on attachment, clearing out, and hey, who wants yarn?

I thought this was going to a lot harder than it has been, to be frank. As I’ve been shipping things out, I’ve been feeling really good about creating space, and it just gets easier and easier to put things in the “destash” pile. I’d originally suspected I’d struggle with relinquishing CY yarns, especially tests, out of sentimentality: this is quite literally the very last of this stuff, and I can actually remember the days some of these skeins were dyed. It stings a little at times; I need to remind myself that we were always making items of use and beauty, that it’s a disservice not to see them being utilized. Archival just doesn’t sit right with me, though; it isn’t my style.

There are a few things I just can’t let go, and I’ll make a post about those later, once I’m absolutely sure of what those are. I know a few off the top of my head: a bag of Sochi Pride in Traveller, the last few skeins I dyed in the studio, four braids of BFL/ silk fiber in a perfect oxidized copper.

Mostly, though, I want to keep a few things dyed by members of the studio, yarn made by my friends, a few things with clear intended projects, and my fiber stash; everything else is on its way out, and that feels like a relief. Next, I’m going to take on my comic book collection. Oh, gutting. 

So: the winner of last week’s Great Yarn Giveaway is Ela— please, drop me a line with your address and I will send you a shipping estimate & get your yarn out to you! Next up for Giveaway purposes: one skein of Irregular Skinny Bugga in Gregor Samsa. This skein has two small smudges of lilac on one strand; imperfect but utterly knittable.

Gregor Samsa this time!

Gregor Samsa this time!

By the way- for the folks who’ve asked, I got the yarn bowl above from Skeletal Dropkick, and I swear that the name only pushed me into purchasing from them a teeny, tiny bit. They’re really great and I love the pieces I have from them- solid, one custom, and relatively affordable (at least when I was buying- it’s been a while). Also ADORABLE, obviously.

Want to give that skein of Gregor Samsa a proper home? TOTALLY EASY, you folks. Tell me your current favorite indie yarn company and why you love them. That’s it! I’ll RNG the answer, but I’m seriously paying attention to this one. Bonus points for telling me which of their yarns makes you the happiest, but just the company name/ link does the trick. I’ll pull a name next Tuesday— good luck, everybody!

about that giveaway, though…

Shoshana, you recommended Ardent, by Janina Kallio— and you were also selected by the Random Number Generator! Would you send me your address, please, as well as a good paypal email address so I can hit you up for shipping?

Sorry it took me an extra day to make the announcement!

I spent a bit of this afternoon visiting Kate & Nancye at Dragonfly Fibers— they were having an Open House, so I took advantage of an opportunity to see their studio when the air conditioning would be on and actually making a difference. I’m completely unashamed to say I fell down and picked up a few skeins; it’s mostly work, a reknit of Theodosia and a colorwork cowl idea I’ve been kicking around.

At the Dragonfly Fibers studio open house this afternoon.

At the Dragonfly Fibers studio open house this afternoon.

Of course, it isn’t like I didn’t pick out colors I love, and I’ll be keeping my samples, so yeah, it’s a kind of cheating, but it’s the sort of cheating I can write off at the end of the year.

A new giveaway, before I leave you: I have a slightly light (3.8 oz), caked skein of Oleander Nymph in Skinny Bugga waiting for the person who helps us find our next dinner in the comments. We aren’t picky eaters, but there are a few things that make it a little tricky: Sam can’t eat corn in any form, Kiddo is a vegetarian, and we’re trying to keep dinners as quick/ simple as possible in the evenings, because Baltimore is swiftly turning into a humid sweaty summer mess. Random Number Generator will make the final decision; leave a comment with a link or a recipe below to enter and I’ll run the RNG this coming Tuesday! Oh, and there’s more stuff in the shop, but I’ve been updating steadily as the week has been moving along.

Look, it's so lonely. Don't you want to bring this skein home with you?

Look, it’s so lonely. Don’t you want to bring it home with you?

so let’s do this thing, then

I forgot how nice it can be to photograph things that stay still.

I forgot how nice it can be to photograph things that stay still.

