Wednesday, December 17, 2008

FO: Snowy Lady Sweater

Or my Turkey Sweater!


So, this is probably the most inexpensive sweater I've ever made. I bought five balls of DK weight wool when I was in Turkey for 15 YTL, which was somewhere in the range of $11 CAD at the time, and it made a whole sweater! The ballband says it was manufactured in Turkey for sale in Germany. Granted, this isn't next-to-the-skin soft, but it works nicely as a layering piece.


The buttons aren't amazing, so they're not affixed directly to the sweater. I attached the buttons to smaller ones that can be pushed through the garter stitch. When I want to wear it with a brooch, I can just take the other buttons off.


Notes: (ravelry)
Yarn: Ayda Saf Yün, 100% wool, 200m to 100g
Needle: 4.0mm
Gauge: 20.5 stitches to 10cm
Size: XL to get XS proportions
Mods: none

Friday, December 12, 2008

Eid al-Adha

So, we've just finished Eid al-Adha (also known as the Festival of Sacrifice or the Big Eid) in Sudan, so I thought I'd write a little bit about what has been going on.

The Muslim calendar is lunar, so the dates of holidays aren't fixed. Because the lunar calendar is shorter than the solar calendar, holidays fall about eleven days earlier each year. This year's Eid started on December 8th (which actually means at sunset on Dec. 7), and it runs for three or more days. Eid al-Adha follows the Hajj, which is the pilgrimage to Mecca.

The main event of the Big Eid is the sacrifice of a goat or sheep at some point during the holiday. It forms the basis for a big meal for the family and some of the meat should also be given to neighbours and people in need.

Even my local massage place got into the spirit of things, as I found when I went for a massage on Sunday evening. They had a sheep tethered in the middle of the garden, and one of the resident cats was very curious.

Although he was pretty nervous, I did get close enough to pat the sheep a bit. As you can see from the photos, the local sheep don't grow much of a fleece (but they do have a long tail!) I don't think I'll be able to spin yarn from local fleece. :(

I didn't take any photos, but on my way to work the morning of Eid, there were men sacrificing animals in front of their houses, and you could smell fires burning all day long. As it's a time for family, I didn't get to experience the feast for myself, but I did get a day off work!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Some Christmas Spirit

I saw this on Concateknit's blog, and thought I'd get in on the Christmas spirit!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Well, I was very poor with the wrapping this year, since everything had to be sent by mail. I’m really working on using cloth gift bags, and recycling wrapping materials as much as possible.
2. Real tree or Artificial? I love a real tree, but I haven’t had a tree at all in a few years. There are no pine trees here, so it won’t work out this year either.
3. When do you put up the tree? I think the beginning of December should be the first sign of decorations.
4. When do you take the tree down? Shortly after Christmas, hopefully before going back to work.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? I don’t actually remember getting it, but I still have my first Cabbage Patch kid that I got when I was three.
7. Hardest person to buy for? My parents are pretty tough, as they tend to just buy the things they need and want.
8. Easiest person to buy for? I don’t think I have anyone easy to buy for right now, as the ease of purchase comes from proximity. When you only see someone once or twice a year, it can be hard to pick out the things they'll really like.
9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes. It was a gift from my cousins two years ago, and it’s simple but beautiful.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I like to mail cards… It’s actually almost the only thing I do these days.
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Several years ago, I remember not being pleased with getting pyjamas (my sister asked for them, and we both got them), but I’m still wearing them today, so it obviously wasn’t all bad.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated version), although A Muppet Christmas Carol is also good.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually in November, although I haven’t been doing a lot of gifting over the last few years.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Nope.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Turkey!
16. Lights on the tree? Yes, although I’ve developed a fondness for all one colour over multi-colour
17. Favorite Christmas song? I have to go with a whole album: Kenny Rogers Christmas!
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I almost always travel for Christmas, as my family is not nearby. This year, I won’t even make it home, but I still plan to travel a bit just after Christmas. I’m thinking of London right now.
19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Yep.
20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning.
21. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? The commercialism, without a doubt.
22. Favorite ornament theme or color? I like white lights, but have been collecting ornaments since I was a kid, so there’s really know theme to them.
23. What do you want for Christmas this year? I have a small list of things I’d like, but there’s nothing big.
24. Angel on the tree top or a star? Angel
25. Favorite Christmas dinner? I require turkey, potatoes and stuffing with gravy. All other dishes are optional. This year I’ll be hosting a potluck at my place several days before the big day.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Damascus, Syria

