19 April 2017

A Life With Cats

Oscar 

Nabokov, Fluffy & Wendel, Pippin, Breaugh, Francois & Malcolm, Alice. Lucy & Molly, Sid & Oscar. These are the cats with whom I and my family have shared our homes and hearts during my adult life. I'm not even counting various roommate cats.

We lost Oscar to cancer 2 weeks ago. My daughter's childhood boy Francois, aged sixteen, passed 2 weeks before that. That was a hard one, not unlike a chapter ending. So, in the following days, I find myself remembering all the cats I have known and loved. 

Sleek Nabokov was the first. I watched him and his siblings being born on my roommates' sofa. His mother Alvin, (yes they thought she was a boy and didn't get her fixed) was a teenage mom. Nabby was all black among a litter of orange and tortie and I adopted him on the spot. At my and my ex-husband's first apartment, long haired marmalade Fluffy was the cat next door. He liked us the best and was always visiting until, finally, the neighbour just gave him to us. He remained loyal and we had him until he was seventeen. His friend and my spirit cat, Wendell - black and white, dumb as a brick and sweet as pie - was the boy of The Daughter's infancy. She could pull his tail, sit on him even. He didn't care. He followed her everywhere until she was three and he was four. Then an unexpected illness took him.


Francois and Malcolm
Malcolm and Alice still live with my ex but they are getting old. The Daughter, bless her, has her first own cat now, a troublesome fat black boy named Rupert. And so it continues.

They break your heart each time. They infect you with their sass and shenanigans. They sit purring with you when you're blue. They weave themselves into your personal history. Inevitably, they age, get sick, and pass on. I've been through it over and over and it never gets easier to say goodbye.


Beautiful Molly. She always looked somewhat surprised.
When my partner and I met 3 years ago, we had four cats between us - my calico girls and his Bengal boys. We worried about how we might ever be able to move in together with all those felines. Then last year, beloved Molly got heart disease and passed away before we had to make that decision. Damn I miss that girl. She was a gentle, simple creature.

So he and I are down to two. Ironically, Sid and Lucy can't stand each other but they seem to have worked out how to stay out of each other's way. My partner and I both swear these are the last. There comes a point when you feel you just can't do it anymore. I say this now, when I'm sad and missing them all, but who knows? Down the road, some new little kitty may pop up needing a home and we just may not be able to say no.

Sid. Happy.


04 April 2017

Stitch Definition


It was a rainy Saturday and I found myself early for work. So I took out my knitting and tried to photograph it. On top of the usual trouble of getting red right, the overcast sky made for even more of a challenge. This is the best shot I could manage. 
Even with the poor photography, you can see the amazing stitch definition of this Biscotte & Cie Felix. The skein had been in my stash forever and I am so glad I finally cast it on. I am loving working with it.

Rainy Roy Thompson Hall

30 March 2017

Poor Swift

My swift had a run in with a basket in the closet and in the resulting tussle, not one, but two of its rungs snapped. 
After freaking out (just a little) I got to work. First aid was administered with epoxy, stiff cardboard and medical tape. I hope it holds.

This break was right on the rivet join.


The second break was cleaner and easier to repair.

20 March 2017

Knitting Stuff - March and Spring

Have you been participating in Mason Dixon Knitting's March Mayhem? It's not too late to join! Round Two has just begun. In my house, a certain gentleman is watching that other March event non-stop so I'm glad to find a knitting equivalent. (Also, thank goodness for headphones and The Voice streaming on CTV). It's quite fun to vote on a bunch of patterns and watch what happens. I was surprised to see that while most of my favourite shawls moved on to Round 2, only one of my sweater votes did - and my least preferred one at that. There's just no accounting for taste.



My favourite sweater, Amy Herzog's Rigging Sweatshirt did not make it past Round 1.


My favourite shawl, Thea Coleman's Edradour, is still going strong.

Also, since mentioning the Spring 2017 Pom Pom Quarterly a few posts back, I found myself stalking their website. So I finally just went to my LYS and bought it. It's such a cheerful, optimistic, little volume. Every pattern is bright and fresh. I already praised the retro fun of Meli and here are a couple more cuties.

Arrosa by Jennifer Weissman is a simple, fingering weight shawl, perfect for spring.
I just love that colourful contrasting edge row

I really want to knit Bombus by Miriam Jarrs.
It strikes me as both very old and quite young simultaneously. The stitch pattern is so clever.
In my own knitting, I've just put the latest shawlette down to block. I am cautiously optimistic even though I think I screwed up the gauge. Photos soon.


15 March 2017

Winter in the Port Lands



On my walk in the Port Lands yesterday, I noticed that some workmen had left the gate under the bridge unlocked. Naturally I went through it. I figured somebody would stop me if it was a problem. I did not wonder far as there was much on the ground to trip over. I just went far enough to view from a different angle, that upon which I had only looked down before. It was a windy and bitter cold day. I was the only person out walking

I think it's pretty cool that I only need to walk 20 minutes and I'm here. Sadly, I did spy more development notices so best to enjoy the view while I can.




