Saturday, December 29, 2007



Ok, so I think I finally have time to do this night justice, even though it happened so long ago.

As with most of the world outside North America, football is a really big deal in Sudan. When we heard that the championship cup was going to be played in Omdurman, the city right across the river from Khartoum, we decided we had to go. E, D (taking the photo) and I crossed over around 6pm, and had some really good pizza before we made our way to the stadium. We sat in the expensive area (tickets were $30USD) so we had actual seats, as opposed to the other areas with bench seating.

The stadium is divided in half, with each half reserved for supporters of one team (including separate entrances), with police enforcing the division. D is a lifelong Al-Hilal fan, so we were sitting in the blue and white section. As you can see, someone thought my shirt was a little too close to the Merrikh red, and insisted that I wear a hat.



The game was really interesting to watch, and so were the stands. The style of play was very exuberant, with similarities to a Latin American game more so than the more structured European game. Both teams were more likely to boot and chase than to use chains of passes to move the ball up the field.

As for the crowd, people really supported their teams! The Al-Hilal side had people (like 100) climbing the light standards to get a better view! (We were trading possible headlines upon the event of a collapse, but everyone lived to see another day.) Every goal involved confetti and burning newspaper (!) on the side of the scoring team. The crowd seemed almost alive with emotion, chanting for players, and against the opposing team and their coaches!


There were more police at this event than I've ever seen in one place before (this is only a small proportion, but I've obviously lived a quiet life as far as the law is concerned). We didn't stick around to see what happened next, but it was a great night!

Friday, December 28, 2007

So, apparently the knitting revolution hasn't hit Jordan yet...

Overheard at the Mecca Mall in Amman: "Heeyaka, wow!" (Literal translation: "Knitting, wow!") I was working on my neck warmer in Rowan Cocoon while drinking some exquisite drinking chocolate at the Cioconat Lounge before engaging in a little retail therapy. This was my last day in Jordan on a little break over the holidays.

There's actually not that much to report, as I didn't do a lot other than reading and sleeping. Very little knitting happened, along with some visiting, walking and that's about it.


Here I am, wearing a sweater! (Which, hasn't happened since I was in Canada in October, since Khartoum is still reaching 30 degrees most days.)


And here I am, on a very short day trip to Petra, wearing a sweater, jacket and scarf! (I'm sorry for the crazy contrast, but I couldn't figure out how to tone down my pasty white face. Yes, I am doing well with the hat and the sunscreen, why do you ask?)


And finally, the famous rose rock of Petra.

Good night!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I'm supposed to be packing for my trip, so I can get to bed (since my flight leaves at a ridiculous time tomorrow morning), but instead I'm uploading photos, all because I finally pulled everything out from my Christmas box! Yay! There's something amazing about getting a package in the mail, especially when you're very far away, and knowing that your family loves you. Especially when you can then draw it out over a month by first opening the boxes (and eating the chocolate and biscotti before they melt/go bad). Then, a few weeks later, I took the box home from work. Now, I've unpacked everything (and I got the Tom Bihn bag I have loved ever since I saw Steph's at Rhinebeck. I'm saving all of the wrapped packages until Christmas, when I've had a few days of relaxing and can really enjoy it.

Anyway, I wish everyone a happy holiday!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Brain Dump

OK, first things first, the cards are in the mail (if you sent me your address (I'm looking at you, Sarah! :)) I know they will be late for actual Christmas, but, you know, it happens.

While this may not be that exciting, I need to gather together all of the little links and ideas that I've got floating around.

- I like the idea of these little slippers. In the almost complete absence of wearing knit items in my life right now, these are one thing I might actually use! They would protect my feet from the incredible dust everywhere (and clean the floor for me at the same time.) I can't find the location of the mods for larger feet (should be somewhere here) but will edit this when I do.

- Very cute pattern (as I recall, since my internet is slow and I can't open the links right now)

- I love this! I can't believe I missed it before, but I'm sure I've earned a couple of badges (to be added to the blog on a day with a slightly faster internet connection, which is never Friday)

- Funniest thing I've seen in a while! I wonder if I can get a Canadian politician sometime soon? And I wonder what Mr. Harper's response would be?

- The new Knitty is out! My first favourites are dahlia, square cake & stardust, partly because they are two of the things I could get some use out of here. But there are definitely tonnes of nice accessories. Which I'll get right to making as soon as I have any conceivable need! ;)

- I saw a pattern for a large weekend back with black and white tapestry pattern, knit if wool and felted, but I forgot to write down the URL. This is my reminder to look for the pattern when I get a minute.

- Another very fun pattern!

