Friday, 27 July 2007

Pattern Notcher

This is the coolest tool I've had in a long time. It is a pattern notcher. Notches on a pattern tell you where to line up the edges of the pattern pieces, so you can get them to fit together correctly. This little punch tool make the notches simple to make on a home made pattern. It also makes the home made brown paper pattern look so professional just by the merit of having lovely, even and accurate notches!
It was a birthday present. I'm thrilled. It was one of the most thoughtful, extremely useful and fun gifts I've received in ages. I've already tried it out :) It is totally something I would have never bought for myself.
Thank you!

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Drum Carders

I'd been sending out my fleeces to get professionally processed. The problem is that some of them come back, not being exactly what I had expected or hoped for before I sent them out. I was okay with this as I'm spinning to weave with and although I love combing, I find that I can't comb quickly enough to keep up with spinning to weave with.
However my beloved spinning wheel has been acting up lately. It has gotten noisy, squeaky and cranky, despite my constant oiling and adjusting. For my birthday, I'd gotten the go ahead to look for a replacement. Hubby was sidelined this weekend with a separated shoulder and while sitting around trying to keep the shoulder immobile, he took a good look at the wheel and decided that when he's finally able to move again, he'll take it apart, reassemble it and for under $50, he can have it running as good as new! Since I couldn't decide on what wheel I wanted to replace it with... Lendrum... Kromski .... Lendrum.... Kromski... Schacht? What it means is I can give in to my DRUM CARDER LUST! I've started looking around at drum carders. I think I've got it narrowed down to either a Strauch or Pat Green drum carder.
All this decided just a couple of days before I leave for holidays. Oh the pain of it all :)
I've no idea which one to choose, although perhaps the Pat Green has a slight advantage being a Canadian company and all.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Garden Goodies

This is a picture of my first real harvest from the garden. A yummy green pepper. An unknown cultivar of tomato. All I know is that it wasn't a Beefsteak variety. A handful of raspberries which promptly got eaten. A single serving of yellow beans and some basil and thyme. All got eaten for dinner tonight.
It has been an odd summer weather-wise, with late frosts and little rain. The Golden Rod is just about blooming, which is a little early and the Rudebekia as well. I lost a few of the herbs due to lack of moisture, despite my watering them regularly . The woad should have yielded at least one harvest already, but not yet. On the plus side, the Madder has flowered and is producing berries. Yay! I'm really hoping that my home grown Madder will produce better reds than my current source. I'm able to get awesome oranges, corals, salmons and rusty colours with this stuff, just not brilliant red. I was also able to harvest enough Golden Margeurite to do a small dye bath this year. The flowers are in the freezer until I get back from holidays.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Cherry Jam

I bought a pail of pitted sour cherries since finally, Ontario locally grown cherries are available. I then spent the better part of the day making cherry jam. I miscalculated earlier in the season with Ontario grown strawberries and ended up with 21 jars of strawberry jam. I used larger jars this time, so it doesn't seem quite as much. This jam is miles better than the strawberry, so I don't mind at all. My middle son keeps asking when peach season is as peach jam absolutely rocks. Of course I keep forgetting that I don't have 4 hungry little kids at home any more and the adults and teens don't seem to eat quite as much jam. Did you notice the little almost empty jar on the left? That was what everyone had to sample for lunch today, along with fresh bread and brie, mmmmm.

Friday, 6 July 2007

The Pink Cushion

I was asked by a friend to make a cushion for another friend. Well, voluntold would be the real word. My services were offered by someone I like and respect, so I didn't mind at all. It was to be a special upholstery job for the new Princess of Ealdormere. Ealdormere is most of the heavily populated areas of Ontario, Canada, from Ottawa to Sarnia and North to Sudbury. It is a Kingdom in a medieval historical re-creation group known as the Society for Creative Anachronism.
The initial contact suggested it was just a small cushion or a cushion cover, although when I actually talked to Princess Kayla, she cheerfully showed me the actual throne cushion which was to be in pink, instead of red.
I then spent a couple of weeks a) figuring out how to upholster b) documenting a suitable shade of pink and c) making it with my fingers crossed that it would be tasteful. Kayla loved it. I was thrilled with how it turned out. I think I achieved tasteful and large pink trillium cushion in the same sentence. It looks far better on the actual throne than on my sofa!