Category Archives: daily life

Fire!

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Hello, my dear blogreaders, how are you all? A week has whizzed by yet again and I’m afraid I don’t have much crafty stuff to show for it. I think I managed a few rounds on a sock in skinny yarn and skinny needles, but not much else. Oh, and a scrappy dishcloth. Not even worth photographing.

But I’ve been busy at work, as we had inventory prep to do. We’ve been working towards a deadline, with management tagging practically every bolt in the fabric store with a number, and the rest of us laying down the bolts in piles according to their number. Yesterday was the big day and we started at 7am. Sixteen people in four teams (with eight extra people drafted in from outside to do the heavy lifting) worked their way through the store with industrial scales to get everything weighed and recorded. We took nine hours total. The store was open from 9.30am so there was other staff working just to look after customers and make sure that they behaved themselves, not walking into the areas we were working in and making off with pre-counted rolls or bolts.

We had two 15 minute breaks and one 30 minute one over the course of the day, and the manager had made sure there was plenty of good food available so that we were kept recharged. We were all knackered by the end of it (my youngest son works there too, and my middle son came along just for the day, for the third year in a row, plus I drafted in a couple of friends’ sons too). So glad it’s over for another year. I was totally brain dead after dinner last night, with just a brief period of animation when my family told me to go outside on the deck and look at the view.

So, back to the title and photo at the top of this post. Yes, once again the Okanagan Valley is smothered in heavy smoke from forest fires. It’s a standard situation for us. We had a skookum thunderstorm on Tuesday night (I love that word) in which there was impressive thunder and lightning and monsoon-like rain. Unfortunately, whilst we enjoy watching a good storm, it is immediately followed by reports of how many hits it made and how many fires it started. There were many, but the two main ones in our immediate area are (a) close to a little town about 15 minutes drive south of us, in which many people have been evacuated, and (b) across the lake in a huge wild area which burnt for a whole month in 2003. At that time, the fire caused thousands of people to be evacuated and burned over 200 homes. So obviously, memories of that year are being stirred up now, as we watched the flames last night. We could see them with the naked eye but with a camera or binoculars it was easy to see the activity of the flames.

The photo above is my husband’s, taken with a long lens. Those trees are close to my house – thankfully the fire is way away across the lake. With the wind, heat and dry conditions, people at the southern end of the city across the lake are looking nervously towards the fire, hoping that they will not see a repeat of 2003.

I am glad that today I have a day off to recover from yesterday and get a few things done around the house. I really need a gym workout too. I will undoubtedly be checking in with local news sources over the course of the day to see what’s developing. I am grateful  that my family and home are safe and away from the danger zones.

Take care, y’all!

 

 

Fun, food, and a Finishalong

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Hi bloggy friends. Once again, a whizzy week. I worked Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Monday and Friday were taken up with appointments and errands and a walk with a friend and, before I knew it, it was the weekend again. Saturday was a lot of fun. I went to a market at Yarn Okanagan, an event here in the valley where many people were attending knitting workshops and browsing the vendors’ offerings. A friend and I went just for the market. It only took us an hour to look around. She bought a beautiful skein of something soft (merino, I think) in a deep deep teal. I’d say 99.99% of the yarn there was wool, so of course I didn’t buy any, though I did enjoy looking at the colourful skeins. There were project bags for sale too, but I just tell myself I can make those so there’s no need to buy any!

After the market, my friend and I spent a couple of hours at a local coffee shop, catching up on everything as we haven’t had the chance for a good chinwag in ages.

Later that day, Tai Chi Man and I were on our way to an evening potluck at another friend’s house and as usual the food was delicious, the company hilarious and the evening a success.

Today I had to work, but immediately afterwards our family went out for dinner to celebrate ds3’s 20th birthday. So that was a great way to wrap up the weekend, and now I have the next two days off to get the cleaning up to date and some sewing done.

I do have a bit of new yarn to show you.

This is Joy DK from Loops & Threads (Michaels). It’s very soft acrylic yarn in 100 gram balls and one of my friends bought it for me as a thank you for “lending” her some of my yarn. She wanted to make some dolls and I invited her to look through my stash of DK, because it didn’t make sense for her to buy full balls of different colours when she only needed a tiny bit of some of them. So she took away some skeins and brought back what she didn’t use, along with these two extra balls. The teal one is showing bluer than it really is.

