Sunday, November 30, 2008

Last chance! and...What WAS I thinking?

The sale in my Etsy shop ends Tuesday morning. This is your last chance to pick up yarn for making gifts at 10-20% off, fiber to spin into gift sock yarn or gift socks at 10% off, and handspun/handknit scarves at 30% off. Don't wait till the last minute to buy, as I rarely repeat myself.

New addition to the shop today--It's Only Natural neckwarmer and mitts set:

And early tomorrow I'll be posting this handspun/commercial wool scarf:

This August I worked a shift at my CSA in exchange for $30 worth of produce. Silly me figured that it it's free I should take a bunch of apples and cabbage. The apples came home in September and I made tons of applesauce, apple butter and dried apples (great in hot oatmeal!). In early October I picked up a case of cabbage and we shredded and packed it in 2 crocks to ferment into saurkraut. (I'm of German descent and there's nothing better than a good wurst, potatoes and homemade kraut with a cold beer.) Last weekend the kraut was done and we proceeded to can it. I had 12 quart jars left and figured that was plenty--HA! After all 12 were packed solid, I still had 2/3 of the last crock left! We packed the rest into every plastic freezer bag we had. We figured we had a total of 24 quarts of saurkraut. Yep, 24 quarts! So we started calling friends and family to rescue us. We've managed to give away enough to ease our storage problem, but I've got saurkraut enough for the next 2 years. We have decided that 50# of cabbage was....ummm.....just a tad too much saurkraut. What WAS I thinking?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Holiday Sale! Come fill up your stockings with fiber goodies!

In preparation for holiday shopping and gift-making, I’ll be having a sale in my Feistywoman Designs Etsy shop. Starting the morning of November 27 through the morning of December 2, most items in my etsy shop will be marked down 10%, 20% and 30%. I carry handspun yarn, spinning fiber and completed garments so you have quite an opportunity to find something for all the folks on your shopping list. As always, there’s free domestic (continental US) shipping on orders over $50.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Six Hands: The yarn is finished and heading to the next artisan

I finished spinning and plying late on Saturday, washed the yarn on Sunday and let it dry while watching the Steelers football game. I will not comment on the game except to say that I'm happy we won and that perhaps the NFL should insist on more extensive training for the officiating department--which is MUCH nicer language than I used during the actual game!

The yarn is firm due to the nice tight spin and ply, yet soft and supple due to the Merino/alpaca fibers. Just the right yarn for a long-wearing yet soft garment. The yarn is being forwarded to Dottie at Let's see what her creative mind and talented hands can do with this yarn.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Six hands: It may LOOK easy to make yarn, but….

…getting it right is sometimes it’s a royal PITA. Here's the first bobbin of luscious alpaca spun up on my Reeves double-treadle chair wheel.

I’d planned to use some of my own combed top with the Whirligig Yarns dyed alpaca, and I chose the wrong colors for it! Well, not the ‘wrong’ colors as there really ARE no wrong colors, but the wrong colors for the end product I was trying to achieve. Here’s the waaay too bright yarn—

And here’s the waaay too bright yarn being stripped off the spinning wheel bobbin so it can be un-plied and respun onto the bobbin. It's a good thing that the cats had gone outside to climb the apple tree--they think I do these things just for their amusement.

And then I had to spin another color that would be closer to what I wanted and ply the alpaca with it. It took me the better part of an entire day to unply, respin, spin and re-ply the yarn. The first successful skein is finished, so it’s onward to spinning the second skein the next few days, washing both of them to remove spinning and hand oils and give the alpaca a little ‘bloom’, and then they go onward to the next craftsperson. Check back to see what happens….

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Six hands make a project

I’m a member of the Fiber Arts Street Team on—we call ourselves Etsy FAST for short, and it’s also the tag we use for the Etsy search engine so we can find each others’ work. We encourage, advise, and support each other in our creative paths and the team includes artists in most fiber mediums. Spinning, knitting, crochet, weaving, felting and embroidery are techniques that pop to mind although I’m sure I’ve left out a bunch of others (blame it on low caffeine levels today). We have monthly ‘challenges’ where we choose a topic meant to inspire us to create something that defines or describes that topic. We’ve done the Olympics, heroes, harvest, candy and others. Decembers challenge is teamwork, meaning we’ll do a piece using materials from another team member. Since I’m primarily a spinner I wanted to take it a step beyond simply spinning fiber from another member and suggested that some members could form a trio (or more) and work on a project. And I thought it would be fun to watch my trio progress toward the final goal, so I’m putting up pix of the fiber I’m working with. I stumbled onto this combed top at Whirlygig Yarns while wandering around the team sites and I managed to resist it for about….oh, 2 days maybe? It arrived home on Thursday and I couldn’t wait to get my hands into it. It’s 3.7 oz. of huacaya alpaca dyed in a soft rainbow of colors.

I’ve just started spinning it, and it’s just lovely to work with. The colors when spun up are clear and change frequently and the color changes are subtle which is just perfect for the end use. I’ll be combining this with some of my own fiber and will hopefully get about 600-700 yards of sportweight yarn. I’ll be posting photos of the yarn being spun and the final plied and washed yarn. And at some point we should be seeing the finished product. I already know where the yarn is going and she’s a wonderful artist, but you’ll have to wait to see what she does with my yarn!

And on another topic completely, Pitt tromped all over Louisville yesterday, Penn State was beaten by Iowa (snort, chuckle), and the Steelers are set to beat the Colts today at 4:15 EST. Life is good…..