Tag Archives: shawl

The end of June already…

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The end of June already…

Hi, bloggy friends!

Wow, summer is one-third over and so far it’s been very comfortable, temperature-wise. In fact, we’ve had quite a few rainy days, including thunderstorms. I do prefer it when the thermometer reads less than 30 Celsius.

After I finished the baby blanket that I showed you last time, I had a bit of a slump, when I WANTED to be making something but couldn’t figure out WHAT I wanted to make. I have some nice yarns in the stash, fabrics too, but nothing was calling to me.

There’s been the extra stress at work – what with enforcing the customer limit and mask policy, and the volume of sales, and on top of all that trying to get everything ready for inventory, there have been extra hours worked and extra pressure on the staff.

This has made my days off even more precious and even though I have had an outwardly relaxing day today (baking bread and zucchini cake, crocheting while watching YouTube videos, prepping dinner) I can feel the tightness in my stomach and I am hoping a visit to the gym later will help burn off some of that feeling.

I did whip up a quick shawl. It’s a pattern I’ve used before – the Me Shawl from Clare at bobwilson123. Last time I made it, I did the popcorn/bobble border and it looked awesome but this time I wanted it to be quick and easy. So I ended up doing just row 1 of Clare’s Jessica shawl edging, which is just a simple shell.

I used Caron X Pantone Bamboo which I bought last summer. I bought very little yarn last year but this was from a trip to Michaels where I fell hard for three braids of this yarn plus some cute Loops & Threads Meandering Minis because they were on clearance. Each braid comes with 20 grams each of five colours and I had wound them into cakes some time ago. This shawl used ten of the small balls, so 200 grams in all.

It was nice to have yarn running through my hands again, but it was a super-quick project and now I need to find another one!

I am feeling a little discombobulated about something else in my life too. Ravelry has been a big part of my interwebs time for 12 years. I have over 700 projects recorded, my pattern library (admittedly quite small), my queue of things I’d like to make some day, my favourites, my stash and over 13000 forum posts on record.

I have invested a lot into Ravelry over the years, added to the database, linked my free patterns through the site, given tonnes of advice to people asking for help in the forums. It’s been part of my everyday.

But suddenly, Ravelry had a facelift. A couple of weeks ago, the look totally changed. It was all right, I suppose, though there were some things that were a bit annoying, like text not fitting into boxes properly, and other bugs. I thought, hmmm, ok, learning curve, I can get used to this. Then people started to talk about the problems they were having with the new version. Eye strain, headaches, migraines and even a few seizures triggered by something within the new design. Reluctantly, it seemed, the site owners gave us the option to click back into “classic” Ravelry, with a warning that it was temporary.

Now, I’ve never ever had a problem with any website before, but something about the new site bothered me. The turquoise boxes with the hard black drop shadows were glaring. I found that I was wanting to spend less time browsing the forums. I started to get headaches. Going back into “classic” didn’t get rid of the headaches. So while I’ve wanted to follow the discussions in the forums about the whole situation, I’ve had to pop in and out as quickly as I can. I have a lot of sympathy for those who are susceptible to migraines because some have had to stop using Ravelry altogether.

Yes, I know the site is free to use.

Yes, it’s up to the owners how their site looks.

Yes, I know I have a choice whether to use the site or not.

BUT Ravelry has prided itself on being inclusive in so many ways. Rainbow flags, Pride month threads, Black Lives Matter threads and donations. So why have they just taken a backwards step to make themselves LESS inclusive of people with visual/neurological issues?

There are many people online who are saying, “What’s the problem? I like the new look!” But those people are obviously not experiencing any new symptoms and have no empathy for those who are.

I am sad and annoyed and missing my usual dose of Rav. No doubt there is a reason for this new look and I don’t think it is just cosmetic. Some of it is to do with setting up the design for future development, but maybe there are other, as yet unannounced, plans in the pipeline which preclude going back to the old look.

Just in case, I have downloaded all my data from Ravelry – it’s all in raw form, and I hope not to ever need the contents of that file, but it’s my insurance!

