Sunday, February 26, 2006

Olympic Honourable Mention - alas no gold...

I have to concede defeat. Unfortunately my sprint to the finish featured several stumbles and the lace scarf is unfinished - although about 3/4 finished. I should have accepted the unlikeness of my finish last week - what was I thinking to try and tackle this during my last two weeks at my current job. The many late nights made completing my race a virtual uncertainty.

Congratulations to all my team mates who won gold for our fine country! And congratulations to everyone who made a valiant effort. Picture to follow as soon as it is completed and blocked.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Book Meme, an interesting exercise

Meme instructions: Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you've read, italicize the ones you might read, cross out the ones you won't, underline the ones on your book shelf, and place parentheses around the ones you've never even heard of.

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby - F.Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J. K. Rowling
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story - George Orwell
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
1984 - George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J. K. Rowling
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
Angels and Demons - Dan Brown
Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
Neuromancer - William Gibson
Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
The Secret History - Donna Tartt
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Good Omens - Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
Atonement - Ian McEwan
The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Dune - Frank Herbert

Interesting! The ones that aren't underlined are ones I do want to read but don't already have on my shelf. I must remember to put them on my to be read list.

Found on Chris' blog. Thanks for the great idea!

Day 14 - The Mad Dash begins

I managed two repeats last night but that means I'm going to have to ramp up the knitting a bit this weekend if I want to finish. The scarf is going to be gorgeous - I can't wait to see it blocked.

I have a fair bit of writing to do this weekend also. I have to finish up my review of Big Girl Knits (which is fabulous by the way) so I can get it posted. Amy and Jillian have done a fantastic job of pulling together great information.

Stay tuned for the review and scarf photo as I begin my last minute dash to the finish line.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Day 12 - Panic Sets In for this Knitting Olympics Competitor

Unfortunately I still don't have a digital camera to provide an update photo. However, with 4 days left of official competition, my lovely lace scarf is just over half-way. I will have to up my output to 3 lace repeats per day to finish in time. (Currently my knitting time has been limited to 1 sixteen row lace repeat per day)

Darn work is interfering with my knitting yet again! I'll try and get a photo up before the closing ceremonies anyway.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

BOOK REVIEW: Some Like it Haute by Julie K.L. Dam

Alex Simons is in Paris on a plum assignment, covering fashion week for London’s The Weekly. Her dreams have carried her far from her big-hair days in Texas, landing a career as a fashion correspondent on first name basis with all top fashion houses’ PR reps. A sudden cat-walk collision with this season’s It girl lands Alex in the midst of a media feeding-frenzy which has her cowering in her hotel watching reruns of the debacle on Fashion TV. When she ventures out to a promising fashion debut she meets Nick Snow, a bad boy who spurns the fashion world but sends Alex’s pulse into overdrive. Will this fashion insider get her bad boy and the scoop of the year?

This latest entry into the increasingly crowded genre of chick lit offers a breath of fresh air. Some Like it Haute has avoided many of the major minefields now infesting the genre: heroines stuck in their 20’s, overly whiny main characters and paper-thin plots. Julie Dam recognizes that the readers of chick lit have moved into their 30s and, while still concerned with fashion and romance, they also face serious worries about their careers. By moving her heroine into the next age category but leaving her single, the author has taken a courageous yet fresh approach.

Within the context of haute couture and Paris’ fashion week, Alex’s obsession with clothes and footwear makes sense. The insider’s view of this closed society is enthralling and since Alex’s clothes obsession isn’t overblown, she shows readers an insider’s view into this elite world.

One of Julie Dam’s main strengths is her ability to pen intelligent, rapid-fire banter: words delivered so fast that your head is spinning in admiration. Some Like it Haute contains some fabulous repartee between Nick and Alex, chock full of pop culture references and delivered with deadpan accuracy. Like the icons of old, the sexual tension leaps off the page as Nick and Alex play with words as easily as others toss dice.

More style than substance, this light-weight confection has readers kicking off their kitten heels and curling their toes in longing for the Manolos casually tossed around by Alex. Dam has provided a window into a world guaranteed to delight any wanna-be fashionista, a stylistic fable that marries mystery and romance and wraps it all in a glamorous world filled with killer shoes.

See the review as it appears at Armchair Interviews - Some Like it Haute.

BOOK REVIEW: Knitting Rules! The Yarn Harlot’s Bag of Knitting Tricks by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

This spring will see the publication of several new knitting books from knit “bloggers”. Knitting Rules! The Yarn Harlot’s Bag of Knitting Tricks is the third volume from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, best known for her knitting blog “The Yarn Harlot”. This new work features her trademark wit and light-hearted view on a much beloved pastime, although sadly it features none of her infamous open letters to her collection of yarn, known only as “The Stash”.

Pearl-McPhee’s first two books, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much and Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter are very reminiscent of her blog. With Knitting Rules! The Yarn Harlot’s Bag of Knitting Tricks she moves into new territory and provides a comprehensive look at the foundations of knitting. There are a few basic patterns included but more than that, this book offers advice/recommendations on everything from picking the appropriate needles for knitting in movie theatres, to what to stock in your knitting bag (and why you should have one in the first place), to choosing a spouse.

