Saturday, June 30, 2012

Marking time.......

OK, I have to wait until I get a few more pictures that are appropriate for the few remaining stitches in the Found Poetry of Knitting Stitches, so I'll just coast a bit here.

We plan on doing some kayaking on the Jordan river where it empties into Lake Ontario, so I am hoping to get a picture of "that boat."  If you've ever taken the QEW to Niagara you'll know the one I mean.  It looks like a pirate ship beached near the highway beside a restaurant. I am also hoping that there'll be some surf to take pictures of waves.  I'm not sure how I'm going to get a picture of Odin's Eagles - maybe a hawk will do - or alternatively a very large blackbird.

I'll have to see how my husband holds up.  He's not very patient when it comes to my lining up a shot and this is photography not Pool :)

In the meantime, although we won't be going down for the Pride parade - just too many people and I'm not a great fan of crowds, we will be supporting them.  Here is a picture of a shop that always has a lovely display for Pride week.
It's a shop on Mt Pleasant that has beautiful curios - D Davis Objets d'Art.

I also plan to do a little knitting.  I'm working on the simplest of scarves,  in the simplest of stitches and I can't tell you how many times I've ripped it back.  Sometimes complex is better - it keeps you focussed.

Have a dazzling day!!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Gordian Knot

Here is another stitch with roots in Greek Mythology. According to myth, Phyrigia was without a ruler, so it was decided that the first person to enter the town with an ox-cart would be their next king - randomness might have originated with the Ancient Greeks!  Time passes and along comes Gordias with the requisite ox-cart and is proclaimed king.  I can hear him telling his wife - "You'll never guess what happened to me today........" and of course his wife immediately checked his thermos...err goatskin to see what he had been drinking!!

Well, Midas, Gordias' son decided to give thanks to the powers that be and offered the ox-cart as a gift to the gods, securing it to a post with a very intricate knot. This knot was undone by Alexander the Great.  People who are able to solve complex problems, either by cheating (Alexander simply cut the rope) or by "thinking outside the box" (another version has Alexander removing the post, thereby undoing the knot) are often credited with solving the Gordian puzzle or "cutting the Gordian Knot."

Here is the knitting stitch:

It's interesting but I would have given the name to a more complicated cable stitch - something worthy of Alexander the Great!!

And here is my photo take on the stitch.  Anyone who has tried to wind a garden hose and secure it in place deserves a medal or an ox-cart, maybe.

Have an uncomplicated day!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Homes of Donegal

This is another stitch that I left until the end because nothing sprang to mind immediately.  Actually I did think of taking pictures of houses, or something, on a street that's about 5 mins from me named Donegall.  Well time passed, as it is wont to do, and I realized that I was getting towards the end of the list of knitting stitches in the Found Poetry of Knitting Stitches and I started to panic - just a little. So one Sunday morning, after dropping off my daughter at Soccer - she was teaching not playing, or I would have stayed to watch, I drove along Donegall.  There were some pretty houses, most of them were the standard brick two story house that you find in mid-town Toronto - with or without a mutual drive - more on this later.  Here is the stitch before I get too carried away.

Anyway there were no little whitewashed stone cottages that one would expect to find in the wilds of the west coast of Ireland.  Here is a picture of a home in county Donegal, which I fetched from a site that rents these cottages out. Beautiful, as long as it doesn't rain.

So where was I going to find this in the city.  Well, it must have been "Lucky Sunday", because parked out in front of one of the houses on the aforementioned street was this "cute-as-a-button" camper.  Nothing says vacation more than a camper!!  I can imagine a few of these in a little cluster and you have something that looks like the knitting stitch!!  Eureka - a knitting vacation is about to happen.

Well, you have to know that I am a very shy person and somehow at that moment I didn't have the nerve to just walk up to the house and take a picture of the van. No one was there.  It was quiet.  It would have taken a split second.  But I waivered and then I left. Well, of course, I never found another picture that was more appropriate so I had to go back.  This time on a Wednesday morning, with the whole neighbourhood out and about.  First, there was the woman who shouted at me from across the street to please move my car up a little so someone could park behind me.  Then there were the 3 city workers digging a whole in the lawn beside the camper and finally, I gagged, there were all those other people peering from their curtained windows.......but the blog called, so I hopped out of my car and snapped the picture - why I couldn't have done this the first time is....well the story of my life.

