Friday, September 30, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

teenie tiny

i love seeing where my yarns end up. check out les minisjujus, a st. john's based company that frequently uses island sweet yarn.

Friday, September 23, 2011

harvest time

yesterday, on the last day of summer, marilee and i brought in the harvest from our community garden.
considering that we turned the soil and planted mid-july, we are really pleased with what we got. the potatoes, which filled all of one plot were our most successful crop. and with another month of growth next year they will be much bigger (although i do love the tiny potatoes). we got lots of peas (the one lucy helped to plant on her summer visit) and some lovely cabbages. we left the leeks and a squash (of some kind) in the ground hoping they'll still get a bit bigger before the heavy frost. and next week we'll be planting our garlic.

and begin planning for next year...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

back at 'er

i came home from the valley to some lovely big yarn/batt/kit orders. so my days are now filled with dyeing and spinning. and catching up on coronation st. wihile i spin. (what a week to have missed!)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

pink and gold

monday evening our little bookclub met at marilee's. her home is on the heights and this is the view from her back deck. our book this time was bruce johnson's novel "firmament" - a poetic, evocative, dreamlike exploration of an newfoundland outport community.
we take turns choosing our books and hosting a meal based on the book. marilee's offerings were golden - her table, her jiggs dinner (a traditional newfoundland dish with salt beef and veggies. marilee made me a seperate vegetarian version with chick peas and it was deliscious. and... the cabbage and potatoes were from our own little community garden plot!), her peas pudding and her lemon squares. a joyously colourful evening with good friends.

our next book is patrick suskind's "perfume".

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

down on the farm. our last day

friday was the last day of the forum and we had the pleasure of listening to tom chappell (formally of toms of maine toothpaste - which he recently sold to colgate) who is now passionately involved in creating "next to the skin" comfortable clothing "made in america" with naturally dyed american wool.

we spent the rest of the morning discussing "where to go from here?" and a committee was formed ( including brenda) to meet in a few weeks and move this project forward. for now, i'll be following along with emails.
we had planned on driving into halifax for the afternoon (our flight was a late evening one) but couldn't stand the thought of leaving the valley.

our first stop out of wolfville was coldbrook's "frenchy's" (said to be the best in the area) and i picked up a beautiful autumn orange cashmere pullover for $3.00.
we picked up some local apples to bring home.

oh, i weep at the beauty of the produce...
and then drove along secondary roads to hall's harbour on the bay of fundy for a little taste of home.
we flew home that night with tropical storm force winds at our backs. scared, but happy.

Monday, September 19, 2011

down on the farm day 3

well, day 3 on the farm we really got down to business. which doesn't mean we didn't still have lots of wonderful food and great 1-on-1 conversations during breaks.

i think on this day the purpose of the forum all was becoming a little more clear in our heads.
patric brenac from rocheforte, france was the first presenter of the day. he is the owner of the franch natural dye company "coleurs de plantes". he came from a scientific, more technical background but it was clear that some common themes were beginning to appear. that you start with an idea based on your values. that you look to the history of the place you are in and the materials you want to use/produce. that through trial and error you discover what works best. that you hold onto your dream.
after break, jennifer green (a young grad from nscad) talked about the history of flax growing in the region. and as an experiment, and to understand (hands on) what she was researching, she grew, proccessed and wove her own flax.
in the afternoon, david goldsmith, a fashion designer from parsons school of design in new york who is now living and studying in sweden, talked about what he has coined "slow fashion" (comparable to the slow food movement). fashion that includes local fibres, local processing, designs that are contemporary but with historic resonance.

the rest of the afternoon was spent in discussion groups. what do we want to do? what are the obstacles and how do we overcome them? although most of the discussion was centred around plant fibre, brenda and i got more and more excited about applying the same strategies to a re-vitalization of the wool/processing (spinning/knitting/weaving industry in newfoundland. lots to think about...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

down on the farm day 2

our fibre, fabric and natural dye forum didn't start until 1:00 pm on wednesday. so we took the morning to drive around the valley. our first stop was gaspereau valley fibres to drop off an order of knitting kits and soak up the beauty of the place (and buy some yarn and fleece...)

