Sunday, September 10, 2023

A Month of Contractors

 For the past three summers, we have avoided having contractors to the house. In addition, contractors were hard to get. So this spring, we decided it was time to get a couple of projects finished. You can try to schedule contactors but they still come when they come. Wet weather delayed some of the work. That said, we ended up with three contactors, all arriving in the same couple of weeks. 

Last year, we had to get the foundation fixed and the subsidence from that needed to be fixed. It looked like this before the landscaper.

Now it looks like this.

Last week, the temperatures decided to remind us that it is still summer (even if we aren't suppose to wear white shoes.) Temperatures were in the mid 30C range and the humidity was awful. My sewing room was like an oven, so I sewed from about 7:15 to 8:30 in the morning. I did manage to finish the shorts I was making my little guy for back to school.

I suspect they will not be needed for daywear in a couple more weeks, but they can become pajama pants next.

I joined a Fall Finish Along, and have been trying to do a few rows of a shawl I've been working on for 2 years now. However, I got caught by a shiny new thing.

It will become a toe up slipper sock if all goes well. I also have another sock on needles. Wonder if I can get all three done before the end of the month?

Meanwhile, I didn't play with my August Thread Lab from Aurifil, and now September has arrived.

The green spools are 40 wt. and the grey spools are 24 wt. The project for this month is applique and I don't know if I have suitable fabric for the projects. So, I might try something else. I have two purses promised so I need to get to those.

As summer continues a bit longer, I will add a flower picture from my patio to the bottom of this post.

Friday, August 11, 2023

Aurifil Thread Labs 1

 I decided to sign up for the Aurifil Thread Labs, a program they are running to the celebrate their 40th anniversary and to give sewists a chance to try their threads. I have used Aurifil thread for many years, usually 50 weight, so this seemed like a fun way to find out what threads to use, and when.

For July, we received an exemplar box of their different weights of thread, all in a natural colour.

There was a project that was "suggested" to try all the threads. It was a pin cushion and didn't really appeal to me. I store my pins in an Altoids tin. I mostly use clips, not pins. So I did my own thing, using the guidance provided in the project. The main purpose of this post is to remind me of which thread is which.

This is one side of the dumpling pouch I made.

The green strip across the bottom is sewn with 12 weight cotton, by machine. The blossom and stem are hand sewn with 12 weight cotton. The bird is appliqued by hand with 12 weight wool thread. It is really nice to embroider with.

The other side:

The bottom edge of the pink band is top stitched and machine embroidered with 40 weight cotton. The top edge is machine embroidered and pin stitched with 80 weight cotton. The orange circle is embroidered with 4 strands of Aurifloss. The tulip is whip stitched and quilted by hand with 28 weight cotton thread. The zipper is top stitched with 28 weight cotton thread.

The pouch was sewn with 50 weight cotton and the bobbin was 50 weight cotton throughout.

The pouch pattern is from Michelle Patterns.

The next thread labs box has arrived.

Now those are my kind of colours. I have an idea of how I will play with them. Again, I'll be doing my own thing while experimenting with the thread.

I bought  my thread from Sew Karenly Created.  

Monday, August 7, 2023

Col. John By Day

In Ontario, the first Monday of August is a holiday. Each municipality calls it after some historically significant person to that area. 

 After the war of 1812, the British military felt there was a need to be able to move goods from Kingston, ON to Montreal, QC without risking the loss of goods to the Americans.  They called Lt. Col. John By out of retirement to oversee the construction of a canal, from Kingston to the Ottawa River. 

The Rideau Canal is an engineering triumph of its time. It was completed in 1832.  The canal is 202 km long, much of it dug by hand, It is the best preserved canal of its type in North America. It is still in use, after 190 years, and the equipment is largely unchanged. It was named a National Historic Site in 1925, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.

Many years ago, as a newly graduated Engineer, I was hired by Parks Canada as a Canals Engineer. I wasn't there for long, but I became very familiar with the canal. It is still a very special place for me and I try to visit a lock station or two, every summer. 

We took my grandson, on Friday, to Hartwells Lock Station. This is a hidden gem in the city. Over the years, the city has grown up around it, but the lock station remains much as it was in the 1800's.

The boats are lifted or lowered 6.5 metres in these two locks. Each lock is 41 metres by 10 metres. In this picture the men are standing at the top of the upper lock, looking downstream. It looks like we are in the middle of the countryside.

This is Carleton University, which is just on the other side of the lock basin. There are walking and bikeways along this part of the canal.

If you click on this picture to make it bigger, you can see a couple of cyclists lifting their bikes up to walk them across the top of the lock gate. You can also see the waste weir on the right side, that carries excess water to the river under the pathways and the road. We did get to see 4 boats lock through, while we were there. The lock gates are still operated by hand, with 4 Parks Canada staff cranking the gates open and shut. 

Today, in Ottawa, we celebrate Col. By Day. Without the canal, Ottawa would not have been made the capital city of Canada. The presence of the canal made the city a safe place from possible invasion. Of course, the railway replaced boats as the means of transportation to Ottawa. The canal is now a recreational waterway (and the home of the world's largest outdoor skating rink). 

P.S. When I worked in Canals Engineering, I didn't get the day off, because I worked in Gatineau, across the Ottawa River, in Quebec. It isn't a holiday in Quebec.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Another Lemonza

 I finished another Lemonza. I set out to make 3 and this is the second.

This one is summertime bright. The fabrics were chosen by the bag recipient. I gave her the pick of my cat fabric and these are the cats she liked best.

I think the black text fabric works well for the contrast overlays.

