Thursday, 27 September 2012

I'm in Mourning

My father passed away September 20, 2012.  He was diagnosed with Mulitple Myeloma a year ago and while it was a difficult battle, he passed away peacefully in his sleep.

When I return, I'll post the eulogy that my sister and I prepared along with several photos.

Thank-you for the many messages and words of encouragement I have received from my personal and online friends.  Your thoughtfulness has been a great comfort to me and my family.

Sincerely,

Heather

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Do you want shades of Grey?

Daughter and I were on our way home from a writer's festival on Sunday and saw this sign.  Both of us immediately thought of a certain, very popular book series.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Needlework Tuesday - Grab Bag


Needlework Tuesday is open to all readers looking for inspiration, encouragement or who want to share their recent needlework project. Introduce yourself in the comments and be sure to leave a link to your current post. Feel free to grab the cute little mouse for your post.
 I am quite excited with how this version of the Wave Goodbye Tote turned out.  Instead of using assorted 2 1/2 inches strips like last time, I used a large scale print with lots of space between motifs.  I carefully kept the strips in order and you can clearly see the overall print.  After this is exhibited in my guild quilt show in October, I will be giving it to a dear friend who happens to love sunflowers.

You can view the image of my first tote here.
Tutorial for the Wave Goodbye Tote








A few months ago I joined "In the Bag" and ugly fabric swap.  I thought I had till the end of October to piece and submit my project.  oops, due the end of September.  I had already decided that I would be using a design by Judy Martin, but I hadn't started at all.  This first photo shows the fabrics that my partner sent.  Florals, which are a challenge for me at the best of times, and some very cool snails.  After much cursing and nashing of teeth, I managed to put my design in EQ6 and play with colours.  Then it was cutting time.


 

 
I am far from finished, but after two days of stitching, the centre panel is completed.  I have used 3 of the 4 required fabrics.  This section meaures 24 inches square.  I will be adding a border of 12inch squares of two different designs. 
 
I am still knitting away on my afghan.  Ball eleven.  One more to go.
 
One update to my afghan show last week.  In the spring, my fencing coach mentioned that she had tried crocheting a blankie, but stopped as it wasn't working.  I gave her some alternate patterns and encouraged her to try again.  Fast forward 3 months.  I popped into the gym last week and she told me that she had great success with one of the patterns.  In fact, she had just finished her third baby blanket.  Two of them already delivered and the third waiting for the baby.  She kindly sent me a few photos.
 

 
 
I continue to work on several projects, including a pair of socks for hubby, don't know how much I will get finished as my father is very ill.  His cancer treatments are no longer working. Due to the toxicity of the treatments, his kidneys are in failure.  Prayers for him would be most appreciated.


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Rainbow that Stopped a Town

Friday after school, I picked up my daughter and her friend from tennis practice.  We stopped at the grocery store for several items.  When we came out of the store, a growing number of people were standing and pointing at something behind me, to the east.  Once I put the items in my car, I also turned an looked.  I immediately understood their behaviour.  The sky was filled with the most perfect, brilliant double rainbow I have ever seen.  We arrived home about ten minutes later and I rushed into the house for my camera.  The pictures are very pale in comparision.



 
For a more enthusiastic response to a double rainbow, the following video is the ultimate.
 
 

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Needlework Tuesday - A Gallery of Afghans



 

 Welcome all to my weekly Needlework Tuesday post.  I have a special treat for you.  A Gallery of Afghans.  My regular readers know that I have been working on a special project for the past three weeks,  I am now on ball 10 of 12.  Getting close.  If you missed those posts, click here to see a photo.  Other wise, sit back and enjoy the show.  I'll give as much details about each as I recall, but some of these have been in the house for decades or were gifts.  These are in no particular order.

 
Snowflakes - made for my niece from New Zealand so that she can enjoy snow any time of the year.  From a pattern from Red Heart.  If you choose to make it, remember that it really needs 7 balls of variegated, not the 5 stated in the pattern.
 
 
I loved this pattern so much, I had to make one for myself.


 
I knit this one for my friend in New Zealand.  Because their climate is so moderate all year long, most people don't have central heating, they rely on a fireplace or space heaters.  A cuddly warm blankie was very appreciated by her.  From a free pattern from Bernat using Mosaic yarn.  I needed two additional balls to get stitch the correct number of motifs.
 
 
This pink beauty belongs to daughter.  By the time I got to the outer rounds I had the stitches on three round needles.  I believe there were over a thousand stitches.  It is made from at least a dozen worsted weight and specialty yarns.  Sorry, I don't recall the pattern.



