Monday, June 13, 2022

Firsts and Starts

 Around here the story line continues to focus on the yard/garden, and stitching, stitching, stitching.  We've had a bit more rain, and more is forecast, but in between thunder showers the lawns have been mowed, the trees admired by all and sundry, and there's even a wee harvest!

At our parish church yard sale (June 5), I picked up a new-to-me pot!  It's so large that now that it's filled, it won't be moving any time soon, but it's so pretty that I might have to work out a new "Blue Pot" art piece. 

I mounted it on a large stump, left over from a grand old evergreen that the previous owners of this land cut down a decade or so ago:

And I've filled it with verbena and a few trailing mini-petunias from the local garden centre -- in  my favourite colours, of course!  The verbena, at least, were labelled 'deer-resistant'; so far, so good!

While my leaf lettuce, green beans and carrots are being woefully slow about sprouting, this morning I picked my first rhubarb and mixed greens!

The honeysuckle's in full bloom, which makes the bees happy...

And the cedar waxwings have been partying under the bird-feeders!

I tend to do my "hard labour" in the mornings -- mowing, pruning suckers, weeding and the like -- and spend my afternoons stitching in the sunshine.  That said, given the state of my embroidery floss -- as I mentioned in my last post --- I had to do something about that before my conscience would let me relax enough to stitch!

Doesn't this look so much better?!

The bags are numbered in batches, and that old blue binder 
has been repurposed as storage for "samples".

With that taken care of, I started a new piece especially for the daughter of my friend C., whose first baby has just arrived (or so I hope! Baby was due June 2!)  

At that same yard sale I picked up an old issue of "McCall's Creative Crafts" -- Volume 10 from June 1984, no less!  Inside was a pattern for a growth chart featuring gnomes climbing up a flowering vine.  And in the stash of linens I inherited from C. was the perfect long, narrow piece of 22-count even-weave in a lovely cream colour.  I stay-stitched the edges and began -- per instructions -- at the bottom of the piece.  The pattern is rather obscured -- whether it was poor quality to start with or has deteriorated over time, I can't tell.  I tried to enlarge it on my printer, but it didn't help much!  Thus I'm relying on a combination of my enlargement, the original, and the colour photos of the work -- including a few very helpful close-ups -- to get it right.  I'll fudge what I can't ascertain!  Just as long as the colours are pleasing, I'll be happy!

Here's my start:

And here's a bit more progress from the end of last week:

Compared to the work I've been doing on 28, 32 and 36 count, this has been a very easy stitch -- even if the pattern's hard to read.  I hope to have it done by Baby's first Christmas.

Speaking of those finer counts...I've made some progress on a couple of those too.  First, Ruth Gibb, 1882, which I began on Mother's Day, and worked on this week on June 6 (when I became a mother to my son) and June 8 (my mother's birthday; she was named Ruth and her mother was a Gibb by birth).  

Here's where it is now -- on 32 count Vintage Light Exemplar from Lakeside Linens, using called-for DMC floss - colour #3777.  That ornate bit of work in the upper right marks the corner of that border, so I'm making good progress indeed!

Of course a re-org wouldn't be a re-org without finding something else that takes one's fancy!  As I tidied my fabric drawers to accommodate my newly-inherited fabrics, I unearthed treasures, including kits I'd bought years ago and still want to make up.  Included in these finds was a set of three "Gingham" pieces -- one for summer, one for autumn and one for winter.  They're small and cute and done on especially-created gingham-print fabrics.  I decided to start with "Gingham Summer":

Designer: Ruth A. Sparrow
of Twisted Threads - (c) 2002 (!)
Fabric: 28 count Riviera Gingham
by Graziano, from Norden Crafts
Threads: the DMC conversion (and 1 Anchor floss)

And as of early this morning, here's my progress:

I'll wait till all three are finished before I figure out how to mount them, but I'm thinking right now that they may become some sort of quilted wall hanging.

