Friday, February 17, 2017

Our Saturday Jaunts

We use to do things as a family every Saturday afternoon. First stop was the bakery in Steveston Village. We would each get a donut and a pop and ruin our appetite for the rest of the day. Next, we would go down to another bakery in Vancouver and get baklava for each of us. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water! All that ooey, gooey goodness with nuts throughout. Oh, yum! (Maybe that's why I gained weight!) Sadly, both bakeries closed. That's what happens when you live in a city more than a few years. You see stores come and go and it's surprising. Not having lived anywhere more than a few years at one go I was shocked when this happened. But now I've seen change in the metropolitan area of Vancouver that I know it's just part of life. After all, things must change in 34 years! Including said family. This is what we looked like back in the donut and baklava days.

Circa 1992 in the summer in Walla Walla - the days of pigtails, dark hair and puffed sleeves.

Now, B and I go by ourselves as the kids are all grown and do their own thing on Saturdays. We still go in to Vancouver but bypass the bakery for a healthier option. Often we stop at Choices where there are, well, choices. Healthy choices. Last time we were there we picked up jalapenos to make poppers. Now, that's something I could eat a lot of!

 Just for your information this is how we start:

This is how we end:

Circa 1990

Friday, February 03, 2017

Aspen Yoked

I am really really happy with this sweater since I converted it from a pullover into a cardigan. It is cozy and warm (100% wool!) and easy to put on and take off. 

As you can see the pullover did nothing for my snowman figure. I think the cardigan is much better. Plus I've lost weight from the time the pullover snowman picture was taken. 

The journey to a cardigan was long. There were so many modifications that it will take me awhile to enumerate them all. First off the pullover was going to be a "Wallaby" with a hood and a pocket in front. I changed my mind about that when I realized it would be pretty bulky right where I didn't want bulk! I finished the sweater as a pullover and realized I didn't like it so long. I cut off the hem and a section right above it; then "kitchener-ed" it together to make it shorter. I guess you could say I grafted it together. 

Then, I thought, "I think I would like this better as a cardigan!" So, I steeked it by cutting right up the middle. I thought I was finally finished when I got the buttons and button band on but B said the sleeves were too baggy!

I really liked the gathering at the wrist too but since I wanted tighter sleeves, I ripped it out. I un-did them up to about the armpits and redid them by decreasing two stitches every inch or so. That made the sleeves nice and snug. 

Today we had snow and we are expecting more over the next four days so it's perfect weather to snuggle up by the fire with a cup of coffee, a book and my extremely modified "Aspen Yoke". So, off I go!

Not shown is the process of making the body of the sweater narrower. I did a steek up the middle of the front as noted but when I picked up stitches for the button band I went in several inches from the edge on both sides. It definitely made the sweater body narrower. 

I have learned so much from making this sweater! It has given me confidence to try things without fear. The worst that can happen is that I would have to unravel a whole garment and start again. And I've done that before! So when something doesn't fit like I like I don't hesitate to re-make it so I do finally like it. Having said all that, I'm anxious to try making a sweater without a pattern. 

Yarn: Briggs and Little

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Periwinkle Stripes

I'm going to love this sweater! First of all, its's periwinkle - one of my favorite colors. Second, it's got stripes! And finally, it's going to be big enough and slouchy enough to be comfortable. This is a great achievement for me. You see, I really am not very creative in that I can't imagine how things will turn out and often try and try until I have a semblance of something that I like. This sweater started out as "tea leaves" with no stripes. 

But I ripped it out because it was too big. Not only had I lost weight but the yarn was all wrong for the pattern. It was a cute pattern but just wasn't drapey (new word) enough in that yarn. I looked like a balloon when I wore it.

So out came this off my needles! I sewed on the buttons and tried it on. Uh, oh. The buttons were too small for the button holes and keep coming undone. Quick trip to the fabric store for thread to tighten up the holes. No way was I going to rip out my button band! So, we are good to go. 

My next project is a pillow for the guest room. Jailgy made a quilt that I happened to acquire but I needed some pillows for the head of the bed. I'm thinking white eyelet rectangle pillows and some hexie circle or square pillows for accent. We'll see. 

 This happens when you go out to eat with your daughter!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Grace and Grace Modified

This sweater was a lot of fun to make! It was easy as long as I followed the directions carefully. Having said that, yes, I did have to rip out about 20 rows at one point. It probably wouldn't have mattered in the end but I, and anyone sitting behind me, would know that the lace did not line up properly. And that would bother me. Not that someone sitting behind me would notice but that I would know. If something is not done right and I have it in my power to fix it and make it right I will do it. So I did.

