Monday, 31 July 2017

Of Monsters

I seem to be in a Monster sock phase, that is for sure.  

The only knitting I did over the weekend was this.

I thought these would be the dullest socks ever seen.  All those yarns with gray did not set my soul on fire, but I sure do like the result.  Just enough purple and green and other odd bits of colour to keep up interest  as I knit along.   

As I got near the end of sock two, I started figuring out the next sock.  I have two batches of yarns that I want to use up.  

One red with punches of yellow

and one blue

and I have no idea which one appeals to me more.  It's a very even contest.  I am leaning toward the blue but I think I will start the red.  That will leave me the slightly more interesting blue to wind up with.  Plus, I have a feeling that somewhere in one of the boxes is another blue yarn that will look great with these.  Or maybe it is in an ongoing sock.

Now that I think it it, that may well be this that is giving me the strong feeling that I ought to wait with the blue.  I have an extremely pretty blue sock underway following the Belgian Lace pattern from Around the World in Knitted Socks.

Yeah, I might have to wait for this bit for this blue.  With leftovers of this blue, I will only need small sections of navy to punch it up.  Or none at all. Something to think about.

Once these two pairs of monster socks are complete, I think the monster run will be over for this year.  If it isn't, if the urge is still there,  I have one more trick up my sleeve.  All that remains of this bag is a bunch, and I do mean a bunch of very very small balls of yarn.  There wouldn't be enough to do a seven row stripe of most of them.  I have been thinking of doing a helical stripe sock with all those little bits. Just for the fun of it!

I have some serious work today sewing.  I have Cassie's dress to work on today.  The knitting is done but I have been mulling how to make a perfectly splendid little twirly skirt for my favourite little girl, without having too much bulk where the skirt attaches to the knitting.  I've also been mulling if the very lightweight fabric should have a lining, or just two layers of skirt.  I have plenty of fabric.   

For now, just a little bit of knitting and a second cup of coffee to get the day underway. 

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Birdy business

After a couple of very chilly days, my bedroom window was open when I woke early this morning. I just stayed in bed and listened.  The pigeons were cooing.  The early train went by.  I rarely ever just lay in bed and listen to the world.  I need to do more of this.

There other bird sounds of early morning, but this cooing is quite distinctive and different.  At first I thought it was an owl, but it was always in the morning that I would hear it and occasionally through the day.  It didn't call at night like owls commonly do.  A week or so ago, I saw the bird sitting in the trees as it flew around the neighbourhood.  Pigeon of some sort and for a while, that satisfied me.

Till today.  I went looking for what kind of pigeon.  It was different than ones I was familiar with.  Skinner about the neck and longer to with a very smoothly feathered body.  Just quite distinctive.  After doing a little bit of research at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, according to all the birdy places out there, the bird place on the internet,  I think it is a Eurasian Collared Dove.  The link will take you to the sound of it's call. More than any other bird call, this is what the bird I hear so clearly in the morning sounds like. A tropical invader who for some odd reason is travelling north.  

Obviously, I am going to need to identify it not just by call, but by sight but that should be easy enough to do.  It will just take a little bit of time and tea on the back deck.

What an amazing web site find.  I love that they have the sounds not just as sounds, but sounds of distress calls, calls of all sorts.  

And that is what I am doing this morning.  Just listening to bird sounds.  Not a bad way to start a day.  

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Obsession in a good way

Strike while it's hot!  Knit while the knitting is good!  Keep at it!  Ok, that last one not on your life.  Usually, I am a many projects on the go sort of knitter.  A more is better sort of knitter.  And I have to say, I do like it that way.

Except for socks.  Monster socks in particular.  I seem to be able to obsess over the composition of them to no end.

It is a pretty bland group of yarn.  Mostly gray yarn or yarns with gray in them as a major component with touches of other colours

The yellow used here is the least favourite of all the scraps of yarn in all the bags of ends.  It's kind of a dud as far as yellows go.  Not lemony enough, not orangey enough, not sunny enough.  It looks like a dusty yellow but not in a good way.  And yet, it is fascinating watching how that yellow looks brighter here, stronger here, better here.  Against the gray, dull become interesting and leads to obsession.

