Done and A Winner!

Done, done, done. Markets are done for the year. Rest and relaxation on the horizon! And, maybe some shop updates, too.

The winner of my watermelon socks for Gordon/Barrie Island Advent Market was Betsy Clark. I’m off to deliver her prize later today. Betsy is a knitter, a local resident of Gore Bay, a customer, and a friend and I’m pleased that the socks are going to her. I posted a video of the prize drawing on Facebook as well.

Give Away – Draw

Make a purchase from Freshisle Fibers on Saturday, December 2nd at the Gordon/Barrie Island Christmas Advent Market, Gordon Community Centre, 21 Noble Sideroad, and enter our draw to WIN these hand knit socks.

These are my sample socks for displaying our hand dyed self-striping watermelon yarn. 100% wool from Manitoulin sheep, machine washable and dryable, ladies size 8.

These hand knit socks have never been worn!!! However, they have been displayed at many, many markets, been well loved and touched, and are a bit faded. It was time for me to knit a new sample to display and GIVE AWAY the old sample.

Make a purchase from Freshisle Fibers on Saturday, December 2nd at the Gordon/Barrie Island Christmas Advent Market (10 a.m. – 3 p.m.) and enter our draw to WIN these hand knit socks. Sorry, only in-person purchases only. Draw tickets not available for online purchases.


Summer is rolling along, but it certainly is a different summer weather wise.  So much rain and so many cool days and nights.  It’s hard to garden in such conditions and I feel for the farmers trying to get their hay off the fields.

Our NEW natural dye garden is up, planted, and doing fairly well in spite of rain and cold!  I certainly haven’t had to water it much!

I’ve planted indigo seeds twice and no luck with either batch.  Nothing.  Nothing at all.  Very disappointing.  Next week, I’ll try again.  Third time may be a charm.

But, the woad has been the most exciting part of the natural dye garden for me.  It’s growing like crazy and I’m so happy to have my own fresh woad leaves to dye with.  It’s terribly difficult to wait!  I want to try it now!

We’ve been going to the Gore Bay Farmers’ Market on Friday mornings, went to a couple of other local markets here and there, and of course, have had loads of visitors to the mobile shop and garden here at home.  This weekend is the Manitoulin Art Tour and hopefully we will have more visitors!

Market Musings

We just attended our first expo last weekend.  Sort of like a market and lots of sales, but also different in that many people were there just for information.  It was interesting.  Let’s hope that information translates into future sales as well!

We love our mobile shop and people seem to be so interested once they are in it, BUT, sometimes people just don’t come in!!!!  I’ve fretted about it, worried about it, thought about it endlessly and have no solution.  We have signage, huge signage.  We have an attractive outside display.  We are welcoming and in no way give a hard sell.  BUT … sometimes people just don’t even approach!

We watched many people come in, park, get out of their cars, and ignore us.  Then they come out, get back in their cars, and never come near us.  We’ve watched this happen at our local farmers’ market as well and are amazed.  Why?  I don’t understand.  Do they just see yarn and think, “I don’t knit, I’m not interested”, and continue on?  Maybe.  It’s strange.  We have so much more and they never see it!

One of our big sellers this weekend were the cedar sachets.  A hand sewn burlap bag stuffed with cedar shavings from Manitoulin cedar and tied with a ribbon.  Just a small sachet to put with your yarn OR to hang in your car, your boat, your camper, your closet – anywhere!  I know others would have loved them, too, BUT because they didn’t come near us, they missed them.  What to do, what to do?

I just want to share with everyone.  To pass the goodness along!

I am so happy with the people who did visit the mobile shop, whether they made a purchase or not.  We had so many positive comments and met some lovely people.  It was a beautiful sunny day, a slight chilly wind, but all in all, nice spring weather.  I know I just need to focus on that and relax about those who missed seeing and experiencing all our wonderful things!  Their loss!

Curling Win!

A big chunk of my winter is always spent in curling clubs.  Great exercise, great social times, and great fun!

This past weekend we participated in the Dr. Jack and Mary McQuay Memorial Mixed Bonspiel in Mindemoya and we won!  Last year we were in the finals, but didn’t manage to bring home the trophy, so this year was extra special.

I’ve also managed to finish another pair of mittens and add to the offerings for Canada’s 150th celebrations.  These are easy and quick mittens to knit with a very subtle maple leaf on the back of the hand.

The pattern is available in the shop – here – and also on Ravelry.  The samples were knit with our own Double Down in a specially dyed Canada Red and there will be more of it available in the shop soon.

Winter Sports

Winter is upon us and that means our local bonspiel season is upon us.  There are five curling clubs on our small island!  That’s a lot of curling for a small population.

Our first ladies’ bonspiel weekend was this past weekend and although there weren’t any prizes for us this time, we had a wonderful time.

My new winter sport addiction is quickly becoming cross country skiing.  I purchased skis, boots, and poles in Ottawa during our Christmas holiday and am slowly learning how to stay standing!

