Cardiff with Mira

Last Wednesday I went into Cardiff to meet with Mira, one of my friends from Toronto. She was here to visit her Dad's family for a week, so we hung out for a while.

We had a great time just wandering about and doing a bit of shopping. I found a binder to put all my coursework in that has little cartoon mutants all over it, very cute!

We were well impressed with this building, right downtown.

Especially when we discovered that it is a Post Office.

Soon to come are pictures of Oxford!



This weekend most of the people I know went home, so I decided to do a bit of adventuring. I rode Rufus out to Mumbles, which is the next village over from Swansea. Technically I think there are a few in between, but really they are just suburbs of one town of the other. I had been told I was crazy for going, because it was so far away, but I have come to the conclusion that distance is relative. It took me less than 20 minutes to get there, and I wasn't even going that fast! In Toronto, 20 minutes gets me to the beach, here it's the next town.

I was really surprised to find that Mumbles is everything that Swansea isn't. It is the perfect little seaside village. It is much hillier than Swansea, but I conquered those with only a bit of difficulty (attack! attack!), since Rufus only has three gears, and the easiest one slips a lot. There are all sorts of little shops, mostly independent from what I could see.

The one thing it seemed to have in common with Swansea is that there is a castle right downtown as well. Well, it is probably uptown, since it is on the top of the hill, and Mumbles isn't really big enough to have a downtown larger than one street. However, there it was. This one seems to be much more intact than the one in Swansea, though I did not get terribly close to it. I do plan on going back and exploring a bit more. I decided to call it a day since my hands and ears were getting really cold.

Of course, the real reason I went to Mumbles is because the yarn store is there. Mrs. Mac's Wool and Coffee shop, only there is no coffee any more, just yarn. True to what I had heard, it's mostly Rowan, Debbie Bliss and Jaeger, but there is an impressive amount of it. I also found some Regia sock yarn and ... it might have been Arcunia, but I can't remember. One of those hand dyed from Peru lines. I know I've seen it at Romni's before. I ended up buying three skeins of Jaeger Matchmaker DK to make legwarmers, but those will probably be frogged since I keep messing up my gauge and they keep being too small. I might make Rose's Wrist Warmers for my friend's belated birthday present instead. Yay for Doctor Who nerdiness! I also got two skeins of Matchmaker sock weight in a really lovely teal colour, which I'm really looking forward to knitting up.

I am going to Cardiff tomorrow to meet up with my friend from Toronto, which will be very exciting. Expect Doctor Who inspired pictures. If you don't know who Doctor Who is, then you haven't lived. David Tennant is a bloody genius. Enough of that rant, and hopefully my camera will co-operate enough for me to take a bunch of pictures for you all!


Red is Best

I would like to introduce everyone to my new friend. His name is Rufus. He and I are the best of friends, even though he only arrived this morning.

I found him at a little place called re-cycle, a charity organization that takes people's old used bikes and fixes them up to sell again for ridiculously cheap. I paid 20 pounds for him, which is just over 40$. Not to shabby.

I actually went last week and picked him up, but he hadn't quite finished being fixed up, and still needed a new wheel, so I had to wait another week. The nice thing is that the bike men said that if he needed any fixing up, I could just bring him in, and they would see what they can do.

He's only got three speeds, but really, that's as much as I need. Mostly we'll be going from campus to the city center, and maybe a few trips in the Gower.

What I love most though is that he is super shiny red. Red really is best. He's a little rickety, and the gears stick a bit, but he's mine and I love him.

In the mean time, I have to get used to riding on the completely wrong side of the road! I'm sure Rufus will help me out, he's a good friend like that.


Berry High, Berry Smooshy!

I love Dream in Colour Smooshy with a burning passion. If loving this yarn is wrong, then I don't want to be right! The colour, the smooshy-ness, it's all love around here. I loved making the socks for my dad for Christmas, so I was super excited to make myself some socks. And when you love a yarn this much, it's not enough to just have regular socks. Oh no, these babies are going knee-high. I've got two full skeins, one in Ruby River and one in Deep Seaflower, so I'm pretty sure I'll have enough. However, I'm going toe-up, just in case. I love the super saturated colours, they remind me of raspberries and blueberries. Thus, they are the Berry High socks!

