Sunday, August 30, 2015

My Summer Masterwork

Water by Fiddle Knits Designs, was a mystery Knit Along, that consumed most of my summer. My project notes say it took me over 6 weeks to complete.
It used about 610 metres of yarn and about 530 beads. It is now ready to wear and it is lovely.

It has lots of watery images. Some of the people knitting see the bottom sections as a whales tail. Some people see giant squid up near the top. I just see the ocean swirling and splashing.

This is the bottom section, with beads placed randomly to highlight the elongated stitches. You can see the picot cast off with beads on the flat parts. Don't look too closely, because I noticed as I was blocking it that I forgot to make a couple of picots. I can't imagine anyone inspecting the edge as closely as I did while I was pinning it out.

I had lots of fun with this. Thanks to Erika for another fantastic Mystery Shawl.
My project page is here.

And since it is Sunday, kitten pictures. I call this "You call this the cupboard under the microwave, we call it a kitten high rise."

My new kittens are very skiddish little guys (and girl) but if you enlarge the picture, you should be able to see 3 little faces. The grey boys I think we are calling Sterling and Royce, and the little girl, who looks like a rock star to me, will be Feist. Of course, the names may change in a couple more days, as we get to know them.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

In Praise of 4H

After a week of temperatures in the mid 30 C range (mid  90 F) last week, the temperature today hasn't made it to 20 C. It feels like fall, although I expect we will have more warm weather, yet. With the cooler weather, came a request for some baking. (I refuse to turn the oven on if it is hot.)

Some Ginger Nectarine Oatmeal muffins, based loosely on a recipe I found on the web. I can't bake muffins without thinking about 4H.

The motto of 4H is "Learn to do, by doing", and our adult leaders embraced this, so we DID. We learned to cook, bake, sew, do an assortment of handcrafts, and (supposedly) garden. I was not keen on the gardening, as a teen, so I skipped those units.

It was in 4H that I learned to make things like German Potato Salad, Apple Crisp, Carrot Cookies, and Muffins. I remember when we were given the task of making one batch of muffins, gently folding the wet with the dry, and one batch, beaten as hard as we could. Then we had to critique them, so that we never forgot why you fold everything gently. Until then, I thought muffins were complicated, something that would take all day to make, if you didn't have a mix.

The program was sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, and emphasized the use of fresh local food. We learned to appreciate which foods were in season, and we learned to use them in economical ways.

Those tomatoes are from the 4 plants I grew up my fence, and went into last night's salad.

On successful completion of a unit, we received a silver spoon.
Mine are tarnished now, I don't much use them, since they are the only silverware I own, but I was very proud of my spoons. Though it is hard to see, they say Ontario 4H Homemaking Club at the top. They showed that I was able to do grownup things like make a meal, or sew a housecoat. I have 8 spoons, and the cookbooks from my cooking units. I still cook out of the books. The recipes are actually timeless. If you look on the Foodland Ontario website you can probably find most of them.

So, thank you to all those lovely ladies that allowed me to step into your kitchens, with my friends Lynne, Cathy, Marion, and Patsy. I am sure we never left your kitchens as tidy as when we arrived. However, you gave me a gift that has lasted me a lifetime: the ability to feed myself and my family, nutritiously and economically. But I am pretty sure that was why you did it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

National Dog Day - August 26

Greeting to all their friends from Dolly

And Doug

Now Party!

Bentley thinks he is a dog, too. Especially if there is a party.

Salmon treats...things got a little out of hand!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Sneak Peek and Some Leftovers

I finished my Water shawl. It is in dire need of blocking to make it look pretty, but in the meantime here is a picture of the beaded picot cast off edge.  The pattern just called for a beaded cast off, but I decided to add the picots and cut down on the beads in the edge. I have also added beads to the last section of the shawl, because there is no such thing as too much bling, is there?

Because my hands must have some knitting, I thought I would like a change of pace and started a toddler sweater. I have had the yarn for awhile, but I think I better get the sweater done before it doesn't fit.

The pattern is Kindling, and the yarn is Marble DK in the Berries colourway.  The sweater is knit from the top down, with cables in the yoke.

For a little added silliness, I had a couple of pictures from my Syracuse trip, that I think are fun.

Yes, that is a giant Lifesaver.

