15 August 2017

Cocina Clean


So, the moths came back. 

On Saturday we finally had to admit that our old bed with its dark rickety drawers was just a moth hotel. We may as well have sent them embossed invitations to stay as long as they like. So my partner went at it, almost gleefully, with a hammer. Then we cleaned and laundered EVERYTHING. The vacuum and washing machine were in constant use all weekend.
A quick trip to Ikea later and we now have a simple metal bed stand covered in sparkly clean mattress cover, sheets and duvet. Underneath are sealable plastic drawers full of fresh clothing.


To reward ourselves for a job well done, we went to our favourite little Mexican Cocina for salsa verde and guacamole. To get there you have to bypass the expensive tourist traps and long lines of our hood, then go four blocks north to the little house with the cute patio. It's pretty much heaven there. Fresh tortilla with five sauces, lots of limes, magical rice and beans. Food and wine always taste better after labour, especially when shared. Don't you agree?


06 August 2017

Staycation and Good News

We are very lucky here in Toronto in that there is so much to do, especially in the summer. My partner and I are taking Stay-cation this week and we've done so many lovely things together, many of them free. We rode our bikes to my old neighbourhood of High Park on one day and up the street to Allan Gardens on another. We caught a play at Soulpepper Theatre (definitely not free but worth the price). We drove to Elora to look at the Gorge. Yesterday we walked to the local farmer's market where we bought our entire dinner, meat, veg and potatoes, from local sources. It's been a grand time. Admittedly, a  couple of days we spent lazing about doing nothing and that's been nice too!


Allan Gardens has been around since 1910. It's open all year providing a tropical oasis in the centre of the city.

"There's sometimes an egret in this pond," I said as we turned the corner of the bike path into High Park. And there it was! We watched it fish for several minutes until it caught a snack. 


I visited Taste of Regent Park on Wednesday as part of the local chapter of The Fight for $15 and Fairness. It was Bollywood Night. I had a delicious meal prepared by community members and bought some pea shoots from these young enterprising gardeners. This event continues every Wednesday for the rest of the summer. Come if you can!

And finally, good news! I found my missing sock. I had a chill last night and put on a hoodie. My heart soared to discover that the lump in the pocket was the dearly missed sock. Now how did it get in there?

30 July 2017

Sunday Swatching


It was a quiet Sunday afternoon at home after a late and silly night. While my lover napped I, having a little more energy than he, decided to take advantage of the peace by practicing my knitting technique. I got out my old stitch dictionary and cast-on to learn two colour Jacquard.

HOLY MOLY!! Who knew it could be this easy? This is honestly one of the simplest things I have ever done. Look at how amazing and complicated it appears. Just look at it!!

The bottom inch is Bicolour Half Linen Stitch and the top half is Bicolour Brick.

Now, how to incorporate such magic into my actual knitting?

All these effects are achieved by knitting with a single colour in a row
using various combos of knits, purls and slipped stitches.

I picked up this 1978 French publication at a second hand shop for 50 cents.
What a find.

26 July 2017

At Least I Have A Photo


Remember this lovely sock.?
Well it is no more. That is, to specify, it is no more in my possession. Yesterday it did an unobserved leap out my bag and no amount of looking could locate it. 
I am so mad I could just spit.

08 July 2017

So Many Socks

It seems that all my recent FO's have been socks.Yes, I am using stash and experimenting with new techniques. Yes, of course i love socks! However, there may be too much of a good thing - especially as it's summer and wool socks are not needed. After the current pair, my Business Casual in Orange Octopus, I shall make something other than footwear. 

So many patterns. So little time.

I worried at first that the criss-cross cable pattern would not be highlighted sufficiently with this variegated yarn. Now I think it's just fine. The effect is subtle, but definitely there.

I had fun shooting the Scrappy Socks about town. The bright colour photographed so well!
Here they are at the garden centre the day I was shopping for herbs.

The photo shoot that ended up on my Ravelry page was impromptu. I passed a gorgeous brick nook while out on my bike on a sunny day. I kicked off my sneakers, set the 10 second delay, and got several good shots of my own feet.

25 June 2017

In the Shadow of a Dream



Imagine being found
on a morning like this
in the fragrance of spring rain
every sense a painful
happiness breathing
on a morning like this
a little lonely a little dazed
eyes still filled
with longing and dreams

To see you walk through
a veil of fog and gates of rain
to meet me this morning
with a glance that says
that I am seen and found
for as long as forever

Ulrikka S. Gernes
A Sudden Sky
Brick Books 2001



14 June 2017

Distractions Part II

Sometimes I just need to get my creative juices flowing by playing with my dolls. Here they are trying on some summer outfits. 



