Sewing day!

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Sewing day!

I blitzed the house yesterday, went out and got my tire fixed (it had a screw stuck in it), watered my plants and basically got myself all caught up so that today I could just sew.

After a bit of yoga and sunbathing, I retreated to the sewing room. I had a list of potential projects to work on and what I ended up doing was…

PJs for #2 son
3 receiving blankets
Adult bucket hat

All of these fabrics were in my stash. The plaid was a little short so I had to be creative and put my pattern piece opposite ways and refold the fabric carefully (did you notice the pattern runs the “wrong” way on one leg!?). The paper pattern is one I created from an old pair of PJs ages ago.

The paisley flannelette was one I bought years ago just because I liked it. And now I have a friend who’s going to be a grandfather soon.

And the bucket hat is made from quilt cottons and a little interfacing. The pattern is from Sweet Red Poppy and it’s a free download. My printer produced it a bit bigger than it was supposed to – I made the adult hat, forgetting that fact, and it’s big on me. Still, this was the ‘test run’ from which I learned that, yes, I still dislike sewing circles and cylinders together. There were a few frustrating moments with this hat, such as the time that my spool AND bobbin ran out at the same time and it was the perfect shade of pink and I didn’t have any more.

I added a couple of eyelets at the back to cinch it in with a short piece of ribbon.

Another small and quick make from earlier this week is this seahorse set. These are beads I gave myself in my Advent collection last December.

And while the tire folks were fixing my tire yesterday I used the time to walk to Michaels and have a slow browse around. I found these neons which reminded me that I still want to make a sweater with a pop of neon (ideally I wanted pink and green, but these’ll do).

These babies were only $2.99 each as all yarn was 25% off.

So now it’s almost bedtime and I am working the next four days so you can see why I wanted to pack a lot of crafting time in today!

Sunday funday

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Sunday funday

Ah, a much needed day off today. The weather has been lovely and Mr Fixit and I went out this morning to enjoy a bit of the local scenery.

After our stroll along the lake through a small bird sanctuary we went for tea at our favourite tea shop.

After a couple of months of living with my natural hair colour, I’m ready for some fun again! I just need to decide what colour to use.

The Stash to Treasure batwing sweater is growing nicely. Since taking this photo this morning (try not to get confused by the granny blanket underneath it) I have added a few more purple rows and one panel is almost complete. Then I’ll just need to add the last purple section to the other panel and start the finishing process.

A few days ago I had a little play in my quilt cotton stash and identified some fabrics I’d like to use soon! These Indian-themed prints were bought a few years ago from Wool Warehouse in the UK. I made a couple of things for my sister back then because she loves India and I knew she’d like them. I realised I still had quite a lot left so I made these bags – there are two ‘open wide zipper pouches’ from the Noodlehead site, and an ‘origami drawstring bag’ from Minki Kim’s YT channel.

I always have an itch to play in my sewing room these days so I’ll have to earmark Tuesday or Wednesday as a sewing day this week. Maybe I’ll do the housework and other boring stuff on Tuesday and then I can play the next day!!

I have the germ of an idea for my next project…

A WIP, an FO and a sad goodbye

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I have a new top! This gorgeous polyester jersey had an interesting print which I positioned just so. I made sure that it lined up on the back, front and sleeves.

It’s Burda 6990 again, an easy raglan top with only three pattern pieces and six seams. I still haven’t perfected the hemming but that just gives me an excuse to make more, right?

I love projects that I can make in an afternoon. I’ll wear this to work tomorrow for sure.

My current yarny WIP is this batwing sweater. If you think 1980s when I mention batwing sleeves, that’s great! I’m crocheting this as part of the Totally Tubular 1980s KAL in the  vegan group on Ravelry.

The pattern is a paid one – Stash to Treasure Batwing Sweater by Dora Does. I’m using the blackberry coloured Cygnet Chunky (let’s hope it doesn’t get frogged a third time) and the Knit Picks Brava minis that I bought myself last year.

It’s easy and I intend to have it done by the end of June.

There’s a guy up in that tree

And finally…the sad goodbye is to an old and huge pine tree that stood between my house and my neighbour’s.  They had it cut down this week. No idea why, it was perfectly healthy.

There go the branches
Almost gone

We are still getting used to the wider view and extra light but we are sad for the squirrels and birds that called this tree home, or used it as a route around the neighbourhood.  And this summer we’re going to have to sort out more screening for our deck because that tree provided much needed shade.

A great shame to see how many trees have been lost to the dreaded chainsaw in the last few weeks.

A bit of a dry spell

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The crafty mojo has been in a bit of a slump. I want to sew and crochet and stuff  but haven’t had much ooomph and so there has been minimal activity.

I have this weekend off which means I have the time to make something. This is an item I promised a friend…

It’s a panel of sunshade fabric with two small tension rods for a skylight in her apartment. It gets so hot in the summer that I made this up and hope it works.

I also cut up an old pair of slippers that were from Costco years ago. They were wearing out. I used the pieces as templates for a new pair.

The knit fabric, fleece and grippy fabric were all in stash.

I could have made them a tad smaller but they work!

There was a little bit of knitting this week. I finally used some of the cotton yarn that I dyed with Procion MX dyes.

I ended up with a small towel and two large dishcloths..

I know, it’s bright. This was only my second dyeing attempt. I’ll be interested to see how colourfast it is.

And I completed another task off my To Do list – the seasonal closet clearout. Every spring and fall I pull everything out of my half of the closet and rearrange it, depending on which season we’re going into. Today most of my sweaters went up to the top shelf. There was a reasonable pile of things destined for the thrift store too.

Everything is now hanging neatly back in the closet, ready for summer.

Mr Fixit and I will be going to the gym soon. We just have to wait for the black beans for tonight’s quesadillas to finish cooking.

Have a great week!

Small finishes

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I had a day off today and it’s been very enjoyable. It started slow with a pot of tea and my usual routine, checking emails, Ravelry, playing my word games.

My daily yoga was, as usual, led by Mady Morrison on YouTube. I chose a spicier session today to get myself stretched out and warmed up.

I had a good workout at the gym. An hour on the treadmill with some “hills” followed by leg machines and some back and chest work. That felt good. I’ve been eating less the last few weeks with the goal of feeling more comfortable in my jeans. I’m genetically a pear shape so when my tummy started to expand, exacerbated by menopause, it felt very uncomfortable. Time to shrink the spare tires!

The photo at the top is my finished cowl. I finished the third colour left over from the beanie and the cowl was 24 inches around, which is a perfect size, so the remaining two balls of yarn have been returned to the stash for now.

This little pouch is from a video tutorial by Tendersmile Handmade. The body is slightly gathered to fit the round base which is actually nice because any tucks and pleats in the fabric are intentional! This caravan fabric has been in the stash for ages and there’s still a large chunk left.

Dinner was a simple affair: what I like to call “refrigerator soup”! You get to use up lots of vegetables and even some leftovers (in this case, kidney bean dal and cooked rice) to make a meal. Add in some wholegrain bread and leafy greens and you’re set.

And tonight I’m vegging out on the couch.

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).