Monday, August 30, 2010

Walk Around Leith

We brought out the 24 Great Walks in Edinburgh again today. This time we walked around Leith and the waterfront.

We saw the "Potters Stone", a copy of a 17th century stone depicting stingmen, the special name given to wine porters who used to carry the wine barrels by hand as you can see on the left (not roll them). The strange circle thing on the right is apparently a human-powered crane.

and Citadel Archway, which is all that is left of a fortification built by General Monck in 1608.
A model boat floating above our heads
Model boatAlign Centre

A random painting

An Antony Gormley Statue
Antony Gormley statue
This is the only one of these statues we've seen, but there six others in this area. I remember reading in the newspaper last year, when they were first installed, that lots of residents got scared by them, and a few called 999 (911), thinking that they were an actual person stuck in the river and unable to get out.

This is an odd sign that is even more oddly placed in front of a primary school (elementary school).
Elderly People Sign

And what's perhaps the most exciting thing in the whole trip for me:
New shoes! (The color is off in this pic, they're actually a nice blue).
You might think it's a bit odd that this is the highlight, but I'm very picky about wearing comfortable-fitting shoes. And I think my two feet aren't the same size. So the fact that I actually bought new shoes is a big deal. It's kind of too bad it has a big cat on the front of it, but so what, I really needed new sneakers.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Black and White and Spun All Over

I'm not that into spindle spinning. So much so that I didn't even bring my spindle with me to the UK. But I'm considering making one with a CD and a dowel just so I can do this:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New Lanark

J is taking a week's vacation so we've decided to take a few little day trips around Edinburgh.

Yesterday we went to New Lanark.

New Lanark has a fascinating history. It started off as a cotton mill in the late 1700s. In the early 19th century Robert Owen purchased it. Owen was a firm believer in education and social reform. Later in life he actually went to America and tried to set up a Utopian town, which failed miserably (surprise!). As owner of the mill he set up an infancy school, lengthened the time the children stayed in school (the teachers were not allowed to punish the children), set up one of the first co-operative stores, and put into practice a crazy amount of other socialist ideas.

In 1968 the mill was shut down, but it's since been renovated and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has a strange little informative ride (like Haunted Mansion in Disneyland, but with yarn), a working Spinning Mule and several rooms that you can go into which show what life was like back then.

Onto the pictures.

At the train station
Pigeon going for a coffee
Edinburgh Train Station

On the train.

Oh no! The other passengers are turning into beach balls!

We've arrived!
New Lanark

The weird ride.

Makin' a fool of myself

You are here

The Cora Linn Falls
Cora Linn Falls

Mechanic doing a bit of work on the spinning mule
Spinning Mule

And, the yarn I bought!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dabbling Wednesday

This week I decided to do some macrame. I wanted something simple, something that I could do on a train (more on that tomorrow). Fortunately I saw this video:

There's also a much easier to understand non-video explanation.

I made mine with wool:

I'm planning on felting it, hoping that it will make an interesting sturdy cord and not some weird twisted red thing.

Something they didn't really get into in the video is the length of the string. My laniard ended up being 8 inches long but started off as two pieces of 52 inch yarn.

The two side pieces of string are almost used up, while the two center pieces still have about 17 inches left.

Here's my late-night attempt at math:

So the next time I do one of these (I think I'm going to try incorporating some beads next time) I'm going to find out the desired length, multiple that number by 3.5, then add the length again to get the final length of each piece of string (When tying it on I'll make the center two sections only a little longer than the end desired length).

I hope that's right. And I hope that's useful to you if you decide to make one.

As for me, I've had a long day and I'm going to bed!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Used Bus Shelter

This morning I walked to the bus stop and saw this:

bus stop
Yes, that's a bus stop shelter. A bus stop shelter that wasn't there yesterday!

And look at this, my friends:
Yes, our neighborhood gets a used bus shelter.

I'm all for reusing and recycling, but this is just kind of sad. Couldn't they have cleaned off the graffiti and buffed the seats before they put it in?

Apparently not, as we live in the "bad" neighborhood. I hear it's a lot nicer than it used to be, and I feel safer at night than other places I've lived, but I guess it's hard to get rid of a bad reputation (the abandoned car park can't help matters I suppose).


