Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Finally I have launched the Aquarius shawl.  This is the second of 12 lace shawls based on the signs of the Zodiac.  Sagittarius is being test knit, as is Pisces.  But Aquarius is finally up on the Queen Anne's Lace Knitting site, Ravelry and Patternfish. Here it is:

Aquarians are the future thinkers.  They are often referred to as the electricians of the Zodiac. They live somewhere out in the future and come back every once in a while to "check in." As a result Aquarians are often given to "non-sequitors" - statements that are perfectly clear to them; but seem "out of the blue" to us because we are not "there" yet.

The presence of the Internet with its electronic implications is a very good environment for an Aquarius. We are indeed living in the Age of Aquarius.  Trying to capture this personality in lace was a challenge.  I decided to use as the main stitch a pattern that resembled a circuit board and I finished the shawl with another stitch that suggested "streams" of energy emanating out into....wherever...

Aquarians seem to be "at peace with the world." Perhaps because our world is not theirs or they have seen it all and it all does work out in the end.  They make great company.  Take time to chat to one as she/he passes through  :)

Have an ethereal day!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Sheep Share....

...not a sheep shear.  Here is a picture taken by one of the people in my Photography network.  His name is Sideshow John and his facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/slideshow.john

I thought that it was just too perfect, so I asked him if I could post it on my blog and he said "of course."

Anyway, here it is for you to admire too.  I don't know the breed - maybe you do.  John lives in Manchester England and took the picture this morning, so I am guessing that it's a British breed.  They look like they would have lovely soft wool.

Spring is in the air.

Have a picture perfect day!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Blog Tag

It makes me think of a school yard game only with computers and written messages.  I have been tagged in a blog tag, by Norma of Misty haven Alpacas.  Thank you, Norma. Here are the rules:

1. Post these rules.
2. Answer the 11 questions from the person who tagged you.
3. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag.
4. Tag 11 people and link them to your post
5. Let them know that you tagged them.

It's all about 11s - isn't it!!!

Here are Norma's questions:

1. What is the best gift you have ever received?
 My family - my husband and my 3 children, who were all gifts - chosen children.

2. Who do you want to be like when you grow up?
This is a tough one - but maybe someone like Mother Teresa - trying to make the world a better place.

3. What is your favourite mode of transportation?
Shank's Mare - which just means walking - but I don't get to use the phrase often.

4. How many animals do you share your life with currently?
Three black cats.  I think that I have actually become a dog person as a result. Don't tell them that!

5. If you were given an extra hour today, when the rest of the world stopped, what would you do in that hour?
I would knit.  Sorry, when I have some time during the day.  I try to catch up on my work.

6.  Tell me something that someone said to you lately that made you feel good.
A shop owner said that she read my blog!

7. Does your living space reflect who you are?
I live right in the centre of a big city in a house with a garden. I am a city person.  I love the country; but I need the busyness of the city and I need a garden. - Yes!

8. When was the last time you laughed until your belly hurt?
Monday when I was attacked by a "killer blueberry"!

9. When was the last time you changed your hairstyle?
Last year and I didn't like it!

10. Tell us about your favourite teacher in school?
It was probably Mr. Beatty who taught me grade 13 Chemistry.  He could make the periodic table poetry.

11. How do you take your coffee?
with a little milk. I would take cream, buy for health reasons it's 2% milk.

Now to tag 11 people.

Sandi at http://www.sandists.com/WordPress/
Richelle Anderson at http://www.richelleanderson.com/photography/
Stone, the gardener at http://gardens-in-the-sand.blogspot.com/
Lynette Meek at http://letissierdesigns.wordpress.com/
Robyn Gallimore at http://redbirdknits.blogspot.com/
Robin Hunter at http://knittingrobin.blogspot.com/
Deb and Lyn Gemmel at http://cabinfeverknittingdesigns.blogspot.com/
Glenna at http://crazyknittinglady.wordpress.com/
Dan Saraga at http://www.haggisandherring.com/
Jackie at http://jackie-es.com/
Sue Darby at http://blog.sue-a-darby.com/

Now to have them answer these 11 questions:

1. What is the next "thing" on your bucket list"?
2. What is your favourite word? and why?
3. Who is your favourite historical figure? and why?
4. Where is your favourite place?
5. What is the bravest thing you have ever done in your life?
6. What will be the next "big thing" - printing press, computers....next?
7. If you could go to one city in the world for a day, where would you go?
8. What is your favourite saying?
9. Why do you blog?
10. What have you done on impulse that was amazing?
11. What question would you ask yourself?

Have an 11th hour day!!!

Attack of the Killer Blueberry.....