 You will probably note how it looks like there should be a lot more purple and teal than there is.   That is the gray softening factor.  It takes the strong right out of those colours and makes them blend softly into the whole and almost disappear.

It is fascinating watching the colours and patterns play.  I cannot seem to put this down.  The knitting of Monstersocks is a thing that can lead to obsession. In a very good way.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The Knitting of the Blog

Yes indeed there is knitting on this blog.  There is more knitting than anything else in this household if not on the blog, because knitting is really what I do and do best.  All this other stuff is fun and so I have something to do when my hands are worn out.

Part One:

The sweater is now long enough that I have to start really thinking about how I am going to get the remainder of the increases in without messing up the way this garment hangs off the shoulders.  I write this pre try on.

Wish me luck.

The really positive side is piled high.  I love, love, love the colour of the yarn. In the skein it shows much more spot here, spot there of the darker colour.  I wasn't sure how it would look but oh how I do love it.  It is a really pretty but not solidly gray gray blue. I love the feel of the yarn through my hands.  I love less that there is a lot of knitting to go, but oh well, it just means there is more time to love it all before I wear it.

The best part of all, is that I knew may hands would be knitting tight and fast and I made a very concious effort to stay calm.  By forcing my hands to be busy and slow, I think I calmed from the excitement/boredom/terror/exhilaration of the long warping process much faster than if I had done anything else.  Knitting.  My meditation.

Part Two:

Socks complete but for the heel.  A couple more pairs and it will be a heel and toe day time. No rush though.  I have plenty of still good socks ready and waiting wearing in the drawer.  In fact, if I finish too many too fast, the drawer will overflow.

You can see my choice with the black.  The second sock is topped with Kroy in black and it, plus a few wonky bits and catchy fibres made it much wider than the first.  Still once they are worn, they will look pretty much the same.

Part three:

Another sock.  When I woke this morning, I had time on my hands and  the closest thing to me was the bag of ends.  I took out some more yarn, yarns that didn't seem to go with anything else in the bag.  And I am working it together just 7 or so rows at a time.

My monitor is making this look really blue but that blue is really the dullest of grays, or to be precise, 3 different skeins of grays. I think they must be from Brian's socks.  There is a bit of purple and at the very bottom is some teal but they barely hold their own over the gray.  Still they are knitting quick and with this second pair, my bag of yarn bits and ends is sinking fast. Still can't quite close the lid, but it is getting there.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Onward Voyageur, Loom that is.

My loom and I became much better acquainted this weekend.  We are as close as can be when one person is learning all about the other thing.  It is fully beamed, threaded, sleyed and tied on.  We are warped, but then as some of you know, we already were that way.  the knitter and her loom are in sync.  I am ready to weave but for winding a few of the little spools for my boat shuttle.

Some of the things I learned, were things I thought I learned in knitting.  The first and biggest thing as that I can't count.  That was just a little disappointing, but it was something I was completely prepared for.  I also learned that there were things I could do to make the task go much faster and more efficiently for this particular loom.

I watched the warping tutorial by Barbara Elkins of WEBS fame.

She is working on a Wolf loom or one of the Wolf loom family, and while this was by far the best loom on back to front warping on  the net, there were things that just didn't work for me.  And possibly wouldn't be the best way for this Voyageur loom either.

I also learned that there are things I am going to have before I warp the next time that will save me tons and tons of time. Like repair heddles, in case I mess up threading. And different apron rods that aren't going to slip out all over the place till they are fixed by tension.

It was a really interesting experience but it took forever.  It was one of those patience of Job things where sheer orneriness and knit picky persnickety perseverance completed the task.  But it is complete.  I am not sure if I will weave today.  I may just sit and look at it for a day or two.