- And a few interesting websites I wanted to keep handy!

I don't know how much of a chance I'll get to post over the next week or so. I'm cooking a turkey for 15 guests tonight, I'll have to go to work tomorrow to wrap up loose ends, and then I'm off for a change of scenery for a few days over Christmas. But, I have tonnes of pictures and random stuff, so if I find an internet connection, it could be good. Anyway, Happy Holidays to all, whatever you may celebrate!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I'm not dead

I've just been travelling. I'm have a number of posts I've been working on, so hopefully I can finish some of those up shortly. That might make this space slightly more interesting.

Anyway, Happy Holidays, and Eid Mubarak, if I don't see you sooner!

Friday, December 07, 2007


Friday is the general holiday in Northern Sudan, and in an effort to actually have a life outside of work, I try not to work today. It doesn't always work, and if I'm really lucky, I get Saturday too, but generally Fridays are my day to relax. I actually sleep in as long as I want (except when I get an emergency phone call from someone who's flying in on Monday and doesn't have their visa yet and wants to know if you can do something) and then laze around. I make a huge bowl of latte with my stovetop espresso maker and milk frother and read, watch movies or whatever.

This morning, I dumped out bin #1 of my stash
and photographed it (with excellent assistance from Ms. Spooky)
for ravelry. Now, as I sit in the living room uploading photos to flickr on wireless internet, I'm watching Fight Club on dvd and watching the planes land (the airport is right in the middle of the city, and my place is kind of loud because of it. But, its mine.)

Later today, I am apparently going on a bit of a tour around town. We'll see what they decide to show us. And tonight, there's a low-key do at a colleagues house. So, its pretty normal, except the traffic, the dust, the heat... I'll leave it at that.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


The drive to Meroë takes about two and a half hours from Khartoum, even though its only 100km. The road is only two lanes, and is in mild disrepair.

Wikipedia has more actual information, and might be a good start for anyone who's interested in learning more.


We actually started out at a nearby archaeological site, the Royal City, where a team led by a ROM archaeologist is excavating. We got a tour of the site and saw lots of rocks (which was actually pretty cool, although my pictures are not that exciting.) They haven't done any reconstruction, so it really is a ruin, and you have to imagine what it once was like.

There was lots of wildlife around, stone



and otherwise. Besides the floppy-eared goats, there were a variety of amazingly coloured birds that I didn't manage to photograph, donkeys, and even a camel! (The 'foreigners' had come, so by the time we were getting ready to leave, there were several people selling stuff and a man offering camel rides right beside our vehicles.)


After the Royal City, we drove across the desert to the pyramids. Although they're smaller than the pyramids at Giza (the other pyramids I've seen), they're also older (erected between 300BC and 300AD) and there are more of them, organised on three hills.


(We weren't supposed to be climbing on them... whoops!)


And the view from the top of the hill (not the top of the pyramid).

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

And now its gone...

I have been knitting, and here's the proof:


I started working on a sock in some Lorna's Laces a while ago to deal with some long stretches in the car on a road trip (to the pyramids, which I still haven't posted about...) I love the colours in the ball, but the foot really wasn't working for me.


I don't know what it is, but I pretty much always have a striping effect when I'm using multicolour yarn. And I really don't like how it was working up.


The colour combination on the heel is much better.


So, I switched up the stitch pattern on the leg. (Its a simple, alternating slip stitch pattern.) Much better! Unfortunately, after ripping back once to lengthen the foot a bit, it is still too small. What I think they could really use is a slightly larger needle (I was using 2mm), but I didn't have one with me (since been found, and added to my Ravelry needle count). Frogging ensued, and I now have nothing more than a toe. Its not like I need them any time soon, so I will just keep working on them.

Monday, December 03, 2007


A few things I've noticed on-line (since I haven't gotten the football pics yet):

The Sunrise Circle Jacket: I didn't find it that flattering until I found this picture on Kate Gilbert's blog.

Also by Kate: I love these mitts! Don't ask me what I'd do with mitts here, but apparently Canada is expecting a harsh winter, and I will be coming home at some point.

I haven't listened to this yet, but it looks interesting.

Its not much, but I was in a conference for the past couple of days, so I haven't been on the internet much.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Krazy in Khartoum!

