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I’m a Newfoundlander born and bred and I’ll be one till I die. I’m proud to be an islander and here’s the reason why, I’m free as the wind and the waves that wash the sand, there’s no place that I’d rather be than here in Newfoundland… (The Islander, by Bruce Moss)

Yes, I’m a little homesick today. We are slowly taking out the Christmas decorations for our annual party and I came across this lighthouse I bought last year to remind me where I come from.  

I do my best to just let go and embrace the place I live in as my home, but there are some days I just need to hang on to my home of childhood. Today’s that day ☺️

Reflecting and Projecting 

Art is my mediation and today I’m looking at the very first watercolor I created. It came to me naturally without the boundaries of formal instruction. That’s not to say that formal learning of techniques isn’t good, it’s essential for progress, but there’s something to be said for creative moments that spring unannounced from your being. 

 Paris ’98 
I did carry on with being unschooled in this artistic medium, and sketched many scenes that caught my eye and spoke to my heart. I also remember vividly this year of being jobless in a foreign city. I was lost and art saved me or found me rather. I stared in the mirror each morning and whispered to myself “so really, who the hell are you without your higher education and your books?” Despondent, once I stopped burying myself in science assignments, projects, and exams, I came up empty. Chris (husband/best friend) was happy and working, and never lost himself. Le sigh.

  
That first year in Paris I turned myself upside down, inside out, insane, and exhausted searching for meaningful work. I wanted the job that would make me sing each morning. Nevermind that I had no work visa. I reasoned that if I got the job, I’d get the visa somehow. A year went by….no job, but my sketching and painting were taking root nicely. 

 Corsica ’98  
 Etais La Sauvin (Steve’s House) ’99  
L’Hirondelle, France ’99

 These sketchers are part of my travel diary. There’s many, but I loved these places the most. They are only second to my precious island; Newfoundland.

Here is the most precious place in the world to me! It was my place when there was nowhere else I could go. It grounded me so that I could dream freely here.

Middle Cove, NL ’02

 My partner Chris asked me to marry him here one cold July evening, five years before I painted this landscape, as we lay on the cliff -pictured in the middle distance here. Star gazing in the grass and wrapped together in love my best friend and lover thought he would like to stay forever with me. I agreed wholeheartedly. It was magical. 
The journey to find myself and silence my ego had begun without much time to blink. Did I enjoy this task that was shoved in my face? No. Was it critical for my true self to emerge? Yes. Was it painful? Most definitely; lots of pain. Have I found myself? Partly. Am I finished with this intimate seduction that my dark side, my ego keeps thrusting on me? No, but I’m so close! So very close.

  

Love, so simple. 

XArby

A vintage velvety finish…

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The Mac Air is all wrapped up in a velvet finale!!

I always change my mind by the end of a project and this one was no different. I did a crab stitch finish around all edges except the bottom. There I went with a single crochet stitch. The velvet ribbon looks brownish in the photo, but it’s a shade of eggplant purple! Strange indeed how the camera does that. I didn’t block it really, but just sprayed a light mist of water on the front and pinned it in place. It was dry in an hour and ready to wrap! Just sew the ribbon so that the two ends meet at the front. I managed to get three wraps with 1.5m of ribbon. I should’ve gone with 2.0m!! Then I could’ve done a bow.

Hope you enjoy making it, and if you do post a photo, tag me!!

Happy Days!!!!

Jumper: cables

I love how the Australians call sweaters jumpers. It’s not at all logical, but when you think about it, sweater doesn’t seem to have much logic either. I don’t need a lot of jumpers here, but I sure love making them!

I made this one for one of my favorite people in the whole world. It’s full of cables and was super easy. I love the touch of the tattoo band on the arm! Like a real Irish fisherman’s sweater. The pattern came from “stitchn’ bitch” for men.

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Knitters Be-square!!!

To all you knitters out there!!! It’s time to fall in love with the Granny Square!!!!

Trust me, you will want to give crochet a GO!!!!!

I’m officially HOOKED! I never truly appreciated the making and the usefulness of the “Granny Square”. I mean, well, I like them alright, but I never thought “DAMN! I need to make granny squares”! Sooooo, that’s the truth. Appreciation of a thing doesn’t translate to the desire to make that thing.

That all changed the day I causally picked up a Noro magazine at my local news shop because I discovered Noro wool. I admire the raw and vibrant look of Noro Wool and the Noro designs/patterns are always interesting and oh-so-pretty! I’m a knitter first and foremost, so of course I knitted a beautiful Noro sweater with a gorgeous T design at the join of the body and sleeves. The colors are amazing and the body was made with a different color wool than the sleeves. However, as this post isn’t about that sweater (it now resides with my Niece in Newfoundland and of course I forgot to take a photo!) that’s enough said!

