Friday, 22 March 2013

Letter No. 4

Dear Anne,

Thank you for your letter. No need to apologize on your delayed response. I can well understand the distractions of life. I too have been delayed. I feel my "year off" for maternity leave is most certainly the most consuming employment I have experienced - being on duty 24 hours a day, and trying to keep a haphazard baby alive and all.

I thought on it, and off the top, aside from Aunt Gardener, I can only think of Mrs. Dashwood, as far as reasonable, older women go. Though she may have been unreasonably eager to see her daughters married off. Perhaps Jane had some deep seated issues with the older women in her life!

It got me thinking about the cast of Jane's novels, and with whom I identify with. When the TV series Sex and the City was all the rage, women everywhere were identifying as Carries, or Charlottes, or Mirandas, or Samanthas, or all of them at once. I feel I am a little bit Lizzy, a little bit Darcy, a little bit Mr. Woodhouse, and even a little Sir Walter Elliott. I think you know me well enough to know how I identify with the bulk of that list, but I may have you wondering over the last. I will be posting soon about my resistance to retrenching.

Speaking on relating to people of our respective generations, I can't think of any Austen enthusiasts of my generation, among my acquaintance.  It is a sad, lonely feeling for me. I am quite looking forward to our upcoming Jane Austen Tea, to include others in our Austen discussions. Though the guests of my generation have agreed to attend out of obligation, or a love of preserves, I know there will be many others who have a great deal to contribute to the day's discussion.

I must be off to prepare for this afternoon's Art-a-Thon. I hope to see you there!


Wednesday, 20 March 2013

A Dreary Yarn with an Appropriate Name

This is my favourite yarn that I have spun so far. I finished it weeks ago, but could not post it, because I could not think of an inspiring name. I tried my best for an Austinian reference, but I couldn't think of anything so dreary with Jane. All I could imagine were exposed, snow-squalled landscapes of leafless, stunted shrubs and lichens over bare rock. And when we think of such dark landscapes, I am sure we all immediately think of Wuthering Heights.

It is a woollen spun blend of two mystery wools from my friend Linda, and my standard white Poplar Dale Shetland fleece. It is mostly fine (at times super-fine, at other times sport-weight) yarn, with under-spun "snow-squalls" strewn throughout (and perhaps a few over-spun "crags").

Behold Heathcliff.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Jane Austen Tea

3rd Annual Jane Austen Tea

You are cordially invited to the 3rd annual Jane Austen Tea, 
to be held from 2pm-4pm, on the 6th of April, 
at the Sauvé-Broad manor, 19 The Drive.
This year, we hope to use our best persuasive powers to persuade you to read Persuasion. 
Guests able to demonstrate an understanding of the work will be entered into the lottery. 
There are several film adaptations that may suffice for some to feign knowledge.
A fine selection of delicacies will be served.
Warm regards, Miss Anne O’Connor and Ms Ashleigh Sauvé
Please RSVP at your earliest convenience to
(705) 257-8712
19 The Drive, Sault Ste, Marie, Ontario, P6B1B8

April 6th, 2013 awaits the 3rd annual Jane Austen Tea.

Our annual teas feature fine delicacies, hot tea, cold punch, great company, frilly aprons, and captivating discussion.

Though 2013 marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, for fear of seeming too contrived, we are discussing Persuasion.

Please forward the invitation along to any Jane Austen enthusiasts in your acquaintance - we fear not strangers, for any friend of Jane's is a friend of ours.


Below is a photo from our first Jane Austen event. We decided to celebrate it by watching the Royal Wedding, live, at 5:00am. Out of respect for the 17 guests, that arrived in full regency attire, who may not want their photo shared publicly, I will just post this photo of the lovely spread. If you are a Facebook friend of mine, you can view the full album here.

Our second Jane Austen Tea was held at a more reasonable hour, and celebrated Jane and all her works.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Art-a-thon - Pledging Accomplishments

Here is a perfect opportunity for everyone to become accomplished. This Friday, March 22nd, Sault Ste. Marie will be taken over by the Artathon - a fundraiser for the local programming of  National Youth Arts Week.

Stations will be set up all over town for participants to explore different art mediums and participate in creating things, and you don't even need to be an artist! Mediums include fibres, creative writing, Aboriginal art, music, print making, and drawing. If you are looking for a good time Friday afternoon, come find me at Dish Espresso Bar, where I will be hosting the Fibres group, while knitting and spinning yarn. I will even provide instruction for those looking to learn.

There are several ways to support the Artathon, including; collecting pledges for your art-making, pledging someone else's art-making, or bidding on auction items.

You can sponsor my knitting and spinning efforts by pledging me with either a flat rate, or you can pledge a certain amount per hour - but things might get wild - you may be shocked at how many hours I will knit for, if childcare is provided. I am aiming to play with fibres for 25 hours between now and March 29th, when funds need to be submitted.

