Friday, 31 August 2018

Fruity Knitting, More Than Halfway, Hilarity, and Cuteness

I did some more stitching last night whilst watching several episodes of the Fruity Knitting Podcast on YouTube. The podcast had been recommended to me by two crafty friends at two different times, Diane and Barb. The current episode is No. 60 but I decided to start back at Episode No. 1 and watch in sequence.

From the very first episode I was very impressed with the quality and content. They film in their home in Offenbach, Germany. They feature their own projects they're working on in 'Under Construction', what they've finished in 'Bring and Brag', and show items that Andrea has knit in the past in 'From the Archives'.

Andrew and Andrea Doig are Australians that have lived in Germany with their daughter, Madeleine, and worked there for almost two decades. Andrew has recently taken up knitting as well and his projects are very impressive for a newbie. He even sponsored his own KAL (KnitALong) early on.

They feature knitters and designers from all over the world in two segments.

One of the most impressive things to me is that their video podcasts are almost 2 hours long and they post one every two weeks.

If you're a knitter or fibre lover, I highly recommend you give the Fruity Knitting video Podcast a try.

We bought a SmartTV a few years ago. It basically is a computer in your TV that allows you to stream programs, play games, and have access to the internet rather than having to connect your computer to a TV with an HDMI cable. I usually watch Fruity Knitting on the SmartTV in HD.

While I watched last night, I did more stitching on the Berlingot. I'm more than halfway finished.
The 4cm long needle gives you perspective on the size of the piece. The honeycomb is stitched with one thread over 4 threads but the flowers and leaves are over 1 thread. I could not do this scale of stitchery (36ct) without a magnifying light.
Yesterday was a comedy of errors. Barb came over to spend the day stitching (and gabbing, drinking tea, eating snacks, and having lunch) and was working on a stitched piece of tulips for greeting cards to send to members of her embroidery guild. We basically spread our stuff out as far as space permits.

After stitching for a while on one fabric she didn't like the look of it, so she decided to switch to a different fabric and start again. Then we went for lunch. During lunch she mentioned that she had accidentally stitched through two layers of fabric as well. After lunch, she resumed stitching and spent some time working out 1/4 and 3/4 stitches. She took a moment and looked at her work and determined she didn't like how it was turning out. In fact, she noted it didn't look anything like the picture on the pattern cover.

I took a look at it and also noted a distinct difference between her stitching the the photo. She told me the colour she had been using on the flower stem. I looked at the legend and didn't see that colour at all. We quickly determined that she had been looking at the wrong colour legend - the one on the facing page for a totally different flower and colour array. After laughing our guts out, she picked out all the wrong-coloured stitches and began stitching the stems again - this time in the correct colour. It looked MUCH better.

This is what she managed to accomplish after about 4 hours of stitching chez moi.
I'm sure the stitching will go a lot faster, now that she's on the right track.

Time came to pack up and get on with the rest of our days.

Last night I sat down to stitch on my Berlingot and I couldn't find my pattern book anywhere. Barb had brought over the second book in the series for me to peruse and I wondered if she had scooped my book up when she grabbed hers. Sure enough, she had it. Yesterday was not Barb's day.

BTW, she did give me permission to 'throw her under the bus' and relate this humorous story. Personally, I was gratified to know that there are other people out there who create and experience the same mishaps I frequently do.

It is good to have a good laugh once and a while, even if it's at the expense of a very good-natured friend.

I will leave you with a photo of a pair of Southdown babydoll lambs that someone posted on Facebook. I stole the photo and have it as my profile photo.

Cuteness alert!!!
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Bring on September!

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Berlingot Continued, Shaun the Sheep, and Scissors

I work away on the Berlingot most evenings. I modified the outline for the scissor pocket a bit (the 'v' on the bottom left).
The original didn't have the backstitching going between threads at regular intervals. With a minimum of tweaking, I fixed it. I just need to remember to do the same when actually stitching the pocket.

