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On thin ice

We’ve had a sustained deep freeze and lovely snow. Today I drove across Lake Champlain (on a bridge not ice) and saw lots of tents – the modern ice shanty. Some were alittle  close to open water for my comfort. 

  
  
My latest passion is tablet or card weaving. I may try to make 52 bands in 2017. I’ve already made a few. 

  
  
I’m working on hat bands, a mandolin strap, a bag for my tablets, a bag for fireplace stuff, and want to make a new backstrap before we head off the grid. The new backstrap will let ME be the loom tension. Very handy and portable.  I did it in Tasmania but was using someone’s discarded nylon  camera strap as my backstrap-perhaps a bit too high tech.

We have a cardinal in the ash tree and an unhinged peacock in the white house. Trying to find balance and stand for issues important to me. And playing with and hugging grandchildren! ( and watching youtube videos to figure out 
 

The aftermath

Holiday guests have come and gone. It was delightful but there wasn’t enough winter for me. The snow arrived a day late and a pound short. 

I skied our property and the land next door. Lovely. I still have to work on two things – controlling my speed downhill and getting up after I fall. 

The cabin was in its winter glory. 

  
And the view to the Jay Wilderness was spectacular. 

  
Now it’s time to get creative with leftovers. Tonight we have a ham, broccoli, spinach quiche and soup. 

  

Feeling sated with family, friends, and food. 

What I felt

Basically everything.  I’ve been on a knitting and felting kick lately. I finished the slippers for my daughter AND HER 13 FRIENDS!  She wanted their crab logo on them and I tried all sorts of techniques to make crabs: cross stitch; felted appliqué; and knit. I used BigPhil, my bulky knitting machine to knit the clogs flat, sewed them together and felted them in the washer.  Then I embellished them with various crabs. 

 
  
  What fun!

Here’s the lot of them,

  
sized and matched with their mates and ready for the post office.

I tried a pair of mittens using a similar technique.

  
The thumb was a little wonky but they are nice and warm.

I finished the cat beds but sadly, my older cat, Loki, only used his briefly before he died just after Thanksgiving.  His first diagnosis was wrong but obviously something was brewing.  

  

Now we’re a one cat, one litter box, two cat bed household. Oh yes, there’s dear Tim too.  

I have a few more slippers up my sleeve but have moved on to weaving.  I finished twisting all the ends to my lovely overshot sampler shawl this morning.

 She’s a beauty and will get lots of use this winter.

 
I found a lovely used warping reel online and measured a warp for a card weaving project.  There were a couple of snags but it worked beautifully.

  

Then I got to real work. I am making my new grandson’s christening gown from a Handwoven pattern. 724 ends of fine 20/2 cotton.  I was able to warp 3 threads at a time (I used a rigid heddle clamped to the table as a warping paddle) and it was a breeze.  A few of those threads snapped while getting it on the loom but after a morning repairing broken threads I was off and weaving.  I’m using fine silk as the weft and it is stunning.

  
I’ll sew a sample pattern first before I cut this beautiful fabric.

The clutter of my workroom is an insight into my scrambled mind.  I’ve started a quilt; am in the process of weaving bands for more slippers; making more slippers; considering a few sewing projects…

I have almost made it 12 months without buying any clothes for me and it was a lot easier than I thought.  I made 5 camisoles from alpaca, merino, silk fibers and they fit, are comfortable and make a great first layer. I also made a pair of shorts, and  some socks.

  
  
My earth oven has been shelved until the spring.  I spent a day last weekend building the form with sand then covering it with mud.  It looked great but I made the cardinal mistake of not sampling the clay enough.  When I shoveled out the 3 wheelbarrowfulls of sand and lit a fire within, the roof collapsed as the too-wet clay mixture defrosted.

  
Lessons learned.  Now I have to decide if I will try to patch it or just start again in the spring.  I think the second time will be a charm. 

Weaving between storms

I was very excited to attend an overshot weaving workshop at Red Stone Glen fiber art studio in western Pennsylvania – 7+ hours from home. 

First my car was declared unsafe to drive by my mechanic and had to be left behind for repair. We high tailed it up to Plattsburgh INTERNATIONAL Airport where I picked up a rental car.

