Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Needlework Tuesday - Plaid is where it's at

Yesterday was a holiday here in Ontario. It was the perfect opportunity to head off to a friend's cottage.  Our families spent the last five days enjoying each others company, good food and plenty of sunshine.  We talked, laughed and reminisced about the past thirty years.  I love the time we spend together and am sad when it's time to return to our respective every day lives.

My every day life includes fabric and quilts, lots of both.  I have been visiting a few shops for the Row by Row Experience being hosted by hundreds of quilt shops across Canada and the United States.  I decided to purchase plaid fabrics at each shop I visit this year.  Not as easy as it seems. Not all shops carry plaid even though it's great for narrow borders and bindings.

Why plaid?  Recently, Bonnie Hunter of  Quiltsville introduced her Leader and Ender project for the year, it's Tumblers.  The information is all on her blog,  just click her name in the previous sentence and you'll magically travel to her studio (wishful thinking).  One of the example quilts she showed was made from plaids.  That is my inspiration.

Every quilt I make is a learning experience.  So far I have learned that not all shops carry plaid fabrics.  The green and the teal in the bottom of the first photo aren't quite plaid, but they'll do.  The second photo shows some plaids that I easily found in my stash and I'm sure there are several more at least.

I knew I wanted to make a few of these quilts and decided that a template was the way to go.  In the past I have had success with Marti Michell's products and since I had previously bought my mom Marti's Tumbler template, I bought the same for myself.

I'll be cutting the plaid tumblers at 5 inches as I want to show the fabrics off at their best with repeats of the design.  I am also cutting 3 1/2 inches as my mom already has a bunch cut that size and I often cut extra of many projects and share with her.  And to make best use of my smaller scraps, I'm cutting 2 1/2 inches tumblers.   I haven't started sewing them together yet.

At present, I am pinning images various tumbler quilts.   You can view my Pinterest board at this link

Have you made a tumbler quilt or are you following Bonnie's lead and making one as your leader and ender this year?  Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your tumbler project or your current needlework project.  I'd appreciate additional pins to add to my board for further inspiration.

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.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Needlework Tuesday - Preparing a polar bear skin for stuffing

 It's a scorcher here today.  We don't get all that many days where the mercury tops 30C. Today is certainly one of them, we reached at least 32C. This might not seem hot to some who live closer to the equator, but for us more northern people, remember that for a large part of the year, the thermometer doesn't climb over the freezing year.

I have been hiding inside in the air conditioning during the hottest part of the day.  This week I have been working on a polar bear skin.  I know I can't fool my readers, it's a knit pelt.  The pattern is from the book Faux Taxidermy Knits: 15 Wild Animal Knitting Patterns by Louise Walker.  She is a very talented designer.  I first learned about her when i saw photos of the knit wigs that she had made.  They were so life like at first glance. When this book came along, I ordered it immediately.  I really want to make the tiger skin rug even though hubby is not all that keen on having it in our living room.  To view more of Louise's work, click on her name to be taken to her website, or click on this link to her Facebook photo page.

Back to the polar bear.  I am knitting him of a fuzzy yarn.  I need to knit the second skin, then they are sewn together, the head is stuffed and then the paws are lightly stuffed.  It's a coaster.  I'll have a picture in the next week or two.

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.
 Even though it's sweltering outside, I realise that knitters are already thinking of scarves, mitts and hats.  If you are looking for a fun and easy scarf, the Amazing Brilliant Zig Zag Scarf from  Lion Brand is worth considering.  You either increase at the end of every row, or you decrease at the end of every row.  Simple.  For a thicker yarn, your maximum row only needs 20 stitches.

All this scarf needs yet are some eyes and a red tongue (not specified in the pattern).  I used Bernat Softee Chunky Twists in colour Tropic Twists.  Too bad this has been discontinued.

 I used the same yarn in a different colour for the rug for daughter.  I found it very easy to knit with.  There are two colours, grey ragg and teal twists still available.  I think either would make a great hoodie. 

I hope that you are having more favourable weather where ever you may be living. Not that I'm complaining. After such a bitter cold winter, warm is welcome.

