Saturday, December 31, 2011

I'm back!!!

I couldn't connect to the WIFI avalable in the flat that we rented for 10 days in Barcelona so I have a lot of catching up to do.  My two kids had no problem connecting with their Macs; but there was some sort of incompatibility with windows and a Dell program on my computer.  Believe me my next computer will be a Mac!!

Anyway, here is a picture I took specifically with knitting in mind.  These are little figures of sheep and lambs in a market stall in the old town of Barcelona.  Apparently people add to their nativity scenes every year and you could by small pots, bales of hay,  figurines like these and much more.  I knew that I wanted something on a knitting theme and what says knitting more than sheep.



Here's a nativity scene in a glass case on display in one of the old stone buildings.  There is, of course, the knitted nativity scene from Jean Greenhowe, which I have posted before.  Here is a nice photo of it again

Complete with sheep and donkey.  Now we just need "the camel."

Hope that you had a good Christmas - more pictures of Barcelona to come!!!

Carol

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Five and change...?

Every once in a while I respond to a blogging challenge.  Writing is a little more time consuming than photography - unless you count chasing cars with reindeer ears and red noses (on the grill) - the nose not the antlers - they are on the roof somewhere....I need a photo for the heading "silly" and I think that the ears & nose may be it!!

Anyway the next blogging challenge is to name 5 things that you would like to accomplish in 2012.  This is a pretty tall order but I know that:

1. I would like to have my Queen Anne's Lace Facebook page be a centre for posting lace designs of knitters experimenting with designing in lace

2. I would like to lose 10 pounds!!! Ha, Ha, Ha - who said that????   :)

3. I would like to get my system organized to order books to be downloaded from the library and listen to them.

4. I would like to find software that I can use to easily edit videos that I plan to make on knitting lace and skating.  I have this vision of myself skating on one of the natural ponds at the brickworks and filming it.....well everyone has to be a little crazy sometime - right...you know right?...is anyone listening...?

5. Well since everyone has left. I am free to say....I have submitted my teaching itinerary to a number of venues and I hope to be selected as a teacher for a few of them....

I'll keep you posted

HB MPM

I said in an earlier post that I knew some interesting people, well Mary Pat is right up there on the list of "Interesting People I Have Known."  MP is a knitter with a very eclectic sense of style. For example, I have never known her to wear a "pair" of earrings. She always wears earrings, but they never match, though they are often related to each other.  In this photo you can see that her earrings are knitted - one is a leaf and the other is a bell.


The colour of her hair changes with her outfit...or mood; however, her mood rarely changes.  She is always happy, in fact, she has been "accused" of being too happy, if there is such a thing.  MP is a people person.  She once came with me to TNNA - the industry's trade show.  I swear that she knew more people there than I did and I had been in the business, at that time for more than 10 years.

Boundless energy, generous to a fault, infectious laugh, stashaholic, prolific knitter, inventor of style - the list goes on....So if you are ever in need of an entertaining knitting teacher; be sure to keep MP in mind.  She's a treasure!!

Have a very happy day!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Rat-tat-tat......

A very big "RAT-TAT-TAT...." because this is what I posted for big in the photo scavenger hunt.


It's one of two woodpeckers on a metal "tree trunk" - a sculpture near the CNtower and the Skydome in Toronto. We were down there buying a "Blue Jay's" (baseball) related gift for our daughter and I just couldn't resist them. Here is the other one.


The birds probably should have been Blue Jays; but they were part of another building unrelated to the stadium. Anyway, my husband thought that they were Blue Jays - colour blindness has it's benefits.  I'm so glad that he didn't think that they were real.  I still remember the Alfred Hitchcock movie "The Birds" - very scary!!!

And, yes, the picture is related to knitting because the "tree trunk" looks a lot like the bark of the copper beech tree below.

It's very smooth with "holes" in it and I am working on Copper Beech scarf - a lace design taken from its bark.


I'm about halfway through the scarf and I've decided that I do like the "holes." The border is just a suggestion of leaves; but it softens the large eyelets. I am also swatching for Birch Bark Scarf.  This bark has been a particularly difficult design to capture in lace - it makes taking pictures seem like a "snap."

I'll keep you posted.

Have a awesome day.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Family time

This is what I posted for "family" in the photo scavenger hunt.  They are in the little Estonian deli near where I work. We haven't had a substantial snowfall yet so no "real" snowmen. But these are pretty cute.

