Amiras at the Marina

The Dubai Marina…it’s a strange place for me. It’s one of those areas in Dubai which seems far too posh for someone like me to be venturing into. Look at all the yachts moored (is that the right term?) there! I get the feeling that if you didn’t have a yacht to park there, you definitely do not belong there.

But this is where the Amiras found themselves last Friday. It was a little bit puzzling to get to but once we figured it out we were alright.

The photo above was taken from Ruth’s balcony. It was hot, like 7 inches from the midday sun (thank you Rob!) and yet Hala and I were brave enough to go out for a couple of photos. Hala was wearing socks, I wasn’t so I just snuck my head and camera out the sliding glass door.

Ruth, our gracious hostess for this event, laid out a terrific feast. We had rissoto, veggie salad with vinaigrette, beetroot and chick pea salad, tabbouleh, couscous, hummous, breads, savoury snacks and chicken. It was all yummy and gave us a nice break from the knitting and the chat.

There was a raspberry and chocolate cheesecake incident which will forever take its place in the Amiras Hall of Fame Moments. Unfortunately, I was too slow to capture it on film. Those who witnessed it would no doubt be sharing the inside joke for years to come. No cheesecake was harmed though, although having it devoured within minutes is probably considered the same fate.

Since this was a knitting event, the WIPs were all whipped out of purses and bags in no time. Ruth’s lovely apartment offered unhindered natural light so knitting was pure pleasure. Not to mention she had this huge sofa where yours truly almost got too comfortable with, enough to even take a nap. Okay, let’s take a look at the projects instead, starting with Hala’s silk Summer Flies shawl. Just look at that rich cranberry red!

Melissa, still trudging along the Phiaro which is her come-back-to-knitting practice project. This is actually mine, the one I started when we went to Hatta earlier this year. I gave it to her when she joined the Amiras for the first time and have been making progress, learning from mistakes and dropped stitches and backward knitting. All good. She is in the home stretch and I expect I will receive a call from her this week telling me the third ball of yarn is over and what should she do with it now.

My daughter Eibee joined in this time since she wanted to see Ruth’s place. It was good because she had time to actually knit on her Dream In Colour Shrug using the leftover DK-weight yarn she used for her eyelet and cable hat. She’s actually tinking back in this photo because she was one stitch short on Row 11. She managed to get back on track and complete one and a half lace repeat during the afternoon.

This here is one project that I am particularly chuffed about. The streak of pink and blue you see is a skein which I dyed and which Ruth bought in June. It was a particularly bright combination but she loved it. Although she did say it was too bright on its own so she picked up the gray aran-weight yarn she had and held it together with the bright one and voila! She has this uniquely coloured bolero on the needles!

She modified the measurements to the fit that she wanted and she was very nearly done then. Only needed a few more repeats of the lace and then the ribbing in the end, a bit of sewing in and she’s done. It was looking good already.

Ruth showed us a cabled hat she knitted a while back using one of the red skeins of yarn in her stash. Doesn’t she look uber pretty here? I can just picture her on the ski slopes, wearing this hat, keeping her ears and head warm.

Stephanie, one of the new faces in the group, showed us this tiny square of lace knitting which she did on size 000 needles, which I think is 1mm. They’re practically toothpicks! It’s Tosh Lace in a beautiful red colourway. She’s making 16 of these squares which she will then make up to create a top called Celandine, from Twist Collective I believe. This is square 9 of 16, so she’s nearly there. But can you imagine casting on 8 stitches and distributing evenly on 1mm DPNs? I know I can’t! Makes my head hurt just thinking about it.

I found out early on that Stephanie and I shared something in common: the Madeline Tosh Sweater Club! She was working on this beautiful scarf, which she patterned out of Henry from Knitty but modified so that it suited her requirements and yarn availability. Isn’t it beautiful?

The yarn she was using is Tosh Sport in the famous Mansfield Garden Park, or MGP as it is affectionately known by MadTosh Lovers. I have only ever seen this colourway online, and I have to tell you this is just as pretty in the flesh. The colours here are as true as I could get them. You would think this would knit up quite weirdly and maybe with some pooling, but the scarf that Stephanie was knitting was working up really well. I suppose slipped stitches help to break up any potential pooling. But this is just beautiful!

Whenever we hold our “knit ‘n bitch” meetings at someone’s home, it’s inevitable, nay expected, that the hostess would show us her yarn stash. Jackie gave us a tour since her stash was spread out in a few ‘hiding’ places. Ruth, being a self-confessed anal person, had her stash in plastic bins which perfectly fit into the cupboard of her study. She had five of these bins and here’s a sampling of what she had.

Her stash is about 90% Knitting Goddess goodness: superwash sock, merino/tencel, silk, alpaca, cashmere. They’re all beautiful and the colourways were all really pretty. These skeins caught my fancy. It’s quite different from your usual hand-dyed yarn. The red and green against the charcoal black spice up the yarn. I bet this would look awesome as a pair of socks!

My daughter handed me this one, she likes it. I think she wants me to dye something like this for her. Well maybe later when she gets bitten by the sock-knitting bug. I have to admit, this colourway is pretty good too.

Now this skein makes me wonder if it is self-striping or not. It’s awesome, it’s light, it looks very refreshing. It would look great as a pair of sock, sure, but could also work as a scarf or a sideways shawl. This is the kind of dyeing that I want to get into. At the moment I am doing fully saturated colours because I think it’s easier. I would like to try something like this soon.

It was a great chance to meet new faces (Stephanie and Louise) and catch up with old ones (Ruth, Hala, Jeane, Melissa). It was indeed the most chilled out meeting we’ve had in a while. Apart from the cheesecake incident, of course. The jazz music playing in the background and the scented candles I think had something to do with our mood being so relaxed and peaceful. I never knitted so much in one sitting than I did last Friday! Turns out Louise and I were knitting the same project, A Little Something (more about that tomorrow) but she was doing it in a lighter weight yarn. I nearly finished the body of my cardigan during that afternoon, and this despite all the purl rows too!

There was a chain of knitting mishaps which started and were eventually resolved so it was alright. It was great to have other knitters around to keep you in check. Thank God the chain stopped before it hit me full on! I’d have been gutted. There was a row where I was doing plain stockinette when I should have been doing a lace row, but I discovered it early on so it was a good save.

It was nearly sunset when we decided to leave. If I hadn’t looked outside the balcony, I would not have noticed the sun going down. Normally for an apartment where you had glass windows all around you would tell the time by the amount of sunlight you get. The sun is blocked from Ruth’s apartment by these tall buildings so she gets the light but not the direct heat from the sun, which I think is cool.

This is the last meeting we are holding during Ramadan so next month onwards would be back to the Festival City; that is if Magrudys and More Cafe would still host us.

We also talked about a year-end swap among the Amiras so it’s something to think about as we go on the home stretch for the holidays. We’ve all had enough of this stinking summer!

3 thoughts on “Amiras at the Marina

  1. Once again, I am sooo jealous! Looks like an awesome afternoon.
    Hala didn’t dye her hair, did she? It’s just because she looks so dark haired in that first photo, but I could imagine it is actually the bright light behind her that makes her hair look darker..

    I love that bolero of Ruth’s, I think it’s the same one as the one I made in green. Could that be true? It’s a pattern that is completely modifiable, right?

    I see I will need to see some MadTosh IRL, with so many praising it! And I need to check out that Knitting Goddess stuff as well..


  2. Aaah thank you Jhocy! Such kind words. Note the change in top between the shrug photo and the hat photo, having got cheesecake all down my front 🙂


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