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October 2007

Posts from September 2007


Today is our thirteenth wedding anniversary (see our wedding picture at the link--we eloped). 

I have a cold.  Bleh.

We did get to celebrate last night in between a work function I had to attend and the onset of this cold.  It was a beautiful night so we strolled along Philosopher's Walk on the campus where I work and took in some of the Nuit Blanche exhibits. 

We are not really modern art people.  I find whimsy in the things we looked at: balloons teethered on a cord of lights, a film about teaching white people funk dancing, an Event Horizon space ship landing on campus (with guys in biohazard suits and "media" and all the other things needed to make it look like a real crashed spaceship--at least on the Fox channel.)


But the idea of walking through crowds of people for whimsey doesn't do anything for me or Craig (especially Craig).

I really did like the miniature bar.  Everything was tiny and it was really crowded.


Craig's head for scale


So we went to a little neighbourhood joint and had a nice late dinner. 

Here's to thirteen years.   


This low-impact living thing is complicated.  There are some great comments in the last post about the true efficiency of Blackle (I have been chastened) and the routes to sustainability.  I found the fact that modern life is bad for the environment particularly interesting.  But I'm not sure where to go with that.  Sure we could use a whole lot less Happy Meal-toys and other crap (I love this satire on it) but I also like living in a centrally heated home with a fridge and stove, so I also want to balance progress (ie not living in a cave or sod hut) and comfort within this whole process, so keep those comments coming--I like when this blog has dialogue (especially since I've been a bit light on the blogging this month).

I do have a sock to show:


I love the fit and it was fun to knit.  The yarn behaved very nicely with no pooling and overall I'm very pleased. 


Tonight I'll start the second one.  I'm still in barefoot mode, but I know Fall is approaching...

That's because I'm off to Rhinebeck again!  I was dithering a bit about it because I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with life and work and everything, but my very sweet husband kicked my ass and I asked for the time off and me and my pal Keri are goin' on a road trip to Rhinebeck!

Fade to Black, Back in Black, Back to Black...

Black is where it's at. 


Apparently, a Black google would save a lot of energy.  At least that's what the folks at Blackle are saying.  I think it's neat so it's now my new home page.  It's a Google powered search engine, so what's not to like?  I use Google Mail, Calendar, Scholar and Maps a whole bunch so I do miss having a direct link from the Google page. 

Does doing this really make a difference?  I figure it can't hurt.  I don't mind taking the ton of feathers approach as long as there are some big changes happening too.  Not that my Prime Minister is aiding that

ADDED LATER: A quick search shows that the savings may not be all that considerable (and that white on black is hard on the eyes). This article provides some great ways to save lots of energy.  I should really do more of these.  I tend to leave my laptop on all the time (with the lid closed) which I'm sure hogs power.  Even pulling the power cord out would be better.  And I didn't even consider the DSL modem and router.  Though I confess I like having a house where I can just be on the internet wherever. 

Guess I have some work to do.

Speaking of the little things--anyone know of an alternative to North American GU10 halogen bulbs?  My house is almost exclusively lit with these and my hydro bill is crazy and I know they're energy hogs.  I assume something will change once the provincial ban on incandescents goes through in 2012, but I'm willing to make the switch now. 

Actual knitting content (even if it is slim)

I actually got to knit today.  Emma had Brownies tonight and I spent a lovely evening in the park watching Xander run amok with yarn in my hands.  I've only knit about 5 inches on my first sleeve of Roam and I'm in lurve.  The Briar Rose Fourth of July (which I have called Rhinebeck) is beautiful and squooshy and the seed stitch is showing off the handpainted colours beautifully.


Sure, I have other projects on the go (some are just waiting to be sewn up) but I'll stick with this one for now.  I've decided that since my knitting time is so thin, the trick is to knit what I feel like knitting and savouring it.  I might actually be turning into a process knitter.

Big Bottle O'Heinz

Time to ketchup:

1. Saw three more movies.  The Trap from Serbia, a drama about an indecent proposal where a poor man who needs money for his son's life saving operation has a big ethical dilemma and then things go very badly.  Excellent film.  Chrysalis from France: big budget remake of Eyes without a Face.  Some great fight scenes, very slick, pretty good, but a big long in the middle.  Liked it, but didn't love it.

