Monday, February 28, 2011


saltscapes (based in truro, nova scotia) has been publishing a magazine (all things atlantic), and hosting a spring expo, for years. this spring they will be opening a bricks and mortar store and filling it with high end craft from the atlantic region. they did some shopping at the halifax trade show. this past week i've been working flat out filling a big order from them of knitting kits and finished it off yesterday. moving that order into my "done" file and on to the next...

Saturday, February 26, 2011


in april i'm taking a vacation. i'm going to cuba with a friend and we're not bringing work (she is also an artist). i picture myself, every evening, floating in the roof top swimming pool as the sun sets over old havana. i haven't purchased a bathing suit for 30 years.i've had a few hand-me-downs from my daughter. but, like most women, i hate the way i look in a bathing suit. i got a new one this week. this time i realized that i didn't care how i looked. as long as it was comfortable and stayed on. there is a new freedom with being 60. when it is all about good health and new experience and vanity is a thing of the past. i am free. floating.

Friday, February 25, 2011

looking up once in a while

i'm working long days (and nights) making knitting kits to fill orders that i picked up in halifax. at times like this - in serious work mode- it's lovely to lift my head and see what's happening to my kits once they leave my studio.
this week i heard from margot who purchased one of my scarflette kits from molly made in woody point this past fall. margot lives in ontario but considers newfoundland her 2nd home. she kindly sent me photos of the results and has asked me to make some yarn for her to knit up into a shawl to wear at her wedding. this is what makes my work easy...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

au naturel

i spent a long time looking at kim's photos of argentinian textiles (see yesterday's blog entry). and that got me thinking about natural dyes again. for my first year of dyeing that's all i used and i eventually drifted into acid dyes because of their vibrancy. yesterday i pulled out what natural dyes i still have and dyed up some sandalwood, some lac (that's the purple), some henna and some safflower and fell in love with natural dyes all over again. it's more work than using acid dyes. you have to cook up the plants for a long time to release the colour. then you have to strain out the plant or powder. then you add the fibre, along with a mordant (i used alum which gives the purest colour) and then simmer the fibre until it soaks up the colour. with acid dyes this takes only minutes. a much longer time for natural. but look at those colours. so soft and solid somehow. can't wait to spin them up today...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

the gift of colour

my friends kim and sean are travelling in argentina. kim is a kindred fibre lover and yesterday she sent out a blog post to all her newfoundland fibre friends sharing a little of what she is seeing. i spent yesterday afternoon feeding off of her photo and produced 3 argentina-inspired skeins. thanks for the colour kim.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

oh joy!

yesterday i ordered a new spinning wheel. i absolutely love the one i have - a little double treadled kiwi. but i can't easily travel with her. she's delicate and i'm afraid she'll break. my new ashford "joy" is a travelling wheel. only 11 pounds and comes in a carrying case that looks like a backpack. it can fit into the overhead of an airplane. i can take it for demonstrations. mostly i can take it to the cabin and stay longer because i can keep spinning. i'll just prepare batts ahead of time to take with me. the summer is looking good...

Monday, February 21, 2011

first thaw

yesterday was our first day with temperatures above freezing and with that came the hope and promise of spring...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

the send-off

i'm working long days (and nights) now filling orders that i took in at the halifax atlantic craft trade show. most shops want their order between now and mid-april. every few days i'm sending orders off. friday i sent kits to deanne fitzpatrick (canada's rug hooking queen). she wasn't able to attend the show but got in touch with me as soon as i returned and placed an order. and last night i finished off my order for flight of fancy in bear river, nova scotia. rob won the award for outstanding retailer this year so it's great to have my work in his shop. it's exciting finally getting my work off-island...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

a large day in the lewis hills

no boat in at the mill, so keith and his buddies in the shipping department took advantage of the sunny day and spent it snowmobiling in the lewis hills.

