Thursday, October 30, 2008

Twas the night before Halloween......

....and all through my house are wee bits of pumpkin from two carving maniacs.

Yes we finally got those orange beasts carved. All I did was open the tops and use skewers to attach the parts they asked me to when all else was done...the boys did the rest themselves with no injuries....gutting the gourds, and carving the faces. They are happy with their work and I am proud of them for getting the job done. YAY BOYS! I don't know why but I love the smell of pumpkin at carving time.
I have devised a wicked cool beard and moustache for Ben and he's going to be "Firebeard" the pirate because of the colouring of his facial hair. Cool name eh? I used some of my Spring Chicken colourway roving from Pamplemousse en Caoutchouc ( dyers of lovely spinning fiber)to make them and the little bit of yellow and red look really cool. I also took Itzel's ( a Montreal Knits friend) advice and got spirit gum to glue the beard and moustache in place. She said the eyelash glue I'd bought wouldn't work. Boo hoo.
Still no scythe for Cameron so guess what I will be creating tomorrow for my l'il Grim Reaper? I have a rake handle and will be cutting cardboard and duct taping like a mad woman I am sure.
Who says Halloween is just for the kids, hmm?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Disgusting Thieves

Its getting to me how artists can't even promote their trade without getting ripped off. Remember how Iggy Pop and his band came to Montreal and got robbed of their equipment and instruments, some custom made particularly to accomodate the physical challenges of the musician?

Thieves strike again. I paste here the email sent out to Montreal Knits on our email list:

This past Monday I had a visitor from Vermont staying with me—she was
not any ordinary tourist, she is Beth-Brown-Reinsel — one of the
knitting community's A-list teachers and historians with a specialty
in Gansey sweaters--- how they evolved and how to make them. She was
here teaching a workshop on Ganseys and another on Latvian Mitts for
the Montreal Knitting Guild. Her suitcase containing all of her
workshop samples and reference books (some out-of-print) was stolen
from the trunk of my car while I was giving her a tour of our fair
(?) city—a city she was so excited to be finally visiting.

I need the public in general (not just knitters) to keep a lookout
for this black suitcase containing 5-6 sweaters (some adult, some
children), ornately knit Latvian mitts, approximately 20 mini sample
sweaters which represent all the workshops she teaches, a pair of
Scottish Sanquhar gloves, a multi-coloured tote bag-the one from
Interweave, three books on Latvian mittens, and other items we may
have forgotten to list. On our tour we visited the Old Port, stopped
briefly by the McCord museum near McGill, then up to St. Denis and
Duluth (Plateau area) to meet up with friends. I would ask people who
live in these areas to pay special attention as there is the chance
whoever took the suitcase will dump it once they realize there was no
street value to what they stole.

That is not to say these items are of no value. They are actually of
tremendous intrinsic value to those of us who understand what it is
like to knit something from one's own hands and have it worn by your
family; the value of a research book which records historical data
but is now, sadly, out-of-print and from another country far away,
making it that much harder to find a second-hand copy; handknit items
illustrating specific historical and cultural techniques which have
been personal gifts and mementos from travels afar. And from a
teaching perspective there is nothing like having something tangible
to pass around the class that the students can touch and view
intimately for details which may not be caught in photographs. We
all know knitters are "touchy-feely" people.

Should the knitting gods be merciful and someone does come across the
suitcase please take it to a local police station, or if unsure where
the nearest station is, flag down a police car and give it to them.
There is a police report on file and they will contact the
appropriate person to retrieve the suitcase. And if not for the love
of knitting and doing what's right, then do it for the financial
reward which I am posting. Just leave your name and contact info
with the police so I can send it to you (the finder of the suitcase).

And for all the knitters in our community, please support Beth by
buying her book and patterns so she can fund the replacements for her
workshops—she is at and on the patternfish

And M, if you are still part of this group, any chance you can
get this info out on the airwaves? The more people who know, knitters
and non-knitters alike, the greater the chance of someone clueing in
if they see a black suitcase just sitting there. I am taking
inspiration from a similar incident which happened this past summer
to an esteemed quilter in Nova Scotia who had her samples suitcase
also stolen from her car then found a couple of weeks/months later by
the side of the highway and the fellow who found it knew what he'd
found because the quilting community had gathered forces and
publicized like mad. Thx to all who can get the word out.

