Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The Great Unveiling!

Meet Autumn, the Fall Faerie.  She is just finished and is excited to make her debut at the Oliver Art Show and Sale at the end of the month. 

Autumn is a needle Felted sculpture. 

She is made using wool rovings, some hand dyed...some commercial dying.  And of course beads because life is just better with a bead in it.  her wings are netting, and the pine cones come courtesy of the huge Mugo Pine in my front garden.  Autumn is sitting on a Chantrelle mushroom as they make the best seats.

I am particularly pleased with how her boots turned out.

And....she is ready for her close-up.

There is something quite soothing about doing a sculpture like this using traditional needle felting techniques to make something entirely fanciful.  Anatomy is important, of course - and regular trips to the mirror to see how shoulders set, and feet and hands look. 

I intend for this to be the first of a series of four faeries.  So Winter is next, appropriately, as the \northern hemisphere is now officially in autumn, and winter cannot be far behind can it?

I think, in these troubling times, a bit of fantasy goes a long way to keeping us sane in the face of all the disasters we are faced with.  At least that's my take on it.

And this being my birthday day, the sun is shining, the harvest is being brought in from the fields and life here in my Valley is humming along.  My heart goes out to everyone coping with fire, flood, and earthquake this past few weeks.  If this doesn't bring home the fact of climate change, what will?

Stay safe, stay strong, be well.

Monday, 14 August 2017


Dyeing with dried marigold flowers on a silk scarf - an experiment.

I remember in the 70's doing tie-dye in a pot on the stove, using Rit dyes I think...or it could have been cool-aid.  But I had forgotten the process until a bunch of us from the Desert Sage Fibre Guild got together during Studio week here in Oliver to learn the process of natural dyeing.  We used silk scarves.  I had Marigold flowers in a self contained kit from These are great little starter kits if you know nothing and are just starting out.  You just have to find a cheap steel pot and spoon - the thrift shop is a good resource.  Don't use your good spaghetti pot whatever you do.  And don't use the dye pot accidentally for Spaghetti.

 I discovered dyeing is a meditative process.  First the Alum is heated and the fabric - the innocent silk scarf in this case - is  simmered for half an hour.  Then it is taken out of the hot water and a new pot is set to simmer with the Marigold flowers in it.  I guess you could put the flowers in a cheese cloth twist, but, being new, I dumped them into the water.  The dried flowers had to simmer for a while so the water would be coloured.  I have to say, brown/yellow isn't my favourite colour - but, well, you have to start somewhere don't you.

So... while the Marigolds were stewing, I folded the scarf like an origami and secured it with elastics and popsicle sticks and had a cup of tea..  Just for extra fun, I pinned the corners with clothes pins too - resist dyeing they call it.  I remember that from the tie dye days but this is a tad more sophisticated I think.

The goo in the pot didn't look like much but in went the pinned scarf and simmer I did - and the final product was worth it I think. 

So now, I'm looking at the garden in an entirely different light - and plucking pink and purple flowers to dry.  And looking at my yarn stash to see if there is something in there I can experiment with.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Thinking about Sunrooms

I have a lovely little sunroom in my house
  I spend a lot of quality time here, reading, knitting, taking tea breaks with friend. 

  And I was thinking how much it reminds me of the sunroom in the house where I grew up. There were windows on three sides of that lovely north facing sunroom.  Wine coloured drapes  covered the windows at night.  It was our front entry way – the way guests came in.   The windows slid sideways for air and the door window had a disappearing window that dropped down into the door itself leaving a screen window.  The downside of that wonderful room, was that the roof leaked.  And for all the detective work and roof walking tar brush in hand  my father did, we never completely got rid of leaks.  We didn’t mind though.  We just got pots out and captured the drips.

Our Christmas tree stood in that room.  I loved going out there at night with only the Christmas tree lights for company.  Sometimes we set up the sewing machine and worked out there.  The record player stayed out there and I spent hours singing along with my favourites, or just listening.  It was a great place to read too – laying on the love seat deep in the latest book from the library.    And on occasion it even turned into a dining room if we had company.

 Sadly,  that sunroom is now gone!Torn off the front of the house when I drove by a couple of years ago.  Maybe they couldn’t handle the leaks. 