I was mostly in Damascus to visit friends, so I didn't do a lot of sight seeing, but I have a few fun pictures.

Sadly, I don't have any pictures of horse riding, which was one of the most random things I did. I had never ridden English style before, and it was very off-putting to not have a horn and trying to learn how to post.

Anyway, here's what I saw...

The Umayyad Mosque in Damascus

First, we need to go to the 'Putting on Special Clothes Room'

and here I am inside, wearing my 'special clothes'.

A portion of the old city walls

I just thought this was a cool building. I believe it's the municipal water building.

Inside the craft souq, we stopped at a store where they do these intricately painted panels in different shapes and sizes.

This is an example of tile work from the Takiyya as-Suleimaniyya, very near the Artisanat where I bought some lovely silver jewelry.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sick Day

I spent a day at home today... nothing serious, but I seemed to be in need of some additional rest. Actually, I rested in the morning and finally did some cooking in the afternoon, so I have some meals for the next little while.

I was trying to finish a meme to have something at least slightly interesting to post, but I wasn't feeling very creative. Next week will be another busy time at work, so who knows when I'll get around to posting again though.

So, I will just leave you with a picture...

The Old City of Damascus

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Fall in Sudan

Yes, it most definitely is fall in Sudan! It was a balmy 34 degrees outside when I was driving home from work at about 6pm this afternoon. The local pool has cooled down noticeably, so it no longer feels like jumping into a bathtub. However, I don't think the temperature will ever drop enough that I need to use my new FO!

Handspun Beret and Scarf Set


This is the first thing I've finished knitting with my own handspun! The yarn is New Zealand Romney from Little Barn, spun and plied on my Hitchhiker.

The beret is based on an idea I read about on someone’s blog once, but no idea where. I knit the band in seed stitch, but a less stretchy stitch would have been better. Then I picked up stitches around the edge of the band, increased every other stitch on the next row and knit 4.5 inches before starting the decreases. Knit with 3.25 mm needles.

The scarf is done in a simple k1 *yo, k2tog* k1 for every row. I think it’s the lace pattern used in the centre of the Ogee motif, but didn’t check. Knit with 4.5 mm needles.


Friday, November 07, 2008

I'm back!

Actually, I've been home for a week now, but getting back into the routine of work and seeing friends took up much of my time. I spent the rest of it sleeping, so this is my first chance to blog.

I had a great vacation, catching up with friends and visiting some places that were new to me. I even found yarn!

The first few days were in Aqaba, Jordan, where we stayed at the Radisson SAS Tala Bay. It was brand new, and a great resort, the only one in Aqaba with direct access to the beach. Here are a few pictures for those of you looking at impending winter!





Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Originally uploaded by knitter_tara.

So, I'm in Turkey right now until the end of the week. Apparently Turkey has blocked Blogger (in Syria, it was Facebook, and Sudan had YouTube blocked for a while...). But, this seems to be a way to check in without access to the site. It's been a great vacation! Lots of friends and new places. I'll try to write more when I get back, even if work will be busy. This picture was taken inside the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. I love the different lamps!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Umm, so I'm on vacation right now, meaning that my posting will be even more sporadic than usual. I am actually getting some knitting done, but I don't have any pictures to post.

I'm currently in Damascus, staying with friends. It's been lovely, but I have of course bought too much stuff! I even found a yarn store and got 10 balls of a silk-cotton blend from Switzerland for $10! I will have to show you a picture later.

