Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Adequate Daily Progress

What?! Is that all the farther you are on the sampler?
I have this secret fantasy in which something big happens and all of a sudden everybody has to make do with what things they already have. I realize I haven't thought the impact of this all the way through, and I want to state here and now that this fantasy is in regard to the extra things in life, not the necessities.  I used to feel that I was stocking up. I would buy a book I thought looked good and shelve it on my shelves at home to have on hand to read "someday". I have done the same with things like yarn. I have a friend named Kara who is one of the most creative people I know and you can't budge her from her house unless its for a VERY good reason. The result is her beautiful art in a varieties of forms worked on and completed over years worth of time (really, she is overwhelmingly amazing in her creativity and productivity. You should see her art, but I don't know the rules for talking about other people and their work on a blog with out them being fully aware. Her name really isn't even Kara). Perhaps the reason why several of my projects fail to show adequate daily progress is because I am allowing myself to be pulled away from them, out of the house and garden for not very good reasons, reasons like the chance to stock up a bit more (I love the used book store we have in town and pay it a visit regularly). And so, I vow to be done stocking up now and to enter a state of greater accomplishment, refining and living out my fantasy.

Actually I am a lot farther along than this. But it still isn't done yet. I am on the armhole and neck ribbing. But hey! That quilt is done! I finished it 14 years ago however (two years of hand quilting!). That was back when I lived isolated on an Island in Alaska with two small children and couldn't go anywhere. 
I will never read all the books I have on my shelves, even if I live to be 210! been meaning to read Anthony Trollope for years. Today its raining so I am going to break into the stash and have a cozy curl-up with tea and Trollope at last. I am not going to tell you the number of other things I am working on. 
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Friday, March 22, 2013

Gardening with Jenny

Yesterday, in between the moodier moments of the spring weather, I set out to pot my pansies. Jenny, very good friend of mine, happened by and showed that she too has a great interest in flowers and stuck around to help with the action. She took it all so seriously! Notice her expression all the way though, not the same laughing dog that goes on walks with me. Anything that might be work is serious stuff to a border collie. Also, look close and you can see how the weather changed. Her fur has snowflakes in some photos and in one she is standing in the sun. All while we were planting . . .

" Hi, Hi Lynn. So. . . Auhhh, what cha you doin'? I like Flowers. I like flowers too. I like flowers really really lots. Can I help. I always wanted to plant flowers. I like to plant flowers. Please?

Ok. Like this, right? And you push the dirt down? Like this. Right?
And a little more over here, I think, okay? Don't you? Like this. That's good. Right?

Oh. Oh Okay I see. Water. It's water. They need a drink. Yeah. 
So what do you think? Are we done now? Are we done planting them?
Okay. you want me to pose with them? Okay. No wait, this one isn't ready yet. Just a minute, let me fix this a little bit here.

Ready. Okay how's this? Do I look alright? Do I look as good as the Pansies do?  Does my fur look alright. Do you have the brush? Okay then, take it. Cheese. I just love flowers.
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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring Promise

Something to draw inspiration from this time of year. I plan to do some potting today.
Soon we will be like the Wordsworth poem around here in our number of daffodils
Happy Spring Equinox! If we must be the change we want to see in the world, then I need  to be tulips and daffodils, warm breezes, little song birds and sunshine. . . . and tea and of course needlework. My children tell me I was born in the wrong era and perhaps it's true because I do wish we all wore hats, lovely creations made in shops by artistic milliners. . . at least in theory I do. Secretly, I know this would most likely turn out to be a pain in the neck. BUT, I like the idea. This time of year my mind is turning to our garden as things are waking up and my hungry eyes scan the flower beds for crumbs of the feast to come. I am starving for flowers! Passing my favorite garden shop the other day I stopped in and bought a few lovely little pansies to put on my kitchen windowsill. Here they are ready to put in small pots so I can gaze and gaze away at them while I wash dishes dreaming of the peonies and hollyhocks and roses to come. The daffodils are promising a grand show this year and I have plans for a real botanical rumpus to take place in a barren little bed that's waiting for some love. Feeling rather twitchy for spring to pick up the pace a bit, I took a walk in part of our garden this morning and snapped some pictures to show you. I hope they help bring some of that change we in the northern parts of the world are rather starved for at the moment. There is hope in the garden!

As far as I know, no little birds have ever lived here. But it looks as if fairies could.

Waiting for the little birds. This lone boxwood will be joined by a bunch of young ones to create an outline.


Garlic. It's already do so well I think we may have to go into business. And we planted a lot of it.

The fairy house again and a view of the sleeping lilac that spreads its flowers and shade over the patio. There are s few more of our daffodils. 

