Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ariadne Knits!

I was so happy to visit the new yarn shop in Montreal last week. For a major city, we were lacking in yarn shops for a little while. Now we have three! The owners of Ariadne are really friendly women. I went over with Bridget and took some photos. It's a very cozy place with couches and a fireplace (a great Canadian must this time of year), lots of colorful yarn, good music in the background and easy conversations. I can't wait to start going to their knit nights. I had to miss their first one this week because of longer than expected work hours. But it's every other thursday (starting Dec.13). Check out their site for more info. I heard that they even had a male knitter this week! How exotic! They're also having a christmas drive this weekend so take look at their blog for more info.

I will try to have the time to stop by the Hot Cakes Craft Bazaar (5039 St.Dominique ) this weekend to fill up on some crafty stocking stuffers. For any montrealers that are interested, it's from Dec.14(12-8 pm), 15th (11-6 pm), 16th (11-5 pm). I'm really hoping to make it.

Can't blog and knit all at once... but driving...

I feel bad that I haven't had any time to blog. I've had a very busy week. I'm trying to get all my Christmas knitting done and I just started working six days a week. I'm designing a showroom for a home decorating company and this is the period that they are in their major rush to prepare for a big open house they have in January. On top of it, I have to drive down to Ontario next thursday for 6 days to visit Andreas' family for Christmas and then rush back for the 27th to prepare a christmas dinner that night with my family. I'm supposed to go to work the next day, but who knows if I'll be able to make it. I'll probably be reading all my knitting books! That's right, I've been keeping an Amazon Wishlist for the past year and I sent it out to my sister and my boyfriend last week. All I know is that they've been asking me about knitting books recently and I feel like I can expect at least a couple of them in my lap under a pile of wrapping paper. So maybe I might be a bit too busy to go into work the next day. Those are the advantages and disadvantages of being my own boss.

I've got a few things that I'm rushing to finish before we leave. I was trying to get all of Andreas' sister's gifts done in a rush to send to Scotland in time, but she's decided to come home for Christmas instead so it does buy me a bit of time. I'm actually thinking about paying much more to take the train, instead of driving, so that I can complete all my gifts. It is a 10 hour drive and everyone knows that you can't knit and drive... Actually, I found out this week that you kinda can. I was stuck in traffic after work and I guess that when I sit around not doing anything with my hands, I automatically dig my hands into my purse and pull out my needles and yarn. Well, I started doing it while I was driving, and it worked! But I stopped once the traffic started moving faster. Is that legal? Honestly, it was more dangerous to drive and take this photograph at the same time.

Anyway, here are some updates on my Christmas knitting. Since I had knit 5 "Fuzzy Feet"slippers (that's only two pairs and 1 extra that was the wrong size), I was pretty tired of doing so.
So when I found these slippers in CRAFT magazine, I thought that it would be easier to just knit garter stitch squares, sew them together and felt them. But this is proving to take longer than lots of other complicated things that I've knit. How is this possible? The only conclusion that I could come to is that I only knit 19 stitches and the time that it takes me to turn it around is really adding up! I don't know what else it could be, but they're taking way too long to knit up. I guess that my knitting time is very limited these days. I've knit 6 out of 8 squares from the second slipper. Almost done!

I finished one handle from the " Everlasting Bagstopper". I found the pattern for the handle on the Purl Bee website. That is a beautiful site. Anyway, I knit mine a bit too long based on Andreas' advice, but when I filled it up with stuff, they really stretched out. So be careful if you knit these up, follow the pattern advice.

I still have a pair of mits to cast on and knit, a sock and a half for my grandma, the second handle on the bag and a giant felting spree of slippers! Good thing that my family is only celebrating on the 27th. It bought me some time. I'm already dreaming about what I'm gonna knit for myself after Christmas. Please feel free to leave me comments about how all your christmas knitting is going too!

Monday, December 3, 2007

The shoot's done...until May!

