Monday, July 04, 2016

Please stand by

We are off for a few weeks. Keep calm, and I'll see you in August!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Another hat and so on

Once upon a time I was invited to a knit night with some neighbours. The person whose turn it was to host was someone I'd never met before, but the knitters were all very friendly and I went along. Actually, I google-mapped her house first because it was a bit outside the immediate hood, and then I had not only knitting reasons to go, but real-estate-gawker reasons as well.

When I had young kids, I would aim to go out around 7 and be back home for bedtime, but these modern folk seem to stay home till the kids are in bed and then head out, staying out knitting and whooping it up till all hours. So... I am always first to arrive.

I got to my very lovely destination and my hostess, in between running around with family, asked if I would like a drink. We eventually ended up in what I think of as her "would-you-like-a-drink room." Close to the kitchen, dining room, living room and family room, it was a large pantry with a fridge, snacks in the cupboards, a wall of bottles and glasses for all occasions. I'm sure I was gawping.

We had prosecco.

And, in order to have something small and easy to knit on, I had started a hat. Which I have now finished. More leftovers from the Temperature Scarf.

Arthur kindly modeled for me, although it's a tad warm these days. Yes, it matches his hair.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Some knitting and perhaps some sewing

I am still plugging away at this cotton shawl, although it is often too hot to work with most of a shawl sitting in my lap.

I did the triangle bit for a while, then I switched to some "Peruvian Lace" for a straight stretch, and now, with 4 balls of yarn left, I am starting to decrease to a point again.

Nothing to show of the new part. I have done a few rows of a simple slanting eyelet pattern, and will decrease only on one side, so the whole thing will be not only in three stitch patterns, but also asymmetric and lopsided. I hope it is long enough! I am going to BC in a couple of weeks and would like to have this done for then, for strolling along the beach in the evening and so on.

Another thing I would like to have done for that trip is a bag made of these scraps of jeans. So far, this is all I've done, although there are ideas whirling about. I hope to have something to show in a few days. First thing might be to make all the pieces about the same size.... hmm.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Got some yarn

Quite some time ago, like almost three weeks ago, I went to the Textile Museum volunteers' annual sale. It was such a madhouse this year, in a new, more cramped location, so I got out in a hurry and didn't get a whole lot of stuff. I did pick up some fabric that I think I'll make a skirt out of, and a couple of books, including Rowan 7 for a dollar.

I also picked up a bag of wool bits. It looks like someone made a fancy-pants fair isle thing and gave their leftovers to the museum sale.

The marvellous thing is, they included their cheat-sheet, with the poetic names of the colours. Curry, lagoon, nut... red. It's about 250 grams altogether. 

I think I will start with a pair of Alice Starmore mittens. Maybe for an Olympic project this summer? If that doesn't drive me crazy, a hat. 

My friend also went to the sale, and also bought some odds and ends, and then had a change of heart and just gave me the bagful. Since I hadn't chosen this yarn, hadn't paid for it, had no allegiance to it at all, I dropped everything to knit with it. Weird how that works. It was so cute in its little skeins.

See how quickly I thought, "Ah, I should take a picture for the blog." 

I mixed most of those whitish bits in with the finer yarns. There were a couple of bits of mercerized cotton I didn't include, and a pale blue chenille that was just not right, but everything else got made into a (not very big) garter stitch scarf. 

I didn't get very far before I got bored and did some short rows to make a triangle of light blue.

Some eyelets even appeared later on. 

If I were doing it again, I'd use a slightly bigger needle. Actually if I were doing it again, I might knit really long rows, and change colours every row or two! There were so many ends; I wanted to leave them as a design element, but my kids pointed out that really they didn't look like anything but a bunch of dangly ends left by a lazy knitter. 

I have more to show you! Maybe tomorrow!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

New old patterns

Last night I went to the Distillery District to see a play at Soulpepper Theatre. We saw the Odd Couple, which was quite fun, but my modern, sympathetic daughter did not enjoy the fact that most of the humour was actually kind of mean. Why are they laughing at Felix? Indeed.

Fun fact #1: One of the actors was Derek Boyes, who was a couple of years ahead of me at my high school! Cool. Great to see that he is a nice guy, as well as someone I sorta knew.

Fun fact #2: There is a shop across the way from the theatre, where, if you get to the theatre too early, you can browse through "vintage" and "retro" and various bath oils... I dunno. Anyways, I found the box that said, "Knitting patterns, 10 for $10."

In no particular order, then...
These two are from a Disco-era Pinguin magazine. Many novelty yarns in one sweater, and you can even find a model with a cigarette!

Fabulous fashions! No date, but I'm guessing early 60s. Each pattern can be made in any of three yarns, and they give the different stitch counts, but to change sizes, it looks like you just change needle size and gauge. No wonder if people had trouble getting their garment to look like the picture!

Can't get much more fashion fun than a crocheted jumpsuit, can you? 

This book is a gem of 1960s delights. Much crazy crocheting, but also a knitted skirt and jacket set that is not bad. The jumpsuit, though, is the best. 

This is an "all-purpose cardigan" from Monarch. This pattern book cost 25¢ originally, and is dated 1946. If only people in 1946 came in larger sizes. Really, was everyone a 36" bust then?

This is from a Spinnerin booklet from 1960. Very nice -- I love those big collars, but might find it a bit hot to wear. 

More Spinnerin from 1966. Très chic chapeau, here. I think Elaine needs this whole outfit. 

These are from the same book. The red coat is super, and the pattern says you can just use the knitted pieces as a pattern and make yourself a lining. "Assemble lining, making 1/2 inch seams." Those were the days. 

