Posting as a Challenge

Here I thought the 30 minutes a day outdoors for 30 days would be the challenge.  It’s turned out that posting updates is my biggest hurdle!

I had an Ashford order come in this week. Things I needed for students and then some things that I felt it was my duty to test drive for students.  Love, love, love this alpaca merino blend roving.  The colour is “slate” and I believe I may be spinning the entire kilo.  If anyone is interested in trying out this roving, let me know.  It spins like a dream. I had two wheels go out the door this week to two super enthusiastic students. So part of my week went to putting together and waxing wheels.   Not something I am highly skilled at doing, but a pleasure none the less.

Spinning Class

Spinning Class

I also taught the second half of the Beginner Spinning Workshop at Birkeland Wool.  This group was crazy fun.  Not only had they done all their homework (filling lots of bobbins), but they were so advanced that I was able to squeeze in three ply and navajo plying techniques as well.  It is classes and moments like this that make me treasure the experience of teaching.

Sketchy Bobbins

Sketchy Bobbins

Since I am taking two classes right now through the VSB, I am really, really getting into the camera.   With that comes a lot of editing software and I found this wonderful little programme that lets me turn the photos into sketches.  Not that the actual pictures of the yarn were not interesting, but how can you discover a button and not push it?

Day 5-6/30

Okay, now this is not how I wanted this to go…I was hoping to post everyday, however this outside thing has me super busy and engaged.  It makes me want to go farther though.  And since I’m self employed, I really need to find a way to enjoy nature and keep working.

Bok Choy

Greens

Bonus-the colours outdoors now are inspirational.  Monday had me working in the garden and loving it.

I came back inside as I promised one of my spinning students a chance to borrow the Kiwi that I hadn’t put together yet.  So with my limited tool kit I made it.  I spun on the Lendrum for breaks so I mananged to finish some beautiful yarns yesterday.

I decided to photograph them today in natural light, so I took them for a walk to Quincey’s house.  I would usually walk down the main drag, basically following the bus route.  Today, I followed the bike path and found several lovely parketts along the way as well as blooms everywhere.

Blossoms

Beauty Walk

This Beauty yarn is comprised of hand dyed mohair locks.  These locks have been languishing in the studio since last March.  What was I thinking, ignoring these lovely locks?  I’m so happy that this is actually yarn now.   Although my option would probably be to wear it, rather than knit or weave it.

With the remainder of the locks, I decided to do some carding.  Wanting the locks just to be highlights and for the yarn to have more practical uses.

Two ply yarns

Two, Two Ply Yarns

There are so many ways to spin wool and yesterday I was really wanting something different.  I love texture and I love a two ply, but thread wrapped around and thick and thin yarn is a bit old hat.  Answer.  I used the same batt to spin both the thick and thin single and the ply yarn…I am very happy with the results and will definitely spin more.

The walk today gave me a great backdrop for photos.  I think I’ll do more of that too.  Just working out my outdoor plan for tomorrow –which may involve dragging my wheel (and a pound of wool) to a park.

Day 4/30

DSC_0338Rainy and cool.  Perfect for today’s nature project before I teach the second half of the Beginner Spinning class this afternoon.  I did it!  I finally started the garden this year.  I didn’t get it all done at once, spending a good hour reworking the soil and compost and getting these little beauties in the ground. I’m focusing on greens this year so brussel sprouts, bok choy, spinach and several varieties of kale.  Here’s hoping I have it all done by next Sunday.DSC_0383

I know these posts aren’t yarn heavy, but they will be.  There’s always yarn and this finally dried today.  A wonderful single ply merino ready for cozy winter knitting.  I enjoy thinking of all seasons at the same time.  I like to have a bunch of all white in my stash at any given time.  Crisp.

While enjoying the lilac and getting deep into the soil, I had a visitor who doesn’t usually hang with me in the yard.  Even Asia is getting into the spirit of the 30/30 and was enjoying some little birdies in the tree.

Kitty

Asia

Time to get ready for class in the studio. The apricot scones have cooled.  I’ve made room for the wheels and now I’ll just sort out the bits of yarny goodness that seem to spread over every surface.  I’m looking forward to this group today. I love the enthusiasm of new students.

Please check the class schedule as I will be adding the new summer classes this week. There will beat least one spinning class and a free form crochet class.

