Being the continuing story of my creations and curiosities.

Monday, May 25, 2009

I’m Glad I’m Not Yarn Harlot

Poor Stephanie! She travels so much that pretty much anything annoying that can happen while doing so has happened to her: lost luggage, missed flights, lost cab drivers, crazy airport security and so on. I would not be able to handle it with the same aplomb as she does. Since I’m currently in that state which T-Man calls “Packing Mode” all I can think about is that everything for the Three Grannies’ Road Trip to Spokane goes as smoothly as possible. So far I haven’t even actually packed much because we don’t leave for 2 more sleeps. But I’m thinking about it and the list is long! We don’t have much room in Beryl’s car so I’m trying to keep it down, but I need a crazy amount of stuff for a week at a weavers’ conference. I’m famous for bringing everything, often including the kitchen sink. Better to have something and not need it than to need something and not have it. That’s my motto. Not only do I need a spinning wheel and Kirsten needs a table loom (and all their accoutrements) but we’re also bringing all the pieces to assemble our guild’s display booth. Where are we going to find any room for clothes? Or the three of us, for that matter?

It’s going to be lots of fun though. I get to be Navigator and will try valiantly not to get us lost. I’ve never been to Spokane before and no, we don’t have a GPS. However, I can read maps – as long as they are halfway accurate. Sometimes they omit important info such as the exit we need is on the left side of the 6-lane freeway instead of the customary right! Oy!

Well, I’ve got to go do more last-minute stuff such as put up the strings for my scarlet runner beans which are coming up. They grow fast so they’ll need something to climb on very soon. I hate to leave all my baby plants but I’m just going to have to trust T to take care of them as best he can when he’s not working. I also need to wind some yarn skeins into balls for travel knitting. Of course I pack the important crafty stuff first and then the clothes fit into any room left in the suitcase. You can always survive with one less pair of pants but not one less ball of yarn than you need to finish a project! Though Google Maps says the trip is only 6 hours and 29 minutes, we’re breaking it up into 2 days of traveling. Obviously that time estimate doesn’t include border crossing, potty breaks, food stops and Granny Fatigue! So that’s a fair amount of knitting time I’ll have available. When I’m not reading maps and watching for elusive exits.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Get ’Em While They’re Hot

Time is fast approaching when I’ll be heading to Spokane for the ANWG conference “Weaving Waves of Color”. I’ve been trying to get as much done as possible before next Wednesday, chief of which is getting all my seedlings planted in the garden. For that I had a little help:

LittleGardener1 LittleGardener2

Princess Pink (aka Lala, which is what her brother calls her) was a huge help tucking the tomatoes in the soil in the greenhouse, patting them down and sprinkling on some bone meal. Then she helped keep the leaves unbent while I placed the cages over top. Stargazer (aka Baby, which is what he insists his name is!) helped with some of the watering but he mostly wanted to fill the watering can with pebbles from the greenhouse path. Then after he got tired of that he made mud paintings on the granite stepping stones. We had a great time! You can tell T-Man and I spent some time yesterday cleaning the acrylic windows or you wouldn’t be able to see us through the algae and walnut pollen that had been coating them.

I remember helping my dad in the garden too which is where I learned to enjoy getting my hands dirty. Then when our kids were small we always encouraged them to help with our veggie patch. They still recall fondly the one on our rental apartment’s garage roof. You had to walk the plank 10 feet off the ground to get to it! Now they have their own gardens. I’m sure my grandkids will also pick up the green thumb. All it takes is a little…OK, a lot of patience while letting them help you plant and water and weed. Gotta get ‘em hooked while they’re young and impressionable, I say. Works for some things anyway.

So now I’m writing lists and planning the packing for my trip. I need so many items including a spinning wheel and a pillow and at least one or two knitting projects. We also have to bring the items for our guild’s display booth which we will have to set up and take down. With luggage for the three of us plus the wheel and a table loom, the car will be heavily laden. I can picture an oversized 3-D Tetris game trying to fit it all in. Have I mentioned that I’m by far the youngest member of our little trio of grandmothers? This should be quite the adventure.

