Friday, February 17, 2012

Even more wintry weather!

     We've had a daddy of a snowstorm and now can boast quite a covering of snow. It was followed by a couple of days of -15 degrees with real wind chill so the snow has solidified, even though it was followed by a daytime temperature of +7 - down to a more reasonable -3 today but still lovely for going for a walk outside.
   While walking, I listened to a couple of "Gardener's Corner" podcasts from January, 2011, where they (amusingly) talked about the winter being nearly over - and flowering winter shrubs! No wonder our ancestors found Canada such a harsh environment. No, winter is not nearly over. We sometimes say that during the St. Patrick's Day snowstorm, but that's a month away yet.
     My poor greenhouse (polytunnel really) is still a sad sight, with lots of snow covering the plastic, pulling it down, the ends blown out, and many of the plastic conduit poles down - I fear to go out and see how bad it is. Obviously it's not sturdy enough for our dreadful winters. I should have taken the cover off, and then the structure would have been safe. A harsh lesson.
     Knitting continues apace. I have been making felted slippers again, and have rediscovered a couple of felted bags made a couple of years ago and never finished. I'm thinking seriously of embellishment, and have signed up to the "Ambrosia Cottage" group on Ravelry - the owner sells hat patterns to knit and felt, and posts pictures of the embellished results. This could be where my beading skills will come in handy.
The slippers are made of Patons Soy Wool, which I bought in large supply a couple of years ago in pound bags from the mill. They start out quite big and baggy - these ones are sized to end up at 7-1/2 - but they felt down quite quickly. I put them in a hot wash and they just needed to go through one cycle. 
I've been needle-felting insoles in my slippers (after they have been are felted) and that's quite satisfying, as well as being a great decoration method. Quite quick as well.  I am just using some carded locks, which I have had ever since I learned to spindle-spin many years ago (in the first crafts revival of the Seventies). Ah the memories.

  The soles needle-felt right down to a cozy and fluffy insole. Now, to figure out what to do to make the soles wear...having tried the caulking gun (and discovering that the stuff wears off quite quickly, or doesn't penetrate the fibre and picks off) I think for this time I'm going for something sewn on. Recommendations range from shelf- or rug-liner to suede or untrasuede (purchased second-hand). I do have a tube of puffy paint too, and I suppose I might try it - it's black, though, so I won't be doing it on these babies.

This are the 7-1/2s with insole, and the red-orange ones will end up at size 9-9-1/2. I have another bigger pair with black soles and another stripey yarn on the tops. I like the little semi-circle of sole that comes to the top of the toe - they look like old-timey rubber-soled sneakers.
      I should say that the pattern for these slippers is "Duffers - revisited" and I bought it from the designer, Mindie Tallack, on Ravelry. I am becoming a true fan of this online buying of patterns - just click and it's in your email - or, if you buy through Ravelry, it's in your Ravelry Library.  I am sure people have been doing this for years for music and movies on iTunes, but it's new and thrilling for me. 
   We finally got to  go to dance again - Fred's work and snowstorms kept us away for three weeks, so it was great to get back. Work at the fabric store has kept me from ballroom dance, however (three weeks of being scheduled for 5-9 on Thursday nights!) but this week I'm on for Sunday afternoon (so as to miss dancing at the pub!) and all day Wednesday instead. I may not have the energy to dance at Irish after being on my feet for 8 hours! But it is simply great to not have any responsibility. And there are plenty of fabrics to drool over - and buy - as well.  I got a big bolt of lambswool interlining - regularly priced at $21.99/metre - for $10 the lot. I don't know what the future holds for it, but it will make many warm things. Or perhaps many things warmer.

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