Summer is really winding down quickly here in Ontario. It has been really chilly but I am not bothered – it’s making me want to update my Fall wardrobe and wear scarves and go to evening outdoor events where you can bundle up with hot cider and listen to live music – that sort of thing. Nesty.
I think sometimes when I am trying to give a name to my blog posts that I get sort of frazzled ..trying to figure out how to give a title about everything I am going to write about so it ends up looking like ‘Random Art Show, Some Food Stuff, Dog News, etc’ so from now on I am going to raise the stifling curse on myself and give random one-liner names of words in my head at the time. Why is it important anyhow?
So, the Kitchener-Waterloo knitter’s fair was a great success. My wares looked lovely in the generous booth space and there were many patrons, and overall nice people. I got to meet some people I know from Ravelry, in person and with the boys there to help me, it was not overwhelming at all. I really started preparations for the show ahead of time so I set myself up for success on the big day. Here are some shots of my booth!
The overall booth
Hand Dyed Yarn Wall
Candy Sprinkles Yarn and Fiber Goodies
Octopi Yarn Bowls, Test tubes of Beads, Bamboo Lace
Stitch Markers, More Bamboo Lace, Buttons
So, I think I am all finished for canning season this year, except husband is going to try to pickle some insanely hot Thai green chilies that we used 4 ounces of in our salsa. The salsa turned out completely yummy. So, for this year I did huge loads of salsa, canned whole tomatoes, canned chopped tomatoes, plum butter, strawberry jam, candy apple jelly, dill pickles, and rhubarb marmalade. Today is farmer’s market day though so one can never be sure if something else might catch my eye. I am thinking something apple, but not apple sauce would be nice.
Mat and I have started podcasting again, after over a year of not doing so. So, for Muststashyo listeners, you can download the new episode here: http://www.muststashyo.com/ We are working away on the next one too and it will be recorded and uploaded on Sunday probably.
I also have a massive yarn update on it’s way – a new link called ‘Wink Wink’ of hand dyed worsted yarns perfect for hat and cowl projects. And, I have the new Fall 2011 Bootsie colours as well as some new merino/cashmere/nylon sock yarn. Here’s a peek:
Bootsie sock yarn
Wink Wink Worsted
Lastnight was a lot of fun too – I went to the Brampton Indie Artfest at The Rose Theatre and we saw The House Plants, The Shuffle Demons, some great art installations, heard some poetry slamming, ate organic cotton candy, and saw a lot of smoking hipsters. The best part of the night would have to be The Shuffle Demons though – they sounded great and reminded me of when I was a kid and used to hear them playing their music from across the street. There was a little old lady who lived across the street from me as a kid and the least sax player/singer of the band was married to her daughter.
I am heading back for a second night tonight to see Lily Frost and some other acts. Anyhow, the work day beckons and I should listen.
So, my birthday was August 1st and celebrations only somewhat simmered as of lastnight. That is the sign of having really good friends and family. And, I can say, I am blessed with that. I went to Prince Edward County, the home of my birth, last weekend to visit the family, have much cake, beaching, and barbecue. It was a lot of fun. I am mildly bothered that someone has managed to tell the tourists about my favorite secret beach though. Having grown up in the small town I did, a big part of me wants it to stay somewhat close to what I remember, but things can’t obviously stay exactly the same. I am fine embracing change but I have to admit that I am somewhat overwhelmed by the tourist trap my hometown has become. It is now an art haven, food haven, wine country extravaganza of things that …well, it never actually was. I feel sometimes like it is a facade of glamour that hangs it’s halo around an otherwise normal, but beautiful place. Being the lover of art, literature, food, and all those things that make us human, I am happy that these things have moved there, but a part of me sort of feels distressed that the purveyors may claim they were always there. I sort of feel like they uproot the roots of the real people who live there and grew up there. It’s maybe a silly feeling but I am sure it is not a sentiment I feel alone. Seeing the changes in the farming industry, and a general scale down of the farmland makes me wonder how a lot of the locals feel. I know that my family now have to travel to land in the middle of nowhere to feel like they have ‘escaped’ and, home used to just …a constant escape….at least from things like cellphones, traffic, noise, pollution, etc. but it can sometimes not feel that way. Anyhow, enough of my passive wondering about the state of things. There was a lovely outdoor art show on while I wast there, with painters painting out in the street, and a street sale with craft and local vendors.
