Monday, January 14, 2019

Spinning and Knitting

This past week I finished knitting a cowl -

The pattern is Wolkig by Martina Behm - a free pattern on Knitty. This had been my take-along knitting for the past little while. It was really simple to make, but a lot more interesting to knit than just stockinette.

I used handspun yarn (a light fingering weight),

which started as this Merino fibre that I dyed.

I also spun up some wool for a new take-along project -

a pair of toe-up socks.

This is from one of the raw fleeces that I was given,

washed and combed,


and dyed.

All the best!♥︎

Monday, January 7, 2019

Year in Review

The start of the new year is the right time to look back at the past year and to make plans for the new year.

At the beginning of last year I thought I would try to blog once a week since I hadn't been blogging much (I find that it is a good place for me to keep track of things that I make.) I thought that I would last  a couple of months, hoped I would last one, and I can't believe that I blogged every week for a whole year! Only one week was a prescheduled post because I was going to be out of town. Once again I hope to keep it up this year.

I made a few big projects last year that I am really proud of, two of them involving wool that I was given from a local farmer (they were destined for the composter). I washed, combed, spun and dyed about 5 raw fleeces (some fleeces yielded more than others).

I crocheted a Granny Stripe blanket with two of the fleeces. This was my first major crochet project, and the first wool blanket I have made.

I wove fabric and made a garment with another raw fleece (handspun tunic). I hope to do it again this year.
I also started sewing garments (with commercial fabric) this year which I hope to keep up (I love sewing and don't really need more quilts).

I pieced a couple of quilt tops and lots of quilt blocks, but only finished one quilt this past year. It has to be one of my favourite quilts (the latest one always seems to be).

The biggest change that we had this year is that we bought a farm. Living in a rural setting is wonderful!

There is about 6 months of snow a year where we live, being out here has made us all really enjoy winter. There is so much more for us to do than just going for a walk around the block. It will be interesting to see what the warm weather brings us too.

A more recent thing that has happened is that we seemed to have been adopted by a cat-

She has always been around since we moved here (shy at first), we just assumed she was one of the neighbours (one 1/2 a mile away and the other about 1 mile away, the previous owners never mentioned a cat). Around Christmas we didn't see her for about a week, she was always very thin but came back even thinner. We watched her stalking birds - unsuccessfully (a black cat isn't very camouflaged when her surroundings are all white), plus it  was very cold, so we decided to let her live in the garage (there was a cat/dog flap in the door already, a couple of us are allergic to her otherwise she would probably be in the house).

Even before we fed her and gave her a warm bed she would follow us on walks - she seems better than a dog at staying close. She is still very leery of us, but is free to come and go.

As for my plans for this year, since we downsized our home it has made me reevaluate what I make, although a life time of being a maker is a hard thing to change.
I would like to experiment more with spinning, especially with raw fleece.

I'll finish with a couple of snow pictures (since it seems to change every day).

the snow was amazingly sparkly 
partridge tracks

All the best!!♥︎

Monday, December 31, 2018

New Years Eve

We have had a lovely Christmas week - playing ping pong, pichenotte, card and board games, and enjoying outdoor activities (lots of snow shovelling too).

I did finished off a couple of mini skeins this week (this was a spinning project I started a couple of years ago and it is nice to have it finished).

It was pretty cold today (-30ºC with -45ºC windchill), I was warmly bundled for an early walk and was greeted with an amazing sunrise-

Three bright sun dogs!

Time to bundle up again for some fire works (we have a fire ready to go too since it is still so cold).

Happy New Year to Everyone!!♥︎

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Eve

My Christmas Eve started by snowshoeing very early-

the sodium yard light casts a nice orange glow

bundled up warm
 We had a couple days of snow - it was really nice, not storming, just light fluffy snow.

The Partridges had to dig deep for seeds (the one on the right is barely visible).

We were clearing the pond early this morning too (a perk of living with no neighbours is being able to run the quad at 7:30 in the morning) - ready for lots of family skating time over the Christmas holidays!

