Yup! There it is, my super red 13 year quilt, finally finished. This baby began in 2002 when I was in the EYE program at the Peterborough Youth Emergency Shelter. We were encouraged to create some of our own programming, and I was looking to get some experience sewing, so one of the other members suggested that her mom might take me in at her sewing shop. I went in one afternoon a week and sewed together strips of fabric into squares for log cabin quilts to be donated later. In addition to this, I also was taught how to make a simple garment. Lessons I learned in the back room of that sewing shop have stayed with me for many of my sewing projects since.
Following this experience, I decided that I’d like to make my own quilt. I’ve always loved the combination of red and black and chose this as my colour theme. I took my time collecting fabric, cutting strips and piecing the quilt. I did it in the same style as those I had been working on in the sewing shop. I can’t find many pictures from this time, but I’ll add more as I find them. Once the body of the quilt was assembled, with mom’s help, I strung it up on an old quilt frame that my grandpa had made (I believe this was based on the one in the upstairs of the Fitzpatrick home at Lang Pioneer Village, which connects to how the quilt is finally finished).
The quilt frame was bulky and hard to work with, which lead to less and less frequent bouts of quilting, and then the quilt eventually came off, with plans to find something my convenient. Fast forward to 2013, I’m working at Lang Pioneer Village. I snag one of the rug hookers’ hoops and put it on my quilt… presto! I’m a lap-quilter. I was allowed to bring my quilt to work (which I’m super-grateful for, it may have been another five years) when I was stationed in appropriate buildings and was able to press forward with my quilt. I worked on it one or two days my second summer at Lang and it was time for some outer edge-quilty-decision-making time.
If anyone knows my family, they know that creative decisions can hold up a project for some time. I finally decided how to do the border and finished it up by January.
Mom and some kittens helped me with the final stages, then finally it was done, January17, 2015. The cats all approved. I”m pretty sure that my quilt holds on to all of the memories of the years it took to finish it, probably making it extra snugly and warm.
P.S. If anyone from the Peterborough Youth Emergency Shelter comes across this, I’m looking for a copy of the super-awesome CD that we made as a group. I need to hear it!! :)
For Christmas I decided to knit my sister Candace a fox-themed ear-warmer/headband. Luckily right before Christmas she destroyed her old one which my sister Cassie had knit years before. The design for the cute little cartoon-like fox was taken from someone’s pin on Pinterest…and I just made up the rest.
At first the edge was extremely silly-looking and stuck out like a rim. I altered it, but the outcome isn’t exactly how I had pictured it. I think it’s still cute and wearable though.
I made this sweet sparkly skirt as a Christmas present for Sammi. I had been trying to figure out what to get for her when we found ourselves at a Sam Roberts concert. The opening band was all ’90s altrock mashed in to one and too loud, but Sammi really liked the keys player’s outfit. Specifically her top, which was a lose black shift (I think that’s what you’d call it) with rainbow sequins.
As I plugged my ears (still hearing the music perfectly clearly) I thought of how a similar shirt would probably be easy to make and totally possible before Christmas.
The next week I set out to fabricland with mom to scout out fabric options. There wasn’t really fabric like what I was looking for, although there was a nice pink/pale rainbow one that I thought might do. There was, however (yes biology students, this is when you use “however”, not just randomly when you want to sound ‘smart’), a sparkly mesh that caught my eye. We didn’t buy anything that day, but the crinoline crazy stuff stayed in my brain. I went back in a festive mania and bought the sequins, two colours of sparkle crinoline and a generic crinoline (in case I needed more volume). Everyone else was festive at the store too and many people asked me about my project, and were shocked (ish) that I had no real plan.
I consulted some online tutorials and made a mental plan. Tonnes of sparkles came off of the crazy fabric. The cats couldn’t stop themselves from helping at all stages. I started with about 3m of the aqua, folding it over and basting. Then I made wide square pleats in it and sewed again. I then sectioned the 1m of blue-green and sewed it in to one long hoop and added
that to the aqua loop.
I figured out the basic size of the waistband to get over some hips and made it out of some scrap that as literally lying around. It turned out to be pretty much the perfect colour. I gathered and sewed, then inserted some elastic. I put that badboy on the judy and pulled up sections, sewing them in place by hand. this provided a good amount of volume for the skirt.
