Busy bee

We are getting used to the new reality, sort of. Zoom meetings and gatherings are torture because our internet is so slow. There have been various initiatives to bring good internet to rural communities but they keep missing us. We continue to write to those in charge.

With everything else – pandemic, racial inequality, poverty to remain active and vigilant about – it is a minor problem. Like so many others, I am reading, introspecting, and supporting what I believe in. And trying to have discussions.

I returned to Facebook after a long hiatus. I especially enjoy it for weaving and knitting groups. I dropped groups where discussions were not respectful. Then a former colleague reposted a pic of the confederate flag with a statement that she was proud of her heritage and this symbol. I was flabbergasted. I composed a well thought out response as to why this symbol is so offensive and posted it. The next day she responded, “I’ve been hacked. How could you think I support this?” Just why I left Facebook before: propaganda. I’m gone again. I will have to work harder to keep up with the groups I enjoy but it’s worth it.

And I have been busy. I cope by being busy. I am working but when home, I flit from project to project. The latest is a shed for my bee and boat stuff. The process is not unlike quilting, just with heavier material.

808543B9-886A-401E-A249-995B4D48ACD4

81A558AF-C720-4BB2-A3F6-40996192C1EA7E7096AB-AAC3-4533-81BA-AB61DA34BB2E

6A0FF1F5-C944-4BF8-91C5-D316C4E98AE0

My bees are another story. They were doing well, then they swarmed, and as a newbee I may have responded too slowly to the signs.0BDF2460-98CD-4331-806B-33798ED95D6C One day, while I was working on the shed, I heard a noise like an approaching train. There was a cloud of bees the size of a small car that hovered, as if to say goodbye, then lifted as one and headed up over the hills.

 

And their new queen was a failure – either she did not develop or got taken out in her maiden flight – so I had to buy a new queen or all would be lost. I brought her home in a little cage in my pocket (to keep her at 90 degrees). All that buzzing so close to me was unsettling but she is now safely installed in the hive. She gets gradually introduced and I needed to buy mini marshmallows – a whole bag, although I only needed one (s’mores!) – to accomplish this. There was a cork n the cage’s entrance.  I replaced it with a marshmallow and the bees will eat it to allow her to get out and do her thing.  I’ll check tomorrow to make sure she is free.

875F8317-E604-48EB-B72C-1E033546CDF7

I will need to leave all the honey for them for the winter but managed to harvest extra wax. So far I’ve made beeswax wraps. E9174A8B-638C-43A0-B556-53858E723684

Textile work continues. I have made 3 quilts: 2 baby and 1 king; wove 3 baby blankets; knit a baby sweater, crocheted a baby blanket and who knows what else.

122529BC-1852-40D5-A8CF-02211C4AC5A4

Our bridge is nearly finished and I baked a cake for the workers who worked through rain, snow, subzero and blazing hot temps. It depicts the bridge and the omnipresent crane.

E71E0AEF-8A48-4082-AFA2-CD4BAD4B9E01

Just doing what I need to do to get through each day.

I’m a poster child for self isolation

First of all, self isolation is something we often do by choice. It’s not quite the same when it is necessary and lives are in danger. But … I am already well versed in bread and yogurt making. My victory garden plans are coming together and now I have bees and can call myself a beekeeper.

Since my initial setup, I generally let them bee (hehe) but had to make a grocery run for them! to make more sugar syrup while we waited for pollen to appear. I hope they appreciate it. Here’s what they have been bringing back to the hive.

fullsizeoutput_112c

Look at those pollen packs. Yesterday, I finally did my first hive inspection, it’s been cold here and I didn’t want to chill them, and I have been a tad nervous. So I started my smoker, suited up and took the hive apart to inspect. First minor disaster was that the nuc package I bought (5 frames of bees already started) had been cemented to the bottom of the sugar water feeder so when I took that off, 4 frames came with it. Not ideal but I made do. I scraped away extra wax and inspected. And it paid off. First I could identify drone vs worker bees. I saw pollen and maybe honey in the cells. And when I got to the original nuc frames, I saw eggs!, larvae! and THE QUEEN!! Ok she was marked with a big blue dot that made it easier to find her but I was stoked nonetheless. Besides that meant I hadn’t accidentally killed her yet. So I put everything back together and will decide if I have to make another sugar run.

