Thursday, February 25, 2021

Some tiles

I took a walk yesterday past a classic Vancouver building, the old BC Hydro building, now mainly condos. The outside has mosaic details at street level. 

This reminds me of Kaffe Fassett's Large Diamonds pattern, though of course diamonds are one of those eternal patterns! 

I would love to go in and see what remains of the original interior design. Although we are looking for a condo, I'm not sure this building would be high on our list, because there are no balconies. And now I look at what is available in it today, I see that they are tiny! Two bed, two bath in 815 square feet is one of the larger options! But at least these ads show that some of the common areas do maintain the blue and green tiles. 

From the REW website

This exterior wall would be exciting to come home to, though!

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Cosy little lap rug

This is what I started working on in January in Toronto after I finished the many dishrags. A bunch of lone balls of fingering weight yarn... when will I ever reach the end of this pile? I keep finding more, just when I think I have knitted it all up. 

A designer made special yarn and used it in a 12 Days of Christmas scarf pattern. It's 12 different stitch patterns, of which I used seven in this. I made it wider than a scarf, so this is baby-blanket sized; we now use it to warm our legs on the couch in the evening. 

That bright turquoise and the browny-red next to it are Jamiesons jumperweight wool, from the pile I picked up from my neighbour last August. It is lovely and colourful and made me sneeze like anything, so I packed up the rest of it and sold it to another knitter on Ravelry! (Bargain for her, tiny profit for me.)

The rest of it is nice Koigu and other things I seem to have picked up here and there. It's dark, not really baby colours, and it can't be machine washed or thrown in the dryer, so I do declare that it is ours to keep! 


Thursday, February 11, 2021

Is it too ugly?

Once upon a time, maybe even this time last year, I found three balls of very ugly sock yarn in a thrift shop. I thought I could make a blanket or hats to keep someone warm. So muddy and grey and splotchy. 

I brought it with me to Vancouver, thinking that I'd never get around to doing anything with it if it wasn't my only option, so here I am, forced to make something with it. (I see that I have not told you about my other project, so we'll get to that soon!) 

Of course, hats for charity would be good. I think I could get a lap rug out three balls. Make something where this gloomy grey and brown mush won't get anyone down! What to do? 

I have started a baby dress for my niece! I wanted to make this pattern and I know the mom is not bothered by gender conventions in clothing. I figure that it could look like a bear pelt or some sort of woodland sprite. We don't all have to be princesses, now, do we? 

There is a ridged yoke, no real sleeves, and then a slightly flared dress down to more ridges at the bottom. 

I just have to shape the underarms now and then zoom quickly down the body. I hope this is not all a big mistake! 

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

New month, new view

We have travelled. 


We are back in Vancouver for three months. We have an apartment overlooking the east end of False Creek, with the SkyTrain and an elevated highway between us and the water. A bit noisy, but it sort of all fades into the background. 

The flight was uneventful and not too crowded. Everyone just sat still and tried not to breathe for five hours. We had some N95 masks, we washed our hands, we got groceries delivered shortly after we arrived so we haven't been inside a store. I think we'll be okay! 

Vancouver is much less locked-down than Toronto. I am excited about the idea of actually going in to a shop without having pre-ordered something for pick-up. I've only really been in the grocery store for ... ages. 

We've only been here since Monday, though, so we are still not going in any stores. Luckily the view is pretty entertaining in all kinds of weather. 


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

It's snowing

This was taken this morning; it is now perhaps twice as deep! 

I know, this is not much of an update! 

It's always possible to see pictures at my Instagram, for when I am too lazy to make a whole blog post. 

I will show you a picture I put on Insta the other day! It is also snow-related. 

We learned (from another Instagram post!) that this pancake ice was forming on the Humber, Toronto's western river. It's a short walk from a subway station, so we put on our masks and went across town to see. My camera was almost out of power so I didn't take any video, but if you click through to that link you can see it swirling around. The river comes down off a weir, and some is frozen and some is not, and the ice is forming near the shore, and some water is fast and some is not... so you get swirls of ice in a round ice-free section. Quite nice. 