My beloved hollyhocks are beginning. Here is the batch that grows up along the old foundation stones of dear old house. This place is 104 years old.

These are my roses. Nothing yet.

My climbing roses. As you ca see I have set high expectations. I had my husband extend the trellis. 
Fragrant herbs, the kind you can walk on, growing in the pavers.
Tiny little beauties. The rain sits like jewels on things
As promising as the garden is, however, it's still very nice to sit beside this and have tea!
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Monday, March 18, 2013


This one is a favorite. 

Like Wisteria
Today another treasure from the heirloom treasure chest of family needlework. I feel I have been neglecting that a bit in my enthusiasm for Spring and some of my own fiber arts pursuits. I choose to think of what I do as FIBER ART. The word art gives it so much more dignity than less serious words. What I would like to show you today was done by Great Grandmother Bessie. She too was as fabulous with a crochet hook as Great Grandma Ragna. This is a work of angles or fairies surely! Look at that elaborate, trim! It dangles like the most romantic trailing vines to be found in ole Victorian era gardens. I don't know the name of this lace but I like to think it is called Wisteria. It makes me do that little gasping breath of bliss that old wisteria vines cause in me when I see them overflowing in all their glory along the roof edge of ancient front porches, particularly the porches of old, Victorian houses. I love to hold this piece of crochet and let the lace trim spill over the edge of my hand in the same way those flowering vines spill over roof edges. This is quite a large piece as I show you with a ruler and a particularly endearing feature for me in this piece is the fact that the middle section, the cloth circle it surrounds, does not lay flat as was probably originally intended. Did this cause a bit of consternation in the heart of my Great Grandma? I want to reassure her. Bessie, rest assured. In this day of Scientific perfection of computer created items, the hint of the human element in your work makes me feel your presence all the more acutely. This piece is alive compared to the perfection of most things on the store racks and shelves today. Bravo! I find this piece doubly gorgeous for the skill in the crochet lace and the slight error in the over all outcome. Perhaps I should get this one framed? Surely there is no limit to the amount of textile beauty that can hang on the walls of one's house, at least not by my view of the world. Maybe not so much by my son's and husband's view however, though they do put up with me rather well in my crazy love fore textiles. For now though this large lovely lives in the treasure chest and from time to time I will take it out whenever day to day life leaves me deflated and feeling in need of a blissful little gasp.

22 inches across

I love seeing the stitches made by my great grandmother's hand. A tiny moment in her life right there before my eyes. Here you can see the stitches that connect the lace to the cloth. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013


My house guest
Some things are too good to be true. . . and yet they are true! A long time dream of learning to weave is much more accessible here in our new location than it ever was while living in Alaska for the last twenty odd years. Since moving here and joining the local chapter of a national weaving guild, I have found a large group of kindred spirits who get as excited as I do about wool and cloth and threads. In fact, when I mentioned I wanted to learn about weaving on a loom the guild immediately loaned me a loom and just as quickly one of the guild members showed up on my doorstep offering to teach me how to use it. . . . all free of charge! See? Isn't that too good to be true in this day and age? So now I have a smallish, four harness table loom living at my house for as long as I need it, and my friend Mary comes to give me free lessons several hours in length. This surely is some kind of heaven! 

Mary setting up the warping board. It is a way of measuring out the amount and the length of the warp threads. It took me several days to get the loom warped. It involved threading hundreds of tiny little rods which are called heddles.

Mary getting me started.

Sliding the shuttle along the shuttle race

My first weaving! Done in wool. Here is a bit of plain weave, Tweed and some basket weave. My homework will result in a sampler of different weaving patterns. I also have lots of reading to do!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Tiny Turkish and Spring Garden

It's only about 3 inches big.
A member of my fiber guild has the tiniest little drop spindle I have ever seen. It's a Turkish spindle and I have been fascinated watching her spin away on such a tiny, inconspicuous little drop spindle during meeting business. She takes it everywhere. It lives in an empty tea can and travels around in her pocket. Intrigued with its size and the ease in which it would be to spin fiber on this little thing everywhere so easily, even easier than a regular sized spindle, I bought one. I took it with me today on a walk, sat down in a field alone with my dog beside me on a sunny hillside and spun, listening to the birds and welcoming the warmth of the sun on my skin.

And on a turkish spindle you remove the shaft, slide the wings apart and out of you yarn and what you end up with is the ball of yarn with out having to wind up a thing!
I am anxiously awaiting a yard full of flowers. At the moment what we have is an army of green spears all over the garden like these.

I love this dirt hat these have on after bursting up out of the dirt. Quite jaunty, don't you think?
In the mean time we are starting what will become our summer vegetable garden. These are indoors safe from any sneaky frosts.