Sunday, December 28, 2014

The first few days of the Temperature scarf

I must get back to my Kaffe Fassett squares, and all those other unfinished objects, but on the solstice, I started my Temperature Scarf. You can see the first day has pale blue -- that is the coldest it has been. The last few days I have used the green variegated, which is +4ºC or higher, but this warm spell won't last, and we can get back to the chilly blues.

I am using a garter stitch chevron pattern from 200 Ripple Stitches. (Weird prejudice: ripples are for crochet and chevrons are for knitting, surely!) I got this book from the library in an attempt to seduce Elaine into crocheting something other than straight lines, but I don't think she has had a chance to even look at it yet.

I started on 4.5 mm needles, but after a few days decided the fabric was too stiff, so changed to 5s, after carefully noting on 2015's calendar to go back to 4.5s a few days before the winter solstice, to make things symmetrical!

I get my data from here; at the bottom of the page it gives you yesterday's high and low temperatures. So since I started knitting on Dec 21, the first date represented is Dec 20. (The colour code is in this post; I use one yarn for the high temperature and one for the low. You can see in the middle there were a couple of days where it didn't get much colder at night and I used two strands of plain green.)

The Koigu is beautiful yarn; I'm quite looking forward to my one little garter ridge each day!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The sweater and a hat

I hope everyone is having a nice holiday. We had my brother and his sons here, and they each got some knitting. The guys each got a handy-dandy dish cloth (which led to a discussion of whether or not you should put your Teflon pans in the dishwasher. General consensus: no, use your new dishrag).

Of course, John got his new sweater!

He took off a blue-grey sweater whose elbows were very thin, and put on his new blue-grey sweater. It could have been an inch or two longer, but it's perfectly excellent as is.

Looking like the Rowan model
Stephen also got a piece of handknit loveliness, the Cuss Hat

The Cuss Hat selfie

It is for people who swear at the weather, a thing Stephen does a lot in the winter!

Tomorrow, the Temperature Scarf. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

I figure if you like a big choir, you can't beat the Mormons. Well, King's College is pretty good, I agree, but they are always outnumbered by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Merry Christmas to one and all!

Baby Arthur in his little ball!
I am writing this on the 24th, so I have time to throw in a few pictures of what's been going on here. Primo: Eddie is done! Right now it is drying downstairs, all its little ends sewn in and armpits grafted and everything. This is what it looked like just after I had cast off the neckband.

And this is the yarn that was left!

I worry that the body is too short, but really, tough luck if it is! 

Some cookies have been baked. I think I have driven my family crazy with all the plans and shopping and baking, but they will all be happy when I finally let them eat the cookies!

We are not getting a white Christmas, but there has been rain, and we've been promised wind. Just what we need.

My cabbages never did very much. But now they look pretty with raindrops on.

Now, back to your knitting, everyone!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

What would you like for Christmas?

I ask Arthur what he wants for Christmas, and he always replies with this little ditty. All I can say is, You better watch out!

 (Actually, do you know how hard it is to find a hippopotamus in downtown Toronto?)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Getting to the real classics now

This is an old favourite. I see that lots of other groups have done this as well, but I think this is the original, and despite the not-great angle and the choppy beginning, I love the guffaws from the audience and the delightful performance.

Elaine and I went carolling the other night. We walk around the neighbourhood and sing at pre-arranged front porches, and then end up around the piano at someone's house. The finale of the evening is when they take away the carol sheets and give us the four parts of the Hallelujah Chorus. Oh, my, those sopranos are high! Elaine and I struggled to keep up with the altos, and there were moments in there when no-one knew what they were doing and there was a bit of confusion. Luckily the words are kind of repetitive!

Another old favourite is the snowflake cutting page online. You can make these and e-mail them to your friends if you have forgot to send cards!

And the latest on Eddie the sweater: knitting is finished, just the ends and blocking and so on remain. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Blues at Christmas

Another rockin' sad Christmas song.
Why can't these people be home for Christmas? They never seem to say.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Solstice has come

And I say, thank goodness!

