Thursday, 28 June 2007

Lorna Gow at Morocco Restaurant

On Thursday night me and some friends went to Morocco in Edinburgh to see Lorna performing. Morocco is a restaurant that has live bellydancers most nights of the week, and when we heard Lorna was coming back over from Cairo (where she seems to be building her career and having a great time - I'm so jealous!), we just had to go. This was the first time I'd ever been, and I only wish I'd had enough money to go back yesterday and see her.

She was amazing!!!! Honestly, all the time watching her, all I could think was wow! I mean, she was good before, well great before, but since going to Cairo, she's just got . . . . well, wow! Her shimmies went on forever, she has amazing stomach muscle control, she's sooooo snaky . . . I could go on forever about how great she is. Her dancing is so beautful, and inspiring. I want to practice all day every day now, just to get to a fraction of how good she is. She'll be at Raqs Britannia doing a workshop - if you ever get the chance to go see her, whether at Raqs Britannia or elsewhere, then do so!

The food was great too, but I'm glad I ate before Lorna came on, otherwise the food would have just sat there while I stared open-mouthed at her. Even now, two days later, I'm still open-mouthed at the memory of her dancing. I'm so glad I went to see her. Lol, first time ever, the food is secondary to my thoughts!

I'd better stop now, otherwise this post will just turn into a big hyperpole-fest, and that wouldn't do justice to Lorna at all! I'm off to practice dancing!

Sunday, 24 June 2007

The Stash . . . and my attempts to stop it from growing

I've been tidying.

I put all my yarn on shelves

OK, it's not much compared to other people's stash, but it makes me feel kinda guilty when I see it all spread out like that. (and yes, those bags in the corner are full of more yarn!). So far, having it there seems to stop me buying more, but it has only been there for a couple of days.

But on a more positive note, I have been toying with some ideas for using it up, even odd balls. Tribal scarfs! I suddenly realised (nicking the idea from one of my friend's costumes on Wednesday, which had a fringed scarf made from a door curtain!), that I could make fringed, even beaded hip scarves to wear when I do my tribal dancing. I'm making one just now, basically a moss stitch rectangle which I'm going to fringe later, but I can see there's so many possibilities with this, for decorative hip scarfs. They could have lace, cables, fringes, beads . . . my imagination is going overtime with this. If only my hands could keep up! But I can see once the summer is over and dance classes start back up, I'm going to have some very interesting pieces!

I've finished the front, back and both sleeves of Rogue now, but I've gone onto the hip scarf because I have a stinking cold, and a very sore throat. I just couldn't concentrate on cables just now. So a moss stitch hip scarf it is! It's being made with very fine wool, 2 ply, purely because it was there to be used up, so it'll take a while, but it's something relatively mindless to make while I sit sniffing and feeling ill.

But despite all these efforts to use to stash and stop myself feeling guilty, the postman brought this the other day:

300g of varigated laceweight merino. It's so soft! I just keep rubbing it against my cheek, amazed at how soft it is! I don't think it'll be knitted up for a while, it's definitely a comfort yarn just now!

Friday, 22 June 2007

I Have A Question . . .

Do other bloggers out there find that some days they have nothing to write about, then suddenly there's like 3 different subjects vying for attention, wanting to be written about? I've noticed I have that problem a few times, and either have to drop a subject or end up with a very confused post. Today, I'm just going to have to drop a subject or two, and concentrate on the one thing, I think. I'll post either later or tomorrow, or another day with the other topics. If they're that important, they will appear.

I think the problem is that I'm writing about my two loves - knitting and dancing. I don't like to mix them in a post though - I'm going to have to try to keep them seperate, at least that far. I'll just have to get better at tagging posts - I've been a bit lax about that recently.

Anyway, I've had a few interesting dance experiences recently. I danced at the show for the place where I dance on a Saturday. I did a Tribal routine, and a Belly Dance routine, with the other women in my classes. They put the wrong music on for the Belly Dance routine - I didn't know what to do! It was just as well our teacher was dancing with us - she just stayed put and signalled that it wasn't the right music. I think if I'd been dancing alone, I'd have totally paniced. I'd either have had to make something up on the spot, or just run off stage!

