Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Flowers, at last!

From late October until late April, there are no signs of life in my garden. After 6 months, it is very exciting to see things coming alive again.

Today, with weather that could be called spring, I wandered around taking some pictures.

The forsythia in a sheltered corner of the fence made an appearance on the weekend.

The one, more exposed to the elements, on the outside of the fence, opened up this morning.

We have had this bush for nearly 30 years, and although we feared that the city works department had killed it by digging it up, a few years ago, it was much tougher then that, and is back to delight me again.

Under the bush, there are scilla.

They seem to be on the outside of the garden edging. They do like to wander.

Nearby, I found some mini daffodils.
These are about 6 inches high, but they are making a big splash.

The bloodroot will be open tomorrow, I think.
The hepatica need a couple more days.
And this picture is for Maggie.

My husband brought me in some flowers, the other night, and put it in a handy "vase"

Monday, April 27, 2015

Spring Retreat 2015

This weekend, I again got the opportunity to spend the weekend with quilting friends, quilting to we wilt, talking, laughing, and, of course, shopping!

My major project for the weekend took longer then I expected. It might have something to do with the liberal use of my stitch ripper, since I kept sewing sections together backwards. You know, you put two pieces together, put them under the presser foot and sew, open it up and discover you  have sewn down the wrong side of the block, so now you have the opposite of what you wanted. I sewed one block together completely, and had somebody else come to look, and immediately pointed out that the four patch in the centre was turned 90 degrees to the rest of the block. That required that I take nearly the whole block apart to fix. At least it was found before the whole thing was sewn together. Thanks, Joanne!

On to some pictures. I am saving the pictures of my major project until I have it finished, but here are some others.

I started the weekend by making another knitting project bag.

Note that my table is fairly tidy at this point. It went downhill from there.

I challenged myself to make my pieced project entirely from my stash, so I used the monochrome feature on my camera to sort the fabric into lights and darks.

Four of these fabrics made the final cut.

Around the room there was a lot of other activity.
Lynn's I Spy type quilt, with squares that button together.

Doreen's flowers.
Joanne's "Oh My Gosh" quilt - each retreat she collects scraps that we are throwing away because they are too small for another use, and she adds them to her bag of scraps for this one. The 4 patches are 1/2 inch on a side.
I can understand why the pattern is called "Oh, My Gosh". I won't be trying it.

And Margaret's paper pieced stars. I have this book, but I haven't done any of the patterns in it.

There were lots of other projects happening, but I didn't manage to get a picture, no doubt because I was too busy ripping.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Spring Visitors

Yesterday was cool and dreary, so we decided to give the pets a bit of entertainment. We placed peanuts on the window sill, and waited to see who showed up. ( The pets were on the inside of the window.)

This squirrel was taking the peanuts, one at a time.

The chipmunk had a better plan. See the  peanuts.

See the full cheeks! I believe we counted 4 peanuts go in before he left.

On a sunnier day, I found these poking up in the lawn.
Good signs of warmer days ahead.

My mystery shawl is starting to be revealed. This is the end of clue 1.
I have 24 rows left of clue 2, before the next clue arrives, tomorrow. I am keeping up pretty well. I like what I see, so far. Should be ready for shawl weather.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Twisted Cuff Baby Hat

I made one of these last summer.

The pattern I used is no longer available, so I created my own. The internet is a marvelous place. I found the measurements for baby hats here. There is a video on how to do the twisted garter cuff here. A three stitch i-cord tutorial is here.

Twisted Cuff Baby Hat

Needles: 2 - 2.5 mm straight needles
               5 - 2.5 mm double pointed needles
               5 - 3.25 mm double pointed needles

Yarn : About 20 - 25 gm. of sock yarn (fingering)

Using the 2.5 mm straight needles, cast on 100 stitches, leaving a tail to sew the seam later. Knit 5 rows of garter stitch (knit every row). Next row, twist the stitches, as shown on the video.
Continuing to work flat, begin K2 P2 ribbing, transferring the stitches to the double pointed needles, either as you go, or after you have completed this row. (24, 24, 24, 28).  Join in a circle and continue the ribbing for a total of 10 rounds.
Change to the 3.25 mm needles and knit even for 3.5 inches. (9 cm.)
Decrease Round 1: *K8, K2 tog. Repeat to the end of the round.
Round 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14: Knit
Round 3: * K7, K2 tog. Repeat to the end of the round.
Round 5: * K6, K2 tog. Repeat to the end of the round.
Round 7: * K5, K2 tog. Repeat to the end of the round.
Round 9: * K4, K2 tog. Repeat to the end of the round.
Round 11: * K3, K2 tog. Repeat to the end of the round.
Round 13: * K2, K2 tog. Repeat to the end of the round.
Round 15: * K1, K2 tog. Repeat to the end of the round. 
Round 16: *K2 tog. to the end of the round (10 stitches)
Round 17: *K2 tog. to the end of the round (5 stitches)
Round 18: K2 tog., K1, K2 tog. (3 stitches)
Knit a 3 stitch i-cord for about 2.5 inches.
Cut the thread and run it through the stitches, pulling them tight and finish securely. Tie a knot in the i-cord. Using the beginning tail, close the seam in the garter twist cuff.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Manly Project Bag

I know a new knitter who has a birthday coming up. So I decided, he needed a manly project bag.

