Hibernation Arts

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This winter I stayed in a lot and produced a lot of handwork. It has been a very creative and satisfying season for me. I crocheted baskets in different sizes and stitched tapestry pictures. Each one is unique. Then I began the process of making the small tapestry pieces into something useable– pillow covers or little bags or medium sized bags.

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The process has been very interesting. This outpouring of work came from my sister’s quilting friends. I think that people who work with textiles tend to collect them. In addition, some of her friends were older and had accumulated projects that they did not actually do or some that they did not do anymore. I wanted something to do in the evenings as I stumbled around YouTube so my sister mentioned it to them and they came through. One day Peg brought me a box of small embroidery kits, a barely started tapestry pattern, a hand-painted flower tapestry pattern made in Jamaica, and three good-sized bags of random tapestry yarn.

Some of the embroidery kits were Christmas decorations, so I did them, but passed on the rest. They went into the Goodwill box. Anymore, embroidery is too fine for my eyes for very long, so I was glad to move on to tapestry.

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First I finished the tapestry pattern. There were a few places where someone had stitched green or pink. For the rest, I had to find something close from the yarn I had to choose from. It turned out fine and I made it into a pillow from some fabric I found at Goodwill. It then became a Christmas present for my nephew and his wife.

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The next pattern was still in the package. The pattern had been hand-painted with yellow flowers and green leaves. The design was fairly basic and with a plain white background, kind of boring. So I decided to make the flowers different colours, used various shades of green for the leaves, and the background became several chunks of colours. That also became a pillow and I gave it to my daughter.

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I couldn’t find tapestry material at the shop downtown, but once again the quilting ladies came through. Peg brought me a meter or two of large weave embroidery fabric, so there was my canvas. By then I had sorted the yarns, as they were different styles and of course different colours in varying amounts. For some colours little remained and for some there was quite a lot. I wanted to use them all up.

I tried one design that I drew onto the fabric, but it looked terrible and I threw it out. Unlike crochet or knitting, it would have been hard to pull all the pieces of thread out. But at the same time, it was beyond redemption . Too bad.

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So, I just started. The stitches are on an angle and the piece is supposed to be all on that angle. Truthfully, there are a couple of pieces where I made a mistake and a small part goes the wrong way, but it just adds to its charm. I could see at another time where it would be fun to play with that. At any rate, the fact that the stitches go one way affects how I used them to make shapes.

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The first couple of pieces were mostly blocks of colour and then triangles. In the blocks I used up a lot of little ends. But there were still a lot more! Then I started to make pictures. These were partly formed by ideas that progressed as the work progressed. I did not draw anything– it just flowed. And since I was using up colours, often it would take on colour themes. I did one of trees on a river, which is the one I am keeping, already on my sofa. That is a reminder of my sister’s river. The next one was round trees on water, followed by pink round flowers. Some more geometric pictures followed, though by this time I was making much smaller ones.   IMG_1368

In all, I made seven larger ones, about 9 by 12 inches. The smaller ones are about 7 or 8 inches by 8 or 9.

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I bought some bargain pieces of fabric at Fabricland and used them to make pillow covers and bags. I finished all the pillows, using the larger pieces. One became a gift for my sister. I made a large bag which I am ruminating about and some smaller bags. I constructed another smallish bags and then I made a lot of small bags, some of which work for glasses and some are random. I had a little silver bowl of beads and sequins and doo-dads which I incorporated into some of the bags and more of the crocheted baskets. I also went through my button box. Who has those anymore? I have had mine for decades, full of all colours and sizes and styles of buttons.

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I have also crocheted a lot of baskets. I found the pattern in a store in Dallas, where Meadow found first a booklet of patterns for cute baby outfits. The baskets are quite basic, though the booklet gave some suggestions that I used and some I did not. It has been fun and interesting to try out different kinds of yarns for those. Some I made of some hemp and cotton yarn I had left from making little bags. I had bought odd skeins of acrylic yarn from the dollar store– those included various kinds of tufted or fuzzy yarns in different colours. So it has been another interesting challenge to put all these together. On some of the baskets I have sewn interesting buttons from my button box or little baubles I had. A few were pinned with old brooches or odd earrings. Again, each basket is different, in colour or size or yarn.

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I feel useful doing these things. They are not making me any money, though I hope to sell some. It would be a particular kind of person who would like one, probably on the hippie-ish or bohemian side. Hippies are all beyond a certain age now, but people can be bohemian at any age. At any rate, I am making things as I while away my time in Orillia.

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And on a sort of political note here, I will say that my time doing this is considered worthless because it is hand work. This has been true forever. I recently told a friend that if I were a man doing this, I could charge at least minimum wage for my time, which would mean that the tapestry pieces, for example, would be at least $75 each. However, my prices will have to be quite a bit lower because my time is not counted as money. I value my time, but it would also be nice to be paid for it.

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During this winter I used up a lot of tapestry yarn, tapestry fabric, and most of the buttons, but I have spent a very satisfactory winter season developing my hibernation arts.

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