Friday, December 23, 2022

The Weather Outside is Frightful

 We are getting rain, snow, ice, freezing rain, wind, just about every form of winter weather. This is extending over a large part of North America. It is a perfect day to stay home and knit!

Bear, my favourite fashion model, has been feeling neglected lately, so I got him to model for me today.

He is ready for whatever the day brings. Of course, teddy bears don't really have necks, so he is wearing the neck warmer as a sweater.

The hat is finished.

The pattern is called Bankhead, and it can be found here. I modified it with a k2p2 rib to match the neckwarmer. The yarn is Brave Stripes by Knit Picks and I made the set with less than 200 gm.

I actually got to do some selfish sewing yesterday (why do we think it is selfish if we make something for ourselves?)

I got a new phone, and it was a tight fit in my current clutch, so I saw a new pattern and thought it was just the right thing.

The bag is called Findlay Phone Wallet by Hold It Right There Designs. I added a crossbody strap since I like my hands free. Just beside Bear's head, you can see that I inserted some of the lining fabric into the strap. The flap is cork fabric from a sample pack I bought from MM Cork.

The bag has card slots in the front phone pocket.

It also has a zippered body, to keep my mask, keys, etc.

The fabric is "Not Ameowsed" by Dear Stella. Do you think anyone will notice that my bag is Christmas fabric, in April?

Two finishes on the same day!

Monday, December 19, 2022

Closer to Ready

I managed to get many things done last week.

I did a lot of baking, which is all gone now.  I filled two boxes and sent them off on Thursday, to points west. 

I made 12 bandanas for my granddogs. I forgot to take a picture before I mailed them but this is what they looked like while in process.

I hemmed them all on my serger, I might do a fancier job if I planned to sell them but the dogs don't care. I kept a couple for Doug. He modeled one for you.

I also finished a pair of mittens to go with the neck warmer from last week.

The hat is currently on the needles.

Over the last 10 weeks or so, a quilt ladies from the church have been in overdrive to produce some Advent banners for the church. It was a monumental project, 10 banners with two for each week of Advent and two for Christmas.

I still go to church virtually but my spy took this picture yesterday. The fabric came from multiple stashes. The other side of the church has the same banners in mirror image. My role in making them was largely putting on a couple of bindings. I think the quilters did an excellent job.

The weather has turned cold, and seems to be here to stay this time. It started to snow, late Thursday and by Saturday morning, we had this.

There is a bird feeder under there somewhere. Emme is disappointed that her friends, the birds, have been hiding.

I guess I need to make some cookies for us, this week. And finish that hat!

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Christmas is Coming - Ready or Not

 So I am baking and making, and decorating, and ... I have two deadlines, one to mail stuff across the country and one for those of us who are here. 

The tree is up.

Of course, the bins are not put away, because there are still some things that need to come out.

Emme would like you to know that she helped.

You can see what a great help she was. 

In the evenings, I knit and I managed to make a neck warmer in a couple of evenings of Hallmark movies. Neck warmers have replaced the long scarves of my youth, in the school yards. Safer and less likely to get lost.

I need to work on centering my pictures. Note the festive table covering.

I was asked for the "pattern" so I will share it with you, too. 

I had a 100 gm ball of worsted weight yarn (acrylic so it can go in the washer), and I cast on 88 stitches, loosely, on a 5mm 16" circular needle. I did a K2P2 rib until it looked long enough (about 6") and cast off using a stretchy cast off. The cast off caused the bottom to flare, and I liked it. It is done and it fits over an adult head, so it should fit somebody in early elementary. I used just over 40 gm of yarn, so you can get 2 from the ball. Presto, winter warmth. I suppose it needs a matching hat.

Friday, December 2, 2022

Mosaic Reindeer

 Every now and again, I need to remind myself of skills that I have learned. I was looking for an idea for a door decoration for a dear one with a new apartment. The Passport to Christmas give away came along last month and I saw the perfect pattern. 

Mosaic Reindeer was designed by Kristy of Quiet Play Designs. I starting pulling fabrics from my stash and came up with these.

I used the batiks and sadly put back the poinsettia fabric. After several hours and some frustration (trimming the wrong fabric or sewing the piece of fabric upside down), I finished this.

I think it came out rather well. I did machine tying instead of quilting, since it is not going to be very stressed. This morning, when the sun was out briefly, I found a bunch of jump stitches that I had missed on the back side.

Obviously, the bobbin thread was a good match for the backing fabric. The backing was a fat quarter, again from my stash, of unknown age, that was a perfect match for the front. I even got my poinsettias that I wanted.

I bound it by wrapping the backing fabric around to the front. I was reminded of this technique by Sandra of  MMM Quilts. Her tutorial is at the link.

I used the same stitch that I tied the quilt with to stitch down the binding and it went very well.

It is in the mail now, off to the "wet coast" . 