Another summer start has been the "Summer Bird" from Blackbird Designs:

Here was my start on June 5th...

And here's my progress to date...

It's on 32 count Belfast from Zweigart, in 'Antique Ivory', and I'm using the DMC conversion provided in the pattern.

Brenda reported that she received the package of "Marching Orders" that I sent for her and her friend Laura (the Serial Starter) -- she's delighted with the flat-fold and can't wait to see Laura open her gift too.  It's good to know they arrived safely, even as my "Incarnation" piece is winging its way east to Virginia for the up-coming Sacred Threads exhibit.

There's still nothing new on the art quilt front.  I'm trying to get fired up to go to my long-awaited 5-day, 4 night residency in B.C. (postponed from 2020), but have just discovered that the cost to go has nearly doubled due to the increased cost of gasoline (I'd be driving) and accommodation the night before and the night after it ends.  It's a 6 1/2-hour drive -- without stopping -- so a full day each way.  Flying is not an option due to the location.  I've had to admit to the organizer that unless I can be accommodated one night early and stay over one more night at the end...well...I might just have to bow out.  Increased costs are one thing, but add to that 3 cancelled art markets, few other art sales, a new refrigerator (Dec 2020), a new laptop (March 2021), new glasses (March 2022) and a plumbing job in my kitchen (last month) savings are a sad and sorry sight -- especially as I've been tucking funds away to ensure I get to the SAQA conference in Toronto in 2023.


I'd already paid for an overnight (June 17-18) at Fibre Week in Olds -- about 1 1/2 hours' drive southeast -- for a Basic Spinning class (pondered for years and finally available again now that COVID is a bit more manageable).  I'm thinking I didn't plan well enough for the B.C. trip -- my crystal ball obviously needs polishing so I can have better foresight in the future!

The next few days the rains may return -- and I'll go back to working on 'regular' quilts.  A friend gave me a beautiful roll of heavy-weight polished cotton -- metres and metres of it, once intended for light-weight curtains -- in a blue-and-yellow contemporary lattice/checkered design.  It's 55" wide, and perfect for backing "Hearts of Hope", so I hope to have that sandwiched this week.  

And then there's the long-neglected "Rhododendron Trail", Bonnie Hunter's 2021 mystery.  I started the final construction of the blocks long ago and abandoned it when the attack on Ukraine began, in favour of making comfort quilts for refugees.

I'm determined to keep going, and to enjoy what I'm doing -- no matter the disruptions and disappointments that might litter my path.  I'll leave you with my usually-late link to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday and my latest "line to hold it all together":  

When the going gets tough, the tough get stitching!

Thanks for sticking with me, Gentle Readers.  

Have a great week!

Monday, June 06, 2022

Rainy Re-Org!

 At last it's raining!  Here on the rolling prairie of central Alberta, we last had rain more than 2 weeks ago, and I was scraping the bottom of my rain barrels, trying to care for my perennial flower beds and my recently-planted veggies.  Today, I'm delighted to see the rain -- and to spend my day in my jammies, catching up on correspondence and sorting out stuff.

Yes...stuff.  Useful stuff, but stuff nonetheless. 

C. and me, Sept. 1969
Those of you who've been following me here for a bit will remember that one of my great losses in 2020 was my best friend from high school, a woman only 6 days older than I who -- as far as was known -- was in good health.  No, it wasn't COVID; it was her heart.  I still miss her.  We shared embroidery in common, and cross-stitch, and she introduced me to quilting -- and then invited me to join her at an exhibit of art quilting students, which changed my life.

Her daughter has been sorting out her sewing and craft supplies in the last few months, and got in touch with me about something I might like.  Last week a box arrived -- full of stitchy goodness: fabric, thread, a couple of kits, some patterns and a few magazines.  Treasure Trove!

Stitching Treasures!

Then came the question: where to store it so I could use it?!  