 
This is the first and only afghan i have made in the style where you have to sew blocks together. It wasn't as bad as I imagined it would be. Pattern was a free Bernat knit along. Satin Mystery Afghan Knit Along. Since son selected the colours, he got the blankie.
 




This

 
Years ago I bought some patterns books from Annie's Attic.  This is one of her Mile A Minute afghans.  I ran out of yarn stitching the rows together and knew I'd never match the colour, so used some aran that was sitting around.
 
 
My dog's blanket.  I was hooked using two strands of worsted weight.  i used a large oval loom.  Best part of the project is that the whole family along with visitors all worked on it.  it is very stretched out as it was washed several times at the vet offices when the dog stayed there.  Now that we no longer have the dog with us, we haven't been able to let go of the blanket.
 
 
I had bought a kit to made a granny style blanket.  I tried several times to stitch the motif, but couldn't get it to work.  I found this wave pattern somewhere and worked until I ran out of yarn.  I really love the scalloped edging that finished it off.
 
 
This is the first afghan that I knit.  I did it during university from a kit I bought from Mary Maxim.  It's a pale pink and is a fluffy yarn.
 
 
This one lives in son's room.  He was supposed to take it to school with him, but he insists that my sister, where he lives, has plenty of blankets.  It was knit in diagonal strips and then sewn together.  I think it was a pattern on the ball band.  Possibly from Bernat.
 
 
This was an early adventure in crochet.  It involved lots of ripping out, head scratching, and I'm sure more than a few curse words.  I didn't have any one to ask what terms meant, and the Internet was still something in the future.  I was for my son as a wee baby.  It was from a pattern book from Annie's Attic.  There were two books, six patterns in each so you could crochet a years worth of baby blankets.
 
 
 
This was from the same book.  it is supposed to be rectangular, but it more similar to a loop sided diamond.  This one belongs to daughter.
 
 
I had this light weight worsted yarn sitting around for years.  I really like that it has a bit of a sparkle to it, b didn't want to make a sweater.  In the end, i decided to knit for my first grand daughter.  That is still years in the future, so I guess I have time to stitch the ends in and try and gently block it.
 
 
This next section are afghans stitched by others.
 
 
My mother made this multi colour worsted weight blankie for daughter.
 
 
This beauty is the one that started my love of knit and crocheted blankies.  When I was in high school my mother had been working on this for age.  I told her many times how much I loved the colours.  When I was packing to leave for university, i found it strewn across the top of my bed one day.  it travelled to university with me and now it lives in my son's room.  And yes, I still love it.
 
 
My mom made this for daughter. It is a Mile a Minute style, though I don't know the pattern source.
 
 
My husband's Aunt Jean made this for my son.  At that point she was making a version of this blanket for each of her grandchildren.  Each motif is different. My son was fascinated by all the colours.  It sits safely folded in his closet until he has a home of his own.
 
 
I found this in my son's room, in the same closet with the one above.  i had forgotten about it.  I think that my mom's sister in law, Jan, made this for my son.  Son is almost 19, so it's okay that I am forgetting a few details from his babyhood.
 
 
My mom started making this for my daughter almost as soon as I told her I was expecting.  I still love the peach and green colours.
 
 
This one is hubby's only afghan.  His grandmother showed him a Mary Maxim catalogue when he was a pre-teen and she asked him which afghan he liked.  This is the results.  We received it from her as an engagement gift.  Daughter has claimed it and it resides on her bed. It is so thick and warm.
 
 
 The following afghan was stitched by my online friend Sherrie, from Just Books.  She joins me every so often with a Needlework Tuesday Post and was the one who made me my little thread mouse that I use at the top of  the post every week.
 
 
 
Finally, the one I have been putting off working on.  I really like it, but it takes so long to stitch a row.  it uses slipped stitches and it take 6 rows of knitting to advance 4 rows.  It is for hubby and will be the thickest afghan once completed.  perhaps I'll get back to it this winter.  Maybe if I add in a new colour it will inspire me to stitch away?

Thank-you for joining me for my tour of beds and closets and all afghans in between.  There is one baby one missing, but I don't know where it is hiding in daughter's room.  I hope by next week that I'll finished the cable blankie I am working on and will have the final photo for you.  Until then, happy stitching.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Weekend Cooking - Chocolate is for Dessert

 
 
Chocolate for dessert always works well for me.  It was no different at the ENDURrun races this summer.  My neighbour Julie made at least two amazing addictive dishes.  I was asked several times if I could provide the recipes, and she was kind enough to agree.
 