One thing I’m happy about is that I’ll be able to get a fast Internet connection at the university dorm. That way I’m hoping to be able to at least get some short blog posts out while it’s all going on. However it all depends on how much time I’ll have available and whether or not I can get enough sleep to be functional! It’s like a big pajama party crossed with a high school reunion and all wrapped in an overdose of fibres and inspiration. Luckily I’ve been to enough of these things that I’m not so easily overwhelmed. I’ve learned how to pace myself and to choose what is most important to me rather than to try to take in everything, which is impossible really. I bet I’ll still find something in the vendor hall that I must have, even though you’d think by now I have everything fibre that one could want. The vendor hall is always my favourite part of these things. Well, that and visiting with dear friends old and new.

On another note entirely, I really had a great time watching the videos that XRX have provided of their huge Think Outside the Sox contest. The first one with the judges Cat Bordhi, Lucy Neatby and Sandi Rosner is over 16 minutes and very insightful. On my computer they each segued into the next automatically which made it feel like I was watching a TV show! I think it was very interesting that the Grand Prize winning socks, the ones with leopard spots, used hand-dyed yarns for her carefully charted 2-colour knitting and then the third colour was hand-painted in the centre of each spot. Check out the secret message in the hem! I wasn’t that impressed with these socks until I found out more of the details of Betty Salpekar’s inspiration and techniques. Impressive.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I Am An Arteeest

Have you ever tried to write an Artist’s Statement? I usually find it enough trouble just trying to read and understand somebody else’s! It is so hard not to make it sound pompous, twee or just plain stupid. Here’s the one I came up with. Laugh if you will. It’s still subject to change, which of course will probably make it even worse.

CHAL1aPapyrine (Tree-Hugger)

I think my passion for fibre was born with me. I learned to knit as a little girl and have never stopped making things using all the many techniques I’ve absorbed over the years. When challenged to create a piece using paper, I took up my knitting needles and turned the thin continuous strip back into a tree, complete with roots and leaves. Painting the plain white shape with fibre-reactive dyes gave it colours to blend into the forest. Now it is capable of wrapping around and bestowing a hug.

Are you rolling around on the floor busting a gut yet? Note that I absolutely hate “artspeak” so I was trying for straightforward simplicity. I had an even harder time with the CV that’s also required to submit my piece. Too much happening over too long a time span with nothing really standing out as worth boasting about. Told you I wasn’t really an artist. Craftspeople don’t have to justify their work. It speaks for itself. However if I want this piece to get in the show, I have to fake it somehow!

For those who live close enough or will be visiting Vancouver, here is some of the information on the exhibit:

BC – Jeonju Hanji Culture Festival – 2009
Fibre, Naturally
Paper Like You Have Never Seen it Before

The exhibit, Fibre, Naturally, will take place at Emily Carr University, Granville Island, in the Concourse Gallery from August 10 through 16, 2009. Pieces from the exhibit will then travel to the Port Coquitlam Visual Arts Centre for 3 weeks, and to Fibre Works Gallery on the Sunshine Coast also for 3 weeks, through to Sept 13, 2009.

The Craft Council of BC will host a Gala Fundraiser in the Concourse Gallery on Tuesday evening, August 11. On the Wednesday evening the Canadian Society for Asian Arts will present a free lecture on Hanji paper, given by Sang Jae Nam, and there will be demonstrations of the joomchi paper making process in the foyer of the Concourse Gallery. There will also be a fashion show featuring extraordinary paper garments, including many specially brought from Korea, at Emily Carr Theatre on Granville Island, Thursday, August 13 at 7:30pm. Tickets are $20.00 and will go on sale to the general public in June.

We are exhorted to go to the Crafts Council of BC website for more information but it seems not to be up-to-date. The link for the Hanji exhibit is broken. And there is no information on the Emily Carr University website either. What is going on? Don’t they want anyone to know about this? Bug them, will ya? If Papyrine gets in, I want somebody to go see it!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Colour My World

Well, yesterday was definitely a good day to dye! And it took me nearly all day too. First up we have the On Your Toes bamboo/nylon sock yarn (that will not be socks!):

OYTBamboo_dyedAnd I got the deep warm red that I wanted with Procion MX fibre reactive dyes. I used quite a deep percentage – 3.5% of the 200g WOF: 3g of some old Scarlet, 2g of Carmine (a colour I can’t get locally anymore but it’s a fairly true red), 1g of new Scarlet (a different dye from the old one), .5g Black and .5g Gold Yellow = 7g total. It might have been overkill but I was determined to get a rich colour. The nylon seems to have taken the dye at least somewhat and the yarn held up very well to all the stirring and rinsing/simmering/rinsing. This is going to be my Ishbel scarf & tam.

