Welcome to Moonlight and Laughter.  It seems that it has been a while since I posted here.  Life has been busy and hectic.

I have been dyeing some silk scarves recently.  Here is a photo of some of the scarves hanging in my shop.  During the winter months I turn one of my living rooms into a little shop in case local customers want to stop in and visit.  If you would like to come for a visit contact me at Moonlightandlaughter@gmail.com.

Silk Scarves All in a Row

Silk Scarves All in a Row


My Etsy shop can be found at moonlightandlaughter.etsy.com and if you like my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MoonlightandLaughter,  you can keep up with what is currently happening with Moonlight and Laughter.

Time to return to holiday knitting.  Wishing you peace, love and a little moonlight and laughter this holiday season.

The newest members of the family wanted to say hi, but Latte was too tired to stay awake for the photo.  From the names one might be able to tell my brother is a coffee roaster.

Cappuccino and Latte

Cappuccino and Latte

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What Are You Knitting?

I am getting ready to begin dyeing some new yarns, and am wondering what my customers are looking for.

I have been knitting hats lately, and have been using a lot of DK weight yarn. My goal is to knit a hat a week this year.  So far I am on track and am enjoying trying different patterns.  I have used several patterns from Weekend Hats: 25 Knitted Caps Berets, Cloches and More .  I was pleased when I discovered that I like almost every pattern in the book, and may just be knitting them all this year.

These hats were made from Moonlight and Laughter DK Weight yarn.  The first is the Union Long Beanie.  I still need to find a button to put on the side tab.

This lovely beret’s name is Greenery, so I had to make it with my “Lichen” colored yarn,  My choice may have had something to do with this being one of my all time favorite colors that I have created.

This Annex Snood was made with some of Fingeringweight/Sock Yarn and I think it makes a great hat for spring.  The pattern had a strap that I eliminated because I have a very difficult time actually knitting a pattern as it is written.

 I have also been enjoying making Honey Cowl, a free Ravelry download.  I am on my fourth-they are like potato chips…hard to make just one.   I saw Kay Gardiner from Mason-Dixon Knitting had made several and wanted to see how addictive they really were-a major mistake perhaps.  It is a pattern easily memorized, with every other row being a knit row, so it’s a good project for times when you aren’t able to totally focus on your knitting.

This cowl was made from some of my Tweed Fingeringweight/Sock yarn in the colorway “Santa Fe Sunset”, and I am looking forward to wearing it next winter.  Although since we haven’t really started having spring here in Massena, wearing the cowl is the only reason I am looking forward to next winter.

Honey CowlGerard was quite helpful while I was taking the photos of my hats.  He was on guard so the hats and the mannequin head did not try to escape.

I’d love to hear what you are working on, and what type and weight of yarn you would be interested in seeing me dye.

Happy Knitting!

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Knitting Season Has Arrived

It’s the time of year when knitters kick into high gear with their projects-finishing UFO’s and starting new ones.  In the new year it seems like along with resolutions, it is a good time to start some new projects too.  I just received a new mitten book by Robin Hansen called Ultimate Mittens.  Her book Favorite Mittens is a classic,  and a favorite of mine.  The new book is chock full of more new “old” patterns. Robin’s books are a history of mitten making in the Northeast-both Canada and the United States.  I have had requests in the last couple of weeks for mittens from my son Travis and my friend Paula.  Travis lost one of his Striped Mittens while cross country skiing, and Paula would like a backup pair.  She uses them when doing morning and evening chores on her farm and she says they are the only things that keep her hands warm.  They are so warm because they are double knit.

I am also fond of knitting Thrum Mittens. Thrum mittens are knit with little pieces of roving incorporated in the knitting so you have a fleece lined mitten when done.  I need to make more kits for the shop (the kit includes yarn, fiber and a pattern) but I can’t dye until it warms up a little bit.  My dye studio is in my basement and when the temperature is in the single digits it’s not conducive to a day of playing with dyes, with my hands immersed for much of the time in freezing cold water.  I hear that we are going to have temperatures in the 40’s soon, and if that happens I’ll be down there making lots of pretty yarn and fiber, and maybe a few silk scarves too.

Moonlight and Laughter Thrum Mitten Kit

If you are interested in keeping informed on updates to my shop, and finding out what is going on in my colorful world, please like my Facebook page.  It’s a great place to discover what is going on at Moonlight and Laughter, as well as get special offers just for my Facebook friends.

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2011 Holiday Craft Food and Wine Show

I will be at the Craft, Food and Wine Show at Cheel Arena on Friday, December 9th from 12-8 and Saturday December 10th from 9-4. Stop by and see us-lots of hand dyed fiber and yarn, handpainted silk scarves, upcycled hand woven potholders, Christmas ornaments and more for your shopping pleasure. It is a great show and a wonderful place to do last minute Christmas shopping.


