Prayer & Practice


This post a mess: but have to get something posted.

This blog will be repurposed to focus on the practice and study of making and craft as related to Sisters of Benevolent Activity.

I’m gathering and patching together too many writings, criticisms and prayers that have been scattered across the trauma and hardship of finding homeplace for the Sisters oBA in Oregon. Basically the isolation and cold and survival efforts this last winter have given way to a courage and fortitude that drafts me from my hermitage and folly to create the infrastructure needed for the Sisters of Benevolent Activity endeavors including the future Women’s Cottage Home Seminary & Farm as well as the current Sisters oBA Cloisters and Study Center behind the hedge for now.

Back to spinning: Although forecast suggests snow and rain today, I wake this morning to hungry cats and steady rain. No snow yet but cool enough. Unless the weather changes dramatically, won’t be working outside today. I’ve got spotty internet but Youtube ok. I’ve been procrastinating learning to spin and weave for too long — STOP Wait a minute. I went to review the “how to spin on lendrum wheel” podcasts  and noticed Kristy Glasses new podcast. She interviewed Aidan, the Knitting Monk and I was hooked. He has almost a dozen podcasts on youtube channel. For many whose craft and arts are practice and prayer, you will enjoy his delightfully sincere and openhearted podcasts.

So — I’m expecting to share more time with Lilian next month, April 2018, while Sarah trains for new position. I’ve decided to take my Lendrum wheel there to work on. Today spending time finding all the pieces and making a travel  bag. Fingers crossed that moths haven’t found a homeplace in my fiber roving barrel. Time to begin spring cleanup and cleanout in the Makery as well.


ReMake of the Enchanted Haberdasher

I wonder if others feel like I do, our lives circle round and round the core of what we are? Wandering around and off and away and then finding myself back again were I wanted to be in the ages ago. I’ve certainly detoured many times and pursued other inquiries and endeavors and here I am back again where I’m most set and settled; hanging out with old aunties and grannies, working in the most amazing makespace, sorting trinkets and treasures for a rehab of the little shop I dreamed for and lost two decades ago. And, all in the middle of a small town with a big backyard that will someday be a garden of cottages. Maybe not so oddly, my guest this weekend is from Santa Rosa, so the past and present make a mush moment this morning!

Leaving the Long Story Out for the moment, The Enchanted Haberdashery has returned as the MAD HABERDASHERY, a do over in many ways. The tag line is Doll & Figure Costume, Couture & Cosplay. A new Etsy shop will be up and about soon. Zach will even be partnering; making props and detail designs and productions in his incredible shop with new self-built  cnc machine. Look for Preview and Grand Opening Feast of Fools at the Winter Solstice and into the New Year.

My friend Tina Fraga turned up and inspired me that now is the time to pull the doll & figure patterns and plans from the bottom of the pile. Other encouragements include all these boxes of small wonderful scrap fabrics and bins and bins of tiny trinkets that I won’t let go of. Watch Tina’s Facebook page for her preview and new lines of doll clothes. She’s been researching most popular dolls and will focus on American Girl- and Monster High-size dolls and include crochet works for Barbie-size fashion dolls as well.

Between now and then, I’m putting up a whole line of Patchwork & Raggedy ReMakeables including newborn accessories (flannel diapers, soakers, hand knits and custom-made retro layettes), specialty aprons, bags and pockets, and cozies of every disorder. I’ll post the minute I have my Etsy ReMakeables shop open again after too many deadend but enlightening detours.

The light at the end of the tunnel has grown to a string of led soft colored minis. . .

Sewing Large and Small

With Molly’s help I’ve started the clearing up outside. She has been helping with the Haberdashery too. We work outside for a couple hours, then, when the smoke or heat gets too nasty we come inside. With her help, I’ve been able to actually get to MAKING STUFF and beyond Re-Sorting and Re-Purposing which is many daze disheartening.

My mama, Vivian Hazen, was here for a couple weeks, and we went crazy making baby diapers and blankets for the Best Baby Shower 2014! Then I went back to work on dual duty maternity-nursing clothes for Sarah. I found a wonderful source for cotton, bamboo and other knits. They have the silkiest cotton and bamboo jerseys I have ever touched.

I’m learning to use my serger, a little Brother Lock 1034D that I bought from Walmart online  5 or 6 years ago. Here’s my Things I Almost Learned To Late sewing up these gorgeous by rather challenging knits.

1. Cut selvages off knits and take the time and the biggest cutting table to lay all straight. I’m soooo fortunate to have giant cutting table with mats.

2. Use scotch tape to secure pattern pieces to knit fabrics. I accidentally discovered this when taping pattern pieces together. Pins are impossible on knit fabrics and end up tearing your tissue patterns to pieces.

3. Baste on sewing machine before serging. Oh my, I picked out some wonderfully complicated drapey patterns for Sarah that were totally puzzling to put together. “Totally puzzling” means many redo and do overs! They look amazing and interesting when finished but not for the faint of heart to construct.

Best Ever Tool for 2014!

Use Clips instead of pins holding seams together in construction. My mama bought me two sizes of these. Amazon delivered Just In Time! The little ones are called Wonder Clips made by Clover and come 50 per pack. The larger ones are from YazyCraft. They work excellently even on the silkiest thinnest jerseys, are no danger to your serger, and LOOK like candy sitting on the table in a clear plastic deli box. Even on my most arthritic thumbs day, I can get work the clips.

Don’t forget to go through Dora’s website, to get to Amazon for shopping. Other great gnus: DoraDaily is now an affiliate of Craftsy. So get to Craftsy from her website, so she can earn commissions. This news gave me a good reason to order a couple of classes on my wishlist, Knit Lace with Eunny Jang and Hand Applique with Mimi Dietrich. Craftsy has become my next best BFF (next to Kathy of course) for curing my Making and Doing fatigue, procrastination and inertia. And extremely affordable as well with no biochemical side affects!

