Three scarves and a five year plan

I’ve always sought new ways to express myself artistically. Who doesn’t, right? A consistent ingredient of my creative obsession has always been a love of clothing and fabric. In my 20s and 30s I only had time to be a clothes horse. Times change. The absolute best part of aging is getting my life back as the kids grow up. 

No surprise then that I’ve taken up weaving as my boys grow up and leave me free time. That adds weaving to my other cloth related ventures – needlepoint, embroidery, and sewing.

Since my doting husband gave me a beautiful 32″ rigid heddle loom for my 48th birthday I’ve been working at becoming competent. I can make my edges pretty straight, the weaving is even, and I’ve learned to finish my edges. I am now onto learning techniques that expand my ability to create patterns, combine more colours, and add texture in a piece of cloth.

To that end, I just finished three scarves.

The first is a simple plaid, a combination of purples and black and grey threads.

 

The second is a check pattern in brown and orange, but I threw in some floating weft stitches to put little shapes into the orange spaces.

 

The third is a purple and grey scarf with a wavy centre line made using a clasped weft technique that I really like and will most certainly use again.

 

 

Six months in to my new weaving adventure I can see my improvement. The five year plan(hope) is that I improve enough to keep this up as a minor source of income and major source of enjoyment in my retirement years.

 

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More garden art – a conspiracy of ravens

I’ve always kept an artistic garden. I’m not a personal fan of plastic garden gnomes or concrete replicas of the Easter Island Moai. As with everything else, I have this stubborn desire to make things myself.

I have been slowly filling my yard with home made garden art since my husband and I first got this house.

 

We started with my husband carving two stumps with our names, which were decorations for our outdoor wedding, but now sit on each side of the house.

 

For our first summer I made a short fence as a tribute to our new blended family life. I made a caricature of each of us, including our dog and her squirrel nemesis.

 

The next summer I made a small fence cut like the silhouette of two deer. I placed it to give a bit more privacy to the garden in a spot under some large spruces where the hedge was thinner. 

 

Next I made a moose to keep the deer company. Both the moose and the deer are a hat-tip to my husband’s love of the outdoors. It also covers a thin spot in the garden hedge.

 

This spring I made my greenman to lend a little visual interest to the patio side of the yard. He fills an empty spot on the fence that was once covered by a diseased Mayday that had to be taken out. 

 

This year’s last project is on the garden side again, and spruces up an ordinary garden pergola. 

These guys are an homage to our neighbourhood raven, who I’ve named Igor Ravinsky. He has a crippled wing so he hops around and takes short flights in our mature, tree filled neighbourhood. Our yard is particularly blessed with trees and he spends a good amount of time hanging out with us. I’d love to see him join this wooden conspiracy of ravens one day, and hope to snap a picture. 

 

I have plenty of other ideas. I’ll have the plans for a roof line project for our garden shed done over the next few months, but it won’t get started until next spring. I’ve been carving an old tree limb and have an idea to follow up on that. In the early fall I’ll head out to my parent’s land to select a tree to cut down and into sections and dry over the next year so I can use it. That gives me the rest of the fall to practice carving and the winter months to make a plan with the idea percolating through my brain. 

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen limericks

We hosted a play in our house in June. It was a site specific play, so small groups of audience members followed cast members through the house from scene to scene. I knew they’d be paying attention to the scripted action but I wondered if they’d notice the house. I don’t know if I’m an attention hog or what, but I felt I had to put a wee bit of myself into the drama.

I decided my kitchen chalk board was the perfect tool to do just that. So I sat down and composed a few kitchen themed limericks. I had meant to change them up more often, but I had too much on my mind and missed most of the days. I managed to get three done, and may just use the other ones some other time for fun if I can squeeze it into spare minutes between my summer plans.

      

 

My garden greenman

Last year I decided my garden needed a a bit more pizzazz. We have been putting in shade plants for the past few years to liven up what was a very sparse yard. The greenery is coming along, and the space cried out for some decoration to compliment the new life. 

I decided on a greenman.

I spent all winter imaging and planning something to hang on the fence on the shady patio side of the house. As soon as I could be comfortably out in the garage this spring I began working with some cedar fence boards. Sketches in hand, I pulled out the band saw and got to work. 

                    

It took some work to get everything to line up but I am pretty happy with the result.

 

Weaving cloth

My youngest son says I have loom madness. I think I’ve just found my calling.

Since getting my 36″ rigid heddle loom for Christmas I have been weaving non-stop.

I signed myself up for some very helpful classes on Craftsy.com to help me master the craft more quickly. The first couple months I got a feel for some basics; warping the loom, making the edges even, and finishing the top and bottom ends off neatly.

I must say though, my favourite part is playing with colour and texture. I have woven some really nice plaids and stripes. My next project will be a check or a log cabin pattern.

I only have one reed and it is fairly large, so I initially only worked with number 4 yarn. It turned out nice but the resulting cloth is a heavier weight. I did some small placemets, then moved on to some larger pieces of the heavy cloth.

My husband calls this the camo plaid.

I made three pieces of it.

My hope is I can turn it into a cape style coat like another coat I have, but with a slightly different collar. I’ll be fiddling with making a pattern from that coat over the summer. No rush for a coat right now, after all.

