Thursday, May 31, 2012

Charlevoix, a little bit of heaven that can be found.....

.......along the North coast of the St Lawrence River just a little East of Quebec city.  We were coming back from Halifax after my daughter's graduation from Dalhousie when we decided to stay in Riviere du Loup. This is where the ferry leaves to cross the St. Lawrence into the Charlevoix region of Quebec. Charlevoix is an area that is written up on "The 1001 Places To Go Before You Die." Revered for the quality of its light, it is home to a large artistic community. I think it must also be a mecca for photographers. Here is a picture I took from across the river.

I have decided that I have to go back and spend some time there. Who could not be inspired by the light, the community of artists and some very special vibes that could only be called "heavenly."

More when I get back tomorrow.

Have an awesome day.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Love - Hate Relationship.....

I have a love-hate relationship with Lily of the Valley.  I know those seemingly innocuous flowers that have delicate sprays of tiny bells - and I am surprised that someone has not written a fairy tale about how those "bells" came to be - how could anyone not just love, love, love them?   Well I love the flowers and maybe even the green leaves for the first few weeks in May and then I realize that they are about to take over and destroy every other plant within in "ringing" distance.

Lily of the Valley

Loathed in the garden, perhaps - but loved in lace. Some of the most exquisite lace is based on the Lily of the Valley stitch. I have the book Knitted Lace of Estonian and let me tell you, if I could find a way to create a nupp that doesn't require micro-surgery on the return row, I would knit Lily of the Valley forever. Many designers have obviously mastered the art of the nupp and have gone on to create timeless pieces.

I am still back at the "starting post" or "casting on post" - but I am working on it!!  So although Lily of the Valley may be an invasive garden species - it hasn't as yet invaded my lace designs - but for a nupp the shawl was lost - or something like that.

Actually I did try some Lily of the Valley in DK.  I didn't do the nupp - just a bobble and designed this.

Here's a close up of the stitch.
Actually it looks a lot better in lace; but I knit the sweater about 15 years ago - way before I ever dreamed that I could knit lace.

Anyway, back to the garden variety of Lily of the Valley - my neighbour calls them - divorce material - it seems that L of V is the only plant that her husband can grow and she is "forbidden" to dig them out. So there are stories here - Lily of the valley stories.

Please post yours and if you have a folk tale about the origin of the plant - please share.  Here is L of V invading another invasive species - Snow in Summer - Let the plant wars begin  :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Steel Wool...?

I was walking along Mt. Pleasant on my way to get a coffee at my local Second Cup, when I couldn't help seeing these charming - not too sure what to call them but maybe they are lawn ornaments.  Anyway the Wild Bird Seed Store - that may not sell bird seed anymore or maybe not seed for wild bird's anyway :) - still does sell an eclectic mix of home decor items which includes some very unusual lawn ornaments.
Here is a family of sheep in what may be reclaimed or re-purposed metal.  I loved them.  They reminded me of a dentist I went to several times for a root canal or two.  I am always amazed at the number of dentists that not only talk to you; but also expect a two-way conversation. Anyway, I was a new patient so he politely asked me what I did.  I was trying to explain that I distributed yarn etc. to knitting stores. I did have several pounds of steel clamped to my jaw at the time and I guess that all he heard was "knitting" - I'm amazed that he even heard that.  Anyway, with out missing a beat he said, "If I give you some steel wool, will you knit me a car." Of course, I nearly asphyxiated trying to laugh (and not choke) with all those appliances in my mouth.

So the sheep above may be a source of steel wool :) or , if not that, at least a source of humour and I have to say it again "charm". They have lovely faces.

Have a charmed day!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Tea Time at the Diner.....

Maybe an unlikely spot for a cuppa tea - lots of Java no doubt - but quintessential British tea - maybe not so much!!

Another heading in my photo scavenger hunt is "time." I came across this beauty in one of the home decor shops on Mt. Pleasant. This shop always has the most amazing teapots on display. I want this one. It's a step back in time - route 66 and all that.  I have visions of the pot pouring out hash browns, eggs over easy and maybe some home made apple pie - forget the tea - pour me a slice of the 50's with some honky-tonk juke box music - bobby socks and saddle shoes.... actually I'll take a road trip right now, anywhere to a bit of history, wherever that may be.

