Monday, February 29, 2016

Weekend Progress

I worked on several different projects this weekend. We were busy with a birthday party, errands, chores and donating items to a thrift shop. I find it hard to believe I got anything done. Lucky for me, evenings were spent at home, in front of the tv so I was able to squeeze in some crafting. I've also spent some time the past week reorganizing/ cleaning up my desk and stash. Not a huge difference so no pictures but it felt good to go through almost everything and decide what I want to work on and pass on some supplies I won't use.

Finished the body of the Potter's shawl and started the sideways leaf border. I like the orange yarn with the variegated yarn when the skein is sitting next to the shawl but I'm doubting my choice as I see the border being knit. I think the two oranges don't go together at all so I am hoping the orange border will look better beside the other colours in the variegated yarn.

Close-up of the leaf detail. I think I will do a few more leaf repeats before I decide if I will knit the whole border. I still have a bit of the variegated yarn left. Part of me is thinking of frogging the border and continuing the body until I run out of yarn.

A few more inches of the red scarf got stitched.

And I finally tried my hand at yo-yo's. Very addictive. Had to force myself to stop at four. This will be a very long term project. I'm thinking 2 years before this is finished.

Sneak peak of a little Spring art project. I knit the first piece on Friday and painted the canvas on Saturday. Still have some other parts to make and assemble. Hope to have it finished by the first day of Spring.

Went through my Christmasy fabric looking for fabrics to make some scrappy blocks.

I filled a basket full of worsted weight yarn scraps to make hats for charity. Underneath are some hat patterns.

All that progress means I didn't start my Beacon Hill cardigan. Hopefully this week. The needles and yarn are impatiently waiting.

What did you do this weekend?

Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday Finish - Thermal Tunic

     I did it! Yesterday, I finished knitting my Thermal Tunic, wove in ends and since my daughter was home due to a snow day, we went outside and took some pictures. I am very, very happy with this sweater and so glad I finally knit it. 
     I couldn't help but smile a bit for the pictures. I think this is the best fitting sweater I've ever knit. I haven't blocked it yet. My only area of concern is the right armpit, which you can see in the picture above, has a bit of a bump. Doesn't feel funny, just looks a little weird. 


     Back. Since it is a tunic, I think it was meant to be longer but I'm happy with the length.
Hat is Forest Walk by Jen Lucas.

     Took another picture inside without the snow reflection in my glasses. If you go back to last Friday's post you'll see the difference in our amount of snow. 

     Another texture picture because I love it. I'm even thinking of making another Thermal Tunic as a gift.

     I have one and a half skeins leftover. I'm thinking hats. Perhaps one for myself and one for charity.

     And this morning I wound the yarn for my next big project. The blue yarn is Cascade, Venezia Worsted and is 30% silk, feels lovely and will become a cardigan. The variegated yarn, which my mom gifted to me for Christmas 2014, will become a cowl.

     Next big project - Beacon Hill cardigan by Jane Richmond. I did a swatch last night and I should be casting on some time this weekend. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

One WIP for Wednesday

I only have one WIP to share today because I've only been working on one all week.

     And that is my lovely Thermal Tunic. I'm trying to keep my hopes low for the finished sweater. I've loved every sweater I've knit (while knitting) but there is always something about them that I wished I had done differently. Either longer sleeves, longer body, different yarn. I'm sure every knitter has that problem. I really want this sweater to fit just right and enjoy it for years. I'm a little nervous about the sleeve length. And what will happen to the yarn after blocking. It's suppose to be machine washable but I am concerned about pilling.

     I have 26 rows to knit until I bind off and then do the collar. I've stayed up late the past two nights working on it and hope to finish it tomorrow but it's a possible snow day so the kids might have other plans.

     Close-up picture. Every couple rows, I smooth the sweater out on my lap and run my hands across it. I love the texture. I also hold it up to myself and hope it will fit. I'll soon find out. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Weekend Progress

I had a nice, productive weekend. Last week we eliminated naps for Floyd, our 2 1/2 year old. When he naps, he stays up until 10:30 or even midnight and that just wasn't working for us anymore. No naps has really eaten into what I can do during the day but has given me more time in the evening since he now goes to bed around 8. With everyone home for the weekend, there were more people to keep him busy and I was able to get lots done.
Saturday was so nice I was able to sit outside, alone, for almost 40 minutes. I started crocheting a red scarf for charity and enjoyed a tea. I could have stayed out longer but other people needed lunch.

Made great progress on my Thermal Tunic. Finished the first sleeve and attached it to the body of the sweater Sunday morning. Sunday afternoon I started the second sleeve. I think the sweater will be done by the end of the month.

And it might be hard to tell but I knit another 20 rows of the Potter's shawl when I needed a break from knitting sleeves.

I also rearranged my ravelry queue, based on what projects I have yarn for, instead of the projects I want to do next and would have to buy yarn for. I have enough yarn to do the first 23 things in my queue. If I finish all those, my stash will be small again. And those queued projects don't include all the yarn I have to make plain knitted socks for myself. Rearranging the queue does have me excited to use up my stash but it also has me wanting to cast on all 23 projects. 

