Friday, December 28, 2007

More cooking excellence

For some reason, knitters like to share their other domestic triumphs on their blogs. This season we've had recipes, and cookies and buns and other miracles of the culinary arts. My turn, now. (Scary picture of dirty oven to follow!)

On Christmas I thought I would bake onions, following this recipe I found in my heap of recipes. But then, around 4:30 pm, I read the thing carefully and realised that I can't cook a chicken at 350 F and onions for an hour and 40 minutes at 400 F! So, heck, we'll have the onions another day.

Yesterday, I put them in the pyrex dish, brushed with olive oil, sprinkled artfully with salt and pepper, put the whole thing in a hot oven. Then, a while later came the time to add the broth. I was a tad nervous, and added it slowly, and it bubbled, and I put it back in the oven, and... it exploded.

I hope to bring you these delicious-sounding onions another day, in another pan, with perhaps another whole way of doing things. Sigh.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Big red machines and little cars

It was a kind of low-key affair here for Christmas. Relatives are far away and it was just the four of us and the tree.

My super gift was a vacuum cleaner! How romantic, I hear you say... But it was great! Our old one was bought in 1991 in Santa Barbara, California, and now its cord is fraying and it is no good on the stairs. The new one's box was so big, I had to decipher a coded message and go out to the back shed to find it!

Now, a new Lego set is one thing, but a vacuum cleaner is really much more thrilling! Arthur started on the stairs and before I knew it, he and Stephen had got everything up off the playroom floor, put stuff away, and even vacuumed shelves! Hoo-la! I presume I will get to play with it when they are all back at school.

The kids got a lot of Daddy's old stuff this year! Dinky toys! This is a Studebaker Golden Hawk, for your information. Stephen started Googling these things to see what they were worth, and really, with some old Dinkies, my Felted Tweed stash and some of our old records, we could.... not retire, perhaps, but we could buy ourselves a nice dinner out! We'll hang on to them for now!

Slushy mush is falling out of the sky.

I am warm and dry and sewing together some squares.

This is about half of it. Four-sevenths, as a matter of fact. Amazing how well it matches the chair, eh?

Still pondering the border situation. I think I have to free my 4 mm circ from another project, pick up stitches along the sides and knit a border on, edge by edge.

Will this be the first FO of 2008?

Stay tuned...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy holidays!

Not much time for blogging these days... I'll give you a picture of our little tree, and hope you are all well and not too stressed. See you after Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Everything old is new again

Those of you who've been following things since Knitting on the Cam was really on the Cam will recognise these!

Squares for a blanket! Nice little 6-inch squares of Jaeger Matchmaker Merino, for the most part.

Originally I wanted to make a blanket to fit a single bed, but now I am older and wiser and think a smaller square lap-blanket is just the thing. (Also, I can finish it with only a few more squares and a border; I don't have that much yarn left!)

Perhaps it was the square frenzy at Mason-Dixon Knitting that led me back to this project. You might know Emma and her son Oliver. Oliver needs a new car seat, which will be very expensive, and Michaela decided to make a blanket to raffle off to raise funds for it. So then, Kay offered to collect squares on this side of the pond and make another blanket! (You can see a picture of the Kaffe Fassett blanket that got her going here.)

And then.... I said, where's that bag of squares of mine? Just in case I don't win the big one, you know?
And, it snowed a lot yesterday!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hit the road, Jack

See that list on the side, of Projects Completed? Hats, socks, scarves, hats and more hats. See many sweaters there? No, me neither! Not till today!

Ta da! My somewhat simplified version of a Rowan pattern called Jack. It's done in Mission Falls cotton, perhaps 12 balls? 13? Who knows... It went immediately into Arthur's drawer, but I'll force him to wear it for a modeled shot sometime soon.

Next up... uh, not sure! I wanted to make my charity baby blanket, but needed a certain set of needles, which were tied up in another attempt at a charity baby blanket, so I have spent some of this evening knitting with vintage Red Heart acrylic (it's so old, it was originally $3, but some lucky sod got it on sale for $2!) in a colourway called Grapevine, purples and greens. Arthur declares it to be "weird" so you know it's really weird! I suppose a bad flash picture on the couch is just about what this yarn deserves:

I'm putting some holes in for fun, but they are sort of obscured by the gigantic pools of colour. I only have the one ball, 4 ounces. So I shall knit till I run out and then see what happens. I have that grey that is along the bottom which is a bit denser, but I can fill in with it in a pinch. It might seem easier to yank the needles out of this and work on the nicer one, but there's a kind of odd pleasure working with these funny colours. I make no promises about this!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wow, lace grows!

