Thursday, September 7, 2017

There's nuthin' like a friend to pull you out of a rut.

So, things have been a little tense in the Kingdom this summer. Lots of stuff goin' on. Not all of it good. However, my good friend Kate had just the remedy. 'Let's knit a really, really complicated lace shawl!!' And you know what? She was right! A girl can't dwell on the dark side of things if her mind and hands are focused somewhere else. So, here's what we're knittin'. With Cassie's help, of course.

It's a new shawl by Anne-Lise Maigaard who designed the shawl we knit last year. Alberta. Kate's knitting a bigger size with lots of beads. I'm taking it a little easier. Mine will have beads at the cast-off edge. Kate's will be fully loaded with 'em.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


It's time for the annual Fur Ball Cruise! This is a fundraiser for the Gananoque & District Humane Society. These cookies will be available for sale during the cruise. For more info about the event, please click here: 
It should be a rockin' good time!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The colour-of-the-day is ...

There are lots of tutorials on the internet for dyeing animal fibres with Wilton food colouring. It's not hard. It doesn't require fancy equipment. It's non-toxic.

For this shade, I used Teal plus Ivory, plus a little extra yellow. Nothing precise. I just aim for a shade, and accept what comes.

This could also be the secret to happiness.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sophie Digard and me

Still infatuated with those Sophie Digard designs. Here's how my scarf turned out:

12 inches x 60 inches. And since Sophie signs hers with a label, I had to, as well. I think I'm on the right track. I like how the colours work together, but I think maybe smaller motifs might work better next time.

In this photo, you can see the cone of white cashmere I bought here that I dyed with Wilton food colouring to get the gorgeous coral skein and the warm yellow-green. The cashmere is lovely and soft. I'm playing with some off-centre circles, and putting them together free-form.

Sophie's designs also include bags made from her crocheted 'fabric', as well as embroidered scarves. Doesn't embroidery sound like fun?

Sunday, July 9, 2017

More crochet

Still workin' away on the Kitty Face Granny Squares, but I'm also insanely in love with Sophie Digard designs. She's a Parisian designer who has her work made up by women in Madagascar. It's supposed to be a Fair Trade arrangement, but I haven't actually confirmed that. Not that it matters. Her scarves are crazy expensive, and for me, the attraction isn't really in owning one. It's in figuring out how they're made. I don't mean the crochet patterns. That seems simple enough. They're mostly crocheted motifs that are joined to make a rectangle. What's extraordinary about her scarves is the way she manipulates colour. And THAT is what I'm grappling with.

Here are a few of examples of actual Sophie Digard scarves, but you can search her out on Pinterest to see more.

Heaven knows I have lots of odd balls of wool leftover from previous projects. I read that some of her scarves are made up of as many as 60 colours/shades that she has dyed for her. So, OK, I guess dyeing is part of the deal.

I've made several starts at this, but always get distracted by 'nice colours'.  I've decided I really need to tighten the colour palette. Then, I got the idea I should START with the colour palette. How 'bout this one? Pretty, eh?

So, I sifted through my stash, and chose all the teals and turquoises and beiges and browns. I'm sticking with wool and wool/nylon (sock leftovers), because a scarf doesn't get washed much, so hand washing shouldn't be a problem. I dyed some off-white with Wilton food colouring, and I over-dyed some turquoise with tea.

I think it's interesting that there are so many similarities between quilting and this type of crochet. Still working in squares, and still joining them together. The success of the project depends on the colour chemistry in both media. Of course, I've had to go back and re-learn my basic crochet skills, but that's been enjoyable, too. Much easier now with YouTube than it was when I was 13. And I get to work on my deck under Cassie's watchful eye. What better way to pass a July morning? Or several. I have 32 motifs made, and I calculate that I need 45. Some assembly required.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Crochet along with me, the best is yet to be

I have this idea!! There's this really cute pattern (no, it's not mine) for a kitty granny square. Really cute. If you've got some yarn and a hook, and you'd like to crochet along with me, just keep reading.

If you'd like to do some good with a granny square or 2, you could consider sending them to me, and I'll put them together into an afghan to try to raise money for the Lyndhurst Feral Cat Project.

Here's the pattern. It's free.

It's written for worsted weight yarn. I used Bernat Premium and Bernat Satin. Both are classified as #4 Medium. It's acrylic, so it's easy care. If you're making your squares for the LFCP afghan, use any colours you like...... the brighter, the better. I used buttons for the eyes and nose, because I don't intend this for a baby.

Cassie approves!
I'm not a big-time crocheter, so my experience may differ from yours, BUT I think the first ring of the block should ask you to make 9 DC in the magic ring, so you end up with 10 stitches. The first chain 2 is really the first stitch.

Also, the pattern doesn't really tell you where to start the frame around the cat's face. I found it was easier to mark the cat's face like the hours of a clock (an old-fashioned clock). Put a safety pin at each hour of the clock, and start at the 2 o'clock point. I didn't count stitches as the pattern instructs. I just slip-stitched into each hour of my 'clock'.

Oh, and for some reason, my kitty cat granny square measures 8 inches square, not 6 inches as it says in the pattern. No matter. One of the great things about crochet is that it's so 'fudgeable'.

