Monday, March 31, 2008

tippings pond

when i let flora the cat out early yesterday morning i heard a summer bird call (2 long notes- so familiar but don't know what it is). there had also been a fresh snowfall so it wasn't looking like spring. in the afternoon brenda and i took the dogs for a walk around tippings pond. it's about an hour's walk and beautiful in all weather, all seasons. there was a family ice fishing on the pond and they'd built up a fire on the edge of the pond for a"boil up". i spent the rest of the day hooking and knitting.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

paper work

i got out for a good walk with abigail yesterday, but the rest of the day was spent working on my application for the toronto one-of-a-kind christmas show (deadline april 9th). it's hard to plan so far in advance...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

skies clearing

i recieved my yarn from this past week (part of a trade for a hooked mat) and couldn't resist knitting some up yesterday (i know, i'm supposed to be hooking). this little scarflette will be entered as part of the etsy fibre arts team april challenge of "april showers". i call it "skies clearing" because it looks like little bits of deep blue sky peaking through after days of rain and heavy cloud cover. i'll be listing it in my etsy shop today.

Friday, March 28, 2008


finished up the little baby sweater that's part of my latest etsy trade (baby hat and sweater for handmade soap and dog shampoo). the hat and sweater are going to the buyer in seattle and then on to her niece in siberia. i love that my work is going to such "far flung" places.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

since skipper died...

keith and i have been together almost 12 years and in that time we've made a home for many animals - some bought, some rescued, some fostered - for short and long periods of time. now we have only 2 - a cat and a dog. we feel very "normal". since skipper died, flora the cat has been coming more and more out of her skittish little calico cat world. she comes to us for caresses. she's even latched onto abigail the dog. she senses that they're the only 2 left...

i still go to the pound every thursday with evelyn to choose animals for the spca shelter. it's a small shelter (only 6 dog cages) so we can never take every animal there. sometimes the animals are too wild (feral cats) too agressive (biting dogs) too old to be adopted. the day after i put skipper down, we saw this little guy at the pound. he was very timid. very slow in his movements. very raggedy looking. old. he looked so much like skipper. we closely inspected him. he was just frightened. he moved slowly because his fur was so matted. evelyn checked his teeth and determined he was only about 4-5 years old. so she took him home. bathed and groomed him. took him to the shelter on saturday and he was adopted on sunday. that one was for skipper...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

what came in the mail...

some days just start off right. early yesterday morning a parcel of yarn arrived. it was part of the trade with . each skein of yarn is going to inspire at least one scarf. beth is interested in doing another trade (yarn for a hooked mat) so i'll be getting non-wool yarn - bamboo, cotton, linen etc. to knit up some spring/summer scarves. yahoo...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

back on track

after 2 weeks of illness i'm finally feeling well again. still coughing at night but good energy during the day. spent all day hooking and i'm liking what's happening with the mat again. sold 2 scarves on etsy yesterday - the "rapunzal" and one that i spun all the yarn for on my spindle. so life seems to be going forward again...

Monday, March 24, 2008


i took a break from my large mat this weekend. not knowing what direction to take it in next. it's so large that i don't want to make mistakes that will take a long time to correct. so instead i finished off my small "trade" mat that's heading to alabama and worked on my knitted baby sweater that's going to california and eventually to a baby in siberia. it was a cold, snowy weekend, so, aside from abigail's walks, i stayed in... i think winter has stalled too.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


and still so much snow...

i started filling in the "florets" on the mat yesterday. i thought i knew what i wanted but it isn't working. so i set it aside where i could glance at it during the day, and worked on something else. today i'll rip it out and try something new. some days are like that...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

trade ya'

because most of the sellers on etsy are craftspeople (some sell vintage or craft supplies), we appreciate each other's work. there's a lot of trading going on. i initiate or agree to trades for supplies that go back into my work and items that i would normally be buying . right now i have a couple of lovely trades happening. beth at is trading me a selection of handspun yarn (i love her colours) for 1 of my hooked mats.
i'm also trading a baby hat or sweater for some handmade soap and dog shampoo.

