Sunday, November 29, 2009

Work continues apace

In an unsurprising turn of events, my stock of yarn is really low. It's unsurprising because Fall is a big big needlework season, with Christmas crafts and trying to keep warm and whatnot. But it's a bit of a problem for me because I am just not able to stock up as quickly as I could before. I'm spinning as much as I can, but I really need to keep up the pressure or stocks will go so low that my sales drop (less variety always equals fewer sales for me).

So what do I have on the brain? Why, trying new things, of course. I spin a bit of the same old same old, and it's great stuff, but I'm always happiest when I'm doing some new things too. I have decided to try and add a chunky weight 2ply made from the lovely, light, crimpy Corriedale yarn. I've spun up a couple skeins and shortly I'll knit them up into some mittens for the kid, see how the yarn performs. If it goes well, then I'll get to add a nice instant-gratification type yarn to my regular lineup of worsted weight yarns.

The other thing I want to try is making some needlepoint tapestry yarn. I bought a pound of Lincoln wool to try it out, and was I ever surprised when I felt it. It has a serious shine to it, not as much as a Wensleydale but more than Corriedale, and the staple length is huge! It's like 7 inches, I kid you not. So I Googled to figure out how other people like to use this rather unique wool, and found that some take advantage of the long staples to make lace weight yarn. I'm not a lace knitter, and it's not cost effective to spin lace weight, so I didn't really want to do that.

The other thing suggested was that it would make a wonderful yarn for needlepoint - and I love that idea. With crafts on the brain these days, I've been doing a tiny bit of embroidery, and thinking of doing more. I also love the idea of supplying a unique, handspun handdyed, beautiful yarn to crafters who do more using supplies than making them. First, though, gotta make some and use it myself to see if I can do it well.

And then I saw this:

It begs to be needlepointed onto a throw cushion. What can I saw, I'm a sucker for subversive crafts. Why just craft when you can craft and make people laugh? Or just yourself?

So yeah, now I need to ask my fabric consultant where to get some proper...burlap? muslin? canvas? so that I can do a proper job. And I'll be at my wheel trying to turn Lincoln wool into something suitable.

Thing the last - I started a crafting group. I'm still hunting for a space to meet regularly, but a few of us have gotten together a couple times in peoples' living rooms, and there's been a tiny bit of chatter on the Google group. If you're in the GVA and you'd like to join a group of crafters of varying skills, talents, and interests, the Google group is Clever Hands

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Crafts are eating my brain

I'm a crafter. For the most part I stick with the fiber arts; knitting has always been the craft that I return to again and again. But I've dabbled with all sorts of things. I've done embroidery, decoupage, papier mache, needlepoint, sewing, woodworking. (I'm sure there's more, but I'm still on my first coffee here.)

I believe in the power of making things. I believe that it's a way to unlock your creativity, to relax, to form community, to think of the world in new ways, to raise awareness, to raise funds, to raise spirits, to see what you're capable of, to express yourself, to free yourself from dependence on mass production, to appreciate our foremothers and fathers, to connect with children.

Maybe it's my grandmother's recent passing that has made me think of the wide variety of things that I used to make. She was primarily a needlecrafter, herself, but she turned her hand to a lot of things, too, and we used to do a lot of crafts together. Lately I've been interested in exploring what else I can make for my home, my family and friends.

Last week I did a needle felting workshop for some friends, and despite the chaos of many kids swirling about, we had a fun time. Not only did I enjoy sharing this new little craft that I've been doing lately, I got to see what other people did with the skill. I loved seeing that, other ideas, other perspectives, other techniques being innovated. One woman made a stab at making realistic carrot tops for her carrots -- not easy with a needle felter, let me tell you! One woman made a banana with peel that comes down.

So that got me thinking, wouldn't it be fun to do a lot more crafts? (Big leap, I know.) I'm thinking I might start an informal crafting group, with an emphasis on crafting things which are meant to be used, and using shared, thrifted, or inexpensive materials. Crafting is very tied in with opting out of consumerism, for me. Or maybe that's exerting too much control. That's the big thing that crafting is for me, but who's to say what it is for someone else? That's something to find out, I guess.

Next week I'll call about this superb space I know about and see if I can have it for a regular thing. I'm pretty sure that getting members for a crafting group will *not* be a problem.

Here's some of the felting that's been eating my brain:

Monday, September 28, 2009

Quick and Dirty Update

Hi! I still exist. In fact I'm working very hard at being Yummy Yarn, so hard I don't have time to blog. Or the impulse, usually. That's the thing, see, I'm not a blogger. I read and enjoy some blogs, don't get me wrong, and I have no bad opinion of the people who do blog, but I lack the impulse to narrate my life, myself. However, I do like to reach out to my fiber people from time to time, and let them know what I"m up to.
Mostly, I'm up to this:

Isn't she lovely? That's the new baby, playing with the fringe of my stashbuster scarf. I've been stashbusting like crazy. After 5 scarves, I got a bit bored and now I'm doing a stashbuster sweater. Here's that in progress:

I'm also back to teaching at Black Sheep Yarns and soon I'll be offering a couple classes at Vancouver's new yarn store, Baaad Anna's. So far, teaching with the baby in tow has been successful; fingers crossed that it continues to work out. I'm getting creative with it. I bring a babysitter to my Tuesday classes at BSY; Friday workshops are done without a babysitter to spell me off. My Baaad Anna's workshops may be done with or without the sitter, I haven't decided. Depends on how the bebe is that week, I suppose. She's getting a lot happier about hanging out in a wrap carrier on my back while I do stuff, so that's bodes well!

