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.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Zeroing in

I did say that I would show you modern possibilities for the sweater I will one day make, in my dreams.

My neighbour needs something at a yarn shop, so we have an expedition planned. I've moved on, maybe, from the Go To Raglan I mentioned a few days ago, and at this very moment, I think I will buy something to make a sweater called Fisherman. It's from Rowan 10, the best knitting magazine ever art directed.

I've actually not found the perfect sweater by trolling through Ravelry pages and my generous collection of old magazines. Perhaps because I am not sure what I want: I love the bulky, oversized pullovers, but I never wear them. I have an idea in mind for yarn, but the one I'm thinking of has been discontinued. I want to stride across the countryside like a Rowan model, but in fact might just work up a sweat and take the damn sweater off!

Now it is getting really cold; time to forget about sweaters and get out the down coat. I would show you some snow, but the computer photo thing is not talking to the bloggy thing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Barrelling along

Isn't industrial standardization a great thing?

Four different brands of DK yarn, all knitting to the same tension. What fun!

This is the green left over from my pussycat hat. It should last about up to the armscye and then I shall have to find another colour. I don't have enough for sleeves so it is for sure a vest, and I have great multicoloured plans for the back.

Tonight we are all going to see a talk about exoplanets. Stephen is the Wilson chair and organizer of this talk, the fifth and last one he will be responsible for. He's been bustling about like crazy and we'll all be glad for a rest tomorrow!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Present state of affairs

I've started with the third ball of yarn, some lovely fuzzy wool that might well be the perfect brown, although one wouldn't know it at first glance.

The bits of green and reddish just make the brown richer and deeper somehow. Too bad I only have this one ball.

The locking markers are just to remind me which is the right side. (Now that I think of it, the one on the finished front piece is to show where the decreases start. I knew I'd kept it there for a reason!)

So this will be a nice warming vest. I think I'll do something different on the back, but we'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Almost blew it

I can't let this day go by without a blog post.

I will tell you that one of the bags of knitting that got removed from the living room a week or so ago has returned.

The vest of many colours now has a left front that is completed!

It took one and a half balls of wool, though the second one was quite large.

This picture was taken this morning, and I have finished off this side now. I started the second side with some brown/green fuzzy stuff that is much lighter in the ball than knitted up, oddly enough.

But I will show you that tomorrow!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Thinking of a new sweater

I've been looking for a plain pullover with something interesting on the front.

I seem to keep going back to, "Oh, I'd better just adapt this one and that one and mix in bits of this other."

My main base now is Stephen West's Go To Raglan. Very plain, top-down knitting. I could add any old texture or lace pattern to the front. I even stopped in at a yarn shop this morning and looked at the wall of appropriate wool.

I do have a few things to finish up, of course.

Besides wool, I spotted a few other things on my walk today, including a 51-year-old bit of sidewalk.

Friday, November 16, 2018

A tale of pride going before the fall

Did you know that the actual quote is "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." It's from the King James bible. It means, I assume, "Read the fricking pattern before you just keep knitting when it's obvious you are making a mistake, dumbass!"

There is, apparently, only one place in the Clapotis pattern where anything at all could go wrong. It says, "k this and foll st tbl." Knit this and following stitch through the back loops. Not "knit 2 together" at all. Actually, what I was doing was slip, slip, knit. In any case, decreasing a stitch. Because I looked at the pattern when I started, and then just, la-de-da, did whatever popped into my head as I went along. 

I knew I was off, because the dropped stitches and the increases on the other end of the row kept getting out of sync. 

How could the pattern be wrong when 25,000 people had successfully made this scarf? Am I the only one who noticed this discrepancy in the pattern? Because I surely can't be doing anything wrong....

"This doesn't seem to stretch out as wide as it should." 

That's because you don't have as many stitches as you used to! 

