Category Archives: hand knitting

A sock in progress

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My basic sock from the Ann Budd Handy Book of Patterns has grown a little since my last post. I’m still decreasing for the gusset and there’s a few decrease rounds yet to complete. This Perfect Pair yarn from Loops & Threads is pretty, but at 9st/inch the knitting doesn’t grow very fast.

The Frank Mandala that I was testing for Pam at Hooks and Hills is finished and blocked, but the only place I have a photo is on my Ravelry project page and I am having trouble getting a copy saved, so I shall send you to this link instead if you want to see it.

I did finish another project this week. It took three days to make some fingerless mitts from a pattern in a magazine that I bought. I don’t usually buy magazines, as I tend to flick through them in the store and then decide that they’re not worth the money. However this issue of Colorful Crochet (Fall 2018) was all about self-striping and cake yarns and has 40 patterns in it, some of which I like the look of.

So I crocheted up the Favori Mitts, which you can see here (another link to my Ravelry project page – my laptop isn’t playing nice today). I used Lion Brand Mandala, two cakes, so that I could get the mitts to look somewhat alike. I cut a little blue out so that the turquoise would appear for a reasonable part of the project. I learned how to do esc (elongated or extended single crochet).

Two of my WIPs have been relegated to the “Hibernating” pile, because they have not been worked on for ages and I don’t like having too many WIPs at the top of my Ravelry project summary. The March sweater that was put on hold when I broke my wrist will have to get finished, because I wove in a tonne of ends, though I don’t really love it.

I am leaving for a vacation in Switzerland today with Tai Chi Man. The three young men at home will be free of parental supervision for a couple of weeks but they are all capable intelligent adults and as long as the house is relatively clean when I get back they can do whatever they like. (No, there won’t be any parties!)

The remainder of the LB Mandala yarn is coming with me so that I can make a hat and possibly also a cowl to match the fingerless mitts, as is a cake of Red Heart It’s a Wrap with a printed pattern that I bought recently from Hannah at the Cozy Cottage Crochet podcast, Key Largo Lace Wrap. I love her podcast and even though I rarely buy patterns I felt like I wanted to support her a little bit. It’s a fingering/light fingering weight wrap and the cake of yarn has 1000 metres in it, which is a LOT of vacation crochet in a small space!

We always travel light, with cabin-sized backpacks and NO check-in luggage, so we have to be picky about what we take.

If I am absent for a couple of weeks, then, don’t be surprised, though if the old WordPress app on my old iPad Mini lets me I might be able to do some short blog posts. I am really looking forward to some cool clean Swiss mountain air. We have been under a pall of smoke for too long now and it’s been so hot. There have been a couple of rumbles of thunder today and some big fat raindrops, but not enough to make a difference.

Well, time to sign off and switch off. Have a great weekend, everyone.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

FOs of the knit, crochet and sewing kind

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Oooh, I do feel productive. A finished hat from the cake of Lion Brand Mandala (the third from that cake, and there’s still some left). Cast on 94 sts with US#4, worked some K2P2 ribbing, changed to #5 tips and increased to 100 sts. When hat was 4.75″ deep, I did the same crown decreasing as in the Vanilla hat, but with hindsight reducing the straight part by a whole inch may have been a little too much as I find it a bit small now. It fits Sally perfectly (see below).

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A finished cosy from a German crochet book that I found at my local library. I learned some new words in German!

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And some finished project/notions bags. First, an unlined drawstring bag with a boxed bottom to which I added a special pocket with a slanted zipper opening. I messed up a little there as I was going to make the bag quite a bit bigger, but then my rotary cutter had other ideas and it ended up being the same size as the last one I made. The pocket dwarfs it a bit, but you get the idea.

This little guy is a tiny version of the triangle bag I made first (as talked about here) with the yarn ball print. I made it to go with the other bag as a gift for a podcaster I listen to a lot. They are now both in the mail. (Tutorial Crafty Gemini)

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And lastly this one from a McCall’s pattern (# M6256) which I bought on sale this week at work.

Oh man, this presented some challenges. Sewing a circle to a tube for the base – eeek! Handsewing the lining inside – grrr! Heat ‘n Bond that didn’t stick when it was supposed to – aaagh! Glad it’s done, and it does do the job – there’s a partial cake of yarn in there and the end is threaded through the top of the “lid” – though it wouldn’t hold a full cake. Maybe it’d work best for a commercial skein of acrylic set inside on its end.

This morning was productive in its own way too. An appointment with a new dentist, in which I had my teeth scaled and polished, and numerous other things they wanted to do as I am a new patient there. No cavities, thank goodness. Dropped bags of stuff at the recycling depot. Mailed a small package to the aforementioned podcaster in Wisconsin. And spent rather a lot of money on a new pair of spectacles. I hope to have them before I go on holiday in August as the ones I’ve been wearing are badly scratched.

What are you making this week?