A few years ago a hard working member of my family had entire vehicle and its contents stolen from a packed movie theater parking lot. His tools of his trade went with the truck. The truck was recovered later, totally stripped of everything.
Christmas is on its way and how many presents will get stolen from family's cars and homes? It could happen to anyone, even you and me. My wallet was stolen two weeks ago from my purse by a customer when I was at working and didn't notice her getting around where we hang our coats etc. Thieves abound everywhere, even in friendly, safe places like our jobs and our schools.

Where did these people get the idea that it was OK to take what does not belong to them? Where did the message of Do Not Steal get twisted apart for these people?
Boohoo drugs...Boohoo lost jobs....boohoo my daddy beat me when I was a kid..... Boo fuckin'hoo!! No mater how bad your life is there is ALWAYS someone who has it worse and you DO NOT have the right to take from people that which does NOT belong to YOU.

One Bag

A knitter decided that she was not happy with the amount of plastic shopping bags eneding up in landfills and as litter. She thought that if she made one cotton knitted shopping bag to replace one plastic bag and used it over and over for years, she'd be saving many plastic bags from being used over that time span. Multiply that One Bag by many others made to replace one plastic bag and you have a small grass roots charity movement for the Earth.
Check out the One Bag concept here:
Sorry for the old school cut and paste job but the link feature and I are not getting along.

Monday, October 27, 2008


You Are Fozzie Bear

"Wocka! Wocka!"

You're the life of the party, and you love making people crack up.

If only your routine didn't always bomb!

You may find more groans than laughs, but you always keep the jokes coming.

In which I am not a very skilled craftster......

Halloween is looming over my head like a big candy laden storm cloud. Itsn't this way a few hours ago! Then I was making Ben's pirate sleeveless jacket and, well, my true ineptness came roaring out. If only things could be made like on cartoons, where there is a frenzy of scissors and thread and maybe a tornado thrown in and VOILA! Its made and everyone ooohs and aahhhs. My personal sewing tornado was more like "Oh F%&$!!! SH&*!!! Sonnuva B%$&!!!!!"
Problem one: I have no pattern, just a mental picture of what I am trying to make.

Problem 2: I have almost no sewing skills. I did very poorly in Home Ec thank YOU very much.
I cut shiny, brownish, cheap, taffeta type fabric a la The Grinch making his Santa suit.
I sewed wrong parts in wrong places or on the wrong side of the "garment".
At one point the machine needle went through my left pointer finger's nail, causing both me to scream and curse visciously and the needle to break. Thank Gods for cheap needles eh? It was painful but very minor with only a small drop of blood welling up from the nail puncture.
I started hemming said "garment' and discovered it was backwards and had to rips out the stitching to fold the fabric the other way and start hemming again. I was in the home stretch of this piece of crap and then my machine...died. It made this wierd noise and kinda clanked and jammed. Opening it up resulted in the bobbin and its housing to drop out of the machine.
"Hmmm...thats not right..." was my thoughts. Even the machine knows I suck...It knows it so well it practically commited suicide rather than continue. I know the bobbin and stuff goes back in but I'm too fed up to frig around with it.
I hand basted the hem into place and will try and find two minutes to run it through a machine at work tomorrow. Sometime between tomorrow and Friday I will sew the shiny gold buttons on and pray noone looks real close at the whole thing. Ben thinks its just great, but then again, he didn't really look at it all that well when I tried it on him. Its brown, no sleeves, no collar, to be worn open over the shirt (to come later), sash, and pirate jewellery. He's thrilled with it.
I love my kid.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


