Sunday, October 15, 2017

Finished something

I was away for a week, but now I am back and will show you my latest accomplishment. I needed something that didn't need sleeves like Elaine's sweater, and would go with some speed, unlike that shawl on 3.25 mm needles! So I started Esjan with some green cotton boucle that a friend had given me a year or so ago. I think she started to make a sweater but gave up on the whole project.

I knit a ton of garter stitch, increasing across the row once in a while to make a semi-circle shape.

After a while, one is instructed to make these big holes, like 5 yarnovers at once, increased to 9 stitches! Totally disguised while on the needles, as it looks just like a big lump. When it comes off the needles, it's a big crazy, holey, pointy, semi-circular shawl.

I have to wash it and block it a bit to neaten things up.

Green garter stitch as far as the eye can see...

Now to do some laundry, sort out the house a bit and settle back in.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

A bit of knitting catch up

Time flies.

When I was standing in line at TIFF, I started a sweater for Elaine. It is from a pattern for Rowan Denim, which means two things: the pattern says knit four flat pieces and sew them together, and it says to knit the pieces 10 or 15% longer than you want them to be, then wash them in hot water to shrink to the correct size.

I am not knitting in Rowan Denim, and I want to knit the body in the round. So now, finally, I have this, after realizing that I don't need to knit it quite as long as the pattern says:

The next step is sleeves, of course. I just haven't had time to sit down and figure that out, because I want to pick the sleeves up at the top and knit down, and it seems the numbers in the pattern are for a very wide sleeve. I wonder why I even needed the pattern...

Soon this project got too big to knit in line; the knitting sagged off the needles as I stood there. Must start something small!

I rummaged around in the stash and came up with some leftovers, years old. (I made this for wee Elaine in 2008.) I ended up with a cowl-thing, that looks like it could be a little girl's skirt!

But it's a cowl, really. The wide part covers your shoulders nicely.

Or gets pulled up over your head!

It kept me amused and might end up being useful to someone!

Back to the sweater... but no, it became way too hot in September to knit with a lump of half-finished sweater in one's lap! Must start something small and light.

I took these two jazzy balls of sock yarn...

And turned them into this sort of muddy triangle, which will one day become a shawl.

It's Vertices Unite, one of my fave Stephen West patterns. It's a bit bigger than that now, but my oh my, a shawl on 3.25 mm needles, what was I thinking? I have to get this piece to be 90 stitches wide before I do anything different, and I increase one stitch every four rows... I think I have 50 or 60 now, but of course one does get bored with the slow movement.

So, those are some of my works in progress. I need to get a photo or two of my latest attempt!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Dropped the ball

I saw another three movies last week, but just ran out of steam! Quick notes now that I've sort of recovered:
  • Luk'luk'I is the Musqueam word for the part of the world which is now Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. There's been a lot of gentrification of a lot of neighbourhoods in Vancouver, but the Downtown Eastside is still pretty miserable. This film has at its centre the final hockey game of the 2010 Olympic Games that were held in Vancouver, but deals with poor people way on the periphery: addicts, prostitutes, people with disabilities and HIV. A hybrid of documentary and scripted movie, not very hopeful... and there were even UFO's. I doubt it will be a big hit, but it was interesting.  
  • Dragonfly Eyes was one of the oddest movies I saw! It was entirely made up of CCTV footage. The story seemed to be made to include certain bits; I mean, why would you make your heroine work in a dairy farm except to include that great shot with the cow and the truck? Somehow, it all worked. There are bits in shops and fights in alleys and lots of dashcams showing road rage and crashes. That one I'd definitely see again and take all my friends. 
  • Lastly, I saw Faces Places. Lovely! (They seem to have taken down the film's page, but there is an interview.) Agnes Varda and JR travel around France taking pictures of people and making giant B&W prints which they paste up on walls, on barns, on stacks of shipping containers. Just talking to people, talking about art... a very wonderful film, and I'm not the only one who thinks so, as it won the People's Choice award for documentary. 
Next time, knitting!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Three things on Thursday

Think Write Thursday seems to have become Three Things Thursday. Good, because I have three things to tell you about today, two movies and a sweater.

