Tag Archives: granny squares

Fabulous Friday

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Let’s see, what do I have to share with you today? I probably should have got out of bed earlier this morning. I was up at about 7, and had to be at work by 9.15. So the first thing was to grab my lemon water and cup of tea, and then get on with making a pot of chili. It took about an hour to get everything going in the pressure cooker but it was a great way to use up the beans in the fridge and freezer, some spinach, Swiss chard, a couple of mushrooms, some grated carrot, a partial can of diced tomatoes and so on.

We used to have “refrigerator soup” most Fridays before I started working at Fabricland, because we always did our weekly shop on Saturdays and it was nice to clear out the wilting vegetables. Our routine is not so set in stone any more, because my shifts are all over the place. This week my only shifts were a five hour stretch last night plus an eight hour one today. I had a busy morning but because we are open until 9pm on Fridays we have more staff arriving at lunchtime to see us through to closing, and a couple of us were able to leave early today. So I’ve only actually earned ten hours worth of pay this week.

So to get back to the chili, and the fact that I put in a couple of loads of laundry and hung one load outside on the line, and had to eat breakfast and make a lunch, I didn’t have time to meditate this morning. And I actually missed it! It’s only Day 4 but I already feel it’s something I want to keep doing. So when I was told I could go home early if I wanted, I jumped at the chance (as usual) and fitted in my 35 minute session before dinner.

Awesome!

I also had time to review the slideshow that I have put together for a presentation I’m making tomorrow night. This presentation, which I’m calling Wholistic Nutrition, has been scheduled for months and I had started writing things down and mulling over how it was all going to come together back in May or June. With the deadline looming, I discovered Google Slides, which is a free Powerpoint type tool which is easy to use. Using the material I wrote weeks ago, plus some text from my blog posts on Grains, Greens, Berries and Beans (my whole-food plant-based blog), plus some nifty photos from Pixabay (free Creative Commons pictures), I found that doing a slideshow was a better way to get my thoughts in order and present everything attractively.

I sound like an advertisement, don’t I!

I ended up putting the whole thing together in a day, with a couple of tweaks since, and I even had to get a bit of advice from my techie sons about changing my display to incorporate two screens, as my laptop will hook up to a projector. I feel a bit nervous about relying heavily on technology, and just in case my speaker notes aren’t visible while the slideshow is playing I will be printing them out.

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I do actually have two WIPs to show you. I have finished and joined Parts 1 to 5 of the Everything is Cool and Groovyghan CAL 2016. Part 6 is a long strip that attaches to this piece, and I had to wonder why it was made separately when I could just work it straight onto the piece I already had. So what I did was crochet a row of sc along the edge of the joined blocks (after I took this photo) instead of making a row of foundation sc, and whilst I have a few extra stitches I think it will be okay (famous last words) as I think the pattern repeat for part 6 is a multiple of 5 plus 2, and I have 172 stitches. This is only five more than the pattern calls for so I think I’m good.

Good grief, that photo makes the blocks look so wonky. There’s going to have to be some serious blocking when all the parts are joined.

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This is my other WIP. It’s the Kanata Kerchief Tank, available as a free Ravelry download. It’s a pretty top, made quite simply with four large squares, partially joined and finished to make the shoulder straps. It calls for a DK yarn so I’m using a new yarn to me, Scheepjes Linen Soft, and a 6mm hook.

I figured that this top should be the priority, so that I can wear it this summer, and then I’ll probably follow that up with the toddler dress with the pink Linen Soft. I’m really looking forward to making that.

I also managed to binge watch Season Six of ‘Suits’ on Netflix this week. There are only 10 episodes and I’m 99% sure there won’t be another season, considering how it ended, but I could be wrong. (Who, me?)

Wishing you all a happy sunny weekend. Have fun, stay healthy, be happy!

 

 

WIP: Everything is Cool and Groovyghan

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I’m only a year and a half ‘late’ on doing this Crochet-along. It actually started in January 2016 and all the parts were published, done and dusted long ago. However it fitted my criteria for a summer blanket project. It’s modular which means I  can work on small pieces without being swamped in yarn on hot summer evenings. I can use multiple colours and get a scrappy look because, hey, it’s a Groovyghan and it’s supposed to be a bit wacky.

