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Yippee!

I️ sold my first couple of items off Etsy last week! I️ hope the purchaser loves them. Sending things I️ made out into the world is a little nerve wracking.

I️ finished knitting my swatches for some new knitting patterns. I️ needed ideas for a few projects, which wasn’t the hard part. I️ have an abundance of knitting ideas. I️ just couldn’t get them to translate into stitch patterns that looked right. So I️ ended up knitting all week and watching a ton of Netflix. I️ need to start planning in some exercise time. All that sitting made me feel sluggish.

Today I️ have a doctors appointment and an appointment to talk about the patterns I️ am designing with the yarn manufacturer. We are friends, so it’s not a high pressure situation. Just hoping they like some of the ideas. I️ also need to get more items photographed for Etsy this week, and listed. I️ think I️ am going to be busy.

The leaves are falling quickly here in Oklahoma. It’s getting chilly too. I️ love this time of year!

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Swatching

Working on a few swatches for new patterns using Heaven Sent Food and Fibers merino/bamboo/silk fingering weight yarn. It comes in 300 yard skeins. It is absolutely buttery soft and the color is fantastic! I’m in love! 

Sharp!

I have been using a set of Indigo Hound Viking combs for quite a while, since soon after I started spinning. They work well, but weren’t quite handling the wool I am trying to prep for my Etsy shop.  So, when I spotted a set of Blue Mountain Handcrafts combs for sale on a Facebook group for a fraction (22%, I checked!) of a new set,  I had to grab them. 

I’ve looked at  these combs frequently because they are just so beautiful and well made . However, they command a high price, and there is a waiting list to get a set. You can’t even put your name on the list until January 2018! I knew I couldn’t afford them, so I have just admired them from afar.  I can’t believe now that I actually have a set and can admire them in person! It was such a blessing to have been able to get these! I’m so thankful to have them! 

Crazy!

Things have been bonkers here the last week.  I got back on my Trim Healthy Mama Eating plan for one. After my foot surgery in December I got really off track and gained back a lot of weight, but also lost a lot of muscle. I look and feel horrible. Finally the last few weeks I had just had enough and decided it was time to bite the bullet.  The sugar detox meant I was sluggish, headachey, and a little grouchy.  Mentally I am much better this week.  The new Trim Healthy Table cook book has helped a lot getting me to stay on track. New recipes are so much fun!

Then earlier this week I developed a urinary tract infection. As soon as that was feeling better, I developed a sore throat.  So just a little miserable all week… 

The biggest event though is we are getting an extended stay house guest starting today. 

My daughters best friend from Texas is coming to stay for three weeks while she attends classes for an accelerated CNA program.  Her mom is driving her up so I have been cleaning like a mad woman.  I clean a little every day, or a lot every day depending on the circumstances. 

Who am I kidding? The circumstances are there are five grown people living in this house, and 4 of them leave almost every day to work. I clean constantly, and it seems to make very little difference. The big change this week has been they’ve all been under death threats to keep things straight and neat. That’s helped some, but I don’t think I can keep up that kind of aggression.  I don’t like having to harp constantly.
So very little wool work to show for this week. I have a felting class on Saturday though, and I will blog about that as soon as possible! 

Finally!

Got my Etsy store open on Wednesday. I was determined to have it done by the first week of September. I didn’t have as much to open with as I thought ,as Sean and I had to spend Labor Day weekend in Tahlequah, but it’s open! Now I just need to learn marketing and build inventory.’

Wednesday I woke up a little dizzy but didn’t think much of it. I hit the ground running. So after I got the shop open and started some lovely alpaca soaking for washing the next day, I realized I was getting really dizzy. By three, I was sick. I had vertigo, and it laid me out flat. I didn’t get out of bed except to stumble like a sailor on shore leave into the bathroom for two days.  I have never been as relieved as I was Friday morning to get up and only be a little bit dizzy.