Yes, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is still going on. There's less than a week to go though. Already the crowds are thinning. The leafletters more lethargic.

But look, you can actually navigate through the Royal Mile without feeling like you're at a rock concert.

Or rather without feeling like you're at an energetic rock concert.

This also means you can play "who's the actor" from a decent distance away.

Today we saw our second-to-last show, The Ukulele Project. Yes, I still think ukuleles are awesome. No, I haven't been practicing as much as I should.

And this picture doesn't have anything to do with the post, I just think it's cool.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Summer Cap

We're still getting warm weather over here in Edinburgh, but the cold weather is creeping into the city, slowly.

So I might have a good excuse to wear my new hat soon.

It's a surprisingly warm hat, despite it's very open pattern.

Pattern: Spring Cap (ravelry link)
Yarn: Freyalyn BFL Aran, color Twilight
Started: August 21st, 2010
Ended: August 22nd, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Craft Show Tomorrow!

Or at least I hope there's a craft show (long story, but thank goodness I'm a laid back sort of person).

I'm bringing almost all my stuff, so if there's something you've been eying this might be a nice excuse to buy it. Since all my stuff is one-of-a-kind I might make something again, but I doubt it will look the same.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dabbling Wednesday

I don't often crochet, I don't often work with wire, and I don't often work with beads, so today I did all three!

I used a simple pattern Nezumi World, and read some helpful tips on working with wire over at

I used a 28 gauge wire and a 3.5 metal crochet hook.

I strung 35 beads, but only ended up using 22

Left a long tail as I was going to have to attach it to a clasp later.

Here I am using the tail from the the slip knot to tie around the spring clasp.
I tweaked the bead placement so they hung at one side instead of in the middle.
It was surprisingly easy. The only tip I have is that it's difficult to undo stitches, so make sure the loop on the needle is a good size before you start the yo process.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


So in other words it was a nice day.

Monday, August 16, 2010

No Pebble Beach

I don't often go to the beach. I won't go into the water because my few almost-drowning experiences have drowned out any happy recollections of the sea. Plus, I find getting sand in between my toes to be very annoying. So J was very surprised when I suggested we go to the beach yesterday.

A while ago I had checked out a library book on felting and one of it's projects had pebbles incorporated into the project. I had filed that idea into the "things to think about later" part of my brain. And that idea randomly popped into my head this weekend.

So we went to the beach. We looked at a weird house

and amusements building

and watched people swimming in the freezing ocean and a cluster of boats, the water and sky appearing like one single grey mass.

And we looked for pebbles. And looked for pebbles. And looked for pebbles. And didn't find any. We did find some pretty shells, and I collected a few (I'm not sure what to do with them though). And then we went home.

So I have a question for those of you who go to beaches, is this unusual? Do beaches normally not have pebbles?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Two days at Knit Camp

The last two days have been fibre-crazy. I finally took a class at Knit Camp. On Thursday I took a Nordic Color class with Nancy Bush. The class started with some information about the cultural, historical, and fiber traditions of Estonia. This was obviously something she was really passionate about.

She taught us a really neat cast-on, and then the Estonian color technique. It's like embroidery, but with knitting.

My tension is pretty crap, and my needle size was too big (or rather it was the correct size, I just knit super loose) so I'm not too happy with the way it looks, but I still enjoyed the class. If you get the opportunity to take a class with her you should, she was lovely teacher - very enthusiastic and nice.

This morning I took a yarn dyeing class with Deb Tomkies. I had done kettle dyeing with natural dyes in the past, and played with kool aid dyeing a few times, but I was never really comfortable with hand-painting.

Here's a blury pic of the two skeins I did:
And here's the amazing yarns the class did:!

After the dyeing class I went over to the marketplace. The number of booths there was overwhelming! I passed by Annie Modesitt and Debbie Stoller, but I was too shy to talk to them. And then, after spending too much money, I sat down with some other knitters and continued working on the Jaywalker socks. So it was a lovely day.

I hear Jess and Cass are doing an Edinburgh meet-up thing, so might have an exciting knitting day tomorrow too! I hope you had a nice few days too.