Tag Archives: quilting

The luck of the person-sewn mitt

I’m really lucky.  I know this.  I feel grateful for it.  I work really hard, and I do my best at most things, and I try to be good and kind and fair (but sometimes I fail), so I deserve some of the things I have.  But I am also lucky.  I am lucky enough to have a fantastic job, and a lovely partner, and an amazing dog, and a farm and a pair of beautiful person-made (I was going to say hand-made, but she used a machine, so I don’t know if that’s appropriate.  I’m not a quilter.  We’ve been over this before.  Anyways, they were made by a person, and I know her name, and she doesn’t live super ridiculously far away, even if she lives in Alaska) from vintage fabric oven mitts.Pretty mitts.  I know – who cares about the job and farm and dog and partner if you can have beautiful oven mitts.  And I don’t really know how I got them.  I saw them on facebook, and then found out they were made by this woman who’s coming to my little island to teach a quilting class, and then I asked her for some, but then she told me that she was doing a trade with my amazing neighbour… who then proceeded to give them to me.  See?  Lucky.Really pretty mitts.

A friend of mine came over for dinner the other night and said that she’d made 2 resolutions for the year.  1 was to fix everything.  I don’t know why one would need a second resolution if the first was to fix everything, but one may need more than a year.  I’ve tried to keep my resolutions more simple (and achievable, but I’m not pooping on anyone’s parades).

1) 15 minutes of cleaning per day.  Putting away laundry and dishes and general tidying doesn’t count.  Washing the stairs, clearing out old boxes and scrubbing (half) of the tub count.  So far I’ve done it every day.  If I last another 30 days or so I’ll have reached the whole house.  Maybe.  I’m trying.

2) I want to knit a marathon.  I don’t need to buy a marathon of yarn (although the thought of it kind of makes me want to try, but then I start to feel dirty and consumer-y and I don’t like it, but I like the pretty yarn, so we’ll see).  Some super inspiring ladies I know ran a marathon last year, but I don’t like running and it doesn’t feel good on my knee, and I like to knit, so I’m going to knit a marathon instead.  So far I’ve knit about 300 yards.  Only about 45 825 yards to go.  Uh oh.  Maybe this goal isn’t so realistic.  Drat.  Well, I’m going to try?

I had to go to work today.  I like going to work.  I don’t like waking up at 6 am when it’s dark out.  I also don’t like going to work when there are exciting things happening at home, like the tapping of the maple trees.  If only there were more daylight hours in the day… although today there was almost 12 minutes more daylight than there was on the solstice, so that’s nice.  I wish I had enjoyed those 12 minutes a little more…

Each of these 4 L jugs full of maple water will make approximately 80 mL of syrup.

Each of these 4 L jugs full of maple water will make approximately 80 mL of syrup.

Sometimes it drips.  Sometimes it drools?
Sometimes it drips. Sometimes it drools?


Off my needles, and a bird heavy (but not heavy bird) post

This gallery contains 12 photos.

It’s been a busy time, what with a trip to Calgary over spring break and the arrival of spring while we were gone.  We left when spring was on the horizon and returned to hummingbirds, butterflies, bees and blossoms.  Plus, … Continue reading

The birds and the fish and the ways they make babies

One of my best friends drove Jeremy back to me on Friday (he went down to Victoria for Farmer2Farmer – a farming convention) with her very-nearly-5-year-old son.  The 4 of us (5 with Mia) went to the North end of the island to Morning Beach Park to check out the birds and the beach after the herring spawn of the past coDSC_1033uple of weeks.  Supposedly this is one of the bigger herring spawn in recent memory – it was crazy seeing the big fishing boats filled to capacity, water almost going over their decks.  The water was beautifully milky.  Beautiful, until you realize that it’s milky because of the fish jizz in the water.  Beautiful, until you think about the future smell.  I remember how bad the east side of the island smelled for MONTHS last year after the herring spawn… and this year there were fish on both sides of the island, and way more of them.  I’m not looking forward to the upcoming stench.

Eagle part 2.That said, Saturday was lovely.  There were hundreds and hundreds of birds down at the beach.  The eagles were mating (did you know that birds mate in the air and that the ladies have to fly upside down to make it happen?  I didn’t until last year, around this time… you should definitely watch eagles doing it Eagle in tree watching eagles gallivanting to matesometime) and chasing away the seagulls.  We must have seen a hundred eagles.  It was spectacular.  And then we had cider and we were all sleepyheads all afternoon.  I ended up reading the aforementioned 5 year old “Oh, the Places You’ll Go“, one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books, and started worrying that I spend too much time trying to get through busy periods, only to realise that another bout of insanity is upon me.  The past couple of weeks have been SO full of marking for me, and now report cards are smack on top of my head.  Last week was really hard without having Jer around – there’s simply a lot of things to do around the place when I’m away from home for 10 or 11 hours a day.  Mia certainly wasn’t very happy for a couple of days.  Spring break is less than 2 weeks away, and my hope is that next term has fewer weeks of just getting through, and more weeks of enjoying my time with my students and my home.

