On the quad

My HST Leader/Ender project has been languishing since I finished the last of the 256 HSTs needed for it. To be honest, I’ve been dreading working on it. That’s a lot of HSTs that needed to be arranged and sewn together. It seemed like a HUGE task.

To make it a little easier, I decided to sort the HSTs and break the quilt down into quadrants.

I took an afternoon to lay the first quadrant out.

Normally I would clear the whole bed off to use it, but look closely in the upper left-hand corner of that picture.

I obviously couldn’t disturb Rupert’s beauty sleep. So I quietly worked around him. After an hour or so…

One quarter of the quilt top was done! Only three more quarters to go! That wasn’t so daunting after all.

Right Rupert?

Gnome at home

Continuing to take advantage of the beautiful weather, the other afternoon I decided that G’Nomeo was in desperate need of a refresh. (You can read about how G’Nomeo joined our family here.)

I should have given him one last year, so now he was in desperate need of attention.

You can see how faded the poor chap was. I set up on the back table with my paints and my brushes. Relic and Burton took up appropriate snoopervisor positions…

…and I got to work. It didn’t take long. He needed a couple of coats, but the sun was warm and dried him pretty quick. In under two hours, he was back at home in the garden under the butterfly bush.

Once things green up around him, he’ll look right at home!

Blooms to behold

I can barely believe my eyes!

It’s still only March and I have actual blooms!

This is the earliest I’ve ever had something bloom in the garden. The reason is three-fold. Crocuses are, of course, early bloomers. But, I finally got smart and planted some in an area that gets sun constantly. And this week the weather has been spectacular. It’s not odd to get a warm day here and there in March, but we’ve had a whole week of it… temps almost reaching 20 Celsius! That is unusual!

I’m sure Mother Nature will put us back in our place this week, but I certainly enjoyed every minute in the sun I could.

Relic has been too… with little respect to the tender green things popping up around him. Still.. you can see how well the spring bulbs and irises are doing already.

The Crocuses will soon have company.

The Candytuft is already budding up. Once she gets going, she’s a show-stopper.

And there are daffodils all over the gardens, but the ones in the sunniest spots already have buds!

The most surprising thing of all…

Almost all of my roses have tiny little leave sprouts. While it’s definitely early, it makes me very happy. As you may recall, in September, I did a big reorganization on the gardens and the roses we not al all happy with me. I wasn’t sure any of them survived the winter. Now it looks like all but two did. And as I said, it’s still early so they may surprise me.

Dye a little more

It’s rare that I have two full days to myself on the weekend. I usually spend at least one day at Mom’s quilting (I’m not complaining). But this weekend was one of those weekends.

After devoting Saturday to sewing, I decided that on Sunday, I’d tackle a little more of the yarn that needed to be dyed.

First up was eight skeins of our Tabby Cat base, but in the Chunky weight. It was another one never planned for the shop – I’d long wanted to dye it up and make myself a big, warm grandpa cardigan.

Since green is my favourite colour, I decided a nice strong pine would be perfect for a work-a-day cardigan.

Next up was seven skeins of Alley Cat Falkland.

I did four of them up in a pretty Wedgewood blue. I don’t have a lot of blue in my wardrobe, so I thought it would be fun to step outside my colourbox and make myself a blue cardigan – one day.

The other three were dyed up for socks.

I’m going to have quite a stash of sock yarn by the time I’m finished.

Last were two single skeins of lace-weight.

The first is Twinkle Cat Lace. I’m not a huge fan of blue, but we have one shade – Twilight, that I just adore. And it really makes all those sparkly bits stand out.

The second is unknown. All I can tell is that it’s 100% silk. I dyed it up in a warm, dusky burgundy – It will become something gorgeous and lacey…. one day.

Now I have just one Rubbermaid tub of yarn left. But it’s packed to the gills, so I suspect I have at least two more dyeing sessions ahead of me.

A little bit of paradise

Back in December, neighbour Krista asked me if I could donate a quilt to a silent auction. She volunteers at a local volunteer-run aviary.

Unfortunately, my stock had been bought up by then, and I was focused on my Christmas list. I promised her that come spring, I’d make something special that they could raffle off to raise some money. I had the perfect idea.

Well, Saturday saw the first day of spring, so it was time to get moving on it. I pulled together a rainbow of batiks, and got cutting.

I only got one bird done (I’d worked on the Jane Austen quilt first), but I’m quite pleased with the result. And I think Burton is too!

The pattern for the block is from Sew Fresh Quilts. She’s got a lot of amazing quilt patterns. This is the first one I’ve bought, and I found it quite easy to follow.

I love working with the batiks, so I have a feeling the rest of those birds are just going to fly out of the sewing machine!

Thunder feet

The first of the Thunderstruck socks is done.

In this light, you can finally see a bit more difference between the pumpkin orange and light coral stripe. The camera still has trouble capturing it. It’s much more apparent in person.

