Thoughts on a major anniversary

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As of today I’ve been married for thirty years.  My husband and I have been talking about this accomplishment a lot lately.  We are proud of how hard we have worked on our marriage over the years.  It’s kind of amazing, really.  You meet someone and fall in love, and you decide you will spend the rest of your life together, but you have absolutely no idea what lies ahead.  Some of what you think will happen does, but much of it is a surprise.  The biggest surprise is how much you keep changing, as does your partner.

We’ve been through a lot together, all of those things that are spoken of in marriage vows, but we have come through it still as best friends.  As we move through middle age we are ever more supportive of and compassionate with one another.  A lot of that stuff that seemed like such a big deal twenty years ago really isn’t.  We have both experienced major illnesses, family stresses and challenging life events in the last few years, but we found that our bond kept tightening,  and we have both come to realize what is important and what isn’t.  We have learned to let a lot of things go – and we make more time to be together.

Today, I’m grateful.

 

Throwing in the towel

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I didn’t realize how dysfunctional my relationship with my laptop had become until this past Friday when I was trying to update my shop.

Thursday, the day before, I’d managed to edit a bunch of photos and list a couple of dozen skeins of yarn in my Etsy shop.  Thursday was a pretty good day.  My laptop was humming along and although it was slow, it was ok.  While waiting for every page or photo edit to load I’d do a bit of laundry, a few dishes, move the sprinkler around, let out the cat, chop a vegetable, get the mail, etc.

But oh, Friday was bad.  Although I’d managed to edit all the photos on Thursday, I still had three dozen listings to put up on Etsy and the laptop was having none of it.  It froze over and over and over.  Every other restart resulted in The Black Screen.  I finally gave up after a full day at it, having only listed maybe 8 skeins of yarn.

This sort of thing has been going on for… two years.  But I’ve managed to limp along.  The laptop itself, a racy red Dell that I got for a milestone birthday, is now over seven years old and is on its third hard drive.  I hate spending money, I hate having to replace things that I think should last longer, and I really hate researching computers and making decisions.  But after coming home and finding me in a lather on Friday night, my husband pulled up all the relevant iMac specs and dragged me over to Best Buy on Saturday to do more “research.”  It was a 108 degree day and I was past annoyed on all levels, so a half hour later I walked out with a new computer and a bunch of other stuff.  It must have been my destiny that a handsome Apple rep just happened to be there.  I felt like we were such close friends by the end of the purchase ordeal that I almost asked for his number.

I have to say, this iMac is really gorgeous.  And it talks to my iPhone and iPad.  And everything loads in maybe a second, so unfortunately, no more folding towels in between edits.

But it turns out that my old go-to, lazy person’s photo editing program, Picasa, is no more, so it looks like I’m going to have to learn Photoshop.  Finally.  Maybe Excel will be next.  I’ve been putting that off for a few years too.

In the meantime, it might be a while before I can update the shop again – but when I do, I should have enough time left over to take a nap, or drive to the next state.

In the meantime, come find me on my new business page on Instagram:  Ladybugfiber.

 

 

 

Where I’ve Been

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I haven’t written a blog post for almost three years, but there were many times I’ve wanted to.  How to describe what’s happened since the summer of 2014?  There’s a lot more than can be put in one post, for sure.

My current life goals involve a return to blogging, so my plan is to describe where I’ve been over the next few posts.  These past three years have been very full with few breaks.  I find myself in a bit of a lull right now, which is a good thing.  I hope to spend the rest of this summer in contemplation, in healthy pursuits, creating art and music, and focusing on where I am now before deciding where I’d like to head from here.

Some of the topics I’d like to write about:

  1. Family, both near and far
  2. Friends
  3. Married life
  4. Travel
  5. My artistic pursuits
  6. The gift of my health
  7. My garden
  8. My writing goals

I’m still dyeing yarn and still enjoying it, although it has often taken a back seat to the frequent onslaught of life events that could not be ignored.  I will continue to dye yarn as well as adding in dyed fiber over the next few months.

More to come.

 

 

Changes, Part II

 (A sock I’m knitting in “Banded Cotinga,” with “Cobalt” for the cuffs, heels and toes.  I’ve been working on this pair of socks since… May.)

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I don’t have much time, since I am about to get on a plane (again), but I wanted to let you know about something really, really great.  I can talk about it now, because it’s happened.  Sheri’s dream came true – she and her husband have bought property in the northwest and moved up there, and they are building a home and starting the hobby farm that they have wanted for years.

I’m so excited for her.  I’ll miss her – and Ladybug Fiber Company will never be the same – but I absolutely love it when someone I am close to has their heart’s desire realized.  And I’m looking forward to when she’ll open her own business – whatever that may be.  I’m also secretly hoping she’ll follow through on our plan – that she will raise some gorgeous sheep that may someday become a few skeins of Ladybug Fiber yarn.  🙂

Meanwhile, I’m headed out tomorrow on trip 4 of 5 this summer, as I continue helping my parents adjust to a new life and a new home.  And both of my children are moving out in the next few weeks, although one will be in college, not too far away.  Lots of transitions.  Lots of packing and unpacking.

