Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Fauxberry Finished

Back in 2012, I took a weaving lesson, borrowed a loom and wove this scarf using sock yarn.
A faux Burberry, or Fauxberry as I call it. I hemstitched the edges,
took a few photos of it,
and left it to languish on my UFO pile. Yes, a pile.

After my renewed interest in weaving, I hauled it out and realized that all I needed to do is twist the fringe. Violà! C'est fini!
I still need to wash it, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.
I'm not a big fan of the Burberry plaid but it looks so splendid, I may just have to wear it this winter.

Late last night, I took a crappy selfie with my crappy camera. I do like the length of it - 72" without fringe, 82" with fringe.
Tomorrow I meet with my monthly knitting group and will get their feedback as it would certainly be easy enough to crank a couple more of these babies out if they thought they'd be gift-worthy.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Vagabond Shawl

I love autumn. I love the sunny, warm days, and the cool evenings. I like the absence of mosquitos at night. I like putting the puffy duvet on the bed. Now that I am retired, I love not having to start another school year. I love picking apples and making enough unsweetened applesauce for the year. And I love the colours in nature.

When I was a kid, we had to memorize Bliss Carman's  (1861 - 1929) "A Vagabond Song" - a beautiful poem about autumn.

"There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood --
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.

The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of Bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir'
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name."

Last fall I spun some beautiful Polwarth fibre.
I chain-plied it to maintain the integrity of the colours.
Then wound it into a yarn cake that looked very Freia-esque.
I thought Susan Ashcroft's Quaker Yarn Stretcher Boomerang would be the perfect pattern for it.

I finally blocked it last night.
And took it for a tour of our yard today... on the fence in full sun.
 A close-up.
And from the side. The 'yellow and the purple and the crimson' are definitely 'keeping time'.
In honour of the onset of autumn, I am calling it my Vagabond Shawl.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Tap Class

I've wanted to take tap dancing classes for the last 20 years or so. I just never found a class that would take adult beginners. Our local seniors' centre offers all kinds of programs for a really reasonable cost. One of the programs that is offered this fall is tap dancing! I signed up faster than one can shuffle-ball-change and yesterday, I purchased tap shoes in preparation. They're Capezios!
Today was our first class of 11. There are 5 students and we even have a man in the class. My Mary Jane tap shoes were a big hit with a couple of the other students.

We learned about 5 steps and started learning a routine. I've already practiced a couple of times since I got home including a performance for Skip.

Tonight my legs are aching. I guess that's a sign I got a good workout. I look forward to more practicing and my next class.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Apple Picking and A Visit With Donkeys

On Tuesday, Skip and I headed out to pick apples. For the past three years, I've processed and canned applesauce. Last year, a hail storm in August wiped out the crop at our favourite orchard. This year, however, was a perfect year. We picked Cortland and Spartan apples. I like to let them sit for a week to ripen more before I process them. From past experience, it makes a huge difference in the sweetness. I don't add sugar - the apples are sweet enough.

On the way, we stopped by a horse farm, carrots in hand, ready to give a treat to the horses. Unfortunately, they were way over by the barn munching on a fresh load of hay.
They were not interested at all in us. Dejected, we got back in the car and headed to the orchard.

They're all ready for autumn decorating. I purchased a few small pumpkins and squash for decorating our table.
The proprietor of the orchard gave us a map showing which species of apple were ready to pick. There are several rows of each kind. Many are easily within reach. There were lots of apples on the ground that looked pretty good. I hope they get them scooped up and washed as they'd probably make great cider.

Skip got a shot of me looking (wistfully?) at the sheep, a couple of fields away.

I assume they're raised for their meat.

After picking about 25 pounds of apples and paying, we started back to visit Jingles, a donkey that lives on a farm not too far from our home.

Along our route, we found a donkey farm with several donkeys in the paddock by the road. They came right over when we got out of the car.

They communicate with their ears. They seemed quite eager to get the snacks we brought.
The carrots we had were huge so I broke each one up into three or four pieces. The donkeys were very gentle with me when I fed them. Ears forward show their curiosity.

This one let me pet his muzzle after taking the piece of carrot I offered her.
In the next field, the rest of the herd noticed us and wandered over to check us out.
Several of the donkeys were nursing mothers. The babies (colts?) were not interested in carrots at all. But they were very cute and fuzzy.