Anyway, I'm on the move again today towards Turkey! Who knows when I'll post next!

I hope everyone at Rhinebeck is having fun!

Sunday, October 05, 2008


We had a dust storm today, the biggest one I've seen so far, and I managed to take a few pictures both before it hit and as we were running for the house.

PA050006Here it comes! (This is not my house.)

PA050009Look at it move!


PA050012 ...and the aftermath

And that's pretty much the lame-ass post you get!

Friday, September 19, 2008



Look! I do spin!

So, I've been playing on occasion with my Hitchhiker, and having a lot of fun. The fibre is from Little Barn, and the preparation was lovely.

Sorry for the blurry picture. I want to post, and don't have the light conditions to take a better one right now. This is a two ply yarn, probably between a fingering and sport weight. Now I want a tensioned kate so I can make more than two ply! There are always more toys!

Princess Spooky cat really enjoys the mildly sheepy smell of the yarn after the twist has been set.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sock Meme

When did you first learn to knit socks? Fairly soon after I restarted knitting in 2003. I bought my first sock yarn from Romni Wools in 2004 when I was in Toronto on training for my stint with Right to Play. That was the first lys I ever visited, as in Calgary I had only ever bought yarn from Lewiscraft.

What's the first sock you ever knit? The sock pattern that came with the skein of Fleece Artist sock yarn (I don't see the one I used on the website anymore. I'm pretty sure it's superwash merino, but who knows...). It took a while, but I love the end results. (See centre row right below)

Favorite Sock Pattern? I use the Turkish cast on from the Fall 2005 Vogue Knitting, and the short row heel from Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook and then whatever pattern choices I want for other areas.

Favorite needle method? DPNs. I have done magic loop and knitting in the round on two circs for other things, but don’t have the right size needles for socks.

Favorite sock needles? I’m using Knitpicks Harmony right now. I prefer plastic, bamboo or wooden needles when possible, but have used metal too.

Who do you knit socks for? Me. The only pairs I’ve made for other people have been through sockapalooza.

How many pairs have you knitted to date? More than 10, less than 20 (They're not all here...)

My creation

1. P5310031, 2. P5310024, 3. pomatomus III, 4. stuff 007, 5. stuff 005, 6. stuff 003, 7. P1230001, 8. sherbet socks, 9. sockpal

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

What is on your sock knitting to-do list? I have lots of sock yarn in the stash to knit up, and I recently bought some Sundara sock yarn in semi-solid colours so I could try some more complicated cables and/or lace.

What kind of socks to you like to knit-
Striped? Haven’t yet.
Colourwork? I haven't yet, but I'm not against colourwork socks.
Plain Stockinette? Yes.
Cabled? Yes.
Lace? Yes.
Anklets? Yes.
Knee Socks? There are a few I would like to try, but haven’t yet
Solid Colours? Yes, but I prefer a textured pattern when working in solids.
Bright and crazy? Of course. Why knit socks otherwise?
Faux Fair Isle (the yarn doing all of the work)? Mmm… haven’t yet.

Tag a few sock knitters here: Feel free to tag yourself.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Umm, I haven't updated in a bit. I spent three hours working an invisible bind off (from the Fall IK) on the pink Pomatomus that's be waiting to be bound off, only to find out that I had somehow made it too tight. Which is unfortunate, because I had decided to try it specifically because the article claimed it was a stretchy bindoff. I'm sure I just pulled things too tightly, but I couldn't deal with picking it out at that point. So, I have nothing finished to show.

I finally decided not to fly back to Canada for my vacation in October. It was a really tough choice, as I wanted to see family and friends and go to Rhinebeck and all. But, I'm probably moving back next summer, and I'm buying a condo, so once I get home it will be much more difficult for me to get over here again. So, I'm going to meet up with some friends in Aqaba for the Thanksgiving weekend, and then I'm spending some time in Syria and Turkey. It should be a nice couple of weeks.

