Category Archives: pictures

So That’s What Was Hiding Under The Snow Drifts

Every year this strikes me as something of a miracle.


A scientifically explained miracle, true, but that robs it of none of the thrill.


This year has been such a hard winter, and my borders have been crushed under so much snow, that I wasn’t sure I was going to see Green for quite some time.


But here we are, March 20, and the plants know what they have to do.


If it had been up to me,
I’d have given up hope and thought “maybe I’ll have color next year…”


I’m so glad I’m not in charge.


Building A Leaf Bin

I hate waste, so autumn drives me kind of crazy. All my neighbours sweep their leaves to the front kerb, where a big borough lorry comes along and sucks them up. Then, in the spring, everyone has a truck load of mulch delivered.

I say: stop the insanity! Build a leaf bin!

leafbinsupplies It doesn’t take much. Just a roll of hardware cloth, a piece of scrap wood and a way to fasten them together (I used a cable staple gun that we had lying around.

I bought a 10′ roll of 3′ tall, 1/4″ mesh landscape fabric from the local big hardware store.

Step 1: Unroll the hardware cloth and lay it flat on the ground. Stomp on it a bit to get it to unroll if you need to. No need to get it totally flat, though, as you’ll want it to roll up again in a minute. Building A Leaf Bin
Building A Leaf Bin Step 2: fold one end of the mesh around the piece of wood (which should be just a bit taller than 3′, so you can bash the end of it into the ground to help support your leaf bin). Staple the mesh to the wood, all along the length.
Step 3: Fold the mesh over so the free end is touching the wood. Building A Leaf Bin
Building A Leaf Bin Step 4: Staple the end to the wood, as neatly as you can while wrangling 10′ of metal mesh.
Step 5: Stand it up. The mesh is strong enough to support itself, but the wood helps. You can then pound the wood into the ground to hold your new leaf bin in place. You can also use metal or wood stakes to define its shape a bit better and give it extra stability. Building A Leaf Bin
Building A Leaf Bin Building A Leaf Bin

Shred your leaves with a lawnmower or a leaf muncher; pile them up and let the microbes save you a pile of money. Know what’s in the mulch you’re putting on your soil (nothing but natural ingredients).

Unripened Hanami, Nearly Ripe

I’m so excited.

My Knit Picks blocking wires arrived today.

I promptly dunked my Hanami stole into a vat of water, drained it and began threading the wires in.

It wasn’t as easy as I had imagined, but still way WAY easier than trying to stretch out this stole with pins alone. Hooray for whoever thought of blocking wires the first time!

Anyhoo, it took me some time, two glasses of wine, and a crick in my back, but the stole is finally blocking. (Don’t look too closely if you’re a perfectionist).

Strangely enough, although I used the same yarn and needles as the designer, I seem to have ended up with a stole that is about a foot shorter than it’s supposed to be. Maybe I was too cautious in the blocking, but when the yarn is extremely taut and making an ominous creaking noise, I have to stop tugging. Call me cowardly, but there you have it. (Maybe if I didn’t have people who needed things like ‘dinner’ and ‘bedtime stories’ kicking around, I could have stretched it out when it was still sopping wet and not re-sprayed-wet and it’d have gone further. Or maybe not. I have not found the Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud to be very stretchy in the past).

So here we have it, blocking on some mats I originally bought for gymnastic toddlers:

Hanami Stole

Hanami Stole

"Vestes" Chugging Along

My Estes Vest (aka “Vestes) is coming along nicely.


Actually, I have more done, up to the first increase after the waist.

As with all cable projects (and lace), the first couple of times through the pattern repeats have me cursing and unpicking and wondering what the h*ll the designer was thinking. Then, once I see it unspooling beneath my needles, I get all comfortable and jolly and mentally pat the designer on the back.

It’s coming along much more smoothly now that I have added a couple of row counters and an index card and pencil to my arsenal. ‘I’m _just_ knitting’, eh? Ha!

I need to keep the momentum up though. The temptation is strong to congratulate myself on how well I’m doing and slow down.

I must keep reminding myself how painfully short (and fast approaching) is Spring in these here parts.

Starting Projects

A week or two ago I had one, (count it!) ONE work in progress. OK, there are probably a few things in the back of the cupboard that are unfinished but I don’t consider them works in progress since, for that, there would have to be some, well, progress.

So I was working away on my Durrow Durrow Sleeves and had abandoned my Jaywalkers and was waiting for Sock Wars and so didn’t want to start a new sock.

