Thursday, November 30, 2017

Three on the last Thursday of NaBloPoMo

Well, we made it to the end of November! I feel like I just sort of made do with a lot of my blog posts this time, but I did do something every day, most often with a picture. So that is a bit of an accomplishment, for sure.

Now, what three things shall I talk about here?
  1. My husband is in the UK, at a conference. He gave his talk yesterday, apparently a great success. He wore his spiral-defect chaos sweater, and some Hokusai wave socks. He posts pictures of beer on Facebook, though, so it's not all work. 
  2. I saw some rock climbing movies last night. OMG, as they say. Usually when I work at the cinema, I do an afternoon show, and people who are able to go to afternoon shows tend to be retired, really. People who go to rock climbing movies at 8:30 at night tend, it turns out, to be 30, fit, buff, and very keen. The doors opened at 8 and I was ripping tickets till the show started. Pouring through the doors, filling every seat in the house. The four short films were amazing as well. They didn't really make me want to take up rock climbing, though. It's all bleeding fingers and broken backs. Drone photography maybe, rock climbing, no. 
  3. Tonight I am going to a book launch. My daughter had a friend in elementary school whose mom is an artist, and someone has written a book about her. Her work is full of little almost-hidden things. Often a bit creepy, but I really like a lot of it, so will be happy to have the book. 
Tomorrow is December 1st! I might find it hard to break this pattern of posting, so watch this space!

I have remembered to link this post with others who are posting Three on Thursday. Go there to find more blogs.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

WIP Wednesday

I can hardly show you my sweater, which looks very much the same as it did on Monday, though not exactly the same.

What other works in progress might there be lying around?

I told you earlier about the yarn someone gave me for charity knitting. I started a Clapotis with some cotton-blend fingering-weight yarn. (Is it the most knitted scarf ever?)

I'm not very far along, but I'm not in a rush.

I only have about 100 grams of fine yarn, so it won't be much of a scarf, but it will keep me amused on the go, where I can't take the sweater, and it will maybe delight some child. We'll see how it goes. 

Speaking of delight, I was walking past our neighbourhood fancy hat shop and spotted this purse! Where do I get that fabric? Very cute. 

Our neighbourhood fancy hat shop also has these gems. I wonder who shops there, and who ever wears these hats. There is a royal wedding coming up, of course.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Worn bricks

I showed you these bricks the other day. We like them because they are kind of odd, and they sit outside looking arty and not cluttering up our house.

They were collected on Leslie Spit, a piece of land that juts out into the lake. It's mainly made up of the fill they had after digging the subway tunnels decades ago. Since then, all sorts of rubble has been added.

You can find marble countertops and concrete chunks and bits of old road. It's not a very "nice" place, but it's very popular amongst migrating birds and, therefore, birders. It's also a place to get away from the city. Green stuff does sprout up between the bricks!

And you can find cool worn bricks there. Someone found lots of bricks and made this.

Once we played tourist in our own city and went on a bus tour. We saw all the places where things used to be. "This is the site of the first fire house. This is the site of the first town hall. This is the site of a school." But all those first things were built of wood and burned down! There were a couple of big fires, the second in 1904. The brickworks had opened in 1889 and they were ready and able to supply material for building a bit more permanent city after that. Now it is a park/market/space, quite a nice place.

Coming from woody Vancouver, I was shocked at the bricks of Toronto when I got here, but I have got used to all these brick houses.

picture stolen from here
Even modern, tall buildings here are covered in bricks, which does still strike me as crazy.

And that is the story of the bricks!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Returning to a September sweater

I started this sweater a couple of months ago but had to put it on hold. For one thing, I wanted to knit the sleeves down from the shoulder rather than up from the cuff, and had to ponder that for a couple of months, apparently.

I think I have it figured out. The sleeve is very nearly a straight drop-shoulder, but with just a bit of shape. I picked up stitches at the top, bit by bit, and am now knitting the sleeve in the round. The pattern has very long sleeves, with thumb holes near the seam to keep your hands warm while you're sitting on the beach on those cool summer evenings. (At least, that is what the pictures in the book imply.)

