Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hello there

I've been MIA again. I was feeling stuck.  I feel stuck in my business when no one orders, and I'm not working on anything new.
I started spinning for TDF, but then I slacked off some.  More guilt than usual because I feel I'm not living up to a commitment I made.
However, I decided I needed to figure some things out, so I got online, found a local street festival in Orange, VA that is happening Sept 7th.  I applied.  They cashed my check.  I guess that means I'm in?  That made me feel like I needed to start preparing.  I hmmmd and hawed about whether I should start creating "fair" kind of stuff, as opposed to selling the supplies for spinning, and some hand spun yarns, and some hand made garments/items.  I decided I need to build my brand.  I've been watching a lot of shows that talk about branding your business.  Key words like that catch me now that I'm trying to grow my business. 
Therefore, I decided to stick with what I feel MY brand is - supplying supplies to people who want to spin.
For awhile, I've wanted to make some tools that I feel are really useful to spinners that deal with fiber, but can't afford to have the big tools, such as a drum carder (costing $550 and up, new), and people who might want to try spinning, but don't know if they'll take to it (yes, that actually does happen, as unbelievable as that may be), but can't afford a spinning wheel right away.  I made myself a blending board.  It's ugly but does the job.  I used carding cloth for mine, but I can now get blending board cloth, which has deeper tines, and isn't so sharp.  Since I want to make a good product, I opted to spend the extra money on the blending board cloth.  I also ordered 4 cutting boards on Amazon.  Four different boards, so I can see what I like, what works best, and then in the future, I can order that board (hopefully!).  I only ordered enough cloth to cover 3 boards.  That's okay.  I want to see if they actually sell first anyway.
I also asked a couple of friends about what they would do.  They suggested I make these drop spindles, and I said, well, someone else does those.   One of my friends, E, said, what this other lady sells, was my idea, and she just copied it and ran with it.  The other lady didn't even ask E if she minded.  E said, I'd be happy if YOU made them (meaning me).  So I ran with it!  :-)  I bought the supplies and put a few together.  Here is a photo.  Mind you, these are NOT finished yet, and I only tested them to see if they actually worked:

I spun some merino on them and OMG, I can spin finer than I can on my wheel.  I'm not much of a spindle person - you can't get as much on them and they tend to cause me to get tennis elbow.  These, I might figure out how to keep spinning on!  :-)

I painted a couple.  I wasn't thrilled with them.  I also stained one, then fell in love!  I will sand and restain then probably put a finish of some sort on them to make them smooth and shiny.  I LOVE them.  I do need to be more careful - between glue and stain, the fumes downstairs were a bit strong. LOL

I will post the photos of the finished products soon. 

The blending board supplies will be here some time this week, and I will work on those when they arrive.

I need to organize a bit downstairs.  We started reorganizing and I lost interest, because I was at a standstill.
Then a couple of people bought some fiber, and I got reenergized again. :-D

I also signed up for the Powhatan's Festival of Fiber, the festival I did this past April and did pretty well at.  We signed up for 2 spaces for 2014, and hopefully we'll have great weather,  just like last year!

I also asked my 2 friends if they'd want to go in with me on my tent at the street festival and said, if they brought in money and helped pay for the space, then I would be glad to let them sell their products and make some money too.  One of them, E, the same lady that let me take her idea of the spindles and run with it, her hubby makes something called a paddle spindle.  It's noisy, but interesting, and she's going to have him make some, then she will demo them at the festival in Sept.  If she does well, she can take do the same next April as far as I'm concerned.  She will also help me with demonstrating to customers how to use the spindles.

I will be dyeing more fiber soon also.  It's difficult as I've been banished to the basement.  The positive is that there is a lot more space down there.  The negative is there is no water supply, well, except for the outside faucet.  I'll see how difficult it is to work with.  I need to get more fiber dyed, especially now that I have more colors to play with and more space to do it in.  While I'm waiting for the fiber to set in the steam, I can be working on more spindles and blending boards!

That's about it for now.  My timer for dinner went off, so it's time to go finish that up.  I hope to be back soon with more product updates!

Take care and Carpe' Diem!