Monday, December 23, 2019

Hard knitting

What is hard knitting? Nothing about knitting is really hard; all you do is wrap yarn around sticks and pull it through loops you made earlier.

I am knitting a shawl now (oh, really? Big surprise!) and there are different layers with different stitches. I did the seed stitch, the lace bit, the "escalator." But this star stitch is biting me in the butt, as they say.

And there is nothing hard about it, except that I have to pay a tiny bit of attention. Purl three together but leave them on the left needle, yarn over, purl the same three together again.

It's very pretty.

But every once in a while I find I have to unknit a whole section because my stars are not lining up, and that, it always turns out, is because somewhere on the last purl row I just purled the three together once and carried on.


I hope to show you the whole thing before too long; I am almost finished the star layer!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Back in Toronto

We left Cambridge on a coach at around noon; we got to Heathrow some time after 3; we hung around till 6 and flew home. Although it was only the 7th of December, Heathrow was all Christmas'd up.

At home, it had been a weird fall, and leaves had fallen, snow had come, more leaves had come, things had melted, and everywhere there was a layer of rotting leaves under mushy snow. We did manage to get four bags of leaves out for the city's very last pick-up of the year. This picture was taken a couple of weeks ago now, but it kinda looks like that now, too, minus the leaves in the back yard!

When we left, this place was a concrete parking lot and basketball court. It's a yard at the local under-used Catholic school. Finally the school board and the city and the neighbours have agreed on something and we are getting a park.

Meanwhile, the last of the big Manitoba Maples on our block has come down. It was not healthy, and the people who lived under it were afraid that one day it would fall on them. People have planted trees in their yards, but it takes 70 years or more to get a tree like this.

And now we, too, are all Christmas'd up. I've put some little lights in a jar. which Elaine called "hipster," and we have the same old stuff on the same old fake tree, so we are set.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

The foggy river

Things were very foggy this morning, as I walked to the store to get provisions for our last couple of days here.

It was also very busy, although it was not the ideal day for activities on the water.

This boat had got itself stuck behind the moored boat and had to find the way back into the channel without banging into it.

When I got home, I did a bit of searching and think I must have seen the beginnings of the Fairbairn Cup races. More of that tomorrow, as it seems! 

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Calling this one done

I finished the knitting of the Westknits mystery knitalong weeks ago, but now I have finally dealt with all the ends. A wash will have to wait till next week, but I'm saying this is done.

Monday, December 02, 2019

Reliving the past

Today we went to the Wren Library in Trinity College.

We weren't allowed to take photos inside the building at all, and in fact the guardian at the door told us to turn off our cell phones before we went in.

I remember pictures I'd taken in 2005, which of course are memorialized forever on the ancient blog!

We saw the only known example of John Milton's handwriting. Holy cow.

And letters from Arthur Stanley Eddington about seeing an eclipse which proved Einstein's theory.

And the beautiful building itself, the walls of books, the floor, the ceiling....

Luckily we can look back a bit at the pictures I took in 2005.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Oh, look, back again

Actual knitting content today.

I finished the brown scarf properly, and tucked away all the ends.

I also finished a hat which I had begun long, long ago. I think I knit on it on the plane over here. Then it got put aside for more pressing things, but suddenly I found myself with only it on the needles! One afternoon in the pub, and done!

The decreases at the top make a rather good star, but with rather horrible bumps in between the points, because the decrease is sudden, every row instead of every other row. I have tons of yarn, I could have made it softer, but will not rip back now. I assume things will soften up with a wash and some wearing. 

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Done and done

Well, another NaBloPoMo finished, kind of successfully.

And a scarf finished, as well.

I have now sewn the ends in and it is ready to go. I thought the middle part was not quite symmetric, and thought I had to use my yarn up in the second half or I would {gasp} have leftover yarn! Alas, I over-compensated, and finished the yarn before actually finishing the scarf! Oh well, it will be fine tucked around a chilly neck, and I think the colours look great together. This picture was taken indoors early this morning, while outside was mist and frost!

We have another week here. I have another museum date on Tuesday, might have a friend visiting on Wednesday and we're bugging out on Saturday. I'm sure I'll pop in here before we leave.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Edinburgh museum

On our last full day in Edinburgh, we went to the National Museum of Scotland, a real delight!

We started in the ancient Scottish part, where these three guys caught my eye. (Click to embiggen any photo.)

I had heard that they had a fashion exhibit, so left old Celts behind and went off to see the textiles. A jacket by Tommy Nutter.

This dress folds up to the size of an envelope.

This sweater is by Massimo Nicosia for Pringle of Scotland, for the 2014-5 winter season. (I know that because I did stop to take a photo of the label for this!) The sweater is machine-knit, with 3D-printed bits! I don't know what it would have felt like, how stiff or heavy the bits would be. Interesting, for sure.

A handkerchief from the first world war. Canada provides soldiers and grain, I see!

Not at all textile... a cameo carved in a huge shell.

This was called the world's largest scrimshaw: jawbones of a sperm whale decorated with pictures and words about the hunting of the whale.

Ah, cream tea in the cafe! I don't have any pictures of the museum building, but the centre is all open, the roof is glass, and the structure is ironwork. So it is a pretty impressive sight on its own, and the cafe is on the second floor, overlooking the central court.

It was wet and dark and rainy, so we caught a bus, and were lucky enough to be in the front of the top deck. But since it was wet and dark and rainy, our view was sort of distorted!

And now I am happy to say we are back in Cambridge. For only another 10 days or so! We'll wind up NaBloPoMo and our 77 days in Cambridge, and get back to "normal" for a month or so in Toronto, before beginning another adventure in the new year.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

A few days in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is quite far away from Cambridge! It takes about 5 or 6 hours on the train. Since it is winter, the sun sets in Edinburgh before 4 pm, so we arrived in the dark. Close to the train station they now have a Christmas market and fair, with rides and food and a million LED lights.

We are familiar with Georgian architecture by now, but were still astounded by the number of chimney pots on these New Town houses. The landlady at our B&B explained that even the bathrooms would have had a fireplace, and the elegant high ceilings allowed life to go on below while the coal smoke rose to the heights.

The geology of the area is interesting, with Castle Rock, Calton Hill and Arthur's Seat being old volcanic plugs. We had to go see some basalt, so we made the trek over to Calton Hill and then walked around the Salisbury Crags, above and below.

It was not sunny, but not rainy either, thank goodness. If you want pictures of basalt, you'll have to consult my husband! I know he took a few... dozen.

Closer to where we were staying was the Water of Leith. We were given the key to a private garden, so we could go through a very well tended ravine to the river.

Someone once thought the waters were beneficial and made this elaborate temple to Hygeia above a well. The water is dark as peat and for many decades in the pre-steam years powered mills all up and down here.

It was a lovely walk along the river, and through the Dean Village. The foliage did provide some colour on the grey, grey day!

Edinburgh is small enough that we kept finding ourselves back where we'd been before, and after the rural-seeming riverside walk, we ended up in the Princes Street Gardens

This fountain was splashing away. In Toronto you don't see a working fountain in November, but apparently the Scots are not worried about anything freezing! 

Very elaborate.

The four women at the top represent various arts and skills.

The mermaids below are just mermaids, I think.

Tomorrow I will show you the treasures of the museum we went to.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


My last stop on my walk last week was lunch!

Somewhere under there is a baked potato!

I should be coming down the country now, returning from my days in Edinburgh, and I hope all this went off without a hitch. Now the endgame begins, only 10 more days in Cambridge before returning to Toronto.