Saturday, May 02, 2020

Water Woes

There is more news about water in our area. Most of the year, it’s rather dry around here, with most of the rain in May. This year is very different – everyone is saying that all over the world – and spring was somewhat delayed. Then we had that snow in late May, and then we had that little bit of rain this week! I’m putting in a couple of pics for you; just some of the sights around town earlier: href=""> One house got hit by lightening.

One house got hit by lightening.
Meanwhile, there is still some water problems in my building. As you recall, it took much longer to do some minor repairs the other day. But last night, there was no hot water. Okay, so this has happened a few times before, and I know that the boiler lost its pilot light. Simple thing to fix, but when the maintenance person is already in bed, how does he know to go check it? So I’ve threatened the former caretakers that I will call at any hour of the night and let them know! She said it was okay to do that – however, we have new people now, so I wasn’t too sure I should bother them. And why not? You know, I think I should have hot water at midnight! I also know that we won’t have any hot water in the morning, so no shower. There wasn’t any hot water until about 10 am. I didn’t go to work, so wasn’t too worried about that.. a little annoyed, but I would have been some angry if I had to get to work by 8! I’ll let someone else complain. (Rent went up by 25% this month too)

I ran out this afternoon, took a very long bike ride on a slightly cloudy day, and enjoyed that trip. It was to a part of town I haven’t visited for a very long time, and it’s quite pretty right now along the river. It took about 2 hours, but was fun. Stopped for some ice-cream too! I got a really nice book on knitting T-shirts, and she also gave me quite a few knitting leaflets. In talking to her, she said she had some men’s patterns too, and gave them to me too. So it was quite an enjoyable visit and worth the trip.

Oh, and one last thing: Harry was in town too. I don’t think I will get to see him this time.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

New approach to socks

Socks are a lot of fun to knit. There are several different knitting techniques in the one sock, and each is relatively short, so they go fast. There is always something interesting to do, and you don't get a chance to get bored with any of it.

Except when you have knit several pair. Then they begin to get boring. So we look for doing them in a new way. We will knit socks from the cuff and down to the toe. And to add some variety, we will start them at the toe and work up to the cuff!

Cat Bordhi has a style where she starts at the heel and works towards the toe, and then goes back to the heel and picks up stitches for the leg and works upwards to the cuff. She also will sometimes place both gussets on one side of the foot, or even at the top! Anything to put in something a bit different and add interest to the knitting.

But even that can become boring as well. And so I thought I would do a pair of socks, but approach them differently, and do them in an unusual way. The only thing left for me was to start on one side, and work across the foot to the other! Well, why not?

These socks would be made as tube socks, just to keep them simple. Tube socks will fit most feet comfortably. These will be knit mostly in garter stitch because it is the most versatile and stretches in all directions. This will accommodate fit very well. In order to prevent any bunching up on the top of the foot, I decided to do some horizontal ribbing all along the front of the foot.

Using the blue yarn I spun earlier, I cast on for the length of the sock (foot and leg) and back again! Then I could knit the front and then around the toe and all the way up the back. I would knit as many rows as necessary for the width of the sock, and then cast off on the other side. To close, I would graft both sides of the row together, and it should be almost invisible!

Okay, good theory. Now, to put it into practice! That's always the hard part.

So I did a provisional cast on, so I could knit both sides of this row to do the top and then the bottom of the sock in one row. I would proceed in the same way all across the foot (top, around the toe and then the bottom and up the leg), and then instead of binding off, I would graft together the last two rows.... and garter stitch is relatively easy to graft, isn't it?

As you all know, things in theory don't always work out that well in reality! The same with these socks. I had to find the right cast on that would blend in with the other stitches to be almost invisible (in garter stitch). I finally found one that seemed to work well. The same with the cast off -- it had to blend so imperceptibly as to be invisible, and still have as much stretch as all the other garter stitches. I think I found something that worked very well. In fact, I found the grafting in garter stitch to be quite fun!

The most difficult part seemed to be to determine the number of rows to work across the foot. But once you have the gauge swatch done, it should be easy enough to calculate the number of stitches to cast on, and the number of rows for the size you want to knit. And then I needed to size them for small, medium and large -- as well as short, medium and long!

So here is the result. I show you the socks complete, and also the cast on row and the cast off row. I can't quite tell you which row it is, but I know it is one of them!!

