Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Summer books

Ali asked me last night if I had any plans on blogging about all the books that I have read this past summer. I had been thinking about creating this list just to help me keep track of books that I have read. I must say though, I enjoy reading and do not write book reviews. If I don't enjoy a book I stop reading it and don't finish it. I will read books and reflect later that the story may not have been the most developed or was the same plot of a previous book by that author. However, if I finish it there was something compelling to me.

Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden: I wrote about this book already.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova: A historical fiction that explores the legends of vampires and of Vlad Dracul. It weaves the story of a 16 year old girl who finds a mysterious book in her father's library with her father's story of investigating his advisors disappearance that was connected to this same book.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde: The first in the Thursday Next series, take place during an alternate time line in England. Crimes against literature are occurring and it is up to the heroine, Next, to put a stop to the actions of Acheron Hades.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling - If you don't know the story of these books, I won't bother to fill you in. My only question is who dies in book 7. Rowling has said two characters.

Fox Evil and Acid Row by Minette Walters - Two very different stories from Minette Walters. She is normally considered a mystery writer, but these are not mysteries in the "whodunit" vein. Fox Evil is about an old widower in a small town. His children and the townspeople suspect of murdering his wife and want to terrorize him into confessing. Acid Row takes place in a subsidizing housing development during a riot, as the people are upset over a pedophile being transferred into their development. Walters stories utilize newspaper articles, and several narrators to keep the story moving, and to allow actions to occur on several fronts.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke: I am 2/3 finished this story, and I am enjoying hearing about the return of magic to England and how these two magicians rediscovered what had been lost. I must admit I have never read a work of fiction with so many footnotes. The book is written as a biography of these magicians so some of the footnotes deal with referencs others to relate a story that the characters know about but without breaking the narrative. When footnotes are longer than a page you wonder if there is another way to do it. That being said I am enjoying this book.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Unplottable House

On the weekend, we had several visitors (and very little knitting was accomplished) and we discovered that our house is either unplottable or has a secret keeper. When my cousin Steve and family came for a visit, they were on the wrong side of Kitchener when they called for directions.
My sisters, Sarah and Emily came for a visit on Friday with some friends. We live in Kitchener, Sarah was on the other side of Cambridge before she realized that she missed a direction somewhere. Their friends in another car kept having to turn around as they missed turns. Saturday my parents came for a visit calling for directions first (they have been here before) which was good that the directions they remembered were wrong. However neither of these compare to my brother in law. He was coming from Brampton and and when he was on the other side of Hamilton he realized that perhaps he didn't take the correct path.
Now, I understand that people outside of Ontario, don't understand where these cities are, so here is a map. With my BIL's positions roughly starred. That big blob of blue -Lake Ontario- I think he was trying to go to Buffalo, NY.

My husbands family has a horrible sense of direction, and my family has made fun of Ali's use of maps, he highlights his routes, always checks the maps before he goes. We always have well worn maps in the house and in the car. However he has never been this far of course and if it works...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A New Entry

We spent the weekend turning this

into this

Okay maybe this is not the exact door,
but my camera ate the real photo

Why did we make this change
The old sill

The new sill (you can get an idea of what the rest of the door looks like from this photo).

The old lock and key (yes you could get into my house with a skeleton key)

Now the front and back doors have the same keys, (you know what a house key looks like, you don't need a photo).

The storm door still needs to be added and some more trim around the door to hide the gap between the bricks the the rest of the frame. However most of it is done.

