Saturday, March 27, 2010

and away we go...

so i head out monday morning (the 6:00am flight) to toronto and begin setting up my booth that afternoon. this will give me all day tuesday to rest up, do a little shopping (stock up on novelty yarns - which i can get 1/2 price in romni's basement), and visit with family. the show opens wed. march 31st to sunday april 4th and the hours this time are 10am - 9 pm. i'm booth #F51. i'll have lots of spring yarn (spun thinner with more plant fibres), lighter shawls and scarflettes and fingerless gloves. please drop by.
i'm de-activating my etsy shop today to pack up all my product to take to toronto. it will re-open tuesday april 6th.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

pomegranate soup

after reading "3 cups of tea", i've become enchanted by the middle east and have been looking for more books.
"pomegranate soup" by marsha mehran is a novel that combines some of my favourite things - irish countryside, food (which includes simple persian recipes) and more insight into middle eastern culture. the 3 young aminpour sisters flee iran after the fall of the shah and the rise of the ayatollah and finally settle in the sleepy west coast village of ballinacroagh. the contrast to their old life couldn't be more stark: " For Majan Aminpour, the fragrances of cardamon and rosewater, alongside basmati, tarragon and summer savory, were everyday smells, as common, she imagined, as the aromas of instant coffee and dripping roasts were to conventional Western kitchen corners." mehran's description of smells and colours is at times breathtaking.
here is my "pomegrante soup" yarn.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

forcing forsythia

i've always loved forsythia. their flowers appear before the leaves so they're often the first bit of colour we see after a long grey winter. as a child we had a bank of forsythia bushes along the east side of the house. in early spring, in early light, i remember tucking myself in under the forsythia and soaking in the fragile yellow.
last week i brought in some forsythia branches and put them in water. i woke this morning to a final (i hope) winter storm, and some yellow flowers.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

seeing the good in the bad

last month newfoundland power cut a 15 foot swath of trees and bushes along the back of our properties. they own the land so there was nothing we could do. the effect was devastating. a month has passed. i still feel sick every time i look outside. but a few "positives" may come out of it. my neighbour harry thinks that his raspberry bushes will spread into my yard now that there is more light. i'm closely watching the area where the 50 year old lilac was cut down - hoping that maybe new growth will begin. and now there is a clear path from our backyard (that's our tarp covered greenhouse in the second photo) to 3 bear mountain - one of our favourite trails to walk (off leash if no-one else is around) and a lovely view out the bay where we can wave down to keith in the shipping department if he's working. trying to make the best of it...

Monday, March 22, 2010

such pretty flowers

for weeks now - those dull grey days of late winter - i've been bringing home bunches of spring flowers from the supermarket. they've become a staple for me - as essential as food. this weekend they had the most beautiful bunches yet - blue flag iris and yellow tulips. to celebrate the arrival of spring.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

booth tweaking

i'm heading off to toronto in just over a week. i'm still producing product for the show but my thoughts are also turning to my booth. i'm pretty pleased with it (this will be the 5th time i've done the one of a kind show) but there are always changes that can be made. i've not been happy with my lighting, so this time i'm renting another bar to go across the front of the booth and my lights will go on it instead of around the sides. to hide the wires, yesterday i made a little fabric banner to cover up the mess. my booth will look even more like a bedouin tent.

Friday, March 19, 2010

if you could see the smell of spring

yesterday i stepped outside and smelled spring. the damp. the new growth.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

dream travel

it might be because it's spring. it might be because i'm working flat out 14 hour days making product to take to toronto. but i am longing to travel. even after a mild winter, newfoundland is slow to come back to life in the spring so march and april are the perfect months to go elsewhere. the money i make in toronto will be my sole income until the fall so i have to be frugal. but it's so tempting to just turn it into travel money...
my travel list includes vietnam, cuba (i can just "taste" the colour of those 2 places), new mexico (i've wanted to go there since i was 15 and fell in love with georgia o'keefe's painting and independence). and now i have internet friends who are luring me in with their exquisite photos. and last night i received an email from a woman i spoke with at the christmas one of a kind show who had travelled around the scottish islands and visited natural dyeing studios like shildasdair on the island of skye and i almost wept from wanting...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

like a plant

this spring i've decided to treat my body as a plant. i will give it lots of water and sunlight. i will figure out what it needs. how to keep it in balance. i will nurture it as i do my seedlings.
my homeopathic doctor kim got me eating seaweed - full of the iodine i need for my under active thyroid. and also "salba" - this wonder food full of omega3 and lots of other great things. i'm putting it in everything - my morning cereal, the bread i bake, my evening yoghurt. my roots are getting stronger...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

sharing colours

i love my internet community. it has made my world larger. it has introduced me to people i never would have met, places i never would have seen.
a couple of weeks ago carol, from new mexico, bought some skeins from my etsy shop. they were all newfoundland themed - the snow, the ice, the sea. yesterday she sent me these photos - one of the yarn soaking up new mexico sunlight, the other the view she woke up to. the colours couldn't have been more similar. thanks for sharing carol...

