31 December 2016

Festive Hats

I made  a lovely hat for The Daughter for Christmas but wrapped it before getting a photo. What a shame. So, of course, I cast on another hat. This time it's lovely and natural wool from Topsy Farms. It is so full of lanolin that it is actually moisturizing my fingers as I knit. What could be better in the cold dry winter?

23 December 2016

Season's Greetings

 Well, winter has arrived here in Condo-land. Our favourite walk to look at the city became a glorious ice palace last week. Thankfully we are warm and safe in our little space. The groceries are in the fridge, the wine is ready, the presents are wrapped and are waiting the arrival of their recipients tomorrow. I have one more shift at work tonight and then it is officially the holidays here.

Have a joyful and peaceful holiday season my friends.

11 December 2016

A Gift Completed

Pattern: Firefly by Jennifer Hagan
The Knitter's Book of Socks
Here is the latest pair of socks blocking on water bottles. I don't usually block socks but these being the Christmas gift to the person who pays The Daughter's salary, it seemed appropriate. It really is a pretty green, isn't it?

04 December 2016

Seventies Nightie Chic

I've gotten into the habit of, when a loved piece of clothing finally wears beyond repair, clipping a swatch of the fabric to keep. So, when my favourite cotton nightshirt completely fell apart this summer I cut a square of the blue paisley from the hem for future use. I knew I wanted it to be a paper doll dress.

Examining the swatch last weekend, I was reminded of those patchwork skirts and vests the older girls wore when I was a child in the 70's. Have you seen them? They were fashioned from shades of denim and various red and blue handkerchiefs? Add gold hoop earrings and sandals. I thought those girls were so pretty.

This is my little craft homage to the style. Instead of handkerchiefs and denim, we have wrapping paper, magazine clipping, and nightie scrap. Ephemera made on a gloomy afternoon.

25 November 2016

Newsflash! Fall KAL Done Before Winter.

Jameson was done a while ago but, for the life of me, I cannot seem to get a decent picture of me wearing it. I've finally decided that it's better to post mediocre pictures rather than let the project languish undocumented even as I wear it again and again.

I love this sweater! Knit in Fiddlesticks Luscious Tweed, it's light to wear yet warm as can be. I knit the cowl loosely and with not quite the recommeded depth, so it falls nicely forward or to the side if I please. My only complaint is the width. It blocked out wider than I anticipated and with the waist shaping, that means it flairs out too much in the hip area. Thus the sweater is unflattering on me when worn with fuller skirts. On skirts with no gathers, such as the one in this picture, it goes beautifully. If I were to knit it again, I might leave the shaping out and slim it just a touch, maybe 4 stitches in total.

It's been a long time since I knit a pullover. I find I get bored with sweater size projects and my attention gets drawn by other new and shiny accessory projects. This time I buckled down and stayed monogamous. The cables kept it interesting and then the finishing was fast and easy. Great pattern!
Here's hoping I get a good photo of it someday.

11 November 2016

As the Mist Leaves No Scar

As the mist leaves no scar
On the dark green hill,
So my body leaves no scar
On you, nor ever will.

When wind and hawk encounter,
What remains to keep?
So you and I encounter,
Then turn, then fall to sleep.

As many nights endure
Without a moon or star, 
So will we endure
When one is gone and far.

Leonard Cohen
The Spice-Box of Earth 

27 October 2016

Sock Yarn. Darn.

Cute pun in the title, right? No? Ah well.

Hiilarity ensued at the LYS on Tuesday. The Daughter has asked me, once again, to knit socks for a friend as a Christmas gift. Crikey. Of course I said yes, because I love pressure.

As I was passing the LYS that day, I texted her. Why don't I snap a few photos and she can tell me which yarn to buy? What colours does the friend like? 
Green, pink, purple and gray? I grab every solid and semi solid of those colours (except gray. I just can't knit to deadline with gray) and start snapping.