It always amazes me how different cultures interpret similar things. These are presumably a northern European interpretation of snowmen - tall and slender.  Quite unlike Frosty who is round and fat. The European Father Christmas is also rather tall and gaunt, unlike our Santa Claus - who was really first presented as a "jolly elf" in a Coca Cola advertisement in the 1930's.

Here are some gingerbread houses also in the deli.


This is almost a family of gingerbread houses.  I have never made a gingerbread house from scratch. I have trouble icing the gingerbread cookies that I do make a Chrismas.  Gingerbread has to be the ultimate comfort food.

I did however design and knit a gingerbread house, which I never tire of posting whenver I can :) Here it is again this year!!!


I often thought that I would like to knit a whole Dickensian village for under the tree and yes, I have to do a creche, a la Jean Greenhowe.  I  do have some knitted ornaments.  These make great gifts.  Maybe in a later post, when I open the box of ornaments, I'll take some pictures.

Have fun whatever combination your family may be and create some magic!!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Let there be lights

This is what I posted for Lights in the photo challenge.  It's the cedar tree in front of our house, that we decorate every year with blue lights.  Actually, the tree is one of those "things" that just happened.  We once had a spreading cedar bush there and had to move it - taking up too much space - didn't fit in - whatever, it got moved.  Over time when I weeded, I noticed a small seedling that had leaves like the cedar tree.  I really didn't have the heart to pull it out, because it technically wasn't a weed and so it grew.  Year after year something stopped me from pulling it out.


Finally one year we said Whoa!!! what happened - this thing is huge.  We have a mutual drive - a shared driveway with neighbours - anyway several families came and went next door and no one minded this cedar tree now taking up a fair share of the driveway. Our current neighbours actually just put in a parking pad.  This tree has Karma.  It's a survivor.  I'll keep you posted.

Now, every year my husband and I string lights on the tree.  We are still married.  He always remarks to passersby, that the test of a good marriage is being able to put up holiday decorations without arguing.  Well, he doesn't have to put up the top lights.  I'm the one that climbs on the highest rung of the ladder and with the aid of a garden hoe affixes  the end of the first string of lights to the highest branch that I can reach.

Whoever said that religious persecution doesn't exist in North America, has never strung Christmas lights.

I can't think of the knitting equivalent; but I do know of someone who actually knit a string of lights.  I said that the trick was now to "turn them on." I know a lot of strange people. Enough said.

Have a de LIGHT ful day!!!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

A Rose by any other name......

....would still bloom in December....maybe.  These were still blooming outside the Second Cup on Mt. Pleasant today - Dec 7, 2011. I am in awe, obviously, that we still have these precious flowers when we really should be burying their shrubs under a foot or two of snow.


Maybe I should change my name to Rose. I post about them so often. Actually changing my name reminds me of a story.  Years ago I had a small flower shop in the village of Erin and I called it "Rose of Erin Flower Shop." I was still teaching at the time so my sister ran it for me.  I decided on the name for the shop because the rose is the literary symbol of Ireland and I was an English teacher in love with W.B. Yeats so why not!

Anyway as time passed I noticed that people in town who didn't really know me, often called me Rose.  Then I realized that they presumed that Rose was my name and that because I lived in Erin - "Rose of Erin" was a perfect name for the business - again so much is lost in translation.

Be very careful what you call your business.  You may have one idea and others may have another. It becomes particularly difficult when you buy a business with someone else's name on it. A friend of mine, named Louise, bought a yarn shop called Rena's Yarns.  I'm sure some people to this day still call her Rena, even though the shop closed years ago.

The funniest name that I can remember, is an Italian - Canadian plumbing business, that decided to call itself Canaroma.  This also lost a lot in translation.  Here's my other picture of a rose from the Second Cup.
Christmas Roses - almost

Have a blooming wonderful day!!!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Gilding the Holly

This is the time of year when we try to make everything "shine." We put frosting on ornaments and lights in trees. We put up beautiful glass decorations to enhance and reflect light.  Perhaps it's because the days are short, that we need to get as much light as we can, from wherever we can. I don't think that it was by accident - just random dates, for example, that many of our major celebrations are in winter.  We need JOY! We need MAGIC! When it's dark and cold and the going is difficult, we need a boost!!

Holly  always gives me a boost. Today the holly in the garden looked particularly festive with a little frosting of snow crystals on it.  I have written about the magical nature of Holly before.  It predates Christianity and was/is sacred to the Druids.  It houses the fairies and blesses the house.

In last year's post (linked to above) I talk about my Winter Lace scarves and how I attempted to translate several aspects of this festive season into knitted lace.  This year I am working on themes from nature as well - just not specifically related to the holidays. Here is Sycamore scarf from the bark of the Sycamore tree.

