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more hexies

January 18, 2022

something old is new – to me

I thought I’d made enough hexies to last a lifetime

until I started my hanging scroll for “Spring” and it needed cherry blossoms – lots of them!

I wanted to use silk scraps, and the shapes needed to be various sizes – many of them small

the background fabric was woven several years ago for a jacket that was never made (sound familiar?)

the warp is fine linen and the weft is kami-ito (shifu thread) cut from handmade Japanese paper and spun

the black threads were cut from paper I practiced calligraphy on using sumi ink

too precious to leave unfinished

then I discovered hexies made from circles –

a couple wobbly starts and I’m off and stitching

a whole sky of drifting blossoms

and the hexies are so simple and quick to make

the fabric on the right is cotton and it is a little easier to use, they even work with pieced fabrics

they might not be consistent enough to use for a quilt but are a marvel for my purpose

you can use them from either side – I added a little bead to cover the stitching on the “wrong” side

I love discovering something new

Scrap Happy January 2022

January 14, 2022

here we are – the start of another year – hopefully a “new normal” will start to appear

like many others I am feeling uninspired

cleaning cupboards, drawers and the stash can get boring very quickly

the ever growing accumulation of handspun yarn weighs on my mind – so I’ve given spinning a break

for a (short!) time

because I no longer knit due to arthritis in my hands

 I have many handspun, handwoven woolen blankets

they don’t sell well – nobody wants wool blankets that have to be hand washed

in order to use some of the stash – what am I doing?

weaving another blanket!!

starting with the smallest balls of yarn and weaving 4 inch squares on the pin loom

handspun wool and some silk, all natural dyes – perfect for by the fire in the evenings

because I’m determined to finish each little ball some fine yarns are doubled – using different yarns and shades

it will be very similar to the blanket made last year with the natural dye samples

it requires 144 squares – as I work they are arranged on the floor to display the colours

the squares take approximately 25 minutes to make – 30 more to go!

top left corner – I’ve started joining some, using the same, consistent stitch through the selvedge loops

 it takes a little practice – the doubled threads and variety of yarns makes it difficult to create a neat join

when weaving each square I leave a long end and use that so the stitching is done with a variety of colours

the first blanket took 4 months to finish – hope to have this one finished for scrap happy February

here is the list of Scrap Happy participants from Kate

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). Please note that Esther has a large ongoing project at present and needs all her time for this, so she has withdrawn from ScrapHappy for the time being.

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean (me), Jon, Dawn, Jule, Gwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera,
Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, Edith, Debbierose

Spring is just around the corner

January 10, 2022

we are all suffering from January/Covid boredom

  more weather is in the forecast

the bears wanted to help bring in the Christmas decorations before they were blown away

Gilbert and Little Bear like to climb trees

Arthur supervises and Rosie doesn’t want to get her feet wet

meanwhile, as the snow melts and everything is muddy, Pookie finds the first signs of Spring

once inside, where it is warm and dry, Rosie will dry and pack the ornaments to hang again next year

all the family’s names – except the bears!! – are on the balls

happy early Spring – keep your wellies handy

new challenges

January 4, 2022

for the past 6 years I’ve challenged myself to a monthly study of one technique

2017 started the process with 12 prayer flags

2018 was a cloth book

 each month a double facing page woven in one long piece

with lots of planning and stitching

and a handmade book box to keep it safe

2018 I took Rebecca Mezoff’s online class on making small tapestries and then the “Fringeless” class she taught with Sarah Swett

each month I wove a small tapestry with handspun yarn – that was intense and challenging

and an amazing learning experience

2019 I ordered Sarah Swett’s instruction book on backstrap weaving

and wove a length each month with handspun yarn

then joined all the strips to make a blanket – my back barely survived !

2020 was the year of natural dyes

the year was filled with colour and surprises

and another blanket

of course, more colour in 2021 and I’m still struggling to finish the project

2022? – I haven’t come to a complete halt but both ideas and energy are lacking

in order to keep on going I’ve decided to do four, three month challenges

seasonally inspired fabric scrolls to display in my Western style tokonoma

some ideas blossom easily – as they reach for the sun

others take time to germinate

the faintest shadow of an idea hesitates – in a dark doorway

just beyond reach

January 1, 2022

Wishing everyone a New Year of Peace, Good Health, Happy Moments and Creative Inspiration

and one of my favorite quotes

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the the soul – and sings the tune without the words  – and never stops at all.”

