Friday, June 28, 2024

Outside, Inside, All Around the House


As usual, the month has flown by -- but at least this month, I know why: there's been a lot going on.  Simply put, I've been "doing all the things": knitting, spinning, stitching, hooking (rugs/mats/art mats, that is) and caring for the yard and garden.  The place has been a-buzz with activity! 😉 The photo at left proves it: a bee enjoying itself on the flowers of my Mountain Ash (aka "Rowan"), taken June 10th.

Those flowers have gone to seed now and are falling everywhere, which is only a small irritant; they're easily swept away -- though not quite so easily removed from a mug of coffee left on an outdoor table (ask me how I know!)

As seems to be the case pretty much everywhere, we've had some odd weather.  After pining for rain in April and early May, we've been innundated with it -- and cool temps -- for much of the month.  That said, the garden beds and my wildflower plantings have been responding well -- 2 zucchini plants are UP, my herbs are showing their noses, the lupines and daisies are in fine form, and I've been enjoying baby leaf lettuce in salad and sandwiches for the last few days.  Yum!

Last week I visited my daughter in Edmonton, helped her a bit with her garden (weeding) and went to Quilt Canada --  Canada's annual national quilt show (not exactly the size of Houston, but large enough to wear out the most intrepid of us in very short order!)  It's organized by the Canadian Quilters' Association (CQA/Courtpointe Canadiennes) -- of which I'm not a member, but I've several friends and acquaintances who are.

Post-poned from 2020 (go figure!) it was nonetheless a Very Good Show, with multiple sections: an art quilt exhibit from around the globe; a young quilters section -- divided into age groups; the TrendTex Challenge section; special displays from Canadian guilds, FAN (Fibre Art Network -- Western Canadian) and of course, the NJS (National Juried Show).

I saw most of it but will admit that I fell in love with only a few showings.  The first of these was the global art quilt project -- inspired by Kim Caskey (Edmonton) and her former tour partner Debbie (USA)...and Ann Hill, a quilt artist and designer from Scotland. (Be still, my heart!)  

Ann herself was at the table monitoring this exhibit -- and we got into an old chin-wag about Scotland, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh (to whom I long to be related as my maiden name is Rennie -- but, alas, I can find no link 😢)  Two women who'd emmigrated from Scotland to Vancouver Island came by (they live near my BIL) so it was Old Home Week -- about Scotland (my very favourite place after Canada) and CRM and more.

Anyway, Ann's work supports fundraising for Alzheimer's Disease as her mother suffered therefrom.  She had a few copies of one of her books -- with patterns, including the Glasgow Rose -- with funds going to that cause, so, having cash on me, I bought it -- and I hope to do at least a couple of the patterns she's created -- even if most of it is applique!

Here's a photo of Ann's quilt that started the exhibit:

Title: "Home is Where the Heart Is"
Artist: Ann Hill, Dumfries, Scotland

Can you figure out why it was one of my favourites?

Hint #1: SHEEP:

A section of "Keziah Campbell" --
with the ewes on the "damn grass" 😉

Hint #2: A little white church, much like the Little Church on the Prairie that was instrumental in the founding of the town of Mirror, Alberta, that became a village, that became a hamlet...

Photo of St. Monica's (Anglican) church
before it was surrounded by the village/hamlet

Moving the TrendTex Challenge...I confess I found many of the contributions to -- but I found this one, which stood out for its unique construction, achieved even while using the required fabrics and adhering to the theme.  The photo shows it full on -- but it's a shallow bowl!

"Prairies to Mountains"
Creator: Patricia Dance

I took very few additional photos at Quilt Canada.  The lighting was a challenge, as well as the spacing of the exhibits and the crowded conditions, which made taking photographs particularly difficult.  I was very taken with the Best of Show, but didn't take a photograph.  I know others have shown it on Facebook and elsewhere.  Trust me; it was exquisitely done and well deserving of the honour.

That said, here are a few of my other favourites -- first, from the Invitational Exhibit, which was composed of quilts that had won awards in other Canadian shows:

"Gossip Girls" - Maggie Butterfield-Dickinson,'
Scarborough, ON
from the Invitational Exhibit

"Salish" - 
Linda Stephen, Cobourg, ON
from the Invitational Exhibit

Next, one from the Fibre Art Network:

"The Twitter Zone" 
-- Linda Ingham 
from the Fibre Art Network exhibit, "Resist"

And from the National Juried Show -- an Alberta entry I particularly liked (and I know the creator)...

"Slice of Calgary" -- Margaret Jessop,
Calgary, AB -- from the National Juried Show
(Calgary is Edmonton's chief rival...)

And then there was this one...reminding me of where I now live, and the winter landscape I've recreated in my work -- my "Viewer's Choice" from the National Juried Show:

"Prairie Evening" - Deanna Corrigan,
Qualicum Beach, B.C.

Deanna's piece features hand-dyed and commercial cottons -- assembled using 1/4" strips (!) -- and thread-painted accents for the fence line and trees. Be still, my heart!

And you can probably tell why I love it...from this piece I created with paint, fabric, thread-sketching and needle-felting -- which is now available at Curiosity Art & Framing in Red Deer, AB:

"On the Edge of Mirror III" (c) 2020
20" W x 16" L
Textiles and paint on stretched canvas.

I think Deanna and I might be soul sisters...even though we've never met!

