Thursday, December 16, 2010


Yes, it has been a month since I posted, but for good reason. My computer up and died a very sudden death. This past month has been all about scrambling to get my files downloaded from my off-site backup and to find another computer.

Now I have a loaner computer (thanks Em) that's an older version of my Toshiba Satellite laptop but it's having some problems getting online wirelessly. Lest you forget, I do have an online business :-) Yeah, not so great. In this household it seems like we have multiple computers that each have their own strength, but no ONE does it all. Even this sweet little macbook that I'm on (thanks honey) doesn't work with my shipping software.

I am posting so that you know that I am still alive. I made it through the first round of snow madness here in the Columbia River Basin (how I now refer to this place). Next post will include actual pictures of knitted articles. They are very slowly getting completed. I actually think I've been doing more darning lately. What's up with that? All my socks are giving out at exactly the same moment. I have nothing against darning but it is nothing compared to actually finishing a pair of socks!

Monday, November 15, 2010


From the "internal" to the "external".

Since I moved to Washington, a lot of folks have asked me what it's like here. Well, at the moment, very windy as a new weather system moves through. The sky is big here and you can generally see a lot of weather coming through. Fun! Yah!

I have a new camera that Mitch "gave" me (thanks hon!) and I was just outside last weekend taking some shots. What I came up with is a view from right outside the door where we have artificially watered grass, a park with a walking loop and trees planted outside the door. Everything else around here is very...sage-y. Tumbleweed-y.
 Oh, and now the leaves are gone because the maintenance folks actually take care of that. Ha!

Above and below, the lovely view from the patio off the living room.

View from the DP (aka dog park) 'cause you know we can't say the words because the DOG goes nuts. It's very desert-y. Yes, Melissa is living with a dog. The cats are KIND of living with the dog because they live in the upstairs and the dog is not exactly allowed upstairs. Gotta keep the peace, people.
 The Dog
 Ohhhhh. Doesn't she look skeeeery!
Knitting content: Vilai by Cookie A.

I'm actually doing a lot of knitting these days, but these socks have got my attention in a serious way. Next time I post I will devote copious amounts of text and pictures to the MANY projects underway. Promise.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

In All Honesty

In this blog,I try and give a general "outline" of the events in my life, especially my fiber-related life. It's only been on rare occasions that I've written about more. I have two other blogs, one for Krafti-Kit and one for my consulting practice that is on vacation. In some way, all of these blogs have become somewhat "professional" instead of "confessional". That's been a good thing for me. I'm coming up on my 6 year anniversary for Tea and Knitting. Good thing the title still works for me. There has been little else in terms on consistency in my life, though.

My first post didn't have any photos because I didn't have a camera yet. I was more though about what I was feeling.

Tonight I've just gotten back from a session with a physical therapist/healer. She did some amazing work and I feel so very clear-headed. I have homework. You know, small questions like, "What is my soul's purpose?" When I was in the office, I said I didn't know the answer. Now that I sit down to write this I realize that I do know the answer: To transform the lives of others through accompanying them on a deeper journey.

For me, the next part is to figure out how to be okay with that and what it means for my daily life on this earth. I've decided to put this post out here tonight because I am truly not happy. I am grieving the loss of my friend and business partner, Laura. I am a stranger in a very strange land. I am holding my pain in a place within my body that if I do not let go, I will become sick. I've done that before and it did not go well as a life-plan. Yeah. I feel okay to tell my truth. Life is short.

If you are reading this, I'm sure you can relate. So many of us are struggling to "remember who we are". I am there, with you. I curse my dreams and nightmares every night, but really they do show me what's going on when I need a reminder. Someone did tell me recently that I could tell my dreams that they can stop scaring me. I get it. It actually worked.

And now, if you're still reading this, try and find just one small thing that will make you happy for now, if you're not happy. Or try a little Radical Acceptance and decide that you're fine the way you are. I think I am.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sun and Bunnies

In the middle of the emotional chaos that has been my life, lately, I had a great time at OFFF with Mitch and Paula. I got to see many old friends, and revel in the one warm and sunny day there in Canby.

The best part for me was FINALLY talking Paula into a bunny. (There was not too much arm twisting, truth be told). She's wanted one since she went to OFFF a few years ago. Enough was enough. The day was here and we were not leaving without a little one.

