Thursday, August 31, 2006
I've been looking for a kaleidoscope for a long time now. I used to have one when I was young and recently was reading Just Enough where it used a kaleidoscope in a analogy. I finally picked up a kaleidoscope at the Japanese Cultural Center. It was from a table of crafts to benefit the center and it was very retro. My sister and mom came for coffee recently and saw it and remarked how it looked exactly like one we had as children. So, that's why it gave me the nostalgic feelings.
It's a nice reminder of change and it's also fun. The lovely images are all to quickly gone, but as it turns out, you can kind of take photos of them.
Just Enough by Laura Nash and Howard Stevenson: a thought provoking book about balance and careers and examines if you really can have it both ways. Makes one really think about what you really want and what to do about trying to get it.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Notice the soap dispenser and faucet are on the further surface and the closer side is the hand dryer. The product is designed so that there is economy of space. No extra dripping of water from sink to dryer so there is less cleaning in terms of maintenance around the sink. In terms of usability, efficiency and aesthetics, it's A+ in my book. Made me wish I was designing sinks in Japan.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
a stroll in downtown Toronto
Downtown is getting a bit of a make over for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). The lamp posts are getting painted and the front doors of the Intercontinental are getting fixed up. I saw on the news that Four Seasons is renovating their suites for the Hollywood VIPs coming up North of the 44.
I don't know if this is typical since I don't head downtown often during the weekend, but this past Saturday it was bustling and full of activity and there was the 'tourist' vibe in the air with people holding maps and taking photos and enjoying the overcast but not too hot day. I was joining them for the day. I met Patty for lunch and went on to run some errands and hang out. I even brought along the camera to make sure I get shots of some of my favorite stores.
- French Magazines and books. Yorkville St.
- In the basement level on Cumberland St. Nice place to get photo albums and frames. They seem to always have some great deals.
- In the basement level on Cumberland St. Paper and Stationery.
- Good breads and sandwiches. Quite pricey but a nice 'treat'.
- Pen and Stationery store. On Bellair St.
- On Bloor St near Avenue Rd on the North side.
- On Bloor St near Avenue Rd on the South side.
- St. George Subway station exit. St. George and Bloor Sts. A Museum of Shoes!
I don't use the transit as much as I used to in NY, but at least when I do use it here, I knit and get totally absorbed. Saturday, I took the sock on the transit ride and it wasn't until it was at my transfer point did I look up and RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME, was another knitter. She looked in her teens, working fast on something red. I couldn't tell what it was since she put it away quickly when the train came to a stop and I was so in shock, I didn't get out the camera for a photo. And when we were all walking out and I had my socks in dpns in my hand, she looked at me and I think she was in shock as well.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
1st baby booties
I've managed to have matched the self-stripping yarns so that the two are as matching as possible, but there are still some colour differences. I can't say I care right now.The second sock has a little flaw, but oh well. I'm happy enough for a first try. These socks are going to a baby of a Uni friend. Hannah, your socks are on your way to you soon!
Friday, August 25, 2006
Another use of Parsons Chairs
For knitters that is. I've always wind up my skeins of yarn into balls by ways of wrapping them around my knees as I sit in a lotus position. Sometimes that works, sometimes it's a tangled mess. This time around, I had three skeins of manos to prepare and decided to try something new. Worked like a dream.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Sofa Cushion Diving
I thought I had lost a big yarn needle in the sofa cushions so I went digging for them. Didn't find the needle, but did find a needle threader that I thought I had lost and this:
No idea where it's from or how it got in the sofa. Love how it's just like a fortune cookie and of course, love the message. In fact, I've met some dear friends through my stitching indeed.
And the needle I thought I had lost? I turned the house upside down looking for it, and when G came home, I had to ask him to keep an eye out and help me look for it. Of course, he doesn't know what it looks like, so I took out my needle case to show him one like it, and lo and behold, the needle was in the needle case.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
For the first time in ages, I found classes at the Creativ Festival (formerly creative sewing and needlework festival) that I want to attend. Fall Show this year is October 19 - 22 and I just signed up for some knitting classes on cables. Since I do enjoy cables quite a lot, I decided to go all out on it. I'm taking two different cable classes, one from Lily Chin and one from Fiona Ellis. Would be interesting to compare the styles of the two classes.
