Sunday, May 10, 2009


I had a tough 24 hours in Italy with work last week. After the trauma of an 8.05am flight from Gatwick (which meant getting up at 4.30, and catching a train at 5.25. Ouch) to Pisa and then two different trains, I arrived in Lucca a bit too early so was told to go and sit in the square and get a coffee whilst I waited. This, of course, was extremely challenging and tough. I sat in this square, the Piazza Napoleone:

in the sunshine, with my knitting, and drank cappuccinos for an hour and a half. Once the work was finished (which took 40 minutes, although it could have taken a lot longer if something had gone wrong), I wandered off to find my hotel and do some exploring.

I stayed in the luxurious Palazzo Alexander, where my single room was bigger than my flat back at home. Still, I managed to cope with the size of it.

And I did some exploring. Lucca has the most amazing city walls, which still encircle the old city. You can walk round the top of them, where there's a wide tree-lined path for cyclists and pedestrians. I even found a restaurant on top of the walls, where you could buy cappuccinos and knit(anyone spot a theme developing here?).

Lucca Cathedral, like every British cathedral I've ever been anywhere near, had lots of scaffolding and noisy building work taking place. Bizarrely they also had electric candles you could light at one point (instead of the real candles I've encountered at every other cathedral I've visited). Screwing a fake candle into a stand just doesn't feel the same as lighting a real candle.

But I think what I liked best were the winding streets. Within the walls it's an almost car-free area so the streets bustle with pedestrians and cyclists. I only spotted two chain stores in my whole time in Italy (a McDonalds at Pisa Centrale railway station, and an Accessorize in Lucca), everything else was small, individual shops just begging to be explored. There were wonderful food shops with all sorts of bread and vegetables (and some had meat but I avoided those!). No sign of any yarn shops, but I did discover a wonderful fabric shop with vast quantities of fabric inside. I was very very tempted to buy some, but it wasn't really very practical due to lack of storage at home at the moment.

Possibly the most amusing thing (apart from the electric candles) was the advertising at Pisa airport. Which was really doing its best to promote Yorkshire as the best tourist destination:

So, a pretty good trip. I think next time I'd make it a bit longer though...

Oh, and I didn't manage to get my knitting needles onto the plane. :-(
A post about my weekend in Bristol, including the Get Knitted workshop will appear soon(ish).

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Flying visit

I'm off to Get Knitted at the end of this week to do a course with Farli and Penny.

On the day I'll get 10% off anything I buy in the shop, so it seems a bit silly for the yarn diet to be in operation that day, doesn't it?

I need to decide what I'm looking for. I've wanted to make Maude - from the Inside Loop for ages, so I think I'll go with yarn for that (her?). So I need either 1890 yards of laceweight or 945 yards of fingering weight. There are some really gorgeous ones already made on the Ravelry project page. I've seen the original at Diane's flat, and it's really really nice.

But I also want to make these sometime:
Hey Teach - from Knitty.
February Lady Sweater - from Ravelry.
Amelia - from Knitty.
Henley Perfected - from Interweave Knits.

Decisions, decisions...

But before I do the course I'm off to Tuscany on a work trip. Yes, I did say a work trip to Tuscany. It will be a bit of a flying visit, and unfortunately it looks like my attempt to arrange to meet up with some other knitters in Pisa isn't going to happen (typically, a work meeting got in the way, and much as I would prefer to prioritise knitting, sometimes that really can't happen). I'm still pondering whether British Airways are likely to let me anywhere near a plane whilst armed with my knitting needles.

But there are a few things I'm hoping to see whilst I'm out there. If I'm awake. My flight from Gatwick is horribly early and I'm having some doubts about even being awake during the work part of the trip...

I'll be off email and blogging most of this week. But hopefully I'll be back soon, armed with lots of pictures!