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May 2006

Posts from April 2006

Want to make Canada a Healthier Place?

Today I'm using my blog for work. If you don't know already, I'm a Post-Doctoral researcher working on a project called Fit to Print which is examining the reporting of physical activity in the Canadian news media. One part of the project is about media audiences and their perceptions of what's reported in the news about health and physical activity. I've begun conducting a series of focus groups and I'm looking for participants.

The formal poster/request is below.  The groups last about 1.5 to 2 hours and involve some basic questions to a group about health in the media.  I will also show a TV news clip and ask you to read a newspaper article and we'll talk about those as well.  There will be snackies and all participants will receive a $10 gift certificate to a local yarn shop (I'm assuming anyone I recruit here will be a knitter, if not let me know and I'll chose something else). 

So if you're in Toronto and can spare a couple of hours to chat, I would love it if you would participate.  You can even knit while we talk.  Think of it as a mini-stitch'n'bitch.  Bring a friend, or sign up your knitting circle!

If you're interested, please email me.  I will send out more information about the project and arrange a convenient time and location. 

And since you're knitters and therefore "my people" I will also throw in a little something extra--everyone who participates will be eligible for a prize draw.  I have a couple of sweater's worth of yarn that I would like to destash and this is a nice way to do it.

Fit To Print– Physical Activity and Health in the Canadian Mass Media

We are looking for people interested in participating in a short focus group discussion to explore their perceptions of media campaigns about physical activity and health.   We would like to discuss:-

  • Your perceptions of the effectiveness of health and physical activity campaigns.
  • The impact they can have on your day-to-day life.
  • Your consideration of actual campaign materials.

The focus group will be held in May and will last approximately one hour.  In appreciation of your participation, we will reimburse you with a $10.00 gift certificate.

This research project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Better Blob

I finished knitting Charlotte's Web IV last night.  I still need to do the crocheted edge and the blocking/fringing, but that's the easier part.  I took advantage of the lovely morning sun to snap some photos.  I'm convinced Koigu is some kind of stealth covert yarn--it refuses to photograph well.  But this one is pretty good:


The bottom colour isn't that dark and there are some nifty subtle pink variations in the hot-pink section in the middle.  I only have a few metres of the last two colours and very little of the hot-pink so the edging will be very pink.  I'm not sure how that will look, so this one may not have fringe.  Or I can see if Four Seasons Knitting has another ball of one of the orangey colours.  The owner, Jo-Ann, was the genius who came up with this fabulous colour combination.

My Aunt Charlotte's birthday is May 4th so I need to get going.  I did think of doing a beaded edge, but since I've never knit/crocheted with beads, the learning curve might be a tad steep on that.  Maybe on my next lace piece.

Sunday Night Blob

It's almost nine on Sunday night and I've finally taken the time to blog.  This means that I didn't photograph the gorgeous Koigu I'm knitting up for Charlotte's Web V (aka Sunset Shawl) so you get to see an over-lit and under-lit version of it, neither of which does it justice.

Charlotte_1_1 Charlotte2

This shawl is a lot like knitting socks for me.  I don't need a pattern, and I can knit it anywhere.  And it suits my current busy-mental state which can only handle this kind of rote knitting.  I only have 8 (long) rows to go and then I can do the finishing.  This shawl totally encapsulates my current colour binge--pinks and oranges.  Very nice and springy on a rainy weekend.  After this I'll get back to the Sunrise Circle Jacket (done the sleeve part, only one more round piece to go) and hopefully be in a mindset to tackle something more challenging.  Something that'll be interesting to blog about too.

Shameless Self Promotion



The book is spectacular--full of shapely styles for bigger women (no more shapeless rectangles).  Check out all the Big Girl goodness (blog and website) from Jillian and Amy and a bunch of fabulous designers (including me).   

If you want a more unbiased opinion, Big Girl Knits just received a glowing review from Knitter's Review today (I'm so pleased my Big Girl bag, Scarlett, was mentioned--that's the shameless part of all this self-promotion).   

I'm not a big girl myself, but I found their B3 system (boobs, belly and butt) really useful for helping me think about what works with my figure and how to make adjustments to sweaters so they suit me best.  After knitting a LOT of sweaters that look good on the couch but terrible on me, I'm glad to have this book in my knitting reference library. 

Though I'm thinking of getting out the calculator to re-size this:


And, the feminist in me is very happy to see a book which celebrates different sized women and dares to show what big women really look like instead of trying to hide them under tent-sized clothes.  This book also doesn't lie (like all those women's magazines I spent so much time studying).  It doesn't promise to make you look skinny, but instead helps knitters understand their bodies and knit garments that flatter their shape.  We need a lot more of these kinds of books around. 

Check it out here, or at your local bookseller or yarn shop.

Atlanta Part Two

After the Coca-Cola museum we headed out for some real Southern Barbeque at Daddy D'z.  It was extra yummy.  The place looked like one of those corner dives that everyone goes to, where the tables are a bit sticky, but the food is delicious.  I had a big sampler plate with ribs, pulled porked and beef, que wraps and red beans and rice.  This was one of the highlights of the trip because it felt like I was doing something Southern and local.  I didn't take any photos because I was too busy drinking beer and licking the barbeque sauce off my fingers.

