Category Archives: daily life

2018 – a review

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2018 – a review

One of the things I love to do at the end of the year is to look back through my Ravelry project pages and count how many Finished Objects there were. It is such a good way to record everything you make, what yarn you used, how much yarn, which patterns, and so on. I do sometimes make something more than once and it’s helpful to have a record of the hook or needle size I used with a particular project or yarn.

I just made a list of everything and here’s the final rundown:

  • Hats 20
  • Cowls/scarves/shawls 8
  • Dishcloths 8
  • Yarn ball holders 5
  • Phone/giftcard cosies 4
  • Blankets 3
  • Sweaters 3
  • Mini Christmas stockings 3
  • Mittens/fingerless mitts 3 prs
  • Cup cosies 3
  • Mini keychain backpacks 3
  • Earrings 2 prs
  • Afghan blocks 2
  • Rat sweaters 2
  • Doll and clothes 1
  • iPad stand 1
  • Mini cup and saucer 1
  • Crystal cosy 1
  • Nosewarmer 1

That makes 74 FOs for 2018 which means it was one of my more productive years. Amazing, considering I was out of action for part of the year after my snowboarding accident.

My favourite project of the year has to be my Groovyghan (pictured at the top of this post). 

My favourite hat? The one I just finished in two days flat and gave to one of my co-workers. Not only am I happy with the FO but I also had the satisfaction of giving it to her and seeing her reaction!

This was made with Red Heart With Love in Daffodil with extra touches of Holly Berry, Black and Eggshell. For more info, see my project page here.

I also finished the crocheted Candy Cane hat that I showed you as a WIP last time, and a brown slouchy beanie with some old stash yarn – James C Brett Marble Chunky.

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One of my current goals is to make beanies with the older acrylic in my stash and donate them.

Looking back on 2018, there have been some definite highs and lows. 

January: I set a goal to make 12 sweaters and sew 12 garments in 12 months. Well, the sewing was a bust. But I was going great guns on the knitting and crochet until…

February: Any and all plans were called off as I broke my wrist while snowboarding on Family Day, February 12th. I had a fetching pink cast applied to my right arm. img_7227

February 28th I had surgery for my distal radius fracture which involved acquiring a piece of titanium screwed to the bone, which will stay in indefinitely. I traded in my pink cast for a huge splinted dressing. Life was interesting, to say the least, with some pain and discomfort, and learning how to wash and dress with one hand.

March:  I was off work for nine weeks in all, so this month was all about recovery and not being able to drive, as my car is a manual/stick shift. I was so desperate to knit or crochet that I learned how to crochet left-handed with an adapted style. Knitting was too painful.

April: I was visiting rehab regularly to get my healing progress checked and finally returned to work. I also managed to get the Paper Bag Princess finished after a long hiatus for my grand-niece.

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May: I was back at the gym and doing all my usual activities. I was back into knitting – this hat was for my father-in-law and was my first knitting project after the break – and I was also sewing up project bags for fun.

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June: More project bag sewing, and some yarn stash organisation with my new yarn ball winder.

July: This was the peak of forest fire season, and we had multiple fires burning at once in our valley. fire

August: Tai Chi Man and I had an awesome vacation in Switzerland, spending time in the mountains near the Italian border and in the Bernese Oberland. We had a wonderful time, visiting his cousins and meeting up with other family members, and having some couple time for the last few days.

September: This was the month of the Groovyghan. It took almost exactly a month to make. It was a very addictive project.

October: In full swing, churning out lots of FOs.

November: Back to the hospital, this time to have a stapedectomy (replacement of the stapes with a prosthesis) in my right ear. This fixed the hearing loss that I had as a result of otosclerosis, a hereditary calcification and fusing of the bones in the inner ear. Now I am the proud owner of not one, not two, but THREE pieces of titanium (one in each ear and one in my wrist). Recovery from this surgery was painless and, thanks to a different drug, easy, without the insane vertigo that I experienced in 2015 when I had my left ear done.

December: We had a beautiful few days at one of our favourite retreats for our 31st wedding anniversary. There was a little scare with one of our sons suddenly having a partially collapsed lung. Chest pain led him to call 911 and he was taken to the hospital by ambulance (we were away at the time) and sent home in the morning with a pump in his side to draw out air and fluid from around the lung. Thankfully it was only needed for three days at which time they removed it and he seems to be fine now.