Your trivia for today: In Canada, reindeer are called caribou. The males shed their antlers in the fall, but the females shed theirs in the spring. So my reindeer must be Vixen!


Thursday, November 24, 2022

Twice in One Week!

 Since I have another finish and I want to drop it off, I thought I would post the pictures.

Another toddler hat, this one with Big Bird, has been created. It will be donated to a winter clothing drive for babies and pre-schoolers in our community. Little people shouldn't be cold. The hat is a kit from Lion Brand, called One Hat Wonder.

Of course, Mudd thinks all pictures should have him in them. So he photobombed the hat.

Emme  was sitting watching the birds until she heard that a trip to the pet food store was planned.

She just wants everyone to know that last time, Somebody forgot to get her favourite food, trout bisque. She says she reallllly needs her favourite, so DO NOT FORGET!

The hibiscus tree has moved into the dining room, now that winter has arrived. It was so happy to be out of the cold that it rewarded us with two flowers.

Now, if Mudd would quit climbing in it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Pillowcases - A Sort of a Tutorial

 ... Or maybe I should have started with Plan B.

Let's start with the finished project.

My favourite little boy is having a birthday. This year, he is all about Sonic the Hedgehog. While browsing my favourite online fabric store, Funky Monkey, I found this fabric on clearance. To make two pillowcases you need two yards of fabric, that go together, so that was easy. (I might have put some other items into my cart.)

To make two pillowcases I start by cutting 9 inches off the bottom of each piece of fabric. After that things started to go wrong. I tried to add piping to the pillowcase hem but it wasn't cooperating. I should have stopped but instead, I tried to make the best of it. In the end, I got out my stitch ripper, took it all apart and tried a different method.

On to plan B. 

Take the 9" strips of fabric and fold lengthwise in half, wrong sides together, or pretty side out as I tell beginners. Iron the fabric nice and flat and smooth. This will be your hem. Iron the larger pieces flat. This will be the body of the pillowcase.

Set up the serger for a 4 thread overlock stitch. Make sure the tension is even. (that is the longest part of the process.)

Align the hem with the bottom edge of the body, and serge a 1/4" seam.

Iron the seam toward the body of the pillowcase and top stitch on the sewing machine, close to the seam on the body of the case. I use my blind hem foot to make it nice and straight.

Fold the pillowcases, wrong side together, making sure that the hem seams match up . You can trim off the selvedge edges of the fabric at this point, but I just trim them with my serger. Serge the top edge and the side seam. 

TaDa, Two pillowcases in less time than it took me to take the first try apart!

I weave the serge tails into the seams and add a dot of fray check to keep them there.

Kids love these as gifts. His birthday presents are now filling the pillowcases. No waste gift bags. And the Paw Patrol cases from 2 years ago can now be retired.

I have the serger, and I used it a lot when my kids were little. It's funny how I forget to use it now.

Friday, November 11, 2022


I don't have much to show for the last couple of weeks. Halloween has come and gone. I again made masks for my neighbourhood friends to wear to school, along with some sweet goodies.

I love this fabric. Baby Yoda was very popular with the recipients. 

I finished some socks.

The colourway was listed as Border Collie but it looks more like Zebra to me.

The Christmas cakes got baked, and are now maturing in the cupboard. Next week, they will be given another shot off rum.

I did some sewing for other people, bindings and labels. I delivered a couple of donated quilts. 

Our favourite little boy came for a sleepover, and stayed for the next day, since it was a PA day for the teachers. 

Mudd got into a tissue box and made it snow in the bathroom. (All paper products are now being stored in places he hasn't found yet.)

Emme would like you to know that she is not getting enough treats for her liking. She also says that healthy snacks are not treats.

I have started my Christmas shopping. I just need to remember where everything has been stored. I am trying to keep my crafting plans down to a minimum. I often plan more than I can possibly finish in November and December. I think all the socks are knit. I have a cowl finished as well. So there is no urgency in the knitting. I have a couple of things to sew yet. 

Meanwhile, our unseasonably warm weather means that the firewood has been laid in, the Christmas lights are up, the snow tires are on the car, and winter can come without a panic. The expectation is that that will likely happen, next week. Perhaps more cowls will be required.

Monday, October 24, 2022

New Things

 If you follow me, you know that I knit things and put them away until I need them. I rarely have a day without some knitting. 

Recently, I was bored of my ongoing knitting projects and just needed something different. I looked in my stash and saw a ball of yarn waving at me. So, I took it out and turned it into something for the gift bin.

It is another Fruit Rollup Hat in a colourway called Pixie. The turquoise, mauve and fuchsia were a delight for my eyes and the soft yarn was a treat for my hands. Lots of different stitches entertained me. A baby hat appeared in no time. Now it will wait for a tiny girl to arrive that needs just such a hat.

Another baby will be here very soon. So, tomorrow, I will send socks from the bin.