Friday, February 18, 2011


in newfoundland, spring creeps up on you slowly and quietly. the first sign is always mid-february (valentines day) when you begin to hear new birdsong. mating calls. and you close your eyes and feel spring.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


i'm not knitting commercially anymore (aside from the occassional item that will go up on etsy or be set aside for the woody point craft sale in august). this is giving me time to knit some new things. robyn recently gave me a gorgeous skein of her handspun (a belated christmas present) and last week i finished knitting it up into a little bandana. love how it turned out. light enough to wear indoors and warm enough to tuck into my coat. mine.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

times two

the main point given and taken at the "lean manufacturing" seminar i attended last week was to try to work more efficiently. so i went out and bought 2 more dyeing pots and now every morning (during the winter when i'm forced to do my dyeing indoors), instead of dyeing just 2 colours, i can dye 4 at a time. much more efficient.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

in the loop

ever since returning from halifax last week i've been working hard on the orders i took in and yesterday i sent off my first complete order. the loop is a sweet little local yarn shop in downtown halifax. they'll be carrying my skeins of yarn, my kits and also my batts (for spinning and knitting). i'm delighted to finally have a yarn shop off island.

Monday, February 14, 2011

loves ya'

when keith and i first got together (almost 15 years ago) i was determined that i wouldn't tell him i loved him until he said it to me first (i was afraid i'd spook this younger rambling man). when he finally did say it, i wasn't sure if he really had. i was still adapting to his heavy newfoundland accent. so he had to repeat it a few more times...
i wish all of you who love and are loved a happy valentine's day.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


i don't know halifax well, but every time i visit i discover some knew wonderful thing. this time it was liquid gold in the hydrostone market area. just a gorgeous shop (with friendly and committed owners) and every imaginable thing you can do with olive oil (which i am passionate about). i bought lemon flavoured oil and pomegranate vinegar (they have a lovely tasting bar) and a few bars of soap. they also do mail order and check out their website to see the range. i had to bring my purchases back in my luggage (no liquids on board) and they really know how to pack their products. good salads ahead...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

lean manufacturing

yesterday i attended a workshop on "lean manufacturing". it had been tailored for craft producers and was about cutting down waste (waste of materials, waste of time etc) and running a more efficient business. i learned a lot and came home with ideas about what i could do. mostly it's about the inefficiency of my studio space. i haven't really re-organized since the rush in november for the one of a kind show. it lead right into christmas and then preparation for the trade show i did this past week. that's actually a photo i took this morning of the entrance into the studio.
molly dropped off that bag of product and booth display yesterday and there was no room to get it further into the room. and yes - that's my yoga/meditation mat (how's that for serenity?) so somehow, in this busy winter of teaching and filling my new orders, i need to make time to make the studio work for me...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

snow shadows

while i was away the snow came. storm upon storm. and yesterday, for a brief period, the sun came out. accentuating the snow forms and making shadows. beautiful.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

i knit

my friend's mother died this week and yesterday we went to her funeral. her other son had a troubled life. when asked how she coped with that, elsie answered "i knit".

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

and the winner is....

this was my first trade show so didn't quite know what to expect. i was sponsered by the newfoundland and labrador government(along with 5 other craftspeople), and our shared booth was lovely - aesthetically pleasing and comfortable and actually turned into a hub for alot of other sellers and buyers. knitters from other booths joining us for a chat... the pace was slow compared to a regular craft fair but instead of the contstant interaction for one for 1 or 2 purchases, there would be quiet breaks and then a purchase of 36 items. a much more liesurely experience.
and to top it off, i won "excellence in product design" award. a real honour - for me - and for all of us who devote our time and love to fibre. so the weekend was a real celebration. and i came home with lots of great orders - from all the altlantic provinces as well as from quebec and from banff national park.
so when i shake off my fatigue( brenda and i got in around 3:00 this morning), i'll be back at the wheel to get those orders rolling.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

skies clearing

i leave for halifax at noon today. yesterday everything seemed on hold - with strong winds and heavy snow in halifax and heading for newfoundland. but the storm missed the west coast of the island and all flights are going ahead.
i'll be attending the Atlantic Craft Trade Show - a 3 day event where craftspeople set up displays of their work and retailers come by and place orders. it's my first trade show and i don't really know what to expect. i've been nominated for an award for "excellence in product design" so i'm hoping that will help draw people to my booth and lead to some good orders. what i want from this show is to establish good links with a few new shops who will carry my yarn and kits. and then stay home and work at a steady but sane pace rather than the craziness of working towards a big show.
this weekend will also be a time to celebrate with people who share a love of craft -producers and retailers and government administrators.
i'm packed and ready to go...
i'll be putting my etsy shop "on vacation mode" until i get back tuesday.