Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Lobster Pot Christmas Tree

I live on Cape Ann, so it makes sense that the city of Gloucester boasts a Christmas Tree built from layer after layer of lobster traps. This past Saturday was the Middle Street Walk which ended with the lighting of this tree. There were the usual political speeches and Three Sheets to the Wind sang a few songs before the lights.
As you can see from this photo below, the lobster pots are stacked like pieces of cake with lobster boys hanging in between the traps. Each buoy was hand painted by the kids at Art Haven .
There will be an auction at a later date featuring these one of a kind buoys to help support Art Haven.
Blog On!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My Top Three Favorite Christmas Events

Of all the events Three Sheets to the Wind does, the Christmas Open House at Lowell's Boat Shop is one of my top three favorites. It's not just that it is an historic site (1793) or that they serve the best corn chowdah I have ever had or that this working boat shop becomes Santa's work shop for the weekend. There we are singing among dories in progress.
Rumor has it that the group has been invited to sing for the spring opening.
Blog On!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

BASD Shawl Pin Workshop

Here is a collection of shawl pins by the Boston Area Spinners and Dyers . Yesterday afternoon's workshop was held at Carol McClennan's house which was the type of home that made me feel instantly comfortable. It also fueled today's desire to clean my own.
I have two favorite parts to teaching. The first is the look on a student's face when she completes a project that expands her self definition. The second part is when they take out shawl and sweaters that they have made to test the new creations. Many times the student who complains about not getting something perfect the first time pulls out a garment they made that stops me in amazement. There is nothing I can say to ease their concern for not getting their pin perfect right away. So I use the momentum to (re)give the talk to myself. Knowing the price of perfectionism doesn't always mark the bill "paid in full".
Blog On!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fancie Purls and Pine Hills.

RoseAnn and I have been teaching in Plymouth this past week. We did two evening events at Fancie Purls and one afternoon at Pine Hills. Anne at Fancie Purls went beyond the call with wonderful goodies. And when did she find the time to make those cookies! It was hard to concentrate with all that beautiful yarn around.
Taken at Pine Hills, this photo
shows RoseAnn's newest variations on the heirloom rugs: wool ornaments that are shirred, beaded and stitched.
Blog On!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fiber Twist Tote = Instant Organization

OK, not instant organization but certainly better than pre-tote and damn quick too. It has become my favorite "go to show" bag. The pockets not only hold but also organize the myriad of things one needs to be prepared when away. It is especially nice that there is ample room for Gabriele's soon to be finished shawl despite my obsessive need to pack for any contingency. One great thing about being older is all the room that is freed up by not having to bring tampons and Midol.
Blog On!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Few Phrases I Can't Believe I Actually Said

and meant!
So cutting to the chase, here they are:
"Oh she's young, around forty"
"I'm never going to dye my hair"
"I could have spent the night with (fill in the name of a great guy), but the prospect of an evening alone with the new Martha Stewart Living........"
"Feel free to drop my my studio anytime. I am usually here"
Ah, to (hopefully) live and (hopefully) learn.
Blog On!

Monday, September 7, 2009

The True Cause of Global Warming

How obvious can it be? How many million baby boomer woman having hot flashes at the same time does it take to raise the Earth's temperature one degree? When it happens to me I feel like I personally am responsible for the temperature shift.
Blog (and flash) On!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Off to The Yarn Cottage - Mayville, NY

Another exciting trip for the county mouse. And another lesson in where I need to do an attitude shift. A basic truth that I have recently (re) discovered is that there is nothing more draining than self doubt. Yes, I can exhaust myself just by thinking. Of course I know I can re energize myself with a positive thought direction. So as I am putting together all the things I might possibly need I make sure I am packing the right attitude.
Blog On!

Friday, June 12, 2009

World's Fastest Update!

I have been feeling like the end person in a game of Whip these past tow months; moving so fast that my feet leave the ground. So here are a few quick update with a promise for more in depth reporting later.

This weekend I am in both Art in the Barn at the Essex County Greenbelt Association and the Fiber Arts Celebration (http://fiberartscelebration/) in Andover. The latter is a first time effort from RoseAnn Hunter ( and Kate Broughton. Brunonia Barry will be the featured speaker and since I am in the middle of reading (and loving) her book, The Lace Reader, I am super glad to hear her speak.

