Sometimes I think that I should just stick to sock knitting. It’s easy, fast and predictable. But no, I want to take on the giant projects that spill out and over the months and years and make me slightly crazy! (It’s nutty since the smaller projects give such instant gratification). I have been working on two large projects which demand concentration and solitary knitting. I have made terrible mistakes.
I put my knitting down this morning and drove over to let my son’s dogs out for a run. On the way I spotted a young man hunkered down on the medium, knapsack, dreadlocks, and most significantly, two dogs – panting in the merciless sun.
He had me at the dogs. Turns out, I had given him a lift exactly one year ago when he came to this area. During that time he had found a job, a place to live and began to make a life for himself. But he has gypsy feet – he is a wanderer. He remembered my past kindness on that scorching hot day and greeted me as if an old friend. I drove him 20 miles out of my way and listened to him speak about his time on the road. I wished him well, pressed a twenty into his hand and reminded him about the hot pavement and the dog’s sensitive pads – the importance of hydrating. I said a small prayer.
My loved ones would not like the idea of their old mother picking up strangers. But I’ve never felt that there is danger in paying it forward. Helping the gypsy boy and his dogs was the most important thing that I’ve done all week – and it’s only Tuesday!
But back to the manageable knitting. I guess that the lesson here is – there is no real growth in knitting socks exclusively. The giant projects ask bigger and finer things from a knitter and they always deliver growth. So when I rip out 444 stitches tonight, I might smile. Just as the thought of driving the extra 20 miles makes my heart glad. I’m staying out of the safe zone.
This is a changing mat that I made for a dear friend who has become an auntie! Giraffes were part of the nursery theme, so it was easy to get on board! Who doesn’t love a giraffe?
The backing is pale yellow terry cloth. This little piece is on its way to a Las Vegas baby named Harper (LOVE that name!) Congratulations to you all!
Meanwhile, we have been chugging along on the latest charity quilt for my guild – Hudson Valley Modern Quilt Guild. This is a sneak peak – my friend Elaine has been the guiding force behind this piece and I don’t want to spoil the end result.
Inspired by Wanda’s butterflies (Exhuberant Color blog), I dug deeply into my Kaffe stash and have been happily piecing butterflies. This quilt is for one of Scott’s relatives. More on it as it develops! I am waiting for one last piece of gold and then I can decide whether or not to lattice it. The pattern is called Butterfly Town and it’s by Gail Abeloe. Simple and to the point, the blocks go together very quickly. You may have noticed that I used the same background print in this piece as I did for my giraffe. I’m a little obsessed with it and have reordered twice! It’s called Boardwalk by Art Gallery Fabrics.
We’ve lost two huge trees this week, one day apart. Doesn’t that seem curious? No storms, no wind, no logical reason for these events. We’ve lived here for 15 years and it is so sad to witness the slow but steady demise of the apple trees. My heart has not been in the gardening this season and the telltale signs are everywhere … wild raspberry canes springing up in the day lily border, milkweed in the mint garden, oxalis and red basil crowding the herbs and roses. I keep telling myself that I must get out there and tidy the gardens, but I don’t. Instead, I retreat to the sewing room where color abounds and gifts are created and hours pass happily, fully. The gardens will have to wait.
July was a scorcher. All the better to stay indoors and MAKE. Three new babies will be arriving so gifts were in order. But I decided to make a few totes for myself before getting onto the business of baby items.
The POOLSIDE TOTE by Noodlehead – everything Anna does is perfection. Her instructions are really spot on and I never have to ‘tweak’ anything that she puts out there. For this, I used up my precious Hello Kitty linen along with a few other favorites. I’ve stopped denying my love of pink, coral, salmon. These ARE my colors!
“It All Adds Up” was completed and delivered to wonderful Kristin for machine quilting. This will be one of our charity event (Friends Helping Friends) fund raisers and I hope that many will purchase raffles. It is one of my all time favorite pieces and when it returns for binding I will feature it again. I used an incredible Tula Pink backing in sateen … too juicy for words, just wait, you’ll see!
