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!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Truckin' Tree Delivery

I've been trying to put a row or two on the Tree Delivery cowl every night...
And as a result, I got through all of the colourwork! Of course, that doesn't mean I'm done. The purplish hand spun is a blend of merino, alpaca and silk. It is a touch on the itchy side, and since this will be wrapped around a neck, I decided it needed a lining. A lining will also cover-up all those floats and keep them from getting pulled. I didn't have enough of the grey Barn Cat Sport, so I dug into my leftover and came of with some leftover Slinky Cat. It's our Peacock colourway - a nice compliment to the shades in the handspun. It's Merino and Silk and much nicer against the skin.

So I've got about 60 more rounds before I can call this one complete.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


As you read this, I'm probably stuck in a hotel conference room listening to Executives wax enthusiastic about our business and where it's headed.

My company is having a Sales and Marketing summit. We're in gorgeous Niagara-on-the-Lake (NotL) for a couple of days, but I'm not sure how much of it I'll get to see, as we're supposed to be holed up in the hotel most of the time.

But, I've got my knitting.

I got most of the leg done on the first of the boot socks before I left for NotL. I don't think they'll let me knit in the meetings, but I figure I'll end up working on them at night. I have trouble sleeping without Dave and the cats now, so I can stitch through my insomnia.

I'm really loving the colour on these. The teal has a great pop to it. And I love that bright green. There's even a touch of lavender in there, which is a nice contrast.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Last stash enhancement of the year...

The last order from Missouri Star Quilt was supposed to be my last... but....
They had another fantastic daily deal! Forty-two 10-inch squares of some really gorgeous fabric.
And it's for a gift.... so it really doesn't count, right? Right!

One of my previous orders included some lovely autumn-themed charm squares. A few weeks back, I started turning them into HSTs. As I started laying them out, I realized I'd made a HUGE miscalculation . One charm pack isn't even remotely enough for an adult-sized quilt. I need more!
They were sold out of that particular charm pack, but this one is made by the same company in similar colours. For the pattern I'm doing, it will mix in well enough..

And these charm squares....
They are for a very special quilt... but you'll have to wait for details on that.

MSQ also has a contest on right now, with scratch cards full of prizes for an order over $25. As an international buyer, I'm not eligible for a scratch card, but they still generously include a consolation prize. My last order came with a little glue stick for applique. This order came with a very nice surprise.
A folding cutting mat.... perfect for quilting on the go! And that ruler? It's a little 2.5 inch ruler Mom recommended  I get. She's been making all these little nine patches from 2.5 inch scraps.
Aren't they just the cutest? I've got a whole box of scrap fabric I could play with....

And this isn't from MSQ, but I was in Walmart the other day (after I foolishly dropped a pot lid on my crockpot and smashed the crockpot to smithereens), and I wandered by the crafting section. They don't have much any more, but they do carry some nice fat quarters at a decent price.
... and this fat quarter pack followed me home.  If my coworker is having a boy, I think this will be a great set for a welcome blankie.

But now I really do have enough fabric to keep me going on quilts for a while. Time to get sewing!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

It's not easy being green

With the quilting of the placemats under my belt, it was time to step up to a bigger project. Realistically, that should be something like a baby quilt. Now, I've got a couple of those planned, but nothing cut an pieced yet.

The green quilt, however, was almost ready to go. It's a double-bed size... but hey, I'm nothing if not adventurous.

It still needed sashing, but that didn't take too long to sort out. First, I ironed out the top and laid it on my "design" bed...
where it was immediately inspected by not one, but two snoopervisors. (Though it looks like Burton is far more interested in Relic's tail than my not-so-perfect seams). I cut my sashing four inches wide to match the size of the strips in the blocks.
On one of our shopping trips, I found this soft, olive-y floral. It's not quite the same shade as anything in the quilt already, so I think it adds to the "scrappy" feel.
Not the best picture, but I think you get the overall idea. Next, I pieced my backing.
I found this in the clearance section. Technically, it's a Christmas fabric, but the only thing Christmas-y about it is the colour (green... and it's not really a Christmas green), and the snowflakes. And hey, snowflakes are winter - not  just Christmas. And quilts are for keeping warm in the winter. Plus... it's for the back! It's not going to be on display. It was only 45" wide, hence the seaming. But the price was worth a seam down the middle.

After that was all done, I locked the fluffy snoopervisor up in the bathroom (and he took his frustrations out on the toilet paper roll), and set to sandwiching on the livingroom floor.

Sadly... the only thing I have to show for it is a sore back. I mostly just made a big mess and couldn't get anything to lay smooth.

I was hoping I'd be able to start quilting on it this weekend, but no luck. Mom has offered her assistance (she's a practiced hand at sandwiching, and much more patient than I!) so it will have to wait until I have time to get up to her place.

Still, it feels good to have one more project that much closer to completion (especially considering I may have another box on the way from Missouri Star Quilt Co....)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The cold winds are rising...

It's happened...
Friday morning we woke up to frosty windows and the first snow of the season. Relic had to run right out and take a look, first thing.
It wasn't a lot of snow, but enough to gather in the leaves of the foxglove.
 And the freezing temperature was enough to topple that proud, red anemone.
Out front there wasn't as much snow, but it looks like the poor tree threw up half it's leaves all in one night. We didn't have the right weather this year for them to turn their usual brilliant gold... they are just dropping half-dead but still green
But Relic says don't worry... it's still warm enough for nice roll in the sunshine.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday Felines

Isn't he just the handsomest kitty who ever lived?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Back in the thick of it

I said I was going to wait a bit to cast on for the second pair of worsted boot socks...

But I had no travel knitting on the needles. I needed something for my regular train trips. And, I have a three-day work conference coming up at the start of next week. I definitely need something for hotel room knitting!