I might even have some knitting news soon! 

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

A big ball of cotton

I took this first photo in October of {gasp} last year. I found this yarn at the thrift shop and it might have cost $3 or $4. That is my 13-inch laptop it's sitting on. It's a great big ball of rainbow dishcloth cotton. 

I made my niece a kitchen hand towel of it, and mailed it to her for Christmas without taking a picture! What sort of blogger am I? 

Then I found a charity that makes up starter kits for people setting up homes. They want pots and pans and dishes and blankets and... stuff for the kitchen! So, I made seven more cloths out of that big ball of yarn! I know I have bits of other colours around, but couldn't find them, so everything is just solid rainbows. 

This one is your basic ball-band dishcloth. Usually this is done in two colours, but with the multicoloured yarn it works well, I think. 

This is one called Clover Tweed, also usually with two colours. Nice and nubbly. 

This is a new-to-me pattern called Simon

I love both sides of this, and it looks great in this yarn. Sort of pointillist, sort of pop art. At least, that's my story. 

This is a Double Bump. I love how the colours swirl differently in all these cloths, although they all have about the same number of stitches. 

Another new pattern for me: the Reversible Textured Dishcloth.  It makes a nice texture. 

A round one! I've made this before and I think it looks better in a single colour, but it will wash the dishes just fine. 

Another old favourite, the Tweedish cloth. Every other stitch is slipped on every other row, so the swirls of colour are squashed together. 

The lot. 

I also threw in some other cloths and a hat. Someone will need it. 

And a headband, or maybe neck warmer. This is the very last of some Rowan Magpie, one of the great yarns of yesteryear. Not quite enough for a full hat, but it will provide a bit of warmth. 

So, I took all those things off today to the shelter and handed them over, with a bit of cash donated to the Starter Kit program. My good deed for ... now. 

In other news, I took part again in the Christmas card swap on Ravelry. I was a bit miffed because I didn't receive any cards over Christmas but it turned out our letter carrier was off and it looks like his replacement just didn't do much work. I got 12 on the first day our regular guy was back! And they keep coming in. You can see a sort of garland of circles in with the lights -- those are last year's cards cut up. 

I see this is my first post of the year, so Happy New Year to you all. It's not off to a great start, but I hope all sorts of things will improve as we go on. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

My year in books

I started keeping track of the books I was reading when we were living in Vancouver last January. There might be a couple missing from the first days of the year, and of course I might have forgotten to include one or two. The oldest ones are at the bottom of the list.  Right now we have 64 on the list, and I bet I'll finish number 65 before the end of the year. 

This was the year of Black Lives Matter, and there are several books on this list that I discovered from articles or library blogs about black authors. I especially enjoyed Nairobi Heat by Mũkoma wa Ngũgĩ, about an American cop who follows a lead to Nairobi and teams up with another officer to solve a multinational crime. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead was as stunning as his previous book, The Underground Railroad. 

In January we were (blissfully) living in Vancouver, in a retired professor's apartment, so some of the books at the bottom of the list were ones that were lying around. We had no public library card, so relied on his bookshelves and Little Free Libraries. Highlights from this group were My Nepenthe: Bohemian tales of food, family, and Big Sur by Romney Steele, Kaffe Fassett's niece, and Syria's Secret Library: Reading and redemption in a town under siege by Mike Thomson.

I read lots of non-fiction this year, I think because it's nice to have the facts about something, an anchor of reality in this wacky and "unreal" 2020. Recently I got riled up about public toilets and the lack thereof, especially in this pandemic, and read No Place to Go: How public toilets fail our private needs by Lezlie Lowe and then for historical context Dirty Old London: the Victorian fight against filth by Lee Jackson. After reading the first one, which was written by a woman who was first outraged about public toilets when she would go to parks with her young children, I had a book in my pile about Auschwitz. I found that I could handle outrage about toilets but I was not ready to deal with that, so back it went to the library. 

A lot of the fiction I read this year was "comfort" reading: a few Harry Potters, a few Ian Rankins, On the Road, Anne Tyler, even Nevil Shute! 

