Tuesday, December 30, 2008

roots and tendrils

my roots are in corner brook, newfoundland. keith and the pets, my friends, my home. my work. my tendrils are here in st. john's. my daughter and grandchildren. from my core they unfold and wrap themselves around meals and laundry and stories and card games with an eight year old and slow walks with a three-year old. they are ready to sprout tiny green leaves to encircle a new baby. it's important to keep the core strong. to be able to give in both directions.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

nesting dolls

i have witnessed the birth of both my grandchildren. and now i'm heading into st. john's for the birth of my third. my grandson's birth was long and difficult (he was a very large baby). my grand daughter's was quick and much more simple. when my daughter was in my womb she had all her eggs so i carried these babies in my womb. my mother's mother carried me. years ago my sister wrote a poem about this where she compared us to nesting dolls. backwards and forwards. on and on...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

getting ready

i'm heading in to st. john's tomorrow (no - no baby yet) and plan on being away about 10 days (depending on when the baby comes). i'm reluctant to shut down my etsy shop again so soon (it was closed while i was in toronto earlier in the month). i've been adding new items the past couple of days and it will still be possible to purchase, convo etc. but i won't be mailing anything out until i return. i'm adding these new yarns today and hope to get a couple more up before i leave. i'll have access to my etsy shop and blog but not my emails, so if you need/want to get in touch with me you can do it through my etsy shop.

Friday, December 26, 2008

calm waters with a little evening turbulance

christmas day felt more like boxing day this year. sleeping in, leisurely opening of gifts (keith gave me wonderful snowshoes which means i can walk anywhere...), all day snacking. my daughter sent photos throughout the day so it felt like we were in st. john's with them all. but early in the evening she phoned to say perhaps labour might be starting. i checked flight schedules (i have a flight booked to go out on sunday) and no flights till early this morning. so i very quickly packed (knowing i might have to leave the house at 6:00am). by late evening things had settled down with her and we'll stick to the original plan. but now i'm packed. and ready.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

christmas lights in the snow

it has snowed so much (and continues to snow) that our christmas lights are buried in the snow. this was the inspiration for yesterday's yarn. have a lovely christmas eve.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

deep in snow and snacks

it snowed all day yesterday. the forcast today is for the same, so last night after dinner we dug out and drove to dominion to do the christmas food shopping . i looked into the food cart at one point and there was nothing healthy in it (unless you can count soya milk eggnog as healthy). it's only keith and i this year so we decided to buy all the snacky items we most enjoy. keith and i are opposites in most things including what we want to snack on. so for keith there were chocolate covered cherries and shortbread cookies. for me pistachios and brie. the video store was closed (we were going to stock up on movies) because of the weather, so we'll make another stab at that today. as i write this morning, the snowfall is again picking up. if i don't have to travel, and i'm not waiting for someone to fly in - i love this type of holiday...

Monday, December 22, 2008

there's nothing i need to do

this weekend i finished off my last commissioned piece. now there's nothing i have to do. i can't remember the last time i was in this position. always there are orders to work on. exhibitions to prepare for. i woke this morning to the first big storm of the season here on the west coast of newfoundland. rolled over and slept for another 1/2 hour. it's even too cold and snowy and windy to go for a walk with abigail. so i'll do a little spinning. maybe start sorting through some drawers of old paperwork. read a little. begin knitting a little cross-over vest for the new baby. all without the nagging weight of unfinished business on my shoulders...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

no tree this year

when i was young, and married, i felt sorry for my in-laws when they decided not to have a christmas tree. i saw it as a failure, and a lack. this year keith and i will be on our own (no children or grandchildren home for christmas) and last night we decided we really didn't want a christmas tree. so i've decorated the mantel and put up our little blinking artificial tree (the one for the grand children's bedroom when they're here) by the spinning wheel. and it's enough. and i feel free.

Friday, December 19, 2008


unfortunately i was still in toronto when our west coast craft group met for our december gathering and exchange of "secret santa" gifts. this is the second year we've done this and the only rule is that the gift be hand made. i made a skein of yarn for susan (who is a master spinner but spins very differently than i do). and yesterday barb dropped off my gift from colette. colette is a performance artist but has recently joined our group, and to supplement her organic farm and her artist residency "fulltilt", she has been painting wonderful floor mats - acrylic paint and varnish on canvas. my gift was a small version. i love the lightness of it...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

what it became...

i love seeing my yarn knit up by other people. here is a clutch made out of my "i live on an island" yarn by one of my regular customers on etsy. and here is one of robyn's great hats. "red hot" was knit up as a collaborative piece for our etsy fibre group's december challenge it's available for sale on robyn's etsy shop