I was able to have my favourite pizza, favourite submarine sandwich and favourite ice cream all in one weekend…what can be better than that? This is a funny video I found from my favourite sub shop, Imperial Submarines, made by a local radio DJ (I think…) as you will likely also judge from his voice. You can get a real feel for how sweet the family that owns the shop are. They are lovely, and people that I grew up around. Just good people…
Also, guess who got an iPad for her birthday? Oh yes…and I have to say, they are awesome. I think that I still like the Kindle better for reading books however, mainly because it is ePaper so easy on the eyes, and it is more lightweight and small. But, the iPad is amazing for browsing, applications, reading in colour, magazines, etc. It is really nice and I am a spoiled brat.
I also stopped into Rose Haven Farm Store to replenish a whole new stock of art yarns, so if you are in the area and want to check them out…pop into the shop.
In other artsy news, I am working on a line of custom spinning supplies, including some plying threads. I came up with the idea because I am always looking for ways to make things more my own. So, I started working on my own plying threads and I just really loved the control over being able to chose the colours, texture, fibre content, weight and so on. Here’s a peek at one. There are a couple in the shop and more to come very soon!
This week I am planning an adventure in growing some hollyhocks. I learned recently that hollyhocks bloom every two years and the colour they bloom depends on how they are pollinated. Being that I love surprises, I think these have to be one of the most interesting flowering stalks. I did some research and learned about how to take care of a condition called hollyhock rust, which is like a rusty-ness that occurs on the leaves and can impact other weak plants in your garden. These are my little pods, drying up and waiting for their chance to be planted.
A couple of years ago, I was trolling the Freecycle lists and I came across a post from a man who was clearing out a huge collection of Playboy magazines. So, being the curious artist and reclaimer that I am, I messaged him telling him that I would love to pick them up and use them for art projects. A little while later he messaged me back telling me the story about them. They belonged to his late father who had recently passed away. The entire family had no idea that he had this collection, and his mother was a bit disheartened by these taudry bits of literature so he was hoping I could get them ASAP. I headed to his place that night and he relayed to me his relief in that an artist contacted him instead of some creepy pervert. The whole situation was a laugh for both of us. So, I now have all of the Playboy magazines printed from the early sixties to the mid-nineties. Some, I preserve, and some I use for art projects. Recently when wandering around The Value Village, I saw this whole box of 12 matching, tacky gold frames. In the interest of unique wall art….a plan was born and now all I have to do is hang these pretties.
Mat and I are working on the next episode of the Muststashyo podcast. I am hoping to get it done for this weekend depending on how things go. This has proven to be a very busy summer.
Lastnight I spent a great evening with my friends in Richmond Hill – one of my favourite knitting groups and just awesome people. We have started to have these little birthday celebrations each month to mark the birthdays of our friends from the group. It’s a great idea. I received some beautiful yarn, liquer and a lovely necklace from my lovely friend Kittynne. It’s a beautiful ceramic pendant necklace from http://www.etsy.com/shop/surly and yes, yes, it has a MOUSTACHE on it!!! Yay! The girl does lovely work, and custom orders!
