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Project Memory Jars

As last mentioned in my plastic canvas wall hangings update, back in 2019 I’d given myself a pretty ambitious resolution: a challenge to turn 19 “works in progress” into “finished objects”. The first project added to my “19 WIP-to-FO Challenge” was my wall of Project Memory Jars

I’ve had a longstanding tradition of keeping a little length of yarn from each knitted and crocheted project I’ve made (later adding plastic canvas projects as my fiber hobbies crew). It started as keeping a bit of yarn in case there was need for repairs, but other than mending some knitted socks, it didn’t really wind up being a useful hoard item. That said, I have a strong visual memory and it was lovely to look back at the various yarns and remember the projects I’d made. The small colorful scraps would often bring up vivid memories of the gift recipient or technique I’d struggled with or laughter with crafty buddies in a workshop.

Originally these remnants were rolled into a ball and tied on one after another. It made them easy to store but impossible to see all the yarns on the inner layers.

My first “solution” was to make them into something tangible. They’d still have the same memory placeholder and all would be visible. Back in 2012 I eagerly cast on for a crochet granny square and made a few large blocks, intending to one day sew them into a large scrappy blanket.

This worked…fine actually. It was a chaotic mess and I knew I’d love the resulting blanket. The problem was that it would never be finished. I’d be storing a bag of 12″ granny squares for decades because even though I work on 50-100 projects yearly, the amount of triple-crochet stitches I’d be able to get from a few yards of leftover yarn was minimal.

So I thought about it and came up with a different idea. A silly little memory wall that makes no sense to anyone but me, but makes me smile and remember all the projects I put my time, effort, energy and care into.

My project memory jars

The shelves and brackets were extras from my previous job, so luckily I had those already on-hand.

I bought the jars at my local Dollarama in but if you can’t find them near you then these jars paired with these label packs would be a great substitute. Instead of using the white chalk that came with each jar I wrote on their labels with chalk markers.

Now that the wall was ready it was time to fill the jars. Which meant finally getting around to undoing the granny squares. Since it was the first item on my 19-for-19, it made sense to start with that one first.

1. FO Project Jars

What I said: I need to rip out all the individual lengths of yarn (1-10 yards long, each), match them up with what project they were from, and put the separated yarn into jars designated for each year.

What I did: basically exactly that. Only what took one sentence to type took hours to actually do. Frogging the granny squares was easy work, but before I could start I had to look at the center stitches of each block and figure out what project that was from, so I could put the blocks into a chronological order. (Luckily I take detailed project notes and my Ravelry page is mostly up to date!)

Once I’d figured out which blocks went where time-wise, I ripped them back and rolled them back into one big ball as I went, so the newest yarn was on the inside. Once everything was frogged I was able to start with the oldest scraps and begin to sort.

It was slow work but I moved through the yarn, cutting away the knots and putting a few inches of each yarn into the relevant year’s jar. Since the jars aren’t huge I only kept a bit of each and had a colorful pile of spaghetti left over at the end, which I later separated by length.

Anything that was a yard or more I rolled up and added to my mini ends bin, for use as waste yarn, stitch holders and row counters, or random craft projects.

I only undid knots for the cotton scraps because I had plans to re-use those. Every time I got to cotton yarn I added it to this growing ball, which I later turned into 2 scrappy dishcloths for my kitchen, using my own perfect, lay-flat, knitted diagonal garter dishcloth pattern.

I used about half of the scraps to make a smaller cloth with a hanging bit on the end, and then used up all the rest for the 2nd cloth. (The pattern is knit like a diamond so all you need to do to use up every bit of yarn is to find your center…work half the cloth until you hit the center point and then start the decreases to work the remaining half).

With all the jars filled and the extra bits used up, that officially marked the first of my 19 completed WIP-to-FO projects for my challenge, and now I have a silly bit of wall décor that confuses everyone who comes into my home office. I get to look at it and reminisce about all the people I’ve knit for and all the yarn-related creativity that moved between my fingers.

Here’s looking ahead to 2022 and all the projects it will bring.

Happy New Year!

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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YarnCanada.ca Giveaway!