I have started my temperature scarf. I cast on this morning, recording yesterday's temperature data (high of about 0ºC and low of -6º). Not much to see, but I think I'll aim for weekly pictures through the year.

And, we interrupt this holiday advent songfest to throw in an ad for pop:

Saturday, December 20, 2014

More Ella and more sweets

It's another song asking Santa for one's beloved, which seems to be a rather large subset of Christmas songs. Fine by me.


My Scrabble-playing friends and I exchange gifts, and this year I made them all some Chocolate Swirl Espresso Bark. Very easy, and quite yummy, I must say. You just melt dark chocolate and white chocolate separately, swirl them together in a pan, and sprinkle with the chocolate-covered coffee beans.

melted, swirled chocolate and white chocolate
For me, the hardest part was finding the dang coffee beans! Coffee shops didn't have them and chocolate shops didn't have them. I finally got some at Ten Thousand Villages, and they were fair trade and organic and rather expensive. Then, of course, I found them in a bulk food store for much less, so I'll know in the future!

chilled and hard and ready to go
I hope my friends like it!

In order to a) not forget and b) get some other stuff done, I have scheduled up the songs for the next few days. This is not cheating, really, is it? Cheating what, I wonder.... I'll surely pop in to say when I finish Eddie the sweater!

There are so many songs; I'll have to do this next year.... or maybe in July.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Tom Jones Mary's Boy Child

We can't really have a musical event here without a bit of Tom Jones. He doesn't seem to have done lots of Christmas music, but this one is rather lovely, and actually about Baby Jesus and all.

The folks sitting around him crack me up; I guess it's supposed to be just Tom and his friends hanging around at home.

I think he's even got his old nose here!

Here's his modern look, more than 40 years later!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Elaine's requested song

I didn't know this song, but Elaine suggested it, so here you go.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Instrumental dancing jolly music

This is one I am taking from the musical advent songs my friend is sending. Just try to not dance, at least in your head.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

More from New York, and cookies

The singer is singin' and the baker is bakin'.

These are called "Chocolate Spice Hearts," but you don't have to make just hearts, you know! So we have airplanes, rocket ships, pigs, teapots and trees, as well as a few hearts for good measure. They are quite good, so I shall give you the recipe, which I copied out from somewhere, around 1991, I believe. No idea to whom the credit should go.

Chocolate Spice Hearts

Stir together:
2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of cocoa
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Set aside for now.

Beat together till light and fluffy:
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla

Beat in flour mixture until blended. Between two sheets of wax paper, roll out the dough to 1/4-1/2 inch thickness.
Refrigerate the dough overnight, or for several hours, until firm enough to cut.
Heat oven to 325ºF.
Cut shapes out of the chilled dough, prick a few times with a fork and bake for 17-20 minutes, till cookies are firm to the touch.
When they are cooled, you can sprinkle them with more icing sugar.
Makes about 2 dozen.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Moving from Harlem to Hollis

I know nothing about Hollis, but I understand it's part of Queen's which is part of New York City. Right?


Knitting on the sweater has paused for a day or so because the recipient is staying at my house! Drat. However, we are having a good time and Christmas is coming....

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Can't get enough of Louis Armstrong

People who live in New York seem to think that Christmas is better there than elsewhere. Today we start a small series on New York-centric Christmas songs, with Louis Armstrong and Christmas Night in Harlem.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Santa Claus wants some lovin'

I'm halfway through here, assuming I only go to Dec 25. I hope I can keep it up! I still have a few up my sleeve.

Friday, December 12, 2014

And, polka

It's the Andrews Sisters! Fun and wholesome singing ladies.

It would get the gang dancing, I suppose!

It snowed and snowed on Thursday. My brother is driving up from London on the weekend, so I hope the roads are clear by then.

Sweater is not done, will likely turn into a Christmas present, but I'll do my best.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Snow and some awful stuff now

It is snowing!

Snow coming straight at the door makes the wreath look extra Christmassy
Just in case we were to get carried away with festiveness and warm fuzzy feelings, I think we need to see Bill Nighy, from Love Actually. Here he is a has-been rocker, recycling his old hit for the season. (Naughty language to follow, NSFW)

(After about 2:10 it just goes into the beginning of the movie.)


