Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Big Sock, Little Sock

When my boys were little, a favourite book was Big Dog, Little Dog by P. D. Eastman.

It is a book about differences, and lots of fun. This book popped to mind, when I finished another pair of socks, last night.

I finished these socks on Saturday. I knit the second sock in about a week, which may be a new record for me. I find plain vanilla socks to be very soothing to knit. The yarn is the lovely Turtle Toes by Turtlepurl Yarns, from Hillsborough, New Brunswick. 

You can make perfect twins from her dyed together skeins, and you can get a solid skein to do the heels, if you don't want to mess up the striping pattern. This is the fourth pair of adult socks I have knit with her yarn. (She has a sale on currently, this might be a sign I need more yarn.)

Sunday morning, I cast on this pair.

I managed to get the stripes in the perfect spot for baby socks.  I may have been knitting them, while I attended church remotely. (At least I got dressed before church!) This is my very favourite Kate Atherly Baby sock pattern. I don't know how many times I have knit it now, but all the babies I give them to, love them.

Back to Big Dog, Little Dog.

Big sock, little sock. The big sock is to fit a men's size 13 foot. The little ones are size new born.

Two pairs done. At least I am not wasting my time in social distancing. I was knitting the first adult sock, at a meeting before we locked down. Someone told me they were impressed that I didn't waste the time I spent at meetings. I replied that I knit at meetings, so I don't kill anyone. The same might be true of knitting in isolation.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Week One of Social Distancing

I have been playing in my sewing room, knitting and binge watching TV this week. I actually did some yoga and took a couple of walks, as well.

One of my projects this week, was to sort through some of my UFO sewing projects to decide what to do with them.  I watched a video awhile ago on dealing with your UFO's by Just Get It Done quilts.  So I am using her method to sort things.

I actually let go of two projects that I realized I no longer liked. Once I realized I didn't like them, it was easy to let them go. It was very liberating.

I also found two projects that I can finish easily if I make the project smaller. One was a twelve block embroidered quilt. I realized that I could make it six blocks and have a nice little wall hanging. Five of those six blocks are done, and the sixth needs only a small amount of effort to finish.

The second one was a tablerunner, that I had seriously over reached on. I had planned to make it about 12 feet long. In looking at it, I realize that I didn't buy enough fabric and the sections took much longer that I had anticipated. This morning, I decided to put it to the top of the pile, and get it finished (in a much smaller size).

This is the Christmas side. It is quilt as you go, and strip pieced. This is the one end completed.

This is the other end, still in need of a triangle, and piecing.

This is the everyday side. If I were starting this now, I would use a lot more contrast in my fabric.  However, I will finish the last triangle, put the binding on, and call it done.

My short term goal is one UFO for every new project I finish. When I finish this, I get to start a new project. I have a pair of socks nearly done, so I will have to choose a knitting UFO to finish next.

My amaryllis are looking great, and brightening up my days.

We have a house guest, just now.

He is a friend's cat. She is trying to get home, but in the mean time, this guy is hanging with us. I have a serious soft spot for ginger boys.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020


I was in Costco, last week, because it is my source for almond milk, chicken stock, Swiss cheese and batteries. I think we needed some of each. I was fascinated by the people with carts full of toilet paper and bottled water. I wondered what that was about.

Yesterday I saw an article in Macleans magazine, explaining the reasoning (sort of). I also found this humourous take from the Times-Colonist in Victoria.

Basically the articles talk about how contagious fear can be. If you see everybody else buying TP, you figure you must do it too. Fortunately, I don't feel a need to hoard TP. I already have over 100 rolls in my basement! When ever my favourite brand is on sale, I buy three packages, because I have three bathrooms. Since we are empty nesters, we don't go through as much as we used to, so it piles up. I don't ever buy bottled water, so that isn't a problem.

However, I got thinking of what I really need, if I were to have to stay in my house for 14 days. I have a bit of expertise in this area, because I spent many months housebound due to a medical condition, so I will share with you what I have learned.

1. Books: I read a lot, and at the time I was house bound, books were hard to come by. Now, I can get e-books for free from my local library. They even have express read e-books for many popular titles that you can borrow for just 7 days. In two weeks I could probably make my way through most of the books nominated for Canada Reads. Of course, I have about 130 free or nearly free books in my Kindle account that I haven't read yet.  "The Gown" by Jennifer Robson is currently $2.99 CAD. The book is about the making of Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown.

2. Cooking: I am stocking my pantry with staples, so I can try some recipes that I have been meaning to cook. I bought a vegetarian cookbook last year, and I haven't begun to try all the recipes. The internet is also a wonderful source of inspiration. Last week, I made these really good oatmeal peanut butter cookies. 

3. Sewing: Well, I know my stash will probably exceed my ability to use it, so fabric isn't a problem. I have a list of projects that I want to make, so having uninterrupted time to work on them sounds like heaven. I ordered more zippers, last week and they should be here today. However, if you are lacking in hardware and want to make some cute little wallets from fat quarters or scraps, might I suggest this tutorial. 