I'm quite happy with the shoot this weekend. I did manage to get some knitting done on them. The rooms we shot in were so small that I had no choice but to sit in the next room while the camera was rolling, so the sound guy couldn't pick up the sound of my needles. I got a few Christmas presents done. I'll post those up very soon. For now, here are a few pictures of the actual film.

Friday started off as a cold snowy night and regrettably the DOP and I had decided that we would love to shoot the whole diner scene from the outside. It looked nice but it was freezing! In this scene, the couple is really not getting along. They're having a very passive aggressive conversation over pogs and hamburgers. We thought that it would be nice to have the seperation of the glass between the audience and characters. The snow was falling and we caught some beautiful light reflections from cars on the windows.
Last year, my grandmother was throwing out a paint-by-number painting that my grandfather had made in the '70s. It's a boat caught in a storm, pretty ugly. I grabbed it (just in case) I've managed to put it on a few sets that are too bland. This set specifically was lacking a bit of colour, so I threw it in. Try to catch it in the photos.

The next location was a very small bathroom that could barely fit the actor and the camera. But I really loved the tiling in the washroom.

I did manage to get some knitting done on this one!

The last day was in the male charcter's kitchen. The time of day is supposed to be late at night, but the DOP placed these very white diffused lights in the windows. I'm not sure what that will look like on screen.

The hardest part about shooting in a kitchen/living room is the fact that people sit on the couch and move all the pillows around or eat the fruit that I bought as props to sit on the counter in his kitchen. People are too comfortable in these settings.

It's all over for now. We'll see what happens with the rest of the shoot in May. It might not show, but it's a hard job. There's so much preperation before the shoot. Then the actual day of, you're there before anyone because they can't work until you're done setting up. You're always last to leave because you can't start taking your set down until after the lights come down (making my days add up between 10 -16 hour days). Also, I end up cleaning the mess left behind by the crew. When we're shooting in people's homes, sometimes the rest of the crew goes to hang out in different rooms, they move things, read their books, sleep on their beds and leave their garbage everywhere. I'm always the one who has to meet with the homeowners and negotiate the use of their places. So when I leave, I need to clean everything and try to remember if things were moved by us or them, and make beds (really not something in my job description). I always have people phonening me weeks later asking me where their remote control went or who broke a vase. It's really not very respectful of people, but I'm too busy to be the one to manage that while I'm on set.

I wish that I could just get paid to knit and watch films all day. There has to be a job that falls under that description.

Friday, November 30, 2007

A few announcements!

I'm almost off to the second weekend of shooting. I'm just waiting for the pogos to be ready for the props in tonight's diner scene. Before I go though, there are a few little things that i want to announce.

Last night, I was reading the recent posts on the Montreal Knits forum. There are two young women who are working really hard to prepare for the opening of their yarn shop in St-Henri. That's right! There will be a new place to buy yarn in Montreal! There really aren't that many places for knitters and crafters in this city, so i'm pretty excited! Here's a link to their webpage: They don't have that much up yet, but it all looks very promising. I also lived in St-Henri for about 6 years and so I miss it dearly and always like to have a reason to go and visit the old hood.

The second thing that I wanted to mention is that the Yarn Harlot started a group last year called "Knitters Without Borders". I think her brother or brother-in-law (sorry) is a doctor that works for Doctor's Without Borders, and he was helping families who were affected by the Tsunami last year. She asked knitters to donate a sum money to the KWB instead of buying that skein of yarn that just might sit in their stash for too long. She posted some other reasons to donate throughout the year. She calculated all the donations this week and came up with 434 439.41$. That's a lot of money that can buy a lot of building materials, food, clothing, and medicine for people who very badly need it. I'm just amazed at the generosity of teh knitting community. You can see her blog on the sidebar of my blog.

