Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Needlework Tuesday - Piecing once again

It's been a while since I did any reasonable amount of piecing.  Yes, I did a wee bit of sewing to make some boxer shorts in December and made two blocks for my guild meeting in November, but piecing itself, not much.  On Saturday, I decided that enough is enough.  I got out a long piece of fabric and started cutting.  I continued cutting on Sunday and finally finished cutting  today. All from one piece of fabric.

It doesn't look like much, but that jumble has the makings for  90 blocks.

I am using the book One-Block Wonders: One fabric, one shape, one-of-a-kind Quilts by Maxine Rosenthal.  Essentially, you take one fabric, either six or eight repeats of the print, and cut identical pieces.  I had eight repeats, so I am sewing octagons. First one is complete, a bazillioon more to go.  They will trim to 6 1/2 inches once the corners are added.

This one is going to take a while to piece, but I'm not in  a hurry.
 Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you.

My local guild is hosting a mystery.  Tonight we had our meeting and were to bring our second set of blocks.  I had them pieced with days to spare.  The blocks are all 5 inches. The fabric is very gold metallic making it hard to photograph. I have no idea what the finished project will look like, it is a mystery after all.  I will be making twelve blocks.

I'm also knitting, but I don't have anything new that I can show you at this time. One project is a surprise and the other is the green and cream infinity scarf that I showed you last week.  While it is longer, it still looks the same.

What do you do when you are having needlework urges.  Do you ignore those urges and continue with your current project, do you start a new one, or do you find a UFO that has been languishing and finish it up?

Leave me a comment as I am curious. Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework post.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Spic-And-Span: Lillian Gilbreth's Wonder Kitchen by Monica Kulling

 How did I not know about Lillian Gilbreth when the results of her work affect much of my  waking hours.  From the layout of my kitchen,  to a number of appliances that I regularly use, she has made my life easier and undoubtedly safer.  Her work on improving the ease and efficiency of assembly lines made the work easier, faster and safer for employees.

Lillian didn't just use her engineering and psychology skills in her job, but she employed them in running her household.  With eleven children, she found it the only way to mange.

Author Monica Kulling has brought Lillian Gilbreth to life for me. She has presented a lot of information in bite size pieces that will appeal to the school age readers. I think that this book would most appeal to ages 8 - 12. It will also be of interest to adult readers, though it might leave them wanting to know more detail about Lillian and her works.  I also recommend it to all young women considering a career in engineering.

This book, along with the others in the series,  would be a great addition to any classroom library.  Teachers could use it as a launching point for several discussions including: what do engineers do, types of jobs available, roles of women in the workplace, what in your house would you change to make life better...

The book is fully illustrated by David Parkins.  His artwork depicts life in the early 1900's,  at the time when Lillian was working. 

This is the first selection in the 2015 Tundra Reading Club.  Details about the club can be found on the Talking with Tundra blog.

Thanks to Tundra for my review copy and for use of the cover image.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Tangled Thursday - Playing with Arukas

 When I first saw the tangle Arukas back in the fall, I could see the potential for lots of fun.  Life didn't allow time for much tangling and it sort of drifted to the side.  I still wanted to get back to try it so I issued
a challenge to my tangling friends.  Use Arukas any way you want, though draw it out on it's own first.

Here's my first attempt.

Welcome to Tangled Thursday.  A few of my local and online friends have joined me in an occasional Zentangle challenge.  We'll take turns choosing a theme  and them post our drawings in about 2 weeks time.  All are welcome to join in the fun.  If you are new to Zentangles, then visit the website for a complete explanation and all sorts of online resources.  I'm also a big fan of TanglePatterns
 Next up, mulitiple Arukas. I started with a simple thread with 4 areas and drew Arukas in each staying within the thread.  In the upper left,  as I was filling in, I ended up with an open space and decided to fill that with a smaller Arukas.  I need to shade that one a bit more so it recedes further.
In this case, I didn't start with a thread.  I drew the 4 centre circles and lightly numbered them with a pencil.  Number 1 is in the upper left.  I draw all 5 of it's rays radiating out past all the other circles.  Number 2 in the upper right, also drew all it's rays out fully, breaking the lines when they passed below the existing lines from one.  For the next 2 circles, some rays I extended and others I stopped when they reached another ray.  I used only brown marker for number 1 and both brown and pink for the others.    Needs more shading to better show depth.