The first part I had no hand in. A bunny seller simply placed one in Paula's arms. That was enough. We did find out that it was a male and she wanted a female so this fella's sister came home in the car with us. BUT! it was not without some smuggling said bunny into her apartment building. Such stealth performers we were....not. We did it though and I have the pictures to prove it, albeit a bit late.
Meanwhile, Paula says that she and Zsa Zsa (really) are doing wonderfully and that she has chosen the perfect pet. We are all happy about that, for sure.

This was also a fiber stash enhancing experience and I did very well with my small-ish budget this year. 'Nuf said. I got some "good stuff".

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

...turns into Fall

 I love August. I didn't get a chance to properly say that, and now here in this new place, September is more like late August. I'm cheating.

Autumn is the shortest season. It is the full, ripe, tumbling-over-the-edge-ness that I love. Leaves deepen to their darkest green before moving onto new shades. The insects are slow and lazy, fat with all the berries and sweet they can consume.

Transitional seasons call for transitional sweaters. I went through huge bags from the move and took out only the things I'll be wearing until December because I have no idea where they will all go. This is the first time I've actually donated hand knit sweaters to charity--odd Summer tank tops in ribbon yarn, acrylic over-sized hoodies. Only enough room for the really good stuff.

How can that be you ask? Heck, I've moved to the 'burbs into the huge place, right? Yeah, but I had FIVE closets in my old apartment. I have two big closets here and one is full of fiber. So, that's different. Before it all used to be just in the living room in million baskets. Choices were made, people.

Brahms, in her dementia, is settling in as much as she can. Thanks to those of you who have inquired. There is value in forgetting....and wall to wall carpeting. Suki is happy with the last point in particular and has no interest in going downstairs into Pug Kingdom.

Life goes on. Stick around...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

And in crochet news...

It was awhile ago that we sent off a sample kit to Interweave Crochet and here it finally is! This is my first crochet pattern and it's really a beginner kit. The part of this that was the most fun was the colorway designing of the yarn, with Jen Hintz. I had taken some nature photographs and really had in mind the look of lichen on all the trees in Portland. Jen did a great job with her interpretation. The wool/bamboo blend on this ebony needle is the ultimate in crocheting pleasure, if I do say so myself!

Coming up in the next few weeks are some more exciting mentions for Krafti-Kit. I have to say that putting together a kit is WAY fun. Not only does one write or commission a pattern, but one gets to choose every little detail that goes into the project.

Last but not least, I want to thank Petra again for her lovely modeling of this piece.

Monday, August 23, 2010

2 Trips, 2 pairs of Socks

On break from the endless unpacking, Mitch and I took a couple of road trips this past weekend. Before I started even packing back in Portland, I had a pair of socks I had designed that I was trying to get out. I had three wonderful test knitters and the pattern was done, but there was no time for pictures. Finally we have lift-off!

Something about these socks made them difficult to photograph. I can't say exactly what it was, but it took several tries. In an effort to get the photos finally done, we took the socks with us as we traveled to Pendleton, OR and Spokane, WA. (Above see designer laughing as we stopped in yet another field for pictures.)

As some of you might remember, I did a spinning demo for Pendleton last year. This was my first trip though  the actual mill. Funny enough, it was one of the rare times that the looms were quiet because they were on a maintenance break. That was fine in a way because of the lack of noise, but I expect we'll make it back there when they're in full swing. I have to say that although I walked out with a fabric remnant, I loved all the new fashions for Fall.

The other fabulous place we visited in Pendleton was the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute. Huge place with buildings and tee pees reconstructed inside as well as a long house. They were just setting up for a Salmon something-or-other when we left and this fella was right out front.

Yesterday was a trip to Spokane. It's 2 hours from here and I was just dying to get some "city life" time in. It was a Sunday, so it was quiet, but I did capture the sock shots I was looking for and got some REAL tea to bring home.

All in all, I'm adjusting to my new home and am looking forward to getting things more squared away so that more of my time can be creative time. UFOs, here I come! (unfinished projects, but I wouldn't mind seeing some of the other kind...)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Fiber Has Landed

 August 2005

The fiber moved out of Portland two weeks ago and with that, there were no longer any reasons to protract the moving process. I moved a week early. So, for 4 days I kicked butt and packed the entirety of my life, embedded into the now somewhat grimy downtown apartment I've been inhabiting for these past 5 years. The grimy part is more recent but I can claim that, tail between my legs or not, after seeing the "underworld" left after the yarn and furniture left.

 August 2010

I had serious doubts about this move. It was a complicated ordeal, emotionally, but on most days I do think it was the right move. I thought I would miss the noise, but I don't. I thought I would miss being able to walk to about 20 different cafes. I DO. I thought that being part of the hustle-bustle made me feel a bit more "centered". Not sure, but I doubt it. This time my move has to do with no longer being apart and actually being a "part".