Have a productive day!!!

Telescope Lattice

I took a long time to think about this stitch because it didn't really appeal to me at first.  Here it is from the Barbara Walker site.

It does, though, remind me of low stratus clouds and that usually means rain - as in "mackerel sky - rain by and by." Maybe this is why I didn't like the stitch at first because it reminded me of a cloudy day.  Then again I never mind seeing a mackerel sky when we need rain.  Here is a picture of a mackerel sky, so named because the clouds resemble the fish scales of a Mackerel.

Now I'm not sure where the telescope part comes in.  Maybe the lattice looks like an elongated telescope.  Anyway shooting clouds probably works better with a telescopic lens.  I just used my Canon SureShot here and the effect is still of fish scales, though the striping of the clouds could be clearer.

Now that I'm on the subject of clouds.  Here is a picture of my kind of cloudy day - full of magnificent white clouds (each with a silver lining, no doubt), lots of blue sky and sun!!!

Have a magnificent day!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Wings of the Swan

Another knitting stitch in the found poetry of knitting stitches is "Wings of the Swan." Swans, as you can see by an earlier post, figure prominently in the Arts. Perhaps it's their aesthetic appearance - beautiful white feathers, graceful long necks, regal bearing, elegant carriage - that make them the perfect model for works such as, Swan Lake (ballet), The Wild Swans at Coole (poem), Swan Maidens by Walter Crane, below.

Then again maybe its their beautiful black eyes caught behind that mysterious mask that makes them so appealing.  Whatever it is; it is not difficult to imagine a swan as a god in disguise.

The knitting stitch "Wings of the Swan" is also very elegant. It's large and symmetrical with a suggestion of those mysterious eyes.

I have been scouring the Toronto waterfront for pictures of swans.  They are rare, perhaps this is what makes them special.  I could have taken dozens of pictures of Canada Geese - but swans - not so much.  So I have caved in and borrowed this picture from Google images, just to move the blog along.

Wings of the swan is an  exquisite stitch.  It's on my to do list.

Have an exquisite day

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wild life.....

Just a little time out because I have to take some pictures of swans - Zeus where are you...? before I can write up the next post on the knitting stitch "Wings of the Swan."

So here's a short video of what I do in the morning before breakfast ;)  As well as communing with the wildlife in the house - 3 cats and I have lost count of the dust bunnies - I set up adventures for the raccoons that live in the maple tree at the bottom of the garden

This is a screen test...!  and the screen held up!!!

Now that was 3 kids, 3 cats, 4 raccoons, 1 Mac and a lot of time that I should not be wasting - but then how many of you vacuum at 6:00am?

Just waiting for the swans .........

Have an adventurous day!!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Impregnated by the wind.......

OK I think that I have done it again -  started an idea that has taken on a life of it's own.  There was something about the concept of the wind fathering, in this case flowers - Anemones, daughters of the wind, that made me think of the creative power of the wind.

The Ancient Greeks must have found divine characteristics in man, because many of their myths describe sexual encounters between the gods and mortals. The offspring of these unions were often amazing individuals.

Remember Leda and the swan.  The swan was actually Zeus in disguise, who, as the story goes fell in love with Leda and in order to escape the jealous gaze of his wife Hera, he disguised himself as a swan.  As a swan he was also able to trick Leda into protecting him from an aggressive eagle.  Well as she cradled him in her arms, he worked his magic, which in time produced a daughter, the beautiful Helen of Troy.

OK, I starting out talking about the wind, which is a powerful force, not unlike that of a god. Now what if the wind were really a divine spirit, a god in disguise. Might it then be able to impregnate individuals, that were mesmerized by its power.  Think of all the times that you have found in the wind an irresistible force - a creative force, perhaps.  I have visions of winsome souls on castle walls, cliff tops, barren moors, being literally consumed by the wind. What will their creative offspring be?

