Saturday, December 29, 2018

Look, a pillar box!

My friend Katie is back in Kent, though only for the holidays and she's not blogging. Tsk.

But she did send me this lovely Edward VIII pillar box, from the Marine Esplanade in Ramsgate, I believe.

It occurred to me recently that the next monarch will likely not even make pillar boxes. Who needs 'em? And that will be sad for some of us! 

Friday, December 28, 2018

A day trip

The other day we went to Hamilton. It's about an hour down the highway, and there is a GO bus every half hour, so, easy-peasy. But we rarely do it!

We were first on the double-decker bus, so sat up top at the front! I wish we'd been in those seats on the way home, because something happened on the highway that slowed our progress a great deal, and we couldn't see anything. Of course, only an accident with fire trucks and tow trucks could liven up that very boring stretch of suburban road.

Our main target was the Art Gallery of Hamilton, where they are showing photographs by Vivian Maier. We first met up with a friend for lunch, walking up James Street, which is apparently "the art street." The thing we hear, here in Toronto, is that all the starving artists have been priced out of their big-city haunts and moved down the lake to Hamilton. We were told "art is the new steel." Huge steel plants sit empty, great spaces for ... whatever! And indeed, our friend is on the board of a little gallery on James Street.

I took a picture of myself in a mottled mirrored window, before going into the Vivian Maier show.

It was quite big, about four galleries worth of photos. Great portraits of people seen on the street, self-portraits of all sorts, some colour pictures and some 8-mm movies. Hers is such a weird story and we haven't seen many, many of her photos.

There was also a show of Norval Morrisseau's work and a show called Hamilton Now: Object. This is part of that show, a piece of fabric made of twists and turns of the same photograph.

More fabric, with the pictures on all sorts of scales.

This was also in that Hamilton Now: Object show, but what's important here is Elaine wearing a hat I made in 2014. I think here she was looking through some VR glasses to see wild sparkles and flowers above the blue vessel!

There was Speaking for Herself, women's art from their permanent collection.

This was part of a series, where the artist had taken quotes from ordinary women and illustrated them with Barbie clothes.

We couldn't pass up the VW bus, or in this case the Bruegel-Bosch bus.

This great piece was in the stairwell, by Tim Zuck. Nice.

Then we were tuckered out and headed back to the bus station to go home. It was an old art deco train station, repurposed after that train line shut down. Very stylish.

And then, after some sort of jam on the highway, we got home safe and sound.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

I made a vest

I finished my vest of all colours.

If I were very good, I would have taken out the shoulder seams, ripped down front and back to the start of the armhole decreases, and decreased about ten or fifteen stitches more. It's not the 80s anymore!

But I did not.

I've been watching a lot of Midsomer Murders on Netflix while knitting this, and now I think it would be the perfect accessory for those slightly batty old women, possibly murderers or at least with questionable pasts, mucking about in the countryside.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

A slice of fun

My brother bought himself a new cottage for Christmas, so he gets a dishcloth or two from me, because I am just that nice.

I made this Citrus Slice dishcloth once before, and gave it away in a swap. One day I will make myself a set: orange, lemon and lime!

You knit 12 wedges and seam them in a circle, and it seems the centre will never close up.

But, yanking it all together tightly does pull the centre in and you have your delightful slice of lime.

It would be nice to have a row of white around the outside, but how very fiddly that would be.

He also gets some red bricks. This is a truly one-of-a-kind cloth, with a couple of badly laid bricks over on the right. No-one will ever notice, right?

Saturday, December 08, 2018

A walk in December

The other day I thought I would take a long walk out on Toronto Islands. The forecast was for +2°C, so, not terrible. Maybe?

Clearly no-one else thought going to the islands was a good idea. The ferry terminal, with its blasted concrete plaza, livened up with colourful chairs, was virtually empty.

This is a new condo building, in the style "when people liked things not to line up." I am not a fan of this style and think that we will soon start lining things up again, but this decade will apparently be immortalized this way.

I have an app on my phone that can keep track of my distance and time, but this time I decided I would just use the stopwatch feature to see how long it took me; I planned to walk the 5 km to the opposite end of the island and back again.

