Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Commissioned Handspun - "The Moors"

My friend Liza commissioned me to spin her an appropriate yarn to knit a scarf with. She needed a gift for "the man who has everything", so what better than a truly handcrafted effort.

I took my wheel down to Skookum Lake over the weekend, and sat outside with a lovely view of the lake, and spun for the better part of the day. Exceedingly relaxing and fulfilling.

It's 2 ply aran-chunky weight, 6.5 oz, 225 yards, 100% mystery wool. I call it "The Moors", as its spun from some of the same wool as "Heathcliff". Looking back over the Heathcliff post, I see that I claimed it was my favourite that I had spun to date. Liza will think that I have quite perjured myself completely, as I said the same about this one. Clearly, I've truly enjoyed the mystery wool, gifted to me by my from my friend Linda!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

A Delightful Announcement: Shabby Motley Opening Soon!

It is with great joy that I announce the Fall opening of my shop, Shabby Motley - a yarn shop, a café, and a dedicate space for showcasing an array of regionally produced goods, including handcrafts, textiles, art, and edibles.

Visit the shop, enjoy a coffee with Tuula's famous Scandinavian baking, and work on your projects.

If you wish to learn a new accomplishment, classes and workshops will be held throughout the Fall and Winter, in knitting, crocheting, spinning, dyeing, crafting, etc.

The online store will launch along with the storefront at

Shabby Motley will be open October 1st, barring disasters or unforeseeable mishaps, at 356 Queen Street East (formerly Frank's Food and former to that, Taste of Scandia), across the street from Fabric Land, directly next door to Algoma Bicycle Co.

If you wish to sell your products at Shabby Motley, please contact for details.

Friday, 26 July 2013

I won the lotto - AKA "Evelyn Strikes Again"

Last weekend, I was in the Niagra region for a wedding, and happily made it to 3 yarn shops in one day! I had just left The Fibre Garden, a spinning and yarn store in Jordan, ON, and I was on my way down the street to visit Stitch, when I got a text message. It was very alarming.

"My parents have moved out of their house. I have all of my mom's spinning stuff. It's yours if you want it. When can I drop it off?"

It was my old next-door-neighbour, the daughter of Evelyn, the woman I bought my wheel from!

When I got back in town, she came by with a truck load. When she left, I was shaking. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know who to call. Below is the tale of my bounty. Along with a vocabulary lesson.

The drum carder. It preps wool for spinning in a fraction of the time it takes to do with handcards. It can also be used to blend colours. I've wanted one since the day I bought my wheel, considering the number of fleece I have to process. They are prohibitively expensive to most spinners. One this size would cost me over $650 + shipping to buy. Evelyn's husband build this using drafting plans. Despite sitting in a closet for 30 years, a few drops of oil is all it took for it to work like new. It's such a masterpiece that even Nate was taken by it's non-traditional beauty. "This thing looks awesome" he says. 
And it does. 
A lovely set of handcards. You can't bring a drum carder with you everywhere!

A big, fat drop spindle. I have never tried a drop spindle, but this one is so soft and lovely and heavy that I've carried it with me for the last few days, hoping to find a moment to try it. 

A 'Lazy Kate' that holds three bobbins for plying yarn! Nate tried to make me one a few months back, but Angus got so upset when Nate turned the drill on, that the project was put on hold indefinitely. 

A spinning apron. If you look really closely you can see it says "Romney Wools Ltd" with a sheep on it. So vintage! And I feel so professional when I wear it.

A niddy noddy for skeining/measuring yarn after spinning. It's a small one, so it will not replace the beast my father-in-law Tom built for me out of an old chair at camp, but it's the perfect size for 50g skeins.