A couple of them were real mooches.  But alas, we held back a couple of carrots for Jingles.
Once at Jingles' farm, we didn't see him. His paddock looked overgrown and the sound of our car door closing didn't rouse him. Sadly, we believe Jingles has gone to donkey heaven as we realized we'd been keeping track of him ('The Lone Donkey') since Scooter was a little boy - almost 20 years. It was very sad - an end of an era for us.

Happily, though, we now know where we can visit other donkeys on our travels around the county.

Rest In Peace dear Jingles. You gave us lots of happy times as we drove past your farm and occasionally stopped to give you a carroty treat. I hope you are cavorting with other donkeys and having as many treats as you like. We will miss you.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Knitter's Fair 2015

Last Saturday, I and 3 of my knitting peeps attended the Knitter's Fair at the Kitchener (ON) Auditorium. Due to careful planning by Jen, and carpooling with Alison, they and Donna and I arrived just as the doors were about to open. The lineup snaked all through the lobby but we were admitted in fairly short order. Here, Jen is showing her glee at arriving on time for the doors to open.

Things seemed much more organized and orderly this year with lots of space around the booths in the two arenas. Here's a look down to the Kiwanis arena from the main floor lobby.

The lighting was excellent. There were crowds at various booths but not in the aisles. I only got this one photo before I dove in and started shopping.
Artfil from Québec was there with their wonderful, eco-friendly yarn. I couldn't pass up this skein of Belle - 80/20 merino superwash wool/nylon.
Indigodragonfly had an excellent display. I like the simplicity of this sweater design.
 On the same table were several sets of yarn with the solid and gradient in the centre.
The sweater is called Pulley and the kits were for sale with quantities priced for the different sizes.
At another booth, I overheard a woman talking about living near London (ON). When I turned and saw her nametag, I recognized the name and exclaimed, "You're Sasha! I used to listen to your podcast". Indeed, it was Sasha Torres of SpinDoctor fame. She now has her own yarn and fibre business, SheepSpot. She kindly agreed to pose with the fibre I was purchasing from her.
It is Targee roving - a breed of sheep whose fleece I've never had the opportunity to spin before.
Also picked up were a couple of skeins of Cascade Jewel yarn at 50% off and very close to one of my fave colours.
After lunch and a visit to a fabric store, we headed to Shall We Knit? where I picked up 3 skeins of Koigu KPPPM to knit another Linen Stitch Scarf.
And so the Knitter's Fair was over for another year.

However, this is just the beginning of what I call 'Knitting Season' and many more adventures are in store for me and some of my intrepid knitterly peeps.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Summer Weekend in the City

Skip and I went into The Big City on Saturday to hang out, walk around, take in the ambiance, get some pics by the Toronto sign, and have dinner. We only live 50 min. away by commuter train, which is our favourite way to go into the congested city thus avoiding an exciting, blood pressure-elevating trip on congested highways.

It was a beautiful, sunny day.
Geri and Skip in The Big City
There were three big events going on: the Canadian National Exhibition (The Ex, The CNE), a Blue Jays game, and FanExpo. Once off the train, we headed right down to Harbourfront.
There is a great boardwalk.

You can see the CN Tower from almost everywhere.
There's a marina.

And beautiful Lake Ontario.

There are always festivals in the summer. This weekend was the Hot and Spicy Food Festival. And of course, music! This band was from Brazil and had 12 percussionists!

We then began our walk up to City Hall and Nathan Philips Square.

This is the confusing thoroughfare along Lakeshore Blvd. In the centre are streetcar tracks (that usually run down the middle of the streets). On the right is a road for cyclists, and on the left is the actual road of Lakeshore Blvd.
Up near City Hall, is this painting on the sidewalk.
We hadn't been to this area since before the PanAm Games and before the iconic Toronto sign was erected. That curvy building is Toronto City Hall and the older building behind the arches is the Old City Hall. In the summer, there is water in the big pool under the arches. In the winter, it is a big, public skating rink.
And here is yours truly looking like a turista.
After coffee in the basement of the Hudson's Bay Company and dinner at the Marché, we made our way back to Union Station. Look! The construction is finally finished along Front Street after about 5 years. Of course, the former GO concourse of Union Station (about 1/3 or the building) is now under renovation. The new York GO Concourse is spacious and bright with lots of TV screens announcing departure times and gates. There are not a lot of places to sit down, though.

It was lots of fun people-watching, strolling along the waterfront, taking pictures, listening to peppy music, eating good food, and getting in several kilometres of walking. We are so appreciative of being able to partake in what the city has to offer when the urge hits with a minimum of effort.