Friday, April 28, 2017

Visiting the Doctor Who Experience

Earlier this month, the Viking and I traveled to the U.K for a particular reason.....the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff was closing and we had delayed going for quite some time.

We had discussed traveling to the U.K and see some friends for quite some time, so this was a perfect opportunity. So, we flew into London stayed with some friends for a few days, then traveled to Wales via train, where the Doctor Who Experience is located in Cardiff.

We had anticipated that Wales would be wet and grey during our trip. However, Cardiff was lovely.  The weather couldn't have been any better....mid-to-high 60 deg F with beautiful skies.

Did you know that Cardiff is a big sports-oriented town? Neither did I, but there were a lot of sports themed stores, art, and banners around.

We visited the Doctor Who Experience (DWE) and spent a good 3-4 hours there.

 There are two parts of the DWE. First, a Timelord guide takes you on an hour-long trip with the 12th Doctor (Capaldi's Doctor) to recover crystals to save the Universe. Amoung many of the Doctor's enemies, you encounter Daleks and Weeping Angels....

Despite it being geared towards kids, I enjoyed it...and the huge room full of Daleks and graveyard full of Angels was a tad bit scary and creepy.

The second half of the DWE is a museum of many of the props and costumes from the show ---from the aliens, to many of the companions, to the Doctors themselves, and the different TARDIS consoles. This museum is where we spent a great deal of time.

The Face of Bo

Did I forget something??

Just a few different props

And more aliens

Not to mention a K-9. (Not the original...we saw that one at GallifreyOne, but this one is just a replica.)

And so many TARDI! They had a few from different eras.

And their consoles.

I ended up taking a lot of reference photos of various costumes from the set. (I'll see about posting the others later.)

The one nice thing about the exhibit is that you could really get up close and personal with a lot of the costumes and props. They asked you not to touch anything (totally reasonable), but many things were out in the open where you could seriously inspect types of fabric, accessory choices, etc., without having to second guess through glass.

The whole thing was amazing and we had a blast. We eventually left because we really needed to get food after 4 hours! We heard that the lease might be extended, so we'll wait and see! We'd definitely go again, if just to do more research!

 Afterwards, we visited Cardiff and, of course, the location for Torchwood.

No, we aren't geeks, why do you ask?

We also visited Ianto's shrine on the Cardiff pier.

Because that's the way we roll. :-)

We did do a lot more than just travel to a few geek meccas. We visited parts of Cardiff, spent time around London, and visited Scotland, as well a local yarn shop and some geek areas, but that's another post for another time.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

U.K. Travel Knitting and LYS Shopping!

As a knitter, you can't go on a trip without bringing knitting AND visiting any local yarn stores in the area.

For knitting, I kept it very simple and brought one small project and one large-ish project. The smallish project was the self-striping Potter-themed that I picked up at Stitches West 2016. If I was going to the UK, I was going to bring something UK themed, and what better thing than a colorway containing all of the Hogwarts house colors?!


The largish project was my Viajante (traveler) shawl. My hope was that I would get a lot of knitting done on the plane and (hopefully) finish it while in the U.K, which didn't quite happen. The shawl grew quite a bit in size and I worked on while having large swaths of time, such as on the plane or on the train or hanging out with my friends. It was much too cumbersome to carry around with me.

Consequently, I worked on the socks quite a bit, while riding on the Tube (their subway system) or at various restaurants and cafes while travelling around London.

So, I've named my project Hogwarts TUBE Socks.... ;-)

Okay, I thought it was funny......

LYS Shopping

As the Viking and I were going to the U.K, I did some research on a few local yarn stores that were in reasonable distance that were open while we were there. We were on foot about 90% of the time (except when traveling by train), so accessible was key.

Unfortunately, I only managed to visit one LYS in Scotland, Ginger Twist Studios, because it was the only one that was open and within reasonable walking distance.

However, she had yarn made out of strictly English wool, such as Jacob and Blue Faced Leicester! So, of course, I had to buy a few skeins, as well as some of her specific colorways. :-)

And the owner, Jess, was a very nice & pleasant person. I highly recommend visiting the shop if you're ever in Edinburgh!


Jess, the owner, told me that there had been the Edinburgh Yarn Festival the week prior, which we had just missed! I made a mental note to visit Scotland whenever this festival happens next.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Beading the Viajante

When I went to Stitches West this year, I saw the Viajante by Martina Behm, and I absolutely knew that I had to knit this shawl, because it's more than just a shawl --- it's a cowl, a shawl, a poncho, or a head covering/hood.  

(Pronounced vi-a-janche in Portuguese)

Other pluses about this project? It's knit in the round; there's a lot of customization you can do by simply increasing or decreasing the stitch count or length; and it's a good "vanilla" knitting whereby I could go to meetings or go to knit group and not worry too much about a mishap.

Like every good knitter, I went through the Ravelry project page for this pattern to read what modifications other knitters made, and came across a few beaded versions. Normally, I'm extremely averse to adding beads, but I love how they look. And since I REALLY WANT THIS SHAWL, I decided that beads were worth it.

