Sunday, May 25, 2008

Gardening and Weaving

Today, I had to finish off my priest stole and at the same time the garden needed to be dealt with. I tootled off to the school and Bill took all the kids on a bike ride to farm where the garden is. Apparently Mira was of great help, Simon killed lily beetles with a magnifying glass while Nicole watched, and Liam took a very long time to dump the weeds, get a drink, check on the progress of the lily beetle slaughter.

Here is the garden all tilled and with the carpets put back on. The plants at the near end are strawberries. Yummy!
And at the other end is the rhubarb. I might actually try and make rhubarb jam this year. And then there is the favorite, Rhubarb Crisp. It is just like Apple Crisp but with, you guessed it! Rhubarb! When rhubarb comes on, it is usually pretty fast and furious. Kind of like zucchini for those of you who garden. You know who you are and you know what I mean. During zucchini season, you know who your friends are, They are the ones who DON'T bring you zucchini that, with only slight modification, could take you down the Amazon river.

But I missed all of the excitement at the garden this year. That is OK. There is still planting to do. And weeding. And more planting. And more weeding. And.... well, you get the picture.

And now we are onto the saga of the priest stole. A man contacted me about 6 weeks ago to see if I was interested in weaving a stole for a friend of his that was being ordained as a priest at the end of April. I was intrigued by the thought and decided that I would take the commission. We met a couple of times and discussed ideas and possibilities and finally came to a conclusion. I wanted to be finished by May 15. Just in case. You know how life is. Sometimes unexpected things happen. I was really thinking that I might get the flu or something much more mundane.

But no.

It was warm.

It rained.

And the river rose.

And we were locked out of the school for two weeks. That really threw a monkey wrench into the works. I knew that I was going to be late for my own self imposed deadline. Stuart had said that he didn't need the stole until the 29th of May. Thankfully. But I had that date of the 15th stuck firmly in my mind and I was going to try and keep to it. Around this time, I was also battling insomnia. And those of you who have faced this particular foe know that insomnia can make you work stupid. And so it was with me. I made a mock stole out of paper and sketched out the pattern. And then took it for gospel. I wasn't sure how long the cross would be and so guessed and, in the end, was off about 6 inches. My first stole ended up being about 12 inches too short.

This was definitely a case of "The hurriered you go the behinder you get" or "measure three times, cut once".

After discussing the problem with Stuart, I decided that I had to make a longer one. Even if he was willing to settle for the shorter one, I was not. I finished weaving it this afternoon. I almost made another fatal mistake along the way. The pattern was basically some plain weave, a border in overshot, a bit more plain weave, a cross in overshot, another bit of plain weave, another border in overshot, and then the large central part in plain weave, and then repeated in the reverse to make it a mirror image. My mistake was when I hit the second cross. For those of you who are weavers, if you are going to weave something in mirror image, when you hit the central point, you need to reverse everything. Which in my case meant I would have to weave the second cross upside down. I had no problem with this part while doing the first, shorter stole. But this time, I was a bit tired and had been weaving for about three hours and had the end in sight. I automatically started to weave the cross the way that I am used to seeing it. When I was just about to weave the cross bar, I realised my mistake, bellowed quite loudly, and sighing, unwove the last two and a half inches. After that, everything went well and I was able to finish.

I have to say that I am going to think twice before taking a commission again.

It is dark now and the stole is wet (having just been washed) so I will try and get pictures tomorrow.


Teyani said...

wish I was close enough to get some of your rhubarb (YUMMY) I have a fabulous strawberry rhubarb jam recipe that is a fav amongst my family... also a rhubarb crisp.. ah well. Hopefully it'll appear in the grocery stores here soon.

Your stole sounds wonderful. And I totally know what you mean about the hurrier I go the behinder I get. I had a great chuckle over that (it suits me to a tee)
Can't wait to see the finished product

t said...

I wish we could come see your garden and rhubarb this summer. But no, we're going to... Miami. Anyway, can't wait to see the priest stole! That sounds -- cool, if fraught with aggravation.

DaviMack said...

Yay for the garden going in! Will you tell us what all you've planted? Or planned to plant?

Christine said...

Yay Rhubarb! Last summer, I took a few roots from the patch by Mamoo's shed and planted them by our fence. They are thriving this year and almost ready for a harvest. I can't decide between Rhubarb Pie and Rhubarb Crisp.

I hope we are past the last frost. Next weekend's lows are predicted to be about 10 C. I'm eager to fill up our newly expanded vegetable patches with lots of plants.

mira's papa said...

I just wanted to say, for those who bother to read the comment thread, that Mira really worked hard in the garden. She was a HUGE help to me in weeding, spreading manure, and getting he carpets back out. The other kids weren't very keen to do anything, but Mira stuck with it, right to the end.

Particularly notable was when we were raking out the three loader buckets of manure, and working against time because Jackie's father was going to be back soon with the tiller on the tractor. We had to get it all spread evenly before he got back. It was a real scramble to do so, and she worked as fast as her arms would go.

So I wanted to give my oldest a public "pat on the back" for her sincere hard work. And thanks to Jackie's father for the composted cow poo and the once over with the tiller. What the tractor mounted tiller can do in about 4 minutes would take me a day to do by hand with a garden fork, and it does a better job of mixing soil and fertilizer. It's not much wonder people invented machinery.

Christine said...

Way to go Mira!
How are the dragonfruit and other Mira seedlings?

Anonymous said...

Well done Mira! Like Christine, I am looking forward to more news on the exotic fruit.

Given the masses of rhubarb that Mamoo has around her shed, I can't quite bring myself to pay the prices they want for rhubarb in UK supermarkets. So, I haven't had rhubarb anything for while. Mamoo did have an excellent rhubarb custard pie recipe.I am sure that this could easily be converted to a rhubarb crumble recipe.

Curious Llama