Monday, March 31, 2008

Off to Thailand!

Devon didn't really have a plan after Australia, but she trusted the Universe and we ended up flying FIRST CLASS to Kuala Lumpur. For $7 extra!!

You should have SEEN that leg room, it was sick!

Well, leg room isn't really an issue for me but the big cushy seats were NICE. We only stayed in KL for two days, then we were on the train to Thailand!


There was so much to see and do there, I don't know where to start! We spent a few days in Bangkok, where Devon broke her ATM card. Don't worry though, we made some great friends because of it!

Tell them about the sparkles!!

Ah yes, and Devon got some tinsel put in her hair. Then we headed north to the mountains, for the town of Chiang Mai and the Trek of Doom.

Oh come on, it wasn't that bad! Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger!

Yeah yeah. So while we were in the north, we visited a silk factory. They didn't have yarn, though. :(

Silk worms, fattening up on leaves

Unraveling the silk cocoons on a spinning wheel to make thread

Weaving the silk fabric on a loom

And an umbrella factory, where they make and handpaint decorative umbrellas. So pretty!

We also went to "Monk Chat" at Wat Chedi Luang, one of the many Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai. You can chat to the monks in English so they can practice. We met 2 very cool monks. I had a very interesting conversation about Buddhism and how it compares and contrasts other world religions. Devon taught them how to say "What's up". Equally meritous, for sure. We still exchange emails with Sone, the monk on the left! He is very sweet.

I'll let Devon tell you about the trek.

Ah, the trek. 3 days in the mountains and jungles. Sweltering heat during the day, freezing cold at night. 16 km over steep hills, nothing but your wits to guide you…

(And two Thai trekking guides)

Eating off the land…

(Eating food the guides cooked for us, and a lunch they wrapped in banana leaves, which are more effective than Ziplocs at preventing leaks.)

Facing wild animals…

(Trained elephants that we got to ride)

Sleeping on the bare ground…

(In a sleeping bag in a bamboo hut)

Peeing outdoors…

(She did this even though there WERE toilets available)

Navigating the rapids in a lashed together bamboo raft…

(The water was about 2 feet deep)

Some more shots from Thailand…

Our favorite juice bar in CM… fresh juice and smoothies for $1!!

Chiang Mai is such a small town you can ride a bike everywhere!

Then, pray tell, what ARE you supposed to dry with the drying machine?

Oh, fabulous!!

Thanks to Noricum for telling me how to email posts!!! Now I just have to put the pictures in, and add labels. Super!! MWAH!!
Swatchy Prep

Dispatches from Australia #1

Long time no see, huh? I know, I know, but Devon and I have been extremely busy and I'm going to make up for the total lack of communication right now.

Where did I last leave you? Fiji? Oh yeah, an accident report from the field. You'll be glad to know I am thoroughly patched up! Though if Swatchy Doc wanted to come over and check me out, I wouldn't be opposed (hubba hubba). Anywho, Knittah made me a lovely band-aid that matches my scarf, and Devon sewed it on. And now she keeps me far away from critters, at least most of the time…

So let's see. After Fiji, we made a brief stop in Brisbane, Australia, and headed up to the Sunshine Coast, home of the Australia Zoo and the late Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter.

Look, it's a sleeping koala!! They sleep 20 hours or more a day… almost as much as Devon!

I heard that!

Oh, are you up from your nap already?


Here I am, just chillin' with a kangaroo.

CRIKEY! A reticulated Python! Oh come on, you wouldn't have been able to resist saying it either. Speaking of the Crocodile Hunter, they had a thing where you could take a picture in front of a blue screen and have it digitized, like with your head in a crocodile's mouth, or you with Steve Irwin. WITH STEVE IRWIN! Is it just me, or is that a little macabre?

The zoo was awesome though. It was cool to see Australian animals, and you can get so close to them! We even petted a koala… they're so soft and fluffy!!

The weirdest thing about Australia is how similar it is to the US. It felt a lot like Florida! The money is cool, it's all different colors and each one has a little window.


Of course Devon gets a big kick out of looking through it. Over, and over. She never stops finding it funny. EVER.

I see you!


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Why. Can I not. Copy and paste. The HUUUUUUUGE post I just painstakingly typed out in Word, with PICTURES.???????????????


Sunday, March 23, 2008


Dear Knittah,

Earlier in March, Noricum and I were walking along the walkways that connect downtown Winnipeg buildings, when we ran into Timothy Eaton. Well, not literally. Although Noricum is frequently clumsy, she wasn't that clumsy today. And it wasn't the actual Timothy Eaton, he passed away back in 1907. But we did see the statue of Timothy Eaton. I got to rub his toe for good luck. (A Winnipeg tradition.) I hope some of that luck made it's way back to you. ;)


PS: The Eaton's company, now out of business, was a Canadian institution with lots of history. I've included links at the bottom of this post.

Timothy Eaton Timothy Eaton

Eaton's Wikipedia page
CBC page with TV and radio clips

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Designed and Ready to Go


I finished the Botswana doll, and am ready to send him off to Gaborone. The sample doll, pattern and some yarn are going to the Otse Homebased Care Society. This group of women are learning to knit, and hope to make some of the Botswana dolls for sale.

The doll is 9 inches tall, and is made with six colors of Elann Peruvian Highland Wool. The doll's shirt mimics the flag of Botswana, and he wears a red HIV/AIDS awareness ribbon.

The Otse group is also called "Rwadisanyang Merwalo" which means "bearing each other's burden's." I am very proud to make this small gift to them, and hope that it benefits the women and their families.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


When Swatchy Doc made his appearance in Botswana, several volunteers were taken with him. One woman leads an income-generating group for women, and they are learning to knit! I volunteered to design a doll for them that they could make and sell locally.

The doll has to be very simple in construction, and knit flat (not in the round). They also requested that I use the colors of the Botswana flag, and that the doll fit in a child's hand. So I started knitting up some prototypes.

The first one is very blocky and easy to knit, but not very cuddly looking.

Adding arms made the doll more appealing, if a little more challenging to knit. But now the torso is too long and the proportions don't look right.

Third time's the charm! Proportions are nice in this one.

And here is the doll knit up and stuffed. Now I just need to add some personality.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Winner Is . . .

After much deliberation, and clicking back and forth among the links, I have chosen a winner in our Warming Up Swatchy Contest. Each of the entries was terrific, and made me smile. But my choice for who warmed up Swatchy the best is . . . . .

mrsfife for her Swatchy in the Tropics photo.


Congratulations! Email us your address so we can send out your prizes!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Contest Entries

I have shamelessly stolen all of the images so that you can see all of the entries here on one page. In the order that they were received, here they are:

Dandy's entry:

Magnusmog's entry:

Mrsfife's entry:

and Penny's entries:
Swatchy on beach in Hawaii Back walkway to shopping area from Jimmy's

Let's give all the entries a big round of applause! I know that looking at these photos sure warmed me up. :) Thank you all for entering!

*drumroll* ...and next up, Knittah will post the winner!