On the couch with tea and hankies

Dear Vi,

I congratulated myself too soon for managing to avoid the miserable colds and flu going around this winter.

 Sigh.

Sadly,I’ve been relegated to the couch to drink gallons of milky black tea and feel sorry for myself.

At least I have furry couch company:  On a happier topic, I was featured on the Curvy Sewing Collective!!! Well, actually it’s my sewing room that’s featured. Check it out here!

On the quilting front, I’ve been thinking that I’d really like to make a quilt to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday this year.

Katherine at Next Steps Quilt Designs is hosting a quilt-along called 150 Canadian Women…150 6″ blocks to accompany the stories of 150 inspiring Canadian women throughout history.

I really, really want to make this quilt. Except I’m also making the 100-block Splendid Sampler. And how many sampler quilts do I really need? And honestly, I’m ready for the Splendid Sampler to be over. Do I really want to start over and make 150 more?

And then I had a brilliant idea. Brilliant!

I will turn my splendid sampler quilt into a quincentennial quilt! All I have to do is make 50 more blocks. I will end up with a totally unique quilt that doesn’t look like any one else’s. 😀

Fabulous, right?

Here are 4 more blocks since I last wrote. I think I’m up to 93. I need to get some more Kaffe Fasset and Rowan fabrics as I’m running out and I want to keep the quilt in that line as much as possible. I did hear about a quilt shop that stocks some about an hour away. A field trip is in my future as soon as I’m feeling better.

Meanwhile, this cold has that “I’m settling in to stay awhile” feeling.

A very boring letter today, I’m afraid … I’m off to make another pot of tea. (cough cough sneeze sniff)

‘Scuse me.

N.

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A Splendid Sampler Update

Dear Vi,

I can’t believe how many letters I’ve written to you in my head. Just about every morning I wake up with an idea for a letter, and then poof! it’s gone. So today I thought I’d just stop trying so hard to remember what it was I wanted to say and show you what I’ve been up to.

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I’ve been talking about writing and knitting so much lately, you probably forgot that I’ve also been working on these crazy little six-inch quilt blocks.

009No kidding, Eh?

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I’ve made 90 so far. Yup. I’m ahead of the game, since only 88 have been published. How is that possible?

008Well, you know how I am, Vi. I like to do things my own way.

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If you’re also doing the Splendid Sampler, you’ll notice that there are blocks in here that aren’t “official,” along with some that I’ve personalized. Maybe they’re not officially splendid sampler, but they’re officially Splendid Nita, lol! 010

And in case you ever wondered just how small my kitchen is, this picture should give you a pretty good indication. I’m standing on the dining room chair to take the picture:003Yesterday I made two more:011That’s it for today. What have you been working on?

Write back soon!
All my love,
N.

Posted in Blog Categories, letters, Quilting, Quilts, sewing, Stitches | Tagged | 6 Comments

Blog Posts: Letters to Vi

Dear Vi,

Blogging has always felt a little bit awkward to me. From the beginning, I’ve wanted to address each post as though it were a letter. But it always felt awkward. A letter to whom? And yet it feels just as strange to open a new page and simply start talking. I’m old-school that way. Letters always begin with a salutation, and in my mind, my blog posts have always been letters.

And then I checked a book out of the library called Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Have you read it? (I’ve read it twice, actually. I’ll probably read it again before too long. I should probably just go buy it.)

In the book, references are made to letters written by one of the characters, addressed simply to ‘V’. We don’t know who the mysterious V is, and it doesn’t really matter. These letters give backstory and insight into the life of Arthur Leander, one of the main characters.

And after that, I stumbled upon a fabulous knitting blog, called Mason Dixon. The authors of this blog write knitterly letters back and forth to each other: Dear Ann, Dear Kay.

There are probably more out there, but you get the idea. It certainly gave me an idea.

I’m going to try an experiment. I’m going to let my heart lead my hands and address these blog posts to a person.

