July 30, 2005


A little while back Mark and I went to the Feathered Dinosaurs exhibit at the ROM, and I was inspired to experiment with the dinosaur pattern. The exhibit showed us lots of dinosaurs that had primitive (i.e. non-flight) feathers, sort of like down, which were probably used for insulation and display. So I, of course, thought — eyelash yarn! It would look like downy feathers, right? If held together with cotton, it should work fine.

Well, I kind of like the result, and it’s certainly very soft and pettable, but I fully admit that it’s, well, a little odd. I’m not quite sure why I decided on stripes, and the addition of the eyelash yarn clearly changed the gauge enough to alter the proportions… anyway. I think we’ll keep this one, because I think it might disturb any parents we gave it to!

Tigger seems to like him, though:


And here he is in all his, er, glory:


Perhaps this experiment is better left unrepeated. Though the eyelash yarn might work for a teddy bear, or something intended to be furry…

Posted by Aven at 12:30 PM | Comments (4)

July 28, 2005


Elizabeth tagged me for a meme — one that’s not actually that easy to answer! Here goes:


Pronunciation Key n. pl. id· i·o·syn·cra·sies -A structural or behavioral characteristic peculiar to an individual or group.

Write down five of your own personal idiosyncracies.
Then, if you wish, tag five people from your live gerbil or friendslist to do the same.

1. I’m very particular about what cutlery I use — we have an assortment of cutlery, and there are spoons I will not use because they feel wrong — I’ll do dishes rather than use the wrong spoon or fork.
2. I feel very strange if I leave the house without earrings — even if I’m just going to the corner store. I feel no need to dress up in any other way, I just feel odd without earrings on.
3. I’ll always leave the food I like the best until last — or at least leave a bite or two of it to the end, so that I finish with it. When I’m eating sushi, it’s always a struggle to decide whether to have the salmon sushi or a California roll last.
4. I can perform almost any activity while reading a book. Not every activity — really, people! But from brushing my teeth to getting dressed to eating breakfast to walking to school, I can go through an awful lot of the day with a book in my hand. And I haven’t even been hit by a car while crossing the street reading… yet.
5. I sneeze when I chop onions — as well as cry. Every time.

Man, that was even harder than I thought it would be! I think I’ll only inflict this on a couple of people — and of course, you’re welcome to ignore the tag! But I’d like to see what Kathleen, Dani, and Laura have to say for themselves, if they feel like it.

Posted by Aven at 01:45 PM | Comments (2)

July 22, 2005

Weekend away

Mark and I are off to Ottawa for the weekend to visit family and celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday. I’ll try to do some knitting while there, so I have something to show when I get back! In the meantime, have a great weekend, and try not to melt from the heat.

Posted by Aven at 09:28 AM | Comments (1)

July 19, 2005

Pearls before Dinos

I promised a picture of Mark’s anniversary gift, didn’t I? Well, he gave me this:


Here it is open:


This was greatly appreciated — my jewellery has been in a state of chaos for a long time. I still don’t have quite enough room for all my earrings — at least for them all to be laid out and accessible — but it’s a vast improvement. And pretty!

Mark also gave me the bracelet below, to go with the necklace, which he gave me as a wedding present. Isn’t he a sweetie?


His gifts are always very thoughtful, and usually much more romantic than mine to him are. (As proof, this year I bought him a cutting board, wine glass charms, and a Cuisinart egg-cooker. He was happy to get them, especially the egg-cooker, but really. Romantic? Not so much.)

Oh, and thank you, everyone, for your congratulations. I do feel pretty lucky!

I also finished one batch of dinosaurs in time to bring them to Toronto Island on Saturday, to share with two newborns and a lovely girl who is turning 2 in a few days. I didn’t get pictures of the dinos with their new friends (oops!) but I do have one of the herd moving over the plains (our bed) before they left us; note that they are led by Bronty I, who is still with us.


Beware their thunderous charge!

Posted by Aven at 05:35 PM | Comments (7)

July 15, 2005


Just a quick note to say we’re off for the day to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. I seriously can’t believe it’s been 5 years already — amazing how time flies when you’re submerged in a graduate degree. But they’ve been wonderful years, and I’m looking forward to many, many more with my sweetie.

And today I’m looking forward, in particular, to a lovely dinner at a wonderful French restaurant (Le Trou Normand for Torontonians) courtesy of Summerlicious, a festival that involves many nice restaurants and fairly cheap prix fixe menus. Mmm…

Tomorrow I’ll show you the great present Mark gave me — though I’ll warn you now, it’s not knitting related. I love it, though.

Posted by Aven at 01:33 PM | Comments (9)

July 14, 2005


I still don’t have any knitting progress to report, and I can’t even think of any interesting controversies to raise. (Thank you, though, to everyone who left comments on my last post — it’s an interesting and evolving topic, and one that matters quite a bit to me!). So instead I’m going to feature not a guest blogger, exactly, but a guest cat. You see, Tigger has one particularly loyal fan (other than Mark and me, of course), Jean, who is always clamouring for more pictures. Down at the SnB last night (which was also a launch for a great new knit-zine — see Jae’s blog for details and pictures) Jean and I were discussing my blog, and my current lack of material — and she offered to send me a picture of her cat, Lawrence, to fill the gap. I’m happy to oblige, because it’s a great picture — we just can’t tell Tigger. He doesn’t like the thought of other cats in our life.