I decided to branch out into actual Hollywood movies, ones with movie stars, ones that might have that "Oscar buzz." So, Wednesday I ended up lining up on Yonge Street with constant panhandlers and traffic and construction up the street. And the theatre was one of our grandes dames, ornate and gilded, with really uncomfortable old seats! Ah, well.

Darkest Hour is the story of Churchill becoming Prime Minister in 1940. The army is getting squashed into Dunkirk, Chamberlain and his pals are wanting a negotiated peace, and it all ends up with "We will fight on the beaches." Stirring, of course, and Gary Oldman was amazing.

I went out the back door of the theatre, got a sandwich and a coffee and got back in the line for Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. This is a tittilating story of a psychology prof, his wife, and their research assistant, who all three strive to live happily ever after. There are some ups and downs, there is a golden lasso, and there is some great knitwear involved. It certainly piqued my interest in early Wonder Woman comics!

Because I finished my September hat before the festival even started, I began a sweater for Elaine. It is now much bigger than this, too big to carry around and knit on standing up.

It's the Surf Hoodie from Jane Gottelier and it is just stocking stitch for ever. I'm knitting it in the round, and I put a tiny little lace edge on the bottom. I've now got to the point where I need to think about sleeves, so I am just leaving it till next week to look at the pattern and sort that out.

I started a neck warmer in cotton/angora! Not stretchy at all, so we'll see how that works out. It keeps me occupied.

Today, two more kind of oddball movies, one tomorrow and that is it for me!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Montana and Jeannette

I had a plan, months ago, about how I was going to do TIFF this year. Pick a cinema, just see what was there! There are maybe 15 or 20 screens at TIFF, with several at a multiplex which I try to avoid, and four at the TIFF Bell Lightbox which I quite like. The closest single screen to me is at Jackman Hall in the Art Gallery of Ontario. A nice theatre with about 200 seats, a decent view from anywhere. So I concentrated on that venue as a way to narrow my choices down a bit. I tried not to get distracted by the big movie-star movies and I tried to cut down my dashing from one cinema to another. I ended up with about half my movies there, and on Tuesday I saw two there.

Montana is a story about a woman who goes back to her childhood home when her grandfather dies. She meets a neighbour, her uncle and other family members she hasn't seen for years. Complicated relationships all around. The cast was excellent. The director and cast were at the screening and it turns out they filmed this in the old home town, and even old home, of the writer/director! As an added bonus, I met a man in line who is involved with a group of schools in Israel. (His wife arrived as we were chatting, knitting in hand.)

Jeannette looked weird and wonderful, and it was... just crazy. For this showing I sat in the back of the hall, and I saw several people get up and leave during the movie. I'd love to know why! Too weird, wrong theology? Jeannette is the young Joan of Arc. She's troubled by the years of war, by English people coming and killing French people, desecrating French churches and, worst of all, taking the French harvest. She watches her sheep, she prays, sings, dances, walks in the river. Some saints come and do a little dance. Her uncle helps her, and does a little dance. Totally enjoyable and just nuts.

For some reason, the little girl who plays the young Jeannette was the only representative of the cast or crew at the Q&A. Maybe eight years old, speaks only French, not very chatty, so that was just another little weird thing. She thought Canada was "super" though, so that is good, I guess!

Today, movie star day.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

September's hat

I always like to have a hat to knit while waiting in line at TIFF. This year, however, I started a wee bit too early, and finished it before the festival even started. Heavens, I'll need to make another post about the thing I actually am knitting in line!

This is another vintage pattern, a hat called, appropriately, Spiral.  It comes in three sizes, and lists needles to use but no gauge. I think that really with this yarn I could have used a bit smaller needle or even made the teen size. The hat fits but could be a bit snugger.

