<![CDATA[Freia Fine Handpaint Yarns - Blog]]>Tue, 29 Sep 2020 13:37:50 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[two-color cast-on two ways]]>Thu, 27 Aug 2020 20:11:00 GMThttps://freiafibers.com/blog/two-color-cast-on-two-waysHere are a couple of short videos showing two methods to create two-color cast-ons. Both are modifications of the long-tail cast on you may already know.

The first is a simple way to end up with two working yarns after you've cast on your needed stitches. This makes it easy to begin colorwork and takes the use of multiple colors all the way to the start of your project, unifying the look. This cast-on has the same amount of give as a standard long-tail cast-on.
The method in this second video is similar to the first, but this time you will end up with the stitches alternating in color. This cast on gives you a great starting point for working a two-color brioche. Because of the twist added during the cast-on you will have a bit more give than a regular long-tail cast-on, but it's not stretchy, it will only expand as loosely as your cast-on.
I hope you've found this informative and maybe learned a trick or have been inspired to try this out! Happy Knitting!
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<![CDATA[how to..                                                    match the carpet and drapes]]>Wed, 05 Aug 2020 17:15:22 GMThttps://freiafibers.com/blog/how-to-match-the-carpet-and-drapes
My house is a bit messier than I think it should be. When I get dressed in the mornings, given my job involves dyes and a lot of heavy lifting, what I wear is functional rather than pretty. My socks tend towards not matching more often than not, though for that I blame my dog who is a notorious sock thief.

But having worked with gradient yarns for over 10 years, one thing that I'm a stickler about is that the sleeves and body of a sweater knit with a gradient match up. Before I started Freia Yarns I worked with a few mass-produced self striping yarns which would notoriously have a break in the ball somewhere and a color jump. I would dig through the ball pulling out yards of yarn to match the established color sequence. I think anything less, unless hidden by the pattern of the piece, would have looked sloppy. 
That's all well and good with a scarf or shawl, but what do you do with a sweater? Here are some tips:
A pieced cardigan
For this you would have (generally) two fronts, two sleeves and a back piece. Each of the fronts is probably close in stitch count to the sleeves so those are easy enough to come pretty close. But your back piece is twice as wide as each front - the simple trick here is to work two balls at a time, alternating one row from each ball. By doing this you are extending the length of the gradient so matching it proportionately with the narrower pieces.

A top-down sweater
This one is also not too hard to solve. If you were being very particular the best bet would be to alternate two balls from the very beginning of the neck cast-on. As you work the yoke and the sweater gets wider, you might want to even bring in a 3rd ball, alternating each ball every round.  When separating the body from the sleeves it might be an idea to work one of the sleeves first (using just one ball) to get a sense of how fast the gradient shifts. You will probably need to dig around in a fresh ball to match up the colors to the yoke. Once the sleeve is done, when you work the body you can judge based on your stitch count and any patterning if you would need 4 or 3 balls for the body if you'd like them to come close to the color shift on the sleeves. Lastly repeat what you did for the first sleeve on the 2nd one. 
A bottom-up sweater
Many bottom-up sweater patterns will suggest that you begin with the body, however in this case I'd recommend beginning with at least one sleeve, again to get a sense of how fast the gradient shifts.  The body will in all likelihood have approximately 3 or 4 times the number of stitches as the sleeve - based on that you can decide how many balls to use for the body. Three times the number of stitches, you'd want 3 balls. It can be a bit of a juggling act but it's not terribly difficult and the end result is very much worth the little bit of extra work. 
I'm currently working on Spark by Andrea Mowry. I have knit most of the first sleeve and have held off the last couple of inches to see ​how the body plays out as I get close to the join at the underarm. I'm using three balls of gradient in the body which will shift faster than the sleeve but the body is on the shorter side so I'm thinking they should be a pretty good match by the time they meet. 
As I get closer I can modify the pace of the gradient as needed by bringing in or subtracting a ball. Once the sleeves and body are joined I will probably cut back to alternating just 2 balls to finish it up, this will speed up the color shift a bit but the change within the piece will be cohesive.
I will report back once I have the cardigan done, this is a fun sweater and the simple fairisle pattern suits the gradient well.
Project Tech Specs:
Yarn: Freia Merino Silk Worsted in Canyon and Ecru. This yarn is a little hard to find (your LYS might be able to order it for you), but you can easily sub in our regular wool Ombré Worsted (which is more widely available)

​I hope you've found this useful - ask any questions you might have in the comments below and I'll do my best to answer.
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<![CDATA[a little math for the brave..]]>Wed, 29 Jul 2020 21:37:40 GMThttps://freiafibers.com/blog/a-little-math-for-the-braveOK, so my blog plans fell a bit flat since my last post and I was beating myself up about it but then I remembered that it's 2020, and basically everything is pear-shaped with no end in sight. ​This whole post is in fact a bit pear-shaped which I suppose is quite apropos. 

