Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Power of Friendship

I’ve been quiet of late for a variety of reasons not the least of which is that major currents are running through my life right now in ways that make me feel very vulnerable to the will of the ocean. I’ve had much reason to become mistrustful, and it has colored my perception of the world around me to a point that I’d severed or strangled many of the relationships in my life. As many of you know, my relationship of eleven years recently ended, and, as public as much of my recent life has been, I remain a somewhat private person. I was adrift, and the sea around me seemed dark, dangerous, and mostly devoid of life.

I did what I think most people would do in that situation. I struggled. I rushed around trying to put together some lifeboat that would see me through, and while I’ve had some success in that regard, I still felt very much alone. My dear family in Georgia has been very supportive, and I have a few good friends here in Michigan who were kind enough to keep tabs on me, but for the most part, my days since September 8, 2009—the day I was asked to packed my things and leave the business that I’ve spent the last seven years building with my former partner—have been desolately empty.

It wasn’t because no one cared or contacted me. Several did. One friend took me out to lunch and listened to the whole sordid tale before offering me a place to stay for a while with both dogs if need be. A couple of friends took me to dinner on a couple of different occasions. Several others have offered similar lunches, dinners, coffees, and the like. But I was going to fix this. I alone had the power.

But I didn’t.

My mom went into the hospital Thursday with an extremely high blood calcium level, lethargy, and impaired kidney function. Yesterday, I found out that it’s likely her cancer is back. She should get the diagnosis today.

Through all of this… through my entire life, my mother has been a strident supporter, a friend of amazing strength and understanding, and of course, the guide and nurturer that all parents hope to be. She’s succeeded. And through her strength, my sister and I along with our families have gotten through the last six years of her battle with ovarian cancer. And in the midst of my own battle, her cancer is back.

I was devastated. I came home, lay down across my bed with a dog on either side trying to comfort me, and just sank. I let go. With waves crashing all around me, I let go of everything and just let myself sink into it. I didn’t cry. I didn’t pray. I just fell.

Then something twitched. It occurred to me to pray, and I did. The tears wouldn’t quite come, but something was moving beneath the surface. I called a friend: someone totally out of the situation except for our friendship. And the weeping began. And we talked. And I cried. And we talked. There was no advice. Just talking. Just getting it out. And in getting it out, I started to find myself. Find my strength. Find that bit that my mother herself nurtured in me. The me part of me.

And in that, I saw that on any ocean, you are never alone. Life abounds around you. Even in the smallest drop of water, life abounds. I started to see the foolishness of my previous attitude… my silence… my stoicism and hermitage. How blind I was. But no more.

I need help. And help is out there. I have put great good out into the world over the forty years of my life, and there are some amazing people who have been trying to give some back. I’ve pushed them away out of some ridiculous notion that I somehow needed to deal with everything myself, but that’s over. I started calling friends, and amazingly enough, several friends have started calling me… offering help that they’d stopped offering weeks ago because of my attitude. Yet somehow, as if on cue, they’re back.

One friend directed me to a James Mapes article, and through it, I found this blog post on friendship that seemed remarkably fitting.

I’m still in the water, and the waves continue to crash. But I’m not alone. I see that now. And I don’t have to do this alone. Thank you, everyone. Your kindnesses are more deeply appreciated than I will ever be able to express.

POTTER!

I won’t lie about it. I’m a geek from the word “GO.” I love Sci-Fi, animation, crossword puzzles, reading, Beltane (and really, what self-respecting hedonist can’t get into Beltane?), Star Trek (Enterprise, but not DS9—yeah, I’m a geek, but there are limits), finishing, swatching, and of course, Harry Potter. “What?!?” you ask. “Harry Potter isn’t just for geeks!”

No, of course not. Harry Potter is for all of the really cool people. And if you’ve ever been called a geek, then you probably realize that geeks generally are some of the world’s coolest people. We not be the most popular. We may not even be the smoothest. But we really are cool. Think Farmer Ted, people. Cool is just cool. (Screw it, everybody knows I’m really thinking Jake Ryan, but you see what I mean, no?)

But have you taken the quiz? I have.


Which Hogwarts house will you be sorted into?

