Thursday, 16 April 2015

Tangled Thursday - No Paper Allowed

This week's challenge is to use a medium other than a flat sheet of paper or a traditional Zentangle tile to draw your tangles.Go wild. Use fabric, flower pots, glass window, if you can draw on it, then it's fair game.

Last visit in New Zealand, we visited the Sculpture Gardens north of Helensville. 
We learned about it from a random online search and were pleased to find this hidden gem.

 This large installation, made of stone and wood chips, reminds me of Zentangles. It's kind of hard to see with the shadows and sunlight, but worth taking a look.

Welcome to Tangled Thursday.  A few of my online friends have joined me in an occasional Zentangle challenge.  We'll take turns choosing a theme which I'll post here on my blog.  At that time, I'll add Mister Linky and invite you to add a link to your drawing using that them.  I'll leave the linky open till the next challenge is posted, usually two weeks. Any one who participates could be contacted to decide our next challenge.

I didn't have a garden to play with, but the wooden dragonfly was fun.  I decided to use the same tangle, Fingers variation, on each wing. The central body is Twizted, from the challenge issued by Elaine two weeks ago.  To fill in between the wings, I used Florz.

I am quite pleased with how my Tanglefly turned out.

I have second one waiting to take flight, hopefully by next week.

Did you have a chance to tangle not on paper, Mister Linky is waiting below.  If you don't have a blog, email me your photo and I'll post it below.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Needlework Tuesday - Layout for One Block Wonder Quilt

 I've been working fairly steadily on my One Block Wonder quilt.  All 91 blocks are pieced. One spare, you can see it to the right of the photo.  Ignore the gap at the bottom of the quilt, those blocks really do exist but have been pinned and are at the sewing machine.

I was asked in last week's comments for hints on going from blocks to a pleasing layout.  I'll be addressing that in this post.

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.

Close up of an area that looks like popcorn, the white circular areas with black back ground
 The most helpful hint I can give you is to study the photos in the book One-Block Wonder by Maxine Rosenthal. In my spare time, I would pick up the book and study the quilts within.  I didn't just look quickly, but would spend ten minutes or more carefully examining each quilt.  Looking at the colours, that the spot where the blocks abut their neighbours.  I noted how similar or different each was from it's neighbour. 

 Next, examine your blocks and the fabric; what colours are pre-dominate, what visual textures standout.  I noted four colours, light green, medium green , black and white.  The teal blue is the background and is pretty much every where.  There are two definite leaf shapes, long narrow and rounded. There is also the popcorn shape shown in the previous photo.  Sort the blocks according to colour and then further sort them by shapes. similar shapes sit better side by side than do radically different shapes.

 At some point, you have to place different colour blocks beside each other. That's were the shape and back ground filler help to cover the gap.  I feel that I handled this well in the areas surrounding the light green. ( Click on the photos and they should open in a new window at a larger size.)  Where I  couldn't match the pattern, I paired it with a block where the white/black/teal where of equal weighting.

Most important to remember, is that you are making the quilt for your own enjoyment.  For the majority of quilters, the quilts we make are for our family and friends and to be enjoyed and even loved.  They are not going to be hanging in the world's top art galleries and museums.  So relax and enjoy the process. Take your time, but do set a time limit on the re-arranging.  It took me less than the week time limit I had set. There are a block or two I might have wanted to change, but not major enough to make me stop and re-consider at this point.

 This final photo shows three blocks with their corner triangles, trimmed and then sewn together.  I can barely notice the seam between blocks two and three.

update: I forgot to talk about the initial arranging of the blocks.  As the book suggested, I started with the blocks that were my favourite colour.  First I arranged them in a block, but that was rather boring.  I looked at the book again and noticed that the centre colour blocks were often arranged in a more linear fashion.   I then arranged the light green blocks in a wiggly line. i was much happier with that.  Next I added the darker green blocks and then worked out in all directions from there.  One block at a time.  I took days to get all 90 blocks laid out.  

On to knitting.  I started one new project last week to help a lady in the knitting class where I am volunteering. She is making a sweater for her little boy.  In the effort to finish the outfit while it still fits, I offered to knit the pants. I am working both legs at the same time to ensure the increases/decreases are at the same places. working from the waist down, I have reached past the crotch and run out of yarn.  Unfortunately, that lady wasn't able to make the class this week, so I'll have to put that project aside till next week.

I have had the pattern and yarn sitting aside for this next project for ages.  The pattern is "Cosy Neck Warmer" leaflet #332 from Patons & Baldwins (Canada) Limited. It is made with beehive Astra, 2 balls.  The pattern suggests that an adult will need 22 points, though I am thinking that would be somewhat snug and that a few more will be required.  Each point works up pretty quickly, though does require much counting.  I have add a marker at the point where the neck band meets the ripply part.

This is an old pattern and is not currently available from Patons, though i am going to contact them and ask if they'll add it to the patterns they offer free online.