I just got home from the big football match! Very exciting! I've never been to a sporting event with such fervour and emotion. The game was two teams from Omdurman, Al-Hilal and Al-Merrikh, playing each other for the championship cup. Al-Hilal won (which happens to have been the team I was cheering for, largely by association (the local colleague who took Eric and me is a fan)) for the fifth year in a row, so it was complete pandemonium. I hope to have actual pictures later! For now, I need to go get out of my smoky clothes and try to sleep through all of the horns honking outside.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I was feeling a little tired, so when I got home tonight, I decided to go to my room, listen to my iPod and knit for a bit before bed. Unfortunately, my iPod seemed to have frozen, so I had to go on-line to find out how to unfreeze. (For future reference, my model requires me to hold down the menu key and the centre button at the same time.)

Anyway, while it was plugged in, Apple had me connect to iTunes, and I'm currently looking at a list of the top 100 downloads today, and two things catch my attention. One, there's a lot of Christmas music, and I so don't feel like its Christmas time yet. Two, I don't know much about current music! There aren't that many songs that I recognize! So, while I'm here, I might end up buying a few new things just for kicks.

Monday, November 26, 2007


I missed my post yesterday, but I don't have much to add today either. I am pretty lazy when it comes to cooking. I'm good at it, but I have to be pretty motivated to actually do it, especially just for myself. Today, I went fruit and veg shopping (which involves going to two different stands! At least if you want the best stuff, as the produce at the 'grocery' stores tends to be pretty lame.) So, when I got home, I decided to prep everything I bought so it wouldn't go bad in the fridge (as tends to happen. Did I mention I'm lazy?)

First, I purified water. (I use Pristine, which doesn't taste like chlorine or iodine.) The tap water isn't potable, so this is generally to avoid further contaminating the produce. I know lots of people that don't do this step, but I also know at least one person who has caught amoebic dysentery, so I take the precautions when I'm going to be eating something raw or unpeeled.

Here's the parsley taking its bath.


Then, I washed and chopped tomatoes, cucumber, parsley and cheese to make a salad. Can you believe this stuff is all in season in November!


Finally, I washed a bunch of fruit for later eating. I have pears and mangoes, and a grapefruit. (The grapefruit was a gift from the vendor when he noticed I thought the price was too high but was too tired to bargain with him.)


The pears here are the best pears I've ever tasted! And I love fruit, so I eat a lot of pears. (I also finally pulled out my tripod to do some shots without the flash, which is much better. It starts getting dark 5-ish now, but there's light for a while longer.)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

time flies

It's amazing how time flies! It's almost 4pm on Saturday, time to try and avoid thinking about work tomorrow. I have a difficult time living in the now and not always looking at what is coming next.

Today has been a good day, though. I was awake at 5am for no apparent reason, so I went for a walk along the Nile (and then went back to bed and slept in anyway!). Brunch at Ozone, and then just playing on the computer and watching the special features from Ugly Betty. I only have two episodes left, so I'm trying to stretch it out a bit. Dinner at a friend's house tonight, to celebrate the arrival of his shipment. Its always exciting here when you get pieces from home.

FYI, the site for the development where I bought a place is finally up, for anyone who hasn't seen. Squee!

Friday, November 23, 2007


There's a party tonight that I should be going to tonight, but I'm so without energy...

I had a really productive hour or so with reorganizing things earlier. I have gotten to the point in unpacking from my move where everything was 'good enough,' but not done. My roommate spurred me on for a bit, and my office and the front entry look way better. Still not done, but better. That's all I can do for now...

ETA I forgot that today was (is) Buy Nothing Day.

I bought bread already (and a friend bought me brunch at a cafe), so I guess I don't get to participate. However, I am working at decreasing my generally rampant consumerism, which living in Sudan is definitely helping (with the lack of credit cards and easily accessible stuff (shopping here is more like going to a thrift store than going to the mall.))

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I hear that Ottawa got its first big dump of snow today. This leaves me feeling surprisingly sad. Or, maybe its not so surprising.


(The temperature is still reaching the mid-30s every day, and it has cooled down a lot from when I arrived.)

This will be my first Christmas without snow, and the first time I don't go home to my family for the holidays. There will be lots of people here, and Christmas dinners, and even a party or two, so it will be fun.

But it won't be the same.

Yeah, I sound like a whiner. Anyway, since I'm far away, and would love to receive some mail at this festive time of year, I have a proposition to make. If you would like to receive mail from Sudan, and don't mind sending something to me in return (my mailing address is in Canada), email me (knitter_tara*at*yahoo*dot*ca) your address. I'll send you mine in return, and we can exchange holiday cards!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


So, I didn't post yesterday. I went home sick around noon. More of a mental health day than anything else, but everyone needs those too. I've spent my time sleeping and watching episodes of Ugly Betty. I am in love with that show, and I love the whole DVD thing! I know, I'm way behind the times, but this is the first series I'm watching this way. So much easier than trying to be home to catch episodes when they air! Especially here. The satellite package I have is from Saudi (as was the other option), and some of the channels play stuff like CSI and Grey's Anatomy. But, there's some sort of time shifting going on (the time on my screen is three hours different from the real time, even though the two countries are in the same time zone). So, its even harder to try to watch things regularly. DVDs are the way to go!

