Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Where to Start? (Watch the Subtitles)

It's hot! It's September, for pity's sake, but it's hot! Of course, it's not Labour Day yet, so perhaps the Weather thinks there's still time for July weather. Whatever it is, I am enjoying it -- particularly sitting out under my trees in the late afternoon, knitting, stitching, or reading. Right now, however, it's 27C, according to the Red Deer Airport, but apparently feels like 32C, given the 34% relative humidity.

So...I am more comfortable being here in the house, ceiling fan on, tapping away and finally posting photos of various summer activities.

Simple Pleasures

Last weekend,
my kids and my son's girlfriend travelled from both ends of the province to me et for a few days at my sis' place in Sylvan Lake. They were stopping here to pick up my keys for the place, so I thought I'd send them off with some baking. I'd been given a great bag of fresh apples from the tree of my friend, B's, neighbour...which became this pie.

My main baking counter is next to my sink, i
n front of a large window. From there, I can see a good part of my garden, including the wanderings therein of my sweet Diesel-cat.

Each day, too, I do what I call the "Garden Tour", surveying the land and the
results of hard work -- whether at my hands, or at the hands of the elderly couple who lived here almost 30 years. I've intentionally foregone a vegetable garden, because I share one with W in Sylvan, but I the cherry tomatoes I've planted have come along way, and have begun to produce these gems. Today I picked half a dozen, to be shared tomorrow with B.

After almost a year here, I am at last beginning to breathe, to relax, to face mornings -- more often than not -- with an "Aaaaah...." sigh of bliss and gratitude, rather than with a weight of melancholy that needs to be lifted off my chest before I can get out of bed.

Simple pleasures have brought me home.

Fibrey Goodness

At the end of May, when I was helping B, D, A and J at the wool fleece judging at the Olds Fibre Festival, I went woolgathering. Despite the fact that, according to the Mirriam Webster, this means "daydreaming", originally this term referred to gathering bits of wool left behind on shrubbery by wandering sheep.

The last time I'd wAdd Imageool-gathered, I was in
Kilsyth (I have yet to card that wool up), and the gatherings were from mainly Blackface sheep. This time, though, the bits were several and varied -- and carded up quite attractively, I thought. Last week, I proceeded to spin up this fibre, and I ended up with a small spindle of a fairly firm, rather DK like, yarn. I am uncertain what to do with it as yet, but tend toward leaving it as singles.

The same goes for this spindle of Romney I spun up recently from a small sack of
fleece that B gave me.

At the same time, I've tackled the clean white Shetland, and have carded up quite a bit. If it's very fine when I spin it (like the wee bit of brown Shetland was), I will likely ply it. Depending on the amount, too, I will likely dye a good part of it once it is yarn, with a view to doing a bit of Fair Isle knitting with it -- something (like the tam) from the first version of Homespun, Handknit I bought years ago, simply because it was such a yummy book.


This spate of carding and spinning (and perhaps the fact that September was fast
approaching) triggered a significant bout of startitis, that disorder that afflicts knitters from time to time, without reason. In fact, becoming someone without reason is often one of the symptoms of a startitis infection. To wit: these socks for my friend, H, who put up with me once a month for the past year when I needed somewhere to stay after our fibre arts group meeting.

The yarn is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock 100% Superwash Merino in the "Scottish Highlands" colourway -- which I bought at River City Yarns in Edmonton. I chose it because H uses these colours a lot in her fibre art.

The pattern, RPM, is from, and I'm really loving how it's coming together with the way the yarn is dyed.

Also from knitty, I'm making Verdigris fingerless gloves, as one of my Christmas gifts. I've bought a wonderful, elegant "indoor" yarn for these, because they're meant to be worn to evening social functions, and I think they'll look great: it's Hempathy from Elsebeth Lavold in Colour #017, "Vivid Green", which is a favourite colour of the recipient. I got this at the wee LYS in Bashaw, along with a skein of "Fancy Free" merino-alpaca-nylon for a pair of Hedgerow Mitts designed by Amy Ripton, another Christmas gift, in colour #102 -- "Chestnut Silk". And yes, it is as delicious as it sounds.

Moreover, the short versions of each of these patterns requires only 1 ball/skein of yarn, making the gifts very cost-effective -- and making me feel better about having to go outside my stash, because I didn't have those kinds of colours on hand.

Finally, I've speeding along on 9 mm needles to make a simple triangular prayer shawl for someone in immediate need of comfort, using two yarns together: SRK Collection "Kitty Yarn", a ladder yarn in a royal blue mix, and Austermann "Acapella", a kid mohair-acrylic blend, also in a deep royal blue. The pattern is "Beautiful Shawl" from The Prayer ShawlCompanion by Janet Bristow and Victoria A. Cole-Galo, simple, elegant, a quick knit and perfect in this yarn.

In the Sewing Studio

I am 'way behind on this project, but I am learning what I want to learn: paper piecing and the use of templates. This is the fifth block of the "The Quilter's Palette" quilt, Annie Smith's first online quilting class. Ideally, I'd have done the homework each week and have it finished by now, but (as I may have mentioned in an earlier post) "life got in the way" as they I am taking my time. The next challenge in this project? "The Carnival Ride" block, which includes the use of templates -- another learning curve for me.

In the meantime, I have also taken a 4-week class with Susan Brubaker Knapp: "Tyvek (r) Explorations" from I'd already played a bit with this erstwhile construction and stationery material, but wanted to learn more -- and I have. I've painted it and stitched it, and have set some tiny squares aside for beading. The last lesson of the course, though, was my favourite: treating the Tyvek (r) like painted fabric in this piece, which I call "Prairie Autumn". The first one is a detail of the Tyvek (r) leaves and my quilting; the second is the full front of the piece, and the third is the back, quilted. It's not yet bound, but I plan to do so, and to add a sleeve so that I can hang it on my front door. I am particularly proud of the 'pebbles' -- those round quilted shapes -- because up to now, they have been a real challenge for me, as has much free-motion stitching.

1 comment:

HavetoomuchYarn said...

You've been productive despite the heat. I am so impressed with your quilted leaves. Your pebbles are beautiful! I believe some people are born with an able-to-free-motion-stich gene and some of us don't have it so have to work twice as hard to try and get-it. Oh, by the way, I am not sure I am thrilled to have found Joggles. I have way too many projects on the go as it is. However, the ability to take a class of that caliber over the net - priceless. Have you taken any with them before?

You seem to be quite organized for your Christmas gifts. I try to make all of mine although sometimes that means re-gifting with modifications or modify bought stuff. Last year the big hit was wasp-houses (ie crochet wasps-be-gone nests). This year I am making several bike-helmet ear-muffs.

By the way, I like the way you managed to justify buying "just a few" more skeins of yarn!

who really do HavetoomuchYarn...