Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fall comes

Yesterday I knew summer was over. I put on warm socks and long pants, leaving shorts and sandals behind, probably for this year. Sigh. The rain has started. Right now the sun is shining and there is blue sky, but there are clouds around the edges. Yesterday the rain came down in torrents and washed summer away. The garden is still wet and drippy from yesterday. The bathroom door is sticking because of the additional moisture in the air. The creek is high. Summer is over.

There's a little frog in there—can you see him?

I went to the studio yesterday, with an umbrella, and turned on the heat to help dispel the damp and turned on the lights to dispel the gray and I puttered the afternoon away with some non-art sewing.

I bought a length of hand-woven fabric, years ago, at the market in Otavalo, in Ecuador. "Es algodon??" I asked, in my terrible Spanish. "Is it cotton?"  "Si, algodon" was the answer. But it isn't. I don't know what kind of fabric it is. Maybe some cotton and something else. I washed it when I got home and it crinkled up strangely and raveled like mad, producing huge wads of colored thread in the dryer. I burned one of those thread wads and it produced black, hard balls of melted something. I folded it and put it away where it has remained for probably 8 years. Yesterday I made myself a long shirt from the fabric.

Then I made two soft flannel reversible caps for my sister, who is undergoing chemotherapy and will lose her beautiful hair. We—she and I—have always been a bit vain about our hair. It is thick and coarse and began to turn white so many years ago we can't remember. It attracts attention. It is our family crest, inherited from our father and grandfather and shared by our brother, and cousins and children and oddly, it feels extremely representative of who we are and where we come from. Hair. Silly, isn't it? She will lose her hair—temporarily. These caps will keep her head warm in the coming rainy, damp months until the hair comes back. They are very soft and remind me of baby caps, except I made them extra large because, along with the "Howard hair," we all have big heads.

Rainy days are good days for hunkering down and getting things done. And getting things done feels better than worrying about things I can't control. Like hair.


  1. Sorry to hear about your sister's cancer.... and the loss of her hair. I have always been envious of your lovely hair. I'll probably never go completely white - just grizzled and drab. My mother longed for white hair, but when she died at 65 she had less grey than I do now. My hair genes come from her side of the family.
    Almost noon and only 82F, maybe autumn has come to SCal! Love, Del

  2. A touching post. After several minutes I found the frog. All my best to your sister for a speedy recovery.

  3. I spy a frog!

    So sorry about your sister - hopefully chemo will do the trick and all will be well. Hair is a silly thing, and yet it's definitely a part of who whe are - long or short? colored or no? thick? curly? It is definitely a very visible part of us that is part of our statement to the world on who we are. A hard thing to lose.

  4. I'm sorry your sister is going through chemo. I'm glad she has you to help her through this.

  5. I am so sorry about your sister and her illness. I send positive energy to you both. My son is also going through chemo at this time; we hope for a full remission soon :) And yes, summer is over :( we have company from back east and turned on the heater for them. What a sad shame, eh?

  6. Do you mind if I ask what pattern you used for chemo caps? I just made one for a friend -- the pattern was a free one from Hancock's -- made from cotton knit so it was stretchy, but she'll need something warmer soon.

    1. I'm glad you asked about the chemo cap pattern, Virginia. I intended to include a link to the pattern in my post and I forgot to do that. I know we all know someone who is going through chemo, it seems. I have made waaaay too many of these caps. The pattern is called "Millie's Tie Hat" and is the first one listed on this page: