Yarn Along

knitting

Whew, haven’t played this game in a while.

Joining Ginny of Small Things and her sweet Yarn Along, here’s what I have going on in the reading and knitting department this week: a copy of Watership Down that my mum sent me, randomly, in a care package from the home land. It has the flawless, flowing script of her signature in the upper right corner of the front page, and it just so happens that I’ve never read this book, so it’s a Very Nice Thing all around. I happen to be enjoying it very much.

I am also beginning to enjoy my Turmeric Sweater after a brief falling out. Somehow, tinking back 370+ stitches takes about ten times longer than knitting them, but now, the sleeves are separated and the going is simple and steady. The yarn was dyed by the fabulous Adrian of Knittink, and the colorful fabric growing in my hands is playful and happy-making. It’s a nice, seasonal transition piece that will warm me up for the next project, for which I’ll be leading a Knit-Along for the Wonderland Yarns Ravelry group (if you didn’t know, I’m the fiber division at Wonderland/Frabjous Fibers, which is why The Spun Monkey has taken a bit of a back seat).

Even though TSM has been on the backburner, there are several things of note coming up:

On September 5th, I’m teaching a class at Fiber College of Maine called Spinning Your Story. There’s a plethora of amazing workshops, and the whole event is sure to be a blast, so come check it out if you’re near!

On September 6th, and for the rest of the month of September, my work will be on display with other talented area artists at the Crowell Gallery in the Moore Free Library of Newfane, VT for the Windham County Sampler of Weavers and Felters exhibit.

On November 1st-2nd, I’ll be repping the aforementioned fantastically awesome Adrian of Knittink at the Fiber Festival of New England. I’ll have some Spun Monkey goodies there, too, but if you’re worried that she moved away and took Knittink with her, I’ll be ensuring her presence at the FFNE, don’t you fret!

Also, I’ll be scheduling some classes in felting and spinning at Madison Wool this fall, so stay tuned for that.

Heh. Well, that almost looks like a schedule of events! Whew.

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Facts.

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Birds are hopping about on the thick crust of snow in increased numbers, sometimes it’s still light when dinner hits the table, and I suppose there may be a few other signs of Spring lurking around the corner if I pay attention through chattering teeth. My fingers are crossed for this to be the last night of the season to dip below zero, and it looks like maybe, just maybe, we’re good to go for tapping our trees this weekend.

The Spun Monkey studio has temporarily been converted to the seedling nursery. We’ve started quite early this year, despite having lost the greenhouse, and an impending drastic change in our daily/weekly routine will mean that C is here more during the week to be tending the homestead. I try so hard, but I’m not as intuitive as he is with living things. In past growing seasons, I have been the garden management team only because I was here. I wouldn’t say I have a black thumb, but it’s surely some color other than green, and whatever we’ve harvested has been due to a few parts luck, I’m sure. I can’t wait to see what happens when he has more of his hands in this adventure, because harvesting is my favorite part, and with him in charge, I’ll get to do so much more of that. Fact.

O will try for The Great Pumpkin again, of course, and if all goes well with our Hyssop, there will be goat milk aplenty for an experiment with milk-fed squash. She is WIDE with baby(ies???) and I hope to flood this page with adorable baby goat-ness come May.

And I hope with all my heart that this is our last tribute to make in what has been a very harsh Winter for our male barnyard friends, as we spent most of Town Meeting Day trying to save this guy:

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RIP Funny Chicken. Why did you eat the hay?

He was the meat bird we kept because he was…a little funny. And personable. And attached to our little bantam hen. He stood up while she napped underneath him. I wonder who will protect her now from all those big, catty hens in the coop? She is china-delicate and he was her round, bumbling oaf who somehow never stepped on her or forgot she was there.

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We’ll miss you, buddy.

Oh, and speaking of the studio, this weekend I’ll be re-opening my Big Cartel shop with links to registration for April classes. This will begin an eventual shift over from Etsy entirely. Stay tuned for a big sale to clear out the shop for the move!

 

 

Yarn Along: 2 (and shop news! and a class! and another class!)

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I’m still working on a Christmas present, and I can see in the photo where I need to tighten up a join, but both of those things are okay. 12 stripes down, 7 to go, and the boy can probably wear it without dragging it on the ground in about…6 years. Even so, I’m determined to finish it this weekend just to have one more project down so I can start something else. Now that the sock yarn club is up and rolling and I’m saving at least one skein for myself every month, I think we can all safely guess I’ll be obsessed with knitting socks for the remainder of the year.

The January colorway, btw, is now available as dyed-to-order, and there are a few ready-to-ship on a delightful bamboo blend sock yarn (and handspun and fiber, as well) available in the shop.

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Clicking the pic will transport you to the listing.

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February’s colorway found its way into a sweet tutorial I wrote up for this week’s installment of Sparkle Craft on the Sparkle Stories blog, and will soon also be available as a regular dyed-to-order colorway. In the meantime, club members are enjoying it first, and a few extras found their way to Madison Wool.

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Speaking of Madison Wool, I’ll be the instructor/MC at this year’s Snowball…a spinning technique/80s dance party/costume shindig where we’ll spin up some neon shoelaces, cut up fabric scraps and spin them while watching Pretty in Pink, and corespin our way to a pair of mismatched fingerless gloves. You in? Call Dayna at MadWool for details and to sign up!

And since this post seems to be all business, I’m scouting out spots to teach on a whirlwind trip late Spring/early Summer…Austin, Denver, Bay Area, Portland…please be in touch if we can make it happen for my new one-day workshop, Spinning Your Story (details soon…keeping it mysterious for now). If you have an idea for a venue or just want to say, YES, I’d love to take your class, drop me a note!

I pretty much derailed my own Yarn Along post with news and such, but I think the book stack speaks for itself. A little Spring planning, a little for-pleasure, a little oooh-the-new-Granta-just-came-in-the-mail, and a little psychology about raising boys. Oh, and Jane Austen knitting patterns. A pretty accurate slice of mid-Winter life, right there, I guess…if you add a cup of chai and the fact that I have really no time to read any of this right now, but try to manage a couple pages here and there in odd moments of breathing space.

Happy Thursday!

xoxo

whoosh…

…there it went.

A week or so.

And, also:

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Our Greenhouse. RIP.

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

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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

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and here

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and updating my shop here.

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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:

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Whew. Well, back to regularly scheduled programming henceforth.

Forty-Eight: 52

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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

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

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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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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:

Tropical

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Pear Tree:

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Nereid:

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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.