And here is all the sock yarn I received or gifted to myself during the holidays. Perhaps I'll be casting on some socks this week.


Friday, February 19, 2016

2 Finishes for Friday

I have a couple finishes to share this week. 

I finished the Minecraft Creeper Blanket almost a month ago, the night before my son's 10th birthday. He was very happy with it and it has been on his bed every night since. He recently counted and he has 6 different quilts/ afghans on his bed. His bedroom is the coldest in the house so he needs them but even I think that's a bit much. (I only have 3 on mine :)). Pattern is free and is written for the 100 squares needed to be knitted but I decided to crochet them, as several others have. I ran out of several colors and had to use the soft fern green to make 4 extra blocks - I used the yarn recommend in the pattern and found at Michael's. I enjoyed making it and am thinking of crocheting an afghan from my scraps to use in the living room.

I blocked the Passerine scarf on Tuesday and was able to sneak outside for some pictures with it today. We have a wind advisory here today which made taking pictures ... interesting. As I mentioned in Monday's post, I ran out of yarn and was 5 lace pattern repeats short. I went down to size 3 needles which helped a bit, or it would have been even shorter. I'm happy with the current length. It's good for just having around the neck...

... but is also a good length for wrapping around my neck once with some left to be tucked into my coat. If it was cold enough to wear one. 

It took a few tries to get a picture of the length due to the wind.

The colours are so bright and beautiful. So happy with it.

I love where the red and purple blend into each other.

And the green is great too. I started with the green end to make sure I used all of it.

And I'm making good progress on the first Thermal Tunic sleeve. Perhaps I'll get the first one done this weekend. I think that would be a first sleeve record for me. 

What have you finished this week?


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

WIP Wednesday

Not much to share today as the kids are home this week from school. They all play well together... until they don't and the house gets crazy and loud. So they've been cutting into my craft time this week but I've enjoyed having them home. We have a little bit of snow and mild temperatures so we'll be heading out to play once I'm done writing this blog post. 

This picture isn't from this week. Or even this month. I was going to share it for WIP Wednesday on January 20th, but I hurt my back that day and never got around to posting it. I did a post about the charity scrap quilts I have been working on last month and this was the result. Those squares started out 2 inches square before being sewn together. It is 60 inches wide and 24 inches long. I'd like it to be 80 inches long so I have a way to go. I haven't worked on either scrap quilt this month as my quilt space has been full of another quilt I am quilting. I aim to get more scraps cut and sewn together once that quilt is finished.

And this is all I've been working on since Monday's post. I'm about 7 rows away from adding the sleeves so I'll be casting those on soon. I'm really motivated to get this sweater done before the end of the month and am even excited to start the sleeves. I can't believe I just wrote that. Pattern is Thermal Tunic. 

What have you been working on this week?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Muppets Quilt

I can't believe it has taken me almost 2 months to do a blog post about the amazing Muppets quilt my sister-in-law made me for Christmas. I should have taken some close up pictures as the blocks are so detailed. She must have spent countless hours on it and I'm so happy with it. 

I took it outside for a photo shoot when we had some nice weather a couple weeks ago. 

Close-up of the top half. You can see an in progress photo of the "The Muppet Show" block in my SIL's flickr stream, here. So many pieces!

Bottom half of quilt. You can see close-ups of the blocks on flickr. And some of her other amazing quilts, as well.

Here is my older son enjoying it while watching tv.

And the youngest snuggling in it. When I hurt my back last month I spent a lot of hours with it on the couch. And I love wrapping it around myself in the morning while drinking a cup of tea. Thank you Michelle for such an amazing quilt. I love it. I'll probably be using it tonight while watching a new episode of The Muppets.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Weekend Knitting Progress

I've done a lot of knitting the past few days so today I have a finish, a WIP and something new to share.

Yesterday, I finished the Passerine scarf. The pattern says to use a skein of 350 yards and repeat chart C, 16 times. The first time I made it I was able to do 12 repeats with 350 yards. This time, my yarn was 400 yards so I thought I would get all 16 done. Nope. Only 11. Not sure why. I even changed from size 5 needles to size 3 needles. I could tell after 3 repeats that I was going to run out, so I frogged the scarf and started over. Good thing I love the pattern. I still need to block it, but I think it will be long enough for me to wear and enjoy. I'd like to knit this pattern one more time to see how much yarn it actually takes to knit 16 repeats.

At the end of last week, I needed a break from the lace knitting. It was either start a pair of socks or cast on this shawl. I bought the variegated yarn last year, or maybe even the year before from the Loopy Ewe. You can find it here. I've set it aside several times for different patterns but then changed my mind. Last Thursday, I went through all my knitting magazines and put post-its on all the patterns I wanted to knit, (and even purged some) and when I came across this pattern, the Potter's shawl, I knew exactly the yarn I wanted to use for it. I cast on Friday afternoon. The garter stitch body of the shawl will be the variegated yarn. The sideways leaf border will be knit in the orange. This is a great mindless knit for watching tv. The stitch marker lets me know which is the right side. I currently have 122 stitches on the needles and need to get to 262 before starting the border.

