Tuesday, May 1, 2018

What a Difference

Dear Mom,
Mother Nature finally managed to bless us with 6 consecutive days of sunshine. I cannot remember a more dismal spring- with November gray days, snow, rain, and wind chills. I was suffering from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) symptoms in April! But what a difference a day or two of sunshine can make. It was still chilly (I was dressed in layers with a wool scarf and headband) but with the sun shining and John, Dear freshly returned from his annual checkup- blades sharpened and spark plugs sparking- I was finally able to get out and mow.

Spring is way behind schedule here on the cul-de-sac. I wander out seeking signs of new growth, buds, blossoms. I see the green spikes of my Lily of the Valley emerging, and the Trillium is up but hasn't bloomed. The redbud trees are just starting to bloom and the serviceberries look like they will any day now.  Early in April, feeling cheated of spring, I ordered 200 bulbs to plant this fall for next spring- If all goes according to plan I'll have drifts of siberian squill and snowdrops in the backyard borders.
internet image

Today, I'll hang sheets to dry on the clothesline.
Tonight, we'll sleep on crisp sheets fragrant with spring sunshine.

The cold weather did allow me an opportunity to wear my most recently finished project. When I started this, I didn't imagine wearing it until late next autumn.

 This is Isager's Tokyo Shawl, in the dark colorway. Rather than knitting garter stitch borders as the pattern instructs, I worked an icord edge along with the body of the shawl so I could hide the yarn tails in the tube created by the icord. 
I've a pretty cardigan on my needles, which I will share as soon as there is something photo-worthy to share. And Donna Reed is getting dressed with a lovely dusty blue and white set of towels.

Off to enjoy the sunshine!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018


Dear Mom,
Well, that was an unexpectedly long break from blogging. I never intended to be away this long, but I let things get in the way and as it turns out, unlike sugar, blogging is a habit that is easy to drop.
All is well here, and when I last posted, we were anticipating the cool temps of autumn. It is now April and we are still experiencing Sweater Weather. Yesterday we woke to find about 3 inches of wet snow on the ground and clinging, beautifully, to the branches.

 This morning we were awakened (and lulled back to sleep) by loud rumbles of thunder. Between the snow melt and the heavy rains I am looking out on a temporary creek and pond in the backyard. It seems everything is delayed in blossoming here. The trees have only just started to bud and there are no signs of blooms on the forsythia.

Most of my winter was spent helping dear Olive recover from TPLO surgery to her right knee. She finished off the canine equivalent of the ACL on Christmas and had surgery in January.

We had gates up through the house to keep her contained in the kitchen. No running, jumping or climbing for 6 weeks. And on leash for visits to the back yard. Rugs were purchased and strategically placed to keep her from slipping. It was all a bit nerve racking. But she bore the cone of shame with as much dignity as a black beast is able and was a good patient. I built a knitting nest for myself in the kitchen to spend as much time with her as I could.

Thankfully, restrictions have been lifted and her leg is getting stronger. The gates are put away and the rugs are rolled up and stored. I asked the surgeon what our odds of seeing him again are: 50/50. Better than I'd thought. I really hope we don't have to go through that again on the left knee. 

All that kitchen confinement restricted my time in Sweet Haven and Donna Reed (and blogging). I am making up for all that lost weaving time. I'd started a project in November-  Before The Knee Event. I think that project was doomed from the start. I acted on an idea without doing all my homework- rushed through the process. Ordered fiber, then had to order more because I'd not even ordered enough for warp threads. Then dressing the loom had to happen in fits and starts when I could make time. Once Olive was free to use the stairs, we settled in to weave. I was attempting to weave some linen napkins. I realized pretty quickly that ThingsWereNotGoingWell. I stopped to consider whether to carry on or trust my gut- which was telling me (shouting actually) that the napkin was about to be a table runner. I modified the Pattern and wove what I hoped would be 4 lovely natural colored linen napkins. I ran out of warp at 3 napkins. They looked and felt like burlap. Stiff, bullet proof burlap. Discouraged, but not willing to "throw in the towel"-haha- I threw them into the washing machine, hoping that a softening miracle would happen. Wrong. I threw them away and began questioning why I even have a loom. I let the wrong combination of project and fiber get to me. I won't let myself consider the time and money wasted. Lesson learned. I've successfully woven napkins in the past and will do so again.

The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.
~ E. J. Phelps

Bruised and nearly defeated, I decided to go back to weaving what I love best and the reasons for my wanting to weave in the first place- dishtowels. I am very happy weaving dishtowels and feel such satisfaction in the process, in giving them and in using them.  I sat down and took time to do all the preparation calculations, and started weaving 6 lovely lilac dishtowels. Followed by another set of cheerful yellow dishtowels, and last night I finished another half-dozen colorful towels to finish off some partial cones of cotton. All that is left is hemming on the yellow and striped sets. 

My weaving confidence is somewhat restored. My reaction to my failed project has me pondering.Why do I feel I must do more than "just weave dishtowels" without feeling like I am somehow failing.  I DO want to learn more- I'd hate to be a One Trick Pony, but is it really settling for less if I weave beautiful, useful towels AND I feel contentment and enjoyment doing it? 

For the past few years, MelissaWhoSpins and I have selected a WORD for the year. Something to inspire us or to focus on throughout that year. This year my word is GROUNDWORK. As evidenced by those bulletproof napkins, I often hurry through things I don't like spending time on (like math. or cooking dinner) and end up creating messes for myself and feeling harried. I know this rushed habit comes from my belief in Not Wasting Time. But I've come to realize rushing often is a waste of time, that feeling panicked and frustrated is not a good use of time or how I want to feel in the short time I have on earth.  I've decided to take more time for the Groundwork- taking time for the prep, getting everything ready before I begin, feeling a sense of calm when I start a project or start cooking, or whatever. It's working. Groundwork may be my best word yet.

I'll be back soon! I promise.