I’d been holding off on starting my Epic Destash, thinking Oh, I’ll just wait until I have a big block of time and can blast through a chunk of it. The fact of the matter is, there really IS no big block of time to be had, so I’m doing the brighter thing and going at this piecemeal so the thing is done already. I came home from Weird Day Job this afternoon and just got going on getting the destash online. (Hey, we should talk about that some time; it is both weird to have a Day Job again, and said Day Job is also weird.)

So there’s a little bit of yarn up on my Etsy right now; it’s just a bit of caked- up Skinny Bugga from waaaaaaay back in the day, ZOMG. I was surprised at the level of attachment I had going on here; I had a hard time letting go to a few of these not because I wanted to do anything with them, but because I could remember how and when they were made, and with whom. I miss my team, and how we were. Who we were, ooof. But we’re still us, and these things are still here, and it’s just too awful if these things aren’t used. That’d be the biggest disservice of all, I think, so. So- take these off my hands, loves. We made these things so that they would be used. Let’s make some use of them.

I’ll be adding steadily to my silly little Etsy shop throughout the month. There is a bunch of stuff— fiber, yarn, tools; SG, CY, mill samples, samples from other dyers. If you’re looking for anything in particular, feel free to drop a comment and ask, but the chances of my having it are slim— it’s a smorgasbord, but a very random one, KWIM?

There are two skeins of each color, approx 795 yards total.

There are two skeins of each color, approx 795 yards total.

In the meantime, I have a random half- pound of Skinny sitting at my feet, sort of Easter- themed, I think. It’s free to whoever wins the Random Number Generator lottery—you’ll only have to pay shipping from Baltimore, MD.  Leave me a comment with your current favorite simple shawl pattern, because I really need something new to knit and I just can’t do another pair of mitts, I’m so over hands right now and cowls are great but kind of boring after the long winter. I’ll hit up the RNG on Thursday! Good luck, all.

in which we talk about stashes and creating space

IMG_9765

Let’s talk about this stash thing, okay?

I don’t have a stash, exactly. I mean I do: I have yarn and fiber that I’ve purchased/ collected just for myself. There isn’t very much of that, actually; I’m really, really selective and I don’t like to have very much stuff. Owning things makes me feel twitchy, weighed down, and obligated: when you own things you need to keep track of them, take care of them, and in this case, use them, eventually. So when I started making yarn and fiber— years and years ago— well, things sort of got out of hand.

I started selling on Etsy over a decade ago specifically to avoid that issue of collecting— I liked making more than I enjoyed having. Much like spinning, once I’ve dyed something I frequently feel finished with a thing: There. That is complete. It should go to someone else now. (I love knitting handspun, just not my own- it always seems just a little boring, sort of “I’ve seen every inch of THIS already.”) And while I did knit with my own yarn, because it was free, and hey, that was awesome, I’ve always been more of a process person than a product one.

IMG_1456

Part of the entire process of dyeing and designing is making tests, though, and we don’t sell tests on the whole. I’ve also got a bunch of leftovers from closing the studio— just weird, random bits and bobs, odd little things. And balls of yarn with only 20- 30 yards used from when we used to make SG swatches— man, I still have old SG stock, it’s obscene.

Also: for the non- fiber types, there is this thing that seems to happen when people learn that you are a knitter and a spinner. Someone in their family will move into assisted living or pass on and they’ll show up to your doorstep with a couple of boxes of yarn, fiber, fleeces, or tools- or just yes, all four. Sometimes it’s a treasure trove, sometimes it’s just a transfer to Goodwill/ the dump, it’s always a crapshoot. You can try to tell people the value of what they have, show them Ravelry, tell them how it sells on EBay/ Etsy, but most don’t want the bother. I get it. I’m intimidated already by the task at hand.

So I’ve got a fair bit of that going on too, because I am a sucker and can’t say no to folks who are sad and have boxes or bags of their elderly relatives’ belongings. The good stuff I’ve kept, but at this point it’s just ridiculous. I’m looking at SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy) beyond all measure, and I have no intention of winding up on Buzzfeed for that, please and thank you.

