Grrrrrrrr!

We will take a short break from our Spain travelogue for a brief knitting update. After I finished the Peace Fleece sweater, I was one project short on the needles, so I started a new sweater. What do knitbloggers do when they run into a pattern glitch? Go to their readers, of course!

Here’s what I’m making:

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Pretty eh? So why has it generated a string of menopausally-induced swear words in the Knitting Doctor house, you might ask?

It’s from Jo Sharp’s Handknitting Collection, Book One. I bought the book and yarn some time last year, I think, and it’s been aging in the stash until just the perfect moment. I dug it out last week, dutifully swatched, and surprisingly got perfect gauge with the yarn and needles recommended in the pattern. I cast on for my chosen size and was off doing that ribbing section. The yarn, by the way, is Jo Sharp DK Wool, which is heavenly.

After I finished the ribbing, I set it aside and looked at the cable pattern. It was written out, not charted, so I printed out some graph paper from here, and spent an evening charting it out, as I find cable charts much easier to follow. I grumbled just a bit about good old Jo not including charts with the pattern, but figured that some editor cut them due to space considerations.

The next evening I started on the first pattern row, and came up two stitches short at the end of the row. I counted, recounted, and my stitches were right, it was the pattern row that was short by two stitches. After a few swear words, I did the Google thing and found the corrections page* on the Jo Sharp website. Yup, it was the pattern that was wrong. I needed to adjust the stitch count on the moss stitch panels in the body section. This was a simple fix, I just needed to go back to the beginning of the row and reknit the first cable row. I did that, grumbling a little more at good old Jo. Then I looked again at the corrections page, and read the rest of the story. Not only was the stitch count incorrect for the two larger sizes, ALL of the body measurements had been revised. Here’s a table to explain:

Bodice Circumference (inches)

Published pattern…
A            B            C            D
42.5        46.5       50.5        54.5

Corrected…
A            B            C            D
33.5        38          39.5        44

For the Diagram width measurement (the width of the front/back pieces, finished), here are the measurements for size C, which is what I was going to make.
Published: 25.5
Corrected: 20

Would this piss anybody else off royally? Does anybody else think that an error of over TEN inches in body circumference is unacceptable?  I took the thing off the needles to measure it, in case their “corrected” measurements are wrong, but nooooooo. I am still perfectly on gauge, and my measurements match the corrected measurements pretty well. I briefly thought of finding somebody who fit the size C measurements and packaging up the whole damn mess and mailing it to them to finish. As this is supposed to be a relaxed fit, not the Jane Russell look, it will get frogged again, and I’ll start over at the larger size. Right at the moment, the whole thing is sitting over there on a chair, in time-out. Fortunately for whoever answers the phones for good old Jo, I bought an extra ball of yarn when I purchased this, for insurance. I guess I’ll need it.

* Here, if anybody is interested. All of the pattern books have at least one correction listed, so check it out.

Spain Photos, Part Eleventy-Thousand

This time we’re off to Granada, city of the Alhambra. This stronghold of the Moors was the last city in Spain to fall to the Christians in 1492. You simply can’t go to Spain, or at least certainly not to Andalucia, and not see this place.

We stayed at the Parador here, which is one of the state-run hotels. The Granada Parador is built in a 15th-century convent, and sits right in the middle of the Alhambra itself. It was the only Parador we stayed in on our trip, and though expensive, was well worth the money. Here I am knitting on the terrace in the afternoon.

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The day after we arrived, we had a guided tour of the Alhambra. Again, the pictures just don’t begin to show what this place is like. Here are a few though:

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Simply splendid. As a sidenote, listening to a recording of Julian Bream playing “Recuerdos de la Alhambra”, while hanging out in your Parador room inside the Alhambra, is one of the highlights of the trip for me. What can I say, I’m easily amused.

We also spent an afternoon wandering through the Albaicin, the oldest section of Granada, which dates as far back as the 11th century. This is a labyrinth of tiny streets that is a hoot to get lost in. We hung out at a Plaza overlooking the city for sunset. Here are a few of the natives, doing what they do.

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This is a knitting blog, after all. The woman with the yarn was selling the paintings in the foreground, and while she was waiting she knitted. The guys were part of an impromptu street concert. Here’s the sunset we waited for.

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Next time: Off to Arcos!

Finished Sweater!

I’m getting over the Bug of 2005; you know, the one that involves vomiting at a swanky holiday party, then spending the next two days in your jammies on the couch. I think I picked it up from my spouse, who has been sick for the past ten days and is just getting over it. I’m feeling considerably better today, which I attribute to the fact that I got a flu shot, and he didn’t, and that I come from much hardier peasant stock than he does. (For those of you with inquiring minds, the swanky holiday party was at our house, and no, I didn’t drink too much pomegranate punch.)

The only good thing about the Bug of 2005 is that spending two days on the couch in your jammies gives you lots of knitting time. Here’s the Not-Really-An-Everyday Cardigan, finished. Even the buttons are sewn on, my least favorite part of knitting.

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No, the front is not asymmetrical, I think that I am. The button bands are actually quite straight. They should be, I had to knit one of them twice. I had the whole thing done, and as I was crawling around on the floor putting pins in to mark where I needed to sew on the buttons, I noticed that the button band was about two rows narrower than the buttonhole band. My ever-helpful spouse said that nobody would notice, but really, they would. So I undid the bind off and added a couple of rows. Here’s the “Rachel“.

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And a close-up of the buttons.

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Specs:

Pattern: Plain cardigan, set-in sleeves, pattern generated by Sweater Wizard software.
Yarn: Peace Fleece, in the color Kamchatka Seamoss.
Needles: Denise circs, size 7 & 8.
Started: Late September, but I took a long break while we were on vacation to Spain.
What I learned: I started this one as the Everyday Cardigan sold as a kit from the Peace Fleece people. While I just love this yarn, I didn’t love the pattern. It’s a drop sleeve style, which isn’t what I had in mind, so I ditched it and made up a pattern with Sweater Wizard. So I guess the main thing I learned is to knit what I want, not just follow a pattern. I also learned how to do buttonholes a little less sloppy, and did a buttonhole stitch around them to neaten them after I finished them.
Verdict: I like this one a lot, and I predict that it will get a lot of wear. I would definitely make more just like this, and will definitely use the Peace Fleece again. It’s not one of those soft-against-your-skin yarns, but is a good, basic wool yarn in great colors.

Last but not least, a picture of Willie being his intrepid self.

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Next time, Spain Photos, Part Eleventy-Thousand.

Spain Photos, Part 3,

Or,

The Case of the Missing Sweater Sleeve

First, the knitting content. I’ve finished all the pieces to the Not-Really-An-Everyday Cardigan. There was a little sleeve mishap in the process. I finished the body pieces before we went to Spain, but didn’t take it along to work on, as it was a little bulky for the carry-on bag. After I got home and recovered from my jet lag, I pulled out the sleeve that I had started, and went back to work. I was about a third done with the sleeve, and decided to go ahead and block the body pieces and the first sleeve that I was certain that I had finished, so they would be dry and ready to start seaming when I finished that last sleeve.

The only problem was that I couldn’t find the first sleeve. I was quite certain that I had done it before we left for the trip; so certain that I tore up the house looking for it, and even considered the possibility of a sleeve thief in the neighborhood. After digging around for days and losing sleep over where it might be, I reviewed previous blog posts, counted up the balls of yarn remaining, and determined that I indeed had not ever knit the first sleeve. I do occasionally dream about knitting (OK, I frequently dream about knitting), but I’ve never actually hallucinated finishing a whole garment piece that I have in fact never started.

