Thursday, August 31, 2006

Two down, one to go, and Blog Day

You know that the other day I started whipping up a red scarf. Yes indeed. I got some red yarn out of my cupboard and started seed stitching away. Well, I ended up with a scarf about 2 feet long. It was one of those projects where the little voice was nagging me from the start. "There's not enough yarn. You don't have enough yarn. THIS IS NOT GOING TO WORK." Well, the little voice was right, but it took me some time to realise.

Arthur, of course, thought that if I wasn't going to give it away, he would take it to wear with his red winter coat! But my knitterly pride would not allow me to pretend that this thing was actually a scarf, so I started at the other ends of the balls, and reknit it, on 21 stitches instead of 31, unravelling the wider one as I went. Here it is, almost down to the final multicoloured bit.

I took it to Lettuce Knit's SnB last night, and someone admired it and said, "You should publish that pattern!" Oh, it's seed stitch... But here we go, anyways: Cast on an odd number of stitches. *K1, P1* to last st, K1. Repeat ad nauseam, till you have a scarf. But, of course, the fun part is the 2-row stripes. I think they look very cool in seed stitch, because of the purl bumps showing, I guess. You do get a lot of bang for your buck with 2-row seed stitch stripes. So the instructions for that would be, change colour every two rows. There, a pattern.

So I still need a red scarf, don't I? Well, lucky me, I was at a yarn store last night, and got me some. It's cotton, but since the only places I've ever lived in the States, where this scarf is destined to end up, are southern California and Texas, I can't imagine the need for a woolly scarf there. Actually, it's so lovely and soft you could wear it snuggled real close, and it will keep you warm in any weather. That's my story... I got two colours -- not exactly red, but in that vague red family; actually the brown is close to a perfect brown -- but I'm not (I hope!) going to knit the same damn scarf over a third time. I'm thinking of a slip stitch pattern, but I do like scarves to be reversible. Maybe just a zigzag rib pattern or some such thing.

But first, really, I must get back to those other abandoned projects. This spur-of-the-moment quicky scarf has already taken too much time! School starts next week, must have jazzy socks done! It's getting chilly in the evenings, must get my cardigan done!

3108 This!And because it's Blog Day, I will share with you some blogs I like.

Lisa the Knitter -- She's a nut, and I mean that in the nicest way. She even knits sometimes.

Life is a Banquet -- Jan's look at all sorts of things. She made her own bacon last year!

Pixie Post -- A quilter with a great eye, I think, and a 9-year-old son.

Kentish KT -- A Canadian living in Britain! With a 9-year-old son. And she stalks postboxes!

Fleagirl's Fine Cooking -- Oh, my, she has a 9-year-old son, and she writes lovingly about food!

And all the Cambridge knitters, none of whom has a 9-year-old son: Very Otterly, Anne, Knitting on the Green, Pig Wot Knits, Caught Knitting .... who did I forget?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

August finale

It looks like August has whizzed past us, just about. In those odd hours when my stoopid internet connection was not working, I made these photo collages of neutral colours for Project Spectrum. I wish I could knit 'em up. I have been wanting a brown sweater for some time, but it's hard to get that sun-on-old-leaves rich colour.

First we have some sun on old leaves! These sort of hedgelike trees were by the river in Cambridge. Then a scarf I did knit, in some nylon ladder yarn and a strand of Matchmaker 4 ply wool. It's kind of a goofy looking scarf, in fact, but not bad colours, though too much gold metallic for my taste. Bottom left is a wintery tree in the park, and bottom right is Punt With Bird.

Then we have Raccoon Asleep in My Tree in the Middle of the Day! Woodpile, Henry VIII with chair leg (scroll down to Bicycles and Chair Legs, in the Traditions section), and chimneys on Trinity Lane.

