Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The last day of November

Another NaBloPoMo done and dusted. I don't think I wrote every day, but pretty nearly.

I'm suffering from post-FO-letdown. After finishing the red and blue dickie-hat-extravaganza, I haven't really got into anything, although there are many things lying around here which I should pick up and knit a few stitches on. I got the pattern for the Peace Project cowl, and it is a wee bit boring, so I will try to think peaceful thoughts by knitting something a bit more fun than waffle stitch. I have that crazy pinky-orange stuff...

I'm also dealing with the dread "make all the Christmas cookies" sickness. I will mail some to Arthur and take some to a party, but there's not really that much need for cookies beyond the lunchbox rations. But so many tantalizing recipes....

I hope not to drop out of sight! Tomorrow I am a tad busy, and Friday I am a tad busy, and Saturday I am going to be really busy, volunteering at Elaine's school and then cooking and cleaning and hosting a wee doo in the evening. So, by Monday I will have lots to tell you!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A dishcloth review

Once upon a time, not very long ago, I told you about knitting a dishcloth from some new-fangled yarn.

After a few uses, I can tell you... I think this will not become my new favourite. The cloth dries fast, because it doesn't actually absorb water. So, it's fine for pushing the soapy water around on a dish, but it is no good for mopping up a spill or wiping a counter.

I made a solid green one, and I have a purple one I carry around, but am not getting much done on. And when that's finally done, I think I will go find my stash of brightly coloured (though soon to fade) cotton and see what I can do!

Monday, November 28, 2016

A tiny bit of holiday preparation

We sometimes have a gingerbread house, and we have even had a gingerbread train, as I recall. 

This year we had the opportunity to get a gingerbread Millennium Falcon, at, I think, about twice the price of a wee gingerbread cottage. (And it seems to come with hardly any candies!) So, no, I didn't get that.

And because they'll take money from everyone, a Hanukkah house, with gold coins and regulation Hanukkah-blue icing. Nope.

I got the plain old house, with a big tube of royal icing and some not-great candies. I did bump up the deal with some extra mints and jelly beans. I hope to get it put together tonight.

Tomorrow, we might see a picture of a gingerbread house, or we might discuss the cowl knitalong I joined. Yeah, the mitten, I know... 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

I wonder what's happening in Cuba today

Everyone to the Plaza.

When I was in Havana in May, 2015, we met a Canadian who had lived in Cuba for many years, had a Cuban wife and family, had a Canadian political science degree.

Plaza de la Revolución, empty

We asked him what he thought would happen when Fidel died, and while he wouldn't speculate on politics or economics, he did say there would be quite some funeral.

Fidel outlived almost everyone he dealt with, but I bet it'll still be quite some funeral.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Found some more treasures

I came across a few more pattern booklets that might hold some gems for my vintage accessory knitalong next year.

This one has rather ordinary scarves and slippers and so on. No novel teacosies that I recall.

This one is very glamorous. How do you make the hat on the left?? Shall we perhaps find out?

Toys and novelties! Ducks, doll clothes, and many bags.

Treasures! I'm not sure there is a pattern for the pirate hat, but that would be a great thing, wouldn't it?

Today you also get a free recipe. I am having friends over for dessert, and I have made coffee panna cotta. I once saw a recipe for something like this in a magazine, which had a photo of it being served in pretty china teacups. Of course, I have pretty teacups, so I had to make the dessert! Will report in tomorrow.

Friday, November 25, 2016

It's done!

The last thing I did on the dickie-thingy was a three-needle bind-off on the shoulders, in purple.

crazy, wild colours and patterns

That's because I ran out of blue and didn't want to finish it all in red. I figure a purple shoulder seam makes it look like I meant to include the purple all along.

Stephen, wondering if this crazy thing will ever be finished:

This is the whole, complete, ready-to-wear thingmabob.

Top of the hat part, smooth to fit under a bike helmet:

Me, gazing off to the future...