Yeah, we’re geeked—excuse the pun—over Harry. We’ve got one of our model knitters crankin’ out the house colors hat, mittens, and scarves from the Charmed Knits book by Alison Hansel. You haven’t heard? Get with the program, people! There’s a m**f** Knit-Along! (With all apologies to Daniel Vosovic.)


The book


Baskets of yarn sporting house colors in various yarns


EEK!! Slytherin!


Other projects from the book
Images photographed from Charmed Knits by Alison Hansel

Color Me Bad

Restraint has never been my strong suit. Frankly, excess is generally more my shtick. So, is it really any surprise that with the popularity of our Manos Block of the Month group, someone would put colors in front of me that just HAD to become a 20-block throw? Yes, I know. The original concept is for one of the 12-block throws, but given that bent for excess that I mentioned, few people are ever likely to call me small (and my utmost sympathy unto those who do).

The truth of it is that someone came in looking to put together a throw of their own. She didn’t want help (no, of course, not), but she hemmed and hawed with her hands in her pockets at the wall del Manos long enough that eventually, I happened by. Now, no one gets out alive where color and I are concerned, so I immediately grabbed a basket and started throwing skeins of yarn in, auditioning colors in the basket, considering, pulling another similar shade, trying its opposite, and making a pretty fair spectacle of trying things out. That’s my passive-agressive way of telling people to actually touch the yarn… you know you want to. Pull it out—see what looks good together.

Soon enough, she had the throw that she wanted, and I had a craving for a big-ass project that I have no time to knit. Grr…


My completed basket

We laid hers out and figured out the order they needed to be in for the final throw, decided which she would start off with, picked her first couple of skeins, and off she trotted to the register.

Me, I was left deciding on my own.


My final colourway

Dammit! I just hate finding something gorgeous that I don’t have time for. This, my Fair Isle kimono (that I’m not even going to be able to wear unless I start cross-dressing… and NO one wants to see that), that hunky little guy that smiled at me this morning at the post office… It’s hell, I tell you. Hell!

*sigh*

But I’m excited. My Design from the Ground Up class meets tonight, and several of us already have our schematics done and are actually going to get to start knitting tonight. Wish me luck! And them!

A Knitting Life Examined

I’ve received numerous e-mails and in-person comments regarding my lack of upkeep on this blog. It’s all true, of course. To say I’ve been remiss in keeping Crowing Ram’s readers informed is akin to saying that Antarctica is chilly. Certainly, it’s not for lack of interest. I miss being here, and I genuinely enjoy interacting with you all.

I’ve spent much of the life of ThreadBear trading in one secret or another, though. We’ve always had something up our sleeve, and I’m the world’s worst at keeping secrets. So, I’ve just tried to keep my mouth shut entirely. It’s worked, at times, but I’ve suffered for it, and so has Crowing Ram.

By the way, T, I’m knitting with the Habu Textiles Silk Stainless Steel, too. By itself, no less. Funky stuff! WOW!

I’m going to attempt a different tack. My friend Theresa of Keyboard Biologist told me years ago on a visit to the old store in Columbus, Indiana that keeping my blog updated meant sitting down daily—or at least nearly so—and just writing what’s in my head… whatever is going on. I’ve often thought that what’s going on in my life behind the scenes at a busy yarn shop just wouldn’t be that interesting. In retrospect, I suppose that’s kind of short-sighted. I’ve been told frequently over the years that what is painfully mundane for me is of genuine interest to many of you. Finally, I stand corrected.

Here’s what’s up. My mom’s sick in Georgia, and I’m in Michigan. It sucks. I have a thriving business to run, I need to be here, and she understands and supports that—but not being there when she’s hurting… not being there for my sister while she’s doing so much… that sucks.

I’ve also got a book idea that’s absolutely awesome, and it’s gotten very little of my time over the last year. Yeah, the concept for my book was put together over a year ago. Guess how many patterns are completed and in the hands of test-knitters. If you guessed zero, you win the prize.

I have a challenging relationship with a partner that I love very much, and repeatedly, we find ourselves angry and disappointed with each other… after nine years of saying things are going to be worked on… things are going to get better.

