Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The Halfway Point

Hey- we've passed the midway point of summer. I figure it this way- summer is June, July and August (I know, the equinox isn't until September 21st, but this is my logic). After July 15, or thereabouts, we're halfway there.

Despite the humidity, it's not been a bad summer. But all I can do is look forward to cooler winds and falling leaves and oh, everything. I can smell the burning wood now......

I have been busy. My Boundary Waters shawl is almost done, just the last chart and the edging to do (which takes awhile) and I have also been sewing.
This is the Cleo dress from Tilly and the Buttons.  I actually made 3. The first was a mess, and the second I made for Miss Mew because I had enough black denim. I salvaged the shoulder straps from the first so saved some time there. This is mine in an indigo denim and it's really comfy. I would love to do a corduroy one sometime.

I will say this- don't hesitate to purchase from T&B's. The instructions are laid out step by step in a booklet, and you really cannot go wrong (unless you're me and figure you know better...). Well worth the price, especially if it something you'll make more than once.
Tour de Fleece is humming along, but I haven't done alot. This is the first bobbin of Fat Cat Knits (what else?) BFL Mon Ami. I have taken my time as I wanted to do a good job and I am happy with this.
I did finish this "Robin Redbreast" and got 300 yds. This was spun in a gradient and once again, the genius of Ginny has captured the colours really well. I look forward to doing something nice with this.

This little package has thrilled me beyond all reason. I came across this Etsy seller on a podcast, and fell for the self-striping perfection.  I know it says that she's not taking any custom orders now, but she did, and this is BMO, and Autumn & Mint. You can get sparkle too. Imagine.

On the kitty front, Valentino and Howard are still having episodes where they howl and hiss at each other. I have Bio-calm in their food, some stuff in the water, a diffuser and some food with Valerian and some other stuff in it. It has been recommended to me to get fox urine and spray the perimeter of the backyard so other cats will stay away. Even if I find a fox, how do I make it pee in a bottle?

Stay tuned for that. Fleecin' out.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers On Kittens......

We're coming up on another long weekend- which is known as Canada Day- this year is special because it's 150 years since Confederation. FC and I were going to spend a couple of days in Ottawa, visiting the National Gallery, but it will have to wait until the festivities are over. I hate crowds.

I have been a busy beaver (see what I did there?)- I have just this morning finished my Merchant & Mills dress-
I had a bugger of a time with the inset sleeves- which is why I probably make sleeveless garments mainly. But it's all serged, and came out pretty well.
I used a William Morris print for the back facing, and it adds a nice touch. I also did a straight hem. I would for sure buy again from M&M, the patterns are simple and unfussy. I am currently waiting for this to show up, as I have some indigo and black denim. I am doing the knee length version.
My finished Elizabeth shawl looks pretty good with it. I have begun a new Two Old Bags projects- the Boundary Waters, which has been in my queue for yonks. I celebrated my 10 year Ravelversary on June 18. Where did that decade go?
In between projects, I made this for a new little boy. I added a 3 needle I cord bind off.

On July 1st, Tour de Fleece begins. I am spinning for Team Fat Cat again. The spinning mojo has been missing, but hopefully I can get some of my stash spun.

And speaking of kitties, here is the Nuggins.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

I've Got Cat Class and I've Got Cat Style

Well Summer sure showed it's face in the last couple of days. If you will excuse the expression it was hotter than Satan's buttcrack. We're getting a few days reprieve, but then it's back to steamy heat.

Every year I try to remember all the things I actually like about this time of year, for example hanging laundry on the line, white peaches, black plums, wearing sandals, crazy toenail colours......what else? Birds and flowers I guess. Oh yeah, bbq'ing. I will try to remain positive.

I have been knitting, not sewing, not spinning, not alot of anything. I do have a few fo's I will show you, but they are upstairs drying after being blocked. I am currently:
Making these Halloweenie socks- the yarn is Stray Cat.
I can recommend this yarn for the packaging alone, but it reminds me of Stray Cat Strut. Gotta love that hair.

I also got a package of Hedgehog sock yarn. I first ordered some laceweight yarn from her back in 2010- but admit to being intrigued by these neon speckle colors- the black will be a contrast. I highly recommend this shop- shipped quickly and put in some colorful stitch markers.

