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Thursday, November 17, 2016

East Coast Explorations

I can't believe I haven't posted anything since early Summer! It's not like I've been away from the computer...I've spent a lot of time on my laptop....teaching myself WordPress to rebuild my web sites (my former platform providers have closed shop after 20 years) and build new sites. My web builder name it Two Hats Simple Sites, as being a fibre artist and building web sites gives me my 'two hats'.

 Anyway, I did take a break, driving to the East Coast of Canada with my husband following his ancestry. To Montmagny, East of Quebec city where we stayed in this tiny town on the St Lawrence River and walked around the old town revelling in the architecture and history. Of course I found a yarn shop and the proprietor didn't speak English so I dragged out my ragged French and bought some sock yarn...gotta knit while riding in the car. She said I wasn't bad!

We stayed in Miramachi then on to PEI and Anitgonish to visit relatives and graveyards. We ended up in the museum in Anitgonish which had a lovely collection of knit and woven items from the local women mad in the past...I love looking at what folk have created out of necessity. I love's necessary here in Canada and especially in the east as it can be cold and damp.

 Standfield's underwear was started in PEI but carried on at the Truro Woollen Mills. Yes woollen underwear, folk weren't as wimpy back then before microfibre. Wool is still warm when wet.

Here I am with Jocelyn who runs the museum.

Hooked rug from an exhibition in St. Andrews by the Sea.

This great installation was across the street from the school of art in Portland, Maine.

 I had to take photos of the veg in the market in Portland...I loved the colours and I'll try replicating them when I am dying some more prefelt for a jacket or a vest.

We were lucky that the day we were in Portland happened to be there one day a week market day.

I love these colours, I wonder if I can get some similar gradation! As they this space!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Show Food - Good Eatin'

Whew! Well, June is over and so are the three shows I did last month. Long ago I set it up so I would be doing one show per month, that gave me time to get more stock done, some new designs, rework new designs which had already sold etc.

Though they were local (sleeping in my own bed) and not too big the last one was Artfest Kingston in City Park with 150 artisans + food trucks, children's art workshops, Purlin' J's yarn truck, the Kingston Handspinners and Weavers.....well, you can imagine...and it was three days long. 

Gathering my food items for the day.
The new times meant we were 'open' from 10 - 8 on July 1st...that means you are in the park from - oh, 8:30am until 9pm by the time you have packed everything away safely for overnight. That means making sure you have enough to eat over those hours...not just enough but quality, supplying energy, roughage, a day's diet of packed food.

My Ikea lunch box, salad and the dressing in it's little container.
With a couple camping in my garden and another friend in my spare room my kitchen was full of three women trying to put together their following day's food. The selection

was wonderful! Quinoa, kale, home grown lettuce, spinach with my home made oil & vinegar dressing, goat's cheese....the list goes on...and so did the was late but we were laughing as well as panicking.
I love Melton Mowbray pork pies from Loblaws so I picked one up and cut a quarter for each day, I had goat cheese and Baby Bell cheeses from Costco (better than eating candy or cookies...too much sugar).
My little Ikea lunch box has a knife and fork and room in the lid for extras like a sandwich.
 Just about ready, I've added lemon water (just lemon and water) some left over pizza from our first evening on the deck catching up. I made a tray of Black Bean brownies so took a couple for my chocolate hit. (coconut sugar into black beans, coconut oil, eggs, cocoa and a few chocolate chips).  There's my travel coffee mug ready for filling before I head out in the morning...nothing will be spilled on my display.

Ready to go....a yogurt and what I like to call 'freezie pops' to keep my cooler cold. I aways carry paper napkins, plastic forks, knives & spoons which I wash up and replenish.

I carry extra in case your friend a few tents down in the show texts you to see if you have an extra fork...hers is on the kitchen counter!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Felting - More Hats!

Yesterday I took a felted hat workshop with Chris Hall of Cake~Tin Hats and once again I learned so much from another master. The workshop took place at a fave haunt of mine in Picton ON...Rosehaven Yarn Shop.
My first foray in to felting a hat was using the directions in Uniquely Felt by Christie White...the 'bible' Andrea Graham made me buy when I took my first ever class with her years ago. My friend Sonja Fijn and I spent the afternoon in my studio with lots of roving, soap and water, putting plastic bags on our heads to fit and came through with two ace hats!

Chris first showed us choosing, weighing and laying out our roving...I chose the green for the outside of my hat and lavender for the lining. I've done this before but I intended to do better this time.

We watched her lay out her roving...lots of instruction, hints and tips and showing us what was important at that step of the hat.

Here's the template I used.  I kinda wanted to do a cloche shape with a small brim.

 Here I've laid out my first side and put some bits of silk roving for embellishment. At home I might do shapes of felt...dots, squares, spirals and so on.

Sonja used lots of silk...and three different colours.

I snuck in a pic of Sonja shaping her hat on a wooden hat form. This is after hour of rubbing, patting, wetting and rolling...and lots of fun chatter. It's hard to count when you are telling or listening to a story but somehow we managed!

My finished hat!

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!