Thursday, 30 April 2020

Knitted Temperature Blanket - April 2020

I heard about temperature blankets at the end of last year.  I've never made one before and it sounded like a fun long term project.

The idea of a temperature blanket is to knit or crochet a row (or a number of rows) on a blanket each day for a full calendar year.  The colors used each day correspond with the temperature outside.  The more colours you use to represent temperatures and the more varied the temperatures, the more colourful the blanket.

To be consistent, I chose to use the temperature at noon.  I debated whether to use Toronto's temperatures (regardless of where I am) or the temperatures of where I am (so it's a Teena ~ temperature blanket).  I decided to make a Teena ~ temperature blanket ... it should be interesting to see how it turns out as I travel throughout the year.

I'm using nine colours from Red Heart Comfort and Bernat Cozy Style yarn.
  • Blue:  -6C or colder
  • Green:  -1C to -5C
  • Light purple:  0C to 4C
  • Teal:  5C to 9C
  • Red:  10C to 14C
  • Dark purple:  15C to 19C
  • Yellow:  20C to 24C
  • Burnt red:  25C and higher
  • Grey:  first and last rows and divider rows between the months

So far, the warmest temperature (dark purple) was 18C in Toronto on March 29 and the coldest (blue) was -10C in Toronto (blue) on February 14.

I cast on 200 stitches.  The first and last five stitches of each row are seed stitches (knit one, purl one, knit one, purl one, knit one).  In between, I'm doing stocking stitch (knitting the odd rows and purling the even rows).  I added two rows of seed stitch at the beginning of the blanket to stop it from curling (stocking stitch does that and I hadn't thought of that when I started).

April


Warmest in April:  15C (dark purple) in Toronto on April 13
Coldest in April:  4C (light purple) in Toronto on April 15, 16 and 21

March


Warmest in March:  18C (dark purple) in Toronto on March 29
Coldest in March:  0C (light purple) in Toronto on March 22

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Book ~ "What Lies Between Us" (2020) John Marrs

From Goodreads ~ Nina can never forgive Maggie for what she did. And she can never let her leave.

They say every house has its secrets and the house that Maggie and Nina have shared for so long is no different. Except that these secrets are not buried in the past.

Every other night, Maggie and Nina have dinner together. When they are finished, Nina helps Maggie back to her room in the attic and into the heavy chain that keeps her there. Because Maggie has done things to Nina that can’t ever be forgiven and now she is paying the price.

But there are many things about the past that Nina doesn’t know and Maggie is going to keep it that way - even if it kills her.

Because in this house, the truth is more dangerous than lies.

Maggie and Nina are a mother and daughter who live in the same house.  Nina's father left the family when she was 13 and Nina blames her mother for driving him away.  Nina became out of control when she was 14, drinking, doing drugs and hanging out with less than desirable men and Maggie did all she could to stop it.  Now about twenty-five years later, Nina is still blaming Maggie for her father leaving, among other things, and has been punishing her for the last two years by keeping her chained in the upper levels of their house with no ability to contact anyone.

I enjoyed this book.  This is the third book I've read by this author and like the other two, the story was interesting and bizarre.  I liked the writing style.  It is written in first person perspective in Maggie and Nina's voices.  The timeless jumps back and forth from present day to twenty-five years ago ... the chapters are labeled so you know the time period and whose voice it is.  As the story moves on, you learn what has pissed Nina off so much and Maggie has done (or hasn't done).  As a head's up, there is swearing and violence.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Book ~ "Dead Mom Walking: A Memoir of Miracle Cures and Other Disasters" (2020) Rachel Matlow

From Goodreads ~ When her mother is diagnosed with cancer, Rachel Matlow is concerned but hopeful. It's Stage 1 so her mom will get surgery and everything will go back to normal. But growing up in Rachel's family, there was no normal. Elaine, an alternative school teacher and self-help junkie, was never a capital M "Mommy" - she spent more time meditating than packing lunches - and Rachel, who played hockey with the boys and refused to ever wear a dress, was no ordinary daughter.

When Elaine decides to forgo conventional treatment and heal herself naturally, Rachel is forced to ponder whether the very things that made her mom so special - her independent spirit, her belief in being the author of her own story - are what will ultimately kill her. As the cancer progresses, so does Elaine's conviction in doing things her way. She assembles a dream team of alternative healers, gulps down herbal tinctures with every meal, and talks (with respect) to her cancer cells. Anxious and confused, Rachel is torn between indulging her pie-in-the-sky pursuits (ayahuasca and all) and pleading with the person who's taking her mother away.

With irreverence and honesty - and a little help from Elaine's journals and self-published dating guide, plus hours of conversations recorded in her dying days - Matlow brings her inimitable mother to life on the page. "Dead Mom Walking" is the hilarious and heartfelt story of what happens when two people who've always written their own script go head to head with each other, and with life's least forgiving plot device. 

Rachel Matlow is a former producer at CBC and her brother, Josh, is a Toronto City Councillor.  When their mother, Elaine, discovered she has stage 1 cancer, her doctor recommended she have surgery so she could live a long time.  Elaine said she wanted to think about it and research her options.  She decided to heal herself and surrounded herself with natural practitioners and what sounds like quacks.  She did affirmations and even tried to reason with the cancer.  As the cancer moved from stage 1 onward and got worse, Elaine still believed she could heal herself ... until it was too late and her cancer had become terminal and there was nothing that could be done.  She passed away in 2015, five years after the diagnosis.

Rachel didn't agree with Elaine's way of healing her cancer and begged her mother to have surgery.  But Elaine was stubborn and there were many times when Rachel had to back off so she wouldn't lose her relationship with her mother.  During this, Rachel was working with/for Jian Ghomeshi at CBC.  He didn't treat his colleagues well at all and she had the added pressure of dealing with the aftermath of his scandal.