Here's a funky tea cozy from Lynette Meek at Le Tissier Designs to go with the pot - she has lots more - take a minute to browse through Lynette's patterns here.

and even funkier knitted teacups. This is Wedgewood from Infiknit.

Now did someone say eggs?

These are knitted faberge eggs - not over easy!! and yes, each one has a knitted surprise inside. I have had periods of insanity...does that make me a genius....please say yes  :)

Have a surprising day!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Another heading in the photo scavenger hunt is "grain." I had actually seen these figures last year and I remember taking a picture of one of them, then.  Well, here were three in a grouping, today!!

The carvings suggest, I think anyway, that the figures were actually in the wood all the time and the artist through his/her talents released them.  It's a little like the Druids believing that wood is sacred and houses the spirits of the gods. 

I think that this happens a lot with yarn, as well. I have often heard knitters say, "What can I make with this skein or that hank." They squeeze and fondle the yarn hoping to release its muse or the Dryad that was spun into it.

Perhaps this was the process Ashley Knowlton used when she designed Butterfly Forest - yarn and forest meeting in the creative process!!

Here is another favourite piece of wood that I pass on one of my ravine walks. I like to think that this could be the stump that Alice peered into when she was chasing the white rabbit.  Wood is enchanted and yarn is enchanting - we just have to release their magic.

Have an inspired day!!

Nailed on Mt. Pleasant..

If you were ever thinking of starting a business or starting a new business, please don't make it a manicure, pedicure, a.k.a. spa, salon. take a look.

One of the headings in my photography challenge was "street." So I walked along Mt. Pleasant early this morning and took some "street scenes." I couldn't help noticing, in a random shot, the number of "nail" places within a few feet (no pun intended) of each other - there are more too in other blocks on the street. Now if your business were supplying product to nail places then you may just have hit "pay dirt." 

In a quick inventory of businesses on this street - which is really just 5 blocks in total -  there are probably - 50 restaurants (including several pubs), 3 genuine French bakeries within 200 feet of each other, 4-5 gourmet food stores, 10 - 15 hair salons, 5 or 6 dry cleaners, 2 large chain drug stores, 1 supermarket, 2 or 3 vintage clothing stores (there used to be 5 or 6), 2 or 3 antique stores, (there used to be 5 or 6), 5 or 6 home decor shops, 3 or 4 art galleries (there used to be 5 or 6), 3 toy stores, if you include a doll house store and a model car store - right beside each other, plus a children's book store, a library, 1 ice cream store, 1 large candy store - just selling candy!! and 2 costume stores. Oh yes, I almost forgot - at least 10 nail salons, 2 pet stores, 2 movie theatres, 1 funeral home, 2 churches, 1 park.

I challenge any other street to have this type of skewed concentration in such a small space. The rest of the shops are what you may find any place else.

You will note that there is no yarn store.  Infiknit is there; but we are not a store front and the closest yarn store is a half an hour's walk away. 

I just decided to look at what people like to have in their neighbourhood - lots of money is spent on eating out, grooming - both people and pets - children, and entertainment.  Maybe it's time for yarn to have a better presence, hmmmm.

Now who's ready to start a new business?

Have a productive day!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Knit it again, Sam.....

...or how to be memorable in how you say, what you say.  I came across an article in the paper this morning on famous movie lines and why they have become memorable. It seems that a few computer scientists from Cornell University analyzed scripts from over 1,000 movies; fed them into a computer and had the machine do the work.

The can speak in memorable sound bites, if you: 1. Use the past tense. 2. Use pronouns other than "you." 3. Use front word sounds and vowels rather than gutturals.

So I tried a random sampling of a few famous lines.

"May the force be with you." - uses "you" and the present tense - but lots of labials (front sounds).

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." - I always thought the "my dear" part was actually Scarlett. As in "Frankly, Scarlett I don't give a damn." But then I have always thought that Elizabeth Taylor should have played Scarlett. However, I digress. No "you" pronoun, but present tense and throaty sounds.

