Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Needlework Tuesday: On Starting a Canada Project

In less than two weeks, there will be flag waving, poutine eating and lots of fireworks and I have yet to start stitching my Canada Day quilted wall hanging.  eeks. I guess I should step up my game.

I did print out the outline of  a maple leaf and have scattered my buttons on the paper.  oops, I don't have enough buttons.  Plan two, I will make the maple leaf smaller and perhaps use some clusters of beads to fill in spaces.

This is one of those projects where size is not really an issue.  It will look terrific on my wall regardless if it is an inch or two shorter. Who will know or even care.

Often times, I get caught up on the small details of a project and it will delay me for days, weeks, months or even longer.  In this case, any further delays will spoil the concept of the project.   If there are gaps left between buttons, so be it, they can be filled in later.  I can add beads, but I could also add some silk ribbon flowers or embroider clusters of french knots (which to my surprise I have found I enjoy stitching).

I have another project that has sat languishing because I am held up by a small detail.  I am knitting socks for my sister and I need to shift the stitches around on the needles so that I can turn the heels.  Slight complication, I am knitting them on one needle (magic loop) but the pattern is not written that way.  I\m sure it will only take me a half hour to make the shift along with a wee bit of knitting, but why have I been stalling for several months.  I think what I need to do, is shift the socks to double pointed needles, then get them oriented properly for doing the heels and then put them back on the magic loop needle.  That would be so  much easier than trying to figure out how to do it using on the one long needle.  Arg.  The second step will be to purchase a book with patterns for knitting two socks on one needle.

It's wonderful to have a place, such as my blog, where I can voice my concerns/challenges and work them out or ask for help.  I quilt with friends and can ask they help/advice, but I usually knit or crochet alone.  Here I find the companionship I enjoy.  Thanks for all sticking with me and supporting me.  I greatly appreciate it.  I hope in turn, that you are getting the support/encouragement that need to continue in your stitching projects and in working out those small details.

Cheers to not letting small details continue to stump us.

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.

Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework post.

Monday, 19 June 2017

More of Me by Kathryn Evans

As my daughter travelled through her teenage years, she tried on all sorts of personas in an attempt to determine who she wanted to be.  Punk, drama queen, athlete and so on.  With each change, she learned more about herself and in time, she picked and chose those bits that she liked and melded them into the wonderfully diverse person she has become.  In More of Me by author Kathryn Evans, Teva has been forced into a similar situation, though not one of her choosing.  Each year, her new self splits from her older self and goes out into the world to continue as Teva, while the pre-existing, older self hides away in the house continuing on at that age.  Sixteen year old Teva likes her life and wants to keep it,  and at the same time, fifteen year old Teva is determined to reclaim hers.

At sixteen, Teva should be have a fun, carefree time. She is almost finished high school, has a loving, attentive boyfriend and best friend who keeps her grounded.  Will this be enough to get her through the struggle she is having in trying to determine what is real in her life and that which is imagined.

I loved this story.  It has such a unique story line that it kept me guessing through out.  I had this niggling feeling in the back of my head that wouldn't let me accept one truth and deny the other.  Each time I thought I knew the truth of Teva's life, some other clue would develop and I'd be back on the fence.

Teva's life epitomises what it is grow up. At each birthday, you look to the future and seize all that which you decide is the new, mature you and discard all that which made up the younger you.  Each year you become a new, older you, with the younger you left behind.  Each of us, even Teva, gets to decide how to integrate that old life with the new that it yet to happen.

This is  a wonderful and imaginative debut novel from British author Kathryn Evans.  I look forward to reading future novels from such a fertile imagination.  And yes, I do agree with her, that pink can be fierce.

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

Cover image courtesy Amulet Books.


Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Needlework Tuesday - On Playing with my new Sewing Machine

 I met with the ladies from my quilt bee last week, and Sharon taught us how to hand piece this 3D bow tie block.  It's quite easy to do as long as you get the placement right.  I didn't want to hand piece as I had other plans.  I have purchased a new sewing machine and planned to start a new project on it.  This is a small one that will test out a variety of stitches and techniques.The machine comes with a free lesson(s) and Sonja, the sales lady, recommended I go home and sew a bit before scheduling a lesson. Good plan.