The interior is a Stonehenge fabric.

I changed a couple of problems I had with the pattern, but there are still a couple of things that I don't quite like with the assembly. I think i may need to try making a pattern of my own based and what I have learned so far. 

It is still a great little bag for everyday. It holds the things you need like your license and your cards as well as a bit of cash and your phone.

I have one more cut out from this pattern. After I finish it, I'll experiment.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

12 Days of Christmas In July Blog Hop - Decorating the Dog


Wow, its my day on the 12 Days of Christmas in July Blog Hop! Sarah, from Confessions of a Fabric Addict is celebrating all things Christmas for 12 days in July. After all, who has time to make handmade gifts or decorations in December.

I'll start with an introduction, in case you haven't been here before. I am Kate, a Canadian blogger, knitter, bag maker, sewist, and occasional quilter. I started knitting and sewing when I wasn't very old. I am also an engineer, with a specialization in process engineering. 

I live in a zoo. Well, not really but there have always been dogs in our home. For about 20 years, we fostered cats, preparing nearly 200 cats and kittens to become permanent members of someone else's family. We currently have a dog (Doug) and two cats (Mudd and Emme) who let us live with them. 

I'm a December baby, so I love decorating, and sometimes the decorating extends to the pets. 

Not every attempt is successful. You just know Doug is saying "You have got to be kidding."

Emme decided that she was so pretty that she would just be a decoration.

Dog bandanas turned out to be the most acceptable solution.

Last Christmas, it was cardinals.

Bandanas are quick and easy to make on the serger. If you don't have a serger, you can use a narrow hem or a machine overcast stitch. I make them from my stash fabric, large scraps and fat quarters. I made some Christmas ones this week, and I'll show you how I did it.

First thing to do, if you haven't done it for awhile, is to clean your serger.

I may have made a lot of bandanas lately. without cleaning it.

Next decide the size the the bandanas you are going to make. If you want ta perfect fit there is math involved. You will need to measure the dog's neck, add a bit extra so you can tie it, Then figure the length of the sides of the square using the Pythagorean Theorem. I have done the math to give you some general sizes (that engineering degree is handy sometimes.)

I usually cut a square in one of 4 sizes : 10" (XS), 14" (S), 18" (M) and 20" (L) . The square will give you two bandanas.

For these bandanas, I used 18" squares. This is a great way to use up a fat quarter somehow ended up in your stash. If you are worried about a one way print, I have found that the dogs don't seem to mind if it is askew (and the owner won't have a problem either).

I had a fat quarter of some vintage Debbie Mumm that volunteered for the job.

I squared it to 18". 

I cut the square into a triangle across the bias.

Then I chain feed all the edges through the serger, trimming off the width of the blade the make a nice clean edge. I use a balanced 4 thread stitch, usually using white thread. If the narrow points at the neck edge of the bandanas aren't feeding into the serger smoothly, I cut some 1" squares of stabilizer to help get the seam started. I cut a sheet of stabilizer into squares periodically and leave them in a box next to my serger.

In no time, you have a bandana made. I made 4 bandanas in about 45 minutes, from start to finish. This fabric is called Canadian Capers by Wilmington and it has lots of "iconic" images of Canadian winter. I had a scrap that was the right size for 2 bandanas.

The bandanas are quick and easy gift as well as fun accessory for your dog, or those dog owners on your gift list. Did you know that 95% of pet owners give gifts to their pets at Christmas.

Here is a picture of my granddog, Cassie, wearing her summer bandana, that I sent her this week. Cassie is a bit of a fashionista and asks for her bandana every morning.

I hope you enjoy making some dog bandanas. They look really cute on any dog, and cats like them, too.

Sunday, July 16, 2023

A Fleegle

 I bought myself a Fleegle, recently. I really did need one (maybe).

This is a Fleegle. As you can see, it is loaded with beads, ready to knit.

This is the end with a tiny notch to catch the yarn.

To see how you use it, there is a YouTube video. 

I have been knitting a scarf and it has one bead every six rows. By using the Fleegle, I can make sure that the bead colours are assorted. I am still working on mastering the technique involved, but I don't drop the bead.

The scarf is called Gneiss Scarf, and I am nearly finished.

It is going to need some serious blocking. 😀

Monday, July 3, 2023


 I seem to have forgotten to blog, lately. It has been hot, humid, and smokey here. I haven't spent a lot of time sewing. However, I've gotten back in the grove, sort of.

Last week, I put the binding on a quilt that a friend had made. She was unsure of the binding, so I did it for her, on the front side. She will do the hand sewing, herself.

I have a couple of requests for dog bandanas, so today I did a stash dive and came up with some suitable fabric. Since I serge my bandanas, it didn't take long to make 24 of them. It also used up 3 metres of fabric. There is space in the bins. I'm sure it won't last.

They are finished. Once the fray check dries, I will clip the thread ends and they can be off to their new homes, though I might keep a couple for Doug.

I noticed this on one of the fabrics.

I have no idea why manufacturers put this on cotton fabric. There are flammability rules for children's sleepwear. However, they don't say you can't use cotton fabric. They do say that cotton sleepwear needs to have close fitting sleeves and cuffs. When my kids were smaller, I made their pajamas because I wanted them to wear cotton to bed. I just added knit cuffs to their sleeves and legs. I think printing this on the fabric might just make a parent panic, 

Because today is a holiday in Canada, we had a fancy breakfast.

Waffles with Ontario strawberries, Nova Scotia blueberries and whipped cream made from Canadian cream, a patriotic breakfast.