WIP: Cakes shawl

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I am loving the way these two cakes of Lion Brand Mandala are playing off against each other.

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I have a teeny regret that in the first part I used three small balls of yarn that were separated from the original cake and I feel I should have put them in a different order, starting with lighter pink then going darker (at the top there, against the green). I prefer the stripes that visibly segue into the next colour rather than a hard colour change. But I can see myself making another of these.

I am almost finished with the cakes, but have to remember to leave enough for a picot edging.

I have also made another bag, what I call my Quadrant bag. This is the third one, and it’s 3″ taller than the first two. Did I say how much I really dislike sewing circles and cylinders together? Oh yes, multiple times!!

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And I wasn’t going to make any more masks, but the people at my favourite tea shop think that they may only be able to stay open if they wear masks to work, and commissioned me to make them some. They paid me in tea!

This bamboo flannelette print is just perfect for them.

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It’s been an absolutely beautiful day. Sunny but still with a hint of coolness. Mr Fixit and I went on a totally essential trip to a plant nursery to buy new plants for the garden!

It was nice to get out of the house and a little further afield than I have been in weeks.

And we had a wonderfully simple but tasty dinner of bannock, vegan cheese (Daiya Smoked Gouda, mmmmm), olive tapenade and a huge salad. Feeling blessed and replete!

 

 

What happens when you….

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….cross a Gnome and a Troll?

You get this:

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This pattern is called Cakes Two to Tango and I found it on Ravelry. It’s a free Ravelry download and it uses two cakes of colour-changing yarn. Of course I still had some Lion Brand Mandala in the stash, and I put two together that I wouldn’t normally have combined – but I’m loving the result.

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Gnome left, Troll right

The stitch pattern is easy peasy – just sc1, ch1 – which I think may be called granite stitch or something like that. Of course the rows get longer and longer as you go, but with the colour combinations changing all the time as you crochet through the cakes it keeps things interesting.

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I did some yardwork today. Mr Fixit was outside planting potatoes and I did some pruning of roses and pyracantha, and pulled out some dead stuff from one of the beds. Afterwards, I sat on the deck in the sunshine, and ds1, who just turned 28, was building this:

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You’re never too old for Lego!

 

Saying goodbye to an old friend

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(Have you entered my giveaway yet? It’s here and is open until January 21st, 2020.)

I had a call on Tuesday morning from a friend’s husband. She was in hospital, and knowing that she hadn’t been in good health or spirits for some time I called Mr Fixit and we arranged to go and see her in the afternoon. I almost waited until Thursday, my next day off, but I’m very glad I didn’t. We didn’t stay long – it was basically a Hello and an I Love You and a Goodbye – but I am grateful for the opportunity to have said Goodbye as she died that night.

We are, of course, sad to see her go. We will miss her terribly. But she was ready. She had made her plans, dictated her obituary, given her husband her computer password, etc. Much as we hated to lose our friend, an outspoken, encouraging, flamboyant artist and writer who was generous and grandparental with my boys, we knew it was time.

And life goes on. Specifically, the crafting goes on.

I finished this…

 

On my Ravelry project page, I called this Sunseeker on Maui. The yarn is Cascade Sunseeker, a cotton/acrylic with a teeny bit of sparkle (a multi, with pink and grey, and a solid). I made it up as I went along, using half doubles, singles and double crochets, and I ran out of yarn after single crocheting along the bottom edge. I did at least get to cover a few yarn carries where I striped the pink and grey for a few inches, but ideally I would have liked to have gone around the whole thing.

I’m now down to two WIPs, the knitted tube blanket (the colour options for which are boring me and I may let it languish for a while) and the Moe of Change crochet blanket, which I really need to persevere with as a friend is having a baby in the summer and it would make a great gift.

I have an idea for a good fundraiser for a local farm sanctuary and I bought a panel of fabric on Wednesday and some coordinating cotton so that I can make more project bags.

The plan is to use my collection of old jeans for the bag bases. With that in mind I made a trial bag today. I had to use a certain size square because the fabric has 9″ squares with pictures of cute animals on. I started out with two pieces of  camper van fabric from my stash, 9.5″ square, and the same size of denim for the bottom.

