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July 2008

Posts from June 2008

The Loom is Looming!!!!!

Look ma!  I'm weaving!

Steph's pictures 006

It's really fun. Warping the loom, was an...adventure. I was using the direct warping method that was laid out in the Ashford book and it was all fine and good...until the warping peg flew off the table, taking the warp with it. The clamps that come with the loom, while pretty, aren't as effective as construction clamps (which I used after the disaster) and with Craig's help, I was able to salvage the warp and continue (since it was half done that part).

A word for the uninitiated...warping the loom means putting the yarn on the loom so you can weave (with what's called the weft yarn). It takes about 2 or more hours (more if your warping peg goes flying). It is the foundation of the piece and it's actually kinda fun (if your warping peg doesn't go flying). I was happy to have Craig's help and plan to have Emma do all the running work next time (when I will be less excited and take more photos). I spent a few hours weaving and here's the result:

Steph's pictures 007 Steph's pictures 009

The yarn is birthday yarn from a few years back. It's a fingering weight merino handpaint and I'm liking how it looks a whole bunch. I'm not finished yet and decided (in a moment of utter silliness because there really was enough room in the car) to leave the loom at home. I could be weaving while watching the lake right now...pooh.

Arrrrrrr Socks!

Pattern: Modified Jack Sparrow's Favourite Socks
Yarn: Socks that Rock Midweight in Sunstone and Lana Gatto Wool in Black

Pirate Socks

Size: Kid's size 5ish--56 sts up to 64 for the patterning.  It was a bit of a dance to get these to work and they just fit.

Result: Happy Kid.

Happy Pirate Kid

Coming up Rainbows


I took this last week just after I got poured on during Emma's soccer game.  If you look closely, there are actually two rainbows--how cool is that?

Now that it has stopped raining, every, day, things are looking good for summer:

*Today is the last day of school.  My kids got their report cards yesterday and their marks were good, their teachers next year look to be fine, Emma has the same teacher and Alexander happily does not (she was good, but they didn't mesh so well). 

*Today I work.  Tonight I go to Lettuce Knit.  Tomorrow I'm on holiday until July 7th.  Woo!Hoo!

*I got my loom yesterday.  It's an Ashford Rigid Heddle, 24".  It's pretty.  I laid out all the pieces, pulled out the instructions and was dejected when reading "we recommend you oil or wax all pieces before assembly".  Shit.  I don't have anything suitable in the house, so that's my plans for tomorrow morning.  Hopefully it'll be dry by the weekend so I can play!


*I'm 5 rows away from finishing Xander's socks (I was falling asleep knitting them last night so I stopped).  They fit!  He still has trouble getting them over his giant instep, but not because of the fair isle.  I'm not sure about how to fix that since the cuff already bags on his skinny boy legs.


*I finished the knitting on Vino (as I promised) and it's in a bag awaiting a cooler day to do the seaming.  Having a 30" long sweater on one's lap in late June is ick.

*I started Hip in Hemp.  No photo since a brown waistband is nothing fancy and that sleepy thing took hold.

*Tomorrow: dentist (must be done), hardware store for loom wax, haircuts for the kids and then we're going to see Kung Fu Panda

I love summer.

A Reason To Crochet

The Shoe Box



A man and woman had been married for more than 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoe box in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about.


For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover.

In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife's bedside. She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box.

When he opened it, he found two crocheted dolls and a stack of money totaling $95,000.He asked her about the contents. 'When we were to be married,' she said, 'my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll.'

The little old man was so moved; he had to fight back tears. Only two precious dolls were in the box. He thought she had only been angry with him twice in all those years o f living and loving. He almost burst with happiness. 'Honey,' he said, 'that explains the dolls, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?'

'Oh,' she said, 'that's what I made from selling the dolls.'


Not that I need to (snork!)... But...If I were to crochet dolls they would have to be from Creepy Cute Crochet.  They're deliciously cute (ravelry link--I'm assuming everyone is on Ravelry now, if not, go and sign up already!) and could suit every little angry mood.  And some amigurumi too. 

Bike Lane On Bloor!

