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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

My Garter Carriage Love/Hate Relationship!

I waited years until I chanced upon an opportunity to buy a Brother knitting machine and a much anticipated Garter Carriage. I'd been a Singer knitter (they don't have garter carriages) for about 25 years when this happened and I was so excited and looked forward to working garter stitches into my designs.

This pink and periwinkle jacket has garter stitch as the lower half and cuffs on the sleeves.

I've made jackets like this and also scarves (fun and easy to make for Christmastime shows). I love experimenting with different yarns that I can't used for jackets but work well for scarves.

It took a while to get it going and sometimes I need to sit in front of the machine to make decreases/increases, short rowing, check patterning and so on. I've sent one of my carriages across the country into the US to have it fixed, spending another $400 or so over the $250 purchase price (used - a bargain!) They need to be babied and I keep each of my two carefully tucked away and protected when not using them., as I work on an order which is partially worked on the garter carriage, I am endeavouring to complete some web work, updating web sites and so on, and am sitting in my studio to do this. The garment needs a decrease every 8 - 10 rows so when the GC stops I jump up, make the decrease and reset the row counter.

After a few hours I realize I MUST GET OUT!!!!! My head is going to explode or turn to mush....the steady noise is not bad, endurable but you need to take breaks....that's why when the GC stops I sometimes am absorbed in what I'm doing elsewhere in my comfortable in the quiet (OK it means I can actually hear what they're saying on General Hospital!) and forget to go to decrease and reset....

Then, I head over, sit down and find there's a dropped stitch or it's off patterned for some (probably simple) reason and I need to pull the work off the machine, rip back and rehang. It can take a bit to get the garter carriage going on the right row of the pattern...two purl rows one after the other are NOT GOOD on a garter stitch piece....sigh!

....and so, it takes for ever sometimes for me to make a garter stitched item which needs shaping. BUT...I will keep going because I love the garter carriage pieces and accents in my work.

Garter Stitch Hems.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Travel for Work & Play...Roaming & Roving.

Who'd a thunk it. On vacation and I didn't pack my sock knitting stuff...on purpose. First...there are too many ball of yarn to pack as I knit my socks from about a dozen different self patterning balls each. Second, thought I'd give my left thumb and wrist a rest.

Anyway, I've got to spend time browsing and 'Pinning' on Pinterest, 'sock'ing away ideas for when I get back into the studio.

On my way to getting away I found (31 days before departure) my passport would expire the day before we returned so off I went to Service Canada to renew mine. I was told that through the Service Canada office the turn around time was 20 days...I though that would leave 10 days to get it back by registered mail....oh no...I might not get it back until the day of our flight on February 23rd. Sheesh!

OK so I had to drive to Whitby (closest...2+ hours on the 401 highway)  - January 27 or 28th, with my old passport in my hot little hand to the actual Passport Office there...the turn around time there being 10 days...surely I'd get it back in time. When my number was called I popped up with my forms all filled out, old passport ready to have holes punched in it and $120CAD.....and found they no longer take cash!!!! Paid up and was told it would be mailed out on February 4th.

Warkworth Penitentiary

Well, I got it done in a flash and headed out on my way home, but not to make this a long single mission I had planned a stop at Dreamspin Fibres...way out in the country at Campellford, to pick up some roving for a workshop I was doing a couple of weeks later. That was a lovely side jaunt as it was a beautifully day with the sun shining on the snow.

Driving past the Warkworth penitentiary...way out in the country reminded me of the day back in the '70's when my ex husband's band played a gig at both Warkworth and Kingston Pens. I wasn't cleared to enter so I hung out in the countryside for the duration of this gig, taking pictures in the brilliant snowy sunshine....anyway, I digress.

Maureen and her husband were at home and I had a marvelous visit with them both and it's just so much more fun to stick your head and hands in roving than ordering it online. Also, I love exploring other artists studios and getting inspired and energized by their work and creativity. I picked up some more prefelt which I will dye for new jackets or vests and some bright roving for my workshop...with 5 year olds!

Well, I was happy with both aspects of my sudden trip as it was comforting to know that I'd be able to leave Canada again soon - you can't go anywhere with a passport with holes in it...even if it hasn't reached it's expiry means it's been invalidated for you.

Not even 10 days later I got a card from the post office about a registered package....hmmm, I hadn't ordered anything. It was my passport and it was February 4th...19 days to spare!!! I have a feeling I needn't have made the drive and spent the gas...but I did have a lovely afternoon out....and now they let me out of the country to come somewhere sunny!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Winter Work.

