Friday, July 31, 2009

We Are Go For Launch

I've loaded my first yarns up into Etsy, and am ready to sell!

I'm still adding items, but I've got 9 items up there already, with another 4 to be added by the end of the day. I've shown you sneak peeks of some of them - here are a few more:

That blue-green one is so soft! Good ol' BFL never fails me.

To celebrate, this weekend I am having a grand opening sale. Place your order by 11:59PM CST on Sunday, August 2, and you'll receive 20% off the price of your yarn (shipping not included). Enter "WOOHOO!" in the notes to the seller section and I'll refund the difference via Paypal.

Thanks for reading my blog. Now please buy my yarn! And tell everyone you know to buy my yarn as well! :-)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Check me out!

I'm a yarnie on Ravelry!

I've grouped my yarns into 5 basic categories:
  • Soft and Squishy (merino or similar)
  • Soft and Strong (BFL, Corriedale or similar)
  • Soft and Silky (merino/alpaca and silk/silk-like fiber)
  • Fuzzy Wuzzy (Romney and the like)
  • Hotdish (random assortments of fiber)
My Etsy shop will (for now) just have the five categories, but on Ravelry 3 of the categories are divided by weight, which gives me 13 yarn names listed on Ravelry. Hotdish and (so far) Soft and Silky are each one category, but Soft and Silky will probably end up being separated out by weight once I get more made.

And (finally) I should have stuff for sale on Etsy by the weekend, including most of the skeins you've seen sneak peeks of!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I heart this yarn

Remember how I kept talking about the luscious and shiny alpaca silk? Well, ok, only a couple of times - but that's because I didn't leave it around for long enough to really pine for it - I was too eager to spin it. And I did, and it became a beautiful 2-ply laceweight. 200 yards of 20 wpi jewel tones. I keep bringing it out to gaze adoringly at it.

Proud Peacock
Proud Peacock closeup

So for the Tour de Fleece, I have spun up:
  • 2 ounces of turquoise probably-merino (I forget the details, and it's hiding from me)
  • 2.5 ounces pinkish superwash merino (75 yards bulky - or was it superbulky?)
  • 4 ounces of red merino cross - half in worsted (67 yards), half in bulky (60 yards)
  • 8ish ounces of Alpaca/Sari silk and merino into a little more than 250 yards of bulkyish weight (I really need to check the wpi soon)
  • 2 ounces of alpaca silk (see my drool in the first paragraph)
A respectable amount - a little over a pound in 15 days. I had originally predicted about half a pound. I'm still working on the BFL and hope to finish half of it this week. This week is a bit busy - an evening with my parents, a new job, and a trip to Chicago. Since we'll be taking the bus, I'm not bringing Daisy with me, so I have to finish up the TdF by Friday morning.

So I'd better get going!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I'm a Hacker!

Ok, I'm not a very good hacker. Copy and paste is a wonderful thing. Thanks to the clear instructions of phydeaux3, I was able to create a label cloud, one of those widgets I've always liked but that blogspot doesn't offer directly. Check it out! It's on the right, and you'll have to scroll down a little from the top.

Baby steps... soon my HTML knowledge will help me conquer the world!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Why "The Spinning Daisy"?

Short answer: My spinning wheel is named Daisy.

Here's a not so great picture of her a couple of days after I got her:
Daisy in working condition
A couple of her parts were broken, so I had MacGyvered it together into working condition while I waited for the real parts to arrive. She's a Lendrum single treadle, and she makes me happy. Really. Friends and family say my face changes when I start spinning, and I just look happier and calmer.

Longer answer: For many years I lived in neutral colors. Almost all my clothes were black, brown, beige, khaki, or gray. This was during my first career and a period of unemployment and underemployment, and I didn't really notice the lack of color. I had a few bright colors, but mostly just tried to blend in to the background, I think.

During my unemployed time, two things happened - I needed some way to pass the time, and I got married. Planning a wedding and the temp and part time jobs took up some of the time, but not enough.

My then-fiance suggested I learn to crochet from his mom, so I did. Around the same time, I started thinking, maybe I could make some of the things for the wedding and save money that way. I designed and made (with my now-husband's help) the invitations, programs, pew bows, table cards, centerpieces, bridesmaids' jewelry, my jewelry, and probably a few other things I can't remember. I also crocheted bags for my bridesmaids and made some scented bath products for them.

So, in the space of less than a year, I picked up crochet, cardmaking and papercraft, beadwork and jewelrymaking, and whatever you call making bathstuff. Some of that may eventually show up in the shop, but not yet.

Our wedding colors, by the way, were ivory and navy blue, the closest to a neutral color I could bring myself to include in a wedding.

Then I got a job. A coworker who started at the same time always had color in her outfits, and I rarely did, and my lack of color started to bug me. So little by little, I started adding color into my wardrobe. Some of that was done with crochet, as I got more skilled. I've now got several handmade sweaters in different colors.

And then, suddenly, I had an urgent need to learn to spin - not for a need to pass the time or to save money, just to know how to spin. It turns out I absolutely love it, far more than I expected to.

My spinning history will be another post, but Daisy, my shop name, and the bright colors in my logo represent not just the joy I find in spinning, but my attempts to bring color into my life.

Ignore this


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Another package!

Today I got a biggish box in the mail - wool I had ordered from Sheep Shed Studio.

This started out as a 3 pound order of undyed superwash wool top, because my best friend had requested yarn to make a sweater. Then I thought, hey, I could do that too - so I decided on 5 pounds, enough for a sweater for myself as well as for her.

