Lest yesterday’s poignant piece leads you to believe that we harbor sadness around here, please think again. I experience the poignancy of change, but always with gladness and appreciation of the moment and season at hand. Each has its beauty and meaning. Each is accessible when we have layers of wool, and I do. Each has its unique message, new every year. And due to God’s faithfulness, each season will return. So I will take you on a photo tour throughout our home, which we dearly love indoors and out. Indoors is especially cozy and inviting.
Above you will see one of my two highly efficient fine spinning wheels on which I produce beautiful yarn for knitting. For 18 years I raised my own spinners’ flock of quality wool sheep: Border Leicester, Cotswold, Romney, Targhee, Corriedale, and Shetland—plus Angora goats for mohair. I still have some of my Shetlands’ gorgeous brown wool. But being a color freak, now I purchase dyed fleece and roving from suppliers of which their are loads—readily accessible online. The green wool in the baskets pictured here is Merino—the world’s softest fiber with the exception of silk which I also order and spin.
In this spinning wheel scene you can see some of our eastern exposure winter garden. Here the fussy, shade lovers reside. When we moved to Nashotah in 2009, it didn’t take long for us to realize that our violets did not enjoy our new home as much we did. Here we have natural gas heat, and alas there is a heat duct blowing down over both of our winter gardens.
The succulents featured in the next photo do not mind hot dry air a bit. But African violets are really jungle plants. They thrive on the moist ground in the humid section filled with tropical trees and lush undergrowth in Milwaukee’s Mitchell Park Horticultural Domes. Now, after 5 years of prematurely loosing violets, I have installed them in Wardian cases (one of which is visible behind the wheel)—attractive little greenhouses patterned after an invention by a 19th century English doctor (Dr. Ward) who built the house-like glassed in shelters to protect his plants in his London home.
Above is a glimpse of our southern facing indoor garden replete with succulents. These plants, along with my Louis L’Amour novels provide a western fix for the Colorado and New Mexico aspect of my life.
Back to the fiber thread (pardon the pun), here are some recent renderings from my yarn baskets and knitting needles. (Unlike many folks, I knit all through the summer, even outside on the warmest days. That is called “being a knit wit”.)
On the left is a shrug in process, knitted with my handspun yarn. Next is a finished fringed shawl, also in handspun. The almost center garment is a cape. I make loads of these, because they are so much fun! As well as adding buttons for decoration, I include buttons and button holes so that the garment will stay on the shoulders with comfort. On the right is a HUGE poncho, probably good down to 20 degrees above zero over a big wool sweater. The cape and poncho are made from commercial woolen yarns with a few funky synthetics thrown in for fun.
And saponifying—that is, soap making—another year round delight. These bars, made just yesterday, look good enough to eat. But I wouldn’t advise that!
And art making, also enjoyed year around but really beefed up on winter nights!
And winter tea parties. Of course I continue my beloved iced tea all year (I didn’t think I had any Southern blood in me, but that’s what friends below the Mason Dixon line do). However, when company comes, it’s hot tea and a chance to show off my English tea pots. Guests may pick their pot, and cup and saucer of which there are MANY.
Finally, here is a shot from last year. It’s coming! I’m thankful for all of the above, especially for my family and corgi, and of course for books bending multi shelves and stacked like leaning towers all over the home!
When the sun shines again (and it will) I’ll try to get some shots of glorious color. That’s coming too—hopefully before the above pristine stuff!
©Margaret L. Been, October 2014