Saturday, October 25, 2014

October October

October! Such a beautiful month! I cannot believe that it is almost over. We've had lovely weather and still no snow (although it is in the forecast). We've been on lots of forest walks to cast animal tracks in the mud this month.
And we also made the 12 hour drive to Calgary to celebrate Thanksgiving with our family.
They live on a rural property and have a beaver pond there. I got to take a couple of paddles in a canoe on the pond and watched all the muskrats busy in the water.
Back at home the leaves were really starting to drop, so we went to the park and raked up a big pile and had lots of fun jumping in it.

We've also spent some time exploring the beach in autumn, searching for freshwater mussel shells and pretty rocks.

I've been running, pushing my babies along in our chariot, rain or shine (they stay nice and cozy under their rain cover). One morning there was a torrential downpour, but we got to see a lot of wildlife on our run, including this buck.
And the other morning we had a visit in our yard by this doe and her three fawns. It is always special to see wildlife up close.* (Except when it's scary!)
The Trumpeter swans are back! I love these magical winter birds. Their return always makes me so happy.
My little girl is growing at an astonishing rate and will be 6 months old in November! I swear she was just a newborn yesterday!
*Last night, I was going for a run on the "loop." I always bring bear spray with me at night, because you never know. Almost the whole section of the loop is illuminated by street lights, except for about a 1/4km near the marina. So I was nearing the end of my run and was approaching the dark area. The road is flanked by forest. I thought I heard a noise, so I pulled off my head band for a better listen. Crash, snap, rustle. Yikes! Something big was in the bushes right beside the road. I had my bear spray out of the holster and the safety off in 2 seconds flat (that included pulling off my mitten). I considered running back towards where the houses were, but I remembered they were all dark and I would have to go the loooong way home, past more forest. So I yelled "HEY! HEY!" really loud a few times and scared the big animal back into the bush. Then I very bravely continued to walk along the road, bear spray pointed at the bush, legs jello. I didn't want to run and have the beast think it should chase me. So I don't know if it was a bear, or a moose, or a deer, but either way, it scared me enough to vow never to run the loop at night again.
A little further down the road I could see splashing in the lake and I could see a doe and two fawns, playing in the shallows. When they saw me, they crossed the road and headed back into the forest, but stopped first to stare at me for awhile. And then I ran into another doe with three fawns! It was quite the night. All in all, I was glad to get home.

Hallowe'en is next week and I am very excited! One of my favourite holidays!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Knitting! The Big Bad Wolf

With a new Little Red Riding Hood pattern, we needed a Big Bad Wolf to go along with it! The hat pattern is only one size, which should fit a 2-3 year-old. You could make the hat from any pattern though, and knit the ears from here to attach.

 Big Bad Wolf Hat
Main colour (mc): Patons Shetland Chunky in grey (less than one skein)
Contrast colour 1 (cc1): Patons Shetland Chunky in white (much less than 1 skein)

5mm double pointed needles (dpn's)

4stitches and 4 rows = 1" in Stockinette stitch

circumference= 21"

one size, fits a 2-3 year-old

cc1-contrast colour 1
dpn's-double pointed needles
k2tog-knit two together
m1-make 1
mc-main colour
p2tog-purl two together
ssk-slip slip knit
St st-stockinette stitch

Wolf Hat
On 5mm dpn's cast on 70 st in mc (grey) and join in round.
Work k1, p1 ribbing for 1"
Switch to Stockinette st and work until hat measures 5" from the beginning.
Next row: *k5, k2tog* 10 times (60st)
Next row: k
Next row: *k4, k2tog* 10 times (50st)
Next row: k
Next row: *k3, k2tog* 10 times (40st)
Next row: k
Next row: *k2, k2tog* 10 times (30st)
Next row: k
Next row: *k1, k2tog* 10 times (20st)
Next row: k
Next row: *k2tog* 10 times (10st)
Next row: *k2tog* 10 times (5st)
Cut yarn, leaving a 5" tail. Thread yarn through the remaining loops on the needles and pull tight to close. Tie off and weave in ends.

