…there it went.

A week or so.

And, also:


Our Greenhouse. RIP.


Clockey, the best rooster we’ve ever known. RIP.


Li’l, the Littlest Axolotl. RIP.

Harsh climate + farm life = constant lessons in the art of Letting Go. Somehow, it just doesn’t stick and we have to learn it over and over and over again and it’s harder every time.

In more pleasant news, I’ve been around the Sparkle blog here


and here


and updating my shop here.


It’s not to late for the holidays, btw. Free upgrade to Priority Mail between now and Saturday, December 21st, and of course, there are always clubs and gift certificates, too:


Whew. Well, back to regularly scheduled programming henceforth.


Forty-Eight: 52


the 52 project.
Portraits of my main squeezes every week.

O, this week you…

…asked me about 50 times what the word “lasagna” means as you were reading your most recent acquisition from the library. I felt like a terrifically irresponsible Italian mother by never having introduced you to one of our native dishes, but you know…the gluten thing. I explained that it’s quite delicious and comforting and I would look for g-f lasagna noodles next time I’m at the Co-op. “But Mama,” you said, “Why is it served in a litter box?”

Clearly, I don’t use a casserole dish often enough.

…pretty much had your mind blown by the idea of mixed media on canvas. You were upset by the way your watercolor painting was going, so I suggested giving the accidental blob some shape by outlining it with pen and turning it into something else. You used to be a strictly pen-and-ink OR watercolor guy, and now you can be both at once.

I’ll leave it here, as there’s catching up to do. What a crazy weeeeeeeeeeeeek.

Oh, and btw, I did contact a winner for my giveaway. Holly Eqq is the lucky duck this time around. If you haven’t gone to my biz Facebook page, I do a giveaway every 100 likes. Share it up and there will be another one very soon!!! Thanks so much for playing and sharing your thoughts and gratitude with me. xoxo

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.

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!

round and round


Thanks to all who stopped by the Madison Wool booth at Stitches East today. It was lovely to spend Sunday spinning up fiber dyed up by the five-year-old version of my son. I have spent the last three+ years just looking at it, and right now there are four bobbins full waiting for a morning ply. O is excited for his handiwork to appear in my shop!

Stitches East!

Popping in quick to let you know this fun fact:

I’m all packed up and heading down to spend tomorrow at Stitches East, demonstrating spinning and, also, plopping a pile of my wares into the Madison Wool booth (#312).

Will I see you there?



Sunday’s hours are 10-4pm. Today (10am-6pm), you can catch Ashley Martineau at the Mad Wool booth and have her sign your copy of Spinning and Dyeing Yarn!

studio time

The lighting just doesn’t work for me in the summertime, but I love to spend the Winter in the studio, as much as possible. It’s warm, and there’s a teapot.


And there are few other places and tasks calling to me, what with the garden put to bed, the animals sticking close to their shelters, and the pointy-eared troublemakers stashing themselves away in boxes under the woodstove.

Well, when I’m home, anyway, which is less these days, and I’m still adjusting to the new schedule that requires me leaving the nest for town. It certainly makes my time at home all the more precious. I enjoy the work, though, especially now that my own dye station is in the off-season, being out on the landing with no heat. I’ve already had the first dye-freeze, so…


…I come inside to play with everything else. And yes, that’s a floor loom, and no, I don’t weave…yet. It’s on loan from a friend and I’m anxious to expand my fibery bag of tricks in the coming cocoa-cozy months.


My mind-brain is burning with ideas for a sweet little display to bring to the trunk show at Gather Here, and the delicate, luxurious things it will hold. mmmmm.

Does creative work keep you warm, too?


So, that Momentum Challenge?
I’ll tell you what it did: totally zapped my Momentum into smithereens. I’ll tell you why: one should really have a clear goal to focus on when participating. I don’t, and I don’t think I can be motivated to create one under pressure. I’m still exploring. I’m still becoming. You can’t force transformation in a twenty-one day window if it’s a forty-three or maybe even a six-hundred-ninety-two day process.

I didn’t give up on it. It just wasn’t serving me in the way I hoped it would. I needed a little kick, but not into that particular challenge’s goal.

Here’s something more my speed:


I’m going to work things out right here. The Momentum Challenge wanted me to be present on social media, and to live my biz goals on social media and to bring people into my social media “circle.” I don’t want that. I like it here. I don’t mind bringing you here via social media, but I don’t like to live there. I also have been enjoying the quiet places The Spun Monkey has been going without the use of social media.

For example, I just received an email from Plymouth Cheese about the success of consigning some of my yarns and feltwork there this autumn. I sold fiber from a cheese factory gift shop in central VT…how awesome is that? Their cheese is excellent, by the way, especially the maple-smoked.

I also just finished a 50-skein (!!!!!!!!!) handspun yarn order for Fig Tree Yarns in Jersey, Channel Islands. Imogen did not find me through social media channels. Rather, she had picked up some of my yarns-in-the-wild at the delicious Gather Here stitch lounge, and then contacted me personally. 150+ hours of really enjoyable work went into the box I eventually shipped and now I am busily working on a new set of yarns for both Stitches East 2013 November 7-10 (my work will be at the Madison Wool booth, and I’ll be there on Sunday to help), and the trunk show at Gather Here on Sunday, November 17th from 12-6pm.

