Sunday, February 28, 2010
Getting Out The WIPS
I had a nice birthday trip from Tallinn to Paris on Friday - it was punctuated by various texts and phone calls throughout the day. I was sitting in Stockholm airport waiting to board when David called me to sing happy birthday in a variety of voices. I was laughing out loud in the airport, people must have thought I was crazy! I had upgraded myself for the Stockholm to Paris leg, so it was a good trip, especially as the plane was totally full.

Since I am bringing stuff back from Tallinn on these last trips, I had a full suitcase too, and it was fun bringing that up the stairs - but I managed, which is a good indication that I am feeling fairly strong these days. I don't think I could have done that so easily a year ago. Yesterday I was tired, though - I slept in the afternoon for three hours, but then got up and did quite a few things, including hauling out the "travelling" bag of stitching, to work out what I should finish before my Nashville haul arrives. I spent last evening working on this:
It's from La-D-Da, one of my favourite designers, and I am aiming to finish it this week. It's on 32 count "country" linen from Zweigart, this is the sort of mottled linen, which I like very much. There are a few other small pieces in this bag that I have to get out and finish, you'll see them over the next little while, I hope. It's great, I suddenly feel like forging ahead with my stitching again - last year was a write-off really for stitching, sometimes there is a year like that. 2009 was not great all round, but 2010 should be better, I hope.

Today we have the "Big Storm" that is sweeping Europe, it seemed to start here about 5am, and there was rain for a time, but that seems to have stopped, and we are just getting gusts of wind, which is supposed to be up to 100 kilometers an hour. I think it will pass by late afternoon, and it is supposed to stop somewhere near Denmark tomorrow. The Bristish papers are saying that there will be five days of rain and high winds over the UK, I assume that must be a different bit of weather, because so far our one has not been too dreadful, at least in Paris.

I'm now going to look at some more Nashville releases, and may be tempted........ then back to the stitching.
posted by Ally at 12:43 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Thursday, February 25, 2010
A Little Bit of Snow
This fairly bleak view is from my office window, which is just over the front entrance of our building, so that you can see the small path in the snow that we use to get to the front steps. If we are lucky, our taxi will be able to stop by the red marker, otherwise we have to get around other cars and find the path somehow.

It really has snowed for the past week until today when suddenly we had sunshine, and I spent most of the weekend inside, plus yesterday which was a public holiday here. I had gone to Joller knitting wool shop in the Old Town to buy some Estonian wool on Saturday, in preparation for my forthcoming departure from Tallinn, and I spent some of yesterday winding 800 meters of wool from a skein into a rather large ball.

It's been a very quiet week, since there have only been two or three people from our team here, no Snowflakes or anyone noisy like that. She and her entourage departed before the weekend, so there have been several days of no shrieking or tea leaves (that's the latest, tea drinking about ten times a day is incredibly fashionable, and it has to be made with loose leaves - of exotic blends found only in one shop in Paris that imports them from Outer Mongolia and sells them only to people who know where to find it - whose soggy remains you then leave sitting around the office for hours).
posted by Ally at 10:27 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Monday, February 22, 2010
Some Birthday Treats
Since it is my birthday at the end of February, Nashville Needlework Fair is very well timed! This year, I have ordered Mrs Waddelow's Huswife:

And from Exemplars from the Heart, this one about Philomena who lost her tongue (a problem I never have!):

And, most indulgently, a new Goode Huswife book, with Quaker samplers, I am really looking forward to getting this:

Plus a few other odds and ends, new GAST threads and so on. They won't arrive for a while obviously, but it will be fun looking forward to them, which is good, because there isn't much fun around lately, just a lot of snow.

It snowed all weekend, more or less, and was down to minus 15 on Saturday, with a very cold wind. I went out for about an hour, but that was enough. The only other person from our project who was here at the weekend was Sasha, and he didn't set foot outside his hotel, he told me. We are the only two in our room today, and for the rest of the week, which may make it a better week than last week. Snowflake and her cronies made so much noise all week that I went home with a headache every night. I have to say that their normal conversation is like something out of a teen soapie, I try to tune it out, but the volume can be horrific.

We also unfortunately have a guy back who was here temporarily last year - although, thank goodness, he is on the other project now, not on ours - the one who used to yap on all the time about football or cellphone operating systems and other equally fascinating subjects. At least I don't have to be in the same room as he is this time, although he did come and sit at the same table one lunchtime last week and he is on the bus home in the evenings. Even if he sits at the other end, I can still hear him droning on at whoever is sitting next to him. He told me once that, if he is on a plane at night and the person next to him is asleep, he goes and talks to the flight attendants - poor things, they can't pretend to be asleep, I bet they wish they could!
I also haven't heard anything about what I am doing after Tallinn, so that is mildly stressful, but I am trying not to think about it, as there is nothing I can do about it at all. I have been watching Winter Olympics and Tartu Ski Marathon as a way of keeping my mind off things, and that is relatively successful.
posted by Ally at 9:27 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Shawl for Polar Climates
I've been struggling to get a half-way decent photo of my "Citron" shawl, but this one shows the colours fairly well, I think:

It's made with 2 skeins of Rowan Kidsilk Haze and one and a half skeins of Noro Kureyon Sock yarn, which is rather different from what the pattern called for, but this is the polar version of the Citron shawl - I could see myself doing a tropical version in silk, actually, but this seemed more suited to the Tallinn winter. It is actually very warm, I had it over my shoulders in bed last night after I finished darning in the (very few) ends.

