30 December 2011


Yes, the Daughter Christmas cardi fit like a dream and she loves it!  Now I just need to get her to stand still long enough in natural light to be photographed.  Soon, I hope.
In the meantime, I hope everyone had a peaceful holiday. Christmas day here this year was spent quietly with just the two of us, a vegetarian lasagna, and five hours of Harry Potter.  The last two movies were one of the kid's gifts and we watched them back to back.  I've seen the darn things three times in the theatre and I still sob like a teenager when Dobby the elf dies.  Oops.  Did I spoil it?  You do know that Dobby dies, don't you?

As is my annual tradition, I did a bit of Boxing Day yarn shopping. Some Berroco Alpaca at Knitomatic, some Cascade 220 Heathers at Romni.  I like to spread my financial expenditures around.  I bought enough of the Cascade to make this:
It's Agatha by Andi Satterlund.  I knit her free pattern Miette last year and loved both the process and the product.  A cleverly written pattern that's easy to follow and produces a gorgeous garment?  Who could ask for more? I jumped at purchasing this, her next cardigan pattern.  I think this gal has the potential to be one of the next big things in sweater design.
So, I've been waiting for the sales to purchase a sweater's worth of yarn. Did I mention that it only takes 5 skeins?
This turquoise is a little brighter than my usual palette but I think it will suit the fifties vintage feel of Agatha beautifully. It will also work well as a spring cardigan and will match many of my dresses.  Can't wait to cast on!.

22 December 2011

The Home Stretch

Christmas gift #1 , a Damson for my friend, is pinned out on the dining table drying.
Christmas gift #2 (the above Daughter cardigan) is blocked, seamed, and just needs a collar and the buttons sewn on.
Christmas gift #3, a dish cloth for my sister, is postponed due to the nephew being too ill to receive guests.
So, I'll make it.  
The Daughter claims never to read this blog so I have no qualms about posting this partial view picture of her gift.  I so look forward to photographing her wearing the darn thing.  Oh my goodness! I hope it fits!

18 December 2011

Kids These Days

So, I told The Daughter that I'm thinking of trying online dating in the new year.  She offered to take my profile photo.

14 December 2011

Tree is Up

We raised the tree this past Saturday - a few days earlier than usual but The Daughter was returning to her Dad's the next day so it was either Saturday or just two days before Christmas.  We chose to buy from one of the local fruit markets that sells trees from their side patio where they sell plants and veggies in the summer. Standing between two rows trying to choose, we suddenly heard a soft "Hello, Hello."  It felt briefly like a Christmas miracle with talking trees until we noticed the proprietor emerging from the shadows.  He's a small, pleasant, Asian man. Soft spoken and shorter than me, he hoisted our chosen evergreen onto our cart as if was no heavier than a feather.

Arriving home we discovered that the lower trunk of our pretty Christmas tree was misshapen and had a lumpy bit sticking out of one side.  No way would it fit into our stand!  I made a quick trip down to the Landlord's garage and came back with a saw and a big pair of tree branch pruners.  We would not be defeated! I sawed and The Daughter clipped and soon we had a sawdust strewn carpet and a gorgeous upright Christmas tree. Boy did we feel robust and accomplished!
Our tree is beautiful indeed.  Every year I say it's better than last year's and every year that's true.  However, I'm getting an extra little kick this year from our dining table centre piece.  Recently, a neighbour was throwing out some  slightly faded vintage ornaments. We pocketed the nicest ones and brought them home.  They don't really match our other tree ornaments, being too large and the wrong colours.  So, I arranged them in a salad bowl and placed them on the table.  Ooo Shiny.

11 December 2011


In the old, scratched, cheap wood of the typing stand
there is a landscape, veined, which only a child can see
or the child's older self, a woman dreaming when she should be typing
the last report of the day.   If this were a map, 
she thinks, a map laid down to memorize
because she might be walking it, it shows
ridge upon ridge fading into hazed desert,
here and there a sign of aquifers
and one possible watering-hole.   If this were a map
it would be the map of the last age of her life,
not a map of choices but a map of variations 
on the one great choice.  It would be the map by which
she could see the end of touristic choices,
of distances blued and purpled by romance, 
by which she would recognize that poetry
isn't revolution but a way of knowing
why it must come.   If this cheap, massproduced
wooden stand from the Brooklyn Union Gas Co.,
massproduced yet durable, being here now,
is what it is yet a dream-map
so obdurate, so plain,
she thinks, the material and the dream can join
and that is the poem and that is the late report.

Adrienne Rich
Time's Power, 1987

02 December 2011

Friday Night Knitting

That's right.  It's Friday and I turned down all those fabulous invitations so I could stay home and knit.  Sexy and in demand am I. Thank goodness for Drunken Knitting next week so I can have a small social life.
Above is the progress on the entrelac scarf.  As a non-Christmas gift, it's been temporarily laid aside so more pressing projects can get completed.

27 November 2011

Eastward Ho

I took the long, long, (for me) streetcar ride east to the The Purple Purl today.  I was in search of gifting yarn.  A few months back I purchased some lovely Malabrigo Sock in the colour Archangel because it reminde me of a friend and I thought it would make a lovely shawl for her. I soon discovered that I had once again fallen victim to the Siren call of the handpaint.  Looks great on the skein, horrible as a shawl.  The colour repeats are just too short and the changes too abrupt for this dye lot to look good in any type of side to side knitting.  So, I'm doing an entrelac scarf and it looks fine.  It just no longer reminds me of my friend.  So today I purchased the much more tonal Stonechat colourway.  I'm thinking it will be either another Damson or a Shetland Triangle.  Whatever I decide, I'd better hurry.  Christmas approaches and I haven't even completed The Daughter's cardigan yet!

20 November 2011

Problem Solved

I clipped the Koigu girl from the ad inside and pasted her over the offending cover.  She's a lovely girl and the red shawl is much more "holiday." Inside, I pasted pretty pictures from the Anthropologie catalogue over the article.  My daughter often accuses me of over reacting, getting too bothered by silly things.  This is perhaps one of those cases but I just couldn't let it go. I keep my knitting magazines forever and could not bear the thought of looking at that face every time I pulled this issue off the shelf.

17 November 2011

Working Cuts Into My Knitting Time

Yes, it's been a long absence. I started a new job (finally!) and have been engulfed in all that that entails.  There's the new schedule to which I have had to adjust not to mention all the emotional conflict.  I've been really struggling with the the dichotomy of being grateful to finally have a job and the disappointment of having had to take work in the same old industry where the hours are crappy, the pay is low, you are always overworked and absolutely everybody craps on you all the time.  I'm making less money now than I was making ten years ago and it sure doesn't help when family tries to placate with empty expressions like, "A job's a job", or "Oh well, it's the economy."  Anyway, my co-workers are nice and my immediate boss is great.  That goes a long way in the adjustment process.

So, basically, I just haven't felt much like blogging.  Until today.  I picked up the latest Vogue Knitting on my lunch break.  Let me start by saying that the patterns in the issue are stellar.  A particular favourite is the V for Vintage  lace blouse.  It's a re-working of a 1965 pattern and I can totally see myself both knitting and wearing this beautiful garment.
However.  I cannot let the cover go un-remarked upon.  Martha fucking Stewart?  On the cover of Vogue Knitting?  What the hell is going on?  I see from the two page ad inside that she is launching a line of ugly craft yarn with Lion Brand (ugh).  Is that any reason for VK to sell it's soul to this corporate meanie?  She has nothing to do with either being Vogue or knit fashion.  I am so offended by her smirking face that I considered not buying the issue.  I may still cut off the cover.  I'm definitely removing the article about her.  Come on VK!  Isn't this your holiday issue?  Where's the beautifully styled and photographed unknown model wearing irresistible knitwear? This gal above would have made a great cover.

23 October 2011

Sunny Sunday

After two weeks of clouds and drizzle, we finally had a  sunny autumn day. It was the perfect weather for a long walk in the park wearing new woolies.  In fact, my walk was very long indeed as I took a wrong turn ending up lost, not for the first time, in the maze of High Park's trails.  I came out much further north than intended and had to double back.

These gloves are actually re-purposed socks.  The lovely Daughter threw them in the laundry not realizing that this Stoddart Family farm mohair/wool blend is not machine washable.  The soles of the socks did not survive. I love this yarn too much to abandon it and there was a bit left.  So I salvaged the cuffs and added and inch of ribbing with thumb and improvised index finger openings.  Cool, right?

19 October 2011

Renovation Sadness

Today I am sad because I am mourning a building.  I went down the fire escape this morning, heading for work and discovered that the lovely red brick garage, beside which I have posed for many a knitting shot, has been destroyed.  The landlord has had it stuccoed and it is now a nondescript flat beige.  Whatever possessed him?    The old brick was not crumbling and insulation is not the issue (it's a garage after all). These are the only good reasons I know of to stucco over brick.  The side of the house is stucco so perhaps he wanted it to be matchy-poo.
I don't understand some people's compulsion to replace anything old and that has colour and character with blah, blah, flat and pale.  There's an illusion of clean that they see as "better".  They pave over grass, lay beige carpet over hardwood and stucco over beautiful brick.  And you just know that in a couple of years, this "improvement" is going to look like hell.
My landlord is a lovely man.  He's always been kind to me.  However, he has dropped the ball in a big way on this one.

12 October 2011

For Me?

The Daughter recently went on a trip with her Dad to Reykjavik, Iceland and because she loves her old mum so much, she brought back yarn.  It's 5 skeins of Alafoss Lopi direct from the land of the traditional Icelandic sweater.  I just love how the red, purple and teal bits are spun into the beautiful dark blue.  This a truly woolly wool.  Yet, I find myself pondering what one makes with Lopi besides a traditional Icelandic sweater?  A hat, maybe?

08 October 2011

Day 7 - Yellow

Naturally, I couldn't resist this tree on yellow ribbon day.No, it is not an oak but it is spectacular.  If, like me, you are old enough to have fond memories of the Tony Orlando & Dawn television show, here is a musical trip down memory lane for you.

07 October 2011

Day 6 - Blue

Blue skies today!

Day 5 - Red

Red has so many meanings in our culture,  It is the colour of royalty, of blood and war and of sex.  It is also red heart coloured Love.  In the spirit of positivity, it is on the Love that I have decided to focus.

I love my beautiful and sweet calico cats.  Every day they bring me joy.

I love that High Park is rehabilitating the marsh lands.  Now you can see swans, ducks and several kinds of heron here.  Blackbirds are plentiful as well.

I love this approach along the bike path going downtown each morning.  When there's a bit of wind, the boats are all swaying attractively.

I love locking my bike (double locking actually) outside my workplace on my favourite rack.

05 October 2011

Day 4 - Orange

Orange like the marigolds I planted in spring alongside the tomatos.  They're supposed to keep the bugs away.  Well, they didn't work against the slugs but now, in October, when the tomato plants are long gone, these flowers are prettier than ever.

Naturally, being a Torontonian and a Canadian, I can't think of orange without thinking of the NDP and especially of our beloved Jack Layton.  Did you know he helped design and implement the use of the now familiar ring and post bike racks?

Day 3 - Green

Green you say?  There lots of green in my hood!

04 October 2011

Day 2 - Pink

"Pink as autumnal blush", said the email.
Alas, it rained and rained on Sunday and I had to take the streetcar to work.  Irony.

