Friday, September 22, 2023

September Startitis

 We had a Frost Warning here the other night.  That said, the dreaded frost didn't show up -- at least, not in my yard.  The days are still warming up (eventually), even if daylight starts later in the morning, and retires early.

I've been retiring pretty early, too -- and going full tilt in between.  The air has been tense in Miss Pookie's Queendom, ever since these two Interlopers arrived two weeks ago.

On the left, Miss Sylvie; on the right, her brother, Master Smokie -- shown here "at rest", which (thankfully!) occurs every few hours.  (As I type, they're sleeping on my bed.  Miss Pookie is sleeping in her nest in the Indoor Studio.)

Note the sealed packet next to them.  It's just one of several sealed packages and project bags which, so far, have managed to keep prying paws at bay.  The baskets of yarn that used to decorate my living area are all now stored behind a closed door in the guest room, and the Indoor Studio door is closed completely while Miss Pooks and I are outside.  Otherwise it's open a wee crack, so she can get out.

For those of you, Gentle Readers, who don't follow me on Facebook, Miss Pookie had a medical emergency a week ago -- just to add to the excitement (and expense!)  She's doing fine now, but I've had to give her an antibiotic (teeny-tiny pill) twice a day for the past week.  We'll both be thankful after her last dose tomorrow morning!

So how does a Maker of Textile Things try to bring order to this chaos?!  She keeps on making, of course!  (At left: Order Out of Chaos -- or Chaos Can be Colourful (c) 2020.)

And it being September, when we move from the lassitude of summer into "Back to School" in these parts, my current chaos has been mitigated somewhat by a case of September Startitis -- which, when  you really think about it, is just a second round of the Startitis that takes hold every January!

Since my post three weeks ago (!), I've...

  • Started and finished another little hat to give away:
Design: "Peggy's Cap"
Designer: YaYa LovestoKnit
Yarn: Patons North America Classic Wool Worsted
Colour 00210 - "Petal Pink" (shown before blocking)

  • Started and finished a pair of baby socks for a friend's new grand-nephew:

Pattern: "Baby Socks"
Designer: Kate Atherley
Yarn: left-over sock yarn - all used up now!

  •  And started a pair of larger socks for his 3-year old big brother (sorry, no photo).  The first sock of the pair is finished and I'm past the cuff on the second.
  • I started a seed-stitch ribbed vest for myself.  It's a cotton/rayon blend that I've had for (probably) 20 years or so.  The vest is started flat for the hems.  Then you put it onto a circular needle and join to knit the body in the round.  I've done the front hem (1 1/2") and am now working on the back hem (shown below), which ends up at 3 1/2" before joining to the front.
Pattern: Waterrock Vest
Designer: Jennifer Kelley
Yarn: Nova Plus La Playa from deep stash
Colour - #9840

  • On the quilting front, I dug out another almost-20-year-old project: the One Block Wonder quilt, from One-Block Wonders by Maxine Rosenthal (2006).  

Yes...I probably got the book shortly after it came out, and bought 3 metres of a stunning chrysanthemum print with which to make it.  And over time, two different triangular rulers, both of which were supposed to cut 60 degree triangles.  I decided earlier in the summer that it was time I made this quilt.  I knew I couldn't part with the beautiful fabric and didn't want to use it any other way, so I set to.  

The process of preparing the fabric is quite fussy, but I got it all done: found the pattern repeat I wanted to use; cut the sections; cut the sections (stacked) into strips.  Therein was my first error: I misread the pattern and cut them 3.25" wide, not 3.75" wide.  Ah well!  I'd adjust.  The hexies would simply be smaller.

What happened next wasn't an error; it was an experiment.  I had two triangular rulers for cutting the triangles from the strips.  I chose to begin with the blunt-tipped ruler and, per Ms. Rosenthal's instructions, adjusted the cut to allow for the blunt tip.  I cut one set of strips with this ruler, and then tried to assemble the hexagons, following the book.  The instructions were clear but the hexies weren't very pretty.  I couldn't make patterns with them as illustrated.


