Tuesday, March 31, 2009

a new knitter

devon from massachusetts is my most loyal etsy customer. she has bought scarves and scarflettes and fingerless gloves from my shop. she has bought skeins of yarn from me and had me knit up scarves and armwarmers. last week she bought a skein of yarn and decided to try knitting. after many back and forth emails of questions and instructions,she successfully knit this beautiful scarf from my "serene" art yarn. and bought two more skeins...

Monday, March 30, 2009

a very sociable day

i work alone. when i "socialize" it's usually with one friend at a time - usually for a chatty walk. so yesterday was a rare occurrence. the afternoon at urve's with the craft co-op and a big turn-out (15 this time) - craftspeople from the north shore, corner brook area and the woody point area. lots to talk about and see. (danielle rice shows off her sexy handknit armwarmers) and then in the evening my "book club' met for the first time. we've been trying to organize this for months (there are only 3 of us but trying to get a time when we were all here and available has been hard). we read pride and prejudice and we had a very proper jane austen evening.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

for those who don't knit...

a couple of weeks ago i added a new service to my etsy shop. for those of you who like my yarn but don't knit, buy a skein of yarn and for an extra $20.00 i'll knit up a scarf/scarflette to your specifications. i had my first "taker" yesterday. liz from california bought my "fresco" art yarn. it was a big skein so i'm knitting up a 4" by 90" scarf for her with a 10" fringe. and she bought another scarf too!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

it's happening!

every year at the end of march you look outside and there is still 3 feet of snow everywhere and you despair in spring ever coming and then you get a day like yesterday when it reaches almost 10 degrees Celsius and the streets are running with glistening water and the banks of snow are almost visibly receding before your eyes. and you know, that even this year, spring will come...

Friday, March 27, 2009


i seem to be drawing inspiration from my food lately! here is my process. start with a source of inspiration - colours, textures etc. go to my stash and select fibres and commercial yarns, angelina, ribbons etc. that reflect my source of inspiration. card and spin 'er up!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

half-way there

aside from trying to keep new products listed on my etsy shop, i've been working flat out on my order of yarn and scarves for korea. i'm half-way through - 30 skeins and 20 scarves finished.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

a quick sale

the green yarn that was drying on my line in yesterday's blog sold 2 hours after i listed it on etsy - it's now on it's way to fayetteville, arkansas (along with another skein). it was inspired by the "old man's beard" moss that drips from the trees around tipples pond. now - if only all sales happened so quickly!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

breathing in the warmth

yesterday afternoon i stepped outside onto the back deck and took a deep breath. the air was warm (2 degrees). still 4 feet of snow on the deck but it's quickly receding around the edges. for the first time this year i hung my skeins out to dry.

Monday, March 23, 2009

as far as the eye can see...

spring will be late on the west coast of newfoundland this year. keith was down to the cabin on the weekend and says that the bay is frozen out past weeball island and as far as the eye can see. i stayed home and continued on with "spring" cleaning in the studio. and spun up 6 more skeins for the korea order.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

the fruit bowl.

it has stayed cold here on the west coast of newfoundland. there is still alot of snow. i buy bouquets of spring flowers and bring them into the house - daffodils and tulips. if i don't have flowers, the only colour i look at when i'm eating my breakfast each day is in the fruit bowl in front of me. red and green apples, deep orange tangerines. yellow bananas speckled with brown by the end of the week. these are the colours in my "fruit bowl" yarn that i listed in my shop yesterday.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

niki's new shop

my friend niki has just opened up her etsy shop at knixhandknit. niki makes the best hats (both for children and adults). they're soft and durable and beautifully designed and lined with fleece so they're warm and hold their shape. here's happy little finn modelling his knix hat.

Friday, March 20, 2009


last december i had a booth at the toronto one of a kind show where i was selling my handspun yarn and knitwear. the first question people inevitably asked was "is this newfoundland wool?" and i had to say no. newfoundland fleece has been surprisingly hard to get. there are few sheep here now compared to in the past and they are raised mainly for meat. when the sheep are sheared the fleece is discarded and would be in too rough a state for a spinner to do much with it. after my interview last week when i put out a call for a source of fleece, i got quite a few calls and emails. i needed a source that was fairly close to where i live so that shipping wouldn't be too expensive. and i also needed someone to wash the fleece for me. this is not a big job if you're only washing a few ounces but a big job if you're dealing with pounds. early in the week i got a call from kay in daniel's harbour (if you're not from here you've probably seen daniel's harbour on the news - it's the community that is eroding into the sea and there was amazing footage a couple of years ago of a house seemingly being swallowed up). kay has fleece and she's willing to wash it (she needs to wait till the weather changes because she washes it in tubs and dries it outside). she sent me a sample yesterday. the sheep are "newfoundland heritage" a hearty breed that's been in the province for centuries. the fleece is soft and wirey (kind of like newfoundland men!)- a perfect combination for spinning and knitting.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

