February 2009

February 23rd 2009 - Funny Man

On Saturday TJ were headed to Chapel Hill NC to check out a used car there at a dealership. This meant I got to go see Franklin speak at Yarns Etc. as an added bonus (and as it turns out, the only reason we were down there since the dealership had actually sold the car the week before even though we had confirmed with them that it was still there).

I have only started reading Franklin's blog, but I had read his book and it made me howl like a banshee. Seriously, this man is incredibly talented and damn funny.

Only he could make wearing a detailed lace shawl on his head funny. Really. He spoke candidly about what it is like to be a male knitter, especially in the pre-popularity days.

He read some of the great essays in his book, and then kindly signed everyone's book and had a little chat with each of us. It was much different from other book signings that I have been to, in that there were only about 30 people there. And believe it or not, Nikki was one of them!

It's always fun to go to these things with someone you know. We had a great time knitting and chatting, as usual - Nikki you're great company!

I am spending a week getting back into a regular routine here and following up on a bunch of stuff I seem to have been behind on. Not sure how it happened - I think I had a bit of the winter blahs, although there is not much winter here to speak of. Nonetheless, I am already feeling productive and it is only Monday. This folks is a good sign.


February 19th, 2009 - A Sad Story

For a couple of years now I have been reading Jackie's blog. Hers was the first weaving blog that I subscribed to, and I am constantly amazed by all her different works. She has also been very helpful in my early weaving attempts answering numerous pestering questions.

Last year during the flooding in the Maritimes, her parent's dairy farm took quite a hit. While still working to recover the milk production from that disaster, they had another disaster a couple of weeks ago. The roof of the barn collapsed, killing two of their cows and prompting a huge recovery and rescue effort by many of the members of their town, many of whom helped out during the flood. Be sure to read all the way down Jackie's post, where here parents issues with the MMB are described.

As if the collapse and loss of the cows was not enough, they found out the next day that their insurance would NOT cover the cost of the collapse. Isn't that unbelievable? There is also an article here from the local paper that notes it will likely be $100,000 to replace the barn. Money they have to come up with in addition to the regular costs of running the farm.

If there was ever a doubt in your mind that farming is so tough, so necessary, and so taxing, I would imagine this story would put and end to it. I am sending her parents a note with a little donation. I wish that it could be more, but I am sure that every bit helps. And I will continue to pay $6 a gallon for local milk without ever complaining about the cost.

If you are interested in sending a note to her parents to let them know you are thinking of them, let me know. So sad.


February 17th, 2009 - Another Kind of Stash

Before I had a yarn stash, I had a very small fabric stash. I learned how to sew when I was about 13 and have slowly added to the stash here and there with leftovers from various projects. Lately I have been really into fabric/quilting/sewing mode rather than knitting (although I am still working on that in the evenings). I am actually taking a beginners quilting class at the Old Trinity Schoolhouse Quilt Shop so that I can get rid of some of my bad habits that I have as a self taught quilter. (I hesitate to call myself a quilter, I am more "someone that has made a couple of quilts".)

In the first class we picked out our fabrics, and I used a couple that were in the stash and augmented them with some new ones from the shop. I decided to go with white, black and red in sort of an oriental feel. In the second class we made a 4 in 9 block.

Excuse the colours, the background really is white. I need to built a light tent quite badly.

I am learning so many techniques for cutting and piecing that make for a much quicker, much more accurate and much more enjoyable process.

In today's class we worked on Flying Geese, which we used to make a Variable Star block and which we will be using for a border as well.

I really like how the colour combinations came out in both of these squares.

It is two weeks until the next class and I need to get my 28 Flying Geese and another Variable Star finished. In the next class we will be making an Ohio Star block.

I also have some plain sewing projects on the go - or at least in my mind anyway. The first is a kimono style short bathrobe (the pattern in an Amy Butler one). This is the fabric I have picked for it.

I only have a really heavy winter robe which is not much use in the summer. I figure this will be good for lounging on the weekends and what not. I will probably make a nice pair of pj pants to go with it since it is quite short.

The next project that I will hopefully start soon is the Amy Butler Birdie Sling. These are the fabrics I will be using for that.

The left one will be the fabric for the handles and top, while the right one will be the main part of the bag. The lining is just a tone on tone cream paisley.

After this I am thinking of making the Color Wheel quilt out of the Last Minute book (except it will be made to fit a twin bed), and I also will be making a queen sized quilt for our bed. That is likely a little while off though.

It feels great to be back at the sewing machine. I had it serviced a couple of weeks ago and it is like a new machine. No weird tension issues, not bouncing bobbin, no off centre needle. Hopefully I can keep this momentum up.