It didn't really make sense to dive back into my On the GO designs. They'd take at least a month to finish a pair, and then I'd really have to hustle to get the boot socks done for Christmas.

It seemed best to just get on with it. And the colours are nice an bright. Perfect for dreary November knitting.

And once they are off my needles, my Christmas list is complete! I'm looking at a December with zero gift stress! First time EVER!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Relic Report

It's hard to believe, but it's been almost a month since we officially adopted Relic.

My hope of keeping him as an indoor only cat have been completely dashed. The first thing he does in the morning is run to the door to be let out. And if you don't oblige, he gets increasingly creative at finding ways to get your attention. It's a good thing I didn't spend a lot of money on my curtains.

I'm not quite sure why he wants to go out so bad, because 80% of the time he just wants to sleep in the chair on the patio.
10% of the time, he just wants to disappear for five minutes, then come back in and eat again. And then immediately go back out. Then immediately ask to come back in again... but not actually come in... just sit on the step and stair at me as I hold the door open, waiting...

When he is in the house, he's made himself right at home.
As mentioned previously, he comes up to bed every night. And during the day, if it's raining, he can most often be found in bed sulking about the bad weather.

He's getting along great with Burton. The two are wrestling now and it's hilarious to watch because he's twice Burton's size... but Burton never gives up!

Peno and Relic seem to have an agreement to pretty much just ignore each other. If they do happen to bump into one another, they try to act like it never happened.

Rupert is still the problem child, though he's getting better. For the most part, he ignores Relic. They can often be found in the bed together on those rainy days (at least a foot apart and not making eye contact). But every once in a while, Rupert feels the need to put Relic in his place. Usually with a sneak attack. But Relic isn't one to duck and cover... and since Rupert is actually a giant pansy, the sneak attacks are not very effective... usually one swat, a hiss from Relic and Rupert's running away.
I imagine in another month, those sneak attacks will be non-existent... and with any luck, they may turn into play sessions, just like Burton.

But the more Relic is here, the more it makes me wonder how someone could have abandoned him. He is such a sweet, social cat. I just don't understand people who treat pets as disposable things.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The projects

I treated myself to a new set of sheets the other day, and as I was unpackaging them, I discovered that they were were wrapped in a matching, elasticized fabric bag.
Now I'm guessing this is so you can store your sheets nice and tidy when not in use. Great idea, in theory. But I can barely fold a fitted sheet (usually I just ball them up and cram them in the closet and shut the door before they fall out.)There's zero chance I'm getting the whole set folded tidily enough to get it back in that bag.

But I saw a better use for it....

So I grabbed my seam-ripper, opened a couple spots in that top hem, removed the elastic, threaded in some ribbon and...
... instant project bag! Because really, you can NEVER have enough project bags.
It's just perfect for holding my tree delivery cowl and keeping it safe from prying paws.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Colour magic

I promised you... and myself... something new and fun in the knit department...

And here it is!
That jumbled up mess of yarn and needles is Tree Delivery. Well... sort of. It came up on Ravelry a short while ago, and I was just so charmed by the motif that I downloaded it right away. But I don't really have a need for a hot water bottle cozy, so I'm using the charts and making a cowl instead.
I'm using the grey Barn Cat Sport leftover from Wren's cardigan, and a skein of handspun from Mom. The dismal grey November day is making it hard to see the beautiful mix of dark purple, green and teal in that skein. Hopefully by the time I get the cowl finished, I'll have a little bit of sun to photograph it in.
Here's a peek at the work so far. I'd hoped to be further along, but my doctor and I have been tweaking the meds I take for my chronic back pain, and the new formulation knocked me out for most of the weekend. But between naps, I've been working on it diligently and I'm about halfway through. It's so much fun watching the pictures emerge with each row.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

November in bloom

Even more so than October, you don't really expect to see much in bloom in November...

The snapdragons always do well in the cooler weather. But around here they seem to love November.
 This lone petunia is hanging on. Though the plant is really spindly.
 The dianthans don't like the smothering heat, but I don't expect to see them this late in the season.
 The allysum in the faerie pots still has a bloom here and there.
My dark purple stonecrop still has a bloom or two, despite having a rough season... you can see it's pretty bug eaten.
 The blanket flower is still big and green, but the remaining blooms are small.. though still cheerful.
 The petals are just starting to fall on the mango coneflower, but you can see she's got a little friend still trying to bloom.
The butterflies are gone, but the butterfly bush still has a bloom or two left. (she's another one that prefers the cooler weather.)
 The Chicago Peace rose isn't giving up yet, though the buds are looking a little weather-worn
 The Lupin is still standing tall and proud - which is surprising, we've had some pretty crazy wind lately.
 This is the last marigold left standing.
And these dollar store anemones have been a great bang for the buck! There's a blue one trying to bloom as well.
The peach Foxglove still has a couple blossoms left. I have to remember to get out and gather some seeds from this one soon, just incase it doesn't come back next year.
The pincushion plant is still going, though the blooms are much lighter than normal..
And yes... we STILL have raspberries. Though admittedly, I've been leaving these ones for the birds. I'm totally raspberried-out for now!

Now given where we are (Canada!!!)... this may seem totally crazy. But I'm in Southern Ontario... at 42 degree N latitude, which is more or less the same at the California/Oregon border. We are also in a geologically special area. That escarpment that Aneesha and I were hiking on the other week, is a 745ft tall cliff that spans the width of the city (and beyond). Less than four miles north of it is the Lake Ontario. The result is a micro-climate, several degrees warmer than much of surrounding area... so our warmth tends to last a little longer.

That said... global warming is definitely making itself known. This year was the warmest October on record. I was wearing my sandals up until a week and a half ago! I'm afraid November blooms are going to a regular thing from now on.