It's going to be hard to stay inside the next few days as true spring weather has finally arrived.  Today it's expected to reach 25C and sunny. Wow, makes me want to walk and walk and walk.  I like to listen to audio books while outside which works really well.  I can't imagine me walking and knitting.  too dangerous, I'd probably walk off the edge of the world that way.

Mister linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework project, or a link to a photo of your One-Block Wonder quilt.


Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Fluency by Jennifer Foehner Wells

We all know that governments keep secrets, but the American government has been keeping a big one, a city sized one in fact.  In the 1960s they discovered a city size alien space ship orbiting far beyond Mars.  NASA has finally sent a six person team to investigate.

Linguist, Dr. Jane Holloway, is expected to learn how to communicate with the aliens, or should the ship be deserted, decipher their artifacts.  What she does discover, is very different indeed. The voice of an alien, speaks to her in her head, making her question her very sanity.

This is a very enjoyable book that pulled me in from the opening chapter.  I liked the unease of Dr. Bergen, an aeronautics engineer, when he first meets Jane to convince  her to join the program. It made him seem real and approachable.

The concept of a city size ship to explore is a great setting for the novel.  It provides all sorts of opportunities for author Jennifer Foehner Wells to take the story in any number of directions.

The six person crew is interesting.  They were all selected as the best people for the venture, but they also have to get along for the lengthy trip.  There is a good mix of friendship as well as the expected tensions of people who have no say in working together.

All in all, this is classic science fiction, it comes close to being fantasy, but  stays just within the realm of possible.  I look forward to reading more by Jennifer Foehner Wells.

Thanks to Virtual Author Book Tours and author Jennifer Foehner Wells for my review copies.   For additional stops on this tour, including reviews, interviews and contests, visit Virtual Author Book Tours.


Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Needlework Tuesday - Random Patterns

I've had busy fingers this past week.  Knitting and crocheting that is.  I do like little projects that work up quickly and give me the satisfaction of finishing something.  This dishcloth pattern is one of the easiest patterns I've knit and it looks good and is very satisfying to make.  You can find the pattern at this link.  I have been volunteering teaching knitting since the beginning of March.  As a group, we are starting a wall hanging for our meeting room.  We've selected this easy square to make in in six inch size.  Mine is too big, so I'll have to make another and try with one less row before I start the decreases.

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.

Over at the Kingdom of Coco, Cheryl has been hosting a pincushion contest.  It started in response to a contest in the United States that limited entries to Americans only.  She decided to host a contest open internationally.  I thought this was a wonderful idea and offered to sponsor a prize.


The response may have been limited, but they pincushions are great.  I had a hard time selecting a winner.  Finally, I had to ask myself which pin cushion I'd enjoy having on my sewing table.  I  decided on Balle Rose by Regina.  Regina wins a book of her choice, up to $20. Cdn value from Bookdepository.



 I've been looking for the perfect slipper pattern.  I still haven't found it.  I tried "Chili" from Drops Design.  It looked very promising, but the instructions were so poorly written that it destroyed my enthusiasm for making them.   I persisted and finished the pair, but won't make another.  I made the right size, but they are way too long for me.
Enough of that and on to another project.  I've been knitting a lot for my daughter and wanted to make something for son.  He said he didn't need anything at the moment.  We decided that I would make afghans for two of his friends' whose wives are expecting babies in the summer.  I have started the first one and am loving it.  I selected Super Saver yarn from Bernat.  I like using yarn that is easily machine washed. It stands up to repeated washings and somewhat rough handling/loving.
I found the pattern free at the store, though it can also be found at the Yarnspiration site. Note: I am using a heavier yarn than called for and a larger size crochet hook.  At this time, the afghan measures 19 inches from the centre to the end of one of the points.  I have eight rounds yet to stitch. When I do this pattern next, instead of the chain 2 at the star points, I'll do chain 3.  The chain 2 makes the spine oft he points too short and keeps the blanket from laying flat.

What do you do when you start a project and the instructions are confusing or inaccurate?  Do you continue and make your own instructions, rip it back and move on to another project or ????

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

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Tangled Thursday - Time to try Twizted

Wow, time sure is flying when it's a holiday weekend and the kid(s) are home.  I had planned to have this ready on Thursday evening, but one thing after another, and family does come first...

Our challenge is to use the tangle Twizted . That's it, give it a try and use it somehow.  Thanks Elaine, I haven't tried this one. To me it looks like braided hair. This tangle looks like one where it will make a difference whether I do it large scale or tiny scale.

Welcome to Tangled Thursday.  A few of my online friends have joined me in an occasional Zentangle challenge.  We'll take turns choosing a theme which I'll post here on my blog.  At that time, I'll add Mister Linky and invite you to add a link to your drawing using that them.  I'll leave the linky open till the next challenge is posted, usually two weeks. Any one who participates could be contacted to decide our next challenge.

I'll leave this challenge up for two weeks and then we're on to another.  I'll give you a head start on that one.  Use any tangles you want, but use a medium other than a flat sheet of paper or a Zentangle tile.  Use fabric, paint, flower pots, wood, your window, whatever you want.  Have fun and play.  my plans are to work with these wooden dragon flies.  I bought them ages ago and have been holding on to them awaiting inspiration.  I'm sure I'll find it in the next few weeks.

