First Real Sign Of Spring

First Coltsfoot of 2019

Saw these coltsfoot peeking through last fall’s leaves two days ago – a definite harbinger if spring arriving in NS. These were in a friend’s yard; no sign of any in their spot under the trees near my building. Next sign – forsythia in bloom – likely not for another 10 days.

A Wonderful “Face”

Ice Cave: “Near Coppermine Point, a face appeared along the rocky shore. CreditSebastian Modak/The New York Times”

This image arrived this morning from my sister: “I knew you liked faces in strange places.”

She came across it in a New York Times article about the beauty nature sculpts from the ice and cold.

It’s an amazing face complete with icicle eyelashes! I had to share it.

Colourful Quilts By Bisa Butler

A friend sent me a link to some wonderful textile art:

Bisa Butler – detail from – “Three Kings” (2018)

You must take a look at her work: “Artist Bisa Butler draws from an array of vibrant patterned fabrics to create portraits of everyday people. She eschews representational colors, favoring layered jewel-toned hues to form the skin of her Black subjects, and often groups figures together into strong silhouettes.”

Her pieces are breathtaking – wild bold fabrics done as raw edge appliqué  and quilted rather loosely following the contours of the elements of her figures. The pieces are large so you’d need huge wall spaces to hang any of them.

I must look through my photos to see if I have anything suitable to try a piece like this.

BTW – scroll down on the link to Butler’s work – you’ll see lots of other unusual textile/fibre art work.

Sparkle Socks & Danish Paper Stars

You can’t really see the sparkle in the photo but there’s a polyester strand in the yarn that glitters. Click on the photo and you can see the sparkle.

Finished these socks last evening. The pattern was interesting enough that the knitting went reasonably fast. When the pattern changes in short intervals the knitting always seems to go faster – probably doesn’t but I feel I’m making progress more quickly.

Sparkle Socks

Danish Paper Stars

Years ago I used to make Danish Paper Stars for tree ornaments and give them as gifts. Haven’t done them for ages but I thought they’d be a good addition to the silk scarves I’ve done for the knitting ladies.

I tried remembering but the critical part is getting the initial intersecting of the strips going in the right direction and in the end I had to find instructions online.

Danish Paper Stars

After three stars my hands have recovered the moves – particularly the twist needed for the 3-D points on each side. My intention is to make about 20 stars but in years past I often made as many as 50+. I’ll add string to them so they can hang.

Blushing Peonies II – Finally Finished

Finally finished, binding and label. I’m much happier with the quilt now that it’s finished. The quilting using a darkish bendable thread tied the Kona cotton elements to the rest of the quilt quite well and I have to admit I did one other thing – I toned them down using a fabric pastel crayon which darkened them a bit and hints at texture in much the same way some of the other fabrics do. Once pressed with a steam iron, the pastel dyes the fabric and will withstand washing.

It has the impact of a modern quilt.

Blushing Peonies II – A Modern Quilt – Top

I used flying geese to make a strip to widen the back – they don’t look like flying geese because there isn’t a consistent “background” to highlight the “geese” – however, the pattern created by the large and small triangles showcases the fabrics. The sashing elements I decided to make asymmetrical and I like how they offset the strip and tone down the red backing.

Blushing Peonies II – quilt Back With Flying Geese

After the showing in Parrsboro, my sister Donna expressed interest in the Bordered Diamonds quilt. I gave it to her. She has it hanging in in this bright green room. I love how the green makes the batik fabrics pop and how the colour flow in the quilt ties in with the navy sofa.

Bordered Diamonds – 2012

The other day I was at the physiotherapist – I was at one end of the room and this photo at the other end caught my eye – at the distance a face popped out – two eyes, the left cheekbone, mouth, the suggestion of a blue hat. It’s actually a photo of a waterfall but for me – it’s a face!

The Receipt

A couple of months ago my youngest great-nephew (age 6) decided to start a business – he loves sparkly paper, saw a business opportunity, and decided he should sell some. His father and grandfather are businessmen, so with dad’s help he built a website with images of different kinds of sparkly paper, information about the “founder” himself, statements about “100% satisfaction guaranteed”, “Committed To Quality” – but the bit of information that makes me chuckle every time I see it are the hours of operation:

Open after school Monday – Friday (except closed on Wednesday – he has dinner with his maternal grandmother), after swimming class on Saturday and all day Sunday! He provides a phone number and email address as well as a contact form so you can place an order. The website has been dynamic – becoming more and more focused (I noticed two small typos when I looked today) as he figures out how a business website needs to function.

I think I was his first (maybe his only) customer. I began an email conversation about types of sparkly paper, cost of each sheet, how to send payment… I got succinct answers to my questions. I finally placed an order and received in the mail two pieces of letter-size sparkly paper. I sent a cheque to the house with a thank you note. This all happened about a month ago.

Today I get a receipt in the mail:

Receipt for $12

My academic career focused on literacy learning in children and adults, helping teachers understand the ways children figure out how reading and writing work and what instructional situations support rather than hinder their literacy development. The receipt is a wonderful artifact of a six year old negotiating an adult literacy form – confirmation of a transaction.

He’s got the company name and the quantity of paper I purchased, and the amount I paid him. What leaps off the page for me are his attempts at writing the numeral “2” – his sense of direction is still ambiguous and we see in both instances where he wants to write a “2”, he starts from the right instead of the left, crosses it out and changes direction. He’s got all the letters in “received” and his guess at the “ee” vowel is a common writing error (remember the “rule” – “i” before “e” except after “c”? However, there are quite a few English words that actually use an “ie” spelling after a “c” (science, conscience, sufficient…) and vice versa that use “ei” after other letters (protein, forfeit…)). He’ll sort that confusing spelling situation out in the same way the rest of us have – through reading and writing, trial and error, along with a bit of memorization.

It continues to amaze me just how much we can discern about a child’s literacy strategies from such a succinct sample of writing.

Ironing A Shirt

I’ve posted this before but it’s worth posting again. The topic came up yesterday with a sewing friend visiting from Toronto. I had to do some looking around to find the video. Once found, I mailed myself the URL so I could find it once again. Click here to watch this guy iron a shirt in three minutes flat!

Ironing A Shirt (in 3 minutes)

Not kidding – he makes the whole process understandable and very easy to do. Pay particular attention to how he does the collar/collar stand. The way he does it eliminates the ends of the collar sticking out.

Seriously, check out the video then try it out. I have lots of shirts I’ve made for myself. I’m about to make another couple using some wonderful Liberty cotton I bought at Britex in San Francisco a couple of years ago. I no longer avoid wearing and washing my shirts because I know how to iron them easily.