30 April 2013



I must say, there are a lot of cats in my life right now - and I'm really a dog person. A Siberian Husky person to be exact. Last week I was having a conversation with one of my coworkers, for some reason we were talking about dogs, and she said the only dog she would ever get was a Siberian Husky. And it was like we were soul mates for a few seconds, because I completely agreed with her. 

Huskies are intelligent, playful, extremely clean (except when they shed) and beautiful. That being said, they are also full of energy, curious to the point of destructive, mouthy (they will tell you off with a mixture of howls, yowls, whines and barks) and totally beyond the caring capacity of an urban household of two working people. 

But I wish I had the lifestyle where I could own a husky. 

As you can see, the flowers are blooming and another weaving project is in the works. This is another joint effort between me and my mom. We set up the loom together and she's doing the weaving. The black cat with the golden eyes is hers and the cupcakes were a special treat that Ashley baked. They're called Black Magic cupcakes and they are wonderful. Black magic and a black cat and - oh! - I named the sock yarn Black Magic as well. 

28 April 2013


Finally, the clouds rolled away, the snow melted and the sun came out. We have been blessed with three consecutive days of warm breezes and lemon-colored light and I think most of us here in Minnesota are willing to at least entertain the option that spring (which feels more like summer today) has finally arrived - and I for one am going to leave my flip-flops by the front door.

I've carried my seeds and my delicate seedlings out to the sun porch and I've started to dream about which seeds will be scattered where. Will it be pole beans this year or golden climbing peas or both? Both, I think.

My husband and I have been taking a class to join a church. We've been going for four weeks. The class has an assortment of people - couples, singles, old and young. One man has stood out for me from the first class. He self-described himself as someone with OCD and said we should feel free to just let him gently know when he's spent too much time talking - so that other people can be heard. Well, he was true to his word and more than once the pastor has had to gently turn the conversation away from him and back to the topic at hand, but this man has stayed positive and kept returning to the class week after week, offering his favorite quotes. It's not good of me to say, but I started to tune out this man after about his six attempt to sidetrack the conversation, and really didn't listen to him. I categorized him as someone I shouldn't waste my time listening to.

Until today.

Our fourth and last class, and if the truth were to be told my husband and I were lucky we even made it to the class, because it's been a pretty rough week for us. But we made it - fifteen minutes late. The same man started talking again, but he was talking about seeds. Something about how you should sow the seeds of joy in your life and not sorrow. And my ears perked up. And I listened.

And I said a prayer for forgiveness for judging that man and the hundreds of thousands of words I've tried not to hear him say over the course of our class - because he said the words this week that are carrying me through.

We never know who our teacher might be until they reveal themselves - and they are never who we think they should be.

I feel blessed today. I am not alone. 

24 April 2013

the in-betweens

The "in-betweens" are that place in a creative project when you're neither here nor there. Many creative decisions have been made to lead you in a certain direction, but you may be uncertain as to where the project will ultimately end up and how you'll - um - tie off all of those loose strings.

This is also defined as creative risk-taking for introverts such as myself. I may not be rock climbing or pedaling in the bike lane, but I do put myself out on a limb every now and then. I'd say the real risk here is investing precious time in something that doesn't turn out, or isn't what I expected in the first place.

That's also the beauty of trying something new. Starting, exploring, wobbling, building confidence, skipping, jumping, making mistakes, moving on - creating a good life. To get all that you have to go through the "in-betweens." It's like I'm always stuck in a creative person's Bermuda Triangle. Stormy seas, bugs in the biscuits and shark infested waters - but there might be an island with a sunny beach and palm trees just over the horizon . . . here I digress. (I'm never really getting out of this boat.)

The lovely lace cowl comes from the Sock Yarn Studio pattern book that I shared in a previous post and the yarn is our own, of course. It can be found here in many wonderful colors and hues. I finally finished my Rose Quartz mitts, you can bet I'll be happy to have those at Shepherd's Harvest.

Have a lovely evening everyone, I'm wishing you smooth sailing.

22 April 2013


As the snow falls here (and falls and falls and falls) I am tucked safely up in my gable room with a cozy candle to keep me company and a pile of embroidery floss on the table in front of me. Through the window I can tangibly see the snow accumulating on the roof of our neighbor's house. What was once a slate-colored asphalt roof is now fuzzy with snow and crisscrossed with squirrel tracks.

Luckily, I beat this snowstorm home from work - last week I sat in traffic for over an hour just trying to get home. Phew, I've been busy this weekend and I wonder if all of this creative energy isn't a result of my mind attempting to distance myself from the nasty conditions outside. My garden has been in my thoughts and it sprung onto paper yesterday afternoon as I was doodling a few pictures.

I've always been interested in the goings on under the soil. We always see the beautiful flowers above the earth, but it's what's beneath it that sustains all of that color and brilliance. The soil can be dark and wet and yucky, but it is also filled with rich nutrients, crawling insects and woven through with roots of all types. There are many riches buried beneath the plants in my garden.

Stitching the soil has been my favorite part of this project. I went and bought an assortment of embroidery floss. Matte, silk, variegated, metallic - I'm excited to work them all in.

If you can see the dirt in your neck of the woods, trust me - you're lucky!

20 April 2013

color play

The weekend finds me thrashing through my closet in search of something to wear to a family wedding. The weather (of course) is not cooperating. A light spring dress with some cute shoes should have been an obvious choice for a late April wedding, but now I'm contemplating my snow boots and various layers of tights and wool.

The project above is currently on Ashley's knitting needles, but I had to snap a few shots to share it with you all. The pattern is called Shaelyn, available here and the yarn is our Forever in Blue Jeans colorway available here. We just dyed two new batches of this colorway because we love it so much (and also the first batch someone (she shall not be named, though it's probably a bit too late for that) snatched and started knitting with before we could post it to our shop. That's one of the downfalls of creating your own products, I suppose. Wanting it all for yourself.

The pretty columbines were sitting in a sunny spot at the garden center up the street a few days ago. I'm waiting for my own columbines to push up through the soil in our backyard. Soon. 

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

17 April 2013


What warms you from the inside out? I guess part of what my answer to that question is shown here. Good food, our home grown wool, a good story to spur my imagination. I got out of work a few hours early yesterday and hit the grocery store, took a long walk around my neighborhood and then started chopping, sauteing and seasoning in the kitchen.

The lentil and vegetable soup above comes from Deborah Madison's Vegetable Soups cookbook - an old standby in my kitchen. It called for a dash of cumin and a few dashes of turmeric, spices to warm your belly and heart on a cold, grey day like today. The spices also make the soup a rich yellow color. (On a side note, you can also use turmeric as a natural dye for fiber, something I've wanted to try, but never have.)

Good books, good books. I snapped a quick photo of my mother's bookshelf when I was up at the farm this weekend. I would recommend all of the books in the image. The yarn above was also a result of our creative efforts over the weekend. We'll post these new additions to our shop soon. We're looking ahead to Shepherd's Harvest Festival in May. We'll be selling our fleeces, fiber, top and yarn.

16 April 2013


An image from one of my mom and Ashley's walks a few weeks ago. It's still frosty here in Minnesota, but we're sending warmth and love to you folks out east.

13 April 2013

barn notes : lambs are here!

We sure are lucky that our lambs are born with a soft layer of warm wool, because the snow was flying today on our visit to the farm. My parents have worked very hard these last three weeks as shepherds. All of our lambs are happy and thriving - and we don't have any bottle-fed lambs this year. That means my mom and my dad don't have to get up every three hours in the middle of the night to feed a baby lamb. 

We also got a new shipment of yarn from the fleeces of our lovely sheep. This yarn is worsted weight, and it is so soft that even the mill commented on it's quality. That feels good - but it (the yarn) feels even nicer against our cheeks and in our hands. We're already planning projects and keepsakes. You can find it here.

09 April 2013

a spring nest

Impending winter storms have me building a safe and warm spring nest here. Like a little bird I've been collecting bits here and there to keep me occupied while the weather outside is nasty. My husband and I will still have to venture out to work - but once we're home for the evening, we're not going to go far.

I got my tomato seeds planted last weekend. I'm hoping to have some success with two types of tomato plants: Italian Heirloom and Black Krim. According to the seed packet the Italian Heirloom tomato is easy to peel and ideal for slicing and canning. The Black Krim is a Russian tomato named for an island in the Black Sea. (Very exotic!) These gems come to fruition in mid-August - probably because of their colorful Russian heritage. I ordered these seeds from Seed Savers Exchange. I just love flipping through their seed catalog.

I've been baking and working on my embroidery project. The peanut butter chocolate chip cookies are great! I didn't have any vanilla, so I added a dash of cinnamon to the mix. Experience tells me that shouldn't have done much - but cinnamon and peanut butter kinda go well together in certain circumstances. Lamb stew was also on the menu last week. I loaded it with carrots, celery, potatoes, mushrooms, garlic and onions - and topped it off with some brown sugar.

Okay, we can get through one last winter storm, right?

07 April 2013

spring has arrived!

It feels like spring has arrived to me - at least I wanted to lighten up the image that greets everyone when they visit Tendril & Twine. The old header had a long run and a lot of personal significance. The yarn in the image is some of our hand spun and the photo was snapped on the old hardwood floor of my parents' 100 + year-old farmhouse before it (just the floor) was torn out and replaced with new flooring.

This new image features one of the handkerchiefs that my grandma Lois gave me as a wedding present. (Many of the frills and pretties that are featured on this blog have been passed down to me from family.) Initially I was going to wrap the handkerchief around my wedding bouquet, but that didn't work out, instead it sits on my desk reminding me daily of my grandmother and frequently appears in this blog under hand knits or tea cups or poetry books.

The description of my blog has changed over the years as well, as I continue to grow and re-define myself. I like describing myself as a "displaced farm girl." I did grow up on a dairy farm here in Minnesota and my parents still reside there and farm, though things have changed since the 80's - it's sheep and spinning now, instead of dairy cows. Change is good, but it's nice to have places and people that pace us a we grow - remind us who we were and encourage us to be who we are now.

Thanks, Mom and Dad. For the farm and for . . . everything.

06 April 2013

multi - tasking

These days I can't seem to do one thing at a time, for better or worse I'm always multitasking. Today for instance, I've worked on a knitting project an embroidery project and started reading a new book - all while I'm supposed to be studying for my first ARE (Architect Registration Exam). When you work all week in an office, it's very difficult to spend your weekends doing the same thing and never coming up for air. I think this blog proves that I come up for air quite often and maybe I need a bit more discipline.

Oh hum.

I will study, just as soon as I finish this one little thing . . . and then four hours go down the tube. Perhaps I will study tomorrow? Yes, I will clear the whole of my schedule tomorrow for studying. It will be great, but I really should get those mitts done before the weather gets too mild.

You see the situation.

The new novel I'm reading is The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro and I'm liking it a lot. I was a huge fan of The Historian and The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova and this novel seems to have a bit of that flavor. It's too soon to tell, but I'm excited about it.

I also checked a new knitting pattern book out from the library, that's where the pattern "Alexander Street Hat" comes from above. This one's called Sock Yarn Studio, compiled by Carol Sulcoski. It seems like a perfect companion for Crosby Hill Farm's sock weight yarn. I'm going to knit this hat using our Sea Foam and Fairy Queen sock yarn colorways. You can find our yarn here.
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