Saturday, 31 July 2010

Black Eyes and Bellini's

I discovered this clump of  black-eyed Susan's in the garden today. Skip must have transplanted them from somewhere else earlier this year. They sure are enjoying their new, sunny spot.

This weekend is a long weekend for many Canadians except those living in Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and Yukon Territory. I call it the Civic Holiday weekend but many communities give it a regionally significant name, for example, it's called Simcoe Day in Toronto, McLaughlin Day in Oshawa, Alexander Mackenzie Day in Sarnia, etc. Strangely, it is a statutory holiday in some places, a municipal holiday in others, and not observed at all by some in the private sector. However between Victoria Day and Labour Day there was no official long weekend (Canada Day isn't always tied to a weekend) so this one was created - sort of - in 1990.

Long weekends don't mean much to Skip and me any more, being retirees. And the Civic Holiday always fell in the middle of our summer vacation when we were teaching. It is nice, however, to hear friends and acquaintances talk excitedly about their plans for this weekend. It's a great time of the year to get some good R & R away from work.

Nancy and I were chatting on Facebook earlier this evening - neither of us having made big weekend plans, and we spontaneously decided to go to see "The Kids Are All Right" at the 8pm show. It was an interesting tale about two kids' search for their lesbian mothers' sperm donor. In the last two movies I've seen, Julianne Moore has played a lesbian. Quirky! Of course, we went to Milestones for Bellini's afterwards. So, what we both thought was going to be a run-of-the-mill Friday night turned into a fun outing after all!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Aidan's Socks

When I was visiting my friend, Aidan, in June, he asked me if I would knit him a pair of socks with yellow, orange and green stripes.
Aidan, age 8
When I got home I remembered that I had hand painted some Blue Faced Leicester yarn those exact colours last fall at the yarn dyeing workshop I attended.

At the time, I tried to do fairly narrow bands of colour so as to avoid pooling of colours. Basically I wanted there to be a row or round of one colour, alternating with the other colours.
Believe it or not, the shade of green pictured above is called 'kelly green' . I really wanted to use 'spruce' which was a nice, darkish blue-green but it had run out by the time I got to dyeing this hank of yarn.

Once the dye was set by steaming the plastic-wrapped, Ziploc-encased yarn for an hour, rinsed and dried, it looked like this after rewinding into a skein.
The yellow adjacent to the kelly green made a lime green colour. The orange stayed pretty orangey.

I used fairly small needles so it would make a very sturdy fabric as there is no nylon to strengthen it. They will have to be hand washed but it doesn't involve too much extra work - basically soaking them for 20 min. in tepid water with wool wash, pressing the water out of them, rolling them in a towel to get more water out and laying flat to dry.

This evening I finished the second sock.

This is the first project I've completed with my hand painted yarn. Although the final product might not be exactly what Aidan envisioned, I hope he likes them anyway. It was fun to knit them for him.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Stitch 'n Pitch

This evening was the Blue Jays' Stitch 'n Pitch game against the Orioles. Scooter and I took the GO train into The Big City leaving enough time for us to go to our favourite food court before the game - downstairs of the Brookfield Place (formerly BCE Place). James likes Subway and I LOVE Tamarind the Indian Kitchen, particulary their biryani and curry chicken. The curry is just spicy enough to make my nose run but not so spicy it's uncomfortable to eat. It's as good as any Indian food I've had at any sit down restaurant.

At the Rogers Centre (formerly the SkyDome), the roof was open and occasionally we'd get a lovely breeze from the lake. We got seated just in time for the YarnHarlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee to throw out the first pitch.
In her blog this week, she wrote about how stressed out she's been in anticipation of this public display of pitching acumen. It was a bit of a wild pitch but it did make it to the general vicinity of the plate.

Here, she's being congratulated by Ace, the Blue Jay mascot.
I'm sure she was very relieved to have that over with.

Then the two national anthems were sung by this gal. 

At some point during the game, Jeff proposed to Kim by way of the Jumbotron. In this picture, he's about to give her the engagement ring.
We all said 'awwwwwwww' and then burst into applause.
Pictured are some of the Kniterary crew. From the back row are Scooter, yours truly working on Aidan's second sock, Maureen (iammo on Ravelry) knitting her copycat Sekku Dianna shawl, Martina (martianknit) taking a photo and her friend, Pam. Behind Martina are Elaine (mystash) and Richard. In front of Martina and Pam are Emily (loveaslug) and her husband. I have no idea who the smiling woman is with the dark glasses and the aqua top.

The Jays beat Baltimore 8 - 2. The temperature was perfect (75F) for our walk to the Skywalk to take the GO train home. All in all it was a great night for knitters and the Jays.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Dianna Shawl

I've had this ball of Zauberball sock yarn since last summer when I bought it on vacation in the Muskokas.
It took me a while to find a lacy pattern that would make the most of the beautiful colours.  I decided upon the Dianna shawl pattern and got started last March. I got a few tiers done and it went by the wayside for a while until I was given the Sekku yarn and fairly quickly made up the Sekku Dianna shawl.

I thought I'd go back to the Zauberball shawl and get it finished up. I did 10 tiers before the final triangle tier. I like how it turned out after blocking. I sure like the different blues and how they blend into the adjacent colour.
Now to get back to the second Sekku Dianna shawl I've been working on.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Prismatic Scarf

After buying this luscious Malabrigo Silky Merino yarn on my holiday last week,

I went in search for a scarf pattern that would do it justice. I wanted it to lie nice and flat and be more or less reversible.

I decided on the Prismatic Scarf by Huan-Hua Chye.  
The yarn is so shiny and soft.

