Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Inch by Inch, Row by Row...

That's the start of The Garden Song, which is a lovely ditty I remember from my children's growing up.  

I'm a rather casual gardener, with distinct likes (blowsy, hardy shrub roses; peonies; wild flowers;  pots of geraniums and trailing lobelia; a few veggies in the mix) and dislikes (weeds, mainly, and rampant runners like yarrow and certain daisies).  I love my yard and working on stitching in my "Outdoor Studio".

My "Not So Grand Illusion"
on my bed...Pattern
from Bonnie K. Hunter
Similarly, I'm a rather casual quilter.  I have distinct likes (piecing, mystery quilts, blocks-of-the-month, scrappy quilts) and dislikes (most applique, using templates, making quilts in columns rather than rows.)

I don't do "fussy"...I don't worry about whether or not my points match -- at least not too much.  I try to cut straight, and most of the time I succeed.  Whatever magic my Scrap Queen favourite -- Bonnie Hunter -- works with her patterns, when I make them, they look like a million bucks!  This gives me a thrill!

During these COVID-19 months, my motivation to create original work has dwindled.  I like to know that what I'm making has a chance of being seen and taken to a new home -- not just online but in person.  I don't have an online shop; those who want to purchase my work can contact me, yes, but I don't "do" Etsy or any other sort of permanent presence.  

Instead, those of you who follow this blog know I've been spending a lot of time doing "OPI" (Other People's Instructions).  And though there may be a public art project in my future -- I have a meeting set for next week -- I'm continuing with utilitarian quilting, mainly for charity.

I'm almost finished the "Turning 40" quilt for my daughter, which I showed off in my last post (scroll down).  I've made it long enough and have added a row column (one of two) to one side to make it wide enough.  The second column (for the other side of the piece) is currently Under Construction. (Stay tuned!)

"Inch by inch, row by row..." 

At the same time, I've started two projects: 

  1. Assembling a small quilt using Bonnie's 2020 Leaders-and-Enders Challenge, which she calls "Easy Breezy".    It can be used for a large piece, but I'm making small pieces, mainly baby-sized, that I can quilt at home and give away locally; and
  2. Starting a new "row-by-row" project from the Canadian Quilters' Association (CQA).  I don't belong to the CQA but they're offering this through the "Quilting in Canada" Facebook group.  I came in on the intro to the second row of this up-dated project...so I hustled and got the first row done.  The second involves English Paper Piecing...I'm prepping, but not sure I'll keep up.
Here are the projects so far.  




Up top you'll see two rows of "Easy Breezy" blocks, quilted and joined by sashing that needs to be sewn down on the back (between blocks).  There is a line of sashing fabric 'auditioned' between the two rows.  It's all very colourful and scrappy!

Below that is the first row of the CQA quilt-along -- a row of  'Friendship Star' blocks.  I dug up some background fabric from my "inheritance" and will use it for as long as it lasts.  The other pieces are from 2 1/2-inch and 3-inch blocks I'm using from Bonnie's "Scrap Users System" -- meaning that some time back I'd already cut and saved them from remnants of other projects.

"Inch by inch, row by row..." 

And piece by piece...

So there you have it: where I am this week.

I need to make something useful -- something with a purpose.

Sometimes that "something" is "artful" but it's not "art for the wall".

And while I may be known more for the latter, right now, COVID-19 demands more of the former.  Any small-ish pieces that are baby/car seat/crib-sized/lap-sized will be done up and given away.  The rest?  The possible public commission? Well...we'll just have to see, won't we? 

"Inch by inch, row by row..."





Linking this to Canada's WIP Wednesday from The Needle and Thread Network...and wishing you a warm, safe, healthy rest of the week!  😊

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Six of a Dozen Assorted

That's a phrase my mother used to use when she meant to say, "A whole lot of this or that".  I think she got it from her mother.  Regardless of its origin, it's a useful phrase to describe what I've been working on for the past few weeks.