It is also meant to have a hood, but I think we will not bother with that. I already have a tiny lacy bit at the bottom hem, the sleeves will end in casual curling stocking stitch, and I suppose there will be some sort of ribbing around the neck.

One thing at a time; I hope to finish at least the one sleeve this week, maybe even both!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

A progressive dinner

I do love my street and my neighbours. Many years ago now, three of us got together and figured out how to have a dinner party where you go from house to house. Three households host and each other household brings a dish: an appetizer, main dish or dessert.

We eventually settled in to one of these dinners a year, in November. We always talk about doing one in the spring, when we can sit on porches and decks and balconies, but that rarely happens. We also used to try a February one, but too many people are away skiing or in the Caribbean or generally avoiding Toronto in February.

So, November. Last year, and I think the year before as well, I picked the wrong weekend... hardly anyone was around, no one wanted to host a course, it was just not a success.

Last year two women on the next street got wind of things and offered to host, though! Oh, dear, moving off our block for dinner! It was good, and they were so keen that they said they would do it this year, too!

Then one of them moved to Victoria.

But we gamely carried on, and I whispered from the sidelines while the other did the e-mailing and calendar checking and nudging. As it turned out, last night we had a great success, with several first-timers showing up, and a new house that piqued my real-estate envy quite a bit.

(No one knew exactly how some of the newcomers came to be on the e-mail list. Kind of funny, but a great thing, as it turned out.)

The danger of a potluck sort of meal is, what if everyone brings lasagna? or what if there are seven desserts and no salad? I think that rarely happens, actually, and all the worry and nagging about that is probably not reasonable. For example, I wondered if I should take a piece of pork (whole loins on sale last week, so I got one and cut it up into meal-sized chunks) or some veg. I had heard of a quinoa salad and some other thing that I can't remember, and decided to take the meat... bad choice, there were another three plates of meat, and no green salad, no roasted parsnips and beets, no cauliflower cake. But, all was fine! No one complained (except me, just inside my head) and we all survived and were happy to come together and have a nice meal, most of which we didn't have to prepare! And asking people what they were bringing did not do what it was supposed to, because not everyone responds, people change their minds... just do whatever you like and don't fuss, is now my potluck motto.

I don't have any pictures, because it is kind of rude to take pictures of your neighbours eating dinner. It would have been especially rude, I thought, to take pictures of the one absolutely fabulous place we went for dessert. Collectors, artists, travellers... they had so much cool stuff, so nicely arranged, I felt like I was in a gallery. But, we'll just have to get invited back, because I didn't take pictures.

Next up, one hopes: knitting!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Saturday sky

Lots of other things percolating away in my NaBloPoMo brain, but for today let's just look at the sky.

I am cooking for the street's progressive dinner; I have picked up another half-knit project; I am thinking more about bricks. One more week of daily posts!

Friday, November 24, 2017

It's Friday

Cause for celebration: I finished the sock!

The toe is plain beige for a few rows, of necessity. I had to text Arthur to get him to measure his foot, and I still couldn't believe it... It's just as big as I could possibly make it, and I hope it will fit!

While doing this sock photo shoot, I wondered if I had ever shown you my bricks...

Everything looks better with a bit of sunshine on it.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Three things on Thursday

Today I will show you three pictures. Two would make great bases for blankets, perhaps!

Brown, green, grey, some lines

Grey, white, splash of colour, diagonal bits
This one would be a pretty weird blanket, and the hardest part would be to get the reflection in the big ball.

Of course, this is a tree found in a shopping mall. It's pretty alarming how we start decorating for Christmas in the middle of November. But we do, apparently.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

WIP Wednesday

Wednesday, home of the works-in-progress.

One thing is taking all my time these days, no fooling around with stray bits of knitting: I am making a sock and that is that.

You may remember I made another sock out of this same yarn. More stitches, cable pattern on the leg, wild pooling around the heel.

First sock, huge orange blob on heel
I made a collage...

Top pictures, the crazy first sock; bottom, the more well-behaved second sock. I'm sure they'll never actually get worn both at the same time, so it hardly matters, but ...  interesting. This is October's vintage accessory, so I'm keen to get it done!

