Friday, August 29, 2008

WOW! My very own Vegan A Go-Go!

I arrived home late and exhausted from yet another trip. My spirits lifted when I discovered that I am the proud new owner of my very own Vegan A Go-Go by Sarah Kramer.

It even has a lip smack containing her DNA. How cool is that?

Right away, I made myself some Cure-All Ginger Tea. Being in the super-tired state that I was, I misread the quantities and ended up with extra-spicy tea. Apparently, when I'm tired I can't tell the difference between 1/2 teaspoon (what I used) and 1/8th of a teaspoon (what I should have used). It was a spicy shock and a definite pick me up.

I can't wait to see what other exciting vegan dishes I can add to my day.

Thanks everyone for sending smiles my way. I'm off to enjoy reading them all. Blogging on my part will still be sparse for the next week or so; however, if you miss me too much, feel free to send more smiles my way.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

make me smile

I'm super busy for the next few days. I'll be back blogging again by the middle of the first week in September. Until then, I have a boon to ask.

Please make me smile.

I'm having trouble doing it on my own just now, but I have faith in you wonderful blog people. If you have a joke, tell it. If you saw a funny (and perhaps yarn related) video, please link to it. Online comics like Cat and Girl; tell me more. What makes you smile? Chances are it will make smile too.

Monday, August 25, 2008

If only House was real

I've been watching a lot of DVDs lately. My physio therapist is now talking of my recovery in terms of months instead of weeks like I had planed. I have to do something to keep me occupied until I can knit again, so I've been re-watching some of my favorite TV shows; most notably, House md.

I love House. Hugh Laurie is a dream. I've always been a fan what with being raised on Black Adder and such. There is something about him on House; perhaps the gruff accent or the desperate need of a shave, that makes him go from oh so adorable to rather sexy. The writing for the show is witty, the music perfect, and the plots involving. If you ignore all that medical stuff, it really is my kind of show.

Recently, for me, all that medical stuff has more significance. I envy the speed and the efficiency that they work. The simple fact that the doctors look at the patient's entire life and diagnose based on a holistic picture of what's going on. An average physician spend 8 minutes visiting with a patient in these parts, but in the show, you have four to six doctors working on one person, running tests, brainstormimg. The patient is cured (or dead) in under a week their time - an hour our time. It's fast and its decisive patient care. It's not like my life where tests take two months to come in and then are inconclusive.

I'm frustrated with my health and I'm frustrated with the health system. I'm certain this isn't new to you - the tone of my blog has fallen in the last few weeks. The simple fact that no one can tell what's wrong with me makes me want to cry.

Not knitting also leads to a lot more reading. Since books are out of the question (sensitivity to paper and ink), I've been reading what I can online. One of the subjects I keep coming back to is my health. That, and other peoples' health. There are a lot of people out there with undiagnosed or undiagnosable chronic illnesses. These illnesses, like my own, have devowered peoples lives and livelihood. They have destroyed families, friendships, and savings accounts. Like myself, many of these people have been told it's psychosomatic. From the small sampling I have read, woman are significantly more likely to be given a psyc diagnosis and denied tests that would have shown an actual physical illness. Many of these people are intelligent and determined. They know when they are given a raw deal and they keep on looking until they can find a medical professional who will listen to them and actually do something to help them. The tests later reveal that they did in fact have cancer or Lyme or some other serious chronic condition.

Over and over again, the lesson that is learnt is that one has to participate in ones own health care. In Canada, we don't have the commercial model of health care - we are not hiring a physician to fix us like we would a mechanic to repair our car. This is wonderful in the sense that no-one can be denied medical attention: it is considered a basic right and all people are supposidly given equal access to medicine. It's also not a partnership, there is no way we are going to know enough to be equal partners in our own good health unless we too attend medical school. But we do need to participate. It's our actions or inaction that are going to effect our health the most. What we do at home. What we eat, which medicines we decide to take, and what procidures we consent to. The doctor's responsibility is to help us make informed decisions (I could go on for hours about standard of informed consent - but not today). Unfortunately, because of the difference in training and knowledge between patient and physician, many doctors take a paternalistic approach to health care: they know best because they are doctors, why should they waist their time and your by listening to you? It is this approach that seems to do the most damage. So many physicians just don't listen.

