31 December 2009

Sparkly in the New Year

Bought myself a wee happy present at the Knit-o-matic Boxing week sale. It's Berroca Sox Metallic. Bling for the feet! Despite necessary economies, I figure I deserve a small something. My feet are very tired from the job and would like a bit of sparkle to cheer them up.

So, tonight, we roll the year over. Resolutions? I never make them. I do however, believe in pausing for reflection. My astrology reading for the coming year talks about noting how others see you as a tool to aligning the outer image with the truth about who you really are. Pause indeed. Lately I have allowed my tendencies to panic and worry and emotionally flail about to have too much influence on my words and actions. This has caused all sorts of negative Karma and has gotten me into a whole lot of trouble. How to shift this energy?
So, I'm working, as always, on inner peace. I'm considering my intentions and being mindful of what I put out there. It's not a resolution to start something new as much as it is a reminder to return to something I already know.

Have a great evening tonight everyone whatever you're doing. All the best in the coming year.

26 December 2009

Christmas Stuffing Indeed

Dishes At Christmas Dinner Prepared By My Sister
NO, I Am Not Kidding

  • Baked ham
  • Tortiere
  • Lasagna
  • Side crock of meatballs simmered in the lasagna sauce
  • Mashed squash
  • Peas and carrots
  • Salad

I am not even counting the myriad plates of nuts, chips, cheese, crackers and shrimp spread throughout the apartment. On top of everything, all the cookies you see in the photo were baked by her and each guest was given a box to bring home.

The woman was cooking and baking for over a week. She is either crazy generous, or just plain crazy.

17 December 2009

In My World Hedgehogs Are Purple

Pattern: Smith by Ysolda

Purple, only because these two colours were the most appropriately sized scrap balls in the stash.

I finally buckled down last night and finished this. Unfortunately, the knitting gods blessed me with inspiration at about 11:30 pm so I was up until after one. No matter. One must follow one's Muse.
It's remarkable how finishing a project does wonders for the mood. I've been feeling like crap for days and this little toy has managed to lighten that somewhat. I'll take it.
See that cute little pointy nose? The last ten rows or so were executed on DPN's! Yes, me, the DPN hater and despiser was forced over to the dark side by the pointiness of Smith's nose. I'm pleased that I managed the cursed things so well and that the end result is sufficiently cute.

16 December 2009

Tree's Up

Well, the Christmas knitting, knitting of any sort in fact, is a big fail. Tree's up though. Ooo. Pretty.
Much storm and stress is going on these past weeks. Work politics have been out of hand and I've let myself get caught up in the whirlwind.
Time to take a big step back. The Daughter and I have trimmed our tree and will soon wrap the gifts. We'll see good friends and eat too much. Tomorrow, we're going downtown to look at the lights. Pretty simple stuff but just what's needed now.

01 December 2009

Embarassing Moment #137

OK. On Sunday evening, I'm sitting at my dining table doodling and listening to Randy's Vinyl Tap on CBC, This is a typical Sunday night at my happening place. Anyway, the theme of the show is keyboard and well into the second hour, Randy plays Barry Manilow's Could It Be Magic as an example of blending of classical and pop. How cool is it that Randy Bachman - The Guess Who? BTO? Yes, that Randy Bachman - spins Barry Manilow on his radio program without irony or sarcasm? He just plays the record. The familiar opening Chopin chords send chills down my spine and I am transfixed to my radio. It's 1978 and I'm that girl, lying on the basement floor with my head between the speakers, listening to that song over and over again on my Barry Manilow Live album. I know it's schlocky but I actually believe in that kind of love. Someday, someone will feel that kind of passion for me, and sing "Come into my arms" to me. Baby, I want you now and hold on fast. I already feel all the joy and pain of that great love affair that I know, I know, will be mine.

Then of course tears are streaming down my face from the nostalgia of it all and then The Daughter walks in and rolls her eyes at me. She's used to this kind of behaviour from her crazy mother and walks right out again.

It's 30 years later and still no great passionate affair.
Fuck, it's a good song though.

Watch a clip HERE.

