Category Archives: daily life

Wonderful weekend

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Wonderful weekend

Weekends off are so much more precious when you have to work some Saturdays and/or Sundays. This weekend, I have been off both days. Yesterday we enjoyed some of the simple pleasures of a typical weekend, like going to the library, picking up groceries, going to the gym, and making and eating simple vegetable soup for dinner while gazing out at the lovely carpet of fallen leaves in our backyard.

Today Tai Chi Man and I went to the gym again, followed by a long leisurely cup of tea at our favourite tea shop, which has such a warm, welcoming vibe. Some more downtime at home this afternoon, during which I have put the finishing touches on the latest crochet hat project, and then we’ll be taking the family out to dinner.

So, to the crochet projects. The scarf and hat each use a skein of Loops & Threads Barcelona, colour Sky. The scarf is just your basic C2C stitch pattern, which I find very soothing and addictive. The hat is from a pattern by Make & Do Crew. It is called a 1.5 hour beanie, though I know it took me longer than that to make it! The pompom is huge and floppy, and I made sure to tie it on in such a way that it can be removed for washing or if the owner just doesn’t like it. I put a large button inside the top of the beanie for stability.

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This yarn has been in my stash for over a year. I know that because I made a C2C scarf and coordinating hat with a different colourway last September. And I still have two skeins of a pink colourway yet to use. I think I may have to make another C2C scarf with that, and a different style of hat, just for fun.

I did knit a little on the sock at the tea shop today, but at 9 stitches to the inch and infrequent activity the first one won’t be done any time soon.

I have also made progress on the Fair Isle hat and will show you that next time. Maybe finished!

Hope you are having a great weekend. TTYL

FO: Dennis the Menace slouchy beanie

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FO: Dennis the Menace slouchy beanie

 

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This red and black striped slouchy beanie reminds me of Dennis the Menace in the Beano. When my sister and I were kids, we used to read the Beano and Dandy comics and when my co-worker asked if I’d make her a hat like this I was instantly reminded of Dennis’s sweater! She sent me a photo of what she wanted and I was able to recreate it easily as it’s just a basic hat, worked top down, in double crochet, alternating two rounds of each colour. There are a few rounds of sc at the brim, where I decreased and snugged it in so it would stay on.

The photo above was taken while the beanie was in progress. I was sitting in my favourite tea shop, on my own, with a Cowboy Fog (a latte made with a lovely tea blend which includes black tea, espresso beans and coconut flakes), my crochet project and my iPad. Pretty much my personal heaven!

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The rainbow slouchy hat in my previous post was the precursor to this hat. The second iteration is wider and longer and my friend at work is very pleased with it. We made a deal that she would buy the yarn, I’d keep the leftovers, and then she’d “pay” me with more yarn. Win Win!

I don’t often take commissions, and there are many many discussions online about how much one should charge for handmade stuff. I take each case on its merits. It depends on who’s asking (friend or random stranger), how they are asking (demandy-pants or not), whether I really want to make the item (a simple hat, sure, a blanket that’ll take up 100 hours of my time, no way) and whether we agree on what’s a reasonable deal.

So with that out of the way, I had an idea for another project, so I pulled out a bunch of worsted weight yarn and laid it out on the living room floor. I go through phases of yarn acquisition and stashbusting, and I am feeling the need for a stashbusting period. I tend to attract yarn donations from random people and it’s usually vintage acrylic. Time to use some up.

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The self-striping cakes at bottom right are two Caron Big Cakes, which I thought might be good to throw in to the mix. (Changed my mind on that.) My first idea was to quadruple-strand with a massive hook, and do a granite stitch (1sc, 1ch, sk1) but I didn’t like it. So now I am working up a simple giant granny square.

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I am using the kelly green every fourth round as I have quite a bit of that, with a dark green, brown, orange, rust, yellow, purple, blue and red. Of course my centre is skewing somewhat, which is typical of large grannies crocheted around and around, but I don’t mind. However I may try turning the work every other round on my next granny, because that’s supposed to maintain a perfect square. Of course it also make it reversible, though I’m not sure if my end-weaving is perfect enough to be invisible on both sides.

I have so much black and grey that my brain is working on the next blanket already. I’d like to make one in white, grey and black with small pops of colour. I will need to browse Ravelry for some pattern inspiration.

I just came off four days of work in a row. I worked  Friday to Monday, which was rather sad because it was Thanksgiving weekend and my husband was off work for three of those days and I barely saw him. Whilst I like my job at the fabric store and my co-workers, and now that I’ve been there four years I (finally) feel confident in my abilities there, I sometimes wonder whether it would be worth looking around for something I could do that didn’t involve evenings and weekends. Or is the grass just looking greener from the other side?

