Category Archives: crochet

FO: mug cosy

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This is my first FO of 2018. A very quick and easy cosy to prettify a dollar store mug, which has already been packed into a gift bag with some boxes of tea for a friend.

I used Loops & Threads Facets in Capri Blue, double stranded, with a 10mm hook.  Such a pretty yarn but barely spun at all, so it doesn’t take rough handling. The big button was in my stash. Instead of just the basic circle, which wraps around the outside of the mug, I added a base to it too.

And while looking for a mug, I happened to come across these mini skeins of cotton yarn and, well, they jumped into my hand and begged to come home with me. Each tiny skein is 10 grams. So cute! The yarn looks OK. There were acrylic minis too, but I thought I’d stick with the cotton.

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Apart from mug and yarn shopping, I had a visit with my ear doctor today. Three years ago he performed a stapedotomy on my left ear, which entails opening the ear drum, drilling out the calcification around the bones inside my ear (due to otosclerosis) and replacing the stapes with a teeny tiny titanium prosthesis. As the hearing in my right ear has got progressively worse, I’ve decided it’s time to schedule another surgery. It won’t be until the second half of the year sometime, but as the wheels of the medical system often grind slowly, it’s worth starting the ball rolling early. Hmmm, I think I’m mixing my  metaphors.

My current Netflix obsession is Rectify, which I am going to continue watching as soon as this blog post is done. Do you watch shows while knitting or crocheting? If so, what do you like to watch?

 

 

Flashin’ the stash

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Well, it’s that time again. The calendar is showing us a new year and a new thread has opened up on Ravelry called Flash your Stash 2018.

I’ve done this before and it’s rather fun, and interesting too, because you get to see what’s been lurking in cubbies and bags and boxes for a while and you can make sure that everything is photographed and listed on your Ravelry stash page.

I have a relatively small stash compared to many yarn collectors…erm, I mean knitters and crocheters on Ravelry. Some have entire rooms dedicated to yarn and their photos look like actual stores.

However much one has, I think it’s important to keep it organized and bug-free and current. (I find it’s also good not to have it get out of control, because then I feel pressured by it. Your mileage, as they say, may vary.) This time around I have decided to give away a couple more things that I don’t love.

Here are some photos…

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These two pictures show the entire stash. The yarn above the gap in the first photo is acrylic, mostly worsted and bulky, except for a few DK cakes. The yarn below the gap is plant fibres like hemp, cotton and linen. The second photo is all my solid DK, organised by colour, which is a mix of Stylecraft Special, Deramores Studio and Carolina. The squares were going to be an afghan, but I changed my mind on that so they are waiting for inspiration to strike.

More shots of groupings, e.g. plant fibres, Stylecraft Special Aran, Loops & Threads Impeccable, cakes, worsted and bulky. The navy blue balls in a clear plastic bag are Willow Yarns Wash Bulky from a frogged sweater. Those have probably been in the stash the longest.  Click on the thumbnails to embiggen.

 

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And my WIPs, which are possibly not going to continue to fruition. The four-strands-of-aran-weight-yarn sweater which I was so excited to start on 15mm needles is looking a little messy. The knitting is sloppy and the gauge, while close to that asked for in the pattern, is looser than I’d like. I can foresee this being a sweater that loses its shape quickly, stretches out, and ends up in the closet. So I may try a smaller needle with three or four strands instead and see if I like the fabric, then make a sweater based on my personal gauge.

I’m typing the draft of this at the gym while on a stationary bike. It’s a great way to pass the time. Better than staring at the wall anyway. Tai Chi Man and I were joking that we’d probably see an influx of people after January 1st because, you know, New Year’s Resolutions. I like the upstairs ladies-only part of the gym when I’m alone. If we both go, then we use the co-ed part downstairs.

I probably should get off here and do some weights so I’ll upload the photos to this post later.

Three hours pass...

OK, now adding photos and editing my typos. Dinner is done and it’s couch time. The yarn has been taken back to my craft room, though not put away properly yet. Now that my stash is officially flashed, both here and on Ravelry, I should spend a little time putting it all away neatly. Unlike many of the flashers, who say they have too much and want to go on a yarn diet, I am happy to look out for yarn for sweaters this year. Sweater quantities, in other words enough of one yarn or colour to make a whole sweater, are something my stash lacks. And now that I’ve made something for just about everyone I know, it’s time to be a little selfish and make some garments for myself this year.

