Bealtaine Gardening : Gardening on PEI in the month of May

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transplanting ferns below the Pine – They seem to be doing very well 🙂  My hope is for the ferns to take over an invasive ground cover species that the previous owners planted

Good Morning on this June 6th!

I am curled up on the couch with Henry, a candle lit, fairy lights on and an espresso, green tea and giant glass jar of water with me (Not a bit excessive).  It’s grey and cold and rainy out there.  I uploaded these pictures of the garden a couple of days ago feeling so happy and optimistic with the growth I was seeing, only to be hit with a solid 5 days of cold and rain.  My basil plants turned black and died as well as countless other things.   I have been feeling depressed and I think it’s linked to my poor plants that I foolishly put out too early (we had 2 days of 30 degree weather!  It was amazing but TRICKERY).

Last night I woke from a deep sleep to quite a shock – what felt like a full on assault to my face.  Petey, jumped on my face cutting right under my eye >.<  This morning I asked Jamie if my eye was swollen to which he said NO!  I thought how strange because I feel like my vision is kind of blurry there but it’s normal?  I wonder now if Jamie knows what I look like because my eye is SO swollen!  So, today I’ll be taking it so very easy with facemasks and bags of frozen peas, pretending that my eye is better and the sun is shining >.<

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Petey and Hugo
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Sun Room Plants – Geraniums and some window box cats

The garden though!  We were late getting our firewood this year (yes, it’s there… all 6 chords of logs now) so during the month of may when I’m usually splitting wood – I was gardening.   I have a small patch this year of kale and spinach – already thinking of planting more because it’s really not a lot!  This is doing really well in the cold.  I also planted peas, carrots, beets, onions, potatoes, countless flowers and herbs as well as rutabaga.  Everything seems to be fine but I am SO worried about the beans that I planted.  Black Beans that I collected from my plants last year as well as an old Acadian variety called “Goose Gullet” Bush Beans – they notoriously do not like to be cold and wet while germinating.  So… at this point, all I can do is wait and see and then possibly find a new source of black turtle beans (maybe I’ll just order some today from Hopeseed….)

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The growth of the Horse Chestnut, just this spring!  Amazing
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Home
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PEI ❤ a beautiful evening at the end of May
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The Cherry Blossoms – I hope the bees could get their fill before they were blown away by the wind
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Enjoying the winds
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Part of the Garden – This section is roughly…. 12 X 20 feet (That is a major Guess, haha I have no idea what it actually is but I can measure it another day!) Growing Garlic, Peas, Beets, Carrots and tomatoes – there are a couple of beds that I haven’t planted yet
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Henry girl on a hot day – behind her is a bed of onions and rutabaga
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Too hot to be out so window sills and drawing the fresh apple blossoms
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Quick drawings on a lazy hot afternoon
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More Drawing – the Black Swallowtails are out and and about – fluttering around around yard

Oh, I know it won’t be long before the weather changes.  It feels like winter in a way here – Last night when I stepped outside, there was such a chill in the air and all you could smell was wood smoke from our chimney and our neighbours – not at all a June evening.  Tonight, I will have to cover the tomato plants that I put outside with pots – I have dog hair and straw all around them and have already had to put pots over each individual plant to protect them from frost (we already have a frost advisory for tonight and actual “wet flurries” in the forecast for the day).

And so, I’m going to go put on some rubber boots with aloe smothered around my eye and see how those plants are doing (good thing I live in the country 🙂 )   Hoping my end of  June Garden update is more upbeat and hopeful, green and exciting for you (I do think I need it for my soul).  But I admit, this is the first June that i have seen “flurries” in the forecast 😛   Tomorrow does mark the upturn in the weather SO PRAISE BE!

Hope you’re experiencing a beautiful beginning to the most lovely of months <3<3<3 And may there be no snow in your summer forecast!

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Knitting and drawing ❤ The swallowtails on a nice day are everywhere around our house! I have a plan for A LOT of dill to be left for the butterflies

 

P.S.

The family of raccoons have officially vacated the property!  I went to check up on them the other day – and it was completely empty!  We were told that they more than likely would move out.  I felt actually blessed in a way that they decided our small backyard was a safe place to raise some wee ones.

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Our resident Family in an old rotting birch

Coal Olwyn Sweater

 

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My Olwyn design

Hallo!

How are you!

It’s a lovely, warm Sunday afternoon here on this island.  The birds are singing after a couple days of cold, grey rain.  The resident red squirrel is running through all the tops of the pine and I am just sitting here with the window wide open, drinking some Kombucha and listening to the chimes!  We have been so busy lately, that I have not had the time to dedicate to sharing this lopi sweater.  Finally, finally the time is here and I can move ahead with a clear idea of my creative world.

And so, in the bleak mid-winter, I cast on a Charcoal Lopi Sweater with the intention of having it completely finished in January, blog finished – etsy listing and all, my how time flies.

This sweater travelled to Nova Scotia with me, where I knit it accompanying my sister in her last trimester of pregnancy.  After spending time with Meaghan, I took the bus to Northern NS.  It was here that I finished it, back in February!  We did not see very much snow this winter, however I did manage to have a slightly snowy fire in the woods in Nova Scotia.   My father built this little setup in the woods with benches and a stone pit.  I love this spot, surrounded by the swaying spruce and the thick, squishy moss.

