Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The news is out....

This is the class and teacher that I've been privileged to work with since the Christmas break - and look! We're in the newspaper! As the students' final project, they'll each be knitting a vest for a needy child in Afghanistan. Our teacher has put out a call to the community to match us, vest for vest, or at least to join in the fun by donating some wool or money to buy wool. The paper came out this morning and we've already got 18 community members signed up to help by knitting, and several skeins of yarn have already popped up in community drop boxes that have been placed around town.

Exciting stuff!

I first read about this charity while reading Debra's blog last fall...and had it in the back of my mind, thinking it would be a great one to contribute to. Our classroom teacher thought it was a great idea, and it ties into other parts of the class curriculum around citizenship, global issues and other things. I'm so excited to be part of this project! Normally our family tend to volunteer for things closer to home (Christmas boxes, charity quilts, local fund raising). I think this will be the first really large contribution to an international charity that I've been part of, and it's so exciting. I'm glad that these kids will have the chance to participate in making a difference. What a great experience for them at this young age.

More to report soon on life, the universe, and everything....


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cora, finally done

I finshed it last night, got the binding on and everything.

This is by far the largest quilt I've made for us! I've made larger ones for customers (some with the piecing and all - the largest one that springs to mind was one for a lady in Germany a few years ago, a huge red and white lone star about 100 X 120").

This quilt finished 97" square after the quilting. It did 'take up' a little, but it's quilted pretty heavily. I keep going in and petting it.

Here's a little shot of it right after trimming, before the binding went on...

Yummy texture, eh? Gotta love cotton batting. It's going to be wonderfully rumply after it's washed.

And a little shot here of the top edge of the quilt after binding:

Don't bright colours just make you happy?

And a little arty oblique shot, just 'cause I can't help myself.

Happy stitching,


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Youngest makes Raviolini

Guess what we had for supper?


The things that make a girl happy....

You know you've irrevocably crossed the line into adulthood when household appliances can make you giddy with joy.

If you've been reading for a while, then you know that I do quite a bit of 'scratch' cooking. I make the majority of our bread, granola and baked goods...we try to eat a very natural, mostly whole foods diet - and I love cooking.

One of the things that I'd moved away from in recent years and am just now re-discovering is how much we all love homemade pasta. A LOOOONG time ago I bought a Marcato pasta rolling machine. It came with cutters for both spaghettini and linguine. I always wanted a ravioli attachment, but never could see myself affording one. I made our spaghetti, our linguine, our lasagna noodles - all manner of flat noodles (even won ton and egg roll wrappers) with my trusty Marcato.
Recently I found myself looking online researching vegetable cutting mandolins. I've been wanting one for a while (my Mom in Law uses one religiously, and I think it would be a good solution to our 'never a sharp knife' problem) when I ran across ads for my old Marcato! Not old, mind you, but current! It would seem they are still making this wonderful tool, and all the attachments. I came across the ravioli and raviolini cutters and thought -" jeez, I'm a grown up - I can have a raviolini cutter - what am I actually waiting for?"

Well, I didn't buy a mandolin. Yet. But my raviolini attachment arrived today....

and I almost kissed the delivery guy! I can't believe how excited I am to have this gadget! Since I ordered it I've been brainstorming ideas for fillings, looking up ones in old cookbooks and hoping that a couple recipes would be included. There are two - but honestly, the manual is in at least 6 languages...2 pages per language, - two recipes is plenty from there.

And here it is, on my trusty Marcato.

I can hardly wait to start some pasta dough, clamp this honey to the counter and give it a crank.

I've already got the spinach thawing upstairs for spinach/ricotta filling....

Oh, it is the little things in life, isn't it?



Sunday, February 17, 2008

for the love of squares

That just might end up being the new title for this quilt. It's all about squares. Squares next to squares, squares within squares, square borders...

Yep. This is becomeing my ode to squares.

And if you ever wondered what I use for marking - - for the most part, just good 'ol chalkboard chalk. It goes on easy, shows on most fabrics, brushes off with the lint brush. If I'm feeling picky and need some VERY precise markings, I sharpen it with a pencil sharpener. It dulls quickly, but that's okay. Mostly it's only needed for basic guidelines, anyway.

Hope your days are full of colour,


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Whaaaat? Can this be? A quilty post?

Ooooh, how I love fancy, closely stitched feathers....And continuous curve....

Ah, working on one of my own quilts. You may remember last May/June I was part of a group of test piecers for this quilt pattern....hey, it's getting quilted less than 12 months after it was pieced. For me, that's a GOOD time frame.

This may well be a late night.

Happy stitching,


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Snow photos....

Considering my Mom is on her way to warmer climes for a vacation with her brother this morning, I thought I'd post a little of what she's getting away from....

This is the view out our laundry room window this morning at about 7:00 am. Check out those icicles! We're in the middle of a big snowfall right now that is predicted to last most of the day.

This is the snow on our back gate. I love it like this, all these perfect flakes piling up so delicately! Even the slightest breeze will push them off. You might notice we don't try to open our gate at this point in the year, we just step right over the fence next to it. Our old dog is just not interested in the effort it would take to get over, so we don't have to dig big trenches along the fence the way we had to when she was young.

Walking down the pristine alleyway to go to school. Man I love how fresh snow transforms everything.

And this is how we deal with snow in this part of Canada. You can get an idea of how high the snowpiles are by the height of the basketball hoop. This fella is cleaning the high school parking lot. What you can't see from the picture is that those piles are deeper than they are high. They've been pushing snow out into the field for almost 3 months now, and the piles are quite impressive. The boys call them Mt. SnEverest and love climbing on them and sliding down. Standing on top of them it is easy to see the roof of the high school.