Spring seems a long time ago...


The garden's been put to bed for the winter, the garden furniture is under wraps or in storage in my shed, and the Outdoor Studio is closed for another year.  Sigh.  Just in the nick of time, too!  No sooner did I get the winter tires put on my car (this past Thursday) than we got a snowstorm!  Though the roads and walks are dry and pretty much bare in these parts, the temps have been cold enough that the snow is staying put on the grassy bits.  I guess that means winter is here -- official dates be-darned!


With the weather reminding me that Christmas is just over two months away, I'm busy making gifts.  In fact, one has been finished and given to my sister -- as an early birthday (November) and Christmas gift.  I didn't set out to make Bonnie Hunter's "Unity" pattern for my sister specifically, but on a visit here this summer she admired it, so...I gave it to her on Thanksgiving Sunday (October 11).  She was thrilled!  "It's bee-yoo-tee-ful!" she kept saying, warming the cockles of my heart.  Here it is, residing in its new home:


"Star Crazy!"
(Bonnie K. Hunter's "Unity" Sew-in-Place project) 

She's actually rather fortunate to have received it so early, because Miss Pookie wanted me to keep it for her to sleep on.  Sewing on the binding was considered an interruption!


"You woke me up to do what?"


My daughter's "Turning 40" quilt is now the priority.  I'm taking the "Boundaries" pattern -- designed by Tamarinis -- from 50" x 60" to...85" x 100"!  Here it is on my "design bed" (aka the guest bed, which is a twin-extra-long); it needs to fit her queen-sized bed (though not covering the pillows).  



Long enough...but not yet wide enough...

Because of the colours she selected, I'm calling it "Chocolate Cherries and Salted Caramel".  😊

The Birthday In Question is in mid-January;  I hope to have it finished and quilted well before then.  That said, I have no idea if it will be delivered in person -- at Christmas -- or by Canada Post.  Edmonton, where both my kids live, is currently on watch due to the current Covid numbers there...so we shall see.  Both my daughter and I are hoping to have pieces in and to volunteer at the "Under $100 Art Market" in Lacombe at the end of November, though -- so that's the delivery date I'll aim for!

There are knitted gifts under construction too, of course.  One pair of socks has been finished...


Pattern: "A Nice Ribbed Sock" 
Designer: Glenna C.
Yarn: Ancient Arts "Reinvent" in "Calico Cat"

Another is under construction...


Pattern: Caffe Mocha
Designer: Northern Light
Yarn: Ancient Arts Reinvent in "Maine Coon Kali"

And then there are tiny socks for pending babies -- beginning with my friend Claire's grand-nephew, expected in early December here in Alberta...


Pattern: Baby Socks - River City Yarns (no link)
Yarn: Your guess is as good as mine!
Size: 0-3 months



Pattern: Basic Baby Socks
Designer: Katherine Foster
Yarn: maybe left-over Regia?
Size: 3-6 months

I want to make a third pair, in a 6-12 month size, in some left-over Patons Cotton Stretch, for spring/summer.  😊

The final finished gift (thus far) is a cowl for my friend Peg in Montreal; it's the second of these I've made (the first was for me) and I've another planned for my neighbour, Edna.



Pattern: Bonjour Hi
Designer: Espace Tricot
Yarns: Gathering Yarn (limited edition) Merino Sock Italian
and Gathering Yarn "One Shot" kid mohair/silk/merino


Back in early August, I mentioned that I was beginning an embroidered Christmas gift for my neighbour John (married to the above-mentioned Edna).  He's my go-to handy man and is always willing to share with me what he knows, or to help me with something I'm not strong or tall enough to do on my own.  The pattern is "Man Cave", designed by Peter Underhill from the UK -- part of his "Cats Rule" line.  It's all cross-stitch, which in and of itself isn't difficult, but it's chock-a-block full of colour, and very densely covered with designs!  I find I have to dedicate at least an hour a day to it if I'm going to get it finished in time for the holiday!  