Did you know that August 31 is Blog Day? One is meant to post links to 5 different blogs, to spread the bloggish word... I don't think I know 5 blogs that aren't about knitting, at least in some part. I'll work on it.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Garbage picking in the 'hood

Our neighbourhood is great for garbage picking. We used to collect printers that people discarded, and Arthur would take them apart to collect parts. What he ever did with all these parts, I'm not too sure, but it was sure fun taking the things to bits. We've also found many planters, candle holders, books... and got rid of lots of stuff, including an old barbecue, by just putting it out at the curb. It's Freecycle without even needing a computer.

The other night, Arthur and I delivered some boxes to friends who are moving. They were the gigantic ones, suitable for throwing a few quilts in, but hard to lift if they're full of books! Since they're awkward to carry, we took them in our wagon, and then, on the way home, we passed several piles of yardsale leftovers.

(I have to interject here: we too had a yard sale that day. Arthur built a booth out of two big boxes for a lemonade stand, and we put out a few books now deemed too "babyish" for Arthur and Elaine, and then, since it was a pretty crappy day and no one was out walking around, we called our friends with kids and coerced them into coming over and buying stuff. When asked for a price for the books, Arthur hemmed and hawed, and although Daddy was frantically signing "FIVE CENTS," somehow our first buyer paid $.50 per book, and then she told the next person that was the price, and so actually we made a bundle! The kids are a bit vague on economics generally, but when Arthur had a $10 bill in his hand, he knew he should just rush upstairs and squirrel it away! Elaine made a sale, too, and although it was for $2, and I had to go find change for a fiver, she managed to run off with the $5 bill! Our yardsale leftovers are going to charity forthwith, but we still have some lemonade...)

Anyways, when I see a bag of yarn and a "Free" sign, I quickly kick Sonny Boy out of the wagon and replace him with yarn! (Carefully chosen, indeed -- I got some mauve washable wool, and 4 balls of various blue cotton/wool/acrylic blends, and left the pastel baby acrylic behind.) Also a couple of soup bowls! And on the next block, some of those foam squares that fit together -- Arthur is a master builder with them, and although they are marketed as toddler alphabet-learning toys, they make great rocket ships and boxes to put your sister in and all sorts of things! Good thing we had the wagon!

But the score of the evening had to be the Better Homes and Gardens Handyman's Book, circa 1957.

It's a ring binder with sections and dividers and all cool stuff, and pages about wrenches, or screwdrivers, or how to fix a toilet! And look at little wifey on the cover, devoted to her handyman! (I hate to say it, but this is a true representation of things around here. How do people live without a handyman in the family?)

We shall all have hours of fun with our finds! Thanks, neighbours!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Eye candy Friday

This past week Stephen was out in BC, doing some work stuff and some play stuff. This is obviously from the play part! Taken from a plane flying from Vancouver to Comox, some islands for you. I wanna go!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Oops, a new project

The astute among you will have noticed a new section in the sidebar, Projects on the Go. This is supposed to keep me on track with a small number of projects, so that I actually finish something before starting something else. Right now I have the green cotton cardigan, which is still in the very-long-row stage, and although I sat in a waiting room yesterday for 2 hours, I seem to have got nowhere. It's that black hole thing. And I have the gaudy socks, which are coming along fine, and should be finished ... soonish...

But then I read Norma's blog about the Red Scarf Project, and thought of some red wool I have, and started a scarf. I have 2 bits of multi-coloured reddish stuff, and 2 balls, which may or may not be full, and are different colours of red, and I'll just toss them all together into scarf, right?

It'll be all seed stitch, I think, with the multi-coloured stuff at each end, and 2-row stripes for the rest of it. Of course, if I don't have enough yarn to make a decent scarf, who knows what'll happen...

And I do knit that green thing every night before bed, honest.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Summer in the city

One more week of camp, one week of hanging around, then school starts! The kids and I have been in serious preparation mode. Last week I went to my favourite secondhand joint, Value Village, and, while looking for girlie T-shirts for Elaine, found her a pair of brand new hot pink snow pants, for $8. They'll look like heck with her pale lilac jacket, but for 8 bucks, who's worried?

