June 29, 2004

Results

One more quick entry about the election, then I’ll get back to knitting, I promise.

Overall, I’m not too unhappy with the results — I’m particularly glad to see that the country, as a whole, is not ready to listen to the Conservative vision. I wish the NDP had held onto the 20 seats they had when I went to bed (at 1:30 am!) so that between them and the Liberals there was an actual majority, but I’m still glad they did fairly well. I am severely disappointed, however, about my own riding, where very strong NDP candidate, Olivia Chow, lost by 800 votes to the Liberal incumbent. It’s upsetting not only because it would have gained a seat for the NDP and sent Jack Layton and Olivia to Parliament as husband and wife, but because she would have been a very powerful voice for this riding and this city, and would have, in my opinion, improved both. How frustrating and disappointing to lose by so little!

Still, we may well have another election within a year, so we’ll see what happens next time!

Posted by Aven at 10:06 AM | Comments (3)

June 28, 2004

Election Day!

Just a very quick entry — today is Election Day in Canada. We may be heading for a minority government, though no one is sure of anything right now. All I want to say is, if you’re Canadian, Vote! And then settle in to watch the CBC coverage… Peter Mansbridge is clearly drooling over the prospect of election coverage in which they haven’t already called the results 10 minutes in, and there’s a reason to watch well into the wee hours of the night…

I have great hopes for this riding, but I’ve had my hopes dashed numerous times in the past, so I’m trying to prepare myself for the worst. Still, whatever the outcome, tonight is going to be exciting!

Posted by Aven at 10:21 AM | Comments (2)

June 26, 2004

Moving along

I’m done with the front of the maroon sweater!

brocadefront.jpg

It may be an odd shot (propped up against the mint!) but it shows the stitch pattern much more clearly than any picture I’ve previously managed to take of this sweater.

To celebrate I’ve started another pair of socks in Esprit, but I will definitely start the second sleeve by the end of the weekend — I really don’t want to stall on this project now! Not when I’ve got the silk waiting, tempting me…

In answer to a couple of comments on the last entry, lovage has a strong taste quite similar to celery. We usually use it in things like soups, stews, meatloaf and spaghetti sauce. I’ve never tried the seeds, but now I’m tempted — maybe I’ll leave a few of the flower stalks up and see what they produce.

And finally, since he hasn’t appeared on this blog in a shockingly long time, I’ll leave you with a picture of Tigger, sleeping happily on Mark’s lap while Mark grades papers… which life would you rather have?

tiggerlap.jpg

Posted by Aven at 10:36 PM | Comments (4)

June 24, 2004

Monster plants!

No knitting milestones achieved today, so I’m going to show you a picture of my garden instead. Remember the lovage I mentioned quite a while back? (No, you probably don’t — it’s blogged about here). Well, usually we cut back the flower stalks, since they aren’t useful and they take energy away from the leaves, which is what we use. But this year we’ve been so neglecting our garden that even that relatively simple job never got done. This is what those flower stalks look like now:

lovagetall.jpg

They’re taller than me! By several feet! It’s insane. I almost can’t bring myself to cut them down now — they’re so remarkable. Though the stalks are starting to fall over from their own weight, so for the sake of the plants nearby I really should cut them down.

Oh, by the way, I feel the need to apologise for my silk-hoarding — clearly that was a popular yarn! I promise to knit with it fairly soon, to prove that I will actually use it and not let it languish in my house being no use to anyone. Sorry!

Posted by Aven at 11:51 AM | Comments (4)

June 23, 2004

More Yarn

Silk!

silk.jpg

It just arrived from Elann. Lovely, isn’t it? I’ve never worked with silk before — I’m looking forward to this! The colours are Grape Tweed, Blue Slate, and Thundercloud. I think I’m going to use one colour to make this:

pullover.jpeg

It’s the Pacific Grove Pullover from Just One More Row. I don’t know what I’ll do with the rest of it, but I couldn’t resist the colours and the price. I’m sure I’ll find something!