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Changes are Coming to Moonlight and Laughter!

Welcome to those who have arrived here from the Phat Fiber group on Ravelry!!!

I’m in the process of redesigning my website, and for computer illiterate me, this is quite a challenge.  So if things look a little strange please be understanding of my feeble attempts at bringing together all the aspects of my business in one place.  My son is going to be helping me with this and he just arrived home from Austria, so I’m hoping things will be moving fairly quickly now.

For distraction here’s a photo of some pretty fiber I just listed in my shop.

Moonlight and Laughter, fiber, wool,  batt, spinning, roving, orange, peach, tangerine

Moonlight and Laughter Batt

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Moonlight and Laughter Fiber and Yarn

Welcome to Moonlight and Laughter!  My name is Marilla O’Brien and I am a dyer, knitter, spinner and all around fiber enthusiast.  Inspiration for dyeing comes from the landscape surrounding me in the beautiful St. Lawrence River Valley and Adirondack Mountains.   It seems that every drive or walk brings to mind a color combination I can’t wait to try on my next dyeing day.

Please visit my Etsy shop if you are interested in purchasing my hand dyed fiber and yarn.

A visit to my Facebook page will allow you to check out the latest Moonlight and Laughter news.  I also post special sales and discounts just for my Facebook friends, so please stop by and become a friend.

I have a Moonlight and Laughter blog where you can find out about what is coming out of my dye studio, as well as a bit about what is going on in my life that is not dyeing, knitting or spinning.

I have listed some of the sari silk ribbon I recently received in the shop.

Sari Silk Ribbons

Recycled Sari Silk Ribbons Moonlight and Laughter Fiber and Yarn

Silk ribbons are a versatile product that can be used for knitting and crocheting, weaving, rug hooking, embellishments in both art batts and scrapbooking, and anyplace your imagination can take you.  I intend to cover a lampshade with the ribbons.  I think it will make a big statement in the decor of my shop.  Now I just have to find the time to actually do it.  I always have more ideas than I have the time to accomplish these ideas, the fate of many an artist and crafter, I know.

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One Wanderer Returning, One Leaving

Right now what I should be doing is gathering my tax information. Instead I am writing this post because I can’t contain my excitement at the news that my son Tim is returning from Austria and will be settling, at least for a little while, in Lake. This means I will be able to see him on a regular basis, for the first time in nine years. It fills my heart with joy, and I am looking forward to a fun summer spent with three of my children, since the youngest boy is taking over his brother’s wandering ways and leaving in April to go to Nevada to train for a bike trip from Arizona to San Francisco and down the coast to San Diego. I’m not quite sure where these wanderers sprang from, but I think it’s a wonderful thing that they wander, as long as they return home.

I spent most of yesterday as a passenger riding to Ottawa airport to pick up my nephew and then going to Camden, New York to attend the wake of his Grandpa (my sister Jane’s father-in-law). 390 miles as a passenger and 60 miles of driving to get to and from my brother’s house made it a very long day, but I was glad to do it. As I told Ethan’s Grandma, as she thanked us, that is what family is for. It also enabled me to spend some time with my cousin and his wife, something that hasn’t happened in a long time. I appreciated the chance to reconnect and learn what is going on in their lives.
Camden is on Tug Hill and gets a lot of lake effect snow. This snow bank was on the edge of the funeral home parking lot. That is a huge Victorian house behind the snow bank. It seems they had a particularly snowy winter because this snow bank is somewhat melted.

Snow Pile in March, moonlight and laughter

All that riding gave me the opportunity to get some knitting done. I worked on my cardigan sweater, and I’m almost done with the body. I need to measure one of my sweaters to make sure I have the right length. I also started a pair of socks from some of my handspun.
moonlight and laughter, hand dyed, spinning, merino, wool

Handdyed Fiber and Handspun Yarn

I love the way these socks are turning out. I added stripes because I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough of the main color. I tend not to knit with my handspun, and I am going to make an effort to do it more often. Although the yarn does provide wonderful insulating properties in my house, knitting or crocheting with it seems like a better thing to do. I’m thinking of making an afghan using handspun. I need to give that project a little more thought-crochet or knit would be one of the major decisions. When it comes to afghans I usually opt for crochet because it is faster, but I’ve never crocheted with handspun.
As I was taking photos of the sock this morning Seamus was busy sleeping on a pink sheepskin.

moonlight and laughter, sheepskin

And Gerard was busy being his usual energetic self-scratching his neck on the carpet and almost tumbling down the stairs, embarrassing for a cat.
He also spent some time checking out the desk-seeming to have discovered it for the first time this morning, although it’s been in that spot for over a year. Silly cat.