Umm, so I don't have much else to report. I have actually been reading a fair bit, so maybe I'll try writing a book report at some point (since I don't have any knitting to show).

Friday, September 05, 2008

FO: Cozy Brown Sweater

So, I started knitting this sweater on a complete and total whim. I traveled back to Canada in March for work, and in a very busy time leading up to my departure, I managed to leave without packing any serious knitting. I largely blame it on not having much on the needles that would be nice to knit in snowy Canada. I did take a skein of Cascade Magnum and needles to make a hat (having discovered during my crazed packing that all of my hats somehow ended up in storage), but I finished that on the plane.


So, I arrived in Kingston with nothing on the needles! (I might be exaggerating, there may have been a sock, but it wasn't much.)

I had come prepared, having scouted the Internet for yarn stores in Kingston ahead of time. Over the week, I visited Gwyn Griffin yarns, and another one that I can't remember right now, and I bought some nice yarns I hadn't seen before.


But in the interests of getting something on the needles quickly, I also went to the T&S (a sort of general store) and bought five balls of Patons Classic Merino in a dark brown (which they call Taupe), a 4.5mm needle, and started swatching.


This sweater is the result, and it worked out pretty well. I had wanted the fronts to be more asymmetrical, but you can actually only see that they are when the zipper is done up all the way to the neck. But it's still a great sweater, light but very warm, and I'm very proud of how I made the cables flow in and out of the ribbing on the sleeves. Also, it was my first effort installing a zipper and I think it looks good.

When I was blocking, I did notice a few small errors (a purl instead of a knit in a place or two), which reminds me that I need to slow down and enjoy the process more, as the final product is nicer when I do that.

Ravelry details

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Knit Night

I hosted my first Knit Night in Khartoum last night! So exciting! I didn't knit much, but I gave an intro lesson and strategised on a crochet project. Mostly it was just chatting in a very comfy way. Exactly the thing I needed.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Some days, I just want to go home…

Today is a pretty good day, actually, but there are some not so stellar ones around here. Don’t get me wrong, I love living in a foreign country, seeing and doing things I would never manage at home.

But I miss my friends and family at home, and some of the things I used to do. (Oh how I miss my chiropractor!) So when things don’t work as I would like, I definitely have the occasional homesick day. I don’t usually write then, as I’m sure I’d come off as a big whiner, but there really are some interesting things that happen that tell you a lot about life in Khartoum (Sudan – I mention Khartoum specifically because, as the capital, it is very different from the rest of the country)

Let me tell you about my trials and tribulations with electricity in Khartoum. First, I am part of the lucky few that have access to both air conditioning and a generator. The AC is nice when it works, and then the generator powers lights, the fridge and ceiling fans (but not the AC or other high-demand appliances) when the power goes out. Since the power goes out at least once a day (too much demand on a too small supply, which yes, is somewhat related to the growing number of air conditioners in use), the generator is very nice to have indeed. The generator was on a switch, so it only provided power if someone was in the apartment to turn the switch when the power went out, so it wasn’t ideal, but still better than not having a generator at all. I could never, ever drink milk from my fridge without checking whether or not it had gone off though.

The first problem appeared in mid-July, when suddenly the generator was providing too much electricity to my apartment. Enough energy that it managed to short out eight appliances in one go (including two voltage regulators that are deigned to deal with the spikes of electricity that occur regularly with the city supply, the fridge, and both of my radios (for security))! It took a week or so, but the building management fixed the problem (something to do with the ground wire not being properly connected).

Then, at the beginning of August, the switch that changes the apartment electric supply from city to generator broke. Now, a lot of other people live in this city without a generator, but my building was built with the generator in mind. What else would explain the large, east facing windows in a desert country? So a nice Saturday, my only day off on the Civic holiday weekend, was spent lying on my couch while two to five Sudanese men tried to fix the switch. Unfortunately, more parts were needed, so it took a few more days, but did eventually work out.