There are so many other projects and ideas I have in mind, that I am happy with the pace of TSM. I don’t need a Momentum Challenge to drive it up to a notch that I don’t necessarily want to reach. Sure, I need the supplementary income that comes from my fiber work. However, I also need to hold onto the joy in creating, which comes only from being able to work at my own pace and not the place of desperation that comes with keeping up with too many demands or deadlines. There is also the fact that I have other creative interests and pursuits, like photography, writing, and mixed media. All of these have potential income-earning possibilities, which I can only explore if I can divide my time. Don’t get me wrong, I simply adore a good deadline…my best work comes from deadline crunch times…but I’m going to be choosier with using the words YES and NO and only take on projects I can get really excited about.

So, I’m going to say THANK YOU to the Momentum Challenge for helping me to realize that I have just enough forward momentum right now, that I have no idea what my ultimate goal really is and that it’s okay not to know, and that I have the good life right now and I don’t need Twitter followers to prove it.

The project for Fig Tree Yarns (there doesn’t seem to be a website yet), as I said, was supremely enjoyable. I loved having the freedom to spin whatever I was inspired to spin and to create a terrifically fun box of surprises for them to open on the other side of the pond.

Some highlights:










I have some catching up to do with the 52 Project. See you tomorrow!


Momentum Challenge

So, I signed up for a thing. I’ve been pretty hard on myself lately, and sometimes I even feel like I deserve it, but that’s, you know, probably not true.

Why not kick my own ass in a beneficial way?


This here is where I hold myself accountable. I started the challenge by posting the first assignment on my FB business page. Then, I promptly felt overwhelmed and dropped the whole thing entirely. I had signed up, though, and was still getting emails every day, prompting me with the new assignments that were now piling up like the homework from my high school trigonometry class.

Let me cut to the chase: I caught up.

I realized that this challenge, however cheesy it might seem to some, has the power to refocus and redirect me in ways that I desperately need right now.

Day One was this:


My response was this: Proof positive that creating a joyful, abundantly fulfilling life is well within anyone’s grasp.

And it’s true. I want to be able to look back on my life and know that the gift I shared was to show anyone who felt self-doubt and despair rising within them that they can just 180 on that noise and head the other direction. I’m still working on that part, but it says here I’ve got a year to prove it’s possible. I’m motivated.



-In other words, why do you wake up in the morning? Why does this work matter to you?

I need to make. I need to dig and to harvest, to chop and to carry, to test and record, to share and to teach, to capture it all in images and writing and to be heartfully immersed in it all. I want to serve as a resource and a guide. I want to share the beauty of simple living in a complicated world. Enjoying vibrant health and a fulfilling life is attainable even if we have to mix it in with all the Busy-ness of modern life and I aspire to be a shining example of that; a shining example of making a living by living fully. Is that possible? Let me find out.


-What’s the one thing you’re most afraid of when it comes to giving your gifts to the world?


It’s this one, very specific and very common thing: fear that I will put my all into making a living doing the things I love, and simply…fail. And fail hard. Because of that fear, I have, historically, only pursued my interests in half-assed fashion, always trying to find the “real job” that will allow me to do the things I love “on the side.” Guess what? Doesn’t really work. Huh.


-What’s something you’re afraid of doing, or have been putting off that you know will take you to the next level?


I’m coming to the realization that it’s entirely possible I’m most afraid of…succeeding. What will happen if I really put my heart into taking my writing and workshop ideas, my fiber and my artwork, etc. to the next level. I have procrastinated for two months the finishing of a photography course I’m writing because I don’t think I’m expert enough to be anyone’s instructor. This idea of mine, the one where I’m not expert enough, has been squashed by many students who have been really pleased with my in-person workshops (and vocal about it!), but there is something about getting it in writing, something about making it tangible…so, here’s the nut: I’m distracted, most of all, by my lack of self-confidence. There, I said it. I don’t believe in myself and it’s really throwing my game, here, peeps.


-To identify your Superness, answer these two questions:

  • What is your unique superpower?
    IE: grace, clairvoyance, deep wisdom, a never ending wealth of ideas. If you have trouble with this, think about peak moments where you’ve surprised yourself by doing incredible things (ask a friend or loved one if you struggle with noticing these things about yourself).
  • Who is your super hero alter-ego?
    Now that you’ve defined your superpower, go ahead and sketch out a “profile” or “player card” describing your character and its unique personality.


This ties in with the procrastination theme, but I will suggest that my superpower is that I work really well under pressure, whether the pressure is self-inflicted or from an outside source. You can count on me to pull it together when I’m under the gun, and to give you something really damn good, whatever the medium.

Alter-ego: socially awkward homebody dubbed The Machine by those who have witnessed her entering into the spinning zone. When she’s in front of a room of eager students, you would not guess at the inner turmoil. Cool as a cucumber, her mother would say. Wears Muck Boots, even in the “big city.”


-What’s one thing you could ask for that would change the face of your business?


This one is personal, involving emails going to a few very specific people. I know this thing is all about sharing, but I’m going to let this be what I need it to be.

And that brings us through today, Day 7, which I’m still mulling over. Get on my FB page if you are interested in daily updates. I’ll recap here again next week.

There will be shop updates happening over the next few days, so stay tuned.