What else? Oh, also a few tools from teaching, and some bits and bobs from when I was first dyeing— bases that we just don’t do, that sort of thing. All things that just weren’t marketable via CY. All things that are eating up space in my house & life. Sam and I are looking at downsizing (I want to move deeper into the city, we both want to have even less stuff) but even outside of that, this is just… an occupational hazard, sure, but too much for me.

So: I’m going to do a couple of things to lighten the load. Some of this stuff just isn’t sellable in good conscience: it’s early dye work, or skeins that are a little weird, stuff along those lines— I’m not comfortable asking for $$ for them, so I’m going back to my roots and doing some Great Yarn Giveaways again. I’ll put up posts on the blog, ask folks to do something silly in comments, pick a winner and ask for shipping only.

For the rest of it, I’m thinking… Etsy? That’s probably the easiest way to go about it. I don’t want to clog up my personal Instagram doing this, although that might be a simpler/ cheaper way to go about things. I’m not crazy about Etsy these days, though. (Anyone out there sell via Instagram? Might be worthwhile to open a second account.) I know I don’t want to do EBay- the idea of bidding brings back that awful SG- update- rush feel; hated that then, hate it now. I’m looking to begin the actual selling off of stash next week, so if you have information, please send it my way— I’m taking photos this week.

on MDS&W 2015 and friends who do good things

Yet another Cotswold who is NOT HAVING IT.

Yet another Cotswold who is NOT HAVING IT.

Maryland Sheep & Wool was a joy this year, and not just because I got time in with Shannon, Andi and Anna- although hey, also THAT, you know? Maryland turned it out in a serious way, though— anywhere from 75- 85 degrees and sunshine all weekend. I spent it in the CP booth, hoping for a rerun of the runaway sheep from last year (no luck, but most of the fun is in the wishing and waiting anyway). Sam, Beck & Zeke joined us on Sunday and we spent a good amount of time just looking at animals and stuffing our faces.

I mean, I really felt like I might have been intruding on a moment, or something.

I mean, I really felt like I might have been intruding on a moment, or something.

Nothing much to report on the buying front; I don’t need any more yarn or fiber (I’m actually looking at a very large de-stash in the near future, more on that in a later post), so all that came home with us was some honey and a little embroidery cloth. We went out to Ethiopian in the District with Shannon, Andi & Anna on Saturday. I visited all of my people, ate artichokes and pit lamb, drank fresh lemonade, and hugged more folks than my MS doctors would approve of EVER. It was MDS&W weekend- what can I say? It was glorious

Let’s see- what else is going on? Oh- VERY important stuff, and not because you have all of one hot second to get on this- Neighborhood Fiber Company is doing something very good and wonderful and I want people to know about it. I hope that folks understand that the majority of the demonstrations that happened here in Baltimore were peaceful, but everybody knows that there was property damage, too. Karida has created a gorgeous, limited edition Sandtown-Windchester colorway to help raise money for the rebuilding of affected areas of the city.

It's even PURPLE.

It’s even PURPLE.

Named for the neighborhood where Freddie Gray was arrested, all proceeds will be donated to the Baltimore Community Foundation’s Fund for Rebuilding Baltimore. It’s only available until this weekend, and then, any leftover skeins will be sold in their shop— but somehow, I don’t think there’s going to be much left. This colorway is available in any of their bases, so if you want to make something, it can be made in this color. Get on it, folks.

That’s all the news I have for today— later on I have a completely off- yarn- topic product review, and more news about that destash, but I think I’ve taken up enough space already, and I need to go do some day- job like stuff. Be good, have fun, do stuff.

How To Send Your Daughter to College, in 12 Easy Steps (a knitter’s version)

my little grey shawl

my little grey shawl, still in progress

1. Go to a trunk show approximately 250 miles from home. This is for work, not properly part of dropping your daughter off at college. You made this commitment before you fully realized that it was the same week you’d need to take your daughter to college, because you, madam, are A Really Poor Planner. Bask in a sinking sense of failure in the evenings and knit on your little grey shawl.