I finished the red scarf, and I mean finished, this time! Those ends are dangling no more.

This is it blocking. When I stopped knitting, I held it up to Elaine and it was just about as tall as she is. But, a quick soak and stretch (and it's not really stretched, just flattened) and it's a foot longer at least!

It's the centre pattern of a scarf from Victorian Lace Today, and a sawtooth edging from Jan Eaton's afghan squares book. I didn't do the edging on the long sides because a) time is of the essence, here, and b) it's wide enough as it is. The edges will curl in a bit, but since it'll be scrunched into a jacket anyways, I'm not fussed. It's perhaps a tad fancy schmancy for a 7-year-old, but with such excellent workmanship, it'll last her for ever! Heh.

Red Scarf on Chair

Here it is, with today's outfit of Pajamas for Miserable Girl. (A bit of a cold, a day or two off school....)

She wants a matching hat, with ear flaps. I'll get right on that, once I've (ahem) sewn Arthur's pullover together!

This pattern was just about right: not boring, but simple enough to do while watching a swimming lesson.

I am also eying (that looks wrong, but my spell checker likes it better than "eyeing.") other fine yarns, wanting more and more lovely lace! Kiri keeps calling me... Do people actually use shawls, though?

Friday, December 07, 2007

Plans for 2008!

I have learned a few things this year.

  1. I have enough stash for the speed at which I knit!
  2. I still like buying pretty things, get great ideas, don't manage to put them into action very often!
  3. Really, a pair of socks a month is a lot of sock knitting for me.
  4. I hope Project Spectrum is more of an inspiration for me, if it runs next year.
  5. That Basalt Tank must be done by summer.
  6. Elaine's scarf should be finished before Christmas.
  7. I tend not to sew things together if I can help it.
  8. If I wait till I have finished something before starting something new, that's very boring.
  9. Two strands of Lett Lopi on 6 mm needles makes my arms hurt.
  10. There really should be a tenth thing here.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

New Knitty -- it must be winter

Oh, yay, a new Knitty is up.

I like the Jeanie shawl: reversible, cabled, lacy!

And the kilt hose! All I need now is a kilt...

And the Toasty topper!
But too bad I think my kids' heads are too big these days. Great idea, though.

Well, I like to look, even if I don't actually make any of these things!

And I have three very long leaves and no flower bud on my amaryllis.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Knitters in Paris and elsewhere

I have actual knitting of my own to report on sometime soon, but right now, I'll just direct all you funsters to Paris, where Knitta has made a statement. Loooove it!

And by now, many of you will have already seen the Barack-Obama-holds-the-knitting shots....

In our house, Elaine wants a new hat and the big sweater is making us sneeze.

Friday, November 30, 2007

This just makes me happy

You know, I've been a bit busy with You Tube lately. There are several reasons for this... none of which is very reasonable! But, I've been enjoying Morecambe and Wise immensely. (If you have limited time, I'd suggest the Grieg Piano Concerto, or perhaps Positive Thinking. No, the Breakfast Sketch is a must-see, and you don't want to miss the Secret to Long Life! Ooooh.... )

So, then, one becomes curious about the performers; one looks at other web pages; finally one finds the marvellous Eric Morecambe statue at the seaside in Morecambe! (One just links, rather than stealing the picture... ) Lots of famous people get statues, perhaps, but wouldn't it be lovely to be remembered for the excellence of one's skipping!?

And, I just can't blog without a picture, so I'll show you what I dug out of the closet this morning!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Monday report

The amaryllis is getting taller!

How many of these leaves do we get before the main action starts? There is a little green something in between these two leaves, but I wonder if it is just another leaf?

Only time will tell.

On the weekend I went out to the other side of Toronto, to the Beaches. KT wanted to find some certain bakery (so famous for its cinnamon buns that they'd sold out hours before we got there) and there are two yarn shops, and a shop that sells British candy and crisps.