I am also in the middle of my first sock! I was actually sitting there knitting it last night at the opening of the barn show. I was two rows into turning the heel when the show officially closed for the night.
Lastly, Darcy will be hitting the 100,000 visitor to her blog within the next few hours! ( She has been such a great Internet marketer that I have decided to offer a special prize to one of her followers. I will call the winner we can decide together what they would like me to make the, as a thank you for readership.
I will have photos of all of the above after this weekend.
Blog On!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Charity Knitting Convergence March 28th

What a great title for the day! Katy was only a few sentences into pitching her event and I knew I had to be there. Featuring the Nightingale Knitters who knit year round to raise funds for Infant Leukemia the day is geared toward bringing together volunteers and beneficiaries. So come see me at the Peabody Institute Library at 15 Sylvan Street in Danvers. The free event runs from 10-4. Come get help on an UFO, learn to turn a heel or make a pompom.
Call Katy Carlin at 978-777-0092 for more information.
Blog On!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Alone Again, Naturally

About three and a half years ago I was so stuck in my life. I had felt that way for sometime but could not figure out how to get free. I had known Maureen for about fifteen years and heard she was looking for a place to move to. Although I had never had a female housemate, the timing made it seem like a good solution all around.
I had always thought that until you could live alone and truly enjoy your own company, you were not an adult. I now believe that my stuckness was that result of living alone too long. Too long being able to go out into the world for brief stints that never loosened my social mask. Living with someone means that eventually someone gets to see the real you. I can now say with great relief that I bless Maureen for not taking a picture of me for this blog when I had fallen asleep. Many times I would drift off fully clothed, (yet under the covers) during a crime drama marathon, the finished bowl of popcorn still balanced on my stomach, several cats draped over me like the clocks in the famous Salvatore Dali painting. I would like to think that were the situation reversed I would have the same sense of fair play.
I developed the oddest behavior. I have no idea where it came from. I always asked her opinion of the outfit I had on before I left. Truthfully, sometimes she asked me to change.
About a month ago she found a wonderful job and apartment. So now I am here alone. I loved living alone before so I had no problem with the transition. But I have learned allot about myself. Things you can't learn unless you bump against yourself and know you are being watched. I have heard it said that just having an observer changes the outcome of an experiment. I feel that is true. What I know with certainty is that I was stuck before and I am more creative now than I have ever been. I now know that I am a flexible person.
So that is the reason for the singular "Freak" in the blog title. I just thought it should be explained.
Blog On!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

One Year Has Passed - Jon Wind 1952- 2008

This time last year I had no idea that the next morning my brother, Jon would die. But my actions over the last year have been profoundly affected by his sudden death from a heart attack at 56. Reading in his autopsy report that he had, unknown to all of us, emphysema (along with severe heart disease and coronary artery disease) somehow helped me to begin to feel the same relief for him that I had for my Dad's passing just a few months before. To be sure, my Dad had years of physical and mental limitations that thwarted joy and peace. He also had almost thirty two years more life on this Earth. But Jon's normal life would have been rescripted as diagnosis bumped up against daily life. Now I don't assume longevity to be a "be all and not end all" of goals. What I do see is that many of the things that hold me back are "luxuries" I can no longer afford. My brother was not able to make changes. He was not going to stop smoking, change his diet or see himself as capable as he was.
I admit it's weird, but I have this vision of getting to the pearly gates where I am seated in a reclining chair and made really comfy. There is a super TV and a DVD is inserted which starts right into the main piece without the usual long drawn out boring promotions. Quickly I realize that the theme is what my life could have been had I only pushed a little harder against my fears and insecurities.
That image has helped me to ride out the period of discomfort that always (for me) happens when I redefine myself. Discomfort is not pleaseant but it is a small price to pay for growth.
Blog On!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Ravelry Passes the 300,000 Mark!

Make the 300,711 as of 6:39 PM. I am not surprised as I have heard the statistics concerning just how many knitters and crocheters there are. All we were waiting for was a cyber place to hang out. Ravelry has it all: patterns, tips and comments concerning all aspects of using yarn, groups and forums for venting or praising some fiber related topic and personalities that sparkle even on a computer moniter.
Congratulations Ravelry! I bet you make 500,00 sometime this summer.
Cable On!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The "Chain-A-Bead" is Born!

I love collaboration! It embodies the phrase "The sum is greater than the parts". Beth Williams shared my tiny studio many years ago long before she started glass bead making. I love her work and wanted to make something that she could use to show case her talent. Eh, voila, behold the Chain-A-Bead (copyright pending). Simple and secure yet easy to change is what I was going for. Please check her site, , in the next few days. Right now we are working on standardizing sizes and pricing. They will be sold separately from the beads.
Blog On!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Better in Black and White, the Conclusion

Ladies and germs, I present to you the greatest black and white comedy ever made.

I saw this movie first-run on a rainy night in Syracuse, NY (where nearly all the nights are rainy). The group of us who went wondered if Mel Brooks could top "Blazing Saddles" and there are those who still prefer the Western parody. But I fell in love with this movie from the opening credits.

First of all, the look was exactly right. Not too many years ago, I saw an interview with Mr. Brooks who said he couldn't seem to get the right dark look until he had his Director of Photography, Gerald Hirshfeld, watch the old Universal classic Frankenstein movies. Supposedly, Hirshfeld then said "I got it." And he did.

What luck that Kenneth Strickfaden, the designer of the laboratory (accent on the second syllable, please) in the original film was still alive and still had the equipment. What genius of Mel Brooks to find Strickfaden and use that equipment for the young Dr. Fronkensteen's lab. According to imdb, Mel gave Strickfadden the screen credit he'd never gotten for the original.