The first few days were a trial!  I was so sore.  Too many new muscles being used!  And, I fell.  A lot.  But, now I’m standing mostly all of the time and can actually go a fair distance without playing out.  Getter better and better.  I’m loving it.  It’s so much fun to go places in the bush and fields that we couldn’t go before because the snow was too deep for me.  It’s never too deep for Dusty!  He’ll go anywhere!

I’ve also been dyeing fairly steadily since Christmas break.  Trying to replenish stock from summer and Christmas markets is taking time!  And, I have two new knitting patterns almost ready to list for sale.  Almost.  Coming soon!  In between curling and skiing!

One Month

One month until Christmas.  Where has the time gone?  We’ve been in our new home for seven months now.  Hard to believe.  And, soon it will be Christmas.  I started looking through the bins of Christmas decorations this week and although I got rid of many of them before we moved, I now realize there’s more to go.  Just too much stuff!  Still!

We’ve been to two local Christmas markets so far and two more to go.  The mobile trailer/shop is working well and for the markets so far, we’ve had decent weather.  I hope that holds for the next two.  Cold is manageable – long underwear and wool sweaters!  I just hope we don’t have rain or heavy snow for the next ones.  Even with weather concerns, it sure beats hauling and carrying everything inside to a small table.

I’ve been busy making new items for our next market.  One more special Christmas knitted item to offer!  I can’t help myself!  They’re small and quick and absolutely adorable.

Mini-hats and scarves to adorn that special bottle of wine!

Wine Bottle Toppers

There are loads of free patterns for these but once I got started, I realized the variations are endless.  No two the same suits me just fine.  As a knitter, I get to use up scraps of bits of yarn, experiment with different stitch patterns, and have a finished product in no time.  Perfect.

Now, we’ll see if they sell!


Market Season

The Christmas market season is underway.  We had our first last weekend in the most beautiful weather.  It wasn’t weather for really getting folks in the Christmas shopping spirit, but it was great for us being outside with the mobile shop.

Gore Bay Christmas Market - 2016

The Julekuler Christmas balls were a hit.  They sold even better than last year so I’m madly making more!  For me, they are a fairly quick knit and since I don’t sell finished knits, these are the one special item for Christmas that I’ll continue to do.

Julekuler - 2016

The cone trees sales were slow.  Not sure why?  I’d had visitors to the shop at home last week and sold two before they even got to market so I was expecting they would go.  I can just never predict what will be popular.

Cone Trees - 2016

The yarn and knitting kits continued to sell well and that’s the important part.  The Christmas table outside is extra and as long as the yarn itself continues to be the majority of my sales, we will continue to do local markets.  So far, so good.

Our next market is in a week and a half and so the preparations continue.  As well, curling starts this week!  Already!  Never a dull moment!

It’s Coming

Feels like winter is coming.  We’ve had below 0 Celsius temperatures and the ground was covered in a heavy frost this morning.  We haven’t had our heat on until these past few days.  With such a small and well insulated house, the sun and using the stove for meals have been more than enough to keep us warm.  But, it’s time.  Winter is coming!

I’ve been knitting hats.  Lots of hats.  Three so far and another one on the needles.  All are with our own Double Down yarn and my own pattern.  The patterns aren’t quite ready for the shop yet, but that’s coming, too!

The first was with our Heritage self-striping yarn.  It’s hand dyed specifically for socks, but surprise, surprise!, it works very well for a tuque as well.


The second is just plain.  This one is the Watermelon Red colourway.


And the third is in preparations for Canada’s 150th Anniversary.  I’m happy with the maple leaf, but am going to re-do this one with slightly different spacing between the leaf and the lettering and maybe a bit more slouchy!

canada-150-tuque-b canada-150-tuque-c canada-150-tuque-a

Our first Christmas market is next week so I’m madly getting ready for that the next few days.  There will be lots of new Christmasy stuff as well as our usual yarns, soaps, and salves.

Surviving the Summer

We’re well into September and hoping that our fall holds calmness and quiet and time and joy.  Our summer was maybe not so much like that.

Just thinking of the last few months leaves me stunned!

We moved to a new house at the end of April.  Todd’s mother died the same week we moved.  We learned that we needed to re-do the weeping bed of our septic system shortly after the move and lived without a septic bed for almost 6 weeks.  Our new trailer arrived and Todd spent many days getting it ready for markets.  Still lots to do on the trailer, but it was useable for this year.  We built a new garage.  Still lots to do on that front as well.  Wool and supplies still in storage but hopefully will be moved by the end of the month.  My old car was starting to worry me and I bought a new car.  Working on selling my old car is a lot of work!  Then, at the end of August, Todd’s father died suddenly as the result of a bleeding ulcer.  We were still dealing with the loss of his mother and all the paperwork and ‘stuff’, and now we are coping with more.  More loss, more paperwork, more sadness.

Enough already.

But, we’re plodding ahead, holding on tightly to each other, and adjusting our plans and timelines as we go.  We’re warm and dry and well fed!  We have each other and the rest will come.  A finished garage, a deck, a completed trailer, time for dyeing and soap making, time for hunting and fishing, time for joy will come.  It will.

Hawberry Bush - Manitoulin Island

Small joys.  A hawberry bush loaded with hawberries just down the road from our new home is glorious this time of year.  Small joys.