Maybe not a lot about knitting - but a little about the creative force and where you might find it.  Here is a painting, originally by Leonardo Da Vinci of Leda and the swan.

and here is a poem by W.B. Yeats, which one critic called the most important literary work of the 20th century...maybe he too was inspired by the wind.

                  Leda and the Swan

    A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
    Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
    By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
    He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

    How can those terrified vague fingers push
    The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
    And how can body, laid in that white rush,
    But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

    A shudder in the loins engenders there
    The broken wall, the burning roof and tower[20]
    And Agamemnon dead.

                        Being so caught up,
    So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
    Did she put on his knowledge with his power
    Before the indifferent beak could let her drop? 

Have an inspired day.....

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Anemone - Daughter of the Wind

Anemones are beautiful flowers with a beautiful name.  Equally lovely is the Anemone stitch in knitting.  Anemones are actually a member of the buttercup family, though some stories have them related to the Poppy. Anemones grow in rich jewel colours - blues, purples and reds.  Red is actually the predominant colour. In greek mythology, it is believed that the flower originated from the blood of Adonis.

Well Poppies are red and Buttercups are yellow so I am leaning towards those who relate Anemone to Poppies. And for those who wish to relate to both - here is the Anemone stitch in knitting using two colours - red and yellow.

The name Anemone comes from the greek word for wind - Anemos - because apparently the seeds of the flowers are blown by the wind. The new flowers grown from these seeds then become the "daughters of the wind."  The ancient Greeks were such romantics!!

Think of the romance that you bring to your knitting, when you design with the Anemone stitch!!!

I don't have a picture of Anemones; but I do have one of poppies.

Have a romantic day!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Bloomsday

Happy Bloomsday everyone!!!! Bloomsday is celebrated every June 16 in various parts of the world where the work of James Joyce - most specifically - Ulysses is read, acted, improvised...the list goes on. Here is a detailed explanation from Wikipedia. It is called Bloomsday after one of the main characters in the book, Leopold Bloom.  I do remember many years ago seeing Siobhan McKenna (mother of Seana) perform Molly Bloom's soliloquy - totally amazing and yes, I have seen the movie.

But now I have to add to my bucket list, the reading of the works of James Joyce and then I have to take in some of the events!!!  I think it could be a lot of fun - the events that is.

I don't have any pictures of Ireland but I have some of Gaudy's tile work from Barcelona that I think suggests the stream of consciousness style in Joyce's writing.  The first one has a shamrock motif.

and the second is in warm colours - Molly's soliloquy was "hot."

The pictures were taken in Barcelona; but since Bloomsday is celebrated in the US, Hungary, Italy and elsewhere, I thought it would be OK to add them. Now here is where I feel very "impoverished" because I haven't read Joyce.  I could have added more and maybe even related something to knitting.  Literature enriches.

Please leave any related comments.  I can live vicariously!!

Have an enriched day!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ladders and Lanterns

Another stitch from the Found Poetry list is "tilting ladders." However, I have seen it in other stitch dictionaries called "chinese lanterns." Here it is from the Barbara Walker site where it is called "tilting ladders."

This is a fascinating stitch and one that I have always wanted to use in something.... It is really knit straight, with no fancy acrobatics. It's the stitches themselves that actually twist the fabric from side to side. I would like to experiment with the stitch and maybe put space or another stitch in between the ladders and see what happens.  As much as I like the stitch I find it "busy"; but then here are some pictures of chinese lanterns and all the activity that goes with them - they are very busy.

We were in Kensington Market one Sunday in Winter and happened upon this outdoor shop which spilled over into the next front yard or maybe this was another shop - it was so bright and colourful for February in Toronto...

.....and it was busy - so maybe I should just leave the stitch alone and do it in an amazing colour!!!  Here is a ladder, so it's not left out. It's a fire escape in old Quebec, near an artists' community - you decide what the stitch should be called.
Have an amazing day!!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Parentheses include......