Crowing Ram started as a means for me to connect with a set of friends from whom I was feeling deeply disconnected during those years that Rob and I spent in Bloomington, Indiana. You were my support and my confessor. Welcome back.

Today, I’d like to give you a little something to chew on. Over the last couple of weeks, there’s been a volcano brewing just beneath the surface of "me." Designs have been flashing through my mind, ideas for the business have flown, and ways of participating in life in ways I’d almost forgotten are becoming clear.

Keep an eye on the ThreadBear main site over the next week or so. There will definitely be some changes going on there. Keep an eye here for glimpses of patterns and swatches for patterns that are flying off the needles. And just keep an eye out on the horizon. Something big is brewing, and I, for one, am feeling the deep vibration of it.


Harley Davidson USA website

Or perhaps that’s just the sound of an engine… hm…

Kits ‘n Grins


PART of the evening’s outgoing kit mail

Gimme an E! Gimme a GAD! What have you got? A boatload of freakin’ tulips apparently. We’ve been inundated with orders for Dream in Color’s Tulips Sweater for babies. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee blogged about this little ditty at Yarn Harlot a time or two, and the blogosphere appears to have lost it ever-lovin’ mind. God knows I’m a whore, though, so of course, I put together another eight colourways. We’ve already sent several, we’ve got two mail tubs of these bad boys going out in the morning, there’s still a list of folks waiting for them (they’re being wound off into smaller balls for kits since eight balls of the yarn as it’s originally skeined would have cost about $132; we’re selling the kits for $32), and the orders are still flowing in.


Herr Doktor winding yarn off for kits

I’d planned on visiting my mom in Georgia this week, but with this, a rep visit tomorrow, a 7-session design class I’m teaching starting Friday, a July visits from Jillian Moreno of Acme Knitting Company and Amy Singer of Knitty and No Sheep for You (co-authors of Big Girl Knits) to plan for, and one of our monster Yarn Tasting events a couple of weeks later, I‘d feel like a total shit-heel running off and leaving the work to Rob. Señor Carson the LAST time I saw himPlus, Annie Modesitt of modeknit and mother to Max-of-the-broken-bowl (yeah, yeah, and all that other magnificent stuff, but really, it’s all about the haircuts, no?) is here in early August (the three days following the birthdays of my sister, Deb, and her beautiful first grandchild, Carson). I’m happily swamped, I suppose, but swamped, nonetheless. My mom is recovering from surgery after a recurrence of ovarian cancer, and I’m feel particularly crappy about bailing on her, too, so if you’ve got any good vibes in you, aim them for the 30240 zip code in west central Georgia. She’ll take all you can get her. Her prognosis appears to be fairly good as far as cancer goes… particular the ovarian kind, but if you ever need a major kick in the rubber parts, let someone tell you your mom has ovarian cancer. It’s a doosey.

*sigh*

So, here’s something a little less grim. My family’s recent dose of reality has me on a major get-yer-shit-together kick. Having just returned from an awesome TNNA Market complete with nice visits with friends (Hi, Kristy!! Hi, Sharon!!), Rob and I have had a little heartfelt nuclear holocaust turned life-altering recommitment. True, we’ve always been good for the apocalyptic stuff, but the other bit’s something of a change. Pleasant change, too. We’ve got a guest in the house coming in later this evening, and I had one of those decidedly inconvenient moments when I decided that everything in my bedroom had to be destroyed. I managed to channel it into a brief semi-purging of the shelves over the bed, but the Arrival ball will hit shortly. It has to. I have an awesome view of the Grand River and downtown Lansing (no snickering, it’s actually pretty from a distance), but the entire room looks like a really nice dorm room for a really sad geek with no life… Oh, shit. That was a little too close for comfort. Anyway, that’s gotsta go. Everyone knows me for color, and I live in parchment colored walls out of cardboard boxes that weren’t completely unpacked after our last move three years ago. No. Not gonna happen.

Mary’s little boy has had just about enough. And he couldn’t be happier about it.