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To pack my backpack with tea, knitting and a pack of matches – collecting birch bark along the way.
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Something warm and colourwork – it was relatively mild this winter at times
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With my family, after a snow in Nova Scotia
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Chain lake, Halifax – to the left is an overpass and believe it or not, a city.
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Roots of dreams

 

In the warmth of spring, it’s hard to believe winter happened at all.  It’s almost strange looking back at these photographs.  Winter, summer… I find living with seasons so magical and so much like dream recollection.   Despite months of battling arctic winds or basking in summer’s sun, the other feels like a faded dream too strange to truly have happened.

Today, as I post this, the early flowers are blooming and I filled a seashell with sweet water for the bees.   I am genuinely happy and if it doesn’t rain, will go out soon to collect some maples and put some plants together for friends and family.

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May 6th, Crocuses!
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some coffee before photos, not chilled just so perfectly content and trying to get Hugo to show his face, not his behind (failed as you can see!)
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Finished!  Feeling fae like in this sweater and love how you can match these under overall dresses.
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I got a picture of HUGO!
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The bees are busy with these Siberian Squill – every year they spread and I love them!
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Home sweet home, there is nothing I like more than taking more morning tea/coffee and walking around the yard greeting my plant friends, especially these century old Sugar Maples!
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But I am getting side tracked, this is about this Icelandic Sweater that I made and is now available in the shop!

 

In other parts of my world, my knitting has come to a grinding halt.  I don’t have a  lot of time to dedicate to knitting the way I use to.  The outside world to me is the most important thing and it takes time, time and patience and a lot of love.  I also am doing some custom artwork again, reading books, working part-time in town.  So my knitting is still happening but the way I use to knit – just a little bit, while watching a show or having a cup of tea.  Slow and steady but how can I stay inside when the earth is awakening! My moods ebb and flow so I’m sure I’ll be overcome at some point with an obsessive knitting period 😛

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Front yard, the field is farmed in the summer months and you catch a glimpse of the river!

So friends, the thermometer says 16 Degrees C with the possibility of rain so I am going to get outside before the rain comes 🙂  I hope you enjoy your day!  I am so happy and excited to see what the next couple of months bring 🙂

Green Blessings on you all ❤

A favourite Irish Gaelic Song for you ❤

 

Simple Grey Lopi Sweater

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Preparing the order to be shipped to BC 🙂 Stamped Woodland Cards now available in the shop but the sweater has been sold 🙂

 

Good Morning to you!

The sun has yet to rise and I am on my 3rd cup of tea.  With headphones in and the fairy lights on, I am sending this out to the universe.  I wrote this blog post yesterday, but as I sat down and read it over, I felt totally different and just scraped the whole thing.  Yesterday was rainy and I had coffee (coffee makes me a little crazy, which is why I tend to stay away from it!).  Today, is so full of opportunity! A calmness and herbal tea (okay.. I might be having earl grey at this point, it is not yet 6am!), a fire started from the embers of yesterday (that sounds metaphorical and it can be, but I mean it literally, ha).  And so, finally… this Grey sweater that was sold a couple of weeks ago to a lovely artist in B.C.

 

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Léttlopi Greys and Golds

I Started this sweater in January, with my Lopi Stash.  Greys and Ivory, Black and Gold.  Similar to the landscape and skies of winter here.  Knit in the darker times, helping to illuminate the long nights.  The colours reflecting the ever changing sky in January, February even March.  Between PEI and Nova Scotia.  In the woods, along the river, in a car, over a very long bridge.  In a fire lit basement, listening to the wind and a slow yet quick crackle of birch!   I chose wooden buttons and used a vintage, strong German made thread that accompanied my sewing machine gifted to me by my aunt.

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On a walk in the woods, I brought this sweater to do a little weaving in the moss, weaving in the magic of the woods.  You can really see the texture of Lopi here ❤
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Tea and Knitting with Drift wood and snow
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After a snowfall, some of Henry’s happiest times of the year
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Backyard after one of our few snowfalls
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Two Lopi Sweaters, slowly knit over the course of a busy winter.  Henry sitting on the couch we are now sitting on!
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it fits!  But so much left to do…
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After a snowfall this winter, an adventurous Pangur
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To weave in the ends in the mossy Conifer forest!
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At home, to attach buttons, herbal tea and my latest stamped Chickadee Card
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Winter fire, Tea and snow
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February day in the moss
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Blooming Succulent, I’ve been watching this slowly bloom since January and now look!

 

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Off she goes! – a New forest inspired stamp, if anyone is interested, I can put a little pack of these in the shop!

And Voila!  A Simple Grey Lopi Cardigan! I have a feeling this sweater will find a kindred in Northern BC! I think it may be time for me to order some more Lopi wool, I am almost out!  I am hoping to make myself an Icelandic Cardigan in Rough Seas with metal buttons.  Perhaps my summer project!

I hope you have a lovely weekend!  The sky is growing lighter and the birds are singing!  I have a busy day of working in the library and going to my favourite store… the hardware store!  Gardening things are slowly peaking out and I need more seed trays.  We also get to pick out the tiles for the bathroom (eeee, I can not wait to have a shower again!).  What are you planning to grow this summer?  I’ll post more about that very soon because there is just so so much.

