Category Archives: books

Staycation – days 4 – 7

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Day 4 was a long day, mostly at home. There was library book reading, sewing and Ravellenics project planning.

I finally decided on a crochet project for the Ravellenic Games (on Ravelry, to coincide with the Olympics). I went for a bag pattern I’ve made before. It’s called the Feelin’ Groovy Drawstring Purse. It’s a paid pattern now but years ago I was one of the testers for the designer so I got it free.

I’m using Lion Brand Mandala in Chimera from the stash. I had to wait to actually start the project because the Games hadn’t started yet.

My exercise class on Thursday was Strength and Lengthen at the gym with Mr Fixit. That was a good class. The teacher was nice, which makes a huge difference.

Day 5, Friday, was an early spin class. I sweated a lot and had very sore quads afterwards. Once that was out of the way, I could get going on the crochet.

I decided I needed to make the base bigger and do six squares instead of five because the bag would have been too small. So I’ll be adapting this a bit as I go.

The sashiko on my tote bag pieces was done, so I made up the bag with a white linen lining and vinyl handles.

My muscles were glad to have a rest day on Day 6, Saturday. I cooked in the morning and we had lunch and games at our friend’s house. That took up the whole afternoon.

I finally finished Troubled Blood, the fifth Cormoran Strike novel, the one that weighs over 4lbs!

I also made more progress on the bag.

Six squares all joined up and the base circle complete.

My Little Drop of Wonderful wanted to be in my photos today, inspired by the fun photos of Ravellenic mascots in the Colourful CALs group on Ravelry.

She also came out with us today to our favourite tea shop and Costco.

I think I will name her Sparklii.

Day 7 isn’t over yet but the plan is to go to the gym for a weights workout later. And tomorrow I’ll be back at work.

Staycation!

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Before inventory at work, I booked a week off. I knew it’d be something to look forward to, after the extra shifts and overtime, and now I’m appreciating my good planning.

Day 1: I looked at the week ahead and booked myself into some gym classes. Monday, I just did a regular self-directed workout, with some treadmill time and some weights machines.

I did laundry, cleaned up the kitchen and mopped the floor, and then treated myself to a few blissful hours in my sewing room.

This is another boro/sashiko project, probably a bag, but this time I’m covering the whole surface with stitching. I’m not rushing it, just stitching away while playing YouTube videos or Netflix, and it’s very relaxing.

The weather has been in the 30s every day, and even in the basement it’s been uncomfortably warm. Add to that the hot flashes that I’m getting every day now and sometimes I’m mopping my face as my glasses slide down my nose.

I’ve been reading a series of novels by Robert Galbraith (aka J K Rowling) which are detective novels. I read the fourth one in the series first, because I picked it up at the library not realising it was part of a series. And I only realised that J K Rowling was the author once I’d finished it. So I requested the rest of the books from the library and quickly devoured the first three.

The book above is the fifth one. Admittedly it’s a large print version, but still, it’s huge compared to the others. If you’re interested, the first book is called The Cuckoo’s Calling.

What do you think of this adorable pincushion? One of my co-workers left this week, and I gave her one of the bags I’ve made as a leaving gift. She gave me this with a lovely note.

I’ve been eating quite a few apricots this week. Our tree produced a fair few this year, and even though some fell on the ground before I could get to then and others were occupied by earwigs, I still got to enjoy those little packages of edible sunshine.

Our valley has been hit by smoke again this summer from the numerous wildfires around the province but I am grateful that we are only breathing smoke and not having to deal directly with fires in my neighbourhood.

Take care, everyone.

Joy!

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Joy!

Hello all. I hope you’re enjoying a relaxing weekend doing the things you love.

It’s my turn for a weekend off and Mr Fixit and I have had a good day so far. Just errands around town and grabbing some awesome tea from our favourite place, but so much nicer than being at work!

My featured photo today (above) is the view from my kitchen early yesterday morning. It looked like the trees were on fire! And today when I opened my curtains, I had a treat. Two deer were standing on the vegetable garden, barely moving, looking watchful and alert (probably because of the dog in the neighbour’s yard). I quickly grabbed my phone. They hung around for some time, then bounded effortlessly over the fence and went on their way.

I am always honoured to have a visit from them. I hope they know that they are safe on my property.

