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Walk the walk

  I’ve had an inkling that I would like to make a pilgramage to Compestello along “the way”.  It turns out we are staying in a town along  one of the paths, specifically GR653.  So we walked 4.7 miles to the next town, St. Guilhem le Desert, along the route today. It was spectacular and moving. We walked from one Abbey to the next on a path that has been followed for perhaps a thousand years.

We lacked the accoutrements of a pilgram: no staff or scallop shell.   

Instead I had a camera.  We crossed a beautiful bridge built in the year 800 AD.  Unfortunately, a good part of the walk was along a busy road but a path came and went along the river L’Herault.

  
Once in the village, we spotted a side path and began along it. It looked like it might take us to the top of a mountain where we saw the ruins of a fortress or wall and away we went. It was a well graded cobblestone path for most of the way until it wasn’t.  

  
That’s our destination at the top of the mountain. 

I almost chickened out before the last ascent until I found a path I could handle.

We enjoyed the windy views, then had a beer and coffee in the village square. We decided to take a 10 minute bus back to our apartment. Much easier. 

Parlay vous?

  We’ve traveled to a country where I don’t speak the language. Keeps things interesting.  Tim’s more fluent in French than I expected. Or at least he looks like he is. 

  We’re staying in a renovated Medieval tannery in Aniane,   France, built in the 14th century.  

  
 Our host is a weaver!  There’s a gigantic 4-shaft counterbalance loom, numerous spinning wheels, swifts and textiles around. Heaven. But sadly, I couldn’t get my thoughts across.  Just some pantomiming of spinning and weaving.  

More later on our amazing apartment. Here are some scenes of the town I saw during my run. 

   
There seems to be a colony of black and white cats.

 We have to drive the car on this “road” next to the stream that runs through town  to get to our ancient apt.
   
 Grafitti abounds. 

  

There’s an abbey from the 8th(?!) century we hope to get to see. And we have to find the local wineries. So far we found the butcher (delicious sausage, we have to wait until next Sunday for our roast chicken), boulangerie for fresh bread and croissants, gourmet shop for local veggies and cheese.  Tomorrow’s quest is the pharmacy since the Dutch TSA confiscated Tim’s contact lens solution. Silly us, it was 118 ml-only 100 ml allowed!!! But my scissors, crochet hooks and other personal items sailed through with nairy a glance. Feeling secure.

Joint venture

IMG_1759I completed my cabin quilt on Valentine’s Day and already wrote about it here.  It hasn’t made it to the cabin yet because Tim wanted it on our “bed” instead.  We had an IKEA mattress and frame on the floor for over a year.  I’m getting too old for this.  I had to roll onto my knees to get out of bed.

Tim had been hemming and hawing about building a bed.  I was hoping to duplicate the bed we slept in on Deal Island, Tasmania, but since we didn’t have a cove where timber washed up on the beach, it was difficult to duplicate.  We did find a great sawmill nearby though and got to choose lumber for the project, including an irregular piece with the bark still on it.  They cut them to width and we drove them home.

I helped out with drawings but Tim did all the real work.  He made a beautiful, sturdy bed.  Best of all, I can rise to my feet straight out of bed.  Maybe one day the quilt will make it up to the cabin, where I have to crawl to the foot of the bed to get up.

 

The simple things

The simple things make life pleasant. I made this alpaca silk tank as the first addition to my wardrobe in 2016. I’m no Victoria’s secret model so here it is on a hanger. It feels way better than it looks in this picture. Warm, and well, silky! Alpaca silk tank

We are taking care of our adorable little grandson for a few days and yesterday, the library ladies referred to me as his mother. Yeah! I still have it, at least with the library ladies. I can’t really play with my big toys while he is here but can still knit and spin a little. At a friend’s suggestion, he’s “sewing”. I cut a piece of rug canvas, taped the ends of some yarn and let him sew away. He mainly drags it around as a way to lure the kitten but calls it his sewing. Perhaps we have a budding fiber enthusiast.

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I sent off my shadow weave scarf. The fact that the colors were too close in value was very forgiving. I had a problem with the warp at the end and had to cut it off the loom a little earlier than planned. C’est la vie.
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I used the down time to finish some projects. I made this little sweater and blanket for my stash.
Dogwood blanket

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Dogwood on bench

My life is so simple these days, my equilibrium was thrown off by a lost, hand made glove. Of course I may have to move to Canada in November.

