Thursday, August 28, 2014

This Week...and Dickie Darling

- is Laura's birthday, who is 23.  Where did the time go?
- the weather turned humid and horrible.
-but who cares because it's the end of August
- I finished a pair of handspun/handknit socks in BFL/Nylon
This yarn was spun during Tour de Fleece.  I have more yarn, and will make more socks.

On Sunday, sadly, Richard Attenborough passed away. Many people will know him as the Santa in the remake of Miracle on 34th Street, or the old gentleman in Jurassic Park, but I want to revisit some of his earlier and most interesting performances. This was a man who was incapable of a bad performance and could creep you out as well as make you laugh.

Brighton Rock-
 he played the hoodlum, Pinkie, in the movie adapted from the Graham Greene novel. I have not seen the remake, but this is a realistic thriller, and Hermione Badley also plays a great part.

The Angry Silence. A dark and disturbing look at Unions, and what can happen when you don't follow the crowd. Pier Angeli plays his wife, and there is a small part by a young Oliver Reed.
Seance on a Wet Afternoon. Notice the nose prosthesis- he plays Billy, a man who wants to please his demanding self-professed psychic wife, who devises a scheme to kidnap a child, so that she can "help" the authorities find her.  Thus gain notoriety.  It doesn't quite go to plan.
The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom.  Richard plays the part of Robert Blossom, a brassiere manufacturer whose bored wife (Shirley MacLaine) Harriet, hides her lover in the attic.  This is one of my all-time favorite films, because it's VERY '60's, the house is exquisite (on Howard's Lane in Putney)- her Zandra Rhodes costumes- and it's also very funny. Look for Bob Monkhouse (as the eccentric Psychiatrist), Barry Sullivan (Dame Edna) as well as Patricia Routledge (Hyacinth Bucket).  The New Vaudeville band at the party is simply hysterical.
James Booth plays Ambrose Tuttle, her lover. The fantasy scenes are the greatest, and oh, it's just a wonderful, feel good movie.
And lastly, 10 Rillington Place.
The true story of a psychopathic murderer, who, in the course of a series of murders, kills the wife and daughter of Timothy Evans, and sends Timothy to his death by hanging for something he didn't do. As creepy as this is, the film was actually filmed in Rillington Place before they tore it down.  That site- Reel Streets is a gold mine- click when you have a few hours to spend.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of Richard Attenborough's performances, but some that I think are worthwhile. So sad to see "Dickie Darling" as he was known to friends, pass. He would have been 91 tomorrow.
Mrs. Blossom, wearing a giant paper flower.  Such style.

Have a great long weekend- I'll be fleecin'.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Perils of Boredom

It always happens at this time of the year. I don't exactly know why- but maybe it's years of being conditioned to new beginnings in September.  Not sure.  All I know is, I am bored, and that can be a dangerous thing.

I have always maintained that the dangerous people in the world are the ones who have not much else to do, and that's when trouble usually starts.  You notice it with teenagers and older people (of which I am neither).  Kids who have summer jobs, or a community center, or some kind of interest aren't normally the ones in trouble. With retired people, they cut the grass 3 times a week, and poke their snout into the neighbors trough, where it has no business being.  I mean, how much of "The Price Is Right" can a person endure before they go completely insane?

It's not that extreme for me.  I always have something that I need or want to do.  For example, I deep-cleaned the kitchen yesterday. Yes, cupboards, oven, drawers- now I can do some baking without having to move 20 things.  Conditions have to be right before I can enjoy the process.
Some of the collections are a bit crazy. I thought I had about a dozen Bridgewater mugs. It turns out I have 23. The cool thing is, she does limited editions, and very cleverly brings out new things. She is like a druglord- gateway mugs, and before you know what hit you, you've got teapots and butter dishes. It never ends.  Tea towels too- that's another one. Like crack. I look in Say Tea's window to get my fix.
I realized that I didn't show you my new Beswick sheep- my sister gave me the ram on the far right, but I scored the sheep family at an antique show. (I shouldn't go to these things as there is always something brought back.....). 

I have been knitting. Currently I am working on a Gnarled Oaks sweater. I originally spun this yarn for a shawl, but it's perfect for this pattern. So I spun up some more.

I am more than halfway up the body.
I made some bags that will hold a sweater's worth of yarn.  I have a boatload of bags, and am doing more.
As I am typing, I have a helper who is giving his thoughts on blog content.  He thinks it's time for a few changes.