There is a large trade show floor full of shops. In the past years I've been more and more disappointed in the quality/types of shops at the show. I usually go to the show for the needlework (It used to be that I could only shop for cross stitch at one of these shows, but at least now, I can get to a store now and then.), but in the past years that's been down. So much so that they've changed the name of the show! I expect this time to be no different. However, being the knitting town Toronto is, I am hoping to get a nice range of yarn showcases. I do hope at least one or two needlework shops show up and I'll be entertained enough by the knitting and not be too distracted by the endless scrapbook tables. To be honest, I found it so disappointing that I've sworn off going to the show at all. However, some interesting classes will change my mind. I'm all hopeful again.
I'll report back in a couple of months!
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Crochet = numb thumb
I was staring down at a small ball of left over yarn. I couldn't do a swatch with it. There was very little left and I decided at that moment to pick up my crochet hook, and to teach myself to crochet with Japanese Books. I can't read Japanese, but the pictures should be enough. [Mind you, I do HAVE crochet instructions in ENGLISH.]
An hour later and I've got the basic chain stitch down. I could do a regular stitch, increase and decrease. It was going well. My right wrist and thumb however have become numb and tingled. It's NOT good. I had to put my play swatches down and rest. I figure I couldn't get much progress if I have nothing to work on, so I get out a ball of left over yarn and a pattern. The pattern is in a round and before I knew it, in my second session, I've totally lost track of where I am going around and around. My thumb was numb and tingled again.Me: I can't crochet!! G: You're such a baby. What makes you think you can sit down and crochet in one day? You have to do it a little at a time and build up some crochet muscles.
He then rubs my thumb until the feeling comes back. I rip it all out and will try it again. Maybe I'll find another pattern not in a round to work on. But despite the numbness, technically I did learn the basic stitches of crochet in one day. I'm very intrigued with the fact that it can create 3D shapes so easily.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Some progress at grocery store; or is it adaptation?
Crying over the lack of:
- Unsweetened silk soy milk (green box)
- Spiral cut ham
- ready to eat chicken breast
- Any decent meat at the local grocery
- Can't find seitan anywhere
- No skim that tastes like 2%.
- Light silk soy (even if it only comes here in one flavor in Canada).
- Spiral cut ham was spotted on occassion.
- Ready to eat chicken breast has shown up. Not as tasty, but I'm happy with it.
- Boxes of ready to eat organic salad
- Horray for Whole Foods, White House Meats and Pusateris for having decent meat and fish. We have to drive far, but at least we can get some.
- Unsweetened silk soy milk, not to mention all the other 'drinks and products'.
- No Cinnamon N' Brown Sugar whipped cream cheese spread
- Still no seitan anywhere!
The market is catching up and I'm adapting.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Holy Crap! It is faster! (and other discoveries)
Way back in the fall of 2005, when I was trying to teach myself how to knit continental from a book, I spent some time knitting at a Timothy's downtown without the book I was learning from. This was just when I had mastered the knit stitch and was going to tackle the purl. So, I decided that I was going to make up the purl stitch on my own. It was going to take some time, but I was sure I could figure it out. And so I did. Or thought I did, until I noticed that all my knit stitches were twisted. Then I realized that I was looping the yarn in the back the wrong way. Must be the wrong way, I told myself, or my stitches wouldn't be twisted. 30 minutes later, I figured out what was wrong and trained my fingers to do an awkward twist to loop the yarn the right way. I went home and checked the book and lo and behold, it was right. Hooray for me.
Fast forward to nearly 10 months or so later, when in a moment of having not much to do and nothing on tv to watch, I decided to learn combined knitting. I've been wondering about it ever since hearing an interview with Annie Modesitt on KnitCast. [She said that her first sweater was made in one weekend. G was so impressed that he asked me why I don't learn to do it that way and knit faster.]
