Saturday, November 30, 2013

ETSY shop update

I have a few new things in the ETSY shop here

They are batts, a hat and fingerless gloves I dyed, spun, crocheted, and 2 new blending kits!  I've been busy but need to be busier.  I'm trying really hard to incorporate the things I think will sell, and I keep trying to improve business. It's slow.  Sadly so. 

The batts are from fiber I blended which consists of commercially dyed merino wool, and some hand dyed fiber such as Firestar, Silk. and nylon blending fibers. 

The blending kits are from hand dyed BFL wool, silk, Firestar and Snow Mountain nylon, along with some Leceister Longwool locks and fiber that I bought and dyed myself.  Fun stuff and all very soft.

I went wild with some yarn I spun, trying several different methods of spinning, and absolutely LOVED what I did.  It wasn't a lot of yardage, but enough to crochet a hat and fingerless mitts.  Cute cute cute, even if I do say so myself.

Here are the pics:
Cap and Gloves

Blending kits



 
Batts for Spinning

 
If you know someone who spins, please feel free to share this blog post or my Etsy shop link.

Thanks, and take care.
Martha

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sale!

I'm holding a 10% off sale in my ETSY shop!  Go check it out.  Enter the code 10off and you will get 10% off your purchase.

Yesterday was a day of experimenting.  I had purchased a 2 lb bag of locks/wool from a vendor at the Fall Fiber Festival in Orange in October.  I started going through the bag, picking the locks out.  This is supposed to be Leicester Longwool.  It's not very long staple though.  That's okay, I can spin it.  I planned on using it to dye and also to make dream catchers with.  That's a lotta wool!  It wasn't very expensive and that's why I bought it.  It was already washed too, which is something I'm not good at. Yet.  I plan on getting good at all the steps (well, maybe except the actual shearing of the sheep).

Anyway, back to dyeing.....I wanted to try a method I hadn't tried before, which is in the turkey roaster, I poured about a gallon plus about a third of another gallon of water.  My water has to come from the jugs of water in the basement since we have no running water down there (and we don't have a sink either).  Then I put the woo in to soak, and after about 30 minutes, I put the dry dye on top by sprinkling each color of blue that I have - which is about 6 different blues!  I thought it was going to be really pretty with all different shades of blue.....until I realized there was enough dye in there to dye about a pound of wool!  WAY too much dye.  UGH.  I'm so upset.....

So I put more wool on top, but I don't want ALL the wool to be blue.....

It still didn't clear the water.....still dark dark blue.

So, I took all the wool out, and I put some other fibers in there - some silk, some Firestar, and some Snow Mountain (the last 2 are nylon and soak up the dye like crazy).  The Firestar came out SO pretty - a beautiful shade of teal almost.  Of course, it's not dry yet....because it was suggested to me that I put everything back into the dye pots with water and citric acid, for about 30 minutes (I left it a bit longer) and then turn it off, and leave it sit overnight to cool.  I had to ask for help on FB because I was at my wit's end!  I had tried to rinse the fiber, and it just kept running dark blue...and I was afraid that wool I had used, was going to felt. It might still have, or might still felt, but at least it's not a very expensive experiment.

The other thing is, I should never mix fibers in a dye pot....I can hardly tell the Firestar from the Snow mountain.  And somehow the silk got a bit beat up in there......

Today, I will go and get the wool and fiber out of the pots and rinse it, and we'll see what happens.....

At least it's going to be warmer today - near 60 supposedly.  On Sunday it's supposed to only be in the 30s though.  What crazy weather we are having, not consistent at all. 

Meanwhile, I'm working on some ideas in my brain, and we all know what that means.  hahaha. 

That's my check in for this week.  I hope you're all ready for the upcoming holidays.  I'm not.  Still have to find a couple of things for the grandkid (and grandkid to be).  Daughter is due on Dec 11th with our second grand daughter, and she's more than ready to pop that kid out!  lol  December is going to be quite busy.

Take care.  Do what you love.  Love what you do.
Martha

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Yay!!!

I took a deep breath, walked into the shop called Knit Wits, and asked the owner if she remembered discussing with me a couple of months ago, that she would like to carry my hand spun yarns in her shop.  She said yes, she remembered!  She liked the yarns, and she bought them outright! 

