Saturday, June 15, 2024

World-wide "Knit In Public" Day...And other Things

Saturday, June 8 this year, was designated "Worldwide Knit in Public Day". That day -- and off and on this week -- it's been cold and rainy here, so I've been knitting (I do some every day) -- but not outside in public -- or even inside in public! 😉

June 8th was also my mother's birthday --
and she was the person who taught me how to knit in the first place. She learned how to knit from her mother, and when I was about 8, she taught me. I've been knitting ever since, rarely stopping. I made a pair of cables and lace "over the knee" stockings when I was in high school -- back when we wore garter belts to hold them up.

I knit lace shawls on commission in university. I knit for my kids, and my friends' kids, socks and baby outfits and shawls and chemo caps. Toques and mittens for refugees. Cowls as special gifts for family and friends. Sweaters for myself. Socks and hats on commission. Baby socks for friends' grandchildren (out of scraps) as I have no grandchildren of my own.

My current projects include a vest for my daughter for Xmas 2024 and her birthday in early 2025 (yes, it's for TWO occasions), and a pair of socks to replace a pair that I think may have been destroyed in a house fire. I'm on the foot of the first sock of the pair, and the vest currently looks like this -- at 21" from hem to under-arm.

Pattern: Presto VestoPresto Vesto
Designer: Amy Gunderson 
in - Winter 2023
Yarn: Midknit Cravings Comfort Sport
in the 'Shiraz' colour-way

It's time for a fitting of the vest, so until I see my daughter (next week), I've taken out something else to work on: a Work In Progress (WIP) that I started last October.  It's the "Cilin Sweater", and it's for me (eventually).  I'm making it from a yarn that I'd originally put into another sweater -- a sweater that I frogged 🐸 because I knew I'd never wear it.  

So far, I love the Cilin, which starts with knitting the cable panel that runs up the front.  I know for a fact that I love it, because it's taken me three tries to get the pattern right!  Here's a photo taken last evening; I've done another several rows since then:

Pattern: Cilin Sweater
Designer: Vera Marcu
in Interweave Knits, Fall 2023
Yarn: Austermann Marina in colour #37

I've knit at the doctor's office (it lowers my blood pressure). I've knit on the bus when commuting to work (decades ago now, a friend (and fellow commuter) referred to me as "The Lady Who Knits on the Bus"). I've knit while walking to work or elsewhere -- causing people to stare while we were stopped at intersections, back when I lived in the city.

I don't need a special day to show off my knitting. I knit every day; I have a knitting bag (with a wallet) for when I go shopping -- in case, on the way home, I'm stalled at the train corssing.

When my sweet DH died in 2006, my hands would do NOTHING but knit for months. It is my solace, my comfort, my meditation, my prayer. It is my way to express love for my family and friends.

Yes, I do other crafts -- quilting for art and for comfort; cross-stitch; hooked art -- but knitting was my first love and so it will always be.

Speaking of comfort quilting...Since my last post, I've finished the second throw quilt for that young couple who lost everything in a house fire a couple of months ago. They've found a rental space and are settling in for a while, returning their lives to some semblance of 'normalcy'. I hope these two quilts will add to their comfort as they move forward and rebuild:

Pattern: "Four-Patch Fun"
Designer: Bonnie Hunter
from her "Addicted to Scraps" column
in Quiltmaker Magazine, Jan/Feb 2024

While it's high time I took my trusty sewing machine in for a tune-up, I keep putting it off, as I'm still wanting to piece! Last week I finished another two blocks in the Block-Of the-Month (BOM) for June, designed by Sherri of A Quilting Life:

June BOM - "A Quilting Life"
8 1/2" unfinished
Fabric: Thimbleberries left-overs

There are two size options: 8" finished and 16" finished; I've decided to make two each of the smaller size. I'll have 24 blocks by year-end, and Sherri designs setting options that will be revealed in early December. By then I'll have decided if I want to make more of these blocks (maybe another one of each for a total of 36). I'm using left-over Thimbleberries fabric I've had for decades, so what's left will determine how far I can go with this!