Then, of course, he has to sell the record, and he goes on the radio. Oops. Crass commercialism is all around us, folks!

More snow and something nice tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Keepin' warm with love and knitting

This isn't really a Christmas song, though they do mention the weather in December! We are looking at snow this evening, I hear. And we don't care how much it will storm, coz we've got our love to keep us warm....

Eddie is progressing quite well; new deadline in sight; the possibility of meeting the deadline is not too bad, really.

The expanse of the front
decreasing the raglans
The pattern calls for the pieces to be knit flat and seamed together, and has three stitches before the purls on these raglan decreases. After a few rounds of the whole thing, I realised I didn't need all those three stitches, since if I'd sewed it up, one or two would be lost in the seam. So I just got rid of one on each side. I hope this will be not noticeable in the grand scheme. It is pretty low down in the raglan. I have miles to go... I do really like the look of the purl decreases. A little something to keep one from going mad with all the stocking stitch. I have three balls of yarn left, which I think will do me!

Outside, we finally got around to raking the garden a bit, cutting down hosta sticks, picking up the spruce cones and so on. This is the daylily patch, raked!

I bought some purple cabbages to grow in the summer, but they didn't do much, and now they are frozen and fallen over. Pretty colour, but I wish they'd grown better!

Indoor farming: this is a carrot top! You can put the top of a store-bought carrot in a saucer of water, and since the carrot is the root, it nourishes the green bits. Not a great photo, but you get the idea. They say you can do it with a pineapple top as well.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

I think he might be saying Merry Christmas

No, probably not saying anything about Christmas after all, but I like it!

Monday, December 08, 2014

Christmas lights

I had to include this live version of this song, because I never would have thought the singer looked like this! Not your usual ho ho ho here, but probably not an uncommon Christmas story. Oo oo oo ooooo.

About Eddie: I have finished the second sleeve, joined the sleeves and body together, and am happily decreasing stitches to get to the top! My first pause will be when I get down to 400 stitches -- then I get to decrease only every alternate row, after a few rows of decreasing every row. That Kim Hargreaves is a pretty clever designer, I must say. When I get a few more rows done, I will show you the lovely decrease line. Now, though, it looks like an octopus...

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Another rockin' Christmas song

One of the things I learned from the movie Jingle Bell Rocks! is that John Waters put out a Christmas record. (He is an oddball, for sure. I just read his book about hitchhiking across America.) This video takes the sound from his album, instead of from an original recording, and the quality is much better than other videos I looked at. Groovy.


Saturday, December 06, 2014

Can I find an appropriate song?

Today is the 25th anniversary of the Montreal massacre. I think I will not give you a song.

A friend of mine was in Montreal at the time, studying not engineering but law. It being December, she was revising for exams, and had unplugged the phone because she had had a few phone calls during the day that had distracted her from her work. Her parents were home in another province, and although the murders had not happened at her university, they called her to make sure she was okay. No answer, no answer, all night! When she finally put her books away and remembered to plug in the phone, it rang immediately.

I was working at a legal newspaper and my boss was a Montreal anglo man, who was either horrible or actually quite nice but very good at pretending to be horrible. I never could be sure. He came into the office the morning after the shooting and said something like, "Some crazy French-Canadian guy went nuts and shot some people and now everyone's calling it 'violence against women'!" Oh, heavens, he was difficult.

Marker of Change, memorial consisting of 14 coffin-like benches in Vancouver by artist Beth Alber
And now there are ceremonies and vigils and memorials, and we hope things are a bit better. But those two memories will stick with me: the frantic parents and the dismissive jerk.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Sweaters and songs

I am knitting away on the second sleeve of Eddie the sweater. Last night I sat by the fire, drinking eggnog and knitting away, and this morning I looked at my pattern and ripped out three perfectly fine rows, because I had gone too far! So, yay, I get to purl a bit now. I have noticed that I clearly thought this "knitting a sweater" would be the work of an instant: my knitting chair is still surrounded by the yarn for the Kaffe squares. I haven't switched projects, I've just inserted this one into the stream somehow. Very odd. Anyways, I will have everything on a long needle for the yoke before you know it.