When a person isn't listened too, they tend to seek treatment elsewhere. Snake oil salesmen are very popular these days; albeit, in the form of cure-all nutritional supplements (some of which are helpful - most of which are just over processed soy). Naturopaths are useful because they look at the whole picture and, if they are any good, they will mix allopathic diagnostic techniques and medicines with lifestyle change and natural foods. Others just hop from specialist to specialist placing more weight on an already burdaned system. It wouldn't need to happen if their GP had taken a few extra minuites to listen to them. There are a lot of desperate people out there looking for someone to help them. And, there are a lot of other people taking advantage of it.

Even one of my relatives has offered to send me to this medical guru who claims he will cure me with injections of vitamin C. I'm not that desperate yet, though I do plan to drink more fresh orange juce.

I take comfort reading other peoples' stories. Many of which have been diagnosed, cured, treated, or learnt to live with their illness. There is hope there. My darkest hours, when I despair and wallow in self pity, are no darker than theirs. They made it through. Perhaps tomorrow will bring a solution that will help me.

Many people feel changed or enlightened by their experience. Every day is precious or some such. I don't exactly share that sentiment, though perhaps one day I will. It has shown me what I value most. But I don't feel all altruistic about it just yet. I don't feel thankful for my illness.

I also don't feel angry. Yes, I am frustrated almost to the point of depression, but it seems to be common for people in my position to feel angry about the medical establishment. The time it takes for the tests, the expenses, the waiting, the not knowing, and the not being listened too. All these things seem to make people very bitter and angry. Perhaps it is because anger was never an acceptable emotion when I was growing up. Well, not acceptable for me at any rate. Or, maybe it is because I understand some of the structure of health care here: how we have so many people needing help and so few resources to provide it. Maybe it is the wonderful support from my friends and family that help me get through the day. I don't know why I am not bitter and angry about these trials and tribulations.

What I feel most is the desire to take action. I want to be able to do something more for my health. I've changed everything in my home and diet, even bought machines that will aid me in my every-day activities so that I can do some of the things I use to do, like my laundry or the dishes. But still, it doesn't feel like enough. Maybe I could contact Willy Wonka and use his TV machine and transport me into an episode of House. I'm certain it wouldn't take ten minutes for House to diagnose me. But, as I'm stuck here in real life; all I can do is wait and keep pestering the physicians in hopes of finding some answers.

Friday, August 22, 2008


I feel completely overwhelmed with the world today. It's almost like panic only without any real cause. It's just the little things that are getting to me. Those, and the big things that are looming on the horizon.

I've been ill a year now. Not just the everyday aches and pains and weakness; really seriously ill, spend most of my time in bed, sick. It's been over a year where I've very rapidly lost the ability to do just about everything I enjoy. All that I hold close to my self, the actions that define me in this world, I've lost the ability to do them. And I don't know why. What's more, although socialized medicine pays for standard care - undiagnosed chronic illnesses do not really fall under that category. I've completely run through my savings and have enough for one more trip to the US to see this specialist. With any luck, my student loan won't be too far away and that will get me by another few months. I don't know what happens after that.

But you know, I've gotten use to all that, it bothers me, true, but it's not what's making me anxious today. It's much more the little things. I have so many appointments over the next few weeks and so many of them are double booked. I'm going to have to back out of some of them, mostly the fun things. That lets people down, people I respect and would like very much to think good things about me. And then there are the socks I haven't had the chance to knit for the sock exchanges. Not that it's done my wrist much good, it still hurts just as much as it did before. What do people do when they don't manage to knit socks for an exchange?

Such busy times, then right on their heals, university starts up again. Am I going to be able to manage this? How? I couldn't last year.