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Latest spinning

i have been steadily spinning, but not posting much lately. About a year and a half ago, I found a lady selling some really nice alpaca and angora blend. I don't know the percentage -- maybe only 5% angora -- it doesn't take much to make a difference. There is only the slightly feeling of slickness, and just a hint of white in the fawn colour of the alpaca. It is lovely to touch at any rate!! I spin it all with my spindle, of course. When the big bag was all used up, I plyed it and got three skeins of it. Of course, it had to be very fine! Well, that's what it wanted to be! The fibre is so soft and fine, the singles were really very fine... almost could not see it sometimes .. and the final yarn was just very fine. I didn't know what I was going to do with it! So here are some pics of the yarns I spun up. That is a dime under the yarn -- just for comparison.
Then I went back to her and bought another big bag of the stuff. And then spent a few months spinning it. I had so much fun with it! It is really nice stuff!
And then earlier this spring, I went to her again, but she didn't have any blended. So I just bought a big bag of straight alpaca. It's nice enough as it is. I spun it up as well.
I have no idea why I do these things... the yarn is much too fine for any practical purpose. But something will come up.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Tomato update

The growing season is so short in my part of the world. Winter is upon us. But I thought I should give you an update to my tomato saga

As it was getting colder, I knew it was time to get the plants inside, or to just reap the harvest I could, and let them go. They were doing so well! I hated to just throw them out, so decided I would take one of them in over winter, and the others would have to suffer in the cold. I just do not have the space to take them all in!

 I pulled in one pot -- well, actually, two pots -- and watched the other ones. Eventually, I did make space for the others, and took them all inside. I was moving to a new apartment, so there was additional space!!

 The little green balls that had formed grew a little, and then in the warm inside, they began to turn colour. First, a slight yellow, then orange, and finally to a bright red! It was so fun to watch it all happen! Here are some:
Now the odd thing is that some of the very tiny green balls just didn't grow much at all! They stayed as they were -- but ripened nonetheless! So I had these very tiny little red tomatoes!! They were so cute, but I was slightly disappointed that they hadn't reached their full potential. Maybe it was the sudden warm that caused them to ripen too fast.
It is so surprising how many little tomatoes I got off one plant! I was worried in the beginning that there weren't any, but then had more than I could handle. I did take that dish up for the lady that gave me the plants -- she said there was too much -- but they were coming at me left and right! No wonder gardeners are always giving away much of their produce!

 But now, the plants have decided they have done enough, and have stopped growing, and have dried up their leaves, and they are done. The remaining tomatoes are all red now, still on the plant -- I thought they would be better off there than if I picked them off -- and the season is over. There won't be anything remaining over winter. I did save some seeds and will plant them about February so they have a head start. It takes a long time for them to grow into flowering plants, and I want them all ready to go as soon as it warms up in spring. AND this time I will know to do the sex thing early on, and I should have lots more tomatoes all summer! Should is the key word.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Sex on My Balcony

[this will get your attention]

Yes, there was sex happening on MY balcony, and I don't mind admitting it. But there is a good reason for it, and I will tell you the whole story.

It all started about a couple of months ago. As you may know, since I do not subscribe to any internet service, I can access free wi-fi in the lobby of my apartment building. This is a service provided by one of the major internet and cable companies in the city. They have set up 'hot spots' throughout the downtown core, and the public libraries and other such gathering places.

So I go down and sit in the lobby at various times of the day to check on emails, and to surf the web, or to download television shows to watch later at home. Many of the residents have seen me and a few will nod a greeting or some will actually say hello to me. I have not spoken to any of them, but we now recognize each other. I am down there at all hours of the day -- or night -- and many of them wonder why I am there all the time! (No one will ask me) And no, I don't wok for the management company.

One day, a nice older lady stopped to ask me something about the managers in the building. She had seen me a few times there, and thought I knew more about them than I did. But she had a few concerns that were not being addressed, and I offered some advice. She liked to talk! We covered so many topics!

Then a few days later, she stopped again, and told me about her poor tomatoes on her balcony. She is on the north side, I am on the south. I had mentioned once that I had hoped to have a few tomatoes on the balcony, but didn't get any yet. So she suggested that I take these plants from her and put them on my balcony because they were so very unhappy on her side of the building. And what could I say?

Well, the tomatoes are very happy to be on my balcony in the full south sun. They are growing very well, and bushy, and producing lots of flowers. There were a few small tomatoes already formed, and they have turned red. I took the first four to her, and she was very happy with them. I had a couple myself. Very good!!

However, I could not see any more little green tomatoes being formed. Now, as you may know, all plants put out flowers, and need to be pollinated to produce seeds -- and fruit to cover those seeds. Since I am so high up, there are no flies or bees buzzing about to pollinate these flowers, so nothing is being formed. That is where I come in.

Research has shown me that tomatoes are self-pollinating. But results are better if they are. I made myself a little brush (I do have a bit of wool around the place!) and have gone out on the balcony, brushing each and every flower with my brush. This is to spread the pollen (a yellow powder) from flower to flower. This is what the bees do when they suck up the nectar each flower produces. They get the pollen on their legs. They also take the pollen back to their hive, and produce food from it.

I was performing the role of the bees in my little balcony garden. So that was the sex that was happening on my balcony. What were you thinking?? Good grief!! You have such dirty minds!

The results? Well, for several days and weeks following this event, I kept checking to see if any little tomatoes are forming. Nothing. I dutifully go out almost every day going from flower to flower, like a busy bee, doing my job. Nothing.

But yesterday, as I was going around from flower to flower, I did find one little green round shape where a flower was. And then another! So it WAS working after all! I was so very happy!! It's the little things in life that really get me all excited! And then, on a lower branch, I find the whole flower stem full of little tomatoes! You may not know this, but each flower stem branches out to about six stems with a flower on each end. You might find them sold in the stores as "tomatoes on the vine". And I had my own!!

