Category Archives: crochet

Back from being pampered, and some FOs

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Well, what a week! Mr Fixit and I enjoyed a lovely break away from it all in rural British Columbia. We were served gourmet vegan meals three times a day, took twice-daily walks in the woods, had three spa treatments each (mine included a pedicure, a facial and an all-over seasalt scrub), sunbathed (because the weather was amazingly warm for the time of year, and windless), and took a complete break from social media. We even swam in the nearby lake, which was cold enough to make you gasp and even go a little numb when you submerged yourself.

No photos for you, I’m afraid, as I only switched on my phone or iPad to check for messages from the boys at home. But if you want to check out the place, go to silverhills.ca and you can see for yourself.

I took the Habitat Cardigan project with me (link goes to my Ravelry project page) and finished it partway through the week.

It’s soft and drapey in the Loops & Threads Serpentine/Meandering Minis. Perfect for this time of year.

The construction is easy – just a rectangle, to which you add an extension to make it cover your bum and then a collar and cuffs. Pattern is by Jess at Make & Do Crew.

With that finished, I picked up a skein of the other yarn I took with me on my retreat, Berroco Espresso, which is a chainette yarn in acrylic/cotton. I whipped out a quick basket with an 8mm hook in a couple of days.

I have a second skein of this yarn and am in the process of making a pumpkin with it. It should be finished quite soon.

I’m excited about my birthday present to myself. My birthday was back in August, but I waited until Labour Day as I thought that there would be no lake swimming after that (I was wrong)! Then I got the massive toothache and waited until I had that dealt with, and by the time those aches and pains had gone I was out of town. No more excuses left, I went to the piercing place today and now have a new titanium helix stud.

My plan is to wait for it to heal and then get a cuff to put in, in place of the stud. And buy three extra pairs of studs to go in the old piercings.

Gosh, look at all that natural grey/brown hair! For the first time in ages, I don’t have any colour in my hair.

The fall weather hit properly yesterday, with the temperature dropping below 20 and the rain starting. I do love this time of year, though I’m glad the rain held off until this week.

Hello September

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I’m currently enjoying a beautiful long weekend. It’s Labour Day here tomorrow and I booked four days off from work to coincide with Mr Fixit’s time off.

Thursday was an insanely busy day at work, moving tonnes of fabric around, shifting tables, reconfiguring parts of the store, and so having this weekend off feels more precious than ever. (Also I am going to a four day week instead of three soon, so definitely appreciating this leisure time.)

Friday was a restful day. I was letting my body recover from all of the strenuous activity of the day before. Saturday we enjoyed a mini road trip south, repeating one of our favourite traditions for this time of year. We stopped to pick up lunch from our friends’ food truck at a farmers market, sat in a park to eat it, continued on to a fruit stand in a little town, bought lots of peaches, plums, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, peppers and beets, then turned around and stopped for a cup of tea. Further up the valley we parked by the side of the road at a small beach and enjoyed a swim and a sunbathe.

Today we were out early again and hiked up to the top of a local mountain, which we followed up with tea and baked goods at our favourite tea shop. This afternoon, after a fruit salad made with lots of local fruit, we hit the gym.

After dinner tonight, I finished a couple of things that I started yesterday. This crochet beanie was made from a cake of Caron Cupcakes grabbed out of the stash yesterday morning to keep my hands busy while Mr Fixit drove. (I used one of my new KnitPro Waves hooks and it was very comfortable.)

And the other finished project is this bag. I have seen some people on a Ravelry sewing group making Japanese rice bags (good tutorial here). They looked pretty simple. Just four squares for the sides, another square for the base, same for the lining, and sew them together incorporating tabs or loops for a drawstring.

Of course this bag would look a lot classier with fewer fabrics but I decided to do this…

Yes, I tipped all my quilting cotton scraps onto the floor and dug down to the bottom and grabbed pieces at random to make crazy quilt blocks. So the five outer panels are all different, all clashing, and once I’d sewn them last night I started to doubt myself!! (I started with 11″ squares of sew-in fleece and pieced the fabric right onto the fleece. They needed trimming a bit afterwards so ended up 10.75″ square.)

