Friday, August 17, 2018

Journey of 1001 Nights

Last August, for reasons I no longer remember, I challenged my friend Cheryl to knit a newly released pattern, 1001 Nights by Anne-Lise Maigaard. 

I had knit her Alberta pattern, in 2016, and it was lovely. A LOT of work, but I loved it when it was finished.

This one took a tad longer, especially after I got to the point where I needed to get onto some Christmas knitting, and put it aside for a few weeks. I didn't pick it up again, until two weeks ago. I put a concerted effort into it, and now it is finished. It took me about 350 nights.

I was going to photograph it, hung from the fence, to show you the full size, but the Virginia Creeper has taken over the fence. I need to get my machete out.

There are 2251 beads, according to the pattern. I think I used a few more, if you count the ones lost in the couch cushions.

The yarn is Drops Lace, an alpaca and silk blend. The shawl feels as light as a spider web.

The beads are so tiny, it is hard to see them except in the closeups. I skipped the fancy cast off edge, because I just wanted the shawl done.

Look at those tiny beads, sparkling in the sun, yesterday

When I knit a shawl like this, the comments usually talk about wearing it on special occasions. I agree. It should be worn on Casual Friday, Monday, because it is Monday, basically, any day that needs to be made special.

This picture is for Jean in NZ, lover of gingers.

This is Momo, the latest guest at the Arts and Socks Kitty Spa. Momo is here to recover from hip surgery. Note the catfood all over his cone. He doesn't quite have the hang of cones, yet.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Since the blog is called Arts and Socks, I feel that socks should make an occasional appearance. I started these socks, so I would have something to knit while working the election.

The yarn is Stitch Please Sapphire Label, in Psychedelic Onyx.  I love the colour, and they are for me!

As I was nearing the end of the second sock, I happened across an article on sock toes from Kate Atherley.

I was intrigued, so I decided to give some of her suggestions a try.

The sock on the left is my usual toe, the sock on the right incorporates Kate's suggestions. The second toe does look smoother.

I started the toe decreases at the beginning of the sole stitches, instead of the middle, and I didn't do the setup stitches for the toe grafting. I must write this in my book, so I remember.

Although they look alike, the socks are not identical twins. The yarn was a self striping yarn that has two skeins dyed together, to make it easier to match the stripes, but I didn't set up my heel correctly to centre the rib on the instep on the first sock. I corrected that on the second, but I don' imagine anyone will notice.

This morning, we had toddler cardinals in our yard, taking flying lessons. I caught a picture of one, although they are very skittish at this age.

 Cute, isn't he/she? We have two families of Cardinals that visit our yard. I expect the parents are happy that the dogs keep the yard free of neighbouring cats, so their babies can take flight lessons safely.

BTW, the 1001 Nights shawl is finished. It is awaiting a dunk in the hot tub! Since that means some house cleaning is required, I hope to show it later this week.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

A Couple of Throwbacks

Some years ago, before I began blogging, we went on self guided tour of the west. We went to Saskatchewan and Alberta. We swam in a saltwater lake, we climbed mountains. It was all wonderful.

As a souvenir of the trip, I bought a quilt kit at The Sugar Pine Company in Canmore, Alberta. I was a new quilter, and the quilt was probably way out of my league, and it sat, in my sewing room for months. When I finally finished it, I loved it. I still do.

First, the inspiration.

This is Lake Louise. The man in the picture is assembling an alpine horn, to play across the lake. We heard that he was travelling around the world, trying to play his horn in as many mountain locations as he could.

And this is my quilt. It turned out quite well considering I had no idea what I was doing. I kept going to the local quilt store to buy another tread to match the fabric. It is free motion quilted, something I had never done before. The kit was by Castilleja Cotton. It is a testimony to their designs that it turned out so well.

As souvenirs go, I think it was pretty special.

Meanwhile, I resurrected my 1001 Nights Shawl. I started it at the end of august, last year, so I am determined to finish it before a year has completely passed.

