Fire update and FOs

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The valley is less smoky today, but the fires are still burning. The two fires that are burning just south of us on the west side of the lake were merged into one, deliberately, in a controlled burn today. The news article I just read said that this would make it easier to tackle. The one directly across from that, on the east side, is still smouldering, but when we were out walking this evening it didn’t look very active and doesn’t seem to have spread any closer to the southern end of the city.

Two of my sons and I drove down the other evening to a beach where we could see the flames on both sides of the lake. It looks very impressive after dark, with the orange glow, and even more so when you get the binoculars out and can see details of trees and flames even from many kilometres away.

I am currently enjoying a block of days off – my schedule happens to include four days in a row between shifts. It probably had something to do with the mild complaint I made to my boss about working five Sundays in a row. So it’s been a lovely weekend, enjoying a potluck with friends, and visiting a vegan market, and having tea at our favourite tea shop, and going out for a walk around the neighbourhood this evening after the sun hid behind the mountain and it wasn’t too hot.

And there’s been crochet. Just a couple of very small, fun projects which I was inspired to make when I spotted this video tutorial.  It’s for a mini backpack that is really small, keychain sized really, but it still has little shoulder straps to make it look like a real backpack. I made the first one with Red Heart Supersaver Ombre in the colour Scuba  (about 30 grams) and a 5mm hook and it came out about 4.5″ tall. The second one uses Scheepjes Linen Soft in the colour Hummingbird (about 20 grams) and a 3.5mm hook and it is about 3.5″ tall.

 

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The pattern tells you to braid a little cord from three strands of yarn, which I did for the turquoise one, but it was fiddly and annoying so for the pink one I just worked a chain with my hook.

And I almost forgot, but I found Lion Brand Mandala at my local Walmart. I have been enviously seeing other people’s posts in the Canadian Crocheters group on Facebook, where they say they found a display of the Mandala yarn at their local Walmart. The few cakes of this yarn that I have bought were from Herrschner’s online. Well, I bought some this week from Walmart for less money, AND no shipping fees of course. They don’t have the whole range, but I found some I liked. One of them is actually a Mandala Baby cake, but it has the same yardage etc as the Mandala.

So pretty. A couple are new to me, and the rest are ones I’ve bought before. But when I ordered from Herrschner’s I only bought one cake of each colour and then realised I wanted to have at least two so that I could have more options as to patterns.

It’s just as well my birthday is coming up and I have money from my mum! I shall choose my projects carefully for these babies!!

 

Fire!

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Hello, my dear blogreaders, how are you all? A week has whizzed by yet again and I’m afraid I don’t have much crafty stuff to show for it. I think I managed a few rounds on a sock in skinny yarn and skinny needles, but not much else. Oh, and a scrappy dishcloth. Not even worth photographing.

But I’ve been busy at work, as we had inventory prep to do. We’ve been working towards a deadline, with management tagging practically every bolt in the fabric store with a number, and the rest of us laying down the bolts in piles according to their number. Yesterday was the big day and we started at 7am. Sixteen people in four teams (with eight extra people drafted in from outside to do the heavy lifting) worked their way through the store with industrial scales to get everything weighed and recorded. We took nine hours total. The store was open from 9.30am so there was other staff working just to look after customers and make sure that they behaved themselves, not walking into the areas we were working in and making off with pre-counted rolls or bolts.

We had two 15 minute breaks and one 30 minute one over the course of the day, and the manager had made sure there was plenty of good food available so that we were kept recharged. We were all knackered by the end of it (my youngest son works there too, and my middle son came along just for the day, for the third year in a row, plus I drafted in a couple of friends’ sons too). So glad it’s over for another year. I was totally brain dead after dinner last night, with just a brief period of animation when my family told me to go outside on the deck and look at the view.

So, back to the title and photo at the top of this post. Yes, once again the Okanagan Valley is smothered in heavy smoke from forest fires. It’s a standard situation for us. We had a skookum thunderstorm on Tuesday night (I love that word) in which there was impressive thunder and lightning and monsoon-like rain. Unfortunately, whilst we enjoy watching a good storm, it is immediately followed by reports of how many hits it made and how many fires it started. There were many, but the two main ones in our immediate area are (a) close to a little town about 15 minutes drive south of us, in which many people have been evacuated, and (b) across the lake in a huge wild area which burnt for a whole month in 2003. At that time, the fire caused thousands of people to be evacuated and burned over 200 homes. So obviously, memories of that year are being stirred up now, as we watched the flames last night. We could see them with the naked eye but with a camera or binoculars it was easy to see the activity of the flames.