Also, I wanted to tell you guys about a great stitch and bitch that I went to this week with my friend Bridget (who's become a knitter in the past few weeks. Yay! I finally have a friend who knits. The friend knitting wave begins!). It's in a really cute store in Montreal on Parc Ave. (above Fairmount ) called Wooden Apples. It's packed with so many beautifully crafted objects. The owner is the sweetest girl who just moved down here in June. I really reccomend checking it out for Christmas gifts and some personal treats. The Stitch and Bitch is on every second Wednesday (the next one is on Dec.12). She also mentioned that they offer workshops on felting, knitting, crocheting and sewing. Very interesting indeed! I'll put up some photos very soon since I got to go back to get my scissors that I forgot there. Here's a link to her site:

I'll soon put post up about what's happening with my christmas gifts. I'm having a couple dilemas with some patterns. So keep your blog ears open for that upcoming news! I'm running a little late now!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Less knitting, more movie making!

I always think that I'll get so much knitting done on film shoots. I'm thinking that once I've placed the set for the shot, all that's left to do is sit back and watch. No not really, I'm always moving things and hiding tape or glare or spray painting small spots... As well as the fact that once they yell "Action!", everyone needs to be extremely quiet on set. There can't even be a plane passing overhead. So knitting is too noisy.

Here are some photos of the sets that were shot up to now. The pictures were taken by Safe Solvent who's a fabulous photographer/graphic designer/web designer/does everything kinda guy ( )

The first ones are of the female character's bedroom. It's a sunny saturday morning and the young lovers are waking up late and cudling in bed.

Because the film is called "washed in blue", we decided that there would be the colour blue present through out the film. In this scene, I wanted it to be cozy and on the walls. As things begin to worsen between the characters, the lighting turns blue. At the end there's no more blue. It just dissapears from their lives completely.

As some of you might notice from an older post, we cut out trying to make a silhouette on the window and instead we just blasted white light in.

The next scene was shot in "The Village" at a restaurant called The Sandwicherie. The director really wanted flashing neon lights and that's what he got! It looked great, except for the fact that I forgot that the dinner had a chrome surface, so all of our lights really reflected on it. But I found that using silver duct tape hid all the flareing that the DOP complained about.

I'm really enjoying working with this great team. The DOP is doing a wonderful job lighting and making decisions about the camera angles and movement. The actors are really getting the characters...anyway, everyone's on the ball. Next weekend's shoot will be fun. I'll keep you posted with more photos.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

More christmas gifts are being added to my list!

I went to my grandmother's house for lunch a couple days ago and she asked me if I could knit her some warm socks for the winter. They needed to be thin enough to wear with slippers and have cuffs that begin at the ankle instead of her calf.

I was pretty nervous about the request for a few reasons. The first being that my grandmother is very picky when it comes to gifts. We always end up returning a majority of what has been bought for her at christmas or birthdays. Secondly, I have a lot of christmas knitting that I'm trying to finish off. And third of all, the last pair of socks that I knit took me six months to do. So I wasn't all that confident about making these for christmas. The thing is though, that my grandmother rarely asks for anything other than blue eyeshadow, so when she does you kind of feel like it's something that she really wants. So I ran to the yarn shop yesterday and the woman who works there recomended a worsted weight wool yarn that is very soft, made in Italy (like my grandma), and can be knit up with US size 4 dpns! She sold me a simple pattern and I was off! Last night, I cast on and knit for a couple of hours between my work and sleep. I was surprised that I got as far as I did.

So I phoned her this morning to ask her what size shoe she wears and she told me to forget about the socks. Supposedly she found a pair of slippers that she forgot she had and it would be too warm to wear both around the house. She only wears dresses (she's never owned one pair of pants) and stockings. She never wears socks to go out or anything. So I think that I might just send them over to Andreas' sister in Scotland with the bagstopper for Christmas, because I can't find it in myself to knit her up another pair of fuzzy feet slippers this year.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

film shoot this weekend!

I'm a bit on edge about this film that I'm production designing. The art director had to stop working on it because something else had coem up. So now I'm stuck doing a lot of the work on my own. That's alright but I'm really stuck with one element that I really wanted and now i think that I'll need to cut it out of the film.

