Saturday, September 27, 2008

Long Live Edgar

The September handmade-of-the-month arrived at Jane's yesterday. Since the weather is starting to turn (hooray!), I knit a sweet and simple scarf for those blustery days just around the corner.

I thought the Edgar scarf pattern from might be just the ticket, so I made Jane an Edgar.

Not just any Edgar, but Edgar the First. He's knit in Noro Silk Garden in happy shades of pink and orange and blue.

I liked this pattern so much I thought I'd make one for Elly too, in blues and browns.

And then, I liked it oh so very much, I made one for myself as well, hot pink and magenta.

That's Edgar the Second and Edgar the Third.

I quickly realised that we couldn't leave Thea out of this scarf dynasty.

So Edgar the Fourth was born, in blues and greens

Viva La Handmade!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Turning 100

Time seems to be ticking extra fast since I got home. The jet lag has just dragged on and on for me. So before we begin decorating for Hallowe'en, I thought I should show you some of what's on and off the needles.

While at This is Knit in Dublin I picked up some Debbie Bliss Luxury Donegal Tweed.

In pink,

and green.

The pink is being made into a hat for Elly.

The pattern is by Jared Flood, the Koolhaas hat from Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2007 issue. I like this pattern very much, but the yarn I've chosen doesn't work that well with the pattern. The detail of the honeycomb cable would be much more effective in a smooth yarn (it gets lost a bit in the tweed). However, it will be warm and it'll co-ordinate with her new winter coat she bought herself.

It's very ooh-la-la in wool and cashmere. I treated her to the matching umbrella.

While I was in Dublin I finished this little silk scarf.

This pattern was uber easy, just yarn over, knit 2 together on every row. The yarn was Rumple by Handmaiden Yarns. In a very pretty metallic mauve. It was so quick and easy, in fact, that I needed another project while I was still in Dublin. Diane from the knitting group had just finished knitting herself a shawl that sounded supremely quick and easy, and so...

I bought some Manos Del Uruguay Silk Blend in yet another purpley, heather colour. I also bought a set of 15mm knitting needles (yes, that's gigantic) and knit an entire shawl from just one hank of this stuff.

The entire shawl is just garter stitch, starting with three stitches and adding one stitch at each end of every row. It grows incredibly quickly. I finished it while still in Dublin and left Elly with the giant needles in case she wants to knit one for herself.

And she didn't just score knitting needles and an umbrella. Nigel and I bought her a new best friend/companion/pet.

After she'd opened all the packaging and plugged it in she said, "I love you".

She wasn't talking to me.

I also bought her a tea set. A little something cheerful for those bleak winter days ahead.

Isn't it adorable? It made me laugh and laugh in the store.

As for the title of this post, well, this is my 100th post!

Let's all celebrate with a dose of The Cure.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I arrived safe and sound from Dublin on Thursday afternoon. I've decided that the trick to avoiding jet lag is to fly at night and try to sleep a bit on the plane. Travelling out, my flight was a night flight and I had very little trouble adjusting to Irish time. Travelling back I left Dublin at ten in the morning and flew backwards through time and arrived in Winnipeg at half past four in the afternoon (that's half past ten in the evening, Dublin time). I've been a wreck ever since. Waking at three in the morning and dead on my feet all day.

However, I did finish all the laundry the next day. Aren't I amazing?!

Elly is still flat hunting in Dublin, I'm sure we'll hear soon that a decisions been made. Everything that happened in Dublin seemed serendipitous and I'm confident that the home she finds is going to be a good one.

My trip wasn't exactly a holiday. I didn't see any museums or art galleries, and though I saw the seaside that was because it was difficult to miss from the train window. Our time was spent looking at flats, registering with immigration, opening a bank account and buying a mobile phone. Mundane things, but it gave us a chance to meet the people of Dublin and roam through Dublin County rather than city centre and to experience the regular Irish life.

Here are a few snaps from around Dublin (some are actually from city centre!):

the entrance to Trinity College, no time to go in.

No. 1 Merrion Square, we were told Oscar Wilde was born here.

The Ha'penny Bridge spans the Liffey River.

Swans at St. Stephen's Green.

Government signage is in Gaelic first.


The Dodder River, just a few steps from our hotel.

Good food can be found here - James Joyce agrees.

A gusty day in Blackrock.

They sell exactly what the sign says.

Hmmm...Alliance Atlantis is a Canadian film company. I don't know why they're in Dublin, or why their doorway looks so shabby. There is a woman begging on the front steps. There were many people begging in city centre, some with infants. Very sad.

We didn't eat here. Great signage though.

While strolling near St. Stephen's Green on a beautiful sunny day, we came across two street performers called Two English Gents (in truth, two acrobats from Australia).

They were




Bye Ireland.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Today is moving day. We'll be taking all Elly's things over to Tom and Carol's - I suppose we should find out their last name.

Elly had an awful lot of luggage to begin with, and we've been shopping up a small storm since we got here. I'm hoping everything will fit in one taxi.

She and I will be parting company later this evening. I sense this won't be easy.

I'll be home tomorrow, late.

Photos will follow shortly after.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Cabbie Who Delivers

The story continues...

On Friday, the day after the knitting meeting, Elly and I took a spin over to Dundrum Town Centre to buy her a new laptop for her studies - and possibly some socialising. Since it was pouring rain that day we caught a cab there and back. We got to talking to our "way home" cabbie (Tom) - people always want to know where we're from - and mentioned to him that we were seeking out some accommodation for Elly. Imagine our surprise when he tells us that he and his wife have a room that they rent out to foreign students for short term stays (one to three weeks, he said) and it's in Dun Laoghaire, the same as the school!