Elaine wasn't the most conventional mother.  She was raised by a mother who smothered her and was dependent on her even when she was young and Elaine swore she would never do that to her kids.  She had adventures and tried to live life to the fullest.  While I give her props for wanting to cure her cancer her way, I thought it was a bit selfish that she didn't want to get well as soon as possible so she could be there for her family.  When I found out I had cancer in December, I had no hesitation when my surgeon told me she had booked a date a month later for surgery.  I want to live a long time and be around with my family and friends.

It was an interesting book but I found it a hard one to read at times, especially when the family realized that Elaine didn't have much time left and started making arrangements.

Monday, 27 April 2020

Cat pattern knitted dish cloth

I knitted a cat pattern dish cloth tonight.

I don't have a solid colour yarn so the kitty is a bit hard to see ... but it's there!

I used cotton yarn and size 4.5mm knitting needles.  It's an easy pattern.


I cast on 43 stitches.  The first four rows are garter stitch (knit each row).

The first four and last four stitches of each row are knitted.

You'll find the pattern for the cat here.

Knit four rows in garter stitch.

Cast off and bind in ends.

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Diagonal lines pattern dish cloth

I knitted a dish cloth today using a diagonal lines pattern (I found the pattern here).

I used cotton yarn and size 4.5mm knitting needles.


Cast on a multiple of 10 stitches ... I cast on 40 stitches.
  • Row 1 - right side: * Knit 5, purl 5; repeat from * to end.
  • Row 2: Purl 1, * knit 5, purl 5; repeat from * to last 9 sts, knit 5, purl 4.
  • Row 3: Knit 3, * purl 5, knit 5; repeat from * to last 7 sts, purl 5, knit 2.
  • Row 4: Purl 3, * knit 5, purl 5; repeat from * to last 7 sts, knit 5, purl 2.
  • Row 5: Knit 1, * purl 5, knit 5; repeat from * to last 9 sts, purl 5, knit 4.
  • Row 6: * Purl 5, knit 5; repeat from * to end.
  • Row 7: Purl 4, * knit 5, purl 5; repeat from * to last 6 sts, knit 5, purl 1.
  • Row 8: Knit 2, * purl 5, knit 5; repeat from * to last 8 sts, purl 5, knit 3
  • Row 9: Purl 2 ,* knit 5, purl 5; repeat from * to last 8 sts, knit 5, purl 3.
  • Row 10: Knit 4, * purl 5, knit 5; repeat from * to  last 6 sts, purl 5, knit 1.

Repeat Rows 1 - 10 until piece measures desired length.

Cast off and darn in ends.

Saturday, 25 April 2020

KC's tree, Trinity Bellwoods Park, Toronto, ON

I haven't been outside much in the last five weeks or so.  I felt like I needed to get out so I walked to Trinity Bellwoods Park to visit KC's tree.


There were a few people in the park, some were social distancing but some were not (I was!).  I saw a police officer on horseback and an official who could give out tickets monitoring everyone.

Friday, 24 April 2020

Book ~ "Hello, Summer" (2020) Mary Kay Andrews

It’s a new season ...

Conley Hawkins left her family’s small town newspaper, The Silver Bay Beacon, in the rearview mirror years ago. Now a star reporter for a big-city paper, Conley is exactly where she wants to be and is about to take a fancy new position in Washington, D.C. Or so she thinks.

For small town scandals ...

When the new job goes up in smoke, Conley finds herself right back where she started, working for her sister, who is trying to keep The Silver Bay Beacon afloat - and she doesn’t exactly have warm feelings for Conley. Soon she is given the unenviable task of overseeing the local gossip column, “Hello, Summer.”

And big-time secrets.

Then Conley witnesses an accident that ends in the death of a local congressman - a beloved war hero with a shady past. The more she digs into the story, the more dangerous it gets. As an old heartbreaker causes trouble and a new flame ignites, it soon looks like their sleepy beach town is the most scandalous hotspot of the summer. 

Conley is a reporter for a paper in Atlanta when she gets a job offer in Washington.  On her last day at her old job she finds out her new job has now disappeared because the paper has just shut down.  With nowhere to go, she heads home to Silver Bay, FL.  She moves in with her grandmother and starts working at the family newspaper, which her sister, Grayson, runs.  Conley and Grayson have never gotten along so there is a lot of tension.  As Conley sends out feelers for another job, she starts working on stories in Silver Bay and the surrounding community.

I've read quite a few books by this author and thought this one was okay.  It is written in third person perspective.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

Conley's full name is "Sarah Conley" but she now goes by "Conley" (her second name) but her family calls her "Sarah".  I don't know why the big fuss was made about this.  I was waiting for the big reveal why she doesn't want to be called "Sarah" anymore but it never came.  Why didn't the author just give her a name and leave all the fuss out about it?  Another drama was about Conley's parents.  Her father had been dead about six years and her mother left the family years before.  This was a drama that wasn't needed. 

I found it weird that when the grandmother was in a scene, she was referred to as "Lorraine" and "G'mama" ... for example, "Lorraine said," whatever and then it the next paragraph "G'mama said," whatever.  It seemed weirdly inconsistent.  And having her grandmother referred to at "G'mama" seemed strange.

There was a lot going on in this book.  A local congressman passes away in an accident and Conley knows there is more to the story (she witnessed the crash) and she starts digging.  She starts to hang out with Skelly (Sean Kelly!), the "boy next door", who wants more than she is able to give him.  The local DJ has a mysterious past.  A cop investing the congressman's death is a slimy dog.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Fan and feather dish cloth

I made a fourth fan and feather pattern dish cloth tonight ... I like this pattern.


Cotton yarn and size 4.5mm knitting needles

Cast on 42 stitches (or a multiple of 18 plus 6)

Knit 3 rows of garter stitch for the border

Row 4: Knit

Row 5: K 3, P to last 3 stitches K3

Row 6: K3, *(K2 tog) 3 times, (yo, K1) 6 times, (K2 tog) 3 times, rep from * to last 3 sts K3

Row 7: Knit

Repeat Rows 4 - 7, keeping first and last 3 stitches in garter stitch, until piece measures desired length

Knit 3 more rows of garter stitch to make the bottom border

Cast off and darn in ends.