I have made about a dozen of the Wide Open Zipper Pouch by Anna Graham at Noodlehead. They are my favourite little bag.  I made a couple of modifications to the basic pattern for this one.

Because I want straight knitting needles to fit in it, I made the large size taller, by adding the upper panel. It was about 5.5 inches when I started. I also made handles by cutting a piece of fabric wide of fabric by 4 inches. I inserted the handles into the seam between the two pieces, then top stitched them to give the handles a bit more support.

The fabric was from my stash.

Ambulances and inukshuks, for a Canadian paramedic currently working internationally.  Inside, a little surprise.

Aren't those cats wonderful? I think he will enjoy them. I added a pocket to the inside, because I thought with the deeper bag, things are more likely to get lost in the bottom. I am going to add some needles and yarn, as well as some stitch markers, a yarn sewing needle,  a tape measure and a little pair of scissors.

Meanwhile, I started my mystery shawl.
I like the pattern, so far, and there aren't too many rows to knit in a week.

I got a lovely surprise in the mail the other day. I had entered Grandma Coco's pincushion contest,
and Cheryl very generously sent all the entrants some of her fabulous hand made buttons.

Now, don't you wish you had entered?

If you want some of these buttons, Cheryl has some available, with proceeds to the Lyndhurst Feral Cat Project. Just hop over to Funny Business Buttons, and grab some for yourself. Now, what am I going to make to add these to? Maybe another project bag, with handles.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Sunday Musing: Sloth

I was thinking about  sloth today.

Not this kind, but the kind that is considered by some to be a sin.

The website, 7 Deadly Sins, defines sloth as  Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work.

Now, you may ask, why I am musing about this. Well, because of this:

Those are my fingernails. They are almost always painted and the colours are often unusual for fingernails. I am not a pale pink kind of person. This week, they will be metallic teal, because it makes me smile. I have polished my nails, regularly, since I was 15. That is quite a long time. As I have gotten older, the colours have become wilder, and of course, people notice. Which brings me to the sloth.

It seems that having your nails nicely polished is considered a sign of not doing anything. I am not exactly sure why. People who know me, and know I have a reasonably busy life, still make comments, like "it must be nice to have all that time to do your nails".  Or "Don't you do any housework?"

My manicure routine is one I have perfected over time. It takes me about 40 minutes to take off the old polish, put on 5 coats of fresh, and some nail polish hardener. Done properly it lasts me a week to 10 days. I can finish the job in less time then it takes to watch a TV show. I do it while I watch TV. because I can't stand to watch TV and do nothing with my hands. I consider it multi-tasking. And yes, I do housework (although I would rather sew, or knit). I own and use rubber gloves to protect the polish. I can clean bathrooms, and my nails will still look like this.

So my response to those who tell me it must be nice: you are right, it is nice to have pretty nails. The polish is OPI This Color is Making Waves.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter Weekend Summary

Now that the giant blanket is finished, I finished off a couple of other knitting projects this weekend.

The first was a hat, I started back in January and was my waiting room project for most of the winter.

This is the third one of these I made this winter. This one is in Cascade 220 Superwash. It is a nice wool to work with, lovely and soft.

I finished the second sock of the baby socks.

Now there is a pair.

And I made a hat to match.
I made a similar hat last summer, but the pattern is no longer available, so I made this one up on the fly. I will turn my project notes into a blog post, in case somebody else would like to try it, of I need to make another.  :)

Update: I finished the pattern. Twisted Cuff Baby Hat

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Finishing up March

I managed to finish my afghan that I have been working on all winter. My notes say I started January 7.

 By the numbers it has about 65,000 stitches in it and 1800 metres of yarn! No wonder it took me all winter.

Last week I had a doctors appointment, and since this was way too large for waiting room knitting, I did this.

Want a closer look?

It is a baby sock, knit from Kate Atherly's baby sock pattern, with a garter twist cuff. Isn't it cute? I think all the babies will be wearing lime green, this spring. The second sock is underway. I did forget to cast it on when I finished the first, however, the ribbing is nearly finished, so no danger of second sock syndrome.

I also finished another pillowcase dress.

The kit came with white binding, but I thought that was kind of dull, so I dipped into my bag of left over binding strips.
This piece was left over from my Maritime Beauty!
The afghan went for a soak in the tub, so it was ready to block.

And then we took Doug to the dog wash.

He doesn't look very happy, but at least he smells better now.