Her irreverent style is a delight for anyone with true knitting passion - “I can think of several times in my own life when knitting kept me from slapping some fool upside the head” – yet her tone can soften to write glowingly about our addiction, speaking about fiber the way others talk about a lover. The power of knit bloggers to influence a wide audience was evidenced again recently with Pearl-McPhee’s creation of the 2006 Knitting Olympics, possibly the largest ever knit-a-long, with more than 4,000 knitters around the world participating on teams designed to coincide with the Torino Winter Olympics. She expected a handful of knitters to join her and her friends and suddenly this viral experiment took on a life of its own – receiving publicity in a wide variety of media outlets including NPR and a variety of print publications.

Part reference book, part how-to manual, part tribute, and part beginner’s manual, this essential book is a must purchase for every level of knitter. Think of it as your own personal knitting guru or new best friend.

See the review as it appears at Armchair Interviews - Knitting Rules!.

Friday, February 17, 2006

What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die?

Found this fabulous quiz today (thanks to the Melanoma Uberalis blog)

You will swallow some tacks. You are a little weird, maybe not so much in a good way. Buy a yellow tie and wear it on your head.

I'm a huge Edward Gorey fan, in fact I have several images gracing the bulletin board to my left. My favourite Gashly Crumb Tiny is N is for Neville who died of ennui - which has pride of place on said bulletin board.

Now to go find that yellow tie...

Olympic Update, Lace Knitting - Day 7

If I follow the pattern, this little scarf has 22 repeats but since I am using a thinner yarn, I may need to do 26 - 30 repeats. I have finished 6 of the requisite 22 repeats. I have a feeling I am way behind on this and right now my scarf is looking a bit beat up from all the frogging. (I've been told that lace doesn't come into its glory until the blocking stage so I have hopes).

I hope to have a picture to add after the weekend. I am still madly in love with the yarn and colour.

Go Team Canada! (posted originally on Team Canada blog)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Knitting Rules!

I'm so excited that I have been jumping around my apartment for the last few minutes. Sitting against my door when I arrived home today was the bound proof of Yarn Harlot's new book (to review). I think Olympic Knitting might take back seat to this for a few days - I read the first few pages and was laughing so loudly that I startled the cat. I also discovered a new mantra to live by:

"If you find a non-knitter who thinks what you do is clever, beautiful, and artistic, who never asks for knitted stuff but wears it with pride when you give it to him or her, and will help you carry home a whole fleece or a stack of stitch dictionaries without once implying that you might want to get a grip - marry that person." From Knitting Rules! The Yarn Harlot Unravels the Mysteries of Swatching, Stashing, Ribbing and Rolling to Free Your Inner Knitter.

Thank you Stephanie, for making it all so clear. Stay tuned for my review sometime next week.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Check this out!

Heather, I think this might be us next weekend! Grab that bottle of Creme de Cacao and head on over...

Here's the Olympic Drinking Game found on the quacking fiber addict's blog (created with help from Rebekkah and Natalie). What a hoot...

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Olympics Day Two or I'm hitting my stride

Progress has been made and the knitting is settling into a bit of a rhythm! After a few early spills (see yesterday's post), I have hit my stride. Today I managed to add 3 inches to my scarf - 56 inches to go.

Why did I pick lace? Or Day One of Olympics Knitting

I missed the opening ceremony cast-on by about 8 hours but I managed to cast on Ziggy in the brighter yarn and knit the 5 garter stitch rows and 2 rows of lace on the 10th. 7 rows and I frogged twice on the FIRST ROW of the lace pattern. Why did I pick lace for Olympic knitting?

Day One of Olympics - Watched Jennifer Heil win gold and men's 5,000 m speed skating. In several hours I:
a) completed 8 rows of lace
b) frogged out one row three times before realizing I had somehow lost a stitch!
c) frogged a total of 6 rows
d) managed not to throw the knitting across the room
e) discovered the joys of knitting with Brittany needles
f) decided I need to join this team for even thinking I should knit lace for the Olympics

I may never be able to go back to knitting anything but alpaca/cashmere! The feeling of the yarn is divine. *sigh*

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Fun with IKEA and Ibsen

Hmm...I think I've spent too much time at IKEA (or too much time looking at the wierd names of things) if I scored 19/30 on the IKEA/Ibsen test. I'm assuming it is the IKEA side since I haven't read much Ibsen (it's somewhere in Mt. TBR). Have you ever wondering if they just drop a bunch of kids magnetic letters on the floor and pick the names from that?

Thanks to for the laugh - highly needed today.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Training Techniques for Olympic Knitting

This post by Beadlizard is fantastic! She has captured so many of the helpful hits and put them in training terms. Now to actually follow them.

