At last it's raining! Here on the rolling prairie of central Alberta, we last had rain more than 2 weeks ago, and I was scraping the bottom of my rain barrels, trying to care for my perennial flower beds and my recently-planted veggies. Today, I'm delighted to see the rain -- and to spend my day in my jammies, catching up on correspondence and sorting out stuff.
Yes...stuff. Useful stuff, but stuff nonetheless.
Those of you who've been following me here for a bit will remember that one of my great losses in 2020 was my best friend from high school, a woman only 6 days older than I who -- as far as was known -- was in good health. No, it wasn't COVID; it was her heart. I still miss her. We shared embroidery in common, and cross-stitch, and she introduced me to quilting -- and then invited me to join her at an exhibit of art quilting students, which changed my life.
C. and me, Sept. 1969
Her daughter has been sorting out her sewing and craft supplies in the last few months, and got in touch with me about something I might like. Last week a box arrived -- full of stitchy goodness: fabric, thread, a couple of kits, some patterns and a few magazines. Treasure Trove!
Then came the question: where to store it so I could use it?!
The first thing I did was sort the fabric. I pressed the linens and took the thread count of any that weren't labelled.
But...my embroidery fabric had already filled one drawer in my studio and spilled into another. Uh-oh!
This morning I was up early and ready to SORT! Coffee in hand, I opened that oh-so-full drawer. In it I found not only the fabric, but...of course! There were several kitted projects I'd decided I wanted to do...eventually. (It's part of my live-until-I'm-250 plan, remember? 😉)
I emptied the drawer completely and started from scratch. Once I had of my fabrics out in full view, I realized there were some things I no longer wanted or would use -- so all of that has been bagged up and will go to the local charity shop. Then I returned all the fabric to the drawer -- stacked by thread count. There was room to add in my recent legacy -- lovely! All is well in the drawers of fabric.
But then...there's the flosses -- mainly DMC but also some embroidery wool (not tapestry wool) and over-dyed floss (Weeks Dye Works and Gentle Arts in particular).
On the left in the above photo is the Very Thick blue binder in which I'm currently storing my floss -- mainly DMC. Yes, I have other threads (mainly silks and perle cottons) but those are stored elsewhere -- hanging in packets on a pegboard, or in little balls (the perle cotton) in recycled cardboard egg cartons.
And the pages in the binder -- recycled from the days when people kept computer discs in the plastic pockets -- are starting to fall apart. They're made of thin plastic, and many (most?) are starting to crack and split in this dry climate.Before the existence of the binder -- about 25 or 30 years ago -- I used to keep cotton floss on bobbins in a box. When my interest in cross stitch went on hiatus -- C. had just introduced me to quilting, for starters! -- that box was given to my daughter, who was on a 'friendship bracelet' kick and used all the floss to braid and/or weave those things for herself and her friends. I never missed it.
|Under the flap
|Inside -- with a tiny pocket
and batting for needles
What to do with Brenda's, which originated as a sampler, because she's also known as "The Sampler Stitcher"?
|"House of Cooking"
In other finishing news: I joined in on a "Hap KAL" (Knit ALong) with the Ravelry group operated by The Woolly Thistle yarn shop. I love woolly wool, and have been blessed to have some sourced directly from Scotland (on my trips!) and some from sheep raised and sheared here in Alberta. A hap is a large shawl originating in northern Scotland and the Shetland Isles, often knit in garter stitch, centre first, and bordered in lace -- often using the "auld shale" (or 'old shell') pattern. I started one on 2007 from yarn I brought back from Scotland that year, using a pattern in the book entitled Shawls and Scarves: The Best of Knitter's Magazine -- and finished it in 2019. (It didn't take 12 years to knit! It sat languishing for some years before I picked it up and finished it). It's full-sized and perfect for coziness in Canadian winters!
|Hemu half hap
Designer: Joanna Ignatius
Yarn: Heirloom Fingering BWM (Black Welsh Mountain)
from the Alberta Yarn Project (black),
Luddite Yarn's Hill & Down Fingering (grey),
and J.C. Rennie Supersoft 4-ply ('Amethyst')
purchased in Scotland
|Close-up of the Auld Shale patterned border
(Not the same as 'Feather & Fan')
Last but not least, I've finished the "Hearts of Hope" quilt top...the third in the blue-and-golden yellow series. I've found pale blue poly-cotton in my fabric stash for the backing (part of my 'other' inheritance, from my friend J., who also died in 2020 at the age of 89), but have yet to sandwich and quilt it. It measures about 55" square, so will make a nice little comfort quilt.
|Pattern: Hearts of Hope -- Bonnie Hunter