Of course there are other WIPs in the pipeline, and I am happy to tell you that I can use one of them for my December vintage accessory. Apparently the Alice Starmore fancy-schmancy mittens I started making almost a year and a half ago qualify in this challenge, which is to knit things published between the 1880s and the 1980s. Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting was published in 1988, so, yay for me!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Pretties in the bathroom

This summer I bought this cut glass ball. I guess it was once part of a chandelier? It dangles in the bathroom window facing south, and at just the right time of the morning, if the sun is shining, it casts little rainbows all over the place. My fave thing is to spin it, making a disco ball effect, if you know what I mean!

I wish I had a better camera.

And for a bonus, the Christmas cactus is really doing very well. Also hard to photograph, because the super-pinkest bits look white in this. In real life, it's just as pink as pink can be. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Monday's almost done

Oh, no, I quickly have to post something today!

I can tell you what I have been doing with my time today: baking, knitting, watching Netflix. Very productive.

Yesterday we talked to Arthur, poor dear, away at university and having to study and write and work hard. Also, it snowed. So he was moaning about his lot, as university students do at this time of year, and I, his soft-touch mom, decided that if he just had some baked goods, he would be fortified to manage the end of term better.

Brownies that are kind of soft and a bit gooey do not pack well.

I have made the heel of the sock and am gusseting away... Nothing exciting to show.

Ah, but the Netflix! The other day the dear ladies at Mason-Dixon Knitting introduced me to W1A, a BBC show about the BBC. Hysterical. Canadian Netflix is missing the third season, which makes me a wee bit upset. Since I have already watched two seasons in two days... and I still don't know what W1A means. Is it a postal code? Never mentioned.

I'll try to think of something thrilling for tomorrow, but I believe I am doing NaBloPoMo pretty well thus far. Ten days to go!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Finished, half-finished and not started

I finished my Vertices Unite and it is ready for action. Not sure what sort of action, since it is the leventy-hundredth shawl in my collection. The scratchy sock yarn does soften up in a bath.

It is sunny today, but everything is damp. Here's a bit of the shawl on the hedge.

Here we have the sunny colours, and a bit of an idea of the whole thing.

I tried to take a picture of it all spread out on the floor. Awkward lighting.

Anyways, done. No one will see it all at once when it is worn, all scrunched up around a neck!

Now I shall concentrate on finishing up October's sock. I have started the heel and figure I can get it done by the end of the week if I put my mind to it.

Projects not yet even thought of....

Someone on Ravelry was offering a couple of bags of yarn that she hoped would be used to knit for charity.

I scored two skeins of Butterfly cotton, and I know I can get a scarf out of each of those. Bits of pretty wool -- might become blanket squares. Hats, cowls, perhaps I can get mittens out of 85 meters of wool?

There is more nice stuff and another bag full of yarn I don't want! I know someone who knits a lot of scarves to sell and I will ask if she wants some of the acrylic. Fine white baby yarn... what to do with that? It'll all get to a good home eventually.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Boots for a gloomy day

I was going to show you a Saturday sky, but it is that flat white winter gloom today, and who wants to look at that?

The other day when I was at the museum I walked along the "mink mile" of Bloor Street and saw these boots in the Gucci window. Is that leopard-spotted snakeskin? I guess snakes have patterns like that, too. Most likely, I suppose, is that they are not snakeskin at all, but cleverly dyed and textured leather. Probably not even real diamonds for the trim, either!

Today my wanderings took me to the home of a nice woman who was getting rid of some yarn! I plan to do some charity knitting in 2018 and was happy to take it off her hands. Pictures tomorrow, if the sun ever comes out!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Eye Candy Friday

I was in the ROM yesterday for a brief stopover. I only had about half an hour so went to a small exhibit called the Evidence Room: very interesting, not very easily photographed. And not very cheery... but I must go back, I think.

