29 June 2016

When It's Hot Outside

It's cool and cozy in here.

25 June 2016

Train Knitting


I went to visit my family yesterday. One of my favourite parts of this little journey is the commuter train trip. It's a one hour, air conditioned pause from hectic life; a chance to rest, knit, and listen to a book. 

On the mp3 player: Moby Dick courtesy of The Big Read
On the needles: Diagonal Rib Socks courtesy of Ann Budd

17 June 2016

Birthday Trip - Again!

For the second year in a row, I was treated to a birthday trip. What a lucky girl am I! We spent a weekend in Montreal, a city to which I have not been in thirty years. Remarkably, little of it has changed at first glance. Montreal respects its heritage and architecture in a way Toronto never has, so many of the streets display the same vistas they have for many, many years. Of course Rue St. Catherine has become somewhat of an outdoor major chain mall and Old Montreal a collection of tacky souvenir shops. Still, the buildings themselves are beautiful and original in this highly walkable city.

Saturday was spent walking. And walking.
And buying earrings from street vendors.

A picture of my lover taking a picture. We saw many churches - as one does.

Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel. I had a bit of a religious experience here. All my latent Catholicism came to the fore. Stained glass brings it out of me I guess. Here we lit candles for lost loved ones. It felt like the right thing to do.

We had a suite! That`s right. I said suite.
And now I`m 52.

11 June 2016

New Colours


One interesting aspect of knitting for others is the opportunity to experience and appreciate new colours. Take this mustard toned Manos del Uruguay Allegria for instance. It was purchased, with The Daughter's help, to knit gifts socks for her best friend. Normally, this is a tone my eyes would pass right over on my way to the blues and reds.

"That one up there", said The Daughter pointing to the top row. "She'll love that."

It's true. The young woman wears this family of colours all the time. And now, like a pop song dismissed when heard for the first time, but that grows on you with repeated listening, I am coming to like this colour. The bald statement, "I don't like mustard" has been reconsidered. Every time I look at the rich tonal dyeing on this sock yarn, I appreciate it more and more.



Here we have the socks in progress for Brother of Best Friend - much more within my comfort zone in purple and blue. Both "children", now in their twenties, have birthdays in early August, so knitting socks for them now is a nice leisurely warm weather pastime. 

26 May 2016

Art and Fashion

One last post about my Chicago trip. For what's a trip without a little window gazing? I am quite enamored of these displays at Chanel on Michigan Avenue. The whimsy of the airline theme mixed with classic Chanel details delights me. I especially love the three piece skirt set though I suspect that for me, the light blue shirtwaist is more flattering. As if I would ever have the opportunity to wear Chanel in the first place!
I do admit that the shoe choice leaves me puzzling.



And what's this? I excitedly posted this photo of Marcel Duchamp's Hat Rack on my Facebook page and got barely a look. Coming across this 1964 signed repro of the 1916 Dada milestone at the Art Institute set my heart pounding. You can clearly see his signature. Am I the only geek to be thrilled by this?


So cool!

23 May 2016

Yarnify That

While in Chicago, I had to visit a yarn store! Luckily, I found Yarnify via the hotel advertising guide. It was even within walking distance of my location. Yarnify is a bright space with friendly, helpful staff. They carry a great variety of weights and fibers. As always when travelling, I was in search of something I had never seen before - souvenir yarn. I found it in this pack of Wonderland Yarns (from Vermont). These 5 skein, 640 yard, packs of fingering weight merino came in many colour combinations but of course I chose the gradient red. This will make a luscious shawl.


The store had a shelf, marked 'FREE', of old magazines and flyers. Flipping through it I found the Spring/Summer 1987 Vogue Knitting. And I love eighties sweaters!! I offered money for it but they said they just wanted the books to go to good homes. How delightful.

This issue is a gem. Naturally, some loud colours, over sized bodies and floppy sleeves are present. But check out these lovely designs:

The cotton in this pullover reminds me of Americo's Cotton Flamme.

Cute cardigans with dresses and skirts are always a favourite.
(Side note: I tried this hairstyle in the 80's - to disastrous effect.)

Wow!. And it's cotton. I want this deep waist rib top now.

I've been looking for a simple loose pullover. I don't wear contrasting
stripes myself so I'd use a single colour while keeping the texture.
I am mad for dropped sleeves.
They are out of 'vogue' these days but are still so flattering.
Yes, this is an article by Elizabeth Zimmerman!
This magazine was truly a find. I had heard of EZ's faux seams before.
Now I have the source material.




19 May 2016

A Quick Chicago Visit


I recently had the opportunity to spend a day and a half in Chicago. My partner had a conference so I tagged along and spent a day walking my feet off in the Windy City which, thankfully, was not windy at all that day.

This is the Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park. 
Chicago seems to be very committed to its public spaces in a way that Toronto often is not. People friendly design is everywhere and there is a definite respect for existing architecture. 
The new integrates beautifully with the historical. 
I was delighted to learn that this pavilion was designed by Frank Gehry who also designed one of my favourite local spaces - The Art Gallery of Ontario.

One could spend a whole day at The Art Institute. What a magnificent museum! I only had the morning and chose to spend most of it in the European Modernism galleries.
Braque, Duchamp, Man Ray, Gris, Miro. My little Surreal heart was all aflutter.

We came across this fantastic horse sculpture in a children's park
 on E. Chicago.

Our evening walk in the park was splendid.




08 May 2016

Driving Along


Driving along the highway last weekend, I faced a dilemma. I had been working on this sock using yarn a well meaning relative gave me for Christmas. It's obviously a cheap yarn, poorly spun and with a high acrylic content. The sock is less than half done and already looks distressed. It also feels like plastic.
So, what's a knitter to do?

Despite the time and knitting already spent, I ripped the needles out and stuffed the half sock into my bag. When we arrived at our destination, I tossed the sock and remaining yarn into the nearest trash bin. Life is just too short to knit with crappy yarn.

On the way home, I cast on some wristers with some beautiful scraps i had in my bag. It was a much more satisfying drive.

And now here is a nice photo of giant yams at market.


17 April 2016

A Hat For a Boy or Yarn Is A Funny Thing


I knit this watch cap for my guy as a Christmas gift. Well, I knit this pattern. the gift cap was navy blue and worked in Cascade 220. He loves it and looks surprisingly smashing it so he wanted another in a second colour. He requested gray to match his good overcoat.

This charcoal gray version is also Cascade 220. Here's the funny thing. You'll notice the gray is slightly heathered? Well the short white fibers used to create the heathering differ from the main wool. They are coarser and slightly straighter. Consequently, the yarn of this cap behaves entirely differently from the first, navy blue, version. It is spongier, less springy. The finished product feels thicker. Both hats are very nice but isn't it remarkable that the addition of one small element makes them seem as if they were knit from completely different yarns?



09 April 2016

Contradictions

15.

You who think I find words for everything,
and you for whom I write this,
how can I show you what I'm barely
coming into possession of, invisible luggage
of more than fifty years, looking at first
glance like everyone else's, turning up
at the airport carousel
and the waiting for it, knowing what nobody
would steal must eventually come round -
feeling obsessed, peculiar, longing?


Adrienne Rich
Contradictions: Tracking Poems
Your Native Land, Your Life, 1986



30 March 2016

It Turns Out That...

...casting off in twisted rib produces a delightfully angular edge.

They are done!
The Flemish Lace Socks by Naomi Herzfeld from Lace One Skein Wonders.

...and getting your bike tuned up can be an aesthetically pleasing experience.

The bike shop in my new hood.
Nice staff and a beautiful brick wall next to a large window.
Mark one on the positive side for this place.