Sunday, February 25, 2007

Canadian culture, and scarves.

It was only after I typed the title that I realized what an essential part of Canadian culture scarves are. Anyway, why this subject? Well, as I was chatting with a friend the other day, she expressed her wish to go somewhere other than Canada, because Canada "has no discernable culture". Now, I was immediately affronted, because we are both Canadians, and yet she had the gall to say our country had no culture of it's own? Ludicrous in my mind. I'm quite certain people who've lived in ireland, or Thailand, or China all their lives don't think of their countries having a special, stand-alone culture.

I think a good way to ascertain a country's culture, is to watch what people who immigrate to said country do in an attempt to seem less foreign. So what kind of things make up Our culture? How about snow? It's here 6 months a year. The Quebecois and their unique adaptation of french? The labelling guidelines on products, stating that everything must be labelled in both english and french for resale. Hockey, Mittens, Glittens, and gloves. Yeah, and Newfoundland? Nationally slow healthcare? Those are pretty Canadian. We live in a country where civilization is describes as anywhere containing two or more chinese restaurants. Most of Canada, obviously, is completely backasswater. And you know what we have here that they don't have in the USA? Crunchy cheesies, Butter tarts, and Rick Mercer. Also, Shelagh Rogers, Ian Handsomemanthing, and CBC in general.

Plus, has anyone noticed how much CanadaPost kicks USPS's ass? Honestly, the only bad things that ever happen to my mail, happen once they cross the border. The post office workers will even chip in a dollar and thirty cents from their own pocket if your debit card has epilepsy. Anyway, back to the subject of scarves, which you may have spotted during my culture rant, strategically placed so drive-by readers stop and lend me an eye. They're both 100% suri alpaca, spun and knit by yours truly. Unfortunately they're for an exchange with a farm, so they left last week. I've knit a total of 4 scarves since october, and not a one did I get to keep. I did finish the Peacock feathers shawl though. I haven't the courage to block it at the moment (or the space), so it's sitting in a rumpled heap on my yarn-mountain table.

My wonderful drum carder was starting to act strange, so we performed drum carder surgery this afternoon, which led to a full cale cleanup of the fibre creation room. Due to space constraints and my living situation, this also doubles as my bedroom, snake/tarantula room, library, closet, and stash room. Anyway, drum carder works again, room has considerably less alpaca fuzz-weeds drifting over it's floor.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Oh the Suspense!

Here is my Questionnaire for secret pal numero dix!

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Well everyone knows I'm pretty crazy about alpaca, but considering the Insane amount of fibre I have to spin, I'd like to branch out. I'd really like to try some cashmere, qiviut, angora and more silk! I'm not fond of synthetic fibres, a little bit in sock yarn is ok though.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? Mostly in a box. My previous secret pal (bless her cat-loving heart) sent me a cloth needlecase for dpn's though, I'm putting that to good use.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I'd say I'm an advancved intermediate, I learned to knit when I was 4, then again when I was 9, and have been knitting seriously for about 4 years.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Yup I do!

5. What's your favorite scent?
I love spicy scents, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, amber, especially ginger. I am allergic to synthetic scents though, perfumes don't really work for me unless they're made only from natural products.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

I love organic Dark chocolate, and candied ginger. There is also this rare thing called a Hunza apricot, or a sund-dried turkish apricot. They are uniquely wonderful in every way, but I can't find them here.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

I spin, and weave a little. I also cook a lot from scratch (in this day and age that's pretty do-it-yourself) and garden.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I like Joni Mitchell, Holly Cole, and Sarah Machlachlan if I'm in the right mood. I'm also a big fan of They Might be Giants, Moxie Fruvous Andrea Bocelli (the classical stuff only) and old jazz.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?

Favorite colour would have to be green. I love green. Mostly I just don't like too much pink, mustard yellow, olive green, Neons, or pastel overdoses. Can't go wrong with fall colours, earth tones, or greens! Blue is nice too, sorry blue. And orange.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I have no partner, no children, but I do have pets. Which are like children. and siblings, which are worse than both. I play servant to a psychotic dog, a boa, a cranky old mare, and two tarantulas.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

Yup, not so much ponchos. I hate knitting scarves. And it takes special hats to make me look prudy, but I like hats all the same. Especially ones with big brims. And bows.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

I like lace shawls. %#$& scarves aren't my thing right now. Socks are fun, except when you have to make the second one. Mittens are good. Hats are really good. I think I should make a sweater one of these days.

13. What are you knitting right now?
Lots of stuff. Scarves (#$%&), almost finished the peacock feathers shawl, and lots of random things.
14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?


15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I like circs, but straights are okay if they're short enough not to catch on everything around you and disturb your knitting. I don't like plastic, and my last pal sent me some bamboo needles which I am quite enjoying.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

Yarn winder, yes, Swift I am in Desperate need of.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
Does it count if I don't know where it is anymore? if so, 7 years, if not...2?

18. What is your favorite holiday?
oooh, thanksgiving probably. Gotta love all that food.

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Bags. Dog hair (intentionally and not), alpaca fleece, dust (not intentional), seeds, books, hair pins, yarn, needles.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

HOMESPUN HANDKNIT. I love that book. I wanna try some Socks that Rock and uhm, new spinning fibres! Also, knitpicks Options would be a blessing. I don't have any mag subscriptions, but I'd really like interweave Knits, or Spin off.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
Fair Isle knitting, double knitting, steeking, all the hard stuff.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

I am a sock knitter, and I have a ladies 7 - 7 1/2 foot.

23. When is your birthday?
April 7!

A last word to whoever my next pal is. I have curiosity that simply cannot be stated, and in most swaps by accident a name gets signed onto the email. Sometimes when I check statcounter I can see what link people came to my blog from, and if it was from an email I'll know who you are! Take every precaution, and make it really really hard for me to find you!

Oh hey, I have a blog.

Whoops, kinda forgot about this little page. I got pretty sick on tuesday, and stayed in bed the next day too, horrible stomach flu...or maybe food poisoning. Now I have a head cold, always fun. I went to a chi kung workshop last monday, and that was really quite helpful. You guys wanna see some pictures?

First we have the yarn from Tricotin's Spin me a treasure swap. It's tencel and mohair, all the way from Texas. Not the softest thing out there, but the colours are pretty gorgeous, maybe I'll use it as a warp!

Next we have a pair of giant mansocks I made as part of a trade for an alpaca farm. They're size twelve. I carden, spun, and knit the damn things. I never want to make socks this big again! Sadly I don't think that's up to me. My hand for scale, which probably doesn't help unless you know how big my hand is!

Next we have a scarf I'm making in trade, she wanted something plain, but I'm not really happy with this. To me it says 'rustic' but not the kind of rustic I like. It'll probably end up getting ripped back and re-knit. I hate knitting scarves, did anyone know that?

In any case, I'll try to update more often. I may even resort to desperate measures to create blog fodder if I have to. And on another last note, I forgot to add that I also recieved a beautiful needle case from my Secret Pal that I didn't photograph or post...Next time, when I pick the million dog hairs off of it!