I decided to try the second ruler -- the one with a pointed tip.  This was much better!  In the photo below you'll see what I mean.  Yes, the hexies on the top row all have a bit of a slant to them, along with being impossible to assemble into an appealing design:

Top row: blunt-tipped ruler = funky hexies
Bottom row: pointed ruler = pretty hexies

I now have a bundle of not-great triangles -- which have been set aside for later consideration -- and will proceed to cut out the remainder with the "right" ruler! 😆

My leaders/enders project continues to be the string blocks, and converting those squares into HST blocks, but I've done nothing more on that at present.  The OBW experiment happened on the first rainy day in weeks, when I couldn't work in the yard/garden or stitch in the Outdoor Studio.  Instead, I was stuck inside with 2 very lively kittens and one Very Grumpy Miss Pooks!

And stitching has been going well.  It's Sampler September, after all.  I've been working on the d*@!!n grass on the "Keziah Campbell" sampler (Needlemade Designs), and have nearly finished that fill in.  There'll be a photo once I've started working on the sheep!

I've spent some time with "Nevermore" (Lila's Studio design), and have finished the first row of motifs, as well the line "Once upon a midnight dreary".  Again, there'll be a photo when I finish more of the text.

  • And as this week marks the first days of Autumn, I decided yesterday to start a wee autumnal piece.  It's one of the "Gingham Seasons" by Ruth A. Sparrow of Twisted threads -- appropriately entitled "Autumn Gingham" (2002).  Here's my little start:

The fabric came with the pattern years ago; I've just kitted it up as best I could with the called-for DMCC and other DMC from my stash.  It's a fun little stitch and should be finished quickly.  😊

 I've not done any hooked art for a bit, as I was waiting on a bit of wool fabric and some red yarn to arrive for "All the Pretty Poppies".  While I waited, I collected what reds I had on hand.  This has arrived now, and I hope to design the piece in the next week or so.  I began by turning the photo from my garden, into an "Impressionist" mode in my photo editting program (Artsoft Photo Studio 5):

Left: the photo I took; Right: "Impressionistic" version

I need to decide how large I want to make it -- and while it will be larger than the 10" x 10" piece I designed, it won't be much larger.  I'm not ready to take that plunge just yet!

  • Last but not least comes the garden and yard This week I started to clear it away for the winter -- cutting back and dead-heading and weeding out grass that insinuated itself in and around the plants.  I mustered my courage and transplanted a baby peony -- purchased last spring -- that wasn't flourishing where I'd put it in the first place.  It turns out that spot, once the leaves of the nearby trees were full out, was too shady.  I've moved it to the east side of my house where it will have company with other peonies and hope that it "takes" enough to survive the winter so it can do better next year.

I also harvested my Early Girl tomatoes -- many of them a good size but still very green.  The ones that showed signs of ripening are in a basket together in the kitchen, doing just that.  

The others, so very green, I put in a pot with a goodly amount of my golden cherry tomatoes, adding raisins, currants, diced apples, diced lemon and orange, sugar, vinegar, a shot of scotch whisky, some ground cloves and allspice, and turned out almost 4 large jars of Green Tomato Relish, aka "Mock Mince Meat".  I gave a jar to my neighbour and have offered one to another friend.  I'll let the remaining two cure, and perhaps make at least one pie at Xmas -- even if I have to freeze it in slices to eat one at a time!

There are still more golden cherry tomatoes to harvest; I'll be eating them for a while yet!

And on that note...the sun is shining, the day is well on now (after 3 p.m.).  I've pruned my large old lilac (dead-headed the finished blossoms) and cleared the east flower bed for winter (except the peonies, which I'll do later).  It's time for some of that stitching and knitting in the Outside Studio, keeping Miss Pooks company while the wee ones, tummies full, have another nap.

I'll once again leave you with a link to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday.  This week she's show-casing the work of two young talents -- one in the world of Broadway theatre and another who's a new author (spoiler alert: it's her daughter!!)  Off you go to enjoy that and to make time for your own creative pursuits.

Till we 'meet' again, bientôt


Claire said...

I have admired one-block wonders, but haven't tried one. I did make a fan variation of stack-n-whack and agree the process is quite fiddly. Your fabric looks promising for it.

Gwyned Trefethen said...

You had me with the kittens. You know I can resist a cat. I recall when Stack 'n Whack hexies were all the rage. I was tempted, but never gave in. It will be fun and more relaxing admiring your progress.

Kate said...

Are Miss Sylvie and Master Smokie, visiting aor are they new permanent residents? I can understand Miss Pookie feeling like there is an invasion.

I'm sure you will figure out the OBW. That pattern was quite popular in my quilt group a few years ago.