Next I dyed the Papyrine wrap. I pre-soaked it in 2 litres of water with 2 tbsp of soda ash for half an hour (while I got the bamboo yarn going). Then I covered my long work table with plastic wrap and spread out the wrap. It just fit with the leaves and roots hanging off the edge! I mixed up the dyes without measuring very carefully, each about 1/2 tsp in 1/2 cup of water. I used Chino (from ProChem) and Rust, Brown and Moss (proprietary mixes from Maiwa). I painted the dye on with sponge brushes and then wrapped it up using more plastic wrap, popped it in a bucket in case of drips and put it under the grow lights for heat. I left it for a couple of hours and then rinsed, cold water first and then warmer. It didn’t take too many changes of water to run clear.

I blocked it with my new blocking wires on the rubber mats. That worked quite well though I had to be careful not to tear the paper when threading the wire through the tips of the leaves. After I got it all pinned out to my satisfaction I noticed:

Papyrine_holeYes, that is indeed a hole! Right in the middle. Sigh. I plan to fix it with some dyed paper yarn cannibalised from my earlier swatch (luckily I used the same dyes!) and a little glue to prevent it from coming apart again. I also had a couple of ends that escaped to be rethreaded back in. Otherwise I’m pretty happy with it.

Papyrine_block Papyrine_blockdet

I haven’t yet rescued it from its blocking wires so you’ll have to forgive the crappy photos, with (gasp!) flash. I can’t get the whole thing stretched out in one shot. The detail is the more accurate colour BTW.

So then I had a bunch of dye leftovers and I don’t like to waste it. I didn’t have anything else of a cellulose nature to be dyed so I quickly wound 5 balls of white Smart superwash DK into skeins and used the Procion like an acid dye. Mixing all the leftovers together I got the colour of brown hair (not too exciting) so I added some red dyestock I had (more leftovers) and got a rich red-brown:

Smart_dyedThis yarn will become a sweater for Stargazer for his 2.5 birthday in June. Yes, he still has half-birthdays because of his real birthday’s proximity to Christmas and New Years. So far he’s not old enough to discover this ruse. We’ll see how long it lasts, won’t we?

All in all I dyed nearly a pound of fibre and pretty much got the colours I was after. Then I went outside and dug in the front garden some more.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Good Day To Dye

PansiesI just love the colours in these little pansies! The way the purple back slips around gently into the rusty red which segues into the yellow centre with dark maroon stripes. Swoon. How would you copy that in dye without getting mud? Ma Nature, Master Dyer.

Well, I busted a gasket yesterday morning and spent several pleasant hours digging in the front garden before the rain started. Then with tired fingers I finished the last leaves and roots for Papyrine:

Papyrine_before So she’s all ready to dye today. It’s rather cool for the fibre reactive dyes I plan to use but I can tuck the whole package under the plant lights for heat enough to set the dye properly. This is my only chance to add colour to the seemingly endless white paper knitting (50 hours plus invested so far) so I sincerely hope I don’t screw it up. No, I definitely don’t want to leave it white – I want it to look more like a tree. Good thing I have over 40 years of dye experience, huh? Doesn’t mean I don’t still get surprises however!

I figure while I’ve got the Procion MX dyes out, I might as well try dyeing the 2 skeins of bamboo/nylon sock yarn at the same time. I have no idea how the nylon will react so it could be “interesting”. There are always compromises and surprises with these bi-component yarns where one is protein and the other cellulose. I’ll be trying for a more-or-less even colour in a dark warm brick red. I’d cross my fingers but that just makes it hard to work.