It is freezing here again today, -3 and no sign of getting any warmer in the afternoon. I'm almost looking forward to the Tallinn weather, it's probably not much colder, and the shops are just downstairs instead of around the corner! I have to say I need a holiday somewhere warm, and I am definitely having one if I have to go to Australia in winter. This is by no means certain, and it would only be for three months, but of course it will be Melbourne in the winter. Great. Of course everyone in the team who has not been to Australia thinks it is wonderful and is highly envious that I may do this. It would actually be interesting for some of them to go there, it's really not at all like they think it is. Not that I have anything against Australia per se, but I did choose to move to Europe for a number of reasons - better public transport, more cultural activities, chances to improve foreign languages, more opportunities for travel etc, to name a few. It wouldn't even be cricket season when I was there! The others seem to think there would be opportunities for surfing every day after work - I just smiled, and said, yes, they could take their pet kangaroos to the beach as well....

And just think of the longhaul flights in economy class - we have to fly economy for work, every time you see me writing that I was in business class, I used points for this or even paid for an upgrade, and I'm not sure either is possible for a long flight. We have a rather disapproving and negative American colleague, who always says I am spoilt (and naive), maybe this is true? Mind you, this guy says Alec is inflexible, David is arrogant and Nicky is not too bright, so normally I do not believe a word he says.

Well, I guess I should stop moaning and go and do something more practical!
posted by Ally at 1:48 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Friday, February 12, 2010
Stitching Finish
Here is the Loose Feathers needlebook, sitting ready to be assembled, with its print lining and the wool for the needlebook pages:

The wool was a find at Fete de l'Aiguille, which I went to yesterday morning, and it's a great match for the red thread in the stitching. It came from a quilt store from the Netherlands which had a stall there. So funny, the lady there was telling me in inexpert French the prices, and I was asking in slightly more expert French, and then we just looked at each other and laughed, and said, well, we probably should be speaking English!

I had a good time, but heavens it was cold, and getting there was fun. Not the metro, that was easy, but from the metro to the Grande Halle de la Villette, there was icy snow on the ground:

Where the red arrow is is the entrance, and you had to walk along there on the ice! Fortunately I was wearing my Tallinn boots, so I didn't slip too much. I was fairly early and managed to whizz around everything before the real crowds started arriving, and when I came out, this path was total slush, with the number of people who were beginning to arrive. Good thing I was not wearing shoes.
Apart from the wool, I bought some patchwork fabric, some felt, a pair of bag handles and two charts - Eiffel Tower Quaker and a heart-shaped stitcher's pocket from Drawn Thread. These two were from De Fil En Aiguille, my favourite shop, and I saw the nice lady from there who knows me. I some some lovely things I would have liked to buy, but moderation, since Nashville is coming up!
On the way back it was snowing madly, nasty sleety sort of snow. In the middle of that, I got a phone call from my project director, who told me that I will be finishing in Tallinn at the end of March. Which wasn't too much of a surprise, I had expected it would be either March or June. They are keeping only four of our team until they can go live, which will be when the other project - for a system that interfaces with ours - is finished. Of course, they wanted us all to stay, but that's not possible, so they are keeping the people who deal with the areas where there could be complications, or further things that need to be done. I guess I should be happy that they think my stuff will not have problems.
So, from April, I don't know where I shall be.......... there is actually a possibility of Australia, I believe, but who knows?

posted by Ally at 11:57 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Backwards and Forwards
I seem to go back and forth between Paris and Tallinn more often this year, or maybe I am just so bored with planes that the travel looms larger in my life? At any rate, I am in Paris this week, working from home, and wishing I had company. I have had only various UPS and Fedex guys at the door, to deliver things, including my new Kindle, yes, i finally succumbed and bought one. The price is attractive when converted into euros, and delivery is less than a week. I think I ordered on Thursday, and it was delivered Tuesday, and would have been delivered Monday, if I had not gone to the office all day.

It was a jolly good thing I went to the office on Monday, because it has been the only decent day this week. It is currently -1, at nearly midday, and yesterday it snowed about this time. Ah yes, I just looked out the window and guess what? Snow again, right on time, and I think heavier than yesterday. Tomorrow I have to go across town to see a doctor, and after that I am hoping to reward myself with a trip to Fete de l'Aiguille, since it is the first time in about three years I have been in Paris when that is on. I don't plan to buy a lot of things, given that I have just bought a Kindle and that Nashville market is coming up, and there are a few must-haves there.

I still cannot find my camera battery charger, it didn't seem to be in Tallinn, which really makes me wonder what I have done with it. I have been experimenting with using the phone camera, and here is a photo of my Miss Marple shawl that I have been wearing constantly this winter:

It isn't too awful a photo, considering my own limitations as a photographer, I think, and it does show the colours really quite well. I think I'll persevere and photograph the backlog of projects with the phone, watch out for more!

posted by Ally at 11:46 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments