Thursday, January 5, 2012

Making a difference...

Okay,
I know I haven't been on much, but I'm hoping to make that a resolution for the new year.
Speaking of which, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I'm really looking forward to this new year. Lots of new beginnings.

My main purpose of writing today is to share a wonderful company I found. I always try to recycle as many shipping supplies as I can, but I'm finding that with starting up my own business recycling can be harder each day. I cringe at the idea of poly-mailers, plastic and Styrofoam ending up in the landfills. This company I found sells eco-friendly shipping / mailing supplies. The greatest feature is that on top of being able to use their poly-mailers more than once, they are also biodegradable. So, if you can, pass the link on to your friends.

http://www.ecoenclose.com/?Click=939


Coupon Code: ECOFRESH
$10 off each $200+ order
expires March 31, 2012

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Finally DONE!

I've finished my last semester at Suffolk Community College. As long as I get a passing grade on my History of Religion paper I'll be graduating with my Associate's Degree in Visual Arts.

I can't tell you how many people have asked me "What will you do now with your art degree?"

Truth is.... I REALLY don't know. LOL! I have to say, it's a bit more than scary... For now, until I financially NEED to go find a real job, I'm just following the path that the wool is leading me on. I've been SO blessed with finding fiber tools that I could afford (that under normal circumstances I would never have been able to acquire) and such wonderful fiber people in my life now, I really can't imagine myself working in any other capacity.

First thing after this holiday week is over and the kiddies are back in school, I need to catch up on some orders for my Art-Yarn spindles. Then there's a shed full of wool that needs to be picked, washed, carded, dyed and spun. On a good note I've done the paperwork needed to turn this wool / fiber addiction into an official business. Oh, and I need to de-stash lots of this quilting fabric...

I'm looking forward to having some free time to organize my wool stash (Yeah, like that's ever going to happen) and spinning / knitting up some truly awesome creations. Now that my mind isn't full of Spanish, Geology and History... the ideas are flooding in. I really should get myself a sketch-book and start drawing out some of these designs and ideas.

Just one last quick note to my friends...

I hope the holidays bring you everything your soul needs and that your lives are full of joy.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tour de Fleece and the last few weeks...

Hi All!

Happy Independence Day!

Lots going on over the past few weeks. First I had a craft fair at the Old Town Arts & Crafts Guild on Saturday.  I pulled an all-nighter getting ready painting spindles and sold a shawl and a skein of art-yarn; which covered the cost of the day.

Jul-lys started out the first day of summer vacation at 10am saying "I'm bored..." I cringed at those words as that we have the whole summer to get through... SO I started her spinning :-) The child is already a wiz at the drop spindle so we've moved on to the Babe wheel. SHe can't wait until the Sequoia gets here... she's already laid claim to the Babe...
video


I've started the "Tour de Fleece" spinning project. The main purpose is to spend some time each day spinning as the cyclists bike through the Tour de France. SO far I have a skein of core-spun art yarn, a skein of wonderful baby alpaca / bombyx silk plied with mohair, another bobbin full of each of those as well as a bobbin full of great alpaca that my friend Jen gave me.
Core-spun and alpaca, silk, mohair blend

I'm about to finish plying the alpaca / silk with the mohair, and finish spinning the other alpaca; then on to spinning some orange roving for my friend Jama of Southard Farms.

Oh, I almost forgot! I have a wonderful find that I bought over the weekend... 
It's missing the minor's head but I'm hoping that will be easy enough to find; if not I'll have to figure out something and make one. I really can't wait to get it in working order and start spinning on it. 

Well, off to go ply some yarn... Goodnight all!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

New ventures...

Hi! I'm so excited!!! Along with signing up to go back to school to finish my degree, I've been REALLY busy.

I've been trying to find ways to keep myself in inexpensive or free fiber. I was commissioned to spin an Alpaca blanket for a lady. OH MY GOODNESS! It's a beautiful mahogany brown color, soft as butter, and it seems to be going on forever! The really great part is that once spun I get to keep 2/3 of the yarn.

Alpaca blanket
spun Alpaca yarn

















Another shepherd I'm talking to will send me an Angora Goat fleece (Mohair) in exchange for spinning for her. I've found a few non-traditional sources to find free wool as well. I found a petting zoo, and a farm-animal rescue, that normally throw away their wool come shearing time. I know there are issues sometimes with "quality" of wool and different breeds of sheep are used for different things. There are sheep raised for meat, sheep raised for wool, and then there are cross-over sheep used for both. Seeing as I'm just learning about all this stuff, I haven't had a chance to get into all the issues about wool, such as microns and crimp; but I figure that even if what I get isn't "next to the skin" soft, I can spin it, knit it into things like bags or flowers, and felt them. I'm finding this new craft of spinning all-consuming and I'm trying to learn as much as I can, as fast as I can. I also found a buffalo farm near us. The owner told me that once they start shedding I'm welcome to come collect as much fiber as I want.