Cross-stitch continues too. I've reached the red sweater for the sheep on "Fred's Ewe-nifying Question" from Silver Creek Samplers, but have done little more on "Ann Perrin 1841", because I started a new piece -- a gift for a friend's up-coming birthday. I've made stitched pieces for her before -- baking themed, as she loves to bake -- so it's probably not surprising that when I found Erin Elizabeth's "Baking Tier" I knew I had to make it up for my friend. It's a small patter that I think I'll turn into either a tile or a flat-fold. As of last evening, I was nearing the bottom of the piece, which I started about two weeks ago:

Design: "Baking Tier"
Designer: Erin Elizabeth Designs
Fabric: 28-count natural linen
Floss: called-for DMC

Since this photo was taken,, I've finished the motif next to the spoon on the bottom, the tiny motif next to the red bowl on the right end of the shelf above, and stitched the shelf with the lace trim under the bottom row of motifs.

This weekend the "Alberta Cross Stitchers" group on Facebook is having it's "June Push", so I'm going to use the weather (iffy at best -- cool -- with showers/thundershowers possible) as a reason to spend the entire time stitching -- right after I finish this blog post! 😆

And then there's hooked art. I've not talked much about it because it's a relatively new craft for me. Checking my blog archives, the last time I mentioned it was, I think, in November last year. I took up the craft at first, at the urging of a friend, who is a great fan of Canada's reknowned hooked rug artist, Deanne Fitzpatrick, who has a studio in Amherst, Nova Scotia. I wasn't all that keen at first, but then my friend sent me Deanne's beautiful book, Sunday Letters. I savoured it every night at bed-time, one letter at a time, and by the end of it knew I had to try this out. I sent for a beginner kit, which I finished -- and which now hangs in my bedroom.

Since then I've designed two of my own pieces. The first is "Something's Brewing!", an 8" square piece mounted on a painted board, that's now on exhibit (and available for purchase) in the gallery at Curiosity Art and Framing in Red Deer, Alberta, where I have my art quilts:

Last week I finished the second piece -- the one I was working on when I wrote that post last November:

All the Pretty Poppies (c) 2024
8" x 20" - mounted on stretched canvas

It's inspired by a photo I took of baby poppies that were coming up last summer, under the big willows in my hoped-for meadow.  On the left is the photo; on the right, a 'pixelated' version I used as inspiration for hooking the piece:

It will end up in the gallery too, I hope -- eventually -- or (better still) in someone's home!

I've no new original pieces in mind to hook yet, but Deanne's started her  "10-Minutes-a-Day" Challenge -- so I splurged and bought myself a full kit to play with.  It's due to arrive next week, so more on that in a future post.  Stay tuned!

Of course, being on my own, I've had to Take Care of Business around the house and yard this spring, as dictated by the weather.  This past week I finally found a couple of calm, sunny days -- so the automatic garage door got it's joints oiled and was given a new coat of paint.  Also sanded, cleaned and painted are the railings on my back stoop.  Deadwood in my aging ornamental fruit trees got pruned, raw fleece mulch was applied on flower and veggie beds so they'll retain more of what little moisture we've had (or expect to get), and the grass on both the regular lawn and the 'meadow' has been mowed.  Before mowing I dead-headed as many dandelions as I could, but that's a nearly impossible task so...there will be more of them (and more jam!) next year.

Meadow-wise, the poppies, batchelor buttons, daisies and lupines are coming up. The few wildflower plugs I can find from the multitude I planted last year are doing just fine.  No idea where their siblings are, however.

In the flower beds, the purple irises have blossomed and are being followed now by yellow ones.  And the allium -- newcomers to my beds -- don't seem to be doing well, but as I've not had experience with them before, all I can do is watch and wait.

As I close, I see the sun is shining -- tentatively -- and although it's decidedly cool for a mid-June morning, and the clouds are swirling in the north/north-west, I think it's time for a brisk walk before I settle to stitching.  I leave you with a link to the "party" over at Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday, and wish you all comfort and contentment this weekend, wherever you find it.  A bientot!

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