Thursday, July 28, 2016

It has been awhile..... My Farmhouse Shawl and Garden Update

Gosh, you sure know you haven't blogged for awhile when you can't get your pictures to upload properly, you guess at your password and don't have the remotest idea on how to restart again. goes!

Well I am still knitting, a lot of wraps  and some sweaters. I am still doing a lot of gardening- but this time of year my enthusiasm is beginning to wane and we always seem to have a lot of projects to do in this older house. No great exotic trips or earth shattering news to report, but I'm OK with that. Sometimes normal and uneventful times are quite welcome here. I guess I should start with a knitting project as that's the focus of the title of my blog, maybe I should amend that to include veggies, bales and /or flowers! Or let me tell you what I really!!

Now the particular knitting pictures I wanted from my phone would not upload onto the PC. I seriously don't get that, why some and not others? Irritates the crap out of me!! So tonight I had the brainwave to do a screenshot of my photo and then try to upload it. It did work but I had to enlarge it more that I would have liked to get rid of the photo header.

This is not the greatest picture but I'm sure you get the idea. It is the Farmhouse shawl - a basic triangular shawl with garter stitch panels. It's a really nice casual wrap you can wear with everything. I knit it with Tosh Vintage in Optic. I love this colourway! The Farmhouse shawl has this terrific fringe that swishes around when you put it on. At first I thought meh, not so much with the fringe idea, but I'm happy I put it on. It makes it kinda boho chic ;) I'm guessing, but its a fun easy knit and would appeal to everyone. Its a pretty fast knit too as the yarn required is a worsted/aran weight. I have several more projects I have finished but wouldn't want to use up all my ideas in one post!!

The rocker in the picture is a very old Shaker rocker. It was used on a dock for many many years on Saint Simons Island in GA. It belonged to my SIL's partner's family. It resided with them in Washington State as a collection of dried out old wood in a box. We rescued it several years ago and my husband restored it to its present state. He did a terrific job and its my favourite chair to knit in. It is a shaker rocker so its not designed for comfort but I do sit up really straight in it and keep  good posture. It fits me perfectly so I wonder if it was a woman's chair. Maybe some woman knit or did needlework in it as well.  It sits on our deck but when we redo our living room I am bringing it in. Its such a lovely old oak rocker that has had a long history of use by many generations of people. I wonder where it originally came from and where it is been, if only antiques could talk, hey? And now it is in SW BC. isn't that crazy? We also rescued a child sized rocker too. I will get some pictures of it. I love old furniture. We have a lot of old pieces from both our families, Some we have donated to Restore but for some pieces I keep thinking we can do something with this! Famous last words!! We are currently redoing a dresser and end tables that belonged to my husbands grandfather. Ill have to get some pics of that organized too.

In other home improvement news, we decided to paint our front door-well we have been talking about it for a few years, but finally we sprang into action. We chose a nice soft butter yellow for the front door- Sico Custard Cream . It is the same colour as my little yellow bench in the front yard. Then we thought it might look good on the old shutters. Looks ok! Then we decided with all this freshening up, the old grey blah stucco needed a facelift. I don't know about everybody else but choosing colours can be such an exercise in frustration. Surface textures, light exposure, can sure play havoc with the final outcome, But we persevered and opted for a lighter shade of green. It does brighten up the back of the house which faces north and it looks so much cleaner and fresher, I thought as there is so much stucco I wanted the colour to act as a backdrop to the garden and any garden art I may ever actually get done. I also opted for a bright cheerful look, which is a personal favourite look with me, I also think its a gut level reaction to the constant stream of sad and worrisome news the we all seem to be hearing and seeing these days. In addition to myself, a couple of good friends of mine have been exposed to some really negative, spiteful and mean spiritedness on different fronts from other women and I really wonder why? And to what end?  We sure know in this family that life isn't always puppies and rainbows and it can be very hard at times, but let's not lose sight of our light. Let's all be kind, thoughtful and compassionate of others.

The front yard is bursting in colour. The irony of all of this is that I consider the front yard as more for the neighbours than myself. I drive, walk or cycle in and out and I water and weed out there but I really mostly see the back of it. The rest of my neighbours see it more than I do! But they seem to like it.

I was sitting on the front step the other day and it was a pretty hot one. The front is shaded in the afternoon by our big maple and it was a lot cooler than the deck or backyard. The light bulb went on- hey maybe we should sit out here occasionally as its cooler and a whole lot prettier than the back. Epic moment!! So I lugged a couple of chairs to the front, OK I exaggerate , they are plastic so its a carry not a lug. We are hidden behind a wall of flowers so it doesn't look like we are creeping on the neighbours! Hahaha!!

I've planted lots of pollinator friendly flowers again this year, I also am mindful of drought tolerance and easy care. A little more lawn was dug up again this year. One of my grumpy neighbors asked me why I just didn't tear the whole thing up and be done with it. 'Just keeping you in suspense from year to year dude!' Sheesh!!

 More about my new garden art next post

Well there is lots to talk about on the veggie/bale front but I have to take the two sillies, Ollie and Archie, down to the lake for a swim.

