31 January 2008

well well well, what do we have HERE?!

Well, yesterday was the 30th which means only one thing in the House of Brouhaha: PayDay!!!

To top it off, I had received a rebate cheque the day before from Canada Post for yet another parcel they had lost - sigh. I think that a few months back my local postal station turned into a black hole. There are no doubt little gift packages with my chicken scratch on it floating around out there somewhere in space...

So - because I was meeting Bronwen on College Street, I made a little expedition to Lettuce Knit.

And thisis what the evil kind yarnie people had sitting right near the front door to the shop:

Schaefer Anne laceweight! Now, I've heard lots about this stuff but didn't think you could buy it on the shelf in Canada. And - what a luscious coral colour!

Then, stupidly, I decided to look on the Malabrigo shelf and saw this Tortuga shade:

"Tortuga", as far as I know, means "turtle". However, I think that this colour should be called Espeluznante (which means "spooky").

(I should note that Good Kristina made a brief appearance at around this point... so all is not lost. The first appearance in 2008, I should add. At least it's still January:

Good Kristina: STOP BUYING LACEWEIGHT LARN!!! You have plenty at home.

Evil Kristina: Not spooky yarn, I don't. And the spooky stuff is perfect for the Muir shawl.

Good Kristina: That's what you said about the beige stuff!

Evil Kristina: Well, I was wrong. It happens, surprising though that may be to you - Miss Perfect!!

Good Kristina: But you've already got all of this other Malabrigo at home, and you don't even know what you're going to make with it yet?

Evil Kristina: (with leisurely Mediterranean shrug) So?! (taking a drag on cigarette)

Good Kristina: How much lace can you make, anyway?!?

Evil Kristina: (blowing smoke in Good Kristina's face) Oh, I don't know. I thought I might try a super duper multicoloured version of Debbie New's lace coracle and use it to float you out into the middle of Lake Ontario:

Good Kristina: Oh, get over yourself!

Evil Kristina: Ah, shuddup already.
And that, as they say, was that.

I had also gone to Arton at lunchtime and bought all these beads:

And these ones (10 packs for $10!):

So, it was a shiny happy day for me! Not to mention my progress on my commuting project...

...and this book I scored at the library:

And no, this is not my passive-aggressive way of sharing any BIG NEWS with you. Rather, I'm planning a knitting design book and want ideas. There's this one, and the other one about "Don't knit your boyfriend a sweater until he has the ring". So, I'm thinking of a couple of companion volumes:

- Living in Sin - Stylin' Knits for Shackin' Chicks

- Divorce Knits - Reclaim your Style

- Say No To Booties - Fashions for the Childfree.

Do you think Interweave Press would go for it? Hmm.

Hey - I just learned that Handmaiden published pics of my Shazam scarf on her blog! She thinks it's majestic!! And she mentions that they have come out with Double Sea Silk. I'm in real trouble now, I can tell you... sigh.
Well, time to think about getting to the office. Wishing you all a wonderful Thursday!

30 January 2008

how to put your rent money to better use

DISCLAIMER: Despite the rather irresponsible title, this post is not intended as legal advice. Nor is it intended to downplay the obligation under the law to pay rent - tenants, fail to do so at your own peril - the peril being an application to terminate your tenancy for non-payment of rent pursuant to s.59(1) of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, CHAPTER 17 (hereinafter "RTA") or an application to terminate your tenancy for persistent late payment of the rent pursuant to RTA s.58(1)1. And yes, you can get evicted in winter. Really. Yawn... where was I? Oh, yes...

First up: the requisite ego shot of rather beautiful lacework (if I do say so myself) - my latest progress on the Secret of the Stole II KAL!

And now back to our regular programming. After my disheartening experience on Monday at the Landlord and Tenant Board as chronicled in yesterday's rant, I was so incensed by landLORDdom and my corresponding serfdom that I spent the portion of the February rent that JJ had given me at Knitomatic.

Well, not quite. But I did score some goodies, and even some bargains!

First up - some Misti Alpaca laceweight, which I just had to have after seeing Katty's beautiful version of the Muir Shawl on Ravelry.

Beige?!?!? you ask. What is rotten in the state of Brouhaha? I know... but it's not really beige. See...