21 November 2009

Mail Call

My Whimsical Little Knits 2 arrived in the mail the other day. I pre-ordered the collection on spec several weeks ago. Ysolda Teague has a very clever system whereby you purchase the collection and then are sent weekly email links to download the patterns as they become available. For a few pounds more, you also receive the printed book at the end of the run. I chose the book option but began having doubts about the economy and environmental friendliness of ordering the hard copy as well.
As soon as I opened my package, all doubts disappeared. There's just something about holding the little paperback in my hands and flipping through the patterns. The colour quality of the photos is lovely. If you're like me, you read knitting pattern books for entertainment. After all, you can't bring pdf's on the morning streetcar ride.
My next queued project from the collection is Smith the Hedgehog. It will be a gift for my former babysitter. The girl, or I guess I should say woman, minded my child years ago and is now having her own baby. We all know time flies by but the fact is brought home more so when someone I think of still as a sweet, somewhat awkward teenager, is now a beautiful, self-possessed career woman expecting her first child. Wow.

14 November 2009

The Little Lost Shawl

Damson was literally off the blocking for about three hours when it went around the neck of The Daughter and out the door. That was two weeks ago and I haven't seen it since.
Hey Kid! Don't forget to bring it back when you return from Daddy's house!
This was a fast and fun knit. I particularly enjoyed knitting the final border and casting it off. So rhythmic. Ysolda Teague is fast becoming one of my favourite designers. She's mastering the whimsical (Hence her collection title "Whimsical Little Knits") and the feminine. I've already got another of her designs on the needles. It's a Christmas gift for The Daughter so I can't say anymore except that she'll not get it if I don't get my Damson back!

11 November 2009

Song To Make Me Still

Lower your eyelids
over the water
Join the night
like the trees
you lie under

How many crickets
How many waves
easy after easy
on the one way shore

There are stars
from another view
and a moon
to draw the seaweed through

No one calls the crickets vain
in their time
in their time
no one will call you idle
for dying with the sun

Leonard Cohen
The Spice-Box of Earth 1961

08 November 2009

Goats, Sheep, Llama

I made my annual visit to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair today, where I actually bought Christmas presents! On November 8! Pretty impressive.
I like the Royal for it's shopping, food tasting, and for the opportunity to pat goats and sheep. Though each year I find I'm a little more bothered by the animal agriculture for meat areas. It's weird to pat a pig then walk ten feet and buy back bacon on a bun for lunch. I'm not vegetarian though The Daughter is. We keep a veggie kitchen and I've become quite the good vegetarian cook. Frankly, I'm happy to let others deal with cooking the meat products. I only eat meat now when I'm out but, lately, even in restaurants, I choose the veggie option. I think it's only a matter of time before I stop eating meat altogether.

Cute goat, n'est pas?

The source of LYS stock.

My two new friends. These girls were super friendly.

Of course, there was yarn. This is Llama from Ontario.I also
counted three booths selling locally raised alpaca fibre.

01 November 2009

Happy Halloween!

Here's hoping everyone had a safe and happy Halloween. The Daughter and I sure did, rocking out to scary tunes, handing out candy on our porch (she, heavily bundled under her fairy wings, fighting back the feverish flu). Costume highlights include a headless man, three Oompa Loompas and a fuzzy zebra. My favourite however, had to be the swashbuckling princess. Seriously, the little girl wore a traditional pink princess dress with a black plumed hat, boots and sword. Chalk one up for girl power!

Check out the house across the street from our building. These people were decorating for days. The house literally stopped traffic. Hard core.

28 October 2009

Red Day

Cast on Damson in Ancient Threads Yarn logwood reds.

Bought a red-orange coat in a vintage shop. The buttons sealed the deal.

25 October 2009

Autumn Sunday

It was such a stunning day here in Toronto. Autumn is in full swing. This is the tree outside my front window. Unfortunately, it like every other maple for the past ten years or so, has that black spot blight on the leaves. What is that anyway? Close up the leaves look scarred and ugly. Yet from afar, still glorious.
I "passed by" Lettuce Knit the other day on the way somewhere else. Naturally one can't just pass without stopping in for a hello. It was a $75.00 hello. I picked up some needles, the Holiday Vogue and this creamy Berroco Linen Jeans in a blue-grey. It was on sale, an excellent value. However, it strikes me that someone without a full time job shouldn't be impulse buying in this manner. My lack of restraint annoys me. I may have to stay out of yarn stores altogether.

