Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Look for red, instead

We're deep into January now!  Ice in the bird bath.

Camellias, wilted by the cold.

All the japonica are drooping.

A brief flourish of Carolina Jessamine before the freeze.

But there's still a lot of life and color if you know where to look.  Bright red berries on various bushes around the property.

Beautiful red leaves.

And the promise of future life:  snowdrop bulbs are starting to send up stalks.

Hyacinths, too.

The camellias will be back.  They have amazing regenerative powers!  The bushes will be heavy with blossoms within a week of warmer weather.  Here are some I picked right before the temperature drop:

I just have to focus on the color we've got instead of the general brown of winter.

I've been working on indoor projects. Several years ago, I bought a 36" x 12" canvas painting of tall birch trees at Target.  It was an awkward size and just didn't fit anywhere.  I put it away but have always kept it in the back of my mind.  Could I repurpose it somehow?

This weekend I selected a 12" quilt square pattern and made 3 squares.  I sewed white fabric around the edge and stretched it over the wood frame of the painting canvas.  I was really pleased with the final result and have it hanging in a dim corner of the living room.

It provides a nice pop of color and I am now inspired to make a full-size quilt with the same pattern.  I can see how the spiky side strips will come together to make stars.  Love!  And also love getting some use out of that old frame!  I've been really inspired by various textiles lately, like the herringbone pattern and deep maroon color of the big cowl I recently knitted.

We also recently acquired some vintage embroidery items from Todd's grandpa.  There are several table runners, a giant tablecloth, some pillow cases, and lots of napkins with varying degrees of staining.

I no longer want to fold up my projects/textiles I love and put them away and am going to look for new ways to display them around the house. 

In other news, I started a new pair of socks.  I chose a variegated yarn for the colorwork and I'm afraid that it obscures the pattern too much.

I also decided that I don't enjoy patterns with long 'floats' - that is, patterns where you have to carry yarn A for more than 8 stitches of yarn B before knitting a yarn A stitch.  See the chart below and all the white squares on either side of the bird?  I was carrying long floats (catching them in the middle so they didn't sag or snag) on either side of it for quite a while before deciding to quit.  Just didn't enjoy it.  I'm now happily working on a different project with no long floats and hope to have a finished pair before too long.

Have a great week! 

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