It is still a functional scarf, and so colourful and light and warm. Let's just pretend that I wanted that gentle, asymmetrical decrease.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Look at all the pretty sweaters

Sometime in the last month I was walking along Bloor Street past the Gucci shop and Louis Vuitton and other similarly swanky places, and somewhere along there, I took a not-very-good picture of this sweater in a window.

Simple shaping, all one colour, at least worsted weight yarn, and simple, all-over lace. Yum!

This morning I was at the desk in the Textile Museum and was looking through some booklets that had been donated for the sales. Lots of baby stuff, but then a few sweater booklets from somewhere around 1990, the best time for knitwear! So I amused myself by taking some pictures... Click to embiggen, as we used to say.

All one colour, no-frills shaping, texture....

This one is probably too bulky, and no turtlenecks, please.

Pretty perfect, maybe! All-over simple lace, cardigan.

I'd make this longer, but otherwise, dreamy!

Summer stuff now, but great ideas.

Without the shaped hem, perfect!

Very cool lace.

Oh, Shetland Ragg, my one-time favourite yarn! Now I am too snobby to use anything with that much synthetic in it, but it served me well in the olden days.

This one makes me want to run out, find some ragg yarn and commit to knitting acres of boring stocking stitch.

"Trust me, this is a fine sweater."

After my rummage through the donations, I went to Ravelry and tried to find a pattern (one would hope I'd have something in my library already!) for something to meet my immediate needs. I'll have another look and maybe tomorrow show you actual possibilities for my next big adventure in knitting!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Good exercise

You know what is actually really good exercise? Swimming. Oh Em Gee.

Our little pool down the corner, where the kids took swimming lessons, is overcrowded with a dozen people swimming lengths. My neighbour and I just went at noon, for our second swim in two or three months, and are now considering the 7 am time slot to avoid the crowds!

But first we must recover with some restorative tea.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

I took two pictures today

Today I went out to lunch with some friends, had a nice time and a good chat. One of them has recently taken up knitting, and had never been to the yarn shop to beat all yarn shops, Romni Wools.

Since we were nearby, we took a stroll in that direction.

We stopped in at Yarns Untangled on the way, where I was sorely tempted by some gold/yellow stuff, but nothing was perfect. Of course I didn't have my golden coat with me, so that made things more difficult. My friend, however, found the perfect thing... although she hadn't known she needed it before we walked into the store!

We made it to Romni, which, as some of you might know, is gigantic. We lost each other for a bit there, we pawed and sniffed and looked at all sorts of things.

I saw this, and carried it around the store for a good half hour. (The shop is huge, but the lighting is variable, and I wanted to check if this was greenish or goldish.)

Double-knitting weight, a bit tweedy, not too warm, enough in one ball for a hat... Perfect, if I really needed a gold hat. Perhaps, though, I don't. I thought of all the knitting piling up here and had a moment of mature restraint, and didn't buy it. Nor the Silk Garden, nor any soft and squishy Malabrigo.


I carried on to the ribbon store, because I need a bit of rainbow ribbon to hold this on. The season has come for a slightly warm thing to wear over one's shoulders, but it will fall off backwards. Unfortunately the ribbon store didn't have any rainbow ribbon, and I didn't have the piece with me to choose a good colour, so I left there empty-handed as well.

On my way home, I went up a lane and saw this garage door. Or wall. I see a hinge, but I doubt anything opens.

Tomorrow, perhaps, I'll go for a swim!

Monday, November 12, 2018

A tree and a life

Trees in our park. What a colourway.

Yesterday's movie event was very successful. The cinema was indeed sold out; I watched the film from the last row of the top balcony.

The film was Prosecuting Evil. It is the story of Ben Ferencz, who at age 27 was a prosecutor at one of the Nuremberg trials. What a life this man had! Mainly, of course, determined by his being one of the first on the scene as the Nazi camps were liberated on 1945, collecting evidence of war crimes. He found details of systematic murder earlier and outside of the camps as well, and that was what his big trial was about.