Sycamores have their own spirituality. They are mentioned very briefly in the bible; but they are mentioned extensively in the Egyptian "Book of the Dead." In this book Sycamores are portrayed as the tree of heaven and the tree of earth, possibly representations of the Egyptian goddesses Nut, Isis, and Hathor. Sycamore trees were often planted near tombs, and coffins made of its wood were said to return the dead "to the womb of the mother tree goddess."

I think in one of my other lives I must have been a Pantheist - one who believes that God is in everything - particularly natural "things."  I just find nature such a powerful force. Oh yes, and winter does make it sparkle!

Gild and enjoy!!

Monday, December 05, 2011

The last roses of summer....

Well here they are.  I picked them about 5:30pm on Dec 2, 2011. This is absolutely that latest that I have had roses blooming in the garden.  Our last date prior to this one was Nov 27 a few years ago.  I am also in another photo challenge - hope you can stand it.  I posted these for "warm" because it has been warm enough for the roses to bloom this late and we won't see (feel) much warmth in the garden until March, if we're lucky.  Also the rule for picking buds is that they must open in the house (warmth) after picking.  The small one looks a little iffy - but the others look fine.


OK the white one is from the Peace plant which the cats have been trying to destroy; but since I have already taken her  picture and a new bud is about to bloom - the cats have been forgiven - for the moment!

On the knitting scene, I finished sycamore scarf and will block it on Monday.  Also while I was hunting for some knitted jewellery that I included in an earlier post,  I found tucked in bags, along with unfinished knitting projects, several pieces of clothing that I had been looking for - glad I didn't suggest to my daughter that she had taken them by mistake to university - then again what 20 year old would be caught dead in any article of clothing from her mother :)  She doesn't even wear what I knit her :(

Now if I could only get the cats to like the idea of wearing a sweater or two, I could get even with them for bothering the plants!!

Have a wonderful day!


Saturday, December 03, 2011

Holy Hollyhocks, Batman......

I hope that you can stand another scavenger hunt, because I'm in one again for December. This what I posted for "green."

It is very "ungreen" though, in an ecological sense, because it was taken on December 1, 2011 about 6 blocks south of the 44th parallel of latitude North. These are Hollyhocks blooming in December - the English Garden lives for the moment anyway up here in Toronto in almost Winter - it snowed yesterday!!

I don't have the knitting equivalent; but Hollyhocks would make a lovely motif for a shawl - I'll put that one on the back burner!!!

Have a truly unreal day!!!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Food....

The last photo in November's photo scavenger hunt was 'food".  This is what I posted. The shape and the lovely colours of this fruit made me think of balls of yarn in a yarn shop.

It also reminded me of some jewellery that I had knit on a fruit theme. I knit these with 1.5mm needles in #5 DMC thread onto which I had threaded tiny #10 beads. I used a bit of stuffing to fill them out.

I actually had to scan in an old picture that I had taken ages ago.  I still have the jewellery, but I couldn't find anything "nice" to put them in for the picture.


Here they are.  There are red and green apples, green and yellow pears, red cherries and some red strawberries.

Have a refreshing day!!

Last of the photos

For those of you who were following the photo scavenger hunt that I was in, in November, here are the last three pictures that I posted. First for "smile"


It's a large Gingerbread cookie that was in a shop window.  The bakery is called "The Flakey Tart" on Mt. Pleasant and I thought that it's smile was amazing.  Unfortunately I have lost the pattern I created for a child's sweater in Fair Isle with motifs from the story of the Gingerbread Man. I guess some things just had to go.

This is for "baby"

I was hoping to get a picture of a smart car with reindeer antlers on it - but it sped by so quickly I couldn't.  I also missed one today that was painted like a Holstein cow - all black and white. Oh well, I guess I'll have to make do with the one that says "Exercise." Maybe the world is trying to tell me something.

Here is a design in knitting that was made to look like a cow: It's the mitten on the left ;) 


I will post the last picture which is for food once I retake some pictures of knitting that I did on the theme of food.

Have a great day!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Paper teacups

I know that everyone thought that I was a little "nuts," when I started making kits for knitted teacups. No one every thought Debbie New was a little strange and she started the craze!


Well some one has created a stunning paper teacup.  I know we drink hot (and cold) beverages from paper cups; but nothing like these -


This is part of some mysterious paper sculptures that are appearing in libraries around Edinburgh. The pictures on the site are fabulous, even though the site seems to be "closed"  Here are some more.


This has to be the ultimate in tea leaf reading.