Monday, 20 April 2020

Book ~ "Red Right Hand" (2016) Chris Holm

From Goodreads ~ If the good guys can't save you, call a bad guy.

When viral video of an explosive terrorist attack on San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge reveals that a Federal witness long thought dead is still alive, the organization he'd agreed to testify against will stop at nothing to put him in the ground.

FBI Special Agent Charlie Thompson is determined to protect him, but her hands are tied; the FBI's sole priority is catching the terrorists before they strike again. So Charlie calls the only person on the planet who can keep her witness safe: Michael Hendricks.

Once a covert operative for the US military, Hendricks makes his living hitting hitmen... or he did, until the very organization hunting Charlie's witness -- the Council -- caught wind and targeted the people he loves. Teaming up with a young but determined tech whiz, Cameron, on the condition she leave him alone after the case, Hendricks reluctantly takes the job.

Of course, finding a man desperate to stay hidden is challenging enough without deadly competition, let alone when the competition's shadowy corporate backer is tangled in the terrorist conspiracy playing out around them. And now Hendricks is determined to take the Council down, even if that means wading into the center of a terror plot whose perpetrators are not what they seem. 

With no job prospects, Michael joined the military when he was young and was eventually sent on special missions.  When most of his unit was killed in Afghanistan, he was presumed to be also dead.  Feeling guilty about what he had done in the military, he let everyone believe that and headed home to the States once he recovered.

Now Michael makes a living doing what he does best ... killing people.  He is a hitman who kills hitmen.  Last year, the Council, which is made up of major crime families, hired a hit man to get rid of Michael.  It didn't work out as planned.  His only friend, Lester, was murdered and now Michael wants revenge.

In San Francisco, a family is enjoying a day out on their way home from Disneyland.  They stop an old man and ask him to take a family video of them using their phone.  The old man doesn't know how to use the phone and the first few seconds are of him.  At that moment, a boat explodes, killing and injuring many.  The daughter uploads the video onto the Internet and people who thought Frank, the old man on the video, was killed seven years ago while in protective custody, now realize he is still alive.  This includes Charlie, an FBI agent who had met Frank seven years ago and felt bad about his death.  Frank had worked for The Council and they had arranged for his death when they'd had no more use for him so he turned to the FBI for protection.  The Council want to make sure he's really dead this time.  Charlie contacts Michael, who she had been chasing for a few years, and asks for his help in bringing Frank because she knows he's the only one who can do it.

This is the second (and latest) in the Michael Hendricks series and I liked it.  Though it is part of a series, it does work as a stand alone.  It's written in third person perspective wherever the action is, mostly with Michael, Charlie, Frank and Cameron (Michael's new helper).  As a head's up, there is violence and swearing.

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Fan and feather dish cloths

I made a couple fan and feather pattern dish cloths today.  I really like this pattern.


Cotton yarn and size 4.5mm knitting needles

Cast on 42 stitches (or a multiple of 18 plus 6)

Knit 3 rows of garter stitch for the border

Row 4: Knit

Row 5: K 3, P to last 3 stitches K3

Row 6: K3, *(K2 tog) 3 times, (yo, K1) 6 times, (K2 tog) 3 times, rep from * to last 3 sts K3

Row 7: Knit

Repeat Rows 4 - 7, keeping first and last 3 stitches in garter stitch, until piece measures desired length

Knit 3 more rows of garter stitch to make the bottom border

Cast off and darn in ends.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Fan and feather dish cloth

I made a fan and feather pattern dish cloth tonight ... I like this pattern.


Cotton yarn and size 4.5mm knitting needles

Cast on 42 stitches (or a multiple of 18 plus 6)

Knit 3 rows of garter stitch for the border

Row 4: Knit

Row 5: K 3, P to last 3 stitches K3

Row 6: K3, *(K2 tog) 3 times, (yo, K1) 6 times, (K2 tog) 3 times, rep from * to last 3 sts K3

Row 7: Knit

Repeat Rows 4 - 7, keeping first and last 3 stitches in garter stitch, until piece measures desired length

Knit 3 more rows of garter stitch to make the bottom border

Cast off and darn in ends.

Friday, 17 April 2020

Book ~ "The Killing Kind" (2015) Chris Holm

From GoodreadsMichael Hendricks kills people for money. That aside, he's not so bad a guy.

Once a covert operative for a false-flag unit of the US military, Hendricks was presumed dead after a mission in Afghanistan went sideways. He left behind his old life - and beloved fiancée - and set out on a path of redemption ... or perhaps one of willful self-destruction.

Now Hendricks makes his living as a hitman entrepreneur of sorts - he only hits other hitmen. For ten times the price on your head, he'll make sure whoever's coming to kill you winds up in the ground instead. Not a bad way for a guy with his skill-set to make a living - but a great way to make himself a target.

Michael and Evie were young and in love.  With no job prospects, Michael joined the military and was eventually sent on special missions.  When most of his unit was killed in Afghanistan, he is presumed to be also dead.  Feeling guilty about what he had been doing in the military, he let everyone believe that, including Evie.

Back in the States, Michael makes a living doing what he does best ... killing people.  He is a hitman who kills hitmen.  When he learns that a hit is going to happen, Michael approaches whoever is going to be killed and offers to kill the hitman for 10 times amount the hitman was going to be paid.  Some choose not to take him up on his offer and suffer the consequences.

Michael is good at his job and things usually run smoothly ... until the Council, which is made up of major crime families, hires Alexander to get rid of Michael.  It takes Michael a while to realize this and once he does, he's on the hunt to find Alexander before the Alexander finds him first.  Plus there's an FBI agent who is hot on Michael's tail and has been for a few years.

