Some Stones Unturned

Knitting, Biking and Some Sober Second Thoughts

Archive for the month “February, 2013”

FO Friday: Coastal Hoodie

Coastal hoodie side view pockets

Two sweaters in one week. Now I probably won’t finish another one for years. Just the way the timing goes sometimes I guess. I really love it, although I do regret not waiting it out to knit it all in the same yarn, but it seems to be okay.

Pattern: Coastal hoodie by Tori Gurbisz

Yarn: Malabrigo Arroyo – 636 yards Prussia Blue, 319 yard Borraja (that gorgeous purple colour); Araucania Ranco Solid – 541 yard colourway 141 (blue), 114 yards colourway 146 (yellow green). I had a ton of yarn left over based on what I had calculated I would need.  I had about one skein left of both blues and the purple and there’s another entire skein of the lighter blue I didn’t even wind.

As I noted previously, I somehow bought the Araucania without realizing it was 75% non-superwash wool and 25% nylon so the sweater is not machine washable as I intended, which is a big part of why I wish I had waited to find all Malabrigo (=100% superwash) in colours and yardages I could use. The Araucania is a bit duller and fuzzier than the Malabrigo too. But overall they did knit up to the same gauge and you can’t tell from any reasonable distance, so mostly it’s the washing thing that annoys me.

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FO Friday: Aidez

This post is brought to you by the miracle of blocking and the letter A.

I know it’s not Friday, but I have paper corrections to work on and a couple of job interviews coming up and my apartment is a disaster, so I’m just going to write this up while I have a chance.

Aidez front view

You can see where I blocked a teensy bit hard on the front and it doesn’t quite fall straight down. Hoping it will even out over time.

I finished Aidez (or on Rav)! It knit up pretty fast. So fast that I actually ended up finishing it before Coastal Hoodie, which I started long before (I had to sew on buttons for that and lost my sewing needles, but I bought new ones and got them on and it just finished blocking, so once I have pics, that’ll be up too).  It was everything that was promised: fast, pretty, nice cabling but not overly complicated.

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Some Valentine’s Day Poetry

I’m a day late actually posting these and they’re no “Roses are Red”, but I thought I would try my hand at some double dactyls since they’re sort of fun.

Not to be one of those “It’s so commercial” people, but…

Higgledy piggledy
That great saint Valentine
Married some folks in the
City of Rome

Now we pay tribute with
Chocolates priced so high
I’ve lost my home

And with the help of some info from Wikipedia,

Higgledy piggledy
Reverend Valentine
Bound pair of lovers for
Life with a ring

Or it just might have been
Tales from Geoff Chaucer that
Claimed love’s the thing

So it snowed here



It snowed quite a bit actually.  And people freaked out.  And then other people freaked out about the people freaking out. Which I don’t really understand because as much as getting snow is a part of living in Canada, so is complaining about getting snow, at least in Southern Ontario for as long as I’ve lived there.

I myself am not much of a winter person. I’m fine down to about -12 and I’ll tolerate about -18 if there’s not much wind. I think snow is pretty and I like cross-country skiing but I don’t get much of a chance to do it. But for the most part, I just grit my teeth and try to outlast the winter, which hasn’t been hard the last couple years of non-winters, but is looking like it may be more challenging this year.

And as I was contemplating this, it struck me how the year is structured for people like me, with roughly one communal event or idea per month that we’ve agreed to to try and convince ourselves it’s not so bad and it’ll be over soon.

October I still consider fall.

November is typically when you get the first snowfall, so it’s still new and magical seeming and you’re not yet tired of putting on two layers every time you need to go pick up some milk or something.

December is Christmas or whatever your solstice-timed holiday of choice is, celebrating, as Doctor Who so beautifully put it, being halfway out of the dark. The sun is barely out, but at least the days will be getting longer, right?

January has New Year’s when you are meant to approach the world with fresh optimism, start some new routines and make some changes in your life to spiff things up.

February has Groundhog Day.  I know this seems like a stretch, but the very fact that news crews get up at 6 am and wander out to a hole in the ground where a guy in a ridiculous costume claims to tell you what a groundhog is thinking pretty much tells you how desperate we are for something, anything, to tell us how much longer we have to endure winter. I had a roommate from the Netherlands for a while and he saw Groundhog Day being covered on TV and trying to explain it to him was next to impossible:

“Why does him seeing his shadow mean anything?”

No no, it’s just a silly tradition.  It doesn’t mean anything.  There will be more winter regardless.

“Oh, well how do you know if he saw his shadow?  Do you ask him?”

It depends if he runs back into his hole.

“Won’t he run back in because of all the people around?”

Never mind.  This is too hard to explain.

I’m not saying this is a good “getting through it moment” for February.  I blame the February blahs on the questionableness of this moment. I mean, first off, the little guys can’t seem to agree and just taking a simple majority doesn’t seem to give reliable predictions. But even if it did, then if he does see his shadow you still have six more weeks!  But still then you know there’s an endpoint somewhere down the line, which is comforting when winter seems to be dragging out forever.

March is the time for the expression “In like a lion, out like a lamb.”  Or vice versa.  So either the weather is terrible but you remind yourself that it’s about to get better. Or it’s nice but you remind yourself not get too excited because there are still some cold spells to come so you should take advantage while you can.

And then April is spring, hopefully, at least if you live in certain parts of the country.

So currently still a month and a half to go. But we can do it folks. We’re, like 78% of the way out of the dark I think, if I did my math right.

Adventures with Sherlock Holmes and the Toronto Tea Festival

At the start of this year, I found out that the Toronto Public Library is renovating the usual location of its quite extensive Arthur Conan Doyle collection and has put a number of the pieces on exhibit at the Toronto Reference Library. I was a pretty big Holmes fan as a kid and even made the trek out to Reichenbach when I was in Switzerland.

Holmes and I chilling in Meiringen

Holmes and I ponder how to show this picture but maintain some anonymity

I have started critiques of several of the recent adaptations and homages for this blog only for them to turn into an absurdly long, disorganized mess. So Adventures with Sherlock Holmes seemed like a great opportunity to explore more Holmesian goodness. In particular, this past Saturday the library was scheduled to show Murder by Decree and tour the exhibit afterward.

I went to a local blog to see if I could find more details for the event, particularly whether tickets were needed, and I found out that Saturday was also the Toronto Tea Festival. How could I not have known? I was torn between two of my great loves. But as fate would have it, the Tea Festival was also happening at the Toronto Reference Library. So I hurriedly packed a bag and headed out earlier than planned in the hopes of getting as much tea festivizing in as possible before the movie.

And, well, I might have gotten a little distracted by the tea. It was fairly busy, but not bad by Toronto Festival standards (You could still move, for example). Although I often had to wait a while to get to the tables, I certainly managed to make it around the exhibit hall in a reasonable time, stopping for a few samples:

tea sample cups

I don’t live right downtown, but I get around enough that I was surprised there were so many great vendors I wasn’t aware of. Really this is my own fault for sticking with David’s Tea because they are in my ‘hood (with the occasional House of Tea side trip), but I guess they are sort of the “big chain” now, which seems so strange because I remember when they opened and I think they only had a few other locations in Toronto and Montreal and now they’re all over. Anyway, here are a few highlights from the festival. Read more…

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