Kaffe butterflies for a special relative. Thank you Wanda, for the inspiration.
What’s a post without the Wee One? She continues to enchant each person that she meets. So far, her favorite is cousin Oscar, the bulldog. She is enamored of him and wants him to move in. He’s a lot of dog! So we’ll settle for visits.
These images were all taken with my iPhone as my computer is still giving me the willies. But I missed you all and thought that fuzzy pics might be better than no pics! Lots more fuzzies to follow ….
…and I’ve already finished hand quilting a piece, configured the quilt guild blocks (with enormous help from my friend Elaine), completed a toddler sweater, pickled beets from my garden and started weeding. PHEW! Yes, I am on summer break. I didn’t mention the naps that I indulged in because that seems unfair to those that cannot (which would be me ten months out of the year!) Who knew that naps could be so redemptive?
Oh, and I also finished the top and back of a baby quilt for a friend. I’m waiting on batting. It’s been very hot and humid in my part of NYS, so staying indoors is not a stretch! The electric bill will be frightening as the AC has been running pretty much nonstop. But hey, I ask you, who can sew in the heat? Or knit?
Coming to the end of this project – short rows await. (My computer is still on the fritz – it will not accept new images, and I’m waiting on the tech guy to walk me through adjustments that may or may not help).
I’m using Carol Sunday’s exquisite yarn Nirvana in shell pink. It’s so delicate and the drape is perfection.
The house is very still without Harley, but Tula and I are holding our own. She sits at the window and gazes out – I wish that I could read her thoughts. It may be time for another Oscar play date! There has been some talk of adoption, but it seems premature. I know that there are many many wonderful dogs in shelters waiting for a forever home, but I’d like for this home to be fully ready, and my heart open – not there yet.
Leaning in my chair, mind wandering. The work load waits. There is a peaceful addiction to perusing blogs, so I go there. For hours. Finding a new writer, a quilter, perhaps a dreamer or a star gazer makes me happy. I use my bookmark. I return.
And then a surprise – a new blogger (for me) who lists the vanilla yearas preferred reading! I did not know that people still stopped by. I have been caught up in my grief and misery and malcontented-ness for what seems a very long time. Like a box turtle, I’ve pulled my head into my shell and rested, wanting little to do with the world around me.
That is not to say that I have avoided creating. Just that my pace has slowed to a quiet simmer. And it’s all good. I accept that I need to be exactly where I am.
My son brought the bulldog over to stay for the week that he is away. The house, which was so quiet with Harley’s passing suddenly brims with life and toenails and slobbery kisses. At night, the portion of the bed that I am afforded is ridiculously tiny – caught between the honking snores of Oscar’s hulk and the stretched out gumby-dog Tula who whistles in her sleep. When Andrew returns and fetches his beast I intend to sleep for two days straight.
I have many images to share – I promise.
It’s been hard not having any photos to share. I’ve kind of dropped out, but my heart remains with my blog. For me, posting is a visual record that cannot compare with, say, a journal. There’s just something about a colored image that speaks more potently than the written word. I do hope to get back up and running soon with the many images I’ve been snapping.
Meanwhile, things are shaping up at Cloudwalk. The apple trees are covered with blossoms and the hosta are making their grand appearances. The Can-Do Guy is building a huge deck and he constructed four ginormous raised beds for my vegetable garden. The soil that he imported is so rich with organic material that I have to chase Harley to prevent him from taking little tastes! Harley is thinner, more tired and cranky, but holding his own. He has become quite spoiled and why not? Doesn’t everyone prepare chicken livers, steamed vegetables and roasted chicken for their ailing dogs? He is my heart, my baby dog. I will feed him whatever he desires, including the daily tiny pat of real butter that I slip to him when Tula isn’t looking. No butter for pugs.
My guild has started our second charity quilt for 2016. We will be using the Plaid Weave block by Karen Griska. It was my second choice – I preferred this quilt (below), but was not committed to the gathering of fabrics. Plaid Weave is a great stash buster and I think that it will be a wonderful group project with members selecting fabric from their own stash.