I hope that you have played with Arukas.  Mister Linky is waiting below for your link to your current Zentangle related post, or your Arukas post.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Freak of Nature: Book 1 of the IFICS by Julia Crane

It was the cover that first attracted me to this book and it didn't mislead.  This was a story I could hardly put down.

Kaitlyn is having a difficult time with her second coming of age.  The first time she did it as a human girl and this time she is doing it as the first human robot/cyborg.  Having signed her donor card to donate her body to science, after she suffers a fatal brain injury in a fall, her body ends up in the labs of Dr. Harrington.  From that point forward, she is an experimental subject and no longer has any say over what happens to her body.

Dr. Harrington has no qualms about turning Kaitlyn into the perfect soldier, though Lucas, one of his scientists, has second thoughts about what they have done.

Even with all her enhancements, Kaitlyn is still a girl, but she no longer knows how to be the person she was before the accident.  Some of her mistakes were amusing.  Others reminded me of ones that a foreigner to Canada or the United States might make such as not knowing the current slang.  It also emphasised that text book learning is not enough, real world experience is required. 

Did I mention that there is romance. Can't tell you about that, want to keep the suspense.

Even though this level of human/robot hybrid is far off in the future, it does bring to mind the question of whether it should be done.  Just because we have the technology, should we be using it.

This is a well written book that kept me reading long after I should have been asleep.  Though this book is aimed at a YA audience, it has enough detail to keep an adult reader involved.

Books in the IFICS series:
  1. Freak of Nature
  2. Fractured Innocence
  3. Fatal Abduction

Thanks to author Julia Crane for use of the cover image. 

At the time of writing this review, Freak of Nature is free at some ebook retailers.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Needlework Tuesday - When the pattern just doesn't work

 I was quite excited last week when I cast on the stitches for what would be my new winter hat.  I had finally bought a ball of the much celebrated Noro wool.  When I first read about the company and their concept I was most impressed.  I wanted to make something.  After studying their website and the colour charts, I found that I didn't like their colour combinations that were currently available.  Too many colours put together.
Time elapsed and I still wanted to knit with Noro.  At a knitting show I saw a kit that used one ball to make a hat. The kit is from Black Sheep and Ewe.  Perfect way to try Noro, finally.  I cast on this past week and started knitting.  i used the 5mm needles recommended in the pattern.  Way too small.  Moved up to 6 mm needles. That gave a better tension but still too tight of a hat.  Daughter suggested that I keep knitting and turn it into a head band for her.

 That's exactly what I did.  The band is reversible and shows different colours on each side.  If I had added the top of the hat, it would have been small and not come any where near covering the top of the ears let alone the entire ear.  i only had inches of wool left after binging off.  As you can see from the third photo, there is no way this would make an adult hat.  I would make a good children's hat.

 Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you.
 A friend gave me these cross stitch animals.  She found them after some one else had removed them from their hoops.  I'm thinking of using them as the middles of pineapple log cabin blocks, though I would welcome your suggestions for alternate settings.

Daughter has been asking for an infinity scarf.  This is from a kit, also from Black Sheep and Ewe.  I have used this yarn previously, Polaris from Rozetti,  and loved it.  I knit a black and white shawl for my sister in law. I don't like knitting with 9mm needles, but the effect is pretty so I will stick with it.

I look forward to seeing what you are stitching this week.  Mister Linky is waiting below for your link.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Canada by Richard Ford

The best part of this book is that a large portion of it was set in Canada.  Other than that, I'd describe it as a monotone, even when something did happen, it was related in such a level, paced manor that it seemed common and even mundane. 

