Saturday, December 22, 2012

A day at the museum

Not a textile, but a brick wall

Yesterday some friends and I went to the Textile Museum of Canada. The Toronto public library now offers passes to local museums, so I just signed out a pass with my library card and got free admission to the museum. Yay me!

There was a great exhibit called Perpetual Motion, dealing with reuse of textiles. There were the expected crazy quilts, but also a camel cover, rugs, a lovely little child's jacket.

This is a bedspread woven of strips of cloth. Very pretty, soft colours.

And then we get a bit bolder in the hooked rug. It looks like it could have been done by Kaffe Fassett, but it was actually, likely, made by someone sitting by the fire in Nova Scotia in the 1950s.

This is a crazy quilt made of all sorts of fine fabrics: silks, velvet, wool, and even badges of local groups. There's embroidery everywhere, and the colours are amazing. If you go here and "zoomify" you can see every little bit of it.

Another exhibit showed the use of different natural materials used around the world. Bamboo, cloth made of bark and various other bits of plants, things woven of grass, decorated with feathers and shells and beads.

This amazing creation is an undershirt made of little teeny bits of bamboo netted on thread.

This is a skirt of bamboo and bottle caps, which would make a nice jingly-shaky sound!

Brown, brown, brown. Does the richness of the colour come from mixing the different tones? I wonder if this would look so great without the lightest bits. Anyways, it is gorgeous: a skirt of raffia, dyed with plant dyes. You can zoomify this, too!

These are also made of raffia, and the fabric is textured, with velvety pile here and there. Fantastic! 

You can see the raised pile here.

Then it was time to play and learn! There was a spot with wool to card and spin -- we did not do too well at that. Once you've wound the wool around the spindle, how to you get it off, and how do you prevent it from untwisting when you do? We also tried our hands at weaving, and that was slightly more successful, but perhaps our greatest achievement was this laying out of Penrose tiles. "Achievement" used rather loosely... 

And then I went and got my hair cut. All ready for the festive season!

pink and lopsided

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Now it's December

We decorated the tree. Please note Elaine is wearing Christmas stockings on her feet!

We put on our usual collection of oddments, including this "pearl" bangle-thing. I would never tire of taking pictures of things on Christmas trees, with the coloured lights and all.

For example, here we have the disco ball, the skeleton who seems to have migrated from the Hallowe'en box to the Christmas box somehow, and the souvenir ornament from Newfoundland. And most historic and sentimental, the garland made of gum wrappers, bottom left!

Although I have not been knitting, I did have a tiny stash of dishcloths, so took part in the dishcloth swap on Ravelry. I just got this package from Michigan. Two lovely cloths and a few extra treats! Nummy!

The kids have another week of school, then we will have a week of Christmas here before heading off to the warm and rainy shores of Vancouver Island for a week with Stephen's family, among others. I hope we will have a few adventures there!

Next week's big adventure is to a physiotherapist, since my elbow is still hurting. I'll report in on that. Sigh.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tonight's fruit salad

I'm taking dessert to a gathering of friends tonight, and when offered the choice of fruity or baked, they went for fruity. So, I am taking the simplest of fruity desserts: a bunch of fruit cut up in a bowl.

First the grapefruit. Then a couple of perfect kiwi fruit. (Then, I get the idea to document this!)

Dump a basket of blueberries in.

Mmm, a mango cut into little bitty pieces.

A couple of clementines, sections cut in half.

Finally, a banana.

I worried that the banana would get brown and icky, and was going to add it at the last minute, but I decided it had to be in there now, to absorb the grapefruit juice/Cointreau mixture I poured over the whole thing.

So, that will sit in the fridge for a few hours and be, one hopes, super perfecto this evening!

I will add some knitting content, too, though not my own knitting.
I was downtown the other day to visit the wretched dentist.

Free picture of bright blue sky

There was a guy sitting with his hat out for change, and clearly he'd been to some place that distributed our knitted contributions.

I was glad to see a nice blanket of squares being so useful and appreciated, but I didn't have cash to give him and didn't think he'd just want to talk knitting, so I crossed the street to take this picture. When I turned around, I saw I was in front of a shop selling this scarf of squares. Kinda the same??

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I took some pictures

I still have not been knitting. Did I tell you the last crazy thing I did? It hurt to do anything with my right arm, so I thought, aha, I have to go to Arthur's school for a meeting and I will occupy myself, and get so much exercise -- I will walk home from the school! That is fine, except the school is about five miles away, and it's been a while since I walked five miles all at once. I ended up with Plantar Fasciitis, which is fancy talk for "sore foot." I am getting some orthotics and have been stretching and so on. Tired of this advancing decrepitude, though!