The photo above is my husband’s, taken with a long lens. Those trees are close to my house – thankfully the fire is way away across the lake. With the wind, heat and dry conditions, people at the southern end of the city across the lake are looking nervously towards the fire, hoping that they will not see a repeat of 2003.

I am glad that today I have a day off to recover from yesterday and get a few things done around the house. I really need a gym workout too. I will undoubtedly be checking in with local news sources over the course of the day to see what’s developing. I am grateful  that my family and home are safe and away from the danger zones.

Take care, y’all!

 

 

Startitis

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My poor WIPs. I had good intentions, I really did. I posted pictures of them to the Finishalong2018 thread in the Crafternoon Treats podcast group on Ravelry (which I help moderate) with a plan to get ’em done. But I’m just not feeling the love.

So Startitis has hit me bad. After I crocheted those two small drawstring bags that I showed you last time, I made another ‘cake holding bag’ with Red Heart With Love. It started with a circle, which I just made up as I went along, doing however many granny clusters I needed to do to keep it flat, then it was granny stitch all the way up the sides. A small loop at the top finished it off.

By the time I finished it last night, sitting outside on the deck, it was getting dark.

I’ve already put it to good use, as I crocheted a hat today and put the cake of Bernat Pop inside it. This hat pattern is fast. I think it took around 2.5 hours total, and I got most of it done while waiting for the two boys at the dentist. It’s called the Newsboy Slouch and the Ravelry pattern page is here.

Very easy, very quick. I’m not 100% sold on how it suits me, but I’ll keep it for now. It’s not washed yet.

I also did some stealth crochet this week for a crochet designer. She asked me to be one of her testers, as I’ve tested for her before. It’s an afghan block with popcorns and overlay crochet, but I am waiting for her to publish her design before showing anyone my finished square.

So lots of hooking this week, and a teeny tiny bit of knitting. I have done four rounds of ribbing on a sock on US#1 needles. OMG, talk about fiddly. I’ll show you that project another time. In the meantime, have a great week!

FOs of the knit, crochet and sewing kind

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Oooh, I do feel productive. A finished hat from the cake of Lion Brand Mandala (the third from that cake, and there’s still some left). Cast on 94 sts with US#4, worked some K2P2 ribbing, changed to #5 tips and increased to 100 sts. When hat was 4.75″ deep, I did the same crown decreasing as in the Vanilla hat, but with hindsight reducing the straight part by a whole inch may have been a little too much as I find it a bit small now. It fits Sally perfectly (see below).

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A finished cosy from a German crochet book that I found at my local library. I learned some new words in German!

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And some finished project/notions bags. First, an unlined drawstring bag with a boxed bottom to which I added a special pocket with a slanted zipper opening. I messed up a little there as I was going to make the bag quite a bit bigger, but then my rotary cutter had other ideas and it ended up being the same size as the last one I made. The pocket dwarfs it a bit, but you get the idea.

This little guy is a tiny version of the triangle bag I made first (as talked about here) with the yarn ball print. I made it to go with the other bag as a gift for a podcaster I listen to a lot. They are now both in the mail. (Tutorial Crafty Gemini)

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And lastly this one from a McCall’s pattern (# M6256) which I bought on sale this week at work.

Oh man, this presented some challenges. Sewing a circle to a tube for the base – eeek! Handsewing the lining inside – grrr! Heat ‘n Bond that didn’t stick when it was supposed to – aaagh! Glad it’s done, and it does do the job – there’s a partial cake of yarn in there and the end is threaded through the top of the “lid” – though it wouldn’t hold a full cake. Maybe it’d work best for a commercial skein of acrylic set inside on its end.

This morning was productive in its own way too. An appointment with a new dentist, in which I had my teeth scaled and polished, and numerous other things they wanted to do as I am a new patient there. No cavities, thank goodness. Dropped bags of stuff at the recycling depot. Mailed a small package to the aforementioned podcaster in Wisconsin. And spent rather a lot of money on a new pair of spectacles. I hope to have them before I go on holiday in August as the ones I’ve been wearing are badly scratched.

What are you making this week?

 

 

Too much fun

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I had a 9.30am appointment with my hand therapist yesterday, and afterwards enjoyed a nice cup of tea at our favourite tea shop with Tai Chi Man. Then it was on to multiple errands to stock up on food for the ravening hordes…I mean, my family…but I diverted a little bit by having a stroll around Michaels. I found this new sock yarn – acrylic, viscose from bamboo, and polyester, so yay! No wool! Had to buy one with my coupon so after the discount it came to $5. Then of course I needed needles, because I don’t have circular needles for  magic looping socks in the required size. So I HAD to drop in at my local LYS and she has the Chiao Goo Red Lace in a 2.25mm. I am going to make socks in proper sock yarn! It’s been years since I knitted socks and I used to use a thicker yarn with 4mm dpns.

