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February, 2005:

Sick as a Dog…

Or least as sick as a very sick dog. That’s how I’ve been feeling today. So no pictures of Spanish yarn just yet. My feeling yucky also means that I’m behind on email including getting back to some lovely people who have agreed to be KnitCast interviewees. One has even offered to be a special correspondent from TNNA!

I’ve gone a little work done on the second Klaralund sleeve. I’m now on the extended garter stitch part. I’ve also started a top-down raglan cardi from the very first yarn I ever bought – Wendy Strata. It’s a "super chunky" acrylic/wool mix in purples. My very first project from it was a scarf that started out narrow and became increasingly wider. That wasn’t a planned design element just a problem with gaining stitches! 🙂

I’ve only knit a couple of inches of the cardi so far since I want to get Klara finished as quickly as possible. I’m certainly a project knitter rather than process knitter! 🙂 After Klara I’m planning to recycle the yarn from my first, and rather ill-fated since I made it too small, sweater. It’s made from Colinette Graffiti so there’s the incentive already!

Last night in Madrid. I'm

Last night in Madrid.

I’m writing this from my sick bed as I innocently ate a small cake last night and woke up this morning very unwell. So, I’ve spent all of our last day in the hotel room. Andy has been very good going out for medicine then food. I slept for most of the time, watched BBC World and stuff like Murder She Wrote in Spanish. Didn’t understand why David Soul was stabbed or why a very young Cynthia Nixion (Miranda from Sex & the City) was a suspect. Ah well.

Yesterday was a good day though. Went to Plaza Mayor again and took photos of The Black Cat, visited Pontejos Street and did indeed find another store finding yarn and beads as Carmen suggests on my Madrid Shopping Guide page (go to scifiville.com and click on Shopping Guides).

I think the store was called Canna or something like that. It sold Regia sock yarn and some Gedfria yarns. They also had some very nice beads including crystals, pearls, semi-precious gem stones and findings. I was interested in some colourful resin type beads but not enough to attempt asking for them in my practically non-existant Spanish.

Pontejos also has stores selling fabric and around the corner from it I found another store with yarn in the window. It had some Katia and Sholler Esinger yarns.

After that we went to the Botanical Gardens. Because of the season there wasn’t a great deal to see in the Garden itself, although I did photograph some very colourful ornamental cabbages. The great treat though for us was to see the many cats who use the gardens as an enormous playground. I don’t mind dogs, some of my friends own the cutest dogs, but Andy and I are really cat people. Andy took some blurry pictures of the cats, they’re not ones to stand still and pose!, which I may post next week. There was a tabby who really reminded me of Pushkin.

The gardens also have heated glass houses where you can see various cacti and tropical plants growing. There’s even a staircase you can walk up to reach a balcony where you can look down at the plants and see things you didn’t notice like lemons on a lemon tree and how one cactus is almost as tall as the ceiling.

After that we went to Inke again where I bought more yarn. We met the woman who’s a relative of our friend back in Cardiff.

After that we went back to the hotel and then out for dinner. I then ate the not so innocent cake.

We leave tomorrow morning and I’m looking forward to getting home and seeing my cats again!

Secret Pal 4! So sorry

Secret Pal 4!

So sorry Secret Pal for not having finished my questionnaire. Here are the rest of my answers along with an updated answer to question 3. Thanks!

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.) I am allergic to some face creams and body lotions.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? I also make jewellery, sew clothes and accessories and make cards.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I like lots of different kinds of music everything from Depeche Mode to Madonna from Ani di Franco to Dr John to Kylie but I also live with a man who owns several thousand cds (and I’m not exaggerating here).

10. What’s your favorite color? Or–do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? I like jewel colours – royal blue, deep purples (but not lavender), bright magenta and pinks and turquoise. I don’t like pale colours or pastels. I’m not a fan of greys, beige or oatmeal type colours. I do like some shades of red. I’m not a fan of yellow..

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? I live with Andy my partner of over 12 years and our four cats.