Finally gloves.  I guess you could use them to read the paper ;)


This actually reminds me of a story about Janet Morton a Toronto based knitting artist.  She was "discovered" by the Museum for Textiles knitting the headlines of the morning paper while having a hot beverage in a coffee shop. I wonder if it was tea or coffee.  Papers rarely include the really important stuff!!

Have a headliner of a day!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

That still small voice......

I was asked to write about "what is in the back of my mind "- a motherlode.  This is where I store and ferment my ideas for business, knitting and life!  At any given time there is a seed, a seedling, an adolescent plant and one that is about to bloom and produce seeds again - the eternal cycle.

The one that is about to bloom and produce seeds again is my idea to knit the signs of the Zodiac in lace.  I have knit 10 of the 12 signs.  I have written up 5.  Three of these have been test knit and one has been published - Scorpio.  Aquarius, and Sagittarius are next as soon we work out a few bugs.

The adolescent plant is the one that I am working on for lessons based on the Forest scarf series - these are a little like seedlings from the Forest scarf patterns.  I posted one yesterday based on the bark of the Sycamore tree. There will be more.

There are other seedlings, too, that have sprouted from my photography challenges.  I posted Bittersweet berries for "red".  These were berries on a diamond patterned chain link fence. I also passed a bush - probably Burning Bush with sprays of red berries.  I just need to find another shape based on the idea of red berries and I will have another unit to develop.

Finally I have the seeds of a new idea for creating lace patterns. These seeds are based on the symbolism in the ancient art of Tasseography - simply put - reading tea leaves.  I am fascinated with the inspiration that comes to us from other worlds.  Some of the doors to the other worlds are very obvious and just being there and hanging around them often conjures amazing things.

Such as going to the sacred wells in Ireland or being aware of the changing of the seasons at the solstice and equinox or special days, such as, the full moon, new moon - the cusps for the changing of the Zodiac signs.  There is a lot of creative energy in the world and tapping into it, in as many ways as you can, adds to your own store of energy.

I try to take what I can in the 'raw" from nature; but I also take energy from what other people have created.  I especially love poetry. Poems are packed with so much imagery and energy that they can be read again and again and again. I think this is what the ancients had in mind when they created the sacred texts for our various spiritual communities - they created poetry to sustain us, give us energy to create, and in the end grant us peace.

As long as I can hear that still small voice directing me to the energy hotspots, I will be tapping into that motherlode that is in the back of my mind.

Have an amazing day!!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

A day in the life of a design....

I have another blog challenge which is to describe your day or your year....given that for the most part the minutiae of my day is pretty boring...extend that to a year and you get 365 days of the same.
I think that I would like to tweak it a little and talk about the development of a design in lace. I have a series of 10 lace scarf patterns in the Forest Scarves Series which were all inspired by aspects of the forest - trees, leaves, flowers, ferns, ponds, streams etc.  I have created from this grouping a power point presentation on the design process which I am now expanding into a group of lessons.

The original idea for the presentation came about because when I was discussing Tree Scarf,  I described how I saw the bark of a Maple Tree and wondered how I could translate that into lace. To properly illustrate the idea, I needed pictures. Of course, I didn't just stop at Maple trees; but took pictures to illustrate the inspiration  for all 10 scarves!!

In collecting these pictures I subsequently saw lots of different types of bark, not to mention mosses and ground covers, evergreens etc. I decided to limit my lessons for the moment to "bark" - this could grow.

I have started by working up lace swatches with stitches that I think would lend themselves nicely to several of these bark patterns. The first one that has really taken hold is a design from the bark of the Sycamore tree. Here is a picture of the bark.


And here is the scarf in progress using one stitch that I saw in a stitch dictionary.  However the instructions for knitting the stitch were wrong; so I had to re-work the lace to get something that looked like the picture in the book.  It isn't all about finding an interesting stitch.  A lot of design is also making that stitch or a variation of it work with other stitches and with the basic construction of the scarf.


I decided to do a cast-on; knit to the centre construction, starting with a ruffle and decreasing for the main part of the scarf.  I used the same stitch in both the ruffle and the main part of the scarf, partly because I really liked the stitch and partly because I didn't want to take away from the bark's pattern which is very complex.  I just wanted to enjoy the intricacies of the one stitch/bark design.

I just have to finish the scarf - I'm on the second half already and I'll join the two sides with a three-needle bind off and Voila - I am onto the next pattern.  The second bark pattern I have chosen is that of the Copper Beech tree. It has a story too - next time.

BTW - this design process took more than just a day - usually a week to 10 days and then you have to knit the scarf!!!