Have you ever done any charity knitting or crochet? There are so many ways to give back to your local community or to help others around the world. I’ve done a lot in the past…through the Montreal Knitting Guild, my local hospital or volunteer Facebook groups, my friends and I have made everything from Teddies for Tragedies to chemo caps to birds’ nests for Australia. Most recently the Warm Hands Knitting club from my local Federation CJA spent last winter making hats, scarves, and slippers to keep our elderly community warm.

It feels great to give back and YarnCanada.ca is giving you the chance to get the yarn for your projects donated to you, free of charge.

Yes that’s right – they’re giving away yarn for FREE!

They’ve just started their 4th annual event of giving yarn to individuals and groups who knit or crochet for good causes!

In partnership with Bernat and Patons Yarn, they’re giving away $4000 (!!) worth of yarn to 12 different charitable individuals/groups. The hope is that the yarn goes to wherever it can do the most good.

And even better – this opportunity is open to both Canadians and Americans! Yes that’s right – they will ship the free yarn to the US!

To apply all you need to do is click the image above (or click here), fill in the form and tell them your story. Let them know what you will use the yarn for, what impact this or previous projects have had, or anything else important to your story. You can even attach photos to show them past charity projects you’ve done.

You have until January 13th 2022 to apply. Good luck!


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How to Enlarge Pattern Charts Physically and Digitally

It’s been almost 2 years since my Order of the Phoenix blanket was published in the Knitting Magic book. 

There it is on the cover!

The Black family’s ancestral home played a huge role in the source book (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoneix) so in honor of today being Sirius Black’s birthday I’m going to answer the number one question I get asked about my pattern: how to enlarge the charts.

In case you missed my previous post about it, The Order of the Phoenix blanket is a circular throw that features motifs representing Harry’s scar as well as phoenix feathers and flames to represent the phoenix’ rebirth. A primary feature of the blanket is the text “The Order of the Phoenix” that goes around the center.

As the book is under copyright I’m not allowed to share a digital version of the charts when people request it, nor use that as my example here in this post. Instead I’m going to use my Lullaby baby blanket pattern for reference as they are both similar in having a charted band of words going around the center.

Lullaby was originally published in the Spring/Summer 2010 issue of the now-defunct St-Denis magazine, that supported Veronik Avery’s yarn line of the same name. It has a deep border of garter feather-and-fan lace and features the words HUSH * BABY * SLEEP * BABY * around the center.

Using my hand for scale you can see that the charts are of relatively similar size between the two pattern books:

Obviously I had to blur out the charts themselves but you can still see the suggestion of where the words are and so the instructions I give for Lullaby will work just as well on Phoenix or any other chart by any designer.

There are a few different ways you can enlarge your patterns, depending on if you start with a physical or digital pattern, and on the result you want (physical or digital enlargement).

How to enlarge a PHYSICAL pattern (book, magazine or printout)

There are 2 options for enlarging a physical pattern.

Option 1: home scanner/copier/printer

Most home printers these days have a built-in copy/scan feature. If you scroll through the copy settings you can find an “enlarge” option that will allow you to increase the size of the chart in the printout.

You can also use the printer’s scan function to get a digital copy of your pattern that you can enlarge with any of the following digital methods.

Option 2: public photocopy center/machine

You can find both self-service and with-service public photocopiers at commercial copy centers like Staples. You can also often find public photocopiers at your local pharmacy or library.

This is a direct photocopy from my pattern. My hand is provided for scale.

This is an enlargement of the same page, made using the photocopier’s built-in enlargement option. Most photocopiers can handle legal and oversized papers. In this case, I used the 129% option to print on the largest size paper available (11″x17″).

You can see the difference between the two sizes.

The HUSH chart, for example, is 1.75″ high by 6″ wide in the original (and copy), and 2.25″ high by 8″ wide in the enlargement. These differences might make printing as-is enough of an enlargement for you, or you can take the enlargement and use it as your starting image to photocopy again even larger…repeating the process as-needed until the resulting chart is of a size for you to work with comfortably.