I haven't done a lot of knitting but have completed the knitting on a couple of these Shaun the Sheep bag exteriors that I'll make up into zippered bags one of these days. I used 100% wool for the blue on this one.
The green was some acrylic yarn I bought in Gatineau a couple of weeks ago. I may have 'killed' the acrylic whilst pressing but with a fabric lining and zipper, it should look good. I'd been looking for this colour for the background for quite a while. I still keep an eye out for worsted weight wool for future bags.
Inspired by my stitching guru, Jeanette, I found a flower bowl with holes around the rim at the antique market last weekend. It's pressed 'milk glass'. This item was one of the first things I spotted when I went in the door.
These little scissors are great for snipping Hardanger threads.
I couldn't resist this cute pair of cat scissors at Twist. They're not the most comfortable to use but they are sharp.
These mini stork scissors were hard to pass up as well. I aspire to own a regular-sized pair of stork scissors some day (not that I need any more pairs of scissors).
I picked up a new mini blind for the new bathroom and struggled to put it up. It did not come with instructions and there weren't any YouTube videos explaining how to shorten them properly. Regardless, I got the blind up and the damned thing doesn't hang straight. It's one of the new 'cordless' blinds with tensioned springs to roll the blind up and down.

Defeated - I'm taking it down and returning it to the big box store for a refund and will just put up the previous blind which worked well, hung level, and I can re-install using the same holes the brackets were in before. So much for being fancy-schmancy. Sheesh!

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Berlingot Day 2

I did quite a bit of stitching yesterday.
The honeycomb is pretty easy and fun. I am using it as the main reference points for the 1 x 1 petals.

Just Waiting for the Countertop

The work is done on the bathroom renovation except for the installation of the countertop.

The sliding glass doors were a challenge as we chose not to drill into the bathtub as the instructions required. Instead, the track and support was siliconed into place. Most of the weight is on the horizontal bar at the top where there are rollers on the doors. We chose to not install the toilet tissue dispenser on the wall as it was always awkward reaching back to it. Since the old step up to the tub was removed, there is lots of room for the one on the floor. I need to get another blind for the window. The old water supply to the toilet was moved closer to the wall. This involved moving it to the other side of one of the floor joists.
I also need to re-install the shower head.
There will be lots more photos once the countertop is in and the towel rods are installed. For now, we're thrilled to have the job done. Now I need to clean the house as dust got everywhere. Skip will also be getting a new filter for the HVAC system as we're sure lots of dust and crud got sucked into the system during the demolition and reconstruction.

Before and after photos...
The step up to the tub is gone as well as the green tub, tile, and cruddy sliding aluminum-framed doors. There's also an LED light in the ceiling of the tub/shower.
Note the old position of the toilet tissue dispenser and new position of water supply to the toilet. 

Friday, 24 August 2018

Starting Mon Berlingot de Brodeuse - My Embroidered Humbug

I was really drawn to the cover project on one of the embroidery books I bought last weekend at the Twist Festival - Les 12 merveilles brodée de Marie. I popped over to Kim's to pick up some fabric and the variegated DMC 115 floss.

In European patterns, the fabric is measured in threads per centimetre. In this case 16 threads per centimetre. Multiplying 16 x 2.5 (cm in an inch), I get 40 count fabric. I wasn't interested in stitching that small and Kim didn't have any 40 count fabric anyway so I went with 36 count linen.

I'm stitching with one thread. The flower petals are over 1 thread and the stems are over two threads.

It's pretty slow going but I really like how it's looking.
To make the piece proportionately smaller compensating for the larger gauge fabric, I have taken a copy and have cut and pasted the flowers, moving them towards the centre so the overall stitch count is smaller. instead of 138 x70 stitches, I've modified the pattern to 120 x 60 sts.

I usually stitch with the 'darning' method but have to use the 'stabbing' method when stitching 1 over 1.

Hallowe'en Humbug

Back in 2011, I stitched this piece. I put the pattern and the stitched piece in a freezer bag and tucked it away for 7 years.

The website is now defunct but the chart can be found here. I used 14ct Aida fabric. Nowadays, I'd use some type of evenweave fabric.

Today, I made a black cord, stuffed the humbug, and stitched it closed.

Another project finished.

I keep plugging away on my office/craft room in hopes I can get it somewhat organized so I can find things easier. As such, I continue to unearth UFOs, many of which can be finished in under an hour.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Pulling Thread

I got some more squares done on my pulled thread sampler. I will take better photos in daylight.

8 done, 8 to go.

My favourite square.
My second favourite square. I'm quite partial to the satin stitch squares.
This was fun and easy.
This looks way better in person than in this photo.
I'm on the lookout for some more interesting patterns to try.

