Monday, June 13, 2022

Firsts and Starts

 Around here the story line continues to focus on the yard/garden, and stitching, stitching, stitching.  We've had a bit more rain, and more is forecast, but in between thunder showers the lawns have been mowed, the trees admired by all and sundry, and there's even a wee harvest!

At our parish church yard sale (June 5), I picked up a new-to-me pot!  It's so large that now that it's filled, it won't be moving any time soon, but it's so pretty that I might have to work out a new "Blue Pot" art piece. 

I mounted it on a large stump, left over from a grand old evergreen that the previous owners of this land cut down a decade or so ago:

And I've filled it with verbena and a few trailing mini-petunias from the local garden centre -- in  my favourite colours, of course!  The verbena, at least, were labelled 'deer-resistant'; so far, so good!

While my leaf lettuce, green beans and carrots are being woefully slow about sprouting, this morning I picked my first rhubarb and mixed greens!

The honeysuckle's in full bloom, which makes the bees happy...

And the cedar waxwings have been partying under the bird-feeders!

I tend to do my "hard labour" in the mornings -- mowing, pruning suckers, weeding and the like -- and spend my afternoons stitching in the sunshine.  That said, given the state of my embroidery floss -- as I mentioned in my last post --- I had to do something about that before my conscience would let me relax enough to stitch!

Doesn't this look so much better?!

The bags are numbered in batches, and that old blue binder 
has been repurposed as storage for "samples".

With that taken care of, I started a new piece especially for the daughter of my friend C., whose first baby has just arrived (or so I hope! Baby was due June 2!)  

At that same yard sale I picked up an old issue of "McCall's Creative Crafts" -- Volume 10 from June 1984, no less!  Inside was a pattern for a growth chart featuring gnomes climbing up a flowering vine.  And in the stash of linens I inherited from C. was the perfect long, narrow piece of 22-count even-weave in a lovely cream colour.  I stay-stitched the edges and began -- per instructions -- at the bottom of the piece.  The pattern is rather obscured -- whether it was poor quality to start with or has deteriorated over time, I can't tell.  I tried to enlarge it on my printer, but it didn't help much!  Thus I'm relying on a combination of my enlargement, the original, and the colour photos of the work -- including a few very helpful close-ups -- to get it right.  I'll fudge what I can't ascertain!  Just as long as the colours are pleasing, I'll be happy!

Here's my start:

And here's a bit more progress from the end of last week:

Compared to the work I've been doing on 28, 32 and 36 count, this has been a very easy stitch -- even if the pattern's hard to read.  I hope to have it done by Baby's first Christmas.

Speaking of those finer counts...I've made some progress on a couple of those too.  First, Ruth Gibb, 1882, which I began on Mother's Day, and worked on this week on June 6 (when I became a mother to my son) and June 8 (my mother's birthday; she was named Ruth and her mother was a Gibb by birth).  

Here's where it is now -- on 32 count Vintage Light Exemplar from Lakeside Linens, using called-for DMC floss - colour #3777.  That ornate bit of work in the upper right marks the corner of that border, so I'm making good progress indeed!

Of course a re-org wouldn't be a re-org without finding something else that takes one's fancy!  As I tidied my fabric drawers to accommodate my newly-inherited fabrics, I unearthed treasures, including kits I'd bought years ago and still want to make up.  Included in these finds was a set of three "Gingham" pieces -- one for summer, one for autumn and one for winter.  They're small and cute and done on especially-created gingham-print fabrics.  I decided to start with "Gingham Summer":

Designer: Ruth A. Sparrow
of Twisted Threads - (c) 2002 (!)
Fabric: 28 count Riviera Gingham
by Graziano, from Norden Crafts
Threads: the DMC conversion (and 1 Anchor floss)

And as of early this morning, here's my progress:

I'll wait till all three are finished before I figure out how to mount them, but I'm thinking right now that they may become some sort of quilted wall hanging.

Another summer start has been the "Summer Bird" from Blackbird Designs:

Here was my start on June 5th...

And here's my progress to date...

It's on 32 count Belfast from Zweigart, in 'Antique Ivory', and I'm using the DMC conversion provided in the pattern.

Brenda reported that she received the package of "Marching Orders" that I sent for her and her friend Laura (the Serial Starter) -- she's delighted with the flat-fold and can't wait to see Laura open her gift too.  It's good to know they arrived safely, even as my "Incarnation" piece is winging its way east to Virginia for the up-coming Sacred Threads exhibit.

There's still nothing new on the art quilt front.  I'm trying to get fired up to go to my long-awaited 5-day, 4 night residency in B.C. (postponed from 2020), but have just discovered that the cost to go has nearly doubled due to the increased cost of gasoline (I'd be driving) and accommodation the night before and the night after it ends.  It's a 6 1/2-hour drive -- without stopping -- so a full day each way.  Flying is not an option due to the location.  I've had to admit to the organizer that unless I can be accommodated one night early and stay over one more night at the end...well...I might just have to bow out.  Increased costs are one thing, but add to that 3 cancelled art markets, few other art sales, a new refrigerator (Dec 2020), a new laptop (March 2021), new glasses (March 2022) and a plumbing job in my kitchen (last month) savings are a sad and sorry sight -- especially as I've been tucking funds away to ensure I get to the SAQA conference in Toronto in 2023.


I'd already paid for an overnight (June 17-18) at Fibre Week in Olds -- about 1 1/2 hours' drive southeast -- for a Basic Spinning class (pondered for years and finally available again now that COVID is a bit more manageable).  I'm thinking I didn't plan well enough for the B.C. trip -- my crystal ball obviously needs polishing so I can have better foresight in the future!

The next few days the rains may return -- and I'll go back to working on 'regular' quilts.  A friend gave me a beautiful roll of heavy-weight polished cotton -- metres and metres of it, once intended for light-weight curtains -- in a blue-and-yellow contemporary lattice/checkered design.  It's 55" wide, and perfect for backing "Hearts of Hope", so I hope to have that sandwiched this week.  

And then there's the long-neglected "Rhododendron Trail", Bonnie Hunter's 2021 mystery.  I started the final construction of the blocks long ago and abandoned it when the attack on Ukraine began, in favour of making comfort quilts for refugees.

I'm determined to keep going, and to enjoy what I'm doing -- no matter the disruptions and disappointments that might litter my path.  I'll leave you with my usually-late link to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday and my latest "line to hold it all together":  

When the going gets tough, the tough get stitching!

Thanks for sticking with me, Gentle Readers.  

Have a great week!


Teri said...

Just how many projects do you have going at once?? You may have me beat!!!

Dolores said...

Your pot is my all time favourite colour. Do you have a great recipe for rhubarb? I usually just do a pie but I did make muffins with the rhubarb at one time. My mom used to cook it so it was like a sweet dessert soup.