Sunday, September 26, 2010

getting it done.

i've had two more knit kit orders in the past 2 days so have been working flat out - one of them going into st. john's with me and the other up to woody point this morning with brenda. our craft collective is having their gathering up there this afternoon.i'm so far behind now in preparing for my trip to st. john's tomorrow that i can't take the time off to go.
yesterday i made 8 kits. spun the wool, soaked it, and then with the aid of 2 little heaters, was able to dry the skeins. painted the knitting needles to match. put the kits together and finished it all off around 11:30 last night.
so today is laundry, packing, figuring out what yarn to take with me so i have plenty to do while i'm in there. and it's a gorgeous sunny fall morning. ignoring the call of the woods, the garden, the cabin...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

it's a wrap

keith has just finished working 12 days straight. since the "re-organization" at the mill, he's working some crazy shifts. so yesterday he was able to get out into the garden (i've been nursing a cold so only watched from the sidelines). he raked up the fallen branches from our little taste of hurricane igor. (the rest of the province is devasted and yesterday the prime minister announced that the military was on it's way to help piece newfoundland back together again). and then keith tackled the greenhouse. the growing season is over. he picked the last of the tomatoes - ripenening to put on the window sills and green, which i wrapped in newspaper in a box and stored in the cool back porch. and cut down the cucumber plants and today i'll pick and take down the pepper plants. this year i started all my vegetable plants from seed. so it's been 6 months and i've loved it all.

Friday, September 24, 2010

now here's the plan

on monday i'm heading into st. john's for 10 days to look after the grandchildren while my daughter and son-in-law go to nyc for a much deserved holiday (they both work very hard). the plan is that their regular nanny, maria, will come each day and i'll go to devon house (the newfoundland and labrador craft council headquarters) which is a 5 minute walk away, and hole up on the 3rd floor and knit - taking breaks to walk the 2 older children to and from school. if you're in st. john's bring your knitting and join me!
so this week i've been spinning up large amounts of wool to bring with me to knit up into cowls and shawls and scarflettes.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

what's that?

yesterday i was working in my studio (painting the tops of my knitting needles for my kits). i was looking out the window and suddenly saw apples growing on a tree. what? this area of our yard is what we call the meadow - tall grasses and wildflowers and a hand made lighthouse built by a previous owner. it's ringed by a jungle of trees and bushes - alder and maple and honeysuckle and wild rose and yes - an apple tree. i went out and located the tree - completely hidden in the tangle. don't know where it came from or how long it's been there (i've lived in this house 13 years). i can't tell you how excited and blessed i felt to have an apple tree in my yard. and embarrassed that i'd never noticed it until it bore fruit.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

igor hits hard

yesterday hurricane igor hit hard. the west coast (around corner brook) was the only part of the island to escape this time. winds hit over 140 km/hr and on the burin penninsula they recieved over 200 mm of rain in less than 24 hrs. this was the worst hurricane damage ever on the island. this autumn we are all facing the strength and unpredictability of nature.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

and now...

i've spent the past few weeks working on a couple of orders that i'll be taking into st. john's when i go next week - mostly yarn and kits but also some hand knit scarflettes, fingerless gloves and baby hats (they'll be going to the craft council gift shop). so now, starting today, everything i make will be for the toronto one of a kind show that takes place the end of november. i know what i have to do...

Monday, September 20, 2010


barb's back so
blackie went home yesterday. we miss his goofy presence.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

what's all around me

early autumn. every time i enter into the garden things have changed. colours pushing out their final brilliance. vegetables their final form. all with the knowledge of winter just ahead.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

a good yarn

if you're in st. john's this weekend, check out a good yarn for jenny's big sale which will be including my island sweet yarn and kits. she's located at 4 bates hill.