This is the first in the Michael Hendricks series and though it took me a bit to get into it, I liked it.  It's written in third person perspective wherever the action is, mostly with Michael, Alexander and Lester (Michael's only friend).  As a head's up, there is violence and swearing.

Monday, 13 April 2020

Book ~ "Running from the Dead" (2020) Mike Knowles

From Goodreads ~ Private detective Sam Jones's six-year search for an eight- year-old boy ends with gunshots in a basement and cold bodies that would eventually lead the police straight to him. Jones had never promised Ruth Verne that he would find her son alive but he knew deep down that she believed he would - worse, he had believed it too. Jones wasn't ready to look Ruth in the eye and tell her he had failed. He wasn't ready to admit that he lost everything and had nothing to show for it.

But an unsigned note scrawled on a bathroom door gives Jones a second chance - a chance for redemption. Thirteen words left by a young girl in trouble give him someone to chase and a reason to keep moving before the cops move on him. Jones follows the trail from an idyllic small town to the darkest corners of the city, running from the boy he failed toward the girl he could still save. 

Sam Jones is a private detective in Toronto, Ontario.  For the last six years, he has been hired to find Adam, an eight-year-old who disappeared years earlier ... and he has met Adam's mother every month giving her reports.  When Jones does find Adam, it's not the way he had hoped and he takes justice into his own hands.  He figures he has about a week before the police connect him.

In the meantime, he finds a couple cryptic messages in a bathroom in a coffee shop and feels that it's from a girl in trouble.  He couldn't save Adam so he's determine to find and save this girl ... and he knows he has less than a week to do it.  Plus he's been hired to find Willy, the 80-year-old father of a woman who is used to getting her way.  Jones thinks the old guy has just taken off for a couple days but the woman is concerned something has happened to him.

I've read a few of this author's books and have liked them.  I liked the writing style ... it's written in first person perspective from Jones' point of view.  As a head's up, there is swearing and violence.

I liked Jones ... he is on a mission and knows time is running out.  He is straight to the point and no nonsense.  Willy and Sheena, the barista at the coffee shop, were amusing and added humor to the story.

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Men's knitted dorm boots

I knitted another pair of men's medium dorm boots today.  I had adapted this pattern so I had less seams to sew up ... I put them on circular needles/double pointed needles when I started the "foot".

I used Bernat Softee Chunky Yarn (6) in Black Plum and Bernat Softee Chunky Yarn (6) in Teal and a 6.5mm needles.


Abbreviations:
  • k = knit
  • p = purl
  • yo = yarn over sl-1 = slip one
  • PSSO = pass slipped stitch over
  • p2tog = purl 2 together
  • k2tog = knit 2 together
  • ssk = slip, slip, knit
  • WS = wrong side
  • RS = right side
  • PM = place marker
  • Rep = repeat

Men's sizes:
Sm (8-9), M (9.5-10.5), Lg (11-12), XL (13)

Starting with sole:
  • Cast on 52(55, 57, 59) stitches.
  • Row 1: Knit.
  • Row 2: K1, yo, k24(25,26,27), yo, k2(3,3,3), yo, k24(25,26,27), yo, k1. [56(59,61,63) sts]
  • Row 3 and all odd rows: Knit. *knit the yo’s through the back of the loop. 
  • Row 4: K2, yo, k24(25,26,27), yo, k4(5,5,5), yo, k24(25,26,27), yo, k2. [60(63,65,67)sts]
  • Row 6: K3, yo, k24(25,26,27), yo, k6(7,7,7), yo, k24(25,26,27), yo, k3. [64(67,69,71)sts]
  • Row 8: K4, yo, k24(25,26,27), yo, k8(9,9,9), yo, k24(25,26,27), yo, k4. [68(71,73,75) sts]
  • Row 10: K5, yo, K24(25,26,27), yo, k10(11,11,11), yo, k24(25,26,27), yo, k5. [72(75,77,79)sts]
  • Row 12: Size Sm ONLY: K6, yo, k(24), yo, k6, yo, k6, yo, (k24), yo, k6. [77 sts]
  • Row 12: Size M ONLY: K6, yo, k32, yo, k31, yo, k6. [78 sts]
  • Row 12: Size L ONLY: K6, yo, k to last 6 sts, yo, k6. [79 sts]
  • Row 12: Size XL ONLY: K39, yo, k40. [80 sts]
  • Row 13: Knit (knit any yo's through the back of the loop)

Foot - put on a circular needle or four double pointed needles and work in the round
  • Row 1: Knit
  • Row 2: (WS) K34(34,34,34,), PM, k9(10,11,12), PM, k34(34,34,34,).
  • Row 3: K27(27,27,27), ssk 2x, k3tog, k9(10,11,12), sl-1, k2tog, psso, k2tog 2x, k27(27,27,27). [69(70,71,72) sts)
  • Row 4: Knit
  • Row 5: K23(23,23,23), ssk 2x, k3tog, k9(10,11,12), sl-1, k2tog, psso, k2tog 2x, k23(23,23,23). [61(62,63,64)sts]
  • Row 6: Knit
  • Row 7: K35(36,37,38), ssk, turn. [60(61,62,63) sts]
  • Row 8: Sl-1, p9(10,11,12), p2tog, turn. [59(60,61,62) sts]
  • Row 9: Sl-1, k9(10,11,12), ssk, turn. [58(59,60,61) sts]
  • Row 10: Sl-1, p9(10,11,12), p2tog, turn. [57(58,59,60) sts]
  • Rows 11-26: Repeat rows 9 and 10. [41(42,43,44) sts]
  • Row 27: (RS) Sl-1, k9(10,11,12), ssk, DON’T TURN, k14(14,14,14). [40(41,42,43) sts]
  • Row 28: K14(14,14,14), k2tog, k10, k14(14,14,14). [39(40,41,42) sts]
  • Row 29: Size S/M ONLY: (Removing markers as you come to them) Knit. Now proceed to row 32.
  • Row 29: Size L/XL ONLY: (Removing markers as you come to them) Knit.
  • Row 30: Size L/XL ONLY: Knit
  • Row 31: Size L/XL ONLY: Knit
  • Row 32: K1, k2tog, k2tog, k across to last 5 sts, k2tog, k2tog, k1. [35(36,37,38) sts]
  • Row 33-36: Knit

Ribbed Cuff
  • Row 37: Sizes S/L ONLY: [k1,p1] 8(-,8,-)x more, k2tog, p1, [k1,p1] to end. [34(-,36,-) sts]
  • Row 37: Size M/XL ONLY: [k1, p1] to end.
  • Rows 38-45: Work 8 rows of 1x1 rib.