Then I saw all the colors that they sell, and noticed postage didn't change all that much after the first few pounds, so I ordered a few different colors...
Opening the box

...and a bag of "dye soppers" (pieces of wool in random colors, basically leftovers of both wool and dye).
Dye Soppers

And then I decided I should just make my order an even 10 pounds, so I added another pound of undyed superwash.
Undyed superwash top


Here it is, in all its glory!
SSS Order July 2009

(And the alpaca silk I started yesterday is beautiful. And wonderful to spin. I should finish it this weekend.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

BFL and other fibers

How much do I love the Bluefaced Leicester (sounds like Lester - those wacky British spellings) I'm spinning up right now?

BFL - Moulin Rouge

BFL, which I pronounce as "Biffle," is one of my favorite standard wools (widely available for spinners). It's almost as soft as merino, in my opinion, but is a little sturdier. This BFL was dyed by Frabjous Fibers. I'm planning a 3-ply, roughly worsted weight.

Yes, I've added this to my Tour de Fleece goals. Maybe not all 8 ounces - but we'll see. I've finished the alpaca and sari silk (4 50-yard skeins and 2 38-yard skeins). Before moving on to my other alpaca/silk, I felt like working on some wool.

I also received my "fleece study by mail." I got samples, about 2 oz each, of raw wool from 15 different breeds, along with some other odds and ends. Of the 15 breeds, I'd only previously worked with two of the types raw, and only a couple of others in processed form, so I'm hoping to learn a lot as I work on these samples - washing, prepping, spinning, possibly dyeing. Here are some of my samples:

Fleece Study by Mail

I didn't get pictures of all of them, because 4 were already being washed by the time I remembered to get my camera out.

And now, on to the yummy alpaca/silk blend! I'm planning to make a striping, 2-ply laceweight (although of course my plans may change as I actually work with it).

Sunday, July 12, 2009

5 days?

And here I was, trying to post every 2-3 days.

Over the last week, I've picked up more materials for better photography (still waiting to pick up my tripod) and dyeing, and it's just possible I bought more wool as well. It's just that the spinning's going so fast and fun, I keep wanting to do more.

Spinning the alpaca/sari silk has been interesting. My first real novelty yarn. I spun a couple of ounces, then tried to ply it, and really disliked how it turned out. Meanwhile, I've got some black merino that I was spinning very slowly and was not looking forward to continuing in the same method. The lightbulb went on, and I plied the alpaca/sari silk with the merino, and it was exactly what I wanted!

Celebration 1

I'm 2/3 done with it - another 2-ish ounces to go, then on to the other alpaca silk blend.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I may have underestimated myself.

For the Tour de Fleece, I challenged myself to spin three skeins of yarn. I finished the first two in two days. They were smaller, so just over half of the total weight. The turquoise is much more vibrant in real life - a deep turquoise, kind of mediterranean.

I took Monday off, but I plan to make good progress on the red fiber today at one of my spinning groups. Since I'll still have over two weeks left by the time I finish that (barring some emergency), I'm adding to my challenge, and more than doubling the total weight of fiber to be spun. I'd like to spin up this wonderful alpaca and sari silk fiber:

Wool and silk batts

I have about 7 oz of this, so two larger skeins. Something around a sport-weight, maybe.

After that, this luscious 2-oz braid of alpaca/silk, lace to light fingering weight:

If I finish that, I'll set new goals, keeping in mind two hindering factors: I'll be starting a new job on July 21, and will be out of town on the last three days of the Tour de Fleece (and away from my wheel... probably... unless I bring it with me...) .

Saturday, July 4, 2009

And they're off!

Wait, that's horseracing. "Start your engines" is for cars. I don't know what it is for biking or spinning.


I'm participating for the first time in Le Tour de Fleece. It's a personal spinning challenge that corresponds to the dates of the Tour de France - July 4 - July 26. I've set myself a goal of spinning three braids of merino, a total of 8.5 oz. The results will be sold off in the shop. So I've got three braids - turquoise, red (dyed by Extreme Spinning), and pinks/purples (dyed by Maude and Me).

Red Dragon topTurquoise topClouds at Sunset

I'll be starting a new job and going to a wedding in the Chicago area towards the end of the tour, so that will add to the challenge.

And some of the blue CVM in progress (dyed and drying). At the top is Copenhagen Blue, with some purple; middle is Navy Blue; lower is Blue.

Assorted blues

More dyeing and spinning planned for today, and I've got three skeins drying that have been long overdue for the finishing process. Since I've got two spinning groups in the next three days, I wanted to get them done for show and tell. Two of the skeins will be for me, and one will be for the shop.

Happy 4th of July!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Things are moving along.

Latest accomplishments:

I've sent off my Certificate of Assumed Name to the Secretary of State - in a few weeks, you can legally call me The. Well, The Spinning Daisy, anyway.

I'm hoping to have my logo finished by next week.

For myself, I'm dyeing up a bunch of fiber for a sweater project (Twyla on Ravelry) - I've got some gray CVM and gray alpaca that I'm dyeing assorted shades of (mostly) blue and will then card together. Meanwhile, I'm spinning some pre-dyed black merino for another project. And I'm awaiting some white merino fleece, which will probably arrive early next week.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Am I crazy?

My name is Rebecca, and I'm in the process of starting a new business. I plan to sell hand-dyed and/or handspun fiber and yarn. I'm getting the pieces, such as a blog, in place now. Still to come: logo, tax documents, shop. But the website is in place (if not yet interesting).

As the pieces come together, I'll be updating here. I'll also be posting about my fiber-related activity, other people's creativity, sites I like, and whatever else comes along that I want to share.

Thanks for reading!