Also, I was mentioning this Hinterland Range yarn, and this colour was not on the website. I love it- a medium grey tone, and Rambouilett/Alpaca. This will be my September project- something to look forward to after surviving another summer (I promised I wouldn't do that....)
(one of the culprits)
Howard and Tino have been scrapping- some aggression thing. I have tried Feliway Friends, some stuff you put into their food- Bio Calm, and Bach Rescue Remedy, but the howling and snarling continues. Next step is medication- probably for me.

Okay, Fleecin' out. Stay cool, cats.

Monday, 22 May 2017

SO I forgot to say........

Heeeyyy.... it's been a while. This is the Monday of the May two-fer, or Victoria Day weekend. It's sort of the unofficial beginning of summer for us, but traditionally it marks the time when you are safe to plant outside, because there shouldn't be any risk of frost.

I did actually spend alot of time outside, planted up the urns and moved some plants around. FC was a star and dug up some trees and bushes, pulled weeds and cut and fertilized the grass. As I am typing, he's putting away some stuff in the crawlspace, because we all know that's someplace I never go.

I've been busy- here, I'll show you:

Started sewing a linen dress, and used some beautiful William Morris fabric for the back facing. This is a Merchant & Mills pattern, the Dress Shirt. This appeals to me because it's a simple, but effective project, that has some classic details. About my speed.

I had a conversation with my bestie about why we never get around to doing the things we want to, the things on our lists. Our Ravelry queue (my 10 year Ravelversary is June 18). I am way too susceptible to distractions, and I have really been trying not to let the new and shiny get in the way. I can't do ALL THE THINGS. But I will probably die trying.

To that end, we decided that we love making the same project at the same time, so we came up with a project that we've both been jonesing about, and it's this:

The Elizabeth shawl, by Dee O'Keefe. I have a number of her patterns queued, because they are so beautifully charted and written. You don't have to lock yourself in a room or drop acid before embarking on them. As some of you may remember, I used to be an avid lace knitter. Then I got distracted. This is in some Woolen Rabbit Whisper lace- my favorite and discontinued.

(is it me or is purple the hue de jour?)

Okay, I have a couple of rants- in no particular order.....

a) Why is it that when someone poses a question to somebody, on the news or in an interview, the first word they say is "so". As in "Mr. Jones, I hear you've invented the first (whatever)" and he replies "SO I've been working hard on this....blahblahblah" What does that mean?????

b) (and this one really gets me). Individuals on social media and wherever who RE-WRITE HISTORY. We know their story is bullcrap- we were there at the beginning. What makes them think they can invent a whole nonsense portrayal of their lives, how much money they have, whatever, and people aren't going to see it for what it is? Are they kidding themselves? I find it insulting because my radar is highly tuned. I know shit when I hear and see it. Are they not interested in facts and truth? How do you get away with that. Is your life based on a lie? Wow, just wow.

c) Those "cold shoulder" tops that everybody likes to wear. What the actual. You usually can't wear a bra underneath (one of my all time peeves) and you're going to the office? Huh?

d) Those ripped up jeans that people pay a fortune for. Even worse, daisy dukes. We don't need to see it.

Now that I have got that done, what is everyone up to? I have no plans to go anywhere this year as we are having a major wedding in November, and I have a bridal shower to plan, and I am so happy, and everything. Exciting times.

Hopefully the summer won't be nasty. I have ordered some yarn for a cardigan I have been thinking about since Christmas- the Halyard*. I have had a major bee in the bonnet about it (more of a wasp nest) and I have some things to finish before I start. Oh, and yes I did fix that glove- I can't believe I did that.

*the yarn is Range Hinterland, which happens to be the name of a great series we just watched. Someone was telling me to order the yarn.

Fleecin' out.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Spot The Difference

I looked at the last time I posted and it's been almost a month. Wow, time really does get away from you when you're not paying much attention.

Not really alot happening here. I got out and cleaned up the front and back yards, as well as the flower beds. All that bending and raking always kills me this time of year- but it's fairly maintenance free, just weeding and planting up the urns- I have cast iron ones and just plunk flower baskets in them.