This little piggie

I’m always sympathetic to those people who come into ThreadBear and feel a bit overwhelmed by the size and myriad options. It’s something that I see on a daily basis, and frankly, there really are days when I look around and get the feeling that things look stale… even occasionally empty. Of course, that’s usually followed by a moment of realization that I’m being highly overcritical, but we all get used to the things we see every day. My reason for bringing it up, though, is that I just got a massive dose of not-even-remotely-stale: TNNA Market in Columbus, Ohio.

For those of you who don’t know and haven’t read elsewhere, that’s the trade show where shops generally purchase much of their season’s offerings. We also have a ton of wonderful sales reps who service this part of the country, so much of our ordering was already done, but it’s still breath-taking to walk into such a smorgasbord of beautiful and intriguing fibers, yarns, tools, and accessories. We did wind up ordering several new (or new to us) lines that we’re very excited about including Habu Textiles (for whom we also scheduled a trunk show and guest instruction with Takako Ueki), Alchemy Yarns (HEY, GINA!!), and Neighborhood Fiber Co. We also added bags Lexie Barnes, new Vivian Hoxbro kits, shawl and jacket closures from Moving Mud, and the KnitTube from Namaste (plus restocks on their other great bags), and (yes, Barb) we’ll finally be bringing in the luxury wood needles that we’ve been lusting over from Lantern Moon.

As much as anything, though, the highlights of the trip for me were the numerous connections we were able to make with folks from all over North America. We had a great dinner with our friend and S. R. Kertzer sales rep, Norm Bagley, and got to finally meet his delightful wife, Judy. We showed up for dinner and found out that we were also being joined by designer Sandi Prosser who turned out to be a hoot (by the way, Sandi, e-mail me if you read this… I have that billboard photo for you). We had beer and sushi to eighties disco with indigirl, Amy Swenson of Make One, and her partner, Sandra. It was also the weekend for Columbus’ gallery walk, so Saturday night, Rob and I met Lucy Neatby and Susan (sorry, Susan… I never noticed your last name) for a fun, funny, and quite loud dinner at Haiku for AMAZING sushi and marching band music (by what appeared to be more of a sashaying band… well, except for the women) and walked back through the throng of people and checked out a bit of the ambiance of Ohio’s capitol city’s High Street. We played with our buddy Jillian Moreno, our favorite Canadian wool-a-phobic, Amy Singer, and the ever-so-humble and eminently talented Annie Modesitt, made crazy face with Cookie A, and were delighted to meet Kristi Porter, Drew Emborsky, Amy O’Neill Houck. Sally Melville introduced us to her daughter (who is beautiful, by the way). AHH!!! We just saw EVERYBODY!

Oh, I can’t NOT mention this. We had a wonderful conversation with Stacy Charles. Since, we joined TNNA, each time we’ve seen him, he’s been running to be someplace else. He’s served as TNNA President, and as owner of Tahki-Stacy Charles, there’s always someone vying for his attention. But he was very gracious with his time, invited us to have a seat, and had quite a nice conversation with us about how ThreadBear got started, how things were going, and where we were headed. Now, I had always heard that he was a nice guy, but I had no idea. I’m fond of many of our vendors, but it’s really easy to sell products when you know the people behind them are interested, not only in their own bottom line, but yours and your customers’.

Dream in Color Tulip Baby Sweater

Rob and I made our name in this business putting together kits and colorways for people. Recently, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee posted her interest in the Tulip Baby Sweater from Dream in Color, and the knitting world went nuts. It’s a very cute sweater, certainly. And we love the yarns. But really… did you think we’d settle for the original? It’s available as a kit, but so are the other eight color options below. If you’re interested in picking one up, let us know at orders@threadbearfiberarts.com.


Original


TBT01


TBT02


TBT03


TBT04


TBT05


TBT06


TBT07


TBT08

If you’re paying attention, you may realize that the even numbered offerings are actually the inverse of the preceding odd-numbered colorways. Each kit will contain enough yarn to complete the project as written in the selected colorway. That means that if you switch the colors around, you’re apt to run out of yarn. The kits will run $32 plus tax (where applicable) and shipping (again, where applicable). Please contact us at orders@threadbearfiberarts.com to order or call 517-703-9276 (YARN) or toll-free at 866-939-2327 (BEAR).

