Every night, while C has been reading bedtime story aloud, I snuggle in with the boy-creature and stitch. The current project was a holiday gift to myself, something new to try, to rest my hands from all the usual fine motor movements they make. There is one little frame to fill in each month, a few minutes each night with which to execute the task. It’s meditative and apparently, mesmerizing. Last night, O’s face was practically resting on the fabric, he was watching so closely the motions of my needle.

The project would most definitely fall under the category of “Cute” and anyone who knows me well would know that Cute is not typically my genre, but for some reason I was drawn to it. I haven’t filled in any of the Cute parts yet, though. I’m obsessed with stitching the frames, one after the other. It is suggested, of course, that one completes all the frames ahead of time, so it’s easy to just plug in each newly released pattern as they come down the pike throughout the year. I’m not doing anything unusual as far as these things go, but there’s something about the frames. I think about them a lot. Their emptiness. When I complete a frame there is a new empty space. A void…waiting to be filled. A need. A want. A nothing waiting for a something.


It was supposed to just be another needlecraft to add to my Austenian skill set. Something to do when my fingers ached from knitting on the socks with the tiny yarn, because I can only stand having idle hands when I’m sleeping. But the frames are eating away at my brain like a microscopic parasite. This project is meeting me right where I’m at, I guess. On the linen, they are laid out, side by side. When I think about them, though, they are stacked against a wall in my psyche, like a flea market find…all these empty frames. My life is full of them. Voids that need to be filled.

We have had struggles as of late, mainly financial. It’s amazing how it cannot be contained, how that one very specific problem seems to ooze into every other aspect of life and taint it. We question everything. Our dreams, our worth. All that seemed possible only a few months ago now seems totally unattainable. Nothing can be discussed without that shadow looming over, driving it all away. All the pretty pictures we painted during the winter are reduced to a pile of empty frames. Maybe it sounds dramatic, but even when you know you’re vulnerable (just getting by, unable to save), you hope that things will only get better instead of the rug being pulled out from under.


I need to say this. I have tried everything I can to keep The Spun Monkey alive as a business. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, I hosted workshops with spectacular teachers, started dyeing yarns as well as fiber, began to wholesale my work. I did more fiber-specific shows, enjoyed an incredible amount of positive feedback and met a lot of wonderful people. However, I have only debt to show for my efforts. Important pieces of my “old” life were shelved so that I could pour all of myself into TSM. Lately, my dedication is not paying off in a way that serves my family’s needs, but I hesitate to close the shop entirely.

So, I have wiped clean the canvas and now have an empty frame for TSM. I’m not sure what a new picture of it will look like. I have empty frames for writing, editing and photography (my first loves, my schooling, my degree) and am wildly desperate to paint my fantasies there. There is a frame for our farm, for O’s schooling, for our friendships, our family, for service to others, for self-care.

Why does it feel like the paint is just out of my reach? 

Here is a first offering: a liquidation of my shop in its current state. I have about six new yarn listings going up tonight, so stay tuned for that later on tonight, but it ALL needs to be cleared out. If it’s to be kept alive, TSM will need to go in an entirely new direction and I need to clear out the cobwebs. It will work like this: Buy one item, receive 10% off, two = 20% off, three = 30% off, four up to ten = 40% off, ten items or more = WHOLESALE DISCOUNT (50%). I want it all gone so that I have room in my mind and studio to create the newness that is the only hope for resurrecting the Monkey.

The Woodland Sampler seemed like such an innocent project. Sheesh.



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