Wolf Ears
Cast on 10 st on 5mm needles in grey.
Knit 1.5" in Stockinette st ending on a wrong side row.
Next row: k1, k2tog, k4, ssk, k1
Next row: p
Next row: k1, k2tog, k2, ssk, k1
Next row: p
Next row: k1, k2tog, ssk, k1
Next row: p
Next row: k2tog, ssk
Next row: p2tog
Bind off
make 2

White Ear Centres:
Cast on 8 st on 5mm needles in white.
Knit 1" in St st ending on a wrong side row.
Next row: k1, k2tog, k2, ssk, k1
Next row: p
Next row: k1, k2tog, ssk, k1
Next row: p
Next row: k2tog, ssk
Next row: p2tog
Bind off
make 2
Sew the white centres onto the grey ears. Sew both ears on top of the hat.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the pattern! Check out the Little Red Riding Hood and other patterns under the "knitting patterns" tab at the top of the page. Questions and comments welcome and please let me know of any errors you may find.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Knitting! Little Red Riding Hood/ Christmas Hood

Knitting pattern time! This one I made for Halloween, but it can also double for Christmas too. Who doesn't need a bright red cape and hood? This is a one-size fits all type of pattern. My almost-5-month-old daughter is wearing it in the pictures and I tried it on my two-year-old son as well and it fits nicely. 
Little Red Riding Hood/ Christmas Hood

Main colour (mc): Bernat Softee Chunky in Berry Red (2 skeins)

Contrast Colour 1 (cc1): Bernat Softee Chunky in White (1 skein)

5mm circular needles

6 stitches and 8 rows = 2inches

cape has a circumference of 29", Hood is 10" high

One size will fit between 6months and 2T, possibly 3T(see notes in pattern in parentheses) It will just have a more fitted look for older children

cc1-contrast colour 1
cc2-contrast colour 2
k2tog-knit two together
k1f&b-knit one front and back
m1-make 1
mc-main colour
ssk-slip slip knit
St st-stockinette stitch

Cast on 90st in cc1(white) on 5mm circular needles and join in the round, placing a stitch marker to mark the beginning of each new row.
Row 1: *k5, on the right needle, slip 2nd st from left over the first st, then the 3rd st over the 1st, then the 4th over the 1st, and then the 5th over the first, leaving just one st on the right needle, yo* Repeat * to * a total of 18 times.
Row 2: k1f&b in every stitch around
Switch to main colour (Berry Red)
Knit until the red portion of the cape measures 3" long (if you are knitting this for a 2 or 3 year old, consider adding an inch or two of length at this part).
Next row: *k6, k2tog* 9 times
Next row: k
Next row: *k5, k2tog* 9 times
Next row: k
Next row: *k4, k2tog* 9 times
Next row: k
Next row: *k3, k2tog* 9 times (36 st)
Next row: k
Next row: k

Now the hood is going to be worked flat. Instead of continuing to work in the round, turn your work, k2, purl until 2 from the end, k2.
Next row: k
Next row: k2, purl until 2 from end, k2
Next row: k8, *k2, m1, k1, m1* 6 times, k2, k8 (48 st)
Next row: k2, purl until 2 from end, k2
Next row: *k4, m1* 6 times, k1f&b, k3, m1, *k4, m1* 4 times, k4 (60 st)
Continue to work in stockinette st, with the first and last two stitches of each row always knit (garter st) until the hood measures 9.5" long from where it splits from the cape (add and inch or two for sizes 2T-3T). Turn the hood inside out and fold in half, doing a 3 needle bind off to seam the top of the hood together.
Weave in ends and block the hood.
Look out! It's the Big Bad Wolf!

I hope you enjoy this pattern! If you find any errors, please let me know and I will try to fix them. I welcome any questions or comments as well. Please check out the tab at the top of my blog which links to a page of all my other knitting patterns. Stay tuned for the Bid Bad Wolf hat as well!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fall Happenings

It is definitely fall here. No doubt about it. The leaves are yellow and orange and red. The nights are chilly. There is the smell of wood smoke in the air. We've had a visit with the grandparents and some more wildlife encounters. All's well.

This year we were able to grow 5! baking pumpkins in our garden. We are so proud of them (it is hard to grow squash up here!) We also grew the barley in this picture, though not on purpose. They were volunteers from the chicken scratch.
 We woke up a couple of mornings in a row to rosy sunrise light and a beautiful rainbow.
I don't recall ever seeing a rainbow at sunrise. It was beautiful!
 On one of our runs, we encountered this mule deer. She was very friendly and kept trying to approach us. I never let her get too close though.

