Over and Under

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I’ve been playing with new ideas, and shared a peek over at Luminous Traces today. It just so happened that our theme this week correlated very sweetly with my recent handwork.

There are three new woven pieces on display at the Crowell Gallery in Newfane, VT from today until September 30th.

 

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making it (but mostly faking it)…and some 52 for good measure

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I envy you, kid.

That’s what I’ve got for the 52 Project this week.

It feels like enough after a fortnight with little opportunity for adequate sleep, and zero opportunity for kickin’ around with comics and a cat. Can I get a do-over on adulthood? I’m pretty sure I’m doing it wrong.

Really, the only part I’m faking is the appearance of maintaining sanity during this time of one step forward, two steps back that we seem to be treading water in. Somehow, I think even that is an illusion, and really there is some forward movement if I watch the replay in slow motion.

But, I don’t have time to watch the replay today, so…

Oh! There was this thing that happened:

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A lovely group of students for some 80s-inspired spinning was the highlight of the blur that may have been March 2014. Denver next month will be awesome, and the EARLY BIRD special ends tomorrow!!!

Oh! And I have re-opened my Big Cartel shop! Etsy is still there, but I’m going to be putting more and more on the new and less and less on the old. Etsy will eventually be exclusively for de-stash and OOAK items, and the BC for repeatable colorways and fiber clubs. I haven’t updated the sidebar yet (one thing at a time, but if you click on the banner here, it’ll take you to my new-ish home on BC:

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Stay tuned for a Hey-I’m-Traveling-Soon-And-Need-Lunch-Money sale! There has been some spinning thrown into the daily life-chaos. Where there’s a will, and all that.

Enough! Happy Monday!

nablo…what? gratitude and, a giveaway

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I didn’t make my goal of posting here every day this month, but I have been writing every day. Does that count? I was here this week

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with my serial poem on Literary Traces, Autumn, and I was here this week

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sharing a special Advent project on the Sparkle Stories blog.

Oh, and there was Thanksgiving, when I gave myself an internet fast except for pictorial representations of oven drama and a quick recipe search. We had friends over, and it was lovely, but the boy stayed up until ridiculous o’clock and then he and I were on our own today, having woken up at the usual AM version of ridiculous o’clock. I wrote up a preposterous, impossible to-do list (typical), and when I looked up from it, O was curled up under blankets with The Way Things Work and a cat.

In an instant, I put the brakes on. It was 28-but-feels-like-2 degrees outside. We were tired. So, I decided to make today about him. I did everything he wanted to do. We drove 15 minutes to the library that was closing in 30 minutes. We made the most of it and came home with a silly adorable book. We drank cocoa and made a list of all the people we want to give gifts to, and brainstormed handmade ideas. We went for a walk and crunched the icy leaves. We played a card game. He painted while I made him lunch, and I stopped what I was doing whenever he wanted me for something.

There is something special about a day home from school that isn’t the weekend. The weekend is full of all the errands and tasks we couldn’t perform during the week. More harried, even, than the crash of coming together on a weekday evening to dohomeworkeatdinnerwashupstorytimebed, especially as we enter the final stages of winter preparations.

So, I put the brakes on. I didn’t wash the yarns for an update. I didn’t cross off 80% of the things on my list. And my heart is full.

I’ll let that be the first on the list of things I’m grateful for today:

full heart * the sound of thin ice cracking underfoot * he still wants me to hold his hand * the wood on my porch * kitten cuddles * leftovers for dinner * lovely neighbors * new traditions * the capacity of our new-to-us oven (there are five baking dishes full of winter squash on one rack in there right now) * our menagerie of creatures who nourish us in so many ways * fulfilling collaborations * supportive family * blankets * patience * color * the sound of him coming home * Earl Grey, hot * well water, cold * good stories * clean laundry * the ability to create with my hands * the folks who appreciate it *