While I was looking around her new store, I remembered to ask if she had any ballwinders, and it turns out she did. So I came home with one of those too.

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I’ve been wanting one of these for ages. Considering I rarely buy yarn in hanks, and this will mostly be used for tidying up odds and ends, it wasn’t worth investing in an expensive  model.

I tried it out and, well, here are some of the fun results.

Don’t you just love those Before and After photos? And one more – four colours of dishcloth cotton in one…

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I have lots more DK yarn that is in slightly messy half used skeins, but I thought I’d better stop there as my wrist and arm have been sore since Tuesday’s workout and I shouldn’t be overdoing things.

I need to finish lunch and go out for a walk. I’m really enjoying the mild weather lately, but it’s set to heat up mid-week after some more rain. Have a great weekend, and if you’re in Canada HAPPY CANADA DAY, eh!

The sewing continues…

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The sewing continues…

This Japanese Knot Bag is so simple to make and yet it looks great when it’s finished. I used this You Tube tutorial by The Crafts Channel. The longer handle threads through the smaller one to form a wrist-carrying loop. It has two contrasting fabrics on the outside, and you could also do two different ones for the lining but I just used one. (I suppose you could even use eight different fabrics in all, which would be an awesome way to use up smaller pieces.)

Rather than download and print a pdf, I eyeballed the approximate sizes from the video and drew it out on some Burda gridded pattern paper. I started with a 25 x 25 cm square for the body of the bag, and added handles, making one twice as long as the other.

This is the sort of bag it’d be fun to make in different sizes, which I might just do!

I had a bit of a tidy round today, did the vacuuming, bathrooms, kitchen cleaning etc, and now my three crochet WIPs have been relegated to my sewing room, demoted from their living room spots. I’m not loving any of them so decided to pretend they didn’t exist! Of course my Ravelry project page has them sitting there at the top, where I can’t ignore them, but I shan’t worry about that.

The one yarny project that is active right now is a knitted beanie that I’m making with the last of the Lion Brand Mandala cake (colourway Chimera) with which I knitted/crocheted my FIL two hats. Pretty great yardage, really, to get three hats out of one cake. I started with ribbing this time, on US#4 needles, 94 stitches cast on, then increased to 100 for the stockinette part on #5 needles.

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I found that knitting to 5.75″ last time, then doing the crown decreases, made for a hat that was about an inch too long, so either I will stop at 4.75″ and then start decreasing or, if the yarn looks plentiful enough at that point, I may go even longer and make it a slouchy. Maybe even add a pompom. Anything to finish this yarn cake.

Well, I have friends coming over tonight so I’d better sign off for now. I just couldn’t wait to show you my latest bag! Happy crafting!

Thundery Thursday

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We’ve had some awesome claps of thunder today and the sky has changed from sun this morning to threatening clouds this afternoon.

I have been holed up in my sewing room in the basement which is much cooler than upstairs so is a great place to be on a hot day. However we occasionally get power outages during storms and now it’s getting darker, windier and lightning-ier. I have finished sewing for now but need to cook dinner so hopefully we will maintain our electricity!

After I posted t’other day, I made a whole family of these bags to go with the large one I made.

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They vary from 8.5″ tall down to 3.5″ – the smallest one is so cute, and I was challenging myself to see how small I could go. They are floppier, the larger you go, so I would definitely add some interfacing next time I make these.

Today I made these:

The vinyl one was a nightmare to sew. I have successfully sewn some vinyl into bags recently but I had so much trouble with this one, mostly with the thread breaking, even though it was a heavyweight thread with an appropriate needle. The tutorial was a So Sew Easy one, and maybe I would have had better luck with a thinner vinyl. The flat notions pouch is from You Tuber Hue Loco and I ignored her method of quilting the fabric onto felt and just used two layers back to back with a bit of interfacing in between. I’m sure I have some D rings lying about somewhere but couldn’t find any, so added a keyring instead. I’m happy with this one, though my stitching was a bit wobbly.

Well, it’s time for some storm-watching I think. Toodle-oo!

A sewing day

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A sewing day

There was nothing on the calendar for today and I was excited that I’d be able to spend a few hours in my sewing room. I did end up having to pop out to collect some plumbing parts so that Tai Chi Man can fix the bath, and I will probably go grocery shopping tonight, but the fabrics were calling.

