Friday, March 28, 2008

Aran Islands - Part One

So after we had a very nice power breakfast sitting next to the seaview windows, we started our excursion on Aran Islands. We rented two bikes and intended to explore the island by ourselves instead of joining the bus tour.

It was tough, well, at least to me, for a few reasons. There are actually quite a few slopes on the island and the wind can be very strong sometimes.

But I have never seen comparable scenery in my life before, along the coast, I got a few photos...

One cannot visit Inis Mor without stopping by Dún Aonghasa, on the way, there were some very well-kept Celtic crosses...

Then finally we arrived to the cliffs after hours (maybe it wasn't really for hours, but I felt like so) of efforts...

One of the amazing thing I have encountered on the cliffs apart from the cliff itself is that people are so fearless to the height. I personally have tried a few times to approach to the edge to look down or even tried to do like some people crawling on the belly. Still, I couldn't approach closer than 30 cm away from the edge. I can't understand how can people standing right on the edge and looked down! I truly admire those people out of my heart.

Then I saw some couple bringing young children and even babies to the cliff. Honestly, I don't buy the whole 'now-that-I-am-a-parent-but-I-will-do-as-if
-nothing-has-to-change' thing. I am totally for staying hip even after having children, but there is still certain limits though. It is really dangerous as you can see on the photo. I, myself as an adult, am freaking out. It is 300 metres down and no protection or anything at all. How can people bring children and babies up there, I find it unbelievable; and in my opinion, very inappropriate. I believe there are certain sightseeing spots for adults exclusively in the world; and being a good parent, no less, should consider all these.

(to be continued...yarn shopping and chat with native knitters on Inis Mor!!!)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Practical Knitting Illustrated - circa. 1940s

Since we arrived Galway early and planned to spend some time in the city, we walked around everywhere. It was Good Friday, nothing much was open.

While we were about to give up, we have found a second-hand bookstore. We both love books, especially second-hand books. To us, it is like to go on a treasure hunt.

Did we find any 'treasure'? We did!

My man got a book about Art Nouveau, circa 1970. You might wonder how special it is? Try, try to find books that talk about Art Nouveau posters, then you will understand.
Me, I got this...

When I first found this book, I was like 'what is that? This gray piece of thing?' Embarrassingly, I didn't know the authors. I turned on the first page, it said, 'Jane R Davis, Christmas 1942' then I realise I have found a book during Second World War! So I turned the page more, there are newspaper clippings about the civil war in China, classified ads, and knitting patterns from the newspaper and of course the book itself! It is full of classic vintage pattern from the 40s. I was so going to get this book, then I started to worry, 'is it going to cost a tortune?' Guess what? It marked '4 Euros'.

Since I arrived home on Sunday, I have been searching for information about this book on the internet and I have started to read the book itself too and I realise there are such so much to take in. I have decided I will write about my finding here bit by bit here later. Now, we shall go back to talk about the trip.

So we left Galway with our new found treasure, took the shuttle, then the ferry and finally arrived to Inis Mor. It was getting dark and we were hungry. So we figured we should just call it a day, we asked about where we could get food, they said there are only 3 restaurants in the island in cold seasons, so we went to one of those, we had a very nice dinner with very fresh fish and we went to bed.

I always wonder, why do these people live here, in this little piece of rock of an island? Then the next day, the first moment I wake up, I opened the curtain, I finally understood...

Honestly, I have done a fair share of traveling, I have never seen this in my life...I finally understand what the word breathtaking means...

Monday, March 24, 2008


I guess not many people are actually reading my blog coz objectively my blog is still quite boring so far. I haven't yet got around to upload any photos since for some reasons, I just HATE uploading and downloading. Everything that deals with loading and waiting for that matter, I just hate it. I don't even download musics and I dont't have an iPod. But this time, I will kinda have to upload some amazing photos I have taken during my trip to Galway and Aran Islands.

We have finally done our first trip in Ireland. Friday the 21, we have arrived in Galway by train. It is amazing to see how different the train system it is in Ireland and in France.

In Ireland, the train ticket didn't give you a fixed seat nor a particular train that you have to take. The ticket we got entitled us to go to Galway and return from the 21 to the 20 next month, that's all. It is actually quite flexible.

The second difference is, the train in Ireland not crowded. It was the Easter weekend that we took the train and returned, but the train was not crowded at all, everybody got to have window seats and their bags sitting with them and relaxed.

Even the train stations are more relaxed. In Ireland, they don't have the freaking announcement telling you to get on the train, 'the last call to Toulouse, it stops at xxx, yyy, zzz'. I guess Irish people are general a bit less relying on other people to help them and take the responsibility of going on the train on time by themselves more. (But then again, I am not going to go into talking about the national nature of these countries, coz I can go on and on for hours.)

Galway is a wonderful city. It is more Irish than Dublin, in my opinion. With all the old stone buildings and all that. It is beautiful.

My plan to get yarn in Galway was unsuccessful due to the fact that Yarn was closed afterall on Good Friday. But that's ok, I will be back to Galway in October for the Irish Knitters Retreat anyway, so that's fine.

(to be continued...'A Knitting Book from 1942'...sorry, I just can't take in the uploading things too much in one shot...)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Aran Islands

YEAH! Tomorrow is going to be our first excursion since we moved to Ireland -- Aran Islands.

There are 4 days holidays ahead of us and we can't just stay in Dublin doing nothing. However, getting around in Ireland is quite different from getting around in France. One of the few things I do appreciate about France is -- good train system. In France, no matter how small the village is, there must be a train station that provides service to Paris = the rest of the world (at least that's what matters to them).

