28 November 2006

Hah! I Always Knew It.

You are The Empress

Beauty, happiness, pleasure, success, luxury, dissipation.

The Empress is associated with Venus, the feminine planet, so it represents,
beauty, charm, pleasure, luxury, and delight. You may be good at home
decorating, art or anything to do with making things beautiful.

The Empress is a creator, be it creation of life, of romance, of art or business. While the Magician is the primal spark, the idea made real, and the High Priestess is the one who gives the idea a form, the Empress is the womb where it gestates and grows till it is ready to be born. This is why her symbol is Venus, goddess of beautiful things as well as love. Even so, the Empress is more Demeter, goddess of abundance, then sensual Venus. She is the giver of Earthly gifts, yet at the same time, she can, in anger withhold, as Demeter did when her daughter, Persephone, was kidnapped. In fury and grief, she kept the Earth barren till her child was returned to her.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

27 November 2006

Christmas Knitting?

I knit, therefore I Christmas knit.

The time of year has arrived when those two words (C K'ing) pop up everywhere. I have mildly considered items and half heartedly flipped through my patterns. Nothing has been started.
The problem is, I don't really feel like it. I have knitted gifts in the past, some of which have been warmly received. It's this feeling of obligation that has me down. I keep thinking about a conversation with Aleta months ago at a Drunken Knit Night. She was working on a baby garment gift and reflecting on the fact that knitting anything, especially something good enough to gift, takes time, care and a certain amount of passion. One wants the receiver to understand the value of the gift beyond the mere utility of the item.
Therin lies the rub. Nobody in my extended family "gets" knitting, though, of course they all know about my obsession. They think it's quaint, or cute or just boring. I've been told not to waste my money on good yarns when it's so much cheaper at Wal-Mart. I have been told that our monthly get togethers should be about charity knitting. Why else would a bunch of women get together if not to do for others? Surely not to enjoy each other's company or share the love of a craft? Certainly not to drink beer!
So, as you may have guessed, I shall not be doing any Christmas knitting this year. If it feels like an obligation, why bother?

Instead, my entire family - sisters, brothers in law, nieces, nephews and parents - are receiving animal adoptions from the World Wildlife Fund. They may not "get" that either (well, the kids will) but at least I feel good about it. Check out the WWF Shop here. Forty dollars gets a small stuffy of the endangered animal, a sticker, a personalized adoption certificate and a brochure detailing the work that the gift is funding. Also, you get a tax receipt for thirty dollars. What could be better?

23 November 2006

A Shimmering Lagoon

It finally arrived! and it's love. We met on the internet. I knew it had to be mine so I ordered a bunch. Then, it didn't arrive, and it didn't arrive some more. I was being stood up by yarn. Mild panic set in. Some of our mail has gone mysteriously missing in the past few months, so you can imagine my distress. I contacted the seller and she graciously offered to send more. I said, "Let's wait a wee while longer." Then the glorious day when, in a tyvec envelope that looks a mess, the parcel was dropped in the mailbox. Glorious.

It's three skeins of what was described as softball cotton in a nylon binder. The colour, entitled Lagoon, is handpainted by the seller, lotusblossom. This stuff is quite bulky but lighter than air. I have no idea what to use it for. Any ideas? For now, I just like looking at it, especially in the afternoon sun.
Here follows a shameless plug: Check out this woman's
Ebay Store.

22 November 2006

Scanning Can Be Fun!

Ok. You asked for it...Presenting the best of the worst of my recent 1980's patterns acquisition. Get out your hair gel, headbands and micro-minis.

I admit that the actual sweater in the centre is not too bad but, that hair! I'm flashing back to Charlene What's-Her-Name from the television show Dallas.

The absolute, hands down, no contest, Worst of the Worst, comes from our friends at Filatura di Crosa. Who else? The picture speaks for itself.

Below are the patterns I actually like. They're all from scheepjeswol and are probably more recent. The top left corner one particularly intrigues me. Working with a softer, more "drapey" yarn and leaving the bottom of the body and sleeves open, instead of ribbed, would update this piece nicely. I really like that drawstring neckline.

19 November 2006

A Nice Gesture Really Helps

Friday evening at work, one of my co-workers hands me a heavy liquor store bag. "Here you go," she said. Inside are many knitting leaflets and magazines. Someone at her day job had brought them to the office to offer them up. There were no takers there, so this lovely lady thought of me and took the lot. It turns out that the majority are hideous eighties patterns, only good for laughing at (I'll scan and post some of the funniest ones another time). Still, I am so pleased to have been remembered. How cynical am I that I am always surprised by nice acts?

16 November 2006

My City's Vastness is Submerged

My city’s vastness is submerged in night.
Away from sleeping buildings, I take flight.
The people that I see think: daughter, wife,-
But I remembered one thing only: night.

A mild, July wind shows me where to go.
In someone’s house, music’s playing - slow.
Through thin walls of my ribs, - I know -
This wind, up until dawn, will blow.