In January I got about as sick as I ever thought possible with some heinous flu, (or so I thought) which in all likelihood was covid.  I'd just been in NY for a trade show with thousands of people. The thought of being around that many people right now just gives me the heebie jeebies. I didn't leave my bed for 2 days, then lay on my sofa for another 7 days, only leaving my house after 10 days, and even after that I think in the following 5 days I only left my house twice to go to work, and each time, within a few short hours, realizing that I still felt terrible and should just stay home, which I did. In the months that followed, as more was being learned realized that all the symptoms I'd had were a match, to the extent that it's only in the last month or so that my lungs feel close to normal. I'm honestly glad that covid was not a thing yet as I would have been freaking out I'm sure. I'm also glad that I banished all well-wishers, didn't go outside, and with little exception kept my distance from everyone for close to two weeks.
From there it's been pretty rough for everyone as we all know. 2020 has not been kind.

A month ago my sweet Rosie got suddenly ill with kidney failure and passed which has left me shaken and deeply sad to my core. I can't write what I'd love to tell you about what she meant to me as it's just still too raw, but I will say she saved me as much as I saved her and I really, really wish she was still here.  My heart has a big hole and my house is quiet without her.

And like so many this year, I put on a brave face and just keep going.
​​With great gratitude to the universe, Freia Yarns has  been ticking along, albeit at a gentler pace as we keep our distances, work staggered shifts and figure out the new normal. My staff have been doing an excellent job of keeping everything rolling under particularly challenging circumstances, I'm so grateful to them for their trust, their flexibility and their fortitude over the last few months. ​ 
With more time at home; along with more dog hikes, bread baking, cooking, vegetable gardening,  watching my bird feeder,  and the NY Times crossword,  I thought I'd give a shot to learning the guitar. I started at the end of April, I won't say I'm worth listening to, but I suck a little bit less each day; more importantly, I've found it to be surprisingly relaxing and takes me to that place where you lose track of time entirely. It opens up the same creativity channels in my brain that I get from knitting design. It's a great feeling. 

(Big shout out to Fender.com for their excellent online lessons - and my pretty silver Telecaster! )
 Which leads me to my favorite design (of mine) of the last few years.. Passeggiata is a design that is born out of lockdown that I published in early March of this year. It calls for the Freia Minikins which become Missoni-like with the gradient color changes in the zigzag striping in the body of the shawl. It's all bordered by a stabilizing easy to work entrelac border, giving the piece a nice polished look. And it's big, very big, but it's also lightweight, so you can drape it lightly for a splash of color, or wrap it multiple times as needed for soft, toasty warmth.

