Sunday, 5 November 2017

Old Crochet

Last night Hubby and I travelled to Mooretown to watch the 73's play.  Essex managed to win 3-1.  The last goal was an empty netter.  The game was exciting and worth the 2 hour drive through a lightening filled downpour.  Mooretown has an old-style arena with bench seating and little heat.  I pulled out this old afghan to take with us to sit on.  It adds cushioning to the hard wooden bench and keeps the ol' tushie warm.


My grandmother made this for me.  She took up crochet again later in life.  She was taught by the nuns in grade school in Montreal.  She made doilies and lace as a girl and young woman.  When I was a child she made me hats.  My favourites always had real bunny tails as pom poms.  Sometimes she added one and sometimes two to the hat.  Each time she made me a hat, the pom poms came off the old and onto the new.   Sometime in the 70's when her friend Barbara developed arthritis in her hands, her doctor suggested she crochet to keep her hands limber.  My grandmother thought it a wonderful idea for her hands too and started crocheting again.  Mainly she made these afghans.  All her grandchildren got them in various colours in the same stitch pattern.  She passed away in January 1980. 

This afghan and I have a long history together.  I lived in Winnipeg when she made it for me.  The colours are classic '70's and so is the yarn.  It was for its time cheap acrylic probably purchased at Woolco.  (Woolco was later bought out by Walmart.)   The colours have faded a bit but there are no holes or other evidence of wear and tear.  This is an acrylic that archeologists a thousand years from now digging up land fills will find in still pristine condition.  I wonder what they will make of that.

The original purpose was as an afghan to protect against the winter cold.  I used it as such for many years.   Also, for many years it slept in various cupboards as I moved from home to home.  I found the colours tiresome after time but could not bear to part with it.  For a few years it even  served as a blanket for the dogs.  No damage done.

It has been through the washer and dryer countless times. Now it has gained a new purpose and gets pulled out when ever we need something to sit on.  I foresee that we are going to spend the rest of our lives together finding new uses as we age.  It will be my executor who will decide its final fate.  I won't be able to bring myself to part with it.  This afghan is everlasting thanks to the acrylics of the 70's.  I bet there are still countless balls in stashes and  countless afghans still in use.

I haven't quite shaken the cough.  It is still with me but not as bad as before.  I have one antibiotic pill left but the rest of the meds are done.  I think it just has to run its course.

Because I haven't felt great this week, I wanted some comfort knitting and to me that means socks.  I started these thinking I could work on them from time to time.  Instead, I simply could not stop  until they were done.

See done!


I am keeping these.  These are from my go to sock yarn - Paton's Kroy - dug up out of my stash.

I thought when they were done I could move on to more knitting for the fair.  I must have been taking a nap when I wound up a skein of yarn I picked up at the Woodstock Fleece Festival.  I wanted socks  with a bit of orange in them.  I can't explain this desire but I think I went too far orange.


I added the loop to the Christmas stocking.


I assembled the tea cozy.


The shape is meant for a standard small brown betty tea pot.  I don't have one of those so my camel tea pot stepped in as model.  The tea cozy is symmetrical in real life and not misshapen at all.  I am  excited though.  I can add 2 more finished items to the fair storage drawer.

The fronts of the girl's sweater are done and the sleeves cast on.


I think I want to finish this sweater before I start a new fair project.  The reindeer is in the exact same state of assembly as last week.  At my rate of assembly of this one, I worry I will be in a panic the night before the entries are due trying to sew it together and hoping it does not look like an 9 year old did the stuffing and stitching.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

I Think the Cough is Defeated

I am back and almost over my cough.  After a visit to my doctor last week, I finally got some new meds that actually seem to be working.  My table looks like a pharmacy now.

Reba had her last amino acid treatment.  She is showing real improvement.  Hubby and I know that the treatment is not a cure but it should make her more comfortable and stave off the inevitable for a maybe a few months to a year.  I am cooking for her and she is eating really well.  She has returned to her usual piggy self.  It is just fascinating to see her veterinary care team get excited about her gaining weight.  Who would think that this is a good thing in an already fat dog.

While I have been off work sick, I managed some knitting.  Not as much as you might think.  I was coughing so hard I pulled a muscle under my right arm and lost the use of it for 2 days.  No knitting time there.  I have also been very tired and did not feel like knitting. I have still not worked out how to knit in my sleep.  Despite the limitations, I did make some progress towards the 2018 Harrow Fair.

I was feeling really good about that progress until I updated my excel spreadsheet.  I have only truly finished one entry.


Knit from Ferner Wolle Mally Socks sock yarn.  I picked this up from the Little Red Mitten while Reba was getting her first treatment in London.  I bought a second ball as well to weave with.  The pattern is my own sock recipe for toe up socks.

This one is close to being done.  It is still drying and needs a loop added to the top.  The loop is knitted already and waiting to be sewn on.



The pattern is Old-fashioned Christmas from the book The Stockings were Knit by Mickey Landau.  This was fun to knit.  It needed big needles and worsted weight yarn.  I used Paton's Classic Wool.  I suspect that the red is a discontinued colour as I picked it up at the Len's Mills tent sale in London in the summer.  Off-white is always available but the white for this project came from Michaels.

The soft toy entry is coming along.  It will be a reindeer when it is done.  I have finished knitting the parts and have started to stuff the pieces.  It is fussy work and I can only stand doing so much at a time otherwise I will hurry the process and make a mess of the assembly.


The pattern is Best Friends from the booklet Jean Greenhowe's Christmas Special.  I used a discontinued DK yarn from my stash.  An almost equivalent yarn is Paton's Classic Wool DK Superwash.  The the old  discontinued yarn is Merino wool whereas the new DK Superwash is no particular breed.

Progress continues on the girl's sweater entry.  The back is complete and the fronts are well on their way to the underarm.  I am doing both fronts at the same time.  Somehow I think it is faster.  It really isn't but in my head, since I only have to do the fronts once, it goes quicker.


This is knit from Paton's Classic Wool DK Superwash.  Hubby picked it up for me at this summer's SpinRite tent sale in Listowel.  He swung through Listowel on his motorcycle trip in August.  As soon as I saw this yarn I knew exactly what I wanted to knit with it.  I have now convinced myself that purple is a Christmas colour to fit my overall theme for 2018.

The tea cozy is still in pieces waiting for assembly.

I have my next three projects already picked out and have the yarn for at least two of them.

I am hoping the cough finally goes away soon.  I want off the meds.  There are leaving me with a horrible bitter taste in my mouth.  However, I am one of those people who follows directions and I will be finishing them off like a good girl.

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)