It’s a whole new baby year and I’m just beginning to emerge from my post holiday season recovery period. After the last show was broken down and packed away into the barn, I nestled in to a short but much needed period of reflection. My tendonitis needed me to pursue activities outside my normal routine, too. As a result, the web site got an extreme makeover and I couldn’t be happier with it. I’ve added a new domain, as well— JessWrobel.com . I know this probably seems like no big deal to you and that it probably even makes more sense, but for me this is huge. This is me shedding off some of my anonymity and stepping out from something I’d been hiding behind. My business name has long been Jwrobel. The reason? Back when I got my very first apartment and my very own phone (this would be a land line) it was considered safer to use a gender neutral initial for your first name rather than advertise that you might be a single woman living alone in the phonebook–remember those?? Have the times changed? Gender equality and sexual harassment are certainly being talked about more than I recall in my lifetime, but it is too soon to say if this national conversation will be enduring or where it will take us. I’m encouraged and for now I’ll welcome my own little bit of personal growth. I’m Jess Wrobel, and I make things.
I kid you not. We are something of kale junkies around here. Veggie junkies, really, but we have our soft spots. I haven’t had a garden for a few years now, but we are starting to feel settled in our new digs and decided to literally put down roots. I have never attempted kale before, but took the plunge this year. After a tiring but hugely successful weekend as vendors at The Vintage Bazaar of New England this past weekend, I’m now ensconced in Home. A glass of wine, dogs at my feet, hubby contentedly sipping his cocktail while the thunder softly rumbles and the rain comes down. Earlier today I tended to the garden that was abandoned over the weekend. When you are doing an outdoor show, you pray for sunny and dry. My garden was definitely dry. But it made weeding easier and the generous soaking we are getting now is refreshing everything. Two armfuls of kale were harvested. I’m investigating kale recipes with a focus on slaws. It is all remarkably wonderful.
Sometimes I’m just baffled why it takes me so long to get some things done. I’m going to chock it up to too many ideas, too little time. This hooked mermaid pillow literally began to take shape three years ago. I kid you not. An impromptu iPad doodle was destined to be a hooked work of art one day. I just hadn’t expected it to take so long. Life happens and other projects rise to the surface, orders with deadlines clog the creative highway from time to time. But after a visit to Susie Stephenson’s studio and admiring her hand knit mermaid dolls, I was inspired to dig out the long buried image of the serene bathing beauty from under the sea.
As long as the gal has been percolating in the back of my brain, parts of my stash that went into her may have been percolating longer. The kinky golden wool yarn I used for her hair has been sitting waiting for its purpose for some eight years since I picked it up at a fiber festival in Western MA. Being a hooker, I frequently buy old suit garments to harvest the wool, but I’ve never been able to discard the linings. They’ve just been accumulating quietly in the closet for years. Here, they finally shine. The little hints of iridescence they add to the aquatic background are perfect. Several years ago, friends and I made the journey up to Deanne Fitzpatrick’s studio. One friend purchased a skein of silk sari “yarn” and then later gifted it to me. A mermaid’s body was perfectly filled out with terra cotta warmth against the cool blue sea.
If you are interested in purchasing the Mermaid Pillow, it is available here. If you’d like to hook it yourself, fear not! The instant download pattern is in the works. If you are in a hurry, just email me.
For all the time I spend making things, very little ever gets made (or mended) for me. I may sew for a living, but my wardrobe is riddled with holes, frayed cuffs, and is frequently held together with safety pins. In what was quite a departure for me, as well as an excercise in discipline, I decided to both knit down my stash and be the beneficiary of the enterprise.
My sweater is off the needles, though yet to be blocked— and it needs it. It is something of a bastardization of the beautiful Hiro pattern. I used inappropriate yarn, lengthened the cuffs and added thumb holes, widened the collar, eliminated any waist shaping. I still plan on adding pockets, but I haven’t decided where or what style yet. I made it ridiculously large to wear cross country skiing over leggings finished just in time for — ummm— spring.
Yes. Spring has finally graced our little corner of the world. It seems overnight we’ve gone from snowblowers and parkas to throwing all the windows open and ferrying ladybugs out to safety. Thick winter boots have been traded in for muck lucks to traverse wide swathes of mud. And who could stay holed up in the studio when the landscape is finally inviting you to be part of it again. Certainly not me and my ever faithful crew. The front stoop become the official hookery of the day.
The next Bee in the Barn at Todd Farm will be a very special gathering. Sewing bees have a long history of community gatherings for a common cause and in that spirit our next bee on March 19th will also serve as a collection site for handcrafting materials, tools, and supplies to donate to Syrian refugees.