There was knitting too.  Significant knitting.  The kind of knitting where there was great speed in the knitting just to work out the tension of the day.  The kind of knitting that, if you aren't aware of the tension of your knitting, can turn out really really tight.  I was aware of it going in, so I was careful to work on stuff that would take the edge off first, in other words socks.

The socks are moving along really nicely, although I am a little worried that I am going to run out of black.  What you see is all that remains.  I  have some dark navy blue in the same bag and I have a ball of black Kroy, which is a little heavier than these yarns are, but which would work. I don't really want to use the dark blue.  I have a thing going here and I hate to interrupt it so close to the end.  I am going to look in the rest of the box of ends too.  If I have a black somewhere else, that is a little bit lighter then the Kroy, I would rather do that.

I did a long bit of work on the sweater too.  I wasn't planning on it, but, well, I will save that all for tomorrow.

It was a busy weekend.

Friday, 21 July 2017

The Forgotten.

Someone online asked the other day how the progress on my simple knits were going.  I had posted that I needed some simple knitting to relieve stress and and so I had something that did not need thinking about when I couldn't force myself to knit on something more complex.

And I had to stop and think.  I recalled the post where I said it. I recalled the urge.  I was pretty sure it would have been socks.  And then I hit a blank.  I had no idea what I cast on.  It was only a sweater ago and yet, my mind was blank.  I think that was a sign of just how stressful June and everything leading up to it was and how it has taken so long to really let the stress out of me.

I knew where the projects were, so I had to go digging.

I can't believe I forgot these so completely.  I can't believe that I started yet another monster sock when I already had one pair on the needles and as well as a couple other pretty pairs of socks.  

I'm laughing at myself on this one.  I caught myself wishing that I just had a plain sock somewhere and I did!

Proof positive that if yarn falls on me, I will knit with it, without blinking an eye.  Or thinking a brain it seems.   

Thursday, 20 July 2017

A Mixed Bag of Tricks

I was tied to my house yesterday, doing very mundane tasks.  It was landlord laundry day and since the only working laundry facilities are in my personal space, I do it.  It isn't like it interferes with anything else, as it would have back in the day when the boys were small and all I had was a washer spin dryer but it is a task that needs tending to all day.  No big single task.  It was a day of a variety of things.

I picked raspberries.  

We don't have a huge patch and it is in serious need of care and renovation. Not a huge amount of fruit but enough for us here. Renovate after fruit season and look to next year for better production.

I sorted my needles.

Okay, that does sound weird, but before moving from my wee house, I put all the needles in one small box, just for storage.  

I came across these sweet little boxes at the dollar store a few weeks ago and bought them, not knowing what I was going to use them for.  They were only a dollar twenty five, so not like it was big money to buy something that just made me happy. 

When I needed urgent clothing repair and couldn't find the sewing machine needles, I knew it was time to sort things out. I had forgotten where I put them, and when I finally found them in that mashed and stuffed full box, I was determined to find a better solution.  These little boxes are it.  Each class of needles has it's own space: tapestry, hand sewing, sewing machine and specific task needles like darners and beading needles. It is so nice to have them ordered and on the shelf right where needles should be.

Next, I started playing around with the warp on my loom.  I had spent time over the last week watching many videos online about warping and what worked and that, combined with my own small bit of experience with a rigid heddle loom, led me to Kathy Elkins very good video on warping a loom back to front.

As you can see, midway through my task, I was interrupted by the nicest kind of interruption.  My brother stopped by!  It was unexpected but just really nice. 

Then the rush of making dinner, doing the dishes (or not)  and I didn't quite feel ready to finish the warping.  There are a couple things I wanted to think through and about before I tie this one on as they say. This may just be a prairie reference, but to tie one on means to drink and party to excess, so yes exactly like that but with coffee and fibre.

Sitting on the little yellow box right beside the bookcase, I couldn't help but think about my books.  I do have a lot of craft books,  four stuffed shelves that didn't quite fit them all.  When I reorganized my bedroom/study and put the miniatures in their new house, a couple shelves were freed up and I decided to put some of the books in here. Yesterday, I gathered all the miniature books to move them.

