Do you make New Year's Resolutions? I don't -- any more, that is. Haven't for years. That said, I've often written in this blog about my susceptibility to "Startitis" -- both in September (the start of a school year) and now, as we move from one calendar year to another.
This year, for the first time, I'm going to try to corral that "infection" by jumping on the WIPGO bandwagon.
"What's WIPGO?!" you might ask. It's...a process for working on ones WIPs (Works In Progress) in order to finish them -- or at least make some progress on them -- throughout a given year.
It's 'founder' is Jessie Marie, who created it some years ago now, in order to manage her cross-stitch WIPs. It's a flexible game, really, that's adopted from Bingo -- and uses a 25-square "board". You assign either projects or processes or categories of project -- or whatever you want, really -- to each square. Each month -- on the 25th -- Jessie Marie "calls" (posts) two numbers to be worked on in the following month. They're called about a week before the end of the month so you can prep your projects ahead of time -- the better to accomplish whatever your goals are for the month.
You might be able to tell that I've put both cross-stitch and knitting on my 'board'. No quilting? No spinning? No rug hooking? Nope. I don't have a plethora of WIPs for any of those crafts.
If you want company, or advice, or encouragement, there's a Facebook Group (you have to answer questions to join) and there's action on Instagram (but I don't do Instagram so you'll have to look for it there yourself).
Here's a link to her "how-to" video from 2022:
And then I took a close look at what I had left to stitch. Lo and behold, I think the remaining stitching will cover most -- if not all -- of it up! Here's what it would look like finished:
|Photo source: Pinterest
The red bag with the feathery tail at the upper right will cover quite a bit -- as will the rest of the bags and cats therein! And the background is only partly bare fabric -- there are stitches all along the top, creating shading and dimension.
With my love of cats, and the fact that I'm just starting the second page of the pattern, how can I not finish it -- or at least, try to?!
I'm stitchiing it on a piece of 28-count pearl grey linen that I got from a sale table somewhere. It has no identifying maker, but it also hasn't the trade-mark orange stripe in the selvedge that would say "Zweigart". It's perfect for this project though, and suits my choice of thread perfectly, to my mind. I'm stitching it with a single strand of a hand-dyed tencel yarn (!) that I bought at the vendor's market at Olds Fibre Week last June; it's in a variegated purple:
One piece that's probably not going to get on the board is "No Winter Lasts Forever" from Silver Creek Samplers. That's because I'm planning to finish it this weekend!
I'm not following the "12 x 12" event closely, but I'm going to stitch like I am. For one thing, I won't get home from church before noon on December 31; for another, I'm in bed by 9 p.m. and sleep through the entry of the New Year! But I expect to have a good six or seven hours in which to stitch, and "No Winter" will be part of that (if it isn't finished even before that!)
|Pattern: No Winter Lasts Forever
Designer: Silver Creek Samplers
Fabric: 28-count Pewter from Picture This Plus
Floss: DMC and a bit of Weeks Dye Works
|Pattern: "Wee Lima"
Designer: Taiga Hilliard
Yarn: Berroco "Vintage" in "Black Cherry"
As you can see, I've only a portion of a sleeve to knit -- and it'll be finished except for sewing on the buttons (See the large stitch holder, shaped like a safety pin? That's where the buttons go!), sewing in the ends, and washing/blocking it.
Now little Sophie -- the future recipient -- also has a new baby sister, Ivy (2 months old). She'll be getting a little crib quilt. I made the top last March and when I learned of her arrival I decided to quilt it up for her. Here's a photo of the top:
Info: see my post HERE
Note that neither of those projects is on the WIPGO board. That's because I've classified them as Priority Projects because they're gifts -- and will be finished come heck or high water, WIPGO or no WIPGO!
Speaking of gifts...being who I am, and being who my friends and family are, I received some lovely yarny and stitchy gifts for Christmas and "just because"!
My son's partner gave me a gift certificate for a southern Alberta indie yarn dyer -- Arcane Fibre Works. His colours are fantastic -- but his yarn base is all extra-fine merino. His prices are reasonable but I was hoping for a skein of fingering for socks. And y'all probably know by now that unless colour palate is an issue, I won't make socks from high-grade merino. They don't wear well. They might stretch/slouch more than other socks. They pill. And they might felt -- even if they're super-wash treated. Oh -- and feet don't need socks that soft. Never test sock yarn on your face or neck. Your feet aren't that fussy!!
So...I've got a colour-way in mind but will reserve a purchase until I can afford (even with the gift cert) two skeins for a shawl. (And yes; two skeins will equal free shipping -- at least in Canada.) I'm willing to bide my time...
My friend Mary W. gave me two balls of yarn. This is admirable, because a) she doesn't wear wool; and b) she doesn't knit! (True friendship: supporting a friend's passion even when you don't share it!)
She gave me a lovely ball of German sock yarn (NOT 'extra-fine merino' -- the Germans know their sock yarn!) in one of my daughter's favourite colour-ways. And my daugher? She's always up for a pair of sturdy, well-wearing, hand-knit-by-Mom socks! So...her January birthday prezzie is taken care of!
She also gave me a ball of 80% acrylic (!)/20% wool yarn from James C. Brett -- a lovely UK-based company. The colours are similar, but the yarn is clearly for a shawl or something cozy; it has a 'halo' that makes it look like mohair but there's no mohair to be found in it. And...I have a friend who suits this colour palate (she has auburn hair and complexion)...so maybe this will become something for her. Hmmmm....or given to her -- because she knits. She knits shawls (and I found a pattern for this yarn). Prayer shawls, even. Hmmmmm....the possibilities!
Isn't it delicious?!
|Yarn: "Shhh" DK (but it's more like fingering)
Supplier: James C. Brett
Fibre: 80% acrylic, 20% wool
I'm not lacking in stitchy gifts, either. Today I had lunch with my friend C. (we do this every 2-3 weeks -- two-hour lunches at Mae's Kitchen here in Mirror, AB. Food and friendliness par excellence!) She had a major reno to her home this past summer (don't ask; it wasn't planned!) and now is putting things back where they should go. In the course of doing that, she's sifting and sorting her "stuff" and gave me this beautiful book: Sampler & Antique Needlework: A Year in Stitches. It's available on Amazon.ca (and probably "dot com") for a pretty reasonable price but oh! The treasure of it!
I managed some
And then...the piece de resistance! My friend A. is a quilter known for her album quilts and the beauty of her applique and hand-quilting. She also knits and stitches, and is a lot of fun to be with.
This year, she gave me the most delightful, exquisitely executed gift for Christmas. I have it out on the table in my living room, where I hang out to stitch, where I can see it. It's useful, yes, but the artistry and detail make it so very special. The pattern is from the "Block Party Series" from Hands On Designs; this one is "Meow". A. knows I'm a Certified Cat Person...with an Elder Grumpy Cat and two 6-month old kittens...so she paid tribute!
I just had to show you the top and all four sides (the bottom is plain but for her initials and the date):
And now, my friends...I've spoken of plans and gifts -- but what about hopes and dreams?
My hopes for 2024 are too numerous to list, but in the main consist of these:
- "They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore." -- Isaiah 2:4 -- that the lust for power and dominance globally, nationally, regionally, locally and within families disappear and be gone forever.
- That the US doesn't fall into fascism;
- That in all times and all places we can -- as Fred Rogers' mother instructed -- look for AND FIND the Helpers. May there always be helpers.