Sunday, 28 November 2010

A Long Time Ago...

in 1969, in fact, I attended Ontario Youth Music Camp - OYMC - for the first time. It was the summer between my Gr. 10 and Gr. 11, and my friend, Freny made the trip to Beaverton with me. I also attended the next two summers.
Geri @ OYMC 1970
Whilst there, I met lots and lots of kids who loved to play concert band music from all over the province and performed under the direction of Jim White, Thomas Tyra and Capt. Derek Stannard,to name a few. Our most notable conductor, though, was Canadian composer and arranger, Howard Cable.  I attended university with several people whom I had met at OYMC.

But the first year I attended OYMC, there was a phenomenal trumpet player, Chris Howells, who wasn't even in high school yet. He was a little guy, but very friendly and engaging - almost like our mascot. But man! Could he play the trumpet! I think he attended camp the next summer as well.

About 8 years later I was finishing my music education degree at Western ('the centre of all learning in the universe') and I attended a brass ensemble concert comprised of students from the Faculty of Music at U of Toronto directed by Prof. Steven Chenette. Chris was in a first or second year student in that ensemble.

Fast forward to this evening.  Skip and I attended a Lighthouse concert at the newly renovated Regent Theatre in downtown Oshawa. And wouldn't you know? Chris Howells is playing in Lighthouse!!! He's been in the current permutation of the band for 18 years, since its reformation, and has been teaching itinerant instrumental music in Toronto for the past 30 years. Wow. What a blast from the past.
Geri and Chris, after Lighthouse concert, November 27, 2010
The concert was awesome. Dan Clancy's voice is still amazing and has retained its quality, range and tone all these years. I hadn't listened to my Lighthouse albums since I packed away my turntable back in the early 90s for one of my moves. The concert was SO enjoyable.

The audience was full of geezers like Skip and me - all enjoying the floods of memories from 40 years ago. The harmonies of the horn line and the vocalists were delicious. The solos were virtuosic. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening. I was also thrilled to acquire their CD/DVD set and have already ripped the tunes on the CD to my iPod Touch.

Here is a listing of most of the tunes we heard tonight and that are on the CD. Do you remember any of them?
  • Hats Off to the Stranger
  • One Fine Morning
  • 1849
  • Love of a Woman
  • Sweet Lullabye
  • Take it Slow (Take it Easy)
  • Sunny Days
  • Beneath My Woman
  • Broken Guitar Blues
  • Lonely Places
  • You Girl
  • Pretty Lady
  • Lonely Hours
  • Reason to celebrate
  • Song of the Ages
  • Fine China
If you don't remember them by title I'm sure you'd remember the music (if you were born before, say, 1969).

Friday, 26 November 2010

Yet Another Sea Lettuce Scarf

I finished this Sea Lettuce scarf and took it up to the yarn shop, plus a poster advertising the class on January 15, 2010. There are 2 versions - 20 stitches and 32 stitches. This is the 20 stitch version and I used 70g of Fame Rand yarn.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Luck of the Draw

See what I won?

I'm SO excited! I'm a regular reader of Leslie's "A Friend to Knit With" blog. A couple of days ago she had a random draw for this book. Anyone who left a comment on her blog would be assigned a number and then the random number generator selected the winner and it was me! Yay!  This prize couldn't be more fitting since I'm the "Mitten Queen" - I knit 13 pairs of them in the last year.

I've been knitting and knitting another Sea Lettuce scarf. This one is the 20 stitch version.
I've had a hankering for some silky merino yarn so today I picked up a couple of skeins of Manos Silk Blend.
I'm thinking of knitting a brioche stitch scarf.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Knitting and Spinning and Plying - Oh My!

I feel like I have fibre ADD. This week I finished 1 project, started 3 projects, worked on another project and learned how to chain ply (formerly called Navajo plying). I'm OBSESSED!

Today at our spinning class at Gemini Fibres, we spun up this lovely hand-painted Blue-Faced Leicester roving. It had fuschia and  light pink, some gold and little bits of olive green. It was soft and fluffy and felt great to spin.
I loved how the single looked on my bobbin. The pink and gold make a nice orange.
I did a terrible job of chain plying but it was because I don't have a tensioned lazy Kate. I also need to do a better job of spinning the singles. 

