mara xmas to mee

i love this pic of mum modeling the shawl i finished on christmas (it wasn't really taken in '81, that's a hipstamatic thing). it's a simple design, madeline tosh's mara, but i made mine huge and it's such a nice weight. i've not been a shawl person, but this is such an easy shawl to wear. it's been a good, soulful season, it really has.

i feel much more clear about things, in part because hub and i started juicing and having some greens and nutrition means that my health has improved. and i'm deciding, here as i write: my gift to myself is to leave school behind. i got a lot out of it back when i was doing course work, but i mustn't keep torturing myself with it. it doesn't fit my life any more. it's a kind gesture to let myself off the hook with this. it's time for life without hooks. and if it's a safety net i've been hanging onto, it's a very false and temporary one. i've gone back and forth with this so many times, but putting it here makes it real. no more whining about it or endless what-iffing. i want to put my energy into moving forward, being brave and having faith. thank you all for listening to me through all this and supporting.

i was making a list of all the things i want to do in 2012, the things that make me want to live, that fill me up. they involve a lot of making and growing of things. tinctures, and stitches, and friendships.

bye-bye, academe. nice knowing you.



such wonderful gifties! wishing you many treasures and nourishment and merriment today. xxooo


musing forward

thinking a lot lately about continuing, and with things that aren't always so easy to keep going. like the hotel as studio space (although i did get that grant to help pay for it!), and then school. the last two proposals i turned in didn't make my advisors happy. and so i thought i would probably quit, or even apply to the fiber arts program at NC state, but i haven't been able to make that decision yet.

now i've got another, related project proposal brewing in my head. it has to do with things that have been right under my nose all this time.. studying the connection between fiber and animals. what kind of relationships are there between farmers and animals, and fiber workers and the animals that produced their fiber? if i stay on-track with documenting these relationships, it should be ok with my anthropologist advisor.

i love my etsy business. i absolutely adore working it in all its aspects. the people i've met are incredible, and in many ways it suits me so well that i think, just forget academia already, who needs it? it's been such a great year in this way, and my business has shown real potential!

the only thing is that it's hard being focused on production. i knew this and have heard it many times, but i had not experienced it myself before this season. i don't want to get caught up in working faster, producing more more more. although i love that there's been a demand, i'm not a fast crafter. sometimes the pace is fun and energizing, but ... if i have a choice, i'd rather be able to focus more on what i'm doing .. than on doing more.

looking forward at goals and plans... in order to make my etsy business a living, i would need to grow it quite a bit. perhaps that will happen anyway in ways that feel good. i have some ideas for how that could work. but i still wonder if i don't also want an academic component with some writing and teaching, especially since it's an opportunity i have now, to try and integrate these worlds, and once i quit, i won't have it again. can i make a real, honest commitment to it, finally? and, is it worth it?

i think that i'll spend the next few weeks brainstorming this and i can spend some time at the uni library while i'm visiting mum over the holidays.


spinning into the season

some custom spins for a local who also wants lessons! what is it i was just saying about teaching? the blog is such a powerful tool for focusing our intentions - even if i mostly just ask questions! it's still putting it out there. and i'll get to follow jude's awesome "do it" comment, even though it's lost now. that woman packs the wisdom. but it was there for a day or two, you might have even seen it.

so a number of weeks worth of comments have gone missing. i'm pretty upset with blogger for somehow changing my comment settings so that no-one could comment (thanks so much grace for telling me!) but in trying to fix it, i deleted the thingymawidget that i had installed to allow threaded comments. and that's what lost everyone's comments. they weren't actually part of blogger, they were part of "intense debate" or whatever, so now they are just gone. i spent more than a day messing with wordpress and debating the merits of various blogging platforms.. i haven't decided anything yet, i still like my little blog and it feels like home. so it's not that huge of a thing i guess, but..

i really love comments! so thank you for each and every one. even if they aren't here now.