It's got little orangey and yellowy bits in it. There was a real tossup, I may say, between this colour and a lovely bright purple. But I had to restrain myself from buying both when I saw this...

Allhemp3 fingering weight hemp - on sale! This is perfect for a little project I've been scheming about - maybe. It's a shame I can't draw or graph - this tends to impede the design planning somewhat. Oh well. Minor barriers, surely, and not insuperable... are they?

Oh - and don't you think these beads that I picked up last week go well with the Misti?

And check out the vintage buttons - $1.00 a pack! Now, this is my kind of dollar store...

Beige again? Is this a trend? ACK!!!

Oh - they also had some new (to me) and rather interesting sock yarn from SWTC called
TOFUtsies. What was interesting about it? Here were the contents:
50% Superwash Wool
25% SOYSILK brand fiber
22.5% Cotton
2.5% Chitin (made from shrimp and crab shells!)
Shrimp and crab shells?!? Should I take up spinning and tell JJ to stop throwing all of the leftover food over the balcony? (but then, the entire raccoon population of West Toronto would die of starvation. Bad karma. Forget it.) Anyway, good thing I don't knit socks and was not huge on the colourways, otherwise I suspect all of JJs rent money would have been spent!

And then I went home and did some work on this:

This is through Row 112 - only eight more to go to finish Clue 2! I had hoped to finish the rest this morning, but decided it is not a good idea to work on lace at 5:00 a.m. when I'm still half asleep - why do that when I can blat away on the blog and share all my half-baked wisdoms instead??

And now it's 7ish: here's what it looks like outside (minus the -15C wind which is making the trees sway wildly...)

AGH. Better head out to work. Sigh. And only yesterday it was above zero and I was out without a hat. Wah.

And on that note, I leave you on this Wednesday (Hump Day) with an unknown work by Dr. Seuss:

29 January 2008

pretty thing and rant

Having said to myself that I would have a knit-free evening last evening, I did however make a start on this beauty:

This will be my new travel project - so simple! The only thing complicated is the yarn - Fleece Artist Goldiehair (silk/mohair/nylon blend). The end result should be a large triangular shawl - all in garter stitch!!

So, why did I need cheering up? Because yesterday I did a fill in shift as "lawyer of last resort" at my old workplace (and the place I'm slotted to go back to in a couple of months' time, goddess help us all!), the Eviction Factory Landlord and Tenant Board.

(I'm going to preface this little rant by saying that it is written entirely in my personal capacity and on my own time. )

This job involves advising tenants on the day of their eviction hearings before the Board. In this regard, I had the mind-numbing, headache-inducing, rage-inspiring experience pleasure of reviewing at least five "tenant ledger" printouts prepared by one particular MegaLandLord in Toronto (and much of the rest of Ontario, and Montreal, for that matter!) who shall remain nameless (all I'll say is that their name begins with M, ends with P has less than seven letters and is a contracted form of their previous name). After more than a year away I had forgotten what a supreme joy this task is.

(A joy that is heightened, mind you, by having some landlord agent standing directly outside the door to my office bellowing into a cell phone to a tenant along the lines of:

I keep telling you, if you leave without giving 60 days' notice in WRITING, that is PUNISHABLE by one's month's rent? Do you hear me?...
Buddy, s/he could have heard you without the cellphone - even if she lived at the other end of the city!!!

You're not listening - I told you it's PUNISHABLE BY ONE MONTH'S RENT!!!
Punishable?? Who was this guy, the Lord High Executioner? Makes me wonder what non-payment for two months is punishable by: being hung by the neck until you are dead? Public flogging and humiliation?

But I didn't have time to mull this over and I couldn't actually hear what my client was saying to me over this racket. So, I stepped into the hallway, took the guy's phone out of his hand, and closed it, cutting off the call. I'm serious. I then advised him that bellowing on mobile phones outside the Duty Counsel office was punishable by having said mobile phone inserted where the sun don't shine.

WANKER: (whining) But this is the only place I can get reception in this $#(@*$&#(@* place.

ME: No it's not - the reception is just fine... OUTSIDE. Take the elevator to the first floor and walk out the front door.

WANKER: bla bla bla... my taxes pay your salary... bla bla bla... lazy evil tenants... yak yak yak.... I'll sue you...

WANKER then apparently decided that the reception might well be better outside, after all. Another one for the good guys.)

