I don’t know about everyone else, but not much has changed in our quiet life. I do miss sushi and fish and chips. And I’m wishing I could get rid of all the junk we still have lurking about. Most of all I really miss being able to get together with my family this Easter weekend to eat turkey and mashed potatoes and yack our heads off like we always do. Sigh. Most everyone is in the same boat I’m sure. I am eternally grateful that we have a home and enough to go on with. I know not everyone is so privileged and there are a whole lot of folks out there on the front lines keeping things together and taking care of essential services. A hearty thank you to all of you for your efforts on everyone’s behalf! You are truly appreciated from the bottom of our hearts. Along with what sounds like half the city, we go out on the front porch every evening at 7pm and clap and whistle and yell our heads off to let our carers know!
Meanwhile back in our semi-lockdown, spring seems to be appearing faster than I expected. It’s still been cold at night – just a few degrees Celsius above freezing – but the days have been sunny and getting warmer. We’ve been taking our exercise walkabout in mid-morning when it’s quiet and easier to keep our distance from others. Just around the local residential streets and occasional back alley we’re averaging about 5 or 6 kilometres. The spring flowers and shrubs and especially the cherry trees are spectacular! They’re a little late this year but worth the wait.
The garden is slowly being tamed. The peas and asparagus are coming up and I got the early Asian greens (bok choy, gai lan, mizuna) that I grew to little seedlings into their home bed. Next in will be the baby kale and cabbages but first I have to finish preparing their spots. I’ve been diligently repotting everything into larger flats so nobody will be in too big of a hurry to be transplanted. I have to schlep them out of the house every day, some to go on the deck and some in the greenhouse. And then back every evening. It’s a lot of work! Thank you, Past Me, for thinking ahead and getting lots of bags of seedling and potting soil as well as all my garden seeds before the pandemic hit. It was a good move! There’s lots of work we can do here before we need to order any other garden supplies. Apparently they’ve been really busy with online and phone orders for curbside pickup. Lots of people stuck at home are obviously planning gardens this year.
So what else? I wasn’t feeling like sewing. Not even masks. (Shhh…don’t tell anyone I have a secret stash of N95 masks…okay, one small box of a half dozen. They are part of our safety equipment for dyeing and woodworking.) I hate wearing a mask unless absolutely necessary because it clashes totally with my glasses and hearing aids. Ugh. There’s enough going on at the back of my ears already! And even with the good ones I feel like I can’t breathe. And my nose itches abominably. Also, have you noticed that many (most?) people are not using masks correctly. Touching their mask, pulling it down, wearing it again without cleaning it properly etc. etc. They might as well not bother. It becomes more of a polite social gesture rather than a functional protection for anyone. However that said, I might wear a mask myself the next time we need to go grocery shopping, which won’t be for a couple of weeks at least. People are NOT maintaining their distance or following the basic rules in the store. Grrrr…what is it you don’t understand about people are actually dying here? Who made you immune?
Whew. Sorry. Guess I have issues and I’m not anything resembling a germaphobe. I am definitely an elder though. Turning the Big Seven Oh this year. We’re the most vulnerable demographic. And in my experience the older people are the ones who are doing the most to be careful and considerate. Younger people seem to be the ones breezing past me, pressing the crossing light buttons with their bare hands, not conceding the sidewalk to keep their two metres/two yards apart and generally acting like it’s all fine. The good news is that families with kids at home are spending way more time than usual with them. They mostly seem to be having fun chalking exercise games on the sidewalk, riding their bikes together, taping up hearts and rainbows and posing bears in their windows. Okay, be positive. We’ll get through this.
Meanwhile, back in the studio, I’ve been weaving. Yes, folks, I’ve finally remembered how to use my loom. Amazing, huh? Not without incident though. I decided to make some new dish towels since the selection in this house is rapidly thinning (literally!) I’m not going to buy any new supplies so it’s all about using what I already have in the stash. For once I actually went to my magazine shelves and in the first Handwoven (May/June 2013) that I looked at found the perfect towel pattern! Serendipity. The structure is four-block four-shaft Summer & Winter, a variation which uses only 4 shafts and 6 treadles but manages to look much more complex than it is. I dug out 6 fruity colours of 2/8 unmercerised cotton for the warp and used those plus whatever else I thought might work for the wefts.
Unfortunately it was only after weaving 3/4 of a towel that I discovered an error in the threading.
Now of course I can’t UNsee it but it was definitely not obvious in among all those colours! So I finished weaving that towel and cut it off, fixed the error which was only 3 threads, retied on and got back to work on the next towel. I couldn’t wait to see what it looked like completely finished so I sewed up the hems on the first towel and washed and dried it in the machine.
You can see better how I used two colours in the weft for each two blocks of treadling. After the first block they automatically switch places so for the second block the tabby becomes the pattern and the pattern becomes the tabby. It’s surprising how different they look! I found that nearly any colour combination worked as long as there was enough value contrast. This means that I can use up a whole lot of random partial tubes of 2/8 cotton and still get beautiful towels. Win-win, I’d say! I can’t stop gazing at it. And attempting to ignore the glitch. Heh. The second towel is going much better. I think my body is getting into the rhythm now.