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

moonlight sonata

artists and craftspeople are constantly being asked to donate their product to charitable auctions. because of this, we have to be very selective. one of the organizations i love to support is gros morne summer music. it was started about 6 years ago by david maggs (a childhood friend of my son's). he invites musicians (mostly, but not all classically trained) from all over the world to perform in gros morne national park. these weekly concerts all summer long are a highlight of my summers now. for their auction next week i spun and then knit up "moonlight sonata" - exquisitely soft shetland, mohair, corn fibre and bamboo with just a little moonlit sparkle.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

spinning for baby

my daughter is expecting her 3rd baby in early january. when she was expecting her first (9 years ago) i spent the whole 9 months knitting. with her 2nd (4 years ago) i managed to knit up a few items. for this one, i've knit nothing... that's what happens when you knit professionally! so this week i'm spinning yarn for the new one. i'm heading out to st. john's right after christmas to help out the family and be there for the birth. and i'll be taking alot of my own yarn to knit up...

Monday, December 15, 2008

my grandfather billy

my mother's parents separeted when she was 6 years old, so we grew up with no contact with our grandfather and we knew little of him - until last year when we were contacted by a private detective working for the government and searching (for 20 years!) for billy's descendents. we received a small inheritance and with that money, this past summer, i took time to learn how to spin. (billy was from scotland so i knew he would have approved). in all the information we gathered about him, my brother discovered that he had been buried (at the age of 93) in the graveyard in north toronto that we played in as children. he knew all along where we were... so this past week, while i was in toronto, i went to visit his grave. unfortunately, the night before there had been light snow, so when i got to the veteran's area of the graveyard, and stood where my brother had marked the sight, all i could see were indentations of the flat grave markers. i could not "will" myself to find his grave. i had spun a very small skein to leave with him, so i wound it in a small tree. i'll go back another time, when there is no snow...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

the princes' gates

in 1925 my scottish great uncle, who was an architect with chapman and oxley, came to toronto to work on the princes' gates at the CNE. 2 years later my grandfather came over from edinborough and shortly after my grandmother and mother followed. that's how we ended up in canada. the toronto one of a kind show was held in the direct energy building just behind the princes' gates. every day i would walk from my lodgings to the CNE grounds. it was about an hour's walk (wonderful way to start the day of 10 hours of basically sitting in my booth). i have a very poor sense of direction, and every day, taking a slightly different route, i would get slightly lost. and every day, at some point i would see the white angel on the top of the gates and know that i was heading in the right direction and would soon be there. she was my beacon...

Friday, December 12, 2008

my etsy anniversary

yesterday was my etsy shop's 1 year anniversary. to celebrate, i'm having a sale this week (until dec. 18th)- 10% off of all items in the shop and an additional free shipping if you purchase more than 1 item. the shop is still a little bare (i shut it down when i was in toronto) but each day i'll be adding more yarn, scarflettes, fingerless gloves and baby hats. please drop by (the link is on the side of my blog) and check it out.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

so... how it all went down.

i thought, after it (the toronto one of a kind show) was all over, that i'd have a clear idea of whether or not to do it again. financially, it's tricky. i made back my expenses and then some, but not alot for the 3 months work i put into preparation. i can blame it partially on the economy. the less expensive items - the skeins of yarn, the baby hats and fingerless gloves and scarflettes - all items around $35.00-$45.00 - sold well. the more expensive items - the shawls and scarves didn't (so people were really sticking to buying gifts for others and not treats for themselves). the experience was exhausting - it included a 5:00 am set up on the first day in time for the show opening at 11:00 am and 6 eleven hour days. but on the positive - i reached out to thousands of people. 400 business cards were taken. i talked with many, many customers and potential customers. i met with some amazing other crafts people. on the last day in toronto i took some skeins over to the knit cafe on queen street and they will be carrying my yarn. so... i think i'll be going back next year...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

sitting and waiting

i leave for toronto tomorrow morning for the one of a kind show. everything is done. i feel like a young 19th century girl sitting at a railway station. my suitcase by my feet. ankles crossed. gloved hands folded in my lap. waiting for the sound of the train whistle. i'll be back dec. 9th. i'll miss you all.

