Thursday, December 31, 2020

The Year We Didn't Expect - 2020

 This was not the year we expected. On March 15, the province went into Covid-19 lockdown, and did not start to reopen for months.  I figured I would have lots of time for my sewing and knitting, but I had not figured in the amount of time just managing the restrictions would take. No more jumping in the car to go out for a meal. All meals became home-cooked. (I think our takeout score is 3 pizzas and an order of Swiss Chalet.) Hours were often spent trying to figure out where I could get something I needed delivered to the house. 

Sewing became mask-making for a time. Masks become very depressing and boring, rather quickly. When I had to make some masks, I would find myself procrastinating. 

However, last night, I finished what is probably my last completed project for this year. 

The hat, that I made too small for my grandson, has been reknit. It is now bigger, and longer, so I think it will fit. 

Bear, who has happily modelled all my little hats (and masks) for years says that he can't do the grandson hats anymore, but he guesses this will fit. 

So, my summary of finishes:


  • 33 masks
  • 5 tote bags
  • 4 purses or pouches
  • 2 table runners
  • 1 quilt top
  • 2 bucket hats
  • 3 bibs
  • 24 hand sanitizer pouches
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 pair of fleece mitts

  • 8 pairs of socks
  • 3 shawls
  • 2 scarves
  • 1 baby sweater
  • 1 baby bonnet
  • 2 hats (or the same hat, twice)
More than I thought I had done. I also attempted sourdough, I might try again in 2021. I learned a lot of new technical skills, like depositing cheques from my tablet. I can now host Zoom meetings. I have been working to keep in touch with the groups I belong to, so we will not be completely disconnected.

I was surprised to discover that I have not done a lot of reading. I saw yesterday that this is a common problem right now, and the phase "readersblock" has been coined for it.

I'm not going to speculate on what might come next. I will be doing my planning, week by week, with lots of freedom to change my mind. 

May you have a happy and safe New Year.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

It All Started When I Didn't Check

 A squirrel project of another kind:

It all started when I knit a hat for my grandson, for Christmas, without checking my notes from the last hat I made him. Long story short, it was too small. I went back and checked my notes, and sure enough, I had decided that the pattern was too small, so I had gone up a size, and down a needle size., for the last one.

So, I ripped out the whole hat, and opened the drawer where I keep my knitting needles, to look for a 5mm short circular needle. I found a total mess, and decided that it was time to do a tidy.

I emptied everything out onto the dining room table. I first found my needle gauge, then I started sorting. (Like my new Christmas tablecloth?)

These are the first "grown-up" needles I ever owned. I had started out, at the ripe old age of 5 or 6, with a pair of poorly made needles that came in a craft kit. They eventually broke, but not before I used up all the yarn in the kit, and a number of scrap balls, donated by a neighbour who knit. (My mother didn't knit.) These needles were gifted to me by a family friend, who got me started on a hat in bulky yarn.

I love how the plastic needles bend and stay bent. I don't use plastic ones anymore. 

I have a huge collection of straight needles. I can't remember when I last used straight needles. So I decided to find a new home for these, to help resolve the mess. 

The cardboard mailing tube that I use to wrap the Christmas wall hangings around provided a storage place for the needles, and they will soon be cozy and warm, wrapped in the Christmas quilts.

My needles of choice are now circular needles with interchangeable tips. I separated these into tips and cables, and discovered that I seem to have an extra point. If anyone needs a single 6mm tip, I have it. (I found the other 5mm tip missing in the picture, and now I wonder why I have two sets.)

By the end of the day, I had this. I found a cutlery tray to put into the drawer, it it holds the double pointed needles, crochet hooks, needle gauge and a couple of other tools. The brown envelopes hold the cables, and circular needles. The short circulars now have their own envelope. Needle tips are in a zip lock bag. I wonder if I can keep it this tidy?

Meanwhile, in a weak moment, I decided to join annual Mystery Quilt Along over at Persimmon Dreams. She publishes a block per day, and I am already behind! So, I am going to try and play catch up over the next couple of days. 

This is my fabric selection, pulled from stash.

I finished the first block, but it looks wonky so I may be redoing that, too.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Christmas is Coming

And, as the Grinch found it, Christmas will come, as it always has. In my little bubble, we have a few gifts for family, mostly handmade. Church will be on YouTube but I can enjoy it, without worrying about the weather. 

 The tree is up, and mostly decorated. No cats to climb it, so far.

The cookies got sent to far away family, so I am baking more.

