the beauty of evil

(pretty glass baubles… more info below!)

The philosopher Hannah Arendt coined the phrase “the banality of evil”, a concept with which I have great sympathy. Having said that, my personal version of evil is quite beautiful. Fleece Artist and Handmaiden borne evil, to be exact.

I must have broken some kind of record this month in yarn spending, even for myself. I had to attend the MTO office yesterday to renew my driving licence (only two months after expiry, a personal best). I must say the lady there was so kind with me – usually they give me a really hard time and make me beg, plead and sign three or four statutory declarations that I didn’t even THINK about getting behind the wheel of a car within the period the licence was expired. I was having nightmares about being forced to go and redo the test 21 years later, and now they have a graduated system which means I would have had to drive with the supervision of an “adult” for a year first (wouldn’t JJ just love THAT!!).

But I digress. Of course the MTO office was only a 10 minute walk from my 3rd LYS, Lettuce Knit. And, of course, I had to take a spin by there – to buy stitch markers only, you know.

Well, 20 minutes later, here’s what I left the store with:

Wool, of all things! Suri Blue, laceweight, Fleece Artist. Nothing wrong with wool, of course. I just don’t usually buy it, preferring silk instead (and cotton when I’m feeling cheap). But I think it will be perfect for the Magical Earth shawl by Sandy Terp from A Gathering of Lace. I am a sucker for Celtic patterning (hence, JJ living with me… he is a Celt, and Irish, although he doesn’t admit it. However, if both one’s parents are Irish, what does that make one, anyway? Luckily for me he doesn’t read this blog or the very first comment on this post would be “I’m SCOTTISH – how many times do I have to tell you!!!”.

But here I digress, yet again. Not that I have anywhere near the skills to knit the Magical Earth shawl. But hey.

Holly thinks that zombies are evil. However, I’ll tell you what the true evil in life is: lace knitting. It seems like the potato chip of knitting to me these days… you can’t eat just one! So, now another 1200 metres of yarn for the stash. I could probably string together all of the yarn in the stash across the Atlantic and get myself a very cheap trip to Greece next summer. 😉

This was me having patted myself on the back because I didn’t locate any Sea Silk that I didn’t fall in love with. So abstemtious, I thought, until I found myself rooting through the Suri Blue bin.

Mind you, here is the Sea Silk I fell in love with earlier in the week at Romni, in the amethyst colourway:

It’s now official. I have enough yarn to make shawls to cover the entire exterior of my six story apartment building. The Super 7 or Lotto 6/49 had better come through very soon, given that having to work impedes me substantially in attaining this goal.

Oh – and my new addiction (although, thankfully, much cheaper than the yarn one):

Beads!! Because, of course, I had to hit Arton Beads on the lunch hour yesterday. So, now I have enough beads to mark every kilometre on the cross-atlantic yarn pulley trip to Athens… 11,000 or thereabouts (I am geographically challenged, so please do correct me if I am wrong!).

But – did I actually end up buying stitch markers? NO. I forgot. SIGH.

I wonder if the landlord would accept yarn for the November rent? Hmm. Note to self: lobby Ministry of Housing to suggest change to the Residential Tenancies Act to allow for rent payment in stash rather than cash. I would run it by the Toronto housing study group but they would probably have me committed.

On the knitting front: I am working on two projects that I want to submit to Knitty to see if they will actually publish them. This is killing me in a way as I can’t show off project pics on the blog. SIGH. Next project will be the Brioche vest for JJ from the Best of Interweave Knits (selfless little ol’ me…).

I’m also hacking away at some mosaic flowerpot candle holder thingies for holiday gifts. Luckily for me, they take quite a bit less time to make than the Magical Shawl will!!!

Oh – NEW CRAFT ALERT!!!! (for those of you who have lots of time on your hands and want another craft which will allow you to make fancy Christmas presents…) here is my gift to you for the 20 October feastday of… well, it must be some feast day, somewhere!

Shiny Happy Coasters!!

(you may or may not know that I also do mosaic work, primarily with stained glass. If interested I have links to some of my mosaic projects on the sidebar)

I started making these after seeing some woman selling them for $25 for four at a craft sale (which I thought was quite something, given that the glass costs about $1.50 and they take about 5 minutes to make). J “if it’s no’ whisky, it’s CRRRRAP!” J has co-opted the last set I made (10 minutes before a dinner party I was hosting… he was amazed. One minute, no coasters, the next minute … coasters! The guests also got some to take home as a little hostess gift. How Martha of me, really!

Here’s a gratuitous cheesecake photo of JJ – a very rare sighting with a glass of alcohol other than whisky!

He does look Irish, doesn’t he?!?

Back to the regularly scheduled programme…If interested in making coasters, the start up cost is fairly low. This is what you need:

From the bottom (because I’m weird) – all tools available at a stained glass shop, and likely at places like Michael’s as well:

1. glass cutter (this one is rather high end as I have done this professionally, but you can get a decent one for this purpose for about $10 CDN)
2. tile/glass snapper (to separate the pieces of glass once you have scored them – about $3)
3. a rasp to file down the edges of glass (about $5). I also have a special machine I use for this, but again, not necessary unless you’re doing pro work.

You will also need:

1. a cork-backed straightedge (mine was, ahem, liberated from a past office)
2. stained glass, of course. It costs anywhere between $5 and $20 for a one-foot square, depending upon the type of glass. The one in the photo is “opalised” and goes for about $15 per foot. One foot will make 9 coasters. My favourite is called “oil slick” and is opalised like the one in these photos but I don’t have a pic to show you right now.
3. these little foot things with sticky backs (available at ye locale dollar shop). There are optional but helpful to avoid slippage.

The process:

1. put the piece of glass on a non-slippery surface (a table covered with a towel works well. Don’t forget to put the towel in the laundry basket right after).

2. pick the part you want to score and put the straightedge there.

3. score a line on the straightedge with the glass cutter.

4. use the glass snapper gently to separate the pieces.

5. cut the resulting smaller piece of glass into coaster sized pieces.

6. file the edges with the rasp.

7. stick the little feet on.


So, now you’re asking – why did I post a photo of glass baubles at the top? Because they’re pretty (Michael’s, $7/bag. You can also get some good ones at the dollar store) and because they lead to a very simple craft to do – either by yourself or with kids. Just get a tube of glue or a small bucket of tile adhesive if for outdoor use, and stick the beads to stuff – glass vases, mason jars, etc.

Have fun!


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