But the worst was when the original problem suddenly came back for an encore! Three problems and at least twelve appliances broken, in less than a month! The owner of the apartment (who is not the owner of the building) decided he was tired of dealing with this, and told my employer to fix the problem and bill him for it. So, with our own (contractor) engineer, the problem seems to be solved (fingers crossed, knock on wood, and whatever other superstitions exist, as I haven’t had a good go of it yet). And, as a plus, he installed an automatic switch which allows the generator to kick in automatically! No more fumbling for the switch in the dark and less testing of the milk too!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Rain in Sudan...

... really does fall on occasion.


And since there's a very limited drainage, most of it sits on the street. It's currently the rainy season here, but this is the first time I've actually seen it rain much during the day. We've had the occasional downpour at night, but nothing else. However, the Nile is quite high right now, so it is definitely raining somewhere south of me.

So, work got a little crazy, as it is wont to do, and I ended up working nine days in a row. Not so tough, but it really cuts into the blogging time. I should have an entire weekend off starting Friday, which will hopefully give me some time to finish a few things up and blog about it too.


Saturday, August 02, 2008


Stolen from Everybody Loves Saturday Night

Who was your first prom date? We don’t really have prom in Canada, but I accompanied my high school boyfriend Shaun to his grad, and he did the same for me when I graduated.

Do you still talk to your first love? Yes, every so often.

What was your first alcoholic drink? Probably tastes of beer. If you mean the first thing I actually finished, I’d have to go with rum and coke.

What was your first job? Babysitter.

What was your first car? My grandpa bought me a ’90 Mercury Topaz when I moved away for university. It was a good little car, and served me well for all the time I had it.

Who was the first person to text you today? My friend Manasi.

Who is the first person you thought of this morning? I woke up from a crazy dream that involved most of by family this morning.

Who was your first grade teacher? Mrs. Elliot. Not my favourite over the years.

Where did you go on your first ride on an airplane? In grade 11, I lived with a family in Quebec for three months as part of an exchange program. It was a great experience, starting with my first ever (big) plane ride to get there. As a kid, we had a pilot friend who was teaching my parents to fly, so I have vague memories of lots of small airplane rides then.

Who was your first best friend and are you still friends? The first one I remember would be Kimberly in grade one. I haven’t seen her since then, as she moved away after that year.

What was your first sport played? I was a dancer and a gymnast as a kid. I didn’t really play any team sports until I started soccer as an adult.

Where was your first sleepover? I would guess Tamilyn’s house, as we were friends at about the right time, but it might have been Jaylyn’s or Megan’s too. It might even have been my house for all I know.

Who was the first person you talked to this morning? Abdu

Whose wedding were you first in? My sister’s. And she is younger than me.

What was the first thing you did this morning? Made coffee? Actually, petting the cat probably came first.

What was the first concert you went to? Meat Loaf, with Cheap Trick as the opener. It was a great concert, and I still love the music now (although I have a limited tolerance for the length of Meat Loaf songs sometimes.)

What was your first tattoo or piercing? My ears were pierced when I was five or so. I don’t remember the exact age, but I remember not really knowing what they were doing for the first one. I cried for a long time before I agreed to get back into the chair for the second one, and I still moved so that the second hole is crooked.

What was the first foreign country you went to? The US, although only for a day ski trip in high school. Italy w as the first one I stayed overnight in. I moved there after my first year of university to work as a nanny.

What was your first run in with the law? Unless you count a speeding ticket, I’ve never had one.

When was your first detention? In grade six, I got lunchtime detention for a week because I passed around a petition to my classmates that said that the undersigned hate insert name here (the class bully). I also remember getting in trouble for staying in and reading during lunch hour in fourth grade, but I don’t think detention was the punishment.

What was the first state you lived in? Umm, none. I was born in Saskatchewan, but lived most of my life in Alberta.

