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


Kate said...

We have a homemade "diner" breakfast on Saturdays. A couple of weeks ago, I came down in their morning to find my sweetie cooking bacon. Lovely, except it was only Friday! Not a serious problem, except we were then out of bacon for real Saturday.

Yes, this is a problem for much of the world.

Bethany G said...

Such a beautiful post once again Marg... the calendar is a "cast aside' at my house and I have reverted to Google Calendar... and iPhone notifications that send along a dinging bell on the 6 am hour the day of the event. Cool.

I think we all have the days that yard work is taking on the "what will I do with my day - and I look forward to seeing you again next Monday the 31st - online of course! Bethany xo