While the dyes are batching, I hope to get back outside for some more mucking about in the dirt. The sun is in and out of the clouds at the moment but it’s not supposed to rain. I have to have all my seedlings planted very soon so I can clear the greenhouse so I can plant the tomatoes in it. Whew! I’ve been holding the seedlings for too long in flats as it is. But the weather has not been cooperative and the garden isn’t ready to receive them yet. Despite all my hard work. Whine. Whine. so I had better get down to the dye studio pronto.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Life…

Life is just a bowl of All-Bran
You wake up every morning and it's there
So live as only you can
It's all about enjoy it 'cos ever since you saw it
There ain’t no one can take it away.

Thank you, Small Faces, for your lyrics! I bought their album “Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake”, a psychedelic fairy tale, back in 1969 when I was all of 18 and T-Man and I were already together. My album is long gone but I’ve been singing this little ditty ever since (in a really bad East London accent too). I think there’s a Universal Truth in there. OK, I know! It’s terminally silly. But work with me here. The world is too darn serious sometimes. Especially on Election Day in BC. Yes, of course I will be voting. Just waiting for T to come with me. If you don’t vote, you can’t bitch! And I’m suspecting some serious bitching will be in order as soon as the election is over since none of the parties have got it right to my way of thinking. But I digress.

I had a lovely time with the grand-beasties yesterday. My! Small children are exhausting! Noisy too. Even worse with my hearing aids on. We played Play-doh and built houses/cages/tunnels for the little plastic people and animals. Then there was some mad running around the coffee table and other hilarity. I managed to bow out of that exercise though. Stargazer’s leg is much better and he’s barely limping now. Princess Pink gave me a lovely weed…er, wildflower bouquet for Mother’s Day, tied with her very first knitting:

PP Knitting Of course she had a little help from her mom. (OK, a lot!) But I’m hopeful she will eventually become A Knitter. The rhyme about Jack does work! Oh, and here’s the rest of my bouquet:

PP Bouquet Or the top of it at least. It was nearly as tall as the giver. Came with its own earwig too! I’ve since evicted him to the great outdoors.

In answer to the comment from Suzanne yesterday: I’ve got 4 kinds of tomatoes. My usual Juliet, which are medium-sized cherry tomatoes but oval-shaped like a paste tomato. These have been very reliable for me over the last several years. I cut the final trusses off at the end of the season and let them ripen on the kitchen counter. We ate our last (rather dried-out) ones in December in soup. This year for variety I decided to try a combo pack of 3 heirloom varieties: Brandywine, Marvel Stripe and Green Zebra (which is apparently not really an heirloom). We’ll see how well they do in my greenhouse which sometimes gets too hot in August for good fruit set. BTW, you’re definitely welcome to a couple of my extra tomato plants, if you like! I always grow too many seedlings. There’s especially lots of extra Green Zebras because nobody seems to want them, poor things.

Going back to last week, I’ve been meaning to show you some detail photos of Jane Kenyon’s work that I took at her lecture last Wednesday. Took me long enough. Here’s Jane when I tried to take her photo:

JaneKenyon1 And here’s Jane when I finally got her to hold still for a moment:

JaneKenyon2 She’s such a sweetie! Jane’s designing begins with photos, paintings and mixed media pieces that she further manipulates in Photoshop until she gets an image she’s happy with. Common themes are stones, lichens, leaves, and graffiti. My photography (taken with her permission) doesn’t do her work justice at all, but here’s the middle of one piece that I totally love:

JK CreviceCrevasse It’s one of the Crevice/Crevasse series and also includes another favourite subject, lichen. Here’s a detail of another piece so you can see the individual stitches:

JK Detail Remember, Jane’s recent work totally consists of free-motion stitches and nothing else – except a label and hanging sleeve on the back. The cloth is surprisingly soft and flexible in the hand. She creates it completely on the sewing machine using heavy soluble stabiliser which is washed out at the end. There are two rayon embroidery threads in the needle and one in the bobbin. She changes colours constantly and layers the stitches to get this painterly effect. Here’s a larger view of the same piece, one of her series on palm leaf silhouettes:

JK PalmLeavesI couldn’t get far enough away for proper perspective because they were lying overlapping on a table so I apologise if this is somewhat distorted. Unfortunately I haven’t included the edges of the pieces which are gently wavy. Each of these particular pieces is about a metre square, just to give you the scale. It can take Jane several weeks of 10-hour days to stitch each one. And no, she doesn’t do housework! Just art. Sigh.

