Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sun of Cheese, Moon of Cheese

As it would seem, all the big grocery stores around here are out of farmer's cheese. If this is a problem, it must be getting close to Christmas, the one time of the year I can justify dragging out the recipe for deliciously cheese-stuffed, butter-fried lumps of wonderful. I could make them stuffed with something else—like many things, they are traditionally filled with whatever you have in abundance—but the family recipe calls for farmer's cheese and sautéed onion, and it just wouldn't be the same without it. And still, I can't remember a Christmas Eve without pierogi.

The traditional Polish Christmas is a Christmas Eve celebration called wigilia, which involves a "meatless" meal of seven fishes and sharing a wafer called opłatek. In my family it has evolved from this into some Polish-Irish-New-England-Hippie take on this, which still involves the fish-focused meal (most years we build a fire and put a fish in it, though this year we're making a festive Christmas jambalaya), but it also regularly involves colcannon, an Irish mashed potato and kale dish with a ring of golden-fried onions on top. And pierogi, which I usually do ahead of time. I suppose I haven't yet totally exhausted my options to get farmer's cheese and make several dozen pierogi before tomorrow night.

I'd offer up the recipe—I don't believe in secret recipes—but, like so many of the things I make I have difficulty quantifying it and writing it down. Also, I can never make the right amount of dough for the amount of cheese filling, so I wouldn't necessarily trust my numbers to work out perfectly anyway. In lieu of that, I offer up my somewhat unique recipe for Sundrop Cookies, which I developed several years ago because I wanted to make a cookie for solstice that tasted like sunshine.

Sundrop Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen 2½-3" cookies
  • ½ c. butter (1 stick)
  • ½ c. shortening
  • 1½ c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. lemon oil or 2 lemons' worth of minced zest
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • ¾ tsp. turmeric
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne (turmeric and cayenne add the color and heat of the sun, respectively, but without one or the other, you still have a pretty good lemon cookie here)
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2½ c. flour
  • ½ c. finely ground coconut (optional—replace with equal flour if you leave it out)

  1. Cream butter, shortening and sugar.
  2. Blend in eggs, lemon oil and lemon juice.
  3. Blend in turmeric and cayenne, if using.
  4. Add baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  5. Mix in coconut (if using) and flour.
  6. Roll into 1½" balls and place on parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  7. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes.

Et voilà! Dozens of little suns! Happy Holidays and wishes for a sweet New Year!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Maybe They'll Hatch?

I've been sitting on a lot of yarn recently. I don't really expect any of the yarn to hatch (though I wonder what might emerge if it did), it's mostly been a difficulty of getting the right light to take a good picture. As far as I see it, in the absence of professional photographic equipment, there's no true substitute for natural light. My stepmother swears by her full-spectrum OttLite, but I don't have one. And, while there's a lot to be said for compact fluorescent bulbs, mimicking natural sunlight for photography is not one of them. The complication of getting natural light is twofold: first, that most days I leave for work before the sun is all the way up and usually come home after it's down again; second, that there's snow on the ground now, which I welcome, but means that it's not as easy to drag my stock outside with a background and get perfect light.

So, this weekend, I briefly evicted the plants from the bay window in my living room, scrubbed it down really well, laid out the yarn on a piece of white cloth at just past mid-day, and took a lot of pictures. Suffice it to say that this is my new favorite place to take pictures. You can check out and critique my photography by going and looking at all the new yarn listings! New selections include the fruits of the October dye binge with Sadelle (including a few yummy cashmere blends), a number of silk blends to keep you company through the winter, a 100% alpaca and a wool blend prime and tested for socks.

From the October dyeing come the cousins (different colorways dyed on the same base yarn) First Day of Spring and Starry Stairs, a blend of merino, angora, rayon and cashmere dyed on the one hand with a variegation of cool colors and on the other hand with a deep red purple, highlighted by the blue rayon flecks which didn't take the dye. Also from this batch is Tainted Love, a more lightweight wool/rayon/cashmere blend with a spectrum of red and purple overdyed on tan. Rounding out this dye batch is The Green, Green Grass of Home (cousin to Lady Stardust), green overdyed on pale ice blue for a kettle-dyed effect that brings thoughts of warmer weather.