The whole point of this rambling is that I had enjoyed the Noro magazine so much, that I decided to pick up the next issue. It was then that I saw THE Tunic. In fact, everything I felt about the ole granny square changed because of this:

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I fell instantly in LOVE with it and I simply had to make it! But disappointment soon followed; I had to make 60 granny squares and at a difficult level. I’m a novice at crochet and had only made some hats, booties and done some edgings around sweaters and blankets. Whatever was I going to do to make this tunic a reality?? Of course…I had to run to my woolshop ASAP and plead for help, shamelessly.

I am forever in-debited to Lesley for taking on such an impromptu teaching task that day; for over an hour too!! With good humor, and trust me I can be exasperating, she showed me how to work that square into submission! That said, even after that whirlwind lesson I had to go home and make about a thousand mistakes, tear my hair out and rip apart about a dozen squares before finally achieving a good result. Thank you Lesley for always extending your helping hand whenever I call regardless of what’s happening in your world! You are a rare and gorgeous gem and your kindness will NOT go unrewarded;

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that’s a promise and you can count on it!

Here’s a closer look at the squares and let me tell you, these babies are harder than they look:

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I finally wore it out yesterday and it was not only comfortable, it got plenty of looks! Now I don’t know if they were looks of “admiration” or “what is she wearing???”, but I’m hoping it’s the former! Who cares anyway!? I love it and it is me to a T 🙂 It makes me want to dance and twirl!! What’s that song? “I feel pretty, oh so pretty, I feel pretty, witty and gay, or was it wise or both…”?

Since making that Tunic, a whole new world of creativity has opened up, and crochet is way easier than knitting. Honest! So give it a try and go beyond the Granny Square norm of the pot holder, the blanket or table cloth! Make a jacket, a dress,a lamp shade or this lovely and colorful Tunic!!


Here’s a final photo of the Tunic. I had to photograph it in the sunny outdoors to bring it to life and to show off all those glorious colors!! Hummmmm, maybe it’s the silk in the Noro wool, but I never, ever thought it could feel so luxurious to wear a Granny Square Tunic! True story!!

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Happy creating and knitters…….BE-SQUARE!!! 

BEWARE of the Granny Square!; It’s truly addictive!!!!

Peace and Love!

Get cosy with Betty’s knits!

Betty Cole is keeping Newfoundland people warm in her beautiful and fun knits.

In Newfoundland we have 3 finger “Trigger Mitts” in traditional colors of brown and white and a fair isle pattern across the back of the hand and the front of the palm. Often they are made in non-traditional colors/patterns and are wildly popular and so functional. The three fingers stay together and warm while the tigger fingers are separate and free to do whatever you want…like pull a trigger? Haha!

I haven’t tried making 3 finger mitts yet, but I will definitely try it when I’m on the Island this summer. Betty has done a lovely job making these trigger mitts and the colors are vibrant and fun! And she sells them!!

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And of course with your trigger mitts you need a Tam ‘O Shanter – isn’t that what Benjamin Bunny called it? – in matching colors or mixed colors! I just love a good looking Tam, or Beret if you prefer.

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And if these don’t suit your fancy a beanie and regular mittens is always the perfect choice!

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That’s what I love about making things. The ideas and combinations, colors, styles, etc…are endless.

I certainly hope that Betty has great success selling her gorgeous knitwear, especially because they are fun and such excellent quality. I do my best to outfit my whole family, especially the little one, in homemade wool or cotton knits, they are natural fibers and just so gorgeous!

I’ve been distant lately, I know, but it’s due to daycare woes; my toddler just started and is sick every other week. So, obviously I’m shattered!! BUT, I’m working on the next chapter or posting of “My Watercolor Life”, so hang in there with me!

Luck O’the Irish!

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May the luck of the Irish be with ya! I got in touch with my Irish heritage. This Irish inspired beanie was made for my Irish friend’s new baby, Pierce. He’s a jolly baby with the palest blue eyes I’ve ever seen. Gorgeous! He looked so Irish in his beanie too.
Erin Go Bragh!!!

Testing testing…..

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Ok all you eco-friendly friends out there, here is a quilt the creative Betty Cole made from all her knitting test pieces. What an excellent idea for all those test squares, and the nearly squares! Haha

She sewed them on 2 flour bags that her sister Mary got for her when she worked at Purity Factories – a Newfoundland food processing factory established in 1924. Betty bleached and dyed the bags (photo below) and then she trimmed the blanket with material left over from a skirt she made for her daughter Karen when she was in high school. I hope Karen isn’t offended, but that wasn’t yesterday! Admittedly, it was ages ago for me too.

Betty’s husband, Roy, always said it was a healing blanket. I can see that because with a quilt like that wrapped around you, how can you NOT feel loved and cared for?? And that’s the best kind of medicine to heal anyone! Regardless of what you believe, it’s an excellent way to use those test pieces that usually end up in the bin. I’m going to start mine ASAP!! Ok, in all honesty, I need to finish about 10 other projects first, but it’s on my list of things I want to do because I love it!

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