Monday, June 29, 2009

Why I used to nap in the playpen

No, really, I did. When my twins were little and I was suffering from chronic sleep deprivation I would climb in the old wood playpen and curl myself in the corner by the wall, cover myself in one of their small blankets and take cat naps while they played in the room. That way, I was there if they managed to get into trouble and need me for whatever reason ,but at the same time, they couldn't get me.
Naps were essential in those day. Nights were spent more awake than asleep until the boys started sleeping through the nights around 2 years old. Tired tired tired. Bone crushing exhaustion. Relentless. That is one of the things that I remember most from that time when my boys were small.
The other thing was dirt. Dirty dishes, dirty diapers, dirty laundry, dirty floors, dirt, dirt, dirt. I was so exhausted and things just kept getting ahead of me.
Eventually they started sleeping through the night, which meant that I could too, and I slowly, slowly started to conquer the piles.
People used to say, "remember the times when they are little, you'll miss them when they are bigger". I haven't yet hit that point.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hurdie Gertie Ball?

Today the Fiber Arts Network had a Gertie Ball workshop. And what might a Gertie Ball be?
It is a inflatable ball that you can felt around!

Trish was our host and workshop leader. She lives about 10 minutes outside of Fredericton. Here is her view. Quite stunning, eh? If you pardon the chair cushion and the other eager photo happy friend.
The first thing that we had to do was chose the size of our ball and blow them up. They came with a small plug and the ball was put plug down into a small bowl so that it wouldn't roll around.
We then put wool batts draped over the ball, a second layer was wrapped around the ball.
Here is Grim. he is Trish's dog. He is only a year and a half old and he is so well behaved! He hung around, checked all of us out, and once he found out that we were friends of mom's, he never said another word.
We put a third layer of wool around the ball and any embellishments that we would like.
Next came the pantyhose. The legs were cut off and the body was stretched over the fleece.
A second and a third pair were put on going in different directions so that all of the fleece was covered.
The wool and ball were the wet down and rubbed for about 5 minutes.
And then we dribbled our fleece covered balls on a solar pool cover for about 5 minutes. Talk about a muscle workout!
We then checked to see if our fleece had felted. Once it reached soft felt stage we were able to remove the pantyhose.....
And pull the plug and deflate our ball.
Were then had to start to felt by hand. This required rubbing and rolling.
Here are out finished felt. Some are hats and some are vessels.
And then we ate! It was a pot luck and everything was good!
What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Good idea gone way wrong

I have been spinning for several years now. I have a Louet s10 wheel and the bobbins have an amazing capacity. Normally I spin up 2 full bobbins with 4 oz on each and then ply them onto a third bobbin. I can fit all 8 ounces on one bobbin. Just.
I was also introduced to the idea of plying form a center pull ball. The basic idea is that you make a center pull ball and then ply from both ends. I have had marvelous success . Most of the time.
Introducing "My Little Pony" the tangled edition. This is one of the standard colour ways that I dye. Some people think that it is too "hot", but enough like it to keep me dyeing it. I have to admit that it makes me happy in a strange little girl way.
I think that the problem is two fold. The first is that I normally let my singles rest on the bobbin. This is not a designed thing, just am indication of how busy I am. Generally, if we are not watching a movie, I am not spinning. Those damn "To Do" lists just keep on growing no matter how many things that you cross off. In any case, I have NEVER had such highly energized yarn to try and ply. You can easily see all of the kinks and curls.
Learning experience #1. Let your yarn REST before trying to ply from a center pull ball. Other singles are happily resting as per learning experience # 1.
The second problem stems from my ball winder. It sits, for the most part, on the edge of my trolley that my computer sits on. The trolley is next to my loom and also in front of Rosemary, Bay, and Lemon Grass. Plants don't you know. To water them I move the trolley. Which is next to my loom as I think that I have mentioned. And if I am not careful, the ball winder can get bumped by the loom. Sigh.
In any case, this led to a few strands of yarn that didn't quite stay in the ball and got caught up in the whole plying thing what with the kinky, curly yarn.