Maybe the little things are getting to me because of the big things. Maybe I'm worried that I spent all my money on my health and still have no definitive answer. I don't know anymore. All I know is that all of this makes me very, very tired.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Oh dear

I've volunteered to attend the Saanich fair again this year. I love it. Spending time with all those people, show the kids and their guardians about wool and how it becomes yarn. I love spending time with my yarn friends. I enjoy being outside with people whom I enjoy. I've been really looking forward to this festival for months.

Now I've just found out that a person very instrumental in my life is coming to town on that day. This is a once in a life time opportunity to meet this wonderful individual who is such a vital part of my family. I've never meet her before and it is doubtful I will ever have another chance; however, I have this other commitment.

So what do I do? Do I tell her sorry, wrong day, if only you came on a Thursday? Or do I let my yarn friends down? I can always go to the Saanich Fair again next year, but I did make the commitment to go this year. It's difficult, I've had almost the entire summer off, commitment free, then everything comes together on one day. I want to be two people so that I can do both. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I've been sewing

A new laptop needs a new bag to go with it.

I've spent hours looking on the Internet and in local shops for a bag I like; with no luck. It's either made with synthetic fabric which makes my hands itch, too small, too big, too heavy, or too ugly.

Next I looked for sewing patterns. I even bought this pattern in hopes that it would fit my wants. It didn't really.

I had two options, a) modify my wants or b) design my own bag. I chose the latter, it's easier to maintain.

Monday, August 18, 2008

some kind person

Some kind person sent me a present in the post (I folded over the name on the note because I forgot to ask the kind person if it was allowed on my blog).

Thank you kind person. It's going in my window just as soon as I can find a way to hang it securely. It also gives me an idea for something I'm working on.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

In Defence of Food - Audio

I've just finished In Defence of Food by Michael Pollan. My friend Curlysalamander recommended it to me.

I must admit to you that I didn't actually read it. I listened. I bought the audio book from They are already my main music provider, but I hesitated to buy their audio books.

I like this book a lot. The narrator has a Shatner kind of diction and it makes me laugh when he says things like, 'you're gonna wanna..." Only, think Captain Kirk. You're! ... ... Gonna-wanna... ... somethingsomething.

There is a lot of great stuff in this book - simple rules that are surprisingly easy to live by that not only make you a healthier person, they help the environment and the local economy as well.

My e-book subscription renews today, I wonder if I should get the Omnivore's Dilemma by the same, or treat myself to something extra special: the unabridged Odyssey (my favorite translation)?

Friday, August 15, 2008

So glad I'm not crazy

So, the doctor recommended these probiotics because they are suppose to be of the best quality you can get in this country. In theory, they have non of the things in them that make me sick: No soy, no milk, no blueberries, no garlic, &c. Being the obedient patient that I am, I took them. I felt sick. I re-checked the label, no reason to feel sick. So I took them again, I felt sick again. Every time I took these perfectly good for me pills, it made me feel as if I had drunk a glass of milk. But there wasn't any milk in them.

I must be going crazy. Something perfectly agreeable to my digestion was making me sick for no reason. I tried ignoring feeling ill, taking half doses, or taking it every other day. The days when I had none, I felt fine, the days when I had some, I felt horrid.

What ever could be wrong? It must be purely psychosomatic.

The pills were wrong (and here)! So there! Not me. I'm not crazy.

Lesson learnt: trust my gut. That, and don't trust anything I didn't prepare myself.

It's always nice to discover that I'm not crazy.

And people actually wonder why I don't like Facebook

Um, exactly.

That and their privacy policy (coupled with the post 9.11 privacy legislation enacted by the US government). No really, take a few hours and read it some time.

You will never find me on Facebook - it's too weird.

Conceptual Knitting


Thursday, August 14, 2008

getting use to it

I'm still struggling with not knitting and not typing, &c. The thing is, when I don't do those things, my wrist doesn't hurt as much, so I think I'm all better and try to do these things again. It's challenging. It's as if the universe gives me a whole lot of good luck, then punishes me for accepting it. It's been an 'interesting' year.

Thank you everyone for your kind words of comfort. They help make me feel better.

