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All posts for the month June, 2014

hashtag IBYC

Published June 23, 2014 by Jackie

IBYC? IndieBurgh Yarn Crawl… aaahh!

Saturday 21st June, Saturday just past, was the longest day, ie midsummer. It has also been pretty warm recently here in Edinburgh. Not the combination you would immediately think of for encouraging the buying of yarn in all its possible permutations.

But Jess of Ginger Twist Studios had the brilliant marketing idea of organising the inaugural Indie Burgh Yarn Crawl, a crawl for crafters around the three independent yarn shops in town; ie her own Ginger Twist Studio on London Rd, Kathy’s Knits in Broughton St, and Be Inspired Fibres on Marchmont Rd.

Not exactly a competitive challenge, it’s only right that it should be up to the individual what they buy and how much they choose to spend, but a challenge none the less, to visit all three shops in one day.

Our group has been discussing this vaguely for ages, since the date was first announced; who would be in morning teams and who in afternoon teams; whether to meet for lunch as we pass like ships in the night… In the end, we had one large morning team and one small afternoon team, and most of the large team met on the pavement at Mei’s lovely Be Inspired shop at 11am.

The shop was already pretty busy at that point, so rather than wait for the final person to arrive, we all just piled in. (This is the point where I am kicking myself for not taking photos) I had a hum and I had a haw, but three fat slugs of Cascade 220 spoke to me, two purple, one lipstick pink, and an idea of a colourwork cushion, or somesuch. Oh a couple of balls of Excelana 4ply popped into my basket as well (I have a wee stash of blue and white, just wanted to add some more).

Hit and run, well not quite… those of us who had shopped went and sat outside (thanks for the chairs, Mei) while we waited for the others to finish, and timed it really nicely for the noon bus down to our favourite cafe, Bon Papillon.

Unable to resist a wee poke around McAree while we were there, I got out without buying, and we headed in to our big reserved table at Bon Papillon, where another two people joined us, we were now 10 people in our team (the afternoon players only two!)

We quickly fell into our usual routine in the cafe, and before we realised it, almost 2 hours had passed, time to be moving on! It’s a nice walk from Howe Street to Broughton St, level for most of it along the edge of Queen St Gardens, and the sun was shining. (with a quick pop into Concrete Wardrobe to say hello to James, and bumped into his other half walking the dog just outside Kathy’s) we headed down the steps to yet another packed store.

Wandered round a bit, coveting the glorious skein of ginger Parkin Titus, ogled the Blacker Yarns, fondled some Rennies, but opted for two lovely balls of hairy Wensleydale, in deep teal and bright lime. I have to say everyone was very pleased I had brought my big bag of £2 coins, straight from the jar… they are saved especially for such events, but I have made a major dent in them this weekend.

Back up the hill we decided to hop on a bus to our final destination, Ginger Twist Studio. We had a laugh on the way about whether Jess would have a bouncer on the door, or a sign that read ‘Only 6 children allowed in the sweetie shop at any one time’. And well she might!

The shop was packed, with people spilling onto the pavement, peering in the window enviously, hoping another knitter wasn’t going to buy all the yarn, and failing all else, loitering with intent in the chocolate shop two doors along…

I had my eye on two quiet balls of West Yorkshire Spinners Signature yarn, one in dove grey and one in yellow ochre, as I’d not tried it before. So I judged my moment, squeezed in to the shelf, grabbed the two balls and quickly squeezed through the rest of the way towards the back of the shop to Jess ~ if you’ve been to Ginger Twist you’ll know how far that is… NOT!

That was it, lovely fun, great company, good lunch, lots of laughs and finally, here’s my haul for the day. Roll on more knitting time…

ooh and on the far right, a birthday gift of Ginger's Hand Dyed Delight in Bermuda... thanks so very much Laura xxx

ooh and on the far right, a birthday gift of Ginger’s Hand Dyed Delight in Bermuda… thanks so very much Laura xxx

Culture Vulture

Published June 17, 2014 by Jackie

Right now I’m in that place where you end up after something so keenly anticipated in your calendar has passed. Doubly so, because Friday 13th AND Saturday 14th saw two long-anticipated events come and go. The good thing is, both left me feeling so elated, but now they are passed, I feel strangely deflated, but also with some very special memories.

