18 September 2016

Oh, think not I am faithful to a vow!

Ha ha! I cannot stay true. How can one possibly do so when the internet dangles such delights? Surfing blogs while bored I found that Thea Coleman, aka, Baby Cocktails is having her Fall KAL. So not only is this pattern called Jameson, my favourite whiskey, but it's also on sale for the KAL. I just happen to have a bag of aran weight Fiddlesticks in my stash that's just itching to make luscious, intriging, cables. So I had to buy the pattern and cast on right away! I just had to. I always was a flighty thing. 

Oh, think not I am faithful to a vow! 
Faithless am I save to love's self alone. 
Were you not lovely I would leave you now: 
After the feet of beauty fly my own. 
Were you not still my hunger's rarest food, 
And water ever to my wildest thirst, 
I would desert you — think not but I would! — 
And seek another as I sought you first. 
But you are mobile as the veering air, 
And all your charms more changeful than the tide, 
Wherefore to be inconstant is no care: 
I have but to continue at your side. 
So wanton, light and false, my love, are you, 
I am most faithless when I most am true. 

Edna St. Vincent Millay

13 September 2016

Modifying the Heck Out of This

I have long admired this peasant blouse pullover from a late eighties Scheepjeswol booklet. I particularly admire the yoke with the drawstring closure. 

Surely this can be updated, I'd always thought. Made more sophsticated?

The recent discovery in my stash of some silk yarn in the exact gauge as the original merino/silk of the pattern solidified my resolve.
So on with the mods!

Slim the whole thing; arms and body. Eliminate the unflattering bulk of folded over ribbing at the waist and replace with a mirror image of the yarnover row in the yoke then go straight into the garter stitch. Do the same for the sleeves and make them three quarter length. Make the yoke more shallow to get rid of all that extra fabric under the arms. Leave the bottom side seam open for a few inches and make the back a few inches longer than the front. Use a simple suede or leather cord for the drawstring.

Good plan? 

08 September 2016

About A House

Words from: Gwendolyn McEwen's House, Breakfast for Barbarians
& Theaster Gates program notes How To Build A House Museum

I live in a room. A high room in the sky. Home but not a house. I am recently obsessed with the ground & why I am not on it - physically or metaphorically.

29 August 2016

Sometimes We Say "Meh"

Not all projects are Love, Love, Love. Sometimes they are just OK.  Now the story of how I came by possession of this yarn is an amusing one. Unfortunately it's not a story I can freely share without breaking my rule to never say anything bad about someone on social media. Suffice it to say, the skein was summarily thrown at me in a melodramatic pique. And then I had new yarn.

It's beautiful yarn, this Fibre Company Canopy. Coincidentally, it is also the yarn called for in Ysolda's Veyla, a pattern I've long admired. So I cast on during the Olympics and had my Games project.

My knitting was just not up to par this time. I got terrible ladders and uneven stitches. The fit is funny. The colour is not great with my skin tone. I think maybe the origin of the yarn put bad karma on the project. Alas.

I have discovered however, that I like the project better on me when worn backwards. It's much tidier in appearance this way. So wear it backwards I will.

23 August 2016

Oh, For A Well Lit Monkey

Another challenge of the new home is "Where in the heck do I take my knit FO photos?". There are large windows on only one side so we get either full morning sun or no light at all. I can't get the depth and softness I used to easily achieve with the diffuse side light of the windows in my last place. I'm having to take over exposed morning shots and soften them with photo software (as with the sock shots below). The effect is not ideal. I guess I may need to find somewhere outdoors to shoot.

Other than that, the knitting goes very well. I finished my Olympic gloves and have swatched and cast on for a pullover. It's been far too long since I knit a garment.

Pattern: Monkey by Cookie A.
Yarn:  Manos del Uruguay Alegria

20 August 2016

Accidentally Olympian

It was never my intention to knit an Olympic project this year. However, I just happened to cast on Veyla the afternoon of the opening ceremonies and despite one huge set back where I missed ten rows and had to rip, this pair of gloves is now about 80% done. Combine that fact with an invite to watch the closing ceremonies with other knitters, and suddenly I am determined to have these complete by tomorrow night. 

19 August 2016

House Museum

Theaster Gates in his current Art Gallery of Ontario installation How To Build A House Museum, asks who has the right to have a museum created in their honor? Why are some people's houses more worthy as candidates for museums? 
It's a thought provoking, immersive installation that takes the entire upper floor of the AGO. It presents as art, urban history in a socio-economic framework & constantly re-interprets the word "house" in changing contexts. House music. The bricks of the factory that built the neighborhoods (The George Black House) . The House of Muddy Waters.
Go see this exhibit if you can.