I hope the future holds a stranded mitten or two for me. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Little film festivals

You know I go to two big film festivals in Toronto: I go see films at the Toronto International Film Festival in September and I watch and volunteer at Hot Docs in late April.

I"m branching out. In October I volunteered at the Planet in Focus environmental film festival. Last night I went to a meeting about helping out at the Jayu human rights film festival. I was told at that meeting that there are about 100 film festivals in Toronto each year! Slight exaggeration, I think; I can find a list of 40-ish.

Planet in Focus was pretty good; I will definitely volunteer again next year. This year I helped mainly with the school program. We brought kids in from all different grades and had a junior and a senior screening, with different shorts. I only saw a couple of films other than that though, Atlantic and the opener, Theater of Life.

The schedule at Jayu looks good, too. I hope to work at the earlier shows and just watch the later ones. Hmm, they didn't mention at the meeting anything about free entry to movies for volunteers.... I am pretty sure we get in to the opening night.

As part of the Hot Docs gang, I volunteer year-round at the cinema, and today I'm ushering at Ron Howard's movie about the Beatles.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Almost done this dickie thing

Oh, my, what a chore!

I knit a front flap, and then a wee back flap, and then a neck. Now I am on the hat part.

I started with a more elaborate stitch pattern for the hat, but ended up ripping out about 5 or 6 rows and starting again with "mock houndstooth."

Now I fear I am running out of yarn, so might have to go get some more! A completely different colour, I imagine, since this was bought a year ago and there's no way I can find ball bands.

But this shall be done by the end of the week, one way or the other.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

More bizarre bazaar items

Unless I dig up more booklets (always possible), this is the last of these posts. I don't know if I have a booklet for each month of 2017, but I certainly have patterns for years!

Bazaar Novelties and Gifts, one of the first of these pattern books in my collection. I'm not sure what the poodle is doing there!

Here we have the Odd Ounce Book. This has that great zebra pattern.

This one may be the oddest of all. Clearly one pattern requires you to find a source of foam rubber and make yourself a giraffe-shaped thing to cover with your knitting.

The penguin is cute. Maybe for Christmas 2017 everyone will get a little stuffed animal, whether they need it or not!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Oh, no!

A gloomy and slightly snowy morning!
We did manage to get our lights up on the front porch this weekend, so we are set for the coming snowy, cold, dark nights to come. (Still a bucket of knitting to get done, somehow!)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sunday shorts

  • Dinner went fine last night. In past years we have had 20 people or more, but I just picked the wrong weekend this year and there were maybe 10 in total, with some couples tag-teaming in and out because of little kids or other things. Of course, leftovers!
  • This afternoon we are going to see the new house of a colleague of Stephen's. I do love fantasy-renovating other people's houses! "Just take that wall out there and maybe put a window in here." Fun!
  • It has been lovely and warm lately, but today, the day of the Santa Claus parade, we woke up to windy, cold, grey. There are even little bits of icy snow blowing around. This is, of course, seasonally appropriate. It is supposed to be cold here in November.
  • I'm really going to need all those cold-weather accessories, like stranded mittens. now. Best find where I put all my knitting bags when "cleaning up" yesterday. 
  • I think that's it. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Getting out of the kitchen for a moment

I have been chopping and cooking and washing and sweeping all day... although some of the washing was done by my dishwasher, and my bread machine took care of the baking!

I was a bit worried about the size of the dish, since the recipe says it serves four. How, I wondered, could a bunch of pasta and a whole large eggplant serve only four? Well, on closer inspection, the "large" eggplant in the recipe should be about 300 grams! Mine is twice that, so I just doubled everything and will certainly have enough food!

 All sliced up and ready to be cut into wee dice.

Four medium carrots... well, I had five large ones, and such pretty colours, too! 

They got made into dice as well, insofar as one can make a carrot into dice. This is the last moment before they got all mixed together and cooked up.

