Blueberry season

I’ve been steadily picking away at my second sock and have completed the heel flap and pick up of the gusset stitches. I just need to finish the decreases and then clear sailing down to the toe. This stage makes me feel like I’ve knit a small kayak. The border on the tapestry continues to progress, John thinks it already looks done and wonders why I’m bothering but we all know that it must be finished correctly, right? I’m dithering about how to take of the extra fabric – either to simply trim it off (the Penelope fabric is very stiff and I think is probably what I’ll do) or sew it underneath but I think this might create too much of an uneven surface which I don’t want. I’m still reading The Dinner (phew!! what a story!) I’ll be joining my post up with Ginny today for the yarn along – always lots to see over there.

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The annual picking of the blueberries has commenced in earnest. We were concerned when we arrived in late June to already find berries that had ripened way too early. They were tiny and bitter and we figured with the lack of rain and hot temps, the rest wouldn’t develop into much. I am very glad to report that I was wrong and the juniper bushes around here are hiding massive pockets of berries that are sweet and juicy. I also discovered another raspberry patch yesterday out back near our propane tanks. The canes have multiplied like crazy in the last 5 years and are producing the most I’ve ever seen here. The bear was seen yesterday morning by my father in law. He awoke early to hear a snuffling sound behind his bedroom window and looked out to see a teenage bear hugging a tree stump trying to get the bugs out for his breakfast. A clap of the hands and a loud voice sent him on his way, but I will say that I am very grateful to have the dogs here with me especially when I’m on my own.

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Posted in Knitting, Life, Needlepoint, yarn along | 3 Comments

Windy Monday

It’s been a very windy day. The waves are huge and I’ve seen several boats struggling a bit going through the channel that is between two small islands just off our NW side. It makes me very glad that I do not have to be out on the boat today. Speaking of the boat – I must get on and do the online boating exam. soon….. maybe tomorrow.

The blueberries have come on and the race is on to pick enough to enjoy before the bear or seagulls beat us to them. This was a recipe found on Food.com – Blueberry Banana muffins, I added a bit of extra sugar to the top and they were really very nice for breakfast. The wild raspberry canes that surround the back of the cottage are having their best year yet and I’ve been able to pick a (small) serving of tiny berries each morning for the last three days with lots more still to come. There were wild blackberries in the front, but I think John may have had the lumber dumped on top of them for the walls and I’m not sure they’ll survive. Eddie the beagle always found and ate them before I could pick them in the past anyways and I think the walls appearing around me are worth sacrificing the possibility of a few blackberries 😉

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Thank you for the suggestions and help for the swimming lessons – they are not going particularly well, but we soldier on – patience and more patience being the key I think. Abject terror in your child is heart wrenching, I will say.

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Sigh. Isn’t she beautiful? Amtrak by Sampler Cove – tiny, precise, perfect stitches in just three colours. It’s perfect and I am really enjoying every stitch – even the parts that I had to rip out and re-stitch….

My tapestry took a back seat to this as it needs miles and miles of brown wool added to the border, and if that isn’t a bit soul sucking when there are so many pretty things to work on? What’s funny is that we’re already using the tapestry as is, unfinished – and the needle sits parked in place, awaiting a few more rounds when I get to it. I won’t leave you in suspense, it’s a table runner, which I’m sure you guessed. We use an outdoor 8ft cedar table as our main dining table here and the 6ft bell pull doesn’t look quite so ridiculous when used as a table runner!!

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A Finish and a long forgotten UFO unearthed – long post, you’ll need a cup of tea or something

It’s another beautiful Monday in the Bay. A bit of cloud coverage today is helping to keep the worst of the heat in check and later N and I will go for a swim. His swimming “lessons” with me are not going well. He has always been terrified of the water and putting his face in (even in the bathtub), is torture. Up until now, we’ve let him be. (really, really terrified – as in diarrhea before his lessons. I even paid for him to have private lessons with a girl who is the kindest most patient soul I’ve ever known and he wouldn’t leave the stairs to go into the pool – sweet mercy, the screaming. Now, we live on an island in the summer, so life jackets and super vigilant behaviour have been how we’ve handled things so far and fortunately he was not an adventurous toddler, but the time has come. Next year at school, every kid in grade 3 (this may be province wide, or maybe just our school board, not sure) has to take a series of lessons called “swim to survive” and I figured he would rather get over the screaming and crying here with me in the lake than in a pool surrounded by his friends. He will now just barely go into water where he can’t quite touch (with the life jacket on) and can dog paddle quite well for a very short period of time. He will NOT put his face in. The screaming, the crying, the begging, the shrieks of “I HATE THAT YOU”RE MAKING ME DO THIS!!!” are truly heart breaking and I’m certain that neighbours all over Georgian Bay (trust me – sound carries over water) think I am just the most horrible mother in existence. But, we will carry on – maybe today is the day!