In any case. While watching Alvin and the Chipmunks (Nicole's choice) I started to ply this....ball. It quickly became a mess. I persisted, but eventually decided to mentally step away from the wheel so that I wouldn't just get the scissors and know.

This morning, with a fresh mind, I took another try and after much picking and plying of a few feet at a time, I managed to get the whole thing untangled and plied.

Ta-da! I think that I am going to let it rest for a few days on the kniddy-noddy before washing it out.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Made With Love

Welcome to "Made With Love". It is the name of the shop that I am in this summer. Some of you may remember that I was part of an Artist in Residency program the past couple of years. Along the same boardwalk are other shops that are filled with local craftspeople and artisans. This year I am in one of them with six other people. Several of my casemate mates were in the same spot last year and I was invited in by Erin, who was a student at the Craft College.

Welcome to "Made With Love".....
In no particular order.....

Chelsey, who is a self confessed bead-aholic. She makes all her own findings (which are the posts, clips, jump rings, ear wires etc.)
Then there is Yolande. She and her husband do twice yearly wood firings. They have built an anagama kiln on their property in the north of New Brunswick. They are doing a firing RIGHT NOW! and I can hardly wait to see the new pots that she brings in over the next couple of weeks! Most of what you see here are electric fired. The wood fired pottery is truly special.
Next up is me. Because I have such a diverse offering, it takes several photos. First are my hand-dyed yarns and origami cranes. You can also see a few of my Temari Balls on the tree. I am giving a workshop in temari this summer as part of the edventures workshop series.
I also make origami cards.
Then there are my silk scarves and hand woven, hand dyed scarves.

Hand dyed, hand spun, hand woven scarves. And silk velvet and silk satin scarves as well as my hand spun yarn.

Amy La Loon is another potter whose bowls look as if they will scurry away with your cereal or soup. On the top right, you can see her "corset tea pot". I can almost hear it singing "I'm a little tea pot.."

Ashley is a graduate of the fashion and textiles departments . Ashley is very dedicated to the environment and uses only organic cotton and fibers whose production are easy on the environment.
Erica's designs are all inspired by nature and she uses mostly sterling silver. I suppose that I should have done a few detail shots. Believe me when I say that they are beautiful!
And then there is Erin. Erin is also a graduate of the Textiles Department.
Her main products are hankies, including these with instructions,

And hand knit owls. I had to turn this one around because like befts, they all like to go to the left.

Thanks for stopping by. And if you are in the neighbourhood, please stop by in person!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Recycled silk

I was fortunate enough to receive a bag of silk threads from a friend that dyes silk fabric to make hangings and pillows. She dyes yardage and strips the fabric into the correct size, then makes her product. They are truly beautiful.

And so are the threads that she felt she couldn't throw out.
It was slightly challenging to spin the thread balls but with a bit of pre-drafting I managed. I decided to ply my recycled silk with some black merino.

The resulting yarn is a lot of fun. The colour changes quite frequently and the black really ties all of the different colours together.


Recycled silk threads
black merino
Skein 1- 84 yards
Skein 2- 77 yards

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

On the loom

Fine wool scarves, in red this time. You can't tell from the photo, but the outside edges are a tad darker than the center. They are nice. The colour is beautiful and the colour changes are very subtle. But I have been avoiding the loom lately and I think it is because I am just not inspired by these scarves. Sigh. I think that I will just have to press on . Or maybe that should be "weave on".
We will see where I am by the weekend.

Monday, June 22, 2009


I had a call from the man that I made the stole for last year and he was interested in having another commission done.
This year he wanted bookmarks to give as gifts to graduating students. This pattern was from the phrase "Jesus Remember Me".
He wanted 20 in all. Ten green and ten purple.

I was quite pleased with the way that they turned out. And thankfully, so was he.
I may make more using a different pattern. But later.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Almond Brothers

What? You think that I have the title wrong?

