There was a massive blackout in Toronto last week. 22,000 people were left without electricity and HEAT on some of the coldest nights this winter in Toronto's west end. Here's a photo from the CTV.ca website showing the extent of the area affected:
And right smack in the middle of it was our favourite milonga with the BEST MUSIC IN TORONTO (my apologies to all you other venues making this advertising claim - you simply haven't convinced me otherwise. Write to me and I can tell you exactly why).
So obviously, no tango on Friday night. So what to do with so much free time?
We break out the knitting. More precisely, the Alice Starmore designed "Mary Tudor" sweater I have been working on since........ 2004:
I have been crawling at a snail's pace on this project, when I used to be able to finish a sweater in a month or two. Man Yung has been nagging me and nagging me (and nagging me) to finish this sweater, but there's something incompatible between complex Fair Isle knitting and having to prepare oneself mentally for courses on the postmodern aspects of "Pain". Since that's all done (FOREVER. Yeah!), it's back to the knitting - I've only got one sleeve left, and I managed to accomplish about 15 rows while Man Yung channel-surfed.
Let me make an analogy for you: Fair Isle knitting (knitting with two strands of colour at the same time - typical of the Fair Isles in the north of the United Kingdom, and encompasing some kinds of Scandinavian knitting as well), Aran/Guernsey knitting (fishermen's sweaters - knitting with one colour with cables and repetitive stitch patterns) and Lace knitting are to traditional knitting like Milonguero style, Tango Salon and Tango Fantasia are to traditional Tango. Designs by designers like Alice Starmore, Ann Feitelsen, Gladys Thompson, Solveig Hisdal, in particular, will enable you to create heirloom sweaters that will be classics for ever - you won't be ashamed to pass these to the next generation! If you haven't tried one or all of these knitting styles, all you are doing some sort of trendy knitting easily encapsulated by the latest edition of "Vogue Knitting". Nice for a season or two, but not keepers. For me, if I'm going to do knitting like this I might as well buy my knits at the store - they can mass produce lots of them cheaply using machines.
Here's a shot of the floating strands on the inside of sweater - while one colour is being knitted in the front, the free strand "floats" behind it, creating a reverse colour pattern on the inside of the sweater:
One feature of the wool used for traditional fair isle knitting is that it sticks together and won't unravel easily. Part of the technique is to create "steeks" - and CUT through the centre of the steeks, like for the front band, and then knit up at the edge of the steek. It is not really as scary as it sounds:
Here's the front band from the front:
Eventually (hopefully sometime this lifetime) I'll end up with a sweater that looks like this:
If you aren't dancing tango right now and you want to gawk at more knitting, go to Wendy Knits - a fabulous traditional knitter with photos of all her finished works. Alice Starmore's website is another great resource.
Martha's Apartment in Buenos Aires
A Non-exhaustive set of Tango links in Toronto
- La Cachila - weekly milonga
- Paradiso -- weekly milonga
- Practica El Beso
- WE Tango
- Tango Sur - classes, shows
- Rhythm and Motion - classes, milonga, practica, annual Toronto Tango Festival
- Tango Obsession - classes, weekly Practica La Coqueta
- Tango Lirico - classes, practica, weekly milonga
- Tango de Oro - classes, shows
- Tango Soul Productions - classes, weekly milonga, shows, El Congreso annual Tango Festival
- Vivatango - classes
- Tango Argentino - classes
- Club Milonga - classes, special events
- Alternatango - classes, weekly milonga
- University of Toronto Tango Club - classes, practica
- El Abrazo - classes
- Tangoloft - twice monthly milonga