All cooked up, pasta and broth added, garlic, lemon zest, oregano and cheeses. I'll have to put my oven on the timer when I go out to the appetizer course and cross my fingers that it all cooks perfectly without me. 

I also threw some olives in the bread. 

Now I have time for a cup of tea and a shower; I'll get Elaine to dry the dishes; the floor is as swept as it is going to get. All is well!

Friday, November 18, 2016

A preview of tomorrow's dinner

Tomorrow night we are hosting a course of our street's progressive dinner. I try to arrange one of these every November. This year's was a bit of a struggle because a couple of key players are away, but some "foreigners" from around the corner are taking up the slack. I know not everyone RSVPs, and some people will pop in unannounced.

I am hosting the main course, so I will have my old standby Caesar salad (with anchovies) and an Ottolenghi casserole from Plenty More, my new favourite cookbook, which I am constantly taking out of the library. I think that for last year's dinner I made the cauliflower cake from the same book.

This year I will make Baked Orzo with Mozzarella and Oregano. The recipe says it serves four, but it has a whole large eggplant in along with half a pound of pasta, so I'm assuming it'll be fine as a potluck dish for a bit more than four.

Lots of cooking-blog types have made this, if you want to see the recipe. I hope to have an artful photo of my own shortly!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

More for 2017

Two of my little vintage projects for next year will come from these books.

It's a bit late, perhaps, for my daughter, but the dolls are still around and might like a new outfit. These ones are quite elaborate with their national costumes.

This one has Barbie clothes as well, teeny tiny. Even some cool duds for Ken! Fiddly little trousers. I love the green "snowsuit" there on the left. 

I've had these books for ages! This project for next year will give me the incentive to actually use them; I hope I keep it up. Surely it won't be that hard to knit a little thing each month, while still having a few (million) other projects on the go?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Aiming for peace

This is a very knitterly thing to do: someone is offering a cowl pattern that comes with peaceful tips. I believe the idea is we get our pattern, and can read along on her blog and have a moment of thinking about peace each day as we knit. Can't hurt, I say. I haven't actually looked at things this person has designed, but I thought this was such a nice idea.

Perhaps I'd best go have a look... Oh, this is nice! I will look at the pattern when I get it, but I think I might use the pinkish stuff I recently got. (Not sure I showed you this before; it was a prize for the para-Rava-games. I've given away the pinker ones and now only have the more orangey on the left, which is still pretty pink.)

Oh! Or my Edison Bulb!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The dickie thingy

I opted for a simpler slip-stitch pattern for the back of this thing. Now I suppose I graft the shoulders, and pick up around the neck. Knit a ribbed tube, somehow stick a hat on top.

No time for knitting today (yet) as I'm trying to clear off a lot of flat surfaces which have attracted a bit of clutter over the past... months... Now I remember why we invite the neighbours over! It forces me to recycle catalogs that have been sitting about forever and finally make a decision about getting rid of worn-out shoes. Yuck.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

I might finish this for Christmas

I took a couple of pictures of this, but right in the window, and my poor phone camera couldn't really handle it. All glary and the saturated colours just blew its little mind.

It will one day be a thing to keep Stephen warm. This is a breast-plate, or you might call it part of a dickie. He gave me this yarn last Christmas, with explicit instructions. He wants something that will fit under his bike helmet, cover his neck and allow him to open his coat a bit without freezing. So I imagine a ribbed neck on this, merging into a helmet-hat thingmabob.

It is taking forever because (I've ignored it for months on end and...) I can't memorize this blasted slip-stitch pattern, and I have to make the shape up as I go along. The yarn is soft and nice to work with, but you know, I would never have chosen these colours.

Onward. I hope to finish this piece today, but perhaps I am dreaming; I have to figure out some neck shaping, and do I make a separate piece for the back or continue down the other side on this one?

The temptation to shove it back in the drawer is strong...

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The quest for the perfect brown continues

The leaves have been quite wonderful this fall. We haven't had much rain, so there are still yellow, brown and red leaves holding on to the branches, and the ones that have fallen have faded, but not turned to rained-on, driven-over mush.

