Tuesday, September 27, 2016

It's That Time Again...

That Time....time for wool, time for pumpkin pie, time for cool walks in the woods.  Time for hot coco, time for sweaters, time to nest.  Mr and I just came back from a camping trip, all the way to Niagara Falls and back with stops in between to visit family and "get historied"...the term I use to describe how I need to see all historical sights that I can find along the way.  Well of course I didn't stop at ALL of them or I'd still be at it, but I did manage to stop at many.  Mr was a good sport about it, even though it's not his thing.

These great pics came from a visit to Old Fort Erie, not a large fort but certainly worth the visit.  The costumed actors were very informative and seemed to enjoy their job.  Not sure how much they enjoyed their wool uniforms in the heat though.

We also stopped at Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake and enjoyed a much cooler outing that day.  Of course since we were in wine country we toured all around the vineyards and stopped at a couple of wineries to enjoy some tastings and shopping...yum.  The Niagara Parkway is a spectacular road that takes you all along the river, starting at Fort Erie and ending at Niagara-on-the-Lake, if you are thinking about going and haven't yet, I can't recommend it enough.

But, all vacations must end and reality comes back into focus.  So, being that time again....it's time for me to get back to the kitchen and reap the harvest...

Monday, August 29, 2016

At The Guild

I've mentioned before, how happy I am to be a part of my local Spinner's and Weaver's Guild and I've gone on and on about how great the Studio is and how wonderful my fellow members are and about how inspired I am just to be there.  So I though I'd show you a few pictures that explain why.

The warp above, in warm autumn tones is destined to become Tea Towels, and yes, one of those towels will be for me!  Miss J. couldn't have picked more beautiful fall colours...I love them.

Meanwhile, Miss E. was working on this stunning warp for our choice of either a baby blanket or table cloth.  I think I mentioned before that with each new warp that is put on, there is enough for every member to make a project.

This is a Log Cabin blanket woven on a 10 foot wide loom!!! I have seen some amazing blankets finished from this warp and I have to say, I am looking forward to the day that I can make one of them.

So that's a sampling of what goes on in the busy little studio...no wonder I love it so much.  Now, my mustard beans have finished processing so I must get back at stitching Blanket Mittens, I still have 4 pairs to make to finish my current order.  Pop by soon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


I put my first warp on a few weeks ago and this is what it looks like...

I'm happy with the evenness of the tension and that I choose to put more than one colour in the warp.  These tea towels should brighten up my kitchen nicely.

Well, I can't stay and chat...I'm off to the Guild Studio for more weaving on my lovely, multi-coloured, summer scarf.  TTFN

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Yup, I did it again...I brought home another loom.  It wasn't my fault, really, what was I supposed to do?  A very nice lady said to me, "I have an 8 harness that I'd love to get rid of" and when she said she didn't want anything for it....well, come on....of course I took it home!  It was much easier to put together than my other loom, simply by the way it was made.

The main part of it was still together, so that didn't have to puzzled out.

And the rest of it was pretty straight forward.

It's a 45" Nilus from Leclerc and currently hold 8 harnesses although it has room for 4 more.  I do need a new reed because the one I have seems just a bit too rusty to repair and then it'll be ready to go.  As soon as my brutal de-stash is done, there will be a lot more space to move around.  Because of the generosity of people that have contributed to the studio that I now proudly own, I will be donating most of my de-stash to keep the Karma balanced:)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Summer Rest

I am having the most wonderful Summer Rest!  After having worked so many years with very little time off, this summer has proved to be a much needed break.  Deciding to put my tools down and not work on either the house or "for sale" textiles has made it a double bonus points summer rest!!!  Summer is waning though and so is my need for rest, this week kicks off the next sprint of making.  Making the textiles I need to keep the wheels of commerce turning and getting ready for the fall/winter market season.  I have put my name in to a couple of Christmas Markets so far (fingers crossed that I get in) so I am beginning work on the usual suspects because they are such great sellers.

These mittens continue to be a top seller for me, so as well as filling another order for the Mill, I will be making many, many pairs for the markets.

Weaving continues to be a source of learning and fun for me, both at the Guild studio and in my own studio space.  I recently made my very first warp on my own loom and am happy with the result (pictures of this project to follow later), and at the Guild studio, I've started a Summer Scarf project, the warp is cotton and the weft is Jaggerspun Merino/Silk...yum!

Given that this is a season of new beginnings and fresh starts for me, I've also paid some attention to my Etsy Shop.  There are a few items listed for sale and many more coming soon as I get photos and descriptions written up for them.  Apologies to my non-Canadian readers, for now, I am only shipping within Canada, but that will change later also.  Click on the Etsy button at the top of my blog to see the new items :) Happy Shopping

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

New Adventure....Part 2

Well....I've been weaving.  And I have to say that I love it.  It's both simple and complicated all at the same time, really.  Until you understand how the loom works and how the patterns relate to it, it is a different language, but once you get it...you get it and it all makes sense.  Thought I'd share what's been accomplished so far...

