Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet...

As I write this the number and frequency of trick or treaters is dwindling.

It was a beautiful sunny day today and the temperature was forecast to go up to 19C. So I 'quick like a bunny' threw in a load of laundry to put out on the clothesline. We are on borrowed clothesline time now on the eve of November. That is certainly our bit for ecology. We're not quite as altruistic as it sounds. In previous times we'd just be called 'cheap'. It is remarkable how much is saved on our electricity (hydro in Canada) bill by using our clothesline from April to October. We also compost almost everything except meat and bones. The bonus is wonderful friable compost that Skip spreads on the garden every spring. Our municipality instituted a 'wet' (compostable) garbage collection program last year. About the only thing we use it for is paper towels and tissues. We compost everything else.

So getting back to the sheets - I will put them away for the winter as I have hauled out the t-shirt (jersey knit) sheets for us and the flannel sheets for Scooter. Cooler weather is coming.

After my workout this morning, I went out for lunch with Paulette - a gal I've known for about 17 years whom I met when we sat side by side in the front row of the Pickering Community Concert Band. She played the flute and I, the oboe. We navigated many life challenges together, deaths of parents, new love relationships, broken love relationships, etc., etc. Today we just picked up where we left off last time. We had a good chat - for the first time since probably 7 or 8 years ago. It was very nice.

After lunch I made my weekly pilgrimage to the public library to return some materials and selected a book to take to Cuba which had been recommended by a couple of gals at my knitting group - "The Birth House". I also poured over the knitting books once again, this time looking for stitch patterns that are factors of 24 for the sampler scarf.

Once home, Skip and I raced through supper and made preparations for our trick or treaters. We have an array of jack o' lanterns of various media: real pumpkin, ceramic and foam.

I finally took a picture of my 'cat o' lantern':

And this year's version of Skip's trademark 'vomiting pumpkin':

As the time change was delayed by a week this year, it got dark later than it normally would on Halloween. At about 6:30pm the youngest ghouls, princesses, super heroes and kitty cats began arriving. One young man, when looking at the jack o' lantern that Skip carved, noted: " It's barfing!". Yessssss. Once again Skip's 'vomiting' pumpkin made a hit. Our last trick or treater showed up at about 8:45.

Tomorrow is garbage day. As a preventative measure we're going to get up early and put out the garbage rather than put it out tonight and risk having it strewn around the neighbourhood by local hoodlums. Yes, even outside of The Big City there are hoodlums.

I was also able to make contact with the good people in Texas and reserved our lodgings for our month as Winter Texans. Yippee! I've always envied people who have had a condo to stay in in a southern clime and now we get to do it, too!

Tomorrow? November.

All Hallows Eve

I got my Halloween cookies made today. It didn't take as long as I thought it would. I also got my pumpkin carved tonight. It turns out Skip had already emptied all the guts out of it and it was ready to carve. I downloaded a template from the internet, printed it and used it to carve a scary black cat. It came out really well.

I started the Turkish stitch string bag with the Filati Carezza cotton yarn I bought in Guelph at Thanksgiving. It's turning out very well. I've got the body of the bag done and now need to knit the top and straps. I definitely will knit up a few of these for Christmas gifts.

Tomorrow I meet Paulette for lunch. I'll also drop some things off at the library.

We have decided to book the Southwinds condo on South Padre Island. I called and left a message today and will call again tomorrow if I don't hear back from them. We're going to be Winter Texans!!

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Ravelry - I'm In! And Blah, Blah, Blah

I lost this post yesterday when I hit a wrong key so I'll summarize and carry on.

I've been afflicted with knitting ADD lately. I've been trying new techniques and patterns - hopping from one project to another. I have done quite a bit of knitting, I just haven't finished much lately.

I thought I'd check out how far up the list I was to get onto Ravelry and what a surprise! I was already a member! I have no idea when I got accepted but I'm in! My user name is Geri (I couldn't think of anything clever and was afraid I'd forget). So, of course, I spent 'scads and galores' (as my late mother would say) of time searching projects for some yarn in my stash, looking at many people's monkey socks and starting to catalogue some of my projects and yarn. Man! I could spend many, many hours recording information on that site.

