Sunday, May 31, 2009


to celebrate the birth of each grandchild we plant a bush or tree. for eamon (who is now 9) we planted a plum tree. for years we've enjoyed the rich bounty of "stanley" plum. unfortunately last year we noticed black rot on him and this year we've had to cut off alot of his limbs in hopes of saving him. we planted a small chestnut tree last fall for eamon in case stanley doesn't make it. for lucy (who is almost 4) it was a quince. delicate and slightly awkward in shape but with the most exquisite early blossoms. and yesterday, for finn (5 months old) we bought a daphne bush. strong and solid but with the most surprisingly fragrant little purple flowers and bright red berries in the fall. these are my grandchildren...

Saturday, May 30, 2009


this summer i'm turning my attention to growing vegetables. i haven't had a vegetable garden for over 20 years. like the craft community i'm part of, i see i'm entering into another community of sharing. yesterday, craig (who happens to be a potter - meadows point pottery) dropped in to see my greenhouse. craig is a serious gardener (he basically lives off of his own produce).he wants to replace the peaked roof of his greenhouse with a sloped one like mine (so that there is no snow build-up). i told him i would take photos and email them to him. i gave him a basil and a pepper plant and alot of spinach and lettuce seedlings. he's going to bring me egglplant and some tomato plants that are already in flower. he told me my onion sets were planted too deeply.

Friday, May 29, 2009

nana banana

having just returned home after spending a week with the grandchildren, i felt this was an appropriate name for the first yarn i've spun since coming home. "nana banana" is handspun with banana fibre combined with linda lewis's yellow and brown mohair/wool mix (linda lives in chapel's cove, newfoundland and uses the wool from her own animals - sheep, goats and lamas). "nana banana" is now listed in my etsy shop.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

two out of three...

last week mary from the toronto one of a kind show contacted me. she'd discovered my blog and wondered if she could use some text and images of it on the ooak blog. i checked it out last night toronto one of a kind show blog and discovered that of the 3 blogs she featured, 2 were from here. rilla of marshallarts is part of our craft group and just moved to halifax. it confirms that you can live absolutely anywhere these days and still make a go of it in the craft world.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

what i came home to ,what i left behind

as always, after a week spent with my daughter and her little family, there's always aching longing when it's time to leave. the little children. their smell and soft bodies. but always glad to get home - to keith. this year to the greenhouse and garden. to this surprising banana and sari silk fibre for me to spin up.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

taking a break - kind of...

i'm heading into st. john's today for a week. craft council board meetings for 3 days and a few days of being with the little family. my daughter and son-in-law and 3 grandchildren. walks and shopping and snuggling. but work also has to continue. this time i'm taking in 5 big skeins of my handspun and i'll concentrate on knitting simple scarflettes. nothing complicated. nothing demanding bags of assorted yarns and different sized needles and counting stitiches.

Monday, May 18, 2009


i love making trades. i love deals that by-pass money. etsy is a treasure trove for trading. my only rule is that i trade for something i need (usually roving for my yarn or maybe a perfect gift for someone else.) i only approach trades if the other seller has "hearted" my shop or approaches me first. yesterday i traded a scarf for a couple of vintage egg baskets fromkewpiesfarmhouse. they'll be perfect for displaying my yarn at craft fairs. check out emily's shop. she's a new shop and has really wonderful vintage stuff.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

it wasn't even on the list

i start every day (often before i get out of bed) with a mental list of what i want to accomplish that day. because i'm self-employed (with my spinning and knitting), the list almost always is heavily weighted in the yarn category. there are also "must do" errands and at the very bottom, household chores. if by the end of the day the list is shorter, not longer (i'm always adding on) i feel i've accomplished my goals.
yesterday, at breakfast, i spilled some coffee on the kitchen floor and in wiping it up i no longer could ignore how much the floor needed to be washed. so i washed the kitchen floor. and because the day was sunny but cool with a light breeze i knew it was the perfect day for washing all the windows (keith was home so he could do the outside ones on a ladder). and wash the curtains. and hang them on the line. so by late evening it was done. and i can look out of the window of my studio without having to look past the dirt first. but today's list is particularly long...

Friday, May 15, 2009


i love days like yesterday. the temperature got up into the low 20's (celcius). i decided to spend the day in the garden. weeding. as i weeded i collected dandelion greens and roots. came in and boiled them up. dyed some wool. also took photos in the garden as inspiration for future yarns. so it was a day of flow. weaving together the passions in my life.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

slow and slouchy

sales of yarn and knitwear are slow this time of year. even though it's still cool here in newfoundland, in other parts of north america (where most of my sales are) most people don't want to be thinking about knitting or wearing wool. i experienced this slow-down last year (my first year of concentrating on knitting) so this year was a little more prepared and ready not to panic. this is the time to start stock-piling for the fall and the big craft fairs. it's the time to accept individual commissions. it's also the time to experiment and try out some new ideas. more and more i want to just be knitting with my own yarn. yesterday i knit up this "slouchy" hat. snug around the rim but loose and floppy so it can be worn in different ways - rolled up at the rim to give a tighter fit, or allowed to hang loose. it's topped off with a big vintage button. i'll be making more of these and putting them in my etsy shop.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

the good thing about snow in may

whenever things are tough or difficult it helps to try to put a positve spin on them. in newfoundland it was always believed that may snow had medicinal qualities. bathing your eyes in may snow would bring health to them. so yesterday on our morning walk, marilee and i bathed our eyes in the fresh snow (it was actually a beautiful morning - clean wet snow on every surface giving the landscape an outlined or ultra 3-d effect. and the air was full of birdsong and we watched an osprey gliding on the wind over the bay). we even bathed the dogs eyes for good luck. it's cold today but most of the snow is gone. and the garden, although looking a little fragile and battered, is beginning to revive.