My little sunroom here is half the size, but has four lovely south facing windows giving me a gorgeous view of the mountains surrounding the south Okanagan Valley.  This year it too had the Christmas tree front and centre – small – just fitting on the coffee table and festooned with lots of fairy lights and the antique ornaments.  Now, the plants I’m trying to save for spring are scattered around the floor and rewarding me with new green.  They will go out on the deck and into the garden once all the snow is gone.
And speaking of snow.....

 I bought cheery wicker furniture with red cushions for this room – came in a box – a big box – that I had the delivery man leave in the carport.  I took pieces out one at a time and started the rather complicated process of construction. 

 It seems furniture comes to be assembled in this goofy world we live in – gone are the days when you could buy it complete, delivered and set up for you. . Anyway – I did it – two chairs, a 4 foot coffee table, and a settee put together with a screwdriver and an alan key..  For some reason the coffee table gave me the most grief but I managed.  I put the first chair together backwards – why do I always do that?   Fortunately the plush red cushions were already to go and just had to be plopped on once the furniture was screwed together. 

On a knitting note – I have liberated myself from the sweater I was working on.  Tore it completely apart, and rewound the wool.

  It was a trial, that sweater.  I must have torn it back 4 times and then got up to the neck and decided I hated the thing – would probably never wear it.  So, I was sitting there  – musing on this – and decided it had to go.  I got my trusty ball winder out, and wound as I ripped and the more I ripped, and the sweater got smaller and smaller, the more liberated I felt.  Obviously it was not mean’t to be. 

  I like the wool – Malabrigio Rio in wine/red.  I wanted a squishy sweater- long, comfortable, great to slip on and go.  What I was getting was a tight assed piece of armour.  I tore up the pattern too so I would never be tempted to do it again.  It just wasn’t working.
And… I’m taking a break from knitting – well…except for socks – always have to have a sock on the go it seems. 
 This is Opal sock wool sweet and spicy Watermelon.  It's fun and bright. 

  So…I’m learning to tapestry weave.  I’m a real baby at the moment but...   I’m learning. 
My sides are wobbly and those  first two triangles here are pretty pathetic, but the green worked.

It's good, as this year begins, to try some new things, and perhaps even pick up again some things long put away.

And a final "green" note here.  My Orchid is getting ready to bloom!  It is taking it's own sweet time about it but that is actually a bloom stock on there after five years of it just sitting around doing nothing.  Wow!
I wish us all a happy, peaceful 2017.  
Cheers for now

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

When in Doubt....


We appear to be living in troubled times, to quote a recent Nobel Prize winner.  And there is a feeling of helplessness in the world as we watch the news.  Having something to do with your hands while you are bombarded with the latest news is a comfort.  And then you are further comforted when you get to wear or give as a gift whatever you make.  At least I think so.

I have this theory...that if we taught all the leaders in the world to knit, we wouldn't have war.  

The sweater is coming along nicely in spite of a few setbacks along the way. 
Setback Number one occurred when I discovered I had twisted the stitches during the process of joining the stitches into a circle.  Ripping.
Setback Numbe rtwo occurred when I realized well into the second ball of wool that the sweater - which is for me by the way - is too small.  More ripping.
Setback Number three occurred when the sleeves were joined to the body and I took a look at things, made a judgement call and decided it wouldn't work - sloppy - looked homemade, not handmade.  Sigh - ripping.again. 
But now, I think things are at last the way they should be and we are moving on with confidence.

 Of course, none of this is earth shaking.  But I'm going on record here to say that I believe in Inclusion, not Exclusion.  I believe in diversity.  I don't care what colour you are or what religion you practice. I believe in kindness to all. 
And freedom and joy to be who you are.
 Cheers for now.  Patricia

Friday, 23 September 2016

Harvest Time

I had an absolutely amazing tomato harvest this year.  I made pickles -green tomato relish actually - But the tomatoes were ripening so fast I gave bags of them away to neighbours, quartered and froze more for winter soups and stews and spagetti sauce, even threw some away that were less than perfect.  It was a tomato glut.  

Of course I picked one of the hottest days for my first attempt at pickles, but I got 9 jars of the stuff which actually tastes pretty good .

I'm enjoying watching the fields of squash being harvested, and grape picking is underway all around the valley.  Hopefully we'll get some good wines from the estate wineries this year.
 The apples are hanging on the trees - some of them are being picked, others are waiting patiently for their turn.
And would you just look at this Hibiscus?   The flowers were as big as dinner plates and a gorgeous red colour.

The praying mantis took up residence on the side of the house and then worked his silly way behind the screen.  He had to be rescued and transfered to a tree branch but before that operation, I just had to take his green picture.  He was pretty impressive.