Here's the little skein I made. The 25 cent piece (breast cancer quarter from 2006) shows how indeed small this lovely soft skein is. I still have to ply the spindle above so I hope to get better at it. Basically chain plying is a way to create 3 ply yarn from one spool.
This is as far as I got on my i-cord gloves last night. I'm using 6ply sock yarn - sport weight. It makes knitting the fingers WAY easier.

Last February, I knit a tam with this yarn using a Regia pattern. It's the one on the cover of this book. I did finish the hat - I guess I just forgot to take photos of the finished item.
I've spent a lot of time trying to decide what pattern to use with the qiviut ('qiviuk' in the USA) yarn that I bought at Rhinebeck. I finally decided on Kernel from Knitty.
It has a nice border (I did 1 less repeat) and I'm doing one less repeat on the main pattern. I bought two balls of this yarn for a total of 400m (436 yd). I'll see how long I make it with one ball and if it's too short, I'll use the second ball. I also have two balls of 100% cashmere yarn that I also purchased at Rhinebeck from the nice people at Windy Valley Muskox from Alaska. I'm using 3.5mm needles. I could probably have gone up to 3.75mm or even 4mm to make it really open and lacy but I'm going to leave it as is and just give it a good blocking when I'm done. I have someone in mind to give it to but they've not been terribly knit-worthy so the jury is still out on that one.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Selbu Gloves

 I finally finished these Selbu gloves - modified Annemor #17 from Terri Shea's "Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition".
The pattern calls for the fingers and thumb to have a chevron pattern.
But I carried the diamond pattern onto them instead.
I like how they turned out, I'm just not that fond of having to knit all those fingers.
They are nice and warm because of the double thickness of yarn.
Do you like how the palm pattern continues onto the inside of the thumb? I love the look of that.

I ♥ Selbu patterns but my next gloves will be i-cord gloves.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010


I've been unearthing some UFOs and have decided to work on them in rotation to get them done.

These gloves have been in hibernation for almost a year.

I'm SO close to finishing them up. I got the middle finger done on the right glove today while watching Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand on Oprah and only need to get the index finger and thumb done.

They're Annemor #17 from Terri Shea's "Selbuvotter" but I changed the pattern on the thumb and fingers. I like the honeycomb palm.

The Gail shawl is my nemesis. The pattern isn't that hard but I keep making mistakes. I guess watching Wallender episodes on DVD isn't conducive to lace knitting. The only modification I have made is knitting a stitch between the double yarnovers at the centre in Rows 33 and 35. I don't like the look of the big hole that the double yarnover creates and adding the centre stitch creates the centre 'spine' that makes me feel comfortable. I hope that makes sense.

This yarn is SO pretty. Right now the shawl is only about 1/3 done and pretty much looks like a blob but this is what the centre section looks like when stretched out a bit. It's going to look amazing after it's finished and blocked.
This evening I spent 1 1/2 hours untangling the yarn. Note to self:  When knitting with silk blend yarn, knit from the outside of the ball. Centre pull balls just don't work with this 'sticky' yarn.

I discovered another incomplete Gail Shawl that is about at the same stage as the one above. It's been in hibernation for at least 2 years. It does have the gaping hole caused by the double yarnovers. I'm thinking I'll frog it. Who needs two of the same shawl? I can certainly knit something else with this lovely yarn and I really don't like the gaping hole in the middle.
I'm looking forward to another road trip with my accomplice, Mo, on Saturday. We're going up to Gemini Fibres for a "Beyond the Basics" class on the spinning wheel. I hope to learn enough to start consistently spinning thin enough yarn that will be fingering weight or thinner after plying.

Skip and I went for our flu shots today. It didn't hurt then but my arm hurts now. Waaaahhh!

Sunday, 14 November 2010


It seems everywhere I went this week, I didn't have my camera with me so I'm going to see what I can come up with using other people's photos. I took photos with my cell phone but they came out really crappy and altho' I sent them from my phone to my e-mail, they never arrived. Argh. I need to remember to put my little camera in my purse and leave it there.