Nothing is Private, American, directed by Allan Ball (of American Beauty and Six Feet Under).  For me the best of the Festival.  Extra-super fantastic film about a 13 year old Lebanese-American girl who lives with her father in suburbia in Texas.  I was bowled over by the performances, the story and the ways it plays with ideas about gender, race and private/public lives in middle America.  Definitely see this one.  Some of what isn't private is positively squirm-inducing and very true to life (for me at least).  Loved it.

2. Been working and working and working.  Not much else to say on this one. 

3. Soccer-momming a bunch too.  Emma was a star at her tournament scoring 3 goals in 4 games.  Her team lost a heart-breaker in the semi-finals and while they were the better team, that's how it goes sometimes.  Alexander had a super-fab tournament.  His team, the East York Goliaths, won the tournament for his group and the overall league championship.  One more tournament to go for Emma and then we're done.

4. Knitting continues, but slowly.  I'm enjoying the at-par Canadian dollar and celebrating with some Kidsilk Haze to make my own colourway of the Modern Quilt Wrap, or saving it to make the Earth Stole from Rowan 42.  I have lots of time to decide because I have no time to knit.

Monkey sock 1 is almost at the toe and I love it.  Photos when I'm near my camera.

I started Laura's ultra fantastic hoodie Roam using my Fourth of July yarn from Briar Rose.  This is the perfect pattern for yarn that deserves to be knit into something fantastic.

Happy Weekend!

Mini Movie Reviews

Sorry to be away for a week.  I've been watching movies at TIFF in between working my jobs and being a (absent) mother* in the first week of school.  So I'm having fun but this blog was the victim. 

Mel and I have been chatting movies and here are some mini reviews I gave to her.

Redacted: The DePalma film about Iraq.  It's fiction (based on true events) but uses a documentary style with hand held cameras and video blogging and is a neat little film.  I have issues with how he chose to portray his political message about the war and how some of the primary people are portrayed but it still left a solid "war is bad" message which was the point.  The picture is in video and is so clear it looks real. 

The Exodus: A Hong Kong film--black comedy.  It was too long in the typical Hong Kong way (scenes needed some editing because there was too much talking) and I got a bit sleepy in the middle (I saw it right after Redacted and a long day at work).  But the ending was very good.  It's about a cop who thinks there is a plot by women to kill all men, but he's not sure.  Worth a watch.

Persepolis: French film which you should see when you get a chance.  It's based on the graphic novels and is animated.  Very sweet and funny without being sentimental.  But also very sad since being a girl in Iran is no picnic.  I really enjoyed this film.

Silent Resident: Apparently it took the Director 8 years to make this film.  This is a bad thing because the plot got lost along the way.  I didn't dislike this film so much as I had no fucking clue what it was about.  I don't do stream of consciousness stuff.  I stayed awake because I had to work so hard to understand what was happening.  Though the sex scene where the people wore light bulbs (red on the errogenous zones) was pretty funny (though I'm guessing it wasn't supposed to be).

Married Life: A nice, tight, well-acted story about a man in the 1940's who falls in love with a younger beautiful woman and needs to leave his wife.  Chris Cooper is fantastic as the main character and the ever-gorgeous Pierce Brosnan is great as his best friend.  It's a black comedy film noir.  I really liked this one.  And I got to see Chris Cooper up close getting into his limo.  That's part of the film festival fun--it was the World Premier screening.

Eastern Promises: Fabulous film noir from David Cronenberg.  Viggo Mortensen is fabulous (not just because of the naked knife fight) and the story is really good.  So far this one is my favourite.  It was not as good as A History of Violence (which I LOVE) but is still a good taut film.  Great performances, well edited, enough Cronenberg violence, but not too much and there's nothing sentimental about it.  Go see it.

Two more to go: The Trap is tonight and Chrysallis tomorrow.  It's been a very Noir festival for me. 