Another stitch in the Found Poetry of Knitting Stitches is Parenthetical Rib.  This is a stitch that has never really spoken to me at all.  So now I have to take a really close look at it and try to relate it to real life through some of my photography.

Here is the stitch from the Barbara Walker site.  Parentheses highlight ideas. They either include "things" - ( ) or exclude "things"  ) (   So maybe I have to look at it more as an inclusive "thing" - mainly because I dislike exclusion.  To me the stitch is busy and maybe looks like streetscapes where a road goes down the middle, bracketed by homes, or shops on either side.

Street in old Quebec
The street, though, must include the activity of the neighbourhood or it becomes very vacant - think of vast stretches of suburbia with strip mall development - places where people rarely walk and the car is the only real life - people, bracketted inside a vehicle - hardly interacting with the environment unless it's a "drive thru."

So what happens when you add a place for people to be included in the street.  Maybe they walk there, or live there, or eat there. Maybe you limit cars and put in benches and planters and activities for people to interact with other people. I see all of these things included in the stitch.

I am starting to warm up to parenthetical rib a little more. I can see the stitch interspersed with other interesting stitches and maybe expanding the rib or omitting parts of it to create "scapes."  This could be a challenge.

Here is a street in old Quebec taken at night. The awnings like parentheses include the people.

My last picture is of two streets in Barcelona.  People actually live in the thin strip of a building bracketed by the two streets - a close knit community.

Streets in Barcelona old town

Have an inclusive day.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ostrich Plumes

I have actually knit a little sleeveless top using this stitch.  The stitch itself is very rich.  I think that it suggests a deep ornate fabric such as Damask or flocked velvet, perhaps something Victorian when feathers and plumage were used extensively in fashion. Here is the stitch from the Barbara Walker site.

And here are my photo takes on the stitch. The first is a rhododendron from The Public Gardens in Halifax, one of the few remaining Victorian Gardens in Canada.

This is the same bush taken through a section of the gates into the garden.

I think that both the gate and the rhododendron are intricate as is the stitch. Here is another entranceway with plumage.  Its from a restaurant in Fredericton. Unfortunately the parking lot in the back ground reminds us that we are "here" in this time zone and not "there" in Victorian England. This is one of the reasons I love gardens and lace.  They are both escapes.

And here is the little sleeveless shell photographed about 10 years ago when my daughter was 10. Time flies - capture it in lace.

Have a timeless day.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Dragon Skin

Another knitting stitch name in the post Found Poetry is "Dragon Skin." It's a stitch that I have always liked even though it's meant to look like the scales of a reptile.

Here is my photo take of the stitch.

It's actually the roof of the Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto.

And here's the inside of the dragon.

I was actually at the auditorium yesterday for my son's graduation from OCAD - Ontario College of Art and Design which is now a university so he was there to receive his Bachelor of Fine Art degree along with about 300 other students.  It was really an awesome occasion.

Dragons are all about good luck and success, power and achievement. It's a fitting metaphor for a graduation and it all started with a knitting stitch, a very powerful knitting stitch.

I couldn't resist carrying out the dragon metaphor with this short video of an art installation in the grounds adjacent to the hall. It's a grouping of windsocks, but with a little imagination they could be flames from the dragon's mouth.

(BTW I liked the way the windsocks paid tribute to the city worker.)

and in the belly of the beast 300 grads were on fire.

Have a brilliant day!!

Candle of Glory II

I realize that I have given this lovely stitch, Candle of Glory, short shrift so to speak. I also wanted to mention that it would look lovely in Prayer Shawls, not only as a beautiful stitch, but also as a reminder of vigil lights - and prayer candles.  Here is another candle.

The picture was actually taken as part of a photo challenge, but it reminds me of all the stories of guiding lights, Florence Nightingale's lamp, for example or the light that is left on for someone returning home - sometimes for years.

The stitch could also resemble the Olympic Torch, as it is passed many times from hand to hand on its journey. Its promise is hope and glory - the eternal flame - as long as the candle burns there is still a chance.

Have an Olympic day!