The first thing I did was sort the fabric.  I pressed the linens and took the thread count of any that weren't labelled. embroidery fabric had already filled one drawer in my  studio and spilled into another.  Uh-oh!

This morning I was up early and ready to SORT!  Coffee in hand, I opened that oh-so-full drawer.  In it I found not only the fabric, but...of course!  There were several kitted projects I'd decided I wanted to do...eventually.  (It's part of my live-until-I'm-250 plan, remember? 😉)  

I emptied the drawer completely and started from scratch.  Once I had of my fabrics out in full view, I realized there were some things I no longer wanted or would use -- so all of that has been bagged up and will go to the local charity shop.  Then I returned all the fabric to the drawer -- stacked by thread count.  There was room to add in my recent legacy -- lovely! All is well in the drawers of fabric.

But then...there's the flosses -- mainly DMC but also some embroidery wool (not tapestry wool) and over-dyed floss (Weeks Dye Works and Gentle Arts in particular).  

Oy vey!

On the left in the above photo is the Very Thick blue binder in which I'm currently storing my floss -- mainly DMC.  Yes, I have other threads (mainly silks and perle cottons) but those are stored elsewhere -- hanging in packets on a pegboard, or in little balls (the perle cotton) in recycled cardboard egg cartons.  

And the pages in the binder -- recycled from the days when people kept computer discs in the plastic pockets -- are starting to fall apart.  They're made of thin plastic, and many (most?) are starting to crack and split in this dry climate.  

Before the existence of the binder -- about 25 or 30 years ago -- I used to keep cotton floss on bobbins in a box.  When my interest in cross stitch went on hiatus -- C. had just introduced me to quilting, for starters! -- that box was given to my daughter, who was on a 'friendship bracelet' kick and used all the floss to braid and/or weave those things for herself and her friends.  I never missed it.  

At this stage in my life, though, I'm not running out to invest in that sort of fussy system again.  I have some "Floss-Away" bags somewhere, left from when I bought them to store embroidery silks, so I'm hoping I can locate them without too much trouble.  I might be able to store my skeins of thread in them in numerical order, and put 'em on rings.  Then I'll re-arrange an existing bit of peg-board...

Ahhhh, yes...the domino effect of re-organizing...!  Good thing more rain is in the forecast...😉

Before the Treasure Trove landed and the rain hit, I'd been busy enjoying my yard and garden.  Spring arrived in full force and my ornamental fruit trees have been buzzing with bees, putting on a show!

When not mowing the grass (!), it's been delightful to stitch out in the fresh air, surrounded by glorious natural sounds of birds and bees -- and the colour of the blossoms against the blue of the sky.

As a result, I've had some Finished Objects and some Finally Finished ones too!

A week ago I mailed a parcel off to Brenda and Laura, creators of the Brenda and the Serial Starter FlossTube -- the Just Nan pair of projects I'd been making for them, so that "Marching Orders" can "march on"!  These I'd finally finished with some trepidation -- there was a bit of a learning curve, and those of you Gentle Readers who know me, know that "I don't do fiddly!"  

Laura's was finished as a tiny needlebook -- about 3" square!!



Under the flap

Inside -- with a tiny pocket
and batting for needles

What to do with Brenda's, which originated as a sampler, because she's also known as "The Sampler Stitcher"?

With a deep breath, and a close following of the YouTube tutorial by the wonderful Vonna Pfeiffer (aka "Twisted Stitcher"), I made my very first 'flat fold'!

Flat-fold front

Flat fold lining and backing

View from the side

I used MistyFuse and liquid gel medium as glue, and mat board as the foundation, covered with fabric.  I interfaced the stitched piece, and laced it to a piece of the mat board. I padded the a second piece of board with a thin piece of scrap cotton batting, lined it with some of the purple fabric, and glued those two pieces together.  Then there were two pieces of mat board -- both covered in fabric -- glued together.  There's a little piece of red fabric hem-binding (left from the days when I sewed garments) that is fixed in between front and back so it will stand up.

