Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Happy Canada Day

As I was walking around the small area where I live, I noticed this tiny Inukshuk newly arrived in one of the gardens.  Such a great image to see and think of when I appreciate all that it means to me to call Canada my home.

Inukshuk can be used in several ways, one of which is to mark a direction, another is a means of saying "I was here". 

Learn more about the inukshuk:

The Canadian Encyclopedia
Sustainability Television

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Needlework Tuesday - a Second Rug

It was a gorgeous sunset yesterday. The pinks and blues were so soothing, I could have stood out there till it was dark.  I'll take inspiration where ever it appears and these colours certainly work in with the projects I have been doing lately.  I like the wide range of shades, tints, and hues that come to mind when I think pink.   From the palest pastel to the most vivid fuchsia, all pinks are good and some even great.

 Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you.

Last week, Sherrie, one of my earliest readers, asked about working with chunky yarns.  I usually knit and crochet with worsted weight, though lately I've been setting my fingers to chunky.  I does take a bit of getting used to.  The larger hook/needle size means that your project works up quicker.  I've found some patterns call for only a slight increase in the tool size resulting  in a very dense product.  This is very hard on my hands and I don't usually like to stiffness.  I much prefer a larger tool that gives a soft body.  So much easier on my hands.  The larger hook is easier to hold in crochet, but I am not as comfortable when knitting with the larger needles.  In both cases, it does get easier as the project progresses and I  get used to the feel.  Working with chunky yarn is definitely worth trying as long as your tool size is large enough and not making a super stiff project.

 I love the border stitch of the rug I started last week.  It is comprised of front post double crochet alternating with back post double crochet.  Easy to get the hang of after a couple of repeats.  I did make a mistake which I didn't notice till the next round.  Solution, I just skipped the extra stitch and it seems to have disappeared.

I am really happy with this project and can imagine myself making another..  It measures 37 x 22 inches, which is slightly smaller than the pattern.  I used a 9 mm hook.  Several family and friends have tested it, and all agree that is has a nice cushy feel beneath the foot.

After the success of this first rug, I had to start on a next one.  This new one for daughter. She has a lot of hardwood in her new apartment and doesn't want cold feet on those winter mornings.  It is basically a long scarf.  The "One Skein Shoe Rug" by Art Fiend. I am using a ball of Bernat Softee Chunky Twist.  It is three strands wrapped together: red, pink, and purple.

The cable pattern is fairly common and fun to work.  it is unusual in that it has me knitting through the back of the stitch for the travelling cable stitches.  Easy to do once I got used to it.

Along with the rugs, I am also interested in stitching/quilting some little bags.  I want to use them as gifts, so not too big.  I welcome your pattern suggestions.

Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework project, or to a previous post showing a quilted bag.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Dying for a Living: A Jesse Sullivan Novel by Kory M. Shrum

First it was surrogate birth mothers, and now it's Necronites, surrogates for death.  Jesse Sullivan is one of these, at the moment of another person's death, she can re-focus his or her  life energy, keeping him or her alive while she 'takes' the death.  After her body heals from the death injuries,  her brain re-boots and she is once again alive.  Every one needs a job, and Jesse is well equipped for this one.

Not every one is happy with the Necronites, specially the church.  It is possible there are connected with the questionable events surrounding Jesse's latest job.

I found this a creepy and fascinating idea that someone else could take my death. I could have finished it in one sitting except for family obligations.

It's hard to know in this story who is dead, who should be dead and who could become undead.  This makes for great plot twist possibilities.

Brinkley, her handler, Ally, her assistant, and her boyfriend Lane are great additions to the story line.  They are very different from each other and help to bring out the various sides of Jesse's personalities. 

I look forward to reading more of  Jesse's story in Dying by the Hour and then in Dying for Her.  At the time of writing Dying for a Living is free at some online ebook retailers.

Cover image courtesy of author Kory M. Shrum.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Seriously mom, what's an alpaca? by Alan Parks

When you move to another country, it's hard to explain your new life to those at home.  Author Alan Parks has done a wonderful job of sharing the non-fiction story of his family's move to rural Spain to raise alpacas.  His easy going writing style made me feel as though I was reading a personal letter from him. 

He talks about the language challenges, the difference in cultures and the significance of the large expat community.  I particularly enjoyed the tales of his adventures with his Spanish neighbours.

When I was a teen, my family moved to an island in the Caribbean, and my father and his partners started a scuba diving business.  Mr. Parks had me reliving many of our experiences, some I had long forgotten.

I highly recommend this book to anyone considering such a move or who is curious about moving to a foreign country.  The armchair traveller will also enjoy the stories and still be happy to remain safely at home. 

Cover image courtesy of Alan Parks.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Needlework Tuesday - Crochet a Rug

I have a new, quick project on the hook, crochet hook that is.  I'm using chunky yarn from Red Heart.

Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you.

I'm still having the feel for small, quick to complete projects. I do get a great feeling when I finish a project and it's been far too long since I finished a large quilt.  Yippee for small projects.  I started this one a few days ago and it's just flying along and it's living up to my expectations.  
The stitch of this pattern is easy and looks good and it feels good under my feet.  Yes, it's a floor rug.  For years I have been buying those foam backed mats for the hallway, but after a while, the foam starts to disintegrate and leaves a nasty dust behind.  Yuck.  Since i have the skills and the time, why not make my own mats and then they will be the colours and textures i want instead of what some  anonymous buyer  decides. 

I am using a free pattern from Red Heart, the Hearth & Home Rug .  It takes 4 skeins of their Super Saver Chunky yarn, though I'm sure that any chunky yarn will work.

I'm enjoying this so much, that i have already selected a second rug project.  More details will follow on that one after I get started on it.

Have you knit or crocheted a rug or floor mat?  I'd like to hear about this project, better yet, some photos would be great.  Please add a link to Mister Linky of either your current needlework post or a rug you have made.