Of course, that begs the question of to whom shall I address? If I pick one family member or friend, will another feel slighted? Or, God forbid, dread that they’ll be targeted next?

So I’ve chosen a person who doesn’t exist. I will name this person Vi.

As in rhymes with pie.

And you can silently substitute your own name, because you’re the one I’m really writing to.

There, doesn’t that feel better?

Until next time – All my love, N.

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Posted in Just Write, letters, Writing | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

How many socks could a sock knitter knit?

If you’re a knitter or a crocheter, you’ll be interested in this: Yarn Canada is having a contest. You could win enough sock yarn to knit socks for the rest of your life!

How many socks could a sock knitter knit if a sock knitter could knit socks? Enter and find out! The contest is open in Canada and the United States. The last day to enter is Wednesday, December 8th.

That’s tomorrow!

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Good luck!

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Knitting a Novel: on and off the needles

Did I tell you that I finished my novel again? This isn’t the first time I’ve finished it, of course. The first finished draft was the equivalent of a scarf knitted up in open lace-work. Silky threads to hold everything together, but full of holes.

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A lace infinity scarf: cast on, enjoyed and cast off to be gifted to someone whose name I can’t say here, lol. I bought this beautiful silky wool at the Itsy Bitsy Yarn Store in Whitehorse.

When it was as ready as I could get it, I sent it out to my two critique groups and examined their comments and reactions for places where the tension was uneven, the weave too loose. Places where I’d dropped stitches, or gotten them twisted.

Then I took the framework and did it up again, weaving in the loose ends, picking up the dropped stitches. In that way, the novel went from lace to garter stitch. Sort of. These are very loose metaphors, you understand.

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Another gift for someone whose name I cannot mention here. 🙂 The pattern is Wheat by Tin Can Knits, knitted in Berroco Vintage Chunky wool that I bought at Knit2Yarns in Kamloops, BC.  It’s actually a lovely heathery dark forest green, though it looks pewter in the photo.

Garter stitch is nice because it has texture. It’s elastic enough so you can push it around a bit and yet firm enough to handle it. Easy to rip out and easy to knit back up again.

Then I sent it back for more critique.

Critique comments can be very interesting. Often times uplifting and exhilarating when the reader gets it and is obviously excited about what they’re reading.

Also interesting is when the reader giving the critique is annoyed because the character is not behaving the way they would behave if they found themselves in a similar situation. I love these types of comments because it means they’ve got the socks on their feet, are trying them out. They’re engaged in the story, and that means I’m doing it right.

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Socks, knit with Fabel superwash from my stash. Another Christmas gift to add to the pile. 🙂

Although there’s always the occasional reader who will try to push this work of speculative women’s fiction into the action-adventure genre, thus frustrating both of us, lol. I try to see these comments as a reflection of reading preference rather than a criticism on writing style, but it does sometimes make it a bit difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, if you don’t mind a cliché.037

So anyway, what I’m doing with the novel right now is like blocking the finished scarf or sweater. Soaking it and laying it out to dry, pinning the edges straight, smoothing out any bumps or wobbles. I’m happy with it. I’m really happy with the ending, even if though I’m still fussing a bit with the final fit. Like putting the sweater on and shrugging my shoulders, seeing how it feels.

And now, are you wondering what’s on my needles at this very moment? Just what is keeping me company every evening as Mr. C and I binge-watch old episodes of 24?

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The Noël shawl. A name appropriate to the season, don’t you think? Also another project whose recipient shall go unnamed.

Lovely lovely lovely. My favourite so far, and my very first shawl. The wool is Hawthorne Fingering, from Knit Picks.

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What’s on your needles?

Posted in Blog Categories, Knitting, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

A Hallowe’en Knitting Nightmare 

…is spending the evening trying to get a hank of wool out of its crazy 8 formation and into a ball I can actually knit with. 

Help!

Posted in Knitting | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments