Saturday, August 8, 2009

Square 46: Marian's endeavour

Square 046

The first time we walked into The Black Lamb I asked my daughters to pick out some yarn. Marian chose the variegated sea-green handspun yarn I have used as the predominant fibre in this square. It was her favourite colour.

My daughters lived in Port Hope. Danny and I had driven there to pick them up for a visit. He knew Laurie (who runs The Black Lamb) and wanted to drop into the store. We had no idea how important an event it would be.

We also picked out some small bundles of dyed fleece. In the car the girls began spinning them by hand, coached by Danny. Marian was particularly captivated. Back at Danny's house he gave her some dyed silk hankies he had on hand (these are not real hankies, but thin squares of silk fibre that can be pulled apart and spun into yarn). Marian spent the rest of the weekend working with these.

Over the next few weeks Marian returned to The Black Lamb on her own. During my next visit to Port Hope when we went back to the store Marian and Laurie carried on like old friends. Laurie was looking for a co-op student to help in the shop.

Marian was eager. This was early last year. Within a few more weeks she was working there for a high school credit, and had struck up an important relationship with Laurie. My daughter acquired a spinning wheel. She learned to spin and dye fibre. She had a knack for colour. Last summer she showed me how to felt wool.

This summer she received a government grant for young entrepreneurs, with plans to produce her own yarn at home to sell on an Etsy website. She has already received several commissions for custom yarn, and her business was reported in The Northumberland News. She is seventeen, fierce and resourceful, and I am proud of her.

[Late breaking news: Marian's business was featured last night on CBC's The National in a story about student unemployment and employment (go to the 11-minute mark).]

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Square 45: New digs

Square 045

At last I am home in my new home. Saturday was an ordeal for everyone. First of all, at the U-Haul dispatcher I discovered the van was only available for six hours instead of ten as I had requested, so we had to hurry. We loaded quickly. Upon arrival at the new building we just unloaded everything beside the sidewalk so I could return the van on time. Then we had to carry everything up two flights of stairs, which made for a grueling afternoon.

But I had a great troop of helpers who didn't complain much and never gave up their good spirits. The vein of cheerful colours through the middle of this square goes out to Danny, Marian, Kerri, Brenna, Tory, Marion, Les and Sean with special thanks. We finished around 3:30 then Danny took us out for Chinese food at Woks Taste.

Then I had piles and piles of boxes to contend with. I couldn't imagine how the place would ever start to take shape, but actually unpacking has gone quickly.

Saturday night I set up the computer table. Sunday afternoon we unpacked books and worked on making the living room habitable. Tory and Brenna went with Danny and me to Elora Gorge for a picnic and short hike, but we were all so tired we didn't last long. Back home we crashed and watched two movies in the new living room. Monday morning Brenna and Tory had to leave. Then Danny and I set up the futon bunk in the bedroom. Finally Danny had to leave for Toronto and I was left alone in my new digs. Yesterday I concentrated on getting my bedroom in order, and today sorted out the kitchen.

This evening I cooked my first real meal in my new place: baked pollock with lemon butter, golden beets, spinach vermicelli, and steamed bok choy in fried garlic and ginger with soy sauce and sesame oil. It has been weeks since I treated myself to a proper sit-down meal at the kitchen table, in fact that's something I rarely do.

This new place has a good vibe. It encourages me to take and savour my time. The living room walls are deep blue and the old hardwood is orange-brown. I can feel these spaces becoming a haven.

The yarns in this square are blue Patons Soy Wool, orange-brown Noro Silk Garden, purple Cascade, variegated Manos Del Uruguay "Wildflower", bright orange Létt-Lopi and Berroco Jasper.