Friday, February 19, 2021

Everything All At Once

Have you ever wished you had several sets of hands, feet and eyes -- and maybe even a couple of brains -- so you could tackle all you wanted to do, everything -- at once?  

That's been the feeling under which I've been operating for almost two weeks now: a sense that I've got to finish these socks!  And I've got to make these art pieces!  And I've got to finish these quilt tops! And I've got to start new ones!  And I've got to finish this sweater -- formerly a UFO!  And I've got to go to town for supplies!  And I've got to go for a walk!  And...and...and..

I've had to remind myself, per the new cross-stitch piece in my hoop:

"I am only one, but I am one.  I cannot do everything, but I can do something."

It's a design from Lizzie*Kate, created in 2017, and I've had the kit for a while.  She's one of my favourite designers, but has now retired, so I treasure the few patterns I have in my collection.   It was inspired by a project she'd taken on to supply stoves to homes in Guatemala, where women had been killed or injured seriously by cooking over open fires inside their homes.

When I think of the piles of scraps I want to turn into tummy time quilts and small throws for the new moms in the Stepping Stones program, or the art pieces I want to make for SAQA's two annual auctions or...or...or...I am reminded by this phrase that I can, indeed do something -- but having only one pair of hands, one pair of feet and one brain, I'll have to be content to do one thing at a time!

I mix it up a bit, but in the last week I've found myself heading to the sewdio with my morning coffee for a spate of cutting, piecing and/or designing -- before breakfast, before checking the weather, before turning on the computer.  And while I'm doing one thing -- quilting -- during that time, I'm not working on only one project! 😄

It's paying off!

First, I've managed to design, create, finish and mail off two art pieces -- the first landscapes in almost a year!

After the memorial service for my cousin near the end of last month, I knew I wanted to make something for his widow, something pretty, something that would (I hoped) bring comfort and peace.  Inspired by something else altogether, I was looking through my drapery/upholstery fabric and found several light, thin drapery samples that reminded me of landscapes.  Their home is on the northeast coast of New Brunswick; I looked up the location, and found a photo of a nearby beach, which gave me inspiration for this matted mini:

"Find a Quiet Spot"  (c) 2021

The same piece of fabric -- the pieces are long and narrow -- provided just what I needed to make a piece the same size for SAQA's 2021 Spotlight Auction.  The fabric tends to fray easily.  When putting together my matted piece, I stay-stitched all around the sides before mounting it.  However, I wasn't sure simple straight stitching would hold up well for a trip in the mail -- unmatted! -- so I closely zig-zagged the edges.  I'll confess I'm not all that great at zig-zagging edges...but SAQA insisted on having a photo that showed them, so here it is:

"Spring Run-off"  (c) 2021

And here's what I hope it will look like once it's placed in a mat, hiding both the edges and my signature... 😊

Whole-cloth recycled drapery fabric,
machine quilted, thread-painted.

Having exhausted my artistic output for the moment (!), I turned back to piecing, using up my ever-multiplying scraps...

First I returned to Bonnie Hunter's mysteries and "Frolicked" around "Grassy Creek" most of this week.  Checking my blog posts, I see that the last time I mentioned them at all was a month ago, when I was working on Clue #6 of "Grassy Creek" -- making a gazillion string-pieced blocks. I've finished them now -- forty of them for the size of quilt I want -- and have started adding little "wings" to each end, as per the pattern.  This process is a bit finicky, so after completing ten of these, I decided I needed a break.

Clue #7 -- the "reveal" -- has been out for a while now; I wanted to see what the main block would look like in the fabrics I'd selected.  As of this morning, I've completed five of them, with a sixth under construction.  

I have to say I really like these!

As for "Frolic!" -- I'm proud to say that at last I'm about to attach the fourth arrow-head border.  Then the top will be finished!!  (That said, it's so large that I can't photograph it in the house.  Not sure that doing so in the snow is a good idea, though; I'll think about it!)

"Frolic!" from Bonnie Hunter -- 
the fourth border and corner-stones...

As if that weren't enough...I started a new top! 

My friend A. and I have been motivating each other this winter, as both of us are on a quest to finish UFOs and use up our stashes and scraps.  To that end, she referred this pattern with me -- Traffic Jam, designed by Pat Sloan.  If you purchase the pattern, you get information for several sizes -- but you can get the simple blocks-and-borders pattern gratis -- and make as many blocks as you want, change up the borders and/or sashing, whatever.  