 
Almond Crisps
(pictured above)
  • Line a greased cookie sheet with salted soda crackers.
  • bring to a boil: 1 cup (½ lb) butter and  1 cup sugar (white or brown). stir until well mixed.
  •  
  • pour butter mixture over crackers. Spread evenly.
  • Bake in 350° oven for approximately 15 minutes. Watch it closely to prevent burning.                
  • Remove from oven and spread a package of milk chocolate chips over the top. Spread evenly
  •  
  • Top with flaked almonds (optional). Place in freezer for at least 3 hours.
  • Twist pan until loose. Break into small pieces.
 
~ and…. ENJOY!!
 
Peanut Butter Squares
  • ½ cup margarine or butter
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 ¼ cups icing sugar
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 ½ cup chocolate chips
Melt butter and peanut butter together in a small pot, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Add icing sugar and graham cracker crumbs.  Grease 9”x9” pan.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Heat in 200ยบ oven for 5 minutes to soften chocolate. Spread chocolate evenly over the top.  Cool in fridge.
After about ½ hour in the fridge, cut into squares, then place back in fridge to harden.  This prevents the squares from breaking when you try to cut them when they’re cold.
 
Candy Bar Dessert
 
Base
4 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
1 cup butter, melted
 
Mix together and press into 13x9 inch pan. Chill.
 
Filling
8 oz cream cheese softened
1/4 cup sugar
4 cups thawed cool whip (1 litre)
10-12 crushed candy bars (skor, crispy crunch)
3 cups cold milk
2 packages chocolate jello instant pudding
 
Mix cream cheese and sugar.  Gently stir in 1/2 of the cool whip.  Spread evenly over crust. 
Sprinkle candy bar pieces over cream cheese layer.  Let sit. 
Pour milk into bowl, add pudding.  Beat together as instructed on the package.
Pour over chopped candy bar layer.  Sit until thickened.
Spread remaining cool whip over pudding.  Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm  Garnish with additional chopped candy bars.
 
Additional recipes from the ENDURrun are found at this link (lots of hummus varieties).



For more foodie fun, be sure to visit Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking Post.  Beth invites you to add a link to your recent food related post.


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Take a Chance

Take a chance and read a banned book, you might find a new favourite.




Petty Witter at Pen and Paper has an interesting post regarding the burning of libraries throughout history.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Needlework Tuesday - Are knitted blankets too heavy?


Needlework Tuesday is open to all readers looking for inspiration, encouragement or who want to share their recent needlework project. Introduce yourself in the comments and be sure to leave a link to your current post. Feel free to grab the cute little mouse for your post.
I have been very diligent about stitching on my cable blanket.  I am on ball 7 and it now measures about 29 inches.  Just over half way, I think.  I do find it a bit harder to knit with the chunky yarn even though I had thought it would be easier to manipulate.  My next project will be with sock weight wool. What a contrast that will be.

I was asked about the durability of knitted blankets and whether I felt they were too heavy.  I prefaced my reply with a short story.

While I was still living at home, our neighbour was crocheting all the time.  She made all the blankets for her family.  We could view the lovely rainbow of colours on wash days when there would be many of these blankets hanging on the line.  Not that they were washed every week, but frequently there would be half a dozen or more on the line.   We were neighbours for several years and during that time there were many washing days.  When asked, the neighbour told my mom that her family liked them better than regular blankets.

did they get balls from the frequent washing? I have no idea, but that wouldn't stop them from being warm.  I have knit and crocheted at least a dozen blankets/afghans over the years and most of them still look good.  The dog's blanket is filled with hair, but he loved that he could stick his head under it and still breath (we could tell this by his actions). 

As or the blanket being heavy, I am planning to use 12  100 gram balls.  That is about 2.5 pounds. I consider this the weight of two thin blankets and much cuddlier.  Not heavy at all.

Basically it comes down to personal preference.  I haven't knit one with wool as there is the expense and the washing issue.  You could use super wash wool, but that is even more expensive.  I wouldn't use the cheapest of yarns as they might be more prone to balling. Use a yarn that you are familiar with.  If  you have used it in a sweater and are happy with the way it washed, then go ahead, pick and pattern and start making your own blanket. 

Next week I'll show you photos of some of the blankets I've knit and/or crocheted. Would you like to share the blanket you've stitched, send me an email with the jpeg attached and I'd be happy to include it.