I did about a 12 inch length of messing around on the loom, getting a feel for treadling and throwing the shuttle, then I got serious and wanted to actually make something...you know, an actual garment or something.

So here is my very first weaving project ever.  I am absolutely delighted with it, I am more than happy with my weaving and by the time I was on the last 10 inches or so, my selvedge improved by leaps and bounds.

...and a close up shot of the fabric, I loooooove the pattern.....

This is my second project ever...I continued using the same warp and changed both the weft and the pattern.  I did a simple twill, changing the direction every 10 inches.

....and a close up shot of it...the weft is a beautiful yarn from Belfast Mini Mills in Alpaca and Mohair.  The finished scarf is quiet soft and I cannot wait to wear it.

My local Guild Weaving Studio meets once a week and unfortunately I had to miss the last 2, so I will be happy to take my projects along next week to show the other members what I've accomplished so far.  In the mean time, I have one more weaving pattern up my sleeve before I run out of warp AND I have another 6 pairs of Blanket Mitts to make to fill an order.  So, I had better sign off and get cracking. TTFN

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

New Adventures

Something new.  Something awesome.  Something I have wanted to do for over a decade (but I kept  running into road blocks).  I'm talking about weaving, uhuh, weaving.  I spin, knit, machine knit, crochet and sew, but weaving has been eluding me.  Not the basic knowledge of how to weave, just the time and un-broken equipment to do it with.  I've had a 4-shaft Melville or Brunswick loom in pieces in the barn for over 10 years.  Some of those pieces were broken and since I didn't know a lot about looms, I really didn't know how to fix it.  Then an opportunity came along to buy an identical loom, all together, nothing broken and with an excellent refit for a very affordable price.  Naturally I snapped it up.

Here is a picture of it as it sat in it's last house....

It's lovely, made of bird's eye maple and now that I know a little more about what I'm doing, I'm confident that we re-assembled it correctly.  It had a warp on it, neatly tied around the warp beam and since I am an absolute beginner, I used it as a bit of a cheat to get me started.  With shuttle in hand I did a little plain weaving and then tried a bit of twill....

I noticed that there was a mistake in the warp....if I was making a finished piece, I would go back and fix it and start again, but as it is, this is all about practice and learning and the fact that I knew right away what I had done wrong seems worth it all.  This was fun, so fun...and after a good night's sleep, I'm going to get at it again and try some different combinations and see what happens. It feels great to see that with every inch, the tension and selvedge are looking better.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

That Old Saying

You know that old one...."this is the first day of the rest of your life"?  Well, today I feel like it truly was.  For so long I have wanted to join my local Spinner's and Weaver's Guild but I knew there was no way that I was going to be able to have the "me-time" I needed to attend.  Today was THAT day, today I went to the Library in Breadalbane and joined several other ladies for a Spin Day.  An entire half day, spent with my peeps.  I met one lady for the first time, but I knew all the rest from attending the Annual Maritime Spinner's Retreat.  I usually only see these uber-talented, fun, cheerful people once a year, but from now on, I will be seeing them at least once a month, sometimes twice!  Every time I am around these people their enthusiasm and some of their knowledge rub off (they are very keen to share what they know).  Today's meet up was about spinning of course, but Louise thought it would be fun to bring some dyes for us all to use.  I decided to bring a natural white skein of MacAusland's yarn with me (along with my spinning) and have a go at the dye pots.  All the colourful pots were lined up and had already been mixed and ready to use.

 Louise and I hand painted my skein and this was the end result.

I had a wonderful day and will be joining the guild officially on Tuesday at their annual meeting...but being the fun sort of people that we are, we are having a fun day of fibre arts and a pot luck supper before the meeting...can't wait.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

That Was Fun!

Yesterday saw another finished project from the Inkle Loom.  I warped it with a variegated Paton's Classic Merino in "Harvest", and the weft was in a solid red in Paton's Merino as well.  I absolutely love the finished result of this sweet little scarf.  It came out soft, flexible and with a lovely smooth finish.  I can imagine wearing it everywhere.

I love the warp pattern made by the colours.

The weaving was such a pleasure with this lovely, soft merino.  As with spinning, it's impossible for me not to "zone out" while I'm weaving, it has turned out to be a very relaxing pursuit.

I love my new scarf so much that I'm going to make another one, only twice as wide.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Good News!