All the pretty colours. Too bad that nice bright blue is sort of hidden under the brim when it's worn. 

You knit the spiral brim, then a bit of ribbing, then continue with the spiral. Very nice. The pattern says to knit the hat flat and seam it, and if you do that you just knit an odd number of rows of ribbing and then work the new right side on the old wrong side, so that both right sides show when the brim is folded up. I was knitting in the round and so there is a tiny hole somewhere where I just turned the whole thing around.

This selfie business is never as easy as it looks.

Monday's movies

I saw two movies on Monday: Our People Will Be Healed and Of Sheep and Men.

Our People Will Be Healed is made by Alanis Obomsawin, who has made dozens of films and is now in her 80s. It looks at the school, mainly, in the northern Manitoba Native community of Norway House. The school is big, new, well-funded and apparently well-run. The kids learn science, and reading, and Native Studies, and fiddling, and all the things.

The scenery was beautiful and the movie was very positive. It was a bit disconcerting, though, that they talked to cheery young men on their way to university who said they don't do drugs or drink, but didn't talk about the dropouts who maybe do. With less than half of the kids who start high school finishing, there is clearly another side of the story that we are not getting. There were references in passing to gangs, but we weren't shown anything about that, either. And the thing that really bugged me: it was never winter there in that northern Manitoba town. I can see what she wanted to do, and that people in the town and the school are trying hard, but it's difficult to see how 60 kids out of 200 graduating is a triumph, without more background.

I had another movie right after that at a different theatre, so I thought I didn't have time to stay for the Q&A. I might have learned some of this history there. As it turned out, an Algerian film about sheep didn't have a huge lineup and I could have walked in 5 minutes before it started. Ah well, live and learn.

Of Sheep and Men just looked interesting and was at a convenient place and time. I was a bit surprised when I found out how much the film was about sheep fighting! Who even knew? Along with the head-banging of sheep, there is buying and selling. Everyone around wants a ram to sacrifice for Eid al-Adha (the Feast of the Sacrifice) so we get to see a huge market, a field full of sheep and men. 

It was just the sort of movie I wanted to see this year: a modest film, subtitled, unexpected, not my usual (though it is a documentary, and might just come back to our cinema), The director said he was taking it back to Algeria to show next week and I'd be interested to see how it goes there.

Today, two more! And fiction, for a change.

Monday, September 11, 2017

A sock before a movie

I'm going to two more movies today, but have a wee moment to show you my sock. I only made the one, and will perhaps try out another vintage pattern for the other one! Arthur rarely wears matching socks anyways.

The yarn is really dark navy blue and cooked-shrimpy-orange-peachy. These were taken inside in the evening and look sort of washed out. And I can't redo them, because he has gone off with it.

The pooling over the heel is crazy! Half of the heel is blue and half is pink. I don't usually use this sort of indie-dyed yarn; Regia sock yarn doesn't do this quite so noticeably! 


You can sort of see the cables if you try hard! I think my next attempt with this yarn might involve a different sort of interesting pattern, or at least a contrasting heel. 

This was July's vintage accessory. So I can finally cross that chore off my list. I've also finished September's and will show you that soon.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Two down: TIFF 2017

The Toronto International Film Festival is in full swing.

Friday I saw The Final Year, about the foreign policy team of Barack Obama's government in 2016. Sad ending, of course, but really, really interesting.

That's Samantha Power, right there! (second from the left) The best part of the program was listening to her and Ben Rhodes (left) talk after the movie. They, of course, were disappointed and shocked at last year's election results, and see friends in the civil and foreign service struggling to work in the new government. But somehow they seemed optimistic that people will return to "caring and trying," as they said. This movie certainly showed them caring and trying.

Saturday I actually bought a full-price ticket to see a program of shorts. All these films dealt with people trying, and interacting, and sometimes succeeding, sometimes not.