Oh, this pleases me no end! Those of us working close to nature realize that sex is a necessary part of the continuation of the species. In order for us to have any food being produced, there needs to be sex first. The apple growers are finding a big problem today because there are very few bees anymore. All the farmers are saying this... there aren't any bees around to pollinate their crops; and this will be reflected in the amount of produce we find in the stores -- and of course, the prices!

Gee, I haven't posted anything in here for a long time! I have been too busy doing things to tell you about it. Gotta get down to that too one day.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Dollar Store

One of my favourite things to use for spinning is my CD spindle. It sits beside my chair and is always ready to go. I have a bit of things I am working on right now, as well as on my wheel, which is also sitting in front of my chair. I can put on a movie, or some music, and work away at whatever I want at the moment. Often, I change from one to another.

But the rubber grommet holding the CD is quite old and has dried out, and doesn't grip as well anymore. Time to get a new one! I did buy a couple some time ago, but in my recent move, I don't know where they are now. So on Sunday, I made the long trip to Lowe's Home Improvements to find a few more.

I took the bus to Sunridge Mall where they are supposed to be, but I couldn't find it. I walked and walked, and finally saw a RONA store -- way over there!. It was incredibly windy! Once in thee store, I wandered the aisles (and you know they have hundreds of aisles!) and couldn't find what I needed. I came close to some rubber washers in the plumbing section, but they weren't the right ones. I asked one of the helpful customer service people (who didn't know what I was talking about), but an older man told me it was in aisle 42 -- at the other end of the store! Again, I walked all the way down there, found a man in that section, who showed me something that was not at all what I wanted. (Doesn't anyone working there know what a grommet is??) Then another man told me they are in aisle 13 -- at the other end of the store. So I wandered all the way down there, and found nothing. I could not believe that a store supplying home repair items would not have this essential electrical gadget! Unbelieveable!!

Then on the way back to the train station, I passed through the mall, and came across Dollar World, and thought I would stop in to see if there was something in there I could use. Of course, it only carries junk, and didn't have anything like this. I looked for some yarn, and could not find any. But I did find some interesting potato chips, shaped like french fries. And then I saw some batteries, and I needed some for my camera.

Those chips were disgusting! They were kind of bitter-tasting -- the salt didn't mask that! I learned later they were very old and rancid. I couldn't not find a "best before" date on the package -- something I rarely check, but will from now on.

I got home and excitedly opened the package with the batteries, only to find they were the wrong kind. They don't work in my camera! Bummer! Who knew?!

So the next day, I took the train again back to that store (it's quite a long trip) to return these batteries. Of course, they won't take them back. He said it is opened so they can't accept them! Can you believe that?? Of course it was opened -- how was I to know they were the wrong kind?!? What a rip-off!

This is not the first time I have experienced this in these dollar stores. I have learned that they only carry junk and sell out-dated items to unsuspecting Canadians. These new-comers don't yet have the Canadian trait of fair-play and honesty. So they have no hesitation in selling useless, expired goods at far over-inflated prices!

My advice to you is never shop at any dollar store! Especially don't go to Dollar World at Sunridge Mall. Everything they sell is old, out-dated, and over-priced junk. The only people that seem to shop there are low-income, and aren't aware that they are being ripped off by these people. If anyone wants these old batteries, you can get them for cheap. Just let me know.

So I will find another store that has these grommets, and restore my spindle to its proper working condition. In the meantime, I am working on some cotton on my wheel!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Acer Update

Here is the latest scoop on the ailing ACER computer. As you know, I sent it back to headquarters, as I was told to do, to see if they can repair it while the warranty still was in effect. The darn 'puter just stopped working one day, exactly 6 months after being purchased!

So I waited and waited and waited to hear from them. Nothing. I was getting worried, and thought about contacting them in some way to see what happened. I was sure it "got lost" somewhere and I had nothing now!

But one day, there a package arrived in the mail! I recognized the size of the box, and since no one else was sending me anything, I knew what it was. I was excited to finally have my computer back again!

The package was sent to me on an ovenight service... and it took 20 days to get to me! Yes, can't depend on good service these days!

I anxiously opened it up and read the note that said they checked it all out, and it works just fine, they don't know what was wrong with it! Well, how about that?! Maybe a good shaking up in the mail system is all it needed.

I pushed the on button, and waited to see my familiar screen present itself... except it didn't. It can't boot up. There is something drastically wrong, and NOTHING appears on the screen, except a note saying it can't boot up. So I have no idea what ACER is trying to tell me... but it DOES NOT work!!

So now I am left with a useless piece of junk that I have no use for. It will not boot up, and I am NOT going to spend more money again to mail it back to them! (They didn't even reimburse me for my postage the first time sending it to them) The warranty conveniently expired while they held it. This is the second piece of junk I have bought from ACER -- okay, so I'm a slow learner!

Anyone want a matching set of bookends?? Door stops??