The Shy Knitter

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Belly dancing, brioche and bitter cold....

Saturday night was different from most. Eden and her husband Mike asked Heather and I out for dinner (which wasn't so unusual) and then to a belly dancing event called Rak 'n' Roll (which is unusual). The idea is to have belly dancers performing to rock, and there was a wide spectrum of styles from Scandinavian operatic heavy metal, to surfing music, to the Beatles, to some really rocking tunes I have never heard before. The women performing were wide ranging too from perfect bodies with stylish tattoos, to more mature women with bodies that had gone through a bit of living. All of them were graceful, all of them were lovely. The tattoos were an endless source of fascination for me. The first performer, had a moth that covered her back and spanned one shoulder blade to the other. It was stunning and her performance was wonderful to watch. Almost all the other women had tattoos of various sorts, made me think whether it would be something I would do...I'll keep thinking for now.

I am happy, if not ecstatic to announce that I have finally overcome the brioche stitch. I don't recall if I wrote about this before, but I became completely befuddled by this seemingly simple stitch (YO, Sl 1, K2tog). I picked up some Camel yarn during the TTC Knit-a-long, and was confident I would be able to to do this neck gaiter (or warmer) that I saw in Interweave magazine. Well, the yarn over bit got the best of me and after numerous attempts in November, I gave it up. Knowing that sometimes it takes me a while to 'get' something like this, I picked it up again last week, ripped it back one more time, and then finally had success. I have over 4 inches on the circular needle (4 mm, with 130 stitches) and hope once this is finished I will have enough enthusiasm left to knit it in rabbit (picked up at the same time as the camel). Once the rhythm of this stitch is picked up, it has a lovely meditative quality to it that is different from regular knitting. I have one or two stitches that are out of sorts, but they are easily hidden by wearing the funny stitches on the inside (the actually disappear).

Remember last August we had that horrible heat wave? Specifically, August 1st I took a picture of our thermometre at 33 degrees Celsius. Well, it is 6 months later and we are in the depth of winter. It came a bit late this year (I don't think we had any snow until January 15th), but it is certainly here now. I don't have a picture of the thermometre, but the little weather icon on our desktop says it is -16 degrees Celsius and it feels like -28. That is a 49 degree difference in temperature from August (hate to think what the difference would be between the humidex then, and the wind chill now).

As it is so cold right now, Heather is struggling to keep warm in the house (we do keep it no higher than 20 degrees). She has also discovered the warmth of wool (don't know why she won't listen to me) and as such, I have returned the cashmere yarn I spoke of last week, and I am on the verge of getting new yarn for a top down sweater. I have never knitted top down, and it will be very interesting to see how this works out, and will knit it in Lamb's Pride worsted weight which I have never used before. From returning the yarn in my stash that I had no idea what to do with, I should have no problem paying for this yarn that I do know what to do with. Lesson learned.

Friday, February 02, 2007

School is Cool.....

Warning: no knitting content in this post.

As many of you know, in my 'other life' I am a library technician. What you may not know is that I have gone back to school part time (George Brown College) to get the Archival and Records Management Practices Certificate. Anyway, we all know that the best part of school has always been field trips, and last night our class went to the University of Toronto's Archives for an after hours tour.

Now, this was a great field trip for a number of reasons. First of all, U of T's Archives are located within the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library which is adjacent to Robart's Library. Now I am not usually a fan of concrete and glass type buildings, but the affect of this library was breath taking (the outside doesn't even hint at what is in the inside). An atrium looks up four stories and down one at walls that are covered in rare books. Railings on each floor have glass on the sides so you can see the books on each level. We were taken to the fourth floor, to have a look from above. I forgot that I have a bit of vertigo, and the fact that the aisles were probably no more than 3 feet across didn't add to my lack of ease. We didn't see individual pieces in the library, but they have a medical collection that includes such as Banting's personal papers and an original folio of William Shakespeare. Very cool!!

We then went to the top floor to see the archives which visually didn't have the same impact, but was interesting none the less. Items of note were U of T's original charter (which went missing for 5 years when someone threw it in the garbage, and a history student found it), Paul Martin's year book, an essay written by Mackenzie King (received a satisfactory grade) and the yearbook for Norman Bethune (it hinted he was headed for great things). We also had a look at photographs, maps and student publications that dated back to the early 20th century. Included in the archival holdings is a map worked on by a Canadian general seconded by the British army of Hiroshima after the bomb was dropped. It was to mark out the area that was affected by the blast, and had an accompanying report. The man who worked on this (I forget his name) was plagued by cancer after this time, and died of cancer in his 70s.

A fascinating field trip over all, and I can see why our teacher considers herself an archivist tourist. Visiting these places could be as interesting as going to various museums.