Author Archives: Nicola

About Nicola

Long-time vegan, whole-food plant-based enthusiast and educator. Crazy about crochet and knitting.

More yarn and lots of hiking

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Two more balls of Advent yarn (above) and an FO below (from DK acrylic that I brought with me).

Here’s the Ravelry link to the pattern https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/succulent-plant-amigurumi

We enjoyed a beautiful, level, sunny walk along Skaha Lake yesterday morning. Two hours total following which we spent the rest of the day at the Airbnb relaxing and enjoying the hot tub and sauna.

Today was cloudy, still in the region of minus 8 Celsius, and the two hour hike involved an uphill trek to a bluff with a view. There were signs of bear but we only ended up seeing a deer and a few birds!

Again, the hot tub was welcome after all that exertion!

And finally, the start of my new WIP https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/elevation-duster-cardigan The Elevation Duster Cardigan is a long crocheted cardigan which looked like a good option for my six shades of Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn. However I am wondering whether it’ll be enough. I may have to figure out how to get more of the yellow. Time will tell.

Advents and Anniversaries

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Day 2 of my yarn Advent
Day 1 of our anniversary retreat

It may be well below freezing but we have a cosy suite out in the boonies with a pellet stove, a hot tub and a sauna. It has a view of mountains, fields and even a couple of horses. Oh, and the owner’s husky now and then.

Day 3 of yarn Advent

We have lots of food but still ventured out in the car this morning to the nearest town. Our accommodation is in a cellphone deadzone and Mr Fixit needs to check his work phone every now and then.

We also popped into the local Buy Low and picked up coffee and a caffeine-free coffee sub.

Last night I made a good start on a small crochet project which I expect to finish today. I’ll get some photos later and post them. And then I’ll start on the bigger project that I’m planning with one of my sweater quantities of yarn. Of course, I brought six 200 gram skeins of yarn with me. Even though we’re only away for a week!

It’s December!

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I love this month of the year. Short hours of daylight, long nights cosied up in layers of yarn or fleece, pretty snow scenes. Ok, the icy roads can dampen the enthusiasm a teeny bit but not too much.

Advent bag of holding

The 1st caught me out a bit. At the end of the day I had to ask Mr Fixit to stuff balls of yarn in bags for me so I could do a yarn Advent again. It’s just yarn this year, no beads or other treats, but it will still be fun to open a bag every day.

And thanks to son #3 we have a Lego Advent calendar too.

Mr Fixit and I opened the first two doors because we’re going to be out of town for our annual anniversary retreat for the next week. The sons can enjoy opening the little doors and building the mini models while we’re gone.

We’re celebrating 35 years of marriage on the 10th! And no chance of parole!!

Productivity boost – level up!

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Productivity boost – level up!

I know what you’re going to say. I said bowl cosies and I weren’t friends. However I gave it another shot. The largest one I made as before with two layers of batting but was careful to top stitch far enough in from the edge that my stitches looked better.

Then I made two more, going an inch smaller each time. Turns out one layer of batting is fine and so much easier to sew. Sewing all the darts from the edge to the fold gives a better result. And less bulk means easier turning out through the gap and easier top stitching.

These shorts are made from a remnant of fleece-backed knit that was cheap because the backing has some flaws. Super quick and easy. McCall’s 7061.

Another fun fleece onesie. These are easy to sew EXCEPT the zipper gives me grief every time. Even when it seems to go well, like on this version, there’s a glitch (the pocket doesn’t line up perfectly). McCall’s M7518.

This apron is made in an XL from a fun sewing print that I picked up a long time ago. McCall’s 5284.

And this one is from the same pattern, size small. Very cute.

And finally this one in a Small.

It feels good to be making usable wearable things from the stash. Especially when we’re having subzero temperatures and snow. Best feeling ever to be warm indoors, sewing machine running, and looking out at the cold cold day!

Whip those WIPs

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Whip those WIPs

Take that, Works in Progress! You are now Finished Objects.

Sporto sweater pattern, free from Knitty.com. I used 550 grams of a clearance yarn from work. It’s a worsted weight acrylic and is very warm and cosy. I wore it all day today. https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sporto

Zeb-the-zebra pattern, not free, from Ravelry here https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/zeb-the-zebra

I’m usually cheap and prefer free patterns over paid, but sometimes it’s worth paying a few bucks for a good pattern.

Looking at the designer’s pattern photos, I realise I forgot to embroider his nostrils!!

But I think he looks good in rainbow stripes.

So I am back to zero active WIPs, though I do have an ongoing dishcloth project and of course I can’t forget that I have four baskets of yarn downstairs earmarked for sweaters. Patterns yet to be decided.

Happy mail!

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(Edited to remove my address)

I trudged tiredly up the stairs after work today, wiped out from a day of constant action. And then suddenly I was animated by the sight of these two large parcels from Wool Warehouse.

Yay! My order arrived. It took 3 weeks to get here but the important thing is that it came before December 1st.

So what was in the parcels? Ten balls of Wendy Husky in the Peak colourway. 100 grams, 100% acrylic, super chunky, and enough to make a sweater.

