Sunday, November 29, 2009

pounds and pounds

Of meat?
A couple of weeks ago, Bill went to pick up our yearly allotment of beef. It is raised by a fellow that Bill's brother went to school with. It was a full side of beef that weighed in at about 400 pounds. It was all pre-cut and labeled into steaks, various types of roasts, stew beef, hamburger, and a couple of bags of brisket. I had never heard of brisket before and the first year that we purchased a side of beef (a quarter actually) I really had no idea what to do with it. Eventually, I decided to treat it like a roast and cook it slowly in the oven. WOW! It was the tastiest and most tender meat that we had eaten in a long time! Lots of fat and bone, it is true, but the flavour was amazing.
When you get a whole side of beef, it is really amazing how many T-bone steaks there are! I think that we are set for the next year. It is really wonderful to know that the meat that we are eating had a good life, lived out doors, and was slaughtered as humanely as possible near the place where it was raised.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Art Trek

A few weeks ago, Fredericton Arts Alliance had an Art Trek. The basic idea was that practicing artists and crafts people would open up their studios and the public would be able to drop in and have a look around and purchase you wares if they were interested.

My studio (a small corner carved out of a messy room) is NOT where I want to be inviting people so my friend Karen said that she would host any of our fiber group that was interested. Trish and I took her up on her offer.
Karen has a beautiful house over looking the St John River. She has sunny windows and a husband that dressed up and played doorman.
Trish is a felter of hats and garments. The garments take a lot of time and I think that she has much more fun with the hats so she had many hats. Many many different hats.
Here is my corner of the room. You can see a couple of Trish's scarves and her large vessel that are also made of felt.
Here is Trish working on her needle felted world ornament. She has family scattered all over and has given some of them a felted world. The idea is that each Christmas pins with the other family members names are placed on the world in the correct location.
Eric is taking a break from being the greeter with a quick look through the paper. Doesn't he look spiffy?
It was a fun weekend and I even made a couple of sales!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


So I guess that it has been a while. I have been super busy weaving, dyeing, and getting ready for shows. Not to mention the other things that fill up one's day when one has work and a family. Unfortunately, a lot of what I have been producing have not been among my favorite things. Don't get me wrong, they are fine, but they are not spectacular. No pictures of anything. But the list goes something like, 8 shawls, 5 (soon to be 6) scarves, and 20 odd skeins of yarn (dyed, not spun). My spinning wheel has been sitting rather silent lately except for one wonderful weekend.

The spinning retreat.
Halloween weekend, Fredericton hosted the 9th annual spinning retreat. It was in a hotel that is located in the heart of downtown Fredericton and not to far from the craft college. About 60 people attended from the Maritime Provinces and some people even came up from Maine.

There were about 8 informal mini workshops that were included in your registration fee, and three larger workshops that had a bit of a cost attached to them. I taught a dyeing one where the students all dyed 100g of merino roving. A good time was had by all. Did I get pictures? Nope.
But I did get some pictures of one of the mini ones. This is the crew who did needle felting.
I brought Victoria with me and I worked her hard that weekend. Every spare second that I wasn't eating (and eating well, I might add) I was spinning up some dreamy 50/50 silk/merino roving that I bought from the Yarn Source. I also picked up some mohair locks from the Black Lamb. As well as some bamboo/merino/alpaca from Legacy Lane. All together there were many more vendors (about 13 or 14) but with a limited budget and a lack of desire to deal with raw fleece, I limited my spending.

Check out the carpet in the ball room that we were in! You should seen all of the fluff and stuff that was left behind when we packed up our wheels and went.
It was great to spend a weekend with like minded people. Where talk of fibre content and ratios and favorite wheels were the norm and not the exception. There were people who had been spinning for years and others who had never spun before but wanted to learn. Some had very modern wheels, others that were showing their years, and one woman had a huge antique one that she had refurbished. Next year's retreat is in PEI. If anyone out there is interested, let me know and I'll let you know the detail when I know the details.

Edit: So after talking about what I bought, I forgot to show you! Silly me!

To the left, the white stuff is 80 merino, 10 cashmere, 10 nylon. At the low low price of $10 per pound! So I got 2 pounds. Wouldn't you? Next, a mix of (I believe) merino and bamboo. Then merino, bamboo, alpaca. The small green bag is merino and silk, and the small orange bag is merino locks. Yummy! And it is all displayed on one of the eight shawls that I wove in the past few weeks. This one is destined to go into the Crafts Council show "Snow".

There. That's better!