Monday, November 19, 2007


For Knittyknatty, and anyone who's never seen one of these, this is a tuk-tuk (or a ricksja).


Its a three-wheeled, motorized vehicle that is used as a taxi, generally for shorter trips. This one is pretty unadorned, but some drivers get them all blinged out, with mirrors, beads, stickers and anything else that stands out.

We took a team building trip with the Embassy staff this week, including a stop in Shendi for a fish breakfast. I have some amazing pictures, once I organise and reduce.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Well, I just missed the deadline for my 18/11 post by 5 minutes. Needless to say, its been a busy, full day. I've only been home for half an hour since just after six this morning. That's all I have to say for now, but look for pictures of the pyramids at Merowe soon.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Inspired by this post, I decided to resurrect my oldest(?) UFO:


This project was a lot of firsts for me. Up until this point, I had only ever purchased yarn at Lewiscraft or Walmart (I hadn't been knitting long, and had no idea where to find an LYS in Calgary), and had mostly knit scarves. Although they were very creative scarves for a newbie, including a vertically-striped, rainbow scarf for my sister before I had any idea what intarsia was (I'll have to see if I can get a picture of that, as it was also pre-blog).

Anyway, I went to Toronto (for the first time) for training for a new job, and walked from our hotel on Yonge St out to Romni Wools and saw yarn that wasn't Patons or Red Heart (for the first time). I bought two balls of Noro Kureyon, a Fleece Artist sock kit, and the skein of Fleece Artist Kid Mohair used for this 'scarf' (which is already 45" long, and 12" wide).

But, as you can see, I had never seen yarn in a skein before, so when I opened up the hank, I just started knitting as it was. The kid mohair is sticky enough that it hasn't dissolved into tangles, even after many years of being stored in this condition.


You don't want to know what happened when I tried the same thing with the hank of sock yarn! ;)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Just another work day

So, the weekend here is Friday, and we take Saturday as well. But, I had to go to work today (although not as early as normal), and I'll end up working again tomorrow.

But when you're at the office on a day off, you can walk around with your ipod, so I got stuff done while listening to some good music. I finally got around to listening to the new Radiohead album that I downloaded while I was at home! I really like it, and think it was well worth the $5 I paid for it. I've been reading about all of the controversy about how many people paid to download it or didn't and how much. I think its an interesting idea, hope that other artists continue to experiment with different music delivery methods in the future. I'm much more likely to download something online (as evidenced by my music collection; I haven't bought a cd in years!)

I've noticed a few posts about cool music lately (like this and this). Do you have a favourite band I can check out on-line?

(Sorry, spending lots of time at work is bad for blog posts, as previously discussed. Its interesting to see that I am capable of posting every day, but I'm not necessarily impressed by what I'm writing. Oh well, I figure that, if i keep it up, it will at least serve as an interesting writing exercise.)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Friday (sort-of) night

Its our version of Friday night, with nothing big planned. I, unfortunately, have to work tomorrow, so it won't be too late. Just hanging out at at friend's house.

I am in need of a weekend! Not that I'm going to get a very relaxing one for a while. I am planning on booking myself a massage tomorrow or Saturday (before I go back to work Saturday afternoon).

I did spin a large handful of fibre last night, just for fun. I've never felt the need to take classes (for knitting or spinning) before, but reading all of the blog posts about SOAR (yes, I'm a bit behind). Has changed that. I like to teach myself things, but its definitely becoming apparent to me that I can't teach myself everything. Something to think about...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I knew this was going to be hard, but this is even harder than expected. I had a really unproductive day at work, but it didn't produce anything blog-worthy either. Its really tough to blog regularly when work takes up a significant part of your day, but is not bloggable. Not that no one else faces this issue, but I've never been a regular blogger before.

