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.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Why is it so hard to Blog?

I just checked into Blogger and have realized nearly a month has passed since my last post.  Sorry!  I have become a Twitter convert and primarily use that medium to stay in touch with followers (which total around 75).  I have placed items on EBay, Bonanza, Krrb (local online site) and still have yarn at the Wild Yarns shop.  This weekend I'm reviewing my advertising mediums - signed up for Google AdWords and will be advertising with Ennea Collective again.

The artisan boutique has come and gone and was overall not successful financially for me.  Met some great artisans but was the only one without sales on Saturday :(!  I submitted my state sales taxes from the Friday sales but have a question into the City about its tax structure and license fees.  They still haven't called me back.  The overall business taxes are done and I need to submit sales tax to both the State and perhaps the City - maybe next weekend.

Outside of the 3 skeins of yarn sold at the artisan boutique February was a bust.  On the positive I have new fiber arriving as that is what I do when I am blue.  I received some lovely white and tan BFL roving to spin along with a red dyed BFL braid of fiber.  There is one bag of clean Malamute dog hair clean and ready to be spun and another bag that needs to be cleaned.  Ordered some more fiber but as of today it hadn't shipped.  Must start spinning before the pile of rovings grows any bigger.  It is almost shearing season too and I have decide on how many alpaca and sheep wool fleeces to purchase along with the mill cost.

On the wheel is some dark brown alpaca top from Ancient Treasures Alpaca Ranch.  On the needles is a lace scarf in dark green tones with hints of brown similar to this cranberry scarf below.

Still trying to find a home for this hand spun and hand knit Wensleydale scarf.  It is very odd as I so loved this yarn (which has sold) and think it is such a nice and warm item.  Oh well you can only create and give others the opportunity to see the beauty in the design.  I know it will eventually find a home.

Today I start back volunteering at our local public library which will aid in bringing back some balance to my life.  Spinning hasn't been in the forefront of life as I am really taken with creating the lace scarf.  Still love my wheel and making yarn but I am going with what moves me which happens to be knitting at the moment.  I will try to write at least twice a month but for my frequent updates you can follow me on Twitter @nashc7 or Facebook "Herie7 Natural Fiber Treasures".  Until next time I hope all are safe (especially given the tornadoes in the U.S.) and you have a great weekend. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sorry for the delay

I can't believe almost a whole month has passed since my last entry.  January was definately a busy month for me.  We ended the month with eight sales plus income from handspun yarn sold in December by Wild Yarns.  I shipped handspun yarn to the UK which was well received and shipped some Shetland handspun within Colorado that received rave reviews.  It was definately a confidence building month that flew by very quickly.

The Valentine's day artisan fair is at the end of this week.  Yes, I did splurge on buying several skeins of Rowan Kidsilk Creation yarn to make items for the fair.  I even bought a couple of acrylic based ruffle scarf yarns to boost my inventory. 

Prepping for the craft fair has given me thoughts on where I want my business to grow and develop.  Truth is I enjoy and am passionate about making yarn and less so on finished products.  The finished items I enjoy the most are my lace scarves and shawls.  2011 was an exploration of simple knits and a variety of easy projects.  Looking back I can honestly say they did not fuel my passion for the craft.  Now my Estonian lace scarf was definately an accomplishment as it was an intricate pattern made from my handspun laceweight yarn.  I will always treasure that piece and it has gone to a good home.

2012 I am focusing on spinning yarn in 3oz batches and making more lacey scarves.  I will perhaps make a few fingerless gloves but they patterns will be more intricate.  From a business model perspective this will probably not yield a large volume of sales but what is sold will be of a higher value and profit.  Afterall if you are going to start a small business plus work full time it has to be doing something you enjoy!  Twitter is so my preferred method of social media and you can keep up to date on my activities @nashc7!  Until next time - wishing you and yours a joyous 2012!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

2012 Is Going Well

January is turning into the best sales month Herie7 Natural Fiber Treasures has ever had.  We are up to five sales with fiber being sold on Etsy, EBay and Ancient Treasures Yarn Shop. I will be shipping yarn to the UK next week - so exciting!  Still adjusting to EBay payment policies but at least it is not a surprise.  My second sale on the site was from an auction winner.  Did you know that when you win an auction you have up to 4 days to actually pay for your merchandise?  I am in holding pattern to ship the order until actual payment has been sent to me.  Not too worried as the buyer recently purchased the fiber on the right.

 I learned some new marketing skills this week by posting the yarn shop on Yelp and starting the process to be listed on Google Places.  Why is it that these ventures are never as easy as they seem?  Still like Twitter as my favorite means of communicating over FB and yes even the blog.

The lilac slippers are finished and I am 90% finished with the wool slippers with alpaca edging.  The new camera was used today to take updated product photos and I even used my new tripod case.  Check out the Etsy shop tomorrow for updated product photos.

Tomorrow I meet with the organizer of the craft fair and have dedicated items for the group photos to give to her.  Looking forward to going to the National Western Stock Show next weekend at the Denver Coliseum to meet the yak ranchers and sheep ranchers.  There might be some new fiber in my future.  The year is looking very bright and I am in my second month of being in a profit standpoint.  Hopefully this trend continues - off to knit and spin!