My Peace With Ironing

I realized this morning that somewhere along the line I made peace with ironing. My abhorrence of ironing developed a long time ago. When I was growing up, one of my weekly chores was to spend a block of time every Saturday ironing the family clothes. With four of us in the family, the laundry bag was always daunting. Added to the laundered clothing were numerous handkerchiefs, pillowcases, linen towels, table runners….you get the drift. To take the ironing to another level my mother would use a sprinkler bottle liberally on the entire load to dampen everything and help the iron more effectively banish the wrinkles.

So there I would sit for what seemed like an endless sentence on a Saturday when I felt more inclined to be amusing myself in any number of more enjoyable ways. My mother would come in periodically and check the things I had finished for any dampness. If she found any those items were returned to the pile for another go round. The layers where the collrs of my Dad’s dress shorts met the body were particularly pesky and often merited a rerun.

I came out of my adolescence hating ironing, never wanting to iron again. For many years my viewpoint was this: If coming out of the dryer was not enough for a garment or household item it was banished to the thrift store.

Then I became a quilter and now I am expanding my hand sewing to learn more embroidery stitches. It is counter-productive to a nicely finished end product to put all your painstaking handwork into a wrinkled piece of cotton or linen. So, like it or not, ironing became a necessity.

This morning I found myself once again at the ironing board with my spray bottle and cotton squares. This time it was for an ongoing online group project of learning and refining a different embroidery stitch every week this year. The blog and Facebook group are the TAST (Take a Stitch Tuesday) project guided by Sharon Boggan. As I ironed the square I would use for this week’s chain stitch challenge and a few extra squares for future stitches, I realized I was actually enjoying the task! I painstakingly used my spray bottle on any creases and watched the iron glide across the fabric and obliterate all the imperfections to create a perfect embroidery surface. I carefully stacked each 8×10 square on top of each other imagining all the colorful stiches I would fill them with in the coming weeks. I was even more thankful for the activity when I realized how relaxing it was after the chaos of this week, how it kept me in the present moment and away from the endless news cycle.

I am happy to take solace in simple things now more than ever, but who ever thought I would see ironing as part of my salvation?

Boro Play

This year I had cataract surgeries done to each of my eyes. It took four months from the time of the first surgery to when I received my new glasses. Since my near vision was the challenge, I could not work my crafts as detailed as I might have liked.

This is a pillow that I made during that time period. The Japanese Boro technique of stitching was perfect for someone with compromised vision. I enjoyed the colorful and spontaneous nature of the project and found it a very relaxing way to stitch. It was also very relaxing and helped me play through these stressful times.

Where I’ve Been, where I’m going

I have been setting my intentions for 2021 and I am rededicating this blog. I established it years ago to follow my spinning, knitting, and quilting adventures. At best I had only mediocre success with that goal.

Since then I have detached into a world of co-writing a book, chronic arthritis/tendinitis that impedes my yarn adventures immensely, aging dogs needing lots of care, intermittent depression, my own aging, etc. and of course the pandemic age. The etc. is because I could go on and on with reasons/excuses for ignoring this blog. It is time to put it to some use again.

I have researched ad infinitum techniques for watercolor painting, various embroidery techniques, and calligraphy as I navigated my cataract surgery journey. I got my new glasses the other day and am back in focus!! So my themes for 2021 will be self-realization, growth, and new directions. The book is done, the yarn endeavors are taking a lesser role in my life, the last dog is winding down. I crave color, challenge, quiet endeavors, and pursuits that will be easier on my worn out joints.

BTW I taught myself a tai chi sequence months ago. I highly recommend it for navigating this crisis time physically, mentally, and spiritually. As I go forward into 2021, I do so with high hopes of what I can accomplish in the new year. Watch this space.

Color Therapy II

I am not one of those people who gets energy from socializing a lot. To the contrary. I have to monitor the amount of social contact I have to avoid depleting my energy. This was one of those weeks when I had at least one meeting outside of my home everyday for 4 days in a row. That was way too much living on the side of my brain that processes written and verbal information. Besides that, spring rains continue here. Even though the sun breaks are starting to balance off the showers, it still means more gray than I would prefer in the atmosphere. So, after having a day of rest and chores yesterday, I was able to immerse myself into color therapy again. These are two photos of a piecing project I am doing for what is going to be a quilt. I have learned over the years that I do not enjoy cutting fabric into little pieces and sewing them back together again. What I enjoy is a riot of color! I love batiks. I love simple lines that lend themselves to hand-stitching or embroidery. Thank you Aloe Blacc and Michael Franti & Spearhead for the musical accompaniment to my b

liss.

Color Therapy

The days have turned gray again after some teasers of the warmer weather to come. I got up feeling as gray as the sky. After my morning walk I decided some color therapy was in order. I unpacked some precut fabric squares that I had sorted awhile ago to make some quilted placemats. I spent the afternoon gazing at a riot of color as I connected squares one to the other on my sewing machine. My eyes took in the kaleidoscope of colors. My soul sang with the vibrancy and excitement of a new project. I was saved once more from the gloom.

Day 5 Challenge Day

First ever plying on my drop spindle.

Tour de Fleece Day 1

Yesterday Kromski Minstrel 80/20 merino silk blended on my drum carder…Thich Nhat Hanh on Audible…birds and squirrel feeding outside my studio window…life is good.

Cocoon

I feel like I am emerging from a cocoon.  In this case the cocoon was a 7 month long Pacific Northwest Winter – over 100 inches of rain since October and counting.  I really am grateful that the drought in the rest of California south if us has been declared over.  But I am more than ready for this long rainy winter to end.  The good news is that we are starting to get a few sun days in between stints of Spring showers.  Our yard is starting to come alive in flowers.  The camellias and native azaleas are blooming and so are the bluebells.

My English husband looks for these blooms each year to remind him of fields of them in his native Yorkshire when he was a boy.  Right now I am grateful to be sipping a glass of merlot as the sun baks through the clouds and lights up the corner windows as I write this.  Happy Spring all!!

Fall is in the Air

Our redwood trees started shedding the first dried branchlets  this week.  It’s a gray day with a hint of cool drizzle in the air – a jeans and sweatshirt day.  My antidote to the grey is this merino yarn I had spun awhile ago and put in my stash.  Easy pattern for a scarf and great color.

I also love the color contrast of this heather flowering in our garden right now.

Spinning Lessons

I have learned some valuable lessons from participating in Tour de Fleece. One we all know but don’t always apply: Practice makes perfect.  I have seen a steady improvement in my spinning over the course of the tour.  I am more consistent in my spinning as well as being able to better control the thickness and twist of my yarn.

Today I have almost 600 yards of Corriedale drying in the sun.  This was my latest plying yesterday.

I have always avoided wearing white. One reason is that I have always had small dogs who jump all over me.  But another reason is that I wore white dresses in countless church ceremonies in my former life as  a Catholic child.

But I am looking at this yarn differently because of a remark on the internet the other day from a fellow spinner about loving the purity of undyed fiber.  I think this yarn will knit up as a nice vest once I finish spinning the rest of it.  And it is off white after all.

Color is still my passion. 

But it’s nice to broaden my view as so much of the information from this tour has done.

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