I used three skeins of Malabrigo Sock in "Playa".

Now about this next sweater... I've had this Plymouth Encore DK yarn for a long time. Eight skeins of it that I picked up on Ravelry for a song. But I have a love/hate relationship with it. Sometimes I like it and sometimes I relegate it to the back of the closet because I detest it so. Now I like it. I'm thinking it will be a work horse type of sweater. Something I can throw on when I need to get cozy and just relax. So, I thought I would try making another "Grace" because I liked the outline of the sweater so well. But this time I would do it without the lace. Well, I didn't know that since the lace was expandable that there was a reason that the pattern had you do a massive increase along the body of the sweater after the underarm stitches were cast on. I know now after knitting about three inches of the body under the arms. (This is a top-down sweater) Huh. I had to rip out those three inches as well as all the stitches up to the raglan ending and then continue the raglan shaping (eight stitches increased every other row) until I had enough stitches on my needle to wrap around me with ease. Phew! That was not fun. Lesson learned. Count your stitches and check your gauge.
And hurry up and knit before you think you hate it again!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

It Pays

There are so many reasons I love to visit Southern California. One of them is that I get to spend time with my sisters! This trip all five of us got together to shop. What an experience that was! At least four of us had been losing weight so were anxious to shop. And shop we did!

There is nothing like having one sister say yes and another say no when you try something on. Who do you listen to? In the end you have to decide. Do you like the color? Will it fit in with what you have? Is the price right? And did at least one of the sisters say yes? Then buy it. Or not!

Another thing we do is sew. All of us sew but I often bring my projects to So. Cal when I'm stuck. As you know I was having difficulty figuring out what to do with my hexies.

So I sewed them together and just stared at them.

Well, Janet and I went to JoAnn's where we brainstormed throughout the store. We ended up getting a pillow form and some bronze colored ric-rack. When we got back to her house she pulled out some of her stash for the background. Before I had a change of heart I appliqued the hexies to aforementioned background . But it was a joint effort. She rounded the corners and sewed on the ric-rack. I ironed it all smooth. She stuffed the pillow into the case. I basted it closed. And she top-stitched all the way around. Ta-Da! Done.

Next up was a conglomeration of four-inch squares that I salvaged from a scraps leftover from a quilt that my mom made me years ago. You can see that this quilt is well worn and well loved! So much so that it's actually falling apart and has been mended numerous time.

 What in the world could we do with this?!

Janet had a great idea and I love it!

So goes my sewing for the time being. I'm off to knit a few rows.
Psst! I can't wait to get to California again!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Hexie delema or "Now What?"

I really like making hexies. I hand sew all my hexies just because to me, it's very relaxing. And there is a lot of hand sewing when it comes to EPP or English Paper Piecing! The only problem is, is that it takes a lot of time. And in this day and age who has a lot of that!? (Interobang) Well, I do when I sit in the car on a long trip. Bruce does all the driving and I don't get car sick in the least - unless we're pretending to be race car drivers whipping around corners and I'm looking down. Then I feel sick. But besides all that, a long trip to Regina or to So. California indulges me my need of hand sewing.

In one of my last posts I showed you a picture of all the hexies I made with a charm pack. I picked up this pack because all the material matched my family room perfectly! Well, at least it matched the rug. But I didn't want to start on another hexie quilt as I knew I didn't have the tenacity to finish it. Besides, I only bought one package of squares which has about 40 pieces.

So, now that I have the hexies all sewn together I've got to figure out what to do. The first thing that comes to mind is a pillow. But the sewn piece is not in the shape of a pillow! Maybe, I can sew it to a background material to square it up and then make it into a pillow.

This deserves a trip to California where I can coerce my sisters to help me figure this one out. In the mean time I'm off to the eye doctor.

Ginkgo And Squares

I finished my "Ginkgo" shawl with six grams of yarn to spare. That's enough to do a couple of stripes in a sock. So, I'll be saving it for some crazy socks. (Multiple stripes with scrap sock yarn).

I've got some pictures of the unblocked shawl that I'll show you. And when it's blocked I'll show you that as well. That way you'll appreciate what blocking does for lace. It really is amazing! Both the following pictures are of the unblocked shawl. I've got to get it in the bath before I can block it and show you what it really looks like!