Here it was as of yesterday evening:



Under construction: "Man Cave"
from Peter Underhill

As for my recent "inheritance" -- I have managed to give at least some of it away.  Two quilting friends and the local sewing/quilting group have helped themselves.  I had high hopes for a third quilting friend, because she belongs to a guild, but the guild, she reports, are okay for fabric right now as Covid has definitely curtailed their activities.

This leaves me with tubs of fabric...and a sense that I definitely have too much "stuff"!  With the winter looking to be rather long and cold this year, and with a sizeable inventory for the Art Show already in place, I've decided to keep on making small quilts to give away to local charities, and I'm going to try to deal with some UFOs.  There's the Covid Strip-Along throw to bind; the 2019 Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt -- "Frolic!" -- to finish (I'm in the middle of piecing the set-in triangles); and a small-sized version of Bonnie's 2020  "Leader and Ender" challenge to assemble.  I'm doing that one in 4 1/2" squares, quilt as you go, so as to use up not only scrap fabric but also scrap batting.  (There'll be photos in another post.)

In addition to the L&E quiltlet, there I have  a few other small tops to sandwich and quilt for charity, most of which come from doing class samples over a few years -- and for which fabric from the 'inheritance' will come in very handy.  

But some of this fabric is more suited to garments than quilts -- or even art quilts -- and I rather like it.  there are two pieces -- small florals on backgrounds of navy or blue-green -- in what I'm calling "cotton lawn" because it's light-weight and still washable (like cotton).  I've decided to have a go at making a couple of tunic tops with these, which I can layer in cold weather or wear on their own in warm.  I was blessed to find a free (!) pattern for one that looks terrific: the Athina Top, which can be made as a tunic or shorter. I may make one of each length -- we'll see how far the yardage goes!

It would seem I've had a terrible case of  'start-itis' in the past month and a half; perhaps that's true.  But it's also true that if I have some sort of purposeful work to do with my hands, I tend to stay in a better frame of mind -- and given the pandemic cloud under which many other crazy things are happening in the world, I really need that right now!  

I find that for me, it's not enough to "stay postitive" or "think positive" or "reframe".  I need a definite routine, yes; I also need a reason to do what I'm doing -- somewhere for it to go, to be shared -- in a very physical sense.  Even making my art work requires a purpose; I can't make it just to stack it up in a closet. 

I know; I know.  I could open an online shop and go into production...but at what added cost for shipping and shipping supplies etc.  No...that's just not where my heart is at this stage in my life.  I'm ready for the up-coming Under $100 Art Market; if I sell most of the pieces on offer, I've ideas for more to be ready for the hoped-for Encore! Art Show & Sale in April 2021.  I have two "Covid-inspired" pieces in for framing that will be new at that show.  I have pieces on display at a couple of local gift shops and at a small public library.  My SAQA Benefit Auction piece found a new home during the Auction -- and raised more for SAQA than any of my pieces have done in the past.  I am content with these things.  

And so it goes...and so it goes.  For now I am staying relatively sane and content...though still far too easily rattled, irritated and prone to impatience.  Without daily Morning Prayer from the dear Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, I suspect I'd be in a far worse state; starting my day with yarn, faith practice and good coffee before moving into the studio is all part of what's supporting me right now.

I'll leave you now, Gentle Readers, to get back to some work on "Man Cave"...linking up with Nina Marie's Off the wall Friday, wishing you a good rest of the weekend and a peaceful week ahead.







Monday, September 28, 2020

Inheritance

 It's not been my habit of late to post weekly...but here's another one -- linking to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday, once again just under the wire!

I know that somewhere in the last 8 months I mentioned that I lost an elderly friend in January.  She was in her 90th year and had been unwell for some time, with a "dickey" heart.  We met over a decade ago when I first moved here and was volunteering at the local lending library.  She, like me, enjoyed murder mysteries.  She was a fiesty Brit, from Yorkshire area, and we "clicked" and became friends.  At the time we met she was still quilting a bit, but had taken up card-making, which eventually took over as her main interest.