I was very nervous about the tribal dance. I've only really performed tribal with my group once before, and it was all choreographed (even though it's not supposed to be, we cheated! It was our first time!). So in this one, the first half was choreographed, and the second half was improvised. I hid at the back for the second half. :) I had a place in the front group for the first half though, so I felt like I did something. But I seriously need more practice making up tribal dances on the spot. I'm just not comfortable with it at all.

Then yesterday, my other class went to perform for the WI, in a nearby village. That was great fun. The women there were fantastic - mostly older ladies, as is often the case in the WI, but they were really up for having a go along with us after we'd performed our routines. Our teacher lent them coin belts, and they really went for it! It was amazing, and great fun. I've danced for the WI before, in a different area, with a smaller group, and they were a bit more reserved. This group seemed really into it. Maybe some of them will come to the class next term - I hope so! And they served a brilliant tea afterwards! Tons of sandwiches, cakes, tarts, and as much tea as we could drink. They were soooo nice!

But that's it for classes for the summer, unfortunately :( We're going to try to keep the hall on a Thursday, but there will be no Saturday classes, no belly, bolly or tribal. And I'm not even sure if there will be a bollywood class when I go back! My teacher was training to be a doctor as well, and now she's got a job, so she'll be too busy to teach dance. I hope they get someone else to do the class! I'll really miss it if it stops!

EDIT: Oops! Got the wrong link for the WI, that's for the English one. The Scottish one is the Scottish Women's Rural Institutes. Just as well I actually read the WI page after I linked to it!

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Rogue, Dancing and Cotton (and Merino, but you've not to notice that!)

I've had a busy few days.

On Saturday I went to a friend's birthday party, which was more like a hafla. Me and my other friend did a bollywood routine at it, and there were other bellydancers, african drummers, and tribal style dancers. It was so much fun! All of the other dancers were amazing, and it was fun to dance along to the live drumming. There was a great buffet (always one for the food, me!), and there was a great atmosphere. The people there were mixed - some dancers, some not, probably about half and half. There was one little girl who wanted to join in with the dancing, and got right up in the group on stage at one point. And she was getting the moves! It was so cute! She was even getting our bollywood moves, but she'd been moved back by her parents by that point so she was dancing away between the tables.

Then I had a rehersal yesterday. The place where I do dance classes on a Saturday is having their end-of-year show tomorrow, so there was a technical rehersal yesterday. It was just as well I went to it, cos I wasn't at class on Saturday, so there were a couple of bits that I didn't know, or had changed. It should go alright tomorrow though. Fingers crossed!

I'm still working on Rogue just now. I've done the front and back, but have changed the knitting order and am doing the sleeves before I do the hood. I always get a definite case of sleeve syndrome, not even second sleeve syndrome, just first sleeve, and I wanted to get them out the way first, and have the hood to look forward to making. I'm about half way through the first sleeve. It's taken ages cos I had to keep ripping it out cos I made mistakes with the row count, and the increases. That's why I hate making sleeves, I always get the increases wrong. I actually got more than half way through this first sleeve at one point, then realised I'd messed it up, way back at the beginning. I was going to just leave it, and I knit a few more rows, but I realised I couldn't leave it like that. So I ripped the sleeve. This was the second time I'd ripped it, cos I'd messed up the row count somehow before that. Now, though, I think I've got it. I'm back to where I was this morning when I started - I've been knitting all day, with nothing to show :( But at least now it's right, even the cables look better, so I'll be more pleased with it when it's finished.

And now for a picture:

My cotton arrived! I'm quite pleased with it. It looks thinner on the ball than I'd expected, but I haven't tried swatching or anything with it yet. I think it'll make a nice jumper or cardi. I haven't decided yet. I've got so many things lined up that I want to make, I just wish I had some sort of time stopping device, so I could make them all at the one time. And I also kind of bought some laceweight merino off ebay as well, but that hasn't arrived yet.

Notice how I left that confession till last? It was hardly noticeable at all, was it?

