Wednesday, October 28, 2009

lucky me!

Did you know there's a new magazine out? It's called Uppercase and it's billed as "a magazine for the creative and the curious," which I think means me! While not quite as expensive as Selvedge, it's up I was a little hesitant to dive right in upon first hearing about the premiere issue, in the Spring.

I'd somewhat forgotten all about it until a couple of weeks ago, when I saw an ad on a blog. So when I was at Deanne's last week, I asked the room full of creative (and mostly curious) ladies if anyone was familiar with it. Deanne said that if you get one good idea, then it's worth the $20. I agreed with her. From the little bit I had read (all good, I might add), I was pretty sure that I would get at least one good idea - and likely many more.

I finally got around to subscribing on the weekend....and was thrilled to get an email yesterday informing me that I was their 800th subscriber. Is there anything better than winning a contest you didn't even know existed? I can't wait for my parcel to arrive.... so I can pour over the contents. In the meantime, I'll be sitting with my fingers crossed - hoping this is one of the times that Canada Post is super speedy.....

Monday, October 26, 2009

A beautiful day in Belfountain

Jen and Jan

On Saturday a lovely group of ladies got together and invited me to come down and help them complete their purses. They had finished the hooking part we spent the day doing all of the hardest steps in the assembly. By mid-afternoon, we were all starting to feel a little maxed out and decided to call it a day. Although no one left with their purse entirely finished, most everyone is very close to being done and they should all be easily able to finish the last couple of steps at home.

This is the first time I've taught a purse class that is focused on the hands-on finishing of the purses.....and I wasn't quite sure how it was all going to unfold. We had plenty of sewing machines and irons and more sewing supplies than we really needed. The only thing we could have used was a second zipper foot.....but it all worked out in the end. It always does, doesn't it?

Jen & Bonnie (with Lynn working hard n the background)

As per usual, I forgot to take pictures throughout the day (thank you Jan for sending the above pictures!), but I did manage to snap a few towards the end of the afternoon. Here are some the purses people were working on (a couple of ladies had left before I could capture their purse).....

Sue's Cornflowers

Jan's Birds of a Feather

Lynn's Cornflowers

Jean's Birds of a Feather

Bonnie's Leaving Home

The workshop was held at Martina Lesar's log cabin studio in Caledon....and it's a wonderful place, filled with lots of beautiful wools and materials and many hooked rugs and some cute footstools. I couldn't resist so much temptation.... and came home with a couple of skeins of yarn and some dyed fleece.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Three days in P.E.I.

For my first trip to P.E.I., the only thing that could have made it better was nicer weather (it was quite cold, damp, grey, windy, and wet). Well, maybe the weather and also a less up-close-and-personal view of the sidewalk outside the Eptek Centre (which wasn't even open! ....luckily there was only a little blood and my sprained wrist healed quickly ;-) )

While travelling in the off-season meant that quite a few attractions were closed -- the quiet roads more than made up for it. We drove around the whole island, just missing a couple of spots on the south-west corner and a few miles along the south/central shore (because of the stormy weather and poor visibility). I would love to go back in either May, June or September, and spend more time walking along the many beaches.

Here are some pictures that show a few of the places we visited and stopped to see....

It may be our smallest province, but it sure makes up for it in pretty sights.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

N.S. Day Five: third day of class

(this was one of my favourites in Deanne's studio....I love it!)

The last day of class is always a bit of a sad day...but Friday was a pretty good last day.

I'd already decided that I wasn't really in love with my piece (a direct consequence of making a rash decision about what to do on the first day -- I never decide so I should have questioned my surprise at having my drawing on the backing so fast. It's just not the way I normally operate.) I wasn't unhappy with my decision - I felt more relieved than anything. Although I was liking what I had done so far, I just didn't feel connected enough to the idea to follow through and finish such a large piece.

Instead, I spend much of the day winding some skeins into balls, looking at some of the different books that people bought to share in class, leafing through Doris' magnificent journal, participating in the various exercises and listening to the presentations. Then, during one of Doris' walkabouts....she suggested that instead of abandoning my piece entirely, that I just shrink it (squaring it off around the section that I had done so that it would be about one tenth the size). It was a great idea and I was back hooking on it again...

Doris also shared another rug with the class - this one hooked almost entirely with sweaters from all over the world.

I haven't hooked with sweaters before, but seeing this rug makes me want to try. Doris said she cuts the sweaters in the same direction as the ribbing (i.e. if you were cutting the sleeves you would cut from wrist to shoulder).

Other highlights of the day included a trip to the Fibre Market (which should not be missed if you go next year! It's also best that you go early - even if it means leaving class for a little break before lunch :-) ) and listening to Deanne reading a couple of passages from her new book (due out next Fall). Oh, and there was one last supper at Duncan's ;-)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Trying to Track Tom....

