Saturday, December 16, 2023


 Advent is defined as the season of preparing. I find my days have been filled with preparing lately.

In our tradition, the Advent candles, lit on the four Sundays before Christmas, are green, blue, yellow and red. This year, I found some cat proof candles, since setting fire to the cat is generally a bad idea.

I have LED candles that I can set to the colours. For Christmas, I will set out real candles, but these are much safer when I don't have anyone to guard them.

Many gifts have been sent. I can show you a few.

Two pairs of little socks were commissioned by a friend for her great-granddaughters. They are now on their way in Great Grandma's suitcase.

 The dog bandanas for this Christmas are in some silly fabric I found in my stash. My Christmas stash has been greatly depleted in the last few years, since I haven't been doing in person shopping.

I made this lace scarf back in the summer, and finally got it blocked. It is on the way to its new home.

This is a closeup of the lace border. The yarn is alpaca and silk in a lace weight, that was in my stash.

I was asked for a red hat, so this week, I made a red hat.

It is my favourite hat pattern, Bankhead. The yarn is Knit Picks Brava.

I did lots of baking to send to family that don't bake. For my baking I go for taste over appearance, so the shortbread is just rolled into balls and squashed with a fork. Add sprinkles and they look sort of Christmas-y.

We put up the tree, and Emme helped.

She really gets into her work!

I had a birthday and a creative friend made me this card.

It is very fancy, and very non-Christmas-y. I have gotten a lot of Christmas cards with Happy Birthday written in them, over the years. The colours in this card are more my style.

i hope to get some knitting and sewing done this week, The sewing has been lost lately.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Still Knitting

 I seem to have abandoned my sewing lately. I have been busy trying to get my Christmas knitting done. Since some has to go in the mail, I have only a couple of weeks left.

The church is collecting baby things for a local Family Centre that serves families new to Canada. So yesterday, I made a little hat.

I think it is toddler sized and in a worsted weight machine washable yarn, I expect it will keep some little person warm.

I continue to work on socks but I don't have any other finishes.

The weather has turned wintery cold. So, all the plants we hope to save for next summer are now moved into the dining room/ conservatory.

The new pink hibiscus rewarded us with some bright flowers.

The Christmas cactus says it will be ready soon.

I don't remember how long we have had this but it gives us lots of flowers, as long as we remember to water it.

Okay, I need to get back to my knitting!

Monday, November 20, 2023

November, Already

 I have been busy but it hasn't been a lot of crafty things. Last week was nearly entirely focused on sorting out some family  paperwork, that we have been ignoring for too long. It is amazing how much time that can take.

At the end of October, I made some more dog bandanas. Here is Doug modelling his. He wore it as his Halloween costume.

It is Paw Patrol, appropriate for his western cousins, who have a first responder for a dog dad.

I also made some masks for a young friend who wanted some cloth masks.

 I think that cat fabric is nearly all gone now. 

There has been knitting done.

Big socks.

The yarn is from TurtlePurl yarns in New Brunswick. It is called "Bog Goes Camping" as a tribute to Bob Ross, the painter. I missed slightly on making them perfectly matched.

And little socks.

These are for the great granddaughter of a friend of mine. The yarn is left over from a long ago project.

The Christmas fruitcake has been made, and probably needs to be sprinkled with rum again.

Mudd has decided he is a Mountain Lion and we keep finding him up high.

One must check when closing the frig, in case he is reaching in with his paw from overhead.

The weather has been highly variable, with temperatures from +15 to -10 in just the past week. The trees have been variable, too.. I was out for a walk, recently and there are trees still holding on to their leaves, and bare trees.

A really interesting tree is the Tamarack. also called the Larch. It is Ontario's only native deciduous conifer. They look like this, before they drop their needles. The green tree in the middle is a cedar.

I have Nana duty this week, so I think we might start baking Christmas cookies, to send to family in Western Canada.

Saturday, October 28, 2023


My partner-in-all-things has been away for a few days, leaving me to herd pets and look after things. So, I didn't manage to get into my sewing room, since the pets get too anxious if I disappear, and they aren't to be trusted if I let them in. Instead, I got a lot of knitting finished.

The spider mitts are finished, just as the weather gets cold, and they will be needed. The spider is knit using slip stitches, so I was only using one colour of yarn at a time.  I made the mistake of showing the pattern to my little guy and he decided I should knit them. So, the socks went on hold.

Last night, I made some cookies to help celebrate with my favourite little guy. He is coming for a sleepover, later.

They look especially gruesome because the gel icing had split and I kept getting liquid icing instead of gel. The recipe is from a Canadian Living cookbook from when my kids were young, however the recipe is still available. 
Linking to Sandra's DrEAMi linkup. Spiders can be squirrels, too.

Sunday, October 8, 2023


This is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. It is early this year, and we just had an unseasonable heat wave. So my usual Autumn Colours post will be delayed.

Instead I will show you how the circular knitting has gotten out of hand.

Back in early September, I started the Unicorn socks. They are a wide rib. I finished the first sock, knit the cuff for the second, and met a knot in the skein. The yarn after the knot didn't follow in the colour sequence so I cut the yarn and started again. I am nearly finished the leg of the second sock.

A couple of weeks ago I realized that Christmas was on its way and I needed to do my Christmas gift socks. So I started this plain vanilla sock. The first sock is nearly done.

In between those two starts, I cast on the first sock for a pair of Utsubo Socks. The pattern looked interesting and the top was done in an unfamiliar style that I wanted to try. I finished the toe and now these seem to be on hold.

On Friday, I was grandparenting, and this pattern popped up.  It is the Aranea Fingerless Gloves and the little guy looking over my shoulder thought that someone in Grade Two needed a pair. I happened to have suitable yarn in my stash, so the spider is now progressing nicely. 

This afternoon, I realized that I have more than my normal quota of circular knitting projects going. I am not sure what form of insanity hit me, but they are all progressing, each in their own time. I plan to finish the mitts quickly since they are kind of Halloween themed. The Christmas socks next since they have to travel. The other two pairs have no urgency.

I took this picture in a park nearby, the other day, in 31° weather. My hands were too sweaty to knit.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Some Sewing is Done

 I have actually done some some sewing. My sweetie is travelling soon and his new tablet needed a case to protect it in his backpack. So, I looked through my scraps for something suitable. 

I think I've described my method before. I add an inch to the width of the tablet, and measure all the way around the length, then add about 2 inches for a flap. Then I check the size of the scraps and choose an appropriate scrap.

On a good day, I even have a binding scrap that matches. It was a good day.

I looked through those lovely threads that have been coming in my Aurifil Thread Labs, and chose a suitable one. Then I used my Hera marker to mark quilting lines, and quilted the outer fabric to a batting scrap.

This is Aurifil 28 wt in the needle and a very similar colour 50 wt in the bobbin. I like how it stands out and matches the cats' eyes.

Then I added a flannel lining, to protect the screen, and a piece of velcro to close the flap.

Blue Jays are very popular at my house, so I thought the Blue Jay fabric was a good choice. Finally, I added a binding, and had a very suitable scrap in my binding bin. Getting my sewing room organized has really helped make projects like this fast and easy.

The finished case, ready to hit the road. The tablet fits perfectly, and its new owner is pleased. We joke that I make cases like this for his electronics because they scream "My wife is a quilter, and I'll be in big trouble if I lose my device."

I had help taking these pictures.

Mudd is always so helpful. I think he has no idea how big he is now.

I have made good progress on last week's sock. We are now at the Muppet stage, when the heel is turned and the sock looks like a hand puppet.

I am linking to Sandra's DrEAMi link up.  Drop over and see what others have been doing.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

The Shawl That Never Ends

 I am reminded of a campfire song: "This is the song that never ends, It just goes on and on my friends". At the end of July, 2021, I started a shawl. It was a kit for a Knit Along, and I fell in love with the yarns.

This was the first picture I posted. Somehow, I just decided that I should knit a shawl, in mohair and a very loosely spun merino, that was going to end up over 2metres long, entirely in garter stitch. By the time I figured out that it was not really going to be my thing, I had knitted enough stripes that I couldn't have salvaged that very expensive yarn. It seemed like a better idea just to ignore it. 

I finally told myself I couldn't start another shawl until this one was finished. And then, I just knit a lot of socks, and a couple of baby hats, but no shawls. September came, and along with it, a Fall Finish Along. So I did...Finish! 

As you can see, it is very long. It still needs to be blocked and have 40 or so ends woven in, but all those rows of garter stitch are done.

In celebration, I cast on a pair of socks, of course.

This is the first pair of Christmas socks. There are members of my family who love to get new hand knit socks for Christmas. I like the bright colours, and socks always seem to go faster if the yarn is striped.

Meanwhile, Mudd says he hasn't appeared on the blog, lately, so here he is, helping me knit, with a stolen package of pot scrubbers.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

A Month of Contractors

 For the past three summers, we have avoided having contractors to the house. In addition, contractors were hard to get. So this spring, we decided it was time to get a couple of projects finished. You can try to schedule contactors but they still come when they come. Wet weather delayed some of the work. That said, we ended up with three contactors, all arriving in the same couple of weeks. 

Last year, we had to get the foundation fixed and the subsidence from that needed to be fixed. It looked like this before the landscaper.

Now it looks like this.

Last week, the temperatures decided to remind us that it is still summer (even if we aren't suppose to wear white shoes.) Temperatures were in the mid 30C range and the humidity was awful. My sewing room was like an oven, so I sewed from about 7:15 to 8:30 in the morning. I did manage to finish the shorts I was making my little guy for back to school.

I suspect they will not be needed for daywear in a couple more weeks, but they can become pajama pants next.

I joined a Fall Finish Along, and have been trying to do a few rows of a shawl I've been working on for 2 years now. However, I got caught by a shiny new thing.