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I’m not particularly happy with how it turned out. It’s pretty and perfectly usable, but it’s disproportionate. It’s too tall, or too narrow, depending on your perspective. I boxed the bottom corners too deeply as well. I should have cut out a 1″ square instead of 1.5″.

I may have to see if I can make the animal squares rectangular (shorter vertically) without losing any of the words,  and boxing the denim corners more frugally should make the base look better.

Maybe I’ll make another tonight with different measurements. Glad I didn’t cut into the good stuff yet.

Mr Fixit had a nasty fall this morning when he went out to clear the snow off the driveway because of ice hidden under the new snow. Hurt his elbow and hip. The arm was numb for a while, then painful. So I cleared the drive this morning (in my Hello Kitty onesie for the amusement of any neighbours who may have seen me). Then I cleared the neighbour’s drive across the road. Thankfully it’s below freezing so the snow is light. It persevered most of the day, so after I returned from grocery shopping ds2 and I went out and cleared ours again. Then we cleared two more neighbours’ drives. So that’s five driveways, which are not small, and they are sloping, so I had a lot of exercise today. No need to go to the gym. My left rotator cuff hates me now. It was bad enough when I woke up this morning – I had probably been sleeping on it – and while I tried to remember to wield the shovel with my right hand in front it was still a challenge.

The Greek Potatoes have been baking for nearly two hours now so I need to go and throw together a Greek salad to go with it. This blog post got long, didn’t it!

WIPing in the New Year!

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WIPing in the New Year!

Happy 2020!

I have three WIPs that I’m bringing with me into 2020. I frogged the Party Cardi (granny square type cardigan) because I couldn’t see myself wearing it, so that was one off the list. And I finished the granny square blanket just after Christmas, and that felt good. Three Works in Progress are manageable, and what I feel comfortable with. Any more than that and it bugs me.

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WIP #1: Moe of Change with Lion Brand Mandala

I added a teeny bit to this last night. I was bored. Didn’t want to look at my computer screen. Didn’t want to sew. So I pulled this out and just focused on the one thing. I had put it down mid-round 21, so I had to work out where I was. It’s going to be pretty. Must keep at it!

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WIP #2: stashbuster blanket with various worsted weight yarns

Not pretty, but useful and will be very warm. I knitted a bit on this yesterday. It was nice to reacquaint myself with my WIPs. It’s only about 12″ of work so far, but there’s no deadline. It would be good to have it done before the weather gets too warm to have it on my lap though.

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WIP #3: no-pattern shawl, using Cascade Sunseeker

I started out with just a few stitches, used half double crochet, and increased every other row. When there wasn’t much left of the pink, I striped in the grey using single crochet rows.  I didn’t want to do that for long because it meant stranding the yarn up the side which means I’ll have to add some sort of edge treatment later. Carried on with hdc and grey, until I figured I should start decreasing. Changed to double crochet and decreasing on every row. (The dcs are taller stitches, but I wanted the decreasing to happen faster than the first part of the shawl.)

I am hoping that the grey will last until I get back to 3 or 4 stitches and that I then have enough of the pink left to go around once with sc.

And now for some exciting news! I had posted a request on Ravelry for anyone who might have been willing to part with a swift, as I now have quite a few hanks of yarn which have not been wound into balls. My initial method was to place a hank over the back of a chair and wind by hand, because I only needed to do it occasionally. I do have a yarn cake winder, but tend to use it with commercial skeins. Someone sent me a link to an online photo tutorial, and I asked Tai Chi Man if he was willing to make me a swift. He seemed amenable, I sent him the link, and in his usual way (Mr Fixit, very handy) he decided he could do better.

Using some scrap wood he had, plus a lazy susan from Lee Valley (the metal spinning part) and a dowel from Home Depot, he created an Amish-style yarn swift for me.

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Of course, as soon as he said it was ready, I had to test it out. I wound up the two cakes you can see in the above photo, and then tried a small one from a 25 gram hank.

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Because the pegs are movable, it can fit just about any size of hank, though I probably wouldn’t bother trying to cake something smaller than 25g.

