Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It's The Eve Of The New Year!!

Well 2014, I have a big hug and thanks for you for being so terrific and with that, I'd like to put you to bed and greet 2015.

This year saw it's share of ups and downs as they do.  I won't even bother you with the downs...this is just not that kind of blog:)  I will however briefly share the ups....

As I've shared before, Mr. and I own an old country store and spend quite a bit of time working in it.  This gives me the most wonderful opportunity to both take care of the store AND stitch away at the ideas that keep popping up in my head.  2014 saw a boom in both creative thought and physical stitches which of course, made me very happy.  I think the ability to turn my thoughts into something tactile helps me keep my sanity in this very insane world.  There were more projects created on the knitting machine than I had ever hoped to produce and wow, the demand for my little blanket mitts went crazy!!!

Oh look, there goes a pair now...

The year also saw a certain Granddaughter, Miss H. move close to us from far away and Mr. and I have been enjoying the crap out of being with her.  As luck would have it, she enjoys the crap out of being with us too, and I have to say...she's a great pal to have around.  I mean, who else would I run around the yard with...or colour with for that matter!

2014 brought visits from family, visits to family, camping around the maritimes with friends and on our own. We ate, we rested, we worked, we played and we learned to sail on our wee boat.

Now, on the Eve of 2015, my creative juices are flowing again I'm sure there will be new projects to tell you about and show you very soon.  This cowl was tickling the grey matter so I gave it a go this morning, a few tweaks and it should be perfect.

I hope your 2014 was as lovely as ours, and from our Homestead to yours, Mr. and I wish you and yours a healthy and prosperous 2015.  Happy New Year to all of you. (Told you it was brief:) )

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A Home Made Christmas

Wow, good morning....and what a morning!  I'm back to work today for a quick 5.5 hour shift after having a wonderful 2 days off with Mr. and the cats.  It was great to lounge around in our pj's all day, go for long walks in the unseasonably warm weather and eat way too much.  I was so proud to make a localvore feast for the holidays, and as I was preparing everything, telling Mr. how the chicken was raised 2 kms from the house and that the carrots were from about 8 kms away...he reminded me that asparagus does not grow here this time of year so I kind of cheated a little on the the whole 100 mile ethos.  After a quick face to palm moment, I forgave myself and we sure did enjoy that asparagus.  The food was at least all home made and tasted very good.  In keeping with our love of all things home made, we gave to each other from our hands and hearts.  I made Mr. a sweater on one of my knitting machines, made stockings for the kids,

knit a blanket for Dave and a kitty sized sleeping bag for Penny,

and Mr. made me this beautiful wooden box.

When I opened the box, I found goodies inside!

But it's real purpose was functionality, built to replace this original Legare Sock Knitting Machine box.

I'm of course keeping this beautiful antique, but it's just too flimsy to carry around a heavy, cast iron CSM.  So from now on, I'm going to keep sock yarn in it.  I have received countless gifts in my life for 46 birthdays and Christmases (many hand made), but out of all of them, my new wooden box is most precious....made, bespoke for me, from and by the love of my life.

The annual box of books has been ordered from the gift card I receive from my parents...I'll show you as soon as the box arrives.  Can you guess what the books might be about?  I'll give you a hint...they have to do with knitting:)

What were your holidays like?  Feel free to drop by and let us know....

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Season's Greetings

Today is Christmas Eve and Mr and I are closing early to go home and enjoy a couple of days off together. There's a meat pie ready for the oven (thank you Mrs. S.), a bottle of wine, some presents under the fir tree, and all the fixings waiting for a localvore feast tomorrow.  From us here at the homestead, we wish you and yours,  all the best that the season has to offer.  Warmth, nourishment and love.......

Chantelle and the Mr.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Le Poncho

Good morning!  What a beautiful morning it is today on the East Coast....not a breath of wind, temperature is mild and there seems to be a waxing Yuletide magic in the air.  Now that all of my Holiday orders are finished, I've had the chance to make things that have been hanging out in the back of my brain for a while.  I recently showed you the Poncho I made for a lovely customer of mine.  It is a simple rectangle and had been on my mind for a while.  When Mrs. D. asked me to make it for her, I couldn't wait to get out the sketch book and calculator and start figuring it out.  The first one I made was good and I had sorted out the pattern, but the finishing was not as refined as I wanted it.  Armed with the knowledge of what I could improve on, I sat down the other day and started to put this one together....

