Monday, 9 October 2017

2018 Plan

I had lunch on Friday with my good friend A.  She is the one who just loves Christmas.  We searched through Pinterest, Ravelry and my Christmas pattern books for ideas.  The plan for 2018 is to make as many Christmas themed entries as possible.  Now not all entries with be Christmas related.  I do after all want to remain sane.

I came home and rummaged my stash.  A sub goal is to use as much yarn from my stash as possible.

I got to work and this will be a teapot cozy.

While it is blocking and awaiting assembly, I created these reindeer parts.

I cast on this sweater last weekend for my little cousin.  When Hubby came home from the Listowel tent sale  in August with this yarn I knew exactly what I wanted to make with it.  This will be my hockey knitting for a while.

I found red yarn in my stash for a Christmas stocking and I am making a list of yarns I need to pick up in Woodstock for other upcoming projects.  So far it is a short list!

Since my last post, I made Reba a second E-Collar.

This is from scraps of fabric from my fabric stash (yes I have one of those too!)  We have many vet visits in an attempt to help her get better and the staff at the clinics keep asking me where I am getting these collars.  Since she wears them 24/7 I picked up more foam for the stuffing to make a third.  They are going through the wash constantly and two is just not enough.

We finally have a diagnosis.  She has hepatocutaneous syndrome which is a rare condition in dogs.  It is a skin condition that results from poor liver processing of protein.  The result is scales and swelling of the pressure points; in Reba's case, her lips, her nose and her feet pads.  It is very painful, and there is often opportunistic bacterial infections.  The only treatment is an inter-venous drip of amino acids for the scales and anti-biotics for the infections. The amino acid drips only helps in about 60% of dogs and is not a cure.  It will only extend her life for maybe a year if it works.  However, Hubby and I decided to try it.  She was happily eating her meals and has gained back some of the weight she lost when we first determined that there was a liver issue.  If untreated it is always fatal in 2 to 5 months.

I got to spend a day in London as she underwent her last hope treatment.  My plan was to spent the afternoon knitting away the day at the Little Red Mitten.  That did not work out as planned.  There were so many lovely things in the store and before I knew it I was going to be broke if I didn't leave.  I did buy stuff before leaving and headed back to London where I parked in the shade of a tree and knit until Reba was ready for pick up.

I believe I see improvement in her feet but there is always a chance that I am seeing just what I want to see.  Her nose and lips are definitely better.   I am cooking for her instead of giving her dog food.  She is gobbling up everything I put out for her.   She needs to eat well in order to heal.   Hubby will be taking her this week for her second treatment.

The extra wide socks are on their way to Calgary.

I took a break from knitting yesterday and did some dying.  Hubby helped me pick up the walnuts from the tree around the corner.  I get a better brown colour when the husks are green.

I used some other dyestuffs from my stash.  (Yes I have one for dyeing too!)  I also mixed some  other dye stuff with the walnuts.  Here is what I got.

A while ago I bought  giant 250 gram skeins of dyeable yarn from Grand River Yarns.  I reduce them to 25 gram skeins so I have lots of yarn to experiment with.  I used to work with 100 gram skeins but my yarn stash just started to grow exponentially.  I could dye so much faster than I could knit or weave with it.

Not much knitting today either.  I woke up with a cold.  I am just puttering around cause if I lay around all day, I won't sleep tonight.  I decided to put this post together.  That meant taking photos and thinking.  Enough thinking already, time for more Buckley's.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Thinking and Frustrations

I have been thinking ahead to the 2018 Harrow Fair.  The theme for 2018 is "Christmas at the Fair".  I am not sure how I feel about this theme.  It feels like the ultimate Christmas creep.  On the other hand, maybe for others it is the opportunity to complete their Christmas knitting earlier than usual.

I like Christmas, at least the original spirit behind the holiday.  I hate the shopping expectations, the social get togethers and often the weather.  Snow is lovely if you are staying home.  Usually Hubby and I are driving to spend the holiday with my mother.  I actually enjoy parties but why do they all have to fall into the same month?  December is normally an extremely busy time for all sorts of reasons.

 More than 20 years ago I decided that I could reduce my stress levels during the Christmas season by not decorating my house.  Not only did it reduce my workload before the holiday, it also reduced it after.  I did not have to pack up the decorations and put them away.  I also have less clutter in my basement as I do not have to store the stuff for the rest of the year.

Then I stopped baking.  In the last few years I have also stopped most of my gift giving.  I still make friends and family knitted items, but now I give it away throughout the year.  Rather a more random distribution.

So I am having trouble with the concept of "Christmas at the Fair".  What do I make?  Do I just enter the fair theme category?  Maybe I should embrace the whole concept and knit as many Christmas items as I can for as many categories as I can?  I have asked several friends.  The knitting friends could not understand how I could possibly knit Christmas related items relentlessly for the next year.  Why would you want to knit a kitchy Christmas sweater they asked.  Then I asked a non-knitting friend who happens to believe that Christmas is the best time of the year.  She practically squealed with delight at the theme.  When I said I did not have a lot of red yarn in my stash, she suggested I expand my ideas to include a "Winter  Wonderland" theme.  I could use white, blue and silver instead and still accomplish a Christmas concept goal.  She is a person who claims to not be creative but her ideas came out in a rush and in surprisingly creative ways.  I could dress up a Barbie doll as an Elf on the Shelf.  I could knit an advent calendar and a Christmas tree complete with decorations!

I told her that if I proceeded with this crazy idea  I was going to need her enthusiasm to keep going.  While I say I have not yet decided on pursuing this course of action, I stopped by Mary Maxim in London and purchased Christmas Knits Book 2 and I really really want to knit this and this.

In the meantime I just keep knitting socks.

These are my basic toe up sock recipe.  The yarn is from the now defunct British Yarn organization.  I purchased this skein of Bluefaced Leicester at the 2009 Sock Summit.  For some reason I thought the basic colour was a pale brown and the skein was stored with my note to make it into basic men's socks.  The dominant colour is more or less purple. (I don't know what I was thinking when I made that note).  I made them in my size as no man I make socks for would wear this colourway.

I am currently working on a pair of men's socks for a long time friend of mine with MS.  He says he likes bright colours and has wide feet.  I may have gone overboard on the wideness of these socks.  Again this is my basic toe up sock recipe from my favourite go to sock yarn, Paton's Kroy.

These socks are perfect hockey knitting.   Good thing as the season has started and Hubby and I have already attended 2 regular season games.  The first was the home opener.  We thought we were in an alternate universe.  The referee for the game is usually a biased ref and appears to look for any reason to give the '73's a penalty.  Instead he was a pretty fair ref for a change.  Too bad the other team forgot this was a hockey game and not a fight.  The 'Threes pulled off a win of 5-2.

Friday night we drove to Dresden for next game.  It was the weirdest game I have ever seen.  The (different one from the game before) Ref appeared to be trying to help the home team and it was like every time a '73 player touched a King, the '73er  ended up in the penalty box.  While this was my overall impression, I do realize some of the penalties were deserved.  However, there should also have been many more penalties for the the home team.  The reffing was only one strange aspect of the the game.  By the third '73's short-handed goal I turned to the fans sitting just behind me and suggested the home team ask the ref to stop penalizing our team!  They were not gaining anything from the power plays.

Only two goals for the visitors and one goal for the home team was earned at full strength.  Even though the visitors played a good portion of the game short-handed (and at times with only 3 players) the home team only managed one goal in the power plays and that was in the last minute of the third and final period.

I even got to see what I call a goofy goal.  If the goalie had only stayed down there would have been no score.  He had the puck between his legs but did not realize it.  He popped up exposing the puck and the King player pushed the puck across the goal line between the goalie's legs.

