Monday, April 24, 2017

Hat for next fall

It's not so blue as in the first picture.

I made a number of mistakes in it; silly, really, given the simplicity of the pattern, but it did involve counting to four! Apparently I can't consistently do that.

But, no one will notice.

I have a week to figure out what little vintage thing I will make for May. And really, one day I will take pictures of the pinky-greeny scarf!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Coming into Hot Docs season

Hot Docs starts next Thursday and I can already feel things slipping out of control.

I have signed up for six shifts during the festival, and have got myself tickets for... 11 movies. Three of my shifts are for the school program, where we get the kids seated and later clean up after them, but are able to watch the movie with them as well. So that's another five films, and some of those are the big-buzz shows.

Let's make a list, shall we?
  1. 78/52
  2. Brimstone and Glory
  3. The Girl down Loch Änzi
  4. Give Me Future
Plus, movies to be watched while making sure high school students don't get out of hand:

  1. Bee Nation
  2. Bill Nye: Science Guy
  3. Dolores
  4. Joshua: Teenager vs Superpower
  5. Step

I'll need some simple knitting for lineups. And I do have a family to tend to. And, let's not forget the root canal at the dentist next week! Yikes. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Coming and going

Ah, I was away for a week!

Waiting in the Calgary airport

I went out to BC for my father's memorial celebration. Lots of family, including a cousin I don't remember from when we last saw each other, maybe something like 1965... Once when my sister was talking about the wild, hippy, Kootenay weddings she'd been to, cousin Paul exclaimed, "Oh, I live such an ordinary life!" However, he also said things like, "I was out for a walk with my pet duck, Joanne..." I'm very glad I finally met him!

The memorial was very good -- we read lots of great English literature, which tends to be pretty Christian, and sang Ode to Joy, although my father professed no belief in any afterlife. Most tears shed: when my brother read the very last bit of Lord of the Rings. We also read from Dad's memoirs and trip diaries -- I came home with 10 kilos of the dang things, and hope to type some of the more noteworthy up for posterity. We scattered ashes in some lovely woods after my sister led a Buddhist chant. So he was pretty well covered in case of any surprises...

Let's see if I have any pictures...

Paul, Diane and the dog, out for a walk

Another walk in town

I like this bark/leaf combo

After the memorial and lunch and scattering, many of us ended up at my younger sister's house for dinner. We took along some of the leftovers!

Guess what, there were still leftovers afterwards 

The view from her bathroom. Still snow

Spring is on its way; the magnolias are out

Now, let's get textile-y. 

This blanket has been around forever, certainly from the mid-1960s. I suspect my parents bought it when we lived in the Cotswolds in 65-66. Wool, tweedy, a bit frayed, with a few cat-scratch holes neatly mended. I always liked having it when I was sick in bed: so many different colours in the weaving! I might have brought it home, but I thought one of my sisters would get more use out of it, so I took a zillion pictures instead. 

Once upon a time, in 2000, I believe, we siblings made hand- and footprints on fabric and gave them to our mom for her birthday. Then she did a whole lot of work and made this quilt.

Our little family's contribution:

I put buttons on it for decoration, thinking it would likely end up on the wall, but she made the quilt for their bed and they used it a lot, buttons and all. 

In a box in the storage locker (one day, someone will write a novel about the storage locker, I'm sure) I came across this! I have a similar one, though mine is lined and made with more muted pieces. 

My mom belonged to a quilting and sewing group, maybe in the 1980s, and every once in a while they would have a big get-together and swap. Someone brought all these little samples; I believe they were a wool/cashmere blend.

My mom snapped them up and made (apparently) two blankets, and I think there was once a jacket for my dad made out of them as well. Perhaps it will be lined and given to a getting-married niece.

The sad socks! These are the socks I'd made for my dad. They ended up with a brother-in-law with just the right sized feet.

Phew. And now I am home, with some knickknacks to find room for, some papers to put somewhere appropriate -- and also some of my own knitting to show you... another day. I finished the green and pink thing and made good progress on my April vintage hat.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Done like dinner

It is done. Oh, my, it is big.

I stood on a chair to take this picture of my couch.

One of a million available detail shots.

It's a bit of a chore to wrap it around oneself.

And even wrapped a few times, it is super gigantic.

I wonder if my 6'6" nephew needs a gigantic, slightly odd scarf. I have some months to figure it all out, since the days of woolly scarves might be over here for now.

It was fun to knit, great to use up all that stash of fingering/sock yarn. I only bought a bit... One ball I used about half of; one ball made me sneeze and I used a tiny wee bit of; and the last, a nice little skein of KPPPM, is untouched. I probably still have enough for a matching hat!

And a teaser for next week...

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Reading a book for the first time

Today's Think Write Thursday task is to write about a book we wish we could read again for the first time.

