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 do 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.

Kitchen Chore

It started Saturday when I bought the candied fruit for the Christmas Fruit Cakes. I picked up a quart of rum as well. Came home, dumped the fruit into the large covered Tupperware bowl, added some rum and now the mixture is soaking until coming weekend when I’ll bake the cakes (I flip the covered bowl twice a day to make sure the rum gets absorbed by all of the fruit).

Yesterday, I pulled out the cake recipe to see what ingredients I had in the house and what I needed to buy: flour, white sugar, molasses, bakers’ bittersweet chocolate, baking powder, eggs (I had brown sugar, baking soda on hand). Then I checked the spices – ginger, allspice, clove, nutmeg – had enough of each of those but no cinnamon. So I headed to Bulk Barn to pick up some cinnamon. While I’m standing in front of the spices I think it’s a good idea to pick up fresh amounts of the other four as well. I came home, emptied the old spices out, washed the bottles and put the fresh spices in. Even made labels for the jars.

Then, I looked at my spice rack and think to myself – I meant to renew those before I moved out of the house, then after I moved into the apartment – it’s two years and I still haven’t done it. So I did the deed – I dumped out all the spices and herbs, put the jars in the sink to soak. Cleaned them, removed labels and set them aside to dry.

Spice Jars (With Matching Tops) Drying

Today, I made a trip back to Bulk Barn with my alphabetized list of spices and herbs (that way it was easy to find what I needed since the spices in the store are arranged in alphabetical order) to get small amounts of each to fill my clean, dry spice jars.

Just finished the job. Each jar is labelled. The spices and herbs are actually stored in alphabetical order (I’m sure they won’t stay that way but it’s a good starting point). I didn’t replace everything – only those I might actually use – didn’t bother with herbes de provence, garam masala, 5 Chinese spice, whole allspice, whole cardamom… in other words, stuff I’d picked up for a single recipe and never used again! So I actually have about 15 jars to spare which I’ve tucked in a shoe box and stashed in the cupboard above my refrigerator for when I might need one.

Addendum (Oct 16) – Just for information – the price on the back of many of the jars was 49¢! That tells you just how long ago I bought the original spices. I’ve refilled the jars many times over the years but I bet the spices in some of jars were 20 years old.

Now to return to sewing a back for the latest quilt.

Making Progress

The plastic surgeon said: “If it hurts, stop doing it!” Good advice – listen to my wrist and judge what I can do by how it feels.

Still a bit of discomfort but not much pain to speak of. My hand remains a bright pink from the antiseptic – I haven’t been able to wash it with the dressing on (the dressing comes off tomorrow).


I managed to shower again (more or less) with one hand – my right hand held high encased in a plastic bag with an elastic band around my wrist – not supposed to get the dressing wet until I take it off. Brushed my teeth, dressed myself, all with less struggle than yesterday.

One of my neighbours brought me stewed lamb for lunch (I love lamb) – I was actually able to pick up a fork in my right hand and eat – when I started feeling the strain I switched to my left hand but I can see I’ll be able to use my right for more tasks quite quickly – just NO lifting of anything more than 1/2 lb for a couple of weeks.

Another day and I might actually be able to drive my standard transmission car. I plan on visiting the vehicle in the garage tomorrow to see if using my fingers and arm lets me manoeuvre the gear shift without putting undue strain on my wrist – if I can pass that test, I’ll take the car out for errands. However, if there’s any pain, I will STOP doing it. I heard the surgeon loud and clear!

Out Of Commission – Temporarily

Post Surgery

No sewing or knitting for a while – had carpet tunnel surgery on my right hand (my dominant hand) yesterday morning. While I can move my fingers a bit, any movement of my wrist is uncomfortable, occasionally painful. All day yesterday and for the next two days I need to keep my hand elevated – as if I were doing a royal wave – to prevent swelling and reduce pain.

It’s astonishing how many tasks I can’t do – brushing my teeth with my left hand is a joke, pulling up my jeans and doing up the button on the top – a definite challenge. I start reaching to do something with my right hand, stop myself midway and change hands – but my left hand has very little fine motor control. And for the next few days I can’t drive my standard shift car. I’m hoping maybe by the weekend I’ll have more use of my right hand fingers so I can move the gear shift but for now I’m house bound or dependent on the generosity of friends to taxi me about.

The dressing comes off on Friday, the sutures come out ten days after that. By then, the discomfort should have subsided enough for me to function more normally. I’ve got my fingers crossed that now I might get back some function in my thumb – the numbness at my fingertips is definitely receded, if not yet completely gone, which bodes well for my return to reasonable function of my right hand.

This Crazy World

Last week was a crazy week in Washington. I got up this morning and checked my email (stupid thing to do) and immediately came across an item in “Medium” Trial Balloon for a Coup? that has left me depressed and fuming all at the same time!

It wasn’t the only article raising these concerns – there were two more in succession (What “Things Going Wrong” Can Look Like; The Immigration Ban Is A HeadFake, And We’re Falling For It) from people who are not “nut cases”. It looks like some Americans, responsible people, are beginning to realize Trump is doing exactly what he said he would and they’re trying to understand the pattern of edicts and figure out what they might mean. I don’t subscribe to “conspiracy” theories – as a former scientist I believe in data and facts. But these analyses today, as tentative as they are, are chilling. And if they’re true?