By Saturday, I was better! We had board game day with the Three Rivers Board Game Group at Union Station. We had a great time; we played  Nightfall, Endangered Orphans of Condyle Cove, Jack the Ripper, Terraforming Mars, Welcome to the Dungeon, and Qwicks. All were lots of fun, and the food at Urban Station was fantastic, as always.

Later this week I am hoping to remeber to write a blog about my new wheel, and about the alpaca I acquired, both are just a delight to work with.

Busy, Busy, Busy

…but having so much fun! I can’t even call this work, except I am so tired at the end of the day.  I would really like to get my etsy shop open by the first of September, so I am “working” pretty consistently every day.  I had to develop a system to store processed fiber so I can find it easily when I get an order.  I’m now moving on to takingnshop pictures and writing descriptions.  That’s been a little harder than the processing. 
Another thing I did was dye a batch of Corriedale wool I had processed. I am going to offer it in Art batts, just to see how it goes.  I didn’t intend to do that, but I love the colors and textures, so I am going to try it.  We will see how it goes.

Art batts


The other exciting news here is that my Father-in-law is motorizing my drum carder. I have a Patrick Green Debs delicate deluxe, and it’s a great carder, but I also have an injured rotator cuff.  All the carding is causing me some pain. I don’t want to put money into a motorized carder when I love this one, so he’s tackling the project for me. My in-laws are so sweet! I really am blessed to have them as family. 

Hopefully the next time I update I will have opened my shop.  It is exciting, but I am really nervous about it! 

Fiber Christmas was good to me!  I had a wonderful time, my classes were fantastic, and Sean spoiled me the entire weekend!  The only down side was I was just getting over a mild case of pnuemonia and Friday after my class I was exhausted. I had to skip the dinner and the guest speaker, go back to the hotel and sleep. 

My first class Friday afternoon was Fiber Blending with Judy Crouch. She did a fantastic job teaching us why we might want to make a fiber blend, and how to get good results. We were encouraged to use all the fiber tools available to experiment with our own fiber blends. I used 5 pitch combs to blend teeswater (I think) with angelina, hand cards to blend wool top with silk noil, and my drum carder to make an art batt out of wool, silk roving, and other things. I don’t remember what all was in there. I learned a lot and can’t wait to start blending some of the angora I have from my rabbits with other things. The knowledge I gained from that class will surely serve me a long time.

 My second class was Solar Dyeing, taught by Dawn Riden.  It was meticulously taught. Her mastery and instruction of the subject extended to regular dyeing as well, I think it will really help me get better results in all of my dyeing. We got to prepare three dye jars with fiber to take home. 

All the jars made by students of the Solar Dyeing class. Pic by Dawn Riden


Then of course it was cloudy and cool for the next several days and I could not get the dye to strike until yesterday.  Finally, though, results! 

From left to right, Cherry Red, a combo of Honey Mustard and Saffron Spice, and Hot Fuschia


Sean bought me way too much stuff while I was in class. The first day, we got back to the hotel and I found these two batts waiting for me, on top of the spindle he’d already bought me while we were perusing the vendors.


Then the next day, we came upon a wool picker. It was practically brand new, and the price was reasonable. However, when we went back to look at it after class, it had been sold. Oh well, there were lots of plans for pickers on the internet, and we were sure we could build one ourselves, given enough time.

Then I went to get my stuff out of the back of the van, and there was the picker! Sean really likes to pull off surprises and he really succeeded that time!  Look at the beautiful cloud of fiber ready for carding! 



This picker does not have a makers mark that I can see, but looks exactly like a Fancy Kitty swing picker. They haven’t made this model in 7 years, but this one looks brand new.  

I had a wonderful time. I can’t wait to go back next year! 

Sharing

Fiber Christmas is this weekend. I can’t wait. I am taking the Solar Dyeing class and Fiber Blending.  I would have taken more, but the classes I wanted were all at the same time. I think that will be enough for my first year. I can’t wait to see my friend Jane Deason. 

