The yarn ate my homework.
(That’s my excuse for it being several days since my last post. Never be ashamed of having to resort to The Classics, I always say.)
Houston, We Have Crocuses
I think it is really interesting how there are patches of crocuses (croci?) all over our yard, and yet it is THIS patch which is the first to bloom, every year.
Winter has been fighting with spring all week long. For a day or half day, spring will get the upper hand, and we’ll have glorious blue skies and sunshine. Then winter will get cranky (because let’s face it, that’s what winter does best) and wants some attention and we have sleet or that four-letter-word s-n-o-w.
However: I know it’s spring, because Mama Dove is back on the nest, getting ready for babies. She flew onto the porch last Wednesday morning, looked around, hopped up into the nest, and proceeded to houseclean with determination.
Making and Writing
There are two loves in my life (well, three, if you count Nicholas!): Writing and crafting. The two are inextricably intertwined for me; however, I find it challenging to be truly productive in both at the same time, within the same day. I seem to go back and forth between the two, immersing myself into the land of Making for a few days or a week (and not blogging nor writing much of anything), and then sitting for days at the computer, tap-tap-tapping away at the keyboard, without Making much of anything at all.
It’s an interesting rhythm. It does allow me to focus on one sort of creating at a time; it allows me to delve deeply into a project or a particular bit of writing and to spend time thinking, refining, sculpting what I am doing. But from the outside, I imagine it looks erratic and inconsistent. For a while, I blog two or three times a week; then, like this week, I don’t blog for an entire seven days.
This makes me feel as though I am a Bad Blogger. I’m not following the Rules, the Common Wisdom that says if you don’t blog regularly/frequently, then your readers will desert you and you won’t get new readers and you will grow a wart with a long, thick, shiny black hair right in the middle of your chin.
(Maybe YOUR wart hair will be grey or yellow or red. Everyone’s different. I’m quite certain that mine will be black and shiny. I’ll be able to see myself in that damn wart hair.)
During those seven days of non-blogging, however…whoa. I did a ton of paperwork, I sewed, I knitted, I designed, I spun. I also cleaned house and did yardwork, all because, for a few days, I gave myself permission to be offline, to not write, to just live life.
Maybe the reason I seesaw back and forth is that I don’t have the right balance of writing and crafting in my life to begin with. I keep circling around and around this idea of balance, like a bug circling a drain…OK, maybe not like that. How about like a hummingbird circling the petals of a sweet, juicy flower…I know the nectar is in there, if I could only figure out the best approach.
One thing I have been trying lately that I like is doing a bit of crafting first thing when I get up. Usually, I dress/shower, come downstairs, make coffee or tea, and head straight for the Internet, where I work and play for several hours before thinking about getting up off my butt to go Make Something.
The past couple of weeks, I’ve been taking my coffee/tea mug over to the spinning wheel, or the sewing table, or the loom. I’m not a morning person, so the gentle, familiar rhythms help me to coax my thoughts out of hiding, to warm up my brain and body, to limber up my creativity a bit before I face the entire online world.
It’s been great, taking a wee break. The question is, how to keep the good part of that, the More Making, and yet tear myself away from yarn and fibre to sit down and write about yarn and fibre, to share this crafty life that is so enriching? How do I keep both words and craft flowing, without one blocking the way of the other?
I sense that I’m at least asking the right question, even if I don’t have an answer.
Sewing with handspun
When I got back from my teaching gig, I went over to my sewing table to pick up the blue dress again…only to find that one of the cats had left a little wet prezzie on the dress for me. (Ewww.) Said cat obviously wanted to be completely clear about how he/she felt on the subject of Mom Being Away From Home.
While the dress is in the wash, I have been working hard on the Secret Project again. Remember this gorgeous handwoven fabric, made complete of donated handspun yarns?
I finished seaming the Whatever It Is; that led to several happy minutes at the ironing board steaming the fabric and pressing the seam allowances open. I say “happy” because I secretly (well, OK, not so secretly, now that I’ve told all of you!) love the steaming and pressing part of sewing. I love how pressing something you’ve just sewn somehow makes everything look AMAZING. It’s as if all the threads just magically fall into place at the touch of a hot iron.
I’m now basting on the trim. Working with handspun/handwoven fabric is a bit unnerving, because it’s so precious, and so irreplaceable. I know I have this much trim, and no more; I know that even if I needed more trim, and quickly wove up more myself, it wouldn’t be the same as this lovely trim woven out of the handspun gifts of dozens of people.
The interesting bit about this project has been the way it forces me to do all sorts of different crafting to achieve a single goal. Since I’m using handspun sewing thread, I stitch until the thread runs out…and then I have to make more. I just spent the past two days spinning a few dozen yards of another batch of 2-ply itsy-bitsy silk thread; it’s currently hanging to dry in the kitchen.
Spinning sewing thread…who knew? Spinning the ultra-fine singles isn’t the challenging part; the challenge comes whenever I have to wrangle or wind or ply the lighter-than-air singles. They are pretty high-twist, in order to hold up to the friction and pull of sewing; this means that they constantly want to fold back upon themselves and make little tails which are impossible to untwist. In my mind, I can see Abby smiling that wicked little half-smile of hers: “I’m telling ya, it’s all about tension management.” I think she’s right; if I can figure out how to put “just enough” tension on the singles during the plying process, I might be able to conquer the curly tails problem.
You’ll notice I am not showing what the Secret Item is; I’m still showing only close-ups or bits and pieces. It’s still a secret. But we’re getting closer to the Big Reveal.
Till then, I have the Furry Guardians to help me protect the secret’s, uh…secrets.
Beyond Cute: Baby bear cubs snorgle baby tiger cub.
Food for thought: What sort of schedule works for you?
Wacky: Everything in this online store.