It all turned out pretty cool. There was plenty of fabric that I didn’t even touch, which I gave with the present. There will be another sparkle project…
At some point, Sammi decided that we all needed a little retreat. She had been looking at Air B&B for places to stay while she did a class at Haliburton School of the Arts and, deciding that cottages might not work out for that purpose, chose one that might be nice for us to go to.
Being the people that we are, and knowing that at least part of the point of of going to a cottage is to be bored, we decided to bring crafting projects along with us. I (cassie) had recently finished my yellow/green shawl and Sammi had knit one super fast. Mom was also looking for a project the she could make with some “art wool” for the speavers (Peterborough Hand Weavers and Spinners Guild).
Candace bought wool before the trip because she wanted to try out the shawl pattern too. One day we went to a wool shop while in Halliburton and Sammi couldn’t resist, but buy some wool to make a second one. Her shawl started at the cottage was obviously finished before anyone else’s. So everyone worked on the shawl pattern.
Anyway, the cottage was sweet and just enough space for us. We did all of the cottage-y things available to us: canoe with a hole, paddle boat that went in circles, walk to natural pond where we touched small creatures…there was even a nice platform by the water where we had a few yoga sessions. Mostly we ate and worked on our projects. The shawl pattern is great because it works with all types of wool, giving a different but pleasing result. Since I had finished my shawl and could not find the pattern for the socks I’m working on, I quilted. I still consider the cottage time to be a knitting retreat.
The initial idea for this knitting project was not a toque, but a neck warmer. Something not unlike a scarf or a cowl, but also similar to a leg warmer. Something that keeps your neck warm and just slips easily over your head. I consulted my sister as to whether Curtis, Cassie’s partner, needed a toque or a scarf-like thing more and she informed me that he already had an official Raptors toque, so a neck warmer might be more useful.
I was a little worried as to whether I would be able to get the Raptor claw logo right or not… there are so many angles and rounded shapes that I wasn’t sure if it would translate to knitting well. It turns out, it translated pretty nicely and I’m happy with the result. Using graph paper, natural light, a window a good print of the logo, a pencil and a little bit of aesthetic decision-making gave me a comparable logo.
After being a little unhappy with the result of my neck-warmer and after a ‘fitting’ session with Curtis and some discussion about his preferences, I decided to refashion the neck-warmer into a toque. It needed a pom-pom in order to look finished. The results seem to be pretty decent.
A couple of weeks ago, I was up in Cobourg visiting friends, eating lots of delicious food, and attending the Shelter Valley Folk Festival‘s Annual General Meeting. My awesome friend Lesley ((Who not only has a great and very funny blog but also is starting an excellent project called ‘Northumberland Small Time‘))had me over for brunch and crafternoon, and we took a quick trip over to The Black Lamb in Port Hope to pick up needle-felting supplies.
I’ve been meaning to buy some needle-felting supplies for a long time, but none of the wool stores in Toronto seem very well-stocked for that sort of thing; The Black Lamb, however, has plenty of great colours and supplies, and is pretty awesome for anyone working in wool.
I’ve only ever made one needle-felted object before – a little snow man, which I made at a Peterborough Hand-Weavers and Spinners Guild meeting – and I wasn’t really sure what I was doing, but it’s a pretty straightforward skill to pick up, at least for simple projects.
Anyway, I made a cute little owl – I think maybe it’s a barn owl. As they used to say in Brownies, ‘too-whit, too-woo!’
I generally have an avoidance for painting outdoor scenes. I think that it’s because if I’m outside, I really have no idea how to focus and frame, unless I’m looking at something small. This painting and its subject matter came about because of the upcoming (when I started) marriage of Sammi’s best friend Mary and her lovely husband, Daniel. We decided we would work together to make a gift for them. At the time, they were living in Kansas, and although I’ve never been to Kansas, I picture it as being rather flat. We agreed that it would be good to make a painting of a waterfall from Daniel’s hometown to remind them of the east. Sammi had a really nice picture that she had taken of Taughannock Falls (so she did all of the cropping) that we decided would be great to paint from.
We planed to paint it together, but as I started drawing it out on the board, I felt a panic, like it was totally outside my comfort zone. I had the feeling that we wouldn’t finish it, but that maybe if I plugged away at it alone it might eventually get it done. I think I took pictures of the process more to make sure that it got past the point of each photo than to document. I had never attempted to paint rocks before. They were tough to get through, as they were just various shades of brown without much excitement. As I finished those I realized that I hadn’t attempted ice and snow either. It was much more fun and moved along more quickly, as well as the water. I saved the details of the falls for the end. I had painted an under painting and adding the final frozen water was quite enjoyable. Sammi had the painting framed at Christensen’s Fine Art. M&D didn’t get the painting until months after the wedding, but they seemed happy with it.
My mom and sisters and I are all fans of the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre, a great charity that works to support Ontario’s native turtles. Many native turtle species are on the ‘at risk’ list, and KTTC work to educate the public, conserve wetlands, and make Ontario a safer place for turtles.
I’m generally not a big fan of charities, but this one’s a good one, in my opinion.
Anyhow, they had a fund raiser planned called ‘The Art of the Turtle,’ and asked artists to create turtle ornaments and donate them to sell at their event. We decided to each make an ornament for this great cause.
I didn’t have a lot of time to get to this project, so worked on it while I was home for Thanksgiving back in October.
I’d wanted to do something sparkly to catch the light, but was more drawn to embroidery, and knew I could make something that glowed with colour. I research some Metis and Northern European embroidery and beadwork, and got to work.
Embroidering is a nice way to spend the time, particularly if you’ve got a happy cat – or a whole clutch of happy kittens – in your lap (as long as they don’t get too interested in your embroidery floss).
Since I’m working on a dark felt, and didn’t have a good way to draw on it, I sketched out the basic pattern in white thread.
I embroidered the outline in chain stitch, one of my least-favourtite stitches to do, but one that fills space with colour pretty fast.
I have no desire to eat mushrooms, but I do think that they’re super cute. I’ve been meaning to felt some christmas ornaments for some time, especially since, for the last couple of years, poorly made ones have been showing up at Chapters, or wherever. When I came across an image of felted mushrooms online, I knew that this was something that would be easy for me to try, with only the risk of wasting a few hours. My mom (Lynn) has all of the supplies, and a good store of unused sheep’s roving. I knew that the style of mushroom I wanted has a red cap, so I needed roving in red. Mom, a great lover of all things fleece, suggested that we dye some with Koolaid. This involves microwaving the wool in the Koolaid until it sucks up all of the colour, a process that you can easily find online.
The colour came out pretty yummy. It was a little uneven, but that works for me.
Making the mushrooms was easy. I started making the stem from the natural white with the felting tool. Then moved on to a lumpy cap. After, I added the red to line the top and added white dots for added cute factor.
After I made my first mushroom, I knew that I needed mire ( the number 3 is always good). Without realizing it, I created the exact same pattern of white dots on my second mushroom…and then kittens stole it. I made two more mushrooms, attempting to place the dots differently…but I can’t help it, that number 3…
Anyway, felting leads to more felting… me and Sammi have a little something in mind with these guys…
I have a bunch of this lovely wool that makes images come out fairly clearly, so my next few posts will likely be me experimenting with different image designs in knitting. I start with an idea, some graph paper and coloured pencil crayons. Sometimes the idea changes several times within one project. Sometimes it’s better to stick to the initial plan rather than change your mind part way through. For this toque in particular, I wanted to use up some wool and decided on a Christmas theme. Using up leftover wool narrows the colour choice…so it became a kind of 1950s palette. My sister Cassie helped me with the design and shaping the stars and trees. In retrospect I would make the stars smaller, but didn’t realize how big they’d be until I had knit many, many rows…
After finalizing a theme half-way through knitting the toque, I started wondering whether it would be better as a balaclava or tube-scarf neck-warmer. It is super-warm worn around the neck and I fully considered it. I will likely do something like that for my next project…
This one ended up as a kitschy toque and is cozily keeping my head and ears warm as I write this. It’s a bit silly, a bit awesome, and mostly experimental. The best part is taking the image you want and figuring out if it works graphically in knitting. Weeee!