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!

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Wanted: Christmas in July

Amazing! With only nine days left in the month, what did I spot yesterday in the street but this joyous scene?!?

All right, all right, I’m lying to you – again. This photo was actually on the Globe and Mail website yesterday. This was the caption:

Santas gather to make their way in a parade through Copenhagen on Tuesday during their annual three-day congress. Now in its 51st year, the World Santa Claus Congress brings together 136 red-clad delegates, mostly from Scandinavia but also as far away as Russia, Japan and the United States.

Now, there’s a new one for me – a Santa Conference. How come I don’t get to go to fun conferences like that? The last one I got to attend was called, I believe: Feudalism in the Modern Age – How to Deal with Ontario’s Many, Many Landlords – or something along those lines. Not a red suit to be seen or “ho ho ho” to be heard. Sigh.

Oh – a little Christmas in July tip, while I think of it? Do yourself a favour and read The Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris. It’s his account of working as an elf in Macy’s department store in their Santaland one year. Hilarious. If you’re a podcast type, you can also listen to him read it here.


Another example of the Christmas in July spirit in Europe – they’re giving away Vauxhall cars at the Tower Bridge in London!!!

Um… not really. Actually, this appears to be a publicity stunt for yet another new model of car. But my explanation of the photo is far nicer, no?

Personally, though, I think that this is a far nicer shot of the Tower Bridge, with a very rare sighting of one of Canada’s most esteemed intellectuals and artisans.

(In seeing this photo again, I hasten to say that I am not one of those pretentious wankers who insists on wearing shades all the time, even in winter. Instead, I have those eyeglasses which get dark in the sunshine. This was a bad move on my part in retrospect as I can no longer pretend I’m in the washroom 10 minutes every 45 minutes hour and a half when I’ve actually snuck – sneaked? – outside for a smoke. Sigh.)

But not everywhere in the world is lucky enough to have me and my benevolent presence strolling around, sadly. One place that could really use some benevolence right around now, not to mention a few Santas – Zimbabwe.

Apparently they just issued new money over there because their currency is completely in the toilet. This means that one egg costs $35billion Zimbabwean. This $100billion note is not enough to pay for the three eggs depicted in the photograph.

My math is horrendous – but this must mean the new Vauxhall car would cost… er… something like $200billiontrilliongazillionandquadrillion in Zimbabwe. Sigh.

Considering this, we really don’t have it all that bad over here. However, one thing I’ve noted – the cost of gas has risen well more than a quarter since the real Christmas month in 2007. Witness this photo I took in mid-December:

The blur is due to me shaking with rage because the price of gas refused to go under $1 (CDN) per litre.

And today? That same litre costs between 126.9 cents and 134.7 cents per litre, depending upon what part of the city you’re in (I like the way they still use “cents” to make you think it’s not all that expensive. Well, that little trick, I’m here to tell you Big Bad Gas Companies, doesnae work.) Apparently in some parts of the country it is nearing $1.50 and a couple of weeks here in good old TO it was $1.38.

In other words, not billions – but I find it very difficult to understand how the prices have gone up more than a third in the past seven months, really.

It’s enough to make me want to rush back to London. Forget Tower Bridge (although I can think of a few dozen top-level people who should perhaps be taken across it in legchains and left in the old prison there!). I’ll be looking for this place:

Will I find some answers there? Will I, hell. But I’ll be able to work up some guid big old rants, I should think.

Happy Wednesday and may Santa be kind to you all.

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!

all the world’s a stage…

At the ripe old age of almost38, I had thought I’d pretty much figured out every way that people can be convinced to part with their money for no real reason.  Was I ever wrong…

You see, of late I’ve seen all these ads on TV for some four month course on something called “staging” – you know, “you too can become a home stager and command big bucks.  Call within the next 15 minutes and receive a free coffee at the school canteen…”

Now, I don’t tend to pay too much attention to television, so I simply thought that this was some new fancy new name for “interior designers”.

And this is the case, in a way.  Only you don’t hire stagers until you actually want to sell your house – then you pay them thousands of dollars to redecorate.