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Smiles and wool 🙂  

 

 

Here is a favourite folk song for you!  Planxty’s version of the Blacksmith.  This song and actually this video really propelled my love for folk music.  Such a vast world of music.  Steeleye Span does a version of this song as well, definitely worth checking out as it is SO different and also, awesome. The song is very tragic, telling the tale of a woman who fell in love with a blacksmith only to learn afterwards that he is married.  I’m not sure the origins but many of these songs are traced back hundreds of years.

Slán !!

Julia

A little seal, knits by my mom and the feeling of revival

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Our Corner of the world – to watch the trees and birds and write to you!

Hello!!! How are you all this Winter’s end?

It has been so long and I have so much to share.  I have really missed sharing little snippets with you all so am excited to start again after what really seemed like to me – a short winter.  And so, I am sat in the couch featured in the picture above, a recent Ikea haul during our trip to Halifax – so cozy with Turmeric milk, a candle lit and the pine outside only gently swaying!  We are awaiting a wind storm tonight so of course that will change.

I thought I would start with this small post – Just a general overview of what has been going on – why I have been SO absent and to let you in on a few little things for the future.

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A cable knit cardigan my mom made for the shop – using MacAuslands Wool (A Woollen Mill on Prince Edward Island)

February is such a short month to begin with, so I guess it’s not surprising that it simply slips from our grasp.  I spent some of the month in Nova Scotia – with my Sister and her partner and then in the woods with my family and the dogs.

We walked in the woods – woods for the most part – frozen yet free of snow.  The rivers running!  One morning I walked in a mossy wood – the moss crunching under foot, nervous about damaging the forest floor.  The next day, it was soft and plush as though it was a fresh spring day.  Wearing my parka, I just lay down and stared up at the thin spruce trees with a dog occasionally licking my helpless face.   I don’t really mind.

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Winter Wood – beauty in the small things
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New socks for the shop
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My Mom in the woods – we take walks after dinner to these places

During my visit with my mom – she gave me a little stock of knits she has been compiling for the shop.  She contributes to the shop as well, making some really beautiful things.  I’m so happy she has chosen to do this because others can experience how special it is to receive one of her items!  Before she would knit huge stocks for us all for Christmas – I would receive new mittens, hat, socks pretty well every Christmas.  While I was in university and High School, I regularly (or in knitting world – regularly – maybe once a year) receive a handknit sweater – all of which I still have of course.

I wanted to just share some photographs of these handknit items – and will update the shop later today 🙂  I also have 2 handknit Lopi sweaters to put up and some fingerless mittens.  One still needs buttons so probably within the next two weeks I will update the shop and post blogs about the making process and end result!

 

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A liz Knit – Flower Mittens.  She made me a pair of these for Christmas many moons ago when I still lived in the city – they are my absolute favourite mittens. Now a pair for the shop!
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Ever green
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Back on PEI for a short while – photographing some knits when Jamie and I walked Henry on the North Shore in the National Park – So cold
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Late February wander in the woods – the moss, oh the moss ❤ For the short time being – covered in snow now.
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A fairisle knit – handmade by my mom – photographed in front of the frozen ocean. Can you tell I am absolutely frozen?  It was 10 below and probably more with the wind – BRR!
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Eastern Nova Scotia – a rock decorated by the mustard yellow Lichen – Hiking with these two!
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The Ocean of the North Shore, PEI – Early March

 

The other portion of the month I was covering a leave of absence at the library in town.  She has returned to work now and I am only working casually so have so much free time again.  I am so excited to have time to walk Henry, knit and plan gardens!  My hope for this week is to blog a lot and join you all back on Instagram again.  To start sowing a lot of seeds indoors and start a pretty intense spring cleaning.  We have a long overdue bathroom renovation that must be tackled…. an infinite to do list.

 

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Birthday cake Birch Leaf Socks – knit by my mom!

 

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Spruce Burls
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New Mitts – knit by my mom for the shop

 

There are some changes in Ways of Wood Folk for the time being… Meaghan won’t be able to make as much as she once did and we have to cut custom orders for the most part because there is a new member in our family ❤ ❤ <3…

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Is anything better?
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Moss ❤

 

**I saved the best for last **

We are very excited to let you know, the birth of Ronan Len Wilson, Meaghan and Reg’s newborn son!  He was born on Saturday, March 3rd at 4 14 in the morning, the tail end of the full moon.  I can not wait for the days to come to spend time with my nephew who is also on the East Coast – the first child of one of my sisters.  To share a love of moss, bugs and shrubs 😉

Congratulations Meaghan and Reg, we are so happy for you ❤ ❤

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Ronan Len Wilson – Meaghan and Reg’s newborn son – my nephew and the reason for a recent absence from the world of being absorbed by a screen
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Welcome little one ❤ The whole world awaits

 

And so! I hope you understand why I have taken a break from the social part of the internet – I am back and hoping to contribute a lot more.  The shop will be open again today and I just am overwhelmed actually with so much to share.  I’m also thinking of starting a new instagram – just for plants, moss, trees and bugs ❤

I hope you have all been well – that the lengthening days are giving you sun drenched energy and a sense of revival!

Be well friends, be well 🙂

**

Ronan is an Irish name meaning “Little Seal” – the term used for Selkie’s human children in folklore and just a beautiful name!

Len (Short for Lenton) is the name of my Grandfather who emigrated to Montreal in the 1930s from Dunfermline, Scotland. He is much loved.

