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Niagara

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H and I spent last weekend visiting L in St Catherine’s, and we spent Saturday in Niagara seeing the falls and the parks around there. I hadn’t been since I was a kid, so I was excited to see the falls, and we arrived early enough that we missed the really big crowds. After seeing them, we walked along the Niagara Parkway and visited some of the gardens and the dufferin islands, which are connected by a bunch of bridges.

If we’d planned our day better, we might have bought bus passes ($8 or so for the day) or rented bikes and visited some of the museums and battlefields along the parkway. They’re about 20km or so from the falls, so even if you dedicate the day to walking (we walked over 15km), you don’t see lots of the interesting stuff that’s further out. Otherwise, there’s only about 4-5 hours of interesting stuff within walking distance (though there’s lots of touristy stuff on Clifton Hill if that’s your thing). On Sunday, before heading back to Toronto, we explored St Catherine’s a bit and then saw the boats and pretty houses in Thorald, which is just outside St Cat’s. It was such a cute town, though everything was closed since it was Sunday.

Overall, it was a great weekend – such a fun late summer trip!

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Lately

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Lately, I’ve been…

Knitting :: Not a lot of time for knitting this week, but I finished the body of my Flax Light sweater! I’ve got it on hold now because my long interchangeable cable broke, and I can’t do the sleeves until I get a new one. As much as I love the Hiya Hiya sharps, I’ve found that the cable joints just aren’t durable, especially if you knit a lot with magic loop, which tends to strain the join. I’ve also got a bunch of Knit Picks Options, but their interchangeable cables aren’t very flexible and the tips are a bit dull. I’d love your suggestions if you have a favourite (durable, sharp, flexible cable) interchangeable set.
(Rav link)

Reading :: I finished The Secrets of Lake Road (so good!) and have started Field Study, which is a collection of short stories by Rachel Seiffert. Nothing really stands out about this collection so far (I’m often not particularly enthralled by collections unless they’re really well selected and ordered), but it’s been an enjoyable commuting book this week.

Watching :: Law and Order SVU. I think this is the only crime procedural of the early 2000s that I haven’t seen yet, and since I loved the others so much, it was time to give this one a try. Tentatively enjoying so far.

Enjoying
:: The rain! Finally! What a wonder for the garden and for breaking the heat wave.

What are you knitting and reading this week?

Linking up with KCCO and Yarn Along.

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The never-ending heat wave

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(Knitting details on Rav, recipe for the pickles posted last year)

I usually love summer… I’m always cold the rest of the year, and summer is the only time of year I can leave the house without a sweater. Plus summer has so many great events, there are picnics in the park, gardening, swimming, camping, and so on. But this year – oh my goodness. The heatwave has been never-ending and I am so warm. We’ve also gotten so little rain and everything is so dry and droopy. We don’t have AC and with the recent temperatures around 40-45 (105-115 fahrenheit) degrees with humidex, I am absolutely melting. I had a booth for Agrestal at the Kingston Sheepdog Trials last weekend, which is my only outdoor event this year. Let’s just say that it’s a good thing we were so close to the shaved ice stand.

I’ve been knitting lots of small things, reading lots of books, and eating lots of fresh, no-cooking-required food. Unfortunately the canning has to get done, even in the heat wave, so I’ve been trying to do everything in the evenings when it’s a bit less warm. I’ve done dilly beans and lots of dill cucumber pickles so far. The tomatoes are coming out of the garden pretty quickly now so soon it will be time for canned tomatoes, salsa, pasta sauce, and ketchup.

Are you also stuck in this heat wave? Any secret ways to keep cool?

P.S. As I’m writing this, funnily enough, a huge storm has rolled in out of nowhere, with lots of rain and wind! Thank goodness. (Now we just have to hope that everything doesn’t flood!)

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Lately

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Knitting :: The cutest little baby sweater! The pattern is Flax Light from Tin Can Knits, which has been on my to-knit list since its release last year. A friend is having a baby this fall and when I saw this colourway at Cornerstone Fibres (one of my fellow vendors at the Kingston Sheepdog Trials this past weekend), I knew it would be a great yarn and pattern match. The sweater pattern is simple enough to really let all of the tones in the yarn shine. The yarn is beautifully soft, a 80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon blend. While it’s not completely locally / ethically sourced, the merino was selected by the dyer from the Wool Grower’s Co-Op, and she had it custom milled.
(Rav link)

Reading :: Forgot to take a photo, but I just finished The Tuesday Club Murders, which was one of my favourite Agatha Christies. It’s a collection of short stories, so perfect for reading on my way to work, when I could get through a story or two each day. I’ve got a couple of other books out from the library right now, but haven’t decided which one to start next!

Watching :: Chef’s Table, which is another food series on Netflix. Each episode focuses on a different chef and their cuisine, but also acts as a kind of mini biopic. It’s enjoyable, though not as interesting as Michael Pollan’s Cooked, which I also watched recently. It’s also had me thinking a lot about the cultures we create around jobs, and the spaces this creates for those who live and work around us.

What have you been knitting and reading this week?

Linking up with KCCO and Yarn-Along.