I have proven that it only takes six weeks to establish a habit. My daily walks are of utmost importance and now I always make time for them. I realize how lucky I am to be able to go outdoors during this time. Our son in NYC has not left his apartment since March 9!!! Our daughter in DC is an essential worker in construction and only goes to and from work in her car. So hard for them. I am able to walk for hours without seeing another person. The other day, this was one of three horses that came running up to me as if they were greeting an old friend.

We’re also lucky to be able to walk to view points like these.

F5526D2E-5E2A-4F51-AC74-D3439B0A78324BB7E338-B5F3-4FDB-98BA-9693B2D9294071242039-8A30-41D1-8DAD-B5F36F7D017B

I have tried to take control of my life by organizing the house, tidying up and getting rid of things. I just learned that since I started selling items on eBay in 1999, I have sold $9,000 worth of goods, including one old car. So I sold some more. And I cleaned grout, definitely over the top, but who puts white grout in the kitchen. I bought a brush to use with the drill and it made easy work of it. Some parts came out better and now…

Adventures in cooking continue: Latvian piragis, gnocchi, doughnuts, pumpkin pie…and the waistline shows it despite those walks.

E2DB8F60-FB71-47B7-A587-2C826CD66964

I have sewn masks for family and friends and have tried many different types. I like the fitted with ties, elastic bothers my ears but I also made some button bands for the back of the head.

A74DF647-DE1B-44AD-9A8E-22903D9816BB

And I knit, weave, sew and quilt. I made this darling baby quilt yesterday.

7C17C3E7-132A-4664-AECA-5D8E12199C12

And finished my tee shirt quilt a few weeks ago. We used it for quite a while before I tucked in all the ends.

31FE179E-20A6-4AF7-90D8-62989DA15D34

And then I went over the top. I made a video for the grandkids, which may have only confused them as to my sanity but I was trying to recreate a Charlie Chaplin magic trick. Don’t judge me too harshly.

Staying alive.

 

Unfinished Business

I am making my own memory quilt. I cut up all my old logo T-shirts, that were important to me, but no longer wear. The scraps became a rag rug. I  printed pictures of my favorite places onto fabric. Then assembled the whole shabang with my treadle sewing machine.

A3E5B0E6-7B21-47E0-BDCA-D5A94195ED4E

28D13C0B-0C8F-47FF-857F-4DB40E8CA524

1B1F10B5-4D1A-4481-8471-999CD3CCBD07

When I went to look for batting in my quilt box, to my surprise, I found a quilt I had pieced and sandwiched that was just waiting to be quilted. When? How? Hmmm. So while I waited for more fabric for my “memory” quilt, I finished a(another) quilt I had forgotten.

E3E0A722-73DE-421E-9DF8-FB6C9E6E0209

My sewing prowess continues. While I was looking at the courses Harrisville Designs is offering this year, I found me featured in a photo. Another 15 seconds. That’s me and my 1951 Husqvarna green machine a few years ago at Daryl Lancaster’s class.

DB1F0F67-EA4F-47D2-8903-BE954B9873AC

On New Year’s Day, we attended a bonfire at a neighbor’s that is an annual event. In addition to burning scrap wood you are encouraged to burn bad memories, deeds, etc. I know now to wear my old barn coat because sparks fly.

CFFDB0E8-84CF-4035-B176-342D5D0253D5

We’re tucked in for a few days of snow – 12-18″ predicted. This is in contrast to last weekend when we spent a lovely day in Burlington.

8FC7CC55-7F87-4E5A-80E2-5D4ACC6918E2

Temperatures have been cold as expected in February. Here’s ice on the hot tub cover. I’m wearing spikes on my crocs to walk to the tub again. At least with a decent snow cover we can play outside. If I remember.

