Monday, June 29, 2009

Day 10 of the Hadrian's wall walk

Today was day 10 of our coast to coast walk.

Look! It's our first bit of wall on this leg of the journey. No, the bar wasn't included on purpose. But it is the fuel of champions, as Jessamy calls it, so it does deserve a place in our pictures. In the distance you can see two people. This was actually the crowdest stretch of land we've walked so far. All but a few said hi as we walked past. And except for one mean lady who got an attitude when she found out she had chosen the wrong path, despite Jessamy and my warning her, the rest of the people we came across were friendly.

Limestone Corner. The Romans started to use these limestones to continue with the wall, but ended up abandoning them here for our viewing pleasure.

Brocolitia Fort. Now just mounds of earthworks.

Temple of Mithras. The stones are original, but the altar pieces are replicas. The original altar pieces are actually in the new Great North Museum in Newcastle. We've already seen them!

Where's my spindle?

Yes, we came across more cows, who seemed to enjoy freaking us out.
A really long stretch of Hadrian's Wall.

Whin Sill. An extremely high ridge where the wall was built. Great scenic views, though I doubt that was the primary motivation for the Romans.

Look, a (pivot?) hole for a gate.
And another great stretch of the wall. On the top of the hill is Housesteads which we visited last October, and which was the end of our trip.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Amused cables

I'm still working on Amused.

Last night I realized my row gauge was off. After some measuring, and panicking, and having Jessamy try it on I decided that to go with the size small, and to keep with the pattern and not do any math finagling.

And then this morning I realized the first iteration of the cables were off. One side I've decided to just leave along. It actually looks ok on the right side.

But I did spend the whole morning fixing the otherside's cables. And since it was all the way on the bottom, I had to rip out that entire section.
Slightly Amused
I'm actually at the point right now where I've placed the sleeve stitches on waste yarn. I think it's looking good!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Day 9 of the Hadrian's wall walk

Yesterday was Day 9 of our Coast to Coast walk.

After an hour's ride on the Hadrian's Wall bus we arrived at Chester's Roman Fort. So far this is my favorite ruin museum. Like Housestead you could walk around in the ruins, but there seemed to be a lot more things to see at Chesters, and the signs were better.

I think we ended up spending two hours there.

Here's me in the baths.

And Jessamy

We had learned all about the baths when we visited Bath 5 years ago. It's still amazing though to see how inventive and sophisticated their way of life was. And to think the "western" world is just now starting to use under-floor heating (hypocaust) again.


This is the barracks. It was built in the built in the 2nd century AD (the rest of the fort was built around the time of the wall, AD 122). They are not the original barracks but that doesn't detract much from the impressiveness.

A stable along the road.

After the fort we went to Chesters Walled Garden. It was established in the 1990s, but I got the impression there was an old ruin of a garden here previously.

They had a small dye plants section. Unfortunately their signs were faded from the light, or gone entirely. So I don't really know what these plants are, but we did buy a guide, so now I have a list of dye plants that grow here.




Then it was off to the path.

We were already tired at this point, having not done any of our coast to coast walk for a month, so we decided to cut the walk a little short from 5 miles to what we think is 2.

Good thing too, because it started with this hill:

The walk was pleasant an uneventful until:

Yes, that is a cow right where we were supposed to enter the field, and you can just see to the right of the picture two other cows. As soon as I realized what our predicament was I started laughing in what closely resembled hysteria. The last walk's experience still fresh in my mind. I'm a city girl, and those cows are big. If people didn't have pain inducing tools cows would really have no cause to fear us. Fortunately Jessamy was braver than I was and she went over the ladder first. The cows of course backed away as soon as we walked across the ladder, as I "logically" knew they would.

Before we knew it, and about 45 minutes of walking, we had come to the next bus stop. We had a tough decision to make at this point. We could gamble on reaching the next bus stop, which was around 3 miles, we guessed, away, or somehow kill over two hours until we could catch the bus that would bring us home. Fortunately I realized that even though the next bus (and the only one that stops around there) wouldn't be going to Newcastle, it would be going to Hexham, where haven't actually visited yet.
Tower Tye

But before the bus came I was able to get a quick picture of the countryside.