To-day is both Thinking Day and Ash Wednesday and yesterday was Pancake Tuesday. Add in Valentines Day, Groundhog Day and Imbolc or St Bridgette's day - Feb 1 and February becomes this very busy month - not bad for 28 or 29 days.

Well, we celebrated pancake Tuesday on Monday - they tasted the same - because it was Family Day in Canada and we were able to snag the kids around noon, for a family brunch, before they headed out.

I always like to think that I have invited my grandmother to pancake "events" because our pancakes are generally blueberry and my grandmother always made blueberry pancakes especially on Pancake Tuesday.

Anyway it was a civilized gathering until I happened to cut into one very large blueberry, which took its revenge by exploding all over me, the table, the wall behind me and a Monet print mounted on said wall - those water lillies will never be the same - fermented in blueberry juice!!

Everyone thought it was hilarious - second only to the time in NY when the waitress spilled beer on my head - what it takes to get a laugh - alas!!

Anyway, I hope that your celebrations were wonderful - now back to the knitting!!

Have an eventful day!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Splay of Tulips

I know it should be a display of tulips; but our Valentine's gifts to each other and to family have managed to totally relax once freed from their bondage of wrapping paper, cellophane, elastic bands and anything else the florist could find to contain them before we got them!!!

I love tulips.  The effectiveness of their simplicity is amazing - they are linear yet graceful with dazzling  colours and subtle fragrance. Although they originated in Turkey, tulips really don't like warm weather - one reason they become languid indoors. 

Not only is the flower of the tulip admired, the bulb is also prised. The rounded shape of the tulip bulb with its characteristic point inspired the domed arches and roofs of moorish architecture. In fact, this small bulb was so valued in the 1600s, that it created one of the most memorable stock market crashes in history.

Producing these bulbs is a major industry in The Netherlands. The irony here is that for strong bulbs you have to deflower the plant before it goes to seed. I have seen barges ladened with precious petals, plying the canals of the tulip fields in Holland - a bittersweet sight.

There is even a tulip stitch in knitting.  This isn't actually the one I was looking for.  There is a smaller stitch based on yarn loops. Sorry I couldn't find my swatch.  I'll work up another and post it later.  We'll have tulips in the garden in May and I have wild tulips that just come up every year in masses, as well.  I'll be sure to take some pictures.

Now out to see if the Snowdrops are up.  I saw some in a West facing garden at the end of the street, yesterday.  Fingers crossed for an early Spring!!

Have a blooming wonderful day!!!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Did you miss an opportunity like this......

Someone posted this to my Facebook wall and it spoke to me.  I am someone who believes in random encounters with the divine....

This is so awesome. Please take a moment to read:

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that 1,100 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by, and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace, and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping, and continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally, the mother pushed hard, and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?
By: Josh Nonnenmocher

Be aware that there is magic in this world. Watch for it. Create it, if you can. Spread it everywhere and never miss an opportunity of engaging in it. It's what's life's all about!!!

Have an amazing day.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The SOS of knitting...

Yes, we all know that knitting can be rescue therapy when things go wrong in this world; but this is about another approach to knitting. My friend sent me a link to a video of a woman who is trying to show the historical and cultural significance of the binary system.  Here it is


A binary situation is when you have 2 choices.  One example used in the video is Morse Code where you have a choice of either a short signal (dot) or a long signal (dash) and combinations of these create communication. Are you still with me?

Another example used is knitting where she suggests that you have 2 choices as well - one is the knit stitch and the other is the purl stitch and combinations of these create a pattern - in this case the SOS sweater.

I did not leave a comment to suggest that her theory falls apart when you start knitting lace because you have more than just 2 choices.

Anyway, it's an interesting concept.  It didn't make the binary concept applied to a computer any easier to understand - well maybe just a little and it raised the profile of knitting to the level of mathematics.  Hmmm, maybe that's why so many computer and math people knit.

Have a calculating day!!

12 ways to......

......... procrastinate.  I am in another blog challenge and it is to complete the line - 12 ways to......and I decided on "to procrastinate" because I am very good at that and I am surprised that they have only asked for 12 ways :)

1. Go for a coffee to think about what's to be done...
2. Knit another row - I always think better when relaxed....
3. Pick lint......
4. Check e-mail......
5. Make to do list......
6. Call a friend....someone who always says "take time to smell the roses".....
7. Have another coffee to make sure that there is nothing else more important to be done than the task at hand that needs to be done.
8. Make a mental list of all the small jobs that could be done easily, just to see whether they need doing before the "elephant." I know this is number 7 rephrased.
9. Tidy..I always work better when things are tidy...unless, of course that is what's to be done!!!
10. Go on line for suggestions of how to tackle the job or do it better, once you have started.
11. Have another coffee...
12. Stare into the distance for one last long moment hoping for the phone to ring, a text message, an angel, anything to give you an excuse not to begin.....

