Sunday, May 15, 2022

My Fibre Sister's Bequest

My sister Nancy and I shared a love of all things fibre. She loved knitting, as much as I do. We always shared patterns that we loved - and we mostly loved the same ones. We even knit for one another, though not always intentionally.

Although we looked very much alike, I am probably 5 inches taller. She was incredibly petite - not me! But she was a looser gauge knitter and even her XXS projects were often handed "up" to me because they were too large.

About a year ago (maybe two in Covid time), she knit a "Relax" sweater in a creamy white, but was unhappy with the colour. She originally asked me to dye it for her, but I balked at that, not wanting to ruin a perfectly good sweater with a bad dye job. Instead, I knit her the same sweater back in a beautiful blue Peerie wool, and kept the creamy one for myself. So we each had a Relax sweater the other had knit. 

This past week, Nancy's committal service took place in Oakville. Her final resting place is just perfect. And her headstone is etched with one of her watercolour paintings of a lighthouse. A tree was blooming - looked like it had just bloomed - and I am pretty sure she ordered that. 

Nancy's husband and daughter bequeathed me all of her knitting and hooking things - and it took me three days to sort through it all. She had several shawls on the go, and lots of yarn that didn't seem to have a designated pattern. I will finish one cowl and one shawl that have the yarn and pattern together.

I have decided to use the yarn that is dk, worsted and thicker to make Nancy's grandson Grayson a "NANA BLANKET". I will do a simple mosaic pattern and combine yarns to get gauge and keep knitting. I have done a few baby blankets this way and all colours seem to work well together. Here is a picture of the bin full of the yarn that will go into the blanket. There were even a couple of unfinished projects that she had started to "frog", so I continued, and they will also be part of the blanket. When I do my next sorting, I will make sure there are enough neutrals to offset her love of pinks and purples, so Grayson can love this blanket for all time.


I introduced Nancy to rug hooking - even convinced her to come to Trent Rug School many years ago. Here we are hooking together in 2006 in Anne Boissinot's class. Yikes - that was a long time ago. She wasn't as keen on hooking as knitting, but she has a few finished pieces in her home that her husband loves to brag about. 


In the trunk full of things I received, there were also a few nearly-finished hooking things, that I will finish and give back to her family. One is a Christmas stocking that is fully hooked, just not finished. And the other is a sweet Jeannie Field cat pattern that I will turn into a cushion. 



There is also enough cut wool that I can create some kind of primitive rug that I will either keep for myself or give to her daughter.

It was very bitter sweet going through all these things. Most of the knitting patterns have her handwriting on them, so I will keep them all. And I will make something wonderful for myself out of the finer sock weight yarns that were in her stash.

I will hook with her hook and knit with her needles, so she will be with me when I am in the studio.

There is one other project that I have put in motion for her husband as a keepsake, but I will save that for another post, since I want to share images when it is done.

In a totally non-fibre related connection, we both loved walking. And we both loved Asics walking shoes. Her husband gave her a new pair every Christmas, so I  inherited 5 pairs - every colour you can imagine. I am not sure why we had the same size feet. (She suffered from lymphedema in her legs, so I think her feet were swollen to a larger size as well, though she never complained about that.) So now, she will be with me on every walk for years to come. 



Friday, April 8, 2022

Jumping from Project to Project

Wow - two months since my last post. And what do I have to say for myself. I was going to say not a lot, but that is not true. And the best news of all is about family. 

Yesterday our daughter and her family got keys to their new home in Peterborough - about 4 minutes away. Their house in Toronto sold and that closing will be at the end of the month. So our son-in-law has a couple of weeks to get a kitchen demo, new flooring throughout and painting everywhere done before the moving van arrives.

Luckily, he has a posse of friends who are coming to help, setting up air mattresses and sleeping bags around the place. Now that is friendship in true form. Yes, there will be pizza and beer - and probably a little poker after a full day of work. 

Our son and his family are also on the move - to Whitby. They will take possession there in the middle of May, so by the time the good weather arrives, everyone will have a big yard. And be a lot closer to us!! Their house is pretty much move-in ready, but they will do a few upgrades once they are in there. 

