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The warp beamed on to the loom

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The back beam, full of warp yarn!

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Almost ready to tie on to the front beam

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My daughter helping me wind bobbins of mohair for the weft.  

You can see the purple wool fabric woven in to serve as spacing at the start of the warp.

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Time for a new project!  Well, not exactly new since I’ve been planning it all summer, but now it really starts.  Blanket weaving!  The London District Weavers and Spinners Guild, of which I am a member, was given a whole bunch of gorgeous wool yarn.  We sold some of it to the membership, but kept the bulk so that I can weave it all into blankets.  Now, I’m a fairly new weaver, and I’ve never woven anything this big, but of course I jumped in with both feet because I’m just like that.  We’ve got enough yarn to weave approximately 9 blankets done with three warps, which is EPIC!

The wool yarn came in basically three muted heathered colourways: blue multi, green multi, and a red/brown multi, each colourway being made up of about half a dozen different colours.  I’m going to be throwing in some brights to each in small stripes to cheer it all up.  I’ve made the blue warp now and soon it will hopefully be on my loom.  Here’s a pic of part of the warp on the warping mill: 

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The weft will be done in mohair so the blankets will be super super soft (touching the cones is like petting the softest cat).

Speaking of looms and cats, here is a pic of my new 60″ Leclerc Colonial loom, currently set up as a counterweight, and my cat Aras taking a tour.  More pics to follow once I get the behemoth warped with the blanket warp.  I can’t wait!

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And for good measure, here’s a pic of a mother swan and her four signets we saw on our trip to Stratford!  

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Doesn’t seem that long ago, really.  This summer has just flown by.  The weather was terrible, and business slow due to the rain and cold, but my stuff looked really good.  I’m really pleased with the display and I think I would have sold quite a bit if people hadn’t been put off by the weather.

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Platypus Symphony Handmade

will be at the Indoor-Outdoor Central Craft & HBB Marketplace

at Central United Church, 135 Wellington St., St. Thomas ON 

on Saturday May 17

from 8am to 1pm

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I will be selling lots of handmade crafts, including tea cozies and cup cozies, crocheted jewellery, and handwoven textiles. All natural fibres, all made by me in St Thomas Ontario. Thanks to the wonders of technology, I will now be accepting Visa and Master Card as well as cash.

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Check out 40 plus Craft & Home Based Business Vendors. Enjoy a hot dog or bacon on a bun at our Central BBQ and don’t forget to take home some goodies from our “Mega” Bake table. All home baked by “loving” hands. Something for everyone! Come, stay, enjoy!

The Enchanted Arts Show and Sale

Sunday November 18 from 10:30am to 5:00pm

at the Elsie Perrin Williams Estate, 101 Windermere Road West, London

Featuring local London artists including the incredibly talented Nancy Latchford

Check this out for a full list of participating artists.

“come and find the magic!”

Fibre Art Festival and Sale

Saturday November 24 from 8:30am – 5:30pm

Sunday November 25 from 11:00am – 4pm

Covent Garden Market in London, Ontario

Art for sale for the the individual and the home – all locally made

Includes Weaving, Spinning, Rug Hooking, Lace Making, Nalbinding, Kumihimo, and Basketry.

For more information, see the website for the London District Weavers and Spinners

I will be featuring numerous handspun and crocheted items in the sale, so if you’re in the area, come check it out!

The 2012 World of Threads Festival

Oakville: Nov. 2 – 18, 2012
Toronto: Nov. 9 – Dec. 2, 2012

From their website:

Local, National & International Contemporary Fibre Art.

The World of Threads Festival is one of the most vibrant fibre arts festivals in the world. We showcase contemporary fibre art in all forms. The Festival is based in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. For the first time we are expanding into Toronto.

The 2012 festival will have 21 exhibitions, and nearly 200 artists from 12 countries and 8 Canadian provinces. The flagship exhibitions are the Common Thread International exhibitions.

For more information, a .pdf of their brochure is available here.

Here is a recipe for the world’s easiest pulled pork.  It’s a guideline, mainly, because there are really no measurements – just eyeball it.

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I like to make mine with veggies so I don’t have to make a side dish too.  If you like, you can just cook the tenderloin on its own with the broth and sauce and omit the veggies completely.