It’s been nice mindless knitting. Work has been crazy, and now we’ve added house-hunting into the mix. I’m just not up for complicated knitting right now.

The Felici is great for that. It’s a nice yarn to knit with and they are such fun colours. It’s the kind of yarn that makes you knit “just one more stripe.”

It certainly makes giant man socks go much quicker.

And I’m happy to say the replacement order of Felici arrived safe and sound.

There’s still no sign of the lost order. I think it’s well and truly lost. I hope, at least, it’s been found by a knitter!

Dear Jane

As you may recall, if I have a free day on the weekend, I like to use them to sew quilt tops together. I save block building for during the week when I may only have an hour or two. But on the weekend, the chances are better that I have a few hours strung together… the perfect time to assemble a top.

The only project I had at that stage was my Round Robin quilt. It just needed the last border assembled. So Saturday afternoon, I got to it. Despite all the pieces, it went together fairly smoothly. After it was on, I decided it needed one last plain border.

At about 86″ square, it was too big to really show off it’s full beauty on my bed. So I took it outside.

It was almost too big for the only patch of shade in the yard, but I managed it. And now you can really see how good it looks. This quilt-a-long was so much fun. It really stretched the brain, and helped me with my quilt math.

I’ve convinced Mom that is needs some fancy quilting, so you won’t see it finished right away. But when it is, you can bet it will have some quilting worthy of it!

Colour my world

Quilting wasn’t the only thing that happened last weekend. Dave and I officially started house-hunting. In fact, we even put an offer in on a lovely little place in the middle of no where. There were nine other bidders, and it sold for $90,000 over the asking price. And not to us… even if we had the money, we are not that crazy. The house was nice, but not worth what it sold for.

Sadly, that’s the kind of market we are in right now. We are keeping a level head, and I know we will get the house that is right for us, at a price we can afford. In the mean time, we’ve been looking at what we have in this place, and getting rid of anything we don’t want to have to move.

In the middle of the week, we took a load of scrap wood Dave had collected to the community recycling centre (they sort and recycle/reuse what they can). I’ve got a bunch of gardening stuff (pots, etc) that I’ll probably give away. But the main thing I need to take care of is the undyed yarn.

As you know, I’ve been slowly working at dying it all up. Once it’s all dyed, I’ll sell the leftover dyes (there will be a tonne), and accessories and that’s one less thing to worry about moving/storing at the new place.

This week’s task was dyeing up the “Bugga” bin. Back when we were selling our dyed yarn, Mom scooped up a bunch of “irregular” skeins of the Bugga base – a sumptuous 70% Merino, 20% Cashmere 10% Nylon blend. If you’ve ever knit with Bugga, you’ll know how wonderful it feels. Mom bought it for our personal use, and we just never got around to dyeing it up.

There were 26 skiens of it! Neither of us can quite remember why the skeins were considered irregular. I think it’s because they are not the full 125 grams of the regular Bugga skeins, and Mom thinks some had poor plying too (though it didn’t look too bad when I was dyeing). Either way… it’s a whole lot of wonderful yarn.

I stuck mostly to semi-solids. As much as I love wild yarns, they can be hard to work with and don’t play nice with fancy stitchwork. I find myself knitting with plainer yarns more often these days.

I did a few up in what should be cardigan quantities

I did an olive green too, but I seemed to have forgotten to take a picture. And that grey/purple on the end is really more of a blue/mauve/plum. The camera did not seem to want to capture it at all.

I did a couple colours in shawl quantity

Though these could just as easily become hat/mitt/cowl sets one day.

And finally, I did four single skeins for socks.

Because Bugga socks really are a treat for your feet (and my one and only pair got holes ages and ages ago!)

Now I only have two bins of yarn left to dye. With luck I can get it all done by the end of March. Though it may eat into my quilting time a bit.

Welcome to the Nut Bar

Last weekend, while I was quilting, Mom and Dad headed north to see my brother and family. They haven’t been down since before Christmas because of COVID.

In addition to quilting, I kept watch over the puppers. Checvy does not like it when his people leave and he mostly kept vigil at the window.

Jem, on the other hand, was much more relaxed about the whole thing…

When Mom and Dad returned, they came back with my birthday present from my brother. I had mailed up his birthday present, but mine was much too heavy to mail. It was worth the wait!

A new feature for Squirrelington’s that is not just cool, but lights up as well. Yes… we know squirrels don’t come out at night, but who cares? It looks AWESOME! It holds about 1 kg of peanuts at a time, so it means I have to go out and fill it less often.

He made it so it can be attached to a fence or a tree (hence the ladder to the bar level), but for now I’m keeping it on top of the garden cart with Squirrelington’s main dining section.

It did not take long for the patrons to discover the new addition.

And soon enough they had the whole thing figured out.

I haven’t seen the blue jays at it yet, so I’m not sure how they will feel about it. But it’s been a hit with the squirrels.

Oh… an just like any other bar….

There’s shells left all over the floor!