Silk is a fiber of many textures and tonalities, but every one of them is warm and soft next to the skin. Check out the following new yarns with a majority silk fiber: Odalisque, a robust, nubbly superbulky raw silk blend in a deep sunset purple flecked with color, Lost Coastlines, an earthy, tweedy blend of silk and cotton twisting together different warm brown tones, and Of Angels and Angles, a wintery breath of lacy white silk and angora.

Rounding out the additions are the raucously red pure alpaca Rock Lobster and the sock-ready and tested brown wool blend Clothes of Sand.

Also, all orders until the end of December of $10 or more will come packaged in a one-of-a-kind drawstring bag which you could use as gift wrapping for this or another gift or keep for yourself as a gift from me. I make a bunch of these up to deliver my own presents, and they sometimes get more use than the gifts inside them.

I am also very excited to share the formerly top-secret project with my students that I mentioned in my last post: their own Etsy shop, Prisms Place. Every other year, our school sweeps up the whole 7th and 8th grade and takes them by train down to Washington, DC for a week. The cost of this is, understandably, significant. As part of paying for the trip and encouraging student ownership of it, each student is asked to earn $75 through their own efforts. As part of this, I am facilitating the shop for a group of student artists as a way of helping them sell their crafts to raise part of this money. The selection currently includes yarn critters, hand-drawn stickers, uniquely made suncatchers, earrings, made-to-order organic chocolate chip cookies and polymer clay figurines of everything from hippos to sushi (which hasn't managed to get listed yet. Should nudge them a little on that). All on their own, the polymer clay crew made and posted a webcast about what they do. They've also continued this with some instructional videos for making things out of polymer clay.

Yes, I am quite proud of them.

Well, as it starts snowing in earnest here, I am going to take my dog and go play outside before it starts getting dark out. In the mean time, here is Galaxie 500's spaced-out cover of "Listen, The Snow Is Falling," the original version of which was the B-side to the classic "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)."

Friday, October 30, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Happy Halloween, Folks!

There are many reasons why this is one of my favorite times of the year: good sweater and quilt-nesting weather, watching the colors in the leaves under the unique autumn light, endless apples and squash and excuses to dress strangely.

This year, I will attempt to turn myself into a squid. The squid costume is still, the day before, a pile of gray and pearly fabric. Magic happens, though, so we'll see what transformation the next 24 hours will bring.

I still haven't totally solved my hard drive issues, but I have figured a couple circumnavigations for getting files from here to there. In that spirit, I offer one of my favorite Halloween songs,
Mel Tormé's "Monsters Lead Such Interesting Lives"

And now, I need to go steam my tamales to take to my students' Día de los Muertos celebration. Until today, I really hadn't gotten any indication of how beautiful their ofrendas would be, but they are quite something to behold.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Getting Your Hands Dirty At School

Fall here in New England. It's pretty well frosted most mornings now, but gets over itself pretty quickly, just like most of us in the morning.

The school year has started out busy this year, which has kept me as busy as ever, if not more so. I'm back working with older kids this year, seventh and eighth graders, which is where I want to be, but has me on my toes. However, if you're on your toes, you're likely dancing.

While the rigor of the curriculum doesn't leave me the same time to play with yarn, I have been able to slip in the rightful place of arts & crafts here and there. To go with our school's highly integrated curriculum, as part of our study of early civilizations, the students and I got in touch with our hunter-gatherer roots by going out and collecting local dye plants, using them to dye wool felt, then sewing pouches. Although the plant we used, pokeberry, has a bad reputation for not making a lightfast dye, a few sources told me to ignore the hype, use a lot of berries and a lot of vinegar. So far, that advice has done us well. The dye produced a gorgeous maroon red which hasn't shown any sign of giving up any sort of ghost yet.
If you're interested, I've posted the Powerpoint presentation I made about the history of dyeing. It includes sections about archaeological evidence around early dyeing, some of the scientific background (esp. about pH and mordants), and a brief history of purple, the color which draws its name from a very prestigious, expensive dye, which ties into our current unit about Ancient Greece.

Additionally, I'm at work on a still top sekrit project with a group of students surrounding creative fundraising project for a field trip to DC this spring. Hopefully, I'll be able to tell you about it in the next few days.

Until then, I actually have done some more work on yarn as well. Yesterday was another round of dyeing with my stepmother, Sadelle of Pumpkinspun Fiber Designs and Spectrum Webworks, the results of which should be clearer soon. Right now they may be literally frozen as they hang outside to dry. A little frost won't hurt them any, though. This dye session focused on a deep green, a deep red (which mostly ended up purple because of the colors being overdyed), and a fruity purple fabricated out of beaucoup de Kool-Aid. I worked on three base yarns: two heavy light blues and a lacy tan.

