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Stitching ups and downs

It’s been one of those years – and it’s still only April. Life has been a rollercoaster, my knitting mojo has been wandering elsewhere, I’ve taken up quilting, and I’m itching (still) to get back to weaving.

Knitting-wise, I finished a couple of things in time for the Armidale Show at the end of February – a pair of girly socks for my Mum (who wears a lot of blue and pink) and a Lazy Lara Shawl, which I gave to my sister for her birthday.

Faux-fair-isle socks Handknitted shawl - "Lazy Lara" by Birgit Freyer

The socks won first prize at the Show in their category, the shawl came second in the shawls, and my Majbritt Doily from the previous post won first in its category.

I was working on a new shawl design, but striking problems with it and doing much ripping and tinking trying to get it right… then my Dad died in early March (he was elderly, and wanted to rest, so I can’t be too sad that he’s out of pain) and my lace-design concentration evaporated. I have done some knitting since then, but simple things – I’m working on a pair of Thuja socks for me, a pair of mittens for DH, and a beret.

Just days before my Dad died, one of my closest friends was diagnosed with a cancer that turned out to be very aggressive… and in just six weeks, she died. In the last terrible week, when we knew the text message could come at any time, I could hardly concentrate on anything. There was nothing I could do to help her; she was sedated, and had asked that nobody but her partner be with her in the hospital. Amongst many other talents and skills, she was a beautiful quilter, and so in that week as a way to connect with her and hold her closely in my thoughts, I turned to the pieces of patchwork fabric and supplies I’d been starting to collect and began to teach myself patchwork and quilting. I had her in mind as I did, especially her careful approach to crafting, and her attention to detail, inspiring me to be less slap-dash than I might usually be – with, of course, good results.

Here’s my first quilted 9-patch square – finished and bound so that I can use it as a teapot mat:

Purple quilted 9patch square

I just wish that she was still here, as we often shared a pot of tea.

My next project was one I’d been mulling for a while – a pouch for my laptop (it’s been in use, so please forgive the creases!):

Quilted laptop pouch

And then I decided to have a go at a more complex star square, and hand-quilting.. and i have another tea-pot mat (but maybe I need a brown teapot to go with it… or perhaps I should make a blue one next):

Hand-quilted star patch teapot mat

I’m planning to try my hand at a quilt soon, and some fat quarters and jellyrolls may have followed me home. I’ve washed and ironed a range of blue fabrics, so I might start a sample square or two soon – just as soon as I finish some work projects.

I’ve also been in the drafting stages of planning a blanket warp for the loom – I have the draft (8-shaft block twill in three colours), but have to get the yarn before I can really start it.

So that’s where I’ve been, these blog-silent months, stitching in various ways through the ups and downs of life.

4 Responses to Stitching ups and downs

  • Laura says:

    Bron, I’m so very sorry for both of your losses. I am sure it would have delighted your friend to know that you were quilting; it is such a fitting tribute. I love that our crafts can provide challenges when we need them and simple comforts when we don’t. When my father-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I knit a Multnomah shawl for my mother-in-law. It was simple, garter stich with a feather-and-fan body, so I didn’t have to worry too much about the pattern, and I was free to concentrate on putting as much love and comfort as I could into every stitch.

    Sending peace and comfort across the ocean to you…

  • Jan says:

    I’m sorry to hear of your losses. Your knitting and quilting are beautiful and a fitting way for you to both grieve and remember.

    I actually came over here to say I am almost finished my fourth Brangian shawl. It’s what I turn to when I can’t settle on another design. I know this one and it always turns out beautifully. So thank you for it. The design always gathers comments on its beauty.

  • Bronwyn says:

    A belated thank you, Jan, for your kind words. I am so pleased to hear that you enjoy the Brangian pattern so much – your shawls are beautifully knit.

  • Bronwyn says:

    Laura, thank you also for your thoughts. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier that they mattered to me, and still do. I’m sure your gift to your mother-in-law of the shawl was much appreciated – there’s nothing quite like wrapping oneself in a handmade gift to feel surrounded by love.