Bind off loosely.

I turned the slippers inside out and sewed the seams. Weave in loose ends.

Friday, 10 April 2020

Knitted dish cloth

I knitted a couple dish cloths the last couple of days.  I'd found some Red Heart's Scrubby yarn in my closet and figured I'd use it.


Scrubby yarn works really well for dish cloths because once the dish cloth is finished, it has a rough "scrubby" texture which is great for washing dishes.

I didn't have full balls so kept the pattern basic because I didn't know how far I'd get before I'd run out.

For the small one, I cast on 30 stitches and kept knitting in garter stitch (knit one row/purl one row/repeat) until it was a square.  For the bigger one, I cast on 50 stitches and kept knitting until I ran out of the mult-colour one.  Then I switched to the purple one and kept knitting until I ran out.  Then I switched to the pink multi-colour one and knit until it was the same size as the first part.  I used a 4.5mm needle.

Nothing fancy but it was a way to use up some forgotten yarn.

Thursday, 9 April 2020

Book ~ "Logging Off" (2020) Nick Spalding

From Goodreads ~ Andy Bellows is in a right state. Plagued with insomnia, anxiety and neckache, he’s convinced there’s something seriously wrong with him. And the worst thing is that his doctor agrees. The diagnosis: Andy is in the grip of a self-destructive addiction to technology - he just cannot put that bloody mobile phone down.

Texting, tweeting, gaming and online dating - technology rules Andy’s life. His phone even monitors his bowel movements. So how will he cope when he’s forced to follow doctor’s orders and step away from all of his beloved screens?

From having to leave the flat in search of food like some kind of Neanderthal to engaging in conversations with actual people, Andy’s about to discover just how bewildering - and scary - the analogue world can be.

And when his sixty-day detox hits the headlines - making him a hero to suffering technophiles everywhere - Andy is sorely tempted to pack it all in and escape in the nearest Uber.

Can he get himself out of this mess, and work out how to live a better, technologically balanced life…without consulting Google even once? 

Andy is stressed, his neck hurts and he's having a hard time going to the bathroom.  Convinced he has a serious disease, he goes to see his doctor who tells him he is addicted to the Internet and all the technology that goes along with it.  His doctor suggests that he do a sixty day detox ... no gaming, texting, tweeting, Facebooking, Googling, etc.  To get healthy, Andy agrees.  But he's ready to give up after a couple hours when he has to actually go outside to get something to eat ... it was so much easier when all he had to do was use an app on his phone.

His friend, Fergus, is a journalist and sees Andy's detox as a great story and perhaps an inspiration to others so writes about it in the newspaper.  So no matter how tempted he is, Andy can't quit now because he starts to gain a following.  Along the way, he finds out how hard it is to live without technology (like having to actually use a map to get where he's going) but he also discovers how nice it is when he meets Grace and goes on day trips outside with her.

Could you give up technology and the Internet for sixty days?!

This is the sixth book I've read by this author and I liked it.  I liked the writing style ... it was funny and sarcastic.  It is written in first person perspective in Andy's voice and it's as if he was speaking to me, the reader.  The author is English and the story happens there so some of the references weren't common to me.  As a head's up, there is a swearing.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Book ~ "Pussweek: A Cat's Guide to Feline Empowerment" (2020) Bexy McFly

From Goodreads ~ "Pussweek: A Cat's Guide to Feline Empowerment" is full of hilarious spreads, quizzes, and advertisements, as well as top-notch photos of cats in all their cuteness and weirdness. Based on the magazine series "Pussweek", written "by cats, for cats," this book is a feline parody of fashion and celebrity gossip rags.

In a market saturated with "cat shaming," "Pussweek" gives cats their claws back. With an intelligent editorial voice of their own, these cats don't want dumb memes - they want you to stop secretly filming and posting them on the internet, and they want to empower all of the other feline friends out there who are sick of human nonsense.

  • With their own forum, these feisty cats provide a rare look into the private lives of felines everywhere 
  • Filled with articles of a caliber of humor that are clever and a little bit edgy, while still not above a well-placed cat pun
  • A collector's edition featuring some of the series' most popular articles, like "Top 20 Most Satisfying Things to Push Off a Table," "Playtime is Over: The Out of Control Hand that Touched My Furry Place," and "Somewhat Effective Workouts for Extremely Busy Cats," as well as tons of all - new material from cats who have a lot of dirty laundry to air

Every cat owner has wondered ... What the heck is my cat thinking?' ... and "Pussweek" will hold all the myriad answers in one big volume full of outrageously cute (and simply outrageous) cats.

From scandalous pawparazzi pics to revealing litter quizzes, hairy exposès to tell & tail interviews, you will finally find the feline empowerment that lies within you - and don't take a doggone no for an answer.

Pussweek: A Cat's Guide to Feline Empowerment is a book written for cats by cats ... it's a parody of fashion and celebrity gossip magazines.  There are lots of stories, columns, quizzes and advertisements directed toward cats who are obviously more intelligent and superior than we humans including:

  • Gossip & Style - Who Wore it Better, Bitch Stole My Look and who's been spotting doing things.
  • My Day as a Dog - What it's like to need constant love and attention.
  • Top 20 Pee-Worthy Hotspots - We've been toiling and soiling to find you the best spots to do a nice widdle.
  • The Poop Quiz - What does your litter box say about you?  It's talking sh*t probably.
  • Going Postal - What should you do when your scratching post is just not enough.
  • Exposing the Nip - The catnip debate continues.
  • Boxing Day - It's a cardboard life.  Or is it?  Yes, yes it is.
  • Creeper Alert - 5 signs your human might be a cat-obsessed nut job
  • Top 20 Things to Push Off a Table - Let's take things down a notch.  To the floor, specifically.