I can't believe we're deep in to January...I'm not ready! For years I've thought of the post Christmas/Holiday months of January and February as my 'down' time. I have no shows at this time and the ones that are coming up are far enough off not to think about yet...hopefully my custom orders were all done in time for the holidays or soon after and I can devote time to updating my web site and healing my foot after surgery. The nicest thing about doc's appointments at Hotel Dieu hospital is the view from Johnson 7!

Kingston in Winter.

Not this year! I have been involved with Passionate Artisans, a local artisans store in Kingston which opened as a 'pop up' store last Christmastime. Lynda decided to reopen in this past February and keep it going all year, we had a first birthday party and were busy through the holidays.

I was a part of a store in 1990 ('91?) in the my old Beach neighbourhood of Toronto. We ran it as coop involving six artisans drawing on each of our strengths. I lived close by so walked my Filter Queen vacuum each week up to the store to clean, others were great with display, banking and so on and we all put in time in the store. We got ourselves on the radio, in the media and papered the town with flyers (no mean feat in the days before social media and personal printers and Staples). We had a great season and made bunches of money (I dropped out of the One of a Kind show to do it) and not a lot of investment. We shut our doors on New Years Eve.

Passionate Artisans brought this back for me so I kinda threw myself into it, working the web site, social media, taking some of the photos and the odd video for Facebook. I also found a  couple of planters left over from my home outdoor decorating and plopped them down out front of  the store's frond door with some plants and flowers in them which lasted beautifully all Summer. Whoever was working each day would have to remember to take them in so they wouldn't get it happened someone did take the red sparkly baubles out of our Holiday plantings!!!!!

Lynda decided to close for two weeks in January to freshen up the store, do some renovating in this old building (it used to be Wilmots Dairy in my high school days!) and throw on some paint.

Viviane, Me, Lynda...hard at work

Though, some foot surgery has slowed me down over the past month I finally was able to put on a pair of old running shoes, a pair of overalls and get up and down a ladder.  Lynda, Viviane and I had a fun day (especially the pizza and wine for lunch) and got the job done in great time....I was pooped when I got home....the store reopens January 25th.
Coffee for now...and a little something for later.
 I keep forgetting that this is the time show applications come in, I have o decide which, if any this year, shows I will do. Some involve applying, some just require signing up if I have done them before and my quality is known. I'm cutting back and haven't done the One of a Kind since 20014, quitting after 30 years, so it's a nice feeling moving into a different way of getting my work 'out there', exhibitions, one day shows, retail, but apparently I still have to pay attention to that so this is no down time!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Busy Christmas Season 2015

Sheesh! It's been a busy time this December....and there's a tiny spanner in the foot!
With arthritic big toes needing work I had my right one worked on in 2008 by Dr. Mark Harrison at Hotel Dieu Hospital here in Kingston. Now it was time to get my left toe worked on as it slowly worked it's way into a diagonal direction on the end of my foot.

I spent the days before surgery getting all my standing up and running around stuff done. felting a vest for a client...I knew I could sew it together in a few days but felting is a standing process all day with me using my feet as well as my arms for the rolling.

Passionate Artisans
Having surgery is the only way I slow down so I actually looked forward to it. It also coincided with my friend Georgia Ferrell of Artemisia Gallery in Westport house sitting for a mutual friend across the road so she hung out with me when I got home and we worked online on web site designing and building. We're experimenting with a new company and online software PageCloud...out of Ottawa. We bought in early and got the Beta trial version and have been 'playing'. My sister Judith Goldie of Judi Goldie Photography needed a web site so we became a tech trio with emails flying through cyber space when we couldn't actually be together! It's a lot of fun and we're learning new things....I plan to have my new web site up over the Winter. Georgia and I have been building web sites for years, my sis is new to this but is learning fast.

L'Artelier du Village

Also, I've been putting in a bit of time at Passionate Artisans here in Kingston...the artisan gallery/store where there is the work of 38 local artisans from Kingston Soap Company to Creations by Viviane. Yes...of course...ME! 

I also sent a batch of work to L'Artelier du Village in Pointe Claire where Roxana sells amazingly funky work of all kinds, art, fashion jewelry. Two things went flying out of the store soon after she opened the box I sent her!

Along with custom orders to finish I'll be putting in some time at Passionate Artisans this weekend both days...but Sunday I will be taking in a knitting machine and demonstrating while I make some small item...(because you always make mistakes and slow yourself downs when being watched!).

