Firstly, I wish everyone all the best for the upcoming year. And thanks to all our loyal customers and felting friends for your support and inspiration.
Well, this Newsletter is really overdue. I didn't realise, but it's six months since the last one.
Early fall and into November was a busy time, preparing for and attending three Ontario shows. They were smallish and local (my favourite kind), very well attended, and sales were good. Lang Pioneer Museum Festival of Textiles, in Keene near Peterborough, The Trent Hills Gallery and Studio Hop, and Make it Indy, Christmas Show and Sale in Cobourg.
Me with my friend and fellow felter, Ann McElroy, at the Lang Pioneer Museum. Ann is one of those people whose hands are always busy -- here she is drop spindling. She had the adjoining booth so we could spell each other off and chat in slow times. All the vendors are under a big tent, which is so much better than lugging around and setting up your own. This is a very enjoyable venue, a reconstructed historical village on a mill pond.
The Trent Hills Gallery and Studio Hop was a drive-around event for the public, with several artists in each venue. I was set up at the village of Hastings Civic Centre. Here I am with Skye Morrison who organised the event. Skye is an authority on Indian textiles and spends a good part of each year living in India, studying and teaching.
In November was the Make it Indie - Christmas Show and Sale in Coburg, Ontario. This was a new one for me. I didn't know much about it, but it's reasonably close to my home so I thought I'd give it a try. I'm really glad I did. It was well organised, well lit, and well attended. Who could ask for more.
And what a winter it's been so far! Lots of cold and snow, plus an ice storm which cut the power to hundreds of thousands of people in Ontario and Eastern Canada. We were very lucky not to lose ours. The ice storm was just before Christmas, so coordinating travel plans with our guests, to avoid the worst of the weather, was quite difficult. But it worked out fine in the end. We had a lovely Christmas with Rod's boys, my girls, (they are men and women really) and some friends.
The ice on the Trent river came early this year, in December, so we've had lots of opportunity for long walks on the ice. Our dogs, Max and Rocky, are particulary fond of chasing tennis balls, even if they do find it difficult to stop. And Rod is getting plenty of exercise too. It takes him over two hours to clear the driveway and parking lot each time we get a snow storm.
For the last four winters I have spun and knit myself a sweater. It's just about the only thing I knit each year, but I really like the warmth of wool. In bitter cold winters like we are having this year nothing else will keep me warm enough, especially as I like to get out at least twice a day for exercise and walking the dogs. I am not an adventurous knitter, and all I want is a warm, nicely fitting and easy sweater. So I use Jacqueline McFee's method for a seamless sweater, as described in her book, Sweater Workshop. I can mindlessly knit around and around and not worry about losing my place or complicated patterns.
This year I used superfine alpaca from Nancy Carr of Silver Cloud Alpacas near Kingston, Ontario. Each sweater takes me about three months from starting the spinning to finishing the knitting. I love this sweater, it is very light compared to my wool ones, and just as warm. Last year's wool project is on the left, and this year's alpaca project is on the right.
The Coming Year
So what's in the cards for this coming year? I am planning some shows, I want to keep working on perfecting tunics and/or vests, also hats and bags. Until recently I wasn't keen on making bags -- I don't know why that is. But this fall I saw a very inspiring video by Judit Pocs and decided to give it a try. One of the delights of felting is that there is always another avenue to go down.
This was my first attempt at a bag -- I made several others afterwards, which have sold, but I forgot to take pictures. This bag was made in one piece, including the inside pockets and shoulder strap, using multiple resists. There was no stitching involved.