21 October 2009

Twist Me A Twig

I just got back from The Toronto Downtown Knit Collective's monthly meeting. This month's feature was a Skype interview with Kate Gilbert and trunk show from Twist Collective. After seeing and touching Robin Melanson's stunning Twigs & Leaves Cardigan, (Modelled by Robin herself!) I downloaded it immediately upon walking in the door. I think I may have found my cabled cardy!

18 October 2009

Ribbons Up!

Hannah has posted the Ribbon Project 2009 collection on Flickr. It's an especially good collection this year featuring ribboning from various places in Canada and the United Kingdom. Have a look.

11 October 2009

Two Hikes Are Better Than One

I wanted to make a gift for a friend who lives up north. Way up North. What better than a scarf? The Irish Hiking Scarf has been lurking on my Wish-To-Do list for some time now. So, I cast on with a nice warm Lambs Pride Bulky and got this far when I was informed, in no uncertain terms, by several male co-workers, that no man would wear this shade of green. What? I think it's nice. Not too girlie. Is it? Doubt started to creep in so I cast on a second in this nice conservative Louisa Harding Kashmir Aran beige.
Isn't it interesting how different the pattern looks in the two yarns? The beige is definitely the neater cable of the two and will be the gift. A safe choice. Yet, don't be surprised to see this luscious green wrapped around my own neck this winter.

08 October 2009

Wednesday Blue

Cheated a bit and took these today as I was sick on Wednesday.
Here is my mundane life: my coffee chair and Skywalk, through which I have passed literally thousands of times. Still, there it is. My cat loves the coffee chair. Tourists photograph Union Station by the hundreds each day. Wonder how many vacation snaps I am in?

07 October 2009

Tuesday Green

Heading up to my door at the end of the work day.

06 October 2009

Monday Orange

Every Monday I work here. On the way to coffee, armed with orange yarn and my camera, I discovered something. If I cross the street and the parking lot, adding approximately two minutes to my usual route, the place looks entirely different.

05 October 2009

Sunday Purple

Yes, more bike path shots. I love my bike and the freedom it brings me. Almost everyday this summer I joined the hundreds of other people heading into downtown on the newly surfaced lake side bike path. I'm certainly not the fastest rider, but not the slowest either. When no one else is close by, I honk my dinosaur horn at the geese flocks on the grass. At least once every day, the thought occurs: I'm riding beside a freaking lake. This is awesome!

Saturday Pink

Ribbon Project

It's that time again! The annual Ribbon Project has begun. Unfortunately, I was tardy in getting to my email so missed the first two days. My journey began on Saturday, October 3 - Pink.
What approach to take? In 2007 I focused on finding small bits of beauty or whimsy in my generally unhappy surroundings (failing marriage, feelings of isolation brought on by depression, living in an ugly neighbourhood).
In 2008, my focus was still concentrated on noticing the pieces, albeit, under much happier circumstances. I continued my now habit of looking to see the little things around me - the things that give my heart a little lift.
This year, rather than looking at a scene from the outside, I'm more interested in being in the middle of the scene. I mulling lately the concept of how one moves through one's daily space. I don't just look at my daily landscapes, but move within them and participate in their creation. This is what I'll be exploring over 5 colours and 5 days.

02 October 2009

I'm Sure She Won't Mind

I've been working with The Artist's Way for several months now. In it, the authour says it far better than I ever could.

Spiritual benefits accompany the practice of a
hobby. There is a release into humility that comes from doing something by rote. As we serve our hobby, we are freed from our ego's demands and allowed the experience of merging with a greater source. This conscious contact frequently affords us the perspectives needed to solve vexing personal or creative conundrums

The Artist's Way
Julia Cameron
Penguin Putnam Inc 1992

27 September 2009


The Knitter's Design Team
Knitter's Magazine Summer 2008
She's done! Well actually, this was done weeks ago. I was just waiting for a free sunny morning with my photographer, aka The Daughter.
I was initially disappointed with the final shape of the cardigan. It came out wider than I had envisioned and the sleeves are a bit batty. I should have made the armholes a little smaller. However, I showed it to a few other knitters and they gave their stamp of approval. I've worn it many times now and have warmed up to it considerably.
I knit to pattern specs in the medium size. The only modification I made was to make two button holes instead of one. I like the look of the more complete closure. Also, what an opportunity to use twice as many of my beautiful Goodwill vintage buttons.
Note. This is my first successful use of the three needle bind-off. That shoulder seam is true awesome skill.

