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!♥︎

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!♥︎ 
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