"There!  That wasn't so hard, was it?" 

I might use that technique again, if I have call for it.  Meanwhile, I just forge ahead with current projects.

I've finished another stitched piece that needs to go to Montreal, and I don't want to ship it framed, so I may lace it to mat board and let the recipient frame it in her own taste and timing (it's a birthday gift for a friend who loves to cook and bake).  At 7" square before borders, I think it's too big for a flat fold, and I've nothing in fabric that would suit its going into a quilted frame:

"House of Cooking" 
Designer: Nikyscreations

Kind of folksy, but I like it, and I think she will too.

In other finishing news:  I joined in on a "Hap KAL" (Knit ALong) with the Ravelry group operated by The Woolly Thistle yarn shop.  I love woolly wool, and have been blessed to have some sourced directly from Scotland (on my trips!) and some from sheep raised and sheared here in Alberta.  A hap is a large shawl originating in northern Scotland and the Shetland Isles, often knit in garter stitch, centre first, and bordered in lace -- often using the "auld shale" (or 'old shell') pattern.  I started one on 2007 from yarn I brought back from Scotland that year, using a pattern in the book entitled Shawls and Scarves: The Best of Knitter's Magazine -- and finished it in 2019. (It didn't take 12 years to knit! It sat languishing for some years before I picked it up and finished it).  It's full-sized and perfect for coziness in Canadian winters!

This latest go 'round, I knit a "half hap" -- and an asymmetrical one at that -- using the Hemu pattern from Joanna Ignatius.  I started it with the others in the KAL, and was letting it sit (again)...when I got word that my dear cousin James, with whom I'd had dinner in 2017 in our hotel in Portree, Isle of Skye, near his home, had died.  I was very fond of him (2017 was our third in-person encounter) and corresponded with him regularly.  I decided to finish the hap in his honour and memory.  His funeral was this past week (I've not brought myself to watch the taping yet)...I'm tearing up just writing this.  But the wee hap is finished, and just needs blocking:

Hemu half hap
Designer: Joanna Ignatius
Yarn: Heirloom Fingering BWM (Black Welsh Mountain)
 from the Alberta Yarn Project (black),
Luddite Yarn's Hill & Down Fingering (grey), 
and J.C. Rennie Supersoft 4-ply ('Amethyst')
purchased in Scotland

Close-up of the Auld Shale patterned border
(Not the same as 'Feather & Fan')

Last but not least, I've finished the "Hearts of Hope" quilt top...the third in the blue-and-golden yellow series.  I've found pale blue poly-cotton in my fabric stash for the backing (part of my 'other' inheritance, from my friend J., who also died in 2020 at the age of 89), but have yet to sandwich and quilt it.  It measures about 55" square, so will make a nice little comfort quilt.

Pattern: Hearts of Hope -- Bonnie Hunter

And that's pretty much "it" from this corner of the world at the moment.  No new art work to show you (ideas continue to percolate), but I'll be sending "Incarnation to Resurrection" off to the US later this week, preparatory to its being part of the Sacred Threads 2022 exhibit, in the "Spirituality" section.

I've missed the June 3 link-up over on Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday...maybe I'll catch up to it later this week.  In any event, if you've been reading, thanks so much for coming along on my latest adventures.  Whatever the season, whatever the weather, I hope this finds you well, safe and creative this week! 😊

Friday, May 20, 2022

Moving Right Along...

 May is slipping through my fingers, and I can't seem to hold onto it.  That's probably a Good Thing, though, because it's been three weeks of very dry, very cold, sometimes snowy and at least one (good) day -- yesterday -- rainy.  Just enough to frustrate the 'Gardener' in me and delight the 'Stitcher'.  Sheesh!

So...what have I been doing while waiting for Spring to actually arrive?