Friday’s event was the top-secret gig I alluded to a few blog posts ago. Our wonderful Love Music Community Choir was invited to flashmob the grand Gala Concert at the Usher Hall, which was being staged to welcome the Queen’s Baton to Edinburgh for the start of the final leg of its journey, around Scotland, before arriving at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer. Choir were also invited to perform at the concert the following day at the Ross Bandstand, below the Castle Rock.

To this end, we have been learning Commonwealth inspired songs all term, plus Ode to Joy, which was Stephen’s choice for the Gala Concert flashmob.

What a treat the concert was, especially to watch the Rachmaninoff from the perfect angle, but what a treat to read this review in the Scotsman #hinthintFinalPara  Do you think the audience realised the flashmob was arranged by the Usher Hall ~ yeah really, how else could we all sit together on either side of the central block in the stalls? And have the organist John Kitchen play with us? btw thanks John for flourishing with the melody in the middle to keep us on track. You can watch us on YouTube here ~ I did smile at the other, non-choir audience members who, just for a moment, thought they should stand too!

Then on Saturday, while most of the choir were off to the Ross Bandstand to perform Indian syncopation in the round, and Zulu songs, Moira and I headed off to Glasgow for some ballet. We went by bus, and left Edinburgh with darkening, ominous skies (I understand it rained, no, poured, right at the point the choir were on, sorry guys!), but the sun was out when we arrived in Glasgow and walked up to the Theatre Royal.

We headed for some food first, and decided against the jazz in Trader Joe’s (very loud) and Chinese food, and opted for the Hula Cafe between the two, where next-door’s jazz was just audible as background music. Two starters rather than a main, I had the Merguez Lamb skewers and patatas bravas, Moira opted for mussels plus patatas ~ we could’ve shared, it was a large portion, but they were good, and we both scoffed our full plate! I treated myself to a wee bit of orange & almond cake without any flourishes, yum! (I only have cake as a very special treat, and this was really my birthday treat, this ballet)

We’d come all this way to see Lord of the Flies ~ Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures has a charitable arm, Re:Bourne, and this was a production from them. Eight professional dancers from the company, several of whom I recognised from other productions, have been touring the UK and working with twenty-four local boys in each location, from ages 10 to 20-ish, to stage Lord of the Flies.

Some of these boys in Glasgow had no background in dance, some did, but all had a willingness to learn how to express themselves through dance. I was staggered by their performance, there was nothing amateur or half-hearted about them. They had clearly worked very hard and it showed. I’ll leave you to read the review New Adventures have on their website, but I wanted to add some words that convey how I felt….

Savage youths & feral boys; compelling, electric, powerful; the construction work in the street seemed to push its way onto the stage for an ideal setting, while the heat in the theatre sucked in from a warm summer evening outside added to the oppressive atmosphere

It may surprise you, reader, if I say that, huge Matthew Bourne fan that I am, this has gone straight in at #NumberOne, all-time, best-ever production, without a shadow of a doubt.

ps funny wee story ~ across the road from the Theatre Royal we passed a woman who I thought I recognised, and who looked at me as if she might know me too! I saw her later in the Theatre, with walkie-talkie, but wasn’t able to chat, I assumed she was either a knitter or a belly-dancer I’d met in the past. When we came out, I grabbed my opportunity to say hello and ask, she was embarrassed because she thought I’d caught her looking admiringly at my nice pleated black and pink top! She said she usually works in the Kings in Glasgow, perhaps she’d sold me an ice-cream? But I’ve never been there, so that’s a no.  Then she asked if I’d seen Sunshine on Leith (of course I have, I’m from Edinburgh! I’ve seen both the stage and film versions) and she said she was an actress too, and had appeared in that! So a copy is currently winging its way from Amazon, I shall watch it with interest this summer with my nieces.

Cornwall reprise

Published June 12, 2014 by Jackie

just thought I’d flash a handful more photos from Cornwall at you.

 

A lovely cut glass trifle bowl, filled with? No, not Cornish clotted cream, but ... POTATO!!

A lovely cut glass trifle bowl, filled with? No, not Cornish clotted cream, but …
POTATO!!

