I’m a poet and don’t know it…

“The productions of all arts are kinds of poetry and their craftsmen are all poets.”
– Plato

Well, it’s great to see that the Greeks are again leading the pack with the bon mots.

So, tell me if you think that this is poetry or not:

Yes, I’m back in the Good Housekeeping mode yet again – at least as it involves production of fancy flavoured oils and vinegars.  I’m sick and tired of seeing and coveting bottles of them at Ye Locale Overpricede Food Emporiume, so thought I’d best get off my lazy @$$ and make some of my own.

(Er… plus, JJ and I went rather crazy at Fiesta Farms last weekend and then didn’t end up cooking everything we had planned, so I had lovely fresh herbs that were going off.  Sigh.)

So, from the left, there are: Oven-dried tomatoes in olive oil with oregano and garlic; basil olive oil; mixed berry white wine vinegar; fresh oregano olive oil with lemon zest; lemon and lime olive oil; and red pepper wine vinegar.

This, although pretty, I must confess does not feature local produce:

But the blueberries are now with us, so stay tuned for some experiments with white balsamic and blueberry!

And doesn’t this look yummy?

Time will tell – I’ve got to wait three weeks or so to crack into these babies. Patience is a virtue, they tell me…

Oh – and before I forget – today is the birthday of the oh-so-fabulous JJ!!!

Please join me in wishing him a lovely day – he well deserves it for putting up with me!  We will be having the real celebration next weekend… and I’m under strict orders not to tell you how old he is but if I could afford it, I would buy him a LeXXus I (if that is indeed a type of fancy car… heh heh).

So, in advance celebration I decided to knit JJ a cover for his lovely petunias!!


(“What are ye doin’ now, lassie?  Have ye gone mad????”)

Allow me to introduce my version of Seascape!

I’m knitting this on 3.5mm needles with the lovely Handmaiden Lace Silk – I have no idea which colourway but it seems closest to Popsicle.  So far, so good – the pattern is fairly easy to follow thus far.

And, I’ve decided to add beads to highlight some of the curves:

But… that’s not all!!  I’ve been suffering from a bit of knitting ennui of late and so decided to follow Tracy B‘s excellent suggestion to try two projects at once.  Also, this lovely Posh Yarn “Cecilia” that lace goddess Clarabelle so kindly sent to me was sobbing loudly from its place of honour on my bookshelf, feeling neglected.

Celia, you’re breaking my heart!! (but hopefully you do not shake my confidence… sigh).

I had decided some time back that the ideal project to go with this yarn would be the half-circle shawl from Victorian Lace Today:

This is a rather scary project, as it involves lace knitting on both right and wrong sides with no “rest row”.  However (deep breath)… here goes!

So far, so guid, I think!

Now, I don’t know if I’m a poet or not – but I do think all of the above is looking a-ok.  So, that’s a start.

Sadly, it’s now time to leave for… work. Happy Monday to all!

a lovely spring afternoon…

…part of the loveliness courtesy of Michaels Craft Superstore!

We scored lots of goodies there yesterday.  For example, since I didn’t already nearly have enough beads for knitting…

… I needed to pick up some more.  Approximately 12,000 more by my calculation:

And what am I going to do with all these beads, you ask, shaking your head?  Well, a girl can never have too many chartreuse beads, can she?

These ones are intended to replace the gold beads I bought for the Moroccan Days shawl kit:

…which calls for 5,000 or so.  However, I poached some of the gold beads for the Sherwood I’m working on now:

(which I’ve decided, by the way, will be my mother’s belated present for Mother’s Day.  Hi, Mom!)

And these ones?

Well, I think they’ll go quite well with this Handmaiden Sea Silk in the Ocean colourway:

This, by the way, is the Ocean that I just had to have last August.  Yes, it’s still in the stash.  I’ve earmarked it for a “stealth project” (as Soo would say).  Stay tuned.

In keeping with the oceanic theme, I also picked up some sea glass:

It looks like pastel ice!

