Posts filed under ‘SHOP NEWS’
Don’t you love fall! There’s a hint of crispness in the air, and a cooler front breezing through, so it’s coming! Another harbinger of fall — it’s festival season! I’ve got a busy fall schedule, which starts tomorrow. Here’s where you’ll find me:
Sept. 11 – Ballston Arts & Crafts Market off Glebe Road in Arlington VA, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. A general, juried outdoor crafts festival in a lovely setting on a square downtown.
Sept. 18/19 – It’s Worldwide Spin in Public Day! I’m hoping to spend some time as a member of the Blue Ridge Spinner’s & Weaver’s Guild spinning at The Bluemont Fair. The guild has had a tent at this event for years, demonstrating a whole range of fiber crafts and selling handmade items (lots of lovely handwovens especially). This is a full-fledged fair, with all kinds of activites for all ages – located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains less than an hour outside DC.
Sept. 25/26 – It’s the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival in Berryville VA! One of my favorite festivals, in a lovely setting. I’ll be returning as a vendor this year with a double-sized booth, for twice the space to display hand-dyed yarns and spinning fiber, handspun yarns, wheels and tools, felting kits, etc. This festival has been growing by leaps and bounds (but still isn’t overwhelmingly big). My booth will be in the ‘Arts & Crafts” building, spaces 7 and 8 (most of this event is under cover, so come rain or shine). Don’t miss this one if you can get there!
Oct. 2/3 – Another good one! The Fall Fiber Festival at Montpelier, in rural VA just north of Charlottesville. This outdoor festival is on the lawns of the Montpelier Estate, and features sheep dog trials as well as animal and fiber displays. Look for me in one of the big white tents.
Oct. 9/10 – The Festival of Leaves, Front Royal VA. I have only to step outside my studio doors to be right at the heart of this event, sponsored by the Warren Heritage Society (located across the street). This is a general festival, with lots of music and vendors of all kinds, including a special ‘Heritage Village’ featuring traditional crafts on the grounds of the Heritage Society. I’ll be by my studio, spinning and vending under my own tent (or in my studio should the weather turn bad).
Oct. 16 – I’ll be at the The Capital Region Etsy Street Team’s 1st Annual Falling for Handmade Craft Fair in Bohrer Park, Gaithersburg MD, which will feature 50 Local Etsy Artistians joining together In Real Life to showcase and sell their handmade products (a great time to start your Christmas shopping – there should be something for everyone, even pets!).
And finally, the last of the ‘Fall’ shows, and the biggest –
I’ll be at the Southeast Animal Fiber Fair (SAFF) in Asheville, NC, on October 22,23 and 24th for one of the largest festivals on the east coast. Somewhere in the maze of animals and vendors, you can find me in the ‘sales arena,’ booth 15 (which is located in one of the four corners of the building). I’m getting excited just thinking of this one!
After all this, I’m taking a weekend off to re-group! (and go trick-or-treating) Then it will be time to start Holiday shows…
First there was the Fall Fiber Festival at Montpelier.
Then I had a spot in the traditional handcrafts section at the ‘Festival of Leaves’ in downtown Front Royal – mostly I was there to demonstrate and only took a small part of my inventory, but I did sell some things, and got to meet a lot of local people, both other knitter/crafters, and some people who had never seen spinning before!
Next, it was to the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival in Berryville – I love this show! Indoors, nice people, great attendance, but not too crazy. Lots of people took the opportunity to test drive one of the Spinolution wheels.
The highlight for me was when Barbara D, a brand new spinner who tested a Mach II at Montpelier then ordered one came to my booth to show off her first skeins of handspun - and they’re gorgeous!
Barbara gives credit to the wheel, which she said is so easy to understand and spin on — but I know natural talent has something to do with it too! Congrat, Barbara, on some lovely handpun (I’m sure there are baskets-ful sitting around your house by now!)
That’s it for 2009 as far as wool festivals are concerned, but I’m only mid-way through shows this season.
Next up — the DC Craft Mafia ‘Holiday Heist’ at the Soundry in Arlington, VA on November 21st. I’m really excited about this one – it’s a juried show, with an ‘urban vibe.” I was really excited to be selected to participate – I’ll be focusing more on handspun and finished items, though I’ll still have some spinning fiber along, for anyone who wants to stop by for a fiber fix.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving, I’m considering hosting a Spin & Knit-In at my house. Maybe with some warm cider, a few cookies, wheels to test and yarns/fibers to fondle as we sit around and work on Christmas knitting. Does that sound fun? If you’re nearby and would like an invite, please send me a note.