The '73's won the game 6-2.  There was a total of 4 short-handed goals with three of them scored by the same player.  As I said, a strange game.

I have written here before about our dog Reba.  Reba is very sick and we don't know why.  We have spent the summer trying to cope with one new symptom after another.  When we think we have cleared a hurdle and she is getting better another one pops up.  Now her feet are inflamed and her nose and lips have crusted over.  We headed to London this week to consult with a specialist and had biopsies taken from various parts of her.  We have to keep a cone on her to prevent her from licking and chewing her feet.

I figure a softer cone is more comfortable for her as she wears it to sleep and eat in.  However this blue one does not wash well.  I spent yesterday at the sewing machine and came up with this.

Isn't she adorable?

I am heading to the basement as soon as I sign off here to see what scraps I have to make another one now that I have the pattern worked out.

I will be heading to another hockey game tonight.  It feels strange to be watching hockey during an unusual heat wave this late in September.  We actually have a heat warning!  I just don't know what to wear.  Although the number of people wearing shorts and flip flops at the arena is just too weird to contemplate further.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Back Again

I am sorry for the long absence.  2017 has not been all that kind to me and fitting in blogging just became too much.  Instead I concentrated on finishing  what 2017 Harrow Fair entries I could.  I managed 10 entries.  The afghan took up a great deal of my available knitting and finishing time.  It did not help that I misread the size necessary for the the afghan.  I read it as 48 by 60 inches.  The requirements were 40 by 60 inches.  As a result I knit an additional 16 squares plus the additional sewing and knitting around the edge.  I think in the end it was worth it.

I did not have a pattern for this but based it on Floralia by Franklin Habit.  The details can be found in Friday's with Franklin, his blog on Maker's Mercantile, in the July 2016 time period.  The yarn is various Paton's Classic Wool collected over the years with the exception of the grey.  That is Cascade 220.

Last year a new entry was added.  I made one this year.  It is a lapghan (36 by 48 inches).

I entered baby clothing.

Both patterns are from "Little Sweet Peas" and made from King Cole Smarty.  I used Neopolitan for the single sweater and Tutti-Fruiti for the 3 piece set.

My niece asked me for a Harry Potter scarf.  She is also getting a hat but I keep the ribbons!

The yarn is Cascade 220 sport.  I made up the pattern for the scarf and the hat is a modified version of a Kate Davies pattern.

I am a sucker for King Cole Tinsel.  The patterns for this yarn are adorable and I can't resist.

I did take a vacation this summer and went back to Newfoundland.  Managed a pair of socks on the trip.

I grabbed some Regia Denim Look Color from my stash and some left over Scheepje Invicta Extra for the heels and toes and the white stripes.  These are man sized.  Hubby doesn't want them so they will go in the mail to the grandson.

I can't seem to do better than second place on the dish cloth.

Now, I don't use these as dish cloths.  Instead I give these as gifts with homemade soap (bought, not made by me) for use as face cloths.

I am not disappointed with the second place finish of my shawl.  A dear friend earned a first with her lace shawl and I agree that lace well done should top a non-lace shawl.

Finally, I entered the fair theme category which was Scarecrows and Sunflowers.

The pattern is one of Alan Dart's.  I almost didn't make it.  I started the knitting late in August.  I used bits and bob's of left over DK yarns I had.  The pattern was well written.  The knitting took very little time compared to the assembly.  I finished assembling the item at quarter to 4 pm on the day the entry had to be in.  The glue was still tacky when I took it to the fair.

To round off this post, may I present some random photos of the needlecrafts at the fair.  This is only a small portion of the exhibits at the 2017 fair.

(Warning! The pictures below contain dolls)

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Playoff Time

Tuesday night's game for the 73's was the last game of the regular season.  The results of the game had no effect on the standings for either team.  Winning only mattered for the '3s so they could say they won 30 games in each of the last 6 years.  They met their game goal but finished the season in second place.