2. Complete the trunk show. Feel happy and exhausted, like you do after every trunk show. Drive another 120 miles from trunk show to your best friend’s house. The drive takes you through the small town where you grew up, which always makes you a little sad. It’s a sad place for a lot of reasons, some personal, some economic. This doesn’t help. Being at your best friend’s place helps some, though, because your best friend is one of the most incredible people in the universe, known or unknown. Spend the night drinking really excellent whiskey and talking about life. Knit on your little grey shawl.

3. Meet up with your family to drive to the college. This is much more challenging than it sounds, due to the mysteries of GPS and the intricacies of downtown Hartford, but manage it anyway in the end, complete with much cursing and some high- end familial tension. Good, good stuff. In the car, knit on your little grey shawl.

4. Drive to the college, another 2 hours from your best friend’s house. Conceal anxiety with butt jokes and pop culture references. Buy snacks in a gas station in northern Massachusetts, and be sure to act like a complete ass while at it. The phrase, “Don’t steal string cheese,” should be uttered repeatedly, and at top volume, for maximum efficacy. Spend the rest of the drive laughing, and stupidly drop stitches in your little grey shawl.

5. Check into hotel at college town and while you’re at it, check the urge to provide a helpful last- minute lecture on living with snow. You child is not interested in your experiences with living in snow, or living through New England winters. Your child will definitely lose an appendage to frostbite this winter. Your Baltimore- reared child considers a t- shirt and a hoodie “layering”. Count all of her lovely, freezable bits and silently bid them farewell. Wonder which piece of your perfect, perfect baby will not come home to you in the spring. Resist the urge to weep quietly in the bathroom. Instead, plot out the dense, claustrophobia- inducing sweaters you will make for your child this winter as you knit on your little grey shawl.

6. Spend dinner discussing news, gossip, anything but the future. Talk about goat cheese, and how there is never too much of it. Watch her hands, and think about how much you’ve always loved them. Don’t cry. Don’t even want to cry. Leave your little grey shawl in its bag, and just look at her.

7. Go through the next day in a haze: it’s all so much to do. It’s all just so much, really. Unloading, finding her room, unpacking, watching all of the other families and the ways they do the things which you are doing. Pick up her books from the bookstore. Take the inevitable trip to the store, buy her things. Buy her things to hold her other things, and find yourself looking at these things and wondering how they’ll fit into her new life, her new future. Feel proud, nervous, and amazed. This is real. How did time move so quickly? Your little grey shawl sits in its bag, unattended: there’s just no time for knitting.

8. Have dinner again, early this time. You’ve done all of the things; there’s nothing left to do but eat, so that’s what you’ll do. Find somewhere relatively quiet. This time you’ll talk about real things: home. Friends. Family. The harder things. It’s okay, because you’ll break it up with laughing, but this is definitely a Much More Serious Meal, an actual dinner together. It’ll be a little while before you eat together again. Make the most of it.

9. Head back to her dorm room. You’ve finally got the hang of the place now- you could find her room in a hurry if you needed, which makes you feel safe, and also silly, because you’ll never need to find her room in any rush. Keeping this piece of knowledge tucked in your back pocket- mapping out the routes to where she will be- settles you somehow. You can feel yourself drawing an invisible map in your mind, in your heart. Knit on your little grey shawl, and think about the ties that bind without restricting.

10. Then it will be there: the goodbye. It isn’t as awful as you thought it would be. You find that you don’t want to cry: it really is just a goodbye, after all. And for all your fear, all the dread and worry and horrible crushing doubts, it really is all right. She will be all right. You as a family will be all right. And even if you’re like me, and you don’t have any frame of reference for this moment, if in your experience when a child leaves home they never really speak to their parents again and you don’t know how to do this thing and it causes you horrible anxiety because you really don’t know what comes next and you’re really just doing this all on faith it turns out that in the now, in the here and the this and the right then, it really is okay. It’s okay. She’s going to be just fine. The moment is there, and you hug, and you take a few pictures and you tell her you love her and you leave her there in the room, her room, to get on with her new adventure, and that is exciting stuff. Go back to your hotel room and sit in wonder. This is real life, and it really happened. Sit with your shock and knit on your little grey shawl.