Staying in Edmonton for a couple of nights was at test -- of both my nerves, and those of the "kittens" (now about a year old) and Miss Pookie, my 12-year-old Elder Cat.  They apparently survived -- though not a scrap of food was left in the large bowls and feeder with which I left them.  Their relationships may have improved slightly, but none of them is letting on...!!

The day after I came home from Quilt Canada, I took my Pfaff to the shop in Camrose for a tune-up.  Alas, my 'back-up' Husqvarna Lily 555 went too -- it needs a repair.  By mid-July, though, all should be home and in Good Running Order.

Blessedly, the weather has been such that I can either mow/weed/garden or stitch/spin outside, or stitch/hook inside.

I've joined the "Summer Spin-In" with Two Ewes Fiber Adventures on Ravelry, and will be adding the "Tour de Fleece" in July -- on Team Canada (of course!) -- doing both concurrently.  I won two beautiful braids of combed top from the Spin-in last year -- they arrived in March this year -- so here is what I've started with: 100% Falkland, hand-painted...Z-twist because my 'go-to' spin is clock-wise and short-ish draw:

I've started with the purples-into-pinks, but here's what the braid colours look like altogether:

Aren't they beautiful?!
Purples, pinks, peaches, yellows and greys!

I'm a very casual spinner, so will be taking the "easy way out" and simply spinning one colour after another from purple to pink to peach to yellow...and then into grey.  I'm thinking of marling the singles with black (or not).  Time will tell.  I love marls!

For the summer (at least) hooking yarn has replaced quilting.  I've fallen in love with Deanne Fitzpatrick and her art!  I know I've mentioned this before and have posted about my learning curve HERE and HERE.  Recently, Deanne put out her "10 Minute-a-day Challenge" -- and I fell.  Hard.  I even treated myself to a KIT!  I selected "Little Yellow Flowers" because it reminded me of all those (@@!!**) dandelions in my "meadow".  Surely I could get more mileage out of them -- not just jam, but inspiration! 😉 

Here's my progress after a week's work:

And  yes, at time of writing I've done even more.  Not only that, but in the process of this project, I've designed two new pieces and ordered wool yarn and (cut) fabric for a third!

I wrote my friend Maureen recently that I might end up having new work for a new booth at the Lacombe Show in 2025.  Don't hold me to it!  BUT it's motivation -- and it's getting my "art mojo" back in gear!

What has been of immeasurable comfort these days has been Deanne's philosophy, expressed in her weekly "Lives" (see her YouTube channel here) and in the book "Sunday Letters", which my friend S. gave me not long ago.  I've gone back and listened to earlier podcasts.  I've listened to the interview she did with CBC/s "Tapestry" (which I've saved as the host has now retired).  I cannot say enough about how this practice has, with my knitting and cross-stitch, enabled the 'hand-over-hand' process to bury itself deeply into my heart and soul and psyche.  It is helping me find contentment (and maybe -- just maybe -- some joy) in the face of the World's Mess.

Aside from hooking, I've been knitting.  Socks continue.  I've got past the armhole shaping on my daughter's vest...and I've switched out to a bit of cotton, for a tee-top for me (eventually).  It's a pattern I've had in mind for some years, and I dug into Deep Stash to get the yarn:

Pattern: "Vincas" -- a tee top from Berroco
Yarn: Estelle Yarns "Young Touch Cotton DK" 

The pattern has me playing with bands of different stitches, but they're kind of fun.  The yarn is a very loosely-plied cotton (as all cottons are, methinks!) but I love the colour and have had it in stash for a good long time, so it was time to use it.  It's rather fun, actually  -- one of those projects wherein you keep knitting to see how it'll turn out!  😆

And there is always cross-stitch.  While I've been working away on "Ann Perrin 1841" from Jeannette Douglas, this week I decided that it was time to dig out something Spring/Summer so I went back to the quartet of pieces I'm doing from Blackbird Designs' "A Heart Remembers".  Yes, there are FIVE pieces joined together, but I'm leaving out the Big White House and so...only four for me.  This one -- "Rites of Spring" -- is the second, and here is my progress as of last evening:

I've only the very bottom right corner to finish, so that will be my focus for the rest of this weekend -- or until it's finished (whichever comes first!)

And now, Gentle Readers, I've gone on long enough.  It's time for supper...time to wind down at the end of this day.  As usual, I will link to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday.  She's still finding her footing in her new job -- but the good news is that she's finding that spark, she's lighting her Little Art Spirit (as Deanne would call it) in the wake of her new job...So I wish you all blessings.

This weekend in Canada we mark Canada Day (July 1) -- and I know my US readers are marking July 4 later this week. This year is Very Important in the life of that I send out prayers for hope, strength, courage, truth, honesty, inclusion, liberty and so much more.

Blessings to all...until next time...a bientot!


Gwyned Trefethen said...

Margaret, what particularly captured my attention in your post is how you gravitate to work in the show that is similar to your own. I'm with you on the sheep. One of our fellow Sherbonites (town where I used to live) inherited the family gentry farm. The front lawn was dotted with apple trees. When they were in bloom, Sally would have the sheep brought out to graze the orchard. Such a lovely vignette.

Kate said...

I had purchased tickets and made hotel reservations for Quilts Canada 2020. After getting all my refunds, I decided not to try again this year. I'm glad you got there and enjoyed it.
I love the colours you are spinning. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished project.

Anonymous said...

So good to see the things you're active in. Curiosity and passion rule!