Have a very productive day!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Abandoned.....

This is another heading in the scavenger hunt, I am in.  I spent a lot of time thinking and looking for something that would fall under the heading - abandoned.  I walk to the cemetery a lot and there are a lot of seemingly abandoned graves there - this is very sad.


However, I walk past a grave, very often, that is very old; but one would never really call this site, forgotten.  It is the family plot of the "King" dynasty, as in William Lyon Mackenzie King who was the Prime Minister of Canada a few times. Buried here are his father, mother (to whom he was very attached) probably his grandparents and a legacy of aunts, uncles, cousins etc...oh yes, and William himself.

It is actually a very active site. Today there were fresh flowers in a basket near the plaque and for some reason someone or several people had placed pennies on the top of the stone tomb.  Please post if you can explain this phenomenon. I don't think that I actually heard "Will" say, "Spare some change?" But then there are rumours (and I have seen her) of a woman in a flowery hat who frequents the grave often and talks a length to the spirits there.

This doesn't have a lot to do with knitting - but an old poem suggested that Mackenzie King sat in the living room and played with string...I'll take that as a link to knitting.....

I just have 3 more pictures to find in the scavenger hunt - smile, baby and food I am hoping that these will be easier than abandoned.

Have a awesome day!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

In the shadow of the solstice....

I have a love-hate relationship with the winter.  For example, there is a lot that I can find to like about winter - white fluffy snow, warm fireplaces, hot beverages, flavourful soups and stews, cozy clothes, skiing, skating etc.  What I really dislike about winter are the short days.  This is what I mean.


Here it is not even three o'clock in the afternoon on a sunny day and the shadows are very long.  I am not six feet tall.  I have always wanted to be taller than my 5 feet and a wish in height, so you can gather just how far along the day is.

Just as an aside, apparently taking pictures of one's shadow is something photographers do a lot. One of the sites that accepts pictures for sale had some guide lines and the first one was - do not post pictures of your shadow. I didn't think that photographers were particularly narcissistic; but I guess since they are always behind the camera, they have found a way of taking their picture - sort of.

Anyway I have posted this picture as "dislike" in the scavenger hunt, because I really dislike the short days of winter - the solstice is coming, though and things will get better!!!

Winter, on the other hand, is a great time for knitting - the love side of the hate.  I have had plenty of time to  work on samples for my new teaching venue - almost half way through Sycamore Scarf, based of the bark of the Sycamore tree. Winter is also a better time to look at patterning in nature too.  You can see the branches of the trees. Bark stands out quite dramatically against the white of the snow.  Interesting shapes appear in the spare landscape - but you do have to squeeze all these "things" into very short days.

Have a good one!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Stranger.....


This is for the heading "Stranger" in the photo challenge.  I believe that he is a Maine Coon cat that's a little feral. There was one in the area a few years ago, who just seemed to disappear - maybe he's come back.  Anyway he was at the back door this morning so I was able to get a picture.  I had to crop the photo a lot because I had left a bright blue bucket on the deck, which was taking up over half of the picture.

My son decided to feed him as well, so we may have him here for a while.  Apparently there are signs posted in the area about a lost cat - so his mission today is to go back and take a look at the signs and see if this is the lost cat.

Anyway, it's not about knitting or business; but I am annoyed with myself for leaving the bucket on the deck because I could have gotten a better picture....hmmm it's difficult to say whether something like this could change the habits of a lifetime - now that would really be strange!!!

I'll keep you posted.  Have a great day!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Love.....

Another heading in the photography scavenger hunt that I'm in is Love.  I'm getting down to the end. There were 18 headings and after Love I have just 6 more. Of course they are 6 of the harder ones, because I did the easier ones first - go figure!


This is a snowman ornament that my eldest made for me last Christmas in the style of Tim Burton. I just love gifts made by hand.  I think that there is so much love that goes into the crafting of these projects.

Knitters have known this for years. Think of the love that goes into a baby blanket knit for a new baby or the love that goes into so many winter hats, mitts and sweaters knit for children and grandchildren.  My friend Julia has knit this snowman hat for several grandchildren - who return the love by wearing the hat.


Love. Knit. and OK Eat!!!!  Have a wonderful day!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Communication......

Another heading in the photo scavenger hunt that I'm in is communication.  This is what I posted for that heading.

Yes, they are tap shoes - not that well used, but a little over exposed, oh well!!  I choose dance shoes for the heading communication because dance is an amazing form of communication - from classical ballet to hip hop and from dance for presentation to two people dancing just for fun - people are using their bodies to communicate.