I visited a more traditional house museum yesterday - Spadina Museum and gardens. I've posted about the fabulous gardens here before. I visit these gardens often but yesterday, I took the museum guided tour.  Basically the house was owned by a very wealthy family for a very long time and is a museum on that merit. Still, it has been beautifully preserved and restored with most of the furnishings and artwork being original and the textiles and wall coverings being painstakingly reproduced. It's all very lovely and gives one a glimpse of past Toronto as it was known by the very few. Admission to the garden is free so provides an accessible refuge to all from the summer's bustle. It's a peaceful way to spend an hour in the city.

The greenhouse is still in use.

Looking at you from the drawing room.

Fine dining indeed. The painting is the wedding portrait of the matriarch.

The conservatory with it's exotic plants - an incredible luxury.

11 August 2016

A Walk By the Lake

I have now been living in my "new" neighbourhood for six months. It's been an interesting journey. After seven years in a radically different space, the adjustment process has been lengthy and ongoing. I've gone from a residential street to a downtown tourist destination, from a second floor to a high rise, from spaciousness to "economical" living, from living alone in all my spinster ways to living (happily and gratefully) with a loving and patient partner.

My fella and I have been working at discovering our area. It actually has much to offer if you take the time to look. We go on many walks and bike rides. The other evening we wondered down to the port lands and watched the sun set over the city. It's such an underappreciated part of town with one of the best views going. Unfortunately, on our walk we saw one of those nasty development proposal boards - a sure sign that rapid change is on the way.

08 August 2016


Back in May, I wrote of casting on while travelling, with the yarn I had available in my bag. I realize now I neglected to share the results.

I had no pattern so I improvised a wrister with simple seed stitch borders and basic thumb gussets. The leftover yarn used  is the sadly discontinued local brand Painted Fleece, with which I knit these Daughter socks five years ago. It's a deliciously soft merino in beautiful tones of pink and grey. Though I made notes while knitting, I am not likely to repeat this project. It's too basic. However, I am pleased with the result and by the fact that a little improvisation and a quality yarn made a car trip so much more pleasant.

Syd supports my knitting efforts and he's so darn photogenic.

31 July 2016

Creativity: Lace and A Blog

So we are at the height of summer which often means the knitting slows waaay down. This is even more true than usual for me this year. I have knit a total of three socks since May. This bothers me. I find I am doing many familiar activities less than I used to - less reading, less drawing and writing, less exploring new ideas via the library and the internet. 
Part of the reason is location. All that porch knitting and reading I've done in years past is over simply because I no longer have a porch. My new home is very small and affords little privacy. Part of the reason is time.  Being in a relationship, while wonderful, means I have much less quiet time alone. There are many new rhythms and patterns I am still navigating in my changed living situation.

Much of the reason is simple lack of mojo. My creative drive has dulled of late and I'm not sure why. I have been peripherally aware of its niggling lack in a non-specific way but it became more apparent this morning after reading Karie Westermann's excellent blog post about taking control of your creativity. I know how necessary it is for me and my mental health to explore and to make things (like socks and blog posts). I need to re-focus and recommit to doing so and to finding the joy within that pursuit. Find the space. Find the time.

One thing that's helped is picking up again the Peacock Feathers Stole on which I have been slowly working for over two years. Lace knitting has always been a meditative act for me. It can calm my anxiety, which is very high lately. I find that knitting a few rows in the morning instead of reading the newspaper, starts my day from a much more centred place. The silk/merino yarn is beautiful in the morning light. I'm only on row 220 of the more than 600 but this project is definitely more about the process than the product.

24 July 2016

Best of the Eighties

Someone was unloading some 80's knitting magazine in a local Little Free Library box. What fun. I picked up a few for exploration. I did find the expected over-the-top hilarious big sweaters and will blog some of those later. 
However, the good ones are really, really good. Here from Fashion Knits 84, (a Patons publication) are my favourites. Stunning, timeless sweaters. They are often a bit more cropped, a little boxier, than we are used to today. The sleeves are mostly dropped rather than set-in. These are not bad things. Fashion has room for more than one type of fit.

You may have noticed that the clothes have a lot more fabric than we usually wear today. These voluminous skirts were a problem for me back then and my hips are no smaller today. I love this cardigan! I picture it with a more form fitting dress or skirt or an easy trouser.

Another beautiful cardigan, this one with a jacket shape. You could add waist shaping (or not) and wear it confidently today.