For a few weeks I have been meaning to yarn shop for a "girly" blue yarn. I kept forgetting though and boy am I glad I did. There in a bag of thrift shop yarn that my sister had given me was a VERY girly blue yarn. If I triple it or combine it with another thicker yarn, then I have what I need for another Xmas pair of Instant Mittens (Pair 4). Yay!!! Excellent. Just turquoise to be dealt with (pair 5).
For Dad's thrummed mitts, I stash shopped. I took out some skeins of Anniversary Twist by Briggs and Little. Its a nice two toned blue (TOO blue according to Hman when I made him a hat with it...). I gave the skeins a soak in a wool wash bath to soften the yarn up and now they are hanging out on the clothesline in the sun and breeze to dry. Thrummed items can't so much be soaked/washed after they are made if you still want the insides fluffy, so this pre-knit wash makes the scratchy yarn much nicer to work with and to wear. 3 skeins should do the mittens and a matching hat nicely. After the skeins are dry I'll wind them, ready for knitting as soon as Cameron's mittens are done.
We went out this afternoon and got most of Cameron's costume dealt with (need a fake scythe) and got fabric for Ben's pirate costume ( long sleeveless jacket and a sash) and also a better pirate hat than the piece of felt that he had. Much better! I will spray paint some old buttons gold for the jacket. We are discussing pirate hair attached to the hat and made from yarn (dreads maybe?)but that might be too much in the time alotted.


The Icky seems to be receeding as of this morning. My fever broke through the night and my head no longer feels like a sinus based explosion through my eyeballs is imminent. This is a good thing because I have a shitpile of stuff to do thanks to being away last weekend and sick as a dog for 4 days.
LAUNDRY!!! Massive piles of it and mostly mine for some reason.
Vacuuming! If these dust bunnies get too much bigger I will be fearing for my life. And once vacuumed away, it appears that my floors are in a scary state of EEEEW!
I once-overed the bathrooms this week but they could use a down and dirty scrubbing I am sure but that can wait until tomorrow. Lysol wipes can only take care of so much.

HALLOWEEN is THIS FRiday and my kids are relatively costumeless still. HMan took care of Ben's (sort of) last weekend by purchasing the accessories every pirate needs but the main costume (pants, shirt, sash, vest) is left to me to come up with. Cameron didn't know what he wanted to be but now claims he has to be The Grim Reaper. We are discussing face paint over that horrible, comfort, fun for Mommy.... After some chores and homework we will hit the costumery for a robe though I am SURE I could whip one up. Its all about easy this year since I only have 4 days left. My house is totally undecorated this year. Remember last years tombstones, lights, spider webs and homemade ghost? Nope...not this year. Not even any pumpkins yet, thats how far behind I have fallen. I suck. Better buy treats too, now that I think about it.
On the mitten front: Ben's are done (did I mention that?) and when he showed them off to the kid across the street he suggested that maybe I would make some for him for Xmas.. WTF??? Shaddup kiddo!
Cameron's flip top Instant Mittens are just past the thumb of mitten one. I got the wrist and below the thumb finished while I waited in the cinema lobby for Beverly Hills Chihuahua to be done, wishing for Advil strong enough for my sinus head ache and earplugs (that joint is LOUD, man).
I asked for Dad's favourite colour today (Blue) and then was asked if I was "going to be making him something he'll never wear". ??? Isn't he sweet? See where my snark comes from?? Its hereditary.
Maybe while out I can convince the kids to let me swing by Ginette's for Daniel's birthday and to peruse the blue wools. I think Baldy (aka DAD) deserves a thrummed toque for snow shovelling as well as the mittens. ;OD

Friday, October 24, 2008


Last night I began to feel icky. Despite my regimen of zinc lozenges and Vitamin C I still feel a bit icky. It is the dreaded FIRST COLD OF THE SEASON and I blame Hman. He came down with ickyness Tuesday and began combatting it with the much revered Cold F/X. (That stuff TOTALLY works if you take it right at the start of a cold virus. BAM..cold is gone.)
Therefore, he had time to pass the icky on to me after I got home Sunday night and on Monday, add 3 days for incubation and Voila I has Ickyness. Will be getting some Cold F/X for sure because I hate to be sick when I have so much to do and stuff. Although....maybe more zinc and C will work? And fluids... Its still at the scratchy throat and threat of sinus congestion has not progressed.. Dr Quinn Medicine Woman guide me!
Thrum mittens...will finish Ben's last thumb today despite the beggings to finish last night. Was too tired and the Ickyness was starting.
Question: Would one skein of Lamb's Pride make a man sized pair of mittens? I have a skein of royal blue that would be great for my dad's mitts and mohair is nice and durable. What thinkest thou, oh friends?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Home stretch