As for me, I raced to the finish line to complete a hooking project that was large, daunting and taught me a ton. I felt like a needed the sound effect of a truck backing up - a lot! lol. One part would look great and then another would not. Deadline met. I emailed a photo for the virtual annual on March 30th. It will be in the virtual show at the OHCG Annual on April 30. Until then, I am afraid I cannot share.

I have been knitting up a storm. Many projects - including adding new feet to a pair of Rick's socks.  This pair had been darned, patched and were definitely ready to go, but I decided to persevere and cut off the legs, picked up the stitches and knit new feet, starting at the heel turn. 

The original yarn was from the Canadian National Parks collection a few years ago, It was the Gros Morne colourway and I bought it in Newfoundland, so it had very strong sentimental value. Plus Rick loves all his socks. The new foot is knit in Amble, which is supposed to be a very durable sock yarn. The stripe is from yarn that I unravelled from the cut off foot. So this is hopefully a match made in heaven. 

I also started a pair of striped socks for me, that mostly get knit in the car. Now that the kids are both moving closer, it may take a while before these socks get finished. Maybe they will become baseball sock knitting. 

I have fallen out of love with my "Ghost in the Orchard" project. (not the first time) Not sure why, so have set it aside and picked up another new pattern for a quick cardigan that is well in hand. It is basically a freebie, since I am using yarn from a zillion years ago that had a few false starts, but never became anything. 

This pattern is called Freja and looks like it will be a nice transitional sweater. It had me at "pockets". Here is an in-progress shot. The yarn is a mottled light blue/grey with grey/brown. I thought I would have nothing to go with it, but turns out that I do. 


When I finish this, I will have another chat with my "Ghost" and see if it needs to become something else. I have a couple of options in my ravelry favourites. It may be the complexity of the cable patterns that is bothering me - my lack of concentration has not improved since the last post. lol

If not, there is another "freebie" waiting in the wings. I am swatching for that right now. It's a Tanis Fibre Arts pattern that uses two strands of mohair held together. Tanis reimagined her Ombre Cardigan  pattern from years ago using the mohair and it is very ethereal. I have a box of cones of mohair/lace weight yarn that I got from someone many years ago and I am trying a combo that looks like it will be to gauge and be perfect for this pattern. 

And my hooking also has me jumping from project to project. I am partway through a new teaching sample for my "Faceless Portraits" class at Trent, but found out yesterday that the school is a NO GO. Not enough enrolment to book the residence, or to allow the school to break even. 

This is grandson Jackson when he was little. We took him to the wading pool in his "hood" and he ran around in the freezing water, squealing with glee. When he put this bucket over his head, I took a bunch of pics, never knowing that I would teach a Portraits class where you cannot see a face. This is perfect.


I will continue to work on this, as it will be a gift for my daughter and her family - a kind of housewarming. And there is a photo of little Charlie is just itching to be hooked, so I will do that as a gift for his parents in their new home. Both of these will be great pieces to share if this Portraits without a Face class ever gets a chance to take place. 

Meanwhile, my second hooked mitt will have to wait, along with three of Ingrid's "Flower of the Month" patterns - and a batch of other UFOs that I can't even admit to. 

On the sewing front, last weekend I went to a baby shower in Toronto. A new little girl is on her way shortly, so I made a batch of the burp cloths that all the moms told me were the best ever. I have shared them here before, but never without "baby sloths". OMG.

For someone who didn't think she had much to share, I guess I did.

Thanks for reading along. Hope I don't take as long for the next post. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

COVID Concentration - or lack thereof.

 Am I the only one who believes that my Covid brain is not working at the same capacity as my pre-Covid one? Or is it just that I have entered a new decade, and although my cataracts can be repaired, my concentration could just be shot.

It may also be that the "worry sphere" of the brain has overtaken the part that used to be able to really focus on things like, say, a knitting pattern.

On my needles right now is a gorgeous pattern called "Ghost in the Orchard" (link is to the Ravelry page). I am knitting it in a fabulous green colour of Forge yarn by Hudson and West that I got at Needles in the Hay, my LYS. 


Yes, it has cables, and yes, I was ready to pay attention once I got that far. But I am on my "third" attempt at just the ribbing at the bottom. Yikes.