Who was the first person to break your heart? I respectfully decline to answer this question.

Who was your first roommate? I shared a room with my sister as a kid. After that, it would be Kale (?) in my first year university. I’m not sure if I’ve spelled that correctly, that’s how firmly I’ve put her out of my mind. It wasn’t a good experience.

Where did you go in your first limo ride? We took a limo from the airport once in Vancouver. A bunch of us arrived on the same plane, and the per person cost was the same for four in a limo as for two per cab. (Very exciting, I know)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


So, I was concerned the other day that I had somehow lost a ball of linen yarn, or maybe used all four balls without realizing it. (Still have no idea what actually happened… I blame the gnomes) I had a back, front and sleeve, but only enough yarn for one more sleeve (which would result in a less than useful cardigan). And since I bought this yarn in Lyon on vacation last year, it wasn’t going to be easy to get more.

Amazingly enough, I have a colleague in my tiny office (of four people) who has family in Paris! When he was going for a visit in June, I prepared a stash card with a yarn sample, quantity and address for La Droguerie, and he brought me yarn! Amazing! (It looks exactly like the other cakes of yarn, so I didn't take more pictures. And I’m beyond caring about dyelot, not that this store has them.) I am so inspired, I cast on for sleeve number two today.

In another serendipitous episode, when I was in Kenya in April, I ordered some clothes to be made for me by the design house Kiko Romeo. I paid a good deposit, with the rest to be paid on collection. At the time, a good friend was living in Nairobi, so I thought we would be able to work out delivery in some way. But, by the time the order was ready, she had moved. (she's currently in Zimbabwe!)

What to do!?! A plane ticket to Nairobi for the weekend is more than the value of the clothes. Well, last weekend I went for a walk with a friend, and was introduced to a Kenyan woman working for the UN who was just about to go home for vacation! She's picking up my clothes for me while she's there!

So, even if it's not always true, sometimes things just work out.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Semi-finished knitted something-or-other

So, I finished knitting something, but I'm not quite sure what it is.


Or, since it's fairly obviously a blanket, maybe the correct expression is I don't know what it's purpose is.

I bought the yarn when I was in Canada in October, and I starting knitting something I was calling the "Airplane Cosy," since I'd spent most of the flights home freezing. I didn't have any of my books/patterns or regular access to the internet, so I was kind of freestyling. And now, I don't know what to do with the results.

I wanted something I could stuff into a bag to keep me warm on the plane. This is both a little too fragile and a little too bulky for that. I suppose I could always tuck it away until I move somewhere a wool blanket would be useful.

If I had planned more, I probably would have made the Tilted Duster. I think this yarn (Ella Rae Palermo) would be a good substitute, but it doesn't respond all that well to frogging. So, I think I'll let it marinate for a while and see.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


So, I don't have any knitting progress to post (or at least none with pictures ready), but I wanted to post anyway. I had family in town last week (my first visitors! Yay!), so this weekend is a lazy, laundry-doing and not much else kind of weekend. And, I'm enjoying season 1 of Heroes (to the point where I'm debating between napping and watching more tv as the show is just so engrossing!)

Umm, yeah, that's about it for today.

Saturday, July 19, 2008



Pattern: Icarus by Miriam L. Felton
Needles: 3.25mm Clover bamboo needles
Yarn: Fyberspates laceweight mohair (I can’t find the yarn on the site: I won it in the prize draws following the Knitting Olympics.)

Started: Spring 2007 (I seem to have listed September 2007 on Ravelry, but I’m sure that’s wrong; in September 2007, I had just moved to Khartoum, and there’s no way I started a lace shawl then. Must correct. And maybe look at the blog archives to see when I really started.)
Finished July 2008

Mods: None. I thought about adding another repeat to the quill part (and likely have adequate yarn) but I’m glad I didn’t. I was worried it was going to be small, but the magic of blocking has made it much larger.
Notes: This yarn is lovely, but very sticky (mostly to my hands) at times. I especially had problems moving the yarnovers over the joins in the needles when I was fighting the humidity.