One of the Ravelry groups that I belong to, and am a moderator of, is Crafternoon Treats. Kathryn of Crafternoon Treats (blog, podcast, Etsy shop) is running a Finishalong from now until the end of September. I did a review of my Works in Progress, which numbered four, more than I usually have, but a lot fewer than many people have!

As of yesterday, I had (links are to my Ravelry project pages)

(1) my March sweater, which was abandoned temporarily when I broke my wrist. I pulled it out of the bag today and to be honest I think it might go into the frogpond. I tried it on and I don’t love it.

(2) my Maui Ocean Cowl, from the pattern Pool Party Cowl by Balls to the Walls Knits, which is actually now FINISHED!

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(3) my Swiss sunhat, made with hemp yarn. I don’t have an up to date photo of it, but I finished the top of the crown and started to work straight, but it’s really hard on the hands (and wrist) and I think this one is going to the frogpond too.

(4) and finally, my zippered window bag, which is an experiment in crocheting into vinyl to make a bag that has a window in it. Designing on the hook, it is far from perfect but I intend to finish this and use it.

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Knit Picks Shine Sport, circle of clear vinyl

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zipper with chain stitch, ready for crocheting

This project is further along than these photos suggest.

I can feel the desire to start a new project, something that is most definitely NOT single crochet! Actually, while typing that, I realised I still have some of the cake of Lion Brand Mandala left since I finished the two hats for my FIL, patiently waiting in a little bowl on my coffee table. I think I need to start another knitted hat. And sew more bags!

Stash enhancement Sunday!

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G’day all. Another week has whizzed by and now we are enjoying (!) a somewhat cool weekend. The max for today is forecast to be 15 degrees. It’s windy and a mix of sun and cloud right now, but yesterday morning we had torrential rain at about 7am which coincided with time that Tai Chi Man and all three man-boys were headed out to work on the same job (Tai Chi Man works at an office furniture supply/installation place, as does ds1, and sometimes ds2 and ds3 go to help with big projects). I was also working yesterday, but managed to wangle leaving half an hour early because we had a house guest.

The son of some friends of ours from over the pond came to visit. He flew to Calgary so that he could visit the national parks in Banff and Jasper but drove all the way  to see us for just one night. The drive was nine hours, no doubt with rest stops, but I’m pleased he made the effort. It was lovely to see him. We’ve known him since he was a baby and he’s 32 now.

So yes, stash! This time, fabric, not yarn.

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When I’m working at the fabric store, we aren’t supposed to shop for ourselves, and usually we don’t have time anyway. So I dropped ds3 there today, because he had an extra shift, and became a customer. It’s nice to be able to browse all the clearance quilt cottons without worrying about being interrupted, and I went through them all and picked out 15 of them for (probably) making more bags. I also invested in some heavy duty thread because when I was making the bags with the vinyl panels I had some major thread breakages happening.

I took a look back at my last few blog posts and realised I hadn’t shown you this one…

I am in love with this fabric. I actually have two co-ordinating fabrics in this line. It’s printed with fun camper vans and scooters and for the drawstring casing I used a lime green floral fabric that I’ve had for ages. I can’t remember which video tutorial I used for this but it was a clear one that was easy to follow. The one thing I would do differently next time would be to place the casing higher, as there’s a lot of wasted space at the top.

Next week there’s a 50% off sale at work and I intend to pick up more interfacing and zippers so I can sew more bags!

The Maui Ocean Cowl has grown a little – it’s now 5.5 inches deep and the pattern says to go to 8″. (Pattern: Pool Party Cowl from Balls to the Walls Knits)

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The colours I’m using are very similar to the designer’s, and are very calming.

That’s it for now. Have a great week!

Edited to add link to drawstring bag video tutorial

 

Wow, is it really Thursday again already?

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I just reread my last blog post and realised it was a whole week ago!