The first time, I had a little over an inch knit and realized I had a twist. (A little visit to the "Googler" searching "How Not to Twist" convinced me that knitting a few rows and then joining in the round was the way to go.) Second time, I finished the ribbing - without a twist - and then realized that there is a "set up row" required in order to put the ribbing in the correct place under the cables. Big DUH!

And that's the concentration deficit rearing its ugly head once again. That lovely pink sweater in the last post, with the drop-dead-simple lace pattern on the yoke, was the first "rear". Well, at least in knitting. My appreciation for stitch markers has grown exponentially. 

Now that I am "on track" for this pattern, I am prepared for whatever smacks it gives me. This is one knit where  "It's not the destination, it's the journey" will be ringing in my head. And it will not be a TV knitting project, like socks. It will be a "pay attention stupid" knit! And I am fine to have one of each - that way you get two things at the end.

Between the Love Note sweater in the last post, and this new one, I finished another sweater. It has been in my favourites list forever, and I took apart another sweater to become my Lillet (again a Ravelry link).


If you have never up-cycled a sweater, it is quite an undertaking. First you have to ravel/unravel (an ongoing debate with my mother many years ago) the original sweater. It is important to ensure you have the right amount of yarn and the correct gauge for the "to be" sweater. In this case, it is a worsted yarn, and I had plenty of yarn when I compared the requirements of the two patterns. 

Once you have wound the yarn from the "donor" sweater, you need to skein it, so that you can soak it to remove all the kinks. I think because of the lace at the top of this sweater, kinks would have presented even a greater challenge to my concentration. Didn't want to go there.

Once the skeins are soaked, un-kinked and dried, you have to rewind the yarn into cakes or balls. 

So how many hours are we into this project already, you ask. Don't. It is not for the feint of heart.

This pattern only needs serious concentration until you get the wee bit of lovely lace at the top complete. Then it is a pretty easy knit the rest of the way. There was an option to repeat the lace, above the ribbing, at either the sleeves or bottom. I knew better than to tempt fate by doing either of those.

Today, I am wearing my Lillet, and it was worth every second, minute, hour of the process. It is comfy, flattering and the lace at the boatneck is fabulous. I think this will become a "once a week" sweater, which is awesome when I have so many in my stash.

Here's a very bad selfie - at which I am very good. (Confession: I may have screwed up the short rows at the back - again a COVID concentration issue, however, I can't see that.) I really really, like this sweater. Good thing, because there is another "donor" in the cupboard waiting for a new life.  



Hopefully by my next post, my "Ghost" will appear. May there be minimal "frogging" till then. 

And the next "reincar-knition" will be ready to go as well. 

Stay safe.





Wednesday, January 26, 2022

One Sister Gone. One Sister Fighting to Stay.

 I have been avoiding doing this post, mostly because I didn't know how to write any of this.

My older sister Nancy died on December 17th. After 8 weeks in hospital, ruling out all the cancers she didn't have, it turned out that the cancer she did have was in her liver. That, combined with an auto-immune infection, created the perfect storm of inflammation and fluid that ultimately took her life.

I still find myself wanting to call her, send an email - be in touch. And I still am. I talk to her most days. She became our surrogate mom after our parents died many, many years ago; and spent her whole life looking after my older brothers and younger sister. Other than a short period when we shared an apartment when I was turning 20, I managed to be the sibling who didn't need too much mothering, but always loved being her sister and her friend. We shared a love of fibre (among other things). I even introduced her to rug hooking.

As a way to celebrate her and keep her close, and as a form of therapy, I knit a sweater that I call "Ode to Nancy". It is a pattern called Love Note (on ravelry here) and I chose one of her favourite colours - baby pink. It is knit with a strand of sock yarn held together with a strand of mohair and is incredibly cozy - feels like a hug. It is perfect! Here's an awful selfie to show the sweater.



In this picture, I am also wearing the pearls that she gave me. A bit of a story - she had a burglary at her home many years ago and lost all the jewellery that our parents had given her. I felt so badly for her that I gave her our mom's pearls, which I had inherited. She was so grateful that a few years later, she gave me a strand of pearls that were the same size and colour as the strand of mom's. Decades later, I divided them into two shorter strands. One for me and one for my daughter. These are my pearls (recently re-strung with a new clasp, which I love). In this picture, I am also wearing a pair of earrings she gave me many years ago.

