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.