Tonight I thought, “To heck with it, I’m going to do it anyway,” cut some squares for the lining (all different, of course) and put it all together. It’s really easy to make, the trick being that when you sew the seams you leave the last little bit unsewn so that the corners come together neatly. (Watch the video I linked above.)

Seen from another angle…

And the inside (with my hand-dyed yarn inside)…

Oh yes, I haven’t told you about the yarn yet. These were four balls of white Drops Paris (worsted weight cotton). I dyed them with turquoise and yellow, overlapping the colours in the middle to make green.

This was only my second attempt at dyeing yarn. I think I am going to take four balls at a time and use different colours and methods on each batch and see how they turn out. I have no plans for the yarn once it’s dyed.

If you live in North America, happy Labour Day! How will you be spending it?

Goodbye August

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And where DID the time go? The end of summer already.

I can feel the changes in the air – the daytime temps have still been warm, but the nights are cooler and damper. The sun is lower in the sky and the nights are drawing in. Love that “on the cusp” feeling, actually.

I have picked up the Habitat cardigan again, and am in the middle of adding the collar.

The rows are pretty long, running as they do from the bottom of one side, up and around and down to the bottom of the other side. It’s an easy stitch – half double crochet in the third loop – but the collar is a wide one so I have a lot of rows still to go.

This morning I made a pumpkin. For some reason, pumpkins are the only seasonal things I tend to make. I didn’t get a photo as I did it just before work and took it with me. It was just a circle of orange fabric, cinched up with a running stitch around the edge, stuffed, and then I added shape using embroidery floss and a button on top. I may have to make more of those!

Other things I have made this week:

Crochet hook roll

This crochet hook roll was something I wanted to make to house my new KnitPro Waves hooks. I had this cute cat and mouse fabric in the stash so used the pawprint fabric for the outside, the mice to create the secondary row of pockets, and the cat fabric for the inside. I didn’t use a tutorial directly but it was inspired by an Erica Arndt video and a Melanie Ham one. I combined features from them both.

These gnomes were made for display at work. The materials for the taller blue one were provided by the store, but I couldn’t resist making a second one. The blue one has a styrofoam cone inside, but it’s very light and tippy, whereas the red one’s base is an old sock filled with wheat so it’s much more stable. I couldn’t believe how much hot glue I used, though!

Summer Face Mask – Keiko Olssen

Then there were these masks, which were really quick and easy. What I like about this style is that the fabric design runs uninterrupted across the front. No seams or odd shapes to cut. And they have since been thoroughly tested and found to be very comfortable.

Ring pincushion – SewVeryEasy

And I spent an evening before a staff meeting sewing up 22 of these little cuties. They are teeny pincushions which fit on your finger. Everyone seemed to enjoy being able to take one home. I didn’t get a photo of the mason jar pincushion which I also made at the last minute. I put a bunch of pins inside the jar and the person who guessed closest to the right number won the jar (and the pins).

As you can see, it’s been a creative week. And I’m sure there will be lots more crafty stuff going on later this week as I have the long weekend booked off (four days in a row for Labour Day).

See you in September!

Summertime, and the living is eeeeeeeasy!

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Did you sing that title? I did!

Well, it’s been a couple of weeks and I haven’t had much to say. I did get an up to date photo of the Habitat Cardigan just now, but indoors because it’s too damned hot outside. It’s around 30 degrees Celsius in here and I have ceiling fans on, the furnace fan to circulate the air between upstairs and downstairs, and a big floor-standing fan blasting directly at me. It’s about ten degrees hotter than that outside, so the curtains are still closed.

Dinner was a simple affair – potatoes and lettuce from the garden, and some tofu “steaks” which are the simplest thing ever. Slice up extra firm tofu, marinate it in Braggs, dip it in seasoned flour, and shallow fry.

However, I digress. The cardigan…

I am at the part where I’ve finished the basic rectangle and folded it and seamed to form armholes. I’ve also started adding to the bottom edge to make it longer, and next I have to add a collar and cuffs.

