Where has the sun gone?

First it rained.

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Sheldon isn’t bothered by the rain

Then the sun came out and everything turned green and beautiful.

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And then the sun went away, and we have been left with cold, wet, grey days.

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June2013a

We are accustomed to misty mornings and grey days, but we haven’t seen the sun in over a week. Clothes are not drying on the laundry line, children are staying home with colds, and where ever you go, people are complaining about the cold.

We are lucky, we have a wood burning stove that keeps us warm. But most businesses, schools and homes do not have heating, so I have been knitting and weaving for my family.

scarf

 

A warm hug of wool to keep loved ones warm on these grey days.

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3er Observatorio Cultural

This is just a quick post to tell everyone what a great time I had at my first craft fair last weekend.

It was the 3rd Observatorio Cultural.  This is a group of artists and crafters using a public space to show and sell their work. The idea is to only sell and display work made by the participants, and not “imported” crafts from other areas.  (Some of the craft fairs here in La Serena sell a lot of imported stuff that is lowering the definition of crafts).

This Encuentro tries to demonstrate the value of hand made objects. We do this during the two days by giving free classes and showing how our products are made.

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That is why I went with my wheel and spent a lot of time spinning!

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There was a lot of lovely people and crafts, and a great atmosphere.

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Many people stopped to ask about spinning and told me stories of their mothers or grandmothers spinning with drop spindles. I think my hand spinning generated a lot of nostalgia.

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Obsv3

I didn’t plan on selling much, (I didn’t have much), but was pleasantly surprised when I did sell some of my woven articles.

There are a lot more photos and videos on the organiser’s facebook page, Creatif, and I hope I will be able to participate again.

3er Observatorio Cultural; their third, my first

Their third, my first

This is a cultural gathering of artists and crafters. I will have a stand and be giving free mini-classes to kids on how to spin wool with a drop spindle.

There will be lots of beautiful hand made objects and free classes, and good vibes, and kids, and fun!

Oh, and I am so excited!

Been writing forever

December 29 1982, I spent the entire day in my pyjamas and leg warmers, (probably a Christmas gift), and played with my plasticine and our Texas Instrument computer. I also counted the number of cats in our neighbourhood, nine. I had just turned 12 a few days before.

I know this titbit from my past because on December 25 1982 I was given my first Diary. The first entry began with a headache, bad spelling, and the mention of a cute boy. I kept a diary or journal, (basically following those same themes), up until my first daughter was born. Choose any day in the 80’s and I can tell you what I was doing, maybe even the state of the world – if it included a cute boy.

My diary soothed me, it helped me “talk out” my problems. All those things that teenagers find so dramatic, my diary helped me put into perspective. And even though I do not use this blog as a diary, it still allows me to untangle my feelings, like with my last post. I said what I needed to say about my eye and cancer, and now I can let my freckle just be, (at least until July and my next appointment).

So moving on to wool. The weaving class with my husband’s company has started again after the summer break. We have a new teacher and we are going to make woven wall hangings. In our first class we experimented with weaving cloth strips; an old shirt, a sock, scraps of fabric.

Fabric

I have also been teaching my neighbour how to spin in exchange for some wool from her sheep, (softer than mine). Here is some yarn I spun with her wool, as well as some woven key rings that I am making.

Project

I like the key rings, but need to give them a test run to see how robust they are.

Keychains

A few weeks ago I made a large rectangle nail loom and I have been using that to make shawls and ponchos.

Ponchoweb

More pictures of these can be seen on my facebook page. I started this page because I found that many Chilean crafter’s use facebook to advertise, communicate, and generally connect.

I will use it mainly for pictures and small updates, and keep my blog for when I need to “talk”.

Stitching, something new

I love colour. I love coloured wool and yarn. I love all the beautiful ways yarn and wool can be used to make art, (except maybe crochet, I just can’t get my hands to work comfortably in this medium, sorry).

A couple of years ago I learned some stitching techniques with my mother-in-law. I liked the idea of sitting and stitching and I loved how variegated yarns looked in the different stitches. However, when I used my own hand spun, the yarn wasn’t consistent enough to look nice, and so I put the stitching to one side.

While I was in Santiago having my eye examined, I found a small shop that sells stitching kits. Esterillas is located in Pueblo del Ingles, and has a great selection of stitching yarns, patterns and kits. They range from small, child friendly kits to complex pillows and floor coverings.

I bought two simple kits, made with thicker wool, for my daughters. My youngest jumped right in with her cousin, and my oldest daughter says she will try it…soon.

And for myself I bought a more complicated pillow cover.

Flower

I am not sure if I am using the correct stitch, some look the same at the front but the back is worked differently. But I love the colours and watching it grow.

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The best part is I can see how very simple designs can be made beautiful depending on the yarn. I used some of my solar dyed yarn, (the pale yarn) in a simple square pattern and I really like the effects. Reminds me of geological maps.

Squares

With what I have learned I am going to spin and dye some wool for stitching. I think my spinning has improved enough to use, and the subtle changes in solar dyeing will look great.

Nothing flashy, just busy

I know, everyone wants to know… how were the rest of the birthdays…more headaches, sweet sixteen tantrums, presents finished on time?

Well, no, no and no.  No migraines, but my youngest had a fever and nightmares with a cold for my husband’s birthday, and we took my oldest out for lunch for her sweet sixteen and it was really, spectacularly bad! (we were trying a new restaurant and her pasta tasted like canned spaghetti)

I haven’t finished her fingerless mitts yet either, but I did manage to turn

this hand spun yarn

into these fingerless mitts.

Darwin showing how comfy the mitts are

Darwin’s sister Florence, (camera shy)

I made these with two squares woven on the continuous square loom. With another two squares I also made a neck warmer.

Florence

Neck warmer and mitts

Sweet sixteen

I have also been spinning for a display at my youngest daughter’s school. The school hosted the Third Ecological Reunion of Rural Schools.

I showed my wool dyed in solar ovens as well as promoting the weaving class that I am teaching.  At the moment there are about 15 mothers participating.  I am pleased how popular the classes are and the interest and creativity being developed in the different things we are making with the “squares”.

solar dyed wool and yarn

Solar dyed wool spun then plied with grey wool

The children are always interested in seeing how yarn is made, and a couple had a go with my drop spindle.  So even though I caught my daughter’s cold, and have been snuffling and sneezing, I think June is finishing fine.

Pale colours

I feel like I am at a point when I have to make decisions.  What direction do I want to go with my animals and wool; production or teaching, to earn a living or to educate.

I don’t really have to make any decisions, nothing has happened that demands change, but I feel things moving and I am not sure which way the compass will point.

So while I am thinking, here is a picture of the wool I dyed last week in the solar oven.  Very pale colours, but they look pretty together and I think when it is spun it will be a bit stronger.

 

Pale colours

The Carded batt is the onion skins, next going clockwise is the avocado skins, then the ivy and then the eucalyptus leaves.  In the middle is the original white wool.  Very subtle, 🙂

And here is a some knitting that I am doing for my daughter.

Fingerless mitts

I had better get knitting if they are to be a birthday gift!