Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Relocating blog

After much internal debate I have started to blog again but on a different platform.  You can find me at which will showcase fiber creations, business explorations and general happenings in the day of a fiber addict.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Blogging isn't my thing

When I first started my home based business (Herie7 Natural Fiber Treasures) my research stated that I needed a blog and to not make it a personal diary.  Well I embarked on the journey of selling my wares and started to write about my business ventures and exploration of fibers.  As time progresses I find myself blogging less but definately selling more and networking a lot more.

I have a decent online presence on Etsy and a small one on Ebay.  My following is much stronger locally in the Denver metro area and 2 local shops carry my wares.  This is my second year of having merchandise at the Colorado Renaissance Festival too.  I created a Facebook fan page which as of today has 56 followers.  Then I discovered Twitter and blogging just seemed to stop for me :(!  I love networking on Twitter and have over 100 followers.  I regularly communicate with fiber artists in the UK and throughout the US.

My business is still going strong and I seem to make new connections weekly either online or in town.  I have cleaned my first Lincoln wool fleece and have managed to predominately felt the alpaca fleece while cleaning it.  Not sure what went wrong but hope to save most of it for the custom yarn order I am doing.  Yes, I was approached in the spring to create a mohair/alpaca yarn blend for a local goat owner.  It has been educational and time consuming at the same time but my hand carders are getting used.

Next year I really do want to invest in a drum carder but for now the hand cards are what is in use.  This is year 2 of my participation in Tour de Fleece and I have also agreed to be in a Ravellinic team for this year's olympic celebrations.  Sorry to not blog as much but you can always touch base with me on Twitter (@nashc7).  Before I leave here are some photos of the latest projects.

Norwegian Wool hand spun

White Mohair Silk Scarf

Alpaca merino hand spun

BFK knit cowl

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fleece cleaning time

Picked up the mohair locks on Saturday and paid for the alpaca fleece to blend with it.  My fleece cleaning skills are not as strong as they used to be.  As alpaca doesn't have lanolin one doesn't need hot water to clean the fleece.  I mistakenly let the water get to hot and agitated a batch.  It is not a very pretty white felted mess - ugh!  My second batch was warm water which hasn't felted but is not as white as I would like it.  I'm thinking of switching to cleaning the Shetland fleeces in order to get my cleaning temperature right.  Luckily I have a lot of mohair and can do an 80/20 blend of alpaca for the commissioned yarn.  Hoping to start blending the fibers with my new dog combs - need to research this technique more.  I don't want to make them into rolags but more of a top fiber.  We shall see how it goes.
Alpaca Fleece
Mohair Fleece

The dog hair hat is progressing.  I discovered last week it was too short so have extended the length of the hat.  Found another pattern design for the bib edge of the hat which I will start on tonight too.  It is a very fluffy hat with the dog fibers puffing out to give it a furry look.  The buyer likes it very much and that is the important thing.

Gray Shetland
Black Shetland
My Shetland fleeces arrived and they are so beautiful.  Both came from sheep at Pinon Wood ranch in Southern Colorado.  As each weighs only around 2 lbs I am going to process them at home versus sending them to the mill.  I will reserve the mill for alpaca and wensleydale fleeces as they will be larger. 

On the sales front I sold a ruffle scarf to a buyer in Sao Paulo, Brazil this month.  It is always exciting to have international sales!  I also received positive feedback on the trio of blended roving that was purchased on EBay.  April sales all came from EBay my other venues have been non existent.  I am still making lots of yarn though and keeping busy.  I N-plied my alpaca/milk roving and it turned out rather well for my first venture using that technique.  Just spun up some dyed "virgin wool" roving that I purchased from Shuttles, Spindles & Skeins.  It spun up easily with a texture that reminded me of felting fiber but smoother.  The colors were purple and burnt yellow which blended well - it will be plied later this week.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sunshine can chase away the blues

It was warm and sunny in Denver and the alpacas/llamas were all sunbathing in between halter training sessions.  My spirits were definitely lifted today and hopefully will remain so throughout the coming weeks. 

