Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Made a scarf

I told you a while ago about the donation of yarn I received. There were, in various bits, about 3 or 4 balls of Noro Silk Garden, the warmest yarn in the world.

The blue/black end:

The greenish end:

Somewhere near the middle, where I finished one ball and began the other, reversing the colour sequence:

It will be very warm, slightly scritchy and not quite symmetrical in colour. For now it goes in the pile, and it'll go to a local charity soon enough.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Muffin Monday: Apple Cinnamon

The other day a friend came over and brought her favourite muffin recipe book. I have a favourite muffin recipe book, too, of course. We decided we would make aaallll the muffins, even the ones we've always flipped past, like my mushroom muffin recipe, or the one with cream corn and chilli peppers.

I also have muffin recipes in other cookbooks and ones I've copied from magazines or wherever, and I figure I have enough to get me through the year at one batch a week. We'll see. I might just get sick of muffins before I make them all!

This week I made Apple Cinnamon muffins, from a 1987 Milk Calendar which came in the newspaper. I've had this page in my recipe binder since then, and maybe made them twice... the trouble with having a favourite muffin book!

I like them! Cinnamon, nutmeg and deliciousness from two eggs, half a cup of butter, and milk. The apple holds its texture nicely and so you get your burst of spicy apple-goodness. It's a bit more work to peel and cut up the apple than to grab a handful of raisins, but I'd say it's worth the few minutes that takes.

I think I need a scoring system now. Let's say MMMMM is the best muffin anyone has ever had in the history of the world, and M is the worst. I'd give these apple cinnamon muffins an MMMM.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Yarn and knitting and computers

I recall at some point recently proclaiming that I would knit from stash, not buy any more yarn, empty some bins and all that jazz.

Well, I haven't bought yarn, but picked up more freebies last week. Someone was giving away a big tangle of nice wool. I think it is a full 100 grams, and it is lovely, but it took me several hours to get from this to a ball.

Now, I would like to show you a picture of the nicely wound ball that I did end up with, but my phone and my computer have not been on speaking terms for a while. I have to e-mail myself photos instead of just attaching a cable, so, sorry, you just have to imagine the nice ball.

I go up and down in my enthusiasm for this colour. Sometimes it reminds me of shimmery duck necks, and sometimes it reminds me of a puddle of mud. But it is very soft!

The person also gave me a bag of odds and ends that she had cleaned out of her bins! I'm not sure why it ends up here, but it is all pretty nice stuff. I gave the real fuzzy, sneezy stuff to the Textile Museum for their sale, but kept some.

This makes me sneeze just looking at it
There was a full ball of Silk Garden and several bits and bobs, which I think are mostly from the same colourway, though of course with Noro you can never tell!

This scarf has the blue/black bit, then a brownish bit, then some of the elusive and sought-after natural, and now I am almost done another brownish bit, which has some blue and pink coming up. Then I have the full ball and two other bits, one of which is hot pink.

Meanwhile I have finished one sleeve on Elaine's pullover; I just have to find where I wrote down how I did the shoulder on the first sleeve, and then I can proceed!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Eye Candy Friday

I was volunteering at the Textile Museum on Thursday and took a brief walk through the exhibit about Latin American Ikat weaving.

I'm actually going back today with a friend and will look at things more carefully, but I quickly snapped a few pics of favourites.

This rebozo has lacy bits at the ends. (I learned about rebozos because it's such a great Scrabble word, but they are wonderful woven giant wraps.)

This is what you'd call a modern design!

I hope to have more pictures to share after this afternoon. There is also a fantastic exhibit on about Japanese textiles.

Ah, and I will have yarn to show you, too!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

A bunch of finished things

I've been knitting little things...

I was given some Bamboo Silk yarn, which was slinky and soft, but it wasn't quite big enough to use with my 4.5 mm needle nicely, and when I started knitting this I couldn't find the appropriate 4 mm needle. So, I found that I had also been given a ball of pinky-purply cotton/linen blend, and held together, they were perfect on the 4.5 mm.

