25 August 2015

August Mittens

There's nothing wrong with knitting mittens in August. In fact, it makes a lot of sense. It's a light, portable project that won't overheat you and it will give you warm hands in the winter; a winter which is coming sooner than we like to admit.

Confession. These are accidental full mittens. I wanted the quick satisfaction of a small project so I cast on Adorable Fingerless Mittens by Andi Satterlund. When I got to the palm of the first mitt it was clear that my gauge was way off and these mitts were far too loose. I also used the wrong yarn. The pattern uses sport weight and this Cascade 220, leftover from a sweater, is worsted. 
Rather than chuck the project, I decided to just keep going and make traditional mittens. It was an easy modification to make and I am quite happy with the result so far.

17 August 2015

Not Much Knitting & A Sick Cat

Very little knitting to report. It's been a rather nasty August here. Not to complain but, really?

In early August I had a frightening cycling accident that caused a bloody and terrifying injury to my leg. Thankfully, both my boyfriend and a helpful police officer were on the scene and acted quickly. Two words. Ambulance. Stitches. 

This happened just five days before the annual theatre festival for which I do venue management. It was too late to cancel the gig, (and frankly I need the money) so I worked the contract using a cane. The event was more hectic and more poorly scheduled than usual. It was exhausting and painful.

Then my poor cat Molly tried to die in the middle of all this. As it turns out, she has advanced heart disease which she has been hiding, as cats do. We are trying treatment to see if she can go on to live a decent quality of life. So far she is responding well to her twice daily meds, but we we're not out of the woods yet. We'll know her prognosis in a week or so. Poor sweet girl.

Right? Thanks for letting me get this off my chest. Back to carrying on.

Molly under the dining table looking much better than she did a week ago.
Honestly, she looked and sounded then as if she was going to leave us at any moment.
This bright eyed photo gives me hope.

04 August 2015

Summer Album


Moan, moan. Complain, complain. It's all very well to fret on about being unemployed. Under-employed. Precariously employed. Whatever you want to call it. Yes, it is a serious problem, one with which I live daily and take constant action to try to change. However, it is time to step back for a moment and view some goodness. After the day's resumes have been sent and the emails answered, I often get the chance to get out and see the beautiful world around me. Not everyone gets to do that or is lucky enough to live in such a lovely part of the world. 
Today I just want to appreciate my good fortune on that count.

Early in the spring, I went for a walk in High Park and caught the tail end of cherry blossom season. This park is right next door to me. How lucky am I?

This glorious foxglove is at the High Park greenhouse.


I try to ride out to the Humber River a few times each season. This was 2 weeks ago.

Not sure which street this overpass is. 
This as far as I go. I rest here, then turn back

Knitting by the river. A bench. An apple. A bottle of water.

Last week my boyfriend took me for a drive through the Beamsville Bench wine country. 
I'd never done a wine tour before. It was a lovely drive on a hot day. Beautiful scenery. Friendly people. Some very tasty wines.

Our favourite stop was Hidden Bench.
We came upon it unexpectedly which made it that much more special.

Then on July 5, I marched in the Jobs, Justice, Climate march. Because life is not all wine and knitting. Sometimes you have to stick it to The Man.

31 July 2015

The Tao Of Physics

In the vast spaces of the subatomic world where
Matter has a     tendency     to exist
The lord of Life is breathing in and out,
Creating and destroying the universe
With each wave of his breath.

And my lord Siva dances in the city streets,
His body a fierce illusion of flesh, of energy,
The particles of light cast off from his hair
Invade the mighty night, the relative night, this dream.

Here where events have a    tendency    to occur
My chair and all its myriad inner worlds
Whirl around in the carousel of space; I hurl
Breathless poems against my lord Death, send these
Words, these words
Careening into the beautiful darkness.


Gwendolym MacEwen
Afterworlds, 1987




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.