I need to recreate this in a window in the appartment that we're shooting at. The problem is that there's no balcony under the window and I need to build not only the thing creating the shadow, but an arm to hold it over the balcony. I just have so much stuff to do before the shoot on saturday morning and I'm working on another contract. I was hoping that the art director would build and shop, but he's gone! So i've been crushing all this into my schedule this week and I'm running out of time! I'm thinking about it being made out of cardboard and wood but if it rains or snows on saturday, it's gonna melt. I think that it's gotta get cut out. As usual, the director is fine with that because we'll just add it in post-production...they always say that but green screen does not look good...well barely ever.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The best dessert that I've ever made!

Last year, I asked Andreas' mom what her favourite dessert that her mother had made was. She said that it was chocolate eclairs. I was surprised that you could make them at home because I always connected them with expensive french pastry shops. This fall, I found the recipe for chocolate eclairs in what is now my favourite cookbook! I was planning on making them for my cousin who just turned 18. A few days before, I was siting around with two friends, Bridget and Isa, and we were talking about this dessert, and since they were going to be at this dinner where I was going to serve the wonderful pastries, they got quite involved in suggesting different ways to serve these. Their main suggestion was that instead of pre-glazing the eclairs with chocolate, why not wait until serving them and then pour the hot chocolate all over them. In France, these are called profiteroles and are shaped like balls instead of...well...cylinders. They were surprisingly easy to make.

Here is the recipe from the "River Cottage Family Cookbook":

makes about 15 balls:
Butter, 75g
Water, 200ml
A pinch of salt
Strong plain flour, 100g (I used half regular flour and half bread flour, but I think that just regular flour is fine)
3 eggs
250ml whipping cream

Caster sugar, 100g (I used regular sugar)
Water, 100ml
Dark chocolate, 50g
Unsalted butter, 25g

1. Switch on oven to 200C. Dice the butter, put it into medium saucepan with the water and salt and switch on the heat to low. Stir with wooden spoon. While butter melts, sift flower into a small bowl.

2.When the butter has melted, turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Switch off the heat and quickly add the flour into the saucepan. Immediately beat the flour into the liquid with the wooden spoon to mix all together. After a few seconds, you'll find that the mixture swells into a smooth dough that comes away from the sides of the saucepan.

3. Let the mixture cool for 3-4 min. Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk with a fork. Pour a little of the egg into the flour mixture and beat it in well. Keep adding and beating in the egg, a little at a time, until the dough looks thick,smooth and shiny and holds its shape well. You may not need to add the last 2 tbsp. of egg if they were large eggs. I should look like this:

4. Spoon the mixture into a freezer bag, fold down the top of the bag to squeeze the dough to the bottom. Snip off one of the bottom corners of the bag to give you a hole about 1cm long.(I just used a piping bag and it worked as well).

5. THIS IS WHERE YOU DECIDE TO MAKE ECLAIRS OR PROFITEROLES: Line the baking sheets with baking parchment paper (foil would probably work too). Squeeze the mixture into small sausage shapes for eclairs or into blobs for the profiteroles, allowing about 4cm space between them (they double in size). You should be able to make between 12-17.

6.Place the baking sheet in the hot oven and leave for about 30 min. When they are ready, they should be puffed up, a good golden brown all over and feel hard when you poke one with a knife. Take out of oven.

7. Immediately take each off the sheet and cut a small slit in each of them to release the steam (if not, they'll go soggy). Leave them to cool on a rack.

8. While cooling, whip the cream. Put in fridge while you make the icing.

9. For the icing, put the sugar and water in small saucepan, place on stove and turn it on low. Heat gently, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon to dissolve the suggar. bring to a boil for 3min. Switch off the stove and wait a few minutes for the syrup to cool down.

10. When it's warm, rather than very hot, add teh chocolate and chunks of butter. Stir until both have melted and blended to a smooth, glossy sauce. If making the profiteroles, add a bit of milk to thin it out a little. Leave to cool, stirring occasionally. When the sauce starts to thicken, it's ready to ice the eclairs.

11. When the buns are cool, pipe in the cream from the slit that you made before (you could also use a teaspoon instead of the piping bag). If making the eclairs, take a teaspoon and smear the chocolate generously over each eclair. If making the profiteroles, put about three in a small bowl for each guest and pour the warm chocolate over it.

