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Scrap Happy May

May 15, 2020

whew! -hot off the needle

16″ x 12″

the background is a collection of scraps;

some handwoven with Japanese paper thread which was first used to practice calligraphy using sumi ink

then cut and spun – shifu

the grey pieces were scraps given to me in Japan, woven with horsehair

the finishing edge is a fine linen belt for a jacket/vest I bought in Kyoto in 1987 – I never wore the belt

also used for the stems and leaves with only a small scrap left

the coloured flowers are interior design fabric samples from the 1990’s

the indigo hexie flowers are scraps from the shibori lining of my first Haori

sewn at the Japanese Textile Workshop in 2016

the mother-of-pearl buttons are from my collection, these are so tiny I think they came from baby clothes

all the kantha stitching was done with thrums

I wanted to see how small it was possible to make hexies

individual, finished hexies are 1.5 cm. across, the flower is 5 cm.

I tried different fabrics/techniques for stems and almost gave up when I found this image saved to my pinterest page

wish I could give credit to the person who did the work but the picture was saved a couple years ago

the work of all those appliqued stems and petals is amazing

I used the last of the Japanese linen to make just a few

the work needs a title but nothing comes to mind

May is my second anniversary of joining this scrap happy group

and I have posted every month since

to visit more scrap happy posts this is the list from Kate’s post

P.S. Kate offered the perfect title – “Yuki no Hana” translated as Snow Flower

you can listen to the song on youtube

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. We have a new member, welcome Vera.

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

Spring is everywhere

May 11, 2020

another week, another hexie in the window – number eleven

and I’m working on some very small ones – more about that later

and sitting on the garden bench intoxicated by the scent of Lily-of-the Valley

reading the new books the postie delivered

a birthday present to myself, just a little late

  a boxed set ordered from   in GB

  it takes a little longer but they never charge postage and are very reliable

published by Thrums Books – Linda Ligon (of Handwoven magazine fame)

photographs by Joe Coca – an amazing team

the traditional work of ethnic minority artisans of China’s Guizhou Province

Every Thread a Story features the peoples lives, their embroidery, dyeing, silver work and papermaking

The Secret Language of Miao Embroidery tells the story of the traditional symbols and designs

and includes extensive, detailed patterns

(btw I don’t receive anything for this review other than the pleasure of reading and learning)

and I have to repeat – the pictures are stunning

in the garden purple is dominant

this rhodo is 10 feet tall

last year the deer decimated my tulips but missed this one

Irises are always a favorite

and the Mt. St. Helens azalea is erupting


May 10, 2020

Happy Mother’s Day

to all mothers and grandmothers

hope you get lots of virtual hugs

my Mom is standing on the left – with her mother, sister Gladys and brother Orvell

Halifax, N.S. 1914

going from Terrace to Prince Rupert B.C. to start high school

1922 – no high school in Terrace at that  time

student nurse at Royal Jubilee Hospital, Victoria B.C.

1927 – the year before graduating

Mom’s handwriting confirms the dates

how times have changed!

May days

May 4, 2020

another week – another hexie in the window

the book is a favorite with stunning photos of Mexican textiles

cochineal — my natural dye choice for the month of May

Mexico is the second largest producer of cochineal

a picture in the book shows a Mexican dyer crushing the bugs with a rolling pin

and the cactus the insects feed on

my dye colour on handspun wool and silk, mordanted with alum and cream of tartar

commercial cotton scoured, mordanted with myrobalan and then alum

they were all dyed in the same pot, amazing the range of colour

a walk in the ‘hood – first down my back alley

alleys must be an old planning idea – the land is too valuable now to be “wasted”

I met these two along the way – they hadn’t heard of social distancing

the euphorbia (commonly known as spurge) blooms on and on – the individual flowers are interesting

a neighbor’s wisteria is magnificent

the laugh of the week – “we stand on guard for thee”

home again, the Solomon’s seal in my back yard

warning – this plant is poisonous, especially the berries


goodbye April

April 30, 2020

the weather has been warm enough to weave outside

one of life’s little pleasures

it is time to mordant more skeins for the monthly natural dye challenge

handspun silk, natural and bleached

one skein of a silk/wool blend and handspun wool

the cotton has to be wound into skeins and first mordanted in myrobalan (a tannin)

then all the yarns will be go in an alum mordant together

the 2.5 kg jar of alum is almost finished – guess I’ll have to pay postage to get more

Spring is blooming in the neighborhood

outside my front door the gentian are stunning

garden info states that they are deer proof – that’s a joke

2 years ago the deer pull them up by the roots and ate them all

I rescued some roots and planted them, this is my reward

the checkered lily (fritillaria meleagris) is blooming with trillium in the background

ajuga is wandering down the path

on the street, cherry blossoms are splendid

raining pink petals

one of the best years in a long time for Pacific dogwood (cornus nuttallii)if is the provincial flower for British Columbia

the scent of lilacs is in the air

and the deer are everywhere – at a neighbor’s

I hope my fences hold them back!



getting started

April 27, 2020

possibly the most difficult part of creating anything is

getting started

what to do? can I do it? what will people think?

do I have the “right” materials?

I’ll try it tomorrow, next week, next month

and so it goes

granddaughter Carrie has just started gardening

she’s growing her own seedlings and left peas and lettuce at my front door

I’d been planning to get some veggies started but needed to weed, dig the plot

add the compost – a lot of work

  so, the seedlings got me started

I even built a bamboo frame for the peas

thinning the bamboo at the same time

then I took some rhubarb to the neighbor across the road

 she gave me two little sunflower starters

so I went to the garden center, lined up and bought us both strong, healthy tomato plants

all Spring starters

I had started warping the tapestry loom weeks ago

but the design and cartoon just didn’t work – no matter how many times I re-drew it

in order to just start I finished the warping

and decided to weave something I was comfortable with and had done before

first , choosing colours in the yarn stash – something I love to do

all handspun wool and silk

and then started on a fringeless wedge weave piece

9.5″ x 11″ my biggest tapestry yet

one of the pages in “the book” gave me the idea for the next scrappy piece

 I stitch in the evenings so it was time to get started

a pattern in my journal, drawn in 2007, was a good starting point

choosing scraps from the handwoven stash

and getting started

the larger hexie goes in the window for another week

but it gave me an idea – what is the smallest hexie you can comfortably stitch?

one size down and the paper patterns on the right are even smaller

photographing them I realized the scrappy background can be used as a canvas

and a scrappy bouquet is started

J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan wrote

” the reason birds can fly and we can’t is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings”

so take a deep breath, and fly


a new way to celebrate

April 22, 2020

yesterday was my birthday

Carrie and her Mom arrived with a bright, cheerful pot of flowers

and a jar of Fleischmann’s yeast – worth its weight in goldthey kept their distance in the garden while I stayed on the porch

I was so happy to see their smiling faces I forgot to take their picture

Iain, Jill and their Dad came next

Jill made chocolate cupcakes with lots of icing

I ate one for breakfast, yum  🙂

they brought their own seating

hey – there is one benefit to this type of entertaining

you don’t have to clean the house before company arrives

thanks everyone – it will be a birthday always remembered

here is something interesting for bread bakers and why yeast is in such short supply

and where is that iconic yellow bag of flour?

Forget Sourdough! How to Make 10 of the World’s Easiest Breads The Yeast Supply Chain Can’t Just Activate Itself There’s a reason the ingredient is still missing from stores.

Surge in demand sees Robin Hood flour running out of its iconic yellow bags | CBC News