Here at Ladybug Fiber, I’ve had to shutter the store frequently, more than I like, but I am continuing to dye whenever I’m home.  Within a few weeks, I should be able to pull off a pretty nice update, just in time for fall knitting.  I’ll keep you posted.

I hope you all have been having a wonderful summer! 

— Meg

Changes…

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We’ve been quiet a long while, I know.

There have been so many things happening at Ladybug Fiber.  Most of these are good things!  We’ve really enjoyed working on our sock clubs, and in January we introduced our Birthstone yarns, one month at a time, on five (so far) of our most popular bases.  Next up for us are some gradient sets, if we can ever get them listed!  We were also excited to welcome three new wholesale accounts:  Nutmeg, String by Kim, and Knitter’s Square.

These last few months have also been ones of great change outside of our business.  We have each had important family matters and events that have taken us out of state.  In my case, it began by  taking my youngest child on the last of several college visits before he finally made his big decision at the end of March.  Then my oldest graduated from college, followed by the youngest from high school.  My parents suddenly turned a corner in their lives.  This means planning a big move for them, from the 100 year old house where I grew up, and where they have lived for almost 50 years, to somewhere smaller, safer, and easier.  Much of my summer will be devoted to working with my siblings on cleaning out and selling the family home.

I’m sure some of you know that being an indie dyer is always more than a full time job.  Sometime last spring, although I kept up with the dyeing, I had to give up posting weekly updates.  This summer, because I’ll be out of state so much, I’ll dye when I’m here, list when I can, and put the shop on vacation when I’m gone.  We’ll be able to keep up with the clubs and the birthstones, but we’ll limit the number of club memberships and put custom orders on hold to make things manageable.  My fingers are crossed that things will be more or less back to normal this fall.  I also think that these trips away will help fire up my creativity, just as my month-long trip to Europe did last year.

And this fall I will teach knitting for the first time.  One of my friends works for our local Parks and Recreation department and she asked me to teach beginning knitting to adults, and beginning crochet to kids in the winter.  I’m pretty excited about it.  And a tiny bit freaked out.

My to-do list is long, but I am trying to take the time to enjoy my family, my garden, my friends, each new color I come up with in the studio.

Maybe I’ll even plan a little vacation for when the summer’s work is over.

Happy Summer, everyone.  — Meg

 

Something new!

We’ve added something new for 2014 – monthly colorways based on birthstones!  These will become permanent colorways that can be dyed on multiple bases, and you can request them as customs, too, on pretty much any base we carry.

Here’s January, “Rhodolite Garnet”:

on MCN sock

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on 75/25 superwash merino/nylon sock:

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on 100% superwash sock:

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and on 75/20/5 superwash merino/nylon/stellina sock:

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Here’s to a colorful 2014!

From 0 to 50,000 in 30 days or less

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It’s all or nothing, for me, sometimes.  This month, it’s all.

Hello.  I haven’t updated the blog in ages, since early July, even though lots has happened since then, professionally as well as personally.  Rather than put it all in a post, I’m going to try to write a little each week until I get caught up.

November holds a special place in my heart.  In addition to being a very busy time for the shop (but busy in a fun and creative way!), it’s also the month when I attempt to compete in something called NaNoWriMo.  It’s National Novel Writing Month, and for those of us (brave) (crazy) inspired enough to take it on, we attempt to write a novel containing at least 50,000 words in one month.  That means an average of 1,667 words a day, during a month that also contains Thanksgiving, which is no small holiday.  On average, for me, that’s about 2 hours a day.

I’ve “competed” for the past seven years, and although I’ve come close several times, I “won” just once in 2010.  I actually finished the thing early, in 25 days, on Thanksgiving day. It was an incredible amount of work, and some days I was at the computer for six hours or more, but the feeling of accomplishment at the end was indescribable. Of course, I haven’t done anything with that body of work since, but I will.  When one does NaNoWriMo, you write so fast and furiously that there’s no time – or energy – to edit while you’re writing it, but that’s ok.  I’ve wanted to write a novel my whole life, and this is a pretty good way to start. This is how several published writers began, such as Sarah Gruen, who wrote “Water for Elephants,” and Erin Morgenstern, who wrote “The Night Circus.”

So far this year I’m up to 4,004 words in two days, I dreamed up a great story that will keep me motivated, and I have several NaNo buddies who are competing too – including a good friend from high school (who is an incredible playwright and essayist); my husband; and one of Sheri’s kids, who is quite prolific.  It’s fun to try and beat their word counts every day, and lovely to know I’m not alone.

Interested?  It’s not to late to sign up:  http://nanowrimo.org/ .

In addition to this insanity, I’m also halfway through a tech editing course with Joeli Caparco of http://joeliskitchen.com/ .  It’s harder than I thought, but really good!

And I’m supposed to be doing a bunch of research for a Master Gardener committee I joined a couple of months ago.  Plus all the stuff one must start to think about for the upcoming holiday season, and a big to-do list of chores.

And, as I said, dyeing and all that.

I’ll talk about that some more in the next post.  In the meantime, please let us know if there’s anything you’d like us to dye up for your holiday knitting!

Happy NaNovember.

— Meg