nablo…what? gratitude and, a giveaway

hi hi hi

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


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


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.


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!



Forty-Six: 52



the 52 project.
Portraits of my main squeezes every week (okay, squeeze singular, again)


O, this week you…

…let me take pictures of you with bed-head so I could get a project done.

…had such an insatiable appetite for reading that you started reading aloud the instruction manuals for our kitchen appliances.

…finally admitted it was time to wear long woolen underwear. Today’s high was 17 degrees, and it took some strong encouragement to get you to put on a hat.

…went out on a date with me to see our neighbor’s awesome band. You were as reluctant a dance partner as I would have been at your age (and still am, sometimes), but we had lots of fun and felt very adventurous leaving our little village to go out into the cold, dark night.


…over at the Sparkle Stories blog today!


I’ll be there every Thursday sharing a seasonal craft project for children and their adults to enjoy.

Today’s tutorial is on making cloth napkins by hand, which I mentioned in a previous post. Oh, I think we’ll be making lots of these in the coming weeks, and a special delivery of birch bark from a friend this afternoon is a gift we’ll put to good use in adding a special touch to each one.


Happy crafting!

on a roll…

…or maybe I finally have some actual inventory to share.

Also, it’s the Cozy Season now, and all I want to do is touch fiber and turn it into things.

What it all boils down to is this: I’ve added more yarns to the shop. Twice in the same week!

A few of my favorites:



Pear Tree:




I’ve also been continuing to post every Wednesday on the sister-blog to my baby, Luminous Traces (currently on hiatus until Winter Solstice), Literary Traces. My serial poem, Autumn, has a new installment today. This weeks topic is: Gather. Enjoy.

by hand…


Last weekend, I asked the lovely Virginia Johnson of Gather Here to help me figure out my old beast of a sewing machine. O and I have a project in mind for the holidays, and I’m sure we could whip right through it if we employ the Fiatelli. I hadn’t been able to find any information on the interwebs about it, but now I think I can at least get the thing to make a full stitch.


I’ll be sharing a bit about this project later this week on the Sparkle Stories blog, but what happened is this: we did a mock-up with needle and thread. I watched him stitch attentively. I heard the words, “Hey Mama, I think I’ve got the hang of it.” When he grew tired of the activity, I took over and finished. Later that evening, he proudly told his Papa about the thing we made together.

It took a half-hour instead of 10 minutes. But, we have this useful thing we made with our hands, and it was engaging, fulfilling, quiet, and mindful. We may use the machine for the rest of them; I don’t know.

This, though: last week I had a conference with O’s teacher. One of the things she mentioned about him was that he is very thoughtful and deliberate in his actions, often not finishing his work during class because he takes the time to do his work carefully and intently. This made me more proud than any of the improvements he’d shown in the basic subjects. To his teacher’s credit, she did not imply that this was a negative thing, even in this age of timed tests and evaluations.

Rather, it’s a gift to be content, in a world of rushing and pushing and scrambling, to perform the catch stitch with needle in hand, even though you could zigzag with the machine in a fraction of the time. Not to mention he’d probably be more interested in taking the sewing machine apart instead of sewing with it, anyway, but that’s beside the point.

I like his style, yes I do.

i make things. come and see them.

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


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…



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.



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!

Forty-Five: 52


the 52 project.
Portraits of my main squeezes every week (okay, squeeze singular, again)

O, this week you…

…spent hours and hours pouring through the pages of the Reader’s Digest North American Wildlife book circa 1982. C used to spend hours doing the same.

…were so excited about your homework for the week that you sat down and finished it all in one night. I don’t think I was ever that excited about homework. Then again, I don’t think I was ever tasked with making a word search for my classmates out of my spelling words. That one did look fun.

…spent a lot of time as a robot. This week, warrior mouse is out and robot is in. You made a costume from cardboard scraps, two pairs of goggles (one on top of the other) and a controller from a broken remote control car. This is not your first cardboard robot costume…I wonder if you remember the one with dryer-vent arms.

…proved me wrong several times. You have your senses turned on, yo.