17 June 2013

Home at last

I’m in my own bed (laptops are handy things), safely back in my own home. The Boy was there waiting for me at the airport, and he had even picked up milk and cereal and filled up the van, being the good kid that he is.

I had a lovely rest last night in my friends’ home, then I took the GO train from Oshawa to Union Station, walked to the bus shuttle pickup spot and rode to the airport, got through security and flew nonstop to Edmonton.

Last evening I started to feel a bit stuffy, but I thought maybe it was an allergic reaction to something in the air or the house I was in … but when it was still there this morning and worsened throughout the day I was forced to accept that it’s probably a cold. I was okay on the ascent on the plane, but by the time it came to descend, one ear would not unplug and I’m definitely on the road to a seriously stuffy head. Honestly though, if this is the price I pay for running hard for a week in Ontario, I’m fine with that – I had such a wonderful time, truly, I did, I’m okay with paying the piper at this end.

My next two days are going to be busy getting things ready for Fibre Week – but stay tuned for updates from Olds, as we’ll be setting up on Thursday and open for business Friday at noon! Oh, and I have custom made orifice hooks (from Wheelwright) to sell – they’ll go first at Olds, then if any are left, they’ll go up in the shop. They are fabulous – not quite as cool as mine with the captive ring, but the same general shape with a flexible piano wire shaft topped with a hook small enough to work on pretty well any wheel, even an old antique, and they are shellacked and have a loop for hanging. Hand made! Totally Canadian! Awesome!

Okay, I’m not getting enough oxygen to my brain, I need to try and sleep. First, a couple more Ontario photos…

Heron in the water at St Mary’s:

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My family of origin, all of us:

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Mom and I on the boardwalk at Point Pelee:

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Pretty flowers growing on a trellis in St Mary’s:

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16 June 2013

Ontario, Day 7

Today was the final day of the Handspinning Seminar, which included Wheelwright’s keynote speech and demonstration of how to turn things on a lathe. My job was to operate the camera that provided a close up projected view of the spinning wheel parts or the work he was doing on the lathe, so I have no photos to show you as I was otherwise occupied! The demonstration was wonderfully informative, it was really cool to watch wood turn from a square piece of lumber into a curved and beautiful orifice hook handle.

Oh, even though I didn’t get a picture of him working today, I do have this picture of an orifice hook Wheelwright made for me – mine’s even got a captive ring on it. I saw a set of partially completed captive ring orifice hook handles in the toolbox on Saturday and exclaimed that they were lovely and I definitely wanted one like that … so Reed got out his tools and finished one off for me, right then and there.

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See that little circle that goes around the neck of the thing? It’s carved from the same wood as the rest but it moves freely around the stem of the hook. I love captive rings, they are so cool.

My next stop was the GO Train station, and I had a relaxing journey from Burlington to Oshawa, where my friends live.

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Trains are, in my humble opinion, the most civilized way to get from one place to another.

I’m here now, having been fed a lovely dinner, entertained by the Small People who live in this house, and topped up with cup after cup of tea. I’ll be heading to bed early tonight I think, as I am very sleepy … I keep yawning!

It’s been a fabulous trip and I am very glad I came. I knew it would take a lot out of me, which it has, but I’ve been pleased with how well my energy has held up for such a whirlwind of events and emotions. As much as it’ll be good to sleep in my own bed again, I sure miss living close to the people I love, and I don’t want to go so long without seeing everyone again.

In all the rush of the past week I’ve not had much chance to catch up with everyone individually, so I’ll just take this moment to send out my thanks to everyone who has made this trip possible and wonderful. You’ll be hearing from me soon, personally, I promise.

15 June 2013

Ontario, Day 6

I should be sleeping, but the adrenaline rush is still on full blast so I might as well post today’s update while the valerian/hops blend kicks in!

The great news is that I slept 7 solid hours last night, which I desperately needed, so that was awesome as I was then able to face (and enjoy) the day.

First thing this morning I went down and got a cup of tea, and poked my head in the door where the conference session was on. The organizer person at the door said I should go in and participate if I wanted to, so I got to play! The theme of the conference is “spinning tales” and we were given an excerpt from a book and fibre to spin a yarn that somehow went with our story. I had the bit from the first Harry Potter book where Harry is at Hogwarts for the first time – the dining hall with the sparkling candles in midair, the silvery ghosts, and the ceiling that shows a sky spangled with stars. That was fun to spin!