I am knitting this out of Miss Babs Katahdin, in the colorway, Morticia.

Consequently, the beads I chose were a "frosty" Swarovski beads that seems to play well with the variegation.

I started using the simple crochet hood per bead, but found this really slowed my progress down immensely and I was concerned about spilling the bead container. I knew that some people used threaded floss (normally used for teeth straightening braces), so I decided to give it a go. 

I took one of the threaders and simply added a string of beads to it, and after watching a YouTube video, gave it a go. Wow, what a difference in using it!

I ended up using a generic brand from CVS which worked just fine and only cost a few dollars.

The knitting-to-beading ratio increased dramatically, and I wasn't afraid of losing beads to a mishap.

Originally, I thought this would be a good travel project to work on as I am planning a trip very soon. However, I decided that I really wanted to wear this ON said trip, so I've been knitting furiously to finish.

I'm not sure if I'll make it, but I'm going to damn well try.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Effect of Knitting Different Stitches

If you've ever purchase a Miss Babs Yowza skein, you know that this skein of yarn is GINORMOUS....
560 yards of yarn!

The above is a photo of a different colorway of a skein of YOWZA, but you get idea of size (each square of the grid is 1x1 inches).

I made a hat for myself....

....And there was a ton of it left over. I decided to use a herringbone stitch to make myself a cowl. I wanted to use as much of the yarn as I could before I got too bored or it got too big to use. I ended up using Purl Soho's Big Herringbone Cowl. (I made one previously, but it was much too thin for my liking!)

The pattern is fairly easy to follow, but does require that you pay a bit of attention to it. It is not quite extreme lace knitting, but it's not mindless knitting either. I continued knitting on this hat until I felt it was big enough to use comfortably.

It ended up being the same height as my hat.

One of the things I love about knitting is that you get different variations of color simply by using slightly different stitches.

It's close enough that it matches in color and tone, but isn't exactly the same as my hat.  And the best part about this stitch is that it's almost as thick as double knitting and gives you a nice thick fabric.

It kept me warm when walking about downtown Seattle for Emerald City ComiCon! Plus, I still have quite a bit enough of it left over to use for maybe a pair of fingerless gloves.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Attending Emerald City ComiCon for the First Time

My Viking and I have attended a fair number of comic book conventions over the span of several decades, from WonderCon in Oakland/San Francisco to the Anaheim/San Diego ComiCon to the latest additions of Silicon Valley ComiCon, ComicFest, or BigWow!

However, this year was our very first year to Emerald City ComiCon in Seattle, Washington. A few of our friends attend, and we wanted to see for ourselves as they very much enjoyed this convention.

The convention is not as big as SDCC, but much much larger than Silicon Valley ComiCon, and we had an amazing time! It also helped that the entire crew of the Animaniacs were there in attendance! I'm quite the fan...snarf!

One of the highlights of the whole show was the Twisted Toonz event, where various voice actors for a variety of cartoons read the script for Return of the Jedi. It was so hilariously funny that I cried tears of laughter and one of the voice actors fell off his chair!  I suggest checking out the ECCC versions as they did all three of the original Star Wars Trilogy!

Aside from the main events, we also attended quite a number of the smaller panels. I was pleasantly surprised by the diversity and depth of many of the panels. And there were quite a few that I couldn't attend because there were too many attendees to fit safely into the rooms. The ECCC app was a worthy download and help me keep track of everything I wanted to attend.

I went to a few cosplay-based panels, such as styling wigs, prop building, etc. There were a few writer workshops as well.

The Dealer's Room was fairly massive and including some big names like Weta and Dark Horse, as well as some smaller local shops, such as Mishu from Seattle.

The Artist alley was also huge! Just when I thought I had finished it up, there was another one around the corner (three in total). We might have purchased a few prints....
(Photos taken with permission from the artists)

I got to see some of my favorite artists and get a few things autographed. Artist alley was just as extensive as the Dealer's Room.

The cosplay was incredible.

(Tefiti from Moana) 

There was an huge parent/child cosplay contigent. This father and daughter duo in the Weapon-X series is awesome.

And even some unborn children got into the act too!

There was also quite a number of panels dealing with cosplaying with your children and exposing your children to geek culture. There's some good parenting done there!

And some of the entries into the cosplay contest were pretty stunning.(The Lion Armor took first across the board)....

A nearly life-size tauntaun was pretty cool, as was all of the armor entries.

As for myself, I wore two previous cosplay outfits as I really didn't have time to make anything new --- Shego and Go Go Tomago. I neglected to take photos of GoGo's outfit, but I did run into another Shego while we were running around the convention. It was nice to see another Shego!

Sufficed to say, we had a BLAST at Emerald City. We got to hang out with our Pacific Northwest friends and family and seriously enjoyed ourselves.

We will be returning to ECCC. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to experience a large comic book convention without going to a mega-con like San Diego ComiCon.