4. Knitting: I have lots of yarn, enough to see me through most emergencies. I am going to start looking at patterns I have saved in my Ravelry account and matching them to some of my yarn. Then I can check and make sure I have to right needles.

5. Movies: I highly recommend "Harriet" if you haven't seen it. It is just out on CD and from streaming services.

It is estimated that 30 rolls of toilet paper will last the average family about a month. I hope my suggestions will allow you to relax and think about what you might need, to enjoy being told to stay home for two weeks.

Now, the pictures from my dining room paradise.

The hibiscus has four flowers open today.

The amaryllis has started to bloom.

Relax and enjoy the flowers!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Snow Day

The city is closed today. Originally we were suppose to get 37 cm of snow but I think since some of it came as rain, we will only get about 15 - 20 cm. The roads are a total mess, and we have been asked to stay home. My kids are working from home, so they didn't bring my little buddy for his grandparent day, today. This was Doug's reaction when I told him.

He looks dismayed.

Outside the world is dull and wet.

However, my dining room conservatory is showing hope of spring.

The amaryllis will flower soon. Beside it, the Christmas cactus is in bloom and that azalea just keeps going. It is a joy to step in there.

Ravelry suggested a pattern to me last week. Although I don't need another knitting pattern, this one sucked me in. It helped that I had the yarn available in my stash. So, I started a spring shawl.

It can be my Lenten project, and I will try to finish it by Easter. The pattern is called Floatini. The grey yarn is a merino and silk light fingering and the hot pink is mohair and silk. How could I not?

Meanwhile, I continue to create order to my sewing space. This week, I added an IKEA storage unit called Trofast. It is sold as toy storage, in the kids section, but I now have two of them to store bits in. This one is entirely for purse hardware and goodies.

The drawers are labelled things like "straps" and "closures". One drawer is still empty. Having dedicated homes for stuff really makes the tidying simpler. On top of it is my cub car/ venturer van from my days as a Venturer Advisor. It won second prize in the beauty category for leaders, at the cub car rally. Of course, like all good minivans it doesn't go very fast. My son took first in his category for speed. I first blogged about it here.

I also placed these drawer organizer boxes on the top of the fabric storage. They are to hold the current WIP so that finished bits don't wander.

I splurged and bought a new ironing board pad and cover (It was $10 at IKEA.) As you can see, I haven't put it on yet.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

A Family Day Distraction

Monday was Family Day, which. for us, meant that we could do whatever we liked because everything was closed. So, while playing in my office, I came across a pattern book that I have had for awhile. It is called "More Polarfleece Pizzazz" by Ruthann Spieglhoff. In it was a pattern for mittens for littles.  I found a piece of fleece, from my Polarfleece era of sewing. I copied the pattern, and soon had this.

Since it is February, and the stores have no mittens, just shorts and bathing suits, some new mittens seemed like a good idea for a guy who keeps losing his.

They are easy to put on, because they open up. There is a flap that comes down into the wrist area to keep the snow out. It doesn't show well, as blue on blue.

They do up nice a warm, with velcro.

Today, we took them for a test play. The conclusion is that the wrist band needs to be a bit wider and the flap that is on the inside of the mitt needs to be a bit longer. So, I will modify the pattern and try for a new pair for next week. They only take about an hour to sew.

I cast on a new sock to take to appointments and my kids knitting classes. Simple and mindless.

Just a plain vanilla sock knit in a lovely yarn that needs no embellishment. This is "What Does It Mean?" from TurtlePurl yarns. You can find it here.

I added another storage unit to my sewing room and after I fill it, I'll show you.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

A Seven Day Quilt Top in Just Seven Weeks

Just after Christmas, I saw a Mystery QAL on Kim Lapacek's Blog Persimmon Dreams. A one week quilt along, how hard could it be.

Today, I finished my top. Surprise, it's giant spools of thread.

It is much bigger than I expected. The top is 32" x 52". The blocks just kind of grew.

The first block was the 8" square in the middle of this block. I thought that it was going to be a pretty easy quilt. Eventually we added the top and bottom of the spool and some background fabric to make all the blocks the same height.

Block two, is an elongated churn dash.

Block 3, flying geese.

Block 4 is a square in a square, and I had to add some cats.

Block 5 is an elongated version of a block I have done before but I don't remember what it's called.

It was lots of fun to make the whole top from my scraps. Now that I have it all together, I need to find a backing and quilt it.  I wonder what I have in my "What was I thinking?" collection.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

February Begins

The groundhog did or did not see his/her shadow, which means we only have about two more months of winter left. Winter usual ends about the end of March or the beginning of April, with the occasional blast toward the end of April.

So, I was delighted to see this in my dining room.

Looks positively tropical. I think I should have been drinking something with an umbrella in it.

The azalea is showing us that winter means nothing to it.

The amaryllis bulbs have started to sprout. They spent last summer on the patio, and have just decided to wake up after a nap in the sun room for a few months.

Meanwhile, a new scarf will make my winter look better.

This is the Pembroke Scarf, and it is knit in hand dyed yarn I bought at a yarn festival, last fall. Lots of great spring colours, there. I just need to weave the ends in.