One last blousey blouse for Sarah then just the finishing touches. This last one is a simple featherweight woven cotton calico, so I don’t anticipate any complications. But I can’t wait to get back to Baby Girl clothes and accessories!! Short seams and Kamsnaps and sweet fabrics. So much like making doll clothes it’s too fun to be work!

Practice samplers


Why is it so easy to get stuck when detouring to take a different path than expected?

Why is it so easy to get overwhelmed at just where to start?

For three daze now, I’ve been moving from chair to chair and table to table trying to figure out how to Set Up Shop for my primary longterm projects. If I make a clever plan, I’m thinking, I won’t have to move everything (especially the heavy stuff) three times more. In the three years I’ve been here, I’ve moved all more than that and Dora has reset the Haberdashery again this last year!

Adam Savage has a great video tour of his latest workshop spaces. I’m trying to follow many of his strategies for tools and materials being visible and accessible. I get stuck when it comes to light, air, and access in and out of workspace. I’m InAndOut often, for animal care, for the cash-flow businesses, property care, visits to Kathy and Mama, and a few AboutTowns. Also I get stuck because Adam Savage has a troupe of interns and helpers, and I’ve got the effects of gravity on my best intentions.

For three nights now, I’ve been working on Practice Samplers. These are the equivalent of those blank page exercises recommended for writer’s block — freewriting. I call it Freestitching. I’m doing practice samples on hems and unexpected edges and areas of other small pieces including Baby Girl’s receiving blankets, trimmed collars, mending. Similar to Freestitching is Small Knitting; fingerless cuffs and other projects that just keep your hands moving and creative thinking going. I always want the Practice Samplers to be useful items; coasters work for practicing new stitch patterns and seeing how colorways in yarns progress. Baby Girl goodies and Treasure Pockets are good practice samplers, cuffs and elbows of old soft shirts are another favorite sample canvas. 

I’m not sure how to display a design portfolio of samples that includes mug rugs and cushion covers, pockets pals and binder covers. But I know that keeping hands moving, making something, making anything, ordinary or extraordinary, moving from color and fiber to objects of need or use or desire is the antidote to creative inertia all crafters and artists must find everyday. 





Little changes make the big changes


It was not another summer morning here. The morning sky makes little changes, a few minutes each day’s light shorter. Each morning a few degrees cooler. It’s smokey and the leaves make a different color and sound than they did a week ago. The hens are working to harvest all the grasses now. Small details, small changes.

I live where seasons are not distinct and do not match the picture books or calendar icons. I live where you have to be cautious, patient and most of all observant of each little detail of change. Learning requires this attentiveness. Aging requires this mindfulness. If I look too “big”, the little changes don’t want to match my schemes and almanacs. But if I look “small” all the pieces of the bricolage make sensible the bigger changes of oekologie, my habitats of home.

Changing expectations


Changing expectations after disappointments can be invigorating. After three years constant effort, Zach Pearse and I have been unable to recruit other makers to our amazing site. So we changed our expectations and plans.

This morning it finally gets through to me that since I will longer be recruiting, I will no longer have to provide opportunity or resources for other potential makers or growers – Space and Time! No more waiting or wondering or worrying someone else’s needs or abilities. And since only short term guests for airbnb rooms, suddenly I can put everything exactly as I want it! It is an incredible thing to have empty drawers suddenly able to accommodate my most treasured tools and materials for my making alone. Having everything at hand for any potential making is the most satisfying and credible accomplishment.

Letting go of my decades long desires and expectations for creating learning environments for others is no small thing. There it goes! I’m a bit light headed in this self-centeredness. Delightful.

More Motifs and Motives

Mindful and Artful lifeways and habitats are not conspicuously compatible with contemporary consumer and man-built environments. Certain pollutants, for example noise from gas-powered leaf blowers as well as the actual microfloral disturbed by your neighbor’s leaf blower have serious effects on whether you can even be outside sketching or planting or writing or stitching.

I’m inside right now then, working cotton yarn in a simple but extremely versatile pattern in crochet to cover cushions in all my habitats from the library to my cab. The three stitch pattern repeats across the row, then, when I turn to come back the pattern stays the same so that both sides of the fabric are the “right” side. The pattern works to different effect when I work in a circle.

I want to understand not just the artfulness and craftiness of crochet as fabric making — but the physical properties and qualities that the stitches in a pattern create; fluffiness, bumpiness, softness, strength, durability, stretchiness…all this just from a hooked stick and yarn knotting in a row. If crochet can be such a delight, I may not be able to contain my wonder when I start learning the loom!

Fun Fur?

Even though one slipped stitch managed to make a gaping hole in the second slipper, I had to hack and snip and yank and pull and waste all the yarn to get the mess undone to redo. The manufacture calls this fuzzy stuff that I twist with bulky yarn “Fun Fur”. It is a misnomer — not “fun” at all. When I’m testing yarns, especially “specialty” yarns, the first thing I do is make a simple good sized swatch and then attempt to undo it. I’ll be more attentive this next redo.

Fuzzy yarns

Working through the second slipper with fuzzy yarn mixed with bulky. I thought the mistake was two rows too long, then sewed up the top. Suddenly a big hole appears from a dropped stitch, growing bigger. I can’t get the construction stitches undone, too fuzzy to even see where they are. It will take more time to UnDo this mess than it took to make it. Fuzzy yarn is not difficult but it gets “out of hand” if I am not attentive enough, watching to secure each stitch.