If you are feeling artistic, collect some pledges for your work! You don't even need to do art on Friday - you can pick your own time and do it anywhere you want!

There are also two auctions that are part of the Artathon. Here is a link to the Facebook site where you can find all the info, along with the Materials, Tools and Instruments auction, that closes on Friday. There are some brilliant items up for auction. The second auction is an Original Works auction of pieces submitted by Artathon participants after Friday, that will be auctioned during National Youth Arts Week.

Here is the Shaw Cable interview highlighting the event and auctions.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Marianne and Colonel Brandon Capelet

I recently married two patterns.

I started off loosely following Sally Meliville's Knit-Round Scarf pattern, and by about three rounds in, I couldn't commit to a plain, crew neck collar on a plain capelet. I suffered with grand finale thoughts throughout the entire progress up to the neck, when it came upon me to Google a pattern for a scalloped edge.

Lovely Ingrid modelling the capelet
Here is my friend Ingrid modelling for me at the Circle of Creative Arts gallery on Queen. It looks so lovely on her, that I struggled with taking it back from her. Alas, I need something for my table at an upcoming sale!

The reserved, quiet body pairs with the complicated, romantic neckline, not unlike the way Marianne and Colonel Brandon pair in Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility. The style along with the natural taupe 100% virgin wool, lets us reasonably imagine it as something Marianne may have cozied up in while recovering from her illness, when she at last fell in love with the Colonel.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Elizabeth at Pemberly Yarn

It was Anne's birthday last week, and on account of my lent-related austerity measures, I could not purchase her a gift. I had just spun my Pemberly Spencer yarn, and thought it could be a good opportunity for me to try my first "Art Yarn". I honoured the entire previously-thought-ugly outfit by plying the Pemberly Spencer with Evalyn's leftover white yarn, then added some blended tufts of dark brown and rust.

I hadn't gauged the amount of white yarn left on the spool well, and so I hope Anne can find some occupation for her slim 45 yards.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Navajo Plying

Yesterday, I filled a bobbin for the first time. I normally get impatient, or run out of fibre, and hurriedly ply something together to brag about. I was so satisfied with my full bobbin that I thought I would learn to Navajo ply.

Navajo plying takes a single strand of yarn and makes it three-ply. I didn't seem to entirely comprehend beforehand that in doing so, it would result in less than 1/3 the original yardage. My impressively packed bobbin is now a not-so-impressive 33 yards.

Single ply, before the Navajo ply

It only requires one bobbin of single-ply, unlike other plying methods where you hold two or more strands to ply together. Nate hasn't finished constructing my 'lazy Kate' yet (the device that holds bobbins for plying), so this is rather convenient for me. Plying with just the one strand also preserves the colour pattern, compared to the candy cane affect you get when you ply different colours together, and it saves from having to divide your single ply into equal amounts. You also don't have any leftovers from the bobbins not plying equally.

It was not a difficult skill to learn with the tried-and-true YouTube tutorials. It is like making giant crochet loops with your whole hand. At first I thought I must be doing it all wrong, but I came to realize that it is one of those tasks where if you focus or think on it too much, it can be disastrous. Best to just execute the motions and hope for the best.

After Navajo Plying
There is some yellow in the wool that I am not fond of, so earlier today I learned how to dye wool using tea. It is now drying and awaiting its "after" photo. Another post for tomorrow. 

Letter No. 3

Letter Number Three

Dear Ashleigh

It has been some time since I have written.  Life gets so filled up with people, activities and distractions.  Wouldn’t it be grand to observe a day in Jane Austen’s life to see the people, activities and distractions that took her away from writing?  I just had this shock of awareness at what those distractions and necessities cost us.  Imagine the books!  Imagine the new characters.

Since our last talk, I have been thinking about the older women in the Austen books.  The women of my generation are not inspiring.  Lady Catherine is arrogant, controlling and lacks the awareness to see how this disconnects her from others.  Mrs. Bennet is flighty and attention seeking.  She does not deal with adversity in a manner that her children could model.  Lady Russell, although she appears to care for Anne, interferes with the relationship between Anne and Frederick.  Mrs. Jennings and Miss Bates are well intentioned but talk a great deal, drawing the contempt of the young women, Mary Anne and Emma.  Aunt Norris is as heartless a character as Wickham or Crawford.  Lady Bertram wins the unenviable title of the most passive person in all the novels.  In one of the films she is portrayed as drugged with laudanum.

Mrs. Bennet, Pride and Prejudice, 
Helen Sewell’s Illustrations
It is a fantasy of mine that Jane would have reached the age of 60 and written about women of my generation as wise, calm and inspiring.  But as you pointed out, if the conflict between Elizabeth and Darcy had not taken place we would not go back to the story repeatedly.  These older women provide the tension that demands that the younger women be assertive, or as in Emma’s case, humble.  There is Aunt Gardiner who likes to travel and writes letters.  I bet she knits!

Let’s finalize our plans for the tea this week.

Yours truly,