Saturday, December 31, 2011

A year in the life ...

This time last year, I was gearing up for our move to Minnesota after 12 plus years in Michigan.  Mark would be househunting and starting his new MN job in January, and the kids and I would be packing up our house for a late February move.  Since then I have:

  • said good-bye to very dear friends and to an idea of myself based on external factors
  • repainted our new place's interior when our belongings were delayed
  • assisted my oldest during a very rough transition to his new school (never before has summer break come with such relief for him)
  • watched as my youngest settled in more easily than expected, and been in awe as she denied living here ("I like gray" in response to the blue skies of a Minnesota winter)
  • experienced travel baseball (never again)
  • seen a chance to perform with high schoolers ease my middle schooler's pain
  • found one studio willing to give me a shot teaching
  • created a studio space and made lots of beautiful scarves
  • camped in the Black Hills of South Dakota
  • attended four art shows, at which my sales were dismal
  • figured out what a gift it is to live near extended family
  • watched Mark return to a happier frame of mind
  • learned how to pull shots and pour latte art
  • hosted Michigan friends on assorted trips through the Twin Cities
  • adopted a dog (a beautiful Italian Greagle)
  • seen my daughter branch out in ways we had only hoped might happen with a move
  • cheered on my son as he discovered a new passion for swimming
  • realized how deep friendships can run and how tentative it is starting new ones
One of my scattered-throughout-the-globe friends wrote a piece that is so very beautiful about resolutions and taking leaps and falling and starting over.  This is what it has felt like.  Grand and abysmal; barely functioning and laying so much groundwork; knowing I am in the right place but not quite feeling at home.  Staying in touch with old friends helps and hinders.  I need to move forward; I get stuck looking back.  Love from my old friends inspires and sustains and saddens.  Finding new friends is harder each time I move.  But here I am, looking at 2012, ready to start tackling that list of Ways To Feel Like I Live Here.  One item at a time.

  • Follow up on people's offers: coffee, introductions, job ideas
  • Set aside a few days to finally nail down all our health care providers
  • Keep walking the dog in the big park, looking for the elusive albino squirrel
  • Practice yoga
  • Try felting a tallit
  • Create a more structured approach to Woolynns
  • Research local art fairs based upon recommendations received this fall
  • Explore our new home state in new ways each month (arboretum, Fringe festival, etc)
  • Be willing to drop a few balls
Here's to a new year filled with taking leaps, falling, and starting over.
Happy 2012!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Four-Shot Rob

Moving took a toll on my income.   It was clear that our family finances required me getting a part-time job of other sorts with actual money coming in.  I am very capable and intelligent, but my actual work experience is not going to get me serious money in the job market.  Having been an established yoga teacher for over a decade in MI, I am now unheard of with too few students and too few classes.  And who wants a 45-yr-old chorus gypsy if she can't really dance anymore?

Through my son's baseball team, I met Deb, the owner of a brand new local coffee shop.  As of two weeks ago, I became a barista at West Side Perk.  Back in June, when the shop was about to open, Deb informed me that the shop would be featuring local artists' work and if I had anything to display, I should let her know.  Which got me started working on small felt paintings this summer.

With my thoughts full of coffee, I made a brief sketch and then fleshed it out in detail in wool.

Then came the usual felting.  Wet, soap, roll, rub.  You know.  But what I ended up with was far from pleasing.  The wool wasn't evenly distributed so areas shrunk at different rates, the entire piece pulled awkwardly in different directions.  I had a completely different being on my hands.  Still vibrant and interesting, but not working as a single painting.  I cut apart the pieces.  I was thinking they could be a set of coasters, but the time and materials make them way too expensive even at wholesale pricing.  Now I'm working on figuring out how to mount them individually.  I'll keep them a set, but a set of four that can be rearranged however the lucky owner chooses.  I'm calling it Four-Shot Rob, in honor of one of the regulars at the coffee shop.  Guess why we call him that?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Shawl That Had Its Own Ideas

School has resumed for the year and I can devote more time to felting and less time to schlepping.  This is not to say I've done nothing all summer, wool-wise.  I just haven't blogged about any of it.  So let this first post-summer blog be about an experiment, one of many I undertook this summer.

