Sunday, March 15, 2015

More Spring - and reflections on hand-made

Thursday, March 12, 2015 9:24:21 PM

Addendum to the whole spring thing: We can see more of our roads and even some ground off the side of the road now. I swear, it felt for a while like we were going to be like the MacKenzie Pass in Oregon - the roads might open in late May but surely by June! So much has melted, I can see stuff I haven't seen in it feels like months! We still have giant heaps on the roadsides and at the edges of parking lots. And it is still very much in the way - blocking visibility when entering the local highways.


On home-made stuff. The past few winters have seen me using the same mittens Mom knitted for me some 45 years ago. Inside their buckskin outer mitts, they are still the warmest handwear I have in the winter - better than fancy modern insulated ski gloves. There is something special for me in hand-made stuff, especially when it was made as a gift. In the case of these mittens, tho, in spite of their age, they are still the best thing going. In addition to being beautiful. It helps that they spent most of the intervening years in storage - they weren't much needed in most of the places I've lived since leaving home so many years ago. It is really rather amazing, I think, that I even still have them. I don't think most people would have held on to these that long - and I even lost track of them more than once. Fortunately they always turned up again.

The mittens are not the only hand-made thing I've been enjoying the past couple years. There is my "Thank You" coffee travel mug. It is an obviously hand painted ceramic travel mug, with stars, flowers and a large "Thank You!, Thank You!" hand painted on the handle. It wasn't made for me - and whoever was the intended recipient never used it. I "inherited" it via the recycling table at our transfer station (recycling and garbage depot). I love the obvious effort that went into this mug - and it cheers me to use it!

And then, there is the "rescue" blanket project I recently did. For many years I have had a handmade woolen poncho/blanket I bought in Guatemala on a long-ago vacation. It is not all that beautiful or anything - and it is standard tourist purchase stuff. But the yarn is quite obviously hand spun, and the poncho was obviously hand woven, and it is wool. Which all means it is a lovely bit of fabric, if you can appreciate it for what it is. The problem, for me, is that it is poncho-sized - about 5 feet square. Meaning it wasn't much good for anything I could use it for. It is overly light in weight for a rug. It is too small to use as a blanket. It is not attractive enough to use as a wall-hanging. So it has hung around for years, only occasionally getting used as a tv blanket - or sometimes as a coverlet.

But recently, at that same transfer station recycling table, I saw a light weight woolen blanket, made of mostly a natural white, undyed wool. It had seen some use, and had some spots that were unraveling from wear. And it had pastel borders - not colors that would recommend  the thing to me. However, I thought maybe I could use the good fabric, and 'rescue' the Guatemalan poncho! I tossed the blanket in the freezer for a couple of weeks to kill any moth larvae, should it have any. Then I cut it into large sections, which I pieced on to the Guatemalan poncho, and voila! I have a regular blanket sized thing now! So it is getting used on a regular basis. Blanket rescue!

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