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And I have spare pegs in case any get lost. It works great, all for less than $10!

Thanks, Mr Fixit!

Yarndale and other holiday fun

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Yarndale and other holiday fun

I have been on holiday! I only had my old iPad Mini with me, and no phone, so I was only spending minimal amounts of time on t’internet, hence the gap between blog posts.

I had a lovely time. It was quite the whirlwind – the itinerary involved flying from Canada to London, England, driving down to see my cousins on the south coast, driving up to Yorkshire to spend a few days enjoying the area, including Yarndale, driving back to London, flying over to Jersey, a few days with the close family, then flying back to London, then flying home.

Kudos to Tai Chi Man who drove about 750 miles while we were in England. And motorway driving is NOT fun.

Highlights of the trip:

Yarndale, of course…

I was excited to meet Kathryn from CrafternoonTreats. We had been in touch prior to the day, because I have been helping to moderate her Ravelry group for a long time now and I just had to make sure we met up. She was a vendor, so she couldn’t avoid me, LOL. All of the yarn she dyes is wool, but knowing I am vegan she and her friend Helen had dyed up some natural coloured Stylecraft Classique Cotton with Procion dyes as a gift. So lovely!

Sorry, my photos aren’t great. iPad in poor light.

A few other souvenirs…

Being vegan helps me be disciplined in my yarn buying! Most of the yarn on sale at Yarndale is wool. So all I bought was this Louisa Harding Giardino (though it was pretty expensive)! And of course I had to get a Yarndale bag.

I was fan-girly about Lucy from Attic24, whose blog I have been reading for years. She is one of the organisers. I saw her, but didn’t talk to her, in the Knit ‘n Natter room. And I also spotted Tatsiana from Lilla Bjorn in the Scheepjes booth.

My travel knitting was a simple pattern from DROPS called Rascal. A two-row pattern repeat, it was just knitting back and forth until I felt the shawl was big enough. And I wanted to give it to my sister when it was done, so I had to finish it before I came home.

I forgot to get daylight shots before giving it away.

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It’s made with Lion Brand Mandala in Phoenix.

Other notable mentions…

Met up with my English cousins (one I haven’t seen since 1988) for a lovely day of hiking and lunching and catching up.

Took the tube around London, including Camden Market, Regent’s Park and Tower Bridge. Went up inside the bridge and got a funny feeling in my tummy looking down through the glass floor.

Seven hour drive north to Ilkley in Yorkshire where we had a lovely cosy Airbnb. Hiked around Bolton Abbey, saw some of the cycling world championships, got absolutely soaked on a three hour hike up on Ilkley  Moor. After Yarndale, a 5.75 hour drive back south to Gatwick airport.

The island of Jersey in the Channel Islands (close to France) is where most of our family lives and I stayed with my mum and Tai Chi Man stayed with his dad. That gave us the most time with our respective parents. And one day was spent almost entirely with my sister, including lunch at a vegan restaurant and a walk on the beach with her dog.

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A successful trip, all went to plan, with the only travel hiccup being a three hour delay getting out of Jersey. But as we had split up the three flights home with a stay at a Heathrow hotel this time it wasn’t a problem.

We were happy to see so many vegan options in many places. Supermarkets and restaurants are now offering so much more than they used to, so finding food is easier than it ever was. We still mostly self-cater when travelling, but it’s good to know we won’t starve if we have to rely on outside sources. There was a lovely cafe in Ilkley called The Veggie, the Sinful Vegan in Jersey, tons of vegan places in Camden Market, and I can’t forget Ransom’s Garden Centre in Jersey which has so many vegan mains and desserts that it’s hard to choose. (I had the coffee walnut cake, which was so rich I couldn’t finish it all in one go and had to save some for the evening.)

So we’re back to our regular scheduled programming. We arrived home Saturday evening, and Tai Chi Man had Sunday in which to recover somewhat from the jetlag and was back to work Monday. Thankfully my schedule meant that I am not back to work until tomorrow, Wednesday, so I’ve had time to blitz the house and do some grocery shopping. I haven’t quite had the energy to get to the gym yet though.

