Thursday, March 14, 2013

Batts!

I've found a new love.  Batts!  I love making them.  See?


These all might be a bit deceiving - they are an ounce or less in weight!  I just told hubby, I see a drum carder in my very near future!  I don't know if anyone will be interested in buying them because they ARE so small, but hey, they are soft, fluffy, and have some fun shiny stuff hiding inside!  A drum carder would give me larger batts.  I think they might sell better. For now, this is what I have, and hopefully, someone will be interested in buying them.



I did these on my blending board.  You can find my post on my home-made blending board here.  It's not pretty, but it does the job.  It took me awhile to start using the board.  I wasn't particularly fond of the rolags - either making or spinning them.  Then I tried dizzing off the fiber from the board, and I couldn't get consistent enough with that.  When I got my first batt off the board - well, all I can say is, love at first sight!  The purple one was so fluffy and fun and I put it on my head.  I was at spin group and everyone loved it, and said it should be felted into a hat!  I would love to - except I don't know how to make a hat from felting.  I will learn though!  Eventually.....

Meanwhile, I'm struggling - I think I need to make a new website for myself.  Just my stuff.  I think it would be easier to get people to buy.  But, do I go through WordPress and set up a site and a blog together?  Or through Blogger?  Or do I just set up a website and buy the E-Commerce through it?  Do I just try to sell through Ravelry and Facebook?  I asked on a fiber market group and a lot of people just use that to sell - FB and Ravelry.  Do I not bother to spend my money on the extra website?  I don't want to sink money into Etsy - just too much competition.

Of course, the problem with being part of the fiber groups is, everyone else in those groups is trying to sell fiber/yarns etc also.  So there's competition there too.

I don't know if the batts will sell, but hey, I'm having fun.  Except for taking 3 or 4 hours to photograph, download, edit, and upload to sites.  It's a LOT of work to do this!!!!  Also, it takes away from doing the fun stuff.  I was hoping to do some dyeing today, but it's now 12:30 and I don't want to start that.  I have so many other things I want to do.  Oh, did I mention, I haven't showered or gotten dressed yet?  Geesh.

I also made a bunch of shrink plastic designs with spinning wheels and knitting needles with balls of yarn.  They are so cute!  They can be earrings, key chains, or can just be hooked onto a spinning wheel.  I think I will have to find some more rubber stamps - I think a spindle would be cute.  They turned out okay except the larger circles of shrink plastic were being difficult.  For the 25 or so I got done, about 5 of those curled up on themselves and stuck to themselves.  Sigh.  No matter what I tried, I lost them. Oh well.

Thanks for looking.  I'll be posting these batts on my website here, but you can also find them on my FB page here. Now that I've posted that here, I'm off to my website to update! Can hardly keep up with myself!

Always,
Martha

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I Did It!!!!!

Well, I took the dive.  I finally got brave, and dyed my own fiber!  It's not half bad, if I do say so myself.  I need to spin it, of course, to see if it really is worthy.  I was afraid it was a little felted at first, but when I pre-draft, it works!
Oh, you wanna see?  Look!
This is number 1.  It was my first try.  It's four ounces of Blue Faced Leicester, a wonderfully soft, next to skin yummy fiber.

This is number 2.  It didn't go as smoothly as number 1 did.  I had some issues with the dye running after I had steamed it.  I believe it was because I didn't steam it as long as number 1.  That is because I ran out of time.  So I had to soak it in more vinegar water (vinegar helps set the color) and then steam it the next day.  It came out great!























On number 2, the red ran into the yellow a bit more, but I love it that way! 

I can hardly wait to spin these up and see how they come out.  I love bright colors, and I love contrast.  I have learned a lot about my likes and dislikes since exploring my crafty side.

I ordered my acid dyes from Dharma Trading Company.  I'm not sure if I'll continue to use the dyes, or order from them.  It took over a week for the dyes to arrive - that's the slowest I've ever received anything from any company I've ever ordered from.  It was a bit frustrating.  Yes, I chose the least expensive shipping, but good Lord, I've done that with every company and it never takes THAT long to get here!  The other thing that is a bit frustrating is their website doesn't have very good instructions on how to mix the dyes.  I am new at this, and I have 2 books to follow and have looked at YouTube, but it would have been nice to have exact measurements given on how to mix the dyes, for what amounts.  I couldn't find that.  So, I went for it and tried to do what I'd read/saw.  It worked great for the red and yellow (see above!) but not so much for the Peacock Blue. 

Someone posted on FB on the dyeing page about the Dharma Peacock Blue not being so easy to get along with, but one of my spin friends says she uses it all the time with no issues.  Huh.  After she asked me what I'd done, she determined that possibly I used too much powder to not enough water.  I will follow some advice I did find on the DTC website, and I will try adding hot water and seeing if the dye will disperse better, and maybe I can use it for the next batch of dyeing I have.  I have lots of good colors to use, but this time round, I wanted to try to KISS - keep it simple stupid. 

This morning I took little Gabbi to the vet for her dental. I am determined, this time, to stick with keeping her teeth clean.  I HATE dropping her off there, and she hates it too.  She was the only one this morning, and the vet did her and called me within an hour of me dropping her off!  She was still asleep when he called but done with the dental, and he said to show up at 10:00 (that was 90 minutes from when he called).  Well, he called back not 5 minutes later, and said come get your kid!  She was a mess - she was screaming and scratching in the cage.  She kinda flips out, and is an emotional mess when I leave her anywhere, which is why I don't take her to the groomer anymore.  Poor little thing.  Well, she was fine when I got there, and has done really well today!  She's such a good girl.

I haven't felt very crafty today, so I worked on making space in my laundry room which is also my pantry.  I have a bookcase in there with food (boxes, cans, and baking stuff).  I cleaned, organized, and tossed the expired stuff.  Then I found an empty plastic tote box that we weren't using for anything else, and all of my dye equipment fit in the bin!  I don't know if it will always fit - I pretty much expect I'll have to have 2 bins eventually.  But that's okay!  For now, the one bin is fine, and it fits just inside the door, with the crock pot sitting on top.  It works!

We are expecting a huge snow storm.  I am looking out the window, and it seems like a nice day.  It's in the 40s and barely any wind (for once).  It's overcast, but not too bad.  They (the weather people) are so excited about this weather coming through.  I am hoping that once again, they will be incorrect, and we get nuthin but a bit of rain, maybe a few flakes, and that's it, because I really do NOT want the 7" more or less, they are calling for.  Not now, not in March. Thank you very much.

Okay, well, that's enough rambling for now.  I really need to go do something.  Actually, I'm ready for a nap but don't want to sleep as I've finally begun sleeping well at night again, and I don't want to mess that up.  Although, I seem to be only able to sleep about 6-7 hours at a time, but it's good sleep.