12 June 2017

Distractions


Do you ever feel, as I sometimes do, a little guilty about all those WIP's waiting for attention? I am trying, really I am, to finish the lace stole I started over two years ago. Well, maybe it was actually three years. 

How can one sit down and apply oneself when there are distractions like the Pompom Anniversary issue hitting the shelves? I ordered a copy as a birthday gift to myself and the store called the other day to say it was in. There are so many beautiful things I want to cast on. Right. Now.

However, I am only on Row 258 of the approximately 600 required to finish this lace project. Quiet opportunities to knit complex lace are few and when they do come along, I find I only manage 8 to 10 rows in a sitting. 

I am making a pact with myself. No new projects until I hit Row 310 and also finish the current pair of socks. This seems a reasonable goal. Then, who knows what delights await?


Another stole seems silly but this one by Thea Coleman is so beautiful.

A sideways sweater would be a new challenge.

09 June 2017

Another Birthday


The planet did another year rotation and I had another birthday. To celebrate we went on a spa trip to an inn not far from here. The spa experience was admittedly a little disappointing. It was far too crowded which caused me to have a "moment". Thankfully, my lovely and patient partner was there to get me quickly out. I love that I can so thoroughly trust him to help me when I need it. What a beautiful gift. I still marvel at having such reliable love in my life and am grateful every day.
Our best experiences of our overnight visit were away from the main building: visiting the stables and gardens, sitting on the deck outside our room watching the moon rise, walking down the road to see the neighbouring sheep farm. 
Yes, I said sheep!


The garden grooming achieved a planned, yet not too formal look.

Watch out for the working sheep dogs! Though we never felt  in danger, they aggressively defended their flock. We knew to keep our distance.

Wonderful to breathe the fresh, foliage scented, air.

Shortly before we left, I finished my scrappy socks. They are quite delightful, looking even better than I had hoped they would. The knitting is fast but the weaving in of ends is slow. It's a good balance that makes a great sock. I plan to make more like this.



30 May 2017

More Knitwear in Fashion Ads


The use of knitwear in fashion ads always catches my eye. This striking black and white ad is for the bag. However, the texture of that chunky knit sweater really stands out and contributes to the overall success of the shot. In photography, as in life, sometimes you need bold texture to make your point. I love this photo both as a composition and as a look.


To be honest I know Michael Kors mostly as a judge on Project Runway. This ad is actually for the crochet dress and I'm not sure how I feel about it. Hey! Bring back hippie crochet dresses (and tops and bikinis even). But that colour? With the girly hair and boring shoes? Perhaps it's just the over the top flowery, "feminine" styling that's putting me off. On the street, worn by a confident funky young woman, this might work. Big jewelry maybe? Boots? Would that help? Definitely lose the guy in the white pants and ugly sandals.

28 May 2017

Sunday Outing

I couldn`t sleep the other night. At one in the morning I found myself sitting at the dining table, playing computer solitaire. Then I heard sirens. Then I smelled something. Leaning over the balcony I saw why. A huge fire was burning in the port lands - a 6 alarm blaze as we later learned. The garbage and recycling transfer station was completely engulfed. I debated waking my partner then decided I`d better as he`d never see such a thing again. The two of us watched the building disappear as dozen of emergency vehicles clearly were engaged in containing - not stopping - the blaze.


This morning, and a beautiful morning it was, we rode our bikes down to survey the damage. The tallest building in the above photo is ours. This is what`s left of a warehouse that was a block in size.


Amazing. Without taking a step I can see this, my favourite view of the city. I just turn on my heels and face slightly more west.


We continued south to Cherry Beach and then to the Spit. The water is record breaking high this spring. The morning was cool, sunny and just windy enough to make nature dance. Our legs were pleasantly tired when we returned home.



22 May 2017

New Socks in the City


Trying to take a project shot of just my feet, I failed miserably and got this instead. I suppose the camera was too far away and on the wrong setting. This slightly blurred shot of a windblown me is the result. Interesting. It's fascinating what you look like when you think you're not being photographed. I'm actually quite fond of this "mistake" picture.