The thrummed mittens I cast on for Benoit last week are almost finished! REALLY! I have one thumb left! I used Patons Classic Wool merino and Briggs and Little pencil roving (3 strands per thrum). I'm quite proud of these little babies and pictures will happen when Hman gets back from Myrtle Beach next week.
Speaking to my mum over the phone regarding these lovely WARM mittens has resulted in my Dad thinking a pair for Xmas would be "nice". ????? My DAD would LIKE something handknit???? WOW! Now I am all excited at the prospect of churning out a pair of man sized thrummed mittens for my daddy. ( Just as soon as I make a pair of flip top mittens for Cameron. His requested style.) I am tossing around ideas on colours and yarns...nothing too colourful or it won't be manly enough...nothing to fine or it won't hold up to wear and tear... I don't want them too itchy on his wrists or he might not wear them. Hamster brain has commenced regarding this. Yet, I rejoice because my Daddy will be the reciever of coziness from my heart and needles this Xmas. :oD
As for mom, the plan was for bed socks since she is chilly a lot now that she's 80. Then I bought The Prayer Shawl Companion on Sunday, quite unintentionally, and there is this pattern for a shoulder wrap called a Heart Warmer. Look at the picture, its from the book. Isn't that cunning? Now picture it on a little ol' lady in her cigarette smoke filled house. Does she look cozy? Thats what I thought too. Cozy and easy to put on over her sweater and take off as necessary. I will not be using the recommended Rowan Big Wool but will double or triple a machine washable wool alternative to mimic the thick cushiness. A plus is that I 'heart' seed stitch. To me its just one of the best texure stitches ever. Classic.
Did I mention how chilly it is this week? The water in my birdbath was frozen solid this morning! Snow flakes were sighted yesterday!! Its coming...whimper...its..coming...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Stolen Pictures

I snagged these from Kadi's blog because I have been waiting for her to send them to me and I am impatient as Hell.
The sheep in the picture is Emily the Rambouillet. She is very affectionate and we had a was magical. At one point we were nose to nose sniffing each others noses and breath. Ewes do not tend to act like this and at first I assumed Emily was an Emil...until she turned around and I saw her...uumm.. Anyways, she is VERY affectionate for a ewe and her wool was very fine and soft and she enjoyed the scratchings around the ears etc. She was not happy in her pen and maybe was trying to convince me to take her out? If I still had my farm I woulda been sorely tempted. Sweet Emily...I will always remember you. Especially now that stole our picture from Kadi.

The second picture is of myself and Stephanie Pearl-MacPhee, the Yarn Harlot. I don't look at all scary, do I? Here's what happened:
I'd lost all my friends on Saturday and spent 3 hours of the festival wandering by myself. During that 3 hours I'd bought Franklin Habit's book and had it signed(squee!!0 and fondled a LOT of wool and yarn. Then I hooked back up with some people I knew and Kadi found me again. While we were getting caught up who did I spy but the Yarn Harlot strolling by at good speed. I got a little excited I guess...ok..VERY excited. Its just that she's such an amazing knitter and blogger and writer and I am SURE we could be bestest friends if she just got to know me...( oh jeez...did I type that out loud? So Pathetic I know). Anyway, I blathered about needing a camera and then ran to catch up to her before she got far. I interrupted her brisk pace and asked politely if she would mind a picture, pretty please. She kinda sized me up, sighed, looked at her watch and barked jovially something like " Can you make it snappy, I'm yarn shoppin' here!". Eager to please, I turned to my photographer and found that I didn't have one (despite two people assuring me of their assistance)!