Fleece out.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Trouble With The Trees

There is unrest in the forest,
There is trouble with the trees,
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas.

Rush- "The Trees"

No 10 on Tuesday, as the subject is "10 Patterns You could Knit Again, and Again".  Well, apart from socks and mittens, I very rarely knit anything twice, so I don't have anything to contribute there.  However, I am planning a knitting project for early fall, and it ties into my subject.

My backyard is really beautiful- not that I am taking alot of credit.  I have an amazing hosta garden, and there is a pussywillow tree, as well as a shade garden, and a small pond.  Not huge, but manageable. There are also a couple of ash trees that have died, due to the insidious Emerald Ash Borer.  Kind of a pretty looking insect, isn't it?  It has destroyed the trees, many years old, and the only shade I have in the back.

By the time we knew what it was, it was too late.  There are only leaves on the ends of the branches, as this bug hollows out the tree from the inside, robbing it of moisture.  In order to save them, we would have had to do something about it last year- last year they looked healthy.
This is actually one tree- a split trunk.  I am a bit more upset than I am letting on.  I am not the only one- there are thousands of ash trees that have died in Toronto, a well as my neighbours trees.  True, it isn't the prettiest tree- I like maples and oaks (pretty much all trees except for those horrid locusts)- but they are large, and majestic, and provided shade.  Well, no more.  They have to come down before they fall down. This is costing alot, both in terms of money and beauty.

So, because Autumn is coming (oh yes it is!) I am going to make a Gnarled Oak cardigan.  I think I love planning and putting together a project almost as much as knitting it.  I have ordered some oak buttons from an Etsy seller*, and will be using this:
I have most of it spun up- it's Fat Cat Knits BFL, in her Sugared Beets colour. It's hard to see, but there are deep burgundies, hints of gold and even sage green. 
The pattern is in this book, and it's the same author of "Botanical Knits".  I love any patterns that have leaves in them, and I have a collection of shawl patterns that feature them, as well as suitable green yarns.  One day I may even knit one of them.
Mr. Tino is happy that Tour De Fleece is over, as he is feeling somewhat neglected.

Fleece out, and give a tree a hug.

* I ordered some Larch buttons too-

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

So Much To Share

So the TdF is winding down. I have my last lot of singles to ply and I will be done. I think I will make some socks with this years yarn- but that may change.
 This is from my 2014 Fat Cat Club fiber, Hula and Bellydance plied together.
And this is BFL/Nylon Headpsin and Jitterbug.

I was sorting through my fiber stash and I decided that I would do a post about what fiber and dyers I like, and why I like them.  Four years ago, when I was a new spinner- I really had no idea what kind of things I wanted to spin, and who I should purchase from.  Not that I am an expert by any means, but I learned a thing or two since, and I wanted to share.  I am a sharer (no- not really)-

1. As you may have guessed because I'm on the TdF team, Fat Cat Knits, is my favorite dyer.  Ginny always has something new and exciting, and offers alot of bases. She also is wonderful and open to custom dying anything that you may dream up, as well as having an extensive choice of semi-solid colours.  Her Mixed Blessing clubs are wonderful, and usually have a theme.  I think this is where she excels- two colours that when plied become magic.  I have never been disappointed with anything I have got from her- and I have GOT ALOT.
Yes, that is one of Rubbermaids larger receptacles*- and this doesn't include what I have spun over the years.  I have also had the pleasure of meeting Ginny on a few occasions and she has a warped kind of humour that I love.

*what movie am I referencing? (it is one of our more modest receptacles...)

2. Next has to be Mary Ann at Three Waters Farm in North Carolina.  Again, always something new and exciting, and her colours are clear and vibrant.  I have ordered SQ's (sweater quantities) of her BFL and one is spun up.  She also works with Lynn Vogel and has exclusive colorways available.  If I won some money, and if there was any left over from buying Ginny out- I would head to Chapel Hill and do some damage.

3. This dyer I discovered early on, and I am in love with her presentation and colors. Into The Whirled,
(clever eh?) is from New York state, and I saw her booth at Rhinebeck (can't remember whether it was before or after the panic attack)- and she has become really successful. To the point where there is a waiting list to join her fiber club (classic and luxe).  I found a kind soul on Ravelry who sold me some of her past club colours, and I do buy the occasional braid.
I got these for a steal.  I want to hoard it all and roll in it.  (but I won't as it may matt the fibers).