On the day this picture was taken, our younger sister (68 is only young if you are older) was getting the results on her first brain scans, since learning that her lung cancer had metastasized to her brain. I figured that on this day, we needed all the "Nancy" we could get. So I wore my armour. AND IT WORKED!  My sister's brain lesions were GONE!! 

I am not a religious person, but I am a spiritual one, and I know that Nancy is working some angel magic from wherever she is, if only in my heart. I know that Beth has lots of battles ahead, but for the next 8 weeks, we can exhale again. Seems like forever ago that I did that last. I have come to realize that every cancer patient lives their lives "between the scans". Not a nice place to be for anyone. 

So here we are in January of a brand new year. Still being interrupted by COVID, which doesn't let us get together as we would like to. But I am hoping for a better year, with joy and love and good health for all. 

I am looking at the world through new eyes, both figuratively and literally. I have a new sense of reality, having lost one sister and being a support person for the other one in her ongoing battle. But I also have a brighter outlook, thanks to my second cataract operation. These horrendously cold, sunny days are all the brighter for my new lenses. And I am trying to be equally as optimistic.

Thankfully, after a bit of a slump, my hooking mojo has returned and I have a challenging new project on my frame. I hope my enthusiasm prevails and that I will have something to share in my next post. So grateful to have fibre in my hands for the past two years, versus chewing them off in these stress-off-the-charts times.

Stay well. Stay warm. Stay sane. And thanks for reading this post. Thanks for reading them all, but especially this one. 



Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Sister Illnesses has made time stand still.

Since the last day of October, my older sister Nancy has been in Oakville Trafalgar Hospital. She was rushed there the same day as my younger sister Beth celebrated what she called "Radiation Graduation".

Beth had just completed a full week of radiation for her lung and brain Cancers. (We have to wait until mid-January to find out how successful this was). During her cancer journey for the past couple of years, sister Nancy has been going with her to scan appointments if allowed, but always bringing her to her home in Oakville to await results that Beth didn't want to face alone. Her last scan, after several clean ones, led to the treatment. Nancy was by her side the entire time.

As Beth made her way to Oakville to celebrate, Nancy was in the ER department of the hospital, where she has remained ever since. After 6 weeks of scans, MRI, ultrasounds, X-rays and almost daily blood work, there is still no diagnosis for her. Liver disease is expected to be the culprit for the fluid build up around her lungs and abdomen, but there is no clue as to what has caused the liver to fail. No alcohol. Not obesity. Not diabetes. Not hepatitis. A big mystery. This week's doctor - a new one each week in their rotation - is the first one to suspect that it might have something to do with her lymphedema (which she has suffered with for years), so yesterday she had yet another ultrasound, this time on her legs. 

Needless to say this has been a very stressful time. For everyone. And we just keep hoping and waiting for a diagnosis, so there can be a treatment plan.

I have never been so grateful to be a fibre person. My hands have been very busy. And my mind stilled, as I knit, hook and craft the hours away. Beth has done a million jigsaw puzzles and has been staying at Nancy's to look after the cat and make dinners for brother-in-law Bill who spends every day at the hospital. 

Ironically, two of the things I have created are kind of symbolic. For a mug mat exchange, I ended up hooking an angel. Not sure where that came from, but it was a comfort to hook.  


The second piece was a request from a friend when she saw my "yarn painting" of Starry Night. She wanted me to hook a sign in that style that incorporated the saying "I Love You to the Moon and Back". It is a gift for her sister's baby, expected in late December.


Now there are several Christmas ornaments on the frame that I will get finished in the next few days.

I made a bunch of hats, including matching ones for Charlie and his dad. Charlie's is adorable. His dad's was much too big, despite his huge head. 