The next morning (late because of those beers) we headed off for more touristy fun.  First to CNN for a tour.  Being a media studies person, this was one of those "must do" things, and it was okay.  The open style news areas means we had to look at the studios through glass, so I wasn't sitting in the big anchor chairs or anything like that.  It was more interesting listening to the guide tell us how the news was made (and geeky me was deconstructing it all).  Of course I took the required tourist shot:


Then we took a stroll through Centennial Olympic Park to the Aquarium.  It was really crowded.  But also very cool.  Everyone was ooooing and awwwwing over all the nifty fish.  The Georgia Aquarium is billed as the world's largest aquarium and the big tank is BIG.  There's a viewing area where the glass is 33ft tall by 67ft wide and I was completely mesmerized.


The stingrays looked like they were flying.  And the whale sharks were HUGE.


I'm pretty jaded about tourist attractions, but this was very impressive. 

All that fish made us hungry so we had dinner at Benihana.  And yes, I had the tuna, all nice and pink in the middle.  Yummy. 

On our last day we packed up, lounged around a bit and then went to the Botanical Gardens for the afternoon.  The weather was super nice--around 30C (85F) but with very little humidity. 


While I'm no Cara, I did manage to snap some nice photos of the magnificent orchids and it was a nice way to end our trip. 



We arrived at the airport, tired but also relaxed.  It was really nice to get away together.


I'm back!  We had a great trip to Atlanta.  It wouldn't be a city I would choose to visit, but it was fun to be away and stay in a hotel and all that. 

The conference was good, but not great.  My paper went fine, though it was sparsely attended.  I did what I needed to do, saw a few more sessions and then played tourist for the weekend.

Our hotel, The Marriott Marquis was nifty.  A testiment to modernist architecture.  I'm sure it was in a movie--maybe with Bruce Willis or Clint Eastwood.  One where there is fighting in the elevator and the villan falls to his death (not like that narrows it down!).  We were on the 29th floor so we got to ride the elevator which allows you a view of the death plunge a whole bunch of times.


We were in downtown Atlanta, and I wasn't really very impressed with the city.  It's not a very walkable place, and that shows by the fact that I saw a whole lot of these when we were out:


We also never saw a grocery or drug store, or even a 7-11.  There were few restaurants around either.  I really came to appreciate Toronto more with its many restaurants and neighbourhoods, free attractions, and the ability to just wander and figure out the place. 

This doesn't mean we sat by the pool all weekend.  Some local attractions were close by and we took them in.  First, the Coca-Cola advertising trap Museum.  They had some interesting exhibits of the advertising throughout the century which emphasized the "restorative" effects and healthiness of the drink (something they are smart enough to not do today). 


But the rest was a big fat commercial for Coke.  Including a 12 minute commercial of coke around the world showing its global corporate domination.  Then we got to wash it all down with tons of the fizzy elixir which completely killed the interesting popular-cultural stuff we saw in the exhibits.


Though that didn't stop me from taking some cheesy touristy pictures:


Since I'm sure I won't have much to say this week (it's going to be all Work and no Play), I'm going to stretch out my trip report over a few days. Tomorrow, more cheesy tourist stuff!

So much to do, not enough time to blog

I was planning a nice long, picture-filled post about getting ready for my trip to Atlanta and the conference I'm attending, but I got sidetracked with actually getting ready.  Oh, and procratinating on said preparations. 

I did take the time to figure out the knitting I'll bring: I've starting my Aunt Charlotte's Charlotte's Web Shawl (ie my fifth knitting of this pattern) and my second red hot sock--making for an all Koigu trip.

But I probably won't be doing much knitting on the plane.  My presentation is too long and needs some final polishing.  I should have spent some time on it today...the road to hell and good intentions and all that.

The pictures will have to wait because I haven't packed yet (or really decided what to bring) and we still need to pick up the drycleaning and get all those little details of being away organized. 

So I probably won't be blogging until I get back on Monday.  Maybe then I'll have it together enough to resume normal blogging and knitting and all that.

Think good thoughts for me on Friday morning--especially those that will make me speak s l o w l y.  It's definitely my public speaking weakness (I actually write the words SLOW DOWN in huge letters on the top of every few pages of my notes).  So think slow good thoughts for me.


That was almost as much fun as felting!  It fits perfectly and I'm really pleased with it. 


The demin-i-ness of the yarn is very nifty and it really does shrink up a tonne with washing (scroll down for the before shot).  Now all it needs are buttons.   And a close-up of the nifty stitch pattern down the sides of the cardigan (very Jaywalkeresque):


I am so glad the 19 month odessey created a nice sweater. 


It's all sewn up, and surprisingly, I like it.  I didn't buy buttons because I wasn't expecting it to look good.  I figured there must have been a reason why it sat in the WIP pile for so long. 


Now it's a hot wash to shrink up the length.  I would like the whole thing about 3 inches shorter, but that might be too much to ask.  Fingers crossed.

What did everyone do for fun before computers?

Rick Mercer is a Canadian Comedian who has made a name for himself in Canada for, among other things, a show called Talking To Americans, which plays on the endless Canadian fascination with finding out how little Americans know about us (and themselves for that matter).  Anyway, on his blog right now is some photoshop fun with Bush that warrants a peek.  I particularly like the Britney one, which I think makes a stronger statement than the artist originally intended.  Though there is some debate about the true intentions of the artist, who seems to have a satiric streak in him (whatever his intentions, the statue is utter grossness).