Well, these shoes have been calling to me ever since we cleaned out my son's room. Since my youngest was not going away to university, we decided that we could "freshen" up his room.  But, first we had to clean it out. He wasn't as bad as the other two.  The thirty-year-old still has his stuffed animals - that's another story. No my youngest managed to clean out all the "baby" things at 5 - lego etc went around 10 and anything from high school got chucked this September.

Hiding on a shelf at the back of the closet were his dance shoes. Sometime around the ages of 11 - 13 Nicholas took dance lessons.  He loves dance. He even has a few dance videos up on Youtube which usually get around 1,000 hits - I'm not sure of the time frame - but I guess that it's decent because he updates the dances regularly. Here's the link.

These dances, apparently, don't need special shoes, so the tap shoes and the ballet slippers went out of the room onto the landing. I tried on the ballet slippers and they fit, so I claimed them.  Now, for some reason, I just couldn't throw out the tap shoes.  I didn't try them on, becuase if they had fit, I would have had to think of taking tap lessons......and well that would be almost akin to starting anew life!!

Still, when you leave something in a corner of the house and pass by it ever once in a while, it seems to communicate with you - you know little things like, "Hi, I'm still here; could use a little dusting off.." cheeky things like that.....

Well maybe the time has come to try on the tap shoes, now that I have dusted them off for the photo.  I'll keep you posted. Here are the ballet slippers and I haven't actually used them yet either.



OK this post isn't about knitting or the business of knitting but it is about communicatiing through movement. When you walk, stand, sit down, get up, etc... you are communcatiing.  Take  minute from time to time and think of what you are saying.

Have an awesome day!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Peace by any other name.....

Peace is one of the headings in the photo challenge that I am in and I had decided to take the easy way out and photograph a house plant - how difficult could that be.  Let me tell you..... First the plant was a Peace Lily or Peace Plant - right on topic.  Well it wasn't completely in bloom so I had to wait a few days.  Then it decided to be awkward and lean at an angle - kids do that - but plants!!!!

Finally I decided that it was open enough to shoot - with a camera - that is.  Well because of the angle I had to get fairly close to the ground and twist my wretched body into a pretzle shape too look through the view finder. Even then it was so dark and shadowy on the cramped landing that I couldn't actually see the f-stop numbers - how these paparazzi just reel them off?  I don't know!!

The pictures I took were OK - but not great and I had spent an hour before work setting this up....Oh yes, then I had to go to work. I decided to try again the next day.  This time I moved the plant to the living room and tried to zoom in on its peaceful message.  It's a little better - but still doesn't impart that feeling of PEACE that I was after.


Now I did learn how to turn my flash on manually and how to soften the flash with a tissue over it and how sometimes the perfect subject - well just isn't.....  and how something that I thought was going to be soooo easy just wasn't.

Nor could I find a nice piece of folklore about the Peace Plant...you know something about mother's milk dropping from the heavens and creating the plant - no - dutiful searches on the internet revealed that this house plant was good for cleaning the air of impurities; but that it was poisonous for children or animals - a bit too late to tell the cats, who munch on the leaves all the time.

So here she is looking sooo innocent - don't be fooled...a lily she maybe - peaceful she isn't  :)

Far be it for me to say. If at first you don't succeed - give up...maybe not just yet  :)

Have a peaceful - hopefully - day

Monday, November 14, 2011

The angst of November.......


This photo is for the heading "November" in the photo scavenger hunt that I am in.  There is something almost painful about November.  I see it in the trees and the sky.  The trees are spare and the sky broods. The melancholy is visceral.

How do you capture this feeling in art? Ansel Adams has done it in photography. Again, I wonder if I can do it in lace. But who would wear a grey scarf?  and when and where would you wear it?  If life is a celebration, why would you choose grey?

Yesterday, we were at the Brickworks and there were 2 wedding parties there.  In one the bridesmaids wore deep plum dresses with lime green shawls. In the second wedding party the bridesmaids wore grey. Both are interesting "takes" on the colours for November.

Somehow  we relate to this sombre mood.  Most of the great novels, plays and movies seem to be about tragedy.  I am feeling a need to re-read "Wuthering Heights."

I guess I just have to bake a chocolate cake.  Now chocolate is brown - another sombre colour - but I don't hear anyone complaining. That's it - chocolate cake with chocolate icing, decorated with "Smarties" - bring on November!!

Have a richly coloured day!!

If I could.....

This is in answer to a little blog challenge that Cricket Walker has posted in my Facebook blogging group.  You are to complete the statement. "If I could.....