The reader knows from the opening lines that the parents commit a robbery and some time later there are some murders.  That's the excitement, in those two lines.  Later, there are a few pages detailing how the country of Canada is introduced to the story, but really, it's just not an exciting story. 

It is an unusual coming of age story for twins.  Berner strikes off on her own and rarely enters back into the story, while her brother Dell is sent to live with the brother of a friend of the family.  Within a short few months, Dell is exposed to and involved in a lifetime of situations. 

Dell did learn important lessons from the three males in his life: his father (the bank robber), Arthur Remlinger (his guardian in Canada) and Charley(the Metis hunting guide in Canada).  None of them were good roll models, but they each taught him important lessons.

I am left wondering why Mr. Ford  chose to tell this story in such a dry manner.  He could have made it much more lively.  Then again, this telling did reflect the gravity of the misdeeds of the parents.  There was one brief moment of levity when Dell went off on his own to find a school for himself.

If you are looking for a story with exciting bank robbers and flamboyant murders, this isn't the book.  If you are looking for a sober reflection on a boy's coming of age, this is the book.

Thanks to HarperCollins Canada for use of the cover image.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Needlework Tuesday - Cosy Feet

 My daughter is all ready for winter with the new cowl that I knit for her.  I started it in November and gave all the pattern and wool details in an earlier post.  I had to wait until after Christmas to show the finished item and have her model it.  She loves it and has been putting it to good use on her windy university campus.  The colour in the first photo is more accurate.

Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you.

 For years, I have been searching for the perfect slipper pattern.  It must fit sort of snug and not have a seam on the bottom of the foot.  Oh yeah, it has to be fairly easy to knit.  I've always envisioned a basket of hand knit slippers by my front door waiting to warm my friends' feet.  I am determined to start filling that basket this year. My first pair of slipper is the Seamless Salomas Slippers by Susan Busbee and Megan Williams.   This pattern is available free on Ravelry.  The first pair I made in worsted weight yarn is size medium, which easily fits size 8 1/2 women.

Next pair I made is for my nephew with size 13 feet.  If anything, they are a wee bit large on him. These are the funniest looking things before you put them on.  In the pattern they are referred to as pocket book slippers.

During the holidays, I received an email from The Fat Quarter Shop telling me that I had won a fat 1/8 bundle. wow. I wasn't expecting that.   The package arrived within a week.  As you can see, there is oodles of fabric to play with.  I don't have a pattern selected yet, but I do know it's going to be a fun search.  I am thinking that I want to add some solid fabrics into the mix.

The bundle I won is from Moda and is called 'Gardenvale'.  It's the first fabric line by Australian designer Jen Kingwell

A visit to The Fat Quarter Shop site shows that they have reasonable shipping rates.  If ordering to Canada, ensure that it is sent by USPS and note that you may have to pay the taxes when the package crosses the boarder.  I suggest USPS for cross boarder shopping as they charge the lowest brokerage fee.

I also noticed that The Fat Quarter Shop is going to be carrying a new and exclusive size of pre-cut called Jolly Bars.  They are half of Layer Cake, 5x10 inches.  This size really appeals to me. I'm looking forward to ordering some later in the spring.   They are have several patterns featuring this size of cut on their website.

My mother must have felt that I was running out of projects as she gave me the Rapid Fire Lemoyne Star ruler for Christmas.  I read all the instructions over the holidays, and then went to Deb Tucker's website and read more and then watched videos.  There are several variations that can be done with this ruler including fussy cutting border print fabrics, of which I have several languishing in my stash.  At some point soon I hope to be trying this one out and I'll be sure to take lots of photos to share.

I am curious, did you get any needlework supplies for Christmas that you are eager to start using?
Leave me a comment, or better yet, write about it on your blog and add your link to Mister Linky below.