Saturday, August 8, 2020

Some Knitting, and Other Finishes

Baby things are just about my favourite things to knit. They are small, quick and fun. Just tell me that there is a baby coming into you life and I am off.

So, today, there is a baby shower in Calgary. I wasn't invited (which is fine, because I couldn't have gone) but my friend, the new grandma, was happy to have me send a gift.

So, first up, I made a Baby Vertebrae Sweater. I've made several New Born Vertebrae Sweaters. It is a free pattern, that you can find here. 


It was a very dull day when I took the pictures, and the flash just seemed to wash out the colour, so this is the best picture I got.

The yarn is a Bernat DK yarn, no longer available, that was tucked into my stash.

I also, of course, had to make a Charlotte Hat.

The baby will be born in Calgary in the fall. She is going to need a hat.

So this is what I sent by Xpresspost this week. It arrived yesterday afternoon, just in time for the shower,

I also finished my latest socks.

They almost match! The yarn is a hand dyed stripe I picked up at a yarn festival, this fall. I am doing pretty well at finding what I need to knit with, in my stash. I've only bought one skein since March. And my Christmas box is slowly filling. 

I also started another batch of Hand Sanitizer Pouches. Since not everyone likes cats, this time we have Moose.

When they are holding a bottle of hand sanitizer, they are a bit heavy for a zipper pull.

After days of rain, the weather has turned back to something more seasonal (28C instead of 34C), and we are enjoying it.

Friday, July 31, 2020

A New Pattern

Last week, Spencer Ogg Patterns released a new quick pattern. It was for a hand sanitizer pouch that clips to your bag or belt loop. I think nearly everyone has a small bottle in their purse or backpack, these days.

The pattern is very inexpensive, and if you belong to her Facebook group, it is free.

I ordered some hardware, and dug into my stash and made some.

It has a clip to snap to the strap or zipper of a bag.

It has a magnetic snap so the bottle won't fall out.

It comfortably holds a 60ml bottle of hand sanitizer.

And since I was on a roll, I made 5.

I got all five out of a 9 1/2 inch strip of fabric and and a 5 1/2 inch strip of lining. I fused the interfacing to the strips before I started, so I could quickly make the 5 pouches.

I plan to give them as gifts to people who support me in an upcoming charity event. I think I might need to make some in other fabrics.

Thought you would like to see the Arts and Socks Security Department.

Misty was guarding me from any marauding squirrels or birds who might decide to come through the screen.

Sunday, July 26, 2020


Sandra, over at mmmquilts has a monthly link up DrEAMi (Drop Everything and Make It) where she asks to see our squirrels, the projects we just had to do.

After my mask manifesto last week, I decided I needed to make my grandson a new hat. He comes to play with us once a week, and Dad never remembers to bring a hat for him. The point of his visit is to play outside while socially distancing, something that is very difficult in his townhouse. So, he needs a hat. He has been wearing one of mine, but I thought I'd have the fun of making a new one just for him.

The fabric is from a line called Purely Canadian, Eh! Summer BBQ. Let's face it, nothing says summer in Canada like a bear cooking salmon on the grill, or a moose riding a paddle board.

Bear tried it on, but says it is too big for him. Funny, the grandson's hat used to fit better. 

This is the side with the moose playing in the water.  Yes, the hat is reversible. 

Fits him, much better than it does Bear. The best part is that he likes it. Now if we can just keep it on his head!

I actually made two hats (technically 4 because you put one hat inside the other to make them reversible), and one is on its way to Edmonton, to adorn the head of another little boy.

And because this is suppose to be about squirrels, Doug would like to know where the squirrels are.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Moving Along

Recently, another quilter that I know (not a close friend) asked if I had made masks. Then she asked how many I had made, and proceeded to tell me how many she had made. I didn't know it was a competition.

I have made masks for friends and family. I have even donated some to a charity that supports homeless youth.

This one is mine. Since I mostly stay home, I only need one.

I don't enjoy making masks. I find them boring, kind of like mending. There is little creative potential. I find that they have taken a lot of time away from my more artistic endeavors. I found myself doing other stuff (also not creative) to avoid making masks.

So, for now, I am done making masks. I have put away my box with the patterns and supplies. I am going to do something more fun. I am calling it self-care.

I saw a project earlier this week that I wanted to try. I ordered fabric for it on Wednesday, and it arrived yesterday. Thank you, Funky Monkey Fabrics, for the great service. I can't get groceries that fast!