Do you flash your stash? Do you even have a stash? Let me know in the comments 🙂

 

2017 project review

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2017 project review

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Hi all and Happy New Year. It’s getting to the end of the first day of 2018 and I’m ready for bed (and it’s only 9pm). Last night we didn’t do anything special to see in the new year (as usual). Tai Chi Man was in bed early (as usual). I stayed up and binge-watched season one of a series on Netflix called Rectify. I found it strangely compelling.

So what I’m saying is that I did stay up past midnight, but not because it was New Year’s Eve!

The trouble with watching too much TV is that your brain is hopped up on electronic vibes and when you do go to bed, overtired, you can’t get to sleep easily. Still, I just lay there knowing that I would eventually get to sleep, and I did. But of course I woke up at the usual time so didn’t get enough rest, and I’m feeling it now.

I just did a quick review of the projects I have knitted and crocheted in 2017. This is why I love Ravelry. I can quickly scroll through  my project page, noting down what I made (of course if I had remembered to tag each project with the year, I could have done it even more quickly).

My favourite projects of the year would be the Spill Shawl, Anouska’s bag (the camper van one) and the Hungry Caterpillar baby blanket and cocoon. (All links to my Ravelry notebook.) I picked the shawl because the yarn worked perfectly with the design, and it’s in my favourite colours, the bag because I designed it and my niece loved it, and the baby blanket because it was a labour of love and the new parents loved it. And they’re all cute!!!

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So, what did I make last year.

9 scarves/cowls, 2 baby blankets, 2 loveys, 1 pair of baby booties, 1 baby cocoon, 31 hats, 4 squares/coasters, 7 bags/cosies, 8 dishcloths, 3 baby sweaters, 1 poncho, 1 twiddle muff, 2 towel loops, 1 tank top, 1 baby dress, 6 rugs/cat mats, 2 shawls, 1 wreath (sunflower, pumpkins, leaves), 1 basket, 3 pairs of mittens, 1 pair of slippers

That makes a grand total of 88 items, counting the bits for the wreath as only one. Not bad at all.

However, there is an absence of larger projects. No big throws or blankets (I do already have a good pile of those so didn’t really NEED another one) and no adult sweaters or other garments, except for the linen tank top. So what I’m thinking for this year is that maybe I’d like to make a goal (NOT a resolution, of course, because I don’t make those) of knitting or crocheting a sweater a month. Doable? Maybe. FullSizeRender (1)

As for WIPs, I still have a couple of those and I’m not sure whether or not they will be finished. And I have some squares that I made for a blanket out of DK yarn (pictured above) that were joined together, but I decided I didn’t like how it was turning out so I took them apart. The ends were woven in on the squares so I didn’t frog them but will have to find a use for them later on.

I see a new thread was started on the Ravelry forums today – Flash your Stash 2018 – and I may well do that one of these days. My stash is quite manageable at the moment as I used some up or gave some away, so it wouldn’t be a huge task to pull it out and photograph it. I had culled the vintage stuff out and just kept the ‘nice’ stuff, but of course this then seemed to create a vacuum into which more yarn arrived. A co-worker gave me a bag of her unwanted acrylic. I kept it, though, as much of it is black and can be used in future scrap blankets or whatever.

So what else? I’ve already mentioned my thought of making a sweater a month. Another monthly goal that would be awesome to follow through on would be to sew myself a garment. I would add unique items to my wardrobe while getting more proficient at making things that I can wear in public. (I still want to make the sweater pictured below, it would be a quick knit, achievable in a month, but I STILL haven’t found the right yarn for the job!)

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Weekly goals are simple. Continue hosting my Hygge group on Monday nights, keep in touch with friends, and call my mum. Daily goals include doing something active (gym, walking, yoga, work) and being grateful for everything. I shall have to write these out and put them on the wall somewhere so I see them every day.

Now it’s time to love you and leave you, as they say, and I will talk to you again soon. Happy crafting.

 

Where did December go?

