Crafty Dreams

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I’m dreaming about crafts these days. I’ve been inspired…. by my long time friend Bev and her beautiful handcrafted quilts. 

And they are beautiful. 

Bev’s a retired teacher like me. And she’s been creating her wonderful quilts for years now. The red, black and grey cat quilt (below) is one of her early creations. That’s Beni on the chair. And that’s Bev hiding behind the quilt. The closest she would let me come to taking her picture. I love the juxtaposition of dog and cats in this shot.

The blue and cream crazy quilt (below) is gorgeous, isn’t it? Next to the log cabin style quilt, I love crazy quilts the best.  My grandmother Sullivan made crazy quilts; I love the idea that you can weave bits of cloth from your life into a quilt. 

I visited Bev and her quilts one Sunday in September. Her workshop and her quilts were part of the Old Ottawa South Studio Tour. Artists and crafts persons… potters, painters, quilters… all over Ottawa South threw open their doors that day to showcase their work.

This is my favourite of Bev’s quilts. I love the rich burgundies and reds. It looks wonderful as a wall hanging, doesn’t it? 

What Bev mostly creates these days are baby quilts. So pretty in these bright primary colours. And she sells them too. For around $70.00. That’s a steal especially when you look at the workmanship, not to mention the hours and hours of work. 

If you want Bev to make you a baby quilt, you can e-mail me here and I will pass on your contact information. You might have to get in line, her time and her quilts are much in demand these days. But she’d be happy to hear from you.

Bev’s industriousness and clever workmanship have inspired me. I used to be crafty. In the 80’s and 90’s, I knit up a storm. 
I made several Icelandic sweaters for myself, and for friends, and boyfriends of friends. Knitting actually helped me to quit smoking during that time. It’s hard to knit and smoke at the same time. And knitting keeps your hands busy. 
Sometimes I’d stay up until the wee hours…drinking tea and knitting… unable to stop as the colours and pattern unfolded before my eyes. And then I tried my hand at other kinds of sweaters, two cable knit sweaters for Hubby, a couple of beautiful mohair sweaters for my sister and a friend. And then I petered out. Work commitments took up more and more of my evenings. Long nights of marking meant that when I was finished I couldn’t bear to do close work, able only to flop on the sofa in front of the TV for an hour before bed. 
I made these “Cottage Craft” sweaters (below), in the 80’s when I was still living in New Brunswick. I love them, even though they don’t fit me anymore. I gave away all my other handmade sweaters eventually, but I couldn’t bear to part with these two.

Recently when I travelled home to New Brunswick for my high school reunion, I dug out a sweater that I had started knitting years ago. And I do mean years ago. And I stuffed in into my bag, determined that with the moral support of my knitting mentor (aka my mum) I might just finish it. 
I only need to finish sewing it together now. I’m not sure if I will wear it. It’s pretty long and bulky… but oversize knits do seem to be big this year. And now that’s it’s almost completed I’m looking for a new project. 
Maybe something like this Stella McCartney sweater.
Or either of these, below. 
I love the ribbing on the Fendi sweater on the left. And that slouchy Isabelle Marant on the right is very similar to one I made for my sister a few years ago. You can order them on for  $736.00 and $845.00 respectively. Ahhh… I don’t think so. But I might be able to find a similar pattern and make myself one. 

Hubby is laughing at me. “Better find out what will be in style in ten years and start knitting that,” he says. Referring, of course, to the glacial pace at which I churned out my last project. Okay, I know a challenge when I hear one. I’m going shopping for knitting patterns and yarn….the minute we get back  from our trip next week. 

We leave in a couple of days for our final camping trip of the year. This trip is a favourite of mine. I love the fact that we have the campground almost to ourselves. The fall colours of the trees and the leaves underfoot when we go for our walks. Frosty evenings around the camp fire with a glass of wine, watching the sparks disappear up into the darkness.  

And in the meantime, maybe I can finish sewing together my old/new sweater and wear it camping. While I’m dreaming crafty dreams of what I can make next.

By the way…be sure to let me know if you want Bev to make you a baby quilt. They’re lovely, and a sweet gift for any new parents you might know.

Are you a knitter, quilter or otherwise crafty person? 

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7 thoughts on “Crafty Dreams”

  1. Debbie (Artsy in Boulder)

    Glad you had such a wonderful time at your reunion. I have rarely met a creative endeavor I didn't like, even if it was only a short-term relationship rather than an enduring partnership. As a young child, I learned needlepoint from my mother. I flirted with cross stitch in the early 90s, then went on a brief quilting bender after that, making baby and Christmas quilts for sisters/nieces. My most recent fiber/fabric foray was knitting. I was so proud to knit my first sweater, which was a top-down raglan sleeve, knit in the round. Super fast and easy. I ended up ripping out the second sweater I attempted, a pieced style with some decorative stitches–not because the pattern was too complex but because I tried to tweak (unsuccessfully) the gauge to accommodate a different yarn. Despite very careful mathematical calculations, it was a no-go. Lately, I have moved into collage, assemblage, and jewelry-making (beaded).
    I love the sweater patterns you're considering for your next project. I do recommend the knit-in-the-round, top-down, raglan-sleeve program, as it has such a quick payoff!

    1. I love knitting in the round too. All my Icelandic sweaters were made that way…so much better than sewing together! I've tried grape vine wreaths over the years (loved doing that, but have too many now.) and pottery which I hated. I must give jewellry making a try. That's for reading, Debbie.

  2. I had a baby quilt made in advance of my second child – I loved every minute of its useful self. Great for the lie baby on floor moment, in style. Your friend is so skilled!

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