Since I'm finishing projects I'll show you my progress on my latest weaving. I've made 110 squares from this yarn and am now sewing them together. It's not really exciting yarn but I felt like making squares and had a lot of this left over from a pair of socks I made for my brother. After all, you do not need six balls of yarn to make socks! Or was it seven?

It's tricky to get these squares together since their edges are so uneven so I've devised a system of sorts. Each square ends up with one short string and one long string. I match them up with the long strand in the back on the right top and the short strand on the bottom left. I then place the next square on top with the strands flipped and face to face. Keeping them consistent I haphazardly sew them together. Sigh. It's the best I can do. At least they are together and I'm one step closer to having another woven afghan for my "navy" colored house. 

What a life!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Direction of My Hexies

I'm really not sure which way these hexies are going. By that, I mean I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them now that I've sewn up the whole pack. Sadly, the finished product was not as large as I thought it would be. Therefore, it will not be a quilt. Not even a small lap quilt to warm my knees. Sigh. So, I'm looking for inspiration. It may strike me in the middle of the night but truth be told, I'm expecting it to strike while I'm sitting in my sister's craft room while she looks at it. May that day come soon,

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


I'm one of those people who is terribly irked by the use of your for you're, their for they're or even there for they're. Come on, people! Get your act together and think! It's really not rocket science. Sound it out even! Un-contract the word. (There. I've made another word.)You're is you are. Simple.

But if you can't be bothered to think. Hehe. Then, here. I've invented a new word! Yourre. And put the apostrophe at the end. That's easy. Yourre'. Or even two. Yourre". Or even somewhere in the middle. And use it for both.

 I think it will help to solve the dilemma many have trying to figure out weather to use your or you're.

Your're welcome.

The beginnings of my latest hexie creation:

Monday, April 11, 2016

Repair and Renew - My Very First Wallaby

Many years ago - about 11 - my niece was expecting her first baby. I wanted to make her something special for that new baby. I had been itching to try the "Wonderful Wallaby" ever since my good friend Robin had shown me the pattern. So I chose some yarn - washable, of course, and off I went. It was a huge success and I had so much fun making it! Fast forward 11 years. Now, baby number six is wearing it and it still looks as good as new except for one small detail: baby # 5 (who is now four years old, found a pair of scissors. You can guess what happened next! Momma found the sweater with a hole right in the center front! No hiding it either. She sheepishly came to me and asked if there was any way to mend it. She didn't care that it showed - she just wanted a fixed. Well, I always like a challenge! So, yes, I was able to fix it in record time. The next time I came their house, #6 put it on and didn't take it off til bedtime when he put his pj's on. For all I know, he put it on over his pj's when he went to bed! He likes it that much. 
Notice the "clutch".

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Books Books Books

Because we home schooled we have a plethora of books. I can't seem to get rid of them. When we moved I gave a ton of stuff away to families who were beginning to home school their own kids. But I still have a ton of books. (If I actually weighed them I'm sure it would be close.)

I like books. If it weren't for the fact that we were not suppose to love any thing I would say I love books.

I collect children's books. The ones with pretty pictures. The ones that were favorites of my kids when they were little and the ones that were my favorites as well. The ones that are classics. Some are new books. Some are very old books. and some are from the used book store that caught my eye -- or the eye of one of my kids.

I collect reference books. If you want to know all the acceptable two letter words for Scrabble I have a book that will tell you. If you want to know about wolves, mountain climbing, knitting or golf I've got a book for you. My whole family likes books. Now we have too many books. They are spilling out of the bookshelves. I've tried to get rid of a few recently. But how do you cull a bookshelf that has already been culled many times before?

Maybe my kids will move out and I can fill a box with books for a going away present. (Edit: they did move out but did not take (m)any books with them - at least none that I can see.)

I have thought of turning one of the rooms of the house into a library. A cozy chair, a nice bright light and a warm afghan. My idea of bliss. I could stay in for the winter. Oops! Bruce just suggested going for a walk.

I started a new program.

1. Do not go to the library.
2. Read through your own library.
3. Methodically go through the bookcases culling books you haven't read but want to read.
4. Set them in a special place.
5. Read the books one by one.
6. If you can't get through it, give it away. Do not save for another day when you might be interested in it.
7. If you find a book that you value, keep it and put it in a cleaned out bookshelf  (read: empty)
8. If you can do without it, get rid of it by putting it right into a box to give away.
9. Go through the bookcase again and give away all kids' books (that don't belong to your kids) to someone who can really appreciate them.

I'm using this as reference.
Hmm, it's a library book.