I had leftovers so I brought them to a friends house the next day. I prepared the sauce from home and before leaving, i just poured it over the dessert in a tupperware.

They loved them! i loved them! I'm going to try to make them for Christmas this year, maybe for Andreas' mom if we get there early enough on christmas eve. I'm also submitting the recipe to a contest on the She-Knits Ravelry page.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Where did all these UFOs come from?

I started knitting my christmas presents early this year, end of October, I think. I bought lots of yarn at the same time and picked out all my patterns. The thing is that as I would begin getting bored with something, I would start another project, then something would go wrong and I would rip that one back, put it aside and start something else. Now what I am stuck with is a pile of UFOs (unfinished objects in the knitting slang). Here are some photos to show where I'm at.

It all began with my first sweater back in April. I saw the greatest pattern in Erica Knight's "Classsic Knits". I didn't realize that it would take me so long to knit with a fingering weight mohair. Well, I guess that I knew that it would take me a long time, but I did think that I'd have it by christmas. My major problem is that I don't have a ball winder and the cotton that I've doubled with the mohair came unwound. Not knowing any better, I've been trying to do it myself and it takes so long for me to wind myself up a ball once I've run out. All that's left is for me to knit the two sleeves,sew it all together, finish the collar ribbing and then add some snaps and maybe some ribbons on the edges. It might go to January.

Then came this blanket in June. I just wanted something easy to knit when i go to the movies and the theatre. I thought that I could make baby blankets to give to a charity in South Africa. I guess that I haven't seen too many movies lately.

Next are the Christmas presents. I knit my sister a mitten, but when I was almost done the first, I got a few people to try it on and it seems to be too small, so I ripped back. I've got to start those over. I'm also making some fuzzy feet slippers for Andreas' dad and I just put them down to make a bagstopper for Andreas' sister, possibly instead of knitting another pair of fuzzy feet slippers for her, because I'm kinda getting tired of knitting them.

While I'm on the subject, have I mentioned the Holiday Cal-Kal I joined this year to motivate myself to make all these presents? Check it out at: . Anyway, I'll finish it all very soon! Except, I realized today that I'm knitting for everyone except for my sweet boyfriend! Oh well, I'll make him something nice for his birthday in February. His mom's knitting him socks for Christmas anyway!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Greater the Weight

Here are some pictures from the last film shoot that I art directed. I worked with a wonderful production company called Mouvement Perpetuel ( that was started by two dancers who now make films about dance. They are really great directors and a blast to work with. It was a really simple idea. It was a very strong contemporary dance piece by Dana Michel.

The directors asked for a simple white roped boxing ring. I had found some great black and white pictures of boxing rings from the 70s, when people still smoked like crazy during the matches. Here are some examples:

The director of photography followed with the aesthetic and got moving lights with strong beams to light the dancer. We got a smoke machine to fill the room and overall it looked pretty good! I was happy with the results since I was really busy working on a set for a play and I had to pay my boyfriend to build it from our tiny appartment. I loved working on this project. Here are some pics of the final result:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A new set!

I'm presently working on art direction for a film. I've actually had the script for this one for almost a year now, but it didn't look like it would happen. Then, two weeks ago, they decided to shoot half of it at the end of november! At first (as usual) I thought that the set would be pretty straight forward; a bedroom, a kitchen... You know, normal places. But when you start doing research your head starts to spin with ideas! So it's getting pretty elaborate. On top of it, it's really hard to find appartments to film in that have a bedroom or kitchen large enough to fit all the lights, the camera, the crew...the actors. Especially ones that you are allowed to paint. I guess if we had a larger budget anything would be possible, but we don't. Anyway, I'll post some photos up soon of some of the design ideas and the actual sets. I think that this one will be exciting to work on. I always think that, until the last few weeks of the shoot , when I wish that I could throw the script at the director's head and stay home and knit all day. But until then, I do really like my job.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Weekend of the comfort foods!

