Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mamoo's Yarn

Mamoo is what we call my mother. To make a long story short, my niece couldn't say "memere", and everyone else called my mother "mom" and in her mind, it came together as Mamoo. Seeing as my dad is a dairy farmer, we all thought that the name fit.

Ma-moo. Get it?

I decided that I wanted to spin her some yarn so that she could knit a pair of mitts or gloves or a hat or whatever she decided.

So I chose to blend some fibers that I had. Black superwash merino is the base of the fibers. I also had some purple alpaca, and a bit of green and blue merino. When blending fibers, I usually weigh everything so that I know the fiber content percentages. Not this time. Oops. I'm guessing that the superwash is about 60-65% with 30-35% alpaca, and a small amount, less than 5%, merino. I kept blending and adding until I had a colour combination that I liked.

Which was then spun into a relatively fine singles (sorry, no WPI)
And plied into yarn. I finished it on Christmas eve and had to set the twist. In most houses it would be no problem to dry a skein of yarn overnight in the winter. Some people even have to run a humidifier in the winter. Not here. We are horribly humid. Partially because of poor insulation. Partially because we cook a lot and have many house plants. And partially because there are 6 of us living in a relatively small place.
In any case, even though the skein was wrung out as much as possible, rolled in a towel and stomped on, and sat in front of the dehumidifier for about 10 hours, it was still a little damp when I wrapped it up before heading out to my parents on Christmas day.
It is 270 yards (I think I forgot to tell you that, Mamoo)
Mamoo, I hope you have fun knitting with handspun!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

From the Archives

of what I wove.

100% silk
Walls of Troy pattern
16 EPI
15 PPI
Hand dyed

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

How ever you celebrate this time of year, may you have a wonderful time.

My tree this year came complete with a small girl under it. May yours have wonders as well.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Post Cards from the Selv-edge

The December edition, part one.
Earlier this month I had two post cards handed to me. These have been handed around Fredericton as well as being shipped across the country and somewhere along the way, one was delayed and had begun traveling with a companion.
One of the other participants and I did an count and realized that one postcard has been lost altogether. We are trying to figure out who last had it. I guess that that is one of the problems with shipping things across the country. Things sometimes get lost. Like the Christmas parcel that I sent to my sister in England one year. It never arrived. Sending maple butter through the mail is always a risky prospect. One never knows who may snag it out of the postal stream for some personal enjoyment.

But I digress.....

This one was started by one of the Fashion instructors. It has a definite "pattern" feeling to it.
Here is the after shot. I took a few layers of pattern paper from an old dress pattern that I had (but never made) and sandwiched them between the main postcard (which was sheer) and some red printed organza. I then folded up the edges from the organza back and top-stitched the "frame"

Here you can see the window from which the lady is peeking. The letters behind her are from the pattern bodice piece.

And here is the back. The "message" for this one is simply the pattern preparation instruction. I had considered enclosing some sort of message, but in the end decided against it. I couldn't decide exactly what to say.

I still haven't decided what to do with the other one.

The next one to come back to me should be mine! It will be very interesting to see how it has been transformed.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Snow storm! Blizzard warning!
So I go to look out the back door and this is the sight that greets me.

The street with the lights is one of the main streets in the city. Barely cleared. The problem is that the snow is very light and fluffy, and the wind is very strong, so once the plows go by the wind move the snow right back into the void left behind.

Here's the driveway. Hmm. Shoveling fun!
Snow. Snow. Snow. And our street that hasn't yet been plowed. And probably won't be plowed for a while.

The back yard. And on the right of the photo, the other side of the back door. Covered in snow.

And I just realized that this is post 501 for one thread two thread! I feel like I should give something away.

Any one want some snow?

Friday, December 19, 2008


The past few days have been all about endings. I'm feeling that this is rather fitting seeing as it is the end of the year.
Yesterday was my last day of work for 2008. Today, the last day of school for the kids (again for the year 2008). And tomorrow will be my last day at my little market. I am happy to have two weeks off from schedules, and lunches, and homework. I will also be happy to see the end of getting up early on Saturday morning and slogging all of my stuff to sit for 5 hours and have very little chance of selling anything. It gets rather tiring after a while.
In 2009, I plan to do more spinning and dyeing and maybe even try and weave an art piece or two that have been bumping around in my mind for the past 3 or 4 years.
So many ideas, so little time.
I am also going to try and take a few pictures tomorrow and finally share with you all (you few but loyal followers) what I have been up to for the past few months.

And for no other reason than "just 'cause", here is a recipe for hungry cake. It is from one of Bill's mother's cookbooks that I explored while we were alone at the lake this summer. And by alone I mean just the 6 of us. I love how it is just a list of ingredients and the barest instruction. No time, no temperature, no pan size. I guess that there were made back in the good old days when people knew that you cooked cakes at a certain temperature for a certain time. Me? I'll go look up the temp and time in the Joy when I decide to make hungry cake.

And under miscellaneous......throat gargle? Apparently so. And it was submitted my Bill's paternal Grandmother.
And where would one find "resin"? I keep thinking that it is the by product of a tree.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's been a while

Life has been rather busy for me as of late and many areas in my life have suffered from neglect. House cleaning is definitely one as is the blog. I have been making, working, taking classes, as well as trying to keep up with the day to day stuff like laundry, dishes, meal preparations, grocery shopping....well, you get the picture. This time of year is always hectic, and this year has been the worst in as long as I can remember. I have been weaving quite a bit and a lot of what I produced this year has left the house and my hands without having the proper documentation. Yup. That means no pictures. Lighting is always an issue for me and pictures are either right colour but blurry, or in focus and washed out. The scarf below is a good case in point. It was a commission from a friend whose husband liked my work, but wanted something darker. It is actually a midnight blue.
I hope to have something figured out in the new year so that I can actually start taking some half decent pictures. It is starting to become more and more important. I have decided that I am finished with my weekly market and while I am still going to sign up for three (or four) craft shows next year, I would also like to start to have a outlet online to start selling. Bad time to start talking about a new venture, but Etsy seems like it is a pretty inexpensive place to begin.

And while I haven't been taking many pictures, someone has been using my camera. It has a panoramic setting and the only thing that I recognise is Liam's bed and the Lego containers under it. What is happening in the first two thirds is anybodies guess.

And I have officially finished producing for the year. The tree that normally sits where the Christmas tree is, is where my loom normally sits and my loom is folded up and jammed in behind it.
Last year, Mamoo bought a second artificial tree in the after Christmas sale season, thinking that she would like to set one up in the sun room (I think). This year she decided that she wouldn't bother and offered it to me. The kids put up a fuss about wanting a real tree and I put up a fuss about finding fir needles in strange places all the way into the summer. And since I like to think that I live in a Momocracy, I over ruled everyone and accepted the tree. It was so quick and easy to put up. It even came with lights on it! Whoever decided to string up the trees with lights before selling them was a genius! It took about 4 minutes to set up the tree (after spending 4 hours getting the living room ready) and then I walked away and the kids took over.

I think they did a pretty good job. Now if I could just convince them to not put themselves under the tree.....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Post Cards from the Selv-edge

This months postcard offered an interesting challenge.
The front was not to bad.
The back however, was taken up by the box from a pregnancy test. One of our Post Card Members had just found out that she was pregnant and apparently wanted to share the joy.
While I am happy for her, I didn't feel that the test box added much to the back of the post card except as a space for me to add and embellish.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a "before" picture. You can see part of the box picture in the center. The purple stick like thing. Imagine the words PREGNANCY TEST and ACCURATE ect and you get the picture. And it was attached to the left hand side of the the back. It was stitched on by three small groups of positive test symbols along the top. You can see one on the top edge.

So I cut a piece of cardboard from the box that Mira's birthday cake came in (rather fitting I thought) and glued it to the back of the test box. I then made myself a cup of Neo-Citrine and hopped into bed to do some gluing.
A number of months ago, Leigh from Homework, offered up some stamps that she had received in a duffel bag to those that wanted some. I jumped on that bandwagon very quickly and a couple of weeks later an envelope stuffed with stamps from around the world arrived in the mailbox. A lot were from Australia and there were a smattering of other places.

Our pregnant friend has often referred to herself as a gypsy so I thought that a postcard composed of stamps would be fitting for a gypsy baby. The message is a blessing of sorts. "May you tread the path of happiness May home be where you lay your head". I also left the positive symbol which you can see just above the Canada stamp with the bird on the green background.
And to the predominately butterfly front, I added two butterfly stamps to the "window".
The white that you see surrounding the postcard in the last two pictures is just the protective cardboard that it came and went in.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Poor Mr P

This is what I found in the living/play room when I wandered through there this morning. Poor Mr. P. looks like he is having a strip ripped off of him by Mrs. P. Although she is doing it with a smile.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

That was remarkable satisfying

Some telemarketer just called while I was making supper. You always know it is them if you pick up the phone and get dead air after you say hello.

I hate it when they call.

I am making curry tonight (something I haven't done since going back to work) and it is a bit of a juggling act. So I didn't feel that I had the time to tell someone who I didn't want to talk to that I wasn't interested in whatever it was that they were selling.

So I just put the phone on the counter and went back to my cooking.

A few minutes later I heard the familiar "beepbeepbeepbeep" of a lost connection. At which point I hung up the phone.

It probably shouldn't have felt so satisfying, but it did.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Kirby Show Report

This weekend was the big weekend long craft show that I attended for the first time in 4 years. The last couple of times that I sold at this show I was with a group of people and this year it was the same. The group that I was with was the Fiber Arts Network (formerly the Fredericton Designer Weavers). There were 4 of us that had work in the booth and we had a lot of help from a fifth member, Sarah. She came by and hung out and helped sell, spelled us when we needed to have a break, go to the bathroom, or (I'll admit it) go shopping in the craft sale.

Here is one view of our booth. The silk scarves to the right of the picture are mine. Most of the caplets and ponchos in the back are Karen's.

Here is another view of the portion of the scarf section of the booth. Along with the origami cranes and reindeer. Decapitated bear heads are in the next booth. Click on the picture for a closer view.
The wall of "hot" colours. This wall has drawn more people into the booth than any other has, I have noticed that there is something about red and orange that really captures peoples attention. Few actually buy red or orange, but many are attracted to it and then settle on a "safer" choice.

Mostly my scarves. Hand spun to the right, hand dyes to the left. Hand spun and hand dyed yarns in the basket in the middle.
As far as sales have gone, it has been a pretty good weekend. I have told a lot of people about my little market and a lot of people about the craft sale that I help organize in December. I feel that my time has not been wasted and I hope to draw a few more people to the other places that I sell.

Because in the end, I do weave to sell, so that I can support my yarn habit :-)

Friday, November 07, 2008

busy weekend

I am at one of the local craft sales this weekend. The Kirby Show is on the exhibition grounds and runs Friday 12-9, Saturday 10-6, and Sunday 12-5.
I am there with three other members of F.A.N. (Fiber Arts Network) which is our local fiber group. We are booth #7 along the back wall so brave the rain and come on out and visit!

Here is a scarf that won't be at the sale this weekend.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Halloween 3

Or...What the teacher wore

Head of Metals as a witch doctor with three Mexican exchange students.

Ellen and Joanne, Fashion Ladies as a bumble bee and a butterfly. They were deep in discussion about marks or students or something serious. Since they are used to seeing me wander in and out of the classrooms on various errands they didn't say anything until my camera gave me away by making the little ringing sound that it makes when it starts up. Then they laughed.
Mitch the store keeper talking to Sally from Nightmare before Christmas . I think that they were discussing her stitching job. She is looking for a refund.
Jan, Harriet, and Linda. Harriet and Jan, from Fabric Surface, had a Hogwarts theme going on. Jan is from England and she really went all out and decorated not only herself, but also her office. She made badges for everyone in the studio. Harriet was the professor of Herbology (can you tell?) Jan was the defense against the dark Arts Teacher (who ever that would be in any given year) Linda was Johnny Depp. Not Hogwarts but Pirates. It is all good.

Here is Jan's office (note the bookshelf)
The bookshelf
(please click on the picture to get a bigger version so that you can read the titles )
And here were the judges for the contest. From Left to Right... Michael, the principal, Laura May, head of accounting who also does 10,000 other things that I couldn't explain, Jane, head of Design who also wears many many hats, and Joe, Maintenance Supervisor and my boss, and if he wasn't around the school would fall apart around our ears (not kidding). They did a great job and I heard a little tale that there was some arm wrestling that happened over who should get second prize.
Is it any wonder that I couldn't stay away?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Pumpkin Central

The kids all really like to carve the pumpkins. I have to admit a bit of a preference for pumpkin carving myself. When the kids were really little, I used to think that it was great. They drew a picture and I interpreted it on the pumpkin. Then we moved up to drawing right on the pumpkins. And I did the cravings, interpreting what they had drawn. The they got older and started carving their own pumpkins. And I had to start buying my own pumpkin. Nicole still lets me carve her pumpkin (as well as clean it out) but the older kids are all flying solo.
Nicole told me that she wanted two round eyes and a big smiley mouth. I added the notches so that the pumpkin took on a crossed eyed appearance. I think that it is kind of cute.

From left to right, Mira, Liam, Simon, and mine. Do you like the authentic spooky leaves and dead plants in the background?
Maybe it is time for me to clean out my little flower garden.

Halloween 2

More from the Craft College...

Peter (head of the Photography Department) This fellow is the technician from the photography department. He had a lot of fun imitating Peter. And we all had a lot of fun laughing.
Mortitia Adams (as in The Adam's Family)(tied 3rd place)
Minnie Mouse (honorable mention)
mime (Not in contest)
Marie Antoinette and the Foxy Lady (Marie was a prototype for a commission for a play. My co-worker made 8 more masks that were used in the play (all different but along the same lines) and unfortunately, 6 of the 8 were lost in a fire two weeks ago)
Scary Nurse

Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf
Tomorrow.... What my co-workers were up to.....

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween at the Craft College

Or, another reason that I like my place of employment
Today is Halloween, as most of you know. Although I didn't have to work today, I did have some business downtown that took me near the school around noon.

O.K. I'll admit it. I planned my errands around being downtown around noon so that I could be at the school for the annual parade and contest of costumes. About 75% of the people that were around today were dressed up. Some had subtle costumes, and some went all out.

I took a lot of pictures and so I am going to spread them out over the next few days. South America celebrates the Day of the Dead over several days, so I don't think that it is president setting.

And here in no particular order are some of the costumes. A lot of them were made by the individual wearing them. The students really are a creative bunch.

Lily Geisha (tied 2nd place)
Killbot (honorable mention)
Poison Ivy (1st place)
Ghost (not in contest)
Foxy Lady, Rachel (who is going as a Cougar tonight) and Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas

Eve (note the apple)
Cow (in case you didn't guess)

Captain Haddock (Blistering Barnacles)
Cougar in Waiting, and C as.....I'm not sure what. I have to admit that the noose kind of threw me for a loop (no pun intended)
Funky Fairy (tied 2nd place), Bride of Frankenstein (ties 3rd place) and Twister
Black Bunny of Halloween and Steve the Retired Reaper

Tune back later for more from the crazy place that I call work......