February 16th, 2009 - Warm Shoulders

Last week I finished up a wee shrug out of some Cascade 220 that has been marinating in the stash for a long time. (Purchased way back when, used to pick the colour in my old studio.)

It was a great little knit, although I probably should have gone up a size.

It's a new pattern of Laura's, and it is done as a raglan (with the stitches for the ribbing picked up afterwards).

I have been wearing it with the ribbing folded over slightly

It seems to want to bunch at the underarms a little (like I said, it's a bit too small), but the folding seems to take care of it.

Modeled shots, 'cause those are always helpful.

As you can see, I cut a good solid 10 inches off my hair. I went from this:

To this:

Oh, and I got new glasses as well.

I think it is definitely an improvement. (Especially in my vision. Man did I need new lenses.)

Next up some weaving I think!


February 13th, 2009 - Multicoloured Yum

Yesterday Jenn and I met up to do a little Valentines baking. T and I aren't really valentines people, but any excuse to bake these little lovelies will do for me.

These are the mini chocolate cupcakes from the February Martha Stewart Living mag. As soon as I saw the cover of this issue I knew I would be making these. And it was great fun to be able to make them with a friend!

I also made a batch of peanut butter cupcakes with peanut butter icing. I topped those with a little Hershey's Kiss. Those ones are strictly for the hubby, since I don't really like pb. I do however love chocolate. I don't think these are going to last long!


February 11th, 2009 - Congratulations Pam!

Maybe WeeTwo was just waiting for me to do a post on his gifts, because he arrived last night just after 11! Congratulations Pam and family!


February 10th, 2009 - Bebe

First, a techie note - if you have had trouble subscribing to my rss feed in the past, I have a new one now.
Try that, and if you still can subscribe to my blog let me know. This should work in google reader and what not.

Last weekend I hosted a Momma Blessing (like a baby shower but without the games) for two friends of mine in town who are about to be joined by their second children. Since both Pam and Jenn are knitters and crafters extrodinare, I wanted to try to make mostly handmade gifts.

Both mom's received a friend for the little one.

I am getting better and faster at making these guys. I should set up a little gallery just for the monkeys and sock friends.

I also made each mom a bib, because from what I hear you can never have enough of these.

Get it? Bananas? Monkeys? Ahem. This was my first experience with making and using bias tape, and I certainly learned a few things. I think the next quilt I make I will use bias tape and apply the knowledge from these. I hope the little pocket on the bottom of these bibs helps with the food maintenance.

For Pam, who calls her oldest one WeeOne and the baby WeeTwo - a onesie

For Jenn, some little slip on booties

I used the pattern in Amy Butler's Little Stitches book to make these. They are definitely finicky if you are considering making them, but in my opinion very cute when they are all finished.

I got to play with some of my new card tools again to make some baby cards.

I picked up some fun baby stamps a couple of weeks ago at a sale so it was fun to get to put them into use.

And since each mom is going to be cloth diapering, I made a little note that a gift certificate to Cotton Babies would be in their inbox shortly.

Each gift was wrapped up in a little receiving blanket (bought, not made, I ran out of time).

(Monkey two was of course wearing his bib, but it didn't make for a good photo op.) Pam will be welcoming little one tomorrow, and Jenn is just a few weeks away. I wish you both a quick and pain minimal labour and I can't wait to meet the little ones!


February 5th, 2009 - Crafty Catch Up

I have been busy puttering around in crafty mode here, which I love. I have made a lot of cards lately, and here they are. (Wow, astounding writer I am. Really. Giller Prize coming my way).

This one is a thank you for Ellen, who gave me the awesome package for my birthday. She definitely deserved a hand made card, and I got to play with some new things. I definitely would like to buy a decent set of markers though.

A birthday card for TJ's Grandma. Again, I played with some of my new tools and also the pencil crayons. I like the edge destressing on this one and I will be using that tool more.

I bought a Cuttlebug! So very much fun. I think I will be using it more for it's embossing powers than it's die cutting, which is fine. I am stalking embossing folders everywhere I go. This card is for my lovely niece, who turns 12 today. Happy Birthday Brooke!

I saw a great magazine the other day with tons of card examples in it, but I am trying to justify the cost. It is $14.99!! For a magazine! In Canada it would be almost $24. Isn't that crazy? If it was a soft cover book, sure, but this was for a magazine. I will have to look at it again and see how much I love it.

Finally, here is TJ's Christmas gift.

Some very thick socks made with the leftover yarn from his sweater. He says that these are his very favourite socks and he would like some more please. They are already starting to get felted on the heels because he wears them so much. He would like the next ones to have red toes and heels too. I learn something new about him every day. I though about doing the toes and heels differently on these ones, but I didn't think he would like wear them. Well whadda you know.

Next up, baby presents!



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