Keep Smiling Friends!


David Austin Roses-smell divine!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Knit wraps, a new brownie recipe and some bale talk!

There has been a fair amount of knitting accomplished the past 6 weeks as I have had a considerable amount of down time fighting some nasty virus or viruses. Hopefully it is all behind me now as it's becoming more springlike here and there are so many things to do. It can be quite an exciting time of year!

I recently finished knitting a Guernsey Wrap, a terrific Brooklyn Tweed pattern designed by Mr. Flood himself. I think this wrap is my current fav, and will be especially handy this time of year. One minute it is warm and sunny, the next a cold wind is blowing and there is fresh snow on the mountains. Typical March weather! It is constructed using knits and purls designed to create raised patterns that are typical of knit jerseys and ganseys. The wrap has lovely patterning and it is totally reversible. That to me is a super plus as the private/wrong/back side of some knit designs can look kinda crummy.

The finished size is approximately 17x74". It is a great size to wrap around your shoulders and it doesn't easily slip off. I have lots of really nice shawl pins I can use to secure it, if needs be.

I just love all this texture. I knit it with Debbie Bliss Luxury Aran.It is a lovely woolen spun yarn with a nice hand. It is light to wear and as it is a worsted weight, it knits up very quickly.

I also knit Authenticity, a beautiful lacy wrap designed by Sivia Bo Bilvia
She is a young talented designer from B.C., our province!

This is a beautiful wrap to knit. The pattern is easy to follow and the charted lace pattern is not too difficult to follow. I knit it with Tosh Silk Merino in Smokestack. It is a very luxuriant yarn to wear and a dream to knit with. I will definitely knit this pattern again.

Lastly, I finally finished my knit poncho. It is basically two rectangles sewn together with a picked up rib border. Easy Peasy. Too bad it took me 3-4 months to spend an afternoon putting it together!

I knit it with Cascade Eco plus.


I found a new brownie recipe and they are quite a hit!

Remains of the day

Sadly, I was too slow to take a photo. The recipe is Irish Whiskey Brownies.
There are no veggies or lentils in this recipe but there is a shot or two of Irish Whiskey and loads of chocolatey goodness. Since St Patrick's Day is this week, they seemed very apropos!! I have both Rosie Daykin's cook books and the recipes are all soo good!

Straw Bale Talk

Now the days are warming up and the days are starting to get longer, we have been out in the garden planning our veggie garden. Since last year was our first year using bales, we really didn't know what to expect this spring. As the bales age, they begin composting down and start producing the most beautiful rich matter.

Black Gold!!!

        I like the way ya compost
        No diggity
        Gotta spread it out ......

You know it,,,you can sing along

    I like the way ya compost
    No diggity
    Gotta bag it up......
Garden on, garden on, garden on......
Hey ya hey ya hey ya

This link should work-I don't know how to get the actual video up
No diggity 

Moving on.......

 Some of the sagging bales have been re-twined and given addition support with chicken wire, hmm I'll resist on this one! Above we have some up cycled hot caps on some broccoli transplants,

Performing supervisory duties

have a great week friends

keep smiling!


Monday, February 22, 2016

Strokkur-my new Icelandic style sweater

About a month ago, my friend Pamela, suggested we go snow shoeing with her. It is something we have always said we would like to do, but never seemed to get around to it. I am so glad we went, we had a blast!!

I love being in the outdoors! The day was cool but not too cold and the fresh snow was beautiful. It is so nice to get out in the outdoors, breathe some fresh air and enjoy the peacefulness of nature. Maybe it wasn't too peaceful as Pamela and I have lots of discuss at any given time!! It was so much fun!
Pamela and I are both knitters and we decided we just had to have some Nordic type sweaters to wear on our future snowshoeing adventures. We were pumped! Then we are talking hats, socks, mitts... and of course what colours we'd use etc. We talk big around here! I remember I had a pattern called strokkur It is an Icelandic style sweater designed by Ysolda Teague.

 I used Berocco Ultra Alpaca in Ultramarine, Winter White and Cascade 220 in Lagoon. This is a great pattern and fits perfectly. I love my Strokkur and I will knit it again. The most fun is picking colours.

Now the pattern does not have any colourwork along the bottom or on the sleeves but to me it just screamed to have some. I was knitting this when I had some crazy superbug flu virus earlier this month and it just seemed to be the right thing to do.

Ja-nice! This one is for you!!
Well I was feeling all positive and good about my sweater so I was sharing my triumph with one of my classes and Pamela  and Wendy asked me why I did the sleeves differently? Huh?? Oh shipoopy!! I couldn't believe my eyes, how did I not see I knit the sleeve trim differently on each sleeve?!?! What an idiot!! This bugged me to no end. Ripping out all the sweater and a sleeve to fix it was not an option. Anyways, sometimes I get a little obsessed over knitterly conundrums.......

Now usually I don't get too concerned with minor imperfections, as we are all human, but this one really irritated me. Fortunately using a couple of rows of duplicate stitch I was able to disguise my big boo boo. Next time, don't get too creative and do some off road knitting when you are sick and secondly wear your glasses!!