update **thanks to my wonderful mentor mathyld, i've replaced some of the comments manually, from my emails, with your names and url's. the dates and times are still wrong. but yay!


just a little stitching last night on a thrifted flax linen shirt. it's actually deep purplish brown, eggplant, aubergine colour. not as blue as it looks in these pics. possibly the beginnings of a kimoodie. inspired by grace, and of course, jude. i know i'm going to line it so that it's layered and warmer. and then add some beasts so that my friends are with me.


i liebster u

Thank you to Marie Elcin at Colored Thread for selecting my little blog for a Liebster Blog award! Marie has chimed in with her insights at crucial times in my blogging career. As an arts educator as well as a fiber artist, she has a great deal of wisdom to share with the bloggyverse. This is my first blog award EVA, so I'm brimming with happy, and even more pleased to pay-it-forward....

Here's how it works:
The Criteria: The Liebster is meant to showcase bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers. This is all done in the spirit of pay-it-forward.
The Rules: You must mention and link to the person who awarded you the Liebster, and mention 5 other blogs with fewer than 200 followers who you think are worthy of the Liebster!
'Liebster' means "favorite" or "dearest" in German. This award, which originated in Germany, recognizes up and coming bloggers. In accepting this award, I agree to:

-Thank the person who gave me the award, and link back to their blog.
-Copy and paste the award to my blog.
-Reveal the 5 blogs I have chosen to award and let them know in the hope they pay it forward by awarding it to bloggers they would like to honor.

It's often difficult to see how many followers a particular blog has, and that's with good reason because the follower widget is not aesthetically pleasing, and so many artsy sorts decline to have it. So I've just chosen a handful of bloggers who I admire and appreciate their sensibilities, both in fiber and as a blogger.

These particular blogs also stand out for me because they cross and combine fiber genres to some degree, with artists who stitch, knit, dye, spin, work in paper, leather, and more. Even within fiber worlds, there are many subcultures and blogcircles, which is wonderful for community-building, but I happen to especially love the overlaps. I think there's even more room for magic when skills and groups come together or even collide...

Without further ado... I hereby present the Liebster Award to:


The Prim Pumpkin


arts and cats

Stitch and Tickle

Please take a peek... pure inspiration and eye candy abound!


gauntlets of bunny

this is my favourite pair so far. this is called chocolate and it's from from my waldorf. the extra-furry parts are corespun with the tips left sticking out. these haven't been worn yet or had a chance to "bloom", so i'm looking forward to see the wild furriness after they are broken in, in california. yep, i'm spreading around the bunny medicine. and gauntlets always remind me of wonder-woman power!

i've been thinking a lot about what i'm doing, and what i'm doing. you know, whether there's a purpose to my life and work other than making myself happy and making pretty things. i read so many artists who are working hard to brighten someone's day and inspire others. or to express their spiritual purpose or raise consciousness... lots of things. i'm not sure what my deal is. i know i'm all about the critters, and about the histories of crafts, like spinning. beyond the pleasures of fiber work, those seem to be my main motivators. is this enough though, is this the life i want? i thought it was, but that was before living it. i feel pretty cut off from 'reality', whatever that is, most of the time.

which i love. i love my life. i've never been able to say that before the last few years. but i'm wondering... whether i need to give back, or more, or differently. i never loved teaching when i was in grad school, but it was rewarding.. and the stress of it had more to do with the subject (visual culture) than just being in that role. i wonder if i'd enjoy teaching something hands-on, or if i am just going to always be more comfy with a less social sort of existence. teaching is just one way to have a different sense of connection or purpose to my work. just what i'm chewing on these days.


alvin, the taliesin

so in love with this being who is now sharing our environs. alvin.

almond delight is also magical, but slightly hostile. she lunges at my hands, grunts and pees in her food. i love her spunkiness, but i haven't had the nerve to ask her to pose for me yet.


