PayDay… a day late and… er… never mind.

Yes, yes – I know, I know.  The last time I was here, I said that I was in the midst of stashbusting.

However, this morning the gloom of the grey sky and the fallen dead leaves…

… plus the completely foreseen (but no less crippling) bad mood engendered by Tuesday’s election results…

…led me and my iron will (HA!) regarding PayDay purchases astray.

It all started off rather innocently.  In light of my stashbusting goal – which involves the winding of approximately 5 kilometres of Super 10 cotton yarn – and a recalcitrant JJ (“Who do ah sue if ah get that carpal tunnel thingy from doing all these yarn balls??? Eh??? Eh???”), I decided to break down and buy a ball winder and swift.

A very economical purchase, really, considering all of the labour costs (which, at present Legal Aid lawyer rates, comes out to approximately… er, never mind.  And which, at JJ rates, led to too many whisky empties!) I will save.

Or would have saved, had I not come across this at Romni, where I bought the ball winder, at the same time:

This is brand new laceweight stuff!  It’s called One of a Kind (indeed!) and made right here in Canada.  The price, at $7.95 for a 600 yard skein, was actually quite reasonable (it’s a wool/angora/nylon blend).

Plus, the colourway is called Kaleidoscope.  How could I resist, really?

When I got back to the office after this little lunchtime foray, imagine my surprise to find this waiting for me!

This is the latest instalment in the Year of Lace 2008 club series which – horrors! – I had forgotten was on its way.  And Handmaiden cashmere to boot!  I must say the colourway is not one that falls within my preferred range, but I’m sure I’ll find someone who would like a shawl made with it.

I also rediscovered this lovely yarn that fellow blogger extraordinaire Clarabelle had winged my way from the UK back in the summer… (please do not think me ungrateful, C. – I had left it in my office to show everyone and it ended up as a decoration in my new office):

Now, one would think that all this largesse would have kept my @$$ in the tram seat on the way home instead of popping off to hit Lettuce Knit (notionally, in search of a swift).  But no.

Why, oh why, Handmaiden, did you have to come out with silver Sea Silk yarn?!?!?

Sigh.

After all of this, of course, my former past true love Super10 looks…er, rather dull.  But here is an in-progress shot of the Election 2008 Log Cabin quilt:

My goal: to finish it off before the US elections.  Given that the finished size should be 60″ x 50″ or so, I may well have bitten off more than I can chew.  Nothing changes, eh?

Well, off to make dinner… the easiest Greek pasta recipe ever.  Stay tuned!

election day!

For some reason, as the 15th election day in the last two years (just kidding – but it feels as though we’re going to vote once a month up here) dawned, I started getting anxiety attacks about ignoring my Super 10 stash.

Don’t let the cheery colours fool you – the yarn itself looks very forlorn.

All my fault, I know – especially since I haven’t had it living in the best of conditions:

Too busy to knit?!?  you frown, questioning my sanity.  In fact, I haven’t even been out shopping for yarn in the past… um… since the early summer!

To be fair to myself, I’ve been busy with a number of things, including trying to start up an award-winning foodie company.

Actually, I’m just kidding about that.  But don’t you love this lovely flavoured olive oil I made this weekend while at my mother’s?  She gave me some fresh rosemary, and I just couldn’t resist:

It tastes as good as it looks, too – I couldn’t wait the two or three weeks for it to infuse, so I did a quickie hot infusion instead.

I’ve also been clearing out the deep freezer and the (rather appalling) vegetable (hah!) crisper by making chicken/pork/chorizo stock:

… and even more stock – duck this time.  Fancy sounding, I know – but the duck, an impulse buy while doing some “shopping while hungry” at Loblaws (an ill-advised move):

And, of course, some more infused oil – using dried mint, which had, until recently, been growing until recently in my mother’s garden:

But the fear dread abject stupidity inevitability of another Conservative government…

(led by our Fearmongeringless Dictator Prime Minister, pictured here with yet another of his hapless – and choiceless – victims – and since when do you read to cats anyway?!?!?!)

…has caused me to break out into a perpetual cold sweat.  Which, in turn, has caused me to start knitting again!