Sneak Peeks

The grouting was finished today. I love the accent tile I picked. The pearly looking ones are actually pieces of Mother of Pearl.
I'm also loving the new WHITE bathtub.
The medicine chest matches the vanity. As the vanity is 3" higher than the old one, there's not a lot of room left for the light/fan switch. We may have to omit the side piece of the countertop. Al installed a timer for the practically noiseless fan.
The floor grout blends right in. These porcelain floor tiles match the ceramic ones in the tub/shower alcove.
The vanity was put into place. This involved pulling on the wall for that extra bit of room to slide it into its alcove. I am hoping the countertop arrives with the exact dimensions that I ordered.

The main light fixture was installed. They're LED lights using 4 watts of power instead of 3 x 60 watt incandescent bulbs.
I painted the baseboards and trim in the garage. Once installed, I'll only need to fill the nail holes.

Hopefully tomorrow the toilet and tub/shower fixtures will be reinstalled, the tub caulked, and the baseboards and window and door trim installed. The glass shower doors also need to be put in.

We also have a couple of ceiling fans that need to be installed in the upstairs hall and our bedroom. We are crossing our fingers that there is enough support already in place for them.

More will be revealed soon.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Reno Update

The pot light above the tub is in. It's a nifty LED one that is held in by clips and plugs into the power cord in the ceiling.

The bathtub alcove tile will be finished today. Grouting will be next. The guys primed the walls so I painted them last night. It's MUCH easier to do before the vanity and toilet go in. They were kind enough to prime with a mildew resistant primer and leave a drop cloth down for me.
All is ready for the vanity and medicine cabinet to go in.
I await notification that the countertop has arrived at Home Depot. Hopefully soon. Everything else will be finished by the end of this week.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Swiffer Cloth

The only knitting I worked on for the entire weekend away was the re-usable Swiffer cloth knit from worsted weight cotton.
The bobbles poke into the holes on the top of the Swiffer plate. It can be used damp or dry and just thrown in the wash. The only modification I made was to knit the first 3 and last 3 rows in garter stitch.

With the renovations currently going on, I'll definitely get use out of this sucker.

At Twist Festival

One of the first people we saw that we knew was Natalie Servant - Canadian knit designer and all around great gal. She graciously took a photo of the four of us.
Barb, Poppy, me, Jen1
This booth had lovely fabric. I want to make some of these fabric containers that can be either used folded down or with the sides straight up.
These cacti were knitted.  Another booth had needle-felted ones.
I admired this canvaswork at one booth. It's a technique I'd like to try sometime.
At lunch on Saturday, we thought we'd try the sugar pies. I would have been happy to share one with my 4 companions - they were huge!
This booth sold handwoven dishcloths and dish towels. I bought a cotton/linen tea towel.
One booth that I returned to again and again, each time taking one of my companions, was Mes Broderies Ma Passion . There were beautiful patterns, threads, buttons, scissors, and other embroidery items.

Over the three days, I purchased the following items from this booth:
Two beautiful embroidery books in French by Belgian designer, Marie Suarez. Using our Google Translate apps we can easily interpret the instructions.
There was a festival special, buy two patterns get the third free. So I bought these two
and got this free.
And bought these two
and got this free.
The Hands On Design charts were from the 6-part Block Party. I aspire to own the other 4 charts.

I couldn't resist these adorable FIMO (sculpted plastic clay) ram, ewe, and lambs. They were done in an intricate mille fiori style.
I went back for more fabric and coordinating Valdani threads.
Other purchases I made were a ball of bright green yarn to be used as a background for another Shaun the Sheep case.
Two braids of fibre from The Black Lamb.

These were the fabrics I bought at Magifils on Friday.
 Each night, we'd congregate in Jen1's room and have 'show and tell', look at each other's acquisitions, and plan our moves for the next day.

Friday and Saturday nights we dined at Le Café du Bistrot in the town. For a small town, this was a superb eatery. They had an excellent wine selection and many menu items including personal pizzas, pastas, and entreés of fish, beef, chicken, and other kinds of meats. The desserts looked delicious. We made our reservation for Saturday evening as we were leaving the restaurant on Friday.

For breakfasts, we found a great place, again in the north end of town on the Rue Principale, called La Boucheé Double. It's a burger joint with several delicious breakfast selections.

After a last visit to the Twist Festival on Sunday morning, we headed for home. The driving conditions were excellent and the traffic on the 401 as we approached the GTA surprising moved along.

I would definitely attend this festival again. The vendors were varied and the merchandise was mostly of very high quality. They should be very proud to be Canada's biggest fibre festival.

My travel companions were delightful and as happy to be among knitting and stitching people as I was. Thanks, Barb, Poppy, and Jen1 for a very enjoyable girls' getaway weekend.