How to enlarge a DIGITAL pattern

There are many options for enlarging a physical pattern. I will be demoing these methods using my computer and/or an iPad. It is possible to do them all on a smart phone as well but since the point is to enlarge a chart to make it more convenient to work from, I’m going to assume you’re going to be working from your tablet or computer/laptop and not the smaller screen of a phone.

Option 1: from a physical file

Take a picture of your chart with a smart device and then email it to yourself so you have a digital file to work with.

Alternately you can upload it directly to an accessible storage media like Dropbox or Google Drive, or upload the image directly into a data-processing app like Microsoft Word, Excel or OneNote, Google Docs or Sheets, or your favorite annotation app/software. From there you can proceed to the enlargement instructions below.

Option 1b: from a digital file

You would use this option if you already have your pattern in a digital format. In this case I’ll be using the sale pattern version of Lullabye.

Use your favorite screenshot app to take a picture of the chart on your screen. I like Microsoft’s built-in “Snipping Tool” but you can use Snagit or any others including the “print screen” button yon your keyboard. As the “print screen” key method has a few extra steps, both ways are shown below. TIP: enlarge the chart on-screen before taking the screenshot so you are already starting with a larger version.

A) Using Snipping Tool (or other screen-grab software)

Open your pattern document (ie: Word doc, Excel file or PDF) on screen. Make sure the chart (or section of the chart you wish to capture) is in full view, then open your screen-grab software.

Click “new” to start a new screenshot. The software will freeze the entire screen as it currently looks.

As it says on the prompt – drag the cursor around the area you want to capture. Use your mouse to drag a square or rectangle from one corner to the opposite diagonal, making sure your desired image is fully inside your boundaries.

You can see the red boundaries on the image above. I started my capture at the upper left corner and dragged down to the lower right (where the cross is). Everything inside the red rectangle will be part of my screen-grab. I made sure to include my chart’s legend as well as the instructions on the bottom.

After you release the mouse after dragging, your cropped result will appear within the software’s window. If you don’t like the results, or are missing part of your chart, simply click “new” to start over and drag again.

Once you have the results you want, click “file” then “save as” and save the image to your computer. I keep a folder for every project I work on so I would save it in there for easy reference but you can save it to your downloads or anywhere that you would like.

B) Using your keyboard’s “print screen” key

Open your pattern document (ie: Word doc, Excel file or PDF) on screen. Make sure the chart (or section of the chart you wish to capture) is in full view, then tap the “print screen” button on your keyboard. This will take a screenshot of your full screen – everything showing on your monitor.

Open any software that will allow you to paste and then crop an image. I’ve used Word, Excel and Paint regularly with great results, and many other programs will work as well. My example is using Word.

Place your cursor anywhere on the page and use ctrl-v or click file→paste to paste your screenshot into the document.

You can see the image of my screen is now pasted into the Word document – background, taskbar, clock and all.

Click on the image within the document itself.

This will bring up a “Picture Format” tab at the top of your Word window. Click on it.

If you look over to the far right of the ribbon bar at the top, you will see a “crop” option. Click on it and you will see black crop bars appear on the border of your image. We will use those to remove all the excess parts of the image, leaving only the chart you want to work with.

Drag the dark black crop marks to surround only the part of the image that has your chart. As you drag you will see the edges of your image get shaded. Those are the parts that will be cropped out of the final image.

Keep moving the borders from the top, sides or corners until your chart is isolated. Then click anywhere outside of the image.

The shaded areas will disappear and you will be left with your desired chart.

Right-click anywhere within the image and choose “Save as Picture”. Now you can save your cropped chart image anywhere on your computer for use in the following enlargement step. In this example I kept all 3 words and the legend as one image, but if you want to enlarge each word even bigger you can repeat this process 3 times to crop out each individual word and save it as its own chart image.

Enlargement Instructions:

Once you have your chart in digital format enlarging it is really easy!

Option 1: Paint, Befunky or other photo-editing software

Insert or open your saved chart image into your favorite photo editing software and resize it to enlarge. You can save the image in its larger size and print it at home or email it to your local copy center for printing. You might also find that having it large on-screen is enough for your purposes.