Before I left MI last winter, I saw a woman in a gorgeous fisherman's knit shawl.  At least I thought it was a shawl.  I admired it and she let me really look at its construction. Not that I wanted to knit one like it;  I wondered if it could be a template for a nuno-felted shawl.  It was created like a fat T.  One long piece that draped around the shoulders and hung down in front on either side, with a square attached that covered the back.  I sketched it; I estimated the measurements.  And then we moved and it had to wait.  In July, I finally pulled out the initial sketch.  I cut two finished scarves and some patterned silk material I had.  I chose wool and yarns I thought might work with the colors.  And I started.

The colors felt like autumn and fire and molten lava and turning leaves.  I layed strips of chestnut wool to create seams and to add design elements on top of the silk.  I thought I would use red and burgundy yarns in the process, but as I continued, the work changed.  A variegated brown yarn with specks of green and gold and orange got added.  Wisps of merino wool in colors of fire joined the design.

I let the piece sit for several days before felting.  I usually do this to give myself time to feel done with the design.  When I was finally ready, it took several hours of wetting and rolling and rubbing and throwing.  And when I was done, it did not hang at all like the shawl upon which I had modeled it.  In fact, it became clear that it required a bit of hand sewing to become what it really was: a vest with a ruffled collar.

Monday, June 27, 2011

If I ever catch myself saying I'll just "crank out a couple scarves" again, I should just throw a bunch of silk and wool and yarn right into the garbage.

Amazing, but true, I forget this is a real process with failure always a possibility.  Just because I have made so many scarves, cockiness can derail me at any time.  The first time I try a new design or style is usally the best effort.  I take a lot of time laying everything out.  I test for readiness frequently as I felt and full it.  I don't try and cut corners on the time it takes.  Now, I know that the current results of my recent lack of intention (other than to build inventory) still look fine.  They are salvageable.  But they also had large sections of wool that came off the silk.  The designs weren't fulfilled. They are not what they should have been, could have been had I really set my heart and mind and hands on the act of creation, not cranking out goods.

Lessons learned here?
Set an intention.
Be a beginner with each new piece.
Be present.
Do the work.

Sounds like what I teach in yoga class.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

It's more fun to be the child

Summer break.
No school.
Baseball games 5 - 10 times a week, plus practices.
Morning rehearsals for musical.
Two one-week volleyball camps.
One one-week sewing camp.

Somewhere in between schlepping, cooking meals at odd times, laundry, grocery shopping, and my summer teaching schedule, I am supposed to be making art?


Saturday, June 4, 2011


In order to get the entirety of this post, you'll need to know a couple things.

One, I used to be a performer, as in I made a living onstage in the theatre.  I worked a lot and therefore met lots of other actors, many of whom went on to much bigger careers than mine.  When you rehearse for weeks on end and then sit backcstage with folks night after night, you develop deep, short-lived friendships.  It is very different from side-by-side office space.

B, I have a family history of all sorts of reproductive cancers, including immediate relatives who had or have breast cancer.

Third, personal finances preclude me from helping others out financially at this time.

How is any of this relevant to Woolynns, you ask.  It seems fate or god or timing has brought them all together recently.  At my last two shows in Michigan, I had women tell me that my square scarves would make nice chemo scarves.  I had a woman ask if I could teach a workshop on wet-felting to a group of cancer patients.  (I was unable to do that due to time constraints.)  A friend from high school started purchasing my scarves as gifts for his friends with breast cancer, including a commission this Spring.  (He also chastised me for not having enough pink scarves in stock.  I've been working on that.)  And then there is Suzanne Whang.

Suzanne and I acted together sometime last century.  We reconnected last year on Facebook.  I had seen her periodically on TV over the years as her star rose.  (Go read her bio and you'll see what I mean.)   This Winter she came out of the closet with her cancer diagnosis.  She'd been keeping it hidden for nearly five years.  Even with insurance and a good income, five years of health issues of this magnitude have wiped her out financially.  Many friends in Los Angeles began having benefits in her honor to raise money for medical expenses.  I wanted to help, but didn't have a penny to spare. That was when it hit me.  I can hold my own benefit.  Woolynns' Whang Fundraiser started on my etsy shop on June 1st.  15% of any online sales will go directly to defray medical expenses for Suzanne.  It runs for two weeks, after which I will decide whether to continue it for the month or find my next benefit recipient.