 

 

Too much fun

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I had a 9.30am appointment with my hand therapist yesterday, and afterwards enjoyed a nice cup of tea at our favourite tea shop with Tai Chi Man. Then it was on to multiple errands to stock up on food for the ravening hordes…I mean, my family…but I diverted a little bit by having a stroll around Michaels. I found this new sock yarn – acrylic, viscose from bamboo, and polyester, so yay! No wool! Had to buy one with my coupon so after the discount it came to $5. Then of course I needed needles, because I don’t have circular needles for  magic looping socks in the required size. So I HAD to drop in at my local LYS and she has the Chiao Goo Red Lace in a 2.25mm. I am going to make socks in proper sock yarn! It’s been years since I knitted socks and I used to use a thicker yarn with 4mm dpns.

While I was looking around her new store, I remembered to ask if she had any ballwinders, and it turns out she did. So I came home with one of those too.

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I’ve been wanting one of these for ages. Considering I rarely buy yarn in hanks, and this will mostly be used for tidying up odds and ends, it wasn’t worth investing in an expensive  model.

I tried it out and, well, here are some of the fun results.

Don’t you just love those Before and After photos? And one more – four colours of dishcloth cotton in one…

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I have lots more DK yarn that is in slightly messy half used skeins, but I thought I’d better stop there as my wrist and arm have been sore since Tuesday’s workout and I shouldn’t be overdoing things.

I need to finish lunch and go out for a walk. I’m really enjoying the mild weather lately, but it’s set to heat up mid-week after some more rain. Have a great weekend, and if you’re in Canada HAPPY CANADA DAY, eh!

The sewing continues…

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The sewing continues…

This Japanese Knot Bag is so simple to make and yet it looks great when it’s finished. I used this You Tube tutorial by The Crafts Channel. The longer handle threads through the smaller one to form a wrist-carrying loop. It has two contrasting fabrics on the outside, and you could also do two different ones for the lining but I just used one. (I suppose you could even use eight different fabrics in all, which would be an awesome way to use up smaller pieces.)

Rather than download and print a pdf, I eyeballed the approximate sizes from the video and drew it out on some Burda gridded pattern paper. I started with a 25 x 25 cm square for the body of the bag, and added handles, making one twice as long as the other.

This is the sort of bag it’d be fun to make in different sizes, which I might just do!

I had a bit of a tidy round today, did the vacuuming, bathrooms, kitchen cleaning etc, and now my three crochet WIPs have been relegated to my sewing room, demoted from their living room spots. I’m not loving any of them so decided to pretend they didn’t exist! Of course my Ravelry project page has them sitting there at the top, where I can’t ignore them, but I shan’t worry about that.

The one yarny project that is active right now is a knitted beanie that I’m making with the last of the Lion Brand Mandala cake (colourway Chimera) with which I knitted/crocheted my FIL two hats. Pretty great yardage, really, to get three hats out of one cake. I started with ribbing this time, on US#4 needles, 94 stitches cast on, then increased to 100 for the stockinette part on #5 needles.

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I found that knitting to 5.75″ last time, then doing the crown decreases, made for a hat that was about an inch too long, so either I will stop at 4.75″ and then start decreasing or, if the yarn looks plentiful enough at that point, I may go even longer and make it a slouchy. Maybe even add a pompom. Anything to finish this yarn cake.

Well, I have friends coming over tonight so I’d better sign off for now. I just couldn’t wait to show you my latest bag! Happy crafting!

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

 

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.)

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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.

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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!

FO: Bill’s hat

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The info on the pattern and yarn for this hat is in my previous post. As I was loving the muted shades that had come out of the yarn cake for the majority of the hat, I stopped before the brighter orange, wound off a bit from the outside of the cake, and used the brownish purple for the very tip top instead. That way, all the colours have the same tone.

The hat used less than 50 grams, which means I have at least 100 grams left in the cake (and the small balls that were wound off to get the colours to behave themselves) and I could actually make two more hats. Three hats from one cake, and they’d all look completely different!

Sally the Styrofoam Head is a little smaller than a real head so she doesn’t accurately represent the size comparative to a real person, but she is useful for blocking on.

The weather has been very Spring-like the last week. And it seems to be paying attention to my work days. Tuesday and Wednesday I was working, Thursday and Friday I wasn’t, and the sun shone and it made for lovely hiking and a bit o’ sunbathing. Even some dinner outside on the deck Friday evening, followed by some knittin’.

I worked all weekend and the wrist was quite painful after the busy sale days. The sky was cloudy with a few spits of rain but I didn’t mind because I was indoors.

Then Monday and Tuesday were again fine – a mix of sun and cloud, another walk with a friend…

Some pretty views of the lake and mountains from the high vantage point. The Arrowleaf Balsamroot is out in force – it’s such a bright and welcome addition to the hillsides at this time of year. (Click on the pics if you want to see them bigger.)

I was a good girl today and went to the gym this morning. Thirty minutes on the treadmill, made easier by the fact that I remembered my iPad and earbuds. Then some weights, including a few careful exercises with a 3lb and 5lb dumbbell with the right hand. Tonight Tai Chi Man and I are going to a yoga class.

I have to run – need to get into my yoga gear and get out of the house shortly. Happy crafting, everyone.

 

 

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?