TO: Paula Fletcher

CC: Mayor Miller, Case Ootes, Kyle Rae, Adrian Heaps, Glenn deBaeremaeker

RE: TEYCC 16.26 Bloor Transformation Project

As a resident in your ward who bikes from Jones ave across Bloor/Danforth to my job at the University of Toronto, I've been watching the changes planned for the Bloor St. redevelopment between Yonge and University.  The plan to NOT include bike lanes (and from the drawings, even ring posts) is deplorable.  Traffic conditions along that stretch are very perilous for cyclists and I feel the City is missing out on a perfect opportunity to encourage active/green transportation by facilitating both pedestrian and bicycle traffic along Bloor St.  Just as buildings implement changes to encourage accessibility for people with disabilities, the City must endeavour to encourage bicycle traffic on our streets; bike lanes are integral to this strategy and their omission on the Bloor St redevelopment merely cements the primacy of the automobile for transportation.
I urge you to INSIST that a bike lane on Bloor be part of any redevelopment.  It was first proposed in 1992; 16 years is too long a wait.
Bloor Bike Lane Design 


Want more info?  Google Bike Lanes on Bloor, or visit Take the Tooker.  The vote is Monday June 23; let your councillor know how you feel!

I love living in Toronto

Jacqui and I are soooo excited, originally uploaded by Dr. Steph.

About half way through Saturday I came to a realization: Toronto is the place to be if you're a knitter. I don't think I could ever leave.  I forget that not everyone has such a great community of knitters and knitterly things going on (all the time).  I am very thankful.  So much so that I couldn't take anything but a silly picture of Jacquie and myself.

So what brought this on?  Well...

Friday night I went to a Knitty Yarn Tasting at the Purple Purl (my neighbourhood LYS) which was fun.  You get to knit with 4 yarns and rate them.  See what others have done here.  

June Yarn Tasting

New yarn, lots of knitters, rocky road bars and coffee--what's not to like?
Saturday morning I was at Lettuce Knit by 10am to be a helper for the 1000 Knitters shoot. 

1000 Knitters Shoot

I got my photo done, and then served as "Prize Mistress" for most of the day which involved giving away fabulous prizes from Yarn Harlot and Franklin all day.  Here's co-Prize Mistress Kim getting her photo done with Franklin (who is delightfully charming).

Franklin and Kim

It was a very fun day and I met a whole bunch of new to me knitters and ate a lot of baked goods brought over to celebrate Stephanie's 40th birthday.  I also got to spend a whole lot of fun time with Juno, which I only do a few times a year.  I was super silly and didn't get a photo of her though.  I'll try to remember at Rhinebeck.

That evening I spent more quality time super-fantastic knitters on a perfect summer night, on a patio with yummy beer. 

This is how knitters party

Franklin was there and many other knitters/friends (that's Denny and Ken--go see what Ken is doing, it's good and important and he's awesome) and it was totally fun.  We didn't get home until 2am.

Me and Rams!

I spent lots of time talking with Rams (professional commentor and sock yarn spinner extraordinaire) about yarn and politics, lauded Rachel H. for her absolutely fantastic event organizer skills (she and Steph ensured the 1000 Knitters shoot went perfectly; they were awesome!), watched Denny spindle (is that a verb?), was Malabrigo lace buddies with Molly and worked hard to placate a not-so-happy Fenner while Mamma was detained (see how happy she is back with Mom?). 


Craig got nicely lubricated and we (thanks Denny!) broke the news that I ordered a loom and all was good (he wasn't so enthusiastic about my new fibre obsession; but all the knitters who found him "fun" greased the wheels a bit-- I think!)   He may even started to understand the world of knitters a bit more (okay, that might be too optimistic).

Weirdly, I was in two yarn shops and didn't buy any yarn.  I need to get that looked at.

Toronto.  Knitters.  It's all good.

From Oh so bad To So much better

It's 8ish am and I'm justing popping downstairs to throw in some laundry before taking the kids to school.  I'm working at home today and think of how comfy I am in my favourite ratty pants and Police concert shirt.  Then I notice water on the basement floor and realize that my grand plan to soak Emma's dirty sweatshirt sleeves (but not the whole shirt) turned the rest of the sweatshirt into a giant wick that sucked all the water out of the basin and onto the floor.