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If you don’t own a slow cooker, go out and buy one – they’re awesome.  Seriously, though, you could cook this in an oven-proof pot with a lid on a low temperature for several hours and get approximately the same result.  Just don’t let it dry out or it will be gross.  With the slow cooker you get to just ignore it all day, though.

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Ingredients:

1 pork tenderloin (if frozen, make sure you defrost it all the way through)

1-2 sweet apples

2 large carrots

2 large onions

1 bottle of a sweet BBQ sauce – something like maple or mesquite.  Right now I’m using Sensations by Complements Maple BBQ sauce and it is very good.

beef stock to cover (from a can or a packet, it doesn’t matter)

1 packet of onion soup mix (optional)

any other spices you want to add (experiment a bit).  I often include whole peppercorns if I have them on hand.

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Chop the apples, carrots, and onions and put them into your crock pot.  Add enough stock to cover the veggies, as well as the spices.  Place the tenderloin on top and slather it in BBQ sauce.

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Cook for as long as you need to.  I usually cook it on high for about 6 hours because I’m not up at the crack of dawn cooking dinner.  You could put it on to cook early and cook it on low as well.  You will know it is done when the pork is cooked through and you can pull it apart with a fork.

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Shred the pork with a fork and mix it into the vegetables which should be very soft by now.  You can leave the veggies in chunks if you want, or mush them right in (if you’re trying to hide them from the kids like I am).

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If you want you can add some more BBQ sauce.

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Serve on onion buns or kaisers with coleslaw.  Or serve it over rice or potatoes.  Either way you do it, enjoy!

IN WATERS DEEP

In ocean wastes no poppies blow,
No crosses stand in ordered row,
There young hearts sleep… beneath the wave…
The spirited, the good, the brave,
But stars a constant vigil keep,
For them who lie beneath the deep.

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‘Tis true you cannot kneel in prayer
On certain spot and think. “He’s there.”
But you can to the ocean go…
See whitecaps marching row on row;
Know one for him will always ride…
In and out… with every tide.
And when your span of life is passed,
He’ll meet you at the “Captain’s Mast.”

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And they who mourn on distant shore
For sailors who’ll come home no more,
Can dry their tears and pray for these
Who rest beneath the heaving seas…
For stars that shine and winds that blow
And whitecaps marching row on row.
And they can never lonely be
For when they lived… they chose the sea.

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©Copyright October 11, 2001 by Eileen Mahoney

The HMCS Skeena

Well, we survived the move from Nova Scotia to Ontario in one piece (mostly – we did lose a couple of minor pieces to breakage).  The house, which we had only seen on the MLS listing, is just wonderful.

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The house has needed a lot of work, of course, since it’s over 100 years old.  Most of the work has been cosmetic yet time-consuming things like painting etc.  Our largest changes have been a new kitchen counter top and sink, and a door linking the front three bedrooms with the back two.  At some point the house had been divided into a duplex and was never fully converted back, which meant that there were two areas on the second floor which didn’t connect to one another and left the back bedrooms without easy access to a bathroom or to the laundry room.  A bit of muscle and a claw hammer soon fixed that, and my mother and I successfully installed a new door between the two areas which has greatly simplified things.  Knocking down walls is fun!

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We’re still somewhat living out of boxes and I don’t yet have the store up and running because it’s all still down in the basement (though I’ve been doing some shopping, and have some awesome new pieces!)

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What I have been doing just recently is experimenting with some Inkle weaving.  It all started when my mother-in-law spotted a little inkle loom at a second hand store (I was there with her and it kills me that I overlooked it, plus she’s been rubbing it in).  I asked around my local fibre groups and got some information, plus a great book, then started weaving.  It was quite simple once I figured it all out.

That’s the loom on the left.  Its quite small, even for an inkle, which means you can’t make anything really long on it.  It still serves the purpose, though, and you can make some really lovely things on it.

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These white strings are the heddles which hold the alternating strands of the warp.  They are what helps you to separate the two different sheds, the open areas between the strands of the warp through which you pass the weft.  I tied them out of cotton yarn to the specifics in my book, not noticing that 1) they were entirely too long for this size of loom, and 2) I had tied roughly four times as many heddles as I actually needed for my initial weaving project.  In my defense, I did have a horrible migraine that day and I probably wasn’t paying very much attention.  After shortening and reducing the number of heddles, I was ready to warp the loom.