happy thanksgiving, from gomez and narcissa

it's so strange that last year at this time, we lost lurch, our first, glorious turkey tom. and now, this year, gomez (who was given to us earlier this year) has been sick! i can't help but wonder if it's some collective turkey angst they are feeling. not to guilt my dear readers with this post - we do eat meat around here, but not our friends. typical american dissonance going on.

this thanksgiving is a little meager on the food front... hub can only eat soft foods still, following on his hospital trip, and i opted for green bean casserole, one of my faves. but still some lovely pumpkin pie, candlelight, crafting, writing, maybe a fire in the woodstove later.. all the wonderful things we enjoy every day.

even though gomez is still a little pooky, he seems to be doing better. and so is hub. we are all very thankful for that, and for so many things, and trying to stay in that gratitudinal frame of mind.

wishing you love this turkey day.


for newborn hats..

last night was in the hospital with hub. he's ok today and we're finally home, but we are down one night of sleep. nights spent like that, among unknown doctors and iv's and strange lighting, they always seem surreal. like a tv show (the kingdom is one of my faves). i had to snap some pics to return to some normalcy before taking to my bed.

btw i crocheted two awesome pairs of bunny paws in the hospital. i was comforted by the yarn and my hand-carved wooden crochet hook (a sweet gift from hub) and supportive emails from cindy. the nurses took no notice the bit of fluff flying around. although one showed me a phone pic of a sweater that his mum had knitted for him.. it took her ten years.


so many friends

just a few snaps from today.. i'm in good company.
and i'm going to visit a couple of rabbits tomorrow.
they are looking for homes.. one has outlived her breeding years..
and the other has floppy ears! not ideal for an angora.
so the farmer offered them to me.
alvin, the german angora lop! and almond delight, a chocolate french grand dame.

i never know if i should expand and have more rabbits, for fun and for my business. i change my mind on this all the time. we have six, which is a lot! and they are a lot of work. but right now, i end up buying a good bit of fiber to meet the demand in my shop (a dream come true)! i can usually supplement this way, but sometimes it isn't easy to find - and i must know where it comes from, only from farmers and bunnies i know and love.

so hub and i find ourselves once again thinking about expanding our rabbitry/screened porch.. and if so, how? should we actually raise rabbits? or should we just take in retired and unwanted rabbits? (i've long admired Sandy of Homestead Wool, a true animal-friendly farm.) i don't want to get overwhelmed with rabbits. so it's probably best not to get into breeding, because that can get out of hand really quickly. and i don't want to sell animals. but we both love taking care of critters. and we don't have kids at home.

wish me luck tomorrow meeting alvin and almond delight.

oh! and today i had an awesome score.
we have recycling centers in each little town with swap shops, which is just that.
a shed where people leave things and take things.
some beautiful soul left (just for me, i'm convinced)
a MASSIVE crocheted ruffle.
it is so huge that i had trouble carrying it by myself.
here it is covering my entire worktable:

when i first spied it, i thought it was a bedspread, but no, it has a very definite edge. and it's about 16 feet long!
was it a valance? a bedskirt? an alien life form? what on earth could it be used for?
oh, what a find !


under wraps

i love wrapping etsy packages..
this one was for my dear lisa.
she loves beautiful trimmings as much as i do.

seemingly lots of changes afoot these days.
with hub's business, my own studio time and then traveling around..
but i'm home for awhile and busy with my fingers in many pots. just like i like it.


what's inside

this handmade doll body, picked up by mum to go with an antique china head that she had also found, had a surprising interior.. not sawdust or excelsior or cotton... but tightly rolled-up old quilt pieces. we don't want to take the body apart to examine it... but are enjoying how it's peeking out from its sutures..

if i know mum, soon she'll have her head attached and be prettily dressed and very dignified once again.

i'm discovering much about the interior journey lately. still feeling a bit pre-verbal but hopefully i'll be able to share more with you soon.