A cool spring

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This is me, the other evening. May has been a cool month compared to usual. Feels like we’ve had more rain, and the nights have been single digits Celsius. Even when the thermostat is turned up a bit, the furnace doesn’t fire much at this time of year, and I’ve been feeling the cold lately. I think my hormones are confused, because for a while there I was running hot.

I finished the bag I was crocheting. It became a drawstring bag with a sewn cotton lining. I’m pleased with the result. Not so happy with this pouch that I made last night.

You’d think that pattern companies with years of experience with creating and publishing patterns would compare favorably to YouTubers with sewing channels. Well, I made this from a Burda pattern and I have to say I wasn’t impressed.

The pattern is rated super easy. Sewing those triangle ends in was a pain, especially as the outer and inner layers are just pinned to each other so they shift. And there’s no interfacing so the bag doesn’t hold its structure. I prefer all my raw ends to be hidden inside the lining too – not so with this bag.

The “work cowl” which I started a couple of months ago is my companion project today while waiting for my friend at the dentist. It was living in my office filing cabinet but I was barely working on it at work.

It’s just half double crochet until the yarn is gone. The yarn is the O’go stuff that I made a beanie with months ago.

Yesterday it was raining most of the day. I enjoyed it. Wet Sundays with few commitments remind me of my twenties, living in the island where I grew up, when we worked Monday to Friday and had weekends off and would go round to one of the parents’ houses and have tea and cake and a natter. It rains a lot there!

Today started out very foggy but the cloud has mostly cleared and the sun is shining. It’s 18° but there is still a chill in the wind.

Next job is to make burger buns for dinner. Time to get out the flour and yeast.

My happy place

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This is my evening.

I worked all weekend. Now on Sunday evening I have my feet up on the couch, podcasts on the TV, a crochet project, a cup of tea, and a lovely view of my garden which has been greening up beautifully.

The yarn is Estelle Colourbraid and was a birthday gift from a friend last year. There are seven sections that progress from dark to light so I wound it into a large ball and started making a bag from the darker end.

I haven’t decided whether this will be a backpack type bag or a container for my pegs (clothes pins). The fibre content is 80% cotton, 20% polyester and it feels pretty sturdy. I’m using a 6mm hook and half double crochet stitches – nothing fancy.

The bag in the background of the photo above is from this pattern. I made View D, the smaller picnic bag.

This is not my best work. Using a paper pattern for cutting out meant my pieces were nowhere near as accurate as when I use a rotary cutter and ruler.

And the method of construction, especially joining the outer to the inner, was not as straightforward as other bags I have made in a similar style. So I won’t be using this pattern again.

Just as well it was inspired by the Dodgy Bag makealong that’s being run by Ali of The Little Drops of Wonderful podcast. Cos it’s dodgy!!

One of my lovely coworkers brought these Nanaimo bars to work today. They are from a local bakery that’s vegan and gluten-free. She felt that I miss out on a lot of treats because usually the ones that are brought in aren’t vegan. They are amazing and taste like they have my weekly allowance of sugar and fat in one bar.

I had two of the coffee ones, one at lunchtime and one after work. That’s it, no more I promise!

Another work day tomorrow and then a couple of days off. Have a great week and I’ll see you again soon.

Wonderful weekend

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Wonderful weekend

As you know, I had a very productive Friday.

Saturday was slower-paced. I hadn’t slept well, getting up twice in the night because I felt sick. As in, the throwing up kind of sick. No idea why, and I didn’t actually throw up, and there haven’t been any other symptoms, but I was tired Saturday.

We did a Costco run and I popped into the mall to pick up my favourite aloe vera day cream (and this time I bought the night cream too) and I splurged a bit on some strawberry body butter and shower gel.

It was a bit rainy so we skipped the farmer’s market. But I did get a good haul of books from the library.

Not much energy in the afternoon, so I did a lot of sitting and knitting and I now have a finished shawl.

I made this a bit smaller than the pattern suggested. I left off the last few repeats for a finished size across the top edge of around 60″. And I didn’t bother blocking it!

To recap, this is the Freesia shawl by Annie Baker. I used almost two skeins of Berroco Modern Cotton on 4mm needles.

I’m glad it’s done and I can move on to something new.

Saturday evening, Mr Fixit switched on Gardener’s World (we have Britbox  now) and I have to say it’s such an uplifting BBC programme. The presenters are so joyful, it’s inspiring to me (a non-gardener) to see the pleasure that everyone gets from their gardens, flowers, produce etc.

