Monday, 26 September 2016

Flight to Iceland

(This was my first attempt at posting while on our holiday. The photo wouldn't upload so I had to wait 'til I'm home to post about our tip. This should have been before the Reykjavík post).

Skip and I flew to Iceland overnight two days ago. We arrived at 6am and got to our hotel in downtown Reykjavik by 8am. Thank goodness our room was ready for us. We crashed for a couple of hours then headed out to explore. We visited Hallgrimskirkja, the tallest structure in Iceland - a beautiful Lutheran church. In front is a big monument to Leif Eriksson. We had another nap then met our tour group for a visit to the Blue Lagoon - a huge, volcanic, thermal spa that is a big tourist attraction.

On the plane on the way over, I cast on a Business Casual sock with Malabrigo sock yarn in the Persia colourway. The pattern was really easy to internalize. I've been working on it during the various lulls in the activity.


I tried to do a blog post while on our holiday in Iceland last week but my iPad wouldn't cooperate. So now I'm home and am overwhelmed by all the photos I have to organize. I'm going to start by posting some pics of our time in Reykjavík both at the beginning and end of our tour.

This Lutheran Church is the tallest landmark in Reykjavík. It is the Hallsgrímskirkja and the bell tower can be seen from almost everywhere in the city (pop. 115,600).
The statue in the foreground is of Leifur Eiriksson (c.970 - 1020), the first European to discover America, 500 years before Columbus. The statue was a gift from the US in 1930.  in honour of the 1930 Alþingi Millennial Festival, commemorating the 1,000th anniversary of the establishment of Iceland's parliament at Þingvellir in 930 AD.

This government building is right downtown and serves as the Prime Minister's office. It was built in 1761 and served as the jail until 1813. It then was the royal residence and governor's residence until 1904. It's been the seat of government offices since then and was the office of the president of Iceland from 1973 - 1996.
Down on the waterfront is this historic building, Höfði House, which was the site of the 1986 summit meeting between Reagan and Gorbachev, which effectively ended the Cold War.
Also on the waterfront near the harbour is this steel Solfar Sun Voyager sculpture by Jon Gunnar Arnason. In the background, shrouded by clouds is Mount Esja.
Nearby is the new Harpa Concert Hall that had excellent public toilets.
Looking from the inside out.
On top of another hill is 'The Pearl', the main water tower for hot water for the city. It also houses the Saga Museum and a revolving restaurant. Our tour bus brought us up here.
There were beautiful views of the city from the observation desk.
It was pretty easy to get around on foot. There are lots of places to shop and eat. We particularly enjoyed having coffee at some of the many coffee shops - all of which had free Wifi.

The streets were very clean and relatively uncongested. This was the end of the peak tourist season.

The ornamental kale and some type of herb made for a striking display.
There were flowers in pots and small beds in various areas adding welcome colour.
Rugosa roses were found in many places - mostly as shrubbery.
Dianthus seemed to thrive here in the sunny, cool conditions.
Reykjavík is a very modern city, very oriented to tourism. Several streets are either pedestrian walkways or largely geared to pedestrians. It was mostly sunny when we were there and it only drizzled a couple of times.

In my next post, I'll highlight the handknits of Iceland.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Garden Stitchery and More Sewing

I have started the second garden sampler.
I'm running out of the dark green floss but will have to wait until tomorrow to pick some up as today's Labour Day.

I also tried one of the Fabric Pin Dishes. I wanted the black fabric to be on the exterior but the instructions had the batting stitched to the pink interior fabric. It didn't lie well that way.

It sat much better with the pink fabric that had the batting sewn to it on the outside.
That's the only real change I'd make in the pattern. Here, you can see the criss-cross stitching that attaches the batting to the fabric as well as the 'darts' halfway along each side. I use my heat-erasable pen all the time now to do the markings on the fabric. It's so handy!
It was a fun, quick, and easy project which could easily be adapted to any size. The instructions state that it could also be used as a little microwave potholder but emphasizes using cotton batting rather than polyester as polyester could melt with high heat.