Pussweek is a fun and amusing book and cat lovers will enjoy it.  As a head's up, the language is colourful at times.  It's full-colour and loaded with fabulous pictures of kitties.  Here are some examples:

Monday, 6 April 2020

Book ~ "Postscript" (2019) Cecelia Ahern

From Goodreads ~ It's been eight years since Holly Kennedy's husband died - seven since she read his final letter, urging Holly to find the courage to forge a new life.

She’s proud of all the ways in which she has grown and evolved. But when a group inspired by Gerry's letters, calling themselves the PS, I Love You Club, approaches Holly asking for help, she finds herself drawn back into a world that she worked so hard to leave behind. 

Reluctantly, Holly begins a relationship with the club, even as their friendship threatens to destroy the peace she believes she has achieved. As each of these people calls upon Holly to help them leave something meaningful behind for their loved ones, Holly will embark on a remarkable journey - one that will challenge her to ask whether embracing the future means betraying the past, and what it means to love someone forever.

Holly's husband, Gerry, had passed away eight years ago at age 30 from cancer.  For a year after his death, she received a letter from him every month (in P.S., I Love You).  Holly has grown and moved on ... she has a new career and a boyfriend she is soon going to be moving in with.

Then she is approached to be part of the newly formed P.S., I Love You Club.  Five people with terminal illnesses want her to help them with their last letters to loved ones.  At first she resists because she has moved on.  Then she realizes that they do need her help and it's a way of giving back.  But it does jeopardize her relationship with her boyfriend because it's time consuming and he feels he has to compete with the ghost of Gerry.

I had read P.S., I Love You and have seen the movie which was based on the book a couple times so I thought it would be interesting to see what has happened to Holly in the years after Gerry's death.  While I liked P.S., I Love You, I found this book for the most part depressing and dreary and draggy and I had a hard time finishing it.

Though this is the second in the P.S., I Love You series, you don't need to read P.S., I Love You first to read this book.  There are many flashbacks to Holly's life with Gerry.  It was sometimes confusing when it happened because the flashbacks ran into the present timeline ... I read an ebook version and maybe the spacing/division was better in a "real" book?  As a head's up, the F-bomb is dropped a lot.

Women's knitted dorm boots

I finished knitting a pair of ladies medium dorm boots this evening.  I found the pattern here and adapted them so I had less seams to sew up ... I put them on circular needles/double pointed needles when I started the "foot".

I used Bernat Softee Chunky Yarn (6) in Black Plum and Bernat Softee Chunky Yarn (6) in Teal and a 6.5mm needles.


Abbreviations:
  • k = knit
  • p = purl
  • yo = yarn over sl-1 = slip one
  • PSSO = pass slipped stitch over
  • p2tog = purl 2 together
  • k2tog = knit 2 together
  • ssk = slip, slip, knit
  • WS = wrong side
  • RS = right side
  • PM = place marker
  • Rep = repeat
Women's sizes:
Sm (6-7.5), M/L (8-9), XL (9.5-10.5)

Starting with Sole:
  • Cast on 47(50,52) sts using a long-tail method and with 2 strands held together.
  • Row 1: Knit.
  • Row 2: K1, yo, k22(23,24), yo, k1(2,2), yo, k22(23,24), yo, k1. [51(54,56) sts]
  • Row 3 and all odd rows: Knit. *knit the yo’s through the back of the loop.
  • Row 4: K2, yo, k22(23,24), yo, k3(4,4), yo, k22(23,24), yo, k2. [55(58,60)sts]
  • Row 6: K3, yo, k22(23,24), yo, k5(6,6), yo, k22(23,24), yo, k3. [59(62,64)sts]
  • Row 8: K4, yo, k22(23,24), yo, k7(8,8), yo, k22(23,24), yo, k4. [63(66,68) sts]
  • Row 10: K5, yo, k22(23,24), yo, k9(10,10), yo, k22(23,24), yo, k5. [67(70,72)sts]
  • Row 12: Size Sm ONLY: k6, yo, k22, yo, k11, yo, k22, yo, k6. [71sts]
  • Row 12: Sizes M/L & XL ONLY: K6, yo, k(23,24), yo, k6, yo, k6, yo, (k23,24), yo, k6. [75,77 sts]
  • Row 13: Sizes Sm & M/L proceed to #1 of foot.
  • Row 13: Size XL: Knit (knit the yo's through the back of the loop)

Foot - put on a circular needle or four double pointed needles and work in the round
  • Row 1: Size Sm ONLY: (RS) k34, k2tog, k35. (knit the yo's through the back of the loop) [70 sts]
  • Row 1: Size M/L ONLY: (RS) Knit (knit the yo’s through the back of the loop)
  • Row 1: Size XL ONLY: (RS) Knit
  • Row 2: (WS) K31(33,34), PM, k8(9,9), PM, k31(33,34).
  • Row 3: K24(26,27), ssk 2x, k3tog, k8(9,9), sl-1, k2tog, psso, k2tog 2x, k24(26,27). [62(67,69)sts)
  • Row 4: Knit
  • Row 5: K20(22,23), ssk 2x, k3tog, k8(9,9), sl-1, k2tog, psso, k2tog 2x, k20(22,23). 54(59,61)sts]
  • Row 6: Knit
  • Row 7: K31(34,35), ssk, turn. [53(58,60) sts]
  • Row 8: Sl-1, k8(9,9), p2tog, turn. [52(57,59) sts]
  • Row 9: Sl-1, k8(9,9), ssk, turn. [51(56,58) sts]
  • Row 10: Sl-1, p8(9,9), p2tog, turn. [50(55,57) sts]
  • Rows 11-26: Repeat rows 9 and 10. [34(39,41)sts]
  • Row 27: (RS) Sl-1, k8(9,9), ssk, DON’T TURN, k11(13,14). [33(38,40)sts]
  • Row 28: K10(13,14), k2tog, k21(23,24). [32(37,39) sts]
  • Row 29: Removing markers as you come to them, knit one row.
  • Row 30: Size Sm ONLY: K1, k2tog, k to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. [30 sts].
  • Row 30: Sizes M/L and XL ONLY:  K1, k2tog, k2tog, k across to last 5 sts, k2tog, p2tog, p1 [33, 35sts]
  • Rows 31 and 32: Knit