I also wanted to mention something else that is dear to my heart, because of my friend Stacey…it’s Kayak for a Cure! Stacey is a really sweet, genuine person and a cancer survivor. She’s fun and awesome and doing her part to raise money for cancer – something that I think we all can relate to, unfortunately. One thing I have to say that I can find joy in when people have a serious illness, is that it changes them. In many cases of people I have been close to, and in Stacey’s case, you can see such a bright light that comes from them…a whole new appreciation for life and those around them. If you have it in your heart, please check out her story and donate some money to the cause: http://convio.cancer.ca/site/TR?px=3684970&fr_id=6600&pg=personal. If you have some time to sit and read her story, you will see how her sweetness, intellect, wit and charm shine though. She is a survivor of chondrosarcoma which I only learned about lastnight, in detail. It affected her skull base and she had to go through much healing and recovery, but she is now bright as a sunflower, getting back in her boat and doing something really positive! So, be inspired and donate some money to the cure and maybe send her a kind word. 🙂 Or, if you are into kayaking and want to participate check it out – http://kayakforacure.org
And, Episode 8 of the Muststashyo podcast is recorded, this one focusing on Mel Blanc – what a fun guy! I am cooking up some really fun things for the podcast that will be pottery and yarn centric. Here’s a look at where my thought process is going:
It was overall a great weekend of knitting, spinning, pottery and just relaxing. I had lunch at one of my favourite restaurants that have this lovely platter of dips they serve with warm pita – kefalotiri, olive tapenade and hummus are my favourites.
That combined with a great shopping day, beautiful weather, new shoes….life is good!
I have been a lazy blogger but definitely not lazy at all. It has been a busy couple weeks..since having the stomach flu; I almost immediately contracted the sinus infection from Hades. I assume it was from not eating for a week and having a weaker immune system or something. But I am feeling loads better now and I am sort of just left with a bit of a nasally voice thing..which should be gone in a couple of days. I started recording for the podcast lastnight regardless because it has been eons since I have put out a new episode and I have so much stuff to talk about. The agenda is written and I was almost ready to get into production mode, when alas…my external hard drive that contains most of the podcast files, and ahem, all of my mp3s….crashed. So, Mat is going to work on having the files retrieved from where we bought it and getting a new external hard drive. I hate that it is so hard to just keep things pristine forever. The whole purpose of buying that thing was to have a safe keeping for certain files. Ah well, it will get figured out I’m sure.
In better news, my membership to the Mississauga Potter’s Guild was accepted and I could not be more excited. I was able to spend some time there over the weekend just throwing clay on the wheel and practicing centering and form. It was nice to be able to do that outside of the time contraints of a class. It has given me a million ideas for different things I want to make and also fun giveaways for the blog or the podcast.
I have also been knitting away on the Willow Cowl that I am making for a secret friend and it is coming along nicely. I found that the picot edge was a little tricky, although it was my first so I can’t complain too much. I just found that it was hard to line up the cast on with the stitches on the needle and seam them together without any kind of twisty action. So, I decided to just stitch through the whole trim with some waste yarn and then pick up the cast on row to seam, then I pulled out the waste yarn and voila! It worked nicely.
I have also managed to spin up a few new yarns that I will be adding to the shop shortly. I plan to do a large update in a couple of weeks with more Candy Sprinkles yarn and art yarns.
It has been a very eventful week or so with much stuff happening so I have not had much time to blog, which reminds me that I also need to get working on the next episode of the Muststashyo podcast. It is almost ready for production. I just have a bit more research to do on a couple things. It has been a crazy week of issues with my job, my cat, my organization freakout craziness which led me…to the inevitable ….task…of….adding ALL my yarn stash to Ravelry’s database. It is somewhat terrifying, mainly because it actually only accounts for about 40% of all the yarn I actually own. It reflects only the stuff that is whole skeins and has labels. With the nature of my mediums in fiber work, I tend to have a lot of yarn for using bits of in different things. However, this is a good accomplishment because I now can cross-reference the yarns I have with projects I am planning. So, wanna peek at my scary stash? Check it out: http://www.ravelry.com/people/studioloo/stash
I had a relatively good day. I spent most of it crocheting pieces for my ocean reef. I have determined that that is a good way to both give my brain a rest as well as use up a lot of yarns that are scraps, partial skeins or too weird/tacky for garments, etc. Here is what I accomplished in the last couple days:
I am really excited to set up the ocean reef again to take a good look at how big it has gotten because I have not done so for about a year now and off and on I just keep making more pieces and tossing them into this giant sized ziploc bag. So, it should be quite large now.
I went to the bookstore tonight and was stoked to see that Chapters is having a sale on a load of McSweeney’s books. I love reading short stories so I bought my first books since receiving a Kindle for xmas and vowing to stop buying books. I determined this is acceptable book buying however because their books are so awesome and ..not on the the Kindle that I know of (admittedly I haven’t searched) but also they were like 80% off….so who can say no to that?
