Sunday, April 29, 2007

the rhubarb in my garden

My husband and I have been fortunate enough to move into a house that actually has a back yard ~ and for the 2 summers that we've so far had it, this coming summer being our third, there's been a bush of rhubarb that keeps coming up. It's been untouched, uneaten, and heaven only knows how it keeps growing because I haven't paid much attention to it, other than my constantly saying how I ought to make something with it.

So, this year I'm getting my butt in gear and I'm actually doing something about this rhubarb. (This is largely inspired by the fact that we're renovating our kitchen, and installing a brand new oven! whoot!)

I like the idea of making preserves. I grew up with my mother and grandmother making tons of preserves with fruit that grew in their gardens, and figure I ought to get myself taught on doing preserves too. And, garden-grown preserves always make awesome December-holiday gifts, right?

I've found already 4 different rhubarb-preserves recipes online. If anyone out there in blogland has a tried-and-true-favourite-family-rhubarb-preserve recipe, I'd love it if you could share it in the comments. :)

I'll be sure to post pictures of my progress when I get around to making a few jars!

Friday, April 27, 2007

out with the old, and trying something new!

First, let me tell you that I'm quite into the idea of trying something new as often as possible. I would like to brag about my beginning a pair of socks:

yay! I've attempted knitting socks before, but have struggled, but this particular yarn has some awesome colour, and I am quite eager to sport this particular pair of socks!


This will be my good news, before I vent about the bad.


Now, I don't believe in naming names because it's just not necessary, but I do feel the need to get this off my chest.

I often find myself relying to websites for new knitting inspiration, and lately have decided to pop into a few of these awesome sites and check out their posting forums and chatrooms. I found myself in a chatroom where I was surrounded by a quite aggrivated and mildly b****y group of women ~ I have obviously invaded the Mean Girls Knitting Snob Click. Within a week of hanging around in this particular chat room, I went from (what I thought was) positive knitters to chat with, to the cattiest of the most unfriendly and unwelcoming group of people.

Part of my Fiber Snob post a few days ago was inspired by a couple of these women in this chat room, but that negativity spread from one or two people through to the better part of the group. It went from joking sarcasm to harsh accusations, name calling, people ignoring then mocking, and finally a couple of them falsely accusing me of things like copyright infringement and bad business practice.

Now, granted, it's nothing more than the gross misinformed judgement of a handfull of people, and just out of a chat room, but considering that this is (from what I understand) a particularly popular site and seemingly a high-traffic chat room linked to it, I would hate to think that not only they would treat other new chatters the same way, but also, who knows how far false accusations travel once you've left? And who else also gets this negative attitude? For I'm sure I'm not the first, and likely won't be the last.

I do think that this sort of thing is unfortunate. To be honest, I was so happy to find what I thought to be a great place to hang out and chat in, considering that I'd be surrounded by knitters, as well as I have a lack of knitters in my personal life to stitch with. Who would've thought that such an immature, elitist attitude would transcent teenage immaturity and high school playgrounds into a chat filled with adults?

It's silly of me, I suppose, to expect anything more than extreme superficiallity when it comes to people's attitudes online. It was naive of me to think that a group of people, however small, with such a 'calming' ;) hobby as knitting would welcome me in their circle, irrigardless of what items I knit or which yarns I use, rather than make it a point to snub me out.

Who would've thought that knitters were so mean?

;) ah, live and learn.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Friday, April 20, 2007

My Rant Regarding Fiber Snobs

Yes, I knit with acrylic and acrylic blends.
And guess what: I like it!
I'm not always particular about wool. I absolutely will steer away from the yarn that the pattern calls for, if it means that I'll save a couple dollars, the colour is pretty, and as long as the tension is right or close-enough.
Close enough is good enough. You know what? Close enough is even fantastic.
For the last month or so I've bounced myself into a couple of knitting-themed posting boards and chat rooms, and more often than not I get quite the reaction when I dare mention the letters a-c-r-y-l-i-c in that order as a word. Why would you use that stuff? What were you thinking? How dare you, even?
And don't even get me started on using feathery looking yarns like Bernat Boa or any sort of eyelash yarn. Yes, I love knitting with those too. If I can incorporate a row or two of this funky swag into my knits and knots, you better be for damned sure I'm going to.
For those elitists who look down on me from their bamboo-needle-and-mohair-knits towers, I say bah to all of you. The only person who truly cares whether your scarf is wool or an acrylic-wool blend is you.
Now, don't get me wrong, I have my own couple pairs of wooden needles, I've spent the extra couple dollars on a beautiful ball of handspun, hand-dyed alpaca wool. I've knit my share of hat + scarf + glove winter sets out of some beautiful mohair wool. I've scoured my LYS's and throughout online for that one very hard to find brand of yarn and knit a beautiful shawl or two. I've even put the effort into spinning and dying my own yarn and knitting a hat-and-scarf-set of my own from it, and gained a few compliments on it.
But despite that, despite how much I loved knitting with those beautiful yarns and beautiful needles and crocheting with designer crochet hooks, at the end of the day, I still love my tried-and-true aluminum needles and acrylic-wool blends to knit another brightly coloured scarf in a basic stockinette stitch. I'll even knit a few rows of eyelash yarn stripes. It's still warm, it's still unique, it's still handknit, and it even gets compliments.
Do I care, then, if my yarn is bought from Walmart instead of my LYS? Of course not.
...Does it matter that I've picked up a few balls of yarn from the discount bin? No way!
.....Do I care if my yarn is some sort of Himalayan Handspun Organic Mountain Grown Free Range Grande Mocha No-Fat Soy Latte Sheep-Who-Can-Floss-Their-Own-Teeth-And-Can-Read-Aramaic Wool? Naturally, no. Do the Fiber Snobs? Most certainly! And goddess knows I'm going to be condemned for using anything less than that!
So, I guess my point is this: no matter what your level of experience in knitting or crocheting is, enjoy your craft to its full potential, and no matter what you knit with or what tools you use to put it all together, take pride in what you've made.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