It’s coming along quite quickly. I’m using my stash of DK yarn, which is combination of Stylecraft Special, Deramores Studio and Mark & Kattens Carolina. I’ve had that Carolina for so long that it’s now discontinued and it was annoying me that it was still hanging around. I invested a lot of money in greens and browns, thinking I’d make this gorgeous cardigan, an adult version of a pattern I had with fiddlehead ferns embroidered on it. Nope, that stalled, as did the other projects I tried with it.

I see most people use a 4mm hook with DK, even a 3.5mm, but I’m using my Addi Swing 4.5mm because (a) it’s an awesomely comfortable hook, (b) I tend to crochet tightly, and (c) I don’t want my blanket coming out too small.

Here’s the pile of stash, sorted by colour:

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And here’s my progress:

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One strip of granny squares is finished (though I haven’t woven in all the ends yet). To control the colours somewhat, all the centres are yellow, and all the second and fifth rounds are shades of green (I have a lot of greens). That was part 1 of the CAL. Then part 2 is the popcorn blocks, where I chose to use the same purple for the background on both blocks and two of the greens for the popcorns to tie things in with the grannies.

The Ravelry link for the CAL is here. And the page on the Keep Calm and Crochet On UK website where it all comes together is here. Whilst I’m not crocheting along with other people, I have the benefit of working at my own pace, which means I’m not waiting around for the next part to be published, or rushing to finish a section and feeling pressured.

As you can see, this is not a portable project. I have three large bags/baskets of yarn and I’m choosing colours as I go. So I needed a small project which would fit into a project bag for taking to work and other places. This is one which I have worked on solely in my lunchbreaks the last three days:

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It’s a nice bit of comforting Tunisian crochet in simple stitch using a bulky yarn from Michaels and an 8mm hook. This will probably end up being another co-worker gift. No rush to finish this one either.

So that’s that! Summer has officially hit here, with temperatures into the 30s, though I think maybe it will be mid-20s for the next few days. The over-full lake has started to recede, and hopefully the beaches will all be open again soon (that’s if they are usable, considering the debris, dead grass etc all over the place). I have started an exercise routine as I need to firm things up for MAUI! Yes, we have booked a week in Maui for our 30th wedding anniversary in December. I’ve been wanting to go there for a long time and see for myself if all the rumours are true – that it’s an amazing place!

Tai Chi Man has sadly been given extra work around the house that he really didn’t need. He has the week off and already has a “honey-do” list as long as his arm, but we’re having trouble with the plumbing. The water pressure is triple what it should be which of course we discovered just before the weekend, the extra pressure is making the toilets and dishwasher quite unhappy, and he has had to phone around for parts and make numerous trips to the hardware store. I guess the pressure valve on the pipe coming into the house failed (no cold water tank like we used to have in the UK, just a direct line). What a nuisance! Old houses are always giving you little surprises. Nasty ones. Sometimes expensive ones.

I’d better go and get started on straightening up around here. The water is off so I can’t clean the bathrooms but I can certainly vacuum, and hem curtains, and get some things crossed off MY to-do list.

Happy crafting!

So relaxed!

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Day 4 of a block of five consecutive days off between shifts. I don’t know what I did to deserve that, but I’m loving it.

Today I did one of my favourite things, which was tidy up my craft room as I had dumped yarn all over the place. I also updated my stash pages on Ravelry. I have acquired extra skeins from a couple of friends who were clearing out either their own stuff or someone else’s. There were some knitted pieces, two of which I darned in the ends on and will donate to the SPCA and the other two I unravelled.

Tai Chi Man and I had a pleasant walk along the waterfront this afternoon. It was raining but we had our new Costco waterproof jackets on so we were comfortable. Treated ourselves to some good tea from our favourite tea shop (and a cookie – oops!).

Friday I took myself off to the ski hill for some snowboarding on my own. I’ve never done that before but the boys weren’t bothered so I went. The drive started out rainy and ended up snowy. The road between the highway and the resort is about 20km and the second part was very slushy and slippery. Bit of zigzagging and tire spinning going on, and when I parked in the parking lot I just knew that I was going to have trouble getting out again, winter tires notwithstanding.

I had a free lift pass so that was great, but I had to rent a board and boots as usual. I have my own helmet (that’s saved me from many a potential concussion)! I did a couple of runs – first one always feels like I’ve forgotten everything. Second one was better. Snow was quite soft and deep in places and caught the board a fair few times. Got to the top of the quad chair and was pushing my way to the spot to anchor my right foot back in when someone asked me if I’d lost a binding. Oh great, the ankle binding had come off as a screw had come out and got lost in the snow. Told the lift guy who radioed down. Not sure why it took so long, but had to wait over half an hour before a snowmobile appeared to take me down the hill. I did get to warm up inside the hut at the top of the chairlift and chat to lift guy for a while.

