The work of winter

I don’t believe I will ever get used to wind storms in a fabric yurt.  The sudden shaking of the walls that sends spice bottles flying.  The distinct sound of the path the wind travels, closer, hitting, and then whirling away.  Thinking it is over, only to have another round hit so unexpectedly that we all jump.  Sometimes it feels like mother nature is a child picking up our snow globe and shaking it.  I woke in the middle of the night to the strangeness of the absolute quiet, the storm’s passing palpable in that peaceful aftermath.  In the morning Josh chainsawed the driveway clear of a fallen tree, the one that the wind blew awayyyy from the fabric yurt…

No, I will never get used to the wind.  But this year I am much more prepared for the cold, thanks to a husband who retrieved and methodically hand split 8+ cords of wood.  Enough that stacks are also building behind the wooden yurt, anticipating being brought into that back door next winter…(!)

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I’m also much more prepared for the cold thanks to…

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Yup, sweater pants.  Uh, huh.  They work.  And I’m glad they’re being put to work now because the mild weather was starting to feel weird.  Planting lilacs in December?

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Now, sweater pants and wind and snow seem just right for January.

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Especially when sweater pants mean I can go outside to the chickens in the chill morning and feel it’s not so bad.  Really it’s quite beautiful and wonderful.  Well, my nose and toes are going a bit numb.  But my legs?  Just fine.

We don’t call them sweater pants.  We call them Old Tallow pants, inspired by the character from the Birch Bark House series we’ve been reading, this elder who added to her fantastic coat of pieced together furs and cloth and whatnot every winter when the cold came on.  They’re also thanks to having the serger still handy from a temporary elf station that appeared in the fabric yurt in December.

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First I made a simple long sleeve shirt for Josh.  But, well, I couldn’t find any “Men’s Rural T-Shirt” patterns, so went with the “Men’s Metro T-Shirt” pattern.  Apparently metro men like their sleeves rather form-fitting.  Thankfully the pattern was quite easy with the help of the serger, so I’ll work on a less bicep-hugging version…

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I also wanted to make a new pair of pants for the boy who likes a very specific style that is a) expensive, b) he wears through quickly, and c) the top fits but they’re too short or the length is right and the waist too big.  I used one of the way-too-loved pairs as a template to create a right-fitting, mud-smears-blending, double-knee-patched version.

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And he likes them, he likes them!  Phew.  He puts in orders for several more.  And now I have the pattern to easily do just that.

One of my favorite December projects didn’t involve the sewing table at all.  It happened by headlamp in the wee hours, because this project couldn’t be disguised very well.

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There were times I felt a bit guilty, thinking how much the recipient would probably have wanted to help and learn as the now dubbed “Rosehip” was created.  It was quite surreal to see the tiny person come together along the way, to learn the new stitches, to understand after the fact how I managed to make her chin disappear (oops!), to be able to make her hair as long as wanted for this girl who dreams of Rapunzel locks.

Thankfully someone else also knows that little girl well and she was beside herself when discovering a bunny kit inside a package.  Every day, she’d do a bit more.  And surprise me a bit more.  I am just now finally figuring out how to make tidy blanket stitching.  She saw what I was doing and soon I could hardly tell our blanket stitches apart.  Perhaps sewing is more seamlessly learned young…

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Maggie Rose Wehrwein, affectionately dubbed Bunbun.  Who, it turns out, is quite good at playing Sleeping Queens.  A bunny not so different from the two the little girl once had that were taken in the fire when she was three.  It seems so long ago, but still clearly has lasting impact when she announces that now she has her own bunny pattern that she can follow and can make another Maggie Rose if something happens to this one.  My heart breaks a bit and rejoices at the same time.

And then we’re making a dress.  And boots.  Because of course a Maine bunny would need some boots…

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Back to the wood.  Of course it has not just been about the firewood that keeps us warm through all the sewing…

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(a kraut tamper)

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The mild December also enabled more outdoor wood projects to move along.  Like when I “helped” push along the cedar logs that will be the future cupola on the wooden yurt.  The Junior Arch is very useful for moving them from the lower clearing up to the truck, but dang those logs are still beastly heavy!  I’m going to blame all the wood moving for Josh not fitting in that metro t-shirt…

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Josh mills it to get it started drying for cupola making, and also brings back more milled pieces for a little house in the woods that is coming together bit by bit.

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Now the little house will wait.  The big yurt will wait.  Winter tuck in is here, and it feels just right…

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8 thoughts on “The work of winter

  1. Great Reads and very nice art work I must say! Josh may well like the Lathe I am making, Pedal powered from an old sewing machine.

  2. Oh wow – that was awesome to read. Whew – you’ve all been busy making such great stuff !! Love Rosehip and Maggie Rose – the spoons, the pants, the shirt….all of it ! Glad the tree went the other way too! Funny weather here too – but more “winter like” now so we curl up by the woodstove in the evenings which is nice. Looks like you have enough firewood! xoxoxoo alison

  3. Love this posting. That doll is a treasure. Your creativity is inspiring—sweater pants, the shirt, the use of scraps. And I felt cold just reading your excellent description of the wind and the yurt shaking. So glad to share in your wonderful life. JoAnna

    In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love. Mother Teresa

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