After some judicious swearing, I have now finished both sleeves, and it’s all blocked, ready for the sewing party, then the neck and band finishing. Here are the pictures:

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Now for the Spain pictures. Today, we travel to Gibraltor. We drove from Marbella along the coast to get there, but then parked our car on the Spain side and walked across the border, thereby avoiding the hour-long line of cars trying to get over. Here’s the Rock from the Spanish side:

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And walking in:

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We took a guided driving tour of the city, which took us to all the major sites. It’s not that difficult to walk the whole area, but as we only had a few hours, we opted for the more expeditious way to see everything. Part of the Rock is a nature preserve, and is home to the famous “Barbery apes”, which are anything but wild at this point. Here’s one fine example:

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And a few more:

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A word of warning to any other Barbery ape visitors: these monkeys are little thieves (maybe that’s where that sleeve went). That cute little fellow on my shoulder snatched my reading glasses off my bag on his way down and scampered off with them. Our guide had to bribe him with a whole bag of cheetos to get them back.

This photo is a reminder of what Gibraltor meant to the British in past years:

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They wouldn’t let John fire the cannon, for some reason.

We toured the Siege Tunnels that were built by the British. Here are a couple of photos from inside the Rock:

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Yes, the road in and out of town goes right across the runway.

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That would be the shadow of the Rock, from inside the Rock.

After a busy day of touring, we stopped at a pub in town for some very British pub food and a pint to tide us over.

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Ahhhhh. And no, I was not the designated driver.

Here’s another view of that runway, from ground level as we were leaving.

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I hope they don’t make any unscheduled landings here.

Back in our condo, here is John reading up on the history of Spain, with a visiting feral cat that seemed to like our hospitality. Note: if you happen to be the owner of this condo, move along. There’s nothing for you to see here. We certainly weren’t the ones who let that cat in.

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That’s enough of the travelogue for today. I swear, I’ll finish these soon! I’ll leave you with a puppy photo from earlier today. Riley likes to sleep in on cold mornings. Actually she likes to sleep in every morning; she’s not much of a morning puppy.

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Watercolor Socks

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Project specs:
Yarn: Lorna’s Laces sock yarn, Watercolor

Needles: Size 0 for the cuff, 1 for the sock. I used Ivore double points, my favorite sock needles.
Pattern: Plain sock, generated by Sole Solution software. The sock cuff is 72 stitches, 2 by 2 rib, eye of partridge heel stitch, plain flap heel. Simple as pie.

What I learned from this project: Not much. I’ve done this sock so many times that it’s mindless knitting at its best. Perfect for a train trip, or a few rows after work when you are dead tired.

Rogue

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Specifications:

Yarn: Beaverslide Dry Goods Fisherman weight 100% wool, in the color Snowberry.

Pattern: Rogue, by the Girl From Auntie. Look under “Patterns to Buy”.

Started: early January, 2005. Derailed by my hand injury in March.

Finished: October 11, 2005.

For: Me!

Gauge: 4 st and 6 rows/inch. The recommended gauge for the pattern was 4.5 stitches to the inch, and I swear, I swatched. Twice. It still came out wonky at the very end.

Needles: I used my Denise needles, size 6 (5 for the hem). I can’t believe that I would need to use a size 5 needle for heavy worsted/aran yarn, but there you are.

What I learned: Patience! This one took me a long time to finish, due to my apparent ineptitude at walking. I also have learned to keep on measuring gauge as I’m going along. This sucker is a bit big for me, but there is no way that I’m giving it away, or worse, reknitting it. I wanted it baggy, because I will mostly wear it as a jacket outside (though I’m currently sweltering in it in the house because I just had to wear it today!). This is a bit baggier than I intended, but what the heck.
I learned a lot about knitting cables also. That kangaroo pocket was a hoot to knit. Next time I do something like this with a hem, I will consider doing a provisional cast on, then knitting the hem up to the body.
Verdict: I love it! It’s baggy, but I can wear it as “outerwear”, and I’ve worn it a lot already.

