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January weather

January 16, 2020

the snow is melting, the 90 mph wind has stopped and there are patches of blue sky

but this was yesterday

30+ cm. of snow overnight

just getting out the gate was a challenge

clearing the sidewalk  (which a homeowner is legally required to do)  was a workout

I put the humming bird feeders out at first light (wrapped in bubble wrap)

this little female was instantly there

I wanted to share this blog, posted this morning – scrappers may be interested

she does very interesting, unique work mainly using scraps she finds around NYC

and is asking if anyone is interested in a scrap exchange

her blog is well worth a look

Scrap Happy January 2020

January 14, 2020

Happy New Year – new decade – to all happy scrapers

the finished December scrappy cushion cover

as always, click on the image to enlarge

it was fun to include a Canada goose

I love cross stitch

the cushion is finished with piping made from hand cut bias binding

not as fat as I would have liked but that was all the fabric of that colour

the back is a sample of designer fabric

and the zipper is recycled from an old bag

it needs a filler cushion of the proper size

but the police are begging people not to drive on our icy/snowy roads so I didn’t drive across town to get one

and it is snowing again

here are the links to other scrap happy people, taken from Kate’s blog

they generally post on the 15th of each month

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at). If you’ve copied this list from previous posts, please use the one below as it’s the most up to date 🙂

Kate (me!)Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline, Sue L.  and Sunny



January 13, 2020

what a difference a day makes

after days of steady rain – my backyard was a lake

now this

Victoria doesn’t always get snow

so it was a bit of a shock to the birds as well as the humans

I was getting low on bird seed so I walked to the store

and carried home a big bag as well as extra suet

keeping the hummingbird feeder thawed is a challenge

but farther North on the B.C. coast – look at this

the Nimpkish ferry after a harrowing trip from Bella Bella to Bella Coola

with credit to Les Marston,  read the full report here -www.facebook/groups/2049021851793276/


grey skies

January 12, 2020

so far, January has been very wet, windy and grey

the light is terrible for picture taking

it is also difficult to get in a daily walk without getting soaked

but it is easy to pick up a handful of wind-fall lichen each day

I’m hoping to gather enough of the different types to dye them separately and see how they differ in dye colour

flowers are blooming and the lichen swells with the rain

snow drops are bravely blooming

and mushrooms are popping up with the rain

in the evenings I’m spinning silk for future dye pots

labelled “mulberry roving” ? what’s that?

it spins beautifully –  purchased at Knotty by Nature at

 Christmas present to myself came a little late – but it is worth waiting for

can you imagine wearing these beautiful textiles for daily wear

amazing photographs by Joe Coca

I’ve enjoyed, even drooled over, his  photos in Handwoven Magazine for many years

my first magazine is dated 1979 – imagine that!

it is not a “how-to”  book – more like a coffee table book of stunning photos with short descriptions

it tells a little of his history as a photographer

and then page after page of gorgeous photos taken in his travels

I order all my books from Book Depository in the U.K.-

they always include a fun bookmark and free worldwide delivery, can’t beat that

now I’m off to wind a warp



colour from the kitchen

January 7, 2020

Happy, Happy Distaff Day to all spinners, weavers and fibre people

the distaff was celebrated as the medieval symbol of woman’s work

and to celebrate Knotty by Nature has opened their new location – 1919 Fernwood Rd.

in an old house right in Fernwood village

Ryan and Stephanie have been very busy

filled with fiber-y goodies

bright and cheerful – drop by and say hello

month one of my annual challenge – natural dyes

starting with materials easily found in most kitchens

January will be tea and coffee – you bring the cookies

but a little preliminary information – the internet is flooded with it

some is useful, most barely scratches the surface, and some is downright misinformed

I follow Maiwa Handprints information and “instructions” exclusively

they are on Granville Island in Vancouver – (I don’t receive any acknowledgement for the plug) – click on Supply Store

their information has been used dozen of times at their workshops, it is tried and true

can be found on-line or in print

I’ve use many of their dyes and chemicals for years and never been disappointed

start by scouring all yarns (and fabric) per instructions- you will be surprised at the colour of the water

then for cotton and cellulose fibres, mordant with a tannin – there are several different natural tannins

I use myrobalam – just because I have it – and by the way in stronger strengths it can be used as a dye for yellow

when used as a mordant at 15% w.o.f. it will make the yarn a pale yellow

I always leave my yarns in both mordant and dye baths to cool overnight -to soak up just that little bit more

after the cotton is tannin mordanted all the skeins are mordanted in an alum bath, together

the new camera has captured the colours well

on the left – black, loose tea – wool, silk and cotton

right – coffee – again, wool, silk and cotton

the squares are a good quality wool felt , it picks up the true, basic colour in the dye material

even with the tannin mordant the cotton is a very uninteresting beige

I wouldn’t bother with coffee again

the tea dyed wool is a nice warm reddish brown

wonder what the kitchen will produce next month?


January 3, 2020

well, here we are – day 3 of a bright, shiny new year

actually it is wet and windy – but one thing we can rely on is changeable weather

the question is – what am I going to do with the next 362 days

there is always cleaning, cooking, shopping and laundry but who wants to think about that

will I do another monthly textile challenge?

had to think very long and hard about committing to a fifth year

and finally – yes – 12 months of natural dyes, on cotton, wool and silk

getting organized winding skeins – cotton, which needs an extra tannin step in the mordanting

fine 2 ply commercial Merino and handspun silk, still unwound

and there is a mystery skein of rough handspun silk/flax blend – (I think) dyeing may tell me more


 a totally non-fibre commitment for the year, organize and label generations of family photos

at a certain age you realize that if it doesn’t get done the kids and grands won’t know names and places

so, to start, I made 2 dozen envelopes from a roll of newsprint that has been used over the years

for grand kids drawings, stamped and painted Christmas wrapping

  even unsuccessfully rolled between layers of warp on the back beam, it tore too easily

the start, the tip of the ice berg

a trip down memory lane, 4 generations of weddings

my Mom’s and my nursing graduation pictures

newborns and great grannies

this is going to take awhile and a few tears

it is all James’ fault, he wanted a picture of his childhood family dog

I’m determined, it’s time

a new decade

December 31, 2019

a time to wish everyone a Happy New Year

to reflect on what has passed

and to hope that peace and sanity will prevail

calendars are becoming difficult to find

soon my grandkids won’t even know what they were used for

I had hoped to finish the tapestry by the end of the year

but now it is headed into a new decade – and who knows what that will bring

may you be safe, healthy and optimistic!