Everleigh and Jackson got to choose their hats, which they both love. Hers is a pattern called "Ice Princess" and his is "Pokemon Poke Ball"



I knit a little cropped sweater/vest pattern called "Alanis" from yarn that I purchased for another project. The number of mistakes I made while knitting and the resulting "frogging" were a sure sign that my mind wasn't quite on the project. But after lots of stops and starts, it is done and I like it, especially the black and white striped pocket I knit. Despite the hiccups, I would knit this again. Just the right amount of warmth on a cool day. (here's a horrible selfie). 


On my needles now, my 10th Shift cowl. This one is for my sister Nancy, who will need something to keep her skinny self warm over the winter. I used Edition 3 Shoppel  and I love the way the colours moved through it. Nearly done - on the last section, so will be able to deliver it if we get to Oakville this weekend. 


And socks. Lots of socks. I always have a pair on the go which I work on in the car while Rick drives. Sure makes the trips fly by.

Some Christmas finery to be sewn for the "grands" and all these projects will definitely keep me busy till Christmas. No Barbados this winter. With all of this health craziness in the family, and in the COVID world at large, it is not the year to go. 

In case I don't get back here before Christmas arrives, have a wonderful holiday. Stay safe. Stay healthy. 







Friday, October 15, 2021

Operation September and October

Today I had my post-op check up for my first cataract surgery. The procedure was yesterday morning, surprising me in so many ways. It was virtually painless. It was visually interesting - like a plasma screen with geometric shapes going through - I guess that is the micro close up of the laser doing it's thing. And the rest of the day was not as uncomfortable as I thought it would be. A little gritty - lots of eye drops - and my first night's sleep with my eye guard and my CPAP. Seriously, I looked like something from The Borg.

Eye #2 is not until December, so I will be completely recovered from this one and enjoying much brighter, sharper vision. (I sound like a HD TV commercial.)

Last month was spent looking after Rick and his recovery from the loss of Mr. Toe. For anyone who doesn't know, Rick had undiagnosed Gout, which caused big lesions on many of his toes, and by the time someone figured it out, it was impossible to save the second toe on his right foot. Not a life-or-death procedure, to be sure, but unpleasant and not an easy recovery since there is no weight bearing allowed, and a bone has been severed, so that healing takes much longer than just the flesh wound. 

He is up and around now, still tender under the foot where the toe came off, but able to drive and put shoes on again which is amazing.

During his recovery, we watched a lot of baseball, and I didn't hook much because I wanted to keep him company during his 24/7 incarceration on the sofa in the family room. But I did knit, so some things got done. I made my 8th Shift cowl for a friend who had just lost her mom. The colour ways were chosen to give an "impression" of leopard print, which I think was achieved. 

I mailed it to her with a funny note, and enclosed this picture of me modelling it. Not because I didn't think she could figure out how to wear it, but it just seemed to need a visual in the card. 

With that completed, I got back to my second Shifty sweater, on which I am now doing the hem ribbing. The colour way for it is another story.  Although I do not consider myself a big "green" person, in the colour sense that is, I did order a pair of custom running shoes from a company called "Cariuma". They are/will be a gift from my mother-in-law. I bought them with her birthday money. Visit their site to read their story - I was pretty impressed and can't wait for the shoes to arrive. Here's a link to the shoes I ordered https://cariuma.com/products/oca-low-green-canvas-sneaker-women

When I look back over this COVID time, I realize I have done a lot of "Shift" projects - somehow the slip stitch seems to feel kind of like time does at the moment. You know it is passing, but it's all kind of blur. What day is it? What's the date? It just slips along, just like the slip stitch. 

While I am confessing about all the Shift work, here is another project recently completed. It's an interpretation of the Night Shift shawl. I had so much DK yarn left over from other projects, I decided to use it all in this version. Kind of like a box of crayons - will go with everything - or nothing except my drawer full of black t-shirts and my jean jacket. Since I am not always a shawl person, this can be a giant cowl as well. 

I put a black and white tassel on the skinny end, and it all seems to come together somehow.  Here's a scary selfie of what I mean. 

I cannot guarantee that this will be the end of my Shift knitting. I mean I haven't made a single hat yet. lol.

There is one little hooked piece that came off the frame this month, due to a deadline. This is my favourite photo from our week at the rental cottage, which I hooked as an anniversary gift for our daughter and son-in-law. It is called "The Little Yellow Kayak" and is the first in a series of 8 x 10 photos of their family, interpreted in wool. So much fun to capture a moment in time. This is all hooked in Briggs & Little Heritage yarn, except for the skin tones. 

