Monday, November 14, 2011


In my youth when I had more of a sweet tooth, I used to love liquorice all-sorts. Haven’t tasted them in years. I can imagine it though. Unfortunately this post doesn’t have any liquorice in it but it does have lots of different items.

Firstly, I forgot to mention our adventures at the Circle Craft Christmas Market last Wednesday. It took place in the huge new section of the Vancouver Convention Centre and was very nicely done. It took hours to go through all the booths but T-Man and I managed to do the whole thing, with only a short break for perogies and Ukrainian sausage to fortify us. It was lovely to visit with several friends in their booths: Yoriko Oki, Laura Fry and her husband Doug, and Carmen of MelonHead Knitwear. There was a really good mix of crafts this year: jewelry, glass, ceramics, wood, metal, leather, clothing, accessories, and food plus some unique items such as the pebble art pictures from the beaches of Nova Scotia and the freaky iron sculptures by Jim Nodge. I thought there was a larger-than-usual number of clothing artists and lots of hats. Many artists were using a least a portion of recycled and repurposed materials in their work which was great to see. But what’s with the multitudes of pet clothing and accessories? It would have been fun to try on some of the garments (not the doggie ones!) but since I wasn’t going to buy them and the rare changing rooms were just a curtain, it wasn’t worth the effort. Good to see some pieces that would look good on many body types though.

Of course T enjoyed the lampwork glass. We agreed the best by far was Lori Steel of Dragonfly Organic Arts. Her pieces have a depth and complexity but are not at all frou-frou. Like her company’s name: organic. Love. However, we didn’t buy. We were on a mission – to find two plates for our everyday dinners. Do you know how hard it is to find a potter who makes plates? Nice practical plates? We were nearly done exploring every isle without success when we came upon Matthew Freed’s booth. He’s a local artisan that we hadn’t discovered yet and we both loved his work. So we bought these lovelies:

MatthewFreed plates

Those are hand-painted lines, not decals. The glaze is slightly matte and includes many colours while looking neutral gray in most lights. I love the little pinches on the edges and the size is not too large. Best of all he signs his work on the back so we can’t forget who made them! And if we decide to get them later he also makes matching bowls in different sizes. We’ve already had a couple of meals on our new plates and we’re both very pleased. At least they aren’t boring white like all the commercially made dishes we’ve seen lately!

It was really fun and inspiring to see what everyone is making these days. Of course we don’t give Christmas presents so that wasn’t our purpose in going. It was our brand of entertainment. Afterwards we were hungry again so we went to Steamworks just down the street for a beer and a plate of bagel chips and crab dip. Yum. A very nice date.

What else? Oh yeah. I got to test out my black Boot Buffers yesterday:

BootBuffers2 in action

We went for one of our usual long walks and although they slid down a little they stayed in place pretty well and were very comfortable. Saved my striped tights from damage too which was the whole point. Unfortunately the first set of Boot Buffers in handspun green yarn are too short and too tight so I’ll have to revise them to match the black ones. I also promise to get a photo of the Boot Cuffs in action eventually. They haven’t had their test run yet.

I also managed to finish cutting out Garment Number 4 so now I’m on a sewing jag. Don’t you like my new beach pebble pattern weights?


I keep them in a basket near my cutting table and they work really well while pleasing my eye with their colours and shapes. Best part is they were free – a reminder of our recent holiday. Some are from Jackson Lake in Wyoming and some are from Whidbey Island in Washington. Farthest east and farthest west that we went, from fresh and salt waters, all glacier-smoothed. There’s a kind of natural poetry there, doncha think?

Anywho, I managed to squeeze a long-sleeved dress, a long-sleeved tunic, a sleeveless tunic and a skirt from 2 pieces of 58-60” knit fabric, just over 5 yards in total. I think that’s pretty efficient, don’t you? Except that the last pieces didn’t interlock very well leaving a lot of unusable scraps. I did have to fudge just a little and shorten the cowl on the long-sleeved tunic by an inch. Don’t think it will matter because I’ve decided to skew it to make it more interesting. You’ll see what I mean. I also originally wanted to self-line the contrast yoke on the dress but since I ran out of fabric I’m going to go with just hemming the neck with cross-grain strips instead. Improvisation is good. The patterns are all either self-drafted or much-adjusted from the originals. Wish me luck that they will fit properly.

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