Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Bring on the Snow!

Actually, that title probably sounds a little more enthusiastic than I am. I could live without winter, gladly. But I just got brand new winter tires installed on my truck. From our early snowfall in October, I already have a small shovel, an old pair of Sorels and an extra toque and mitts in the truck, so I'm about as ready for winter as I'm going to be. Except that I could use a few more bags of kitty litter or sand in the back. I just wish this great country of Canada had been founded somewhere warm. But then I suppose we might not have developed the great character we have. 😊
I didn't do any crafting or blogging last night. Instead I did shopping and handyman work. I shopped at Walmart and Canadian Tire for a few things. Back when my daughter made her aborted attempt to paint the front of my house, she removed my house numbers and the hand rail for my front steps. I haven't seen the house numbers or the screws for attaching the handrail since. Last time I asked her for them (which was not the first time), she replied, "Oh I thought I gave them back to you." In other words, she doesn't know where they are either. So I decided that I'd better buy some new ones. Haven't put them up yet. It's rather cold out there, and the sun sets so early that it's already getting dark by the time I get home. Kind of hard to feel motivated...
While I was at Walmart, I say the wall organizers for brooms and mops. I finally decided it was time to spend the money and the time and get something done about all of my brooms, mops, etc. that kept falling over and getting in the way. 
So that's what I spent last evening doing. Feels so good to have all of this stuff up out of the way. This is in my laundry room. Next spring, hopefully, I will get one put up in my garden shed as well, for all of my garden tools. 
One of the things I wrote in my gratitude book last night that I am thankful for is "power drills and the ability to use them." There was a time in my life when the thought of using power tools was rather scary to me. They can do a lot of damage in a short period of time. But as a single homeowner, I had to get over that and have since used a circular saw and a chain saw in addition to my two drills. I'm really thankful that I don't have to wait around for someone to do these things for me. 
I haven't really done much crafting this evening either. Trying to prep the batting and backing for the Christmas tree skirt, but feeling rather unmotivated. I think it's the lack of sunshine. Alberta is normally a sunny province, but I won't be surprised if we set some kind of record for sunless days this year.  But I was able to get this quilt hung, finally.
It got kind of bunched up and wrinkled while waiting to be hung on the wall. If it doesn't straighten out from hanging, I might have to take it down and iron it. I don't really want to do that, though. This fabric has that shiny, plastic-y coating that stinks when you iron it and I'm sure the fumes are not healthy for me to be inhaling. I should have put a third tab on this quilt for hanging. Without that clothespin, it would be sagging in the middle. When I've got nothing better to do, I might take it down and add another tab. I think I might use leftover fabric from this quilt to redo the cushion in this chair as well. 
As I was considering my projects, I realized I haven't shared my dishcloths. I've been wanting to do something as welcome gifts for new people that have moved into my neighbourhood. I decided to give each a crocheted or knitted dishcloth and a quilted hot pot holder. I had a big ball of yellow handicrafter cotton, so decided to make these sunshine dishcloths.
The pattern came from this book: 

I chose not to add the sunglasses or the smile. The pattern has the sun's rays get gradually smaller. I decided to make them all one size, and therefore have fewer of them. I like how they turned out. 
I originally bought the above pattern book because I liked the maple leaf dishcloth and was hoping to make one as a Christmas gift for each of my colleagues at work. 
However, there are a couple of the nurses that already give hand-made dishcloths for Christmas gifts. And I decided it's a little too labour-intensive for the number I would have to make. Especially when I've got so many other projects to get caught up on. 
I then decided to see if I could make a dishcloth on a knitting loom and bought this ebook from Leisure Arts:
I think the patterns look great. There's a good variety of different dishcloths to make, which I'm pleased with. I don't like making the same boring old dishcloth with just straight knitting over and over. However, I am not happy with the loom-knitting instructions and, while there are videos you can access online on Leisure Arts, they didn't really answer the questions I was asking. I hoped to be able to use a long loom, but usually you cross the yarn back and forth on a long loom. That wouldn't have worked for these patterns. You would have to work the stitches on each peg around the loom, not across it. I found the pegs too close together for this type of knitting and changed to a round loom, where it worked better. But I felt that the instructions to work a couple of rows with scrap yarn were rather ridiculuous. Once you were finished to the other end, you would then remove the scrap yarn (which was a lot of work) and put the stitches back on the pegs and finish it off. I'm not sure why the author found this necessary and why she didn't just work the pattern with the project yarn and then finish the edge with crochet... I'm no expert at loom-knitting, but this seemed like just a waste of valuable time. Loom knitting with a worsted weight (4) yarn also makes quite a loose-weave project and the instructions say to just wash it and it will tighten up. Really, I don't want to have to prewash every dishcloth I make. Fortunately, however, this book includes instructions for how to do each dishcloth with regular knitting or the knook. Since I do like the variety of patterns in this book, I will likely try some with knitting needles. I have yet to try a knook. That might be in my future. Here's the one dishcloth I made so far, already prewashed. 
Sorry, it's hard to see the pattern in this picture, but I'm not very good at keeping my place in a knitting pattern anyway. So, it's far from perfect. 😏 Like the orange maple leaf above, this was made from Cotton Rich yarn. It's not a great quality yarn - I bought it in the dollar store. It's rather inconsistent. The orange wasn't too bad, but the blue was rather horrible. There were several loose ends that I had to work into the project. And the dye was uneven. It's also not as heavy as Bernat Handicrafter and you can certainly tell the difference in quality when you compare the sunshine dishcloths, made of Handicrafter, with the other two made of Cotton Rich. 
Now I still need to make the hot pot holders. And it's well past my bedtime, so that's all for tonight.