Not in focus, but very brown. I think my perfect brown yarn will have to be a semi-solid at least, if not crazily variegated to get all the texture and colours in.

Rich, rich brown!

Red and green make brown... Most of the great browns are more lovely seen against the clear blue sky. 

This is definitely yellow and not red or brown. It's a volunteer maple tree which appeared in our hedge a few years ago. We have tried to smooth its way upward, trimming the hedge away and making sure it was watered. All in hopes, of course, that it would be one of those maples with the glorious red leaves. You can't always get what you want...

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Everyone needs an accessory

Well, we can't just moan and gnash our teeth about things. Can we?

After finishing my Color Craving, I have been aimlessly knitting a stitch here and there. Perhaps tomorrow I will get that mitten out and work properly on it.

Sometime next year, I will make something out of these books.  These are not egg-cosies or toilet roll covers, but hats and scarves and dickies.

That ripply set above looks kind of cool, actually.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016


Where are we going?

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Today's the day

All I can do today is show that the crocheters are with Hillary.

Note to self: don't forget the snacks for this evening's entertainment... I just hope I don't have to stockpile for the apocalypse.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

A plan for 2017

I belong to a vintage knitting group on Ravelry, and someone came up with the bright idea for a 1880-1980 knitalong for the whole of 2017. My plan is to use my "bazaar" and accessories books and knit things like a teacosy or a stuffed penguin.

Since I have to come up with something to say for 24 more days of November, I won't show you all my booklets at once, but here's a taste.

I think the first thing I will start in January is a Gossamer-Light Lacy Bed-Wrap from this one. I'm considering a rainbow Kauni yarn! More info closer to the time.

This one is full of toilet roll covers and some pretty awful dolls. I think I started to crochet that owl in 1972, but my mom and I got mixed up with the American and English terms -- a bit vague in my mind, but of course it was either too big or too small... I have no idea what happened to it! And while I recognize the owl, I know I bought this book rather more recently than 1972! 

The third bizarre book is this, the Third Bazaar Book! 

Sometimes I think it will be a challenge to find a desirable item from each of my dozen or so booklets; I'm only doing one toilet roll cover!

So, that's 2017 settled, then. One vintage thing a month; maybe a wrap, maybe a boiled-egg cosy. And of course I'll just finish up all my works-in-progress between now and January 1!

Saturday, November 05, 2016

A revolution in dishrags

In many ways, the dishrag is the perfect thing to knit. It is quick and portable, and infinitely variable. You can do a knit and purl picture, you can do a repeating pattern, you can use colours and slipped stitches and bobbles and cables. And when you are done, you can wash your dishes.

As I told you the other day, I recently bought a new kind of dishcloth yarn. It is scratchy and polyester and garishly coloured. It's called Scrubby, and has threads of twisted polyester sticking out all over.

With this yarn, it seems that any colour pattern has to be very simple because one's lines get blurred; any texture pattern would be completely hidden in the fuzz.

I made this garter-stitch striped cloth in a few short hours, and I think that despite its drawbacks, this yarn might turn out to be good stuff.

Hard for the camera to know where to focus!

Its main virtue is that it dries quickly, unlike a cotton cloth that stays soggy and gets smelly before too long. Well, that is its only virtue, perhaps, but still, it's appealing!

I still have most of two balls of this yarn, so I shall whip up a couple more of these and we'll see how they work out.

Friday, November 04, 2016

A lot of pictures

I finished my Color Craving and am wearing it as I type!

I worried about the beige, but it now seems nice and fall-compatible.

We did a wee photo shoot on this lovely fall day. Perhaps a bit of overcast would have lessened the shadows, but I'd rather have the sun!

The "on the fence" shot

The classic "on the hedge"

Big, eh?

Matches the leaves

Dangling off the shed

My photographer could have turned the camera to get it all in