Sunday, 27 October 2013

Tea with Aladdin

Periodically I post entries here about visits to tea shops, which is a favourite pastime of mine. Whilst in Disneyland last week, I was fortunate to experience a new kind of tea stop:

This is tea as served in the cafe Agrabah. It comes in a silver tea pot with little feet, and is poured into coloured glasses with a gilded pattern of elephants. Beautiful. The actual tea is mint, very sweet, and there was a sprig of fresh mint in there too.

I had never had tea like this before, but I certainly would again, if the opportunity arose. I don't know anywhere local that serves this, so I might have to go back to Disneyland, I guess...

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Crafting Alert!

I thought it was about time I mentioned crafting on my so-called craft blog!

Over the last month I have been knitting away, very slowly, on my intarsia project, which is a felted tote bag. I'm now at about 65% of the knitting. It looks terrible in progress, but that's the way with intarsia. Believe it or not, this is actually the front!!

I'm following instructions for intarsia contained in Debbie Stoller's Superstar Knitting, in which it is recommended to join colours from the front. I will pull them all through to the back and fasten them when complete.

I have another 60 rows to knit - "only" 50 of them are colourwork - and then I'll be at the felting stage. I'm hoping it will be transformed by felting. I won't have to weave the ends in, according to various people with more felting experience than me. Actually, that's not hard, as I have none yet. The felting will apparently secure the ends and they will be hidden when I sew a lining in. Let's hope it all works as anticipated.

My other project in October was going to be a sewing one, but unfortunately it is not finished, so I will be submitting a partial (the potterverse refers). The pattern said it was a footstool, but after sewing the pieces together, I definitely have something larger that a footstool - more the size of a beanbag! So I would need to buy lightweight polyester beads to fill it, as I don't have enough polyfil or fabric scraps, and those options would in any case be, respectively, too expensive or too heavy, given the size.

I'm not sure this will in fact be finished, though. I was attempting fabric stash-down and so using leftovers, and I'm just not so happy with the way the fabrics work together. So I might be jettisoning this one and putting it down to experience. Oh well.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Birthday Treat

Ds was eleven last weekend. Gosh, eleven!! How did that happen?! It was also the start of half-term week, so we took advantage of the school holiday to take a quick trip to one of ds's favourite places, Disneyland Paris. It wasn't quite what I had planned, as my mum was unable to come with us, so it was just me and ds. However, we have form on travel together (see, for example, our trip to Bath, or to Hadrian's Wall) but this was the first time we had been abroad by ourselves.

Here's ds on the Eurostar service on the outward trip:

And here he is meeting Rex the dinosaur in the park. Ds declared he was too big to tolerate queueing for a photograph with the characters, but he wasn't averse to a quick snap with a statue. (Although, he was sorely tempted by Jack Skellington. Only the length of the queue put him off!)

We had a lovely time, and especially enjoyed the food. Our menus included Mexican, creole, German and north african. Ds has quite adventurous tastes for someone only just eleven. But he doesn't mind indulging my preference for the tea cups:

Happy birthday, best boy! 

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Golden Socks

I have finished my golden socks, and here's the evidence:

They were not an easy knit, but the FO is very, very nice. I particularly love the little leaf charms - there is one on each turn-over cuff, on the lowest leaf that hangs down slightly. They are a very nice touch on the finished socks.

I used 320 yards of Knitting Goddess sock yarn in the semi-solid wheat colourway. One skein seemed to be a slightly darker shade than the other, and even though I noticed in time to alternate the skeins in the second sock, there is some colour variation between the two different socks. Not enough to put me off wearing them.  I will take greater care when knitting another pair of socks in hand-dyed yarns. I wasn't looking for this, particularly, because in the last pair of socks I made with this yarn source - pink eighties style socks - I didn't notice any discrepancy in the two skeins used.

Still loving my so-elegant socks, though!

Friday, 4 October 2013

Ticket to Hogwarts

Busy week! But I'm off today and here to blog about my AWESOME day last Sunday.

On Sunday, I caught a train to London - all by myself. I was meeting members of the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup, a Rav-based group of which I am inordinately fond. Anyone reading my blog from there, hi! I expect I'll see you in the Great Hall, Tower or class rooms. Explanation for non-Cuppers: the House Cup is a Harry Potter-themed knitting and crochet tournament game - competitive knitting for points and a winning team every term. This is what accounts for a very large part of my inspiration and motivation, where crafting is concerned, and explains why my FO list is full of weird things like toadstool pots, knitted hedgehogs and the like.

As a group of Harry Potter fans, there was only one place to meet in London and it was here:

The Ravenclaw scarf was a prop provided by the staff, but I brought my own owl. His name is Finniston. Blyton fans will perhaps make a connection between my Rav user name and my owl's name and laugh. Others, maybe not so much...

BTW the staff did try to give me a Gryffindor scarf first off, but of course I said "no way!" because everyone knows, I am Ravenclaw or die :-)

There is a shop at Platform 9 3/4 selling HP merchandise at vast expense. I was shocked at how much it was. It makes hand-knit HP scarves in top quality yarn look exceptionally good value! I bought a few pin badges for ds, but that's all. But you can buy time-turners (that truly would be magical!), house shields, wands, and the like. Here's a pic I took of some of the stuff for sale.

Since we were a group of knitters, afterwards we caught the Tube to Angel, Islington, and went to loop. But I was very good and bought no yarn. Since I've come home, I've been kicking myself about this, and want to go back. Maybe when I have some spare £. I had a lot of outgoings with dd's university transfer in September.

The best bit was meeting the other House Cup people. Three of them were over here from the USA and Canada, so it was truly an international meeting. Although I met them all on the Internet first, and all previous communication had been computer-mediated, I have been playing this game with these people for over three years, so it was really like meeting old friends.

Also, I got to sit on the train for quite some time, and so I have finished my golden socks! More on that later.