But don’t worry, JJ didn’t come home emptyhanded.  The reason for the trip in the first place so that he could pick up some stuff for the seasonal door decoration.  Here it is:

Isn’t it lovely?  Almost as lovely as this stuff…

Happy Sunday – and a happy Mother’s Day to those brave souls out there who have earned that title.

Sherwood and other forests

A burning question: if April showers bring May flowers, what do May showers bring?

The answer: gloom and doom, with a beacon of hope.

I don’t know how people live in a climate where it rains all the time. I can’t stand three days in a row of rain, myself! Not to mention the damp chill.

So, I had to take some photos in the forest to remind myself that there is hope of regrowth after all.

And what did I find? Dead trees…

…and more dead trees.

Auuuggghhh!

But then I decided to take the glass half full approach to life for once, and was able to notice signs of life after all:

…both real and metaphorical!

And another shot of the Toronto forest (as opposed to Sherwood):

So, how is Sherwood anyway? Well, he’s ticking along quite merrily – as did Robin Hood and his men, apparently.

Gotta love these beads (there will be 1300 or so in the finished object, or so I’m told)! The yarn is Misti Alpaca Handpaints laceweight in the prosaically named “EZ05” colourway. I’m calling it Sunset in the Forest, myself.

And here’s the money shot:

Not bad, eh? It will be approximately 16″ wide when finished and I don’t know how long, but suffice it to say there are many, many more pattern repeats to go.

But now off to gather my materials for the big all-day legal training session I’m attending today…

Luckily I’m not presenting, which means that I might actually have the time to whip up a scarf!

Happy Monday!

**************

tempting the Photo Gods

Well, the other day I got bored at work had some free time. So, naturally, I decided to mess around with all the photos I published here the other day, using the free photo morphing program in Flickr.

Here are my favourites.

Hey, do you think that this is what acid rain causes? Hmm.

Now for a diptych (big word, eh!):

As you can tell, I really like that radioactive blue colour. And what about electric blue?

Pretty cool, eh?

However, I think I’ve pissed off the Photo Gods. Here is the only non-blurry photo I’ve managed to take of Sherwood thus far.

Now, when I’m working on this project, I can’t stop thinking about this guy:

…which inevitably leads me to thinking about this guy, Dennis Moore:

Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
Galloping through the sward
Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
And his horse Concorde
He steals from the rich
And gives to the poor
Mr. Moore, Mr. Moore, Mr. Moore….

Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
Dum dum dum the night
Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
Dum de dum dum plight
He steals dum dum dum
And dum dum dum dee
Dennis dum, Dennis dee, dum dum dum.

(By the way, I do hope you didn’t click the link above, as this tune will probably be with you for the entire weekend. Yes, it’s one of those.)

I wonder where all these guys disappeared to who used to steal from the rich and give to the poor, anyway. They certainly didn’t end up in Parliament!!

On that happy note, let me bid you a fond farewell, gentle readers, and a happy weekend!

Regards,

Maid Marian

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a sneak preview…

Well, I know I said I wouldn’t be back until Tuesday. Well, I lied. Couldn’t resist offering a sneak preview of my Icarus, hot off the needles!

Sadly, it’s raining, so the field trip I had planned with Icarus today to Casa Loma won’t work. Sigh. Will have to scheme about other photo op ideas…

And here are the very early days of Sherwood, my test knitting project:

Off to enjoy the rest of my long weekend do some tidying up now.

As you can see, we’ve been partying hard in the Brouhaha household this weekend…

Man, those duckies just can’t hold their drink!

Happy Monday!

Big Friday, redux

I’m feeling lazy today…I’m taking a day off for religious observance. That’s right, folks – it’s Big Friday for all us Greekish types (see my post this past Good Friday if you want to know why this is so).

So, being the high holy day in the Orthodox calendar, I’m spending the whole day in church, right?

Yep. The Church of Icarus.

(Oh, what’s that? You don’t think that knitting is a real religion? Check out this recent blog post by fellow raveller Genuine: The Sacraments of Knitting: A Simple Tract. I was a skeptic too, but she persuaded me and I’m a lawyer and all – I don’t believe anything, really.)