Onto yarny pursuits, and I finished some fingerless mitts for Mr Fixit. I used the Cygnet Chunky again. They only took two evenings. Once I had finished the first one, he did say he would have liked longer cuffs like his old pair, but I’m afraid I’m a bad wifey and told him I don’t have much patience for things made in pairs any more and I just wanted them done fast!

I used the basic mitten pattern from Ann Budd’s book, The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns.

Once those were done, I started a new crochet project. A co-worker is scheduled for major back surgery in February and I wanted to make her something. After a browse around Ravelry I decided on the Wishing Well Wrap (link to pattern on her blog here) (link to my project page on Ravelry here)

I’m using Lion Brand Mandala Baby in Echo Caves which is a tasteful combination of blues, greens and cream. It’ll probably take two cakes, though I have five in stash, so could make it bigger if I have time. It’s an easy two-row pattern. Perfectly good for working on while watching The Crown on Netflix!!

Anyone who loves books will appreciate this stack that I brought home from the library today. A few of them were ones I had requested – the rest were ones I found that caught my eye. Three novels, some knitting and other crafts, and a lot of quilt and applique books.

Twenty three to be exact (the maximum number we can borrow at once is 100, and yes, when the boys were small we did manage to hit that amount sometimes). What a warm fuzzy feeling, to be home on the couch on a winter’s afternoon, with yarn to hand, and a pile of books to enjoy, while it’s getting dark outside. Joy!!

What am I making/reading?

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My current reading is this. As a white woman, I figured that I had a lot to learn about systemic racism, so here I am, getting some education. I have other books on hold at the library but I am in longer queues for those.

And this is what I’m making. This is going to use up almost all of what I have left of the Scheepjes Stonewashed and Riverwashed XL mini skeins. It’s just a really simple bag that’s going to end up about 9″ square, in single crochet, and I’ve just switched from in-the-round to working flat for the flap. Not far to go now.

I will be adding a strap, which may well be fabric with swivel hooks attached, and the bits that hold the D rings on may also be the same fabric. This has been a great mindless project for this week, where I can just crochet around and around and enjoy the colours, because I’ve been tired out from all the extra hours at work. Three of my workdays have been 11 hours or more, thanks to inventory time. I have Saturday off, and then Sunday is another major day where we count all the packaged notions and estimate the yardage (meterage?) on the cut notions – basically anything that we haven’t already weighed on bolts this week gets logged on Sunday.

I’m thankful this only happens once a year. We even got audited this year but after a few hours at the store the auditor left happy, our supervisor left happy, and we now have the fun job of putting all the fabric upright and draped again, so customers can actually see it properly.

What are you making/reading at the moment?

Ahimsa

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I am very excited to say that my sister is now a published author!

Her book is called Ahimsa and her pen name is Caroline Earle. This is the Amazon Canada link to her book (paperback or ebook) though it is available in the UK and presumably in the US too.

Ahimsa: Respect for all living things and avoidance of violence towards others.
 
On a 32,000 km journey through six Asian countries over six months, Caroline, a journalist, and her husband become increasingly aware of animal welfare, poverty and what we are doing to the planet. They had no idea when they set off that they were going to end up vegan. Ahimsa is the story of their journey, meeting colourful characters and exploring many philosophical themes along the way. It is topical and questioning, in parts funny, sad and increasingly angry. It is an uplifting, thought-provoking account of the route to compassion, not least through the simple act of cuddling a cow in India.
 
Ahimsa by Caroline Earle, published by Grosvenor House Publishing, is available now on Amazon as a paperback and on Kindle and other ebook formats.
Caroline had told me that she was vegetarian before she went on her big trip. Even that step surprised me. I became vegetarian in about 1986, and then vegan a couple of years after that. I never thought I would see the day that she would give up meat, and she didn’t even tell me straight away. And now that she is vegan…I cannot describe the joy I feel at this fact.
She spent time in the Animal Aid sanctuary in India where she really connected profoundly with animals. Not just dogs, but cows and goats. She looked into their eyes, she comforted them when they were in pain or dying, and she saw sentient beings that deserve to live their lives without being enslaved or abused or slaughtered for meat.
A few years ago, she was on holiday on India with her husband and their blended family (four adult children and a daughter-in-law) and they rode on elephants. Now, they know better. They understand that those elephants went through enormous amounts of abuse to get them trained for tourists to ride them. And not only that, but it is tremendously disrespectful of us to think that it is appropriate to ride them.
The book is interesting not just from the change of heart she had around eating and relating to animals but also from a travel perspective and stories of her family and dog, Zippy.
I hope you get to read this book. It’s worth it!