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The warp, done in a regular pattern of black, white, and grey.  Inkle looms make a warp-faced weave, which means that the strands of the warp are what you are going to see when the project is complete.  The weft strand is essentially invisible, just there to hold it all together.

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My very first piece of inkle weaving.  As you can see, the stripes of black, white, and grey in the warp are visible here once it is woven.

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My two completed inkle projects.  The grey and black piece is long enough to use as a hair band and I’ve been wearing it all week.  The piece on the left is what I wove afterwards (I should have taken some pics of it while it was still on the loom).  The warp is made up of black and natural grey merino which I spun interspersed with some beautifully colourful Leicester locks (you can see it balled in the first picture).  The weft was the same black commercial wool that I used in my first project.  With the tasseled edging, it is long enough for a jaunty little scarf.  I think the pattern looks almost like a river bed.

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They’re both a bit rough, especially the selvedges (the left and right edges) which are very visible on such narrow pieces.  Still, it was very fun, and I will definitely keep practicing!

Our move to St Thomas, Ontario has begun!  Stay tuned for updates as events warrant!

This is a guest post from my sister Sarah.  I am also a Begin by birth (and a Cotter by marriage).  Enjoy!

Commence et Persiste
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Begin Family History – Begins and Continues

I’ve been really interested in genealogy for a while and have managed to trace back almost every line of my family history. In honour of Canada Day, I will share with you the story of my first ancestors to arrive in Canada, Jacques Bégin and his son Louis.
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This information has been translated from L’Association des familles Bégin, and has been augmented with my own independent research.
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Honfleur, France
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Jacques Bégin (1600-1664), was born in Honfleur, a city in Normandy, France. He married Anne Melocque and had four children. They lived in the countryside on a farm in St-Sauveur in the parish of St. Leonard.
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After the death of his wife, Anne Melocque, Jacques and his son Louis (1631-1708) left for New France. They arrived around 1654 and the following year, Jacques obtained land in the name of Louis. In 1661, he accepted a stronghold in the back of St. Anne, the place now called Lauzon. Unfortunately, he drowned three years later in the St. Lawrence River, and his son Louis, sole heir, took over. 
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Around the age of 37, Louis met Jeanne Durand, daughter of Martin and Francoise Brunet. Jeanne was an orphan and married Louis at the age of thirteen on October 15, 1668.
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Habitants by Cornelius Krieghoff (1852)
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The Bégin family spent the most of their lives in quiet and peace. Like most people of the time, they lived on hunting and fishing and decorated with the cereal crop, which apparently was very prolific. Thus in the 1681 census, they had three head of cattle and eight acres of cleared land.
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In the spring of 1690, Jeanne Durand was very sick and stayed at the Hotel-Dieu de Quebec for thirty days. In 1695, she was again hospitalized for 37 days.
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Louis Bé
gin died in his house and was buried, December 26, 1708 in the cemetery at Point Levy. Jeanne Durand, with the help of her eldest son, Jean-Baptiste, lived for fourteen more years and died July 27, 1722.
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Visiting Levis – 2011
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While doing my research, the most fascinating information I dug up is that Louis and Jeanne are the grandparents of all Canadian Bégins. There were no other Bégins who immigrated to Canada and survived or reproduced, thus leaving Louis and Jeanne with the task of creating us all. If your last name is Bégin and your familly has been in Canada for a very long time, chances are we are cousins.
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The area where Louis and Jeanne lived is now known as Levis and you can find evidence of the impact that the family had all over the town. When Jorge and I visited Quebec last September, I insisted on visiting Levis. I wanted to see the place where my ancestors lived and hoped to find their burial sites. During my research, I discovered that their original graves were moved to the newer and larger Mont-Marie Cemetery. Unfortuantely, due to the age of the graves, there were no grave markers, just a mention in their database that indeed, they are buried there.
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A street in Levis
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I’m amazed that my family has been in Canada for 358 years. I am often asked what my background is and I always answer “Canadian”. At that point I’m usually asked… “yeah, but where do your parents come from? grandparents?”, and I answer “Canada”. Now that I’ve done my family genealogy, not just on the Bégin side but all sides of my family, I can name all of the places where we originated, but in the end I can’t say I am anything but Canadian. After 358 years and not learning to speak the language, I definitely can’t say I’m French.
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Happy Canada Day!

About Me:

Ellen, a crafty homemaker with two kids and a penchant for correcting other people's grammar.

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