Additionally, There are several new yarns available, including several thick, hearty wools in time for cooler weather: "Yesterday's Wine," a maroon with tweedy flecks, and "Walking After Midnight," a dark blue with shadowy accents added in the August dye binge. Also new is "Green & Gray," a soft, wool-rayon fingering weight blend that twines pea-green with gray and white for a skin-soft funky twist.

Photos from the October dye binge, declassified sekrit student project, and maybe more pictures of fall coming soon!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fiberworks Abroad and Very Close to home

There's not just up and down! There's sideways and slantways and any other kind of way you can think of!

Since last posting, your usually humble staff has driven to Florida (to drop Tom off at school), flown to France (for Tom's sister's wedding), begun a new school year, and made plans for a dyeing project with the students. A full life is generally a good time, but isn't always the most productive (for a very narrow definition of 'productive' which only includes prepping yarn for sale).

There are three sweaters' worth (plus a bit) of yarn balled up and ready to be used again, but it's been so busy I haven't gotten to measure, skein and photograph it yet. It will come soon, likely as soon as I make my new niddy-noddy. As much as I love my ball-winder, there's something very elegant about the classic skein. I had to return my niddy-noddy to its rightful owner, who finally needed it again, so I'm in the process of making my own. I have my $3.00 worth of hardware, I just need to get out the saw and cut the pipe. (Dr. Dirt has great illustrated plans for the niddy-noddy made of PVC piping here. She also has ferrets and a Roomba.). However, that will have to wait until I take MTEL #047 this Saturday, which, much like the Blue Fairy, will descend and transform me from a puppet on strings into a real math teacher! (Obviously, the algebra I've taught under the guise of knitting and the trig I've taught under the guise of art history and quilting don't mean anything - standardized tests wield the magic wand!)

In the meantime, here are some pictures from France. Soon I hope to have a fully-annotated non-Facebook gallery, but for now, that's the option. Because there are so many, I've broken it down into five albums, arranged by place:
There isn't much about a fiber arts in there, though I made an as-yet undocumented pair of socks during the week, which have a genuine French wine stain now, but it's still a good time: Sunflowers and cathedrals and crustaceans, oh my!

I am also doing a natural dyeing project with my students coming up soon. We will be using the ink that wrote the Declaration of Independence, and collecting it along the bike path here in Easthampton. I will share as many pictures of the pokeberry-dyeing endeavor as I am legally cool to share. In the meantime, Carol Leigh has some interesting observations about how to use pokeberries. The plant seems to play a much larger role in American history than I knew when I chose it because it grew conveniently and dyes a pretty (if not lightfast) color. The more I learn about this plant, the more fascinated I am - all the medicinal uses? The AIDS research? The poisonous but makes a good boiled green? The pokeberry jelly? Dyeing with this plant makes me feel very rooted where I am, which is a refreshing contrast to all the traveling I've been doing. To be continued...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

By this art may you contemplate the variations of the 23 letters...

My ongoing fascination with how holding the same thing in different light to expose more sides of it has taken me many places: as a translator, as a connoisseur and occasional perpetrator of cover songs, as a cook, as a reader of far too much Borges and Calvino. In some measure, this is what guided last week's experiments in dyeing. I started with two colors of dye, a plum purple and a dark brown, four different colors of yarn (tan, white, blue and yellow), some roving, and two sweaters (pink and navy). The slideshow below documents dyeing and shows off the results:
I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised. I was especially impressed with how the purple came out on top of the yellow. Instead of mucking it up, it just warmed it beautifully into bold, contrasting tones. The tan, which is a blend of fibers, some of which take the dye and some of which don't, softened the same bold colors into muted, gently shifting tones.
With all these variegations, I figured I'd knit up swatches to see how they played out.

With the sweaters, I dyed them with the intention of dismantling them afterward, since that's sort of my schtick, but the few people who've seen the results have expressed horror at the idea that I would take apart this sweater:

They also suggested that I keep it forever and love it and feed it and call it Lulu, but, seeing as it's not my size, I feel it's better to send it out to a loving home. I don't know if it would get along with my other sweaters, anyhow. However, the questions raised suggest I should offer it up as a whole sweater instead of breaking it down first. I'll take suggestions here.

