Wednesday, April 18, 2018

BSJ Completed

Spring is still hiding from us. In the past week, we have had snow, ice pellets, freezing rain, and then back to snow. My view of spring has been limited to my kitchen counter.

The picture was taken just before the snow started, yesterday, so it is kind of dark.

So, I put a push on and finished my Baby Surprise Jacket (BSJ). The BSJ has been knit nearly 30,000 times by the people who actually report it on Ravelry. The pattern was created in the sixties by Elizabeth Zimmerman, and holds the fascination of knitters, still today.

You knit a wildly lumpy block of garter stitch.

Then, you look carefully at the picture in the pattern, fold your piece, and you end up with this.

You must knit your first one, completely on blind faith, following the pattern exactly, and trust that all those other knitters can't be wrong. I have knit 5 of these so far. It still amazes me.

You need to seam the shoulders to complete it.

This time, I crocheted my shoulder seams, and I think it makes a nice match to the i-cord bind-off.

 Mitred corners!

This one is a bit large for Bear. I should make him his own, in fingering weight. This one is in DK, SMC Bravo Color, which I found in my stash. It still needs a button and a loop.

Bear thought this was a good choice. It was handmade by Cheryl of Grandma Coco's Designs.

Meanwhile, I have started making kits to go to my retreat weekend. I have learned that one should start two weeks ahead, in case something needed is missing, and must be ordered. I need some interfacing, and with luck it will arrive, today.

First two kits. They contain the fabric, hardware, zippers, a picture of the pattern, and the cutting list. The goal is to have everything cut and the stabilizers fused, before I leave, a week from Friday.

This one is still in the maybe pile. I am not sure I like my fabric choices, yet.

The zipper and the fabric are actually purple, but the dull day was working against me. I want to make a tote bag, but I think the panel is too white to use as an outer fabric. I love the polka dots, with the Kona panel, so they may have to become something else.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Pat Sloan Interviews Karen Neary

On Monday, Pat Sloan had Canadian quilt designer Karen Neary on her show.  You can listen here.

I have been a blog fan of Karen for quite awhile. She has inspired me to work outside my comfort zone. I have made 3 of her patterns.

In 2013, I made her Maritime Beauty pattern.

I did a test block first, and turned it into a mug mat.

I made the full pattern, but it took me quite awhile to actually get it quilted.

Just for fun, I also reduced the block and made it into a post card.

I actually cheated on that one and used fusible applique. The other two are paper pieced.

Next up, I made Polly's Posies.

I actually got that one finished in about 6 weeks. Miracles do happen.

Finally, I bought Karen's book quilting Beauties Come in All Shapes and Sizes.

I made "Thistles in the Heather" from the book.

Sadly, it has not yet been quilted. Obviously, I need a better list of my UFOs.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Easter 2018

In case you were wondering, the forsythia did flower for Easter.

Free flowers, with just a bit of patience and faith that it will work yet again.

You can see the Easter table cloth under them. For reasons that I do not understand, the table cloth is a totally different shape than the table, and every year, I fight to get it onto the table. I use it for Easter dinner, then put it away clean for next year, when I will fight with it again. The cloth is oval. The table is oval, and the silly thing doesn't fit. But it is really cute with bunnies, and flowers all over it. So, I keep it, and complain that it doesn't fit.

The church ladies were asked to make a quilt in record time. I was sick, so I could only cheer from afar. However, I was asked to make a bag for the quilt. I was asked for pink florals, and thought, my stash? I am not a pink floral kind of person. Surprise, I found exactly the right fabric, in my stash.

My usual flat bottom tote, stabilized with quilt batting, in an oriental print. I guess at some point I planned an oriental quilt, but I never found all the fabric I might have wanted. The handles are a fat eighth of a tulip print.

More pink florals, who knew I had this much in my stash.

Of course, the zipper pocket needed a surprise. This are the last of my "dogs doing yoga" fabric.

And a button, to tell the recipient that there was love and prayers involved.