it's ALIVE! run for the hills!

Dontcha just love a garden that doesn't need any help from you to grow? Just a little global warming, the occasional plop of bird poop, and the miracle of life just blooms away, all on its own! Mother Nature gives birth to another growing season!

Now, mind you, this isn't the blooming almond and cherry trees that my parents have, being in the south of France and all, but my pittery little Canadian garden is doin' a suberb job of growing a nice healthy layer of colourful goat food!

The first two pics are these fantastic purple and yellow flowers that show up and wave hello every spring, the weird red stemmed attempt-of-a-plant is rhubarb, the artichoke looking thing I'm sure will turn into a flower, and that plop of what-looks-like-grass is, in fact, garlic. Mmmmmm garlic.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

a salut to purple fuzzy yarn!

I even incorporated a few rows of black yarn to make a bit of a striping pattern, which turned out pretty good I think... these are wonderfully light and cozy... a bit punk rock, non?

I love those 1 lb bags of mill-ends yarn, such a great deal, and such funky yarn ~ too bad only Walmart carries it. Lewiscraft used to carry it too, but sadly they closed down... I miss Lewiscraft so much... anyway... good yarn! Woo hoo!

Friday, April 13, 2007

since it's Friday the 13th...

I've decided to post some random facts about knitting and crocheting... enjoy :)

~ People magazine's "Insider" column reported in early 2001 on a very special baby shower for Camryn Manheim (The Practice) given by celebs and friends. The focal point of the party was a knitting lesson. Friends then each made a six-inch multicolored square for a baby blanket for Manheim
~ Younger women are picking up the craft. Since 1998, there has been a 400% increase in the number of women under 35 years old who crochet and knit
~ 1 out of 3 women knows how to knit or crochet. The number of women who do these crafts increased from 34.7 million in 1994 to 38 million in 2000.
(facts from
~ The term sweaters began to be used for knitted pullovers formerly called ganseys or jerseys after they were used for athletic clothes. It is said they were called sweaters because that's what the athletes who wore them did -sweat!
~ In the medieval Europe hand knitting was an important industry and had developed into an advanced craft by 16th century.
~ The oldest known knitting needles are double-pointed needles. They are normally used in sets of four or five as depicted in a number of 14th Century oil paintings.
(facts from
~ During World War I President Woodrow Wilson allowed sheep to graze on the White House lawn. When the sheep were sheered, the wool was auctioned off and the proceeds went to the American Red Cross war relief fund.
~ American Red Cross knitters were still supplying the military with wool helmets as late as 1964. The men at remote arctic military outposts like Thule Airbase in Greenland and Goose Air Force Base in Labrador preferred the hand knitted wool helmets to the machine made synthetic varieties supplied by the army. The soldiers claimed that they kept your face warmer, longer in sub-zero temperatures
~ 1946 the North Atlantic Area chapters processed over 3,000 pounds of olive drab wool for the supplementary items for the military.
(facts from
~ The Name "Crochet" comes from the word "crochet" meaning hook in the French language.
~ The Granny Square was orignally published by the Weldon company in London, as a pattern to use up leftover yarn.
~ Wool is comparatively stronger than steel.
~ Wool can absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture, and is fire resistant.

Duke: O, fellow! come, the song we had last night.
Mark it, Cesario; it is old and plain;
The spinsters and the knitters in the sun,
And the free maids that weave their thread with bones,
Do use to chant it: it is silly sooth,
And dallies with the innocence of love,
Like the old age.
ShakespeareTwelfth Night. Act ii. Sc. 4

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

some more hand~dyed yarns

These are just a few more yarns that I've dyed ~ 4 of the 7 or so I've made recently... a thicker yarn, and if I say so, a bit better wrapped-into-skeins than my first batch.... just loverly, don'tcha think? Hopefully these'll sell well...

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

a scarf for my husband

This is not only the first item I ever made for my husband (knit/crochet-wise) but also the first item that I've put in any sort of pattern into it.
I was inspired by a sweater with flames on it that was published in the Stitch n Bitch book, which was designed for a guy... the whole car/flames thing, but my husband wouldn't've worn it, despite if I had put the effort into making it or making him wear it.
So, the flame pattern was adjusted a bit, and instead of knit, it got crocheted ~ soleley because I had, at the time, an easier time to change colours with crochet than knit.
Despite it being acrylic (knit with Patons Canadiana) it's warm, largely due to the thick texture that crochet gives, and the fact that the scarf is wide (about 5 or 6 inches).