I finished the second Esprit sock, and wore them yesterday evening, to soothe my poor little toe. Which is, by the way, getting much better — those clever doctors and their effective antibiotics! I think it will all be cleared up by tomorrow, though of course I’ll be taking pills until next week. I even got through yesterday’s lecture without too much discomfort, though I only filled two of the three hours, because I didn’t want to make things worse by standing too long (the students didn’t seem too devastated to be done with class an hour early in the last week of term!).

I’ve also reached the armhole on the front of Mark’s sweater, so the end is in sight… then one more sleeve and the finishing, and I’ll finally be done!

That’s all for now — have a great day.

Update — it looks like it’s a good thing I pounced on the silk when I did (June 8, I think) because all but three colours of the variegated yarn are now sold out!

Posted by Aven at 12:03 PM | Comments (5)

June 21, 2004

Toe Woe

I spent most of today in the Emergency room at Women’s College Hospital. Relax, mom, I’m fine… or most of me is. One toe is having some difficulties right now, but it’s nothing really serious.

On Saturday night I vaguely noticed that my right foot was hurting when I walked; by Sunday morning when I woke up the pain had localised to my second toe on my right foot, and walking was painful. Over the day it got worse, and I started to think I must have sprained or even broken my toe, though I was baffled because I couldn’t remember doing anything that would have resulted in such an injury. By this morning I couldn’t put any weight on my foot at all, and the toe was still swollen and stiff and sore, so I decided it had to be seen to. Health Services at the University doesn’t have an x-ray machine, so they suggested it would be best if I went directly to the hospital. Anyway, to slightly shorten an already lengthy tale, after sitting in Emergency for four and a half hours (and getting some x-rays done) it turned out that no, the bone isn’t broken, but yes, there’s definitely something wrong with the toe. (Though by that time my feet were so cold from the air-conditioning that the pain had almost completely subsided, and I was starting to wonder if I was imagining it all!) The doctor suggested it might possibly be an infection, though there’s no sign of a wound of any sort, so he put me on antibiotics and sent me home, where of course my foot immediately began hurting much more again.

So we’ll see what happens — I don’t know how I managed to get an infection without a cut, but I’m willing to try treating it, since I have no desire to allow anything to spread. I’m still fairly hobbled, and not looking forward to giving a three-hour lecture to a Greek history class tomorrow, but I’ll cope; knowing it isn’t broken does at least relieve my mind somewhat. (I was concerned about the level of ditziness breaking one’s toe without noticing demonstrates!)

Of course, there was one positive result of the otherwise wasted day — I got an awful lot of knitting done! (You don’t think I’d go off to something like that without bringing my knitting, do you?) I’m now almost finished the second sock, having knit most of the foot, turned the heel, and finished up to the cuff while waiting around. And I was praised by the nurse for having brought something to do so that I wasn’t up at the desk complaining about the wait every 20 mins, like many of the other patients. I might have been too, except that I couldn’t walk very well and I had expected it, so I wasn’t surprised at having to sit around for so long.

And that was my exciting day! Further updates as events warrant, but here’s hoping my toe does not feature prominently in my blog in the days to come!

Posted by Aven at 10:50 PM | Comments (7)

June 18, 2004

Sock it to me!

The first Esprit sock is done:

espritsockdone.jpg

And, for good measure, here’s a picture of it flat. This sock started off life as a toe-up plain sock, from the free pattern from Elann, because I wasn’t sure how the colours would turn out and I didn’t know if a pattern stitch would look good. I soon decided that the striping was a little boring, but I didn’t want to start over, so I finished the foot plain and started a lace pattern after turning the heel. I was torn between the chevron pattern from Elann and the Broadripple pattern from Knitty, which are quite similar, but neither pattern repeat was a convenient number of stitches. I ended up going with the chevron pattern because it was over fewer stitches (the Esprit yarn is thicker than normal sock yarn so there’s only 48 stitches in this sock) and added 4 plain knit stitches at the back to make the numbers work. But for the cuff of the sock I borrowed from the Broadripple pattern and continued the lace pattern while purling every other row, instead of switching to ribbing. Here’s a close-up of the pattern stitch and the cuff:

espritsockclose.jpg

I’m happy with how it worked out, but the next pair of socks I make with this yarn I’ll start the pattern stitch right away, so that the foot isn’t as boring!

