Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dye day....Bailey approved......

I only dyed 6 pounds of merino roving today but it felt like twice that much, guess I was running on empty and moving slow. I always take a picture of my roving soaking wet hanging to dry - I guess sometime I should take a picture of it after it dries when it's all fluffed up and 3 times it's size, so much prettier. Not sure what I did with the lavendar in the center - was originally thinking silver grey with a bit of blue but got carried away and added some lavendar. Bailey was his usual helpful pooch self today.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dye day......

Today was a dye day as the temps have come down a bit and it was lovely out. This is 8 pounds of merino roving, tomorrow I'll finish up the remaining 6 pounds. Fiber friend Pat came over and overdyed some merino yarn from her sheep of days past, dyed some of her handspun merino and roving too. Nice day.

Thank you to those who have commented on Pinterest from my post yesterday.....hoping to get more feedback, still mulling over the whole idea of being pinned.......hmm, wasn't that a good thing in high school???  Well, at least for some, I was with the counter-culture/flowerchild/hippie/make love, not war crowd and being pinned was not something on my radar.

Monday, August 27, 2012

It's time.......

It's been way past time to review my inventory procedures......it takes me way too long to pull fiber orders for both my Etsy shops, the biggest culprit being the Ashland Bay solid colored merino rovings which there are hundreds of. I thought I was organized having bins marked with type of fiber but once you get up to 6 giant bins of one type of fiber it becomes a time sucker trying to find a particular color. This past weekend I talked over my problems with my husband who is an expert in cutting costs & time so huge corporations make the big bucks.......some of the hints I picked up seemed like they would work great for my little company.
So.....much of today was spent on administrivia counting inventory, numbering bins, changing and updating all info on my spreadsheets and then listing tons more items in the one etsy shop. Another time saver will be that I've now listed all of each color/type of fiber in one of the Etsy shops, not just one of each. Earlier this year Etsy changed the way it handled multiple item listings so fees are only paid as one sells and the other automatically lists - putting all my inventory on etsy will save me re-listing time with each sale. Now if I could just speed up the boxing/printing postage part of the job, I seem pretty efficient there but will talk to my in-house expert to see if there's anything else I can do to save more time. What this all comes down to is finding more time to weave.

I'm sure everyone is familiar with Pinterest. I've gone and looked at it a few times but am trying to ignore it since it would just end up being another sit in front of the computer time sucker for me and I already spend too much time in front of the computer. There has been a lot of controversary over items on blogs and etsy shops being pinned. I just saw that 3 of my handwoven scarves have been pinned and repinned - I'm not sure how I feel about it. I found this out because when I look at my Etsy shop stats every morning I can see where people come from that are looking at my shop - yesterday I saw pinterest.com listed as a source for several looky-loos prospective customers. Of course I went to Pinterest and did a search using my company name and saw the scarves in question pinned by someone I don't know and repinned by others I don't know. On one hand it's a good thing - it brought more people to my shop, and above the photos of my scarves my blog address was listed so it did show the source of the photos. But do we, meaning collective we out there, want anything from our blog/website pinned? I don't know if that's a good thing. Yes, if we put something out there on our blog it's there for the world to see, but maybe we should be able to control where we want our images shown, maybe we don't want them to show up on any old website out there in cyberspace. Something to ponder. I'd love to hear what others think.

Friday, August 24, 2012

handwoven scarves.....

Today a bit more weaving - above I used copper for the weft on the scarf warp - I like it very much, who would have thought copper with a warp that's variegated shades of purple. I think I'll add some copper threads to the twisted fringe to pull that color into the fringe.
I couldn't seem to get a good picture of this one using a black weft - the 'ribbons' do show up, just not in this photo.........and actually out of the 3 scarves this is my favorite.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

onward.......

Late this afternoon I got to the AVL and that scarf warp I put on a few weeks ago - first scarf woven using the pale pink weft....next to come is copper weft, then one with black weft. I knew it would be a challenge using a space dyed warp, I think they'll turn out quite ok though.  Towels were hemmed this morning, orders boxed up and mailed, laundry done......

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

weaving away......

This afternoon I finally got back to the loom and wove the last 5 of 13 on the towel warp. The last 3 I used this pale aqua for weft for a change from the white and natural. Tomorrow I'll get them cut off the loom and in the wash, then comes hemming.....maybe another day for hemming as I've got other things on the long 'to-do' list. I've got a scarf warp on the AVL waiting to be woven, many warps to be pulled for dyeing.......painted warps........actually there are many other things I should be doing before these but they're more fun so they'll move to the top of the list.