Well...I did what any star struck highly strung knitter would do and SCREAMED for Kadi to "hurry up before she get's away!!!" You have to understand!!! It was a very busy, noisy place and a polite cry would NOT have been noticed at all and Harlot was IN A HURRY, man!!! Kadi and Stephanie both leapt out of their skins at my shriek, then Stephanie dissolved into laughter and Kadi ran to my assistance, camera ready. I confessed to La Harlot in an aside, as we prepared our pose, that I had forgotten my own name when she signed my book at the book signing/talk in Halifax last year, then we smiled for the camera. I thanked her profusely, and she made her escape...I mean..continued yarn shopping. My friends were all laughing at me for being such a freakshow but I was SO HAPPY!! The sun shone brighter, the sheep smelled sheepier, and all was wonderful in the realms of knitters beacuse I had gotten a picture with Stephanie Pearl-Macphee AND made HER laugh!!! Sweet.

Sunday I bought her latest book and presented it for signing with an apology for the heart failure I may have caused the day before. She was totally cool and said she'd recovered in no time and all was well. See? THIS is why she's so great. The poor woman was exhausted from her book tour, possibly caffeine deficient, yarn/wool shopping with her friend, and she STILL took the time out to pose with a crazed fan. This is why she rocks.

We could totally be besties...I'd bring her coffee and everything.... ;oP

Monday, October 20, 2008


I ran into the notorious Kate Gilbert several times and then she finally caught on..I mean..conjectured.. that I was stalking her. I got a severe tongue lashing at this pottery/sock yarn/jewellery booth and then she striked a pose. (she was actually stalking ME. Really!!!!! Stop laughing now...)
As me and my posse were leaving, who did my wondering eyes spy but THE Jillian Moreno. She heard me as I gasped out her name and Kadi and I had a bad case od star struckness. Look at that hair! That smile!!!! Go buy her books STAT!

Pictures...take #2

What we have in this selection of pictures:
My posse of the weekend Janet, Kadi, and Elizabeth ( ). We travelled and bunked and shared in the highs and lows of that which is the NY State Sheep and Wool Festival. What am I talking about "lows"? There were NONE! We were "high" all weekend !!!! Wait...thats not how is sounds!!
Also photographed were the notorious group of Deeawn, Veronik, and Alison (all of Montreal Knits infamy). They were up to no good can't you tell? No? Well, I could.
AND did you know I have a winery? Me neither. I was all for going and demanding free wine since they are using MY name but the girls wouldn't let me because the yarn was waiting.

And now with pictures!

Oh loook...I found my lost posting!

Back From Rhinebeck.....

Too much yarny goodness to discuss. Am sooo tired. Had great time. More later, I promise......zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Just me and my ice cream tonight....

What a day! I worked (Yay!) but at the end of the work day, my wallet was missing. (waaaah) Luckily, I have no credit cards so its mainly a pain in the ass and sadness because it was my new Parisian wallet.
So my happy happy busy day was tarnished and dented by the loss of my wallet. If it turns up I will be very very pleased.
Also, it is election day in Canada. My party leader did not kick the ass of her competitor in my home town riding and I am very sad. She came in SECOND though and thats awesome considering. Take that , Peter!! Stupid head. My mom says not to tell Dad how she voted and if you know them then you now know how she voted so "Shhhh!" don't tell Da! ;op
Ben is trying to understand why the party Mommy and Daddy voted for isn't even showing up on the screen as winning a seat. There are TWO Independents so far but no Green seats. sigh.
Harper is winning. Actually gaining in seats from last time. Why, Gods, WHHHHYYYY!?

I need more Turtles ice cream...........