I was strong for a few days, and then I cast on a baby hat, currently homeless (the hat, not the baby. I’m not sure who I’m knitting it for. I just wanted to knit it, but I do know a bunch of pregnant ladies on a message board I frequent, so it won’t be homeless forever).
Homeless Baby Hat
(Sorry, the natural light was very dull this morning when I took this pic)

Then I was buying my sock wars yarn and some Lorna’s Laces Rainbow accidentally fell into my online basket. I knew #1 Son would love it, so I had to have it. It’s not quite how I thought it would be though (I’m terrible at looking at hanks of yarn and figuring out how they’re going to look. I should have realised that the fact that all the colours were in blocks on the hank, meant that they were short lengths and wouldn’t actually make rainbow stripes (on anything other than a teddy bear’s mitten. Maybe). However it is still very pretty and nice to knit with and so I am knitting a scarf for #1 Son for next winter. Forethought! Usually I start knitting for a season when it has actually started, thereby finishing things only when the season too is drawing to a close (if I’m lucky and the project is small).

Rainbow Scarf

THEN, after my Sock Wars debacle (which I really got over very quickly), I searched around for something to do with the yummy TOFUtsies yarn I had bought and settled on a pattern published by the company that makes it. The price was right (free) and the slight laciness was right, and I was off. I’m almost finished the leg of the first sock. I find socks go much faster when I’m working on a pattern rather than just doing plain knitting, because I always want to see how it’s going to look, and that means knitting a few more rows, then one more row plain and then, well, I might as well see how the next part of the pattern turns out…

Tidal Wave Socks

I also remembered that I had promised to make a lap blanket for my granny. I had started it, with yarn left over from my prayer shawl (I do hope one of Christine’s daughters or granddaughters, or maybe even her tiny great grand-daughter, is enjoying it now that she has gone to her reward). I remembered to order extra yarn, in other colours to complement the left-overs, and it arrived the other day. I ended up frogging what I had started (twice) and am now working on a feather-and-fan blanket that I hope works out to be a decent size.
Lap blanket for Granny

So there you have it. Lots on the go now. My favourite current project is my Tidal Wave Sock in TOFUTsies, but I’m soldiering on with, and still enjoying the Durrow, in spite of the fact that I keep making mistakes. It’s getting to a point (cabling AND shoulder decreases) where I really shouldn’t pick it up unless I can concentrate and finish a whole row across both sleeves at one time. Otherwise I end up getting lost and making mistakes).

Sweater RSI

OK, so all that 4×2 ribbing left me with a little RSI, so I’ve had to slow down the progress on the Manly Durrow a little.

However, I have made it to through the first repeat on the sleeves. (This picture taken a few days ago:)

Sweater Sleeve

There are some crazy cable instructions on there, but I finally figured out how to do it (I think). It’s the kind of thing where it is definitely better to follow the designers instructions than to wonder why, or if you can’t substitute your favourite increase or decrease.

Following her instructions creates a particular look and corners that I wouldn’t have believed possible.

I guess I haven’t done as much tricky knitting as I thought I had. I really like it. I think I need to investigate some Cat Bordhi…

Autumn Princess Cowl

Autumn Princess Cowl

I am really loving working on this. It is my first successful (to this point in a project) laceweight project. The pattern and the beading are just complex enough to keep me entertained but not so complex that I need to pay really close attention.

Every fourth row is a pattern row and every fourth row after that slips a bead on during one of the repeats. Apart from that, it’s knit, knit, knit, do-the-toddler’s-bidding, knit, knit, cook food, knit, pull-big-brother-off-toddler, etc, etc.


Butterflies and Stars from Brendah

These lovely flowers and star discs are enjoying themselves among my spring flowers. They arrived today from San Francisco, along with a postcard.

Again, I love the fact that they are all different colours. There is also a cute silver heart charm that says “Made with love”. Oh, and I got seven markers instead of the regulation five.

Thanks, Ms Flowers!

I think I may be hooked on exchanges now…

Stitch Markers from Celena

Stitch Markers from Celena
Originally uploaded by jwordsmith.

These Happy Hearts arrived today from Florida. Thank, Celena!

They are the perfect size (making me realise mine were a bit big and heavy unless my giftees knit lots of blankets or chunky sweaters) and I like the fact that they are all different colours, since I’m always getting lost in patterns.


Stitch Markers: "Red Wave"

Stitch Markers “Red Wave”
Originally uploaded by jwordsmith.

These stitch markers will be winging their way to somone from the Stitch Marker Exchange, later this month.

I liked them so much I made myself some earrings that differ only in that the big white bead is a reddish/brown bead in the earrings.

I put different coloured seed beads at the top of each, so that someone could, potentially, use them to check quickly where they were in a round (if they knew the yellow one came first and the blue one was the last one…)