as an experiment

when most spinners buy a braid of hand dyed roving, they card it and then spin it. i've never done that. i treat the braid as a paint-box. i take it apart. i tear off bits of colour. i rearrange. and then i add these bits to other types of fleece and fibre. i add sparkle sometimes. clumps of mohair locks. cut up commercial novelty yarns. the whole experience is a creative adventure. this is what i did with the lighter skein of yarn. with the rest of that braid (from taossunflowertoo) i decided to see what it was like to spin straight. the resulting skein is lovely. the colours remind me of a desert pre-dawn. but the process was boring. i felt like i was just a spinning machine. my "creative" input wasn't there. all the artistic decisions had already been made by someone else in the dyeing. so i won't do that again...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

from new mexico to new foundland

yesterday my fleece arrived from martie in new mexico. martie's shop is taossunflowertoo. we've been "online" friends for about a year now. a few months ago we decided to do a big trade - 2 of my handknit shawls for the equivalent value in roving. and here it is! as warm and sunny and inspiring as i'd hoped. just when i need inspiration - with still too much snow outside and still too cold and with a big order of yarn to spin. all set now (as she rubs her hands together). i immediately spun up "spring grass" - martie's fleece and mohair fibre locks combined with a little white merino, some snippets of cut up novelty yarn and some luscious soysilk.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

everything has it's place

my dream is to live in a home where everything has it's place. nothing will be shoved in or tossed or piled up. i'm working flat out on spinning and knitting now. no sewing or painting or rug hooking in the forseeable future. so yesterday i began removing everything from my studio that isn't yarn related. this is how i want my brain to look...

Monday, March 16, 2009


i'm always looking for names and inspiration for my skeins of yarn. recently my sister was putting nail- polish on herself and her 3 year old grand daughter lily. each nail was to be a different colour. some of the nail-polish was old and the labels had worn off. without hesitation lily started naming the shades. "grapefruit kiss" was one. and "lady and the tramp". here is my "lady and the tramp" yarn.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

any sheep out there?

when i moved to the west coast of newfoundland in 1975 there were still lots of sheep here (and wild horses on the northern penninsula highway!). sheep and a woolen mill in the codroy. sheep on the port au port. even sheep dotting the landscape of the humber valley. my friends doug and shirley raised sheep where i lived in pasadena and this time of year i'd walk over to their farm with the children and we'd feed the lambs with bottles. now there are few sheep. and no wool for sale. yesterday i was interviewed on cbc radio about etsy and at the end of the interview i put out a call for newfoundland wool. i recieved a call from a sheep farm in whitbourne and an email about a small-scale farm on the burin. i love the idea of using local (ie newfoundland) wool in my yarn, but i need now to figure out what the cost will be - postage to get the unwashed wool to me. postage to send the wool to pei to be washed and carded. the cost of processing. postage back. if it's anywhere close to what i'm paying for fleece from ontario i'll happily do it. if any of you on the west coast know of a fleece supply, please get in touch with me (sohagan@nf.sympatico.ca)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

trade ya'

one of my most favourite things about my involvement with the online craft market "etsy" is trading. recently i was approached by a young fashion designer from mobile alabama to do a trade for one of my scarves. i usually just trade for supplies (ie roving to make more yarn), but i absolutely loved jessica's aesthetic so asked her if she could make a party dress for lucy's 4th birthday. she hadn't made children's clothes before but came up with this amazing dress. her shop is feudal