Healing in progress

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First attempt at left-handed crochet!

First attempt at left-handed knitting!

A nice stack of reading

This is a quickie post as I have to type with one hand, which is a little easier on the iPad, partly because the letters are closer together and partly because of auto-correct.
Last night, a friend picked me up for our new book group at a coffee shop, so that worked out well. And today I walked to the store where I work to say Hi to everyone and get some exercise and fresh air too.

My attempts at knitting and crocheting were quite successful, if slow, but also painful. It’s too soon, and I think I shall wait until after my orthopaedic appointment next Tuesday before trying again.

WIP: March sweater Day 2

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Well hello there, I’m back with more news of the March sweater.

Yesterday was a heavy crochet day – I spent a LOT of time on the couch and almost finished the back. I did go for a walk in the evening with Tai Chi Man to get some fresh air and some blood flowing through the veins, though.

The back was kinda boring, being all black, and it was nice to start on the coloured stripes for the right front today (after my 8am yoga class).

My first Ravelry project page update, earlier today, showed that I had done five blue stripes and was just starting on the green part of the yarn cake. In order to keep the coloured sc rows fairly visible, I’m crocheting the black rows in the front loop only. This leaves a little extra colour visible on the right side.

I’m also “cheating” with the colour. The blue did five rows and I made sure that the green would arrive on the sixth. So when I’d done five green rows I cut some out so that the acid yellow would appear on the next one. I want to make sure that all five colours in the cake appear across the front of the sweater (which is actually going to be a sleeveless vest with a wrap front).

Tricky to photograph black, especially when there are other colours involved in part of the shot. Of course I’m only using an old iPad Mini, so I guess I can’t expect too much. (And those ends! Lots of weaving in to do later.)

So that’s it for today. I’ve put down my hook for the night, even though it’s only 9.20pm. I’d rather go and get into my PJs and read in bed for a while because I’ve realised that staying up late is not serving me well. Thankfully I’ve finished all seasons of Mr Selfridge now, and am reluctant to start another series. It’s just too easy to binge watch episode after episode.

So apart from crochet, this week’s entertainment is finishing A Dog’s Purpose (yes, the book that the film was based on, though I haven’t seen the film) and starting on the third book in the Poldark series, Warleggan.

I gave a work shift away to a co-worker whose schedule was messed up so the coming week has me doing two shifts instead of three, which means…you guessed it…more crochet time! I estimate the March sweater will take no more than a week in all and then I can decide what to knit for April! Oh yes, and the Ravelry Ravellenic Games start on February 9th, and I am entering the toy event, so I need to do a bit of preparation for that before next Friday.

It’s all go, you know. 🙂

Almost finished!

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We are at the 22nd of January already, and my January sweater deadline is fast approaching, but I’m going to make it!

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Since my last update, I have finished the yoke (inserting two more short rows near the back of the neck), knitted a ribbed turtleneck (adding stitches for the foldover part to accommodate the bulk and not be too tight), grafted the underarm stitches and started on the cuff hem lining.

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The colour of the lining was dictated by the fullest ball of Stylecraft Special Aran that I had, plus I wanted it to be bright to give the grey sweater a lift. Using two strands of Pomegranate and a US10.5 needle, I picked up stitches on the inner edge of the cuff. Obviously I had to increase, because the gauge is very different from the main part of the sweater, so I made an educated guess and did a Make One after each two stitches picked up. And it worked!

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I still haven’t fastened anything off or woven any ends in. I’ll do that after the second cuff and the bottom hem are done, but before washing and drying.

My Hygge friends are coming over tonight so I will get more knitting time in then. So far today I’ve done some housework and started a new batch of kombucha. I had a brainwave, and realised how much easier my Mondays are if I don’t have to work. I can get the house tidied up, and dinner made and eaten, well before my friends come at 7.30pm. Not so easy if you have to work until 6 or 6.15. So I have changed my scheduling preferences at work to say I am unavailable on Mondays.

