Tuesday, January 26, 2016


I've often felt like someone who travels through life as an outlier. I find myself frequently being squeezed by the flat end of the bell curve, and there's no predicting which end of the curve it's going to be. Sometimes I find I have developed an interest in something long before it becomes trendy. Knitting would be a good example of this. Other times I find that by the time I decide to try something it's a quaint relic from the past. This weekend's sewing adventure falls into the latter category.

On Friday I saw a post by Meredith at the Mereknits blog about some jeans she remade into a denim skirt. This intrigued me. After all, who doesn't have an old pair of jeans in their closet? I'm guessing almost everyone. And who doesn't think a jean skirt would be the perfect addition to their wardrobe? Okay, well, maybe almost nobody. But that didn't stop me from thinking these would be a brilliant thing to make and then wear.

So Saturday afternoon, instead of working on the quilt I had just cut out several hundred squares for, I grabbed an old pair of jeans, looked at several tutorials online (I mostly used this one), and started ripping and cutting.

Ripping isn't my favourite thing to do, but the good news is because I have had to do so much of it on previous projects I'm actually not bad at it.

At this stage they sort of resembled the grown-up version of the pants I've seen on toddlers in China.

The cut off legs provide the material for the front and back inserts. Pinning them in was fairly straightforward, but sewing them was a bit of a pain.

It wasn't until after I finished that I found out turning your jeans into a skirt was a thing back in the 70s. So there you have it, my fashion blast from the past. And yes, I've worn it and it was incredibly comfortable, which trumps trendy any day.

I also made pajama bottoms last week. I went to the fabric store for thread, but couldn't walk out without these knitting sheep!

This picture has nothing to do with anything I wrote about in this post. I'm offering it up to soothe your eyes after looking at multiple pictures of a pair of mutilated old jeans.

I'm curious. Does anyone else feel like a Life Outlier? Do you ever feel like you are either way behind or way ahead of everyone around you? Or possibly not even on the same planet?

Monday, January 18, 2016

A Knitter's Roll

There's been a flurry of finishing here at the Hammond cottage. There's something about January that seems to make my needles go faster. The projects almost seem to finish themselves. Instead of my usual knitters math of casting on two projects for every one I finish, I'm actually at a one to one ratio. But before I start the picture parade, a word of warning. This post is 100% knitting content, so if knitting isn't your thing you might want to skip this particular post.

My brother asked me if I could knit him a toque that would match his neon green ski pants and black jacket. He texted me a picture and my first thought was where in the world was I going to find neon green yarn. Then I remembered I had some leftover from making mittens a few years ago. Gotta love stash! It's the popular Turn A Square by Jared Flood.

Next up is a classic case of "the cobbler's children have no shoes." During our two weeks of winter Jay was trying to find a hat. It turns out he doesn't own one. Feeling somewhat humiliated, I quickly cast on a Rib-A-Roni with some lovely Madelinetosh yarn. (The hat is being modelled by my son-in-law due to the fact that my husband has decided to grow a beard. This blog is officially boycotting the beard. )

This pattern has been in my Ravelry queue for quite some time. It's Rye, by Tin Can Knits. I knit a man's size with sport weight yarn. This was a quick and fun pattern!

Just in time for Valentine's Day! A Milo with a heart cable pattern. Another great "go to" baby pattern. I made a couple for Lucy when she was little, and now it's Ella's turn.

I was so happy with how this Wee Envelope by Ysolda Teague turned out. It fits perfectly, and I think it really suits Ella.

This last photo isn't something that I knit this month, but I wanted to show you Ella wearing her Christmas Licorice Allsorts sweater. It's still a bit big, but that's okay. It should fit perfectly by the time spring rolls around. Doesn't she look like a wee gnome?