One thing she said was she thought they were priced way too low for hand spun.  That isn't the first time I've heard that.  I think I will have to stop feeling like I'm pricing my yarn too high, and try harder to have faith in my handiwork and KNOW that my yarns ARE worth more!

Some of the yarn I took to Knit Wit Yarn Shop (located in Sperryville, Virginia). Link: http://www.knitwityarnshop.com/



 

I sure hope they sell, so I can get busy making more!

Meanwhile, I have lots of fun ideas for where I'm going with my business.  I've had a couple of good discussions with people about opening a shop. Most people don't advise it, unless you have a LOT of capital to keep it going through the bad times.

I've also had some good discussions about where I want my business to go - the direction I'm headed.  I have a friend I met on FB, and she's been a fiber artist a long time.  She told me the other night that she learned that if she's doing what she loves, it sells. She doesn't worry about what people think or what people say they think she should do.  If it comes from the heart, it will sell.  Well, I can handle that. 
The other person that I've had these discussions with, is Dear Hubby.  He's a very smart man, and he is a salesman.  He has a different point of view on things.  Sometimes, he makes a lot of sense to me.  Other times, he doesn't really "get" what this involves, what kind of people it attracts, and how this business works.  So I take his advice, I process it, and then I make a decision based on what I feel about what he said (and what I've learned, and others in the business I've spoken to).

At this point, I'm reselling fiber - so that basically makes me a retailer.  Selling the fiber is good for making money (when people buy) but, it's not very creative and it's kind of dull, and it doesn't exactly stretch my creative side. 

I'd rather be MAKING things, using my creative side, and selling the yarns I make, and the garments I make, and the other items that give me so much joy in making (like the dream catchers).

So I will be moving my business in a new direction, while still (for awhile at least) providing the fiber for those that want it......we'll see how long I continue to do that. 

Business has been very slow on ETSY.  I don't know why, but I'm working on it.  I update items every few days.  I'm running a 10% off sale right now through the 25th.  Lots of views, no sales. 

I really wish I could afford to either put a decent building on the property, or better yet, open a shop.  Sigh......
 
 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Dream Catchers!

Hi!  I've been MIA due to some health issues.  Seems I picked up a cold - the cold from HE&&.  Not fun.  Very contagious.  A virus according to the doctor.  Went to the doctor with a burning throat and coughing, after 5 days.  No strep.  Within the week, I had a severe sinus infection and ear infections.  Back to the doctor and antibiotics for 10 days and ear drops (which I have failed to complete - shame on me).   Then DH got it.  UGH.  He's been coughing for 2 weeks now too. I'm on week 4 and still hacking and coughing and have drainage issues.  Back to the doctor with DH but all they gave him was cough syrup with Codeine.  He took it one night but said it didn't help.  Then I read another thing about Vicks Vapo Rub on the feet.  Slather it on and put on socks and go to bed = no coughing.  What the heck - told DH to try it.  I think it actually worked last night! 

Anyway, still trying to get over the crud, but at least I'm functional now, but I wasn't for 2 TWO weeks!  I literally sat and watched t.v.  I couldn't do anything - between my face (sinuses) hurting and lack of energy and antibiotics wiping me out, I was done before I started.  I am back to DOING and that feels good!

So, on that note, I will tell you (and show you) about the Dream Catchers.  They are now photographed and edited and are looking pretty snazzy, if I do say so myself.  I haven't listed them yet on ETSY, but they are on my FB page HERE .  If they don't start selling there, I'll be listing them on ETSY next week.



These are just examples of what I have available.  Don't forget, Christmas is coming SOON!  It's right around the corner.  It's always nice to buy hand made!

I used hand spun wool for these - I did add some commercial yarn on the last one pictured, mixed with hand spun.  There is a bead in each dream catcher, which stands for the spider that weaves the web.  Each one has feathers - some more, some less.  If you see one you like on my FB page, please let me know, and I'll be glad to get it right in the mail to you.  I accept Pay Pal and credit cards (done over the phone!). 

I have my latest hand spun yarn drying.  It's red.  It's very pretty.  I dyed it and spun it myself.  I can't wait to list it. There is a photo of that on my FB page also.

Thanks for checking in with me.  I hope you're ready for the cold weather and upcoming holidays.

Take care,
Martha