That was a remarkable amount of detail about a trivial matter, wasn’t it. Oh well, now it’s recorded for posterity, or at least the next time I want to make socks like this.

This weekend my hope/plan is to finish the second sock and get some substantial work done on the front of Mark’s sweater; hoping to finish it would be over-ambitious, especially since we’re going out on Saturday night and so I will lose some important knitting-in-front-of-the-tv time. Still, I hope to have something to report in the next few days!

Posted by Aven at 12:19 PM | Comments (3)

June 17, 2004

Half Done?

I’m never sure exactly what the halfway point of a sweater is — not, I think, when you’ve done 2 out of 4 pieces, since there’s still the collar and the sewing to do. But I may have reached that point (finally!) on the King Charle’s Brocade sweater. I’ve finished one sleeve

brocadesleevedone.jpg

and I’ve done about 5” on the front. I know the pattern isn’t very easy to see in the dark yarn, and that picture was taken on a grey and rainy day, so if you’re curious, here is a close-up of the stitch pattern — but I warn you, the colour is completely wrong. Apparently the camera doesn’t like close-ups…

I’ve finished the baby socks and am now working on socks for myself from the Elann Esprit yarn I got a while ago. It’s cotton/elastic, so it’s a little different to work with, but I think I’m going to like the socks very much; they’ll be very snug and comfy. I should be done the first sock tomorrow or the next day, so I’ll post an FO shot then.

I’m sorry I’ve been posting so irregularly recently (because I know you’re all just wracked with disappointment if I don’t update every day!) but the knitting’s been going slowly and there hasn’t seemed to be much else in my life of interest. I spend large parts of my days at the library, I go to the gym, we make fairly ordinary dinners because we have no time or energy, and we haven’t been socialising much, so there’s not alot to write about. Oh, though we did go to a very lovely (possibly newish?) restaurant down on College St. on Monday — Gamelle, just east of Markham on the north side. It’s mainly French, with other Mediterranean influences, and while it’s not cheap (we were being treated by my very kind thesis supervisor) it has absolutely fabulous food, exquisitely combined and presented. I would recommend it to anyone who likes food. Of any sort.

I think that’s it for now — I’ll try to hurry up and finish the sock, so I have something to post about!

Posted by Aven at 11:55 AM | Comments (6)

June 12, 2004

Small victories

I’ve finished the second child’s sock, and they mostly match:

stripedkidsocksdone.jpg

I’ve also finished an adorable baby’s sock:

babysock.jpg

Forgive the silly shot — I was borrowing from (copying) the Yarn Harlot and her tendency to pose her finished objects in her garden; however, I think she does it much more gracefully and successfully. Still, it’s beautiful outside today, and while our garden has been disgracefully neglected this year (even more than most years), it’s still valiantly producing some lovely things. A digital camera makes taking pictures of such things far too tempting! Right next to the flowering thyme in which the baby sock was nestled were some newly-opened sage blossoms:

sageflower.jpg

I think they’re beautiful flowers, and they smell wonderful — a cross between sage and perfume.

We also have our first strawberries of the year:

strawberries.jpg

These are alpine “wild” strawberries, so they’re fairly tiny, but they’re delicious, and they ripen quite early compared to cultivated berries.

I’m almost finished the first sleeve for Mark’s sweater, so maybe tomorrow I’ll have another picture for you; and then on to the front. I hope it goes a little faster than the back — at least now I know in advance about some of the issues, so I shouldn’t have to do any ripping.

Enjoy your weekend!

Posted by Aven at 12:31 PM | Comments (4)

June 08, 2004

Mmm, yummy

No knitting in this post — this one’s for my sister.

