Monday, September 30, 2013

Spin, Knit, Repeat...

Early fall can be the best time of year--warm sunny days, nippy nights, and few insects to annoy. The garden beckons. James and I spent Saturday afternoon doing some re-arranging.

The primrose foliage is turning a delicious reddish bronze.

The test knit of Petrova is now done, with sufficient corrections in the written pattern to prove that it was warranted, and the finished garment, minus buttons, is drying on the library floor. In spite of our warm, dry weather it's going to take a while. All that thick merino, silk, and cashmere is cushy to the feel, but also like a sponge!

Once it's dry, I'll take some photos of Isabel modelling it, and maybe she'll take some of me modelling mine, and it'll be ready for Ravelry.
In the meantime, I'm concentrating on trying to finish Zora in time for Rhinebeck. I've already spun up five skeins, each with approximately 150 yards, and I'm almost halfway through the sixth. There's something so uplifting about seeing my handspun drying in the fall sunshine.

To provide some variety (and make me feel as if I'm actually making progress), I've started in on the knitting.

I think I'll have to wear this with a red scarf, don't you?

Thursday, September 26, 2013


In an act of spontaneity, James and I took the Wolfe Island Ferry yesterday evening for dinner at the Wolfe Island Grill. We were walk-ons, and soon began chatting with the only other walk-on passengers on our side of the ferry, a couple visiting Canada from Tasmania. So interesting! She was a marine biologist, with time spent in Antarctica. The surprise for them? There's so much water in Canada. "It's like a giant sponge", they said, after driving down from Ottawa through the Rideau Lakes.
We met up with them again on the Island, where they joined us at the Grill. Then we got back on the ferry and watched the sun set over Lake Ontario.

Today I'm working on the collar of Petrova. I feel as though I've been knitting this collar for weeks, when it's actually been less than 24 hours. That's what happens when you're dealing with six inches of wide cowl-neck.
I'm already looking forward to the next project. You can see the colours in the lower left here.

Have I  been influenced by yesterday's sunset, or is it the result of the "Fiona Effect", after a night spent in Fiona Ellis's condo with orange walls and bright green skeins of wool?

Monday, September 23, 2013

At the Mothership

It's been a while since my last post, and I've been busy. First, there was my trip to Toronto to the DKC's fashion show celebrating Twist Collective's fifth anniversary. The trip there was hellish--the train that was supposed to take me never arrived because it was the one in the huge collision in Ottawa. We all got on board a later train, only to have it stop at Oshawa for a gas leak on the tracks ahead. At that point several of us grabbed a taxi and split the fare to Union Station, where I emerged into rush hour amidst a sea of people. Let's keep things in perspective, though. An eight-hour trip instead of the usual two-hour journey is way better than death or injury in an accident. And in a humorous moment, Twist's Carly and I linked up unintentionally on a subway platform, after we recognized each other from our photos. You can see photos from the show here, including Kate Gilbert's dad wearing my Sandridge.
I stayed overnight with Fiona Ellis (in her wool room, actually), and when I asked her where to shop the next day, she started off the list with Romni Wools, or as she calls it, "The Mothership". It's not beautiful, in the way of smaller yarn boutiques, but it's chock full of the classics. When I saw the wall of Galway in every available colour, all I could think of was, "Be still my beating heart!" I did so much damage at Romni that I had to have my purchases shipped back to Kingston. There's a sweater quantity of watermelon-hued mohair that's calling to me from somewhere in the Canada Post system.
Believe it or not, I took no photos during the entire odyssey to TO and back. Between hauling around my Twist sweaters in a rolling backpack and coping with the ocean of humanity on the TTC, I feel I did well not to lose my wallet, my glasses, or anything else critical.
Once home, it was back to work on the Petrova test knit.

This was taken before I united the sleeves with the body; I'm almost done the saddle shoulders now, but don't have a photo to prove it.
It seems as though fall is coming on more quickly than usual. The Boston Ivy on the old schoolhouse out our back window is my indicator of the stage of the season. It's now clearly changing colour,

 and the garden in front of Sydenham Elementary School definitely has a fall look to it.

Yesterday, there were students playing organized quidditch on Cricket Field.

Look very closely and you'll see them carrying brooms between their legs--very silly looking, but sometimes silliness leads to the best fun.
Today, Bill and I drove to Picton. We had our usual lunch at Miss Lily's, and stopped at an apple orchard on the way home.

Warm applesauce for dessert tonight. Yum!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

It's Easy Being Green

Do you ever get into a colour jag? I'm not sure why, but I suspect a lot of us do from time to time. I'm into green at the moment. Given that my maiden name was Green, and I have green eyes, it's surprising that I haven't had this urge to make green things sooner.
Tweedy, chunky green,

and fine, bright sock yarn green.

What you see above is the cast-on for a new Fibonacci Neckerchief. The yarn is Fleece Artist's BFL Sock. I'm itching to keep going on it, but am restraining myself since this is supposed to be my train knitting for tomorrow's trip to Toronto to participate in Twist Collective's fifth anniversary fashion show. The green matches the brilliant green of the Boston Ivy leaves dangling down at the top of our living room window, and due to be trimmed in the next couple of weeks.

