Friday, April 17, 2015

Knitting Tip : Circular Needles

I used to like knitting with circular needles and over the years slowly have built up my collection for each knitting projected I embarked on.  I kept them in their original packages, neatly coiled for easy storage.

When I went to use them again the plastic string would stay coiled up and would irritate the heck out of me.  My work would twist and I would fight with the needles.  They would have a mind of their own and go in opposite directions.   The effort to knit with these coiled up needles, overtook my desire to knit with them when my hands became sore from fighting with the needles.

So, what to do with these needles all packaged up nice and neat?    Click on the link ( Pinterest via ) on how to uncoil circular needles.   I saved this pin for using at another time and then promptly forgot about it.   Recently I decided to try knitting lace shawl, which required using the circular needle and was browsing my pins and found this tip and thought to give it a try.

I really didn't think it would work, but really wanted to knit this shawl so thought I have nothing to loose.  Well, seeing is believing !!!!!

I took my coiled up circular needle and placed in a mixing bowl and poured hot water over to completely cover the needle.   Right before my eyes, the needle sprung straight !  Wow, was I amazed.   I let the needle sit for a couple of hours thinking it may coil right back up after it cooled off.  But the next day... the needle was still straight.   I have now begun my shawl and am so happy to not be fighting with the needles.

Monday, April 13, 2015

What Was Old is New Again

I received as a gift, oh so many years ago, a brass lamp.  I really liked this lamp and it's shape, but slowly over the years it started to loose its finish.  

No matter what I did to try to restore it, without spending alot of money, nothing seemed to work.  I've seen many ideas on re-purposing, re-finishing lamps so thought I would give it a try.

First, using masking tape I covered up the sections that I didn't want to be touched by paint, including the cord.   Then, using a fine sandpaper, sanded down the lamp and wiped away the dust on the lamp.

I spray painted the lamp using a semi-gloss Tremclad paint for metal in black.   It took two coats, and am very pleased with the results.

Next was finding a lamp shade that didn't cost a fortune.  I scoured many shops and finally found one at Walmart.     Total cost =  1 can of spray paint $6.95 Cdn (with enough left over to re-paint my mailbox) ; one lampshade $16.95 Cdn.  = $23.90 Cdn (and a mailbox that looks brand new too :) )

Monday, April 6, 2015

Some Colour to Brighten the Day

As the snow melts away the grass still lays dormant and looks rather lifeless.   The trees have not begun to bloom and much of the landscape looks gray.  We've been having rain the last couple of days and snow is still in the forecast.

April showers bring May flowers. 

Last summer I picked some straw flowers and they have been hanging drying and finally have put them in a vase on the kitchen table.   The colours are beautiful and bring sunshine to the room even on the dreariest of days.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Something for Treasures

My little granddaughter is just over two years old now.  She lives near the ocean and has recently realized that there are lots of cool things under the water; like "rocks, cool rocks and awesome rocks".  She says "the beach is the best place on the planet and we should be there all the time."

She likes to collect treasurers while she's out, so with leftover yarn I had in my stash I knitted up a couple of adorable pouches she can collect her treasurers in.  The pattern is from "The Sitting Tree" blog.  The pattern knits up quickly and I made both sizes - one in fingering weight and the other with worsted weight.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Forks of the Credit Hike

This past weekend seven of us went out on a 12 km hike on the Bruce Trail through the Forks of the Credit Provincial Park.

It was a challenging hike with steep climbs, extreme treacherous icy conditions and some very muddy spots.

I was very glad I had my icers on. Without them the trails were impassible.  A couple of avid hikers, who didn't have icers dropped out as the conditions were just too dangerous without them to continue.   My icers pulled over my boots and had 1/2 inch spikes and chains.  With them I was able to walk up 25 degree inclines with ease.  One of the best investments I've made, besides my hiking boots.

The trail took us past the ruins of an old Hydro station.  The spring run-off made the Credit River fast flowing with beautiful ice formations.    We stopped by the river for a picnic lunch.   Was a beautiful sunny day, air was crisp and there was quite a cool wind.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Season of Change

It's that time of year.....Spring...