So, I’ve been stitching! I finished up this wee counted canvas that has been patiently waiting its turn in the stash. It’s a Needle Delights Original design and was kitted up by Kathy and Neale from Thread and Eye for an annual retreat a few years ago. I was teaching at the retreat that year (Temari) and felt totally left out of the other kids were doing so had to buy the kit to make my own. It’s so sweet, but I can’t quite bring myself to use it as a coaster, so I found a little corner on a wall (a wall!! I have some actual real walls up here now – a stitcher’s dream!) and hung it proudly this morning in the kitchen.

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Now, for my buried treasure. Remember my William Morris tapestry? I actually stitched this piece first from the same Beth Russell book. It was to be a lovely bell pull. I had been called for jury duty (murder trial – certainly a life experience I can check off the bucket list never to repeat, I was required in court every business day for weeks and sequestered for a night before giving the verdict) Anyhoo. I armed myself with a canvas, a lap frame, the pattern and a ton of wool. Kathy had measured everything based on the Penelope canvas I was using and I thought little of it, other than rolling the extra around the bars and stitched away. A lot of time was spent in the jury room – a lot. It was quite boring a large part of the time, but as you know – a crafter is never bored. I stitched, and rolled the completed up fabric as I went. Eventually I finished it and took it off the frame. To my shock, it was just over 6 feet long. It looked ridiculous. Seriously ridiculous, but so much work had gone into it – I couldn’t just get rid of it? So I tucked it into a drawer until a few years ago when I brought it up here and thought that maybe just maybe I could do something with it that would make sense. It’s taken three years of thinking but I think I’ve got it now and finishing off that canvas last night gave me an idea. I have a bit more work to do on it now because the border will need to be a bit wider, but stay tuned…… Maybe in a week, I’ll show you what I’m going to turn it into.

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If you’re still with me after the novel I’ve written, I’ll leave you with a funny Daria picture. She sleeps like this all the time, letting us walk around and over her – never more soundly than after a swim and a rootle around in the mink hidey holes. I’m waiting for the day she gets a nasty surprise on her snout.

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Posted in Finally finished, Life, Needlepoint | 8 Comments

Wednesday Yarn Along

It’s been awhile since I’ve participated in Ginny’s Wednesday yarn along. Lately, I’ve been concentrating on three main projects – my first pair of socks, the Less is More shawl and the Ardent shawl (not pictured – will take photo once I have some more progress). Nicholas and I finished the second Harry Potter book last night and he has asked no less than three times for me to start reading the third book this morning. Fortunately, I remembered to tuck it into my bag last week! Other than good old Harry, I’m reading a few other things. I tend to read the same as I craft – lots going on at the same time. I’m listening to Craftlit’s Herland (almost done), Justin Cronyn’s “The City of Mirrors” (third book in a post apocalyptic /vampire series – not for the timid but WOW – good story and SCARY!) I’m still reading Donna Tartt’s The Secret History (amazing) and also Herman Koch’s The Dinner. (also very good) I tend to read in stolen moments so have a book stashed where those moments may occur – do you do this? War and Peace has taken the back burner until I’m back in the city – it can feel like homework if I’m not careful and I want to enjoy it.

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On the stitching side of things, I’ve almost completed a Hands on Design chalkboard series project. It’s small and was perfect to tuck into my larger bag. I’ll finish it up this afternoon. I brought a large design, but don’t you know I forgot my knobs to hold it in the frame? So that is on hold until my lovely daughter brings them for me from home.

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Today’s task is another load of laundry followed up with a bit of vacuuming. Can you believe I have a Macgyver’ed central vac up here in the middle of nowhere? My in-laws bought me the hose from Lee Valley a number of years ago for Christmas (I’m a frightfully practical girl, and this was a GOOD gift) and then my father in law installed them while John was working on the main cottage construction, and hooked the whole shebang up to a ….. wait for it……  a shop vac! A $25 shop vac. Genius. The question is whether or not my best friend – my Honda generator is up to the task. The sun is shining, so the solar batteries are fully charged for the water pump. The dogs are shedding fur everywhere. I don’t mind, but my guests usually don’t like finding it in their food. Fussy, no? It’s a small place and won’t take long. Then knitting and coffee?

Phew, I’m chatty today, better go. What are you up to?

Posted in Cross Stitch, Life, yarn along | 5 Comments

Summer off the grid

Finally! Last week, we took Nicholas out of school a bit early and arrived on the Wednesday. Our first guests came on Thursday and a truly lovely weekend with happy, noisy children and reconnecting with great friends felt like a perfect way to start our summer. Everyone left yesterday, John and Sarah boated out at 4am so that he could be back to the office for 9:30 and now Nicholas and I are enjoying the quiet, though he really misses his friends who were here.

