Sunday, October 31, 2010

weekend breather

My parents are visiting from PEI this weekend, and it's forced me to take a needed break from the studio for three solid days. Probably a good thing to do. We've been eating lots of great food, went for a lovely walk in the crisp sunshine yesterday. The leaves around our house in Halifax are incredible, especially when the sun shines. Makes me happy to live in a neighborhood with so much green space.

Friday, October 29, 2010


The countdown is definitely on - so much so that I haven't had time to sit down and write a blog post for almost a week. A lot of running around, with the end of goal of getting (almost) all my scarves in the mail to St. John's which I manged to finally do yesterday. Before they could be packed into two boxes, cloth labels needed to be sewn on, garment tags attached, and everything needed a price sticker. Having all that stuff done before shipping my scarves means that everything is ready to go when I get to St. John's and set up my booth at the St. John's Fine Craft and Design Fair.

I counted up all my scarves produced for this year's craft fair season and the total was over 150, plus there will be more that I will make before flying to NL on November 10th and take with me on the plane as carry-on luggage (I do not like the idea of losing baggage just before a craft fair!).

In the meantime, I have emptied my Etsy shop. It will be re-stocked after December 7th, once my slate of shows are finished, but I didn't want to disappoint anyone who was Etsy-browsing and had their eye caught by a scarf that could potentially be sold at a fair......

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Taking photos today. Piling my scarves and making colour compositions.

My goal is to come up with images that I will get printed onto postcards to sell at this year's craft shows.

Friday, October 22, 2010

spinning in transit

I met Robyn Love in Corner Brook a couple of years back when I became part of a the West Coast Craft Collective, a group of (mostly) women artists. Robyn is an artist who lives the winters in New York City and the summers in Gillams, Newfoundland. Her art practice brings knitting and spinning into the common spaces of public and urban life. She just sent me the link to a short film her friend Susan Forste created called Spindle 7 as part of a project of the same name. The project took Robyn back and forth on the #7 train with her spindles and wool in 2008, meeting people and teaching spinning between Main Street in Flushing (Queens) and Times Square in Manhattan. Please watch! There are so many things I love about this video.....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


My parents recently extracted 600 pounds of honey from my father's beehives. While my friends Jordan and Kyla were in PEI last week, they visited my folks and brought me back a care package with my parents' garlic, onions, potatoes, jam, wine and honey. Pure gold.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Since deciding last week not to use double weave for a small run of felted scarves, I've turned back to my little 4 harness Leclerc in my home studio. I just finished a sample scarf yesterday and will do a (very) small production run over the next week before moving on to a variation of this design. The pattern in a modified Bird's Eye woven in raw silk (down the center), merino wool (along the edges) and cotton. After weaving and fringe twisting, I dyed the whole scarf and then felted it in the washing machine.

I specifically wanted to design for felting that can be done in the washing machine instead of hand-felting each scarf....after years of laborious hand-felting, I think it's time to give my body a break, especially my wrists. The main thing with felting in the washing machine is that you can't necessarily control the felting process (unless you stop the washing machine to check every few minutes), so I've learned that this means a much denser sett (ends per inch through the reed, or e.p.i.) to give the merino less space to shrink. A lot of the work in this was figuring out the e.p.i. of the merino wool warp: I know I wanted some felting to happen, but I didn't want the result to be an over-felted short scarf with a very ruffled silk center.

What I really like about this scarf is the edges of felted merino that can be pulled up over the chin. Nice and cozy for winter. And the wave of silk and cotton diamond waves that fall nicely between the edges, keeping the scarf lightweight.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Some shots of a double weave sample done on my eight harness Cranbrook loom. A tubular structure: two layers of cloth woven simultaneously connected along the selvedges. The top layer is raw silk and the bottom layer is merino wool (with a much looser sett), both warp. The weft is coloured cotton.

Here you can see both layers of cloth with their connected selvedge running down the center.

Pre-felting, inside of tube.

Post felting: I just tossed it in the washing machine with some towels and the looser merino warp shrunk and felted right up, making the raw silk bubble out.

Post-felting: inside of tube.
My original idea was to use double weave to design a new scarf for differential shrinkage, but I think the cloth would just be too thick....But learning and adapting the very basics of double weave has been a great exercise and I have just tapped the surface.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

my world of colour

This is a detail from one of Damien's newer paintings. I love the mix of reds, oranges, browns and blues. I find lots of inspiration in his use of painted colour.

A small, mysterious piece of oxidized metal I found on the beach in Newfoundland. It seems to keep changing colour over time, and now there's even undertones of heather in there.

My last two batches of narrow Wave scarves which fit right in with the colour palettes above. The scarf on the top left hand corner is the one that I photographed in this week's Monday loom shot (see below) - I dyed the scarf in a burnt orange which only coloured the white silk warp stripes.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday loom shot

Bright, sunny Monday morning. Getting to the last scarf in my last batch of narrow Wave scarves for the season. Last year, I sold out of my narrow Wave scarves, and it might happen again this year, but at least I'll be well stocked with 30 of them. On November 10th (less than a month away), I fly to Newfoundland for the St. John's Fine Craft and Design Fair.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Narrow Wave scarves. Dyed, dried and ironed and hanging on my rack in the studio. Two batches, each made up of four scarves from the same warp. Undulating herringbone, raw silk and cotton.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

audio refresher, take 2

audio refresher

I always listen to CBC radio while I work at home in my studio. This morning, the radio reception was crackly and annoying, so I decided to put on some music. For some reason, I have really grown away from listening to music or searching out new music. The times when I listen to music the most these days is at friends' houses. When I was a teenager, music was a really big part of my life and identity, but somehow as I've gotten older it's gotten pushed aside. I know that part of this is that I am not a musician and am primarily a visual person, and as I immerse myself more and more in a career rooted in the visual arts and crafts, my relationship to music gets pushed to the periphery. But, music can have a huge effect on how I feel and can really lift me up and see myself and life through fresh eyes, it can allow me to tap into emotions and ideas I didn't know were there. So, this morning I bought two new albums on iTunes, including Julie Doiron's newest record I can wonder what you did with your day. The last song on the album, Glad to be alive, made my morning. I couldn't figure out how to write this post and have the YouTube video in the same post, so you can watch it in the post above, performed live by Julie.

Monday, October 4, 2010

crisp days and big skies

Fall is here after too much fog and humidity last week. Crisp sunny days and big expansive clouds. I've very quickly taken to wearing my new Horizon scarf all day and today discovered a new way of wearing it that keeps my chilly sternum warm and protected. I folded the scarf in half, brought it around my neck, and then wove each end through the loop: one end over and under and the other end under and then over.

A testament to my fall production schedule: a range of neutral and fall coloured Horizon scarves (raw silk and cotton).

And the skies, oh the skies.