 

I also made 165cm long piece of blue plaid. Initially I though it could be a table runner, but the number 4 yarn is too coarse.

I have a good amount of this yarn left so I may weave more and make myself another jacket. I found a pattern for this one. It’s a flapper style and I think it would look good with this fabric.

 

Then I decided I needed to branch out from the heavier cloths. In one of my craftsy videos the instructor mentioned that she doubles the warp thread for some cloth. So I bought a gorgeous number 1 yarn and doubled the warp threads.

This was my first doubled thread cloth made from the finer yarn. It is incredibly soft and it drapes beautifully.

I intended it to be a table runner, but it almost a shame to use it that way. At 36″ my loom makes cloth just barely wide enough to make a wrap.

This is for my mom, so she can decide.

 

This is the same yarn, different colours.

Again, made with a table linen in mind but certainly soft enough and just wide enough that is would make a nice wrap.

This one is for my mother-in-law’s 75th birthday.

I’m on a one week weaving hiatus right now, but I don’t expect it to last long. I have a large wicker basket full of yarn calling my name.

I have a gorgeous number 2 charcoal yarn I want to weave with, and some lovely pastel pink and blue number 4 cotton yarn I want to make a checkered fabric with. I have several balls of burgandy and cream number 4 yarn. I have orange. Navy. Taupe. Mustard. Light brown. Dark green. Bright red.

So many options!

I am going to watch the video for the log cabin pattern one or two times more then try some different weaving patterns, finger weaving, wrapping, and adding beads.

And I’m pretty sure I’m getting some add-ons for the loom this Christmas so it won’t end there.

 

Family portrait gallery – an amateur wall of family portraits

Tessa
Gudrun
Bernard

My home is my castle. And you know what castles have? Family portraits. Walls full of portraits.

I think my family is no less portrait worthy. And I love to play around with paints.

I am not an artist. I am at best a hobby painter.

Brothers
Darcy
Franco

I am working on a family portrait project.

The finished paintings will hang on the long wall at the top of the basement stairs.

It’s almost the only wall in the house that will accommodate them, and it’s on display enough that they won’t be a waste of time gathering dust but not so on display that I’ll have to answer questions about them.

Garrett
Mitchell

The catalyst for this particular project was a cute little picture I painted of my dog last year.

That picture of her now hangs at the top spot in the family portrait arrangement. She earned top spot. In dog years she was the senior family member. Plus since she passed away in February it puts her closer to heaven.

Jessica
Nicole

I’ve got a bunch done and hung in the stairway . Some of the pictures are better than others. One or two really capture their subjects well.

I accidentally set something on one of them when it was laying on my desk and punctured the canvas so I will have to try it again.

Averie
Arielle

When I complete the set I may go back and attempt a couple others to see if I can make them better.

I am also still working on them. On my easel right now I have my last nefew and a picture of my siblings and I as kids.

 

April
Carly

Practice makes perfect, so maybe this will help me develop some style and some skill.

Mostly though, it’s just something else for me to dabble in. Another hobby for me.

Kris
Gavin and 3 siblings – in progress

I have many hobbies; so many hobbies in fact that I may begin telling people I am a professional hobbiest.

What do you think? Should I get business cards? Darcy L Hoover, Certified Professional Hobbiest.

 

 

The habits and hobbies I keep – stitching memories

tessa-inspirationIn March of 2005 I spotted a skinny, mangy, lonely puppy in the corner of a kennel. She was there in Petcetera with a dog rescue group. The group was trying to find homes for four rescue pups. In the other corner a crowd watched three furry, beautiful white husky pups tumble in play.

Tessa Beloved family member 2005 - 2017
Tessa
Beloved family member
2005 – 2017

I was drawn to the sad eyes in the corner. I could read her mind. She knew she was not what the crowd wanted. I’ve never been one for crowds.

I took her home that day, and I helped her recover from the mange and fed until she was healthy girl. Over the last 12 years she has been my shadow. Under foot. In the doorway. Waiting at the door.

On February 11, 2017 my beloved dog Tessa took her last breath. I woke up at 7 a.m. and looked over at her bed. She was motionless.

Dogs don’t live forever. Nothing does. I know that. But habits die hard. Going downstairs in the morning and not letting her out the door to pee. Going
out to shovel the walk and calling her to join me. Going to bed at night and calling her upstairsfamily-fence for bedtime. Going out to buy groceries and not saying “Bye bye Tessa, be a good girl” as I close the door. Coming in the door and not exclaiming “Hello Tessa!” Laughing as she tries to sit pretty until I take off my shoes while she waits for her hugs. Frying bacon and turning to watch the dog come around the corner.

Habits die hard because they bring us happiness. So do memories. To that end…

I carved her into the family fence in the garden a couple years ago. I painted her portrait last year. We had the vet make us a paw imprint that I will place beneath her likeness in the garden. This morning I added her to my 365 day embroidery challenge. I’m planning in my head how I can sculpt her likeness.

So while I know there is no way that her absence won’t change the way I go through my day, I can insert her into all the other things I do so that she will always be a part of the habits and the hobbies I keep.

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