Option 2: Word, Excel, Docs or Sheets-type data processing software

Open your favorite processing software and use the “insert” feature to add your digital chart image. Once inserted you can drag on the corners to resize the chart. You can also right-click for more editing options. Once you have the image large enough for your purposes you can use it on-screen or print it for a large paper copy.

Option 3: PDF Annotation Software

There are a number of computer and iPad/Android programs that will allow you to annotate a PDF. To use your favorite one, insert your chart image into Word or Sheets as per Option 2 and then save your file as a PDF. Open the PDF in your annotation software and you can zoom in as well as make notes or highlight directly onto the chart.

My favorite annotation software is OneNote, and I use it daily for making notes, highlights and annotations on PDFs as well as images for all my crafting needs. It is free but since it might not be widely-used I’m putting it as a standalone option below:

Option 4: OneNote

I use OneNote extensively and find it an invaluable tool for any crafter/hobbyist. I love that I can import an image of a chart, blow it up as big as I’d like, and then in draw mode can use my Apple Pencil or finger and the highlight pen to highlight chart rows as I go just as I would on paper. The ability to undo mistakes is a big improvement over paper charts and I can also annotate as I go.

I like to insert my digital chart image into a new page created for my current project.

Tapping on the image will allow you to move it on the page as well as to drag the corners for an initial resize. You also have the option to rotate the image if desired, though as the chart in this case is rectangular I prefer to use the width of my iPad.

You can resize the image even larger if needed. Use two fingers to pinch and zoom out to enlarge the chart to its maximum size.

My favorite thing about OneNote is how I can work on my charts completely digitally. Here I’ve left part of the chart un-blurred so you can see how I use it. It’s possible to make notes about dropped sts, missing yarn-overs or any other reminders for yourself, as well as to switch to a highlighter pen in your favorite color and nib width and mark off your rows as you go. Better than on real paper- if you make a mistake you can easily erase the highlighting so you’ll always be able to keep track of exactly where you are.

I do use the Apple pencil as pictured above but you can do the same with your finger tip or a stylus, including change the pen nib size so everything is clear and legible.

I’ve used this method for everything from complicated cable knits to incredibly detailed 18ct cross stitch and it works perfectly every time. It also syncs to my OneNote account so I can access my chart on the computer or on my phone or even log in from any internet device so I can bring my work with me where ever I go.

I regret that I cannot share the charts for my Order of the Phoenix blanket pattern, but no matter what project you’re working on hopefully the above tips and techniques will help you enlarge your charts into something you can work with comfortably. If there are any other tips or techniques you’d like to learn about, feel free to message me or leave a comment below!


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and the results are in…

wed mar 7-boys home, back to dr tonight for them.  more swatching for shawl, blanket yarn pic

Kept the boys home again today.  They only had low-grade fevers last night, and I was thinking that they might be able to go to school today.  It was Yannick’s morning to get up with the kids, and when I got up I asked how they were doing.  He said Henri was acting fine, but Jakob seemed sick.  I took their temperatures and Jakob had no fever any more, and Henri’s was low-grade again (99.8).  You just can’t tell from how they’re acting!  I was debating sending Jakob to school but really didn’t want to go out if I didn’t have to, and right as I was thinking about it he had a mini coughing fit and sneezed a few times, and I realized it wasn’t worth going out to bring him there.  Plus we still haven’t heard back from his strep test, even the 24 hour results aren’t in yet.

Because they still weren’t well, and it has been 3 days since Sunday when we saw the doctor last, I called up to book an appointment.  It was 8:30 when I called (they open the phone lines 30 min before they open for booking “emergency” visits) and they were already booking for 2pm!  The entire day had filled up already!  I really didn’t want to bring them in during nap time, so even though it would suck to go out at night if it got cold, I decided to wait and call back a bit later when they had gotten closer to 5pm.  Sure enough, about 45 minutes (and 3 call attempts) later, I was able to book a 5pm appointment, meaning I could let the kids nap until the usual 4:30 then get them ready and leave and be there just on time.

