Handmade · Life

Knit One, Purl One

There is a rhythm which all of our lives follow.  A to and fro motion which sends us out into the world and brings us back to ourselves, like the ebb and flow of the tide.  It is said that prior to entering a labyrinth, the walker should frame a question they wish to have answered.  The motion of turning and bending within the labyrinth allows the walker’s mind to formulate the answer.  By the time the centre is reached, the answer is known.

Knitting, has its own meditative quality.  Two basic stitches, the knit and the purl, interlock and form a structure which can be shaped by adding or decreasing the number of stitches until a finished article emerges. The rhythm of life comes down to the basics too, put these together and we have the complexities we live daily.  If our lives could be laid out before us, think of it as a piece of knitting being blocked, we would see the changes in tension, the delicate strips which are more vulnerable to pulls, the heavier sections to handle daily wear, bright colours, dark colours, differing fibres and contrasting designs.  (The description reminds me of an afghan made out of scraps and practice squares.)  We would see our questions and discern where and when our answers came.

There are shawls which are knit so fine they can be pulled through a wedding band. Fishermen at sea wear heavy wool knits, strengthened with cables to protect against the winds and storms.  And tiny knits wrap our most cherished newborns; we mustn’t forget the well-worn and darned pair of knit socks to keep our toes toasty and warm in the winter months.  All of these articles stem from the same two stitches, interlocked and interwoven – knit and purl.

A handknit gift means the knitter thought of you while making the item; they thought of you when picking the pattern, the yarn – its colour and texture, while knitting and while wrapping it up.  And when we put it on, we think of the person who knit it.  Interlocking and interweaving.

Knitting is a skill originating out of necessity, and for some it continues to be so, for others it has been elevated to an art form.  Whichever form it takes, it remains the same – to and fro, back and forth, row upon row, knit and purl.  Just as life continues on with the simplest acts and simplest pleasures interlocking and interweaving to answer the questions we all pose.

Simplee

Handmade · Life

Close Encounters…

I know you have some, probably stashed away in your closet under another stash (maybe of yarn or fabric, scrapbooks?).  I’m talking about UFOs.

Every industry has its own jargon  with abbreviations and short forms known only to those in the industry.  Our own cottage industrialists (I’m including anyone who makes anything by hand, at home) are not to be left behind, we have our own acronyms and jargon too.

When I first came across “UFO” in conversation, I didn’t want to show my ignorance.  I nodded in agreement and tried to figure out what was meant by it, we were definitely not talking about aliens.  I did finally figure it out (and in case you haven’t come across the term in usage) – UnFinished Object.

A blouse awaiting completion.

The acronym has always bothered me though.  I don’t use it when speaking, because I don’t think of my projects as objects.  Maybe I don’t think of my unfinished projects as unfinished, rather “waiting to be finished”…to put a positive spin on it.  Accordingly, that would make them my WTFs – Waiting To-be Finished.  Perhaps not the best shorthand to use in polite society.  Then again, if the society was that polite, they wouldn’t be shocked, rather they’d nod their heads in agreement and try to figure it out too.  I would hope they would come up with the correct meaning?!?!

Still waiting to be jazzed up and quilted.

So what do you name those projects waiting in the wings?  If a project hasn’t been started, can it be considered unfinished?  There could be a basket labeled NOP (next on project), or ARS (attention required soon), the basket labels could be endless.  All we need are enough people using the term to make it the next ‘word’ in projects.

And while you are pondering that…here’s another from the world of knitting to add to your vocabulary.  If your knits and purls are making good garters, but you notice a mistake, you can frog it.  Yup, FROG, as in the green amphibian which hops.  Because, frogs say ribbit, which can sound like rip-it, which you’d do to your knitting if you made a mistake. That’s one shared by sewers and knitters alike, so maybe I’ll  start calling my seam-ripper Kermit!

Simplee

Gluten-Free Food · Handmade · Life

Battery Recharge…

Some argue that a routine can become a rut.  I like to know what is expected for the day – Tuesday, groceries, for example.  Thursday is my recharge day.  I do baking or sewing or quilting or reading on a Thursday, usually a creative pursuit.  A sort-of “me” day, a day where nothing has to get done.  I can choose to meander or beeline to a task.

Vitamin ‘N’ helps to recharge the batteries.

We are a one-car household.  Our family made the decision a number of years ago, to go from two vehicles to one.  My husband carpools to work and we use our feet or public transit to get around town when he has the car.  There is normally a set day for when the car is available for my use, hence Tuesday being grocery day.  So when the schedule gets changed – thanks carpool – it is a wrench in the workings.

A woodpecker enjoying some me-time.