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know) I try not to think too long term, this is a hangup from my time as a freelance journalist, but the main things that are important to me are Andy and our cats. My goal is for a contented existance.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? I love handpainted yarns like Lorna’s Laces, Koigu etc. I also love Lamb’s Pride Worsted – it’s not available in the UK but is a great yarn to knit with. Aside from when I make socks or gloves, I prefer to knit with worsted or dk weight yarns.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I’m not a fan of cotton, I just don’t get on with it. I also don’t like 100 per cent acrylic yarns

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s? I think all of my knitting is an obsession! I’m slightly obsessed with the idea of knitting a lot of top down cardigans once Klaralund is finished. I have B Walker’s Knitting from the Top book.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? I love knitting socks, scarves, gloves and cardigans!

17. What are you knitting right now? Klaralund from Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton’s second Noro book.

18. What do you think about ponchos? I have four or five ponchos and kits to knit two more. But I don’t know if I’ll be making any more. I think I have enough now.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Circulars definitely. I particularly like Addi Turbos. I do love the look of Lantern Moon needles though – they’re beautiful!

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? Hmm well I prefer my Addis but I also have a Denise Needle set which I love. Still like bamboos too.

21. Are you a sock knitter? Yes!

22. How did you learn to knit? My mother and grandmother taught me how to cast on and the knit stitch. I didn’t learn to purl until over three years ago.

24. How old is your oldest UFO? About 18 months I think, maybe older.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
I love cats particularly those by Laurel Burch. Fave cartoon characters include Pucca, Hello Kitty. I also like Emily the Strange, Wonder Woman and CatWoman (but not the movie!).

25. What is your favorite holiday? I like any time that I get a day off!

26. Is there anything that you collect? I have a small Laurel Burch collection of a few mugs, picture frame, wooden cat and a couple of bags. I also collect some tv and comic book action figures. I have many Wonder Woman figures, Captain Picard from Star Trek (I’m a big Patrick Stewart fan!)

Madrid! Well Madrid is a

Madrid!

Well Madrid is a lot colder than I thought it would be. But it is February after all! On Wednesday the tv was full of reports of the city’s “record” amount of snow. It didn’t look like much snow to us but was a big deal to the Spanish.

I had read on the Madrid Knitting Meetup blog that the city was a “yarn desert” and when I visited The Black Cat I was a little disappointed. Although it has a big selection of weights of yarn and a reasonable amount of colours, most of the yarns had acrylic in them. I’m a self confessed yarn snob so acrylic isn’t my cup of tea.

I did buy just under a kilo – for the yarn is sold by weight in The Black Cat – of a tweedy light-worsted weight yarn that’s half wool and half acrylic. That should be enough for two cardis. I bought two shades, one is a purple mix the other a turquoise/teal mix.

I still think that El Gato Negro is worth a visit if you’re ever in Madrid.

One store that was a real surprise though was Inke. I heard about it from Andy as the owners’ are relatives of one of his friends. The shop sells supplies for cross stitch, beading and quilting as well as some yarns. They don’t have a massive yarn selection but it was enough for me! They have some Noro, Katia, Mondial and other brands.

I bought ten balls of Sakura by Mondial in a turquoise variagated shade and two balls of Katia Hippy Mix – a novelty yarn. I got a discount on the Sakura because I purchased ten.

I’m planning on going back to Inke because there’s another yarn that I wished I’d bought.

So what else have we done? Well I’ve drunk a good quantity of hot chocolate! Spanish hot choc is quite thick and made with real chocolate melted into milk. We’ve bought a few bars of drinking chocolate to take home.

In addition to much walking and getting used to the different hours over here – most restaurants don’t open until after 8pm – welve also been to the museum of modern art. Saw Picasso’s Guernica which is still disturbing. You can buy mugs and mousemats with the painting on in the museum’s shop but it’s not something that I would want to drink my morning tea from.

Today, we’re going to have a better look around Plaza Mayor.

