22 July 2015

Notorious Red In the Park

It's a truly beautiful day here in the city. Sunny but not too hot. Breezy. 

Finding myself full of anxious energy due to boring old life circumstances best not dwelt over, I decided to take advantage of the weather. My knitting. my camera, and I went for one of those long, long, walks in High Park.

Stopping to rest and knit at the picnic tables between Dog Hill and the allotment gardens, I was challenged again by just how hard it is to photograph red. After multiple settings and a dozen shots, these two are the best I could achieve. Perhaps there is a better photographer than I out there who can explain the Notorious Red phenomenon to me.

It's hard to tell, but this single-ply lace weight from Riverside Studio is slowly becoming a cardigan. Ever so slowly. 
I always wanted a lace weight sweater and it seemed like a good idea to try on. However, I am only 80% through the back piece and already it feels like a slog. I am hoping that as more pieces form and I can better envision the end product, I will get excited again. It is, after all, a lovely shade of red.

16 July 2015

Classic Cool Sweater

I came across this image while flipping through one of the fashion mags I keep around for collages. Don't you just love the fresh styling of this classic pullover? The ad is actually for the boots and bag brand but I think the sweater takes center stage here, especially the way it is paired so unexpectedly with a cute floral skirt and dark tights

The photo reminds me so much of the knits in Susan Crawford's amazing Vintage Shetland Project. If you've not heard of it you should read her blog. Amazing detailed, loving work. Susan suffered a frightening setback this week with a fire in her barn. Thankfully her family, human and sheep, are all fine but she lost her recently sheared fleece. Her crowd funded campaign is still happening if anyone would like to support her and pre-order the book.

13 July 2015

Pink Lace? Me?

Piperita by Andi Satterlund
Modification: Plain garter stitch substituted for the original scalloped edge.

Oh, I just love fingerless gloves. I find them to be both whimsical and practical; vintage and fashion forward. I've knit many, many pairs and I wear them all. They're great under mittens in cold cold winter or by themselves in spring and fall. I wear them constantly in cold offices while I slave away at a keyboard or with a cash drawer. They make my busy old hands look cheerful. This lace mesh design is particularly lovely and I know I will make it again.

I also love using up yarn scraps. This pair used up a plum sized ball of Opal yarn leftover from socks knit years ago. I think I may never buy glove specific stash again. I've more than enough small bundles stored away to keep my hands warm for years.

About my pictures.
Like many other knitters I use the timer to take blog and Ravelry photos. Usually I just try for a nice project shot and crop out my face in the edit. However, on very rare occasion, a photo of me that I actually like results. The one below was taken with my point and shoot on a 10 second delay and set to the Sunny Day setting. The location is my favourite chair by my dining room window in late afternoon. This is where I drink my coffee every morning. The light was coming in just right and I guess I was relaxed because I think I actually look kind of pretty here. Allowing for a small bit of momentary vanity, I am sharing this photo with you.

08 July 2015

My Morning At the Library

I was really happy to find this colour plate of Vanessa Bell's portrait of Strachey.
I had previously only seen it reproduced in black and white. 

Let me not know the wherefore and the how.
     No question let me ask, no answer find;
I deeper taste the blessed here and now
     Bereft of speculation, with eyes blind.
What need to seek or see?
It is enough to be.

In absolute quiescence let me rest,
     From all the world, from mine own self, apart;
I closer hold the illimitable best,
     Still as the final silence, with calm heart,
What need to strive or move?
It is enough to love.

                                  Lytton Strachey, 1931
                                  A Critical Biography Vol II, p.691

03 July 2015

Sock Went On A Walk

Being a cool and lovely evening, I took myself out for a brisk walk. My current sock project came along.
It's Ann Budd's Diagonal Ribbed Sock knitted in a discounted yarn from Romni's sale basement.  It's been a delightful and quick portable project. This is especially welcome after the length and difficulty of my last sock project. The diagonal ribbing of the title is making a nice clingy fabric that promises to be a pleasant wear.
When I got home from my stroll, I plunked myself down on the porch to finish Sock #2. I got within a few rows of being done when mosquitoes and the cool night drove me in. I'll finish in the morning. Pictures soon I hope.

28 June 2015

Textile Art

Photo from TMC exhibition website.
Yesterday, a very rainy Saturday, we went to the Textile Museum of Canada to see their latest show. Entitled Artist Textiles: Picasso to Warhol, it is a large and beautiful exhibit of some the 20th century's greatest known artists' work in commercial fashion and furnishing textile design. I highly recommend catching this before it closes in October. I was stunned at the depth. Besides the very famous title artists there is Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, Dali, Matisse, Jean Miro and many more. Who knew they all designed for the fabric industry? 

I was particularly delighted to see one piece each by Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell as I am currently reading a history of the Bloomsbury group. Isn't it funny how life offers up little coincidences like that? 

A point made in my current reading that is not mentioned anywhere in the TMC supporting text, is that these artists often undertook this type of work for the money. Ah yes, dirty lucre. It's easy to sneer at such "commercialism" but if not for it, we wouldn't have today viewing access to work of such wide ranging styles and periods in a boutique museum in a Canadian city. Of that I am sure.

