Monday, November 15, 2010

Tatting up a storm? Oh, I really, really dislike that phrase. It’s generally said by people with no imagination who simply want to convey their understanding that I’ve been tatting quite a bit. I like watching storms – from inside – but I wouldn’t like to think I’m the cause of all that sound and fury.
But here’s some of what I’ve been doing. I’ve got to prepare this month and next for about five teaching occasions, which means I absolutely have to engage in one of my favorite activities for extended periods of time. Next year, Tatting Times is celebrating its 20th Anniversary, and I want to celebrate by going to as many tatting gatherings as possible!
This is part of a proposal for next spring – the blue at 12 o’clock is a button-based bag; at 3 o’clock is a gingko leaf from my book “Tatting Turns Over a New Leaf.” This past Saturday, the Finger Lakes Tatting Group got together at Graceful Arts (here) and people found at least four ways of tatting this leaf, including the way I wrote it down, which had an error, but works anyway. At the bottom is the whirligig ornament from my “Tatting With Buttons 2.” I forgot how pretty it can be until Hopie showed me last August her versions in the colors of the Southwest. I decided to go for secondary primaries here and a bit of contrast. I think I’ll be making this a few more times for presents this coming season. Lastly, at 9 o’clock is a tatted mitten. I found a new way to tat a foundation chain for Scharf-style leaves. Instead of using paper clips to hold a space, I now tat part of a lock chain, which leaves a small picot in the middle of a chain that may be accessed from both sides.

Read this blog over the years and you may think I’m obsessed with firewood. Certainly, it forms a big part of our lives this part of the year. Carrying in wood, stoking the stove, carrying out ashes, cleaning up around the fireplace – it can all keep you pretty busy. After the big purple machines finished in October, there were about24 small and medium-sized tree trunks piled on the lawn, yesterday my friend’s husband Nate brought his chain saw and buzzed through them. I saw there’s real skill and strategy in cutting up logs. Because most of these are red pine, they’re going to have to season for a very long time before they’re safe to burn. I worked with Nate to pile them up – we think it’s something over a cord of wood, since the logs took up three pallets plus a bit more. It was good exercise – now I’ve just got to figure out how to get pine tar off a good sweater.

So that’s where I’ve been and here’s where I’m going – in addition to more tatting. I was gifted with about 2 pounds of lovely Jacob’s fleece roving by Bill’s daughter Margaret, and I’ve been itching to get my fingers on it. Unfortunately work and other deadlines intervened – and I’ve had to wait a bit. And I’m off to work now, so the wait goes on.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I am not a quilter. I’m a fiberholic, and that’s different. The result of my fiber acquisition/stash-taming efforts – it toggles back and forth between them – is this quilt show, which was a feeble effort to use up fabric stash and impose a little order. The total silliness of this effort was brought home to by the obvious need to buy more fabric in order to use up some stash… so the total amount of fabric left is only slightly depleted. I don’t like sewing, but I seem to be engaged to my sewing machine… if not actually wedded to it for long periods of time.

Last Monday was the day to hang everything on the winery walls. My boss kindly gave me a light day’s work to accomplish this. Bill came and helped, mostly standing on the ground saying helpful things like “higher on the left. No, HIGHER!” while I teetered on a ladder, reaching for areas I really should have gotten down and moved the ladder to first. Fortunately, it was all quickly hung, without disaster. Eighteen pieces.

The opening was officially on Thursday. I did a bunch of cooking, went to work, came home, changed clothes, came back and paced nervously. I think this opening set a record for being among the smallest. But I sold three pieces, including the two big ones on the back wall. Those are the ones on the top photo. One other quilt has now left – I didn’t get a chance to photograph it, but it will be given to a new mother to welcome her new baby. I’ve got a new quilt to put up in its place, one that didn’t make it into the show.

Moving the season right along, I’ve done little to tame the mess in the studio. This is why. I signed up, kinda last minute, to vend at a crafts fair tomorrow that’s supposed to be the largest one in the region. Went into gear knitting mittens with this great local wool – rather, the sheep whose wool this is graze about a mile uphill from my house. Here are mittens in progress – they take a lot of finishing before they become double-thick reversible mitts. There’s a lot of stages in knitting these mittens, including knitting, sewing, fulling, shaping, putting one mitten inside the other….

And voila! Here are 11 finished sets, atop one corner of a newly re-covered couch. For those who know me, this fabric was carefully chosen to match the coloration of our invisible cat. In case of an unexpected instance of extroversion, she can sit here and remain more or less invisible. Not with the mittens, though. They’re leaving town.