The store did sell and on time, I am very pleased to announce, and a very nice family are scheduled to move into our community.  Now that that chapter is closing in our lives, a new one is opening.  The renovations on the house are moving right along and our laundry room/half bath is due to be rough plumbed in a couple of days.  The plumbing is being done by a group of brothers who have been doing this forever it seems, they tell me that their father installed the hot water base boards in this house a long time ago, there's nothing like keeping it in the family.  Mr. Homesteader is in charge of flooring and the tiles being installed on the half wall and I am the crack-filler/primer/sander/painter. 

Today though, I am taking the day off of manual labour.  I hurt my arm last week and it was not happy with the painting I did yesterday.  Spinning sounds much more therapeutic.

On the learning curve....

My sister recently gave me an Inkle Loom which I warped and started working on as soon as I got it home.  I did a single colour warp and a single colour weave and made this (rather Christmassy) strap.  I thought the loom was built a little funny, until I saw a picture of a "triple shed" Inkle Loom and realized that that was what I had.  So that opens up the possibilities of more and varied patterns.  It's also a great way to flex some weaving muscle and develop good habits and skills.

Inkle Loom. 

Warped Inkle Loom.

My first Inkle Loom Strap.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

New Beginnings

In 2003, Mr. Homesteader and I purchased an old, country, general store.  It was an education.  There were many downs and certainly many ups to the 13+ years we spend as a Mom and Pop, plus staff operation.  One of the "ups" was having the ability to fill slow, winter hours with creative pursuits...this is the time and space where I discovered my love affair with fiber arts.  I had known the basics of knitting since I was about 5, but I had never made anything with the knowledge and I found the whole experience tedious.  I loved knitted things....just not the knitting itself.  So, after getting a few sheep (as pets) and learning to spin, I thought I should give this knitting thing a try, again, and an obsession was born.  I was assisted over the phone by my sister and over the counter at the store by one of my customers, and before I knew it, I was churning out hats and other small accessories at lightening speed.  When you make things like this, in public, for all to see...it doesn't take long before people start wanting in on it.  They started asking to buy stuff that they saw me make as well as putting in orders for Christmas and the like.  Before I knew it, it had turned into something and as luck would have it, I already owned and operated a store.  So a large area was cleared out in said store and I set it up with hats and mitts and shawls and ponchos, phew, well, you get the idea.  It has been a successful venture, without even really trying.  In fact, that's what made it such a joyful thing...I let it become what it wanted to, and let it steer itself without allowing outside advice.  You know, something truly my own.

Now in 2016, I am an experienced knitter both by hand and machine and I sell my lovely things at a few different locations.  One location however is no more, and that is my own bricks and mortar store here in rural PEI.  In 8 days, providing nothing goes wrong, someone else will be the proud owner of our little piece of commerce.  Over the past month, I have emptied the store of all of my hand made goods and I have taken a long break from making.  A necessary break, as clearing out a store and doing renovations on our house have proved to be all consuming.  I will be getting back to the studio in the next couple of months to stitch away at both old and new designs, but for now, I just need to focus on getting everything ready to do so.  If any of you out in the interwebz wish to think happy thoughts and send some positive "sell the store without incident" energy my way, I'll gladly take it. 

For now, in my down time, I have been and will be doing some spinning.  Here are a few pics of a beautiful roving I received in my goody bag at last October's Spinning Retreat.  I spent a few months spinning and plying it and am very happy with the result.

Monday, February 8, 2016

January's Productivity

I didn't post anything in January, but that doesn't mean that I wasn't buried in woolly goodness. Oh no, not at all!  I was quite productive last month, filling an order for MacAusland's Mill and messing around with some Belfast Mini Mills yarn in the hopes of finding the right gauge to make a shawl for myself.  And in other news, for those who wish to attend, the annual Maritime Spinner's Retreat registration forms are ready and if you are not already on the list, you can find us on Facebook and ask to be added to the mailing list.  The theme for this year's retreat will be to do with carding and the competition is working a little differently.  If you choose to participate in the competition, you will receive a 4ox, hand dyed, merino roving in the mail....just like this one....

everyone gets the same fiber, in the same colourway (and the above picture is true to the actual colours).  The fiber is to be spun and made into a project of your choosing.  It can be knitted, crocheted, woven etc, and you can add up to 4oz of another fiber or yarn to create the project.  I will probably be using mohair yarn won at a previous retreat that I had hand dyed, as my extra fiber.  You can see the yarn in the picture below (inside the roving) but the pic does not do the colours justice.

I am so looking forward to starting this project, but I've decided that I cannot until I'm finished spinning the fiber I'm already working on.  There really isn't that much left to do, I just can't seem to sit down and do it.  Until then, here is a pic of the order I just finished...blanket mittens, and machine knit hats and mittens.  It was a fun order and I enjoyed putting it all together.