Ribbed Cuff
  • Row 33: Size Sm ONLY: k1, p1 to end. Now go to row 36-42.
  • Row 33: Size M/L ONLY: [k1, p1] 8x, k2tog, p1, [k1, p1] to end. Now go to row 36-42. (32,34 sts)
  • Row 33&34: Size XL ONLY: Repeat rows 31 & 32 once more.
  • Row 35: Size XL ONLY: [k1, p1] 8x, k2tog, p1, [k1, p1] to end. (32,34 sts)
  • Rows 36-42: 1x1 rib.

Bind off loosely.

I turned the slipper inside out and sewed the seams. Weave in loose ends.

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Basic chunky knitted slippers

I knitted another pair of slippers with Bernat Blanket Ombré yarn last night and this morning.  I used this pattern and adapted it a bit so I'd have less seams to sew up afterwards.  I used 6.5mm needles and made a small size slipper.   They are quick and easy.


Sizes:
To fit lady’s shoe size 5/6 (7/8 - 9/10).

Finished Foot length
Small 5/6 - 9" (23 cm)
Medium 7/8 - 9½" (24 cm)
Large 9/10 - 10½" (26.5 cm)

Abbreviations:
Beg = Beginning
Inc = Increase 1 stitch by knitting into front and back of next stitch
K = Knit
K2tog = Knit next 2 stitches together
Rep = Repeat
Rem = Remaining
RS = Right side
St(s) = Stitch(es)
WS = Wrong side

Instructions:
Note: The instructions are written for smallest size. If changes are necessary for larger sizes the instructions will be written thus ( ).
  • Beg at back, cast on 2 sts.
  • 1st row: (RS). Knit.
  • 2nd row: Inc 1 st in first st. K1.
  • 3rd and 4th rows: Knit.
  • 5th row: Inc 1 st in first st. Knit to end of row.
  • Rep 3rd to 5th rows 4 times more. 8 sts.
  • Next 2 rows: Cast on 10 sts. Knit to end of row. 28 sts after 2nd row. 

Work in garter st (knit every row) until work from marked row, measures 4½" [11.5 cm].

Change colours and put on double pointed needles.  Continue in garter stitch (knit one row, purl the next, etc.) for a further 3 (3½ - 4)" [7.5 (9 -10) cm] ending with a WS row.

Shape toe:
  • 1st row: K3. *K2tog. K3. Rep from * to end of row. 23 sts.
  • 2nd and 4th rows: Purl.
  • 3rd row: K3. *K2tog. K2. Rep from * to end of row. 18 sts.
  • 5th row: *K2tog. K1. Rep from * to end of row. 12 sts.
  • 6th row: (P2tog) 6 times. 6 sts.
  • Break yarn, leaving a long end. Thread end through rem sts and draw up firmly. Fasten securely. 
  • Sew edges of back triangle to cast on sts of sides to form heel.
  • Sew a pompom to each slipper if desired.

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Basic chunky knitted slippers

I knitted a pair of slippers with Bernat Blanket Ombré yarn this afternoon.  I used this pattern and adapted it a bit so I'd have less seams to sew up afterwards.  I used 6.5mm needles and made a small size slipper.   They are quick and easy.


Sizes:
To fit lady’s shoe size 5/6 (7/8 - 9/10).

Finished Foot length
Small 5/6 - 9" (23 cm)
Medium 7/8 - 9½" (24 cm)
Large 9/10 - 10½" (26.5 cm)

Abbreviations:
Beg = Beginning
Inc = Increase 1 stitch by knitting into front and back of next stitch
K = Knit
K2tog = Knit next 2 stitches together
Rep = Repeat
Rem = Remaining
RS = Right side
St(s) = Stitch(es)
WS = Wrong side

Instructions:
Note: The instructions are written for smallest size. If changes are necessary for larger sizes the instructions will be written thus ( ).
  • Beg at back, cast on 2 sts.
  • 1st row: (RS). Knit.
  • 2nd row: Inc 1 st in first st. K1.
  • 3rd and 4th rows: Knit.
  • 5th row: Inc 1 st in first st. Knit to end of row.
  • Rep 3rd to 5th rows 4 times more. 8 sts.
  • Next 2 rows: Cast on 10 sts. Knit to end of row. 28 sts after 2nd row. 

Work in garter st (knit every row) until work from marked row, measures 4½" [11.5 cm].

Change colours and put on double pointed needles.  Continue in garter stitch (knit one row, purl the next, etc.) for a further 3 (3½ - 4)" [7.5 (9 -10) cm] ending with a WS row.

Shape toe:
  • 1st row: K3. *K2tog. K3. Rep from * to end of row. 23 sts.
  • 2nd and 4th rows: Purl.
  • 3rd row: K3. *K2tog. K2. Rep from * to end of row. 18 sts.
  • 5th row: *K2tog. K1. Rep from * to end of row. 12 sts.
  • 6th row: (P2tog) 6 times. 6 sts.
  • Break yarn, leaving a long end. Thread end through rem sts and draw up firmly. Fasten securely. 
  • Sew edges of back triangle to cast on sts of sides to form heel.
  • Sew a pompom to each slipper if desired.

