June 26, 2014

Turtle Toes

Pattern: K2P2 Ribbing
Yarn: Striped Turtle Toes by Turtle Purl
Colour: Absinthe
Needles: Circular - 2.25 mm
I have never used this yarn before so time will tell how well it holds up to wear and laundering.
It feels great in the hand and has excellent stitch definition. And the colours are rich and vibrant.

June 24, 2014

Mayhem and Murder in the Midnight Garden

Looks tranquil, doesn't it? I spent a moment admiring the lilac when I first stepped outside this morning. Then, after gazing at the clouds and sky, a brown lump on the lawn to the left of the lilac caught my eye. A pile of dirt? A stack of matted dried leaves? As I stepped toward it, I discovered, to my horror

a headless brown bunny rabbit, with one foot lying six inches from the body and the bowels spilled out onto the grass (a graphic description, but, for heaven's sake, you all have seen and heard worse on CSI and Law and Order!).

Mother Nature often seems a cruel kind of gal but I guess it is the natural order of things, the law of the jungle/forest. We have owls in the woodland around us and one Barn Owl in particular has lately been hooting loudly, day and night. I am hoping the bunny fell victim to the nighttime hunting skills of this local barn owl. And not a coyote. Oh, please, Mother Nature, not a coyote! And I hope  decapitation was swift.

I suppose the presence of a corpse on the property will lower the real estate values around here. These houses up back are empty at present and I was really counting on summer rentals.

June 23, 2014

Works in Progress


Strokkur pullover - All but finished the waist shaping section

Basic K2P2 ribbed socks
Yarn: Striped Turtle Toes
Color: Absinthe

June 20, 2014

Isolda Teague, Amy Herzog and I

are, in a manner of speaking, collaborating on a great project -  Isolda Teague's Strokkur pullover.

My darling daughters gave me the Létt-Lopi Icelandic yarn as a gift.  Last year, Golden Girl gave me, as well, Amy Herzog's book on how to choose the style and size of sweater to best suit the individual knitter. I have used it to take my measurements, reflect on positive and negative ease, and decide on the sweater size.

I have always been a great fan of Isolda Teague's designs. Her Ishbel was my first experience with lace knitting. Her patterns are very well written and cover quite a range of garments for both children and adults.

This pullover is seamless and knit from the bottom up on a circular needle. After doing so many socks with thin fingering weight sock yarn, the Strokkur, in an aran weight, seems to be progressing at positively breakneck speed!

I am anxious to finish it off before the really hot weather arrives (if it does!) as rustic Icelandic yarn is the last thing I will want to work with on a sticky, hot summer's day. I am also propelled along by the memory of the brutally cold winter that we have finally managed to put behind us. I will be ready for the next one.


June 09, 2014

Favourite Toronto Restaurants

Eating out in Toronto is a holiday tradition. We could prepare meals in Golden Girl's kitchen but it is fun to try new eateries and revisit old ones to see if memory has distorted the experience! Golden Girl always maintains that we often end up disillusioned next time round and is forever cautioning us not to push our luck. Sometimes we do anyway - with mixed results!

We had some great meals this time - so good that I cannot believe we will be disappointed on subsequent trips to the city. And I came back home weighing a pound and a half less, which I attribute to being constantly on the go, and not testing the desserts!

We ate our first evening meal at Baldini's at 1012 Queen Street East. It is a lovely east end neighbourhood Italian restaurant with an intimate setting, tablecloths and candles, comfortable seating, very good service, and great food. Here's the menu.
1024 Gerrard Street East
We tried a new Japanese restaurant, Sushi on Gerrard, and loved it. It is small, friendly and the food is terrific. Every dish is a work of art. We ate there twice and had the same Chinese/Canadian server on both occasions. She was just a sweetheart and terribly helpful. Their Chicken Tatsuta Udon was one of the best Asian soup bowls I have ever eaten. Here's the menu.
 We had take out Chinese food from the Pearl Court restaurant at 633 Gerrard Street East. The food was excellent and their steamed shrimp dumplings were divine. Here's the menu.
(photo from Bar Italia website)
Dinner with Melissa was at Bar Italia. This is a regular haunt of ours in Toronto. We really enjoy Little Italy, especially on warm summer nights when white fairy lights sparkle down College Street and people of all ages stroll the sidewalks and drink coffee at sidewalk cafes. We arrived there one night a few summers ago to discover that a festival was underway, cars were prohibited, and the inhabitants were dancing in the streets.
Bar Italia is comfortable and the staff are upbeat and always very helpful when it comes to wine selection. They are willing to provide samples to ensure that you have the right wine for your meal. This time, I had a new (to me) dish - the grilled octopus insalata as an appetiser - and resolved to repeat the selection on every visit. Here's the menu.
(photo from Gilead website)
We had a late lunch one day at the Gilead Café and Bistro, one of Jamie Kennedy's Toronto eateries.
 It is tucked in a little lane way at 4 Gilead Place in the east end. It is small and trendy with local foods, wines, and beer. The server recommended a great white wine, crisp and dry, from Nyarai Cellars in the Niagara on the Lake region. It was one of the nicest white wines I have tried but, unfortunately, we could not purchase it at the Ontario LCBO and the cellar was closed late in the day when we toured the Niagara region. At the Gilead, I had a Nicoise salad, with thick slabs of smoked salmon instead of the more traditional tuna - very interesting. They have jams, sweet and savoury preserves, sauces, soups, etc. for sale and the place is very popular for brunches.
                                                    (photo from Gilead website)
Here's the menu as it appears on a giant chalk board.
(photo from Mezes restaurant website)
456 Danforth Avenue
Our last evening meal was at Mezes, a Greek restaurant on the Danforth. It was warm, lively, crowded, comfortable, and the food was great. They are known for having one of the largest selections of appetisers around. And no one can ever accuse Greek restaurateurs of providing skimpy meals. We ate until we could eat no more. Here's the menu.