 

Day 3/30

Mill Lake Park

Enjoying Mill Lake Park

Today was an early trip out to Abbotsford to teach a Beginner Spinning Class at Birkeland Wool.  My first foray into outdoors was to photograph yesterdays’ navajo plied yarn….Much success and a huge happy with this yarn.

I was all prepared to go straight to the yarn shop when John surprised me with this lovely road less travelled and we parked at the Mill Lake Park.   What a stellar early morning hike before 4 hours of teaching.  And smack dab in the middle of the city.  It was a bit rainy, but nothing worthy of rain gear.

Mill Lake

Early morning Mill Lake

There were several families of geese and I was shocked to see the babies almost greenish in colour.  Camoflage apparently, and good thing since we were told there were two eagles in a tree close by.  One more awesome thing about being out in a park, you meet other interesting humans who also enjoy the outdoors!

I’m thrilled to be doing the 30/30 challenge.    It has given me an opportunity to slink back to the neglected blog.  It’s also giving me quality time with the new camera.  And an office without walls—stellar.

 

Day 2/30

Today was a bit more complicated.  But I only needed a half an hour.  Where to go and what to do.  Let’s try the backyard again.  I didn’t feel like dragging the wheel out, but I do need to do some homework for my photography class, so why not outdoors today?

Beautiful Backyard

Beautiful Backyard

Exercises for class were to work on the manual settings and to work with natural light.  Making sure that I had enough time in the yard, again finding that half hour didn’t seem to be a problem, I had ample photos to work with. When I came back into the house to spin, it was a definite shift in work.  More productive and accompanied by a lovely new herbal berry leaf tea. I did decide to navajo ply yesterdays’ merino and mohair wool.  It’s currently soaking in the sink.  It’s only about 40 yards, but I think it will make something amazing. Off to Abbottsford tomorrow to teach at Birkeland Wool.  Looking forward to my half hour–rain or shine.

Day 1/30

Day 1/30     Welcome to the new office. David Suzuki’s May Challenge of thirty minutes outside for 30 days is a challenge I’m willing to take on.  Rain or shine, finding the time to be outside in nature changes everything.   The first idea for day one was to move the studio outside.  But we’ll call this day “near nature”  just to the backyard.  I made some tea, grabbed a chair, a spinning wheel and a box of dyed mohair locks and planted myself in the middle of the yard.

Taking it outside

Taking it outside

The sun was out (not too bright) and it was nice and breezy.  Thirty minutes ended up not being the challenge, but rather coming back into the house.  The lilac tree was wafting intoxicating aromas through the yard.  How amazing is this?  How tranquil.  It’s hard to believe that I am in the zone, in the yard with no Netflix to guide me. It was an hour and a half before I even realized the time so I packed up and came back inside.  I continued to work, but with the perfume of lilac still in my nostrils and the heat of the sun still on my skin. And this is only Day 1, yah! I was thrilled with the yarn, and set the bobbin to the side.  I had a student coming for a spinning lesson at 6:00pm.  I wondered if she would want to spin outside.  Maybe next week.

First hand spun wool in the yard.

First outdoor work of the year.

Not sure exactly how I’m going to finish this yarn.  Thinking I might Navajo ply it, just to trap all those fabulous mohair locks.  Mohair generously donated by “Pepper”

Ode to a Pair of Socks

I received the most incredible gift over the holidays, this poem.  Thanks Jennifer!

Ode to a Pair of Socks
by Pablo Neruda

Maru Mori brought me
a pair
of socks
that she knit with her
shepherd’s hands.
Two socks as soft
as rabbit fur.
I thrust my feet
inside them
as if they were
two
little boxes
knit
from threads
of sunset
and sheepskin.

My feet were
two woolen
fish
in those outrageous socks,
two gangly,
navy-blue sharks
impaled
on a golden thread,
every day.
Like jungle
explorers
who deliver a young deer
of the rarest speciies
to the roasting spit
then wolf it down
in shame,
I stretched
my feet forward
and pulled on
those
gorgeous
socks,
and over them
my shoes.

So this is
the moral of my ode:
beauty is beauty
twice over
and good things are doubly
good
when you’re talking about a pair of wool
socks
in the dead of winter.

Busier Than Usual

I’ve been busier than usual the last week or so. Hard to believe, since I have always set myself such a rigid schedule. I’m busier because I’m going on vacation.      It has been more than 10 years since I’ve been this reckless? …. but it is something that has put me into overdrive.