We are having a few days of blissful weather, which to me means low 20s Celsius and very comfortable. I am sitting outside on my deck right now, it’s coming up for 6pm and SO lovely. Warm without being hot, only enough air movement to make the wind chimes tuneful but not deafening (unlike Monday evening, when I was trying to enjoy my friends’ company and it was too loud).

We had a little excitement a few days ago, with a fire that started on the other side of the mountain that’s close to our house. We smelled the smoke first, then heard sirens, and then saw smoke appearing from the south. A water bomber flew overhead but the crew on the ground put it out without their help.

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About 50 homes were evacuated but people were allowed back the same evening and within 24 hours the whole thing was over. It was probably caused by careless humans. It has been deemed suspicious by the firefighters.

So there’s been more sewing this week. It’s not worth showing you any knitting or crocheting progress, as that is minimal. Instead, there is this bag, which was a 100% vinyl bag that came in a set of three different sizes from Knit Picks many moons ago. The bottom corners were wearing out, a fact I realised when one of my crochet hooks nearly fell out. It was sticking halfway out when I caught it. So I decided to cut off the bottom part of the bag and replace it with fabric.

I am pleased with it. It now has a new lease of life.

Another bag  that I made from scratch is a box bag from a video tutorial. The outer and inner fabrics are ones I’ve had in my stash for a long time, as I didn’t want to use anything I cared about too much for the first version!

It’s not perfect – the zipper didn’t go in particular evenly – but good enough to use for my own bits and pieces. The tutorial starts with larger pieces of fabric and a 14″ zipper but I only had 12″ ones, so I reduced the overall size (my rectangles were 11 x 7.5″) and ended up with a bag that’s about 6″ long by 3″ across.

And finally, my Powerball set arrived. It had to travel all the way here from Ireland, which explains the delay. In hindsight, it probably arrived at just the right time in my recovery to actually use it. Check out the products at powerballs.com if you’re interested. I heard about this from a Ravelry forum thread where people were raving about this amazing product that helped them regain their strength after wrist surgery.

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It is HARD! I can only do the exercise with the Powerball for a very short time, even with my good hand. There is a gyroscope inside that creates resistance when you rotate your wrist. I think  it’s really going to help and I’m looking forward to seeing quick results.

Ah well, time to go get the dinner out of the oven. I think the family is chomping at the bit and I’m feeling pretty hungry myself. Talk to you later.

Thursday’s threads, therapy and thankfulness

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Hello, lovely people. How are you today? I had a very pleasant day. My appointment with my hand therapist went well. I was only with her for 15 minutes so she could check how my wrist is coming along. She measured my flexibility (with her angle measurer thingy) and my grip strength and it’s all improving. She said to keep doing what I’m doing, and to be honest I haven’t been too diligent on the hand stretches but I’ve been knitting and crocheting like mad, and even sewing too. It all helps, I think.

So I’m thankful that my wrist is getting better, with only the occasional ache and twinge, and I’m determined that by the time my holiday comes around in August that I will be 100%.

After my appointment, I had tea with Tai Chi Man. Today I had Assam TGFOP. I know the OP stands for orange pekoe, in other words good old black tea, but the rest I have forgotten. I have it with a little plain soymilk, no sweetener. Tai Chi Man had his usual Extreme Green. And after a sit and a knit and a chat with him, he went back to work and I took a tea to my friend at her office and we sat outside on a sunny bench for half an hour.

This is my knitting project…

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It’s the yarn I bought at my LYS last year and took to Maui in December. I started crocheting a ripple scarf but didn’t like all the cut ends and couldn’t see myself finishing it. So after a long rest in its bag for five months I took it out, unravelled it, and found a new project for it. This is the Pool Party Cowl and I found it, of course, through Ravelry. It starts out with a kind of broken seed stitch in colour A, in my case the variegated, and then starts on the woven pattern, where you knit two rows with A and then weave two rows with B, the green solid. (Edited to add that this yarn is Cascade Sunseeker, a cotton acrylic blend with a touch of metallic.)

I can’t tell you how happy I am with this cowl. I definitely did the right thing unravelling the scarf.