I used to volunteer at the local documentary cinema and would see probably 40 or 50 docs a year (I will keep a list when next I am able). I now find that although I have access to many movies online, I don't watch many documentaries, but I'll rewatch the Crown or some British cop show instead. It's just not the same sitting here alone in my living room watching on a laptop. 

Did you have a favourite book of the past year? 

Books read since Jan. 1, 2020
  • The Pine Islands, Marion Poschmann
  • Dirty Old London: the Victorian fight against filth, Lee Jackson
  • Pastoral, Nevil Shute
  • Sweater Quest: My year of living dangerously, Adrienne Martini

  • The Five: the untold lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper, Hallie Rubenhold
  • No Place to Go: How public toilets fail our private needs, Lezlie Lowe
  • Love Enough, Dionne Brand
  • Crap: a history of cheap stuff in America, Wendy A Woloson
  • Little Fish, Casey Plett

  • Aubrey McKee, Alex Pugsley
  • A Song for the Dark Times, Ian Rankin
  • Redhead by the side of the road, Anne Tyler
  • Vancouver After Dark: The Wild History of a City's Nightlife, Aaron Chapman
  • Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evaristo

  • The Bohemians: The lovers who led Germany's resistance against the Nazis, Norman Ohler
  • Cemetery Boys, Heather Brewer
  • They said this would be fun: race, campus life, and growing up, Eternity Martis
  • The Last Gang in Town: The epic story of the Vancouver police vs. the Clark Park gang, Aaron Chapman
  • Black Star Nairobi, Mukoma Wa Ngugi

  • 1536: The year that changed Henry VIII, Suzannah Lipscomb
  • Versailles, Colin Jones
  • Blacktop Wasteland, S A Cosby
  • Blonde, Joyce Carol Oates
  • Black Docker, Ousmane Sembène

  • You look like a thing and I love you: How artificial intelligence works and why it's making the world a weirder place
  • Somebody's Gotta Do It: Why cursing at the news won't save the nation, but your name on a local ballot can, Adrienne Martini
  • The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead
  • Rule Britannia, Daphne du Maurier
  • 1619: Jamestown and the Forging of American Democracy, James P P Horn

  • Nairobi Heat, Mũkoma wa Ngũgĩ
  • Heat: an amateur's adventures as kitchen slave, line cook, pasta-maker, and apprentice to a Dante-quoting butcher in Tuscany, Bill Buford
  • On the Road, Jack Kerouac
  • Dark Age Ahead, Jane Jacobs
  • N is for Noose, Sue Grafton

  • No Crystal Stair: a novel, Mairuth Sarsfield
  • Maigret at the Crossroads, Georges Simenon
  • The Mirror and the Light, Hilary Mantel
  • Bring up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel
  • George, Alex Gino

  • In a House of Lies, Ian Rankin
  • Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel
  • The Thin Man, Dashiell Hammett
  • The Falls, Ian Rankin
  • The Return of the Native, Thomas Hardy

  • Gumboot Girls: adventure, love & survival on British Columbia's north coast, a collection of memoirs compiled by Jane Wilde & edited by Lou Allison
  • Scurvy: how a surgeon, a mariner and a gentleman solved the greatest medical mystery of the age of sail
  • Exit Music, Ian Rankin
  • Far from the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling

  • Sahara, Michael Palin
  • The Last Duel: a true story of crime, scandal, and trial by combat in medieval France, Eric Jager
  • Brighton Rock, Graham Greene
  • Syria's Secret Library: Reading and redemption in a town under siege, Mike Thomson
  • Anil's Ghost, Michael Ondaatje

  • The Complaints, Ian Rankin
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling
  • Lieutenant Hornblower, C.S. Forester
  • Earth and High Heaven, Gwethalyn Graham

  • My Nepenthe: Bohemian tales of food, family, and Big Sur, Romney Steele
  • The Fire Engine that Disappeared, Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö
  • Mr Midshipman Hornblower, C.S. Forester
  • The Woman in Blue, Elly Griffiths
  • The Silk Train Murder: A mystery of the Klondike, Sharon Rowse