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As I was heading out of the seminar, I saw this wheel:

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I stopped dead in my tracks, set down all my stuff and dug out my camera because I had to have a picture of it! I found the owner later on – her husband made the wheel for her, it’s really (REALLY) impressive. I hear he may be doing custom orders … I have contact info, email me if you want it. :)

Then it was time to get things going in the market. A lady brought a double flyer wheel for Wheelwright to have a look at:

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(That swift in the foreground is an actual antique that was repaired – it’s got new bars, but the upright and screws are original. Yes, it’s for sale.)

There were a lot of gorgeous wheels.

A Paradis with the original pumpkin paint (in fabulous shape, boy does this thing spin beautifully):

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A reproduction CPW done in pine; a very old, very wonderful (really, really wonderful) screw tension wheel that was at some point painted (or partially painted) blue; a Bisson that isn’t quite fully refinished yet…

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A lovely little flax wheel, a marked Philias Cadorette, and you can just see the leg of a really cute little child’s wheel (which is part of Wheelwright’s personal collection). All but the baby wheel are looking for homes, and I spun on every one of them and loved them all! It’s a good thing I came here on a plane. That pumpkin wheel or that once-blue-screw tension would probably find their way into my car if it were here.

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So my purpose here was to spin on the wheels and help folks who wanted to try them out. Basically, I got to sit around and play with gorgeous wheels and talk to people … it was awesome!

My aunt and uncle came down from Brampton and we got to visit for part of the morning and then have tea during our midafternoon break. I never did get a picture, we were too busy chatting and having a good time, but boy oh boy was it wonderful to see them. It’s been way too long.

We convinced other spinners to test the wheels (see, Aunt Sharon? she spins barefoot too!)…

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And I spun and plyed up 100 grams of lovely black fibre. When I had the bobbin all filled up, Wheelwright suggested we skein it up on the antique swift. Now, I’d been sitting there spinning and chatting to this lovely gentleman who told me, after some time, that his career was making spinning wheels.

I was sitting next to Gord Lendrum. Yes, *that* Gord Lendrum.

So, my yarn was skeined by the man behind a Canadian wheel manufacturing company and a wheel repair expert, while I stood there and watched.

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They even wound it into a ball when it was time to pack up for the day.

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Do I have an awesome life or what, eh?

In the evening there was a dinner and a fashion show (inspiring, as always) and then a spin-in … during which I spun up another bobbin full of yarn and plyed it, this time on a marked Dejsardins. Yep, it’s been a fun day.

Tomorrow morning Wheelwright is doing his keynote speech, all about assessing and repairing/restoring antique wheels. I’ll be operating the camera that will be used to project the detailed view of what he’s discussing (a part of the wheel, for instance) onto the screen so that everyone in the room can see even if they are at the back.

I suppose that means I should get some sleep, since I need to be downstairs in about seven hours. Uh, make that six.

Tomorrow is another busy day – conference in the morning, train in the afternoon, visiting with some of my Chosen Family in the evening … then sleep fast and get on the plane to go home the day after! What a whirlwind this trip has been … but it’s been a wonderful time.

Seeing my family was just like coming home, didn’t seem like anything really out of the ordinary, we were just … all together. Like it ought to be. It isn’t like that very often though, and I’m really, really glad I came … because I have so enjoyed being with everyone ‘for real’. Add to that the chance to meet Wheelwright after four years of online friendship, to play with lovely wheels and meet wonderful people and make pretty string (all at once!), see my aunt and uncle, and see one of my very best friends and his family … and well, things just don’t get much better than that.

I’m very blessed, and very grateful.

14 June 2013

Ontario Days 4 & 5

I’m (finally) feeling tired so this’ll be brief.

We went to St Jacobs, where we met up with my sister and her husband, and checked out the market and the antique stores and the Home Hardware museum and a fabulous quilt/fibre arts shop and lots of other neat things.

The information centre in Leamington is shaped like a tomato. This, of course, is because the Heinz factory is in town. Leamington is all about tomatoes!