Talking of grass, my lawn has greened up beautifully with the fall weather. The cooler temperatures and rain have been very welcome. The squirrels have been busy collecting up my walnuts, though Tai Chi Man found three paint buckets-worth on the ground when he was doing yardwork over the weekend and brought them inside. For the first time in a few years we will actually get to eat some of our own walnuts! He dug the last of the potatoes and also rented this awesome gadget from the sprinkler store which meant that for the first time since we bought this house in 1995 we actually know where ALL the solenoid boxes are for the irrigation system. Some of them have been buried for a very long time, which makes it hard to fix problems.

My massive maple in the front yard is showing red this year for the first time. Previously it’s always turned yellow. Weird! And normally I like to see how long we can hold out on turning up the thermostat. I like to aim for the end of October. Well, forget that! This year we had the heat on at the beginning of October, just to get a bit more comfy in the evenings. I am really appreciating having a blanket project to crochet to keep my legs warm – it makes a big difference when you’re enjoying couch and Netflix time!

Guess I should get off this computer now. I have a little housework to do and a couple of errands, so I’ll wish you happy crafting and a wonderful week.

 

Friday frolics

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G’day crafty people! How are you? I have had a nice day off, during which I spent some time at a coffee shop, crocheting up a new test mandala design for a designer I have worked for before, and looking around for new runners and jeans. The runners were urgent – the cheap Wal-mart jobbies that I’ve been wearing at the gym were ones I’ve had for years but because they have been my dedicated indoor workout shoes they really didn’t get a lot of use until last September when I joined World Gym. This week, the sole of the right shoe split!

I decided that I’d be willing to spend more on a good quality pair this time. I set a mental budget of $100 maximum, which is more than I have ever spent on shoes before, and looked for some that had the right features (no leather, a bit of colour but not tacky, a good fit, and a good look). Sportchek didn’t have anything that fitted my specs in my size, so I ended up looking around Shoe Warehouse, found three possible options, and narrowed it down to these.

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Of course, as turquoise is my favourite colour, they were very appealing to me!

I can show you this square now. This was my test crochet square from last month that I didn’t want to talk too much about until it was published. Now that Pam has released it (Ravelry pattern page here) I can show off my square.

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It’s a pretty design, but I would use different colours if I made it again.

Today I was working on this test mandala, also by Pam, and I did all the crocheting on it (it’s only eight rounds) while drinking my London Fog at the coffee shop.

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It’s a bit wavy at the moment, and all the ends need to be woven in, but a good steam blocking should do the trick.

The cat backpack got an outing, as it was holding a dozen colours of DK yarn, and the pocket held my hook, darning needles, tape measure and snippers.

I have enough sock to make it worth showing too. This was taken before the heel turn, which I have also done. I’m using one of my sewn triangle zipper bags for this project, but am finding it hard to motivate myself to knit on this every day so it’s slow going.

The yarn is Loops & Threads Perfect Pair, and the needles are Chiao Goo stainless steel, size US#1. So skinny! (Oh, and the pattern is the basic cuff-down sock pattern from Ann Budd’s Handy Book of Patterns.)

These two projects were tiny, crocheted items that I made using dollar store cotton.

The mini backpack was the third in a row for this pattern, and the smallest of all at about 3″ tall. The cup and saucer were created on the hook (2.5mm) while sitting outside my favourite tea shop, just so I had something to do with my hands. I gave it to the owner when it was done and she was delighted.

Well, quite the roundup, eh! I expect things will be pretty quiet around here this month as I will be on holiday with Tai Chi Man for a couple of weeks, but I have lots of options for holiday knitting/crocheting so will have stuff to share with you later. Ta ta for now.

 

 

Beating the heat

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New haircut, hair colour, and specs

After my weekend, I still had two full days of time at home to enjoy. The downside to being at home is…no AC! However it is way cooler downstairs and that encourages me to go down to my craft room and actually get some sewing done.

Daytime maximums have been over 30, so both days I prepped a bunch of food in the morning when the kitchen was more bearable and then went downstairs in the afternoon. This is super-satisfying as I can then sew to my heart’s content, knowing that the work of dinner prep is behind me and I can focus on what I’m doing.

Yesterday I spent some time sorting through my knitting and crochet pattern folder. I found the pattern from the Groovyghan that I’ve made twice (this one and this one) and pulled it out, as I am thinking of making another. There is a CAL running in the Vanna’s Choice Fan Club group on Ravelry for the Groovyghan blanket and the designer, Tracy St John, has said that she will make the pattern free for a short time for members of the Crochet-Along. I must have downloaded and printed the pattern when it was free before as I don’t recall paying for it. If you go and visit that group, click on the Interest Thread that’s stickied at the top of the discussion threads. (I have only ever made one blanket with Vanna’s Choice – I joined the group only for this CAL and intend to use mostly stash yarn for it.)