I’m going to Paris for my 50th birthday with my best knitting gal pal, Jean.  It seemed like a no brainer since we have the same addictions; yarn, chocolate, cafe creme, pain au chocolat and museum crawling. I can hardly wait….but now I’m in this crazy place where I am trying to get done the work I would have done if there was no holiday. I’m also taking quite a bit of yarn with me to France…..(more on that later) and I really want it to be my best work.

Core Spun 007

I’ve had a lot of creative time so far this year, more than usual and I’ve given myself a few days a week of just doing what I feel like. This is new and has led to some lovely finished pieces that got snapped up just after being posted on facebook (in a few cases).  Weird,because when I first started posting on FB, it was  just so my customers would know what I’m up to.  Not that I’m complaining!

My show confirmations are rolling in and it’s going to be the most hectic season yet, but I am thrilled to have the chance to share my work with a wider audience.

Classes at the home studio are going really well. I’m surprised at how at ease I am with work at home. I expected a few more hiccups but so far it’s all rainbows and puppies. After I get back from France I will be having the Intuitive Crochet Class, another Beginner Spinning class and the Dye Workshop. I’ll post as soon as that schedule goes up.

Core Spun 014

My friends are busy as well.  One of my  former students, Mekkin, owner of Hanahmin’s Fiber is going to be doing her first show at Fibres West.  Pearl Chow will be teaching Needle Felting at Wet Coast Wools this weekend.

Just a few more things to finish off.     I’m in Whistler this weekend for the Made In Whistler Market at the Westin Hotel, sponsored by the Whistler Arts Council.  It’s my last show before my trip. There is also one custom order to finish off.  All I’m missing is sleeves and a collar and then we can call it a cardigan.

Final order of business?   Decide what my project for the plane will be. Knitting or crochet? And how much room to leave in the suitcase for new yarn  Oh yeah, there will be yarn.

A Story About a Hat

I don’t knit and spin for the riches or the fame.  I’ve never gone into this line of working thinking ”  I will knit X number of hats and reach that first million in sales”.  I knit and spin because it satisfies me.  Over the years I have been told stories by customers of lost hats recovered, passed down to younger siblings, repaired and reknit hats and hats that have offered comfort for cancer survivors.  They have all warmed my heart.

But this story, well, this is why I do what I do….

Ellie’s mom bought her a MelonHead hat.  That hat definitely got some love and out of all the hats, this was by far her favourite.  Then one day a hat tragedy occurred.  The hat was run over and scooped up by a snow plow (as is more possible in Whistler than in Vancouver)

Ellie was determined to find her hat.  Certain it would turn up somewhere, she designed this poster to put up around town.  This one was pinned to the community board in Nestors for several months.  Notice that a reward is offered.

Ellies Hat

Since there was a phone number on the poster, several knitters called and offered to knit a replica of the hat for her.   Ellie rejected these offers as she felt it just wouldn’t be the same.   After the snow melted down, they did find a small piece of hand spun yarn left from the hat and she scooped it up and still has it.

Fast forward to last weekend.  And then  Saturday, I ran into the whole family at the Westin Hotel.  Ellie and her brother tried on several hats.  Mom asked if we could remake the hat from the drawing that Ellie made, and I agreed that it could be done.  It didn’t matter.  Ellie seemed to be quite pleased with any hat on the table.  Her brother said my hats were better than video games.  I don’t think I could get higher praise.

Here is Ellie’s new hat.  Apparently it wasn’t that she needed that hat.  She just need a hat knit by me.  *sigh*

Feb 2013 006

Saturdays at Made In Whistler

Made In Whistler 2013After a not-so-restful holiday season, I’m happy to greet 2013 with a winter market. All of my new designs are being debuted at the Made in Whistler Market.

This Saturday will be the fourth weekend I’ve spent at the lovely Westin Hotel with other artisans. The market will be every Saturday until Easter in April from 2-7 pm.

In addition to jewellery, pottery, baked goods, and visual art, the Westin will be selling homemade soup and bread with all proceeds going to local charities.

Made In Whistler — Winter Market
January – April, 2013 (Saturdays)
2:00 – 7:00 pm
Westin Resort & Spa
4090 Whistler Way, Whistler (Village), BC

This is a demo store for testing purposes — no orders shall be fulfilled.