in which I do a little housekeeping…

Remember when I used to tell you when I was going to be somewhere?

Yep. Me, too.

So, I cleaned some old junk off the sidebar and made up a pretty little list…it’s a place I plan to keep neat and tidy and…get this: updated. I know, I know…this is coming from the gal who forgot to even post a reminder about Baz Biz over the holidays. This is a bit of that Forward March I’ve been feeling…it’s a new year. And it’s shiny. Gonna keep it that way.

Here’s a breakdown of now thru June…busy, busy!

*this Saturday, March 26th!* Brattleboro Winter Farmer’s Market  from 10am-3pm Post Oil Solutions @ the River Garden on Main St in Brattleboro, VT. Please join us for the last Winter Farmer’s Market of the season!

*May 6 from 6pm-9pm and Saturday May 7 from 10am-6pm* Twist Fair @ the Northampton Center for the Arts in Northampton, MA. 60+ fabulous vendors. VIP passes are available for early admission on Friday night.

*Saturday, May 21 from 10am-3pm*
Jamaica Fiber Festival @ the Jamaica Town Hall, Jamaica Village, VT. Local fiber folk with their wares, alpacas and bunnies, oh my!

*Saturday, June 4th from 10am-6pm*
Queen City Craft Bazaar @ the Union Station at One Main St in Burlington, VT. This one is a new event for me with 40+ juried Vermont indie crafters.

The task for April is to work hard on the Dyeworks and Lounge, hopefully to have an opening celebration sometime in May. So far, we have lumber for all the work tables and shelving and C may begin work on that important piece of the space as soon as tomorrow. I cannot wait to see how it all comes together…

Oh, and there’s this: CAMP PLUCKYFLUFF VT! I can’t think of a better way to christen the new workshop space than to invite Lexi back for another round of Camp Pluckyfluff. It’s happening the weekend of June 25/26, people, and I also can’t think of a better time to come and play in VT, so…sign up! Advanced and first-time students are welcome. Go HERE and scroll down for registration details.

And and and…April 9th I will be teaching a workshop on cobweb felt at Knit or Dye in Brattleboro, VT. Contact Rachel at 802-258-9100 to sign up!

Whew! I think that’s enough for now. Time for tea.


Chocolate + Wine + Knitting = Good

Come see me today at the Art, Wine and Chocolate Festival in Suisun City, CA 11am – 5pm! I heard somthing about chocolate samples. Just sayin’.

I have no idea if I’ll find any spinners on the waterfront, but I will have fiber for you! And yarn. And new felt work.

My Etsy shop will re-open on Sunday. Expect updates regularly on Wednesdays and Sundays from now throughout the holiday season.

Happy weekend!

Pillowcases, Fig Jam and the Volvalution

Someone told him that snakes should be transported in pillowcases.

In the five-year-old brain, this quickly translated to all animals should be transported in pillowcases. Fortunately, for the pointy-eared friends in the house, the term animals so far refers only to the stuffed plush variety. Monkeys, dragons and bears are now sacked up for travel or for bedtime or just for…sitting around. In a pillowcase.

Some evidence I have been busy:

The figs are ripening, and fig jam makes for amazing end-of-summer pizza. Goat cheese, I love you.

60+ skeins arrived at Purl Jam and were warmly received (with wine and chocolate!). I am still glowing from all the amazing feedback…seriously, Califoners, you guys are awesome!

This week, I am busy replenishing for the Art, Wine and Chocolate festival in Suisun City, CA. There will be lots of new felt pieces, handspun and oodles of spinning supplies. I’m holding off on any Etsy updates until after the festival, but expect some sizable ones in the coming weeks. I will be giving my blog readers a heads-up…

Yes, I made watermelon leather.

I get a lot of raised eyebrows for this one, but it’s like…candy. I sliced a yellow watermelon into 1/2″ thick slabs. They shriveled down into your standard fruit leather thickness, with the sugar ridiculously concentrated. So, so good.