I sorely missed my deer whistles en route while I saw live and not so live deer along the highways. And I missed my EZ Pass. Did you know it costs $15 to drive across PA. No bridges or tunnels, just highway with deer. I don’t appreciate how muc tolls cost when I breeze through in the 65 mph lane. 

And I spent 4 hours cautiously driving through this storm.   

But I arrived at my cabin on a lake at Gifford Pinchot State Park unscathed. And I never met the prey in my bedroom. 

  
I brought projects from home to work on in the evenings. 

  
I enjoyed mornings on the lake with coffee.   

And wove for 2 full days to make this beautiful overshot shawl. 

   
 Now I’m visiting my precious new grandson (and his parents) but may need to skedaddle in my rental car without deer whistles or snow tires because 10″ of snow is forecast at home!

These are a few fall shots from home. 

  
The mighty Boquet (that’s BO- kwet to you southerners) at sunset. 

  
Our local morning rainbow. 

  
Our cute little cabin in the woods. 

  
And at night.  

 Bet you can’t spot the deer in our yard. Get out the whistles!

 

Blazing through fall

The leaves changed color in breathtaking beauty and hung out for a while.  Now we’ve had our first snow and many, but not all, have fallen.

  
  
  
I haven’t said much about felines lately but they gave me a run for my money this month. My 14 year old cat, Loki, was  declared doomed by the vet. I almost left him there to be euthanized it was so grim. But I chose to bring him home instead. AND HE MADE A COMPLETE RECOVERY!  Lucky guy that one. 

  
While I was away playing with my new grand darling (thank you Shirley for that lovely phrase), Tim texted to say he couldn’t find little Elli and she was going to have to spend the night out. We don’t have lions and tigers but we do have coyotes, martens, fishers and bears, all of whom would find her little fat body a treat. Tim texted me, “Good luck Elli, good night Lynne”. She survived and came home to my call. Then stayed in for 36 hours. 

  
Friends and family chipped in and helped with the insulation layer of my earth oven. We “emptied” a few wine bottles for this layer and then I covered it with a clay-hay mixture. What fun playing in the mud. I need another layer to even it out. 

First I cemented a ring of river rocks on the base Tim helped me with. 

  
Then filled it with wine bottles and clay-hay. A good time was had by me but it was moderately back breaking. 

  
  

 

We celebrated by having the last of our single malt scotch from Tasmania in the cabin. Tim shanghaied me from my other projects to make insulated curtains to reduce the cold wind whistling through the windows and I got to see them hung on their cedar branch rods and brackets. 

  I’m knitting and felting a gaggle (15 pair!) of crab themed slippers for my darling daughter and an army of her friends. 

  

  But today I’m off to “work” to relax and fund my habits.  

Seasons come and go

Life’s been busy since we returned from Seguin. We drove home during changing fall colors, which are now reaching their peak. And we had sunny, seasonal days to enjoy them. 

 A cloud settled over Cobble Hill.  Canoeing at Great Camp Santononi in Newcomb.   

  Wagon ride to Camp Santononi.  Sunrise over the mountains on the day my new grandson was born. 

A new life!  I love conjoined carrots. 

I love my new grandson even more.    

Smokin’

Home sweet home. Back to work work and deferred projects. 

 I am getting ready to build an outdoor clay earth oven to bake pizza and bread. Tim collected clay, I collected river rocks and we both contributed  empty wine bottles – that was hard work. 

   
 I am building a base and will use the wine bottles as part of an insulating layer. The ideas and plans are from a book, Earth Ovens by Kiko Denzer. 

Today I evened out the holes I dug, cut the fence posts, leveled them, and ripped, cut, and attached joists. Gotta love a table saw. 

  Opps don’t look too closely. I temporarily removed a safety dohiggy to cut the posts. I think I have enough rocks but may need a few more wine bottles. Better get to work. 

   
 
It’s a little wonky but level in all directions. 

Yesterday I made a simple card weaving loom with the table saw. I intend to try it out at a workshop in Vermont this weekend.  

And earlier this month, I smoked a beef brisket on my Weber grill as described on the Cooks Illustrated website. I soaked it in brine, rubbed it with salt and pepper and slow cooked it on the grill for 5 hours. It was amazing. I’ve tried a couple of pizzas on the grill mostly to practice sliding it off the wooden peel for the new oven. 

This week my farm share included a roast beef, pork roast and spare ribs. Fire up the grill!

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