This is my version of Cookie A.'s Kelp. The pattern as written has a stitch count that varies from 60 to 90 stitches. I eliminated the final increase row of the repeat (and consequently one of the decrease rows). So my wave pattern is shorter, has less width and stretch, and is, dare I say, tidier looking than the original?. I am very happy with this knit. It's one of those patterns that looks complicated but actually knits up super fast. 

It's nice to have another pair of solid colour socks in the wardrobe. As much as I love beautiful variegated yarn, I find the solids to be much more versatile and easier to wear with my clothes which tend to have a lot of pattern already.

17 May 2017

Bits and Pieces


The recent Ravelry post about scrap yarn projects and the beautiful socks featured there, confirmed my long held suspicion that I should be gathering my leftovers and making something fantastic. These socks in progress are being knit with the remains of five previous warm-toned pairs. Aren't they gorgeous? They're knitting up super fast too as they are just stocking stitch with two pearl rows down the front. The Daughter saw me working on them, declared them hers and said I should definitely make more like this. Good thing I have a pile of blue/greens waiting to in the wings for myself.


Here we have my favourite acquisition from the Knitters' Frolic charity magazine sale this year. It's the 1987 Knitters special lace edition. It cost the large sum of fifty cents! I picked it up late in the day and can't believe no one grabbed it earlier - especially as it features Elizabeth Zimmerman's first publication of her famous Pi Shawl pattern. I am currently stash diving to make one. It's about time I added this bucket list pattern to my repertoire.  



07 May 2017

Frolic and Fade

Last weekend was the annual Knitter's Frolic here in Toronto. It was, as always a glorious social occasion. How wonderful to spend time catching up with everyone. Since I am no longer an organizer of the TTC Knitalong, I don't see some of these folks near often enough.

West Ridge Fingering.
80% Organic Merino, 20% nylon
The unofficial theme of this year's market place was colour transition. There were so many booths featuring gradual ombre yarns in wool, cotton and silk. There were also a number of vendors who had assembled kits to make this season's hottest shawl, Find Your Fade.

I unintentionally created my own fade when shopping at West Ridge Yarn. While holding my three favourite skeins of fingering weight, trying to decide which to buy, I realized they look amazing together. The vendor agreed with me so I bought all three. I just love the blush, almost chalky, colours the dyer achieves. This coral and green combo is destined to be some sort of colour blocked wrap. "Like a Color Affection but not a Color Affection", as I said at the time. 

Orange Octopus 80% Superwash merino, 20% nylon
Colour:  Galena
My other Frolic purchase was a single skein of Orange Octopus from Stix & Stones. This wonderful looking little store is in North Bay! For those of you unfamiliar with Ontario, that's waaay North. One of the things I love especially about the Frolic is the chance to discover wonderful new vendors like this who carry things I've never seen before. This yarn with it's umber,  blue and beige tones is perfect for The Daughter and will be her next socks. I'm thinking Tanis' Business Casual is simple enough to highlight the yarn while still being an interesting knit.

Sid agrees that the yarn looks yummy.

01 May 2017

Made Because I Am A Maker

Enough sadness. April brought much loss and I used my blog to help deal with it. One could argue that a blog - originally a knit blog - is no place for such things but, heck, it`s my blog. I can do as I like with it.

Take your broken heart and turn it into art.


And then I knit a pretty thing. This was done a few weeks ago. It`s my second go at the Wild Plum Shawlette, in a heavier and more brightly coloured yarn than the first. You can see the error I made in the above photo. The needles used for the bottom border (the cast-on edge) were too small. Thus, the border pulls a bit. I love the colour here but am disappointed with my construction. Yet, as spring is here, it is too warm to wear a mohair shawl anyway. I have a suspicion that next fall, when I pull this out again, I will like it much better.



29 April 2017

Second Verse for Bill

Completion is hard.
In a story or a poem, everyone starts with the understanding that
This is just a piece. A thought. A snapshot.
In a novel they expect an ending.
When you are writing a novel you have to decide
Where to stop. Though there is no ending really. The story
Always goes on. Even after every one of your characters dies,
Someone or something else
Continues.

After the show but before the babies
And long before we knew we could die
suddenly or otherwise,
you kissed me for the second time
under the streetlight by your apartment.
When you pulled away, you were smiling that gap toothed smile
that you never did get fixed.
We would always recognize you, you knew
by the space between your teeth.

Before long and longing and long before social media
could tell me you were gone
there was a streetlight and me on my bike.
Beer happy and twenty-five.
Facing home.
You OK? you asked and meant it.
Oh, don't worry about me. It's downhill from here.
I'll just point
and coast.

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.