We spent a bit of time at the Purple Purl, a new shop and soon-to-be cafe, and another brief moment in the Naked Sheep. I won't be making either of these my new favourite yarn shop, because they're not nearby, and they are small. There are three good small LYSs around here, and the mother of them all, Romni, so there is no need for me to travel for yarn! I like to look at books at small shops, but for yarn choice, I love the enormous Romni. However, the Purple Purl must be recommended because they have a big Mr Potato Head and a table and chairs. The boys were occupied for a reasonable length of time!

And of course, we went to the beach! There was a camera phone in attendance, but I don't know if/how/when the pictures will ever get off the phone... The boys climbed the lifeguard chairs on the mostly deserted and certainly snow-free beach, taking with them their "sticks," which were about 10 feet long! We left an art installation, Two Sticks and a Rock, on our final chair.

Meanwhile, Elaine went to our neighbourhood park and climbed a tree and read a book.

Friday, November 23, 2007


How smart are you? - Intelligence Test

I saw this on Thomas's blog. Poor fellow is working very hard; lucky he's so smart, too!

Friday treats of all sorts

I thought I would take a picture of the amaryllis once a week, but I must rethink that since it is growing fast. Quite the spectator sport! Frequent updates to follow!

There's also been a bit of knitting. The red lace is sooooo nice. It's soft and pretty and easy to knit, and Elaine has been complaining that she needs a longer scarf, so though it will add yet more colour to her outdoor ensemble (hot pink snow pants, lilac coat, green hat) I think she'll get it. (That's not a cable down the middle, but the leaves make a nice wavy pattern. They'll block out flat if I yank on it.)

I redid the neck on Arthur's pullover, and I think it's an improvement. ("Before" picture here.) One sleeve more or less attached. We're getting there.

I might just have a report on a new knitting store after the weekend! KT and I are thinking of venturing out to the Purple Purl, and perhaps the snow-covered beach! (Plans subject to change since there are two 10-year-old boys involved.)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Knocking out some knitting

The other day, a friend -- let's call her Annie -- came over so I could get her started on a scarf she wanted to knit. My "helping" involved sitting on the other side of the room and knitting this grey baby-blanket-to-be for charity myself, while she murmured and muttered and remembered how to cast on and knit! She had a good couple of inches on a 12-inch-wide scarf by the time she left.

And now, she's hooked! Ha!

Then I got this e-mail from her:

I thought the problem with knitting is that I would never find the time to do it, and it would take me 2 years to finish a simple scarf. You could have warned me that the problem would be in the other direction - getting no housework done, putting off
doing the groceries, etc., all in the name of getting 'just a couple more rows done'... Gasp - I'm addicted!!! You, you knitting pusher, you!

Bwa ha ha, I say. I saw her last night again, and she certainly has been neglecting her family. She's got maybe 8 inches done!

Perhaps she saw the latest Chatelaine magazine. I was reading it in a doctor's waiting room yesterday and found a charming piece about how one should take up knitting... This was tying in with the coming gift-giving season, and it said, "Knitting is a relaxing way to tackle your gift list." And, "The days are getting shorter, the nights are cold, and your relatives are calling to arrange their holiday visits. With knitting you'll stay busy, stay indoors, and even knock out a couple of gifts."

Oh, my, who the heck wrote that!? Making gifts can be relaxing if you start in June, and if you know what you are doing! Encouraging people
in November to start "knocking out a couple of gifts" trivializes the huge amount of work people put in to their handknit gifts -- okay, last year's dishcloths were sort of simple -- but many knitters work like the dickens to make people socks or shawls or lovely things, and don't just knock them out! Grrrrr.

And by the way, if you are a friend or relation, I'm not knocking out any handmade Christmas knits this year. So there. Unless I get a good idea in the next few days....

My latest good knitting idea is to frog the grey gloves. The cuff is too short, the fingers are too fiddly, the thumb is too odd. I shall persevere in finding a better pattern, I hope! I might rip this out past the thumb gusset, make a longer cuff and turn it into a mitten. But not right now...

And if you think taking pictures of socks on one's own feet is challenging, try a photo of a glove on your right hand! Do they make left-handed cameras at all? Very awkward!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A new amaryllis season

Remember the amaryllis cams of last year? My baby ended up looking like this.

And then it sat around looking like a waste of space for many months, until I started seeing them for sale again in the shops, and decided to water mine.

And look!

A sprout! (I heartily apologize for the terrible fuzzy picture. The flash ones were worse, believe me.)

