Monday, September 29, 2014

Transcendental Ironing

Pretty sky snapped while the ferry was docking on Gabriola.
It's not often that one has a transcendent experience whilst ironing. Last night I gave the finished stitching a gentle bath, and laid it out on a towel to dry. (Washing note - I used a few drops of Seventh Generation Ultra Concentrated Laundry Detergent, Geranium Blossom and Vanilla Scent. I love the stuff!)
 When it was almost dry, I began pressing it, face down on a thick towel. I was especially careful around the embroidery, barely caressing the surface of the cloth with the iron. I could press a little more firmly on the rest of the linen cloth, and as it flattened and dried it became so crisp and smooth. The drawn thread lace work un-crinkled to reveal its intricate beauty.
The iron felt like it was skating or dancing on the surface of the cloth. I said metta over it, imbuing a blessing for Chris. For a moment, I felt like there was no separation between me and the cloth, we were as one in a shimmer of molecules. Pretty groovy, huh!
I did eventually return to Planet Earth. After my experience creating the ultimate smooth cloth, I couldn't bear to mount the piece on a folding stretcher as I had originally intended (I thought that it would be easier and safer to ship it folded.) An unsightly vertical crease would inevitably form, and be impossible to remove. So, I will be shipping the piece flat. This afternoon I put the stretcher bars together and carefully attached the natural linen backing cloth, trying to keep it on grain as much as possible. I used curved quilter's safety pins to baste the embroidered cloth in place, and I will use a curved needle to slipstitch the edges to the backing.

I am very happy with how it has turned out.

Monday, September 22, 2014


Oh right, yeah, I have a blog. Which means posting now and then, doesn't it? Oops.

Not that I actually forgot. More like I went away and when I came back I had so much to say and was so confused about how to say it I went into avoidance mode.

But things are calmer now and it is at last starting to rain (Oh please, may the heavens open!) We have been on Aussie rules for way too long, especially since Gabriola is supposedly in a temperate rain forest. I look forward to no longer having to schlep buckets of dishwater to the garden, or bathing in a teacup.

Just in case any of you are still out there, here's where I am with the various projects:

"The kingdom of heaven is within you" piece is rounding the final turn and should be finished before week's end.

The cover for the dog's special antique stool that they use to jump up onto the bed (I am just a humble servant, none of this master business) that I am hooking has six squares to go and then I can proceed to the upholstery. (Oh, darn it, I keep forgetting about those triangles on the outer edge. Well, they'll be fast. Right?)

The preparations for the Thanksgiving Studio Tour are ongoing and consist mostly of James and me sitting on the couch in the middle of a big mess with our heads in our hands, trying to figure out a plan. James is slightly more organised than me, he has a laptop in front of him. That's gotta be at least a step closer to actually creating a plan.

There was frost in my garden on September 12 so I harvested all my tomatoes and made sauce, chutney, and green tomato mincemeat, depending on the state of ripeness. There is still a box of greenish tomatoes in a box under the table that I hope will turn red before the fruit flies get them. Sorry, no pictures, but email me and I'll send you a recipe.

I have the tote out to store my summer clothes. The clothes are still on their hangers, but at least it's a start. I don't think I got them put away before November last year.

I won't bore you with the details, but the upside of going through all kinds of neurotic angst is that I have decided that I need to revamp the blog. Not sure how just yet, but change is gonna come. Some day. Soon.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Lady Fair

Here's something more cheerful than the disturbing illustration to my last post. I found a little treasure box at the recycling centre today. What secrets might it contain?
Jam packed full of vintage rick rack and seam binding. Bless the thrifty homemaker who discovered that the old toffee tin was the perfect size for packages of trim.
I once dated a guy who tried to lure me back to his place with promises of a whole box full of rickrack sitting in his basement. I almost went for it.
I love to imagine the story these old cards might tell. Was she calculating payments of some kind? Socking away some savings? Figuring out a budget? We'll never know.

Notice the package on the right. There is no longer an Eaton's - once Canada's premier chain of department stores. They had their own brand of household items, which included a whole range of sewing notions, "Lady Fair". Sigh... .takes me right back to my mother's sewing corner, with the old Viking machine set up on the table, and the lazy susan filled with spools of thread.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Human Pincushion

Well, the gentleman pictured above has taken it a bit farther, but I am on my way. This morning I woke up with the feeling that something was poking me under my arm. I sat up and the feeling stopped, but James had a look and exclaimed "Oh my god, Heather!" There was a rather large sewing needle stuck into the sleeve of my pajamas. Aha! I remembered the night before having taken the needle into the bathroom to poke at a sliver, and sticking the needle into the front of my pajama top so that I could, conscientiously and efficiently, return it to the pincushion on my way up the stairs to bed. Of course, in the ten steps between the bathroom and the stairs, I completely forgot about it, and somehow during the course of the night it migrated over to my sleeve.

James was horrified. "It could have stuck you in the eye!"

Hmmph. Typical non-stitcher's reaction! Maybe I was sewing in my dreams....

Friday, September 05, 2014

Boy, Is My Face Red!

What kind of Canadian am I? I just found out that I have been mispronouncing dear Louis Nicolas's name all this time. What a cretinous Anglophone! (I was saying Nicolas, not Nicolah, which of course is the proper French pronunciation.) Here, in this video, Nancy Senior, the translator of the Codex Canadensis, talks about the work, and our beloved rogue Jesuit.

Can you tell that another Codex piece is welling up in me? Not sure what it will be, but I am getting the itch.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

And the Winning Colour Is....

I went with the icy blue. The colour I did my sample with was discontinued, though, and even the expert eye of the lady at Stitcher's Muse couldn't come up with the perfect match - in the skein. So what I am doing is mixing the strands of thread, which on their own do look like a perfect match, and when blended together look pretty darn perfect too. Tricks of the light maybe? Anyways, I have begun, and I am liking it, I think.

I'm doing my usual manoeuvre of working the letters at random, so there is no obvious change of quality from beginning to end. When working this slowly, even a change in the weather can make the thread behave slightly differently - I don't know that anyone would ever notice, but in any case, I don't want to chance it.

Speaking of weather, we did have a very welcome day of rain, and it's now back to clear blue skies, sun and comfortably cool temperatures. I do love September!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Catching Up

I love September. It always feels like the start of a new year. But, maybe because our BC teachers are (legitimately, I feel) on strike, and the provincial government is determined to bust the union and further repress our constitutional rights, the kids aren't back to school, and therefore I feel like summer hasn't quite ended. Which is a long-winded and politically ranting way to say I haven't got back into the blogging groove.
Stuff has been happening, I suppose. I finished my little hooked mat, which I will keep to remind myself how humble I must be.
I dyed some thrift store wool for another hooked project, in my usual haphazard fashion, stuffing the cloth into mason jars, dumping some rather elderly acid dye into each jar until it looked right, and processing them all at once in a canner, then fulling the pieces in the dryer. It's funny how I can be such a perfectionist in some ways, and so "Whatever!" in others.

I have chosen a thread colour for Chris's piece, and will unveil it tomorrow, as a ruse to get myself back into regular posting.