Author: jess

And then It Was Done

And then It Was Done

Garlands of peppers hang next drying herbs and hooked rugs.Here in my spot of Maine a switch has been pulled.  Summer tomato salads have given way to a pot of simmering lamb stew(with tomatoes).  Morning strolls to the garden are no longer barefeet and tank tops, but oversized sweaters and thick slippers.  Rest assured, no matter the season, there is always a steaming cup of coffee involved.   Almost to my horror at this point–not really, but really—the tomatoes keep coming, despite the blighted state of their affairs.  I’ve frozen, canned, jammed, and sauced them in every way I can think of.  The summer squashes are rife with powdery mildew even though we’ve had only scant rain and the garden well has run dry.  Even still, they keep fruiting.  There’s a basket of garlic in my studio that rivals my baskets of wools.  There’s a tsunami of hot peppers coming in that my husband dutifully strings to dry, even though he is a little scared of them.  But my studio feels festive and decorated for celebration with vegetal garlands hanging from my display rails along with drying herbs, my finished rugs and freshly dyed skeins of wool.

My garden always gives me solace.  Maybe more so this year than usual, but in equal measure to my work—which has taken wild turns into unexpected territories.  There is more to muse over on that topic, but for the moment I’m going to enjoy my hooking and the burbling of stew on the stove.

I hope you are all well in these tumultuous times.  Not only are my thoughts with you, so are my actions.

Be well,

Jess

An enormous basket of garlic holds reign in my studio along with baskets of wool.

The Year is 2020

The Year is 2020

The year is 2020.  I spend an inordinate amount of time making cloth masks on my 1930s Singer.  I’m hooking a Pandemic rug.  It’s snowing in May.  My hair is purple.  Life is different.  Worse.  Better.  Changed.  Evolving.  To be determined.

 

Face mask with wording, "I care, do you?"

I feel like we are living in a Snow Globe.  Shake it to enhance the innocence, naïveté, denial.  Hide behind glittery objects.  Oh, so sparkly.  I can’t explain what’s going on.  Why is data (science) a four letter word?

Still, I find joy in the garlic–planted last fall during more hopeful times–persisting in pushing through its straw mulch.  The seedlings that lay in wait to put down roots in the garden until this snow and minor league temperatures pass.    The patio slowly taking shape as I lay it down stone by stone.  We have a home, a garden, a patio.   All of them riches, by any measure.  We are still trying to decipher the world and determine how to help make it a better place for everyone.  And, yes,  I entirely acknowledge there’s not much in the way of grammar going on.

Be well,

Jess

The garlic coming in before the snow.
Scraps and Anger

Scraps and Anger

Like many of you, mask making has become a significant part of my daily tasks.  When I finished yesterday’s allotment, I realized a low grade fury had been building as I worked over my sewing machine.  I grabbed discolored and worn antique flannel and a scrap of quilting cotton from the late 1800s and made my Vote mask.  Born of scraps and anger.

Vote written across a face mask.

1930s Singer Sewing Machine
I do almost all my sewing on an antique sewing machine. Now I can’t decide if it’s fitting or tragic that in 2020 I’m sewing masks on a 1930s Singer.

Stay safe.  Be well.

I Can’t Om Alone

I Can’t Om Alone

There are so many things on mind, yet my head is blank at the same time.  I’m a gifted worrier, which is usually a good thing because it keeps us prepared and ahead of the game.  Now the only things I have control over are the little, frankly stupid things, and I feel myself getting edgy and raw.  I miss my yoga classes, which generally help center me, among other things.  And I’m grateful for the online resources that enable me to continue my somewhat hobbled practice at the edge of my dining room.  I’ve always chanted, hummed easily and enjoyably in class, even tiny classes.  But at home, I find I can’t Om alone.

I hope you are all safe, healthy, and well, though I know everyone isn’t whether you or a loved one is unwell or you or loved one is on the front lines of trying to save us all. My gratitude to everyone for doing their part.  I look forward to the day that we can all take one big breath, chant one long OM, or do anything and everything else together again.

Be well.

Day Lily sprouts sheltered under a chair covered with snow.
We’ve been having alternating days of snow then warmth. Even the weather is unsettled. On a recent snowy morning I captured this image just outside my studio door. It seemed to speak to how we are all feeling.

 

Budget Garden Tricks

Budget Garden Tricks

The news is overwhelming.  I am not surprising any of you with that statement.  Of course, I take solace in my hooking, my fabrics, my knitting.  But I also find hope and inspiration in the newly popping seedlings lined by my windows preparing for garden season.  I don’t usually attempt seedlings, preferring to defer that task to my wonderful neighbors at Morning Dew Farm.  But there were a couple things I wanted for my garden this year that weren’t available, so I took the small task of starting a few thing on for myself.  And immediately ran into problems.  I’ve cataloged for you here a few of my little low to no budget garden tricks to keep this train on the rails.

Paper Bag Seedling Pots
Sunflowers don’t like their roots to be disturbed. To start them inside successfully, they must be in a container that will biodegrade when planted in the ground. I made these pots out of paper bags and they’ll go right into the soil with their seedlings when the weather warms. I just need to remember to remove the tape, which does not breakdown.
After two weeks, my hot pepper starts had failed to break ground despite keeping them near the wood stove. Looking for a quick fix, I put them in a storage bin lined with Christmas lights and topped with a piece of Plexiglas glass. I confess, I always give my husband grief for his hoarding tendencies.  But being to assemble this little contraption from our barn stash has quieted me for the moment. Within Hours, my seedlings started popping.

 

My little bean seedling has a new home in a pot made from scraps of my rug hooking linen.
I have a drawer full of rug hooking linen scraps that I’ve deemed too large to throw out and too small to be particularly useful. Then my pole bean seedlings outgrew their egg carton start. My little bean seedlings now have a new home in pots I made from scraps of my rug hooking linen.  You could use any scrap fabric on hand.
Hand Hooked 1820 Lobster Pillow

Hand Hooked 1820 Lobster Pillow

Maine Bicentennial Lobster Pillow
Maine Bicentennial 1820 Lobster Pillow, $145

First, if you just want to put this in your shopping cart click here.  For more background first, keep reading, and you can always decide on a shopping plan later.

When I first designed my hand hooked Maine Bicentennial Lobster Pillow, people repeatedly asked what the story was with 1820.  Now 2020, as Maine celebrates its 200th anniversary of statehood, I think the picture will be clearer.  The year 1820 was the year that Maine was first incorporated as a state. This year marks its auspicious Bicentennial marker.

My Maine Bicentennial Lobster Pillow is chocked full of wit and charm.  This fellow has a personality that will light up your rooms.   He will remind you of all the happy memories of coastal Maine summers.  You’ll practically hear the seagulls overhead and the quiet, distinctive glug glug of the lobster boats.

I hook each Maine Bicentennial Lobster Boat Pillow with a combination of new, recycled, and vintage wool and cashmere.  I even dye some of it myself.  All this is hooked on a high quality linen foundation fabric.  Each lobster pillow is backed with my favorite antique European homespun hemp linen–which may vary from pillow to pillow. Two examples of backing material are shown in the photos.

As with all handmade items, each piece is a one of a kind.  Therefore, each will vary a bit from one to the next.  Please allow for this special nature of handmade and expect some slight variations from the photo.

The Maine Bicentennial Lobster Pillow is hooked to order just for you, so please allow time for creation prior to shipping.  When I receive your order, I’ll email to let you know when to expect it.  Typically, it is about a two week turn around time.  This can vary some based on other orders and time of year.

Measures about 17″ x 12″.

Click here to get to this piece in the shop.  Thanks!