NOTE: I started this blog post almost two weeks ago. I've decided to continue it, so many Gentle Readers may find it long. I apologize for the inconvenience.
It's July! How'd that happen?
Sigh. It seems I've been asking myself that very same question every month -- since January! How about you? Decades ago my mother (RIP 2004) told me that "after age 21, time disappears". The older I get, the more I acknowledge how right she was!
This July hasn't been particularly July-ish as to weather in these parts -- far more rain and cooler weather than expected. Heck! Last week -- just at the end of June -- I had to have the furnace ON for a while a couple of mornings to take the chill out of the house! Go figure!
No matter. The rain has made the yard and garden Happy, Happy, Happy! So almost everything is BURGEONING with growth and blossoms. Why "almost"?! Well...my pansies...planted in a rather heavy but shallow planter...have barely escaped drowning. Some of them have died. I've had to put a mini greenhouse over them to try to keep the water at bay -- but that's only worked when the winds permitted. Sigh. "It is what it is", as they say.
On the "Not Gardening" front, all of this moisture has meant it's been too wet to mow the grass!
It's also given me more time indoors -- for stitching, knitting and quilting!
The main quilting going on has been the completion of three comfort quilts for two Ukrainian families soon to be arriving in the area. One is "Hearts of Hope" (the Bonnie Hunter pattern); the other two are nine-patch variations. All are quilted, and two are partly bound -- with a deadline to deliver them on the weekend of July 9.
As for thoughts of Christmas, well! I seem to be on the "Christmas in July" bandwagon this year. I've often started making Xmas gifts in July -- or even earlier -- depending on the number and type of gifts in question. Stitched gifts often take me longer than knitted ones. However, this year there seem to be a number of "alongs" -- knit-alongs and stitch-alongs in particular -- that have given me a) motivation to keep going with what I'm currently working on; and b) an excuse to start new projects! 😁
With the start of this new month, Jeannette Douglas has put out another mini-bouquet pattern in her series of twelve for 2022. Because she teaches so many classes in the US, this is a nod to July 4th; however, many of her Canadian followers -- like me -- will be doing it in red and white, for Canada's flag. This month's pattern is the first on the third of four rows in all -- so I had to begin by extending the left side border of the piece, and then stitching enough of the second horizontal border to accommodate the new pattern, a pretty blue-and-yellow floral garland:
And here are the threads I picked for my Canadian version of "Patriotic July":
|DMC 934 (dark green), DMC 3831 (red),
DMC "Blanc" (white), and
Classic Colorworks "Pine Needles" (dark olive green)
I've made quite a bit of progress on two other summer-time starts, too. First, the "Growth Chart" that will be a Baby's First Xmas gift -- I hope!
Isn't he cute? And the strawberry fine is great fun to stitch. Because this is an old and rather poorly done chart -- hard to read the symbols, as I think I mentioned in my last post -- I've had to 'fudge' some of the placement of the colours, but I think it's turning out alright.
I've also done a great deal more on the "Summer Bird" -- part of a series of three from Black Bird Designs, in the "Loose Feathers" line:
The second was a start and a finish in the last couple of weeks: "Summer Bower" from Modern Folk Embroidery. I saw it on a podcast -- "Curious Crafters" flosstube -- and fell in love. What's more, I had the perfect little piece of fabric and the perfect overdyed floss to do it the way I wanted -- both from the supplies I inherited from my late friend Candy.
No idea what the linen was (no label) but it was the right count for the project, and worked beautifully with the floss. I don't know how much there was in the partial skein of floss when I began, but I had very little left when I finished: 18" of 6 strands and 18" of 4!
|Front - mystery linen, Needle Necessities floss.
|Backing. The arrow points to a slit
in the cloth that will be used for stuffing
the cushion, and then sealed over with
a scrap of fabric and maybe embellished.
So what about Christmas pieces? I'm not a seasonal decorator -- I don't even put up a Xmas tree some years, and when I do, it's usually up from mid-December to Epiphany (January 6) and that's IT. So I'm not talking about tree ornaments. Rather, in addition to the "Growth Chart (above), I've got at least one more stitched gift planned:
|"Q" is for Quilter
from The Victoria Sampler
No hardanger this time! LOL!
I bought the pattern and accessory/thread pack years ago -- it dates from 2007 and I think I got it when on a retreat at the VS in 2008 -- and I found just the right piece of white linen: 28 count, but unlabelled, so again it's a mystery. I have several friends who quilt; this is for one of them, but I'm not telling who! 😉
The other piece will be just for me; it's a Jeannette Douglas from 2003, which I probably bought around 2005 -- fully kitted at the time:
|"Red Christmas" -- Jeannette Douglas Designs
It finishes at 3 5/8" x 8 1/8", so I may just make it into a needle roll for my bowl. Time will tell! I've never worked on a red linen -- and the fact that there's Kreinik Very Fine Braid (#4), bugle beads, petite seed beads (Mill Hill for both), as well as white Soie d'Alger Au Ver a Soie to work with -- that'll be an adventure!