That's the route I've chosen: nine blocks, finishing at 12", plus sashing and borders to end up at 56" square.  It calls for 2.5" squares and, thanks to Bonnie H. and her "Scrap User's System", lo and behold, I had a collection already cut from assorted project left-overs!  I found yardage of a lovely neutral in my "inheritance" fabric and was off to the races!  I started this...Tuesday?  And have 7 of my nine blocks made. 

Pinned to my design wall -- in layers!

I used up all the light/medium squares I had, and most of the dark ones, so I'll have to get at my scrap bin to make more -- especially if I decide I want the scrappy border per the pattern.  Depending on what I do about borders, it should finish at about 56" square, which I can quilt myself, and which will be added to my charity collection for later this year.

As for knitting...You may recall that I made several pair of baby socks in November and December.  Well!  The grandma of one of the babes advised me that Big Brother -- a toddler of about two years of age -- would like a pair too, please!  Colour requests?  Blue, pink and white.  Hmmmm....I tracked down some deep pink, navy and a bit of off-white, and put them together thus:

Pattern: Plain Jeanne Socks (used for sizing)
Designer: Audrey Lavoie
Yarn: assorted left-overs

The colour sequence was suggested to me by a friend online -- one of the moderators of the Socks from Stash group on Ravelry.  She calls is "1-2-3" -- 1 row of Colour A, 2 of Colour B, 3 of Colour A, and repeat.  Because I had a request for a third colour, I simply adapted it, and it turned out!  There are ends to sew in, of course, but with so few rows between colours, you can carry them up at the back and then later, along the foot, so there aren't as many ends as you might think.

As I finished those I recalled that cousins of mine in Quebec told me at Xmas that they were expecting another grandchild in 2021.  I checked and sure enough!  Any day now -- and it's supposedly a girl.  

So...I'm now about 1/2-way into the body of a very cute baby cardigan which I'm making in the largest size (1 year) because this Baby #4 for the parents in question, and grandma tells me "all of [their] babies start off big and grow quickly!"

As for the pullover I mentioned in my last post, I'm well along on the first sleeve, headed toward the arm-hole shaping.  And I've finished my first sock for the February challenge in the Socks from Stash group, and am about 1/2-way down the leg of the second:

 Unlike the ones from December, these ones fit, they're comfy, and I like the colour-way -- so they are keepers!

Well, now, Gentle're all caught up on the whirlwind in my cozy corner of the Alberta prairie.  I've been holding family and friends in Texas in my heart because while we up here can handle a Polar Vortex, they've had a terrible time handling temps a fraction as cold, and snow a fraction as deep.  I hope their power and water are restored soon, and that the Powers That Be will take a page from Canada's winter management playbook -- or maybe just from Minnesota, the Dakotas and other mid-western states -- and make reparations so this won't happen again!

How are the rest of you staying safe and warm, if it's wintry where you are?  Nina Marie is planning a trip to a museum to see some artwork.  Museums and art galleries in these parts are closed in this province, as we grapple with bringing our COVID case numbers down -- and that's happening slowly but surely.

Still, she asks readers to share their favourite are museums/galleries.  Two of mine are in Edmonton: the Art Gallery of Alberta and the Royal Alberta Museum.  Alas, both are indeed closed for the moment, so I'm not planning a trip up the highway any time soon!  "Virtual exhibits" -- and my collection of coffee-table art books -- will have to suffice for the time being.

Before I head out for my afternoon walk I'll leave you with the link to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday, where you share plans for your next real-life museum/gallery visit, however far off in the future it may be.  Stay well, stay safe, and stay cozy!


Norma Schlager said...

Wow! You had a busy week and a complied a lot. I love your little landscape quilts.

Kate said...

Many art museums and galleries around the world are sharing their collections virtually. I think this is a great way to experience art you may never see in person.

Bethany G said...

Margaret - you are one amazing woman and Artist... Every piece I have seen here is like magic, and the colours just sing. From the lovely small Spotlight Auction piece and the gift for your cousin's wife - to the beautiful socks - a list of so many feats in one short period of time. HOORAY.
I guess you are a thread magician after all!