Category Archives: winter wood

Preparing for Winter

Woven shibori, indigo-dyed, two scarves nearing completion.
Woven shibori, indigo-dyed, two scarves nearing completion.

This photo is of the two scarves written about in the previous post.   Actually, they will be cowls as soon as I sew a flat-fell type seam on each.

Wood was cut and waiting for the log splitter to work properly.
3 loggers cords or more of wood was cut and waiting to be split and stacked.

It feels like a long time since I’ve done much weaving, partly because of fall/winter preparations.  I should have been splitting wood for the past month, but my log splitter has broken down twice, parts ordered, partly repaired, only to find not all parts were sent and one piece didn’t fit.  So, waiting on parts again.  I have the awful feeling I’ll be out splitting wood long after the snow finally comes.

Two double wood racks full, in the garage.
Two double wood racks full, in the garage.

We did manage to get these two double racks full of split wood, in my garage, and there is another single rack for kindling, along with three or four trash cans full of short ends and other small chunks.

There are oil lamps ready, candles, I’ll have extra food in the house along with drinking water for occasions when the power goes out, extra pet food on hand, too, for my three cats and one dog.

Time to clear the lakeside porch.
Time to clear the lakeside porch.

Hanging flower pots , lawn chairs, and my fleece washing pots have all been removed and stored.

The porch was swept, and this week windows will be washed.
The porch was swept, and this week windows will be washed.

Storm windows were put on all the windows,… this lakeside window is to my weaving studio.

Pine bough hanging pot.
Pine bough hanging pot.

While in town a couple days ago I saw hanging pots filled with pine boughs and brought one home to add a little winter cheer to my view from the kitchen window.  I’ll be picking up a 24″ wreath for the entry door, and a 36″ wreath for the garage doors, the day before Thanksgiving.  They add a nice, cozy touch to home/studio.

Tape loom by J.K. Seidel.
Tape loom by J.K. Seidel.

I’ve had a tape weaving book on the Amazon wish list for some time. The release date is Dec. 28, 2016 for “Handwoven Tape: Understanding and Weaving Early American and Contemporary Tape” by Susan Faulkner Weaver.  One evening I saw an email come in from WeavingSalesAds for a tape loom, so in anticipation of this book, I bought it.  It’s a lovely little loom, from J.K. Seidel Tape Looms. 

Cotton band woven on Glimakra bandloom.
Cotton band woven on Glimakra bandloom.

At long last, I finally wove off the cotton band I had originally set up on my Glimakra bandloom.  It’s time to design stripes for a new band using the same colors in a different configuration.  I’m going to be adding a trapeze to my studio equipment and will use the bands for tying the uprights to the looms.

My winter sewing area.
My winter sewing area.

I have sewing to do!  Not only finishing on some handwovens, but there are valances/curtains to make, quilts begun many years ago that I would like to get back to, and I may venture back into making simple pieces of clothing.  All this, of course, is after the wood is split and stacked.

Preparing for winter is often practical things like those I mentioned,… wood, matches, candles, oil lamps, food, water, pet needs.  I have a long winter ahead of me,… building a fire every morning in the woodburning range in the kitchen, feeding it wood through the day and evening, carrying ashes out, shoveling snow, raking snow off the roof valleys and moving it, keeping paths open to the LP tank and the woodshed, along with the usual tasks.

Winter preparations also include my weaving, threads/yarns to weave with.  I’m nearly out of Bockens 16/2 cotton, but still have cones of 16/2 from Lunatic Fringe.  Fleece to process (two new Gotland fleeces just arrived) for spinning, not to mention several Icelandic fleeces stashed away.  I have some knitting projects half-done (or more) that need completing, before starting any new ones. Books to learn from are always good.  These are recent additions!

A book for learning how to spin for specific projects.

My spinning so far has been hoping the yarn I spin will work for the knit project I want to make, so far, cowls.  It’s time to learn more so I can hopefully spin what I need for perhaps a sweater?  We’ll see!

"Circular Knitting Workshop."
“Circular Knitting Workshop.”