What are your weekend plans? I’m going to sew and spend some time with me old mudder!
Been missing you all and having a wicked hard time trying to retrieve and load new images. This past month has seen me hard at work in the sewing studio with lots of projects in various stages. The most noteworthy occurrence has been my renewed relationship with Valentine … the Juki wondergirl. My friend Elaine (who is a wizard of all things technical AND fiber-y) came over, sat me down and together we discovered the joys of this machine. I. AM. IN. LOVE. While I will always return to the safety of my Bernina, I must admit that the Juki is a dream machine. You Juki-ites know what I’m sayin’.
This is a photo of my son with his boxer Stewie. (Stewart when he is naughty) He is a lovely boy and we are all so fond of him. This family of mine has always been lucky when it comes to our furry friends. Characters all – full of silly and willful and smart and not so smart – jolly and regal and above all, devoted.
I have been alone with my companions Harley and Tula for a little over a month, and it has been such a supremely wonderful time. The Can-Do-Guy was building a house in the Bahamas and our little threesome quickly readjusted and settled into a pleasant routine. What I noticed though, was how the dogs would go on alert each night at the hour of Scott’s appearance. They would listen, sniff around the door jam and often pierce the night with hilarious barking and howling at – what? He never came! I was reminded daily of what devotion looks and sounds like when I came through the door after work. Truly, if you are seeking unconditional love – get a dog. (But only if you have room in your heart and your life for all of the wonderful).
And speaking of dogs – Harley is slowing down a bit, but still eating and wagging and rolling in the grass. These are the small miracles that I live for daily. He has shown great enthusiasm for the Can-Do-Guy’s return – running to him, following him at a faster clip than I’d thought possible, and vocally welcoming him every chance he gets. Also, and I hate to admit this, but the truth is – he caught and killed a rabbit last week. I hated it, but I won’t hold it against him. He is a Retriever. He was doing what Retrievers do. He laid the poor thing down and shuffled off. We had a small service and a burial.
Do you remember this piece from a few years ago? I’ve spent the last week hand quilting it and I am crazy about the feel of the wool batting (which is partnered with a glorious AGF voile backing) and the general weight and softness of the layers. I know that it is destined to become my go-to blankie. And yes, adults can have blankies. In fact, I think that they SHOULD and I don’t use that word very often. Get a blankie and take a nap.
I have not been able to load any new images onto this computer. What can it mean? iPhoto keeps closing down and asking if I want to send a report to apple. Hell, yeah. What’s happening apple? Apple does not respond. Tomorrow I will venture into the apple store which should be about as much fun as going to verizon. Or the dentist. Or the local german sausage factory. Someone once said that for those who love politics and sausage, it is recommended to never watch either being made. Amen. I know, I’m getting off track.
I knit this dear little sweater from Miss Babs supewash. The buttons are courtesy of my BFF’s closed yarn shop. It is tiny and will probably fit the baby for about five minutes. But those will be five styling minutes!The Spider Web block to the right is a very important one. It is, in fact, the most important one that I’ve made because it COMPLETES my quilt. Two years in the making and finally, I have what the English like to call a ‘flimsy’. Mine is not so flimsy as it is weighed down with about 15 tons of paper. I peeled paper for five hours last night and didn’t even put a dent in the job. I may have to lay off paper piecing for a bit. At LEAST until the cracks in my fingers heal! Did I mention how much I love this quilt?
I am short on content today, so I’ll conclude with my latest find – hidden down an obscure aisle in JoAnn’s, someone discarded this bolt and I happened upon it and for reasons unknown, fell head over heels. It’s that way with fabric for me. If it doesn’t speak my language I’ll walk on by. I want to make aprons, little girl sleeveless dresses, jammies, a lined raincoat … I’m going back tomorrow to see if the bolt is still there.
For those who have so kindly inquired about my dear darling dog, thank you. Harley is having good days, mostly. He is slowing down, but I am happy to say that his spirit and his appetite have not. This afternoon he did an elaborate roll in the grass, snout first, headed down the knoll. Watching him kick all of his legs in the spring air made my heart sing.