Let’s talk about that last one. You’re awesome, and I’m glad you’re here. If you play on Facebook and haven’t yet found my page, I encourage you to check it out, even if it’s only to be reminded every once in a while that I have a coupon code just for you that is valid 365 DAYS A YEAR for a good chunka change off any Etsy orders. No expiry.  So, you won’t see any special holiday sales for The Spun Monkey. You can choose to make it a sale day for yourself any time you want. Or not, if you don’t need to save the dough and you wanna help a mama out. Heh. Anyway, it’s yours to use as you desire, and always available. If it makes the difference between you picking up that one-of-a-kind spun-with-love-and-luxury for yourself or a loved one and, say, not picking it up…well, I want my work to be accessible.

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Speaking of the Facespace page…my likeage has exceeded 700! I want to celebrate with a GIVEAWAY! A randomly chosen winner will receive his/her choice of a fiber-y gift, a yarn-y gift, or a gift certificate towards a custom hand-spun, hand-knit wearable. To enter, leave a comment on this post before midnight Sunday. I’ll choose a winner via random number generator on Monday morning. Tell me something you are grateful for!

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i make things. come and see them.

and maybe fall in love and bring something home to play with this Winter. Yeah, Winter.

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I’ll be at the Gather Here stitch lounge in Cambridge, MA for their 3rd annual anniversary trunk show with several other amazing fiber artists. Do come and check it out. As if Gather Here weren’t awesome enough already, just being it’s fantastic self, this is an event not to miss.

I’ve been playing with some super-luxurious fibers lately…bunny, bison, yak, silk. I have some special pieces coming with me tomorrow, as well as some of my usual fare. Also, I’ll have on hand some of the luxury fibers I’ve been dyeing up for Frabjous Fibers. If you haven’t spun with the Opulence…holy cow! You need to.

A couple of teasers…

Shipwreck:

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Falkland, merino, angora, yak, silk, bison, baby alpaca, skulls, chains and jewels. I think this might be my favorite spin ever, and I’m totally making a cowl if you don’t.

Nereid:

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I guess I have a thing for jewelry chain right now. This is another luxe-y piece comprised of merino, cashmere, silk, and tons of angora, a little baby alpaca, lots of buttons, bells, stars, hearts, and chain.

Hope to see some of you there!

Day 2, and Don’t Bite on Stuff from the Duck House (isn’t that a Cramps song?)

Firstly, thank you all so much for your thoughtful responses to my previous post. Your talk of baked pumpkins, applesauce, and knitting projects has me feeling dreamy and ready to cast on a sweater.

I had hoped to bring you this second installment of my Squam experience sooner, but the curve balls, lately…they are flying at me from all directions. This weekend was completely absorbed by caring for creatures great and small, stacking an unexpected delivery of wood before the rain, coming into free tomatoes and getting them put up (still not done), while shuttling my husband to and fro the hospital, late nights for the boy (with the bonus of snuggles when Papa was at the ER), and bleary, sleepless nights for me. Said husband contracted salmonella. Ugh. Please, whatever you do, don’t get salmonella. It’s awful. Terrible. There’s nothing you can do except ride it out, but C was in so much pain and so dehydrated, that I finally just brought him down to the ER so they could get some liquid back into him and bring his blood pressure up. It was a good move. I should note that, in this case, the infection did not come from food. It was a daring, early-morning (as in, all synapses not yet firing), duck rescue involving using teeth to release said duck from a tangle of twine.

(and I know the song is Don’t Eat Stuff Off the Sidewalk, but I think it applies, yeah?)

Sometimes, I feel like I’m in some sort of tragi-comic graphic novel. The author is pushing the line of just how much this little family can take. This is one of the least-desirable weeks for C to miss several more days of work. We were also taking care of our neighbor’s goats, some of them needing to be milked. I had never milked a goat. I did try, though. What a disaster. All I succeeded in doing was pissing off the goat and getting head-butted. I still have not milked a goat.

During a particularly off moment, O and I will press the Do Over button. I wish I could press the Do Over button on my entire week. Right now, I would probably give a kidney to be right back here:

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Just for a moment. To breathe. To bathe my fatigue in the lake. To laugh with Miranda, who posted a picture of my backside. And to pretend, for just a moment, that I feel I am master of my own fate instead of a helpless character in someone else’s hilarious story.

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Sit on the edge of the dock with me here, and everything else will melt away. This little piece of the planet is yours to inhale and exhale.

It was a really intense and fantastic day, my second day at the Taproot Gathering. I took a class called The Map Home, tenderly guided by Julia Shipley. I signed up for the class because I knew it would involve prompted writing and sharing, which would be a huge challenge for me, and also because my sense of home has been a blurred and messy place in my heart for the last decade.

This class stirred me up, and Julia created a space that made each one of us feel safe in our vulnerability and held as we explored the idea of home and our sense of place in past, present, and future. There were tears and revelations, laughter and moments of silence. All of it was perfect.

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During our mid-day break, I explored a little around “home”base, and came upon spontaneous artful arrangements of woodsy litter.

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And delighted in the beauty of the organic forms all around me. When I saw this mushroom, I wished I were a 1/4″ tall.

During the second half of class, I wrote a piece (well, I should say that it’s the beginning of something) that I was encouraged to share during Lodge Night that evening. There was a fashion show of sewn pieces, and then a few of us willing to read our own words. Into a microphone.

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I thought I would throw up, but I made it through, even with laryngitis and pitifully shaking hands. I’m glad I was encouraged, and I even thought about Next Time once I sat down.

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It was unedited, written in a 20-minute period, which is how I usually write.

Oh, and then Stephanie Pearl-McPhee took the stage and she was funny and charming and hey, guess what? She’s a very lovely person and I’m glad to have met her.

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Once I relaxed, the evening festivities were exactly the right way to end a day of perfection and open up connections beyond my class and housemates. I felt inspired in so many ways by so many people and words and visions that I’m still processing my experiences.

There’s more, but here:

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I brought some things home with me. For you.

Click the collage to get to my shop. Enjoy.

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Oh, and the Taproot/yarn giveaway? Random Number Generator says Kelly gets it! She wrote: “The children love collecting, so when we gather all of our nature-gifts and start putting together an acorn or leaf garland really tells them it’s time for autumn. And the wool socks… putting on those wool socks is a sure sign that the barefoot season is coming to a quick end.”

Congrats, Kelly!

Taproot Gathering, Taproot Giveaway, and 500 Something or Other

I wish I could share the Everything of my experience at the Taproot Gathering with each and every one of you, but in the words of Inigo Montoya:

“No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”

Really, too much. I must extend my most sincere gratitude to the Taproot and Squam Art Workshops lovelies, especially Elizabeth, Kaitlyn, Amanda and Jason for putting together such a deeply meaningful event, full of creativity, connection, inspiration, and beauty. And amazing food. We were nourished in every way possible.

The sum up:
I arrived at the Rockywold-Deephaven Camps late in the evening, and when I had unpacked from my car into the cabin, the sky, which had been lightening-lit the whole of my drive, finally released a torrent of rain. So, I missed the opening ceremony, affording myself the opportunity to explore the indoors and settle in quietly. I’m a nester like that, so it worked out well.

I hadn’t stalked my roommate ahead of time, so I knew nothing about the person who would be sleeping in the bed one foot away from mine in our cozy little room. It turns out she’s pretty awesome, has excellent taste in chocolate, and doesn’t mind giggling until 2am. She also creates sweet house portraits.

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Oh, that? Eh, just my walk to class in the morning.

I took Forage and Ferment, a natural dye workshop with Rachel Bingham. We used powdered natural dyes and then explored in the woods for various materials to experiment with.