20 September 2009

Artistic Patronage

I rode along Queen Street today to the Queen West Art Crawl. What a splendiferous, sunny day for a bike ride and an art show. Trinity Bellwoods park was alive with colour.

I actually bought a piece. My favourite tent was that of a lovely young woman named Amanda White. She does remarkably complex and fanciful ink drawings. She somehow manages to capture wildness and tenderness at the same time. The image at left is from her business card.
Alas, being an underemployed arts worker myself, I couldn't afford any of the large pieces with which I fell in love. The great irony of The State of The Arts in Canada. I purchased instead, a tiny perfect sketch that is now hanging beside my favourite window where I sit every morning.

19 September 2009

Blogging From the Office

It's quiet here today. What a difference from two days ago and the contained mayhem of sold-out U2 concerts.
Two fourteen hour days of running the box office and two very sore legs later, I've had a revelation. I'm really good at what I do. The prep was in place and the staff was cheerful and motivated. We were swamped but never out of control. I'm really proud to be part of this team.

Unfortunately, what I do, has very little market value. I could not do this job full time and support myself and The Daughter. It's such a shame.
The conundrum: how to find work that uses my mad skills, doesn't break my aging body, and pays a decent salary. Hmm...

06 September 2009

Do We Love the New Knitty or What?

It's so bright! So clean! I got a happy feeling when the home page popped up on my screen. And yes, it is easier to navigate.
Of course, there are lovely patterns as always. Browsing through got my knitting juices flowing. Can't wait to cast on something new. Now that I'm semi-unemployed, (Did I mention I quit my job? A bold, foolish, glorious and possibly disastrous thing to do!) I'll have a spot of time to rest up and knit. My favourite project in the new issue is
Kernal. I've struggled in the past with beads but this scarf has just enough to make it challenging but not overwhelming. Definitely on my To Do list.

I wore these socks to work yesterday and it came to me that I had never blogged them properly. They're the Acorn Lace Socks by Fiber Trends. The yarn is FibraNatura Yummy. While, I'm not the biggest fan of %100 wool for socks, I just love this pot dyed colour. The blue changes up into so many shades of itself that little sparks of happiness were coming out my fingers as I knit. The base colour look white in the photo but is actually a light steely grey, which sets off the blue perfectly. More photos on my Ravelry page.
In other knitting, Rose is coming along and Vanda is done and has been worn already. Photos soon.

Last Summer Weekend

It's ten past noon and The Daughter sleeps on. I'm torn between letting her enjoy this, her second to last sleep-in opportunity, and waking her "for her own good." My enjoyment of the quiet on this beautiful Sunday morning is influencing my decision toward the former choice.
School in two days. I always dislike this time of year. The myth created by marketing people that parents are dancing in the store aisles right now, is just not true. I enjoy the unstructured ease of the summer days. Seeing more of the kid, sitting outside after work, no homework to nag about. Even with working like a maniac these past few months and the lack of a proper vacation, I'm still sad to see summer end. Soon the pressures and rigidity of the school year, combined with shorter, darker, colder days, will make the sunshine and light breezes of this Labour Day Sunday a distant memory.

Two years ago, for Mother's Day, The Daughter gave me two skeins of Diamond Luxor Egyptian cotton in this gorgeous pink. It had been sitting in the stash waiting for a project until my current need for a new cosmetic bag provided the answer. Using a Knitgrrl 2 pattern as a starting point, I knit up this clutch in just a few days. The smooth, shiny pink goes so well with the vintage buttons. Tres chic. Tres girlie.

