Friday, November 10, 2023

"All the Things" -- and Then Some!

 I can't quite believe I posted only once in October -- but there it is: almost a month ago.  It would appear that my longing to "make" or -- more honestly -- "do" All The Things was made manifest, and I simply got down to it!

I'm continuing to make order out of chaos, to be sure.  "Making" is the only way I can keep my sanity while the world goes to Hell in a hand-basket, and closer to home, my kittens continue to need a watchful eye lest they dismantle most of what surrounds them!

Here's this week's Life with Kittens report:

      • This week they discovered how to remove the plunger-style plug from the bathroom sink.  My solution?  Keep a small amount of water in that sink at all times, as they need their paws to do that trick and, being felines, wet paws are definitely not on!
      • This week they figured out how to get past the barrier and slip underneath the closed door to the sewing studio, where Miss Pookie-cat has her 'nest' in one of my fabric baskets (not fabric I use for my work, of course!)  She will put up with their being in the same room -- as long as they're quiet.  They love to sit in a basket in front of the south-facing window and watch the birds, or nap in the late fall sunshine.  In the end, there's been nothing for it but to keep that door open.
      • This week they've turned into thieves.  They knocked my (closed) rotary cutter from my cutting surface to the floor and hid it under a set of rolling drawers.  My favourite seam-ripper and my favourite thread have disappeared, as has a tube of face make-up that was sitting on the counter next to the bathroom sink. They also love to steal Pookie's food when she's outside -- so I've had to put it in a drawer in the room to keep that from happening.
      • This week they figured out how to open a clear plastic box of sewing pins, so I've had to put elastic around it -- in both directions -- to keep them from spilling pins everywhere and -- heaven forbid! -- swalling one!
      • Despite all precautions, I had to construct a "wall" around my houseplants and cover my over-wintering geraniums with one of those little 'green-houses' you can buy at nurseries and the hardware store:  

    • And yes, the hanging plants have had to be entwined as high up as I could put them to keep their vines from being played with!
  • And their fascination with water means that they also couldn't keep away from the operation of the small humidifier I use in the winter.  As one of my FB friends pointed out, clearly they're mist-ified by it!  😆

Are we having fun yet?!  😉

I'm thankful, though that as they're growing into cats, though, they seem to be napping more frequently, and this has enabled me to get down to 'making' in earnest.  I've developed a bit of a routine to keep my day as calm and settled as possible, beginning the day in its darkest hours with my coffee and writing in my journal.

I follow this up with computer time -- viewing e-mails (I get an early-morning daily post of inspiration from knitter/author Clara Parkes), checking the news (I prefer to remain informed; I've never been good at keeping my head in the sand), and turning to knitting while this is going on.  I might continue with a recent-to-me favourite YouTube podcast about knitting: "Quail's Knitting Nest".  One of the lateste episodes "fell into" my feed, and now I'm watching back-issues.  Joy (Quail) is a lovely knitter, a Master (certified in the US), with a down-to-earth, calm demeanour.  Check it out if you think it might be just the tonic you need while you knit.

On a knitting note, since my last post I've had a couple of new starts, as well as a number of finishes. To whit:  I finished two hats for my friend J, who's undergoing chemo for cancer:

Pattern: 'Scraptastic Hat'
Designer: Jane Tanner
Modification: mock cable rib
Yarn: Peruvian Baby Cashmere

Pattern: Freshwater
Designer: Alison Green
Yarn: Michel and CIA Luxury Collection Baby* Silk

*Baby alpaca, that is!

I started that pair of socks for my friend B, who gave me the kittens, and I'm well away on the gusset of the first sock:

Pattern: Woodpile Socks
Designer: Bethany Hill
Yarn: Estelle Yarns Highland Alpaca Fine

The yarn for these socks is rather more rustic than I thought it migh be, given that it's almost 1/2 and 1/2 alpaca and highland wool -- but I trust the hand will soften a bit when washed (it's a hand-wash yarn).  The stitch definition is fantastic, though, don't you think?!

While I'm not making a lot of Xmas gifts this year, I am making some new winter hats for my neighbours; the ones I gave them -- which they were wearing yesterday on their walk -- are starting to show their age.  I've finished one for the hubby, and started one for his wife, using the same pattern and yarn -- just in a different colour.  His is done in "Plum" -- colour #2211; her's will be in "Royal" -- #2213.  (Note: the photo was taken before blocking; check the pattern page for how it looks on the head!)

Pattern: Caribou Mountains Hat
Designer: Kalea Turner-Beckman
Yarn: Diamond Luxury Baby Alpaca Aran

While I didn't start the Lunenberg Pullover I mentioned in my last post, I did cast on another pullover -- the Cilin Sweater, which I found in the Fall 2023 issue of Interweave Knits.  I'd completely frogged a cardigan that had languished for years, and am using the yarn for this pullover instead.  I'm not very far along -- it starts with a front panel of cables -- but I've loved every stitch!