I have been slowly sewing. It hurts my wrist a bit, but not as much as other tasks, so I can at least do something to keep myself occupied.

This time around it IS a blouse and it fits. That makes me happy! I am still not certain how I feel about having a printed pattern on a blouse, I usually wear solid colours except for sweaters. What do you think? Is this something I could wear out and about? Can I wear this to university, or should it be a stay at home top?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Knitting not allowed

It took two doctors and the threat of not being able to knit for a year if I didn't obey. Apparently my wrists (both of them) are inflamed from a combination of injury and overuse.

Two weeks. That's an absolute minimum of how long I am not allowed to knit, spin, type (ops) or do any repetitive motion. Two weeks plus to get the inflammation down. Then there is recovery time, which could be a few months after that. Maybe then, if I do what they say - aka not knit or any of my other hobbies like blogging or writing, then I can start to get better.

What am I going to do with myself? How can I turn yet another setback into something positive?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Send emails

Hi all,

I'm still getting use to this new computer. Still having trouble with the sound, but it's only one program now, the fingerprint login system, everything else is finally starting to listen to me.

Next comes emails and bookmarks. If you are one of the people I regularly email (Kittens and other spinners, I'm thinking of you) and you haven't heard from me in the last three days, can you send an email my way to say 'hi'? I've probably typed your email wrong or something when I transferred it to the new machine.


ps. I just checked my junk mail folder, there were some good emails hiding in there too. I guess that's something else I need to train.

Smelly people

Scented consumer products contain undisclosed toxic compounds

I could have told you as much.

Monday, August 11, 2008

well, I couldn't think of a title

Well, I've finally seen a doctor about my arm. It's been over a month since I got into an argument with the car door and over three weeks of not knitting. It's torture.

My doctor referred me to a specialist; one who I'm told is experienced at getting knitters knitting again - Yeah! That at least makes me glad.

The stressful thing is that my coping mechanism for stress is to knit. So, now I'm stressed because I cannot knit and I cannot knit to make the stress go away. I go see the specialist this week and with luck, they will have the needles clicking away between my fingers in no time.

It also means I'm not participating in the knitting Olympics, ravalympics, or any other yarn related Olympic event. I'm okay with that as I have plenty of other knitting obligations that are not getting done at the moment.

I have to start knitting a pair of socks for a sock exchange at the middle of next month. I have to finish knitting my one sock for the one sock challenge last Christmas. I have two knitting commissions, one of which is a sweater in gorgeous, albeit thin yarn. Normally I'd be all over thin yarned sweaters. And then there are a few projects I'm knitting for myself; well, I can't say at the moment, so I'll say they are on the needles - two pair of knee high socks, honeycomb vest, and other stuff I cannot bring to mind just now.

I am feeling overwhelmed as I've never had so many knitting commitments for other people before. The deadlines are looming, like the monster in an old horror flick. You know it's there, getting closer, and closer, even if you can't see it yet. You know it's not going to go away. I know there is precious little I can do about it until I get my wrist fixed. I only pray I'm one of those characters who survived the ordeal and doesn't get eaten by the monster. Fingers crossed (owe - okay, other hand).

Sunday, August 10, 2008

New frustrations - Computer genius wanted!

Thanks to the government's kindness (oxymoron perhaps?), I am now the owner of a brand new Laptop.

It's wonderful they gave me a grant due to my health issues. Half of it I've spent on this laptop, the other half will go to directly to health expenses (of which there are many). Once this computer stops emitting that new plastic smell, I'll be able to use it for all my educational and blogging needs. This makes me happy, especially since I cannot tolerate paper products any longer.

It also makes me frustrated. Yes, I realized that it would take about a fortnight to transfer all my settings and email addresses. I'm not going to use the auto-transfer of data, because, quite frankly my old computer filing system is a mess. I'm certain no-one in their right mind could find a file on the old PC, heck, even I could barely find where I put things. This is a chance to re-organize and get ready for class.

