Before coming home to Oakland, Iain and I stopped for the weekend in London so I could fly out of Heathrow. Since Iain is staying in Scotland for the summer, I've been fairly bad about rationalizing all the yarn I've bought recently as a much needed distraction - I can't miss my boyfriend if I'm too busy knitting obsessively, right?
Anyway, while in London, we stopped at the gorgeous Loop yarn shop in Islington, where I picked up a skein of Juno Fiber Arts Alice Sock. All of the colorways were gorgeous, but I eventually settled on a ($32!) skein of canopy, a sort of bright robin's egg blue with a bit of green in it. I'd been planning to make a pair of socks, but once I got back to hotel and wound this into a ball, I decided it was far too beautiful to put on your feet. The only other pattern I had printed out was Ishbel (from the earlier, failed, and now frogged Ishbel that kept me company throughout Vietnam, India and Scotland), so I figured that was as good a use as any.
Fortunately, it turns out knitting on an airplane with no real distractions is an ideal lace-knitting environment. I blazed through the stockinette body, and then the entire A chart. I also figured out where I'd gone wrong in my first attempt: in trying to stay on top of the pattern, I'd put markers between each 8 stitches, not realizing that the borders eat into those stitches and that if you just trust the pattern as it's written without trying to overthink, you'll do fine - at the time, I couldn't figure out why I kept coming up wrong on both ends of the row, and it was maddening. This time, I just read the pattern super carefully, paid close attention to where the S1, k2tog, PSSOs lined up, and though I'm sure there's still a bit of weirdness, it definitely looks much better this time around - I can't believe I was in such denial about my first attempt being totally hopeless. The slightly heavier cashmere sock yarn looks much nicer than the initial skein of madtosh praire, too - I am completely won over by this yarn and how soft it is.
So anyway, that was my goodbye to the UK - having Ishbel to focus on during the long flight back did keep me from getting too sad about having to say goodbye to Iain for the next two months. If you are ever in London, I do highly recommend Loop. I've been to a few yarn stores since heading back from Asia, and they have by far the biggest selection of yarn (and the widest color range) that I've seen so far. I love also that they have a nice selection of books from some of my favorite independent designers like Stephen West, Ysolda Teague and Gundrun Johnston; and also, a good range of luxury and more affordable yarns.Definitely recommended!