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

Friday, November 14, 2008


yesterday i finished off the last of my samples for the phatfiber "knitting boxes" project (see my oct.11th blog entry or click on the phatfiber link in my link list). the theme for the inaugural box in january is "winter mix" so i have "hearth fire", "pond ice", "thinking of spring in winter" and "glitter storm" (i liked "glitter storm" so much that i made a large skein of it yesterday - it's drying today and will be in my shop tomorrow).

Thursday, November 13, 2008

baby hat

i've been knitting and selling baby hats for the past few years but just last week starting knitting them up with my own yarn.i love how"spunky" they look. baby with attitude. i'm taking a pile of them to toronto with me at the end of the month but have also put a few up in my etsy shop.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

fra angelico

as a young art student in the early 70's, and then again in the 90's, i took as many art history courses as i could. i have always found inspiration and understanding looking at other people's art. i knew early on that i was most attracted to "simple"-either pre-historic or so called "priitive' art, or to the early stages of a movement - where often the essence or spirit of the art was more evident - before it was embellished or complicated. i definitely preferred early renaissance painting (giotto, fra angelico) to later renaissance (leonardo, botticelli) or baroque (titian). this skein of yarn is influenced by the light, by the soft colours of a fra angelico fresco.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

baby #3

in early january my daughter and her husband are expecting their third child. my third grandchild. when eamon was born (he's going on 9)i was still painting, but i had spent all 9 months knitting for him. my daughter had so many comments about his "wardrobe" that it encouraged me to start selling what i was making. when lucy was born (she's 3 and was a summer solstice baby) i was mostly sewing children's clothes - vintage fabrics, recycled chenille bedspreads) so i didn't knit as much but she had little chenille jumpers and skirts and overalls... this time i'm too busy knitting to knit. after the toronto show (early dec.) i hope to spend the month knitting for this little one. my daughter reminded me that the new baby needs a christmas stocking (i had made stockings for the others), so for the past two days (in between spinning) i worked on it, and finished it up last night.

Monday, November 10, 2008

spinning, spinning, spinning...

on saturday i mailed off my last christmas order. so this weekend i did what i love doing most...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

why newfoundland is not my market

in newfoundland everyone, and their nan, knits. traditionally, in the isolated outport communities it was out of necessity. every community had sheep and in the winter months, when the fishing was over for the year, the women would knit mittens and hats and sweaters to keep their families warm. now women still knit (once a knitter, always a knitter) but they sell their work at flea markets and this time of year at christmas craft fairs. the price for handknit goods is very low and the knitters are happy just to make enough money to cover their materials. no money for their labour. these striped socks, that are expertly made (every end is tucked in) cost $6.50. when i questioned the knitter about her prices she said "oh well, people give me their bits and pieces so it doesn't cost me anything". this is why i don't sell my knitwear in newfoundland.
ps. the red socks are "thrummed". they are lined with knit-in uncarded fleece so they are unbelievabling soft and warm. they cost $18.00. you can purchase them at the craft council shop in st. john's (709 753-2749) - or at any newfoundland flea market!

Friday, November 7, 2008

what was

i started selling craft about 8 years ago (until then i had been a visual artist (painter), teacher, barrista, spca worker etc.etc.). i have been full-time at my craft for 4 years. what i do is constantly changing. i started out with fabric "quilts" - covers and pillows. then i started rug hooking. to make enough product to support myself and the shops i was selling through, i went back to painting but this time "practical" objects - mailboxes etc. i always knit and was knitting baby clothes and started sewing children's clothes from vintage fabrics (especially reclaimed chenille bedspreads). last winter i started knitting scarves. that led to my need to learn how to spin (i couldn't afford to buy the yarn i wanted to use and then sell the product). so now i'm just spinning and knitting. every once in a while my past comes back and i get an order like this one (18 small hooked mat ornaments and 18 painted wooden magnet/ornaments) and i do it...

Thursday, November 6, 2008


i couldn't stop smiling yesterday. marilee and i walked the dogs around the pond and just kept hugging each other. she has a daughter and 3 grandsons in the usa so this is huge for her. everything feels a little different now.
and now for a few "milestones" of my own. on etsy you can go into "shops" and mark them as favourites - this way you have a record of the shops you like and want to return to. some time back i decided that i would give a gift to the 500th person to "heart" my shop (thanks for the idea from beth at whorlingtides) well, it happened on the weekend and i invited denise from virginia beach to go into my shop and choose a gift. this was the skein she wanted. and then sunday i sold my first item (my "chanteuse" skein) overseas - to ali in leeds, u.k. - all my other sales have been in north america. last night, before going to bed, i checked my emails and had sold "matisse in tangiers" - a skein i had listed that morning, to a woman with a central park address in nyc and i felt a little overcome thinking that just over a year ago i had picked up a skein of yarn at purlsoho in nyc and thought "i have to learn how to make this!" all things seem possible...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

while it snowed outside

yesterday, while it snowed outside, i stayed indoors and made a good stab at the little hooked mat ornaments for my christmas order for the rooms gift shop in st. john's - and - i spun up the most lively, vibrant, greenest, growiest yarn imaginable...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

it's so dark

i live in the centre of a town that is ringed on three sides by hills (and the 4th is the bay, the ocean). i feel this time of the year that the light never gets to me. all day i find i'm carrying objects to the window, to a lamp, in order to really see.