On the knitting front, I am still doing the sleeves on the cardigan-of-dread, and managed to distract myself by finishing another pair of gloves.
I kept the colours in these subdued- and now that I am looking at them I see I FORGOT TO ADD THE LAST PATTERN ON THE ONE ON THE LEFT!!!!  How out of it am I?  Day-umm. Edit: I have since chopped off the fingers and will add the missing pattern- and knit 4 more fingers.

Moving along- I have also been distracted by cross stitch. I love cross stitch, but not the twee, cutesy ones.  More "primitive" country-ish.
This is a pinkeep- and I have a mini pompom trim.

Okay, I have some off-the-Richter cute here:
We brought the baby to the vet- she's the one with the twisted legs. I am pleased to report that she's developed the muscles and is now motoring around no problems. Miss Mew let me hold the Nuggins and now we are at the point of not giving her up for adoption. Of course, my three brutes would have something to say about that- but maybe she could keep her and no one would notice?

I'll let you know how that pans out (eyeroll)........


Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Spring is Kitten Season

Another Tuesday- I guess I think of Tuesdays as a good day to post here. As good a day as any.

I had coffee this morning with a friend that lived in one of the neighborhoods where I grew up. I say one of them, because we moved sometimes once a year, as my father was a contractor and liked to flip houses. Unfortunately, we lived in those place while he renovated. So I went to a few schools.

Anyway, it was fun to catch up with someone who I always liked, and it really doesn't seem like 30 years has passed. It was a good morning.

I have been faffing around quite a bit, because I ordered some needles to finish the sleeves on my Southwell Cardigan, and it seems I can't tell the difference between 40cm and 40". So I went to Romni and got what I needed. I swear I have never had so many setbacks with a project, at least, not that I can remember.

To keep myself amused, I have decided to master some knitted glovemaking skills. Well, I have made gloves before, but there are some ways of obviating the holes between the fingers and things like that. I really love the Shetland and Fair Isle ones, and you see, I have a bit of a (cough) stash.

There are alot of partial balls, as well as skeins (from the wonderful times where you could buy the yarn in a hank instead of those silly balls). There is also a few SQ's in there. But think of the possibilities.
These are called Benon Gloves by Hazel Tindall. She is a master knitter from Shetland, and probably can do these in her sleep. I did notice that in many of the patterns, the recommended needle size as well as the gauge varied enormously.
These OXO pattern gloves are from a book called "Knitted Fair Isle Mittens & Gloves"- some of these patterns call for a 2.25mm needle, which kind of baffles me. I am going to faff around more and see what works. (alot of faffing goes on around here....)

Let's get onto the "cute" section- it may not be what you expect. (If you are on Instagram you may have already seen this.)
I was out on Friday with my Buddy and I saw this car parked at the curb. Check out the mouse tail and the ears. A couple of guys got out, and I was laughing and saying how much I loved their car. They were so nice and even gave me a small replica of the car. Apparently, the ears are aerodynamic too.
I would so totally drive that. I case you're wondering, it's a pest control company.

Over at Miss Mew's, kitten season is in full gear. Chloe gave birth to 4 healthy kittens, and we're pretty sure they are all girls (it's rare to get a female ginger- they're usually toms). The one on the end is a calico, like mommy.

One of the babies had a twisted foot, and the vet is taping it as it grows. Can you stand the cuteness of the bandages? It's all I can do to control myself, and not place them in my purse and run away with them.

Okay, I'm fleecing out, or faffing, as the case may be.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

A Plan So Cunning You Could Brush Your Teeth With It

I've just noticed it's been a month since I've posted. This has been the most idle winter of all time. I have had no energy, and no inclination to do anything. The weather has been up and down- and outside, it looks like this:

I did manage to venture out before the storm on Sunday, to visit my buddy at Say Tea. Look what I got. It's amazing how much better your morning tea tastes in a great cup. I had the favorite niece along, so it was truly a banner day.

In knitting news, I am still working on my Southwell cardigan. I have finished the collar and button bands, but am at a standstill until I can get some circulars in 3.25mm. Yes, I have a ton of needles, but not in that size. I thought that I would be the one person who would be prepared for all knitting contingencies, but it appears not.