This morning, I met Anne Marie for coffee at Chapters (the Canadian version of Borders or Barnes & Noble). We drank lattes, yakked, looked at knitting and scrapbooking books and decided to go for lunch at East Side Mario's. It was very good. After lunch we parted ways as we both had stuff to do. I wandered back to Chapters to look at the magazines. I spotted a knitting magazine that outlined how to knit mitered squares. I couldn't decide whether to buy it or not so I had a good look and tried to memorize the pattern. I decided to knit a sample mitered square and used some left-over sock yarn. The trick according to the magazine was to purl the first and last stitch of each right side row. That way it would be easier to pick up the stitches to create the next square. Well now I'm hooked on mitered squares. I think I was also influenced by looking at the Koigu book "Knits from a Painter's Palette".

When I got home, Skip was in the back yard running the lawn mower over the leaves and garden debris to mulch it onto the lawn. I started taking the fabric top off the gazebo on our deck and then Skip helped me take the rest of the gazebo down. There's certainly more light in the family room as a result. Of course, in the summer, the gazebo is a good sun shade for the deck and family room. So that was one task hanging over my head that we got accomplished.

Another thing I amuse myself with is planning trips. Anne Marie and I are going on a shopping trip to Buffalo at the end of November. Some of today's discussion involved these plans. I also would like to visit my sister in Petrolia at the end of the first week of December and go for brunch with the retirees from the high school I taught at for 11 years in Sarnia before moving to this area. I'll have to drive home after brunch because it's Scooter's piano recital that night in Toronto.

Also, Skip and I are going to be Winter Texans this year! I've been searching for vacation rentals in southern Texas. Skip went to a bird-watching festival last year in the area and after that we decided we needed to spend some time there during the winter after I retired. A lot of the properties I've found have been rented but today, I heard from someone who had a nice 1 bedroom condo with a queen bed, and also 2 bunk beds and a pull out queen sofabed. The price is right so I think we're going to go for it. I'm still hearing back from other people I requested information from so will hold off booking until I assess all the information that comes in this week. It's almost a 3300 km drive to our destination so it'll take us almost a week to drive down. We're good for about 600 km per day but that's about it! We'll retrace our route to Indianapolis from last summer and then proceed in a south-westerly direction to Memphis, Little Rock and Dallas before heading south to our ultimate destination, South Padre Island. For years, I've wanted to spend a good chunk of time during the winter in the sunny south.

Back to knitting... Today I ran out of yarn on my Zig-zag Scarf from "Modular Knits. I need to find the other 2 balls of yarn so I can complete it. I haven't touched Mark's socks in a couple of days so need to get back to that. And then there's the sampler scarf to work on.

Tomorrow I need to bake the Halloween cookies I started on the weekend. I got to the 'chill dough in the fridge' stage and then got doing other stuff and didn't get the dough rolled out when Scooter was here. I'll take a bunch to Scooter next Monday when we meet him to go to the Royal Winter Fair.

Other things in the lineup this week: meeting with an antique seller at my MILs house tomorrow afternoon, lunch with Paulette on Wednesday and we're getting our flu shots on Thursday or Friday. Stay tuned...

And a post script --- I just heard a commercial for Rickard's Red (beer) to the tune of Borodin's "Polovetzian Dances". Good grief.

Friday, 26 October 2007

A Day in The Big City

Skip and I headed into The Big City today and met Lorna and Nancy for lunch at the $5 place (Sandwich World) at "The Lanes" downstairs in the Richmond-Adelaide Centre. Skip was impressed with the quality (mmm mmm good) and quantity (just the right amount) of the food. I gave Lorna her birthday presents as we'll be in Cuba on her actual birthday and I didn't know when I'd see her before it. Lorna, Nancy, Sue and I are meeting for lunch on Nov. 17th.

After lunch Skip headed to McTamney's and then to pick up Scooter after school. I headed to the CreativFestival in the South Building of the Metro Convention Centre. I poked around for about 3 hours. There were a few booths where yarn was sold. At Headwater Wool I bought 5 skeins of BBB Jacquard worsted weight yarn (50% wool/50% acrylic) in colour #9011 to knit a scarf - The Road Scarf. I had picked the pattern up at the Lion Brand booth but wanted to use a soft yarn for this sampler-type scarf. Headwater Wool sells Addi Turbo circular needles for about $12 which is a real bargoon compared to most other retailers.