Friday, 15 June 2007

Rogue Progress

Rogue has been positively zooming along. I do have a picture, but blogger's being stoopid. Today I've knitted from the top of the pocket, to finishing the back. (I didn't have anything else to do today, so spent all my time knitting). I love this pattern. It's so much fun, and so well written. I'll probably do Eris as well, by the same designer, but I've got about five things lined up after Rogue. I'll be repeating the blueberry sweater next, for my MIL. That should go pretty fast, since I've already done it once. I also want to do loads of other patterns, from sites, magazines, books . . . I'm going to be very busy. If I listed all the patterns I want to make here - well, I could do it, but it'd take too long, and I'd probably spend all my time updating and changing it. So I'm only really thinking about what I'm doing now and next, not letting myself think about anything else. Well, not much, anyway. It's hard though, when I keep looking at yarn and imagining what I could make with it!

Anyway, back I go to Rogue. I can't keep myself away from it. Did I mention that I love this pattern?

Thursday, 14 June 2007

I am so bad!!!

Uh oh. I just bought 1000gms of cotton aran off ebay. I'm not supposed to be allowed any more yarn. Erk. But it's 1000gms!! Of 100% cotton!! And aran weight!! How often does that come up? Answer - never. So it was my duty to buy it, yeah? I couldn't pass it up, even if I have been banned from allowing any more yarn into the house.

My bf is going to be very upset :(

But I'll have yarn, so that's good :)

I should just ban myself from ebay, it's too tempting.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

New Knitty Up

Yay!! The new knitty is up!! I've just been looking through the patterns, and there's a few I'd like to make. I was going to post pictures, but there's actually quite a few, so I'll just post links. You all probably know what they look like by now anyway!

Tangerine Twist
Sophie - but probably without the split in the neckline
Breeze - probably a bit longer
Wisp - I was just looking for a mohair scarf pattern to use up stash yarn - how did they know???
and I really like Prickly Girl but that would involve maths to size the pattern up to fit me. Maths is scary, but that top is so cute!!! Oh, the dilemma!

But before I get to all those, I'm making Rogue. I've got past knitting the pocket now, but I still have a bit to go before it's joined to the rest of the sweater. This pattern is lots of fun to make - it's knitting up really fast cos its Aran weight wool (it seems like all I've been using lately is 4 ply, so it's a welcome change). Also, I like how it's all completely spelled out in easy chunks, and I can tick them off as I do them. I like ticking things off, it makes me feel like I've accomplished something!

Monday, 11 June 2007

Finished Blueberry

The blueberry sweater is finished!!!!

I really like it. I've been told it's a very girly choice for me, which I hadn't even realised, but that's right. When I saw the magazine at first, I didn't think I was going to make that particular pattern, but then months later I looked at it again, and immediately thought of some yarn I had in my stash. And so I made it. The charts in the magazine were quite wrong, with problems in the cables and in the shaping at the top - it said to cast off 6 stitches at the beginning and end of a row. Is that actually possible? I don't know of any way to do it, so I just spread it over 2 rows. I also made it a little longer than the pattern called for.

I had problems at the beginning with the sizing, but that was my fault, my inability to tell what size I actually am. This one had to be made a size bigger, THEN I started thinking it was going to be too big, but it's actually just right.

This took 3 and a half weeks to make. It would have been less time if I'd made the correct size in the first place and didn't have to rip an entire section of it. Also if I'd been monogamous and not run off to play with Rogue. It was supposed to be a stash-buster, to use up all of this type of yarn that I had - this is what is left:

Almost enough to make another one! I guess I'll be making a t-shirt or something with the rest, or putting it together with some black I've got in the same yarn. But for now, it's going back in the stash, till I work on Rogue - I'm back up to where I was before on that one, and it looks like it's the right size this time!

Friday, 8 June 2007

Stupid Me!

I just realised that I've been blathering on for ages about this sweater I'm knitting, and I haven't posted any pictures of what it's supposed to look like. D'oh! You can tell I'm new at this blogging thing, can't you? Anyway, here's a pic

The pattern info is on Jean Moss's site at You can order it there, but I got it from a magazine. Mine is navy blue, that's why I call it blueberry, instead of blackcurrant.

You can also see the nipple-tastic bobble in this picture that I've decided to leave out on the front!

I'm still working on the 'collar' (well, round the shoulder bit). It's to be 6.5 inches long so it folds over. I've managed to get to 4.75 inches, so not long to go now. Maybe it'll be finished by Sunday or Monday.