Gerard, Seamus and I wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Don’t drink too much green beer! Do they still make green beer?
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I’m Late, I’m Late

This post was promised on Sunday to those Facebook friends who wanted the recipe I talked about making for my friends who came to knit on Sunday. I made Heath Bar Cookies and they are quite yummy.

Heath Bar Cookies
2 1/2 cups unbleached flour 1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt 2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 package Heath Bar Toffee or Chocolate Bits (or you can chop up some Heath Bars)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine Heath Bar pieces and chopped walnuts. Set aside. (I must confess that I did not sift the dry ingredients together and the cookies were fine.)
2. Beat together the butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla.
3. Alternatively mix in the flour mixture and the Heath Bar mixture, a third at a time, until well blended.
4. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Be sure to leave room between the cookies because they spread a little. (I did not line my cookie sheet with parchment paper because I couldn’t find my parchment paper, so I used an ungreased cookie sheet. Cleanup was a bit difficult because some of the toffee melted and then hardened on the pan.)
5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are just starting to turn brown. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack.
Makes between 5 and 6 dozen cookies.
I finished spinning the batts I threw together last week from bits and bobs I had left over from making batts for the shop. I was feeling the need to spin something light, fresh and spring-like, and ended up with approximately 420 yards of worsted weight yarn. I’m not sure what I am going to do with the yarn. I had intended to make socks, but I have more yardage than I expected, so now I’m thinking a little shawl of some sort. Or perhaps a cowl and some fingerless gloves. This yarn is definitely outside my color comfort zone-very pale and a bit pastel, but I still like it.

The yarn is actually a little more buttery yellow instead of white as it appears in the photos. I added a bit of angelina so the yarn has just the right amount of sparkle. From looking at the yarn on the bobbin it’s easy to tell I don’t have a Woolee Winder. I’m usually better at keeping the yarn even on the bobbin, but here was so much to talk about at my spinning group that I was distracted.

I’m also spinning two pounds of fiber I purchased at Rhinebeck a few years ago. I discovered it in the back of my fiber closet and have enjoyed spinning it, but sometimes need to take a break from the brownness of it to do something different. I’d say I have another pound and a quarter to go. I hope to get it done in time to make a sweater from it next winter.

Today is the day I finally need to face getting my tax information ready to take to the accountant. I am also going to the dentist this afternoon. Doesn’t that sound like a fun day? Tomorrow I will be going south to attend the wake of my sister Jane’s father-in-law. I will be riding with my brother so it will give me a lot of knitting time. We have decided that next year we should skip the month of March. Not only is it the season of frost heaves, pot holes and mud here in the north country, but it is a month filled with anniversaries of the days people I loved have left this world. It is also the month where we begin to see signs of spring, and the return of warmth to the north country, so it seems we have to keep it.

The return of warmth means the return of the Canton Farmer’s Market. I’m pining for fresh, local vegetables, and it’s such fun to be a vendor and see familiar faces returning to visit our booth. I especially love it when people bring projects to show me that have been knit with my hand dyed yarn or handspun from my fiber. I feel like I have been a part of their creative process, and that is a good feeling.
Seamus, pondering when that cold, white stuff is going to leave.

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When Will the Madness Stop?

The madness would be snow. I have tried not to complain too much about the snow here on the blog. (I save the complaints for Facebook.) I was on my way to bed and took a look outside and it’s snowing! There is 100% chance of snow tonight, 100% chance of snow or rain tomorrow, and 90% chance of rain on Friday. I’m glad I don’t live near any bodies of water that might flood. It seems that tomorrow ill be a good day for knitting and spinning.

Today was my spinning day. As always, I spent a lovely time with my spinning group with homemade vanilla pudding for dessert. Yum! My latest spinning project has been 2 pounds of wool I discovered at the back of my spinning closet that came from Rhinebeck a couple of years ago. It’s been fun to spin, but because of the above mentioned continuation of snow, I was in the mood to spin something a little light and bright, so I quickly carded up 6 ounces of pastel and white batts before spinning today. I think I got a little carried away with Angelina because I was covered with it when I was done spinning. I’m happy with the way the fiber is turning out. I am focusing on spinning worsted weight. I have a natural tendency to spin fingering weight yarn, and really have to concentrate to spin anything heavier. I think I’ve been successful. The 6 ounces is spun and waiting to be plied.
I will take photos of the yarn tomorrow. Not that I think there will be sun, but at least there will be light. I really need to make a light box. I seem to be resistant to the idea, and I’m not quite sure why. Perhaps it’s because one of the supplies is poster board, and the mention of poster board brings back many stressful times of being told by a child, usually at 8:45 at night, that poster board was needed for a project that was due the next day. And as hard as I tried to keep poster board on hand, I never seemed to have what was needed. I will work at overcoming my poster board aversion so I can create a light box and be able to take photos at any hour of the day or night.
Gerard’s eyes look quite freaky in this photo. He does love to sleep with hand knits. Can you see from this photo how tiny and svelte he is? 15 pounds of solid muscle, that is Gerard Fuzzywinkles.