I have started the scarf and like the feel of the yarn. However, I do not like the Mesh Stitch in the scarf - it is kind of lumpy. I'm going to frog back to before the Mesh Stitch and substitute some other pattern based on an 8 stitch repeat. I am also making the scarf 8 stitches narrower for a total of 32 stitches instead of 40 stitches. That is making for a 6" wide scarf. I'm using 5mm needles instead of the 5.5mm needles the pattern calls for. Heck, I may just frog the whole thing and use the larger needles.

After the CreativFestival, I walked back to Union Station and met up with Skip and Scooter to take the GO train home.

On the GO train trips in and out of the city, I got a lot done on the Zig-zag scarf. I'm almost done the first ball of yarn. I need to find the other one soon so I can finish the scarf. I like the pattern for a couple of reasons: it's very entrelac-ish, it's mostly garter stitch, it looks good from either side and the finished product is nice and stretchy. Manos del Uruguay Hacho yarn would be really good for this pattern, too.

Tomorrow the firewood is being delivered. Hopefully, it will be fairly early so Skip and Scooter can get it piled up at the side of the house and out of the driveway. Then they'll head into the city for Scooter's hockey game. After supper we're going to a friend's Halloween Haunted house.

I'm feeling too lazy tonight to take pictures. Maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Retiree's Get-Together

Today was the first time I got to attend the Retiree's Luncheon which is held twice a year. There were 24 of us. Apparently 24 people show up each time - not always the same 24, though. We met at the Mandarin Restaurant where there is a lovely buffet with many types of cuisine in addition to Chinese fare. It was a real gabfest and the last of us departed after 2pm. It was great to see everyone. I think the ladies should meet more frequently. I just have to think of when and where. I don't have any problem organizing it - I can get e-mail addresses and go from there. I will get together with Anne Marie for coffee next week. We are going to make a trip to Buffalo/Niagara Falls, NY sometime in November.

I haven't done much these past few days except work out on the treadmill and knit. I've been doing somewhat of an interval training routine. I alternate between an incline of 1.5% - 2% and a steeper incline. I do the steeper incline for at least a minute and then lower it again to the lower angle for a minute or 2. It doesn't take long for 30 min. to go by.

This evening I went to my knitting group. I started a scarf from "Modular Knits" using some merino yarn I had. There's a second skein of it somewhere... I'll need to find it fairly soon. It's very much like an entrelac pattern with garter stitch - like the garterlac bath mat, in fact. I also took the 3x1 ribbed socks I'm knitting for Mark but didn't do any knitting on them. I have turned the heel and am decreasing the foot gussets.

Tomorrow I'm going into the city to the CreativFestival. I got my ticket yesterday and saved $3 by getting it ahead of time. Skip is coming into the city with me and we'll meet Lorna and Nancy for lunch at the $5 place in the food court of 'The Lanes'. Then I'll head to the CreativFestival at the Convention Centre. Skip will go get James and we'll meet at the GO train and come home together.

Saturday, we're getting a big load of firewood delivered so we'll have to stack it sometime this weekend. Scooter has hockey at 1:55pm so that will pretty much shoot the afternoon. We are probably going to a friend's haunted house on Saturday night.

We got things rolling a couple of weeks ago for the sale of my MIL's house. She's not lived there since March when she went into the hospital and she's been in the nursing home since June. We've decided to get the place sold before the winter. It was priced to sell 'as is' and only took a few days to get a good conditional offer for almost the complete listing price. Today the conditions were removed so it's a 'done deal'. Yay! Now we will need to empty the place out. We've had some good advice from the realtor. She recommended an antique seller who can appraise the few things of value that are in the house. She also knows of a couple who will take everything else we don't want and dispose of it themselves. I'm sure they sell anything they can get any money for and dispose of the rest. We may go that route rather than trying to do it all ourselves. It would sure save us a lot of work.

