Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Stitch'in Time - A Change of Day

Sorry to be missing from Stitch'in Time for the past few weeks.  After moving to Mondays, I soon realized that wasn't going to work.  The beginning of the week always seems to be so busy and it was almost impossible to get a post ready.  Going to try Wednesdays and hope it goes better.

 Even though I haven't been visiting with you, I have been stitching up a storm.  Other then casting off, I have finished the stitching on this project.  I bought some blocking wires and am ready to move forward.

First, I wanted some pictures of the pre-blocked shapes.  It is very modern sculptural looking.  I love the odd bumps and bulges.
 My youngest is holding it up on the needles, the green will be at the bottom, in a circular form.  If it were dipped in some acrylic medium, I'm sure I could drape it into a wonderful free form sculpture.  However, I'm not going to do that as I want to see how it turns out after the 'vigorous blocking' that the pattern recommends.

The first row has 3 stitches and final row around six hundred.  It took me over 15 minutes for those last few.

Hope to get to the blocks soon.

 Once I had finished the above project, my fingers were still wanting to knit.  In my inbox I found a pattern from Red Heart for a cute and simple knit bib.  It is pattern LW6062 . A similar pattern is available for those who crochet.

I made the first one in Red Heart Super just to test it out.  Worked beautiful.  Then I purchased one skein of Red Heart Super Saver Stripes.  So far it has made 4 bibs and there is easily enough for at least one more large.

The pattern has three sizes, S 0-3 mths, M 3-6 mths, L 6-12 months.

These will be donated to MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) to be included in the craft tent sale at the quilt auction in New Hamburg near the end of May.  My quilt guild usually makes items for donation.  I didn't feel like sewing and instead thought knitting would be a good option.

 Small - Medium - Large
I love the way the colours progress in this yarn.  Actual knitting order  to show the colour progression was the Small and Medium in the top row, then the yellow one and finally the Large in the top row.

Definitely will have to use this yarn again.

Stitch'in Time is a regular Wednesday post where I share my various needle work projects.

Mister Linky is waiting below for you to add a link to your current needle work post.

Friday, 13 April 2018

School Ship Tobermory by Alexander McCall Smith

A fun, high seas adventure for the land lubber or middle school reader.

Ben and Fee MacTavish have led an unusual life with their marine scientist parents.  Spending time with them means travelling around in their submarine for weeks at a time.  When it is decided that they will attend boarding school, they enrol at the Tobermory, a huge sailing ship school.  Once on board, they meet students from around the world.

Within days of the start of the term a number of the students are asked to work as extras for a movie being filmed on another ship.  After a few days of filming, Ben realizes that something is not right and he becomes suspicious about the film crew.  Soon the students are caught up in an investigation that takes them far beyond their regular lessons.

This is a well told story that kept me eagerly turning pages.  Not only did I get to know an interesting group of students, but I finally learned the difference between port and starboard.  I could totally imagine enrolling in a school such as this.  It would be a dream come true.  This would be the ultimate escape from the classroom, even if the classroom came with you.

I particularly like that the students come from a wide variety of backgrounds.  Not only do they have to get along in the classroom, but their co-operation is fundamental in the proper running of the ship.  This book should have wide appeal to middle school readers.

Readers of this book might also enjoy: Max Tilt: Fire the Depths by  Peter Lerangis


Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Ice Wolves: Elementals 1 by Amie Kaufman

Twins Anders and Rayne have always been close, but more so after they were orphaned at the age of six.  Their bond is challenged when it is revealed that Rayne is a dragon elemental and she must flee the city which happens to be a wolf stronghold.  On that same day, Anders is disturbed to find himself transformed into a wolf, a sworn enemy of the dragons.  This leads him to question everything he thought he knew about his sister, even whether she actually is his sister.

While living on the streets, the two had formed a loose bond with some of the other street kids, but never became close enough to be considered friends.  For the first time he can remember, Anders has made friends with some of his classmates at the wolf academy.. He is closest to Lisabet the first young wolf to befriend him.   He questions whether he can trust her with Rayne`s  secret.  He is desperate to rescue her from the dangerous dragons, but can`t accomplish such a huge task without help. Can he trust Lisabet.

I love this book.  It is full of magical devices, dragons and wolves.  Wolves as young as twelve are entrusted with the safety of the community.  At the same time they are treated as school children who are expected to attend classes and study.  This is much at the target readers of this book; they think they are old enough to be considered adults but in the eyes of their parents they are still young children.

This adventure filled book should appeal to a wide range of middle school readers.  In some ways it reminded me of the first Harry Potter book with the students off to boarding school to lean how to deal with their new found talent.  The contrast of the dragons and wolves makes for interesting encounters.

I received and advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc., in exchange for an honest review.


Monday, 26 March 2018

Stitch'n Time : Finding my Mojo

I don't know if it's a result of the gorgeous spring weather, or the fact that March break is over, but I feel more relaxed and ready to go.

This weekend, I was able to finish up three pillows.  The binding is all done and lose threads clipped.  Either my mojo is well found, or perhaps it was the looming deadline for the quilt show they are to be exhibited at.  Does it really matter; they are done.