Soon after than, look for me at the ‘Downtown Holiday Shop & Stroll’ in Silver Spring Maryland on December 5th, another juried show, this one outside, so I’ll need to be wearing as well as selling my woolies!
Last, but not least by any means, is the ‘Handmade Holiday Boutique’ in downtown Front Royal. This is in my hometown, and I’m one of the organizers. It is being held in the Blue Ridge Arts Council gallery on Main Street, and is also a juried show, for quality handcrafts of all kinds (made by the vendor – no imports, resells, etc). Vendor applications are still being accepted through November 16th, so if you know of someone who may wish to participate, please let them know! Contact me with an e-mail address and I’ll get an application to you right away. Oh, and mark your calendars for these events, and come see me! If you can’t make it, you can always shop online! My etsy shop is stocked and ready!
This past Sunday I was a vendor at the wonderful and aptly named Homespun Yarn Party in Savage MD! Close to 40 independent fiber-types (dyers, spinners, shepherds, etc) together in a banquet hall with LOTS and LOTS of excited and happy customers! There was a line of at least 200 waiting when the doors opened at noon, and it took some pretty strong hinting to get folks to leave at the end! It was a blast – very successful, can’t wait until next year! More details on the event at http://www.homespunyarnparty.blogspot.com.
Here are some pictures of my booth, which was manned with the help of Debbie White of Forevermore Farm, whose sheep provide a lot of the rovings that I dye:
I’m now busy updating my etsy shop (http://www.wildhare.etsy.com) and getting caught up on life in general. Tomorrow I’m out to Debbie’s farm to help with shearing… more wool to dye! The next festival on my calendar is the Sedalia Fiber Festival on May 16th.
Okay, I can’t resist a bad pun with that post title… The subject today is batts, and making them on a drum carder. The carder lines the fibers up roughly parallel in a very fluffy rectangular chunk which can then be spun into yarn or used in felting. But I’ll say more about using batts another time — for now, I’m making them!
Start with fiber. Here’s some wool I dyed in shades of blue and green and a bit of black, white tencel, blue and green nylon glitz:
I decided to add some rayon thrums, so I cut those up into 4-5 inch long sections (comparable to the staple length of the other fibers – long enough to stay in the yarn, and short enough not to wrap completely around the carder drums)
I take everything and tease the fibers open and mix it up by hand:
Then I send it through the drum carder a handful at a time, adding fiber gradually until the carder teeth are full and the first set of teeth (the big spikey ones) aren’t adding fiber to the bigger drum. My carder is a Strauch Petit with a brush attachment that helps finer and novelty fibers card smoothly.
I take off the batt from this first pass through the carder, flip it over and send it through a second time for a more complete and smooth blending job:
I could send it through additional times if I wanted the fibers thoroughly blended and more homogeneous, but I’m going to stop after two passes because I like the variations in color and fiber that I have at this point:
The batts from my carder aren’t very big, so what you see above is a stack of about 5-6 batts. Here’s a closer picture of the carded fiber:
Excited by these results, I kept on carding. Here’s another one, starting with a pile of wool with more tencel and nylon and some thrums:
This mix looked like it could use a bit more sparkle, so I cut up some lurex strands to add to the mix:
This one went through the carder twice too, and created a batt with a nice blend of color with a healthy dash of bling from the lurex:
So there are two examples — I’ve been going ‘batty’ the last week or so carding up all kinds of fun and interesting blends. I’m about to add carded batts as a product line in my etsy shop, so if you’re drooling over either of these, well, keep an eye out, they’ll soon be listed for sale! I’ve named the first one “Sargasso” and the second one “Fathom”. Here are uncarded/finished batt pictures of another blend I’m calling “Iris”
Now, the next order of business is to spin up some of these to show the yarns that can be made from blended batts! Stay tuned…
The front page of etsy.com features pictures of twelve items currently for sale by various sellers — but how are those items picked? From “treasuries”. Anyone can put together a treasury (not to get too complicated — there are a limited number of these treasuries, so it takes luck and patience to snag the opportunity). “Someone” in etsy management picks from among these treasuries and features their favorites ones on the front page. I have one I created now, waiting to be discovered – here’s the link: http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list.php?room_id=29456 (good until 8 a.m. 12/31/08).