**

Snowdrop Fingerless Mitts

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Fingerless Mittens indoor on a very cold day – so much more pleasant to share from the indoor world, free of the wind and cold.

A very happy Imbolc to you!

I am very excited to share this little post with you!  I finally wrote out a wee pattern in my notebook and decided to snap some photographs and share it with you.  If you are interested in attempting to follow my wonky instructions, then please by all means do! I decided to simply photograph my notebook and tried to be as clear as possible but just send me a comment on this post and I’ll see if I can sort anything out or provide any help.

Before I launch into knitting – I wanted to share a little more about what we have been up to.  I have been working part-time in town, starting seeds, thinking about seeds.. watching videos about seeds.  Really, plants have taken up most of my brain power.  I am thinking of starting a new instagram account just to share plants and this beautiful earth rather than making it *me* focused.

This winter weather wise has been bizarre.  There has just been a dance between freeze and thaw.  Yesterday it was above 0, huge puddles formed in the yard, blue jays and starlings everywhere!  Today, it is minus 27 with the wind that whips up from the river.  The yard is a solid sheet of ice, we could probably skate if it was more pleasant outside.  Jamie and I ran to the back to take a couple of photos this morning of these mittens but it was SO difficult because of the wind and cold.   I think I generally look a little uncomfortable and poor Jamie, clicking away!  As you can imagine, we could only stay out for about 5 minutes.

Regardless of the strange winter weather, the path of the sun and moon remain the same!  The days are growing longer and I feel a definitely revival.  With that little bit of extra light, I made these colourwork mittens.

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From the Stash!  Alpaca from We are Knitters and  Rowan Tweed that I found tucked away many moons ago in my Mom’s closet (she doesn’t miss it..).

My attempt at a pattern – I hope you like it!  If you do try it, please proceed with caution – everyone knits differently and I am not a very technical person in anyway – I think of myself as a very intuitive person in most of what I do.

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My notebook, a sleepy dog and some finished snowdrop fingerless mittens
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The Ribbing and attaching COLOUR B which for me was the alpaca – knitting in the round can be deceiving in the beginning – trust Aslan that they will indeed fit a human hand once a couple more rows have been completed.

 

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After a couple of rows – The Rowan wool I chose to use has varying thicknesses which is why it appears a little bit bumpy – it was really lovely to work with though.

 

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Painting some mittens!  I actually switched this room around today and once it is completely completed (not redundant at all, no sir) I will share a post with you!
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The first pair!  Just using forgotten stash wool
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Placing the thumb on the double pointed needles and attaching the 2 colours without tying any knots

 

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All the weaving left to do

 

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A bath in a chipped bread bowl – using No-Rinse Wool Soap
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Painting ❤
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A little Chichadee – I spotted a couple in the pine trees outside of our house and made sure to greet them, hello!

 

My notes!  I don’t really anticipate anyone trying to make these but in the case that someone is brave and wants to feel that satisfaction of using abandoned, forgotten wool – please take heed of a couple of things!

  1. This is one size, if you would like to make a larger size cast on 44 stitches.  The only issue with this is that the bottom pattern is composed of 8 stitches so it will not be completed properly.  However, if you only make Pattern 1 using one of the 4 stitch designs, you will be good to go!  The size entirely depends on what size of needles and the weight of your wool – so bigger needles will make a larger size, etc.
  2. I didn’t include pattern 2 on the thumb – this is because it was different for each thumb and I trust that you can intuitively look at your knitting and decide where the Colour B stitches can go.  I am not even a slight perfectionist as you can probably guess.  Life is too short! Too many seeds to plant, books to read, cats to pet… 😛
  3. I didn’t post anything about the thumb…. because it’s so easy!  Just divide the 11 stitches on 2 needles, pick up 5 stitches on a 3rd needle at the gusset and attach the 2 colours.  Knit 7 S E V E N 7 rounds in Pat. 2 and cast off with Colour B.

 

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To have a red roof… sigh.
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Brrrrrr….
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Tea outside with below 27 weather?  Let’s just imagine it’s not so cold and ideal for fingerless mittens (hello tomorrow and above 0 temperatures A G A I N!)
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Studio window sill – Completed and now on Etsy!

There you have it ❤

I work today and tomorrow so am a little rushed to get this out to you!  I do hope you enjoy the process and my photographs.  I will have more up tomorrow on the etsy and have a plan to make a blog post about my latest Lopi Sweater (just needs buttons and a button band… so will probably be ready in a couple of weeks!).

Welcome February 😀

As I have enjoyed doing, leaving you with a favourite tune, yes it’s from a children animated movie and yes, the theme is probably one of my favourite tunes.  I actually enjoy the version with the child singing even more but this is just a taste for you 😉

 

 

Weekend of fairisle, painting, walks

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A tiny arctic fox painting with Pangur and some freshly finished fingerless mittens

Happy Mid January!