They played well in the morning, and ate well even though I gave them a light lunch.  At nap time Henri fell asleep right away, and Jakob was still up and playing when I went in around 3:00 to ask him to be quiet.  I was DEFINITELY thinking that Jakob was feeling much better, and be able to go back to school.  Around 4:00 Henri woke up and asked if he could go play with Jakob, I said sure ‘cus I knew Jakob would love a partner to play with.  Imagine my surprise when 2 minutes later Henri came back saying he couldn’t wake Jakob up!  Huh?  Wake him?  I went upstairs to check- and sure enough Jakob was SOUND asleep across his bed.  Oy.

Before heading out to the doctor I took their temperatures again just to be able to tell the doctor what was going on.  Jakob had no fever at all (97.2 by the time I took it out).  His only current symptoms were a bit-more-than-occasional cough, runny nose and sneezing.  Plus the unknown strep results.  Henri, on the other hand, had gone up to 102.2!  The poor kid- his voice was “off”, his nose was really runny but thick, and he had the occasional cough/sneeze.

While we waited for the doctor I asked the lab if they had Jakob’s results- no.  They said to check with the doctor’s receptionists, which I didn’t do because I’d be seeing the doctor herself in a minute or two.  She took a look at Jakob first and said that his symptoms (fever and red throat first, fading to cough/sneeze) seemed likely that he had a virus.  If the strep test were to turn out positive, then he probably just had a cold on top of the strep, but assuming it was negative, he had a virus and once he’s fever free (which he is) and back to himself (which he isn’t) then he can go back to school.  Henri also seemed to just have a virus, though because his fever has been since last Friday or Saturday night, if it continued a few more days we’d have to do an x-ray to make sure it wasn’t a light pneumonia (even though he wasn’t coughing much).  Just in case, though, she gave us a strep test requisition paper and rx for amoxil so that if Jakob’s test were to come back positive, we could get Henri checked too, and then fill the rx without having to come back in.  She didn’t have Jakob’s results so she told us to check with reception.

That’s when it almost got comical.  We go out to reception and they say they asked the lab for the results, but she was busy and couldn’t tell them right away.  I asked if I should wait because should it be positive we’d have to test Henri, but the lab had just closed so they couldn’t even test him anyways.  They said that they were open until 7:30, so if Jakob’s results did come in before they closed they’d call me, and if positive I could come back with Henri the next day to be tested.  So I get the kids ready to leave and RIGHT as we’re about to walk out they say they have the results!  Jakob’s 5 minute and 24 hr tests were both negative, but the 48 hour one was positive.

Huh?  Now that the kid has no fever and only a cough & sneeze as symptoms, which are NOT symptoms of strep, NOW he has strep?  Okay…  Well, can they test Henri, since we’re still here?  Nope, she tells me, ‘cus the lab really is closed.  But another lab nearby is still open.  It was 5:45pm, the kids hadn’t eaten supper yet, and I didn’t want to feed them before Henri was tested in case swallowing food would slough away any bacteria from the back of his throat.  If I’m paying for a strep test, I want them finding any and all available bacteria!!

The rest of the next hour and a half was a “hurry-up-and-wait” blur.  First we drove to the other lab, near the local hospital.  After a short wait Henri had his test done, then we had to wait 15 minutes for their quick-test results.  I tried bringing the kids to a cafe next door for a soup and cookie, something for a light supper, but they were closed.  The only thing open during the wait was a depaneur, so the best I could do to tide them over was get them each a drink (no sharing right now!) and a big cookie for the 3 of us to share.  The 15 minute test was negative, so now we’ve got to wait.  Since Jakob’s test was positive after the long growing span, I won’t know for sure until at least Friday if Henri has strep or not.  Which means we’re home for the rest of the week.

We couldn’t go home yet, though, because we still had to fill Jakob’s amoxil.  I know from past experience that it takes about 10-15 minutes to fill that rx because they make it only once the order comes in (I assume), but I really didn’t want to get the boys home 10 minutes before bedtime and THEN feed them.  So we hit up a McDonald’s drive through for some nuggets and fries, and I fed them while sitting in the waiting chairs at the pharmacy.  Not the best meal in the best place, but the best I could do at the time.  By the time the rx was filled and we got home, it was 10 minutes past their 7pm bedtime.  Oy.

