Just finished the set of eight placemats for Andrea’s kitchen. I don’t have a picture of her kitchen but the tile floor is grey/white, cupboards are dark brown, countertops also white/grey granite, and there’s a dark red sofa in the family room. Hence my colour selection.

This set of placemats used eight fat quarters (a fat quarter is half of a 1/2 m of fabric rather than 1/4 m from the width of the fabric). They are stacked and cut into pieces (the pieces from each fabric are all the same size and shape), then you mix and match to create the placemat. Very efficient use of fabric – very little left over.

Finished dimensions: 17″ x 13″ – a good size for a placemat. I used a brown/brown printed fabric for the reverse.

I could have completed the placemats with a binding but used a “pillowcase” finish instead – stitched the quilt sandwich in the following way: back fabric wrong side up, pieced top fabric right side up, batting. The edge stitching starts part way along one long side, and edge side, second long side, second edge side, and finally part way on the other end of the first side leaving an opening to turn the placemat right side out. The small opening (~ 4″) is blind stitched closed. I just like the look of the placemats unbound.

The quilting: stitch in the ditch along all seams both horizontal and vertical; very quickly done.

Our Traditional Sweet Kugel

My mother used to make this dish to accompany a savoury meal – not just for Christmas, she made it on other holiday occasions. I make it only at Christmas if I’m asked to – otherwise I’d simply eat the whole thing myself….

I was asked a couple of weeks ago to make the sweet kugel for Christmas dinner. The dish used to be my youngest sister’s favourite, I asked if she wanted one for her freezer. So, I was making two. Last night a friend was discussing her modest Christmas dinner with her husband and her mother – I offered to make one for her, too.

Over the last few days I have been collecting the ingredients – this afternoon I made the kugels.  

It’s a tricky dough – flour, egg, water, small amount of oil, pinch of salt. It’s very stretchy and sticky. Once rolled out (on a heavily floured board) it gets covered with cranberry sauce, strawberry jam, sliced apples, raisins, a drizzle of vegetable oil, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. THEN you try rolling it (like a strudel – which is what this kugel sort of is). I flop the edges toward the centre, then finally get my hands underneath, turn it over, and drop it into an oiled round baking dish.

Small kugels like these bake for about an hour and a half at a 325 oven. If the top starts getting too dark, I cover them with foil.

I let them cool – while still a bit warm I removed them from the baking dish (if I put them in the fridge in the original dish everything sticks and it takes a long soak to clean things up.)

Ready to be put in an oven proof dish to reheat covered with foil for about 30 minutes and then served with the turkey!


(I put a spoon in the one for my sister – it’s definitely good.)

Felted Knit Hat

Too bad I didn’t think to take pictures of the hat before I felted it – when I put on the finished hat (before felting) I looked like the cat in the hat with this enormous thing covering my head down to my nose!

Last night I put the hat in a small amount of very hot water in my washing machine, agitated it for about ten minutes – and suddenly the hat was half the size, felted and it fit. I wrung it out in a towel, stuffed the top of the crown with crushed newspaper, and placed the hat over an inverted bowl to dry.

It’ll look good with my navy coat, my maroon corduroy jacket, and even my red parka! I’m now knitting another in red (with a contrasting band at the base of the crown from the yarn I used for this hat).

OK – here is the hat with a smile!

Using The Peruvian Cloth

I bought three pieces of woven cloth (carry cloths) at the market in Ayacucho – a red, a black, and a maroon. The Peruvian women (particularly those from the countryside) use these woven cloths for carrying small children or bundles of goods and produce from and to home.

These particular cloths are woven in factories and are relatively inexpensive (using synthetic fibres). However they are woven using traditional patterns and it was the patterns that attracted me – so I bought one for a friend and two for myself for making something.
Past Monday evening I realized I didn’t have a Christmas gift for the gal who cuts my hair so I decided to whip up some small zippered bags like those I saw in Peru. A 10″ strip from one side of the red cloth was enough to make 4 bags – this one I’m using instead of wrapping the gift inside with paper! This recipient is actually getting two gifts.

This evening I intend to make several more – thank goodness for my zipper stash! It won’t take long and I’ll have small gifts to use when I need something.

More Photos From Peru

Giancarlo sent some photos from our Peruvian trip the other day. Although these gals didn’t speak English and I don’t have much in the way of Spanish, I had years of sock-making photos on my iPhone – we had little trouble “communicating” about knitting…


Sharing Knitting With Some Knitters


Sharing Knitting With Some Knitters

I tried my hand at spinning with a “puchka” (a drop spindle) – a hopeless failure even with some expert help!


Failing at Spinning!

Our motley crew! Photo taken at Maximo Laura’s Ayacucho Workshop. (Maximo is in the back.) The gal on the right is Maximo’s sister – she manages the Laura Ayacucho Workshop; she dies all if the yarn blending for the tapestries and she does a wonderful job. Missing from the photo were Giancarlo (taking the photo) and Wilbert (out with the van). BTW I was not the oldest in the group, Beth (second on the right) is older than I am.

Yet Another Pair

Finished these socks last evening. Made from two different leftover patterned yarns (plus some complementary solid). The combination worked out reasonably well.

I’m coming to the end of leftovers – another pair or two – and then I’ll need to buy more variegated sock yarn.

I started a brimmed hat before leaving for Newfoundland. I’ll get back to it later this evening after I get home.

Child Socks #3

Third pair of tiny child’s socks done.

Although there’s no green in the yarn, they look kinda Christmas-y. If the socks fit, she should have fun wearing them.

Now back to the grown-up pair I was working on before I started these small socks.

Child Socks #2

I was asked for pink – here is pink.

Foot length – 11 cm (shorter than the first pair at 14 cm).

Should fit better than the first pair.

I’m working from leftovers so the next pair will be red with a bit of white for contrast (I was sorry I hadn’t used a bit of white in the grownup pair – this pair will have a tiny bit of white).

Pictures of the third pair in a day or two!

Knitting Socks

I had to share the following conversation!

Charlie will be four in February. I was Facetiming with him the other evening. I don’t remember discussing knitting socks, but maybe I did show him the small pair I was working on. Obviously Charlie made some kind of connection because I got the following text today from my nephew (Charlie’s dad).

This morning:

Charlie: Where’s Aunt Judith?

Mom: In Halifax 

Charlie: Is she hanging out with her family making socks?

I promptly wrote back – “Better measure his feet; he’ll be next on the list.”

Actually I need to get the shoe size of his two older brothers. Can’t knit socks for one and not the older two!

Child Socks #1

Day before yesterday a friend sent an email asking if I’d be willing to make a couple of pairs of socks for a young child – she’s almost four but she’s small with very tiny feet.

I dug out some leftover yarn from my stash and had a go. Forty stitches, 3″ of leg, turn the heel, decrease through the gusset, then the foot – I had no idea how long to make the foot! My sock charts suggested 13 cm for a size 3-5 shoe – so 13 cm it was.

Took the socks to show my neighbour (who happens to be knitting kids’ socks right now) – oh they’re too short for a 4 year-old, she said. So I contacted my friend and asked for the actual length of the child’s foot – 10 cm! So this first pair of socks will be TOO big (I’ll send them along to grow into…).

I’ve started a second pair – 40 stitches cast on, but I’ll decrease to 36 after 8 rows (if her feet are that small, her ankles will also be tiny). Then I’ll do a foot that’s 10 1/2 cm. The problem is if the sock is too big it will bunch inside her shoe/sneaker and be uncomfortable. The joy of wearing hand-knit socks is how wonderful they feel if they’re the right size.

Pictures of the second pair in a day or two….