I washed more fleece today,  a gorgeous Shetland fleece from shepherdess Kaley Sheldon from Missouri.  


I really spent too much time playing and not enough time getting ready for Fiber Christmas, but it was fun. Now I am the good kind of tired! 

Felting

I always have so much trouble thinking of titles for posts!  Since I don’t have much time this morning to think of catchy titles, Felting will have to do.  Mainly because it’s the only thing I have had time to do all week. 

It is VBS week at church. Always lots of fun, if a little weird this year now that all three kids are graduated and out working. Reagan may go with me tomorrow, I am providing lunch for the youth workers, and it would be nice for her to go, since it’s going to be a tight squeeze time wise between the time my class is over and time for lunch. I have a plan though, so it should be fine, 

Since Christian Youth in Action are teaching the actual lessons this year, I have just been observing. It is hard for me to just sit, so yesterday I cast on a felted bag to hang on my spinning wheel. Fiber Christmas is coming up at the end of next week and I wanted a nice bag to hold all my essentials so I was constantly digging through my spinning box.  I knew it was going to knit up fast before I had gotten very far, the knitting was just flying.  I had the main knitting done by the end of my class, and I finished up binding off and the I-cord after my nap (even observing preschoolers is pretty exhausting!)  I felted it while I was cooking dinner, and voila!..


The only thing I might change is I might over dye it. The color is not the bold, saturated color I’d like. However, you use the yarn you have, and this is what I had.  The bag holds my WPI tool and card, an extra whorl,  the screw driver for the tiny screws on the footmen, and my oil bottle. I might add enough linen cord for another drive band, if I can figure out a way to keep it from getting all tangled up in there.  I think it turned out so nice. I have another skein of plain grey yarn from the same brand, and I am thinking about knitting a slightly larger bag and using it to hold a knitting project on the go. 

So, now I am ready for Fiber Christmas in July.  I just have to wait a little over a week!! I have lots of fleece coming in the mail though, so I think I’ll have plenty to do to fill the time. Hopefully I’ll have something to show you on that front soon!

Its been a long time since I posted to my blog.  The kids have all graduated high school, and as that day approached, I found that I had a lot of questions about what I was going to do with my life.   I thought about a lot of things. I need to have a “job” that is portable, because Sean would like to travel.  I really want to make things, beautiful things, with my hands.  I wanted to use the skills I already have, instead of having to learn an entirely new set of skills.  If I can teach occasionally, that would be great. 

So, despite the fact that there are probably hundreds of others out there trying it, I decided I would open an Etsy shop. I am going to start very, very small, and see what happens.  I knew I wanted to begin by trying to sell some hand prepped fiber, because I feel like commercially prepared top and roving has just had the life beat out of it.  There is nothing like working with  hand prepped fiber, full of the bounce and life wool has when it has been treated gently since it was shorn off the sheep.  


So, I have washed over 20 lbs of wool in the last few weeks, and have started processing it on my drum carder and viking combs. I have purchased dyes and the other things needed for new dyeing adventures. I have done a LOT of research. One question leads to another, and before you know it, you’ve rabbit hopped all over the internet finding answers to questions you didn’t know you had an hour ago. I love that adventure more than I remembered. It feels so wonderfuly freeing to be on that adventure for myself again; it is intoxicating!  

I want to talk about it, though. No one here, as much as they love me, is particularly keen to hear about how I figured out how to use the copper/ammonia mixture that has been percolating under the sink for the last 6 or so years to mordant fiber for natural dying.  They don’t care too awful much about seeing my dying notebook, or looking at the 12 beautiful Corriedale batts that are waiting for me to mix up dye stock and dye them so that they can then be turned into art batts.  So I have turned once again to my fiber blog. Even if I am just talking to myself, I will at least be sharing my knowledge, and that is important to me.  Let me know if you enjoy it!

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