Spain Photos, Part 2

But first, a finished knitting project. Don’t faint, there is still knitting going on around here. This pair of socks probably has taken longer to knit than anything. They’ve been sitting in the “I’m bored with this” pile for a month, and I finally pulled them out this week and just sat on the couch until I finished them.

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And they fit perfectly!

Project specs:

Yarn: Lorna’s Laces sock yarn, Watercolor
Needles: Size 0 for the cuff, 1 for the sock. I used Ivore double points, my favorite sock needles.
Pattern: Plain sock, generated by Sole Solution software. The sock cuff is 72 stitches, 2 by 2 rib, eye of partridge heel stitch, plain flap heel. Simple as pie.
What I learned from this project: Not much. I’ve done this sock so many times that it’s mindless knitting at its best. Perfect for a train trip, or a few rows after work when you are dead tired.

At first the color pooling of big yellowish stripes bugged me, but when they occurred fairly evenly in a spiral pattern down the sock, I started to like them.

Now, on to Toledo. We took the bus from Madrid to Toledo just for the day, and had a tour guide show us around town. Probably one of the funniest language moments from our trip occurred in the Toledo bus station. We were sitting and waiting for our guide to show up, and I pulled out those socks to knit. After a few minutes I noticed a woman standing behind me watching me, and we began a conversation. She spoke no English, and my Spanish consists of about thirty food-related words. I can ask where the bathroom is, and I have a collection of medical-related phrases that can come in handy, but not in a bus station in Toledo. We seemed to be able to communicate, though. After a lot of sign language and smiling, it appeared that she is also a knitter, she knits socks, and she uses circular needles to do so. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough Spanish to ask where the yarn shop in Toledo was.

Here are the city gates of Toledo:

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The cathedral is probably the biggest tourist attraction in town. You can’t take pictures inside, and mine wouldn’t have done it justice, anyway. I’m discovering that pictures inside of large dark buildings just don’t look like much most of the time. Here’s the outside of the cathedral:

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Here’s one of the city streets. Yes, they drive on these.

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We ran into these guys again. Though we saw Don Quixote all over Spain, this was the only statue of Sancho.

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After a nice meal, we took the bus back to Madrid for another day of touring. We learned to take the metro, and walked some more. We did make it to the Palace in Madrid, though we didn’t go in due to the hot date we had with a paella waitress a little later in the day. Here’s the palace:

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The next day we took the train from Madrid to the coast. This was not the fast train, and I had four enjoyable hours to listen to my Ipod and knit. Here’s proof:

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While we were at the resort in Marbella, we played around on the beach, drove up and down the coast, and toured up into a couple of the white hill towns. Puerto Banus was just up the road from where we stayed, and we went there one day for lunch. John pretended that he owned one of these:

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Here we are with a couple of friends that we found:

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Here is one of the “white hill towns” that Andalucia is so famous for. We took day trips to Mijas and Ronda for some tourist action and more good meals.

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Though it was a bit too cool to swim in the Mediterranean, we did stroll along it in the evening. Note the gin and tonic in hand.

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Yes, we dipped our toes in:

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And the obligatory sunset shots:

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Next time: Gibraltor, Granada, maybe even Sevilla! And the Case of the Missing Sweater Sleeve, in case any of you are interested in knitting around here.

Spain Photos, Part 1

Where to even start? After weeding through the multitude of photos, we still have literally hundreds left to choose from. I have picked a handful, and will show them in stages over the next few days as I have time to post. It’s a ton of fun going through them and remembering the trip!

First up, Madrid.

We saw this guy all over Spain:

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One of the days that we were there we took a guided walking tour of the city. We went to a typical local market, where we were astounded by the variety of produce, and especially the meats, olives and fish.

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Here’s one of the many plazas in Madrid, Plaza Mayor.

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We stopped at a typical tapa bar, where locals stop in for what we would call “a little lunch” in the midwest, and what Hobbits would call “elevensies” or “second breakfast”. (They seem to eat all day in Spain!)

