in which I am recovering from last week (but that’s a good thing)

Hey, everybody. I still do this, I swear. Last week was a bit of a blur is all. I was in CEUs last week in Arlington, VA, which is just outside of the District (for those who aren’t familiar with the DC/ Baltimore metro).

You know who was in the District last week, right?

Why didn’t I check the news to see if anything was happening in the capitol when I knew I’d be spending all week crossing through? Oh, friends. Friends. FRIENDS. After 13 years in this region, I know better, damnit.

It’s cool. It was actually great while His Holiness was in the city proper; everyone was too scared to drive, I think, but still, the commute was a lot, and CEUs were physical as hell (Thai yoga massage at the Thai Institute of Healing Arts, it was amazing). I basically woke up, drove to class, drove home, spent an hour with Sam, slept, repeated for a week. You don’t even want to know what the house looks like right now. It was absolutely, 100% worth it, but I’m still recovering, without a doubt.

This course was tricky for me; Thai yoga is a hands- on activity, and Hatha yoga is a very low- touch modality. Yoga teachers are generally trained to look at clients bodies from a perspective of there only being very specific, highly limited places and ways in which you touch; Thai yoga encourages creative touch by its very nature and has extremely few limitations on contact areas for both practitioner and client (although there is quite an endearing emphasis on being “polite”, which I just adore). Getting my head around that (and dismissing the image of all my yoga teachers’ disapproval of what I’d been doing to folks’ sacrums that afternoon) wasn’t easy. Once I could shake that off, though, it was so terrific to have hands- on access to that much raw anatomy. We are such remarkable machines.

Aaagh, that’s a different entry for a different day, I have housekeeping to attend to right now, but THAI YOGA, folks. I have things to say about it.


I have these flat rate USPS Priority Mail boxes ready to go for my brave, awesome video- creators! You’re the best, frosh and Michelle. (I think it’s a pretty cool coincidence that you both chose paper arts for your subjects, too.) You both did really great jobs with your videos and Kiddo will be thrilled— I know I am. Could you drop me an email so we can talk about shipping? These are standard flat rate boxes, so no major surprises— outside of the contents!

Speaking of yarn, I GUTTED my stash this afternoon. There are some seriously good things up in the shop right now, including some Sochi Pride in Traveller, Barber Pole Hopper in Skinny, and Ponycorn in Beastie. That stuff will not last, if I know my market, so if you’re looking for the rainbow variegated stuff I’d get on that now. There are some tamer things up there, too- Montauk Monster in Bugga, Doune Castle in Traveller, a couple skeins of Fire Ant, that sort of thing, if you aren’t a screaming color sort of person.


I still have random odds and ends to get rid of. STILL. It’s getting down to the dregs, but there is still STUFF, folks. I’m looking for creative ideas as to how to clear things out, because I don’t believe most things need to be a drag, even housework. Actually, housework can be sort of soothing at times, performed mindfully; “carry water, chop wood,” etc, etc. Who has ideas? Here’s the next game: inspire a girl, please? I’m too tired this week to be creative on this front. Come up with the winningest idea (or two) for the next Great Yarn Giveaway, and I’ll send YOU the next box of random yarn from my house. It won’t have any acrylic in it, but I can’t promise anything else (but please, do tell me if you have any sensitivities, okay?).

YOU WANT THIS BOX, TRUST ME. I’m an old school indie dyer who dealt in luxury fiber; I may be down to odds and ends, but there are still some fun odds and ends lying around here. Let me know if you spin; I’ll throw fiber goodies in, too!

Drop a little inspiration in the comments, loves. I’m guessing the videos were a little intimidating? I get that. Being in front of a camera gives me the weirds, too. What works better for you? (I’m still feeling the idea of information sharing, so if you can work that in, that’s always a good angle with me.)

I’m taking names this Sunday, so get your ideas in by then!

in which there is anxiety and impatience and neither matter

There is so so so much going on right now, folks. Things went from, Hey, check that out, I could do about anything right now, what do I want to do? to I think I might want to do these things, to I have conflicted feelings, to WHELP, I GUESS WE ARE DOING A THING NOW, in very quick order. If you’ve heard something sort of hard to believe about us recently, it might actually be true! But hey, keep it to yourself for a minute, because we’re still telling folks and making plans.