Close up of the start on the front panel.

Next  up in my routine -- after the day has moved into daylight hours -- I might continue knitting, or do some household chore or other.  And if the weather is cooperative, I take a mid-morning walk, with a stop at the Post Office to check for mail.

After lunch, I turn on Tom Allen's show "About Time" on CBC Radio 2, and let his patter and lovely (classical) music serenade me as I get into my sewing/quilting groove.

Since my last post I've focused on these things:

First...six more wee art-quilt 'tags' for Curiosity Art and Framing, "my" gallery in Red Deer:

First up...

and next...

Each is one-of-a-kind; These are all on my Artist's Page on the Gallery website, should you be at all interested.  😊

In other art news...I belong to Artists in Canada Art, which is putting on an Online Show & Sale, running from Nov. 24 throught Dec. 10.  As members are from all across Canada and work in a variety of media, the theme for the show is "Regional Differences".   Each participating artist will post two pieces for purchase  There'll be a link and more info here and on my 3F Creations Facebook page once the opening arrives.  Stay tuned!

As for other artwork -- I'm still working on a piece of hooked art inspired by a flower bed in my meadow:  "All the Pretty Poppies".  Given the Inquitive Kittens, I've had to store all the materials and the piece -- in a large hoop -- away in the guest room, and to work on it when I can, or feel the need to do nothing but hook yarn through burlap.  I don't work on it as often as I do my other crafts, but still, I'm making some progress.  Here's what it looked like at the end of a session of work last week:

And yes, I've done even more since this photo was taken!

Meanwhile, the #keepitoutofthelandfill (Keep It Out of the Landfill) Project continues!  Just yesterday I finished my latest quilt top, consisting of blocks I'd made into pinwheels from half-square triangle units.  It measures 55 1/2" x 66 1/2", and I plan to quilt it up and give it to an elderly neighbour.  I still have enough string squares to make 20 HST units -- five full pinwheel blocks -- and more strings than you can shake a stitch  er, stick at -- so there'll be another one in my future, I'm sure.

And yes, my stacks of hexagons in the One Block Wonder project continue to grow.  I've not counted them up, but I have only 2 more strip sets to cut into triangles, and each set makes between 140 and 147 triangles.  At 6 triangles per hexie, that's another 22 or 23 hexagon blocks.  I think I had seven strip sets in total, so that would come to...154 or 161 hexies...depending...!!

Per the pattern instructions, I've tried to stack them according to colour dominance:

Once I've finished making the blocks, I'll have to figure out a way to arrange them in a single space.  I only hope my "design bed" (a 'twin extra-long' unit in the guest room) will suffice!

In mid-afternoon, usually around 3 p.m., I turn to stitching.  This week I Fully Finished "Here Be Dragons", which is a Christmas gift for my son.

First, I backed it with a piece of quilt batting, and centred it on a piece of acid-free mat board, in preparation for lacing:

Front prepped

Back prepped

After lacing, I fit it into a modest frame from Michael's -- without glass or plastic "glass" -- and put a piece of cardboard (which came with the frame) over the back.  On the cardboard I put a label with the piece's provenance, and clipped the hanger to the top,  I'm rather pleased how it turned out:

In 'active' stitching, I've been focused on "Nevermore" from Lila's Studio, which will be a combination 'congratulations on your wedding' and Christmas gift for my nephew and his new bride.  I mentioned it in my last post (scroll down on that page) -- and have now finished significantly more of it.  

Only the wide bottom border left to do!

In the line-up next: a little pillow project from Mani di Donna for some friends whose wedding anniversary is Dec. 7 (I'm almost finished that one, too), and then finishing "Keziah Campbell"...and another wee gift item for yet another stitch-appreciatig friend.

If I get all the stitchy/knitty/quilty gift goodness finished by the end of the first week of December, I've promised myself I'll relax and spend time stitching and knitting whatever I choose.  We'll see how that turns out, eh?!

I don't know where Nina-Marie is today...but there seems to be no "Linky Party" over at her blog, so I'll just leave you with the reminder that...

Tomorrow, November 11, is Remembrance Day.  In this time of so much war and turmoil, so many triggered tempers and seekers of revenge, let us never forget the cost of war -- paid by all of us, no matter our age, gender, race, creed, faith or culture.

Lest We Forget...

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
        In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe: 
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high. 
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields.

                  - Written by Lieutenant Colonel, Dr. John McCrae

Until we meet again, friends...may you be well, may you be safe, may you be content, and may you be creative!  A bientot!

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