Last but not least, three little pamphlets. The raglan jacket, again with the big collar, is my favourite. One day I will make the pheasant sweater, maybe! 

I think I had other things to say, but these put all other thoughts out of my mind. I'll remember another day...

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Maybe it's spring

A lovely fluffy dandelion head. The city has stopped putting weed-killer on public land, so there are dandelions all over the parks and roadsides. An improvement all around, I think.

I am knitting a cotton shawl. I imagine using it this summer in the mountains and on the beach, but my design has changed drastically since I began.

It started out a simple triangle, getting one stitch wider every row. Here it is with my giant witchy shawl. It needs to get a lot bigger to really wrap around me! But, my needle is full of stitches and the rows are getting really long (it seems) and maybe I should do something else now.

So I found this pattern, called Peruvian Lace, on my 2010 Vogue Knitting calendar, and will make the pointy bit the end of a long wrap, this straight striped bit the middle, and some other pointy bit on the other end.

This will take forever, I think. It is a 10 row pattern, and 6 of those rows are plain knitting, but the big knotty loops are very time-consuming. 

You knit a row making double loops on each stitch (I shake my head, recalling I chose to do this because I couldn't fit more stitches on my needle...) then on the next row, you take the stitches 4 at a time, drop the extra loops, and do K1, P1, K1, P1 in each group of 4 stitches. I think it is somewhat unusual and exotic and unique, but it's a pain sliding all those double stitches on to the point of the circular needle. (Whine, whine about nothing....)

Must crack on, so as to have this done before I go to said mountains and beaches!

Monday, May 09, 2016

The last three movies

I'm so tired. I got up this morning, knowing it was Monday and the festival is over, and then was surprised when Elaine got up to go to school. Isn't this a day of rest for all of us? Apparently not.

The queen of the volunteers wearing the fingerless mitts

I decided at the last minute to work an additional shift Sunday night because a lot of venues were short-staffed. (There must be a way to get volunteers to stick around to the bitter end, but this year there were lots of unfilled slots in the schedule in the last days of the fest.) We got new ticket scanning software this year and the volunteers who wielded the wands got double rewards -- we get a voucher to see a movie, at the festival or year-round at the Bloor cinema. I had volunteered at the training session for the scanners, taking attendance, and had sort of fiddled around with the system, so when my venue last night was short a scanner, I offered to give it a try.  Zap, zap, zap, no problemo. So, I got four vouchers (it was a long shift!), got to see a movie and got to see the packing up of the box office, the recycling of the extra screening schedules and the taking down of the last posters. Closure of sorts.

My shift covered two movies, and each was preceded by a short. I couldn't get in in time to see the shorts, since I was scanning tickets, even of late-comers, and we had other chores to do, but I did get a chance to see one movie last night, Random Acts of Legacy. It is the story of a Chinese-American family as told by found 16mm home movies. These reels of film came up for auction, and luckily they had the photographer's name, Silas Fung, on them so we have a starting place to find out more. Our modern filmmaker found family members who could identify people, tell us who those white people were at the party, why the mom went to Banff with a bunch of people in 1940 or so, what's up with the Chicago World's Fair.... Also it was really interesting to see what happens to film, even well taken-care-of film, over time! You can digitize the images, but you sometimes end up with digitized damage.

One of the things I like about documentaries is seeing these ordinary people becoming part of the historical record. Everyone has something interesting in their lives, even if we think we are just trudging along.

That can segue neatly into Friday night's movie, Obit. There is a crew of probably fewer than a dozen people at the New York Times who write obituaries of the newsworthy and notable when they pass on. (Though they don't say "pass on." To get in the NYT obits, you "die.") The film shows the day-to-day fact gathering and deadlines, but also tells us about the writers: how they decide who gets in, how they think about living and dying.

My little alphabetical-order-loving heart fluttered at the sight of the morgue, which in this context is where they keep not dead people, but old files and clippings and bits of information. They used to have up to 30 staff in the morgue, but now there is one man, who can't possibly keep track of everything. I think one could make a whole movie about him.

The writing staff try to have "advances," kind of pre-written obituaries, for the big names, but sometimes their planning is a bit off. They wrote up an advance for a teenager who was an aviatrix in the 30s, figuring she'd go down in a fiery crash, but she lived another 80 years.


Sunday morning Elaine and I went to see Suited. I was a teeny bit disappointed that there wasn't more nuts-and-bolts talk about the cutting and the sewing, but the stories told here were pretty wonderful. Someone went to a tailor and got a suit made, and then told all their friends.... The tailor didn't balk at making a fashionable, well-fitting suit for a trans man, and soon filled a niche with needed services. There was a law student who wanted to look good, to match their good grades -- I think even wearing the suit he once got told he was perfect for the job but the firm couldn't handle "the trans thing." There was a couple getting married, a kid preparing for a bar mitzvah, a trans woman who was about to present a case before a high court... all people who want wear clothes that fit their bodies and their lives.

Suited was showing with a short film called Handsome & Majestic, a story about a kid in Prince George BC, of all places. Trans boy in small town gets bullied... His family is supportive, although the dad seems to have taken a while to get used to the idea, but we heard at the chat afterwards that Milan, the kid, has had to leave school. Apparently Telus funds the making of short films about towns across BC, and the filmmakers were just lucky that when they hit Prince George they found this interesting story. Happy, sad, infuriating, but certainly interesting.

Will take some deep breaths and get back to normal. Arthur still pondering the blue hair issue.