Thursday, February 27, 2014

The return of the Sock Monkey

I've come across a number of articles lately on sock monkeys. I know that they are adorable, however, they have taken on a life of their own, as designers push the medium to the extreme!! Here is a dress made of sock monkeys.

And another take on it from Rebecca Yaker.

Finally there is the more artistic side on display at the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatchewan.

Here artist, Trace Nelson, has created a huge collection of weird and wonderful monkeys, some with three heads, for your enjoyment. They are wonderful - just click on the Mendel link to see more.

As an aside, please note the pom poms on this big guy. I have said before that pom poms are an art form and Clover has the most artistic pom pom makers this side of Saskatoon :) Check them out on our site, by keying pom pom into the search engine at

Friday, February 21, 2014

What does it take to win "gold?"

....maybe just an empty net and a flukey missed shot. How many times have you succeeded in spite of the odds and how many times have you missed a wide open opportunity?

These moments happened in Olympic proportions yesterday to the Canadian woman's hockey team. Down 2-1 against the US, with seconds remaining in the game, they pulled their goalie. At the face off, the US got possession of the puck, lined up a shot, on an empty net, and then missed. The Canadian team recovered the puck and went on to score the tying goal!! The person, who fired the shot that missed, will take that moment to her grave!! I wonder how it will affect her life?

Alternatively, Canadians may begin to believe in divine intervention. For the last four or five minutes of the game, Canada paused - people stopped work, traffic thinned and anyone, who could, glued themselves to TV screens across the country to watch a cliff hanger of a game that ended against all odds.

I am reminded of another spectacular game, also in Russia, a long time ago. Canada paused then too. Those who could, watched; those who couldn't, just listened. In my case it was over the PA system, during the last period of the school day. All of us, along with the rest of Canada, held our breath, as Paul Henderson scored the winning goal against Russia.

Believe in miracles.

Have an awesome day!!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Dryads and the Meaning of Life - a repost from another earlier blog :)

OK, I think that it's time to move to a higher plane. I know that getting out of parking spots, fixing wiper blades for rear windows, buying Cranberry scones etc... is the stuff of life; but, every once in a while we need to be catapulted out of the mundane, however, comfortable that may be and look at knitting and life at a higher level!

I know, I can hear you...Oh no...not academia again.  Well no, it's not really that high brow intellectual stuff, not from me anyway; but it is still about raising knitting and maybe ourselves above that sort of plastic canvas stuff. For example, we can shop at Value Village and Walmart as long as we know what a Dryad is!

Now, I know that you are not going to have a conversation in the checkout line about Dryads and Hamadryads (these are dryads with a degree) but maybe you might just want to disappear into a Greek myth or two when you need to tell your mind that this is just what your body has to do (shop here) and that really your mind doesn't need anything except Mozart, whose birthday is today, Jan 27 - a little night music please - and maybe the odd Dryad. Because, if we could just live with what we love in our minds, well we might go naked and that wouldn't work because the police would pick us up and send us home.

So we compensate. We clothe the body and feed the soul.

Dryad from Sivia Harding
I have chosen Dryad, because it was a term that I had never heard before until I uploaded a pattern by Sivia Harding and another by Woolly Wormhead, both called "Dryad."  Dryads are tree nymphs - most specifically "oak tree" nymphs. They are those shy elusive creatures that inhabit oak trees. I have always just referred to these "lesser" immortals from Greek mythology as nymphs whether they were from the water, air, earth etc...

Well, slap my wrists, because the more you assign names to things, the more you enrich your vocabulary and your life. So not only do we have nymphs, we also have "wood" nymphs or Dryads. In fact, I guess, that the ancient Greeks really knew how to enrich their lives because, not only did they have nymphs for oak trees, they had - nymphs for Ash trees called Meliai, for Apple - Empimeliad and for Walnut - Caryatids and many more I'm sure.

Tree scarf inhabiting a Dryad
Cultures tend to be very specific about the things that mean a lot to them. The Inuit, for example, have something like 20 synonyms for snow. This I can understand. When you are surrounded by snow for 10 or 11 months of the year, you would develop a vocabulary to enrich your life by finding those minute differences in your surroundings.

I guess that the ancient Greeks were surrounded by spirits, nymphs, capricious gods, demi-gods, titans, and other rather superior human beings. I have a feeling that I might have missed something by being born somewhere in the 20th century.

Knitters too are a culture unto themselves, not unlike the ancient Greeks. Non-knitters will apply the term knitting to anything from crochet to latch hook rugs, whereas, we knitters are very specific about the terms we use to define what we do, the tools we use, the yarns, stitches, cast-ons, offs, etc...etc... In some mystic way, though we might not be the Dryads of knitting, we can understand the spirits that inhabit our work. We enrich our life by naming the infinitesimal aspects of our art and we raise our work to the sublime by assigning it titles from a culture obsessed with the divine!

I have just realized that if I research the names of all the Dryads and the names of all the other nymph species - water, air etc.  I would have an amazing cache of ideas for lace scarves, shawls and stoles - yes, immortality means eternity!!


Saturday, February 1, 2014

I was reading in the business section of the Globe and Mail this morning an article about Arlene Dickinson of Dragon's Den. The article covered her rise from "unemployed" housewife to owner of Venture Communications. According to the article, her struggle was monumental, but she made it, along with caring for four children. Did you know that she has five grandchildren? She also has compassion and a strong understanding of mentorship. This is why she has created the site, for entrepreneurs struggling to survive the pressures of building a business.

According to the article, Arlene's site offers tips, professional advice, feature stories and a blog from Ms. Dickinson herself. Here's the link - I found it easier to create an account by logging in via their FaceBook icon. I tried originally to set up an account with my Infiknit email and password, but got caught in a loop.

Once logged in, I found lots of articles on communicating, blogging, etc. There where platforms to ask questions - and presumably get answers. You could create groups, or join groups and so on. It was almost the business equivalent of Ravelry. In this respect, it also offers a place to move away from the knitting community, to get a broader view or just a different view of business and life - entertwined as they so often are!

I am always in favour of the vacation that some artists take, when they decide to work in a different medium for a while, before coming back to their preferred. It is not only energizing, it also brings a whole different perspective to what might be a very narrow niche.

The picture? A tribute to people who work with their hands and are on their feet a lot in the business of knitting!!

Have a great day!!