Ribbons 2011 - Day 1

Can you believe it's October already?  With the first seven days of October comes the Ribbon Project - the interactive art project in which I've participated for the last several years.  The email arrives in September and I always say yes.  Then, suddenly, October 1st has arrived and I find myself wandering about with a purse full of camera and coloured ribbons.
This year October 1st fell on a Saturday and the organizer, Hannah Godfrey, chose a ribbon colour we've never before used - black.  I had a few lengths of black tie-line in the drawer. I carried them with me throughout the day.  However, nothing I saw wanted a black marker. What can black ribbon do?  Mark a spot of mourning?  Tie off cable to a grid in a theatre?  These were the only two images that came to me.  As I wasn't feeling particularly mournful, and I was no where near a lighting grid, my ribbons remained untied.
And thus was my theme for this year's project born.  Using the colour of the ribbon to inspire the marking.

25 September 2011

A Hedgehog For Your Thoughts?

Now that the lovely Meredith has had her baby shower, I can reveal the knitted portion of my gift.  It's another Smith by Ysolda, and yes, it is in purple again. This one is smaller than my first as it's knitted in sock yarn.  That's the beauty of this toy.  The stich count always remains the same.  The size is determined by yarn and needle choice.  This version is just the right size to be cupped in baby hands.

Hedgie takes a stroll down the street and admires the foliage.
He does his best squash imitation.
The local library offers many fine reading choices for a young hedgehog.
Chillaxin' in the grass.

14 September 2011

Little Green Socks

Just in time for the cooler weather I've finished a a pair of socks.  In fact, I'm wearing them right now!
These lace socks are a slightly simplified version of a pattern published in the Vogue Holiday 2009 issue. I just loved this merino/nylon blend from The Black Lamb in Port Hope.  I've always wanted to visit the shop in person.  Anybody for a road trip?

And...speaking of Little Green...enjoy.

12 September 2011

Coloured Water

The other strange purchase of this year's CNE (Canadian National Exhibition for you non-Ontarians) was a packet of these strange water beads.  They come in a tiny envelope, each ball no larger than a seed bead.  After being soaked in water they turn into these soft translucent spheres.  Completely useless yet oh so lovely. I've no idea how they work and hope they don't give me cancer. 

08 September 2011

Haven't Done A Silly Test In A Long Time

You Are Reflective and Thoughtful

You are most comfortable when you are mixing things up a little bit. You like novelty in small doses.

You are drawn to passion and emotion. You see the world as a colorful place.

You seek a bit more depth in your life, but you are slowly changing. You don't like to rush anything.

You believe that if you look closely enough at people, they all have worth.

01 September 2011

Incremental Knitting Progress

My knitting has been sporadic and unfocused of late.  I cast on the Peacock Stole with yarn and pattern purchased at the most recent Frolic.  This is definitely not a TV knit.  Charts, charts, charts!  Fine lace weight and detailed stitches - the kind of knit you can really sink your teeth into.  By my calculation, there are about 800 rows in this stole and, several weeks in, I've completed only seventy-five.  It's a good thing I don't have a deadline.

I also completed Gryffindor Scarf  Number 2 and it has been gifted to The Daughter's friend.  As I mentioned before, working 8 feet of stocking stitch tube is immensely dull and I've vowed to never do another.  Naturally, those types of vows crumble easily with pleading looks from young Harry Potter fans.  One aspect of the experience I most definitely will not repeat is the use of the superwash version of Cascade 220.  Romni was out of regular in the needed colours.  I purchased the Superwash thinking only that it was more expensive but would likely knit up the same.  Wrong.  The yarn feels strangely unpleasant in the hand and blocks differently than the straight wool.  The scarf edge doesn't hold as crisply and the surface has a decidedly plastic-like texture, even after soaking.  I comfort myself knowing that the care of the scarf will be easier which is a good thing when giving a garment to a non-knitter.

I'm also slogging through a case of second sock syndrome and swatching samples for Daughter Christmas knitting.  Focus needed.

