Wednesday, August 31, 2011

in full swing

yesterday i:
*did a load of laundry
*picked goldenrod in the back meadow and dyed some fleece in it (some with alum and some with iron for different shades of yellow).
*cooked up 3 batches of acid dye
*sorted through some images and put them on a disc to include with my arts council application.
*booked accommodation in wolfville for my mid-sept trip to the fibre, fabric and natural dyes forum outside of wolfville, nova scotia in mid-september.
*re-worked my cv for the arts application and started writing my project proposal.
* finished up an order for halifax and boxed it up to mail today.

*after dinner went up to 3 bear mountain and picked more goldenrod and knapweed to dry and take to jackson's arm with me mid-october to the dyeing and spinning workshop. then picked 2 cups of blueberries.
* had an hour-long bath reading still alice by lisa genova.
summer disappeared with the hurricane and now i'm full swing in autumn mode...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

wild day

while much of the eastern seaboard was lashed with heavy rain yesterday courtesy of miss irene, newfoundland was blessed with the warmest day of the year (high 20's with a humidex of over 30) and along with the heat and humidity we had warm gusty wind. keith took this photo at the cabin - the wind rushing down the blomidon mountains and over the cabin to pick up the ocean.

i was home spinning and dyeing (my first day back at "structured" work). and making quick forays into the yard to witness fury of the wind in our tall trees, the leaves twisting in every direction.

and i spun up a "hurricane season" yarn.

Monday, August 29, 2011


my little book club is reading bruce johnson's "firmament" now. i read it on a my kobo a few weeks ago and couldn't grasp hold of what i was reading (one of the problems with an e-reader is that it's hard to page back to refresh your memory or reread a favourite passage). and i read it quickly and with lots of company around. not the way to read this book.
so this week i got hold of a hard (soft) copy and took it down to the cabin and read each evening by lamplight. the only sound was the waves. this is the way to read this book. it's delicious words.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

just one thing at a time

one of the many things i love about being at the cabin for an extended period of time is how well i can focus on whatever it is i am doing. everything is simple in dark cove. no electricity. no running water (except at the brook). what i do is often dictated by the weather. the amount of light. the length of the day. i bring work with me - spinning, embroidery etc. and while i'm working, that's all i'm doing. i bring books. and while i'm reading, that's all i'm doing. i'm not distrated by the computer, by the phone, by a knock on the door. i'm not thinking "i should be doing this, i should be taking care of this, i should be getting this off in the mail" i'm only doing what i'm doing. it's so easy to clear my mind and focus.

Friday, August 26, 2011

dog days of summer

these last days of august and summer has finally come to newfoundland. so i'm spending as much time at the cabin as i can.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

the background

in the background of my days - my spinning and dyeing, my garden, my friends and family. i've been working on some textile pieces (felted, embroidered, appliqued etc.) this is what i do in the evening (now that i'm not knitting commercially). this is what occupies my mind when i'm quiet. or in the middle of the night.yesterday i felted the background for a piece i've been working on for weeks. about the garden.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

the horizon

in town, i live in a bowl. surrounded by hills. the sky is small. so one of the things i love most about being at the cabin is being able to see big sky. the stars. the sunsets. feeling part of the universe.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

the writers

third week in august and it's the woody point writers festival time. i decided not to take part in the craft exhibition/sale this year (really making hard decisions about where my energy goes these days) but made it up to woody point yesterday to take it in (and bought this lovely painted canvas blueberry floor mat for the cabin from colette urban

the main reason for going up to woody point though was to get together

with our little book club at tess's where we manged to snag joel hynes to come and meet with us, read his manifesto and talk to us about his new book "straight razor days".
joel is friends with most of our children so he kindly agreed to come for the mothers and we had a hilarious and moving evening. thanks joel.

Friday, August 19, 2011

and always. the sound of the waves

i lay awake last night missing the sound of the waves.
i'd just returned from 3 days at the cabin. barb and i went down to dark cove on tuesday. barb has a cabin at the other end of the beach. just us and our dogs and enough food. (and books and our fibre work).

we had every kind of weather. heavy rain the first night and strong winds and vancouver island-like mist and fog and yesterday afternoon glorious hot sun.

i slept in the loft with all the windows open and the waves washing over me.

i ate well. on the 2nd day robyn and her daughter lucy came down for a visit. barb and lucy went for a swim in rattling brook and robyn and i sat and worked and chatted.

i brought down batts and spun them up on my new wheel. then yesterday soaked the skeins and rinsed them in the brook

and hung them out to dry.

and in the afternoon (because there is always maintenance to do at a cabin) i started painting the deck. reminding myself to look up often and see where i was...