This yarn is Loops & Threads Meandering Serpentine for the main colour and Minis for the stripes. I haven’t touched it in three days though. I was working all weekend and haven’t had the urge to add more, but now that the second half of the pattern is printed out I’ll get on with it.

Today was a day off, and I planned it well. Did some laundry and kitchen tidying this morning, went to the gym for an hour (air conditioned but then of course I’m working out so super sweaty), then shower and lunch. And this afternoon I retreated to the basement for some sewing. The other day I made up a paper pattern from an existing tank top and used some cool tie dyed knit fabric to make a new one. However I didn’t add enough ease, it’s too close-fitting, and I was disappointed with it.

So I redrew the pattern, adding a bit extra at the bust, flaring it out way more and adding length. Sewed it up this afternoon and I’m much happier with it.

The reverse is cool too. This is the same fabric (but in a different colourway) that I made a sweatshirt with in the spring. I didn’t hem this version because I was concerned it would go wavy like the previous one.

I think that’s all I have to update you with for now. It’s my birthday next weekend so I have the day off. I am trying to think of something special to do within the parameters of the-virus-that-shall-not-be-named! Maybe a mini road trip with Mr Fixit!

And the heat continues…

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Regardless of the high temperatures and stuffy house, the crochet continues, because we crafters are always planning for winter!

The Habitat Cardigan is growing. The back section is about 14″ long now, so I’m over halfway done with the initial rectangle. I have one more colour to incorporate and then I’ll start repeating them.

When the back is 26″ long, I have to add a “tush extension”, a large collar, and cuffs, so I have a long way to go yet. It would be great if this cardigan could be finished by the end of August.

I was so overheated yesterday I went for a swim in the lake. It’s been a few years, I think, since I did that, and it was very pleasant. I think I shall have to do the same today. The housework is done (the vacuuming had to be done this morning before it was too hot), I need to make bread, and Mr Fixit and I plan to go to the gym later, but I’m sure I can fit in a quick swim too.

How’s your weekend going?

Summer heat

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Summer has hit with a vengeance and we are currently having a week of temperatures over 30 degrees (that’s 90 to you old-fashioned types). Today the analog thermometer outside hit 39, my car thermometer hit 36, and it made our house pretty darned uncomfortable. We don’t have AC, just fans, and we keep the windows closed during the day and open them up in the evening and leave them open until the next morning.

Me outside the tea shop with an unsexy sunhat, trying not to cook!

Luckily I had a small project to do in my sewing room this evening, and the basement is always a lot cooler than the main floor upstairs. We have…wait for it…BABY YODA fabric at work. I didn’t realise we had a range of the Mandalorian fabric until I was working the till yesterday and saw someone had bought some. I just had to buy a small amount to make a mask.

And while I was at it, I made a second mask out of some long-held stash fabric. Neither of the masks has interfacing, just two layers of cotton. I’m hoping they won’t be as hot as my other ones.

Isn’t it CUTE?!

I FINALLY learned that if I trim a little fabric off the top and bottom edges of the lining it sits better inside the outer layer. This is the Craft Passion pattern, cut men’s size, but shortened at the sides of the face. And with longer elastic this time, and cord stoppers for the back of the neck.

So what else have I been doing?

Loops & Threads Meandering Minis
Loops & Threads Meandering Serpentine

Pretty yarn! The bag is full of the Meandering Minis that I bought mid-2019 on a whim – a ‘clearance-yarn-fumes’ induced purchase from Michaels. I wound all the little skeins into balls and put them in a bag and browsed patterns trying to find the right project. Then one day recently I dragged Mr Fixit back into Michaels just for the heck of it and found the larger skeins of the Serpentine yarn – it’s exactly the same yarn/fibre content, but doesn’t match any of my minis.

However I bought 500 grams of it (yes, on clearance again) so then I had more options for what to make. I really wanted to make a garment – I don’t need more blankets or accessories – and I finally plumped for the Habitat Cardigan by Jess of Make & Do Crew (link to my Ravelry project page – do not click if you have problems with migraines or seizures as some people have reported such things since the roll-out of the new updated look).

It has grown a few stripes since this photo.