Friday, March 21, 2008

secret spring

my favourite childhood story was frances burnett's the secret garden. i loved the mystery of a secret private place. the idea of digging down and discovering new growth, new life.
growing up as first generation canadians (my mother was from scotland) in toronto in the 1950's, with virtually no canadian children's books, we children grew up with british notions of the seasons. it didn't really matter that we lived in canada and canada was different. in our minds, early spring came in february.march meant crocuses and easter meant tulips and daffodils.
i've had to rethink spring again since moving to newfoundland in 1975. easter meant maybe, if the winter hadn't been severe (as it has been this year), that there would be pussy willows in a jar to hang the painted easter eggs on.
spring comes very slowly and quietly to newfoundland. there are signs, but they are subtle. the new call of the blue jay (it's mating call). the break up of the ice in the bay. the strength of the sun. it's actually a season i've learned to love here because it is quiet. and slow.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


although i received a lot of education and training as far as "fine art" goes (i hold a bfa, a b.ed in art eduction, and an mfa in painting) , as far as "craft" goes, i'm basically self taught. my mother taught me how to knit and sew when i was 6. my aunt nellie taught me how to use a sewing machine the summer i was 11. i picked up a rug hooking kit at a craft fair about 6 years ago and followed the instructions that were included. because of this, i tend to do things differently than the "professionals". i don't use a frame when i hook (i didn't know i was supposed to), and i don't know any other rug hooked who doesn't. because of this, rug hooking for me is very portable. even the largest mats can me carted around. i hook on my lap.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

what's taking so long?

rug hooking - like most fibre processes - takes a long time. from experience, i know a mat this size (finished 36"x36")will take 3 weeks to complete . yesterday i finished the outline of the "florets". each floret takes an hour and on this mat there are 11.

for my mats i use good quality (ie even weave) scottish burlap. by hand, i cut 1/4" strips of recycled t-shirts or jersey fabric. holding a strip of fabric in your left hand underneath the burlap, and with the hook in your right hand, you hook down through a hole in the burlap and grab the fabric strip, pull it up to make a loop. you hook into approx. 2 out of every 3 holes. that's what takes the time. as work on this mat progresses, i'll post a photo each day to show you how it's coming along.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

after the break

we're getting heavy snow this morning but nothing like the huge storms they're having on the east coast of the province. it's called "shelagh's brush" - the spring storm closest to st. patrick's day.
i think i had my break although much of it was spent in bed.

yesterday i started work on a large mat for my show in may. it's inspired by a wonderful piece of african fabric i bought on etsy last month. the mat will be large - 1 metre x 1 metre and will take about 3 weeks of solid work to complete...

Monday, March 17, 2008

while i slept...

it was the most perfect early spring weather on the west coast of the province. warm sunlight. the streets sparkling with melting snow. keith got down to the cabin. and i stayed home and nursed my cold...

Sunday, March 16, 2008


i've managed to stay healthy all fall and winter but have finally been overcome with "the flu". (before i moved to newfoundland in 1975, i knew the difference between a cold and the flu. here everything is referred to as the flu. and the symptoms are often mixed up - fever, sweats, chills, coughing, runny nose...) i've just got a cough and a really heavy pressure on my chest. no energy to work (my body held up until i could take a rest!). especially at night. as soon as i lie down the coughing starts. the weight on my chest. long nights in the spare room. doling out advil and cough syrup and cold molasses. reading at 3:00 in the morning - trying to make myself tired enough to try sleep again.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

gathering in the light

my african violets don't bloom in the winter. from late autumn to early spring they sit looking dormant. gathering dust on their velvety leaves. a few weeks ago i noticed the first flower buds. they are now fully blooming with radiant excitement. they gather in the light. the longer days.

Friday, March 14, 2008

more lost boys

yesterday morning i recorded an interview with local cbc and the "lost boys" artist michele karch akerman. it was great hearing her voice (we hadn't spoken before, just alot of emails) and it was hard not to just break into conversation. the project is growing. if any of you are interested in participating (see my lost boys entry of march ), just email me or leave a comment here. michele needs 732 little knit sweaters in all (1 for every man who died, was wounded or went missing at beaumont hamel on july 1st, 1916).

Thursday, March 13, 2008

the calm of knitting

i've been knitting. i find right now it slows me down. the pressure of the past two weeks has worn me out. knitting brings me back to the stillness. to the present moment.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

after the show

yesterday was definitely a day for recovery. it's been a tough couple of weeks. skipper's last days. furnace problems. travel and the show. while in st. john's i discovered that a good friend of mine has had breast cancer and will now be undergoing radiation.
keith had a tooth pulled yesterday and i had a computer virus scare (luckily my antivirus protection worked) and ivan (my computer guru) came over to make sure i was "clean". a newspaper interview about the show. we know how to care for ourselves though. in the evening a pot of good homemade soup, fresh baked bread. propane stove in front of the tv. american idol. knitting.

the photo above shows my tulip mat and some paisely bowls - just how i pictured them in the show. and below is a joint display of deb and ray's and my work in the craft council shop.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

the opening

we got back to corner brook yesterday afternoon. it's a long drive to and from st. john's (8 hours) but the roads were surprisingly good for this time of year (we missed the big storm). so i'm exhausted. work leading up to the show. the long ordeal with skipper. the travel. i slept last night more deeply than i can remember in a long, long time.

exhibition openings aren't easy for me. i'm fairly solitary. i have good good friends but don't like being in crowds (which to me is anything more than 5). i avoid parties . i like meaningful conversations but not chit-chat. i'd have no trouble sitting down one-on-one with every person who came to the show and have a good talk. it's just all of them all together.
it was a large turnout on a stormy day. the gallery looked stunning and spring-like. deb and ray's work is wonderful and in high demand. their sales were good. mine weren't (2 small mats sold), but from experience i know all the work will eventually sell.
so i've tidied up and just written my artist statement for my next show at the end of may. and now i'll make a cup of tea and spin some of my new roving (pink with gold glitter!).

Thursday, March 6, 2008

a good old dog

yesterday afternoon we had skipper put down. over the past week his little back legs no longer supported him and we'd have to
hold him up to pee and poop. or eat and drink. he was losing bladder control. like a new puppy we'd have to take him outside every time he tried to get up just in case that's what he needed. if he was a human he would have been in a wheelchair with a catheter and he could have gone on living in his smaller and smaller world. tuesday he seemed agitated all day, but yesterday he was calm. he was so tired. we were with him when he got the needle and i know he felt our love.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

rapunzel, rapunzel...

as a child, i found rapunzel to be one of the most haunting of fairy tales. looking out of my parent's bedroom window, i could see the tower of the local firehall, and i imagined rapunzel living there.

this month's etsyfast challenge was fairy tales. i've been reading grimm's collection ,with arthur rackham illustrations, before going to sleep. it's been wonderfully soothing. almost a feeling of coming full cricle.

i chose rapunzel as my fairy tale and knit this rapunzel scarf which is now listed in my etsy shop. just as i was about to take the photo, my rattan form arrived from ebay. i now have a good way to photograph and display my scarves.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

lost boys

on the morning of july 1st, 1916 at beaumont hamel in france, over 700 newfoundland soldiers (many no more than boys) were killed at the battle of the somme.

michele karsh ackerman is an artist from ontario. she has been researching and working on installation projects dealing with ww1 and the connection of the youung soldiers with the lost boys in peter pan (peter pan was published during ww1). while at the artist residency in pouch cove, newfoundland and while researching at the museum of newfoundland and labrador, she came across the devestating story of beaumont hamel.

her latest project is to knit a miniature (doll size) sweater for every newfoundland soldier who died at beaumont hamel that day. she has 200 knit and needs help knitting over 500 more. anyone interested in being involved in this project can email me at or leave a comment and i will get the pattern and information to you...

Monday, March 3, 2008

orange and blue

orange is one of my favourite colours. i use it alot in my work - paint, yarn, fabric, but often combine it with another warm colour. yesterday was a stormy sunday, so i stayed inside and knit this scarf. orange and blue. indoors and outdoors.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


march 1st was lamb-like. hot strong sun in the cold air. everyone was outside. marilee and i took the dogs for a good walk around the pond. keith snowmobiled into the lewis hills. soaking up the vitamin d. today a strong spring storm...

ps. update on skipper. he's hanging in. i'm calling him skipper 9-lives. last week i thought it was definitely over for him, but once again he rallied and seems quite alert and involved this week. i'm hoping somehow he'll be able to let me know when he's ready to go...

pps. my etsy shop is featured this week on nyxenchantments

Saturday, March 1, 2008

wooden head

this is my latest puchase on etsy. a vintage wooden head to display my knitted hats on. but it's too beautiful to cover up. a brancusi head...