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The tablecloth at this produce booth was hand woven:


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Neat stuff at the hardware museum:

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That was Thursday. We spent the night in a little B&B out in the country … which is different than the Alberta definition of ‘out in the country’ in that the roads are paved and you can do 90 km/h (if it is in an area with few Amish, who still use horses & buggies to get around). I woke up early and went outside to try and walk some sense into my body and saw this:

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We all went to St Mary’s where there is a lovely river and some spots where there used to be large waterwheels, to power grinders or what have you.

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Look, it’s my family at the Thames River:Photo 2013-06-14 2 14 28 PM

Then everyone headed off in different directions – me to the fibre conference with my friend Wheelwright, my parents to visit an old friend who lives in a seniors home (Dad plays the piano for her and it makes her very happy), and my sister and her husband to head home.

Here’s Wheelwright spinning on one of his restored antiques – this one is from about 1860 he figures, and it’s amazing. Awesome to spin on.

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And I am, finally, tired enough to sleep … so I shall go do that and I’ll tell you more about the conference and the wheels tomorrow.

12 June 2013

Ontario, Day 3

Today we went to Point Pelee, the southernmost point in Canada. There’s a national park there, and lots of really interesting plants and a whole lot of birds.

This is me, standing on the southernmost point in Canada (barring an island out in the lake):

There’s a marshy area with beautiful water flowers:

… and pretty birds:

We had lunch and then Mom and I went to some of the farm shops: we stopped at the lavender farm (oh my does it smell good there!) and got strawberries and asparagus and eggs.

You can eat *very well* for very little money from the farm gates.

Tonight we’re packing up and getting ready for the next stage of the adventure, which will begin tomorrow. Tell ya more then!

Ontario Silk Ecoprint Project

In August I’ll be doing an ecoprinting workshop at the Pegg Garden, and I need to have some samples to show of what happens when you wrap plant material bits in fabric make the plant dyes transfer and print patterns on the fabric.

India Flint talks about these processes in her book Eco Colour. She also described picking up little bits and pieces of things when she travels in order to make ‘souvenir fabric’ from her journeys, and I was inspired to try this out on my trip to Ontario. I’ve gathered up all sorts of bits and bobs, including some lovely large maple and oak leaves, a bit of seaweed type stuff growing in the lake, a few pinecones, some shreds of rotting tree stumps. When we were at the marina, the gardening crew were clearing out the dead flowers from the hanging baskets and I got a handful of pretty blossoms from the trimmings, and we found some really interesting things along our walk in the woods yesterday.

All these eco treasures were packed home and spread out on a piece of raw silk (we also went to the fabric store yesterday and found one bolt of a lightly textured raw silk), like so:

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There’s all sorts of neat stuff on there.

The whole thing was then rolled up into a sausage, wrapped with string, and dampened.

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The little mummified plant bundle will be allowed to sit, damp, until the workshop in August. I’ll keep it moist (it’ll get wrapped in plastic for the trip home) and probably set it on a warm window ledge when I get home. I could steam it, but this one is going to be an attempt at the completely cold-bundled process … just plants, silk, moisture, and time.

Guess we shall see what we get in a couple of months!

11 June 2013

Ontario, Day 2

Today we went to see the seniors residence building my parents hope to move to shortly: Dad needed to get some measurements to do some planning, and I wanted to see where they intend to live so that I’ll be able to ‘picture it in my head’ when I’m back home. So that was our first stop.

Then we went to the marina:

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and to the park by the water where the tornado came through some years back – they had chainsaw artists come in and shape some of the large tree stumps that stayed behind:

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Then we had a great lunch (with the leftovers saved for dinner!) and went for a walk in a ‘Carolina forest area’ where we found some really interesting plants:

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Dad takes good pictures, eh?

After supper I worked on the hat I’d started on the plane, and it’s now complete. Pictures tomorrow!

I am finally feeling sleepy so I shall attempt to get some rest – the jet lag has my body completely confused … it’s not like my circadian rhythms have been perfectly settled for the last while anyway, and right now they are completely mucked up. However, I feel sleepy so … off I go!

Ontario, Day 1

Monday morning I got up waaaaay too early and The Boy drove me to the airport (with a stop for an Egg McMuffin and a coffee on the way, of course).

At the airport, I saw this lady with a great sweater and had to take a picture – it was machine knit, but I loved the way the ribbing expanded into a peplum sort of thing at the back:

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Then there was a lot of this:

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And some of this:

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And then I arrived and my parents were right there waiting for me, and it was awesome.