I only finally clued into this because my good friend B. is in the process of selling her condominium so that she can move to another city (also, ironically enough, called B.  Sigh.) and her realtor is apparently putting huge pressure on her to bring in one of these “stagers” and throw away spend even more cash.

Personally, I consider this notion to be completely preposterous.  So, I did a bit of research and came up with some info from the place who has been running the television ads for the educational programme:

Home staging is the design process of de-personalizing a private residence prior to putting it up for sale in the real estate marketplace. This is often achieved by re-arranging, de-cluttering and improving on certain items.

The goal of staging a home is to help it sell quickly and for the most amount of money by appealing to the largest amount of prospective buyers. Staging focuses on improving a home’s potential by transforming it into a ‘neutral’ property because the way we live in our home is completely different than the way we should sell our home. Staging creates a living space buyers can “see” themselves in, similar to how model home displays are presented.

Staging also helps create an environment that will lead a buyer’s eye to the home’s attractive features, while minimizing its flaws.

Uh-huh.  And here all these years they’ve been telling you things like “Just boil some apples and cinnamon on your stove before you show your house and it will be sold in no time.”  Were they lying all this time?!?!

But this TV ad says that if you take the course you can get guaranteed employment starting at $31.25 an hour or some such thing.  Not too shabby – I think that’s more than I make, actually.

So, perhaps I should take this all a bit more seriously.  Here’s some information about the course, if you’re interested.  Hmm… $1,000 for a bunch of textbooks, some correspondence learning, a tape measure and a colour wheel!!!  And I thought they soaked us at law school!

I mean, do people have no imagination whatsoever?!  I mean, if I were buying a house, I’d end up decorating it in my own inimitable fashion anyway…

And why the hell should I depersonalise a house I’m trying to sell while I’m still living there, anyway?! I quite happen to like the personality of my place!!

Talk about your false economies.  I spend $5,000 or $6,000 getting someone to paint a house that I’m leaving anyway, so that I can maybe get an extra $1,000 over that tacked on to the selling price – a percentage of which, by the way will go in commissions to the realtor, the lawyer and (doubtless) the stager.  So, at the end of the day I will be $500.00 or so ahead – and will have been stressed out because people were in painting my place, moving my furniture, etc.  Does this really make any sense?!

I must confess, having said that, that I have been known to “stage” an apartment myself – for quite different reasons.  The landlord had put the property up for sale approximately one day after I moved in and I did not wish to have to move three months later.  So, whenever the realtor came by to show the place, I made sure it was an absolute disgusting mess (this, I must admit, wasn’t really a huge challenge).  I also painted the walls in extremely gaudy colours which I happened to like but which proved anathema to prospective buyers.

Hmm… so, maybe there is something to this “staging thing” after all.  Maybe it’s time to pack in the law thing and start a rewarding and exciting new career?!

Then again, that’s how I always feel on Monday mornings.  Sigh.

Have a guid one!

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.

colouring my world

You’re not going to believe this… the other day was the 15th (a.k.a. PayDay) and I did not go to a yarn shop. What steely self-discipline!! (I should confess something, though – that was only because I went to the mosaic shop instead.) My middle name should be “magpie”. I cannot resist shiny glass things, particularly when they are mirrored and I can see my face in miniature warped dwarfdom. I then hit the Goodwill across the street and came across some treasures: The purchases would seem to indicate that I am just about ready to get back to mosaic. For some reason, spring and summer are the only times I seem to break plates and stick them to things anymore. Guess I’ve got to go with the muse when she hits, eh? But now I’m torturing myself because I came across these fabulous tapestry photos on line.

I want one!!!! And check out this stunning tapestries by Irene Dunn!

If I had one of these in my apartment, I’d feel like King Henry VIII. And by all accounts, he had a great time! I’m reminded of the fabric mosaic that the very talented Sequana sent me sometime back, although her colours are bolder as befits the modern ethic, of course!

Oh no. Now I want to take up tapestry and needlework. When will it end?!?! Then again, I probably won’t bother because this is about as talented as I get in that particular arena:

Hmm. I’d be defeated before I started, I think. Wah.