She also had several grandchildren and eventually great-grands, so she knit for them.  I would drive her out to the local farmer's market(s) and was the one who took her for her cataract surgery down the highway a couple of hours, when her children were unable to do so because of work commitments.

As she got older and went out less, I continued to visit her every week or so for a chat.  A few years ago (maybe 3) her daughter moved to our hamlet, bought a wee home not far from my friend, and arranged to work remotely from home.  She and I became friendly too, and we both kept an eye on "Mum".

Before she died, my friend told her daughter that she wanted the contents of the "cubby" under the stairs to be for me.

This morning was THE morning.  Daughter and I spent close to 2 1/2 hours on the contents -- sorting, tossing, re-directing...and I still came home with three (count 'em!) unsorted tubs of fabric.

It's been a very full day...and I've managed to launder two loads of the 'treasure'.  I'm a casual member of a local group of quilters, and have two good friends who quilt, so have put the word out to share the stuff.  There's also a fair amount of garment fabric, which will go to the local thrift store (a charity shop).

I'll still end up with some wonderful fabrics for backings, for scrap quilts, a bit for landscapes, some embroidery supplies and some glorious knitting magazines and books.  Am I spoiled?  Yep!  Am I grateful?  You bet!  

Here's just some of my "inheritance"...



The first sorted darks & lights,
with 2 of the special knitting books.
I have the earlier edition of "Folk Socks" --
but this is the updated one!




More sorted fabric and a basket of goodies.




On the left: "I'll do something with these";
on the right: polycottons -- light and dark.

 


A set of KnitPicks Rainbow Wood dpns (yum!), 
a bit of yarn, and a bag of baby caps to give away.



I've been asking the Good Lord to live long enough to use up my stash.  Today, I added a century or so more to the request!  Even with all I hope to give away, I'll have plenty to use up for charity quilts...till the cows come home, or Jesus comes back, whichever comes first!  😉

As mentioned, I'm late linking to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday, and  WIP Wednesday over at the Needle and Thread Network too.  Have a great week!









Monday, September 21, 2020

Slip-slidin' Away...

That's what September seems to be doing.  This, of course, is not the first time September -- or any other month, for that matter! -- has appeared to evaporate before our eyes.  In 2020, this may be a good thing, for it means that (hopefully!) before we know it, this Annus Horribilus will be behind us.  A bit of hope for the future...but we'd best not start counting our chickens just yet...

One of the reasons -- at least for me -- that the weeks have flown by thus far this month, is that I've been busy.

"Busy" is valued in our culture, though it's often used as an excuse to not do things one doesn't really want to do.  But this month, this year, the last couple of weeks, I really have managed to fill my days -- and happily, for the most part.  And being 'busy' has gone a long way to keeping the 'demons' at bay -- the Blues, that is.  Those little blue critters that want to sit on your shoulder and whisper Ugly Nothings into your ear every time you try to go to sleep, or sit quietly with a good book, or as you go to answer the phone.

I decided to flip through my calendar and share with you some of my "busy-ness" since my last full update:

  • August 24 -- lawn mowing, followed by an online Zoom meeting of some sort (must have made an impression on me...);
  • August 26 -- a trip into town for an outdoor birthday celebration, masked and at distance, for a church friend turning 80;
  • August 27 -- another trip -- for groceries, supplies, and a visit with my sister;
  • August 29 -- watch the live-stream of the wedding of the daughter of my close friend, Candy, who'd died in April;
  • August 31 -- another Zoom meeting -- this time for a SAQA committee of which I'm part;
  • September 2 & 3 -- more Zooms -- including a Textile Talk (I enjoy these) -- and a tutorial on how to bid at the up-coming Annual Benefit Auction for SAQA;
  • September 4 -- Lab tests in town -- a real production!
  • September 8 -- Happy Birthday to me!  My friend and SAQA colleague, Mary, took me out for lunch and we spent some time with "show & tell".  Her gift bowled me over!  
Look at this!  Mary's a talented quilter and fabric painter who's added wet-felting to her art quilt repertoire.  She created this beauty using roving I'd given her last February -- for her birthday -- and a photo she'd taken from the Jacobite Express when we were on our Scotland trip together in September 2017.  It now has pride of place on a wall in my bedroom:

View from the Train
Mary Wilton - 2020


  • September 9 -- a phone appointment with my doc (all my lab tests turned out fine and "Your cholesterol's the best I've ever seen it!") and another Textile Talk. 😊
  • September 10 -- A quilty day with my friend Gwendy.  We took her first 'large-enough-for-a-long-arm' quilt to the local long-armer, had lunch out and then spent the afternoon cutting and piecing -- she at my kitchen table and me in my sewdio.  While she cut strips for a new quilt, I worked on the blocks for my daughter's "Turning 40" quilt.  All the blocks for the "original" quilt are assembled, and put together into columns.  However..the challenge comes next: adding blocks to make it wider and longer -- 30% larger than the original -- in order to suit her queen-sized bed. Onward!
  • September 12 -- Another Quilt Freedom class with Joe!  
The theme for this one: Grids.  He and his friend, quilt collector and historian, Julie Silber, opened the workshop with a mini-trunk-show of quilts using this technique: antique ones from Julie's collection, and contemporary interpretations from Joe.

Then the hands-on exercises began.  For the first one, Joe had us create a grid using two fabrics -- one for the focus and one for the 'grid' (sashing).  The key was that the sashing strips attached to the blocks had to be in the shape of an "L" -- on the top (or bottom) and along one side (whichever side you wanted).  I put strips on the top of each square of fabric, but changed up the sides.

I've added outer borders to mine to make it a bit larger, as I've decided it will be quilted up and given away to a local youth centre for its new moms program.  The fabric is a poly-cotton (the orange) and a cotton.  The latter is left over from years ago, when I made my daughter a pair of pyjama pants one Christmas, while the poly-cotton was given me some years back by my late friend, Joan, and is left from making other charity quilts (the was a large chunk of it!)


The next exercise?  Joe illustrated how he inserts grids into his artwork without disturbing the original lay-out of the piece.  Here's my sample -- a small block.  And yes, there is a bit of "interference" with the original lay-out...can you tell where?


The final exercise: make a 24" (or so) square out of 3 to 5 pieces of fabric (some can be the same fabric, just in pieces).  Cut the fabrics free-hand, assemble with sashing -- either as an "L", as in the first exercise, or by inserting strips, as in the second.  Here's what I ended up with -- approximately 23" square once I added the outer strips and a pieced border:



"Is it a cushion cover?"

Yes, actually, it is!




At last I hope I've satisfied all those people who've asked that question when visiting my booth at the Lacombe Art Show.  I've finally made a cushion cover!  😉

In addition to this roster, there have been sunny days when I've been out in the yard and garden.  I've now put up a second raised bed to match the first.  I've transplanted a wild rose that sprouted up near one corner of my house, out in the lawn, just doing its thing, to a spot where I hope it will add beauty to a grove of shrubs -- lilac and honesuckle.  I've split out my irises and agapanthus (again!) and transplanted those bulbs to the edge of that grove too, adding some new bulbs -- croci and daffodils -- that I hope will show up in the spring.

And on the rainy days?  More quilting, of course!  I finally finished the "Unity" Sewing-in-Place top from Bonnie Hunter, which I've entitled "Star Crazy!"  The wide backing I ordered for it is on its way to me, so I should be able to get it to the long-armer sometime later this week.  Meanwhile, I had it outside on a sunny day for its photos -- Pookie-approved, of course!