I didn't know what this was, so I posted on the Fibre Artist and Yarn Spinners Facebook group. I received many different responses from people, who all claimed to know exactly what it was, despite them all claiming it was something entirely different from one another. "I have been using one for years, it's a such-and-such" they all declared. It seems to be fairly conclusive that it is a yarn blocker, but can also be used as a silk real. Or if I were to install some mesh I could use it as a tumbler; or I think someone said something about adding pegs to make it a winder. These cost $400!
Oh my. A mixed bag of fibre, mostly unlabled, but the box says "silk, angora, mohair, camel down..." A huge mystery bin of very expensive fibre is what it is!
A Skein holder. When used in combination with a ball winder (shown below), a skein of yarn can gets rolled into a ball in moments. I have a cousin who took weeks to roll a ball of yarn (you know who you are). This was so fun, I had a dream about doing it the other night. Make all the bad jokes you want. Don't knock it till you try it.

Every issue of Spin Off magazine, from 1984 to 1990 (36 issues). Spinning is thousands of years old and the equipment hasn't evolved much, so I have no concerns about the magazines being 3 decades old. I'm not getting hair teasing and swim suit advice from a 1985 Elle MacPherson.

Or wait. Is this back in now?
So that's my lot, excepting a few more books and a doffer stick. My house is packed. I need a studio. And I haven't even written about the 1918 Finnish loom that was given to me by my friend Tuula last month! Another post for another day...


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Jane Austen Tea 2013, Persuasion, Photo Gallery

Here is a gorgeous series of photographs capturing a few of the great moments from this year's tea. The person who I deemed to be the "Guest of Honour" is noticeably absent from the photos, as she also filled the role of photographer. My dearest friend, Katina Schell, extended her Sault Ste. Marie vacation for a few days just to be present, as she couldn't imagine a life in which she was unable to attend. At least that is what I choose to believe. 

Monday, 24 June 2013


Amongst several piles of clothes sorted by size, season, and baby growing/nursing potential, sat my lonely spinning wheel - bobbin 3/4 full, and untouched for over a month.

I've been busy. My days seem to be over as soon as I realise my morning coffee is cold.

To make it up to my neglected yarn, I gave her a glamorous makeover.

A thick and thin single, plied with a commercial metallic thread that adds both sparkle and strength. 

All dressed up with nowhere to go.  

What to knit?

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Loathful Lattice

Let me be plain - I almost always find lattice unsightly. I'd hate to offend any lattice lovers, but so it is. This small garden is on the side of my front porch. This homely lattice extends all the way across the front of the porch as well, but is largely shielded by an overgrowth of day lilies. One day, this garden will be bursting forth with well established lavender and herbs, but it will be several years before I can expect much in the way of lattice coverage. 

I'd like to hide it entirely, and what I lack in design skills, I make up for in patience to try a 100 options until it is acceptable.

Please share any design suggestions or Pinterest pins. 

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Letter no. 6

Crazy Baby, Lonely Blog.

Dear Anne,

I apologize for my long delay in responding. My writing and accomplishments have been somewhat stifled by a daily battle with an almost-one-year-old, who happily sets about destroying my house from 5:00am onward. 

The Jane Austen Tea was lovely as always. I have yet to receive the photos from Katina, the photographer. Perhaps this gentle nudge will remind her. 

I agree that Anne Elliot is the loneliest of Austen's main characters. I'd like to disagree for the sake of a conversation, but so it is. Though Marianne of S&S was more overtly broken-hearted and tortured, her friends and family were principally concerned for her well-being, when she felt most lonely.  Conversely, Anne was almost entirely ignored for the better part of a decade, and even her friend Mrs. Russle largely disregarded her feelings regarding the Captain. 

The book chosen for next year is Emma. It was my least favourite book until recently. I hadn't read it since I was about Emma's age, and at the time I couldn't forgive her insolence and immaturity;  but like many things, upon reviewing it after doing some maturing of my own, my feelings are quite the opposite. I find her exceedingly charming now. I am truly looking forward to next year's event! 

Alas! Wee Angus has stirred from his nap, and is now attempting to scale the bars of his crib. I must be off!