Anyway, if that excuse doesn’t work, my back up excuse is that I need to finish Icarus ASAP so that I can start on a test-knitting project that I’m doing for Susan of Sunflower Designs! The project in question is called Sherwood:

So, of course I had to go out and buy some new yarn for it today at Amerigo:

Llama!

I know, I know – it’s not really my usual type of colour choices. Unlike, for example, the llama I already bought from Amerigo a month ago…

… or the Handmaiden Sea Silk from the stash that I had already designated for this project.

But I figured, what with the forest-like name and all, that I should go with a bit more natural hue. Makes sense, eh?

Sherwood also calls for 1300 beads to be strung on. Here they are:

I figured I’d have to get a bit of zip in with the beads, at any rate. That’s fair, right?

And hope I’m not jinxing Icarus.  I’ve just finished the 3rd chart and now have only 20 (very long) rows plus the edging left.  Decided to pin part of it out to shore myself up last evening:

JJ just said to me “Aren’t ye glad ye didnae throw it off the balcony, hen”.  So I am. And I will be praying this Big Friday – if only to the Goddess of Knitting to ward off the dreaded Frogman.

So, that’s how my Big Friday will pass. Oh, and am I going to observe the traditional Big Friday fast (i.e. no meat, no dairy, no oil, no food that tastes remotely edible)?

Am I hell! (as JJ is wont to say). In fact, I’ll be hooking up with some friends on the Danforth for a big fat Greek meal which will involve as much pork souvlaki, saganaki (fried cheese) and galactoboureko (custard phyllo dreamy treat) as I can manage to ingest.

Hey, we can’t all be saints, eh?

A happy Friday to you all!

Mr. Postman brought me a dream…

…and not the cutest boy that I’ve ever seen!

(Which would be impossible, I hasten to say, given that the cutest boy I’ve ever seen already lives with me…

… er, well, he doesn’t look like that anymore. But still a cutie!

Daniel Craig, if you are reading this, worry not – because you are still the cutest man I’ve ever seen.

Having said that… I do have my very own James Bond at home:


Running and smoking! Sexy!!!

Phew…. where was I again? Oh yeah.

Instead, this is what the postman brought me today!


Fancy, sparkly beads for knitting!


I don’t know when I will ever get around to using them all… but stay tuned!

For now, I’m happy working on coworker/friend W’s Vegan Tuscany:


This is the progress so far. The yarn is Rosarios Bio Bamboo from Portugal. Isn’t it fabulous?

Now, I would have said that, although these colours are perfect for W (and after all, they should be – she picked them!!) they would not be my ordinary choice. In fact, I did make this very statement earlier to JJ. His response? He gestured to my Fiesta Chair:
… raised his eyebrows and said nothing at all.

He had a point.

Anyway, so that’s my amusement at present. Tonight, I look forward to the Patrick Week outing with the Tenant Advocates. (That’s this week’s excuse, anyway). This is a special meeting of the Toronto Tenant Duty Counsel, who are scattered throughout the city. Location undisclosed – I’d love to invite you all, but don’t want a rush of clients showing up and saying “Just one question…”!

In parting, for a pre-long-weekend chuckle, I wanted to share some signage that Susie sent me all the way from the land of OZ! (where it is probably 30 degrees C and sunny right now. Grr.) Apparently they are Canadian so she thought I would like them. And I did.

This one is definetely Canadian… let’s check the next one:
Hmm. Probably American, but also Canadian in its beer drinker sentiment. So – 50 out 100 for now in CanCon*, Susie!


* We have these Canadian content (or CanCon) rules up here for broadcasting. Basically, 30 per cent or so of everything that is broadcasted here has to fall within some esoteric “Canadian content” rules. This is apparently to avoid becoming overly Americanised – how does the rest of the world handle this, anyway? (apologies to Murcan friends reading this!). Anyway, the end result is lots of cheesy Canadian produced murder mysteries and subtitled Quebec films usually aired in the middle of the night – not to mention that channels like BBC Canada now display cheesy Canadian DIY shows in addition to cheesy DIY British shows.