The casting was impeccable as well. From Gene Wilder to Teri Garr to the merest extra, they played together like a long-time rep company. Special kudos to Cloris Leachman who was Frau Bl├╝cher, a woman so fearsome horses neighed in terror at the sound of her name. When this film was made, Cloris was a gorgeous woman, a real "hot ticket" as they'd say in Massachusetts. She was willing to make herself look ugly to make her part work. Cloris, I'll never forget your funniest line, "YES. YES. Say it. He vas my... BOYFRIEND!"

It seems that everyone was willing to try what they could to make this movie great. The famous "Puttin' on the Ritz" scene was Gene Wilder's idea. Mel hated it, but filmed it anyway. When they saw an audience in hysterics at a preview, Mel put his director's ego aside and let it stay, unlike almost half the movie that was shot! The "Young Frankenstein" that we know came about through ruthless cutting of the original by Brooks and Wilder. Every joke that didn't work was cut, leaving us all the best.

What a script that was. The jokes just kept on coming, and my sisters and I still quote the movie to each other. One of them recently had surgery and I went to the hospital with her for a pre-op seminar for several patients and their family members. The nurse was describing what was going to happen the day of the operation and explained how the patient would be given a sedative. My sister busily wrote on her notepad and slid it to me to read "Sedagive." I had to bite my cheek. I can't quote all my favorite lines here because that would be the entire script.

Let us remember those major cast members who are no longer with us. Peter Boyle, who starts as an incoherent monster and ends up as an urbane sophisticate who makes his bride sing "Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life!" as they make love. The beautiful and brilliantly funny Madeline Kahn who knew she was wrong for the part of Inga, the lab assistant, but right for Young Frankenstein's chilly fiancee Elizabeth. And dear funny Marty Feldman, Eyegore, whose hump mysteriously moved from shoulder to shoulder and who brought home a brain from someone named "Abby Normal."

So thanks, Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder. On the far-off (I hope) day when Mel's at the Pearly Gates, I can hear St. Peter going over the list, "Hmm...boob jokes...tsk, tsk...Springtime for Hitler...dear me...oh, wait - YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN? Come on in!"

And so we conclude my series on beloved black and white movies. This also concludes my contributions to this blog. As of Sunday, Feb. 1, I will no longer be living in Folly Cove, leaving this blog to Leslie, its originator. Once again, I find myself quoting Irving Berlin as my farewell:

"If you're blue and you don't know where to go to,

Why don't you go where fashion sits,

Puttin' on the ritz."

- Maureen

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Oh, Mr Preident, You Dance Divinely!

I was doing a workshop at the Portland Fiber Gallery in Maine today and went to the North Star Cafe, a few doors down to get a bit of sustenance before class. There was Obama, Latin dancing! I always said, "Give me the right beat and any inhibitions go out the door." Lucky for me I had the right outfit in the car.
Blog (and Salsa) On!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dropping More Balls Than An Old Pair of BVD's

That's my line of the day and maybe the year! I don't remember hearing anyone else say it. It came to me as I read the email by the Yarn Yenta telling me she had never received what I had promised to send her. Thanks to and I am pretty good about orders as they come in. But this was a gift to a special person and the thought, untied to reality by a material reminder, evaporated. Her email was a gentle nudge. Armed with the power of now I had her gift in the mail in a nano hour. Anyway, that was the line that come into my head when I realized my gaffe. Has anyone ever heard it before?
Blog On!

Friday, January 2, 2009

My First Internet Christmas

For most of my years in business, Christmas meant being here working to make special orders and keep the store stocked to a comfortable bursting. The only money I made was from who came in the door and that meant being here. But the past few years has seen me going out to sheep and wool festivals and focusing my website on my shawl pins and other fiber related items. The beginning of April I added Paypal to my site and discovered that I could be doing something out of the studio while someone in California or England ordered an item from me. I could be paid at 2:00AM for an item I would ship at 2:00 PM the next day. So this Christmas I went to parties (and therefore ate more food) and sang at every event Three Sheets to the Wind was booked. The horizon now seemed a lot further away.
Looking back on January 2nd I have a fuller perspective. I did miss the interaction in the studio. And since I wasn't open as much I did not have the studio looking in a way that encouraged gift buying. What it did encourage was stress for me and confusion for anyone who came in.
The biggest difference is that I am used to face to face interaction. Most customers know me or of me through years of being in Rockport. On the Internet they only know one thing: they are waiting for an item they have paid for but only seen in pictures. It has to come fast and be just like what they saw in the photo or better. Mostly I can do that. But two times I really messed up. In one order I sent the wrong items to the lesser of the preferred addresses. So today I resent their order along with a refund to take some of the sting out of a late Chrstmas gift.
The second order was belatedly discovered under something about twelve days after the fact. Although I always communicated with the buyer the anger and disbelief that I had not done this on purpose was all too obvious in the tone of the emails even after delivery.
This is not a world that encourages trust among strangers especially where money is involved. My only power is to ship fast, communicate with buyers, listen to the feedback to limit misunderstanding and, above all, turn off the ego.
Blog On!