Wednesday, February 6, 2019

February Stitches

This morning downy woodpeckers visit the suet feeder as a gentle snow falls. Flakes land on surfaces with their shapes visible. They remind me of Mary Azarian's woodcut illustrations in the nonfiction picture book, Snowflake Bentley. Jacqueline B. Martin tells the story of Wilson Bentley born in 1865 in Vermont. He was a curious boy with a passion for snow and photography. I hoped to post a photo of the book but in the time my computer takes to download one more image I could knit the rest of this sock.

I finished the Turoa Mitts and they are lovely. The yarn was heavenly and the cable pattern fun to knit. If I make these for gift giving, I'll knit the medium size and shorten the cuff even more. I am cruising to the toe of the first Couplet Sock. The Minimalist Shawl is finished and blocking. I cast on a little sweater for Norah but the day is so gray I'll wait to take a photo. Eventually I will set up a Ravelry project page. 

When last I posted about Norah's Christmas Quilt, twenty embroidery and applique blocks were finished but set aside for the holidays. Recently I squared them up. Having learned a lesson from Jonah's quilt, I cut these blocks large enough to allow for trimming to a uniform size. My hand applique and embroidery sometimes skews the fabric a bit. In the last few days, I cut the pieces to frame the squares. Once upon a time I collected fabric to make a redwork quilt. I don't know if quilters make redwork quilts anymore but reds and whites seem to be just right for this little girl. Some fabrics are scraps from other projects, some are fat quarters, and I had two half-yard pieces so I knew the setting would be scrappy.

I made a practice square to decide on the width for border strips. Saturday I cut the narrower strips from fabrics with white backgrounds. During yesterday's bitter cold, I created a layout for the blocks, arranging the first borders around them. Next I played with red fabrics, moving them around until I was satisfied with their placement. Then I took a deep breath and started pressing and cutting. Wonder of wonders I had enough red fabric for the outer strips. Today or tomorrow I will start sewing strips to the blocks. I hope I didn't make too many mistakes because I have very little fabric leftover.

After I sew these pieces onto the blocks, I'll square them up again. The squaring up process reminds me of trimming bangs on Saturday evening - a little here and a little there - taking care not to do too much trimming. I plan to shop for some green fabric for binding and a large border around the outer edges. Hopefully one fabric will frame and tame the scrappy blocks. The reds are older fabrics so I don't think I could match them. I also need backing fabric but won't buy that until I know the final quilt dimensions. Other than motif patterns, I don't have a pattern. This is my fifth Christmas quilt and they are all set together differently.

I am listening to Becoming by Michelle Obama and it is a treat. The library must have purchased extra copies because I was #70 on the hold list and then a month later notified I could borrow it. I am enjoying learning about her early, less public years, growing up in a strong family and community. She is honest and forthright about all kinds of ideas including education, racism, sexism, marriage, and women's friendships. She nails the dilemmas of professional working mothers. She wrote her views with empathy, thoughtfulness, and a witty sense of humor. This autobiography would be an excellent gift for any older teen or young woman. I also read the hard copy of Life After Life by Kate Atkinson for our book group discussion this month. A few years ago, I listened to the audio version. I must have been quite engrossed in my knitting or cleaning or cooking because I don't recall subtle references and wording that makes it such a good novel.

If Google allows, I plan to link with Kat and the Unravelers. My unraveling today comes from an old computer and changes Google is making to their accounts. Although I've read the FAQ's, I'm not sure I understand the information. I believe the commenting feature, as well as some other widgets will be affected. I may have to enlist tech support and then find a new home for this blog. I'm sure my age is showing but I wonder why computer technology has to be constantly updated. Most often this occurs after I have finally figured it out. Ok, enough of a rant. Back to the quilt blocks on the floor near my sewing machine, technology I understand well.

May your technology be speedy while the snow falls gently on your shoulders.


  1. Both my parents were from Vermont, so I am quite familiar with Snowflake Bentley. The book is wonderful.

    Birds have been flocking to our feeders - even with the milder weather. They have been attacking the suet cake, munching on peanuts and scattering sunflower seeds. I enjoy sitting in the kitchen to knit or stitch and looking up to see the activity in our back yard.

    Love those mitts - I need to drag out my copy of that book as a reminder to make some. They would be great gifts to make for next Christmas.

    Your Christmas quilt is just lovely. I'm in awe of folks who quilt.

  2. Your quilt is going to be lovely and just perfect for a little girl.

  3. I also know and love Snowflake Bentley The picture book and his own book of all his snowflake images are both wonderful. It doesn't do much good, but I'm joining you in questioning why Google can't stop fixing things that do't seem broken to me. I've debated moving to Wordpress since last summer, but that seems like a big undertaking.

    I'm going to follow your quilt assembly with interest. My MiL was a quilter, and in looking through her fabric stash, we found quite a few completed blocks and pieces ready to be put together, including some redwork blocks. I hope technology is cooperative, and your knitting and quilting are peaceful retreats from frustration if it is not.

  4. Love your socks and love love love the mitts

  5. Our suet feeders are getting good activity as well. That cold weather had me worrying about the robins that no longer migrate. That quilt is going to be spectacular! I really enjoyed Life and Life! That will make for some great discussions at book club!

  6. Your quilt is just wonderful! It will be treasured forever, I'm sure. I can't wait to watch in progress here on your blog. Although I've been sewing for most of my life, I never caught the quilting bug. I love seeing what others create, though! Just lovely. XO

  7. I think blogger is okay, it's just google +, you comment with blogger and most of us comment with blogger profile. They are deleting google + and comments using google + will disappear. So you will lose some people's comments but your blog and the way you comment is going to be fine.

    Love that you have woodpeckers, I can hear them but rarely see them here. Lovely quilt and I love the colors so beautiful!

  8. Love your wonky blocks and glad you are enjoying Becoming! It is a treat! As for the tech issue with blogger - they get bored and decide to make life difficult. I just fell out with ATT 'cause they changed up their ways for customers to connect with them. Irritating! Good luck getting your issue resolved.