Thursday, November 30, 2017

FO: Blue boot socks

They are done! I managed to get the leg done on Monday's train ride home. I finished the heel and most of the gusset decreases that night. And then Tuesday I pushed through and finished the foot and toe up in one evening. Admittedly, I did stay up past my bed time to do it, but it was all in a good cause.

These ones are almost exactly like the other pair, except they are an inch longer in the leg because I didn't take my measuring tape with me. But that helps me decide who will get which pair - these ones will go to the taller of the two!

The yarn is Drops Big Fabel, sadly now discontinued. It's a nice, hard-wearing worsted sock yarn (has nylon for extra strength). Dad's got a couple pairs that are a couple of years old and are still going strong.

Just like the previous pair, I started both ball from the centre. And just like the previous pair, the stripe sequence was reversed on the second ball.
Not the end of the world, just a little bit of an annoyance.

But they are done and I couldn't be happier! It's time to get back to some Wandering Cat yarn, and another  pair of On the GO socks!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Spinning my wheels

With the green quilt done, I was all excited to move one of my other quilts-on-the-go along. I've got four that have all the blocks done and just need assembling.

I decided to tackle the smallest one first, since some of the blocks and sashing were already assembled and, being the smallest, I should be able to throw it together quickly.

Famous last words...

I've never had a seam-ripper out so many times on one project. And I don't know why... I'm only sewing straight lines.

But... I'm happy to say after two days of sewing and ripping and ripping and sewing...
I have a finished top! I'm calling this one "Chocolate-Covered Pinwheels". 

I've got a nice piece of pink flannel from the backing (bought forever ago for pajama pants or something). And there's plenty of the greenish-cream  left from the cornerstones and stripes for binding, so it will all tie together nicely.

This one will be a couch quilt as it matches the colours I'm using in the living room, so it's the perfect size for just one person.

But you won't see this one finished for a while. I'm going to try to sweet-talk Mom into quilting it for me, and she won't have time for that until after Christmas.

Now to decide which one to work on next... stars, or paws, or HSTs, oh my!?!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

FO: Spearmint Sticks quilt

Like the name I gave to it? It's all I can think of when I look at it. As I mentioned yesterday, work has been crazy busy lately. But by Friday, I'd gotten it all squared away, and found myself with nothing to do but keep an eye on my email. With the American Thanksgiving last week, that meant my emails were quiet too. So, I kept my phone handy, but swiveled my work chair over to the vintage Singer and finished quilting that last row of blocks. I didn't do anything fancy with the quilting, just sewed around the inside of each block the width of the presser foot.

Saturday, I sewed the binding on, and spent the better part of an afternoon and most of the evening tacking it down on the back by hand.
I was a little unsure of the binding. I'd bought it from the remnant bin at Lens, and hadn't brought the quilt top with me to match it up. When I got it home, I thought it might be a little too minty... but once  I got it on there, I decided it actually worked quite well. There's so many shades of green in the quilt, it continues the theme of  "scrappy-but-coordinated". And it's such a thin band around the edge of the quilt, that it doesn't jump out at you like I was worried it might.
And of course, the backing is another shade of green entirely! I didn't take measurements, but it covered the top of my Queen size bed without falling over the edge, so it should be just perfect for a Double bed.

This quilt was definitely a learning experience. It's far from perfect - intersections don't line up, and there's quite a few puckers. But it's some good experience under my belt for the next one.
And of course, it's still a fully functioning blanket!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Sock slog

Look! Knitting!!!!
I have to admit, the last few weeks have not seen much needle clicking. It started with my trip to NOTL. I didn't have a chance  to knit a stitch there, and when I got home my workload was so high, that when I wasn't working, I didn't have the energy to knit. When I was even remotely motivated to work on something, it involved fabric, not yarn.

But things finally  slowed down on Friday, and I powered through, finishing the first sock of the second pair of Christmas boot socks. These shouldn't feel like a slog - but they do. It makes no sense. It's nice, mindless stocknit. It's worsted, with only 48 stitches to a round, so those rounds add up quick. But it still feels like its taking forever.

I'm hoping I can get through the leg of the second on my train commute home today.  If I could finish this pair before the month is out, I'd feel a whole lot better!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

In bloom

The frost has done it's work, and there are no more blooms left in the garden...