In my head, I only had a few, but really, it is a pretty substantial pile. Miniature houses, miniature embroidery, miniatures with polymer clay, miniature rugs and carpets and so many more.  There are also a few books that cross the boundaries of crafts like embroidered knotted gardens,  a fascinating book and a couple knitting treasures, the Knitted Farmyard and Knitted Gardens.  These last three were bought expressly to use with all the lovely miniature pots and garden furniture I found on vacation in Mexico to establish a garden for my miniature home.  

The other class of books that I think will end up here are the sewing books.  Sewing room, sewing books.  Works for me.

And to top it all off, there was knitting in the cracks of the day, between and around all the other things in the day.

I did pick up the sweater, but this just seemed so much more interesting and cheery for such a gray smoky day.  Yup the sweater is in the long haul the hard part.  That part where keeping up your interest in it is a full time task.

I love it but...

Today is going to be a bit of the same.  Moving the sewing books, warping the loom, a possible venture to make jam.  Who knows where this will go?  !!

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

I Win!

Yesterday was all about the spinning and quiet satisfaction.

I am spinning a bag of Shetland fibre that I picked up a long while ago from Pam's Woolly Shoppe. It's different from the very fine Shetland that I purchased with my wheels.  A little coarser fibre and more of a carded than combed prep.  It isn't nearly as smooth and it is making for a most magical spinning experience.

I am using this whole bag of fibre, all 225 grams for sampling and trying different things. 

The first thing I wanted to do was spin to put more twist in the single and to see if I could get the twist more even throughout.  That worked really well.

Really well.  The other thing I tried for the first time was to ply from a cake using the inside and outside ends to form the two ply yarn.  As you can see, a huge improvement and a much more enjoyable process.  I felt in charge of the process for a change.  It doesn't 'wrap' anywhere. They twist together.

The plied yarn  had a lot of energy.  The end of the 2 ply kept kinking back on itself to make a 4 ply (a really nice looking 4 ply) and when it came off the niddy noddy, there was a lot, a lot of bendy twisty life in it.  I was disappointed.

My friend suggested putting it in hot water right away and seeing what the finished result would be.  She has a 'Mr. Spinny', a laundry spinner that is perfect for small tasks like this.  

It came out and dried quite nicely.  Reasonably balanced even.  There is the smallest hint of twist in the long loop of the hank, but I am calling this sample a big win.

Not so much quiet satisfaction after all.  I petted it and admired it all day.   

I hit the vuvuzela level of satisfaction on this one.  

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Evolution, Revolution

The first of this pair of monsters socks is done but for the heel.  

And as you see the second well under way.

It's actually farther than this right now, about an inch and a half up the foot.  No second sock syndrome here.  That has always been a mystery to me.  That I never suffered second sock syndrome.  

I am pretty sure that is because while I knit, I dream of the next thing, in this case the next sock. I really need to get that bag of yarn down so I think it will be another pair of monsters, but maybe not.  There are always good things to dream and since sock dreaming is new to me, there is a lot of ground to cover.

I direct you to my Ravelry bundle called Feet.    According to feet, I dream of a lot of colourwork and some pretty heavily patterned things.  Some of those patterns will work really well for monsters and some not so much.  Some I will get to save for new yarn and fresh knitting.  Some are no longer available dreams, like the Willow pattern.  Some, like that lovely lovely bird sock, Bonnie Birds by Barb Brown, are going to be in some really really special yarn.  They might even be handwash! 

Shocking, I know, from a knitter who was determined to only have yarns that are machine washable.  Ah, but we evolve as knitters, don't we?  

I am going to slip out this morning and do a little spinning evolving.  I am going to ply.  In public.  Ok, just one public, and she is a good friend, but it has to be done.  

Facing fears and dreaming of knitting sock patterns.  Not just evolution, but revolution!

Monday, 17 July 2017

Exciting Times

Why so exciting?  Small things are going to do big things today!

