Dye Job

I had a random bag of Coopworth roving in my stash, not quite sure where it came from. Coopworth is the breed of sheep and roving means that it had been prepared for woolen spinning on a carder. It definitely wasn’t as soft and luxurious as the Polwarth I had spun before it but the write-ups on the net described it as spinning up lustrous with good stitch definition and a halo. Strangely, this language actually means something to me now as I learn more and more about spinning. 

It did spin up nicely. I ended up with 265 yards of a mid-weight 2-ply yarn. After my dyeing adventures earlier in the week it looked like a blank canvas just waiting for colour. 

I wanted to try to dye it 3 colours so that it would produce a verigated stripey effect when it knit up. I hadn’t done this before so I did a couple of experiments on small bits of yarn to see how it would work. I first mixed some orange dye in a mason jar by adding yellow and red food colour and vinegar to hot water and then submerged 1/3 of the skein of yarn in it. The microwave added the heat and vinegar helped the dye set in the yarn. When it was as orange as I wanted, I took it out and dipped the next third of the skein into the same jar. There was enough goldy-yellow dye left in the water to colour the yarn a nice soft creamy yellow. For the final step, I mixed a new batch of soft purple dye by combining red and blue and repeated the microwave process.  

It’s currently hanging in the breeze on the front deck drying. I can hardly wait to knit it.

I think it worked out pretty well, considering that i started with a bag of random sheep hair and hardly any experience dyeing:) The 2 dye tests were definitely beneficial, I’ll try to remember to do that for future projects. And I’ll try to remember to post a pic of whatever I end up knitting with it.

And she said “that was live.” BAHAHAHAHA

Spent the entire day today spinning at Taste of the Valley Market in Barry’s Bay.  So much fun. Here’s a link to a live Facebook video with our MP Cheryl Galant. (Clearly unedited  lol)


Summer Spinning

Back in July my friend and I went to Haliburton School of Art and Design for a week long intermediate spinning course. It was awesome to be in a roomful of people for a whole week who didn’t say “You do WHAT?” when I mentioned that I like to spin yarn for fun. πŸ™‚ We got there early every morning and stayed late.

I learned so much and my spinning improved greatly during the week. I used to think that by just putting more ‘miles on the wheel’ I would get better but good teachers make a world of difference. 

Now it’s mid-August and I’ve had nearly 2 weeks at the cottage, spinning every day, including a dye-day when my friend Stephanie came over and we tried all sorts of dyeing techniques. Some of it even worked out the way we had intended and some were surprisingly nice mistakes. Some we won’t mention again πŸ™‚ It’s all about learning, both  how to do it as well as what we prefer. 

This isn’t the colour I had hoped for at all but it’s growing on me. And the gold/yellow yarn on the bobbin above that was an afterthought. I threw a handful of wool into a dye pot I had used to dye some orange wool and that’s the result. Probably my favourite of the day, never to be repeated.

When I started spinning this wool (coopworth) I thought I didn’t like it at all. It felt harsher and harder than the lovely luxe merino and polwarth that I’d been playing with. Now that it’s spun and washed I love it. And it looks like a blank canvas to me. I can hardly wait to dye and knit it.

And tomorrow I’m going to spend the day at the Taste of the Valley Farmers Market in Barry’s Bay doing spinning demonstrations with a couple of friends. The curator at the museum asked us and how could I turn it down? A whole day of spinning πŸ™‚

Perch and Potatoes

Lunch on the front deck πŸ™‚

I’m on vacation this week and next. So far so good. The other day my friend BK called to ask if I wanted to go fishing. We went to a little lake where the perch and bass almost jumped into the boat and we caught a good haul. Yesterday for lunch we had perch tacos with all the fixings. Last night we had bass with corn, rice, peas, and carrots. Today’s lunch was simple pan fried perch with boiled potatoes. And there’s still a little perch left. I might cook it up for dinner along with the crispy Thai pork lettuce wraps that I have planned. 

Cooking every day is one of the great joys of my vacation. I’m also spinning and knitting every day. I could get used to this.

Very special breakfast potatoesΒ 

The first local potatoes of the year from the Combermere market. I always forget just how special the first potatoes are. They’re crisp and they make a snapping sound when I cut through them. And the taste is like nothing else in the world. So good. So sweet. I added some local peas and other yummy things. Boiled,  cooled, then fried in butter. To make it even more special, I get to enjoy them at the cottage alone. A rare treat these days. 

A great way to start a week of vacation. Tomorrow I head to Haliburton for a week of spinning school. Happy summer!


It certainly wasn’t my first time. And I really didn’t know if it would stick or not. But I was so ready. I was 41 and I  could hardly breathe anymore.

Ten years ago today,  June 16, 2007 I smoked my last cigarette. I’m pretty sure I’ll never have another one but I still can’t let my guard down. Tomorrow will be day 3654. 


First swim – June 7th 2017


I think this is the latest ‘first swim’ in a long time. Usually I’m in the lake in May. This has been an unusual year. I’m still needing to light a wee fire almost every day to take the chill off. I think we’ve turned the corner on that now. Hopefully.

My garden is planted. Finally.

Bigger than it’s been in the past by about 150 square feet and still I can’t fit everything in. The new crop for this year is corn. I look forward to seeing how I do with that. And I’m already planning on how I can make my garden even bigger next year πŸ™‚ 

And a wee shout out to my long time friend Greg whose life changed in a big way 30 years ago. Happy anniversary bud. What a great impact you’ve had on all of us.

The cycle repeats.

First feed ever!

I harvested the first feed of asparagus that my garden has ever produced. Then I ate it. Soooo good.

May 6, 2017… First asparagus

I’ve checked at least twice a day for the past week. Finally! This is the first year I get to eat it. 

πŸ˜€ Game ON!

Today is also the 4th anniversary of me starting to work at the CRC. Time flies. 

Shrimp Tacos

My chef friend Garth spent about 10 days in Mexico recently at a swanky all inclusive and came back talking about the food. This morning at breakfast he mrntionned the shrimp tacos and it’s all I could think of all day long. I realized mid-morning that I had everything I needed at home to make some non-authentic tacos and my plan was set.

I dressed some shredded cabbage with a limey yogurt mayo mix with a little jalapeno and cumin powder. I marinated some shrimp in pepper, salt and jalapeno. I grilled some corn tortillas in a cast iron grill pan and followed that by cooking the shrimp. For assembly all I added the last of the jar of spice salsa that my friend Jon gave me.

They were sloppy and spicy and good. Likely not nearly as good as what Garth had in Mexico but not bad,  all things considered.

In other news, the record high water levels have started to recede. Thankfully. Many thanks to the folks at MNR and Hydro that managed the flow so well this time. It was pretty cool to see that much water go through the lake but my thoughts are with those who live on lower land.

(Go Joey!)