It is washed, and laying on the ironing board. The pattern is printed. Lets see if I can get this done quickly. It is going to be fun, and funky, and yes, those are bananas on the fabric.

In the evenings, I am knitting baby things. I know two babies that are on the way, in the fall, so they will need to kept warm.

I am making a Baby Vertebrae Sweater in DK yarn this time. I found it in my stash and wanted to use it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

The Cat Came Back

In case you didn't have kids when I did, this is the literary reference:
And now you will have it stuck in your head, all day.

You might remember Mystique, our foster cat from April last year until January this year. She is a sweet little girl, but her complex heath problems proved a barrier to her being adopted. We all rejoiced when she found a home, after Christmas. After Mystique, we took a break from fostering. We knew our beloved Dolly was getting increasingly frail and we felt we didn't have the energy to take on a foster.

Last week, I got a note from the shelter, telling us that she had been returned to the shelter, and could we please refoster her? So she is back at our house. She is now officially Misty, although we sort of called her that all along.

She doesn't look too upset to be back. She came in, checked to make sure everything was where she left it, and has settled in with us again.

I started a shawl, in May, using yarn I ordered on impulse, right after everything shut down here. I saw it on Instagram, from a hand dyer in Edmonton, and it called out to me. I clicked the button and it was on its way.

This is what it looked like in the skein.

It is turquoise, hot pink, and purple. Why do cameras hate purple?

And this is what it looks like as a shawl.

That pattern is Turtle Lake by Melinda Measor and the yarn is Allison Barnes Yarn Basic Sock in "Ask My Pronouns Respectfully". The shawl used slightly less than one skein. These times demand yarn in bright fun colours!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

The Day The Technology Died

Did you ever have one of those days, when you are convinced some outside force is causing chaos in your world? That was Wednesday.

I started off, trying to return something I had purchased online. No problem, I had checked before I placed my order and found that they had free returns. They sent me a return postage label, all I needed to do was print it out. The printer decided to not print the bar code on the label completely. I used the function that is suppose to clean the print heads, and it stopped printed black ink altogether.

Okay, on to the next job. I was setting up a new computer for one of my computer clients. The computer decided to get itself stuck in an endless loop of trying to install software and failing.

My sweetie, meanwhile, tried to get the old laser printer we have working, except both of the older computers that might be able to drive it wouldn't boot.

In the midst of all this, the router for the house wifi lost its mind, and we no longer had wifi.

By this point, I was ready to embrace a simpler life, and move off the grid! However, since that wasn't an immediate option, we started solving the problems, one by one. By the end of the day, we had  wifi with a temporary fix, and I had a solution for the new computer. I decided a new printer might be in order.

Yesterday, I did a curbside pick up of a budget printer (chosen mostly because they had it in stock). My sweetie continues to tinker with the non-functional printer. If he can't get it working again, I'll look for a similar one to replace it. (The bargain printer doesn't photocopy.)

Humourously, I started a slow stitching project, at the beginning of June. It kind of fits the off the grid sentiment, except that the pattern arrives weekly, by email, and I have to print one page, to do the block of the week. So, I started this week's block, today, four days later than usual.

It is called the Summer Reading Stitching Club, and it is from Mollie of Wild Olive.

The first block celebrates Wind in the Willows.

The second block represents Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. This is a popular children's book in the US but I am not familiar with it. I have it reserved from the library.

The third block, that I just started, is Alice in Wonderland.

I am having fun, using stash fabrics and flosses that I already owned. The pattern suggested black floss for all, but I am having fun with the colours.

The blocks will be hand pieced using English Paper Piecing, after a press, to get the hoop mark out.  I figured I might as well pull out all my skills I haven't used in awhile. Handwork seems to suit hot weather, and we are back to hot weather, again.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Mask Making and Other Entertainment

As I have said before, I don't enjoy mask making. So I have been trying to balance the mask making with some other more entertaining activities. I finished five masks this week from the "Valami" pattern,

Bear isn't sure he enjoys masks, either.

He says he can't see.  He would like to go back to modelling baby sweaters, please.

No elastics on these masks, Just ties, that don't get in the way of glasses or hearing aids.

This also allows an easier removal, without touching the mask.

As a change from the masks, I have been doing some paper piecing. The first section is finished. Now that I have it figured out, I hope the rest will go faster.

I have been doing this on my vintage Singer machine. I like how it is coming.

I have also started an embroidery and EPP project, hopefully I'll have some of it to show, next time.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

No Job Too Big, No Pup Too Small

A certain young man told me, the other day, "Nana, I need shorts with POCKETS." It seems that this essential element is missing from all his shorts, and since it has been warm lately, he has been wearing a lot of shorts.

I had a pair of shorts cut out for him, but I had used the last of the fabric, so I had to think of a work around.

Last fall, while I was at quilt retreat, I picked up this fabric. So I cut two six inch squares to make cargo pockets for the shorts I had already cut out.

I learned when my own boys were little that the serger is your friend in making kids clothes, fast. One trick I learned and still use, is how to pin pieces that are going to be seamed on the serger.

If you place the pin about 1.5 inches from the cut edge, the fabric stays where you want it, and the pins stay away from the blade.

In a fairly short time, I had a finished pair of shorts. I believe these will fit his requirements.

I have a complaint for the fabric companies. Skye and Everest only appear on a separate fabric, which comes in pink or lavender, and the rest of the characters are on red or blue. If you don't know the characters, Skye and Everest are the "girls" and the rest of the gang, Chase, Marshall, Rubble, Rocky and Zuma, are "boys".  I can't think of any reason that all the characters can't be on all the backgrounds. (It is also scary that I know the character names.)

Meanwhile, the socks keep piling up.

These are tiny socks from leftovers.

I started a new sock, in spring colours.

They will cheer someones sock drawer, next winter.

And, of course, masks.

The pattern is called the Valami mask and you make them in batches of 5. I do find the process of making masks kind of depressing. I don't need one at the moment, because I am hiding at home. However, stores are starting to require them, so I am making a few for friends and family.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Catching Up

Since the world has been closed down, I have been trying to blog every week, to help remind myself that I am still managing to do good things. However, I seemed to have missed a week. So, I will try to catch up.

First, the weather has suddenly changed to summer. Today it is 28C, with clear skies, Not a snowflake in sight. My garden, that had snow two weeks ago, decided to do spring, in a hurry.

The daffodils don't like the heat.

The hyacinths are less particular.

The forget-me-nots like to travel around the yard, and pop up in the most surprising places. The dandelions show up where ever they like.

The tulips are having their own Tulip Festival.

Did you ever see something on Instagram or Facebook, and think, "I have to try that." ?  While I saw a picture a couple of weeks ago, and just had to try it. I looked at the tutorial, and decided that the piecing could be achieved with foundation paper piecing, even though the designer suggested EPP. So, I printed out the pattern, and dug into my scraps. I have been working away at it, slowly.

It is rather purple, so far, but that is about to change.

I am doing the piecing on my old Singer machine, and I had to add a light, one dull day. I decided that I loved the look. 1939 meets 2019.

The futuristic OTT desk lamp on the table next to the Singer. The Singer does great straight stitch, and the OTT light makes it much easier to see. The light on the machine isn't enough for me. I suspect it is what you get used to.

I had an AHA moment, last night. I was making some masks and blindly following the pattern. When I got to the ties, I carefully sewed the ties together, on the sewing machine. Then, I realized that it would be much quicker on the serger. I think I did 4 in the time it took me to do the first tie by sewing machine. They may even look neater.

Monday, May 11, 2020

It is Trying

Spring is trying, but I would like to have a word with someone about the snow on Friday and Saturday. It was beautiful and balmy in western Canada, while in the east we got cold and snow.

Today, we are cool (+10) but it is mostly sunny and the birds are out. I took a walk to see if the flowers had survived the cold.

I have little surprises in some spots of my yard.

My tulips need a few more days.

One of my neighbours has some open.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Holland and the end of the war in Europe. The Canadian Tulip Festival was going all out, to put on a show. The Dutch Royal Family sent thousands of tulip bulbs and Princess Margriet, who was born at Ottawa Civic Hospital was planning to visit. Of course, the visit and most of the festival has been cancelled, except on line. If you would like to visit the Festival, you can go here.

I was exploring my "stuff" and found some blocks. these were made by my quilting friends, a few years ago, as a year long project. I brought them home and never did anything with them. So, I was looking through my stash for some sashing for them.

The colours aren't right. Try to ignore the bright blue comforter.

Too dark, and not enough purple.

Not perfect, but I think I can live with it. It isn't like I can spend an afternoon in a quilt shop, pulling out all the bolts to find the perfect sashing. I think I might need to change the border on the block in the top left. It looks to dark with this fabric.

I will see how it goes.