But that's okay, because things are flowering inside.
I put my Peace Lily outside this summer and the leaves got a little too much sun, but she doesn't seem to mind too much - just look at that big beautiful bloom!
 And there's a second on coming too.

The Christmas cactus also spent the summer in yard, and not long after I brought her back in she started to bud up.
Those buds should start bursting into blooms any day now, right on time.

Those who've been around for  a couple years know a while back, I went a little crazy with Phalaenopsis orchids. I managed to kill them all but one. At the start of the summer, I took it to the office where I have a big north-facing window.
She's so happy there, she started blooming again! Love that pretty dark pink.

And last, but no least, the grocery store had a big display of Amaryllis and Paperwhite kits, and I just couldn't resist.
It will be a little while before they bloom..
Probably just in time for Christmas!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Twenty-five things

Dee said we must participate, so her wish is my command...

Twenty-five things about me...

1.  What is your middle name?   
Rose… so  now it’s easy to understand my love of these beauties, eh?

2.  What was your favorite subject in school?  
Art and History. Though I think school could do a MUCH better job of teaching history.

3.  What is your favorite drink?  
 Alcoholic: Mimosa  
Non-alcoholic: Coca Cola

4.  What is your favorite song at the moment?  
Hmmm. That’s tough… I’ve really been enjoying the band The Dead South lately, so let’s go with this one:

5.  What is your favorite food?  
 Another tough one… but I’m really craving Egg Rolls, so  let’s go with that.

6.  What is the last thing you bought?  
 Some new tights, including a sparkley purple pair!

7.  Favorite book of all time?
 Another tough one… can’t say I have one favourite, but the whole Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones) is right up there

8.  Favorite color?
 Green, though I love red and pink almost as much.

9.  Do you have any pets?
 You know it!

10. Favorite perfume?
 I don’t really wear perfume any more, but when I did, I love Dior’s Poison.

11.  Favorite holiday?
Hallowe’en. I love the dressing up, the costumes, the candy, and the general time of year!

12.  Are you married?


13.  Have you ever been out of the country? How many times?
I’ve been to the U.S. a handful of times. I really want to go to Britain though.

14.  Do you speak any other language?
I can muddle my way through speaking French. Here in Canada, we start learning it in about Grade 4. We have the option to continue in High School, which I did. I was very good at it, but after that I never used it, and now my skills are VERY rusty. I’m happy to say though, my work is sending me back to school (and paying for it!) to learn (starting in January) because being bilingual will help immensely in my role.

15.  How many siblings do you have?
Just one. A big brother.

 16.  What is your favorite shop?
 All these favourites… so hard to pick just one. Looking at my credit card statement lately, it’s gotta be Old Navy and Missouri Star Quilts!

17.  Favorite restaurant?
 Now this one is easy! Swiss Chalet! I get the same thing EVERY time I go. Quarter Chicken dinner (white meat), with fries and a Shirley Temple to drink.

18.  When was the last time your cried?
 Watching a documentary last week on a guy who rehabilitates European Lynxes and releases them to the wild.

19.  Favorite blog?
Now I definitely can’t pick a favourite there. Just look through my blog roll and you’ll see why.

20.  Favorite movie?
 The six-part Pride and Prejudice from the early ‘90s. Yes, the one with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. You know it’s good because even Dave will sit down and watch all six hours.

21.  Favorite TV show?
So many good ones out in the last few year… my top 5 – Game of Thrones, The Last Kingdom, Downton Abbey, Ripper Street, and Peaky Blinders

22.  PC or Mac?
I’ve used both and like them both about the same.

23.  What phone do you have?
I have two – my personal is a cheap (ie: free) Android. And work gave me an iPhone 6S.

24.  How tall are you?
5' 7.5"

25.  Can you cook?
I can. I won’t claim to be a great cook. My needs and skills are pretty basic. I’m better at baking, but I think that’s just because I love sweet stuff so much more.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Friday Felines

There are definitely days when having four cats seems like a lot...
... and before you ask. Relic was more than welcome to join us on the couch (I would have made room), but Dave was at the computer, so Relic's attention was all for him...

Thursday, November 23, 2017

One year, no wheels

It's hard to believe, but it's officially been a year since I took this beauty off the road...
...and we went down to a one car household. My original plan was to have new wheels by spring, but as a few months went by, I'd changed my mind and decided to stick it out a while longer.