I think the rush of activity wore them both out, because once they were in bed, neither one got up again.  They both passed right out.

If I get back to the crafting, which is why most of you are probably here, I did more planning of swatches in Excel.  I did work up a quick swatch to test out decrease angles for a little motif I’m hoping to include in the pattern, but since I’m hoping to publish this pattern, I can’t actually show any photos here.

Instead I’ll give you this photo:

I figured it would be a good idea to have a group pic of all the yarns used in my sparkly woven blanket before they were used up in the blanket.  Because I’m striping them randomly it’s not easy to tell from the project what the yarns that went into it looked like, so this will be my reminder.

I hope you’re all healthy!


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getting my weave on

The boys were both home today.  We did the strep test, and the 5 minute one was negative.  They would now grow it for 24 hours, and if that was negative they’d grow it some more until it was 48 hours, and notify us if it ever turned positive.  Great.

I did some weaving in the afternoon while they napped.  The purple/green section is my 3rd shuttle, using yarns 5 and 6 together (a green-y blend and a purpley blend).  The stitch marker is just my marker for where I stopped counting picks (rows).  As I wind it up I’m keeping track of how many rows there are so I can make each of the 5 panels the exact same length.

I’m at about 47″, and I hope it will be about 80″.

Here’s a better look at my current manicure.  Jakob was surprised that while I was home sick I had bare nails, and asked me to paint them again.  I was in the mood for a chrome and couldn’t pick which one, so I used all 3.  Then I topped them with the black-dotted clear topcoat.  I considered them “Spring-y”, but someone said they look just like the foil-wrapped little chocolate Easter eggs, and I think they’re right!


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woven spring scarf

Today was uneventful.  I didn’t get much weaving done, just a few rows while the kids played this morning.  I did some swatching for a new pattern, but it’s still in the early drafting stages, and I’m playing around with it in Excel until I get it right.

Since I’ve got nothing else to show you, here’s my aunt’s scarf all finished up.

I mailed it to her as a surprise, and she was supposed to receive it last Monday, which is why I haven’t been posting finished pics (even though I don’t think she knows about, or reads my blog).  I’ve come to find out that she’s out of town, and didn’t actually receive it yet.  Oh well- here it is.

It’s an infinity scarf with a twist, and can be worn straight or wrapped twice around the neck.

This shows the seam.  You can barely see it because it was done by machine, and it really doesn’t have much bulk at all.

It’s hard to photograph something with a twist- you don’t know how to lay it down!

This shows the crochet edging, and how tight the fabric ended up after it was washed and dried.

Today ended a bit depressingly.  I was starting to feel a bit better, and looking forwards to getting back to work next week.  Kind of my own Spring renewal.  And then…before bed I noticed the boys were acting a big sluggish.  I’d thought Henri felt a bit warm last night but since he was staying home today I didn’t take his temperature.  I took it tonight- 102.  😦  Then I took Jakob’s, because a sign that he’s sick is when he’s extremely cuddly and affectionate, and he’d been coming up to me and stroking my cheek before giving me a little kiss all afternoon- 100.8.  😦  Looks like I might not be back at work so soon…


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missed meeting :(

There was an open house today for the local weaving guild and crocheters’ guild.  I had been planning all week to go, even though I would be going alone.  I was going to bring my loom, folded and tucked into my loom bag, and I was going to meet new people and maybe learn something.

That didn’t happen.  I spent all day on the couch.  Yannick took the boys to swimming so I didn’t have to get up and go, and I just vegged.  I felt so sick and knocked out.

I did get a bit of weaving done in the afternoon.  The boys napped and Yannick and I watched some tv, and I wove (weaved?)  Didn’t get much done, but at least it was something.

I’m now at 21″, and have finished my original 2 shuttles and started my new light and dark colors.  The “light” is an orangey-coral color, and the “dark” has some browns and creams.


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k.o.’d

Anyone catch the license plate of the truck that ran me over?  Oh my did I ever catch Henri’s cold.  I can’t quite decide if it’s strep, or bronchitis, or a sinus infection…all I know is that half of the day my ears tickle and throat hurts and I’ve got crazy headache/pressure, and the other half of the day is spent coughing my lungs out.  I haven’t coughed out the hernia(s) yet, but that can’t be far off.