Paper knitting time! Gotta get the darn thing finished asap. Gee, now I’ve got a really persistent earworm stuck in my head. (No, not the earwig. He’s outside in the garden.) For your own personal earworm, see the Small Faces goofy video on YouTube here. Can you imagine modern bands having so much unselfconscious fun? Sadly Steve and Ronnie died in the ‘90’s, Steve in a house fire and Ronnie (aka Plonk) of multiple sclerosis. “It’s all about enjoy it” – ’cause stuff happens…

Give me those happy days toytown newspaper smile
Clap twice, lean back, twist for a while
Well now we've got the hang of it
There's nothing we can't do with it
And now we're very into it we can't go wrong!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Working Weekend

Well, there was some pleasure in it also! On Friday my friend Lauren and I went out to Langley to a yarn sale at 88 Stitches. It’s always fun to check out what a shop carries that’s different from the ones usually frequented. The staff were very welcoming and for the first day of a sale, it wasn’t crowded at all. I got away with under $100 worth: sock yarns in bamboo, bamboo/cotton and superwash wool plus some baby yarn and an impulse buy (thanks to some encouragement!) of Berroco’s Seduce in shiny gold. The latter will hopefully become a warm-weather necklace-type scarf. Now I know why they call it “Seduce” because it’s such a shimmery, slinky, luxurious yarn. And of course something that I can’t spin myself, which is my biggest criterion for yarn purchases. I’m now regretting not buying more of the On Your Toes bamboo sock yarn. It’s so seriously yummy. I got 2 balls of white so I can try to dye it, even though it’s a cellulose fibre plus nylon which dyes like wool. I plan to try it with Procion MX and see what happens. I want a deep warm brick-red.

One other thing I got (not on sale but cheaper than ordering it overseas) was the little booklet “Whimsical Little Knits” by Scottish designer Ysolda Teague. It’s even autographed! I was going to design my own version of the little scarfy-shawl Ishbel but now I have the pattern and the one for the matching beret. They would be a great use for the bamboo sock yarn, yes? I think I have enough! There are quite a few other cute patterns in this booklet too (little Mousie makes me wish I still had cats) so I’m sure I’ll be using it often. Ysolda is an amazing knitwear designer and she’s still so young! I know she will be one of the future big-name knitting “rock stars” since she seems well on the way there already.

So I got absolutely no knitting done on anything. I spent the whole weekend outside in the garden because the weather was lovely and mostly sunny but not hot. I got most of my deck pots planted – or at least partially planted – with the summer flowers. I also got the herb bed tidied up. But mostly I planted stepping stones which is a slow process. There’s still a whole bunch of them to go. At least once they’re in they are pretty much permanent. Did I mention that one of our neighbours gave us a bunch of smaller stones in a similar type that were left over from his path-building efforts? There should be enough to finish the garden now. He saved us from another trip to the stone supplier and about $50. Nice neighbour, huh?

T got a good chunk of the side fencing done while I was digging in the dirt. He couldn’t find the crushed limestone he likes to put in the posts so had to use a quick-setting concrete instead. This fence is not going anywhere! Hopefully it will be the last time we have to rebuild it in our lifetimes. Now he needs more wood before he can carry on. It’s never-ending, I swear.

I hope everyone who is a mom had a lovely Mother’s Day and those who still have a mom managed to tell her how much she is appreciated! I called mine and we had a lovely chat. Since we usually email it was nice to talk more freely and for much longer. Both my kids called me while I was out in the garden so I had messages on my answering machine to reply to. T-Man talked to his mom too so the day was duly celebrated without resort to cards or flowers! Neener-neener, Hallmark.

The grand-beasties are coming over shortly so I’d better get my weekend’s worth of dishes washed. I need to pass on some more of my plants for their veggie garden. I still have way too many tomatoes! It’s raining today anyhow so I get an enforced rest from planting rocks.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Odd Day

Yes, it is indeed an Odd Day – 5/7/09. Apparently this is a fairly rare occurrence, but since I’m math-impaired I’ll take their word for it. So celebrate, people! Methinks I’m odd enough already though I’m sure I can think of something even odder than usual to mark the occasion before the day is out.