The book that instantly popped into my mind was Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

I first read it when Elaine was a baby, so about 16 or 17 years ago, a few years after it had first come out. I think friends were reading it for a book club. At the same time my dad had been introduced to it by another English-professor friend, and it was all very exciting.

by H-Johanna

What a world: wizards who were children and the idea of a whole school full of them; Muggles who couldn't see the entrance to Diagon Alley; and kids vanishing through onto Platform 9 3/4. The horrible Dursleys and the gigantic Hagrid.

by Phillippeaux

The genius of those books was in the little details. The minor characters and the little asides. Hagrid knitting his yellow sweater, the scene in the wand shop. Owls delivering the mail. The first flying lesson; quidditch, for heaven's sake... How did she invent all these things? Amazing imagination.

by HumorlessPoppycock

After the first four books, which I read more or less all at once, we preordered the books as they were published, and raced to read them. I had thought the kids would read them when they were around 10 or 11, the age of the characters in the first book. How wrong I was! Elaine practically learned to read with these books, and by the time Book 6 came out, she was tearing through it with me.

Kids won't have that experience again with these books. They were so omnipresent; it seemed like everybody from elementary school to the old folks' home was reading the same book at the same time, all over the world! The anticipation, that feeling when you go into a book store and see boxes and boxes of the same book, all preordered and all about to be excitedly devoured. You'd see a person on the subway or in the store, with a corner of the book poking out of their bag, and ask how far they'd got, did they like that bit about....

by TheGeekCanPaint

I read at least four of the books before seeing a movie. I could see the Reptile House and Gringotts and the Forbidden Forest.

From Pinterest. I wish I knew who the artist is. 

But nowadays, Harry looks like Daniel Radcliffe and Hermione doesn't really have bushy hair. The first movie was pretty good, but they soon went downhill and by the last few I forked over my money to see them rather grudgingly, duty-bound. Don't get me started...

I'm sorry to say that these books don't actually improve on re-reading. Well, okay, for the first dozen times, yes. But even at the height of our Pottermania, the kids and I had a list of questions we would ask JK Rowling if we ever met her, and it got quite long. Things don't quite work... a whole book relies on someone doing something stupid, or not doing something simple that they should have done. (Just a word to Dumbledore, please!) Elaine has got into the fandom thing, and says that while most online fan groups talk about how great things are with Dr Who or the Marvel comics or Steven Universe, the Potter fandom talks about how things could have been better.

by SquirrelGirl15

But, wow, I would really like to have again that thrill that came with going down Diagon Alley or riding a broom for the first time!

(I've found some art that is supposed to be book-based, at DeviantArt.)

To see more Think Write Thursday posts, go here.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Scrunched up

I have finished the zigzag edging on two sides of the gigantic shawl. Now all the stitches on the remaining side are on one circular, ready for a quick (!) and easy i-cord bind off. I hope that one day soon I can start on the million and six ends I have to take care of.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Eye candy

I am slowly finishing the Westknits gigantic marled shawl. The pattern calls for an i-cord edge, but I don't really like that. I prefer my shawls to have ridiculous, labour-intensive edges.

Only about 15 or 18 feet more to go... I have no idea how big this baby will really be!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

What will I do in April?

Today's Think Write Thursday is a "Hello April" post. Even though it is not truly April till the weekend!

One hopes, year after year, that April will bring green things poking out on trees, a flower here and there, maybe an early trip to the garden centre. We do already have some crocuses in the 'hood, so that is nice.

Some neighbours cut down a big tree recently so we shall see, as the sun creeps northward, if our mornings are more sunny in the back yard.

I will knit another vintage accessory, this time a hat. I have some new purple yarn, and it shall be a lovely hat, I imagine.

Purple is kind of Elaine's colour; we'll see if I get a new hat out of this or not.

Stuff-wise, I have a lot on my plate in April. During which stuff will I get to knit, I wonder?

At the end of the month is the Hot Docs film festival, where I will again be volunteering and fitting in about ten movies. There are a few things to do in advance: work at training sessions for new volunteers, hand out this year's shirts, put a dozen muffins in the freezer!

Before that, however, I will be making a trip out west. My father passed away February 24th, and we will be having a memorial and celebration of his life on the long weekend. We held off a while in hopes that lots of family and friends will be able to arrange to be there.

And as the circle of life goes on, I'll be out there again in May for my niece's wedding!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Remembering that great hat

Earlier this month, we three went university-shopping around southern Ontario. We went to three universities, wandering around the campuses, seeing the residences and athletic centres.

I took this picture when I realized we were all wearing our excellent knitted hats. Aren't we cute?

The next day we were wandering around with my brother as tour guide. We had lunch, we saw a lab, I went to the ladies'... And then at some point I saw that I didn't have my hat! I did my best to retrace my steps, but it was a bit of a maze and we'd been out all morning, so I have to say that my brown lovely hat is lost!

When we left, I gave my brother instructions to rip it off the head of anyone he sees wearing it! But I am pretty darn sure I'll never see that hat again.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Bedroom booties

Funny-looking things.