Aforementioned 5 year oldI haven’t gotten much knitting or quilting or weaving done lately, although I do have a couple of projects that should be completed in the next week or two, my very first quilt being one of them.  Pictures will come soon!  However, we did get some fencing done last weekend, and I can show you pictures of that.  We also did go over to our neighbours’ this weekend, for a fantastical birthday cake that I made (I, as in not Jeremy, for any of you who have ever become confused over who bakes the cakes in this house), and I have a picture of that too.
We're ready! Fence pulling time! Birthday cake extravaganza!

Update on speed, but not really

So I’m going to tell you all about my quilting class and what I’m learning from it again, and how that relates to the rest of my life.

I don’t hate to sew.  I hate My quilt block!  Each star point is about 11 inches long...the mess that sewing creates in my life.  I hate the setup, and I REALLY hate the take-down.  I’m not very good at either, and I don’t have the patience for it.  It’s the same reason I will never (probably not EVER) have a clean house.  I don’t care enough.  I would rather sit and knit (or sew) than sweep under my couch, or dust my shelves.  There will just be more dust It's orange and pink and I love ittomorrow.  My sewing machine does not have a home.  That is a lie.  It does have a home.  In it’s case, in a cupboard.  When it is not there, it is sitting on the kitchen table, where it would probably sit for a month because I am too lazy (and by lazy, I mean busy knitting) to put it away.  I am even worse with the iron.  I do not own an ironing board.  My iron came from the Free Store (an institution on many of the Gulf Islands – just like a thrift store, except everything is free).  I don’t really trust it.  So I hate setting up my sewing machine, hate setting up my iron even more, and hate putting them away most of all.  I don’t need to set anything up to hand quilt.  Nothing at all.  My new handspun handknit hatMaybe I’ll have to iron every once in a while, but I’m hoping to get away from that, if I can… or maybe just convince my neighbour to do it for me.  Although I’ve been told it’s not called “ironing”, but “pressing”… both sound like work to me.  I like the sewing part.

I feel like a bit of an imposter right now.  I’ve always thought that I hated to sew, kind of like the way I hated cats.  Now I’m the one that’s asking Jer if we can get a new kitten, because Ozdick, I think, has found a new forever home and may never ever come back.  Boo.

I’m going to finish knitting Jer’s socks this week, but this is supposed to be a farm blog and maybe ya’ll want to know some farmy news.

We finished collecting maple sap today – the trees haven’t been running for a little while, so we took out the spigots and are boiling down the last of our sap.  So far we’ve made about 8 litres, and we’ve got at least another 4 or 5, so we’re The wrath of Ponyboy when one of his ladies is "attacked"hoping to sell some syrup this year.  We’re starting to see evidence of some of the bulbs we planted shortly after my birthday and promptly forgot about – tulips and alliums and daffodils.  The daffodils look like they’re getting ready to bloom, and the nettles are starting to grow like stink everywhere we look!  We’re hard at work digging post holes around the house to put in a fenceClipped chicken's wing so I can grow flowers, and today we clipped our chicken’s wings so they stop flying over our fence and eating all of our garlic, but Jer got pecked by Ponyboy in the kerfuffle.  Whew!  Update on speed!

Happy family day ya’ll!

A Slow Manifesto

I had my first (ever) quilting class tonight.  I signed up for this class because I don’t really like to sew and thought that maybe if someone taught me I may like it… and I do.  I like to sew by hand because I have control and am able to do what I want the way that I want and it’s slow.  I like to be slow.  I like to live slow, I like to think slow, I like to act slow.

Most of that last sentence is a lie, in case you don’t know me.  I am not slow.  I do very few things slowly.  I am not patient.  I once told a friend that patience is for chumps.  Or other people.  I didn’t say that second part at the time, but I’m amending my statement now.  I knit quickly.  I knit because I’m not patient, and not slow.  I read quickly, type quickly, do math quickly (I just got this great magazine all about teaching Math to Middle Aged Students and it’s FANTASTIC – I LOVE teaching Math), and speak quickly.  My brain works quickly.  It doesn’t stop working and I often need to tell myself out loud to shut up because I’m taking up too much space because I say whatever my brain is thinking, even when it’s not appropriate.

But there’s something about slow processes that I love.  I love lace knitting.  Maybe I knit each stitch more quickly than many people, but it still takes me an hour to get across a complicated row of 358 stitches, and so a shawl may take me 40 hours, but I LOVE it.  I love knitting socks.  Socks on tiny little needles that take 20 hours to knit, and most people will never see… but you know, when you’re wearing them, that your feet are wrapped in hand-stitched lime green wool, and doesn’t even the thought bring a smile?  It does to me.  I love slow roasted meals.  I love home-made maple syrup (45L of sap = 1 L of syrup… it takes us over a day of evaporating to make 1L… that’s slow).  I love meals where we’ve grown everything on our plate.  That’s slow!  I love hand-stitching.  Machines are fast and I make mistakes with them and then I get frustrated.  I like making every stitch by hand.  It’s slow, but soothing.  Machines are stressful.  A needle and thread is not stressful.  Take my word for it.

I know I need to post more pictures.  I will do that when I don’t want to sew things together.  Maybe I’ll even put up a picture of things I’ve sewed together.  Slowly.