This sure adds to my sense of Canadian identity, I can tell you! I wish they would just send us a voucher for a free Tim Horton’s coffee and doughnut or five once a week, frankly.

Where was I? Oh yes.

Hmm. Most likely American. We don’t allow guns up here, except illegal ones. So, 50 out of 75 for CanCon, Susie…

And finally…
Well, definetely American unless there is some outpost up here called “Galveston-Houston” that I don’t know about (and Susie, FYI, this sign would be located somewhere within the home state of George W. Bush). However, I can’t complain about the sign – it should be Canadian.

So, end score for CanCon – 65 per cent. And, to be fair to Susie, the Email she sent had originally been headed “signs from Canada” – and, she’s a long way from here. But there’s time to learn…

Happy Thursday!

Secrets No Lies: 3rd clue complete!

Quack is rejoicing! Why?

I finished Clue 3 of my Secret of the Stole II today! (Daisy is continuing the party inside. It’s bloody cold!)

I decided to add some beads starting at Row 151.

I’m somewhat regretting this decision, or rather regretting having bought cheapo local beads that I can’t use my smallest crochet hook to put on. So, I’ve had to string all the beads onto the yarn.

However, I think the beads add a bit to the stole… what say you?

This represents, by the way, 430 metres (470 yards, or one full 50g hank) of Malabrigo laceweight. I wonder how many metres were actually frogged? I’m glad I’m not quite nerdy enough to keep that total – it would just be too depressing.


I guess it was worth all the frogging after all. And guess what? I didn’t make the Friday midnight deadline for the KAL… and (drumroll please) the world did not come crashing to an end! Hmm. I guess I’m just not as important as I had thought…

So, I’m all set up (touch wood) to start Clue 4, perhaps this evening. In the meantime, I started another project yesterday: the Bespoke Jacket by Libby Baker (I don’t have a photo of it…).

I’m using Knitpicks CotLin, doubled, for this jacket. I do like the look of the linen stitch so far. The original jacket called for just one colour (of Cotolino) so of course I’m going with five.

I’m actually thinking of trying to go for a Hudson Bay Company Blanket effect, just for a laugh. (Any Canadians reading this blog will no doubt be familiar with the Hudson Bay Blankets and coats). Picture this:

.. with bright (and some neon) stripes!

Or, maybe I could just steal my mother’s HBC blanket (heh!) and make myself this coat.

Great – just what I need, another project. I’d best hold off on that until I finish this…

Off for a lovely brunch with the ladies now. Happy Sunday!

Valley of the Beads – a Brouhaha design!

You might well wonder who this class act is who dropped by my apartment yesterday (given that there aren’t too many class acts who make it to one’s place when one is living on the wrong side of the ravine…

Is it one of those English princesses who go around with the crazy wide hats, dressed down for the Canadian winter? Or Grace Kelly or Greta Garbo, paying a visit from the afterlife?

Nope.

Just little ol’ me, wearing my newest design – a fancy new cotton/silk blend top!

(This is a photo of JJs breakfast, which he flung off the balcony in disgust after I kept whining at him, “Do I look fat in this top?!?!?! I know you say I don’t, but DO I?!?”:

And no, he didn’t manage to toss it all that far. A squirrel came along, took it and stashed it there. Now at least I know where to look if any yarn has gone missing mysteriously… ! And 12 hours later, the food still sits there…)

The top was constructed with a Moebius tube for the top/bust part, courtesy of the fabulous Cat Bordhi’s Moebius knitting technique. It was a bit of an experiment and halfway through I was ripping out the little hair that I have left – but all’s well that ends well, I think.


Here is a close-up of the Moebius fold and how it works with this top, which I call the Valley of the Beads because of the crevices created by the magical Moebius:

Having said that, taking a look at Aphrodite’s bustline, I’m inclined to rename it “Valley of the Silicone”. I mean, check it out – she’s gone from an A cup to a D cup overnight, apparently!