During this process we learnt:
  1. Just because you have a 32x80" door, and you buy a new 32x80" doesn't mean that there the frames will be the same size. We had to (luckily it was this way) build up the frame on the outside of the house, so you couldn't see the backside of the brick wall.
  2. Shims don't need to be tight to do the job, just firm. If you hammer the shims in, the door most likely wont be able to open.
  3. The opening in the house that the door goes into is not neccessarily square
  4. Check the weather forecast before you begin -installing a door in the rain is not fun.
  5. Masonary work is not easy, when we took out the old sill the concrete above it fell off as well. I don't think it was orginal to the spot. Our patchwork will probably fall apart at some point too.
  6. A small window (even covered by a curtain) lets a lot of light into a back hallway. In the morning the sun shines on the door, and when you enter you are blinded by all the white and then step into what seems as pitch darkness. When the sun swings around in the afternoon the hallway is fine.
  7. Our house at one point had yellow (butter coloured) trim. I am hoping this was just a primer or a base since it really didn't look good with the brick work.
Judging by how much insulation we put in around the door, and any gap we could find, I think the old door was going to be drafty. So it is good we replaced it this year and not next year.

We put the door in on Saturday and tried to get everything we would need at the home improvement store on Friday. However it still took 4 trips on Saturday, plus a trip on Monday for more mortar. We are lucky that we live a 10 min walk to the store. Although for some of those trips we drove.

I am suppose to be caulking around the door right now, but I have found out I am can't operate a caulking gun - the caulk was coming out the back. I don't think that is a good idea.

Friday, August 18, 2006

You spin me

You spin me right round, baby
Right round like a record, baby
Right round round round

I need to start practicing for Sock Wars, so I casted on for Conwy from KOTR, however this yarn was two splity and I don't think it would have shown off the pattern well enough. I thought of another pattern and when I went to Knitty this pattern jumped out at me - the RPM socks. I am enjoying knitting it. More photos later - this one is from a couple of days ago.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Mali Purse



Project Specs:
Needles: 6 mm Addi Turbos (US 10)
Yarn: 1 ball Quebecois from London Yarns and 2 balls cream yarn from Sarah's auction find
Pattern: Inspired from the Mali sweater pattern in Knitting Out of Africa.
Project Notes (aka What did I learn):
  1. The stranded pattern gives the sides of the bag lots of structure. I wish I had done something similar on the bottom.
  2. I figured out yarn dominance - and it is very important on which yarn comes from the bottom in two colour knitting.
  3. I tried different things with the handles - and ended up just continuing the side panel pattern.
  4. I knit back and forth on the handles - stranded purling is slower but can be done. Since the handles were in stockinette, the handles rolled in on each other - I really like how they felted into tubes.
  5. I should have made the flap 50% longer, however it still works, and just needs a fastener.


A Blues Song
By Ali

When you picked up them needles, baby
I bet you thought it wouldn’t take you far.
When you bought your first ball of yarn, baby
I bet you didn’t think it would make you a star.
But I gotta tell you somethin’, baby
You knit like Jack White plays guitar!

I know you tried to crotchet, baby
You even tried them little hooks.
You tried to learn sewin’ from your mamma,
But that machine really got you shook.
But when you pick up them needles, baby
You knit like Stan Lee writes comic books!

When my feet get cold, baby
You wool socks really do the trick.
An’ when my sister needs a felt purse, baby
Your fingers fly double quick.
Oh, baby you’re so good at kitting, baby
You’re like James Cameron filming the “Titanic”!

Oh, let me sing your praises, baby
In these silly little rhymes of mine.
And would you post it on your ‘blog, baby
Oh that would really do me fine.
The world should know that you knitting is magic, baby.
Like when Jesus turned water into wine!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

An almost FO

I finished the knitting on Sia's purse. It currently is residing in the washing machine, which may take two trips. I'll see what it looks like after the first trip. I learned about colour dominance in knitting with this project. At the bottom it was easier to hold the brown yarn in my left hand and throw the white yarn with my right hand. This however made the white come from the top and gave the brown dominance (single white stitches were difficult to see) after switching the white was more distinct. (It was also slower to knit). I fixed some of the issue at the bottom by threading white through the stitches so you can see the diagonal lines.
The purse relaxing before a trip in the washer.

The flap done in opposite colours. Also knit
back and forth in stranded technique.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Random Thursday*

*It was too hot to blog yesterday (computer is on the second floor of our unairconditioned house) so instead of Norma's Random Wednesday you get it on Thursday.