Have fun playing with Twizted , create a post, them come back and link up with Mister Linky.  If you don't have a blog, then send me an email ( heatherdpear at hotmail dot com ) with the photo attached and I'll add it to this post.


Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Needlework Tuesday - How to repair a mis-placed front post triple crochet stitch

I made a very obvious mistake in my Sophie's Universe afghan and I couldn't leave it.  It had to be fixed.  I was too far past it to rip back, but it had to be fixed.  This week I have a photo tutorial on how to fix such a mistake.  The left leg of the stitch is correct and the right leg is attached to the light blue instead of the purple.

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

 The wrong stitch needs to be cut, unravelled, pulled to the back of the work and securely fastened. Study this stitch carefully before doing anything.  Note where the yarns come through from the back of the project.  I am working on the right leg of the light teal stitch.  There are two loops of the yarn that go under and previous light blue triple crochet.  Only cut one of these threads.  You want as much yarn as possible left for working in on the back.
 After unravelling, I have a couple of inches to work with. Thread a large blunt needle with one end and work it to the back, going into the fabric exactly where it comes out to the front.  Then do the same for the other end.  If the ends are long enough to work in securely, then do so, if they aren't , then tie them off with same coloured sewing thread, then work the ends in. There is nothing wrong with using sewing thread to secure your project.  If you match the colours, no one will ever notice unless you point it out.
I need to make a front post standing triple crochet.  wrap the yarn around the hook 4 times.  Only three show in the photo as the other is hiding under the purple stitch.  One wrap is a yarn holder, the next is for the loop that would normally already be existing on the hook and the next two are the start of the triple stitch.  Insert the hook under the previous stitch.  Wrap the yarn on the hook and pull through.
 There are now 5 wraps on the hook. Proceed as for a normal triple crochet.
 Wrap the yarn around the hook and pull through the first two loops. Repeat twice.
 The triple crochet is now finished.  The working loop is right next to the hook, the loop further back is just there to hold the yarn in place at the start of the stitch.
The working end of the yarn can now but cut, but leave a couple of inches for working with.  Use a blunt needle to pull the ends to the back.  Work each end separately as they go through at different points.  Fasten off securely at the back of the work.
My correction is now complete, and no one will ever know except for those who read it here.

I'll admit that I was feeling a bit anxious before I snipped the yarn, but I had thought through the process and knew that it would work.  No worries right.   Once I had the errant stitch unravelled, there really was no threat of any other stitches coming loose.   I did nudge and push at the nearby stitches and they were quite secure.  Made me feel much better about the whole process.  In the future, I'll try and be more observant as I'm stitching, but since I mostly knit and crochet while watching tv, more mistakes are bound to happen.  Oh well, not the worst things in life.  I do these for my own enjoyment, not to be hung in an art gallery nor do I sell them.  They are good enough for me and my family.

I hope that you have found this mini tutorial helpful.

I won't ask you to post photos of your needlework mistakes, we all need some privacy.  Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework post.
#SophiesUniverse

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Killing Floor by Lee Child

I loved every minute of this audio book.  I listened at each opportunity and frequently found myself walking longer each day so I could listen to an additional chapter or three.

Killing Floor is the first book in the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child.  Jack finds himself in Margrave, Georgia enjoying a quiet breakfast washed down with the best cup of coffe when the police show up, guns drawn, and arrest him.  He is accused of a brutal murder that took place the previous night.  Now it's up to Jack to find the real murderer in order to prove his innocence. 

Jack is ex-military. One of those guys that you can count on.  At critical plot moments, I found myself  yelling out loud and cheering for him. Not a good thing when hyou are reading in public. I can't decide which supporting characters I loved most, the Harvard educated Detective Findley or Sergeant Roscoe, a blossoming love interest to Jack.  The two old guys in the barber shop added warmth to a town that needed something real and not the phoney cheerfulness that excessive amounts of money can buy.

This book was read by Dick Hill.  He has the most amazing voice.  He has been named a "Golden Voice" and "Voice of the Century" by Audiofile magazine.  If I didn't know better, I would insist that James Earl Jones spoke the dialogue of Detective Findley.  The audio book is from Brilliance Audio, runs 15 hours unabridged.

Cover image courtesy of Brilliance Audio

Jack Reacher Series
  1.  Killing Floor
  2. Die Trying
  3. Trip Wire
  4. Running Blind  (The Visitor  - UK title)
  5. Echo Burning
  6. Without Fail
  7. Persuader
  8. The Enemy
  9. One Shot
  10. The Hard Way
  11. Bad Luck and Trouble
  12. Nothing To Lose
  13. Gone Tomorrow
  14. 61 Hours
  15. Worth Dying For
  16. The Affair
  17.  A Wanted Man
  18. Never Go Back
  19. Personal
  20. Make Me