I’m back to crocheting the Party Cardi (a video tutorial on The Secret Yarnery’s YouTube channel) now that I have had a delivery of two more cakes of yarn. My stashbusting for September was pathetic, with the only outage being some tiny pumpkins, and then of course the incoming yarn from Yarndale. However I have blanket plans, because there’s nothing better than a blanket project when the weather gets cold. What are your favourite blanket patterns? I have some Red Heart With Love (which will probably become a giant granny square) but also a tonne of random worsted and DK to use up. I need ideas!

 

Crochet and fabric play

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She is done, my Mimic shawl. She had a bath and a lie-down on the blocking mats, and  a bit of steam, and she grew to 16.5 inches by 87.5 inches. Yup, pretty long, but lovely with it.

This used 260 grams of Lion Brand Mandala in the Troll colourway, so about one and two-thirds of the 150 gram cakes.

My stashbusting has been epic this month. Two shawls, a blanket and a hat completed and I also cleared out a bit of undesirable yarn from my stash. That’s a total of 2320 grams of yarn OUT! And none in.

The other small project I finished was this Walking Hat, so named because I crocheted it on my walks around the neighbourhood. I used up the last of my Caron Big Cakes in Shadowberry. I wouldn’t buy this yarn again. It’s not the nicest acrylic, in my opinion. It took three and a half walks to make. I probably got some second glances as I carried my yarn and hook around with me this week!

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In the grand scheme of checks and balances, I should be picking up  my paycheque today, which will include some extra hours and overtime. However, when I was at a coffee shop with a friend yesterday, my car was parked outside on the street, and during that time someone swiped it with their vehicle and took the paint off. Grrrr! I am claiming off my insurance, of course, but there is still a $500 deductible to pay. I had to spend some time on the phone to the insurers yesterday and book my poor car in for an estimate at the body shop.

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So what else is new? Ah yes, my quilting. I have been itching to make a quilt again. I started back in 1998, when I was expecting son #3, and took a class to learn how make a large quilt. It was definitely worth it and from then on I quilted like a crazy person for six years, until I got back into yarn crafts. I haven’t really felt the pull since, even though I now work in a fabric store, but that doesn’t stop me from bringing home pretty cotton fabric remnants now and then. If I really like something, I’ll buy a metre.

Anyway, I’ve recently been watching The Midnight Quilt Show on YouTube and have been enjoying watching Angela piece and machine quilt like the pro she is and it’s inspired me to get going again. I also have a pile of quilting books from the library. This week I pulled out a bunch of fabrics and decided on a theme. I am fussy-cutting squares from Pink Panther, Scooby Doo, camper vans, Vespas and colourful cats and using a backing of broadcloth to stitch-and-flip crazy log cabin blocks. I have six so far.

It’s a lot of fun and deliberately cutting the pieces a little wonky with scissors means no need for precision.

I have no plan as to the number of blocks to make or how it’s all going to come together. I’ll scratch this itch and see where it takes me.

Have a great weekend! (I’ll be working, and I’ll still do my best to have a great weekend.)

More crochet and sewing fun

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It’s getting to the point that I can’t fit my Mimic Shawl into the shot. I am still enjoying this project, especially as I do love the pink section in this yarn, which will soon become another lime green one. Actually, very soon, as I don’t think there’s enough pink left to complete the next row, so I am going to do a little splicing, like I did the last time I hit this juncture.

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My evening project yesterday was to sew a book bag for my great-niece. I picked up a panel of quilting cotton from work a while back with The Very Hungry Caterpillar on it because when she was born two years ago I made her a Very Hungry Caterpillar blanket, cocoon and hat. I thought that maybe I’d make a quilt but then I had other ideas. Two parts of the panel became a bag, along with two contrast fabrics, one for the lining and one for the pocket. (The pocket is divided into sections for pencils and other stuff.)

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The widest section with the butterfly was made into a pillowcase. It’s not very big, but she’s only two! I won’t be filling it with stuffing ahead of time, because it has to go in the mail. The contrast fabrics were ones I had already.