My grandson was quite upset when we discovered that the dancing, singing mouse was not working. So, Grandad, the electrical engineer, replaced her switch, and Nana, the mechanical engineer, replaced her stuffing and sewed her back up, as good as new. I have an odd love for singing, dancing rodents. They have all been gifts from my children, who foster my weird loves.


A friend has a birthday, this week, so I made her a pouch to keep her mask in. Hopefully, soon, she can use it for something else.

Finally, in the silly department, I pulled out a nativity set for my grandson, and somehow, it ended up like this.

There are dinosaurs, guarding the baby in the manger. (Those are the Advent candles, and I will renew them on Thursday night, when they will all be lit. In our tradition, the candles are green (hope), blue (peace), yellow or gold (joy) and red (love), as an inclusive representation.) On Friday, the Wise Men will start to move around the house, as they journey to Epiphany. My kids took turns hiding them and waiting for me to find them. This year, I get to hide them for my grandson.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Where Does the Time Go?

 It has been weeks since I have been here, and I was wondering what happened. Its not like I'm going anywhere.

In hindsight, I realized I have been dealing with family emergencies, large and small. It's the small ones that take the most time. 

Our microwave died, after 40 years of service. I spent hours trying to figure out what to buy to replace it, without being able to go out and look at what was available. In the end, I used my tape measure to make sure it would fit, crossed my fingers, and ordered.

Here is the new one, all shiny in its new home. I have no idea how to use it, so a large amount of trial and error is involved. 

I am now supervising remote kindergarten for my grandson, at least once a week. Nothing gets done that day, and sometimes, I get a desperate text at 7:05, asking if he can come a second day in the week. We made a lovely Christmas tree out of construction paper, yesterday. 

You can see in the background what a mess the table is by the end of the day. I cheated and ran the stack of tree cutouts through the sewing machine, to hold them together so he could glue them.

It was Christmas hat day, yesterday, so Doug modelled the hat we found.

Doug can be so accommodating sometimes.

Christmas parcels are being prepared for shipment.

This cookie didn't make it into the mail. We needed to do some quality testing.

The knitting continues, and I managed to finish a pair of socks and a scarf. They were washed today, and will be ready to go by morning.

I seem to have a blue theme going.

The granddogs requested new bandanas. I don't use my serger enough and had to remember how to get good results on bias edges.

Two Christmas ones and two bright ones to wear in the snow, I think they will like them.

Hopefully, tomorrow, I will get everything boxed up and get Canada Post to come and pick them up.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Another UFO Complete

 Back in the days when life was open and free, my church quilt group agreed to quilt two quilts for an organization building accommodations for homeless veterans.  The tops were already made. We put one quilt onto the frame and were making good progress, when Covid lockdowns began. When it became obvious that it would be a very long time before we could sit around the frame again, I got permission to go into our closed building and rescue the quilt from the frame. It became the travelling quilt, moving between quilters to get it finished. I put the last stitches into it last Friday.

It is a large quilt and is folded in four in this picture. It was picked up by the person in charge of decorating the sanctuary, and on Sunday morning, it made its first completed appearance, during Zoom Church.

This photo is courtesy of the AV volunteer.

However, we had agreed to finish two quilts, so instead of driving ourselves crazy, we are donating one we finished awhile ago, and hung in the church, last January.

Not as long, but wider.

And the other quilt top that we were suppose to finish?

It has been upcycled into three quilts that will be used by the service dogs that are expected to live at the facility. They got a doggy backing in flannel, and were quilted by machine, with no bindings.

Sometimes things work out better than we expect.

A few years ago, a former minister started hanging our quilts in the sanctuary so they could absorb the prayers and hopes of all the people. The congregation loved it. They were thrilled to see a new quilt this week.

Meanwhile, I was asked to make a couple more hand sanitizer pouches, for a friend. I finished them today.

I was asked for one dog and one cat. This is what my scarps produced. I like them. This is the 100 ml size.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Supporting Homeless Kitties

 The Lynhurst Feral Cat Project is holding their annual Christmas Market, starting tomorrow.

The event is on Facebook and new items will be added daily. First one to offer gets the item.

I found a few things to donate.

This Christmas table runner was a UFOvember finish and needs to move into someone else's home.

I had some hand sanitizer pouches that went unclaimed during my fund raiser.

Notice the cat theme.

I also had these fingerless mitts that I knit awhile ago.

They are in baby alpaca and silk and lovely and soft.

My friend, Pat, made a pair of mittens, too.

These mitts are from the book "Saltwater Knits" and are 100% Canadian wool.

I hope they all find their way to new homes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020


 On the Geeky Bobbin blog, she is running a blog hop on dealing with your UFO's. I have been reading the posts and pulled out a couple of mine, to finish. I have 2 table runners finished, so far.

The first is a Triangle Frenzy pattern, called Swirl. I made the top for this one, just to try the technique. I pulled it out recently, and it is now finished. I am submitting it to be sold by the Lyndhurst Feral Cat Project's Christmas Market. 

I think the fabric was called Holiday Sparkle and it is an unusual colour combination for Christmas. I donated a couple of other things, that I already had finished. as well as some Newfoundland mittens from my friend, Pat. Check out their Facebook page for details of the sale.

Yesterday, I was the responsible adult for my grandson's remote schooling. Although his parents know I am not very grownup, they didn't tell the teachers, so al was well. While he was doing his online class stuff, I was stitching the binding from a UFO that I pulled out a couple of months ago. Amazing what a couple of hours of hand stitching gets done. 

Christmas side.

Everyday side. It is quite long, but not as long as I had intended. However, my calculations were off, so this is all the fabric I had. I'm sending it off as a Christmas gift. 

I should have tidied that table a bit more. It is actually fairly tidy but I needed a lot of space for the runner.

Friday, October 30, 2020

It's Halloween, Already

 This staying home really seems to make time do weird things. My goal to post once a week has again failed. Oh, well. 

My old friend, Bear, is modelling one of the 12 Halloween masks I made as Halloween gifts.

Here are some more of them.

I also made gift bags and filled them with some Halloween goodies. I almost forgot to take a picture.

That bright striped fabric was hiding in my stash, having last been used to make costume elements for one of my sons for a school play. Been resting for a while. It turned out to be an excellent match for the fabric. 

The bag fronts and many of the masks are from two panels from Ruby Star, called "Candy, Please". I like that the one panel was four fat quarters from the line. I hope more companies choose this method. It makes fabric easier to buy and store.

A friend of very long standing (we met in kindergarten) asked for a pair of baby socks for her granddaughter. That was an easy request to fill. However, there was still some space in the envelope so I added a couple of other things.

I hope she and her granddaughters enjoy a little treat. Masks and hand sanitizer pouches seem like odd gifts to show one cares, but it is the current way.

Meanwhile, this is my setup for church on Sundays. The computer connects to Zoom, the tablet holds the order of service, then I have my sock knitting and my tea. My book club setup is much the same. This is how we gather in groups, now.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Thanksgiving Sunday

 It is a year when it is a little harder to be thankful, however, we are all safe and warm, and for now, that is enough. I will be thankful for that.

I had one of those weeks when creativity was hard to find. My most creative endeavour at one point was sweet potato dog chews.

You slice sweet potato thin and dry the slices in the oven at a very low temperature. Unlike some baking projects, the point is actually to turn them into shoe leather. You can buy them at the store, already made, but this way is cheaper, especially on a chilly day. The plate was full, so obviously they were a hit.

I started a sock for my little guy.

Just a plain vanilla sock, not much creativity, here (just warm feet).

Then I watched a video from Just Get It Done Quilts, where she suggests sewing your scraps together as a way to get your creativity going. So I grabbed a bag of scraps and did this.

Not anything great, but they are big enough to make a couple of zippered bags. After you apply some interfacing, I expect they will be fine. It also raised my spirits and got me thinking.

I went into my closet and found a Christmas table runner, in need of a batting and backing. Of course, since I was on a roll, I pieced the batting from some scraps, and found the backing, that was already to go.

It is now batted and backed, and in need of a bit more quilting. I'm sure it won't be hard to find it a home.

While I was in there I found more potential Christmas gifts, in need of a bit of work. I guess I have my projects for the week.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Autumn Glory

 I went for a walk, the other day, when the weather was perfect for taking pictures. I actually remembered my camera, so I will share some with you.

This is on the multiuse trail through the park behind my street.

This is the Alice Wilson Woods. It is a place where the Canadian Shield pops up above the ground. The land has been turned into park with hiking trails where we can walk. (Alice Wilson was the first woman to hold the job of Geologist in the Canadian government, and one of the first two women to become Fellows of the Canadian Geographical Society.) 

A tree doesn't change colour all at once. This one seems to be conflicted. I feel the same way about autumn. I, too, want to keep one foot in summer.

This one was striking with its bright colour against the cloud.

This smoke bush is a perfect compliment to the maple beside it. 

The leaves have started to fall, so the cleanup will come next. We enjoy the colours while we can.

My friend Corina finished her Maker Case as well. Corina and I had a couple of video sewing days together to make these. I think she did a very good job.

I love sewing with friends. so I will be doing a video sew day again, soon.