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A new pattern – Plumule Shawl

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I’ve just released a new pattern, Plumule Shawl earlier this week! It’s is a small, light shawl knit in a 50g skein of Agrestal Bow River Lace or your favourite laceweight yarn. I love this shawl for the summer – I’m hoping a formal occasion will arise soon so I can wear it with a summery dress. More details from the pattern page:

Plumule is a small, light, and airy shawl with a simple body and delicate lace edging. The shawl is knit from the top down on large needles and blocked to produce a fabric with a lovely drape. Plumule makes the perfect accessory to dress up a casual outfit, or looks wonderful with a formal outfit for a summer wedding.

The finished shawl is semi-circular with a wingspan of approximately 47”.

The sample is shown in Agrestal Yarn Bow River Lace in the colourway “Petal”.

The promotion is almost finished, but you can get 50% off the pattern price until the end of the day today (Friday) using the code “plumule”. I am also going to be hosting a KAL, complete with prizes! All of the details will be announced Monday on Ravelry and on my yarn instagram (@agrestalyarn).

If you’d like more details or to purchase the pattern, you can visit the pattern page on Ravelry. Thank you – I hope you enjoy knitting Plumule as much as I did!

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This week, in (mostly) food

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Whenever I upload the photos from my camera to my computer, I always find it interesting to see what I’ve been taking photos of recently. Sometimes, it’s a mix of everything, but other times, a theme emerges. This week was one of the latter, with lots of food photos – canning, simmering, baking – so much good stuff.

Links for more info:

Dilly Beans from Serious Eats
Mushroom gravy from VegKitchen
Whole Wheat Bread from The Kitchn

Hoping your week was delicious too!

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Twenty two

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I turned 22 at the beginning of the week, and I had such a wonderful few days! I was lucky enough to get together with a bunch of friends for dinner the week before (so many conflicting schedules makes this a harder feat that it might sound, so I really enjoy it when we manage to make it happen!). I spent the weekend visiting my parents, and I had lots of time for knitting, petting the dogs, wandering downtown and at the conservation area, and eating good food. In keeping with previous years, my mum made me a cheesecake with a sauce made from freshly picked berries. 21 was such an interesting and challenging year – I can’t wait to see what 22 has in store.

I hope you are all having a lovely weekend! Happy long weekend to my fellow Canadians.

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Lately

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Lately, I’ve been…

Knitting :: The second of my Bon Echo socks, which are nearly done! I’m about halfway through the gusset decreases and then I’ve just got the foot and the toe to go. The yarn is Knit Picks Essentials (which is discontinued, but I got it from a local Raveler’s destash). I should use up almost all of the brown but I will have lots of the green leftover to add stripes to another pair. I’m not using a pattern for these, but I have made very rough notes on my project page.
(Rav link)

Reading :: I just started The Secrets of Lake Road by Karen Katchur, which is a summer mystery type novel. I love the atmosphere so far, although I’m finding the juvenile voice of the narrator a bit distracting. Fortunately I think the story is told by several narrators, so that should improve.

Watching :: I’ve been rewatching some of the old episodes of Midsomer Murders, which is on Netflix. If you haven’t seen this show, I’d especially recommend the early seasons – it’s a crime drama set in small English villages. Each episode is a bit longer than one and a half hours, so they’re really mini-movies with lots of time for good plot and character development.

What have you been knitting and reading this week?

Linking up with KCCO and Yarn-Along.

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Pesto time

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Midsummer has arrived, and I’m harvesting tons of basil from the garden, which means lots of pesto! We’ve planned to do a bunch and freeze it, but none of it has actually made it to the freezer yet because we’ve been eating it so quickly – on pasta, of course, but also on sandwiches, pizzas, french fries. We’ve mostly been having walnut pesto, because pine nuts are so expensive here, but maybe we’ll splurge and do a batch with them.

I wish it were possible to can pesto in a water bath canner – we’ll end up freezing ours, because I don’t have a pressure canner, but I hate to use up freezer space. I know we’ll want the space later in the year, especially as the holidays approach (we always spread our holiday baking out and freeze everything to try to cut down on the Christmas madness). Any tips on the best way to compactly freeze and store pesto? Cubes are convenient because they’re easy to portion but they take up so much space. I’d love not to have to use ziplock bags too if possible.

Any of you also enjoying pesto as midsummer approaches? Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!

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Lately

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Lately, I’ve been…

Knitting :: The very beginnings of a new shawl design, in a new yarn base I’m testing out for Agrestal. This yarn is so squishy and warm – it’s a softspun single ply sportweight and I’m already dreaming of so many projects for it. These colours were dyed using various combinations of marigold, chestnut, cream of tartar, and iron.
(Rav link)

Reading :: I just picked up another Agatha Christie from the library, though I haven’t had the chance to start it yet. This one should be fun – it’s a collection of short stories from the Miss Marple series.

Watching :: The Bridge on Netflix. It’s a Swedish / Danish crime drama and it’s so well done – the atmosphere created by the filming style and the acting is just superb. The plot is really captivating too. This is in Swedish with subtitles.

Listening :: To a bunch of podcasts, as usual. Invisibilia is back, and it’s wonderful and thought provoking as always. I also started listening to More Perfect, which is about cases from the US Supreme Court. I know next to nothing about American law, but this has been absolutely fascinating. It’s done by the same folks who do WNYC’s Radiolab, so production and research quality is excellent.

What have you been knitting and reading this week?

Linking up with KCCO and Yarn-Along this morning.

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