And I had forgotten that I sewed a little vinyl zippered pouch until I started picking photos to add to this post. This was a tutorial by Erica Arndt on YouTube.

Dodgy stitching – don’t look too closely.

I think that’s it for now. It’s almost bedtime and I can guarantee the ceiling fan is staying on again tonight. Have a great week, stay healthy, stay calm, stay comfortable!

FO: River bag

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FO: River bag

I named this bag for the River Washed XL yarn from Scheepjes. Yet another project from the kit of minis, this scrappy bag was easy peasy. Just a foundation chain, around which I crocheted a small oval, and then straight up to the top, and then some rows worked flat on one side for the flap. A few decreases shaped the outer edge of the flap and then I single-crocheted around the top edge.

I still had some bits and pieces left, so added a little embroidery and a leaf-shaped applique to cover the ugly back of the magnetic snap. The cotton fabric for the strap and D rings was in my stash. It’s not lined, but that’s ok. (Hmmm, I did just have a bright idea – make a small bag that will fit inside out of the same fabric as the strap…if I have enough.)

Summer has truly hit here in BC. It felt like we had a cooler wetter start to the summer than usual, which was a blessing, but now the days are getting hot and, without AC, we often have to pull the blinds and close the windows during the day to try and keep the house cooler.

My geraniums are looking lovely.

Difficult to get a good photo with it being so bright behind

Mr Fixit and I both have a love for geraniums. His mum was Swiss and there’s nothing so beautiful as a traditional Swiss chalet smothered in red geraniums. Also my grandparents, who lived in England, had a verandah full of geraniums every summer from which they took cuttings every fall.

I am feeling very thankful that inventory time is over for another year at work. And having yesterday and today off was a bit like a “weekend” for me after the crazy time, so I have really appreciated it.

I hope your week is going well. Talk soon!

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?

The end of June already…

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The end of June already…

Hi, bloggy friends!

Wow, summer is one-third over and so far it’s been very comfortable, temperature-wise. In fact, we’ve had quite a few rainy days, including thunderstorms. I do prefer it when the thermometer reads less than 30 Celsius.

After I finished the baby blanket that I showed you last time, I had a bit of a slump, when I WANTED to be making something but couldn’t figure out WHAT I wanted to make. I have some nice yarns in the stash, fabrics too, but nothing was calling to me.

There’s been the extra stress at work – what with enforcing the customer limit and mask policy, and the volume of sales, and on top of all that trying to get everything ready for inventory, there have been extra hours worked and extra pressure on the staff.

This has made my days off even more precious and even though I have had an outwardly relaxing day today (baking bread and zucchini cake, crocheting while watching YouTube videos, prepping dinner) I can feel the tightness in my stomach and I am hoping a visit to the gym later will help burn off some of that feeling.

I did whip up a quick shawl. It’s a pattern I’ve used before – the Me Shawl from Clare at bobwilson123. Last time I made it, I did the popcorn/bobble border and it looked awesome but this time I wanted it to be quick and easy. So I ended up doing just row 1 of Clare’s Jessica shawl edging, which is just a simple shell.

I used Caron X Pantone Bamboo which I bought last summer. I bought very little yarn last year but this was from a trip to Michaels where I fell hard for three braids of this yarn plus some cute Loops & Threads Meandering Minis because they were on clearance. Each braid comes with 20 grams each of five colours and I had wound them into cakes some time ago. This shawl used ten of the small balls, so 200 grams in all.

It was nice to have yarn running through my hands again, but it was a super-quick project and now I need to find another one!

I am feeling a little discombobulated about something else in my life too. Ravelry has been a big part of my interwebs time for 12 years. I have over 700 projects recorded, my pattern library (admittedly quite small), my queue of things I’d like to make some day, my favourites, my stash and over 13000 forum posts on record.

I have invested a lot into Ravelry over the years, added to the database, linked my free patterns through the site, given tonnes of advice to people asking for help in the forums. It’s been part of my everyday.

