Learning to fly

March. The month, not the action.

This week my girls went back to school, and for the first time in years they are both at the same school. However it will only be for a year; this is the last year of school for my oldest. Her last year, and turning 18 in a few months, has made me slow down and focus on her. She is flapping and fluffing her wings with the thought of university, and the possibility of studying away. I would love to keep her close, but I know I have to teach her how to fly.

My youngest is adjusting to her new teacher and classmates, while taking over my studio creating in the evenings and weekends. With the confidence I gained last year in the craft fairs, and with a lot of help and encouragement from my youngest, I finally converted one of the rooms in the old cheese building into a sales room.

The room is the closest to our house and for years we have used it to store our excess “stuff”. The room really needed a clean, and this was partly my reason for converting it into a store. I took “before” pictures, but it is very embarrassing how bad it had gotten! I am a hoarder!

before corner

Before

after corner

After

before window

Before

after window

After

For now it is not open as a store but it is available to show my, (and my youngest’s) work. And we are full of dreams of opening on the weekends!

little store

I have also been busy dyeing wool in my solar oven and making neck warmers with chunky hand spun and recycled silk. I am lucky that my Dad likes silk shirts and that they don’t last him forever!

neckwarmer

neckwarmer2

With March here it is also time for a visit to Santiago and my eye doctor. I will have another scan and check up, to see if my nevus has grown.  The first year with my nevus/melanoma was difficult and scary. However, when I learned it was stable, for some reason I felt better prepared; stronger and braver for the day when I do have to fight it (if I do). I learned how to talk about Cancer. I think that was the hardest part, being able to talk to people and not have them react with dread, fear, pity, when all I wanted was to talk.

But why did this happen to me? I believe things happen for a reason, and when my mother-in-law was diagnosed with bowel cancer late last year, I was the “cold one” she could talk to. I was the one who could say Cancer, and let her say Cancer without everything crumbling around her. I love her dearly, and I know she is scared, but I hope I am helping with my “practical” ways.

Her doctor is very positive, the tumour was found and identified early, (no thanks to the first doctor she saw, who sent her home with a cream saying it was just an old person’s complaint, luckily she didn’t agree and went for a second opinion). She wanted to tell her family in her own time, and that is why I didn’t post earlier.

Two weeks ago she travelled to Valparaiso to start her radiation and chemotherapy. She will be there for about six weeks. My husband and oldest are going to visit her this weekend, with her daughters visiting the weekends after. My husband phones her every afternoon, and she says she is doing okay, and I know (like so many women I know here) she is strong. But even with her strength, and wanting to protect her children, I hope she will let them take care of her for a while.

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Felted Christmas gifts

As well as spinning, wool can be used for felting and over the past three weeks I have been playing with felt to make scarves for Christmas gifts.  Wet felting is done by criss-crossing layers of wool and then agitating them with soap and water until they form a fabric.  There are books and information on the internet, but this is just an account of how I have been doing my experiments!

Wet felting is usually done on bubble wrap but I used a foam sheet which also works.  It helps to have a large table that you can get wet.  I have been using a merino/silk blend with a contrasting or complimenting colour sandwiched in the middle.  The silk zig-zags across the scarf like lightening.

I start by gently opening the merino/silk top and laying it on the foam.

Merino/silk blend laid out

Then I lay the contrasting colour (shades of blue) at a right angle to the merino/silk.

Depending on how thick I want the scarf I put more or less wool over the merino/silk blend.

When there is enough contrasting colour I lay another strip of merino/silk blend on top.

I then gently pour water and soap over the entire scarf and press it down so that all the wool is wet.

Next I fold the foam over the top and roll the scarf up.

I gently roll and unroll the scarf from both ends.  I work gently, rubbing and turning the scarf until I can feel the fabric forming and the scarf is holding together.  I then lift it off the foam.

And gently scrunch it up to felt it more.  This is where it shrinks the most.

I lay it out to see how the scarf is forming.

And when I am happy I rinse it and let it dry.

Finished lightening scarf.

This one I have made for myself and scarves with different colour combinations for gifts, (in case anyone checks out my blog)!  I like that these are quick to make, (compared to knitting and weaving) and the silk looks spectacular in the sun.