23 August 2009

Stash Enhancement

Very pretty enhancement it is too. Lovely Elayne had a de-stash social sale at her newly renovated home. Yarn and friends are my favourite combination.
Notice the departure from my usual jewel toned palette? I'm branching out! I'm adventurous! I chose beige!
We have Fibranatura Sea Song - 80% cotton, 20% seacell
and Louisa Harding Kashmir Aran, 50% Merino, 35% microfibre, 10% cashmere.
Don't know what they'll be yet. I'm just enjoying the view.

17 August 2009

A Crafty Puppy

I finally made it out to Wychcraft Market this past Saturday. It's the outdoor craft fair my friend Tracy runs every weekend. Yes, I was hoping to see some lovely handmade things, but honestly, the main purpose of the visit was to meet Pickles. She's Tracy's new puppy - half beagle, half bull dog. Have you ever seen anything cuter? I mean really!

Unfortunately, the weather was hot and hotter so passerby were few. Consequently, market business was very slow. Tracy, Pickles and I just sat on lawn chairs under a shade tree drinking juice (humans) and chewing bones (Pickles), and getting all caught up. It was quite a companionable afternoon.

13 August 2009


Art therapy? Then what the heck does this mean? Perhaps it's just that I like these colours. I know I like my plastic crayons.

06 August 2009

I Spoke Too Soon

So much for being near to completion. I just had to rip out most of the front panel after discovering a major error 40 rows ago. Argghh!

03 August 2009

Still A Knit Blog

Yes, Marin. I stole your phrase.

The knitting is going really well. Rose has temporarily been set aside while this cardy flies off the needles. Remarkably, the pattern is from Knitters magazine, a publication usually fug filled. Yet, every rule has an exception and this is it. I had been searching for a cotton cardigan pattern to use this recycled blue yarn when Village Yarns gave us all a Knitters back issue during the TTC Knitalong. This is Vanda from Summer 2008.

Knitting this piece has got me thinking about the process/product paradigm. Usually I knit process, often choosing a pattern just for the technique or the yarn. Sometimes, I knit product, slogging through a boring pattern to get to the desired finished article. This knit has been the best of both worlds. Working the detailing has been interesting and I love this shade of blue. At the same time, it's knitting up fast enough that I see great progress, which really keeps me motivated during the stocking stitch portion. I've only the left front panel to complete now, and all the pieces are done. Soon I'll be able to start putting it all together.

22 July 2009

I"m On Facebook for Exchanges Like This

Status Update:
Paul *
The Tories are just plain nasty. First Toronto Pride and now DiversCite. How anyone can vote for Stephen Harper's team boggles my mind: who renegs on 155K with 5 days notice???
Source: www.cbc.ca

"The fate of this year's Divers/Cité festival in Montreal was up in the air on Wednesday after the federal government said it would not approve funding for the event. "


i'm going to sue to stop the government from giving money to santa claus parades. how dare they give money to support a person that doesn't even exist! 11 hours ago
Yvette *
..Wiarton Festival also must be stopped. Lord only knows what's really going on with that Groundhog. 5 hours ago
Paul *
and winona peach fest?!?! puh-lease! that is a euphemism if ever there was one! 5 hours ago
Sean *
and those nasty drunk irish on st patricks day. they're papists followers of the whore of babylon! they must be stopped. 5 hours ago
John *
ROFL! ## Paul, I don't know these friends of yours, but I like 'em! 4 hours ago
Virginia *
Steve and his nasty gnomes are just jealous 'cause they can't dance and nobody ever invites 'em to the fun events

## I don't know what this means

19 July 2009

A Love Poem With Knitting Reference


they met and sparked with the
speed of knitting needles each
click clack stitch picked up without a hitch

beginning in separate sweaters
they unravelled as eagerly
as children at a seaside summer
flopped spread-eagled onto the
growing woollen blanket of
their easy intimacy

and swimming and scissoring
in the skein of their trampoline
they were two tangled kittens
with spring-tipped claws
momentarily hidden in a
woolly widerness

Joy Kogawa
Jericho Road
McClelland and Stewart 1977

14 July 2009

Button, Button

I don't sew but can't resist buttons. So pretty, all piled up. At a rummage sale or, like these, in a 99 cent bag at the Goodwill, I'm a gone sucker.