After I’d dug out that pattern, I tidied up my yarn a bit and made sure that the Mandala was being shown off properly! And then I decided to cut out all the pieces for a sewn backpack for which I had a pattern from work, Butterick B6335. I used three coordinating fabrics. I made a large tote and a small drawstring bag from the cat fabric a while back (a quick search shows me that was January 2016) and this time I wanted to use all three fabrics together.

Monday afternoon, all the cutting was done, and today I went downstairs ready to start sewing but remembered I needed something to reinforce the base of the backpack, like plastic canvas. So I popped down to the nearest dollar store, but they had nothing, so I went over to Walmart, got my new glasses tightened up a bit, found some plastic canvas and also some Red Heart It’s a Wrap which was strangely drawn to my hand and begged to come home with me. There were only two colourways to choose from and I didn’t like the pinky-orangey one, so this one in shades of blue (called Documentary) was what I bought. I have seen this a lot online recently – it’s a fingering weight yarn with 1100 yards (about 1000 metres) in a cake. Wouldn’t that make an awesome vacation yarn! A whole kilometre of yarn to crochet or knit up. And it wouldn’t take up much space in your luggage.

And finally, the sewing could commence. There was a couple of fiddly bits, the most memorable being the sewing of the backpack straps into the bottom band without catching the lining. But I was pleased that sewing the oval base into the cylinder of the main bag went smoothly and I seem to have finally figured out how to do it properly (a big part of that being that I realised that when the instructions say to snip into the seam allowance to get around the curves you are to snip into the bottom of the cylinder, NOT the oval or circular base)! A big AHA moment there!!

And…TA DA!

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That black and white striped fabric made it easier to get my hems straight, as did the pattern on the pocket. There are four cakes of Mandala in there for photography purposes so it is very roomy – way bigger than I expected, actually, going by the photo on the pattern envelope.

And now that I have waffled on, it’s 11pm and time I went to bed. Work tomorrow. TTYL.

 

 

 

 

Fire update and FOs

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The valley is less smoky today, but the fires are still burning. The two fires that are burning just south of us on the west side of the lake were merged into one, deliberately, in a controlled burn today. The news article I just read said that this would make it easier to tackle. The one directly across from that, on the east side, is still smouldering, but when we were out walking this evening it didn’t look very active and doesn’t seem to have spread any closer to the southern end of the city.

Two of my sons and I drove down the other evening to a beach where we could see the flames on both sides of the lake. It looks very impressive after dark, with the orange glow, and even more so when you get the binoculars out and can see details of trees and flames even from many kilometres away.

I am currently enjoying a block of days off – my schedule happens to include four days in a row between shifts. It probably had something to do with the mild complaint I made to my boss about working five Sundays in a row. So it’s been a lovely weekend, enjoying a potluck with friends, and visiting a vegan market, and having tea at our favourite tea shop, and going out for a walk around the neighbourhood this evening after the sun hid behind the mountain and it wasn’t too hot.

And there’s been crochet. Just a couple of very small, fun projects which I was inspired to make when I spotted this video tutorial.  It’s for a mini backpack that is really small, keychain sized really, but it still has little shoulder straps to make it look like a real backpack. I made the first one with Red Heart Supersaver Ombre in the colour Scuba  (about 30 grams) and a 5mm hook and it came out about 4.5″ tall. The second one uses Scheepjes Linen Soft in the colour Hummingbird (about 20 grams) and a 3.5mm hook and it is about 3.5″ tall.

 

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The pattern tells you to braid a little cord from three strands of yarn, which I did for the turquoise one, but it was fiddly and annoying so for the pink one I just worked a chain with my hook.

And I almost forgot, but I found Lion Brand Mandala at my local Walmart. I have been enviously seeing other people’s posts in the Canadian Crocheters group on Facebook, where they say they found a display of the Mandala yarn at their local Walmart. The few cakes of this yarn that I have bought were from Herrschner’s online. Well, I bought some this week from Walmart for less money, AND no shipping fees of course. They don’t have the whole range, but I found some I liked. One of them is actually a Mandala Baby cake, but it has the same yardage etc as the Mandala.

So pretty. A couple are new to me, and the rest are ones I’ve bought before. But when I ordered from Herrschner’s I only bought one cake of each colour and then realised I wanted to have at least two so that I could have more options as to patterns.

It’s just as well my birthday is coming up and I have money from my mum! I shall choose my projects carefully for these babies!!

 

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!