excitement of travelling to the four corners of Britain, it has been a fair while since I have mentioned what I'm actually knitting. And this is because, for the lat month, it has been dominated by one item: Lauriel.

I am a lot in love with this pattern and apart from some teething problems with the rib at the start has flowed off my needles (as I mentioned a while ago). Except, it has been a very busy month and so it is not getting the attention it deserves. Much progress was made during my working from Scotland days, but this stalled as I reached Cambridge and the ribbing at the bottom of the body. I have come to the simple conclusion that I have the wrong number of stitches which is why the ribbing won't work, have fudged accordingly and need to see how it turns out.

Meanwhile, I needed something to do in the seminars I attended in Cambridge. Socks were an obvious solution.
My coursemates were supportive and maybe a little impressed with my skills over the fortnight (I did only get in about an hour a day, with note-taking). I was wondering if I could come up with a decent name for the project and when I asked my neighbour she said unhesitatingly 'The Sanity Socks'. After all, what is better for keeping your head during ten 12-hour days plus a half-day Saturday than some self-striping socks?

When I was at home for a few days and needed some knitting for while I was catching up with Torchwood (still very behind though, tsk!), I picked up my first ever knitted thing: the Garter Stitch Scarf. Last year I decided it was too short to be useful, so grabbed some extra wool in an end-of-line sale to make it useful again. As the weather begins to turn colder, I fear I may need it sooner rather than later!

I will probably have more exciting travel stories when I next write. Until next time x

Thursday, 15 September 2011


Today I have been in classes from 9am to 9pm for the fifth day in a row, and my brain is fried. It is too fried to sort out Lauriel which I keep messing up. Too fried to play pool. Definitely too fried to do any of the massive pile of work that is lurking just out of my eyeline. So as that is all no fun at all and I could do with some escape, I'm going to write about another of Scotland's tourist attractions I went to this month; Culross (pronounced coo-ros).

It is a lovely old village that much of has been protected by the National Trust for Scotland - and it is easy to see why, it is too cute. We pottered round the manor house (called the Palace, a little optimistically!) and had a brilliant tour of the village which I learned loads on. And then we had tea and cake, of course.

The manor house - built 1626! - is a fab shade of yellow and contains all kinds of crafty treats (I did take a couple of shots before remembering that NTS properties are ususally no photos allowed, oops!). There is still a little of the original paint on the walls/ceiling in a couple of the rooms, and the paintings are really beautiful. The Culross Needlework Guild has done a ton of work in there, it was absolutely stunning, especially in the Garden Room (that was deffo no photos!).

The whole place grew up on a clever mining scheme that got coal out from under the Forth, in the 16th and 17th centuries. The good stuff they sold and the poorer quality coal was used for turning the salty Firth of Forth waters into salt. It was eventually flooded in a severe storm but at low tide, you can still see the old harbour wall and the borehole (circled in red) they used to send the miners down in (nb. it doesn't have a train service (freight-only line) but I did see buses and the car parking was easy and free).

And I hear it was on Coast a long time ago. Clearly a program of excellent taste, it was a lovely way to spend an afternoon. I heartily recommend it, especially if the hurly-burly of Edinburgh during the festival is finally driving you mad - it is less than an hour away and so relaxing.