(Um, yes, I also picked up 4 balls of dishcloth cotton and a few vintage patterns. The cotton will be great for gifts for those people who don't like to mess up their nice handknit dishcloths, since it looks like it's been used for washing dishes for a year, and I haven't even taken the ball bands off yet. It's called Potpourri ombre, for those who like to know. The pattern selection was not great, but I got a book of shawls for 69 cents. Shawls are apparently only for wrapping babies in, and not for flinging over your adult shoulders, but I think we can work around that.)

Then we ventured into the men's shoe department at Payless Shoes, because Arthur's great galumphing hooves are now too big for the kids' shoes. He's set now, just has to practise tying laces. A stop at MEC for pants, and a jacket for Arthur (Mom found a T-shirt for herself on sale, too!) and we're more or less done. I hope it snows a lot this winter. Arthur's new jacket doesn't have a hood, so, although the house is full of hats and scarves, I'm open to the possibility I'll have to make him something. And all agree that while knitted mitts are fine in England, here we need waterproof ones. Didn't think of that till we were on the streetcar home from MEC, but we've a few months to remedy that, I think.

Sunday we went to the subway station to buy a new pass for me for this week (since I take the kids to camp, come home, go get them and then come home again, a weekly pass makes sense!) and decided to get on the subway and go to High Park. Walked past the animals, played on the giant castle-like play structure, had a hot dog, walked in the woods to the streetcar loop. I took pictures -- one of a moulting peacock, and this one of Arthur's new shoes. Then my battery died, so you don't get to see the llamas (which of course made us sing the song for the next few hours) or the yak or the mountain goats, or even the castle. But, you can see all those things, in the winter, on someone's Flickr page.

On the subway there we met a woman who was crocheting a blanket. I know, roll your eyes, what could be worse than a crocheted blanket, but no! It was all one colour and a nice roundy-flowery pattern and looked really fine. I showed her my sock... Then I was sitting on one of the grown-up seats at the playground (all good playgrounds have a place for the parents to sit and watch, but not actually get in the way) and a kid came by, maybe 4 or 5 years old. "What's that? Are you knitting? Is it a mitten?" all at once. See, you meet the nicest people, knitting in public.

This afternoon, the dentist...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

My inner what?

You Belong in Brooklyn

Down to earth and hard working, you're a true New Yorker.

And although you may be turning into a yuppie, you never forget your roots.

Hot, hazy and humid

The sky out my front door. Not very blue today, but that hazy summer look.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Project Spectrum in August

A collection of floors (the Louvre, Ely Cathedral, a chapel [St John's?... Actually, we now believe it's Clare] in Cambridge), the beach at Great Yarmouth, and some walls... somewhere. Mostly stone, though I think the reds and golds in Ely must be tiles.

According to plan, I did take my camera out today when I took the kids to the ROM for their summer camp.

There's a big conference on AIDS going on in town here, and this sculpture is just on the streetcorner outside the museum. Stephen Harper is, of course, our prime minister. He didn't show up at this conference, blowing a big chance to be seen doing something, anything...

I also took the camera to the park, where, as usual, the kids tried to run away from me, but with limited success:

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Wild socks

I'm almost down to the heel on the second of Arthur's jazzy socks. As you can see, the pooling is completely different on the two socks! I guess it doesn't really matter that they won't exactly match -- they'll be the wildest socks in grade 4 in any case, I bet. (That's my dirty front step they're lying on.)

The green cardigan is coming along, but with more than 300 stitches in a row now, it's slow work. But, if I just keep going, I'll get to divide the stitches and work on a smaller number for just the body or a sleeve... Must keep reminding myself of that...