Friday, September 17, 2010

such good company

my friend barb is away for a week and we are looking after her dog blackie (not to be confused with brenda's blackie - that's what happens when you adopt adult black dogs...). blackie has fit in beautifully. until a couple of years ago, we always had 2 or 3 dogs. so this feels natural. blackie is already getting used to our routines - when we take out walks, when we go to bed (he comes into the bedroon and curls up in abigail's tiny bed). we just need to convince flora the cat that blackie is good company.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

how to survive as an artist

last week my sister (thanks heather) notified me that chris tyrell was looking for an artist/craftsperson who's using etsy to sell their work - to interview and include in his 2nd volume of "artist survival skills" - a really essential manual for canadian artists who are trying to make a living from their work. so this week i had my phone interview (chris is based in vanvouver) - always an interesting exercise to explain what you do and why. the new book will be puplished next fall.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

finding lost colour

brenda came back from st. john's this week with some dvds she borrowed fromthe craft council library and passed them around. yesterday i watched maiwa's "in search of lost colour".
what a feast! nations used to go to war over colour. trade routes used to be open up for red and purple. colour - when it came from natural plants. when recipes were closely held secrets - used to matter. it made me want to drop my knitting needles and travel the world to search for colour.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

beauty day

yesterday turned into a beauty day. we haven't had much sun lately and the temperatures have really been dropping. so with the glorious warm sunshine yesterday i broke from work early and in the late afternoon i started my fall clean-up in the garden. my reasoning was "i'm always going to be busy. why not get out into the garden on the nice days and do a bit at a time rather than waiting until late oct when the whole experience will be miserable." so my little raised veggie garden is cleaned out - the last of the beans and cucumbers and zucchinis. the compost added. the soil turned. feels good.

Monday, September 13, 2010

remembering to take a breath

it's mid-sept. and this time of year, crafts people (myself included) are working flat out. i'm finishing up a big craft council shop order this week and next week will be devoted to spinning up an order for a good yarn shop in st. john's. then on all my attention will be on product for the toronto one of a kind. long hours. restless nights.
so it's very important to occassionally look up and breathe. yesterday morning barb had myself and tess and brenda over for brunch. her new home is bright and uncluttered. a place for clear thought. good food and good conversation. i came back home to my clutter. refreshed and inspired and stronger.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


every week at our tiny market there is some new vegetable that has been harvested. we have only two producers right now, but both local and both organic so i love getting my produce from them. yesterday it was beets from colette and in the rainy afternoon, knitting, with the fire going, i had a wonderful pot of borscht cooking.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


keith is a gentle man. his love for and treatment of animals was one of the many things that attracted me to him 14 years ago. he was more than willing to become vegetarian when we moved in together (and for the same reasons i was). he doesn't hunt moose.
keith especially loves birds and working in the shipping deptartment down at the paper mill - with the big loading sheds - is often rescuing birds who have flown in and can't find their way out. last week he told me about finding a kingfisher dead in the shed. he normally would bury it, but knowing how much it loved the water, he wrapped it in paper towel and tipped it into the water - a burial at sea.
last evening a little bird flew at our window and knocked itself out. keith found it and held it and stroked it until one eye opened, then the other. it's rapid heartbeat calmed. and then eventually it flew off - joined by another bird that had been waiting for it. that little bird chose the right window to fly into!

Friday, September 10, 2010


with lots of rain in the forecast for the next few days, i decided yesterday morning to dig up my garlic. this is the first time i've grown garlic successfully (last year i planted the cloves in the spring and discovered later that they should be planted the previous fall). i'm delighted with the results and will get more into the ground in a few weeks. the peas and beans are almost finished. still lots of cucumbers and zucchinis and this week we are eating tomatoes. i love growing and eating my own food...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

a night for moses

7 weeks ago ann marie shirran went missing in st. john's. last week her body was found and this week her boyfriend (and father of her child) was charged with her murder. ann marie was from the west coast of the province. i didn't know her but i was good friends with her brother mike who tragically died in a car accident 5 years ago. the whole province is feeling sad and enraged and impotent.
next week ( thurs. sept.16th) a benefit concert will be held to raise money for a trust fund for 1 year old moses. it takes place at the upper level bar room on broadway (beside the subway) from 7pm on. or donations can be made through paypal (check out the facebook page "a night for moses"). it's one little thing we can do...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