But I digress, as usual.... Anyway, I simply cannot understand how a major landlord commanding millions of dollars of rent money in any given month cannot employ people who can keep a set of books properly. I am trained in this area and it is almost impossible to make sense of their byzantine charge system - I don't know how any tenant can manage, actually.

Not to mention the following even more serious issues:
  • crediting other tenants' payments to your ledger by accident and crediting your payments goddess alone knows where.
  • sticking little charges onto the ledger which are illegal under the statute. Yesterday's example: a "skip fee" (actually itemised as "MC#483259259823457235 skipfee-nonoticegiven") of $150.00. This is not a legal charge - and this landlord knows that they cannot use the Board to collect it for them. However, that doesn't stop them from hitting tenants up for it anyway... and if the tenant doesn't know their rights they might well shell out for it.
(The most ridiculous example I've seen of this [and I've seen a lot] was the stunt another major landlord [whose name begins and ends with R and has eight letters] tried to pull a couple three years back - sticking a clause in the standard form tenancy agreement to the effect of "if the tenant gets a pet, the tenant will be responsible for a $250.00/month charge over and above the rent." Call it what you like, I call that rent for pets. And THAT is illegal... and $250.00!!! How much hydro does my goldfish use in any given month, anyway? Must be all that water to fill the bowl... anyone, some disgruntled tenant phoned the Toronto Star who published a story on it - and hey presto, no more pet charge!!!)
  • Putting a Landlord and Tenant Board filing fee onto the ledger a full two months before filing the application and paying the fee. Now, my forte is not accounting. However, if anyone can tell me what bookkeeping principles allow for charging an expense fee before it is incurred, there's a case of Keith's IPA in it for you.
Now - what I would like to see is an accounting of how much Large Nameless Corporate Landlords take in on an annual basis resulting from ... well, such practices that have the distinct appearance of fiddles. Actually, there's a lot of financial info I'd love to see from these landlords. Not enough, I guess, that in Ontario they are not subject to rent controls on vacant units and also get annual increases based on the CPI if they want them... my little comic strip is not as offbase as one might think. And I thought I was exaggerating!

Well, when I'm

(or is it...

... things are going to change. A great deal. Wait for it.

In the meantime, perhaps this is all a big cosmic sign that I should be getting back to my Modern Feudalism project? (I've been hacking away at it page by page. The inspirational juices are newly flowing, however.)

Well, now it's time to start the working day... I gather that surfing while working is punishable by... hmm, I don't know what. Probably firing, then ensuing penury, I guess - just like in the Landlord scheme.


28 January 2008

Shazam! a free pattern

Please note: this pattern tutorial is also available at my new blog, Bespoke By Brouhaha! as well as some other FREE patterns and tutorials. Why not come on over and say hi?

This is something that's been haunting me since the summertime, so it's about time I got it done!

I submitted the pattern a couple of places but no-one bit (likely because the beauty has more to do with the Handmaiden Silken - colourway Sangria here, by the way - ole!!! - yarn than the pattern!). So, I've decided that it should be my little midwinter blues-buster gift to myself and anyone else out there who cares to knit it.

The pattern is heavily inspired by Sivia Harding, who created the wonderful River Rock Scarf (that pattern is found in the No Sheep for You book). The zigzag pattern is modified from one published in a "Lace Primer" article by Eunny Jang in the Interweave Knits Summer 2006 issue.

I ordered the beads from Earthfaire and I strongly suggest that you do the same if you're going to attempt this pattern. The beads that Ellen provides are without compare (at least, in Toronto).

The colours used here are gunmetal and olive gold-lined.

I'm reminded a bit of Bart Simpson's head when I look at this photo!

So, what's next? A crown, perhaps?! Hmm...

The scarf as I made it took a bit less than one skein (100g/250m) of Handmaiden Silken and 750 beads. Dimensions are 40" long by 5 1/2" wide.

Well, I'll stop blatting on now, aside from to wish you all a happy (#$@&($*&@(#$*????) Monday - and to write out the pattern!


A knitting pattern by Kristina "Brouhaha" Brousalis, 2008.

Please feel free to print out for your own use and to share with other knitters or link from your own blog. However, kindly do not repost in full without crediting me. All rights reserved.