I was saying to the kids today that I've got out of the habit of carrying my camera around, since I'm not anywhere exciting anymore, just "at home." But there are things going on in the familiar world of downtown Toronto that I could well take a picture of, so I will get back into the habit, I hope.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Streetknittin' on Saturday

Sometimes you just want to knit a hat, know what I mean? Use up some Lopi scraps, have something to knit at the kids' swimming lessons... And so you do, and you look in the hat drawer in the front hall and see a dozen other hats you've knit, and then what do you do? Well, I put them somewhere else and wonder who would like one for Christmas, and then forget about them, and then leave town for a year, and then finally rediscover them... And then I find out about Streetknits, and give them my hats! So my hats will do someone some good, and won't just fill up my hat drawer. Knit on!

And a Saturday sky!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Eye Candy Friday

See what happens when one sits down with a bit of time to spare and cruises blogland? One discovers things like Eye Candy Friday! Post a pretty picture on Friday. Simple enough.

This could lead into Saturday Sky, who knows?

But since today is Friday, we'll start with an eye candy shot. Hmmmm.

This is from the Albert Memorial in London. There are 4 of these large statues representing different parts of the world. Here you have Asia. All our pictures get mixed up once they're downloaded to the computer, and I think Stephen took this one. Yes, pretty sure about that.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

New book, no new projects!

I made my way up the hill to Knitomatic the other day and finally found a copy of Norah Gaughan's new book, Knitting Nature. (If you look at it here you can see some of the designs.) I see there's a knitalong! I really like the Vortex Street pullover, and the chemical waves mittens. Her explanation of how basaltic columns form is unfortunately wrong, but we can't have everything. I'd like to show her my spiral defect chaos sweater, so then she'd say, "Oh, you are so clever, we must write a book together!" Right now, though, I'm not starting any new projects, no-sirree!

I've got my second pooling sock, which seems to be pooling a bit differently from the first one (we went to Ikea yesterday, which is a loooong subway ride, so I got a few rows done on that, first in a while) and my Rockpool green cotton cardi, which is getting into the really-long-rows stage. Here's a corner, where back meets sleeve.

And, just in case anyone is thinking of dishcloths for Christmas (only 136 days to go) you can get Sugar n Cream yarn by the cone or ball at Mary Maxim. My old fave store here for such things was Lewiscraft, which has gone belly-up. I've heard that Mary Maxim may be opening some of the old Lewiscraft stores (including the one at Yonge and Eglinton), which would provide us with loads of Sugar n Cream, plus all the tacky plastic canvas kits you'll ever need. But, I repeat, I'm not starting any new projects right now!!

Oh, and about that Ikea trip. Never take small children to Ikea! All through the store we heard miserable kids being dragged about by parents trying to choose between birch and beech without going loopy. We were on our own, and managed to find several things, all of which were more or less in stock (we did have to get a grey chair with a beige slipcover, but that just allows us to have either a beige or grey chair, right?). A lunch of meatballs, hand over the credit card, ride the little shuttle bus back to the subway, and await the delivery truck. And if they say they'll deliver between 4 and 10 pm, they just might show up at 9:58, just telling ya!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lacy cardigan on its way

I have been working on this green cotton cardigan. In fact, it's a few pattern repeats longer now than when I took the picture. I started with a top-down raglan pattern, using their numbers to get the width across the back and so on, and just increase 1 stitch at the raglan edge of front, sleeve, back, sleeve, front on the knit rows, and increase once in a while on the neck edge for a sort of deep V-neck. I do have to sit and look at it whenever I pick it up, to see where I am, and I have to think about the lace pattern at the raglans -- once I get the sleeves separated from the body, I can just zip along doing the pattern continuously around. It's great fun and I think it'll look good, if I have enough yarn! Perhaps short sleeves with some sort of dangly border?

I've also done a bit of stash sorting and ordering, and it looks like I have enough sock yarn to last me a while! Note that not many of these 50g balls have mates, but who needs matching pairs of socks, anyways?