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Here is one of the places that Miguel de Cervantes lived in Madrid.

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The city symbol is a bear. Here is one that we saw:

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And here’s another bear that might be familiar to those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile:

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Yes, that’s Sweetpea. Yes, I took her to Spain. She goes everywhere with me, right in my carry on bag, on top of the knitting. I’d jettison the extra underwear before I’d leave her home. And yes, our hotel in Madrid had turn-down service and left a little flower and chocolate on the bed every night.

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That’s the sign post right across the street from our hotel. That indeed proves that we were in Madrid.

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That strange woman is me hiding behind a statue at the palace in Madrid. We didn’t do the tour, as we had reservations for a swell late lunch, and we all know that food is much more important than a palace tour, right?

Here’s the meal that won out over the palace:

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Paella! Paella is actually what got us to Spain in the first place. We have a friend in the military who, while she was stationed in Bahrain a few years ago, kept sending packages of saffron home. Not having a real clue what to do with a lot of saffron, we did research and came up with paella. Of course then we had to buy the cookbook, and the paella pan, and the right rice, etc. So the “free” saffron wasn’t so cheap, especially when you add in the cost of a three-week trip to Spain. We’ve gotten to enjoy making and eating it, though, as it’s a great way to use up all sorts of stuff in the refrigerator. It’s sort of a Spanish version of “hotdish”, but much better.

Here’s a close-up:

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Here’s me after the paella:

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Last but not least, here’s an early morning shot from our hotel window.

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Next time: on to Toledo, and then the Costa del Sol! (And maybe even some knitting content!)

Google It

Norma posted about this Monday. I love to check my Typepad stats to see how people got to my blog. The Google search strings are sometimes especially funny. After she wrote about this, I, being the completely original blogger that I am, went right off to check mine. Here for your amusement are some of the more recent funnier ones.

“be nice, things could be worse”   I was #11 for that one. That might have to be my new motto.

“bodily damage doctor”  I can only hope that this one refers to my hand injury in March. I was #1 for this.

“nifty knitter”  This one may not seem all that interesting, but it is a recurring search, which I find rather funny for some reason.

And my favorite:

“knit bandages for the lepers”  I am # 7 for this, no lie, and more than one person has gotten to my blog with this one. I’ve never knit bandages of any kind, much less for lepers, though it appears that someone once mentioned it in my comments. I would think that buying them at the drugstore would be cheaper, faster, and more sanitary, but that’s just the doctor in me talking.

There will be vacation pictures soon, I promise. Yesterday was the re-entry day: laundry, the mountain of mail, cleaning up cat hairballs, etc. Plus my brain hasn’t quite figured out the time change yet; from experience, it will be several days before that happens!

We’re Back!

It’s 6AM here in Western Washington, but the whole Knitting Doctor household has been awake since 4:30. That would be 1:30PM in Madrid, in case anybody is wondering. We both stayed in bed for a bit trying to get back to sleep, but my brain is telling me that it’s time for tapas and a little copa de vino tinto. The pets all looked at us like we were nuts for getting up in the middle of the night.

We flew back yesterday, in what seemed like a 24 hour travel marathon. Actually it was a 24 hour travel marathon, now that I think about it. Hotel to airport, Madrid to Atlanta on a 9 hour flight, then 2 hours in the Atlanta airport, most of it spent standing in crowded, sweaty, and noisy immigration and customs lines. Then another 5 hour flight home. John’s son and family were keeping Riley for the time we were gone, and we just could not wait another day to get her, so we drove there last night to pick her up. By the time we got home and collapsed in our own bed, it was over 24 hours from the time that we woke up whatever day that was in our Madrid hotel. It’s enough to make you despise travel.

But, but, Spain! What a wonderful place! This was one of the best vacations we’ve ever had, and I’m just ready to go back in a heartbeat. (For the record, the immigrations and customs process in Spain went much more smoothly than in the good old US of A.) We were there for three weeks, which seems like a lifetime, though we didn’t even begin to really “see” Spain.