Saturday, 20 October 2007


Our lodgings in Albany (Colonie), NY last night were in a very good location - near Romano's Macaroni Grill (see my tally on the left - scroll down) and Barnes & Noble. However, the Super 8 was a haven for university students. I'm not sure why they were all there but at 11:30pm - after we had retired for the night - a bunch arrived and proceeded to imbibe right in front of our room. Once I realized they were settling in for the night, I had to let them know that they needed to go into their room(s) as all of us were hearing their conversations. They did move on but more groups of kids kept arriving. I finally fell asleep about 1/2 hour after I put in my earplugs.

This morning we got on the road to Rhinebeck by 8:30am and arrived about an hour later. We were able to park very close to the main gate. Once inside the gates we headed for the yarn merchants.

Here I am with the mascot of the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival:

I bought some Lorna's Laces for sock yarn for me

and some other lovely green sock yarn to make a pair of socks for Mark.

I also bought a gauge for Skacel Addi Turbo needles because I have a hell of a time reading the sizes off the cords. I usually can estimate the size but sometimes I need confirmation.

For lunch, I had a simple hot dog but Skip splurged for BBQd lamb on a bun.

I enjoyed the sheep shearing demonstration. This very skilled shearer completed the task in about 4 minutes:

There were chocolate alpacas:

And of course, sheep:

By the time we left at 2pm, there were cars as far as one could see.

As we were approaching the bridge to get to the Interstate, I noticed this vehicle:

Here's a closeup of the licence plate:

Then we headed for our next destination, Syracuse, NY. We arrived at our lodgings at 5:15pm. Skip was excited that NCAA football was on and Missouri was beating Tennessee. We went for dinner at 6:15 to Pronto Joey's - an Italian restaurant we had eaten at 11 years ago on our first trip to Syracuse. It was right across the street from the hotel so we just walked. In our many years eating at Italian restaurants, we have learned that the portions are usually quadruple what a person needs to consume. Last night at Romano's we shared an entree and a salad and it was just the right amount of food. The price is correspondingly good as well.

This evening we again shared linguine with red (tomato) clam sauce, a Lebanese salad and a 1/2 carafe of Chianti. The warm Italian bread is served with a whipped garlic and chive butter. It was as good as we remembered after all these years.

One bonus about our stay tonight is that it is the free night redeemed from our Trip Rewards. The Days Inn is very nice and clean. Our room has a nice TV with clear reception and every channel one could want (at least 4 sports channels for Skip's enjoyment), a fridge, microwave and coffee maker (free coffee is available 24 hr. in the lobby). The lighting is good and there's a great desk for my laptop needs. We are happy campers, indeedy.

Tomorrow we'll head home. It's about a 4.5 hour drive and with a lunch stop will probably take over 5 hours. We should arrive home mid- to late-afternoon.

The scenery has been breathtaking.

I love the fall.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

On the Road Again...

We had a nice drive to Williamsville, NY today (a suburb east of Buffalo). It was foggy for most of the trip but the sun broke through as we arrived at our destination. It was about 15F warmer here than when we left home.

We stopped at a favourite discount sporting goods store (clothing and shoes). I found a pair of winter gloves I've been looking for for several years to replace the ones I have had for ages but are almost worn out. Yay! I also bought a treat for Lorna for either her birthday or Christmas. Skip bought a cool pair of thermal socks. He was reluctant to buy them because he didn't want to hurt my feelings but they had a really nice Nordic pattern so I encouraged him to go for it. I'll still knit him a pair of socks here and there.

After dinner at La Tolteca Mexican Restaurante. I ordered a tamale and an enchilada a la carte and tried a new Miller Chill beer with the salt and lime. Mmmm. I'm going to bring a case back to C-A-N-A-D-A. Skip enjoyed the burrito special.

We then went to Barnes & Noble but they didn't have any of the three books I was looking for as they're closing in a few days. A brand new B & N is opening across the street. I overheard the clerk saying they weren't even moving the books over to the new store. They were just going to be shipped back to the publisher. Evidently it is felt that the clientele will want all new books at the new store. Whatever. They'll all show up in a Half Price Books store I'm sure. It was disappointing to not be able to get the books I want. Hopefully we'll get them in Albany tomorrow.

At JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts I purchased a skein of Bernat Bamboo yarn (89% bamboo, 11% acrylic) in the 'wicker' shade to knit a teddy bear. Even before I got to the cashier I noticed fluff coming off it onto my clothes and into the air. I decided to get it anyway even though it probably won't be suitable for a baby's toy. I have the bear almost half done already. I modified the pattern by only using one strand of yarn and 4.5mm needles rather than 2 strands and 6mm needles. It should be about 8" - 9" tall when I'm done.

On the way here in the car (and waiting to clear customs) I cast on and knit about 2" on the second Jaywalker sock. Here's the first one.

And here it is as I see it when it's on (and a really good view of my bunion - sigh):

The light is better in this photo, too.

Tomorrow we drive to Albany and will head south to Rhinebeck the next morning. I hope to see Stephanie in her newly completed kauni sweater and also Rachael.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Getting Ready for Rhinebeck

I spent most of the morning printing out motel information and maps for our upcoming trip to the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival. I was particularly pleased to discover we could stay one night for free with the points we have accumulated with a particular hotel chain. Bonus!!! We folks on a pension like saving money any way we can. Then we can spend it on fun stuff - like yarn, for example.

Last night I started a baby blanket for one of my former colleagues who is giving birth in December. It is a simple diagonal garter stitch blanket with a yarn over after the third stitch of every row. I'm using Lion Brand Homespun (for its ease of washing and drying) in the Sunshine State (372) colourway. It's a nice, buttery yellow.

I wanted something that would knit up fast. I'm using the Triangular Shawl pattern from the Leisure Arts #4225 "Prayer Shawl Ministry" book. It's the same pattern I used on the triangular shawl I knit with Debbie Bliss alpaca yarn. I have at least one other gift to knit for another gal who is expecting in February.

While looking at the pictures (over 760) from the Facebook group, "Addicted to Knitting", I saw a bunch of cute teddy bears (among many other wonderful posted photos). I thought one would fun to knit so I spent considerable time this morning surfing patterns for them. Here's one I might do or maybe this one. I'm going to see if I can find a nice chenille yarn and will knit it tightly. I will look for some brown worsted or DK yarn as well - possibly wool. I'm wondering if it would work to knit it and stuff it and then felt it. I want the finished product to be washable.

One of the "Addicted to Knitting" gals recommended the book, "The Knitted Teddy Bear". It is available on eBay but when I checked my public library's online catalogue, I discovered they have it in their collection and it's in and on the shelf! Woo Hoo! I'll have to make a visit there next week. I love going to our library, grabbing a latte (decaf skim) at the cafe attached to the building and heading upstairs to the 746 section with my knitting in hand. I often spend a delightful hour or two, sipping my latte, thumbing through knitting books and knitting at my leisure. Man, I love being retired.

I have no idea what to expect at Rhinebeck except lots and lots of beautiful yarn, lamb burgers, sheep dog trials and tons of knitters. It'll be a lot of driving but Skip is game so all systems are go.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Catching Up

I've been pretty lazy about posting pictures lately so I thought I'd get caught up.

Here is a picture of the triangular shawl:
(I guess we can put the fan away now that it's fall)

And here's a closeup:
The pattern is very similar to the basic dishcloth pattern. In fact I'm going to knit a baby blanket with the same pattern from Lion Brand. I'll find some soft, chunky yarn to use.

In a previous post, I introduced Snorri, the bear I purchased for $2.99 at IKEA. I have knit him a second sweater - a more Christmas-y one:

Technically, it's not a snowflake but it fits the bill.

I'm also working on Jaywalker socks in Austermann Step yarn colourway 04 - blaunacht.

We just had a really weird thing happen. Someone called about Skip's Globe and Mail (our national newspaper) service and asked for verification of his credit card number. Skip awoke from his post-prandial nap to take the phone call and gave her the number. When he hung up, it occurred to him it might have been an identity theft. So we *69'd the number and called it back and it was 'no longer in service'. Yikes! When the person called, she didn't ask for Skip by name, nor did she cite the correct newspaper service. She didn't give her name either. So Skip quickly called VISA and had his number suspended. He then called the Globe and Mail to see if the original call was legit. After about 20 minutes, the Globe called Fred back and confirmed that indeed one of their agents had made the initial call.

Whew! What a relief.

So Skip called VISA back and had his card unsuspended.