Crochet! It wasn't hard, though I interpreted "s.s." differently in the two places it was used. One of the crushing traumas of my crafting life was learning that crochet abbreviations look the same but mean different things in the UK and the States. Being in between, I never know.

Pointing my delicate toe, like the one in the pattern:

Friday, March 24, 2017

Today we get clue 4

This season's Stephen West knitalong is almost done. Today the last clue comes out. I have, of course, lots of yarn left, although there are some colours I used more than others, and a couple of balls I didn't use at all (yet).

That little V is white sock yarn and the beginning of a Zauerball I bought. I need to make another shawl with a lot more of this in it!

This wrap-around boomerang was going to be all that pinkish colour. It is a mohair blend with little silvery bits in! Tiny bling in the crazy shawl. However, it irritated my nose and sinuses and whole head, so I only managed a few rows. The bright yellow is still great, but not as great as bling-filled mohair would have been. I'm prepared to suffer for my art, but not that much! (Not really very much at all, actually.)

The last bit I knit, section six, is moss stitch, changing colours all over the place. I even included a couple of eyelet rows, just for the heck of it.

Some people are using more unified colour palettes. Like this one. Or this one. And then there's this.  (So many, so good!) Some people swatch and rip and redo and make things perfect. Some people assembled yarn colours based on a painting or a scene. I imagine that when people can see the finished shawl and understand how it fits together, instead of being given a section or two at a time and making colour choices based on guesswork, colour palettes will be less crazy, but most of us just did what the designer said and gathered a bunch of odds and ends. I keep going back to a few green balls, especially when I veer into the bits of orange or pink. It is, in my mind, a green shawl.

The whole thing, so far. I love the non-parallel-ness of it. We'll see what today's clue brings. I hear there's a medium and large size option. I still have a bowl full of yarn, so I'm going for as large as can be!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Looking out a window

Today's Think, Write, Thursday task is to look out a window I don't usually look out.

In my house there are a couple of windows I don't usually look out of. One looks directly out on to the window and bricks of the next house, and it is in a sort of awkward place for looking out of, anyways.

My window, their window

One is under the back deck! Last summer we had to replace a few boards on the deck and realized we could leave a bit of a gap, so now sunlight can make its way down there. Nice, but nothing to see. I won't even show you a picture of it, since it is just a dirty window. I'm not likely to climb under the deck to wash it, ever!

I  just went out with the intention of looking out of maybe the library window, or the window of the grocery store, but the thought flew out of my mind. So you are stuck with my neighbours' house, and the hidden delights under my back deck.

Actual knitting content tomorrow!

To see out other people's windows, go here!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Think Write Thursday

Your Think Write Thursday topic for March 16, 2017 is to write about your heritage. Are you Irish and ready to celebrate St. Patrick's Day tomorrow? Are you Italian or Greek or English? Tell us about your ethnic background and culture and how the traditions of your heritage fit into your lifestyle.

I am Canadian. If one wants to get technical, you could say I am Dutch-Canadian, but my father came to Canada when he was eight, and the only Dutch things we really paid attention to were sweets. Gestampte muisjes, chocolate, speculaas. Oh, and my surname is obviously Dutch!

On my mom's side, we are a Canadian mish-mash for generations. A bit of French-Canadian, a bit of British Isles. So, the dominant culture, really.

I pay no attention to St. Patrick's Day. It, like Valentine's Day and many other days, has become a commercial thing, though it is sponsored not by Hallmark or chocolate makers, but by the Guinness brewery. It is, here, only an occasion for drinking lots of beer. I wonder if McDonalds still even makes green shakes, like they did in the 70s. Now that was a tradition. (Holy crap, lookit this. A quarter of a cup of sugar in one small drink!)

Like a good Canadian, I celebrate Victoria Day, Canada Day, and the weird August holiday that is called Civic Holiday some places and Simcoe Day here in Toronto. Or you could call it Emancipation Day. And this is the heritage I will pass on to my children: holidays which move around, don't move around, have different names, celebrate queens no-one else bothers with, and more.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Slippers so far

I have knitted two rectangles of ribbing.

I have sewn a seam to make a heel.

Now I have to partly sew up the toe end, then fold back the points, do some crochet edging, make them all elegant and delightful.

I'm pretty sure the second one will be better than the first.

I'm off for a few days, partly searching out the perfect university for Elaine and partly visiting my brother. Two train trips, and if all goes according to plan, two days of car trips as well. The knitting is, of course, my prime concern.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Some more knitting

I was given this outrageously bright yellow yarn for Christmas. It's too bad the pictures don't really capture the highlighter-yellow properly.

I mixed it up a wee bit with some brown, some green and a bit of pinkish. 

I made a shawl of this pattern several years ago. This time I made three strips, all the same length, to make a scarf.

I used every scrap of the yellow. I even ran out mid-fan and had to finish with the green. 

It's very pretty. It's light and warm at the same time. It's quite fancy-schmancy!