Have a wonderful evening, and I’ll talk to you soon… yes, I said soon. 😉

Busy as a Beaver… or a Woodchuck

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Hell if I know, but the woodchuck or groundhog or whatever it is that’s living in my back yard loves to swim across the river in the middle of the night. Most peculiar.

And how is it that I see such a sight? Oh, elementary. My desk is right beside a window looking out over the river, and I’ve all but chained myself to my desk this spring. You’d think that might mean I’d post more frequently. Uh, no. Obviously, that hasn’t been the case.

Screenshot from the new Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton & Dyed Cotton page

I’ve been buried in paperwork, website updates, and reorganization of everything from the sales floor at the shop to the quasi-hidden un-unpacked boxes left in our bedrooms and office upstairs at the house from the last household move back in August of 2004. I’d say we’re settling in, but that’s only about half the story. ThreadBear is as busy as ever, I’ve started working in earnest on patterns for my book, and we’ve got a few other irons in the fire, as well. Basically, I’ve turned into a juggler, and I’m simply not that organized.

For the moment, here’s what I’ve got most immediately working:

  • Site Updates:
    • Blue Sky Organic Cotton & Dyed Cotton
    • GGH Silk
    • GGH Tara
  • Updating ThreadBear Business Plan
  • Test Knitting Patterns for Twisted Henry Book Project
  • Teaching Sock Options, Intarsia Techniques, and Traditional Fair Isle Techniques (ThreadyBear Class)
  • Knitting “Golden Lotus Kimono” from Jamieson’s 2


Golden Lotus Kimono from Jamieson’s Shetland Knitting Book 2

So far, I’ve just gotten the facing cast on and… mostly knit. I cast on Tuesday night, Wednesday night was "newsletter night," and I taught the first session of Traditional Fair Isle Techniques last night, so I’ve not had much of a chance to work on the 27 rows of 270 stitches of blank stockinette before the Fair Isle work starts, but I am on row 22, so I’m hoping to get the color work started tonight. With any luck, no great drama will pop up between now and then.

Until then, I’ve got some discount signage to produce (we’re running a special on Adrienne Vittadini yarns while we have a trunk show in the shop) and a meeting with our lovely Colinette sales rep.

Oh, and I’ve got to remember to call my dad! We’re also out of half & half for my coffee. Ah, and the dog’s woofing to go out. *SMILE*

A simple change of scenery

Occasionally, I lift my head and realize that there’s a whole, big world out there going on while I work. This week, our friend and knitwear designer, author, and technical knitting anthropologist Beth Brown-Reinsel was in town to teach a couple of classes. If ever there was a way to break one’s concentration on mundane life, it’s a visit from an energetic and interesting friend.

And if that weren’t enough, we held Beth’s classes in Lansing’s Old Town Neighborhood. Old Town was Lansing’s original settlement and its original downtown area. In recent years, it has seen a great resurgence of commercial and residential investment, and there is a distinctly artistic bent to many of the goings-on there.

Beth’s classes were held at Studio 1210 is the heart of Old Town, and the venue was delightful. With our current space in a strip mall on Lansing’s west side, I forget what it’s like to have a streetfront window. We spent most of the afternoon today with the front door wide open with the sounds of street traffic, a nice, warm breeze blowing in (it got up to 66°F this afternoon—WOOHOO!), and passers-by walking their dogs and saying hello. It was genuinely wonderful.

It was also great to run around the corner with Beth for lunch at Pablo’s Panaderia (311 E. Grand River Ave.). If you happen to find yourself in the Lansing area and would like a little bit of good, genuine Mexican food, don’t miss it. We always eat well when Beth’s in town. First, Rob loves pampering guests, and second, Beth and I share a lust for spicy and exotic foods. Now, exotic is a little difficult to come by in Lansing, but we did have Mexican twice and one meal of sushi, so I won’t complain. It was all delicious, and Beth is an absolute joy to have around. If you have a chance to take one of her classes, do. If you don’t have that opportunity, check out one of her books or patterns.

Duckie aside

When I got up Tuesday morning to run pick up Beth to get her to her classes at Studio 1210 in Lansing’s Old Town, I noticed that the Wood Ducks are BACK ON GRAND RIVER!!