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Crafting began in earnest yesterday, a whole lot of productivity needs to be packed into the next two months…. My second sock grew, a shawl or two saw a few rows added and a small cross stitch pattern is nearly complete. I will most likely post a photo on Instagram later today. I have to be very careful with my data usage this summer, so posts will probably not be photo heavy and I have given up Facebook in favour of Instagram as they both require a fair bit of data to load. We use our phones to create a hotspot for WiFi and prudence is necessary. Speaking of IG – I posted a short video clip of this mornings sunrise that includes a bird song that is my constant companion. I am looking for someone to help me identify the bird please – they are a pair, the first 3 note call is then answered by the same call (it is slightly cut off in video) but the response is a pitch lower. I listen to them call to each other back and forth all day. 98% of the time I find it charming, the other 2% wishes they’d try something different…

It’s laundry day here today which involves solar panels, the generator and a squeaky clean laundry line. It’s a perfect sunny, hot day so I should be done in record off the grid time.

More tomorrow!

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Almost there

Look! I finished my first sock! It was so satisfying, I immediately cast the second sock onto the needles and am sure already that they will be fraternal twins. OK by me – I made a sock!!  Margo, your comments on my last two posts made my day – I can’t wait until I’m as proficient at socks as you.

IMG_1711It’s so close to the end of June and our time up North that I can hardly wait. I’m packing, working, teaching, grocery shopping, and prepping all of the things that need to happen before we can leave. John will be heading up again this weekend to do a big clean up of the building materials and scaffolding that he’s been using for his work on the ceiling and walls. He’s doing a beautiful job.

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I chose the frame last week for my William Morris tapestry. We will be eating beans on toast for the next month but hopefully my family will agree that their sacrifice was necessary….

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Stitching has also continued on my Frosty Forest SAL by Cottage Country Needleworks and I managed to finish up the third of nine designs, the Snowman’s cottage.

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French knots….. sigh. Not my favourite, but they do make cute little eyes and wonky buttons.

Posted in Cross Stitch, Finally finished, Knitting, Needlepoint | 12 Comments

Update

Hello!

The busiest time of every year for me is coming to a sweet close. My students are finishing up their Conservatory exams and my children are wrapping up at school and also with their extra curricular activities.

I’ve been preparing for my move to the cottage over the last week – all of the linens for the beds went up yesterday with John who has been working like a madman on long weekends to drywall and paint the ceiling, board the walls and trim out the windows. Living in it over the last 5 years, I’m not sure I’ll know what to do when I arrive at the end of the month to a mostly finished interior! He’s a handy, handsome guy, that husband of mine. To say that I’m looking forward to my time off the grid is an understatement. I need to learn how to drive the boat this summer. It’s a long story, but yes – I live on an island for two months and I don’t know how to drive a boat. After 20+ years, the time has come.

Stitching and knitting continue – it will be nice when I have more time to update my progress on here more regularly. It’s handy for me to have a record of what is going on and helps to keep me motivated to finish up those languishing projects! My first sock is almost complete – a last class tonight to learn how to finish up the toe. I may or may not still have two inches to knit before that can happen. Ahem.

I’ve brought a project out from the depths of the stash to try and make a dent in the stitching – a Glendon Place dessert series design, “Tiramisu”. I love her designs  – I can’t wait to add the beads! It’s covered in beads once the stitching is complete.

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Frosty Forest mini finish

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I finished the second of 9 small designs for the CCN Frosty Forest SAL that I’m participating in. I took this photo a few days ago, and am now half finished the third design. They are adorable. I’d love to have the project finished and turned into a special holiday pillow for the couch while my kids are still at home and can remember it being part of the celebration along with the nutcrackers that I bring out. I’m not an over the top Christmas decorator, even though my most favourite stitches are usually Christmas related – a few giant poinsettias and a sparkly (white light) tree with a mish mash of ornaments make me very happy indeed. So I think this addition will please the kids (OK and me as well)

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Oh, I do love this face. We walked Nicholas to school this morning and it makes her so happy to greet all of the children that we meet. Sweet, sweet girl.

Posted in Cross Stitch, Life | 6 Comments

yarn along day

I’ve started a new book – Donna Tartt’s The Secret History and am really liking it so far – vivid characters and good story writing that makes me wonder what will happen next.

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Last Friday, I took the plunge and am finally learning how to knit socks. This has been on my to do list for a while, and a few weeks ago I happened to meet a lovely knitting teacher (kindred spirit) who agreed to come over and teach myself and a few friends how to do it. I’m hooked. In return, I may have supplied her with some new cross stitch designers to tempt her to grow her stitching stash…. .

On the stitching front, I’m almost finished the second design in the Frosty Forest series by CCN, and if you’ll excuse the poor photo, you can see it has some sweet deer to help keep the racoon in the first design company.

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I hope to finish it up tonight.

Joining with Ginny’s yarn along this week.

Posted in Cross Stitch, Knitting, yarn along | 5 Comments

It only took 11 years.

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70,620 stitches and 11 years later I have finally finished one of my most anticipated projects. I loved the process and I love the finished stitch. I’m sure that John is somewhere having a small panic attack if he reads these next words…… I can’t wait to choose the perfect enormous frame for it. No glass, no mat board – just stretched properly and a beautiful wood frame.

Sigh.

OK – back to paperwork, then I’m tossing the WIP pile again to find the next thing to finish up.

Posted in Finally finished, Needlepoint, The Maker's Year | 4 Comments