Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fixing up the Painted Lady.

This is the reason we have been spending the summer here at home. At the end of last year we noticed lots of paint peeling on the north side of the house. So as soon as the winter was over, we found a painter brave enough to paint a 3 story Victorian at the corner of two busy streets. Even planting a ladder is a challenge with the sidewalks and cars passing by. Tom Suchanek and his crew of students and friend Joe George were up for the challenge.Tom is the retired athletic director from Greenfield High School and former major league baseball player. He certain knows how to command respect and works as long and hard as his crew. (One of his crew is his darling son,Ryan who was just back from his honeymoon and is a teacher at Cushing Academy.)
Since I have fiber everywhere in my house and was in the midst of dyeing a large order for the Stitches Midwest shipment for Webs, I had dyed skeins of yarn all over the place on the porch, on the clothes line, you name it. Many of the younger men were confused by exactly what I do and probably still are! A few of them went home with yarn for their Moms and Grandmothers.
The most startling finding was the dry rot at the top of the clapboards near the roof. Apparently the water ran off to the side and caused the area to rot. It is very clear that Tom gave the house a really thorough going over. The areas which looks like eyesores look just like new. It was really interesting to hear all of the passers by making comments like: "you missed a spot" or "great job". It feels like we are ready for the winter with the house safe and sound with a new coat of paint. The Painted Lady has had a face lift. Great Job Tom and gang!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Chicken Sitting continued...

Well, I certainly am learning about posting, naturally the hard way! For some reason I lost the rest of the post for my Chicken Sitting.

Living right in the city of Greenfield, Massachusetts with the post office, YMCA and Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters at the ends of the streets I can see from my front porch was not a place I ever thought would have chickens. But never say never...

This is the essence of what has happened with the 4 chicks: Rick Laura and Belle are my neighbors who just started raising hens for eggs. They are away for a few days, and I was asked to watch "the girls" for them. Rick said it was easy enough, just make certain they have fresh water, that the food remains dry and ample, and that they need to be in the coop for the night to protect them from any night animals who may dig under the fence or otherwise endanger them. He said they "always go to the coop at sundown around 7:40pm". Night one, two and three...not at 7:40, more like 8:15! Maybe it was because I repeatedly went over to check on them (with lettuce, basil and garlic in hand) and they heard me coming and came out to greet me, or because they were behaving like many of the creatures I have cared for in my life.

It has been fun while the weather is warm and I am not plodding through the snow early in the morning or late at light. I will never look at chicken again in the same way. Maybe being a vegetarian is not such a bad idea.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Chicken Sitting

I never imagined I would be watching chickens for my neighbors. First of all you have to understand I live right in town. I can actually see the YMCA

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Visit with my joeys and why the Kangaroo?

People ask me why I am called The Kangaroo Dyer. It has nothing to do with Australian fibers or something exotic from "down under". The genesis of this trademark originated when my sons were very young. At the time I was making quilted totes and baby blankets for my family and friends who, too, were having babies. One thing lead to another, and after a period of time people wanted to purchase my creations. My sister Joanne is very clever with marketing and writing. We tossed around ideas about a label and she asked me what I wanted my work to symbolize. The most important thing to me have been my sons, Ross, Casey and Tim Burns. (Above photograph left to right, Ross, Kangaroo, Casey and Tim.) They always came first. A close second is my need to be creative. We came up with the kangaroo because she has her babies in her pouch, and her hands free to do other things, like quilting, weaving, and now dyeing. I have used this logo for almost 40 years, and she has survived all of the changes. I am fortunate to have a very creative brother. Bill is a graphic artist now living in New Hampshire. He designed the original kangaroo. She recently had a makeover and she looks quite happy with the results.

These photographs were taken last month in New York City, where the three of them are living. Ross, Casey and Tim arranged a birthday dinner at the Landmarc restaurant. It was delicious; especially the mussels! I forgot how much they eat. The refill of the bread basket reminded me of the old days when I could not keep enough food in the house. Afterwards we walked around Columbus Circle and went into the Essex Hotel to see the rooftop gardens and meet some of their friends. It could not have been a better birthday.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Perhaps you wondered where I've been - This picture explains it. I'm holding Riley on my left and Finley on my right. Somehow people think all three of us are asleep - twins will do that to you. They are adorable and growing like weeds.
Since I've been back I've been busy dyeing! No surprise there. I'm particularly pleased with my 'new' colorway series called "SEA". I'll try to post the pictures later today - I hear you can grab them from ETSY but I haven't learned that trick yet. But let me wet your appetite with the descriptions -
Cranberry Sea

If the Owl and The Pussycat can put to sea, why not on a cranberry sea? There's not much cranberry, but what there is, is eye catching! Their boat is made up of contrasting blue-purple and gray blue green leaves with just a touch of foam.

Coral Sea

Bright tropical nights and sparkling days with coral colored seas and palm tree landscaping. An ideal combination for a vacation or a yarn to experiment with.

Honey Sea

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. My husbands says this is one of the most sensuous yarns I've dyed. A beautiful vermilion border with honey brown and peaches and cream skin and...Well you get the idea. Any more and I'd have to mark this mature. Let your imagination run with this amazing combination of colors.
Well, I hope I've left you with something to think about. If you can't wait to see these, go to my shop on Etsy. Talk with you later.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Baby bay wrap

HELP !!!
I was asked a question yesterday about a 'bay wrap over a baby sweater'. The person was looking for a knitting pattern. Meant nothing to me - so I Googled 'bay wrap' and got over 9 million hits! I did learn that this is a baby sling or 'carryall' and widely for sale as such. Several people were also looking for crochet patterns for the same thing. Do any of you know where I can find a knitting or crochet pattern for a 'baby bay wrap' ?

Thanks for your help. Best, Gail

Friday, July 18, 2008

Progress is slow but inexorable! I think I'm getting the hang of this. I thought you might be as fascinated as I was when I discovered that Queen Anne's Lace starts with a RED dot in its center.Then, as it becomes more open the red becomes BLACK! Of course, I wanted the picture on the screen right to be FIRST with info and the pic on the left to be 2nd. Can someone help me???
Well this is what caused all the excitement last night. The first picture is looking through my Birch clump in the front yard. The house is my neighbors. It's up! up! and away!

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Well its been a long 24 hours!! When I left you before the 4th, I expected to be able to leaen how to add pictures and have time to keep you informed about my activities. The summer sale on my Etsy shop ( has been going gangbusters so I've been right out straight. I'm also planning on a visit with Finley and Riley, my twin granddaughters. Now , I hope there is a picture uploaded of them that you can see, so you'll know why I'm so excited about going.

Coming soon will be silk scarves and silk for Nuno felting. I'm trying to work out the logistics for posting and colorways.

Hope to be back tomorrow and daily thereafter. Best, Gail

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hello and Welcome

Hi -

My friends and family have been after me to start a blog. I'll need a lot of help so I'm hoping you'll ask me questions and give me advice about what I'm about and what I ought to be doing. My only promise is that I will read anything you send me and take to heart all constructive criticism -

Fortunately, this site knows more about what I'm about than I do - somehow it found my first attempt after I went looking to see what this blog looks like. So far, I've been busy dyeing and posting ( ) on my Etsy shop but I'm looking to branch out so that I'll remain fresh. Currently I'm in the middle of a 'Summer Sale' and percolating new colorways. I'll post some of my ideas over the next few weeks between visiting and helping with my grand daughters (twins 10 weeks old), spinning - I love it!! so relaxing, and developing a line of silks for NUNO felting.

I'll be back tomorrow. Need to find out how to get pictures up on the blog site. GAIL