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!

reward for PayDay forbearance!!!

No, no – I did not rush out and buy something else. Instead, I got a lovely surprise in the mail today – the latest package from my Year of Lace 2008 subscription! And lovely it is indeed!

However, since some people have still not gotten their kits in the mail, I feel obligated to put up a spoiler warning…

… and also to engage in a wee digression (that’s today’s excuse, anyway). So, bear with me for a minute or so.

I know it will be very, very difficult to believe this – but on occasion I do get accused of having a rather narrow outlook on certain things. I can be prone to rather myopic behaviour sometimes, as it were (not to mention “obsessive”, but that’s a topic for another digression). It is a trait that serves me well in my vaunted profession of top notch hard working lawyer …

JJ: Ah, go oan, sell me a bridge, would ye, lassie?!?!?! D’ye actually think your blog readers will believe ye tae be hard-workin’?!?

KB: Um… er… (searching for witty response, then muttering) Ah, shurrup, wuid ye?

JJ: Ah telt ye, stop makin’ fun of the way ah talk.

And so on, and so forth.

Man, a digression within a digression. I’m really firing on all cylinders today!

… but it can tend to be a rather unlikeable quality, or so I’m told.

However, I intend to demonstrate to you that tunnel vision can sometimes be a beautiful thing indeed. The other day I took these photos of a field…

Isn’t that pretty? Let’s zoom in just a wee bit more, shall we?

But in fact, I just lied to you above (and yes, yes, I know – lying is another unlikeable quality in a person. However, I’m Greek. It’s genetic. I can’t help it. Really.) when I told you that these were pictures of a field. It is actually a photo of the garbage depository area of my building.

See? Far better, in this example, to take the narrow view, don’t you think?

Well, enough of that… time to show off my latest yarn acquisition!

First, a wonderful pattern by Joan Schrouder!

Blueberries!!!

And – my first ever skein of Lorna’s Laces laceweight (half silk, half wool):

I suspect it won’t be my last, though… look how soft it is!

And the yarn even comes with its own free shawl pattern…!

But now I’m torn!! Should I make the fan shawl, or Joan’s creation with the Lorna’s?

Help!

Oh – I forgot – I still have this radiant Claudia’s Handpaints in the stash…

I think the fan pattern would look very flash in this colour – perhaps I could call it “Daedalus“?

Yes!  Yes!

Oh – but another dilemma.  What to do with my other fabulous blueberry coloured yarn?!

And no, none of you can have it.  Sorry.

Hmm – I guess tunnel vision is not my only unattractive quality.  Apparently I need to work on generosity as well.

Sigh.

Wishing you a wonderful, wonderful weekend – and a happy 4th of July to my American friends.  The Tenant Advocates and I will be raising several glasses to you this evening…

why there will be no PayDay excursion today…

No, this is not an ad for the upcoming summer knitting chick-flick film blockbuster entitled “How Blue Was My Valley”.  I can only wish.

Instead, this is a photo of only one of the yarns that I forgot… yes, forgot!… that I had in the stash.   It was like Christmas in (almost) July when I finally got around to sorting out the stash room yesterday, let me tell you.

I should mention that I think most of the yarns I will show in this post were purchased within the past year (or so say the vague flickers of my brain when I was struggling to remember whether I had actually bought this stuff, or whether the Yarn Fairy had been overly generous of late.  I know – nay, I hope – that the knitters who visit this board will understand this ongoing problem of moment-specific amnesia that I apparently suffer from.  That is, I buy the stuff, I photograph it, I post yarn pron on my blog and then the yarn actually ceases to exist.  Hmm.

Anyway, first in the roll call of Great Forgotten Yarns: this gorgeous Handmaiden Lace Silk!

Two skeins of it!  I’m racking my brains trying to remember what it was for.

Next, a skein of Sea Silk in a forgotten colourway:

I do recall that I bought this relatively recently… but that’s it.  I don’t know where.

And next?

Ah, yes.  This one, I remember.  Phew.  I acquired this on a trip to Knitomatic – I went there frantically after work one day, having decided that I just had to make a geometric rib-fronted sweater by Norah Gaughan right then.  I could have bought something more pedestrian like Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, but also just had to have some cashmere.  This was at least five months ago.

And this?

Again, another must-have from Knitomatic.  It’s gorgeous, isn’t it?  It certainly doesn’t deserve to languish, forgotten and unloved, in my stash pile of stuff on the floor drawer…

Man, my back is starting to get sore what with all the self-flagellation, really.  I had even managed to forget about this:

Schaefer Anne in perhaps the most beautiful colour ever.