Today I'm painting a bedroom that will be the Melissa Takes a Nap and Keeps Sense of Self Room. My office feels very much like me even if the yarn is awaiting shelving and there's still boxes in here. I actually have a sewing cabinet and desk. All of my books are out in a way that makes them easy to browse through. The cats remember that they like carpeting. And, although my body is SO sore from all this putting away and such that I feel really, really old, there is a hot tub with my name steps away.

I have been knitting a little bit but no spinning yet. I have a pattern that's ready to publish but I've gotta take some photos for it. Today is a lovely 85 degrees but mostly it's in the upper 90's here in the Summer. The neat thing is that it gets downright cold in the winter. Yah! I don't think I could even be okay living somewhere without a lot of wool. Oh yeah, San Diego is where I started this blog. Hmmmm....moved, didn't I?

The blog that keeps going and going....cuppa tea, anyone?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Through the Lens...

...of moving.

Quiet Chaos.
I'm moving in a couple of weeks to a new home and I started my packing early.
Upside: I'll have it done on time.
Downside: I have to live in the chaos longer.

I'm purging even more than when I moved from the East Coast. On the other hand, I have more yarn and fiber. My sweetie is simply shocked at the amount of (insert expletive here) textiles I have:
  • Sheets and Blankets
  • Curtains
  • Wall hangings
  • Quilts
  • Table clothes
  • Fabric
This next year I will be hitting the "pause button" on my life here in Portland and taking a creative sabbatical of sorts. This is the image I'll put out there and let's see if I make it happen:

Sitting in front of the fireplace, spinning, little dog at my feet and kittens by my side.

While all this transformation is going on, I'm going to be doing a lot of blogging about my new life, so why don't you subscribe to this blog and watch it all happen?

See you all along the way...

Friday, July 02, 2010

Newer Designs

I've done two designs of late using PicoAccuardi yarns for the kits.

These are both Florentina. I was going with a Steampunk kind of theme here. You can wear like this, with short or no sleeves or under a coat with just the ruffle showing. The fun part was seeing how opulent I could make the actual ruffle. Extreme femininity ahead! It also comes in a pale violet-gray.
This next design is called Mod Thing, worn by the lovely Emily. As you can see, it's also lace but in an entirely different way. One big skein of chunky yarn does it and I love this color from PicoAccuardi again. The kit has a little kit for doing the buttons with a tutorial as well as the stripey fabric. I love the many ways you can wear this baby.

The designs are really different, right? Yeah, I'm a Gemini.  For those of you who don't design knitwear, I'm sure you've figured out why so many folks design accessories. No sizing!!! That said, I'm about to release a sock pattern that is sized, in fact. We'll see how that goes and hopefully it'll be the next thing I'm blogging about!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Yeah, so there's a pattern for sale on my blog now! Woo hoo!

As you all know, this past year I've been writing lots of patterns for Krafti-Kit. I'm now branching out to writing other patterns as well. This experience has given me the needed discipline and other than my wrist giving out now and again, I'm crankin'.

I had these long underwear bottoms, circa 1955 from my mom, red and white striped, cotton. I wore them all the way through college. Now I have some not dissimilar Swedish ones in black and white. Anyway, when I first did this pattern in a solid, you just couldn't see the cool detail on the top going on. Once I did them in stripes, wowee! I thought they might be a bit much for some folks, so you know you can always knit them in a solid black and dance on your toes and do some Bob Fosse moves. Yeah.

The details: Knit flat, multiple sizes, fast to knit and very stretchy.

More to come, People!

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Awesomeness of Roses

Portland has the most amazing rose gardens in Washington Park, the International Test Gardens. In these gardens, only the most hardy, lovely, stupendous blooms make it. Although I took pictures of the blossoms, I could have just as easily taken only pictures of the stems and buds. There were several varieties that were developed to grow in a tight cluster off of a single branch, to form a bouquet. Just amazing.
So, here's the collage and click to see some detail!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Less Crafty?

I also thought I'd share this little ritual with you that I have where I light a little candle next to my work to keep me company.

Yes, this is my new look. I've been due for a face-lift for a while, I'm thinking. I was in Blogger today, showing Laura how to post and stuff and I realized that there are all these new features and new "looks". Thought I'd try one on. Let me know what you think!

I had to give the fibery stuff a break for a few days because I had WAY overdone it and my right arm was not doing so well. Today I've spent some time with my baby Suri alpaca, picking it into clouds and spinning it.