Around here, the leaves are mostly off the trees.

The garden has been trimmed up and is ready for winter.

a hinge on the back shed

And the back gate. I remember when we built this, we thought the kids would never be tall enough to reach this latch. Ha, that didn't last long!

Here's to opening doors and gates!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

An unassuming building in Rome

Via Giulia 93 - Ante operam

I was looking around on Flickr and found this picture, which is the start of pages and pages of pictures showing the before, during and after of the renovation of this building.

(If you start at that picture on Flickr, click the arrows to the left, which may be counter-intuitive. I actually went through from finish to beginning, not so good!)

They work on the inside and outside, the roof, the design; plaster, concrete, wood... As always, the floor caught my eye!

It is, as they say, bloody amazing.

We are going to Rome in March! Alas, not to this building, though.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Got some pink back in my hair, to liven things up.

(Crappy Photobooth shot, my apologies.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blog, oh blog

Hello out there in blog land.

I have not been to Rhinebeck. I have no new yarn to show you.

I have not knitted anything, though I did think of sewing up the bits of Botticelli that I have. I'll see if that hurts my elbow or not.

I did go to the Creativ Festival and looked at sewing machines. Of course, I preferred the $1000 one over the $500 ones, and didn't end up buying anything but a few beads.

I made this necklace and Stephen said it was "eclectic." When I asked what the heck that was supposed to mean, he said it had too many kinds of beads, and it should have maybe only one kind of bead. It actually has a mere six different beads in it!

Luckily I stopped going to him for fashion advice some decades back.

The thing that spurred me into blogging today was this blog by someone calling himself Jean-Paul Sartre. I especially like the last entry:

"It has been over a month since I have updated my blog. I am seized with an urge to apologize. But to whom, and to what end?" 

Ah, Jean-Paul, what can I say?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Typing, not knitting

It seems everything in the world requires using one's right arm. Moving things about, cooking, sorting that box of miscellaneous crap from the basement.

One of the slightly crafty things I've been meaning to get to involves a book I got at a yard sale last summer.... Now I say that and am not sure if I mean 2011 or 2012. I think it's only been hanging around for months, not a whole year!

He was a pirate.
It's a Selfridge's Schoolboys' Story Book, and the bookplate in the front informs us that it was given as a gift in 1927. 

Glenbill brilliantly caught Folliburn's best batsman. 
The stories seem to be about boys of age 10 or so, often at a boarding school. There is a story called A Priceless Fag. There are strange tramps, heroic exploits and great sportsmanship. Haunted houses that turn out to be not haunted, of course. 

And these illustrations, which are perfectly serious and now, totally camp. There are probably about 10 of the colour ones. The paper is brittle and yellowed, so it seems crazy to carefully frame them. I can scan them; I thought of scanning pages of text, printing them on modern paper and doodling on them with my bright-coloured Sharpies. 

And then what would I do with them? 

Friday, September 21, 2012


My arm still hurts, and it was not getting better, so I went to the doctor. Tennis elbow!

No knitting, no extra mouse-clicking. I'd like to say no dish-washing or grocery-hefting, but we must be reasonable.

So, I leave you for now with a Mason-Dixon washcloth that I made for a swap. I'll be baaaaaack!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Now that was a good movie

Jayne Mansfield's Car was the last of my festival movies. Set in 1969 in the South of the US, it deals with a Daddy (who was in WWI), his three sons and a daughter (the boys were in WWII, in varying degrees) and his grandchildren (who are eligible for the Vietnam draft). The matriarch of this gang left long ago and went to England to marry a gent played by John Hurt.

She dies; the two families meet when her body is brought back to her homeland.

War is somehow on everyone's mind -- they either succeeded or failed at it themselves; their kids think about it differently than they do; it is noble or terrible. Everyone is crazy.

Scenes are often separated by a completely black screen, just for a moment. One of these black screens appears about a minute before the end of the movie. Don't start to applaud then; it's not over just yet.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Two more movies

This week has been crazy busy. For one thing, it's still the beginning of September. Elaine is getting used to a new school and Arthur's school misprinted the agenda books, so we don't know when the late starts or early dismissals are and the phone line isn't updated and the webpage is terribly out-of-date.

And then, I decided to go to the film festival.