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Last time I blogged, it was early December and I was about to go on holiday to Maui with Tai Chi Man to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. Well, it was lovely. The weather was warm and mostly sunny and we swam in the ocean every day but one. There were some showers and for a couple of days it was very windy. We were in Kihei on the west coast which is fairly well sheltered from the prevailing winds, and dryer than other areas of the island. The beaches are gorgeous, the sand is soft, and the water was warm but refreshing.

The main highlight would have to be the helicopter flight around the island, which included going over 10,000 feet up to circle the crater at the top of the extinct volcano, Haleakala, Maui’s highest point. Beats driving for hours! And we saw a lot of scenery and waterfalls that we wouldn’t have been able to see from the road to Hana.

We had a condo, so were able to make our own meals (important when you don’t eat the Standard American Diet) and a rental car (Ford Escape), and found some nice places, like the Maui Quilt Shop, Down to Earth vegetarian health food store, and the banyan tree park at Lahaina. We went underwater in a submarine to see fish and sharks, but the only turtle we came across was a lone guy in the middle of the bay on our last day. Tai Chi Man is braver than I, and was swimming out beyond the breakers, and got a close-up look at a turtle. That made his day. I was floating around in the surf, so I didn’t see it (and to be honest am somewhat phobic about being in the water with seaweed or sea creatures so it’s probably just as well. Though I should say there was no seaweed as far as I could tell.)

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So what else is new? The gym has been neglected for a couple of weeks. We did go the day after we got home from vacation, but then we had work, and Christmas shopping, and then I had to bake fruit cake ‘n stuff, and before I knew it Christmas Eve had arrived. We had a simple dinner followed by our gift-giving spree, which was very abundant this year.

I had suggested that we all make a wish list this year and actually make an effort to give each other a gift. Not just parents giving stuff to sons, but each of us giving something to the other four. I sewed flannelette stockings with white fleece cuffs and bought applique letters to put on each one. We never did get around to buying hangers for them so they were put under the tree, and they got so full that the gifts were piled up under the tree. I found myself getting quite excited about Christmas!

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I was happy to receive some of the things on my wishlist, such as weight training gloves, the How Not to Die Cookbook, and lots of chocolate! And some things that weren’t on my wishlist too. However there was no yarn in there, nor any gift cards for yarn, so I am feeling like treating myself. I do, after all, have some Christmas money from my mum to add to the running balance in my birthday fund.

I was looking through an old magazine in my sewing room and I really like this sweater (photo on left). It’s a simple rib pattern worked with four strands of aran weight yarn. Should be simple to find yarn for it, right? Not! I have spent maybe three evenings so far looking at different yarn websites and all sorts of yarn, trying to find just the right one. Ideally it needs to be a heavy worsted that knits up at 16 sts/4 inches, and I will need to buy a circ or pair of needle tips that are a US19/15mm.

I like the heathered or tweedy greys but the best yarn for weight, yardage and price so far doesn’t have that option, so I may have to go for off-white or some other colour. I haven’t given up yet.

I didn’t pick up needles or hook for a week after my holiday. This usually happens because I’m feeling some kind of dissatisfaction with my current project(s). These are my WIPs:

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Lanesplitter skirt out of Bernat Pop. Having second thoughts and now wishing I’d striped it with black. I have a ton of Stylecraft Special Aran in black.

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Ripple scarf out of Cascade Sunseeker. Seemed appropriate for holiday crochet. Actually made very little progress while away. Nice cotton/acrylic with a touch of metallic, but cutting yarn every two rows is annoying and I don’t know if I have the perseverance required to finish a whole scarf.

Dishcloth in Bernat Handicrafter. Found it on clearance at Michaels, bought four balls in bright colours. This will at least get finished.

Gee, not much of excitement in the yarny department, is there!

So, work has been quiet, I have been eating too much (well, it’s Christmas and I do love my fruit cake) and the world outside my window is buried in snow. The day we came back from Maui we had the joy of horizontal snow and freezing temperatures, and it’s been mostly below freezing since. Then we had a bunch more snow so we have powder on top of ice. Sure makes for interesting times. Haven’t been out walking because it’s so slippery, and driving even the short commute to work and back was quite tense. We could have gone to the gym tonight but even Tai Chi Man, who is a confident and able driver, decided that once he was home from work he wasn’t going back out again.