Up for preserving this week are about twenty or so pounds of quinces from a neighbor’s tree. Stocking Up has an awesome-looking quince marmalade recipe and I’ll probably also cook up and can some quince applesauce and make a small batch of membrillo for fresh eating. C has requested a crumble instead of cake for his birthday next week, so I’m thinking quince for that, as well. As they ripen, the kitchen is filling with a delicious aroma of pineapple. Oh my, I love me some quince. And our dear neighbor. Thanks, John!

C’s been busy, too…

Volva is stripped and mostly sanded, getting ready for her makeover. We’ve settled on one of the three original ’65 colors that were paired with the red interior: Graphite Grey. She will be HOT.


Coming and Going…

I’ve been hiding behind a Cloak of Busy. It’s not the same kind of late summer busy I had grown accustomed to in VT…prepping food for winter storage, stacking wood, making sure the chimneys get cleaned and the oil tank is filled, jamming, soup-making, kraut pounding…and as much as I am aching for all of those things, I will not complain about the other kind of busy that is doing it’s best to fill the void. This year, I am swamped in preparing my little fiber biz for the fall/winter season with orders to fill, shows lining up and commissions a-plenty, for which I am very grateful. There will be updates soon, but here’s what I’ve got so far:

Saturday, October 2nd: The 5th Annual Art, Wine and Chocolate Festival from 11am-5pm at the historic waterfront in Suisun City, CA.

October 28 -31st: Stitches East at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, CT at the Indie Spun booth, the only all-indie artist handspun booth! So far, returning vendors this year include Traveling Rhinos, Crafty Scientist and myself.

Shop updates will be minimal for a while, but I’ll do what I can…


In otherness, yesterday we had a little Monday Project, The Boy and I.

A dear friend has a babe on the way and we were asked to contribute something that could be hung on a mobile. So, we busted out our Mad Finger-Knitting Skillz and came up with this cutie. The chenille stems were The Boy’s idea, and provided a little extra stability and shape to the body.

Here’s my half-ass tutorial: finger-knit a short length, 6 inches maybe (we used bulky handspun for this). Curl one end over on itself and stitch it down for the head. Run a chenille stem through the body with ends out for antennae, and stitch it up. Finger-knit another length that, when spiraled on itself makes a nice-sized shell. Stitch it together as you would for a rag rug and then stitch it to the body.

The rest of the week looks like this:

And this:

I work outside this time of year, and The Boy occupies himself by making a Long Line of Everybody, coming and going, coming and going all day long. Unless, of course, there’s some construction work to do in the mulch pile.

Happy Tuesday!

It’s that time…

Please come to the Maker Faire THIS WEEKEND.

I am utterly exhausted.

I wish I could have taken pictures of the felt, but hopefully the above is enticing enough.

Tonight I need to prep food for the weekend since my list of edibles seems to dwindle daily. And label the felt that is almost dry. And clean up the ridiculous messes I have left all over the place so I could get “organized.” And somehow, miraculously, catch a few winks.

Hope to see you there!

Three-Speed Post

A little splash through a creek…

…can wash it all away. For a few precious moments on a weekend, we feel like a whole family again and we imagine our dreams are not so far away. Monday comes again and it is like a fracturing. We see so little of each other that planning the next step can only occur in the tiniest captured blips of time…a quick two-minute phone conversation during the day, a scrawled note to be read over his 5am breakfast…or if we’re lucky, like tonight, we manage a walk around the block after the Boy’s bedtime. Outside is often the only place we can be alone, breathe deeply and express ourselves freely.

Since our west coast plans collapsed and left us scrambling, we have been working only towards the vague goal of ‘getting on our feet again.’ Whereas the crystal-clear dream we had been following was totally inspirational, this vaguery is utterly numbing. We get through the week and spend the weekend trying to recover enough to have a productive sharing of ideas, a sparking of hope to make it feel worth it to press on. Perhaps I sound overly dramatic, but the last year and half has been a bumpy, bruising ride and I have thought often of just giving up entirely. Why not just find a place to live in the city and try to forget about farming, forget about dark skies in the night, forget about real quiet and the sweet smell of goats and hay, the freshness of the earth waking up after the deep sleep of winter. Why not just continue to wish every week away so I can get to the weekend while my son grows up and his recollections of our rural life get fuzzy and fade. Well, I can’t. I just really can’t let it all go. Maybe things didn’t work out the way we thought they would when we got to Vermont the first time, but the dream has not changed. C and I agree on this point. We have now a common goal in mind, a project to pursue…for now I will leave it at that, but it is comforting to know we are once again on the same page instead of each blindly flailing about.