And what’s this, then?

Ah, yes – some Berocco suede that I was desperate for longer ago than I care to remember.  I entered a swap with Natalie to get my hot little hands on it. I was going to make the Snapping Turtle Skirt by Norah Gaughan with it…

And, finally this:

More forgotten Lace Silk!  And again, two skeins.  I have no clue when I bought this, where it came from, etc.

And actually, I must confess… that isn’t really the “finally” item.  There are more photos – but I’m starting to get rather embarrassed.  As I was, by the way, when JJ ignored the crime scene tape that I had glued the stash room door shut with while cleaning and came in to see me surrounded by … well, yarn.  I then told him that I had forgotten buying much of it (all right, all right… I then confessed that I must have been in a trance when I bought half of the stuff that he saw surrounding me on the floor).  He just shook his head and, thankfully, left.

You may have noticed that I had taken most of the photos on top of a piece of graph paper with scrawls on it.  That was my attempt to catalogue the stash.  I soon gave up… but the list does document:

– eight skeins of Malabrigo laceweight (each around 500m)

– nine skeins of Fiddlesticks laceweight (each 600m)

– nine skeins of Misti Alpaca regular laceweight (each 400m)

– seven skeins of Misti Alpaca Handpaints laceweight (each 800m)

– eight skeins of Blue Moon Silk Thread (each 1100m)

– two skeins of Claudia lace thread (each 1100m)

And, that’s without the Handmaiden.  And, that’s also only laceweight stuff.  It does not take into account the Super10 stash (which now has its very own container) or other lovely stuff like the milk yarn that Amy had so kindly sent me some time back… or the lovely yarn from Clarabelle (not naming the provenance as it is very, very hard to come by and my UK blog friends are having problems getting enough for their own needs).

Plus, it appears that I now officially have enough laceweight yarn to cover Canada with lace.  And, in case you weren’t aware, Canada is a very, very large country indeed.

So, that’s it.  No more PayDay excursions for a while.  And yes, I know I’ve said this before, but this time I mean it.  Really.

Off now to phone the insurance company to up my household coverage…

Cheers,

Kristina

PS.  And, no, Amy – you can’t have my yarn.  Sorry.

a little heresy to start your day…

Before I begin: I’ve been advised that the people who read me through Bloglines got dumped with 10 or so of my posts in the last several hours.  Just remember – you can’t have too much of a guid thing.  I’m resisting the ever-so-Canajan temptation to apologise, but it’s difficult.  Sorry about that.

Well, it’s Wednesday and thus the middle of my working week – high time to promote a little controversy on the blog, I should think.

So, here’s my statement for today:

Forget lace knitting!! 

(ducking to avoid virtual missives thrown by Clarabelle and Soo, lace goddesses extraordinaire.  Sorry, ladies.  In reality, I’m just upset because I can’t churn out the lovely shawls that you both seem to produce in a couple of days!).

But seriously, why such a heretic and loaded statement?  Because I have a new book of time-honoured crafting techniques in my hot little hands which should provide hours – nay, months! – of excitement: Kitschy Crafts.

(Apologies if I have featured this book before – I really can’t remember but I suspect I must have as I’ve already had it out of the library once before! Oh well, it won’t be the first time I’ve rambled on ad nauseam about any given topic!)

I’m already planning to make a chip bowl out of an old Zorba the Greek LP:

Well, maybe I won’t use it as a chip bowl… after all, the chips come in a perfectly good bag and all – very handy for snacking.   But get this, people are actually selling these!

Clearly I’ve missed my calling. 

I also have to find a rock grinder to deal with my seashore haul from NS and a few dozen amethysts I rescued from a dead candle.  Being an ignoramus, I don’t begin to know where to look – any ideas from anyone in the GTA? (because, being a further ignoramus, I don’t dare buy one on-line in case I end up with the wrong thing).

And then, I intend to make myself a fancy hat like this one:

That would be the hat to the left, in case you were wondering.  This hat was one of surely dozens of similar – ahem – import worn at the first day of racing at Royal Ascot yesterday.  I would just love to wear one in the subway here one day soon.

Well, back to finding more photos of ludicrous hats from the Royal Ascot race meeting the grind, I guess.  Summer socialising has been impeding my progress on the Seascape, but it will get done eventually.