Monday we saw The Company You Keep, a thriller for old people. It was quite exciting and intriguing and, like Cloud Atlas on the weekend, quite good to look at, with some great scenery for Julie Christie's hangout at Big Sur and the big ol' chase through the woods in Michigan. (Perhaps both were shot in British Columbia!)

One nagging thing is that the chronology is all wrong to me: the crime that Robert Redford and Susan Sarandon are charged with took place "around" 30 years ago. That was 1982. (Believe it or not.) They were members of the Weather Underground, which had sort of petered out about 10 years before that. (So maybe our movie takes place in 2000? No clues to that, unless gas at $3-something a gallon is a clue. No mention of Sept 11, no mention of the Occupy movement.) And they were student radicals at that point, so maybe 30 at the outside. Robert Redford is 76. Susan Sarandon is 65. But, quibbling aside, it was a fine way to spend an afternoon!

Tuesday the Ikea delivery truck came with all sorts of stuff to assist us with the moving around of bedrooms. Arthur got a new shelf/room divider which should make life easier for him down there in the basement, and we got new furniture for Elaine's new room. But! We can't set anything up for her for another 10 days because our painter is not available till then, and no point getting all excited till the room is lavender instead of sunflower yellow.

Yesterday, we figured that both of us going to a movie at dinnertime for two days in a row was maybe not a good idea, so the morning found me trading in a ticket at the box office, before a lunch date, before a movie. Yesterday's movie was called Beijing Flickers and it was a tale of a few friends in various states of misery in Beijing. Our hero's dog runs away, his girlfriend leaves him for a richer man, he tries to commit suicide but stands on the wrong railway track and the train just passes him by. And so it goes. Interesting.

Last year I saw three movies, and each one was better than the last. This year has certainly been a mixed bag so far, and none of the movies has been totally wonderful. Nothing has been bad, but nothing has been as super-fun as any of last year's picks.

Tomorrow I see Jayne Mansfield's Car. Another movie full of senior citizens -- Robert Duvall, John Hurt: what could go wrong?

Tonight Arthur and Stephen are going to Lunarcy! which promises to be "zany" and tomorrow night,  or is it Saturday, Stephen goes to The Lebanese Rocket Society, which should be "poignant" and "riveting." I'd like to see both of them, but then, there are another dozen movies I would like to see!

Ah, and I must tell you my knitting-related story! I was in line, waiting for The Company You Keep, and had to dig around in my pack for something... ticket, perhaps? So I took out my bike helmet and my knitting and whatever. The woman next to me, who was wearing a necklace sort of like this, asked me what I was knitting. So I told her it would be a hat, but my arm was sore and I was trying to be moderate. Her friend said I should learn to do things with my other hand (hint: not a knitter) and the first woman (a knitter) said, "Yes, that would be easier than being moderate!"

Monday, September 10, 2012

Post-apocalyptic knitting

We went to see Cloud Atlas at TIFF yesterday.

Oh, my goodness. Six stories that are sort of interwoven. Many super actors playing multiple gender-bending roles each. Wild scenery, crazy makeup and costumes.

Costumes including Tom Hanks' hood of the future:

Another pic of the wrap/poncho/hood is here, and a trailer that will blow your mind is here.

Today's treat: Robert Redford's The Company You Keep.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

A new school year means new resolutions

Well, guys, there are a lot of things I would like to knit, and a lot of things I am in the middle of knitting, and a lot of yarn strewn about the house.

and a sunflower in the front garden

WIPS, off the top of my head:
  1. the sock-in-bag, which will continue in the bag and get worked on now and then. 
  2. Botticelli's border. Ay ay ay. I haven't looked at it since it misbehaved while in London. It's only about 18 stitches wide, and it's a simple zigzag of yarnovers and k2togs, but I have messed it up more than once. I have to knit several more miles of it and then sew the whole thing together. And it will be a lovely fall sweater, so let's just get right on that!
  3. I unearthed Sunday Best a while back and need to make the remaining 75% of that. So nice! Want, want! Must knit...
  4. I bought some yarn a while back for mittens, and mitten season is approaching much faster than we know. Hm. 
  5. I have a nice shawl barely started. 
  6. I'm going to the Film Festival next week and need something simple, on a circular needle, easy to carry around. Hmm, a hat?
Okay, let's stop there!