Friday night was the first game of the playoffs.  The 2nd place finisher plays the 7th place finisher so Essex faced off against the Mooretown Flags.  The 1st period looked like the game was going to be close and exciting.  Essex managed a goal near the end of the period.  Essex put another 4 goals in the net during the second period and Mooretown switched their goalies.  With Essex leading 5-0 Mooretown become frustrated and the shenanigans started.  Essex lost two players due to injuries and Mooretown lost 2 players to gross misconducts.  One is on a 7 game suspension for derogatory comments and one on a 4 game suspension for an attempt to injure.

I agree that derogatory or racial comments should not be tolerated in the game of hockey.  However, I find it a little strange that something that is said gets a more severe penalty than an action that could result in an injury.

Saturday night saw Essex travelling to Mooretown for game 2.  Hubby and I stayed home and followed the game on pointstreaks website.  It must have been a strange game.  Period 1 saw Essex with a penalty shot but no score.  Essex spent 33 minutes of the game in the penalty box yet still managed to put 3 goals into the Mooretown net.  Even the Essex back-up goalie was in the penalty box according to the pointstreak site but no explanation as to why.  This game is one of the only games I can recall where the other team had more shots on goal than Essex.  Essex though shorthanded a good portion of the game including a stretch of 7 minutes still shutout Mooretown from the scoreboard.  Mooretown is back in Essex on Tuesday night for game 3.  I hope Essex takes this series in 4 games.

Hubby and I were checking out who is playing hockey tonight.  Turns out no one is.  We thought this strange since Sunday night is a regular game night for some teams.  We are so clueless.  Tonight is Superbowl Sunday where everyone else gets together to watch the half-time show and commercials.  I don't know anyone who admits to watching the game.

On the knitting front, the last two hockey games saw me pass the half-way mark on the Harry Potter scarf.  No picture since it looks the same as the last post only longer.

My friend sent me this picture and asked if I could knit her a pair of mittens like this to go with her new navy blue coat.

Now I looked at this photo and rotated this photo and still I am not really sure what she has in mind.  This looks felted but I did not have any yarn in my stash that has all these these colours combined.   I felt that the colours would be more important that the texture so I started these.

I hope she likes them.

I finished the world's cutest baby hat.

The hat is sitting on a piece of fabric I dyed.  Hubby thought I was crazy on Tuesday morning.  I hopped out of bed and became ecstatic that it had snowed.  I quickly showered and dressed.  He found me shovelling snow into a bucket and hauling it to the basement.  I was snow dyeing.  I had read about this technique and wanted to try it.  Back in December I gathered all the things I needed; salt, powdered fabric dye and the basket from my freezer then I waited for it to snow and waited and waited.  Finally enough snow fell Tuesday morning so I could gather clean snow.

The fabric had previously been washed so all I had to do was thoroughly wet it.  I scrunched it up into the basket and put the basket in the laundry sink so the melting snow could drain.  I filled the sink with clean snow, covering the fabric.  I sprinkled salt and powdered dye on top of the snow and left it.  After the hockey game I rinsed the fabric and used the drain and spin cycle to take out the excess water.  I hung to dry.  The next day I used the rinse cycle to take off the excess dye.  I am really happy with the result.  It will eventually be a nightgown for me.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

A Tale of Two Pompoms

Back in December, one of my co-workers on maternity leave brought her baby girl into the Essex office.  If you want to see a group of professionals melt into a puddle of gooey sweetneess bring a baby or puppy to the office.  My co-workers and I are no exception.  The oohing and ahing extended to the hat the baby was wearing.  I kept staring at the hat figuring out what stitches were used and where I might possibly find those pompoms.   It really was the most adorable hat on a most adorable baby.  Another co-worker expecting the birth of a grandchild in April looked at me and asked if I could make her one.

Sure no problem.  I headed out on a search for yarn and pompoms.  The hat needed two and they had to be fake fur.  I decided the yarn had to be chunky.  The hat had to have enough bulk to support the pompoms.  A fine weight yarn would be two wimpy and the weight of the pompoms would pull it down.  I found the yarn I wanted at a Stitch in Time in Leamington.