Learning to smell the coffee rather than guzzling it, laughing and then snorting it all out my nose,

Kristina

 

do idle hands make the devil’s work?

I’m not sure about that, but they do make for some fun reading sometimes!

Yesterday while … oh, never mind… I came across this website with perhaps the perfect title: The Idler.

Who couldn’t love a magazine with the following mission statement?

The Idler is a bi-annual, book-shaped magazine that campaigns against the work ethic….

The intention of the magazine is to return dignity to the art of loafing, to make idling into something to aspire towards rather than reject.

Sign me up!  It seems that I may just finally have found my people.  My true people.  The loafers, layabouts, idlers, etc. etc.

So if you’re in the mood to laze around and surf the net, check it out.  I recommend in particular the mini-essays on crap jobs for a wee chuckle.

And – here’s the poster that’s going up on my office door, with a few modifications:

What’s that?  You insist on keeping me busy?  Well, here’s another craft for you all to take up:

Come on – you know you want a fancy macrame swing coat!!!  Wouldn’t these be ultra-fabulous with the Swarovski crystal yarn? (Thanks to Jay for the photo!)

Well, I must confess I’m feeling rather pedestrian these days, actually.  So, I’ve resorted to starting work on the Seascape pattern from the latest Knitty magazine.

I’m using that fabulous blueberry seasilk I got in Nova Scotia.  So far, so guid.

Happy loafing Tuesday!

 

Wherein the glory that was Hellas?!

Well, they lost. Again. And after I went and bought t-shirts and ballcaps!!

Just count me in as one of the ones making a left turn. Sigh. I did have to laugh at the tag line in the Daily Telegraph’s reporting of the Greece/Russia match on Saturday:

“Lightning does not strike twice, not even when the bolts are thrown from Olympus.”

Oh, well then. OK. I think the Brits are just showing their sour grapes off since they didn’t even manage to get a team into the Eurocup, anyway. So THERE.

I also loved the Greek team manager’s attitude. Check it out:

A miracle happened in 2004 but these kind of things occur once every 30 years, reflected Otto Rehhagel, the manager of Greece, who in Portugal oversaw a footballing earthquake. “I knew we would not be able to waltz through the group, we are not that good. But other teams will be going home, too – maybe both Italy and France,” he said.

Easy to say after the fact, no? But he had a smarter answer for the tougher questions…

“I know the games and I’m not going to play them with you. I know the question before you ask it,” he added. “I’ve said this before, Greece is a country where democracy was born so you can say what you want. Germany is also democracy which is why I’m free to say whatever I want.”

Germany?!? Hold on just a minute…

“I think the Acropolis has been around for several thousand years, and we won’t be around for that long – that keeps it in perspective,” the German said.

He’s GERMAN?!?!? Should have figured that out with a name like Otto, mind you. Was there some kind of fix, do you think?

(In case you’re wondering what in the name of Zeus the above cartoon means, I don’t know. But it came up inexplicably when I googled “big greek losers”.)

Anyway, at least I won’t miss any more time off work sleep watching thinking about the soccer matches.

Instead, I can spend more quality time drooling over my latest British TV-inspired crush:

I know, I know – I need to get a life. Or at least get back to knitting (and no, I haven’t forgotten that this is a knitting blog). I have a very odd combo of finishitis and startitis at the same time… I’ve put aside my three WIPs, but can’t decide what to start next. Any suggestions for 800m or so of lovely blueberry mist sea silk?

Wishing you all a wonderful week…

two pirates’ booty from down East

My fellow Canadian readers are probably well aware that the rest of the country tends to despite Ontario, and more specifically Toronto (because, after all, Toronto is the only city in Ontario… isn’t it?).

I never quite understood why – until I started amassing all the goods that JJ and I had plundered from our recent trip to Nova Scotia.  I have to confess that they were all steals, quite truly.

First up – check out this fabulous handmade cap I bought at a shop along the Cabot Trail called Sew Inclined:

Barbara, the shop owner, makes all sorts of handmade sewn goodies by hand… including this fabulous corset:

(And no, that’s not me in the photo.  I only wish.  I am still coveting it, but did have to show some restraint as it was near the beginning of the trip.  But she does ship…! Check out her website…)

I also must have been in quite the girly phase, as I ended up picking up all sorts of great jewellery in Halifax

I even found an evil eye pendant which all my coworkers tried to rip off my neck want:

And how about this fancy purse?!

