Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Our partial eclipse

We have a deck on our top floor, too hot and sunny to ever sit on... So we sat on it for a couple of hours on Monday to enjoy the sun! 

I took this picture as the eclipse excitement was winding down, but it shows you the set-up for the other pictures. We have Stephen in the shade with his eclipse glasses on -- just for show; he didn't wear them all the time! The contraption in front of him is a little telescope on a tripod. The bottom of the Macbook Air box is a screen and the top, which the telescope pokes through, shields it from excess light. 


So what we get is an image through the telescope on the bottom screen! You will enjoy seeing the green masking tape holding a piece of white paper in place... And here we go...

1:21 pm

1:33

1:42

1:52

1:57

2:03

2:06 

2:12

2:18

2:33

2:38 

2:46

2:51

2:54

 3 pm, getting fuzzy as the sun goes behind the trees

Arthur had his big camera up there and we shall see what his experiments turn out like. Here he is just taking a picture of his dad. He really does cover himself with a black cloth so he can see through the camera properly.


We did a few other fun things, like look at the crescents through a colander.


As we were coming in, we noticed the sun was lining up with the venetian blinds to make a nice row of pinhole images, with slightly fuzzy and biggish crescents. 



Today more big excitement as the schedule for TIFF is released. Not sure I can stand this level of thrills for too much longer!

Monday, August 21, 2017

A small setback

I'm making a stole from a vintage pattern. It, of course, says this pattern can only be made with the one particular yarn, but I am such a daredevil that I am not using some vintage fuzzy blend, but sock yarn bought on my southern Ontario trip last month, in the Confused Hydrangea colourway, no less.

The pattern is totally simple: uneven number of stitches, knit one, then yo, k2tog all across the row. Every single row for 5 and a half feet (or so). I believe this results in something called faggotting.

After a foot or so, I made a mistake! I was supposed to knit 2 together, but I missed the yo of the previous row. A gaping hole in my holey fabric!


Since I am very clever and an experienced knitter, I thought I could just drop that couple of stitches down and pick them back up again correctly.

First step, put in a lifeline, so that if all goes completely awry, it will only do so to a certain point!

It's always good to put the lifeline in across a straight line, not on a slant... ahem.


Here we have the tangle which resulted when I dropped the stitches down.


At this point I stopped documenting this project, because there was just cursing and despair until I realized I had to frog those few rows down and reknit it all. Since your nice vertical line of knitting is made with yarnovers on every row, some from the left and some from the right, it's very hard to know what strand goes where and when. At least, for me!


All's well that ends well. I'm leaving the lifeline in for a while, to see how fast (or slowly) I am actually knitting. I have a few hours of sitting at an info desk tomorrow, so I imagine I'll get tons done. We shall see.

I have some eclipse pictures to show as well! We didn't get totality here, but it was interesting to watch. I hope to get those up tomorrow!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Tomato overload?

It is Think Write Thursday again. Our topic for this week is to talk about what we do when we have "an abundance of tomatoes."

I live in downtown Toronto. Some people do have marvellous gardens full of tomatoes and sunflowers (notably my elderly Italian neighbour) but I do not. If I want an abundance of tomatoes, I have to buy them.

My parsley is flourishing
Of course, in our idealistic youth, we got tomato plants and did our best. We ran watering systems around, we put up chicken wire to keep out the squirrels and raccoons. We never had an abundance of anything, I'm afraid!

I have some beans, but I have no idea when to pick them!
One year a friend gave us an extra little seedling, which grew and produced yellow cherry tomatoes. We stuck it in a corner of the front yard and let it be. It seemed to be doing fine. We kept finding those little, sweet, tomato bombs, and finally discovered that if we'd staked the plant it would be about 6 feet tall! It was just sprawled over the hostas, enjoying the tiny bit of afternoon sun and probably the water from the neighbour kids' water fights! Unfortunately we could never reproduce that.

I do okay with some flowers
Now, if I did have an abundance of tomatoes, I would make a tomato quiche. I'm sure I once had a proper recipe, but I will just tell you what I do.

Get a pie crust. You can make it or buy it!
Cut up some onions and cook them a bit, add some tomatoes and herbs of your choosing, cook some more.
Beat up 4 eggs or so, with some milk.
Grate some cheese; any kind will do, but Swiss is nice.
Put the cheese and the onion/tomato mix in the crust, pour the eggs over, sprinkle with some pepper and maybe a bit of extra cheese.
Pop it in the oven till it is done!

More Think Write Thursdays here.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Hello August

It's Think Write Thursday again. The theme today is Hello August, and I think we are by now settled into our summer.

We don't have as much planned for this August as we sometimes have in the past. No trips until we send Arthur back off to university. No visitors planned, but of course if anyone wants to drop in, we'll fit them in!

I did finish June's vintage knitting project, and I did get July's started before the end of the month!


A warm knitted hood, and the scarf part ties at the neck so one is all cosy. However, it is the middle of summer so I'll put it away for some months now.

July's project is a pair of socks for Arthur. So far, about 4 inches of one sock!

August's vintage project has not been cast on, but when I asked Elaine if she wanted socks or a shawl from her yarn, to my delight she said a shawl/scarf thing. There are vintage shawl patterns, of course, but I don't want something as boring (though lovely) as this. I'm sure I have a suitable pattern somewhere!

Speaking of patterns, I just bought two Stephen West patterns: Vertices Unite, one of my all-time faves; and Esjan, to be knit in worsted weight for a real blankety shawl. So that'll be fun, some day!