I started searching the net for pompoms.  Every site I went to were sold out or only had fuschia pink. Not that there is any problem with pink but I wanted something a little more neutral.  After all I had settled on a beautiful deep red for the hat.

On Christmas Eve, I found myself in Mary Maxim in Paris looking for pompoms.  The sales staff said they had been sold out for quite some time and were not expecting any additional shipments.  My heart sank.  I was late tuning into a trend - it was now over.  She did however suggest that they still had some key chains with pompoms on them in the gift department.  I headed over.  The pompoms were gorgeous.  A deep burgundy red.  Perfect I think until I looked at the price.  $15.00 a piece.  Now there are times when I am downright crazy but not so much that I would put $30.00 worth of pompoms on a baby hat that may only have a life expectancy of 5 minutes.  I left disappointed and pompomless.

By the time we reached St Catharines we needed gas and found a gas bar across the street from Michaels.  I headed in on my quest for 2 pompoms. I found one royal blue one.  Just one.  I carried it around the store looking for a clerk.  Maybe they had some more in a different part of the store.  Alas, no, the young man who checked for me said they were all out; this was the last.  One pompom was not going to do it.

I headed for the exit and there in all it's glory was a display of keychains with fake fur pompoms.  I could have done cartwheels if I was capable of doing cartwheels without landing on my head.  I made my selection.  At $5.00 per piece they were within the budget.  I go to pay and bonus - they were half price.

You would think this would be the end of the story but not so.  On Boxing Day I was in the Windsor store they had 2 count them 2 royal blue pompoms.  Before I even realized it they were in my basket and I was at the cash register.  They too were on sale.  Then the next time I was in London atLen's Mill Store they had 2, unbelievably 2 deep burgundy red pompoms.  I could not resist and 2 more pompoms made it home with me.

I was pretty sure the original hat used the brioche stitch.  So for the last 2 weeks I have been casting on and ripping back trying to make this hat.  Too big, too small, can't count stitches, can't remember how to knit the brioche stitch and on and on.  Finally got it.  I hope it is okay.

Yarn is Life Chunky by Stylecraft - 75% acrylic and 25% wool in Cardinal.  48 stitches on 5 mm needles.  About 7.5 inches in length before knitting 2 rounds of k2tog to finish the top.

The hat is to have 2 pompoms.  See ....

I wonder which pair Betty will like.

There has been other knitting on the go.

Hubby's ex-wife also attends the 73's hockey games.  This year I noticed that she seemed cold and was clutching her hands to her chest at the games.  I figured she might like a pair of mittens. Something in the 73's colours might be suitable.  I went into my stash and came out with some black, white and an orangey peach in a discontinued DK superwash wool.  I added some Cascade 220 Sport orange wool and came up with these.

One pair of Cloisonee mittens.  I gave them to P at the last home hockey game against the Blenheim Blades.  Essex won 6-3.  She immediately put them on and seemed genuinely delighted with the gift.

Essex only has two games left to play in the regular season.  Looks like the team will end up in second place this year going into the playoffs.

My niece asked me if I would make her a Harry Potter scarf in the Gryffindor colours.  I said yes but only if she took a hat too.  She would have to wait for it until September.  I would make it as another Harrow Fair entry.  I special ordered the yarn from Sue2Knits and Yarn in McGregor and started the scarf.

Cascade 220 Sport in Goldenrod and Ruby.  It is a giant tube closed at the bottom and will be closed at the top.  Fringe to be added at the end.  This will be a great hockey knitting project.  I get almost one repeat done (5") at a game assuming the game is not edge of your seat exciting.

I have two more requests but I am still working out what I want to knit in what colours and how I can turn them into another entry.  I may be a soft touch in the gifting department but more than happy to comply where it also suits my needs.