The Cat in a Hat

Merlin: Help, help, I’m blinded

Merlin: That’s better. Wait a sec… they got me!

Merlin: The humiliation of it. I’m going to wait til their fast asleep and leap across the bed in the middle of the night.
(When I’ve figured out how to open the door and window)


Not a lot going on here apart from a tiny bit of knitting between long sleeps and cat tormenting.

Merlin: Maybe if I lie here real still, she won’t notice me. After all I do blend into the carpet. Yep, that’s me, I’m a stealth kitty

Finishing stuff off

I’ve had a couple of UFOs hanging around and I had every intention back in January to get on and participate in the UFO Resurrection challenge but after the first couple and with moving and all, I didn’t manage it.

Now Norovember has come around again, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to finish off the Forsa scarf I started last November.

I also started a lovely Casablanca sweater last year also in November which I worked on a whole lot more in June but had to leave to one side as I didn’t have enough yarn to sew up and attach an arm. I knew there was another ball of yarn but I had carefully stashed it away somewhere – too carefully so time went on and we flew off to the US and the sweater was forgotten.

Whilst digging around to see if I could find some waste yarn almost the right colour to finish the thing off, I found the lost ball!

Hooray, it has arms!

I also started a baby bib in September but put it away because it had lots of ends to weave in.
So I got that out and wove them all in.

None of these jobs took very long but it was very satisfying to get them finished off. I am definitely starting to feel a bit better but I know I need to rest up more so I’m off to bed again!

Stitching and Bitching in London

My doctor sent me home today as I have an incredibly horrid virus so I thought it would be a good time to catch up a bit between napping….

It was a couple of weeks ago now that I hopped on an earlyish train with HP6 to London for the first UK Stitch n’ Bitch event. As I promised a friend that I would be at her birthday dinner some time before, it was the Lord Mayor’s show which meant that traffic would be at a standstill from around 2pm, and we had a friend coming to stay; I didn’t stay too long as I had to be back in Canterbury by 5pm. I had a really nice time and chatted to one or two lovely people. I was also feeling a bit shy at times – I sometimes get like that when going somewhere with lots of people I don’t know!!

I really don’t enjoy taking the Tube anywhere because it is always packed and you find yourself closer to people than you ever wanted to be so HP6 and I hopped on a bus and hoped we’d find the right bus stop. Judging by the posters, we were in the right place!

We were a little confused as to which entrance of the hotel we needed to be at until we spotted this great big knitted river.

It was pretty awesome.

Amy Lame was making pom poms for charity. pao taught me how to make a pom pom on Saturday 🙂

Jane Waller was there talking about her vintage knits book. I spoke to her when I was at Ally Pally last year when her book was about to come out.

I had seen the Knit Witches website and wondered what their yarn was like. It is even more beautiful than I imagined so a couple of theirs came home with me.

I was quite taken with Garthenor’s organic wool too 🙂 It was interesting to talk to the man on the stall because he was saying that batches varied from year to year because even the same sheep will produce different wool every year due to the different conditions (feed, health, weather etc).

There were some fantastic knitted objects on show – I loved this bear? cat?

And this selection of tiny socks 🙂

HP6 isn’t as shy as me and dove right in and made himself comfortable at the Dutch knitting table
where he soon found himself some sweets.

He enjoyed listening to Jean Moss talk about her book

and sitting on the Stitch n’Bitch map of the UK. We tried to work out where Bristol was but my geography is a bit iffy even though I do actually come from the West Country myself so he has a vague idea about all the distance he travelled to reach me in Kent.

He even made a monkey friend

who belonged to the lady who knitted things onto walking sticks

and had some lovely looking cakes.

Before we dashed off to Loop for some supplies which I couldn’t find, HP6 had a go in the river 🙂

I am part knit wit

(not to be mistaken for the Knit Wit)

Guess who trapped all her stitch markers in her stole when inserting a life line? I decided that life lines were the way to go when in my bleary tiredness, I started to knit the wrong row in the pattern and in the midst of trying to frog back, I got completely lost and ended up pulling the whole thing apart. Luckily, thanks to a super gift from Sarah when we saw her in Cape Cod, I had enough to put in a second set of stitch markers!

But I did finish some rather lovely soft alpaca socks which are a dream to wear.

You’ve already seen me torment the cat with a preemie hat. I did have a willing accomplice when I ambushed her, I suspect the others won’t pose willingly!

We found this incredible place which sells freshly made cakes quite near us and their brownies are super and huge – look how much I had to cut that brownie up for HP6?

We were really surprised to learn that there was a package waiting for us at the post office and discovered to our delight it was from Sarah! The eagle-eyed among you will have notice that they are still in their beautiful wrappings because we’ve decided to be restrained and wait to open them on Christmas day. The chocolate may not survive that long though…. Thank you, Sarah – a perfect surprise just as we are recovering from horrible lurgy!

Boston Penguins (and some other animals)

I’m still poorly today so I’m going to distract you with photos taken at Boston Aquarium.

I was so tempted to ask pao if we could go to Wonderland. The subway system in Boston has quite amusing names – we tried to take a photo of the Alewife sign but I feel a return visit in necessary.