These are my miniature pieces.

I have spoken about my fascination with small things before on the blog.  January 4, 2009 actually. 

It's almost that long since I played with my little things, though they have always been thought of and dreamed about.  They have moved with me and have been saved and loved, even though I did not have the time or a place for them.  

A long held dream of mine is coming true today.  My miniatures will finally have a home.

This cabinet was in the main bathroom at my house.  I thought many times, that it was the perfect cabinet for a cabinet dollhouse.  Over many years I dreamed and planned.  I searched for just the right antique.  I thought about buying someones unloved dining room cabinet and hutch.  At my wee house, I was planning for a bookcase dollhouse.  As I prepared for this last move, I had all but given up having room for one at all.  

Once the house went up for sale, I thought about this cabinet again.  It was such an integral part of how we used that bathroom, that I wasn't sure if I should take it. But the realtor assured me it would be fine.   The cabinet stayed at the house, in use, till we were done there, and has been in the garage, waiting ever since.

With 2 weeks where there are no demands on my time and a general household sort and order underway, I made noise and the landlord/roomie brought it in.  I cleaned it up last night and today, the miniatures move in.  I feel like it's move in day in a real house. Move in day is all white walls and whatever people left behind, and you have all the pleasure of making it into a home to suit yourself.    

There are things missing, as you can see from the 'rooms' above.  I have no kitchen and no bedroom furniture. This is going to have to be addressed slowly over time.  I hope to make most of it myself using the many and varied miniatures books I have.  And carpets.  Maybe I could weave those?  And curtains.  And wall finishes.  And a garden.  I will finally get to knit and embroider my garden.

The house has three floors as it is.  Kitchen, laundry and dining area on the lowest floor.  Living room and entrance to the stately abode on the middle floor, and bedroom or bedrooms and bath on the top floor. The big debate is going to be about the studio and garden.  On the top surface as a rooftop garden with a shed converted to a studio or an attic studio and walkout garden in the drawer?     

So much to do and absolutely no rush.  Perfect.

If you go back and read the whole blog post, you will understand why this is important to me.  Why it is perhaps even more important now.  I have learned so much about the unforgiving, relentless nature of life, and how, though we see our human species as separate from mother nature,  we are just as subject to the ebb and flow of living in a world we do not control, as that mosquito you squash when it bites you.  

Big stuff happened to the people in my life, and though a thread of sorrow runs through everything I have become, I remain absolutely convinced of the truth of this.

"...I have come to find, that joy is the important thing. That finding joy is a purpose just as sure and important as finding a decent job, and just as real as having 4 sturdy walls to live in. If I cannot look at the sky when it is blue and laugh, if I cannot see the flowers in the gardens among the weeds, if I cannot see the sunset and the gray skies and the lightning for the beauty and majesty they are, if I cannot laugh when a knit stitch turns unexpectedly red from blue, then I have missed the point."

At slightly more than 59,  I remain content to play and I know that I remain the luckiest person in the world. 

Friday, 14 July 2017

On the way to play

When I wound warps for my project on my new loom, I did not mention the one problem that cropped up.  Yarn use.

Because I want large towels and because I want to make 4 of them, the warp is long.  Because I did not calculate out my yarn requirements, I had no idea how much yarn I would need.  I was positive that there would be lots because I had tons and tons of the blue cotton. 

And I do.  Of the blue.  I used up just under half the bag, which bodes well for the weft.  What I did not plan so well, was that I used up the entire ball of the pretty Mod Ombre Handicrafter Cotton.

I was sop sure, I could just stop in and grab another.  There were lots there last time.  But no.  The last couple trips to anywhere with a Walmart, meant stop there to search for another ball of yarn. After stops at 4 Walmarts on various days.  I am so happy to report that I succeeded.

As you can see, I also managed to find other colours.  Plenty for washcloths enough for a long time.  There were plenty of other colours that I made myself put back.  