Last night, no joke, I was in bed as soon as the boys were.  I’d already heated up a frozen onion soup (the ones from Costco are awesome) and as soon as the boys’ doors were closed I came to the kitchen, ate my soup, made a NeoCitran, drank it and climbed into bed.

I tried playing on my phone but couldn’t concentrate and was asleep sometime shortly before 8pm.  I know I woke at midnight when Yannick got home, and then was wide-awake and alert at 2am.  Coughing non-stop for 5 minutes will do that.  I finally had to get up and go get my big “armrest”-style pillow, put my pillow in front of it, and then put a neck roll pillow on top of that so I could sleep sitting up, because lying down was killing me.  I just couldn’t stop coughing.  Finally around 3:30 I fell asleep again.

This morning my headache is insane but the cough isn’t as bad because I’m upright.  I’m tired but don’t want to sleep any more and be up all night.  The boys just got into bed so my plan is to sit on the couch with this:

Hopefully I can finish one of these things before I finish the two others.

This pic is for Maaike, who’d asked me for a less “yellow from night time iPhone pic” photo of the weaving-in-progress.  I took this with the iPhone, but in natural sunlight.  Any better at seeing the colors?  You can see the 2 balls I’m currently striping on the edge of the photo in Wednesday’s post.


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can’t let an empty loom go to waste

Tonight I had one goal in mind- start another weaving project!

I have had some sparkly yarn in my stash for a while.  If you look in my Rav stash, it’s the “Unknown” stuff that has 10 balls, 1 ea of 10 different colorways.  I’d received the yarn eons ago at a Montreal Knits meetup when Veronik and Mona were still working together and were destashing some leftovers.  I got this bag of 9 full wound cakes and 1 half ball, and it’s been marinating ever since.  Each of the full balls has between 113 and 124 yards, and the partial ball has about 49 yards.  The total yardage could have made a vest or scarf/hat set or something, but each ball is a different color and I’ve been stuck at what to do with it.  The colors all kind of go together, but they’re all different.  One ball has red/blue/gray, another has white/gray/brown, maybe another is coral/brown/gold…but because they all had the same thick/thin, glittery base, they all seemed similar.  They didn’t have any labels, and I”d emailed Mona with a photo but she wasn’t able to remember what it was, so Ravelry wasn’t any help.

It was only after getting my loom that I realized I could weave with the stuff.  I really love the look of rag rugs where you have a thin yarn for the warp and a thicker yarn/fabric for the weft, and I decided to use the yarn to weave panels that I’d seam and make a throw for our bedroom or den.  Luckily Yannick has been indulging my love of glitter via nail polish and had no problems with having a glittery throw in the house.

It took me a while of playing around in Excel to figure out how wide/long I could make the panels and be able to have equal lengths using up as much yarn as possible without wasting any.  I had the yardages from when I’d added the stuff into my Rav stash, and a quick wind around a ruler gave me an estimated 8 wraps/inch, so armed with that info and a handy-dandy spreadsheet from Maaike I kept playing around until ending up with somewhat  disappointing results.  With the amount of yarn I had I could only end up with a throw of 40″ by 60″.  My hubby is 6’2″, so this wouldn’t be a “snuggle under while watching tv” throw, but oh well, it would at least be pretty.

A positive that came out of the calculations was the freedom of realizing that I wouldn’t have to continue trying to figure out which ball to pair with which.  Because I had only 9 full balls, I couldn’t pair them up by 2s and have 5 panels.  I spent way too long figuring out the calculations with 4 panels, each having a matching border made up of the remaining 1.5 balls.  It was a headache because the blanket was getting longer and not any wider.  By deciding to make it 5 panels I let myself have the luxury of not needing to figure out which balls to pair up, and having exactly matching panels.  I’d just keep 2 shuttles going at all times, always having one wound from a darker ball, and one from a lighter, and stripe them in 1×1 rows.  I’d start with all the balls in one bag, grab a light and a dark to start, and after winding the shuttles, would put them in another bag.  I’d keep going as I ran out of yarn until the first bag was out of balls, then start over, always winding from random light and dark balls.