I still wouldn't consider myself an expert here, by any means, but, if nothing else, I like all of these yarns better than when I started—that must constitute some kind of success.

Since I brought him up briefly at the beginning, and still can't get the lappy to mount my external HD with all the music, here's a link to one of my favorite Borges stories, "The Library of Babel," which imagines a library of books which all conform to certain parameters, but which is comprised of every possible permutation within those constraints. This library-world is peopled with librarians trying to extract meaning from the near infinite volumes.

La bibilioteca de Babel (in Spanish)
The Library of Babel (in English)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Waiting on D-Day

Big plans are afoot for tomorrow!

Originally, I was just going to dye one skein of yarn, but it seemed silly to get the whole setup going for one skein (though, for reasons which must remain top-secret at the moment, it would have been worth it). So I'm going to try a couple of things all at once.

I'll be using a combination of Jacquard acid dyes and Kool-Aid. The theme started as plum and walnut, in honor of colors that look as good together as they taste (mmm...Liberté Mediterranée yogurt), but I think I'm going to try and conjure a rich peachy orange from some Kool-Aid, and may make a last minute run to Webs for something green in the morning.

In addition to the skein of handspun originally on the docket, I'll be dyeing some yarn I've already harvested, some of which is starting from a baby blue, some from a pastel yellow, some tan. I'm also going to try dyeing some sweaters which I plan to dismantle, so that the color patterns will be more tied into how it looks knit up.

I'm still pretty new to the dyeing thing, but figure the best way to learn more about it is just to do it. I also have The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook along for guidance, which feels a little like hanging out in the kitchen with folks who know what they're doing (which is really the best way to learn something like this), while still presenting their how-tos in a direct, no-nonsense way.

We'll see how it all goes tomorrow. Oh, will there be pictures.

Friday, July 31, 2009

A slice o' Thursday night

Each Thursday night, a number of us descend on Rao's Coffee in Amherst for caffeine and knitting. Most of us don't even live in Amherst anymore, but faithfully turn up most Thursdays. The following video was shot for my friend Jenny's blog for her unique, amazing stuffed toys, Knitted Beasts, which I urge you to check out there or at her etsy shop. It introduces some of the usual gang of idiots and our possibly less idiotic projects, which range from cuttlefish to Dr. Who to socks. Oh, and there's also about a minute and a half of me talking about my yarn.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

For Your Information

I just went through and updated all of the yarn listings to include information about each yarn's ability to take an acid dye (e.g. Kool-Aid) and ability to be felted. Acid dyes work on animal-protein fibers like wool or silk, though they will work well on nylon, apart from other synthetics, as well. Gauging the percentage of these fibers in the yarn is how I determine its dyeability. Acid dyes are some of the cheapest (you can buy enough Kool-Aid to dye a 100g skein for about a dollar) and, at least with the Kool-Aid side, are food-grade safe. There are a wide range of dyeing options out there, however. I'm still a novice dyer, so I can't offer too many details, but whatever your fiber is, there's a way to dye it.

Felting is another province of animal fibers, though it is more specific to fleece fibers. Silk, quite notably, does not felt. Felting works a little bit like velcro: fleece fibers have microscopic scales on them that like to hook onto other fibers. The process of felting is mostly about giving those the most chances to hook onto each other. Superwash wool, which also does not felt, is processed one of two ways. In one, the scales are removed using an acidic chemical bath (some accounts I've read specify bleach). In another, the fibers are coated with a polymer. I gauge whether or not something will felt by the percentage of fleece fibers in it, and also by its care instructions - another accurate way of describing the felting process is that you're basically doing the opposite of what the care instructions tell you to do, so if it's labeled "hand-wash only" there's a good chance it'll felt.

Hopefully, this information will help you choose the right yarns for your projects, or maybe get you started thinking about trying something new!

I know I promised rain songs for today, but my external hard drive doesn't want to interface with the computer right now (or the other way around) so I still can't get to the music. Anyhow, it's sunny out now, for a change, so it may not be the right time for rain songs anyhow.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rainy Evening Update

Greetings from another rainy night in yarnland. There have been a lot of those recently, though with how humid it's been today, it feels like a gift in the moment; the heat lightning has just turned to rain. It was a rainy spring, too. I'm starting to wonder if we've been uprooted and moved to the Pacific Northwest. There's enough cultural continuity along the granola belt between here and there that it's possible we wouldn't have noticed.