D56A6FD6-F0B5-4B8D-BDF2-6F2D0CDCC45B

 

A quilt fit for a king

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. 

  

And we’re off

I pulled two almost all-nighters and they had nothing to do with packing for our trip to Alaska. I accomplished that in three hours; one backpack for me and a carry-on bag for my projects – camera, quilt hoop and yarn. My hula hoop and jump rope fit in the backpack.

20130710-171102.jpg

My foul weather gear takes up most of my clothing space. No fashion show here. We learned this week that 1) noone has been to the lighthouse yet this year (I hear, “expect dirt and critters”); 2) the “big” boat won’t be ready for our 60 mile trip along the inside passage so we’ll take the tender (hence the full foulies); 3) oh yes, and the ramp is out so we’ll dingy our stuff ashore (hence the need for rubber boots). Yet I’m psyched.

Tim found this great slide show to put me in the mood, put together by an artist in residence a few years ago. You can find it here.

I lost sleep due to self imposed deadlines. I had to weave several placemats to complete a set I made for my daughter and I did – in 24 hours! The first part of the set only contained three placemats due to warping mishaps. Now she has a complete set of eight and she will know how much I love her.

20130710-164548.jpg
Then I had to finish a quilt to for my son since I will be away for his birthday. So I had to finish it six weeks early. I’m a crazy woman but I did it. 3072!! That’s the estimated number of stitches I sewed to finish the binding. The quilt is 96″ x 96″ so the circumference is 384″ with about 8 stitches per inch for a total of 3072 at the rate of about 500 stitches per hour or 8 stitches per minute. I must be slow and crazy.

20130710-165509.jpg

Pièce de résistance is the quilt label. I used my phone to generate a QR Code, which I printed onto fabric and sewed to the back of the quilt.

It’s a private message so I’m only showing an unfocused photo. I wonder if there will still be QR scanners a hundred years from now.

20130710-170611.jpg

20130710-170702.jpg
He’ll have it for his birthday and know how much I love him.

Now to catch up on sleep so I can plan my food shopping for a month.

Machine quilting

Lawn mowing is machine quilting outdoors.
20130628-074827.jpg
I realized it as I mowed yesterday before we receive another four inches of rain on top of an already soggy summer. Mowing is just like machine quilting where you seek a path, which covers the area, avoids obstacles and looks pleasing.

I didn’t understand this at first. During our first caretaker position on Seguin I remember Tim telling me to mow the lawn in U’s. Head out, make a turn and leave space between the first row which you then mow on the return trip. This sets up a pattern for alternating rows. The grass lies in stripes of opposite directions. I thought he was nuts. Five years later I get it.

My mind is filled with quilting and patterns as I machine quilt my son’s Long Trail quilt.
20130628-075817.jpg
My little Singer Featherweight is humming along on this king size quilt. I only need to quilt the outer border and nine central motifs. I am following Leah Day’s advice for free motion quilting. I’ve modified a darning foot so it doesn’t hop up and down; my feeder dogs remain up; and my stitch length is the shortest possible. I’ve had the least tension problems I can remember.

I did however almost set the quilt on fire when the little tiny lightbulb scorched the backing. I’ll need to add a patch over it.

Back to mowing. Once I established a pleasing pattern, I was undecided if I wanted to finish the job or leave the pleasing patterns – knowing it will rain too hard the next several days to do anything about it. Tim would love it!

20130628-081238.jpg

20130628-081336.jpg

20130628-081327.jpg

Betwixt and between

I feel a sense of urgency to finish (and start) a few projects. I’m leaving my loom and sewing machine when we head out to Alaska. Happily my knitting travels well and I already shipped a small quilt I intend to hand quilt. Just have to remember needles, thread, thimble and hoop.

I finished weaving a large throw blanket from a project in Weaver’s Craft. It’s made with Plymouth Encore, which is a machine washable wool acrylic blend. It works perfectly. It’s long enough and put the recipient right to sleep.
20130622-075723.jpg

There was enough warp leftover to weave a small baby blanket.
20130622-080326.jpg

Next on the loom are two rugs for the log cabin. 420 ends! The reed is sleyed (I love fiber’s archaic terms) and I’ll take my time dressing the loom.

