Latest Socks

Latests Socks

I keep knitting – it’s relaxing. I can justify sitting in front of the TV mindlessly working away on socks and feel I’m doing something productive.

I liked the strong contrasts in this particular yarn and I thought the grey solid contrast brightens the other colours.

Finished last night.

Covid-19 “Safe Zone” Revisited

A Batch Of Children’s Masks

People are relaxing their vigilance – washing hands less, moving closer to other people, putting their masks aside. Here in Nova Scotia we’re pretty safe! We’ve had mostly zero new cases each day for the past 10 weeks and the occasional new case has been linked to travel from outside the province. But with university students returning (and maybe self-isolating) and classes set to resume, we could be facing a surge in new cases over the next several weeks.

I thought I’d revisit an article I found very helpful for setting a reasonable tone about how to stay safe which I came across in early April – Saving Your Health One Mask At A Time by Peter Tippett.

He talks about “safe zones” – we’re not exposed to virus everywhere we turn. If we keep our homes and cars clean – they’re safe zones. Being outdoors with others is a relatively safe zone. The article turns down the panic level in a very useful way.

The whole article is worth reading but here are his “Key Takeaways”:

Key Takeaways

Social Distance—Stay six feet from people is a good thing. Ten feet is even better.  

Safe Zone—For most folks, your house is a safe zone.

    • For you, and for family living with you, your yard is likely a safe zone. 
    • When outside, and with no other people nearby, you are in a safe zone
    • For most people, your car should be a safe zone.

Masks—The easiest, most reliable precaution you can take when out of your safe zone

    • If you work with the public, you should absolutely be wearing a mask on the job.  
    • If you are in a safe place, a mask has low value, because the risk is already low. 
    • If you are going to put the same mask on and off, then treat the outside as contaminated and the inside as safe.  
    • If you handle the outside of your mask, then consider your hands as contaminated, and wash them.  
    • Don’t touch the inside of your mask with your hands or anything else dirty.  
    • Put the cloth mask in the laundry at least daily. (or wash with warm water and soap). 
    • Have at least two masks so one can be in the wash and the other clean when needed 
    • Don’t bother boiling masks before you wear them. The detergent in your washing machine is easier, stronger, and more likely to succeed by far.  

And above all—enjoy your safe zone with your family, friends, cat or dog.
Be Well,
Peter

I just thought the idea of “safe zone” worth revisiting as we are likely approaching another surge in cases. The interesting thing is, if we keep up the preventive measures, we’re much less likely to pick up flu this season (I’m still planning on getting my annual flu shot), or even getting a cold. All that hand washing/sanitizing can’t help but reduce transmission of our usual respiratory viruses.

This past week I’ve been making a batch of children’s masks – camouflage fabric for boys, rainbows, animals for girls. They’re quite a bit smaller than the adult size I’ve been making. I also came across little silicone sliding pieces that can be applied to the elastic to shorten or lengthen it so it fits around the ears more comfortably. I’m adding those to these masks.

Children’s Masks In Progress

The Closing Down Of Summer

Fall’s on the way. You can feel it in the air. You can see it in the colour of the sunlight. Although today is a warm day (24° C), there’s that something in the breeze, you can smell it, hinting at the change of season.

At The Public Gardens

Yesterday at the Public Gardens wild bees were busy harvesting nectar and pollen – there were some hive bees foraging, too. It was interesting watching the wild bees push the hive bees out of the way – no room for interlopers.

I’ve written about the closing down of summer before.

In the opening pages of Alastair MacLeod’s short story: The Closing Down Of Summer (in the collection: As Birds Bring Forth The Sun) he begins:

It is August now, towards the end, and the weather can no longer be trusted. All summer it has been very hot. So hot that the gardens have died and the hay has not grown and the surface wells have tried to trickles and the trout that inhabit them and the inland lakes are soft and sluggish and gasping for live. …

At the end of July we said to ourselves and to each other, “The August gale will come and shatter all of this.” The August gale is the traditional storm that comes each August, the forerunner of the hurricanes that will sweep up from the Caribbean and beat and lash this coast in the months of autumn. The August gale with its shrieking winds and crashing muddied waves has generally signalled the unofficial end of summer and it may come in August’s very early days. But this year, as yet, it has not come and there are only a few days left. Still we know that the weather cannot last much longer and in another week … the pace of life will change. 

That’s what it feels like today and has felt like for the past week – there has been no August gale, just mostly sunny days – no rain which we desperately need and begin to want. But the air has changed, the colour has begun changing. The Queen Anne’s Lace is ending, the Goldenrod droops, I’ve seen Chicory in a few spots already. The plants know the season is changing.

The folks in the building where I live have been meeting outdoors in a green spot beside our garage driveway – we bring our chairs and knit, or box lunches and share a meal. We can likely do that for September and with jackets maybe October but after that outdoor gatherings won’t be possible.

We’ve all enjoyed the laughter and camaraderie these outdoor gatherings have given us. We will need to find ways to continue congregating – with masks, social distancing, and cleaning the indoor spaces before we leave. We will find a way to carry on – we have to. We’re now accepting the Covid-19 rituals to which we’ve become accustomed will be necessary for the foreseeable future, for a year? maybe longer?

This closing down of summer, now in the air, signals changes we will have to invent in order to sustain our community. We’ll find a way to carry on. As will everyone else.

Skyline #1 – Piecing Completed

The piecing of the quilt top is finished. I’m happy with the colour flow.