As mentioned, a lot has happened. The big news is that Tom had an accident on his moped back towards the beginning of May - about when the conspicuous blog silence began - which was a more serious accident for him than the moped. Since then, he's had his kneecap surgically wired back together and has recently gotten the go-ahead to walk like a human, without the brace. It's still more work than usual, but the PT starts Monday, and hopefully that will help.

That being said, we've accumulated a bit of a backlog of stock to be listed, some of which went up recently in a burst. At left, Tom has styled the five new yarns into a dude in motion. Maybe she's running, maybe she's dancing, maybe she's a he. Starting at the body, the yarns are: Some Rainy Sunday, Flaming Lips, Juno, Magical Mystery Yarn #1 and Simply Red. There's still a few which need to be measured and portioned before they can be listed, but there's enough to post about as is that the rest will have to remain a mystery for now.

All but the Magic Mystery Yarn are fingering-weight yarns which held their shape beautifully, without any splittiness in the plying. Simply Red is a scarlet version of the Soft White yarn that sold out a while ago, an angora blend with a dense core and a gentle halo of fuzz. Much like the band, it brings a little more soul than its predecessor. Flaming Lips is a super-soft pure merino in a deep fuchsia. I couldn't decide whether to call it Soft Bulletin or Pink Robot, but then realized that Flaming Lips covered both and still accurately describes the yarn all on its own. Juno is a beautifully peacock-toned wool. There would have been a lot more of it, but that was a sweater I brought in to show my students how to take apart a sweater, and it seemed only fair to let them take home what they unraveled themselves. Some Rainy Sunday is the same yarn I used to make the Raincloud scarf you saw the beginnings of way back when (seen completed at right); a soft, delicate slate blue lambswool.

I had trouble trying to name that one, simply because there are so many songs about rain. Two of my favorites are simply called "Rain" (by The Beatles and Bishop Allen), another is called "Gentle Rain" (Astrud Gilberto), but all those seemed too simplistic yarn names. I ended up looking back to Juliana Hatfield, but felt these three needed some love. They'll have to get added soon, though. Among the other large events was the hard drive of the laptop dying, and though it's back up and running with its new drive, I haven't loaded all the music back on yet, so that'll have to be on hold until tomorrow.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Enriching the Internet in Tiny Ways

There is so much to update, I don't even know where to start! I've been doing a lot of work on the physical side of the yarn recently— the digital upkeep will follow soon. Briefly, there are three new brightly-colored fingering-weight yarns and the first garments— a few pairs of handwarmers made from recycled yarn (one pair has a little of my handspun, too). You can see them all in my new Etsy Mini sidebar!

Meanwhile, very briefly, since I can't find this tidbit anywhere else on the web, the bobbins standard to the Louët S51, S17, S15 and S10 wheels weigh 148 g or 5.2 oz empty. I hope that posting it here will save someone else the 20 minutes I lost having to wind off before weighing and then portioning.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Reluctantly Friday

One of the perks of teaching is school vacations. While I don't get to pick my vacation weeks, they seem serendipitous. This has been one of those weeks, and now it's drawing to a close, more pointedly so because I have to meet with tutoring students this afternoon.

Um, I seem to be getting hit in the head by twitchy tail at the moment. We have birds nesting in the eaves. This is Isis's new favorite program. She will sit for hours watching the birdies and twitching her tail excitedly. Regardless of who may be sitting in the chair underneath her. Neko sometimes likes to watch, too, but she
doesn't have the attention span for anything she can't eat. I actually caught them on camera the other day:
This best part of this picture is that it makes it look like Isis is standing on Neko's back.

Cute animals aside, the week off has been decently productive. Not as productive as I had in mind at the outset, but I suppose that's always the case. With a whole week in front of you, it seems like you have time to conquer the world, or at least a good hemisphere. And then you sit down.

Inertia aside, there are developments afoot. I have at least one new yarn listed, a gloriously soft bulky confection I'm calling Back in Black. Another, a tritone-blue sportweight called Mood Indigo, stands to follow shortly. Also, I reclaimed my sewing table again and enacted part one of plan to broaden the horizon beyond yarn.

These are a selection of spontaneous, one of a kind project bags which will be part of knitting kits which I will, hopefully, have ready in the next few weeks. They will include yarn, project bag, and pattern, since I've ended up writing a number of patterns for the munchkins at school. The bags may be available separately, depending on how many I make. For right now, I'm enjoying making them. It's all the joy of impromptu throw pillows with none of the annoying stuffing. Also, notice how long the scarf I'd just started at the last post has gotten!

