We did a lot this weekend. On Saturday we went to Ely, the nearby cathedral town with river, ducks, antiques, Morris dancers (pictured here) and all that. On Sunday we went up to Jesus Green where a gazillion cyclists were celebrating the creation of 10 000 miles of cycle paths in Great Britain. And along the way, there was knitting, and thinking about knitting.
We noticed on our rambles that Ely is only 17 miles away from here, so we are gearing up to ride our bikes there, maybe next spring when Elaine is 6. The country round here is flat as a board, so I think we could do it, but now she is quite slow, and one can't really go cross-country on training wheels (or stabilizers, as we call them here). Her big brother is keen for sure, and consented to the train ride with some reluctance.
The big thing in Ely is the cathedral. We had a great tour and got lots of pictures, but the two-camera/two-computer problem continues to haunt us, so we just have a few here today.
This, of course, is part of the floor. You can see where quilters would go bong bong for this sort of stuff. Lots of nice black and white too, with zig zags and chequers and loop-de-loos and even a maze by the front door. If you walk the whole maze to the centre, you will have walked the height of the tower (200-odd feet), and if you don't step on the lines, I hear you get to go to heaven, but no one's reported back on that one. The maze is presently covered with scaffolding, so we couldn't try it out, and kids under 10 are not allowed on the tower tour, so we didn't do that either!
The church has a history back to the 7th century, so there are Norman bits, later bits, and then a few Victorian bits put in too. There is a marvellous painted ceiling (Victorian) and the biggest Lady Chapel in England. It houses a controversial statue of the BVM (Blessed Virgin Mary, ya know) which Elaine liked enough to draw a picture of when we got home. (I'd love to show you her picture, but she gave it to a friend!) It's, um, modern, I'll say that for it. It should perhaps be outside in a garden with a fountain.
There are lots of bits of the church which have changed over time. It used to be painted inside, red and blue, candy-cane pillars and all. If you go here you can paint Wells Cathedral, and get an idea of what it looked like. Now, there has been a bit of argument over the years about the propriety of things like gaudily painted churches, and so some centuries ago, Henry VIII's guys (not Cromwell, our tour guide pointed out) came and scrubbed all the paint off. Then they also smashed a few statue niches and so on. Our kids know nothing about all this church stuff, so trying to explain why people got their churches wrecked and their heads chopped off about it was a challenge.
Sunday was a grey day, but some of us braved the damp and went to the bike fair. We rode on a tandem where the smaller person sits in front, and the bigger, in the back, steers. Kinda good! Once one got used to the steering being so far in front, I think it'd be great. Also tried out some recumbents, bikes with the wheels off centre, big scooters, all sorts of cool things on wheels. The wildest was the conference bike, which holds 7 people. You're pedalling, and maybe sitting sideways to the direction the bike is going! Too bad you have to hold on tight, or 6 people could knit while one pedals! (I know the guys in the picture at that link are not holding on tight, but that's because they're not going anywhere, either!) Arthur was very impressed by it all.
On the knitting front: I stopped knitting my lopi wonderful colourful thing, and my nose and throat are instantly cleared. What am I going to do about that!?
Well, I tried to console myself with some Debbie Bliss cashmerino astrakhan, which is nubbly and soft and not scratchy. But I got it home and discovered that the colour was all wrong, and the pattern I had was not really perfect either. So, took it back and bought 8 different colours of Rowan Summer Tweed. Then I got Kaffe Fassett's Pattern Library and looked at all the multicolour things I could do. I made this diamond-ish swatch, and I kinda like it, but I think I have to use the brown differently. I think I'm going to get one of the pictures of the
hexagons from Stephen's experiments, or a good picture of the Staffa joints and make blotchy, sort of regular shapes, maybe outlining the shapes with the brown. I like lots of colours, but can't do 2-handed fair isle and am really slow and loose-gauged with the intarsia, and horizontal stripes, I've done enough of that! Meanwhile I have actually seamed some of Stephen's sweater and worked a couple of inches on Elaine's. (Elaine used her beads to make a Persian Poppy, and I think it looks great!)
And, my knitting has been entered in a fair! Last summer I gave my mom a scarf, simple lace pattern, linen/cotton yarn (I'm thinkin', not completely sure on that). Anywhoo, it will get entered in a fair in British Columbia. I didn't get anything special made and I don't know what the competition is like, but my dad and sister have loads of ribbons from there, and I want one too!