So, now to the threads mentioned in the title. I had an idea fermenting in the back of my mind after watching the Smells Like Yarn podcast. Ross keeps showing off a WIP in the Rocko bag made by his friend, DarnYarnMN. It is a zippered pouch with a clear vinyl window at the front. I wanted to try making one (or three) and I have lots of pieces of cotton fabric in my stash. I bought some iron-on interfacing, zippers and clear vinyl from work the other day and dove in.

Whilst I did watch a basic bag tutorial on You Tube, it didn’t include the clear window, so I basically made it up. I’m mostly happy with this bag, except for the fact that the raw ends of the zipper aren’t enclosed within the lining, and neither are my seam allowances, because I couldn’t figure out how to do that with the window in the front of the bag. Anyway, this was just my first effort, and there will be more versions in the future, I’m sure. (The size of this is about 10″ square.)

floral window bag

The second bag I made is a drawstring bag, and the instructions come from a book I own, Weekend Sewing. I’ve made this bag before in a smaller size. The cut size of the back piece was 15 x 12″, so that’ll give you an idea of the finished size. The front is made from two panels of fabric and one of vinyl. I’m learning some new things, what with having to use a special machine needle to sew vinyl, and how to feed it through so that the stitches stay even. I did cut the ribbon too short because I forgot that each piece has to go all around the top of the bag, not just across one side.

green window bag

I’m not sure whether there is a way to avoid the vinyl crunching up and getting little dings in it when turning the bag right side out, or if there’s a way to smooth it out once you’ve done that. I bought the medium weight one. Maybe others use the thinnest kind.

We’ve had some hot days already and it feels like summer has arrived. The thermometer has exceeded 30 degrees a couple of times. I have to say I prefer mid-twenties for comfort. We don’t have (and don’t want) air conditioning at home, though I do have it in my car and I’m very thankful for it. This evening, we have all the windows open and there’s quite a wind blowing through, the wind chimes are clanging, and it feels very comfortable.

Enough waffling, I think. Have a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day!

S is for Saturday, sunhats, single crochet and stash

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G’day! How’s it going? If you’re in Canada, I hope you’re having a wonderful long weekend. Mine is somewhat interrupted, as I will be working tomorrow. But not Monday.

My wrist has been pushed to the limit today. I seem to be in frenzied crocheting mode. Maybe I’m trying to make up for lost time. I have started the project pictured above, which I am hoping will turn out to be a wearable brimmed sunhat made with Hemp for Knitting’s Allhemp 6. It’s a DK weight yarn and I’m trying a 3.75mm hook with it. No pattern. After all, I’ve made a billion hats. (Tai Chi Man says I should be in the Guinness Book of World Records for making so many hats. He just doesn’t understand hyperbole, obviously.)

Anyway, that was yesterday, but I could only do a small bit of the crown before my wrist complained. That hemp yarn is STIFF! So I moved over to dishcloth cotton. I already made these earlier in the week…

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…two of which I sent off to my father-in-law with the two hats. One, I kept.

So last night I started a pink dishcloth, as I had three balls of Bernat Handicrafter in the stash from I-don’t-know-where, and today I took the bag of yarn and the 6mm hook with me while on errands and crocheted while Tai Chi Man drove. I also crocheted while walking around Lee Valley (Canadian store, not an actual valley) and at our fave tea shop. And now I have these…

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I am finding these very satisfying. Basic single crochet with an sc border. Twenty stitches wide and as many rows as it takes to make a square. If I didn’t think my wrist would seize up completely, I’d be starting another scrappy one right now to use up the leftovers.

Surprisingly, after dinner I felt quite energetic and decided that as long as I didn’t sit on the couch and get settled in I would be quite amenable to going to the gym. So we went. Definitely better to spend an hour (treadmill, weights machines) at the gym than veg on the couch the whole night. Our busy Saturday is drawing to an end and I feel like I achieved a lot. (I am seriously wondering whether I could manage to crochet while on the treadmill.)

Today’s tea shop experience was Lavender Lady Grey as a latte with almond milk and agave. What’s your fave tea?

 

 

T is for Tuesday, Tea, Tablet-stand and Thermometer

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T is for Tuesday, Tea, Tablet-stand and Thermometer

Hello! I’ve finished another quick project. It’s a tablet- or phone-stand and I used this pattern. Now and then, I like to have my iPad Mini in portrait mode but my Smartcover, which apparently ain’t so smart, only holds it in landscape.

