Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15 – Change is afoot

Less than a week left of summer now, but I already feel deeply entrenched in autumn. The hint of chill that dogged those late-summer mornings never really lifts these days; I've put away my summer skirts and sandals and it's back to jeans and boots once more. My sweaters are serving their purpose again, old and new favourites alike in heavy rotation. Sometime this week I'm going to cull my scarves and cowls, see what's ready for the fall and what's ready to be retired. I think there's a new hat in my future.


Two perfect images from yesterday:
1. Walking to work, I saw the early sun glint off an office tower, bouncing the light onto the crenellations of the neighbouring church. For just a moment, everything glowed silver. Then the church bells rang, tolling the hour, and a flight of pigeons launched, soaring out over the street, graceful in silhouette despite their panic.

2. At the end of the day, waiting for a bus with my face turned toward the setting sun, I saw the light catch the telephone wires. They flashed and pulsed like beads of mercury. Mackerel-belly clouds lined the sky; off to the west, the beacon atop the CN Tower flashed its secret messages. A streetcar sang in the distance. The sun dropped down behind the trees.


It's dark earlier every day.


In the kitchen, I'm all about comfort food: roasted root vegetables and sweet sausage; homemade spaghetti sauce simmered on the stove; baking powder biscuits and apple crisp hot from the oven. Today I had a sudden craving for oatcakes with raspberry jam. The kettle's on constantly and the dish rack's scarcely cleared of pots and pans before I've filled it up again. I'm in the mood to roast a chicken.


My Rhinebeck sweater is progressing now, finally. I'm making Strokkur (a modern take on the traditional Icelandic lopi sweater), but I'm adding colourwork to the sleeves and around the hem, and adding length all over; the two not unrelated, actually. It's coming together relatively quickly, the blessing of big yarn and big needles, but (agreeable swatch notwithstanding) I'm not convinced about the size. There's a trial sleeve-blocking in the cards. We'll see.

(The afghan and the socks continue to crawl along. I'm ready to be finished the former and not devoting enough time to the latter, but there's always something that falls to the bottom of the pile. They'll get their due in time. Meanwhile I'm secretly obsessed with this slipper pattern. Might sneak a pair of those in somewhere, too.)


Work and life and all the rest of it continues apace. More soon. Be well and do good.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September 10 – Seven

Today marks seven years since I moved to Toronto. Thinking deep thoughts over here...but I'll leave you with a photo from a windswept evening at a beach not far from Tatamagouche, instead.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Still chipping away at my African flower hexagon afghan. The end of the crochet-along is now in sight, and with two weeks to go and 44 hexes under my belt, I'm looking at an impressive to-do list.

Or maybe finishing the last 19 hexes, sewing in all the ends, and crocheting it all together into something that vaguely resembles a blanket will be easy to achieve in the next 15 days (she said wryly).

But deadline notwithstanding, I'm still enjoying this project – working on motifs is pretty satisfying, because it doesn't take long to finish each square, in the grand scheme of things. So although school started again last week, and despite the fact that I've got a series of writing projects on the docket, and – well, you've seen me list my current WIPs – I'm still happy to take half an hour here and there to cross another hex off my list.

Slow and steady wins the race (or, at least, gets the blanket finished) – right?

Monday, September 1, 2014

September 1 – Nova Scotia memories

My time in Nova Scotia is already receding in the rear-view mirror, so today I scrolled through the photos on my phone and picked out a few of my favourites.


The view from my friend Tara's front porch.

Heading into the city for Rise Again. Driving across the MacDonald bridge beats riding the 501 streetcar any day of the week.

We went and visited Elizabeth Bishop's house, then took the scenic route home, stopping to pick up lobster pie for dinner.

The beach!! It was cool and blustery, with a storm rolling in, but that didn't stop us from having a picnic by the shore and getting our feet wet. It was the best.

My friend Andy (he of the growler cozy) made me pizza – and beer. So delicious! Also, if anyone ever gives me static about my yarn stash, I'm going to tell them a thing or two about what a home brewer's stash looks like. Way more impressive than a dozen skeins of sock yarn, I'll tell you what.

A beautiful morning on Citadel Hill. Ate brunch at EDNA –  I'd recommend it in a second.

Familiar sights in Halifax Harbour.

I loved these wild rose bushes, creeping right down to the water. Bumped into long-lost friends at the farmer's market – a serendipitous meeting!

Revisited an old favourite: books and coffee, hard to go wrong.

Stopped by campus for a bit of a wander. The students were starting to trickle back, but for the most part it was just me and the bumblebees in the gardens.

This is the colour that I think of when I think of Nova Scotia. I walked under these skies to meet other friends for dinner – more pizza! Again, absolutely delicious.

A quick trip to Yarmouth to visit my friend Sherrie in her new old house. We walked back to the camp and spent the afternoon at the lake. Now that is a view!

Meanwhile, her husband Adam was tending to the bees. I was fascinated but didn't dare get too close.

Soon enough (too soon) I was homeward bound.

Now I'm back in the city with my nose to the grindstone. Already thinking about next summer's trip...

Sunday, August 31, 2014

August 31 – Bottoms up!

Don't look now but I'm finally making some progress on those Christmas socks...
(Turtletoes self-striping sock yarn in "Nano.")

Friday, August 29, 2014

August 29 – Striped socks (at long last)

I spent some time in Nova Scotia last week, and for the first time in a long time, I didn't take a special vacation knitting project with me. Instead, I took along a few small projects—the last of the washcloths and two pairs of socks—that I've been longing to actually finish.

And, happily, I did end the trip with a few FOs under my belt. The washcloths were a foregone conclusion (and well received—in fact, I saw a previous washcloth gift in use at someone's house, which made pretty happy) and I finally finished these socks.


These socks are my first pair of designed-by-me socks, if you can call choosing a favourite toe and a new heel and joining them with miles of stockinette "designing." (Debatable, but I'm going to roll with it.) 

CO 24 sts with Judy's magic cast-on, using YOs for the increases (ktbl on the non-increase row) until I got to 64 sts. Knit the foot, then added a Fish Lips Kiss heel,* which doesn't look like much in two dimensions, but look at that, now:

Very tidy. Then I carried on with the rest of the sock. I flirted with the idea of making knee socks to use up ALL the yarn, but it gradually became apparent I'd be knitting these for the rest of my life if I didn't pop in an inch of ribbing and cast off. (Jeny's surprisingly stretchy bind-off works but I find it a bit messy looking—what's your favourite for toe-up socks?)

They took forever, as fingering-weight socks on 2.25 mm needles are wont to do. I cast on in January, in the shadow of my Christmas sock knitting,** and I have worked on them in the background of many many other projects for seven months now. I'm very happy to have them off the needles. How happy? This happy:

As for the other two pairs of socks I took with me? Let's talk again in April.

* I'm notoriously hard on the heels of my socks, so I'm interested to see how the FLK heel holds up. Something tells me I'll be revisiting these, and that an afterthought heel might have been the wiser choice. (Also, the FLK pattern does NOT need to be 16 pages long, just for the record.)
 ** I'm starting to think you should be playing some sort of does-she-mention-Christmas-sock-knitting drinking game, or it might be a loooooong autumn.