30 May 2006

A Wee Spot Of Luck

Not knitting related, but I just have to share...
The daughter's school fair was last week. As a fundraiser, the classes put together variously themed gift baskets and sold raffle tickets. I bought my bunch of tickets and put most of them in for the Spa basket, a collection of soaps, candles, lotions, etc. Well, I won the darn thing! Winning alone is pretty thrilling but when I got home and opened it up, inside is a $300 gift certificate for the Elmwood Spa. Holy Crap!!!!!
The funny thing is that it's my birthday next week so this is perfect. I believe I will go for the half day retreat including massage, facial, manicure and sauna. How lucky am I?

25 May 2006

So Far

On the left, my front garden bed so far. I know it doesn't look like much, but keep in mind that a week ago, it was paving stones over gravel and clay. When the perennials get established, it will be quite lovely.

There was also this half barrel in the yard when we bought the house. I dragged it out in front of the porch and planted this adorable Dwarf Alberta Spruce. The picture on this gray morning doesn't do it justice. The green is such a fresh, lush, shade and the needles are soft and tender. Such a nice baby tree.

The Diamond Fantasy shawl so far... a little more than half finished. I am just now getting the real rhythm of the pattern and can knit each row with just one glance at the chart. One of the things I love about knitting (among many) is the way a pattern makes mathematical sense and yet the process is aesthetically beautiful at the same time. The repeats of a pattern become almost a mantra as you work along, rather like the meter of a nursery rhyme.

Oops, I accidentally went off my yarn diet. I was surfing Ebay, just looking, and came across an auction for six balls of Tahki Positano in black, with only one bid. The auction was almost over and the price was pretty near free. You can understand that I was personally offended that someone should be getting such lovely yarn for practically nothing. So, I threw a few dollars on the bid just to make the other person pay more. To my surprise, I won the auction. As I never seriously intended to win, this doesn't count as going off the yarn diet. Does it?

24 May 2006

Just Like A Woman

So, there I am on Victoria Day, hacking away at my front (formerly paved) mud patch (Read: good old Toronto clay), with a spade, trying to turn it into a garden. Neighbourhood old guy passes and says in a thick Italian accent, "You are working like a man."

No honey. If I were working like a man, someone would be in the house making me drinks and dinner. Since I'm the bitch who'll be making the meal post shovelling, I have this to say to Old Guy: I am working like a woman. And that is way HARDER.

22 May 2006

Instruction Help Please

Does anybody understand this instruction?

k10, swt, k1, sl1 wyif, k10

It's a short rows project - 'swt' being slip, wrap turn.
Does 'wyif' mean 'with yarn in front' and if so, how does one accomplish this without ending up with a big knot!

17 May 2006

New Store

Well, actually, new old store...that is, the store isn't new...not at all...my discovery of it is new...to me.

St. Clair Avenue between Dufferin and Lansdowne, has a mini textile district, mostly catering to the local Italian community. Amongst the many fabric and linens stores is one called Ontario Fashion Textiles (1356 St. Clair Ave. W., just east of Lansdowne). It is about 80% fabric and seems to have a nice selection at reasonable prices - this coming from a non-seamstress.
There is also a craft section. She carries a fair bit of Bernat and Patons and (shudder), Phentex. However, she also has some nice mid-range yarns. I saw some Needful and a selection of Italian brands (Lana Grossa, of course). Also spotted were pattern books, embroidery supplies, latch hook kits and yarn, and a very good button selection. A rack near the front entrance contains all your basic supplies from crochet hooks to thread to point protectors. Nothing fancy, just a good old utilitarian store. With the demise of LewisCraft, this find was such a relief.

Call this post an ad if you like. The owner was most helpful and promised to order something for me that she was out of at the moment. I purchased two kinds of yarn and some doodads for my Secret Pal as well as 4 yards of polyester lining fabric for under 4o dollars. If you're in that neighbourhood, (excellent cappucino just across the street and east a bit), drop in. Oddly, the store is closed on Wednesdays and, as with everything else in this Catholic part of the city, Sundays.