4. This Etsy seller, Friends in Fiber is a very creative, as well as extremely nice. (Nice goes a long way in my playpen).  She does some unbelievable gradients, as well as some Autumn shades that I could certainly make room for.
5. This dyer has been around a while, and I am sure most spinners have some in their stash, or have spun with it. Woolgatherings  does some really innovative colorways, She doesn't however, name them, as many dyers do. She also sells exquisite undyed fibers, so if you are looking for a good place to start, you really can't go wrong here.
I am a fan of Polwarth and BFL.  Merino, not so much.

Next time, I will cover some other dyers that are not to be missed. This has all been in the interest of market research, and having a large stash is a public service. Ya.

I have been doing some knitting. I made another mousy.
This is Ice Princess Mousy.
This is before assembly. She has sparkly balls on her head.

I have started a Stripe Study shawl with my Georgian Bay Fiber BFL- and I was trying to think what the darker red pink reminded me of.

Remember those strawberry marshmallows? The kind that you can only eat a few of?

And I know you want a critter pic- this is my new pet bunny:
He's a baby that lives in the backyard.  I haven't seen his mummy, so I hope he isn't orphaned.

Ok- fleecin' until next time.

*answer- The Big Lebowski when they are arranging Donny's funeral.

Monday, July 7, 2014

My 4th Tour De Fleece

Tour de Fleece started on Saturday.  For those of you that are not familiar, it is an event that runs concurrently with the Tour de France, and you spin and rest on the same days as the race. It is great fun, and an excuse to challenge yourself with spinning.  The first 2 I did, I burned myself out, but I am setting a reasonable goal. Besides, when the weather is hot, what better than being inside where it's cool, and spinning some yarn?
Tino is my mascot. Howard eats fibre, and is thereby disqualified.
Saturday was gorgeous, and we went for a drive to Lake Rosseau.  I wanted to visit Georgian Bay Fibre Company, and I sure wasn't disappointed. Carla has a repurposed shipping container for her shop, and just look at all the amazing colours.
I got some of her BFL fingering weight for a shawl, and these pinks are limited edition colours for the summer.  I also got 2 braids of fiber- it is TdF after all.  They have a little Bichon, Tosh, and it was wonderful meeting them and seeing her setup.  Her colours are inspired by the landscapes of Northern Ontario- and Muskoka is truly beautiful.  What could be better?

 I finished some socks for Mr. Man.
 I made this adorable mousie- the pattern is here, and is alot of fun.
And  the boys have made a bed out of my basket that has my handspun and quilting projects.  I didn't have the heart to serve them with eviction papers.

Ok- fleecin' out for now.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I Don't Always Knit Socks, But When I Do......

No, it isn't Tuesday.  I have my car in at Volkswagon, and I am a bit nervous about how much it's going to cost. This may make a severe dent in my travel plans this summer. Oh well, I don't mind a staycation- gas prices are crazy, so maybe I won't need the car very much.

I cannot believe it's almost 6 years old.  My Rabbit has been trouble-free and I hope to have it until it bites the dust.  My dad used to keep his cars for around 10 years, but he was a contractor who used his station wagon as a tool chest/portable file drawer/and who knows what. You always had to wipe plaster dust off the seat, or worse, dodge copper pipe that ran back to front.

So, I've been busy. I have been sewing a ton:
I have added zipper pulls to the bags. Notice the wolf on the Red Riding Hood  one.
The little glass ghost on this one is so cute I can't stand it.
I don't always knit socks, but when I do, I like BMFA Socks that Rock- these are for FC.

I attended the last meeting of the DKC- soon to be known as The Toronto Knitters Guild.  There was a presentation by Diamond Yarns, and Westminster Fibers, distributors of Rowan.

They gave us a ball of yarn for Martin Storeys Mystery Afghan- which I think is done now.  I used to like Rowan before they were bought out, by Coats and I find, for the price point, it isn't always of a very high quality. The colours are nice (albeit discontinued at the end of the season). I know in Britain it is the popular brand, Liberty's sells it, but on the whole, the presentation is good, but be careful what you buy.

And I am gearing up for Tour de Fleece- I have some goals set, and am ready to motor. Or treadle, as the case may be.

Happy Solstice- and fleece out until next time

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I'm Ready for My Close-Up Mr. DeMille......

The 10 On Tuesday is 10 Movies You Can Watch Over and Over.

