Thursday, July 31, 2008

happy birthday blog!

my blog will be one year old tomorrow. it's become part of my life. a visual and written record of my creative thought and activities. a means of sharing and connecting. my diary. thanks to all of you who check in regularly.

ps. heading up (although locals say down (the direction the water flows) ) the northern penninsula this morning for a few days - to l'anse aux meadows to show eamon the viking settlement. then on to conche (where keith's mom florence grew up).

making yarn

sooo... i picked up my drum carder in st. john's. now i can take fleece, dye it, spread it out and add all sorts of different colours, yarns, fibres, glitter, cut up commercial novelty yarns. run it through the carder. spin it. and have the yarn i dreamed of knitting with. i'm there.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

learning the ropes

i'm still trying to meet my (much reduced) quota of yarn/knitting each day, so eamon has been conscripted. here he's dyeing yarn in kool-aid (wonderful colours and non-toxic). he's doing well on the wheel too.

and in the late afternoon, his first ever baseball game.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

pattern of time

i see the pattern of my days as stripes with the occasional swirl. having children around is more like a kaleidoscope. my very long-time friend catherine (whose children played with my children ) also has her grandsons staying with her from toronto. so we're spending time together. a blur of little boys. wet limbs, popsicle stained mouths. laundry. sunshine and late nights. and sleepy mornings.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

mixed salad greens

my friend colette has started an organic farm and each week now delivers a large bag of fresh greens. the light and colour of these greens inspired my latest yarn.

ps. i leave early tomorrow morning to pick up my grandson in st. john's. he'll be spending most of august with us...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

sunrise at signal hill scarf

in north america, the sun rises first on signal hill, st. john's newfoundland, canada. often the cliffs are shrouded with early morning fog and the sun is but a pale whisper. this is what inspired my latest scarf. it's knit from a single large bobbin full of my handspun - corriedale and marino wool and a little angelina sparkle.

the city wakes up

when i was 17 i moved from north of toronto to the core of the city. walking to work early every day (cashier at loblaws at yonge and bloor) i thrilled at the city waking up. the shop owners hosing down the sidewalks. the fruit and vegetable stands being set up. all the sounds, the sights a little louder and brighter.
when i was 21 i travelled in europe for a year and again - early morning in the cities - delivery trucks and the smell of diesel fuel. bread being baked. fresh and smartly dressed people balancing their coffees and their briefcases. the click of high heels on the sidewalk.
now i live in corner brook, newfoundland (pop. just under 20,000). when i water my container plants. the sun low and brand new. i think of early morning in the city...

Monday, July 21, 2008

day of recovery

yesterday i was on the go from 4:30 am until 8:00 pm so today is a day of recovery. craft clebration/sale went beautifully. the space at the humber valley resort was magnificant. a breathtaking setting and space. wonderful support from the community (this was our first ever summer craft event and we didn't know how it would go over). great sales for most of us (i sold my "greek island" shawl). i love how co-operative it was. choosing to arrange it like a store rather than individual booths meant that we were always helping each other, talking about each other's work. it felt good...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

making a slow day of it

my goal today is to take it slow. a little knitting, a little spinning, a little time in the garden. reading the saturday globe on the back deck with a double iced cappucino. this evening we all get together at the humber resort and set up the "furniture" of the show. tomorrow morning at 7:00 we'll meet again and arrange the product. the show opens at 10:00 and lasts till 4:00. so today i'll take it slow...

ps. finished the "honeysuckle" shawl so i'll have it and my new "greek island" shawl in the show/sale

Thursday, July 17, 2008

humber valley resort craft celebration

this sunday, july 20th we're having a "craft celebration" show and sale at the eagle's perch at humber valley resort just outside of corner brook. it will take place between 10:00 and 4:00. it's open to the residents of the resort and the general public. 12 of our craft group are participating and there will be high end pottery, glass, yarn, knitting, felting, rug hooking, weaving, painted canvas mats and some small paintings. we'll also have some work (beadwork, carvings, tea dolls etc.) from labrador that the newfoundland and labrador craft council has sent for us to promote and sell. we organized this event to showcase what wonderful work is being made here on the west coast. we'll have demonstrations of many of the techniques we use.

ps i'm trying to finish my honeysuckle shawl for the sale...

reaching another goal

i finished off the painted birdhouse yesterday (a fundraiser for the woody point writer's festival) and as a reward, attached my new jumbo flyer to my spinning wheel. last september, while i was in new york city, i found a skein of ozark handspun by david gentsch and knew i had to learn how to spin so that i could make yarn like that. it's thick and nubbly and wonky. this jumbo flyer is gonig to allow me to do that (the opening is larger so i can feed thicker yarn through it and the bobbin is bigger so it holds more). last night we were out to the opening of this summer's gros morne music festival, so it wasn't till i got home that i had a chance to try it out (i tore myself away at 11:30). my inspiration is the honeysuckle that's breaking out in bloom right now. i'll be knitting a honeysuckle shawl.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

frida's shawl

i finished my "frida kahlo" shawl on the weekend and since then have knit another ("greek island") and a number of scarves. my scarves and shawls have been selling well this week - a couple of shawls from my home studio on sunday and a couple of scarves on etsy yesterday. i'm adding more and more handspun and because of this have been raising my prices but it doesn't seem to matter. it's summer and sales are picking up. i just have to keep knitting...

ps. today i'm having a kid's showcase on the home page of etsy to highlight some of my baby and children's products...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

what we don't know...

for days the crows have been louder than usual. on sunday we discovered the cause of their distress. a baby crow was hidden in the tall grass behind the shed. he could hop but not fly.he still had fuzz on his head and breast, but feathers on his wings. when we picked him up and fed him bread his eyes showed more curiosity than fear. the adult crows hovered over us and sqwuaked. what to do? i called evelyn (my friend who runs the bay of islands spca and who has a rescued crow for a pet). she claims crows are smarter than dogs. she explained to me that this is what crows do. when the wing feathers appear, they scatter their babies (so that the babies aren't all in one place for predators to get). they continue to feed the babies, watch over them, and encourage them to learn how to fly. i'm always amazed at how little i know...

Monday, July 14, 2008

the mind slows...

there are longer strands of time at the cabin. especially if i'm alone. i'm up with the sun and go to bed with the sun. there's little i need to do. most of the food preparation is done before i set out. there's no laundry. no phone. no computer. not even a shower.
my mind slows. i walk along the beach for water or up onto the land and pick wildflowers. i read (this weekend it was a new dyeing book) and i knit. a shawl and 2 scarves this weekend. i come back relaxed and refreshed...

Thursday, July 10, 2008


i'm heading down to the cabin later today and will probably stay until sunday. yesterday i prepared alot of yarn (spinning and dyeing) to take with me for my next shawl. the colours are inspired by frida kahlo. hot and bright. cicadas and hibiscus. i even spun some lace into one of the skeins.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

poplar trees

my mother had 4 children in the first 5 years of her marriage. when the oldest were at school, and the baby was sleeping, she would harness me up and tie me to the big poplar tree in the front yard. this gave us both the freedom we needed. she could have a nap or clean the house. i could safely watch the happenings out in the street. i could play in the ditch that always seemed to have a trickle of water in it. mostly i remember the tree. the roughness of the bark. the smell of the catkins in the spring. making "soup" out of the leaves.

our house in newfoundland is surrounded by tall poplar trees. yesterday i picked some leaves for dye and all these memories came back to me...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

bearded iris shawl

when we bought this house 10 years ago, there were many magnificant trees on the property but no gardens. every year since i have added gardens. planted and replanted perrenials. shifted bushes around. discarded plants that weren't thriving. now - in it's 10th year- the garden is lush and mature and mostly just there to enjoy. and inspire...

Monday, July 7, 2008

days and nights in dark cove

i've been at the cabin for the past few days. in the summer i try to stay there half the week. i love settling in for a few days at a time - allowing myself to slow down. for me it always takes more than a day trip (the cabin is just a 45 min. drive away) to quiet down. the cabin is primitive. no electricity, no running water, just an old outhouse. i find i notice the day. am keenly aware of the sunset because when it's gone, i'm in darkness (the cabin is in dark cove - so named for good reason). this time of year it's well after 10:00, so long full days. i'm lucky that i can take my work with me. finished another shawl and knit a scarf. on sunday did a thorough clean of the cabin. abigail stays with me. a good little companion. back and forth across the beach for water and walks wears her out. when the sun sets we're both ready for bed...

Friday, July 4, 2008

new territory

in all of my art - painting, rug hooking, and now knitting - colour is the element i find most exciting. so it makes sense that next i'll be wanting to make my own colours. yesterday i picked the remaining peony petals (we'd had strong wind and rain so they were finished). i boiled them up.
added alum to my spun yarn as a mordant to help the colour stick. the finished colour is a very "subtle" soft mauve. i ordered a book last night on dyeing with plants and i'll just keep gathering in the garden...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

a little bit of this, a little bit of that...

i've been using quite alot of the yarn that sally sent me - a wonderful source of inspiration. this scarf includes yarn from 3 different balls, plus some dog hair i spun while in nova scotia. the "honeysuckle" scarflette is knit from multicoloured jersey fabric strips. both scarves are now available in my etsy shop.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

red and white

yesterday was canada day. i didn't have a flag to fly so picked red and white flowers instead. the day started out cold and rainy (so cold that i was able to dry my yarn in front of the fire). but by afternoon the winds shifted, the skies cleared and summer began...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

evening in paris

my mother was beautiful. when i was a child in the 1950's i would sit on the side of the bed and watch her get ready for an evening out. she had a skirted vanity table. she would apply pancake makeup and rouge and she would curl her eyelashes before applying cake maybeline mascara. she had a strapless evening gown that was pink and covered with spun-sugar netting. the finishing touch was a dab of evening in paris perfume behind each ear. the bottle was navy and elegant. my latest scarf reminds me of all that...