I think we are all up to date. I hope you had a wonderful December, with lots of light and enjoyable festivities to brighten this darkest time of the year, and that 2018 brings you everything you wish for and more. Happy New Year!

 

WIP update

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WIP update

Hi all, how’s it going? It’s another wet grey day here but that doesn’t get me down. I love every season and long dark evenings are just more of an excuse to knit and crochet!

I’ll be heading out shortly for a gym class but I thought I’d update the blog before I went. The Pebble Beach Baktus shawlette is done, done, DONE! It took about a month but only because I was distracting myself with other projects at the same time. It’s currently sitting on the blocking mats. I steamed the lace edging without too much stretching, just to minimise the curl. Still haven’t decided whether to keep this one or give it away. Maybe I will tuck it away with a couple of other FOs I have, just in case I find a worthy recipient.

I have started a new project, a knitted hat, at the request of a co-worker. She has been asked for a messy bun hat by a family member and doesn’t know where to buy one, so commissioned me to make one. She bought the yarn and is paying me a little, and I cast on last night.

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This yarn is Dynasty Cake Twist, a Caron Cakes knockoff that is our in-store brand at Fabricland. Same fibre content as the Caron too, 80% acrylic and 20% wool. I found this Eyelet Messy Bun pattern on Ravelry last night. It’s easy, with a bit of interest added with the eyelet bands. I cast on fewer stitches as I didn’t do a gauge swatch (gasp!) and thought I might knit more loosely than the pattern gauge suggested.

So far, so good!

Also, an FO!

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A retirement gift for a co-worker – the pattern is Slipper Boots which I made for myself last year with two strands of teal. This time I used the same yarn (Red Heart with Love), doubled, one strand of black and one of Blue Hawaii. She seemed to like them so hopefully they will get some wear.

Well, must dash. Have a great day!

FOs: Elephant lovey and Glamour Gloves

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Hello bloggy friends. Are you loving the fall weather, the colours, the coolness in the air, even rain? I am. What a balm to the soul after the heat and smoke of the summer.

I love sorting out my closet, thrifting a few things that I no longer wear, putting the summer clothes on the top shelf and bringing down the knits. The polar fleece PJs. The shawls. Aaah!

It’s getting dark around 6 now and there’s nothing I like better than putting on my PJs for the evening after a day at work. Pop out the contact lenses, get the bra off, and let it all relax, eh! Sorry, too much information?

Another two small projects were finished this week. My boss asked me to make this little lovey for a diaper bag-type display at work. We have a talented arty girl on staff who’s great at making stuff look appealing, so to add to this bag of goodies I crocheted up this quick project out of a DMC Top This kit.

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It’s just a granny square with the elephant head in the centre, made with the yarn that’s actually intended to be a hat.

I also finished these Glamour Gloves.  (Apologies for the nighttime shot.)

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These are cute, easy and quick to make. They are just tubes, no thumbhole or anything. I made them with Stylecraft Special Aran in Lipstick as they were for a coworker who just sewed herself a beautiful red coat. She loved them, as did the two ladies who received the Warm Willies mitts and blue hat in my last post. I also gave the Bernat Pop cowl to my boss, so that means that every staff member (plus a couple who have left now) have received a small crocheted gift from me in the last couple of years. Perhaps 22 people.

But oh, the angst last night, while I tried to come up with just the right project to make next. I feel like knitting something, perhaps with another cake of Lion Brand Mandala, but could I find any inspiration?? Nope.

As I’ve just binge-watched three seasons of Game of Thrones, I thought I’d do a Ravelry search to see if that sparked something. Not really. And if it had, which House would I pick? Stark? Targaryen? Or would I just go with, “Winter is Coming.” But really, Winter is Here in Season 7. I’ll say no more than that for fear of spoilers.

Wishing you all a happy crafty week. Take care.

 

 

 

 

 

FOs: Warm Willies and another hat

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Did that heading get your attention? 😉 The Warm Willies to which I am referring is actually a crochet pattern for fingerless mitts. Here’s a Ravelry link, because the pattern is a free Ravelry download. I love that I can look back five years ago and see my project page for the first pair I made of these mitts. This time I made the small size, and left off the button tab on the back of the hand.