As I've seen varying versions of the Passeggiata I get so awed by all the possibilities, it may well be that no two will ever be exactly the same. With 64 Minikin colors to choose from, then factor in the sequence of the 9 colors selected by each knitter and the starting end of the ball, I'm not mathematically clever enough to figure it out how many variations can be made, but my mother might be so I've put in a call to her and will let you know the number she comes up with.. or do you know? (ETA she's saying it's 63 to the power of 9x2, which is a number I'm not sure I can even pronounce: 15,633,814,156,853,823 x 2)
This fall a couple of shops will be offering their own color combos which I will share with you once they are released, the samples I've seen are just dreamy.. Check out the versions made so far on Ravelry here.
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<![CDATA[inspiration and mimicry]]>Sun, 27 Oct 2019 13:55:38 GMThttps://freiafibers.com/blog/inspiration-and-mimicry
When I was telling friends and LYS owners that I would be moving from California to the Berkshires in Western Mass, without fail - after the inevitable "Why?" - everyone had mostly the same two comments:  "You know the winters are terrible" and "Wow, this will give you all new colors to inspire you!". My first winter, though bitterly cold some days, was ultimately survivable if perhaps a bit long in the tooth come April.  As for inspiration, it is endless. My colorful commute changes daily and never ceases to be jaw-dropping every.single.day..
Spring is bright with luminescent greens in the new leaves, rainbows of tulips, purples in the crocus and lilacs and seas of pink rhododendrons. In summer the greens turn rich and deep, the roses come out, the saturation of all colors deepens. Autumn is unrelenting with waves of gold, orange, red, yellow, mustard, tan, ochre, rust and bright greens in the well-watered grasses. The branches show themselves as winter draws in and the wind takes the leaves from the trees, transforming the landscape to greys and browns. When the snow finally falls, the world can turn almost into a black and white photograph, still breathtaking in the lines of the hills and skeletons of the bare trees, while pops of color in the red barns, mustard houses and occasional blue skies remind you that each season is both long and short and the changes between them - at least here in the Berskshires - quite abrupt.
From my studio at the Norad Mill  I have views to the South, West and North through 10-foot tall windows. We watch the storms come in over the hills from NY or Vermont, safe in our thick-walled building. The beauty of the Berkshires certainly has had an effect on the colors I've produced, but as I sit here knitting yet another Ninilchick Swoncho, this time in a palette of browns, mustards, greens and reds, I'm thinking that as much as it affects my dyeing choices, perhaps even more, the seasons may dictate the colors with which I choose to knit, never more apparent than in the fall when I'm drawn to the palette so vibrant and glowing outside. 
Whether it's mimicry or inspiration I can't say, maybe it's a case of full immersion into my surroundings and unconsciously bringing the color with me in my mind's eye as I go about my day. 

Do you find yourself following the seasons in your color choices? Where do you find your inspiration? Are you moved by the colors of fashion or social media, or do you go by the beat of your own drum?
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<![CDATA[Watercolors]]>Mon, 07 Oct 2019 07:00:00 GMThttps://freiafibers.com/blog/watercolors
A new concept in color
Picking colors is a little more challenging when working with multiple gradients in a single project. You have to look at how they all work together, across each gradient, decide how the colors will be placed and, if they abut each other, how that will change the look.

I had just finished my first Soldotna Crop (left) using a newish color for the body called Sprout. It was a bit of an odd bird, just shades of green, didn't really fit in with my other gradients, but I knew it was a keeper. The sweater looked great, and I had more ideas to fulfill.
Next on my list was the Ninilchik Swoncho, primarily to use particular gradients in the beautiful, chunky oversized motifs in the fair isle yoke. I loved the way this handful I'd picked played with each other; Canyon, Aurora, Chinook all have an earthy but modern appeal. From there, selecting the color to be the main part of the body wasn't going so easily. I didn't want a super dramatic gradient, but neither did I want a semi-solid. 
Since my list of sweaters in my queue was only growing longer I realized that I wanted to take a fresh approach to gradients. Time to create something that straddles the line. Something softer, with changes that stay within a single color but not the predictable dark to light. Shades of deep blues, pale creams, saturated reds. A hint of a change, not a rainbow. Something very wearable, but with a bit of extra interest, and so the Watercolor range was born. 
For the Ninilchik I chose Coral Reef, an equal mix of modern and classic with shades of peach from dull to bright. Of the Watercolor range, Coral Reef and Fossil probably have the strongest color change. Due to the construction of the Swoncho, being extremely oversized in the body, the color does convert to less subtle stripe, but take the same Coral Reef and put it in a basic scarf and you'll get a gentle flow as you knit through the ball. 
From here I was off to the races! I put three of the Watercolors together in GardenGate by Jennifer Steingass. Using the rich red of Starfish for the body and Squid Ink with Surf for the yoke. This might be my new favorite sweater of the season. What was doubly fun for me on this project is that I used a Yarn Bomb for the body, 2 Shawl Balls for the sleeves and 3 Minikins for the yoke and cuff patterning. I will talk about matching the body and sleeves of the different gradient balls in a later post, it's not hard to do and looks fabulous! 