I’m a little envious of Pete…always serene and just goin’ along for the ride:


Shifting gears, my mom brought by a violin cookie cutter for the Boy and so we had to make another batch of cream biscuits.

Ridiculous. She’s pretty darn good at finding the perfect little giftie.

And because this is a three-speed post, I will address one more topic. What the hell happened to the fiber on my blog? Where are all the yarn pictures?

I’ve been spinning. I have. It’s just all been for shows and what-not with deadlines and so no time for photographing. I have seen pics around of some goodies that I neglected to photograph before sending to MDSW, which is awesome. My little shop is a bit sad at the moment, but I will be sure to inundate you all with updates after Maker Faire. New products and improved versions of the old. And and and, a whole slew of spinning workshops coming to Urban Fauna Studio starting in June.

C is taking three whole days off in two weeks…I will be a felting machine.

Happy Tuesday.

What happened?

Yesterday evening, I drove through pelting rain under a bright blue sky, and then home again under the light of a round, pale ochre moon softly glowing in the blue-blackness. Two strangely beautiful skyscapes and a lot of time to think.

There are ideas brewing and big changes are close at hand. Meanwhile, April slipped past with nary a trace, tomorrow is May and frost still lingers on rooftops. The last few days I find myself waking with C at 5am and have discovered that early morning is a wonderful time to begin my work for the day. It gives me a couple of hours before the Boy wakes up and I use the time in a much more productive way than when I use the late/wee hours instead. I am apparently much less functional at 1am than I had previously thought! Besides, the quality of sleep is far superior when I allow myself to crash at a decent hour. And now, at 7am, the house is quiet, I have hot chai and the light is morning-perfect. Another ball of wool is by my side, waiting to be stripped out for a whirl, and I contemplate the nearness of Maker Faire.

I am not in a panic.

Okay, maybe a little.

But I will set it aside today, as I did yesterday, for today’s Explore with the Boy…going out to where the earth touches the Bay, windy and exposed, to search for barn owl nests. Yesterday it was Shell Ridge Open Space, by bicycle and then by foot and then by hands and feet, a little scrambling, lots of rock “sanding” and building, plenty of peeking at the teeny tiny flowers hiding in the native grasses. We met a volunteer there who had been weed-whacking an invasive thistle…the Boy took a shine to him (I’m sure it had nothing to do with the gasoline-powered tool he was carrying) and we received an impromptu tour of the native plants he’s helping to preserve. Purple wine cup flowers, purple needle grass, and several other lovely purple friends whose names I can’t recall.

Anyway, sunshine today and no rain…a chance for our squash plants to recover (they are SAD) and OH! By the way…MDSW is THIS WEEKEND. Please go and play if you are near. Test out the awesome-looking new Majacraft wheel designed with Lexi of Pluckyfluff and please oh please stop by  the Cloverhill Yarn Shop’s booth, where you will find a pile of Spun Monkey yarn and dyed fibery bits.

Well, whatever happened to April, please enjoy this last day of it, wherever you are!

I’m off to soak up the last wee morsels of morning quiet…

Blessed with Bees!

Yesterday, we had our third swarm in two weeks.

This time it was a bowling ball-sized clump up in the pear tree. I didn’t get a picture, as it would have involved getting up on the ladder without protective gear, but C was able to clip a branch with about one third of the bees attached. He placed it in his hand-built skep and while we ate our dinner, the rest of the clump moved right on in!