We live on the Grand River on the south end of Old Town, and we have Mallards year-round. A week or so ago, the Canada Geese started coming back through on their way north; the honking definitely gets your attention. But the Wood Ducks are actually pretty quiet. Well, to be fair, they’re more few than quiet. If you’ve never heard a Wood Duck bray, you could probably get a similar noise cow-tipping. It’s a deep, lowing honk that is difficult to imagine coming out of a rather fancy looking bird about the size of a large coffee mug. But there is was this morning as I brushed my teeth. I stuck my head out the bathroom window, and there were two drakes and a hen bobbing around in our little cove-lette at the base of the deck.

*SIGH!*

It won’t be long before I look out to see the eight-to-ten-foot wingspan of a Blue Heron soaring down the river. Ah, spring.

UPDATE!!

I was wrong! These little guys are NOT Wood Ducks! I looked up Wood Ducks specifically to show you a picture, and boy, was I wrong! I’ll have to get a picture of my little visitors so you can help me figure out what they are. I thought they might be Baffleheads, but I think they may be too small for Baffleheads. They’re about half the size of the Mallards we have. Hmm… a mystery!

Life Lesson #38: Merlot and Voicemail Don’t Mix

I suppose the same is true for fatigue and Movable Type, but I’ll risk it. For those of you who didn’t get Rob’s newsletter (subscribe at ThreadBearFiberArts.com), I’ve spent the last… seven hours or so rearranging shelving after our recent Spring Cleaning Sale. The basic idea was to make room for spring stock, but I also wanted to apply a few pieces of advice that Rob and I have gleaned from our friend and customer from Australia, Stella—a retail usability expert who visited MSU and ThreadBear for a few months last summer (well, winter for her, but she was here, so… HEY! She spent her entire winter in a mild Michigan summer! That dog. I’ll have to look her up so I can avoid February in Michigan some time…. hmm… is this why one shouldn’t blog after a twenty hour day and major physical exertion? Eh, who cares? Hi, Stella!)

Anyway, Stella recommended some further reading, and then Rob saw a piece on CBS Sunday Morning re: retail usability, and well… we were surprised at how much we were doing right… and how much we’d succeeded despite so many things we were doing wrong. So we’ve just been waiting to implement some of what we’d learned. This was our chance. Unfortunately, these chances seem rarely to come with much warning, so I didn’t prepare. It just happens.

So, for those of you who are relatively local, beware. Hogwarts is in full affect at Chez ThreadBear. If you were in the store at close last night, it’s a whole other world, now. If you work for me and you’ll be in the store today, I offer my most sincere condolences. I truly don’t do this just to annoy you. It’s just a pleasant bonus. 🙂

But now, I’m home. The dogs are asleep on the sofas, and I heard Rob’s breathing when I walked by the bedroom door. I’ve been home later after one of these excursions, but I don’t recall too many times coming home any more exhausted. *YAWN!* Wish me luck. Maybe no one will revolt completely at the changes. With any luck, they’ll actually be as workable and as nice as I’d hoped they’d be. I, for one, couldn’t tell you. Be the time I was done, I wasn’t thinking clearly enough to tell. Maybe that’s not such a great thing, but when the store is open seven days a week, the opportunity to move things around doesn’t really present itself during convenient hours.

Good night… or good day.

I’m out.

Knitting, Design, Spring Cleaning, and Life

No, I’m not reverting to my hermitting ways. It really has been that busy. If you don’t believe me, check out all the goings on at Rob’s blog. And that’s just a fraction of it. In the last few weeks, I’ve concussed myself, designed a new sweater, updated tons of new classes to the shop schedule, bought a whole bunch of new stock (including some YUMMERLY possum blend from New Zealand that I’ll be designing with shortly… just ‘cuz), put together a monster spring cleaning sale with Rob and Sabrina, blocked an awesome shawl that Rob knit, and generally just got a lot of stuff out of the way that has been back-burnered for a while.