I should be dyeing wool roving but it's still too hot for me. I thought if I started very early in the morning I could finish up for the day before the heat set in but I just didn't have it in me this morning. I'll get it done.....eventually.

Monday, August 20, 2012

This is not new.....

This skein is not newly spun, it's from some Lorna's Laces roving I bought and spun a number of years ago. So, why am I posting it? Because I plied it with quilting thread and I wanted Teresa from North Bend to see - hope you check out my blog again Teresa. (click on the picture to see a bigger view) She is working on spinning up some very fun novelty fiber with all sorts of fun accoutrement in it, maybe plying with sewing thread or rayon embroidery thread will work for her fiber. Generally I'd say use a fairly dark color - in her case maybe a dark green/teal or black, many times I use black. In this case I used gray because these colors were so soft, with most other colors this gray would dull them too much. This handspun made a beautiful crocheted shawl for my mother - I've got enough left for at least a couple scarves.....someday.....

It was back into the heat but today only 89 in comparison to well over 100 last week. I spent much of the morning packing up numerous fiber orders, printing postage, doing bookwork and worrying about where that copter was going. I did find out - a small fire at Indian Mary Park not too far from us, they knocked it out quickly. Then right after that another fire out in the Applegate, a bit southeast near where some of my friends live, that one knocked down quickly too.....thank goodness. I hold my breath during fire season - can't wait for rain which could still be another 6+ weeks away. Part of the afternoon was spent weaving on the towel warp, evening will be knitting on the shawl.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

another lovely day.....

It's another lovely day on the coast....the sun came out in full force 5 minutes after this picture was taken. This is where we start out our walk along the inlet beach and where we find most of our shells and the critter tracks from yesterday.....then we walk the ocean beach for a while, taking the steps back up the cliff and walking the neighborhood back home. That's the lighthouse up near the breakers leading into the ocean. Lots of small boats out in the inlet as the steelhead are running. For some reason this picture makes the lighthouse look so far away but it really isn't, if a person could stand to get in this cold water it wouldn't be a bad swim across the inlet.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Whose feet are these....and escaping the heat....

I spent 4 days gabbing demonstrating spinning at the county fair. It was a great time spent with wonderful friends and hopefully enlightening the public occasionally. Today is the last day of the fair but last night we skipped town and headed 65 miles west as the crow flies for the coast - temps inland 100+, temp on the coast 60, I'm loving it. Rumor is that temps will come back down to 80's-90's this week....if that really happens maybe I'll get that 14 pounds of merino roving dyed.
This morning's walk on the beach we found more than just the usual shells that I pack home in my windbreaker pocket. These footprints. I have no clue what critter was on the beach leaving these behind. Could it have just been a racoon out for a stroll, or something else? In the picture above there's a faint 2 legged critter footprint to the right that gives an example of how big these footprints are. The picture below shows Bailey's footprint on the upper right in comparison. Anyone have any ideas?  My guess is racoon but who knows......

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It's fair time again.....

It's that time of year again - county fair time, and as normal it's hot, over 100 with 105 now forecast for the remainder of the week.....thank goodness we're in one of the two air-conditioned buildings.  This is our display....I guess I should have moved the chairs but we were already setting up our spinning circle when I remembered to get out the camera. It's a sparse year for fleeces turned in for judging - just two of them, then Linda convinced Karen to bring two more which showed up later today. Usually the table is loaded with fleeces as well as 2 tiers in front of the table. Guess those new fees to enter items in the fair are having an impact....and not just in fleeces.....there looked to be half the entries in all the arts/crafts. There were over 10 of us there spinning for much of the day, two more coming later for early evening spinning. Lots of visitors, very fun day, I'm exhausted......

Monday, August 13, 2012

The last of them.....

This is the last of the muffin baking for a while - blueberry struesel muffins - recipe here on the Taste of Home website. I won't be baking anymore muffins until the freezer stash is depleted.......or until autumn when it's time to make pumpkin muffins. Why pumpkin? Because I reorganized the walk-in pantry over the weekend (out of date stuff was cleaned out a few weeks ago) and found 8 cans of pumpkin (3 large, 5 regular size) - yikes. Pantry is looking good, keeping things toward the front of the shelves so I always know what I have and nothing gets lost in the back.......like 8 cans of pumpkin......