Here’s what our itinerary looked like: We started with 4 days in Madrid, which is an exciting cosmopolitan city, with great food, and two of the finest museums in the world (Museo del Prado, and the Thyssen). We didn’t actually get to them until our last day in Spain, but you could spend weeks in either one and not see everything. The Thyssen was actually my favorite of the two, despite the fame of the Prado. If you ever get to Madrid, don’t miss it. It has the most amazing collection of paintings, and gives you the whole history of art in one museum.

The middle part of our trip was spent  on the Costa del Sol, in Marbella. This actually was what started the whole idea of going to Spain, as we have one of those timeshare weeks, and they have a resort near there. Though the Mediterranean is wonderful, the south Spanish coast leaves something to be desired. It’s one long strip of big resorts, some fine, others just big concrete block buildings, and the region has little Spanish flavor or culture remaining. That said, it’s hard to complain when you are walking on the beach in November and sticking your toes in the Med. We took a day trip to Gibraltor which was also fun. There are many little Spanish hill towns up in the mountains near the coast, some of them plastered with tourist shops, but mostly they are very charming, and we did a number of drives up to the hills.

From there we rented a car and drove to Granada, yet another fabulous city. Here we actually stayed at the Parador in the Alhambra, which was the only Parador we stayed in while in Spain. (Spain has a system of state-run hotels called Paradores, which range from ancient buildings remodeled as small hotels, to more modern accommodations.) The Alhambra itself was incomparable. (I’m struggling with finding enough adjectives here to describe all this!) It was built as a walled city/palace during the time that the Moors ruled Spain, and most of the palace dates from the 13th century or so. We had arranged for a private tour guide to show us the place, and spent hours just roaming around.

Our next stop was in Arcos de la Frontera, which is another of the small hill towns, close to Jerez. This might be my favorite of the hill towns. It’s not nearly as touristy as some of them, and has an old part of the city that is just the most fun place to walk around getting lost. The older part of town is a warren of tiny streets and ancient buildings, many not even close to wide enough for a car to pass. Our hotel was a charming old place right on the edge of a cliff, with a rooftop patio to watch the sunset at night. I think we walked every inch of Arcos, and tried numerous tapas bars in an effort to find the best one. Our best driving trip was on the way to Arcos; we took a side road up over a mountain pass through another hill town called Grazelema. The road was spectacular, and we stopped for lunch and a little more vino there…yet another place that I’d love to go back to someday.

After Arcos, we spent three days in Sevilla, which easily was my favorite of the big cities that we were in. We did the usual tourist things: took a tour, saw the cathedral (third largest in Europe), saw another Moorish style palace, the Alcazar, did a riverboat ride. The best thing, though, was just walking. Sevilla’s old town is another of those mazes of tiny streets, most of them undrivable. We found ourselves wondering how people move into apartments in these places, with streets barely big enough for a wheelbarrow, much less a moving truck. We just walked and walked, stopping into more tapa bars and fun little shops. Our hotel there, the Convento la Gloria, was recommended by the Madrid travel agent that we used to help set up parts of the trip, and was probably our favorite of the trip. It was indeed an old convent, and the rooms were tiny and fairly spartan, though with a huge bathroom by Spain standards. It was right in the heart of the old town, just a few blocks from the Cathedral and the famous Santa Cruz district. The service was outstanding, and the restaurant that was part of the hotel was fabulous, though we didn’t find it in any guide books. (Meson Don Raimundo)