I'm just going to throw in a little extract of what a wonderful weekend that we're having as foodies. I made my own pizza dough! It was amazing. I really thought that it would be much more difficult than it was, but it wasn't. It was delicious. Here are some photos:

They both have homemade tomato sauce and pesto, and goat cheese. One has smoked salmon, capers, lemon and olive oil. The other has mozzarella, parmesan, roasted red peppers, olives. They were so good! We finished off with delicious canollis from Roma, the best italian pastry shop in Little Italy.

The next day, I went to my grandma's house because she was making wonderful polenta. This is ground cornmeal that is cooked with some water and spread on a big wood board on a table. Then you pour homemade tomato sauce with various meats onto it. It's really warm comfort food. My adorable nephew, Kheo, seemed pretty impressed, but he's just starting to eat more solid foods, so his mom wasn't so sure about letting him eat it just yet. Here are some pics of that meal:

I'm very full and happy on this monday morning before heading off to work.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

New First Entry!

Okay, so this isn't as easy as I thought that it would be. I wrote an entry that stayed up for over a week or two and I really thought that it was boring to read! I think that I was a bit rigid in my writting. So as I do with my knitting, I ripped back (or pressed delete) and I'm starting over. Boy I wish that I could do that with everything! So here is my new trial.

I'll start with a knitting story. I decided to start knitting my christmas presents in october. I joined a knitting Cal-Kal ( ). I made up a list that was suitable for the amount of time that I had. Andreas' mom thought me how to knit, so I though that it would be nice to knit something for her. I looked around at lots of patterns and I decided to go with Fuzzy Feet felted slippers ( ). Actually, I decided to knit a pair for both his parents, his sister and her boyfriend (who just moved to Scotland). They are a pretty quick knit, but it honestly takes me about a week per slipper because I don't have that much time to knit. So I started by just knitting one. I started with his mom's because if I hadn't finished anything else, at least I would have hers done.

I knit it exactly as the pattern showed and once I felted it, the cuff was very wobbly and almost frilly. This wasn't going to suit his father's and I didn't really like them. So I started over. That one will be used as my nephew's first Christmas stocking.

The next time, I made the cuff higher so that it would keep their ankles warm. I also ribbed them. I felted both of them, and measured them. 9 1/2" . Damn! When I checked the foot size conversion site, it showed that for her size foot, it would need to be 10". On top of it, I want her to be able to wear warm socks with it.

So I've decided to keep them for myself or give them to someone else who might have size 6 or 6 1/2 feet. I bought more yarn in a beautiful purple because I don't know if I'm just tired of seeing that shade of red on my needles and I'll start hers over. At least I've knit almost one whole sock for his father and the cuff for the second sock.

I don't know if I'll make it for Christmas with the two other pairs. I'm making a pair of mitts for my sister out of a pretty wool. The cuffs are basket weave stitch. Very original. I just finished a scarf for my mom.

I hope that she likes it 'cause I don't really know how she feels about handmade knits. It'll be my first christmas knitting gifts for people and you don't know how people are going to react. On the Yarn Thing Podcast this week, she was talking about how some knitters on ravelry have said that they've found certain people to be really rude about gifts that they've received. One woman had knit socks for her grandchildren and her daughter in-law threw them in the garbage because "they don't wear handmades". Wow! That's really insulting. She said that she took them back out of the garbage. I don't think anyone will do that to me though. I hope not.

Talking about Ravelry...I was invited this week! I just hope that it doesn't suck up too much of my time on the computer. I actually told myself that i needed to focus on writting a blog that I'm proud to share before i allow myself to indulge in beautiful ravelry fun. If you haven't been, check it out . It's for knitters and crocheters. I actually tried to sit down and go through the tour of the website with Andreas so that he would see exactly what I'm sooo excited about. I really thought that he would get it, but he just stared pretty blankly at the screen. He was working on a film shoot all day and he was lying in bed reading when I plopped the computer on his lap, and he doesn't knit, not even a little... so...I guess his reaction was to be expected.

Okay so, thanks for reading. I'm going to check out the website!