Her breasts are now bigger than mine!!! It’s quite the site to behold, actually – even some of the local wildlife apparently came by to have a look:

(Damned pigeons… they probably just wanted to steal the beads! And do I spy with my little eye the footprint of Glasgow’s answer to the Loch Ness Monster?

Eek!!!! … but I digress…)

So how did a dressmaker’s doll manage to get a boob job? Well, I must confess that it’s all my fault. She came to me the other day whining that she was sick of wearing a training bra. I tried to give her the little “make the best of what you’ve got” speech but she wouldn’t listen and just started snivelling about how the other kids were better endowed than her.

Well, she had a good point there. So I signed the consent form that she shoved right at me, and I guess the dirty deed was done on Saturday when I was running around like a jackass crafting. I think I’m just jealous because hers are firmer than mine now. Ah, foolish youth!

Anyway, isn’t the top sparkly and lovely? I’ll give you some specs below, and there’s also the “Making of… the Moebius-bosomed top” Tutorial.

(Please note that it is not a “pattern” as such as in order to learn how to do the mosaic cast-on you will need one of Cat Bordhi’s magical knitting books – highly recommended, by the way!)


Specs:

  • yarn: Svale of Danegarn (DK weight cotton/viscose/silk blend)
  • needle size: 4.00mm (47″ addi turbo and 24″ Clover bamboo)
  • beads: 6/0 size gunmetal and olive coloured beads by Earthfaire.
  • start date: 31 January 2008
  • finish date: 2 February 2008
  • size: 32″ circumference for 34″ bust (mine, not Aphrodite’s)

Notes

  • I’m so happy that the Moebius concept worked out for this top! I foresee many more… I wasn’t quite sure it would work out.

  • I knitted the Moebius first and bound it off, then picked up stitches around one side of it and knitted the bottom down in the round (see my tutorial for more info).
  • I was originally planning a stockinette bottom part. However, I still had quite a few beads left so decided to adapt Sivia Harding’s lovely River Rock pattern, using a larger rib and somewhat different rocks. Thanks, Sivia!

  • I didn’t quite know what to do about straps and mulled over several ideas (which I ramble about in the tutorial).> I finally just decided on a 12 stitch 4×4 rib with one rock in each strap:

Anyway, I’m quite happy with how it turned out. If anyone is interested in the concept and wants guidance beyond my various rambles, please feel free to Email me directly.

(NB. there is a tutorial of sorts, really more of a ramble, on how to design something similar for yourself – click here if interested.)

Cheers,

Kristina

Shazam! a free pattern

(Curious about my FREE Valley of The Beads Silky Tank Tutorial? Check it out here.)

This is something that’s been haunting me since the summertime, so it’s about time I got it done! I submitted the pattern a couple of places but no-one bit (likely because the beauty has more to do with the Handmaiden Silken – colourway Sangria here, by the way – ole!!! – yarn than the pattern!). So, I’ve decided that it should be my little midwinter blues-buster gift to myself and anyone else out there who cares to knit it. The pattern is heavily inspired by Sivia Harding, who created the wonderful River Rock Scarf (that pattern is found in the No Sheep for You book). The zigzag pattern is modified from one published in a “Lace Primer” article by Eunny Jang in the Interweave Knits Summer 2006 issue. I ordered the beads from Earthfaire and I strongly suggest that you do the same if you’re going to attempt this pattern. The beads that Ellen provides are without compare (at least, in Toronto). The colours used here are gunmetal and olive gold-lined. I’m reminded a bit of Bart Simpson’s head when I look at this photo! So, what’s next? A crown, perhaps?! Hmm… The scarf as I made it took a bit less than one skein (100g/250m) of Handmaiden Silken and 750 beads. Dimensions are 40″ long by 5 1/2″ wide. Well, I’ll stop blatting on now, aside from to wish you all a happy (#$@&($*&@(#$*????) Monday – and to write out the pattern!

Shazam!