Hexham was a cute town.
It's claim to fame is that it holds the first purpose-built prison in England, and it's abbey.
It was much bigger on the inside than I thought. I was particularly impressed by it's organ which we were fortunate to hear a little of.

Another highlight of the abbey was thirteen century stone stairs, which were worn and indented from centuries of use.

Shortly after looking at the abbey we caught the bus back home, slightly sunburnt but happy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Into amused

I did in fact start Jessamy's sweater, Amused from the Winter 2008 issue of Knitty, last week. Or was it just a few days ago? What day of the week is today? Now that I'm not working the days are just flowing into each other and become one long computer session interrupted by eating, sleeping, and knitting. Oh, and watching TV now that I have access to one. Ok, maybe I'm not on the computer as much as it seems.

I'm about 25 rows into the sweater. It's a top down raglan, and seamless. This is actually just a small portion of it. The cord isn't big enough to spread the whole thing out, and I thought one relatively flat piece of knitting would look nicer than knitting which resembles a funky ball of knotted yarn.

Partial serenity

It may not look like it, but this photo was taken outside. Today was a lovely day so we went outside and I knit and Jessamy crocheted. Tomorrow we plan to go continue our coast to coast walk, which means more pictures of the Northumberland country side!

Friday, June 19, 2009

The build up

New yarn!
It's the same yarn, different color, that I used for my Scotty's hat. I'll be knitting the Amused sweater by Jordana Paige in the Winter 2008 issue of Knitty. It's for Jessamy, and I'm hoping to start in just a few hours.

In other news I just noticed this yesterday:
It's on one our towels. That we've had since December. Apparently I don't read tags.

I've also finished all 804 pages of The Concise Pepys. It was really interesting, even though I've been reading it for nearly a year. Supposedly it's not the whole contents of his diary either. It's a reprint of the diary (written in the 1600s in short hand) published in the 1800s, which omits his descriptions of what he did with his mistresses. I'm ok with that.

Next on my reading list was El Hobbit, which I checked out from the new library earlier this week. I've read two pages already and can understand the gist of what's happening, but it seems like I'm missing out on half of the important words so I went to the library yesterday and checked out the English version. My plan was to read one page in English, then read the same page in Spanish. But I'm wondering is maybe I can find a book in Spanish and English which I haven't read yet?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Yarn's new home

We have moved in to our temporary abode, and about half way done through unpacking (ok, maybe 1/3 of the way). No pictures of the room, it is just a normal room, the only odd thing about it is the is the strange muted red of the "accent wall". I do however have a picture of one of the first things I unpacked - the yarn!
Top shelf is needles and projects, then yarn, then fabric, then projects. Don't worry this isn't actually all of my stash, I left a lot of yarn back in America.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Moving right along

Jessamy has an interview today with one of the major museums in London, so she's on the train down there now.

We are moving tomorrow, and I've cleaned everything except the living room, which still has random small things waiting to be packed, all of which are Jessamy's stuff that she didn't have time to take care of, but it's 9am now, and I'm expecting to get it all packed before the evening comes.

I haven't seen the room we are moving into yet, and I have no idea if all of our boxes will even fit in there. I may be posting tomorrow while sitting on top of packed boxes.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Trip to Durham

I went to Durham today. Jessamy has been twice, so I went alone.

Saw the Cathedral first.
Durham Cathedral

cathedral corner

Lovely view for a picnic, don't ya think?

I thought this was an interesting mix of architecture. As I was putting away my camera a woman came over and told her husband to take a picture of this. I'm not sure why but I got a little annoyed by this. This is my shot, dang it.

Then I went on a tour of the castle, now student residence for Durham University. Photography wasn't allowed in the building, and frankly the outside wasn't too interesting, so sadly no pics of that.

Then I wandered around.



Jessamy suggested I go to the archeological museum (held in the Old Fulling Mill) but I didn't bring a map so I had almost lost hope of finding it, but managed to see a map somewhere and had to follow a small path to the river Wear.