Wool Alpaca Scarf
On the project side I have finished the second woven scarf and it has received encouraging feedback.  All of the dog hair has been spun into a single and will be plied tomorrow.  I have both woven scarves washed and drying along with the plied white Wensleydale yarn.  The bag of yarns destined for the shop Wild Yarns have new labels and invoice ready to go.  I think I shall be concentrating on the second knit scarf and spinning up a couple of skeins of alpaca/milk protein yarn (must diminish the stash).

Cheryl at Recycled Lamb was very encouraging today and shared that March thru July tend to be slow sales months as many of our customers are working in the gardens.  It seems that these two hobbies tend to go together which I can agree with as it describes me.  Although it is only March in Colorado and much to early to be planting in gardens.  We have had several days/weeks in the 60s and 70s which is not normal and I'm sure a huge snowstorm will hit us before the end of May.

A weaving class or two is definitely in my future as it is not as intuitive to me as knitting.  Need to learn how to make my edges appear even and how to better carry yarn along the edge in a multi color scarf.  Ranch life definitely has a far better purpose in life than corporate America.  After all if you don't show up to work on a ranch it could mean injury or hunger for the animals on the property.

Side note the new orchid (shade loving plant) is still alive and well and opening up to bloom any day now!  The air plant is also alive and thriving in its new home.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New Weaving Loom and Page Design

1st woven scarf
First of all I decided to brighten up the page.  How do you like the new template?  Spring is in the air and green just seems to speak to me this month.  March is also the beginning of learning to weave!  Yes, I finally broke down and bought a Cricket tabletop loom.  It is wide enough to make scarves and let me play with color combinations.  My first scarf is finished and the I have a second design on the loom featuring some hand spun alpaca yarn from Sophie Mae.  I have lots to learn like how to use a pick up stick but am starting out slow.  See pictures to the right.

new scarf w/hand spun yarn
The dog hair is still being spun and beginning to fill up a bobbin.  I have also started spinning the Wensleydale white roving from DeGoatsnSheep ranch in Bayfield, CO.  My fleece order has been placed with them and I will be picking it up at the end of April.  Still waiting to hear back from Pinon Wood Ranch in Southern Colorado on the Shetland fleeces.

On the knitting needles is a second scarf from the book Arctic Lace.  I have finished the 1st one using the yarn purchased at Fancy Tiger and it turned out beautiful.  A friend asked if there was a matching hat and I had to let her down gently.  Lace yarn does not make for sturdy hats especially not this one.  It didn't even want to make a textured pattern well which probably has something to do with it being a one ply yarn. 

On the selling front I sold two items at Ancient Treasures Yarn Shop this month and had a wholesale order for the black alpaca/merino wool rovings from Recycled Lamb.  I did spin up an ounce of the roving before offering it for sale and it was a joy to spin.  February was also a slow month for hand spun yarn at Wild Yarns but I am confident things will pick up.

Still working on my fiber blends for fleeces to be sent to the mill this spring.  Definitely leaning to adding tussah silk to the Wensleydale.  The Shetland fleeces may be color blended together or if the staple length matches the alpaca fleece I may blend it with it.  My fiber stash has grown but it is still manageable.  I need to be more dedicated to spinning up the alpaca/milk rovings into 3 to 4 oz yarns as I have several pounds left of this and it is not in Ziploc bags. 

The weather has been very sunny in Denver and thoughts of fitness have entered the mind.  I am actually looking into buying a bicycle but the Cruiser style.  It will be nice to be out an about a bit more as most of my activities have me in enclosed buildings.  I am also starting to have dreams of living and working on a ranch again.  The idea of owning a few Shetland or BFL sheep along with a couple of alpacas just sounds nice.  Of course I am still a city girl with a mortgage to pay so alas this will be a dream for a bit longer. 

I hope your March is treating you well and your adventures with fiber, yarn and needles is an enjoyable one.  Until next time - have a great week.