Sunday, April 29, 2007

What Next?

After a crazy busy week of trying to get everything ready for the sale that I am at this weekend, I realize that yet again, the learning curve is steep. I know now to ask more questions before committing to a sale. I won't say that yesterday was a complete waste of time because I brought my spinning wheel and almost filled both bobbins, and I met a few new people, but sales wise..... not so good. In fact, the my only sales were to the lady in the next booth who does felting and she fell in love with a couple of skeins of yarn.

Last night was the opening at the Beaverbrook. I was in on Friday to help hang my piece and it looks great! I wish that I had a camera last night. I didn't know that so many people could fit in the Beaverbrook Gallery! The place was absolutely packed! Along with our show, there was also an opening for an artist, Miller Britain, who was big in the Canadian art scene in the 40's and 50's.

Friday morning, I attended a career fair in town for high school students. I was there with the Craft College, which is a part of the Community College network in New Brunswick. I was giving weaving demonstrations and letting people try their hand at weaving. I was really amazed at how differently males and females behaved when approaching the little table loom that I has set up. The guys had no hesitation. They listened to my 20 second tutorial on how to weave, grabbed the shuttle and got to it. The girls were much more hesitant to even try it, and when they did, it was as if they were afraid to do something wrong. There were a few exceptions with hesitant guys and enthusiastic girls, but on the whole, I found this very interesting. And rather unsettling. I wonder at the cause. Hormones? The boys taking up so much space that the girls feel that they need to take up less? Any suggestions?
I also found it interesting that most people did two passes with the shuttle and that was enough. A couple did a few more. And one fellow wove about two inches. I guess that he really liked it!
I have a bunch of homework to do. My last class is on Friday and I shudder to think of how many hours of work I have left on my head. I'll get a picture when it is finished.

Monday, April 23, 2007

list of dones (or crossed off to do's)

I have been busy lately. Much has been finished and somethings have sat untouched. Sadly my silk is in the latter category. But thanks to Sara I shall hopefully have a bit more luck with my spinning of it. She suggested that I spin from "the fold". Which, as far as I can tell, means that you fold your fiber over your finger spin "from the fold" It is apparently easier to draft. Sounds good to me.
1-I may have mentioned that I am taking a class. It is about ideas and concepts in fiber arts. It is great. However, there is this thing called homework that tends to take a bit of my time. This Friday is our last class and our final project is due. I have decided to make a needle felted bust of myself and stitch in the grey hairs that Mira so lovingly plucked out of my brush. If I run out of those, I know where to find a few more. And I know who to ask for the help of plucking them. In any case, I have been working on my little head and when I was almost complete, I decided that it was too white. I needed to dye it a bit. It turns out that I dyed it a bit too pink. Into the pot of colour remover and now I must wait for it to dry in order to add the eyes and finish felting it. I think that I am going to have a long night Thursday.
2-This weekend was a beautiful sunny warm weekend, so, not surprisingly, I spent most of it outside in the yard. Raking and bagging up 15 garbage bags of leaves that didn't get gathered last fall. Cleaning out the flower beds (where there are actually signs of life!) And discovering things that the kids had left outside before the first snow, or hauled out sometime during the winter. Some of that was bagged too.
3- 8 oz silk dyed
4- 3 scarves almost woven
5- warp for 2 scarves and their weft redyed (I didn't like the results from the first dyeing)
6- attended and opening for a show of the Fiber Arts Studio at the Craft College Gallery. Because I took a few classes, I was eligible to have a few pieces entered.
7- Finished all the supporting material for the Beaverbrook show.
There are also countless things at work and home that needs to be done, but don't bear mentioning. Except that I will say that I am almost finished inventory at work. Not for the faint of heart.
And I have a craft show this weekend. I hope that it is a profitable one.

What is left on the "to do" list?

I really don't want to think about it.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Sorry about that

But after getting three link laden spam comments (from the same commenter), I have decided to turn on the word verification.
In other news, the silk is in the same state it was the last time you looked. I have however almost finished shaping my final project piece for the class that I am taking. But more about that later.
I have also woven two of the three scarves on the loom. I hope to have the last one woven today and then all three finished by the middle of next week.
This afternoon we all have an opening. The Gallery at the school has a show of the work of the students in the fiber arts department. Should be a good time.
And I have good news (finally!) to report about the weather. SUN!!!! AND WARM TEMPS!!!! 15 to 21 C ( that would be in the 60's F) I am in heaven!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Pictures of Progress

Weaving-Warp going on the loom. It is now on and being woven.
Spinning-Hand spun slubby for a new scarf.
More spinning- My attempt to spin silk into silver. This is some cochineal dyed silk that was then "saddened" with iron. I almost exploded with excitement when the change took place. For those of you who have never dyed with cochineal before, it is a natural dye that is made up of dead bugs that you grind and boil. Not for the faint of heart. Nor for those that don't like "earthy" smells. The colours that you get are pinks, burgundy, and some purples, depending on what mordants you use. No mordant on silk with iron added gives you this lovely silver colour.
And here is progress of a different sort. Yup. Those are tulips. And that is snow. I took this picture yesterday and unfortunately the up dated photo would be just like the upper right hand corner. Because right now, it is snowing. Again.
Crap. I have been living under a rock today. Bill just came out and we are watching the news about the shootings in Virginia. This is starting to happen far to often. I feel so sorry for everyone involved.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Lambing Season

Over the past few weeks, lambs and sheep have been mysteriously appearing in the weaving studio. The last one that appeared was a ram. I suspect he is the father of them all.
There are 10 people who call the studio their home away from home and nobody is taking responsibility for the arrival of all of these sheep. There is much speculation, but no answers. I was asked if I was responsible and could only answer truthfully. "No", I said, "If it was me you would all be getting random animals that have been gifted to Nicole over the past three years" Nicole. My babe. Who has absolutely no interest in stuffed animals. Well, OK. Sometimes she does throw the odd one at her brothers, but I don't think that I would call that an interest. More like a projectile.

The sun is shining here, the snow is melting. Again. I'm going to try and get the kids to go out. Maybe we'll even wander over to the park to see how muddy they all can get.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

One That Got Away

This is a bound weave rug that I wove in my second year at school. All those many years ago. I actually wove it as a wedding present for a very good friend of mine. The marriage didn't survive and I have since lost touch with her. I wonder if she still has it or if it was given away. It measured about 4.5 x 3 feet and was linen warp and wool weft. It was so beautiful that I wish that it was back in my possession.

Here is a detail.

Now back to my current pursuits.
On the socks
- Both heels turned, one instep decreasing finished and smooth sailing on the foot.
Weaving- second hand spun and kid/silk blended warp with a bit better tension, but still a bit wonky.
Dyeing-Two warps dyed. One is 3 scarves in silk and the other is two wool scarves. Who ever dries first is the first to go on the loom. I have a show coming up in two weeks and I need a few more things for the table before then.
Spinning- Slubby fiber all spun, plied, and the twist set ready to be made into a warp and go on the loom. Now on the wheel, some silk that I dyed with cochineal and saddened with iron. It made the most delicious silvery grey. I am in Love! I am going to pair it with this
roving so that I can start on my first lace project. It is the Kiri shawl that quite a few people have made. I was going to make it out of a lace weight alpaca yarn, but lace fear took over and that project never got off the ground. Sue suggested that I make it in the sports weight yarn that the pattern calls for. Brilliant! But being one to put off lace, I decided to spin the yarn for it first. I seem to recall that the pattern calls for about 450 yards of yarn and I don't have anywhere near that in one colour of hand spun. So off to the wheel! Pictures to follow.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Great Egg Hunt

I wish that I had a video of the egg hunt in my house yesterday. But then again, if you remember high school chemistry and all that talk about molecules frantically bouncing around, then you get the picture.
The kids had two egg hunts this year. One here first thing, and one at my Mom's house in the afternoon. Can you say "Sugar High"?
We were 13 at dinner last night again. I know that it is suppose to be a bad thing, but I think that the superstition arose quite a while ago when the death rate was much higher. As I recall, if you sat 13 at dinner, one of you was suppose to die within the next year. Thank heaven for modern medicine.
Along with my crew, there was mom and dad, My brother Von, his fiance Audrey, his daughter Jordyn. and Craig and his girlfriend Heather. Craig is a student at the university who helps Dad and Von at the farm.
Lots of food was eaten and lots of wine was drunk. All in all, it was a great time.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

How long...

Before I resort to something like this? She does, after all have three younger sibblings. Click the image to see it larger.

Mira is twelve and, so far, uninterested in boys. At least that is the impression that she gives. She is interested in reading, making cool stuff, and has started to take an interest in cooking. I hope it stays that way for a little bit longer.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Sorry for yelling, but REALLY! I've HAD IT! I get up this morning to a flashing light on my phone. In this neck of the woods that means another message from the school. My kids go to two different schools and both leave messages from time to time with talk mail. One school's messages are short and few, and the other school's principal LOVES to talk. LOVES to leave lots of messages (at least 3 a week). And LOVES to make sure that you heard what she says so repeats everything. And.... Did you know if you press 6 the message will speed up? Thank you Sara for that life saving tidbit of info. Makes her sound like a Chipmunk. You remember Alvin, Simon, and Theodore?
But I digress.
Rolling my eyes, I listen to the message. Guess what? The kids are getting a five day weekend! School has been cancelled. Why? BECAUSE OF A SNOW STORM!!!!! SNOW STORM!!!!! Should I say it again? SNOW!!!! April 5th and school is cancelled because of snow. 20cm worth. About 8 inches. Thankfully it will be turning into rain around noon and no shoveling will be necessary. I hope.
Welcome to the Great White North. Snow Cone anyone?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Deja Vu

Two heels are complete. For the third and final time. I am going to try and turn the heels and start the foot at home this weekend. Using the right pattern. I really only want to knit the foot part once. So I'm going to pay attention. Just watch me!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


April 3rd, right? The first was a few days ago if I remember correctly. And I am looking out my front window at SNOW. At least one inch. Possibly two. I won't know until I step outside. Which I am putting off for as long as possible. But seeing as I work today and have to leave in an hour, it won't be long enough for the GD stuff to melt!
But on a good note, last night I finished my slubby yarn. It is all plied and doing the resting on the bobbin thing. I found that I had no problem getting slubby yarn without using wine. And in the plying part, I found out that some of my slubs may be a little too big. This slubby yarn is destined to be another woven scarf and there is a limit to the thickness of yarn that I can use. I'll be skeining it off tomorrow so we can see how it looks.
Until then, smell your flowers for me. Mine won't be coming up any time soon.

Monday, April 02, 2007

BIG learning Curve

Socks. Not a hard thing, RIGHT?
Well, I have been having quite a time with my little socks. And now I know why. The pattern has both a child's sock and an adult sock on it. So far so good. Except that they are on different pages of a paper which has been folded in three.I know that the picture is backwards, but I've tried to fix it and it doesn't want to up load properly. IN ANY CASE...... In the picture above , to the right is the general instructions, in the middle are adult socks, on the left are child socks. On the back middle section of the patten is a ruler which is very useful for measuring heel flaps. So I happily knit my heel flaps and every now and then consulted with the ruler on the back. Then came time to turn the heel and back to the pattern I go. But not the adult pattern. No! Not me! I happily flip it to the CHILD'S pattern. No wonder the bloody heel wouldn't turn! I kept on having stitches left over on one needle. So after consulting the "to make heel" section and realizing (or so I thought) that I had read the instructions wrong ( reading a 21 as 27) and had made the heel too many stitches, I took a deep breath, ripped them both back and reknit the heels. Now I find that I could have been in the home stretch if only I had been paying attention. Now we are back to ripping AGAIN and re-knitrting AGAIN. I will not make THAT mistake again. I hope. Some day I may learn.

And just to show you that I can do something right, here is some fleece that I dyed last week.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

melting snow reveales

Mira and a friend went for a walk in the woods yesterday. Mira came home all excited.

"Guess what I found?" were the first words out of her mouth.

Only half joking, I reply "Not a dead animal, I hope."

"Ahhh. (pause) Sort of."

What she had found was a turtle shell. With part of the turtle still in it. Thankfully Sam's mom had a few plastic bags in the car and the turtle was quite tightly wrapped. What to do? After consulting with Whitefeather , and the solution of scraping and boiling , or burying was suggested, I decided that any one of those things would be Mira's job and could happen when the days are warmer and I can open my windows with out giving my plants frost bite. The shell, and the remains of the turtle are in the freezer. In a few more layers of plastic.

What is the oddest thing in YOUR freezer?