But that's not what makes me frustrated. On the surface, Vista is ultimately more customizable than prior window's systems. And yet, it refuses to believe me when I tell it to be quiet! I go into the main windows sound control and tell it to be silent, it says 'sure thing boss', then next time I open up windows (before the log in screen) it beeps or makes the 'I'm opening windows now' music. Of course, it doesn't do this when my speakers are on mute (thank goodness), but when the speakers are on mute, I cannot hear a dvd or a mp3 file. So I turn my speakers on and being the forgetful person that I am, forget to turn them off again when I shut down my PC.

I've found five different ways to tell it to be quiet, ops, just found a sixth which also doesn't work.

What I want is for the computer to make sound only when I want it to. I want it to make sound for music, dvds, online videos and the like. What I do not want it to do is make sound when it starts up, shuts down, gets grumpy, or receives emails. Or anything else along those lines. There is nothing more annoying for me than when a person with a laptop gets an instant message from a friend and everyone in the class can here it because, beep boop, beep - we all know you are slacking, you don't have to interrupt the lecture with your beeping.

I don't want to be the person with a noisy laptop. If I choose to slack off (doubtful, but it depends on the instructor) I don't want the world to know it. So how do I tell my computer to SHUT UP?

I'm not a novice at computers; not by any means. I even use to be a whiz at programing, though I never kept it up. You know, I miss DOS. It use to listen to me. It understood me. We had conversations, and it remembered what I told it. It did what I asked and never gave me any fuss. I miss those days. Sure there was a lot of typing, but keyboard short cuts are far faster than a mouse any day (especially a lap-top's tiny little finger mouse). Sigh. The good old days are gone and I need to learn this new system.

So, for the most part, the beeping and other sounds only happen when I'm not logged into windows. Is there anyway to get to windows without being inside my login shell (like an administrator account on XP - but Vista never gave me the option to set up) so that I can teach it to be quiet?

Everything else Vista is a learning curve to be certain and just about everything (adobe software exclued - but that never works for me) is purring like kittens (only quietly).

Friday, August 08, 2008

Moss st Market - In2Bags

Now here is something I haven't seen at the Moss st Market before.

A collection of cotton and jute, nice, renewable fibers, presented to us in an eco-friendly, reusable bag form. There were a collection of different sizes, from big shopping bags to small, especially designed for bringing your produce home in, but more on that later.

I especially like the motto of In2Bags, 'Be the change you want to see in the world', perhaps the most useful Gandhi quote I've come across and an excellent mantra to live one's life by.

The shopping bag our happy vendor is holding up is written in Hindi and although I've forgotten what it says exactly, I remember it made me smile.

Some of you might be wondering what is jute anyway? I know a few things about jute, after all, I'll read anything I can get my hands on if it's written in the 18th and 19th centuries; be it household manuals, scientific treatises, philosophical texts, or good old fiction by Jane Austin or our imposing friend Dickens. I'm familiar with the word jute. I know it is or was used for making sacks for shipping and storing things in. It was a vital item to, if not trade itself, the infrastructure of trade. I know it is still used in nurseries for wrapping around the roots of large trees when they are dug up and transported from one home to another. Doing this keeps the tree alive by helping to retain moisture and protecting the good bacteria and other goodies that live in the tree roots. Not only that, when you plant the tree at it's new resting place, you leave the roots wrapped in the jute cloth. In short order, once buried in the ground, the jute cloth begins to rot and provides well needed nutrients to the tree.

But when I searched the database of my memory for everything I know about jute, I discovered that I didn't actually know what it was. In2Bags tells us this about jute:

Jute products are environmentally friendly.
Jute is one of the strongest natural fibers.
Jute fibers are 100% bio-degradable and recyclable.
Jute is a rain-fed crop with little need for fertilizer or pesticides.
The jute fiber comes from the stem and ribbon (outer skin) of the jute plant.
Jute is made of long, soft, shiny vegetable fibers that are be spun into coarse, strong threads.
Jut is produced primarily in Bangladesh, India and Thailand.
Jute, a natural fiber with a golden and silky shine, is often called the "Golden Fiber".