Today I will not have a song for you, but I will tell you about a crazy movie I saw last year about this time, called Jingle Bell Rocks! People search out obscure records of Christmas songs, and there is a not-tiny sub-culture of people who, in the olden days of the 20th century, used to exchange mix-tapes of their prize Christmas ditties. Just watch this, and tomorrow I will have another great song for you:

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Just some fun young guys

Once again, the Christmas message is obliterated by the love song. For your Christmas dance party!


Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Day 3 of Christmas songs you might not know. Of course, this is a song we always hear, but Sister Rosetta Tharpe gives it her own organ wailing twist.

After having this great idea of mine, I was surprised this year to get advent e-mails, containing links to YouTube Christmas songs! My friend has so far sent a rollicking Jingle Bells and Veni Veni. I wonder if we'll ever overlap.... Unlikely.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Day 2 here

Time for another Christmas song. Nothing here about peace on Earth, though; just hoping Santa brings us the right man!

Monday, December 01, 2014

That's done with, then

So, there goes November. Not much NaBloPoMo action here, I'm sorry to say.

I do have an idea for December, though!

First I shall show you my sweater:

no flash

with flash
Flash or not, it's about halfway done. By Christmas, certainly.

My December idea is to share non-standard Christmas music with you. No Jingle Bells or Fa la la. Today we must start with the saddest song of all, The Little Boy that Santa Claus Forgot.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Just some flowers

My Christmas cactus is a bit early this year, and only got the two flowers on the whole plant, but I always find it so great when it blooms at all! It usually lives in the bathroom where the light is better for plants, but we let it come into the dining room with its pretty flowers.

Tonight we are having some friends over for dinner, so there is much fussing to be done. Unearth the table, and so on.

Tomorrow I will show you my sweater progress. I did not keep up the "ball every two days" pace, but I have a sleeve and body, so about half of it done.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

November's almost over

I went to the Textile Museum today, because I happened to be in the area having a lovely lunch with a friend.  I am a member, so can just pop in for a quick visit (and should do it more often).

They have a great exhibit of Oriental rugs of all sorts on now. This one is quite high pile; some were much flatter. This is just a part of the border of a large rug -I love the variations in the orange background colour.

There was another exhibit called Urban Fabric: Portraits of a City. There were some great photos, and this map of Toronto, made of metal, mesh and wire (and who knows what else). I don't have anything for scale, but it's several feet across.

A close-up of the university area.

I also got some divine things in the gift shop, some for me and some for other people!

I got pictures off my phone, and off my camera, and will sort things out and have more for you ... I won't say "tomorrow," but soon!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A day at the thrift shop

Today the kids and I went shopping. Arthur needed trousers, but otherwise we had no plan.

For less than $100 we got fourteen Christmas cards, eight placemats, five books, three pairs of pants, two little tins to put treats in, two secret things for presents, one belt, one bag of buttons, a T-shirt and... an enlarger!

Almost an entire enlarger; we are just missing a crucial lens.

We passed on the pedestal Christmas cake stand. Took note of the many balls of Phentex available. And admired many candle holders and candles before pulling ourselves together. Elaine and I didn't even really look at clothes, and once Arthur pounced on the enlarger we were sort of overloaded!

Best: we've got a loyalty card full of stamps now, so next time, 30% off!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Saw some movies

Last Days in Vietnam. I saw this PBS movie in the theatre earlier this month. Apparently it will be on TV next spring some time, with additional footage. At its present length it was super-interesting, very suspenseful and surprisingly touching.

It was sort of stunning to hear interviews with men who had been soldiers and marines at the embassy on the last day, when those huge helicopters ferried people away all day long. It was absolutely shocking to see some sailor's Super-8 film footage of smaller helicopters landing on the little ship he was on -- when another came, they had to shove the first one into the sea, and they did this over and over again. Now is the time to collect all this material; what other footage is out there?

There is a whole playlist on Youtube where you can watch more bits of it. See it if you can!