I followed two different You Tube tutorials and made a total of three bags. One was from The Crafty Gemini for a triangle pouch. The first one was a bit bigger than hers as I cut my fabrics 8 x 16″ for a finished bag that measured about 6.5 inches tall.

This is a lime green cotton fabric with balls of yarn printed on it. I used some medium weight interfacing and added an octopus charm.

I also made a larger version with a contrast lining but no interfacing, as I didn’t have enough left at this point.

The fabric was cut into 10 x 20″ pieces and the bag turned out about 8.5 inches tall. I plan to make two more in these same fabrics, but in different sizes, just for fun.

And this bag is from a pattern/tutorial called Easy Cosmetics Bag by So Sew Easy. You can print out the template from a Craftsy pattern but I just drew it up on a sheet of paper closely resembling the one in the pattern. I like that the base is a little wider than the top. It’s just as well this one is for me as the print is not quite lined up on one side and one of the little side tabs is wonky.

Not sure why my screen is giving the photos a blue cast. I was outside on my deck on a bright day so hopefully clicking to see the full size photos will make them look better.

Recently, I bought some lobster clasps and sea-themed charms from Michaels, along with a tool for opening split rings, and I used some, not just for zipper pulls, but also for progress keepers on my crochet.

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The beads are ones I’ve had for years. In fact two of the above were already made up as earrings, so I took off the hooks and put on the lobster clasps instead.

It’s snack time and then I shall have to see if I feel like sewing some more.

Fun, food, and a Finishalong

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Hi bloggy friends. Once again, a whizzy week. I worked Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Monday and Friday were taken up with appointments and errands and a walk with a friend and, before I knew it, it was the weekend again. Saturday was a lot of fun. I went to a market at Yarn Okanagan, an event here in the valley where many people were attending knitting workshops and browsing the vendors’ offerings. A friend and I went just for the market. It only took us an hour to look around. She bought a beautiful skein of something soft (merino, I think) in a deep deep teal. I’d say 99.99% of the yarn there was wool, so of course I didn’t buy any, though I did enjoy looking at the colourful skeins. There were project bags for sale too, but I just tell myself I can make those so there’s no need to buy any!

After the market, my friend and I spent a couple of hours at a local coffee shop, catching up on everything as we haven’t had the chance for a good chinwag in ages.

Later that day, Tai Chi Man and I were on our way to an evening potluck at another friend’s house and as usual the food was delicious, the company hilarious and the evening a success.

Today I had to work, but immediately afterwards our family went out for dinner to celebrate ds3’s 20th birthday. So that was a great way to wrap up the weekend, and now I have the next two days off to get the cleaning up to date and some sewing done.

I do have a bit of new yarn to show you.

This is Joy DK from Loops & Threads (Michaels). It’s very soft acrylic yarn in 100 gram balls and one of my friends bought it for me as a thank you for “lending” her some of my yarn. She wanted to make some dolls and I invited her to look through my stash of DK, because it didn’t make sense for her to buy full balls of different colours when she only needed a tiny bit of some of them. So she took away some skeins and brought back what she didn’t use, along with these two extra balls. The teal one is showing bluer than it really is.

One of the Ravelry groups that I belong to, and am a moderator of, is Crafternoon Treats. Kathryn of Crafternoon Treats (blog, podcast, Etsy shop) is running a Finishalong from now until the end of September. I did a review of my Works in Progress, which numbered four, more than I usually have, but a lot fewer than many people have!

As of yesterday, I had (links are to my Ravelry project pages)

(1) my March sweater, which was abandoned temporarily when I broke my wrist. I pulled it out of the bag today and to be honest I think it might go into the frogpond. I tried it on and I don’t love it.

(2) my Maui Ocean Cowl, from the pattern Pool Party Cowl by Balls to the Walls Knits, which is actually now FINISHED!

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(3) my Swiss sunhat, made with hemp yarn. I don’t have an up to date photo of it, but I finished the top of the crown and started to work straight, but it’s really hard on the hands (and wrist) and I think this one is going to the frogpond too.

(4) and finally, my zippered window bag, which is an experiment in crocheting into vinyl to make a bag that has a window in it. Designing on the hook, it is far from perfect but I intend to finish this and use it.

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Knit Picks Shine Sport, circle of clear vinyl

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zipper with chain stitch, ready for crocheting

This project is further along than these photos suggest.

I can feel the desire to start a new project, something that is most definitely NOT single crochet! Actually, while typing that, I realised I still have some of the cake of Lion Brand Mandala left since I finished the two hats for my FIL, patiently waiting in a little bowl on my coffee table. I think I need to start another knitted hat. And sew more bags!