I went back to look at those goals I'd made at the beginning of the year. Some I'm way ahead on; others might just get a big FAIL next to them at the end of the year!
  1. 12 socks (six pairs) 3 socks done
  2. 12 dishcloths 9 done
  3. 12 afghan squares 4 done, all in January
  4. 12 gifts 8 so far, and likely a 9th, but I haven't sent it off yet!
  5. 12 things for charity 12 done
  6. 12 hats (some baby, some adult) 11 done
  7. 12 projects from books I haven’t used. I have so many patterns I look at but don’t knit! Oh, my gawd.... No idea. a couple of stitch patterns here and there?
On top of all this, I over-exerted myself with the knitting over the Olympics and then seem to have continued to hurt myself with occasional knitting and much "mousing" on the computer. So my right arm hurts in the elbow-like region, and I should just leave all this and go read a book, I believe. Just don't expect the FOs to be flying off the needles! Waah!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Out of town

Stephen is away at a conference in a far-off land, and the kids are I were at loose ends this past week, so we hopped on a train and went to London. The Ontario London, not the British one!

We visited my brother and his family there. We played mini-golf, at which we three are all pretty terrible, and my brother is not bad, so it was a rout, I tell you. We also took a drive to Grand Bend, a beach town like Southampton, but totally dedicated to teenagers who want bikinis and tattoos, it seems.

Elaine creating the world. (Alternate title: Mary is too lazy to raise the camera more than a few inches off the beach blanket.)

The kids stood on a tank in a park one evening. And that is really all we did!

We were just there for a few days and then we got back on the train and came home. Elaine, modern girl, played Angry Birds on an iPad; Arthur played Tetris on a 20-year-old Game Boy we came across one day.

And I knitted. This is the border for my Botticelli. I only need about another 5 or 6 feet of it.... It is a simple pattern but somehow I messed it up and didn't feel like undoing it to find the error.

So I went back to work on the go-anywhere sock. I've been carrying this around for some time, making a bit of progress now and then.

Now we have a week and a half till school starts up again! Some of us are thrilled with that notion, I tell you.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Closing ceremony and picture show

There is a bit of last-minute show-off stuff to do before this Olympic athlete heads to the hot tub.

Just to show that I really finished everything, I give you a picture of the button on the bonnet. In fact, I only sewed this on in the last day or so, despite finishing the knitting long ago.

I made a nice, simple beret. I hope it will fit my mom, but will have to play with it more. I blocked it over a plate to make it nice and beret-shaped, but one can, of course, just yank it on like a toque.

I finished the beret and still had a) yarn left and b) more time! So I cast on 88 stitches and made another hat! This is #7, I believe. I made these two with my new needles, which are in fact ChiaoGoos. They are so pointy because I see that I bought the lace needles. Nice!

The toque has the typical Mary top, because I didn't have enough red to finish! A bulls-eye for any passing birds, I suppose.

See, hats with different colours at the top...

I still had time left on the clock, and I am doing another dishcloth swap this month, so I got to work on a Citrus Slice rag. It's quite small, but so cute! Finished this during the closing ceremonies last night. Which were fun. I went and ate dinner before they were finished and didn't get to see Eric Idle, but I did stick around for the Spice Girls.

And the final lineup... darn, no lime slice. The almost complete final lineup!

Friday, August 10, 2012

More 'lympic knitting

This is the dishcloth I started on our holiday. Just plain, in sort of candy floss colours.

And this is my most recent hat. It took me way longer than I thought it would, partly because I am no longer on holiday and have other things to do, and partly because it's on 4 mm needles and it just takes longer than a hat on 6 mm needles, and also because the wool is scratchy and hard on my hands.

I dyed it with Kool-Aid at some point in the past, and it looks sort of pink-camo, don'tcha think?

I have several more bits of this, certainly another hat or two's worth, but I am putting it in the Goodwill bag because it's no fun to knit with.

Nice pattern, though. I would certainly make this again, but perhaps not right now! I have one more hat to finish and then I am off hats for a bit! Barely a dent was made in the miscellaneous hat-friendly yarn stash, but it's a good exercise to just knit little things more or less nonstop for a couple of weeks.

The final hat of these games will be a beret in the red Cascade 220. I'm nervous about the size of the band, but if it is comfortable on my head, it will probably fit my mom. I got some new needles last night, at the knit night of a new yarn shop down the street! (Silly me, I thought it was the grand opening, but that is next week!) The needles were instantly put into use on this hat and I am not sure where the package is, but they are delightfully pointy and smooth as anything. I'll find the name and let you know.