The month of March.  You don't know what you'll get weather wise.   We started the month with fridges temperatures, snow, ice, warm temperatures, melting snow, freezing rain, more snow.  The month came in like a lion and as the old saying goes should go out like a lamb.    A season of not wanting to let go of winter and summer trying to take hold.

The four foot snow banks in our driveway have melted considerably and now barely visible.  The snow on the front yard has melted, showing some grass, but snow is still about a foot deep in the gardens.  The ground is still frozen.

I'm itching to get in the garden again after the long winter, but must be patient as there's not too much to do until May here.

There are also seasons in my knitting too.  During the fall so much is on Christmas knitting.  Since January my inspiration for knitting has been a lull.  In these times have a supply of cotton on hand to knit up dish cloths.  These, for me are quick projects and things I can do without too much thinking and at the same time feel I've accomplished something in the evenings.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Steeking ....

At our local Knitter's Guild workshop I learned to "Steek".   I had never heard of steeking before until the Guild held a workshop at one of our meetings.

What is steeking ?

According to Rachel Henry - Steeking is technique used to safely and securely cut your knitting to create holes where you want them. It is frequently used with complex colorwork sweaters, because it is easier and faster to knit colorwork in the round."

Before the workshop we had some homework to do.  We  used Rachel Henry's Ravelry pattern called "Steek this Coffee Cozy" and knitted the pattern to the point before cutting.    This pattern knitted up a  nice fair isle pattern in the round.

Above is my completed homework.  At the meeting I cut down the center - between the two lines.  Then folded over the edges and picked up stitches for the ribbing.    I was little nervous cutting into my knitting, after the work I had done.  But it turned out just the way the pattern said it would !!  I'm not so sure I am ready to tackle cutting into a larger project such as a sweater just yet.  

Cozy after cutting and first ribbing in place. 

Finished Coffee/Tea cup cozy

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Kale and Sprout Winter Salad

Sometimes you come across a recipe that's just too good not to pass on.   And, here is one of those recipes.....

This one was passed on to me from my mother.  It was featured in the Montreal Gazette recently.   Credit for this recipe goes to the cookbook "Gatherings" by Jan Scott and Julie Van Rosendaal of Toronto and Calgary.

The salad is called Kale and Sprout Salad (recipe here) .  Kale and Brussels Sprouts are considered winter vegetables here and are usually available all winter in the grocery stores.  

Ingredients are simple ;  Kale, Brussels Sprouts, sharply flavoured Apple or Pear, roasted/toasted almonds (I used sunflower and pumpkin seeds), parmesan cheese (was optional for me).  I also threw in a handful of raisins.  Hubby likes anything with raisins.  He doesn't like brussels sprouts nor is not a fan of Kale, but had two large helpings of this salad and said how much he enjoyed it !   And, would I make again ??

The dressing is quite simple as well, using ingredients I always have in the house - Olive Oil, fresh lemon jice, grainy mustard, garlic, honey, salt/pepper.

To get the recipe click on the link above.    Enjoy !

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Credit Valley Foot Path Hike - March 22, 2015

Another beautiful day for hiking.   The weather dropped considerably overnight and was about -10C on our hike, with a wind chill of much cooler.   The sun was shining and was so good to be outside.

I was out on a group hike and wasn't the leader this time.  It's nice to be a sheep once in a while.
We hiked through the floodplains of the Credit River, past the ruins of an old paper mill and dam.  Along the way there's an impressive CNR railway bridge build in the 1850s, recently widened which crosses the river.  Further south on the trail were the remains of the Barber Mill Dynamo, one of the oldest electrical stations built in Canada.    We saw lots of evidence of beaver activity.

Trails were icy at times and was very glad to have on my amazing icers clamped on to the bottom of my boots.  

We hiked approx 10 km and found a great spot for lunch looking high over the Credit River.

 Lunch Spot 

 Remains of old Barber Mill Dynamo

Credit River - Remains of Old Barber Mill across the river.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Spring Hike

Spring is officially here !  

Today I lead a short hike for beginners on the Duff Pitt Side Trail of the Bruce Trail.  

There were seven of us out today.  The weather today started off not too promising with rain and cloud, but the sun came out just as our hike was starting.  

Despite most of our snow in town has melted, there is still lots of snow in the woods.  

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