From Sevilla we took the train back to Madrid, and got to ride the Ave train, the fast train. Spain’s train system is really wonderful. When they say that the train leaves at 1200, they seriously mean it. It does not pull out of the station at 1201. If you are not on it, too bad. They don’t wait. They get you where you are going, at exactly the time that they say they will. (I probably don’t need to make comparisons to our train system, or lack of one.) We checked back into “our” Madrid hotel, which was the Gran Hotel Canarios, which was catty-corner from both the Prado and the Thyssen. We spent the afternoon at the museums, then overhauled our luggage in preparation for the trip home, then went out for one last meal in Spain. Our travel guy, Carlos, recommended a place near Plaza Mayor called Taberneros, which was an upscale tapa place that had some of the most creative food that we ate in Spain, as well as a great wine list. They didn’t speak much English, and I don’t think that it is on the usual tourist list of places to go, but after three weeks in Spain deciphering menus, we were able to manage pretty well. Our limited knowledge of the Spanish language improved during the three weeks, though certainly nobody will ever mistake us for locals.

There are whole provinces of Spain that we didn’t even think about getting to, and Barcelona is on my list of places to go next time. It’s a wonderful country, with friendly people and centuries upon centuries of history and culture that is fascinating. We took hundreds and hundreds of photos, but haven’t even started sorting through them, so photo-posting will have to wait. And the pictures don’t do it justice anyway. I did get some knitting done while I was gone, but still on the same projects, so no pictures of that either, for now. I didn’t find one yarn shop in Spain, though I didn’t really look very hard. They have a lot of sheep, though, so I’m sure there is yarn there somewhere. That will be for the next trip! Adios for now!

Espana!

There has been very little rain in Spain so far while we’ve been here. (Honest, that song ran through my head on the plane ride over here.) Internet access may be a bit limited during our trip, but I thought I would take advantage of free wi-fi at our Madrid hotel to post a short entry with one or two photos.

Madrid is lovely, I haven’t thought once about work (sorry, boss), and I’ve hardly had any time to even check email. Tomorrow we get on a train and travel to the Costa del Sol for a week on the Mediterranean. Then we spend another week driving around Andalucia, to Grenada, Arcos, and Sevilla. Then back on the train to Madrid for a day and then home. We’ve eaten lots of good things already. drunk lots of good wine, and walked all over Madrid. Tonight we get to go to a flamenco show, followed by some tapas tasting late into the night.

It’s the 400-year anniversary of Cervante’s Don Quixote, and we’ve seen this fellow everywhere:

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I started reading Don Quixote earlier this summer, never finished it, but have resumed reading it on the trip.

OK, only one photo, as someone else is saying it’s his turn with the computer. I haven’t found any yarn shops yet. (How do you say “yarn” in Spanish?)

Adios! We’re off to flamenco!

Lorette Needs…

Nothing, apparently. I swiped this one from Deb, though I’ve seen it around the blog world. Go to Google, put in "your name needs", with your name of course, and the quotation marks. List the results on your blog. When I put in "Lorette needs" I get nothing. No hits. That must mean something, I’m sure. So I tried "Lori needs" instead. That’s fair, because my sister Diane called me Lori for years. Here’s what I get:

Lori needs our help and support now more than ever.

Lori needs ideas and volunteers.

Lori needs to be aware of her own anger and how it

Everyday…

It’s a gettin’ closer…

Here’s where the Not-Really-An-Everyday-Cardigan is at the moment:

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One back, one front, and the second front started. This is a little bit closer to what the color really is (did I mention that I got a new camera?).  I’m having loads of fun taking pictures, though so far I’ve deleted most of them as a little experimental.

We spent a couple of days playing in Seattle this past week. My sister is here visiting for a work meeting, and we went to the big city to see her, get a few really great meals, and play tourist. I didn’t even get to one yarn shop. She had never been to the Space Needle, so we took the ride to the top and managed to catch a wine tasting and some great views. Here’s us drinking wine:

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And the view from the top:

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If that one looks a little blurry, it’s because the wind was blowing about 80 miles an hour, and I was trying not to drop the camera over the side. Here’s a view of the Needle from below:

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Though you’ll note that I’m holding a real wine glass in that first picture, I’ve been banned from any activities that involve wine and walking. We are scheduled to leave for that postponed Spain trip in eight days, and I am going even if I do major bodily damage to myself between now and then.