While I do intend to weave dishcloths, I also am planning on another set of towels in the very near future.  This first set of towels is going to be just plain weave to get familiar with the loom.  The next set is to teach myself to read a draft or pattern.  It is possible that there will be weaving of dishcloths in between.  I want to practise with this loom so I understand it,  before I work with the finer yarns and really start to play.  

I have work to do today with my closer grandkids.  This whole week has been all about the kids and visiting and while I love that I have my kiddies so close, and that I get to see them so much, I am really in need of a couple days of peace and quiet with no need to do anything other than stay at home and play.  The loom awaits.  There is a carder to try out and 2 fleece that are in desperate need of prepping for spinning. There is knitting and spinning and curtains, and... The list goes on.

I have been very busy this week, but next week?  Look out next week.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

And then what

Bear surgery went as planned and bear has a lovely knitted heart 'tattoo' on his backside but I forgot to take a picture of it before I left. But trust me.  Well repaired.

I did other knitting too.  It was a rainy and cool couple of days so we did watch our fair share of movies.  Grandmas can also knit while lego building is going on and in between our parts of superhero fights and stuff like that.  There was actually a fair bit of knitting.

I pulled a bag of yarn from my box of sock yarn ends and had it with me along with a spare set of needles.  Over the last few months as I gathered and sorted through boxes of stuff that was moved and came to realize how much sock yarn ends and bits I had once again accumulated.  The other day when I pulled out my oldest WIP a pair of Deep in The Forest Mittens, there were 3 balls, 2 of them quite large, of sock yarn ends stuffed in with that. I am starting to think they breed in corners if you don't look often enough.  Once I put them in the box with the rest, the box no longer closed.  I hate that.  It means that no matter what I do, the box is a mess.  Stuff didn't have a home where it ought to have a home.

That is always my breaking point.  If the stuff doesn't fit, then it becomes untenable to me. I knew it was time to deal with it and the best way to deal with it is socks.  Monstersocks.

I love making these.  It becomes such a game of colours and yarn dyed patterning and you never know how it will turn out.  Its fun to watch and fun to knit and there are so many ways to knit them!

I went into this pair with the smallest bit of a plan.  I wanted to do 7 row stripes of whatever yarn I chose with narrow stripes of a dark yarns.  I love how weird colour sets can look amazing if you offset them with dark strong colours.  I had an ball of black and right under that, an interesting ball of mostly orange.  So those were the starting point.  After the first set, I dug for the next yarn choice.  I found a nice little ball of a very pretty tonal orange but as you see, this ball already had a lot of very plain orange sections.  I didn't think it would add anything to my mix.  There were some greens with orangy bits too, that I debated over, till I came up with an interesting bit that was blues, white, rust and orange and decided to work with that.  I am pretty pleased with the way it has come together.

If you look to the 3 row black stripes you can see the yarn changes and then you can see where colour changes happen naturally in each of the two yarns I am using besides the black.   I think that is plenty of variation in this sock so I am sticking with just the three balls for this pair.  

It's kind of fun and the colours are bright and happy and they make me smile to the bottom of my knitter's heart.   

Bear Surgery

I am visiting my farther away grandchildren and mom and dad this week and am having a lovely time.  Isaac and I are doing movie nights.  Carter and I are just watching shows and playing at the park and breaking bubbles that mommy blew.

And then I saw something I could do something about. 

This bear, a much loved stuffie,

has a problem.

I had a bag of sock yarn scraps with me and I had some pink yarn .  I decided that a heart would do just right and bear's boy decided that pink would be just right.  So a pink heart for a loved stuffie's backside is underway.

I love where being a grandma takes me.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Too Hot to Knit?

Too Hot to Knit?  Sort of.  It's more that my gumption was sucked out of me by days of heat.  All I wanted to do was sleep. Which of course, I did not.  It was too hot to sleep.

This morning is better though. Not so hot and I picked up knitting even before I made coffee.

It's not showing huge amounts of progress, but there is progress.  It is almost 3 inches now and I am thrilled by that.  And those little ridges keep your eyes on the prize so to speak and it never gets dull.