Rather a blue day...but need to find time to do my swatching before Friday.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Scarf Bonanza

I'm currently on a scarf kick - perhaps because I'm procrastinating on finishing the &*%! sweater for my Grandmother. It's a Sirdar pattern as I mentioned earlier - in their denim yarn. I think with all the frogging I've knit the thing three times now. I took an in progress photo of it this weekend (I apologize for the picture quality) but I keep picking up other "short" projects so I don't have to work on it. (It's only been in progress 2 years now) I reworked the pattern to get a better fit for my Grandmother but without really knowing what I was doing hence the difficulty and repeated frogging. I'm in the home stretch now with the sleeves (working both at the same time) but can barely face working on it.
So as I said, I'm in the midst of a scarf bonanza - all for me! I finished the one started a few weeks ago and have moved on to my Baby Monkey scarf (grey, brown and acid green mix), a ribbon one made out of Incredible (copper penny colourway) and some gorgeous yarn from Poco that is creating a truly sparkly, drappy scarf.

Project decided for the 2006 Knitting Olympics

I decided to challenge myself with some delicate lace. I've tried several times to do lace projects but without much success (i.e. I've given up quickly in absolute frustration). I was having trouble deciding on a lace pattern for a scarf until the new issue of MagKnits arrive in my inbox last week. It was decided - I would knit Ziggy with the beautiful cashmere/alpaca in my stash from Inca Gold. So before Friday I need to knit some swatches and decide on needle size. I'm torn however between the two colours, basically which to do first.

They're both so gorgeous - frankly the picture doesn't do them justice. The yarn has been languishing in my stash for over a year since I bought it at The Naked Sheep. To be honest, I was scared of trying to make something lacy with such beautiful yarn when I didn't feel confident in my abilities with lace.

Go Team Canada - only 4 more days!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Some of my favourite people!

Aren't they gorgeous? This is Aaron with his Auntie Heather in Curacao, deep in conversation. Aaron appears to be sharing a great story, I just wish I had been there to enjoy it.

Here's another cover-worthy shot of the boy in question, engaged in a favourite activity of chewing on his hand. Fabulous darling!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The joys of language

Part of the fun of blogs is following the links from blog to blog. I regularly read the Conversational Reading blog. I followed a link from there to The Millions (a Blog about Books) and discovered this interesting article where notable authors recommend books for kids.

I love this quote from the article:
Another recommendation, is Kipling's Just So Stories "for the wonderful rhythms and rhymes and the muscular strength of the language. You don't understand everything as a child but you love the sound of it. Children respond very immediately to the musical rhythmic effects of language."

I remember as a child enjoying the playfulness of language. Kids seem to find the sounds of certain words and phrases delightful - my neices and nephews seem to fixate on certain words and repeat them ad infinitum. It is this joy in language that seems to get lost through years of standardized learning and anything brings about its return is fine with me!

Knitting as meditation

I've been fairly stressed lately, standard I guess when approaching a major change in your life. I took an eleven month contract to be able to return to my home community and that job is almost up - 27 days left!

I've been looking for work and apply for jobs as I find appropriate ones but still haven't got a new one. This, of course, is causing a great deal of anxiety for me and many sleepless nights.

This is all to say I've been doing a lot knitting lately. I find the act of knitting very soothing and it seems to one of the only things that soothes my mind. My mind still wanders everywhere but seems to avoid the worries and instead I end up with random connections and imagery. It's definitely time to pull out my copy of The Knitting Sutra by Susan Gordon Lyndon.

I've been making a lot of scarves the past few weeks. Part of my New Year's resolution was to knit through my stash of sample yarns that I bought, thinking I could try out the yarn and make a scarf. I'll have to borrow a digital camera soon and post some pictures.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

BOOK REVIEW: The Weather Makers: How we are changing the climate and what it means for life on earth by Tim Flannery

"Earth's thermostat is a complex and delicate mechanism, at the heart of which lies carbon dioxide...."

Tim Flannery poses the question, "Is climate change a terrible threat or a beat-up?" A compelling premise for his new work, The Weather Makers: How we are changing the climate and what it means for life on earth.

Climate change has become a "hot button" issue in most western countries and the challenges to clear-headed debate are addressed near the beginning of this work: "...climate change is difficult to evaluate dispassionately because it entails deep political and industrial implications, and because it arises from the core processes of our civilization's success."

The central character of climate change is CO2--carbon dioxide. Everything we do on earth results in the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Humans now are weather makers by their very existence and growth as a species. Flannery authoritatively explains the interconnectedness of everything on the earth, likening it to the interconnectedness of the organs in a body. In such a system, pollutants cannot be forgotten for they continually work on the whole, degrading its health.

Flannery has combined his years of research and observation with the work of leading scientists. The result is an eloquent work that is readable yet not "dumbed down." The message is clear and compelling: what our species has done to the earth cannot be easily shunted to the side and forgotten. As he states, "the most important thing to realize is that we can all make a difference and help combat climate change at almost no cost to our lifestyle. And in this, climate change is very different from other environmental issues such as biodiversity loss or the ozone hole."

The Weather Makers is an important work for anyone interested in the future of our planet and should be required reading for today's political leaders.

See the review as it appears at Armchair Interviews - The Weather Makers