Saturday, May 23, 2020

Order Out of Chaos

I continue to find peace in piecing -- and in knitting and embroidery -- when I'm not out in my yard, that is!

Since I last posted, I've done a great deal more shovelling of wood chips, edging of flower beds, and generally preparing my garden for planting.  I even managed to wrestle with my new lawn mower and mow the land (2 narrow lots) next to my home before it rained.

This baby is a Troybilt 159 cc, 21" 3-in-1 gas lawn mower with rear-wheel drive and push-button electric start!  Whoa! 

I've never owned a gas mower before, but there's no cord long enough for me to mow that piece of land with my electric had to put on my Big Girl Pants and move up in the lawn mower power world! 

It's heavier, and far more complex: battery, charging source, oil, gasoline, 3 types of mowing -- mulching, grass bag and side chute...

And as per usual, the photos illustrating the assembly and operation were written by someone who never had to follow his own instructions! LOL! 

But I managed...and that lot got mowed.

Then the rains -- and the wind -- came, and I was most happy to hunker down inside again...sort of.  I spent Wednesday afternoon and Thursday stitching, but yesterday morning the rain lightened  up enough for me to get out early to the nursery for bedding plants, and to travel on up the road to Stettler for more topsoil to finish filling the raised bed.  Temps have been cool, so nothings actually planted yet...but starting tomorrow...

Meanwhile, as I mentioned, there's been peace to be found in the sewdio.

On the knitting front, work on my Tegna top continues, but the focus has been my May "Socks from Stash" project.  The first sock is finished and I'm making my way down the foot of the second.  Using 60 stitches, I just love how the colour play is working!

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

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned in passing that I'd resumed work on an embroidered sampler designed by Jeannette Douglas of Calgary.  Having let it languish as a UFO for 20 years, I've firmly committed to finishing it and sending it to my friends for their 25th 45th wedding anniversary in August.  It's a bell pull, so I've sealed the deal by ordering the hardware and hope it will arrive in good time!  Meanwhile, this is how it looked a day or two ago:

As of this writing, there's a row of text below those flowers that has been completed, and I'm moving down the "trunk" of the Tower.  (There are gaps where buttons and beads are to go, and there are outlines to complete, but I always leave those to the end.)  

It's a rhythmic, quiet process that I particularly enjoy with my early morning coffee and again after dinner in the evening.

And in the sewdio...I've finally sandwiched the "Strip to Shore" quilt top, so it's ready to go under the needle.  My main focus though has been the orderly piecing of not one but two Bonnie Hunter mysteries.

Stack of 25 main blocks
for "Frolic!"
One is "Frolic!" which she released as a mystery per usual -- in November 2019 (free pattern link no longer available; this one is now available as a digital pattern and right now Bonnie has a sale going on those!)   

I finished all 25 of the main blocks some time ago, and set them aside.  In typical Bonnie fashion, it's a large quilt, and this one is set 'on point'.  

Well, now.  In the past 10 days I've returned to that project, and made even more progress -- to whit: I've finished the four (4) corner blocks.  Where in other quilts these might be corner triangles of one solid fabric, these ones are pieced -- such that they look like 1/4 of one of the "regular" blocks!!

And  I've finished four (4) of the twelve (count 'em!) "half-blocks" that will function as the "setting triangles" as this top gets put together in rows -- again, on point!

Each one is like assembling a jagged-edged jig-saw puzzle, with some mirror imaging involved -- meaning, with my eyesight (astygmatism among other things), continuing struggles to get every piece going in the right direction!  Still, I've persisted...

(L) pieces of the 1/2-block waiting to be assembled
(R) a stack of four (4) finished 1/2 blocks

See what I mean?

And then there's her "Unity" Sew-in-Place Project.  In a recent interview with Lyric Montgomery Kinard*, Bonnie admitted that this project was originally intended as her 2020 Mystery...but now...with COVID-19...she produced it early -- double quick! -- and will have to come up with something new for the fall.  With staying-at-home (for the most part in most places) being the order of the day, I'm guessing that will happen...but I have no idea for certain.

Anyway...This pattern is now complete (as of Monday, May 18) with eight parts.  As I set it aside after Part 2, I'm now playing catch-up. 

Who am I kidding?!  It's not a race!  I've just decided to take it up again because working on these blocks is very soothing, repetitive and peaceful.  More Order Out of Chaos!

I showed you the centre medallion HERE...and the next steps HERE.  Part 3 continues the theme.  Let's just say that Miss Bonnie is rather "star-struck" or "star crazy" with this quilt.  And yes, if you select colours in line with hers, it will have a distinctly American flavour...but being Canadian, I've changed it up a tiny bit, eh?  

So... there's another border of star blocks in process -- 36 in all.  As of this writing, I have 4 left to do in that column down the left side, but the photo was taken yesterday...

And here are a couple of the star blocks close up:

Even though I am not the world's greatest piecer, I continue to be amazed at how well my blocks turn out...and how everything seems to line up in the end!

As I've worked, I've particularly enjoyed vid-casts from Lyric Montgomery Kinard (especially her *Covi-chats) and from Kate Jackson (The Last Homely House East of the Sea).   I listen to Stitchery Stories (Susan Weeks).  The literary chats and poetry of Malcolm Guite and the music of Carrie Newcomer and Steve Bell (Canadian) bring hope and sustenance.  Podcasts from Parker Palmer (with Carrie Newcomer) and Krista Tippett (On Being) and Mary Hynes (Tapestry -- Canadian) bring inspiration and food for thought.

And right now, having everything line up in orderly rows; keeping Zoom meetings and online seminars and FB discussions to a minimum; sitting for long periods in quiet; going for long walks (no ear buds); and/or working in the garden (more rows) and with my hands -- well, that's what's supporting me.  

I don't make phone calls (much) and I take my time answering e-mail correspondence.  I have to manage the "noise" or it overwhelms.  I am thankful I have loving family and friends...and am satisfied in knowing that you think of me often and maybe even hold me in your prayers.  I hope before too long we can see each other in person...but for now...All is well.  All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well. (after Julian of Norwich)

I hope whatever you are doing to manage, wherever you are...that those practices are healthy, helpful and soul-sustaining.   I'm linking this up to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday (another great source of connection!) -- finding that she too has been 'creating order out of chaos' with reorganizing her studio.  I hope you all have a good week, Gentle Readers -- take care and stay safe!


Kate said...

After our young man ran over two extension cords, on the same day, we decided it was time to switch to a battery mower. We upgraded to one with removable batteries, so one can charge while the other battery is powering the mower, and it is working great.

I am glad to see you are finding lots to occupy yourself, while staying home. It is amazing what projects are getting finished by crafters. I like your bell pull and I am sure your friends will like it, too.

elle said...

Yes, sewing is on hold as we tackle spring yard work. Not safe to set out everything. Darn weather. I need a push mower for around the house. I laid out my two standing water ponds (feed troughs) and my riding mower guy promptly filled them with everything blowable. He is banished!
I have heard such good things about all the info Bonnie provides but I have no time for another project.
Glad to see you are staying busy and creative!

Kathie Briggs said...

Seems we are spending our days almost in tandem. Weather allowing I've been dividing my time with yard work, knitting and stitching. My daily walks are also without earbuds. I love to listen to nature. I do like an audio book when I am knitting and (sometimes) stitching. Maybe, just maybe I will try to start posting on my blog again. I updated the name some time ago since I no longer live on the 45th parallel. I just need to commit to post once a week. I'm sending you some lovely warm weather for your plants.