Friday, November 19, 2021

Sometimes It All Comes Together at Once

 Life continues apace, each day bringing a fresh start, which I try to hold onto even as my emotions continue in flux.  The challenge to keep an even keel for an entire day is very real right now!

That said, on the Very Best Days, Things Get Done!  Even better, sometimes I accomplish more than I expected because...well...sometimes it all comes together at once.

Last week I drove into Red Deer to Curiosity Art & Framing, to pick up invitations for the Christmas Reception that's happening there December 3.  I won't be the Featured Artist by then (that's coming to an end as I type, because another artist -- a painter -- will be featured) but my work is staying there for the time being, and will continue to be shown.  And I'll be at the reception from 3-5 p.m. that afternoon.  The Featured Artist will be there in the evening.

While I was talking with owner/manager Andrea, she asked if I could bring in some small pieces -- 5" x 7" -- in case someone in attendance would like to purchase something with only a little financial lay-out.  I confess, that cheered me up and lit a fire under me.  With only a couple of weeks to the event, I needed to act pronto so I could take them back to Andrea for framing.

Ol' Man Winter, it turns out, was on my side too.  We had wild wind and blowing snow here on Monday and Tuesday -- so I stayed inside and went to work.

In the summer, I'd dabbled with some fabric painting, mainly on some semi-sheer synthetic stuff -- just for fun, when I was taking the "Cloth to Codex" workshop (online) with Susan Purney Mark -- and I'd written about it HERE.  I decided to dig out the fabric and see what I could come up with.


became this...

On the Dunes - (c) 20215" x 7" 

and this...

Slough-side - (c) 2021 - 5" x 7"


became this...

A Dream of Spring (c) 2021
8" x 10" mounted on 12" x 12" 
painted stretched canvas

And another piece --  fabric print that I altered with mono-printing and paint sometime last year -- became this:

Winter Grasses - (c) 2021 - 5" x 7"

I was on a roll so, having decided to paint the canvas for A Dream of Spring, I also got busy and painted the one I needed for Forgiveness.  (Alas, I lack great spaces for phography in my house, so this was taken at an odd angle and looks wonky; it's not!)

All of these are at Andrea's now for framing -- in my usual black 'floater' frames -- but the invitees at the December 3 reception will see the finished products.  I, for one, can't wait!

In the Xmas Gift Department...

I used left-overs from at least two other, larger projects -- maybe three -- to make this comfort throw for a friend who shall remain nameless for the moment (Christmas gift, remember?)

What's Left in the Box of Chocolates? (c) 2021

It's really simply a batch of 2 1/2" squares sewn into 9-patches and then all joined together, surrounded by narrow "zingers", wider pieced borders and even wider solid-colour borders -- with outer corner-stones made from HSTs (half-square triangles) left over from yet another larger project.  No pattern; I just made it up.

Technically,  it's a medallion quilt because it features "something in the middle, and something around it" -- to quote Joe (The Quilter) Cunningham.  Further, per his friend and mentor, the late Mary Schafer, it's a "country medallion"  -- not a "fancy" or "more sophisticated" one, because the 'something in the middle' is pieced, rather than featuring a central motif that's appliqued.  And my borders include piecing, not applique. 

I learned all this on Saturday, when I was working on the borders of this piece and attending Joe's latest Quilt Freedom Workshop.  Yep; it was all about medallion quilts -- antique and vintage inspirations -- with his guests (and friends) collector and quilt historian, Julie Silber, and Carolyn Ducey, Curator of Collections at the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska.  

I confess I pay to take these classes ($50 CAD a pop) not only to see if I can play with fabric in a new way, but also because I think Joe's one of the best quilt artists out there; he makes me think; he stretches my mind and my perceptions, and he introduces me to quilt history in the most interesting way!  Not all the topics he covers interest me, so I've yet to spring for a monthly Patreon membership (about $50 CAD per month, which is expensive for me these days); I prefer to pick and choose.  So far, I've attended most months -- but not all of them.  Sometimes I make a project; sometimes I don't.  This month, my medallion piece was on theme but not even close to Joe's style.  Still, I could imagine, decades from now, someone coming across this little throw in a thrift shop or antique market, and wondering at the provenance, at the colours chosen, the design, even the size.  That's what makes quilt history come alive for me -- and Joe and his friends and colleagues have given me that appreciation. 

In that vein, I've just purchased a soon-to-be-released book -- Alberta Quiltmakers and Their Quilts -- authored by Lucie Heins, Assistant Curator for the Daily Life and Leisure Program at the Royal Alberta Museum (RAM) in Edmonton.  

I met Lucie years ago when she and Patti Morris, former SAQA Western Canada Rep for Alberta, joined forces, with two other quilting organizations, and created an exhibit at the RAM.  SAQA's contribution was "Meet the Best of the West", which had toured around Canada, and finished its tour there (late summer 2014).  Here I am -- much younger -- with my piece, "Mutt and Jeff" (upper left corner) and others, at the reception for the participating artists, as many as could get there:

But I digress...there's Xmas knitting too!

And it's all done but for one piece, for a friend who lives a few blocks away.  That will be done when the time comes...

For now, I am ready to meet my daughter on Sunday to pass on gifts to her for herself, for her friend (the commission) and for my son, his partner and her son.  All are finished, washed and ready to wrap!