I have 4 more rows to go, then some 900 stitches to cast off. The pattern suggests a crocheted picot, beaded edge, but that isn't happening. I don't think it needs any more beads. After I block it, I will do a closeup, of the beads. There are over 1000.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

New Shorts

I made a pair of shorts for my little guy, this week. The fabric was way too cute, not to.

I used a free pattern from Oliver+S, called Sunny Day Shorts.

The fabric compliments the back pack I made him, before he was born. This is the back pack fabric.

This is the shorts. Summer foxes, on a camping trip.

I've made lots of shorts over the years, since my boys got two or three pairs, every summer until they refused to wear Mom made shorts. So I thought I would share a few tricks, which I find makes the project quicker and easier.

After I sew each seam, I cut the seam allowance in half, and overcast the edge. I also use the triple stitch to reinforce the crotch seam.

Nice clean finish, and the shorts will easily survive frequent washing. You can see the triple stitch on the right side of the picture.

In turning up the hem, I first baste a line of stitches where I want the first fold. Then I fold the fabric along the basting line, and zigzag close to the edge of the fabric. Then I measure and turn up the hem, and stitch close to the fold. The zigzag doesn't show on the outside, and the edge is nice and flat.

The pattern called for a rather complicated method of adding the waist band. I went for quick and tidy. I sewed the waist band into a circle leaving a one inch opening near the "top" of the band. I stitched the seam allowance open, and trimmed it. I folded the waist band in half, and sewed it to the top of the shorts (making sure the fabric would be right side up, when I turned it up), and overcast the edge.  Then I ironed the waist band up, pressing the seam allowance toward the shorts, and edge stitched the seam allowance to the shorts.

See, all nice and neat! All that is left is to feed the elastic through the hole on the inside of the waistband.

I leave the hole in the back open, in case he grows and I need to put in a longer piece of elastic. Because the seam allowance was stitched down, you can't even tell.

Ready for action!

I plan to make more, but right now, I am out of elastic, in the correct width.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

A River Runs Through

After a month with no significant rainfall, today, the sky has opened up.

There is a river, running through my backyard. It follows the path that Doug Dog has worn into the ground as he chases the squirrels along the top of the fence.

The river ends at scenic Hosta Lake.  In case you think I am crazy enough to step out in this, the pictures were taken through the dining room window. I am hiding in the house, with my coffee.

While standing in the dining room, I discovered that my Christmas Cactus is budding.

Silly thing has no idea when it is suppose to flower,

During the hot weather, I have, of course been knitting a winter cowl. It is small and doesn't sit in my lap.

This is my first project in Brioche knitting.  The pattern is Avoiding Exposure by Kate Atherly. It still needs blocking, which will hopefully make it a bit straighter. The only change I made to the pattern was a two-colour long tail cast on.

The yarn is worsted from Feisty Fibres, in colours Fierce and You Aren't The Boss Of Me, You Jerk. The kit was part of the "Tits Out Collective", more information here. some of the proceeds from the kit went to the Nipissing Transition House. If you would like a kit, you can get it here, but you have to buy it before the end of the month.

Thursday, July 12, 2018


I saw this on Instagram, and decided I needed to make one.

I see Doug is not impressed.

The pattern is available on Craftsy. 

I used the wonderful knitting fabric I found in Almonte.

Back view of the sheep. I seem to have cut off the top of the bag. The casing is a scrap of batik from an earlier bag.  I need better rope for the closure, if I make more. I used clothesline, and it is a bit stiff and rough. Any suggestions on where I can get nice cord this thick? I added tabs to the end, like I do for zippers.

It looks about the right size for socks, a bit small for a shawl. The front pockets can hold tools, a phone or a snack.

It was hard to fussy cut the fabric, and get exactly what I wanted on the pocket, but this sums it up, I think.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Day Tripping

Yesterday, I took a little day trip to Almonte, ON. Almonte is a lovely little town with an artistic vibe.

I arrived home with some Fair Trade coffee, some strawberries, and some FABRIC!

I bought this, plus some beige to make a companion piece to the New Brunswick piece, that I made last summer.

Knitting fabric! How could I not buy a metre of each, to make knitting bags? I love both fabrics, they both make me smile.