28 August 2011

Hello Dolly

OK, it's no secret that I like dolls but I may have gone too far this time.  Even the normally tolerant Daughter asked,
"Why did you buy those?", when she spotted them on the credenza.
Well I just couldn't help it!  They crack me up. I was at the CNE and there was a whole booth wall of these key chain sized girls on display, all with various dress and hair styles. This was my favourite version so I got one in each colour she came in.  They make me laugh every time I look at them and, at $2.00 each, I'd say that's a pretty good deal.

There is also some knitting related doll news.  I  used up a scrap of Tanis Blue Label the other evening to knit this tube dress from the Sticka Till Barbie website.  It took the length of a DVD to make from start to finish.  Very cute.

22 August 2011

R.I.P. Jack Layton

"My friends, love is better than anger. 
Hope is better than fear.
 Optimism is better than despair." - Jack Layton

19 August 2011

Night Pool

More from my late night walk.

Sunset on Thursday

From Sunnyside Beach, looking West.

10 August 2011

An Equine Outing

This Sunday past we headed toward Guelph for another visit to The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada.  It was a perfect summer day for a farm outing.  The Daughter and I along with my sister, her son and her partner, enjoyed meeting and petting Katy, Peter, Summer, Poppy, Luna and all the other rescued animals that make their happy home at the sanctuary.
Snuggling Sam

It's a feeding frenzy!

A quiet moment between Donkey & Girl

The Daughter expresses her frustration that her adopted donkey Earl Grey, won't take his nose out of the feed and say hello.  He ate for over an hour without a break.  As a formerly abused and neglected animal, I'd say it's his right to eat as much as he likes.  You go Earl!

What a beautiful place.

05 August 2011

This Rose Finally Blooms

The seemingly simple sweater that took two years,  Pullovers are tough, aren't they?  Stocking stitch around and around.  Gets rather dull.  Combine that with a mathematically challenged pattern and awkward construction techniques and the result is this lovely Americo cotton project spending months in a bag under the bedroom chair. It was this close to being complete about 6 months ago when there was a seaming mishap that could only be fixed by ripping and a bit of cutting.  Frustration ensued.  Back in the bag.  
Well, this morning I finally pulled it out, seamed as best I could and wove in all the ends.  It doesn't suck.  There's still some funky stuff going on under the arm but it will do.  Deets on Ravelry.
I do like this weirdly blurry photo.  I'm not sure why it turned out like this.  A happy accident.

01 August 2011

Bogged Down

Knitting another Harry Potter Gryffindor scarf. This one for The Daughter's BFF.
So. Very. Boring.

18 July 2011

Soft Green Lacey Goodness

I cast on a new pair of socks yesterday and of course, cannot leave a pattern alone.  It's the Lace Socks from Holiday 2009 Vogue.  The pattern has four separate panels of lace and is quite stunning in the solid yarn pictured in the magazine.  The 60 stitches are divided into repeats of 4, 13, the same 4 again and 9. However, that much lace was not doing justice to this tonal dyed merino.  It was far too busy.  I'm more committed to the yarn than the pattern so I ripped out the 20 rows I had done and simplified the pattern by eliminating the 9 stitch lace panel.  I've maintained the seed stitch up the centre where the gusset will eventually split, but have converted the remaining 4 + 4 into stocking stitch.  It's made both the yarn and the remaining lace look much better.

06 July 2011

Too Hot for A Cardigan

I finished my spring cardigan just in time for the first heat wave of summer!  Here I am looking all arty modelling in the yard.  Really, I'm just trying not to grimace in the heat.  I will be getting immediate use out it however.  My Wednesday night class takes place in a room so heavily air conditioned that it's practically Arctic.  An excellent cardigan opportunity.

It's lovely isn't it?  I'm particularly proud of the fact that I altered this Drops Design pattern so extensively to fit my size and gauge, that it almost feels like an original. Almost. There are more details about that as well as additional photos,  on my Ravelry page.