That's it! Have fun! And if you want to send me a block to add to the afghan, please just let me know. Just leave a comment on this post, and I'll get back to you with the address. The cats and I would be very grateful. Thank you!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Cookies! Olé!

After taking a cookie-making break, here are some Mexi-cats.

Cats in sombreros and mariachi cats, born from a doodle I did earlier this week.

The cookies will be on the bake sale table at the annual Chili Cook-Off that the Gananoque & District Humane Society is holding on Saturday at the Lansdowne Community Centre (Jessie St.) from 11 to 2.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

For everything there is a season

I'm still playing with baby sweaters, but a girl can't knit all the time. It's not a good idea ergonomically-speaking. :) Fortunately, I have a nice collection of partially finished projects in several media. It's not huge (that collection), but when a project falls out of favour, I do tend to neglect it for a while. And I do that in a heart beat. And without a shred of guilt. I know its day will eventually come. Today, is the day for this one.

I can't remember exactly when I drew the sketch, but I wrote a little poem (doggerel, really) to go with it that's dated April 11, 2006, in my notebook. So, the whole project's been languishing for a while. I hope to embroider the poem around the border.

I have the appliqué layered now with a lovely bit of right-sized Tuscany silk batting that my friend Karen sent to me as a gift-in-the-mail in September 2014. That batting has been waiting all this time for just the right project. I've never worked with silk batting before, but I'm loving the way it sticks to the cotton backing and top.

I'm planning to quilt it by machine, and then, hand embroider the details. I know that seems counter-intuitive, but I'm confident I can hide all the knots and thread tails from the embroidery. The last embroidered quilt I made was hand-quilted, so I embroidered first, layered and completed the quilting on a frame. I don't think I want the machine quilting to cross over the embroidery anywhere, and I think embroidering on the layers will be easier than embroidering on one flimsy layer. Check back later to see how that goes, if you're interested.

Ode to Ice Cream
26 inches x 30 inches

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

More boy stuff

Still researching what makes a baby sweater suitable for a boy baby. Babies of either gender are sweet and cute. Do we treat boy babies differently from girl babies? I've never seen even the most rugged of men, slug a baby on the shoulder, and ask, "How's it goin', buddy?".   However, there does seem to be some unwritten rule about how boy babies ought to reflect their 'boy-ness' in their dress.

Blue is the quintessential colour for boys, right?  Turquoise is a member of the blue family, specifically blue-green. Therefore, this is a boy colour, right? Let's push the envelope and add an appliqué patch for decoration. Are cats OK? Lions are pretty man-ly. Is this happy cat face OK?

I'm still not sure I have a handle on all this. What I do know is that it's fun to knit these little sweaters. I've donated this one to the online auction that the Lyndhurst Feral Cat Project is running right now on Facebook. Proceeds from the auction are going to the Gananoque & District Humane Society who help us so much with our cats. In fact, without the G&DHS, we wouldn't be able to do what we do.

If you're in need of a baby sweater for a boy, size 6 to 9 months, made of washable wool/nylon (or over a 100 other items on offer), please check out the auction page.   Bidding ends Sunday night, March 5, at 9 pm sharp.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Cats knit?

This is a knitting project bag (or a lunch bag, I suppose) that I made out of some fabric I had printed through Spoonflower. This time, I had them print on cotton twill, and I really like how nice and sturdy the fabric is. Perfect for a bag.

This bag measures 7 inches wide and 7-1/2 inches tall and about 3 inches deep (at the bottom). I think it's perfect for a pair of socks on-the-go. The zipper keeps everything safe. The strap makes it easy to carry. And because a friend had a very near miss with one of her bags (briefly lost! :(  but then found! in a most unlikely place - a parking lot! - by her husband -The Hero!), this one comes with an ID card that fits into a pocket in the lining.

I'm putting this bag in the online auction that the Lyndhurst Feral Cat Project is holding to benefit the Gananoque & District Humane Society. The auction runs from March 1st to 5th this year, and I'll be sure to share the link the Facebook page for the auction when it goes live.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Boys will be boys

A very good friend is expecting her first grandchild shortly, and that baby will be a boy. Of course, I want to make something for her (him). One thing I've been struggling with is that all my baby designs look sorta girl-y and precious. I think my next quest will be for boy-friendly designs. Toward that end, here's the base sweater I'm knitting right now. Masculine, right? :)  Well, at least it has blue in it. That counts, right?

For those who will want to know, it's Meilenweit Merino sock yarn, 80% wool and 20% polyamide, and fully washable.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

A great gift

I think I've mentioned that my brother works in wood. He turns beautiful bowls, and he's given me several. Here's what he made for me for Christmas this year. Isn't it beautiful?

And extremely useful (once I figured out what it was!).

It's really nice when someone knows you so well, they know exactly what you'd like. And even better, when they make it for you themselves.

PS....It's a very fancy stitch ripper (for those who might not be familiar with them). I'm a big fan of stitch rippers. They give you a second chance at doing a good job.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Christmas finale

Finally, finally the weather cooperated, and people's sicknesses abated, so that we could get together to see Gizmo receive his Ugly Xmas Sweater!! As I stated before, everyone needs an Ugly Xmas Sweater. Gizmo loves his, and surprise! surprise! his owner doesn't mind it either. Gizmo's one handsome dude, no matter what he's wearing.

And Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a photo of Cassie. You'll notice she's not wearing a sweater.