Friday, January 25, 2013

Wow!

I've been pretty busy.  Lots going on here.  We're in the dead of winter, which slows most people down.  Not me.  Things have been whizzing along here!  I'm sorry I went missing. I just had nothing new to really report.

I have started a dog training class with Evan. He's my Papillion.  He is loving the tracking class we started.  We go on Saturdays.  Only issue is, the first week between class one and two, it poured rain for 4 days and the 2 days before that were really foggy and wet.  It was awful.  Class day was great though and we picked up class two where we left off at class one.  Class three is supposed to be tomorrow - but it's cancelled.  We've had temps in the 20s with wind chills in the teens and single digits, and a tiny amount of snow on the ground.  The cold isn't good for me (heart issues) and it's certainly not good for the pups to be out for an hour sniffing around!  Hopefully next Saturday will be better.

On a wonderful note, the woman who bought my yarn to use in her new line of clothing, has finished the first sweater.  It's really beautiful.  See below:

Isn't it amazing?  Its her own pattern, with MY hand spun yarn!  The model is her daughter.  The wonderful artist of this sweater is Joey Goodrich, of The House Of Renee Originals. 

She just told me tonight that our names just went out to 7000 people!  Holy Cow!  A group she belongs to has that many people they distribute to. 

I spent the entire day today spinning new yarn for Joey.  I actually started it Wednesday.  It's Alpaca/Merino/Silk blend and it's really beautiful.  Soft as soft can be.  It's spun much thinner than the yarn in the above photo. It'll make a beautiful garment.  The yarn is hanging in my bathroom drying as I type this.  Photos later.

Tomorrow I'm going to another spinner's home. She has a barn she converted, which has a wood burning stove, and she's invited a lot of spinners to go.  I'm supposed to bring something.  I think it's just going to be a coffee cake (or 2).  I was going to make potato/corn chowder, but I don't really want to lug a crock pot and everything down there.  It's my first time going to her place, so I think I'll make something easy.  Hence the coffee cake.  Good ole Bisquick!  I do put a twist on it and add stuff, tomorrow I will add some chocolate chips.  Who doesn't like that?

I will try really hard to keep up here.  So much going on - it's been difficult. I'm trying to catch up to myself constantly.  Between my Facebook page Spinning My Wheel Fibers and my website www.cottage-artists.com and here, ordering fiber, spinning fiber, photography, trying to spin enough yarn to get ahead (which by the way isn't working),  going to spin groups, doctor's appointments, doing stuff with hubby, and fighting off a sinus thing, I feel like I'm chasing my tail!  Whew!

Please take care,
Always,
Martha

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I haven't disappeared or forgotten

I've been SUPER busy!  I decided to find a new cardiologist.  He set me up for a BUNCH of tests.  Blood work, stress test, etc.  Plus I had my 6 month checkup with the GYN oncologist.  I'm supposed to go back to the allergist next week, but I'm going to cancel that appointment because after she tested me and everything came out negative, I can't really see why I should go back.  Besides, I'm TIRED of doctor appointments!

I've also been busy with business stuff.  Trying to spin, wind yarn, finish yarn, measure yarn, and socializing.  Yes, I know, socializing isn't business but if I don't socialize a little bit, I get in a funk.  So I socialized this week too.

I also spent a few hours on photography and trying out new ways to make good photos better.  This morning I downloaded GIMP but boy, it's gonna take some playing to figure it out.

Here is a close up photo of the fun yarn I made using my home-made blending hackle.  There is another photo of it here in my last post.  This photo (below) is one using the new methods I learned about using some of the options on my camera such as White Balance and ISO sensitivity. For sure, this is a better photo.

I haven't measured or priced this yarn out yet, but eventually I think it will make it onto the website for sale.

Below is a photo of the yarn I've been working on this week.  It's a beautiful Turquoise yarn, 100% Merino, and soft because it's not spun too thin.  I believe I will have 16 ounces of this when I'm done.
Below is a photo of some new fibers I got in from Paradise Fibers.  Unfortunately, I didn't get everything I ordered.  I am missing the 2 items I REALLY wanted to try - a Yak/Merino blend, and a Bamboo.  This batch of fiber is for me to see how I like working with the different fibers.  I've never spun cotton (the brown on the bottom left), or Alpaca/Merino/Silk blend (the black and white stuff).  I have spun BFL with silk and BFL top before - lovely to spin.  These are the undyed white ones on the right. The grayish in the center - that's actually BFL undyed oatmeal.  It's also lovely.  I am going to have to call Paradise Fibers and see when they think they'll get the back ordered fibers in because I really want to try them.  If it's going to be a long wait, then I think I will have to replace them in the order with something else. 



My plan is to take the undyed white fibers on the right, and dye them.  I just have to order the dyes first.  Poor DH is going a little nuts I think, because this has been an expensive month.  I need to sell more yarn, in order to make some $$$!!!!!!!!!!!

I am finding it's difficult to sell yarn online because you can't feel the yarn, and I totally get that. I'm a very touchy/feely person and like to KNOW how soft something is before I'll buy it.  I've been ordering my fibers online though, and so far, have not been disappointed!  Sometimes, you gotta take the risk.