I know there are countless stories like Suzanne's.  She is fortunate enough to have numerous friends who are coming to her aid.  I consider myself lucky to be one of them, and I intend to create that sort of financial support for others who don't enjoy her large following as the years go by.

Adding to my pink inventory as directed.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Novice photographer meets never-modeled-but-sure-I'll-try former dancer.    Some of the better results:

Friday, May 20, 2011

Looking for Melmac

The Bloomington citywide garage sale is going on right now. I was shopping for plastic plates and cups and flatware for this summer's beach outings.  I was more than successful at that, but I had some good Woolynns finds, too.  Several skeins of ribbon yarns at one sale started me off.

But then, the really good find.  First, you have to know that last night I began laying out wool on a hand-dyed piece of cotton scrim in beautiful shades of gold. I picked merino wool in copper, yellow, fuschia, and violet.  And then I got stuck with where to go with it.  But this morning, I came across this wool yarn in all the right colors.  

Cannot wait to get back to laying this out.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Preview part I or Shooting Heads and Shoulders

Here's a taste of what will be listed on etsy soon.  (The photo shoot with a real live person, and all the new big wraps, had to be postponed.)
Tried for a cobweb scarf.  Not how it turned out, but still lovely.

Subtle Spring

Devil's Own

Any name ideas?  I love this.  It leaves me speechless.

Detail of "Speechless"


This is on pale green hand-dyed gauze.  (I didn't dye it.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spiritual Wool-gathering Part II

I was told white, mostly white.  I showed a sketch to my sister-in-law and she approved the simple floral design on the white background.   I laid the wool very thinly, entirely covering the white silk chiffon so it would shrink but remain fairly flat.  And it looked beautiful.

I felted it. It was still beautiful, but my 90" piece was now 53" long. Too short for a clergy stole.

So I'm trying again.  Instead of one long piece, it is two pieces side by side with additional chiffon cut into a curved neckline.  Same design.   Much more white.   I'll felt it tomorrow.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Spiritual wool-gathering

Art and religion.  A longstanding combination.  I've been asked to venture into felting prayer shawls by my rabbi.  The idea appeals.  I did some homework and learned that there is a prayer to be said and detailed instructions for tying off knots in the four corners.  I have a few designs in my sketchbook.  But the first actual commission to come my way that mixes religion and art is for a minister's stole.  A friend of my sister-in-law is about to become a pastor.  Different homework teaches me different measurements, no prescribed prayer or blessing.  We have settled on a design.  My requirement for myself is that I do not create without having the right mindset. This piece will be for sacred work.  It doesn't matter that it is not my religion.  Sacred, spiritual, blessed.  Find that space in my heart and in my soul.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Back in Michigan, accessory stores would ask to sell my scarves, but not much ever sold when I tried to do that.  MaryLiz, the owner of Leon & Lulu's,  which is about the coolest store in the world, would hold artists' markets four times a year. I did several and always sold a lot of stuff.  I asked her whether she would ever consider carrying Woolynns and she very honestly said no. She said part of why my things sell is I am there with them.  I explain the nuno felting process (thus the prices) to people.  I encourage them to buy the right piece for them, not the most expensive.  MaryLiz explained, rightly, that without that added attention, most people would look at the tag and walk away.  In her giant store, that is likely what would have happened.

I thought about her words often.  It may have been the best business advice I could have received.  So when looking for places in the Twin Cities, I have been looking first for stores selling locally designed clothing.  Then I need to meet the owners and see if they really sell the pieces or just work the cash register.  I need to see how large the space is.  I have been doing my homework and I am pleased to introduce the first shop carrying Woolynns here in MN.

C'est Fou is in one of several renovated houses on Grand Ave in St. Paul.  It is part of a wonderful shopping district with independent businesses, restaurants, bakeries, etc.  The owner of C'est Fou is Susan Metzger.  She designs all the clothing and includes alterations in her prices.  You will not leave her shop in something that doesn't fit you perfectly.  All the accessories are by Minnesota artisans.  The day I brought some pieces over for her to check out, she found herself unexpectedly busy with two women who were going to Scotland this summer and wanted a few new outfits, clothes that would travel well and weren't from a department store.  A little something special, in other words.  Susan allowed them time to browse, but once they began trying things on, she showed each one how a little tuck here or there could change the entire drape. She pulled sandals out from her shoe store so the women could envision summer (never mind that it was 30 degrees out for a high that cold April day).  She added belts, necklaces, offered to change a sleeve. In short, she was clearly there to make these women look good, not to make a big sale.  Exactly what MaryLiz was telling me I did for Woolynns.