I did find these delightful little spoons, though, on my way out. That's Mary of Teck, whom we know from The Crown and even Downton Abbey, on the far right. And, you know, some other kings and queens.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Three on Thursday

  1. I am so close to finishing my multicoloured shawl; I just need to do the edging. The pattern says to do an i-cord around the whole thing, but I don't like that and am looking for something lighter. I bought a longer needle so I could knit all around, but it is still not long enough and I have several short ones as well. Hmm, need a picture of that!
  2. I belong to a group on Ravelry called Lazy, Stupid and Godless. The knitters are all actually very nice. Someone just started a thread where people post pictures of themselves and the rest of us say kind things about them. It is very funny -- silly when high school girls need that sort of affirmation before they go out in the morning, so nice when middle-aged women do it. Someone said I look badass!
  3. Today I go do some drudgery for Hot Docs, get my teeth cleaned, come home to take a picture of my knitting in the bright light of day, think of something for dinner, think of an edging for the shawl, finish the book I have to return to the library tomorrow, etc etc. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A movie and a flower

This morning I was at the cinema, herding school groups in to see Al Gore's An Inconvenient Sequel. It is almost two hours long with a lot of earnest talking about climate change, and the middle-school kids I was sitting near were completely restless. No one really has to go to the washroom that many times in two hours. Not everyone was bored though, and some of the kids did ask really good questions at the end. (No Al Gore, but some enthusiastic young woman answered questions about what we can do, what Canada is doing, what Al Gore is doing.) I enjoyed the movie, despite having to shush people and tut-tutting with my fellow volunteers, and despite its gloomy ending -- spoiler alert: Donald Trump will ruin everything. 

My main job, other than shushing, was getting the classes from the subway station to the theatre. While I was there, a group called TTCRiders was collecting complaints and comments for their "Woes on the Bus" campaign. 

I kept away from their main action, but there were TV cameras here and there. I wonder if I'll be on the news in my little knitted crown. (I know there's a video on that page, but I don't have the latest version of whats-it to watch it, and don't care enough to download it.)

The biggest excitement of the day, though, was finding that my Christmas cactus enjoyed its time outside this summer so much that it is going to bloom for me! I think that occasional pouring rain and sporadic sunshine did it good. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Bata shoe museum

Because I am a volunteer at the Textile Museum, I get reciprocal privileges at a few other institutions around town, and I mean to take advantage of that! Today a friend and I went to another small niche museum, all about shoes.

They have a great floor!

A lot of the exhibits are kept in rather low-light situations. Understandable, given that they might be made of silk or straw and be several centuries old! But not great for amateur photography.

This dress was in an exhibit called Fashion Victims, all about the very real perils of clothing. The lovely green colour was made with arsenic, and both makers and wearers could fall horribly ill. The wallpaper contains arsenic as well!

You could also die a horrible death if you were wearing a steel crinoline and your big dress caught fire.

There are lots of other shoes there, historic, culturally interesting, men's high heels, ballet slippers, and on and on. Very nice, especially if one can get in for free!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Cute things I never made

My poor, deprived children never had a handknitted garland of little mitts, or socks, nor a garland that looks like Santa's laundry line. (Oh, there's a whole flickr group of little mittens!)

from here
Now, of course, we are too set in our ways to start with things like that, but if I ever have grandchildren I might just knit them some tiny silliness!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Progress report

I have been working quite assiduously on my Vertices Unite. I'm not sure I've shown you all the little bits that add up to the whole. (I took the knitting outside to my dark glass table. Forgive the photographer's reflections here and there!)

Section 1, took forever.

Section 2, quick, two new colours.

Section 3, the worrisome one all along. It's a great big chunk, and it's all one yarn, so I found lots of knitted examples of this shawl where this section just leapt out at one rather alarmingly. I'm not sure I solved the problem by having this wild multicoloured yarn. I thought I was so clever using one yarn with all the colours, but of course the others are muted by being used in combination. Hmm.

Section 4... I followed the directions and used colour D, the beige. If I hadn't, I would have had to use beige and pink in section 5 and that would not have worked either. Doubts are creeping in. The pattern says to use D for the edging, too, but I suspect I will disobey that instruction.

Section 5, should be finished shortly. Pink and blue, stripes knitted in the same direction as sections 1 and 3.

The whole, thus far. 

Every knitting project is an experiment. I will learn things about using colour by making this, but it's highly unlikely I'll make another one to put my new knowledge to use. Something I will remember: don't expect bright pink and bright green to combine into anything but muddiness!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Saturday sky

Yesterday's sky.