As shown yesterday, I did manage to move a stitch marker or two during the ‘quill’ section. I ended up not using markers for the plum bit and it ended up being easier (I’m not sure if that’s what I mean – maybe more intuitive?).

Blocking this wasn’t really a problem, even if it overflowed my foam squares a bit. I did need a lot of pins (which could totally have been avoided if I had seen brainylady’s smart photo first.

Ravelry info

Friday, July 18, 2008

Things I learned while knitting Icarus

1.Mohair yarn + humidity = bad idea. Look at that fuzz! I started knitting this over a year ago, but quickly put it aside when summer hit in Ottawa. I recently pulled it out for a trip home to ‘Big Sky Country,’ hoping the cooler, dryer summers would help me through. I didn’t quite get it done, but once I returned to Khartoum, I was so far along I just couldn’t put it aside again. But let me tell you, if it’s hot enough out, you make your own ‘humidity.’

2. Stitch markers are your friends, but they still don’t replace counting.

3. Count early and count often, because fixing mistakes in mohair is less fun than it could be.

4. Blocking doesn’t fix everything (unfortunately)

5. I could use a larger blocking surface (and more straight pins, but safety pins did the job in the pinch). But you'll have to wait for the FO post tomorrow to see!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

View of Turkey...

...from the Airport.

Starbucks are pretty much the same, all over the world.

I thought this was a novel idea! It's a charging station for cell phones. You pay a fee to lock your cell phone up in a secure box with the appropriate phone charger. I think it would be very popular here, because people are so dependent on their cell phones.

However, I couldn't quite figure out what this sign was all about. Any ideas? (It's above the toilet in a public bathroom.)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Terminal: 24-hour version*

Most of this post was written previously, but not yet posted. Something about not having the pictures ready… ;) I still don’t have the pictures ready, but I’m in the middle of the stupidest bout of jetlag induced insomnia yet (I say that every time. I always know the jetlag is going to be bad, and I’m always shocked by how bad it is. Apparently crossing eight time zones eastwards is more than my body can handle gracefully.) and I determined to do something “useful” after lying awake for many hours over the last few days. It’s currently 5:30am, and I’ve been awake since just after 2. Maybe I’ll add the pictures another day.

So, I had a really impressive flight home from my vacation – and not in a good way! It was already due to be a 36 hour extravaganza of traveling fun, but a strike in Frankfurt and a little mistake in the rebooking made it so much more fun.

Things started reasonably at 05:00, when the alarm went off and everyone rushed around to be out the door by 05:30. North-central Alberta is surprisingly light at that hour. My parents were driving me to the airport, just over 2 hours from our house, and I needed to check in by 08:00 or so for my 09:30 flight. We did so well that we were able to have breakfast together before I headed off through security.

Things started to fall apart when I landed in Toronto. A strike had started in Frankfurt (I still don’t really know the details on that), and my flight was already running late. I spoke to the Air Canada agent where I disembarked, but she couldn’t look up Lufthansa information on her computer, and just told me that they would help me.

So, now we come to a slight error of tactics on my part. I went off and found my gate, and, not finding any Lufthansa people to help me, had lunch. A nearly fatal error. Knowing what I know now, the correct response was to go immediately to the ticketing agent to rebook that flight. Because after lunch, when I realized that my transatlantic flight was at least four hours late and that I would most certainly miss my next flight, it was too late. There was already a line of other people waiting to do just that. A line in which I stood for three hours.

When I reached the next available person (who wasn’t a ticketing agent, but was helping out anyway), we searched for flights that would get me to Khartoum. The next iteration of my original flight wasn’t for two days, so I had to transit through another country if I wanted to get home sooner. Finally, we found a flight through Istanbul that would get me home, less than twelve hours after the original schedule!

