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.

on today, Friday the 13th

Today was Friday the 13th- aren’t they great? I love Friday the 13ths. (Is that the correct plural?) Outside of it being freakishly lovely outside, and more than a little hectic inside, no major catastrophes. I should probably knock on wood now, but I’m not going to, because I’m a risk-taker and I live life on the edge. ON THE EDGE, I tell you.

Today’s busy- ness (and business, actually) made the day feel like this:

But really, it wasn’t that bad. I worked through lunch and despite a pretty rough push at the end, I managed to get 80% of everything on my list this week accomplished. Hooray for a B week, especially with Gryphon on vacation for half of the week!

Really, today was less piles of papers and more this:

… and also this:

…and can you tell I got a new lens last night? I totally did. I’ve been very dissatisfied with my xTI for a while now, part of which was probably in having a much better primary camera + lens combo, but I wondered if part of it wasn’t also the cheap-o starter lens she’d come with. I’d bought it in Afghanistan, when I didn’t want to risk anything nicer, and I bounced between that and my Leica point and shoot, but even then I almost always preferred the point- and- shoot over the DSLR, which seems silly. I thought about just offloading the camera and moving on to something else, but I thought I’d try stepping up to a different lens first, just in case the problem was crap glass.

Yeah. The problem was totally crap glass. It’s still not as sharp as my primary, but I don’t have to fight with her to make her see light appropriately now, and that’s a blessing. So I apologize in advance if there is a sudden uptick in almost wordless, photo-heavy posts, but I finally have a lightweight, tidy DSLR  I can comfortably bang about on a daily basis, so self- control goes right out the window.

Happy Friday the 13th, everyone.

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