Things got a bit X-rated on this rock quite soon after which drew a crowd of people snapping these two with their camera phones!




We dodged out of the IMAX cinema as soon as the show was finished because they had started feeding the penguins.



There were other creatures in the aquarium. There was a huge fish tank right in the middle of the aquarium where we saw this guy taking photos.





We had to go to the aquarium area a day or so before we visited because we had to buy our ferry tickets to P-town and saw this incredible sand sculpture which I was glad I took a photo of because it was gone when we went back.



Catching up in Cape Cod

I bet Sarah was wondering if I’d ever get to when we met! In the midst of planning our holiday, Sarah asked if we’d considered a visit to the Cape. As pao and I had been to the Cape on our honeymoon and knew there was a pretty fast ferry service from Boston to Provincetown, we agreed it would be a good idea so when we arrived in Boston, timetables were consulted and it turned out that we could get a fast ferry to Provincetown but we would have to leave at 4pm which meant that we’d only have an hour or so with Sarah. Sarah very kindly volunteered to pick us up from Provincetown and drive us back to Boston so we didn’t have to worry about getting back.

This is a familiar landmark to anyone who has ever been to Provincetown – the Pilgrim’s monument. The tower reminds me of the Torre de Mangia in Siena.

We were so lucky to have chosen such a beautiful day.

Really lucky!

It wasn’t too different from how we remembered it.

Maybe the trolley is a new thing?

But the flamboyantly painted houses are still around.

I quite liked this one.

The beach was as beautiful as I remembered it. When we went the first time, we parked somewhere along there which included use of a private beach in the price of our car parking ticket – how neat!

We also found an amazing cafe called Cafe Heaven and had a brunch of French toast with fresh fruit. I’d definitely go there again.

Eventually, Sarah found us and we headed on our drive back to Boston. We had so much fun and stopped on the way for lunch which was great fun. It was so nice to meet her and she even took us to an outlet centre on the way back and we just chatted so easily it was like I’d known her for ages and ages.

Here we are in Teavana 🙂 A very belated thank you to Sarah for driving us back to Boston and entertaining us so beautifully. We had the most amazing time with you!

Cambridge, MA

Back to the travelogue after the slight detour. pao is doing really well and went back to work today. It’ll be interesting to see how straight the botox makes them as the results can be a bit hit and miss apparently.

The second place we headed out to after we arrived in Boston was Cambridge as it isn’t hugely far on the Metro and I wanted to visit Woolcott which Dave recommended. This involved a little trip on the Subway to Harvard.

I have to say I’m very impressed with Boston’s subway system – we bought something called a Charlie ticket which was very inexpensive and travelled all week on it. The subway system isn’t difficult to work out and is very quick. It wasn’t long before we transported to the delights of leafy Cambridge which I really like.

Our first stop was Woolcott and then we headed off to have lunch at Dolphin Seafood which was also recommended by Dave whilst the lovely staff in there wound all the yarn for a sweater project. They are superstars in Woolcott, I tell you! They are just so friendly and helpful which was great fun.

It was a good thing that the seafood place was a bit of a wander from Woolcott as I was stuffed after eating this lobster. I couldn’t even eat half of the baked potato it came with!

It did mean that we got to see quite a nice bit of Cambridge. The buildings there are really lovely old buildings like this one.

This is a restaurant but I loved the sign.

This church is really beautiful inside but I refrained from taking any photos because a service was about to start.

Cambridge also has the most amazing shops. I felt like I had stepped back in time a hundred years which I looked through this doorway. It also had incredible second-hand book stores which we had to be seriously restrained in. It was difficult believe me. Now I’m doing the American lit course where the American edition is so often quite different from the UK edition, I wish I’d paid a bit more attention and bought American editions of my course texts.

I really really liked this green house! pao, can we please move to Cambridge and live in that big green house?

I’ve already found me a job!

Norovember, Monkee and Knitting Update

Thank you so much for your kind words about pao’s op yesterday. If you are curious (and are not squeamish), you can go and read his version of events.

I’m going to post more pictures from our US trip in the next few days but I thought I’d catch up on knitting before that as I finished a whole hat yesterday which was just in time because it was freezing this morning when I went out to work.

This is just the most soft and gorgeous hat. It is made using GGH Bel Air which I got when I called in at Loop last Saturday. The pattern was written by my lovely friend Obsidian Kitten. I love the colour and the lovely lightweight yarn – I’d like to make some gloves out of the leftover yarn.

Thank goodness that it is too big for the monkee!

I think I’m slightly addicted to stripey at the moment. Here is the Kaffe Fassett Regia sock yarn which Robin sent me as part of the Knitter’s Tea Swap 4 all knit up into socks. Thank you so much, Robin!

Last but not least are my Norovember socks. I finished those on Saturday and they are made from Noro Silk Garden Lite. I really enjoyed knitting these and they are beautifully warm.

I am back in London to give a paper about some of my work at a conference in just under a month which I’m very excited about as I have never been asked to give a paper before so I’m planning a celebratory/commiseratory trip to Loop and iKnit depending on how it goes!