I've managed to baby a few tulips into blooming.  I've planted some seeds in my raised beds -- ones that don't mind the cold (lettuce, mixed greens, dill, zucchini, carrots) -- and some in those two 'wildflower islands' I talked about last year.  Under the big willow I transplanted daisies and yarrow -- and they survived the winter!  I also planted some narcissus (deer don't like 'em) -- and they're coming up.   No blooms, yet, but no matter.  I'm just glad they made it!  

I've removed the burlap from my baby apple trees and they're putting out leaves.  The Parkland looks like it might even produce some blossoms, and where there are apple blossoms, can apples be far behind?

I set up a mini green-house over the herbs (thyme and oregano) and greens, to protect them from both the cold and the deer, and they seem to be happy.  I think I'll get another one of these to protect my carrots when they start to come up.  😊

The wee Sasaktoon bushes are leafing out, and show signs of growth and spread, which is another Good Thing.

I've mowed the East Lawn and might get to the West Side tomorrow -- if it warms up and stops blowing!  


There's  much more going on.  Lemme see...where did I leave you a couple or three weeks ago?!

1. "Hearts of Hope" -- well now!  All seven rows of seven blocks are together, and I've begun to add borders.  

The inner border is "the called for" -- 1" finished -- but not the next one.  I didn't have enough blue to make strings for a cross-cut pieced border.  What I do have is 98 half-square triangle (HST) blocks that I constructed when I was trimming the yellow heart shapes.  I dug out one of my last suitable (i.e. large enough) pieces of "blue" fabric -- geometric blue-and-white -- cut squares to match et voila!  A border is born!  I'll put the same on the other sides -- with solid royal blue cornerstones to make it "pop".  It should probably still have another border to make it large enough; I'll cross that bridge when I come to it! 😉

2. Cross stitch continues to hold me in its thrall.  In fact, it's taken hold so firmly that I was inspired to create a few project bags to accomodate it.  

Now then.  Those of you who know me, know that I "don't do fiddly" -- or at least, I do it only under protest, and then I don't do it well.  On the other hand, I had these linens and "samples" that needed homes...weren't being used...shouldn't end up in the landfill.  And I wanted nicer packages for my stitching projects.  

What to do?  Suck it up and make project bags!!

I started simple: take an old linen 'hand towel', an old linen napkin, a bit of batting, some ribbon and a button.  Hearken back to six years of Home Ec and what you know about Putting Things voila!

Finished Project 'Envelope'

Damask lining -- a recycled napkin

What's in the pockets?

I liked it so much, I thought I'd try my hand with two more.  

First...(drum roll, please!) one with a zipper!  Note: I've not put a zipper in anything for decades -- since I left garment sewing behind to follow the siren song of quilting.  And I'd certainly not tried out the zipper foot on my current sewing machine -- bought a mere 3 1/2 years ago!  But I had this odd piece of "art" created in a Craftsy class with my favourite teacher, Joe (the Quilter) Cunningham.    I don't even have a photo of it from when I made it in that class -- but it's composed of two colours: deep purple and knock-your-eye-out yellow.  It wasn't going anywhere...till it became THIS:

Front - with 14" zipper


And then...there's this one.  Another envelope.  It's composed from a piece I'd made out of four 'Drunkard's Path' blocks, constructed in an in-person class in another lifetime, long ago, with fabric choices that make me ask myself, "What WAS I thinking?!"  As a square piece (4 blocks, joined with sashing) it was an abject failure.  I didn't even want it as a table topper, for pity's sake!

But...folded and quilted and stitched into a 'project envelope'?  It has new life, new purpose!

I didn't put pockets in it, but that's okay.  It's large enough to accommodate a "mini bag" inside.  So far I've not assigned a project to it, but there will come a day...

 Meanwhile, the purple one travelled with me this past weekend to Edmonton, and handily housed my "House of Cooking" cross-stitch piece, the zip-lock bag of floss, my scissors, my magnetic board, folding stand and magnets to hold the pattern, the pattern itself (of course!), the project in a 7" hoop (it could have accommodated a 9" one) and my clip-on magnifying glass.  What's not to like?!