There’s a lit up window and a poplar tree,
A flower in my hand, a church-bell’s plea,
This path I take in no one’s footsteps - free,
And this lone shadow, - there is no me.

Golden threads of city lights’ rays.
And in my mouth, - this bitter leaf’s taste.
My friends, release me from the day’s maze.
You’re merely dreaming all of this, dazed

Marina Tsvetaeva
1892 -1941

12 November 2006

Cold Toes No More

Did you ever have one of those days...the kind of day when all that will make it better is to just sit and do something incredibly boring and repetitive? I have fewer of them than I once did, but they still occur. Today was one and all I could do to ignore the looming grey sadness was pull yarn through my needle over and over. Happily, the result is this:

Does anybody remember when I started this rug? It's been sitting in the WIP basket for so long because it became too damn dull to finish. It was just waiting for a gloomy Sunday afternoon to bring it out again. Now, it's done and it's quite pretty isn't it? It even has a rubbery backing sewn on to prevent slips. The day was not a waste after all.

Here it is in it's intended place between the bed and the dresser. Tomorrow, when I wake up, I'll be able to put my feet down while groping about for my slippers. Sweet.

11 November 2006

The Fair

Off we went on our annual trip to the Royal Argricultural Fair today. We viewed giant pumpkins, mutant root vegetables and a 19 foot tall sunflower. The daughter and I met one cow among the hundreds present, who appeared to actually be thinking about something while chewing. I renewed my resolve to eat even less meat while petting a pig. The Daughter, who has embraced vegetarianism, felt no such guilt. We both moisturized our hands with lanolin by deeply scratching many, many beautiful sheep.
I filled my pack, as I do every year, with greatly discounted goat cheese from
Woolwich, smoked fish from Purvis Bros., and Crofters jam - all very yummy and generous with the on site free samples.

Then there was this.....
a small corner devoted to llama and alpaca raising. Present were one llama, and two adorable young alpacas. A few ladies and a meagre display of hats and mittens, promoted the wonders of their yarn. We're talking preaching to the choir here. A small wicker bowl contained about a dozen skeins for sale. I bought this natural tan colour llama - a 90 gram skein. I am seriously in love with the softness and rich texture. It tells me that it wants to be wrist warmers so it can be close to me every day. I'm hoping the yardage is enough for Fetching.

09 November 2006

Things That Bug Me

  • P3tog
  • Watching someone else buy that gorgeous $45 skein of handpainted.
  • The skinny naked chick on the cover of Amy's new book. Yes Amy, I know it's not your fault! But really! The publishers felt it necessary to adorn the work of a beautiful, voluptuous woman, known for designing for other voluptuous girls, with a skinny naked chick? WTF?
  • People who push by me when I'm buying tokens at the TTC ticket booth - as if saying "Excuse me." while shoving me face first into the glass with your giant back pack makes it ok.
  • Jennifer Gray's nosejob.

All done now. Thanks for listening.

07 November 2006

Pylon Head! (Well not quite...)

Just finished putting a fresh henna on my hair. Ack!! Too orange!
I'm out of indigo and can't find more. The Indian food store where I used to buy it doesn't stock it anymore. The lady who owns the place discovered that indigo for hair is the same dye that is used on cloth. She's now convinced it's toxic and will not be persuaded otherwise. I did find one box at House of Spice in Kensington, but that seems to have been old stock and no more has appeared since.
A short henna tutorial: Straight henna used on grey hair will come out pylon orange. Attractive on certain types for sure...just not me. Therefore it is necessary to mix the henna with other ingredients to add browns and reds. I use espresso, beet juice, rosehip tea and INDIGO. I've used blueberry tea in the past, but it's not the same. That dark, dark blue, really turns the henna the deep shade of red that I love. It goes so well with my remaining brown hair and never looks like "old lady trying too hard".
So, I must have more indigo. Anyone know of a local source? Otherwise, a thorough scouring of Gerrard and Coxwell is in my future.

03 November 2006

We Went To alterknit and Found It Good

Last evening, the daughter and I joined Kelly, Michelle and Meredith for a little SnB at alterknit, (1024 St Clair Ave. W.) Toronto's newest yarn cafe. Coincidentally, a schoolmate of the Daughter's was there as well, so everyone had someone with whom to chat.
I had a thick, foamy, latte while knitting slippers. The kid ate spanikopita and made pom poms. Kelly, not having spent enough money last weekend at Rhinebeck, bought more yarn. (It's for a gifting so it doesn't really count.) A nice evening.

Reasons We Like it There:
  • It's spacious.
  • Pattern book browsing while sitting at a table.
  • The gorgeous yarn and accessories wall.
  • The coffee and tea comes in cool cups. Never underestimate the importance of crockery!
  • The women who own it are super friendly.
  • It's in my hood. I can walk there! This neighbourhood is definitely improving.

Presenting the evening's accomplishment. Lovely retro slippers, from the same pattern I wore as a kid. Yes, that's 100% acrylic you see. Hey, at least it's not Phentex. Ah, memories...