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

raspberry jam

as a young mother in the 1970's and 80's i had a big garden. and grew and froze and bottled all our own vegetables. and made jam. i hadn't made jam since. until last week when i discovered some frozen raspberries still in the freezer from last year and decided to jam them up. loved the smell in the kitchen of the hot raspberries bubbling away. i'm 6 bottles of jam ahead and waiting for the blueberries to come on strong in the next couple of weeks.

Monday, August 15, 2011

making it a reality

it's been a puzzle these past few years. how can i spend extended time at the cabin and still continue to work. i'm not knitting commercially anymore (i used to knit at the cabin). only spinning now. i couldn't figure out how to spin at the cabin. my batts are composed of a multitude of different fibres - wools and plant fibres and bits of novelty yarns and glitter and sometimes cloth or ribbons. so i'd have to take so many materials with me. last winter i realized that i could make the batts at home and take down a pile of them to spin up. so... just a matter of getting my wheel down there. but... if i had 2 wheels. so in the spring i bought a portable wheel. and this past weekend i sat out on the bridge of the cabin and spun. i'll spend the next couple of days making up more batts and will go down on tuesday evening for the rest of the week.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

goin' fishin'

keith was up early yesterday morning to go fishing with with his buddy. cod jigging from the dory off of weebald island. over 20 years ago a moratorium was put in place that banned the commercial cod

fishery. the body and soul of this island. so now, for a few weeks each summer it is allowed to fish 5 cod for each person in the boat each time you go out. some people go out every day and get enough fish to feed their family for the year. for keith it's just a wonderful day on the water. and 5 fish...

Friday, August 12, 2011

grown right here

last night i got my lovely weekly veggie basket from kim and sean. each week it's a surprise to see what has ripened and been included. this week it's the first tomatoes and green onions and a supper size cucumber and bok choi.
all week i've also been eating from the garden. each meal i tally what i've grown. a salad that includes lettuce and tomato and cucumber and garlic scapes. a pasta dish with a sauce of my own zuchinni and basil and parsley. and garlic scapes. if i can live 2-3 months of the year eating fresh produce. grown locally. i feel it helps.

this past week i also started reading barbara kingsolver's "animal, vegetable, miracle about moving her family from arid arizona to lush virginia and attempting to live off of only locally grown food for a year. and just paying attention to where their food comes from and what that means.
to live off the land in newfoundland (especially as a vegetarian) means a very limited diet. but it would be a very carefully planned and thoughtful one.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

little fur family

as a child, and even now, one of my favourite children's book illustrators was garth williams. he just made you feel safe. i've always been most attracted to his animals - their softness, their intelligence. i think it explains why i love furry terriers so much.

one of finn's favourite books right now is "little fur family". finn's book is tiny - like beatrix potter's books - just right for little hands. and this one is covered with fake fur. the inspiration for my latest yarn.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


beatrix potter has always been one of my heroes. she had a vision and she brought it to life. when i first moved to newfoundland (1975), pregnant with my daughter, i would come into corner brook some days with my young husband who was teaching summer school. and sit all day in the cool library and read. and one of those books i read was an autobiography of beatrix potter. it was not easy for a victorian woman to say no to marriage and yes to living a comtemplative, creative life. i wanted to name my daughter beatrix. to instill that bravery into her.

here is my "peter rabbit" yarn.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

blueberries for sal

i've spent the past 5 weeks immersed in children's books and have decided to make a series of yarns inspired by some of my all time favourites.

from the early 80's to the early 90's (when my children were young) i illustrated 7 children's books. these included al pittman's "one wonderful fine day for a sculpin named sam", john steffler's "flights of magic" (which was nominated for a governor general's award for illustration), and robert munch's "get me another one". so children's books (and their illustrations particularly) have always inspired my imagination.

"blueberrries for sal" by robert mccloskey is a book that i loved as a child. a book my children loved. and now my grandchildren. it's about little sal and her mother going blueberry picking and encountering a mumma bear and her cub. i love the illustration of them returning home and canning the blueberries in their farm kitchen. i always think of sal when i pick blueberries