I've made good progress on that piece (sorry, no photo -- birthday gift for a friend who's an Occasional Reader of this blog!)...and on others since my last post.

On May 1 I made a tiny start on Jeannette Douglas' mini-bouquet for the month, having added to the horizontal border between the first and second rows:

I've not got back to it since, being preoccupied with "House of Cooking" -- and with the other May start: Ruth Gibb (1866) from Hands Across the Sea Samplers. I started it on Mother's Day because -- you may recall -- "Gibb" was my mother's mother's maiden name.  It's a pretty piece and an easy stitch -- if you can get the border right!  (Yes, I did.  I paid attention to the note that points out the replicated 'error' in that border, made by Ruth at age 11.)  I've set it aside for a bit ("House", remember?) but will definitely stitch it again on June 8, my mother Ruth's birthday (she'd be 106 this year)...

When I got home from Edmonton, I returned to "Marching Orders: the Sampler" -- because Brenda and Laura were at it again in their latest YouTube video.  I really want to get this done this month, so I can do the 'finishing' -- one as a needle book and one as a 'flat fold' -- and send them off.  I'm definitely making progress, and at this point am approaching the last 1/3 of the sampler.  What you see below is my "start" -- but as of this writing I've completed that entire section that you see in the centre, and I'm moving on!

Flat fold?  "What's a flat fold?" you might ask.'s a way of mounting something so you can stand it up.  I've been watching a variety of tutorials (once again, thanks to YouTube!) and there are a few ways to approach this, but they all end up with the same result.  I'm thinking that because (as you know) "I don't do fiddly!" 😉 -- I'm going to have to make a sample before risking this precious embroidered piece.  I have mat board.  I have glue.  I have mat and liquid gel medium (artist's ModPodge).  Stay tuned!

On the artistic front...

Part of my time in the past few weeks was taken up with the wonderful SAQA Conference, an annual event organized by SAQA and a 'local' committee -- this year, working out of St. Petersburg, Florida.  It was to have been in person, but changed to 100% virtual at the last moment -- and so many more of us were able to attend.

Now, Gentle Readers, I've mentioned before how I'm prone to Zoom Fatigue -- as I know many of you are, too.  But this was so very well done!  It was stretched out over 10 days, with many sessions recorded, so that if there were concurrent ones you could go back and watch them later, and  you didn't have to be up at 2 a.m. to watch everything in real time (depending on your time zone). 

I skipped several sessions to work in the yard and take a break, but always enjoyed the ones I did "on schedule".  The "Coffee and Cocktails" (with a nod to time zones!) were delightful (if too short!) break out sessions.  There were meet-ups organized for special interests -- and I took in one on working with rusted fabric (which I love to do), that was great fun.

I've gone back to watch at least one keynote over again, and here's the best part -- I have until the end of July to re-watch any of the recorded sessions that I want.  Lovely!

During the sessions I worked on my knitting or hand-stitch as I listened and made notes.

I met new people and connected with old friends -- and extracted promises from many that it would be "next year in Toronto" -- in person -- for all of us!

My wee SAQA Auction piece sold...and I was outbid on the ones I wanted, but that's okay.  That was a fun thing too.

And yes!  Like all good conferences, there were goodie bags!  Mine arrived in the mail yesterday...

I'm still trying to figure out how the organizers knew that one of my fave colours is fuschia, and that I wouldn't want an art piece featuring a fish, and that I can't afford a subscription to art quilt quarterly, let alone a single issue!   WOW!  I am over the moon with it and of's the perfect size for another (wait for it!) Project Bag!  😉😆


To end this "All SAQA, all the time" segment...well...there's another fund-raiser coming in the fall: the Annual Benefit Auction.  I've donated almost annually since 2008 and have had all but 3 of my contributions (thus far) find new homes -- and bring funds into SAQA for promoting the art quilt and its exhibits.  