Eight balls of Scheepjes Truly Scrumptious, an aran weight yarn, soft and squishy, 100 gram balls, 50% acrylic, 50% recycled plastic bottles. The colour is Spirulina Bites, which was a huge gamble, because I was trying to get out of my comfort zone and was worried it was going to be too bright a green. But so far, bearing in mind I haven’t seen it in daylight, I love it.

In addition, I bought two balls each of the same yarn in Açai Bowl and Honeycomb Crunch. I asked Mr Fixit for his input in colour choices and I think we nailed it. So those will become another sweater.

A Scheepjes Softfun colour pack – this is the Rich one – which contains 12 x 20g balls of cotton/acrylic yarn.

And a Rainbow one.

A Snoopy fat quarter bundle. Nuff said!

And finally, some safety eyes in two sizes (6mm and 9mm) for future crochet fun.

Thanks to a generous gift from my friends, this lot only cost me £25! Because apparently I was unable to stay within the budget.

A great day for boosting the stash!

A new onesie for me…

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A new onesie for me…

And for a toy dog!

I built a new display at work this week. I have a mannequin sitting at a table, supposedly sewing. My old Janome is in front of her and she has a pet dog on the table which I have dressed appropriately.

It’s a proper dog coat for a not-very-big dog, complete with hood and pocket – very cute!

It took me four hours because it was fiddly in places and, oh boy, did that fluffy backing shed everywhere or what!

I made it in the evening after work and was up til midnight.

The next night after work my eyes were drooping by 8pm.

So today being a day off, I made the next item on my To Do list. A fleece onesie for the mannequin. She is currently getting chilly in just a T shirt. The fabric is a red and black buffalo plaid fleece, which is probably the most popular print that we sell. It screams CANADA!

I made this in my size as it will be mine once the display is taken down. This took about 4 hours too. The zipper gave me a bit of grief!

Both of these garments are from this pattern, and I made the large size in both.

Bowl cosies are not for me!

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After my first bowl cosy turned out to be a big disappointment, I went on to make another with two solid pieces of fabric.

Hmph, sadly my topstitching was crap and any ideas I may have had for making a bunch of these were dashed on the rocks. Bowl cosies and I have broken up!

Mt Fixit and I are using them, though, as they are handy when you want to have a hot bowl in your lap.

We had a bit of a flood in the kitchen over the weekend. The Berkey countertop water filter was overfilled (son #1 filled it then Mr Fixit topped it up without realizing it) so by the morning water had leaked across the counter and onto the floor and had, rather unfortunately, soaked two bags of flour.

What do you do in that situation? Use the damp flour to make bread, of course. I ended up with five fresh loaves from the wet flour bags which I think could be considered a win!

A more successful sewing project was this pair of PJs made with some fleece-backed knit fabric from the store I work at. Super-easy to make and they will be perfect for winter nights.

I have enough left for a cowl too.

And this is my current crochet project. It’s a rainbow zebra! The pattern is one I found on Ravelry – Zeb the Zebra. https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/zeb-the-zebra

I’m using stash yarn, DK weight, and a 3.5mm hook, and so far I’ve completed the head, ears and neck, and made a start on the body.

I’m off to make hot chocolate now. Some Dandies vegan marshmallows are calling my name!

Scrap play

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Ah heaven! An unprecedented three day weekend off! Today I spent a couple of happy hours playing with quilt cotton scraps. I pulled out red and green fabrics from the stash, red and green threads, and some batting.

I built up two blocks from the centre, sewing the strips to the batting as I went. I cut the batting at 11 inches square, then trimmed them to 10 inches once covered in fabric.

I’m not usually a fan of classic red and green for Christmas, but I thought these worked out okay.

However when I made the two squares into a bowl cosy (from a random tutorial on YouTube) things went a little awry.

This is my first bowl cosy and I should probably have just used two basic squares rather than pieced ones, because the bulk at the edges made for some very messy topstitching. Also, I rounded the corners but now think that right-angles would have been easier to get neat.

Oh well, lesson learned. I can use this myself and perhaps practice making some simpler versions for gifts.

Snow, sew, and stash

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Winter has arrived!

We’ve had a fair amount of snow in the last few days and as usual it feels like it took everyone by surprise. The roads are icy and not everyone has their winter tires on yet!

I just had a couple of days off and made sure that one of those days was a Sewing Day which I totally embraced by wearing my Hello Kitty fleece onesie ALL DAY!

I sewed three zipper pouches and three drawstring bags (they don’t have strings yet) out of some really cool nylon or polyester fabric that my son brought home from work one day, ages ago. The fabric panels used to hang in a computer store and have some great colours in them.

I also made this Reader’s Wrap from a ribbed velour. It has two pockets and since taking this photo I have added a label embroidered using text on my sewing machine. It’s for my mum who is having a bit of a health crisis right now.

And the stash has been enhanced with the addition of some Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn in autumnal colours. A friend just had a holiday south of the border and she asked me if there was anything I’d like from Hobby Lobby or Joann’s and I suggested this yarn. I’ve heard it mentioned a lot online. It feels pretty nice and I can make something 70s inspired or some fall decor maybe.

My Wool Warehouse order is on its way which is very exciting. When it arrives I’ll be able to put together this year’s Advent collection for myself.