In between projects I managed to slip in one more Soldotna .. (see my earlier post on Potato Chip Knitting.. clearly I have a problem... ). For this one I used Fossil, Pearl and Oyster, and our very bright Relish semi-solid for the trim. Another favorite of the season, like children, it's impossible to just pick one!
What I love about the Watercolors is they open up a whole new world of possibilities. They coordinate beautifully with the more dramatic gradients, allowing them to play off each other gently without competing. They also work great as stand alone colors, with a bit more dimension than a semi-solid - adding a touch more interest without being overwhelming, making them great for everyday wear and perfect for sweaters and larger garments!
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<![CDATA[pass the potato chips..]]>Sun, 15 Sep 2019 13:59:57 GMThttps://freiafibers.com/blog/pass-the-potato-chipsPotato chip knitting... you've heard this expression, right? Like potato chips, can't eat just one - with some knitting projects you can't knit just one row, one motif, or you must knit through to the next gradient, the dishes can wait.. 

Here are some favorite projects that fall well within Potato Chip Knitting.. Enjoy (or be warned)!
Soldotna Crop - design by Caitlin Hunter/Boyland Knitworks
I've knit two so far.. I have hankerings for two other color combos. Knit in our Sport yarn, it's a remarkably quick project, watching first the fairisle pattern develop, following that with the gradient, this is a tough one to put down.. 
Fox Paws - design by Xandy Peters
This project had the dubious honor of keeping more than one of my employees and myself up until almost dawn more than a few times knitting away at this. I chose to make mine with Shawl Balls and made it twice as long and twice as wide as called for in the pattern. Perhaps crazy but so worth it!
Electric Boogaloo Cowl - designed by Tina Whitmore
This project is quick, knit up in 2 balls of the Freia Worsted and watching the gradients play off each other makes this impossible to put down. Once you've done one you'll be itching to try out other combos. 
Lilnientreu Shawl by Ute Nawratil
I just started on this and I'm sensing the danger already. This is a project I've had in my "must try this" list forever. When I looked at the pattern and calculated that the yarn requirements perfectly suited using a Palette Pack and semi solid that was it. I've opted for a Neutral Zone Palette Pack and Ebony Semi-solid. I'm going on a trip later this week and it seemed like perhaps something I could travel with. TBH, I'm having a hard time putting it down and I've not even left yet.. 
These are just some of the ones I've made (or I'm making). In another post I'll share with you all the ones I think would be (or are) amazing in our gradients that I've yet to make.

What are some of your favorite Potato Chip Knit Designs? Share in the comments and pass the potato chips!
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<![CDATA[minikin mania]]>Mon, 02 Sep 2019 07:00:00 GMThttps://freiafibers.com/blog/minikin-maniaPicture
"A lot to love in a little package"

The beauty of having a yarn company is if I want a specific thing, I make it. I know I'm spoiled. This also means that I can play with yarns and, ultimately, share my fun ideas with you. I figure, if I needed it, other people would find they did too. It was time to re-knit  a favorite design as the original yarn suggested had been discontinued, but it would need a shorter gradient than currently available, I didn't want to ask that customers buy a full ball of yarn only to have to break it into segments and discard 1/2 of it. Enter the Minikin

We took our best-selling yarn - the mulesing-free US merino Shawl Ball - and make it small. Our minikins are 107 yards/.9 oz balls that perfectly match our Shawl Balls and Yarn Bombs, but in a miniature version. It's 1/4 size of a Shawl Ball, or 1/8 of a Yarn Bomb, but the base is identical. While dyeing these guys up new design ideas kept popping in my head. I'll share a few ways to play with minikins below. 

  • Use a minikin for a contrast color on a yoke of a sweater, or for a larger yoke, use a Shawl Ball and then match the design on the cuffs with the Minikin. For the Gardengate sweater by Jenn Steingass at left I used a Yarn Bomb for the body, one Shawl Ball for each sleeve and 3 minikins (2 dark and 1 light) for the patternwork. So easy!
  • Match a patterned sleeve to a body knit with a Shawl Ball as shown below right in Veera Välimäki's Breathing Space as knit by Jen Aviles. Jen used a Vertigo Shawl Ball for the body and a same-colored Minikin for the sleeves - Perfection!
  • Minikins are right-sized to use for a cool beanie, we're loving two of them together for Brioche Knots by Katrin Schubert - below is one knit by Jen in Dirty Hippie and Metropolis.
Another favorite is the Alaska hat.The first one is done in Espresso (2 balls) and Coho for the lovely sunrise and the second in Vertigo (2 balls) and Dahlia for the sky. I'm itching to make another, I think the next will be in Aurora for the sky with Canyon for the trees.. 
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Mismitts in Hard Candy and Aloha Minikins

