Category Archives: show prep

And there goes August!

And goodbye August, or nearly so! 

Woosh, the month went flying by, just like that! 

For starters, it’s been busy on all fronts. Home, work, yarn, etc. But a good type of busy I suppose, it definitely makes the time go by faster. 

I took a few days off from my day job and traveled to WY to visit my parents. While I was there my mom and I set up a outdoor dye studio and did some natural dyeing with sunflowers. My mom and dad went out into the country one evening on their 4-wheeler and walked up and down the ditches on the side of the road picking sunflowers that in turn were boiled so they’d release the dye. 

I will say this about my parents, they have always been extraordinarily patient with my crafty and artistic endeavors and never once in all the years I’ve been coming up with one crazy scheme or idea after another did they tell me no/that’s not a good idea. It’s how I am raising my son, I think it’s an excellent way to parent. So, thanks mom and dad! 🙂 

So the first day I was home we did the sunflower dyeing and after that was done (1+ pounds of roving plus hanks of yarn) my mom and I tackled the handpainted yarn project. In the next two days she helped me dye 50 skeins of yarn! It was crazy productive, I have never knocked out that much yarn in that short of time. 

Since then I’ve had time to focus more on spinning, I hope to have time to update my Etsy store soon as well and continue to prepare for craft shows this fall and other events coming up in September. 

Somewhere in all this I start classes in September (I’m finishing a degree via online coursework), got my son off to his first day of school, work, have a trip to Denver planned, etc. Busy! But again, busy is good, it keeps my life interesting even if most of the time I feel like it’s like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride around here. 

How about some photos?

This is what sunflower dye looks like in progress. I prefer to call it something nice, like peridot. My dad thought it looked like calf scours. Being from ranch country, I guess I can see why he had such an opinion!

When the yarn and roving came out of the kettles it veried in shade from a pale green to a buttery yellow. I plan to spin the roving and ply it to get the full effect of the subtle color shifts. As you can see, the deck at my parents house was absolutely built for someone like me and yarn madness!

Here a couple shots of the handpainted spree, these were taken on day one. As I said previously, by the time we were done we’d completed fifty skeins!

 

 

 

 

 

So there you have it! Happy Almost-Autumn, we’ll all need hats, scarves and socks before you know it!

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Hello December, Hello Winter!

It snowed here yesterday.  Two days ago I walked to the libary without a coat and a care in the world. This morning it was 8 degrees (minus windchill, and I’m not ready to even think about that), so a bit of a change!

The show this year in Sheridan, Wyoming was good. It’s always fun to meet to new people and see others return from years past. After the show my mom and I were talking and decided that yes, we will do it again next year. One of my friends has a saying about big events that she does. When people ask her during the event if she’s going to do it next year she says “Don’t talk to me about my next baby when I’m labor” and I think that is so true. That’s why my mom and I never decided until after the show is over and everything is back where it should be.

Which, unfortunately for me, is still not true. That busy weekend followed by another busy weekend of traveling for Thanksgiving and my work area once again looks as though a yarn and wool bomb went off inside it. This weekend I’m determined to get everything back in its place and finish listing the yarn that I took to the show that wasn’t already in my Etsy shop beforehand.

Here are some photos of our booth this year, I was very pleased! The addition of our own lighting made a huge difference. It was hard work getting all the furniture, tables and assorted props in (we took a van and a full sized pickup, both fully loaded) but it was really worth it.

So if you were there and stopped by, thanks! And if not and you live in the area, I’ll see you next year!

Holiday Festival Crafts & Bazaar 2009

Well hello there! It’s that time of year again! November usually means NaNoWriMo to most, but to me it means that it is time for the Holiday Festival Crafts & Bazaar! This will be the 3rd consecutive year that I’ve attended with my mom and this year we have 3 other people joining us to really make our booth full of all sorts of wonderful handmade goodness.

I will be there with my wheel, lots of wool and lots and lot and lots of yarn. Lots. I’m rather overwhelmed and this is just the yarn!

I also have a giant bowl full of skeinlets (mini yarn skeins), wool soap socks, fabric covered buttons, felted beads, mittens, scarves, a few bags and omg I am forgetting because my head will explode if I try to think of it all now!

My mom will be there with her handwoven baskets, tapestry tablerunners, hardanger embroidery and the cutest wee felted purse/pouch things I’ve ever seen. My sister has put together a great assortment of handmade envelopes and cards, my friend Karen has over 2 dozen felted bags as well as a large assortment of scarves and shawls. My friend Danielle is bringing a whole bunch of felted slippers (they look like clogs, they are so cute and I can vouch for their comfyness!), and amazing felted hats as well as a wide array of knitted hats for babies.