Will get back to hooking after my next check up on the 20th. One of the things you aren't supposed to do for a while after cataract surgery is bend at the waist. Since I am always looking for something on a shelf, or picking up something I have dropped, I will just take a break for a bit. 

Thanks for checking in. 




Thursday, August 5, 2021

August is my month!

August is a special month for me. My wedding anniversary is on the first of August. My son's birthday is on the 4th, and my birthday is on the 21st. So there is lots to celebrate.

Since all the baby and grand kid stuff is done and delivered, August is all about me. Catching up on the things that have been percolating in my mind. And I have been pretty prolific so far, with a bit of a head start at the end of July.

On my frame is a small mat for the front door. We have an amazing Oriental rug in the entry way, and when we bought this house, I found a little half moon mat that was quiet enough and the right size. It has not worn especially well, is looking very tattered, and I had no success finding something that could co-exist in the space. So, I decided to design something.

Here are a couple of pictures of motifs in the Oriental rug, which served as the launching pad for my design.  We have collected a few beautiful rugs over the years, and this one has a distinctly different palette.  It is our only one without red in it.



I pulled a couple of ideas from the motifs and I happened to have some of the colours that I needed in my Briggs and Little yarn stash. So, I designed a simple geometric that will "play nicely" with the bigger beauty.

Today, I reached the half-way point, so decided I could share. Hooking with yarn - Heritage yarn from Briggs and Little - is like hooking with a 3 or 4 cut of wool cloth. So, not exactly speedy. And the work seems very similar to hooking the one and only Oriental I have hooked before now.  I've been trying to do two hours every day to get it moving along. 



I am excited to get it done and in position, now that it is "there already" in my mind. I questioned whether or not this was a good use of time to hook a mat that will have wet/messy shoes placed on it and decided that it is. My other mat that is hooked with wool yarn has been in front of my kitchen sink for over 10 years now. And it has worn incredibly well. A true work horse, which I have spot cleaned, but have also put in the gentle cycle in my washing machine.

On my needles, I am knitting a second "Stripes" sweater by Andrea Mowry. This is, in essence, a freebie since the major yarn in it is a Noro yarn that I have had for years and years, and was previously in a shawl that I NEVER wore. I added a couple of variegated skeins in the same hues and it is ready for sleeves. I am debating short versus longer. I like short sleeved sweaters, since they aren't too hot and you always have the option of putting something underneath to warm them up. 

I am going to have to block this like crazy, and hopefully it will grow a bit. 


I love knitting from my stash, especially when the yardage is in my favour, or I just have to add a ball or two.

On to the sewing projects. I decided to make myself another batch of masks, since I firmly believe that they will be with us for a long time yet. Others may disagree, but I will be masking whenever I feel the need. And I will have one in every coat pocket, stored in the car, and one in my purse - just to make sure.

This style of mask is definitely the best for me and my glasses.  I have tried so many other versions, but this one definitely keeps me fog free. And this array, all from fabric remnants in my stash, lets me have a couple in the wash and still lots in the drawer ready to go. 


The beige seersucker one in the upper left is made from a Timberland shirt of my husbands that had a small tear under the pocket. That shirt will be at least 4 masks - and he gets two of them. 

By the time September comes, and I get around to my next post, hopefully the rug will be done, the sweater will have sleeves and there may be some other progress to share. 

The summer is flying by, as they always do. By the time my birthday rolls around, it's time to think about heading back to school. No matter how old I am, I still get the urge to buy a new pencil case and things to put in it.

Enjoy the rest of the summer. I know I will. 





Saturday, July 3, 2021

Jumping Jupiter, It's July!!

How can life be so busy when you're in COVID! Well, if you have several fibre addictions, are expecting a third grandchild, and have two others that you need to make things for as well, it's been BUSY!!

Baby Charlie is arriving any day now, to his brand spanking new parents. Since Charles was the name of both great grandfathers, there was little doubt that he would be a Charles. And the "wish list" for the nursery of hand-made goodies was long and wonderful.