Against the rules, I snuck a few photos. 

Upper left: Duncan Grant, Lower right: Vanessa Bell

I would look great in these. Just saying.

My fella's favourite: Pablo Picasso, Toros y Toreros, (1963) for Bloomcraft Fabrics. ©
Courtesy Target Gallery / Fashion and Textile Museum London www.ftmlondon.org

19 June 2015

My Birthday Trip

So, two weekends ago I passed another birthday and my fella took me on a little trip to celebrate.
I gather from rumour and hearsay that planning weekend getaways to celebrate the occasions of loved ones is a common occurrence. Well, in my first 50 years on this planet, such trouble had never been taken for me. Imagine my delight, my gratitude, my happiness. 

It was a simple trip. We decided to visit Kingston. Though we didn't know each other back then, we are both graduates of Queen's and thought it would be nice to see it again. On the way, we stopped off at a winery in Prince Edward County. In Kingston itself, we went for walks around town and campus, did some shopping, ate and drank. My favourite part of the trip? Sitting in the hotel lounge on Saturday evening overlooking the harbour, drinking wine and doing the crossword together. Yes it was a restful and cheerful and entirely special weekend. Happy birthday to me.

Norman Hardie Estates

The pizza oven at the winery.

Checking messages in Prince Edward County

Kingston limestone

Theological Hall, Queen's University: home of the Drama department.

The Chez Piggy courtyard from above

The view from our hotel.

10 June 2015

"Parenthetical" or "Poetry and A Pint"

So, if I hadn't mentioned it before, I had been internet dating on and off for the past couple of years. This is how I miraculously met the fellow I wrote about (around?) in this post. Now, be aware that I went on many, many first dates. I choose not to be that person who blogs about all the awful people out there. I actually found that most of them were not really awful but just real people, struggling, passing or failing, with at least the guts to try. One must approach these things with compassion, don't you think? I don't know if it's typical or not - the finding of a loved one through modern cyber dating. I'm just so darned pleased that it happened to me!

Another wonderful thing happened. I made a new friend!. I went on a couple of dates early last summer with a poet. He's a lovely, intelligent, graceful man but we just didn't click romantically. We've managed to keep in touch though. I took him to a theatre piece and he's introduced me to his world. Who knew Toronto had such a vibrant reading scene? 

There's a poetry zine called, (parenthetical): the zine, which is published by a young couple with enormous energy, love of the written word,  and good humour. It's fantastic! They call their enterprise Words on Pages. In conjunction with the journal, they also produce a reading series called Words on Stages, a bi-monthly event at a local bar. I've attended twice now as the guest of my friend. The Daughter has come with me. How amazing to listen to the open mic and featured readers. These are (mostly) young people who just love language and the way it sounds.The way it builds an idea. The way it creates a community of listeners and of readers. This is exciting stuff. And I feel welcome when I'm there. Being an audience member is to be an active participant. Oxford defines audience as "The people giving attention to something". Right?

Give attention to something.

To read my friend, R. Kolewe's latest poem and many other delightful pieces, click here.

27 May 2015

Shopping Excellence

Seriously? How cute do these new shoes look with hand knit socks???

I was buying summer sandals when I expressed admiration for these beauties. 
"I don't really need them right now and I don't have a job so I'll just get the sandals," I told the proprietor of the cute local shoe boutique. Obviously the gent took a liking to me. Since they are winter stock AND the last pair AND my size...he'll give them to me for half of the already half-off sale price. SOLD.

They are actually a tad big. Well, not with hand knit socks they're not!

25 May 2015


The Falling Waters Shawl is complete - just in time to wear with light weight dresses as the weather here in Southern Ontario is finally admitting the arrival of spring.

The Knitter's Book of Wool says "This pattern works best with smooth, worsted-spun, multiple ply yarns in semi-solid and somewhat variegated colorways whose variegation stays within the same color family." Hello Yarn Indulgences Indulgent Style! The book also recommends a wool/silk blend for drape and shimmer. In a serendipitous turn, I actually purchased the yarn before choosing the pattern. I already had the book however and it was just a matter of the two coming beautifully together.

The original shawl is HUGE, almost a blanket. I wanted something smaller so I just changed all the pattern squares from 8x8 rows and stitches to 6x6. I also added beads for extra shimmer. Hmm...they don't really show up in these photos do they? Well, they are there, in shades of blue, green and purple, cascading with the pattern direction. 

It's just so lovely. I could not be happier with this stole.More photos on my Ravelry page.

14 May 2015

Knitters East

Last Friday's monthly Drunken Knitting was - gulp- East of the DVP! 
We usually meet downtown but it was Joyce's birthday and she insisted we drink closer to her home for a change. A reasonable request and besides, it was a lovely spring evening for a stroll in Greek Town. Of course I've been there often for dinner but this time, I brought my camera.

Near as I can tell, this particular section of Toronto consists of three things: restaurants, churches and bridal shops. I guess you wear your bridal gown while marrying in the churches and then celebrate in the restaurants?

The gowns are actually quite pretty.

We drink. We knit. We've been doing this for years and we never run out of things to talk about.