The roll greets you as you enter the town of Gouveneur, New York.  I just had to find out why. If you want to know, check here.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Another Brick and 150!

Just before I went to Syracuse, a couple of friends asked me if I would show them how to make the Brick Bag with a PUL lining.

I have a love/ hate relationship with the PUL fabric, because it doesn't behave in the sewing machine, however, we got together and gave it a try.  I got my bag 3/4 of the way finished while showing them how it was done, and brought it home to finish. It has been sitting waiting ever since. Today, I decided to get it done.

I was told that putting "magic" tape on the bottom of the foot would help the PUL fabric feed and it did improve things a bit, however, I think I need to work on this to get a result I really like. The lining on this bag is tidier then the last, but it could be better. I think it might be easier if I used heavy interfacing instead of the fusible fleece to back the outer fabric.

I used one of my long hoarded Laurel Burch fat quarters for the outer fabric.

I think I will keep this one for my own travel. It looks a good size for a toiletry bag.

The fearless five of my last kindle have gone back to the shelter. They will soon be livening new homes, making their new owners smile.

Meanwhile, I have a singleton. Meet Bentley, # 150 of the foster cats at our house.

Isn't he cute? He looks like a Beanie Baby. He isn't sure about the dogs, yet. Give him time, he will soon have two new best friends.

Monday, August 10, 2015

More AQS Syracuse

I promised to show some of the winners. These are all lovely quilts, though I don't think they are any more better then the others in the show. This is why I am not a judge. I couldn't even choose a quilt to nominate for Viewers Choice. I came home with my ballot.

Here are some of the prize winners.

Best Of Show: Stars on Mars by Gail Stepanek and Jan Hutchison, New Lennox, Illinois.

Best Original Design: Song of the Sea by Kathy McNeil, Tolalip, Washington.

Best Wall Quilt: Reborn by Molly Hamilton- McNally, Tehachapi, California.

Best Home Machine Quilted: Vivaldi by Moonlight by Sandra Leichner, Albany, Oregon.

Detail of the quilting:
The quilting lines are 1/16" apart, I can't imagine how you even do that. The show program said that she wanted to test the limits of her machine. There are also hand embroidered bees on the quilt, but I seem to have missed getting a picture of them.

Warm Fuzzies

I have slowly been working on my Water shawl. I finished clue #3 yesterday, 9 days after clue #4 was published.

This clue had some very scary intentionally dropped stitches.

The next clue has the option of adding beads, so I found some in my stash that look like they will work.

I am sprinkling them around the shawl to add a bit of weight to the bottom.

I swore I was not going to go to the big sale at the yarn shop this year, but I buckled under the strain.

5 balls of worsted wool and 7 balls of sock yarn. Isn't it pretty?

I am blaming this for my lack of knitting progress.

They look so innocent when they are asleep. They grab my yarn and the cable of my circular needle, when they are awake.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

AQS Syracuse - Personal Favourites

It has taken me a few days to recover and process my trip to the AQS show in Syracuse, NY.  Today, I am going to show you some quilts that were my personal favourites, but didn't receive major prizes at the show. I am not sure why the prize winners won and these quilts didn't. Maybe that is why I'm not a judge.

The first quilt I saw was this one, that just blew me away. I first thought was, "I might as well quit making quilts right now, because I will never be here."

This quilt is call "Hurricane" and it is by Janneke deVries-Bodzinga from The Netherlands. It took third place in Large Quilts - Home Machine Quilted.

This is "Bodacious" by Claudia Clark Myers of Duluth, Minnesota. It was third place in Large Quilts, Longarm Machine Quilted.

Especially for Cheryl, this is called "One Cake, Two Cake, Red Cake, Blue Cake" by Linda Neal and Jackie Brown of McKinney, Texas.

This is "Nine Patch Show and Tell" by Molly Allen of Birmingham, Michigan.

This is Mary Wieser, standing next to her quilt "Green Piece". When she saw me taking her picture, she asked if I liked her quilt. I told her I liked it very much, but I might not be the best authority, since my fingernails matched her quilt. I thought it was lovely, bright and bold, just my style.

Finally, my absolute favourite, guess why!

This is called "Crime Scene Investigation" by Pauline Saltzman of Treasure Island, Florida. When you get close you can see the dogs' explanations of the crimes committed.

I have lots of pictures. I will share more later.