Saturday, February 24, 2024

The Best Laid Plans...

 The best laid [plans] o' mice an' men gang aft aglay..."  --  Robbie Burns 

Sigh.  It's been one of those weeks.  I'm not particularly impulsive (just ask my kids).  I don't like surprises, pranks or practical jokes.  I'm such a planner that I made my living as one for a good 20 years, back in the day.

So when there's a week that includes disappointments (even just one or two), I can get rather grumpy.  "Disappointments" can include unexpected interruptions -- so yeah.  I'm writing you post-grumps but still sulking a bit.

One disappointment was that a packet of embroidery floss -- including specialty floss -- and fabric, that I'd ordered 2 months ago, and which was mailed Tuesday from a shop a mere 3 hours' drive southwest of me -- didn't arrive.  I was so looking forward to the package, anticipating a new stitching start this weekend -- but no!  My mailbox on Friday was empty.  Sigh...

Another was today's weather, which turned in the wee hours.  I was hoping to get up to Camrose today to listen to my friend Terry play his improv keyboard music at Main Street 1908 Cafe, and have lunch there with his wife (and my good friend) Mary -- but with the wind high and snow falling, and the road reports showing the highway north partly snow-covered...well...I decided it would be safer to stay home.  Of course, a few hours after that decision -- and too late to change my mind -- the sun shone (for about 10 minutes) and the snow had stopped.   Sigh...

To make the best of things, I decided to finish off the "string HSTs" I was making for another charity comfort quilt.  Like the one I made a while back (photo at left), I needed 4 HSTs to make each block.  I got to 80 units and found I had more string blocks to convert into HSTs (Half-Square Triangles), so I kept going.  That said, 90 would produce an odd number for a top, so I pushed to 100.

Along the way, I discovered pencil marks on the cream-coloured half of four HST units.  Duh!  I must have marked them on both sides before I assembled them.  No problem; I knew the pencil marks would wash out.  What I didn't know was that within these particular blocks was a singular fabric that would "run" when washed.  And it was a polyester-cotton blend!  I'd no idea!  It was from a collection of fabrics I'd been given when a dear elderly friend of mine died a few years ago.  I thought I'd washed everything she gave me, but I must have missed this yardage -- or discounted it as 'safe' because it was mainly polyester.

Anyway, the maroon fabric in question ran in the blocks I washed.  Sigh.

What to do?!  

First, I went through the stacks of HST units to check for that rogue fabric.  There were fifteen of them! I have a bottle of "Retayne", which is a product designed to help fabric hold onto dye and prevent it from running -- so I put the lot of them plus the two rogue blocks --  into a solution of that with hot water in my bathroom sink, swishing the blocks around every 5 minutes for 20 minutes.  Then I rinsed them and hung them over my shower bar to dry:

Some of the blocks on the shower bar;
the others are on the towel rack to the left (not shown)

Then, remembering that I still had several metres of this dark maroon fabric left, I chucked it all into the wash with more 'Retayne'.  There were a couple of long 2" strips that I included -- in my little white lingerie bag.  

WHOA!  When the wash was finished, here's what had happened to the bag:

I couldn't believe it! I've never seen anything like this!  So...all I can do now is pray that the treated HST blocks and remaining fabric will behave and not run further!

Once the blocks on the shower bar were dry, I pressed them and kept going. (I made an extra pair of HST blocks to replace the ones that had bled.)  I've now managed to finish six pinwheel blocks, each of which will finish at 11" in the quilt.

On the left is a stack of four; on the right, a stack of two.  Note their different lay-outs.  Hmmm...

No matter!  I've decided to make an equal number of each layout (though with 25 blocks that means there'll be 12 of one layout and 13 of another. Ho hum...) and let it be what it will be.

What else is new?  

Like I said: it's been one of those weeks.

I did manage to get a few other things accomplished since my last post:

  • I finished the "Scrappy Starburst" throw quilt top, which will be going up to Leduc, AB (south of Edmonton) to be quilted and given to a refugee Ukrainian family:

  • I finished a small cross stitch piece and sent it to a friend:

Designed by Lizzie Kate

I finished it as a flat piece and sent it along with another finished flat piece (fabric-covered) that she can use, or not, as she sees fit.

  • I made progress on my daughter's socks and am now well along on the foot of the second sock;
  • I've also made slow but steady progress on a mitred square blanket using left-over soc yarn:
Yes, I've a long way to go -- BUT
I also have a LOT of left over sock yarn!

  • Speaking of sock yarn, I've also finished a simple 3:1 ribbed hat using 2 slightly different blue yarns held together:
Yes, it's now finished...just no photo of that yet!
Design: LOSY Hat
Designer: Barb Engelking
Free on Ravelry

  • And I'm working on a different hat using left-over sock yarn in solid colours:
Design: the Mash It Up Hat
Designer: Barb Ausherman
Free on Ravelry

Since the above photo was taken, I've finished the grey stripe as well as a grey-and-green stripe and am now on rounds of solid green. Soon I'll add brown to the green and then top the hat off with solid brown.  This is a really fun knit, and I can see more of these in my future!

On the stitching front, in addition to that little piece I mentioned above, I'm much farther along on my 2023 Birthday stitch -- "Memories of the Past":

Design: "Memories of the Past"
Designer: Hands Across the Sea Samplers

I made some more progress on the 2022 "Holiday Count-down" piece from Modern Folk Embroidery:

And I started a new MFE piece for Valentine's Day/Lent:

Design: "When This You See..."
Designer: Jacob of Modern Folk Embroidery
Fabric: 32-count Belfast linen
from Zweigart - a printed fabric in the
"Smoky" colour-way
Floss: Vierlande from Roxy Floss Co.

All are great fun to stitch!  That said, the March WIPGO numbers will be called tomorrow, so we'll see what next month brings to the fore!

On the art front, "Craft and Care" opened on Friday, Feb. 15, at the Viewpoint Gallery in Red Deer.  God willing, I'll be there to do an Artist's Talk on the First Friday in April, but locals can see it sooner during the week (Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) and the First Friday in March, when it's open till 8 p.m. Artists' talks start at 6:30 p.m.

That's all the news that's fit to print for this post!  Given the challenges of this past week, I'm glad I managed to do what I did -- and to get in a few decent walks in the occasional February sunshine while I was at it.

Now...I leave you with my usual link to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday, and a fond wish to all of you, Gentle Readers, for health, creative delights, and plans that actually work out the way you want them to!  😉  A bientot!

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