I’m not getting into it details right now because nothing is actually set in stone and I have people who need I need to speak with first (VAGUEBLOGGING, everybody’s favorite), but I’ve hit at least 85% of my people so far. I’m still missing 4 super- important folks, at least, though, so mum’s the word til the end of the week. (Hey, J. Lunch on Saturday? Yes? Of course, yes.)

I’m writing because I’m a jumble of nerves and excess energy and it has to go somewhere. I feel like Hugo when he hasn’t had a good walk; bouncing off the walls, all anxiety brain and unperformed action. Bark, friends. Bark bark bark bark bark. I want to get a coffee with Cacie and ask for coping skills but coffee is probably the very last thing I need right now. My brain is full of stupid, silly contradictions that aren’t in alignment with my inner self; I need to stop and re- center so much it’s almost ridiculous. Anxiety brain is for the birds, y’all.

It’s all irrelevant, though. This period will pass (all things pass) and relatively quickly, too; I’ll come back to stillness and things will settle. It’s my impatience that’s the true issue;  I want things over and done with, I want to know the outcome, I want the space and time to just press through the work and be done already. Whoa. How greedy is that, right?

There’s a woman I know very vaguely from when we were in grammar school. She told me this story of when we were little: when were would eat lunch it struck her as funny that I’d always eat my bag lunch first, dessert after. I mean, “dessert” was usually fruit or a roll- up or whatever, but still, it was the best part. Some other kids, they’d tear into dessert first, then see if there was room for their sandwich, but apparently that wasn’t my thing. It’s a funny image. It stuck with her, and her telling me that stuck with me. I don’t remember that at all, and at the time I interpreted it as my having been a somewhat over- controlled child. “Dinner before dessert” is a motto for me, though. There’s something to that level of discipline, reinforced through the service: let’s just get through the not- as- fun parts so we can really lay back and enjoy the good stuff.

I’m feeling impatient now. Anxious, too. Worried over an uncertain future, okay, but since when is the future not uncertain? Every future is uncertain— even yours, Gentle Reader- who- might- not- be- enacting- any- immediate- change. Even yours. We just don’t think about it when we aren’t doing anything significant to change it. Boof, that’s easy to forget. That’s one of those things we likely need to forget in order to live our daily lives, but it’s helpful to hold on to in this moment: it’s all in the air, always. Submission**, etc, etc.

(It’s like you can watch me talking myself down, right?)

It’s good. I don’t have to be cool all the time. I don’t want to be cool all the time. I most definitely, certainly, 100% am not cool all the time, in case you were wondering, and if I’ve ever given that impression, shame on me, seriously. If you’ve met me in meatspace you definitely already know, I’m just letting the folks on the internet in on the secret, especially with this post. It’s normal to be a bit of a mess at times, and it’s fine to let other people see that occasionally.

Plan of attack: put on pants, Post Office, errands, wellness studio for short shift (hooray!), spend evening doing comfort activities with family. I’m thinking sorbet, fizzy water, dog- snuggling, and casting on some Dragonfly Fibers for a test knit, maybe a board game. I SHOULD be doing the embellishment of two test pieces I have in the works (a pattern I worked up in DK and fingering versions, Dragonfly Fibers and Neighborhood Fiber Co, so close to being ready) but I think that’s more daytime work.

What are you working on right now, friends? Yarn things or otherwise. I just want to know. And hey, don’t be afraid of the video contest on the entry from the 5th! There’s cashmere in that trunk, folks. I’ve had people promise videos but there’s nothing up yet- c’mon, let’s see what you’ve got. You don’t have to show your face, and you don’t have to go too far out of the box! Make a sandwich, make jewelry, make up your friend’s face, make a cable stitch. Show us stuff. :)

(Ooooh, hey, before I go: side note. Anyone want to do a test knit? DK or fingering, two complimentary & contrasting colors, 400 yds one color, 200 yds second, skills required are knit, purl, knitting in the round, basic embroidery. I can’t supply yarn but you get the pattern and you get to keep your sample; you’re free to put it up on Rav as well- I’d prefer it!- although please no identifying details until we go live, and you will be credited in the pattern notes. Drop me an email!)

