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!!!


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 - know right? 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


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


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


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!!!