  • Yarn: 250 -400 metres of DK weight silk or silk blend. The yarn used here is Silken by Handmaiden). I used a bit less than one skein (100 g or 250 m).
  • Needles: 4.0 mm straight or circular, your choice (I used circular). US size - either 5 or 6 - I'd likely go with the larger ones first.
  • Beads: 1250 beads in 6/0 weight. I used beads by Earthfaire in two colours - 750 in gunmetal and 500 in olive gold-lined. I imagine that you could get away with half the amount of beads if you really want to - but I like the full line.
  • Notions: bead threader or dental floss threader (for threading beads), tapestry needle (for weaving in ends).

(approximate only)

20 sts and 22 rows = 10 cm (4")
one full pattern rep (20 rows) = approx. 15cm (6") wide by 10.5 cm (4.25") high

(But don't get stressed if you don't get this tension! Given that this is lace, much will depend on what type of lace fabric you prefer, of course.)


1. Thread the beads directly on to the yarn before you begin knitting.
  • Use either a beading needle (available at bead shops) or a dental floss threader (available in quantity at most pharmacies). I used the latter.
  • My further suggestion: to save yourself hassles while knitting and minimise having to push the beads down, when you have approx. 40 or 50 beads in a group, push them down several metres and keep doing so, keeping several metres' distance between each group of beads.
  • I don't think the crochet hook method of placing beads will work well with this pattern - but please do correct me if you find out that I'm wrong! (I know you'll be shocked at that notion, but it's been known to happen!)
  • Of course, you can always skip the beads. However, I quite like them.
2. Begin knitting!


K = knit
P = purl
pb = place bead
yo = yarn over
k2tog = knit two stitches together
ssk = slip slip knit (slip the next stitch, then the following, then knit the two slipped stitches together)

Cast on 30 stitches loosely (I used the cable cast-on method).

The pattern is repeated over 20 rows - the entire scarf as I knitted it is 250 rows long, with a half repetition at the end of the scarf.

Knit the pattern:
Rows 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9: P1, PB, *P1, ssk, K2, yo, K1, P1, pb* then repeat the part between the asterisks three times, then last stitch P1.

All even rows (2 through 20): K1, *pb, K1, P5, K1*, repeat the part between the asterisks three times, then last stitch K1

Rows 11, 13, 15, 17, and 19: P1, PB, *P1, K1, yo, K2, K2tog, P1, pb* then repeat the part between the asterisks three times, then last stitch P1.

** I'm sure this would look quite lovely as well if you skipped the beads on the even rows, which would make your knitting life easier.... for my part, I'm quite happy with the even line, but whatever works for you!**

The pattern, when knitted, zigzags naturally like this:

Repeat Rows 1 through 20 a total of 12 times, then repeat rows one through 10 once = 250 rows.

Bind off LOOSELY (if you knit tightly, or you're just beginning, it might help to bind off with a needle one or two sizes larger than what you used to knit the scarf).

AUGHGHGHGGH! How do I place beads, you ask?

Simple. The beads belong between the stitch preceding the "pb" notation and the one following. Just push one bead as closely as you can to the base of your working yarn, then knit or purl the following stitch as directed. Don't worry if the bead appears loose - everything will fall into place eventually.

I use spray blocking for this type of piece. Grab a towel and place on a blocking board (or, if you're like me, the floor on top of a towel). Spray the scarf generously with water from a spray bottle, then flatten out and ensure that all of your little peaks are looking perky and that your beads fall into line. Spray some more and then leave to dry.

It won't probably be the end of the world if you want to do a wet blocking by soaking with water with a bit of mild detergent, shampoo or Eucalan instead. However, I don't vouch for that as I haven't tried it... I would just say be gentle as silk can stretch dramatically.


Please note: this pattern tutorial is also available at my new blog, Bespoke By Brouhaha! as well as some other FREE patterns and tutorials. Why not come on over and say hi?

27 January 2008

Secret of the Stole II - progress!!

I managed to get 40 rows done today, and only frogged once!! This is a photo of what I knitted today... from rows 55 through 94!

Yay! Also am liking the yarn quite a bit more (although did I mention that it bleeds colour?). Maybe I can become a lace queen after all...

Hope I didn't just jinx myself... :-)

Best of luck to all in the KAL!


This morning I was looking high and low for my Fleece Artist bobbly scarf. I was sure I had seen it here:

But imagine my surprise when I stepped out onto the balcony to test my new camera:

... to find the scarf outside!

Wee buggers. Plus - isn't it too cold to hang out in a hammock? Ducks are very odd creatures indeed.

Speaking of the new camera, check out the zoom function! This is the normal view off my balcony (rather glum, isn't it, at this time of year?):

... and here is a zoomed view of the lamppost (not all the way zoomed in, by the way...):

Hmm. This could be useful. I wonder if I could take photos of the yarn selection at Knitomatic from here... and save myself a trip!

And here is the spooky winter forest, yet again...

Time for something colourful, methinks. Is there anything colourful enough in my apartment to cheer me up?

Well, that's a start. What's that, by the way? It is a little tiny bit of my new design project - finished! Lace and everything... can you believe it? It's currently blocking. Tune in tomorrow or Tuesday (dependent on drying time) for a free pattern!!!

But I was thinking something just a bit brighter...

Ah, yes. I feel much better now.

So - what's on the agenda for the rest of today? I'm going to start Clue 2 of the Secret of the Stole II. Please wish me luck! Law and Order and Michael Moore's Sicko will hopefully help me along in this regard...

And, perhaps if everything goes well I will manage to actually put some order into the bedroom (which is in such a state that I am actually embarrassed to show you any photos...sigh).

Happy Sunday!

26 January 2008

camera drama and other trifles

Well, I guess I had a couple too many last night with the Tenant Advocates, because somehow I managed to lose both my camera and my fancy new beaded winter hat!!!


I have phoned approximately 50 cab companies in the somewhat misguided hope that the cab driver who brought me home actually found it and turned it in. No such luck.
Amazing that I already feel like I'm in withdrawal. I won't be able to replace it until next week Wednesday when I get paid. Don't think I can con JJ into replacing it for me any sooner ... let's just say he was not favourably impressed by the situation. And who could blame him, really?!

This is a particular shame as I had taken some very wonderful photos of the gang, who mostly gave me permission to post them here. Oh well - next time.

So, in the meantime, what else is new?

My coworker Paul made me a sign for my door at work. Apparently, this is what the coworkers think about me: The correct sign

I say "the correct sign" because he actually initially misspelled my title. This was the first sign that he made: The misspelled sign

Please feel free to use, adapt, etc. to your own purposes if this suits you!

Also, in other news, Batty sent me a link to this pattern, saying she though immediately of me!

A Carmen Miranda baby hat!

Now, how do you think I could adapt the pattern to make one for myself?!?

Happy Saturday! On the upside, I plan to do nothing but knit today. What a luxury!

25 January 2008

vale Kristina, Queen of Lace!

Ahem... well, that might be overstating it a tad. However, bloodied but not bowed, I return from the Land of the Secret of the Stole II (Clue No. 1) - triumphant!!!
Obviously the photographic skills still need some improvement... but you get the drift.

Perhaps my wee rant yesterday got my demons out of my system, I don't know. However, I finally have a beginning that I can live with - just in time for the release of Clue No. 2!

Isn't she pretty?

I'm glad I finally managed to figure out this diamond pattern in the middle:

It may be a bit messy, but it's mine! And I'm glad I switched back down to the 3.25mm needles - I like this fabric better than the first one I came up with.

So - clouds, silver linings, all that!

(It strikes me in hindsight that I should have been much less hard on myself - after all, I have managed not so long ago to come up with these works: the Montego Bay scarf:

...whic, as you may recall, morphed into this tunic:

...as well as these two scarves:

So, a couple of tips from the front line for other neophytes to lace:

  • be patient and don't go flinging UFOs off balconies - in only because you brain a neighbour, you might get evicted, and then wouldn't have anyplace to keep your laceweight stash!
  • as beautiful as it is, avoid using Malabrigo laceweight for a first major project. It sticks to itself a bit too much, making the inevitable frogging more difficult.
  • do not delude yourself that you are so skilled as to not have to use LIFELINES. Millions do, apparently.
  • do not attempt knitting lace when your eyes are tired from having spent 11 hours that day revising extremely boring legal papers on computer screens.
  • did I mention LIFELINES?
Anyway, I'm quite chuffed. In addition to finishing Clue 1, I managed to get this little hat done as well - to go with my new car coat!