Today I saw a film from what we'd call my comfort zone, Keep On Keepin' On.

Music, friendship, struggles, nice people. Really a good time.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Temperature scarf

I made my way to the yarn shop yesterday, after a brief conversation with my resident physicist, who tells me that green should be at 0ºC. Who ever heard of that? Oh, well, it kind of makes things easier to just have a spectrum of colours.

Red for hot, through green at 0, to blue and indigo for cold. I'm hoping I don't have to get more colder yarns, because it's already freezing during the day, and, in fact, snowing at this very moment! (I will resist the obvious temptation to use some sort of fuzzy or sparkly yarn for snow days.)

The darkest blue, on the right, will be for -15º and lower, bright blue for -10 to -14, pretty variegated icy colours for -3 to -9, and green for -3 to +3.

Green variegated for 4 to 10, yellow variegated for 11 to 15, yellow/orange for 16 to 20, orange variegated for 21 to 27 and red for 28 and above.

I was worried that I'd need more on either end of this scale. That is why the colours have to stretch to a bit more (sometimes) than the 5 degrees I had initially thought.  Also, it's the time of year when all Torontonians forget that it ever gets warm here. We are bundled up for our months and months of cold and can't think beyond that. Really, it'll be 28 degrees here sometime in the next year??

I'm sure that if next October I find I need more 10º yarn, I won't be able to match dye lots or even colours, but then again I am equally sure that I can't need more than 160 metres of any one colour. Right?

This all gets lovingly put away till the winter solstice, when I shall cast on. Cast on what, though? A plain garter or seed-stitch scarf? A 10-stitch blanket? I think I'll find a two-row lace pattern and make a scarf out of that.

But who knows, it's weeks away and I have a man-sized sweater to finish!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Something I will do in December

Once upon a time, I started to knit a Sky Scarf. You knit a garter ridge, 2 rows, every day, based on the colour of the sky. Two things stymied me: I was using stash and ran out of one colour of yarn in February, and the colour of our sky changes hourly, so when exactly do you say it is clear today or it is cloudy today?

However, I recently saw a thread on Ravelry that reminded me of the general excellence of this idea (someone made a blanket!) and I am going to do a temperature scarf, with one strand for the day's maximum temperature and one for minimum. I think I will start on the solstice, December 21.

Toronto goes from about -10ºC to about 30ºC, so I need 8 colours if I do a colour for every 5 degrees. Red for hot, icy blue-white for cold, but how to I get from one to the other?

I could just go around the wheel:

That would mean having greens in the mix, and while you know I love green, I don't really think it signifies much about temperature. And I would end up with three-quarters of a rainbow. Naah.

There are other ways of making colour wheels:

I could go up from the pale centre blue to brighter blue... then what? I don't want pinks. I think one tends to do yellow, orange, red as things get warmer, but I'm not sure I'll like that mix... Of course, it would be a rare day to be -10 for a minimum and +15 for a max. I think what I have to do is go stand and stare at the wall of Koigu at Eweknit and pick 8 good colours.

Will I need more than one skein of each colour? Will I be able to buy another, mid-April or next October if I run out of something? Agonizing... (I found another group on Ravelry that quite appeals to me: Pre-process knitters! We are not in it for the finished project, nor for the experience of the knitting, but for the planning!) Maybe I should not do Koigu, with its little wee skeins, but I should buy 100-gram balls of Cascade 220 or something. But does one need 800 grams to make a scarf?! God forbid. No, no, stick with the Koigu, but perhaps buy 2 each of the colours from, say, 5º to 15º? Perhaps I shall stop at the yarn shop this afternoon.

Perhaps I shall show you the big grey sweater tomorrow. I think I can start the sleeves soon!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Twenty or more years ago

Let's see, it must have been 1992 or so, maybe later in 1991, that I made this big ol' sweater.

It is one of my faux-Fassetts, based on his Stone Patch. It is heavy, made from Lamb's Pride bulky, and it was supposed to reflect the colours of the hills around Santa Barbara, California. 

As soon as I made it, though, I thought it looked more like camo.