As I knit this for me, I keep thinking about a sweater I have to finish soon.  I have one on the needles for one of my daughters in law.  It is stalled by a truly ugly awful join.  I have to rip back to the start and I have been avoiding it for months.

Maybe that is what my heat miasma is about.  That I know I have to do it but that I am working very hard to avoid doing it. Sure, I'll go with that.

Stay cool people.

Friday, 7 July 2017


I spent much of yesterday organizing my guest room/ gym/ toy room.  It had unused storage space in a funky little closet and I had boxes that needed a place to be stored.  Sanity reigns. Then I worked on my sewing area.  It had become a great place to dump stuff too.  Putting stuff away properly doesn't exactly use up a lot of ones mental capacity.  I thought of curtains as I worked.

It started a few weeks ago with my bedroom.  I would really like to finish off my bedroom window.  It has blinds, but I have never been a blind person.  Plus it is mint green.  I like green but this particular green is such a 90's shade.  I want to mitigate it with a layer of some light airy cotton, the kind that can blow in gentle breezes and more sturdy and light blocking panels at the side.  I can make panels from a lovely raimie fabric in a soft mossy green that matches a small throw I use in my bedroom.  It just needs a bit of re-working from the way I used it before.

That pretty dandelion fabric I showed you the other day, will be made into cafe type curtains for my living room.  I'd like a little more privacy without losing the lovely light in the room. I already had the rods.

Then, my daughter in law asked me to make some curtains for her.  She found a large piece of some very nice sheer fabric, printed with spring flowers all in white for 7 dollars.

 Plenty for some simple floor to ceiling sheers for one of her large living room windows. All I need to do is half it and hem it.

And then yesterday, it struck me that I had fabric that would make great curtains for the spare room.  The green blinds are there too, but again, blinds make it dark and private or light and not private.  I want light and private at the same time.  I have a very large swath of fabric left from the toile curtains I made at my wee house and a smaller piece of navy blue linen to update the look  with a navy bit at the hem.  

Each of the curtains are simple, needing just a small bit of sewing.  Hems, largely.  A little simple seaming here and there, but nothing hard.  No patterns.   

So after yesterday, the sewing area is tidy and ready.  The fabrics are ready and the weekend is set for sewing and curtains, curtains, curtains!

Thursday, 6 July 2017


It was so exciting meeting Van and Mike yesterday.

I have known Mike for 10 years and Van for just a few years less. We used to call internet friends our 'imaginary' friends and then it became commonplace to have internet friends.  Now we are friends who have met!

And I am completely sorry that I didn't take a photo of Mike and Van together.  I am a dunce.  I meant to and then we went out to lunch.  Dunce am I.

I wanted to give them a little something special.  Keith gave me some ideas and it worked out pretty well.  

I had a red Canadian Beer cooler bag from back in the day when I used them as stash storage bags.

I got things that are not generally common in the US and that were portable and not going to be a problem if they made it across the border.  So no Kinder Surprise.

And the pièce de ré·sis·tance

butter tarts from the local bakery.  We may be a very small town, and the town may be known more for it's delicious sausage, but to me, we ought to be known for our superior bakery. They are a treasure and that is a fact. A half dozen butter tarts is just a little bit of heaven, snuggled between the store bought sweet treats.

A little bit of Canada that is good for the soul.  

They are off to the mountains and the Calgary Stampede and I hope they have a wonderful vacation!

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Cannot Focus

Yesterday turned into one long day of city putzing.  Though I left home at 8:00 and did not get home till 5:30, I accomplished very little.

In the morning I went spinning.  I had 2 fibres with me to work with, one a very light delicate alpaca and the other a good sturdy prep that I picked up a few years ago at Pam's Woolly Shoppe, I think I got it the day the Ravellers had the first yarn crawl in Edmonton.  I ended up working with this sturdier fibre.  
 I wanted to spin it and two ply a sample and then see what I have and I want to keep working that way with it till I sort out the unevenness in my spin twist.