Fashion statement

My year of no purchased clothes is well underway but I haven’t really had to defer any purchases at this point.  I made my own piece of fabric for fabric’s sake though.  One Christmas, I made towels for everyone and Andre thought he might like the same fabric for a pair of pajama pants, which he has expertly sewn in the past.  Well a birthday came and I wove some fabric.  I wove it in a small rose path pattern with an easy to remember treadling sequence.  It’s been cut off the loom and sent to the tailor.

Then it gets complicated.  I made a scarf for a friend of a friend of my DD.  The wearer has been replaced by a new bare neck and a second, albeit slightly better, scarf has been requested.  I worked up a shadow weave.  I’m not sure if this is leaving my house yet though because it feels luscious.  The two colors, variegated tencel, and alpaca wool, are too close to really work with shadow weave, which can be a tricky weaving pattern because you use each color every other row.  My feet refused to cooperate.  Sometimes I would be muttering #1 to myself and look down and find my foot, which I thought was on the first treadle, actually on the fourth treadle.  Happily, these mistakes, like most of the pattern, can’t be seen.

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This got me thinking about weaving and sewing something for myself.  I think I’ll make a vest for a big event in DD’s life, for me.  Maybe I’ll look as handsome as this guy.

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I have been working on a quilt for Tim for the past year, when other shiny projects didn’t catch my attention.  At one point I thought it would be an Anniversary gift in September but that didn’t happen.  Then I thought it would make a great Christmas gift to keep us warm in the cabin, where we sleep when the kids come to visit.  But that didn’t happen either and besides, I had all my holiday knitting to finish.  I would mention the quilt that was going to one day be finished at each of these holidays.

Finally it became a Valentine’s present, in use at bedtime on February 14, complete with heart quilting in the center of each square.  The batting is wool, which was very easy to work with, except for little wool dust bunnies rolling around on the floor. The quilt was entirely pieced on my Singer 66 treadle sewing machine and then machine quilted on my little Singer Featherweight sewing machine. The material is all homespun and I pieced the back with leftover fabric.  One problem with a slow, drawn out project was at some point I thought I only had to make about 6 more squares but instead I needed 16.  After the quilt was put together, I cleaned my workspace and low and behold, found the missing blocks.

Finishing a quilt always generates a satisfied sense of accomplishment.  This time it even encouraged me to pull out fabric intended for more quilts… but alas,  shiny objects, looms and spinning wheels, beckon.

 

Stranded

At my darling daughter’s request, I’m back to knitting hats. Stranded  hats.  She wore one of my hats to a party and ended up requesting 4 more, including 2 moose hats, which I had to design.  I got out my punch cards and away I went.  They appear to be frolicking or playing leapfrog though.

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Frolicking moose

I’m going to sew these on my machine to try to speed up the assembly.  Right now it takes me almost as much time to finish them by hand as it does to knit them on the machine.

Our good friend is heading way north to volunteer for the Yukon Quest.  She is an avid dog lover, skijoerer (yup I spelled that right.  Skijoring (in Wikipedia) which is defined as:  sport where a person on skis is pulled by a horse, a dog (or dogs) or a motor vehicle. It is derived from the Norwegian word skikjøring meaning ski driving. So she wants to see the pros at work with their sleds and  beautiful dogs.   I made her a hat of course.

It’s not my pattern; I bought the knitting chart and made my own punch card for my knitting machine.  I’m quite pleased with it.  Everyone at the dog shelter coveted one too.  A good endorsement.  The pattern is Husky Sledding Chart and its graphics are perfect.

Next up are panda hats I am still designing and punching cards for.  Three color punch card is keeping my brain fresh. My machine is older and relies on punch cards instead of the computer.  This means a lot of up front work before a pattern may be knit.

Loki looked stranded in the snow yesterday when he was stalking something in the bushes.

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So handsome.  Then he came in and cuddled with the rambunctious, hyper, mildly annoying, but so sweet, kitten, Elli. They were even touching for warmth.

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We had a small dinner party the other night and I made the American version of a self saucing pudding and I have to say it was delicious and easy.  The recipe is from King Arthur Flour.  They call it a self saucing chocolate cake.  Our chocolate loving, skijoerer loved it too.  A good testament.  Here’s how pretty the table looked before dinner.  I won’t show you the aftermath but a good time was had by all.

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Here’s the link to the King Arthur recipe.  Try it!

 

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