A little cowl, to keep someone's neck covered. Soft, but not super warm, I bet. I took it outside and put it on snow for this picture.

Another snow picture, on the edge of the table! This is a Back Roads hat, and I got the pattern for free in a charity knitting group on Ravelry. Someone won a free pattern from each of something like 310 indie designers! Of course, who could use all those by themselves, so she is giving them to people who knit for charity.

I found the twisted-rib brim a bit wretched, but it looks nice, and I suppose one should try these things once in a while. I also miscounted in the first pattern, so my ridges are not all equally separated. But, it's a hat, so who cares?

This nice green yarn was given to me at Christmas, and you can see it is a challenge to photograph! It is a lovely peacock greeny-blue colour, very pretty.

I think I showed you hat #1 a while back. For #2, I held the cotton/acrylic yarn together with a pink sock yarn, and made a warmer, sturdier hat. The Toronto march is coming up next weekend.

And of course, my completed squares. I mailed these off to Illinois for someone to sew into a blanket which will end up in Syria. The man in the post office told me they would take 10-12 days to get there; they took about three, actually!

And now I am back to knitting Elaine's sweater, started in September. I hope to just whip through these sleeves and be done in no time...

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Thursday again

  1. I got my Latin books from the library and am happy to say that I can read Chapter 1 without too much trouble. But they write "seruus" instead of "servus" which will drive me crazy before too long. I do have several old Latin books upstairs somewhere which I will dig out, although I was looking for something a bit novel! Old Latin books are as good as new, I suppose!
  2. I am knitting a hat. I got a free pattern in the charity knitting group, so I figured I'd better get to it quickly so I don't look like an ungrateful moocher of free patterns. It is fine, but I am so used to knitting the same sort of hat over and over again that the idea of a fancy rib on the cuff just seems like a waste of effort. Now that I am done all those left twists and right twists, I can see it will look nice, though. 
  3. Now, then. The planks. The idea is to add one second of planking every day for the whole year. I decided instead to add 30 seconds per month, so I started off with 30 seconds, and through February I will attempt a full minute. I hope that by the end of this month I can do my 30 without feeling like I will keel over, but right now I can do 25 seconds before I have to look at the timer! I can just tell my abs will be tight as anything, though... if I can keep this up! 
Pop over here to see what other people are doing on Thursday!

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Three things on Thursday

I suppose that now is as good a time as any to sort out the KALs and knitting things I am looking at on Ravelry. (These links only work if you have a Rav account, I believe.)

  1. Firstly, I have already told you about the squares I will be knitting for a blanket to go to Syria. I am glad to have found this group, so I can just make any old square (although they don't want lace, which is a pity) and someone else can worry about matching up enough squares to make a blanket. 
  2. The vintage-loving group with whom I knit my accessories last year is thinking of another KAL for the beginning of this year, and they seem to be leaning towards vintage undies and lingerie! I think I will pass if that is the theme they choose, but I might join in to make some bed socks or something. 
  3. I am also a member of a group of Anthropologie fashion fans, and they have two KALs this season, one for blankets, so I can show of my squares to them, and one for "boyfriend" sweaters. That might get me to get started on my Koigu sweater, which I think I still haven't shown you! (*Note to self: find the yarn and take a picture or two.)
  4. Okay, so three knitting things and one more: A number of knitters in the Lazy, Stupid and Godless group on Ravelry (most of whom don't seem lazy or stupid at all, as far as I can tell) are interested in reading some Latin! I have done that in the past and would love to regain my "proficiency," if I can call it that. Work up to reading Book IV of the Aeneid?? That would be wonderful, so I shall work on that! (Oh, yes, and I might attempt to do some planks every day, too!)

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

WIP Wednesday

Having ripped out my first attempt at a blanket square, I quickly rummaged around in the bag of yarn and came up with this. One strand of Patons wool from the 80s, one strand of Rowan Fine Tweed! A knit and purl pattern from my old standby, 200 Knitted Blocks.

I should be done shortly, but I am slowed down by not being able to read and knit at the same time.

Sue Grafton, who has written all the way from A is for Alibi to Y is for Yesterday, passed away recently, just as Y arrived for me at the library. I have read these books faithfully ever since we lived in Santa Barbara, the model for the fictional town they take place in, but although they are good fun, one is much like the next and they are not what a girl could call excellent. So I have been keenly zipping through it, sort of disappointed that it is not better, but unable to put it down at the same time.

At least we are spared Z, in which I have always hoped/feared/assumed the main character would be killed off.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Two knitted things

One pretty good, one bad.

I told various family members that I would need some pink wool for a new pussyhat. I told them to go to this store and talk to this person, who would set them up with something perfect. However, no-one really listens to such excellent instructions when it comes to Christmas presents.

One day, Stephen and Elaine found themselves shopping at Value Village, home of every imaginable thing, and they found me 6 balls of this yarn, which is certainly pink!

It is a cotton-acrylic blend, meant for summer tops or baby things (maybe I just think that because of the colour!). I used the recommended needle size, and the fabric would be nice for a warm-weather cardigan, but it is a bit floppy for a hat. Luckily I have 4.5 more balls of this, so I will make another hat holding this yarn together with some pink sock yarn. This is fine, but not perfect.

My next knitting project was so imperfect that I ripped it out!

I don't know if you can tell, but in the middle of this piece, I carried the slipped stitches up for six rows instead of four. Catastrophe! Also, the fabric was too dense, I need to use a slightly bigger needle, and I don't really like this pattern very well in this yarn. So there!

It was going to be a square for a blanket some gang is making for Syria. Since the Afghans for Afghans group has met some large obstacle, and are sending nothing, the charity knitters are searching for new outlets, and the one I have found is called Hats and More for War-torn Syria. I have a ton of yarn I mean to use for charity this year, and I figured a square was a good place to start. Well, I shall start again!

We are easing back into reality here. Elaine doesn't start school for another week, Arthur is still here, Stephen off to a conference, but next week we shall, more or less, be back to normal!

Eye Candy, of a sort

*I found this in my drafts, and I've had a hard time getting photos off my phone, and it's very cold and 2018 now, and so please just pretend it is last week...

Once upon a time, there was a secondhand bookstore.

When I lived in married-students residence in, oh, 1990, we used to go down Yonge Street to Eliot's Books, and ABC Books. We bought secondhand Brother Cafael books and Janwillem Van de Wetering books and Sue Grafton books, most of which we still have.

And now Eliot's is closing. I don't know much about the tax increase mentioned in that article, but I know Yonge Street ain't what it used to be. Huge holes mean huge condo towers will be coming, but surely they can't build only condos, can they? Maybe they can.

I went to the sale yesterday. Should have gone weeks ago, but there were still some good books, and everything was a dollar, so you can't really go wrong. I picked up a couple of okay knitting books and carried them around a bit, but wasn't committed to them and lost them when better things came along.

The better things were from the CanLit shelf. I have just finished a book called Arrival, about the CanLit boom in the 60s and 70s, so picked up some poems by George Bowering, and a few others. I couldn't find a single Margaret Atwood or Alice Munro, and I couldn't remember if it was the Stone Angel or A Jest of God that was the good Margaret Laurence book!

At the last minute I decided to get a fifth book so I wouldn't need any change from my $5 bill (silly, I know) so I got the Greek cooking book without looking too closely. Turns out it is the sort of thing my parents would buy on a cruise in the Greek Islands: some decent and classic recipes, translated badly.

On my way out I saw the nice Oxford edition of Trollope, so grabbed that, as Arthur was paying for his books.

I didn't realize till I got home that they were all so colour-coordinated.