Another friend of ours, Melissa, decided to knit a Strokkur too. Her sweater is beautiful and she too used Berocco Ultra Alpaca. I love her colour palette and it looks terrific on her'

I have been doing an epic clean out, dejunkifying, decrappifying all our stuff plus the remains of the elders estates.. and some of our kid's stuff too. Yuck! I did find a sweater I knit, gosh, probably in the early 1990's, anyways some time ago. And yes, I still have the pattern.


Straw Bales and Garden Stuff

It seems a bit early to start talking about garden stuff and well it should be too early in this part of the world. We had another pretty mild winter but we did get some snow and more recently, some rain. Moisture in any form is most gratefully appreciated in our dry climate. As the snow had melted, I went outside to throw the ball for Archie and thought I could see some plant material poking out of the top of the melting snow on the bales.


French Breakfast Radishes
Palm Tree Kale
There are lots of plants still alive in the bales and a few in our in ground beds. I think the milder winter, with an insulating layer of snow and root protection in the bales allowed some of the more hardier plants to survive. Crazy!

Some of my rhubarb is up!!

Arugula!! I sure hope I haven't triggered an Arctic outflow with all this garden talk.

Have a great week friends!

Keep smiling :)


Friday, January 15, 2016

Catching up on hats, wooden boxes and pulses

It feels like I am coming up for air again. Much as I love the holiday season, I do feel rather drained, OK really drained, by the time the the dust settles. It is mid January already and it is time to get my poop in a group and get back in the swing of things!

I knit a lot of hats for gifts this year and they were well received and greatly appreciated.Some years it can be a bit of a crap shoot, but this year cabled hats are big and are in. You just gotta roll with it!

knits in the wild

Recently we were pulling into the grocery store and I espied these two, daughter Rachael and her partner Brandon, loading groceries into their car. And they were wearing their hats!! Be still my knitting heart!!! Of course I had to pull over and yell-I mean call out softly and graciously-I need a picture of you two goobers!! Brandon is my ally on this one and a picture was taken.

Brandon's hat is Habitat, a Brooklyn Tweed pattern. I knit it with Tosh Vintage in Charcoal. I love this hat and with the yarn, the cables really pop. He has been wearing it a lot so that's good.

Knitting with black yarn can be less than uplifting at times, but the request was for black so black it was. It's hard to see the cables in the pictures so I overexposed one picture. The pattern is Take Heart, a pattern from Pom Pom Quarterly. I knit it with Ultra Alpaca Chunky-a nice wool/alpaca mix. It fits great!

Father Cables, a YOTH pattern, was sent out east to our son. Its a great pattern-I knit it with Tosh Vintage in Tart.

I knit a couple of these hats for our son and his partner also.There are made using the Madelinetosh Essential Hat pattern using Unicorn Tails.I am missing one last picture of a hat. I have been promised some pictures, but I am not holding my breath! I have requests for more hats but I am kinda over hats for the time being. Enough about hats! Why do people not send pictures!!!

Our Backyard Farms Boxes

Oh that Pinterest! I found some pictures on Pinterest of vintage wooden boxes used for display some time ago. Since our house is full of a lot of old crap that has great potential, I figured we could put together some boxes using some upcycled materials.

So we knocked together some boxes, thought of a name, and assembled some full of seasonal decorations for both our home and as gifts to special people. As soon as the potted narcissus and other spring bulbs are out I will make up a spring box.

Cooking stuff

I think in my last post I was talking about making marshmallows. Let me tell you, they are da bomb!! Everyone loves them and they are really good. And really, they are just puffs of air, so no concerns there. They are super easy, I used a recipe that didn't involve candy thermometers or anything too complicated. I made both plain and toasted coconut. Next up I will try some with spices or different fruit flavours. I am on a sugar detox from Xmas, sort of.

On to more things healthy!!

The UN has declared 2016 to be the year of the Pulses-dried beans, lentils, chickpeas etc. I have taken the pulse pledge, to incorporate more pulses in my diet weekly.They are full of protein, vitamins and minerals. Great antidote to marshmallows, but you have to have a balanced diet in my view.

I make lots of chilies and soups using beans and pulses but I thought I'd incorporate them into some baking. I made these pumpkin, lentil muffins and let me tell you they are delicious!! The recipe is Pumpkin Loaf and it can be found on the Pulse Canada website. The advantage to using lentils is that it allows you to use less fat, adds moisture and gives you a protein boost. I added chocolate chips in....just because! Yumm!! I also used a pumpkin pie squash we had grown this summer. We have a cold corner of the basement and I am totally astonished my squashes are keeping so well.

At the end of the year on IG (where I am Chrissyknitz), everyone was posting there favorite nine for the year. It is a good reminder to be happy and grateful for the good things in our lives.

At the close of the year we celebrated our 35th anniversary. Holy doodle, where did the time go!?! That seems like a big number ,just a minute, it is!! We are still a pair of goofballs just getting through life! Lots to be happy and grateful for! I am a little late to the party but I wish you all a Happy New Year. Let it be a year of peace, contentment and joy.

Keep Smiling!


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