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.