24 September 2014

10 Books

There's an interesting meme going around social media. The idea is to list ten books that have stayed with you in some way. The list is not meant to be great literature - just some books that have had a lasting effect. The instructions state not to think about it too much but of course I've ignored that advice. I think about everything too much. 
The list itself was not particularly difficult to make. A group of about fifteen books came immediately to mind and that was fairly easily whittled down. It's the 'why' of the selection that intrigues me. Of the hundreds of books I have read, why these particular ten? 
After much thought, I decided that there are a couple of factors. 

First is the story. My list contains stories that are compelling from the first to the last word, often featuring a character with whom I am heart-breakingly in love. A group of academic colleagues uncover the unknown depths of a man after his death. A gifted writer and student goes through psychological hell and comes out the other side. A child understands racism for the first time and doing so, sees the heroism of her beloved father.

The second thing that stays with me always is language. My favourite books use language in a way that keeps me coming back to hear it again and again. I love words beautifully and simply used. They echo in my head for days and years. A few of my books make this list largely on one phrase alone:
"My darling, my darling lie down with us now, for you are also earth whom none but love can sow."
"I keep writing here so I will always have something to read."
"There is no such thing as a breakdown."

Some of these books I read more than thirty years ago and one, just last year. I've shared a few of them with my daughter and she loves them as much as I do. All of them remain on my bookshelf and will do so always.

What's Bred in the Bone - Robertson Davies
Famous Last Words - Timothy Findley
The Passion  - Jeanette Winterson
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton
By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept - Elizabeth Smart
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
The Hobbit - J.R.R Tolkien
Safe Houses - Lynne Alexander
The Sonnets - Ted Berrigan

21 August 2014

Grenadine Is Its Name

Pretty, isn't it? I bought it last weekend at LadeeBee when it looked like there would not be enough yarn to finish the lace edge on the shawl pictured in my last post. I knew I'd never find a match so why not make the edge in a whimsically contrasting colour? This hand-dyed coral/pink looks very striking against the wine tones of the shawl. Now however, I have reached the shawl edging and there seems to be quite a bit of the purple left. So I'm giving it a go. The LadeeBee may still be called into service but for now, it is standing by on the swift, gracing the room with its beauty.

20 August 2014

Take Me To the River

Summer is fast coming to a close. Too fast! Somehow there are fewer than 14 days left and I've not done many of the fantastic summery things I had planned to do. Where are all the books I was going to read, projects I was going to knit and photos of amazing outings I was going to take? I've been too busy with other, more intellectual pursuits, such as internet dating and watching SYTYCD clips on YouTube. Oh well.

One of the summer things I love to do is ride along the Humber River trail. Yesterday was the perfect day for it so off I went. The trail itself is not a challenging bike ride; it's the getting there that hurts. Those hills on Bloor Street West are killers! Once there however, it's so peaceful and green.

Naturally, I brought knitting on my bike ride as one does. I had also quite unnecessarily packed my mp3 player. The music of the river was enough. I sat on this bench knitting for almost an hour. The colour of my luscious yarn kept twinkling and changing in the shifting light. There were children playing and chattering on the stones just below. It was kinda perfect.

17 August 2014

See the Pretty Flowers

My friend Sally and I recently went for a walk in the gardens of Spadina House. It was a beautiful summer day and the garden was in full splendour.

The gardens are maintained almost entirely by volunteers. 
The design is traditional kitchen garden. Thus there are vegetables planted in alternating rows, with the flowers - all just a few steps from the kitchen back door for easy picking. The aroma of these ripe cabbages in the sun was fantastic. Later, we saw a goldfinch feasting on insects in the patch.
This, Sally tells me, is a zinnia. Those beetles you see were everywhere.
Sally on a leisurely stroll.
This is the view from the top of the huge staircase that travels up Spadina Hill. Brilliant.