For the warp I used a cone of pure wool, roughly fingering weight, that I got at Collette’s when I bought the loom.  I made the warp 88″ to include a short (4″ each side) untwisted fringe, no swatching waste, and a little loom waste.  I was planning to weave 60″ on this, but as you’ll see in a minute, I got a bit of luck and think I’ll be able to weave 70″ on them and still have enough yarn.

At 10:09 I’d finished warping and sat down to weave.  This was after spending over an hour on the pre-calculations, putting the boys to bed, back to bed, back to bed and then getting them back into bed again.

At 11:07 I stopped to come up to bed.  I don’t have a lot of weaving done for an hour’s worth, but the reason for that is that I quickly noticed I wasn’t getting 8 picks/inch…I was getting 7.  That meant the same amount of yarn I had would get me further than I’d thought.

I left the loom to come back to the computer and ended up doing some rough calculations and deciding that I’d be able to have enough yarn to weave up to 70″ on each panel, plus make 2 of the 5 panels slightly wider.  (Instead of 72 warp strands there will be 76 or 78).  This would let me have the blanket come out wider and longer without having to undo and rewarp this panel.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that even though I’m weaving single rows in a lighter and darker colorway, looking at the loom itself you really can’t see/tell that it’s not all from the same ball of yarn.  This leaves me even more encouraged that the 5 different panels will blend well together in the end.

To join them I think I’m going to seam them in much the same way you seam garter stitch- mattress stitch going from bump to bump, but in this case going through even loops on each side.  I’m going to keep track of my rows so that each panel has the same number of rows so seaming will be easier and look better.


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good neighbors

They say that fences make good neighbors…but in my case I really lucked out in the neighbor category.  Not only does Maaike live around the corner, but there are lots of awesome people on my street, especially C who helped me out not once, not twice, but three (!!) times today, even though we initially had to cancel our plans because she’s sick.

Her huge amount of (last minute) help meant that my secret project was able to be finished, as in all end woven in, finishing touches applied, and ready to be mailed.  I just need to finalize the written pattern first to make sure there are no measurements/etc to be taken, and it will be done!

The resulting unexpected free time (I’d only scheduled to be finished later in the week)  meant that I could finally finish up the project that has been on my loom since January.

It’s going to be a surprise present for my aunt, but I think it’s ok to talk about here ‘cus I’m pretty sure she doesn’t read/know about my blog.  I wove until it ws 60″ long.  There are only 59″ showing in the photo, but the point of the photo was to show the lack of too much loom waste.  My mom’s scarf was cut off the loom at the proper length, but I’d overestimated how much warp I’d need.  Here you can see that my warp is completely unwound with just the loops remaining on the back beam.  (Technical term?  Not sure).

A quick hemstitch was the only finishing done to the edges.  My aunt had commented on liking the “infinity”-style scarves she’d been seeing everywhere, the ones you can wear long as a scarf or wrapped twice around your neck as a cowl.  My plan had always been to join the two short ends after twisting the scarf once, but I hadn’t really thought through how the join would work.

I debated tying knots to join the two sides and having a short fringe running down, but quickly decided that would look kinda awful.  I consulted with Maaike and had decided to hem the two edges by hand and then join them, but at the last minute called up C and asked if she could sew them together for me with her machine (that was the 3rd help of the day) and she graciously obliged.

I’ll show the resulting seam after I soak and dry it later tonight.  For now I leave you with my easy answer on how to straighten the beginner weaver’s problem of uneven selvedges- single crochet!  Because the scarf had a twist in it, it effectively became a moebius….a word my spell check doesn’t seem to believe exists.  Anyhoo, that let me start at one point, single crochet in every 2nd hole at the edge, and end up exactly right back where I started from.  The sc edge done in the working yarn gave a cute rainbow look around the scarf, and ensured that no matter which end/edge is up, the edges will always look “finished”.

Now I’m going to let it soak in a Eucalan bath for an hour or so, towel out most of the water then pop it in the dryer to really soften & full the fabric.