Emily Dickinson

a conundrum

December 27, 2021

what a way to round up a year of severe weather – catastrophic heat, fires and floods

and now some of the coldest temperatures ever recorded

the bears donned their warmest clothes – but they need parkas and toques (all very Canadian)

and went out to play in the snow

the fish pond is frozen and they had a great time sliding in the improvised sled (an old dye pot)

the raccoons were there first

bears soon got cold and within just a few minutes my hands were numb (no mitts so I could operate the camera)

the weather forecasts are warning how quickly exposed skin can get frostbite

we have all settled down by the fire , attempting to finish the monthly colour challenge

December’s sample is the end of a scarf warp woven several years ago

double weave silk and cotton – it is a little too narrow but will have to do

each month, as I was stitching I was also worrying about how to put them together

they were intended to be book pages but turned out to be slightly different sizes

in the end, stitching through all layers with a herringbone stitch they are like a 98 inch long assortment of colours, techniques and fabrics

there are only two options (that I can think of) for finishing

treat it like an accordion fold book and stitch hard (or soft) covers on either end

or treat it like a papyrus scroll

indecision has brought me to a halt!

all ideas carefully considered

Feliz Navidad

December 23, 2021

Wishing everyone a safe, happy, bear-y Merry Christmas

and a Healthy New Year

decorating the tree

with happy memories from years past and countries once visited

an update on the Advent Calendar

days 19 – 21

craft beer, a beautiful, white flowering kalanchoe and shortbread (by appointment to the Queen)

on the 20th, all nicely wrapped, I received an empty, cardboard paper towel roll – it was missing the message inside

and until I opened the front door and saw the plant d-i-l had delivered at 7a.m., I spent the morning laughing to myself

the 21st is an invitation to lunch

and today, the 23rd, a heart shaped box with 6 handpainted rocks that I am instructed to give away

that’s not hard but I’m struggling to decide which one to which person??

 once again, Kathy has created the magic that Christmas is meant to be

LOVE to you all


the count continues

December 18, 2021

time marches on – not so much marches as swims as our weather is very wet and windy

across the Strait of Juan de Fuca – looking at the Olympic Mountains in Washington State

days 15 – 18 were a collection of little surprises – those blue arrows? – bookmarks

the soap was what made the box smell nice

my mother graduated from RJH in 1928 – yes, she is in the book but they got her middle initial and the spelling of her last name wrong

Elsie MacDonald Kenney (Smith)

I trained at a different hospital but the personal histories and stories resonate and I’m enjoying crazy tales from the early days

it is fortunate for us all that the science of medicine has advanced

all the fibre is spun

the pink and blue are silk and silk blends, next is a wonderful silk/camel blend and on the right is 500 gms. of Merino/silk and angora rabbit

now I’m completely out of spinning fibre – that won’t do in this stormy weather

the gingerbread village is finished – with icing and sprinkles everywhere

another storm blows through – there is snow on the mountains – ho ho ho!

Scrap Happy December

December 14, 2021

December – holy cow! – where did the year go?

as I still only shop once every two weeks – for groceries – and barely little else

everything I’ve made in the past 21 months has been scrappy

we’ve been busy fitting and stitching – preparing for a Christmas Fashion Show

Rosie wants to start with her shibori dyed, silk dress – dyed many years ago, just waiting for the right occasion

the fabric was pole wrapped and then dyed with a chemical discharge dye – it removed some of the original red, replaced it with yellow and created a third colour

the “fascinator” didn’t want to stay put so I got out my Mother’s collection of hat pins (anyone remember those?)

they are kept in a souvenir china pin holder featuring the lighthouse from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia – where she lived as a small child

so- first to model her gown – Rosie

next in line – Arthur

he wanted you to see the lining in his red flannel vest and the fancy button

it matches his bow tie and Santa hat

and Gilbert is waiting to prance down the bear walkhis antlers are made from scraps of the felt dyed with walnut bark to make Rosie

 we designed a reindeer collar with a jingly bell, he already had a red velvet vest to finish the outfit

and it all matches his red paw pads

Little Bear was excited to join in the fun

the red flannel shirt is closed with a glass heart bead

his felt elf’s hat has a slot cut out so it fits over one ear – and the tiniest pompom ever made

of course hanging your stocking is a tradition – but first the bears needed stockings

more red flannel!Gilbert’s is finished with a scrap from my old yukata (Japanese summer kimono) which was also used when making him

and what do you put in a bear’s stocking?

fish – shhh! don’t tell them

more scraps! inspired by the fish made by Ann Wood  

the red flannel has a long history

my Mother used it for years on the Christmas table under her hand crocheted table cloth

when it came to me I used it as a tree skirt

now, it is still celebrating Christmas in smaller ways – Mother would be delighted, it was her favorite time of year

and here is Kate’s list

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). Please note that Esther has a large ongoing project at present and needs all her time for this, so she has withdrawn from ScrapHappy for the time being.

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean (me), Jon, Dawn, Jule, Gwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera,
Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, Edith, Debbierose

little things mean a lot

December 12, 2021

if he is going to hang out in my garden he could, at least, bring Santa with him!

the advent calendar continues to surprise

days 9, 10, and 11 – time is flying by

a can of special beer, cherry – I’m saving it for reading by the fire

the book ” The Wool-Pack” – written in 1951 by Cynthia Harnett – “for girls and boys 11 and upwards”

well, that includes me!

it is a historical novel about the wool trade of the Cotswolds on 1493 – it received the Carnegie Medal for the outstanding children’s book in 1951

have no idea where daughter-in-law found it

but I’m trying to read slowly and loving it

and a kit to make an entire gingerbread village – hope to get it made today – maybe I’ll need the beer!

and today

Kathy has taken rock painting to a whole new level

she molds the shapes, the candle holder is new

I have no idea how she does such perfect, intricate work

all the small creatures gathered around to roast marshmallows and sing carols

as for this fellow, I asked him politely to leave

who – me??