​The Minikins have only been available a short time but I've been designing some fun Minikin-specific projects like these Mismitts fingerless gloves, using two balls with a slip-stitch overlay pattern in the contrast ball. Pictured below is the Brimfield scarf that uses 4 balls for a basic scarf, or you can easily expand the pattern repeat in both width and length for a bold wrap! I called the scarf Brimfield as the soft palette I used here brought to mind a favorite antique flea market local to us here in Massachusetts.
I like the idea of grouping the Minikins in curated palettes, making a pack that is ready to go all within a single color theme. This idea birthed the Palette Packs. There are currently 7 Palette options at the time of this writing, but as we release new colors each season we'll expand even further the offerings. I took the Back to Basics pack and designed the Countdown Shawl (below), this takes the mini-gradients and breaks them into a striped pattern, so each gradient looks randomized into a stripe (I have a thing for stripes...!)
I've been seeing a lot of great designs coming from other designers out there. Check out the NeoViking Hat by DrawFour Designs, and the swoon-worthy Freia Polychroma Scarf by Amy Gunderson.

Having the same gradient in multiple different sized balls opens up a world of options. And as usual I find myself with more ideas than the time to knit them. I've yet to get around to the sweater  re-knit that prompted this new yarn, but someday... someday...!
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<![CDATA[The Atelier]]>Sat, 20 Jul 2019 13:37:19 GMThttps://freiafibers.com/blog/the-atelierI think many knitters have a secret (or not so secret) fantasy of having their own yarn shop. I'm certainly no exception.

​I've been knitting for - wow - 45 years, and have always loved perusing yarn in shops. When I was little it was mainly acrylic, in garish primary colors, in drug stores or five and dimes. In my teens in England I would seek out actual yarn shops, still selling primarily acrylic, though some might at this point be stocking beauties by Rowan with more natural fibers and large color palettes and the accompanying pattern books full of inspiration and gorgeous photography. I was hooked.

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I come from a family with a rich history in the 'gentle arts'. My great-grandmother was an accomplished weaver, my grandmothers made lace, needlepointed endless chair seats, knitted, crocheted, embroidered.

​My mother made much of her own and my clothing as a child, stylish no less - oh those wide collars of the 70's made for wonderfully embarrassing school photos.. My aunt took me to Liberty's, endless floors of fabrics, fashions, yarns all perfectly presented to make them impossibly appealing. My mother took me to Hédiard in Paris (these days focused on food but back then - novelty wool bouclé in bright, saturated colors made me swoon!). 

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My aunt, mum and I went deep into a phase of stitching up every Kaffe Fassett needlepoint design as fast as he could publish them. I even had the hutzpah to call him up and ask for a job as a stitcher - he was very impressed that I'd finished his Rose Trellis Rug (which now resides in my craft room) and I ended up doing a freelance stint for Nepenthe, his parents restaurant and gift shop, stitching up a few sample pillows for them.

​Moving forward a few decades and I suppose it's no surprise that I'm in the field of slingin' yarn.  I chose to be more on the back end of the yarn business as I've learned I'm a process oriented type of person. The Making is the reward for me. 

I started designing, making kits, then a few years later shifted into dyeing the yarn and shortly thereafter added having the yarn custom spun to my specs. (Someone please stop me before I get my own sheep!). But all this time there was that nagging of wanting a little yarn shop. 
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Finally, 20 years "in the biz" and a cross-country move later, I have it. My own little atelier, a place of pretty yarn, on pretty shelves. Display elements from my various trade shows scattered about, including cones of yarn "ice cream" and our internet-famous lady of the ombré dress (she still needs a good name). I have a shop dog, of course - not always so well behaved but we're working on it. I have a large table for knitters to sit a bit, enjoy the view from our large mill windows - and the view of the working studio. Here you will find every yarn that we make, plus a few extra things, and some great secret deals. We have all our samples on display so you can get inspired and gain a deeper understanding of all the possibilities of a gradient yarn - far beyond the shawl! Plus when you visit you get to pick our brains - we know the yarn backwards, inside and out. We can help you pick the perfect yarn and project for that yarn, and we have years and years of experience to share.

