Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Stitch'n Time: Quilt Blocks for Broncos

I feel that I have broken my quilting impasse.  Last year most of my stitching was in the form of knitting or crochet.  Hardly any quilting.  I was missing it, but couldn't seem to get back in the groove.  Then came the Humboldt disaster. So many young lives along with coaches and more lost in one accident.

It wasn't long before a request for quilt blocks was posted.   It didn't take me long to sew up a few blocks.  I used the colours as suggested.  They are very easy.  I will get them in the mail in the next few days.

I haven't heard an update regarding donations, though there are plans for over 200 quilts and that will take a lot of blocks.  Still time to stitch and send them in.

After finishing those blocks, I wanted to make a wall hanging using a smaller version.  Since some left over strips of orange fabrics were lying on the table, I wanted to use them.  These blocks were cut with 5 1/2 inch and 3 inch pieces.  I'm planning to use 20 to make the hanging.

It's taking me a bit longer to sew as I am still learning about my new machine.  Each time I need to change a setting, I have to refer back to the manual.  The more sewing I do, the better I'll get at remembering the settings.  I'm looking forward to the machine quilting as that was the main reason for the new machine.

Stitch'n Time is a regular post where I share my stitching projects from the previous week.  You are invited to use Mister Linky below to add a link to your current needlework post.

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

Maddie, her husband Ellis and their best friend Hank are the most self indulged and indolent people.  They don't work and live only for the next party or entertainment.  When their poor behaviour at a society event causes embarrassment to Ellis's parents, the two men hatch a plan to flee the country and go in search of the Loch Ness monster.  Ellis's father tried to find the beast years earlier, and instead found scorn.  He thinks if he can find it he will restore his father's good name and be welcomed back home.

As I was listening to this audio book, I was disgusted by the three main characters.  They were not nice people and only sought to indulge them selves.  I had almost decided to give up on the book, though I recalled how much I loved Ms. Gruen's earlier book Water for Elephants, that I had to give it more of a chance.

Fortunately It wasn't long before I started to notice slight changes in Maddie's attitude. She paid more attention to the war raging around them and was concerned about the injured soldiers she was seeing.  It was this change that encouraged me to continue.

Once Maddie started to pay more attention to the real world around her, she began to question her position and her behaviour.  I liked the person she was becoming.  From that point on, I wanted to keep listening every chance I could.  I was cheering her on and wanted her to develop into a considerate and deserving person.

Author Sara Gruen did a great job with these three characters.  First she made me hate them, the really like one and grow to loath the other two even more.  A success when an author can make me feel such a range of emotions just by using words.


Saturday, 21 April 2018

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

When I picked up this book, I didn't realize how much I needed to read it.

I don't know anyone who wants to go back and relive their teenage years.  Sure, there may have been great moments, during high school, but in reflection, I wouldn't willingly do it all again.

Sixteen year old Simon has no choice.  He's a junior and still has a way to go before graduation.  he hasn't come out as gay and planned to keep it that way for a while yet.  When Martin, the class clown, finds out he black mails Simon into helping him get the girl of his dreams in exchange for keeping Simon's secret.

Such a horrible situation for Simon. Yet it also shows how desperate Martin is to feel liked.  Social dynamics in high school are far more complex than I remember.  I tried to red this with an eye to a teens perspective and how they don't have the decades of experience in dealing with relationships.  I think I was successful as I could feel his pain and wanted to help him out.  His friends also seemed to react in realistic ways.  They wanted to help Simon, but at the same time had to deal with their own dramas. 

This is an excellent book for both teens and adults.  A great conversation started.


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