I am super excited, as I always am this time of year! It’s a long day but it’s so much fun and we have been fortunate enough to be located in the same area every year so people have started to remember us or come looking for us, which is always flattering.

So as always, if you find yourself in Sheridan, Wyoming on Saturday, November 21 come see us! We’ll be at the Sheridan Holiday Inn at 1809 Surgarland Drive. The show starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. Sheridan is going to be the place to be, there are SEVEN shows next weekend! I love it. I love every single crazy minute of it!

Hello Fall!

Well hi there, long time no update.

I’m just not good at this self discipline thing.

Happy Autumn everyone!

I so love fall, it makes me feel so productive and inspired.

As I do every year at this time, I’m once again building inventory for the arts and crafts show held the weekend before Thanksgiving at the Holiday Inn in Sheridan, WY. I will be there again this year, as will my wheel. If you want to attend a truly great show, I suggest attending! There are some truly amazing people who attend with their wares, I look forward to going every year.

This year I’ve changed some of my dye techniques as well as my primary dye preference. When I first started dyeing fiber, I used Kool Aid. I then progressed to Wilton’s paste food coloring and then when my ever increasing need for more colors grew I finally took the plunge with acid dyes. I started with Jacquard acid dyes, I still have over 30 colors in stock. But eventually I started to feel limited by that selection as well and in January of this year I ordered a small bundle of Cushing’s acid dyes. I’ll admit that initially it was not a pleasant experience. I was used to being able to dump a lot of color on fiber using Jacquard and not having it saturate so much or so darkly, I guess. It took a lot of trying but eventually got the hang of the more concentrated (in my opinion) Cushing dyes and things just took off from there.

My last post I showed a bunch of hand painted rovings, over 80% of those were dyed with Cushing dyes, so you can see that my love has become full blown.

I will say that I still haven’t found anything that can beat Jacquard’s Hot Fuschia though, that is a truly great shade of hot pink.

In July I went to visit my best friend Jen, she lives in Maine. One afternoon during my last couple days there, we journeyed to Kennebunkport and visited the Cushing dye studios! That place knocked my freaking socks off, it was just so wonderful. We were there for well over an hour looking at swatches of wool dyed in half a dozen strengths of their acid dyes and I was able to see first hand what colors didn’t appeal to me on a computer screen or a glossy publication. Neither are a bad way to shop, but if you can see or purchase swatches first hand I highly recommend it. And if you go to Cushings, ask for Gillian because she is about the coolest, most helpful person I’ve ever met in the dye world.

I guess for me it depends on mood. If I want a true baby blue, I’ll break out the Cushings. Easy, no mixing. Instant gratification. If I want that hot pink that is so elusive, I chose Jacquard.

I mainly use Jacquard for kettle dyeing and Cushing for hand painting, but that’s just my preference. That said, my collection of Jacquard has stayed at 36 colors (Jacquard produces 40 colors) and 60 out of the 94 shades offered by Cushing. I would guess it’s all part of the evolution of coming into my own as a fiber artist (though quite honestly I don’t consider myself to be one) and someday I might discover something new.

As a side note, those that think that those tiny envelopes of Cushings aren’t worth the approximate price of $3, vs. about $5 for a small jar of Jacquard I will tell you that in my experience a tiny bit goes a long, long way! I’ve had some of my envelopes since January and I’m still not close to being out.

Well no wonder

That I’m tired and want to curl up into a ball and sob.

I just counted what I have here and then called my mom to confirm what I left there on Sunday.

111.

One hundred eleven.

Skeins of yarn.

Oh yes, there will be photos. When I get it all in one place, I promise.

For comparison, last year I took 65 skeins.

Still labeling, still cataloging inventory. I finally found a use for my laptop.

Progress, I make it.

O.k. I realize that the pile o’yarn probably doesn’t look like it’s expanded much, but since my last update I’ve added 8 new skeins to the pile! I’m getting really tired! The show in Sheridan is exactly a month away. I was thinking of taking a break from spinning and dyeing yarn this weekend but then my eyes landed on the cones of undyed sock yarn, the huge bag of 8 ounce dyed rovings and the stuff that I might have accidentally ordered onlien in a fit of “OMG I NEED THIS STUFF.”

Ahem. 🙂

In between all this I’ve managed to squeeze in a custom yarn order at Etsy. I am so flattered that I was chosen to create this yarn! The lovely customer wanted roving dyed in shades of silver and brown and then handspun super bulky and thin. It was hard for me to deliberately place huge slubs into the yarn but the results were so nice! Super soft and an amazing texture. I’m really pleased with it, I can’t wait to see what she makes with it!

300 yards. I never formally named it but started to think of it as Sepia.

And with that, I’m keeping my promise to myself to get to bed at a decent hour tonight so off I go. Goodnight!