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Above is from a cochineal dyebath, and below is the pot I pushed for: black eyed susan. These flowers weren’t exactly in the wild, but the landscaping needed a little tidying and so I dead-headed the bushes, clipping only the flowers on their way out. The mordant used was alum and the result is a the loveliest sage green. I have a feeling the susies in my yard will find their way into a dyepot, too, since the frost will take them soon, anyway.

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Another favorite was goldenrod, and I’ll share the results once I spin the fiber. It’s nearly exactly my Biohazard blend, but with plant dye. Oh, and there is so very much in the way of goldenrod lurking all about my world right now.

I’m overwhelmed, so I will tell you about day 2 tomorrow. I’m still processing all the emotional Whoa, reigning it all in and absorbing it as I settle back into a daily grind which is different than the one I left behind.

In other news, this funny thing happened. At some point during the Sparkle Stories tutorial posting frenzy, I passed the 500th post mark. Is this significant? Not really, but I thought it might be worth mentioning, and that it’s a nice excuse for a giveaway.

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I happen to have an extra copy of the current issue of Taproot (#7: Gather). I also happen to have a piece included in its pages, so if you want to make my Blueberry Pie Sauerkraut, you’d best get your hot little hands on it. How about I send it to you?

How about I also sweeten the deal by sending the winner a skein of my handspun merino, dyed up with cochineal during the class I took at the Taproot Gathering? It’s bulky and squishy and delicious and is pictured above (the skein on the left), dripping with blood beautiful dye.

Leave a comment between now and Sunday, September 22nd, and tell me one of your favorite recipes or crafts that gets you feeling all Autumnal, and a winner will be chosen at random.

Good luck!

Come Into My Garden: 1

I’ve been laying low this week, but I have been around…I spent some time here, waxing poetic, and then some time here, exploring Roots. I also started a summer internship I’ll tell you more about later, so there’s been a bit of a reshuffling of routine, but I think I’m settling in now (just in time for school to let out, of course).

There has also been the mad rush of Spring gardening, and I realize I should be recording more than just a few quick notes on the calendar.

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And yes, I really should have started this earlier, but better late than never and all that. Before-and-after would have been nice, too, since we’ve broken much in the way of new ground this season. There’s still a long way to go, though, even beds still to be created for this year, so lots more to share in the weeks to come, I hope!

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This is our new friend, the Bean Teepee. How we’ve lived here for three summers already without a bean teepee, I have no idea. A rainbow pole bean mix has been planted, 6 bean seeds per pole.

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Also new this year is the way we planted the potatoes. Last year, we put them in raised beds, but didn’t have enough organic matter around to add to the bed throughout the season. 10 pounds of seed yielded enough harvested potatoes to last us until February, but we can do better. This year, trenches were dug, layered with compost and seed potatoes, then covered in straw. 4 varieties totaling 12 pounds.

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These pickling cucumbers are coming up where there was a mess of blackberry bushes and milkweed last year. The hillside still needs a lot of work, but is mostly clear for the squash that will go in this week.

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Garlic, I love you. Easy and beautiful. I check every day for signs of scapes, but probably have a few weeks to wait. We are quite a bit behind some of our local farmers, because we don’t get as much sun up here on the hill in the woods.

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This…well, this is the tomato and pepper patch, can’t you tell? At least, it will be by the end of this weekend, if the weather cooperates. Consider this a Before

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We grew some glorious starts to put into the After; I must say I’m quite proud of these. They are opalka paste tomatoes, of which we have several flats awaiting their new home…

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…along with these bazillion other friends who are wishing we didn’t have anything else we needed to do besides create the spaces to get them planted out. Yes, the squash and melons are beginning to yellow for want of nutrients…just give us one. more. week.

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Aaaaaand…yarn update today! Here’s a little something special I spun up while visiting Dayna at Madison Wool last weekend. It’s up for grabs along with a few traditional plied yarns. Enjoy!