There's at least two knitting projects lined up for Christmas -- a pair of socks and a cowl. The socks are boot socks -- promised for some months now to my dear friend in Montreal. I've cast on "A Nice Ribbed Sock", and I'm using ONLine Supersocke "Worker Color" yarn in "Blue Jeans" (my friend's fave colour). This is a lovely, relatively mindless 3:1 rib -- and this will make the fourth time I've made this pattern up. Clearly a winner in my books! 😁 Based on notes from a prior pair in a similar-weight yarn, I'm using 3 mm needles and cast on 60 stitches. They'll probably be worn over another pair of socks or tights or whatever -- for warm winter walking!
And I know that if my sock mojo flags -- as it has so much this year! -- I'll have a motivational resource at my finger tips: I've linked up with the "Christmas in July" KAL over at the "Frivolous and Frugal Podcast" group on Ravelry!
|Pattern: "A Nice Ribbed Sock"
Designer: Glenna C.
Yarn: ONLine Supersocke 6fach "Worker Color"
The ball of yarn looks that way because...well...a while back I started a different pair of socks with this yarn, got bored with the pattern (yes! More boring than ribbing!) and frogged what I'd done. These will serve a better purpose.
In other knitting, I'm working on at least 4 pullovers, all in various stages: a Millie in a bright, multi-coloured synthetic yarn; a Turtle Dove II in a rich, heathered teal wool; the Sock Knitter's Pullover from sock yarn scraps; and a new one: a bottom-up pullover with some Fair Isle colour work on the yoke: the "Man's Fair Isle Sweater" (in the smallest size, for me), designed by Wendy Baker in Rowan's Scottish Inspirations. I'm making that in some Classic Elite Tweed I bought in another life (i.e., 20 years ago in Calgary), and enjoying the mindless 'round and 'round of it, as I'm on the body, headed toward the sleeve shaping.
On the "Millie", I'm still doing yoke increases; on the TDII, I'm working on the first sleeve; and on the Sock Knitter's Pullover, I'm working on the body -- headed toward the hem. The sleeves will follow!
On the quilting front -- no new artwork, but I enjoyed an Artists' Date (a la Julia Cameron) with my dear friend Mary W. and new friend Arlene W. almost 2 weeks ago now. Mary lives in Camrose; Arlene lives some distance north and I, a similar distance south -- so we met in the middle. We enjoyed a long, delicious lunch at Mainstreet 1908 -- new to Arlene, who'd not been to Camrose before, but a favourite with Mary and me -- and now a favourite for all 3 of us! We followed that up with visits to two locations that defined us as art quilters: Quilting from the Heart and Candler Art Gallery (and shop). Yes, there were purchases: fabric for some...but not me. I bought, instead, packages of "quilters clips" -- one in each of two different sizes -- to use when creating flat-folds for my stitching! And I got a spool of "regular" white thread in order to quilt the "Hearts of Hope" comfort quilt for Ukrainian refugees soon to arrive in our area.
Yes. A friend of mine who attends a church in Red Deer contacted me a few weeks back because she knows I make comfort quilts and have made some for Edmonton-area refugees. Did I have any I could donate to two families -- currently in Poland -- who were sponsored by a member of her church? YES! I had "Hearts of Hope" finished, as well as two other "nine-patch variations".
Blog post paused...and continued again on July 14, 2022...
RE: those aforementioned quilts: It turns out that the families are still in Europe, so I was able to slow down my efforts. That said, all three of the quilts are quilted, and two are bound:
|Hearts of Hope
Designer: Bonnie Hunter
53" W x 55" L - borders modified by me
|9-patch pieced backing
48" W x 61" L
|July 7 - my start -- Queen Stitch blue flowers!
|July 10 - progress -- metallic threads in the top
flower, and a quail done with silks, 1 thread
over 1 thread!
|July 13 - more progress -- white silk Queen
Stitches, a cross-stitched "Q" and quince blossoms
|Fabric: 32 count Zweigart red Belfast linen
Threads: Kreinik #4 Very Fine Braid - 032 Pearl
and Soie d'Alger - Blanc
The stars are in the Kreinik; the moon is in the silk -- again, one thread over one thread. This -- and the quail in the "Q" piece -- were the first times I'd ever done one-over-one, to my recollection. I'm rather proud of myself for accomplishing that! Note: this pattern is dated 2003, and I think it's out of print now.
|Fabric placed on top of the rusty grate,
sprayed with vinegar-water, wrapped in plastic
and put out in the sunshine.
|Rusted fabric soaking in a baking soda
solution to try to neutralize the corrosion a bit.
|Muslin pieces dried and ironed
|Assorted scraps of linen and even-weave
fabric, dried and ironed
I've no particular purpose for the larger pieces yet, but an idea is brewing for the linen strips.