It also has a bit of a problem with the sleeves. I know, it was the 90s, but still, no one needs sleeves like that.

I wore it a bit, but it is too warm for inside, it's no good in the rain and you can't put a jacket over those sleeves, so there are just a few days a year when it is the perfect thing.

I've known all about these issues for a long time, and the poor sweater has languished unloved in a corner for some years. The other day, I finally shoved it in a bag for pickup by a charity.

Boo hoo! Farewell, crazy sweater!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Another single sock

This month of posting makes me go around the house taking pictures of knitting. So I have for you today a single sock for Elaine.

Funny looking in this state, but that flared part at the top folds down to make a super cute cuff.

And the cuff is all lace columns.

It is school-uniform colour, but the season for ankle socks may be past this year, and besides, one should really have two matching socks. I once meant to have these done for Christmas, but now I make no promises of that sort!

Now to update my Ravelry project page!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


I see that I missed another day in the daily posting business. Big sigh.

I will have a few pictures for you tomorrow, but right now I am preparing to dash out to a Scrabble club to play "proper" players. Two of my friends have been a couple of times before and say that the club people look down on "kitchen table" players, but of course, my friends have won their share of the games.

And we don't play at a kitchen table, but in a cafe, most of the time! Hmph.

It will be bit challenging to play with a timer and no friendly dictionary to hand, but I think I'll be okay. It's just a game, right?

(Oh, just a picture I snapped a while ago of my 183-point word, MISSHAPE, from triple to triple.... )

Monday, November 10, 2014

The perils of monogamy

I am knitting solely on my Eddie these days.

No second mitt is getting finished. I started these a year ago, it seems. Huh, I'd thought it was more! I "just" need to get the cable knot out of the way and then this becomes subway knitting. It is not quite mitten weather here yet, so there is hope yet, I suppose.

No Kaffe square is getting added to the pile. I am even stuck in the middle of one! I don't need a pretty cushion for my comfy chair, but I hate to leave it at this stage.

And of course, there are other things to knit, and other things to sew...

I had (ridiculously) wanted Eddie finished by last weekend, but now my (more reasonable) deadline is the end of November, which still means I have to give it all my attention.

Getting there, but alas, why can't I knit more, faster and all the time?!

Sunday, November 09, 2014

The Mary Collection

Don't get all excited -- it's not a collection of knitwear or anything that delightful. It is a collection of postcards!

Once upon a time, some friend on Facebook posted a link to an image from a postcard of one of the college libraries at the University of Toronto. Who could resist, so I clicked through... and discovered a whole blog about postcards! This was what we call serendipitous, because I had just found a box in my house full of postcards I had collected as a kid. Some from England when I was living there in 1965-6 and 1972-3, some from art shows, some from European travels in the 80s and 90s. It had been several years since I had last cast eyes upon them and though it did give me a small amount of pleasure to look through them, it was not enough to keep them forever. (Okay, I did hold back a couple... )

It turned out our postcard fellow was at U of T, so it was easy to get my cards to him, and he has posted a few of them.

Here are a few of the gems I kept.

I suspect this is from 1972, but might be 1966. Actually, it was glued down to a page in a scrapbook with a big glob of white glue, so I hope I did that when I was 6 and not 12. Anyone identify the building going up in the background?

My mom and grandma went to Expo 67.

I bought this in 1989 at the Vatican Museums. One of my all-time favourite pots, Achilles and Ajax playing a game.

I got this in Santa Barbara when we went to see an exhibit of the AIDS quilt. This is it spread out in Washington DC in 1992. I remember the exhibit well; it was an excellent idea to make the disease real to people who thought it would never touch them, as well as an inspiring piece of textile art.

Last Friday when we went to the art gallery, I had to hold myself back from the postcard rack...

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Falling down on the job already

I see I missed blogging yesterday. I shall tell you why: my brother was here visiting for the day.

We went to the Art Gallery and saw the Colville exhibit, along with some drawings of Michelangelo. And had some gelato.

The Colville show was quite marvellous: lots of info about his life, lots of sketches and studies alongside the finished works.