I especially like the forth one down: rain fed crop, little or no chemicals to produce. Being rain fed, means that people do not have mine the water table for this particular crop, a practice that has caused wide spread desertification over the centuries. Of course, I'm all for not using pesticides and (chemical) fertilizers.

These particular jute bags feel softer than most hemp cloth that is available in North America. You can imagine that I was surprised when I read on Wikipedia that Jute is usually known as that prickley fabric called burlap in these parts. It's an interesting fibre with a long history, and as though of you who know me well enough can imagine, I want to get my hands on some so I can try spinning it into yarn.

Before I leave you today, I want to tell you a little more about these mesh bags made from jute.

You know when you go to the grocery shop and you want to buy some, let's say, apricots? First, you get a plastic bag from one of the rolls hidden around the produce section, then you fumble around trying to get it open, and finish off by placing your carefully selected fruit in the bag. The idea is that instead of using plastic bags, you can use one of these jute mesh bags. This has advantages, some disadvantages, and some more advantages that turn some of the disadvantages into a situation which is good for your health.

  1. Advantage: fruits like apricots and plums, apples and even tomatoes (though whether this is a fruit or not depends on which set of criteria you are using - there are lots to choose from) ripen and rot much faster when they are not exposed to the air. For example, when they are in a plastic bag - once you get the tomato home, it's shelf life while sitting on the counter is about 48 hours, tops. The reason for this involves chemistry and botany and gasses, and really would make this blog entry intolerably long; so please, just trust me on this one. After all, food science is an area of great intrest to me. If you place the tomato in a non-plastic mesh bag, it doubles the shelf life.

  2. Advantage: each time you use it, you place one less plastic bag in the land fill.

  3. Disadvantage: it weighs slightly more than a plastic bag and we shop for produce mostly by weight.

  4. Disadvantage: some foods, like spinach, celery, beans, and broccoli, keep longer when in an airtight container like a plastic bag. Using these mesh bags to store foods like these for more than 24 hours, causes them to degrade faster (again I cite complicated chemistry).

  5. Advantage: we can use the disadvantage above to improve our health. The longer the food substance is away from the plant - be it an apple or leave of spinach - that is, the longer the time between harvest of the fruit or vegetable and the entry of said item into your mouth, the less nutrients the fruit or vegetable has to offer us. So, if you pick two beans and eat one of them immediately and the other other you leave in the bottom of your fridge for a week before eating it, the nutritional value of the first bean vastly outweighs that of the second. Why? The thing about fresh food is that it is FRESH. As food ages, many of the chemicals change into other chemicals - some of these new chemicals are good for you or fun to imbibe (alcohol for example) and others are not so good for you (mold). Again, I'm oversimplifying. The moral is that food is better for you fresh. It's got more of what your body needs when it's fresh. Shopping once a week for everything, a common practice these days, means that by the time you get around to eating your broccoli, it's lost much of the goodness it had when you first bought it. Instead, shopping every second day on your way home from work and buying only enough of what you need for those two days, ensures that you give your body fresh, good things to eat. Using these mesh bags would force you into a habit that is beneficial to your health.

That's the end of my mini series on the Moss st Market. I hope it was enjoyable for you. I'm off to the garden to pick some beans.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Moss st Market - Abeego

Yes, I've told you about these before and no, I'm not affiliated in any way. I've just enjoyed using my Abeego so much that I wanted to get to know the creator a little better. So when I saw her at the market again this week, I stopped in and said hi.

For those of you who don't know yet, this is for wrapping food. It's environmentally friendly and food safe; beeswax and natural oils make it almost airtight so that your food stays fresh throughout the day.

Mine works great so far, but I feared I wasn't getting the most out of it. A refresher course was in order.

That extra little tuck in near the beginning (you take the two sides and sort of tuck the top under the first - it's easier to do than explain) is what I was missing. It seals the food up better to keep it fresh.

And at speeds faster than my camera can capture (on still setting - I have yet to learn how to put a video on my blog), the sandwich was wrapped and ready to travel.