We have had quite the juxtaposing weekend!  Yesterday was the most mild Mid-January day of recent memory and today is well below 0 and snowing lightly.  I am so happy today!  This weekend has been lovely, with the starlings and crows at our door. I feel rejuvenated to create and just be one with the earth!  Painting, knitting and ultimately my favourite, being outside with the trees and light snow flakes. In all the quietness and ultimately achieving nothing that our society places importance on – I feel the happiest and most fulfilled. A full fridge, a fire in the stove, snow flakes dancing out my window and a very tired dog from a long hike.  Warm socks, a patient book and unlimited amounts of tea with the possibility of a cat cuddle <3<3<3

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A little Arctic Fox and northern flowers
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Some sweet fairisle fingerless mitts i dreamt up – they are made using random stash wool and an image in my head.
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The Mitts that I have completed over the past month and a half, for our Etsy shop and finally to be posted
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The Rain clouds are drawing closer casting dark shadows in this room ❤
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Early Sunday Morning – Latte, a nearly finished novel and a long abandoned but not forgotten knit
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Jamie, Henry and I ventured out today!  We only met birds and the earth was completely frozen which was a joy to walk on (no sinking in the mud!)
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We captured many of my knits for the little Etsy Shop!  So excited to finally share these small, humble items
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Witches’ Butter?  
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It was a little bit cold – Pine Green Fingerless Mitts for the shop
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Taken with my phone – The mossy path
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Lilac Fingerless Mitts up in the shop!
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SinEater Illustration Hoodie!  In all honesty, I do prefer to wear hoodies at home and absolutely love love love this artist’s work!
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Black Lopi Fingerless with Linden Tea on the forest Bridge
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Sweet Little Pangur Paws

And for this evening, Jamie and I will have a nice dinner to celebrate our 8 years together, sit by the fire and I will more than likely start another little knit for the shop and will finish The Good People by Hannah Kent.  We started to watch Tales from the Green Valley AGAIN (about once a season we watch this series). It is one of my most soothing and therapeutic shows – I love it! All I need is to hear the opening music and I feel whisked to a very safe place. Jamie and I have developed stories between the historians and archaeologists – for instance, we are certain something happened between Alex and Chloe… but anyway, for another time and place !!

I wonder if you can feel the peace I feel this weekend through the photographs?  I forgot to mention that Jamie gifted me with a new camera for Christmas and I am so incredibly excited about the pictures that I have been taking.  I do have A LOT to learn because though I have always enjoyed taking pictures – I have never done more than point and shoot.  There is a bit more too this one and I am in a wee bit over my head at the moment.  All in good time, right?

Love & Light for the last half of January!  I am already looking at seed catalogues as the light ascends!

Hope You’re well and DO let me know if you watch the link I provided 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

 

Our little shop

Home
Home in the fog

Good Evening Kindreds!

It’s so dark!  I am sitting by the fire, the room lit with fairy lights and a cup of black tea piping hot beside me.  A friend of mine gave us some lavender sugar and I find it so delicious in a strong cup of black tea ❤  It is so late for me to be drinking caffeine but I am oh so tired and I very much felt like sharing a couple of things with you.

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shaking hands, blurry picture but our forest cat is beginning to embrace his nature

The weather continues to promise snow but only to cruelly trick us with rain.  I guess that is life living in a maritime climate.  Today has been a wet day and we have chosen to stay home, only to take Henry out in the trees behind our house.  The cats are venturing outside each day.  They stick right around the front door, guarding the entrance to their domain (or perhaps waiting for us to let them back in?).  A day inside finally means I can sort the latest knits for our shop!

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Latest Knits to make listings for : ) My work desk a wee bit disorganized 

I have been having a lot of fun lately, working with my stash of lett lopi.  I have a very strong desire to actually use all of my wool stash before continuing to buy new wool.  I love using everything that I have and don’t really like buying anything without a real purpose behind it.  I currently have enough wool to make 3 sweaters and several pairs of fingerless mitts/mittens what have you.  This winter I will focus on the small bits, some of which have been set aside for several years!  I first knit an Icelandic Sweater with Lett Lopi in 2013 and believe I may still have some from this time.

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I have three small bags full of bits and bobs of lett lopi – I love using them and seeing this stash dwindle
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New work space – Jamie put the shelves up and painted the room ❤ I absolutely love it in all it’s simplicity.  Current Wool Stash – I would love to free up the top shelf for only plants.
Decisions.
Decisions, Decisions!
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Handknit stripped socks
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Fingerless Mittens in Heaven Blue and Hazel Heather
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Woodland trail
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Maritime Folk Mittens – Prince Edward Island Wool and Flying Geese pattern, knit by my very special Mama
New Cedar Chest
“New” Cedar Chest for all the woollens and a beauty kitty
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a couple of tags for our handknits
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Another pair knit by my Mom
Home
New knits, a cozy chair, Arthur Rackham Fairy and my little fairy cat, Pangur.

 

Only a couple of pictures that I have captured over the last couple of days.  I am currently looking at 2 weeks before my next shift in the library (unless I am called in) and Jamie gets 10 days off from his work for the holidays! I am definitely feeling like hibernating while simultaneously desperately wishing for snow to play in.  Jamie and I are getting snow shoes for eachother for Yule so we can continue to walk our favourite trails despite the amount of snow we usually receive in the deep winter.

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I have a lot of tiny knitting projects planned.  My wordpress account is almost at the full capacity for storage space so I will be changing my account to a ‘business account’ soon (unlimited space) so I hope to raise the funds to support this little website with my knits.  I hope i can come up with some wee special mitts, etc. I will be busy sitting by this fire, thinking up colour combinations with the remaining lopi 🙂

Hope you are all well, we are nearly at the solstice to welcome the lighter half of the year!  So much hope.