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On the days we are open we run brief workshops - Freia Fifteens - quick skill building lessons in a set theme for those who want to improve or even learn something entirely new. In addition to sharing the feel good factor of just visiting a pretty yarn shop, or learning something new, every studio open-day we donate 15% of gross sales to a local charitable organization. I want to give something back.

With a lot of hard work, and a good dose of good luck I've landed in a place I love doing what I love. I hope if you find yourself in our little neck of the woods you will come by and enjoy our little atelier as well. 

The studio is located at 60 Roberts Drive, Suite 204, North Adams, MA. For monthly opening times please sign up on our mailing list, or keep an eye on our Instagram feed, or check back on this page for hours and days we're open.

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<![CDATA[change of season]]>Mon, 03 Dec 2018 00:23:18 GMThttps://freiafibers.com/blog/change-of-season Picture
We talk a lot about the weather here in the Berkshires, because, I believe, it's somewhat unique. There's a saying about how predictable the weather is here in it's unpredictability and whatever you have at the moment, it will be different in 10 minutes. So far this has proven to be true. Big picture, the seasons change, and dramatically and fast, but in a single day you can have any range of combos.. Whatever the weather, or the season I'm still in awe of the never ending beauty of the Berkshires, and surprise myself that I don't miss the West Coast in the slightest. My extended family descended upon my house for the Thanksgiving holiday which was truly a joy. My stepbrother kept a fire going in the fireplace the entire length of his stay. It was nice to be able to share a sliver of my new life with those I'm closest to. It seems it went well as everyone swore that Thanksgiving in the Berkshires was to be the tradition going forward.

Since my move I've been plagued with a series of never ending minor injuries, but I think I've worked mostly through the pinched nerve in my elbow that prevented me from knitting more than a few stitches at a time for near on 8 months. The broken toe is healed, trigger thumb is dormant, and the list goes on. So since I"m the picture of (almost) health, and snow is on the ground it's time to go skiing! I have a lifetime of downhill skiing in my background but I packed it in when I first adopted Freia as the cost of putting her into daycare, the lift ticket and the time away from my rapidly growing business put a damper on the whole thing. To add to that we don't have the best luck when it comes to skiing injuries in my family (from broken bones, back and knee injuries to TBI) it seemed maybe best to play it safe for a while. So now I"m in the land of cross country skiing and that's way more my speed I think at this point. First time in perhaps 40 years on cross country skis yesterday and it was good. I'm a bit bruised (what did I say about ski injuries?) but hooked.  That changeable weather just needs to do it's thing and dump more snow. 

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Now that I'm finally able to knit again I've been able to finish up and publish a pattern that holds great personal meaning for me. I've called it Forever Together as it truly is an homage to Freia and Cody. I never understood how people could find knitting to be healing or cathartic. When my father died last year I put my needles down entirely for months. After a bit I dabbled here and there, making a sample or two. Then Freia got sick, and Cody got sick and everything went pear shaped, and this time the design poured out of me. When she died, after the initial shock, it was all I could do, just narrow my focus and make one stitch at a time, one step at a time, finding a way through the heartbreak and loss. The world could have crumbled around me and I never would have noticed as my own world had been shattered to its very core. It was only when I was well into the design that I saw that it was an allegory of Freia and Cody's lives. Freia was complex, challenging, dominant and beautiful, Cody was perhaps simple, suffering deep anxiety, though completely normal with me, entirely dysfunctional with anyone else. Freia accepted him unconditionally and took care of him, kept him safe until he learned to feel safe. She protected him, taught him all her good and bad habits, and he tormented her with his pranks. They were inseparable. So this shawl tells their story; over time Freia grew older, less forceful and Cody filled in that space, keeping the two of them as a complete whole and in balance. Now it's almost a year since Freia died and as I write this my eyes well with tears. After she passed Cody had 3 months of being the bravest scared dog the world has known, until the time the cancer took him too. Rosie came to me a few days later, also from Chessie Rescue and promptly rescued me as I rescued her. A portion of the sale of each copy of the Forever Together pattern will be donated to American Chesapeake Bay Retriever Club so they can continue rescuing these great crazy, stubborn, difficult and smart American dogs.