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I also got the stitch pattern correct and it looks sort of like a seed stitch. Nice!

I left these in a co-worker’s basket when I was at work on Monday. She will find them when she gets back from her holiday and hopefully like them.

Monday night I was sans project and my friend came over for tea and yarny pursuits. So I quickly grabbed some old James C Brett Marble Chunky and a 6mm hook and started on a hat. I finished it today. It’s based on my Crochet Adjustable Hat pattern (recipe, really), with the crown increased to about 6.75 inches for a finished circumference of 22 inches and a depth of 8 inches. The good thing about the button tab is that the brim can be tightened by rebuttoning the tab further over.

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It’s nice to use some of the buttons I bought when they were discontinued at work.

We had a crazy strong windstorm yesterday. I was driving all over the place yesterday – first to buy some fabric to make a top, then to a class on the other side of the lake, then back to this side of the lake and further yet to a sewing class at my friend’s house, then the gym for an orientation and fitness assessment with Tai Chi Man, followed by a yoga class. There was dust and leaves and garbage cans flying all over the place and even some construction fencing was down and lying in the road in one place. I’m sure a number of trees probably came down but I haven’t checked local news sites. (We did have a couple of mini power outages.)

As for the sewing, it’s exciting, because my friend is helping me to make a top out of a rayon/spandex knit, and I am getting a lot of tips on how to sew with knits and finding out the joys of a serger. Oooh! I shall have to show you when it’s done. I spent two hours at her place yesterday and we made great progress. I go back next week for another two hours, in which I expect to finish that top and start another project.

It’s almost time to start dinner. Happy Hooking on Hump Day, folks, and talk to you again soon.

 

Catching up

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Catching up

Hello bloggy friends

I hope you had a wonderful week and that your weekend will be full of fun things. I have a few things to show you because it’s been over a week since my last post.

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The crazy C2C laptop bag is all done, buttons ‘n all.

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My fall wreath is adorning my kitchen wall, completed with pumpkins, sunflower and various leaves. Four of the leaves were made with random patterns available on Ravelry, though I didn’t note down which ones, and the rest I just made up as I went along.

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I had a nice surprise in the yarn aisle at Wal-mart t’other day. I don’t often see much worth buying there, but they actually had a bunch of cakes of Bernat Pop! in various colourways. This time, I narrowed down the colours and bought two of each, thinking it might be good if I wanted to make a pair of something.

These are Foggy Notion, Birch Bark and Blue, and Full Spectrum, going from left to right. One of the Foggy Notions has already been converted into an infinity scarf using this pattern. An easy two row pattern, it used one whole cake of the Pop!

It’s not the softest acrylic out there so I intend to give this a machine wash and dry before giving it away.

I have been a good girl, going to the gym regularly since I joined at the beginning of September. On my days off, my plan is to go and work out with the treadmill/weights, and also to attend yoga and Zumba classes when I can. I have yet to try a Spin class. There is one tomorrow morning at 7, before the yoga. Not sure if I will do that one or not, yet, as I have to work afterwards. If Tai Chi Man is up for it, I will do it!

I spent a pleasant afternoon at my friend’s today, catching up on the last three episodes of Outlander. Awesome!

Happy crafting!

 

 

Wednesday WIP and Wonderful Walks

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Those few days whizzed by, didn’t they! I blogged on Saturday and now it’s Wednesday.

To finish off my report of the weekend away, Sunday was a pleasant day, and I spent two hours in the morning walking along a nature trail beside the lake/wetlands/nature reserve. I took a sweater, a rain jacket, a bottle of kombucha and a sandwich, but I could have left it all behind. But you know how it is. I didn’t know how long I’d be out for, whether the sun would shine or if it would cloud up and rain on me, and I do like to be prepared.

It’s a very beautiful place.

And so much greener than the valley where I live.