Could it be that my current green obsession is because a corner of my brain knows that by next month at this time there won't be any green left, and I'll have to wait until next spring for more?
P.S. The only un-green thing I'm working on is my "Spinning for Zora" project. Three 100g skeins completed,

and a fourth drying after plying and washing this morning. That's a whole other obsession worth an entire post.  

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Yesterday was a crystal clear early fall day, cool in the wind, but warm enough in the sun--perfect for the Wolfe Island Fibre Fest. A good part of the fun of this event is the fact that I can walk out my front door, take a free ferry ride, and end up in a semi-rural setting in less than half an hour. Here are groups of people waiting to take the ferry as either walk-on passengers or cyclists.

Hint: if you happen to live farther than walking or cycling distance from the terminal, park in downtown Kingston and go as a walk-on passenger rather than risk sitting for an hour or more in the vehicle line. This is where you don't want to be. Not all these cars made it onto the ferry, so they ended up waiting another hour for the next crossing.

We enjoyed the view of the city from the water. The domed building is the City Hall.

 At 10:30 a.m. the lake was fairly calm, the water still a little glassy.

Wolfe Island has not been gentrified. It's a little shabby looking, but that's part of its charm. The low-key nature of everything there, including Fibre Fest is actually rather appealing. The Festival was spread out between several venues, all walking distance from the ferry and from each other. I visited the vendors set up in the town hall, where I purchased some pretty fingering weight alpaca hand-dyed in a soft grape colour from Silver Cloud Alpacas.
Hannah and her mother, Sara, were admiring the alpaca fleece and spun yarn too.

There were quite a few Americans at the Festival, who had come over to the Island from the U.S. on the Cape Vincent Ferry. Most vendors were taking US$$ at par.
After checking out everything at the Town Hall, I wandered down the main street, where some work was being done on this quaint and rather typical little 19thC cottage.

I arrived at Purlin J's Roving Yarn Co., set up in her classic fire truck,

and discovered that Briggs and Little has a new product-- "Lite and Fancy" handpainted soft spun similar in weight to their sport weight and also a 1-ply. It doesn't seem to be listed yet on their website. I bought a couple of skeins (240 yds each) to play with.
Then it was up the hill, past these glorious sunflowers,

to the United Church hall,

where more vendors had their goods displayed. At Anwyn Yarns, I bought some BFL sock yarn and Meriel, the owner, tried on my Harriet's Jacket,


which reminds me that I promised to e-mail her a free pdf of the pattern.

After a late brunch at the Wolfe Island Grill,

we (by then Bill had joined me) headed back onto the Ferry. On the return crossing, the wind had picked up and the lake was quite choppy.

That's Fort Henry in the background. We had a good view of RMC (the Royal Military College)  and one of Kingston's four martello towers as we neared the harbour.

I struck up a conversation with Nicole, who had been to the Island to meet up with friends for some paddling. See her two canoe paddles?

The conversation started over her gorgeous handknitted sweater, quite old and knitted by her mum. Unfortunately, she hadn't managed to link up with the friends, but she seemed to be enjoying the day anyway.
The bridge was up across the causeway to let boats through into the Cataraqui River.

On the walk home, I stopped at the City Market and bought a basket of apples for applesauce. All in all, a fantastically fun day.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Since I gave up the car a year ago, it seems as though most of my walking has to do with taking care of errands, and less of it is for pure pleasure--the downside of an eco-friendly lifestyle. Yesterday I gave James a list, sent him off to buy the groceries, and then walked out the front door in the opposite direction. I walked to the end of my block of Gore Street, then turned right onto King Street East. Join me for my stroll in the late afternoon September sunshine.
We begin at the Cartwright House. Remember, Kingston was the capital of the United Canadas in the 1840s, at which time it was the largest city/town in Upper Canada (now Ontario), larger even than York (now Toronto).  As a result, it has lots of beautiful British colonial public buildings, and of course, grand homes.

My walk takes me along the south (lake) side of the street. I stroll past a later Victorian grand house, immaculately kept up as a private residence,

and the Hotel Belvedere, built in the 1890s and an hotel since the 1920s. If you come to Kingston, this is THE place to stay, especially if you love Art Deco furnishings.

 I love the welcoming yellow door, which is kept open except in the coldest months.

 The building next door, now condos, bears this plaque.

The condos seem a little soulless, and desperately in need some greenery, in my opinion. I like the wrought iron fence, though, and it's not the only fence along the way. Some are completely covered with Boston Ivy,

while others still evoke the grandness of their Victorian past.

There's romance in these few blocks of old buildings, evidenced by turrets,

and stately entranceways.

The old city still carries the marks of a world sans automobiles, in the old mews tucked in behind the houses,

some of them now guest houses, some garages,

and large circular gravel drives (don't you just love the crunch of gravel underfoot?) This was a world where one could relax with afternoon tea on a hot summer day on a deep verandah with cool breezes coming off the lake.

The lake is omnipresent. At Simcoe Street, I pass the entrance to the Yacht Club,

while at the farthest point west on my walk, Emily Street, I catch a glimpse of sailboats, with Wolfe Island in the distance. 

I cross King Street East and begin the return journey on the north side of the road, stopping to enjoy the red and white blooms beneath the statue of our first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald.

I'll let Sir John A. have the final word.

And he did.