I left seven scarves and three bags at C'est Fou last week.  Susan says that they already get much attention from customers.  The shop certainly shows them off well, and they are definitely being seen by a new market.  It is all I could ask for so soon after landing here in the Twin Cities.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

All in a couple days' work

I used to keep my sketches and inspirations in a drawer.  That will no longer do.  A trip to IKEA, a power drill and some anchors (and some culling of scraps that I no longer remember why I kept), and now I have an idea board on the wall my work table faces.

Plastic floor covering from Lowe's and some indoor/outdoor duct tape and the carpeting is now protected from water. Finally, I set out some materials and start back to work.

The skinny forest is not an original idea.  Sometimes, to move into a new skill (felt painting here), I take someone else's design and see if I can make it in wool.  This was from a photo of a mass-produced painting for sale in a catalog.  Don't worry.  I won't sell it.

Drip dry after felting.  It is a good thing I know by now not to judge them when still wet.  They are never as nice when you first hang them up to dry.

A crinkle scarf trying to push its way toward a muted Spring.

Yarn and wool become a scarf, a necklace, a belt.  Your call.

A Skinny Forest felt painting for my studio.

It feels really good to be back at something like normal.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Social Being

I am waiting for inertia, like Elvis, to leave the building.   Previous moves always included a failsafe way to find a daily community.  College, work, mothering-related groups, children's schools.  This one is harder.  I don't know my children's schoolmates parents since we are no longer at a small private school.  I am having a slow time finding work teaching yoga.  I don't have any work other than the self-directed kind: unpack, rearrange, help children settle in, locate the necessities of living in a new place (schools, library, grocery stores, medical providers, etc.).  Oh, and felting, which is also solitary and self-directed.  It isn't as though I didn't know this was coming, but living in reality is a bit more challenging than preparing for that reality.  

In the meantime, I found the Textile Center in St. Paul, getting lost more than once on the way. (Not knowing how to get places is my least favorite part of moving.)  A beautiful space housing many classrooms for weaving, dyeing, sewing; a small studio currently housing an exhibit of art dolls (that were extraordinary); a library that was closed; offices; and a small shop.  I browsed, picked up brochures for summer camps for my girl, and purchased something to dispel the inertia: a book called 1000 Artisan Textiles (Quarry Press).  From clothing to accessories to household goods to wall hangings to 3-dimensional art, it is a feast for the weary textile artist.  Something to inspire and challenge.  It has me ready to pull out the sewing machine and learn more about garment construction rather than continue plunging into seamless felted clothing without a basis for my attempts. It has me ready to try a felt painting.  It has me ready to make another hat, another purse, a pillow, a bowl.  In short, it is getting me interested in the days ahead.

Is it enough?  Of course not.  It isn't as though I am all alone.   A friend of a friend took me out for a wonderful evening at the theatre.  A couple of old friends (one from MI and one from high school) are also here, though I have yet to see them in person.  And we have family here, too.  But it is the daily community that I am wanting.  I'm someone who knows her bank tellers by name, who chats with the other parents at a small school, who commiserates with the grocery cashier.  I am a very social being.   But it seems wool and silk are about to become my new best friends.  

I am more excited at the prospect than I would have expected.  

Hello, fiber.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Getting it together

Here it is in all its not very classy glory.  (Mind you, I am posting these having just read a blog by Team EcoEtsy on Keeping It All Organized.  I am nowhere near that. Yet.)  My new Woolynns Studio has all the essentials so far.  Big table, solar wrap, boot tray, buckets, wool, silk, yarn, a variety of heads, and a fresh paint job.  All that is still missing is plastic under the table so I don't ruin the carpet.  Notice the big window.  I get to see outside while I work!

Heads on a ledge

Fiber, fiber, everywhere

The goddess of creativity and a laughing head to oversee my work

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The heads are out.

