Friday, June 09, 2023

"Startitis" or "Finishitis"?

The last few weeks it's been a bit of both!  Once I decided to just enjoy life, throwing productivity and predetermined purpose out the window, I've been having a jolly good time.

First, I decided I'd enroll in a beginner's rug hooking class during this year's Fibre Week at Olds College, and a week from tomorrow I'll head down the highway to do just that.

Next, I signed on to the Rookies group for the annual Ravelry "Tour de Fleece" and get back to spinning.  In preparation, I've been practicing almost every day, working away at a wool batt I was given some years ago.  I refer to it as my "Mystery Mauve" fibre because it looks like this:

It's mainly wool, I think, but there are strands of synthetic -- fine as hair -- in it, as well as a few 'neps' or bits that, if there were more of them, would make it tweedy.  It's great for a not-so-great spinner like me, because I can practice and it's not cost me anything for the materials.  It's definitely not precious!

I've really enjoyed the occasional cool morning, spinning out in the sunshine:

This all came about because a friend, having "rescued" two bags of roving from an estate, gave them to me!  They're very colourful batches, some of which was apparently milled at Custom Woollen Mills in Carstairs, according to a sales slip in with one of the packages.  I decided that if I were to be worthy of this new addition to my fibre stash, I'd best get some of the "old stuff" spun up!


In my last post, re: my Cross Stitch Rabbit Hole, I reported on my "May-nia" progress.  I was working on each of 5 pieces, one at a time, for five days each.  By the end of the month, I'd had another finish -- "Take Whisks" from Hands On Design.  And...drum roll, please! of yesterday, I had it Fully Finished.  Ta DA!

Journal cover - front

Journal Cover - back

Journal cover outside, open flat

See? The journal fits!

I took the instructions from this great little YouTube video by Alanda Craft, which I found easier to follow than other instructions to date, and enjoyed every minute.  As you know, Gentle Readers, I dislike "fiddly" projects, which is why I don't make many pouches, bags, etc. -- but this is a finish I'll return to.  As for this particular item, I've got to get it into the mail today for a friend -- a keen baker of cakes and cookies -- whose birthday is approaching.

I also finished the Spanish reproduction sampler I was working on, from Birgit at The Wishing Thorn.  This photo isn't great because the piece is in pastel threads on white linen...but there it is.  The photos on the Wishing Thorn website are better!  I used the called-for DMC floss and (as I recall) a 32 count white linen -- 1 strand over 2, except for the commemoration at the bottom, and my signature, which are 1 strand over 1.  This sampler was made in memory of my late cousin, Margo Davison de Martinez, who died in 2022, aged 80.

At the end of my "May-nia" I returned to "Keziah Campbell 1796" designed by Needlemade Designs but purchased through Traditional Stitches in Calgary -- the package of pattern, fabric and flosses given to me by my friends Sha and Mary for my 70th birthday last fall.  I started it in the New Year, and it's been a bit slow-going, as it's on 40-count Vintage Sand Dune from Lakeside Linens.  This is my first attempt at 40-count and I must say, it's going better than expected.  

Having finished my 5x5 program in May, I thought for June I'd focus on a relatively new start -- "Barnabee's Quest, Part I" from Just Nan, which I'd had in stash for over a decade -- but no.  I returned to Keziah...and have fallen in love!  I finished the border at the end of May, shown horizontally just before the finish:

Since then, I've worked on it almost every day and here's where I am as of last evening:

The hand-dyed cotton for the red letters is 'Country Redwood' from Gentle Arts -- lucious!  The curliques around the alphabet letters are challenging but so worth the concentration!  Because this a Scottish-style sampler and not a reproduction, I am going to modify it to memorialize my immediate ancestors on my father's side.  Three brothers from the family came over to Quebec in the mid-eighteen-twenties and settled on farmland near the new community of Huntingdon, in the Chateauguay Valley.  There are farms out there that are still in the family, though my relation to the owners is very distant.  Anyway, I'm going to insert the initials for my grandfather, my grandmother and their children -- my father, my aunt and my uncle -- in the space for them underneath the wee row of crowns.  Stay tuned for progress!


On the quilting front, there's a bit more progress, but with this heatwave, it's hot in my south-facing studio, and there's no room for a fan.  Still, I've managed to make 33 Butter Churn blocks, such that I've had to move them to the "design bed" in the guest room:

The quilt under the blocks is an old Bear's Paw quilt made for me by my late Aunt Alice Rennie -- one of the aforementioned relatives whose initials will be on the Scottish sampler.  The fabrics are, in large part, scraps I sent to her after making garments for me and my then-little daughter, back in the mid-to-late eighties.  It always makes me smile to see them in that quilt!

And yes...I've returned to some knitting!

When I was in Toronto, I took with me a pullover I was working on out of a bright synthetic -- the now-discontinued Sirdar "Silky Look" Double Knitting.  By the time I returned at the beginning of May, I was ready to start the bottom ribbing -- 4" deep -- and this is now finished:

Pattern: "Millie"
Designer: Nice and Knit
Yarn: Sirdar "Silky Look" DK in "Brights" colour-way

Since I took that photo -- at the end of May -- I've finished one sleeve and put a few rounds into the second.  

In the aforementioned stash of roving my friend gave me, was a 'plate' of long-discontinued "Chinook" single-ply yarn -- which appears to be a precursor to the now-popular Plotulopi, though it's not from Iceland; it's from Australia!  I've not done anything with it yet, but it inspired me to get back to a simple shawl I'm making with a similarly-fragile Noro "Rainbow Roll".  

I've not taken an up-dated photo, but it's the "Rainbow Roll Shawl" from Benjamin Matthews Designs, and I'm using a colourway in blues and browns, with some pale pinks and creams (#1015).  I have to knit with care, as it's easily broken, but I think it will be pretty and cozy in the end.

Picking up that project again motivated me to return to another knitting UFO -- a Mystery Stole that originated in 2006!

It's the Swan Lake Mystery Stole 3 designed by Melanie Gibbons, which I'm knitting in JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk 2/18 in "Vanilla" (off-white).  I'd managed to finish the main body of the shawl, leaving off at the point where I'd have to decide how I wished to continue -- with a mirror image of the first part, or with the 'wing' of the swan.  I've chosen the latter, and after a short consultation with the designer about the chart in question, I've begun in earnest.  I've told Melanie that she's been a great help and I promised her it wouldn't be another 15 years before I finished it -- so stay tuned!

Again, with the current heat wave, I've reserved my knitting and spinning for early in the day, and turn to stitching in the afternoons, in my living room, blinds drawn against the sun, and fans going.  The heat is supposed to break over the weekend -- thunderstorms very likely on Sunday -- and more rain may come later next week, which is a Very Good Thing, and the fires, while they've eased, continue to burn up north, in B.C. and in Eastern Canada, with smoke and haze impacting those of us who live to the south of them, including our friends in the Eastern US.

I'll leave you now, as usual, with a link to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday.  This week, while I've been dusting off what's old, starting assorted finishes, she's been exploring what's new -- in a technique, in assorted gadgets, and in audio books.  

Whatever you're up to, from wherever you're reading, may you have some time to lose yourself in creativity.  A bientot!

1 comment:

Gwyned Trefethen said...

May-nia í the perfect description of what you have been up to, Margaret. You posted the link to how to make a journal cover just when I was contemplating making some for my open studio in November. Like you, fiddly projects do not pique my interest. So, hearing this method was doable, I am seriously considering giving it a go.