*I haven't neglected them completely and their super-Dad is taking care of lots in my absence but we noticed this week that they have both grown out of most of their clothes so they're looking a bit waifish even though they're well fed and I'm enjoying my walk to school with them every morning. 

Fun(ky) Monkey

I love these monkey socks!


The pattern is engaging without requiring all my attention and the Oak Grove yarn is beautiful.  I usually avoid anything but plain stockinette for my socks because I like to zombie-knit, so maybe I've turned a corner.

Now I have my 7 movies lined up and something to knit while I queue.


This post contains scenes of cutting, unraveling and panic.  Reader discretion is advised.

This is a tale of a long fatal love chase for a sweater (my apologies to Louisa May Alcott). Of project lust gone awry.  Of yarn that is subjected to love, rejection, dungeons, and scissors.  A sweater that yearns to be completed but which languishes as other sweaters catch the knitter's eye. 

Can this sweater be saved?

It all started almost 3 years ago.  The Winter 2004 issue of Interweave Knits arrives at the And She Knits Too household.  The cover photo instantly catches our heroine's eye.  She must have this sweater!  Undaunted by the complicated colourwork she scans the pattern.  She cleverly locates a substitution for the beautiful but hand-numbering alpaca blend yarn used by the designer.  She even wisely chooses an inexpensive Paton's Classic Wool to be economical lest her attempt at colourwork fails.

Even the pattern written flat does not phase her.  This is an opportunity.  She converts the pattern to the round so she can practice her two-handed fair isle.  She consults Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting and incorporates proper steeks. 

She knits.  And knits.  Years pass.  The body-tube is complete.


Our heroine has learned much in the intervening years.  She learns that only shetland wool is sticky enough to be cut without first stabilizing the stitches.  She learns that her sewing machine is a possessed demon when near yarn and should stay in the basement where it belongs.  She has read blogs and books and has a plan.  She crochets the steeks to stabilize them using one of the contrasting colours.  This pleases her. 


Then.  She cuts.


Having cut her knitting before, she does not fear the scissors.  She is calm and confident.  She puts the body away and starts the sleeve. 

Months pass.  The sweater is abandoned for other, newer, less challenging projects.  But as Autumn approaches and space in her WIP basket lessens and new projects beckon, this old faithful project reasserts itself in our heroine's mind.  She imagines herself in the warm sweater.  She feels pleased at the sense of completion that comes from finishing it.  She realizes she still likes this design very much and wants to see it through.

She takes the sweater on vacation, to the cottage, away from her stash so they can be alone together.  Away from temptation.  She plans to put the first sleeve to the body and unite them.

Then it all begins to unravel.  Literally.

The crochet stitches are not holding.  A sickening sense of dread overcomes her.  She feels nauseaous.  The room spins.  The brown and green pattern starts to twist before her eyes.  She lets out a little shriek of panic.


Those little brown tufts spell unspeakable horror to this knitter.  Her sweater is unravelling. 

Luckily she's a quick thinker and remembers that all is not lost.  She carefully unpicks the crocheted edge and very carefully examines her work.  Thankfully her mother-in-law is an expert sewer and has a machine that is kind and gentle to wool.  She used this machine to sew down her first steek and takes it out to salvage her poor, sickly sweater.


The machine-stitches do their thing and unspeakable knitting disaster is averted.



The body is whole.  No one will look at the inside of this sweater and witness the barbary that she perpetrated.  Our heroine is weary, but happy.  Knitting continues. 

Will this love affair last for another sleeve?  Will the stitches hold?

Stay tuned.

A Day by the Lake

I like this long-weekend stuff.

Spend a day by a lake, watch the kids swim, eat lunch, drink beer and make socks.


Put socks on.  Enjoy the perky picot hems and the almost perfect short row heels (me and short row heels are an emerging relationship.  I like the fit, I still don't have picking up the wraps down pat).


Cavort with nature:


Yarn is Vesper Sock in a colour I can't remember.  I believe Watermelon Stripe, but I could be completely wrong.  The yarn was from a trade with Anmyriam and it's great to knit with stripey fun.

Next I'm going to Monkey around and try some patterned socks.  I need something portable for all those film festival line ups.