11. Life goes on. And it’s weird for a while: everything is different, quieter, a little emptier. There will be a hole where she was, and you can’t miss it. You don’t know exactly what to do with yourself for a while. Revert to your twentysomething self for a time: stop wearing pants in the evenings, stay up late, have kettle corn and ice cream for dinner. Mourn the loss of being a live- in parent. It’s okay to be a little sad. Spend evenings devouring The Twilight Zone and knit mindlessly, aimlessly on your little grey shawl.

12. Start looking forward to whatever it is that comes next. Begin to train your dogs new tricks. Go out a bit more. Text your kid. Set whole new routines, decide you hate them, start different ones. Play with it. Your daughter is on a bright new adventure, and will come home with stories. Decide that she won’t be the only one. Knit on your little grey shawl until you’re almost out yarn, and wonder what comes next.

in which I am just outside of Chicago

We are here, settled into the hotel, and I am VERY EXCITED. We showed up at vendor check- in yesterday afternoon, having gotten in a little earlier than anticipated, and realized we could set up on Wednesday. We decided to unload the van and set up racks early, which was SO VERY NICE. Knowing we don’t have to do all that before the Student Preview today? BLISS, my lovelies, that’s just BLISS. Today, all we need to do is set up yarn and fix the display. I mean, that’s a lot of work, but this is how a girl conserves her energy. It’s a great start!

Oh, and we are in the best location! BOOTH 214, across the path from Dragonfly Fibers, right next to Cooperative Press, just a few booths down from Carolina Homespun, a little bit down the way from The Fold— it’s basically Hug Central up in here. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH, you guys.

I lived in Chicago years and years ago- back when my daughter was still in a stroller, which is such a funny thought now that she’s 5’9″. I’ve only ever passed through the Chicagoland area since then, which has made me sad— I have a deep love for the mid- west, and I’ve always said that if I were to come back to living in the mid- west, Chicago would be where I would go, because I seem to need a large body of water. Being back here is good in this really fundamental manner, and fills me up in this joyful, glowing way. I woke up in our hotel room just plain happy— not my standard oh hooray, it’s show day sort of happy, but instead a richer, deeper sort of joy: it feels good and right to be here, right before our daughter heads off to college. It feels like coming full circle.

So hello, Schaumburg. We’re so happy to be here. Let’s do this thing.

(Cross- posted in our company blog, but shared here for personal feels. My feelings on Chicago, they are complex, and will probably be unpacked more later, but HAPPY HAPPY, everyone. HAPPY HAPPY.)

in which the raffle is performed, with many (mostly ridiculous) photographs

Garrett’s project, Beyond The Light, received 102% funding on Kickstarter! The project closed on his birthday- and I think this was one of the nicest presents he could have received.  Thank you so, so much to everyone who helped to make this happen- to everyone who donated, to everyone who tweeted, or passed the message along Facebook- thank you.

102% funded, everyone! That's amazing!

And so: as promised, Sam and I sat down with a camera and we had the raffle for the four skeins of Gaia Fingering in Little Round Top. We brought in a little help, too.

He was a very, very little help at times, actually

At first, Hugo was more interested in the cats than in helping us pick names from the funny hat. He came around, though.

inspecting the slips

First he inspected all the slips, to make sure they were all in order.

inspecting the hat

Then Hugo inspected the silly hat. (Remember, we specifically said the names had to be drawn from a silly hat! This was the silliest we had on hand.)

I feel like a steampunk version of Blossom.

Then I inspected the hat. It seemed to be mostly in order.

I think we're ready to do this thing.

Then we were ready to start drawing names!

I think Hugo's trying to read the card in this photo.

Our first lucky winner is Lilie W.- thank you so much, and congratulations!

Winner #2!

Our second winner was Tan S.! Thank you for the support, and congratulations!

Winner #3!

The third winner is Emily W.! Thank you, Emily, and congratulations!

Winner #4!

The fourth and final winner is Barbara H.- thank you so much!

After that, things got a little silly…

Originally, I tried to put the goggles on Hugo, but he was having none of that.