I picked up my latest hold at the library this week – Jeremy Poldark, book 3 in the Poldark series – and it’s not a huge tome so I immediately reserved book 4, Warleggan, so I can get that one soon. I also found these…

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I don’t know whether I’ll make any of the projects, but the Arne and Carlos book is just a feast of eye candy! Beautiful colours of yarn and flowers and blankets and toys and the best doll’s house ever. Worth borrowing from the library for sure.

It’s a beautiful day out there, cold and windy of course, but the sun is streaming in. Hmmm, I should probably fit a neighbourhood walk into my afternoon. And while I’m out, I’ll annoy the boys and open some windows perhaps! It helps to keep the humidity down indoors. We had quite a problem with condensation last winter, with the new less-draughty windows.

Better get on then. Hope you have a great day!

 

WIP: January sweater

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I cast on this sweater on January 7th. I think I have knitted on it every day except one. Sometimes when I’ve been at work all day, I am a Netflix zombie in the evening. But most days I’ve added to it, and it has grown satisfyingly quickly.

Above is the finished torso, with stitches on waste yarn awaiting the sleeves. It only took two evenings for the first sleeve. The other one was finished tonight while I enjoyed the company of my friends at our Hygge gathering at my house. It was perfectly timed as I was on the straight stretch at the top of the sleeve while they were here and didn’t have to concentrate on any more shaping.

Once they had left, I united body and sleeves, leaving four stitches on waste yarn on each piece at the underarms, and knitted four rounds without any decreasing. And that’s where I’m stopping for the night.

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The hem of the sweater is very curly but I intend to knit hems in a different colour and weight of yarn, à la Elizabeth Zimmermann, once the rest of the sweater is done.

I have to confess that my gauge swatch was inaccurate, one reason being that I knitted it flat and now I am knitting in the round (I should have known better), and the circumference is coming out considerably smaller. However I think it will be fine. In the case of the sleeves, I was able to slip the first one on my arm to get an idea of the length and circumference I needed.

I’m really feeling the tiredness now. Just did four days of work in a row, which I was not crazy about. Thankfully I have the next couple of days off so I will be able to get to the gym and also do grocery shopping. I’ve nearly finished Book 2 in the Poldark series, “Demelza,” and need to pop over to the library website to reserve Book 3.

What are you doing to make the winter comfy and cosy?

Life update!

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Firstly, Demelza progress. These “flat flowers” feel like they’re taking ages. I’ve done seven rounds on each so far and there are still four rounds to go to square them up. There are two types of flat flower in this blanket, and I decided to concentrate my pinks and purples in this set and my blues and greens in the other set. Unless I change it up somewhere along the line.

What am I reading right now? I just finished House Rules by Jodi Picoult, a novel based around an 18 year old young man with Asperger’s whose passion is forensics. I am also reading Remember Zen by a local author (book is not to hand right now) which summarises much of the Buddhism/Taoism learning I have been doing over the last six years in a manageable paperback book. Next I will pick up The Different Drum by M Scott Peck, a book that a friend gave me for my birthday.

Netflix-watching is currently Broadchurch Season 2. I watched Season 1 yonks ago but only just realised that Season 2 is out. It’s a bit gloomy – I shall have to balance it out with some lighter entertainment. Close-ups of David Tennant’s myriad pained expressions are getting a bit much and I’ve only watched the first two episodes!

Aches and pains haven’t got any better but I have three different modalities planned for this week. A person at my chiro’s office offers something called SCENAR which involves electrical pulses that stimulate the body’s natural painkilling effects. That’s tomorrow, then Thursday morning I’ll be seeing a massage therapist, but I have a feeling from reading the info on his website that this won’t be a gentle massage with scented oils (he doesn’t use oil) but more in depth and possibly painful as he digs in and finds the knots etc.

I have a friend who also does healing for free in her home and I will see her another day, and that’ll make three healing sessions in one week. Hopefully at least one of them will make a difference so I can get back to normal….or better than normal.

I was at work today (fabric store) and was put on cutting table 2 which is in the upholstery section. You can guarantee that means lots of lifting of long rolls of fabric, in addition to which I had huge boxes of curtain rods to unpack and price. Despite the lifting and the standing/walking on a concrete floor for 6 – 8 hours, I actually feel best at work, probably because it takes my mind off my back and hip. I was at a class tonight and had to sit in a folding chair for nearly two hours and that really didn’t feel good.

Well, that’s enough from me tonight – I need sleep. Hopefully I’ll have more Demelza progress to show you soon.