Miss Pookie approves!




"I think I'll just stay here, okay, Mom?"




Some of the starry details


This week, I also finished the second of my "Chaos" pieces -- 12" x 30" mounted on painted stretched canvas.  I started these some months ago, and stalled...just part of the 'chaos' that COVID has wreaked in my world.  Here is the pair, which I hope to have framed in plain black 'floaters' (as usual):



Coping with Chaos
(C) 2020




Sometimes You Can Cope,
Sometimes You Can't
(C) 2020

I've some ideas for additions to this 'series', in assorted sizes, but nothing under construction at the moment.  My creative 'mojo' remains a little shakey...but it will return...I hope!

As always, there's been steady progress on a "Socks from Stash" pair for September...



And with Chrsitmas coming, there is embroidery to finish and more gifts to knit.  For that, a gal needs Stash Enrichment!  Conveniently...COVID restrictions eased just enough for the annual Prairie Fibre Festival to take place on Saturday.  Between that and birthday gifts from two Kindred Knitters...I find myself truly blessed!




The two balls of  Queensland "Perth" are the birthday gifts -- "Tasmanian Bay" colour way on the left; "Royal Blubell" on the right. (Yes, that's how the 'blubell' is spelled by the manufacturer!)  That one will be paired with the absolutely delicious lace-weight blend -- "Ekiko" -- 74% baby suri alpaca, 26% mulberry silk, in the "Dragon's Egg" colour-way from Dragon Strings -- for a Christmas gift.  

The pink-purple skein on the left is fingering-weight superwash merino and silk (50-50) in the "Crushing It" (as in grapes!) colour-way from Numana Yarns.  It may or may not be combined with the "Tasmanian Bay" on the upper left.  I'm thinking each of those will have its own project...pour moi! 😊

And so, Gentle Readers, it's time to close this out and think about a walk on this fine morning -- the last day before the Autumn Equinox arrives for 2020.  There was a brisk wind most of yesterday, that has blown away the smoke that travelled all the way up here from the fires in the US' Pacific Northwest.  I only hope those of you who live there are safe and well, and that the weather is turning so that the fires can be quenched.

There are branches to prune and flowers to gather, and more of the garden to put to bed.  There's quilting to do and knitting to start for Christmas...and blues to chase away!

And for those of you watching the 2020 SAQA Benefit Auction...Section 2 is open for bids today.  Section 3 -- where you'll find my contribution -- opens a week from now.  Bid if you can, so that art quilts can continue to be exhibited around the globe.  And if you can't, just pop on over and enjoy the eye candy, eh?  😉

Leavning you with my late-as-usual link to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday...and a wish for a Good Week, all autumnal reds and golds, or spring-time fresh greens, wherever you are.  Thanks for reading!







Sunday, September 06, 2020

If Money Were No Object

That's the title of my "Dream Collection" for the 2020 SAQA Benefit Auction, which starts online on September 11 and runs into October this year.  There are just shy of 500 pieces of 12" square artworks "on the block" this year -- and if money were no object, I'd bring home even more than the eight I've selected!  Never mind the fact that besides loonies and twonies being in smaller supply this year, with art shows and sales cancelled, I have precious little wall space in my wee haven!  I'd have to start rotating pieces like they do in galleries and museums!

Some of my selection have been created by people I've met -- either in person or on line -- who are not only colleagues but also friends.  Others are by 'big names' in the studio art quilt world, whose work I admire and whom I'd love to meet one day.

With a limit of 8 per "Dream Collection", it was a challenge to pick and choose, but for this year, "If Money Were No Object", I'd want to bring these home...