For now, no lacy fripperies for me, though.  My goal is to get through all of the Super 10 stash pictured at the top of this post by 28 November, our moving date – making log-cabin blankies.

(Originally, I had thought about trying my hand at a fabulous mitered-square blanket, as inspired by Amy’s fantastic work-in-progress.  But hell.  I’m just too lazy.)

Think I’ll manage?

At the very least, it will give me something simple to do during the five or so hours tonight while we’re crying in our beers hurling the vegetables which were too rotten to put into the stockpot at the television watching the election returns.

Now, off to exercise my patriotic duty at the polls (and, in case you’re wondering why I’m posting at 1 in the afternoon, I always feel that election day is worth a day off and a few pints – in memory of the days when they still closed the bars on Election Day, if for no other reason.)

Happy Tuesday!

field guides

I was in a very fabulous gift shop near my workplace called The Outer Layer (and if anyone reading is in Toronto and anywhere near here, visit!  You won’t be sorry!) to pick up a gift for a departing colleague and managed to score this for myself as well…

And it wasn’t even PayDay!  But I just couldn’t resist.  It contained stitches I haven’t even seen in the Barbara Walker series.

So, while at the cash, one of the very, very kind salespeople there said “Well, did you notice this book… and do you eat meat, by the way?”

So, of course, I had to pick up a copy.

Now, this book discusses every type of meat possible – including armadillo, squirrel and various other types of roadkill.  So, that should speak to the comprehensiveness of the Field Guide to Knitting, at the very least.

I suggested to them that the Healthy Butcher, just down the street, should put up a sign pointing in this shop’s direction to sell the Field Guide to Meat.  The helpful salesperson said (I think seriously) “well, they’re into organic meat, so I don’t know that they would advertise this book”.

But well they should – and well they should also highlight the very fabulous gift shop down the street.  Where else do you get this as a gift for spending money?

I display the gift next to my spare glasses so you see how small it is.  It’s actually a fold-up shopping bag about the size of the one I showed here the other day.  And, given that I tend to leave my abundance of shopping bags either at the office or the apartment when I most need them, this fold-up version is most welcome.

You too can get one for free if you live in Toronto and spend… well, I won’t tell you how much… at the Outer Layer.  Or you can just go in and buy one for yourself.

And, now you know you can look forward to recipes for armadillo in future on this blog.  NOT.

Happy Thursday!

Felted Clogs!!!!

Hey!! Wait a minute!!! I just finished both pairs of Felted Clogs and already they’re walking away?

Man alive!

Ingrates!

You're grounded!!!!

You're grounded!!!!

Ah, no… not really. You see, I like my new clogs very much – and JJ is well chuffed too. He was prancing around in them breaking them in most of yesterday evening.

After a few setbacks, the knitting of the clogs went swimmingly. Mine were slightly easier than JJ’s – I can’t decide whether that’s because I preferred my colourway to the one I picked for him, or because they were smaller. Hmm.

I highly recommend this pattern to anyone looking for fabulous slippers – it’s very clever as it incorporates a double sole. Who needs Air Soles, anyway?! And, I knitted my pair in just one evening!

JJs were men’s medium (size 11 US/Cdn), mine were size small (6 US/Cdn – quite a bit smaller than my true shoe size, so thanks to Amy for the tip to knit a size smaller than I needed.

Yarn for both was by Brown Sheep. JJs were made with two strands of Lamb’s Pride Worsted, one Turkish Olive and one Kiwi. Mine were made with Lamb’s Pride Bulky, so I only had to use one strand – the colours are Lotus Pink and Limeade.

(If you’re planning to make these and can get ahold of Lamb’s Pride Bulky, I would highly recommend it. It’s great for felting and I found it easier to work with the one strand.)

I used 9 mm needles for both.

Actually, I’m thinking of wearing mine to work tomorrow as I happen to have matching accessories:

Then again, it might be a tad hot. But they’d look really fancy at the Summit of the Tenant Advocates planned for tomorrow after work – and yes, I know it’s Monday. Is there some rule that you can’t go drinking on Mondays?

In preparation for the toll that deep fried spring rolls and copious amounts of Moosehead will inevitably take, I made sure and got my Vitamin C all day yesterday with my new favourite summer thirst quencher: salted lime drink or “Indian limeade”.

I know that might sound odd. Try it. Miles better than Gatorade or Lucozade for killing thirst. This drink originated in India and I first tried it years ago at an Indian buffet place – and loved it. However, I never actually thought to try making any myself… until I came across a recipe for it in an excellent cookbook by Sybil Kapoor called Taste. (This book is fabulous – she combines all sorts of tastes you wouldn’t even dream of mixing, to great results.)

I’m now making it in litre jugs – approximately one cup of fresh lime juice to three cups of water. Then add salt to taste (I probably put in two teaspoons per litre, but I’m addicted to salt). Chill and serve over ice. Ms Kapoor suggests grinding in some black pepper – an excellent suggestion.

So, I’m now feeling all cool, comfy and exotic with my new beverage and my fabulous clogs!

Happy Monday!

a knitting post!!

I thought I’d make an exception to my summer hours policy and post this weekend because – I’m knitting again!  And with a vengeance..

First up: the Felted Clogs (pattern by Bev Galeskas) for JJ. The knitting is finished but felting is as yet unaccomplished.  I’m a bit worried about the size…

… but hope that the felting will work its magic.  After some initial setbacks, I was so jealous of JJ happy about the pattern that I decided to make a pair for myself as well.

This, of course, entailed a trip to Knitomatic.  I was very glad to see that Haley has taken up a “Beautify our Community” project and trust she won’t mind if I reproduce her photo here:

//frayedattheedges.blogspot.com, by Haley Waxberg)

(original photo at http://frayedattheedges.blogspot.com, by Haley Waxberg)

I went into the shop and picked up this Lamb’s Pride Bulky for my own Felted Clogs:

I also spied some new Handmaiden Lace Silk but left the shop with head held high, saying “I don’t need any more Lace Silk”.  However, I made it approximately one-half block before I went back in and bought this:

Haley’s comment upon my re-entry was “Well, that was quick!”.  But I will note that I showed great forbearance indeed – I only bought one of the three skeins in this fantastic colourway.  I don’t know what it’s called, but I’m calling it “Cool Aqua”.

(And yes, I know that I said recently I wasn’t buying any more laceweight.  Oh well.)

But where was I?! Oh, yes. I also discovered a brilliant use for those carry bags they’re selling at the liquor stores in lieu of giving you plastic bags:

You know the bags?  (Maybe those of you who live in a part of the world where liquor sales are not government controlled don’t… sigh) Well, check this out!

(And if any knitters living outside Ontario want these, they cost $1.99 and I’d be glad to post you one for that price plus postage!!)

Before I started work on my own clogs, I decided to try to assuage my guilt about letting JJ’s last pair of slippers get into the poor pathetic state that they had…

So, I decided to try to re-felt them.  The holes were clearly way too big to mend with yarn and needle, so I managed to find a crochet hook…

… and attempted with my lame@$$ crochet technique to mend them.  Here is the result, pre-felting:

I’ll let you know how it comes out.  And, if it actually works, I’ll splash out for some suede slipper bottoms, which clearly I should have done in the first place.

Anyway, I’ve already finished one of my own Felted Clogs – but I’m still worried:

I’m off to the laundromat later today to try to felt these things (my building only has huge front-loading washing machines at $2.00 per wash… and Amy kindly advised that it took her eight or so rounds in her washer to shrink these puppies down! The laundromat only charges $1.10 a load and have better options on the washers.  I must really talk to my landlord about providing adequate machines for felting… sigh.)

But I’m of half a mind, actually, to leave JJs slippers as is and make some nice tricorn hats instead:

Could we start a new fashion trend?!

Happy weekend.

slip slidin’ away…


Well, His Excellency JJ, Ruler of the Remote, has finally managed to guilt me into making him some new slippers. Admittedly, the last ones I made him, depicted above, have seen better days.

In this regard, I had bought a new pattern … um… two months ago or so. And then I went off knitting for a while (and I’m still not 100% back on my previous zealous track, I must confess). And then I started two lace shawls while ignoring forgetting about my promise to JJ to make some slippers.

That’s when the above sad looking tattered specimens made their reappearance on the otherwise pampered feet of JJ. He is nothing if not subtle. He didn’t bother to mention that he was wearing ragged slippers, but waited patiently for me to stop ignoring this notice. And then waited some more.

Finally, last evening, he stuck his feet up in the air all of a sudden while we were watching Food Safari, waving his puir wee nekkid wee heels which were sticking out of the chequerboard slippers and bellowed said in his usual dulcet tone:

Lassie, when am ah gettin mah new slipperrrrrrs?!?!?

So, today after work, I stopped in at Knitomatic and finally bought some feltable yarn:

Lamb’s Pride Worsted, in Turkish Olive and Kiwi. The colour choice, thankfully, has met with the approval of His Nibs.

And, I’m proud to announce that I was completely selfless in this mission – I did not buy any yarn for myself!!! Hard to believe, eh?

I should, however, mention that I did have to buy this mag and I suspect that there won’t be much content there for JJ:

I was taken in particular with two of the patterns I saw within, and couldn’t resist:

These Europeans know what they’re doing with design, I tell you. And – such stashbusting potential!!! I’m picturing this in either a rich blue (Madil Eden) or poppy red (Dalegarn Svale):

And as for this beauty…

…well, maybe, just maybe, I can finally start dipping into that ridiculously large Super 10 stash.

Great. Another thing to feel guilty about… cheating on my beloved Butterfly Greek Super 10 cotton because I discovered the loveliness that is laceweight silk. I’m a terrible person, really.

More evidence of this home truth: the only real reason that I didn’t buy myself more yarn was because I had already gone on a shopping binge on the lunch hour.

But hey – since I’ve been off knitting, I’ve started to run out of clothes!!

Besides, they’re just so colourful I couldn’t resist… and they’re nice and cool.


And the best part – they cost only $10 apiece! So really, I couldn’t say no, could I? Does it count as selfish when you get such a great bargain?!?

JJ: It counts as “selfish” so long as ah’ve no got mah new slippers on mah feet, ye wee bampot.

Hmph. He’s obviously getting a bit too full of oats sitting at home all day. I’ll have to hide the remote before I leave for work tomorrow just to teach him a lesson, eh?

JJ: More paw, less jaw, lassie!

OK, OK… how’s this for a start, then?

Does anyone know if they have a Bigfoot Monster in Scotland?

Happy Tuesday!

more radical knitting and UK/Canada road relations

Funnily enough, after I put up my post last Friday I happened to get a card in the mail from a colleague outside of Toronto, sporting the following image:

The knitter/artist is Lisa Anne Auerbach… and clearly I think that she is just fabulous. This sweater series had real gold knitted into it, apparently… the amount of gold influenced the price point as you will see here:

And I’ve got to make a pair of these driving gloves that I saw on her website as well:

WTF? you ask? Well, exactly. These are driving gloves that I could very much use in Toronto to illustrate some points:

In talking with Amy, however, we decided that we would have picked a different colour for the middle finger. My preference would be traffic cone orange, for that little authentic highway touch.

(photo from http://www.featurepics.com)

Now, I’m not certain that my UK friends will get the traffic cone reference. Their traffic signs are quite different from ours…

I still can’t stop laughing about this for some infantile reason, although I assume that my UK friends know what “humps” means in North America. As a result, here they are called “speed bumps”.

I must confess, however, that I find the UK/North America reversals about traffic direction a bit curious. It seems even to be evidenced in DVD covers. Viz. this, which is the cover of a DVD I just got from the library (and JJ is still hee-hawing as I type about it):

When I looked it up on Amazon, I was amazed to learn that the UK cover looks somewhat different:

So now I’m wondering… are all of the Britcoms we get over here flipped over before we see them?!

I’d best sign off before I get too far down that particular path. Wishing you all a very happy, tranquil and non-topsy-turvy Monday.

Cheers,

kb

PS. Oh, and if you’re looking for something to kill time at the office do today, check out Lisa Auerbach’s blog, The Little Red Blog of Revolutionary Knitting Whether you knit or not, I think you’ll get a kick out of it.