Wednesday, August 30, 2023


I’m struggling a bit: new routines, putting down the phone, getting all the projects launched this fall. So when I couldn’t stop dreaming about making a hat with my most recent souvenir yarn, I knew it was time to wind the skein and get started. At least I’d be doing SOMETHING, and make shake some of the lethargy loose. 

I hate to admit it, but I was not in love with my souvenir yarn this year. I was in love with the idea that it was only available at that specific Black Mountain, NC yarn shop and that it was inspired by Appalachian sunsets. Therefore I was simply delighted when the yarn cake showed me that the colors would be changing as I knit!! I forgot that Spincycle dyes in this style. 

And the knit yarn does look like a sunset!

I am determined to use every inch of this yarn. I’ve already re-knit the top twice. I’m going to rip back one more time. It will be worth it. 

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Souvenir Sweetness

Nothing is quite as amazing as a local yarn shop in an artsy town you are visiting. I spent a week in Black Mountain, NC going to fiddle camp earlier this month and barely had time to dart in to make a selection before our last concert down the street. 


This shop was extraordinary, and I regret not taking pictures of entire walls of some of my favorite yarns by Brooklyn Tweed, La Bien Aimee, LITLG, and others.

The shop owner suggested an item that could only be acquired in her store: a special color way dyed only for her shop by Spincycle. The colors reflect the colors of a sunset in the mountains and is just lovely! Five years ago my souvenir yarn was also by Spincycle, and I made THIS cowl with it. I added a shop tiny stitch marker to my purchase because I love their logo.

Looking back at my previous souvenir projects, I predict another cowl or hat for this lovely skein!

Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Yarn for Sale!

It’s been a few years, but a quick opportunity to sell some yarn close to home came up at the beginning of June. Westwind Farm and Fiber put together a small fiber festival during the pandemic to help local artisans sell products outdoors. They have continued to host the festival, adding fun activities for families and children. 

I had two tables for displays, giving me the opportunity to explore some options. I added depth with some empty cardboard boxes that were strategically covered with shawls and hats. 

Lots of room for all the felt sheets at the end. I still only put out a few skeins of each type of yarn with each sample to cut down on setup time. 

And putting my mom’s straw star display tree to new use by hanging yarn from it was a nice way to display lace- and fingering weight yarns. 

The setup still took a really long time, so new strategies for making that go quicker are needed. It was fun to see all the families enjoy the time with all the great animals and activities. Best of all, I had one significant sale, allowing me to also reconnect with an acquaintance from a few years ago!

Happy knitting!


Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Sweet Dreams, Dreamy Girl

The good-byes never get any easier, especially when you have to say farewell to the last alpaca of the foundation herd. Moonstar lived with us nearly 13 years and was the dreamiest of the bunch. 

She would wander around during feeding time while the other girls literally gobbled grain. Instead, she would go outside and sniff around, or discover that there was HAY! (The hay is always available…) Many good laughs about this behavior!

She had many sisters and nieces/nephews over the years (Greta, Bella, Dark Star, Cassidy, The Eleven, Ripple), but with Peggy-O and Cherise, she was the most chill and seemed content. 

But even the most docile creature sometimes gets a shot at the throne. It seems that she rose to the top of the hierarchy in her last year. She was definitely much more aggressive about getting the grain, as she is being held off by a cane so the others can eat here!

Days of snacking on the lawn were everyone’s favorite-yum!

Our sweet Moonstar did not do well in the chute while being sheared this spring, so we had to bring her to the Purdue farm hospital (in the Impreza, as that’s now a thing…). She tried to cush in the chute, and we think it pinched a nerve or over stretched her neck, rendering her front legs immobile. 

The team had to lift her into the building on her blanket. After several days in the hospital and some good improvements, she suddenly collapsed from sepsis. 

We will miss her dreamy antics and remember her gentle presence with great fondness. Sweet dreams, Moonstar. 

Moonstar: May 2009 - June 13, 2023


Monday, July 17, 2023


Post-pandemic shearing is still a little crazy around here as in, we need to do our own. The Farmer had to shear alone last year, and his goal was to get the animals cool. I started a loftier goal of trying to cut the different grades of fiber off, but, alas…

Peggy-O, for starters, has really dense fluff. I decided to use actual hair cutting scissors to get closer to the skin. It didn’t help much because every cutting implement got dull in a flash. I finished her shear with clippers walking around the barn following her. She is the most docile!

A new tactic was much needed for sanity to be preserved on day two! We decided to ask our sharpening guy (we have a guy!) to hang out and sharpen the extra shears and all of our knives while I frantically sheared animals as quickly as I could, returning dull blades for resharpening as soon as they no longer cut. Little Cherise did not really fit into the chute so I played Ring Around the Rosie with her on a leash. So much for getting different grades of fiber sorted! 

Dark Star, despite being jumpy due to bumps all over his skin, was the easiest one in the chute this year and was finished in record time with freshly sharpened shears. 

The end result is still ridiculously amateur, but we DO have cooler animals this summer. Having the sharpener on premises during shearing was a game changer. He sharpened for at least two hours while I sheared and kept running the blades back to his truck. I think we sharpened both sets of clippers four times each. 

Stay cool and hydrated, everyone! Happy Summer!

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Catching Up

Whew! June was a bit crazy (as was May), and I have a half dozen posts to catch you up on. Let’s start a little off-topic (blog-wise) with my birthday project, which kicked off a new decade for me. 

During the pandemic, one of my dear friends asked what musical project was next for me, and I had a lame knee-jerk answer that would basically be a repeat event. A few days later I knew that I really wanted to conduct an orchestra of women in a program of women composers. And then the planning started. 

I was lucky enough to work with many local friends in the freelance community and take some conducting lessons to polish my baton work with a friend from college. We performed a program of music by Elfrida Andrée, Amélie-Julie Candeille, Jordan Jinosko, and Jessie Montgomery. It was a crazy amazing challenge and experience!

Composer Jordan Jinosko was kind enough to drive down for a rehearsal, talk to the musicians and give me feedback.  Of course, I had to introduce her and her partner to the alpacas, and they all loved them both!

A long-time stand partner of mine played for me and had these fun shirts made for the orchestra members. They were designed and produced by another musician who was unable to play in the orchestra. What gems!

The project was a terrific way to ring in a new decade! I am so thankful for the enormous community that helped me make my dream become a reality. This orchestra program really focused the lens on how people in my community are my most valuable resource. I am deeply humbled and grateful for all of you!

Happy birthday to me!


Wednesday, May 24, 2023

One of Three

Another quick update on the Frank Shawl! One triangle of three is complete and awaiting friends. 

Mere seconds after putting the triangle on the floor, our favorite cat made himself at home. I had been mindful of not letting him near it to keep the knitting free of cat hair. 

Alas, sometimes you have to enjoy the cuteness!

 Yarn is Shady Grove Alpacas The Eleven lace weight held double and Life in the Long Grass (LITLG) singles in fingering weight.