A third crazy squares quilt top was pieced out of the leftovers from his cousins' quilts that are on their beds here. It is currently at the quilters and may not be delivered before he is. But it may also stay here with to add to the "cousins' quilt" collection.

A baby 'nest' was next on the list. And since 4 years ago when I made one for Everleigh, this was a much easier project. There are so many DIY videos and tutorials now that the project was a walk in the park. I think for Evvie's, I had to figure out dimensions and steps on my own. Not this time!!! I made a couple of removable pads that will be easier to wash than the entire nest.

The nursery theme is "woodland creatures" and I found an adorable pattern on Ravelry that called out to all of us. The little critters were so much fun to knit, and the mobile was easy to assemble. It is now hanging above the crib. 

I had decided to hook him a name sign for his nursery, and rather than putting the woodland critters in the design, I hooked them separately to hang below. This way, when he outgrows his nursery and decides he loves dinosaurs or super heroes, I can hook a set of those. I attached a strip of velcro along the bottom of the sign and each of the little critters hangs from a strip with a dot of velcro at the end.  Two benefits to this plan: the critters can be rearranged whenever. Also, if a chubby little hand should tug on a critter, it will release without pulling down the entire arrangement.

These critters were fun to hook. And I did them first. The sign is actually punched, with the same Briggs & Little yarn that was used in the background of the animals. (I rearranged the line up several times for this photo, and see now that they aren't quite evenly spaced, but maybe moving them around and rearranging them will be part of the ongoing charm.)

During production of the sign and the mobile, two things happened. Our grandson came for a couple of weeks to get some help with Zoom school while Dad when on a fishing trip, took a tumble and badly sprained his ankle. Mom was working full time on Zoom and looking after Evvie and Dad, so it was just easy for everyone to have him be here. He was quite a fan of all the "makings" for his cousin. In fact, he so fell in love with the hedgehog in the mobile that he wanted his own. I sidetracked him by showing him a picture of a knit Baby Yoda. It was love at first sight, and as soon as he was off the needles, he was a constant companion.

Who knew Yoda was a "wearable".  Obviously, Jackson did. 

Now, what to make for his sister was the question. He knew Gram wouldn't make for one and not the other. So the search began. Lots of options, but none quite as perfect as Misha, the Ballerina Monkey!! Complete with detachable tutu, headband, ballerina sweater and leotard. 


Personally, I feel her tutu is a bit too-too long, so I may do a shorter version and give them both to Evvie. A monkey ballerina can never have too many outfits! When I showed Evvie the pattern picture, she was most excited about the removable headband, which I fear will be lost immediately, unless I stitch it on. I will convince her it can be either a necklace or a headband.

The other amazing thing that happened was that Jackson asked to learn to do punch needle. I was more than happy to oblige, so we drew a little sketch on a piece of backing and I showed him the steps. He was happily punching his way along, when I noticed that he was changing hands: he would go left to right with one hand, and right to left with the other. And he wasn't even aware he was doing it. 


In the middle of all of this, there was a One Sock KAL at my LYS, so I jumped in. As a result, I discovered the most amazing sock yarn ever!! It is called Amble (made by The Fibre Company) and feels like butter. Soft but sturdy, it has some nylon content which will hopefully help keep my hubby from wearing through under his heel. Happily, The Fibre Company also figured out a process to create "washable wool" without a ton of chemicals and processing. Even the nylon is recycled. So your sock leaves a "tiny footprint".  And although I have a memorized sock pattern that I have knit for decades, the One Sock pattern by Kate Atherly has two things to love: a reinforced under heel (which is where my fellow wears his out every time) and NO Kitchener stitch! First pair done and dusted. Two more skeins of Amble which will may become Christmas gift socks. 

Oh yeah, nearly forgot I decided to give myself a crochet challenge and am making a duster cardigan. I am a self-taught crochet rookie, but thanks to YouTube, I found videos for all the new stitches - even for a leftie.  My yarn is black tweed flecked with lots of colours. Should go with everything.

So, that's what I've been up to. And why I have been away so long. I always say I'll try to post more frequently, but life gets in the way. And I'm just fine with that!!!





Thursday, April 15, 2021

March Marched Right Past

Not sure how I missed a blog post last month, but I did. And now it is mid-April. The "showers" have arrived. Grass and trees are very happy, but it puts a damper (pun intended) on my daily walking. Despite best efforts, I have come to realize that I am a "fair weather walker". 

Lots of stuff going on in the studio. I hooked a little version of my Jeanius Bag (with a little proddy) for my front door, for the "shoulder season" - and I put some proddy flowers  on stems in my front entry planter.







It's been a busy time with lots of Zoom teaching. The OHCG is hosting its first ever "Virtual Annual" and I am delivering 4 workshops. I am loving Zoom teaching for many reasons: the no-travel part is great. No loading things into the car - and having everything I need right there with me in the studio. Everyone in the comfort of their own homes - no masks!! 

I think the students enjoy meeting and spending time with one another.  And I share any "lesson in the moment" just as I would in an in-person class. One 2-session Jeanius Bag class done, as well as the first Hooking in the Age of Technology. Two more Tech classes to go. Then it's off to the Virtual School in Nova Scotia to deliver the Jeanius Bag workshop again.

Speaking of Jeanius Bags, the students who have joined me in this class are creating so many wonderful bags, and everyone is giving me permission to share. So here are a few to be dazzled by:

The first two were hooked by Karen in a workshop in February. 




The next two are hot off the frame from the OHCG Virtual Annual Workshop - which just had the second session today. Andrea just took the idea and ran with it. BTW, she wove the strap to match this first bag. 



Here's her second one. Love that braided strap. It makes the hooked design SING.




Based on what I have seen from these students, I will have lots more bragging to do in the next while.
So much fun to see what everyone comes up with. No two are alike, that's for sure - students OR bags. 











Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Happy Sweaters. Snappy "Jeanius" Bags.

I am a knitter. I have a wardrobe full of hand-knit sweaters and I love them all. For me, store bought sweaters come and go, but sweaters that I knit stay forever.  

For the first time in a decade, I am home this winter instead of in my winter place in Barbados. I wear one of my sweaters virtually every day. They keep me cozy, make me happy, and I like to think they are happy to be worn again.

Here is a pic of what is in the wardrobe, which truly demonstrates my lack of "need" for any more sweaters. That said, hand-knit sweaters are as much about the journey as the destination. The therapy of making a new sweater is much better than retail therapy would ever be. And the pattern selection is unbelievable. 

Two days ago, I was wearing this one that I knit in 2008, December 10th to be exact. That's right, this sweater is a "teenager".  (This is the picture I posted on my blog that day.)


During COVID, I have knit 8 sweaters, 3 hats, 4 pairs of socks and a 2 baby blankets. And like most knitters I know, I still a stash that promises many more. 

Here is the latest sweater off the needles. It is called "Stripes" and is a fun pattern by Andrea Mowry. The bright colours were a perfect choice for a winter knit and watching the colours change kept me knitting, so it was quick as well. (Wow, the pose hasn't changed much, has it?)


 My COVID time is split between knitting, sewing and rug hooking. I break my days among projects, so there is always something waiting for me. I have also started teaching rug hooking workshops on Zoom. I started in the fall and have now done several, including my "Jeanius" Bags which are enjoying a resurgence in popularity.

It is the perfect two-session workshop and students have registered from all over North America. It is as much fun to do on Zoom as it was "in person" many years ago. For me, the best part is seeing the finished bags, which are as different as the students who create them.

The best part for a teacher of any class or workshop is seeing the finished projects. And being able to share them is the icing on the cake. Here are the first ones that were finished by the latest group:

A fabulous geometric with a full-length flap. 

Perfect lining and a hidden phone pocket. 

Two smaller flaps that are fastened with buttons. 

I look forward to seeing - and sharing - more, as I receive them from my awesome students!

Every class gives new insight into the class and I am learning some new flap finishing ideas from the questions students ask. I will do a few new samples for the upcoming classes in April and May. 

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks!! And who says you can't have fun in a long, cold Ontario winter. 








My Fibre Sister's Bequest

My sister Nancy and I shared a love of all things fibre. She loved knitting, as much as I do. We always shared patterns that we loved - and ...