1. Sunset Boulevard- I love everything about it. Old Hollywood, faded stardom, a murder, it's got everything.
2. A Christmas Story, of course.
3. Black Christmas- made by Bob Clark as well and shot in Toronto.
4. Mulholland Drive- or anything David Lynch
5. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. Joan and Bette at their worst.
6. Death At A Funeral- the British one- too funny.
7. Howard's End.
8. Carrington- love Emma Thompson.
9. The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom
10. Any kitchen-sink film: A Taste of Honey, Look Back in Anger, Room At The Top, A Kind Of Loving, Saturday Night Sunday Morning.....

I've been sewing:
And knitting:
This is a free pattern on Ravelry, and I highly recommend the Rauma Finullgarn yarn- just amazing to work with.

This is what you see when you go upstairs- cats are everywhere.

Fleece out-

Monday, June 9, 2014

Waving, not Drowning

The Ten On Tuesday was favorite summer drinks- since I don't drink alcohol, and am pretty limited in my other choices, tea, water and sometimes coffee, it really wasn't post-worthy.

I tell a lie, because when I am sick, as I have been since last Wednesday,  I will drink ginger-ale, and juice. Watered down Five Alive peach- which I usually don't touch, but tea tastes crummy when I'm sick.  I wonder why that is.

All winter, except for a dry cough, I did not get sick.  It's almost worse having a flu/cold/who knows what it is, when it's nice outside.  So I layed in bed for a few days feeling sick and sorry for myself. I finished a book I was reading, which I can't remember what it was now- but before that my niece lent me
Empty Mansions, about an heiress named Huguette Clark.  Never heard of her?  Neither had I, but she was an intensely private person- and eccentric as many wealthy people are.  It seems the family is laying claim to her vast fortune.  She passed away at 104 in 2010.

I couldn't put it down.  She gave away millions, and spent the last 20 or so years of her life in a hospital. I found myself feeling bad for her, as her private nurse, attorney and a few hangers on, I feel, took advantage of a lonely woman.  Shades of Mrs. Astor.  Read this, because she maintained several properties and never visited them.  She also was a fair-to-middling artist, as well as a violinist who had rare instruments (one or two Stradivarius), and had a beautiful jewellery collection, that was stolen from her unoccupied apartment (one of three on Park Avenue).  Fascinating.

On the knitting front there isn't alot to report.  I have been sewing, as I bought a project bag a while ago, and I wanted more, but thought it would be more fun to make some.  I like this shape, and it holds quite a bit.
Halloween-ish, what else?  This is probably the second zip I have ever sewn, because I loathed Home-Ec class, and never paid attention. Poor Mrs. Miller- she had her hands full with our class- sneaking cigarettes in the sewing box room.
I'll be making some for gifts, much like last year.  I have some lampwork beads that I will attach for zipper pulls on some of them.

July 5- 27 is Tour de Fleece.  I have been doing a bit of spinning, and trying some new-to-me fibers.

This is Wensleydale- I won't be spinning this again. It's too rough for my liking.  I am trying Masham next- but I have to figure out how I am going to challenge myself this year.

That's all I have for now- not even a kitten pic as they are probably sleeping somewhere.

Fleece out.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Ten on Tuesday Randomness

Ten Things You Did This Weekend-

Our long weekend was last weekend, but here are some things-

1. On Saturday, we went to Christie's Antique Show.  This is held twice a year, and is supposed to be all antiques, but I noticed some other stuff creeping in. Nevermind, it was a great day out, and I got a few things.
A pair of hand shears for sheep.  I hung them up on the fireplace.
A vegetable picking basket- ash, from New Brunswick.

2. FC dredged the pond-
He cut back all the ivy and creepers in the back. I get so excited every year to see the turtle and the fish pumps.

Teal toenails......

Spun some Wensleydale.

5.Got this for Mother's Day- it's called a Living Locket, and inside are the birthstones of us and the kids.  And a tree of life.  I really love it.
You can add or take out any of the charms.

6. Starting to plan my strategy for Tour de Fleece, which is where you spin every day of the Tour de France. 

7. Caught up on Mad Men- I will be really sad to see it end, because it's one of the only shows I watch.
8. Walked with my niece and Miss Mew in the park on Sunday.
9. Did grocery shopping- whoopee.
10. Hung clothes on the outdoor line for the first time this season.

Also, last week I met a fellow blog buddy- Sel & Poivre- and she is even nicer than I thought.  Marie, it was lovely to meet you, and I really hope our paths cross again.  Say hello to Hudson for me.

The kitties are enjoying the open windows, as it's hot and humid for the next few days. Tino is piked out.

Fleece out-