Deborah Boschert
Deborah Boschert
Across and Through



Judith Content
Judith Content
Seeing Red, Feeling Blue


Karen Hansen
Karen Hansen
La La Land


Bev Haring
Bev Haring
Autumn Grasses


Jayne Himsl
Jayne Himsl
It Dawned on Me


Katie Masopust
Katie Masopust
Puzzle


Holly McLean
Holly McLean
Nostalgia in the Time of Quarantine



Sarah Ann Smith
Sarah Ann Smith
Under Northern Stars


An eclectic collection indeed -- but each and every one of these pieces make me smile!  I hope you'll tune in to the Benefit Auction this year.  You have to create an "account" and ensure your encrypted credit card information is on file if you intend to purchase anything.  But even if you don't, you can peruse the art and create a "favourites" file...just in case... 😉

It's first come, first served when the auction opens each day, which makes it so much fun.  AND it's a 'declining' auction, which means the prices drop over time.  It's a race to see who can get the piece(s) they want at the best price!  😊  Check THIS LINK for all the information you need to know, to get in on the fun.

I'm linking this to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday...and wishing you a great week.  "See you" at the Auction!

Also linking to WIP Wednesday at The Needle and Thread Network...






Sunday, August 23, 2020

What Day is It?

During these strange times of mostly-staying-home, I know I'm not the only one with a tendency to forget what day it is.  I'm better with dates, but only marginally.  Blessedly I have a few hard copy calendars around.  My favourite one is from Kate of The Last Homely House, hanging in my studio; it's so pretty, it'll remain unsullied by notes in the squares. 

My utilitarian calendar is on the door of the pantry in my kitchen -- essentially "command central".  Once upon a time it documented my part-time work schedule, lunches with friends and other appointments.

Nowadays?  The part-time work ended in mid-February -- before COVID -- but the virus eliminated all 'normal' appointments and lunch dates until June, and even so, they remain few and far between -- and mainly ones for Zoom meetings.  I've taken to writing in home-care activities such as "Roof?", "Mow?", "Edge front sidewalk".

I also keep a mostly-daily journal, adapted from the "Morning Pages" of Julia Cameron fame.  I've always included the date and the time at the head of each entry, but since COVID hit, I've been adding in the day of the week, just to keep my bearings.  😕

In recent months, there are two online gatherings I've attended regularly, and they feed my heart and soul: SAQA and Friends' "Textile Talks", which I've viewed almost every week over lunch (they play on Wednesdays at noon Mountain Time), and Joe Cunningham's Quilt Freedom workshops -- the first or second Saturday of each month for three months now.

The "Talks" are entertaining and educational; I particularly enjoy the ones featuring a panel of artists who talk about their work in general and in a particular exhibit.  Joe's workshops explore his various approaches to quilting in a free and spontaneous manner.  I've always found it challenging to be that spontaneous, so watching and learning from him stretches me, sometimes causing my dominant left brain to screech with protest!  😉

In an earlier post, I showed my piece from Joe's first workshop in the series.  It's now squared up, sandwiched and pin-basted, but not yet quilted.   His second workshop focused on his technique with bias tape; I enjoyed it but wasn't inspired to create a project.  The third worshop was centred on two-colour quilts.  Joe's fondness for quilt history means that he included examples of these sorts of quilts, provided by his friend, quilt historian and collector, Julie Silber.  It was a great introduction, seguing into how he's adapted this approach in his own work, and finishing with two projects for us to work on.

The first was a 'slice' technique with directions for layering our chosen fabrics and slicing them at very particular intervals.  I chose a creamy closely-woven muslin and a bright batik* and came up with these options:

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3 - stitched!
*The batik was one of several fabrics I won in a game played at the SAQA Western Canada Regional Retreat in 2016. The card attached shows it was donated by my friend and colleague, Mary Wilton.  Thanks, Mary!

I've got to sandwich and quilt it, but as you can tell from the captions, the third time was the charm.  I'm thinking of putting a sleeve on each of the wide sides (i.e. in the horizontal plane) and calling it "Which End is Up?"  😉

The second exercise was "dice" rather than "slice" -- based on the four-patch -- and is one of the approaches Joe has taught in his Craftsy class --- which I own.  I'd never played with it, though.  In the end I created a small table topper with this as the centre:



I added a bright yellow 'zinger' and an outer green border to enlarge it a bit; once quilted I'll give it away...or not.  We'll see.

