Thursday, August 31, 2017

Under the sea!

Yesterday, Mom and I packed up the girls, hopped on a train, and headed to the big city...

To Ripley's Aquarium. The place was absolutely packed, but it was amazing! I'll let the pictures speak for themselves!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

FO: Bethany

Mom and I are out on an adventure with the girls today, so I thought it was a good day to share pics of the completed Bethany.
She was finished up on Saturday, and has spent the last few days blocking. I finally got the buttons on yesterday just before it got too dark to take pictures.
I did the 6-12 month size, so after the fair it will be put away for Wren for Christmas. She's growing like a weed so it should be just perfect by then.
This was a fun little knit. I'm used to doing baby stuff in fingering (because washable sock yarn is perfect for babies), so it was a nice switch things up and knit one in DK. 

Bethany took two weeks of moderately steady knitting. It's top down and seamless with a nice little lace yoke that keeps things interesting. The knitting slows down a bit when you get to the skirt, but then you've got some rows of straight stocknit to zone out on which is nice. (You could also omit the eyelets on the skirt completely if you wanted.)
There's two little buttons on the back to make it easier to get on an off. Since they are the back, I just went with plain, flat buttons from the stash. Though the more I look at it, the more I think it would be cute to put the buttons in front.

In the end it used almost two full skeins of Twinkle Cat DK. The colour is Pixie Dust, and unfortunately, the sparkles don't show well in the pics, but trust me, this little thing sparkles! Hopefully it will catch the eye of the fair judges.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


It's been a fairly lazy vacation so far, but I did drum up enough energy to get the top of Corvin's baby blanket together.

While it may look like random placement of the blocks, it actually took me quite a while to get them in a placement I liked with no two fabrics touching, and a relatively even disbursement of white and black squares.
My Snoopervisor was no help in the process.
But it's together now... and soon it will be out of my hands. The top, along with the chunk of red zig-zag fabric I snagged from the remnant bin for the backing, will be going up to Mom's for finishing.

Though she's got the monsters for a week, so it may be a while before you see it back here finished. While I was sewing away at home, they were at Mom's doing a little sewing of their own.

They raided Mom's fabric stash and made pillow cases

Monday, August 28, 2017

Speeding to Fall

I'm on vacation for the week, and that means no train time, which would normally mean no train knitting but...

I've decided to work on Bronte outside train hours. With a nice lazy Sunday, I was able to get the first one done and dusted.
now with it off the needles and on a foot, you can see that pretty lace pattern.
And why the rush for this pair? Well, I'd like to get them done by September 1 because Dee and Vera are having a little fall knit-along. So I'll take a break from the train knitting and join in with them... wanna join too?

Sunday, August 27, 2017

End of summer garden tour

The Iceland Poppies just keep blooming... red, yellow, white and variations thereof. I really hope they make it through winter.
Another sure sign that fall is coming... the Sedum is starting too bloom. I love it when it's at this stage... mostly white with just a touch of pink.
 The Mammoth sunflowers have bloomed - and they live up to their name - the blooms are the size of dinner plate and the plants are probably seven feet tall.
The pink Delphiniums have bloomed, and they are a bit of a dissapointment. The tag showed a nice bright pink... and these ones are  so pale they are almost white. They are pretty, but I already have some in the front garden. C'est la vie.
 Back in mid summer, I bought some Cala Lily bulbs. A "tuxedo" mix of black and white. The white ones haven't bloomed yet, but the black ones are gorgeous.
The Susans are putting on quite the show. I think I need to put some of these inthe front yard next year. I just love them.
 The Blanket Flowers from last year are blooming nicely. They are just a touch more red than the new ones I bought this year.
 And they are blooming like crazy too.
 As are the Bachelor Buttons! I need to find a way to tame these ones a bit next year. They've just taken over their corner of the garden.
 Chicago Peace is blooming again.
 So is Queen Elizabeth. The love it when the humidity ends. I'll get blooms right to October.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Sewing machine

It was a fairly light work at week this week so I was able to sneak in some more time to play with my new machine. The pinwheels are all done - I need a coordinating fabric to do the next step. Same with the bear paws. So I decided to get a move on a project that has a due date of November.
I've had these fabrics for a while... bought for a welcome quilt for little Corvin. Well Corvin is set to turn one in November, so it's changing from a welcome quilt to a birthday quilt - and I need to get a move on.
Under the watchful eye of my snoopervisor, I got them all cut into 5" squares so I could test out a new HST technique.

