Saturday, December 16, 2023

Another Year...Another Festive Season...

 Within 2 months of marking 21 years of blog posts, and 10 days from Christmas, and 2 weeks to the end of another year, I'm pondering.

For several years now, I've chosen a "word of the year" -- but not, Gentle Readers, for 2023. I'm rather glad of that, because I've no idea what it could have been.  Chaos?  Coping?  Comfort?  Giving?  Exploring?  Planting?  Grieving?  Aching?  Learning?  Celebrating?  Joy?  Sorrow?  Friendship?  Love?  Marvelling?  Family?  

I still have no idea -- and so will probably defer selecting such a "word" for 2024 as well.  (Though I reserve the right to change my mind! 😉😄😆)

Instead, I'm going to "keep on keepin' on" as long as the Good Lord lets me.  To that end, I'm pleased to tell you that I Survived November (the bleakest month in my year, each and every year) and am Moving Toward the Light.

Last week, Sylvie kitten helped me celebrate 
the Light of Hanukkah

Now, those of you who are familiar with the stories of Jesus might recall that he had some close friends (not his disciples) -- Mary, Martha and their brother Lazarus.  They lived in Bethany, a suburb (you  might say) of Jerusalem, and he'd often stop there on the way to the Big City.  Sometimes he'd sleep over, but pretty much always, he'd join them for a meal and some good conversation.

Mary was inclined to sit at his feet and listen, which aggravated her (probably older) sister Martha, the DO-er.  Martha was the one preparing the meal, setting the table, making sure all was comfy for their guest.  

Well, folks, I'm a "Martha".  I don't entertain much any more (being rather introverted, I like it that way), but I'm still a DO-er, and a Maker and a Planner.  Without Marthas, in my view, no one would have a stocked larder, or clean clothes (or any clothes, for that matter!)  No one would be fed -- human or animal.  No one would get anywhere on time, with a packed lunch or money to buy one.  

I always have a grocery/supply list at the ready for my next trip to town.  And yes, my Christmas cards have all been sent -- except the ones to people who live here in the area, and they'll go out this week.

In my last post, I was busy making gifts -- but they've long been completed, mailed and (so I'm told by the recipients) received and put under trees -- or opened immediately, as was intended.  

Yep, I'm a Martha.  I don't sit without something in my hands on which to work.  It's how I feel safe, how I sort out my thoughts and make sense of the world around me.  Making keeps me calm.

As of this post, I'm still making gifts -- but of a different sort.  I got word recently that there are several families of Ukrainian refugees arriving in the Edmonton area this winter.  I connected with the person who advised this and am putting together a box to send off to her early next week.

The box will contain four quilt tops -- one twin-sized and 3 throw-sized; five hand-knit wool hats; one hand-knit wool cowl; and a couple of pairs (or maybe 3) of handknit wool blend or acrylic mittens.  My contact has a resource who will sandwich and quilt the tops.

In that stack of tops are the following -- from the top -- "Butter Churn" (from an "Addicted to Scraps" column by Bonnie Hunter earlier this year); "Triple Treat" (Bonnie Hunter's "Leader/Ender Challenge" #11); "Add It Up" (the latest one finished -- from "All People Quilt/Wendy Barker Paul - Quilts and More"); and "Rhododendron Trail" (Bonnie Hunter's Mystery 2021).

For those who are curious, here's what the "Add It Up" top looked like when I finished it:

It was fun to do -- but it's time to move on!  This week I started a new scrap quilt: "Scrap Happy Star Buster" from Pat Sloan.  I've made six blocks thus far (I need thirty for the top) and none of them match except for some of the background fabric.  It's how I roll these days!

Six on the ironing board!

And here's a close up of what a block looks like:

I've developed a winter routine that goes something like this:  knit in the morning; quilt from noon to 3 or so; somewhere in there go for a walk (maybe two) or shovel snow; stitch in the late afternoon/evening.

In addition to five hats and a cowl that will go in the care package, I've been knitting mittens (all from stash yarn).  I finished this pair for an adult:

Patten: The World's Simplest Mittens
Designer: Tincan Knits
Yarn: Emu Superwash Double Knit in colour 1112

And am on the thumb of the first mitten of a pair for a child:

I'd like to make a third pair before I mail the box this coming week, but that just might not happen.  Ah, well.  I'll keep on with them and mail any additional pair separately.

You migh be wondering what I do to "relax".  For Marthas, this sort of creativity is relaxing!  

In the summer, of course, in addition to the 'chores' of yard work (raking, mowing, planting, weeding, watering) there's just the sheer pleasure of being outside.  Ditto for the winter work of shovelling.  There are long walks and filling the bird feeders.  There's cuddling the kittens and making sure they don't destroy the fabric, fibre and floss!

And there's stitching.  Up till a couple of weeks ago, as my earlier posts have shown, even my stitching was to give away.  But now that those pieces are finished, I'm stitching just for fun, just for me.

I've dug into my WIPs (Works In Progress, for the uninitiated), and pulled out the "Stitcher's Prayer" from Kathy Barrick, which started me down the stitching rabbit hole again a few years ago.  I'd done only one motif.  Now I've done one-and-a-half! LOL!  So no photos till it gets a bit farther along.  (It's an old pattern (2001) so may not be readily available except for the Carriage House Samplings website.)

I also took out the "Autumn Bird" from Blackbird Designs, a pattern lent to me by a good friend.  She owns all three in the series.  I finished "Summer Bird" with my own take on the bird (I turned it into a red-winged blackbird, which is common in the summer in these parts), so this autumnal brown bird is the second in the series, and I'm stitching all three on the same piece of fabric:

I'm enjoying this one so much that it's been hard to put down -- but I managed to make time for a new start:  "No Winter Lasts Forever" from Silver Creek Samplers.  Here's my small beginning, on 28-count "Pewter" from Picture this Plus, with an assortment of floss from my stash:

I have another "Winter" WIP on which to work, and others, including "Keziah Campbell", which is nearing a 'finish', and as my family and friends are replete with stitching (for the moment, at least!) I'm going to focus on these in the coming months.

To that end, I finally "fully finished" a couple of small pillows that seem to suit the festive season, and have put them in my large glass bowl on the buffet:

"Summer Bower"
from Modern Folk Embroidery

"Chubby Bird" from
Jeannette Douglas Designs

With the new kittens around, this is as close to decorating for Christmas as I'll get this year!

And so, on that note, Gentle Readers, I want to wish you all blessings for the Season, and health, happiness, peace and creativity for the New Year.

Onward!  A bientot!

1 comment:

Kate said...

For you, my friend, a quote from the poem "The Sons of Martha" by Rudyard Kipling. This was read at my "Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer", better known as the Iron Ring Ceremony.

And the Sons of Mary smile and are blessèd – they know the angels are on their side.
They know in them is the Grace confessèd, and for them are the Mercies multiplied.
They sit at the Feet – they hear the Word – they see how truly the Promise runs.
They have cast their burden upon the Lord, and – the Lord He lays it on Martha’s Sons !

And Martha's daughters, too.

Merry Christmas