Five Ways to Combat Your Fear of the Demon Weed

No, not that kind of weed.

Get your mind out of the gutter!!! Anyway, it’s (still) illegal.

What I was actually referring to is the kind that pops up in yards and gardens all over the place at this time of year, striking fear and loathing into the hearts of gardeners everywhere.

An example: the dreaded and much-maligned dandelion.

Now, my thumb is not green but black – must be all that tar in the smokes. All this to say, I have no clue about gardening. But I do think that dandelions are quite pretty:

See? What’s wrong with them? They’re bright and cheery. And they’re free, and they don’t take any work to maintain. So what’s the big deal?

Still not convinced? Well, maybe my five tips on combatting the affliction of weed hatred will convince you.

1. Start eating the leaves.

Yes, you can eat dandelion greens. My great grandmother did it for years – and she even drank the water they were boiled in (the appearance of which any smoker who has tried that time honoured quit smoking tip “empty your ashtray into a jar, fill with water, let marinate one week then keep bringing it out and looking at it when you’re jonesing for a smoke” will recognise). And, she lived to be 107! (well, I exaggerate a bit. But she was very old when she died).

I’ve also seen dandelion greens at the supermarket in certain ethnic neighbourhoods from time to time Even some of the top chefs have picked up on this dandelion trick and are serving dandelion salad. So, if they can serve it, so can you, right?

As for prep tips, don’t ask me. I wouldn’t touch them with a bargepole. But, as they are extremely healthy, you really should try some yourselves. I’m thinking about your best interests here.

2. Look for comparisons between other “real” plants that you have to pay for and tend.

If you do this, it may well be that you will stop seeing the necessity of shelling out your hard-earned bucks at the flower centre. Here’s an example:

I mean, do you see any difference, really? If anything, the dandelions are nicer looking because they don’t have those big ugly fuzzy brown spots in the middle!

3. Hunt down artistic depictions of the weed.

And yes, people do honour dread weeds such as the dandelion in art. Here are two examples.

This piece by Ann Beckley is called “Dandelion Lace:

Don’t you love the dandelion etching on the side?

And this piece is Myrna Oostrom is simply called “Dandelions”

Wow. I wish I could paint like that.

Anyway, works of art like these are important in that they help to remove the stigma of weed-dom.

4. Make a pros and cons list.

I have a deep dark secret to confess: I am a huge fan of pros and cons lists. Having said that, I’m not going to list the “cons” of letting weeds flourish here because you already know all of those. Here are some pros:

  • You don’t have to break your back any more doing all that weeding.
  • You can save all that money you spend every year on plants which end up dying half the time anyway when there is some freak snowstorm in June.
  • Got any neighbours you can’t stand? Letting your yard grow over with wees provided great fodder to piss them off.
  • Alternatively, having problems coming up with social chit chat with the neighbours? Let your yard grow over with weeds, then you can casually ask them how they cope with weeds in their yard. I imagine that this is good for hours of pleasantries.
  • You will have lots of extra time for fun things… such as knitting, for example.

Which leads us to the fifth and final tip…

5. Check out yarn inspirations.

There are even knitting yarns named after weeds. And let me tell you, fondling a skein of Handmaiden Dandelion sea silk could probably change your mind about a whole lot of things:

For some reason, I haven’t quite managed to get my hot little mitts on any of this glorious stuff yet. But, after all, it is PayDay tomorrow!

Here’s a little challenge for you. Below is a photo of more Handmaiden colourways.

Tell me which one is named after a (sort of) weed – and provide the name. I’ll post the link to the answers here tomorrow. Hint – each colourway has one word in the name only.

See, weeds can be fun. Go forth and let them multiply, I exhort you!

Happy Weednesday Wednesday!

Advertisements

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.

the legend of a shawl called Icarus

Once upon a time there was a Princess called Aphrodite. She had the fairest figure in all the land of Trana:


For this reason, Aphrodite’s evil stepmother, the Handmaiden, was jealous. She kept Aphrodite locked up in this tower:

with only a shawl called Icarus for company.

Icarus was actually far better company for Aphrodite than one might think. He had been made of the finest Lace Silk which the Handmaiden had lovingly spun. Also, a wonderful designer called Miriam Felton dictated what form Icarus would take.

Now, Icarus had some very difficult moments growing up. He was constantly picked on by the full grown lace shawls in the tower. They even threw him outside a couple of times.

Even worse, he was attacked by the dreaded Frogman three times!

This left Icarus a little bruised and battered.

Perhaps it is for this reason that Icarus never reached his full weight. He was meant to become at least 150 grams with 1,000 metres of yarn, like all the other Icari. However, the Handmaiden used only a 3mm needle to make him – so he weighed only 90 grams!

However, his actual size was 66″ wide by 44″ deep – quite impressive for a scrawny underweight.

But back to our main story. Icarus, once he reached his full size, got restless and bored with life in the tower. So, one day, he escaped:

He initially got caught in the leaves protecting the tower, as you can see. However, he managed to disentangle himself and go exploring the grounds around the castle.

He found a rock wall to lounge around on for a while…

…but then got bored with this and went to find a more comfortable bed:

It was springtime in Trana. Being locked in the tower all that time, Icarus had never seen flowers, so went exploring a bit.

He had never seen anything so beautiful in his short life:

He then headed over to Millionaires Row – Aphrodite had told him never, ever to go there because the people who lived there were Evil and Corrupt Capitalists. However, Icarus didn’t initially see any evil people, only beautiful trees:

Meanwhile, back in the tower, Aphrodite wept bitterly. She could not be consoled by the other shawls, although they tried:

You see, unlike the other shawls, Icarus had a very delicate Rowan Kidsilk edging, which was lovely, but likely to shrink in the cold April rain:
.