Then there was David Brooks’ opinion piece in today’s New York Times – he’s always an interesting read (a right of center columnist with the New York Times).

“Many Republican members of Congress have made a Faustian bargain with Donald Trump. They don’t particularly admire him as a man, they don’t trust him as an administrator, they don’t agree with him on major issues, but they respect the grip he has on their voters, they hope he’ll sign their legislation and they certainly don’t want to be seen siding with the inflamed progressives or the hyperventilating media.”

He’s concerned with how the Republican congress and senate will step up or (likely) not when dealing with what Trump is doing.

There were several significant pieces in The New Yorker today as well:

I try limiting the amount of time I spend reading the news – I turn to sewing and bury myself in some creative work. But today, I feel such a sense of disquiet I can’t get down to the quilt in progress. Were I an American, I’d have already become an active volunteer with the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood, a local group of the Climate Network – I’d have joined a protest group of some kind.

While I know the need to organize and resist is coming to Canada there isn’t the same intensity at the moment to make such a move. But the same issues are alive and well (if not yet flourishing) here at home. Haroon Siddiqui yesterday carefully describes his experience of being Muslim in Canada since 9/11. It’s not a pretty picture. The bigotry that justifies a lethal attack on a Quebec mosque over the weekend is simmering and we have Conservative leadership candidates doing their best to stir that pot!

I know it’s just a matter of time before I will have to find an outlet for expressing my dissent with Canada’s version of Trumpism and the kind of xenophobic, climate damaging, women bashing policies that will follow. I know I won’t be able to sit on the sidelines.


Improv #7 – Finished


Quilt Top – Improvised Piecing

Another modern quilt completed. My goal was to complete ten quilts for the showing in Parrsboro in August. DONE! They’re all very different.

What constitutes a “modern” quilt – “Bold colors and prints, high contrast, graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work. (Modern Quilt Guild)”

More and more I’m being drawn to create simple but very bold quilts with strong colours and contrasts. I consider each new quilt an opportunity to extend my piecing and quilting skills. My boredom tolerance is low – I could never do the same quilt twice without pushing the design boundaries in some significant way.

In this quilt I was after a completely improvised top with a more traditionally pieced second side. In fact, in this quilt I’d be hard pressed to identify which side is “top” – in this quilt either side could be.

Quilt Back - Flying Geese

Quilt Back – Flying Geese

I felt under quite a bit of pressure to complete this quilt – tomorrow I have a friend coming to help me pack up my sewing room for the move and I really wanted to have this quilt finished. On Friday I could see an end might be in sight. I got just over half quilted on Saturday; finished the quilting yesterday, then bound it, last thing – added a label to the flying geese side.

With the quilt done, I was ready to move on. I spent the rest of the afternoon getting the packing of my sewing room under way. I carefully stowed each sewing machine (with its accessories) in its case. I packed each small tray/box of loose stuff in shoe boxes (saved for the purpose). Tomorrow I’ll get all the small boxes into a few large china barrels and move on to taking the shelving apart and breaking down the table assembled from Ikea parts – all ready for when the movers arrive in a week. The day bed is being picked up Thursday – it’s being recovered to be used in the sitting roomIMG_7675

My sofa is also being recovered for the sewing studio.IMG_7677

I’ve arranged for both pieces of furniture to be returned to the apartment. Looking at the fabric swatches I suddenly realize teal seems to be the colour I’m gravitating toward these days. Not hard to imagine this quilt draped over the back of either of these! Maybe that was unconsciously driving my colour selection for the quilt!

I don’t know how I’m going to occupy my time for the next month – I will have some knitting with me. It’ll be a time to read the unread books in the libraries on my phone. And there’s some travelling scheduled as well. I know the month will go quickly. I’m just impatient for the move to be over and to get myself settled into the new space.


Before / After…

My house sale was confirmed Friday – Saturday I started the BIG PURGE – all the books (but a favorite few) GONE! I have begun going through knickknacks, clothing, fabric, kitchen stuff, serving pieces… I started a “Value Village” pile. (Value Village is a thrift shop that supports the local Boys/Girls Clubs.) I haven’t offered much to friends – everybody already has too much stuff of their own.

Here is the living room bookcase – before:


The study before:


In all, I took 65 grocery bags FULL of books to Women For Music – a not-for-profit that holds book sales in support of  Symphony Nova Scotia. I know some of what I took will end up shredded and in the landfill – I just couldn’t do that myself!

I’ve also made two trips to Value Village – large car-full loads each time and I have yet another VV pile growing. I’m guessing I will make at least two more trips there before I’m done. 

I’m aiming to have this purge completed by coming weekend so I can get back to sewing without having this clean out interfering. I have two quilts to quilt and possibly one more to start from scratch before the end of June when I’ll have to pack up my machines. I’m having a showing in Parrsboro end of August/early September – I will have nine new quilts to show (maybe a tenth), as well as three wall hangings – two I didn’t show last time – one from 2014 and one new. So I have lots to accomplish in the next four weeks!

Sun At Last

There was an item in the Newfoundland paper a few days ago:

Wanted! Summer has failed to appear. Anyone knowing its whereabouts should contact the Newfoundland Constabulary!

It’s been as bad in NS these past few weeks as well but this afternoon the sun has shown its face at last! It’s even warm. No idea how long good weather will continue but it’s joyful outside at the moment.