Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


click on my side link to "poppytalk" for some more photos celebrating green.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sunday, September 27, 2009

all things come to an end and the colours of autumn

i'll always remember the summer of 2009 as the summer we got our greenhouse. it has brought us such pleasure and such wonderful food. but we're getting frost at night now. so yesterday i picked the last of the peppers and tomatoes and today i'll take down the plants and clean up the greenhouse for next spring.

this coming week i'm going to be joining poppytalk in their celebration of autumn colours. each day they will be highlighting a colour. tomorrow is yellow.

Friday, September 25, 2009

spinning wildly off in all directions

after 3 full days of fibre dyeing, yesterday i got down to spinning. i've never had so many colours to choose from. i felt like a kid in a candy store and making decisions about colour combinations was difficult. by the end of the day i was exhausted. i'm feeling calmer today and ready to make some beautiful yarn.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

autumn in the dye pots

as the colours begin to fade in the garden, the woods are becoming a rich source of colour inspiration. i've been trying to immitate some of these colours in my dyeing over the past few days.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

oh - now i remember

for most of my life i was a painter. i have a master of fine art degree in painting. about 10 years ago i stopped painting and began working almost exclusively with textiles - quilting, rug hooking, embroidery, knitting and now spinning.
these past two days i've been immersed in dyeing. now i remember what it was about painting that i loved the most. it was creating colours. creating colour combinations. knowing that to add just a drop of this dye/paint i will get the colour i want. or i will discover a completely new colour. it is alchemy. it is magic.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

reaching goals

the first day of autumn - a good point to look back over the summer and see how i did with my goals.
1. not work so much but instead take time to enjoy other things. one of these was cooking. we got our first bar-b-q and experimented with vegetarian grilling. made wonderful kebobs all summer and last evening enjoyed fresh corn grilled in foil with butter and chopped garlic.
2. get a green house and grow some of our own food. yesterday i picked and then pulled up the last cucumber and pepper plants from inside the greenhouse. the tomatoes are still going strong.
3. learn how to use acid dyes so that i can get brilliant colours (a difficult task with natural plant dyes) to give me more control over the colours i use and to save money not having to buy pre-dyed fleece.
i accomplished this (thanks to the guidance and encouragement of brenda). i finally got all the equipment and supplies i needed (pots, burner, mask, dyes etc.) and yesterday being a perfect day, set up shop in the backyard and dyed up 2 pounds of fleece. so excited about the colours i was getting and can't wait to get back at it today.

Monday, September 21, 2009

a gentle lover

we built our cabin in dark cove on the south shore of the bay of islands almost 10 years ago. when keith and i go away together, it's either to st. john's to visit the family or to the cabin. dark cove is like a dangerous lover. the cabin looks out onto the open ocean. it's often rough and menacing. having come from gentile southern ontario, i have always found dark cove a challenge. i am always guarded because this is a landscape/seascape that i didn't grow up with. i absolutely love it and it teaches me things about myself. it has made me stronger. it's my dangerous lover.
i first spent time in woody point over 30 years ago. it is there that i feel at home. a tiny community. there is a stillness there. a calm. i look out at the ocean across to the lights of other small communities and i feel safe. like being with a gentle, familiar lover. i'm happy to have both in my life.

Friday, September 18, 2009

taking a break

keith and i are spending this weekend in woody point. in august i traded tess a shawl/scarf for 2 nights at her lovely home in woody point. yesterday i sent off a big order and now i need to get down to 2 months of making product for the big toronto show the end of november. so this is a perfect moment to get away and taking a break. i'll take some knitting with me. but mostly i want to be away from my computer. away from the phone. pull in more energy. more inspiration for the next big creative push. it's going to be a cool rainy weekend. but tess's home is all windows looking out at the ocean. in gros morne, so some lovely hikes. stillness.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


autumn is an insanely busy time for craftspeople. long days of work are needed to make enough product for shops and the big craft fairs in november. tomorrow i'm sending off a big order to the newfoundland and labrador craft council shop at devon house in st. john's. colette is driving in and taking my work and that of 3 others with her. she has a truck. these baby scarves, knit with my handspun wool, were part of the order. now, all my attention will be towards the toronto one of a kind show...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

coming together

although we don't have our regular monthly gatherings in the summer, the west coast craft collective saw alot of one another - some of us at the saturday farmer's market, some of us at the tuesday knit nights and some at the exhibition/sale at the woody point writer's festival. so i wasn't feeling a strong urgency to get together for our first fall gathering that took place this past weekend. but it was lovely. it was hosted with warmth and good eats at niki's in summerside. i realized that these gatherings of chatting and sharing food and showing each other what we have been working on and giving advice and planning events - is the glue that hold us together as a group.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

connecting the seasons

in the heat of the summer i gathered alder leaves and twigs and cooked them up for dye to make a beautiful golden yellow fleece. yesterday, after the rain, i moved my spinning outside into the fresh autumn air, and, using the alder fleece as the base colour, spun up a skein of yarn. today i will knit this yarn into a scarf that will be worn in the winter and early spring. connecting the seasons...