I have to say this again, the best thing about this product - well, second best after not poisoning yourself with evil plastic chemicals leaking into your food - and ofcourse, there is the whole thing about promoting local small business - is that when you finish eating your lunch, you don't have to deal with bulky, empty Tupperware cluttering up your bag.

It's the little things that make me happy.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Moss St Market - Patterns in Nature

There was a sign that caught my eye among all the glints and glamor of the Moss St Market last Saturday.

A lot of the signs you see at the market advertise prices or products. Sometimes they talk about techniques used to create a particular item or about the environmentally friendly nature of the materials used.

This one sign did none of these things. Instead, it asked me if I was repairing my roof and wanted to allow this man to transform some of my old roof into art. I've never been asked this before so I decided to investigate.

Hiding among some reeds, I found an artist.

Created from re-used scraps of asphalt roofing, these little gardens are a perfect little paradise.

I thought it a wonderful and innovative way to take something that would otherwise act as filler in our landfills and transform it into, not just art, but art where new things can grow.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Vegan a GoGo is Here'ish

Oh my G, oh my G, oh my Vegan a GoGo!

The advance copies of Vegan a GoGo are now available.

Even if you are like me and still a little vegan-nervous, have a click and watch the amazing video. But then again, I have circled the world with almost 20 kilograms of cookbooks weighing down my luggage, so I am more than grateful that I no longer have to wish that I could 'shrink them with a ray gun to make them fit into my pocket'. Where am I going to get a ray gun anyway?

I think this book is exactly what I need to get over my vegan hesitations.


Yet another new online knitting magazine: Knotions. Is this my lucky month or something?

Craft Ninja

This makes me want to teach my sewing machine to embroider.

The Moss St Market - one of four

The Moss St Market is within easy walking distance of my home. Well, I say easy, and it would be if not for the trip home, where we climb up hill with a great number of heavy goodies gathered in cloth bags, slung over our shoulders. So it would be an easy walk from our home if it wasn't so lovely and the vendors were not so tempting.

I love the lazy Saturday mornings in the summer. The market starts almost early enough to avoid the heat of the day. We depart our home after a leisurely coffee and breakfast, taking our time as we amble towards the excitement.

The Moss St Market is, you guessed it, on Moss st. It takes place on a school yard, next to the playground which is always littered with youngins while one or other (which ever isn't watching the play) of their caregivers meander around the vendors' stalls.

In the center of it all are musicians and some benches on which you can sit and enjoy the music. It's funny, first time visitors can spend an hour or more before they realize that they are hearing live music. This music is a vital part of the atmosphere and it seeps around the market, permeating every transaction.

On three sides, the artisans encase the musical core of the market. Stalls of wonderful creations, of environmentally friendly and hand made goodies are carefully placed on tables and racks in hopes of tempting buyers. Along the fourth side is lunch. Wonderful foods cooked right there at the market. The smell alone is enough to overcome all other senses and to waken a deep seed of hunger in one's stomach. My favorite lunch is created by a woman's group. They always have among the longest line up at their tent and the most amazing food. The recipes for their tasty treats come from an area of the world spanning between India and Morocco. The goat cheese, pea and spinach pasty (I think you spell it Beraq) is a special favorite of mine.

The outer ring of stalls provide the opportunity to purchase fresh, organic, locally grown vegetables - and lots of them. There are even two vendors who sell local honey. Fresh honey, only a few week or days out of the hive, has a taste to it unlike anything you could ever find in the shops. I highly recommend it.

That is a summery of my local market. I wish to whichever deity smiles on small artisan and farmers' markets that this was a year round joy. Perhaps one day there will be enough people wanting to brave the wet winter weather to make it worth while opening their doors, so to speak, year round. Goodness knows with the weather we have locally, if you are smart about it, it is easy to grow crops to harvest year round; even if it's just leeks and brussel sprouts.

For the next three days, please allow me tell you about a few special vendors who caught my eye this week.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Love and good thoughts for friends

My heart goes out to all my friends in and from Port Hardy. I know that your community is closeknit and even if you are not close with those involved in this horrible event, you are bound to be acquainted with them. I have no idea what it feels like to experience something like this and I only wish I knew the right thing to say to make you feel better.