A knitting pattern by Kristina “Brouhaha” Brousalis, 2008. Please feel free to print out for your own use and to share with other knitters or link from your own blog. However, kindly do not repost in full without crediting me. All rights reserved. Supplies:

  • Yarn: 250 -400 metres of DK weight silk or silk blend. The yarn used here is Silken by Handmaiden). I used a bit less than one skein (100 g or 250 m).
  • Needles: 4.0 mm straight or circular, your choice (I used circular). US size – either 5 or 6 – I’d likely go with the larger ones first.
  • Beads: 1250 beads in 6/0 weight. I used beads by Earthfaire in two colours – 750 in gunmetal and 500 in olive gold-lined. I imagine that you could get away with half the amount of beads if you really want to – but I like the full line.
  • Notions: bead threader or dental floss threader (for threading beads), tapestry needle (for weaving in ends).

Tension: (approximate only) 20 sts and 22 rows = 10 cm (4″) one full pattern rep (20 rows) = approx. 15cm (6″) wide by 10.5 cm (4.25″) high (But don’t get stressed if you don’t get this tension! Given that this is lace, much will depend on what type of lace fabric you prefer, of course.) Instructions: 1. Thread the beads directly on to the yarn before you begin knitting.

  • Use either a beading needle (available at bead shops) or a dental floss threader (available in quantity at most pharmacies). I used the latter.
  • My further suggestion: to save yourself hassles while knitting and minimise having to push the beads down, when you have approx. 40 or 50 beads in a group, push them down several metres and keep doing so, keeping several metres’ distance between each group of beads.
  • I don’t think the crochet hook method of placing beads will work well with this pattern – but please do correct me if you find out that I’m wrong! (I know you’ll be shocked at that notion, but it’s been known to happen!)
  • Of course, you can always skip the beads. However, I quite like them.

2. Begin knitting! legend: K = knit P = purl pb = place bead yo = yarn over k2tog = knit two stitches together ssk = slip slip knit (slip the next stitch, then the following, then knit the two slipped stitches together) Cast on 30 stitches loosely (I used the cable cast-on method). The pattern is repeated over 20 rows – the entire scarf as I knitted it is 250 rows long, with a half repetition at the end of the scarf. Knit the pattern: Rows 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9: P1, PB, *P1, ssk, K2, yo, K1, P1, pb* then repeat the part between the asterisks three times, then last stitch P1. All even rows (2 through 20): K1, *pb, K1, P5, K1*, repeat the part between the asterisks three times, then last stitch K1 Rows 11, 13, 15, 17, and 19: P1, PB, *P1, K1, yo, K2, K2tog, P1, pb* then repeat the part between the asterisks three times, then last stitch P1.

** I’m sure this would look quite lovely as well if you skipped the beads on the even rows, which would make your knitting life easier…. for my part, I’m quite happy with the even line, but whatever works for you!**
The pattern, when knitted, zigzags naturally like this: Repeat Rows 1 through 20 a total of 12 times, then repeat rows one through 10 once = 250 rows. Bind off LOOSELY (if you knit tightly, or you’re just beginning, it might help to bind off with a needle one or two sizes larger than what you used to knit the scarf). AUGHGHGHGGH! How do I place beads, you ask?
Simple. The beads belong between the stitch preceding the “pb” notation and the one following. Just push one bead as closely as you can to the base of your working yarn, then knit or purl the following stitch as directed. Don’t worry if the bead appears loose – everything will fall into place eventually. Blocking: I use spray blocking for this type of piece. Grab a towel and place on a blocking board (or, if you’re like me, the floor on top of a towel). Spray the scarf generously with water from a spray bottle, then flatten out and ensure that all of your little peaks are looking perky and that your beads fall into line. Spray some more and then leave to dry.

It won’t probably be the end of the world if you want to do a wet blocking by soaking with water with a bit of mild detergent, shampoo or Eucalan instead. However, I don’t vouch for that as I haven’t tried it… I would just say be gentle as silk can stretch dramatically.
Enjoy!!!!

Want to know more about the Wacky World of Brouhaha? Check out my main page!

Curious about my FREE Valley of The Beads Silky Tank Tutorial? Check it out here.)