Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Party Prep

Time to get spiffed up for the party (under Paddy's watchful eye).

All that's left of 2014 is the big finale. And to that end, we've got the Chex Party Mix in the oven. Yes. That's how old we are. We make Chex Party Mix, which we learned when we searched online for the recipe 'has been a family favourite for over 50 years'. Sigh.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Meet Doug

My friend Kate recently got a new puppy, and what a pup he is!! Here's the picture she took of him.

At first, I thought he might like to be knitted into a sock in an intarsia design. Never mind that I've never done intarsia. I figured it'd be a chance to learn. Here's the chart I made for that.

When I had about a dozen tiny skeins of yarn all flipping around my knitting, I decided (as usual) I'd started too big. Simplify! Simplify! (When will I learn?)

Back to the drawing board. With the new direction that felt appliqué took me, I thought maybe what Doug really wanted to be was a mitten.

Yes. I really think Doug wanted to be a mitten after all.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Cats at the window

Inspired by a photo taken by my friend Stephanie Etherington.  See the original here:

She gave me permission to interpret her photo in wool embroidery. Needless to say, I love the photo. I think the mittens turned out well, too.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Monkey Mitts

I like to think that even monkeys like to keep warm. And I'm sure they think about fashion, too.

These mittens fit me snugly, but my hands are small. My hand is 6 1/4 inches from tip of longest finger to the base where my wrist starts, and about 7 inches around. The ribbed cuff is 3 1/4 inches to keep the snow and cold out. They are 100% wool.

Since these mittens currently have no home, if anyone would like to adopt a pair of monkey mitts, they can be had for a minimum donation of, say, $25. (postage included) to The Lyndhurst Feral Cat Project. Cheque or Paypal, just leave a comment, or email me directly at covillewood (at) gmail (dot) com , and we'll work out the details.

Edited Sunday, December 14, 2014...... The monkey mitts are SOLD. Glad to know they've found a new home, and the Lyndhurst Feral Cat Project benefits, too.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

And a hat for her

A lovely slouchy hat which I will actually wear, because it fits and it looks OK. Not OK enough for me to model here, but OK enough to go to the grocery store, if you know what I mean. Actually, the last time I was in my local Starbucks, it was a cool and drizzly day. There were 2 young women there in slouchy hats. They looked lovely. I concluded that slouchy hats were actually in style. This might be one of those rare instances where I collide with fashion.

Here is the original pattern. The Sock Stashbuster Slouchy Hat by Amanda Schwabe. She has a nice take on the stripes.

Of course, I have to show you the finished 1898 Hat that I made for Mr. Coco.

He loves it. It's warm and it stays put on his head. All the other hats he had would move around. When he lifted his shovel, the hat would slide forward and cover his eyes. He'd have to slide it back. Not sure if it was the fit or the fibre. This one is 100% wool, worsted weight. The pattern advises not to block, but I blocked the dome of it, because it had a curiously pointy gnome-like quality that wasn't really appealing. It blocked out just fine.

And, of course, I've gone far too long her without a photo of the lovely Miss Cassie. She was a bit under the weather for a while, but after a quick (and expensive) trip to the vet, she's fit as a fiddle again. Fourteen years old now, and still a beauty.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

A hat for him

I'm working on a hat for Mr. Coco to keep him warm when he shovels out the drive.

It's the 1898 hat..... a very clever design by Kristine Byrnes, and you can find it here.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014

New toys

You know on Christmas morning? When you were a kid? You got toys and you could hardly wait to play with them?

Here's what came in today's mail. I'm so excited. I showed Cassie and I showed Mr. Coco. "Look! Look! Isn't this exciting?" They were both suitably impressed. This is 100% merino wool felt. I got 12 sheets of different colours, but there are 112 colours to choose from. I almost had a meltdown trying to choose, so I bought an assortment instead. And the bag of greens in back? That's a 3 oz bag of felt scraps. Only $5!! What a deal!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Gingerbread People for Arviat

Every day's a new adventure. Today, I'm embroidering a pair of gingerbread people on wool mittens. This is wool that my friend Karen sent to me. And I, in turn, will send these mittens on to have their own adventure. They're going up, up to Arviat, Nunavut, with the Warm Hands Network.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Little Christmas Socks

Something magical happened. As I neared the toe of the first sock, I recognized that the colour repeat was starting over. What luck.

I should have put something in the photo for reference. The little socks are about 6 1/2 inches from heel to toe. Cute!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Christmas leftover socks

I am a saver. OK, a hoarder. I made a pair of Christmas socks for someone special way back in 2009. I used Wisdom Yarns' Marathon Socks in the North Pole colourway. The required red and green, plus a gold glint. I had a little bit left. I very carefully put it away in its own little baggy, and promptly lost it. Completely lost track of it. :(

There's a very special little person now, and I thought, "How cool to make that little girl a pair of matching socks!" Yes, indeed. That WOULD be cool, IF the yarn wasn't lost. So, imagine my glee when I found that yarn this week while searching for something else. It was well stashed. But now, it's found. All is forgiven.