The sunflower pillow was from a workshop I took with Jennifer Houlden.  I learned some new techniques.  She suggested quilting the background before adding the flower.  This would keep the piece from wrinkling due to the differing amounts of quilting  She also introduced me to free-motion zig-zag quilting.  I wasn't sure I wanted to try it at first, but then I remembered that the idea of a class is to try new things.  I'm glad I did as I rather like the results of this technique.  I used it to attach the flower to the pre-quilted background.  After the quilt show, this will return home to grace one of my sofas.
 Next up, are the deer and the fox from the Forest Friends  pattern by Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts .  These had been sitting for a while waiting for binding. Done.
 After the quilt show they will be going to my friend's son.
This knitting project has almost been addictive.  I have a hard time putting it down for long.  Each row I knit moves the pattern along that it practically grows before my eyes.

I am wondering whether I darn in the ends before I block, or do I block first then darn in the ends.

Stitch'n Time is a weekly Monday post where I share my current needlework projects.  You are welcome to add a linky to your current needlework post and I'll be sure to drop by for a virtual visit.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

This story made me feel sad, angry and even afraid at times.  Tyler Johnson died when he shouldn't have.  He should have been safe in his own neighbourhood, but he wasn't.  Now his twin, Marvin, is left to figure out what happened to him and how to move forward.

With the unfailing support of his mother and his two closest friends, Ivy and G-mo, Marvin is able to search within himself and his community for answers.  Screaming back at him is the colour of his skin.  It is the first thing that a lot of people notice when they look at another person.

Did Tyler get caught up in a bad decision he made, or did some one look at him and decide that because of his skin colour he must be doing something bad.  Marvin experienced a lot of anguish as he broached these questions.  On top of that, he had to find the strength to face the media, his classmates and their opinions.

This is a powerful tale.  The first time I opened it and started reading, I closed it after a few pages.  I wasn't ready for the emotional impact I knew it was going to throw at me.  A few hours later, I cleared a block of time and dove in.  While I love the book and the main characters, I am sad that we still need these tales to be told.  I have faith, like Marvin, that we as a society can move forward and do what's right.  At present we need authors such a Jay Coles to present these stories and show us how to proceed.

This book would be a great subject for a class room discussion or to read as a family.

Cover image courtesy Hachette Book Group.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc., in exchange for an honest review.


Monday, 19 March 2018

Stitch'n Time - missing in action

So sorry to have been missing in action.  Last week was March Break here in Ontario.  That meant I was extra busy at work with a week full of kid activities.  As you can imagine, helping present activities for up to 150 kids a day can be stressful.  While I didn't have much time for stitching, I did do crafts with the kids each day.

Pup Tag made during our Paw Patrol event
I was not surprising that kids really don't listen carefully to instructions.  It was worse that so few kids were able to use scissors.  Often their parents would swoop in and take the project away from them and do the cutting to their standards.  What good is that, the child still can't use the scissors and the child finishes the project much faster that expected.  This caused problems with our timing.  arg.  Hence, my stress.

Lumpy and bumpy, clearly in need of blocking when done.
This week I am on staycation and re cooping.  I did some knitting today.  I am on to the next section of my project and have moved to larger needles and two strands of the orange yarn.    It's knitting nicely, but sure is going to require a lot of blocking.  Since I had to wind one skein into two equal balls of wool, I used my kitchen scale to weigh the first ball i was winding.  Once the ball reached half the weight of the skein, I started the second ball.  Much better than guessing as I did with the first two colours.

After one of my shorter days last week, I was able to drop into the quilt shop and get a few supplies for a pillow cover I'm making for a co-worker.  I had planned to purchase some plain off white fabric for background, but when I spied this piece with text all over, I knew it would be so much better.  Remember, I work in a bookstore...  Now I have no excuse for not starting on this project.

Stitch'n Time is a weekly post where I share my progress (or lack there of) with my needlework projects.  You are welcome to use Mister Linky to add a link to your current needlework post.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Firesong by Adam Garnet Jones

Shane is torn between the person he is on the inside and the person he feels he needs to be on the outside.  In secret, he loves his boyfriend David and how close and understanding they are of each other and their needs.  On the outside, he is attentive to his girl friend Tara and goes through the motions expected of a dating couple.  At the same time he is struggling to accept the recent suicide of his younger sister Destiny and how it has devastated their mom.  He has been relying on Evie, a tribal elder, to help keep his mom at all functioning and yet he keeps hiding his relationship with her grandson.  A gay male on the rez is far from being an accepted thing.

Attending a university far from the rez is Shane's dream.  He figures it will be the only way for him to have a future with David.  Of course, it's far more complicated than he can cope with at that time.

I thought that this was going to be a nice romance between two young men on a rez, but it turned out to be much more.  First, Shane had to deal with his feelings of his mom letting him down during the toughest time of his life when he really needed her guidance.  The time had arrived when he had to address and fully embrace his sexual nature.  This wasn't easy to do on a reserve where male gay relationships were greeted with hostility.  What it brought to light for me was the politics that exist between the various tribes.  In my mind, I had an image of the different tribes working closely together for the benefit of all indigenous peoples.  I was naive in this respect and should have realized that each tribe/reserve is akin to an individual town with respect to bylaws and budgets.

Author Adam Garnet Jones really made me think and question what I thought were truths and any biases I held.  This would be an excellent study novel in high school classes.   Parents and teachers should be sure to check the study guide for this book at Annick Press.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music in exchange for an honest review.

Cover image courtesy Annick Press.