Friday, December 01, 2023

Racing Towards the Finish Line

 I don't know about you, but when I get close to finishing something, all I want to do is focus on that one project until I cross the finish line with it.  Sometimes there's a deadline involved -- and sometimes not.

In my last post, I'd finished a number of things and was close to finishing others.  Over the last three weeks**, I've made more progress, so I decided it was time to share.

**By the by, how did we arrive at December already?!

As of yesterday (when it was still November), I'd finished the 'Caribou Mountains Hat' for my neighbour's wife, using the same yarn (Diamond Luxury Baby Alpaca Aran) in a different colour:

My friend Joyce in the UK has received her cozy cashmere chemo caps and is wearing them with pleasure, as she reports it's quite chilly there now.

I'm almost finished the first of the 'Woodpile Socks' for my friend Brenda, as I'm nearing the end of the toe decreases -- and will be finished with that today:

The Pinwheel Strings quilt top got quilted and bound -- and now lives in its new home with a neighbour:

I started and finished cowls -- one each for two friends of mine.  Here's one of them, modelled by the lovely 4 litre ice cream pail... 😉

Pattern: Simple, Yet Effective Cowl
Designer: Tin Can Knits
Yarn: Heidi's by Hand Trail Merino Worsted - Skein 1

Here's the other, lying beautifully flat on my coffee table.  I just love the texture in this one!

Pattern: Simple Simon Cowl
Designer: Hanna Illuzzi
Yarn: Heidi's by Hand Trail Merino Worsted - Skein 2

And I finished a tiny cross-stitch sampler that will also be given away -- probably matted for framing or putting on a stand:

Pattern: free from Colorado Cross-stitcher 
Floss: all DMC floss - 2 strands over 2 threads
Fabric: a scrap of 28-count even-weave fabric

I also finished a little gift for some dear friends in Ontario, who moved to a new home there about a year ago.  They're Jewish, and their 48th anniversary this year happens to fall on the first night of Hanukkah, so I finished this little pillow for them.  They called the other evening to say it had arrived safely and they were delighted to find a spot in their living room for it:

Pattern: one of two "Jewish Pillows"
Designer: Mani di Donma
Floss: All DMC - 2 strands over 2 threads
Fabric: 32-count Weeks Dye Works 'Wild Flax'

I think all of us could use a bit of shalom in our lives just now, don't you agree?

What's left to finish?  Well, aside from those "Woodpile" socks, I'm still plugging away at "Nevermore" from Lila's Studio -- and very focused now, because I'm on the last border.  

Less than 1/2 the last border to finish!

Close-up of the bottom border

I panicked briefly as I began this last bit, because I'd finished the called-for colour ("Lagoon" from Gentle Arts Sampler Threads) and couldn't get any more quickly.  I found the right match in my stash -- "Chesapeake" from Weeks Dye Works -- but it was getting low too!  What to do?!  Blessedly, my LNS -- Cabinet of Curiosities in Stettler, Alberta (yes, it's related to "my" gallery, Curiosity Art & Framing in Red Deer) -- had two skeins of DMC 500 that is a great match.  I bought 'em both!  Now to get it finished, pressed and laced to mat board so I can mail it off to my nephew and his new bride in B.C.  They can frame it themselves, to suit their (ahem!) unique taste.

On the quilting front, a few weeks back a friend gave me a small bag of scraps, so I decided to challenge myself to use the limited quantity therein, and the limited palate, to create something to give back to her.  Et voila!  I managed a "Funky Logs" table runner:

I used my own stash for the backing, batting and binding; otherwise, the blocks were made from only what she gave me.  I presented it to her yesterday, knowing she's a 'matchy matchy' sort of quilter; she was rather amused -- and I hope she'll find a place for it!

I've finished making all the hexagons for the One Block Wonder quilt top, but have set it aside for the moment as my brain's not yet ready to tackle designing that finished top.  The other challenge with design right now is...lack of a design surface.

The 'design bed' -- the long twin bed in my guest room -- is currently difficult to access because of the number of items that have had to be stored away in there to protect them from The Kittens.  And the photo above showing the table runner on my studio's design wall?  That was the last item to be put on there before Sylvie Kitten (the black-and-white feisty one) lept up on it.  I'd caught her trying this more than once but one day, when I wasn't in the house, she brought it down completely!!  I'm now pondering how to refurbish it and remount it.  (It's a slab of blue foam insulation covered by Thermolam, and is a good 20 years old.)

This means that currently most of my 'designing' is being done on my cutting table or my ironing board.  To that end, I've turned my attention to using up more stash in a new quilt top to give away.

I'd bought a kit of nineteen-thirties reproduction fabric back-in-the day -- again, probably almost 20 years ago.  It was intended to become an English paper-pieced project -- some sort of Grandmother's Flower Garden or something.  Anyway, a while back I decided I'd never make that.  I even gave the hexies and the pattern to the local charity thrift shop -- but I kept the fabric.  

This past week I found just the right pattern for it -- "Add It Up", a free pattern from "Quilts & More" that I found on  It's been a wonderfully soothing pattern to work on -- even with a typo in it that called for 89 background (white) squares -- when it turned out to be 189!  

Here are a couple of progress photos:

At the top: background rectangles.
Centre tray: print rectangles, Block 'A' units.
Bottom tray: Block 'B' units

On the cutting table:
more Block 'B' units ready to assemble

I don't have enough of the fabric to make the wide borders for the top, but have found some options in my stash that will suit; I'll pick one when the time comes.  Meanwhile, I have the rhythm of the nine-patches to thank for a certain amount of peace of mind this week.

Order out of chaos: that's my on-going mantra!  

Yes, there is art work I could mention. I've got pieces in an online gallery hosted by Artists in Canada, and invite you to visit between now and December 10 for the current group show and sale, entitled "Regional Differences".  I also have holiday-themed items showing in the Curiosity Art & Framing gallery in Red Deer -- and I invite you to visit the gallery in person or check out my offerings HERE.

But Advent has arrived, a time in my faith practice for reflection and prayer, even as I might join in on the trend to knit or stitch or otherwise make something material each day from now through Christmas.There is much to ponder and pray about: for comfort, for peace (far and near), for sanity, for civility, for generosity, for understanding, for caring -- for hope.

I leave you with those prayers for your own homes, families and friends.  Until next time...a bientot!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great read Margaret, your ability to produce so much is amazing! Such beautiful things.