Lesson learned, get names, get confirmation numbers, don't give out credit card information over the phone until you've confirmed the person is who they say they are.

This afternoon I made turkey meatballs and froze them in packs of 4. I then joined some of my former colleagues for drinks after they finished working. I brought a 'pesto amore' thin multigrain crust pizza home from Pizza Pizza for dinner. Skip and Scooter had just arrived from the big city.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Jaywalker (cont'd)

I didn't get going early enough this morning to go work out at the gym. I guess I didn't really want to go to the crowded one after all. I hope the floor gets done at the gym I usually go to. I did, however, do the obligatory half hour on the treadmill here at home with a hill simulation.

I knit some more on the first Jaywalker sock. It's a really hard pattern to 'tink' (knit backwards) if I make a mistake. I found it easier to just rip it back several rows and re-knit. I have turned the heel, finished the gusset decreases and have about 3" (7cm) of the foot done.

Chiminey Cricket came at the appointed time and has rendered the fireplace and chimney "safe". Goody, goody. As soon as we get some crisp weather, we're going to fire up that baby.

Today was the 2nd anniversary of the death of Skip's father, Archie. Skip first met the realtor up at my MIL's house to 'get the ball rolling' on the sale of the house. He then went to visit his mother in the nursing home. It was a good thing for him to do. Their visit lasted about an hour and was quite pleasant, according to Skip. I think it did them both good.

Tonight was the Sit 'n Knit at Kniterary. The regulars were there plus a new person (to me). I left just before 9pm to get home in time for "Grey's Anatomy".

I've been lazy about taking pictures. I got a nice one of Ollie today I wanted to put on Catbook (Facebook). I need to take photos of the Jaywalker sock in progress. Maybe tomorrow.

Tomorrow Scooter arrives for the weekend. He's growing up. Today he told Skip to meet him at the subway station tomorrow rather than in front of the school. I will likely join my former colleagues for a brew after they finish work.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Jaywalker Socks

With finishing the hemp market bag and the triangular shawl, I needed a new project to start. Of course, I still haven't finished the stained glass fan purse and a few other projects but I needed something fairly easy and portable to take to the Sit 'n Knit tomorrow evening. I have started Jaywalker Socks with Austermann Step yarn colourway 04.

I originally cast on with 2.25mm needles because there are 76 stitches in a round and I usually cast on 60 - 64 depending on the pattern with 2.5mm or 2.75mm needles. After knitting about 3 inches (7.5cm) I realized that the sock was going to be too tight. I also hadn't started the sock in a good place so it would have been hard to start the second sock in the same place. So I frogged it and cast on again at the beginning of a stripe with 2.5mm needles. It is much looser.

Tomorrow we have Chiminey Cricket (yes, believe it or not, that's the actual name) coming to clean out the chimney in preparation for the winter of burning wood in our fireplace. We also will be having some wood delivered which Skip and I will have to stack at the back of the house to really dry out. The old wood is already stacked and ready for us to use.

I've been increasing the intensity of my workouts this week. The floor at the gym is being replaced so the classes are cancelled this week. I'll have to go to the other club if I want to take a class but it is be really crowded. Instead I have been doing the 'hill' program on the treadmill and the circuit of machines. I'm hoping at some point all this effort will show on the scales. If not, it's a personal trainer for me.

Now I am going to vent for a minute. I don't like it when someone craps on something I like. For example, it bugs me if I'm enthusiastically talking about say, a movie, and the other person halts all conversation by saying, "I hate that movie". Or if I'm talking about something I'm interested in and the other person says, "That's boring". Or if I'm talking about something to do with my knitting and someone says that my obsession with knitting is 'weird'. Is it extremely bad manners on their part or am I just being too sensitive? Either way, what is it to anyone else? Why do people feel the need to criticize or make negative comments about things that do not concern them, things that have no impact whatsoever on their lives? Particularly things that give me joy? I'm just wondering... There, I feel better.