Here are some more things I'd like to do in August:

  1. Earlier this year, my cousin, with impeccable timing, started giving tours of the community out on the Toronto Islands. Now that the flooding has finally subsided, I hope she gets some business! (I also hope she will give me the "family rate," but who can say?)
  2. I've just learned about Sail-In Cinema. They are showing 3 movies over a weekend on a double-sided screen off the beach. You can watch from the shore or from a boat! Too bad I don't have a boat... 
  3. There's a meteor shower and an eclipse this month! 
  4. It's the run-up to TIFF: movie titles are being released, the schedule is available on the 22nd, and once again, I intend to be moderate and not exhausted this time

I'd also like to blog more this month. It's good I have Think Write Thursday or I'd never post!

For more Think Write Thursday, go here!

Monday, July 24, 2017

A quick run through southern Ontario

Stephen and I had a bit of a local holiday last week. We rented a car and went south to Lake Erie.


The water in the Great Lakes has been extremely high this year, and in many places there just wasn't any beach!

Here, for example, is Stephen at the very end of Canada, at the south point of Pelee Island. Usually it looks more like this.


But we liked going through the woods, looking at the marshes, tasting wine, sitting on the porch of our B&B, and trying to remember stuff about the War of 1812.

We took a tour at Fort Erie and watched them fire off muskets (thinking, "that would be a good summer job for our kids!").


Here we are on Queenston Heights.


We couldn't spend a week in the area and not visit the Falls.


Someone long ago carved my name into the wall.


Everyone needs a sign to stand in front of these days. (You can see that we didn't end up at the falls on the nicest day of our trip!)


When the weather is no good, it's always possible to shop indoors.  We went to the village of Jordan, which was marketed to us as a quaint and chic, oddball, little town. But really it is a big winery, a big hotel, and a few little shops. We enjoyed a drink and a snack at the bakery and happened upon the Dye Guy in his shop, where I just had to buy some yarn to make socks for the kids.

For Elaine, Confused Hydrangea:


Arthur gets Deep Sea Shrimp:


We stopped at many wineries over the days.


We enjoyed a couple of bottles on the trip, but brought home about a dozen more!

At our first B&B down by Point Pelee, we had a house to ourselves and we would drive out to dinner in town and then come home for a bit of wine and cheese and crackers on the porch. One night we sat in the dusk watching fireflies, which is not a thing that happens in downtown Toronto!

The second B&B was right in Port Colborne and we could walk to dinner, but really only had our bedroom to sit in at the house, so we would just have a cup of tea and read our books!

On our last night we went to Lake Erie's Long Beach. It is pretty long, but it ain't BC's Long Beach!


Way out there near the horizon, you might be able to see three little heads. We walked a way out into the nice warm water, and believe those folks are sitting on the bottom. This beach would be much more impressive in a normal year, but with the lake so high, most of the wide, flat beach is under water. 

Now, time to sort out the house, get Elaine back from camp, moan about the dang squirrels eating our attempts at sunflowers and all that late-summer stuff! 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Been Shoppin'

Someone in the local knitters' group on Ravelry posted that they had donated a shedload of yarn to a thrift store in Stouffville -- an hour out of town and not anywhere I would usually go.

But! Today we had to go out that way to drop Elaine off at a camp thing for a couple of weeks, and, well, the thrift shop was kind of on the way home...


I got three packs of yarn for a grand total of $45. Fifteen balls of Rowan denim, plus a pattern! I have to rip out that knitted bit, but then, what fun we'll have!

Some Cotton Fleece in one of Elaine's favourite colours! Enough for a cardi or shrug or comfy slouchy something, I think.


And gorgeous rusty reds and browns, also Cotton Fleece.


There were several bags of wool that I didn't take, although I could have had a year's worth or more for less than $100. Another thing I didn't take was this set of Ferrari espresso cups. When we get our palazzo in Rome...


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Three things

Where would I be without Think Write Thursday?

This week we are supposed to recall three good things that happened this past week. I am running around like the proverbial chicken, so perhaps it is good that I stop and think about this.

Last Sunday I volunteered at the Maker Festival at the Toronto Reference Library, at a booth for the EDIT exhibition I will volunteer at in the fall. (I did have a fine time although I have some problems with this whole "maker" culture... it's like the world is a huge Michael's store and all we have to do it put the prefab bits together and we are makers. Whoo-hoo.) What I did for most of the day was show passers-by how to fold papers into flexagons. The paper we used was decorated in advance with all the little triangles and diamonds and after making about ten million of them, I got pretty good at it, I must say. Around 1 or 2 pm (my head was buzzing by then) we ran out of paper, so I moved to another place where I stood around and looked useful, but really I could have gone home and no one would have missed me, I'm sure! I am really looking forward to EDIT and you will surely hear more about it.

Yesterday I went to the Textile Museum for a pre-show tour of the new exhibit of Japanese textiles. OMG. Astonishing! If you go to that link and click on the pictures, you will see some great kimonos and things. I did not know that Ikat weaving meant that the threads are dyed before being woven, and I am used to Ikat being sort of stripy and splotchy.

This is an Ikat woven piece:


How do they do that, make such precise and delicate and exact patterns? I will have to go back and take pictures of every single thing.

Third excellent thing: last night I went out and played Scrabble in a pub and won and had a good time. Yay me.

Back to chicken-running-around now! See more Think Write Thursday posts here.