Our last supper in the cottage (we went out to a nearby pub on the last night).  Sausages, vegi or pork, in gravy, with mushrooms. Not much room for anything after that, I can tell you! Not grated cheese at the top, but grated carrot

Our last supper ~ we went out on the last night. Sausages, vegi or pork, in gravy, with mushrooms. Not much room for anything after that, I can tell you! Not grated cheese at the top, but grated carrot

tiny mussels on the rocks in the bay, tho being a Northumbrian beach bum, my initial thought was they were tiny pebbles of coal. Had to go quite far back from the shoreline to find a naked rock to sit on.

tiny mussels on the rocks in the bay, tho being a Northumbrian beach bum, my initial thought was they were tiny pebbles of coal. Had to go quite far back from the shoreline to find a naked rock to sit on.

the cat sat on the mat... ok doorstep. quite safe, I can't imagine anyone wanting to steal him. Appropriate that he (for he IS a he, don't you think?) should be hand-crafted, guarding our hand-crafting environment inside.

the cat sat on the mat… ok doorstep. quite safe, I can’t imagine anyone wanting to steal him. Appropriate that he (for he IS a he, don’t you think?) should be hand-crafted, guarding our hand-crafting environment inside.

Opposite Ends!

Published June 10, 2014 by Jackie

Where have I been these last few days? Of course many of you actually know this information, but for those that don’t, I’ve been to Cornwall!

Not quite to Land’s End, but then again my last proper holiday took me to Shetland, which is way beyond John O’Groats, and then some, so I think I can be forgiven for that minor transgression, don’t you?

I’ve never been that far south and west in England before ~ my brother took me to Wells, through the Cheddar Gorge, and into the show-caves at Wookey Hole in the early 1990s. (I stopped myself there, I nearly typed ‘deep into the caves of Wookey’ there, but given that my much-missed brother was part of the team who held the record for the deepest exploration in the mid-1980s, I really didn’t go very far into them at all!)

But for the last 3 years, there has been a late spring holiday, organised by the lovely NixPJ (of IvyLightfoot fame) for our knit-group to join, and this was my first time to join in. Both Nix and Lainey were part of the Shetland contingent last year, and also Naomi, who had organised a weekend away in Jedburgh the year before.  It was great that Jane could join us, having been taken seriously ill shortly before Shetland, she brought her husband Chris with her, and the final member of the party was Lottie, an old friend of Nix from university days, who was great company!

Lovely accommodation, all you need really, the perfect location, close to the sea, tho not quite as close as I’d anticipated ~ probably just as well, given it’s the Atlantic coast we’re looking at! Quite a hike from the railway station, but we were picked up and dropped off (more later). Not far from Padstow, where Rick Stein owns almost everything, but not quite… And great company ~ the kind that doesn’t try to organise every minute of every day.

Lots of crafting, knitting, crochet, sewing. I started and finished the knitting of a wedding garter for a colleague ~ need to finish it off, I have measurements now! I started some denim Vivid squares too, and got started on two cowls as well. Oh, and some socks on the train journey down…

…hmmm the train journey… remind me never to do that journey again! Please, give me a stern talking to if necessary! Wasn’t the time, tho nine and a half hours is really far too long to spend on a train, nor the seat, as I was lucky enough to have one reserved.. but really, Cross-country trains, WHY do you sell more tickets than you have seats for? Even RyanAir don’t do that! So next time, I shall either split the journey and travel via London and Great Western, or fly…  But that’s by the by! I enjoyed the holiday immensely, and have recovered from the journey, so here are some pics to keep you amused.

 

the view from the garden (with apols for the shaky, grainy phone pic)

the view from the garden (with apols for the shaky, grainy phone pic)

more garden views, that's the Atlantic out there, don't you know? The flowering Yucca smelt amazing, like honeyed pink lilies, and was covered in bees, both honey and bumble

more garden views, that’s the Atlantic out there, don’t you know? The flowering Yucca smelt amazing, like honeyed pink lilies, and was covered in bees, both honey and bumble

an abundance of pink

an abundance of pink

the car matched the cottage parking space perfectly. Hedgerows were filled with Valerian in full bloom too

the car matched the cottage parking space perfectly. Hedgerows were filled with Valerian in full bloom too