Anyway, being featured on the front page is a BIG DEAL. But a given treasury is only on the front page for a relatively brief period of time…. which could be in the middle of the night…. so it’s easy to miss seeing your moment of fame. BUT, I just discovered that there is a flickr.com group called “etsy treasury front pagers” that takes and posts screen shots of these ever-changing front pages, and even tags them with shop names, so you can search for a given shop. That is how I found out tonight that I have indeed been on the front page of etsy.com! Here’s the screen shot:
There in the middle of the third row is my handspun “colorblast” yarn (which has since sold). Here’s a better picture of it:
Enough for now — I just wanted to pass along the discovery of this very useful flickr group!
Last weekend I was a vendor at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival in Berryville, Virginia. My first time as a fiber vendor — it was a blast! Debbie White of Forevermore Farm (whose wool rovings I carry on my etsy shop) was with me, and we made a great team. Despite torrential rain on Saturday, the show went really well. Here are some pictures of our booth:
Some of everything sold — handspun yarn, roving, spinning wheels, earrings, buttons, handpainted yarns, finished items, even lambskins and cat beds crocheted from felted roving that Debbie brought. I did a lot of dyeing in preparation for the show, and have lots of new rovings and yarns that I will be listing in my etsy shop this week. I wrote patterns for two scarves, each of which could be made with one skein of my two new millspun hand-dyed yarns that I gave away with any yarn purchase. I’ll continue this offer with yarns in my etsy shop. The Kromski Sonata and Fidelis wheels (which were used and my personal wheels) are sold, but I have a brand new Mach 1 ready to go — it would look great under someone’s Christmas tree!
Forevermore Farm… a lovely name for a wonderful small farm in the hills of West Virginia, where my friend Debbie White tends to her flock of mostly Coopworth sheep. The children and I visited Debbie in the spring after lambing, and we had a wonderful time feeding the sheep, including the bottle babies. Debbie even let the children name one of them … Baaaab, who is eating from my daughter’s hand below.
For years Debbie has sent her wool off and had it processed to roving, which she sells locally and also spins into yarn which she knits into felted bags to sell in a artisan’s coop near her house. Recently, we both realized that her sheep and copious amounts of wool plus my online shop (and lack or sheep, seeing that I live in town) made for a natural fit. And so, I am now happy to offer her rovings for sale! Currently, I have listed four natural, dye-free colors, named for the sheep they come from, but I am in the process of dyeing some of the roving as well. The picture below show those four natural color rovings. Wouldn’t they be lovely used together in a no-dye project?
Coopworth is a long wool that is lustrous and very very easy to spin. It felts nicely too, and takes dye beautifully. It’s a great all-purpose wool, suitable for sweaters, socks, hats, blankets, and felted items like bags. It’s a wonderful choice for beginning spinners as it is easy to draft.
Debbie takes wonderful care of her sheep, and it shows!
Follow the link here http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5073046§ion_id=5675468 to go directly to the Forevermore farm section of my shop.
Here are some more pictures from her farm (including one of Debbie with one of her angora goats):
That’s just some of them – the rest are in my store. Check them out!
Oh, and if you have an idea for a fibery button that you don’t see here, let me know. If I like it well enough to design and add to the collection, I’ll send you a button or magnet in that design, free! Just send your e-mail, with contact info, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Back last spring, a mutual friend introduced me to a man raising a small herd of llamas in Shenandoah county who was interested in turning their fiber into yarn. I’ve been helping him with the process, and just today, the resulting yarn has been added to my etsy shop! (link to the right). There are five colors (all natural, no dye) all spun to a light DK weight. Most llamas have a “double coat” with longer, coarser guard hairs mixed with their otherwise heavenly soft downy coat, so before spinning, we had the mill “de-hair” the fiber so only the soft stuff ends up in the yarn.
Llama fiber is not crimpy like wool (nor is it oily). It is lustrous and silky-feeling, and insulates wonderfully (I’ve heard that it’s warmer than wool). It’s a great fiber for lace knitting and items like shawls and scarves, because it drapes beautifully. Can’t you see an icelandic or “old shale” lace stole in these colors! This range would be great for fair isle knitting too…
Here are some pictures for you:
Another knitter/etsy seller has named a series of scarves after me! How cool is that! How it happened: we are both in etsyFAST (Fiber Arts Street Team), a group of sellers who support and challenge one another to make our shops the best they can be. This seller posted in our yahoogroup about trouble she was having with the edges of stockinette-based scarves rolling. I posted a number of suggestions to fix the problem (which I will share with you below, with pictures). The seller is iwunder, and here is the link to the first scarf in the series: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=14139850
Now, for those tips. Stockinette by its nature will curl to the back on the sides, and up or down on the top and bottom. Sometimes with wool you can block it so the effect goes away temporarily, but it’s inherent in the structure of the stitches. One of the most common ways to make a piece of stockinette lie flat is to border it with a few stitches of a more stable stitch all around the edges. Garter stitch, and garter-based patterns like seed stitch, are what is usually recommended. It works great, because just as stockinette’s nature is to curl, garter stitch just naturally lies perfectly flat. So when you border stockinette with garter stitch, it will lay flat like this:
You can get the same results with seed stitch, which may make an edge more to your liking:
Usually with garter or seed stitch, you use at least three stitches in that pattern at each end, and 4-5 rows at the beginning and end of the scarf/blanket or whatever you’re making. You can make it wider if you want, but less than three stitches and you may still get curling.
Now, here are a couple of other ways that you can get stockinette to lay without uncontrolled curling. The first way is to put an intentional ladder three stitches in from the edge. Knit your stockinette, then before you cast off, drop the fourth stitch from each edge and let it run down the length of the knitting:
Once you’ve done that, the edge should look like this (front and back shown):
If you are using wool, mohair, or a fuzzy yarn so the stitches lock into one another, that’s all you need to do. The ladder is decorative, and it should stay put. However, if your yarn is at all slick, this ladder can fill in over time as the yarn shifts and stitches loosen. So, before you use this edge, you should knit a swatch, wash it like you will the finished object, carry it around in your pocket for a few days and see if it will work with your particular yarn. For those yarns that reabsorb the ladder, or to make sure your edge effect stays put, you need to do more. One solution that might work is to twist, or knit into the back of, the stitches on either side of the stitch that will be dropped, to stabilize it. But another solution that I prefer is to do an eyelet edge. Here is a picture:
In this edge treatment, the curl is confined to the three edge stitches, which are secured by a vertical row of eyelets, so it ain’t going nowhere!! It’s easy to do: on even numbered rows, you knit three stitches, do a yarn over then knit two together. At the end of the row when five stitches remain, you knit two together, yarn over, knit three (reversing the shaping – you can use other decreases if you wish to exactly mirror the sides). The three edge stitches curl, and then the curl stops. Your edge gets a nice finish resembling I-cord, and the edge of eyelets are a nice decorative touch. This is a great edge treatment for stockinette-based lace patterns, and the back looks good too:
Now, what if you really really want the edge of your stockinette item to look as much as possible like stockinette, and still lay flat? Is there hope? Well, yes, there is – our next contender, the slip stitch edge. This is the dark horse – rarely mentioned, and a little more confusing, but the results are pretty nice:
Do you want to know how to do it? Like the others, it’s worked on the three edge stitches, but this time over four rows:
Row 1: knit one stitch, slip next stitch to right needle without knitting, knit one stitch. Knit rest of row to last three stitches, repeat k sl k.
Row 2: purl
Row 3: slip one stitch, knit one, slip one. Knit to last three stitches, repeat
Row 4: purl
Repeat these four rows for your edges. The slipped stitches get a little twist on the even numbered rows which helps hold the curl in check. These edge stitches still curl around, but with an interesting effect, in that the edge gets a nice row of stitches. Here’s how the back and side edges look:
You can do the slip stitch pattern for the first few rows and for several rows before casting off, just remember that the slipped stitches are off-set from one another on rows 1 and 3 (so row 1 is Sl, K, Sl, K, etc., and row 3 is K, Sl, K, Sl…). This makes a particularly firm edge.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my little edge tutorial! Thanks, iwunder, for the inspiration to swatch it all up and write it all down!