He continued to work as a lawyer and to work towards the establishment of an international criminal court, which was finally established in 2002.

The film was made quickly and is based on interviews with the 97-year-old lawyer, with stills and some film from his past. At the event yesterday, the director said that they did all the interviews on one day, ploughing through for 8 hours! The director said he'd come back the next day, because he wanted to film Ferencz swimming in his pool. Ferencz said, no, let's go do it now! And the movie ends with this man, almost a hundred years old, swimming, as well as walking, talking, arguing. Amazing.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Remembrance Day and yesterday's cookies

Most of today I will spend at the Hot Docs cinema, volunteering at a special screening and reception. I think. I am not too sure what will be happening, but here is the blurb. The theatre is sold out, which doesn't happen every day.  We volunteers have to be there quite a bit in advance of the doors opening, so who knows what we will be doing!

The movie, about the last surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg trials, looks fascinating, and I imagine the discussion will be, too.

(I like this blogging day to day... now I have something to tell you about tomorrow!)

You must be curious about yesterday's cookies. I was supposed to roll out the dough and cut it with cookie cutters. However, it was both sticky and crumbly. It stuck to the rolling pin, and sort of broke at the edges. I scrumpled it back together and chilled it in logs, then just sliced the logs. Easy peasy.

The cinnamon-ness was not overwhelming, but okay. I don't think I'll be rushing to make these again, but if I did, I'd use all butter and all white flour, and more cinnamon.

In knitting news, I have almost finished the fourth of five balls of yarn for the secret Christmas thing. Not very exciting, I know.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

More random muttering

  1. I wanted to walk 8 km today, but as it turned out, I walked 6.5. I should have zigzagged a bit more in those short blocks. 
  2. I am having some knitters over in a few hours to sit around and knit. We might have a fire! And we should have some cookies.
  3. I have leventy-million of those "holiday baking" magazines. Each one has a few good cookie recipes which have become household favourites, but every once in a while one has to try something new. I am trying cinnamon cut-out cookies today. 
  4. I didn't have enough butter, so used part margarine. I didn't have enough white flour so they are half whole wheat. I'm not making royal icing, because, duh, you don't need icing on cookies. (And, of course, it's too much trouble.)
  5. I just took the dough out of the fridge and the rolling was difficult. Margarine? Whole wheat flour? Not enough of something? Anyways, they are back in the fridge and we'll try again soon. 
  6. Meanwhile, we took some old sleeping bags out of the closet, in preparation for giving them to the charity shop. They are covered in dust! Do we vacuum them?!
  7. Yesterday I went to a friend's house and played Scrabble. This tree was on my route.
    Very pretty; too bad the sky was so grey!

  8. Today I didn't take pictures, as my phone ran out of power! I was walking along and had a good idea. Then I had another good idea, and was congratulating myself on my multiple good ideas, when I couldn't remember what the first one was. When I finally remembered both my good ideas, I got out my phone and recorded them in a note. This apparently exhausted the phone, and that was that. 
  9. I'm going back to the kitchen now to try again with the cookie dough. 

Friday, November 09, 2018

One goofy hat

I believe I have mentioned here my plan to go walking along Hadrian's Wall next spring.

After a gazillion knitters went to Rhinebeck, I saw a picture of a dozen or more women lined up in a rainbow of sweaters, and I thought it would be fun for us walkers to make a rainbow, too, out of hats. Five of the seven of us are knitters already.

I chose the Pussyhat, since it requires no shaping and if those other two decided to learn to knit, it is perfectly doable as a first project. (It looks like they have found volunteer knitters, so no worries.)

You saw what happened to my first attempt, the fancy-pants brioche hat. This one was completely straightforward and should be perfect. We shall see if my co-walkers come up with the rest of the rainbow... in the next six months! I suppose there is time. (And who knows, I might still make a gold one. The leaves outside my front window are inspiring me to make another trip to the yarn shop!)