Friday, 3 April 2020

Basic chunky knitted slippers

I had a ball of Bernat Blanket Ombré yarn I didn't know what to do with so I knitted a pair of slippers with it tonight ... I figured they would be warm and cozy.  I used this pattern and adapted it a bit so I'd have less seams to sew up afterwards.  I used 6.5mm needles and made a small size slipper.   They are quick and easy.


Sizes:
To fit lady’s shoe size 5/6 (7/8 - 9/10).

Finished Foot length
Small 5/6 - 9" (23 cm)
Medium 7/8 - 9½" (24 cm)
Large 9/10 - 10½" (26.5 cm)

Abbreviations:
Beg = Beginning
Inc = Increase 1 stitch by knitting into front and back of next stitch
K = Knit
K2tog = Knit next 2 stitches together
Rep = Repeat
Rem = Remaining
RS = Right side
St(s) = Stitch(es)
WS = Wrong side

Instructions:
Note: The instructions are written for smallest size. If changes are necessary for larger sizes the instructions will be written thus ( ).
  • Beg at back, cast on 2 sts.
  • 1st row: (RS). Knit.
  • 2nd row: Inc 1 st in first st. K1.
  • 3rd and 4th rows: Knit.
  • 5th row: Inc 1 st in first st. Knit to end of row.
  • Rep 3rd to 5th rows 4 times more. 8 sts.
  • Next 2 rows: Cast on 10 sts. Knit to end of row. 28 sts after 2nd row. 

Work in garter st (knit every row) until work from marked row, measures 4½" [11.5 cm].

Change colours and put on double pointed needles.  Continue in garter stitch (knit one row, purl the next, etc.) for a further 3 (3½ - 4)" [7.5 (9 -10) cm] ending with a WS row.

Shape toe:
  • 1st row: K3. *K2tog. K3. Rep from * to end of row. 23 sts.
  • 2nd and 4th rows: Purl.
  • 3rd row: K3. *K2tog. K2. Rep from * to end of row. 18 sts.
  • 5th row: *K2tog. K1. Rep from * to end of row. 12 sts.
  • 6th row: (P2tog) 6 times. 6 sts.
  • Break yarn, leaving a long end. Thread end through rem sts and draw up firmly. Fasten securely. 
  • Sew edges of back triangle to cast on sts of sides to form heel.
  • Sew a pompom to each slipper if desired.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Book ~ "Other People's Houses" (2018) Abbi Waxman

From Goodreads ~ As the longtime local carpool mom, Frances Bloom is sometimes an unwilling witness to her neighbors' private lives. She knows her cousin is hiding her desire for another baby from her spouse, Bill Horton's wife is mysteriously missing, and now this.

After the shock of seeing Anne Porter in all her extramarital glory, Frances vows to stay in her own lane. But that's a notion easier said than done when Anne's husband throws her out a couple of days later. The repercussions of the affair reverberate through the four carpool families - and Frances finds herself navigating a moral minefield that could make or break a marriage. 

Frances is in her mid-forties, married to Michael and the mother of three.  She is a busy stay-at-home mom and carpools some of the kids on her street, including her own, to their schools.  Her neighbours include Anne and Charlie and their two kids, Bill and his son, and Iris (Frances' cousin) and Sara and their son.

There's a lot going on in the neighbourhood!  One day Frances walks in on Anne having "relations" on her living room floor with a man younger than her.  Breaking up the guy, Anne figures she can move on with her husband and family but Charlie finds out and kicks her out of the house.  Bill's wife, Julie, has suddenly disappeared and everyone in the 'hood assumes the worst ... she's left Bill for someone else.  Iris and Sara have a son and Iris would like another child but is nervous about bringing it up to Sara who is focusing on her career as an actress.

This is the second book I've read by this author and I liked it.  It was written in third person perspective from the different characters' points of view.  I found the writing amusing.  As a head's up, there is swearing (the F-bomb is used a lot).

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Knitted Temperature Blanket - March 2020

I heard about temperature blankets at the end of last year.  I've never made one before and it sounded like a fun long term project.

The idea of a temperature blanket is to knit or crochet a row (or a number of rows) on a blanket each day for a full calendar year.  The colors used each day correspond with the temperature outside.  The more colours you use to represent temperatures and the more varied the temperatures, the more colourful the blanket.

To be consistent, I chose to use the temperature at noon.  I debated whether to use Toronto's temperatures (regardless of where I am) or the temperatures of where I am (so it's a Teena ~ temperature blanket).  I decided to make a Teena ~ temperature blanket ... it should be interesting to see how it turns out as I travel throughout the year.

I'm using nine colours from Red Heart Comfort and Bernat Cozy Style yarn.
  • Blue:  -6C or colder
  • Green:  -1C to -5C
  • Light purple:  0C to 4C
  • Teal:  5C to 9C
  • Red:  10C to 14C
  • Dark purple:  15C to 19C
  • Yellow:  20C to 24C
  • Burnt red:  25C and higher
  • Grey:  first and last rows and divider rows between the months

So far, the warmest temperature (dark purple) was 18C in Toronto on March 29 and the coldest (blue) was -10C in Toronto (blue) on February 14.

I cast on 200 stitches.  The first and last five stitches of each row are seed stitches (knit one, purl one, knit one, purl one, knit one).  In between, I'm doing stocking stitch (knitting the odd rows and purling the even rows).  I added two rows of seed stitch at the beginning of the blanket to stop it from curling (stocking stitch does that and I hadn't thought of that when I started).

March


Warmest in March:  18C (dark purple) in Toronto on March 29
Coldest in March:  0C (light purple) in Toronto on March 22

February


Warmest in February:  9C (teal) in Toronto on February 24
Coldest in February:  -10C (blue) in Toronto on February 14

 January


Warmest in January:  11C (red) in Toronto on January 11
Coldest in January:  -8C (blue) in Montreal on January 21