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<![CDATA[finding home]]>Thu, 05 Jul 2018 03:19:31 GMThttps://freiafibers.com/blog/finding-homePicture
As I sit here on the 4th of July in the sweltering stillness of a summer heatwave, I'm embarrassed to realize that I've not written a peep on the blog since landing in Massachusetts. Moving one's house has a special set of challenges. Moving one's house and business, solo, some 3000 miles is a whole other ballgame. 

What would seem like minor inconveniences individually pile up to become a giant jigsaw puzzle, a physical and emotional challenge and a memory game all wrapped into one. Sleep is either entirely elusive or all encompassing. Exhaustion is constant. Yet the need to put on a smile, a pleasant air and carefree spirit is the only way to keep moving forward and somehow helps to reach each small milestone. There are the general logistics of starting a business (or re-starting in my case); permits, approvals, design and layout of work areas, unpacking, arranging, re-arranging, interviewing, hiring, training, all while keeping customers, employees and contractors happy as if it was simply business as usual. There are other more personal logistics like driver's license, health insurance, banking, notifying every personal and business connection of the move. Things like, finding the closest gas station, the post office, where to buy milk, drop off UPS boxes or pick up a prescription; where to get a good cup of coffee, a bagel, or a light bulb, garden tools (which garden tools do I really need? what are these plants growing in my yard anyway?), where do I find trash cans and the bags that go in them (do I really need THAT many trash cans? and which size for which room?), dishwasher soap (what kind of soap?). It's endless. I'm still unpacking, I counted today 16 boxes in my office, 15 boxes of clothes, 12 boxes of books that I've yet to touch. I wore the same clothes for the first two months, facing and overcoming my fear of the slightly scary basement that houses my clothes washer and dryer, because it involved less thought to just do laundry every couple of days than have to make a decision about what to wear let alone unpack a box to find something new to wear.

But now I've been three months in the Berkshires. I've watched the weather go from winter through spring and it's the height of summer. The first few weeks I'd wake up with wonder at the new coating of freshly fallen powdery light snow, that soon gave way to warmer weather and endless mud getting tracked into my kitchen by a happy Rosie. The maple tree outside my window grew leaves larger than the palm of my hand in what seemed like minutes, from buds that I barely saw before they morphed into a canopy of gently undulating waves of green. You can feel the seasons change almost overnight, it was cold and barren (but still beautiful) and then it was bright green. A week later the flowers all started taking their turns, lilacs, peonies, violets, tulips, roses and rhododendrons and a thousand other varieties. Now the leaves have turned a deeper, almost more serious shade of green, an added weight to the color and spring had shifted to summer, foreshadowing the coming fall.

Work at the studio has started to hum along, with only a few mishaps on the way. A broken leg (not mine), a torn ankle ligament (also not mine) and a broken toe (that one's mine) all injuries sustained outside of work that make us look like an odd limping bunch. The new employees are on the fast track experience-wise and seem to be enjoying the ride so far. Shipments are going out the door, which is what helps keep those doors open, so all is good. In a mad sprint before the summer TNNA trade show a few weeks ago, I developed four new colorways which I'm excited to share with you in the coming months. I was questioned more than once if I felt my color development would shift with the move, and I can now say with certainty that it has. There is a clear influence of a Berkshire palette in these new colors.

It takes work to move somewhere new and find your place. In the time I've been here, I've been exploring and learning, devouring the local paper for events and local news. Learning the streets, stretching my boundaries. I've been to antique fairs, tag sales, talking to people, finding local foods, local music, theatre, cafes and restaurants. I've had my photos published more than once in the local county paper, and had a story written about me in another paper. I've had strangers say to me "hey! aren't you the yarn lady?". I've met so many of my neighbors, and have had engaging conversations with all of them. I've fallen in love with the towns I visit and have developed a deep curiosity for the Appalachian Trail that runs through this region.

Yesterday morning, I started my drive to work, I opened all the windows to let in the morning air and kept the AC running to offset the heatwave. I put on a favorite CD (Steel Pulse's Handsworth Revolution), turned the volume up high and, with apologies to Rosie, sung along for the length of the album (and my commute). Two thirds of the way along my drive I found myself thinking: "yes, this is home."

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