Finally, today is election day in Ontario. I hate the Conservatives - a holdover from the 90s and the Mike Harris regime. I come from a staunch NDP family. My Mom's family were very good friends with Tommy Douglas in Saskatchewan. In fact, Tommy, when he was Premier, walked my mother down the aisle when she and her sister had a double wedding back in 1946. It looks like the Liberals will win a majority government.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Giving Thanks

Sunday morning we drove from Guelph to the IKEA store at the 400 and Highway 7 north of Toronto. It wasn't that busy - surprising even for a long weekend. I bought a little Blund bear which we have named Snorri Sven Bjornsen. Skip looked up common Swedish names online and came up with Snorri. I liked Sven and bjorn is Swedish for 'bear'.

On our way home, we stopped in at Lorna's for a delicious Thanksgiving turkey dinner. Everything was done to perfection. I restrained myself from having third helpings of everything. After Skip's short nap, we headed eastward to visit my MIL at the nursing home. We arrived about 15 minutes before dinner. I showed her the wedding photos on my laptop. I think she was pleased to see them.

This morning I slept in 'til 10am. After rising I had a leisurely breakfast, read the paper and did the puzzles (Saturday Globe puzzle and Sunday Star puzzle). Skip barbecued chicken for dinner which we had with buttercup squash and corn.

Of course, Snorri needed some clothes so I designed and knitted him a little raglan-sleeved Halloween sweater.

And here he is amid our 'pumpkin patch':

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Family Wedding

Today we drove to Guelph, ON to attend the wedding of Skip's cousin's daughter. I guess that would make the bride Skip's second cousin. It was hot and humid today - perhaps even a record high temperature. It was a 'sticky one' as they say. The wedding was lovely in a beautiful Anglican (US Americans would say Episcopalian) church that had a fabulous organ and a very skilled organist. I could have listened to him play all afternoon.

After the wedding we had 2.5 hours to kill before the reception so after we dropped Skip's brother off at his office, we went to the Stitch Niche, a little yarn store on Norwich St. They had a very placid cat, Smudge. I purchased 4 balls of Filati Fantasia Carezza beige cotton yarn to make another market bag.

I'm still working on the hemp market bag.

Today in the car on the way to the wedding, I knit another little pumpkin in the 'curried' colourway from the 100% wool yarn I found a WalMart (who knew they'd have 100% wool?). It's called Georga wool and is mercerized. I'm not sure what that means but it sure is soft. I hope it felts nicely.

Tomorrow on our way back home, we're stopping into IKEA and then at Lorna's for Thanksgiving dinner.

I'm going to part with this little guy and give it to Lorna. My glasses are there so the relative size of the pumpkin can be determined.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

More Felting

I've been working on more pumpkins. I decided to do my own interpretation of the pattern I found so confusing and made two of the miniature pumpkins - one in orange and one in a mustard yellow yarn. This is what they looked like before felting:

I felted them in the washing machine with some dark clothes. The three orange pumpkins felted about 80%. Some stitch detail is still evident but I think that's as good as it can get with my washing machine. The other pumpkin hardly felted at all.

Again, I used red acrylic yarn to define the veins. It is cut and removed when they're dry.

The largest pumpkin was knitted in the round with purl stitches defining the veins so it didn't need any additional treatment.

I finished the triangular shawl last night and am back working on the market bag straps. Once I get the 2nd strap done, I'll go back and finish the body of the bag.

In addition to my 40 minute walk on the treadmill this morning, I vacuumed the house from top to bottom. I'm hoping all the sweating I did whilst vacuuming pays off.

We've been having unseasonably warm weather. It's going to go as high as 27C on Saturday when we'll be attending a wedding.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Working on another UFO

I'm 3 rows away from finishing the triangular shawl from p.32 - 33 of Prayer Shawls. I'm using Debbie Bliss alpaca/silk yarn. I'm too tired to finish tonight.

The pumpkin is still drying. It should be dry tomorrow so I can stuff it and sew the stem and vine on. I have the Lady Eleanor scarf to work on as well as the hemp market bag.

Today I booked our holiday to Cuba. It's a 4 1/2 - 5 star (by Cuban standards) resort - Paradisus Princesa del Mar Resort and Spa in Varadero. There are 8 restaurants (including a snack bar) and 6 bars including a swim-up bar. I've never been to Cuba so this will be a new experience for me. Skip has been there twice before on bird-watching trips. This is my first resort vacation as a retiree so we don't have to pay peak prices. The two of us will be able to go for the price it would cost one of us to go during March Break.