We drove around and saw quite a few familiar sights and places I’d heard about and so forth … we stopped and saw my grandparents’ grave:

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and the library where Mom and Dad like to go (where we saw this great book, which I had to take a picture of because I want to read it when I get home so I need to request it from my own library):

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and we went to Kingsville where there is a lovely park with access to Lake Erie, and I had to go and stick my feet in the water and splash around for a bit:


The bottom was awesomely sandy and it felt great on the feet, especially after all that time on the plane.

There was a gorgeous walking trail too:


Then there was an awesome Mom Supper and I got to sleep on the air bed with a *real wool mattress cover* and the newest quilt Mom just finished (apparently I am the first one to sleep under it). It’s gorgeous, I’ll get a picture tomorrow.

Being here is like being home, even though it’s a new place and things aren’t all the same as they were the last time I saw my parents but really, wherever they are is home. It’s nice to be back home.

09 June 2013

A day in the Garden

Today was the Artist’s Day at the Pegg Garden, and it was really fun.

When I left home the weather looked great, but before I got to the garden, it started to sprinkle with rain. It never really came down hard, but it was off and on drizzly all day and my choice of footwear was suboptimal for the conditions. I had slip on shoes (because I was going to be spinning and I take my shoes off when I spin) that got soaked … and my bare feet were frozen in no time.

However, I found a spot to set up underneath a lovely big crabapple tree, where I could hang the woven coats for everyone to see…

and then tucked my table and wheel under the branches where I was sheltered from the rain:

After a couple of hours I was thoroughly chilled, so I took my sweater off and wore my gray coat – hey, I can model it while I work! Lots of people were interested in the coats, I gave out  lots of cards so hopefully there’ll be some orders through the Etsy shop.

I haven’t posted the new swing coat design on Etsy yet, but it’ll be going up soon … here are a few better pictures of the Creamsicle coat. (Yes, I’m taking custom orders for other colours, or this coat in wool/alpaca!)

I love the swingy centre back pleat. It’s really comfy and warm – one lady tried it on during a bit of a rainshower and stayed under the tree chatting with me until the rain passed, keeping warm in the wool coat!

I sold a few small items, and got to meet and talk to a lot of great people. It was a really fun day!

Now to finish the last minute packing arrangements and catch some sleep before the early (early!) departure for Ontario tomorrow morning!

08 June 2013

If I tried to put all this in my daytimer…

… I’d need an extra page.

So here's what I've done so far:

I got the motorhome cleaned, scrubbed, and smudged with incense. Put bedding on the beds. Loaded some canned goods into the cupboard. Stove, water, and water heater tested. (Need to test the furnace tomorrow!) Tried to start it, no go, probably needs a boost – The Reluctant Farmer is taking care of that. Took out some of the shop stock so that at least that much will be ready when I get home from Ontario. (More on that in a bit.)

I've also been doing a bunch of laundry in our new washing machine - the old one died a long-anticipated death on Thursday morning, and we were able to pick up a new one (well, new to us – the people had listed it on Kijiji just that day, and their place was not far off my route home from counselling, so it worked out perfectly). The new machine is WONDERFUL – it’s really big, and very quiet, and doesn’t dance across the floor or complain about being unable to drain. When I arrived to pick it up, the people were there talking with a friend who’d obviously come by on his way home from work. I recognized the company name on his truck, as it’s the same place my friend with the horses works. I asked if they might know one another and sure enough, they do. “Oh yeah,” the guy said, “he was talking to me about this McGavin’s Bread wagon he’s gonna restore …” I laughed. “He was at my house yesterday with one of the spokes for that wagon, I’m taking it with me when I go to Ontario so my wheelwright friend can make copies!" Apparently that detail had been mentioned in the conversation … it was quite a coincidence! I felt all, I dunno, famous or something.

So, laundry – which dries nice and quick outside in this sunny and somewhat breezy weather, and motorhome prep, and also getting ready for the show tomorrow. It’s Artist’s Day at the Pegg Garden, and I’ll be there selling my woven items, one hand knit scarf (in really wild muppet yarn), and my books … and weaving, and spinning, and generally just being a fibre artist where everyone can watch. I also have some fabric with me so I can do the tests of ecoprinting with the plants that grow in the garden in advance of our workshop coming later this summer (the workshop is the last weekend in August, also at the Garden). I’ll need to be there a bit early so I can wander off and get plant samples rolled up into fibery cocoons for steaming and colour setting. They have to sit for a few weeks, so I need to get them wrapped and steamed before I leave so they can sit and do their marinating thing while I’m off gallivanting around.