As a farewell parting gift, A beautiful Scandinavian Folk song for you:

Gjallarhorn – Ye Ride so Carefully

Blessings to you ❤

Julia

Autumnal Handknit Sweater

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Rust, Ivory, Black and Air Blue Hand Knit Icelandic Style Cardigan!  Inspired by the East Coast in the fall – where blazing eastern forest meets sky and water ❤

Hello and how are you!

I am well, wrapped in blankets with a hot cup of tea, candles lit and one of my favourite Irish bands playing, the Bothy Band.  It’s Sunday and rain is gently falling.  We have been having fires every day, even if it’s just to keep the damp out on a mild, wet morning.

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indoor world

 

We have been so busy as well!  I started a new job in the library system, working as a call in.  I had best get use to driving at night and in all weather since the job requires me to go quite far to some rural branches.  I am excited to be back in the library, I already have a long queue of books on hold (just finished The Moomins Vol 1) and will share with you later more of what I’ll be reading this winter (I’m going to work through my long list of “To-Read” on Goodreads).  Apart from work… there is STILL wood to stack, wood to bring in, vegetables to take care of (I’m down to the last of the tomatoes) and cats that are beginning to explore the outside world.  There is an etsy shop, art work and a very, very active dog.  Jamie is also giving me guitar lessons again so I’m hoping to pick it up again and encourage him to make more music as well!

Before I launch into knitting… our little 1.25 acre is also constantly on my mind.  I have been transplanting saplings that have come up on the outskirts of the farmer’s field, buried many chestnuts, planted lupin seeds that I collected in July from the wayside and transplanted some of our rose plants and lavender.  My ultimate goal is to have every inch of land planted with trees, bushes, flowers… anything!  And then buy more land :D.  Anywho…. this is all a side because I came here to share with you my latest cardigan handnit.

H A N D K N I T  C A R D I G A N

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Just the buttons left! 

I cast this sweater on in the blazing sun of glorious July!  Yes… it has taken me quite a while.  It was the first cardigan, knit in the round that I have ever made which is why it took me so long.  I believe I actually finished the bulk of the work in August or early September but waited until a visit with my Mom before I actually steeked the body (Steeking is the word applied to the actually cutting up the middle of the body to open up your cardigan sweater).  Thank goodness my Mom has absolutely no qualms about trying anything in the fibre art world.  When we finally were together in the latter part of October, she actually did the crochet stitch up my purled stitches and then I (palms sweating and heart beating!  Clearly a life or death situation) cut the sweater! It was so satisfying 😀

The inspiration for the design comes from the fall here in the Canadian East Coast, where miles of forest stretch along the ocean shore, spotted with wooden white houses.  I have started to really simplify my designs, favouring simple blocks of colour.   I really love the rust Léttlopi!  I find it both striking and subtle (if that makes any sense…).

I started the sweater with the full intention of finishing in October.  It’s nearly a month after when I thought I would be writing this post.  At the end of October, my sister, Mom and I travelled to Ontario to see our family and friends, thus putting a halt to all of my work (It was a very nice visit and I hope to be back again soon!).  And just other life things have continued to pop up, derailing my physical artistic world.

So below I have shared a couple pictures of the fall here, my sketch book and the sweater!  I have not taken anywhere near as many pictures this fall but alas, here are a couple!

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Home in October, the leaves are all gone now but these hundred year old sugar maples are beauties!
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Little messy paintings for inspiration
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Cape breton house by the sea – Colour source for the sweater – Red mountains filled with sugar maples, birch and spruce, the blue/grey water and sky and a cute white house. 
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The colours of our backyard, briefly in October ❤
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Finished!  
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Right after I finished sewing on the buttons, one quick picture!  Buttons successfully fit in the button holes, phew! 
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The rain let up so we went to the back behind our property to get a couple of photos!  I love the contrast against the grey sky and golden grasses.
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Out after the rain – a  little close up
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wooden buttons and abandoned farm land 

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And it’s raining again

 

It’s raining much harder now.    It is also my sister Meaghan’s birthday today! We are separated by the strait, but I am wishing her all the best in Nova Scotia today!  Send her loving vibes this day ❤

I hope you enjoyed this post!  I am settling in to actually put up the listing of this sweater on Etsy and respond finally to my comments and messages on both wordpress and instagram.  I have generally been steering away from Social Media and have finally developed a pretty solid system to keep me from being distracted.  Perhaps I’ll share this with you in another post!

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My Knitting Projects!  A Grey Icelandic Cardigan!  I’m hooked on making the cardigans despite being a bit more work!  Oh and those one ply mittens… maybe next year i can share them with you 😉

**A note on this sweater, it is made from I C E L A N D I C W O O L!  The specific name of the wool is called Léttlopi  which essentially means light Icelandic Wool (Létt = Light / lopi = Icelandic Wool).  This  wool is made using the sheared fleece of Icelandic Sheep.  Icelandic Sheep are very different than other sheep around the world, they are descendants of Norse Sheep from 1000 years ago!  Their unique fleece is composed of 2 layers, one which is water repellent and the other is an insulating coat.  This unique fleece keeps our friends dry and warm in the rather unpredictable Northern Atlantic Icelandic climate.  If you have any allergy or discomfort with wool, this wool is most likely not for you.  It is a hardy and durable wool which can withstand weather.  I live on an Island in Atlantic Canada and find this type of wool ideal for working outdoors in the fall/winter and “spring”  (our springs sometimes feel non-existent). **

Be well!!!!!!  Slán a’charaid!