The lead-up to Christmas was pleasant, and we enjoyed lots of good eating including mountains of home-made fruit cake. I still have a fruit cake in the freezer. I ended up making four, two with wheat flour and two gluten-free. Cake #1 was scoffed by Tai Chi Man and me over about three days before Christmas. Cake #2 went with us to our friends on Christmas Day, where we had a lovely time playing games, exchanging gifts, eating too many calories and having a singalong around the piano. The remains came back and were demolished. Cake #3 went to work with me on Boxing Day and everyone seemed to enjoy that. Cake #4 will be defrosted later this week when I hope to get some of my friends together in one place for a belated Christmas cuppa.

I just remembered that, of the four jars of mincemeat I made, I still have one in the fridge, so there will have to be some more mince pies in the near future. The store where I work has a big sale every New Year’s so I had work today and will be going in tomorrow, but then I have five days off in a row. That will give me time to actually clean my house (rather overdue) and do some more baking. I hopped on the scale at the gym the other day and it wasn’t showing an upward trend so I think I’m OK!! We did go gymming every day for four days up until Christmas, and dragged the boys out for a long walk on Christmas Day, so the exercise has not been neglected.

What a year! I am looking forward to seeing what 2019 has in store. I hope you all have a wonderful year – you know it’s going to speed by and before we know it it’ll be Christmas again! Make the most of it!

 

Deep dark December

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Deep dark December

I love December. I love that we have the Solstice, with its shortest day (8 hours and 5 minutes here on the 21st), and the long dark nights, and gloomy days, and sunny days, and cold weather that makes you want to wear all your winter knitted/crocheted accessories.

I love that it’s our wedding anniversary on the 10th (31 years so far) and we get to go on a retreat most years to just be the two of us, without anyone else around. This year it was a cabin we’ve visited a few times before, about 1.5 hours drive away, with a woodstove and a private hot tub. It also has underfloor heating in the bathroom and baseboard heating, so not TOO rustic, and it gets warm enough that we can actually open the window, regardless of how cold it is outside. It is close to some cross country (Nordic) ski trails with snowshoe trails marked out, and we tromped through deep snow for nearly 2.5 hours one day. Seeing moose tracks was my favourite part of that!

As usual, the month has whizzed by with leisure activities and work commitments and our three night retreat. While we were away, ds2 gave us a scare. Messaged us to say he had spent the night in the emergency room with chest pains. He was in enough pain that he called 911 and an ambulance came and took him in. Turns out it was a partially collapsed lung, the treatment of which involved having a tube inserted between his ribs into his chest cavity to drain fluid into a plastic container, which he had to manually empty every day. He was sent home in the morning, and in his message to us said he was fine and we didn’t need to come home early. Thankfully after three days and follow up X rays he had the tube removed and now seems back to normal, but that was a worrying experience.

And now it’s time for Christmas baking. We are not buying gifts for each other this year. We had our tree and lights set up in the living room on December 1st, and our celebrations will simply involve fancier family meals, and a visit with friends on Christmas Day. My work outfit this week included Christmas light earrings and leggings, and a string of battery-operated lights around my neck adorned with some Christmas ornaments!!

Today I baked two fruit cakes (I completely forgot I was going to make them gluten-free, and dumped regular wholewheat flour in with the dried fruit, apple juice and oil before I realised what I’d done). I also baked two dozen mince pies using my own  mincemeat, which I made four weeks ago and tucked away in the fridge.  I will have to bake more fruit cakes using the GF flour so I can share with friends and co-workers.

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The meals have been planned for the next few days, I have done my last Costco shop (amazing that I actually found a parking spot on my first try) and now I have lots of cooking and eating to look forward to. (Of course, we will be going to the gym now and then to try to burn off some of the extra calories. We had a great yoga class at 8.30 this morning; different teacher, different style.)

There has been some knitting and crochet. I took the garter stitch wrap with me to the cabin…

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I played around with a knitted rat sweater and a crochet version too…

 

I made a Secret Santa gift for work’s Christmas party (sadly I didn’t get a photo of the nosewarmer with its white pompom as it was an afterthought)…

 

I bought some clearance yarn at Michaels (whoops)…

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(Caron Cupcakes)

I sewed a quick tube skirt out of some sweater fleece in my stash so that I could show off my Christmas light leggings…

 

And I’ve been making a toque similar to the Joyful and Bright Slouch Hat that I made last year…

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(Using the Candy Cane colourway of Bernat Pop, left over from the knitted Fair Isle toque I made recently.)

What a picture-heavy post this is, but it has been a while since my last update. I didn’t think I’d done much, so hadn’t posted because I didn’t think I had anything to show you.