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Actually Knitting Photo

I realised a while back that I had not posted a picture of the finished Belle Maman socks that I'd made for my sister. Here they are in all their brightly coloured glory.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Gibraltar in Pics for Suldog

These are for you, Jim!! :oD

We have here the view of Gibraltar as we approached from Spain.
The Gibraltar beer, brewed with Gibraltar hops but not brewed ON Gibraltar, was a big beer and very very good. I peeled the label off mine as a keepsake.
A sleepy Macaque...aaaaawww. Note how this one's eyelids are pale blue! The only ones I noticed like this and there were a lot of sleepy Macaques there.
The Moorish Castle was really cool as was St Michael's Cave. That was AMAZING. This huge cavern with all the naturally occuring rock formations, was probably mythic in early humanity's eyes. There were remains found in the cave that date to the same era as those from the Neander Valley. Of course, later, Modern Man just had to turn it into a theater, of all things. Weddings and musical events have been held in this cavern.
I have other pictures of Gibraltar (mostly Macaques and the view from up there)but these seemed to some it up best.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A day of hamster brain....

I am struck down with hamster brain today. I am pulled in fifty directions and can't settle on one.
Knitting: I started an Instant Mitten last night and am discontented. Its not 'blue' enough to be girly. Audrey thinks I'm nuts I'm sure but a girly blue is usually, non? This is a lovely greyish blue but just doesn't scream girly especially when paired with a blue/brown variegated.
I printed off 4 hat patterns this we see a new trend starting? All were colour work (aka fair isle or stranded). The Modern Selbu beret! Halloween kitty hat! Those two Noro based ones that I forget the name of but damn they was fine lookin' winter hats....Hman might even get one (the 'argyle' one) as a xmas gift but modified to include earflaps and a possible liner and speaking of liners what about the Helmet Liner pattern for soldiers? That would make an excellent ski helmet liner in a lighter weight silk blend....
Should I knit like crazy and maybe finish my sweater in a week OR do xmas presents? The draw to finishing in a week is that I could take it to Rhinebeck next weekend. If I am able to finish it in a week.
Also, Annie, if you hear of this...I'd REALLY like a written pattern for those handwarmers Marie-Michelle was wearing last night...oooh la la.
I really gotta stay off of Ravelry first thing in the day or that day is toast.

My screens need cleaning, and I need to do a SERIOUS cleansing of the windows to remove all mildewy gunkiness caused by condensation since the last time I attacked the windows with bleach and an old tooth brush.
Kitchen really should be squared away.
Vacuuming is always a plus.
Folding tha ONE load of laundry would be cool, before it turns to 6 loads of unfolded clean laundry.
Doesn't fresh clean laundry smell great, btw? Just sayin'....
Cameron's room is still waiting for paint, the colour of which was picked out 3 months ago.
The aquarium is very gross...why won't that #$^%ing fish just die already!!!?
There is much much more that could be said but these are the most pressing concerns. How does my sister DO IT??? Where does the drive to actually make and keep the house presentable come from?? I think its skipped me. I love a tidy house like nobody's business but the actual gumption to do it? ugh......
I think I need to compose a list.

ETA: Anny's handwarmer pattern :

More pictures

Here we have an obese Macaque on Gibralter getting a hand out from the cashier at the gift shop, me in my EuroCheese persona, and did you know Granada has a spot just for me? Neither did I! And whats worse? that I told him to "pick the stone monkey's/lion's nose!!" or that he did it?

Blah Blahhing....

I have no idea what my problem is but I have just not felt up to posting about the "European" vacation. There is just SO MUCH to tell. Stories and anecdotes abound and the very thought of committing it all into blah blah is exhausting!!!
Here is a way to get the info out. In the comments ASK ME A PERTINENT QUESTION and I will try and answer it to the best of my ability.
I will say this: Spain kinda blew my mind. The landscape is so unfamiliar to me and so Un-Eastern Canada. Its very austere, trees do NOT abound, and 'holy olive trees!' The hills (mountains actually...the Andalusians) are so pointy and sharp...that was my adjective a lot'Its all!'. I am used to things being a little more rounded and vegetation covered rather than bare granite pointiness. Very cool and a wee bit scary/awe inspiring.
The trip consisted of stays in Gaucin and Granada with visits to Gibraltar, Paris, and Tangier, and other assorted Spanish towns like Tarifa, Ronda, Malaga, Estepona, Algatocin... The weather was not fabulous the whole trip. We had a fair share of rain and cloud but that was ok too.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Spain in snapshot form

The Macaque is actually not in Spain but on Gibraltar...just to be clear. :oD