I think the transition has been more difficult for Dave than me. He's had a car since he was 15. I was 22 when I finally got around to getting my license (spurred on by him). And other than the first year we were together, we've always had our own vehicles. And... when it comes to cars, Dave doesn't really share well.

I get it. I totally do. I was extremely possessive of all my cars. I hated letting any one else drive them. I was very picky about who got to monkey around under the hood. Hell, I didn't even like going to a full serve gas station. So I totally understand Dave not being thrilled about handing over his keys. Honestly, I'm not thrilled about it either... we have VERY different taste in cars. I like small and sporty, he like HUGE and Grandpa-like. As such... his car is a Buick Regal.

And, since Dave works throughout the week, and unlike me, can't do his job from home (nor take any sort of transit to it), the  Buick is really only available to me on weekends.

Which means I've put a lot more miles on these bad boys
And spending so much time on foot (and transit) really changes your life. Not just in the obvious ways.

Outings have to be planned, right down to the minute, if you don't want to be caught waiting another half and at the bus stop for the next bus.

Shopping excursions also have to take into account what you can physically carry. It's amazing what I can get into my granny cart, but you still have to pull that sucker home (or up onto a bus!) I also invested in a backpack, but again, you're still physically responsible for whatever you put into it.

But there are definitely some upsides...

There's the obvious financial savings. No car payments, no gas bill. No repairs! Though that savings is not quite a much as you'd think, because transit (mainly our regional GO transit) is quite pricey.

While I haven't lost any weight with all that walking (chalk it up to poor diet mostly),  I haven't gained any either. I have also been able to get off the pain killers I've been taking for my chronic back pain. All that movement has helped more than I could have possibly imagined.

I go places I avoided driving before. Fairs, festivals, farmers markets...even heading to big ol' Toronto... all places that are a total pain to get to in a car (parking, traffic, cost)... the bus and train take a little longer but it gets me there without the stress.

You see things you just don't notice when you're whizzing by in a car. Dogs in yards, bunnies in parks, butterflies flitting from garden to garden (and some of the gardens around here are amazing!)

That said.  I do miss having my own wheels.  I actually love to drive. So, over the next few months, I'll be working on getting a few debts squared away, and then I'll be looking around for a new girl to love. If I'm lucky, maybe even something like this...

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Relic Report

Things continue to go well with Relic's integration into our home.
 He's still playing door games (in and out and in and out and in and out...) though it still makes me smile to see him saunter across the lawn right to the back door. He definitely knows where he lives.
It's also become VERY apparent that he has chose Dave as his person. When he is in the house, he's most often with Dave. And just like Peno, he has to have an evening cuddle with Dave. (sometimes they decide they both need to be with Dave at the same time, and much hilarity ensues as they work out who gets to snuggle where and how).

It was never more apparent than my first night home after my work trip. We climbed into bed, Burton came next, followed closely by Relic, who made a beeline for MY pillow. The look on his face when he realized it was already occupied by me was priceless. And that's when Dave explained "Yeah... he slept there while you were gone..."

His relationship with Rupert is slowly getting better. Rupert's sneak attacks are becoming fewer and fewer, and Relic takes them in stride. And the bed remains neutral territory...
As long as they don't make eye contact. Maybe one day they will tussle with each other like they both do with Burton, but for now we'll happily accept these peaceful timeouts.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Here goes nothing...

The weekend before last, Mom generously helped me get the green quilt sandwiched. So there was no time like the present to start quilting...
Naturally, I had some help... but once I got him sorted...
It's definitely a lot tougher than working on placemats. Although the throat of the machine is pretty big, it was still a tight fit at times. I think I need to invest in some of the nice compact cotton batting Mom uses. I'm using the cheap polyester stuff and it's quite puffy.
I'm not doing anything fancy, just stitching around the inside of each block. Despite that, it's still slow going.
I worked on it both days, and got four rows done. There's still one left to do, as well as the sashing. But I think we'll leave it for next weekend... and I don't even want to think about cutting, folding and attaching all that binding....

Remind me again why I decided not to farm all this out to Mom?

Monday, November 20, 2017


It may seem like I'm new to this whole quilting thing... but I'm not really. I've just only done it intermittently, so my skills aren't fantastic.

