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It may not technically be spring but we've had such an easy winter, and the weather continues so mild, that it certainly feels like spring is in the air. Already we've seen flocks of robins moving through, and even Rose Breasted Grosbeaks which don't usually appear until May. Do they know something we don't?
As usual I'm late in updating the website, but finally have some workshop dates for the spring. And just a reminder that workshops are not always advertised on the site. Often, people contact me with requests. So I keep a list then plan the dates according to everyone's availability.
New workshop: Nuno Felted TunicThis is a two day workshop. The tunic is made in two pieces which makes it a lot easier for layout in the available space that most people have at home. Day one will be spent laying out and felting the two pieces. Day two we will complete any felting and start the sewing and fitting. We'll be using silk fabrics and embellishments, and merino wool.
This workshop will be held at St Pauls Education Centre in nearby Warkwarth, which has lots of tables and good lighting.
My Patrick Green "Elsacard" carder is for sale
This is a motorised four drum carder made by Pat Green, well known for his high quality carding machines. These machines are a wonderful investment. The Elsacard is named for Elsa Leydon of Longbranch Fiber Farm in Oregon. Elsa wanted a carder specifically for her lovely alpaca fleeces, and this machine is the result of her collaboration with Pat Green. As well as doing a superb job on alpaca, it also does a great job with most wools - producing large fluffy batts up to 200g in one or two passes.
Pat Green no longer makes these machines. I bought his second Elsacard in 2004. It is in wonderful condition, but I no longer do much carding and hate to see this great piece of equipment sitting around unused.
Rocky has a new friend Max, a border collie that we adopted in November. His previous owners were not prepared for the energy level of a border collie and he was spending too much time in his crate. So he came to live with us to be Rocky's playmate. Max is a year old, very well behaved (unlike Rambunctious Rocky), and even though he is quite a bit smaller than Rocky, he can give as good as he gets when the playing gets a bit rough. They are very well matched in temperament, and life is so much easier now that Rocky has another dog to play with. Old Russell our Karelian Bear Dog will be 15 this year and just wants a quiet life.
Here is our spectacular Partridge Chantecleer rooster having a bit of a crow. The hens started laying in October and are still laying, though a little less because of the short days. They're very hardy and come out to peck around in the snow even when the temperature has been down to -15C. Which is not often this winter, thank goodness.
A Busy Year
I always have the best intentions to write the newsletter each season, but each time I get busy, especially in spring when the garden takes a lot of my time. This year has been no different, but everything is planted and growing well and I can turn my attention back to doing what I love even more than vegetable growing - Felting. It's been busy with family visits, a trip to England, and celebrating the 100th birthday of Rod's mom. Now with all that behind us I can get back to the studio (which thankfully is nice and cool) and try out some felting ideas that have been percolating.
New Prefelt Colours
- Tangerine - less red than the Carrot
- Sky Blue - softer and less vibrant than the Turquoise
March: Nuno Scarf workshop in my studio
A wonderful workshop with a granddaughter/grandmother team, Bailey who is just 13, and Trish. This was their first experience of felting. I was so impressed with Bailey who, despite her tender age, showed confidence and focus as she laid out her scarf and worked on the felting/fulling.
Trish with her finished, very delicate nuno scarf
Bailey laying out her design
May: Nuno Tunic workshop in the Education Centre, Warkworth, ON
In this two day workshop we felted two panels at the same time, then cut and sewed. It was a lot of fun. One of the participants, Vicci, is an amazing seamstress and was very generous with ideas for shaping, cutting, seaming, and so on.
Denise laying out her panels
Denise in her finished tunic
Vici laying out her fibres
First cut. Scary!
Sue laying out
Sue in her finished tunic
Cheryl's felted/fulled fabric
Barb, first time felter - you'd never know it!
Barb in her finished tunic
June Dye Day
The participants of the tunic workshop were keen to do some dyeing. So we got together and did some “sort of” tie dye with cotton and silk fabrics using MX fibre reactive dyes. What a great day, huge anticipation as the fabrics came out of their containers.
Denise wearing hers
I've been a bit indecisive about fall workshop dates. I'm waiting on family to decide just when they will be visiting. So as soon as I know that, I can go ahead and book dates. My apologies for those people on my rather long waiting lists. For sure there will be one or two hat workshops, and a scarf workshop or two. If I can get the space that I want, there will be a two day seamless tunic workshop for experienced felters only.
News from the homestead
The vegetable garden is up and running, we are definitely in a drought now, but the hot weather plants like tomatoes squash and melons are doing well, leafy plants not so much. We have had to do a lot of watering, but were too late for the raspberries, which dried up and fell off before filling out.
We have more eggs than we need - lucky friends sometimes get a nice gift! We have several hens which keep going broody, so put some eggs under one of them. She sat, and she sat, and it went past the three weeks that a hatch takes. At nearly four weeks we realised it wasn't going to happen, so we checked the eggs (with a mask on but it wasn't actually that bad) and none had signs of a developing chick. That was a big disappointment. Maybe our rooster isn't as virile as he'd like us all to think, the way he struts about and "cock a doodle doo's" all day!
Sad news. Old Russell, our 15 year old Karelian Bear Dog, died a couple of weeks ago. He was very frail and his arthritis wasn't being controlled by the maximum dosage of anti inflammatory/painkillers. We really miss the old boy. Not so the two young border collies who no longer have to give the old guy a wide berth if they didn't want to be snapped at. Must admit though - life is easier with only two dogs.
Russell in his prime