Well after much texting back and forth and photo taking, we had it narrowed down to these two. My feet hurt. I'm hot, I want to go home for tea. She is taking forever to decide and respond.
So I tell her that I am buying them both and she can decide later. The leftover one can be socks for her.
"Yes please!", she responds. 

21 October 2016

My Cute Accessories Are Condiments

There is an interesting discussion going on in the comment section at Knitted Bliss. Her post about not participating in Slow Fashion October has obviously struck a nerve with many. Socio-economic privilege, aspiration "hipster" blogging, and yarn snobbery are all being discussed. Head over there to read the many fascinating comments. I especially enjoyed the link to Bristol Ivy's Instagram post on the subject.

The blogger comment I love the most states that she is,
"getting tired of seeing the same type of pics every single day: beautiful yarn with cute accessories around, or the legs stretched out on a beautiful blanket or couch, knitting."
I know exactly how she feels.

Well. Miss Agnes, here is my response: Me in my natural habitat - the local diner with a pint, a plate of food, maybe a book or two and, of course, knitting. The food is plentiful and cheap. The yarn was on sale. There are sports on the TV with the volume turned down so the gentleman in the corner can read his paper. The waitress knows my beer and brings it without being asked. I was a regular fixture there for years and no one thought it was odd to see an older single woman knitting away on a Friday night. When told him I was moving, the fellow at the cash, who always calls me My Dear, said to make sure to come back and visit. And I do. The other day I had errands in the neighbourhood so my Fall KAL Jamenson sweater and I lunched at my usual table.

18 October 2016


Don't you just love wool? With the cooler weather, a knitter's fancy turns to woolen cardigans. Well, this knitter anyway. 

No, I haven't abandoned my promise to stay true to the Jameson pullover. However, I picked up this traditionally Canadian Briggs and Little Regal a few weeks back at Romni Wools. It is to be my future Mary Mead. Anyway, on Sunday we were browsing the local antique market when I came across these vintage buttons. The gold painted glass is going to be a perfect compliment to the off-white wool. This happy find gives me even more inspiration to get through the Baby Cocktails KAL and onto my next project. It's all sweaters here these days.

07 October 2016

A Beach, A Channel, Cables

With the passing of time, if one is lucky, or at least trying hard enough, one gets to know oneself. What I know is that when I get antsy and start to feel trapped, I need to get out, out, out. I forget this sometimes and let the negativity build up to a toxic level. Then it comes back to me - feet tramping on earth, air in lungs, open space - that's what I need. 

We have been blessed with unseasonably warm weather here in the city. It's October? Really?  So, yesterday, in a just a t-shirt, my favourite skirt, and a pair of sneakers. my bike, my knitting and I went for a wander.

30 September 2016


I am so enjoying working Jameson's thick satisfying cables. As the weather cools here in Toronto, it is the perfect kind of knitting to be doing.

26 September 2016

Homeless Heart

Homeless Heart

When I think of finishing the work, when I think of the finished work, a great sadness overtakes me, a sadness paradoxically like joy. The circumstances of doing put away, the being of it takes possession, like a tenant in a rented house. Where are you now, homeless heart? Caught in a hinge, or secreted behind drywall, like your nameless predecessors now that they have been given names? Best not to dwell on our situation, but to dwell in it is deeply refreshing. Like a sideboard covered with decanters and fruit. As a box kite is to a kite. The inside of stumbling. The way to breath. The caricature on the blackboard.

John Ashbery, Quick Question
ecco Harper Collins, 2012

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.

19 July 2016

Sunshine Kitty

The cat sure loves this sock in progress. Do you think it's because the colour of this Manos Alegria is in the same family as his own? Or is it because the project is lying in the morning sun spot? While I'd like to believe the former, I am pretty sure it is the latter.


Yawn and roll.


04 July 2016


Well, this happened! I marched in my first Pride parade in solidarity with our LGBT sisters and brothers. The workers' right group for which I volunteer had a float and I got to wear the balloons!

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