Skylines #1 – Piecing Complete

Now to assemble the back, set up the quilt sandwich, and quilt it.

That’s it for today. Gotta catch a bit of the lovely weather – you can feel a hint of fall in the air – it’s been there for over a week now. It won’t be long before fall will begin showing itself.

Skyline #1

On July 9, I mentioned the Hoffman’s “Skyline” panel I’d bought – I was thinking about how I might play again with “Let The Trumpet’s Sound” drunkard’s path motif using this multi-coloured fabric.

Hoffman Skylines – Multi

I finally got going on on Aug 10, when I cut my 1m wide panel into 10 different 21″ squares. Then I walked around the fabric for another week!

I took a deep breath on Aug 17 and cut the 21″ blocks into smaller sizes:

  • 3 x 16.6″ – a dark, a medium, a light
  • 14 x 8.5″
  • 36 x 4.5″ and
  • 120 x 2.5″ blocks.

I also cut 32 x  2.5″ blocks from several complementary shades of “Grunge” fabric from my fat quarter stash. I more or less sorted everything by colour, I stitched many of the 2.5″ blocks into 4-patch elements, then I began laying out blocks on my cutting table:

Skylines #1 – First Corner

The large pale block, two 8.5″ blocks, then filled in with a combination of 4-patch and 4.5″ blocks….

Skylines #1 – Medium Tones

Next, I grouped more blocks into medium-toned groupings until I had no more space available on my cutting table, at which point I very carefully moved everything to the floor.

Skylines #1 – Incomplete Layout

I laid out all the blocks I had cut – I still needed the equivalent of approximately 15 x 4.5″ spaces – the few remaining scraps I had left of the “Skylines” were too small so I turned again to my collection of “Grunge” fat quarters, selected a dozen I thought would coordinate well with my layout.

As I was filling in spaces, I moved blocks around until I had a more coordinated colour flow:

Skylines #1 – Completed Layout

Now I had a clear alignment of lights, darks, and medium colours – with a grouping of peach tones in the lower left corner.

Looking at the layout with a friend that evening, the small pale mauve “Grunge” blocks were stand-outs – they had to go; I replaced them with other colours which blended better. And then I began assembling the quilt top into 12 x 16.5″ blocks:

Skylines #1 – Partially Assembled

The top row, the second row, and the bottom row are now sewn together. The layout in the middle two rows used a couple of the 8.5″ blocks staggered across two rows – hence the jog in the second row. The third row is laid out on my cutting board ready to be assembled:

Skylines #1 – Third Row Ready to Assemble

That’s this morning’s work. Once I have all four rows done I’ll put them together. Leaving them separate at this point lets me lay them out, check for colour flow, and replace any “eye-sore” spots more easily – taking apart the smaller strips is much less complicated then replacing blocks in the middle of a large panel!

Oh, and I picked up another metre of the “Skylines” fabric – bringing my total, now, to four panels. I’ve decided to insert an 8″ – 10″ strip in the back of each of the “Skylines” quilts. Did I say I have plans for doing THREE quilts using this fabric? I intend to call the series “Skylines Triptych.”

Another Pair of Socks And Other Stuff

On August 3, I finished yet another pair of socks:

Turquoise Socks

I kinda liked working on them. It was a long repeat so the pattern kept being interesting to work on. They’ve gone into the give-away stash (which is getting large).

Then I worked on a t-Shirt I’ve been meaning to make for over a year using one of the three gorgeous pieces of Marcy Tilton digital printed French cotton knit I had in my garment making stash.

New t-Shirt

I finished making it yesterday then I wore it – but it was too big (makes me look dumpier than I actually am) – I’d made a pattern from a Talbot’s t-Shirt I’d purchased last year which fits nicely, but the pattern didn’t quite translate to the stretchiness of the fabric. Today, I took 5/8″ off each side and it looks less sloppy. I may still shorten the sleeves as well. I’m happy with the fit of the neck and the shoulders are OK. When I’m satisfied with how this one fits, I’ll make the other two.

Today I had what I think are the last three blooms on my Datura plant. The pot is in the sunniest corner of my balcony but already the shorter day length is affecting the plant. I have no more buds coming along and leaves are yellowing and dropping off.

The Last Of The Datura Flowers

Tomorrow these three flowers will be drooping then in a couple of days they’ll fall off. At that point I’m probably going to get rid of the plant. I’ve enjoyed watching these spectacular flowers unfold. I just wish I had a sunnier spot for it. In the right conditions it would bloom till well into the fall. It’s an annual so there’s no point in trying to salvage it.

On July 9, I mentioned the Hoffman Skylines fabric I had bought.

Hoffman – Skylines Fabric

I’ve been walking around it since then. Last week I finally cut one of the two panels I have into 21″ square blocks. Now you no longer see the print as skyscraper buildings – now the colours pop out. I think I am going to try something with drunkard’s path.

A friend loaned me Louisa Smith’s book “Strips ‘n Curves” – she creates strip pieced fabrics from which she creates a wide range of drunkard’s path blocks. With my multi-coloured Hoffman fabric I don’t have to any strip piecing, I can use it as it is. So now I have to figure out a  large block size to make the first drunkard’s path block, then scale down from there to work out smaller versions which will fit into an array. I was going to add more solid colours but the jumble of colour in the photo from the book makes me think I may just build my blocks from contrasting portions of the Skyline fabric and let the colour do the talking.

I’ve been dithering about this for a couple of weeks. I think I may be ready to cut the fabric now.