As well, people called Icarus had had a history of melting in the sun, and Aphrodite, being the superstitious Greek Princess that she was, was scared for her little shawl.

(The Weatherman had said that it would not be sunny for several days. However, everyone knew that the Weatherman was always wrong – especially in April).

Icarus, however, wasn’t missing home a bit. He hung around in front of Spadina House for a while:

then found some pine cones to play with.

But suddenly, an Evil and Corrupt Capitalist jumped out of the bushes:

“Hey! Those pine cones are my property!”, bellowed The Capitalist. He then threatened to call the police, who would come and unravel Icarus so that Icarus could never trespass again.

Icarus ran as fast as he could to the safety of the Local Yarn Store, where he knew he would be protected by the Lovely Yarn Pushers:

However, he soon tired of all of the close up attention he was getting (Icarus was actually quite shy):

He also realised, seeing all the fabulous yarns, that he missed his lace brothers and sisters in the tower.

So, Icarus returned home to Aphrodite, who was thrilled.

And the Handmaiden, realising the folly of her ways in keeping all of them locked up, began to let them out from time to time:

And so they all lived happily ever after…

(Happily, that is, until Aphrodite got seduced by a Prince called Misti d’Alpaca who promised her all sorts of gold baubles:

…but then ran off, leaving her in a forest called Sherwood to fend for herself.

Stay tuned for the next fairy tale!!)

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!

sex selection, anyone?

And no, not that kind of sex. Get your mind out of the gutter! This is a knitting blog, after all…

I really should stop drinking Diet Coke when watching the news. My nose still hurts this morning after snorting a big mouthful out last evening after seeing a certain news item (don’t you hate it when that happens?)

Long story short: do you want to conceive a boy? Then eat…

That’s right. (And JJ was right chuffed, as you can imagine…).
You see, some people got together and did yet another study (this time in the UK).

740 pregnant first-time mothers were asked about their eating habits before and during early-stage pregnancy:

The study found that 56 per cent of the women in the group with the highest caloric intake at conception had boys, compared to 45 per cent in the group with the lowest energy intake.

Hmm – does this mean that boy children have more fat in their brains? That would make some sense…

The women who had sons were also more likely to have eaten a wider variety of nutrients, such as potassium, calcium and vitamins C, E and B12.

But this begs the question: how about Vitamin B?

I guess I’ll have to read the whole study to find out, as the rest of the sound byte was lacking in some detail, saying only:

Women who ate breakfast cereals were also more likely to have sons.

Now, if I hadn’t been paying attention I would have just assumed that this was a snippet from some conversation that a bunch of Greek grandmothers were having with a young woman. You know, old wives’ tales time honoured traditions as to how to keep the family name going.

However, the Greek yiayiadhes wouldn’t be using such high-falutin’ language to describe the theory:

Our results support hypotheses predicting investment in costly male offspring when resources are plentiful. Dietary changes may therefore explain the falling proportion of male births in industrialized countries.

And here I thought this trend was simply proof of social Darwinism – or did I just read that in some other study?!?

Well, you know what? I can write some pretty fancy language, too, when I so choose. So now I’m off to write a funding proposal to Health Canada for a study of my very own:

Can knitters influence the gender of their children based on what colour of yarn they are knitting with when they try to conceive?

I mean, imagine how business would soar at the yarn shops! This could bring down yarn prices for the rest of us…

So, what gender of child do you think would result if knitting with, for example, this:

Or would the seacell content skew the results (because this is, of course, Handmaiden Sea Silk)? I’m so confused…

Good thing I’m not planning to conceive any time soon. With all the oatmeal in the house, all the mystery would be taken out of the process.

the curse of Icarus!

Now, I know that Icarus had rather a hard time of it…

… but why did a cheering section have to show up and party as he fell?!? I ask you!

And yes, there has been frogging in the Brouhaha household this weekend. More frogging than knitting, actually, I’m sad to report.

Last night, I had finally managed to finish Chart No. 2. Only after great patting on the back and admiring myself in the mirror did I notice this major booboo:

See that big gaping hole to the right? No chance of passing it off as a design feature. Icarus falls again!

(I should note that this is by way no fault of the pattern. Instead, I’ve decided that it is a big curse on any Greek who attempts to create an alternate image of one of her Gods.)

So, I had to take it all off the needles, and while it was off I thought I might as well snap this photo for posterity:

See – it looks so lovely that I can’t bear to stick it back in the frog pond.

Actually, I’ve been wondering if the high percentage of green in the project has attracted the project-dooming presence of the Frogman. (Anything but take responsibility and blame myself, eh? On that topic, the ever wise JJ has apparently observed over the years that I always screw up on knitting when it is “that time of the month”. And that is probably more information than you needed to know.)

This is the lovely pattern repeat that has foiled me yet again:

So, I had to call in some reinforcements…

…remind myself that only last week, I had come up with this brilliant solution to all thing frogging-related, and just get on with it.

Things seem to be back on track now, although it means I’m still not done Chart 2. Sigh.

But Icarus is soaring again (and let’s hope it’s not as brief and endeavour at the first time!):

… and I can only hope that Kermit is finally laid to rest, at least as regards this project.

Given that it is Orthodox Palm Sunday, I thought this representation of Kermit was quite appropriate.

So, am I off to church, then? In a way… I’m attending the High Holy Temple of Antiques and Junk, otherwise known as the St. Lawrence Flea Market, after several coffees with a friend. Please wish me luck in scoring some vintage knitting patterns!

And, in my brain at least, I’ve renamed this knitting pattern “Daedalus”. He’s the one to the left

I know he lost his son and so that’s not the luckiest name either, but it has kind of a nice ring to it, no?

Happy Sunday!

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