Thursday, 7 June 2007


Did I say it was only going to take a few hours to finish the blueberry sweater? I was wrong. Somehow, I forgot to take into account the fact that the collar uses smaller needles, so I'm getting about 13 rows to the inch, with about 250 stitches on each row. In uninterrupted K2,P2 rib.

This may take some time.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Payback from the Knitting Gods

Oh knitting gods, I have been unfaithful! And I accept your smiting. The lesson is learned. One big project at a time, thou shalt not be adulterous. Please accept my humble offerings of yarn and bless this humble WIP.

I have been smited. I started Rogue before finishing Blueberry, got halfway up the kangaroo pocket, held the sweater up against me, and realised it was too big. Huge. Boatlike-like is not the word, more starship-like. There was no way I could ever wear it like that, I'd be swamped.

My fault, of course. I don't seem to know what size I am. It happens with just about every project, I either start it too small, or too big. Very rarely have I started a sweater, and picked the right size - in fact, right now I can't think of any that have been the right size first time off.

So I have decided this is payback for not finishing the blueberry sweater when I KNEW I should. It's been at the back of my mind bugging me for days. All that it needs is to be sewed together and a collar put on, how difficult can that be? I know that if I start it now, I can be finished by tonight. Yet I hang back, not wanting to sew up a few lousy inches. But, knitting gods, I heed your warning. See, a photo of Rogue in mid-rip:

And tomorrow I shall post a picture of a finished Blueberry sweater. Please accept my humble apologies, and believe I'll be a more monogamous knitter in future.

(P.S) I'm not really insane, honest!

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Fereshteh workshop

Finally, some dance to write about!

Yesterday I went to a workshop by Fereshteh (link over on the right). I was going to post about it yesterday, but by the time I got home I was knackered! The workshop was amazing, really good. She taught a choreography, and somehow managed to get through teaching a 7 minute song in 1 hour! Not so a noob like me could remember it so good, but I could follow along, without too much hassle. It helped I'd heard the song before. There were a lot of interesting moves and techniques - some of the new moves are going to take a bit of drilling before I'll get them. There was one move where my body just refused to put the proper leg in front, and to accent at the right time, but that was just because it was new. I learned a bit about dancing to the different rhythms - the music went from different rhythms like Khaleeji and Saeedi to Baladi, and we did an improv section to a Baladi piece, and she told us a bit about the moves that are good with that type of music. The workshop was very hard work - I was drenched in sweat by the end of it, but it was so much fun, and very useful. She's a really good dancer, I don't even have words to describe how good it is just to watch her perform.

So needless to say, today I've been lying about the house, my body recovering from the workout, and knitting. I've done the front, back and 1 sleeve of the blueberry/blackcurrant top. Just one sleeve and the neckline left to do!

Friday, 1 June 2007

More new stuff!

I got two parcels in the mail today:

The Sirdar Flash Peacock I ordered after finishing the orangey sweater (it doesn't really have a name other than that). I WAS going to make one exactly the same, but I'm thinking I might make this one a teeny bit looser, maybe with some cable ribbing? I don't know yet though, the yarn shows really well in ribbing, I'll have to swatch to see how it looks in cables. I tried all different kinds of stitch pattern with the orangey yarn, and it looked best in ribbing. Stocking stitch was a bit too plain for the colors, and anything with a knit/purl pattern just got lost in the variations.

I really like Sirdar Flash. Yes, it's acrylic (it must seem like I knit with nothing else, but I do, honest!), but it's really quite soft, I think, and just the perfect thing for an autumn sweater. I'm not a terribly big fan of wool, it seems quite scratchy sometimes, but I do love cotton, and just wish I had enough money to try the new bamboo yarns, or silk, or sari yarn - the list could go on forever. Oh, I want natural fibres! But while I'm trying to save money for them, acrylic will do. Except Sirdar Flash, which I actually like.

Speaking of cables, I seem to be a bit obsessed with them. The book in the photo up there is Arans and Celtics: The Best of "Knitter's Magazine". I've looked through it, and I love it. Not all the patterns, but most of them. I just wish I could knit three things at once, to get through all the projects I have lined up (all of which seem to have cables).

This blog seems to be mostly knitting so far, not much writing about dancing going on, but that will be remedied tomorrow. I'm going to a workshop by Fereshteh! Yay! Her site is on the bar on the right. She's really good, and I'm looking forward to the workshop.