Monday, September 26, 2011

Spinning yarn in public

I do love spinning yarn in public and I got in 2 days this past weekend to do just that.  The young boys are the most interested in the craft and how to's of it all.  They ask great questions and really watch how it's done.  I try to have double and single ply yarns along with finished products to help visitors tie it all together.  For the little girls we relate spinning on a wheel to "Sleeping Beauty" as most of them have seen that movie.

Although I didn't have any sales it was a very productive weekend.  I made about 6 to 8 skeins of yarn plus I finished the second alpaca hat.  Some local alpaca ranchers have invited me to spin at a pumpking patch event they are attending.  They are even allowing me to sell some of my handmade items too.

I have the weekend off from demostrating but will be visiting a new yarn shop on Saturday.  I am looking forward to a relaxing week!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

It was great to catch up with the alpaca ranchers and see the animals at Alpacas on the Rocks today. Tomorrow is day 2 of

Friday, September 23, 2011

Small update

I am going to try something new on the blog front - small updates versus lengthy paragraphs.  Perhaps this will allow me to write more often.  The past month has had numerous health issues which have also impacted how much I am able to do.  I am participating in the Alpaca on the Rocks this weekend.  The evenings this week have been in preparation for the event.  I used my mill spun yarn to create a hat for the show my only concern is that it appears to be huge as the yarn is not as thick as the original yarn used for the project.  I am making a second one with less stitches to make it smaller.

On the spinning front I have 3 oz of alpaca/tussah silk spun and will be plying it tonight or this weekend.  The special order yarn is drying and I have started spinning the alpaca/milk roving.  The milk fiber is not as sticky as the silk so the VM does come out better.  Both rovings have rich medium brown color from the alpaca and will make nice yarn and projects.  As I have set aside rovings in 1 oz, 2 oz and 4 oz packages my overall stash of alpaca blended bamboo and silk has decreased.  Still need to follow up with my LYS on purchasing rovings.

Off to the docs soon then the day job.  I am not as prepared for this weekends event as the Farmers Market but a lot of my items are from last weekend and ready to go.  I do have 2 days for potential sales and a nice selection of items to present.  We shall see how it goes!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sales, Sales and more Sales

I am definitely enjoying the month of September thus far from a business standpoint.  We sold our first skein of yarn by the ranch this week and it is on its way to Hawaii!  The magical email from Etsy arrived in my mailbox to announce a sale and upon review I learned that it needed to be shipped from Colorado to the islands.  Ah isn't the internet a wonderful thing! 

Today was the farmers market in Golden, CO with set up at 7 a.m.  I sold some items there too!  I have committed myself to making another skein of the Black BFL roving into yarn for a customer who bought a skein of it today.  I have begun to spin it and should be finished tomorrow.  Best to work on these projects before the day job begins and when I have plenty of days ahead to finish it to reduce the stress factor.  My hand spun alpaca/tussah silk single ply yarn was the first sale of the day and of course it was when I stepped away from the booth.  I am still a little amazed to have others enjoy/desire my work but it is gratifying to have the things one creates admired by others.

Next weekend is Alpaca on the Rocks and I have several items prepped for the show from this weekend.  As I have now sold both of my knit alpaca hats I will need to make more of them for the winter season.  I'm thinking of making the pattern in my brown alpaca mill spun yarn and some white alpaca mill spun yarn.  I did receive several comments on the hat and the Estonian lace scarf today.  There were so many dogs at the farmer's market today who all had to great the alpacas and llama at our booth.  Colorado is a dog haven and they were definitely out and about with their humans today.

Lots of spinning on the radar this month.  I also received the Orenburg lace yarn which I traded roving for today in the mail.  It is a pretty pink color and will make a beautiful scarf in the near future.  Still waiting to hear from my LYS on carrying the new blended alpaca roving but I am having fun spinning it up myself.  If the weather brightens tomorrow I plan on working on photos for the site.  Need to get white background shots and closeups of the yarns and roving.  I haven't been that active on Ravelry but have been checking on the Etsy site.  So many beautiful items created by truly talented individuals around the globe.  Well I am off to rest for hopefully a slower day tomorrow.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

1st sale of the month happened today! A skein of yarn will be shipped to Hawaii tomorrow.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Spinning Marathon