The snowmobile guy was a fellow Brit and very nice and I enjoyed my ride down the mountain back to the village centre. Never been on a skidoo before, but it’s a lot of fun. Asked the girl at the rental place if there was any chance of a refund as had lost 50 minutes of boarding time out of my limited afternoon session and was told yes, and I could still get my binding fixed and do more runs first if I wanted. Did a couple more runs and then got a FULL refund (would have been satisfied with half) so was very chuffed!

As anticipated, car was bogged down in snow in parking lot, tires were spinning and I was going nowhere. Nice young man appeared in front of my car and pushed a few times while I was attempting to reverse and got me out. Drive back to highway was again rather hairy – nearly sideswiped a van coming the other way as I went around a bend. A pretty eventful day that could have turned out badly but thankfully all I had were a few sore muscles the next day.

And finally after all that blabbing I can show you a bit of yarn…

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Sorry for the fuzzy nighttime shot – I was very limited in what I could do as the iPad is plugged into the laptop, syncing and backing up. I decided to carry on with this baby cardi and trust that I will have enough yarn. Cross fingers! One front done.

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This is a finished gift. I bought some handmade soaps at the indoor farmers and crafters market yesterday and decided to give one to a friend. The mesh bag is Tunisian crochet, the washcloth just a basic granny square. The yarn is Stylecraft Classique Cotton DK.

The poncho has been neglected but not forgotten, as I have the skeins of Stylecraft Special DK lined up in front of the coffee table so I know which order to use them in. Thank goodness we don’t have any small children or curious pets in this house.

And finally, I almost forgot, the caterpillar set (book, blanket, cocoon and hat) which I mailed off to the UK weeks ago has arrived safely and the new parents-to-be love it. Yay!

I hope your weekend was wonderful. Have a peaceful and productive week and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Knitting, crochet and courses

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Whoopee! I am now a graduate of the Centre for Nutrition Studies whole food plant-based nutrition programme. I even have a badge for my blog, which is now in the sidebar near the top. It doesn’t fit in that well at the moment. I think it may be time for a renovation around here. I’ve been using the same WordPress template for, like, forever!

So that’s one FO! A finished course, for which I will get a certificate. I did the course partly for myself, partly so I could help others by educating them about healthy eating by not just giving them my opinion but actual facts backed up by actual science. And now I CAN!

The other FO is a crochet one which I whipped up in a little under an hour today.

It’s a cute lamb lovey, made from a kit that we sell at the store. It’s more expensive there than online, but I get a staff discount. And I’ve been eyeing these kits for ages. They come in many colours (always with three different colours/textures in one ball) with a different animal head or ball to go on top.

Rather than go with the crowd and knit a hat, I crocheted a granny square and added the lamb’s head to the centre. I was inspired by someone on Ravelry who has been posting photos of her projects to one of my favourite groups, the Colourful CALs/KALs group.

If you can’t find these at your local yarn store, they have them at Herrschners.ca. They are called DMC Top This knit hat kits.

What else? Ah yes…

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Knittin’…..started these Baby Janes a couple of days ago. Haven’t picked them up since. But if I actually get them finished they will match the bubble gum blanket’s border and will make a cute set. It’s a free pattern from Red Heart – I found it at work in the yarn section.

And the caterpillar is coming along. I did  add some hexagons today, and as you’ll see from the photo I positioned the bits for the head and feet. Tonight I sewed them on because I was too impatient to wait until I had added all the hexes.

We had a very pleasant Sunday. A slow pace, a walk along the waterfront, a cup of tea at Chai Baba. And a couple of interesting new recipes, which the boys were very dubious about. Beetburgers (a beautiful colour) in buns with grilled pineapple (another idea from Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease cookbook) with salad, followed by lime custard tart. I used an unbaked crust idea from the Fat Free Vegan blog (because I couldn’t find the right ingredients for the original crust) which was made with rolled oats, dates and fresh orange juice. The filling was silken tofu with lime juice and maple syrup layered with fresh fruit. It was rather good!

Despite all the doom and gloom in the news (best not to watch) I hope you manage to stay joyful and positive and spread good news instead of bad. ❤

 

 

 

 

WIP: Coatigan

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Well, good morning, Sunday people. I hope you’re having a wonderful day. I’m enjoying the fact that the clocks went back so even though I had a lie-in I had a bonus hour which makes it feel like I got up earlier than I actually did.