If I could take some time off or divide myself in two and have one of me at Infiknit, I would take the other "me" on a series of walks or bikes around the world.  I have this "yen" to walk from inn to inn, though I know that it would take a good deal of organizing and I'm not sure there would be an inn right there at the end of say a few hours of walking, so maybe it's just a dream.

I'm a person, who likes to connect all the dots and so flying from one hot spot to another leaves me with all these gaps....what went on in between?

Camino de Santiago is calling as are less challenging hikes.  I'd start with the less challenging ones.  In reality, I know that if it were pouring rain, I'd say "What am I doing here?" or if I were full of aches and pains from the walking, I would question my sanity. But there is a little voice inside that keeps saying.

Do it!!  I'll keep you posted and you are welcome to complete the above statement and post it here, if you like.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bittersweet.....

I think that these maybe Bittersweet berries, I'm not sure.  Even if they aren't, they are like bittersweet, in the sense that they are brightly coloured red berries that remain on the vine all through winter - a little like the small things that brighten a day when the hours are long and dark and cold and we really have to work at keeping the spirits up!!


Then maybe someone says "Hello" or there's a cheery phone call, an interesting article in the newspaper, a good chapter in a book or a job that you've been meaning to do finally gets done!! These are the "berries."

Actually, I've been meaning to do something in lace that suggests a twining.  There are lots of diamond patterns out there.  I wonder if I could incorporate knitted bobbles or beads into one of them and work out a pattern for a scarf that had these little red "pick me ups" in it?

Here is another photo from my walk yesterday.


I don't have a really strong zoom on my camera; but I was about 10 feet away from this Downy Woodpecker.  After I took his picture, I tried to get closer; but he deftly moved around the trunk so I couldn't see him - tricky!  Actually the sound of a woodpecker on a grey winter's day is a great "pick me up"

Have a berry nice day!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Juice....?

This picture is for the heading "liquid" in the photo scavenger hunt challenge that I'm in on Facebook.


It is actually a close up of a bronze statue in a little parkette near where I work. The statue is called "harvester." I guess it is left to our imagination to decide whether it's just water that the labourer is harvesting from the jug or whether it's "the juice of the barley." Anyway, I think that the picture suggests that moment between thirst and when thirst is quenched and maybe his/our thirst never will be quenched. Will we ever really be "there"?

The parkette is actually dedicated to two sculptors who lived nearby - here is their story with more pictures of the bronzes in the park.

A few years ago, I used another statue in the park as a model for my Queen of the Earth shawl.  Here is the statue entitled "Young Girl."


and here she is wearing "Queen of the Earth" shawl.


This picture was actually taken by my good friend Louise Whyte. I love it.  I had to go back to the park today to retake the photo of the second statue.  The first time, my batteries ran out - go figure.

I guess that the business lesson here would be.  Always keep your batteries charged and do the things that charge your batteries.  It's all about the "juice."

Have a great 11.11.11.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Wood n't you know it.....

This is the picture that I posted for the scavenger hunt title "wood."  It's a group of tree trunks that I pass on one of the ravine walks we take.


I like the picture because I think that you can see the shapes of various animals in the logs.  At first I thought that it was just the shape of a dog, that I saw; but after I posted the picture other people saw things like a snake, a turtle, or an anteater. Then I went back and saw horses, possibily eating.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun to look at this "random" grouping of fallen logs and see so many different things.

The business lesson here would be to look beyond just the product or the service to find as many layers or interpretations as you can and play these up.

Yarn, for example, could be trimming for a Christmas Tree, ribbon or gift wrap. Cover shapes in yarn and create decorations for anytime of year. Cover chairs or lamps etc in yarn for home decor. Wrap a picture frame in yarn for art.

These are just a few ways of looking at yarn differently.  Please add your ideas.  I 'd love to see them.

Have a great day!!

Carol

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Karma and Eleven-ses

Elevenses is a fine British tradition - a bit like High Tea only earlier.  It's a little break in the workday about 11 o'clock, when you sit down and have a cuppa.  It may be tea or coffee or something to act as a pick-me-up.

Well, I didn't really mean this type of "elevens" when I was asking you to post occurrences of 11 in your day to day toing & froing, especially this week of 11.11.11.  Here is a picture of an 11, actually 3 elevens that happened on Sunday when I was out for a walk.



It's a bike rack and doesn't it have Friday's date written all over it!!!  I am taking this as a good sign...actually a great sign. I'm on the hunt for more.  Love to hear of yours - have a great day - straight up!!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Aspects are Good!!!!

