Thursday, June 30, 2011

Here is what a lot of love looks like - 33 hat and mitten sets ready to go to needy children. This summer’s weather, so far, has been a great reminder of winter. 30 of the mittens were made by June; hats were made by Judith, Calina, me – and some came from the estate of marathon knitter-and-hat-maker Dianne (two ns) G. Tomorrow these go into Seneca Santa storage in Watkins Glen.
This is the time of year when everything slowly accelerates. Thanks to the weather and some of Bill’s health-problems like his new not-yet-fully-installed pacemaker, hospital trips and doctors’ visits took up time we needed for gardening, so the garden is a weed paradise without its full complement of veggies. What’s in is getting munched on – by something that’s enjoying it instead of us. Today’s supposed to be a nice day but once again, it looks like rain. But that’s okay, we’ve got one last doctor’s visit – the third this week – to amuse us. Maybe we should call these our new hobby?
Doctors’ visits are good for the production of Seneca Santa hats. I can do one per office visit, two per “short” medical test. My stock of hats, to match a boatload of beautiful mittens sent by June, is rising. Fortunately – for Seneca Santa, at least – we’ve got more visits next week.
And wet weather is good for tatting. I’ve been working on the projects I’m teaching for the Fringe Element tatting group in September. The theme is My Favorite Things - being Canadian, they put a “u” into favorite . Because my own favorite things include books and paperweights, I decided to revise the marble cosy paperweight from my book ‘Baubles, Bangles and Beads” to accommodate a larger marble. And then I went for one even larger. I’ve found a vendor who sells even larger ones, so I plan to look for more next week. I’m supposed to have a poetry book coming out this August - wow! A book I’m not publishing and printing myself! – and I’ve got to meet with the editor, who lives vaguely near the marble guy. Between doctors’ visits, of course.

The other thing I’m teaching is an ornament for a book cover – in this case, a creative journal whose interfacing pages can be personalized with writing and sewn in samples. The idea came to me in a brainstorm. I couldn't take a good picture, because between the sheen of the velvet on the cover and the sparkle of the beads, my poor attempt was more shine than book.
By the way, the folks who organize the Fringe element event are a wonderful group who manage to be well organized and informal at the same time. This event often has room for a few more, too. Find out more at
And because I couldn’t garden, I created a tatted one. This is one of the projects I’m teaching at the IOLI conference in early August. I’ve been sketching and tatting these for a full year; here is the final version.

Friday, June 10, 2011

I haven’t been sitting on my hands, honestly. I’ve been tatting quite a lot, and I’ll have something to show for it soon. I’ve also been doing a whole lot of work of various sorts. A bunch of writing, and a new venture – acting in a melodrama. It came about that at the end of May, I was asked to write an article about the Old Havana Theatre. (The Schuyler County village currently known as Montour Falls was once known as Havana) This brave new enterprise brings another dimension of fun and culture to the area, and I was so taken with the spirit of things that, interview concluded, I blurted out that I’d be happy to help this venture get off the ground, ushering, promoting, whatever… which is how I found myself singing and dancing onstage, playing the train whistle and spooning cool-whip into a pie tin for the obligatory pie-in-the-face conclusion to the entertainment. It was a wonderful distraction from Bill’s medical woes, and in these days of truly offensive political revelations, it’s been wonderful to know that at least someplace virtue triumphs and villains get what they deserve (tastefully)!

Then my friend Laurie came to visit… and we spent a bunch of time together between work and the other friends she also needed to see. On the hottest day of the year - so far - we sat and spun wool in the shop… because the downstairs atmosphere is pleasant and cool. Now I’ve got to figure out what to do with this lovely art yarn Laurie made. Wool is one of our connections; we met in the 1970s at a spinning guild, and over the years, the threads of connection have multiplied.

One thing we did together a very long time ago was to take a dyeing class together. For a while this was Laurie's livelihood; now it's part of mine. Wednesday I mixed up a batch of dye to "revise" some alpaca I'd been gifted with - I was trying for a dark blue-purple but came out with a grayish dusty-grape. I did get wool roving and silk yarn to achieve the wished-for color - it was only the alpaca that wouldn't cooperate!

This morning I found out that I’d gotten into a fiber fest I’d been wait-listed for (as a vendor); mostly because I was too distracted by other work and Bill’s stuff to get my application in on time. So I spent the first part of the day dyeing roving and silk – here’s what my clothesline looked like for a while. Fortunately it was a perfect drying day; so I got the rest of my stuff assembled and packed the car to its gills for a 5:30 am start tomorrow.