Monday, February 13, 2017

Peppermint Afghan

Well, it has taken me a while to get back into blogging, but life has been busy, and I thought I would take a little vacation from blogdom.  It didn't take long for something else to fill the gap though, so life didn't get less busy, just  a tad more relaxing.

AC posted a blog about the Peppermint Afghan I made for Shauna's birthday, and asked me to do a guest blog about the creative process for some of you interested bloggers out there.  So here goes....

Some time last fall Shauna sent me a picture of a Peppermint Afghan, and jokingly suggested that I  make her one.  I thought the pattern was beautiful and worth looking into to see how difficult it might be.  Maybe, just maybe I could do it.  After some searching  I discovered it was a free pattern from Red Heart wool  so I downloaded it.  What a surprise to find  5 long, detailed pages of instructions sitting in the printer tray.  After one attempt to read through it I knew it was beyond me.  I couldn't make head nor tail of  most of it.  Sigh!

Luckily I noticed a link to a video on the web page, and it was just what I needed to walk me through each and every step of the pattern.   It was over an hour long, and I watched it over and over again as I inched my way through the pattern.

After watching the video a few times and getting the pattern etched into my brain,  I went in search of some wool and a crochet hook.  What an adventure that was.  A local craft store had wool on sale, so AC and I set off with pattern in hand.  I had no idea how to read the instructions on type of wool, weight, how many balls to buy etc, so stopped many ladies in the wool section of the store to ask if they were knitters, and would they please help me with this pattern.  Most were very helpful, and as AC and other husbands patiently stood by, very kind ladies wandered around the wool department with me, helping me choose the right weight, and number of balls of wool I would need.  After an exhausting hour or so, we finally walked out of the store with a big bag of red and white wool. Sheesh, what an ordeal.

Now the real work or fun, would begin.

The first step in the process was to make 42 peppermint circles.  Rows 1 to 10 were the same for all 42, so once I got that pattern in my head, it was clear sailing, but row 11 was different.  So, I made all 42 circles up to row 10, then set about completing row 11 on each one.

I needed 10 circles with pattern 1 for row 11; 10 circles with pattern 2 for row 11; 9 circles with pattern 3 for row ll; 9 circles with pattern 4 for row 11; 2 circles with pattern 5 for row 11; and 2 circles  with pattern 6 for row 11.  Are you confused yet?

A picture of motif #1.  The lone circle with the red edging shows the finished motif or circle up to row 10.  The group of 9 shows the finished motif with the unique white edging.  

Reverse side of the motif.  The red and white wool is not stitched together, just woven along the underside.  

The pattern also called for 30 small square motifs to intersperse in the design when sewing the afghan together.    They were all the same, so once I got to this step it was easy peasy!  Sort of.
Once I had all the #1 motifs completed I knew I had to work out a system to keep all the different numbered motifs clearly marked and separated to make it possible to put them in the right order when sewing the project together.
To keep myself organized I set up 6 bags each labeled with the motif number, and colour coded each bag and motif with different coloured wool.  This was a very important step, as each numbered motif would be placed in a different location on the afghan when I started sewing it together.   Yikes what a puzzle.

If you look closely, you will notice the different coloured threads on each circle.  
Each motif had to be placed in a specific order with the small square motifs between each row.  I had to lay them out on the bed, tie them together at the corners, then move it to my lap to sew it together.

I had extra wool left over, so I added the red and white border,  but it was not called for in the pattern.   
I started work on the project in November, and at the end of  December presented Shauna with a bag of wool, a picture of the afghan, and a few completed  peppermint circles along with a note saying the completed afghan might arrive by her birthday in 2017.

Surprisingly I got it done ahead of schedule, and presented it to her at dinner one night in January.
Looks great doesn't it?

Lots of room for us all to snuggle down under.
Now that I know what I am doing, I might make another one.  I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Winter Holiday at RW - 2016 - Part 1

Goodness life got busy, and this blog got a bit dusty didn't it?  Since I was last here, we squeezed in a short trip to RW to get in some snowshoeing before the snow melted, and then headed straight into a week of babysitting the kids during winter break week.  I have lots of pictures to sift through, so let's get started.
On our first afternoon at the farm we ventured down to the Playner Mill to see what was happening down there.  Lots of snow had drifted in, and the doors were snowed shut, but I did manage to get a picture from the outside looking in. 
I love this coat on AC.  He is easy to spot on the snowy trails if he happens to stop to take a picture and lags way behind us.
Time to stop for a sister-hug.  We sure had fun walking the wintry trails.

No swimming down at the old swimming hole today
Brian let us on a merry walk off the path and through the woods.
He got us back to the farmhouse safely though, and it was time for a hot drink and a cookie or two.
Elu looked cute in her blue booties, but this is the best picture I could get of her.  She seemed a bit camera shy.
One of Heather's journal pages in progress.  During a recent visit we went shopping together, and this is her journal page about that visit.  It is fascinating to watch her work on these pages. 
Brian caught up on his sleep after one of his many walks in the woods. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Snow fort

After school the kids and friends gathered on the front lawn to dig our a snow fort.

Working hard

JJ taking a rest while Dani continue to dig tunnels and paths in the snow.
I finally had to call them in to warm up and get ready for dinner.  Once we found dry socks and pants for them, we sat them down in the living room with a photo album of baby pictures to look at.   I don't know if you can see it clearly in these photos, but their cheeks were flaming red from their cold frosty playtime outside. 

They both giggled and laughed at the pictures, but Dani soon wanted to move on to another activity.
JJ however, sat quietly with the album and enjoyed it to the last page.

He then moved on to his jigsaw puzzle. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Snowy walk after the storm

Once we dug out after the storm, we went for a walk through the neighbourhood to enjoy the beauty

The sidewalk plows had been out, so the walking was easy.
We soon came to this walkway down to the river.  The town hadn't cleared this path, but some kind neighbour had.
Such a treat to walk along beside the river
AC going in for a closer look and maybe a picture or two
Looks inviting doesn't it?
No ice on the rive
Enjoying himself
Caught my eye
Still pointing the way
No boating today.

Too cold for boating or swimming

Monday, February 22, 2016

Snowy day - February 2016

We have been enjoying a relatively snow-free winter, but that ended last week, when we had a record breaking one-day snowfall in the Ottawa Valley.  

View from the front door after three shovellings of the front walk. 

The snow finally stopped, and the walk is clear, but the pile of snow beside the walk is huge.

The backyard from the patio door.  The BBQ is almost lost beneath the snow.

Path has been dug to the fire hydrant.

Don't think these neighbours will be getting out their back door anytime soon.

Most neighbours pitch in and clean both sides of the driveway especially if they have a snowblower, but some make a line right down the middle of the drive, and don't take a speck from the other driveway.   This always boggles my mind.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Fun with Buppa

 Sunshine in the morning
Yes these smiles do bring sunshine in the door in the morning

Morning hugs are the best.

Monday, February 15, 2016

JJ's birthday 2016

Time to open more BD presents
He decided to stand on a chair to make it easier to get at his big present.  He does love to climb
Very pleased with the card Buppa made for him
He took lots of time to study the inside of the card too.
A prized collection of real fossils
What is this tray for Amma?
It's to contain the mess from the dinosaur dig project.
Messy, but oh so much fun to dig dinosaur bones out of a piece of rock.  Scrape and brush, scrape and brush.  Ever so carefully, scrape and brush, and the bones will emerge.
Oh, I think I see something.
Later in the day when he took a break from his dinosaur dig, he came out of his room wearing this.   The fun just never stops with this creative little guy.