But in Ireland...a country where farmers had to hitchhike to go to the town 15 years seems to be that the transport development hasn't yet quite caught up with the whole Celtic Tiger thing and I am not going to go into the topic of the horrible traffic in Dublin now.

The result is: apart from staying in the cities, wherever you go, you need a car. (There is actually still some reserve about the statement I have just made above, since sometimes it is quite difficult to get around by public transport even inside the city, again, I won't go there now).

So we figure the only way to explore the beautiful legendary countryside of Ireland WITHOUT the involvement of a car will probably be going to Aran Islands. The reason is simple. You don't need a car coz the island is on the sea!!!

Here it is...

Agrandir le plan

Apart from the fact that the island won't involve the use of car, you can't deny it is such a wonderful place to be though, look at that!

One more great thing about this trip is, I can probably get to visit two LYSs!!! The Yarn in Galway and the really really local YS on the island. I heard they sell local spun yarn.

Will report back after the trip, Happy Easter!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Knit Klips

I got it I got it! I got my KnitKlips today first thing in the morning after St Patrick's holiday.

I was trying to sew up my man's sweater, aka. my first sweater ever. Ok, I am not super fond of sewing the thing up, but I don't hate that as much as what I heard from other knitters. But surely, it would have been nicer if the darn sleeve didn't move here and there...

I am going to try to theseKnitKlips to see if it will work better, the size of these klips are bigger and more solid than I thought, should probably work well.

The bad news is, I can't really try that tonight and report back, since I did sew up one sleeve last night and realized the sleeve didn't fit quite well on the sweater. There was just too much fiber and looked totally like a bubble princess sleeve! So I re-read the pattern again and realized I totally misread the pattern for the decreases.

That's ok, live it, learn it...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Irish Knitters Group Retreat is finally here!!!

I can't believe it!!! Finally, we have our first Irish knitting retreat -- Irish Knitters Group Retreat for Ravelry Irish Knitters Group.

I am glad that I have joined Ravelry on time to get the chance to sign up for the retreat. Over the past few months since I pick up knitting again, I have been browsing through pages after pages of photos of knitting retreat of all sort, longing for the opportunity to be able to actually join one of those.

The Irish Knitters Group Retreat will be in County Galway in a B&B called Craig Country House, yes, this lovely yellow house is the place!

The first moment the announcement was up on Ravelry, I have immediately signed up. Now, the hard part is to wait for the day. There are like 7 months to go though...

Friday, March 7, 2008


Hang on there! Don't worry, I am not talking about anything religious here. I know I know, it is getting really really sensitive to use this word under the present atmosphere.

I am talking about the Knitting Converts.

It is amazing how Knitting takes on its own life and spread like a disease...oups, is there another nicer word to express how quick it spreads?

I have successfully converted a colleague without even trying. I was knitted a shawl for a gift last Christmas. She kept asking me about the stitches and stuff every day and one day she came to me and said, ‘it is a bit embarrassing but I have been knitting secretly for two weeks now, trying to make a scarf…’ I was shocked and asked, ‘why don’t you tell me?!’ she said, ‘well, I worried it won’t turn out ok, didn’t want to tell people until I am quite sure it will turn into a proper scarf, you know….’

So I finished the scarf and gave that to my fiance's aunt. She was amazed and told me that she had crocheted the lamp cover over there (pointing her finger on the wonderful cover with swan all around) many years ago, then sigh and said maybe she should start again…

Then my mother in law said she is considering to pick up knitting again after knowing that I am knitting.

Another time, I think I have almost converted a lady on the train station. She wanted to learn and I have given her details where you could get information to start.

Then finally, my sister told me last night she is going to start knitting after her exam. She said she didn’t know knitting is not about making a boxy sweater made from Acrylic anymore and got jealous after seeing all the FO done by the people here on Ravelry. She made a glove 10 years old, didn’t make the second glove though coz she messed up the size for the first one and didn’t bother to finish the second one…

And the spreading continues...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


I am sure you heard and heard and heard people talking about Ravelry. I have finally got the invitation 5 days ago and logged in 3 days ago.

There is such a complete visual knitting planet on it!

I am completely overwhelmed by all these knitters from every corner of the world. I have joined 21 groups in 3 days and have got tons of information about Ireland from fellow Irish knitters. I hope the website will be fully up and running asap and those people who work very hard behind to get this going will get the merits that they deserved.

If you don't know about Ravelry yet, say, you have been too busy knitting to talk to other knitters or too busy trying to get your cat(s) off your knitting, please click on the little button on the side bar, it will bring you to their site / planet.

Now, I have to spare some knitting and cat touching time to enter all my yarn, needles, WIP and FO information in my profile. My man teased me saying that I should hire a Data-entry Clerk...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Harmony Interchangeable!

I have finally got my Harmony Interchangeable needles set!!! I ordered it through my mother-in-law in Montreal and she brought it with her last Friday when she arrived to Dublin to visit us.

Didn't try the needles until last night, coz didn't want to look too much like a knitting addict during her visit.
The experience can only be expressed in one word: amazing.

The wood is smooth, the tip is not too pointy but pointy enough, the colour is wonderful. I can't complain too much about the needles. OK! They didn't mark the needles but I have ordered the ID tag as well to stick into each little pocket of the bag as an identification. I think they should have offer the ID tag in the set since they didn't mark the needles.

I personally don't think this set is going to completely replace Denise Interchangeable. I believe they are serving different roles in our knitting life. Denise is quite handy for projects that needed different length of circular and the needles are less pointy which is nicer for certain projects and might be safer to bring on the flight.
I love them both and intended to use them according to different needs. How can one have enough needles in one's life anyway?