As for the concussion, I’m just a dork. It had been a long day at the shop, and since my car was in the shop for not being winterized properly (yeah, yeah… I’m an idiot. I know.), I was loading all of my stuff, Rob’s stuff, and the pupperkins into Rob’s Explorer… in the snow… in the cold. Yes, I was doing it alone, but that’s SO not the issue. Rob does paperwork, and I don’t have to, so I’m glad to load the car. Anyway, I was truckin’. I was all wrapped up, and I’d already made a couple of trips out the car and had the rear glass raised so that I could just drop stuff into the back and run back in for another load. Well, the car was actually facing the store, so I had to go around the car to get to the back. In case you’ve never noticed, when there is something flat at eye-level, it all but disappears in the dark. At least, I’m telling myself that, because I came around the back end of the Explorer at a pretty fair clip and walked dead into the corner of the glass rear window that was less than an inch above eye-level… dead center… right in the forehead… between my eyes. For a moment, I thought I’d lost my eyes. I sure as shootin’ couldn’t see anything. There was just this monstrous buzz… and the most nauseating aurora borealis I’ve ever seen. Then there was the streetlamp over the parking lot… fuzzy, but there… and I could hear that there was traffic, but I couldnt’ have told you what planet it was on. Slowly, I noticed snow falling across my field of vision. Oh, yeah, snow. That’s what that is. Am I standing? Holy shit! I’m standing?!? I hadn’t fallen, but whoo! It’s a thousand wonders. What’s in my arms… oh, yeah, I was carrying my laptop bag. Oh, crud. I could have dropped my laptop on pavement?!?

I told this story to my mother, and the first thing out of her mouth was, “good lord, I bet you had a few choice words.” Um… no. No words. I couldn’t have thought of words if I’d had to. I got the last of the stuff into the car without saying anything to Rob and got into the driver’s seat of the Explorer (standard procedure– we’re old married folk). My head was ringing, but everything was clear. I just hurt. Everywhere. If you’ve ever met Rob, you know that telling him you’ve done something radically stupid is worth days of teasing, so I’d decided to keep it to myself by the time he’d finished paperwork and made it out the the car. It was already warm, and we headed out of the parking lot. Then it hit me (not, not again… I mean figuratively) that I might actually have really injured myself. Dammit! I had to tell him. Well, to make a long story short (too late), he’s been doll. We are all pretty sure at this point that I did have a mild concussion, but I’m a boy, and we do dumb shit like ignore concussions and stuff. I had a few days when I really couldn’t do much of anything and several when I could barely string a coherent thought together long enough to finish a sentence, but otherwise, I’ve just had some pretty nasty headaches. I’m planning on having a nice, long massage later this evening or tomorrow, so I’ll be right as rain come the end of the week.

I did have time, though, during my convalescence to design and knit most of the front of a very interesting men’s v-neck saddle-shoulder pullover. The front is done in panels, and despite what I think I’ll be tearing out later this afternoon to reknit, I’m happy with the design and think it’s pretty sure to make the book.

I’ve also recently acquired some awesome hand-painted possum-wool blend from New Zealand that I’m very excited about knitting into something yummy for myself. I don’t have the camera at home, or I’d show you. It’s definitely my colors. Deep, jewely secondary shades. It’s pretty regardless, but it’s also very complimentary against my Scottish Viking coloring (or lack thereof).

Oh, classes. Tons of new classes are on the schedule at ThreadBear. I’m particularly excited about an Argyle Sock class that I’m teaching in about a week and a garment design class that I’ve got planned for the summer.

Our Spring Cleaning Sale was a huge success. We cleared out of lot of older stock, and there’s a good bit of room now for all of the spring/summer stock that has already started arriving. Of course, if you don’t see it here with my shots of the displays, Rob will have pics up of the new arrivals at Black Dog. Oh, and check out his post of the shawl I blocked for him. It’s gorgeous.

Finally, I’d like to ask your help in a couple of marketing tasks for ThreadBear. I’d be very grateful for anyone who is willing to offer reviews of the shop at Insider Pages and Yahoo. I’ve been trying to get our listings updated wherever I can find them, but it’s one on a long list of tasks. If you see an old listing for ThreadBear anywhere online that you think could stand a bit of fleshing out, please contact me at webmaster@threadbearfiberarts.com.

Thanks, guys. Talk to you soon!
Matt.