The Saturday Update: Weeks 51 & 52

Can you believe it, this most horrible of years is almost behind us. Whew! I am planning to do an overview of the whole terrible year next week, but right now let’s talk about the Christmas crafting.

Hannah: did you all have fun? I got new toys, tore open presents that weren’t mine and played with all of the papers after presents were opened. It was great!!

I have been crafting along for weeks and not talking about any of it because… presents!! Now that everything has been safely sent off and received here is the whole present overview.

Knitting

I knitted some super warm socks for my sister, made a little mouse for a cousin (with a sweater for him to wear on cold nights raiding the pantry), and a couple of Christmas gnomes for another cousin. The socks are Snowshoe (Emily Foden) socks, the Little Mouse in a Sweater is another Claire Garland design, and the gnomes are Here We Gnome Again by Sarah Schira.

Quilting

I have been working in the evenings on an art quilt that is a present for one of my sons. This son likes to fly fish, so the quilt is a good fit for him. I started the quilt in the spring, but put it away for a few months because of Hannah action that was going on while I was working on the quilt. Now that she is a little older I’m having more success working in the sewing room, but it is still a little stressful.

Hannah: I’m quality help!!

Hannah is still involved in every thing that I’m doing. She bounces around the room climbing in the garden shelves, pulling scraps of fabric out of the trash, stealing the pin cushion, tunneling under loose fabric left out, and closely watching every move of the sewing machine. In situations like these safety protocols are everything: I turn off the sewing machine every time I get up from it and place the steam iron behind a closed door while I’m not using it. Okay, I unplug the iron too. Hannah is really clever at getting into things… Thankfully she understands that she can’t get up on the ironing board now. She also will settle down and nap in artfully placed open boxes with tissue paper in them.

Finally, late Christmas Eve, Hannah and I got the quilt top finished. Oh, you can’t see the quilt’s features with Miss Hannah all over it? It’s hard to make out because it is upside down? Let me show off some of the details…

There is a fisherman casting his lure out over the water with the fish leaping up on the next panel to bite it. There are little bear cubs and a moose walking through aspen trees. Altogether the quilt is a four block wall hanging that I hope will look nice in my son’s new home. I still need to get this quilt top assembled with the batting and the backing, and then there needs to be lots and lots of quilting as I outline each of the little pieces of fabric. I told my son that the quilt is coming, and it (Hannah willing) should be done in another couple of months. This quilt is a Pine Needles (McKenna Ryan) design and its name is Calling Me Home.

Sliptravaganza

I’ve been working on Slipstravaganza for so long I have kind of stopped talking about it as it slipped into the background. In the wee hours of Christmas morning I finally finished casting off the shawl and took a fast snapshot of it in the dim light of my bedroom. Look at all that texture and detail!! Today I blocked it (with Hannah’s help) and as soon as it dries it is going to become my main winter wrap! This is a huge shawl, very showy, but also extremely comfy to wear because of the shape. Did I mention that the white main color yarn is a cashmere blend? This is just perfect for snuggling on cold winter days.

This shawl is made of yarns that I have loved and hoarded for years. Really, I have held onto a couple of these skeins for a decade because the exact right project never came around… when I love a yarn it has to go to a project worthy of it, right?! The pink yarn was bought several years ago on a trip to the Estes Park Wool Market in Estes Park, Colorado. Every time I look at it I smile thinking about the sheep and alpaca I saw that day, not to mention lamb barbeque, cinnamon pecans, and a fabulous day in the mountains! The gold yarn is a silk/yak/merino blend that I bought at a pop-up shop set up in a Boulder, Colorado yarn store that is now closed. I learned to spin and weave in that shop (Shuttles, Spindles & Skeins) and this special yarn is forever linked to that store. Also, I just love the glow of this gold yarn!! The purple I bought in a shop in Arvada, Colorado while visiting yarn stores along the front range of the Rockies as I participated in Yarn Along the Rockies, an annual shop hop in my area of the state of Colorado. How much fun a shop hop is… you pile into cars with your friends, throw caution to the winds as you use Google Maps to navigate through shadowed mountain roads and strange towns to discover a new gem of a yarn store. Inevitably you end up at a great lunch location to swap stories and shopping scores with your friends before heading out again on the hop. Good times!! Needing a yarn to pull these three together I bought two skeins online at Hue Loco (Loveland, Colorado) earlier this year. This shawl is something of a celebration of my well fed and nourished yarn stash as it also showcases the Colorado fiber artists whose work it incorporates. How ironic, at the end of this year that I have spent isolating alone with my pandemic kitten, I have completed this knitted piece of wearable art made from the yarns of my state, acquired as I traveled around it in happier days before I was diagnosed with my autoimmune diseases and Covid-19 appeared in our world. Soft and warm, heavy with happy memories, I am armored against the world outside.

Have a great week, everyone!!

Please stay safe.

Read a little, knit a little, and garden like your heart can’t live without it.

And wear your mask!!

Author: Midnight Knitter

I weave, knit and read in Aurora, Colorado where my garden lives. I have 2 sons, a knitting daughter-in-law, a grandson and an exceptionally spoiled kitten. In 2014 I was diagnosed with a serious rare autoimmune disease called systemic sclerosis along with Sjogren's Disease and fibromyalgia.

