Sunday, July 22, 2007

Weekend fun

Well after doing all that dyeing, getting it into the shop, and finishing the pattern for Craft Leftovers this week I neglected to name the different yarn color ways.

So now I have renamed them, done drawings for them, and all but two are up and ready.

I picked the color names from Field Book of American Wildflowers by F. Schuyler Mathews. It's a book I have had for a long time and have always enjoyed imagining what the flowers would look like just by reading the passages. I have spent many hours day dreaming about colors and floral types. It seemed appropriate to name the color ways after what has inspired my own color sense: flowers. More specifically wild flowers.

This time around, because it was an after thought about naming them, I picked selections that matched the colors. From now on I'm going to do it the other way. I will pick a plant and interpret the colors that the discription brings into my mind's eye. Then look up the plant in color to see what it really looks like after I dye it. All of the dye lots will have illustrations of the images on the tag as well as an excerpt of the passage.

For example, this is the passage that I found for Monarda Didyma:
"A brilliant and showy wild flower whose scarlet-red color is strongly relieved by its usual background of shady woodland. Commonly found beside streams on the border of woods." - Field Book of American Wild Flowers by F. Schuyler Mathews

Here are one of the drawings I did today:

This is the yarn:

And this is what the flower looks like in color:

Now about natural dyeing and why I have decided to slow down on it and start dyeing with acid dyes. Basically what it comes down to is that handling heavy metals in my kitchen isn't something I feel comfortable doing on a regular basis. And unfortunately heavy metals are something required for natural dyeing. So less often, smaller batches, more control, less danger of breathing it in or spilling it. Also, it's a long processes, and while I'm still in school, I don't have many full days off to spend dyeing. Acid dyeing is easier to fit into my schedule. Next year though, Jason and I, are planning on building a dye shed outside for me with really great ventilation and not around my cooking surfaces.

So for now, more acid dyeing, less natural dyeing. More safety in my home.

I've also been thinking about some other things to make for the shop to round it out a little. I've been thinking about making some stitch holders and maybe some needle clutches (like the pattern over at Craft Leftovers for this week). We will see. We will see.

I'm also playing at spinning more and want to get my hands on a wheel.... sigh. Where would I put it though? I would have to toss some more furniture. I mean seriously, who needs that stuff anyway?

Jason came up this weekend and it was oh so nice. It had been awhile and we mostly just lazed around all day.

Well I'm going to play at spinning a bit, so I'll see you all later.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Get Your Yarn On!

Go check out all the really sweet yarn now in the shop!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Good stuff, good news, good day, long post

Lots of stuff to report today.... no surprise there considering how long it's been since I posted last.

I was in a funk and feeling down... and no, as jason asked, I was not feeling funky or ready to "get down get down get down.... funky town" or however that goes... although him saying so did make me smile and laugh. I sure do love that guy.

Anyway, enough of that, I was feeling down and low and sad and it must have been that time of the month because I sure feel a-okay now.

I'll start with the most recent and work my way back.
This morning I exceeded my bandwidth for the month over at Craft Leftovers and had to up it. I have had too many downloads for the month! Exciting right? I was pretty surprised and happy about it. I am going to have to start paying more for bandwidth though... so people need to start buying more from the shop or using the donate button to help make this happen. There have been over 300 pattern downloads this month and it's only the 17th! And I haven't even converted all the patterns to pdfs yet so most likely more than that!

It's kind of interesting to think that a year ago when I started this is was shocked/excited when I got 50 hits a week, now Craft Leftovers is consistently getting around 1300+! My average per a day went from 7 to 160! and it a good day was 20 now it's 400! Anyway, I'm excited to say the least.

I know it will take time, but I am a little bummed that the shop doesn't sell more because I really enjoy making kits and finding new "leftover" materials from thrift shops and donated stashes and etc. Oh well, that will come too, it will just take time.

Okay so next thing:
More yarn! I dyed with lettuce yesterday and instead of coming out "blah murk" it came out "lettuce green." It's so pretty.

And I also tried my hand at acid dyeing for the first time too! It looks so great and now I'm hooked! I did two, then another skien, then another, and another! I'm saving one for myself, but the rest I'm going to add into the shop. The official update time is Friday at 5pm! So check it out. I'll save my reasons for not sticking to naturally dyed yarns in the next post, it will give me something to talk about for sure.

Oh and I can't remember if I told you or not, but I finally found a wholesaler for natural yarns. I'm going to keep offering the natural dyed in the superwash merino, but the acid dyed is a superwash merino with 15% nylon. Perfect for socks! I'm also playing with wool roving and bulky yarn for felting. I'm going to try out some hand painting tonight with blues, yellows and greens. I think on my first shot I accidently felted the roving... woops. Try again. Too much agitation. I think I'm going to have to hand paint that and then steam it.

And yesterday I felted, that's right, after two years of knitting I finally made not just one, but two felted projects. I'll show them later once I take a picture, hopefully of the ferrets playing in the one.

Speaking of the kiddos, Mr B is frisking as ever and is eating more more often, but is still not eating on his own. I don't mind getting quality time with him 4 times a day though. Sloane is still all sneezy and I think she is allergic to wool! go figure right? I've been cleaning like mad so hopefully she will show improvement soon.

I do have some bad news. I didn't get into Renegade.. blah. That's okay though, it has helped me to work harder at getting Craft Leftovers more professional looking. My friend is doing packaging design for me, along with some promos, and I'm working on being a better photographer. Renegade wasn't really the right venue anyway, I think they are more alternative art than alternative craft. Whatever. I'm looking into some small little "crafty" shows that are like $25 a table and are all about everyone is welcome to sell their stuff. I like the idea of craft shows with crafty old ladies, those were always so fun to go to growing up. Kind of like a craft garage sale feel. My friend jill says that Craft Leftovers is more suited to a "grass roots" kind of movement than trendy indie movement. I think she's right. Sometimes I do dream of being a trendy ass hole i must admit. Sigh. To fit in somewhere. I suppose I never have so why would I now.

The other thing that I have been thinking about is being a vendor at a fiber festival, like the midwest folk and fiber festival. I think it would be easier for me to get into with Green Prairie Fibers. I could sell my hand dyed yarn and then the kits from Craft Leftovers. There are quite a few good ones in this area. Eventually stitches midwest would be awesome to go to, but that's like a 5 year goal because it's so pricey for a booth.

I might do a small fair in the fall, but mostly it will have to wait until next year because all the deadlines have passed.

Oh so another cool thing. CRAFTzine is going to feature some of my patterns in their pattern podcast! Horray!

So I think this is long enough. I'll see you all later this week!

ps - more stuff:
I just finally got my act together in starting to prep for the conference. I made Craft Leftover Patches. And Deb I haven't forgotten you, your's is on it's way now that I actually made some!.... now where did I put your address.... hmm...

Does anybody else want a patch? I'll be putting some into the shop after Aug 1st or you can find me at the conference and get one from the grab bag.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Oh so long...

Okay, lots of stuff going on, but I'm not going to post about it now, I'm just too tired. I've been working hard (5-6 days a week at the job) and then on Craft Leftovers and yarn stuff.

I just wanted to pop in and let you know I'm having a:
buy one get one half price sale in both my shops:
Craft Leftovers - kits and handmade goods

Green Prairie Fibers - naturally hand dyed sock yarn

So that's it for tonight, I'll update later this week, Saturday pm sounds good. I have some pictures and projects to share. Honestly CL has been taking up a lot of time... but that's good right? My friend and I are working on redesigning all the packaging, logos, banners, business cards, promos, etc. I'm also putting together another Sampler to go out in just 4 days! Yipes! Back to work!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Ferret Update

So Mr B started to get really sick soon after (about 3 days) after I got Sloane. And then she got sick too...

She got better, Mr B got worse and stopped eating.

I took them both to the vet tonight and found out that Sloane has allergies it seems... to dogs!

Mr B...well... he's not doing so great. He has a mass that has pushed his heart down about an inch. And the mass is larger than his heart.

I'm not sure what to do outside of spending a crap load of money on tests that may just tell me what's wrong, but not fix it or try to make him as comfortable as possible. Maybe it will be a mixture of both. I think I'm going to get an ultrasound done to rule a lot of stuff out or maybe know what it is. But more than that I'm not sure what I can afford.

He seems to be taking it a whole lot better than me, that's for sure. He just kind of mosies around and then heads to bed. I'm mostly worried about the not eating on his own thing. I don't like force feeding him. The doctor said that if he stops drinking I'm going to have to put him down.... which I don't really want to do either... sigh. He's like my baby. He's my best friend too. I guess I'll just do whatever I can and knowing that I did my best to help him and keep him comfortable will just have to be enough.

Anyway, I'm pretty exhausted, I'm going to bed. Hopefully some good fun stuff soon.