The commissioned socks were an adventure because of the size required, which was larger around than the lace pattern could accommodate.  I'll spare you the details -- especially those of you who don't knit or understand the language (!).  Interested parties can read my notes on this adventure on my project page on Ravelry.  Here they are, just before I grafted the toe of the second sock:

Pattern: Hummingbird 
Designer: Sandi Rosner
Publication: The Knitter's Book of Socks
by Clara Parkes
Yarn: Gathering Yarn - The Basics Sock

These are long socks -- 11" from cuff to bottom of heel; 10" from heel to toe -- but I still had some yarn left over from the skein!  And the hand-dyed yarn colour-way is spectacular!  I am more than pleased -- I only hope the recipient is too.

I've also finished the hats and mittens I planned for giving:

  • Not one but two hats for my son (the first shown a few posts ago, but here it is again):
Pattern: Ribbed Toque
Source:Knitting Stories - Sylvia Olsen
Yarn: Cascade Yarns "Anthem"

And here's the second:

Pattern: "Bankhead"
Designer: Susie Gourlay
Yarn: Baycrest Sayelle Knitting Worsted (d/c)

  • And a hat and fingerless mittens set for his partner:
Hat: Violet Waffles - Designed by Halldora J
Mittens: Simple Fingerless Mitts
Yarn: Schoeller + Stahl Limbo Mexiko Color
in "Fjord" 

Here's one of the mittens on my hand.  
I added an inch to the body after the cuff,
in case she wants them long enough to go inside her coat.

I finished my daughter's Christmas Socks a few months back; lest you missed that, here they are:

Pattern: Thermal Weasleys
Designer: Desiree Bowman
Yarn: Gathering Yarn Merino Sock Italian

And yes, the "Weasleys" reference is from Harry Potter... 😉

The other gifts I'm giving aren't made by me...but are ready to pack for delivery on Sunday afternoon or to put in the post later this month.

One of the latter is a selection of two designs for a 2022 calendar, created by my daughter, who is a talented photographer (as I've mentioned before, as followers of this blog will know).  This year she assembled "This Chickadee Life" and "Chubby Cheeks" (featuring squirrels and chipmunks).  You can see these on her Facebook page -- or if you are in Edmonton, Alberta, at Mandolin Books and Coffee or Apache Seeds -- available now for purchase.  I've chosen one for my cousin James in Scotland, and another for my next-door neighbours here in town.  Perfect!  

At this point, anything else I divulge would spoil surprises for Certain Gentle that's it for now!

Aside from that one knitted gift for a local friend, I'm ready for new knits -- and for me, that means returning to two pullovers that were just started before the Xmas Knits took over.  More about them in a future post...and more about quilty things too.  Bonnie Hunter's 2021 Mystery starts in earnest a week from tomorrow (right after American Thanksgiving) -- and I'm hoping it will be another fun challenge for this year.  

I'm also closing in on the 98 string blocks (5 1/2" square, unfinished) that I need for Bonnie's free "Basket-weave Strings" pattern; this top will be reserved for when needed for charity.  I've been using a pile of collected strings, and have 84 blocks done...but the pile doesn't seem to be getting any smaller...Sigh.


The 3rd Annual (second In Person) Lacombe Encore! Under $100 Art Market at the Memorial Centre, Lacombe, Alberta -- Thursday, November 25 from 4-9 p.m., Friday, November 26 from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Saturday, November 27 from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (COVID protocols in place.)

I have four 5" x 7" pieces in the sale (NOT the ones shown above!) and my daughter Gina will have some of her photography there too.  I'll be on cash on Thursday from 4:00 - 6:30 p.m., so if you're a local reader, do come by, see the lovely work, and find something that's just right for you to give at the holiday season.

And of course, as mentioned above, Curiosity Art & Framing has a Christmas Reeption the following week (Dec. 3); I'll be there from 3-5 p.m.

After all this, I'll be glad to be home knitting and string-piecing quietly in the lead-up to Christmas.  Our parish church, where I'm now the lone musician music "team", is still discussing the timing of a Christmas Eve Service, and I've no idea what our family is able or willing to do this year re: getting whatever happens, happens.

This coming week, American family and friends will be celebrating Thanksgiving.  I send good wishes to all who are doing so, and hopes that you will stay safe and have a loving, happy time together.  

I'm linking this up to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday, where she's busy bringing a new creative idea to life.  She's facing a deadline -- so I hope that for her, too, it will all come together at once!

And for you, Gentle Readers, Happy Thanksgiving to the Americans for November 25 -- and may all of us have a safe, healthy, creative week ahead!


Sonia J. said...

You do such lovely work Margaret. Might have to check out the Lacombe Encore! Market. It makes for wonderful Christmas gifts.

See you in church my dear friend


Gwyned Trefethen said...

Margaret, you are an inspiration the way you plow through so many back to back to back projects. Love the little whole cloth pieces made from your painting experiments. You think so practically - adding that extra inch so the fingerless mittens can be tucked into sleeve. An essential when the cold weather takes over.

Kate said...

Enjoy the art sale . I hope you have a good turnout.
I love all the knitting. My Christmas knitting is a bit behind.

Judy Martin said...

you are incredible in the amount of work you produce.
I was happy to read about your inspiration in the first few photos and how you were pushed to work at those - but then there was so much more!!!

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

So many finishes, and Christmas presents ready to gift! Great job! Especially with those long lace sock! And I love the beanie and fingerless mitts, too!

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

Wonderful job on getting so many hand made Christmas gifts finished so early! Especially those long lacy knit socks! Love the beanie and mitts, too!