We're all watching with bated breath now!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Four million and what?

I just saw this yesterday for the first time, but since it's been viewed 4,108,874 times (and that's just this version), maybe you've seen it already! I can't wait for Monday when I can gallop into the kids' rooms and holler, "Get up now, get up now, get up out of bed!"

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Part 2 of the roundup

As well as making (ahem) Arthur a lovely sweater, I also finished his sock. Now what?

I could indeed make him a matching sock.... I will, really. Soon....

Right. So.

In the spirit of finishing things (except recently worked-on projects) ... I have gone back to the Basalt Tank. It's very nice to knit, now that I have written out the line-by-line instructions.

In the book, there are things like this (I'm paraphrasing here):
Row 1, 3 and 5: Do X
Row 2: Do Y
Rows 4, 8, 12, 16 and 22: Do Z
Rows 6, 10, 14, 18 and 20: Repeat Row 2.
Row 7: Do something else

This is not helpful! So I wrote it all out in order: 1, 2, 3, 4... As you can see in the picture it's mainly stocking stitch with decreases, a bit of garter stitch and a couple of eyelet rows, so it's not difficult, but it is nice to know what's going on without looking all over the page for the instructions for a particular row. This is my bedtime knitting and so doesn't progress that quickly, but that's okay! Summer is some months away still!

And then, oh my, what is this?? I did go out and get Victorian Lace Today! I started a scarf in some sale-bin cashmere/wool blend. (This is practice for my bigger project with Pixie's yarn; what the heck am I going to do with a red cashmere scarf?) I jumped in with a gorgeous scarf (like this one) with a big border, but got halfway through one repeat of the pattern and decided I'd be better off with a pattern with those boring purl rows, instead of that one with a stocking-stitch pattern, a garter-stitch pattern, yarnovers at the start of rows and pattern knitting on both sides! (You can see lots of beautiful examples from this book at the KAL site.) I really like working on this, and am sorry the picture is so flashy. It's really lovely!

Of course, there are other half-done projects lying around the house, but these are just the most thrilling ones for you!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Knitting roundup, part 1 today

Ah, I have finished Arthur's sweater!

Finished knitting it, that is. There's that pesky bit about sewing sleeves in and doing side seams. (I know that I have had sweaters lying about for literally years waiting for those few seams!)

Do you think I have to tighten up the neckband? Arthur likes the slouchy look, but he is notoriously easy to please.

There are other things in the works, of course, but the labour and toil involved in taking pictures of them must mean I'll talk about them another day.

I toyed with the white and purple bits, and have this wonky thingmabob. It'll end up... who knows?

Maybe I'll make a couple of strips, sew them together and that'd be a dolly blanket!

It's only been a day or so and I'm tired of it.

And that is part one of the knitting roundup, folks. I just have to graft a toe so I can show off a single finished sock, then find some light in which to take its picture. Then I have to take a few more pictures of other things I'm working on. I'm glad I didn't sign up for NaBloPoMo!

Monday, November 12, 2007

I have a new button in the sidebar

When I stopped by this morning at London Daily Photo, I learned that the blogger there, Ham, is raising money for breast cancer care and support in Britain. Go visit and see what it's all about.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What I knit in New York

I had planned on finishing Arthur's sweater before going away last week, but I had one sleeve to go. I had ideas about what knitting needles I should or shouldn't take on the airplane, and perhaps these ideas were crazy. I looked at loads of patterns, emptied stash bags out on the bed and generally got all in a dither. I needed simple, not-too-pointy needles, not-too-bulky yarn...

So, at the last minute I shoved this in my bag, with no clear idea why...

and this, the last sleeve. But no extra ball of yarn! This is what I had after my flight.

So, the sleeve yarn was done before I got to my hotel. The purple and white was not inspiring, but I did start a bit of a neckwarmer. Then I ripped that out....

Ah, but Friday we went shopping! I got a ball of Manos at Purl, and also got some cool stitch holders, so I put the sleeve on the holders and started a hat with the Manos. Phew! I meant to get the hat finished before I went on the ferry, but this is it at the ferry terminal.

It finally got done once I got home to my dpns and could decrease the top easily. It's divine.

And, for future consideration, Helen brought me this laceweight merino from New Zealand!

The colours are perfect -- browny, aubergine, and greeny goldy and bluish.