And I pulled the Thermal Tunic out last night. I knit 10 rows last night and 10 rows this morning. I'd like to get this finished before Spring gets here. 

What did you work on this weekend?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

WIP Wednesday - A Little Bit of Everything

I've been keeping busy here. My back is finally feeling better so I've been off the couch and doing stuff. A lot of it is at my son's school (book fairs, pizza fundraiser and PTO meetings) but I can't forget about the other 2 kids. So we were at a preschool open house on the weekend and tonight is the information night at the high school my daughter will be attending next year. Yeah, I'm not quite ready for her to go to high school but guess we should go. Throw in dentist appointments and a toddler who thinks he might want to start going on the potty and I've been taking advantage of any craft time I get, so blog posts have been lacking. Here is what I've been up to the past week.

Quilting a lap quilt for a birthday gift. This is all I can show since it's a surprise, but those quilt lines are approximately an inch apart so... it's a lot of quilting.

I couldn't resist casting on another Passerine scarf. Using some Knit Circus yarn I got via their kickstarter last year.  Loving it and wish I could just sit and finish it. Here is the first one I knit last year.

Crocheting scarves. Finished the second one and about half way through the third. Going to sew on the kitty parts once I finish the third one.

And here is the first one finished and modeled by my daughter. 


Thursday, February 4, 2016

What I Read in January

Before I get to what I read last month, I have to mention a gift I received for Christmas from my mother. A set of calendar bookmarks.

At first I thought I was suppose to cross-stitch the detail. Then my mom asked if I liked them and I realized she had done the cross-stitch for me, I was very touched. As someone who makes gifts for so many, I love it when someone takes the time to make something for me. My mother saved me a ton of time and I got to use them right away.

Here is January's bookmark.

 I circled the days I finished a book...

... and then wrote the titles on the back of the book mark. It will be neat to look back at the end of the year. Thanks mom.

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
This is the first Anne Tyler novel that I've read. I've heard of her but never got around to reading anything by her and I don't know if I will again. The writing was really good but I kept waiting for something really dramatic to happen and then the book was over. It wasn't boring, I just felt more could have happened. The novel looks at 3 generations of a family. It jumps back and forth so as you read about the past, you understand parts you've already read. This would probably make a great vacation read but I was looking for something a little more...dramatic.

Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten
Another attempt at reading teen fiction (why do I do this to myself?). The first half was really good and I was going to recommend it to my daughter to read but then it got weird. It had great twists but it's definitely not for young teens. Older teens, maybe. I told my daughter the plot and she was glad she didn't read it. I don't want to give too much away but... the novel begins a year or so after 2 best friends (June and Delia) stop talking to each other after something happens with them and June's boyfriend. When June returns to school after Christmas vacation, she is surprised to hear that Delia has died and that it looks like a suicide. June doesn't quite believe it and starts investigating. There are multiple people that could have killed Delia and make it look like a suicide. Through flashbacks you learn more about June and Delia's friendship and who might have wanted Delia dead. Then  SPOILER ALERT - it turns out Delia isn't dead but faked her own death with the help of 3 friends June has never met before. And then the real craziness begins. I won't tell you anymore than that. Definitely interesting. Not sure if it's for teens. Read if you like books with unexpected twists.

Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis
I was intrigued by this book when I saw it winning lots of awards last year. When it appeared on the new books page on our public library website, I requested it not knowing anything about it. The novel is about 15 dogs being given human intelligence and language by the Gods, Apollo and Hermes, and what happens to them after. The two gods had made a bet. One believes that none of the dogs will die happy. The other, thinks intelligence will lead to happiness. The fate of the 15 dogs is interesting, some embracing the change, while others fight it. I won't spoil the novel but I do recommend it. I didn't think I was going to like it but I did and still think about it and what it says about humans and how we treat those we consider different from ourselves. 

Queen Victoria's Mysterious Daughter: A Biography of Princess Louise by Lucinda Hawksley
The title of this book is why I requested it from the library. I enjoy reading books about royalty, although I tend to read books about royals from around the time of Henry VIII. I haven't read much about Queen Victoria and thought learning about one of her children was a good start. Louise's husband was an early Governor General of Canada and Louise helped to name both the city of Regina and the province Alberta. There is also a Lake Louise in Alberta named after her. I'm not sure how accurate the book is. A lot of the files on Princess Louise are locked in the Royal Archives and information about a lot of the people close to her have also become classified. Not sure if this means that the Royal family is actually hiding the truth about Princess Louise's life or if the author was looking for Louise's life to be something more than it was. If you like reading about royalty, read it and make your own conclusions. 

And the graphic novels I read:
Fables: The Great Fables Crossover

Jack of Fables; The New Adventures of Jack and Jack

Fables - Witches

Jack of Fables: The Fulminate Blade

I wonder what I'll read this month.

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