Oh and those two balls of 450 yards of lusciousness? They were hand balled, because out here in Wales, there are no ball winders and swifts to do it for me. I have to say that it was quite a work out, and took a really freaking long time, about 45 minutes each. I spread them over two evenings, so that it wouldn't seem like it was taking forever. That and I had to sit way tipped back in my chair to keep the skein over my knees so that it wouldn't tangle. The only thing more annoying than hand balling 450 yards is untangling 450 yards. Trust me, I've done it before.

Aside from the stripes, these are all straight stockinette, so they are zipping along quite quickly! I've knit about 5 inches past this point today alone, and have started the increases for the calves. I am super excited to wear these!


The Accommadation

One thing I'm sure everyone is wondering about is where I live. The building itself is pretty uninspiring concrete '60's architecture. You can see the portacabins in this picture as well, they're the little gray boxes beside the building. There is another residence that looks exactly the same as this as well, which is Preseli building.

When you walk in the door, this is what you see. The duvet came with the room, and I might replace it with something a little nicer and more comfortable. Right now it's doing what it should, which is keeping me warm, so it's allowed to stay. I am glad that I brought my own sheets, it makes the difference to have a softer layer.

At the end of the bed, on the same wall as the door, I have a little sink and a mirror. The sink is nice because I can get a drink of water whenever I like, and I can brush my teeth without waiting for the washroom to be free. There is also a big chair, but I don't really use it much. It's nice for when people come and visit though. It also makes a handy place to throw my coat if I don't particularly feel like hanging it up, which is most of the time.

Opposite my bed there is my desk, dresser, closet and fridge. I really don't have enough stuff with me to fill up these shelves. the two on the right are mostly food, plus some papers.

This picture isn't very good, but you can see that the window is very big, which makes a big difference in making the room a little more cheerful, rather than completely depressing.

Next up, pictures of campus!


Growing Roses

Since I had nothing to do this weekend, I knit! My Rambling Rose Cardigan is flying off the needles. I have knit another inch and a half on the yoke since I took this picture, which is getting pretty close, especially since the rows are getting shorter and shorter. Then there's the collar, button band, and weaving in all those ends!

I have to say though, this project is really doing a number on my left wrist. I think it's because it's so heavy. There are almost 10 balls of yarn in this thing, and since the yoke has so many stitches, it's a lot to handle. That and it's been the only thing I've worked on for two days. Luckily most of it sits in my lap, especially now that I'm decreasing, but it's rather bothersome.

And aside from having nothing to do, it looked like this for most of today. Wet, dark, and windy. A good day to stay indoors!


Beach View and a Charade

I finally understand the STR hype. Holy crap, these are some of the best socks I have ever knit. not to mention that Charade is the perfect pattern for these. I will most certainly be knitting this pattern again.

The yarn is Pan's Mischief in STR lightweight. I am calling them Pan's Mischievous Charade, since a charade is something that Pan would totally do. I love the colours too, and they didn't even pool that much, dispite other people's experiences with the STR pooling. Also, since I have (relatively) small feet, I still have a good amount left over, though I was worried there for a bit. I've already started on a square for the blankie.

Travel stuff happened yesterday too!

As I did not have class, I decided that it would be a good time to go and see the beach that is only a few minutes walk from campus. Actually, it's just across the street. I think when I was there, tide was somewhere in between being all the way out and all the way in.

The part of the coast to the south of Swansea is called the Mumbles. Apparently the name comes from some French sailors who nicknamed them Les Mamelles, or 'the breasts', because of the two rocks on the end. The one on the left has a lighthouse on it.

Proof again that the Welsh can't really complain much about their weather. While there is a blizzard in Toronto, there are palm trees in the streets.

Swansea has a fair number of hills, which really reminds me of the coast of California. Only these houses are much smaller!

Today it is gray, and England is playing Wales in rugby this afternoon. I'm not quite sure who I should cheer for ...