May/June 2021


It's Still a Virtual World

And we're still Snipping.

Next Virtual Saturday Snips: June 12, 1 to 2 P.M.

 Please join us on Zoom at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 12  for a bit of socializing and project sharing. You can work on a project while you're "zooming" -- just as if you were at an in-person meeting.

Use the link below to join via your computer or download the app onto your device. It’s pretty simple but there's also detailed online help directly from Zoom. We HIGHLY encourage you to read this first if you have any questions as they cover most of the platforms and browsers available. You should find yours on that page.

If you want to test your connection before the meeting, please go ahead. Once you connect, you will be placed into a ‘waiting room’ so you can test anytime. On the actual day of the live meeting, you will still enter the waiting room to be ‘admitted’ about five minutes before the meeting starts.

Take advantage of the waiting room feature to sign in a bit early to the actual meeting. If you should run into any issues, Aprille Janes, who hosts the ZOOM meeting, will be available 30 minutes before the meeting to help. Feel free to call her at 902-824-1926.

And that’s it! You’re zooming!

How to Join a Virtual Meeting

You have 2 choices on how to join:

1) By PC or MAC:
Click on this link  and download the free software. If this is your first time, allow a few minutes to get setup.

2) Smart Phone or Tablet
Go to your APP store and download the ZOOM app for Cloud Meetings.
Use Meeting ID: 393 681 8347








The SOFAAR members’ exhibition is currently installed in the Chapel Gallery, ARTsPLACE, Annapolis Royal. Unfortunately, due to the present Covid-19 restrictions, ARTsPLACE is currently closed until such time as the province allows galleries to open to visitors. Fortunately, the closing date of the show has been extended to July 3, 2021, so there is still a chance to see the fibre art on display once restrictions are lifted.

You can visit ARTsPLACE website, for further information. There you can also view photos of the SOFAAR exhibition where you will see a lovely variety of doors that welcome family, friends and guests into heritage buildings, and windows that let in light, shine out as beacons and allow starlight to filter through. (You can see a small sampling below.)

Thank you to all the members who participated in the show and to Gail Robertson and Cathy Malon who helped with the installation.

Céleste Thibodeau-Stacey



Hillsdale House


Tammy Sanford-Hutchinson




Home Sweet Home --

Parker Family Home


Annette Parker-Smith





Port George Lighthouse

quilted wall hanging

Shirley Bent








art quilt

photo transfer & thread painting

Nancy MacIntosh






Member News

Lorrie LaFrance just keeps on stitching! She tells us "the current stay-at-home orders from the health authorities in Ontario will continue to provide me with almost unlimited time to stitch. Today I did a curb pick up of three more pieces."

A SAL from Sapphire Mountain Handcrafts representing the cover of one of Lorrie's favourite childhood books.




A housewarming gift for Lorrie's  great-niece and her husband on the purchase of her great-grandmother’s house north of Toronto.



A small project ready to be gifted to a friend when travelling becomes possible again.






Sam Norgard recently completed a series of broaches honouring Frida Khalo in celebration of Women's History Month. Why Frida? Sam says "It might be silly, but one of my grandmothers was named Frida and when I first heard the name Frida Kahlo I was instantly drawn to it. But of course that was because I heard it while looking at images of her fantastic work. A few years later I made a journey to Mexico City and went to her home, which I believe is now more frequently visited as it is a museum. Frida’s work, surreal in nature, spoke to me. Perhaps her work was my first real love affair! (I met David later!)." 

Over this pandemic year, Sam has been working on developing her website, Norgard Designs. Sam has this to say about the website: I will have downloadable learning for beginners, as well as free lectures and demos. I am trying to usher forward others who would like to find their living through Beads. I am working with a group of former students who have continued to be and are looking to share their fabulous gifts through workshops, online. I am also working with my original team to create workshops as a research team. So stay tuned, the site will also offer shopping of my work and of guest artists working in beads!


This is Rachael Cheechoo's  Tall Ship in a Stormy Sea. Rachael explains: This rug is hooked on linen with 4 and 5 count wool strips, yarn, and roving. The design is an image from Pinterest, but I only use it as a guideline. Which means my hooked rug is different from the image.

I started hooking this rug 3 1/2 years ago at a workshop with Doug Rankin in Yarmouth, where I worked on the tall ship. Then I put it away. 2 years ago at Nova Scotia Rug Hooking school I took a course with Michelle Micarelli called "Water and Sky", where I learned how to hook stormy water. Michelle was very helpful. My rug was then put away again. May 6 - 10th of this year. I attended Nova Scotia Rug Hooking school in a different format via Zoom. The course was called "Find it and Finish it" led by Ann Jones. I did find my rug and this time I had helpful tips on how to hook the sky. I still have to tweak my sky on the right side until I am happy with it. The Zoom format of classes is quite effective for Ann teaching us closeup work and meeting other classmates. However, I did miss the camaraderie of in person contact and the atmosphere of Rug School.

Can You Help?

SOFAAR has been approached by a gentleman who is looking for someone to make a cushion or some other decorative or useful product from his old silk ties. If you're interested, or know someone who is, please contact us at

Native Baskets in the Maritimes

Editor's note: In 2001, I wrote an article entitled Baskets of Atlantic Canada for Saltscapes magazine. The following is extracted from that article; if you're interested in more information, you can find the entire article here.                                                                     

According to a Potawatomi Indian myth, there is an old woman sitting in the moon who spends all her time weaving a basket. When she finishes, the world will end. Fortunately for us, there is also a little dog in the moon who periodically jumps up and spoils the old woman's work, forcing her to start again.

While the weaving of a basket may not determine the fate of the world, baskets do tell a story. In fact, the traditional baskets of the Maritimes are a lesson in history, geography, botany, culture and creativity.