Dyeing Wool with Mushrooms!

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The woods by our house – autumnal glory

Hello and I hope you are well!

It has been awhile.  I am SO inconsistent, especially because I have been drawn into a place and time sans social media or blogging or even e-mail.  Of my own choosing… I didn’t go to an off-grid camp or anything like that (although.. I would love to :))!  Sometimes, I just love to detach and it’s beginning to feel like such a luxury, so wonderful to be “offline.”  It’s funny because I feel as though going back online is returning to “the real world” when in fact, it’s anything but!  But… it’s the reason why I feel like I’m not alone in my musings, my hobbies, the way I see this world!

Alas!  I have SO much to share.  The first is that our dear orange tabby, Petey, is well!  After my last post, we had to bring him back to the vet.  He was put on a catheter and had to stay at overnight : (  I was so worried about him…. but knew that we could not do what the vet could at home. He is much better and is drinking fluids and peeing.  He slept curled up against me the whole night that he came home ❤

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Walks close to home and a haven for red squirrels, fox and mushrooms!

I have been making and gardening quite a bit.  Jamie and I planted garlic this morning.  Our wood is almost completely split and stacked and we had our first frost and consequently fire yesterday.  I love fall so much, it’s so fleeting.  On our walk this morning, most of the bright red sugar maple leaves were already under our feet.  The earth is damp and the north winds strong.  Henry and I have been walking down a beautiful wooded path to the river that we live by every day.  The mossy parts of this wood are replete with beloved mushrooms.

Mushrooms…. the reason why I write to you today.  What amazing specimens they are!  Not only are they adorable and surrounded with fairy lore, they are beyond healthful and practical!  A couple of months ago, I posted on instagram about wanting to dye a pair of socks with lichen.  A user suggested that I use a type of mushroom: Cortinarius Semisanguineas or red-gilled webcap.  On one of our walks, I was looking very closely (okay, on my belly in the moss looking up at the gills…not weird at all) and noticed how beautiful the colours of this mushroom was and it clicked.  It was the very mushroom that the user had suggested! I got so excited and went back to the spot with my knife and a basket to collect and experiment ❤

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Cortinarius Semisanguineas!  How beautiful are these colours?
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Warm Autumn Day in The east of Canada
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Collecting – I sliced the mushroom so not to damage the root of the mushroom in order to grow and thrive next year.

And so!  What did I do?  Welllllll, I first collected mushrooms.  I have read a lot about dyeing wool and nothing intrigues me more than using what grows close to you rather than what you can buy from a grocer.  I am not despairing the use of avocado or yellow onion skins (I plan on trying both!) I just don’t find the process as exciting, rewarding and directly engaging with this eco-region!  Something that naturally finds its home and is nourished by the same rain water that falls on my skin, on the earth that grows our food.  I want so badly to be more entrenched in the land around me. Dyeing is such an ancient way to connect to the land, to even represent the region you live!  I remember as a Celtic Studies student, learning that Scottish tartans began to be associated with certain clans simply due to the plants that were available in their region!

I first boiled some water with Alum and Cream of Tartar.  Once boiled, I added the wool and let it simmer for a short while (This is a mordant.  A mordant is the chemical composition that holds the natural dye to the fibre, otherwise you could end up with very washed out colours after exposure to the elements or a wash). I used pure white wool from MacAuslands here on PEI and an angora wool from We are Knitters.  once this wool was dry, I collected a small basket full of mushrooms (I only like taking a portion of what the earth provides), boiled them on the fire in the backyard and added the wool with the boiled mushroom broth in a mason jar.  Cortinarius Semisanguineas are actually poisonous so be cautious when handling!  They will not harm as a dye but they are not edible and I wasn’t crazy about having them in the house for long, especially with 4 wild ones about.   I repeated this process 3 times, hanging the experimental wool in a crab apple tree to dry.

I have looked at quite a few pictures online.  I believe it was the amount of the mordant that made my end result significantly paler than what I have seen and the amount of mushroom caps that I used.  Other examples are such a deep orange or red!  I really like the salmon shade that these turned out. I did try one strand of wool without a mordant and it was significantly darker.

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A Little mushroom study – The drawing on the right is a result of humidity, it looks a little strange but honestly, this is what they looked like!  This door was closed to critters while I worked with this fungi!  I love to draw plants and fungi that grow close to home.
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Drying outdoors after their first dye bath
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A closer look
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A second dye bath – I started to do most of the process outdoors – partly because red-gilled webcaps are poisonous
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After a second dye bath – in our crab apple tree
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Beauties after the 2nd bath
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Beneath the mother white pine ❤  This tree is wonderful
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A third dye bath never hurt anyone…. with the straw and wood for a couple of nights – a deep red!
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Finished Result, I brought it back to the woods where I found the mushrooms to show them what wonders they do for us ❤
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End Result – My sorry attempts at twisting a skein of yarn and my mushroom study

There you have it!  My first experiment with a close to home fungi!  I am SO excited about this project.  It was a lot of fun and very inspiring.  I hope you enjoyed this, even if you just looked at the photographs!  In our yard is a beautiful horse chestnut tree and I hope to use the husks to actually make a pair of fingerless mitts using the two colours 🙂

Autumnal blessings to you and I hope this post finds you well, inspired and happy ❤ I would love to hear about your own experiments or even desires with natural dyeing!

