Friday, April 17, 2020

So...How *Are* You?

"Fair to middlin'," would be my answer to that question.

Truth be told, Gentle Readers, it's been a heckuva couple of weeks since I last posted.  Little did I know that the next day W., a long-time friend and husband of C., my best friend from high school, would call to tell me that C. had died suddenly the evening April 2 -- an apparent heart attack, completely unexpected.  I posted about this on FB so won't go into any more of it here, except to say that it sent me on a roller-coaster of grief -- some days up; some days down.  Tomorrow I have a "visitation appointment" at a funeral home in Calgary -- a 2 1/2-hour drive southeast...with strict distancing protocols in place, which make it really tough to offer comfort.  The only way to show support for W. and his family is to be there, and so I shall.

I'll do a grocery run on the drive home, and pray for strength from start to finish.

In all this, I continue to be thankful for the work of my hands.  Yes, I continue with piecing fabric into quilt tops, but I confess, my hankering for OPI (Other People's Instructions) has just about been satisfied!  I have an idea for a small art piece rolling around in my brain and soon it will be screaming to be outta there and into fabric.

Meanwhile, here's what's transpired in the sewdio...

The "Unity" Sew-in-Place project from Bonnie Hunter has progressed...

From this:

To this...

Then this...

Then this...

And at last, this...

It's now about 30" square, which is not really where I want to leave it but Part III is another border of tiny stars, and I'm just not up for that right now!  I've saved the pattern and will see what Part IV -- due out Monday -- has in store.

When I last wrote, Gudrun of GE Designs was about to introduce a "Strip-Along".  Her plan was a three-week series -- Intro (materials, cutting); Part 2 (construction); and later today -- Part 3 (finishing).

Like the "Elivra" Quarantine Quilt-Along pattern, this is as modern as Bonnie's is traditional.  I chose two fabrics: a wild batik and a solid turquoise, which is actually a poly-cotton given me a few years back by an elderly friend who was no longer sewing.

The pattern involves 60-degree angles, and I've none of the specialty rulers that Gudrun uses for this purpose.  I do  have a 60-degree triangle ruler, and 60-degree lines on my favourite 6" x 12" regular ruler, so I have managed to muddle along with those.  My objective is a throw-sized quilt, but we'll see.  I've made most of the blocks.  From the poster shown above, you can see that the pattern consists of half-hexagon motifs assembled in rows, with narrow sashing in between the halves.  BUT  for this quilt-along, Gudrun's updated the pattern to include an option to put narrow sashing all around the half-hexies, spacing them out.

Here's what a row would look like in my colour palette without the spacing:

And with the spacing

The project has a Facebook presence, so over in the group I took an informal poll, and the consensus was:  "Spaced Out, Please".  So...yesterday I began to assemble the blocks, and here's what the first few look like, with sashing all around:

I admit I am happy with the effect, but it's been a bit of torture getting there!  It may be seems that the light-weight turquoise polycotton is a bit more "flexible" when they are put together, and that's been showing up as I've tried to apply the sashing and assemble the half-hexies in rows.  But, in true Elizabeth Warren fashion, I am persisting!  It's slow-going...but at least I have that wee art quilt to turn to, and of course, my knitting...

As mentioned in the "Edit" to my last post, I frogged the "Canon" socks because I just couldn't focus on the shifting lace pattern.  Instead, I turned to a simpler pattern -- Hermione's Everyday Socks -- and as of  today, I've finished the first one and am making my way down the foot of the second.  Calming, indeed!

Pattern: Hermione's Everyday Socks
Designer: Erica Lueder
Yarn: Bouquet Sock & Sweater (discontinued)

Notice the small ball above the finished sock?  This yarn comes in 50 gram balls, and is more "sport weight" than fingering -- though the label says otherwise.  I started with 2 balls -- 128 metres (140 yards) each, which isn't usually enough for a pair of adult socks.

But the sock shown above is 7" from cuff to the start of the heel flap (so 9" to the sole) and a stretchy 8" foot -- which fits me perfectly.  And that small ball -- plus another full ball -- was left to start the second sock.  I am currently working on the gusset decreases of that second sock -- and I'm not finished the first ball of yarn! Talk about long-running!  I thought I was going to need another colour for heels and toes and no...I'll have yarn left over!

A small blessing, I know, but I'll take it, with thanks!

And because I still have a bit of  'Startitis' flowing through my veins, I've started a new sweater (even though the Darlena Shawl I mentioned in my March 29 post isn't quite finished (about 3" to go)...

You see, the Socks from Stash group has a door prize draw at the end of every month's challenge -- and I was one of the winners for March!  My gift was a pattern of my choosing (maximum cost: $8.00 USD) -- and so I selected one from my favourites: Tegna from Caitlin Hunter (aka 'Boyland Knitworks').  A few days ago, I dug out a huge skein (250 grams -- 800 metres) of yarn I bought eons ago from Fiddlesticks Knitting (now operating under another name).

It was such a large skein that I had to wind it into four cakes!

Yarn: "Country Silk"
50% silk, 30% wool, 20% nylon
Colour: "Berry"

Isn't the colour yummy?!  It's a hand-dye...and a hand-wash...and somewhat "sticky" because it's more like silk 'noile' than silk 'charmeuse', and has a very "cottony" hand to it.  Still...I'm on the tenth round of the lace hem (it's knit bottom-up and very wide to start) and I like the way it's turning out:

And so it goes.  The method and order and rhythm of piecing and knitting is keeping my mind free and clear of anxiety during these challenging times.  And the blessing of phone calls from friends and family, and e-mails, online concerts and creative communities...for which I am very grateful.

I'm linking this up to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday...and wishing you continued health, safety, creativity and hope as you go into this next week.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

-- Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886)


Kate said...

You have been very busy. I like the colours in your strip quilt. We need bright colours, these days.
I have been stash sewing and stash knitting. It does keep my mind calm.

Gwyned Trefethen said...

How to support a dear friend through grief is never easy, but it is particularly difficult in these days of social distancing. I know your presence will mean much. I also know you understand grieving isn't just a one day affair. It lasts a lifetime for those who care for.

The teal and sparkling colors you've opted for in your quilt are both cheerful and soothing. How wonderful to have a project like this to do now.

elle said...

Your 'support' will surely be appreciated. Luv that wild batik! and the pattern is intriguing. stay well, Margaret!

Carol Babineau said...

I am impressed with all your projects, just lovely! Thanks for sharing

Sha said...

I love to see that top quilt project come together. Rather amazing. It's times like this that I am a crafter/ creater/ artist. So many projects and possibilities to explore, some simple and others more complex. Settling in to them gives the mind and soul time to settle , calm and find peace. Ahhh. And the sunny day and warming temperatures announce Spring's approach. 🌱🌞😊