Native Basketry Traditions

When the frost bleaches it, the salt-water grass that grows along Labrador's coast turns delicate shades of white, pink, green and purple. The Inuit pick this grass blade by blade and dry it to make baskets. No one knows how long they have done this, but basket fragments dating back to the 16th century have been found. Moravian missionaries who came to Labrador in 1771 mentioned the baskets in their diaries and exported them throughout the 19th century. 

Sea grass baskets are made by sewing bunches of grass into a continuous coil, using split blades of grass as the thread. The only tool used is a needle. If the baskets are sewn tightly enough, they are waterproof. Historically, the Inuit also made hot mats, containers, wall shelves, gun cases, cradles, toys, hats and barrels in the same manner.

The Mi'kmaq have also been making baskets for centuries. Fragments found at a New Brunswick archeological site date back 2500 years. The style of baskets made today dates back to at least the 1700s, when they were produced for the European market.

Mi'kmaq workbaskets (potato, apple, egg, etc.) are woven from ash splints by "plaiting" -- interweaving crosswise and lengthwise splints at right angles. The time-consuming process begins with cutting of a tree. The logs are quartered, the heartwood removed, and the wood squared and pounded or shaved to separate it into the long flexible strips needed for weaving.

The basket bottom is woven first and the splints bent up to make the sides. Sweetgrass or dyed splints are sometimes added for decoration. The top rim of the basket is finished with a hoop laced into place with an ash splint. Handles or a cover may be added. For decorative baskets, the Mi'kmaq use a projecting twisted weave to make patterns such as diamond, porcupine and periwinkle.

Note: Two other traditional basket styles are found in the Maritimes: spruce root baskets which came to Newfoundland's west coast, northern New Brunswick and Nova Scotia's French Shore with early French settlers; and traditional baskets made of red maple brought by black families who came Nova Scotia from the southern United States in the late 1700s. For more information on these basketry styles, see the Saltscapes article referenced above.

Locally Made Baskets

by Cheryl den Hartog

SOFAAR member Cheryl den Hartog happened to mention one day that her mom, SOFAAR member Kay den Hartog, had a fabulous collection of Mi'kmaq baskets. And Cheryl herself has some Labrador baskets. We asked her to share some photos and stories.

Here in the valley, there are a lot of old family homes -- houses lived in by the descendants of the original builder. Although becoming increasingly rare, some homes are still in the family to the present day. One of the consequences of homesteads passing down through the generations is that many bits and bobs in the house have been there as long as anyone can remember. 

In my mom's home, built some 225 years ago, this includes an array of Mi'kmaq baskets. Most are at least 80 years, very possibly older, and have mellowed to a golden patina.

According to family lore, a basket vendor would arrive on foot laden with a huge bundle of baskets. So many baskets, they would have to lay their pack aside before entering to fit through the door. Baskets were used for everything -- organizing, storage and daily chores.  The mistress of the house would make a purchase and offer the seller a bed for the night. The basket maker would continue his/her route, returning later for the evening's accommodation. It is believed some of the baskets pictured below were purchased and others given in appreciation of the hospitality offered.

All basket photos which follow are courtesy of Bob Duff





Clothes Storage Hamper

with lid and handle -

Measures 18” high




Handwork Basket with lid

 measures 10” high



Contemporary Market Basket

by the late Greg McEwan 

measures 8” to rim.

Made in 2003 and now 18 years old, it has yet to develop the patina of the older baskets




Open Basket with decorative detail

measures 5.5” high

Embellished Sewing Basket with legs, lid and handle. This gem measures 5” to rim.


Mi'kmaq basket details: Clockwise from top left – 1) Base structure; 2) Twist detail, 3) Star top feature, and 4) Braided grass embellishments




Contemporary grass basket

made by

Fannie Broomfield of Labrador



Contemporary grass basket

made by

Garmel Rich of Labrador







 Check These Out!






If you love costumes and historic clothing, check out In Mode on Facebook for some real eye candy. This photo is of a mantua dress from the 18th Century.






For some stunning embroideried portraits, check out the work of Cayce Zavaglia, an embroidery artist from St. Louis, Mo.

Member Resources

Be sure to check the Members Only page on our SOFAAR website for members' resources -- how-to articles, our lending library, etc. The password is sofaarsogood.

We also have  Members Only Facebook page where we share information, sources, inspiration, etc. Please join us there.

Time to Renew?

Is it time to renew your membership? Don't forget -- you can now pay your dues by e-transfer to What's easier than that?


A Note from the Editor

After five years -- from inception to present day -- of editing Snippets, I'm taking a break! It has been such a pleasure to receive all the news and photos from our members, and to keep you informed of what's happening in the organization. I'm delighted to announce that Board Member Aprille Janes, an experienced writer and editor, will be taking over the editor's role with the July/August edition. Please send her all your news. I look forward to reading about you in future issues. Thanks for your support and interest over the years.                                          Grace Butland

The deadline for the July/August 2021 issue of Snippets is July 15, 2021. Please send submissions to the editor at snippets@sofaar.caWe welcome your input and we're always happy to have members write articles about topics of interest. (If you'd like to write an article please contact the editor). We'd love to have your feedback.


Your SOFAAR Board

Céleste Thibodeau-Stacey, President

Cathy Malon, Co-Secretary

Aprille Janes, Vice President

Tammy Sanford-Hutchinson, Co-Secretary

Rachael Cheechoo, Treasurer

Julia Archer
Grace Butland
Sharon Moody
Barbara Nutley Hunter
Gail Robertson







Remember to check the SOFAAR website,,

frequently for up-to-date information on all SOFAAR activities. Please like us on Facebook.