I'll let you know how it goes.  Please post any delay tactics that you have.  I need to add them to my arsenal!!

Have aproductive day!!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A winter's walk....

It snowed last night...one of those deep white snows that makes everything look like a fairyland, especially when the sun shines and it shone today!!!

We went for a walk just to be out in this wonderful landscape.  Well, we weren't the only ones.  Along the way, we passed some professional photographers. With cameras the size of Bazookas, lawn chairs and plastic tubs full of bird seeds, they were a winter safari.  Now I know how we get those gorgeous bird pictures on calenders.

I didn't actually see them taking pictures, but we came across scatterings of bird seed, so I presumed that the photographers sprinkled bird seed around, sat very still in their lawn chairs and waited for the birds to arrive.  With their amazing cameras they could get some lovely close ups.  I coveted their gear; but I wouldn't want to carry it around. They had tripods too!!

Well, I am quite content with these pictures taken with my Canon Rebel.  I did, however, have to zoom in and crop out the Robin or you would never have seen him.
The west Don River through Sunnybrook Park
More of the Don in winter

Robin in Winter
It was a pretty day, but still very cold. I love days like this, although I am not a great fan of winter.  In fact, I am working on a lace scarf as part of a series of seasonal scarves and I have started with Spring - go figure.  I am doing it in Lime green - will try to post some pictures soon.  Only four weeks until we turn the clocks!!

Have a timeless day!!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Snowy Evening KAL

Snowy Evening Shawl
Soon I am going to be starting my Snowy Evening Knit-a-long.  We will be knitting an oblong scarf based on the stitches in a triangular shawl that I designed several years ago.  I have varied the stitches a little but essentially you will be capturing a snowy evening like this in lace.

Snowy Evening Scarf

You will need about 630yds of lace weight yarn.  I will be using Fantastic Knitting Zephyr Lace weight in Ice Blue.  The scarf begins with a provisional cast-on.  I will post a video of this cast-on; but you may want to practice it first. It isn't difficult nor are the other stitches that you will be using. I hope to begin Feb 13 by posting the first chart and then a chart a week after that for 3 weeks.  The pattern will be FREE on the Queen Anne's Lace Knitting website after the KAL until the end of March.

Think of this as a nice way to spend some time in February as we wait for Spring!!

I will also be posting on Facebook and on Ravelry.  Feel free to post your progress, or ask questions. This KAL is open to everyone regardless of your level of experience in knitting.

I'd love you to join!!!

Have a cool evening.

Sunday, February 05, 2012


I know that I had promised pictures of Barcelona, well, I have finally worked through some small arc on my MAC learning curve and have been able to upload a slide show to Youtube of most of my pictures.  I'll do another post with Nicky's slide that has video in it as well!!!

Here is a 1.5min slideshow of my barcelona pictures.  I owe this trip to a lot of people - my husband, my brother-in-law, my kids who behaved themselves and my friend Meredith, also my travel agent, who got us a great price on plane tickets and gave us excellent advice!!


Hope you like them!!!

Have a great day!!!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Backyard Lace

The challenge in the Globe and Mail camera club this week is to take pictures in your backyard and post them.  The idea being, I guess, is that the really good photographer can take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. Here's the link to some pretty interesting pictures of really nothing special, except that the photographer has made them amazing.

Here is my attempt.  I have entitled this post "backyard lace" because I will try to take one or two of these patterns and turn them into lace or they may become the seed of an idea for a scarf or shawl then again  a whole collection could be incorporated into a "really grand theme". When I have a moment.  :)

This is Holly with "weeds".  I think that I should have moved the small branch that is there out of the picture.  For me, it detracts a little from the idea of holly after Christmas - the party is over - the steamers have fallen...etc.  I guess that this is part of the age old argument of art vs nature - how much do you alter a picture to make it look "nice."  Given that people spend hours with pictures in Photoshop changing the original so that it is barely recognizable, to move a small branch out of the frame is quite minor - but I often have to think, am I disturbing something that ought to be?

Well I didn't move it, so here it is.  And here is another.

This is a little eerie in the sense that it is an attempt to "frame" something that can't really be framed.  How do you take the boundlessness of nature and contain it within a canvas? If I were to do any "paintings,"  I would have a little something (or a lot) go beyond the frame - things that don't obey the rules or refused to be "caged."  I am always amazed that so many artists work within a "picture frame."  People often think of artists as unconventional and yet so many of them seem to be able to limit their ideas to a rectangle.  Time to move out of the box.

Here is another

A pod from my Rose of Sharon tree.  I like to think of them as "podcasts" - bursting open and throwing their seeds to the wind.  These are my winter flowers.

Have an amazing day!!!