Inch by Inch

The summer is rolling along too quickly.  I can hardly believe we’re well into July.  Our spring and early summer has been such a whirlwind of activity.  Never a dull moment!

Our new garage is up and coming along nicely.  Cement floor poured and roof on so at least it’s protected from the rain.  Solar panels are next on the list.

Our new septic is in and I’m enjoying doing laundry at home again!  I re-discovered laundromats and although it wasn’t terrible at all, it’s much easier to do laundry at home rather than lugging everything out and then bringing it back.  Simple joys!

The trailer/mobile shop is working really well at the markets.  It’s such a huge difference in how we feel at the end of the day when we don’t have all that carrying and setting up to do.  Also, customers are able to see so much more product and have more choices.  It’s especially been nice on the rainy and windy days.  We’re mostly dry and warm!

I’ve had loads of visitors to the mobile shop here at home.  People who’ve been to the market, and come again for more! and others who just find me online and want to shop!  It’s wonderful and I think will only get better.

Inch by inch, bit by bit, step by step, we’re getting there.  Living the dream!


The Trailer

The trailer.  The long awaited, dreamed of, planned for endlessly, magical trailer has arrived and was ready for our first foray out to the Gore Bay Farmers’ Market on Friday.

Many hours of planning and work by my darling husband and his friends turned an empty shell into the mobile shop that I imagined.  Maybe even better than I imagined.


There are some tweaks to be made and additions to come, but at least we’re up and running.  I’m thrilled with the result and we had so many lovely and positive comments for our first market.


The best part for us as vendors was not having to carry our tables, tent, and products into the market area, not having to set everything up, then take everything down, and carry it all back again to the truck.  It was such a relief to just close up the doors and come home at the end of the market.  A big time saver and much easier on our poor old backs!


I can offer so much more selection this way and it’s so much easier for me to keep track of my stock as well.  There’s separate sections for each weight and colour of yarns, the kits, the needles and accessories, and the soaps and salves.  We had some shoppers come to the house on Saturday as well and it was just a breeze to open up the door and welcome them into our little mobile shop.  All good things so far!


But, just as we cross one thing off our list, more appear.  I need to get dyeing!  I need to make more soap!  I need to get more patterns out there!, I need better signage!, I need to order more needles!, I need to put together more kits!, I need to update the website!  Slowly, slowly, eventually!  One step at a time.  Slowly.


But, no lists of things to do today.  It’s pouring rain here today and we’re all having a much needed rest day.

And, We’re Back!

We have moved and are no longer living out of and around boxes.  Yeah, us!  Things are getting settled and our new mobile shop is almost ready to go.  We will be going to our first market this Friday and although things won’t be quite as polished and prepared as I’d hoped, at least we’ll be there.

I love my new trailer and my most amazing, fantastic, bestest, wonderfulest, talentedest husband has done magic with shelving.  Pictures to come once I get those shelves stocked!

The online shop is open again for shipping and new yarns and patterns coming later this week.

So happy life is slowly returning to normal!  Moving is stressful!

No Shipping Until May 16

Freshisle Fibers is moving to a new house and a new physical shop space.

Our shop remains open for your viewing pleasure only.  Orders may be placed but will not be mailed until May 16th, 2016

Orders will not be mailed until May 16th, 2016.

Thank you for your patience.

A Start to a Mini-Sale

I got a bit of a start to a sale this weekend.  And, it will continue for at least two weeks.  FREE SHIPPING on selected items!!!

Just type ‘free shipping’ in the search feature on the main page and it will list all products that are selected for free shipping.

More will be added over the next few days – as I take small breaks from packing!

Busy Life

Everyone says they are busy.  Busy lives.  The nature of today’s society.  But, I’ve had a bit of a reprieve from that since retiring from teaching and suddenly, my life is busy again.  Super busy.

We are moving.  In 5 short weeks.  Very short.  Some days I feel overwhelmed and other days, I’m calm and know everything will be fine.  We’re excited and happy and very ready for a change, but that doesn’t change the fact that there’s still so much to do.

Packing up our house and selling things we no longer need or want is manageable and do-able.  I’m making good progress on that front.  My stress is coming from moving and managing the business side of my life.  All that yarn!!!

I’m thinking about some sort of sale for Easter weekend to reduce my stock.  Stay tuned!  I think a sale is coming!

Link to Old Typepad Blog

I’ve tried and tried, used various conversion programs and services and can’t seem to make the transfer from my old Typepad blog to here, the new WordPress blog.  I give up.

I can keep the old blog and link it here so that’s my solution.

The old Freshisle Fibers blog is here –

And the new one will continue here.


The Next Step

My new site is up and working, orders are working like a charm! Now, the next step. Moving my typepad blog over to this new site. I don’t want to lose all those years of posts and images so I’m hoping the move goes smoothly. Onto the next step!

Coming Soon

Slowly working on the new web site.  It’s up.  It’s there.  Now to add all the yarn products back in to the new shop!  New pictures, new descriptions, new, new, new.  Lots of changes ahead.