Four mannequin heads and one neck and shoulders are unpacked.  Boxes surround me, but far fewer today than last week when we unloaded the moving truck.  After several years of creating in a cold basement with a halogen lamp brightening the concrete floor and walls and allowing me to see the actual colors of wool and silk, I now have a studio of my own.  During the moving truck delay, we managed to paint both upstairs and down. There are windows lighting up my felting space.  I have overhead lighting and I have heat.  I also have carpeting, so I am playing with ways to protect the floor as I do my felting thing.  If we weren't renting, I'd rip it out and put in cork flooring.  But no. Must not destroy carpet with soapy water.

We are still without internet. I sit at Starbucks, taking a break from unpacking, and use the connection here and sip a latte courtesy of one of several Starbucks gift cards we were given before we left Michigan.  I want to post photos of my felting studio in its stages of readiness; poop brown paint and wood paneling becomes sunny yellow walls; boxes to the ceiling turn into shelves of bins containing wool and yarn and silk; heads appear on a built-in ledge archly overlooking the chaos as it settles into stability.  Sadly my photos are on my desktop and I am blogging from a laptop.

I have missed the deadlines for summer art fairs.  Given the stress of this move, I'll have to accept that this is for the best.  I already have a commission once I get my life in some sort of order.  And I have so many sketches I want to bring to life.  I can see the possibility of creating.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Art Night

Let's ignore the fact that I am not comfortable teaching large groups of children.  Let's pretend I didn't volunteer at a school to which my children do not and never did attend.  And let's skip past the fact that I will be moving in less than two weeks and could have backed out of this gracefully.  Last night I found myself at a local elementary school for their second annual Art Night.  Lots of local artists and musicians of all kinds performing and creating ways for children to explore art and music.  I was the felter.

Simple, no?
Simple project:
Take two pieces of yarn, one of each color.
Make a twisty-twirly.
Roll it into a ball and tuck in the ends.
Put into a nylon stocking and dip in warm soapy water, squeezing and rolling and pressing until it starts to make a ball.
Remove from stocking and continue rolling.
String on a piece of yarn.
Voila: Felted earth necklace.

Seemed easy enough.  Then I realized I was going to be doing this by myself? And keep all these children moving?  And keep the dry table dry?  And keep the needles out of little hands?  At my daughter's Waldorf school, you can tell a child to make a twisty-twirly and they all know what that means.  Many of them have felted.  They all are comfortable with a needle if you thread it for them.  This was a public school event where felting is probably still pretty foreign.  Every step would need hands-on instruction.

And yet this blog is not about the challenge of the evening or even ultimately about felting.  It is about my youngest, my Sophie girl.  Both my children are artistic but it is Sophie who is passionate about it.  She keeps journals of drawings.  We have two boxes of her carefully wrapped sculptures ready for the move.  And she loves felting.  For the past few years, she has begged to help at art fairs with me.  She loves to set up the displays.  But the artist within her shares residency with the anxiety-ridden.  At almost 10, Sophie is extremely uncomfortable in large groups, even if those groups are of people she knows.  She has a terrible time speaking to grown ups.  She can't leave my side to explore at a big event, not even to find the bathroom. Lest you think she is being manipulative, after these sorts of events she will often go home and throw up. 

So when Sophie begged to be my helper last night, I was nervous, but she persisted.  Figuring she could at least help children with the twisty-twirlys, I consented with great misgivings.  Sophie and I unloaded my car of its bags of yarn, soap, pots, buckets and set up for the activity.  She moved desks with me, laid out a large plastic tablecloth, and couldn't wait to take over the task of mixing slurry (a soap mixture) with warm water in containers.  She separated all the yarn for stringing so they were easy to get.  She suffered through a reception for the presenters (where she snarfed a brownie and an M&M cookie). And then she helped me teach our two high school student volunteers how to felt an earth ball.  (The two unexpected helpers became essential to the evening and I was grateful to have them.)

And They're Off!  Sometimes in twos and threes, sometimes alone, sometimes in large groups, children arrived.  Sophie and I and Kelly and Julie twisted yarn, rolled up balls, demonstrated the wet process, threaded needles, salvaged earth "pacmen," tied necklaces.  We worked non-stop for two hours.  At one point nearly twenty children were working.  No break for a drink or bathroom visit possible.  I realized Sophie was wearing the nylons on her arms at all times so as to grab a ball of yarn, peel the nylon off her arm and hand the thing back to its owner to take to the wet table.  She emptied containers of cool water and remixed the slurry.  She twisted and twirled.  She checked children's progress.  All without saying much of anything.  Several more talkative children tried to ask her questions, but she would quietly smile and continue to help them with seldom a word.  I am sure she was a real puzzle to many, but she was efficient and pleasant and had a great time.  

When it was all over, Sophie helped clean up and carry everything back out to the car.  I was exhausted, somewhat stressed, and yet again realized I should not work with large groups of children.  But Sophie was joyous and telling me stories of this child or that.  So I asked her if she thought the children had a good time.  She said, "Yeah. Why?"  I realized that if my terribly anxious child could find a way to have fun in what was not her element (crowds of strangers) by focusing on what was her element (felting and teaching other children), then maybe I could let go of my stress about the evening and find enjoyment in being the mother of this surprisingly determined girl.

We were both starving when we got home. It was late and she needed to get to bed, but all her excitement had to come out finally and she talked non-stop as she got ready for bed.  I was proud of her for finding a way to be there and be true to herself, and I could tell she was proud as well.  After a quick sandwich and drink, it was bedtime.  At 11:30, the inevitable "I don't feel good," followed by vomiting in bed, with all extra sheets packed for the move, of course.  Instead of telling her no more helping, it's too hard on her, we talked about making sure any food after a big potentially stressful event is food that is easy on the stomach.  And she once again wished she didn't experience stress this way.  But she also was still happy to have gone. And I was happy she could be with me in a new way.  I love my girl, but that doesn't mean my extroverted self always meshes easily with my introverted daughter.  Last night, we both found out we could work together as partners.  And it was beautiful, throw-up and all.  Peace on earth.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Two weeks and counting

I took that marvelous thing called The First Sweater I Ever Knitted over to my friend Mary at Skeins on Main.  Mary is a knitter beyond compare and she showed me how to steam and block TFSIEK into shape.  Now I have a wonderful sweater to wear in my new abode in Minnesota.  I think it will be my new version of a house coat, given how cold this winter has been.

Moving proceeds.  M found a house for us to rent in MN.  Our current house has a buyer and is in the poorly named process of a short sale.  We know what schools the children will attend.  Two weeks and we go.  How is it I've packed 97 boxes and there is still so much all around me in our house?  Who put all this here?

Phone calls with friends near and far, getting me ready, encouraging me.  My dear friend KK is a few months ahead on this path of reinventing in a new locale.  Her words of wisdom and sense of humor and empathy are a necessity.  Thank god, she is a regular writer of email, and of her own blog Unterwegs.  My teacher/mentor/guide/heart KT told me she thinks my job in this lifetime is to reach as many people in as many ways possible as I can.  She called me exceptional, and then we brainstormed ways to spread the kind of yoga we practice and teach, as well as figuring out what to do about all those other pursuits of mine.

Feels like an all new adventure, but it is really a continuation of what I've always done.  Introduce myself, my work.  Find outlets for it.  Meet people who enjoy it.  Do more.  Woolynns, yoga, music, theatre, parenting.  The only new part will be the location and the people I encounter.  And then that will make everything both new and the same.

Exceptional.  I am moved by the thought that KT thinks I am, but  really, who I am just seems normal to me.  I hope Minnesota thinks so too.  Then we'll all be fine.  And a new group of people will have healthier bodies and nice scarves.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Minnesota ... Brrrrrrr

As I write this, it is 0 degrees in the Twin Cities.  I am not there. Yet.  It is a balmy 18 degrees in Michigan where I still live.  Wind chill brings it closer to zero.  I am prepping for our move, helped along by a cold snap here.  I have found Handmade MN, a great blog by Minnesota etsy-ers.  I am almost finished with my first ever sweater, which will get worn daily I'm thinking once we move.  (It is creamy white wool, now knit into a short version of the Einstein coat for all you knitters.  Photo coming upon completion.)  The knitting is how I pass my time during those showings when I have to vamoose, or before my classes while I wait for students to show up so I can sign them in.  It also helped pass the time on our 14 hour drive to MN over the holidays ... and then back again.  All my wool roving and Woolynns paraphernalia has been boxed up, though the rest of the house awaits packing.  I have so many ideas, I am bursting to felt something.  That creativity will help on those first isolated days after we move.  At least I hope it will.  It has been a long time since I moved somewhere new and started over.  But why do we have to start over in February?