You may remember the spikes. One day I sent an e-mail to the Victoria and Albert Museum metalwork folks, because I figure if anyone knows, it's the V&A. And I got a reply, which said in part, "Our ironwork expert agrees with your suggestion that the purpose of the grilles was to keep animals or vagrants from sleeping in the corners of fine buildings overnight. We do not have a name for the grilles, but they appear to be 18th century, and most probably English." Still no picture in an 18th-century book, but I think I'm satisfied.

And when I was in England, I showed you things from around town. So here is my view from my Toronto bedroom (one day we will have a deck from which to enjoy this view, but right now we have a doorway out to the roof...). That spiky thing is the CN Tower. Okay, I used a long lens to get it this big, but we can see it!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Moving into August

I have lots of great ideas about Project Spectrum's August "colour" of neutrals/B&W. Seashell colours and rocks galore... I could make a fine felted bag with black and white like this.

But, I am probably not going to get around to any of those cool things! I am blazing away on my Rockpool green cotton cardigan -- top-down raglan V-neck in a diamondy lace. Will show you when my blazing actually produces more than an inch or two of knitting. I'm all set to get this done for September.

I'm so glad the weather has cooled down a bit. I got caught in a torrential downpour yesterday, but really couldn't complain. I had just bought a giant plant pot, which I discovered was no good at keeping the rain off, since it has drainage holes around the bottom, but I did, for a moment, put it on my head a la Devo 1980. (Did you know they still exist as a band??) Mine was way bigger than a Devo energy dome, too!

Well, this is getting silly. Perhaps you can tell that I am not sitting on the porch in my dressing gown today, but inside at a desk! Whoo hoo! My signal strength is excellent! Must be the residuals from the energy dome...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Drop everything and make a sweater, despite the 35C temperatures!

I must admit that I made a second trip to Romni Wools, and got in on the last day of their sale. I was looking at some Jo Sharp cotton in a lovely chartreuse called Parakeet, but it had 35 % microfiber, which I think means polyester, doesn't it? And there were only 10 balls, and it was $7-something a ball (which, especially with another 20% off, is not that much -- And, oy, why didn't I stock up on Rowan in England, because as expensive as it is there, it's way worse here!). Then I found this 100% cotton, in a colour called Rockpool, and it was $6.30 a ball, there were 13 balls, and it seemed an all-round better idea. So now I'm looking through all my old magazines looking for the perfect DK weight cotton sweater that needs 13 balls or less, and I'm having a heck of a time! I'd kind of like to have it for "back to school" time, if I can stop my hands sweating in this weather!

I thought of this lovely from a 1987 Vogue Knitting, but it would be so boring to make! Each row of the netty bit is just yo, p2tog, and then there are the 8-stitch stockinette stripes with a twist every 16 rows! Not very engaging, but don't you just want to do your shopping like she does?

So now I'm thinking of this, from a slightly more recent issue, which I thought was too bed-jackety when it first came out, but now, if I made it longer and generally bigger, I think it'd be cool. It's written for a completely different gauge, and the size large is 37 inches around! So there's some swatching to be done for this one!

Or I might just figure out a nice lacey pattern, start at the top and work down till I use up all the yarn.

And some local updates: Arthur and Stephen both came to Mama Mary's barber shop and got the summer buzz cut! Very stylish, and a good way to beat the heat. Yay for the Deluxe Home Barber Kit! Yes, we did this outside in the twilight...

And some of you in the 'hood know KT, who has gone to England for 6 months. Sheesh, why couldn't we have coordinated that a bit better?? Anyways, she now has a blog, Kentish KT. Check it out, folks.

Well, it's taken most of the day for me to get this done. I'm still getting the wireless from the neighbours, off my front porch. And it pops in and out, so I get stalled in the middle of loading pictures and so on. Friday we should get our very own connection, and then you shall see some action. I have a few big stash bags that I'll sort out as soon as the temperature drops below 30 or so, and several projects to make rash promises about! Found some handles for the denim bag, for instance. But now, it's down to the cool basement for bedtime...