This is the view from our back gate this morning when I got home from dropping the boys off at school. Although you can see the sun peeking through, what you can't see is that it has just crested the valley...there are some really big mountains out there that are obscured completely by the falling snow.

A good day to stay in and stitch, wouldn't you say? Maybe after I shovel out the driveway.....


Monday, February 04, 2008

Another Buttony all done.

Did it.

Went with the short sleeve after all, and am glad I did. I think I'll make another one, a long sleeve version, but add some cables and other interesting things. I may try to knit the new one bottom up instead of top down, but I've not decided that part yet.

I had my youngest take some pictures, but won't post those...I'm glad he loves me, 'cause the angle he looks up at me from is not a visually flattering one!

Hope your day has a bit of completion in it.


Sunday, February 03, 2008

Last post for the day

It's my sister's birthday.

I think I'm lucky to have been almost 5 when Mom and Dad got out of our Toyota Corolla wood-sided station wagon with her in Mom's arms, because I remember it. She's been a constant in my life, and though I have memories of before she was born most of my childhood memories are of her, or of playing with her.

I can remember when we lived at the farm and would dress one of the cats up in doll clothes (!) and try to get her to stay in the doll crib...I think she was the one who got most scratched. I remember laughing our heads off.

She was always a better swimmer than me, and a much, MUCH better card player. Good enough that I even marked my own deck of cards so that I could have a fighting chance playing against her (boy did I ever get in trouble for that). I think she beat me anyway 3 games out of 4.

We played together a lot, and we bickered a lot, too. I can remember one summer day realizing that we hadn't fought the whole day and thinking that was a huge accomplishment.

The photo at left is one I've had for a long, long time. She was only about 2 years old, maybe 3 in the photo. I long thought that this was the moment of inter-species connection that planted the seeds for her many years of vegetarianism.

And yes, she still is that cute.

Maybe even cuter, if it's at all possible.

Love you H,


One other thing, finally finished

I've been hunting for one skein of this discontinued yarn colour since before Christmas as I'd knit this vest and run out before I was able to do this neck band. I lovely person at Ravelry was kind enough to part with an odd skein she had in her stash, so I was able to purchase it from her. I finished the vest in 2 evenings, and have since worn it. I think it's going to be a winter staple in my wardrobe. The yarn used was Noro Silk Garden, a combination of lamb's wool and recycled silk. It's soft, lovely and warm.

I did modify the pattern a little, as I'm a small person, but not a lot. The largest mod I did was to continue the ribbing up to the armhole, but just 15 stitches on each side to help with the shaping. Oh, and I knit it mostly on circular needles, all in one piece instead of doing each of the pieces separately and then sewing them together. I wanted the colour to be more continuous, and that method helped me achieve that.


Buttony sweater progress - photo heavy post

My evening knitting has been a ferocious thing...I've really been restless and it's been a great way to keep my hands busy while letting me think a little. None of what I'm working on right now is so complicated as to need my undivided attention, and that is a good thing.

I thought I'd share my button process with you. On a sweater like this where some buttons are going to have more stress on them than others I'll re-enforce buttons that fall at stress points (in this case bottom ribbing, bust point and top button). This helps to prevent the button pulling the fabric out of shape at these points.
Typically I start with threading the yarn needle with at least 2 strands of yarn, which I use doubled. This gives me 4 strands of yarn for each pass of the needle. Do yourself a favour before you start and make sure that the yarn can be pulled through the button's holes easily.

To figure out the button placement I usually place my garment on Sally Stitch, adjusting everything to make sure that things hang right and fit well. I pin through the button holes at each point to hold the garment in place while I stitch each button on. The one I'm doing for demonstration is the top button (all the other ones were already done). To start, remove the pin, and lift the stitch directly underneath the buttonhole. Give it a little tug, but not enough to distort the fabric.

Lift the button band away. The stitch that you will be putting the button on will now sit a little proud of the others.

Pass your yarn needle through a small button, then through the fabric back to front where you determined the button should go.

Now pass the yarn through your fashion button, the one that is on the right side of your garment.

Pass the yarn needle back through the fashion button, front to back, making sure that you go through one of the holes on the little backing button, too.

Continue going back and forth in this manner until you have passed yarn through all the button's holes (typically not more that 4 holes). Tie both ends of the yarn together on the back side against the little button securely, trim yarn ends leaving a bit of yarn, not enough to be seen from the front side of the garment, but long enough that your knots won't unravel. You can put a little bit of Fray Check on your knots, if you like.

Pass your button through it's buttonhole to make sure the placement is indeed right.

Here's my Buttony with all 12 buttons on. I'm now ready to pick up the stitches for the arms - I can't decide if I want to just leave them short like that, or knit long sleeves. I'm kind of partial to how it looks right now, and think it would be a really practical thing to wear over a long sleeved jersey knit shirt. And kind of cute, besides.

All the best,


Saturday, February 02, 2008

sad, sad news.

I mentioned in one of my previous posts that I'm volunteering, teaching knitting in one of the Grade 7 classes at our school...
this week one of our students died suddenly in a tragic accident. He was only 12, and it has impacted the school in a huge way. The staff started a wall in the hallway where the students can post their memories of him, things that were his, letters to him and photos. It is so hard, so raw. It's impossible to make sense of a life with so much potential taken so suddenly. My heart aches for his family.