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I’ll be seeing her in October, along with the rest of my family, when we drop in for a few days after Yorkshire and Yarndale (whoop whoop!) and so I am going to mail it to my mum ahead of time so that I don’t have to carry it in my luggage.

I’m itching to sew some more with my stash of quilting cottons but haven’t yet decided what to make.

We had a lovely weekend with Yin Yoga, weight training, shopping, and tea at our favourite tea shop (OK, Tai Chi Man probably would rather not have had to mow the lawn and today I cleaned bathrooms and vacuumed but, you know, these things have to be done). I couldn’t leave the cleaning ’til tomorrow as I’m working. Once it’s cooled down a bit, I want to have a walk around the neighbourhood and that will be the ideal end to the weekend.

 

WIP: Mimic shawl

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The shawl has grown some more. The initial triangle complete, you start working out from one side to form an extension and end up with a trapezoid. That dark purple was a bit of a struggle with the single crochets because it was so dark but now the pink is returning right near the end of the first cake. I have done three sections out from the side of the triangle (alternating V stitches and moss stitch) and need to do a total of 11, so I will be using quite a bit of the second cake.

The stitch patterns themselves are easy enough, but I do have to pay attention at the row ends as there is decreasing going on at the bottom edge and increasing at the top. I think this is going to be a gorgeous shawl and I will be keeping this one for myself. (I will check the weather forecast before flying to England for Yarndale in September and if it looks like it’ll be cool enough I will take this with me. I feel like one should have something handmade to wear at a yarn festival!)

An FO for me this week was the second rayon top that I finally finished. I was spurred on by (a) a UFO thread in the British Banter group on Ravelry in which I pledged to finish it this month, and (b) the fact that I wanted to do other sewing but my cutting table was covered in pieces of this top and I was not going to put it away half done.

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Not a great photo. The pink one with the turquoise band was done some time ago and I’ve worn it a couple of times. The turquoise one with the pink band was finished this week and I wore it the next day for work. Because of the lack of stretch and the rather low cut V neck, it’s not really ideal for work, as I need room to move in the shoulders and a top that doesn’t gape when cutting and lifting fabrics. But for wearing with my colourful Sweet Legs leggings, they are perfect.

The second iteration has no back neck opening. The first one was made per the pattern, and I find the opening gapes a bit, so I just sewed right up the back seam on the second.

I have already started making a simple top from a grey knit fabric remnant, which I hope works out (no great investment of money or time if it doesn’t) and am planning another top from a McCall’s pattern if I can just find the right fabric for it.

And now, it’s off to do some shopping with ds3, who needs to buy himself some shoes, and we also need groceries.

Oooh pretty!

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Oooh pretty!

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I braved the heat to get outside in the garden and take a few photos of the Mimic shawl progress. I love it so far. There are usually soft colour changes in this yarn, but there was a hard change from the pink to the green so I pulled a few stitches out, back to the beginning of the row, and cut a little yarn out so that there wouldn’t be a partial row of the pink. Where the blues appeared, I left it as it was.

There is something odd about the cake. If you look closely, you’ll see a bit of turquoise and white in the section  of purple. I’m pretty sure that’s not supposed to be there and I will be cutting that out.

The lawn is looking incredibly green for this time of year. We do have underground sprinklers, though we are careful not to overdo it, but we have had a goodly amount of rain recently. The other day at work, it was like a monsoon. Awesome!

Inventory day at work yesterday went well. The teams started at 7 and finished at 3, though management had to stay longer to finish up the paperwork and check for anything that may have been missed. The manager had a 12.5 hour day! As she would say, that’s what she’s paid the big bucks for (with a rueful smile on her face and a hint of sarcasm in her voice)!!! (By the way, I gave her the Jayma shawl that I just completed, and she loved it.)

It’s so good to have that annual event behind us. The store needs to be put back to rights now, with all the fabrics set up properly so that customers can browse. That’ll take a few days probably.

For now, I have three days off in a row, and need to toddle off to the kitchen to get food ready for a potluck with friends. Take care, everyone, and have a great weekend.