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There’s a Dalek in the House, and Avocado Melmac Too!

I recently participated in a tea cosy swap on Ravelry. What a fun swap, and what a lovely swap partner I had. Her name is Eirian and she is from Penarth, Wales and works in Cardiff, both of which are locations where Dr. Who is filmed. I love Dr. Who! It’s an odd thing, because I am far from a fan of science fiction, but there’s something about this series that I love. The Daleks are Dr. Who’s most feared enemies, and I now have a Dalek residing on top of my tea pot. It made my day when I opened the package and saw what Eirian had crocheted for me in lovely blue and green yarn, my favorite color combination.

There were also lots of other goodies-her favorite book of 2010, some Dragon’s Bite Chocolate made in Wales, Yorkshire loose tea, some PG tips green tea, and “bits and bobs” from Wales-a Penarth thimble, a Wales stone coaster and a Wales refrigerator magnet.
The chocolate is broken because Seamus and Gerard were playing with it. I heard the fall of something to the floor, and then the thing being batted around. When I checked it was the chocolate. Darn cats!
Aside from the Dalek, the most exciting addition to the package was a chocolate Kinder Egg, which is contraband in the U.S. I feel so wicked. I personally think U.S. border agents are big fans of Kinder Eggs and are confiscating them and then eating them all. Here is Seamus, knowing it is evil, trying to knock the Kinder Egg to the floor.
And here’s Gerard investigating the invading (the Dalek’s love to invade) Dalek tea cosy. I had a difficult time photographing the tea cosy. It took me longer to get a good photo of the cosy than it takes me when I’m photographing my yarn and fiber for Etsy.

Eirian took the time to find out what I liked and created a lovely swap box, and I really appreciate it. It took almost a month to get here, and I’m thinking that was some kind of divine intervention, because I opened the package on March 4, which is the anniversary of Jane’s death, a day I definitely needed a lift. In some ways it is hard to believe that it has been a year, and in other ways it seems like yesterday.
I took a trip yesterday with Holly to put some new goodies in our booth at North Country Neighbors. It’s full of awesome new treasures, so if you are in the area you should check it out. While there both Holly and I made some finds in other booths that we could not resist. I realize that the reason I have the booth is to empty my house of way too much stuff, but this is the first time I’ve brought anything home (oops, there was that blue lamp), but other than the lamp I’ve been really good at not giving into temptation. So for $10.70 I am now the proud owner of these beautiful treasures.

OK, I’ll admit I love little ceramic animals, and these were so darn adorable. Look at the bowing birds that were made in Japan. They do have cute little faces, but I couldn’t get them to stand up. They actually rock. And since Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds is one of my favorite songs, how could I leave them there? I always try to follow the advice in this song to not worry about a thing, ’cause every little thing is going to be alright.

A stoneware, oven proof bowl from Universal-Cambridge, O. I’m sure my children would be tsking at me for bringing another bowl into the house, but I did take one to the booth yesterday, so the count of bowls has not increased.

I also found four new plates that I am going to use as my summer dishes this year. I have a small problem with dishes I’ve been told because I have three sets of dishes that I change seasonally, along with two sets of “good china”, one set my Mom’s, one set we received as wedding gifts, and a set of everyday stoneware that we received as wedding gifts as well. That’s not too bad, is it? These plates are Symphony from Salem China in Ohio and they are edged in 23 Karat Gold. Very fancy!

And the final, most awesome of purchases-avocado melmac-all this beauty for $2.50. How could I resist? I’ve been looking at them for weeks, and then there was this half price sale, and I realized resistance was futile.

I don’t know why, but I’m feeling the urge to serve deviled eggs on that platter. Wouldn’t they be beautiful? And I’m getting my Mom’s Jell-o copper molds out of the basement and taking my Joys of Jell-o cookbook off the shelf and returning to the 1960’s. We’ll have some ice cream punch in the cups too. It will be a party!
Time for some spinning. I am participating in handspun swap, so I’m going to start to spinning for that. Thanks for sharing my weekend acquisitions with me!
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