Friday, November 28, 2008

packin' 'er in

i've finished spinning. this morning i pack up the rest of my product, my lights and cords and hang tags and scissors and cash receipt books... everything having to do with the actual fair. tomorrow i turn my attention to me - my clothes etc. i want to leave sunday with the house clean. bread made. a pot of soup that will keep keith going for a few days. i need a calm mind... i'll keep knitting all the way to toronto and while i'm at the fair, but the spinning is done.
if i wasn't going to toronto, i'd have done the fine craft and design fair in st. john's last weekend, and this weekend, the west coast craft fair that opens in corner brook this morning.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

strange weather

overnight the little snow we had disappeared. today the temperature is well above freezing. there is still green grass and tiny flowers in the garden. often late november winter has settled in and stays until april. i find this very, very nice!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


4 more days until i leave for toronto. i have lists everywhere. lists of things to do before i go (yesterday i finished my last mailbox commission to be delivered today, received more hang tags so was able to tag my samples for phatfiber and they'll get mailed off today, finished the rope ladders for booth display) i have a list of things to take for my booth and to run the booth once the show opens (receipt books, extension cords, safety pins to attach my curtains to the backkdrop etc.etc.) list of clothes to take (i'm selling fashion accessories this time so i have to look good!) lists of contact numbers once i'm in toronto. but now there are more checks than not on the lists. and things are getting finished and packed. and abigail got out for a good walk yesterday and marilee has offered to take her for walks while i'm gone. so it's all falling into place.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

abigail finds me boring

abigail finds me boring. i leave for toronto in 5 days and am trying to get as many skeins spun up as i can before i go. so our walks are quick sprints around the block instead of leisurely strolls around the pond. i'm focused on the spinning wheel so am missing some of her cues - when she wants to go out, when she wants to play. and i'm filled with guilt because when i'm gone she's home alone. i'll make it up to you abigail...

Monday, November 24, 2008

how i spent the "weekend"

for most craftspeople, this time of year, weekends don't exist. so - other than sleeping in a little longer, enjoying my weekly double cappuccino from the cafe, and a few moments with the saturday globe and mail, i was spinning. i'm hoping to take around 50 skeins with me (i've stopped putting them up on my etsy shop but did manage to sell a couple to a woman in helsinki - my first european buyer!) it's snowing this morning so not hard to turn up the heat (great for drying skeins by the radiators) and get to work...

Friday, November 21, 2008

sale at islandsweet

next friday i'm closing up my island sweet etsy shop, packing up all my yarn, and on the sunday i'm heading off to toronto for the one of a kind show. sooo... starting today i'm having a sale on everything in my shop. 10% off all yarn and knitwear, and free shipping if you buy more than 1 item. just go into my shop, choose what you want and then contact me and i'll change the price before you pay. if you live locally and don't need shipping, i'll offer you 20% off for more than 1 item. there's still time to knit that special christmas gift! my etsy shop will reopen on december 10th.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

taos, new mexico

yesterday morning i was spinning up "november grey" - a yarn that reflected the day. then martie's parcel arrived! martie first approached me through my blog (she is interested in rug hooking). she is a spinner and a knitter and had a yarn shop in new mexico. recently she closed it down and reopened on etsy at taossunflower. her fleece and yarns are exquisite - gorgeous rich sunfilled colours. i put in an order because i needed both sun and colour. it arrived on the right day!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

every day is different

almost every day (unless, like today, the weather is horrendous) marilee and i walk the dogs together. we usually choose to follow the trails, in and out of the woods, around the glynmill inn pond. every day is different. according to the weather, to the sky, to the season. to the other dogs and people we meet. marilee often brings stale bread so now the ducks (and usually the swans) come to great us.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

i can go in any direction

i love the freedom of expression i have with my yarn. when an artist (painter, sculptor) is working on a "body of work" the assumption is that it will all be concerned with a certain "theme". each piece relates to the other. although my yarn is becoming more recognizably mine (the way i spin, the textured materials i add in etc.) i can go wherever i want with the "subject". yesterday i spun up 2 skeins. the first i've called "brighton beach". i've always loved the photos of the bathing huts or "boxes" on brighton beach in southern england. the second i've called "victorian ladies". soft, muted greys and purples with a hint of white lace peeking through.

Monday, November 17, 2008

it was balmy

yesterday was balmy. this is unheard of for mid-november. a soft southerly wind bathed us in warmth. keith and abigail went down the bay and put plastic on the roof of the old cabin on the land uptop from our beach cabin (we hope to tear it down in the spring but keith didn't want it to cave in on itself over the winter). i stayed home and prepared the garden for winter - raked the rest of the leaves, cut down soggy or diseased leaves and stalks from the garden beds. wrapped the bushes in burlap to protect them from the weight of the snow. most years we're doing this in freezing weather because we've waited too long. yesterday was a holiday...

Saturday, November 15, 2008