Monday, September 14, 2009

embracing autumn

summer seems a distant memory now. we are all fully into autumn. this year for me it seems to be circling around produce. watching the plants in the garden and the greenhouse find that last bit of energy needed to ripen. spending saturdays at the farmer's market - selling my knitwear and handspun wool - but also getting excited each saturday morning to see what new produce there will be (this week was egglant from the greenhouse in little rapids and apples from craig strang's tree in meadows).
this morning is heavy rain and i have the little propane fire going in the livingroom and i'll be settling down to a morning of spinning and knitting. after all the frenzied activity of the summer - both in the garden and in myself - this quiet is ok.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


this was the first year we had a greenhouse, so it's been a summer of experimenting and learning. a friend gave us an aubergine plant early in the summer and we've been delighted to watch it's progress.

Friday, September 11, 2009

what my garden gave

in a couple of weeks, my gardening season will be over. this was my first year growing vegetables in 25 years (i had a huge garden at another home when my children were young). i didn't plant root crops which would be the sensible and traditional thing to grow in newfoundland. my plot is small and it's easy to buy good local root crops here. so the more delicate plants - the ones that are sensitive to early frost- have come and gone. yesterday i pulled down the pea plants and dug up the lettuce patch. in the greenhouse i've picked my last cucumber. the tomatoes are coming on strong and every day we're eating fresh tomatoes in salads, in soups... this summer the garden has been my reprieve from my work. i'm sad to have it end.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

market at the university today

to celebrate the beginning of classes for the year at sir wilfred grenfell college in corner brook, there will be a farmer's market today on the university lawn from 12-2. our craft collective has been invited to participate. this week i've been knitting up fingerless gloves - an inexpensive and useful item for this time of year...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

beginnings and endings

today school starts for the children in newfoundland. my grandson eamon is beginning grade 4 - his first year of elementary not primary shool which means that his classroom is on the top floor of his wonderful downtown st. john's school. he not only dressed himself for the first day but also chose clothes for his siblings to accompany him...
it's also the day that my dear friend robyn is leaving with her children to head back to nyc after another summer in newfoundland. i've known robyn for 3 years. her annual departure now herald's the end of summer and the beginning of autumn for me...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

tipples pond

yesterday i took my first autumn walk around tipples pond. i didn't grow up by the ocean. as a child, lakes and ponds were my bodies of water. so there is something so soothing and familiar about that walk. the "lop" of the waves pushed by the wind instead of the "swoosh" of the ocean. berries and mushrooms. the edges of the leaves beginning to turn colour. everything preparing for the descent into winter...

Monday, September 7, 2009

harvest time inspiration

harvest season is still early in newfoundland - root crops are what is traditionally grown here - potatoes, carrots, turnip and cabbage - and they'll come on in the next few weeks. for now it's still lettuce greens and green onions and tomatoes and snow peas and these wonderful "burgandy beans" that served as inspiration for my yarn yesterday and my harvest soup last night.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


so far this fall we've been getting alot of grey skies. rain, hurricane threatening storms, just dull days. when the sun does shine (like yesterday and hopefully again today) it enters the garden low and slanted. as much shadow as light. like it's been cut on the diagonal.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

market morning

a perfect market morning - cool and sunny. good weather for selling wool and knitwear. so come join us on the majestic lawn in corner brook from 10am - 2pm.

Friday, September 4, 2009

rethinking "lean manufacturing"

after only 2 days of producing 12 batts at a time to make 3 similar skeins (so that i wouldn't have to be thinking up new colour/texture combinations for each skein, organize different supplies each time etc.) i realized it wasn't for me. i became bored and wasn't enjoying the process. even with the first skein i was thinking "i have 2 more to do" and by the last i wasn't excited about any of it. it was wonderful to have 3 complete skeins (1 for my etsy shop/saturday market/toronto one of a kind show in nov., 1 for my craft council order and 1 for me to knit up), but what was missing was the constant creativity and excitement about what i was doing. and i realized that i love following the process through from start to finish and having a finished product in a short period of time rather than an "assembly line" of stages. yesterday i spoke with brenda stratton who knows an incredible amount about producing and selling craft and she said "no - lean manufacturing doesn't mean producing work in stages. she gave toyota as an example of a company that makes only one car at a time. and that made me feel better. so yesterday i made up and spun this gorgeous big batt "love hurts".

Thursday, September 3, 2009

yellow birds at the feeder

there is a chill in the night air. the dogwood trees are laden with orange and red berries. the birds are coming back to the yard and to the feeders. i hear bluejays. i look out at the tiny yellow warblers - their colour strong and sunny against the dark seeds. the inspiration for my latest yarn.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

brother john

my sisters and i were all very close in age, but my brother was only 9 years old when i left home and still in high school when i moved to newfoundland. so we've lived our adult lives separately. in such a female dominated family, he was always an enigma to me. it's only in the last decade that we've become close, and although i visit him often in toronto, this is his first visit to my home in newfoundland. only a 1 day visit but with just the right combination of quiet talks by the fire the night of his arrival. yesterday spent showing him (and his friend) a little of my province - a trip down the south shore to bottle cove then back to the cabin for a liesurely afternoon and evening. they're off again this morning to continue their "10 days on the east coast trip". the cost and effort and time it took for him to come and see me for 1 day will always be in my heart...