The last couple of years (as you know) I've been low on art-making mojo.  My 2021 contribution (made a bit earlier) didn't sell, and it's back here at home.  I had no fresh ideas for 2022...but as you might recall, I had this stack of green fabrics...and a vague idea:

One thing a conference with like-minded colleagues will do, is provide energy and motivation.  After the conference ended, I went into the studio and made this:

Prairie Spring II - 12" x 12"
Assorted self-dyed and commercial fabric
Machine pieced and quilted, faced; hanging sleeve.

Prairie Spring II - detail

It's a miniature reprise of a line study I did years ago in Elizabeth Barton's Master Class; this time it was made with more improvisational piecing and plainer stitching.  It's on its way to the auction (which starts online in September -- stay tuned!!), and I hope it finds a new home.

Of course, through all of this there's been knitting.  It's how I begin each day: coffee, Morning Pages (journal), knitting to the news.  

I'm attempting Socks from Stash (yet again) and making a bit more headway, as I'm on the foot of the first sock.  Here's the start, but of course I'm 'way past that now:

Pattern: "Grandma's Socks"
Designer: Amanda Bourke

I finished the "Dissent for Ukraine" cowl -- using the 'Dissent Cowl' pattern from Carissa Browning on Ravelry, and the yarn combo (fundraiser) from Fleece Artist in Nova Scotia.  It's very cozy and even though these aren't colours I usually wear, I just might keep it:

From the front, lining folded inside

From the side

On my rather short neck!

The gals over at The Woolly Thistle (I watch their YouTube podcast) just had to start a 'hap KAL' -- and being of Scots descent, I just had to join in!  

What's a 'hap'?!  Well, 'hap' as a verb is Scots Gaelic for warmth -- and "a hap" (as a noun) is a large shawl -- square (to be folded) or triangular, with a lace border, often featuring a "shell" or "auld shale" striped pattern.

I made a one-colour hap some years ago, using a pattern designed by Sidna Farley for Knitter's Magazine -- and it's been a faithful companion, especially on frosty winter mornings:

Yarn: Harris Tweed Textiles Shetland 4-ply'
Colour-way: #14 (Brown -- but it has red overtones)

My new hap is the Hemu, and has a main colour and a striped border.  Though the pattern calls for four colours -- a main one and three others -- I've decided to use only three, two of which are yarns from sheep raised here in Alberta, and one from a yarn shop in Edinburgh, made by a company with my family name (Rennie).  

My progress is slow, but I'm nearly finished the main body of my chosen pattern.  Again, the photo shows the early days; I'm much farther along now.

And then...there are a couple of new starts.  I made a "Millie" pullover some time back, and decided I wanted a spring/summer version, so cast this on a couple of weeks ago.  I'm now well along the increases for the raglan sleeves:

The yarn is a colourful (!) synthetic -- Silky Look DK from Sirdar -- that I bought eons ago, in Calgary, in another life.  Even though I'm moving away from synthetics, I hung onto this one for the colours -- and it's finally found its perfect project!

And just today, watching the Woolly Thistle YouTube, and seeing them talk about a new unspun yarn in their shop, I got to thinking about the Noro Rainbow Rolls I'd bought back when The Crafty Lady had her brick-and-mortar store.  I got them for needle-felting but, truth be told, there's far more yarn there than I could ever use for the occasional art piece.  I've thought about spinning with it (and I might, yet) I found a pattern for a simple shawl with it, and cast on.  So far, so good, so stay tuned for photos!

It's all designed to keep me sane in these challenging times -- and so far, so good.

I'll close with my usual connection to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday, and wish everyone a great weekend.  Here in Canada it's the "May Long" -- i.e., the Victoria Day Weekend -- a time to relax, plant gardens (weather permitting), have family gatherings (pandemics permitting) and so forth.

Whatever you're up to in the next few days, stay safe, be well, and take time to stitch!