Here's the right side...

 and the other side.

I like the way the i-cord edge is knit as you go by slipping the last three stitches of each row with the yarn in front (sl 3 wyif) at the end of each row and knitting the first three stitches of each row. 

I did the math and at the current width, I'll be able to get 70" of length out of the two skeins of yarn -- and that's before blocking!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Souvenir Yarn

When I'm travelling, I try to visit as many yarn shops as our schedule will allow. This trip, our first yarn stop was at London-Wul Fibre Arts just east of Moncton in Lakeburn, NB. Click to see a video.

There, I picked up two colours of a laceweight alpaca/wool blend,

and a skein of Heidi's luscious hand painted sock yarn.

I couldn't pass by this Mini Maiden laceweight 50/50 silk wool blend. That's a whopping 500m in the 100g skein.

This hand dyed yarn is 200m and 100g (50% baby alpaca, 40% merino and 10% cashmere) that will make a cozy neck warmer.

And who can pass up wonderful hand made goat's milk soap? Our motel rooms smelled wonderful with them in my luggage.

While in Fredericton, we dropped into Yarns on York. These two skeins of Malabrigo Silky Merino in Indiecita colourway were calling to me. I have such a 'thing' for jewel tones.

If you're ever in Sackville, do drop into the Craft Gallery at the Tourist Info centre at the end of  Mallard St. just off the Trans Canada Highway. All the items for sale are by local artists -- no "Made in China" stickers can be found anywhere.

I also bought a couple of bars of gently scented hand made glycerine soap.

What a great way to provide a marketplace for local artisans in a high traffic area like a tourist information centre!

Don't Know Where to Start

I just got back from a week with my sister in New Brunswick. We were researching our roots and meeting cousins we'd never met before. Our maternal grandparents' respective families were from the southern part of the same county in New Brunswick at the border of Nova Scotia where their ancestors settled in the late 1700s.

First let me say that flying on Porter Airlines out of Toronto Billy Bishop (Island) Airport has made flying a joy again since air travel was ruined by the bastards terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001. The Porter shuttle bus from the Royal York is free and runs every 15 min. It takes you to the foot of Bathurst St. where you walk onto a ferry that takes you 400ft. to the Porter Terminal in about 5 minutes. There are ramps everywhere so it is quite easy to manoeuver one's wheeled luggage. Once at the terminal and checked in, all passengers enjoy the executive class lounge with refrigerators full of complimentary soft drinks, juices, booze and water, trays of complimentary snacks, a room full of Mac computers for passenger use, free wifi, leather armchairs with lamps beside each for reading (and outlets for charging iPods, laptops, etc.). Once on the comfortable turboprop planes which are surprisingly quiet, once again, complimentary snacks and drinks (both alcohomolic and non-) are available. There are comfortable leather seats on the plane and lots of leg room.

(Yes, that's Sekku yarn on my lap. I'm working on another Dianna Shawl. Like my nifty, new yellow purse? I bought it at the news stand in the airport. And the silver and green bag is Valerie's lobster packed in frozen vegetables.)

I've been trying to work my way through Elizabeth Gilbert's best-seller "Eat Pray Love" with a deadline of the opening August 13 of the movie starring Julia Roberts. I got a giggle out of this title on the book stand in the Moncton airport.
People 'down East' are very crafty. This is a painting by a local artist that was in on display in the airport.
It has that 'paint by number' feel but really is an exquisite piece which effectively captures a Maritime moment.

One of my favourite things we did was have breakfast this morning with my mother's first cousin and my namesake, Geraldine at her home in Moncton.

 She is a very gracious lady, like all the Geraldine's in our family (ahem), and told us lots of stories about life on the family farm and about family members.

We were very fortunate on Monday to go to the site of the farm which was in the family and worked for over 120 continuous years. The last farmer being Uncle Willie (my grandmother's brother and cousin Geraldine's father) who took it over at age 15 upon the death of his father and farmed it for over 60 years. We got to tour the farm house which is now owned by Acadia University, Irving Oil and Ducks Unlimited and has been restored to its former grandeur (and maybe even better) at great expense. It is being used as a research lab and dormitory facilities for a major salt marsh restoration project.

If you are at Fort Beauséjour and look due south, the closest house you'll see is the ancestral home on Brown's Road. It can also be seen looking NNW from the Nova Scotia welcome centre on the Trans Canada Highway near Amherst, NS.

Another highlight for me was going into the Deanne Fitzpatrick Rug Hooking Studio in Amherst, NS. The lovely yarn was a little too chunky for my knitting needs but I liked so many of the rugs that are hanging on the walls.

Sooooo pretty!

And while visiting a newly-found cousin, Marilyn in Port Elgin, I discovered that she, too, likes to hook rugs.

Marilyn said this rug took about a year to complete. I think it was well worth the effort. It measures about 20" by 30".

I love it!

But coolest of all was getting to meet relatives we'd never met before. And for my sister and me, it all started with these folks, our maternal grandparents, Geraldine and George Anderson and their only child, our mother, Muriel.
Photo ca. 1919

Those are just a few of the highlights of our very busy week. More to come...

Did I mention I ♥ Porter Airlines?

Friday, 9 July 2010

Drunken Knitting

Once a month, some of the Kniterarians gather at the local Mexican restaurant, Los Cabos, for what they call Drunken Knitters Night.  Tonight was my first time attending.

We do a lot of yakking, a bit of drinking,
and some knitting. Darla and Bernice are hard at work while Martina takes it easy.

I worked away on Aidan's sock. I finished it while there and cast on the second one.

No second sock syndrome for me.