With that techique, I was able to churn out some hourglass blocks pretty quick.
I got six done before I decided to take a break. I still have nine more to go which ideally, I'd like to finish up this weekend... but we'll see how it goes. I feel like I've been VERY productive lately, so I'm bound to hit a slump soon! Of course, I'm on vacation this week, so maybe I can sneak them all in before that slump hits...

Friday, August 25, 2017

Friday Felines

There's nothing this boy loves more than hanging out in the curtains, catching a few rays...

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Bear paws... RARRRR!!!!

When it comes to quilt patterns, I have always loved the Bear Paw. I don't know why. Back in 2015,  I decided to make my own Bear Paw quilt. But other than a sewing machine and fabric, I didn't have many other tools of the trade. So I did all my cutting at Mom's, and brought the pieces home to sew.

I wasn't using pre-set measurements from a pattern (I couldn't find one with really big paws, which is what I wanted) so I did the math myself. Unfortunately, I did it wrong. I cut my large squares too big (forgetting the seam would make the claws smaller). Nor a huge deal  - I decided to piece as is, leaving an overhang I could trim.

Then I took all the squares up to Mom's to use her cutting mat and rotary cutter. All was going well until I managed to trim some a full inch smaller than others. I'm still not sure how I did it. But the only fix was to rip seams, trim things down and sew all over again.

I just wasn't up to facing it, so everything got shoved in a bag and buried in the deep dark recesses of the studio. That is until this summer, when I started cleaning things out. I came across the bag and was finally able to wrap my head around the best way to redo them.

Back at the start of the summer, I spent an afternoon on Mom's porch with them. She spun yarn, I ripped seams, we chatted and it made the task seem much less daunting.

And this weekend, with my Pinwheels under my belt, I was finally confident enough to take another stab at the Bear Paws. I admit, it has a lot to do with the studio set up I have now (plus Mom bought me my own cutting mat and rotary cutter for my birthday last year)
With the new/old machine, I have room to lay my blocks out while I piece them (resulting in fewer mis-sewn seams). Kitty corner to the table (not in the picture), is my ironing board and iron. I have a rolling chair at the machine, so I can just roll from sewing to pressing and back again with ease.

It wasn't too long before I had a perfect paw done
And then 11 more!
This is the layout I'm going to use. The floor makes a nice stand in for the neutral fabric I still need to get for the plain squares. Despite all the cutting down, the  finished paws are still very large - 11".
I've got a stack of coordinating fabrics collected from remnant bins, and once I get my neutral fabric in there, I'll start playing around with some colour-coordinated sashing.

But for now I'm just thrilled to have 12 paws, all the same size!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Realizing the dream

Way back in the summer of 2006, I started working at a small community newspaper in the town of Port Colborne, ON. I was new to the area, so when I had a free moment, I'd leave the newspaper office and wandering around the town exploring. One day, a couple weeks in, I walked by a house that had a large flowering bush that took up most of the tiny front yard. What was remarkable was that it was absolutely COVERED in Monarchs. There had to be at least two dozen - it was like the plant was dripping butterflies. I'd never seen anything like it.

I had my camera with me and probably snapped a hundred pictures. When I came back to the office, I showed everyone, wondering aloud what the flowering bush was as it was nothing I'd recognized. It was the office receptionist who spoke up... "Oh, that's a Butterfly bush."

At first, I thought she was teasing, but no... it's just really aptly named. (Though it's Latin name is Buddleia). Ever since that day, I coveted the Butterfly Bush. When we moved here, it was one of the first plants I bought.

Disappointingly, the only thing it seemed to attract was moths. At night. I quite like moths (when they stay away from my yarn stash), but my camera is not great for night shots. I want butterflies!!!

But finally...
My variety of Butterfly Bush is Miss Ruby - a slightly purplish magenta.
The bush is on it's third summer now, and it's not quite to the top of the fence yet - it's probably around 4 feet. She can grow up to about 6 feet though.
This far north, the bush dies right back in the winter. And it's one of the last to show signs of life come spring. I always worry that she's died off until I see those first few bits of green in late May. I've heard lots of people around here say that their bush didn't make it through winter, but I wonder if they just didn't wait long enough.
She's a late bloomer too. I'll get a couple flower spikes in mid summer, but they are usually small and weak. It's not until mid-August that she kicks it into high gear. Right now they're are probably 20 or so bloom spikes and some are quite large. She blooms right into fall providing some of the last bits of colour before the frost.

So here's to a few more months of wings and blossoms!