Saturday, March 30, 2024

Spring Startitis

 And some finishes...

March has long been considered a fickle month, weather-wise, and this year's no different!  I've had 2 or 3 days outside, spinning at my wheel in the sunshine -- and a whole lot of other days watching it snow while I pieced quilt blocks or knit or stitched.  And then there were sunny days too cold for sitting out -- but just right for shovelling said snow, or trying for a brisk walk on streets patched with ice.

Such fun, eh?!

At left: the latest bobbin of 2-ply "Mystery Mauve" from a batt I was given years ago. All of it's spun up now, thanks to those few days earlier this month, when I could spin outside, which is my preference.  There's still a teeny bit to ply up, but as you can see, this bobbin was full!  

That bobbin was one "finish" this month.  Another was a small Lizzie Kate cross-stitch piece that I've backed and will stuff as a wee pillow to go in my glass bowl of such things.  I need it nearby for frequent inspiration and reassurance:

I also finished the lo-o-o-ng ribbed socks I started a few weeks ago; they're going to my friend's daughter to wear under work boots as she treks around the farms she visits and around her mother's ranch:

Pattern: Simple Ribbed Socks 
Designer: Angela Law
Yarn: Estelle Yarns Highland Alpaca Fine in "Gold"

Yes, I could have knit them without a pattern, but as you can see from the length of leg and that of foot, I wanted some guidance as to size.  I was hemming and hawing about number of stitches, size of needle (2.75 mm in the end) etc. I think they turned out well; they're now washed and ready to wrap and put in the mail after this holiday weekend.

I managed to finish one of my WIPGO calls for March: the 7 days work on yet another Advent hap -- but still no photos, as it looks like scrambled eggs on the needles.  Suffice to say I moved from row 98 at the beginning of this month, and have now completed row 129.  There are 369 stitches on every row, so even though I've only 25 rows to go until I cast off, it's going to take a while.

As for the other WIPGO call -- to work on my oldest cross-stitch WIP -- alas...I didn't even make the attempt.  Too many other more interesting things going on to bother with a hem stitch/weave stitch I'm not keen on.  I'm not ready to ditch the sampler as a UFO; I just need to come up with an alternative motif for that space!

The Spring Startitis really kicked in about mid-month.  I've had some blood pressure issues (better now) and around that time developed some sort of dermatitis or eczema that's been making me very itchy.  The earliest I can see my doctor about it is April 17, so I'm living with it -- and need distraction!  (That's my story as to the Startitis, and I'm sticking to it!)

Summter Bower
On the stitching front, the above-mentioned Lizzie Kate stitch was a start and finish within days.  I also joined a SAL (Stitch-ALong) with Carmen of the Cardemen Pins floss-tube.  She's an avid fan of Jacob of Modern Folk Embroidery, and invited stitchers to pick one of Jacob's early designs, something that's not (yet) popular, and stitch it -- calling the project the "Jacob Sleeper SAL".  I love his designs and reproductions too, having finished "Here Be Dragons", as well as the delightful "Summer Bower". 

 And I'd made a start on a fairly new design -- his miniature "Vierlande" sampler entitled "Remember Me", even getting the Roxy Floss Co. hand-dyed floss in the 'Vierlande' colour-way.  In fact, I stitched on that yesterday for Good Friday:

For the "Sleeper SAL" I picked one of his little patterns that was actually part of a SAL a few years ago:  "Light a Single Candle".  I'm doing it on a little scrap of linen using some dark red floss -- unlabelled -- that I resurrected from a long-abandoned UFO kit, and I'm praying I have enough of that red to finish!

I'm doing  this as a Sunday Stitch.  However, with Spring in the air, and the new WIPGO numbers out, I had to dig out a "floral" -- it's my "#18" that was one of the numbers called for April.  Now, I have more than one stitch with flowers on it, and it's not April -- yet -- so I decided to start a new one to add to the mix!  (What?  Don't look at me that way! 😉  Don't tell me you've never done that...!! 😆)

This is "Buttercup Alphabet" by Cathy Jean at The Victoria Sampler.  I bought it -- with thread pack! -- at a retreat Thea Dueck gave back in October 2008, in her then-home in Victoria, B.C. -- and wondered why I'd never stitched it up.  I'm using a piece of 28-count "Toile a broder" from DMC -- a rather light-weight fabric, but it seemed to me to suit -- and I'm using 2 threads of floss over 2 of fabric.