Friday, June 08, 2012

Candle of Glory

This is a stitch that I have always wanted to use in lace.  It's large and imposing and has an amazing name, "Candle of Glory."  The name itself suggests ceremony - candle light parades, vigil lights lit in honour of someone, special festive times, when candles cast a magical light. In many faiths candles are the equivalent of prayers. The heat of their burning wicks, like your most passionate hopes and dreams, drift up to the gods to be received.

I don't have any pictures of candles - I will make a point of taking pictures of candelabra. I do have some pictures of rather impressive outdoor lights that may have been gaslights at one time. I hope that they will do.

This picture was taken outside of Park Guell in Barcelona.  It's ornate like the stitch and suggests a "Grand" entrance. Here's another, also from Barcelona.

 Have an enlightened day.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Griffen vs Giller

My last few posts have been about a librarian's "Found Poetry" in the lyrical names of knitting stitches. I love it when people (poets) find something so very common; write a poem about it and suddenly it isn't common anymore.  I always remember a poem by William Carlos Williams -

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

or an urban update

The Red Honda

so much depends
a red Honda
covered in 
beside black 

hmmmm looses a bit in translation; but it is simple.

Tonight, apparently, the biggest award in Canadian literary prizes will be "awarded." It's a total of $200,000.00 from Scott Griffen.  The prize categories are $75,000.00 for best Canadian poet. $75,000.00 for best international poet and this may be in translation and $10,000.00 each for just making the lists.

The best Canadian prize for prose, the Giller - names are close but not the same - is $50,000.00.  Where in the world would you find someone to support poetry over prose? - well maybe in Canada.  I don't read as much poetry as I used to; but I am drawn to poets and their work.  I am thrilled that poets are getting this kind of recognition. Russell Smith, who has written an article on the Griffen prize in the Globe, had this to say about the world of poetry:

"you need time and patience for contemporary poetry. But entering the refracted world of poetic language, particularly for a few hours at a time, will change the way you see the bus stop and the sunset when you emerge."

and may I add Ikea, Starbucks, streetcars and maybe even plastic bags, now that they have been banned from Toronto - the plastic bag, that is.

Russell Smith goes on to say that the poems of one of the candidates were almost just lists - read "found poetry" - so much is what goes on the list and the juxtaposition of the entries. I wonder if they have added pictures?

Soooo maybe I should just carry on with this blog, compile it into a "listful" publication and submit it.  It may be the first time that two extreme niche markets - knitting and poetry - were merged. It might just double the market.......awesome.

Something simple; but enduring - the King St. car.

The Red Streetcar

So much depends 
a red street 
clanging by
beside the newspaper 

Maybe it should have been the Queen car :)

Have a poetic day.

Flying Buttress

Or maybe it should be Flying Buttresses because the stitch slants both to the left and to the right. Flying Buttresses are, of course, those huge supports in Medieval architecture that keep the walls of stone cathedrals upright even though their roofs may collapse.

Here is an example of right slanting and left slanting flying buttresses supporting Bath Cathedral in England. The picture and details are from Wikipedia.

And here are the knitting equivalents - both are simple cable stitches, which could easily be over looked. However when you put all this history behind them, so to speak, they take on a new life.

Here are my photo equivalents.  I was at Ikea yesterday - a place of worship for some - and couldn't help noticing the grid work supporting a covered walkway.  I took some pictures of the shadows cast by the structure and with a little imagination we have Flying Buttress.  I know I should reverse the photos - just too tricky in Blogger - sorry.                                 

Suddenly knitting stitches and utilitarian metal structures have come together in a "medieval moment."  So much is in a name.  Had these cables been named - right slanting diagonal and left slanting diagonal -  much would have been lost.

A lot of life is finding the romance within the mundane, transforming an ordinary mid-week meal into a banquet by using the "good" china or fancy napkins.

Finding a cathedral at Ikea or an oasis at the Second Cup.  Please post your "discoveries."

I think that the Flying Buttress stitch on either side of another rich aran pattern could create a superb sweater.

Here is the vaulted ceiling....err covered walkway at Ikea.

and here is the medieval equivalent - sort of 

Have an auspicious day!