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 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.

1 comment:

elle said...

yup, we are putting everything away for the coming flakes as well. Your quilts are lovely. I don't know much about knitting but it is good to get presents done. You have a good start on every day! Good for you!