Monday, May 11, 2009

does anyone want to trade places?

i was going to pick dandelion leaves and roots this morning for dyeing. but i can't find them...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

what to do while it rains

the gardening has ground to a halt because of days of rain. so i'm spending the weekend indoors. yesterday i finally gutted and organized the spare room. and i've been spinning yarn from the photos i took in the rain on friday. tonight they're calling for snow! ahhh - spring in newfoundland. no wonder our culture is so rich...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

rain, rain...

it has rained for days now. and the forecast for the next week is rain. the garden is mud but i'm beginning to see the green onion shoots poking up through the dark and i'm glad i got a few things (onions, garlic and snow peas) into the ground before this began. i've been taking photos, so now i'll turn back inside and make yarn inspired from what i see when i look out my window.

Friday, May 8, 2009

ta da!

my father owned a nursery in toronto in the late '40's to mid-'60's. i spent the first 3 years of my life living at the nursery. we had a little adobe style house. all 5 of us slept in one room. we had a horse and a river in the backyard. but mostly we had the greenhouses. throughout my life, i enter into a greenhouse and i enter into bliss. the heat. the earthy smell. the riot of colour. when i first moved to newfoundland in the mid-70's we built a greenhouse in this style and, along with a big garden, we grew all our own vegetables and fed the family throughout the year. newfoundland has a short cool summer and a greenhouse adds 2 months onto the growing season. it's a necessity. it's raining now. i'm going to take my coffee out to the greenhouse. bring in a chair. close it up and listen to the rain.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

all smiles

bill has been building the sections of my greenhouse at his home for the past week and yesterday afternoon - the weather warm and sunny, the air fresh and green as only may can give - he brought the sections here and began putting it together. it's small (6'x8') but functional - a potting bench, storage, areas to hang plants from, areas to plant the tomatoes and peppers in the ground. i spent yesterday with a huge grin on my face.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

knotty knitters

i've always had a list of things i'd love to have in this community that i've chosen as my home. the list changes as i change, but it does get shorter. strike another item off my list. we now have a knitting group. every tues. evening at 7:00 we now meet at the black thorn stick cafe on broadway. i went to my first gathering last night. as we talked yarn and exchanged patterns and tips i realized that everyone was litening with interest. that's rare in any gathering when you bring up the topic of knitting!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

hurrah baahurrah

i sell both yarn and knitwear (scarves, shawls etc) at craft fairs. i'm often asked "how do you make a scarf like yours?" so i tell them how much yarn they need (1 skein at around 75 yds), size 8 mm needles and then i write out the pattern. this year i'm going to make it a little easier for all of us. i'll have printed copies of the scarf pattern and i now have an incredibly beautiful array of size 8mm needles handmade by baahurrah that i'll be selling.

Monday, May 4, 2009


yesterday i stayed home and finished up an order to go to a summer shop in woody point. i spent the late afternoon in the garden. in the sun. reading. keith went down to the cabin. he spotted this eagle in the trees on the other side of the cove and watched him with his binoculars for 1/2 hour until he finally took off and flew past the cabin. the sea. the brilliant blue sky. the majesty of the eagle.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

a little sun, a little rain

when my family was young and we lived outside of town, we grew all our own vegetables. it wasn't easy. rock-filled soil and short growing season. but with a greenhouse and strong young muscles, it can be done. i'm getting back into vegetable gardening this year. i don't have the muscles anymore but i am getting a greenhouse (it's being built in pieces and will be assembled here by the end of the week). i'm shifting around my flower garden and making room for garlic and onions and lettuce and beans and snow peas and zucchini. in the greenhouse will be tomatoes and peppers and cucumbers. a couple of days ago i planted the garlic and onion sets. since then we've had warm weather. a little sun, a little rain. just perfect for the garden. yesterday abigail and i (along with brenda and blackie) got caught in the rain on our walk. i love abigail's "booffed" hair when she get's rain on it!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

piss t'beds

this is going to be my summer of dyeing (as last summer was learning how to spin). yesterday i picked the piss t'beds in the back yard (they look like dandelions but are earlier - i think it's coltsfoot). i looked up the name before writing this entry - to get the spelling and see where the term came from (my reference is the newfoundland english dictionary). it's an irish term. coltsfoot was believed to have a diuretic effect - not just by drinking it but even by picking it - so children were warned against it so they wouldn't "piss t'bed"! when combined with alum as a mordant, the colour is a soft buttery yellow. yum yum.

Friday, May 1, 2009

may day

in the early 80's i lived on the greek island of naxos for a year with my young family. in greece, may 1st is a national holiday. it celebrates the beginning of good weather (which actually means no rain until november!). on may first, women and children go to the hills and pick wild flowers and make wreathes (stafani) to hang on the doors of their friends. i remember picking wild cyclamen and lavender and hanging our wreath on the door of an elderly couple we had befriended. now that's a way to bring on spring!