My friend Arlene makes cake. Wait. That’s wrong. My friend Arlene makes art from cake. They are color, form, light and shadow compositions forged in something eminently edible. Once cut, then devoured and poof! a memory. There is something deliciously ephemeral about these concoctions, and a sense of something far too good to be true. Honestly, you MUST see the portfolio at ArleneLott.com. Imagine the face of a birthday boy or girl when faced with Sugar Explosion.
But what has this to do with knitting, you may ask? Well! If you are not Canadian, you may not know that this year marks Canada’s 150th birthday. As you can imagine, the entire country has been in an uproar about it, with many events, celebrations and commemorations taking place across the land. In keeping with the spirit of things, the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp.) commissioned a cake from my friend Arlene! Canada’s very own birthday cake! (You can read all about it, plus an interview with my friend Arlene here.)
On the day this photo was taken, I was enjoying an afternoon of knitting at the beloved Purple Purl in Toronto where they had just accepted a shipment of the fabulous National Parks Collection by Fleece Artist. Acting on instant attraction, I grabbed two skeins of the Sirmilik, NU colorway for its subtle gradations of aqua, cream and sea green (surprise, surprise) inspired by the shimmering glaciers and ice fields of Nunavut. Fleece Artist has dyed these magnificent colorways based on 13 National Parks, one for each province, on their gorgeous Merino Slim base.
Over drinks with Arlene later that evening, we chatted about the difficulty of interpreting our national heritage. I love how Arlene has distilled the landscape and created what is essentially a “trip across Canada from coast to coast”. Especially, I love that it is not necessary to render all things Canadian in a palette of red and white. I’m so inspired by Arlene’s ideas, I’ve decided to design a shawl in honor of Canada’s birthday based on Arlene’s cakescape. I want to incorporate Arlene’s icy diamonds and crashing waves. I see fir tree forms and calm waters and plains of drifting wheat all rendered in stitches. I want it to be wide and broad and varied and textured with national identity. I’ll knit the heck out of it and I’ll call it Canada!