All the directors of the shorts
Fifteen was about a boy in Cairo whose parents have been in an accident, and he finds himself looking after his baby brother. (We were assured that they used a doll for the motorcycle scene!) For Nonna Anna was a really quite moving picture of a family: the old grandma who needs help with a lot of personal care; the mom, busy but loving; the girl Chris, born Christopher, who is smart and patient and honest. The President's Visit is about Lebanon, and politics, and people. Bird deals with parents and caring and freedom.... Others in the program were Grandmother (sad) and Still Water Runs Deep (also sad). Drop by Drop was animated, and a bit sad...  Creatura Dada was not sad!

Before I went to the movie, we had a walk along King Street with all the fans and maybe even movie stars (whom we didn't recognize if they were there!) and people lining up to have their pictures taken in front of the TIFF sign. Note the lineup at the right! So we just took a picture of the back of the sign...

But we can flip it and if you don't look at the sign in the background, it's fine.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Three things

On this Think Write Thursday we are to share three things off our to-do list. Here goes!

  1. Figure out how to have a perfectly cooked roast chicken dinner here tomorrow when I am out all afternoon
  2. Knit a sweater while standing in lines
  3. Clean the house
Number 1 is the most challenging, I think. My brother is popping in today and staying for a couple of days. Tonight he's out for dinner, but tomorrow is the perfect opportunity for us all to have a nice meal together. TIFF starts tonight and I am going to see The Final Year tomorrow afternoon. So, I get everything set up in the morning, leave the chicken in the pan in the fridge, Elaine gets home from school, takes chicken out of the fridge, puts it in the oven exactly the right amount of time before everyone else gets home. Yeah, it'll work... (I realize there are lots of people who manage to make dinner every night although they are out all afternoon! Privilege...)

The second item on the list is also a stretch for me. Usually I knit a hat while standing in lines at TIFF, but I cast on this year's hat days ago and just tried out the pattern... and finished it already. What I am keen on now is a big ol' sweater for Elaine, which I am knitting in the round, so my project bag will be a bit bigger than usual! Two colours, but I hope that since I'm doing wide stripes I'll really only have to carry one colour per day. Maybe? 

And that third item is just the constant that is always on the list. I'll get to it some day. 

I could have added "write blog" on this list. Without prompts like Think Write Thursday my blogging is pretty erratic, so I am glad to have it, although I don't always do it. It is some work for the organizers to come up with something every week, so thanks to Carole and Kat. Go see what other people have on their lists, here

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hello September!

I am so scattered I almost forgot to blog on Think Write Thursday.

September starts off with a bang, of course.

We have, in past years, rented a car to take Arthur and his stuff to Ottawa for school. However, it is quite expensive and it requires Stephen to spend two days driving up there and back, so this year we are just sending him on the train.

However, of course, he has a ton of stuff! Mainly a big computer. How do you put that in a duffel bag?

That is my number one concern today, I'm afraid.

I think I'll just have to use point form for the rest of the things. Maybe if I see the all written down I can apply some sort of order.

  • TIFF, the big film festival, starts on the 8th for me. I bought a "daytime pack" of 10 tickets, but didn't realize that this year it was a "weekday daytime pack," so I had to fit in my 10 movies with none on the weekends. 
  • Elaine goes back to school next Tuesday
  • I am volunteering for two new events later in the month, have to do orientation and training for them
  • My friend talked me into getting a two-week free pass to the YMCA. So far we have done one barre class and I have bailed out on two aquafit classes. Luckily it was free. Maybe I can get something in next week. 
  • I finished August's vintage knitting project and I know what I will do for September's. July's sock is still in the wings as well. 
  • A bunch of us on the street have decided to have a street sale in a couple of weeks. The junk is piling up. I've even culled a few knitting books. 
  • And all the usual... arrange my photos, blog more, feed my family...
Find out what others are doing in September here

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














 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.