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.