It was a tiny museum and the second floor was being prepared for an exhibition so it was basically just half of a room. Still, I could have breathed on Roman engraved stones if I had the inclination, so that was worth the pound.

Cheap pizza. Yum.

A fitting sign to end the day with.
Road sign

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Cheese and books

I had a nice day in town today.

First dropped off a big bag of stuff at a charity shop (I'm having a memory blank as to what the US term is). Scored a hollow chocolate egg with two cadbury cream eggs for only 99 pence (chocolate eggs are a big thing over here during Easter). Did an errand, then chanced upon an "ethical market". I'm not sure what criteria they use for their vendors, but I did buy some lovely goats cheese from the Northumberland cheese company. I'm waiting for Jessamy before I open it, but I had a sample there, so I know it's good.

I did another errand then went to see the new library, which opened on Sunday (I forgot, or would have gone to the opening). It's a nice looking library.
Like the San Francisco main library and the downtown LA library it has a big open space.


Which makes for pretty picture taking, but kind of cuts down on the amount of books that can actually be displayed. Unlike the one in San Francisco though I haven't heard of any throwing out of books happening over here.


There was also, by a stairwell, a display case with knitted soap, bra, and other "womanly" items. knit clean

Also in a corner was several shelves of old books. The library is only a few days old, and already this area smells distinctly of books.

They also had a darkened display of Thomas Bewick's (a famous, and local, engraver) desk.

I had every intention on not checking any books out, as we are moving next week and it seemed like a hassle. But, they had The Hobbit (or El Hobbit) in Spanish, which I thought was too cool too pass up, and was afraid someone might nab it in the next week, so precious is all mine for the upcoming few weeks.

The excursion ended at the Laing Art Gallery where a portrait competition put on by the National Portrait Gallery is now showing. It was a little disappointing. They had 60 portraits, but I only really found ten or so to be interesting. Kind of makes me wish I had a better camera so I could submit a photograph for next year's competition. But I think I'll stick to knitting and criticizing.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Could fit a small child inside this hat

The hat is done, and I'm wearing it as I type this!

Slouchy Hat side view

Slouchy Hat side view

It really is enough knitted fabric to make at least a vest.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Down to the decrease

I'm nearly done with the second strip A of Scotty's Hat, which means just I'm about 3/4 of the way done. Yesterday as I was binding off I dropped down some stitches and fixed the funky short row wraps. It's still not perfect, but it's looking much better now. I'm hoping I can get it all done by Sunday, and perhaps get weird stares on Monday when I wear it out in the town.

I keep thinking that Jessamy is done with the last of her Pre-Thesis work (all work except her thesis handed in). But there just seems to be more and more to do, and just when I think the craziness is over, she has something else to hand in and the saga continues. She said this morning that her last day at school should be on Tuesday, so hopefully that will still be true when Monday comes around. Unfortunately our lease ends on the 16th, so next week will be spent packing (I've already started) and cleaning.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

It's not a wrap

About half-way through the second panel of the hat (there are 4 panels). Had a bit of trouble with the short rows. Tried picking up the wrap in the wrap-and-turn, tried following some directions online for Japanese short rows on garter stitch (it's my favorite short row on stockinette), but I finally found somewhere that said on garter stitch short rows do the wrap and turn, and when you get back to the gap just keep going. The wrap ends up looking like one of the bumps. And it worked!

I ended up keeping the weird looking short row turns, probably because I was afraid if I didn't I would get nowhere with this hat. So I'm just telling myself that this part will just be facing the back of my head, and that the next panels will look much better.

Monday, June 01, 2009


Well, I was not satisfied last night so I decided to rip out nearly all of what I had done yesterday to make the hat a bit shorter and make some other modifications.

Here is what it looked like last night:

Only it's actually gray, not tan...

I haven't quite gotten back to the same point yet. Sinced I decided to make it shorter I ripped out to where the decreases start (way in the back of the photo), only I ripped out way too much and had to reknit several inches. Did the decreases, redoing what I did yesterday by doing ssk decreases on the right side, and picked up the stitches pwise for the brim, and knit wise for the rest of hat.

So ya, about 5 or so rows behind where I got to yesterday, but really, it's fine, really.