So far the aspects are good for the week of 11.11.11.  In fact I was just out walking on a beautiful sunny Sunday when I saw...God.  Well I saw his car, at least - look I have proof!



I didn't go up and knock on the door.  I just felt that I wasn't really ready to meet him - not yet anyway...you know not dressed for the occasion.  Anyway he was prbably in visiting someone who needed him more than I needed to meet him.

Funny, though, I never really thought of God as driving a car.  I guess I thought that maybe he just teleported himself places - Star Trek style. But perhaps he is really quite approachable...a little like one of us, only a whole lot better.......

Anyway, I took this as a good sign for an auspicious week - just don't let the Ford Motor Company know that God drives a Chevrolet.....this could have major implications.....be sure to post your "finds" for this week and/or your 11's sightings.

Have a awesome day!!

11.11.11.....

So what are you doing for Friday 11.11.11?  Right now I don't have any plans...but you know how fate has a way of creeping into your "best laid schemes" and turning them on their respective "ends."

Actually now that I think about it I was probably planning to take a little longer lunch and go out and shoot some pictures, after all it is a Friday.

Of course there is a whole cult of people making predictions about 11.11.11.  You are more than welcome to post here or on my facebook page anything unusual that happens from now until 11.11.11.  You may want to start with your original plans and then just note how they have changed....if they do change, that is.

So far the only unusual "thing" that has happened is that my hits to this blog spiked at about midnight last night.  This seems to happen when I innocently mention a weapon in my post.  Last night's post mentioned an "I-gun" - just something I made up.  Another time my readership spiked is when I mentioned a "yarn bombing."

I'll keep you posted - keep me posted too.  Some people say that they often see the number 11 appearing for no reason here or there in their daily environment.  So far my only exposure to the number 11 has been a pair of knitting needles as I knit my swatches.....hoping for some "out of this world" inspiration.

Have a great 11.6.11

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Cultures "happen".....

There we were having a quiet Saturday night dinner, when all of a sudden there were "fireworks" - you know the ceremonial kind.  The ones that you do on Canada day - 24th of May and July 4th.

Well, OK we knew it was Guy Fawkes - Nov 5; but did the rest of the world - sorry our street and anyone else in earshot!!!!

At first I thought, OK this is a once off thing...then there were more, and more, and more.....well by the time I   a) found my tripod, b) found my camera, c) affixed said camera to said tripod, the "said" fireworks were over.  There is something to be "said" - no pun intended about I phone cameras - they are there at the ready.

Can you imagine a classic Western movie, with gunslingers that had to set up the artillery, get into position and - ready, aim, fire, - no the west was won by an I-gun - always ready - always charged.

And I hate to admit the classic dialogue  - "you ready?" - "yeh, I'm ready. You ready?"..... I'm not sure anyone ever pulls out the gun - I slept through "High Noon" must see it again.

Well, Guy Fawkes isn't about how the west was won - but it may be about Thanksgiving.  I have written about this before- Terrorism and the British Tradition.

OK it's not about knitting - but it is about how cultures spread and why we in North America knit because we came from someplace else - that knit, or spun, or wove.

I love the fireworks for Guy Fawkes.  I would love to do it next year.  Maybe I'm just a sucker for celebration - now If I could only convince my daughter to celebrate St Catherine's Day - Nov 25 and my husband to celebrate Robbie Burns day Jan 25 and we do celebrate Dec 25.  I must see what is happening Feb 25 - this could become a tradition.

Have a happy Guy Fawkes night!!

Friday, November 04, 2011

When everything old is new again.....

This picture is for the heading "old" in my photo scavenger hunt challenge.  It's my mother's doll.


My mother died dancing, celebrating my father's 90th birthday. She was wearing her sparkly dress, her silver dancing shoes and she looked like a "million bucks." After the Anniversary Waltz and a fast jive number, she was just two steps into the Tango, when she went down on the floor. She died, as she had lived - for the moment, following her heart, and dancing.

My mother didn't leave behind many tangible assets; but she did leave a legacy of beliefs - believe in yourself, believe that things will work out, believe that you will survive no matter what life throws at you. I have these beliefs and her doll, which really needs some attention.  My plan is to take her to a doll hospital and get her "fixed up."


I want her to look as elegant as these stunning beauties.


The pictures are from our collection of Jacquie Yaxley knitting patterns - now at a special price on our website - www.infiknit.com.

Memories are very precious things -  they improve with age. Needlework is a way of preserving these memories and possibly part of that improvement process. I think that I will knit something beautiful for "Greta," after her transformation.

Have a great day!