The original skein weighed 100 gr. This leftover weighs 30 gr. I have my notes from 2009, although the notes are nowhere near as thorough as they ought to be. I do better now, keeping everything in a nice hard-backed notebook with colour photos.

Here is the first sock. I know, it doesn't look much like a sock yet. More like a tube with a toe, right? I've planned afterthought heels. You can just about see where they'll go. Will they be fraternal twins or identical twins?? Stay tuned to find out, 'cuz I really don't know yet.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

In the recovery room

After the surgery. Patient doing well.

Here she is pre-op.

And here she is during the operation.

And here is what you use to block such an oddly shaped hat.

Three ceramic bowls, in case it isn't clear.

And here is what she looks like when worn, from the front. See how the bat is centred? I'm especially happy with that. Thanks to my friend Karen for reminding me that the theme song includes the memorable "Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na, BATMAN!!" How could I have forgotten that? And to Mr. Coco who said he liked the "POW!" bits that appeared when violent acts took place. :)

I used the Naniboujou Lodge Hat pattern as a jumping off point for this hat. So far, I've switched in elephants and bats and assorted text messages. It's a fun knit.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

To distract you while we work on those bats

I'm very happy to be part of a Canadian initiative providing warm woollies to kids in Canada's far north. It's called Warm Hands Network. They have a Ravelry group which is very active.

Recently we had some CBC coverage, and made some new contacts.  We heard from a man in Cape Dorset who works in the local school. He says many of the kids live in poverty. There are boys who wear baseball caps in winter because that's all they have. It's -50C up there. As a Canadian, this makes me sad. If it makes you sad, too, you can do something about it. Knit something! and mail it to the organizer who lives in Ottawa. Join us! You can find all the details and the mailing address at the above link.

Here's a wonderful graphic that one of the members made to show all the places we've sent knitting in the 7 years that the Warm Hands Network has been in operation.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Fear not! I have a plan

The Batman Cap had a problem. The tension of the bat motif was too tight! The rest of the cap stretches nicely. The bats wouldn't. :( So, after having a nice, long nap, I decided.....

Why not? I've got the top of the cap on needles, and I'm going to rip out those bats, and re-do them. Once they're willing to play well with the others, I'll graft the 2 sections back together. Yes. Graft them, like the toe of a sock. A very long sock toe.

Think it'll work?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Another lovely green mystery

... and another pair for the gift pile.

Mr. Coco saw this sock yarn come into the Kingdom, and I think he was a little worried the stocks were intended for him. However, I know him well enough by now to be certain this would not be his colour. Too flashy!

However, they fit him, and he was gracious enough to model them for the camera this morning while the sun was streaming in. See the cable? One runs down the outside (or the inside) of each sock.

The wool is Lang Jawoll Magic. Started on October 29.

Notice how they are mates. Identical mates. And remember this. I knit a pair of men's socks in 2011 from the same yarn, (slightly) different colourway. They, too, ended up identical mates. Again, I say this is a complete and total fluke. Had I knit a smaller size, or a shorter leg, the colour repeats would not have lined up. I have one more ball of this stuff in my stash, in a beige/tan mix. Once I knit that up I will be able to say for sure, but until then, I believe if you knit a 72-stitch man-size sock on 2.5 mm needles, with 8 inch legs, and almost 10-inch-long feet, this yarn will produce identical twin socks. Against all odds, I just happened to knit that combination with this wool, totally by chance.

Friday, November 14, 2014

My little helper

Cassie oversees most of what goes on around here, often while seated on my lap (as she is here). She seems to have a particular fondness for Batman.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Maybe November isn't so bad

November's got a pretty bad rap for being grey and dreary, but this was the sunset on Remembrance Day here in the Kingdom as seen from our very own back door. Pretty spectacular, don't you think?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Holy headgear, Batman!!

I got up this morning all excited about starting a new project. Actually, I have 3 new projects floating around in my head. Fun stuff. Stay tuned. However, while I was going through my email, coffee in hand, as per my usual morning routine, I got an email that changed everything.

It seems a certain little lady is a big Batman fan. Not only that, but she's been watching the very same vintage Batman shows that I saw when I was a child - the 1960's TV version with Adam West. I started to wonder how difficult it would be to add Batman to an earflap hat.