I also had my first pottery class for my third stint with the Mississauga Potter’s Guild and it was fantastic. I have a new teacher this time, which is great. I have loved working with the teacher that taught my last two courses; she is very technical and this has helped me really grasp the importance of form and function. The current teacher seems very creative and makes your mind buzz with ideas for texture, glazing techniques and colour. So, I am thinking that the output I will have in this class will be really unique and broad. I’m totally excited and on a mission to find tjaps from India or other areas where saris are printed and made. Tjaps are the woodblock or copper printing stamps, often hand carved, and used to print the lovely floral, tribal, or themed patterns on the sari cloth. I am also working on doing some planning to carve my own and possibly sculpt and bisque a few different stamps for clay imprinting. Tjaps are really cool though. Check out Zanzibar Trading to learn more about them here: http://www.zanzibar-trading.com/store/default.asp?ID=48 . It seems a few different companies import them from time to time but they are usually the copper ones or the handcarved wooden ones so they are really expensive and sell really fast. Look how amazing they are:
Also, I will be reviewing this more on the podcast later this week but in the meantime I wanted to promote Kissing Party because they totally sent me their amazing CD ‘The Hate Album’ and a tambourine! How awesome! Deidre’s voice is awesome and they just have a really great sound. It’s fun music – give them a listen!
Welcome to the new Studioloo blog and website! I decided late in 2009 that I needed a new space to keep up a daily blog with loads of pictures of what I am up to and share things like recipes, photos, patterns, etc. So, this is it! There are also a bunch of improvements to Studioloo in general – namely the shop! It is scaled down with a focus on fiber arts and has cart functionality, finally!
I have for some time enjoyed doing the graphic part of web design, but have fallen out of love with the coding and configuration of it all, hence why this has taken so long. The many ecommerce options out there all present a lot of different kinds of challenges but I have settled on a solution I am happy with.
Anyhow, January has me feeling really renewed with a focus on wanting to be creative and find new ways to live my life and prepare myself to be more involved in the things I love doing. This blog will be a reflection of that and a frequent window into my life and what I am working on. I have a huge yarn and fiber update underway. I didn’t want to do it right away, but instead allow myself to focus on getting the current stock up on the new platform. I have yet to add all the non-fibery artsy things that I do to the shop. That will come with time.
For those of you who aren’t already aware, I started the Muststashyo podcast late last year with Mat from Manspun and I am really enjoying it. I have dyed up a few skeins of our Cindlebar Matstash bamboo sock yarn that we do for the podcast. We are working on some fun colour development for 2010 among a few other fun projects, giveways and so on.
Mat has also been working on a bunch of yarn for his shop – really yummy merino, cashmere, nylon sock yarn that he has hand dyed in some awesome colours.
Another thing I want to focus more on is photography and recording my process in creating things. I used to be really good at that but in the last year I have had a lot of business goals and personal ones that have pulled my time away from this. So, I am going to try to get back into that. I have been trying to photograph my fiber palettes in the ‘before the spin’ stage a lot more. I find them to be really inspiring and fun to remember and look back on. Here’s one that I spun up this weekend for a line of yarn called Transcends that I am trying to stock up on. It is characterized by long colour repeats that actually only appear one time in the skein.
The theme for this one was purple so all of the fibers in the yarn have purple incorporated in some way, either as the main colour or as flecks in a coordinating colour.
Here are a few other yarns I have finished in the last week or so:
Gold Rush of Sugar:
And an action shot:
And this one was a lot of fun. I mentioned it a bit on the last podcast – Bird and Button Consortium. This was just a phrase that popped into my head one day and came out of my mind as a yarn. It was a lot of fun to make. I carded up really soft batts of merino, seacell, bamboo, soysilk and gold angelina. The yarn is a natural white with a bit of hemp and gold sparkle and throughout it are vintage buttons in really lovely patterns and adorable little birds.
So, welcome to the new blog and the new studioloo!