Mister Linky is waiting below to see what you've been working on currently.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Seaborne #1: The Lost Prince by Matt Myklusch

I loved this book.  Adventure, swashbuckling, and a mysterious island.  All the best of pirate lore along with young Dean Seaborne, a pirate spy.  Wait a minute, a pirate spy.  My first thought was, what the heck is a pirate spy.  Simply put, it`s a pirate who spies on other pirates. 

Dean has been a pirate for as long as he can remember, and that`s not all that long considering that he`s only thirteen.  He doesn`t like how he`s forced to live, but can`t imagine a way out.  His newest job is to infiltrate the crew of the Reckless, which is captained by Gentleman Jim Harper and to find out why that ship`s profits as so low.  During it`s short voyage, he learns far more than he could have imagined.  What he learns changes his life.

This is where the mysterious island with the golden trees enters the story.  Oh wait, I can`t tell you any more, don`t want to spoil the surprises. 

For all his life, Dean has been told what to do and now he is placed in difficult situations where he has to make important choices.  This is the chance for him to choose what kind of man he will grow up to be, a cut throat pirate, or will he follow in the steps of Gentleman Jim. 

I totally enjoyed this book.  It was a refreshing take on the usual ruthless pirate story.  It had all the action and adventure that I expected, yet it also had surprising twists and turns.

This book would appeal to pre-teens both male and female.  Dean and Princess Waverly are good role models, though for different reasons.    Parents beware, if you give this book to your child, be prepared for him or her to want to read it straight through in one sitting and then start all over again. 

Cover image courtesy of author Matt Myklusch

Thanks to Netgalley for my review copy.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley

Prior to reading this book, I had never pondered the relationship between an author and her or his agent.  In Named of the Dragon, literary agent  Lyn Ravenshaw travels to Wales with her client, author Bridget Cooper.  They are set to spend the Christmas holidays with Bridget's boyfriend, also an author.

Lyn is is much in need of a quiet holiday as she is yet grieving the loss of her child Justine several years earlier.  After arriving at the rural farm, she is upset to find that a young baby is staying in the adjoining house.

This story starts at a gentle pace and slowly builds to a crescendo.  The detailed descriptions of the sweeping landscape helped  lull me into a false sense of safety.  I began to second guess who was behind sneaky mis-behaviour.  Was it Lyn's fanciful imagination or was there truly an other worldly intervention attempting to guide Lyn.

I really enjoyed the play off between the three authors in the story, Bridget, her boyfriend James and Gareth,the secretive playwright.  It really highlighted for me that authors come from all walks of life and that they are often nothing like the persons they create in their works of fiction.

This is not a high action drama, rather a novel that you read while  curled up in a quilt with a cup of tea  and time to savour and enjoy the relationships while they develop.

Also by Susanna Kearsley:
To learn more about Susanna Kearsley visit  her website.

Thank-you to Sourcebooks for my review copy and for use of the cover image.

Friday, 24 July 2015

The Summer of Dead Toys by Antonio Hill

I was only a few chapters in to this book when I knew that one story wasn't going to be enough about Inspector Hector Salgado.  Author Antonio Hill has created a character that I want to read about again and again. 

The Inspector has just returned from a month long enforced vacation to his homeland of Argentina when he was asked to unofficially investigate a suicide.  At first, he goes through the motions of this new case, but can't let go of the human trafficking one that got him in such trouble.  Hector is a good investigator, he knows not  to accept things at face value, but to collect and listen to the evidence. Fortunate for him and for the dead man,   Leira Castro is assigned as his new partner and she is brilliant at her job.  Together, they uncover of a web of deceit reaching back years.

I loved this novel, it kept me interested, on the edge of my seat for the entire story.  It combined great characters, a city that is foreign to me and a plot that I couldn't anticipated.  It is an excellent example of a classic police procedural where good solid police work and investigation find the clues/leads and follow them through to their actual conclusion of a solved crime.

Inspector Hector Salgado returns in The Good Suicides and then in The Hiroshima Lovers (yet to be translated to english).

Cover image courtesy of PenguinRandom House.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for my review copy.