there was a spinning group meeting while we were there, but brenda (gilmour) and manda were able to spare time to chat about yarn and fibre and sheep with us. brenda gilmour attented the forum too so we were able to spend more time together.
we needed to grab a quick lunch so went to nearby luckett vineyard (pete luckett of pete's fruitique fame) and sat outside enjoying a deliscious salad and cheese plate.

the forum was held at taproot farms (an organic farm just outside of port william in the annapolis valley. the purpose of the forum was to begin a discussion about the feasability of creating (re-creating) a sustainable, environmentally friendly textile industry in the atlantic region. most of the focus of the forum was on nova scotia (the partners that got us together were the nova scotia dept. of agriculture, agripoint and the nova scotia school of art and design) and most of the discussion involved plant fibres (hemp and flax). but brenda and i (the only non-nova scotians (except for a woman from new brunswick) were able to apply almost all the was discussed to newfoundland (plant fibres = animal fibres). the sessions on the first day were held in a yurt.

it actually got too hot and moved inside for the next two days. our first presenter, sally erskine-doucette, talked about the properties, uses and history of hemp growing in the maritimes. followed by denise lambert, owner of bleu de lectoure - world renouned grower of woad (just think of that gorgeous grey/blue colour of southern france).

i need to grow woad
after each presentation we gathered in small groups to discuss how what we had just heard could be adapted to our situation.
before supper, we had a tour of the farm (i was in heaven...)

we all met for dinner. farmers and artisans and educators and entrepeneurs. everyone coming together from different backgrounds but sharing common values and goals.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

down on the farm day 1

we arrived home around 2:00 this morning - flying into tropical storm force winds - only acceptable with a tab of atavin and deep meditative breathing (the slightly drunk man beside me commented that i was smiling during the most tumultuous 20 minute descent.)
aside from that, the trip was absolutley marvelous. on many levels.
brenda and i decided to take the early morning flight on tues. rather than waiting for the afternoon. we were renting a car (isn't she a beauty?)

so this would give us time to see a little of the south shore and fundy shore of nova scotia before heading up to wolfville where we were staying. we had breakfast in lovely chester

with the brightly painted homes and shops glowing throught the warm foggy morning. we had hoped to visit jim smith's ceramics but were there too early. we drove on to mahone bay (doesn't brenda look happy driving that car!)
and visited this rug hooking shop

that offers beautiful designs for mats already drawn out. (seemed to have lost the nane for that shop - does anyone else know it?) and stopped into this grocery to see our first nova scotian produce! (the screen door is weighted down with a bag of carrots...

then on through our first farmland (for anyone not from newfoundland, it's hard for you to imagine what a thrill this is...)

and around 1:00 arrived at annapolis royal to visit deb and ray. they lived in newfoundland for years. but 12 years ago moved to annopolis royal and opened up their shop lucky rabbit pottery. in all those years we've stayed in touch but i had never been to visit them or see their shop. so this was an exciting and heartwarming afternoon.

deb prepared the most beautiful lunch - carrot ginger soup and an enormous fresh salad (deb trades ceramics with a farmer, who provides them with fresh produce and cut flowers from the shop).
after lunch we headed over to see angela

at catfish moon. angela carries my kits in the summer. i mentioned that i was scouting out vintage lace and fabrics for some new work and she hauled out a hatbox of wonderful fabric for me to choose from (in exchange for a couple of kits on next summer's order). love this barter system. she also steered us over to anna's highland lace and textiles where i picked up some more wonderful old textiles

. came home with lots to work on.
in the late afternoon we headed up to wolfville and, having been up since 3:45 that morning, went to bed pretty early...