It is actually still in progress - maybe. The pattern is the Beaded Tresses Hat by Cat Bordhi. I may or may not add the tresses... but don't you like the beads?

Yarn is Manos del Uruguay 100% yarn. Initially I wasn't too fond of the bumpy texture, but now I think it works with this design quite well. The scarf, by the way, is done in Fleece Artist Goldielocks and is also Moebius in nature.

And what are the big plans for the weekend, pray tell? I plan to get a good start on a design project using this:

(Handmaiden Silken. The colourway is Sangria - more red than I can manage to reproduce here. Beads by Earthfaire.) I have submitted this idea to Interweave Knits sometime back but have heard nothing - so I suspect I'll be putting up photos next week regardless.

But not tonight. Why? Because tonight is the monthly summit of the Tenant Advocates!!! Today's excuse: it's Rabbie Burns Day!!!! So right now I'm sipping on a wee dram (of diet coke - can't stand whisky!) in honour of the grrrreat JJ, King of Tollcross... and will be hoisting something a bit stronger come 3:30 p.m 5:00 or so. I will be toasting all those (Scottish or not) who left me kind messages and words of hope regarding my lace travails.


Quiz: what kind of wool are you?

Now, I know I'm a bit lame and behind the times when it comes to webquizzes - but saw this when reading back instalments of Amy's blog... and on that note, she is celebrating her blogbirthday and has her own quiz going, with a prize! If you decide to check it out and fill it in, please let her know that I sent you ;)

Anyway, check out the sidebar to find out what kind of wool you are. I wasn't too surprised at my result once I read the description...



24 January 2008


I should warn you - I'm in an even fouler mood than usual today for some reason. I wonder why?

Could it be that I had too much of this at the Rabbie Burns dinner last evening?

Hmm... I don't think so. No headache or anything, just a foul mood (JJ, however, is suffering from his excesses this morning. There were five drams of whisky at each place setting - and the table of five next to us didn't show... so he got 35 drams all to himself - he gets to have mine too. I cannot drink whisky ever since I decided to mix some with orange juice back in my foolish youth...).

So, what else could it be? The longer-than-usual lineup in Timmy's this morning?

Nah. One of the few things in life that I will actually stand in line for is a Canadian Maple doughtnut by Timmy.

Perhaps it was the evidence of yet another ridiculous reality show featuring yet another has-been actor:

I mean, come on - Chachi playing himself as a loser? Donnez-moi un break. I won't be tuning into that one, I can assure you!

But that in itself is not enough to create the ultra-black mood that I'm suffering from today. Holly's been talking about Snow Madness...is it that?

Well, maybe just a tad... but the grimness of my state of mind cannot be explained solely by that, as much as I might hate the snow, ice and cold.

Hold on ... I know what it is...


That's right, folks. I am about to have a nervous breakdown due to the fact that I cannot manage to knit 53 $%*(&*#%($*%&(#$ simple rows of lace for the Secret of the Stole II! I posted a pretty picture for you the other day, right?

Well, there was a big honkin' boo-boo in this lace (this, by the way, was the lace that I had to start over again because of a prior boo-boo). Specifically, I managed to do the first 6 rows in stockinette stitch rather than garter stitch. And it took me approximately 40 rows to clue into this, despite wondering all along "why is that bloody edge curling up so much, anyway?".

So, I flung it over the balcony (literally...) and started again.

Ten rows later, I flung the next bit over the balcony as well.

I then managed to get to Row 45 again without incident... but managed to screw something up in Row 47. I had to stop myself from bringing it to work and locking my office door, quite honestly. Obsessive, I know - and I really, really detest it when Ms Type A comes out to play. It's like I'm being outed or something. You see, I like to pretend that I'm this ultra-cool rocker chick:

... but in reality I'm just another $#*@($&@(#$& uptight lawyer.

I really don't know what the big problem is here, and should just chill. I mean, the world is not going to come to an end if I don't finish the first clue by tomorrow... is it? I guess I'm just not used to feeling stupid - which is a good thing, I suppose.

So, how did I soothe my angst yesterday over this lace? By going out and buying more yarn, of course.

Malabrigo (apple green) and Handmaiden (raspberry). Lace yarn to boot. This for the person who can't manage to get 10 rows of lace done without incident!

Man, if I had brains I'd be dangerous.