If you click this photo, you can probably see the heron on the left side. I was actually taking a picture of the out-of-season yacht club. I walked along the lefthand shore here and disturbed the heron into flight again later. Beautiful!

After a short time I remembered that all weather reports add, "cooler by the lake," and decided it was just too frigging cold to walk to the end, so I took a detour towards the park in the centre.

And then I looked at my stopwatch: I had been on the move for 29 minutes. If I turned back now I could just catch the ferry and make my way back to warm civilization!

It was pretty bleak out there, but these red twigs make everything a tiny bit better.

The ferries run every hour and half-hour from the city, and on the quarter and three-quarters from the island. I got to the terminal at just the right time, except that it was the lunch hour and the ferries take a break!

My cousin lives on the islands, maybe a 7-minute walk from the ferry. My phone had died, taking this last picture of grey clouds and blustery water, so I couldn't call her, didn't know if she was home, was no longer sure what time it was...

There was a Waiting Shed, with heat, so I took the opportunity to just go inside and knit and warm up for half an hour before the boat came.

I remembered much later that I do own a pair of fleece-lined jeans, so I might try this again sometime soon. With a flask of hot chocolate or tea. And some sort of light scarf wrapped around my whole head.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

A nice sunny day

It's been so grey and gloomy lately, that today's bright sunshine and freezing temperatures were a nice change.

Sun shining through tiny golden leaves.

Blue, blue sky!

I am almost finished the back of the many-coloured vest and should have something to show you shortly!

Saturday, December 01, 2018

NaBloPoMo wrap-up

Heavens, what happened!

I was all set to do this post yesterday, I'd taken pictures, found links... and then forgot all about it!

At the beginning of the month I told you how I had to gather up all the half-finished things and send them away. One has indeed made it back to the comfy chair, and has grown quite a bit since then.

I am well and truly into the back of this vest as well, but had a bit of a setback.

I thought I could be clever and change patterns when I started doing the solid colour, but the tension was different and it would have looked weird. And we can't have the Vest of Many Colours looking weirder than necessary!

So I ripped out that bit of plain green and continued the zigzags. Today's task is to make certain that the side seams will be the same length. I predict this will be finished in a week.

I have also knitted a little neckwarmer, but can't find it anywhere... it is red.

I am making a dishrag for my brother who has bought himself a new house for Christmas! I have time to make a couple before I see him in a few weeks.

Before I came up with the dishrag idea, I started a hat so I would have some portable knitting, but then haven't spent enough time with it to get the stitch pattern down, so it sits neglected for now.

And so the comfy chair is now once again surrounded by works-in-progress and all's well.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Rejuvenation and all that

I was out on the back deck this afternoon, bringing in some firewood and tidying away the pots full of dead mint and so on. And then I discovered this!

This is a hyacinth bulb that had been put outside and ignored some months ago.

Why is it sticking green stuff out at this time of year, I just don't know, but I am happy to see it!

I've brought it inside to warm up. I hope this is the right thing to do, and hope to bring you regular hyacinth-progress reports in the weeks to come!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

It's very purple

This is the yarn I bought yesterday, 10 skeins of Alice Starmore Scottish Heather.

At first I thought 10 skeins was enough to do anything with, but it turns out they are only 56 grams each, not a hundred, and I am now not sure I can get a me-sized sweater with sleeves out of it.

Even if I throw in some wild fringe.

Squiggle, one of the crazier of the novelty yarns. I hadn't seen any for years, although I did make a scarf holding it with some silk yarn many years ago. I could do a wee bit of a fuzzy collar, couldn't I?

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Too dark for photos now

This afternoon a friend and I walked about six kilometers, stopping to buy some stamps to mail Christmas cards, to a sale put on by the Textile Museum volunteers. It was just a tiny one, one room, mostly yarn, and a lot of sweater quantities.

I didn't buy a single book, although all the classics of my early knitting days were there! A hardcover Celtic Collection, for example. No, I put it back.

I did buy about 1100 metres of heathered purple wool. I think if I use lots of lace -- holes -- in my fabric, I can get a sweater for me out of it. Short sleeves, maybe? Anyways, it is beautiful and so purple and woolly. And it cost $15 for the lot, so I am happy even if I end up making 8 hats out of it.