In helping another fiber artists come up with an idea, I've found a way to create drop-spindles that should bring in a great profit on my Etsy site and at fiber fairs. I'm really excited to find an inexpensive way to give others this treasure I've found in spinning.

Prototype for my hand-made spindles
another view of the spindle


Included in all this dream reaching, I started reaching towards a dream of owning a shop... Dekalb Market,  is opening late spring in Fulton Mall, Brooklyn, NY. They're having a contest to win one of their "shipping container" work spaces. I've submitted an entry, and if I win I'll get 6 months free rent and a lot of other super prizes. I think more importantly, my plan is to have it also be an education center as well as a shop. I'll have things in there like a community wall-loom, my spinning wheel, drop-spindles, and of course my various knitting projects (that I carry with me everywhere) to demonstrate some of these "forgotten" crafts. Even if I don't win the contest it's giving me a real concept of what I want to do with all these crafts, and a plan on how to turn this all into a trade.  You can read more about this "green" market at: http://dekalbmarket.com/about/

I don't know exactly where this journet is taking me, but I'm sure excited about and enjoying the whole ride ((smiles))

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dying for yarn!

Hi!
I've been having a lot of fun over the past 2 weeks dyeing yarn in my crock-pot with Wilton Icing colors.
My first set of yarns were 100% Merino wool from Knit Picks "Color Your Own" line.

My daughter Jul-lys named them all with the exception of "Beach Plum". SHe called that one "Garden", but once I started knitting it up the colors reminded me of the Bach Plums my grandmother used to make jam out of every fall.
 The Zoo
 The Forest
 Beach Plums
 The Jungle
Ocean

I knitted a hat, scarf and wrist warmer set from the Beach Plum yarn.


In the crock pot right now are 2 skeins of yarn I just finished spinning. It's 50% wool, 35% Mohair, and 15% Angora. I'm wondering how they're going to turn out... The first skein was 3 ply and I dyed it yellow and then added some burgundy just in spots. It was really dark, but SO pretty. The second skein is only 2 ply, and I added it to the dye pot well after the other, mostly to soak up the extra color left in the water. Just waiting now for the water to be clear so I can turn off the pot and let it cool down.

Off to start spinning some Alpaca for a very nice lady. She felt it was high time her critters started to contribute some money to their upkeep; so, I'm spinning her some yarn and she's letting me keep a quantity of the fiber in exchange. There's nothing like free fiber :-)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Still under the weather...

Okay, Now I have a wicked cold... Have the Etsy site started with ONE item listed, LOL. Each day I keep saying to myself that I'm going to photograph my collection of quilts & knitted items to load them on; and each day there's a car that needs to be registered, food shopping, cooking, laundry, cleaning (which brought on this cold from stirring up too much dust). Hoping tomorrow will be more eventful on both the knitting aspect AND the Etsy site.
Trying to be more healthy in all ways... today I even choked down a "Green" smoothie. Wasn't too bad. The bananas really do a good job of masking the taste of the greens. I had to add water to the smoothie. I took one sip and put the glass down for a few minutes... when I went back to take a second sip, the goop wouldn't move. Kind of reminded me of FLUBBER. I tried to make whole wheat bread in my bread machine... disaster (BUT IT WASN'T MY FAULT) The recipe in the owner's manual was wrong... 2tblsp salt & 2 tblsp of yeast....for a 1 lb. loaf of bread. Yeah, I ended up with a rock. SO much for a special Valentine's Day dinner, LOL! They ate cereal until the stew was finished & thank God I had a box of corn muffin mix in the house.
Tomorrow is another day. Hopefully I'll get to all the things planned...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Illness and art.

Hi! Sorry I haven't been on for a while, I've been under the weather.

I've been finding it hard to focus on my latest knitting project; I have to put it down quite a bit more often than I'd like. Being sick, I tire more easily and I'm hating that it's taking so long.

I treated myself to 2 skeins of Socrates Yarn for my birthday. One is a berry color and the other is a blue-green color (not quite teal but close). I found a great pattern on Ravelry.com for a leaf-lace Entrelac scarf called "Birch" by Chrissy Gardiner. The pattern was hard at first but is getting easier the more I do it.
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/birch-2 

When I haven't been knitting I've been shopping a lot on Ebay and Etsy for fibers. I'm on a waiting list for a new hand-crafted spinning wheel by Benjoanie Enterprises. The waiting list is a result of them being hand-crafted, but I don't mind waiting. Once you see the wheel, and watch the videos on their webpage, you'll understand. http://www.benjoanie.com/Home_Page.html

I'm hoping to be back on track soon and working on getting my Etsy site up and going.