Here’s wishing you all a very Merry Solstice/Yule/Christmas/whatever.

 

Hello December

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There is a chill in the air but it still feels more like fall rather than winter. Heck, I even saw someone at the Christmas market this morning wearing flip-flops! It’s more damp and cloudy than cold, and around 3 degrees, and it won’t really feel like winter until it gets to the minus temperatures and maybe some of the white stuff.

Anyway we found a lovely Christmas tree at the market. It was the first one we saw, it was full and green and just the right size and price, and so it was an easy decision. I didn’t buy anything from the vendors but it was fun to look around. Crochet figured heavily on a lot of the tables. Whilst there was still one person selling what I would call tacky old-fashioned stuff there was also a tasteful table of beanies with faux fur pompoms, scarves, mittens and so on that were made in a controlled colour palette and presented with pretty tags in an attractive way.

I know that, as yarn crafters, we make a very wide range of items, and where they fall on the tacky/tasteful scale is quite subjective. I do not claim to always make tasteful items! I’m sure some people have looked sideways at some of my FOs and thought WTF! However when making things to sell I think it’s worth thinking about current trends, what colours people tend to wear, what fashions they are following.  While I like bright colours, I think that the woman selling the well-made neutral-coloured accessories will do well, whereas the woman selling the crazily-variegated blankets and pastel baby jackets will not. Maybe that’s just my judgment. As I say, the tasteful/tacky scale is subjective.

I do love granny squares and I know there are many who hate them. The garter stitch wrap I am knitting right  now, with its colour changes every two rows, would probably make some people cringe. My friend said she admired my bravery in changing colours so often. I know she didn’t mean it in a bad way – maybe she was even referring to all the ends I am creating along one edge (which I am definitely not going to be weaving in). But I love it, and that’s what matters because I am not making it to please anyone else.

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It’s 12.5″ long now. Only 37.5″ to go! And the granny squares which will be attached along each end are still only partially made. But there’s no deadline for this, and even though it seems like it will take a long time (DK yarn is pretty thin) if I add an inch or two every day it’ll be done by the end of the month. I know I am onto a good thing if I am picturing myself wearing the item and really looking forward to it.

I took these photos outside on my deck at about 3.30 in the afternoon. Surprisingly the light was still quite good. I got another photo of the  mittens too as the indoor shot was a bit dark.

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I went to see Bohemian Rhapsody last night with a friend. I really enjoyed it. I love Queen’s music and we were singing along in places. I know there have been mixed reviews but I give it two thumbs up!

So what’s on your tasteful/tacky list?

 

In my happy place

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I love my couch. It’s one of my favourite places. It has blankets for pulling over the knees if we feel a little chilly,  a coffee table in front of it for holding giant Ikea mugs full of Yorkshire tea, a lapdesk on the middle cushion to hold my laptop for Ravelry-browsing, pattern-reading, email checking and Facebook scrolling. It has space next to it for baskets of yarn, needles and hooks. The two main lamps in the room stand either end of the couch so the light is good, and I allow Tai Chi Man one cushion’s worth of space at the opposite end for his own use. I think that’s fair!

Plopping down on the couch is so much more satisfying when I feel that I have made some order around me, so I cleaned the main floor of the house this morning, did laundry, mopped the kitchen, freshened up the bathrooms, vacuumed the living room and de-crumbed the dining room table.

I left the vacuuming of the stairs and downstairs utility room to ds2, who is the only one who doesn’t go out and earn his daily crust so he is the one who is allocated chores every day. I still need to take care not to over-exert myself with my healing ear, after all.

I even prepped a couple of dishes of enchiladas for dinner so that once I was installed on the couch I wouldn’t have to get up again for some time!

My garter stitch wrap has reached all of 7″ long, and my goal is eventually to get it to 50″. Then I want to add granny squares to each end, which I have already started making. You can see them in this photo.

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The beauty of this project is that if I feel like I’ve had enough of garter stitch I can move over to the crochet. The eight squares are 3.5″ at the moment, with an intended finished size of 6.5″.

I also have three very small FOs – these mini Christmas stockings.  I didn’t use a pattern. I wanted to take the smallest possible crochet project with me into hospital, so I picked a 3mm hook which was shorter than the rest, a few mini skeins of cotton from the dollar store, and some nail clippers and fitted them into one of my triangular bags that I sewed a few months ago.

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Two of these were finished on Thursday before I left the hospital, and the third was completed yesterday. They’re about 2″ tall.

Well, time to pay some attention to Tai Chi Man who just arrived home from work. TTFN.

 

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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fire

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!