November 16, 2011
Wind is whistling through the trees and howling around the house, pushing a storm into the region. Ed and I went for a walk when there was only smattering of rain and playful wind smacking the leaves.
Just around the corner from our place is this guy who will often come to the fence to greet us. Road to the school.
Thin fog mutes the colors on the ridge.
Cold, wet forlorn playground.Time to turn back.
This building site is for sale! Any takers? There’s a lovely creek just beyond the two houses. I’d love a fiber friend to move in just down the road from me. And the people in those houses would be excellent neighbors. (The new owners of the blue house would like to paint it a more moderate color!)
Better run to catch up.
Almost to the turn onto our road but first we pass…
a neighbor’s grand Himalayan spruce.
It’s been a good walk.
November 11, 2011
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Here’s a scanned copy of the promised picture that accompanied the article in the local paper which I mentioned in the previous post.Yes, Ed is smiling, his mustache gets in the way.
The storm from Alaska brought a windy, drenching end to the long pleasant autumn.
Knowing the fine days were ending, and fearing an eminent fall of leaves from the catalpa tree in front of the shop, Ed moved swiftly to get the finish on a project for friends. His shop is too small and cramped for finishing anything other than small hand items.
While he spread a large tarp from the porch roof to his shop and across to branches in the tree, Cuddles jumped up to her recent favorite morning spot to warm in the sun.
Several years ago the catalpa tree shed all of its leaves in one day. There had been a hard, deep freeze during a mid-October night when the tree was still in full leaf. The following morning a few leaves began to drop then suddenly they poured down so fast we both rushed outside at the sound of the stems and leaves hitting the porch roof and ground. The air was filled with leaves. By nightfall not one leaf was left on a branch. It was the oddest thing that has not yet been repeated. After a frost on Tuesday and Wednesday nights with the thermometer dipping slightly below 30 the tree was bound to loosen its leaves. The friends do not want leaf imprinted finish on their furniture.
Meanwhile, I was in the kitchen making and baking a pie for a birthday supper that evening before heading into the office.
Tarp set up, work space set up, generator running and the sun warming the air, Ed commenced brandishing the spray gun then setting each drawer in turn on the ladder to dry.
When we were decades younger Ed was a professional furniture refinisher. He took great pride in carefully, yet quickly applied layers of finish without drips or puddling. I enjoyed watching him deftly spray a thin even coat. There’s something about watching a master plying his craft: economy of motion and materials, a sure hand and eye and the conveyance of the joy of doing.
Quilted maple for the drawer fronts was harvested and milled by a local farmer.
By mid-afternoon the second coat had been applied.
The pie was cooling.
Today, the pie is only pleasant memory.
I drove home through the wind and rain from music practice this evening, tires crushing shiny leaves obscuring the road.
November 5, 2011
Recently a journalist, Jo Garcia-Cobb, from a local newspaper came here to interview Ed and I about our business. Jo was frequently at the Mt Angel Abbey Library working on a book she was co-authoring with her husband, Keith – who was studying for his Masters at the seminary during the time I worked at the Library. This summer I saw Jo when she came to Scotts Mills to report on the annual Summerfest. It was wonderful to catch up a bit with her and her young daughter. She was please to hear that our small business is keeping us busy and asked to write an article to help encourage people struggling during this tough economy; to let them know that there are people who have successfully built up a simple business. The article came out a week ago today. It’s evident that Jo well knows the writing craft and has honed her skills though the years. We feel honored that she wrote such a good article and took a very nice picture of us. (I need to ask her for a copy of the picture to share here.)
The body of Mirth’s shawl/wrap was finished Tuesday night, just before midnight. With drooping eye lids I put it aside until morning when I could see better to weave in all the ends. Up with the early birds the task was done with time to put it in for a long soak then a rinse and blocked on the bed to dry.
By late-afternoon it was almost dry, enough to take to its new home along with some dinner.
Mirth was completely delighted with it. The softness of the alpaca, the ample size, warmth and yet extremely lightweight. And a color she loves. Doesn’t Mirth look great! She’s a terrific fighter and optimist, even in the face of ongoing, and changing chemo treatments as the doctor tries to find the most effective method to eradicate the cancer.
It was a tad damp so she hung it in over a heat register.
I’m working on a video showing one simple way to join the strips, and possible a couple more of ideas that are percolating, which will be added to YouTube when complete.
On the other side of the glass door this mother and her kittens were waiting for their dinner. Though little Blacky is being quite rude.
November 1, 2011
A long overdue project is closing in to the finishing bath. A year ago I posted about a hairpin lace wrap for a friend. I mentioned it was going slower than I’d anticipated. Between the need to get knitting on the grandkids’ socks for the early Christmas gathering, then the scarves, and spinning – lots of spinning, the wrap fell by the wayside.
Sometimes a person’s way of thinking is convoluted: at the back of my mind was the tiny notion that if I didn’t work on the wrap my friend, Mirth, wouldn’t need it. Denial. The desire to ignore bad.
A number of years ago cancer struck and knocked her off her feet for a bit. Mirth came roaring back full of vitality, love and good cheer after dealing with the dreadful trio: surgery, chemo and radiation. Cancer clawed at her skin but didn’t dampen her joy of life. Over a year ago it attacked her bones. She’s fighting with every molecule of her being and strength of will. Chemo and blood transfusions are a reality but she is optimistic. Frosty mornings, the advent of bone-chilling winter rains and her ongoing struggle have compelled me to take the wrap out of the bag and tackle it with renewed commitment to finish it.
Many people ask about the joining and finishing process for hairpin. As with much in crocheting (hairpin lace is a form of crochet work) there are not set rules.
First off: Beginning the join at the bottom. The trick here is to alternate picking up loops from each subsequent panel (aka strips) as follows:
Panel #1 The hook threaded through the first 2 loops on the right panel, hooked the first 2 loops on the left panel, #2 and pulled through the #1 loops and continue alternating the entire length of the panels. Two panels joined.Panel #2 joined to Panel #3
This time thread the hook through the first 2 loops on the left panel. If you were to always start with the first 2 loops on the right panel you’ll end up with a parallelogram instead of a rectangle or square. In the picture the right panel loops have been pulled through the left loops. Here I’m ready to hook the next 2 loops of the left panel.
This 2×2 join produces a neat “braid” joining the two panels. Go through 2 loops on one panel and hook the 2 opposite loops from the adjacent panel. I like to join each new panel as soon as it’s complete for a couple of reasons:
1) Accumulating a bunch of panels seems like a recipe for disaster.
2) I don’t cut the yarn until the loops are all joined in case I miscounted the last dozen loops can be slipped back on the loom to make more loops.
When the wrap was as wide as needed I did a line of single crochet (sc) up the sides hooking 2 loops per sc with another sc between each group. Since hairpin lace is stretchy I needed to avoid a tight edge so used a crochet hook a couple sizes larger, an I/5mm hook – the Ebony, rather than the G/4mm hook which I used for the panels.
After making enough panels for the width I wasn’t happy with the length. I double crocheted the beginning edge loops at the ends hoping that would add enough extra length. (This looks messy what with the ends from the tails at each end of every panel but they’ll be crocheted in and all will be tidy.)Still not quite the length needed to cover Mirth’s arms. Now a lace panel is being added to each crocheted end. It should all smooth and even out with a good bath and blocking. There are a few errors here and there but decided not to take the time to fix them, they are a reflection of the imperfection of a life well lived.Many prayers have gone forth for Mirth during the making of this wrap. I pray that God wraps her in love and peace, and gives her strength.