You never really think about the effects of a routine on your energy levels, until the routine changes.  I was thrown off my usual routine this week, I lost my Thursday, my recharge day.

The days were flipped around, so Friday was my recharge day instead. It felt a bit funny, but I was happy with my productivity.  I pulled out the tote with my batting (the bottom tote, of course) and finally got a tablet cover made. Here are the instructions I used – http://so-sew-easy.com/quilted-tablet-cover-zippered-pocket/

Tablet case, closed.
Morning detox smoothie from “Oh She Glows Every Day” – mango and white tea.

I have been reading Oh She Glows Every Day cookbook by Angela Liddon.  It inspired some of my own experimentation with smoothies and smoothie bowls this week.

So far, next week looks normal.  We can never tell what is going to come our way though. I’ll do my best to get my Vitamin ‘N’, and all my other vitamins to keep those batteries charged and ready.

Simplee

 

 

 

 

Gluten-Free Food · Handmade · Life

‘Tis the Season…

Only five more months until Christmas…are you counting?  If you make gifts, you might be starting to think about it.

All the differing messages you encounter in the stores can make your head spin.  Just what season is it?  There have already been mid-season sales, the pencils and binders came out for back-to-school the week after school finished.  Today, the craft store had end of season reductions on all the summer games and crafts and the Halloween decorations are making their way to front and centre.

I do make gifts for Christmas, but I don’t usually start them until after Halloween.  I might knit some socks in the summer and stash them for later (spoiler alert), but thinking about the “upcoming” holiday season isn’t really on my radar in the middle of the actual holidays.

Houses for a quilted wallhanging. A gift? Maybe…

This year has been even more confusing as the summer weather was slow to start and the last couple of days have felt more Fall-like than summer.  (I’m not complaining, it has been nice to lose the humidity and be able to breathe).

Waiting for embellishments…

So with tongue firmly planted in the cheek.  I wish you all a “merry five month countdown!”

Peanut butter and chocolate are always in season!

Simplee

Handmade · Life

Just in…

Yesterday started out sunny and I had my plan.  Somehow, I don’t know how it was possible, I had completely forgotten about a fabric store I had been meaning to visit.  I jumped on my trusty steed (the two-wheeled variety), loaded up my basket and ventured off.  Which is when the clouds started to roll in.  It was overcast, but I was sure I could make it there and back.

fat quarters

The clouds were definitely getting darker and there was no mistaking their intent. After quickly browsing and chatting in the fabric shop, I headed home with one more stop to make.

 

more fat quarters

There were two of us bike-ladies in the pharmacy.  Both with our baskets of treasures. Her’s were of the vegetable variety, mine cloth…She said she hoped we would make it home before the rain, I agreed, knowing I needed only a few more minutes until I was home.

Just in time.  Literally walked in the door and the rain started to fall.  My shoes were put away, my purchases unpacked and a simple lunch made.  Rain, is the perfect excuse to hibernate in the sewing room.

simple lunch

There was a bento bag project I had been wanting to try,  when I saw the colours of fat the quarters, I knew this was the material for it.  The early afternoon was spent downstairs.  The sun came out and I came up, with a bento bag and a matching zippered pouch.

What a bargain, less than $10 for the pair, and I stayed dry!

It is nice to have a big project which will keep you busy for a time.  But there are times when you want to sit down with the raw materials and stand up with a finished item.  Plus it is a good excuse to procrastinate on the larger project.  Just in case you were looking for one….

Simplee

 

Handmade

Crazy about…

Last night while working on some patchwork blocks, Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” kept running through my head.  It probably wasn’t a coincidence, as I was making crazy patchwork squares, which, contrary to their name, do not make you crazy.  There is a certain sort of calm which I feel when working on these squares, and the longer I work at it, the faster each square becomes, my fingers instinctively reaching for the perfect next piece.

These crazy patches (I use the stitch and flip method) are actually by-products of another project I have been working on this summer.  Yo-yos, or Suffolk puffs, are portable, fast and I can attest to their addictive qualities.  I currently have over 600, but have figured on needing at least 1300 for a double bed sized coverlet.  I use fat quarters, fat eighths, my own stash and I frequently raid the remnant bin at my local fabric store.

To make the yo-yos even more quickly, I use a yo-yo maker.  I know some think this is cheating….but I did mention how many I need, right!?! I clip the fabric into the plastic form and trim around it.  The trimmings make lots of scraps, mostly triangular in shape.  

The yo-yos give me the supplies for the crazy patchwork.  It is a win-win!

Cutting squares for crazy patchwork stitch and flip.

Isn’t it great that something so simple as gathered rings gives so much enjoyment?  No chance of going crazy at my home…

Simplee