14 May 2006

Happy Mother's Day To Me

I've had a nice Mother's Day. The weather turned out better than predicted. Thus, outdoor time was possible and that is what I really wanted to do with "my" day. Strolled around the new neighbourhood's garden centre (quite impressive) with the family and bought a few plants. I managed to get a couple of containers planted which made me feel like finally some progress is being made with the mess that is our outside. Our street is basically a parking lot. They love their cars here, so garages and paved fronts abound. We have a pad but no car. We have decided to keep it in the interest of the house value but I intend to rip up all the paving stones alongside and plant a perennial garden. I also want pots and containers everywhere possible. I will be the freak of the neighbourhood with unmanicured green space and no vehicle. I figure if the neighbours whisper about me for riding a bike and not hosing down my sidewalk, my job is done.

Check out the gorgeous gift from the daughter. She bought the little bag from a fundraiser at school and sculpted the beautiful needle ends herself with Femo. The husband baked the Femo for her and epoxied them onto the needles. I couldn't have been more surprised or delighted. What a remarkable gift.

10 May 2006

Neckline, Baby!

Ah, perhaps this is a store bought sweater, with that smooth and professional looking neckline. It must have cost a great deal.
No? You don't say! Yvette made this by hand? Tres magnifique!

Yes, it's true. Just a few ends to weave in and it's done. If the weather cooperates tomorrow, I shall get the daughter to photograph me outdoors wearing the petite masterpiece.

Thanks again
Wanietta for the neckline tips and Sherrill for the yarn.

08 May 2006

Your 2005 Song Is

Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day

"My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating"

In 2005, you bummed everyone out. Like you care.

04 May 2006

Strong Men

Post #2 for today is a house update. I decided on the men with truck option for my garbage pile problem. I'm so glad I did. This morning two guys with large truck showed up (one guy was camera shy).

They picked up all this from the back.....

...carried it to the front and put it into this....
...along with two dead freezers (thank you previous owners who "accidentally" forgot to remove them) and a toilet from the second floor. Our affair was brief. They were here for an hour, then I wrote them a not too large cheque and they were gone. As was my pile. I love that.

Secret Pal 8 Questionnaire

Yes, I had such fun with it last time that I've signed up again. It gives one a legitimate excuse for shopping! And I do so love getting mail.

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
The *not* like portion of the question is easy. I can't stand novelty eyelash type yarns. The favourite part is harder. I like so many yarns. Any blend with cotton, silk or linen is nice. Soft wools, well really, anything soft.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I have two sizes of hard needle cases. Large numbers of my needles are in their store sleeves loose in a section of my desk drawer. This works well for me.

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
Since childhood but seriously - obsessively - for about 4 years. I consider myself intermediate. Ie: I am comfortable with garments, finishing and lace.
Can't get the hang of intarsia.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
Sandalwood, followed by lavendar, rosemary and citrus.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
I like chocolate but am really a salty/crunchy snack addict. I don't eat cookies or crackers as my diet is wheat free.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I've just begun a bit of beading. Also, I journal almost everyday.
I neither crochet nor spin.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I have wide tastes.
Like: classic rock, eighties pop, folk, show tunes, current alternative, blues
Don't like: rap, hip hop, easy listening, hard core country

9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
I adore the red, purple, blue, green families. I cannot abide yellow.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
One husband, one twelve year old daughter, two silly cats.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Of course.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Tops, scarves, wraps, toys and sweaters. Readers of my blog know that I am weirdly in love with doll clothes.

13. What are you knitting right now?
An everlasting cotton sweater, a lace shawl and a spring top that is o so close to being done.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Of course.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I'll use what is called for in the pattern (except dpn's. I'm still retarded with those things. I prefer aluminum and bamboo. I don't often knit with plastic but I always buy the vintage coloured ones at rummage sales 'cause they're so durned purdy.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
No. I actually enjoy winding balls by hand. Very meditative.

17. How did you learn to knit?
My mother taught me the basics when I was a child. The rest I've learned from books and the internet.

18. How old is your oldest UFO?
About six months - the aforementioned everlasting sweater. It's my "knitting between projects" project.

19. What is your favorite holiday?
Long summer weekends.

20. Is there anything that you collect?
Old knitting pattern books and magazines (50's, 60's and 70's).
Aluminum teapots and percolators
Vintage costume jewellry.

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
Books: One Skein and Wrap Style. Any single magazine issue
Yarn: I like Needful Yarns. I've been wanting to try alpaca or bamboo and Dale Svale.
I am not currently subscribing to anything though I used to take Creative Knitting.

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I need to learn a few more casting on methods.

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
No. Size 8 shoe.

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
06/06 Gemini all the way baby!