As I roll the dehumidifier into the laundry room it hits a bump in the concrete and I watch the almost full reservoir of water tip out of the machine and all over the floor. 

Today is not going so well.

Many towels later I am out the door with the kids on a nice ride to school.  I get home and water the front garden (under development; pictures later).  I plant our new holly tree.  When I go to water it, the nifty new spray gun untwists just enough that I get completely sprayed.

I need coffee.  Stat. 

At least my work is moving along.  It was really boring, unchallenging stuff that last few weeks, but now some new data on faculty job satisfaction has come in (I know, very geeky) and I get to play.  Except the interface for one set is a bit clunky over the VPN.  But this means I can blog while it churns.

Cautiously optimistic that things will improve.

Canada Post truck stops in front of my house.  Ding!

My new Danskos, sent through my shoe fairy Rosemary arrive.  Brown latigo Marcelles; sadly discontinued.  I love them.  I don't wear shoes much in the summer (only sandals), but come Fall these will be great (especially with my Vino coat--more on the that in another post). 

New Danskos

Shoes are always good for elevating my mood.

And Rosemary sent presents.


Two skeins of laceweight from Handpainted yarns.  The colours are gorgeous!  Thanks Rosemary!  

The day is looking up.  I'll just stay away from water.

Xander's a pirate

Xander's a pirate, originally uploaded by Dr. Steph.

Well, he'll say Arrrr a lot when he has these on. I owe him a pair of socks because the last pair I knit him didn't fit--my seven year old has mighty big feet; even these are just right and I'm worried when Fall comes they'll be too small. He wears a size 5.5 so I'm concerned his love of handknits socks may turn into a lot of knitting for me when he's 12 and wears a size gazillion.

I finished the first sock last night and found the nifty skulls (modified Jack Sparrow's favourite socks) a tad tight to pull over the heel (Xander also has a HUGE instep). I'm going to cheat on the second sock and add a few more stitches between the skulls. This may mean ripping out this sock and doing the same (he can get it on, but it's tricky), but that's what you do for your kid.

I actually have sock two done and had turned the heel before deciding they were too small, so I had to rip that back too. It's all good because I started them on the way to Banff and I got to pose them in beautiful places like this.

Sock at Moraine Lake

It was a bit too cold to knit and look at the beauty of Moraine Lake, but worth dragging the sock around for the photo.

Getting Craftier

~Private Baldrick: Sir, sir it's all over the trenches!

Captain Blackadder: Well, mop it up then.~


Laura has put a bee in my bonnet. Well, I really shouldn't blame her, because the bee has been there for a long time, she just woke it up.  I want to learn to weave.    I know I'm not the only one getting this bug; I predict this will be the next place knitters will flock (and it uses up lots of yarn). 

I know lots of spinners and even though Steph tells me I'm not a spinner...yet; 3 trips to Rhinebeck have failed to get me interested in making my own yarn.  One look at Laura's scarf and all I've been thinking about is getting a loom and weaving up my stash.  I notice Mel's already hit the ground running; she's started into tea towels and put me on to the weaving groups in Ravelry

I spent last week internet shopping for looms and my knitting pal Elizabeth has offered to get me started with her loom and some instructions (though I'm worried this is more loom than I need, or have room for).  I'm not sure exactly when I'm going to do this new craft or where the loom will go (since we only have one table and we need to eat on it); I'll figure that out as I go along. 

My birthday is next month and I'm going to get myself a rigid heddle loom.  I think a 24" is the right thing for me (I would like a 32" but my table is too narrow and I need to see if it will fit under my bed for storage), either an Ashford or the Kromski Harp (which I really like, but am not sure I can get in Canada). 

Anything else I need?  I have the enthusiasm and I've already bought yarn for my second project: Dream in Colour Smooshy in Chinatown Apple.  It'll make a great scarf. 

Smooshy for weaving

(I love this yarn, and don't want to screw it up, so I have some not-so-loved yarn in the stash for the first project).