Last week, I went to go visit my friend Flora in Vermont. We have known each other like, forever. Long enough that if our friendship were a person, it would be close to starting middle school (which, in the scheme of adult friendships, is not that long I suppose, but it feels amazing that it’s been that long since second year of university). She moved back to the States a couple of years ago, but we’ve stayed close through Skype & occasional visits.

I knew that when I made the the trek to visit her, I wanted to do something special for it. Flora is a really tough person, but she had a heck of a 2014. There was a lot of life stuff that, as her friend, I couldn’t really fix.

But I can make stuff.

So, I made her a quilt.

Donuts for Flora

This has been a good six months of scheming in the making, and it has been so hard to keep it mostly off of social media. (Not that I worried she would know I was making a quilt for her, but I wanted it to be a surprise.) I started browsing for fabrics once I got the idea on the fall, and ended up deciding on a collection of really cutesy, silly Japanese prints that made me think of her, with some more grown-up fabrics to balance things out.

I chose Donuts! as a pattern, for a couple of reasons – one, I’ve made it before, and two, it’s a really simple pattern that shows off special fat quarters nicely. It also lends itself to remaking – it’s really fun. I sort of want to make another one for myself.

All the fabric arrived in late November, and I started cutting & piecing in January.

Donuts for Flora

Donuts for Flora

I had plans to quilt this on my machine, but I’ve never done that before, and wasn’t sure I’d have time to quilt it twice if I made a mistake. So I handquilted using big, sashiko-style stitches – around each donut & center, double lines in the sashing at the top and bottom, and then a grid between donuts. It took about a month and a half to get done, but most of that was not dedicated work – in terms of actual quilting hours, I probably could have finished quilting and binding in a week if I’d focused only on this project.

Donuts for Flora

Donuts for Flora

I just finished before I was supposed to leave – I sewed the last of the binding on Thursday, and my flight left on the Saturday – and gave it to her on the weekend.

This is not a quilt that is technically perfect, but it’s a good quilt, and it’s a snuggly quilt, and it’s got a lot of love in it. Looking at it in these photos (I photographed it straight out of the dryer, before tossing it immediately in my suitcase as I was leaving the next day) I can see lots of stuff that I wish looked neater. But it’s a well made piece, and I trust my handquilting to hold up and keep everything where it’s supposed to be, and the technical stuff isn’t what’s important for this sort of quilt. The important thing about this quilt is showing my friend that I care about her, and I want her to stay warm, and that I picked out these prints that made me think of her so that she can think of me when she uses it. And on those terms, it’s absolutely a success.

She started using it right away, and I’m so happy to have made it for her and given it away. I know it’s where it’s supposed to be, and I hope it’ll keep her warm.


Still waiting on news for C’s work. Decision day is next week. In the meantime, I’ve been chipping away at old projects, and trying to keep up with my wheel. One of the ways I’ve been focusing my spinning is to try spinning down all of the indigodragonfly club fiber I’ve accumulated over the past year.

(Also, the club for one of my favourite fiber-dyeing companies opened up in 2015, and I wanted to make a little fiber stash space before new stuff started arriving.)

This first skein is from the August shipment, I think – it’s BFL, and the colourway is “Clowntown Abbey.” I spun it end-to-end and chain plied for long colour repeats, thinking that I’d get a really cool self-striping sock yarn.

Indigodragonfly Club BFL

Indigodragonfly Club BFL

Instead, I ended up with about 140m of DK weight, which still self-stripes beautifully but is absolutely not enough yardage for socks. I think it’d make a really great hat or set of mittens, though.

This second skein is BFL/Silk, from a while ago (Rav tells me this is the November shipment) – I believe the colourway is called “The White Rug of Shame.” I chose it for the February challenge at 15 in 2015, which was to spin something red or pink for Valentine’s day.

Indigodragonfly BFL/Silk Handspun

Indigodragonfly BFL/Silk Handspun

This turned out as a gorgeous, gorgeous sport-weight with an amazing shine. Again, my put-up was not stellar (about 150m), and I’m still not totally sure what I’m doing to get such low numbers, but the yarn itself is really satisfying to look at. The colour was pretty dark, almost red-looking in the braid, but spun up it really started to shine and look like a nice pink-purple blend.


So, here is the thing. I have been pretty stressed lately with life stuff – we are waiting for news on C’s job training that will either mean a big cross-country move, or staying in the same city. I am a ‘planner,’ and not being able to think more than a few weeks ahead until we know the outcome is definitely tough.

I’ve been spinning up a storm, which helps a lot, but until recently I felt pretty ‘blah’ on my knitting. I’ve got a couple sweater projects on the go that just need a little finishing (one needs a mistake fixed in the button band, the other needs steeking and a little knitting), but not any real knitting, and I wasn’t feeling super-inspired with anything else I had on the needles.

But then I heard that my LYS was stocking Julie Asselin’s epic gradient kits. I am generally pretty good at resisting the impulse-buys, but this weekend felt like a reasonable time to treat myself.

Gradients!!

These have pretty much fallen off the needles, so far.

The pattern is Adrift, and they are basically socks – 54 stitch rounds on 2.5mm needles – but somehow going as fast as if they weren’t. I think some of that is the pink (I don’t wear a lot of it, but looking at it just makes me happy), and some of that is having to change skeins. The gradient is dyed as five mini-skeins, which means that there is flexibility in terms of how wide each colour stripe gets to be. Knitting towards ‘just until I join the next colour’ is so much more motivating.

I am planning to turn these into a hat and mitts set, and I am really excited to wear them. I think having these to work on has also helped my knitting get ‘unstuck’ a little – I’m thinking about sweaters, and thinking about rifling through my stash to see if there’s something I can get excited about in there.


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