I won’t bother showing you the dozen or so CDs I got, mostly in a great used shop on the main drag in Halifax.  I could have spent hours in there.

Now, don’t feel sorry for JJ.  He wasn’t left out either.

From the left: Hotoi, Annapurna we can’t remember but JJ is laughing at me because I came up with Annapurna which is apparently the name of a mountain somewhere other than Japan which is where this lady comes from, and Wee Little Leprechaun (which JJ has renamed Seamus – I tried to baptise him but JJ said that he’s a drunken pagan.  The leprechaun, I hasten to say, not JJ.)

Oh, and speaking of drunken pagans:

This should keep JJ happy for a couple of days or so.

Oh, and just to complete the full circle of shameless acquisitions – when I got back to the office this Monday, guess what was waiting for me there?  A little package from Blue Moon Fiber Arts

2500 approx lovely yards of “Lover’s Leap”…!

Ain’t it purdy?

Oh, and 3700 yards (approx) of the same in the fantastic Blue Moonstone colourway…

I cannot do justice to it with the camera, really, but here’s another attempt:


So – this should all keep me busy and out of the shops for some time, wouldn’t you say?

But hmm… what day is it today?  The 13th?  Meaning Sunday is the 15th? Meaning that today is PayDay… and a special rare Friday the 13th Payday at that…

Augh!!!

Happy Friday and a wonderful weekend to you.  I should note that I’m starting some unofficial summer hours for the blog effective now.  This means that I probably won’t be posting too much at the weekends unless the Moronic Muse moves me… please do try not to be heartbroken.  I’m sure you have better things on the go in the summertime anyway!

Stay tuned for a report on Greece/Russia fun on Monday!

How to feel like you’ve just dropped LSD at 9:45 a.m.*

*Disclaimer: Not that I’ve ever actually dropped LSD, of course. That would have been an illegal activity, and thus something I most certainly do not condone. Just some poetic licence here, folks. Really. I mean it.

Easy! (and cheap, and not as bad for you as the real thing, either). Just take a look at the Photo Exhibit at the Globe and Mail website on any given day.

I think you’ll get what I mean when you have a look at some of today’s offerings:

What?!?!?!?

(Here’s the caption from the Globe: “Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s work, called Dots Obsession: Infinity Mirrored Room is on exhibit at the contemporary art centre Le Spot in Le Havre, France, as part of the Arts Le Havre 2008 contemporary art biennial.”)

This, on the other hand, is a Dutch football supporter at the Eurocup. Nuff said.

And these? Well:

Maybe not too ersatz LSD-head of me, but these make me very, very glad that I was not of age during the 70s. Apologies to anyone who actually had a pair of these at the time.

And finally, this just frightened me, frankly:

Was I wrong?

Really, I should just stick to looking at knitting stuff from now on.

Hmm.

Then again…

Well, I think I’d best tune out, drop out, etc. now. I’m really, really starting to fear for my sanity!

Happy Thursday!

memories of Cape Breton…

Now, I warn you in advance: I have decided that I would like to return to live in Cape Breton when I win the lottery manage to find a legal aid job in Nova Scotia which will never, ever happen retire.  So, I took a million photos of the place.  Well, 502 photos to be quite exact.  I’ll only show you a fraction of those, I promise…

Let me first start with telling you about one of the best yarn shops I’ve ever been too, Baadeck Yarns.  It is located in Baddeck (get it?!?).  The owner, Patricia, is from Toronto but decided to move down there and open a yarn shop after a vacation some time back.  And I’m very glad she did, too.

Why?  Well, first off, she carries an exclusive line of colours by the Fleece Artist/Handmaiden… which she helped design herself.  And if I dare say so myself, I managed to exercise significant self-control in the face of this, buying only two skeins of HM Sea Silk in the Blueberry Mist colourway:

She also carries Tilli Tomas products which I had never seen in person before… so of course I had to snap up two skeins of the Moroccan Blue silk prestrung with beads:

Patricia was also kind enough to let me drool over fondle the Tilli Tomas Swarovski crystal studded silk which she had in stock.  At $125/120 yards I couldn’t really see fit to buying any, although I was sorely tempted.  (By the way, for you knitters out there, I am deliberately not including a link as I think it would probable be actionable if you checked it out and lost your house as a result.  Having said that, I did link it somewhere previously on this blog and I think if you search “bling” you’ll find the link.  Heh heh).

All I can say is that it’s just a very guid thing that JJ was along, otherwise the rent cheque for June would have gon bounce bounce bounce into the Atlantic for certain.  Oh – and if you are anywhere near Nova Scotia, do visit Patricia!  It will be worth the trip, I can assure you.

All right, all right… enough yarn pron.  Back to the vacation.  We spent two full days on the Cabot Trail, which is a road through the mountainous part of Cape Breton spanning approximately 120 kilometres.

JJ insisted on driving the first day but I got to drive the second!!  It is a fabulous drive.  The topography changes constantly.

There are all sorts of little curiosities along the way, such as, for example, the Lone Sheiling (a replica of a highland hut):

The federal government pours lots of money into the Cabot Trail (quite rightly, I think) so that they can keep it vibrant and replant trees… here is a baby birch tree!

I was happy for that, because it means that we can keep enjoying lovely views like this:

…and this:

…and so on…

…and so forth:

That’s me, by the way, at one of the highest points – about 500 metres above sea level!

I loved the mountains, obviously:

…but also the beaches.

…and even the rocks.  Nay, especially the rocks!

JJ, on the other hand, loved this site the best!


When I gently suggested that he was perhaps spending too much money at the place which manufactures the only Canadian malt whisky, and that he didnae really need a sample of every year that they’ve made..

…he pointed to the back of my newly acquired T-shirt:

Fair enough, I guess.  Anyway, he was just feeling cocky because we were in Scottish territory, where some of the road signs are even printed in English and Gaelic!

We also, by the way, ate fabulous Acadian food in Cheticamp, where the signs are in English and French.  (And by the way, if you’re coming to Nova Scotia, bring your fat clothes.  The food is great, unless you’re a vegetarian.  JJ wanted to take a photo of me eating the 10th order of fresh fish and chips but I refused as it would have been embarrassing to show my face buried in the plate.

I will part with photos of my favourite place in Cape Breton, which was Inverness, where we stayed.  This beach was within a two minute walk of the motel…

…and the sun sets very kindly on Inverness (when it’s around, that is, as the locals would hasten to tell you.  Apparently it’s not around all that often.  But when it is, it is glorious!)

That is about it for the vacation photos, I promise.  Only I still have to show you some of my fabulous acquisitions, as there are many great artisans in the province.  And you can get a palace of a condo even in Halifax (the capital) for what it would cost you for a 450 sq ft bachelor in Toronto.  I really need to move there.  Sigh.

Cheers,

Kristina

farewell… (we’re off) to Nova Scotia!

Dear Gentle Readers:

Well, JJ and I are setting off for a big trip first thing tomorrow: to the East Coast!

(Um, no, we won’t be dancing out there – we’re taking the train. I wonder if you could call it the Orient Express?!?)

So, alas, this means that I will be taking a short hiatus from the blog. I will miss you all dreadfully, but JJ insists that I need a break from “that bloody computerrrrr” as well as from work.  (In exchange for this great sacrifice, by the way, he has agreed to check out some yarnie spots down there that I have researched.   I don’t know if he realises quite what he is in for, actually).

(Oh, and by the way, I’ve bribed hired Mario the superintendent

to watch over my spare room while I’m gone – so don’t get any ideas about stash raiding…!! Your only chance is to show up right after he’s finished the bottle of vodka this cost me, I figure…)

Nova Scotia, by the way, is home to the Fleece Artist – so who knows what I might manage to score in my travels?!

I’m also likely taking a wee break from knitting as well as I have some trashy novels to catch up on… but will be taking some lovely Blue Moon with me just in case.  I’ll also be practicing my tango moves… 

(I started Argentinian tango lessons some time back.  It is quite addictive.  If you do a YouTube search on “tango” and “argentina” you’ll see what I mean.   I had taken lessons for a couple of years some time back but my then-dance partner was 13 inches taller than me, which proved a bit awkward.  This time, I’ve managed to find a midget like myself.)

So, I’ll be back on 7 or 8 June or thereabouts with lots of boring vacation photos and, it is hoped, far less boring pics of NS yarns! 

Wishing you a lovely couple of weeks, and see you anon!

Kristina

PS. I just realised that the subject line of this post will probably only make sense to Canajans like me who were forced to learn annoying little folk songs about all the provinces in public school years.  The Nova Scotia one was called “Farewell to Nova Scotia” and is actually quite a depressing little ditty talking about dead sailors, etc.   Another east coast favourite was “I’s the bye who builds the boat” from Newfoundland – anyone remember that one?! Now try and get it out of your head.  Ha!