In addition to online webinars and workshops, I've tried to anchor my days with Morning Prayer from Canterbury Cathedral in England, and after lunch, weather permitting, with hand-stitching in my Outdoor Studio.  Last week I sent my friends the "Toronto Sampler" bell pull that I finished for their 45th wedding anniversary -- being celebrated as I type (Sunday, August 23).  In prior posts I promised to show it off once it was finished, so here you are:

Toronto Sampler
Designer: Jeannette Douglas
of Calgary, Alberta


Centre Detail

Bottom Detail

My friends received it earlier this week and, I'm glad to report, were very taken with it.  I mounted it top and bottom on a thin, flat black metal 'scrolled' hanger, so they can put it wherever they choose.

With that finished, I've been working in earnest on "Man Cave" from Peter Underhill, which I showed in an earlier post.  I've nearly completed the top half of the piece, but it is slow going.  Although it's ony cross-stitch, there are horizontal and vertical half-crosses, sections that require a strand each of two colours, and still other sections that call for only tiny bits of this and that, with frequent colour changes.  I'm enjoying it but will be hard pressed to get it finished for Christmas!

If the days are a bit rainier -- or very hot -- I find myself indoors, still plugging away at Bonnie Hunter's "Unity" Sew-along project, which I'm calling "Star Crazy!"  I've one more set of  9 blocks to do for one long side border -- and three are finished.  That's clue #7 of eight!  I'm determined to get this bit finished by month-end, because September 1st I plan to start cutting the fabrics for my daughter's "Turning 40" quilt.  I'm giving myself a deadline of November 1 to have that top -- queen-sized -- finished and ready for my long-arm quilter to work her magic.  My daughter's birthday is in January, but who knows how many quilts will be ahead of mine?  So...onward!

Here's what "Star Crazy!" looks like at present -- draped over my ironing board and puddling on the floor, as it's almost 64" W x 72" L -- and there's Clue 8 -- one final border of stars -- to go!

Can you see where I goofed?  And no, I'm not fixing it!

In the mornings, and sometimes in the evenings, I knit as I watch news or other YouTube videos.  The August Socks from Stash (Ravelry) are proceeding apace -- I'm nearing the toe of the second sock of the pair.  I've even picked the yarn for September's challenge -- but I've also decided to gradually tackle a project that was shelved last summer because I got that big commission to recreate an art piece as a bed quilt.

I love my handknit socks and wear them a long time.  Of course, as you all well know, this means some can start to develop holes.  And I absolutely hate darning!  But I love to knit -- so I thought I'd try to deconstruct the worn bits, and knit new ones.  I'm calling these "Frankensocks".  😉

Here's the first pair.  
I lucked out finding some yarn left over from the first time I knit them.



And here's the finish -- new toes!



I know; you can clearly see where the old socks end and the new toes begin -- but who cares?  That's why they're "Frankensocks"!   There will be some in future that get entirely new feet -- in completely different colour(s) of yarn...but that will be part of the fun.  These aren't top of mind right now, but stay tuned; there'll be more to come.

This has been a long post -- but that happens when one day drifts into another and time just seems to roll along, as it's doing during this COVID time.  I'll bid you adieu for now, as it's time to go out into the sunshine for a walk and some stitching in the Outdoor Studio.

I leave you with a link to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday, where there's always something new and interesting to see -- and some current photos of my garden, from which I'm now enjoying zucchini and broccoli...and more.

Have a good day, Gentle Readers, whatever day it is when you read this...and I'll catch up with you again soon. 

A Brown-eyed Susan, some daisies,
some marigolds and a poppy

Dancing Tiger Lilies

A rose quartet

My first zucchini -- salad sized!

A broccoli bouquet