I'm thinking this is the excuse I need to buy myself Victorian Lace Today!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Home again, home again

I am completely worn out! Four days of walking uptown, downtown, crosstown... my feet are killing me!

Let's see if I have any pictures for you. Um, yes I do, lots, so be warned! You can click 'em to make 'em bigger.

Kaffe Fassett. Thursday night, FIT.

The lights were down, and the room was big, and the pictures were crappy. I didn't buy a book for him to sign, so
didn't even say hello to him, though I did ask Brandon Mably what yarn was used in a blanket they were showing off.

Kay did say hello, and so here we have the lovely back of her head and sweater.

I was so impressed with all his talk, I went back to my hotel room and took a picture of the quilt on the bed. (My hotel was fine; there were cats and a yippy dog, but I took antihistamine and had no difficulties. I thought of it as "Marjorie's house" rather than a hotel, and then it didn't bother me that there were no locks on the bedroom doors and the bathroom was full of someone else's stuff. I checked out the books Mary Lou recommended, but they were both physically too big for my bag, so I read 44 Scotland Street, which is not at all about New York, and which I jettisoned for the return trip. Now I can read my New York books knowing a teeny bit more about the place.)

Friday, the Brooklyn Bridge. I got up early and went downtown.

I walked out to the first tower of the bridge, and then back to try to find my way onto the Manhattan Bridge, but ended up wandering aimlessly. So after the bridge, we have the swirly green benches somewhere downtown,

and then the Empire State Building!

All the sights, and I hadn't even really begun!

My main task of Friday morning was to meet Helen and Kay and shop for quilt fabrics and yarn! I think they both managed very well, and I came away with a ball of Manos del Uraguay to make myself a hat. I'll make a knitting post soon -- let's stick with travelogue for now!

Hmm, Saturday. Saturday I did so many things I can't even tell you! I started out at Union Square where there was a market.

On to Grand Central Terminal, which I don't need to show you a picture of, because it's in every movie... It's big and all polished up.

The Chrysler Building, which gets two pictures because it's so cool.

It has hood ornaments all up it!

The New York Public Library, where, instead of resting my weary bones, I took a tour.

It's a beautiful building and has an amazing collection. It must be great to sit in those architect-designed wooden chairs at those lovely big tables with inkwells and nice lamps.

The main building has only humanities and social sciences, since the collection is rather larger now than it was when the library started.

I tried to take a picture of me and the lion, but was, as you can see, unsuccessful. I did get a picture which shows my grey hairs, though!

Saturday's main event was the meeting of the mommies. I wouldn't have gone to New York at all if Helen hadn't made the trip all the way from New Zealand. I met up with her on Thursday, and her and Dana on Friday, and then finally on Saturday we also met Kris. There were several others who meant to join us, but with sick kids and various other commitments, couldn't make it. The four of us, and Dana's son, met at Strawberry Fields and wandered through the park (thank goodness one of us has a sense of direction, and it ain't me!) to the zoo, which just closed its gates as we arrived. Boo hoo. We went on and had a hot chocolate at Rockefeller Centre and Helen and I went to Anthropologie, where I snooped carefully at a sweater. (I might have found a "pattern" for my Yorkshire Tweed Chunky.) We found our way to Chinatown and had a great meal to end the day.

Sunday I was on my own. More getting up early.
I took the Staten Island Ferry, which is free and gives you a fine view of the harbour. It was the 9 am sailing, and there were several marathoners on board, trying to get to the starting line in time.

Battery Park is at the bottom of Manhattan, and it was there that they plonked this sculpture from outside the World Trade Centre. There is also a World War II memorial which is rather imposing.

I quick scooted up to Central Park to watch the first runners finish the marathon. I was at about the 24-mile mark.

The first women in -- they finished 23 seconds apart:

And the first men, neck and neck at this point! They finished 12 seconds apart.

Let's see... on to MoMA, which I figured I could handle. It was very impressive, yet not overwhelming. This is called Five Feet of Colorful Tools, by Jim Dine. I would like this in my living room, I think.

Back to Anthropologie, where I caught this window display! The tablecloth is all knitted bits!

Monday up early again! And home... I was early at the airport and managed to get back to Toronto before my ticketed flight actually took off, so I was able to surprise Arthur as he went to a friend's house for lunch!

Now it's back to the grind, but here is my parting view of New York, before I ducked underground for my train.