A beautiful storm went through last night, the temperature dropped 10C (~20F) in one hour last night. There was high winds, lots of lightening, and rain. Today you can actually breathe without sweating. A storm went close by earlier on Wednesday with hail and a tornado but did nothing for the temperature. I hope that this cold front moves and cools off the people on the east coast as well. (See I am willing to share the weather).

I was able to do some knitting last night, and I half the body done on the purse. I think I will have just enough of the brown left. The handle though may be done all in cream. My camera though is not behaving this morning so pics will have to wait. Her birthday is the end of August, so it won't be a problem finishing this.

Just to prove how much of a Canadian geek I am, I am looking forward to seeing Good Cop, Bon Cop, which comes out this weekend. The premise of the movie is that a hockey player (who else) is murdered and the body is found beside the sign marking the border between Ontario and Quebec. Depending on where the movie is shown, there will be English or French subtitles.

I just finished reading "Three Day Road" by Joseph Boyden. I picked this book up as part of the Kitchener "One Book, One Community" program, and can see why it was chosen. I was apprehensive at first, since I usually do not enjoy war stories. However I was drawn in It is a powerful story of two Cree boys who fight for Canada in WWI with only one, Xavier, returning home addicted to morphine. Xavier's Aunt Niska, picks him up at the train station and paddles him home. On the journey they share stories, Xavier about his friendship with Elijah and the war, Niska about her life, as one of the last Cree medicine women. The stories are an important part of the medicine that Xavier needs in order to rest and Niska feels it the only medicine she has to help him.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


I haven't been knitting much. The heat wave has taken care of that, when it is 9 pm and it is still 30 C (86 F) and you do not have air conditioning, the thought of knitting is not pleasant. There is a wicked amount of humidity as well.

When we bought our house, the previous owners left a long extension ladder under one of the large trees in the backyard. We decided to put it to use on Sunday to clean the 2nd floor evestroughs that were plugged. Since my husband doesn't like hights, I don't mind them, it was quickly decided that I would climb the ladder and he would hold it. After we extended the ladder, the locking mechanism on one side was stuck. We could push it open but the hinge was going back between the rungs. I pushed the mechanism into position, sprayed both hinges with WD-40 on the way up to clean the eves.
There was a suprising small amount of debris in the gutter, but it was positioned over the downspout causing the blockage. I cleaned it, and made my way down the ladder. We decided to pour some water into the eves, to make sure that the downspout was really clean (much easier to do something about it now then, to haul the ladder out a second time). My bucket that I took up for collecting the debris was filled with water, and I ascended the ladder a second time. I went a little slower this time, carring an empty bucket compared to one that is half full makes a difference. I was thinking about this when I was one step from the top.
All of a sudden the ladder slides out from beneath me, I grab for the eves (at the sametime knowing that they can't hold my wait). The ladder stops slidding, I try to catch my balace, the ladder goes a little bit more. At this time I am holding on to the eves for balance, and trying to put the weight onto the roof below me, (that is really too steep to stand on). One of my shoes is in the first floor evestrough.
My husband gives me instructions on how to get down. I don't comprehend what he says, my heart is beating too fast and loud. Ali mistakes my silence this for not liking those directions and gives me an alternative method. From what I get of the directions, they don't make sense.
The ladder seems stable, I ask what he thinks about it. I decide to slowly climb down the ladder. One step, second step. I am now on the bottom extension of the ladder. This helps, I am able to climb down. On the ground, I am able to ask what happened. The locking mechanism of the ladder wasn't quite in the right spot, when I was at the top, the WD40 had lubricated the joint well enough, and everything slid down.
I scrapped my shins, my arm muscles (and finger muscles) were sore yesterday, but that is the extent of my injuries. I thought I might get a decent bruise on my shins but not even that.
I have learnt a valuable lesson about lubriction of joints, and taking time to make sure that things are locked.