...I loved the idea of taking three coordinating colours and making 1 large stripe each.

 (MacAusland's 2-ply in Rust, Olive and Ginger)

The way the ends of the rectangle drape over your arms, it gives the stripes an arched effect.

And of course, after washing and blocking the fabric turned from hard and curled to soft and drapey.

This one is for sale in my shop (and may be already spoken for), but I think I need to make one for myself in these colours.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Is About Cookies

Last year, just after Christmas, Mr and I bought ourselves an electric fireplace to insert into an old mantle that is original to our Edwardian house.  When our house was built, it was fitted with two lovely mantles, one in the living room and one in the dining room....but....neither of them had a fireplace behind them, they were just there for show.  When we moved in 11 years ago, we were delighted to find that when the previous owner had renovated (removed the mantles), she had placed them in the attic for storage.  We knew we wanted to bring them back out and use them, and since we had just installed several solar panels, it made sense to install an electric fireplace to use some of the power we were generating.  I do love a real wood fire, but using our own electricity made more sense.  So, Mr. built a false chimney breast, installed the fireplace, used left over marble tile from the kitchen to make the surround and then attached the mantle.  I am so happy with it.   (the photo is lop-sided, not the mantle :) )

And now it's decorated for Christmas.  Yesterday was a busy day decorating for the big day....

...our 8 year old granddaughter came over for the afternoon and we watched a movie, decorated the house and flexed some creative muscles decorating a giant cookie.  She's a very talented cookie decorator and there was much laughter and icing...a few candies made there way into our bellies too.

Miss H., your cookie rocks!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Blogs, Accomplishments and Tech

This blog has been neglected recently.  Not for lack of interesting projects, or cool photos...rather for lack of a cell phone that I understood the operation of.  I broke my phone over a month ago and have been using Mr.'s old one as a temporary replacement.  My phone did everything for me, including taking all of my photos.  Now, Mr's old phone takes perfectly fine photos and I can use it for texting and calling, but I'm darned if I can get it to do things as simply as my last phone.  I knew it worked fine, it's just that I didn't know how to get what I wanted out of it.  So during this last, long while that I was unable to retrieve my pics and add them here, I decided not to feed the blog because a post without photos is kind of uninspiring.

So...I am now armed with the knowledge of retrieving photos and can play a little catch up.  First of all, it was high time that I updated the photo on my header to show the season.  Pretty, yellow daisies just weren't accurate any more.  Now it's time for a wee bit of news.

I spent the last two months stitching away on orders for Christmas.  There were cushions and mittens and covered hot water bottles....there were scarves and hats and shawls....but there was also something new to my repertoire.  I have wanted to put together a pattern for a machine knit poncho, so when a customer asked if I made them I told her "not yet, but leave it with me and I'll see what I can do.  If you like the end result, it's yours, if not....I can try something different".

She told me she wanted something full and warm but I didn't think to ask if she wanted something triangular, rectangular, retro, I just sat, sketched, swatched, swatched some more, knitted a few pieces, unravelled those and started again.  In the end, I came up with a simple large rectangle made from two front pieces and two back pieces with a shaped neck and islets around the perimeter.  When I took the four pieces off of the machine and started sewing them together, the project as a whole of course didn't look like much.  Knitwear always looks so much better after a proper wash and block.

After the pieces were sewn together and hand knit the little turned collar and gave it a really good soak and a blocking.  The fabric softened and draped beautifully, hanging just to the wrist and halfway down one's bottom.  I was happy with it and my customer was over the moon.  I will be making several more in the weeks to come.  Two of which will be a solid colour (one in demin and one in brown) as the white one is here and another in three bold stripes of rust, gold and olive.

The islet trim is both pretty and utilitarian as it allows me to wire block very evenly. It's so good to be back and am looking forward to getting back to the knitting machine and to blogging (with photos).  Drop by and let me know what's on your needles these days.