There was lots of page flipping and a bit of cursing, but I finally found the correct stitch for the 1/4 inch foot and I whipped through these blocks.

 I want to make a small wall hanging for hubby's office, and this is the design I thought I wanted.  Its just not appealing though.  He loves orange, but this combination and the layout don't work for me.  Sharon showed use some alternative designs, so I thought one of them might work.    The bow tie blocks are 6 inches finished, and I didn't want to make any more or the finished item would be too big.
This layout, x's and o's layout, is much nicer, though that darker orange for the border is not going to work.
With the additional of narrow, darker border and a print for the outer border, I have something i can love.  Once it's layered up with batting and backing, I'll be back to the manual to finger out stitching in the ditch and then free motion quilting.

You're probably wanted to ask what machine I went with. A Janome Horizon.  It has the largest opening for machine quilting.  My mom has three Janomes so it made sense to go with the same brand.  She'll be my go to for all operational questions.Yeah mom.

I am planning to get this done quickly, so I can move back to the other orange quilt with all the half square triangles.  yes, they are the same orange fabrics.  The pieces were still sitting on my cutting table when Sharon told me which supplies I needed for her class.  Why press more fabrics when I had ones at hand.  I still have the orange fabrics out, so I expect at least one my small orange project before putting them away or using them up.

I finished the first pair of purple and green fittens. (shown in the upper left). Great stripping.  At my bee, I showed these to the other ladies and some of them are quite interested in stitching their own pairs.  They were asking about the pooling of the colours.  There is a good article on colour pooling on the Red Heart site including a list of their yarns that might/should work with the technique.

The second pair of slippers that I started are one size larger than the first, that is eight more stitches.  The colour change happens about every 9 stitches resulting in a very slow shift of colours in the second pair. Quite a different look.

I would be interested in seeing any of your colour pooling projects/attempts.  Add the link to Mister Linky (new or old posts are welcome).

Nothing like a new project or an exciting turn of stripes to add excitement and to revitalize a stalled stitching mojo.  A new sewing machine is extra invigorating.  That should keep me going for ages, now just imagine when I take my new serger out of it's box....

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.

Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework post.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Warriors #1: Into the Wild by Erin Hunter

Rusty, a kitten,  has only ever know the comfortable life in a house, until one night when he ventures into the woods behind his owners house.  There he meets a wild cat, which starts him off on an adventure that changes his life.

I had heard good reviews of this series from a number of young readers and I wanted to check it out for myself.  The story line does stand up to their praise.  The authors have created a rich world of cats that live outside the bounds of the humans.  They have a well developed society that is governed by a strict moral warriors code.  When Shadow Clan begins breaking those boundaries, all the clans are affected.

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book.  I forgot quickly that the characters were all cats and was drawn into their daily lives.  The readers sees the cats' world through the eyes of kittens Firepaw (Rusty's new clan name) and Greypaw.  From the moment they meet, they are drawn together and become the best of friends.  This is lucky for Firepaw as he has a lot to learn about living out of doors, things that being a house cat never prepared him for.

I can certainly see why this series remains popular with the middle school students.  It is full of action and cats to cheer for as well as a few cats to dislike.  The story moves quickly and covers topics that kids can relate to such as bullies, yes there are cats that are bullies, who knew.  Even though this book was written in 2003, it has aged well. The clans are under stress as their environment is being threatened by human development.  There is not enough food to go around, yet they don't want to leave as this is their ancestral homeland.

There are enough books in this series to keep an interested young reader going for at least a year.  Visit the Warriors web site for a full listing of the titles.  I would recommend starting with this title, the first written.

Author Erin Hunter is really composed of six authors: Kate Cary, Cherith Baldry, Tui T. Sutherland, Gillian Phillips, Inbali Iserles, and Victoria Holmes. 

Cover image courtesy HarperCollins Canada