Fear not, for I have a cunning plan.

I have been thinking about making a tunic/dress in a Merchant & Mills pattern. For some reason, I envision it in a plum linen. I'll also get to use my serger. What could be better?

This is, of course, taking into consideration that I may not remember how to read a sewing pattern. Or, if I can read it, can I parse it? Hmmm. We'll see.

Today's guest kitty (one of my grandkitties) is Cindy Lou. She is wonderfully silly and floofy. We call her Cindy Roo, and Moulin Roo. Isn't she the best?

More Roo lovliness......

Fleecin' out for now.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Happy Valentino Day

In honour of my grey cat, Valentino, he wants to spread the message of love.
Hug your buddy.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

A Little Ironing..... and A Side of Cat Fur

 “If we are constantly consuming, then we are not creating.”
Joshua Fields Millburn,
Minimalism: Essential Essays

Last week was the one in the year where I endeavor to have all my medical appointments. I don't think anyone enjoys it, but I try to make it as painless as possible (see what I did there?). My doctor is very nice, I don't need any invasive exams and the lab where you do your bloodwork is in the building. I've done my mammogram, and will have my eye exam in March. Done and dusted.

I try not to be crabby about these things. There are so many people who have no access to good health care, and if they do, they can't afford it. I'm not about to get political here, but Canada does look after it's people. It's not perfect, but it's something to think about.

Hard to believe it's February. We're having mild temperatures and then freezing rain. I think I've worn my snowboots once. Very odd.

In knitting news, I have opted out of the KnitBritish KAL. The pattern I chose was just not doing it for me, so I frogged and will use the fabulous Cornish Tin for something else. I am working on my Southwell cardigan, which, at the moment, doesn't look like much.

Bear in mind, it is fingering weight, and you are doing increases and a cable top-down, so this isn't a quick project.

I'm all about quality-over-quantity now. At the start of the year I decided that spending is part of life. I realize that I do get caught up in buying frenzies- and ironically, am interested in buying less. If there is something I want or need (and there is a difference) I write it down. If, in a few weeks, I'm still jonesing for it, I re-think it. Interesting how many purchases are impulsive. I do get a thrill from the buy, but not so thrilled a few weeks later.

I watched a documentary by these guys. It didn't really reveal anything I didn't really know or consider before, but the context is interesting. It shows people on Black Friday Sales beating each other and lining up. Do people ever see themselves? Companies like Apple really do have it figured out- make people believe they can't live without the latest Iphone or watch or whatever. 
Onward and upward. I have put out my bulbs- after I did a major clean out of the kitchen. I don't know what colour these Hyacinths are, as it was a mixed pack.
And this little guy is keeping FC's shirts warm before I iron them. So helpful,
Clawdie. A little cat-hair always adds to the experience.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

A Toy Mousie By Any Other Name

Kathy has some questions on her blog this week that are fun play along:

1. What fear have you conquered? 
2. What’s your favorite spicy  food?
3. What’s a color you never wear? 
4. When sock knitters want a bigger needle project, what do you knit?
5. When did you last read Shakespeare? 
6. Are you gregarious or solitary?
7. What’s your favorite cookie recipe and why?
8. Do you dip your PB and J in milk? (Fireman!)
9. Do you feel you are becoming a better knitter or have your skills leveled off?
10. When’s the last time you broke a needle?

1. Any fears that are I have (the crawl space, air travel, some spiders and being alone at night) still exist. I can, however, kill any insect that invades. Even those milliepedes.

2. Nope. Don't do spicy on any level.

3. Red. Some shades of pink. Makes me look like a white lab mouse.

4. A hat.

5. I admit it, I don't "get" Shakespeare. Never did.

6. Solitary by nature.

7. Ginger molasses- they're scrummy!

8. My son is highly allergic, and even if he wasn't, I wouldn't.

9. Better- I like to challenge myself and master new skills.

10. I broke an Addi Turbo and exchanged it- they're guaranteed. In the fall when I was working on Alex's gansey.

I think I have the January blahs. I feel like drinking at least 3 pots of tea in the morning, and I have the urge to clear everything out of the house. Because I don't access the crawlspace (see question 1) I have to wait for FC.
By then, the urge has passed. I really need to deep clean the kitchen and the china cabinet, and I haven't. C'est la vie.
I am working on my Sandness shawl for the British Knits Blacker Podkal. I did change my mind about the other one, but I am using Cornish Tin II. The centre is the boring part- so maybe this is contributing to my ennui.
I am also doing some Crofthoose fingerless gloves- but these have partial fingers. I have a huge stash of Shetland, and these are quick and fun to do.