Friday, March 30, 2018


I seemed to have disappeared for a month. I got the great 2018 infection, which had me doing nothing for 3 weeks. Breathing, drinking tea, that was about it. I was so sick, I didn't knit for 3 weeks. It was weird. I am just finishing my antibiotics and hopefully, it will just be steady improvement from here.

I have a couple of Holy Week traditions. One comes from a happy accident. In April 1980, we flew from Montreal to London, planning to spend a week exploring the city before we left on a bus tour of  England and Scotland. Since neither of us had ever traveled outside of Canada as adults, it seemed like a good idea.

We went one evening to see if we could get cheap tickets to see Jesus Christ Superstar. We got in line at the theatre, to buy tickets and suddenly they were shouting "Two, anybody want 2?" I threw my hand up and we found ourselves with balcony seats for practically nothing, for a show that started in 5 minutes! I don't know if you can still do that but it turned into the highlight of the trip. The kids from the colonies were just blown away by the production. It was a Wednesday night, I think, so we probably had all the understudies and second string cast, but it was like nothing we had ever seen.

So, in honour of that occasion, I am playing the London cast album, and do, every Good Friday. My kids might well be doing the same with no idea why.

The other tradition, that my kids probably also do, is cut a branch of Forsythia on Palm Sunday. It looks like a dead branch, sitting in a vase.

It is a sign of hope, and faith, because, today, you see this,

A tiny bit of yellow on the branches, the little brown buds have a secret hiding in them. With luck, on Sunday, we will have flowers.

I received a gift, for Easter.

It is Romanian Easter bread. We are looking forward to trying it with our coffee, Easter morning.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


March is a fickle month. Last Thursday, it was warm and sunny. My grandson and I went for a long walk, enjoying the sunshine and the clear sidewalks. On Friday, we were to get snow. However, the snow missed us entirely. Today, we were suppose to get just a small dusting of snow. However, it has been snowing since before I got up.

March is a month for Pussywillows, and that is what the tree outside the window looked like, catkins out at the ends of the branches. This would be fine, except the tree is a maple.

I need to work on my machine embroidery and thread painting skills, because I can imagine this as a small wall hanging, after I simplify the photo.

I finished two of my three baby sweaters.

The navy one still needs its ends sewn in and they both need a wash to get the pet hair off them.

I started Number 3, four days late.

My eyes need colour, so this is a Baby Surprise Jacket, in crayon colours. I have some crayon buttons to go with it. This will be my fifth one of these. They are quick and easy, and travel to waiting rooms well.

I thought I would sneak in a picture of my two new additions, living with us, for now.

They look so cute when they are sleeping!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A Quilt For Virginia

Every year, a group of teens and adults from my church head off to Virginia to participate in a Habitat for Humanity build. The Quilting Circle hand quilts a quilt to send with them.

This is the quilt that will be heading south, next week. The throw cushion is one off the pew, it will be staying here.

I made it a travel bag.

The bag, of course, has pockets.

The quilt top was a foundling, left at the church by someone clearing out, I imagine.

The bag is made from some scraps that arrived at the church recently, a different person clearing out, I expect.

You know what they say about one person's trash.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Rain, Rain, Go Away

For the last couple of days, it has been grey and raining. The dogs are tracking in mud. The icy patches have water on them, to make them more slippery. Good days to stay in and hide. Good time to knit!

 The first baby sweater is done, and looking very preppy.

The second is started and will be the reverse of the first. This picture shows the blue a bit better than the first one.

The yarn is a nice soft acrylic/nylon blend. It will wash and dry by machine. However, my house is so dry at the moment, that static is a big problem with this yarn. It seems to attract dog hair out of the air. The scientist in me went looking for a solution. I am trying an experiment.

The yarn is currently being stored in an anti-static bag, the kind used for electronics. When I am not knitting, the sweater goes in there too. I think it is helping, although a regular ziploc bag might have worked as well. If it does work, I'll be asking for some bigger ones at the local computer store.

I made a heart for Valentine's Day.

The pattern is from Bethany's blog. I didn't stuff mine, I kind of like it flat. The yarn is some sock yarn scrap from my stash. Cute, isn't it.