(Last side note, I swear: I’ve updated the de-stash. I keep doing that and forgetting to tell folks on the blog. There’s a model that is doomed, right? I put up some Hawaiian Bobtail Squid in Traveller and Barberpole Hopper in Skinny Bugga, too- that was our rainbow self- striping colorway. Oh, and two things I kind of hid on the second page, half hoping nobody buys them because they’re lovely fall colors and maybe I’m going to keep them for myself? IS THIS A DESTASH OR NOT, SARAH. MAKE UP YOUR MIND.)

Barber Pole Hopper!

Barber Pole Hopper!

(**It is interesting to witness how very much I am actively engaging in my Buddhism these past two years, btw. I know folks tend to draw on their faiths in difficult periods, but Buddhism isn’t a precisely a faith, so I found this a little surprising. A subject for a different post, but it has been a strange and wonderful ride.)

on secret stashes

I’m giving away secrets today.

I’ll start out easy: Despite all this yoga business, I’ve never been able to turn a cartwheel. Just can’t seem to manage it. I thought it might be the whole “feet over head” thing- I had a thing about that for a while, lots of people do. I could do a handstand, but thought- maybe putting it into motion was the problem? I’m still not sure what the issue is. I don’t worry about it much. It’s just one of those funny things folks assume I can do because I do yoga and: NOPE. I wasn’t ever even vaguely gymnastic until WHAM: my thirties. Life is some kind of weird, right?

Also, I was pretty scared of dogs until my early twenties. There’s some murky, no- idea- what- it- was bad dog experience in my early childhood, and then another one involving being chased really briefly when I was in grammar school, too. I don’t remember ever being bitten or anything big like that, but we never had or were around dogs growing up, either, so there wasn’t a positive to outweigh those negatives. I’m so happy I learned we are dog people. Hugo is curled up next to me as I’m typing, and Lilu is on her bed in the corner of the living room, snoring away; they’re such a huge part of our lives. You’d never guess I wouldn’t have anything to do with dogs at all until I was about 23 or so.

Speaking of snoring, a guilty secret for you all, now. There are mornings when Sam will tell me he feels just awful and I don’t want to tell him the reason why: some nights, I will be in bed and he won’t be snoring, won’t be making a sound at all, not even that slow, heavy sleep- breath, and I will nudge him, because since his second stroke I am on alert. I know I should let him get every bit of his rest, but the less- balanced parts of me remember holding a compact mirror over Kiddo’s mouth when she was an infant, and wonders if this is a better option, wonders if Sam would trade better sleep for the undoubtedly upsetting conversation which would follow his inevitably waking up and seeing me holding a stupid mirror over his face. This is not 100% sane partner behavior, I know. His vascular neurologist assured us years ago I didn’t need to do things like this. I do them anyway, and consider myself “pretty all-right” because I don’t do that mirror thing.

Ooof, Sam will be annoyed when he reads that.

Anyway. (Ha! Another one: I said “anywaysforever, until my friend Teresa fixed me, and told that “anyway” was the correct form. It’s one of her top grammar peeves and she put up with it FOREVER because she is patient as Job. Now, I am so vigilant about it and it jumps out at me like a misplaced apostrophe.) ANYWAY— other not- so- secrets: I really dislike polo shirts, the only bodily fluid that truly sicks me out is spit/ mucus (Need someone to clean up anything else? A childhood in a home daycare/ with many siblings makes me your huckleberry!) I cannot stand bobbles and I do not care HOW GOOD THE DESIGN IS OR WHO KNOWS IT THEY ARE AWFUL TO MAKE AND TERRIBLE TO LOOK AT, I will always try any sour food presented, I have learned to love hugging strangers and that is a big surprise.

Also, I have this chest of wicked old yarn from I don’t even know when, folks, that I never even look at, don’t open for swaps or projects and don’t even really think about which is full of mystery and adventure and it is tied to what is currently my biggest secret of all, extremely tangentially, in that it needs to go. (This actual trunk, BTW, we picked up for all of twenty pounds in the UK when some sergeant was clearing house; I wasn’t even a knitter at the time and I straight lucked into a 100% cedar chest. How does that even happen? We are keeping the trunk.) It sits right in the middle of my living room.

Forgive my cruddy iPhone photo.

Forgive my cruddy iPhone photo.