Of note, Skip and I went to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair on Thursday. It was also Remembrance Day and shortly before 11am there was an observance complete with 2 mounted Toronto Police officers and their horses, Last Post and Reveille, a reciting of "In Flanders Fields" and the "Ode of Remembrance" taken from Laurence Binyon's poem "For the Fallen" by a WWII veteran, the singing of "O! Canada" by a 12 year old girl and 2 minutes of silence for us to reflect on the supreme sacrifice by those who gave their lives in our armed forces during various wars.

My great uncle Pvt. Carl K. Brown was wounded on April 9, 1917 at Vimy Ridge and died 3 days later. I learned this information only this year during my family tree search. Remembrance Day has a new meaning for me now. Even though we were at the Fair, I was very glad to have been able to attend the ceremony. "Lest We Forget".

After the service, we beetled over to the food concession area to eat before the onslaught of people seeking noon-time sustenance. I enjoyed a delicious chicken roti with a veggie samosa and Skip had a lamb burger and 2 samosas.

With my new interest in animal fibre, we spent some time looking at several breeds of sheep and the fleece display, alpacas and llamas and an angora bunny. We also looked at the mama sow and her piglets in the farrowing pen, lots of cattle, goats, horses and other livestock, many of which were being groomed in preparation for judging.
2010 Prize-winning Fleeces - photo Mary Keenan
I liked this sign beside the prize-winning fleece display extolling the merits of "Wonderful Wool".
Yesterday I taught the last class (of 2) on my Nordic mitten. We learned how to pick up the stitches for the thumb and do any duplicate stitching that might be needed to correct any errors. We had a nice time chatting and knitting and planning when I should teach the next class - Lucy Neatby's Sea Lettuce scarf. It will take place on Saturday, January 15, 2011 at Myrtle Station Wool and Ferguson's Knitting in Myrtle Station, ON from 1pm to 3pm. The $6 pattern must be purchased ahead of time, downloaded, printed and brought to the class along with the appropriate needles and yarn that has been purchased from Myrtle Station Wool. Check out this link for more detail and information. The class fee is only $10! Call the shop to sign up. There's no homework ahead of time except to select your yarn and have your pattern ready.
Sea Lettuce scarf using fingering weight yarn

I plan to have a couple of Saturday classes on the Dianna shawl in April. It's a free, entrelac lace pattern with a leaf motif that is completely reversible. Yarns with big bands of colour (Noro, Zauberball, Fame Trend, Fame Rand, Regia Kaffe Fassett Hand-Dye Effect, etc.) create a very dramatic effect.
Dianna Shawl using one 100g ball of Noro Sekku yarn, colourway 8

Dianna Shawl - Noro Sekku yarn,  colourway 2

The cost will be $40; the dates in April TBA.

I'm about 1/3 done my Gail/Nightsongs shawl using Handmaiden Sea Silk Yarn that I purchased at Kniterary in the Pansy colourway. The only modification I'm doing is inserting a knit stitch between the two yarnovers in Row 33. I don't like the look of the big hole the double yarnover makes. It also serves as a centre spine stitch for this triangular shawl. The hand-painted yarn has the beautiful combination of sky blue, violet and soft green. It is my penultimate shawl in the "10 Shawls in 2010" challenge on Ravelry I involved myself in.
Handmaiden Fine Sea Silk - Pansy colourway

Tuesday, 9 November 2010


The Haruni is done! It was a relatively easy knit but took quite a bit of concentration to do the leafy border. The blocking wasn't even as annoying as I thought it would be.
This pattern was an easy 8 row repeat.

This shows the colour most accurately.

The seacell/silk blend makes a very drapey fabric.

Ah, the wonder of blocking lace.

Today Mo and I made a run to Stratford to pick up the Lendrum spinning wheel she bought. It was a lovely day for a 'road trip' (wheeeeeeeeeee!). After picking up the wheel, we stopped in to CloseKnit Quality Yarns in downtown Stratford. She does have lovely stuff in her shop.