So I’m heading off in a short while to my friend Cathie’s for the monthly Spectrum meeting. Hopefully this time I’ll be able to concentrate and get some play time with my Art Journal. Last month all I could think about was the Papyrine Shawl but since I’m reduced to knitting little leaves and roots at the moment, I think I’ll leave that at home. Besides I have to take the bus with all my stuff and I don’t want to risk getting the paper wet in the intermittent rain showers we’ve been having. I’m using my little wheelie pack because I have so much stuff to bring that I can’t carry the weight. It’s not too bad in a sprinkle but an extended rain will eventually seep through the nylon. Even though it’s not raining right this second, you just know it’s going to start again the minute I step out the door, don’t you?

The lecture last evening with Jane Kenyon was totally fun and inspiring! I can’t wait to try a thing or three for my Art Journal. She spends quite a bit of time with collage, painting and mixed media that often ends up as a design basis for her thread paintings. In her slides, she showed us the steps that the design goes through to the final piece: small artwork or photo, cut/paste/layer/colour in Photoshop, and then stitching, stitching and more stitching. I think everyone has patience for the things that they love but wow! The number of hours Jane spends at the sewing machine is truly amazing! Her final pieces are ALL rayon embroidery thread and feel like solid but supple cloth. Sorry, I do have some photos but they are still in my camera and I have no time right now so you’ll have to wait for them.

More on Jane anon. And thanks so much for the Happy Blogiversary wishes, my dears! I have a bus to catch. Adventures In Public Transit, here I come!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Damselfy’s Delights Is Four!

Yup – it’s been four years since I created my blog on Blogspot and (with a lot of trepidation) started to post my craft projects, book and magazine reviews, gardening exploits, musings, and general babblings. I never thought I would keep it up for more than a couple of months, never mind Four Whole Years! I’m pretty impressed with me. I know I don’t post every day since real life does sometimes intervene. But I do my best to get on here at least a couple of times a week. And I also know that some posts are more informative than others but, hey, who can be that exciting so often. Except maybe the Yarn Harlot. But she’s special.

Speaking of whom, you know that weaving has hit the mainstream when the Yarn Harlot gets a loom and weaves her first scarf! Can’t be long before gazillions more follow her lead if they haven’t done so already. Yes, little rigid heddle looms are real weaving looms! And a lot of knitters are discovering how much faster the stash gets used up with weaving. Amazing how many crafts are accomplished using yarn, huh? Must be a “gateway drug” or something…

Moving right along, I put the pedal to the metal yesterday and finished knitting the main body of the Papyrine Wrap. OK – it was more like paper to the metal…needles. I was sooooo happy to bind that sucker off, let me tell you! There is probably already about 50 hours work in this thing.

Papyrine_progThat’s all one continuous 4mm strip of paper, folks! Now I’m knitting several separate leaves to attach at the “top” of the “tree” and some I-cord “roots” for the bottom. Yeah, I know. Just bear with me here. After I attach those bits then I get to dyepaint the whole thing with Procion MX. There may be some actual paint involved also. We’ll see. This is going to be Art. I hope. At least it’s actually wearable even if ever-so-slightly impractical.

In other news, I went to my audiologist today to take my hearing aids in. The right ear has been a bit quieter than it should be for a couple of weeks. I cleaned it and changed out the rubber ear tip and the little tube that works as an earwax guard but it was still not loud enough. Then when I went to see my GP (for something else) I got him to check for earwax but nope, clean and clear there. This morning before I left, I opened the little hatch where the battery goes and blew inside gently and I think I got out whatever it was. But I still went to get them checked by the professionals who pronounced them just fine. Sheesh! I should have done that ages ago and saved myself an hour and half walking there and back, but for some reason I didn’t think blowing into where the computer chip is located would be a good idea. Silly me! At least it didn’t cost me anything but some exercise. Note that my hearing aids originally cost as much as five computers like the little Acer netbook that I’m typing this on! Anybody think that there’s something odd about that?

Big congratulations to my friend and neighbour Suzanne for being the first to comment on my blogiversary! Too bad she had to do it on yesterday’s post because it took me so dang long to get this one up! Anyone else out there?