I did get the wheel, spindles, and all my stuff out into the van tonight – and I took my gray coat, to show as a sample of what can be done for custom work (it’s also a different shape, so I want to have both the swing coat and the blanket coat there to display) … and I grabbed some yarn so I can warp up the little loom once I’m there. I’d sort of thought I might do that ahead of time, but really, I’m out of energy and I’ll have plenty of time tomorrow as the show goes from 11-4, and warping is just another part of the whole adventure so people might as well see that too.

Oh, and yesterday I did most of my packing for my trip to Ontario – I am gone all day tomorrow, and I have to be at the airport for 6:30 Monday morning (which I clearly did not process when I chose that flight time … an 8:30 am departure seems quite reasonable, until you factor in the need to be at the airport two hours early and the fact that it takes over an hour and a half to get to the airport from home). We will be adding in time to stop for coffee on the way, trust me. I’m heading to see my parents, and then my sister and brother in law will join up with us for a day, and Friday I’ll be heading to Burlington for the Ontario Handspinning Seminar where I will be helping out my friend Wheelwright with his antique spinning wheel sales and assisting during the keynote speech he’s giving. Oh, and doing the last minute assembly of the giveaway items that he was asked to make for the Saturday night banquet! (I know what they are, but I think they are a surprise so I won’t say.) It sounds like it’s gonna be a blast.

Then once the conference is over on Sunday afternoon, I’ll hop on the train and go to Oshawa to visit some of my Chosen Family, and Monday afternoon I fly back home.

Then I do a bunch of laundry, go for groceries, load up the motorhome and head to Olds for Fibre Week!

I am gonna need all of July to recover from this, but it’s gonna be an awesome ride.

Stay tuned for more of the adventure!

05 June 2013

Sheet music for weaving

I mapped out the sheet music for the Ode to Joy with the colours I used in the warp for the fabric I made, since I want to be able to easily explain it to people at the Artist’s Day on Sunday.

For those who can read music, here it is, in colour!


04 June 2013

Artist’s Day at the Garden

I’ve been staggeringly busy getting ready for Artist’s Day at the Pegg Garden, which is this coming Sunday (won’t you please come out and see me?) in Lac Ste Anne County.

Here’s the blurb on the event:

Art in the Garden
Sunday, June 9th, 11am-4pm
George Pegg Botanic Garden
Outdoor show and sale featuring local artists, art demonstrations, live music and children's activities!
- Adults- $8, Students/Seniors- $5, Preschool Children- Free 
- Admission includes a showbook with artist biographies and entry into the door prize draw
- A wide range of artists: fine art & sculpture, pottery, photography, woodwork and fibre art
- The children's art corner will engage the youngest visitors 
- Local musician Neil Lightfoot is gathering an eclectic mix of singer-songwriters to entertain throughout the day
- Many artists will be demonstrating their crafts, providing an opportunity to not only see art but experience the artistic process!

- Refreshments & Garden Memberships will be available for sale

Now, as one of the artists, I needed to have things to sell at this lovely event … which meant I needed to spend some time at the loom!

So, I have the Ode to Joy works completed: the fabric was really interesting, in both the multicoloured cotton and the purple cottolin (cotton/linen blend). In the end, I got three tea towels, three headbands, and two placemats from the warp that I wound, and I’m quite pleased with it all.

There’s also the green tea towels I had done earlier, and the samples I wove when I was first testing out the cotton on the loom – those ended up as a drawstring bag, which would be perfect for a sock project on the go, or maybe a small shawl in progress.

Here are some pictures of everything together:

And here’s one of the headbands, in use taming my rather wild mane:

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And oh, there’s also a gray wool floor mat, which I don’t have a photo of, and the Creamsicle Coat, which is now all finished: hood, cuffs, pocket, buttons, and lovely back pleat.

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Everything’s been tagged and folded and is ready to go to the sale on Sunday.

Now I just need to warp up the little loom so I can do my weaving demo while I’m there, and find something to spin and choose a wheel to take along so I can demo that as well … and yeah, we’re good to go.