On to Sunday, and it was a beautiful sunny day (up to 21°C/70°F). Mr Fixit and I went downtown to grab a tea from our favourite tea shop and walk through to the lakefront and the wetland.

There were lots of large fish to be seen as well as sunbathing turtles and paddling ducks.

After our walk, we returned home and I put on a swimsuit and spent half an hour soaking up some rays. Then I popped down to my sewing room for a bit of fun with batiks. I’ve been watching the Patreon videos by Kate at The Last Homely House and the latest ones have been recapping a makealong that she did a year ago.

This is called pojagi or bojagi. It’s a Korean method for making a single-layer wrapping cloth with no exposed raw edges (basically a flat fell seam). A quick Google will yield lots of hits. Kate has made window hangings, curtains and bedspreads using this method.

I cut 5-inch squares out of some of my precious batiks and made a small piece and stuck it on my deck door to admire the sunlight shining through it. It’s like stained glass! I love the effect but I don’t think I’d want to make an entire bedspread.

Those turtle batiks are from our first holiday in Maui five years ago!

I just noticed the time and my weekend is almost over. I love doing lots of fun things on my days off. Three days in a row feels like a mini vacation.

What will my next project be…….

FO Friday!

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Wahoo! After a busy week, where I was either working or feeling too knackered to do much except stare at a screen, I finally had a day off which involved a few hours in my sewing room.

I’m glad I made the cheapie canvas version of this apron before cutting into the expensive sewing-themed tapestry fabric. As the pattern I was using was borrowed, I made my own with some Burda pattern tracing paper, and added a few inches of length.

All went well and I’m really happy with it. This will be a sewing apron and won’t go anywhere near my stove so it should stay clean.

My other FO is this top.

It’s Burda 6990 view A, but with the sleeves shortened to make it more multi-seasonal. I like that it’s a raglan – so much easier than setting in sleeves – but the twin needle finishing around the hems wasn’t fun. I just need more practice.

The fabric is pretty wacky but disguises dodgy sewing very nicely.

The Freesia shawl is still not finished but I added a few more rows tonight. This is a pic from a few days ago.

So yeah, it was a great day. Sunny and the perfect temperature to open the windows, eat breakfast outside admiring the view, do a bit of sunbathing, and hang three loads of laundry out to dry.

Dinner was sage and apple sausages based on a recipe from my Vegan 100 cookbook (Gaz Oakley), oven fries, green salad, and fried plantain. The seitan sausages were a hit! I’ve made various versions before but these got compliments!!

And Mr Fixit and I enjoyed an evening walk around the neighbourhood too.

I have the weekend off so I’m looking forward to more fun activities.

Easter weekend

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Easter to me means chocolate. My family wasn’t religious so when I was a child it was all about the chocolate eggs. Preferably the kind filled with other chocolate like Smarties or something. But it had to be Cadbury’s, not the cheap and nasty stuff that didn’t really taste of anything!

We never did egg hunts like people do now. It’s probably a North American thing that has been adopted in recent years by the British.

This year, we bought some bars of chocolate for the five of us. The bonus was that Superstore was selling their own brand of dark chocolate bars for only $1.79.

I was fortunate to have Saturday and Sunday off. Good Friday I worked but it was a short day due to the stat. Saturday we had a potluck with friends which is always fun and we leave full of good vegan food. And today Mr Fixit and I went out for breakfast. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times we’ve done that! But we drove up to a vegan cafe on the lake and had a “bacon and egger” sandwich and a cinnamon bun followed by a stroll in the sunshine along the beach.

It’s been a cold April so we’re still wearing puffer vests when we’re out (what we Brits used to call bodywarmers or gilets).

I have been doing a bit o’ knittin’ this week, adding to the Freesia shawl. I am about halfway done.

And I have been refreshing my cross stitching skills, having fun with a bit of embroidery with, shall we say, mature content!

I used the alphabet out of that book in the photo which I have owned for about 40 years.

The bird and leaf designs are from a knitting colourwork book that I also own.

And today I made a prototype crossback apron out of cheap canvas based on the pattern in the photo. A friend lent it to me but she had already cut out the small size so I had to adjust things to where I figured the large lines would have been before she cut into the pattern.

It frays like mad, this canvas, so I just zigzagged it before hemming. I have the most gorgeous sewing-themed tapestry fabric for the ‘good’ version. I’m glad I made a practice one first.