The fabric was a couple of random fat quarters from my stash. I bought them a couple of years ago at WalMart. I was shocked to note how much they cost there now with our Canadian dollar so low.

I'm going to frog the 'Brickless' shawl that I've been knitting with my handspun and knit it with larger needles (4.5mm) for better drape.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

A Bit of Sewing

This afternoon I stumbled on a sewing pattern for the Bionic Gear Bag designed by Sally Thompson.

It's available from her website or as a download from Craftsy. Included in the pattern are the Notions Fabric Dish (here's the tutorial)

 and the Bionic Dumpling Fabric Dish. The Dumpling Dish is a zipped bag that when open, is round and shallow like a dish. It can be created with magnetic attachments to fit in the Gear Bag. The Fabric Pin Dish is also a free download on Craftsy. I decided to try out the Dumpling Dish pattern.

The pattern requires less than a fat quarter of the exterior and lining fabrics, light fusible stabilizer, and a 9" zipper. I had everything in my stash.

The instructions were very verbose but basically there are two darts on each side which create the flat bottom. The finished bag measures about 2 1/2" high x 6 1/2" wide.

It opens up wide.

I'm using it for plastic clips. It holds about 30 of them.

I enlarged the pattern on my printer and will now make a bigger bag for Skip's cables and chargers for our upcoming trip to Iceland.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Framed Sampler

One of my stitching friends collects antique frames and then sizes her stitchery to fit the frames. I thought that was a great idea. Having the frame ahead of time would certainly entice me to finish my projects and get them on display.

My recent completed piece, a garden sampler, measured 5" x 12 3/4" so I needed a frame about 7" x 14". The perfect commercial frame was one that would fit 3 - 4" x 6" photos. I'm very pleased that the one I found had a couple of colour choices. I went with the brown wood look rather than black.
It took me a while to figure out where I was going to sign it.
I just need to get a nail and hammer in the same room as the piece and get it on the wall.

I'm prepping the fabric to do another piece from the same book. I have everything I need so I just need to edgestitch the fabric and get everything in one place to take to the cottage.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Casting On

I've been in a bit of a knitting slump lately. I thought it was time I got my butt in gear and started a new project. I just wound this skein of Superwash Merino 2-ply fingering weight handspun
into a yarn cake
and am ready to cast on Martina Behm's 'Brickless'.

I'm getting ready to go to a friend's cottage so am assembling various knitting and stitching projects to take with me. I'm also taking my spinning wheel to finish plying my latest alpaca singles and maybe even will get some other spinning done.

I hope the weather is nice for us. I aired out my sleeping bag today. I haven't used it in at least 20 years. It smells nice again. Lots of things to remember to take...

Monday, 22 August 2016

Catching Up

I'm finished The Pastoral except for deciding where I'm going to sign and date it.
I backstitched around the little insect to provide a contrast with the fabric.
I decided not to backstitch around the other insects.

I'm getting to the end of the Garden Sampler. A couple of nights of stitching and I'll have it done.
I modified the background where the four incomplete birds are pecking at the as yet unstitched seeds. It was supposed to be dark green but I decided to leave the natural linen background.

This morning I finally finished the pair of socks I started in May after dyeing the sock block at a spinning retreat.
Skip and I visited my old stomping grounds last week, visiting family, and doing some sight-seeing. We just happened to be driving through Corunna, the home of our Olympic High Jumping Gold Medalist, Derek Drouin. The sign went up the day after his victory and we were there the day after that.
After his previous medal in the 2012 Olympics, they named the main street after him.

One of the cool things we did was cross the St. Clair River at Sombra. The ferry accommodates about 9 cars, costs $7, takes only a few minutes, and lands at Marine City MI. We had a lovely drive up the river to do some shopping and then returned to Canada via the Bluewater Bridge.

In about an hour, I'm heading out for a rehearsal for a ukulele group I'll be playing in on Friday. I . practiced yesterday and look forward to rehearsing with a larger group of 14. I have another rehearsal on Thursday before the gig on Friday at a Seniors' Corn Roast in Courtice.