The day in pictures. I want to get back to posting more frequently and hopefully this little shot in the creative arm will do the trick.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Random Singles Find Their Match

Clearly, I can take this theme for a long walk...

I've been thinking about doing this for a long time and have sort of held it off as a treat of sorts. Yes, we silly nerdy spinners. Ah, but we have some cool stuff to show for it! The project started when I was spinning up some sample fiber from Susan at Abstract and realized I had spun up two more of her samples and put them aside.

I'm sure every spinner has this, it's a box filled with little "bobbins" of leftover, unplied singles. It comes from what we don't use when we're plying a lot of yarn and it comes from samples that we spin for the sake of deciding how we will spin the bulk of a particular fiber.
Cannibalized Box
I've been letting my little pile grow in a box and thought it would be fun to start plying all the bits up in random and not-so-random ways. Last night I plied 3 entire skeins, to my surprise! Each one has it's unique personality and one skein in particular was partially a very very fine single that Barb spun up and left of one of "our" bobbins. Ah, to get to work with yarn that she spun was a little trippy! The fibers used were various wools, silk, angora, bamboo, cashmere, baby alpaca.

Now, I'm looking forward to seeing the absolutely one of a kind fabric these yarns will make.

The first one is more jewel-toned and full of Merino.
The second one was using that fine single of Barb's and rather earth-toned.
The last one was still in the earth tones but heavier in weight.
Ah, the continual "fiber amusement"...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Single(s) Life

Single? Me? Oh right. You should know better that it's always yarn related!!

This past week I've been on a bit of a campaign of sorts. Singles. Non plied yarn spun perfectly so that it is not over twisted. Why? Well, I read something in SpinOff a couple of years ago. A spinner said, why should I spin the wool twice??

Now, I know there are plenty of good reasons to spin yarn "twice" or more, for a lovely plied yarn. It creates a more "balanced" yarn that's stronger. But here I am, buying Malabrigo lace and Noro which are both single ply lovely yarns. When I ply handpainted rovings the color gets at least a little mixed up, mostly to good affect.

Call me lazy, but I wanted to start spinning yarns that didn't need to be plied. I just wanted to be done, first time around, for a change.

I started with Silk/Merino blend. The first skein on the right came out just right and the one on the left is just a bit over-twisted. (click image to see closeup)
Then comes some Corriedale pencil roving that I really wanted to keep true to its vibrant color. (This colorway no longer available)

On the bobbin
Post niddy noddy and pre-soak
Off the nostepinne

I'm thinking about crocheting some of this yarn. No real plans, but I am really happy with the results and I should mention that in the rinsing, I did slightly felt the yarn per the suggestion of another spinner, but I wouldn't have to do that. It did give it a nice halo to do that.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it! Try the single life, it's kind of exciting ;-)

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Metaphor for Everything!

Yarn I spun that I'm making a shawl from

What's the most popular subject when creating life metaphors or political or...anything? Sports! I care nothing for sports. As you know, it's all about the yarn, the fiber, the spin and the knit. I've decided that knitting can be a metaphor for everything as well. We just need to educate everyone else so they understand. Or, we can be smug and not tell them a thing. Yeah. Not like us. Never mind...

But first, I'm just going to create a list of all of the textile related sayings that I can come up with:

A stitch in time saves nine
Dyed in the wool.
Telling a good yarn
Woven into the fabric of our lives (I know the cotton council has stolen that from somewhere)

And words...


Here are some more from Kimbery Wulfert's site, antique quilt dating.

Oh, I've gone astray. I write my blogs in real-time can't ya tell? I went off searching for more when I came up with this incredible book that explains my fascination with this sort of thing. My mother taught me all sort of New England sayings, without really knowing what she was passing on.

So now it's up to you, dear readers to tell me what textile related sayings you know.

I know that's I've gone completely astray on this blog post but next post I'm going to actually come up with some ACTUAL metaphors for life in textiles. Deal?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Photo by Micki Da Re
You might note that the title description for this blog is not only about tea knitting but about nature inspiring design.

Before I moved to the Pacific Northwest I was dreaming about the wonderful plant life I would find here. In the Northeast, the cold of winter limits the variety of plants you can grown. Don't get me wrong, the variety back there is still amazing, but give it warmer temps and lots of rain and...

The trees here are enormous. The plants, greener than green. The ground covered with blankets of foliage. So, a little break from the fiber action to post some recent forest and park pics from my outings. Enjoy.