We took down names and numbers and later that day Elly went to see the room and meet Tom's wife Carol and their three boys (12, 8 and 6). The room was great, it's just a bedroom off the kitchen with no private bath, but it's going to do just fine while she enters the final stretch of finding a place of her own. Carol has also offered to feed Elly suppers and make her bag lunches for school, can you imagine! That's better than she had it at home!

We plan to move her in on Wednesday. It's not being completely settled, but it's a great start.

Let's all heave a heavy sigh!*********

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Aren't Knitters Fantastic?

On our very first day here in Dublin we arrived at the hotel at 10 AM and had to leave our luggage in storage as the room wasn't going to be ready until 3PM. We were in need of a nap and a shower, but had to keep ourselves occupied for a few hours so headed off to Blackrock village, as I'd heard there was an excellent knitting shop there.

We weren't disappointed.

Our visit to This Is Knit proved to be serendipitous. The shop stocks lots of excellent yarns - Debbie Bliss, Noro, Lorna's Laces, etc. - as well as needles, notions and lessons. We got to chatting with the two women (one is Lisa, my mind blanks on the others name), letting them know Elly's little story about leaving her home, her homeland, her friends and everything familiar to study abroad. They mentioned they have a knitting group that meets every Thursday and she should pop in and meet everyone. We took them up on their offer and showed up Thursday evening to check things out.

It was an interesting mix. I was surprised that most of the people we spoke to that evening were also non-Irish. We met Diane from Toronto, Yvonne from Newfoundland, Kalen from Washington State, Elana from Maine and Melinda from one of the Carolinas. This was the end of the day Elly got her new phone and they very sweetly passed it around the room and entered their names and numbers in it, giving her an instant network of connections.

*Elly is standing behind me right now saying "Hooray!"*

Yvonne offered a friend's phone number, a friend who has a 2 bedroom house to rent, Diane offered to ask around at work to see if anyone needs a tenant, and Elana offered up her fully furnished garden shed just three blocks from the school.

Needless to say, Elly will be returning to the knitting group this Thursday.

Aren't knitters fantastic?

Friday, September 5, 2008

Another Photo-less Post

We're continuing our search for a flat for Elly here in Dublin. The first we saw was in a once magnificent Georgian townhouse in Monkstown. Twelve foot ceilings, gigantic windows and a stunning view of Dublin Bay. Unfortunately, the private bathroom was on a different level to the rest of the suite and she would only have access to it through a communal hallway. She said no.

Then we saw a small bedsit, in Ballsbridge, which stank of cigarettes, and she's allergic, so that one was out.

That was our bleary first day in Dublin.

The next day we saw another small bedsit, which wasn't too bad, this one in Dun Laoghaire. It was run by a family who owned the hardware store next door. I suggested to Elly that that might be a plus, as they'd probably be good about doing repairs, but she hemmed and hawed and we let it go.

Later in the day we saw a second bedsit in Ballsbridge, which wasn't bad, except rather than having a small kitchen, it had a minuscule kitchen. The stove doubled as a nightstand. She passed on that one too.

On the third day, Elly opted to increase her spending limit on rent and we went to see what looked to be a very nice one-bedroom flat in the far end of Blackrock. It wasn't near the train station, but it was on the bus line (the buses aren't as reliable here). We were suppose to meet the letting agent at 12:30 and she never showed up! She must have let the flat out after we'd talked to her the day before, and as we had no mobile phone, she couldn't contact us. Urgh!

Needless to say, we headed directly to Vodaphone and signed up for a pay-as-you-go phone (you don't need an address for that). We gave up on accommodation for the rest of the day and headed to the bank to set up a bank account.

I'll pause here and let you know that Nigel warned me before we left that Irish banking laws are extremely strict, having to do with money-laundering. I do believe I scoffed at him, assuring him that we weren't laundering money, so that stuff didn't apply to us. Oh, how wrong I was.

I'll spare you that wretched details, but it took a good chunk of the day, and a visit to two branches of the Bank of Ireland before a lovely women named Jackie took pity on us and allowed Elly to set up a bank account without having an Irish address. And no, we didn't shed tears to get our way, though I did mention to Jackie that we were "ignorant foreigners". Before we left her, she told Elly that "if you get into any trouble come and see me and I'll get you sorted". Elly then asked if that meant she'd bail her out of jail.

Thankfully, the Irish have a sense of humour.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I don't know how to say hello in Gaelic, so am opting for the North American equivalent.

We arrived exhausted and are madly searching for a flat for Elly.

No photos, talk soon.

Monday, September 1, 2008

We're Away!

Okay, our plane doesn't actually leave for another six hours, but this will be my last post for a bit.

I found a great hank of yarn in my stash.

It's 100% spun silk in a metallic mauve boucle. The hank comes with a complimentary pattern for an easy garter stitch triangular shawl which I'm ditching in favour of a long rectangular open-work scarf. Should be easy-peasy and oh-so-satisfying on completion.

Though Winnipeg and Toronto airports permit knitting needles, Dublin's doesn't, so I won't be taking this on the plane. I don't fancy a shake-down from Irish customs to start off Elly's stay in the country. It's an overnight flight anyway. I'm bringing Joseph Campbell's "The Hero With a Thousand Faces". Not the lightest read in the library, but I think I've lingered too long with Lemony Snicket these last few years.

I'll try to post something from an internet cafe while I'm there, but can't give you any guarantees.