I have a question for the big yarn manufacturers out there (as if they read my blog). Why does this happen?

I was knitting away, cheering Canada at the Olympics, when I felt a lump in my yarn. It was a knot. I had to undo the row, so I could cut out the knot and make a flat join. I pay for good yarn, I expect my skein to be one continuous piece of yarn. This is the second time I have had this happen lately. When it happens in a striping yarn, it messes up the stripe pattern. I ended up paying full price for a ball of yarn that I would consider a second. Could you mark the ball, so I can look for it? Give me a choice on whether I want to use the ball for this project? If this happens in fabric, I expect the store to skip that part of the bolt and give me a continuous piece. Why do we put up with this from yarn companies?

I cannot remember ever finding this in yarn I have bought from a small independent. I suspect if they get this in a skein, they turn the skein into two minis or use them for samples. They don't sell them for full price to their customers.

Okay, rant over.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Retreat Bag #3

The weather is very February. Some sun, lots of clouds, and snow and freezing rain thrown in, for fun.

This was my bird feeder, the other day.

The snow was on top of ice, and the sun caused enough warming of the metal, for this to happen.

I finished my bag last week.

It was a gift for a special friend.

I worried that Hello, Kitty might be a bit juvenile, but it turns out that it is retro.

More kitties on the inside.

Even lining the zipper pocket. You cannot have too many kitties in one bag! This is Retreat Bag #3 for me, as well as helping to make two others. I still have three frames in my stash, so there will be more.

My three baby sweaters in February is progressing, nicely.

The first one is nearly done.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Just One Of Those Weeks

On Sunday, I was greeted by this in my dining room.

This gorgeous hibiscus flower thinks it is in the southern hemisphere. You can see the snow from the window behind it.

On Tuesday, a terrible accident occurred.

This is my two week old tablet. It needs a glass screen, but it is too new to be able to buy one in the after market parts sources. Maybe in another few months. Meanwhile, it is shedding bits of glass, so can't be used.  Having it replaced at the authorized repair places costs nearly twice as much as a new tablet. I have no idea how they can justify that.

So I am actually buying a new tablet. And, I am buying one of these :

A pink drop resistant case, because $27 seems like cheap insurance. It will also make the tablet thicker and easier to hold onto.

I started another Retreat Bag, because I love them. This one has a cat theme.

Hello Kitty, purchased on a whim last year, and some music fabric from my stash, that suited, for the handles, make up the outside.

More kitties for the inside, these are also from my stash. The black and white is from a couple of years ago, and the pocket was in my scraps from too long ago to remember.

I figure I need about another hour to finish the bag. I have a Hot Pink zipper for the top.

I attended three funerals in January, so I have decided to knit three baby sweaters in February. I am hoping that will balance things out. Weird, I know. I have the first one started, but I need to get going or won't get all three finished.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A Little Brightness

Gorgeous, isn't it.  Last week was not a great week. We acquired two more dogs, due to the death of a friend (sad), my computer suffered a major meltdown (frustrating), the outdoors is a sea of ice (very slippery). However, my amaryllis has flowered for a third time this winter, my far away child dropped in for a brief visit, and I got to teach a friend the joy of bag making.

The bag making, first.

As a Christmas gift, I was going to make her a Retreat Bag, but she wanted to make her own, so I let her pick from my stash, and I helped her make this bag.

She put a zippered pocket on the inside.

And, of course, some black and purple kitties on the slip pocket.

Didn't she do a great job! I wonder if she has caught the bag making bug, now.

I finished the mittens that I have been working on since the end of November.

They are for the far away child, but he passed through a day before I expected him, so they weren't finished in time, and I will have to mail them. They are in Kroy sock yarn, and the stripes almost match. They would have matched except for the knot in the one ball. The yarn was a gift from a friend, and I think there is enough left to make the grandson some boot socks.

My computer is sort of working again. Hopefully I can figure out how to fix the pieces that still aren't working.

Finally, my azalea has no idea what time of the year it is, and it put on a couple of blooms, today.

Snow this week, maybe it will cover the ice, and my baby grandson is coming for a sleepover. This week is looking up.