So, my day went a bit like this:
5:00am - alarm goes off. I'm trying to walk in the mornings, since I live in a hot country (the average daily high is still 39*C here, so its uncomfortable to exercise as soon as the sun comes up). I turned the alarm off today.
7:00am - alarm goes off again. Two snoozes, and up to make coffee, shower, get dressed pack up breakfast and lunch and run out the door.
8:15am - arrive at work. Driving here is not relaxing in the least. You never know what's going to happen. Thankfully, there were no random donkey carts or tuk-tuks this morning.
8:30am - log on to the computer. It takes several minutes, as the internet is not so fast. Normal day at work, with normal number of crises.
3:00pm - Head to several hours worth of meetings. Thankfully, it took place in an outdoor cafe, so there was good coffee at the very least.
6:00pm - Head for home. Catch up on the day with my colleague, Daniel (we live in the same building), over a drink.
7:00pm - yoga. 1/2 hour
8:00pm - dinner

As soon as I finish this post, I'm going to spin for a bit, and then its time for bed...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


So, for post number two... It was a long day (not in hours, just because), so forgive the mostly picture nature.

This is my airplane cosy in the morning sun of Khartoum. I have used 4 balls of Palermo by Ella Rae. I should be able to double this in size before I need to start adding the edging. It should keep me nice and warm when I'm traveling without adding weight.


And this is an airplane cosy with a cat!



Monday, November 12, 2007


Like random Wednesday, but not.

I just found out about NaBloPoMo. I'm a little late for the month of November, but I'm going to challenge myself to write a post a day for the next 30 days. Be prepared for randomness, since I don't knit that much these days.

An easy stitch marker tutorial. Not that I have any immediate plans to take this up (like I need another hobby with more stuff to acquire), but maybe one day.

Elijah is so cute! I want one, although I'm really trying to finish off some things on my needles first. And work on things I can actually use/wear.

Lots of these links have been stolen from one of my favourite designers: Ysolda

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Rhinebeck stash

I have finally got the Internet set up! I can post from home, which theoretically means it could happen more often. Although I'm really tired, so I'm still going to upload photos without writing any captions right now. Words will follow. ETA: Words, such as they are, are here.


Some beautiful sock yarn, from Toni at The Fold


Also from The Fold, rayon laceweight from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Did you know that the 2008 Rockin' Sock Club opened on Nov 1, and all the international spots are already full? Fingers crossed for the waiting list.


Fun toys, including a set of felting needles, some stitch markers, an unfinished swift, a sweater stone, a chibi with curved needles and some roving, all from Stony Mountain Fibers.


Gorgeous superwash merino/bamboo/nylon sock yarn from Maple Creek Farm


This yarn, actually from Yarn Forward, is being used to make an airplane cosy. I wanted to knit something warm while I was in the feeling of fall, but progress has slowed significantly since I got home. Yarn is Palermo by Ella Rae.


I can't seem to find a card as to what booth I got this from, and I'm concerned. They had gorgeous fibers, both this one and a colour call Caramel Swirl, and I kind of wish I'd bought more.


And more fiber, from various sources, all from Little Barn. I started spinning with the New Zealand Romney the other day, and the fiber is great to work with, very nicely prepared. These are my practice items for another little purchase I made:


My new wheel! A Hitchhiker from The Merlin Tree. I had kind of decided I wanted a wheel months ago, so it was kind of inevitable. This is a really good option for me, since it easily fit in my suitcase to come back to Sudan. Although, I tried the Ashford Kiwi when I was at the booth, and if I actually spin more, I can see one of those in my future too. Dreams, dreams...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Rhinebeck... wow!

My trip to Rhinebeck began weeks before the fact, but I'll start this post here on the Wednesday before, when J took me home with her from knitting. I was thrilled, as I got to spend Thursday curling up with furry beasts


And walking other ones


(I walked the two big ones too, but couldn't deal with a camera and the leash at the same time.)

fall colours

Then, after a very quick drive with Sarah, we were in Poughkeepsie. I was delinquent with my camera the entire time we were at the hotel, but there are other pictures out there. Saturday, we went to the fair!


There was a little hero worship...


And more beasts of the hairy kind...


which were enjoyed in many forms


And of course, there was shopping!

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Hi all! I am safe and sound, back in Sudan. My car and my stuff have arrived, so its nice organizing and settling in.

I did go to Rhinebeck when I was back, so I will eventually post a real post, even if it is seriously out of date. For now, a little vignette...

As some of you may have noticed, I'm having weird issues with socks these days, and Rhinebeck was no exception. I spent a lot of time on Saturday at the Merlin Tree booth, trying things out. On my third visit, I was working with the Hitchhiker again, and was finding my foot slipping, so I took my sock off and tucked it in my shoe. When I went to put my shoe back on and purchase this lovely instrument, I was amazed to find that my sock was no longer in my shoe! I searched all around the chair I was using, under tables, and in all of my bags, and finally had to admit that it was gone! I went to Rhinebeck, and someone walked off with my sock! And it wasn't even handknit. I'm sure they'll be quite disturbed when they discover it, as it had been on my foot in my shoe all day...