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!♥︎

Monday, December 3, 2018

Working with Wool

I have a few wooly finishes this week!

The first one is a tunic I sewed using the fabric I wove last month (it takes me a while to get the courage to cut up hand woven fabric after all the time spent washing and combing raw fleece, spinning and dyeing yarn and then weaving - there is no going back!).

I am so pleased with how it turned out. It is warm and comfortable. It is my third hand woven  garment that I have sewn, but the first one that started as a raw fleece.

The pattern is from a Japanese sewing magazine (it is the same issue that I made the other handwoven tunic from).

You don't need to be able to read Japanese to use these magazines since all the instructions are diagrams (it is odd to read from right to left though).

The next finish is a hat from hand spun yarn. This one is super fine Merino (19 Microns) and so soft. The pattern is the Sockhead Slouch Hat by Kelly McClure, it is a free pattern on Ravelry. This was my 'car knitting' project and since we live further away from the city I was amazed how much I could knit in a trip (this was knit on 2.5mm and 3mm needles - US1.5 and 2.5).

This is a cowl that I made for my youngest son. It is knit out of Pattons Classic Merino, a worsted weight yarn. The pattern is the Brioche Vine Cowl by Mercedes Tarasovich from a Craftsy class. This  is the third one I have made, they are perfect for our climate.

Since Brioche is double it makes such a warm knit fabric.

Over on Ravelry for this month there is a Indie Design Gift-A-Long happening. Last week patterns were on sale for 25% off and the knit along is until the end of December. It happens every year and is a good time to pick up patterns.
Last year the most popular pattern was the Never Not Gnoming pattern by Sarah Schira (a local to me designer from Brandon, Manitoba), so this year I had to buy it. I can see why it was so popular (and still is, along with her newer gnome pattern) - they are addictive. Quick and easy, and a great way to use bits of yarn.

Here are my first three, using handspun yarn. 

Each one is a bit different as I am not the best at keeping track of rows, and it doesn't seem to matter.

When I was photographing the gnomes a nuthatch came to get some seeds - that little bird doesn't seem at all bothered by us!

More photos from around home -

A Downy Woodpecker at the peanut feeder -

Tracks of the Grey Partridges - either taking off or landing in the fresh snow -

 Sunset at the other pond -

Trying out snowshoeing for the first time in years - 

 And this one of donuts on the pond!

My oldest son imported this little truck from Japan a couple of years ago - I can't imagine the original owner's would have ever thought their truck would end up here!

The ice is about 12" thick (they drilled a hole to test it before driving on the ice), and it has formed deep cracks that radiate from the centre of the pond.

All the best!♥︎ 

Monday, November 26, 2018

Finished a Sew Along and Started a Knit Along

I am so thrilled that we did make a Burgoyne Surround quilt for the mystery Secret Santa Sew Along from the Temecula Quilt Company!

Here it is as a flimsy,

and all quilted. It is about 45"x57".

The perfect size for the back of the couch. It would be a great baby quilt too. I would recommend copying the pattern if you think you might ever want to make one of these quilts because the free sew along patterns don't usually stay too long on the Temecula Quilt Company blog - here is a link for all the Secret Santa Sew Along blocks  (sorry if the link doesn't work, they have probably taken the patterns down).

I used silk batting (Hobbs Tuscany), Minky for the backing and Bottom Line 60wt thread in the top and bobbin for the free motion quilting. I used a simple meander quilting pattern, because that is my favourite to stitch. The Minky backing is a pale green.

It seems like it have been ages since I have made a 'proper' quilt, and I couldn't be happier with this one!

Now I have started a mystery knit along - a Julenatt mitten from Skeindeer Knits. I spun the yarn for it last week (all fingering weight yarn from more of the local raw fleece I was given), but after a few different tries I ended up using only one of the above colours (I knit the first clue 4 times with different pattern choices, colours and needles!).

This is what I have at the moment, but it still might not be in the final mitten. Still all hand spun yarn.

Grey Partridges

Snow drifts by the other pond.
All the best!♥︎

Monday, November 19, 2018

Little Blocks into Big Blocks

All the little blocks for the Secret Santa Sew Along from the Temecula Quilt Company blog are getting sewn together -

Four blocks so far, and eight left to sew. There is still one clue left, so I hope I don't spoil anything, but it is starting to look a lot like a Burgoyne Surrounded quilt - one of my favourites!!

I spun a skein of yarn this week. This is wool from a raw fleece that I was given.

The fleece was so fine, but full of plant bits, so I only managed to comb a small amount. There is still lots of vegetable matter in it, but it is so soft (unusually compared to the other raw fleeces I was given). I plan to dye this and knit a cowl. It is 121g and 427m of fingering weight yarn.

Now for some snapshots of home -

Christmas lights are up.
We have been having so much fun skating!
Grey Partridges running around.
The mink posed for the camera.
All the best!♥︎

Monday, November 12, 2018

Lots of Little Blocks

It is nice to be keeping up with a quilt along! This one is Secret Santa Sew Along from the Temecula Quilt Company blog.

These are Step Three blocks. 48 - 1+1/2"x3+3/4" units.

And these are Step Four blocks. 48 - 1+1/2" Four Patches.

These have been really enjoyable blocks to make - lots of cutting but the sewing is so quick because the blocks are so small. It is also time saving not having to decide which fabrics to use for a block, just cut strips and sew them together.
I am really looking forward to seeing how they are all going to come together - the fun of a mystery sew along!

I finished knitting a hat. The pattern is Langfield by Martina Behm. This one is made from some hand spun BFL wool I spun last year. It is the third one of these hats I have knit (this one for my youngest son). The squishy garter stitch makes such a cozy, warm hat. The pattern can be knit out of any size yarn, for any size of head and is perfect for hand spun yarn.

I also finished spinning a skein of sock yarn (this is a BFL wool/Nylon blend).

This picture was taken on the trail cam last night - we think it is a mink(?).

The picture was taken outside this hole on the edge of the (now frozen) pond.

Speaking of frozen pond, today we cleared off all the snow.

We still don't think the ice is quite thick enough to walk on so we used some boards, a heavy piece of concrete, a long rope and the help of the tractor to clear it. The snow acts as an insulating blanket, clearing it should help with freezing. Tonight the temperature is supposed to go down to near -20ºC (-4ºF) - hopefully we will be skating soon!

The ice is thick near the edge, and so clear (the off white 'bubble' on the left is a golf ball)

All the best!♥︎