I finished a few projects this past week -

Another gnome. This time a giant one (12" to the tip of his hat). I used some of my first hand spun yarn, somewhere between worsted weight and bulky - it was perfect for this.

Much bigger than the first gnomes I made
I finished spinning a couple more skeins of yarn-

The four skeins all together -

Started like this -

I also sewed another York Pinafore dress (a pattern from Helen's Closet) -

This is the third one I have made (it is so comfortable! Perfect with leggings for the winter). This time I made it in some wool fabric that I inherited about 15 years ago (about time I used it).
In the above photo I am looking down at a cat visitor..

Here is a photo of him/her outside the window. We seem to attract a black cat where ever we live. This one is very timid, and not as friendly as the one at our last house.

Wishing everyone a joyous festive season!♥︎

Monday, December 17, 2018

Frosty Days

Thanks to every one who gave me tips on the potato zapper bag. I haven't been tempted to repair the burnt one, or tried making another. The microwave just has a faint burnt smell now, luckily since the bag was all cotton it just kind of smells like burnt wood.

I made one more Gnome this week (the appropriately named pattern is Never Not Gnoming by Sarah Schira), all left over handspun yarn.

I dyed up some wool this past week. I had won the wool a couple of years ago, and since it isn't really next to skin soft I decided to dye it and spin it just for fun (usually I spin for a specific project). I experimented with different colours, and spinning my default yarn (two ply, fingering weight, short backward draw). They are all just over 50 grams each.

These are the first two skeins (the top one is fractal spun).

Now for more winter pictures (we had some really frosty days that were so beautiful)-

walking in the trees

The flock of partridges digging holes scratching for seeds-

Here is where they either landed or took off-

sparkly snow too
This past weekend the other pond melted a bit and we discovered that there are fish in there (we didn't know since it is a man made pond) -

These ones ended up getting caught in the ice since only the top few inches of snow and ice melted in parts.

close up
They are a couple of inches long. It was quite a surprise to see.

You can see where the ice melted and the weight of the snow fell in.

All the best!♥︎

Monday, December 10, 2018

A Little Fire

Today my son and I sewed a microwave baked potato bag-

It looked lovely for a few minutes, until we used it -

Online instructions said that it would take about 7-10 minutes to bake a potato, and to stop the microwave every two minutes and turn it (which we did). The fire started just after 4 minutes (and the potato was fully cooked). When we took it out of the microwave it was really smoking and just looked a bit brown on the outside.
I used the proper cotton batting (Pellon wrap-and-zap) for this project, cotton fabric and cotton thread. I think that the bag was too big for just one potato. I used the instructions from here. It was very simple to make. We are hoping to salvage what is left of the bag, but maybe it isn't worth it. Any one have any experience with these types of bags?

My other sewing project was a top (which was more successful) -

The pattern is the Elliot Sweater and Tee from Helen's Closet (a Canadian designer). The sweater was really easy to sew, and the pattern well explained, like all of the Helen's Closet patterns I have used. I made view A  but made the sleeves longer and also added some length to the body (the back is a few inches longer than the front). I made it out of a rayon knit, and think I would like to make one out of a thicker (warmer) fabric.

I've still been knitting gnomes (they are a bit addictive, the pattern is appropriately called Never Not Gnoming - the designer has a new pattern on Knitty for Gnome mittens).

Two more (the one with the red hat has a bit of colour work near the bottom).

All five together on the rink (they are all a bit different because I don't pay too much attention to counting rows, and I am using various weights of handspun yarn - all on the same size needles though).

Speaking of the rink, I usually go for an early morning skate, and when I come around the corner to the rink I have been greeted by beautiful sunrises -

The rink is on the other side of the machine shop -

I love seeing all the footsteps in the snow, especially all the partridge tracks.

Here are a few more photos -

an icicle on the handle for the grain bin lid
some frosty grasses popping out of the snow
ski-doo tracks and frosty trees
All the best!♥︎