For now, I'll leave you with two songs. The first comes from my fits of housecleaning this week. Addressing the robot/human dialectic seems appropriate for manual labor, so a recording of Daft Punk's set from Coachella 2006 has seemed a suitable soundtrack. It coheres very well as a whole, beginning with a human vs. robot theme and ending with the "Human After All" assertion, using the hooks from familiar songs of theirs more as motives than as independent pieces. I'd post the whole thing, but it weighs in at almost 75 minutes and about 100 MB. Instead, I've lifted out one of my favorite sections, which layers the vocal line from "Face to Face" with the hook from "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger." (If you're really interested in the whole set, e-mail me and I will hook you up.)
Daft Punk - Face to Face (Live from Coachella 2006)

On a somewhat different but just as funky note is Sam & Dave's 1968 single "I Thank You," recorded from the 45 just for you. Man, the bassline in this song won't quit. It's hard not to bop and smile with this one. This song clearly shows their gospel roots. Minus a few of the more wordly references, this song would work just as well as a straight gospel song, which speaks to the positive, uplifiting humility of it (which gains a twinge of desperation when you add in the more worldly lines), but also to its huge sound, which progressively expands its scope of how many people are in the room, sharing the titular gratitude.
Sam & Dave - I Thank You

Monday, April 6, 2009

Rainclouds and Lilac Wine

After a glorious Sunday, we're back to rain. It's amazing how green everything on the ground is getting, though.
Meanwhile, in yarnland, maybe it's just the lack of natural light, but the yarn's been talking to me. We recently dismantled a rather nice slate blue lambswool sweater which had an unpatchable hole in one sleeve. The fingering weight yarn that came off of it said, "Hey, you, make me into a pretty scarf." Friday last week began with a long staff meeting, and so I've made some real progress. It's knit on the bias, with panels of a fanned openwork and simple rope cables traveling diagonally across. I'm thinking of adding some Clapotis-style drop-stitch ladders framing the openwork panels, but I haven't decided yet. The whole affair is so light it feels like knitting clouds. Lace-weight things like this always seem a little magical to me.
The odd, colorful stripes from a worsted/bulky weight sweater have also been suggesting that they should become thrummed mittens.

Additionally, I'm just about to put up the first skein of what's likely the most delicious-feeling yarn I've ever harvested: an 85% silk, 15% cashmere that's as soft as the dog's velvety ears. It came in a lilac color, but I dyed half of it to a gentle red-wine color and plied the two back together to a workable sport-weight. This stuff is sweet and heady and worthy of the beloved song for which I will name it.

Speaking of which, Jeff Buckley's version is beautiful, but not enough attention is given to Nina Simone's 1964 version from Wild is the Wind. It focuses in on Simone's warm, almost abrasively strong voice, which nonetheless achieves a sense of wistful vulnerability here. Its sparse instrumentation builds almost imperceptably, and I swear if you turn the bass up high enough the song sounds like it's breathing.
Nina Simone - Lilac Wine
(Buy Wild is the Wind/High Priestess of Soul)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Welcome to the RPM Fiberworks blog!

We're here to show you a little bit more about who we are and what we do. What do we do? We give unfortunate sweaters a second chance at being fabulous by recycling them into usable yarn again, which we sell at our Etsy shop, We have plots for the future as to other related products, but we're not telling, not just yet.

Who are we? We're Grace and Tom. We live in the lovely Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts with a couple of small, friendly beasts named Neko and Isis.

When not playing with yarn, Grace is an assistant teacher in a grade 2/3 classroom at the fabulous Hilltown Charter School. Quite frankly, she's playing with yarn a fair amount of the time there, as well, and encouraging her students to do likewise. Tom works at a job which shall not be mentioned outside of business hours, but which gives him a chance to ride his classy moped at least twice a day. He doesn't get much chance to play with yarn there or on the moped.

When we go sweater hunting at the thrift store, we check two sections: the sweaters and the records. We've amassed quite the selection of interesting 45s and LPs. At least once a week, we'll share a song from one of these. We'll also generally keep you posted about what's up with the yarn and give you some glimpses into all the things we do to make yarn reusable.

For now, here's some yarn hanging out to dry by the steps up to our apartment. The sharp will notice some that hasn't even hit our virtual shelves. There is so much yet to come.