It's still really cold, but they say we'll be back to positive temps in a day or so.

Today's plans: get some child labour involved in sweeping the porch; put on some bread in the bread maker; sort out hats and stuff; think about cutting my hair...

Friday, November 10, 2017

Eye Candy Friday

It was really windy last night. Leaves blew off trees, onto my porch.

And the temperature dropped to -9º C this morning.

I managed to bundle up and leave the house -- find the down coat that got taken upstairs six months ago, find the warm mitts, the hat. There's going to be some exploring of the scarves-and-hats-and-mitts drawers this weekend.

When I got out, I found that it was not only really cold, but really sunny with a clear blue sky and so many leaves on the ground! Some had not even turned colour at all, and there were lots and lots of yellow ones. I'd love this colourway to knit up!

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Three on Thursday

  1. I crocheted some flowers. These are for my November chore for my vintage accessory knitalong. It's funny, the book I used often asks for something like a "medium crochet hook." but in this pattern it does specify a size, and also says "American gauge." So do I assume that this pattern uses American terminology, despite it being a Canadian publication from the 60s or earlier? My theory is that if there are HDCs, or half-double-crochets, it is American. Whatever, I just did what seemed the reasonable thing, and I got flower-like results. The pattern is for a tea cosy, but I shall use my flowers to decorate a wreath. I don't really like crocheting, I find!
  2. We are having a street-wide potluck supper later in the month and I have begun perusing the recipe books. Lately I have always had to host a course, but we have some new blood and I get to be just a participant this time. I'm leaning towards something like roasted beets and other veg, maybe just as is or maybe put into some sort of rice dish. The main course is a bit hard to prepare for, as one should be out having fun at the appetizer course and not slaving over a hot stove. So I think I'll roast some veg, cool it and mix it with rice or couscous or something and serve it at room temp. I have a couple of weeks to change my mind a million times on this. 
  3. When you are playing Scrabble, if you find yourself with one of each vowel, an S and a Q, you might despair and think you just have a rack full of trouble, but remember this: you can make SEQUOIA. 

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

A day in the life

Yesterday I did a bunch of things.

The other day I showed you pictures of garage doors in the neighbourhood, but they were not in the lane on which I live. My lane has been full of mud and cement trucks and pickups blocking the way for some time.

The people across the lane have begun a major renovation. They took down the chain-link fence and put a huge (gigantic) bin in the back yard and quickly filled it up.

So yesterday the truck arrived to take the bin away, and I think the bin was too heavy for the truck. The cab of the truck was off the ground when they tried to hook up the bin. In that picture the cab is way up, but the wheels seem to still be on the ground. It wasn't always so.

That was very intriguing, but I had places to be and so had to leave before anything was resolved.

I went past Honest Ed's and saw that the demolition was in full swing. It looks the same as ever from the front, but here is your side view.

Grabber-thing pulling on some steel
And when you go around back, look at that!

I went through Grange Park behind the art gallery and for once, no one was sitting on the Henry Moore sculpture.

So many crazy views of this sculpture. It used to be on a street corner beside the gallery, but they recently smartened up the park and put it here. I guess it is better now, but it was a nice quirk to have this right on the main street. 

The park is all fall colours. 

Then I spent a few hours sitting at the desk in the Textile Museum, taking money, answering the phone, knitting... I do that until 2 pm, so I am starving by the time I am done. I often have fine ideas about what I'll do after my shift, but usually all I want to do is get some lunch! Yesterday I made my way to the Pho Hung, a fine establishment where I've been eating the #19 (small) for 30 years. My downfall this time, though, was the Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk, at 3 pm. Delicious but deadly. That is why I was writing this at 6 am: I have been up for some time with racing brain...

On my way home I passed the 5-shirts-for-$10 shops. It's a great place to find cheap fabric if one wants to try out some Alabama Chanin mitts or something! All the colours of the rainbow.

Finally, home again. And a peek off my top floor shows that one of two things happened: Did they get the bin away, and immediately fill a second one, or was the truck unable to handle it, abandoning it until it miraculously gets lighter?