Turns out, it might be pretty simple.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A November surprise

We have a secluded rural backyard. Surrounded by trees, in full summer, it's very private. We love it. That means we also see a lot of birds. This summer, we had hummingbirds. Lots of them. They came to our feeder, and amused us with their wildly aggressive behaviour. Don't they know they're tiny?

Yesterday, when I was out on the deck, I saw an unusual round object hanging from a naked tree branch. Could it be a hummingbird nest? or maybe not a bird's nest at all....maybe it's a wasp's nest? Yikes.

Nope. Not wasps. Definitely a bird. This little nest is a thing of beauty. It hangs by delicate loops of grass from the tree branch about 5 feet off the ground. It's at the end of a flimsy branch that no predator could ever access. So clever. The nest itself is about 4 or 5 inches across and about the same deep, so the bird must be small.

I never saw the bird who built it....or maybe I did. I just never saw her in the nest or flying to or from. When I researched the nest itself, I learned it's the nest of a Red-eyed Vireo. Now, that's not a bird name I recognize, but I have seen this little guy, from time to time on the deck.

Hello! He's a Red-eyed Vireo!

So delicate. So beautiful. I'll bet s/he didn't have to read a book or take a class to learn to build this nest. Why do we humans think we know so much?

After all, while we mess around with snow tires and frozen pipes, the Red-eyed Vireo will be lounging around the Amazon basin.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like.... you know

Time to think about gift socks. These have been under way for a long time now. My notes say I started them on August 6th. Yikes! I generally have socks on the go, although they don't generally take this long. They make good TV knitting.

I can't quite express how luscious is this yarn. Misti Alpaca, Tonos Carnival. It's 50% Alpaca, 30% Merino, 10% Silk and 10% Nylon. It is exquisite. The colour is TF25 Truffle. All warm browns. I have one more skein in navy, so I will have the pleasure of knitting another pair of socks in Tonos Carnival in the future. As well, I seem to have a fairly large ball of leftover yarn from this pair, since there were 400 meters in the skein. This yarn was made in Peru. I don't think I've found a Peruvian yarn yet that wasn't luscious.

Grandma Coco gives Misti Alpaca, Tonos Carnival an unreserved thumbs up!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

ComedyCoup 2014

Our son and his wife are taking part in the CBC's ComedyCoup competition. Young performers and film makers across Canada are vying for a chance to pitch their comedy show and win a chance to have it developed by the CBC. Blair and Christina have already made it through a couple of rounds. Each week there's a new challenge, and here is what they've put together for this week.....Week #5 - Hype it!

Of course, I'm biased, but I think this is very funny. If you do, too, you can help them on their way by voting for them.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The power of colour

It's November now. November is grey. And gloomy. Colour is the antidote.

Don't you feel better already?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Sweet nothings

Sometimes it's fun to just dash off a project. Something sweet. Not too time-consuming. Something bright and shiny. With BEADS!!

Photographed on a stump! How attractive. How arty. :)

Here's a pair of fingerless texting mittens. Perfect to keep in your pocket for cool days.

100% Alpaca. They're only $20 in the fundraising shop for the Lyndhurst Feral Cat Project. If you're not local, I'm sure you can work something out to have them slipped in an envelope and mailed to you.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Getting back to business

It's been a month of the plague here in the Kingdom. Even Cassie's been sick, but thanks to the wonders of modern medicine (and good - if expensive! - veterinary care), we all seem to be back on track. Since the world rolls on, even when we're too sick to notice, we have a couple of news items to catch you up on ........

1)  There's a new animal welfare group in the Kingdom. The Lyndhurst Feral Cat Project is determined to look after the feral and stray cats in our community.  They're just starting to organize. You can imagine how expensive it is to care for a group of cats....not just food, but vet care, too.  To that end, we've offered a few of our recent knits for fundraising. If you're interested in helping out, please go have a look at their Facebook page. I'm sure they can work something out if you need the item mailed. At the very least, you can Like the page and share with your Facebook friends. The cats will thank you.

2) Our friend, Karen at Sewkaren-ly Created,  has a quilt pattern in the running at Craftsy's Pattern Design Awards. They've narrowed the finalists down to FOUR!! And hers is one of the 4. Her design is called: Rhythmic.  If you click here, you can read her blog post. Follow the instructions there to vote, and don't forget to leave your email address, because you could win a free class.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Grey Sweater, Blue Bunnies

It's done. I'm in love. Here it is.

Kate was right. The hair conditioner worked its magic, and the sock yarn that was a little bit scratchy is now lovely and soft. Baby soft.

And thanks to Monique (my polymer clay guru), there are now buttons. Monique is very patient and generously answers my newbie questions. She says next time, I can buff my buttons with an electric toothbrush. I can hardly wait to try that!

Size 6 to 9 months. Buttons are 5/8 inch in diameter.