So I thought this would be a bit of fun. It took just a few days and I used Red Heart Super Saver Ombre in Scuba (left over from the baby blanket). (FO photos follow further down.)

I worked all weekend, and the weather got pretty warm. The thermometer in my car has hit 29 degrees the last couple of days. Yesterday I hit the gym in the morning, and bought groceries in the afternoon, followed by a cool treat in the evening – visiting a friend at her condo where we crocheted/knitted by the pool and followed that up with a leisurely swim.

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we like the same colours, evidently

 

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the view from her balcony over to the pool

After the swim, we found it a bit cool, so went back to her apartment to dry off and drink tea.

Today I blitzed the kitchen and bathrooms and considered myself done with housework for now, and then I went to meet my friend for more tea at our favourite tea shop downtown (vanilla honeybush latte with almond milk…mmm…)

My project didn’t take long to finish…

Link to my Ravelry project page here if you’d like to peek.

Tonight our Four Agreements book study group will be meeting around the same pool, because it’s another hot day today and it makes a nice change from being at a coffee shop.

It’s the same every year. Spring seems to be here for a month at most, then summer temperatures hit and we all start having to find a shady spot to park the car so it doesn’t turn into an oven. From being too cold to hike, it gets too hot. From having the furnace on, through a short time of having the windows open and airing the house out, to having to close them up and shut the blinds to keep the heat out. The shoulder seasons are definitely too short here.

FO: Cakeholes

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I’ve called these bags “cakeholes” because, well, they hold cakes. Of yarn. And I like to think of the phrase, “Shut yer cake’ole” (meaning shut your mouth) with a Yorkshire accent in my head!

I used about two thirds of the skein of Red Heart With Love in cornsilk. After all those single crochet stitches, I’d had enough of it, though. The smaller bag with the Lion Brand Mandala inside is about 4.5″ across and 6″ tall, and the other fits a cake of Bernat Pop inside and is about 5.5″ across and 7.5″ tall.

We have had some gorgeous weather lately but last night had a rain storm hit us. I woke up around 2.15am to the sounds of rain, wind and rattling windchimes. I quickly went and made sure that the windows weren’t open too wide because the south side of the house gets the brunt of the weather and we could have had rain blowing in. I noticed that the boys’ bedroom lights were still on. A few minutes later, I was back in bed when ds3 knocked on our door and said something which I didn’t catch (my good ear was on the pillow), Tai Chi Man jumped out of bed and left the room, and my sharp Spidey senses told me that something was up!

Turns out there was water leaking through our son’s bedroom light fixture. Not good! We made sure to turn the light off and put out bowls on his bed and floor to catch the drips. He ended up sleeping on the couch in the living room which meant that those of us who went to work before he needed to get up for his own shift had to tiptoe around. No smoothie for me today as it would have meant running the Vitamix. If you have one of those you’ll know how loud they are.

This morning, there was more heavy rain, but no wind, and no more dripping coming from the ceiling. Tai Chi Man called the roofers first thing – we actually asked them for an estimate nine months ago and if all had gone to plan the roof would have been done last fall. However the snow arrived and it was delayed until spring – which turns out to be a bad thing! We are now on the Urgent list and I hope we don’t have to wait too much longer.

It did look lovely and green outside today, after the rain. The walnut trees are leafing out, the grass has greened up, we have our potatoes planted in the vegetable garden. At one point the cloud was so low I couldn’t see past my neighbour’s house.

It’s rather a shame that we have this short window of green before everything crisps up in the scorching heat of summer.

My brain is starting to give out – it was a long day at work after my disturbed night and my train of thought is derailing. Wishing you all a great day tomorrow.

 

 

WIP: Bill’s hat update

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Hello all. How are you? Despite my slow progress, the hat for my father-in-law has reached 4.75″ tall and there’s only an inch to go until I start the crown decreases. The pattern is Vanilla Hat and is a basic DK weight hat that has a folded hem at the brim and four sets of decreases at the crown. Very simple.