My big project this week is getting as much stock as I can, because in a few weeks I'm holding a trunk show! Baaad Anna's has agreed to host my trunk show of yarns, fiber, and knitted objects (those are for show not sale) on the weekend of October 17-18. It's a chance for locals to see all my yarn in the same place at the same time, something that hasn't happened since I stopped doing the Coquitlam Farmer's Market last September. I hope it's a good event for the store, since I always like to see a yarn store do well, and I won't lie, I hope the sales are good.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Book located, and Spring Knitty

I found it.  On my bookshelf.  *facepalm*

The Spring Knitty is up!  I really, really want to cast on for Hanne, because I think my handspun 2-ply is probably the perfect gauge and would knit up to great effect.  However -- the border on my Pi Shawl is going on, but not done yet, the bands (waist, button, neck) on my tweed sweater still need to go on, my Kauni Rainbow cardigan is...actually, bands need to go on that one too.  The first wrist band is done, the second is nearly done, and the big job of the single border that encompasses the neck, button bands, and bottom remains.  (But due to a fit of pique at the insufficiently flexible cable of my Addi Turbo, I ordered 2 or 3 Knitpicks fixed circulars in the correct size.  Trust me that there seemed to be a very good reason for ordering more than one at the time.  I'm trusting me...because I can't really think of that reason right now.)  Also, the grafting of the baby bog jacket is done and it needs...

Bands!  Okay.  All my projects are stalled at the band stage.  I, uh, I guess I don't find knitting bands to be very compelling.  Although in my defense, the garter blocks pattern that I'm using for the Kauni sweater involve stranded purling, which is a truly hand-cramping, fiddly task.

Off to knit some edges on things.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Missing Book! Help!

I loaned out my copy of Stranded Knitting by Nanette Blanchard.  I think.  Does anyone who reads this blog have it?  I asked the person I thought I loaned it to, but she doesn't have it, so now I'm at a loss.  I'm done teaching class 2 of 5 of my Stranded Knitting class, and there are some pictures I really, really want to show the class, but I can't because I can't find the book.  I think I loaned it out...although the book just being lost in the house somewhere is entirely possible.

If I can't find it in a couple weeks I'll just re-order the thing.  It's a fantastic reference book and not expensive.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Working it out

I've had the word "blog" on my to-do list for ages now, and I never seem to find the time and energy to do it.  I don't really have it today either, but I figure maybe I need to treat the blog like I treat answering emails from friends, sometimes -- better to send scattered and less coherent messages more frequently than to send brilliant missives at one-year intervals.

So I'm pregnant.  Lots of locals already know this, and some read it between the lines, but that's why I suddenly decided to get the toxic dye out of my house last August.  That's also where all my energy has gone lately.  I'm fine, strong and healthy, but even an easy pregnancy still involves growing a new human and takes considerable energy.  For months now, I've only had the werewithal for my family and the basics of my business.  I'm managing a good rate of spinning, and a decent rate of dyeing due thanks to Felicia Lo of Sweet Georgia, who opened her studio (with rentable dye space) at exactly the right time.

The search for alternative workspace has been interesting.  Back in the spring it was becoming clear to me that if I wanted to grow, I'd need some workspace where I could spread out more and achieve a bit more volume, and I was selling my stuff at a good enough rate that the idea of paying for space was not too far-fetched.  And then, two lines appeared on the stick, and it was clear to me that finding workspace that wasn't my family's kitchen was a non-negotiable.  So I started to explore.

I told everyone that I needed space, and I know enough people in the local arts scene and a good handful of people in the fiber arts community specifically that I was really able to get the word out.  Lots of people were keeping their ears open for me, and while the suggestions didn't roll in quickly, they came in regularly enough.  Several of them were unworkable for my specific needs, but a few were possible, and one -- the Sweet Georgia studio -- was perfect.  Or at least, close to perfect.  It was downtown, so I'd have to make a pretty major expedition carrying all my stuff (20lbs of fiber, buckets, towels, my big box of dye solutions, etc.), but I tried it once, and it was okay, and the second time I went, it was awesome.  I dyed 15lbs in a day; my one-day record so far.

And just a short time ago, two or three more offers came in.  One for an actual studio four blocks from my house, with a totally affordable rent, and one for occasional use of another indie dyer's garage, which is her own dye workspace.  The first, I can't use now -- studio and newborn are just unmixable things -- but how amazing is it that, after only 6-8 months of starting the process of looking for this very particular thing, I found it?

I don't believe that the Universe is interested in my happiness one way or the other.  I don't believe that anyone or anything ethereal listens when you say what you want.  I do, however, believe that articulating what you want, to yourself first and foremost, and then to others, can provide impressive results.  Get clear on what you want, so that you recognize it when it happens, that's what I think.  And it's happening.

I have only one picture for you today: a pair of Knucks knit from a skein of my Bordering on the Avant Garde yarn.