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Archive for the ‘Fiber’ Category

We’ve been there and gone. Home was nice for a while. These turkeys thought so too.

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I provisioned mostly at home. Look at this colorful fruit display. I complimented the produce staff at the local Hannafords.

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I guess the dragon fruit I first saw in Washington is the latest craze nationwide. Supermarkets and their wares are pretty much the same now across the country. And Tim Tams are readily available.

We beat the weather and caught the ferry to Seguin Island with a group of merry makers. The seas were rough but the landing was calm. It’s a good thing because we dinghy all our food and clothes and Tim’s gigunda keyboard ashore. We have added to our dry bags over the years and everything made it dry and intact. We’ve gotten here with wet clothes and once had to bob for our apples in the cove. So with all precautions taken, the landing went fine.

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Gale winds and big seas are forecast through Friday. It began yesterday and we had gusts to 40 mph with waves crashing on all the ledges and the east side of the island. That didn’t stop two hardy families from coming ashore. They leisurely toured the tower and then went off to hike the north trail. I went back up to the top of the tower when I saw one of the mothers running back to the lighthouse looking very serious. Then everyone was gone. I went to try to look at the cove to see if something had happened to one of their boats or if waves were breaking across the mouth of the cove or if someone was injured on the trail.  But before I got there the mom came back.  I asked her if all was OK. Indeed it was. She wanted to tell the whole group to join her on the north trail because there were BLACKBERRIES! Ah cruisers.

The island is in great shape after a season with hard working keepers. Trails are cut wide and low despite hosting 2500 visitors over 60 days! And there was delicious homemade ice cream in the fridge and two bottles of red wine. And the garden is still producing tomatoes, green beans and squash.

I had forgotten the work I had done at the end of last season. I painted 3/4 porches around the house and repaired the pump house door. They all look spiffy. Now I’m figuring out this year’s projects. We have been asked to give a talk at this year’s island fundraiser so we are working on photos from our 5 island caretaking gigs. Should be fun if the weather allows us to leave the island. We’re back to checking weather forecasts several times a day. Island living. For now, we are marooned until at least Friday. Just the way we love it. And we have all the food we need.

Mount Washington was visible our first day back and we had a beautiful sunset.  Then the rain came.

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Sized bed.  I must be nuts. And I plan to machine quilt it with my little featherweight sewing machine. I’ll be wrestling it for a few days. 

  
I found the pattern online from Man Sewing. It’s rather bold but pieced together easily. It was hard to find enough floor space to layer it, while my kitten/cat thought it was great fun to dive under it. This will complete my goal of making at least  one quilt for each of our kids. 

Now it’s on to the grandkids and we just learned a granddaughter is expected to arrive in July. I like to be gender neutral but…

I’m back to running and have been musing about running during all seasons in the north country. I’m a bit lazy in the winter and can’t run from home but our town keeps a nice route of sidewalk cleared of snow. But it is always dark when I want to run. 

A couple of weeks ago, temperatures rose, snow and ice melted and the rivers were glowing strong. My town run crosses river and streams 3-4 times. 

In the summer, I take to a dirt road that leads to seasonal camps. Too icy and muddy to run in the Winter or Spring.  Fall is the easiest, all options are available. And of course when there’s lots of snow, we cross country ski. 

Here are some scenes from recent runs. 

  
  
Hat band is done and shipped. Now I’m off to quilt and knit baby things. 

  

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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. 

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Full gear

It took a little while to acclimate, reassess and see what needs to be done on Seguin. There’s always something. 

My door is finished and I’m very happy with it. I had to replace the board to the right of the door. I got to rip and cut wood on the first power saws I ever used, back in 2008. Here’s the reveal:

  
Once again I had a garter snake encounter but this was more of a stand off. It coiled and hissed at me because I disturbed its peaceful rest: around, under, and probably inside the pump house. 

  It got foggy.  Tim turned on the fog horn to lull me back to sleep – vhf 83, click 5 times. 

   
    
 We’ve had visitors this fall including some we’ve met on the island before. 