And here we are, first go round, ready to come off the bobbin to learn to be a 2 ply.  I am also hoping that playing with samples, helps me overcome my hesitancy with 2 plying.  I have issues.  :)

I am going to get the lovely airy alpaca on the Julia for an at home project. It will give me good opportunity to play with the lace flyer that I have had so long and worked with so seldom.  I just need to spin more.  

And then I knit a little.  

I love working on this, and I love how it is mindless and yet not so mindless.  Those little stitches forming that ridge, keep me on my toes just enough that going once around doesn't feel like forever.  There is progress, but in this weight of yarn and this number of stitches, an inch of knitting takes a while.

And then I put together a chair.  Just another Ikea dining chair to complete my living room.  I kept going over and over things in my mind.  The debate ran between this and this and this.

Another non traditional living room chair to match my first.  While I really liked the Ektorp chair, it is just too large for the room.  The Ekero chair would have been fine, but it was just a little too blocky square.  Don't get me wrong.  I really like it and would love to build one, but it is wrong for this room and the things I need my chairs to do and be in this room.  Once the landlord cuts these shorter for me, they will be the perfect chair to knit from, to weave from and to spin from.  Chairs that fit me perfectly is such a novel idea.  This skirted chair fits the space too and more.  The pair of them can be put into service at the dining table at family gatherings.  We won't need quite so many lawn chairs at the table this year at Christmas!  

I built said chair last night (11:30 p.m.)  because I couldn't settle. I've been up since very early (4 a.m.) this morning too.  And haven't knit or spun a thing.  I am just too excited.  

I have a group of online buddies called the boodle.  We are a boodle because we are the kit and kaboodle of a journalists blog. In a way, we are the kitchen sink of people, a diverse lot of careers, of interests, of economic strata, of lifestyles of nationalities.  We share a bit of an oddball sense of humour and worked hard to respect our differences so we can see how similar we really are.  I have met a few before.  I met most of the Canadian boodlers but until now, only a few of the American crew.  

Boodlers are coming here! A couple plans to visit Jasper and Banff this summer, and we are getting together for a BPH.  (boodlespeak) They arrive later today and I am simply so excited!   

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Ta Daaaaa Genius

I have been pondering my first weave on my new loom.  It has taken me a couple weeks to ponder because it seemed like there was always something in the way. 

Last week I bought yarn.

This weekend, I got up the courage to wind the warp.  I had pondered just how I was going to do that.  I didn't want to have to spend any more right now.  Not till I have a couple things sorted out anyway and I know better what my new budgetary considerations are.  But that did not change the fact that I only had one warping peg.  I debated chairs, and all the other usual things, but I wondered if there wasn't a solution that didn't involve the floor.

I perused the internet for solutions but other than build your own to look like a commercial one, and chair legs, there really aren't a lot of options.  

And then I saw a person who used spring clamps on a bookcase and that struck me as genius.  And a quick perusal of Canadian Tire showed they had packs of spring clamps of varying sizes for sale for $11.49, half of the usual price.

I whipped out and picked up two packs.  Total investment at this point, 20 bucks.  And that fits today's budget.

Warping was fun.  It was rhythmic and relaxing,

almost hypnotic in a way.  You had to stay present though, because each wind was a count and each 5 full wraps was an inch of width of finished fabric. Plus, the pegs, while they work well, are a little short.  They held 5 inches or 5 groups of 5 of this worsted weight yarn and no more.  

When the first one came off the clamps, I wanted to dance.  It looked so right!  However, that was just 5 inches of the new towels and there needed to be more than that.

And then there was.  

For interest I wound 3 sections of 5 inches each of the plain blue.  This is some old Cloud Cotton that I have fallen out of love with.  The colour,mind, not the yarn.  Putting it with the bright ball of mixed greens and blues and white, picks it right up.  I might like it yet!

Anyway, that was enough weaving pursuits for yesterday.  Today is spinning and something entirely new.  But I have no idea what.  I have three bobbins empty and it feels like the right time to play!