I beg to differ. These guys are definitely made of almonds.

Well a couple of them are made of Brazil nuts, but who is splitting hairs?

These are Mira's creations. Bill makes a breakfast cereal that contains whole nuts and Mira, looking at them, decided that they would make good carving material. Imagine my surprise when I open the freezer door and found a few little carved men. And there is Mira, in the back yard carving away.

And of course they needed somewhere to stand and so the chocolate stage was created.
Alas, they suffered a grievous accident and were eaten by giants. When speaking to the giants later, they declared the Almond Brothers delicious.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Smooth as.....

kitten's wrist.

That is what my Father-in-Law says about something that is soft soft soft.

And seeing as this is merino, and seeing as it does remind me of the colour those beautiful smoky cats that some people have, Smooth as a Kitten's Wrist seemed like a good name for this colour way.
Although next time, I think that I will go for a little more variation. A few darker spots as well as a few lighter spots.

Here is the singles. At the top of the picture, you can just make out my high tech roving holder. One of those firm plastic gift bags. It sits conveniently on the floor beside me when I am spinning, holds a crap load of roving, there is nothing for the roving to get caught on, and when I am done spinning for the night, it fits on the treadle!

Final yarn. On green leaves in my front garden. Summer is almost here!

Content: merino
Source: my own dye pot
Yardage : 130
Weight: 4 oz

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


We watched Bolt the other night. And as some of you may or may not know, there is a hamster, named Rhino, in one of those hamster balls that played a big part in the movie.
This led to a discussion of hamster balls and how fast a hamster could travel while in one. Having no idea, I googled "hamster ball" only to find that most of the top hits are for some video game. So I did the next best thing. YouTube. I think that I added "rodent" to the search mix and came up with several poor videos of hamsters in balls. But we answered our question. Those little guys can go surprisingly fast!
We kept on looking at various videos (it is so easy to get lost in YouTube land) and eventually we found Zorbing videos. Apparently it started in New Zealand.

Hamster ball for humans.

Who knew?

Seriously, click on the link.

There is nothing stranger than humans.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Oh My!

Today is my birthday and what better way to celebrate than to talk about making cards.
OK. Supper is on the way and the Conde de Valedmar is already gone ( a little something that I picked up when I left behind the "mommy's night out", so maybe this is the second best way to celebrate a birthday. Or maybe not. I'll leave you to decide.

Let's talk about origami. Origami cards to be specific.

I start out with some funky paper. I recently discovered that there were some really wonderful scrap booking papers on the market. Some are two sided which makes for a really interesting card.
They are first cut to size. Then they are folded with the first few folds.
Because they are done en-mass here is a view of the first set of folds.
I then make the second set of folds and match the front's to the back's.

Then comes the gluing the fronts to the backs and the final pressing stage.
And of course, I just realized that the final product are down at the new shop that just opened for the summer, and I didn't take a picture.

I guess that you will just have to come back later.....

In the mean time, here is a little something that I found on my bedside table.

Isn't life interesting sometimes?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

New York Good Bye

Due to the excess amounts of beer consumed the night before. I really didn't get a great sleep. Having to wake at 4:30 didn't help either. We were all assembled and ready to go by 5:00. Unfortunately, the bus driver had a little bit of an incident at the hotel (husband screaming at wife, while a small baby howled near by) and he didn't get there until 5:30.
In the mean time, we waited, assembled, ran back to rooms for a final check and turned in out door keys.
Good bye New York.
If you look closely at this building, if is built over an expressway. Or an expressway was built under it. I am not quite sure which.
One of the crew on the trip wanted to stop at the New Hampshire Liquor store. I managed to find a couple of bottles of wine that we can't buy around here. This one, however, was one that I left behind.
Final panoramic of the people on the bus. Most if them are sleeping. Or at least pretending.
When I go home, the kids were waiting on the lawn, and Bill had held supper so I ended my trip with a wonderful meal and a good sleep.