"Bond. James Bond." - no present, past or future tense (timeless) - no "yous" - but lots up front stuff, so to speak!

Here's a list of the top 100 famous lines according to wikipedia.'s_100_Years...100_Movie_Quotes

Just a note about the opening line of this post.  It is actually a mis-quote of a line from Casablanca and my favourite quote may be

"Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary." from Dead Poet's Society and delivered by Robin Williams in character. I loved the movie because it was about an English teacher who inspired his students to read poetry, the classics. The lines from poetry are as memorable as those from scripts and they are delivered by you.

Queen of the Sky stole from Queen Anne's Lace Knitting
I have many favourites; but the closest to knitting may be from John Keats' Endymion - "A thing of beauty is a joy forever."

Knit on, again and again.....

Have a memorable day

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

A Pansy Scheme...?

I am in another photo scavenger hunt - always a diversion. My second photo in the hunt is for the heading "Face." I was out for an early morning walk and came across these adorable "faces."
Pansy "Faces"
They reminded me of a knitting designer whose work I absolutely LOVE - Susan Duckworth.

I tried to find contact information for Susan; but couldn't, so I am posting this picture of her Pansy sweater without permission; but maybe this will sell a book or two for her or encourage her to start publishing again.

I have the book "Susan Duckworth's Knitting", which I bought ages ago. It was published in 1988.  I never tried knitting her pansy sweater or her other florals, though I did try to crop out part of a graph and add it to a mitten - sadly I gave up!!  And I am the one who wants intarsia to make a come back?

I am working on a series of "things" in fingering weight yarn and I am tempted to do an adult sweater or two as well.  I know that the patterns will never "sell" because of the finess of the yarn - that's fine - ness not finesse, though they may be related here.

I remember when I bought the book and a few others at the time. I was home with children and justified the expense as small compared to the expense of therapy!  I also remember my jaw dropping at the thought of knitting a sweater in anything finer than DK weight yarn.  I actually varied a Sasha Kagan sweater for my husband from fingering to DK - 2.5 repeats of the pattern rather than 3 - but no one noticed.

Now, perhaps to "face" a challenge that I waived (or failed) 20 or more years ago. Hmmmmm - Maybe...

Have a picture perfect day!!!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Can't wait until I'm 104 years old!!!

OK this week I am feeling sorry for myself, because...
1. Routine Dr's appt on Monday. I do hate the poking and prodding; but she had a student in and so everything was done twice......I reminded myself that this is in the interest of science and medicine :)
2.  Washing machine has broken for the 3rd time in as many weeks.  My husband is a saint.  He has just taken two loads to the laundromat
3. I am frantic because we are having guests for dinner on Saturday.  They are lovely people but their house is always pristine.  I now have to take Friday off work to start cleaning the what work am I taking off from..or is this even a sentence.
4. My sister who rarely visits, will be in town with her granddaughter and great grandson - that side of the family started early.  My youngest was still in high school last year.  DO NOT DO THE MATH!!! So now we are having guests for lunch and dinner.
5. I just cancelled my order with a new supplier - major incompatibility.  People do set out to make your life miserable...and then they expect you to pay them!!!
6. Coming off the "high" of a great show (the DKC Frolic) has it's "yang"'s now back to the usual - same again, same again.

Now just as I was getting used to wallowing in self pity.....someone posted to my Facebook Wall about this 104 year-old-woman who was upset because some newby 101-year-old woman had broken her Guiness Book of Records, as the oldest female hang glider and so didn't she just have to jump off a 2,000ft cliff (with apparatus) to set a new record....and I have the gall to complain.

OK, so what do I do now......Would you accept the first photo in my May photo scavenger hunt? It's for the heading "Simplicity"  and it's a picture of puddles in the rain.  It will also be part of the slide show for my series of scarves on the seasons.  It is actually the border of 'Rain" scarf.

Time to pack up my troubles in my old "knit" bag and prepare for my free fall hang glide in roughly 40 or more years time.... I can hardly wait  :)

Have a superlative day!!!