November 2020 Roundup: Lockdown Time

November 2020 in Rankin can be divided into two segments: before November 11th, and after. That was the date of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Rankin Inlet. As of Thursday, December 3rd, all are recovered there are now no longer any active cases in Rankin Inlet, and so far there have been no deaths from the coronavirus in Nunavut. So we do not complain, and indeed, we thank God every day for his continued protection of Nunavut, and for all the hardworking people keeping it that way.

Of course, compared to this, my little crafting roundup post seems a silly indulgence. But it is one way that helps me mark the time, and it is a fact that our little private lives changed before and after that date. Our town went from normal precautions to total lockdown – schools and churches closed, no meetings whatsoever, no kids in stores, no visitors, etc. Time moves strangely right now, with part of me unable to believe this is our second Christmas season here, and another part feeling that we must have known our friends here for longer than sixteen months. How are you marking the time, with all the strangeness of our changed lives?

Spinning

The first half of November, I was very focused on spinning for the 51 Yarns SAL. I completed my Ramie spin, then blasted through several unusual short spins. There was the “New Natural” yarn, for which I spun two samples from the outer coat of muskoxen. Then there were the “Not intended to be yarn” yarns, also very odd and fun. My Emotional Yarn was spun up on the day the first Rankin case was announced.

Muskox yarns

Then, as we settled into this new set of adjustments to our community, I wrote about the yarns made for the “Community” chapter: yarn spun at a retreat, yarn spun with a group, and teaching someone to spin. Reflecting on those spins from the past helped me process the present.

At present, I am completing my penultimate spin for 51 Yarns. Without weekly get togethers with my spinning buddy, my progress is slow, but I am confident that I will finish soon enough.

Weaving

Weaving is now a regular part of my routine. I completed the Leno lace curtains at the beginning of the month:

Sadly, I completely miscalculated the length I should have woven. This is why you weave a sample and wash it, folks! Eventually, I want to move the curtain rod down a few inches and deal with that straggly fringe. But the curtains hang their now, pretty much as you see here, and I haven’t gotten around to changing them. I just look at that beautiful lace and sigh with happiness, and don’t even notice the straggleyness.

From the sublime to the ridiculous. The rest of the month, I have busily been turning this:

Into these:

The top box is full of completed scarves, and the bottom box has most of what I have left. I’ve completed eighteen scarves, with two more nearly finished, and I have warps wound for nine more. I was doing two a day for a while there, but I’m flagging. I want to see all this yarn turned into silly seussian scarves before Christmas. Because there are lots of kids in our lives who we love, who we don’t get to spend time with right now, and since I was kindly gifted this yarn, this is my way of showing it.

Knitting

Knitting continues, quietly, in the background, mostly while I am reading aloud to Stringbean. The body of the Inukshuk sweater is almost finished.

I did some short rows, and now am just waiting for myself to make the time to do the bit of colorwork I wanted to add before the ribbing. I wanted to finish this before the end of the year, but you know what? It’s ok. I’m cruising along slowly on my extended Strodie as well.

A few rows here and there. It’ll get done when I make it a priority, and this is not that day.

Speaking of priorities…

Sewing

Yeah, there is no way that sewing is a top priority right now, but I am a little possessed by it. I continue fussing with my machine, which is starting to feel a little like a codependent boyfriend. I get it to work for a while, but I’m not sure exactly what it wants, so I don’t know when it’s going to stop working again. It’s exciting to learn more and more about it, but stressful and frustrating when I just want to be sewing! I would feel like I was going crazy if Jared didn’t sometimes feel the same way about his skidoo. Ah well, we are thankful for what we have, and for the hiccups that make us grow.

Before it got really moody, I managed to make these layering pieces for my kiddos.

They are already seeing use. Dooner wore hers under her rabbit-fur parka, sot it’s now covered in rabbit fur. It’s so important to see my little ones well warmed when we go out in the cold, and so difficult to ensure I am doing so when I don’t have that lifetime of experience, and the kiddo is still learning to communicate!

What I didn’t tell you is that this sewing project was a sort of seizure, an impulse project to scratch the itch to sew, when what I really want to be doing is quilting! I am still watching Craftsy videos, and in some furtively stolen moments, I’ve started on my next quilt.

One evening I cut the strips:

Another couple of days I stole the time from weaving to sew up strip sets:

And today I finally cut triangles, ironing them into squares while I waited for pictures to upload for this post.

I love how these batiks look together, and I’m excited to play with my walking foot some more. I’m still working out what I’ll use for batting, but that question can wait for another day.

Homeschool and Family

We finished our first term this month, and dove right into our second. This was actually Term 2 of Year 1 of Ambleside Online, the curriculum we are adapting. And of course, right in the middle of it, MiniMighty stopped having school. That didn’t take as much adjusting for us as it did for her; she enjoys getting out of the house and doing her own thing for a while, and I don’t have as much school prepared for her as for Stringbean. But adjust we all did. And we’ll adjust again next week when she goes back to school half-time.

This morning’s work included making dinosaurs, cakes, and Inuktitut syllabics out of play-doh for about an hour and a half.

We celebrated American Thanksgiving with just our little family, a first for us. In Iqaluit we always had a feast with friends, and last year we invited neighbors over for a big fish dinner. But this year was sweet in a different way. All our families down south were having some kind of semi-isolated Thanksgiving too. We facetimed with my family’s socially distanced bonfire get-together, and had a Zoomsgiving call with Jared’s family. It made me realize that part of what makes Thanksgiving hard for me isn’t just being far from family, but feeling left out, knowing they are all getting together down there without us. It isn’t at all that I rejoiced in anything going on to cause Thanksgiving to be difficult for everyone, but… I felt like we got to participate this year, and that meant a lot to me.

After weeks of temperatures consistently in the -20s, we had a mild week last week, so we closed out November with a little land trip. Jared went out on Sunday night to our friend’s cabin, warmed it up overnight, and the rest of us joined him for a couple of days. Our “weekend” our there is why this post is so late!

One day of gorgeous light, two days of overcast snow, with very little wind and temps in the negative teens. We were snug in the cabin, reading aloud and playing dominos, and had wee adventures outside with wee people. There are no words at all for how good that is.

It’s Advent now, and Christmas approaches with plenty of uncertainties. What kind of services will we be able to have? How will we be able to include as many people as possible with the restrictions we have – and by the way, those restrictions might change at any time? How can we keep pointing to the reason for the season? These are the questions we are asking ourselves into December. We have so, so much to be thankful for right now, and so many prayers to pray. I seem to close all my roundup posts this year by saying, one day a a time. That seems the best way to mark the time right now.

“So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Psalm 90:12

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