I have had less than stellar news from the family on the other side of the pond this week. My mum has had a lot of pain in her hip that has left her barely able to walk so she is in hospital right now, and my sister has the dreaded covid! Hoping for better news by the end of the week, when hopefully my sister will test negative and mum can go home (they live in the same house).

More WIP witterings

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My Freesia shawl by Annie Baker has grown quite a lot in the last two weeks. There are at least two mistakes in it. Last week I was knitting away happily during a Zoom call with my friends in the Vegan Knitters and Crocheters group on Ravelry and noticed a yarnover hole where there wasn’t supposed to be one.

I know what I did. On the 11th row of the repeat there is a change in the instructions- after 13 K2tog/YO combos, instead of just knitting the rest of the row, you do K2tog, K1, K2tog, K1, K2tog. Well, the muscle memory kicked in and I YO’d when I should have K1’d.

Never mind. I dropped down to the hole, hooked it back up and it looks all right.

The second mistake was tonight on the 12th row of the repeat which is the only one without an increase on the plain edge. I did the increase automatically. Again, no one will ever notice.

Not much else has happened in the Craft Department in the last week or two. I added a little bit of stitching to the sashiko vest project. Barely did any crochet.

I have read a couple of novels which possibly explains the lack of productivity.

And I have been experimenting with bread. A couple of weeks ago I attempted hot cross buns but they came out like dense doughballs. They barely rose.

The following week I tried again, using an enhanced version of my usual bread recipe. Rather than individual buns I made two loaves. They were better but still dense and even though they were in the oven for 45 minutes they still seemed underdone in the middle.

Today I tried again. Less salt and oil, and I changed out a third of the whole wheat flour for white.

Nailed it! Slightly sweet and spicy, these loaves were a great texture and well-browned on the crust. (Recipe may follow when I am more awake!)

Ds3 has also been experimenting with making bread. I came home from work the other day to find some very professional looking bread on the kitchen counter. It was white bread but very flavourful. It didn’t last long! (He had bought the white flour that day – we don’t usually have any in the house – which is why I was able to steal a couple of cups of it for my bread today.)

The house got a good airing today. While I was cleaning I opened windows on the south side. It’s been pretty cold for spring (apart from one day when it hit 18°C) but I love to get some fresh air in. As long as I’m keeping active with cleaning bathrooms etc I don’t mind the coolness.

I even hung my towels outside to dry for the first time this year.

Hope your week is going well. I have the chiropractor tomorrow and a knit night with friends in the evening so I’m looking forward to that. And then it’s a few days of work (with a short shift on Friday because it’s Good Friday) and then a weekend off.

Talk to you soon!

WIP: Freesia shawl and other witterings

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WIP: Freesia shawl and other witterings

The shawl is growing. I’m only adding a few rows at a time. It does need some attention, partly because of the slippery yarn but also so that I do my yarnovers and KFBs in the right place. But there’s still plenty of plain knitting and it’s pretty enough that it makes you want to put it down and admire it every so often.

Note the orange lifelines in there, just in case.

I’m also playing with a small design in cotton that I’ll show you if it turns out well. And I’ve crocheted a few scrubbies for the kitchen out of netting, though I only do one of those at a time because it’s hard on the hands. No photos as they go straight into the kitchen drawer when they’re done. But I’ve figured out a quick way to make them so I don’t have to reinvent the proverbial wheel each time.

This zippered bag started out with the remnant of blue vinyl. I had to work around a major flaw across the piece so that dictated the size. The blue goes perfectly with the sewing-themed cotton and I had a zipper in just the right shade too.

I had to wash it after I took photos as the Wonder Tape I used to insert the zipper showed on the outside of the bag (probably because I used my walking foot with the needle moved to the left rather than faff about with the zipper foot).

Originally I thought the zipper was going to go across and stick out at each side but after sewing it in I realised the error of my ways (not following a tutorial again) and ended up boxing the top as well as the bottom.

I used one of my empty thread spools to add a hanging decoration to the zipper pull.

And despite a couple of rethinking moments I’m happy with the result.

The new 58″ TV is turning out to be a good buy. The reorganization of the living room has created more open floor space and every morning I play the same 15 minute yoga video to ease me into the day. I’ve watched a series called Hope Street on Britbox and a couple of times now I’ve come home to find Mr Fixit or one of the boys watching something. A TV is a novelty around here; we haven’t had one for years.

I think we’re all caught up now. Hope you have a great week!

Random stuff

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Well, life has been a lot less stressful lately. British Columbia lifted the mask mandate and my employers followed suit. Whilst I respect everyone’s choice to wear a mask or not, I have chosen to go without. Bliss! In addition I don’t have to police people who come into the store and so there is far less friction in general.

It’s funny though. We had one customer complaining that our staff should still be wearing them. I feel like proclaiming to the world that working in retail has been utter shit at times over the last two years and getting back to some semblance of normal life is a sanity-saver.

Talking of sanity-savers, I had a day off today and I feel like I achieved quite a lot. I did an hour’s workout at the gym. Vacuumed the house and aired it out by opening the windows for a while. Made some reflective armbands for when we go walking in the dark.

Made some mesh laundry bags.

Added pleater tape to the top of four store-bought curtain panels so we can hang them up in our family room (we have an Ikea system, not rods).

Made lasagna. Ate lasagna. Went to yoga.

Crocheted a thing (sort of a bunny container from a tutorial by Repeat Crafter Me) though it doesn’t have any features yet. I pulled out four colours of cotton from the stash the other day, hence the green basket, and there may be something else to come in yellow and lilac.

And cast on my Freesia shawl that I mentioned last time.

Only seven rows in. No more crafting tonight. It’s nearly 10pm now and I’m pooped! Time for bed.

Fluffies and goodies

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I showed you the beginning of the grey cowl last time. It only took three days to knit two cowls. Ten mil needles and furry yarn make a project fly off the needles.

This is Spindle Buttersoft which is a discontinued yarn from the store where I work. Shame because it was very popular. It only took 42 stitches and about 40 rounds to use up the skein.

The Vegan Knitters and Crocheters group on Ravelry is planning an April KAL. It’s going to be a shawl knit/crochetalong, so knowing I wanted to use my stash of Berroco Modern Cotton in the colourway Matunuk I did a search on Ravelry for something in DK that wasn’t too challenging but also not completely mindless.

This shawl design by Annie Baker looks perfect. It’s a paid pattern on Ravelry. I don’t buy many patterns but this one drew me in. Freesia I caked up the three hanks of yarn last night. Doesn’t the yarn coordinate perfectly with my Caspian knitting needles!

I had some happy mail yesterday too.

A while ago, maybe a couple of months, I heard my name mentioned on the Little Drops of Wonderful podcast. Ali said I had won something in one of her makealongs and I was very excited! The package arrived (and was a total surprise because I had forgotten about it by the time it got here)!

I won a project bag and book and Ali had put in a couple of ‘You are a Little Drop of Wonderful’ pins and stickers. Fun!

I’m itching to do some fun sewing this weekend. Not sure what yet. Depends how much time I have.

A caterpillar on my couch

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Look at this lovely fuzziness!

I’ve had these two balls of Spindle Yarns Buttersoft in the stash for some time. I made the simple cowl pattern on the back of the ball band in 2018 with my first ball of the fluff and then couldn’t get any more.

When it came in the second time I grabbed two more balls as I regretted giving away the cowl. I’ve cast on a new one – it’s a very simple pattern – 42 stitches and knit in the round until the yarn runs out. It’s so soft!

I was tidying my sewing room tonight which is something I do when I’m not sure what I want to work on. This is why I ended up with a new knitting project!

It’s not perfect. The floor now needs vacuuming again because I was pulling stuff out. But at least the work surfaces are clear. The project sitting next to the sewing machine is my hand-stitched sashiko vest of which I should probably get up to date photos.

My other knitting project is the top down sweater. The circular yoke is almost done, at which point I’ll try it on. I am having teensy weensy reservations about the gauge and wondering whether I should have used smaller needles for a denser fabric.

No up to date photos of that either.

I did play with strips of fabric and made some fabric twine which is something I’ve seen a couple of YouTubers do. Lorrie Nunemaker and StitchesbyJulia, I think. I put on a movie last night (it was suggested by Netflix, a Ryan Reynolds one called The Adam Project) and twisted the night away! I did more today.

Interestingly it made my left wrist sore, the one which was gripping the strips, rather than my right wrist which was doing the twisting.

So pretty though.

The couch was covered in threads though. I had to vacuum afterwards!

I’d better get off the couch now. I want to go to bed but the dish fairy failed to show up so there’s a few things to wash. Take care, and keep crafting.