Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My first "event" as a vendor, and some more TDF yarns

Thanks to the generosity of my friend http://www.etsy.com/shop/thewanderingwolf?ref=ss_profile Kate from Wandering Wolf (blogger and it's link issues are driving me mad,) I was able to participate in an event called Albany Crazy Daze, or Days..not sure the actual title. My participation forced me to do some things I'd not done until then, such as make some ball bands and labels for my handknits, and make some business cards. I won't say they ended up being terribly beautiful, but they were accurate and informative.
The event fortunately was fairly inexpensive to enter, because it turned out to be less than ideal for vendors of handmade yarn and knits. Most of the people who came through were not the kind of people who are willing to pay extra for getting unique items made by local artisans, and there was a Scentsy booth down the way, which, in my opinion, doesn't belong in an artisans market. I did sell one item, which paid for my part of the booth, and I learned some things about where I want to be in the future. I also had a fun day hanging out with my friends.
And here are some of the yarns I spun from the wooly cupcakes I got from the Wool Peddlerhttp://www.etsy.com/shop/stefknits?ref=ss_profile. I love the results I get, even from the groups I think I will dislike.
All these have been listed in the shop along with a couple handknits from my handspun yarn.http://www.etsy.com/shop/brandyann

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tour de Fleece 2011: Day 1 and 2

I'm desperately trying to keep up with posting pictures of what I'm spinning, spinning itself, and posting new things in my etsy shop. I'm pretty sure if I let it pile up, it will be too overwhelming to tackle! I started off Saturday morning of TdF with a treat, a llama and angora luxury batt from Plum Crazy Ranch (http://www.etsy.com/shop/PlumCrazyRanchFiber?ref=ss_profile) that I bought at Black Sheep Gathering last weekend. ( I'm not sure what the deal is with blogger lately, but between being unable to load photos about 75% of the time lately, and now not allowing me to highlight and hyperlink properly, I'm tempted to switch blog hosts.)
Anyway, back to the point, I really enjoyed this stuff, there was only one ounce of it, and very textured, which is why I started with it. I tend to get stuck in the rut that many spinners seem to, spinning thinner and thinner yarns just because we can. I firmly believe that we as handspinners should be doing what we do best, which is create something a machine cannot. I understand that there is a sense of accomplishment in having the skill to spin a very fine yarn, I do it sometimes myself, and I understand that sometimes it is appropriate to what we are spinning for, perhaps a lace shawl, or socks, which require finer gauge yarns. I just spun a laceweight single ply for a shawl, and got great color sequences, so I'm not knocking the spinning of fine yarns in general, just saying that in my own spinning life, I'm at the point where I'm trying to develop range. I want to be able to spin a variety of styles and weights of yarn, and since I tend to be a little obsessive when I get focused on something, this batt was intended to break me out of my thinner and thinner yarn rut, and it did, with a bang. This yarn is bumpy and colorful and probably the softest stuff I have even spun. And fluffy, poufy, just all around WOW! My pictures don't do it justice, but then, when do pictures ever adequately capture yarn, it must be touched as well as seen to be fully experience, but since I can't hand it to you through the computer monitor, you'll just have to trust me.
Next I spun some angora and silk, and I haven't got the picture for that right here, but I bring it up because although it was equally soft, though much smoother while I spun it, when I soaked it and hung to dry to set the twist it got hard and stiff. Does anyone know what happened? I'm going to look into it.
On day 2 I opened up my 1 lb bag of wooly cupcakes and sorted them into colors that sort of went together, and then I started with this batch. I am the kind of person who always saves the best for last, so this is what looked like my least favorite colors.
Oddly enough, they turned out a beautiful yarn. This is why I am on my second one lb bag of these things. They have produced some of my loveliest handspun ever, though I can't take the credit. If you want some for yourself, go on over to Wool Peddler on etsy, she'll set you up.
I tried a new thing with this yarn that was suggested by the Plum Crazy Ranch lady (owner?) at Black Sheep Gathering, I was bemoaning the high cost of extra bobbins for the Hansen mini Spinners (49$! do you believe it?), and looking at a pretty electric spinner she had there in the booth, and she said she never plies from the bobbins anyway, she likes to ply with the fiber in the same direction as it was spun in, so she winds each ply off the bobbin into a ball and plys from the outside of the ball. She said it creates a more balanced and softer/smoother yarn. I did that with this yarn, and it is very lovely, though since I didn't do any of it my usual way, I don't have something to compare to. This yarn is extremely sproingy and soft, as are all the cupcakes I have spun up so far. They are always a mix of BFL, fine merino, and sometimes tencel. I have one more skein from Day 2, but the pictures aren't great yet, so I'll save it for the next post.
Happy Spinning everyone, I'm having a blast participating in my first Tour de Fleece. I keep looking at all the pretty fiber, clicking through to the fiber shop, and then talking myself out of more fiber, I'm pretty sure I have 3-4 lbs of fiber to go before I actually need more!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Grace Lace Beret

I have been a negligent blogger for a long time now, and I wish I had a great explanation or a more graceful way of jumping back in. Wait, I have the Grace Lace Beret. I would link to the Ravelry page, but Blogger won't allow me to hyperlink, I can get the pop up box, but I can't highlight the text. If anyone knows how to fix that, I'd love to know~
Having an etsy shop has made me more interested in what a knitter can make for the summer months, and I thought a lacy hat out of a non-wool yarn would be just the thing. This hat is made out of Berocco Remix, which I love despite the somewhat high non-natural fiber content. 30%Nylon/27%Cotton/24%Acrylic/10%Silk/9%Linen and all recycled fiber, if you haven't tried it yet, you should.
I had to adjust the number of repeats to fit the gauge of the yarn and my head. I started with 48 stitches, which doubles to 96 on row 2. I really enjoyed this cast-on method, but I don't know what it is called. You start with a crochet chain provisional cast on, then K1 yo for the next row, then there are two rounds of double knitting I think, where you are slipping all the knits, then all the purls on the next row, then you start with regular K1P1 ribbing. Anyway, if someone knows what it is called I'd love to have the name for it.
I do love this hat, and I made two, so I may put one in the shop, so someone else with a big head (literally not figuratively) can have a properly slouchy hat.