I cast on for a swatch and after working two rows, one knit and one purl; and one more knit. I could be heard to exclaim: "Holy crap! It is faster!!" G chuckles from the bedroom since he also remembers me talking about how much faster continental is compared to English. But really! this is even faster since it saves even more movement! Purl row: The awkward scoop that I'm doing on the purl stitch is very familiar. In fact, it's the same one I made up or discovered back in the day at the coffee shop with my cup of coffee! Only this time, it was 'right'. The 'twisted' stitches get untwisted in the next row! Eureka! Then it hits me, had I not been so stuck on the fact that the 'knit' was correct, and so this way to purl was wrong, I might have been encouraged to fix my 'knit' instead of fixing my 'purl'. Might I have discovered combined knitting a whole 6 months earlier? In any event, my fingers have got to learn this new awkward purl scoop now. Practice makes perfect, and I might just knit the next project with Combined Knitting.
Another note: I'm knitting a swatch using cotton. Very unforgiving for learning. While there's been some gauge inconsistencies with continental knitting, [Yarn Boy], even in this cotton swatch, this gauge is looking good. Smooth and even. Impressive start I say!Resources:
As I said, the next skills were to be color work: Intersia and Fair Isle. Here are those impressions:
- Intersia is not as much fun as I had hoped, but the nice blocks of colors are nice.
- All the balls of yarn twisting and twisting on bobbins with Intersia drives me nuts. Part of the reason why I don't find it as much fun as I had hoped.
- Fair Isle is a lot of fun, but I think that's partly due to the knitting with one yarn in each hand that I now can do since I know how to knit both English and Continental. Now I look at Fair Isle patterns with new interest!
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Flour Poses for photoshoot
She was good enough to sit for me for a few minutes while I photographed her last week. Here are the photos.Here's a preview:
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
I decided that I'll start a new cross-stitch project after my big finish. With no piece in mind, I start going through the stash. At one point, G says to me: Just how much stash do you have? Me: Well, not too much, but enough that now I'm finish one project, I'm looking in my stash instead of heading out to a store. G: Are you saying that you've got as much as a store? Me: uh... no. Not even close to as much stash as a store. But there was that moment of panic, in case he'd say something about too much stash... In any case, I have managed to pull out every pattern stash wise. I've been tempted by many designs, but many, are too intimating to start since they are big. I try to remind myself that I'll need another big project to work on. But it's not working since the voices in my head is reminding me that I've got another 'big project' to work on. (The Sampler Gameboard).So, as of right now, no new start. ... I keep eyeing the sampler gameboard:
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Jenny was right, it was a giant Mirabilia.
It took I think about 5-6 years to finish. Granted, I put it down for most of those years. Since I put it down last week, it probably only had an hour's worth of work on it. Mostly in trying to find the stitch here and there that I've missed out on. Yesterday, when I was this close to putting it away again in fustration, I told myself to stick it out. I was done in no time, but I had to wait until this morning to check if I've missed any more stitches in better light. It was good. So, it was time to photograph it.Pattern: Mirabilia Savannah's Curtsy.
- Lessons learned:
- Back stitching as I went along was great. Saves from having to do too much of it at the end.
- Leaving sections of unfinished stitches or a missed stitch here and there to 'come back to' was not great. Most stop doing that!
Monday, August 14, 2006
Quick Interesting Reads
- Unleashing the Ideavirus. You can download your own copy to read. A great thesis on how to distinguish yourself in your marketing given how traditional marketing is so easily overlooked these days. I know these ideas really have been going around for a while and I've been slowly playing catch up.
- Purple Cow. To distinguish yourself from the market by being remarkable.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
I was so swayed by Chelly's comment that I started to look for a new project to start. I went digging in my oversized pile of stash to look for frames. This is when I saw an UFO. All it needed was beading, some back-stitching and filling in some missing stitches! It won't be long before we have a finish. The beading is going by very quickly.