… but eventually, Hugo got the treat he’d earned.

He can stand like this forEVER. It's creepy, especially when he's wearing a sweater.

As it turns out, I have a mailing address for everyone except Emily- so Emily, I’ll be emailing you tonight to ask for a mailing address, and everyone else, I’ll be shipping out your skeins on Monday!

Thank you again, everyone!

beyond the light

{ETA: If you donate and you’d like to be added to the raffle, please send me an email at onmytiptoes@gmail.com!}

My talented brother- in- law- to- be, Garrett Sendlewski, works as an animator & is working on a short film called Beyond The Light. He’s asking for pledges for funding in exchange for production credits, film props, etc.

Gaia Fingering Yarn in Little Big Top

Rather than ask everyone here to run on over and pledge to Garrett’s film, I dove into my stash and came up with this: four skeins of long- discontinued Gaia Fingering in Little Round Top. (Little Round Top is the Starry Night Cracker equivalent.) I’ll be raffling off these skeins to help raise money for Garrett’s film. THIS YARN IS COMPLETELY DISCONTINUED, FOLKS. You can’t get it anywhere- it just plan doesn’t exist anymore!

And so: if you want to make a pledge to Garrett’s film, you can do so by clicking right here!

If you make a pledge for any amount at all: THANK YOU!

If you pledge $25 or more, forward a copy of your receipt to me at onmytiptoes@gmail.com, and every $25 you pledge gets you an entry in the raffle for one these skeins of Gaia Fingering. There are FOUR skeins here, so there are four chances to win, everyone!

I’ll be running the raffle until either Garrett hits full funding (as of right now, he’s at about 1/3 of the way there) or 11:00 pm EDT on November 15th. All entries will be drawn via the extremely scientific method of paper slips being drawn from a hat. It’s just like science, except nothing like science at all! How exciting! How thrilling! How absolutely worth $25 to watch!

I also promise that if Garrett gets full funding, I will photograph the entire paper- slips- in- a- hat- process, with me in the photographs, and post the photos. PICTURES OF ME ON THE INTERNET, people. We all know how much I hate that. This is how much I’d like to see Garrett’s movie made.

So, if you have a moment, take a look. I know times are tough, so don’t feel pressured, but if you have a few dollars to spare, help my friend and brother- in- law- to- be— that makes him the man who makes my baby sister happy, making him a Very Important Guy in my world— help him make his film. It would be nice, and it would make him happy, and maybe you might win some lovely, pretty rare yarn out of it, too.

Thanks, everyone.

in which there is an ending, a beginning, and a new adventure


The news is true: The Sanguine Gryphon is disbanding. In January 2012, Cephalopod Yarns is beginning. I’m spending tonight caught between two places, in limbo between 2.5 years of hard work and a future of new adventures.

I don’t know what to say tonight.

This is hard, because it is both an end and a beginning.

This weekend we were in Rhinebeck, New York, working at the Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Festival- our last show as The Sanguine Gryphon. It was a beautiful weekend- cool, blustery, perfect sweater weather- and we were surrounded by friends and supporters who came and lent their hands, their backs, and their good cheer throughout the show.

This was the perfect way to end things.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who came out and waited patiently in line to see us. Thank you to everyone who met us with a smile. Thank you to every friend who came by with a hug or a smile or a story or a gift. Thank you to everyone who had dinner with us on Saturday. Thank you to everyone who spent time helping us set up, to everyone who helped us tear down, to everyone who helped us with our lines. Thank you to all our friends who brought us coffee, and scones, and cheese, and brownies, and treats. Thank you to everyone who wandered with us, or played with Lia, or just stopped by to say hello.

Thank you for helping us finish this up on the most absolutely perfect note possible.

None of this would ever have been possible without all of you.

Thank you for helping us close this final show together in the 100% right way: surrounded by people who have made this possible, who have made it joyful and fun.

And thank you, too, for all of your enthusiasm and support going in to this new adventure. There are plans- great plans!- and I can’t wait to share them. I can’t wait to share this new adventure with all of you. You are what will make this special and amazing and fun, and I can’t wait to get started.

Thank you.

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