 And this little robin is always visiting our berry bush to eat his fill.

 Gramps and Kesten enjoyed some "man" time together while eating apples.
 We headed up into the woods for a short hike and to try and make a plaster cast of an animal track.

 Our tomatoes are ripening on the window sill.
 Snuggly Cedar baby!
 The deer hoof print we made a plaster cast of. You can find instructions here.
And isn't this cool? The wind blew apart one of our old hornets nest, revealing the paper cells inside.         
That's a little bit of what has been happening around here lately!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

DIY: A Felted Ball Mobile Tutorial

 My baby girl needed a mobile. And I wanted to make one! So I put together a felted ball mobile and decided to make a tutorial of it, in case you wanted to make one too. Some people have found wet felting to be an intimidating process to try, but it can really be pretty simple. This is a nice beginner project to try to build up confidence. It is hard to get this one wrong! I use a bit of needle felting in the beginning to help out with the wet felting later, but you might be able to skip this part.

What You Will Need:
plain white wool roving
multiple colours of wool roving
a felting needle (this is a special needle that has barbs on it)
a grater
hot water
white vinegar

And for the mobile assembly:
copper wire
wire cutters
needle nosed pliers
white thread
hot glue gun

Step 1:
Pull off about a 5inch long section of white roving. I always pull it apart and never cut it, as cutting leaves weird short fibres.

 Step 2:
Form the white wool into a loose ball.
 Step 3:
Use your needle felting needle to stab it a few times until it holds its shape as a ball.
 This is what it looks like after jabbing it a few times all around.
 Step 4:
Spread your coloured roving apart by pulling it.
 Step 5:
Wrap the coloured roving around your ball to loosely cover it. Pull off the rest of the roving that you don't need.
 Step 6:
Use your needle felting needle to stab all around the ball again, securing the colour in place and making sure that all the white spots are covered. Pull off more coloured roving and use it to cover any white spots if you still find you have holes.
 Your ball should look something like this when it is ready to be wet felted.
 Step 7:
Move to a place where it is ok to get wet. I like to use a bath tub. Now you'll need some soap and a grater along with a watering can filled with really hot water (for this wet felting project, you could probably just use the tap).
 Step 8:
Grate some soap flakes onto your ball.
 Step 9:
Sprinkle some really hot water onto your ball. Make sure it isn't too hot though- you have to be able to handle the ball.
Step 10:
 Pick up the ball and squeeze it in your hands repeatedly. You should feel it start to shrink up right away.
 Step 11:
Roll the ball around in your hands (like how you would make a play dough ball). Use lots of pressure. Within minutes the ball will have shrunk right down and will feel solid.
 This is what the felted ball will look like when it is done.
Step 12:
Rinse the ball under lukewarm water until all the soap is out of it.
 Step 13:
Soak the ball in 10 parts water, 1 part white vinegar. The vinegar neutralizes any soap that may be remaining in the felt. If you skip this stage, the felt may eventually rot. Soak them for 10 minutes.
Step 14:
Rinse the balls under water until you get most of the vinegar out and let them dry. This took about two days before they were fully dry, but I am impatient and assembled my mobile while they were still wet. They dried just fine while hanging in the air.

How to assemble the mobile:
Take a pair of wire cutters and cut a roughly 6inch piece from the copper wire. Use the needle nosed pliers to roll the ends under and gently bend a curve into the wire. Cut as many of these as you need for your style of mobile. I cut 3 6inch pieces, and one larger 10inch piece.
Next, thread your needle and put a knot in the end. Pull this through one ball, then make another knot about 1.5inches above the ball and thread another ball onto the string. Tie this onto one of the loops on the copper wire piece. Repeat for the other side. Then use a thread to attach this piece from the centre to a loop on another copper wire piece (see the picture of the mobile). Build from the the bottom up and balance the mobile by sliding the threads. When everything is in place how you like it, use a tiny glob of hot glue gun glue to keep the threads in place and from sliding. Make one large thread to hang from the ceiling. DONE! Enjoy your mobile! I know my little girl loves hers!

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