I've been inundated by requests for contact information for Tom Ingalls, after posting a picture of a couple of his beautifully crafted hooks. Like many others, I've tried googling no avail.

If you know Tom's number and/or have an e-mail address for him, I know that it would make many people very happy....thanks!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

home sweet home

With all of the last-minute preparation that is usually required before going away, making sure my place is left clean and neat is often the last thing that I feel like doing. Still, I try my best (and I am always amazed at how the job seems to fit the time I have to spend) ....and usually manage to pull it off. Apart from morbid thoughts of not making it home from my trip (and my sisters having to sort through the sty), my other motivation is that it is just oh, so much better to come home to a tidy place. It's also easier to tame the chaos that always accompanies unpacking....

Ever since I arrived home just after two o-clock today, I've hardly stopped. I unpacked all the suitcases, put (mostly) everything away, realized just how much I contributed to the local Maritime economy ($$$), bought groceries, sorted the laundry, read the mail, cooked supper (and lunch for tomorrow!), responded to almost all of the emails....and now I've finally got a moment to rest -- oops, I mean post! ;-) I will be taking some time in the next few days to complete the rest of my travel the meantime, here's a full confession of what I purchased. I must preface this to say that I was shocked (horrified might be a better word) to discover how much I had bought -- any and all of the room available following the purse class was filled (and then some!) -- I wasn't joking about doing my part to contribute to the economy!

At the same time, I don't regret buying any of the items I purchased from local artists, craftspeople and small businesses (which is pretty much everything) -- I just wish that I'd spent a little less money. On with the show and tell....

Gorgeous hand-dyed cotton (for Sashiko) and needles from Sande Gunning

Bag by Christine Stanley, Basket from Basket Weavers of PEI, Pewter from Basic Spirit

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hi from PEI

We've been having a great time in PEI, after arriving on Saturday morning. Things have been so busy that I haven't had much time to post. That, and I also (finally!) finished reading my book ;-)

I did try to post once from my iphone, but it never showed up....since we're heading home tomorrow, I will catch you up on the rest of our trip once I get back. For now, we are off to this cool place -- as recommended by Doris Eaton...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

N.S. Day Three: first day of class

Today was a wonderful day. The class was amazing....and many other great things happened, too. One of the most interesting things for me (and I think I've mentioned it before) is seeing where a person's ideas for their art originate. Doris Eaton has one of the best scrapbooks for this -- including pictures of the finished piece alongside her original sketches and any inspirational images or photos.

In today's class, she shared with the class her streamlined approach to sketching the design for a recent rug....and we were also able to see the finished piece: Tall Trees and Hollyhocks.

Doris also shared a wonderful work that was designed and created by her daughter, Mary Vaughan. This picture gives some idea of the size - it is massive! Originally designed to be a stair runner, she later opted to hang it on the wall so that the design wasn't broken up. It is stunning.

We also had a special visitor in class: Mama Mansour! Are you familiar with Mama's video? Deanne and Donny will be offering a class together next year during the Fibre Arts Festival.

One of the things we did in class today was a little challenge piece. Everyone was provided with a little bag of wool - including small amounts of cut and uncut fabric, yarns, ribbons, fleece, etc. - and we were challenged to hook a little landscape using only the contents of our bag -- in just an hour! What amazed me the most about the exercise is that by limiting my choices, I hooked much faster than usual. I didn't have a lot to choose from, so I didn't spend (waste?) a lot of time selecting each strip or color.

The following picture shows what I hooked, as well as the remaining contents of my scrap bag. I will admit that I had a particularly good bag....

At lunchtime, we went for a quick walk over to Bella's Cafe, where there is little show of Doris' work on display. Since people were eating their lunch at the time, we didn't feel comfortable taking pictures.....but we will have that luxury tomorrow night, when there is a special dinner at Bella's as part of the Fibre Arts Festival.

I love these hockey rugs - even though I'm not really a hockey fan...unless it's the Olympics!

It is so interesting to see all of the different colours, values, textures and fibres that were used in this piece (this is a close-up of the above mat)....

We had a quick trip to Heidi's after class - where decision making is always difficult, because there are so many lovely things. Then it was off to Duncan's (again!) for supper. So far I've been able to keep to my "eat seafood every day" diet... ;-)

In the evening, we had the fortunate opportunity to be introduced to Newfoundland author, Donna Morrissey, at her book reading. There is nothing quite like hearing an author read sections of her book aloud -- it makes me wish that all books could talk. I picked up an autographed copy of Kit's Law....and can't wait to read it (as soon as I finish An Echo in the Bone, of course!)

I cannot wait to see what we do in our second day of class....