I got myself involved with a suspect group: SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy) which meets weekly in a local pub....right around the corner from me!!!1 What fun that far a I can see... no rules!

I did spend a day doing buttons for my's a shot of them with a vest that needs to go out today.

Well, now to the post office, Passionate Artisans and other errands....I still have my driving foot but then I need to get home and rest the poorly foot!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Dyeing to Have Fun

I finally got to go over to my friend Heather's place to do a couple of hours of dyeing which we had been talking about for ages!

Heather is a textile artist, teacher and rug hooker so she dyes her own materials much as I do but more so. We followed the dye mix recipes in one of her books which she had borrowed (they are expensive!)

We mixed Yellow, Navy and a Magenta red.

Here Heather is starting the dye drizzling's like painting and we each drizzled as we saw fit.

I had put in a piece of Merino wool prefelt and also had brought some of my late Mother's hand spun yarn.

Here we're getting down to all the colours and adding more so they mix. We got greens, purples and oranges.

Covered and ready for the oven

After a delightful walk along to the Common Market coffee shop and along the lakefront we returned back to the kitchen to take our efforts out of the oven.  We decided the pans needed about 10 more minutes.....

Heather had put in a piece of silk.

Here are my efforts, my prefelt and some of Mum's yarn.

Mum's yarn before and after dyeing.

I put a piece of the rainbow prefelt on the front and a sleeve of this new jacket. There are some other pieces of felt that I've been dyeing in small pots lately.

I took this photo at the Craft Ontario Craft Show a couple of weekends ago at Wychwood Barns in Toronto. These lovely old stone walls were once overlooking old streetcars as they were maintained and repaired.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Felting My Way Forward

It's been a busy Summer and I can't believe we're into September...however, a wonderful paddle with the group SUP Kingston on my paddle board this morning was just the height of Summer. It was so good to get out as I had spent last week indoors mostly at a workshop with Australian felter Pam de Groot.  It was hosted by Lesley at Rosehaven Yarn Shop in Picton.

The workshop was 'Mosaic Dress'....well, when we came to designing out garments I said you'd never get me into a wool dress...I'd have a hot flash and rip it I made a did one or two others.

First we needed to create our 'prefelt', this is what we were shooting for.

This is my layout before wetting....we had 6 metres to work on! It took all of Monday and them some!

This is one of the dresses Pam had made that she brought to show is. It is a wonderful combination of dyeing on wool and silk. Modelled by Lesley's lovely daughter.

 After spending Tuesday with one wall of the room full of tables with burners for the dye pots this is what I ended up with. I cut up my 6m of prefelt into random bits...I didn't really know what I was going to do with them but I knew I needed enough colours and pieces to create the mosaic garment.
Some of these were dyed solidly and others the shapes and resists were marbles, discs, rubber bands, string, a wine bottle, pvc piping.....

Wednesday & Thursday - here are two shots of the back while I was playing with what to put where....
.....what to do with those circles and squares....hmmm

Here is are my pieces wetted down for the front, with my resists in place....

Lots of work for two days and we all ended up with most of our garment done....maybe a bit more tweaking at home.
....and here is my finished vest, I finally got the buttons made!

And...after a little more work at fits!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Getting Older....Another Road Trip

Well, I am, as well as everyone....(the alternative is just not an option just now....too much life to live). Anyway, August 15th found me turning 65 in another country, on one of our road trips. This one took us by WEBS in Northampton MA in the USA, an even though every CAD $ I spend is really only about .76cents USD they give enough of a discount to even it out somewhat.

My WEBS purchases.

I had also wanted to hit New England Felting but I wasn't travelling alone (with my other half) and circumstances left us hitting Northampton MA as they were closing...5pm! We've lots of time on our way back but they're not open on Sunday's. I'll have to make another trip someday. I did pick up some hand dyed roving at WEBS but ... it's just not the same!

As usual, I'm all about design when we travel and the inn - Proctor Mansion Inn, we stayed in in Wrentham MA for my birthday treat (a Jimmy Buffett concert) was old and being restored. The rooms were beautiful and the new owners have taken care to keep it as it was originally bar the bathrooms and electricity. It was beautiful and a wonder too. I had to take a photo of this floor which was in the area which would have been servants and's a wooden floor painted to look like marble tiles...they've left it alone.

Here is a shot of the ceiling in the formal dining can't believe all the decoration folk used in their homes (well, the better off) back before TV! All this is hand painted and it was all over the mansion.

I'm hoping to head back next year and won't miss NEF!!!