Off to prepare my “finger food” to take to the Jane Kenyon lecture this evening. I usually tend to go for savoury over sweet.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

More Of The Same

Yup, I’m still here! Life has been both too busy and too boring to post about in Damselfly’s Pond these last few days. The weather has been “iffy” – it seems to sprinkle on me every time I step outdoors but remains dry if I stay in. To break that rule it rained like crazy last night so that I didn’t bring in any of the plants from the greenhouse. Hope they didn’t mind! They are like small children that I have to allow out by themselves sometime. They have to be planted in the garden eventually.

I finally pulled out all but two of my last year’s woad. I was too pressed for time (too lazy?) to try to use them to see how much blue they might still contain. They’re adding to my compost instead. The last ones I’m allowing to flower for seeds. See the pretty flower buds?

WoadBuds Those second-year plants are growing like crazy and are nearly as tall as I am now. The new baby woad plants are all planted now though they seem to be getting eaten by something (slugs? snails?) that’s leaving large holes in their leaves. I hope they grow fast enough to outstrip the damage. I gave them lots of compost and mushroom manure to help. They were hardly bothered last year so this is unusual. Every year in my garden is a different story! Some happy and some sad.

I’ve also got lots of coreopsis and marigolds to plant in the front garden as well when we’re finished preparing the space. T-Man cut the poor mostly-dead pyracantha (firethorn) back to a short stump and dug and composted the area underneath where it was growing. Now I have lots of new space for my coreopsis. Hope he doesn’t complain as much this year when I harvest the flowers! I’m so mean, aren’t I?

I’m glad it’s too wet out today to garden since I’m feeling like I need a bit of a break. I only have 5 more repeats on the Papyrine Wrap and the rows are getting steadily shorter as I decrease towards the finish line. Yes, I feel like I’m running a race! I’m determined to get this project off my needles and dyepainted as fast as I can manage because I’m so over it. I want to start something new. for starters, I need a bit of a wardrobe revamping before I head off to the ANWG conference in Spokane on the 27th. Yes, it’s only a few weeks away. Urp.

In other news, we babysat the grand-beasties on Saturday evening while their parents went to the Canucks hockey game with tickets that their mom won through a radio contest. Total worth: nearly $600! Not being a sports fan I would rather have the cash myself, but they had a wonderful time even though their team lost. Stargazer has his nasty cast off now but he’s still limping quite a bit on his poor leg. He even resorted to crawling so that he didn’t have to use it. Hope it feels better soon so he forgets the pain of breaking his leg. He’s a tough little guy but that’s a lot for a two-year-old when he doesn’t quite understand why it hurts. His big sister was pretty gentle with him for once so I think she understands and sympathises. That’s a big leap in her development at just 3 months shy of her 5th birthday. She used to consider her little brother a big annoyance and mostly just took all his toys away instead of trying to play with him. Nice to see her learn to appreciate that there are at least a few good things about having a sibling. Though maybe I’ll have to change her name to Princess Orange which is her new favourite colour! Copycat. It’s been my favourite for a very long time.

If you’re local, you’re welcome to come along to my weavers’ guild’s free slide lecture tomorrow night (Wednesday, May 6, 7:30pm) at VanDusen Garden’s Floral Hall featuring Jane Kenyon, fabulously talented textile artist. I’ve known Jane since she was a weaver and former member of my guild (GVWSG). She took the first City & Guilds Design and Embroidery Course with Gail Harker that was offered in North America and it completely changed her artistic focus. Her thread paintings are amazing up close! Pictures don’t do them justice at all so come see them in person. The topic is Fibre: An Obsession and there will be refreshments afterward plus a chance to chat with Jane and the other attendees. The guild offers a lecture every year and it is open to the interested public in order to share our passion for fibres and textiles.

Happy Cinco de Mayo! My baby sister lives in Mazatlan with her dear Mexican husband and their two handsome boys so I thought I’d throw that in. Though it’s more a celebration of Mexican heritage in other countries particularly the USA. Kind of an Hispanic version of St. Patrick’s Day, aka an excuse for a party!

And speaking of parties – tomorrow is my Fourth Blogiversary! I know I have at least a couple of readers out there, don’t I? Please leave a comment on tomorrow’s post and invite your friends to read my blog. (I’d love to get the stats up.) OK, I guess I’ll need to promise some more interesting posts to keep you reading then, huh?