It was mid-afternoon when the swarm was noticed, and so there wasn’t any time to lose in hunting down another box. C whipped up this skep in less than thirty minutes from a woven basket we used to keep toys in. Since we didn’t have any cow manure on hand for a more traditional variety, C mixed up a little plaster to cover the outside of the basket, set it on a base that provided them with an entry/exit point and voila! Home Sweet Buzzy Home.

As of this morning, there is not a bee left in the pear tree, and only a few still lingering on the rose arbor.

The box and skep are now ocupado and we have a stack of books on beekeeping from the library.

In other news, I am likely to update the shop this weekend…there are tons of wool bits for crafters, perhaps a few yarns. I am hoarding for several reasons, however…MDSW is coming up, where Cloverhill Yarn Shop will have my wares, Purl Jam is opening up in Califon, NJ with a selection of Monkeyspun, and Bazaar Bizarre at Maker Faire is fast approaching. I will do my best, though, to keep the shop in order, and also to provide Urban Fauna Studio some fresh yarns. In the meantime, I will be teaching an art yarn workshop there this weekend and will be scheduling felting workshops as well as new installments of the SpinLab series of classes. Contact me to sign up for the newsletter if you are local to any these areas and would like a reminder! And please let me know if you have any special requests for workshops in the SF or East Bay Area.

buzz buzz buzz~i wonder why he does….

…’cause he needs some new digs, that’s why…

Yesterday afternoon, we saw/heard this football-sized swarm on the rose arbor:

As we were bereft of beekeeping equipment, I tried to get hold of some beekeeping friends who I knew would be interested. When I didn’t hear back, we decided to go for it ourselves. C was on his way home from work by then and so he stopped at Biofuel Oasis to pick up the necessaries. He already had a Tyvek suit from work…

…and was soon ready to go.

He was very calm in this new situation…you never would have known how adrenalized he was…

…even when the bees got reeaaally mad. It wasn’t an easy catch. They were wrapped around part of the arbor and the rose vine…nothing we could cut off for removal all in one go.

Tap, tap…into the hive box.

We’re not 100% sure yet they’ll stay…there’s a lot of activity around the hive box, but still clumping on the arbor…and, well…I don’t really have any idea what I’m talking about. Right now, we’re just hoping there are some scouts doing the happy dance.

Exciting. And I’m hoping we have enough borage and blossoms and berry bushes in our own yard to keep them busy…anyone know how far they travel? Pretty much every neighbor around here owns one of those poison sprayer-backpacks or pays someone else to wear one for sickening their flowers and trees…I’d like to think it won’t be of interest to these bees or present in the honey they produce, but…

Shifting gears, we had a birthday:

There were smiles and wishes and a crepe paper crown…

Click the picture for a link to my Ravelry project page. It was a fun knit…quick and satisfying, although embellishing was the best part. I saw some comments about tearing issues, but I made sure to crinkle the paper every few yards before I knit with it, and the crown whipped right up, nice and smooth.

Pete also got a birthday knit…

The photo links to Ravelry, but you can find the free pattern here on the Bamboletta blog. I used some of my long-draw handspun and I’m really pleased with the results.

Sadly, I did not photograph the Handmade Ho Down on Saturday…it was a little crazy and I was totally exhausted. I had an awesome helper (thanks, Alli!) and so for most of the show I spun, spun away and felt buzzy with fresh ideas. Expect new goodies in the coming weeks. Many thanks to everyone who came to play!

What Can I Say?

I fell off the face of the earth.

But only for a little while.

There was a show. The organizers are lovely folks and the location was awesome. I hope they continue with it, as I’m sure if it were a regular fixture, there would be more traffic to the event. We’ll see!

At said show, I debuted Crewel and Unusual:

Items will be added to the new shop tonight. Here is a sneak:

Flower Faeries were made and we celebrated the first day of Spring with a feast (oh, asparagus, how I love thee).

The recipe for these creatures can be found in The Children’s Year, a very awesome resource for seasonal crafts. The Boy helped sew the seams and didn’t mind at all that I made a blue snowdrop and a pink violet.

Today is Swag-making for the next event and other such obligation-filling/errand-running.

I hope it’s just as sunny where you are…