sometimes i say yes

i usually say no to commissions. i find them difficult. a person usually has something so specific in mind (colour, style) that it's almost impossible to please. but a request i received last week was too enticing to pass up.
a woman who saw my work at the toronto one of a kind show in toronto last november had fallen in love with a skein of yarn that had just been purchased by someone else. she is about to re-decorate her bedroom and wanted to use the colours from that skein - yellows and greys and white. she already had a dark grey dresser and a light grey duvet cover, white walls and drapes. she asked if i would make her a throw (for over a chair or at the end of the bed) and she would use the yellows in the throw for accent. i finished it yesterday and sent her photos and she's pleased. i love that a small skein of my yarn has inspired a whole room...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

times two

yesterday was a perfect dyeing day. hurricane earl pushed out the humid air leaving a dry, fresh breeze. brenda was home for the weekend and left me her bottles of dye and an extra couple of large pots so i'm able dye twice as much fleece at a time. after dyeing,to avoid felting, you have to let the fleece cool to air temperature before removing it from the pot and hanging it up, so i was never able to dye more than 2 lots in the morning, 2 in the afternoon. by the end of yesterday i had 8 wonderful new colours. so today i spin...

Monday, September 6, 2010

a very soft breeze

yesterday corner brook cleaned up. from early morning, through-out the town, chain saws noisily filled the usual silence of a sunday morning. hauling and raking and sweeping and setting straight. one side of our street had power - the other didn't and when i walked up to barb's in the afternoon i noticed extension cords running across the street from one house to another. sharing power. the town really did a wonderful job. power was restored by late afternoon and city trucks picked up all the branches that people were leaving on the sidewalk.
in the evening i spun up "a very soft breeze". thankful for normal weather.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

punched a rough night. but there are a lot of sticks to play with...

we didn't get the rain, but earl brought strong winds. keith and i (and the animals) piled on the bed in the little spare room - away from the largest trees outside the window and tried to sleep. as a child i watched the large seeimingly invincible tree in our front yard break in half during hurricane hazel so it's hard to reassure me that nothing will come down on the house, i finally took an ativan (which i use for flying) to calm me down enough to fall asleep. abigail is gleeful this morning. so many sticks to choose from...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

apricot fingered sky

this time round our little book club is reading sally vickers "miss garnet's angel". a rich book. set in venice and full of light and dark, good and evil and the shifting grey inbetween. her descriptions of this watery city are wonderful and inspiring...

Friday, September 3, 2010

hurricane season

everyone living on the east coast of north america is watching the weather forcasts for this weekend and holding their breath. the west coast of newfoundland now looks like it won't get a direct hit from hurricane earl, but it's sure to hit nova scotia and labrador. it's hurricane season.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

the children's book

one of my goals for last weekend's little whirlwind trip was to hole up in my hotel room and finally finish a.s byatt's "the children's book". i started it in early summer and although i loved it, it kept being put aside for other reading.
i've always felt that in a past life i lived in edwardian england. i felt completely at home in this book. years ago i devoured byatt's "possession". i've never read a fiction authour who sees and writes so much like a visual artist. her descriptions make me swoon. so when i finally finished this 700 page book, i was sad that it was over.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

a happy/sad day

today my good friend brenda moves to grand falls. this is a very happy event. she's beginning a wonderful job as government craft consultant for the island portion of newfoundland (outside of st. john's). she will travel around the province meeting with craft producers and give them aesthetic/business advice. she is so perfectly suited for this job. brenda has always been the person i turn to for this - "how should i package this?", "what's the best way of displaying this in my booth?", "can you help me make a felted sign?". now she will get paid for her answers and everyone will have access to her wisdom.
but i'm going to miss her terribly. she's my walking buddy. almost every day, in all seasons, in all weather, we walk our dogs together. and talk. so this is also a sad day for me.