Then we thought we'd stop into Alpaca Acres, just west of Shakespeare, ON. We met the chocolate lab, Guinness, and visited with the 22 alpacas and Ann. Of course, Ann knew Robyn (from whom Mo bought the spinning wheel) and my friend, Liz, with whom she knits most Tuesday mornings.

Mo got me home in record time so she could run a couple of errands and get home and spin!

Shawl #8

A while back, I joined a group on Ravelry called "10 Shawls in 2010". The minimum yardage requirement is 250m (273 yd). Since I had already knit 3 Dianna shawls, a Swallowtail shawl, and a triangle shawl, I figured I was up to the challenge.

This evening, I finished Haruni which I decided to knit after seeing a lovely one on display at Rhinebeck last month. It also gave me a good excuse to use one of the skeins of yarn I hand-painted last summer - the one that was 4 shades of Sky Blue.
I didn't pin it very straight on the foam tiles but I think I achieved symmetry around the centre 'spine' stitches.

I was really nervous about doing the crochet bind-off but I took a deep breath and started in following the instructions and within a few stitches, I had it figured out. I was even able to fix a couple of mistakes I had made in the previous row when I missed purling a couple of the yarnovers from the row before that.
I had avoided knitting this pattern in the past because the idea of blocking it was too daunting, however, it really didn't take me that long. I ran out of t-pins and broke into the stainless steel dress pins to finish the job. I'm really happy with the blue colours in the yarn.

My ninth shawl is a Trinity Shawlette using some Regia Kaffe Fassett Hand-Dye Effect sock yarn. It was a UFO that I grabbed the other day as I was flying out the door to go to Scooter's provincial cross-country meet. It didn't take me long to find my place again in the pattern and I got a few repeats of the pattern done on the way there and home.

The last two cross-country meets were at the same place so knew our way around. However, we were blown away by the number of spectators that were in attendance. But I guess it makes sense that people all over the province were competing on a weekend making it easy for lots of parents and other supporters to attend.

It was a sunny, cool day and we were really glad we had worn warm coats, mittens/gloves and scarves. Here, Skip is showing off the lovely, warm (Labyrinth) scarf that I knit him last year.
Scooter had his personal best time. Skip and I were quite verklempt with the realization of yet another one of Scooter's fine accomplishments. The kid is an amazing musician and an athlete, too! He sure is having a good year. Academically, we think he's holding his own. He seems to be quite interested in getting really good grades so he can get accepted at the university of his choice. We're not sure which one that is yet but this month he will begin the application process.
Scooter with black gloves on the left.

He won't be advancing to the Nationals in Guelph later this month, but one of his team mates who has been a classmate of his since Junior Kindergarten, Melissa Caruso, finished 5th in the province for Senior Girls. If the competition ends up being on Nov. 20th, we're hoping to attend and make a weekend of it, possibly working in a tour of the campus of the 'centre of all learning in the universe' and my alma mater, the University of Western Ontario in London.

Thursday, 4 November 2010


I finished plying the Lorna's Laces handspun. It's having a bath in the sink right now to set the twist. I'm pretty pleased with it.
It's very overcast today so the colour looks a little washed out.
I'm still wondering what I should knit with it. I have about 375 yards and it's DKish weight. It's kind of all blendy so not stripey at all. A scarf? A shawlette? I have so much trouble deciding what to knit with my handspun. It's one-of-a-kind yarn and I almost can't bear to use it up. But adoring and petting it only goes so far.

Any suggestions what I should knit with it?

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

More Spinning

I bought some Lorna's Laces roving at Feather Your Nest in Sarnia last spring. It was custom dyed for the Knitter's Frolic in hues of gold, sky blue, olive and fuschia. I spun up a couple of spools over the last couple of days.
My Ashford Joy has a built-in Lazy Kate for convenient plying.

I'm liking how the plied colours are going together.
My plying is getting more consistent. I just need more practice spinning the singles so I can get a consistent thickness.

The yarn is too thick for socks but would make a very spiffy scarf or shawlette. Any ideas what patterns I should consider?