Pre-Madrid Post. I’m just waiting

Pre-Madrid Post. I’m just waiting for the airport bus and thinking about The Black Cat yarnstore! See my site www.scifiville.com and click on Shopping Guides to get the address of the store.

The second edition of Knitcast is now online. Go to http://www.knitcast.com to download it.

I’m writing this on my Treo phone so apologies if it looks strange.

I’ve had some emails asking me how I recorded the first KnitCast. I used a mini disc recorder and broadcast quality mic which I borrowed from a friend. That’s why it sounded so good. The second edition was done using my computer mic and Skype so you will notice a difference. This time the file size is smaller, around 8 meg and it’s mono not stereo. I hope you’ll still enjoy it though. There’s also some big Wendy Knits news and a competition.

Remember to send your comp answers directly to Wendy. You’ll find her email address on her site www.wendyknits.net

3rd Blogday!

It’s my 3rd Blogiversary! Little did I know when I wrote that first test message back in 2002 that I would still be doing this three years later.

Thanks for all the wonderful comments and compliments about Knitcast!This has been an incredibly stressful week for me workwise, so it was wonderful to know that the podcast was so well received. I will be updating the Knitcast blog over the weekend.

On Monday Andy and I fly to Madrid for five days! I can’t wait! I’m really looking forward to it, especially to checking out the yarn stores! 🙂

First KnitCast Online!

You can now download the very first KnitCast from the KnitCast Blog!

Knitcast is coming!

I’ve finally finished the first edition of Knitcast – the podcast about knitting. I should be uploading it to the new Knitcast Blog very soon!

Knitting wise I’ve cast on for the second sleeve of Klaralund. We’re going to Madrid next week so I hope to complete the sweater then. I’ve also knit the second in a series of pink fluffy scarves to go with my pink coat. The new one is made from two balls of Sirdar Fizz in shade 0792. I also still have some pink Squiggle that wendy gave me as a Secret Pal gift , some pinky and white varigated eyelash by Online and some Colinette SilkyChic in a pink shade.

Next Cardiff S&B should be this Thursday, 7.30pm at a Shot in the Dark! I just have to check that the cafe is still open this week. They’re being refurbished sometime.

I hope you all had a great Valentines Day. Andy gave me a new addition to my Jellicat collection – they’re a range of very cool soft toys. The new one is a grey and white Pickles the Cat. I’m making him a new bag to replace his favourite one which is now pretty decrepid! It’s going to be ready for him to use in Madrid. I bought some black 100% cotton dobby cloth from John Lewis in Cribbs Causeway yesterday.

I also bought some gifts for my Secret Pal 4! That reminded me that I hadn’t yet posted the answers to the SP4 questionnaire. Sorry Secret  Pal!

Here are my answers

1 – Are you a yarn snob?
Yes, I am. Although I love novelty yarns  for scarves I prefer natural fibres for everything else.

2 – Do you spin? Crochet?
No.

3 – Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibres, perfume, etc.)
I do have allegies but I take antihistamines. I have four cats so go figure!  I don’t like smoke.

4 – How long have you been knitting?
I learn as a child but didn’t enjoy it. I picked it up again in late 2001 and have knitting ever since.

5 – Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
No, but I can create one! 🙂

6 – What’s your favourite sent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
I love vanilla and rose. I prefer a Moroccan style rose really. Coconut is nice too and jasmine. My favourite candle at the moment is a carrot cake scented one!

7 – Do you have a sweet tooth?
Oh yes! 🙂 I love milk chocolate. Especially love Mexican hot chocolate. I also like caramel, mint, coconut. I’m not a fan of boiled sweets or fruity flavours. I don’t like peanut butter.

8 – What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
I sew clothes and accessories. I also bead and make jewellery. What else? I’ve recently been having a go at card making. Fairly simple stuff involving pre-made cards and envelopes and card stick ons/stickers. I love dragonflies and butterflies for these.

I have to go to bed now so will finish off this tomorrow!