I have actually been doing pretty well at shopping my stash. I have been keeping track of fabric in and out and I think I am currently 1.5 m over what I have used since I started tracking. With luck I will be even by next week.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Summer Hats

My grandson is getting so grown up. I was informed recently that he only had one sunhat that fit. Could Nana help? Of course!

I had seen a free pattern on the Oliver + S website. It looked perfect.

I checked my stash for suitable fabric, and found some good stuff.

First up, I have been calling this the Old Guy Fishing Hat.

Bear says it is a good fit!

The fabric is from my vintage collection. It is left over from a pair of shorts, I made for his uncle, probably 20 years ago.

The lining is a grey, that I have used as a purse lining.

I thought this could be his "dressy" sunhat.

The second hat is made from a couple of fat quarters, of unknown origin.

Hey Bear, where is your face?

That's better. I made this one reversible.

The fabric has dogs and cats on it. This one is for everyday, play wear. I followed the directions for the first one, and decided that I would employ some of my bag making skills on this one, so I left an opening in the seam for the cap part, and turned it through the hole, then hand stitched the seam after I turned the hat around. Much easier than hand stitching the entire cap lining to the brim.

Another couple of pictures, that I haven't posted.

This is number three from my winter baby sweater knitting. This one is off to California, on Friday. It has on of Cheryl Coville's handmade buttons.

On Knit In Public Day, I got to teach an interested 5 year old how to finger knit. Nevr miss an opportunity to teach the new generation to knit.

She learned fast. We even found some yarn that matched her dress.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

New Beginnings

I have been absent here. I was a Supervising DRO in the recent provincial election. Although I love working at elections, I found the the new technology took as much time as the old paper process. for the supervisor. We still had to pick everything up and take everything back, and they added 6 computers, a printer and a modem to the load.

I did my job, people were able to vote (1600 at my polling place) and the results were reported much quicker than ever before. Of course, after 15 hours of work, I really didn't care who won.

Meanwhile, I did get a chance to take a couple of garden pictures.

My wedding pictures were taken between two old Bridal Wreath Spirea, in full bloom. I have my own now and it flowered for my anniversary, yet again!

I found this guy, enjoying it, too.

My iris are in full bloom. These are in a pot beside the barbeque. Not  sure how they got there, but they are pretty.

This week, I had the great honour of standing in as family for a dear friend who received her Ph.D. from the University of Ottawa.

It was a beautiful day. This was the view of the Rideau Canal from the fourth floor window of the Shaw Centre, where convocation was held.

I got the opportunity to meet Spirit Bear.

He was there to cheer on his friend Dr. Cindy Blackstock , as she received an Honorary Doctorate of Law. 

Of course, the highlight of that day was watching my friend receive her degree.

Here are the brand new Docorates, taking their place with the other honoured guests on the stage. Sorry, I had all the undergrads in front of me, so I overzoomed to get the picture. I love their new superhero capes! Wonder Women, all.

Now, I am back to the real world again.

Monday, May 28, 2018

A Little Knitting

With the onset of warmer weather, the outdoors calls. There is also an upcoming provincial elections, and since I was hired to work at it, I have been training and reading the procedures for voting day. My sewing room has been lonely.

I did finish another preaching stole, for Pentecost, but, since I ironed it on the way out the door, I didn't get a picture.

I entered a postcard in the postcard category at Quilts Canada, in Vancouver, and in my rush to get it into the mail on time, I didn't get a picture of that, either.  You are just going to have to take my word for it.

So, all I have to show you is knitting in progress.

A lace sock in a wild striped yarn, because I can! I did take it to a meeting and messed up the cable stitch, however, it is not going to be fixed. Done is better than perfect!

This is a shawl I started, last fall, that I would like to wear this spring, so I have been working away at it. I have turned the point, so the rows are getting shorter, again. I love this ombre yarn, I might have to buy another ball.

After a long winter, nothing is cheerier than flowers.

The crab apple tree is covered in flowers, and the bees are loving it. There is a bumble bee in the picture, enjoying the sweet apple nectar.

We garden in pots since our yard is very shaded. So, the pots are being filled.

Pink and Purple, my favourite.