It will become a toe up slipper sock if all goes well. I also have another sock on needles. Wonder if I can get all three done before the end of the month?

Meanwhile, I didn't play with my August Thread Lab from Aurifil, and now September has arrived.

The green spools are 40 wt. and the grey spools are 24 wt. The project for this month is applique and I don't know if I have suitable fabric for the projects. So, I might try something else. I have two purses promised so I need to get to those.

As summer continues a bit longer, I will add a flower picture from my patio to the bottom of this post.

Friday, August 11, 2023

Aurifil Thread Labs 1

 I decided to sign up for the Aurifil Thread Labs, a program they are running to the celebrate their 40th anniversary and to give sewists a chance to try their threads. I have used Aurifil thread for many years, usually 50 weight, so this seemed like a fun way to find out what threads to use, and when.

For July, we received an exemplar box of their different weights of thread, all in a natural colour.

There was a project that was "suggested" to try all the threads. It was a pin cushion and didn't really appeal to me. I store my pins in an Altoids tin. I mostly use clips, not pins. So I did my own thing, using the guidance provided in the project. The main purpose of this post is to remind me of which thread is which.

This is one side of the dumpling pouch I made.

The green strip across the bottom is sewn with 12 weight cotton, by machine. The blossom and stem are hand sewn with 12 weight cotton. The bird is appliqued by hand with 12 weight wool thread. It is really nice to embroider with.

The other side:

The bottom edge of the pink band is top stitched and machine embroidered with 40 weight cotton. The top edge is machine embroidered and pin stitched with 80 weight cotton. The orange circle is embroidered with 4 strands of Aurifloss. The tulip is whip stitched and quilted by hand with 28 weight cotton thread. The zipper is top stitched with 28 weight cotton thread.

The pouch was sewn with 50 weight cotton and the bobbin was 50 weight cotton throughout.

The pouch pattern is from Michelle Patterns.

The next thread labs box has arrived.

Now those are my kind of colours. I have an idea of how I will play with them. Again, I'll be doing my own thing while experimenting with the thread.

I bought  my thread from Sew Karenly Created.  

Monday, August 7, 2023

Col. John By Day

In Ontario, the first Monday of August is a holiday. Each municipality calls it after some historically significant person to that area. 

 After the war of 1812, the British military felt there was a need to be able to move goods from Kingston, ON to Montreal, QC without risking the loss of goods to the Americans.  They called Lt. Col. John By out of retirement to oversee the construction of a canal, from Kingston to the Ottawa River. 

The Rideau Canal is an engineering triumph of its time. It was completed in 1832.  The canal is 202 km long, much of it dug by hand, It is the best preserved canal of its type in North America. It is still in use, after 190 years, and the equipment is largely unchanged. It was named a National Historic Site in 1925, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.

Many years ago, as a newly graduated Engineer, I was hired by Parks Canada as a Canals Engineer. I wasn't there for long, but I became very familiar with the canal. It is still a very special place for me and I try to visit a lock station or two, every summer. 

We took my grandson, on Friday, to Hartwells Lock Station. This is a hidden gem in the city. Over the years, the city has grown up around it, but the lock station remains much as it was in the 1800's.

The boats are lifted or lowered 6.5 metres in these two locks. Each lock is 41 metres by 10 metres. In this picture the men are standing at the top of the upper lock, looking downstream. It looks like we are in the middle of the countryside.

This is Carleton University, which is just on the other side of the lock basin. There are walking and bikeways along this part of the canal.

If you click on this picture to make it bigger, you can see a couple of cyclists lifting their bikes up to walk them across the top of the lock gate. You can also see the waste weir on the right side, that carries excess water to the river under the pathways and the road. We did get to see 4 boats lock through, while we were there. The lock gates are still operated by hand, with 4 Parks Canada staff cranking the gates open and shut. 

Today, in Ottawa, we celebrate Col. By Day. Without the canal, Ottawa would not have been made the capital city of Canada. The presence of the canal made the city a safe place from possible invasion. Of course, the railway replaced boats as the means of transportation to Ottawa. The canal is now a recreational waterway (and the home of the world's largest outdoor skating rink). 

P.S. When I worked in Canals Engineering, I didn't get the day off, because I worked in Gatineau, across the Ottawa River, in Quebec. It isn't a holiday in Quebec.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Another Lemonza

 I finished another Lemonza. I set out to make 3 and this is the second.

This one is summertime bright. The fabrics were chosen by the bag recipient. I gave her the pick of my cat fabric and these are the cats she liked best.

I think the black text fabric works well for the contrast overlays.

The interior is a Stonehenge fabric.

I changed a couple of problems I had with the pattern, but there are still a couple of things that I don't quite like with the assembly. I think i may need to try making a pattern of my own based and what I have learned so far. 

It is still a great little bag for everyday. It holds the things you need like your license and your cards as well as a bit of cash and your phone.

I have one more cut out from this pattern. After I finish it, I'll experiment.