Jenshine, call me anytime if you would like to talk.


Do you remember that all so lovely loom that was gifted to me a few months ago? It now lives in my former dining room. We are still working on getting the loom ready to weave. It's slow going, what with it being canning season and all. But this winter will be for weaving.

The kind individual who gave me the loom stopped by this weekend and dropped off a few extra goodies that went with the loom (tie up stuff) and a few goodies for me.

Mmmmm, warp. A nice wool-nylon blend for learning how to weave with and a big boat shuttle.

But that's not all. She also gave me some wonderful hand spun, hand dyed yarn.

You see how it captures the light? It almost has as much luster as silk. This is indicative of goat fibres. The individual fibres of animal based yarns have scales (the same way that human hair does - if you run your fingers one way along a hair, it feels smooth, if you run them the other way, it feels rough - that's because of the scales). Wool tends to have more open scales, and depending on the bread, that's why it appears more matt (Mariano would be a good example of one with smaller, more closed scales, causing it to look shinier than say, wool from a Suffolk sheep) when seen in sunlight. It also makes it the easiest fibre to turn into yarn because the individual fibres tend to cling to each other thanks to the scales.

Goat fibres, the ones we use for making yarn at any rate, tend to have scales that are larger and to lye flat. This creates a more continuous surface that reflects light easier. Basically, it gives it a lovely sheen.

This yarn also feels like mohair, only the individual fibres are much finer than mohair I've seen in the past. Perhaps cashmere or a mix breed?

Whichever it is, this is going to make a wonderful weft. I wonder if there is enough here for a blanket for my bed?
I feel so lucky to know someone as kind as this woman. Perhaps one day I will be like her, an experienced weaver, and will have the opportunity to help someone who is just starting out on this wonderful fibre-arts journey. I hope so.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Stay tuned

There may not be much knitting getting done these days, but it doesn't mean I cannot blog.

Later this week, probably Tuesday, I plan to do a series of posts about the local farmer's/craft market: The Moss st Market.

I had a great deal of fun there yesterday, talking to the vendors, sampling the honey, buying goodies and things to put the goodies in. I also got some great photos and discovered some innovative products.

On a completely different note, if you are interested in Lyme disease and the controversy that surrounds it, have a read of this story: Redefining Lyme. I found it well researched and very interesting. If it intrigues you, see if you can find any of the articles she cites at the end of the story.

Here is one quote that I found most pertinent to my current situation (which is yet undiagnosed I might add).

Consider the following scenario: you’re barely able to get out of bed most of the time, but you hardly ever sleep; one body part or another is always in some degree of pain and/or swelling, and when the pain gets bad, it gets really bad; you can’t work, you’re losing weight, and you’re losing your mind ... what would you be willing to do for a chance at getting your life back?

Okay, so I can still get out of bed in the morning, but after about 4pm, my body is completely useless. Three more weeks before the next, expensive, batch of test results get back. Even then, they might not say anything useful. I really want my life back.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Twist Collective

Okay, this is very cool: The Twist Collective (it's about yarn). Expensive patterns perhaps; however, I love the format they have used to present it in. And these socks. Anyone want to buy me this pattern for Christmas? Perhaps I should buy it for myself once the student loan comes in.

I love my garden

I love my garden. It gives me yummy things to eat.


Fingerling potatoes

mmmmm.... potatoes.

Super hot chili peppers. Hot, hot, so hot.

Scarlet runners

Scarlet runners running up sunflowers



On another note, I'm seriously considering getting my wrist seen to. It's been a week of not knitting. I think if this last much longer I might go insane.

Friday, August 01, 2008

What is it?

Any thoughts as to what kind of squash this is? It volunteered to grow in my garden, and I didn't have the heart to pull it out. Now it's taking over and I have no idea what it is. Does anyone have a clue?

Don't worry, it will get bigger.

And while we are on the topic of squashes, anyone know what this one is?

I don't eat a lot of squashes. At least I didn't use to. I have a feeling that is about to change.