January is just halfway over, so I'm sure there will be more knitting completed before the month ends. What do you have on your needles?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Taste of Winter

Winter in the southwest corner of British Columbia can be challenging. Not because we suffer through months of snow and cold and ice. No, the challenge here is, sadly, we often seem to miss out on these things. There's something so fresh and beautiful about newly fallen snow. I love the way it coats the trees and covers the ground. I like the quiet that blankets the outdoors after it's fallen. And, of course, being a knitter I enjoy getting a chance to wear the toques and mittens and scarves that spend most of the year tucked away in a chest.

So when the snow started falling over the holidays I was almost as excited as Lucy was when she was outside giggling as the white stuff was coming down around her. It is slowly warming up again now, but we had a good two week stretch of winter conditions, which is two weeks more than we got last year.

The water temperature is warmer than the air, causing a mist to rise up from the lake's surface.

Ice has built up on logs near the shore.

Hoar frost has coated plants and branches.

It's also coated these bird feathers on the beach.

I've been having fun using the snow as a backdrop for pictures of my knitting. I just finished this Milo vest for Ella. Heart cables seemed a good match for the colour of the yarn. Ravelry details here.

But there are reminders that we do live in a place that sees spring much sooner than the rest of Canada. These have just made an appearance in our yard.

Thank you for all your lovely comments on my last post. There were a couple questions I wanted to answer. Leanne asked if we ate all the food I bought to feed everyone over Christmas. Yes, we ate our way through almost all of it! There was one pound of bacon and two of the ten dozen eggs left, along with a bit of salad and the two ham bones. If they had stayed another day we would have been in trouble.

Janet asked if I could explain Teapot Hill. For those of you who are new to my blog and are wondering about this oddly named place, you can read about it in this previous post. To be honest, sometimes I worry that you are going to get Teapot fatigue. I tend to write a lot about it, and post a fair number of pictures from there as well. But it's a big part of my life. I hike it at least once a week during the winter, and several times a week the rest of the year. It's one of the things I love the most about where I live. The funny thing is, after writing a post about how much I love the winter, the one downside to the cold and icy weather is that I haven't been able to get up Teapot since the hike with my brother and niece. It's treacherous right now. A friend and I attempted it on New Year's day and turned back. The path was a sheet of ice. Which means there's a bright side to the melting snow and warmer days. I'll soon be back to hiking Teapot.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Confession Time

I sat down this morning to sort through my pictures in order to do a post about Christmas. In a matter of minutes I felt completely overwhelmed by the number of pictures I had taken. As I scrolled through all of them I also realized that if I included a photo of each person who was here to celebrate, you were going to have a severe case of picture fatigue before you got through even half of the blog post. So my apologies, but you are stuck with this Cole's Notes version of the 2015 Hammond Christmas.

I'll start out with the group picture, just so you know we really did have an overflowing cottage. If you throw in the photographer (that would have been me), the head count was fifteen. It's not a perfect picture, but with that many people, plus an errant dog making an appearance, this is as good as it gets.

One of the very special parts of the holiday was my mom getting to spend time with both of her great granddaughters.

It was my niece Danielle's first visit to our cottage, so of course I had to take her up Teapot Hill. Here she is at the very top, holding one of the 33 teapots we spotted on the hike.

Two days before Christmas we got snow! It was Lucy's first time playing in it, and she was hilarious. She kept flinging herself down, making snow angels. Then she would hold out her tongue and try to catch snowflakes on it, giggling the whole time. Most of all, she loved making a snowman.

Here's the Wowligan sweater I knit for Lucy. The picture of her wearing it isn't great, but it was the best I could manage when trying to get a two year old on a Christmas cookie high to model. Ravelry details here.

Ella's Oslo-Anorak, which I have renamed Licorice Allsorts,  is just a little too big, so pictures of her wearing it will follow in a few weeks. Besides, even if it had fit, there was no way to get her into the sweater because someone was always holding her. My brother was especially guilty of this. Every time I turned around he had Ella!

Christmas is a funny thing. Weeks, and perhaps months if you are a knitter, go into planning it. Then there is this intense, crazy, busy, loud, fun time together that is over in a heartbeat. It was wonderful having everyone here, and we had a great time together. But I have to confess, when it was over I felt a bit like this picture.

Happy New Year!