20130622-082104.jpg

My knitting consists of a sweet cotton skirt. First skirt adventure. It is knit in tiers with 40% increase in stitches with each tier. I’m on the fifth and final tier and don’t think my needles could hold much more. The pattern is Sea Glass Skirt from Yarn in the Farms. They have a number of cute patterns for the warmer months. I’m considering knitting a dress next.
20130622-080841.jpg

My cats love quilts. It doesn’t matter what season it is, if I quilt it they will come. Here’s Loki atop my son’s quilt.
20130622-081644.jpg
He sits contentedly WHILE I machine quilt and move the quilt all over the place. Go figure.

I hardly have time to use my new hula hoop.

Busy, busy, busy

On all fronts.  Despite nighttime temperatures in the 20’s f, Spring is definitely here.  Shoots are shooting, I see the grass but the wooly bear still hasn’t moved, even though  I sprinkled some sprigs of grass near him.

I have managed to layer four or five quilts and am getting ready to start quilting them; perhaps one or two by hand.

image image image

My new Icelandic sweater is finished.  I had to attend a forty hour course, which provided at least thirty hours of solid knitting time.  I was basically done when the course was over but ran out of yarn.  Rather than go back to the Icelandic source for Lopi, via Canada, I ordered Reynolds Lite Lopi and knit the button and neck bands.  They match perfectly.  This wasn’t the same lot, or even the same brand!  Go figure.

image

Four bracelets are in the works for a reunion with high school friends.  So are 12 placemats.

imageimage

Now the loom has a blanket on it.  My widest project yet but by no means the hardest.  I’m using Plymouth Encore yarn, which is very smooshy and washable.

image

The kitchen has a batch of sourdough starter in the works.  I found a loose recipe on PBS’s site with Julia Child.  I took a pound of grapes, mashed them up a bit in cheesecloth and added flour and water.  The concoction has been bubbling away for about a week and will soon be ready to create a rustic loaf of bread.  And I will feed it more flour and water and perhaps it will last for years.  Will I want it to last for years?

simage

We miss fresh greens in the winter and even would like more in the Spring.  I found a little hydroponic grower and have sprouted arugula, mustard greens and red lettuce.  We’ll see how this goes.

image

Now to get my butt off the couch and get outside and enjoy Spring!

http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js

Snow incentive

A winter storm warning is in effect (yeah!) and I have some unfinished business to take care of.

I finished piecing and layering this lovely quilt over the weekend.

20130319-081041.jpg
Cool, right? Each block is basically a nine patch but stretched in various ways.

I am considering finishing a bunch of quilts (I’ve acquired several almost finished projects) and then quilt them all at the same time, or serially, to work on technique. That should keep me busy for a while.

My Harmonia Rings möbius cowl is complete. I may have to arm wrestle Shirley for it though.

20130319-081451.jpg

20130319-081516.jpg
Second time is a charm. I almost followed the directions to a tee, except my gauge was smaller and I added a few stitches. I even added beads for the first time. I think that’s why Shirley likes it so much.

http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js

So blue

Two projects completed, infinitely more to go. This will be classified as my blue period.

I tried this new technique, which is a woven quilt!

20130313-124406.jpg
Both passions in one project. It’s from the book, Simply Stunning Woven Quilts.
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=islandnorcoul-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B004GGSX8K&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

I didn’t have the right fusing material on hand and tried using the zigzag attachment on my little ole’ Singer Featherweight but it was more than it could handle. There are some amazing 3-D patterns in this book.

The technique is simple. Fuse two pieces of fabric onto Thermaheat (double sided iron-on fusible material, which I didn’t have) cut into wavy strips and weave them together. I made it in case I couldn’t weave a few placemats in time for a trip to Washington, DC to visit my darling daughter.

But I did.

20130313-124651.jpg

I didn’t use a thick enough yarn for the weft for the first placemat so it became a towel and I was left with an odd number of placemats. I will definitely try this again – but not before my trip.