Prince Edward Island

PEI, Briarcliffe, and Wendy's potatoes

Entering New Brunswick from Maine, USA.
 We stayed at a great B and B on Prince Edward Island called Briarcliffe Inn. (Incidentally, it is for sale as Mary and Bill have another business they want to focus on, so if you want a profitable and beautiful business on Prince Edward Island, check out their establishment. Here is a blog written by their daughter called Help my Parents Retire.) Mary and Bill Kendrick are amazing hosts. Mary made me fantastic gluten free breakfasts. Seriously, they were amazing. Bill makes wine and I greatly enjoyed my nightly glass of white. They are knowledgeable and love to share what they know about PEI with their guests. They were perfectly lovely hosts and I can't thank them enough for their hospitality and lovely home.

We got to feed the pigs! There is a pig farm next door to Briarcliffe and some of the pigs live in the woods on the B&B property during the summer. We got to feed and water them one morning. They were kind of cute. The next day we had last year's pigs for breakfast. Oh dear. At least it was clear they were happy.

The roads on PEI are really red dirt. Ever read Anne of Green Gables? Anne is the number one tourist attraction on the island. It was a lot of fun to visit the world of L.M. Montgomery. I loved her books as a child. We read the first Anne book on the trip and come to find out I still love them. We did not visit the tourist mecca that is the Anne phenomenon though. The beach was calling.

Red dirt roads ala Anne's world. There are also a lot of windmills on the island.
There is a town on PEI called Crapaud. I actually made Emily pull over so I could take this photo. Crapaud is a term used in tapestry which James always said meant "crap." I suspect that isn't the real meaning of the term (isn't it something about frogs?), but when the tapestry just isn't working out, he would say that you might just have to put in some crapaud to make it all work out (and that was only if things got desperate). As an added bonus, this town is apparently the "Home of the PEI tractor pull championship".

And I was sorry this little shop was closed in Victoria-by-the-sea. We did get amazing chocolate in Victoria.

We had a great day on the beach, Dalvay-by-the-sea (By-The-Sea seems like a frequent addition to town names on PEI. Isn't everything there by the sea?).

This field of potatoes was right behind Briarcliffe Inn.

Those potatoes are destined to become french fries at this establishment of which there are plenty in Canada also:

Prince Edward Island was a wonderful place for a honeymoon. Thanks PEI!

MacAusland's wool mill, Prince Edward Island

Wool mills. Fiber artists love wool mills. It is something about seeing how the fiber gets from the sheep to a tapestry that is fascinating. Although I suppose that it makes me a real fiber geek when going to an old grungy mill is such a great time.

This one was really fun. I visited on July 18th. We were on Prince Edward Island and had been looking forward to visiting this mill since our innkeeper told us about it. The wool mill is on the west end of the island and has been running for generations.

It isn't the tourist sort of place (which I greatly appreciated--authenticity rang from every greasy, noisy corner). You can poke around but you have to ask someone and I found that identifying yourself as a weaver helps you get into the corners where there are signs like, "No access to the weaving room without authorization." Fortunately (or unfortunately) for me, the looms were being repaired and warped and were not running so they had no problem letting a clumsy American into this room to see the machines.

Those burlap sacks to the left?  They are full of wool and at least 6 feet long. That pile of wool in the middle ground was just chopped up with a huge machine--something to do with cleaning, though I didn't quite understand and there wasn't anyone right there who I could ask--they couldn't have heard me anyway in the din.

Some of the wool comes from sheep on PEI, but the helpful MacAusland who answered some of my questions (in the much quieter weaving room) said that they could process all the wool on the island in a matter of days, so it has to come from elsewhere.  Here it is being carded and made into roving.

This is something called pencil roving which is being spun into yarn. I missed the step where the flat bats of carded wool get turned into this skinny pencil stuff you see on those long top rollers. The spools of spun yarn are down below. Note woman to the right for scale.

The yarn which goes onto spools from the spinning is put onto cones.

Talk about sectional warping. This beam was getting ready to be warped in exactly the same way I would warp my sectional back beam, only look at the diameter of that thing. Look at the loom photo later and you can see a full beam. That is a whole lot of warp.

These are the cones leading to the back beam they are warping. They must use a forklift to get the loaded beam back to the loom (which is in a building on the other side of the property incidentally).

They dye the fleece, not the yarn. Here is a vat of green fleece. The side of that tub is probably about 5 feet high. There is a lot of fiber in there (of a particularly virulent green color).

Bales of fleece ready to be spun (again--a huge amount. Bales are probably 4 feet square. If I were still in Canada I would try to convert that to metric, but I have since returned to the USA where we use the antiquated English system which I suspect the English don't even use anymore and I haven't the energy for it.)

This is not my grandmother's loom. The weaver was 7th generation working at this mill, of Scottish descent. Look at the amount of warp on that loom.  She was sitting inside the loom and tying the ends of the new warp to the old one.

This loom had a plaid warp on it. They had some lovely plaid blankets, one of which came home with me.

I was unreasonably excited by this visit to the mill. I am easily pleased.

One of the many lighthouses on PEI. This one was near our B&B, Briarcliffe Inn.