So, here’s hoping I have something knitting-related to show you soon — but in the meantime, enjoy this lovely picture of Jean’s cat Lawrence:


Posted by Aven at 04:16 PM | Comments (3)

July 11, 2005

Nothing to see here

I’m sorry, I have nothing to report. Still knitting dinosaurs, but slowly. Spent another day at the beach on Toronto Island — an even more lovely time was had by all. We actually started some packing — it’s a tiny dent in a huge task, but it makes me feel a little less panicky.

Oh, and I did have something I wanted to comment on briefly. There has been a minor flurry among blogging academics about this article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, which essentially says that people seeking academic jobs shouldn’t have blogs, because they reveal too much about the candidate’s personality and interests, and may be have a negative effect on the interviewers’ opinion of the candidate. Essentially I think this is silly, as well as revealing a slightly worrying lack of professionalism on the part of the hiring committee the author describes — why would you actually go looking for online mentions of your candidates, and read their blogs? Would you call up random family members of the candidate, and ask about distressing character traits? Or colleagues who aren’t listed as references? Those are both public forums too…

But I will say, for the record, that I have thought about this issue, since my blog is in no way anonymous. (I don’t really believe anything on the internet is truly anonymous, to be honest.) My policy is that I will not put anything on my blog unless I’m comfortable with the thought of it being read by
  • my mother
  • my grandmother
  • my husband
  • my colleagues
  • my supervisor
  • my students
  • a potential employer

This does, I’m sure, make my blog much less interesting than it could be. But it also allows me to enjoy the knitting online community without any anxiety attacks. I don’t avoid all mention of school or teaching, but I treat this as a public forum, because it is. And if any department wouldn’t hire me because I knit, then that’s fine — I don’t hide my hobbies, and wouldn’t want to have to.

On the other hand, I’d never put this blog on my cv, as some of the candidates mentioned in that article apparently did — it’s in no way relevant to my ability to do the job, so it just doesn’t belong there.

I’ll try to have actual knitting content for you soon, really I will. In the meantime, stay as cool as you can, if you’re in Toronto — another 2 or 3 days of this 40+ humidex are in the offing, unfortunately.

Posted by Aven at 05:16 PM | Comments (8)

July 06, 2005


We’ve just made plans to see various families with various new and not-so-new babies, so I’ve put aside the cardigan for a moment to do some more dinosaur knitting. Here’s Bronty II, being introduced to Tigger:


It’s cooled off a bit today, so Tigger’s happy to relax on the couch. When it’s very hot, as it has been for the last week or two, he has another approach:


Note the air-conditioning vent at the top of the picture… he knows where the coolest spot in the house is! Air-conditioning hog.

I probably won’t have anything but dinosaurs for the next little while… I’ll try to do something exciting in the rest of my life, so that I have stories to distract you from the repetitive knitting. But I make no promises…

Posted by Aven at 11:37 AM | Comments (4)

July 04, 2005


Canada Day was pleasant and relaxing — I painted my fingernails and toenails red, wore a white dress, and hung out with Mark and some friends who were moving into a new apartment at Queen and Spadina. We watched the Ontario Place fireworks from the building’s roof — the show itself was great, but almost as fun was standing there before the big show started and looking out over the city at the 20 or more small bursts of fireworks going on everywhere — from the big but distant displays all along the curve of the lakeshore, to the local fizzes in the small parks, the entire cityscape was sparkling with colourful explosions. It was amazing.

I must say, though, that I think I’ve been spoiled for Canada Day in any city but Ottawa. It’s just such a big deal there, and so much fun. Anatole, a long-time friend, has pictures of this year’s celebration up on his photoblog. They’re great pictures, and capture the celebratory mood of the occasion very well.

On Sunday Mark and I joined a couple of friends for a trip to the Toronto Islands. I’m always amazed that you can find views like this:


and a beach like this:


just a 10 minute ferry ride from the heart of downtown Toronto. For a $2 TTC ride and a $6 ferry ticket, we were able to spend most of Sunday lazing around on a beautiful, sandy, almost empty beach, listening to nothing but the wind in the poplar trees and the waves crashing, watching the sailboats drift over the blue water of Lake Ontario. Absolutely lovely.


I didn’t knit at all at the beach, but I have started a new project. I’m making a top-down cardigan (from Laura’s pattern here) with the other yarn I got from Dani. It’s called Higgin’s, and it’s a cotton/viscose blend. I’ve just started it:


It’s got little tufts of beige and white on it; I’m a little confused by them, to be honest, because they aren’t really attached to the yarn, so they come off very easily. Here’s a close-up of the fabric, including the tubular cast-on — a new technique for me. I like it, though it was time-consuming and fiddly to do.


And that’s it for now. It’s back to blazing heat here, so it’s time for me to turn off the computer and flee for the air-conditioned hills. Or something like that.

Posted by Aven at 10:53 AM | Comments (2)