We made a super-yummy, super-decadent dinner on Sunday using these:

morels.jpg

Morels! These are delicious, wild, gourmet mushrooms; they also share a name with my sister. But, let me hasten to add, although my sister is also wild and perfect for those with refined tastes, she’s a whole heck of a lot better looking. Still, I always feel a special connection with these mushrooms, and when I saw them on sale in Loblaws, I had to find something to make with them. And we did — Linguine with Asparagus and Morels:

morelsdinner.jpg

It contained loads of butter, cream, and parmesan cheese, and it was delicious. What a lovely taste of spring!

Just in time, too, because now it’s definitely summer here, at least for a few days; the humidex today was supposed to go to 37C, though I don’t think it got quite that hot. Still, it’s muggy and sunny and warm, everything Toronto summers are know for. Oh, and smoggy. Mustn’t forget that lovely aspect of big-city living…

And, of course, I’m celebrating by sitting inside at the computer. Perfect!

Posted by Aven at 04:10 PM | Comments (1)

June 06, 2004

Slow...

It seems like the current sweater for Mark is taking forever. Looking back, I see that it usually takes me about a month to complete one of Mark’s sweaters — but I’ve been working on this one since the beginning of May and I only have one completed segment (the back). Here, for the record, is a picture of that piece:

brocadeback.jpg

I’ve started a sleeve, for variety’s sake; I had made it this far, but then I realised that because my row gauge is off (I need to work more rows for the same length) the increases were too close together and the sleeve would be ridiculously wide around the forearm. So I had to rip back to the cuff and start again, increasing every 6th row instead of every 4th, and I still haven’t caught up to where I was before I ripped. At this rate it will take me all summer to finish this sweater! And I have yarn for two more sweaters for Mark, plus many socks for him and me, plus I want to do some knitting for Christmas gifts (which I can’t discuss much here, since potential recipients might read this blog). Oh, and a chapter or two of my thesis to write…

Oh well, it will be as it will be. As long as I have something to work on I’m happy. Thanks, by the way, to those who left helpful suggestions about the sizes of children’s feet. I think, judging from the comments and the websites I checked, I made the sock a little too long, but it may still work for someone; I think I’ll start emailing the mothers of potential recipients and asking for foot measurements!

This afternoon I’m off to volunteer for the NDP for a couple of hours, down at the Festival on Bloor; I hope it doesn’t rain on me! It’s been a beautiful sunny weekend thus far, but it’s clouding over now, so rain gear may be in order.

Posted by Aven at 12:26 PM | Comments (1)

June 03, 2004

Child's foot wanted

I need a child’s foot for size testing. Sadly, I have no current access to a child’s foot — or, for that matter, any part of a child. See, to finish up the remainders of the balls of sock yarn I decided to make some children’s socks; the pattern I was using had a child’s size, so I started happily working on the first sock in the self-striping yarn. However, I soon hit a bit of a snag. After the toe shaping the instructions tell me to work evenly for 1 3/4” less than the desired length of the foot. Which would be fine if I knew what the desired length was. But I don’t — and I have no child available to check. In fact, I don’t even know what age of child this sock pattern is designed for, so I have no idea how long a foot would be that is this diameter.

Now, the sensible thing to do would have been to post a query about this to my blog, since I know there are lots of sock knitters out there who know much more about this than I do, and who probably even have (or have had) small children, and could tell me useful things about their pedal proportions. But I was impatient and wanted to work on the sock right now, so I didn’t. I just looked at a couple of sock patterns online (most of which also said “work to desired length”, or gave an approximate length but no age information, or were worked in different yarn weights so I couldn’t determine the diameters easily) and winged it. Which produced this:

stripedkidsock.jpg

To my eye the foot looks too long for its width, but I really don’t know. And, as I said, I have no one to try it out on right now. In fact, though I intend these socks as a gift at some point, I have no idea what age of child they would fit, and so have no actual recipient in mind at the moment.

So I need help. The diameter of the foot is approximately 6” (measured flat it’s 3” across). How long do you think the foot should be? And what age of child would such a sock fit? Any and all advice would be much appreciated!

Posted by Aven at 11:44 AM | Comments (4)