Here’s the other thing that I’m getting ready to do:

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November is National Novel Writing Month! I did this last year, and finished. In case you’ve never heard of this, you commit to writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, starting on November 1st. Here’s the website, in case any of you want to sign up. I was waffling a bit as to whether I wanted to do this again this year, but finally just gave in and signed up. I figure if I don’t finish, that I’ll be in good company. The only thing that I was concerned about is that it means I have to take my laptop to Spain with us, and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to haul it along.

We’re off to Seattle again today to have lunch with my sister. I’m hoping to get one more post in before we leave for our vacation!

Rogue!

First off, a big thank-you to everybody for the birthday wishes! I just finished one of those 7-day work stretches, so I haven’t answered any emails in a week. (And given my historically lousy letter-writing skills, I may never get to all of them!) The nice thoughts are very much appreciated, though.

Here’s something little that I bought myself for my birthday:

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And when you buy a set of four, you get a fifth one, with a custom picture:

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Need a close-up? I thought so.

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I got them at Zephyr Style, you can find ’em here.

I haven’t figured out even a quarter of the features on my new camera, but that hasn’t stopped me from trying. The pets are getting a little sick of getting their pictures taken. Lucy has gone into the witness protection program again, and I can’t find her to get a shot, but here are the other two doing what they do best, during one of those famous Pacific NW “sunbreaks”.

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And finally, the knitting content. Rogue is at last done. Here are a couple of pictures:

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Specifications:
Yarn: Beaverslide Dry Goods Fisherman weight 100% wool, in the color Snowberry.
Pattern: Rogue, by the Girl From Auntie. Look under “Patterns to Buy”.
Started: early January, 2005. Derailed by this in March.
Finished: October 11, 2005.
For: Me!
Gauge: 4 st and 6 rows/inch. The recommended gauge for the pattern was 4.5 stitches to the inch, and I swear, I swatched. Twice. It still came out wonky at the very end.
Needles: I used my Denise needles, size 6 (5 for the hem). I can’t believe that I would need to use a size 5 needle for heavy worsted/aran yarn, but there you are.

What I learned: Patience! This one took me a long time to finish, due to my apparent ineptitude at walking. I also have learned to keep on measuring gauge as I’m going along. This sucker is a bit big for me, but there is no way that I’m giving it away, or worse, reknitting it. I wanted it baggy, because I will mostly wear it as a jacket outside (though I’m currently sweltering in it in the house because I just had to wear it today!). This is a bit baggier than I intended, but what the heck.
I learned a lot about knitting cables also. That kangaroo pocket was a hoot to knit. Next time I do something like this with a hem, I will consider doing a provisional cast on, then knitting the hem up to the body. This pattern was just so much fun that I might make it again.
I also just LOVE this yarn. It is so soft that I can wear it without any itch-factor at all, even right next to my skin. I already have another batch on order to make another sweater. Maybe another Rogue even??

Last Photo…..

…with my old camera, that is.

Because today is my BIRTHDAY!!!!

And here’s what I got from my sweetie…

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And another…

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It’s a Canon Digital Rebel XT, which I’ve been coveting but couldn’t quite justify just to take photos of yarn. My sweetheart knew that I needed a great camera to take pictures for the blog, so there you have it. What can I say, he spoils me.

Now I have to go knit some good stuff, so I can take some swell pictures to justify this baby.

And Dena, (new and improved-i.e.-correct spelling!) if you’re reading this; say “hi” in the comments! I was in the hospital deli this morning with a mouth full of donut when a woman came up to me and asked, “”Are you Lorette? I read your blog; I’m a knitter, too.”  I was so surprised that I truly acted like a dork. I hope we run into each other again! Say “hi” if you see me again…maybe I’ll have the presence of mind to actually have a conversation!