Scholarships available……..US and Canada

Happy New Year
As we prepare to kick off a new year, I want to take a moment to thank each of you for your enthusiasm for gardening, your willingness to give your time and share your opinions, sharing your thoughts, questions and ideas with us and most of all, for being in this with us. We really do love plants and gardening and our hard work is worth it because you love gardening too. Thank you, without you there would be no need for Proven Winners.  
Speaking of input, thank you to everyone who participated in our recent surveys. The winners of the randam drawing to receive Proven Winners Calendars are Deborah and Colleen from Ontario, Canada. Diant and Carol from Michigan and Shari from Wisconsin. I hope you all enjoy the calendars.
All of us here at Proven Winners are looking forward to another year of gorgeous flowers and gardening adventures. We hope you’ll come along for the ride again this year. So here’s to an awesome 2017. May your weather be mild and the rain timely.


One of the things that keeps our industry great is the passionate students that learn the ins and outs of developing, growing and selling plants and then work as horticulturists. 
College has become ever more expensive and Proven Winners in the 4th year of offering scholarhips to students in both 4-year universities and technical and coummunity college settings. We get a good number of applications for the 4-year scholarships we offer.
However, we could use your help getting the word out about the 5 $2,000 scholarships we offer for students at tech schools and coummunity colleges. There are 3 ways you can help. You can help us by simply sending this link to any high school student, or their parents, that you know is interested in horticulture.  
Second, we have established contact with every land-grant university in the US, but we don’t have those contacts with community and technical institutions. So if you know of schools in your area with horticulture programs, please send me the name of the school and the city and state or province in which it is located. I’ll find a contact person there. Or if you have a contact, forward the info along yourself.
Lastly, you can send the information about these scholarships to your local high schools. While students in any high school setting can love plants, schools with FFA, ag programs, school gardens or greenhouses are the most likely to have students that know about horticulture and could take immediate advantage of this opportunity. Any assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

FREE Hat pattern…..Lopi white and blue, Felted.

I love making hats! This time a Lopi, a bulky yarn.

Yarn: Istex LOPI, bulky weight. 100% wool. Total weight 138 grams,

Needles: 7 mm, circular.

Size: Adult,


Cast-on 72 stitches. I crochet 72 chains, then Knit first row by knitting into the bumps on the backside of the chain.

Join into a circle.

K15 rows. (For the rolled up brim).

Change colour,

Purl 1 row (blue)

K 15 rows in pattern, (any multiple that divides in 72, (I used a 6 stitch one)

Purl 1 row, (blue)

Change colour.

K1 row and proceed with your chosen method for the crown decreases.

Felted: using top loading automatic washer. 3 or 4 cycles. Pull hat into shape and air dry.

The picture……I think I need one more felting treatment. I love the hairy glow of the hat.


The surprises of Noro Yarns’ colours.

I had purchased an unopened bag of Noro Kureyon yarn. The colours appeared to be the darker shades with a little perk of lime green. Surprise, surprise, the brown and golds turned up with a shocking blue when I was actually knitting it up. As machine knitters know, we can knit alot of rows before we catch on about the changes in colours on these self striping yarns.

I decided to knit the pullover in 4 main body pieces rather than two, intentionally to break up the stripes. My good fortune, that I did. Here is the result, a comfy tunic style pullover. Finished just in time for the first snowfall of the season.

The garment was knit on the Silver Reed SK890, Chunky machine and used only 400 gm of yarn. Noro Kureyon, Colour 276 A, 100% wool.

Something different……Firefighters Museum, Fort Erie, ON. Canada

A visit to the Fort Erie LaFrance Fire Fighters Museum collection. Firetrucks……1915…..1927…..1952……and more.

I had ride in the 1915 Fire Chiefs’ car. A bit of a bumpy ride. The Museum is driving the longest one which is 47 ft with ladders etc in the Santa Claus Parade. It was acquired from a N.J. Fire dept in 1977. The Museum is located in a firehall near the McDonalds in Fort Erie, ON. Canada.

Dryer Balls…..made of leftovers of wool yarn.

Wool is the yarn of choice for making dryer balls. These balls are meant to be used for the efficiency of laundering clothing. When placed in the washer, they bounce around and help loosen the dirt and soil in the items. When placed in the dryer, they bounce around and fluff up the items shortening the drying time.

Wool gives them some weight to do their job. (Acrylics don’t seem to work and also don’t felt.) When making them, use pure wool that will felt. Wind into a ball and then I use a felting tool to help process them. Soak the ball, use soap to clean the spinning oils out of them and assist in felting. Throw them into the washing machine and start the processing with your regular laundry. Wool yarn, because it is all different, may need a wash/felt processing a few times. Watch the magic!

The ones below have had some surface embellishment using the multiprong (7)  felting tool. The tool can be purchased online from or for a buck or two.

More Stash busting

Crocheting this time. A rug using a ” single crochet” stitch, through the back loop. This forms a very nice looking ridge.

 The yarns are a mix of various weights and colours. The picture doesn’t show the true colours. 

10 mm. Crochet hook.

Chain as many chains as desired width.

Start 2nd row with a single crochet stitch into the back loop and continue along, one chain at a time. Chain 2 chains at the end and turn. Repeat until you reach the length of desired rug.

2 strands of yellow,

2 strands of pale pink, (think baby yarn)

2 strands of green (greyish)

1 strand taupe (brownish) bamboo yarn

This will be a substantial weighted rug and so far pleasant to the eye. When completed, I will photo outdoors for a truer depection of the colourings.

A heads up…….sock knitters by machine FREE for now.

Hi – I just finished reading “Easy Peasy 4Ply Socks: Knitting Machine Pattern Book for 4 Ply adult Socks. For all Standard Gauge and Passap Machines, with or without Ribber” by Christine Westhead, and I think you might find it interesting.
Start reading it for free:


Download Kindle for Android, iOS, PC, Mac and more
I needed to access it from

Public Art sculpture in Hamilton, ON

Hamilton, ON, Canada has a retail textile district on Ottawa Street. Luckily, I  had found a parking space near this small parkette in the middle of this area. It was so nice to see the installation of the granite sculpture of the draped maniquin. Sit among the shade trees and sip a latte with the granite lady.

The area has numerous retail stores, every thing textile. Fabrics for weddings, for upholstery, notions, sewing machines, draperies, hardware etc. One parking space shopping. If you can’t find street parking, there is a parking lot behind the stores.

There are also some Antique stores and a couple of cafes? in the area. I believe there is also a local Farmers Market on Saturdays.