Things went reasonably well (apparently too well) from that point on, until I arrived in Istanbul and walked up to the Turkish Airlines desk to check into my flight that evening. I was told, politely, that the paper I was holding showed I was on the 17:50 flight tomorrow… 24 hours from now.

Even that wasn’t enough to really get me down. I decided to leave the airport, get a room and have a good sleep, likely leaving enough time for a short exploration of the city before I had to check in the next afternoon. The visa official told me I didn’t need a visa, so I stood in line and walked confidently up to the passport control. He looked at my passport and pulled out a sheet of paper. He looked carefully at my passport and the sheet of paper again. And then he called his friend over. At which point, I started to get nervous. When the second agent got on the phone, I started to really wonder what was going on. Finally the first agent leaned towards me and said apologetically, “You’re a transit passenger, aren’t you?” To which I said yes, I fly out tomorrow afternoon. And he said, “I’m sorry, but you can’t leave the airport.”

I was stunned. Shocked, even. What was I going to do in the airport for 24 hours? And then I realized the really bad part: because it was too early to check in for my next flight, I couldn’t go into the next portion of the airport, and would be staying in what was essentially a hallway. There were a few metal benches, but not much else (including sources of food or water). So, I made a fuss and had the head rep for Lufthansa called down, and when I still didn’t seem to be getting anywhere, I cried. Not very noble, but it seemed the only option at that point.

That poor rep didn’t really know what to do. The airport hotel was full, and she couldn’t defy the Turkish government. Finally, she smuggled me through to the First Class Lounge, and left me there. For 19 hours. I mean, I know that living in the lounge is better than being on the streets, or a lot of other things I can think of, but still…

All this to say that Turkey didn’t really get a fair shake on my first time through, so I’ll have to go back at some point for (hopefully) a more representative experience. I did quite like the Turks that I met, though. I was a bit taken aback the first time someone started calling, “Lady! Lady!” to get my attention, but that seemed to be the norm.

I also had an interesting moment with the lounge attendant to woke me to ensure I wasn’t the person they were currently holding a flight for. After determining that I was not the person for whom she was looking, she looked at me and said, “You don’t have to sleep.” My sleep addled brain fumbled with that statement for a while, causing her to repeat herself twice. Did she mean that I thought I was being forced to sleep, but didn’t actually have to? Or that Turkish people didn’t need to sleep, so I didn’t need to either? She finally added “You might miss your flight,” at which point I reinterpreted her to mean that I shouldn’t sleep. And then I think I went back to sleep.

Eh, at least I had my knitting!

* All times are approximate in this account, and are based on my personal perception. What I do know is that I was in transit from 06:00 MDT 1 July 2008 until 22:00 KSA 3 July 2008. There’s a 9-hour time difference somewhere in there, but whatever the time really was, it was long.

River City Yarns


In Edmonton, I dragged an obliging friend (thanks D!) off to River City Yarns before heading off on the rest of my peregrinations. This store, although not that easy to find, was very nice and full of light. They had some spinning supplies, and lots of nice yarn, including a "Made in Canada" corner showcasing all of the great Canadian yarns out there!


I bought some of the lovely new Misti Alpaca laceweight hand dyed in a very subtle cream colour.

The Knitting Room


While in Calgary, I was also able to visit The Knitting Room. What a great store! It's got tonnes of yarn (including lots of things I'd never seen in person before!) packed in to a small(-ish) space, and the staff were very friendly. (If you look at the photo on the first page of the website, it's a little out of date. There were a lot more shelves in that space, and the table had been moved into the back room.) Also, who can turn down easy free parking?


I bought four hanks of the Estelle Cloud Cotton Eco. This yarn is so soft, I can hardly believe it's cotton! I bought the four hanks left in the colour I wanted... no idea what I'll do with it, but that's never stopped me before. And, I bought Barbara Walker's A First Treasury of Knitting Patterns. As I find myself designing more things, or combining elements from different patterns, I see more and more the value of stitch dictionaries.