So, I showed you my shawl and my sunflower. Well after this walk on Sunday I spent literally hours crocheting and started a bag for my laptop. I have been meaning to do this ever since I bought the laptop, which is I think a couple of years ago now. I had all my Stylecraft Special Aran with me, and all my hooks, and I decided to use the C2C technique. It’s a great choice, being fairly dense and thick with the aran weight yarn, so will protect my laptop on the odd occasion when it leaves the house.

The colours go dark/medium/light across the work, with three rows of each colour.

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After finishing a rectangle that would wrap around my laptop, with a bit extra for a buttoned flap, I single crocheted all around it in navy, then folded it and single crocheted the sides together.

Pretty wild, huh!

It just needs buttons and of course even though I have a button stash I couldn’t find a combination I was happy with, so I have picked out some discontinued buttons from a basket at work and will bring them home tomorrow.

I also made this peace square.

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That link will take you to Ravelry. The pattern page has a further link to a video tutorial which I followed without even looking at the written pattern. It’s very thorough which is good, because you’ll probably have to do what I did and replay bits of round 2 because there’s a lot of messing about with crocheting in the back and front loops of stitches, plus the colour changes. Once that’s out of the way though it’s all quite simple.

One thing I dislike is on the vertical upper part of the lavender peace sign in my square you can see little dots of blue encroaching on the lavender. That’s because, while I changed colour to slipstitch for the end of the round, it would have been better to finish the previous stitch with the lavender and then slipstitch. I’ll know what to do if I make any more.

Monday evening was my Hygge group which this time was a happy group of five. There was much laughter, knitting and tea drinking.

And Tuesday was a day off too, so I made the most of the beautiful day by walking for a an hour on a nature trail alongside a creek followed by going out for tea and a vegan cookie with a friend. Today was a work day, as is tomorrow.

Enough chat. The day is winding down and if I want to get some crochet done I should revisit those Ravelry links I was researching this morning for leaves to add to my fall wreath. Talk to you later!

 

A weekend retreat

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Tai Chi Man and I are away for the weekend, leaving the three young men at home to eat, sleep and play unhindered! They are all adults now and can fend for themselves. Husband has classes, so I’m seeing him for short bursts of time in between. When I am alone, I am bingeing on Netflix (latest TV series watched is The Five), crocheting, computering, and this morning I hit the gym and the pool right here in the hotel. Gosh, it’s a tough life! I’ve also been out for a few short walks.

The view from our hotel room is very lovely and very changeable. The weather yesterday was low 20s (Celsius) and sunny, today it’s low teens and showery.

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That last one is today’s. Please excuse the dirty window. Nothing I can do about that!

I’m pleased to have a Ta Dah moment for the Spill Shawl. It’s not blocked, as I just finished it last night. I did try taking photos at the time, but a dimly lit hotel room is definitely not the ideal location so I took it out with me this afternoon. I found a nice stretch of beach to walk along and an interesting bit of fallen tree to drape the shawl on.

The last couple of rows are not the Lion Brand Mandala yarn, they are Deramores Studio DK in Jade. It was big enough by the end of the skein (and 67 rows) to call it quits but I thought a brighter/darker colour than the grey would finish it off better.

The other FO I have to show you is one I started and finished this morning, while drinking tea after my workout.

The pattern is from the book in the photos. It’s a sunflower to add to the pumpkin wreath in my kitchen. I used Stylecraft Special Aran in copper for the centre and lemon for the petals. It’s got great texture from all the popcorns.

I had checked Google Maps for getting a bead on the area and how to get to where I needed, but after the beach my aim was to find the large supermarket beside the Trans Canada highway. I did find it, just by a somewhat roundabout route. We have a small two-burner stovetop in our hotel room, and yesterday I threw together a very simple dinner from a can of kidney beans, a can of tomatoes, part of a bag of frozen vegetables, some salt and some chipotle flakes. OMG, I love chipotle. Smoked jalapeno, for those who don’t know, and I have the powder at home but forgot to bring any condiments or seasonings with me. So when I found the jar of flakes at the supermarket yesterday I just had to buy it.

Tonight I think we’ll have avocado and tomato on toast, and tomorrow night it’ll be pasta with olives, artichokes, tomatoes, peppers – and maybe some more of those chipotle flakes!

Brrr! I actually had to put a sweater on.

Hope your weekend is awesome. Bye for now!