Tomorrow our county fair starts - we set up our spinning display Saturday. Par for the course the temp will be 100 tomorrow, 106 forecast for the rest of the week. We're lucky to be in one of two an air-conditioned buildings but it's going to be a tough week for fair-goers and the animals.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Blackberry scones for breakfast......

I am really on a baking kick here the past few days, I think it's all the local berries available now. These blackberry scones just came out of the oven and we haven't had breakfast yet. No recipe link to share for these - just a plain Fair Scone mix that I added the sweetest, almost too juicy, local blackberries to. Off to eat.....

Friday, August 10, 2012

More muffins - yum

I couldn't resist the blackberries at Fort Vannoy Farm this morning - farmer gave me a sample, the sweetest blackberries I've ever eaten and there are a lot of blackberries in in SW Oregon. So, I had to make more muffins - these are the best ever loaded with berries. This recipe is courtesy of Taste of Home website - glad I chose this recipe. Making muffins in the afternoon could get addictive - a warm from the oven muffin makes a nice afternoon snack. Most of these muffins go in the freezer to pop into Sam's lunchbox. I went to the farm for corn, the best corn we've had out here....that's saying a lot since what we have generally found around here is what my Dad called field corn that you feed the pigs......we miss that Silver Queen corn from the east coast but this corn is a good second. Also picked up peppers, 2 kinds of squash, nectarines, peaches, red & black plums.....tomatoes are running behind due to the cool late spring. I love that this farm is 10 minutes from the house since I don't often get to the big Saturday morning grower's market in town.
I did get a bit of time at the loom this afternoon to work on the towel warp - 4 towels woven using a natural weft - think I'll try white next.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Yum

Just made a batch of banana muffins to avoid thowing out those last 3 bananas.....Sam says there's only a very short window for eating a banana before it gets too ripe- sheesh. So, I went looking online for a recipe for a banana struesel muffin. This recipe says it makes 10 muffins - who makes 10 muffins??? muffin tins are made for 12. So, I decided I'd make 12 anyhow and they'd just be smaller. Note to myself for the next time making this recipe - definitely make 12, they overflowed the top of the muffin tin, if I had only made 10 it would have dripped on the bottom of the oven. Taste test - oh my gosh, they are yummy.....but how could they not be with all that good banana flavor and a buttery, sugary struesel topping. Calories could definitely be kept down without the topping and they'd be just as yummy. This recipe is a saver. Next I need to find the perfect blueberry muffin recipe......or maybe just make that lemon blueberry bread I have a recipe for.....

More beachy towels in the works

This 12 yard towel warp seemed like it took forever to get on the loom.....maybe it's because I've been awake since 4:30am, been working in slow motion. This is a turned point twill from the Strickler 8 Harness book. Once again - beach colors. The last towel warp I took 2 towels for the beach cottage kitchen, the rest are for sale or already sold. This warp I'll keep a couple towels for the beach cottage guest bath - I wanted some coral and sand colors in this one.

It's a good feeling to have both floor looms warped up ready to weave on. Now if I could just force myself to weave off the tencel shadow weave scarf on the table loom that's leftover from the shadow weave workshop I attended in the spring......slow weaving on a table loom.....but having it sit in the middle of the floor in the studio is not an option much longer.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Now you can't resist either.....

Ok, so maybe I've enabled some others to buy those Dansko clogs - I sure hope so. There was a question on finding them on the Zappo's website - here's the link.

Today was my spinning get together - great fun, as usual, the greatest group of fiber friends ever. I took knitting today since I was toting tons of newly dyed roving for sale.....my load was lightened by my spinning friends.....many thanks to them all.....

I couldn't resist......

These arrived on my doorstep yesterday. I couldn't resist them when I saw them on another blog last week. They're Dansko's - I bought them at Zappo's. I understand Nordstrom's carries them but we don't have a Nordstrom's here. Now all I need is some cool weather so I can start wearing them.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Audtioning wefts.....

I put a scarf warp on the AVL for the vertical ribbons draft which was the first draft I put on this loom back in January or February. It's a 32 harness draft. I knew working with this space dyed tencel warp was going to be a problem, so hard to find the right weft color so the pattern actually shows.....that's why I only put on enough for 3 scarves. Here I am audtioning wefts - I audition colors I think might work and then those that I'd never usually consider, sometimes I'm surprised by what looks good. In this case I was sure a black weft would work but it does nothing. I would have never guessed these colors would look good - the light pink and silver gray. I also like the light teal and copper even though they don't show off the pattern to it's best. Note to self (as if I shouldn't have learned this years ago from previous experience) generally don't use a space dyed yarn for a draft that's all about structure, it gets lost.....guess I'm a slow learner.....