27 February 2017

Shades of Purple

I finished the spiral rib socks and delivered them to The Daughter yesterday. They came out very well with a great fit and nice bouncy ribbing. I'm glad the project is over though. Despite the excellence of the Trekking yarn, there's something about the shade that I don't love. Violet toned purples have never been my favourite and, as you know, if you don't love your colour, the knitting can be a bit of a slog. 
I much prefer blue and plum tones. So I dug out my Wellington Fibre in the colourway Midnight and have cast on another Wild Plum Shawlette - for myself this time - that will actually be plum.

24 February 2017

Repairs


My Misti Alpaca scarf popped a wee hole in the edge. It looks like it may have gotten caught on something and two strands of yarn broke. To pull on the strands so I could tie them off, I used my Lantern Moon repair tool. Yes, one could use a crochet hook but why would you when you can use this pretty little dark-wood hook that comes in its own adorable cloth sleeve? Priced under 10 dollars, this is one of those delightful fibre tools that makes knitting even more of a pleasure.

21 February 2017

Radishes


I have had my share of black moods
and feeling blue; I have seen red
until flames licked the hems of sweaters;
but today - eternal return of the not same! -
my head became a radish
planted by banter
and watered by wry asides.
You could lay me on a plate
and frugally dine; I'd like to be
so consumed; but better still
was the sweet surprise (our roots tell truths)
of another radish swelling by my side.
With two deep secrets spilling themselves,
with these red faces, the wonderful garden grows.

Rachel Wetzsteon
Sakura Park
Persea Books, 2006

02 February 2017

A Reversal


I've just finished the toe on Sock 1 of the latest pair. I can't believe I have never noticed this before. The "wrong side" of spiralled three x one ribbing is quite fetching. I just may have to use it as the right side of a future pair.
Also surprising, to me anyway, is the fact that I've been sock knitting for years and this is my first experience using Trekking XXL. It's just great. The hand feel is satisfying and I am not having any problems with splitting strands. Good definition too. I guess that's why there are over 21 000 projects on Ravelry in this yarn.

30 January 2017

Just A Shawl


Yes, times are bad and seemingly getting worse. My struggles with job disappointment and poverty very much got me down over the holidays. Then the world went crazy after January 20. One bad news story appears after another and it's difficult not to despair for all our sisters and brothers. My daughter said she feels like she's living in a dystopian novel.

I do what I can.  I post flyers and send emails about migrants' and workers' rightsI marched on January 21 because how could I not? Yet, for comfort,  I turn to making and reading about making. Angela at Pans and Needles said it best describing wanting to see "something small to make me feel like there are still good things happening, little blips that remind me that beautiful things are still being made and put out into the world with love." 

Two years ago a friend in Victoria BC saw some hand-spun alpaca at a market stall and thought of me. He mailed it as a surprise. This year, one of my dearest friends turned 50 and celebrated with a dance party. It felt right to continue the gifting cycle by knitting this yarn into something special for her. Working the cables and short rows in soft and creamy yarn has been a great source of solace to me this month. Last night I received a text from my friend saying she was outside, warm and cozy in her new scarf.

Wild Plum Shawlette by Amanda Scheuzger
Knitscene Winter 2013



Two 50+ friends cut a rug because you must never stop dancing.


Me and 50 000 friends take over Toronto. Never stop marching.

27 January 2017

1984 The Good

What better chaser of the blues is there than finding Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 1984 at a junk store for one dollar? I've confessed my affection for 80's style here before. I look back fondly on the wavy hair, the natural dark eyebrows and especially the loose, drop shouldered sweaters. Yes much of eighties style was ridiculous and over the top but not all of it. Here we have, in my opinion, some of the loveliest examples of mid-eighties fashion.

The Good

Who doesn't love a pale and loose sweater thrown over a tank for summer? The schematic of this pattern shows that it is, literally, two rectangles sewn together with sleeves attached. I think it's perfection.
 The Great

This woman could walk into any room today and be declared fierce. An update of her hosiery and shoes and perhaps the skirt length, are all that`s needed. I can't imagine knitting so much stockinette on such a small scale, but the results are gorgeous. The square Lace Shetland Shawl in the corner is Estonian lace inspired and a wonderful knitter on Ravelry has updated the pattern for easier knitting in lace weight.
 The Magnificent

I love, love, love, this from head to toe. Especially the toes! T-strap heels are a favourite of mine. OK, the model's make-up and hair need softening but the rest is breezy and elegant. In the era of over-size, the subtle looseness of these garments looks very classy. Does anyone wear this length of skirt anymore? Other than me, I mean?

The Throwback
Melli,Pom-Pom-Quaterly-Issue-20,-Spring-2017
Surprise! This is not from 1984 Vogue but from RIGHT NOW. It's Melli by Camille Rosella and is in the current spring edition of Pom Pom Quarterly. An homage to the eighties if ever I saw one, even if the designer is too young to know it.