In fact, I've grown up with quilts. Mom made me my first when I was about seven. It was a pretty little scrappy nine-patch with yellow sashing (I wanted a yellow room).  Over the years she made us all several scrappy quilts (quite a few with vintage fabric from my Great Aunt Jess's stash.

And while I love all these coordinated precuts you can get now... there's just something about a quilt made from scraps. And I have long loved the Log Cabin block. But I'll let you in on a little secret....

I hate cutting.... I like to get right to the good stuff  - the sewing. Precise cutting just puts me off. So I figured I'd never make a Log Cabin quilt.

But then I saw the technique Jenny from MSQ uses to make Log Cabins (or Log Cabin-inspired blocks). I like the way she works!

Now I could buy a Jelly Roll or two, and make a Log Cabin, but part of me still really wants it to be super scrappy. And despite only being an intermittent quilter, I've actually got a decent box of scrap fabric. They've been gathered from years of occasional baby quilts, Kitten Kaboodles, Barbie clothes, and other sewing projects.

On the weekend, I started eyeing up that box. And next thing I knew... I was cutting 2.5 inch strips.
 I found this nice little box* to tuck them all away in too...
 And there were a few pieces here and there that weren't big enough for strips...
So they became 2.5 in squares - perfect for starting my cabins, or for those cute little nine patches I showed the other day.

And as I was pulling out scraps for strips, I discovered I have quite a few leftover 4 inch squares from various projects. I'm not sure why, but it seems to have been my go-to size in the past (maybe it was the ruler I borrowed from Mom at the time...). So any scraps that were big enough became 4 inch squares.
 And they all live in this nice little basket.
I'm not sure what they will become but you can bet it will be scrappy!!!

*The box once contained a bottle of wine... a gift from one of Dave's students a few years ago. We drank the wine and I tucked the box away knowing one day it would be useful!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

On the line(ing)

Several of you had asked for a closer look at the lining on the Tree Delivery cowl
It's nothing fancy... it doesn't need to be with that yarn - love those colours.
It's a good match for the handspun. It's not exact, but it echos the purples and greens quite well, I think.
If I'm honest, knitting the lining is a total pain. The rounds are long and boring. And the Slinky Cat keeps sliding off my needles. I don't seem to have the same problem with I knit lace with it, I'm not sure why I'm having it now.

But... as I keep telling myself, it will be worth it in the end.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Patchwork cats

When I posted about my last MSQ order, I showed some black and white charm squares.

I knew what I wanted to make with them, but I wasn't planning on starting that project just yet. After all, I've already got five quilts in various stages of completion. But you know me...
 At first I just sorted them out into piles with the pieces I'd need for each block. But that stack was sitting there staring at me...
So I turned some of the squares into the HSTs I'd need. And then I trimmed down the other charm squares to size...

Can you see where this is going?
A tuxedo cat block! All it needs is an applique nose and eyes... and eight other friends to play with!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday felines

Anyone need their windows cleaned?
I'm willing to rent her out...

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Beau chapeau

I'm happy to say  I did manage to find a couple hours to do a little exploring of Niagara-on-the-Lake while I was there.

First, let me say,  I actually know the town very well.  I was a journalist in the area for a couple of years, and covered lots of events and goings on. But I've never had time to experience it purely for pleasure.

We were staying at the Pillar and Post Hotel, which is just a short walk from the main town centre, so I set off on foot
The pic is a little blurry, but that's what most of my walk looked like.... a beautiful street lined with huge, old trees. How old...?
Well, just look at the size of that maple leaf (with my dainty size 7 foot for scale). NotL seems to be having a better fall experience than we are, though it's just a 40 minute drive from home.
 Just look at that pretty oak tree.
And the main street is just as lovely...
And lots of great little stores tucked into all those pretty buildings.
I didn't go in this one (it looked like clothing far too costly for my budget) but I loved that name.
My main destination was a little different..
A fantastic little hat shop called Beau Chapeau. I've known of it's existence for years but have never made it in. The hat selection is amazing.... with most well out of my price range (like $300-400 for a hat)
But I found this sweet little cloche that was much more reasonable, so naturally it followed me home.
After that it was a quick stop here to get Dave a little souvenir, then lunch is a lovely Irish pub (haddock and chips!)

And back to the hotel (which is lovely in itself, so it's not too terrible being cooped up)

But now I'm happy to be hatted and home with my little fur babies, where I belong!