My big boy, Tino, has discovered a cache of mousies in the basement, and likes to announce his kill, in a very LOUD voice. Of course, I praise him, and tell him what a wonderful big game hunter he is, for bagging a big one.

Too much.

Fleecin' out.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Midwinter Musing

"We are all in the gutter,
but some of us are looking at the stars"

Oscar Wilde

Hello there, on this, the second week of January.  I don't think I went out all last week, except to the store. Oh yes, and Fabricland to get quilt batting.

Miss Mew and I decided to do a skill exchange, she will put a zip in her brother's hoodie, and I will finish her table runner. So I did. This is Moda fabric- really beautiful. She has to hand sew the binding on the back.

Also, I finished the lace edging on the shawl, so all my projects from 2016 are done and dusted. This puppy is huge, and took well over 2300 yds, so the pattern estimate of 1700 is way off. I just have to block.
Over on the KnitBritish Podcast, Louise is having a Blacker Yarn Kal/Cal.
I adore Blacker Yarn- and bought up some limited edition Cornish Tin II. My friend and I have chosen the Fallston shawl by Dee O'Keefe. She is a standout among the bajillion designers on Ravelry- and I love her patterns and aesthetic.This begins on January 19th- March 4th. It's a runner up to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, which I won't be attending. (rats).

I have cast on a new project, Southwell Cardigan in the nicest yarn ever, Sherwood Yarn BFL in Holly Blue. It is a fine gauge, so not a quick knit, but wonderful to work with.

I think that's enough yarn porn for today (like there can be enough...) so let's see what Clawed-y is doing.
Oh dear- I seem to have interrupted his mid-morning nap.

Fleece out.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Pack Up Your Troubles In A Green Garbage Bag.....And Smile.

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”

 John Anster, The First Part of Goethe's Faust 
Well, as you can see I didn't post on the first. I am only now regrouping after a great Christmas, and indeed, holiday. I will show you some, but by no means all of the haul. But the real haul is friends and family. 

I decided to start a new blog, for a new year, for a new attitude. I have been hanging onto alot of things, both emotionally and physically (a green garbage bag downstairs awaits donation) and have been thinking about letting go. I realize there are things I will never get to (and that's okay) as well as things I can never change (and that too is ok) and I want to focus my time and effort on things that matter. They may not matter to others- but to me personally. I don't feel the need to justify it to anyone, and I have earned it.

(wouldn't it be great if we could pack our emotional baggage in a green garbage bag?) Moving on.......

I received some fantastic books. The second one is Kate Davies "Shetland Oo" in hardcover, which had a limited run of 500. Mine is 349. No patterns but a pictorial done by her husband. A great collaboration. I am halfway through The Shepherd's Life, gifted by my sister.
For a make-up junkie like myself, this holy grail came from Miss Mew. It's truly gorgeous.

From a dear friend, an Emma Bridgewater jug ornament. It will be out all year.

Also from the evil twin, this Bavarian jug with sheep on it. It lives on the kitchen shelf.
Before New Years, some of us went to Stratford. We stopped at the quilt shop in New Hamburg and bought some fabric. Then we had club sandwiches with fries and gravy, so it was truly a banner day.

On the knitting front, I had one project left from last year. Anyone who has done any lace knows that doing a sideways edging can be the equivalent of purgatory, but for some reason, I am happy to finish it. This is a "Two Old Bags" pattern, "Mountain Pines". It has the center square, and you pick up and do the border in the round, marking the corners. It is a pattern I have had in the queue for years.

Clawed is having his mid-morning nap, prior to his late-morning nap, on my bed. Tino is on Alex's bed, and Howard is on his blanket on the upstairs sofa.

All is right with the world. For now.

Fleece out.