I’m using Lion Brand Mandala in the colourway Chimera. Because this is quite a small project, I have been trying to figure out how many of the colour changes will appear in the hat. I actually cut out a fair amount of both the mid-green and the yellow-green, only giving the yellow-green a half inch of exposure before going into the yellow. I really hope I get some orange and red in there too, maybe with some fudging.

After finishing the blanket last Friday, I did no knitting or crochet for two whole days! At my Monday night Hygge group I planned to knit on the hat, but was sidetracked by my friend’s blanket which was damaged. She brought it to me to fix. Her cast on was tight and it had actually broken and there was a ragged bit about four inches long. So I picked out the cast on edge, got the work back on the needles about two or three rows down, unravelled the damaged bits to the point where all was well, and reknit a row. She is planning to add a bit more length to the blanket so I left it on the needles so she can knit some more rows then bind off.

I took the hat to work with me on Tuesday so I could do a row or two. Yes, I’m back at work. Mixed feelings about that 😛 It’s nice to be back socialising with my co-workers and chatting with the customers. Because I’m not ready to cut fabric or lift bolts yet, I’m on the till. There’s a big sale this weekend and I’m scheduled for Saturday AND Sunday.

First day back, my wrist did ok, but second day was a little more challenging. Maybe a rest day between shifts would have been a good idea, but I didn’t think to ask.

Today I went hiking with a friend. It felt really hot.  I don’t know what the official high temperature was, but it felt like mid-20s Celsius. The sun was shining and we were walking for about 3 hours; well, a bit less than that if you don’t count the short break halfway for a sit and a snack. I am so glad I set aside my vanity and wore my $3 dollar store sunhat, because I think I’d have felt a lot hotter and been sunburned by the end of it, without the shade. Last time we hiked there, my family and friends were invaded by ticks. I think we managed to catch them all before they embedded themselves, but I was wary this time. After sitting in the grass to have our snack, I found a tick on my hand, so I flicked it off and we did a clothing check. When I got home, I stripped off in the bathroom and showered, running my hands through my hair to be sure I had no hitchhikers.

So I’m grateful for friends, sunshine, spring and smoothies. What are you grateful for?

 

FO: Scuba baby blanket

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FO: Scuba baby blanket

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I called this the Scuba blanket purely because that’s the colourway of the Red Heart Super Saver Ombre, but now that it’s finished and has been adorned with an appliqued orange elephant perhaps it deserves a better name. The “Mandarin Pachyderm” blanket, maybe? Here’s a link to my Ravelry project page so you can see which patterns I referenced.

I started this after my shopping spree at Michaels last Thursday with a plan to get the blanket done in nine days. Crocheting is uncomfortable, even left handed, so I’ve had to pace myself, but I think it’s big enough to be a respectable baby blanket. I did measure it when it was laid out for the photo but can’t remember both dimensions now, and it’s currently in the washer. The length is 33 inches. The little elephant applique is made with some Stylecraft Special Aran in the colour Spice from my stash.

I’m going to schedule this to publish tomorrow. I don’t think that my friend (who’s having the baby) reads my blog, but I’d rather not risk it. The baby shower is tomorrow so once it’s underway my blog post can be released to the world!

Another friend knitted a matching hat, plus she sewed a gift bag made from vinyl (oilcloth) which will make a practical gift as it can be used for so many things.

I am adding an elephant lovey to the bag that I made some time ago. I have been waiting for the opportunity to give it to someone. Hmmm, I seem to have an elephant theme going on.

I added to my button stash this week.

Found these at a dollar store for $2.75 a pack. Way cheaper than the same brand at the store where I work!

Spring has finally arrived here. Yesterday was a glorious day during which I abandoned the To Do list, changed into a strappy top and denim shorts, and set myself up on the back deck in the sunshine with a book, an iPad, tea, the Herrschner’s paper catalogue and notebook and pen.

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I haven’t ordered more yarn…yet! I do have a few tabs open on my laptop though, as I’m thinking of buying some Premier Wool-free Sock Yarn and getting back into sock knitting, or even sock crocheting. And thinking ahead to my international travel in the summer, having a couple of small skeins of thin yarn with lots of yardage will take up less space in the backpack!

Well, I’d better get that blanket into the dryer. Have a great weekend!