There is some of my earliest dyeing in here, some old early 2000’s indies, some Kureyon Sock (come on, it’s pretty, I was a new knitter and it was that time), some handspun, it’s all over the place. I can’t vouch for what’s in here- some of it is amazing, some of it is embarrassing.  I’m not even sure what’s in here, it’s been so long since I looked. I think I saw a little Sundara? Anyway, it’s one of my saddest little secrets as a knitter; my right- out- in- the- open, utterly neglected, uncategorized, earliest real stash.

Clearly, I’m not using any of this. Ok, there’s one skein of Bugga in Sweetheart Underwing that I can see right on top— that colorway from the very first Sock Summit which was so, so pretty and almost impossible to make, we made maybe 36 skeins of it ever- I’m going to keep that. The rest of it, I think I can part with. Here’s the plan:

1.) I ask you, Gentle Reader, to do something silly, and hopefully you play along. See below for the “something silly”. **

2.) I randomly stuff four USPS Priority Mail envelopes (blank plastic envelopes of similar size for my overseas friends) FULL of yarn from this trunk. Sorry, no requests, but please let me know if you’re allergic to anything. All packages will contain wool, may also contain silk, cashmere, alpaca, angora, linen, cotton, nylon, bamboo, angelina, sea silk, baby camel, and other assorted textiles. There is ZERO acrylic in this trunk.

3.) I choose my two favorite responses and let the RNG choose two, as well!

4.) I’ll announce winners late next week. (I’m making Thursday, September 17th the cut- off to leave a video, everyone, although I won’t make any announcements until most likely a day or two after that- we’ll be travelling a bit around that date.) I will ask them for shipping for these– I know, I’ve been lax about it so far, but these will be heavy!

5.) I probably do all of this again, because I don’t think 4 envelopes is going to do the trick. We’re playing this by ear. And I’m going to have to do this with some Bugga/ Skinny Bugga minis in a minute, too, but we can talk about that later. Let’s get started on this trunk. Help me out, friends?

** Hey, what’s that “something silly” you have to do to enter, right? I’m not going to ask you to tell me your secrets, even silly ones. That’s a bit invasive, right? I am upping the ante for this Giveaway, though. There’s silk in that trunk. When I floated this to the family, Kiddo thought that it would be fun if we turned this into a sharing circle, and I’m into stuff like that. If you post a link in comments to a video of you making something, you’re entered for a package. You can show your face or just your hands; you can get really creative and animate yourself, too. Show us how to make things!

in which there are infinite possibilities

So that thing I said about posting more destash early last week: what I meant to say was middle of this week, really. I’ve had this pile set aside all week, I just couldn’t get around to snapping pictures; I’d have time, but it would only be in the evening, or I’d have afternoon time, but I’m a tool and my camera battery needed charging, because PREPARATION, SARAH. Hrm. It’s up in the Etsy shop now, although some of it has already been nabbed- you folks are fast, much respect.

You will NOT find this in my destash. EVER.

You will NOT find this in my destash. EVER.

While I’m paring down, a skein of Pigeonroof Studios‘ Silky High Twist in Meteorite did end up joining my stash, though. No shame. It’s really hard to show just how subtly gorgeous this colorway is in real life, but trust me, this stuff just hums color at me, and I’ve set it on the dining room Hoosier until I find the perfect lace pattern for it. I’ve always enjoyed Krista’s dye work, but seriously, this is just unreal. I can’t wait to see what this becomes.


Things here are strange these last few weeks. Not bad- strange, just unsettling- strange, in a head- tilty, vaguely, maybe- positive sort of way. It’s been a long and frankly pretty dreadful year– hell, it’s been a dreadful two years, if we’re being real with each other, and we’re going to do that, all couple thousand of you and me. There are days when Sam and I can hardly stand it, we have both lost so much together; there are also evenings when we lay in bed, holding hands and whispering that if this is drowning, there’s no one else we’d rather go under with. It is a very, very honest time, which is both brutal and beautiful. I enjoy being emotionally uncomfortable in this way: we are so very raw and bare lately. There is nowhere to hide.

