Cozy Snow Day
Early March News from the Farm
Hello Colorful Friends:
We had about 10” of beautiful snow when we woke up Saturday morning. It’s one of those stay inside cozy days. We lost power for several hours. Thank goodness we have a wood stove to use when the furnace doesn’t run. And a gas stove that will work when the power is out for tea and coffee. The pantry is stocked and the cats will be snuggling into all the woolen blankets that dot the chairs. We have more cats than most and I find it so interesting that every winter, each finds their very own special place to take naps. Pretty soon, they’ll be outside patrolling the field and looking for snacks.
(Meredith Gray is sleeping on handmade pillows including the Turkish Leaves PDF Pillow Pattern, a Mola pillow, and a blockprinted Indian pillow)
Keeping any food or beverage warm in our house during the winter is a challenge. As old-fashioned as they may be and as irrelevant to modern life as they seem to most, I use a cozy every morning. My morning drink of choice is French Roast Coffee brewed in a French Press with a nice amount of warmed milk. I always make enough for 2 cups because I like a pick me up at lunch. I wrap my French Press in one of my handknit cozies. Here’s a handknit version from my new PDF collection that can easily be whipped up in a few hours.
In the afternoon and evening, a pot of tea is in order. Enter the tea cozy. Here’s a pattern for a handknit cozy that is worked in the round with a striped top. At the tippy top, I finished it with a fun knitted knob that is stuffed with odd bits of wool. When knitting was complete, I added some lazy daisies for a bit of fun. Tea cozies make great gifts along with a selection of your favorite tea.
Thanks so much for last week’s response to my kooky patched barn sweater and the thoughts about mending. I’m seeing more and more mending on the internet. Definitely a growing trend. It makes me happy that people are starting to think about over consumption and about reusing and repairing things, and composting. I’ve long been a use and re-use kind of gal - so much that my family rolls their eyes at me. I am now the eccentric aunt in the family who is wearing the same repaired clothes from twenty years ago. Someone had to step up, right?
I was doing a bit of shuffling of things in the basement and I stumbled upon this piece of patchwork Indian chain stitch embroidery. Several of the embroidered patches were lifting off the base fabric. (I think they had been kind of glued on.) Using my sewing machine and some red thread I sewed them all down to the cotton backing. The machine stitching is undetectable. Someone commented on one of my posts on Instagram that I must have been Indian in my past life. Maybe? I am so inspired by all the colors and fabrics handmade in India. I’m going to make this panel into a pillow.
I’ve been thinking about how fortunate my family and I are to be living in the US. The war in Ukraine has shown what it’s like to lose a home and for your life to be uprooted and changed forever. The strength of those people is amazing. When I first heard about the Russian invasion and the destruction of homes and apartments, my first thought was for the women who hold their families together, cook for them and care for them. Because of my love of handmade textiles, when there is a natural or man made disaster, I think about the handmade heritage of the lost villages and people that are plundered and destroyed. The loss of the beauty and art is so sad. Even though I do not know people in these far off lands, I feel a kinship with them as we all share a love and need to make beautiful and useful things with our hands. Here is an account I follow on Instagram that frequently posts beautiful Ukrainian embroidered textiles and headdresses. I wonder if any of these people and their embroidered costumes have survived.
When the war just began, there was a lot of talk about an artist named Maria Prymachenko whose many paintings were destroyed in the beginning of the war. Maria was a folk artist who was self taught. Her bio is so interesting. Here’s a 1 minute film about her. This painting is one of my favorites but seriously - there are so many.
This morning I opened a plastic storage tub that I’ve been staring at all winter. In it I found this.….
……..along with a pretty large piece of an unfinished hexagon crochet blanket. It’s my project for the weekend while the snow falls down.
Here they are sorted by color…… Definitely a little heavy in some colors and I’m sure there will be leftovers for next winter’s blanket.
Here is the free pattern for the Hexagon Afghan available on my blog.
Here are some links you may find interesting…….
• Here’s a felted tea cozy pattern I designed back in 2006. It was featured on Knitty.com.
• Recently I’ve really been enjoying listening to podcasts. A couple weeks ago, I discovered Print is Dead via Gael Towey’s Instagram feed. I love magazines and books to death — STILL. When I was working for CEY, I was in charge of all the publishing, graphics and design. When I began in 1984, things like paste-up and Letraset were my tools. After a few years, the Mac and desktop publishing became available. I learned PageMaker, QuarkXpress, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Indesign. The Print is Dead podcast interviews creative folks who worked in print - from editors to photographers and more. There’s a lot of talk about times past but I do love the backstory to the publications that were very important to my development at a designer. I’m talking Martha Stewart Living (Gael Towey’s interview) and MetHome (Dorothy Kalin’s interview). So far all the interviews have been fascinating.
• I’m also enjoying the Amazon Prime video series Clarkson’s Farm. It’s very entertaining. As someone who lives on a livestock farm, I know how darn difficult it is to run any kind of farm — produce or livestock. The series is funny and real and no matter if you like Jeremy Clarkson or not, it is an eye-opener for the general public to learn of the many real life struggles farmers face. Evidently it is a worldwide hit.
• According to the Boston.com (a subsidiary of the Boston Globe), knitting and crochet are on the rise. “It used to be kind of old-fashioned sweaters, and people….learned to knit from grandma, or their mother. Now it’s a new ballgame.” I’m old enough to have heard this from new generations of knitters several times over my lifetime. Every new generation of knitters seems to think they invented it and are the only ones to have brought young energy to it. Thank goodness for that so that it keeps changing and continuing.
• Here’s another podcast to listen to via the BBC….. A lovely story about a sailor who meets a chicken in the Canary Islands and they sail around the world together for 5 years. He named her Monique. Sadly, Monique recently passed away at her forever home in France. Here’s an article for you to read if you don’t have time to listen. You can’t make this stuff up.
I hope you are having a nice weekend no matter where you are spending it and that you are safe and warm.
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