Springthings

The Spring Equinox has come and gone, so I thought it would be a good time to come here and talk a bit about the changing surroundings, the awakening garden and what’s been going on in my craft corner.

I know March, and this period of the year in general, is not everyone’s favourite time, especially this year which in many places marked the anniversary of a year of lockdown and pandemic regulations. It’s a fickle, stubborn month where winter and spring toss and turn with freezing temperatures one day and warm sunshine the next. Despite my allergies (yes, those begin peaking this month too) I’ve always liked this period and the sweet anticipation of garden planning and seeing the first signs of nature slowly waking up. Mind, March is also my birthday month so this is all high talk perched from my snowdrop throne. Over here the period is marked by the first tree buds starting to open, snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils popping up, badger cubs finding their footing and bumblebee queens flying out to form new colonies.

The trees are still quite barren and it’s not quite “green shoots galore” and “bird frolicking fest” yet, but there are signs everywhere that it’s coming. The tree across my apartment is colouring more pink by the day and soon will treat us and the bees to a full eruption of pink bloom and pollen. The brightening weather means more animals awakening from their slumber as well as more horses, cows and sheep being allowed to roam outside.

If you’d been to my house (which you haven’t, because pandemic, but let’s pretend for a moment) you would have seen this period marked by me frantically reorganizing… Well, everything. We built two new cabinets so now my spinning equipment has a more permanent place to live along with an assortment of other stuff that people who craft and make things tend to accumulate over time. I’d love to say that I’m not usually so susceptible to the seasonal urge of deep Spring clean up, but I’m not sure that would be true.

Things are happening in the balcony garden as well. The buds of the apple tree are slowly starting to open up. Not long ago the buds had barely made their presence known and remained in apparent stillness for a week or two while the weather remained cold. However, they’ve been making the most of the nice couple of days we’ve had since and have worked up a growth spurt! Today I spotted little clusters of, what in time, will become blooms and one eager fellow even went as far as showing a little glimpse of the blooms to come. I’m bursting with excitement with seeing the promise of all those little blooms dotted across the branches. To add to that apple tree excitement, we got a tiny bramble bush to add to our collection of balcony greenery.

Our plans for the balcony this year are more ambitious than they have been in the past. This means more preparation and work to have it all fall into place, and it means being more resourceful with the small space we have. On the flip side, it means more plants, more green, more variety, more joy and more opportunity to grow (both literally, for the actual garden, and figuratively for us as gardeners). It’s exciting and daunting at the same time, as beginnings of things often are. Our windowsill has erupted with life over the past few weeks, with seeds germinating and miniscule seedlings growing day by day. We did a first seed sowing session at the start of March and are busy diy-ing constructions and containers for the balcony so the seedlings have a place to go once they are big enough. Once we are a bit further into spring and things have solidified somewhat I might come back and talk more about it here.

Over the first half of the winter we had quite some troubles with our sourdough, mostly with getting the starter nice and active and getting semi reliable results on the bread rise. I think getting used to the colder temperatures were in part to blame, but starters are fickle beasties so who knows, it could be a whole host of things that weren’t making her happy. It took us until the second half of the winter to settle on a feeding formula and routine that she was happy with. After figuring out the starter, we also decided to try some different everyday bread recipes to see if we got a better result by switching things up from our go to recipe…and we did! So we’ve now switched to a different everyday recipe with a different rise and preparation routine which has been working out better for us. There’s little that feels more like spring than dreaming up all the new recipes and new things to try with our sourdough!

As for my knitting I’ve been mostly working through the body of my fluffy colourwork monstrosity and am now close to finishing the body. My cats really love this one (it’s…ahem.. so fluffy) so it doubles as their nap fort which slowed my work on it a bit given we were working on intervals with it. (That is, them adding extra cat hair and snores to the fiber mix, me advancing the stitch work). I’ve now reached the shoulder shaping and after that I should be able to crank out the sleeves fairly quickly as those are just plain knit stitches. I hope to be done with that soon cause this is really a winter project/garment. It’s very warm and toasty when it’s on my lap and I’m working on it, so with the warming days I’m eager to get dug into some lighter knitwear pieces. So eager in fact, that I’ve already kind of cast on for something different. “Kinda”, in this case, means I cast on a sleeve to see how the assortment of different yarns would work together for this project. A wearable swatch, so to speak. That said, I really strive to finish my other project first, as I don’t want to have that lingering over the summer.. imagine the joys of working on a thick mohair jacket when the thermometer hits 30 degrees!

I finished spinning the purple fibre project that I was spinning on my lighter Turkish Spindle. The yarn is unbelievably soft, lofty and about fingering weight. My apprentice (the cat) took over yarn finishing techniques and has really made that part of the process her own. She smacks, twacks and head bumps the yarn like no other and in doing so helps me greatly redistributing the twist in the skein. Making you wonder who is really the apprentice of who here?

This week I also felt my slumbering sewing mojo reawaken. I wouldn’t really call myself a seasonal sewist as I continue to sew throughout the year but I do notice an increased enthusiasm in spring and summer vs autumn and winter. It remains to be seen if this re found enthusiasm is a false spring or not but I’ve picked out my fabric and pattern so I’m encouraged. I’ve also dug out some embroidery tools and very tentatively started stitching on something, which I haven’t done in years. I guess you could say that spring has truly sprung at the Tree House in every possible way!

Until next time!

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