With all that going on, rest assured I've not forgotten the Wedding Sampler I'm doing for my friends' 50th Anniversary in late May.  I'm about 2/3 finished -- coming down the right border.  The other three borders are finished and so is some of the text.

"Arabesque Wedding Sampler"
Designed by Birgit of The Wishing Thorn

I'm working it on 36-count "Grey" from Weeks Dye Works, using the called-for DMC and one silk from Caron Watercolors (the variegated thread you see there.  There's Kreinik "Old Gold" to come, as well as beads from Mill Hill...but those will be done last.

There've been knitting starts too. A couple are so new there not ready for photos yet.  I mean, who needs to see a photo of two rounds of 1:1 ribbing?!  😆  

First, a pair of mittens for my next-door neighbour, who helped me repair a collapsed shelf in my laundry room a few weeks ago (don't ask!)  When I asked how I could compensate him for his hard work, my neighbour asked for a new pair of mittens because the ones I'd made him a few years ago had worn through the fingertips.  He wears them under other mittens when he's shovelling/blowing snow or doing other sorts of work outside in the cold.   I'm using stash yarn -- a self-striper -- and the Tin Can Knits pattern, "The World's Simplest Mittens".  I've made these many times and they're just right. 

Next a couple of cotton-based chemo caps for my UK friend who's still having treatments for cancer, and will need something lighter than wool/cashmere to wear this spring.

And then...another hap, because, why not?  The Woolly Thistle -- an online yarn shop in New Hampshire -- is having its annual Shawl KAL.  They're purveyors of 'woolly wool', which I love, and of which I have quite a bit in my stash.  While I drool over the stuff TWT sells, I can't afford to buy it (exchange rate) and have it shipped here (exchange rate), and I don't need to -- when I can get some of the same brands locally, and others, besides.  For this KAL I'm going local -- as in Western Canada:

Top: Heritage Black Welsh Mountain Fingering
from the Alberta Yarn Project;
Centre: Gotland/BFL Lamb Fingering dyed 
with logwood, from Riverside Farm, Brisco, B.C.;
Bottom: Hill & Down Fingering from Kalea
the Luddite
, Edmonton, Alberta

The KAL began yesterday, so here's my wee start.  The pattern is a hap created by Julie Kabitsky for an Advent KAL in 2018, which I never joined at the time.  Better late than never! LOL!

Finally, on the quilting front -- no new artwork, though I am going to be giving a short Artist's Talk at the Viewpoint Gallery in Red Deer on April 5th.  

Piecing continues apace, though.  I finished the March Block of the Month (BOM) from A Quilting Life.  I'm using Thimbleberries fabric from deep stash, and I make two of the same each month, 8" finished, just using whatever takes my fancy from that fabric collection.  They all have the same background fabric (I have scads of it!) and all have that same outer border, though not necessarily with the same contrast fabric:

And I'm working in earnest to create about 100 "Four Patch Fun" blocks from Bonnie Hunter's 'Addicted to Scraps' column of a couple of months back.  I'll need that many because I've trimmed them to 6", so they'll finish at 5 1/2" in the quilt.  The photo below was taken a few days ago, when I'd completed 34 blocks; I'm up to 51 blocks now, and more prepped!

I clip them in batches of 10 to make them easier to count!

While some may "match", in reality they're a very scrappy bunch indeed.  No idea how I'll set them yet.

And as "leaders and enders" I've been working on two other projects: assembling four-patches for one of Bonnie's "Easy Breezy" quilts, and assembling rows of postage-stamp blocks -- five per row -- with which I hope to make a set of curtains for the west-facing window in my living room.  I've got 12 rows of five blocks each assembled, and blocks for at least two more rows.  

I figure if I just keep my hands busy, it'll take my mind off my physical challenges.  I'm thankful too, that I'm still mobile and relatively healthy -- and hopefully will find out soon what to do about this dermatitis!  The best way to scratch this itch is to keep my fingers and my mind otherwise occupied!

And's time for a walk in the brisk, breezy sunshine.  I'll leave you with the usual link to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday.  She's been exploring improv piecing and having great fun with it!  

Thanks for stopping by, Gentle Readers -- and blessings for Easter to all who observe.  Until next time... a bientot!

1 comment:

Kate said...

Thank you for the link to the shawl. I have some mini skeins that I think would be perfect.
Lots of great stitches happening at your house.
Happy Easter!