And Michelangelo, what can one say? Obviously they can't just ship David over here to show us, or the Sistine Chapel, but there were drawings of things familiar and not; plans of buildings that never got built; sketches that had been somewhat polished up and completely rough lines. The notes sometimes mentioned that this pope or that had likely held this piece of paper in his hands.

After the art, we had food. Some other friends came over for dinner and we had a grand old time together, before sending John back out into the cold to catch an airplane.

So that is my excuse. I do have a special treat for you tomorrow, though, I prrrrommmisse.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Nature in all its autumnal glory

Some years the trees around town are gloriously coloured; some years things turn to brown mush on the ground right from the beginning. This year we found ourselves driving down the 401 to London (our London) one day in the late afternoon with the sun shining brilliantly on the golden, red and orange leaves. Just stunning. Did I take a picture? No, I did not.

I do, however, have a picture of my hosta. I posted this picture in a thread on Ravelry where Rowan Yarns is looking for a new colour for their Kidsilk Haze. Goldy-yellow, caramel, bits of green...

You can be sure that if they pick my colour and I end up with a package of golden Kidsilk Haze, I will share it with you!

In other news, I am still not at 22 cm on my grey sweater, and things aren't going to get much better tomorrow. I'm also finding I don't have a ton of time to plan and write great witty things! Perhaps on the weekend...

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Shakespeare and his collected works

Did William Shakespeare of Stratford, the guy who left his wife his second-best bed, write Hamlet and Love's Labour's Lost and Henry V and all those sonnets?

I don't know. (Also, this portrait from the First Folio may or may not be anything like Shakespeare, but it's about all we have.)

Of course, I had always thought so, just like Homer composed (using some pre-existing bits) both the Iliad and the Odyssey. (I was taught Homer by "a naive unitarian.") But now I am liking the "Shake-speare as pseudonym" idea.

(I am not going to link to anything about this! There are a million opinions and convictions and arguments.)

That William of Stratford left not a single letter strikes me as a kind of serious counter-argument to his being a writer. Especially a writer involved in the theatre in London while living in Stratford.

Some people say that William couldn't have written the plays because he had no education, and some other people object to this because genius flowers in the strangest places. The genius of the writer (whoever...) is not in question, but our writer certainly had considerable education in a variety of fields!

Why did he leave no books? Why didn't he even teach his children to read?

I have a number of books about this on hold at the library, so I shall see what I come up with in the coming weeks. Elaine is reading Romeo and Juliet at school this year and Arthur gets Hamlet, so there will certainly be some Shakespearian discussion at the dinner table.

I'll keep you posted about this. (Although really, it is not very important... )

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Some progress on the big grey sweater

Is it blue? Is it grey? Is it, sometimes, sort of purple? Did I mention that I'd like this to be done by the end of the week? Ha, ha. However, I am almost at the point where I get to do some purling.

I don't like to use up too much blog fodder in one day in these NaBlo months, but I would like to ask you all who you think wrote the works of Shakespeare. I saw a production last night called Is Shakespeare Dead? about the almost complete lack of information we have about William Shakespeare. So you just watch that and come back tomorrow and we shall discuss the issue.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Bread with pomegranate seeds

What is more fun than a pomegranate? I bought one a week ago thinking I would put the seeds in a fruit salad, but then didn't. So, now what?

Finally I decided something had to be done, and I knew that although the seeds (or arils, to be precise) are yummy just eaten a few at a time, I really should use the whole lot at once.

So I found this muffin recipe.

Since I was lazy, I made a loaf instead of muffins, and since I made a loaf, I skipped the topping. I'm not much of a topping kind of gal anyways; the muffin should be tasty enough on its own. (I also used milk instead of pomegranate juice!)

Of course I did not have my camera at the ready while dealing with the shiny pretty arils, but I remembered eventually.

about to go in the oven

about to be eaten

Very tasty, especially if you like an oatmeal bread, but you have to remember there are the tiny, crunchy seeds in the juicy, fruity arils. The soft fruit sort of melts into the bread a bit, but the crunch is still there.

It's not the best use of a pomegranate, I think, but it fit the bill this time.