Merino Bamboo Roving

For those of you who asked to know - a quick note to say the Hand-dyed Merino-Bamboo Roving is up in my etsy shop now.....

Back to the heat from the cool coast over the weekend, I heard it was anywhere from 104-107 here in the valley while I was in the 60's to low 70's just over the coastal range. Today's temps will be in the upper 90's - still too hot for me to be outside dyeing so maybe a warp will get on one of the looms today.....

Sunday, August 5, 2012

New on the needles......

New on the needles - an autumn shawl. It's the Milk Run Shawl styled after the shawl Kate Middleton wore while pushing a grocery cart. It's very simple garter stitch with increases on the edge and down the center back, there will be a ruffle along the entire bottom edge of the shawl. I want something very simple since there are so many color changes in my hand- dyed handspun yarn. This is one of those handspuns that for some reason I didn't write on my tag what fiber it was, I occasionally find one of those on the shelf....I think this is colonial wool which is like a corriedale. The pattern is available on Ravelry as a free download.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Handspun done....

I finally finished spinning and plying the merino/tussah silk roving I started a bit ago. It's from some of my hand-dyed roving. This is one monster skein - it's 1810 yards of fingering weight yarn. Not sure what it will become yet....will have to percolate on that for a while.

I was asked by several spinners/felters to let them know when I get to listing recently posted items in my etsy shops. As of today the new Fiber Landscapes Kits are available in my one shop.......and the Merino/Tencel hand-dyed roving is available in my other shop. I don't list every braid as they're all different weights, if someone wants more than what's listed just contact me through etsy and I'll let you know what else I've got in stock. I still have the hand-dyed Merino/Bamboo roving to get listed (won't happen for a few days) and the remainder of the hand-dyed Merino/Tussah Silk roving....well, what's left of that one, much has already sold. Oh, and the hand-dyed silk hankies are showing up here and there in my shop, there are a lot of them to list so they'll go up gradually.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

More kits ready.....

This morning I got 24 more of the kits put together, this afternoon all labeling done, boxes closed up and put in a huge, I mean huge, box. In-between there was a Fiber Mania committee meeting which luckily was just a 10 minute drive from my house. Ok, so I changed some of the names - a girl has the right to change her mind, at least before all the labeling and listing in my etsy shop are done. The name of this product is Fiber Landscapes - my friend Yvonne was helping me brainstorm and brought up strata and the earth so that's where I started thinking landscape. So, then I really thought I should change a few names to go with that theme. The purple colorway is now Purple Mountains Majesty, the red is Strawberry Fields Forever. Hopefully these will get listed in the one etsy shop tomorrow.
Waves of Blue
Rain Forest
Down to Earth

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hazelnut Scones

Yum, hazelnut scones for spinning with a friend this afternoon. I cheated this time, I used the Fair Scone mix and added hazelnuts grown by friend Darlene of Peppermint Pasture Pygoras up north in Albany, OR.....I do have a from scratch hazelnut scone recipe, no time this morning. No clotted cream today as I didn't think ahead, but there is my homemade sunshine marmalade with pears, peaches & oranges and huckleberry jelly that was made by friends Diane & Gary in Idaho.

New products unveiled.....

New product development going on here - been thinking on it for a month or so, bought the perfect containers, now in production mode. Yesterday I put together 24 of these felting/spinning kits in these 6"x6" plastic cubes in 3 colorways. I've got 3 more colorways ready to be packaged but probably won't get to them today. I was making these with nuno-felters in mind as they don't want huge amounts of each color so with this they get approximately 1oz of 8 different colors of merino solid, merino multi-colored and merino/tussah roving.......but they're great for spinners too who would like to blend coordinating colors. Being a spinner myself I know I would buy something as pretty looking as these. I'm still working on a name for the kit but have names for the colorways figured out. A bonus is the cute plastic box that can be recycled to use as a gift box - perfect to hold a handwoven or knitted gift.

Purple People Eater



Sand in my Shoes


Ruby Slippers
The names of the other 3 colorways are Blue Bayou, Down to Earth and Green with Envy. I'll start out with these 6 and decide later if I'll add a couple more. Need to see if they sell first. I think they'll sell well locally at Fiber Mania in November, will start listing them in my etsy shop as soon as I finish them all up....or as soon as I figure out a name.