13 August 2014

Summerworks Sock 2014 Edition

This year's Summerworks sock is going much slower than the 2013 Edition. I am working a busier venue so have far less down time. Also, I've chosen a complicated pattern. It is the delicious Ripple Weave Sock from the Fall 2006 Vogue. It's a 20 row repeat and every knit stitch is twisted. The ripple effect is stunning but each row takes time.
My shifts have been mostly closing ones which means there is a 20-30 minute stretch every night when all the paper work is done but I need to sit quietly guarding the lobby waiting for the last show to get out. That's when I knit a row or two.
Check this! There is a show this year about YARN!

27 July 2014

Splitting the Set

Here our lovely model, aka The Daughter looks out while showing off my latest finished projects. Perhaps she is contemplating her bright future in her new apartment? She moves in with friends in September. Where did the time go? 

Sadly, this cute little beret does not look good on me at all which is strange because berets are kind of my thing. Perhaps it is too floppy. As The Daughter remarked, "mushroom" shaped hats look better on me. So this blue hat is now hers. Adorably so. The wristers I will keep for myself and there is still a small ball of yarn left for something else. This Indigo Dragonfly MCN Sock sure has great yardage.
Beautiful happy girl.

21 July 2014

Some Blue

Still water at Sunnyside Pool on a muggy night.

Indigo Dragonfly MCN Sock in colour Fringe Over Troubled Water

15 July 2014

TTC Knitalong 2014

Saturday July 12 was the annual TTC Knitalong. I've lost count of how many I've done now. Is this my 5th or 6th? regardless, this year was the best ever. The weather was fine and the company even better. Even the TTC co-operated with none of the major crisis that have slowed us down in the past.

I took on a bigger role this year - liaising with our charity, Sistering, doing press and communications and gathering prizes. I even got to see how pinback buttons are made! Fun! I'm not working right now, so it's certainly easy for me to take the time. Also, I just enjoy the work. It makes me feel good to use my skills organizing a fun event that helps such an amazing cause. The more I learn about Sistering, the more I realize just how special and unique they are. The services they provide are truly amazing.

The volunteers that make it all happen. I love these people.

I was very happy to see that one of our LYS's, LadeeBee, carries pottery made at Inspiration Studios which is a Sistering run micro business incubator. I bought that soapdish on the right.

Of course, I have to captain a team that includes my own LYS EweKnit.
My co-captain this year was Christina. She is charming and delightful and I could not ask for better company. The  whole team loved her. We had such a pleasant day.

07 July 2014

Finished Something. Ha!

Yes it's a basic pair of socks but, after days of false starts on other things, it feels great to see these come off the needles. I used Glenna's Nice Ribbed Sock as usual but spiralled the rib for more texture..Glenna's math is perfect. This pattern makes a heel that fits me beautifully. The yarn is one of the Regia Kafe Fassett line that's been in my stash for a few years. There's no point in questioning how Fassett's colours look in the skein because you just know they will be charming on the sock. That's why he's Kafe Fassett and we're not.

This pair of socks is for a teen girl. I know she will love them.

Now back to my hat. I finally managed to get a good start on it this morning. The sweater is still waiting.

06 July 2014

Getting Gauge

The gauge gods are not with me. 

Despite much swatching, the sweater I cast on earlier this week was coming out far too large. I was knitting the extra small and using a half size smaller needle than recommended. Still, my cardigan was shaping up to be fit for a giant. I ripped it back yesterday and then spent a good amount of the morning doing the math to make the sweater smaller still. 

After all that I hadn't the heart to cast right back on again so I decided to start a simple hat today with my Indigodragonfly MCN Sock. This skein was given to me by a good friend as consolation after my unfortunate losses from nasty yarn eating insects. It has 10% cashmere and is delightfully sumptuous to hold and knit. It's a good thing using this yarn is such a pleasure because after working about an inch of the hat brim, it became obvious that it was coming out much too small. What on earth? I've made this hat at least a half dozen times before. It should be a cake walk. More ripping ensued.

So, after several days of knitting, I've absolutely nothing to show for it. Knitting can be like that. I intend to spend this evening closing the toe on an almost complete pair of socks. Then at least I will have something to show for the weekend.