I feel as if I am recreating my own Tour De Fleece as I have been very busy this holiday weekend spinning yarn.  At this point I have finished spinning 3 sets of singles, one black Shetland, one white Rambouillet and one off white Romney.  Each weighs 2 oz and will become 2 ply yarns.  The Shetland comes from Pinon Wood ranch in Norwood, Colorado and is from one of the rovings I purchased during the road trip.  I had to put one of them on the wheel - all that new fiber was crying out to be spun.  The Romney comes from my purchase at Estes Park and is part of the stash used in the Tour de Fleece.  My Rambouillet came from a shop on Etsy called Katrinas Wool World.  I have spun the remaining Yak cloud on my drop spindle into yarn and now need to go through the raw fiber I was given to see if I can add any length to what's on the spindle.  My drop spindle spun cotton has been placed on a bobbin as a holder and to free up the spindle.  I still have several bolls of cotton to spin up but noticed that as the spindle became fuller it was harder to add more fiber too it.  The joins of the cotton will be tricky as it broke in a couple places while transferring it but I think it will make a nice 2 ply yarn.  Can't forget to boil the finished yarn to set the twist - that should be fun.

This was the listing of the wool on the site: "Washed wool fleece with a 3 inch staple. I think this will spin up to a lofty yarn. This wool does have some chaff and discolored ends, It has been priced accordingly. Would also be good for felting. I would consider it a medium wool."  I had no idea what chaff was until I posed the question on Ravelry - love this site.  Basically the fiber contains no lanolin but a lot (a lot) of vegetable matter but that is what "chaff" means.  So I took my ficker brush to remove most of the vm and then created rolags with my hand carder.  There seems to be a bit of second cuts within the fiber too.  The yarn was spun woolen to give it some air and allow for it to be stretchy.  It does remind me if the stretchiness of Romney and my first thought was to ply them together.  I realized that my Romney is spun worsted though so perhaps the second batch can be plied together.
The Shetland roving from Panda is quite soft and it too is spun woolen to allow air into the yarn.  I did spin it rather thinly as to try to remove most of the vm from the fiber supply.  It will make a nice 2 ply yarn and for my second batch of roving I am going to Navajo ply it.  The remaining clean Romney has been separated into 2 oz batches that will also be Navajo plied into yarn.  I have been practicing my Navajo plying on the light brown alpaca cloud fiber and it is turning out rather well.  It is still difficult to get the plying started and I need to review videos on the process for the next batch but overall all I am not over spinning the fiber at this point.  I created a 3 ply alpaca yarn from the same fiber and was very careful in not over twisting the fibers.  It is now cleaned and dry and feels so much softer than the original singles.  I used 3 bobbins of fiber to create this yarn which had a lot of guesswork involved to get similar yardage on each spool. 
On the knitting end I unraveled (yet again) the cardigan but not completely.  Somehow I had dropped a stitch which created a large strand of loose yarn and dropped a stitch on the side leaving another noticeable gap.  As I intend to sell the finished item I couldn't live with the errors so I frogged it to the last mistake and have begun to follow the pattern design again in a smoother fashion.  I also decided that I needed a little shorter project than the cardigan so I picked up the lace yarn from the Fancy Tiger shop and am turning it into a scarf.  It is Merino wool yarn and single ply which I find to be quite fascinating but have to be careful to not tear or pierce the fiber with my size 1 needles.  So far the yarn is holding together very well and it is a rich dark green color perfect for autumn.
I will find out this week about my final sales total from the Renaissance Festival - yeah and this coming weekend I am picking up all of the alpaca rovings.  I am looking forward to spinning the milk and bamboo blends as I didn't have enough left from the first batch to create yarn from.  Not sure if my LYS will carry any of the new blends as they are not died and will be close in color to the bamboo blend she has in stock but we shall see.  Still haven't had any sales on the Etsy site but I have been visiting the treasuries and boards so getting some recognition from others.  My goals for the fall are to stock up for the holidays and I am even thinking of running a sale perhaps free shipping.  For now it is just a thought as I still want to increase my inventory levels of fiber and yarn.  I am really trying to create listings in the seasonal color scheme too.  That red roving is calling out to me to be spun into yarn and perhaps some projects perhaps by the end of September.  I still have so much fiber to play with too.
Alas no pictures with this post, I just haven't been motivated to take them, transfer to online storage and post.  If there is one thing I truly hope to outsource (next year) it is the creation of photos and their electronic images.  Until next time - hears hoping your fiber adventures are as enjoyable as mine!