Summer knitting stayed simple as was keeping with the weather and my mood, but I did start my winter sweater - actually started it three times but I think I'm on a roll now and almost up to the yoke.  pictures will follow.

And company - lots of it - rolled in and out, which was nice and spurred me on to try out a few Oliver restaurants.  The valley is under rain today but still mild. 
And that's the story from here

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Apropo of nothing much

Its Mid July and summer is in full bloom.  I brought the Lavatera seeds from Calgary and when I moved, chucked them in the back of the frig and sort of forgot about them.  This past spring, before the accident, I hauled them out and along with the tomato seeds, put them in peat pots in the sunroom.  This is the reward.  Pink seems to have dominated here, but the white came through.  I'll gather the seeds when it is time.  They put on quite a show don't they.
The small pink flowers are Oxalis, or as we say in our family "Grandma Landry's clover"  Most of us have a plant that we baby and nurture and split up and repot and then share. 
I strung lights over the door in the spring and this moth fell in love with them.  He hung around for days clinging to the screen.

I  might have mentioned that after the accident - creativity flew south and knitting and crochet were complete non starters.  And that remained the case until last week when I decided to dig into my yarn stash and reacquaint myself with my supplies.   Digging through stuff I came on a square that I had started a few years ago when I was still hip deep running Patricia's Yarn Cabin on Vancouver Island.  I  read an article showcasing Valentina Devine's"Creative knitting technique" and the bottom square is the result.  The pile of yarn at the top was tucked into the bag with the square - Obviously I had planned to continue. happens doesn't it.  

 In any case, this period of my life now - recouperating and healing-, seem like the absolute right time to dig back into this project so here I am.

 The deal is this is garter stitch - I can handle that- garter stitch for short straight rows and then casting off, turning the piece and picking up stitches and not caring that the ends are there.  The ends get to be the embellishment afterward and you an do anything you want with them  I chose to crochet the ends and then tack them down randomly.  Some of the ends will reach over into the next square when they are joined.   I have no idea at the moment what this is going to turn out to be -  a throw?  A wall hanging?  I think it is enough right now that I'm doing it and it is getting the juices going again.
And that's it for now.
Have a good week.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Happy Birthday Canada!

I’m sitting on my deck, enjoying a delightful glass of wine in the late afternoon.  It is July 1st, Canada’s birthday and the temperature here sits atbalmy 26 degrees.  One year ago today I was deep into the chaos of Moving into this new house – boxes everywhere, two intrepid moving men manhandling furniture out of the van and into the house in pretty intense heat, a phone that packed it up, an emergency visit to Telus to buy a new phone, and a mouse who somehow snuck into the house either during the former owner’s move out, or my move in.  Jury is out on that.  Somehow we made it all work – “where do you want this Lady?”  making snap decisions about where furniture was to be placed.  Three moves in the space of 5 years – too many. I swear this is the last move!  I like it here.

I just went into the garden to pick a fresh onion and some snap peas to make a stir fry for supper.  There is a nice breeze blowing through here keeping it comfortable.

The onion is quite spectacular and the result of a great experiment.  In early spring I cut the root heads off some green onions I bought, soaked them for a while until the roots grew a bit, and them put them into the raised garden.  I have been handsomely rewarded I’m pleased to say and am now eating fresh onions in the stir fries.  Not too shabby   The beans are all in flower and the snap peas are ready for the picking …some of them at any rate.   There were some potatoes going to seed in the frig too that I just planted a couple of weeks ago – not sure if they will make it or not – no loss if they don’t but it would be fun to have some.  Lettuce should be coming but it is slow which is surprising.  Well...I was late getting the seeds into the ground.

A monarch butterfly flutters by and two hummingbirds just put the run on a robin for some reason.  Bird world is not without its danger I guess.

Actually the world is full of danger - I had a terrible fall 10 weeks ago today.  Rushed to emergency, then into Surgery and the result is I have a new stainless Steel ball inserted into my hip.  I have been relearning all sorts of things - how to walk, how to shower, how to drive.  But things are coming along and I'm getting better.  It's been a journey.

Knitting has been on hold but I do have a wonderful pair of socks to show off because what would life be without socks to knit.
 I'm spending the summer recuperating and heeling.  Libby gets me out for walks to build up my muscles again.  
So here are some pretty flowers for you to enjoy this Canada Day weekend.  

Cheers for now.   Patricia