The Wednesday warriors arrived, just after sunrise, with a solar set up for the Clivus composting toilet down at the cove. It’s a good thing because without the fan the outhouse was less than its usual pristine self. Guess who got to install it? The support person at Clivus was awesome. I called him several times throughout the process. And we’re back in “business”.

  
   
 After the fog cleared, painting began. 3 porches and one to go. We had overnight guests; visitors can arrange to stay here through Friends of Seguin, who really appreciated and took in the whole island. 

In the meantime, Tim mowed, weed trimmed and kept the place in shape. We’ve run out of data on our plan so we spend the evenings reading, knitting or weaving (me) and playing cards and trivial pursuit. 

Here are my island creations so far. 

   
    
   
Shoelaces!

And then of course, there is always lots of sky watching. 

   
   

 

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We are on the road again. We headed to Long Island to go to my son and daughter-in-law’s baby shower. That kept me busy before-hand finishing up lots of projects.

There’s nothing more fun than working on baby items and imagining the soon to be, new little bundle.

I made a quilt, crocheted a blanket, knit a sweater, and a Halloween costume, and wove a 6 yard baby wrap.

   
    
  
 
We wrapped it all up and started our journey  south. Our first stop was Long Island. We headed out to Fire Island where we lived one winter.

  
After the baby shower festivities and a nice visit with family, we hopped on a ferry and started our journey north.

  We spent a night with “old” friends at a camp on a lake in Maine. Wonderful. Heard a loon, canoed in the dark, swam in the morning and ate challah bread french toast. 

Then off to Seguin Island after provisioning at the local Shaw’s. Luckily we packed light because the tram isn’t running. We got everything ashore and up the hill without a hitch and had lobster for dinner. 

   

  

 I slept like a baby to the sounds of wind, the bell buoy and waves breaking.  

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I hit my tipping point.  Last year I bought a beautiful fleece at the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival. Long grey locks with lots of crimp and clean with some lanolin.  

 
Then a few weeks ago, a fellow spinner gifted me this beautiful, clean fleece, a 4th place Romney.  Long locks, beautiful color and did I already say, clean. 

  
Finally, the other day we received a box from Terhune Orchards.  I thought it might be sweet, NJ peaches. Imagine my surprise when I opened it and found 10 pounds of raw fleece. 

  
That was it. I had to clean these fleeces. I bought a plastic bucket and tub and a bottle of Power Scour. Yesterday was sunny with a light breeze so I broke up the day by processing two of them. The third is so clean I plan to comb it lightly and spin in the greece. 

Here’s my production line. 

  
I soaked them in hot water with the power scour, rinsed them, put them in pillowcases and spun them in the washer, then hung them from the clothes line in little hammocks made from sheets. It was too breezy to spread them on the ground. 

  
After a day and a half indoors, it’s finally sunny and calm enough to let them finish drying on the front porch.  

   My fingers twitch at the thought of all the wonderful spinning and knitting I have in my future. 

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Or thinking about weaving. Some time at home has let me do some loom work. I finished a pair of cotton chenille bath sheets that seemed to take forever. I had to order more yarn for the warp so it languished on the loom. But it was well worth the wait. They’re soft, absorbant and huge. I think I’ll need more. 

  Now I’ve got placemats in process. I’ve made several sets for friends. I noticed  that I always admire them when I see them again, so now it’s time for my own set. 

   

They are warped back to front and I made this nifty raddle and set it up in an ingenious way I learned at Red Stone Glen. 

Our outdoor shower mat became loose so I wove the boards together in a plain weave. 

  
This works much better except I am on my guard these days because there is a new milk snake near the shower! And bear scat near the garden! I tell you, it’s a jungle out there. 

  
I moved the wildlife camera but have only picked up deer munching AROUND the garden, not in it. I spray liquid fence (cayenne, sulphur) around the perimeter and it works. 

My last strawberry rhubarb pie had a 2 x 2 twill crust and was delicious. 

  
I needed some supports for my garden and sort of wove a twig tuteur. I decided two would dominate the raised bed so one sits between the tomato plants. 

   
  Summer has arrived, and with it, we have frequent afternoon thunderstorms – and dramtic skies. 

   
   
We need the rain for the flowers. 

   
  
  

Then I can spend more time weaving instead of watering the flowers. 

 

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