That's it for today - I'm on my way out to return something and pick up a few things, on a trip up to the city.  It's sunny out and I want to be out in the sunshine and driving around.  Sometimes, I find I just need to get out and be by myself for some reflection time.  I can always seem to get more done alone too - I'm not distracted or feeling like I'm not supposed to do/get something if DH is with me, and I don't feel like I'm making someone else do something they don't want to if a friend or DH is with me.  I'm learning to like my alone time.

I hope you are having a super month, and a great start to your new year.
Take care of yourself.  Be true to yourself.  Find your own happiness.  Remember to always believe in YOURself.

Always,
Martha











Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hello 2013!!!!!

Yep, it's a new year.  Hello 2013. 

This year has already started out on a positive note.  More on that in a bit.

As you know if you've read recently previous posts, I have started a new business called Spinning My Wheel Fibers.  It just felt right.  I love what I'm doing (the creating part of it anyway) and I was so hyped up at first! 
Then, the wind went out of my sales because I had spoken to a few people about going into business as a newbie to spinning.  I also had done some research/reading online and started feeling like there are a LOT of fiber artists out there - everything from people who spin and want to sell their yarns, to amazing fiber artists that create amazing works of art using all sorts of mediums, including fiber.  After all of this happening, I sort of felt like I was going to get lost in the crowd, not stand out, mainly because others told me that you have to be traditional and fit in.  Not exactly my style.  So, I listened to my gut, and shut the negative voices off in my head.

I focused on what I want to do and what I want to be and how I want my art to be created.  Yes, that's right. I focused really really hard on those 3 things.  I know I want to be different, it's just who I am.  I want to be someone who knows how to listen to the materials I'm using, and create what they want to be.  I want to stand out, be me, and be true to myself.  I know I want to create what comes from my heart, and feel my art. 

When I figured out the answers, it came - just like that - it came.  I'm going to do what feels right to me - no, my yarns won't look like they came from a mill.  No, my yarns won't be traditional and perfect.  I'm anything but traditional and perfect - why should my yarns be?  And YES, I know in my heart of hearts, there is a place for me, and my fibers, in whatever form they may take. 

Instead of starting another website just for my own things as opposed to the www.cottage-artists.com website where I share my art with two of my friends, I decided to start a Facebook page.  I just put it up and I have 36 Likes already!  I'm pretty happy about that - but if you want to go check it out and Like it, I'd be even happier!  :-)

My brother, bless his heart, posted my new page on his page.  Someone he knows, has been thinking about using hand spun yarns in her new venture with knitted sweaters.  This person is a Master Tailor and has been creating her own clothing for 40 years.  She is now starting this new venture with her sweaters and wants to have something original, different, non-traditional.  Well, I fit the bill!  At her request, I contacted her, and we made a deal on some yarn I already have, and she purchased it.  Whoooohoooo!!!!!
I got to use my Pay Anywhere App on my IPhone too.  First time for that. I wanted to be able to swipe a card, but seeing as this customer is in Utah, and I'm in Virginia, that wasn't going to happen.  Pay Anywhere was awesome - I called them, they told me what to do and walked me through the entire thing.  Not that I couldn't have figured it out on my own, but I was SO nervous!  Now, I'm an old pro - ha ha ha.

I look forward to my customer using my yarns, and if she's happen with it, then we will be doing business on a regular basis. 

After taking care of all of that business, I spent almost 2 hours on Paradise Fibers website to find some new fibers that I thought would interest my customer.  She's looking for natural, and also for different.  I ordered a Yak and Merino blend.  THAT should be interesting!  See, different and non-traditional.  I hope I'm good enough to spin the different fibers I ordered!   I also ordered some organic cotton and I'm anxious to spin that also.  I also suggested BFL to my customer and she hadn't heard of that before.  I told her how nice and soft it is, and pretty in it's undyed natural form.  She sounded happy about it so I ordered some of that too.  I should have some fun stuff arriving soon.  I got a good deal - spent $150.00 and got a $50 gift card to go along with it to use on my next order.  Yay!

I also spent several hours photographing yarns, processing the photos (had to do lots of digital fixing as I can't seem to get my photographs to turn out well), and a lot of time on the computer yesterday.  I know it takes a real commitment to keep a business going.  Website, social media, blogging, photographing, accounting (ICK), labeling, packaging, and on and on and on.  It's especially hard since all I really want to do, is create!  But I know in order to be successful, I also have to do all the mundane boring work that goes along with the creating..........
Here is a photo I took today.
Red and Purple Fun Yarn with sparkle!
This is some fiber I blended myself on my home made hackle.  I need to get a pic of it - it's quite the tool!  This is a test photo. I took 15 photos, and this was the best one with no editing.  I'm working with 2 desk lamps with clear bulbs and an Ott Light.  This setting on my camera was on the Food setting which allows me to change the color scheme tints - from reds to blues.  This one was light blue.  All of my other photos came out with yellow background. 
I'm going to work on making a light box, diffusing the light, and see if that helps.
If you have any suggestions for me, please let me know - I'm really having a time of getting my yarn colors to be true.  VERY frustrating!

 So the beginning of my new year has been quite adventurous and I'm pretty happy.  I have to remember to keep the vision, be true to myself, and work from my heart, and believe in myself!  I know if I can keep those things in mind, and live in the moment, I'll do well, and be happy.

So Happy New Year to my followers.  I wish for you, a joyous, prosperous, and great 2013!!!!
Thanks so much for sharing my journey,
Martha