It's dark out now, and the lights inside would, I'm sure, do odd things to the colours, so I will take a picture tomorrow morning and show you my purple yarn, and a couple of other treats.

Three more days of NaBloPoMo to go!

Monday, November 26, 2018

More photos from walking about

I am continuing my half-marathon training, although I am not planning on doing another half-marathon. This involves doing kind of long walks on the weekends. I need more variety; I just walk around where I live. Yesterday I went west, and then a bit north, and then just went up a block or two, across a block or two, down a block or two, zigzagging along to fill up the kilometres. (Someone told me today about the Toronto Outdoor Club which I might just join, or at least follow the routes for some of their walks since I have no desire to go for a walk in the ravines in the evenings.)

One can liven things up by taking pictures. Of things like a building covered in pigeons. They were evenly spaced along the fence, and along the top of the building, as well.

If it's not quite the season for Christmas trees, it is certainly the season for ornamental cabbages, all over the place. I love how this one has a tinge of purple in the centre.

All my favourite colours!

We left our pumpkin outside in the yard, figuring it would become fertilizer in some small spot in the garden. These people, though, will one day have to shovel up decomposed pumpkin off their steps. It must have been quite an impressive display, almost a month ago!

I saw this water tower. The sky was grey, and although I could see the words on the tower, they didn't come up very well in my first photos. So I ... well, I touched something on my phone ... and it miraculously changed the exposure and took this ghostly picture. I'm not sure if it's an improvement, but it is certainly a sort of cool effect.

Next up, the plan is to go to the aquarium! We bought tickets last Christmas and for logistical reasons, two of us couldn't go. Since the tickets are good for a year, we'd best get cracking on that. 

Sunday, November 25, 2018

It's started

Uh oh.

Last night we had a progressive dinner on our street. It's a great neighbourly thing we do, always good food, and always fun to see inside people's houses. I was somewhat taken aback to see this, though!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Human error

Oh, look, I missed a day. No excuses.

Yesterday was a day of yarny goodness, and a day of crushing defeat. Of course, I have a picture of each of these things.

Firstly I went to play Scrabble. I did win one game by a few points, but in the second game, my opponent did this.

ZOMBIEs, with the Z on the triple-letter-score square. Ninety-seven points in one go.

Well, after that, a yarn shop with a 20%-off sale seemed like a good idea! I would have bought enough yarn for a worsted-weight sweater, but they didn't have enough of my colour in stock.

Once upon a time someone gave me a pattern for a scarf that uses a gradient of colours so I took this opportunity to get a nice gradient set on sale. The scarf pattern calls for four colours, so I can use the extra yarn here to make it nice and big and wide and smooshy.

Tonight we are doing a progressive dinner on our street. I have had adventures with Jello, which I hope will be resolved in time!

One more week of NaBloPoMo!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

A walk on Spadina

Today was so cold! But the sky was so blue!

I was at the Textile Museum this morning, and then went for lunch on Spadina Ave. I thought I'd show you some pictures.

A few years ago, someone decided to gussy things up (scroll down to Spadina Streetcar Line) with occasional odd poles in the centre of the street, where the streetcar tracks are. So we have wiry chickens on poles here.

There was some big excitement recently when the El Mocambo got its sign back. It was gone for refurbishment for years, it seems. Here's a story about the never-ending renovations of the club. The hoarding here was down for a day or two while they put the new sign up, but I'd say there was no indication anything was going to open soon.

Here's a sign I'd never paid attention to before. Billiard's. My father would have had a fun time with that, I tell you.

Finally, a tree.

This is what happens to street trees in this city. They get to a certain size, and then they get cut down. Are they diseased, or just too big for the space? Why leave a 3-foot-tall stump? I presume that sometime before next spring, a tiny, little tree will get planted in that space, where it'll live for a few years. Very strange.

I am somewhat proud to say that after a bowl of Vietnamese noodles and this stroll, I went to the gym where I did exercise-y things.

I even remembered to go to the library on my way home, so a great many things got accomplished.