Two for May – YAY!

I finished this towel warp a few weeks ago, but realize I forgot to include it in my last post.

I wove 8 of them, these 3 with a cream weft, and a different color weft for each of the remaining 5. You can see them in my Etsy shop. Along with this shawl I showed you on the loom in early April.

And here are the bead bags I sewed for May.

In other fiber-y pursuits, I was motivated to do some embroidery. In my pre-teen years my Mom taught me how to embroider with designs stamped/transferred on fabric. Honestly I don’t remember what I made. Pillowcases? Towels? Something else? Sure beats me. Then as a young woman I ‘graduated’ to counted cross stitch. After my husband died I created new Christmas stockings for the kids and I. Counted cross stitch on navy backgrounds. All using someone else’s designs.

A year ago I took a beginning embroidery class at the Weaving & Fiber Arts Center. We hadn’t offered such a class in many years, I knew I liked the teacher, and wanted to be sure the class wasn’t cancelled for lack of enrollment. I didn’t expect to learn new stitches, and I didn’t. I also didn’t expect to be motivated to do something new, but I was. In January I stitched my Christmas cards for 2024. I started with someone else’s design and ultimately made a few of my own. They were all admittedly simple designs, as was appropriate for their purpose.

Then a few weeks ago a friend sent me a link to an upcoming unjuried show. Some years ago (I looked it up – 2018! Where does the time go??) I’d participated in a (juried) show called Co-Crafting Democracy. Well, the same people who’d organized that one were doing another. The 2024 show will be at the National Women’s Hall of Fame in nearby Seneca Falls. (Aside – coincidentally, my wonderful son went there with me for my first-ever visit for Mother’s Day this year.) With the subtitle Fiber Arts and Activism, the focus is on the (mostly immigrant) women who worked in the knitting mill there until 1999 and those who fought for equal pay and other essential women’s rights.

I wasn’t going to submit, but one morning I woke up and had an idea. I would embroider something! I went to the local craft store and purchase a hoop that would become part of the finished piece, as well as two adult coloring-type books that I hoped to pull design inspiration from. I made several modifications to one of those designs and transferred it to some cotton I had. (That wasn’t as easy as it sounds and there were a few mis-steps in the process.) Although I did have some design help with that book, this was at least 80% my own design.

I knew I wanted words in the center of that circle. The specific words changed a few times as I worked. I looked at several online embroidery alphabets, none of which suited my skill level or space availability. (Mind you, that hoop is only a 7″ diameter, so my letters had to be small.) But one of them set off the lightbulb in my brain…I could create the phrases in a Word document, print it out, and use that. So that’s what I did. This time I’d figured out an easier way to get the letters onto my fabric. Then it was time to do some sample embroidery to see what stitch(es) would work best. I decided on a simple stem stitch, with tiny stitches to accommodate the frequent curves.

They are far from perfect, but I am satisfied with my result. All I have to do now is figure out exactly how to deal with the excess fabric, affix the embroidery permanently to the hoop, and back it. There’s enough time to do that.

I finished the stitching itself on Memorial Day. That struck me as appropriate. If we – by which I mean humans – were simply kind to each other, stood up for each other, and joined hands with those different from us – wars would be a thing of the past. A girl can dream, right?

Moving on. So many lovely things happen in the spring. I put my roof rack on the car and got out for my first kayak of the season last week. Looking forward to many more.

After having it on my to-do list for weeks, I finally got a mess of rocks painted so I can once again start depositing kindness rocks on my morning walks.

And I’ve been really enjoying my gardens. Weeding and mulching aren’t a drag for me; I enjoy the time spent there, especially in the spring. Here are some recent beauty shots. A lovely deep pink clematis.

A beautiful blue flax, with bronze fennel and golden spirea in the background.

And some peonies my son dug out of his side yard last year. I was hoping they’d be an heirloom variety with a gorgeous fragrance, but no such luck there. They are beautiful nonetheless.

The sad news is my Redbud. It has some type of lichen, which is really just a symptom of an underlying problem. I contacted my county’s Master Gardeners, who told me I needed an arborist. I was thrilled when I learned that my town employs one, as the town planted this tree on the right-of-way 8-9 years ago. I’ve left him a voice mail and sent an email with pix and hope to hear back from him soon. Keeping my fingers crossed that we can save this little tree.

I had bearded iris that definitely needed thinning. I posted on my BuyNothing group that I’d be digging rhizomes and when & where they’d be available. These large piles were gone within an hour, maybe less.

Now I really must go walk Jack. It’s already too late today, but maybe I can get the kayak in the water again tomorrow.

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