It’s sunny with a bit of cloud and a chilly wind, though our temperatures so far this fall have been mild. We had a lot of grey days and rain this week, except for two sunny days, during which my car thermometer hit 18. Awesome! And no frost yet.

I know the wind is chilly because I ventured out onto the deck in my pyjamas to lay out my Coatigan granny squares and get a daylight photo of the progress.

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Last night, while I was “knitflixing” (OK, I was crocheting, but “knitflix” has kind of a ring to it) and watching the very first few episodes of The X Files on Netflix, I laid out my squares and decided to make it so I had three of each centre colour. I need to make more to coordinate with the squares at bottom right, and then I need to keep going until I have 62. Or more. I guess if there are any squares I particular dislike, I can use them under the arms!

I’m a bit disappointed with the ball of black that I’m using right now as it feels thinner and splittier than the other colours, but by the time I get to the collar and cuffs I will be using a different batch which will hopefully be plumper.

I have to work this afternoon, just 12 to 5pm, but there’s a big sale on this weekend and it will probably be busy. For now, it’s time to check on my rising bread dough. Have a light-filled day, peeps!

 

Happy Hallowe’en?

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I’m sitting here in my favourite spot tonight; in my living room at my end of the couch (the other end belongs to Tai Chi Man but he’s out this evening). I don’t expect anyone to ring the doorbell because we have only ever given out candy once or twice in the 20 years we’ve lived here. We are the Scrooges of Hallowe’en. Keep the door shut, maybe even dim the lights and pretend to be out or deaf!

Being vegan, and raising vegan kids, meant that going out trick or treating never really appealed that much. The one time we did it, we had to pull out a lot of the candy and give it away. And I am not going to buy crap that I wouldn’t feed to my own children just to hand it out at the door.

When the boys were younger, we did carve pumpkins, but to be honest that has lost its appeal too. So much effort and mess for such a short-lived result, not to mention that my conscience is pricked when I think of our culture using food purely as decoration when they are so many people who are lacking enough to eat.

Well, that’s enough of my whining, now for some crochet. I have links! The coat that I mentioned in my last post is a free pattern based on one worn by some celeb or other who I probably have never heard of (did I say I don’t watch TV and that the celeb magazines at the store leave me cold)? The original cost over $1,000. Well, mine is going to be less than $50.

Coatigan in Grannies is the name, and here is the Ravelry link, and here is the Red Heart link. I’m not sure how realistic the gauge is, when you consider that I am using Stylecraft Special Aran, which is thinner than Super Saver, and a 5mm hook rather than the suggested 6mm for the size of square I need. I am aiming for the middle size and my squares should be 6.5″ but there are closer to 6.75″. And I usually go UP a hook size to meet gauge.

Here are the first nine squares:

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The pattern uses a smaller, more coordinated, range of colours but I have a lot of this yarn to use up. I rejected lemon yellow, white, cream and fondant pink as I felt they would stand out too much. The lightest colours in these squares are parchment, camel, silver grey, and I am using them in the second round of each square. The centres can be brighter, but from the third round out I’m trying to keep things fairly sober. The last two rounds of each are black.

I’m not going to stress too much about how they look at this point. I am just going to crochet a bunch of them (I need 62 for the coat) and lay them out and if one just looks like a glaring mistake I’ll make a different one to replace it.

And now to pick up my hook. I found Leonardo di Caprio’s film, Before the Flood, available for free on You Tube today, so assuming it is still available I am going to watch it while I crochet.

Happy crocheting! Boo!!

 

 

 

Easter mitts

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I think these look Spring-y, don’t you? They are so easy and quick to make. You could use any granny square, worked to a measurement that wraps your hand, seamed up the side leaving a thumbhole.

This is the Sunburst motif, as linked to in my last post, with three extra rounds of regular granny pattern. I would hate this square if I wanted it to lie flat for a blanket, because it just wouldn’t behave! However for my purposes it’s perfect.

I’ve started part two of my Chinese philosophy course, but after watching a few video lectures I started feeling sleepy so had to stop. The information wasn’t really sinking in.

Work today was physically challenging, with lots of long bolts of upholstery fabric to lift and move, and I have a similar shift tomorrow. It’ll be time to hit the sack very soon. Zzzzzzzz!