Glimpse of Summer

S U M M E R

 

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Poppies  in the back garden ❤ Last year I just had one plant – this year there must be a hundred

It feels as though it has already come and gone…

 

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Mossy woodland deer trail

I first of all, want to come back to blogging! Summer is a little like entering the Fairy Realm… I’m just not sure what happened to that time.  We host many visitors, travel to Nova Scotia numerous times, we garden and garden and eat so much good food.  The days are split between harvesting, taking Henry for beach walks or just.. I don’t even know!  I did sleep near a fairy fort in Ireland so…

But now, finally, that cool air is forcing me inside with a more productive mindset.  I have a new study/studio (whatever you want to call it) and I have never felt more inspired by a small room before (I will do a post on the room, or something of that nature, I would love to share it with you!).  And so, here I am reflecting on the summer.

Our gardens have been bountiful, the weather has been very kind with both sun and rain, heat and cooler days.  The bugs have been atrocious but in turn, the butterflies and bees have been so numerous you can hear the buzz or clicking of their wings as you walk through the fields.  There have been trips to the beach, walks in the woods, bonfires, fresh garden meals, preserving and jam making, knitting (but not as much), long bike rides and old friends.  All in all, it has been a very pleasant season.

And yet… I can not seem to remember very much of it!  I also did not take very many photographs at all.  So, I wanted to share just a couple, just to get back into the swing of things.

I do hope you enjoyed your summer, where ever you found yourself!  What did you get up to?  Does anyone else feel like it passes like a dream?

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Fields and fields of flowers, blackberries and of course hand knit sweaters !
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Beach Camp with the rising sun
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Two loves, Astilbe and Pangur (and then I realize the trees and rocks and lilac and sedum !! Okay, many loves)
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A dry spell – the river runs dry and we get to go on a new hike (happens usually once a year) – The rock formations are amazing!!
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Success with Hollyhocks ❤   This beautiful black hollyhock plant grew in our back garden.  I even collected some of the petals and dyed a pair of socks with them – the result was a pale grey/blue.
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Family visits to the beach on a full moon and an opportunity to photograph a beautiful handknit Olwyn that Meaghan knit
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A good neighbour
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The river wasn’t always dry and the land was covered with clover and buttercups, once upon a time
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Laughing Lisa, we share a birthday and on this day, we climbed Mont St. Hilaire ❤  Afterwards we joined our family who lives below the mountain for a delicious homemade dinner and cake.
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The heart is a lonely hunter
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Jamie asks me to pick everything for Tabbouleh – parsley and tomato
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Two sister witches, photograph their knits in the woods (it was near impossible in July to not have a bug on your foot… or realistically on every square inch of your body )
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One very good reason to plant a crab apple tree
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A very good companion while I pick, day in, day out 
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Sometimes, I have an urge to cable and so mittens seems like a very simple way to satisfy that urge!  Also, a book I picked up at the Hill of Tara in Co. Meath, Ireland.  
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GHOST PIPE (Monotropa uniflora) just saying hello
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Queen Anne’s Lace by the wayside
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The little specks of paint have been cleared and yes, our *new* old floor – covered with 30s linoleum and carpet, we made this a summer project – the floor of our study/studio.  I think it is Red Oak and the tree must be from the 17th century.   We washed, stained and finished this beauty floor – I honestly couldn’t feel happier with this project of ours and have this sense that the house feels happy too.
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Prince Edward Island, side of the road stops (very essential)
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16 Cups in the freezer, I braved the deer flies and black flies so we can have some jam and pie ❤
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A finished project – Shall I write a blog about this sweater?
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Tor Bay Provincial Park – I lose myself when we drive those winding roads and park here, a place like no other.

 

 

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Sunflower Eve in my Mother’s garden
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Only a July evening light
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My loves on the ferry
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The ferry brings us to these walks
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We currently have thousands of Painted Lady Butterflies around our home
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But just at our house, we have these evening walks ❤  If you can imagine having dozens of painted ladies flutter around you while you walk toward this fairy tree, basked in golden September light
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Collecting blackberries from our walks – we have several jars of jam now in the cold room

 

**  I’m sorry this is such a short post!  I do wish I had been actively blogging this summer, documenting hikes or anything really!  I think it’s safe to say that stepping into a sun drenched (although.. my photographs make it seem like we had a very cloudy summer – I am just drawn to taking photographs when the sun isn’t beaming down on us) fairy realm is pretty accurate ; ).  I really like to take my time with plants, just to be with them, observe them, I spent much of my time in this manner, leaving my phone turned off or hidden away somewhere.

Lastly, I am sorry this blog is more like a visual diary than what I see most blogs being – instructional sites.  I simply enjoy documenting the little things in life and don’t really see myself as being an authority on anything on this planet for giving people instruction.  Sometimes, I wonder if it’s even still relevant to have a blog simply documenting your life… but alas, I do enjoy it (regardless of the hiatus) and really love the conversations and friendships that I’ve made on here.  So Blessings all and I hope you’ve been well!

A song for you, that I sometimes play on repeat (like right now)

PS  I still fully plan to write and share about Ireland, it’s only my second home ❤

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    Walks with Henry

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    “Song of the Sea” My favourite movie – We did see seals this summer as well while crossing the strait.  I love them!