All my knitting in previous years was on straight needles.  I finally tried circular needles on the cowl pattern I have knit a few times. But I have questions and need answers.  Hopefully answers will be found in this book.

"Knits from the Heart of Norway."
“Knits from the Heart of Norway.”

My father had an aunt who, like his parents, emigrated here from Norway.  We met with her one day and I tape recorded the conversation during which she reminisced about life in Norway before they came to the U.S.  I recall that day she told us she had knit over 100 “Norwegian” sweaters.  That planted the seed in me to one day learn to knit Norwegian style.  So I added these two books to my growing stash of books on the subject.

"Nordic Knits."
“Nordic Knits.”

Good incentive to get those unfinished projects done!

"In the Company of Women."
“In the Company of Women.”

And for what I believe will be a good read, in bits and pieces, “In the Company of Women – Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs.”

I’m also reading “The French Chef in America:  Julia Child’s Second Act” by Alex Prud’homme, co-author with Julia Child of “My Life in France.”  Sorry, no photo.

Reading takes me longer these days, cataracts are becoming noticeable, particularly in my right eye.  They are interfering with my weaving, and I avoid any driving at dusk or after dark.  I’m hoping they can be removed before too long, must wait to see what the surgeon and insurance company have to say.  I do what I can, whether outdoor work, wood, weaving, reading, or getting back to decluttering and packing.  All in good time.  And if all goes well, I’ll be ready for another long northwoods winter with more than enough to keep me pleasantly occupied!


Time Out to Give Thanks…

These days, I am giving thanks over and over for friends and area church members willing to help their neighbors. The wood delivered here for this winter turned out to be freshly cut maple, not dry, and delivered right before school started. A couple art shows and the Fall Art Tour on my calendar along with problems with the log splitter delayed working on the wood to the point of keeping me awake nights wondering how we would get it done.

A good friend, Nancy, called to tell me her church has a crew that enjoys helping people out, and they were more than willing to come here and take care of our wood. This past Saturday at 8:30 AM, ten members of the St. Germain and Conover Evangelical Free Churches arrived here, and in six hours, using chain saws and two log splitters, had cut, split, and stacked 5 loggers cords of wood.

The job was finished at 2:30 PM, and a few minutes taken for photos (four adults had had to leave earlier) before loading up the log splitter and chain saws they had brought.

Also helping were my daughter, Linnea, and Nancy’s daughters, Anna and Emilie. They worked hard all day and kept up with the men. Keesha kept everyone company and was always up for some petting. I also spent some time at our log splitter (now with a new motor put on a few days ago). Nancy had arrived early Saturday AM with chili, homemade cinnamon-apple sweet rolls, and a big coffee pot, and I made two pans of cornbread and served the food. The weather was perfect on Saturday, sunny, around 60 and a light breeze.

I still have half of the left half of the woodshed with dry wood from last winter, now being burned on colder evenings. On warmer non-burning days/nights the thermostat is kept at 64 or 65 degrees. The new wood will need time to dry and likely can’t be burned until at least January (maple dries faster than oak). For now, on nice days, the wood is uncovered so sun and wind can help the drying along. When rain (or snow) is expected, tarps cover the tops of the woodpiles.

So, my continuing thanks to everyone who gave up several hours of their Saturday to help a northwoods neighbor. You are, and remain, in my thoughts and prayers.

I have had a couple weeks of dealing with home, family, and recently making the decision to move back to southern WI, hopefully next summer. I love our home here in the northwoods, and very thankful for 17 years up here, 13 years in this house. However, with my husband gone five years now and my last two children leaving home in less than a year, I’ve reached the conclusion that this house is too big and too much maintenance for me alone. The time has come for to move on and start a new life. I’ve been making lists of what to keep, give, toss, and take to thrift stores. Now, the work of moving begins.

Today I am working in the studio sewing strips for rag rugs. Another shuttle is filled and waiting at the loom, and several more sheets are waiting to be cut into strips and sewn together. While working, I am wondering how I will get everything done and still be able to do MY studio work. Somehow, I will make it all happen. A new adventure begins.