I don’t know where we will wind up, in every possible way that can be interpreted. I am, weirdly, at peace with that, too. In every stage of our lives together, as difficulty has arisen we’ve leaned in, leaned toward each other and learned that extending kindness within and without has gotten us through. We are careful with one another. We make the small efforts. We talk, constantly. He is and has always been my ride- or- die, no holds barred friend and companion, which makes this period simpler to navigate: we don’t know what we are doing, but doing it together feels reassuring. (Like anybody actually does know what they’re doing, anyway: “grown- upping” is and has always been a damned dirty lie.)

And it’s funny: I’m writing this when we’re doing better than we have in a long time. It’s good right now: I like the work I’m doing, things are going well enough for him at his job (okay, he hates it, but the money is fine and he’s doing well, so there’s that), we have bonfires and silly backyard hotdog roasts in the evenings, I’m making things again and he’s begun talking about things that are both surprising and maybe, really exciting. The future is wide open, vague, nebulous, joyful & terrifying in that we could jump any moment now, what will it be sort of way that I remember from my twenties. It’s been a while. I’d chased stability so hard post- Afghanistan, post- I’ve- come- to -some- serious- realizations- and- need- copious- amounts- of- stability, actually, and I’m ready to let some of that control go now. Not that I want my life to get all loopy, obviously, but I don’t think it needs to be quite so… locked in, either.

Anything is possible. We’ve been looking at the infinite possibilities and my glob, I don’t know. It’s like being a teenager again, except this time I have backup. The whole world is waiting: now what? I’ve taken a year to rest and heal and I think I feel almost ready to make a move. I’ve spent the last six months working on this body: resting it, respecting it, feeding it, letting old meds work their way out, stretching and kneading muscles that were locking into place. Outside of muscular pain I feel pretty healthy most of the time, which is goddamned remarkable- and really, forget the muscular pain, that’s so pedestrian for MS, it’s manageable and as crappy as it’s going to sound to anyone not living this life, it’s just natural: for me, this is as good as it gets, and it’s actually super- good. I could probably pick up running again in the fall if I wanted (and I don’t know, I might actually want that).

I’m taking a few CEUs this fall (continuing education units, for those who don’t need to do things like this), learning new skills for what I think might be a Plan. I’m trying to keep myself mobile and aiming for the ability to run my own gigs again, just in case; I don’t have any ideas about moving, but I want to keep myself open, because I know what this feeling can mean, and it’s just a good thing, life- wise. (I am so much happier when I am in charge of myself.) The Plan, though: beginning to have a plan again feels good. I don’t do well when I am without internal direction. While I still have no idea where we are actually headed, or what will happen, I at least have an idea what I’m trying to become, and that’s a start. Aiming to regain self- sufficiency is a good beginning.


Today’s Great Yarn Giveaway is somewhat related: I’m working with attachment this week, folks, trying to let go of things that aren’t essential. With that in mind, I’m setting free a caked, full- sized skein of Skinny Bugga in Widow Dragonfly. It’s gorgeous, but I don’t have any plans for it and thus, it isn’t necessary. Give it a useful home, lovelies.

Aaaaagh, I'm not good at attachment either some days, but seriously, I like space more than I like stuff.

Aaaaagh, I’m not good at attachment either some days, but seriously, I like space more than I like stuff.

In order to win, riddle me this in the comments: if you were suddenly set free to do… well, pretty much anything you wanted with your adult life, what would you do? I mean it. Things are still in the “reasonable” realm, so no off- the- charts stuff, we aren’t Rockefellers, but if you found yourself in the position where you genuinely had the freedom make a down- to- earth, radical shift, would you- and if so, what would it be? Would you change homes, neighborhoods, cities, states, nations? Jobs, career fields, retire? I’ve already cut off all my hair, so drastic changes in appearance are maybe out for me, but what about you? Shaving one’s head is liberating as HELL, let me tell you.

I’m not looking for advice here- we are on the path we’re on, and I’m really interested to see where it takes us, without outside interference. I am curious about how many other people would consider the things we’re considering, and what they might do in our shoes. How many choose the status quo? How many choose adventure? Let me know down below, and next week- hopefully Tuesday, but Thursday at the latest, I’ll use the RNG and choose a winner. (I really want it to be Tuesday, but I’m also prepping for a trip Up North, so time gets weird.) There are no right or wrong answers! Let’s talk about change.

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


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.


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.

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