But suddenly, Ravelry had a facelift. A couple of weeks ago, the look totally changed. It was all right, I suppose, though there were some things that were a bit annoying, like text not fitting into boxes properly, and other bugs. I thought, hmmm, ok, learning curve, I can get used to this. Then people started to talk about the problems they were having with the new version. Eye strain, headaches, migraines and even a few seizures triggered by something within the new design. Reluctantly, it seemed, the site owners gave us the option to click back into “classic” Ravelry, with a warning that it was temporary.

Now, I’ve never ever had a problem with any website before, but something about the new site bothered me. The turquoise boxes with the hard black drop shadows were glaring. I found that I was wanting to spend less time browsing the forums. I started to get headaches. Going back into “classic” didn’t get rid of the headaches. So while I’ve wanted to follow the discussions in the forums about the whole situation, I’ve had to pop in and out as quickly as I can. I have a lot of sympathy for those who are susceptible to migraines because some have had to stop using Ravelry altogether.

Yes, I know the site is free to use.

Yes, it’s up to the owners how their site looks.

Yes, I know I have a choice whether to use the site or not.

BUT Ravelry has prided itself on being inclusive in so many ways. Rainbow flags, Pride month threads, Black Lives Matter threads and donations. So why have they just taken a backwards step to make themselves LESS inclusive of people with visual/neurological issues?

There are many people online who are saying, “What’s the problem? I like the new look!” But those people are obviously not experiencing any new symptoms and have no empathy for those who are.

I am sad and annoyed and missing my usual dose of Rav. No doubt there is a reason for this new look and I don’t think it is just cosmetic. Some of it is to do with setting up the design for future development, but maybe there are other, as yet unannounced, plans in the pipeline which preclude going back to the old look.

Just in case, I have downloaded all my data from Ravelry – it’s all in raw form, and I hope not to ever need the contents of that file, but it’s my insurance!

FO update

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Hi all. I realised last night that it had been ten days since a post and I have stuff to show you.

One of the staff at work is leaving shortly and I wanted to make her a bag. I found the perfect Canadian wildlife fabric, and had my stash of denim at home, so all I needed to do was find the right design.

I watched this video (atelierRuth’s Partition Tote) a few times and wrote down all the measurements in my notebook. However, before I cut into the wildlife print, I decided to do a trial run with different fabrics in stash. That’s what the bag above is – the practice one. I used a different denim (with stretch, which wasn’t a great idea) and knit-themed fabrics and because I didn’t have webbing or belting I made the straps.

The final result looks great, mostly. I don’t like that the stitching along the straps doesn’t line up with the stitching holding the straps to the bag though. And inside…

…there are slip pockets and a zippered partition with extra denim pockets attached.

I’m so glad I made this version first. When I made the second bag, I knew what I was doing and changed a couple of things. Webbing straps, for one. And Thermolam fusible fleece to give it more squish and structure. And I left the denim off the internal partition, and used Thermolam on that too.

I didn’t spend too long on positioning the fabric but the animals seemed to land just right. The pocket with the Canada geese was fussy cut, though. For the lining, I cut two pieces and seamed along the bottom so that both sides were the right way up, but didn’t bother for the partition.

I much prefer the heavier interfacing for a bag like this, even on the partition – it doesn’t flop around. So that’s all ready to go.

There was also some crocheting this week.

Someone I know (we haven’t met very often, but she’s the friend of a friend) just had a baby girl, so I pulled out some Bernat Pop! from the stash and crocheted up a quick C2C blanket. It didn’t take long and I have bundled it up with a crocheted lovey and beanie which I made a while back and which have been sitting patiently in my sewing room, waiting for the perfect recipient.

On the work front, the store where I work is still busy, but the lineup disappeared more quickly on Thursday, so I feel like the crazy fabric and elastic buying may be calming down! Of course, that is balanced out by the extra work we have on right now thanks to inventory. My main job for my last three days of work has been going through the fashion fabrics, making sure they are grouped correctly, looking up the code on them, and physically tagging them with a yellow label.

Others are also working on fabrics in different parts of the store and we have to get everything ready for the big day on the 8th when it will all be weighed. The store will be closing for the day (that’s a first) so hopefully we’ll get it all done that day. Many of us are taking on extra shifts to get the prep done in time.

Well, better get on, I have to leave for work in an hour. Happy crafting!