Monday, March 15, 2010

it felt like spring

the weather this past weekend was magnificant. we've had days of mild temperatures and sunny skies. the bay is free of ice and the beach is free of snow. saturday night we got out the seed catalogues and put together our spring order with memories of last year's greenhouse success urging us on. and yesterday keith and his buddies snowmobiled up into the blomidon mountains. the spring sky opening up to them.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

it's different this year

we've just had the mildest winter in memory. normally in early spring, newfoundland would be surrounded by miles of pack ice. this year there's hardly any. the mother seals need ice to give birth on. this past weekend the ice came into port aux chois on the northern penninsula. 10,000 seals. the constant calls of babies and mothers seeking each other out. on the way down to the cabin yessterday we spotted 2 seals on small sheets of ice. any other year the bay of islands would still be frozen over...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

for the children

i'm reading greg mortenson's "three cups of tea". retired mountain climber, like edmund hilary decades before, mortenson turned his attention to helping the people who helped him. mortenson built schools in the small northern pakistan villages so that the children could be educated. he provided education to the girls (something mostly unheard of before). he says the educated boys tend to move away from the villages. the educated girls stay and help the whole village.
i've been looking at photos online of the villages and schools. the contrast of the bleak grey rocky landscape and the vibrant colours of the the children's clothing is remarkable. that contrast was the inspiration for this skein of yarn.

Friday, March 12, 2010

good bones

i've been having alot of routine medical tests this winter just to see the state of my health as i approach 60 this spring. over the past 2 weeks i've been diagnosed with osteoporosis and hypothyroidism. the figures are alarming. but i have no symptoms of either - never a break or a fracture, no height loss, no lack of energy. it doesn't feel right to me. i know i don't want to jump into pharmaceuticals, last week i managed to get in to see a wonderful homeopathic doctor (she practices in barrie ontario but comes here for a week every 3 months. the timing was perfect. and she's looking into any imbalances - ph, hormones, minerals). i'm looking at this as a chance to help my body work more efficiently. definitely more exercise but also more attention to what i'm feeding my body.
i spun "good bones" feeding good healthy intentions into it. on my way to putting it into the soak, i turned the corner into the kitchen too fast and ran into the hutch, stubbing my toe so hard i cried. no breaks, no fractures. i know i have good bones...

Thursday, March 11, 2010


in november, at the toronto one of a kind show, there was a lot of demand for smaller skeins of yarn. to make a scarflette or a fingerless pain of gloves, you would need 2 to 2 1/2 oz. of yarn. most of my skeins were over 3 oz., so one of the notes i wrote to myself in preparation for this show, was to have lots of smaller skeins. thats what i'll be making for the next couple of weeks, and here are the first three. i'm calling them "sketches".

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

send your camel to bed

june 1974. my final term at art school. painting late in the studio every evening. braids and halter tops and cut-off jeans. plastic pitchers of beer at the albion hotel and then stumbling home to bed. this was the song. and it still makes me sway.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

3 cups of tea

a couple of weeks ago i started listening to the audio of greg mortenson's "3 cups of tea". greg was a mountain climber who fell in love with the landscape and people of northern pakistan in the early 1990's. he set out to build a school for the children of korphe (a project that turned into many schools). he is a conduit for me. opening up a fascinating and mysterious world.
coincidently, my little book club chose this book as our next read. i set aside the audio feeling that i should be reading the book. but yesterday, knowing how much i need to spin and knit before i go away at the end of the month, i treated myself to the audio as i spun. a deliscious afternoon... and then i took the book to bed with me last night.

Monday, March 8, 2010

skip rope

yesterday i left off my boots and wore shoes for my walk for the first time. it was that kind of day. clear and cold but the pavement was dry. it reminded me of childhood spring days when you felt winter was over. the spring air held promise. skipping ropes and bicycles were brought out. you were a whole year older so you could jump higher, ride faster. yesterdy was that kind of a day.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

the skies split open

yesterday, after a week of grey cloud, the skies split open and colour poured out.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

feeling neglect

i must admit to being a little single-minded this past week trying to get all my product priced and labelled and packaged to send off in the mail before the weekend. someone is feeling a little neglected (not keith - he knows how to suck it up pre-show time and is actually a huge help.) abigail just doesn't get it. soooo... although i have to keep working flat out for the next three weeks and take what i produce during that time with me, this little dog needs some good long walks.

Friday, March 5, 2010


i finished up my sweater yesterday. it will be on display at the toronto one of a kind show (mar.31-apr.4) and i'll try to get a couple more knit up before the show opens. what takes most of the time is dyeing and spinning 10 oz of yarn for each...
so today i'm removing all my product from my etsy shop, and packing it up with the rest of the yarn, shawls, scarflettes and fingerless gloves and shipping them off this afternoon. as i make it, i'll keep adding more yarn to the shop for the next couple of weeks before i leave.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

last day of yarn sale

today is the final day for my 20% off yarn sale on etsy. tomorrow i'll be packing up all my yarn (as well as my shawls, scarflettes and fingerless gloves) and sending them off to toronto. i'll continue working for the next 3 weeks until i go on the 29th, so new yarn will be appearing in my shop until then.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


at every toronto one of a kind show there is a themed exhibition/competition set up in the centre of the show. this time the theme is "green" - the colour , sustainability or green tea (the sponsor is lipton tea company).
my submission is "meadow grass" - a cropped sweater with 3/4 length sleeves made with my hand dyed and handspun yarn. i'll try to finish it off today, pack up all the product i have tomorrow, and on friday, send it off for my neice to hang onto until i arrive the end of the month.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


"fashioney" is lucy's term for being in style. in corner brook newfoundland, you're in style if you are wearing your new north face jacket. so i'm always looking elsewhere for fashioney inspiration. vogue magazine is a wonderful source of colour and colour combinations. here are 2 new skeins inspired by the march issue of vogue.

Monday, March 1, 2010

whir, whir, whir

when my first born was very little, even before speech, her favourite book for a time was the ladybird version of rumplestiltskin. she called it "whir, whir, whir". the princess made a deal with rumplestiltskin that she would give him her first born if every night he would spin a roomfull of straw into gold for her. i'm looking at all the fleece i need to spin into yarn this month and i realize that i need rumplestiltskin - but i'm not willing to make a deal...