FO: Dragonboat socks

After finishing the Paper Bag hat, I immediately cast on for another pair of gift socks…

And well… they just fell off the needles. (Less than a week to finish)

Nothing fancy here… just 64 stitches, 2-2 ribbing, 4 inch cuff and some basic sock math. The yarn is Knit Picks Felici in the Dragonboat colourway (though it makes me think of salsa…)

Now I’ve got to get moving on Dave’s Christmas socks – I’ve picked out some really fun yarn.

Home of the gnomes

I don’t know if it’s just me… but it seems like gnomes are EVERYWHERE this Christmas. Personally, I think of gnomes as a year-round thing, but apparently they are a holiday thing this year. And they keep following me home whenever I go out!

This tea towel gnome followed me home on grocery day the other day. I was walking by the end of an aisle and he just hopped right into the cart!

Ditto for this little gnome couple (salt & pepper shakers). They hitched a ride home from the hardware store when we went to get more paint for the basement floor.

And this cheeky fellow…. I was buying Christmas presents for the girls at my favourite candle site, and he just pushed his way into my online cart without a so much as a by you leave!

I will admit, he looks nice beside the mini hurricane lamp I got at the Salvation Army for $2 a couple weeks ago!

But if this keeps up, we are going to have a full-on gnome infestation around here!

All rolled up

It took me a little longer than I planned, but I am happy to announce…

The last gift quilt is now a completed top! This is, of course, the outhouse quilt I’m making for my brother. When last you saw it, I had completed the friendship star border and was trying to determine if I should do another full border or just top and bottom.

In the end, the remaining fabric I had made the decision for me – I just didn’t have enough for a full border. So… six starts and some checkerboards finished it off and I have to say, I’m quite pleased with how all the elements came together.

It finished up at about 51″ x 67″, so a decent lap size. I’m off to Mom’s this weekend for another quilting marathon, so look for some FOs next week!

FO: Wingspan & Paper Bag

Wingspan did not take long to finished, and as I hoped, I was able to whip up a hat to go with it.

First the shawl:

The pattern is Wingspan, and as you can see, it’s a fabulous choice if you’re using a yarn with long color runs like this Ferris Wheel. The pattern calls for fingering, but Ferris Wheel is worsted, so mine is much larger than the pattern, though I did the same amount of wedges. It’s a big, squishy, colourful bit of warmth to wrap around your neck.

Since the scarf is all garter, I thought a garter stitch hat would be ideal to pair with it.

The pattern is Paper Bag, and it’s knit side-to-side so like Wingspan, it’s a great one for the long colour runs. Also like Wingspan, it uses a lot of short rows, so if you’re not fond of them, you’ll want to avoid this pattern. I don’t mind them at all, though I found all the garter to be a little bit mind-numbing and had to push myself to work on it.

In the end, I succeeded, and that’s another Christmas gift off my list – not much left now! Which is good, because I’m itching to start something for myself.

But first – I’ve got another pair of socks on the needles (with one sock already completed!) I hope to show you the finished pair soon!

Guest appearance

This weekend I had a visit from a very special friend. By the wonderful kismet of pure chance, Aneesha and I both had a free weekend. Dave was headed off to his Grandma’s for the weekend, and I had no house-related tasks, and the bachelorette party Aneesha was supposed to be attending was postponed.

So she came here and we had a pizza party!!!!

Other than a brief driveway visit in late fall 2020, we haven’t seen each other since the summer of 2019. We had so much fun (and talked our faces off) that I didn’t take many pictures. I did manage to get pictures of our wonderful pizza creations…

I taught her how to make pizza dough, and we stuff our faces on fresh from the oven pie. (I use this recipe)

After pizza, we indulged in one of my favourite desserts.

Cherry cheese pie (recipe here). I don’t make it very often, because Dave’s not a fan. If I make one, I usually end up eating the whole thing myself, and that’s not a good idea. I sent half of it home with her.

By Sunday morning, my tummy was full, my throat was sore, and my lips chapped from talking so much, but it was worth every minute!

Christmas is coming

I know this, not because of the calendar, or the weather, or the fact the stores have gone ga-ga for the season… nope… I know because almost all my Christmas cactuses are blooming!

I have four colours – pink, white, red and a unique yellowy-salmon, which is my favourite. I know some people have trouble getting them to bloom, but I have a little secret…

Mine live outside all summer (away from direct sunlight – the leaves will burn). I leave them out until Thanksgiving weekend (Canadian Thanksgiving – which is the second Monday in October). Within a week of bringing them in, they start getting flower buds, and by November, they are blooming! You see, the cool nights, but warm days tell them it’s time to flower (kind of like spring bulbs). Where you live, will change how long you need to leave them out for, but bring them in when nights start dropping below 15C/60F.

Dave texted our old neighbour Blake the other day to check in on him, and he made sure to say “Tell Valerie I did just what she told me, and my Christmas cactus is blooming!!”

It’s a foolproof way to get those blooms!

I have other indoor plants in bloom too. The bottom shelf of the plant stand is too low to get light from the window, so I got an inexpensive grow light strip for. OMG. WHY HAVE I NEVER HAD GROW LIGHTS BEFORE???

All the plants on that shelf are happy as can be. My shamrocks usually get very thin and sparse over winter because they dont get the light they need in the house.

Not only are they full and happy, they are blooming up a storm. I have two kinds, a purple leaf, and a green leaf. The purple ones have pale pink flowers, and the green ones have white.

Elsewhere on the shelf are my polka dot plants (I have red, white and pink all in one pot)

I’ve never had much luck with them, but I decided to give them another shot now that I have the sun porch. They did very well out there, as long as remember to keep them well-watered. When I brought them in, I made sure to put them under the grow light. Not only are they growing like crazy, they bloom!

The flowers only last a day, but I was so excited. I didn’t even know they flowered! It appears that the white polka dot plant has white flowers, and the red and pink ones have purple flowers.

I’ve also got this little red Kalanchoe

I haven’t had much luck with this type of Kalanchoe – the kind commonly seen in the grocery store – though I have an Elk Antler one that has just gone CRAZY!!! And last summer I got a tri-colour Kalanchoe (white, pink and green leaves) that is doing quite well. Neither of those bloom though (they can, they just haven’t for me). I’m hoping the grow light is the secret weapon to keeping this one going.

And last…

My passion flower is blooming! I thought I lost this plant last winter – most of her leaves fell off and she was looking quite sad. But when I got her back outside in the spring, she recovered. I didn’t get too many flowers this summer, so it’s nice to see some now. And there are more buds growing! I already miss my gardens, but these will keep me going until spring!

What have you got in bloom right now?

Labrador love

Work was unusually slow this week, so I was able to sneak some time and work on Dad’s Christmas quilt.

And like the Celtic Star quilt, this one is now ready for quilting!

I had a lot of fun designing and putting this one together.

The pieced blocks I used were pretty simple, and the fabrics made them so much fun.

And of course, the blocks I cut from the panel are totally adorable.

I’ve got some dog themed flannel for the back, but I forgot to take a pic. It’s all packed away and ready for a trip to Mom’s. With any luck, I can sneak away next weekend.

Pooper star

I had hoped to finish up the top on this one this weekend as well, but it was not to be. Saturday we ended up out all day, so I only had Sunday for sewing, and that was dedicated to the celtic top.

But earlier in the week, I was able to finish the missing eight friendship stars, and get the one with another plain black border around them. It’s a good size now… 51″ square, but I’d still like to make it a little bit bigger.

I just have to decide if I want a full border, or just add to top and bottom.

Maybe I’ll let Burton decide