14 thoughts on “The Saturday Update: Weeks 51 & 52”

  1. Oh my gosh! All the gifts you made look great, and your Slipstravaganza is amazing! That is a pretty fabulous quilt, and I be it is definitely difficult working in the sewing room with an active kitten! But she is pretty darn adorable, and it sounds like you two are managing to mix play time and crafting time pretty well πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you! I’m anxious for the Slipstravaganza to finish up drying so that I can wear it… snow is coming! Hannah is so entertaining and such a good companion (and so good natured, too) that I am happy to put up with all the kitten craziness even if it means things like cooking and sewing are a challenge. πŸ™‚

      1. She is just adorable so I am rolling with the kitten punches for now. Her latest trick: she jumps into the dryer the moment I open the door. I am so careful to make sure I know where she is before closing anything these days… even the refrigerator! I will be good when she starts to grow out of her kitten crazies!

  2. I love your quilt so I’m pleased to see it return to your blog updates. I especially like the bears in a tree section. What a special garment your shawl is. Something to treasure forever and snuggle in. I’ve seen those cute gnomes on someone’s blog and they are cute, but the mouse in the jumper…oh my that’s super cute. We have discovered evidence of some mice in our garage, my fault for keeping the bag on wild bird peanuts in there. I will leave the garage door open one day and hope the neighbours cat scares them off.

    1. I’m so happy to bring the quilt back to the blog. I was tipped off by another family member that I needed to keep the quilt off the blog while I was working on it because… present. I forget that people can lurk and read the blog while never giving me a hint that they are doing so… what is up with that? Anyway, the quilting is now back. I really like those bear cubs too, but then there is the moose!! I saw a moose in a field one morning on my way to work which was crazy because they are rare on this side of the continental divide; the moose on the quilt makes me happy!

      Mice in the garage! Ugh! I had some move into my garage one year because I had bird seed and grass seed stored there. I’ve now learned to have everything sealed in metal cans as they can get to it sealed in plastic. I finally had to trap the mice after they ate a hole through the wall to get into my crawl space and I absolutely didn’t want them living in the house!! I’ve been mouse free the last few years since I gave up feeding the birds outside. Good luck with your neighbor’s cat plan! You may need the door open overnight as I think the mice are most active then. πŸ™‚

    1. The mouse in the jumper was just so much fun to make I may have to make a couple more. He is actually designed to be the companion to a sitting cat with a sweater on it too. So many critters to knit, so little time…

      Hannah really wants a mouse too!

  3. Wow! All of your projects turned out great! The mouse and gnomes are adorable and your sister’s socks look so cozy.

    The quilt! It is so beautiful! Your son is going to love it! I can’t decide which panel I like more. You are so talented!

    Your shawl is amazing! The story behind each yarn, in your Slipstravaganza, truly make it special. You can wrap yourself in all of those lovely memories. I would never want to take it off.

    I hope you and Hannah had a Merry Christmas!

    1. I’m happy with the kitted mouse and gnomes too. I’ve given so many shawls, hats and mittens over the years as gifts I decided that I should branch out and give some silly gifts that just make you kind of happy to look at. The mouse really hit the mark this year!

      I really am pleased with the quilt. I am taking a couple of days off before I try to sandwich it with the batting and backing and then Hannah and I will be back at it again.

      I really am going to treasure the Slipstravaganza! I was thinking about how there is a story behind the yarns I use as much as the project itself and I decided to try to put that into words on this last post. This is what happens when you create a stash that feeds your knitting addiction instead of just buying yarn for individual, specific projects. Of course, things can get a little out of hand with the stash…

      Merry Christmas to you too!!

  4. Wow, what a post. You accomplish so many amazing things: the gnomes are a delight, the socks masterfully created and oh my gosh that shawl. I’ve been to Boulder and Estes Park so I can picture both places.

    I’m in love with Hannah! We were fostering a kitten this time last year, also black and white. She got up on a bag of batting I had set aside and shredded it into a nest. I still smile thinking about it. She went to a good home. We still have three of our own cats, so never a dull moment.

    Everything you create looks like magic to me. You use so many interesting colors and texture and patterns that fascinate and challenge.

    Wishing you all the best in the coming year. Alys

    1. Alys, your comments just make my day! I was pretty eclectic this Christmas in my makes, huh. The gnomes were my favorites and I really struggled putting them into the mailing box but they were going to a good home and I can always make more. πŸ™‚ Actually, I may need to make myself one of those mice first!!

      I really struggled with the decision to adopt Hannah, but I am so glad now that I did. I wasn’t sure I should get an animal when the future is so uncertain right now, but once I saw her in the shelter it was over. I have a big roll of batting in the craft closet and I am being really careful about keeping Hannah away from it but she has gotten into some quilt fabric and tunneled in to make herself a hiding place. How much fun these kittens are! I* am constantly amazed that she was the last kitten in the shelter, returned as a failed adoption by someone else. Lucky for me!!

      You have totally validated my angst over color and project selection! I spend so much time hunting for the right color combinations before I finally cast on, and then I may rip it all out and start out again. It’s all about doing the front end planning and then fearlessly changing the pattern as you go! πŸ™‚

      I wish you and your a wonderful coming year. Marilyn

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