Friday, March 13, 2009

our story

newfoundland is an island in the north atlantic. it belongs to the sea. and the history of newfoundland is it's dependence on the sea - first the fish, and now the off-shore oil. and in this history are stories of disastor at sea. every family, every newfoundlander has been personally affected by drowning. yesterday a helicopter carrying 18 people on their way to an offshore rig went down shortly after leaving st. john's. 1 man survivied, 1body was recovered and today the search continues. the province is holding their breath but with the knowledge that there is no hope left. my daughter lives in st. john's. yesterday she took the children to signal hill and they looked out to sea (they live downtown so they often go there to look for boats coming in and out). she wants this to be their story too. she wants them to remember.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

the far east

my next order - of yarn and scarves - is going to korea. the cheongju international craft biennale will take place this fall. canada is the featured country this year and craftspeople from every province have been invited to contribute work to the "canada" boutique. sooo... 60 skeins and 40 scarves by may 1st. bliss.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

all sewn up - finally

my friend catherine unexpectantly drove into st. john's on sunday and offered to take my craft council order in with her - saving me alot of money for postage. so i spent saturday doing a little more sewing then pressing and cutting off stray threads and tagging and packing. i'd completed all but 3 pair of overalls. they were finished yesterday and i'll mail them off today. that's my spring/summer order out of the way. now on to the next order...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

jane austen

i was married in june of 1970 (at the much too young age of 20). we took the summer off of school and work and hitchiked out to vancouver for awhile and for the rest of the summer lived on a farm and looked after a large family garden and watched the barn kittens frolic in silhouette against the sunset and read d.h.lawrence. in years to come we always referred to that summer as the d.h. lawrence summer. well this winter has been my jane austen winter. i haven't read her for i'd say 30 years. i marvel at the patience i had for reading the classics as a teenager and even as a young mother. this time i struggled to get into austen's world but once i did, i fell... this is why her books are classics. and last. this is my "jane austen" yarn.

Monday, March 9, 2009

a "spring" walk

yesterday the sun was bright. snow dripping from the roof. puddles on the streets. but the wind was frigid coming in off the bay. a good day for chasing after a stick to keep warm...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

spring forward

last night we moved the clocks ahead. the days will be longer. although there is still plenty of snow on the ground this is spring. i've learned over my 30 years living in newfoundland, that this is spring. that the light is spring.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

on the other side of the world

i always feel a thrill when i make a sale in california and think of just how far away my yarn and scarves are travelling. well, i woke this morning to a sale of 2 skeins going to queensland australia. although sales of yarn will slow down here in north america as spring and summer come, fall and winter are coming on there. "pansy" is a skein i just listed yesterday.

Friday, March 6, 2009


in the winter i teach wednesday and friday afternoon. so thursday is my "domestic" day - cleaning, groceries etc. for weeks now, every thursday has been sunny. the light streaming into the house is strong. it guides me in my cleaning but also shows me just how dirty the house has got. so - in may when my orders are complete. when i've had a chance to do a good cull. i'm hiring someone to come in and help me clean. the floors. the walls and baseboard. the woodwork and windows the furniture moving. the in-behind and underneath. a good old-fashioned spring clean. a gift to myself.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

the scope

this past weekend i was invited to write an article for the scope's diy column on how to set up an etsy shop. the scope is a st. john's weekly entertainment magazine. i was happy to do it. you know i love etsy. a wonderful support and opportunity for anyone making or wanting to buy handmade. it's made it possible for me to live in a small community on the west coast of newfoundland and show my product to the world... the article should be appearing this week.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

takin' a bite out of winter

yesterday was balmy. in corner brook it got up to 10 degrees celcius. in the morning it rained so by afternoon inches of snow had melted. grass appeared along the side of the house and the base of the trees. we'll get more snow but this is the beginning of the end of winter.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

what counts

i spent yesterday afternoon with my friend. we both live busy lives. weeks and even months can go by without seeing each other. although we live in the same small community, we usually rely on email and quick phone calls to keep in touch. so yesterday afternoon i picked up a movie (viky christina barcelona - a wonderfully cinematic movie - great to "revisit" barcelona - hadn't been there since 1971!), took my knitting and settled down in her house on the hill, ice pellets beating against the windows. curled up on the couch with tea, the dogs (abigail visited too) and wonderful warm conversation. this afternoon will stick in my mind. this is what counts...

Monday, March 2, 2009

we had a party!

corner brook often hosts large sports events - international triathlons, newfoundland summer games etc. but never before such a big arts event. the east coast music awards were held here over the past 4 days and what a party it was! to help celebrate, and to reach a new market, about a dozen of us set up a little craft fair on saturday and sunday. i had wonderful sales - a little yarn but mostly shawls and scarves. i felt that this crowd "got" what i was doing and wanted to have it. a wonderful feeling. maybe i should just follow musicians around...