Along with them, a big sister gift of a hat.

It has already snowed where they are, so I think the gifts will be appreciated.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Giving Thanks

 It is Thanksgiving, today. In Canada Thanksgiving comes on the second Monday of October. Most of the country has finished the harvest, and snow is often seen before the end of October, so it makes perfect sense to us. However, when working for a multinational company, I would often have to explain why nobody had answered the phone on Monday.

We know the snow is on the way. It has been close to freezing when we get up in the mornings. The trees look like this:

And the ground looks like this:

My young friends from next door went on a walk with me, this morning, and suggested these pictures. We talked about the history of our neighbourhood, and how other places don't have big trees that turn red, orange and yellow. 

I have again joined Leanne at Devoted Quilter  in her WIPS-B-Gone Challenge.  It includes any project that you would like to get finished. I discovered a pair of baby socks with the first sock done as far as the toe, so I scored a quick finish by completing the toe and knitting the second sock.

Harry Potter socks for a little girl named Ivy, born in late September.

Meanwhile, Emme is celebrating her birthday, today.

She looks like a very grown up, serious, one year old. (We don't actually know when her birthday is, but it is around Thanksgiving.)

Meanwhile, her best friend, Mudd is trying to look grown up too.

Now to see how many more finishes I can manage.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

A Moat

 Our castle (house) had developed a problem with the drainage around the foundation, which caused water to seep into the house. This isn't really unusual in my neighbourhood, since the houses are about 55 years old. This week, the contractors arrived to fix the problem. This meant digging a trench around the outside at the front of the house. When it started to rain (yet again), I started referring to it as my moat, and started shopping for a sea monster. Turns out, sea monsters are in short supply on the internet, but the trench has been filled and the mess is nearly gone.

While this was going on, the pets and I hid in the family room and sunroom at the back. So we did laundry, read books, knitted, and played games.

I finished these socks. They match about as well as you can manage with a self striping yarn. 

While trying to take a picture of Emme, Mudd decided that I needed help.

He is such a character. You can tell he is asking "Whatcha Doin'?" Photo bombing is one of his specialties.

Meanwhile, Emme is wondering why the begonia she loves to torture is out on the patio. 

Awhile ago, I started taking apart a bag that had become worn around the edges. Today, I finished the job and realized that I had enough prequilted fabric to make 2 zippered pouches. So, I will do that. Maybe they can raise some money for Mudd and Emme's rescue group.

The fabric is some vintage Laurel Burch, no longer available. I think it might be my favourite of all her fabrics. 

Since fall weather is truly here, I think I will go and sit by the fire with my knitting. Looks like we will be getting more rain soon.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Tools of the Trade

 And here it is, the middle of September, and this is my first post of the month.

I have lots of good excuses, and these are my best ones.

Look at how big they are getting! Emme is more thoughtful in her activities, and Mudd is into everything.

A friend gave me reason to think of this the other day, so I thought I would blog about it. When sewing (or knitting) there are some things you can "cheap out" on, and heaven knows, tools are expensive, but some things it is worth buying the best.

Scissors are the theme of this discussion. My mother didn't sew, and when I first started sewing, I needed a pair of good sewing shears. My dad, who always equated heft to quality bought me a pair of large, heavy shears. I don't even know where they are now, but I do know that I wore the chrome plating off the handles.  

I bought some lighter shears when I started sewing for my kids and needed sharp shears to cut knit fabrics.

I bought these Fiskars with a scissor sharpener on the sheath. They are safe to carry around and always sharp. I actually have two pair, the second pair doesn't have a sheath.

Recently, with aging joints, I bought these shears. Still Fiskars but much easier on my wrists and fingers.

My first pinking shears came from my grandmother. She didn't sew, either but a lady she knew was giving them away. Perfect for a 16 year old.

They are probably 80 years old and they weigh a lot. They are loose, so the fabric an wrap itself around the blades.  I used them until someone in a class I was taking loaned me hers to try.

I bought my own pair, immediately. Light and easy to use. I have had these for quite awhile now and do not regret buying them.

Lest you think I am stuck on Fiskars, I do have other scissors. These are my sewing snips, that sit next to my machine.

Of course, they are purple.

Last year, in the midst of mask making, I realized it would be easier if I had some applique scissors to cut the filter fabric out of the seam allowance. So, I bought these.

Useful and pretty! My grandson asked if he could try the applique scissors and his grandfather told him not to ever ask that. Nobody touches Nana's scissors!

I may be overly pessimistic in my creating, because, while looking for scissors, I discovered 6 stitch rippers within easy reach of my machine.

I'm pretty sure I have more, in other parts of the house, where I do hand sewing.

The intesting thing is that all of these tools are used to make masks.

Some of my recent mask production for back to school. The scrap pile is dwindling (yeah, right).

The garden thinks it is fall, and the leaves are starting to change, so I leave you with some asters, in my garden.